9:56 AM, Aug 14, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Political reporter Jack Germond died this morning, his wife writes in an email to friends. Politico reports:
His wife, Alice Germond, secretary of the DNC, emailed friends this morning, with subject line “Jack's Gone”: “At a little before 4 a.m., Jack passed away. He went peacefully and quickly after just completing this novel, a tale he had pondered while writing columns, campaign books, a memoir and covering our politics and politicians. He lived a marvelous, full and well loved life. I think he was a great reporter, I know he was a hearty eater and the good conversation as important as the food. And yes, he enjoyed extending an evening. He had a bold journalistic ethic, and that matters. He was fortunate to spend his life working at a job he would have done for free during some halcyon times in the newspaper business.
“Jack indeed played the horses, always studying the form and hoping for that elusive triple crown winner -- but there was no such thing as a bad day at the track. He welcomed the day sitting on our deck in WV watching the bald eagles who returned to soar over the Shenandoah and the blue birds nest. In the evening the sunset mirroring the day's end. To his many friends, he appreciated the great company, story, scoop, competition and laughter. He fit his life and times so very well. I love him and it's been great.”
A few years back, Andrew Ferguson offered this review of Germond's memoir, Fat Man in a Middle Seat:
Everyone who reads this marvelous memoir -- and it deserves to have many, many readers -- will have a favorite anecdote among the countless tales that Jack Germond piles up, so I might as well begin this review with mine.
Germond is best known, of course, for his stint as the house curmudgeon on The McLaughlin Group. But as a print reporter he's been covering politics for more than forty years, the last twenty or so with his partner Jules Witcover. Their reporting brought them in frequent contact with George Wallace, who somehow acquired the idea that Witcover is Jewish. Witcover is Roman Catholic, but never mind. Whenever Witcover would drop in on the governor for an interview, Wallace would try to jolly up the alien with some small talk. "I saw old Dave Silverman the other day," Wallace would inevitably begin. What a coincidence! Silverman was a Jewish shopkeeper in downtown Montgomery. "Wallace," Germond writes, "seemed to think all Jews know one another." Over the years, Witcover gave up trying to set Wallace straight, and would simply send his best wishes to old Dave. ...
Jack Germond laments the change, not only in the quality of our pols but in the character of the journalists who cover them. Politicians get the reporters they deserve. Germond's generation of hacks, when covering a campaign, followed a rigorous schedule: a long day of reporting, a late afternoon and early evening spent filing the story, then a bloody, carnivorous dinner (napkin spread over the tie) followed by several hours in the hotel bar swapping lies and gossip with colleagues.
No longer. Germond says, generously and perhaps not accurately, that today's generation of political reporters is every bit as skilled as his own. "But their lifestyles are more disciplined. They tend to drink white wine or beer rather than Irish whiskey . . . and a lot of them eat salads from room service, believe it or not." Judging from my own, more limited experience, I do believe it, and the transformation has long been in train. The first time I covered the New Hampshire primary, in 1988, I headed for the legendary bar at the Wayfarer Hotel in Manchester, a neophyte hoping to knock back a few stiff ones with the big dogs after a tough day trailing (if I remember correctly) the electrifying candidacy of Paul Simon. Germond was in the bar, and one or two others, but every one else was in the hotel gym, queuing up for the StairMaster.
Whole thing here.
3:51 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
White House spokesman Jay Carney took a minute before his press briefing today to reflect. "I want to welcome you to the first full day of the President’s second term. It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be here working for this President and for the country," the former Time magazine journalist said.
2:29 PM, Jun 15, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A reporter heckled President Obama at today's White House immigration announcement:
8:30 AM, Jul 6, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The New York Times has published a remarkable article on the murder of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. It is not the story’s central allegation that makes the piece remarkable – it is all too believable that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate had Shahzad killed.
Everything you always wanted to know about Afghanistan . . . Aug 30, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 47 • By P.J. O'ROURKE
If you spend 72 hours in a place you’ve never been, talking to people whose language you don’t speak about social, political, and economic complexities you don’t understand, and you come back as the world’s biggest know-it-all, you’re a reporter. Either that or you’re President Obama. I called my wife. She said, no, she certainly is not vacationing at government expense in some jet-set hot spot with scads of her BFFs. Looks like I’m not President Obama. But I am a reporter, fresh from Kabul. What do you want to know about Afghanistan, past, present, or future? Ask me anything.
As all good reporters do, I prepared for my assignment with extensive research. I went to an Afghan restaurant in Prague. Getting a foretaste—as it were—of my subject, I asked the restaurant’s owner (an actual Afghan), “So what’s up with Afghanistan?”
He said, “Americans must understand that Afghanistan is a country of honor. The honor of an Afghan is in his gun, his land, and his women. You take a man’s honor if you take his gun, his land or his women.”
And the same goes for where I live in New Hampshire. I inquired whether exceptions could be made, on the third point of honor, for ex-wives.
“Oh yes,” he said.
Afghanistan—so foreign and yet so familiar and, like home, with such wonderful lamb chops. I asked the restaurateur about other similarities between New Hampshire and Afghanistan. “I don’t know,” he said. “Most of my family lives in L.A.”
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