peanuts and the press

Judge Upholds Money Laundering Charge Against Tom Delay
Republican Congressman Tom Delay suffered a setback Monday after a Texas judge refused to throw out money laundering charges against him. The judge however did throw out conspiracy charges against Delay, the former House Majority Leader. Delay is accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to 2002 Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature. Money laundering is punishable by five years to life. Despite the indictment the Bush administration remains close to Delay. Last night Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Houston to headline a fundraiser for the Texan Congressman.

that's from democracy now and i'm noting it because gloria borger (looking washed out and in dire need of hair cut and stylist) spun it a little differently on the cbs evening news monday. gloria was all grins and good humor as she blathered on about how this was good news for tom delay. the way she spoke, 1/2 the charges were tossed out. that's not quite correct. there were 3 charges and only 1 was tossed out.

the mainstream media just gets more and more disgusting.

i've got the tv on and am watching peanuts. i've seen this christmas special every year and i don't think it's ever failed to cheer me up until this year.

it can't be the weather, i love the cold weather.

it can't be the cartoon. i've loved it forever.

snoopy playing the guitar, pig pen playing the base, violet's clumsy dancing - what is she doing with those hands. and who's the kid with the spikes in the orange shirt doing the snoopy dance? he's standing right next to snoopy who, since he's playing the guitar, isn't doing the snoopy dance.

and who's shermy? i never see him except in this cartoon. and why does he look exactly linus 2 years older?

are they cousins? did lucy & linus' father step out? he and linus look so much alike.

i think it's the press that has me so depressed.

so let's focus on the press. this is the third estate sunday review's 'when did woody realize what he knew?' in full:

BOB WOODWARD: We pour garbage on people.
ANNOUNCER: And the press knows it.
ANDREA MITCHELL: I think we are really unpopular.
FRONTLINE Show #1503
Air Date: October 22, 1996
"Why America Hates the Press"

The focus of this piece is Bob Woodward but when Andrea Mitchell tells the truth, it is NEWS so we had to include it.
So aging golden boy Woody's argued that some of the criticsm directed his way of late results from the press' natural tendency to tear someone down in order to build them back up. Woody's arguing that the press needs "a story" and will create one when it has to.We don't disagree. Nor do we think it's a terribly new point that Woody's making. Carly Simon made many similar comments in the eighties. Joni Mitchell's also made similar comments going back to the seventies.But there are two issues that come to mind.
First, does Woody think he is an "artist." We thought he pushed the fantasy that he was a reporter.
Second, when a Carly Simon or Joni Mitchell makes those comments, they're talking about how their latest release is being trashed. "Torn down to build them up later on because otherwise the press has no story" is the argument.
Woody doesn't record, so exactly what "product" does he believe is being trashed?
There's no new book.
Does Woody think he is the product?
We wouldn't be surprised.
But while we can agree that the Woody's comments are sometimes true, we're having a hard time seeing how they apply to Woody.
He is news now. Something he always wants to be.
But he's news not because of anything he did but for failing to a) tell the public that he was informed Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative while publicly weighing in with his opinions on the investigation headed by Patrick Fitzgerald and b) failing to inform his editor that he had knowledge of the Plame leak.
It's frequently amusing to watch Woody attempt to defend himself.
His comments reveal more than he means to.
For instance his most recent Larry King Live appearance, how long did it take him to plug his upcoming book?
It was in his third response:

I'm working on a book, "Bush's Second Term." I'm trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. There are things I know that I'm just not going to talk about involving that research.

Not "I'm working on a new book." No, "I'm working on a book" plug title "Bush's Second Term."
Ladies and gentlemen, the aging starlet, Bob Woodward. Jacqueline Susann could not have plugged so shamelessly.It just got better.
According to Woody:

Then, the day of the indictment I read the charges against Libby and looked at the press conference by the special counsel and he said the first disclosure of all of this was on June 23rd, 2003 by Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff to "New York Times" reporter Judy Miller.I went, whoa, because I knew I had learned about this in mid- June, a week, ten days before, so then I say something is up. There's a piece that the special counsel does not have in all of this.
I then went into incredibly aggressive reporting mode and called the source the beginning of the next week and said "Do you realize when we talked about this and exactly what was said?" And the source in this case at this moment, it's a very interesting moment in all of this, said "I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to tell the truth."
And so, I realized I was going to be dragged into this that I was the catalyst and then I asked the source "If you go to the prosecutor am I released to testify" and the source told me yes. So it is the reporting process that set all this in motion."

