Make me listen


There are tensions between the United States and Israel.

The Israeli and Palestinian governments won’t talk to one another.

There’s that mosque in downtown New York.

It’s an election season.

And we’re understaffed. By "we" I mean the collective "we," the media.

I’m one guy, with a tireless intern who will soon abandon me.

So, here’s the dirty little secret. We (the collective "we" again) welcome oppo, agenda-driven research. It saves us a lot of work. Stories get handed to us on a platter.

As a matter of pride, we stop every couple of weeks and say no, we’re the agenda setters, we’ve got to drive the story, we can’t leave it all up to advocates. And so we generate a story that has little to do with partisan agendas.

But then it’s back to the grind, and we look at the oppo, the agenda-driven items.

Now there are journalists who will hold their noses, and run these, pretty much inspection-free.

Most of us will not. We’re glad for the data, but we will turn it inside and out before it gets our imprimatur.

And as our inboxes fill up (I get 150-300 emails a day), we soon learn to weed out the charlatans, the deluded, the fraudsters. It’s a waste of time to even open these emails. It’s too much work to check out the data, only to find out its baseless.

Here, from my experience, are some "tells," signs that an advocate is simply unreliable. Names and issues have been changed to protect the guilty. [[READMORE]]

Guilt by association:

Rhonda Gimmee, the director general of Americans for Honesty, was previously employed by the notorious Americans for Sincerity!

Immediate red flag. "Was previously." What surely matters is what Americans for Honesty is up to now. Rhonda is accountable to her current board; she’s not making calls on the sly to her previous employers, seeking nefarious guidance. Life isn’t a 1980s nighttime soap.

Plus, why did Rhonda leave Americans for Sincerity? If it turns out it’s because she was a whistleblower, I’m going to be mightily pissed. (Yes, kids, this has actually happened.)

Plus, what’s up with Americans for Sincerity? Why is it so nefarious? Provide links, and not circular links — if all I get is an old press release from your organization that begins "Americans for Sincerity has hired Rhonda Gimmee, who once worked for the notorious Americans for Straightforwardness!" I’m gonna shut you down. I need real, objective data — links to reputable news stories, to actual incriminating statements, not ripped from context.

Blake Gotcher is friends with the notorious Sammy Bigammee! Here they are together at dinner with their wives!

What does "friends" mean? Did Blake write a preface to Sammy’s claim-to-infamy, "Puppies are So Not Cute"? That implicates Blake. Are they golfing buddies? Please. You can spend a pleasant afternoon knocking a ball around some greens, and still come away believing with all your heart that puppies are cute, indeed.

Turning good deeds bad

Click here for video of Travis McTeal accepting an award from Denizens of the Darkside!

It subsequently emerges that the unedited video shows Travis attending the ceremony only to say he would never accept such an award, and deliver one of the most devastating denunciations of darksidedness, like, ever.

Once should be enough to consign the advocate disseminating this crap to the dustheap, forever. Twice — don’t get me started.

Don’t muddy the agenda

Candybars are yummy! We all indulge! But Canadian candybars are bad, bad, bad for the economy! Yet here is Damien Baddeley’s online shopping list: Coffee Crisp, Aero, Smarties, Crunchie, CaraMilk, Twix, Mounds, Reese’s…

Wait, wait, wait, wait. Those last three are American — what gives? Is your real agenda against candybars? Is making an issue of Canadian candybars a wedge into delegitimating the whole candybar enterprise? Are you obfuscating because you know that simply won’t fly in the marketplace of ideas? Sorry, I ain’t your enabler. Go away.

Old Hat, part I

In 1995, Petey Pupkin said "Seinfeld" was "the worst show ever"!

In 1996, he aplogized. In 1997, he was the sandak at Jason Alexander’s son’s bris. In 1998, he married Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.

Just stop.

Old Hat, part II

Friends for Fair Treatment of Frigates is funded by evil financier Stanley Bollweevil!

No, it isn’t. In fact, I wrote the story proving it wasn’t, and yet you have the gall to send me this crap.

As for whether Stanley is, indeed, "evil," see under "Americans for Sincerity," above. I’m not going to take your word on it.

Paraphrase This

Rep. Huntley Chumpworth was one of 54 congressmen who signed a letter calling Barney a fascist!

Do I look stupid? Do I look like I can’t read? "Disseminating and conveying the color purple to an extent that is at times oppressive" may be overheated, but it does not add up to "fascist."

The respected expert on the other side of the baize

"Frisbees are quantitatively lamer than hula hoops," said noted leisure expert Paisley Gump.

Really? You don’t think I know Paisley’s "Foundation for the Advancement of Wholesome Fun" is run out of your office? My kid’s babysitter knows. The guy who trims my hedges knows. That guy, with the orange bike pants, there, walking out of the Starbucks — he knows.

Molson’s favorability plunged among self-identified hockey fans, polls showed.

One poll, funded by Budweiser, and the sample was three people, and they’re your inlaws.

Admit it, acknowledge, own up

I know, it’s counterintuitive in our admit-no-wrong culture. But, really. It doesn’t even have to be in public. If you misled me and didn’t know it at the time, or even if you did and now you’re sorry, just call. We’ve all screwed up.

Admitting it when you do is what separates the menschen from the unmentionable.

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