Cheers and Regards for the Week of July 26, 2010

If you ever get an e-mail from a journalist, there’s one portion of it you should pay attention to more than any other. No, it’s not the part where they’re asking you about the surprise you put in the Big Mac special sauce; it’s the sign-off.

If it’s “Cheers,” you’re cool. You did OK. If it’s “Regards,” you pissed somebody off, and you better figure out how to fix things, quick.

We apply those same tenets here, every week.

CHEERS to the Washington Post for a masterful investigative series on the massive buildup of a separate and all top-secret shadow government focused on national security following the 9/11 attacks. The series raises numerous questions — from whether agencies are doubling or tripling the same work to the cost to what exactly these agencies are doing — and is presented on the web very nicely. It’s must reading.

But we must also give REGARDS to the Post for, as commentators such as Glenn Greenwald at Salon have pointed out, seemingly ignoring the work of other journalists who have also brought these issues to light.

CHEERS to the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel for their work with the 92,000 documents made public Sunday by WikiLeaks showing a grimmer picture of the war in Afghanistan than the one being presented by the White House. Administration officials are obviously unhappy about the leaks and this whole ordeal could end up being Pentagon Papers II, but they made a hell of a story out of it.

REGARDS to commentators at Politico and the aforementioned Mr. Greenwald at Salon for jumping directly into punditry and a political guessing game rather than taking a moment to let the actual content of the documents sink in. The White House will do what it does, but we’re looking at a supposedly real snapshot of a to say the least troubled war here.

CHEERS to Slate for pushing Politico, and by extension, other online news sources, to institute corrections policies. Everyone should have to endure that sort of embarrassment, right?

REGARDS to news outlets like ABC for trying to get inside Andrew Breitbart’s head after the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. What’s the point? Is seeing the inner thoughts of a shit-stirrer and compulsive liar all that valuable?

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