In case you missed it — Five key points about the Joe Williams-Politico saga, including an analysis of why Politico didn’t take more decisive personnel action after finding out about Williams’s more controversial activities — that is, his over-the-line tweets this year.
* The board of News Corp. approves a motion to split the company in two, at least “in principle,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
The board made the decision after a meeting in New York Wednesday evening that lasted roughly an hour and a half . . . . News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch spoke at the meeting and financial advisers made presentations to the board. . . . [Many] details such as who will run the publishing business have yet to be resolved.
* Much ado over the complaints of the Mitt Romney campaign about a story in The Post regarding Bain Capital and its investment in firms that “specialized in moving work overseas,” according to a characterization in a Post piece on the controversy. The Obama campaign seized on the article and used it as a springboard for attack ads:
The language in the commercials went beyond the Post article by calling Romney himself an “outsourcing pioneer” and suggesting that the former Massachusetts governor would be the “outsourcer in chief” if elected. The article described some companies Bain invested in as “pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories.”
The Romney campaign has criticized the Post article, saying that none of the companies cited sent jobs overseas during Romney’s tenure at the private-equity firm. He left in 1999. In material distributed to reporters on Wednesday, the campaign said that those companies added American jobs while Romney was at Bain and that their expanded overseas operations were aimed at supporting U.S. exports.
In Politico’s Playbook has this to say about the matter:
— Team Romney’s 10-page deck: “The Washington Post asserted that under Mitt Romney Bain Capital sent jobs overseas based on an analysis of 6 companies . . . No call centers at [Computer Software Inc.] or then Stream Int’l were moved offshore under Mitt Romney . . . No production at Modus was moved offshore under Mitt Romney . . . No production at GT Bicycles was moved offshore under Mitt Romney . . . SMTC was formed after Mitt Romney left Bain . . . ChipPAC was acquired after Mitt Romney left Bain . . . None of these 6 companies sent jobs overseas under Bain Capital during Mitt Romney’s tenure, in fact they added jobs. . . . Based on these companies, The Washington Post wrote ‘Romney’s Bain Capital Invested In Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas.’”
— BUT, HEY, it’s not The Post’s fault if readers crazily assume that means Romney had something to do with it! Can’t they read between the lines? It doesn’t say ROMNEY did it. What it says about the FIRM is technically accurate. Don’t readers parse the sentences, and read the paper with lawyerly discernment? So no correction/clarification/retraction for you! But thank you for coming.
* What has the New York Times learned from its experiment with hyperlocal news? “What we have been trying to figure out at the Times — and I think what lots of people in this space have been trying to figure out — is how do you prompt communities, and can you prompt communities into the act of covering themselves in a meaningful way?” says a Times official.
Count me as a skeptic.
* Jack Shafer of Reuters equips the debate around national security leaks with a touch of context:
The weakest and most typical responses to firestarter leaks are: 1) calls for Justice Department investigation of the leaks, 2) calls for prosecution of publications and journalists, and 3) calls for new anti-leak measures. The Sanger story has already two of the three typical responses. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants hearings about the cyber leaks, the Republicans want a special investigator to find the leakers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has announced new anti-leak measures, if you want to call new polygraph questions for national security employees and new leak investigators a crackdown. Although the Obama administration has prosecuted a record number of leakers, it’s still extraordinarily difficult to bring a successful leak prosecution to court, as Charlie Savage explained in the Times earlier this month. And no matter what measures Democrats, Republicans, and the Department of Justice take, successful prosecutions will remain exceptions to the rule.
Traditionally, the calls for investigations and prosecutions of leakers are designed to change the subject away from the significant material leaked to the leakers themselves. It’s up to you to decide which matters most to you: the fact that somebody leaked or what the government does in your name. Don’t just sit there. Join the debate.
*Ann Curry tearfully bids adieu to the “Today” show.
*All of the foregoing, of course, will matter little in about an hour.