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Thugs Force Paper to Pull Article About Daily Kos - Netroots Nation Conference
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Kristinn

Posted on 07/21/2008 11:49:46 PM PDT by kristinn

The Austin American-Statesman caved to pressure from the Daily Kos-Netroots Nation and pulled an article from the newspaper's website that poked fun at the liberal convention being held in Austin last weekend.

The article, entitled Gore's Surprise Visit Highlights Netroots Conference was published on the front page of Sunday's paper.

It was written by feature writer, Patrick Beach--meaning the article was not a straight news piece (think Dana Milbank.)

Greg Mitchell, a writer for Editor & Publisher who blogs at the Daily Kos attended the conference as a panel speaker.

He brought attention to the article by posting about it the Daily Kos. Mitchell says that Austin Kossacks claiming to know people at the American-Statesman promised to "work their magic" on the paper.

By Monday the article was pulled from the American-Statesman's website, with the message: "The page you've requested is not available."

An editor's note by Editor Fred Zipp was posted to the American-Statesman's website Tuesday:

"Readers expect front-page stories to speak directly and clearly about events and issues. Eliminating the possibility of misunderstanding from our work is a critical part of our daily newsroom routine. When we communicate in a way that could be misinterpreted, we fail to meet our standards.

"Our front-page story Sunday about the Netroots Nation convention included doses of irony and exaggeration. It made assertions (that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might find herself at home politically in Beijing, for example) and characterizations ("marauding liberals" was one) meant to amuse. For many readers, we failed.

"In trying for a humorous take on the Netroots phenomenon without labeling it something other than a straightforward news story, we compromised our standards."

Rather than re-label the story on the web version, the cowards at the American-Statesman gave in to the Kossacks and pulled the article entirely. So much for liberals' respect for the First Amendment.

Here is the forbidden article preserved in Google cache at least for now:

Gore's surprise visit highlights Netroots conference Former vice president speaks at Austin convention for liberal bloggers. By Patrick Beach


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Name-dropping Al Gore and his call for a switch to clean, renewable energy within 10 years was enough to pull whoops of approval from the 2,000 or 3,000 marauding liberals gathered for Netroots Nation at the Austin Convention Center on Saturday morning.

So when the former vice president and Nobel Prize co-winner made a surprise — and cleverly scripted — appearance during U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's talk, it looked like the conference might turn into a faint-in.

Talk that Pelosi (who is arguably so left-leaning that her parenthetical should be D-Beijing) would have a Very Special Guest had been buzzing about the conference of liberal bloggers, pols and media types since it began Thursday (it concludes today). But it wasn't clear to attendees that something was afoot until a schedule change handed out Saturday morning indicated the speaker's talk would last 45 minutes longer than previously indicated.

Not that Gore's appearance was necessary to whip up the troops.

From the beginning, it was clear these people were convinced the electoral map would be repainted with a brush sopping with blue paint come November.

The believers will tell you it's morning, that they smell the napalm. And it smells like, oh, yes, victory.

It didn't seem to matter that the conservative and much smaller Defending the American Dream Summit — featuring syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr — was going on in Austin at the same time. That was miles from downtown, so there was little chance for a rumble.

With the current administration's low approval rating, a charismatic presumptive Democratic nominee and a Republican opponent some in the GOP have been reluctant to even air-kiss, the energy was palpable and, like the political blogosphere, terribly self-confirming.

They went to panels about how the presidential election would be won house by house, block by block. They staged mock media interviews and critiqued themselves, and showed films ("Crawford") and Internet videos ("Harry Potter and Dark Lord Waldemart"). They attended panels on the war, health care, online social networks, volunteer organizing and expanding the networking power of something called an "Internet."

There was even one panel Friday featuring Princeton economics professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (wearing, as if to galvanize stereotype, what appeared to be Birkenstocks) that was essentially about how the media weren't liberal enough.

As they say, only in Austin.

Filmmaker Paul Stekler, who teaches film production and politics at the University of Texas, said:"As you have greater democratization (through the use of technology to distribute one's message), you also have a greater degree of what's called confirmation bias. We live in a very different and weird world in terms of dissemination of information right now."

Indeed, you couldn't find anybody who disagreed that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were "two ignoramuses," a label hurled by Parag Mehta, the Democratic National Committee's director of training.

Big names? Got 'em. There was Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the Daily Kos political blog, who hatched the idea a few years ago to get his like-minded pals together and who, in a Friday lunchtime keynote with Harold Ford Jr., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, seemed amazed at what the notion had unleashed.

"We're going to keep growing; we're going to keep pushing for an unapologetic Democratic Party," Moulitsas said.

Then there was John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel who has made a second career of railing against what he considers right-wing excesses the way recovering alcoholics preach against strong drink.

