Zoe Schlanger

Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at zoe@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Zoe

The New York Post was derided Tuesday for apparent inaccuracies in its reporting on the bombing at the Boston Marathon. And now, its rival tabloid, the Daily News, is facing criticism over an apparent photo touch-up.

On yesterday's cover wrap, the News ran a photo taken by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe showing an injured woman lying in a pool of blood while being tended to by a civilian.

It was one of many widely circulated images capturing the moments after explosives were detonated near the finish line of the marathon on Monday afternoon, killing at least three and wounding more than 170 in a likely terrorist attack about which police are still scrambling to scare up leads.

But the version published by the News seemed to erase a gory wound to the woman's leg that was visible in other publications that used the photo. On Tuesday evening, a link to a blog post exposing the manipulation began circulating among News journalists, some of whom were none-too-pleased about the situation, multiple newsroom sources told Capital.

"If you can't stomach the gore, don't run the photo. Period," wrote Charles Apple, the author of the blog post and an editor at the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif. He also noted that Newark's Star-Ledger ran the same photo on page one exactly as it had been taken by the Globe photographer.

In deciding to run the photo, the News was confronted with the same conundrum facing all news outlets covering the Boston tragedy, or any violent story for that matter: Whether or not certain images are simply too grisly for public consumption.

But in altering it, the paper violated a basic journalistic principle.

"Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context," according to the ethics code for the National Press Photographers Association, a professional society. "Do not manipulate images ... in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects."

Several News insiders told Capital the decision to alter the photo came straight from the top of the masthead.

"Photographers and editors are so embarrassed and saddened by this," said one source.

Reached for comment this morning, a News spokesperson would only say: "The Daily News does not comment on its editorial decision-making."

A spokesperson for the Globe also declined to comment.

Capital New York is a website about how New York City works, featuring news, analysis and investigations on politics, media, culture and sports. For more, visit http://www.capitalnewyork.com/. (c) 2012 Capital New York.

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Some stand in silence while others shout 'Tory scum' as funeral procession passes on way to St Paul's. Read this story on the Guardian here.

Hundreds of protesters turned their back on Margaret Thatcher's funeral procession on Wednesday during a highly charged but peaceful demonstration.

People gathered at Ludgate Circus near the end of the route, where organisers had called for a silent protest against Thatcher and her policies.

In the event there were shouts of "what a waste of money" and "Tory scum" as Thatcher's coffin passed by at about 10.45am although there were no reports of violence. Similar shouts at other points on the route were drowned out by rival clapping from supporters of Thatcher.

Rebecca Lush Blum, 41, from Hampshire, who set up a Facebook group to organise the event, said she was pleased people had been allowed to voice their anger at Thatcher's legacy.

"We have shown the world that not everyone in this country thinks Margaret Thatcher was a great thing for this country ... today felt like an important moment in the battle over what her legacy is and what sort of country we want so I am pleased that our voice was heard."

Police had told Blum that the protest could go ahead and by 9.30am around 100 people had gathered at Ludgate Circus. As the first ceremonial military band went past just before 10am there were boos and cries of "waste of money" from protesters. Thatcher supporters - including one man on a balcony overlooking the crowd in a suit and Thatcher T-shirt - clapped and cheered.

Numbers of protesters swelled and by the time Thatcher's coffin went by at 10.45 police at the scene estimated there were about 300 protesters.

The atmosphere was tense, with military personnel gathered at the other side of the road, clapping and cheering.

Dave Winslow, 22, an anthropology student from Durham who was holding an acrylic placard reading "Rest of us in Poverty" and wearing a T-shirt with the messages "Power to the people" and "Society does exist", was one of those who wanted a silent protest.

"We want to maintain a dignified protest. It's counterproductive to cat-call and sing Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead. The message is that spending £10m on such a divisive figure in times of austerity, especially when austerity is being imposed on the poor, is wrong, especially when harm is being caused to the disabled and the NHS."

There was a heavy police presence during the protest with "liaison officers" mingling with the crowd and heavily armed police standing guard at the barriers along the route. Armed officers also took up positions on surrounding buildings.

Once the coffin had passed some protesters were visibly moved. One man, who did not want to give his name, had tears in his eyes. He said: "She ruined my family's life. She took my dad's job, everything ... I promised myself I would come here for this day years ago."

Julie Guest, who had been in Iraq in 1998, said she pledged she would come when she saw a six-year-old Iraqi boy die because sanctions had stopped him getting medical treatment.

