Two Reporters Arrested Overnight in Ferguson

by Greg Pollowitz

Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post were arrested last night for, I guess, trespassing in a McDonald’s and in Reilly’s words, “not packing their bags quick enough.” The two were taken into custody and released a little later in the evening without any charges filed.

Here’s a summary from Mediaite:

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery was arrested and subsequently released by Ferguson police. Lowery called into Rachel Maddow‘s show to describe how he was placed in restraints and even assaulted by the cops right after he was just doing his job.

Lowery, who was arrested alongside Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly, said that journalists were using the McDonald’s for the past few days as a “media center.” And then earlier tonight police decided to just shut it down. Lowery started to recording what was going on around him.

And as he was packing up and heading out, they decided to arrest and restrain him. He had tweeted he was slammed against the soda machine, but Lowery told Maddow he wasn’t hurt nearly as much as Ferguson citizens have been hurt in the past few days.

Lowery recounted his experience here, complete with video of his encounter with the police officer.

When you watch the video, you’ll see that Lowery was asked multiple times to gather his belongings and leave the restaurant. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborugh blamed Lowery’s arrest on his actions inside of the McDonalds, via the HuffPo:

“I will just say if I saw that video and my son was the one police arrested after that episode, I’d say, ‘Joey, heres a clue. When the cops tell you for the thirtieth time, let’s go, you know what that means, son? It means let’s go. I’m sorry…I don’t sit there and have a debate and film the police officer unless I want to get on TV and have people talk about me the next day.” 

Lowery wasn’t happy with this take at all:

“I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he’s sipping his Starbucks smugly…I have little patience for talking heads. This is too important. This is a community in the United States of America where things are on fire. This community is on edge. There is so much happening here and instead of putting reporters on the ground we have people like Joe Scarborough running their mouth who have no idea what they’re talking about.”

I think they’re both right. Lowery could have handled it a little differently, but he’s right to ask, “where are the ‘talking heads?’ “ MSNBC was AWOL last night with no camera crew on hand for when the protest turned violent. MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee was on the ground, however, and did phone in several reports to the hosts in New York City, including live coverage of getting hit with tear gas. 

But the cable news channels should have been on location to chronicle the events. If local television and radio stations could figure out how to get live images out, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News should have, too.



Simon & Schuster Turns Down Book From Bergdahl’s Platoon Members

by Greg Pollowitz

Because the publishing giant isn’t sure it ”can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends.”

Via Michael Isikoff:

While the U.S. Army weighs whether to bring charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed earlier this year after spending nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, six of his former platoon mates are shopping proposals for a book and movie that would render their own harsh verdicts.

A draft of their book proposal, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, depicts Bergdahl as a “premeditated” deserter who “put all of our lives in danger” — and possibly aided the Taliban — when he disappeared from his observation post in eastern Afghanistan in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009.

But the political furor over Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity — the result of a U.S.-Taliban swap deal that saw the release of five Guantanamo terrorism suspects in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom — is complicating the book’s prospects. Agents for the soldiers say that some publishers have balked, and in at least one case out of fear that the project would bolster conservative criticism of the Obama administration.

“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents.

“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” Durand wrote, “and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’” — a reference to the controversial book that raised questions about John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the midst of his 2004 presidential campaign. (Durand did not respond to requests for comment. “We do not comment about our editorial process,” said Paul Olsewski, vice president, director of publicity, at Atria.)

Simon & Schuster didn’t seem to mind publishing Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices and she’s using it for her own gain. Quite the double standard, no?

The rest here.


Silence from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on Ferguson, Too

by Greg Pollowitz

It’s not just the president who has been silent on the events in Ferguson, Mo.

Nancy Pelosi hasn’t said anything, but did find time to comment on her love of dark chocolate. . .

Harry Reid hasn’t said anything, but did find time to congratulate a local Little League team. . .

And David Axelrod hasn’t said anything, but find time to tweet this dig at Hillary Clinton. . .

Senator Claire McCaskill did tweet this, which I thought was appropriate and measured. . .

But other than McCaskill, why the silence, Dems?

