Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we’ll forgive you
We’ll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we’ll whistle and go fishing in heaven.
– John Prine
Except for the occasional post, I don’t really walk the Joke Line beat. God knows he has enough people sniggering at his complete inability to do more than indulge in Cocktail Weenie Reporting where he breathlessly and credulously takes notes over drinks, mashes them up with the conventional wisdom and hits ‘send’. Let’s face it: if want journalism go see Seymour Hersh. If you want to know about the crab puffs, talk to Klein.
Having said that, I find this particularly hilarious:
Iâ€™ve spent all morning on the phone trying to figure out who the editor at Time Magazine was on Joe Kleinâ€™s FISA column (the one Klein has now written about five times, fully admitting he never read the original bill). I finally confirmed that the editor was Priscilla Painton, and called her and identified myself. I asked her what the editing process was, and how a piece with so many errors made it into print.
â€œThat assumes that there are errors,â€ she said. And hung up on me.
I don’t know if Priscilla is embarrassed because she has been assigned Klein or because she’s the one who is going to have to explain to someone that fact-checking isn’t part of her job description. And it’s a pity because she always had such high ideals before:
MILES O’BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: “Time” Magazine has just unveiled its person of the year.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
O’BRIEN: And the drumroll has already happened.
WHITFIELD: That’s right. And this year, it’s not one, but as Miles alluded to earlier, it’s more than one. It’s three. Three people get the honor and they’re all women.
O’BRIEN: Dark horse candidates. These are the people who took personal and professional risks to blow the whistle in their various realms. Cynthia Cooper, Sherron Watkins and Coleen Rowley were catapulted into the national spotlight after reporting what went wrong at WorldCom, Enron and the FBI, respectively.
WHITFIELD: And now they’re being honored for doing the right thing.
O’BRIEN: Good choices, guys. I like it.
WHITFIELD: Yes, that’s certainly making a statement.
WHITFIELD: As is the pose on the cover. So joining us to talk more about this year’s People of the Year for “Time” magazine, from New York we have Priscilla Painton, executive editor of “Time” magazine.
Good to see you, Priscilla.
PRISCILLA PAINTON, EXEC. EDITOR, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Good to see you.
WHITFIELD: All right, was this an easy choice for your committee to make or was there quite a field of candidates?
PAINTON: Oh, I think there was quite a field of candidates. I mean, of course, you have to consider of the United States and we did. And we especially talked about the importance of his partnership with the vice president. You have to consider, you know, the generic category of the terrorists, you know, which had a huge effect on the news this year. But what we saw in these three women was ordinary people from the heartland doing an extraordinary thing, which is telling the truth, and telling the truth because they believed that telling the truth would improve change and redeem the institutions they love so much.
Apparently the FBI, WorldCom, and Enron still have a shot at redemption.
Time Magazine…not so much.