There’s Competence and Then There’s “Competence”

I’m coming a bit late to this because of server problems, but it’s something that’s been bugging me about the whole Reid-Pace “competence” imbroglio.
The question nagging at me is not who called whom incompetent or whether Reid was wrong or right to do so. I mean, Pace had just been fired, so Reid’s not that far off calling the former chair of the joint chief’s abilities into question.
No, what I wonder is why Reid’s comments didn’t get picked up by the bloggers in the conference call.
Why did the almost all of the liberal bloggers deny he said that Pace was incompetent when from the “transcript posted on Talking Points Memo”:http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2007/jun/14/obtained_a_tape_of_reids_conference_call_with_bloggers_reid_did_blast_pace, he did, and it appears pretty clear he’s talking about Pace? Did they screw up or are they trying to cover Reid’s ass, since he’s “on their team,” so to speak?
Now, I say this as a blogger with both indy cred — you’re reading it — and strong ties to the so-called MSM. But if bloggers are supposed to be an alternative/side dish or even an antidote to the excesses and failings of the mainstream press, why did they miss this? It’s a genuinely Big Deal, so was it a miss or a willful omission?
If it was a willful omission, it’s a horrible one. And it would prove that most liberal blogs — or conservative ones — shouldn’t be considered credible alternatives to anything if they can’t step up to their responsibility and report on newsworthy items even if it might get “their guy” in hot water. The right-wing blogosphere has had this problem for years now. Has it infected the left side as well?
On the other hand, if it’s a mistake, it’s a doozy. Any reporter who missed that would be tarred and feathered by editors. (And it’s significant that mainstream reporters in were the ones who broke this story, even though bloggers had every opportunity to break it.) So, why are the bloggers given a free pass on this lapse?
Indeed, it was Talking Points Memo itself that in 2002 was instrumental in bringing down another Senate majority leader. The mainstream press was heckled and criticized for missing Lott’s noxious comments. (And rightly so, in my opinion.)
But shouldn’t bloggers — in a friggin’ conference call with the current Senate majority Leader, for crissakes — need to be held to the same standards of accountability and, dare I say it, competence, that they hold the MSM to? Why the double standard?

Back Up and Running

BEIRUT — Hello all. Here at Back-to-Iraq.com, we’re back up and running at our new, zippy servers at LivingDot.com (who have been lovely, really.) Yahoo has been left in the dust, which was a long time coming. The domain may take a little while to propagate out, but within a couple of days, things should be back to normal.
This downtime came at a terrible time, what with things hotting up up north at Nahr el-Bared and Iraq always on fire. I’ve also got a nasty eye problem at the moment that prevents me using the computer for long, but that also should be cleared up in a couple of days.
In other news, I’m due to start a column for Spot-on.com soon, which will in theory put me on the Op-Ed pages of the Washington Post.. Look for that to happen this week or next.
I’m also the new US media roundup writer for IraqSlogger.com, Eason Jordan’s amazing all-Iraq news site. Please be sure and check it out.
So, as soon as the eye gets better, I’ll see you all (heh) then. In the mean time, I’ll bug Johannes to write some more posts.

Seeking hosting solution

OK. This has gotten out of hand. I’m hoping some of you dear readers can point me in the right direction. I’m on Yahoo’s Small Business plan for hosting this blog and it’s less than optimal. It’s slow, and I often can’t get into the blog because of 500 Internal Server Error messages, preventing me from combating comment spam or rebuilding individual archives.
So if anyone can recommend a good host provider, who can make the transfer of files to their servers easy, I’d be most grateful. The provider should understand and support Moveable Type blogs installations and it would be ideal if it supports dynamic publishing. (You bloggy types know what I’m talking about.)
Please drop me a line or leave a comment if you have any ideas on hosting.
Thanks!
The Management

New authors at B2I

I’d like to take a moment an introduce B2I’s newest writer, Johannes Koch, who will be blogging from London and the U.S. on American policy and media analysis for the site.
Johannes is a German/Indian journalist who has been living, studying and working in London for the past five years. After graduating with a BA in journalism and politics went on to complete a masters of international studies/politics at the Universities of Birmingham and Melbourne. He’s moving to New York in August where he will continue to freelance and hopefully write for us!
His political interests include U.S. foreign policy (especially in the Middle East), international law and peacekeeping.
His first entry will be coming later today and will look at the implications of any Turkish actions across the Iraqi border for US policy as well as what it might mean for the U.S.-Turkish relationship.
*UPDATE:* It’s up.
I will be doing minimal editing once he gets the hang of B2I, except for perhaps little style issues, such as blockquotes, italics and the like.
Secondly, another writer will soon be joining us, a top-notch journalist based here in Lebanon with me. She’s Lebanese and brings a unique perspective to B2I. Also, if any of my journo friends from Iraq and elsewhere — and I know you guys read this — want to contribute as a “guest poster” basis, please drop me a line.

Calling Middle East bloggers

BEIRUT — Taking a break from all the news, I’d like to throw something out there and see what gets picked up.
Would you like to be part of the B2I team? (Which, at the moment, is me.) Would you like to blog on Iraq, Syria, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East? Would you like to make some cash while you’re doing it? (Assuming people donate, of course.)
I’m looking for one or two people who can help me out here with covering Iraq, Syria and Egypt, although I’ll entertain other locales or if you move around. Someone to blog from Washington or New York about how news in the Middle East is playing would be great, too.
The ideal candidates should be energetic, hungry and have some journalism training. Fluency in English is a must, as well as the ability to look at things as objectively as possible. I want to continue to give observations and news as it’s seen, not as how most people want it to be seen. No left- or right-wing true believers need apply.
If you’re a freelance journalist in the region and want to have a wider outlet than some of the trade journals might offer, please consider signing up. I’m working out out a donations-sharing system, by which you would reap rewards for your work. It’s not much, but it can help.
Best of all, you get to be part of a blog that single-handedly started the the idea of reader-funded conflict reporting. B2I is still a strong brand and people in the journalism world know it. It’s still read at newspapers and magazines in New York, Washington and elsewhere. Here’s your chance to get some exposure, if you need it.
If you’re interested, please email me with a CV, a cover letter and three writing samples.
Thanks very much,
The Management