David Paterson Slams Media’s ‘Kafka-Esque’ Conspiracy Against Him

It’s entirely possible the now weeks-long debacle over the rumored but not-yet-seen NYT “bombshell” story about New York Gov. David Paterson may end up being the best thing that ever happened to him. New Yorkers love nothing more than public figures who give as good as they get and Paterson has certainly been doing that this week with a full court press pushback that landed him on Larry King last night. Here’s part of the exchange (video after the jump). Who knew we had a Governor who read Kafka!

KING: So nothing’s been printed. So?

PATERSON: They didn’t start the rumors when they sat down with me for an hour and a half to talk about the profile piece. They did not ask me questions about any of this. But I would think — look, I’m going to leave for the journalist like yourself and other analyzers of the media to come to a conclusion.

I’m not a journalist. But I am an elected official. And I think I have a right to say this. The human decency, if not journalists ethics, I think would compel an organization when they see a person being slandered for over two weeks now — I’ve been waiting for three weeks for this article to come out — to clear the air and at least say that the charges that are being made are not in the perimeters of our investigation.

KING: So you’re saying “The New York Times” should print something tomorrow?

PATERSON: I wish they would so I could be out of my misery because the reality is that these charges have been unsubstantiated. They are speculations. And Larry, it’s like a Kafka-esque scenario that –

At which point King interrupts to give Paterson the opportunity to “set the record straight” to which Paterson says: “I already have!” (Short version: There was no canoodling.)

Shortly thereafter, Larry wants to know if perhaps there is some sort of conspiracy against the Gov.: “Do you think it’s some sort of plot, conspiracy against you? A group, a person, an — what?” Paterson, to his credit is not willing to go that far. Though it’s fairly clear to anyone who spends a significant amount of time online that of course there’s a conspiracy against the governor! It’s called the Internet page view conspiracy. Something the New York Post perfected a long time ago and is now de rigueur online. Politco makes at least half its bread and butter these days by fueling story lines of their own creation. Not to mention — back in the land of reality — New York State is still recovering from the last NYT “bombshell” story that took down a governor, though it that case the story actually appeared in print.

So what’s the solution here? NPR’s David Folkenflik talked at some (very smart) length on Office Hours yesterday about the predicament the New York Times finds itself in. Should they print the story already, or does that put them in the position of being a bit PR firm for the Paterson. Folkenflik said something to the effect that the Times should not be in the habit of making public statements about their story subjects. That said, they are the New York Times, and the have more clout to make or break a career than any media outlet anywhere, so perhaps they do have a responsibility at some point to reign the rumors in. Either way, it’s a good reminder to know that newspaper journalism (or rumors of it!) can still pack a punch.

>>>NEXT: Video of Paterson on Larry King.


Glenn Beck Even Boosts Sales For “Evil” Books

Earlier this week Glenn Beck gave a ringing endorsement of A Patriot’s History of the United States – and subsequently boosted it to #1 on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Well, on Wednesday he described “quite possibly the most evil thing I’ve ever read,” and guess what, the thing is flying off the shelf!

The book is The Coming Insurrection, and it was first published in 2007. It was written by “The Invisible Committee,” which sound like the bad guys in “Tea Party: The Movie.”

Here’s how Beck introduced the book during Wednesday’s show (he had mentioned it a few months ago as well), while holding it up:

I told you last summer read this book. It’s The Coming Insurrection. It’s by the Invisible Committee. This is quite possibly the most evil thing I’ve ever read and it’s about to play out in streets of Greece. It’s been played out in France. The story is written by 12 people. Some of them are in jail now over in Europe. They’re actual communists. They’ve been masquerading as democratic socialists.

And now the numbers. At the time he mentioned the book (5:13pmET on February 10), the edition of the book Beck held up was ranked #432 at Amazon and #20,609 at BN. 24 hours later, the book had moved up to #7 at Amazon and #14 at BN.

Right now it’s holding strong at 7 on Amazon and has slipped to 54 on BN, but still, you know, 20,500 more than it was before. By the way, the Amazon blurbs include a quote from Glenn Beck: “I am not calling for a ban on this book. It’s important that you read this book.”

Glynnis has made the case that Beck is the next Oprah. Even the “evil” books that get mentioned by Beck are graced with the Beck Bump.

Here’s the clip from Wednesday (Beck starts talking about the book toward the end):

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Listening To Rush Limbaugh Kills Beetles’ Appetite and Libido – Update

Imagine you had a beetle infestation problem and you needed a non-toxic way to deter their invasion into your home. Researchers at Northern Arizona University have determined that playing Rush Limbaugh, and other “loud and annoying noises” are a remarkably effective deterrent to beetles’ livelihood. Rock music works too, but that’s somewhat to be expected, and not nearly as fun of a headline.

Discovery Blog has the details:

If you play right-wing radio-host Rush Limbaugh to a bunch of bark beetles, could the sound kill them? Or could rock music make make insects so annoyed that they’ll stop whatever they’re doing? In one of the goofier experiments we’ve heard of lately, scientists decided to find out.

