Thingish Things

Marcia Kramer???

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 02•11

Mark Twain said never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel.

I have found that to be solid advice. When the news media wants an answer — really wants an answer — it will get one or flatten you trying to get it. It’s generally better to give it to them, tied in the prettiest bow you can find, and move on.

I’ve also noticed that an attack on one reporter is often viewed as an attack on the entire press corps, if that reporter is respected by his peers. It’s a little like the Blue Wall of Silence among police officers. Reporters look out for their own, too.

By calling the police on Marcia Kramer of CBS News today, Anthony Weiner has really stepped in it:  he has picked a fight with someone who buys her ink — in  Kramer’s case her air time — by the barrel, and he has done it with one of the most respected journalists in New York.

Kramer is a reporter’s reporter. She is old school.  She came up on the print side of journalism and earned her stripes by breaking story after story in a city where girl reporters weren’t always welcome. She did it by being tough-as-nails and by being fair. Kramer then transferred her craft to the television screen mid-career — few have successfully done that — and  thrived on TV past the age of 35, where most female reporters are ushered out the back door. Her tenacity and talent make her a stand out role model for almost every young New York reporter.

When the Weiner story first broke, I couldn’t help noticing how slowly it was unfolding. Part of it was the three-day weekend, I’m sure. But I’m even surer that another factor was at play: Political reporters have known and worked with Weiner for years, and they were clearly giving him the benefit of the doubt on the Twitter matter. They were taking a wait-and-see attitude out of respect, which clearly the congressman had earned over the years.

But all that good will is out the door now. In doing what he did to Marcia Kramer today, Weiner has launched a war on the entire press corps. He’ll pay for it.  So promised Mark Twain, and I haven’t seen him wrong on that yet.



You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Your Friend says:

    Okay, since you won’t let go of this story (along with the rest of the media), I’ll weigh in now. A picture of underwear? Do I have that right? Is that what we’re talking about? This is how we spend our time, our effort, our brain power, our political wits? On underwear? You quote Twain in this piece. Love him. He’s the best. What do you think he would make of this? Me, I would be quoting Sartre or Beckett.

  2. Twain is pithier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.