In case you missed it---There were a lot of things wrong with the collaborative product “unveiled” by and the Fox News program “Hannity” the other night. But the main difficulty was the pre-game hype. First, Andrew Breitbart and then a friend of his generated publicity and high expectations for tapes from President Obama’s “college” days: The footage was going to blow the lid off of the president’s racial politics. The dud that the Breitbartians eventually dropped will hopefully teach them to keep their mouths shut about pending projects.

Also: Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher assists in the rehabilitation of the term “gotcha” journalism.


*The New Republic gets a new majority owner, according to the New York Times. Twenty-eight-year-old Chris Hughes has these credentials: former roommate of Facebooker Mark Zuckerberg; aide to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign; Internet entrepreneur. Morale at the TNR offices has to be responding well to these comments by Hughes:

“Profit per se is not my motive. The reason I’m getting involved here is that I believe in the type of vigorous contextual journalism that we — we in general as a society — need.”

He added that he hoped the magazine could be profitable. “But I’m investing and taking control of The New Republic because of my belief in its mission, not to make it the next Facebook,” he said.

*Jack Shafer of Reuters takes a look at the “backlash” and “front-lash” associated with Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video.

Invisible Children, which like the 700 Club or the March of Dimes is primarily a fundraising group, knows better than any of its critics how this game works. They cherish today’s criticisms because a backlash always comes paired with a front-lash. For every person who ever tuned out the Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethon because he couldn’t endure the host’s mawkishness, another five tuned in because they couldn’t miss it.

*We might have thought this impossible, but the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal just keeps sinking to new lows. The latest is that the hackers appear to have targeted a priest who was close to the family of singer Charlotte Church.

“People of faith will be shocked that Rupert Murdoch’s staff would target a priest in this way — it’s just not right,” said Tom Watson, a Labour party lawmaker who is on a parliamentary committee investigating the phone-hacking scandal.

*David Corn says of the Obama tape: “I’d like to order a big nothing burger with nothing on the side.”

*Karl Rove on the fact that Sarah Palin and Todd Palin are supporting Newt Gingrich: “Endorsements don’t mean snot.”

*Jon Stewart advances notion that Beltway reporters practice “instigative” journalism.

*More on journalists and Syria from Time mag. It’s a story you cannot stop reading. A quick sampling:

At that instant, a rocket exploded at the front of the building, killing [Marie] Colvin and [Remi] Ochlik instantly. The space was filled with dust. In the chaos, William Daniels heard Bouvier scream, “William, William! I can’t move!” Her left leg was crooked. He pulled her out by the shoulders. She was bleeding heavily. Carrying his colleague, Daniels staggered to the doorway. As he glanced down, he saw his friend Ochlik, just 28, lifeless on the floor. “Edith,” he gasped to Bouvier, “Rémi is not with us anymore.”

Bleeding and shaken, the journalists and Syrians in the house hid for 10 minutes in the bathroom, the safest spot in the house, until a car arrived to get them out. Frantic Syrian activists raced them to a makeshift clinic, where the doctor, a defector from President Bashar Assad’s military, declared that Bouvier needed an operation on two fractures on the femur. It was a procedure impossible to undertake given the war conditions in the besieged Bab Amr district of Homs. Equally impossible was fleeing through the tunnel by which they’d come, since Bouvier could not walk and transporting her by car was too dangerous for her safety. [Paul] Conroy, who was also injured in the abdomen, had a large leg wound, but could be carried easily. The doctor injected Bouvier with morphine, and helped the journalists find a new hideout: a room with one small window surrounded by three-story houses, and hidden from the street.