The researchers had a serious goal: to find a way to combat invasive beetles and to stop their destructive, tree-destroying, bark-eating behavior. The answer: loud, nasty, and offensive noises.

Changing ecosystems and climate change have allowed destructive bark beetles to spread out through new territories, where they’re wreaking havoc on the ponderosa, pinyon, and lodgepole pines. So scientists took infested trees back to the lab and played the “nastiest, most offensive sounds” they could think of to the beetles in the bark. Enter, Limbaugh, Queen, and Guns n’ Roses.

Perhaps the lesson in all of this? Devotees of Limbaugh appear to be much less likely to have insect infestation problems in their homes. They may also have less appetite and sex-drive, but we’re choosing to accentuate the positive.

Read the entire post at Discovery Blog.

UPDATENoel Sheppard at NewsBusters points out that Limbaugh’s voice is not as annoying as scientists had “hoped”:

In the end, Limbaugh’s voice didn’t accomplish what these “scientists” hoped:

He and his colleagues found that while Limbaugh and the heavy metal initially bothered the beetles, the insects mostly ignored the sounds after a while.


The Greatest Magazine Covers Ever To Celebrate Black History

Black History Month is, among other things, a media event. And believe it or not, there was a time when the cover of a magazine was considered an unparalleled promotional powerhouse. Following is a collection of covers that feature an artist, personality, historical event, or publication of significance in black history. This series is co-produced by Linda Rubes of Fortune magazine. View the full list here. (Cover at left: Time, April 6, 1970, painting of Jesse Jackson by Jacob Lawrence, for a special issue on “Black America 1970.”)



Life magazine, October 17, 1969, featuring model Naomi Sims. “Black Models Take Center Stage.”



Jet, June 23, 1966, attempted assassination of civil rights leader James Meredith. During the 1960s, Jet’s covers rotated between black celebrities, attractive young women, and gritty coverage of the civil rights movement. Meredith was shot while leading a March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi. This AP photo by Jack R. Thornell later won the Pulitzer Prize.



The New Yorker, April 29, 1996, Black in America special issue. Cover illustration by Michael Roberts.



Ebony magazine, February 1969, featuring Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Photograph by Moneta Sleet Jr., longtime photographer for Jet and Ebony, and the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize (for a photograph of Coretta Scott King, in 1969). Read more on Moneta Sleet Jr. here.



Fortune, January 1968, illustration by Romare Bearden, for “A special issue on business and the urban crisis.”

For even more covers celebrating Black History, check out a more complete list here

Robert Newman has served as the design director of several magazines, including Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, and New York. His Facebook page can be found here.


Wonkette Alums Invade Conde Nast: A Sign Blogs and Magazines can Coexist Peacefully

Political satire blog Wonkette is making its mark on magazine giant Conde Nast. Two Wonkette alums separately announced today that they are joining magazines within the Conde Nast family. Original Wonketteer Ana Marie Cox, who has also worked for Time and the now-defunct Air America Radio, became the newest addition to the GQ staff earlier today as a Washington correspondent, where she will be contributing features to the print edition as well as daily pieces on GQ.com. In a separate announcement, former Wonkette intern and current editor Juli Weiner thanked readers for their support there and directed them to the Vanity Fair blog VF Daily, where she will begin writing on Monday.

For such a mainstream print media association, acquiring talents developed at the shamelessly vulgar, hilariously quirky self-described “friendly little warblog” is a bold step to take, even if the simultaneous hirings were unintentional. While Cox has overshadowed her role as the blog’s founder with many other distinguished lines on her resume and Weiner will be tempted to stray from her political pedigree at a cultural institution like Vanity Fair, both writers are direct products of a new medium that has directly caused a great number of headaches at newspapers and magazines. That their training ground was on the freewheeling extreme of the already irreverent blogophere goes beyond a statement: it’s a commitment to keep one foot in the murkier waters of the political world and attracting a new audience to talent bred online, possibly hoping the favor will be reciprocated. Welcoming Cox to GQ was of particular political signficance, as Michael Calderone explains at Politico. It is a sign the magazine would like a greater voice in the political media community, andlooks like a way for the magazine to maintain more of a daily presence in the capital.”

The influx of bloggers into the print world their existence threatens to destroy is a good sign for the latter, and an olive branch to the former indicating that perhaps there can be some form of peaceful coexistence. Conde Nast has nothing to lose from the merger, and blogs like Wonkette are becoming, in their own way, polished and seasoned institutions that can be trusted to produce “Conde Nast-level” talent.


Evaluating The Daily Beast’s List of Top 25 Right-Wing Journalists

The Daily Beast took a stab at one of the harder sciences of the media world last night, publishing a list of the top 25 most influential right-wing journalists in America. It is a pretty comprehensive list, with all the usual suspects - Matt Drudge, George Will, almost everyone on Fox News prime time – making appearances, and both conservative and libertarian columnists taken into consideration. What unites them all, broadly,” writes columnist Tunku Varadarajan, “is their influence on the public debate, and their place on the political spectrum—which is somewhere to the right of center.”

