Friday, February 03, 2006

Marvin Loves Tommy -- Pass It Along

Was just alerted by a friend to the fact that former TV news giant Marvin Kalb and the New York Times' Thomas L. Friedman discussed your humble Pulp servant on the Kalb Report radio show at a National Press Club event on Dec. 12. Found the transcript on Kalb's Web site about a column I wrote for New Times slamming Friedman's support of the war. Here's a portion of the transcript:

MR. KALB: I was going through the blogosphere -- you'll forgive me --


MR. KALB: -- and came upon a really dreadful critique of you written by some guy named Bob Norman of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, which I don't normally read.

MR. FRIEDMAN: You and me both.

C'mon Tommy, that' s no way to treat a fellow Livingston Award winner. We're supposed to be members of a genteel club, right?

MR. KALB: But it had -- really, I'm not even sure I want to go through all of this. But it was very, very negative, and the whole point was that you're a big-shot journalist and you supported these people going into Iraq. You thought it was a necessary thing to do.


MR. KALB: And you wrote many columns, and I want to brief some of these here. You wrote many columns about this. So you're a no-goodnik and it's quite clear that you are. What is your feeling as you look back over the last couple of years? You said you don't want to, but I would like you to. Do you feel that what you were writing about in 2002 has been more or less borne out by the reality of what has happened?

MR. FRIEDMAN: ... I thought there was a justified reason for the war. I felt it then and I feel it as strongly today, Bernie, as ever. And whether you're from the Broward paper or anywhere else -- first of all, this war, this was a hard call. This was the hardest call I've ever had as a journalist. ... I believed we had a strategic interest and a moral obligation to test -- and I always knew it was a test, a long shot -- to see if we could partner with the Iraqis in the very heart of that world to change the context of what was going on out back. So to all those on the left, to all those in Broward County, all right, I don't happen to think that that has changed. I believe -- you can disagree with that, but you have no right not to think seriously about this war and about what was going on out back.

Invading and bombing a country without provocation or imminent threat was the "moral" thing to do? And he knew it was a long shot? And who the hell is Bernie? Also, is it just me, or is there a note of condescension in Friedman's repeated use of the term "Broward." The NYT columnist's dissertation ends with this priceless back-and-forth with Marvin:

MR. FRIEDMAN: I felt I had a responsibility as a parent, as an American, and as a columnist to think this through as best I could. That's how I thought it through. I don't regret a single thing.

MR. KALB: Good for you.

Had it only been as good for America, Iraq, and the world.


Anonymous sam eifling said...

I would hate for anyone to transcribe and publish some of my blithering interview questions, and without further criticism of Mr. Kalb, his questions here are a pile of soft-pedaled mush. He was slumming around the Internet and was aghast at "some guy"'s "dreadful critique"; how does Friedman respond? Blech.

As for "partnering with Iraqis," as Friedman puts it, I wonder how some of the Iraqis and Americans pictured on the following pages would rate our partnership thus far (note: bad stuff ahead).

Journalists who parrot the Bush-Cheney case for war ought to keep taped to their monitors a snapshot of the crying boy with no arms and of the soldier whose face has gone missing.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous lawrence said...

I don't know if the New Times column was dreadful or not -- haven't read it, to be perfectly honest -- but you have to love the way their back-and-forth reeks of a couple of massively important fellows kicking back and rubbing one another's shoulders. I'm surprised they didn't commit fellatio on one another right there on the air. This should not pass as intelligent discourse in the capital or anywhere else, including backwater Broward. No wonder this war happened.
And I used to think Kalb was kind of cool.

3:14 PM  
Blogger s.m. koppelman said...

Tom Friedman just gets more and more smug and irritating every year, doesn't he?

8:34 PM  
Anonymous b.c. said...

The Spread the Plame article was like a swift kick to Friedman's ball sac. I kept imagining the look on his face when he read it.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous jeff stratton said...

"Bernie" refers to former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw, who hovers nearby and occasionally inhabits Kalb with a ghostly, spectre-like presence.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Florida Pulp said...

Intriguing theory about Shaw. I mean, doesn't he haunt all of us just a bit? The prevailing belief, though, is that Friedman was calling Marvin by the name of his slightly less distinguished brother. That would be Bernard Kalb, who used to work with Shaw at CNN and served as State Department spokesman in the 80s.

5:08 AM  

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