"The consequences of her policies have spread a long way in this country and abroad and I said to myself when I saw that boy die that I would remember him when this day came."

The funeral procession passed within a couple of minutes and the crowd began to disperse. Blum, 41, who had been besieged by media since the story about her planned protest appeared in the Guardian on Monday, said she was pleased and moved by what had happened.

"It's provocative to have a state funeral for such a controversial politician, and I wanted to remember and respect all those who suffered under Margaret Thatcher. I think we did that today."

The Metropolitan police said: "Additional police officers assisted their colleagues on ceremonial duty who were lining the route around Ludgate Circus after a barrier was pushed. There was a small group of protestors behind the barrier.

"The incident occurred a short distance away from the funeral cortege. [There were] no arrest[s] and no interaction between police and protestors.

"Police also received reports of items being thrown towards the funeral cortege, however we can confirm that these were flowers."

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

The Guardian is an independent, global news organisation that invests in original journalism and in-depth analysis. For more from the Guardian, visit http://www.guardiannews.com. © 2011 Guardian News And Media Limited.

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The remarkable ride for Bitcoin traders continues today.

The virtual currency is now trading at $115, nearly double where it was yesterday, when Bitcoin plummeted to a low of $60 following a 12-hour trading halt on the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox.

On Wednesday, the currency topped out at $266 after staging an incredible run from levels around $15 in January.

The chart below, which goes back to April 6, shows the big crash this week and the big rebound over the last 24 hours or so.

bitcoin chart

READ MORE -- A complete guide to what Bitcoin really is >

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Business Insider is a new business site with deep financial, entertainment, green tech and digital industry verticals. The flagship vertical, Silicon Alley Insider, launched on July 19, 2007, led by DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan and former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget.

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The Guardian is an independent, global news organisation that invests in original journalism and in-depth analysis. For more from the Guardian, visit http://www.guardiannews.com. © 2011 Guardian News And Media Limited.

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UPDATE: Comixology says it, not Apple, was responsible for blocking an issue of the Saga comic that contained images of gay sex. Story here.

The Guardian is an independent, global news organisation that invests in original journalism and in-depth analysis. For more from the Guardian, visit http://www.guardiannews.com. © 2011 Guardian News And Media Limited.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo this morning denied that he was seeking to unseat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as part of some sort of larger anti-corruption crusade in Albany.

"It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader," said Cuomo (who has been involved with the leadership question in the Senate, approving Republican-gerrymandered lines and tacitly blessing a coalition with breakaway Democrats that has kept the chamber out of Democratic hands). "I would never even for a moment try to influence that decision."

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That faint rumble you heard on Friday afternoon was the sound of a thousand gleeful conspiracy-theorists firing up their webcams (and bobbing excitedly in their desk chairs like a kid at a toy store) as Vice President Joe Biden used the term "New World Order" when describing trade laws at the Export-Import Bank Conference in Washington.

Speaking as he was turning the page of a mostly unscripted speech, Biden said the following:

The affirmative task before us is to create a new world order because the global order is changing again...

The New World Order, along with being an outstanding late-90s wrestling stable, is a favorite of the conspiracy-minded the world over, who believe it to be a code-word for the rise of a totalitarian one-world government, orchestrated by the powerful and elite who would like to officially replace the sovereignty of individual nations (as opposed to unofficially, as they mostly do now). Used initially during the upheavals of the early-20th century by figures like Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, the NWO theory became popular among right-wing extremists following the use of the term by President George H.W. Bush in a 1990 speech describing a post-soviet world. Televangelist Pat Robertson (of course) helped popularize the theory in his 1991 book, The New World Order, which outlined the evils of the Federal Reserve and Wall Street.

Alex Jones, speaker of unadulterated truths, hopped onto his site, InfoWars, to call out the VP for his admission of the approaching one world government:

Vice President Joe Biden threw caution to the wind Friday as he shockingly declared, "The affirmative task we have now is to actually create a new world order," adding yet another admission to an already long list of documented globalist bragging of plans for a centralized, one-world global government.

To Jones, the list is long of nations working with multinational banks to come to terms on how to govern and trade with one another. Which is true! Very true. Unfortunately for unhinged conspiracy theorists like Jones, the actual source of this coordination isn't some nefarious, highly intricate plot by the Illuminati or some secret one-government cabal that uses FEMA camps to detain and reprogram American citizens, but simply the entire basis of global capitalism.

Still, Friday was a banner day for conspiracy theorists everywhere, as a blunder from a Vice President known for making blunders has reignited another failed discussion of how to understand the world.

