The Washington Note in “State of Play”


State of Play TWN.jpg
The Washington Note‘s actual image has made it on to Rachel Maddow’s terrific MSNBC show, been highlighted on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and has popped up on Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room on CNN, and George StephanopoulosThis Week. . .but there is a new first for TWN.
The DC political media thriller and newly released feature film, State of Play, starring Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe and directed by Last King of Scotland director Kevin Macdonald, shows The Washington Note for a ‘brief second’ in the string of blogs writing about the death of an aide to Pennsylvania Congressman Stephen Collins (played by Affleck).
Here is a slightly larger image than the one above.
The film is interesting — though I think it doesn’t do justice to the increasingly high caliber of blog journalism and political commentary in the U.S. and around the world. After all, the Pulitzer committee just opened its competition this year for the first time to online news. The film basically disses blogs — but when one hears the Washington Globe (aka Washington Post) blogger pine for “ink on the hands” for her and Russell Crowe’s big scandal story — one knows that this is really the last gasp of pulp dependent journalism.
Some DC journalists and bloggers — including Bob Woodard, Bob Schieffer, Margaret Carlson, and myself — made a cameo appearance at the press conference where Congressional wife Robin Wright Penn made a tearful, heartfelt plea to all of us to allow their family time to heal and to stay out of her and Congressman Collins’ private life. That segment — which was actually filmed within days of Elliot Spitzer’s wife offering the same kind of public comment — is on the proverbial cutting room floor.
Nonetheless, it was cool to briefly see TWN for a moment in the film. Though film guys — why no acknowledgment at the end of the film with all the other artists, newspapers, and musicians thanked?? TWN doesn’t appear at all in the credits or acknowledgments.
Headline: Blogger (Accidentally?) Dissed Again. . .
Journalist Cody Shearer was a consultant for this film — and one thing I have to say is that Russell Crowe’s style, language, posture, everything — just had to be modeled on Cody Shearer. Pretty amazing portrayal actually.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “The Washington Note in “State of Play”

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    For the record, there used to a person who had to be removed from the Congressional Offices who would appear to harass women who answered the phone.
    My preference is to ask for the name of people taking calls to a Congressional office so if no reply comes I know who to mention on follow up. One woman refused to give name and the reason was a person was looking up names or personally appearing to the point he was removed from grounds.
    This story clearly mirrors a profile of a person likely to be a suspect for something like the loss of a Congressional paige in an instance of foul play. Her superior’s being a Democrat at the time made him a focus of navelgazers at Fox, even Karl Rove, on background conversations. Perhaps due diligence was ignored in order to allow the negative association of such chatter to cultivate an effect in the town.
    I’m positive that the same instances mentioned are on archive with the Sgt. at Arms or other such attendees and that a review of such items would be useful perhaps in providing clues or developing closure for certain people affected by this, present or deceased.
    The extent to which an affirmative measure had to be enacted indicates to me that the same profile was certainly worthy a closer investigation. Certainly this has already been done by the likes of enforcement persons of the highest order.
    In any instance it still bears critical review. this is more than a movie we’re talking about.


  2. Ron Kendricks says:

    May I reiterate my original comment: We need a Non-Partisan Truth Commission that investigates and recommends possible criminal charges to a Special Prosecutor who is empowered and mandated to follow up on these criminal actions.
    I would highly suggest the following people to be included in this Non-Partisan Truth Commision:
    (1) Justice Thomas Buergental, the American Judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. (2) Bill Moyers who has dedicated a life time in advocating for truth, justice, and transparency, and in challenging all of us to live up to the values that we all cherish. We need to be proactive and way out front on this important issue. It has the potential of letting the world know that we, as Americans, repudiate the criminal actions of the 43rd Presidency. If we do not take this opportunity then it will be left for the young people and the young thinking people in the international community– who will do it.


  3. Matt Rojansky says:

    Hey Steve,
    If it makes you feel better…I didn’t make it into the credits either, and my 15 seconds of fame were actually in the film, and even in the trailer.


  4. Kathleen G says:

    POA I agree she has toned it down a bit. Better. Her report about the Harman Aipac espionage connection was weak. She almost made a mockery that anyone should be concerned it was odd.
    Justin Raimando has made a request in one of his last articles having to do with Harman/Aipac and the possibility that the Aipac Espionage trial may be dismissed.
    “In a better world, a member of Congress caught on tape agreeing to obstruct justice at the request of an agent of a foreign power would have stepped down as soon as the news hit the headlines. In our shameless era, however, that isn’t likely to happen. Instead, the spies will get off, Israel will continue to steal us blind, and a trial that would have shocked the American people and portrayed Israel in a far more realistic light than our news media dares will never take place.
    How’s that for change we can believe in?
    However, it doesn’t have to turn out that way. It could be that the patriotic, pro-national security counter-intelligence officials who have exposed the AIPAC spy nest and their enablers in government will have their hopes vindicated — their hope that the American people will protest once they understand how and why espionage is allowed to be practiced openly in our nation’s capital, protected and defended in the very halls of Congress.
    The outlook of this shocking case doesn’t look too good at the moment, but that could change — if enough Americans are informed and angry enough to protest. The decision to drop the case, as of this writing, has yet to be made: it’s only that they’re considering dropping it. There’s just one way to lodge your protest, at this point, and that is to contact the US Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the case is being tried.
    Remember, there are no doubt people in that office fighting to keep this case alive — so be polite. Briefly express your disappointment upon reading news reports that the case might be dropped, and your hope that this is not the case.
    Call 703-299-3700 — and remember, be nice!
    Or, better yet, write a letter, send a telegram, or whatever, and address it to:
    US Attorney
    Justin W. Williams United States Attorney’s Building
    2100 Jamieson Ave
    Alexandria, VA 22314


