Friday, December 14, 2007

Boneheaded play of the week: Alberto Gonzales the ABA's Lawyer of the Year

If you too noticed this week that the ABA named Alberto Gonzales as their "Lawyer of the Year" for 2007, you weren't hallucinating. Their choice was made based upon how predominant he was in the news, so they say, kind of like the Time Person of the Year designation. Somehow, though, it just doesn't work when you're choosing a profession's person of the year as it carries with it a sense that the person somehow deserves this honorific, that they've achieved something of significance that warrants them being held up to their peers for plaudits. The ABA is clearly backtracking now:
When this article was posted online on December 12, 2007, it was titled “Lawyers of the Year 2007 and 2008.” The article defined that term as the year’s biggest legal newsmaker, identifying former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the major newsmaker of 2007. The Journal regrets that we did not make this theme clear.

We appreciate the feedback we’ve received, and we’re acting on it. So that there can be no confusion, the term “Lawyers of the Year” has been changed in the headline and story to “Newsmakers of the Year.” The story is otherwise unchanged from its original version.
How many subscription and membership cancellations do you think they were threatened with this past week? If I were an American, this would do it for me.

Here's a sampling of commentary from TPM Muckraker with a comic touch, often the most effective way to wrestle with the absurdities life throws at you:
DHN wrote on December 13, 2007 11:09 AM:

Can I nominate Jeffrey Dahmer for America's Top Chef?

Alguien wrote on December 13, 2007 10:31 AM:

Following the same rationale, I propose Dana Perino for the Pulitzer Prize in current events and US History.
And more importantly, Dick Cheney as "Miss Congeniality".

buck wrote on December 12, 2007 7:30 PM:

Was Jack Kevorkian ever the AMA's Doctor of the Year? That's probably a closer comparison than Hitler or Stalin. The latter give Fredo way too much credit.
And one that resonates:
And Yet... wrote on December 12, 2007 6:32 PM:

This story is already being completely misinterpreted by Joe & Jane Public, who will just read the headliners about it & no further.

If number of news stories is the criterion, why not name the fired USAs as Lawyers of the Year, since they were all so widely publicized in national & local news following the crapfest that was/is the politicizing of DoJ under BushCo?

Lousy call, ABA Journal.
Yep, extremely lousy call.