With McCain, however, you get an adult now. His growing is accomplished. The best speech the man delivered was at his nomination, and its heart was his story of war imprisonment. What started sounding like a boast turned out to be its opposite. McCain told of how his captors broke him. This shamed him, he said, but also took away his youthful self-regard. He learned, he said, "the limits of my selfish independence," to understand that "I wasn't my own man anymore; I was my country's."
Those are the words of a man who has had time to think and comprehend the meaning of freedom. Obama seems like a bright fellow. Someday, he might achieve such understanding. Until then, I'd trust the guy who seems to know what he's doing.
I was then going to point out the absurdities in this one column, which would have been a Herculean undertaking to say the least.
However, there is something even more alarming than PaddyMac's usual running and hiding from reality. It is that he apparently likes to give sneak previews of his columns.
Jay Bullock, my friend and mentor, received an email from Paddy, with this column. Jay writes:
I am a lucky guy. I think. Somehow, after all these years of duels and ripostes, in the last couple of weeks Patrick McIlheran has added me to his mailing list. That means every few days or so I get an email from him with the full text of a column of his slated to run in the next day or two.Jay then goes on to do the fisking of the column, so that we don't have to. But it seemed disconcerting to me that Paddy was giving out advanced copies of his column, mostly to conservative bloggers. Sort of like giving them a heads up so that they can gear up the echo chambers, in a futile effort to make his column look rational.
Thursday night I got his preview of Friday's column*. (Confidential to PM in Bay View: Next time, use the BCC field. Your sole liberal correspondent might feel a bit weird about being your sole liberal correspondent, and was probably happier when he believed there was a more even distribution.) "Here’s an early look at my column in Friday's Journal Sentinel. You’re seeing it because I send a heads-up to a select group of talkers and bloggers whose work I admire. You’re among them." See? Lucky!
I am not the only one that caught onto this disturbing behavior.
Gretchen Schuldt Doege, who in a former life was a real journalist, with all the skills and ethics that are associated with the best (cuz she was, and still is, among the best, in my humble but royal opinion), also noticed a problem:
The changing ways columnists and bloggers communicate may mean that maybe hard and fast journalistic rules — like you don’t spread newspaper content around in advance of publication — are changing. To allow columnists to sneak-peak their writings to a handful of friends seems a slippery slope the MJS ought not want to start down. It damages the paper’s credibility and chips away at the trust it must have from its readers. We are left wondering: Who else at the MJS is showing what else to a politically friendly audience?Zachary of Blogging Blue also picked up on the story. What is truly remarkable about that post, besides his usual fantastic work, and worthy of our attention, is a comment left by none other than Sonya Jongsma-Knauss, the letters editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She comes to Paddy's defense, sort of, but with a really strange twist at the end (emphasis mine):
I think this may be a little bit of much ado about nothing…
First, the ethics agreement refers to articles, not columns. Second, depending on what time in the evening Pat e-mailed his column, it likely had already been typeset for print and probably even already published online. JSonline producers often have Editorial Board content — columns, editorials, etc. — posted by around 7 p.m. the evening before they’re in the paper.
Newswatch and JSonline both tend to disclose, on a daily basis, what will be published in the next day’s paper. So, perhaps it’s time for that policy to be updated…
And as a side note, the Newspaper Guild doesn’t officially recognize the ethics policy.
Is she saying that the newspaper doesn't follow an ethics code? Or that MJS has one on paper, but that it is meaningless in their eyes?
That opens a Pandora's box of disturbing possibilities. As Gretchen points out, it raises the question of what else they are sharing, and with whom are they sharing it? Not only that, but what are these outside influences sharing, and telling, MSJ staff to write? And of equal importance: Why am I not on Paddy's email buddy list? I'm sure it's just an oversight on his part.
No wonder their circulation is dropping faster than Bush's approval ratings. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This rag isn't even worth the paper it's printed on