In case you missed it---The Daily Beast places some big names on a story about President Obama. We’re talking Washington names here: Howard Kurtz, Eleanor Clift, John Solomon, Lois Romano, Daniel Stone. Then the story tanks, thanks to a mistake: It attributed to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a quote she hadn’t uttered. Then the Daily Beast makes amends, admitting the mistake and correcting it. All good so far. Except that the person speaking for the Beast is Andrew Kirk, director of public relations for Newsweek and the Daily Beast. Can’t we get a journalist to speak on behalf of journalists?


●I had oiled my eye sockets in preparation for some serious eye-rolling when I pulled off of Twitter a Bill Keller essay on newspapers and the Internet. After his famous thoughts about aggregating and Twitter, I thought we’d get another gulp of predictability.

Nope, didn’t happen. Keller this time tees up some insight into the predicament of newspapers in 2011. First off, Keller reminds us that newspaper companies did a great job of killing off newspapers long before the Internet got on the scene. Then he goes all optimistic on us:

But for some newspapers that have embraced the opportunities created by the Internet, there is real cause for optimism. The Internet has given us new ways of gathering news, and new ways of telling stories. It has enlarged our audience many fold. It has tapped into the creative energy of good journalists and engendered — at The Times, and elsewhere — an openness to experimentation.

And it holds real promise of rescuing our business model. The New York Times and the Times-owned Boston Globe, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, to cite a few of the most prominent examples, have all persuaded readers to pay for their content on line.

It’s not divulging any dark secret to say that, when The Times began grappling with its digital future, we were not immune from that utopian-realist divide that has emerged at Stanford. There were partisans of scale, who argued for the primacy of an immense audience to drive ad revenues, and partisans of quality, who argued that people would pay for gold-standard journalism. What we discovered – at least, what we hope and believe we have discovered – is that it’s a false choice. If you build it, they will come.

●Getting back to that Daily Beast thing. Among the first outlets to jump in and hammer the Beast was the Daily Caller.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had some harsh words in a recent Newsweek interview, but aides to the former Speaker say the story is “inaccurate.”

Now there’s a word that ought to ring with resonance at the Daily Caller. That’s a site, after all, that had a famous episode with the inaccurate last week. The site reported that the Environmental Protection Agency was “asking taxpayers” to shoulder the expense of hiring an additional 230,000 workers at a cost of $21 billion to enforce its regulations. Wasn’t true, yet the Daily Caller wouldn’t acknowledge as much, spinning some argument that at some point EPA will be regulating “everyone.”

Question is, how could the Daily Caller have counseled the Daily Beast on how to sidestep this Pelosi correction? That’s actually an easy one: This is clearly what the minority leader has been thinking for some time. It represents a larger reality in her worldview.


●Hank Williams compares President Obama to Hitler, loses his Monday Night Football gig. Always hated that song anyway.

●Many newspapers went with the 180-degrees-wrong headline in the Amanda Knox appeal. Oh, the dangers of that fast-paced news environment!

●Keach Hagey of Politico looks at the challenge of Erin Burnett: Can she solve CNN’s nighttime problem with female anchors?

For all that CNN has done to elevate the careers of marquee names such as Christiane Amanpour and Candy Crowley, the network does not have a great track record when it comes to female anchors in the evening.

The last two to run that gantlet — Campbell Brown and Kathleen Parker — crashed and burned. When Business Insider made a list of the top 10 most watched women of cable news last year, Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made the list, but CNN was shut out completely.

Hagey gets this kicker of a comment out of Burnett:

“My belief is that 7 p.m. is the perfect slot,” she said. “Seven is when you have a lot of things going on in people’s lives. There’s dinner, when all kinds of things go on that are family oriented — as opposed to later at night, when men are in charge of the remote.”

Huh? Cite your Nielsen user research, Burnett. I am going to be fact-checking this particular representation today.

●In an internal memo, Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson reports some positive news.

It’s worth noting that while other national newspapers have reported distressing declines in advertising, our print ad revenue in August was 24 per cent higher than the same month last year. Meanwhile, WSJ magazine on Saturday was full of gloss and class, and the Saturday edition itself has reached a standard of quality and originality unmatched elsewhere in the country.

The Wall Street Journal, in print and in digital, is flourishing. Thanks for helping to make it that way...