tips for miller and the times

can we be more than we are?

that's the question linc asked me in an e-mail and he answered with 'yes!'

i don't know if it's the holiday or ruth's wise words or what but at the start of the week, a lot of readers were saying they were depressed or feeling down and as we roll on towards the 4th of july, it seems like we've come alive.

i called up the wonderful ruth and found out that her words were as much for her readers as they were for her grandchildren who were really excited during the conyers' hearing and had grown less so as the days moved on.

i asked where was the yiddish in her last columns and confessed that i run to a friend with each word to learn how to pronounce them. she said she'd decided to hold back on some humor in the last post and just try to get the message across plainly because she didn't feel like it was being said enough and that it needed to be said.

i spent most of the day on the phone. i'm much more likely to pick up the phone and then to boot up the computer.

with c.i. the topic was judith miller. c.i. said that with my p.r. background i should have some idea of how to fix the problems to which i replied nobody sells something like c.i. so don't be so damn modest.

the new york times has only made judith miller's situation worse. myself, i don't care whether she goes to jail or not. there are a lot more important issues in my book. but we brainstormed and came up with some things that the paper should be doing but hasn't.

as ava and c.i. pointed out, rightly, in their dvd review of jane fonda's the electric horseman, the message has been a problem. here they are discussing a scene in the movie where jane fonda's hallie is confronted with a first amendment issue:

Don't miss the scene where Hallie's pressed to reveal her source. Fonda plays it perfectly. Hallie realizes where it's going and she's not backing down. Think about Judith Miller's various public pleas, The Charlie Rose Show for one, where she tries to manage the grit and sweetness combo that Sally Field can toss off without breaking a sweat. If Miller didn't veer between that extreme and her infamous bravado ("I was proved fucking right!"), if she showed some of the spirit Fonda's Hallie does, she might make you give a damn about her plight.
Hallie's not playing it modest, but her argument is for a free press. With Miller's public announcements, it never veers from the personal, the I-Judith! (And no matter how she strives for gamine, the fact is Miller's not very likeable and she has her own reporting to blame for that.)

i-judith! truly captures the problem with the p.r. on this.

there's no persona to sell. she's not believable as 'soft judy' and they should have realized that after charlie rose. between those soft focus moments she's bellowed 'i was proved fucking right!'
and that makes the person all the more difficult to sell.

a few months ago, some 1 should have gotten a hold of her and began a remodel/make over.
the hair's a problem but there's not much she can do without it being obvious at this point. 1 thing she can do is push the bangs to side. instead of letting them frame her forehead, let them frame the side of her face. that would help a great deal in terms of new look can make some 1 look at you differently. any major change would backfire so that's about the most she can do.

she needs to dress better. the darks are a problem for her but there again it's too late to change that. so what she should do is wear professional outfits in dark shades and wear a white blouse whenever possible with those professional outfits. no more of the audrey hepburn like outfits with their soft necklines. people aren't buying it. it comes off false. she needs to wear some dark suits that are tailored.

the paper ran 2 pictures of her in 1 day this week. while that was a huge mistake for the paper and for her cause, when we were discussing her bangs, c.i. pointed out the inside photo and how she looked so much more approachable without the bangs layering that forehead. if it wouldn't come off too sally field, she could be wearing a handband or clips to pull back the bangs completely but it's too late for that so what she needs to do now is just push them to the sides so that they frame her face and not cover it.

there should be no statements of fear on her part about the possible jail time. no 1 bought her as soft to begin with. she should make statements like 'i believe in the freedom in the press and if defending that right means going to jail, i will gladly go to jail.'

why? it makes her appear strong. and note that we didn't include her saying 'i was right' in any of that. the truth of the matter is judy miller was not 'proved fucking right' on anything and when she makes any sort of statement to that effect it just stirs up the ill will she's trying to overcome.

