Bruce Brugmann

The Pulitzer Prize Board surrender – and how the New York Times blew the Ed Kennedy story (Part l)

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In the May 19, 1945 edition of the New Yorker magazine, the legendary press critic A. J. Liebling wrote a prescient article on what happened when Edward Kennedy, an Associated Press combat correspondent, defied military censorship to break one of the century’s biggest and most important stories.

His lead said that “the great row over Edward Kennedy’s Associated Press story of the signing of the German surrender at Reims served to point up the truth that if you are smart enough you can kick yourself in the seat of the pants, grab yourself by the back of the collar and throw yourself out on the sidewalk. This is an axiom that I hope will be taught to future students of journalism as Liebling’s Law.” Liebling titled his piece, “The AP surrender,” because AP, caving in to government pressure, led the attack on its own reporter by publicly censuring and then firing him. He cited the New York Times as leading the charge with a nasty editorial blasting Kennedy only two days after it had splashed Kennedy’s story on the front page with huge heads. Kennedy, the editorial intoned solemnly, had done a “grave disservice to the newspaper profession.”

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Honoring Edward Kennedy for defying and defeating political censorship in WWII

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The campaign to award a posthumous Pulitzer Prize to Edward Kennedy, the Associated Press reporter who defied political censorship to break the story of the German surrender on May 7, 1945, was given a historic boost at the 135th annual meeting of the California Press Association on Dec. 7, 2012 at the Marines Memorial Building in San Francisco.

See the video of the Cal Press panel on Kennedy after the jump. Read more »

Louis Dunn comments on the shootings in Newtown

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"Pupils were all shot multiple times with a semiautomatic, officials say."  New York Times Sunday edition (December 16, 2012).  Guardian artist Louis Dunn comments. Click on the artwork to view the full-size image.

Miami First Amendment attorney: election suppression is "unbelievably awful"

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Thomas R. Julin, one of the top First Amendment attorneys in the country, emailed me this afternoon about the election suppression situation in Miami. Julin, an attorney with the firm of Hunton & Williams in Miami, reported that "the election situation here has been just unbelievably awful."Read more »

Extra! Extra! Gov. Rick Scott welcomes you to the State of Florida on election suppression day

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And so, thanks to Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Republican allies, the lines of voters were once again impossibly long at Florida voting places and many voters started chanting dramatically on national television, "Let us vote, let us vote, let us vote." It was a chant that rang throughout many battleground states where Republicans had the power to reduce early voting and implement other policies designed to keep the lines long and to make it as difficult as possible for prospective Democrats to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Read more »

Halloween 1951: Fast times in Rock Rapids, Iowa

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The tale of what really happened on Halloween Eve in 1951 in Rock Rapids, Iowa.  (Reprinted by popular demand.)

As I was preparing to update my annual Halloween blog, I checked Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle to see what the action looked like for Halloween on Wednesday.

The Giants had just swept the World Series and Kevin Fagan’s front page story caught the spirit of  Wednesday’s parade and celebration, “We’re No. 1, let’s party, Celebration likely to bring a million to downtown SF.”  There was no mention of Halloween in his story and the only reference to mischief on Halloween was a dire warning from Police Chief Gregg Suhr.  “If you’re coming (to San Francisco) to do mischief, don’t come.” Read more »

Avalos, Campos, Kim, Olague: Four profiles of courage at City Hall

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Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, and Christina Olague earned profiles of courage for their votes to reinstate suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi up against enormous pressure for a political assassination, accelerated by Mayor Lee’s demand for a pre-election vote.

And the other seven supervisors, well, they helped answer the question, who’s afraid of Willie Brown? Who’s afraid of Rose Pak?Read more »

The Mirkarimi vote: Will there be some profiles of courage?

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(See the postscript for the Chronicle's shameful crucifixion coverage of Mirkarimi and a timely, newsworthy oped it refused to run by Mirkarimi's former girl friend. And how Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders ran the Nieves piece on her blog. Damn good for you, Debra Saunders.)

On Jan. 6, 2011, the Bay Citizen/New York Times broke a major investigative story headlined “Behind-the-Scenes Power Politics: The Making of Ed Lee.” The story by Gerry Shih detailed how then Mayor Gavin Newsom, ex-Mayor Willie Brown, and his longtime political ally Rose Pak orchestrated an “extraordinary political power play” to make Ed Lee the interim mayor to replace Newsom, the lieutenant governor-elect.

The story also outlined the start of a chain of events that leads to the vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday on whether Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi keeps his job.

Shih reported that “word had trickled out” that the supervisors had narrowed the list of interim candidates to three—then Sheriff Michael Hennessey, former Mayor Art Agnos, and Aaron Peskin, then chairman of the city’s Democratic party.  But the contenders “were deemed too liberal by Pak, Brown, and Newsom, who are more moderate.” Read more »

The return of the Irish Newsboys to Lefty O'Doul's

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Fresh from a recent command performance at Lee Houskeeper's Boys Night Out gathering at Lefty O'Doul's, the Irish Newsboys return to Lefty O'Doul's this Friday night.

Friday, October 5 from 6:30pm-9:30pm @ Lefty O'Doul's, 333 Geary, SF

Sunshine eclipsed

Supervisors reject Sunshine Ordinance Task Force members for stealthy political reasons

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As an advocate for the passage of the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance in the early 1990s, I felt obligated to take my first and only City Hall position and serve as a founding member of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. I served for l0 years and helped with many other good members to build the task force into a strong and respected agency for helping citizens get access to records and meetings and hold city officials accountable for suppressing access and information.Read more »