Sunday, December 25, 2005

From 'Someone at the Register:' Primary Duty Of the Newspaper's Washington Bureau Is To Be Tom Harkin's Personal Flack -- 'Especially Jane Norman'

We learn something new every day.

Bud Appleby sent this Christmas Day e-mail:

"Here's a note I got from someone at the Register:

"'You mean you didn't know that the Washington Bureau's primary duty is to be Harkin's personal flack? It has been that way for years. Especially Jane Norman. Every time Harkin takes a shit, Norman is there to record the color.'"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: In an earlier e-mail to me, Appleby -- a retired Des Moines Register editor and reporter -- had questioned a recent article in the paper that said the daughter of Sen. Tom Harkin is pregnant. Accompanying the story was the photo of Harkin and his family that's printed above. Appleby said something like that would not have been regarded as news when writers such as Jim Risser, George Anthan and Clark Mollenhoff were in the Register's Washington Bureau. Frankly, I'm glad Appleby passed on the information that Norman [pictured] keeps close track of everything Harkin is doing. A while back, the paper wrote that one of the things Norman planned to include in her columns was humor. She's finally getting around to doing that. By the way, Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary describes a "flack" this way: "One who does publicity; especially: Press Agent."].


An e-mail from George Wine of Coralville:


"I'm leaving for Florida Wednesday. I wonder if the Register will have the story by then. Merry Christmas....."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: As you can see, George, I scooped 'em again on getting the news of your trip to Florida in print. Merry Christmas to you, to all of my friends at the paper and to everyone else].