Cheers and Regards for the Week of August 16, 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 all those bodies you dug up to steal their fillings; 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 New York Observer‘s Media Mob column for its look at just what Time magazine’s gut-punch cover story on the war in Afghanistan will mean and how its writer might have stood to benefit from the war continuing unabated. (MW and DW)

REGARDS to GQ for their recent profile of Senate candidate Rand Paul, focusing on his days at Baylor. It’s your typical look at the “kooky” activities politicians get up to in their youth; pot-smoking, naughty student newspapers, kidnapping women. It’s troubling that a national magazine would treat a major felony as just a harmless college prank, and not a serious red flag for someone aspiring to public office.  (DW)

CHEERS to (and trust us, we’re as surprised to be saying this as you are to read it) the Huffington Post, for their article rightfully calling out the double-standard in the media for running, uncritically, the attempts by right-wing groups to make Judge Vaughn Walker’s sexuality an issue in regards to his ruling on the Prop 8 case. Walker may, or may not, be gay; he isn’t saying, but that hasn’t stopped the press from referring to him as openly gay. The double-standard comes into play when you consider that, just a few months ago, these same news outlets refused to name the anti-gay politicians who were outed in the film “Outrage.” Apparently journalistic ethics only require keeping a public figure’s personal life private when they’re gross hypocrites. (DW)

REGARDS to the Herald Times in Bloomington, Indiana, for a sports column essentially calling for a lawsuit against the Chicago Sun-Times for a series of stories in which the Chicago tab reported on apparent demands for pay in college basketball recruiting. True, the Sun-Times may have made a mistake reporting a rumor of expected payments, but their reports were seemingly confirmed by a number of sources who understandably were not named. Bluntly, there’s no other way the Sun-Times could have reported what many believe to be an under-the-table reality in college sports. Certainly nobody would have gone on record about it. (MW)

CHEERS to Newsday for adding pages and hiring journalists, wouldya believe it. In a dark time when even university journalism programs (this one’s my alma mater) are cutting mercilessly, it’s a momentary relief to see at least one organization looking to improve through methods other than attrition. (MW)

REGARDS to Golf Digest for what looks on its face to be a baldfaced cash-grab. They’re bringing back Tiger Woods’ tips column after an eight-month hiatus, despite Woods’ on-course struggles and the fact that few people, even golfers who read the magazine, regard Woods the same way they did before his rampant infidelities came to light this soon after they were so prominently in the public eye. And Golf Digest is likely banking on that. (MW)

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