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Geraldo Slams McChrystal Interviewer

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rolling Stone Writer Did "a Terrible, Terrible Thing"

In the Red, NAHJ Opens Convention Asking for $25,000

U.S. Win in World Cup Could Set Internet Record

Stephen A. Smith in Preliminary Talks With Showtime

2 CNN "Political Analysts" Have Ties to BP

FCC Hopes to Speed Broadband to Indian Country

Short Takes

Geraldo Rivera said of journalists covering the war in Afghanistan, "You want America to win the damned war, and when you lose sight of that, to me you've gone way too far." <a mce_thref="">Click to see video</a>Rolling Stone Writer Did "a Terrible, Terrible Thing"

Michael HastingsThe freelance reporter whose interview of Gen. Stanley McChrystal led to McChrystal's firing Wednesday as the United States' top commander in Afghanistan was denounced by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News Channel as having done "a terrible, terrible thing."

"This is a terrible, terrible thing that this reporter has done," Rivera said on "America Live with Megyn Kelly." Rivera said Michael Hastings, who was writing for Rolling Stone magazine, had taken advantage of "very chummy" moments with McChrystal and his aides in Paris to report on comments that he maintained were not meant to be shared with the public.

"You want America to win the damned war, and when you lose sight of that, to me you've gone way too far," Rivera said.

The aide who allowed Hastings near McChrystal did something akin to "putting a rat in an eagle's nest," Rivera said. He compared the incident to the 2004 videotaping by an NBC cameraman of a soldier executing a wounded Iraqi in a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq. That video, Rivera said, failed to contextualize the horrific environment in which the Americans were placed. "It's of that magnitude," Rivera said.

"In the magazine article, McChrystal called the period last fall when the president was deciding whether to approve more troops 'painful' and said the president appeared ready to hand him an 'unsellable' position," as Jennifer Loven and Anne Gearan reported for the Associated Press. "McChrystal also said he was 'betrayed' by Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner in Afghanistan.

"If not insubordination, the remarks - as well as even sharper commentary about Obama and his White House from several in McChrystal's inner circle -were at the least an extraordinary challenge from a military leader," the AP explained.

Rivera's assessment was not shared by Kelly Kennedy of Army Times, president of the 100-member group Military Reporters and Editors.

"It sounds as if Geraldo's assessment belittles the general's intelligence," Kennedy told Journal-isms. "According to Rolling Stone, most of the negative things that were said came out within the first 24 hours of meeting up with Gen. McChrystal, when a knowledgeable general used to dealing with the media would know to have his guard up. I can only surmise that Gen. McChrystal wanted his opinions to be heard - why is an entirely different debate."

Another member of the group, Isaac Cubillos, a part-time copy editor at Florida's Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, said, "To use his analogy, if the rat was in the nest, the eagle knew better than to open his mouth.

"As a reporter and editor who has interviewed generals in the field and admirals at sea, I know that officers at that level in the military don't let their guard down around reporters, especially if it may end up in the public's eye. Gen. McChrystal knew who he was talking to - a reporter - and on the record," said Cubillos, who said he had covered the military, primarily the Navy and Marines, from 1992 to 2004 in San Diego.

Hastings, a former Newsweek reporter, was interviewed himself by telephone from Afghanistan.

"One of the most vivid scenes in the stories comes when you are out with the general, his wife, and his team for a night on the town in Paris. His team is entirely forthright with you. Did that surprise you?" Andrew Bast of Newsweek asked.

"Well, they were getting hammered," Hastings replied. "I don't know at that moment if they were being the most forthright. Of course it was surprising. A lot of the reporting that is getting most of the attention happened right away in the first few days in Paris. So I was surprised - because they didn't know me."

Bast: "It was always clear that you were a reporter and you were, in essence, on the record? And more, the entire article was thoroughly fact-checked, yes?"

Hastings: "Yes. It was crystal clear to me, and I was walking around with a tape recorder and a notepad in my hand three-quarters of the time. I didn't have the Matt Drudge press hat on, but everything short of that it was pretty obvious I was a reporter writing a profile of the general for Rolling Stone. It was always very clear."

