White Noise: News and info from inside the media bubble
The deeper the hole
The revelation that Hillary Clinton had not, as she claimed on the campaign trail, landed “under sniper fire” in a 1996 trip with daughter Chelsea to Bosnia-Herzegovina and “ran with our heads down to get into the vehicle” received widespread coverage and prompted ample derision last week. As it turns out, the first lady and daughter casually walked onto the airstrip and received a greeting from a young girl. Trying to quickly put the gaffe behind her, the presidential candidate recently told reporters: “You know, I say a lot of things, millions of words a day, so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement.” One Alton Smith of Birmingham, Ala. was not ready to let bygones be bygones. As noted on the March 26 edition of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” he e-mailed the program: “Via a quick Google search, one finds that professional auctioneers have been clocked speaking 400 words per minute. At that rate, it would take Senator Clinton almost 42 hours to say one million words.”
A bum rap
Chuck Phillips of The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 with Michael A. Hiltzik for beat reporting on corruption in the entertainment industry. But that didn’t prevent him from getting duped by a two-bit con man, James Sabatino, a twentysomething rap aficionado from Florida whose own father called him “a disturbed young man who needed attention like a drug.” Sabatino alleged that hip-hop impresario Sean “Puffy” Combs was ultimately responsible for the 1994 hit on Tupac Shakur and backed it up with “FBI documents” subsequently proven to be forgeries by The Smoking Gun website within hours of the story’s publication. The revelation set off a flurry of lawyerly activity from the Combs camp and elicited an apology from Phillips, who is working under his fourth editor in three years. Listen, we feel for those guys at the Times and we understand the whole “more with less” meme, but you really got to check that stuff out. Start with your source, who in this instance has served time in federal prison, has claimed to be a middle man in the East Coast/West Coast rap wars, is currently suing Combs in the Southern District of Florida and was allegedly beaten up by the Wu Tang Clan. That part, we believe.
A heated presidential race can really get tongues a-wagging. Thank God for “The Beep,” The Rhinoceros Times’ weekly repository of telephone messages by folks just literate enough to operate a handset. In this week’s edition, Beep contributors alternately scolded Barack Obama for attending a Christian church led by the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright and for being a Muslim. “Now if that man is a preacher, I’m Jesus Christ, and if Obama has been listening to him for all these years that he’s been going there, some of that stuff has bound to rubbed off on him, and who in the world wants a man like that for a president of the United States?” wrote one. And another wrote, “I truly believe that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, and I hope the people of this country will wake up before they end up with a Muslim as president of this country.” Thanks for facilitating the dialogue, Beep.