Reader Contest: Write a Beat-Sweetener!

This is the season of the “beat-sweetener,” when reporters covering a new administration write flattering profiles of political appointees in order to curry favor. (It doesn’t speak well of the Bush team’s media savvy that it is failing to cooperate with the writers of these puff pieces, according to Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post.) The earliest and best entry this time out came Nov. 28 from the New York Times’ Elaine Sciolino, writing of Bush chief of staff Andrew Card: “Mr. Card prides himself on his humility.” But surely that can be topped.

Chatterbox invites readers to submit a paragraph from a hilariously inappropriate beat-sweetener reporting the appointment of Ted Bundy, Adolf Eichmann, Forrest Gump, O.J. Simpson, Donald Trump, Rasputin, or some similar imaginary bad choice for the Bush Cabinet. Send entries to by 10 p.m. on Dec. 20. The best entries will be posted here. Void where prohibited by law. Paper or plastic? Return your tray table to the upright position. I’m askin’ for your vote.