miller needs to dress professional and to act professional. she should not take it to the personal because no 1 honestly cares. if she went on hardball and chris matthews listened to her make statements like the 1 offered above and he said, 'but judy you could go to jail?' she should reply 'this is a principle, chris, it goes beyond me.' if he followed up with 'but how do you really feel?'
she should reply with something along the lines of 'i feel honored that i've been given the chance to defend the rights of a free press. this isn't about me or what story i might write tomorrow or next month, this is about what our press will or will not stand for in the future and i'm strong enough to fight this battle and it is 1 i belive in.'

picture miller saying that cool and calm. right away the audience gets the issue. forget her trumped up wmd stories because they aren't the issue. she's just said that. she's made it all about the issues as she sees them and the responses will have to reflect the ground that she's staked out.

the new york times needs to handle it differently as well. you can't humanize judith miller. it backfires on you. make her iconic. start making the issue the freedom of the press. use that space to give a historical essay on the freedom of the press. in fact, we think the paper should do a series of articles. not on the op-ed pages, not in editorials, as stories in the main section.

this isn't where they name check past press struggles, this is where they do a history. the thrust of the article is not 'poor judy!' but the freedom of the press. within those articles, the case is made repeatedly for the importance of a free press. judith miller is mentioned in some of them but it is in relation to the case.

that's how the times gets behind this. not with yet another article about judy miller. no 1's buying it and they should have realized that a long time ago. if they're wanting to defend her, they need to do it via a news series on the press under attack in previous times.

they also need to grasp that not every 1 knows woodward & bernstein. c.i. loves to tell the tale of a woman in her thirties who had a degree in journalism and wrote a script. c.i. reads over it and the main character's a reporter. but she never comes off as a reporter. so c.i. recommends some band aids, such as 'why don't you mention woodward & bernstein' and the woman, who holds a degree in journalism, asks, 'who are they?'

generations have come of age since watergate and earlier struggles are not well known to a great many people. the times would be doing a service to the public (and probably help stem the negative poll results) by making the case for a free press via an article or articles that informed readers of past battles and how they informed the public.

in that article or series of articles, judith miller is not the opening paragraph. this should read as history and miller should be tied in near the end.

those were our basic results from brainstorming. again, i could care less. i won't lose any sleep. c.i. does care about it. and i didn't last as long as i did in public relations by only being able to sell things i believed in.

tomorrow i'm going to discuss the fiction in the third estate sunday review. but i'll leave this entry with the focus being on tips as to how the times can turn the story around.


get the troops home now!

thank you to all my readers who wrote such kind e-mails about yesterday's post. i doubt i got across how mind blowing the experience was but i have such smart readers (the 1s who don't spread lies about me at least) that they can fill in the blanks.

sherry said it went nicely with something cindy sheehan said to amy goodman on democracy now today:

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to President Bush addressing U.S. service men and women and what his message was.
CINDY SHEEHAN: Well, first of all, I think the best way to honor my son's death would be to bring the troops home, and that's what we in Gold Star Families want our children to be remembered for: peace and not war and hatred. For him to use my son's blood to continue the killing, to me, is despicable. I don't want one more drop of blood spilled in my son's name or in my name. We never should have been there in the first place. It was a mistake. It was a mistake when we invaded. It's a mistake now, and I want my son’s sacrifice and the sacrifices of the other brave Americans to stand for peace and to bring peace to the world and not to spread more hate. You know, he said that my son died to spread freedom and democracy in that region. We're spreading imperialism and death and destruction everywhere we go. And, no, not one more drop of blood in my son's name or the names of any other of our brave young people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for basically nothing.

that's an excerpt from democracy now's 'Mother of Soldier Killed in Iraq: "The Best Way To Honor My Son's Death Would Be To Bring The Troops Home."'

we all need to be thinking what we can do. and as the woman said yesterday, peaceful things we can do. civil disobedience, you name it. but start asking yourself what can you do that maybe you thought of for a moment and then thought 'oh no, i can't do that.' the fourth of july is coming up. maybe you meant to let your congress reps know how you want the troops home now. but you didn't get around to it.

visit your rep's site, read your local newspapers, see if your rep is attending any event in your area. if he or she is go there, shake their hand and say, 'i want the troops home now.' and if they offer that it's a little more complicated or any of the stay the course nonsense, repeat, 'i want the troops home now.'

