In case you missed it — Just what qualifies as a breaking-news alert? That’s a question that separated the White House and Politico yesterday. The latter had issued an alert to the fact that the White House was defending Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

Only it wasn’t really breaking news: Politico had merely gotten a comment from the White House for a feature story it was preparing. The White House wasn’t making a grand initiative to defend the beleaguered solicitor general, who faltered in Tuesday’s oral argument before the Supreme Court.

Also: Conservatives have attacked the New York Times for using the term “white Hispanic” to describe George Zimmerman. The Times responds.


*Fox35 scores interview with the father of George Zimmerman. The father, Robert Zimmerman, says that Trayvon Martin had threatened to kill George Zimmerman in the moments before Zimmerman fired his weapon. What about the screaming? “That is George screaming,” says Robert Zimmerman.

*Baltimore City Paper editor Lee Gardner asks an interesting question: What is an alt-weekly. Having been employed at an alt-weekly for years, I share Gardner’s definitional agony. No one out there seems to understand the term, and alt-weekly employees have historically done a terrible job of explaining it. Gardner goes concrete on the question:

One example: our ongoing scrutiny of the ways in which Baltimore’s massive drug trade intersects with its legitimate economy. It is exactly the kind of sprawling, complex subject that is increasingly beyond the efforts of a more traditional newsroom, and that can easily overwhelm an amateur “citizen journalist” of the cadre the web was supposed to raise up to replace those of us who get paid now and then.

*Sean Hannity sticks it to NBC for its editing of the call that George Zimmerman made to police regarding Trayvon Martin:

*The story just will not go away. That’s the classified portal of alt-weekly chain Village Voice Media, and it has been under fire for allegedly abetting teenage prostitution. The clergy have attacked it; attorneys general have attacked it; Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has attacked it; and now a “group led by Groundswell” is attacking it.

*Politico reports that the Washington Post has offered its vacant managing editor post to John Temple, former editor of the shuttered Rocky Mountain News.

*A smoking Jack-Shafer chat at on the issue of whether journalists should go around signing recall petitions. Why not, says Shafer:

Signing a recall petition expresses the view that the electorate should conduct a do-over of a previous election. Voting expresses the view that one person should hold an office over all others. So I believe that voting is infused with much more opinion — namely, one person over another, whereas a recall signatory is merely saying, let’s have this election over.