[Guest post by Alex Klein.] Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial has the title “News and its Critics”—obviously, it’s missing a word. The piece’s real title should be “News Corp and its Critics,” or even better, “News Corp vs. its Critics.” It’s a piece by News Corp, for News Corp. The problem is, the ugly 1044-word attack on the company’s “competitor-critics” alternates between catty defensiveness, a drunk beat poet, and utter incomprehensibility.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] The president's press conference didn't contain any major new revelations on the debt ceiling; POTUS didn't accept a deal, propose a new one, or threaten to resign. But commenting on the Balanced Budget Amendment, Obama did dangle something interesting about Medicare and Medicaid. Counter Ryan and Coburn-Lieberman, Obama said "we don't have to do anything radical" — like benefit cuts — in order to fix the programs.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] "In Interview, Murdoch Defends News Corp." proclaims a much-buzzed headline on the Murdoch and News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal. It's a stretch of a title. The 700-word piece is less "interview" than stenography, a generous opportunity for the mogul to swagger, project confidence, and bend the truth. There are a lot of so-sad-it's-funny quotes, but the best by far is Murdoch's promise to institute a "protocol for behavior" at all of his newspapers.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] In a fine Ryan Lizza piece this April, a highly quotable White House official gave Obama’s foreign policy the unfortunate nickname “leading from behind.” As Jason Ukman just pointed out in the Washington Post, the phrase is becoming July's conservative cat-nip, and those on the left are scrambling to explain that it was misunderstood, mistimed, misrepresentative, misguided, et al. It’s the biggest linguistic Obama-apologia yet. Ukman: Whatever one might think of that foreign policy, it is not the simplest one to articulate at a campaign rally.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] The country of my birth is parodying itself. We’ve spun around the roundabout of funny and turned off directly into sad. The News of the World’s Pandora’s box is daily spilling out even fresher hells, so embarrassing in their corporate-journo-politico complicity that one could almost forgive Rupert Murdoch for burning a million emails worth of evidence — well, almost. Today, we learn that NOTW tried to hack Gordon Brown, Prince Charles, and 9/11 victims. Then they tried to buy the Queen’s phone number. In times like these, England rarely turns to the clergy.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] Rupert Murdoch just drove the final nail into his News of the World coffin, shoving it unceremoniously out to sea like a recently deceased Al Qaeda boss. Its editor Rebekah Brooks gets to keep her post as chief executive of all News International while its reporters mill around outside of the building, levying vague threats. It’s fair to say good riddance, and rejoice that a newspaper that hacked 4,000 and bribed £100,000 will soon be moldering in the trash heap. But the fall of News of the World isn’t all good news.
[Guest post by Alex Klein] Everyone’s up in arms about John Binienda, the Massachusetts state representative who makes creative comparisons: namely, between forcing poor defenseless lobbyists to wear laminated badges and tattooing imprisoned Jews. "The idea of the badge by lobbyists to me, I kind of find that revolting. Hitler during the concentration camps tattooed all of the Jewish people so he would know who was Jew and who wasn't — and that's something that I just don't go along with." But why would he back down and apologize for such a flattering simile?
They rolled out of Washington in the dead of night. But the Huntsman bus was wide-awake. A group of around 50 young Jon Huntsman supporters had hit the road, heading up to Liberty State Park, New Jersey, to see the former ambassador announce his dark-horse candidacy. Like the campaign itself, the pilgrimage had been cobbled together at the last minute. The young volunteers had gotten word only a few days in advance and had scrambled to fill buses from D.C. and Philadelphia. Stephen, a Huntsman organizer with a Utah basketball jersey draped over his button-down, handed out bagels.
Few people expect Jon Huntsman to win the Republican nomination. Indeed, it seems obvious to many that his odds are a lot worse than 1 in 10. But on the predictions market InTrade, a stock-inspired betting website that has become the go-to source for GOP guesswork, Huntsman is currently valued at an impressive 11 percent chance of victory. So could the online market know something about the GOP field that the rest of us don’t?
[Guest post by Alex Klein] In the wake of Bill Kristol’s bold declaration that “Rudy’s Running,” our friends over at The Atlantic have compiled a handy timeline of five of the pundit’s most hilariously wrong predictions. The problem is, we think they’re selling him a bit short: he’s about as accurate as a Ouija Board.