Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mike Lacey: A Little Man With a Lotta Hate 

On The Media, May 5:

In the space of four months, the Village Voice saw the departure of its publisher, two editors-in-chief, its storied Washington muckraker and its Pulitzer Prize-winning media critic. Sidney Schanberg quit after a confrontational meeting with the new boss. Investigative reporter James Ridgeway was terminated for reasons still unclear. Nat Hentoff, who has been covering civil liberties for The Voice for 49 years, was targeted for criticism in front of the entire staff, all of which drama leaves the survivors and many others to wonder when the shakeup of this venerable institution ends, who among the Villagers will still have a voice? Who, that is, other than Michael Lacey, the new chief?

MARK JURKOWITZ: You know, if there was any question about whether or not he was going to walk on eggshells with The Voice culture, that was answered very quickly. He just went in there and smashed all the eggs.

BOB GARFIELD: Mark Jurkowitz, media critic for the Boston Phoenix, says Lacey's tough-guy approach has been sad and ugly to witness.

MARK JURKOWITZ: Frankly, when you have people like Nat Hentoff, who is about 80, and Sidney Schanberg, who's in his 70s, men who helped define journalism for a generation or two, I don't find it particularly appealing that you would go out of your way to pick fights with folks like that. ...

SIDNEY SCHANBERG: One of the last things he said at the meeting itself was, be prepared to say goodbye to some of your friends.

BOB GARFIELD: Sidney Schanberg.

SIDNEY SCHANBERG: And there was no real need for that kind of gratuitous hostility or insult, and I didn't think it was an accident. I thought that was part of the man, and I didn't want to work for him.

Now that Lacey Got What He Always Wanted, He's Getting What He Deserves 

Last last year, Mike Lacey, the executive editor of New Times Inc. of Phoenix, achieved one of his lifetime ambitions -- he bought out his main competitors and took control of the venerable Village Voice. But now that he controls the alternative news universe in the Big Apple he's finding that his slash and burn tactics inside the newsroom and "whacky" jouralism philosophy, which he has practiced for decades, are finally receiving the critical attention that they deserve.

San Francisco Bay Guardian, April 25:

by Tim Redmond

The guys from Phoenix seem to have their hands full these days dealing with the Village Voice. Note to Mike Lacey: It’s a different world in New York. Everything you do is going to be watched. Your policy of ducking the media isn’t going to fly. Lacey did give an interview to the New York Observer , in which he argued that he wants real reporters, not just thumbsucking columnists. Hey, so do I (and so, I think, do the folks at the Voice) - but I want reporters who care, and who take stands, and newspapers that are a part of their communities. In other words, Lacey is pushing a false dichotomy, making it look as if he’s cleaning out the dead wood, getting rid of lazy people who only pontificate - when what he’s really doing is getting rid of the people who have strong political leanings. He’s going to turn the Voice into another city magazine, and destroy it as a progressive newspaper. ...

[read more]

Supreme Court Forces Bush Bund to Accept Geneva Convention 

New York Daily News, July 11:

The Bush administration granted minimum Geneva Conventions rights Wednesday to about 1,000 suspected terrorist prisoners at Guantanamo and other U.S.-run prisons, effectively outlawing torture.

Bowing to last month's Supreme Court ruling on Guantanamo, the Pentagon released a memo to all commands ordering compliance with Geneva's Common Article 3 requiring the humane treatment of prisoners. ...

[read more]

After All These Years: Army Ditches Halliburton 

Washington Post, July 12:

The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton for logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq.

The choice comes after several years of attacks from critics who saw the contract as a symbol of politically connected corporations profiteering on the war.

Under the deal, Halliburton had exclusive rights to provide the military with a wide range of work that included keeping soldiers around the globe fed, sheltered and in communication with friends and family back home. Government audits turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers told how the company charged $45 per case of soda, double-billed on meals and allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water.

[read more]

Lacey Loses Voice When Asked to Speak on NPR 

Mum's the Word

NPR, July 11:

The Village Voice is the grandfather, and bellwether, of the nation's alternative press. In the 1960s, the Voice was a clear presence on the political left. Now the paper has been bought by a competitor -- the non-ideological New Times newspaper chain. ...

Listen to Lacey Before He Lost His Bark

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

US's New Face of Terror in Iraq in Jail in Egypt? 

BBC, July 6:

A prominent Cairo lawyer says the Egyptian man identified by the US as the new al-Qaeda leader in Iraq has been in jail in Egypt for seven years.

The lawyer, Mamdouh Ismail, who has represented Egyptian Islamists for many years, says he met the man days ago in a jail on the edge of Cairo. ...

[read more]

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