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April 24, 2005

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Paul Wellstone was a PhD. I worked hard to get mine [Okay, well, actually, that dissertation isn't quite finished ... but it's coming soon!] and it put me deeply in debt. $500 a month for the next ten years! And what's wrong with wanting to be a teacher?

I remember reading Bai's piece on Kerry during the campaign (October 10, NYT Magazine cover story, "Kerry's Undeclared War"), desperately trying to find some point in it that I could hold up and say, "Gosh, I'm glad I read that. I really learned something." But no. I remember there was some point to it buried toward the end, the kind of thing that if it were an undergraduate paper, I'd underline and write, "THIS SHOULD BE IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH!"

Re: Your series, I've been thinking it would be good to name names in some systematic way--creating something like what Josh Marshall has done with his "Conscience Caucus" and "Fainthearted Faction" but applying it to journalists. Lists of MSM people who are doing good work, people who are not, people who are on the fence leaning one way or another. I'm not sure how to frame it, but I think there is a lot of ammunition out there, from the Daily Howler to CJR Daily, to other bloggers I don't know about (that pesky dissertation). Probably particular issues could serve as benchmarks. Social Security comes to mind, and any number of postmortems on press coverage of the 2000 and 2004 elections. But I suppose it is best to stay forward-looking, on current issues. Anyhow, just some thoughts.

Well, I can't very well listen to you now that I know you have a PhD, can I?

Seriously, thanks for the suggestions. I like the idea of Josh Marshall-like categories.

What a jerk!

I agree that neutral responses if that's what comments like, "the democrats aren't any better" are a bunch of bs. I'm going to start calling people out on them.

There should be a category called ON THE BRIGHT SIDE for radio and television news stories/reporters who have to put happy endings on everything. In Los Angeles, I heard a local NPR affiliate reporter conclude his story on low voter turnout with something like --on one hand, low turn out is bad for democracy; on the other hand, it's good for the process. I can’t be sure of what he meant but sadly guess he meant the ballot counting process. I also recently heard a BBC radio story about global warming tests on a volcano in Hawaii. Apparently, it’s happening and it could be bad. When the reporter signed off, the anchorperson commented back that the wind and sounds of nature were lovely.

Great stuff. Minimally, this guy Bai (who I have the advantage of never having heard of ) could have spoken with some of us who lived the 60s.

Mike calls this the Compulsive Centrist Disorder - perhaps you can make a riff on that for the title of your series.

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