Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

As of 1:52 AM on the East Coast, about a quarter of the votes are in in the run-off race to replace Duke Cunningham. 50% to the Republican Brian Bilbray and 44% to Democrat Francine Busby.

From those of you at the AP, or in touch with those who are, keep the tips coming. Confidentiality, of course, protected in all cases.

Room on the docket (from WaPo) ...

A registered lobbyist opened a retirement account in the late 1990s for the wife of then-House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and contributed thousands of dollars to it while also paying her a salary to work for him from her home in Texas, according to sources, documents and DeLay's attorney, Richard Cullen.

The account represents a small portion of the income that DeLay's family received from entities at least partly controlled by lobbyist Edwin A. Buckham. But the disclosure of its origin adds to what was previously known about the benefits DeLay's family received from its association with Buckham, and it brings the total over the past seven years to about half a million dollars.

I guess this is part of how DeLay never profited from any of this personally.

Late Update: Paul Kiel has more.

UPI's Pamela Hess ...

When the Senate took $1.9 billion out of the war supplemental to fund border security last month, $1.6 billion came out of funds to replace equipment destroyed or worn out from four years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The money was diverted at the behest of the White House in a last-minute bid to address growing political unrest about illegal immigration. The Office of Management and Budget championed the change without input from the Army or the Marine Corps whose budgets were sliced, a Pentagon budget official told United Press International last week.

Full story here (reg.req.).

It's just gets better and better from the AP. We've now gotten our hands on a copy of the internal email which includes the list of runners-up for the award granted to Solomon's bamboozling Reid coverage.

A couple examples of the runner-ups ...

Seth Hettena in San Diego, for being first to report that murder charges were imminent against seven Pendleton Marines and a Navy corpsman for the April killing of an Iraqi man in Hamandiya.

Hettena's also done a lot of good Duke coverage. Sure glad he didn't win.

Also coming up short was ...

Margie Mason, Asia Medical Writer, for outgunning the competition on the latest outbreak of bird flu, on Sumatra. When a family on the Indonesian island was decimated by the disease, she tracked down the family's lone survivor _ a man who was hospitalized and recovering in a nearby city. Mason interviewed him and his mother, who was taking care of him. Their comments revealed an alarming mindset that denied bird flu existed and blamed the Tamiflu drugs for the deaths.

Bird flu? Who cares about bird flu? Surprised this was even a runner-up.

See the whole email here.

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Jim McCrery says that next year's the year to finally phase out Social Security, says Congress should "start all over" on privatization next year. Late Update: Rep. McCrery was actually quite a waffler and a warbler on Social Security phase-out during all the hijinks last year. Here's the reporting TPM did on McCrery last year.

Later Update: The Stakeholder has yet more.

Greg Sargent has some follow-up on what he calls the Associated Press's "deeply perverse" decision to reward John Solomon for his flawed and tendentious reporting on Sen. Harry Reid. As Greg notes, the AP apparently saw it as a positive that Solomon's reporting had ignited such a storm in the blogosphere.

The nature of the firestorm apparently didn't matter.

But I would say that it is more than that the reaction was critical. There were actually quite detailed critiques that pointed to numerous errors in Solomon's reporting and repeated instances of tendentious misconstrual or ommission of key facts. In short, it was bad and in several instances mendacious reporting.

The AP ignored most of those criticisms and responded with at least two demonstrably false claims about TPMmuckraker.com's reporting on Solomon's series. Not judgment calls, straight-out false claims, which they've made no effort to retract or clarify. (There was a much lengthier exchange with TPMmuckraker and Media Matters. But I point out these falsehoods as an example of the caliber of the response.)

These criticisms aren't restricted to the blogosphere. They were shared by a number of mainstream media reporters I discussed this with. It was simply that these criticisms only found voice on the blogs because of reporters' deep reluctance to criticize colleagues.

There was nothing about this sorry episode that deserved praise or reward, even in an informal newsroom way. It's hard to see the AP in the same light again. But it does renew my sense of why we do what we do and reminds me of the essential corruption of much of the national political press. Washington's a funny place.

Remember last week we reported extensively on AP reporter John Solomon's reporting on Sen. Harry Reid. Well, apparently, that's exactly the sort of excellence the editors at the AP are shooting for.

Here's the text of an internal email sent out to AP staff announcing the award Solomon got for the pieces in question ...

Dear Staffers:

It was the most talked-about, blogged-about political story of the week _ twice.

First, John Solomon in Washington broke the news that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid had accepted free ringside seats to three pro boxing matches from the Nevada agency that was trying to influence his legislation to bring federal oversight to the sport.

Then Solomon followed up by describing how Reid returned home to Nevada and misstated the ethics rules in an effort to defend himself. Ultimately, the Senate leader reversed course, admitted he misstated the rules and promised never again to accept free tickets from special interests.

The exclusive resulted from several tips that came in after Solomon and Sharon Theimer wrote a series of stories about gifts lawmakers got from fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Before his report moved, Solomon had a one-hour interview with Reid in his Capitol office where Reid uttered his widely quoted declaration that, "I'm not Goodie Two-Shoes."

AP secured the rights to HBO video footage showing Reid in his free ringside seats at one of the fights, and that footage became the centerpiece of an OVN package and also was used by the TV networks and in frame grabs in newspapers. Solomon also did an audio Q&A for radio and Web customers. The story and video won widespread play on the Web fronts and newspaper fronts, and stirred an enormous debate in the blogosphere, generating more than 10,000 postings and more than a dozen newspapers wrote editorials chastising Reid, including USA Today.

For his work giving AP ownership of this high-profile story, Solomon wins this week's prize of $500.

AP Director of Media Relations confirmed to TPMmuckraker's Paul Kiel that the email "was sent to all AP staff as part of AP's weekly recognition of staff reporters."

Speaks for itself.

Just in time?

From CBSNews: "U.S. officials believe Canadian arrests over the weekend and three recent domestic incidents in the United States are evidence the U.S. will soon be hit again by a terrorist attack. Privately, they say, they'd be surprised if it didn't come by the end of the year, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart in a CBS News exclusive."