i meant to highlight third estate sunday review all this week and i was so blown away by the convictions and the power and the presence of the speaker yesterday that i forgot all about it.

i think this short story goes with what we're talking about - 'K-Boy Tries To Get Back Home (a horrific parable)' :

K-Boy was wearing his Chuck Taylors, his jersey, all tricked out vintage style.
Speaking of vintage, he had a Marvin song blasting in his head. Bus rides were retro but he was doing it up in style he figured as he noted the heat inside the bus.
It was late and hot. He was tired. He closed his eyes and listened as the bus seemed to shake and nearly shatter with each bump in the road. While a bead of sweat formed on his forehead, it seemed the a.c. existed more to provide background noise than to cool things down.
He must have been more tired or more hot than he knew because a quick moment of resting the eyes sure enough turned into a nap.
Waking up, he opened he looked around and saw his street.
Congratulating himself on his perfect time, he rang the bell for his stop.
"Stop requested. Please watch your step," said the mechanical voice in English, then in Spanish.
K-Boy attempted to stand and make his way to the front of the bus.But nothing happened.

does k-boy make it home? read the short story.

i also want to note that mike is covering the recruiter issue each day and he's also answering questions on sex and other issues. check out mikey likes it! because it is a great blog.

betty has a post up on thomas friedman's latest column and his 1 before and i see why c.i. hesitates to excerpt betty's wonderful writing, it really does build, both the story and the jokes.
so check out betty.

last but not least, check out ruth's latest morning edition report. it's a message of hope and 1 worth reading.

'oh this is all so serious, thank god for betty, but otherwise ...'

c.i. has a post that notes a serious issue and also finds time to point out the continuous uselessness of elisabeth bumiller.

this is the part i laughed at the hardest:

Bumiller notes Louis J. Freeh's "analysis": "The [FBI] agents loved her." Though it must have been hard for Bumiller not to add an exclamation point to that statement -- a line over a little heart, no doubt. We also learn that she was very comfortable in close quarters with criminals and that she now works in the basement of the White House's West Wing, two apparently unrelated items.


do what you can do, you already know what that is

so how was your day?

i went to this amazing speech that some friends insisted i attend. it was all about what we can do versus what we actually do. before you think i'm getting my head shaved, grabbing a tamborine and hitting the airports, let me explain that is was about ways to protest the occupation.

if i had to boil it down to 1 thing it would be this, you know what you need to do. the woman took all these questions from people and they were basically all 'i think i should ___' and the woman would smile and not answer just go on to the next question.

at the end of this, about 30 people, she said 'you are asking me what to do and asking for my permission when it sounds like each of you has an idea of 1 thing you could do.' the point was that you do what you can. it might just be a letter to a senator or it might be taking part in a protest or it might be boycotting those who profit from the occupation but we all know something we can do, we just aren't doing it.

we need to bring energy and creativity back into the peace movement to get it going again.

and to do that, we need to be willing to not just think 'i guess i could do this' but to think 'i can do this.'

you should have seen the effect the woman's words had on everyone. it was like all these light bulbs going off at once. you do your 1 thing and then you get another idea. because peace isn't a 1 time thing but a continous movement.

there was this weirdo that we all thought was fbi because he started trying to bring up violence and was talking like he was jerry garcia when he couldn't have been more than 32. and she kept cutting him off saying she was committed to peace and nonviolence. she used to be a nun and i wondered if that was why she looked and sounded so smooth. even with the weirdo, she didn't lose her cool.

i found her and the speech inspirational.

i'll also recommend 2 pieces from c.i. the 1st is breaking down the 'oh! the horror! poor judy!' miller story. the second 1 is about the operation happy talkers.


mainstream press do your homework on the pre-invasion bombings

thank you for all the kind e-mails on the third estate sunday review's summer edition, i'm sharing them with ava, jim, dona, ty and jess so that they realize how much the work they did was enjoyed. i'll be highlighting parts of this edition which sherry dubbed 'the best damn thing, the most adventurous and tell those kids i am in awe.' i am in awe too.

but i want to focus on something else right now, their editorial. and to do the disclosure, i worked on it too, as did "Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner and C.I. of The Common Ills."

