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Real-Time Reporting, Politico-Style

Family Matter

When the New York Times published a March 21 op-ed column sympathetic to a "quintessential nice guy" -- stock swindler Bernie Madoff -- contributing writer Daphne Merkin noted that she had "a sibling who did business with him."

That turned out to be J. Ezra Merkin, former chairman of GMAC, now accused by New York authorities of defrauding clients by funneling more than $2 billion of their money to Madoff. Was the vague "sibling" reference really enough?

Ombudsman Clark Hoyt wrote yesterday that many readers thought "the disclosure was so limited as to be disingenuous," but Op-Ed Editor David Shipley defended it, saying that paper approached Merkin "in some respect because of her brother."

Tilting Left?

MSNBC's David Shuster is an aggressive career reporter who has never been positioned as one of the channel's left-leaning commentators. But in his "Hypocrisy Watch" segments this year, the conservative Media Research Center points out, 34 of the targets have been Republicans or conservatives -- including Rush Limbaugh twice and Karl Rove five times -- and only four have been Democrats or liberals.

Shuster says the group "is funded and run by die-hard conservatives with a clear partisan agenda" and that his work on the now-defunct program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" "was hard hitting on both parties."

Throwing The Post a Bone

What's been the reaction now that The Washington Post has revealed that it negotiated with the White House for an exclusive on the dog story after being told that the vegetable garden scoop had been promised to the New York Times? The deal fell apart when the story, inevitably, leaked online.

Says TMZ, which disclosed many of the details Friday night: "So, we didn't break Watergate, but Puppygate -- we're all over it!"

And Gawker: "The internet ruined everything! The Post whiffs on the chronology of the story, blaming for breaking it yesterday morning when TMZ actually broke it on Friday night. But either way, the paper is pissed that it screwed the pooch on its exclusive.

"And yes, you read that right: Washington Post and New York Times reporters who cover the White House are horsetrading stories about gardens and puppies."

Defending Gay Marriage

Andrew Sullivan continues the debate:

"As one of the first and longest campaigners for marriage equality, my own commitment to religious freedom in America is as ferocious and as impassioned as any Christianist's . . .

"I've been prepared to back the Boy Scouts and the St Patrick's Day parade against my gay brothers and sisters on this score; I've opposed hate crime laws protecting gays; I've even defended the right of Christianists to fire employees because they are gay. I went through an extended form of ostracism in the gay world for a long time because of my refusal to countenance anti-religious bigotry, just as I refused to countenance anti-gay bigotry. This was not the easiest path but it remains for me the only principled one. In so far as intolerance of people of faith exists, I will join any movement to protect their rights and defend their dignity.

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