Retired Washingtonian editor Jack Limpert’s piece last week about firing a film critic for praising Oliver Stone’s “JFK” brought in this comment from former Washington Post critic Tom Shales: “Jack, as a critic who once worked for you, I am shocked!tender Plus whatever fault you could find in Stone’s politics, his mastery of cinematic technique in JFK, and later on Nixon, was impressive.”

Shales continues:

Gary Arnold, the great film critic of The Washington Post, was forced out because a couple of editors, one named Ben, were upset that he didn’t like Tender Mercies, which had made them cry — boo hoo. Posterity has not been kind to that corny film; Gary was right.

Ben Bradlee fired Arnold over his April 1983 “Tender Mercies” review? (Headline: “Miserable ‘Mercies’: Duvall: Movin’ slow on the lone prairie.”) I called the retired critic to check that out.

“I asked Ben about it” at the time, says Arnold, “and he said there was nothing to it. …I thought there was something silly and trifling about [the rumor]. I thought it was pretty ridiculous. Why predicate anything on a single review? An accumulation of discontent would make more sense.”

Besides, no editor ever complained to him about the “Mercies” review, he says.

Arnold was removed as film critic in August of 1984, after 16 years, but stayed at the Post for 13 more months to do book reviews and other assignments.

The departure, he says, was “amicable.”

“You can’t have the notion that you have a job for life,” says 72-year-old Arnold. “They wanted to make a change” and eventually hired Paul Attanasio.

The retired critic seemed surprised that the “Tender Mercies” rumor was still circulating. “It’s had a longer life than it certainly deserves, and it’s one that’s never bothered me.”

* You’re fired – and I wish you nothing but the best (
* Tom Shales: “Editors should stick to what they know” (

* Daily Mail hed: No questions asked; the story: questions were asked. (
* NBC had a psychological consultant interview David Gregory‘s friends and wife “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” (
* Toronto Star ombud: Are dashes in swear words “a coy and quaint standard of the past or an ongoing mark of respect for readers?” (
* Justice Antonin Scalia says the court’s New York Times vs. Sullivan ruling “was wrong … It was revising the Constitution.” (
* A good news/bad news week at the Philadelphia Inquirer. (
* Vox, FiveThirtyEight and The Intercept explained. (
* Religion News Service announces the closings of Faith & Values sites in Hartford, Spokane, and Toledo.
* CNN wonders if the Klan can rebrand itself. (
* A labor reporter laid off from In These Times asks for donations to keep him on the Volkswagen beat. (@MikeElk)
* Slate Plus – a $5/month or $50/year membership program – “enables our most committed readers and listeners to get an enhanced Slate experience, while supporting the work we do,” says editor David Plotz. (
* Because of light-rail tracks near Minnesota Public Radio’s building, “the floor is vibrating, the ceiling is shaking, the structure is making noise, and that affects the recordings.” (
* Hartford Courant editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart writes about his “unique childhood” and love for NASCAR in a new book. (
* ICYMI: A reporter live-tweeted the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday. (@philtvnews)

Update: New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz tells me he doesn’t understand the point of Mark Fitzgerald’s tweet below. What was “weird” about using FO’ SHIZZLE? he asks.

It’s true that it’s dated language. But then so are HEP, RAD, EGAD, and other old-fashioned terms, which appear in crosswords all the time. The key is to clue things like these in similarly dated ways. For example, FO’ SHIZZLE was clued as “Definitely, dawg!,” which is a contemporaneous way of saying approximately the same thing.

Fitzgerald’s response is in Comments.

From the Times WordPlay blog: “FO’ SHIZZLE makes its debut today, even though, technically speaking, it is so last decade.”

From the Puzzle Constructor’s Notes: “I’m pleased with this puzzle, and I hope you are, too. Fo’shizzle.”

Crossword Fiend objects!

* Notes on Friday’s New York Times Crossword Puzzle (
* Commenter: “For sure I have never heard that expression” (

* Tracee Herbaugh recalls her late mother – the first woman AP bureau chief to die while on assignment – and writes: “I’d become annoyed at people who assumed I would follow in my mother’s footsteps and pursue journalism. And yet, I did.” (
* U.S. newspaper industry revenue fell 2.6% in 2013. (AP via
* “People with money are excited about the news business.” (
murrow* “I believe that Edward R. Murrow (left) would have embraced our selection of Arianna Huffington as this year’s [Murrow Forum] speaker” at Tufts University. (
* “Freedom is choosing not to live behind the locked door,” says the man who shared his passwords with the world. (
* Nina Totenberg recalls being ignored in the newsroom at the start of her career because “I was not one of the guys.” (
* More on Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann and her classroom remarks about the Star-Ledger. (Raritan River Review)
* The prestigious Clark Medal goes to a University of Chicago economist who studies media bias. ( | Prof. Matthew Gentzkow talks to NPR. (
* Media bias, dammit! The Bush pregnancy was ignored! (@newsbusters)

- A paragraph from the story.

– A paragraph from the story.

An assistant district attorney tells the defendant he has to share his story with the Sheboygan Press as a part of a plea deal. What if the Press says it’s not interested? I wondered.

“We could have said no,” says reporter Josh Lintereur. “There was no pressure on us.”

Sheboygan Press key audience manager (aka editor) Dan Benson adds: “It was clear there were no ground rules and we weren’t barred from asking any questions and no expectation was laid down as to what kind of story it had to be, although their hopes or intentions were made clear.”

