May 27, 2004
— Ace Apparently we flipped two of his disciples -- two of the Portland-area Al Qaeda.
Ramzi Yousef, inevitably, makes a cameo. He's turning out to be as to Al Qaeda what Allen Dulles is to JFK conspiracy theories, or what the Knights Templar are to medieval/church conspiracies -- he's just always popping up somewhere along the way.
First I thought Alphabet City was cutting and pasting a professional dispatch, but no, it appears he's written this up himself.
This post is great for two reasons. For one, it's just a good backgrounder. It digests the indictment and reports all the most important facts, and then it hyperlinks the stuffings out of all the major players.
But it also demonstrates that there's no particular reason that a blogger, given sufficient discipline and craft, can't produce dispatches on par with anything from AP.
It's not that Alphabet City's backgrounder is so much better than what you'd read on AP (although it's better than what you might read most of the time).
It's rather that there's no discernable difference between a professional backgrounder and Alphabet City's.
And this kind of piece is an important part of the news. It's not talk-to-a-source original reportage (so far as I can tell; if I'm wrong, I trust I'll be corrected). But a lot of articles in the newspapers are digests of indictments and court opinions and the like. It's a big part of the function of reporters, if not their main function.
There are some genuine deep thinkers in the blogosphere. Den Beste, for one; the Volokhs; and even Mickey Kaus, when the mood strikes him, and when he can restrain himself from using exclamation points every second sentence.
So, as far as opinion and analysis, the blogosphere has produced some important players.
But it hasn't produced actual reporters, fact-finders, digesters, and backgrounders, at least not consistently. (And not to my knowledge; I'm not an expert on the blogosphere. I'm not really an expert on anything, to tell the truth.)
As the blogosphere begins producing pieces like this more consistently-- what, precisely, is left for the mainstream media?
Actual talk-to-a-source reportage will probably remain their turf alone; there's a steep entry barrier to that function. You need a lot of time and a lot of connections and a lot of time to work your connections.
Still: two out of three ain't bad. Once the blogosphere can compete in terms of both opinion/analysis essays and overview/context pieces, the reporters will be left with nothing much to do but report on actual breaking news...
...which is sort of the job they're actually supposed to be doing, anyway.
Note to self: Stop churning out slapdash buffoonery. There's a better way.
I put the piece together because I couldn't find anything that did the same. I also thought the flip angle was a great substory illustrating the success of our interrogation of Islamists in light of the Abu Ghraib overkill.
Keep dunking those waterboards fellas.
Posted by: Robert Stevens at May 27, 2004 11:11 PM (AaBEz)
There remain many people and events that cry out for ridicule and humiliation. Satirist's have often been an extremely important force for advancing the social discourse. Inflated egos demand the pen prick of the sharpened voice.
When you can write as you did about the Wonkette and Whoreingtonienne episode, your voice is sorely needed. At a time when the level of acromony between the political sides is at a historic high, one who can provoke laughter at the richly deserving is a valuable prize indeed.
Keep it up. You are needed.
Posted by: bigdiogi at May 27, 2004 11:30 PM (Bv07a)
Is he blind too? As near as I can tell, he doesn't have pupils.
On the subject of photos, the Lara Flynn Boyle pic is wearing very well. I never seem to tire of it.
Posted by: Nicholas Kronos at May 28, 2004 06:28 AM (TExDh)
Anybody hear from Allah lately? I can't believe he didn't have a photoshop using pics from Gore's blowout the other day.
Posted by: lauraw at May 28, 2004 07:03 AM (AYE1g)
Posted by: Smack Remembers Personal Info at May 28, 2004 08:06 AM (lpGKc)
I'm happy Ace is here to take up the slack.
Posted by: keggin at May 28, 2004 09:05 AM (AAxSd)
I make the argument that some of the blog deep thinkers are years ahead of the self appointed big media pundits...
Posted by: Tman at May 28, 2004 09:43 AM (Fho+X)
Yeah, I think I've had it up for way too long. All of the guys really seem to want me to keep it, but I'm looking to switch.
Posted by: ace at May 28, 2004 09:55 AM (iog7U)
Posted by: Nicholas Kronos at May 28, 2004 10:26 AM (BPhem)
DISCLAIMER: this suggestion is made purely out of a natural desire to gratify the female readers (and Andrew Sullivan) and should in no way be construed as indicitive of Smack's own sexual orientation or proclivities. Thank you.
Posted by: Smack Remembers Personal Info at May 28, 2004 11:05 AM (lpGKc)
Posted by: rdbrewer at May 28, 2004 11:51 AM (2LE6C)
Orange sockhatted Deaniacs in the foreground waving dollar bills.
Posted by: lauraw at May 28, 2004 11:58 AM (AYE1g)
Posted by: Aaron at May 28, 2004 12:24 PM (Zg6J9)
Sorry about that. I made a judgment call on it; I figured it was racy, but not obscene. I apologize if the picture was a bit over the line for some.
I haven't posted cheesecake pics here before, and I don't intend to make a habit of it. It was just that I found only a three or four pics of LFB, and this pic, while a little racy, was the only one that really showed her looking good.
Everyone should speak up about stuff like this. The only people who commented immediately about the pic were those saying, "KEEP THAT PICTURE FOREVER."
Posted by: ace at May 28, 2004 10:14 PM (iog7U)
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