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March 29, 2005


Good read.

Did she get around to asking about his rates?

I just returned from the UK and I have to say I rather enjoy the British press, particularly the way in which they handle the political scene. Nothing and no one is sacrosanct. The press goes a long way to making sure everyone knows that politicians are no better or worse than any lay person. I find this kind of in-your-face honesty refreshing, even if it is sometimes insulting.

Contrast this method with the way the American press refuses to aggressively and honestly pursue issues with any semblance of depth, glad hands politicians, and repeats verbatim relentlessly regurgitated talking points and... your left with a bad taste in your mouth.

Yes, I was uncomfortable with this interview. It basically reads like Gene Weingarten's parody interview:

I called him up (his name is Rick Frishman), and told him I would interview him for The Washington Post, but only if he agreed to directly answer my questions, and only my questions, without digressing into any other areas. He said, Sure! Here, verbatim, is the interview:

Me: I think we can agree that the reasonable person, hearing that your nickname is Mr. PR, would conclude that you are Mr. BS. They would feel, in essence, that public relations is a field in which the practitioner accepts money to twist and shade and otherwise distort the truth so as to create an undeserved positive impression for his clients; that the field is about as respectable as loan-sharking and as shallow as a puddle of beer on a bar stool, and it is peopled by opportunists with the ethics of a New Orleans pimp. My question to you is, are you left-handed or right-handed?

Mr. PR: Uh, right-handed.

And in the end even that one wasn't funny, it was mean. In this one, Jeff doesn't even try to defend himself, and she has a whole script lined up against him, and doesn't even care what he says. I didn't like it.

Short take:

Poooor Jeff, James or whatever...

What, besides the snarky line about the Marx line, is harsh about that interview exactly?

The rest of the interview is made up of directly relevant questions.

In fact, she let him off rather easily given the documented facts of his story. And there is no follow-up probing of his spun answers.

She called his public advertisments for his personal prostitution services "nude pictures." Nothing about his tax liens, his attendance of a two day republican operative institute, his shell charities and companies, his source of income over his time in D.C., or his other political activities concurrent with his press-release service, his knowledge of the Plame case or the name and time of the beginning of the Iraq war 4 hours before it became public to anyone else.

And this is someone for whom personal attacks were a prime hobby. Find his web-archived posts at FreeRepublic, or look up how he involved himself in the Thune/Daschle race in South Dakota, or read how he claimed Kerry would be the "first gay president" (do you think that was meant as a compliment?), or the Wilson/Plame case. He could certainly dish it out.

And you could see that one snarky line as a comment on his general disregard for accurate quoting, facts or truth, and his lack of any sort of preparation to be sitting in the White House press room. Maybe its a bit mean, but journalism and politics are both competitive fields, and if he wanted to go from the body shop to the WH press room in one fell swoop he should expect to know what he's saying and be accountable for it. She has a point.

Other than Anderson Cooper, the press has avoided any questioning of his version of his story.

When you compare this to the wave of bought-for commentary and the debacle of coverage of the Schiarvo case, the war on terrorism, the war in iraq, or the dismal economic team we have now and how the most ridiculous assertions are taken at face value by today's press, I'd say we could use some more snark.

She isn't partisan, and she doesn't pull punches, and her questions are exactly what we want to know. I think her subjects look good by virtue of their agreeing to the interview to begin with. Even Gannon/Guckert doesn't come off too badly, no worse than he deserves.

Deborah Solomon is actually a very insecure creature.

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