Agressive reporting mode"? "Incredibly" or not, we're not seeing it. Agressive reporting mode isn't calling the leak and saying, "We spoke of this!" We're not seeing anything in Woody's narrative indicating he's going to write about it. It reads like Woody's attempt to shoot the breeze. Or possibly to make sure both parties were on the same page. Obviously, they weren't. The source goes to the prosectuion and Woody's disappointment over that development can be inferred from his statement "I realized I was going to be dragged into this . . . "
We chuckled over his talk of his "news juices." We laughed most of all at this:

WOODWARD: It may be but I pressed that source as much as you can and I'm not going to -- if you remember back into Watergate and Mark Felt, the number two in the FBI who was the source "Deep Throat" we kept that secret for 33 years because the source insisted upon it.

Woody's speaking of his "source" for a report he never wrote. He's speaking of the person who leaked on Valerie Plame to him.
Watergate, Woody and Carl Bernstein wrote about. (Woody likes to trot out Carl more these days to hide behind but he's still eager to claim credit for himself.) Mark Felt was kept a secret because he could be retaliated against.
Woody's leak (not source) has informed his superiors of the conversation with Woody. Woody has informed the prosecuters. The only ones who haven't been informed are the public. Woody's seeing commonalities where there are none.
He's also offering a shifting rationale. In the same Larry King interview, he claims initially that it hit him when Scooter Libby was indicted that he had another piece of the story -- one that wasn't known. (Apparently from offhand gossip if his earlier claims are to be believed.) So he picked up the phone to call his leak. But at the end of the King interview, Woody says this:

I made efforts to get the source, this year, earlier, and last year, to give me some information about this so I could put something in the newspaper or a book. So, I could get information out, and totally failed.

This year? Earlier? And in 2004?
When did Woody realize what he knew?
The issue's pressing to him, in some of his accounts, when he learns the date of Judith Miller & Scooter Libby's conversation. In others, he's been trying to get this story out "in the newspaper or a book" as far back as 2004. Since Woody lives by his anonymous, official sources, we're failing to see what "information" he was waiting to be given before writing about it.
But is anyone going to call Woody on the contradictions in his remarks on King's show? Commenting on his minimizing of the investigation on an earlier King telecast (October 27, 2005), Woody states:

At that point and on your show I didn't know what that meant at all because it was such a casual offhand remark.

"I didn't know what all this meant." While claiming, in the same broadcast, that he made efforts earlier this year and in 2004 to press the leak on this matter?
There are a number of journalistic issues that Woody's behavior raises. It's too bad a journalistic watchdog refuses to hunt. Instead of barking, it's preferred to sniff around the old pile of crap that is Judith Miller's career. It's certainly safer. It doesn't even upset The New York Times because the paper doesn't care if Miller's beat up on for her public statements. It's not as though the watchdog's going through Miller's past reporting for the paper. They're just grabbing the stick and hitting the pinata one more time. Pity they're so silent on Bob Woodward.

that was written by: "The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,Mike of Mikey Likes It!,Elaine of Like Maria Said Pazand Wally of The Daily Jot"

'he never got his picture on a bubble gum card? how can you say someone's great when he's never had his picture on a bubble gum card?'

schroeder and lucy. she'll say anything to try to get his attention. she'll make him mad, she'll argue with him. just trying to get him to look at her.

yes, i'm back on peanuts. and while i'm on it, why did lucy and violet look so much alike? if violet didn't wear her hair up, wouldn't they look exactly alike?

when i was little, i used to like linus. now he's just too much of a goody-goody and his voice creeps me out. you just know he's going to grow up to be ned flanders (the simpsons).

the 1 who looks linus and schroeder hold my interest more these days.

1 person i never liked was charlie brown. i don't care if it was in the pumpkin patch or where, charlie brown always bored me to death.

snoopy's always held my interest. so have peppermint patty and marci. but for a different reason. when i was a kid, i just found them funny, especially patty who wasn't taking any crap. as i grew older, i did start to wonder about exactly what was going on there?

if they did a live action peanuts tv special, i'd cast the following:

lucy: shannen dougherty
charlie brown: nathan lane
linus: matthew broadrick
sally: courtney thorne-smith
schroeder: ike barenholtz
pig pen: michael weatherly
peppermint patti: jennifer garner
marci: ellen degeneres
frida: margaret cho
rerun: seth green
violet: alyssa milano