Gawker dishes the nation's most current and cutting gossip across media, entertainment, technology, and business. Founded in 2002 and namechecked frequently in mainstream publications, the site is essential reading for those who want big media hypocrisy debunked and faux-sincerity exposed, all with a healthy dose of snark.

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When TechCrunch founder turned venture capitalist Mike Arrington was accused last week of rape and abuse by an ex-girlfriend, many in Silicon Valley were shocked, but not entirely surprised. This is because rumors that Arrington abused women have circulated almost from the time he started his career in the tech industry. Gawker has learned of two previous instances, a decade apart, in which Arrington was accused of violent, abusive behavior towards women. One--in which a coworker and ex-girlfriend accused him of assaulting her in a hotel room--resulted in an internal investigation by his then-employer. In the other incident, he allegedly threw a different girlfriend against a wall. Neither episode ended in any real fallout for Arrington.

Last week, entrepreneur Jenn Allen, who used to date Arrington, publicly accused him of physical abuse and rape in a Facebook post and in a comment on a subsequent Gawker story. The accusations have been much-discussed, at least in private, at least among the Silicon Valley elite, of which Arrington is a truculent but influential member. And it has opened the floodgates, as former friends and colleagues come forward with their own troubling stories about Arrington's past.

Arrington launched TechCrunch in 2005 and quickly became known as an important powerbroker in the hyper-competitive tech start up world. By 2008, Arianna Huffington was calling him "one of the most influential figures on the Web." Coverage on TechCrunch has typically been a coveted prize for new companies hoping to attract investors. And Arrington savvily used the blog as leverage to wedge himself into a position of power far exceeding even the most prominent tech-blog star. He developed a fearsome reputation as an unapologetic asshole who was unafraid to promise favorable coverage to those who helped him out. He was ultimately forced out of the site after stretching the boundary between journalist and insider by launching his own venture capital fund to invest millions in the very start ups TechCrunch covered.

Arrington began his tech career in 1999, leaving a job at prestigious Silicon Valley law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati to work in business development at a new startup called RealNames, which hoped to replace complex web domain names with simple phrases. The first incident uncovered by Gawker occurred there: In late 1999, Arrington was investigated for allegedly assaulting a female RealNames sales representative, according to Cecile DeSmet Sharp, the director of human resources at RealNames at the time.

The accusation stemmed from a conference that Arrington and the coworker, along with a number of other RealNames employees, attended in the fall of 1999, Sharp said. According to Sharp and another source familiar with the allegations, the coworker claimed that one night during an altercation in a hotel room, Arrington violently threw her onto a bed and held her down so hard that she ended up with fingerprint bruises on her arms.

"I believe he threw her onto the bed. And she started kicking and he held her down really hard," Sharp told Gawker.

Soon after the conference, the coworker told Sharp what had happened and showed her bruises on her arm that she said were from the assault. "She felt very uncomfortable coming into the office with [Arrington] there," Sharp said. Sharp said she told RealNames VP of administration Jim Strawbridge and CEO Keith Teare about the incident, and an outside firm was called in to conduct an investigation.

The matter was complicated by the fact that Arrington and the coworker had been in an on-again-off-again relationship, according to Sharp, although they were not dating at the time of the alleged assault. The investigation reached an uncertain conclusion. Arrington was reprimanded, and a note about the incident was put in his file. But he faced no material punishment, according to Sharp.

"He got his hand slapped when it should have been something more," Sharp said. She believes he was protected by his close relationship with Keith Teare, RealNames' CEO. (Teare later co-founded TechCrunch with Arrington in 2005.) The incident was whispered about at RealNames, but when another former employee asked about it at the time, he was rebuffed and told that it was a confidential HR issue. "It was a scandal, just buried under the rug," the former employee told Gawker. "I was essentially told to look the other way."

A few months later, in the spring of 2000, Arrington left RealNames voluntarily, according to Sharp. He soon founded Achex, an internet payment company.

Cecile Sharp left RealNames the next year, partly due to the way they handled the incident. "I lost a lot of respect for the management team," she said. She's speaking out now about the 1999 incident because the disheartening similarity of Jenn Allen's allegations left her "sick to my stomach."

"This has to stop," said Sharp, now a 54-year-old sociology graduate student in Arizona who has a daughter in the tech industry. "If you're a parent and you have daughters, you don't want your daughters to experience this bullshit."