"I have deep fear of my former tribe, and what they might do particularly in the law," Dean said, before going on to refer to former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani as "Richard Nixon on crystal meth."

It's plinking bass in a barrel to paint liberals as overly intellectual types incapable of having fun unless reading Noam Chomsky counts, and it sure does for them. And there were a handful of colorful characters, including some men from Cedar Creek who looked like bikers and represented the Warrior Wolf Society, which they described as "a group of pagan warriors with wolf totem spirit," and a guy in a Bush mask and clothing with prison stripes.

But for the most part, these were serious-minded people, and decorum prevailed.

When a few people had the temerity to shout at Pelosi and Gore, they got shushed as mercilessly as they would have at a Nanci Griffith concert.

The no fun thing? Maybe it's because, as Democrats, they're not used to having it.

The incredible imploding presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry were used as textbook examples of what not to do. As political ad man John Rowley put it, he's been in the business for 15 years and only the last two have been good in terms of the political tide. Still, he said, "We've got to get ready for the day when we're not swimming downstream."

In other words, what a pendulum does is swing. But technology is power, and the left has been quicker to adopt it. As Gore put it Saturday morning:

"You are at the cutting edge of a new era of history. You will look back many years from now and tell your grandchildren about coming here to Austin, Texas, and about the first two meetings of Netroots Nation, and you will tell them that this was the beginning of an effort that was the start to reclaim the integrity of American democracy."

That is exactly what Joe Trippi had in mind. It was the one-time Howard Dean campaign aide who saw, perhaps a little too early and a little too enthusiastically, the transformative power of the Web. As he walked from one place to another Friday afternoon, he got stopped every 20 feet or so by people who knew him or at least knew of his ideas. And this is what they had wrought; this is what he had predicted.

"It's amazing," Trippi said. "I knew it was going to happen, but I'm still blown away that it happened."; 445-3603

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: algore; brownshirts; censorship; election; internet; kos; netroots; nutroots
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1 posted on 07/21/2008 11:49:46 PM PDT by kristinn
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To: kristinn

Pelosi would also feel right at home in the Soviet Duma.

2 posted on 07/22/2008 12:31:41 AM PDT by DGHoodini (Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand)
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To: kristinn
It would be really cool to see a library site collect timed screen shots of every newspaper website.

Call it "" :-)

3 posted on 07/22/2008 12:33:06 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (G-d gave us Law a fool could follow, but a genius couldn't comprehend)
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To: kristinn
From the Editor & Publisher

By Greg Mitchell
Published: July 21, 2008 10:45 PM ET

Coverage of 'Netroots' Confab Draws Protest-- Snarky Article Spiked -- Editor's Note Apologizes


When Beach, at the start referred to the crowd as "marauding liberals" I knew it was not to be taken literally. But then we got this:

-- The audience nearly staged a "faint-in" when Gore appeared (note use of '60s term).

-- Pelosi is so far left her title should include "(D-Beijing)." This would come as a surprise to many in the crowd who have criticized her timidity – and posed hostile questions in the Q & A..

-- The liberal blogosphere is "terribly self-confirming" -- not like the mainstream media! In a contradiction, he then noted that at the conference they "critiqued themselves."

-- Paul Krugman, as if to "galvanize stereotypes," wore Birkenstocks -- but Beach throughout the article clearly needed no help in having his own stereotypes galvanized.

-- It's shooting fish in a barrel "to paint liberals as overly intellectual types incapable of having fun unless reading Noam Chomsky counts, and its sure does for them." In fact, the convention was practically "party central," few attendees were "intellectuals," and only a tiny percentage, I would guess, are Chomsky lovers -- again, an outmoded stereotype.

-- Those who protested during the Pelosi/Gore "faint-in" were "shushed" as if they were at a Nanci Griffith concert. I certainly know who she is, but I can imagine most of these particular attendees reading this reference and asking, "Who???"

-- One more reference to Liberals Don't Wanna "have fun." And so on.

Well, I thought I would perform a public service and let some of the convention attendees know about all this -- few are fans of dead-tree media -- so I posted a summary on my diary at DailyKos (the popular blog that founded Netroots). The “Kossacks” as they are known could do what they wanted with it, if anything. Within a few minutes, so many people were reading and recommending my post that it shot to near the top of the DailyKos “diaries” for the day. It also got picked up at some other popular blogs.

Many commenters promised to write letters to the editor. Some of them were Austinites who claimed they knew people at the local paper and might actually work their magic on them.

Theories abounded:

--Longtime editor Rich Oppel had recently retired and who was this new leader named Fred Zipp?

--The paper had been a cheerleader for Bush for many years and only acted liberal, at times, because this, afterall, was Austin.

