Totenberg's 'Very Afraid' of These Elections; Thomas Thinks They're 'A Joke...Political System's a Mess'


NPR's Nina Totenberg said Friday that she's very afraid of the upcoming elections.

Isn't it amazing how these same people that were thrilled by the idea of America electing as president a junior senator from Illinois with little qualifications for the most important office in the land are now scared to death about who may be going to Congress next January?.........Oozes with hypocrisy, doesn't it?

Newsweek's Evan Thomas, her co-panelist on "Inside Washington," said historians might look upon November 2, 2010 "as kind of a joke...obviously the political system’s a mess" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

GORDON PETERSON: Nina, columnist Paul Krugman says if the election goes as expected, his advice is be afraid, be very afraid. Should we take his advice?

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: I am already afraid, very afraid. I mean, it’s not like governance has been going great. I think we’ll, I don't know whether I should be afraid, but there will be gridlock.

PETERSON: Evan, Krugman also says that future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America. You are a historian. You agree with that?

EVAN THOMAS, NEWSWEEK: No, but they might look on it as kind of a joke. There is sort of a circus aspect to it that people, it’s become comic and a kind of a dark way. You know, Krugman is a professional doomsayer. So, you have to take that with a grain of salt. But obviously the political system’s a mess.

Evan Welling Thomas III

Thomas was born in Huntington, New York and was raised in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

A graduate of Phillips Andover,
Harvard University, and the
University of Virginia School of Law,
since 1991 he has been the assistant managing editor at Newsweek. ...

He is the son of Anna Davis (née Robins) and Evan Welling Thomas II, an editor who worked for HarperCollins and W. W. Norton & Company.

His grandfather, Norman Thomas, was a six-time Presidential candidate
for the Socialist Party of America.

Nina Totenberg

Totenberg enrolled in Boston University in 1962, majoring in journalism, but dropped out less than three years later because, in her own words, she "wasn’t doing brilliantly".[1] Soon after dropping out of college, Totenberg began her journalism career at the Boston Record American, where she worked on recipes and wedding announcements and learned journalism skills by volunteering in the news department.[4] She moved on to the Peabody Times in Massachusetts and Roll Call in Washington, D.C.

At the National Observer, Totenberg began covering legal affairs because "no one else was doing it". She began her long friendship with future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she called Ginsburg, then a Rutgers University professor, with a question about the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1971 she broke a story about a secret list of candidates President Richard Nixon was considering for the Supreme Court. All the candidates were later rejected as unqualified by the American Bar Association and none was nominated.[4]

After Totenberg wrote an Observer profile of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the latter wrote a long letter to the paper's editor demanding she be fired. Instead, the editor printed the letter in the Observer along with a rebuttal of Hoover's complaints regarding the article.

Totenberg has charged that she was the victim of sexual harassment at the Observer. She said "I had a boss who made passes at me repeatedly," but has not named that person.

She was fired from that paper for plagiarism in 1972 regarding a profile she wrote of then-soon-to-be Speaker Tip O'Neill which included, without attribution, quotes from members of Congress that had previously appeared in The Washington Post.

Such plagiarism has been called "one of the cardinal sins of journalism from which reporters can never recover their credibility", but other reporters have defended her, saying the practice of using quotes in this manner was common journalistic practice in the 1970s.

Totenberg also links her dismissal to the sexual harassment case, saying it made her "unpopular with her superiors". In 1995, Totenberg told the Columbia Journalism Review, "I have a strong feeling that a young reporter is entitled to one mistake and to have the holy bejeezus scared out of her to never do it again."
Nina Totenberg
What Won't Get You Fired From NPR