Rumsfeld Does One Thing Right (Finally)

First the additional Humvee armor, now this. Seasonable sentimentality? Or perhaps the government can be shamed into acting better. As Stars & Stripes reports:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will begin personally signing condolence letters sent to families of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, after receiving criticism over his use of mechanical signatures.

Rumsfeld tacitly admitted that in the past he has not personally signed the letters, but said he was responsible for writing and approving each of the 1,000-plus messages sent to the fallen soldiers' families.

"I have directed that in the future I sign each letter," he said in the statement.

Several families of troops killed overseas said they were sure the notes they received had not been signed by hand, and said they were angry that Rumsfeld was not paying attention to their loss.

Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, an author and frequent critic of the Department of Defense, publicly criticized Rumsfeld in a syndicated column earlier this month for not reviewing each KIA letter personally.

He called the fake signatures "like having it signed by a monkey."

"Using those machines is pretty common, but it shouldn't be in cases of those who have died in action," he said. "How can [DOD officials] feel the emotional impact of that loss if they're not even looking at the letters?"If Only Christians Can Write About Jesus, Shouldn't Newsweek Hire Muslims to Write About Bin Laden?

Loose Canon has written several times about the recent--and simultaneous--Time and Newsweek cover stories about Christianity. She claims they weren't very popular among what might be called their "target audience."

Yesterday she ventured an opinion as to why that might be. That is, she quotes Hugh Hewitt, a Weekly Standard writer, who notes:

...magazine editors and book publishers have come to understand the size of the market for stories on faith, but find themselves staffed almost exclusively with skeptics of one degree or another--usually extreme skeptics.
LC doesn't add anything of her own. This leads me to think she agrees with Hewitt, who is, most recently, the author of an elegantly titled book called "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It."

There is no point debating a guy whose argument is--as an Amazon reader notes approvingly--"your life as an American depends on Democrats not getting elected to public office." The last thing Hewitt is interested in is an America where tolerance rules; he's a classic case who loathes all media he and his kind don't control. And so one must ask, yet again: Why do these people hate America?

In fact, it makes absolutely no difference what a reporter "believes." Talent matters. Fairness matters. A passion for knowledge and understanding matters. An interest in learning and writing the truth--that matters a whole lot. Hit all those notes, and I'll read you on any subject.

LC and her pals want nice, tidy, second-rate newspapers and magazines that have all the certainty of Fox News. In recent years, they've had great success in getting their way. But I have to wonder: Why are they always complaining? If they're so incredibly talented, why don't they try to get jobs at Time and Newsweek? I can't believe, if their talents are superior, that their beliefs will get in the way.

But what Hewitt wants isn't better journalism, it's public relations. A perfectly legit field. Just let's not confuse it with the work done by Edward R. Murrow, Bernstein & Woodward or...

Media Person of the Year: Helen Thomas

This Sunday night on Topic A with Tina Brown (CNBC, 8 and 11 PM ET), you can learn who won's poll for "media person of the year." I work on this show, but I have no idea who the winner is. I am, however, fairly confident it's not Helen Thomas, who is known as the "First Lady of the Press"-- though not by the Bush press representatives.

Most of the journalists who cover the White House can't get the ball over the net, much less serve aces--they're a disgrace to their profession. But then there's Helen, with nearly six decades of reporting behind her, not at all interested in retiring--or kissing ass. Here's a sample of Helen taking on Ari Fleischer, early in 2003: