Ari Watch, continued

Here's what happened when the Iraq war flack was asked to name the veteran in his ad on "Hardball." Plus: Tammy Haddad's new gig.

Published August 23, 2007 7:45PM (EDT)

I'm still getting e-mail and letters about Ari Fleischer's astonishing failure to remember the name of the Iraq veteran who lost both legs in Fallujah, whose story he's using to flack his new group Freedom's Watch. Salon video producer Caitlin Shamberg found the "Hardball" clip plus the ad Fleischer talked about and put it together here:

Fleischer's flub reminded me of his creepy warning to comic Bill Maher after 9/11, that Maher and "all Americans ... need to watch what they say, watch what they do." Fleischer should watch what he says on television news programs, before he makes a laughingstock of his new organization.

When we posted this on Video Dog this morning, a letter writer asked why we did a video when I'd already posted on Fleischer's gaffe last night in my blog. As I've said before, we're experimenting with video, sometimes instead of a story or blog post, sometimes along with one. Personally, I think it's powerful to see Fleischer's blank face when Mike Barnicle asked him the soldier's name, and to see veteran John Kriesel himself. Some people may be more inclined to look at the video than read my blog post. Others may find it redundant. As we do more video, we'd love to know what you think works and what doesn't. Meanwhile, please indulge me my irritation with Ari Fleischer. I can't say enough about how cynical Freedom's Watch is. I'll try to get it out of my system. Last post. I promise.

One last "Hardball" note, and this comes with a bias alert: I'm an admirer of producer Tammy Haddad's work at MSNBC and was alarmed by rumors she'd lost her job. In fact she's moving over to run the network's 2008 political coverage, a shift heralded by her promotion to be the network's Washington vice president last year. Haddad's been coordinating MSNBC's presidential debates as well as its all-politics "Super Tuesdays," noteworthy because of the increasing presence of NBC News worthies including Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Tim Russert on the cable airwaves. She'll continue to produce "Hardball" special events as well. There has been gossip about tension between Haddad and host Chris Matthews since Matthews inadvertently used the S-bomb on the air, but whatever the back story, Matthews' loss is the rest of the network's gain.

By Joan Walsh

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