Ports Controversy: Gender-Bender for Politicos, Befuddlement for MSM

When it comes to the controversy surrounding the UAE port operations deal, left is right, right is left and the MSM seems caught somewhere in the middle, trying to balance its cultural versus its political instincts.

Last night's Scarborough Country thus treated us to the odd spectacle of Barbara Boxer doing her best Tom Tancredo impersonation, opposing the deal because "two of the 9/11 hijackers came from the UAE."

Then, on this morning's Early Show, Dan Bartlett sounded more like a multi-cultural sensitivity trainer than the presidential counselor he is when he declared:

"We shouldn't be setting different types of rules for different types of companies just because they may come from the Middle East . . . What kind of mixed signals are we sending to the world when we say that some companies that play by the rules can have business with America but other companies who play by the rules can't? That's not the way America does business."

On issues from NSA surveillance to the Cheney shooting it was easy for the MSM to know where it stood. It's trickier here. Support the deal out of anti-profiling sentiment, or join with those opposing the deal to skewer the President as Dems try to position themselves to his right on a national security matter?

At the Early Show, host Hannah Storm chose a third way, opting to pour fuel on the political fire: "is the President suggesting those who are opposed to this deal are racially biased against businesses in the Middle East?"

Bartlett: "They have to explain their positions themselves."

When it came to the bottom line, Bartlett wasn't budging.

Storm: "Is the President prepared to delay this deal or not?"

Bartlett: "The President wants this deal to go forward because it was done by the book and we'll meet with the United States Congress till they understand that."

Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the local TV show 'Right Angle.' Email him at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.