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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 23, 2005 / 21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

The ombudsman as schoolmarm

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have a certain sympathy for those who have served as ombudsman for the Washington Post. Their offices are on the same floor as the newsroom (at least they were when I was there), they are surrounded every day by the people they are paid to criticize, and they must live with a left-wing newsroom culture that resents any deviation from the line of the day. The policy at the Post, as I recall, is that the ombudsman serves for a certain time and doesn't work for the paper afterward. This presumably reduces the pressure to conform to newsroom orthodoxy. But it doesn't always work.


Case in point: the recently hired ombudsman Deborah Howell's column this past Sunday on Bob Woodward. Howell's bottom line is, "He has to operate under the rules that govern the rest of the staff–even if he's rich and famous." But that's silly. Woodward for a long time has had an unusual arrangement with the Post: He works on his books, mostly out of the Post building, and saves the information he has compiled for occasional articles—excerpts from the books or occasional scoops on breaking stories. He reports to Executive Editor Leonard Downie, the top editor at the paper.

In this case, Downie has said that Woodward should have disclosed to him the conversation he had with someone who was then an administration official revealing the fact that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. That conversation came a month before the conversation in which, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said, Scooter Libby first disclosed Wilson's wife's status to someone outside the government. Woodward has agreed that he should have made that disclosure and has apologized to Downie. Evidently, they both agree that Woodward's nondisclosure was a violation of the arrangement he has with the Post.

But I don't take that as an admission that, as Howell concludes, "He has to operate under the rules that govern the rest of the staff." Why should he? If the Post, which is run by capable adults, and Woodward, whose work as a reporter is unique, agree that he should operate differently, what's wrong with that? Newsweek, owned by the Washington Post Co., authorizes some of its reporters every four years to follow the presidential campaigns and publish their findings only after the election; before that, as I understand it, they keep the information they have to themselves and don't disclose it to other Newsweek reporters or editors. Unusual, but why not?

Howell's position sounds like that of an elementary-school principal. Bob is a very smart little boy, but he must come in at 8:15 and attend all second-grade sessions like all of the other pupils. He cannot be allowed to spend class periods doing research in the library, and he cannot be excused to go on field assignments by himself. Appropriate for second graders, quite possibly (although I was allowed to spend class periods in the library in second or third grade). But we are dealing here with adults. Bob is not in second grade anymore.

Top reporters and writers do not always have to punch time clocks. (I know I don't at U.S. News.) They often do their work with a minimum of supervision because their editors have confidence in them and because they value their work product. If the editor feels they should share more information, he can say so, as Downie did, and the reporter can apologize for not having provided it, as Woodward did.

One more point. Howell writes: "He also committed another journalistic sin–commenting on National Public Radio and Larry King Live about the Plame investigation without disclosing his early knowledge of Plame's identity." Woodward refuted this on Larry King Live last night. "Every time somebody appears on your show talking about the news or giving some sort of analysis, there are going to be things that they can't talk about."

Of course that's right. Reporters are invited to appear on television programs precisely because they know more about stories than what is in the public domain. They certainly don't have time to describe every scrap of information on which they base their opinions. Viewers are free to agree with those opinions or not. I know that when I am asked my opinion of how elections are likely to turn out, I don't specify every conversation I've had with a political consultant or every poll result or election return I've analyzed. There isn't time, and the producers of the program presumably have confidence that the judgments I make are based on extensive knowledge.

The real reason the newsroom culture is angry with Woodward is that he is off message on the Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame story. He thinks the disclosure made to him was not a big deal—an offhand thing—and he has said that his sources tell him that the danger to intelligence operations was minimal. The promoters of the Plame story have it as an article of faith that this was the most damaging disclosure of intelligence information since the Rosenbergs and that Bush administration officials are guilty of some heinous crime. Woodward doubts that, and so, evidently, does Fitzgerald: He didn't indict anyone under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and, in his press conference, was careful not to allege any violation of that act.

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BARONE'S LATEST
Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future  

America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




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