What is it they say about the five questions every journalist should answer in every news report? Who, what, when, why, where, right?
The intriguing David Kirkpatrick piece in today's New York Times about a group of Hollywood celebrities intervening in the Rhode Island Senate race kinda flunks that test.
Yeah, the "what" is explained pretty thoroughly: the letter blasts the likely Senate candidacy of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, for his "radically anti-choice" views. And it endorses the candidacy of Langevin's potential Democratic rival, R.I. Secretary of State Matt Brown.
But the "who" and "where" part gets kinda murky. While the identity of the group's leader, Victoria Hopper (His Infernal Majesty Dennis' spouse), is clear, you have to read down seven graphs to infer they are all women. And you never learn the name of the letter's addressee. Is it an open letter? A letter to the Democrats of Rhode Island? A letter to the alleged ringleader of the conspiracy to tap Langevin, Democratic Senatorital Campaign Committee chair Sen. Chuck Schumer? (If it was addressed to Shumer, I'm sure he was surprised to see himself described as a "conservative Democrat.")
I obviously don't know the answer to that question, but it raises another one: What did the signatories to this missive hope to accomplish?
I have no particular brief for Langevin, and I do have a favorable impression of Matt Brown. Moreover, I do not think you have to nominate pro-life candidates to convey a more inclusive message on abortion or other cultural issues. And finally, I fully acknowledge that any group of Democratic women, of whatever size or provenance, has the moral standing to address the issue of their own right to choose in whatever forum they prefer.
But given current perceptions of the Democratic Party, I can't see it does a lot of good for Hollywood muckety-mucks to instruct Democrats on the other side of the country about the candidates they are permitted to run for office, even the day after Oscar Night. Let the Democratic voters of Rhode Island sort this one out.