Huffington, Couric And More: Honoring The Best In Media, New And “Traditional”

Yesterday’s Newhouse School Mirror Awards were a collection of new and traditional media – and a good display of the convergence of the two.

Even though our own Philip Bump didn’t win (check out his Mirror-nominated column here), check out some notes from the event.

Vanity Fair won three of the awards while Columbia Journalism Review picked up two (out of seven total awards given out – Time and New Yorker won one). But the bigger story was that both VF and CJR won awards in the “traditional media” category as well as the “digital media” category. It shows the successful marriage between both areas of their media companies to succeed in print and on the web.

Arianna Huffington, who presented the awards with Katie Couric, joked that, while the media business may be hurting, it was “doing much better than the off shore drilling business.”

She also addressed Couric directly, who will be returning to the Gulf coast every week for CBS News to cover the oil spill. “Maybe you could convince our President to go with you,” she said.

Terry Moran presented an award to Twitter founder Biz Stone. Moran’s ABC News colleague George Stephanopoulos was scheduled to handle the duties. “What you lost in star power and political acumen you gained in height,” Moran joked.

He’s no stranger to the dangers of Twitter, reminiscing about the time he started the ‘Kanye is a jackass’ story because of an errant tweet. “That was, in fact, my bad there,” he said.

Also at our table were Steven Johnson, a winner in the Best Single Article, Traditional Media category (for this) and his Time colleague, and friend of Office Hours, James Poniewozik, nominated in Best Commentary, Traditional Media (check out his Glenn Beck story here).

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George W. Bush One-Ups Sarah Palin With Inaugural Facebook Video Address

If you were one of those people that looked up at the Minnesota “Miss Me Yet?” billboard with a heart heavy with nostalgia, maybe it’s time to start checking Facebook more often– and not just for it’s premiere columnist Sarah Palin. Former President George W. Bush began what appears to be a series of Facebook “video addresses” yesterday, to keep his fans updated with the latest news on his life, including his book, his Haiti benefit project, and his love of Texas.

His “inaugural address” consisted mostly of the message that he and the former first lady are “happy, healthy, and home” in Texas, “or, as I like to call it, the Promised Land,” and, while he loved his old job, “retirement isn’t so bad, either.” After giving his upcoming memoir Decision Points a plug, he asked for audience participation on his page for new ideas to help the mission of his new association– that mission being, in the broadest terms, the spread of freedom. The video is below.

Two quick observations on this clip: First, why is it being given in the form of a presidential address? Yes, Bush was our president for eight years. But even though he stayed away from making any sort of policy or ideological comments, it’s hard to escape the fact that the aesthetics and tone of the clip were precisely that of the weekly addresses President Obama gives, in the tradition of all presidents since FDR. There’s also the fact that he even calls it an “address” and not a “video blog” or another more informal title.

Secondly, why didn’t Sarah Palin think of this? Palin is the rock star opinion columnist of the most trusted name in social networking. For the same reasons Alvin Greene won the Democratic nomination for Senate in South Carolina (“who knows?”, “the people have spoken,” or “Republican plant,” all of them work), many in the political world hang on every word that appears on her page. Wouldn’t people be even more likely to watch her page if they knew she might make a personal appearance every once in a while. One possible explanation is that taking her image to video would be a breach of her contract with Fox News, though this seems unlikely, as plenty of other Fox News pundits post video messages on their pages.

Here is the President’s address. At least, unlike Palin’s Facebook posts, it is indisputable that it’s the former president delivering the message:

Pentagon Hunting Wikileaks Founder To Stop Leak Of Top Secret Messages

A few days ago, federal officials arrested the 22 year old Army intelligence analyst who allegedly leaked the infamous Collateral Murder video to the website WikiLeaks. Philip Shenon of the The Daily Beast is now reporting, though, that the government is “desperately” seeking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to persuade him not to publish 260,000 classified cables that the analyst, SPC Bradley Manning, also leaked. The Pentagon apparently fears that the cables, if released, could greatly damage national security.

The cables, Shenon writes, contain “information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.” While the headline making video that was released in March certainly created a public relations disaster for the US military, there seems to be much graver repercussions possible if these cables are leaked. The Pentagon, at least, is acting like there is by starting a manhunt for Assange, and Manning, before he was arrested, mused about the potential fallout in online conversations with a computer hacker (who was the one to eventually turn him in) that were recovered and published by Wired.

From Wired:

“’Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,’ Manning wrote.”

WikiLeaks has responded to the manhunt with scorn, tweeting this message: “Any signs of unacceptable behavior by the Pentagon or its agents towards this press will be viewed dimly.” More recently, they’ve tweeted about a public appearance that Assange will be making tonight. However, in Shenon’s article, the writer makes note that the WikiLeaks founder has appeared at recent public appearances only via Skype. Knowing that investigators are looking for him, Assange probably won’t do anything different tonight. Not that it would necessarily make any difference if the Pentagon caught him.

From The Daily Beast:

The officials acknowledge that even if they found the website founder, Julian Assange, it is not clear what they could do to block publication of the cables on Wikileaks, which is nominally based on a server in Sweden and bills itself as a champion of whistleblowers.

As only the military, Manning, and Assange know what the cables truly contain (or if they really exist in the amount and context that Manning and WikiLeaks are implying), the rest of us will just need to wait and see if they eventually hit the web. Then the world will be looking to see what happens next.

(h/t Raw Story)

Video: World Net Daily Correspondent Les Kinsolving’s Latest Birther Question to Robert Gibbs

During my latest interview with World Net Daily’s Les Kinsolving (publishing later today), he boasted that he is the only reporter to have asked Robert Gibbs about President Obama’s birth certificate…twice. At yesterday’s White House briefing, Les went for the hat trick, asking a question about Obama’s Social Security number, but sprinkling in a reference to the certificate. This coincides with the latest “scoop” to crawl out from under WND, a Hawaii elections official who’s making his own bid for Birther fame.

Here’s the video of Les’ performance yesterday, and Gibb’s incredulous response:


MR. GIBBS: Lester.

Q Thank you very much. First sentence. (Laughter.) WorldNetDaily’s correspondent Dr. Jerome Corsi reports that in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, a lawsuit has been filed by investigators in Ohio and Colorado concerning the President’s Social Security number. Second sentence –

Q Birth certificate –

Q He reports — no, I did not bring up the birth certificate — He reports that investigators Susan Daniels and John Sampson are asking, why the President is using a Social Security numbers reserved for Connecticut applicants. And my question, did you know –

MR. GIBBS: Hold on, that’s two sentences, Lester. That — I –

Q That’s two sentences, and my question — (laughter) — do you know of any record that the President ever had a mailing address in Connecticut?

MR. GIBBS: Lester, I –

Q That was — I’ve been asked to ask you.

MR. GIBBS: I know there are faithful readers of your publication that despite –

Q Including you.

MR. GIBBS: Oh, well, I don’t know that I would necessarily mark myself down at an avid reader or a faithful reader. I continue to be amazed, Lester, that two years after putting the President’s birth certificate on the Internet –

Q Without a hospital and without a doctor –

MR. GIBBS: Do you think the President was born here, Lester?

Q Beg pardon?

MR. GIBBS: Do you think the President was born in the United States?

Q I don’t know. I’d love to get the real birth certificate, wouldn’t you?

MR. GIBBS: I’ve seen the real birth certificate. I put it on the Internet and I appreciate your –

Q But you’re not answering this question.

MR. GIBBS: I appreciate your forthrightness on the birth answer.

I’d love to ask Les when he became an errand boy for Jerome Corsi, author of, among other things, the Swift Boat Veterans book. It flies in the face of Les’ proud independent streak, yet another contradiction from a guy who seems to thrive on them.

As for the Social Security number, I wish he had asked the really important question: Why is no one reporting that the President’s Social Security number is the same as the numbers on the hatch from Lost?

It’s questions like this that lead people to dismiss Les Kinsolving as a joke, but his long, strange career is actually anything but. Later today, I’ll be posting an interview that Les and I did on the subject of Les’ biography “Gadfly: The Life and Times of Les Kinsolving,” which reveals, among other things, an even stranger “birther” controversy from earlier in his career, andfeaturing some frank talk about his South Africa controversy.

Vuvuzela: The Sound of South Africa’s World Cup

Early on Saturday morning, ESPN2 was broadcasting the live feed of the final tune up for the Yanks as they took on the Socceroos of Australia. The US men would ultimately come out the winners, 3-1, on the back of two goals from Edson Buddle; a positive result for sure, but there’s not much that can gauge from a game that’s played at well less than full speed. By way of that, it’s the type of warm-up that’s markedly forgettable. …if it wasn’t for that damn buzzing sound.

Oops! Israeli Government Mistakenly Sends Out Flotilla Incident Parody YouTube Video

It seems that no matter how serious the topic, there’s always space for a comically inappropriate mistake. The Israeli Government Press Office, intending to send out to its employees a video parodying the humanitarians and/or activists on the flotilla the Israeli military seized a few weeks ago, sent it to their entire media rolodex, including some sources not entirely favorable to the Israeli government.

Wire Update has the report:

The Israeli Government Press Office on Friday apologized to journalists after it inadvertently sent out a YouTube link to a video parody about the Flotilla incident last Monday.

On Friday, the Israeli Government Press Office accidentally e-mailed a YouTube video link to journalists, including journalists from BNO News. The video, created by Latma TV, used music from the 1985-song “We Are the World,” which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

It took the Israeli Government Press Office almost three hours to retract the e-mail. “[The Israeli Government Press Office] would like to recall the message, “CAroline Glick and the Flotilla Band”,” a brief e-mail to journalists said.

Awkward! Though the Press Office has apologized, and sent out a disclaimer that “The contents of the video in no way reflect the official policy of the State of Israel, the Government Press Office or any other government body.”

If you’re wondering why the need to distance themselves from the video’s message so much, here’s the video: