Russ Smith

Why John Pod's Wrong About A Rod & Co.

07.30.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs, Sports | 2 Comments
What’s worse: Barry Bonds’ performance-enhancing creams or Hall of Famer Tris Speaker’s KKK membership? And that’s not to mention the cocaine tooted in clubhouses in the 80s, the long tradition of players tossing a mouthful of uppers before an afternoon game, or Pete Rose ruining Ray Fosse’s career with a gratuitous body slam at the plate during the 1970 All Star game?

Welcome to the Terrordome

07.14.2005 | Russ Smith | International Affairs, Media Affairs | 2 Comments
Bush’s audacious foreign policy, which has tipped over the traditional playing board in the Middle East, won’t be realized during his second term. And perhaps it will be in vain. But his defiant stand in taking the war to the jihadists, on their home turf, is far more courageous—morally and politically—than doing nothing aside from chasing bin Laden and hoping that everything will turn out OK.

Tears of Rage, or, Observations on the Belligerent Opposition

06.30.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs, National Affairs | 2 Comments
Rove knew it was a win-win confrontation: At a time when Bush's poll numbers are slipping — although by reading The Times you'd think they were as low as Jimmy Carter's — Rove rallied conservatives with predictable but crowd-pleasing denunciations of luminaries like Michael Moore and the goofballs at MoveOn.org.
 
In the next news cycle, as Rove no doubt anticipated, profiles of courage such as Sens. Harry Reid (who's called Bush a "liar"), Chuck Schumer, Jon Corzine, Chris Dodd and John Kerry (labeled Bush an "idiot") were in an equally predictable dither.

Mugger Bites Wolff -- Our Man on a Media Pariah

05.23.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
Maybe he's the Jason Giambi of print journalism: Wolff's body didn't shrink and burst with parasites, but amongst the elite Manhattan lunch crowd he's a pariah.

Mugger Cleans House

05.6.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
Coulter's all-Democrats-are-losers shtick is so patronizing and shrill that it's diminished the smart commentary she produced before notoriety and the lecture circuit beckoned. Her shrieks put her in the undesirable company of Maureen Dowd, Rush Limbaugh and Paul Krugman -- media divas to avoid.

Times for a Name Change

04.7.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
It'd be an overdue act of integrity if the country's most influential liberal daily newspaper altered its name to The New York Times-Democrat. Any number of editorial employees might actually applaud the liberating move, but the "branding" implications would kill the idea in the business and marketing departments. Likewise, the elimination of the anachronistic and grand motto (and the Times sneers about George W. Bush's "hubris"!) "All the News That's Fit to Print" won't happen, even if the company's extensive tax breaks from the city aren't considered "news."

Condi. vs. Clinton? — GOP Dream Race Is a Pipe Dream 

It's true that Rice ranks high in the polls for possible contenders, alongside her fellow high name recognition non-starters Rudy Giuliani (way too socially liberal) and John McCain (too old, cranky and contradictory).

Mugger Weighs In On Press v. Pope

03.10.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs | 2 Comments
If a writer's going to attack a universally beloved figure the satire ought to be at least up to the standards of Christopher Hitchens.

The Myth of Yankee Class

03.5.2005 | Russ Smith | Sports
The Yankess have a long history of class, including Babe Ruth's off-field adventures, Mickey Mantle's sexcapades, George Steinbrenner's two suspensions from the game, drunkard Billy Martin's ignominious death in a ditch, Reggie Jackson's pale imitations of Muhammad Ali and Gary Sheffield's recent criticism of teammate and fellow steroid user Jason Giambi.

Bedtime for Gonzo

03.3.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
Nearly 30 years ago, Thompson gave a “lecture” at Johns Hopkins University and the auditorium was packed. He was fairly incoherent, and as a college reporter I asked the writer, already past his prime, if the bottle of Wild Turkey and six-pack of Budweiser on his podium were props. Thompson feigned disgust and dared me to come up onstage, much to the crowd’s delight, and sample the wares. I did, they were real, and he whispered in my ear, “Sorry to bust your balls, buddy, but that’s what I’m paid to do.”

Yeeeargh! Mugger On What Dean Means for the Dems

Can someone besides a besotted Deaniac explain how an "antiwar, anticorporate, anti-Bush" presidential candidate is going to conduct a 50-state campaign, especially without Bush on the ballot? The politics of The Nation have no chance of succeeding in any red states and, if too vituperative, could flip battlegrounds like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania to the GOP.

Starved Like a Wolff -- A Media Critic Loses His Way

02.17.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
I've always liked Wolff because he's one of the few Manhattan-based journalists who has thick skin and is honest about the fact that he chases and sucks up to media moguls like the young Jann Wenner used to cream in his jeans over Mick Jagger and John Lennon.

A Party Adrift

It’s time for Democrats to face unpleasant facts: Can anyone remember a period when the national party was as impotent, rudderless, and devoid of ideas as today?

The Times Takes a Pass on Social Security Realities

In any case, if one read only the Times -— and there is, believe it or not, a sub-species that does just that —- you'd think that unemployment was 20 percent rather than 5.2 percent, the Dow was crashing and toddlers were selling apples on the streets on Manhattan and Chicago.

Conflicts of Interest on Both Sides of the Aisle

02.2.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
In an environment where Bush-despising journalists are searching for any crumb of Republican impropriety, Williams' Alan Freed-like pocketing of $240,000 from the Department of Education is a whole loaf of rye. But American citizens will muddle through these footnotes.

Summers v. Women, Times v. Idol

01.26.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs, The Academy | 1 Comment
If Idol was on ABC, say, the editorial "American Awful" wouldn't have seen print. But with Rupert Jacob Marley Murdoch lurking between the lines, the Gray Lady saw red.

"Pajama Pundits" — Mugger Takes on the Bloggers

01.19.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
Alterman regales readers with the kind of extreme left-wing hootenanny that only an affluent Upper West Side intellectual could muster, mixed in with a dose of Rolling Stone-style celebrity worship, disdainful digs at the New York Observer (that paper's best writer, George Gurley, once made fun of Alterman) and nods to his friends who are also "progressive" thinkers.

The Ginned-Up Inaugural Bash Controversy

The implication is that had John Kerry bested Bush last November he'd have canceled all revelry, made a dignified address to the nation, and perhaps invited a few friends and advisers for cupcakes and coffee.

Tucker Trades Up

01.11.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
What, exactly, is the problem left-wing commentators have with Tucker Carlson's bow tie? It's a sartorial affectation, not as grand but similar to Tom Wolfe's white suits, not all that different from nose or genital piercings, baseball caps or, God rest his soul, Johnny Cash wearing nothing but black.

Goodbye Safire, Hello Citizen Kane 

01.4.2005 | Russ Smith | Media Affairs
Gregory Kane, the Baltimore Sun's finest columnist, is a talent who merits the national attention that the Times appointment carries. And as a black conservative, he's an excellent antidote to Bob Herbert, just one of many Times pundits who's a relic (at least in his opinions) from a time when Sid Vicious was still alive.

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