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Editors Defend Jerk of the Year Nominee
"Urination competition."
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bobb calvan

Hey, do you remember Bobby Caina Calvan, the arrogant newspaper reporter who blogged about his snit fit in Iraq when a soldier asked him for identification–earning himself a Jerk of the Year nomination?

Well, Calvan’s MSM friends and editors have again come to his defense. They’re as clueless and snotty as he is. Armando Acuna, public editor of the Sacramento Bee, chose Veterans’ Day to mount his blog-bashing campaign and apologia for Calvan:

A day after his Oct. 23 blog posting, Calvan woke up at 5 a.m. in his Baghdad hotel room and signed onto his computer.

“My e-mail started going crazy,” he recounted in a phone call several days ago while on a reporting trip along the Kurdistan border. “That’s when I started receiving all this hate mail.”

His private blog was now whizzing around the very public blogosphere, put there by right-wing critics breathlessly passing it around like the discovery of a deep, dark secret, a digital Rosetta stone deciphering the media’s true heart.

Even the mainstream media got into the act. On Oct. 25 USA Today’s “On Deadline” Web site wrote about the controversy, including running an excerpt from Calvan’s blog.

It’s as if the armchair critics were pointing a big, fat finger and saying, “Aha, we caught you!”

“Armchair critics?” Many of the bloggers calling out Calvan were military bloggers, active-duty troops, and yes, fellow journalists who have been in Iraq and followed the security rules without Calvan’s superiority complex.

Calvan’s cronies don’t like being held up as symbols of MSM elitism by meanie bloggers:

They then proceeded to use Calvan’s blog to blame The Bee, the McClatchy Washington Bureau (which supervises foreign coverage) and the mainstream media for every perceived journalistic sin known to man in Iraq.

“It was used by people with a political agenda,” said Mark Seibel, managing editor in charge of foreign coverage for McClatchy’s Washington Bureau. “They were trying to discredit our reporting coming out of Iraq.”

Quite the contrary, Mr. Seibel. Calvan’s arrogant, don’t-you-know-who-I-am attitude toward an American soldier and reasonable security precautions discredited his reporting all on its own. No help from us needed.

And Acuna’s downplaying of the incident underscore the very journalistic hubris bloggers saw in Calvan’s initial post:

What we’re talking about here is an escalating, ahem, urination competition between two men in a stressful situation. Just two guys making each other mad – doesn’t matter if you’re right-wing, left-wing, up or down.

Seibel doesn’t blame Calvan’s attitude. He blames the Internet:

“Bobby’s mistake was blogging about it and expressing his frustration.”

Acuna blames other bloggers for exposing Calvan and embarrassing him further when he tried to hide the evidence of his jerkiness by deleting his post:

…really what I think is that this matter is entirely overblown and what is needed is this: a time out.

Acuna ends on his high horse, wagging his own “big, fat finger” at bloggers who held Calvan accountable for his words:

The real shame, of course, is how this Internet conniption fit over something so minor overshadows the serious journalism from Iraq. There are legitimate reader questions about coverage and stories, their selection, tone, balance and accuracy.

By the way, I’m well aware today is Veterans Day. Today’s column has nothing to do with that, so please don’t go there. I’m proud of our men and women in uniform. I have family wearing that uniform now.

This isn’t about them. This is about politics and playing games.

Two weeks after the brouhaha died down, it’s Acuna who wants to take a turn in the urination competition by throwing his own little attention-getting tantrum on Veterans’ Day, of all days.

Who’s playing games?

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Media