“Journalist” is quite a tricky word in the post-objectivity media world, especially when trying to rank journalists by their political inclinations. The list only has two main rules on who is excluded: media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and recent converts to punditry like Sarah Palin. This means that any public personality right-of-center who appears in some form of news media counts as a journalist, whether or not they engage in journalistic investigation and exposure of stories or merely comment on other people’s journalistic work. The result is a more complete picture of the right-wing media scene, but it does lead to some apples-and-oranges comparisons that rank people who actually break stories (like Drudge Andrew Breitbart, ranked #10 and #11, respectively) lower than commentators who depend on the Drudges and Breitbarts of the world for their material (like Rush Limbaugh, ranked #3).

Whether the list is accurate in its depiction of journalist thus depends more on the reader’s personal definition of the word than anything inherent in the list’s structure. As for accuracy in terms of influence within the right wing, here’s how the top five rank in comparison to their place on Mediaite’s Power Grid:

Bill O’Reilly clocks in at #5 for being “reliably—and relentlessly—omniscient” (which O’Reilly will likely be happy to hear). While this keeps him in the same position as he in among TV hosts in the Power Grid, it puts him behind two people he is well ahead of there crossing categories. The two exceptions are the radio hosts– Beck and Limbaugh. Peggy Noonan takes the #4 ranking on the Daily Beast list, while her top ranking on the Power Grid is #26 (in the columnists category). Beck and Limbaugh, numbers 2 and 3 respectively, are regularly swapping the #1 position among radio hosts in the Power Grid, while the surprising top right-wing journalist in the Daily Beast list, Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal, ranks at #30 as an online editor. Gigot takes the prize for his column being “the only editorial column that actually sells newspapers.” It seems counterintuitive compared to ubiquitous characters like O’Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh, and to some extent Noonan, but being the most prone to finding and airing new stories instead of simply his take on what is already out there, Gigot deserves the prize by definition only. What’s more, while the others may be more universally and publicly influential, Gigot goes about his work more privately, and by focusing on his newspaper has a wider influence among right-wingers than some of the more multimedia types on the list. This would explain his higher ranking among conservatives than using the universal metric of the Power Grid.

The list is a good effort, although in attempting to be as inclusive as possible it ends up a little scatter-brained. It will be interesting to see how the list evolves if the Beast chooses to reevaluate it in a year, after the midterm elections.


2010 Campaign Coverage Already Reaching Obsessive Levels

Here in the snow-submerged city of Washington, DC, the few people that have been able to dig themselves out from under four feet of snow have been feverishly keeping America stocked with more 2010 campaign coverage than ever.

In the past couple of weeks, as the nation was riveted by primaries in Massachusetts and Illinois, mainstream media and the blogosphere have begun the race to ramp up their 2010 coverage.  The New York Times, Politico, and Talking Points Memo are just a few of the media outlets that have stepped up their game in 2010 coverage recently. One wonders if, given the fact that we’re still nine months away from the general election, we all might reaching new heights of campaign obsession.

On February 1, just in time for the Illinois primaries, Politico launched its new 2010 Campaigns page, conveniently located at politico.com/2010. The page is boasting “Full 2010 Election Coverage and Political News” and is like porn for the political junkie. Features include: daily “Morning Score” email updates, maps and calendars encompassing every House, Senate, and gubernatorial seat up for grabs, a Polling Center featuring daily updates on the latest polls on nearly every 2010 midterm race, an aggregated Twitter feed of Politico’s reporters, and in-depth analysis on “races to watch.”

The Caucus, the political blog over at the NYT, also announced yesterday their plans to intensively track the 2010 campaigns over the next nine months, over at elections.nytimes.com/2010. The most prominent feature of this is a set of interactive maps of every House and Senate race in the country and a handy primary calendar.

Talking Points Memo also debuted yesterday their new Polltracker (beta!), which aggregates all the latest polling data from around the country, and even allows the truly dedicated the option of receiving a constant live feed of poll results via Twitter. Of course, no news site is complete without a Twitter account now, since that’s where all the breaking news happens!

The Electoral Map, a political geography blog, is one of the many blogosphere voices ramping up their 2010 coverage as well. TEM blogger Patrick Ottenhoff has been adding additional frequent posts on 2010 coverage, and supplementing it with a Flickr gallery of maps, a Twitter feed of breaking news and updates, and weekly posts on the state of the midterm campaigns.

In DC this is standard during an election year, and I admit I’ve been glued to 2010 coverage myself ever since the Coakley-Brown election started heating up. But is coverage maybe reaching obsessive levels?  Why do I feel like a crack addict, going from one primary race to the next? Is there ever such a thing as too much up-and-down election coverage? I’m a true election nerd, but even I feel that election burnout may be looming in the future for some.

Most of all, I worry that the real policy issues of our time – jobs, the recession, two wars, and oh, yeah, that healthcare bill! – are being pushed to the backburner in favor of our collective obsession over the latest campaign gaffe. But if we’re all contributing to it, I don’t see this question being answered anytime soon.

In the meantime, there’s a new WaPo poll out today. You’re welcome.