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Maddow has toned down her ham antics, and its working very well for her. For a while there, her hamming bordered on the absurd and the silly, and it was getting hard to take anything she said seriously. I’m glad to see someone gave her a clue.
    However, her refusal to touch anything critical of Israel, and her total silence during the Freeman castration and the Gaza bloodbath telegraphs a bias that is fairly unforgivable, and pretty much consigns her into the category of just another media pimp for Israel. Too bad, she actually quite likable otherwise.


  6. Spunkmeyer says:

    Dan Kervick, I had no idea…


  7. David says:

    Hard for me to see where Hollywood is actually a problem. It is a mixed bag of personalities, purposes, and perspectives (alliteration is soooo seductive), but Hollywood’s track record on politics and the environment is far more to the good than not, which is why the right is so hell bent to tag it as Hollywierd. Wierd lives in Dick Cheney’s head and at Fox News (except for Shep Smith, who got it adamantly right on torture).
    Steve Clemons on Rachel Maddow – two of my favorite folk. When Rachel said she always reads TWN, she confirmed that she is someone who actually wants to know and understand, a hallmark of Steve’s efforts as well. And I get the sense that neither Steve nor Rachel ever suffers from the notion that they have “arrived,” and need only pontificate. Wish I could say the same about the gaggle of “wise elders” who have too often held sway in the major media, a particularly troublesome phenomenon since there actually are some wise elders out there who mostly get short shrift. Major case in point: who got how much air time and who didn’t in the run up to the greatest geopolitical blunder/nightmare in the history of American foreign policy, a blunder that still strikes me as essentially criminal.


  8. Dan Kervick says:

    The headline in the movie blog post doesn’t seem to match the text, does it?
    Also, the text of the post doesn’t sound anything like Steve. It reads more like a straight wire service news story. Not very bloggy. Of course, somebody would have to be a quick reader indeed to catch these problems in one second.
    The date appears to be Monday, February 25. I can’t read the year, but the last Monday, February 25 was in 2008. Is that when the story in the film takes place?
    Does Steve get a piece of the action of the Tom Bihn product placement?
    As for Hollywood types visiting the site … Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!


  9. Matt says:

    I don’t think the movie dissed blogging too much per se. After all, it was ultimately the blogger’s instincts in the movie that got vindicated, as the Russel Crowe character assumed for most of the time that his Senator friend was a good guy whereas the blogger had been trying to bring him down from the start.
    I also have another comment that is sort of related to The Washington Note’s cameo in the film. I am personally disgusted when “journalists” (I think in this movie it was Lou Dobbs) make cameos in movies as themselves, performing their news personalities for the silver screen. This is mixing up reality with fiction, and in my opinion debases the ideals of tv journalism while encouraging people to accept news as entertainment. It’s tantamount to the news anchor publicly stating he is putting on a charade for a living. If he can roleplay with the same demeanor and sense of seriousness for a mixed-up thriller movie that he commands for a purportedly fact-based news show, then how does the viewer have confidence in distinguishing truth from fantasy? Ultimately I think the same argument could be made about blogs like the Washington Note appearing in short cameos, but in this case it was too quick to be of much note. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me pointing this out. And if you’re really concerned about not getting credited, why not let them know that you are concerned with the right to control your own public image?


  10. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve is no extra, Spunkmeyer. He’s an actual STAR!


  11. questions says:

    Saw the original British tv show during a family endless tv/dvd week. I kinda think TWN would have been a decided improvement! (But we did sit through the whole thing….!)


  12. Florestan says:

    They can say anything they want—just spell the name right!


  13. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks folks! I’ll try to keep things relatively where they are….relatively.


  14. wrensis says:

    Glad you were recognized for the great job you do, agree with Paul Norheim on having the freedom of being less well known. 😉


  15. Spunkmeyer says:

    Welcome to the world of being a movie extra, Steve… now you and
    Mrs. Spunkmeyer can talk shop. (Although, WE were relieved when
    Mrs. Spunkmeyer was nowhere to be found in M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” after we had seen the film…)


  16. Paul Norheim says:

    I am actually relieved when I read that TWN was only shown for a
    brief second in “State of Play”.
    If TWN had become famous through Hollywood, the comment
    section of the blog would immediately be destroyed, and I would
    have to find another site to comment on issues that concern me.
    Personally, I sincerely hope that TWN remains exactly as
    famous/unfamous as it is today.


  17. Neil buckley says:

    You can tell it done by a Scottidsh director.
    They use the British spelling of defense in the blog.(defence)


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