Editorial: Mainstream Press Do Your Homework on the pre-invasion bombings

It's so depressing at The New York Timid. We were going to hand out grades re: coverage of the Downing Street Memo this week. Instead we had to schedule parent-teacher conferences. Mrs. Keller swears she can get little Billy Keller to "buckle down and apply himself." We wait to be persuaded.
BuzzFlash, we do however find Tim Harper's "Is this Bush's 'smoking gun'? War opponents seek U.S. inquiry into U.K. memos Documents show" (Toronto Star):

Writing in the Los Angeles Times this week, Smith argued that the real news in the July 23 memo was that the United States was engaged in an illegal air war against Iraq in the summer of 2002.

Smith pointed to the part of the memo quoting Geoffrey Hoon, Britain's defence secretary at the time, saying the U.S. had already begun "spikes of activity" over Baghdad, long before Washington argued its case before the United Nations.
The United States had begun intensified aerial bombing of Baghdad in May 2002, continuing through August of that year, in a bid to trigger a retaliation that would justify a full-out invasion.
When that did not happen, the U.S. responded by ratcheting up the bombing in September 2002, continuing until the invasion formally began on March 19, 2003.
Based on the memos he obtained, Smith argued that Bush and Blair really began an air war six weeks before the U.S. Congress approved military action.

It's a good point, a strong one. And we say that not only because we've harped on it here as has C.I. over at
The Common Ills. Last Sunday, when we wrote our editorial "Editorial: 'Illegal' bombing raids? When will the domestic press note this?" we were thinking (wrongly) that it was now time for The New York Timid to seriously begin addressing the topic.

The bombings raise serious questions that go to the issue of was intelligence "fixed." To quote from that editorial:

As C.I.
wrote, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim "Saddam has WMDs! We're all at risk!" and increase the bombings. If you really believe the WMD lie (we all know it was a lie now, right?) you don't attempt to start a war before you're ready. You don't put your country at risk. If you really believe there's a risk, to invite an attack when you're unprepared, a WMD attack, may border on derelicition of duty for the one who wanted the whole nation (military and civilian) to call him "commander-in-chief." (Note to Diane Sawyer, unless you enlisted, he wasn't YOUR commander-in-chief, nor was he the Dixie Chicks' "commnader-in-chief.")

The bombings are not a side issue, that are part and package of the big picture. But the attention has focused elsewhere instead as people debated. Was intelligence fixed? The debate needs to factor in the increased bombings.

It's time the press dealt with that. All the parents (even little Judy Millers' parents) seemed nice, concerned and genuine and their promises that they would see it to that their children applied themselves. We really want to believe that's possible because this issue goes to the heart of our democracy. If we can't discuss this openly and honestly, one wonders why the First Amendment ever carried any weight to begin with?

It's past time to include the pre-invasion bombings into the dialogue. Mainstream press, do your homework or don't bother showing up for class.

sherry, wally, trey and josie all e-mailed to note a certain blog hog who just stumbled on the issue, one that c.i. and the third estate sunday review have been all over since may 29th. blog hog has time and again ripped into others for stealing and not crediting. those 4 wrote in wondering why, since blog hog feels the need to list a phone book's worth of people, he doesn't list c.i. or the third estate sunday review?

he read them. i mean 3rd estate has the e-mail to prove that the june 19th was read. and of course he whined to c.i. last week about how mean people were. so he's just being petty partly but also it probably kills him to know that he wasn't on this from the start. c.i. will take the high ride. c.i. will always take the high road. but blog hog better be worried because he's pissed off a lot of people. but as troy pointed out in his e-mail, blog hog has ripped into atrios, kos, bob somerby and so many others with loud screaming accusations of 'you ripped off me' or 'you ripped off' who ever. and now blog hog reveals that fingers point both ways.