"Even Rolling Stone's editor agreed with Gen. Stanley McChrystal that the Afghan war's U.S. commander showed poor judgment in airing complaints about the Obama administration in the magazine," David Bauder wrote for the Associated Press, referring to Rolling Stone Executive Editor Eric Bates.

"Rolling Stone's fact checkers discussed the substance of some of the quotations with the sources before the article was printed, Bates said. But the magazine did not give any of them a chance to read the piece ahead of time or revise quotes, he said.

"Bates dismissed any suggestion that McChrystal was deliberately trying to torpedo his own command with the article. McChrystal has a history of speaking his mind, sometimes to his detriment, such as when he was quoted last fall criticizing a strategy being pushed by Vice President Joe Biden."

In the Red, NAHJ Opens Convention Asking for $25,000

"NAHJ is in the red, the Denver convention won’t make a profit, and the organization is asking its members for another $25,000," Erenesto Lopez reported for Latino Reporter Digital, the student project at the Denver convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The convention opened on Wednesday.

"This means that the annual Noche de Triunfo scholarship banquet will be canceled for a second consecutive year and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists board of directors is deciding how much more it has to cut," the story continued.

"The number of people who paid membership dues has also significantly dropped over the past two years. There are about 1,300 members this year, down from 2,400 members in 2008, association officials said. NAHJ had a goal to increase membership to 2,010 by 2010.

"Additionally, corporate and foundation sponsors donated only $400,000 to NAHJ this year, just half of the $800,000 collected in 2007 during the San Jose, Calif., convention.

"On top of that, convention attendance has also rapidly declined since 2006, when 1,800 people converged in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This year, only 700 people are expected to attend the convention in Denver, a slight drop from the 800 people who attended last year’s event in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“ 'Having a profit from the annual conventions is what helps sustain NAHJ’s year-round expenses,' said Ivan Roman, the association’s executive director."


Zennie Abraham takes viewers into the Era Art Design bar in Oakland, Calf., where World Cup fans watched the United States victory. (Video)

U.S. Win in World Cup Could Set Internet Record

"The dramatic ending to the World Cup match between the USA and Algeria could set a new record for Internet traffic," the Mashable website reported on Wednesday.

"We’ve been watching Akamai’s Net Usage Index, which tracks visitors per minute on more than 100 of the major news sites in Akamai’s network. In the minutes following Landon Donovan’s game winning goal in the 91st minute of action (which sent the U.S. to the round of 16), traffic spiked to 11.2 million visitors per minute, which moves the event past the 2008 presidential election as the second highest traffic spike of all-time.

"Today’s number was also likely pushed significantly higher because England and Slovenia were also playing a suspenseful World Cup match at the same time. The plethora of World Cup breaking news briefly knocked Yahoo Sports offline and also caused issues at Twitter — though the latter has been somewhat of a regular occurrence during the World Cup (on a related note, tweets containing 'USA' spiked to 6% of total tweet volume).

"The overall traffic record was set earlier this month during the first day of World Cup action, where traffic exceeded 12 million visitors per minute."

What caused the rush? "Even for a team that lives on the edge, this one was thrilling. Landon Donovan scored a stunning goal with just a couple of minutes to go, lifting the United States into the second round," Ronald Blum reported for the Associated Press.

Univision also reported big gains. "Univision Interactive Media delivered its highest traffic levels ever across online and mobile generating almost 19 million page views and 2.6 million visits on day 12 of the tournament alone," the Spanish-language media company announced on Wednesday. "To date, the tournament has delivered over 180 million page views and 23.3 million visits across platforms.’s World Cup coverage continues to ignite passion and is providing more audience engagement than any other event.

"Live streaming of all day 12 matches propelled the site to the #1 streaming day ever with over 700,000 hours of live streaming throughout the day and the longest streaming time per media player, with viewers watching an average of 1 hour, 45 minutes of video. Live streaming, extensive match coverage and commentary have nearly 5 million hours of video to date and daily unique streams continue to average over a quarter million. Day 12 was also the top day for Univision F??tbol’s mobile app shattering records with nearly 1.7 million page views and more than 310,000 visits. These results were fueled by the app on iPhone, which also had its #1 day. Across all platforms, the Univision F??tbol App has generated nearly 15 million page views and more than 2.6 million visits since the start of the tournament.

