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A Fifth Gospel Writer, too

Check this out from Jimmy Breslin in Newsday:

I am thinking that it could be time for me to begin thinking about leaving this news business. It is not mine anymore. Let me tell you why.       

A lot of people are writing to me today and saying: thank God for Jimmy Breslin.  Amen.  In my crowd, we’ve always said that in the world of newspaper columnists there was Jimmy Breslin and Murray Kempton and… a bunch of other guys.  Who can explain why neither were ever hired by the New York Times?

{ 23 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | June 23, 2003 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    One would think that over-the-top paranoia would be the sole province of those deemed either a danger to other or themselves. Alas, it is not so. In the past couple of years, this dreaded affliction has reached epidemic proportions among those I tend to think of as “the intellectually insane.”

    Breslin writes, at the core of his screed:
    “Because of it, I am thinking that it could be time for me to begin thinking about leaving this news business. It is not mine anymore. Let me tell you why.

    “Friday, the newspapers and television reported the following matter with no anger or effort to do anything other than serve as stenographers for the government:”

    One would think that a man with his experience would have a better grasp of the actual realities of the news business and the vast proliferation of outlets for all views that has exploded across the Infosphere in the last few years. One would think that, but one would be wrong.

    Should the esteemed Mr. Breslin choose to make good on his threat (One that brings to mind Robert Altman’s promise to move to France a few years ago), all a thoughtful person can say in response is: “Door. Ass. Bang.”

  2. Anonymous | June 23, 2003 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Breslin, if this is the best you can do, it’s time for you to move on.

    I have a better idea, Jimmy, let’s free yourscummy friend and let him blow up the bridge while you are on it. Just kidding.

    Have a great after life and don’t forget to stop scribbling.

  3. Anonymous | June 24, 2003 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The Lion in Winter
    Posted on by Frank Giovinazzi on June 24, 2003 10:22 AM

    When I was a kid, I delivered the New York Daily News. That was 76-77, the Summer of Sam, and Jimmy Breslin was the Prince of the City.

    I used to read his column before setting out on my bike with the rickety front basket. Oh, to be like him one day.

    Lately, though, he’s been tired and rambly. Disappointing.

    But today, the old lion summoned up his old ferocity for the cause of journalism, if only to let the over-educated cubs know he’s still prowling the veldt. Read the story!

    I have two Breslin stories of my own.

    One day, while working on a political campaign in 1984[?], I was delivering something to the NYDN building, and Jimmy walked up to a hot dog vendor, got a dog, bullshitted with the guy and wolfed it down like a champ. This was before he got sick and when he still looked like the tough city newsman. It was an iconic moment.

    Another day, inside the NYDN building, after I walked past a giant poster of his Jimmy-ness, I approached the elevator. The doors opened. There was Jimmy, with a collection of Damon Runyan characters including a hooker, a midget and a pimp dressed like Huggy Bear.

    It was as surreal a moment as the scene in Rio Bravo where John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan do a sing-along in the jail.

  4. Anonymous | June 25, 2003 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    “It was as surreal a moment as the scene in Rio Bravo where John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan do a sing-along in the jail.”

    Nothing surreal about that scene, my man.

    Nothing real about Jimmy B.

  5. Anonymous | June 25, 2003 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress. Everything else is publicity.” Lord Northcliffe.

    This may be the first column by Breslin I’ve ever read, but I thought it was heroic. America will be great only so long as she is free, and we have always counted on the press to play its part in ensuring our freedom. The rise of the Internet does little to alleviate the abdication of responsibility by the corporate press, any more than the press’s abdication excuses the government’s excesses.

  6. Anonymous | June 25, 2003 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care why Breslin were never hired by the Times; surely the reasons are now lost in an editorial haze?

    But the issue in this particular column is horrifyingly relevant – the US government is publicly ‘disappearing’ citizens, and claiming that this is OK. Not Chile, not El Salvador, not Zimbabwe – the US. Think back – two years ago this was unimaginable. Oh, the US may have disappeared citizens – but invisibly, because it was NOT OK.

    According to, the Padilla count (days that he’s been held in solitary without charge or meeting w/lawyers) is 444. This American Life’s coverage of the Padilla case and other erosions of our country’s founding principles is particularly pointed: “Secret Government”, 1/10/03, .

    I believe that those of us who oppose the erosion of our country’s freedoms and rights by this administration are the only patriots left. We should fly the flag and sing patriotic songs proudly this 4th, and every day. Habeas corpus and the bill of rights are not bleeding heart frills; they are the stuff of which the flag is woven.

  7. Anonymous | July 1, 2003 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t want arrest without due process.

    And I don’t want blind dismissal of the current threats to our country either.

    Bravo for Breslin speaking out against summary arrests and detentions.

    But he deserves a bucket of cold water dumped over his head for implying that many journalists are just Government stenographers…

    …when in reality these detentions have been questioned from multitudinous journalistic quarters.

    Nevertheless Breslin has an extremely important case to press in defense of our imperiled civil liberties and he and the countless other journalists who continue to raise this issue are doing us all a service.

    Phil Murray

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