(The coworker who made the allegation against Arrington declined to comment for the record when reached by phone. Sources who corroborated Sharp's account would only agree to speak to Gawker on the condition that we withhold the coworker's name; we agreed.)

In 2009, ten years after the RealNames incident, Arrington was again the subject of rumors he'd assaulted a woman. This time the alleged victim was Meghan Asha, a well-known Silicon Valley socialite and entrepreneur who, according to a friend, had an on-and-off relationship with Arrington for three years, starting around 2007. On September 12th, 2009 Asha flew from New York City, where she lives, to San Francisco. This coincided with the start of the TechCrunch50, a Bay Area tech conference that Arrington organized with his former business partner Jason Calacanis.

On the last night of the conference, a group of attendees including Calacanis, former TechCrunch writer Paul Carr, and Loren Feldman were celebrating at an afterparty at San Francisco's 5A5 steakhouse. The group was having fun "drunk-dialing" various friends and tech personalities, when one woman Calacanis called brought the festivities to a halt: According to two sources familiar with the call, the woman, a good friend of Asha's, told Calacanis that Arrington had attacked Asha that night, throwing her against the wall in a hotel room.

"It was all in good fun and [Calacanis] is suddenly white with a somber face and he's doing a lot of listening," said a person who was with Calacanis during the call. "When he hung up he basically said 'Holy Shit, Mike roughed up Meghan and she split.'"

"There was a call from [the friend]," Calacanis told Gawker. "But I don't feel comfortable discussing what she said."

Carr, whose company NSFW Corp. raised $25,000 from Arrington's CrunchFund, said he vaguely remembered the call. But "I have zero recollection of a conversation involving allegations of abuse. That doesn't mean the conversation didn't happen, of course."

The incident is hinted at in Asha's Twitter feed from the time, which showed her eagerly flying out to the conference from New York, only to return early and with a "breaking" heart.

It was the culmination of a turbulent day for Arrington. Earlier, he'd oddly failed to show up at an awards show that was supposed to be the highlight of the conference. Calcanis would later say the two had a fight that night that led to the end of the TechCrunch50 and their business partnership.

According to one friend, Asha openly shares with friends that Arrington had abused her--mostly emotionally, but sometimes physically. "I've heard it straight from Meghan that Arrington abused her, and she did mention the wall-shoving incident," the friend told Gawker. In tech circles, rumors have circulated about Asha and Arrington for years, but she has never publicly addressed them. "I know she's previously stated that she wants to put the whole thing behind her as the reason why she won't come forward," said the friend.

Arrington has not responded to repeated requests for comment. Asha declined to comment as well. Keith Teare, the former CEO of RealNames, hasn't responded to a Facebook message.

Update: In a Facebook message, RealNames' former CEO Keith Teare confirmed that Arrington was the subject of an accusation and investigation, but said he was found to have done nothing wrong and was not reprimanded, as Sharp claimed.

Teare wrote:

Mike was indeed the subject of an accusation at RealNames. As is normal in these circumstances an outside party was hired to conduct an investigation. This was extensive and I was never directly involved in it as I was not a witness to any events. The investigation concluded that there was no behavior to answer for. Mike was never reprimanded in any way. Both parties asked for confidentiality and to date this has been honored

Given the outcome of the investigation and the mutual desire for confidentiality I am shocked and disturbed that a former HR professional can both disclose the information and also get the fact wrong

[Image via Getty]

Gawker dishes the nation's most current and cutting gossip across media, entertainment, technology, and business. Founded in 2002 and namechecked frequently in mainstream publications, the site is essential reading for those who want big media hypocrisy debunked and faux-sincerity exposed, all with a healthy dose of snark.

Read More →

Ten years ago today, somewhere south of Baghdad, the editor and columnist Michael Kelly became the first journalist to die in the invasion of Iraq. His Humvee, reportedly under fire, went off the road and rolled into a canal. And there, inside some two and a half tons of the world's finest military equipment, he drowned.

Writing the news in the New York Times, the reporter David Carr added, "The driver was also killed." 

War is stupid. War kills people. War kills people in stupid ways, and in unanticipated ways, and in multiples. These are not complicated facts, but they were too complicated for Michael Kelly. They were too complicated for a lot of people, 10 years ago and, despite everything, remain so even now. Kelly's wrongness about war, though, was loud and it was authoritative, and it is still out there being received as wisdom--the wisdom possibly of a saint, martyred to the cause of journalism.

