Annotated Archives/Published Punditry
"I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn."
Click through the links below to see all the pieces I've written for major publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, Alternet, Beliefnet, the New York Daily News and others.
It' amazing editors give me the time of day, really ,when you see how wrong I've been predicting political events. For instance, I was wrong about Kerry picking Max Cleland as his running mate, but it got picked up in some columns, and instead of having the #2 spot at the convention Max went third. Oh well...
And as Fiorello LaGuardia used to say, when I make a mistake, it's a beaut. First I wrote about how boring the field of candidates was in the New York City mayoral primary on the day that one of them, Fernando Ferrer, broke out the pack and started soaring in the polls. (That was September 8th, by the way. A few days later, my article was even more out of date.)
Then I confidently predicted victory for my old friend, Mark Green over that ridiculous Michael Bloomberg.
And with my usual starry-eyed optimism I quoted my favorite Robert Kennedy speech and wrote approvingly of his daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's race for Governor. Oh well, at least I was right that Andrew Cuomo was going to fail miserably in his primary campaign against Carl McCall.
I've waited 20 years to make my Watergate dreams come true. My collection of Watergate memorabilia would frighten you. It certainly alarmed my companions during my dinner with the lawyers from the Senate Watergate Committee.
My first published punditry was in the Christian Science Monitor, a fine newspaper you’d enjoy reading, if you don’t do so already. We all need a Mother Church to keep us on the straight and narrow—or at least, away from the sex and scandal beat. I had just been in a high-level strategy session with a politician and his team of consultants and was struck by how many agendas were competing for attention in the room. Any similarity between dialogue in this article and conversation that took place in that meeting is strictly--oh forget it.
Later in the Monitor, I wondered if Ralph Nader--the one I first heard 25 years ago--would approve of what Ralph Nader is doing now.
Are you shocked to discover that the Republican National Committee, among others, circulates boilerplate language for bogus letters to the editor? Neither was I. But that doesn't mean I can't write a witty, sardonic column about it. And get quoted in the online journalism review too.
I thought, though, that hooking people up to MRI scanners and showing them political spots was going too far.
Beware the wrath of Elvis fans! I went to Graceland. Was bored. Wrote about it. Got some lovely hate mail, some of which was printable. Did that stop me from commenting on popular culture? More to the point, does Hollywood care what I think about their idea to turn the presidential campaign into a reality TV show?
The Washington Post called it "career arson" when I first wrote about how greedy consultants are harming democracy. It's not the cost of campaigns that's out of control, it's the mark-up. I also wrote for the Post about how to manipulate the media by telling the truth (sort of), using as an example how George W. Bush hornswaggled the press on the campaign trail.
For the alternative press website alternet.org, I looked at the California recall election and saw a lot of consultants laughing all the way to the bank.
I also looked for something positive to say about the election debacle in Florida. Remember Elian Gonzalez?
I deconstructed the deconstruction of campaign ads that newspapers think readers find fascinating.
Then there was my Monitor column exposing the phenomenon of media masochism and proposing a hard-headed solution to the mediaâs unchecked power. Hint: the answer has something to do with Regis Philbin.
till, there are always pockets of political light and interest in any election season. I wrote in the NY Daily News a piece comparing Hillary Clinton to Bobby Kennedy. Hillary comes out ahead on points, but Robert Kennedy remains my hero.
I wonder, though, if even RFK could have resisted the allure of focus groups. I wrote a Monitor column about what goes on behind the one-way mirror at focus groups and another in which I blew the lid off the "consultantsâ protection act" which keeps the cost of political advertising artificially high. Iâve also written for the Monitor about my experience almost being a spin doctor for Michael Milken and how the spin doctors blew it at CNN.
They say that Washington is full of people who came to do good, and stayed to do well. That was tolerable up to a point, but I've seen how politics has become a big business like anything else, and just as subject to manipulation and greed.
Do you want to know more secrets? Ask me in print or on the air or send me an email.