Yesterday, around 80% of you voted to strip the LA Times from their status as "Paper of Record" for their firing of Robert Scheer and their replacement of him with Jonah Goldberg. This firing of Scheer was clearly unconscionable, especially given the fact that people like Brian Calame and Maureen Dowd tar and feather the New York Times all the time over Judith Miller.
This begs the question: Should there even be a paper of record anymore? Given the explosion of the Internet, it could very well be that newspapers are going the way of Encyclopedia Britannica. Back in 1912, EB was considered to have all of the world's knowledge in one volume. But now, there are specialized encyclopedias about any topic you can imagine. In the same way, the New York Times does not cover the whole sum of world affairs anymore.
Having said that, two candidates did emerge from the discussion yesterday. The first is the Huffington Post.
Scheer will now be writing for the Huffington Post. They are like Raw Story, only much larger and much more comprehensive, with the ability to break major news stories.
One poster wrote that the future of news lies in the Internet. The Huffington Post is entirely Internet-based with a combination of SCLM stories and columns from Huffington and many diverse columnists.
Among other things in today's Huffington Post:
Michael Shaw discusses the imagery of the Iraq War and how media images are becoming grimmer and grimmer.
Rep. Henry Waxman discusses the refusal of the Republican Congress to subpoena Chalabi during his recent visit to Washington and force him to answer questions about the leadup to the war.
Marty Kaplan discusses the false equivalence that Tim Russert has when questioning Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman.
Steve Cobble discusses the possibility of Governor Corzine appointing Bruce Springstein for US Senate.
Jerry & Joe Long discuss how Pat Robertson's 700 Club can be viewed as entertainment with his bizzare theories.
The other candidate that was nominated was the Washington Post. The Post has, as posters have pointed out, avoided the sweeping problems that plagued the New York Times with the Blair/Miller fiasco. And recently, they have hit one out of the park with their debunking of the Bush speech.
We have had many problems with the Post in the past and still do. This means that we cannot accept everything they say uncritically, like people did for so many years with The New York Times. But they represent a comprehensive clearinghouse of what people of all parties are saying about the prevailant news of the day, as well as links to blogs that carry the discussion further.
For example, today's main story is about the turmoil that has infested Alberto Gonzales' office, in which many lawyers have left because they feel that Gonzales has not shared their concerns about civil rights. It contains links to people who discuss the article, including ones like these:
Cracks in the Facade:
The articles gives a specific example of new strategy:
The division has also come under criticism from the courts and some Democrats for its decision in August to approve a Georgia program requiring voters to present government-issued identification cards at the polls. The program was halted by an appellate court panel and a district court judge, who likened it to a poll tax from the Jim Crow era.
If you are perhaps wondering what is wrong about requiring identification cards to vote, consider that the cards cost $20 and have to be renewed. Even given a provision for the indigent, do you really believe people too poor to own a car, will have the time, transportation, or foresight to do this?
The article notes the basic problem:
To Roger Clegg, the situation is also perfectly understandable. A former civil rights deputy in the Reagan administration who is now general counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity, Clegg said the civil rights area tends to attract activist liberal lawyers who are philosophically opposed to a more conservative approach.
"If the career people are not reflecting the policy priorities of the political appointees, then there's a problem," Clegg said. "Elections have consequences in a democracy."
Well, yes, but the excesses of majority rule (or the majority of those who actually vote) are the very reason for the Bill of Rights. Extermination of whole groups of people can be democratic if that's the will of the majority. Unchecked democracy can be just as dangerous as dictatorship. That is why if the Supreme Court does not display the will of the majority, it's just doing its job.
From a blogger who takes it personally:
yet another story of Bushco's destruction by cronyism and ideology... it's incessant... the stories of the deconstruction of the executive branch and the obliteration of every fundamental value and principle that this country stands for keep pouring in... what's it's taken nearly 230 years to slowly, patiently, agonizingly put together is being systematically wiped out... witness what's happening at the justice department under alberto... this must be his idea of paying homage to rosa parks...
And, the always thorough Left Coaster:
The administration's defense is that each administration gets to do what it wants, as it reflects the voters' preferences. Really? I don't remember voters telling us that they support letting Big Business dump older white workers to be replaced with younger cheaper staff. I don't remember voters telling us that they want the concerns of women and minority workers ignored. And I don't remember voters telling us that they want voting rights cases ignored either. Yet that is what the Ashcroft and Abu Gonzales Justice Departments have been doing.
And the lame defense at the end of the article, that there is less work for the division in this area because their appellant workload has been reduced as a result of greater agreement between the division and the federal courts? Please, spare me. That is what you get when over 60 percent of the federal bench is now conservative, and doesn't agree with civil, employment, and voting rights to begin with.
Besides, wasn't it the Bushies and the American Taliban that were telling us that the problem was that the courts don't reflect the administration's views? And now the Justice Department is bragging that it's workload is down because the courts do reflect their views?
In addition, The Post has opportunities to ask their columnists and guests questions on a wide range of issues. For instance, here is a list of chats you can participate in tomorrow:
* Business: Trade Associations, 11
- Post Politics : Dan Balz, 11
- Metro: : Roads and Rails, 11
- Business: Financial Planning, 11
- Outlook : Sexual Harassment, 12
- Trade : Deficit, 1
- Post Mag: Iraq, 1
- Medicare: Prescription Drugs, 1
- Music: Country
- Chat House: Michael Wilbon, 1:15
- Travel: Flight Crew, 2
And you can always tell off their columnists if you think they don't have a clue, like a couple of Kossacks did to Chris Cillizza for his column highlighting how short the Democrats are compared to the Republicans under Howard Dean (However, they are $10 million ahead of last cycle, as our fellow Kossacks pointed out).
In short, the case for The Post is not that we always agree with them every single time; the case for The Post involves their ability to serve as a clearinghouse of all sorts of political views from Democratic to Republican and from the smartest to the clueless. How you use it is up to you.