It is essential for any number of reasons to say here that Michael Kelly's death was a painful loss for many good people. He was beloved by the people who worked with him and for him, and many fine journalists feel personally and professionally grateful for his kindness and generosity. He was by all accounts a devoted son, husband, and father. 

But: The driver was also killed. And so were more than 4,400 other American troops. And so were more than 200 other journalists and their assistants. And so were an uncountable number of Iraqis--so many that we do not even know how many tens of thousands of them there were, each one as alive and individual and human as Michael Kelly was.

Most of them did not leave as clear a record of their thoughts as Michael Kelly did. Here are a few of Kelly's writings, composed and published as a bad and foolish idea was becoming an inevitable fact of history:

We are in a position of triumph, and potentially much greater triumph. A few months ago, all was still in tatters. Hussein still defied with impunity, still ruled unchallenged over his torture state, still schemed to advance his dreams of himself as the atomic Saladin... The will of one man, George W. Bush, changed all this.

[H]undreds of thousands of marchers--and many more millions who did not march--believe quite sincerely that theirs is a profoundly moral cause, and this is really all that motivates them. They believe, as French President Jacques Chirac recently pontificated, that 'war is always the worst answer.'

The people who believe what Chirac at least professes to believe are, in the matter of Iraq, as wrong as it is possible to be. Theirs is not the position of profound morality but one that stands in profound opposition to morality.

Tyranny truly is a horror: an immense, endlessly bloody, endlessly painful, endlessly varied, endless crime against not humanity in the abstract but a lot of humans in the flesh. It is, as Orwell wrote, a jackboot forever stomping on a human face.

...[A]ny rescue of a people under the boot (be they Afghan, Kuqaiti, or Iraqi) is something to be desired. Even if the rescue is less than perfectly realized. Even if the rescuer is a great, overmuscled, bossy, selfish oaf. Or would you, for yourself, choose the boot?

Remembering Kelly yesterday--as a foe of "the pompous, the dishonest, the phony, the self-satisfied, the morally safe and smug, the debauched, the downright evil"--Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal praised the clarity and force of that jackboot column:

In all the arguments about the war, both before and after Kelly's death, I have never seen this basic moral point convincingly refuted by anyone.

Let me try. While we are hypothetically choosing what to do with our faces, would Bret Stephens prefer that his be metaphorically stomped on by a metaphorical jackboot--or that it be literally stabbed with a literal power drill, over and over, blood and bone spraying everywhere till the life ebbed from his agonized and mutilated body? Because that is what some Iraqis got out of the deal, in fact. That was their less than perfectly realized rescue: torture, chaos, horror, and death. Barbers murdered by vigilante religious fanatics for the crime of cutting hair. Total and shapeless war.

A decade before, Kelly had written a sharp book, Martyrs' Day, about the absurdity and savagery he'd observed during a "small war," the spell of combat we now erroneously refer to as the first Gulf War. But by 2003, he was too pompous and self-satisfied to see any real trouble coming. He had retreated into the strange cartoon world of Washington politics and punditry, in which you are considered a hard-nosed realist if you believe that armed force solves problems, and a useless idealist if you believe armed force might create new problems.

Kelly devoted a column to his contempt for the Clinton administration's Iraq policy and the "deep and subtle and clever people" who had maintained that sanctions were weakening Saddam Hussein's regime. "I am thankful that we live in reality again," he wrote, praising the "accruing foreign policy triumphs of the Bush administration." Under Clinton, he wrote, Iraq had "waged a war of attrition against the United States...almost daily firing on warplanes assigned to patrol the peace."

As long as people are invoking Orwell, "patrol the peace" is a particularly impressive construction. This is the falsehood from which all the other falsehoods followed: that the "Gulf War" had ever ended. After our armed forces pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991, the United States did not make peace. Instead, we settled into a state-of-the-art version of the ancient and brutal form of warfare called the siege, using our overwhelming advantage in air power to slowly crush and starve the enemy.

It was cruel, and it was cruellest to ordinary Iraqis. Our practical-minded war poets, agitating for the invasion, were shocked and offended by the evidence that in a dictatorship, the dictator is the last one to feel hunger. The regime, Kelly wrote, "was able to stay perfectly fat--and with enough cash left over to support palace building and weapons building, and still afford brand-name Scotch."

Or perhaps not enough cash for weapons building, it turned out, once the invading troops got to the palaces. Details! But warfare is nothing if not a matter of details. People who supported the invasion of Iraq and now regret the results tend to say that it was a good idea that was badly planned or poorly managed. Yet there was no idea but the planning and management of it. The decision to invade was not a change of principles, a repudiation of mushy-headed pacifism and appeasement; it was a change of strategy.

