The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Alex Polier - a nicely judged piece

I suspect that Polier's New York piece will become a favourite J-school case study!

[The contrast with the hard-bitten hackette Judith Miller - whose New York dissection I discussed yesterday - is piquant!]

Polier mixes professional journo with media victim in pleasing proportion: there's at times a sort of juvenile gush that reminded me a little of Cecile DuBois - naivety is a theme, with an encounter with Tony Blair described as on a fan message board (ditto with such luminaries as Vicente Fox and Thabo Mbeki). And her dealings with Kerry are told much in the same vein: invited to a restaurant by Kerry after a fundraiser, with a bunch of guests, she says
I was seated between Peter [Kerry hack and Polier boyfriend] and the senator. I hoped it was my wit and enthusiasm, not my blonde hair and long legs, that got me a seat at the table.

Part of the freshness comes from the fact she's writing - in what I imagine as women's magazine style - her own story, whereas most of what is written in that style is ghosted or worse. And the spontaneity: writing down the first thing that comes into her head - or so it seems.

On Kerry's mouthpiece, Stephanie Cutter, she says
Cutter sounded young and hard, and I imagined her like Lara Flynn Boyle on The Practice.

She notes that the British MP for whom she interned told hacks she
was very attractive and was at the center of much interest among young male researchers

We get a play-by-play of the bastardy of a press pack scenting blood:
One reporter had a little girl call up, assuming I wouldn't hang up on a child. They even made her say, "Can I talk to Alex?" And when I said, "Yes, it's me," a reporter jumped on the line.

And, after her email got hacked,
When I finally got back into my account, assuming the hacker was a Republican, I changed my password to "Bushsucksdick."

There, of course, she was mistaken.

Her confrontations after the event with those involved in breaking the 'story' actually yield one or two expressions of contrition. David Frum, for instance. No such luck with erstwhile Clark hatchet man Chris Lehane.

She concludes rather banal-ly
I started out as an ambitious young woman inspired by politics and the media. I've ended up disenchanted with both.

But the picaresque tale leading up to the conclusion is worthwhile in itself.

Leaving the question, What do they teach at J-school?

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