--Patrick Beach, who has had a long career at the paper (he is a former rock critic), allegedly had rarely written a political piece in his life and probably was assigned to the convention, with no background in this kind of thing, on a lark or in desperation.

Monday: I was back in New York and had turned the page on all this, until I got an email from Michael King, news editor at the Austin Chronicle, the long-running and successful alt-weekly. Coincidentally, the paper’s founding editor (and South-by-Southwest guru) Louis Black had given me a personal tour of the Chronicle’s rambling offices on Saturday night.

Anyway, King informed me that the comments from Beach’s article had been wiped and it was impossible to find the article on the paper’s Web site, though it might still be there somewhere. Perhaps, he mused, "some editor finally looked at the piece and yanked it out of simple embarrassment."

Later Monday, I found the link to the original article on Google – and now the story had been removed from the site completely and was "not available."


4 posted on 07/22/2008 12:44:18 AM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." - Ayn Rand)
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To: bruinbirdman
"who was this new leader named Fred Zipp?"

Didn't he serve with Ted Striker during the war ?

5 posted on 07/22/2008 12:52:42 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

That was George Zip.

6 posted on 07/22/2008 1:03:14 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

Ah, yes.

7 posted on 07/22/2008 1:13:54 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Hillarys Gate Cult

Which one made the lighter?

8 posted on 07/22/2008 1:35:16 AM PDT by Syncro (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: kristinn

Astonishing how the “free press” caves to a bunch of acne-ridden geeks with dandruff-flecked glasses who get upset at any sign of criticism of their self-created world.

9 posted on 07/22/2008 1:36:00 AM PDT by JennysCool
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To: Syncro

I thought it was the other Marx brother...Zippo!

They only let him on the set once—for the scene of Atlanta burning in Gone With The WInd...

10 posted on 07/22/2008 1:55:01 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: kristinn

E & P’s filled with a bunch of commies anyway. Let them and KOS slit each others throats.

11 posted on 07/22/2008 2:26:52 AM PDT by toddlintown (Morons; all of 'em.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Ted Striker: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We’re bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We’re coming in from the north, below their radar.
Elaine Dickinson: When will you be back?
Ted Striker: I can’t tell you that. It’s classified.

12 posted on 07/22/2008 3:06:40 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: kristinn

The fact they put this on the front page instead of the opinion section gave the Kossacks an axe to grind. Poor judgement on the paper’s part.

13 posted on 07/22/2008 3:26:02 AM PDT by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: kristinn

My memories of Austin, Texas include the Austin American Statesman playing second fiddle to the U.T. freebie college paper. The A.A.S. was not taken seriously over 25 years ago. I can’t see how they might have improved things given the level of liberalism in that city and that profession.

14 posted on 07/22/2008 3:34:20 AM PDT by sig226 (Real power is not the ability to destroy an enemy. It is the willingness to do it.)
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To: CalvaryJohn

My hometown paper, the St Petersburg Times, often publishes slanted liberal, opinion type pieces on the front page and even in the headlines. It makes me berserk.

We can have major news and you’ll see one of these garbage articles in the headlines. Especially poll stuff.

I don’t think anything but news belongs on the front page. But I don’t think the MSM understands what news is any more.

Just once I’d like to read a news piece where the FACTS are the important thing.

I also hate it when newspeople analyze a speech or such, but never tell you what the person really said. Most of the time they don’t capture what the speech is about at all, they just criticize the person (if he is a republican) or laud him if he is a democrat.

I remember once Bush gave this major war address. I went to CNN to see what they would show. I think they showed him saying half a sentence on a side, unrelated topic, and spent 5 minutes dissecting that piece of sentence. They never got to what he actually said at all.

15 posted on 07/22/2008 3:59:34 AM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
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To: kristinn
I take issue with HRH Pelosi being described as D-Beijing. D-Havana, D-Caracas or D-Pyongyang would be far more appropriate.
16 posted on 07/22/2008 4:08:37 AM PDT by pnh102 (Save America - Ban Ethanol Now!)
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To: kristinn
Calling whiny sissy boy leftists, “thugs” is unjust to real Thugs.
17 posted on 07/22/2008 4:36:24 AM PDT by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: kristinn; All

Well, until conservatives start hitting back, nothing is undeserved.

18 posted on 07/22/2008 4:45:38 AM PDT by britt reed (Militant Conservative, Heretical Catholic)
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To: kristinn


19 posted on 07/22/2008 4:51:35 AM PDT by Iowa Granny (Hi Sweetie!!!!! Are you Bitter???)
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To: kristinn

The thugs are in charge right now.

Where do we go from here? It’s not pretty...

20 posted on 07/22/2008 5:02:59 AM PDT by wastedyears (Show me your precious darlings, and I will crush them all)
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