Monday, September 20, 2004

Welcome to the club, Mr. Lyman

Reading Rick Lyman's piece about stalking Vice President Cheney in yesterday's New York Times Week in Review, your blogstress knew not whether to laugh or cry.

To his credit, Mr. Lyman has not let the vice president's refusal to allow him (or any other New York Times reporter) to travel with the rest of the press corps on Air Force Two get in the way of covering Mr. Cheney on the campaign trail. Flying commercial, renting cars to drive to Podunk, wedging himself between Secret Service agents and adoring fans, Mr. Lyman has logged countless miles in pursuit of the elusive Number Two.

He writes an entertainingly disjointed tail about the whole experience, which deftly reflects the disjointedness of the life the undeterred but dispossessed reporter must lead in search of his quarry. And Mr. Lyman certainly performs a public service by pulling the curtain to reveal just how pack journalism and left-out-of-the-pack journalism work.

Minus the expense account Mr. Lyman calls "a splendid thing", your cybertrix found the Timesman's tale of stalking the veep terribly familiar. This is how the most effective journalism, as practiced by your humble blogstress, gets done.

Who needs credentials when moxie will do? Your blogstress has tailed evangelists in a Rent-a-Wreck, attended political conventions with no passes, made herself invisible in order to transgress rope lines, grazed off the pizza boxes left behind by expense-account journos and crashed the hotel bed of at least one well-heeled media type, all for the love of the story. And yes, Mr. Lyman, you're right: one does end up with a different story when one is left out of the pack. One in which real people actually appear.

Welcome to the world of outsider journalism, Times guy. Lose the expense account, and we'll show you the secret handshake.

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To hope, or not to hope?

In our ever-flowing stream of reader mail regarding the wisdom of believing in the possibility of a Democratic victory in November's presidential race, we find this from our good pal, Breaker from the Beltway, who taught your Webwench all she knows about HTML.

(Perhaps because Breaker breathes the rarified Washington air, this reader is less sanguine than your blogstress's other amis chers.)

There is much to discuss, including my burning issue these days of [when] the Kerry camp is going to start putting out consistent talking points that get a clear and decisive message across.

The Republicans have been very successful at relentless and consistent messaging (some would call it propaganda or manipulation... but hey, it is working). Where is the passion in the Democratic platform?

What is the Democratic platform? Bush gave them so many talking points, [but] I fail to see how any of the response is on-target or meaningful.

So much to ponder, and so little time, as your blogstress needs to spend this evening handwashing all of her black spandex.

Breaker directs us to this depressing little thread from the site for the "Randi Rhodes Show": We Can't Win

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What's the frequency?

Just when you think that the Dan Rather bad memo story can't get any weirder, here comes the tale of Buckhead, the Blogging Oppo Dog.

It was Buckhead who broke the story of the fake memos (that happen to tell the truth, according to the secretary who didn't type them), and within hours of breaking it, released a treatise on 1970s models of IBM Selectric typewriters.

To our collective surprise, we now learn that Buckhead is a long-time Republican political operative--a veteran of the Bring Down Clinton team. Keith Olbermann, the sexiest man in journalism, according to Playgirl, offers a feisty and funny backgrounder on MSNBC's Hardblogger.

Your blogstress actually once found Dan Rather to be the sexiest man in journalism, since you never really knew just when he might twink out, or some stranger twink out on him. And your Webwench found that ever-present threat of spontaneity oddly alluring.

Plus, the guy is just handsome.

And how can one not dig an anchorman who once dropped acid? (What a long, strange trip it's been.)

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Disappearing stupid president link

For those who missed the very narrow window of opportunity to view George W. Bush's latest malapropism via a link posted on AddieStan (from which the aforementioned video clip has mysteriously disappeared), your blogstress has scoured the Web to provide you with the offending sound bite. Alas, she found it only available in print.

Click here and scroll down to item labeled, "You get what you pay for".

Other coverage available from Reuters and AP.

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