Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Guttman

"The erosion of journalistic credibility."

That's what Jeannine Guttman said in 2000 when an interviewer with the American Society of News Editors asked her what she worried about the most.

You can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE: Even more:

The press is the watchdog, providing citizens with a lens on government. If we do our jobs correctly, readers are well informed, they understand the issues of the day, they can fully participate in our democracy and keep it healthy and alive for future generations.
I couldn't agree more.

Friday, June 26, 2009

State Media

So let's review: First, as editor of Portland Press Herald, Jeannine Guttman supervises soft, superficial, spotty and error-prone coverage of the Allen-Collins race--coverage that seems, almost invariably, to tilt toward Sen. Collins.

She never runs profiles of the candidates, and even allows the publication of a Collins endorsement that side-steps literally all the major issues in the race.

Then eight months later she goes to work for Collins.

Did I mention that the editor of Bangor Daily News, the state's only other large newspaper, is also a former Collins staffer? (And so is his wife.)

A paranoid guy like me starts to wonder if there's some sort of pattern here.

But seriously folks: Unseemly doesn't begin to describe it.

We're talking about a blurring-beyond-recognition of the line between the Maine media and the Maine political establishment. We're talking about institutions that are compromised not just at the margins, but in ways that raise questions about their core missions.

Very ugly. And a serious problem.

(A call to Guttman for comment went unreturned.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tangled Web

This is gross:

The former editor of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram has taken a post in Washington, D.C., as communications director for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

The appointment of Jeannine Guttman was announced Wednesday by Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the committee's ranking Republican. Collins said Guttman has tremendous experience both in media and in Washington, D.C., and cares about the critical issues that affect Mainers.
Some more thoughts later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Questions of the Day

Why is Sen. Collins stalling confirmation of the administration's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel? Is it because the nominee, Dawn Johnsen, is willing to call out illegal torture and the lawyers who abetted it?

Because Johnsen is unambiguously pro-choice?

Something else?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seriousness Watch

Sen. Collins' office:

U.S. Senator Susan Collins today met privately with Judge Sonia Sotomayor for 45 minutes...

"During our meeting, I was able to ask Judge Sotomayor a broad range of questions. Much of our discussion focused on a speech that she delivered in 2001 in which she says she "would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." I have been troubled by this remark.
You read that right: Sen. Collins had a precious 45 minutes to question Judge Sotomayor.

And yet the junior senator focused her inquiry not on any of the thousands of opinions Sotomayor has signed off on. Or the judge's apparent tendency to lean right on criminal justice issues. Or her as-yet-undisclosed approach to abortion and related issues.

No, instead Collins spent "much" of her time discussing a single, poorly-worded sentence--from a speech, not a ruling. And one that, the context shows, was used to build the simple, uncontroversial argument that we're all shaped by our backgrounds.

Collins is a likely vote to confirm Sotomayor. (I'd be stunned if she voted no.) So maybe this is just about throwing a bone to the dittoheads in the Republican base.

Still, not exactly a profile in seriousness.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Collins With Sotomayor


"She assured me that she understands when deciding cases that she needs to put aside any personal experiences that might color her decisions and, as she said it, that the law is the law," Collins said.

Collins said she was "somewhat frustrated" that Sotomayor would not discuss perhaps her most controversial case, Ricci v. DeStefano, in which Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that upheld a district court ruling against a group of New Haven, Conn., firefighters who alleged discrimination.

Collins said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit had reached an "unfair result" in the case. But, Collins said, Sotomayor declined to comment on the case because it is pending before the Supreme Court.
(By way of comparison, you can get a sense of the junior senator's ferocious reaction to disclosures about then-Judge Samuel Alito's staunchly anti-Roe views here.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


The New York Times:

Much attention, however, focused on Judge Sotomayor’s remark in 2001: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who voted to confirm Judge Sotomayor in 1998, said she needed a fuller explanation and would request one at a meeting set for Thursday. "I need to know what the context of that comment was," Ms. Collins said.
Okay, Sen. Collins wants context. How about, y'know, reading the speech?

Hint: A link to it--and some sane right-wing commentary--can be found here.