"Univision Interactive Media continues to set record traffic every day since the start of the World Cup across the board – site wide on, on, during live video streaming, and across mobile offerings."

Stephen A. Smith in Preliminary Talks With Showtime

Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith is in preliminary talksStephen A. Smith to host a late-night show on the pay-cable Showtime channel, Smith confirmed on Wednesday.

"We're in the preliminary stages. Nothing's been agreed upon," he told Journal-isms via e-mail. "Still, I'm incredibly humbled and honored that SHOWTIME has express such serious interest in giving me my own show.

"I've been a fan of the Network for quite sometime, and anyone who knows me knows how much I've thoroughly missed hosting "Quite Frankly on ESPN2.....and that I've been aching for the opportunity to HOST my very own show once again -- no matter where I have to go to do it.

"I believe I've learned a great deal about myself, this industry and what it takes to succeed over the past three years. I know I'm ready. Hopefully, everything will eventually work itself out."

Smith's sports column reappeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in February after a two-year absence when Smith agreed to the Inquirer's demand that he remove political opinions from his Web site and agree to stop espousing them on cable news shows.

He has continued his broadcast appearances, showing up on the daytime show "The View" recently and continuing his morning drive-time show on Fox Sports Radio.

As Joe Flint noted Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times, Showtime has found critical and ratings success over the past few years with original shows such as "Dexter," "Nurse Jackie" and "Weeds."

2 CNN "Political Analysts" Have Ties to BP

"Despite poor ratings, the cable news network that Ted Turner founded in 1980 has long prided itself on journalistic integrity. But media insiders say CNN's continued ties to lobbyists and special-interest consultants — whom it bills as political analysts — now threaten its sterling reputation. And one source says the network's parent company, Time Warner, is paying close attention to the matter," Frank DiGiacomo wrote Tuesday for his New York Daily News' "Gatecrasher" column.

"Two names that repeatedly come up are Hilary Rosen, a former recording-industry lobbyist who was hired to be a D.C. navigator for public relations consulting firm The Brunswick Group, and Alex Castellanos, a founder of public-affairs PR firm Purple Strategies. As political blogger Greg Sargent reported in The Plumline Monday, BP has retained the services of Rosen, a Democrat, who has farmed out some of the work to her fellow CNN talking head Castellanos, a Republican."

DiGiacomo quoted CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery: "Both Alex and Hilary are political contributors used to comment on political issues. They are not being used to discuss the oil-disaster story."

Separately, the Pew Center for People and the Press reported that, "most Americans say the press is giving the right amount of attention to the still-unfolding disaster."

FCC Hopes to Speed Broadband to Indian Country

"Only 63 percent of all Americans have high-speed Internet connections. That's low compared with other countries," Laura Sydell reported Tuesday for National Public Radio.

"But when it comes to American Indians, the Federal Communications Commission estimates that fewer than 10 percent are connected. On Tuesday, the FCC announced the appointment of a special liaison to the American Indian community to oversee efforts to get broadband to reservations."

"Among his other responsibilities, [Geoffrey] Blackwell will be charged with helping to implement the recommendations outlined in the National Broadband Plan, including establishing a new office dedicated to addressing Native needs and overseeing a new FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force," (PDF) the FCC announcement said. "He will also be responsible for developing and implementing a robust policy of meaningful dialog and consultation with Tribal entities."

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Geraldo rips Rolling Stone reporter

Geraldo Rivera has been the definition of a hack for decades now, but the part he's playing in the Fox News storyline of slagging Rolling Stone's article is repulsive. The other night Bill O'Reilly grumbled Gen. McChrystal should have known better than to speak to Rolling Stone because they "burned" him in an interview. It's not the job of a journalist to "win the damned war." It's the job of a journalist to GET THE STORY and Michael Hastings did his job. You can fault Rolling Stone for being advocacy journalists, but you can't fault them for coming up with one of the best stories of 2010.

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