Even that gives it too much credit. It was half a change of strategy, really: regime change with nothing to change it to; an invasionary force without a plan for occupation; an open-ended commitment of military personnel by a nation too politically cowardly to draft enough bodies to do the job. Thousands of reservists and National Guard troops found themselves serving multiple tours abroad, trapped in what Kelly had envisioned as "total limited war...brutally effective in its killing power while being miserly of American life and property."

"You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time," Donald Rumsfeld said, thereby sparing Kelly and Andrew Sullivan and everyone else in the press from the shame of having said the single most fatuous and destructive thing about the invasion of Iraq. It is hard to find a shorter, clearer description of how wars are not won. The United States did not attack Berlin or Tokyo with the army it had in December of 1941. The U.S. Navy did not sail up the Thames in 1812. You fight the battles you can win with the army you have.

That Kelly was brave in going to cover the combat does not change the fact that he chose to be bold with other people's lives. It was time to do something about Iraq--"to turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping," as Rupert Brooke wrote in 1914, in a sonnet celebrating the chance to go fight the Great War. A year later, Brooke died of an infected mosquito bite on a troop ship, taking his place among the 16 million corpses.

The premise of Kelly's argument for invasion was that escalating the war, carrying it to Baghdad on the ground, would settle the problems "easily and quickly." Like his fellow poets, Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens, he presented his romantic vision as clear-eyed advice. Evil must be opposed. Good would triumph. Anyone who disagreed was benighted, mistaken, immoral.

In the jackboot column, Kelly remembered Kuwait City "shot up, blown up, torched and, of course, thoroughly looted," and its civilians "ritualistically humiliated (forced to urinate on the Kuwaiti flag or on a photograph of the Kuwaiti emir, for instance), robbed, beaten, raped, tortured"--the work not just of "Iraq's terrible special security units" but "enthusaistic amateurs," "poor-boy soldiers." With a few proper nouns adjusted, it could stand in for reports from post-invasion Iraq: Charles Graner, the Special Police Commandos, the Mahdi Army, Haditha, Mahmudiyah. Less than perfect.

Remembering Kelly in 2004, the editor of his posthumous collected works, Things Worth Fighting For, wrote about the mystery of "the two Michaels"--the subtle reporter and the hectoring columnist. There were more like three Kellys: the loving and loyal personal Kelly; the impish, incisive, and sometimes courageous observer; and the nasty, often petty polemicist, who wrote things for effect that he knew were untrue. But they blended into each other, and not to his benefit.

It was Kelly's notion of collegial devotion that led him to brutally defend his New Republic protege Stephen Glass, past the bitter end, refusing to concede to Buzz Bissinger that a smear Glass had written about the healthy-eating activist Michael Jacobson, in a story admitted to have been fabricated, was inaccurate.

When interviewed, Kelly said that he would gladly apologize to Jacobson for the opening anecdote--as long as he was given definitive proof of its embellishment.

So he shared with Sullivan, who had originally hired Glass, the distinction of an active role in two of the worst failures of journalism in a generation. Perhaps, like Sullivan, he would have changed his position on Iraq, had he lived to see our military might losing control, the easy liberation collapsing into hell, Saddam's torture prisons reopening with American torturers. What might he have written, if he'd had the chance to engage with the terrible truths of this past decade? What might a hundred thousand other people have done, if they'd lived too?

It's not simply that Kelly was wrong, nor that he was wrong about important things. It's that he was aggressively, manipulatively, and smugly wrong: deep, subtle, and clever...pontificated...we live in reality again. He knew better. His old colleagues are remembering him today by urging people to read Things Worth Fighting For, the one with the jackboot column and his other war-boosting. Do Kelly a favor and try Martyrs' Day instead. Here's what he wrote there, and then, at the Jordanian border, when he was witnessing war rather than arguing for it:

A woman was sitting by herself, holding a baby on her lap and weeping steadily. A reporter who saw this wrote her up in his story as crying for joy at having escaped Iraq. It turned out that this was a mistake. She was crying because the baby in her lap was dead.

[Sources photos: Getty/ABC News Nightline]

Gawker dishes the nation's most current and cutting gossip across media, entertainment, technology, and business. Founded in 2002 and namechecked frequently in mainstream publications, the site is essential reading for those who want big media hypocrisy debunked and faux-sincerity exposed, all with a healthy dose of snark.

Read More →