Friday, March 19, 2004

THE "H" WORD. Cynthia Cotts's new Village Voice column has some good dirt on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. (Motto: Speaking Pablum to Power!) Apparently Lehrer got very upset when a guest said something naughty about Halliburton. Read Cotts's column here.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting has some choice words for Lehrer's suck-up performance as well.

And here's some unsolicited advice for John Kerry: do not, under any circumstances, let Lehrer moderate this year's presidential debates. As Jack Beatty explains, Lehrer's unthinking even-handedness helped put George W. Bush in the White House four years ago.

UNFREE PRESS. A major press-freedom case is under way in Providence, where Jim Taricani, an investigative reporter for Channel 10, has been ordered to pay a $1000-a-day fine for refusing to say who gave him an undercover videotape from the investigation of former mayor Buddy Cianci, who's now serving time.

According to today's Providence Journal (reg. req.), the feds are seeking to have the fines kick in immediately, before Taricani has even exhausted all of his appeals.

This isn't exactly a First Amendment case; reporters have no more right to protect the identities of those they do business with than an ordinary citizen does. Nevertheless, this amounts to federal harassment of a reporter who was doing his job.

FLEET OF MOUTH. Look, I don't want the Democratic National Convention to be held at the FleetCenter. Neither do you. The South Boston convention center makes all kind of sense. But it's March, and it's not going to happen. Which is why this item on the Romney Is a Fraud weblog is so dead-on.

The convention has been in the works for years now. It is cynical and ridiculous for Governor Mitt Romney to jump on the South Boston bandwagon now.

The Boston Herald's Cosmo Macero (sub. req.), who first floated this idea in December, hasn't quite given up on it yet - although even he admits, "It may in fact be too late, and too costly, to do anything now but hope for the best at the Fleet."

For Romney, though, it's not too late to score some cheap points by getting behind a plan that doesn't exist.

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