Does President Obama Have a Problem with African-Americans Because of Ferguson?

by Greg Pollowitz

A quick search of Twitter for “#Ferguson Obama” results in a large number of tweets from African-Americans who aren’t happy that the president had time to make a statement on the death of Robin Williams while not addressing the police shooting of Michael Brown or the protests/riots in Ferguson, Mo.

Some examples:

I don’t believe Obama is anything but a puppet, so I am not surprised he hasn’t addressed the #Ferguson incident. Very little disappointment

— Trey (@loveand_beTREY) August 12, 2014


I’m a huge Obama supporter but 2 quickly comment on Robin Williams and to not even acknowledge #MikeBrown is a slap in the face. #Ferguson

— Kurt Hendrix (@outyourleague82) August 12, 2014




Just people mouthing off on Twitter or does the president have a problem? My thought: he has a big problem. Ferguson is going to prevent the president from doing anything major on immigration and will lower turnout for the Dems in the 2014 midterms.

ICYMI, Vox’s Matt Yglesias Didn’t Know President Ford Died in 2006

by Greg Pollowitz

In the middle of a discussion on his Twitter feed on the inequity of John F. Kennedy Jr. getting a second aircraft carrier bearing his name while Bill Clinton has none, Yglesias tweeted:

Good thing we have the thought leaders at Vox to explain stuff to us because it’s not like Wikipedia has any information on how the U.S. Navy names its ship.

WaPost: ‘Marco Rubio Is Balding. Will it Cost Him the Presidency?!?’

by Greg Pollowitz

The good news is that Rubio’s hairline won’t affect his chances. Now, can the Post please ask about Hillary Clinton’s “concussion.” Thanks!

‘Toddlers At Risk From Extremists’ -- Like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?

by Greg Pollowitz

An unfortunate headline and photo layout for The Daily Telegraph:

The Daily Telegraph later changed the headline to “Nurseries” in later print editions.

Ezra Klein: President Obama Broke ‘American Politics Even Further’

by Greg Pollowitz

Ezra Klein of Vox ’splains how President Obama created the current partisan/political divide by passing so much of his agenda:

Reid Cherlin nails the central irony of Barack Obama’s presidency in one sentence:

[T]hey have managed over six years to accomplish much of what Obama promised to do, even if accomplishing it helped speed the process of partisan breakdown.

The 2008 Democratic primary was, as Mark Schmitt wrote, a “theory of change” primary. The different candidates didn’t disagree all that much about what to do. They disagreed about how to get it done.

Hillary Clinton’s argument was that she best understood the conflictual nature of American politics: she had fought these battles before and so she was best positioned to win them in the future. Change would come through mastery of the old politics.

And. . .

Obama pushed more change through the political system than any serious observer expected: he passed health-care reform, as well as the largest stimulus and investment package in American history, and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms (which are working better than most realize). He brought the Iraq war to a close and he actually did find and kill Osama bin Laden. There’s much left on his to-do list, but even in places where he’s failed to pass his legislative remedies into law — like immigrant reform and cap-and-trade — he’s used or is using executive actions to make huge strides.

But he didn’t do all this by fixing American politics. He did all this by breaking American politics even further. Obama hasn’t healed the divisions between Democrats and Republicans. Rather, he’s one of the most polarizing presidents since the advent of polling. . .

Klein ends with this:

Obama has brought a lot of change to America. But he’s done it by accepting — and, in many cases, accelerating — the breakdown of American politics. Judged against the rhetoric of his campaign, his presidency has been both an extraordinary success and a complete failure.

The whole thing here.

The problem with Klein’s argument is he misses that the “successes” he cites are temporary and the issues will all be dumped on the next president. It’s a safe bet that Obamacare, whether it’s working or not, will change with the next president, either Democrat or Republican; Dodd-Frank hasn’t stopped banks and “too big to fail”; and Osama bin Laden is dead, but ISIS lives; we see increased instability, well, everywhere in the Middle East. 

Klein writes that the president is off to tackle climate change and immigration reform next, but the president has broken the system and only has executive actions left for both. And doing that will make it more likely that the Republicans take control of the Senate.