Nicole Sandler discusses the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Woody Allen scandal, and more. Plus Jason Leopold on being labelled a "FOIA Terrorist" and C&L's Nicole Belle with Fools on the Hill.
February 4, 2014

As the country was getting collectively ready to gorge itself on food and beer while watching grown men hitting each other as hard as possible in their pursuit of a ball, we got a collective punch in the gut when the news broke that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his NYC apartment. The kicker was that the hypodermic needle was still in his arm.

By all accounts (including two I got directly from two different people who considered him a friend), PSH was a wonderful, caring, down-to-earth person who had a continuing battle with demons.

Aside from depriving the rest of us of his talents and the devastation his family and friends are feeling right now, Hoffman's actions really only hurt himself.

Woody Allen, on the other hand, has hurt a lot of other people. As has Mia Farrow.

I really feel like a need a shower after reading the original Vanity Fair piece about Allen's alleged abusive behavior, Vanity Fair's 2013 follow-up, Mia and Ronan Farrow's Tweets after the Golden Globes Awards honor that apparently re-opened old wounds, the Daily Beast article by a Woody Allen friend and biographer defending him and, finally, Dylan Farrow's open letter and companion piece by Nick Kristoff.

According to Allen's attorney and publicist, the media-phobic man himself will respond to the allegations soon. 

Another American tragedy.

Today on the show

Jason Leopold is an investigative journalist who has learned how to use the tools available to get information for his stories. For his efforts, he's been labelled a "FOIA Terrorist" by our government. Really? Journalist = Terrorist? That's the problem with things in the good old USA these days (or certainly one of many problems). Jason joined me on the show this morning. We talked about how his campaign with Beacon Reader to raise funds for "Lessons in FOIA Terrorism"  plus his work for Al Jazeera America on Gitmo, the Abu Zubaydah diaries and more.

A few weeks ago, Fox so-called news cited Jason in an asinine piece entitled "If you know who was behind the 'Close Gitmo' push, you'd be shocked". Seriously. After naming some pretty stellar company like Amnesty International and the Center for Constitutional Rights (plus a British group called Reprieve, and World Can't Wait), the only person named is Jason Leopold, with this description

Leopold is a former Los Angeles Times investigative journalist with a checkered past.  According to Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz, writing in a 2005 Washington Post feature, "Leopold says he engaged in ‘lying, cheating and backstabbing,’ is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life."

Wow. Jason told his story of his personal demons in the his book, News Junkie (which everyone should read). Nothing in it has anything to do with that insane Fox piece, but did prompt me to ask Jason's thoughts when he learned of the OD death of PSH...

If it's Monday, Crooks and Liars' Nicole Belle reminds us of why we were smart not to watch the Sunday shows in a segment we call Fools on the Hill™:

Mohandas Gandhi suggested a new set of seven deadly sins:

  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice

It is quite clear the Mahatma anticipated the Beltway Media and the Sunday shows, because all they do is exhibit these sins:

Wealth without Work/Worship without Sacrifice—Let’s look at Swanson Dinner Trust Fund Baby Tucker Carlson, who has manage to carve a media career out of being an insufferable prick, insists that income inequality isn’t that bad, it’s just that poor people are consumed with envy for the rich when they don’t see the path for themselves. (Pertinent part is from 1:00 to 1:40

Knowledge without Character – With Chris Christie’s 2016 hopes crashing and burning, Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol has an answer for all the GOP presidential ills: Jeb Bush.  (from the beginning to :50)

Science without Humanity – Bobby Jindal is fine with an execution that takes 20 minutes of agony to work

Commerce without Morality – George Stephanopoulos asked Paul Ryan if he thought Pope Francis would approve of his budget; Ayn Rand’s favorite fan boy isn’t too worried about getting papal approval, because Argentinians don’t have real capitalism.

Politics without Principle/Pleasure without Conscience – Three separate channels, three different production teams, three different hosts and three different white Republican guests—one very clear set of talking points.  Your “liberal media” at work.

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