I judged it completely on the news value of it and that there was a public service aspect. It helped that the crash itself was so bizarre and was news when it happened. [John Krizenesky hit a utility pole with his 1966 Corvette, the pole fell and electrocuted a boy.] The only condition was that Krizenesky did not want his photo taken during the interview, but it was understood that we would be shooting stills and video in court.

Benson says he’s never had a prosecutor make this kind of request before, and “my only concern now is that they will want to do it again. If so I’ll have to consider it purely on news value again.”

Both the editor and reporter tell me they’re hearing mixed reactions to today’s page one story. “One woman accused us of making the driver out to be the victim,” says Benson. “Other reactions, which we’d already heard following the sentencing story, was that the sentence was way too lenient [30 days in jail, a fine, and a newspaper story], which is an ongoing complaint about Sheboygan judges.”

* A tragic ending to a casual drink (
* The boy was catching grasshoppers when he was electrocuted (
* Today’s Sheboygan Press front page (


From the Colorado Springs Gazette’s video about investigative reporter David Philipps’ Pulitzer-winning series: “Though Philipps was in Washington, DC, when news broke of the award, he flew home Monday evening to a hero’s reception at the Gazette office and a late-night celebration at a nearby brewery.”

How Philipps got onto the story about the Army’s mistreatment of combat veterans: “I got this call essentially saying, ‘Hey, there’s this soldier from Fort Carson who was in the psychiatric hospital here in town, and the Army pulled him out against his will and put him in jail. I thought, wow, can they do that? That seems like a really bad idea. I went to visit him and he told me his story. …I knew I had something.”

* The story behind the Gazette’s Pulitzer (
* How the Detroit Free Press won its Pulitzer for Commentary (

* @nickbilton

* Search warrant: Peoria’s mayor told police he wanted the person behind the @peoriamayor parody Twitter account tracked down. ( | Earlier: Seven cops raid home to find who’s tweeting as @peoriamayor. (
unclear* Victory for protesters: The Newseum will start including weeklies in its Today’s Front Pages exhibit. (
* ESPN profits are expected to grow in the “high single digits” the next few years. Its annual ad sales are about $3 billion. ( | Deadspin hires Dave McKenna for the ESPN beat. (
* (At right) “This can’t be a real sentence in a real news story, can it?” (@RachelSB)
* With an editorial staff of 16, the Kyiv Post “makes a remarkable journalistic difference.” (
* Ex-Washingtonian editor Jack Limpert recalls firing a film critic over her review of “JFK.” (
* Roger Ebert‘s first movie review appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times 47 years ago today. (@charlesapple)
* The Deadline Club announces its awards finalists. (
* “Surveillance, Security and Journalism Ethics” will be discussed at a May 2 University of Wisconsin-Madison conference. (
* Toronto Star digital journalists will be paid less than others in the newsroom. (
* Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business are sold to East Valley Tribune parent 10/13 Communications. ( | (
* JOBS: A defense contractor in Colorado seeks writers. | Tech journalist wanted. (Romenesko Jobs Page)
* Chris Wallace has a new multi-year deal with Fox News. (
* “The LA Times is a very nice national newspaper,” says LA Register publisher Aaron Kushner. (
* Jonah Lehrer started blogging again last week. (


* RIP: David W. “Pervert Dave” Cummings ( | Image via @drewharwell

Update: “Everybody just knew him as ‘Pervert,’” says “kid sister” (

* Minneapolis Star Tribune’s new owner says he bought the paper for about $100 million. (Boston Globe went for $70 million last year.) (
* Seven Peoria plainclothes cops with a search warrant raided a home to unmask the person behind the now-suspended parody @peoriamayor account. (
franc* New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley won’t be suing James Franco for calling him “a little bitch.” (“He’s entitled to say whatever he likes about me, as long as it’s not libelous, and somehow I don’t think ‘little bitch’ qualifies.” (
* Laid-off Trentonian editorial writer: “what the hell, I’ve been at this so damn long it’s maybe about time somebody gonged me.” (
* Washington Post investigative reporter Joe Stephens is named Ferris Professor in Residence at Princeton. (
* Community newspaper publishers ask the Newseum to showcase their front pages, too. Update: I’m told the Newseum agreed to it. (
* An Oregonian tipster writes: “This is the craziest competitor rant I’ve read in a good, long while. Satan-worshiping mega-corporation?” (
* No surprise that BuzzFeed and Daily Beast tried to win a Pulitzer. (
* ESPN hired Jason Whitlock to stop his attacks on the sports media giant? (
* Fashion magazine editor-in-chief puts out a statement about Lorde’s nose. (Not Photoshopped!) (

Kudos to Roger Ailes biographer Gabe Sherman for raising Bill O’Reilly’s blood pressure a bit at last night’s Hollywood Reporter-sponsored “Most Powerful People in Media” party.

Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly at the "Most Powerful" party

Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly at the “Most Powerful” party/credit: Associated Press

What happened when Sherman confronted the “Factor” host:

I asked if he had read the book and what he thought. When he registered who I was, his eyes bulged out of their sockets.

“Drop dead, man!” he screamed. …

He lunged forward at me. He stood there, all six foot five of him, staring me down. I thought he might take a swing at me. His producer Jesse Watters stood nearby, smiling. Before I could say anything more, O’Reilly spun around and stalked off with Watters in tow.

Then Sherman went up to Megyn Kelly…

The vibe was cold. “I’m sorry, but I can’t be seen talking to you,” Kelly said. “It will get me in trouble.” I asked her why. She stuck to her talking points.

Before I turned to leave, there was one thing she wanted me to know. “Roger Ailes is a great man,” she said.

* “Drop dead, man!” When Bill O’Reilly attacks (