Homage l’Colbert

When the Huffington Post launched their “Contagious Festival,” soon after they partnered with AOL and Yahoo! months ago, it seemed as if it was a festival with an “end,” and a “winner.”

Now that I think back, some dude w/ a well-earned shit-eating grin did score something like a dinner with Arianna H. and JC.

But the stuff being published there recently has been phenomenal.

See this animated tribute to Stephen Colbert (an homage to his tiz-oasting of the prezididn’t)

and the ever-catchy — it’s a Top 40 hit in Japan — “I’m the Decider”

and its about time we get to see Judy Miller’s MySpace profile.

Go on and join the over 50,000 folks who have personally thanked Monsieur Colbert for setting things straight in his speech at the W.H. correspondents dinner last weekend. None of the newspaperpeople seemed to care much for it, save for Froomkin (2-time).

Beware the effet d’Colbert. (Here is a link to 15 mins of the famous speech)

It’s Always ‘Chaos’ in Basra – UPDATED

Basra British TroopsUpdated to examine progress of varying reports
While we’ve grown accustomed to daily reports of suicide bombings in and around Baghdad, some of the most dramatic anti-coalition action over the past 8 months has come out of Basra. Or at least the pristine video footage has it that way.

I’ve been restraining myself all morning from posting this CNN video report in which “rock-throwing, chanting crowds gather after a British copter crashes in Basra.”

The CNN anchor alludes to a Reuters report that the helicopter was shot down, but the reporter in Baghdad sort of sloughs it off. This account will most certainly change by days end. For now AP files it as follows (note – article at link will automatically be updated throughout the day):

Police Capt. Mushtaq Khazim said the helicopter was apparently shot down in a residential district. He said the four-member crew was killed, but British officials would say only that there were “casualties.”

basra
Agence-France Presse accounts for four dead including two children as a result of the “clashes between an angry mob and British troops at the site of the crash.”

UPDATE 1: I posted it, with additional reference to the 10 U.S. troops killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. News outlets are featuring the stories differently, at least online. While both are top stories, in some instances the U.S. troops are featured. The Basra story is more important however because a) their helicopter may have been *shot* down, and b) according to CNN, Basra is once again under curfew. The Afghanistan incident did not involve enemy fire and also occurred over 24 hours ago. Sabrina Tavernise has filed from Baghdad for NYT.

UPDATE 2: AP has finally updated their wire writethrough. Here is the original, which clearly has a pro-U.S./British bias. The new article, by a different reporter, reads: “A British military helicopter apparently was hit by a missile” in the lede. Reuters, originally reported that the chopper was “apparently shot down,” and have since cut the “apparently” and say it was “brought down.”

Taking a completely different approach originally was AFP, who originally led with details of the clash on the ground and the Iraqi casualties. The French press agency has now flipped the lede to open with “At least two British soldiers died when their helicopter crashed…”

The photos coming off the wires are quite impressive.

While this may not seem at all interesting to anyone who may happen upon this blog, I find it highly interesting and educational. In these hi-tech fully-connected times, war reporting remains a varied, slow developing and highly objective art.

L.A. Times Cuts Column After ‘Misrepresentation’

The L.A. Times canning of first Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog and eventually his column is the latest development to strike the high-drama, unclearly defined world of newspaper blogging.

Last week, L.A. Observed posted that Hiltzik had been using up to three nicknames in his comments on right-wing blogs… namely that of L.A. Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who posts at Patterico’s Pontifications.

Columnist and blogger Matt Welch is hosting an extensive conversation about Hiltzik’s suspension on the L.A. Times new Opinions blog.

The Times editor’s note admits that no ethical violations were committed and that “an internal inquiry found no inaccurate reporting in his postings in his blog or on the Web.” BUT… “Hiltzik has acknowledged using pseudonyms to post a single comment on his blog on latimes.com”

Hiltzik, a Times columnist for 20 years, won a Pulitzer in 1999 for reporting on entertainment industry corruption.

As Mack Reed posts in L.A. Voice:

[Hiltzik] stumbled by manufacturing two of his greatest fans, posing as them on his own blog and others, and trying to mislead the public as to his own popularity – both the height of vanity and the depth of stupidity for a blogger.

By commenting on his own blog using a pseudonym, Hiltzik gets what he deserves. But what concerns me about the swift reaction by the L.A. Times is the notion that they may find it unacceptable for any of their employees to post *anywhere* under pseudonyms.

Not an unthinkable add-in to the Times code of ethics, this would essentially make it difficult for Times columnists to blog *at all*, as to post a comment on a blog using a real name regularly affiliated with the Times could constitute its own violation — that of expressing bias or taking sides — moreso than driving around with I *heart* Fidel or Jeb/Condi ’08 bumper stickers would suggest.

I occasionally blog and comment anonymously or using a pseudonym out of fear that a potential employer or client may one day judge me — or worse — based on my cached expressions. I would hope we’re not heading towards an environment in which I must worry about misrepresenting myself by choosing to voice my opinion anonymously.

Many law bloggers and scholars have posted in-depth regarding the issue of blogger anonymity. See here, here, and here.