"But with a single word — or a single word left out of what was supposed to be a laugh line directed at the president — Mr. Kerry has become a punching bag again, for Republicans and for his own party."
Gosh darn, just that one, single, individual pesky word that was missed opened Monsieur Kerry once again to that infamous Republican attack machine.
Not exactly. Today the newspaper has appended the following correction:
"A Political Memo article yesterday about the fallout for Senator John Kerry over what he called a 'botched joke' referred incompletely to the differences between prepared remarks and what he actually said about the Iraq war to students at Pasadena City College in California on Monday. Mr. Kerry not only dropped the word 'us,' but he also rephrased his opening sentence extensively and omitted a reference to President Bush. Mr. Kerry’s aides said that the prepared text read: 'Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.' What he said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
CAFFERTY: Well, listen, it's tailor-made for the media. We get so sick and tired of, you know, running sound bytes of the candidates that when somebody comes along and does something that's even this much out of ordinary, we pounce on it like cats on a mouse and drag it around until it's dismembered on the living room floor.
ZAHN: Will it be dismembered by election night is the question, Jack Cafferty.
CAFFERTY: If we have our way with it, it will be.
BLITZER: I'm sure there'll be something else that will pop up between and probably an hour from now.
"And, of course, Paula, what is really telling here is that Kerry, for most of the day, was alone in his explanations, and trying to figure all of this out -- Democrats quietly saying that they really wish Kerry had kept quiet on this one.
"But, late in the day, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement, criticizing President Bush's criticism of Kerry. And, then, Paula, late in the day as well, we got yet another press release from Kerry, criticizing, reacting to Bush's criticism of him earlier in the day, calling it smear.
"Rush Limbaugh may not be this country's most disgusting human being, but he surely ranks among the top 10." Mr. Limbaugh, we learn, is part of "the well-honed Republican attack machine" that so viciously attacks liberal Democrats.
Zweifel additionally notes: "The pity of it all is that all too many Americans fall for these tactics of character assassination."
Character assassination is something with which Zweifel is intimately acquainted. Five years ago, he examined the relationship between White House reporters and President George W. Bush and - amazingly - introduced Adolph Hitler into the equation.
"I swear that if this current bunch of supposed White House reporters were covering Adolf Hitler back in the early days of his administration, they'd be writing glowing accounts of how successful the German chancellor was in achieving his goals.
With the elections getting very close, Chris Matthews appears even more rabid, if that's possible. Recently, he's taken to speaking for others. Not just for other liberals, but for everyone everywhere.
Last night's "Hardball" offered an example of this. The topic was the political ads Michael J. Fox is doing for Democrats around the country. There's considerable controversy - and misunderstanding - about what Rush Limbaugh said about Fox's ads and the entire question of Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
For Matthews, however, there's no room for disagreement as the facts speak for themselves:
"Everybody likes Michael J. Fox and nobody agrees with Rush Limbaugh that he was faking it or went off his meds to do a good show."
Everybody likes Michael J. Fox? Nobody agrees with Rush Limbaugh?
Lyn Davis Lear is worried. As Mrs. Norman Lear writes in the Huffington Post, President Bush, Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney appear awfully confident of retaining a Congressional majority. This, despite the fact the mainstream media merrily reports every poll suggesting a huge Democratic victory, if not a landslide, is only two weeks away.
Mrs. Lear frets that Republicans are planning an election eve surprise, or may win by spending so much more than their opponents. Then again, maybe they're planning to just steal the election.
Gore Vidal suggested to her that "the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law." This has her "thinking", too.
So many nefarious schemes, so little time. Mrs. Lear's recommendation is, "we should all be on alert. If for whatever reason we don't win back Congress in November the only real answer will be to take to the streets."
Congressman Harold Ford, running for the Senate in Tennessee, just received free publicity that most candidates can only dream about. With only a couple of weeks to go until the election, he made the cover of Newsweek.
"Not Your Daddy's Democrats" it says next to Mr. Ford's flattering photo, and the accompanying article strongly suggests that Harold Ford is at least a moderate and possibly even a conservative. Yes, the party of Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi has opened a huge tent and today's Democratic candidates - like Mr. Ford - are far from liberal. Or are they?
Once you get past the article's points about Harold Ford appealing to Christians and opposing gay marriage and partial-birth abortion, you learn: "According to Congressional Quarterly, Ford supported his party upwards of 85 percent of the time in most years since Bush took office." Yes, it took more than 20 paragraphs into the lengthy article, but finally it's acknowledged that maybe Mr. Ford isn't all that far away from Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi after all.
CBS News today is carrying the AP story, "Dems to Use Moderation if They Win House." Written by Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor, the article appears intended to quiet any anxieties about what a Democratic majority in the House will mean.
"They're mostly a liberal bunch. Yet the would-be chairmen in a House under Democratic control promise to rule from the center. They'd have little choice, given the likely balance of power they would confront if elected."
Later in the story:
"What won't be seen is any serious move to impeach Bush, even though the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, has introduced a bill calling on Congress to determine whether there are grounds for impeachment over the government's warrantless wiretapping program.
"Conyers already has been overruled by Democratic leaders including would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who dismiss any talk of impeachment."
"This was a threat that appeared on a Web site. It said that dirty bombs would be detonated this Sunday outside NFL games in seven U.S. cities: Miami, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland, and Cleveland.
"The Department of Homeland Security is saying there is no credible intelligence to support these claims, no credible information to indicate such attacks will take place. But, out of an abundance of caution, they informed the NFL and other officials, so they can take the actions that they deem to be appropriate."
Despite DHS's statement, CNN political analyst and Clinton boot licker Paul Begala was quick to suggest a conspiracy:
Some people still think of the Chicago Tribune as the voice of conservative Republicanism. The truth is that it hasn't been for many years.
Today's editorial endorsements by the newspaper provide fresh evidence of how the once mighty Tribune has fallen. The Tribune endorsed seven Illinois candidates for Congress; every one of them is a liberal Democrat.
Moreover, the incumbent Democrats the Tribune recommends include some of the most liberal representatives in Congress:
Bobby Rush, according to the nonpartisan National Journal, in 2005 voted more liberal on social policy issues than 96 percent of the Representatives.
Jesse Jackson, Jr., according to the same index, in 2005 voted more liberal on social policy issues than 86 percent of his colleagues.
It could have been Speaker Dennis Hastert's team skills or dexterity or experience or ingenuity that is being tested, but no, it's his "mentality."
It takes until the second paragraph for the authors, Michael Grunwald and Jim VandeHei, to make the relevant point that Mr. Hastert is "the beefy former wrestling coach - who's a bit bearlike himself." Just in case that's too subtle, we're later advised: "He looks like a cross between actor Wilford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt, and his unassuming Midwestern public demeanor makes for dull television."
Today's Boston Globe reports: "Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday, days after he was admitted to the hospital after collapsing while walking his dog, his husband said."
The reference to a "husband" may take some of us aback, and the timing of Mr. Studds' passing is certainly coincidental in light of the Mark Foley scandal.
Saturday's Washington Post includes the article "Democratic Faces That Could Launch Thousands of Votes." Authored by staff writer Shailagh Murray, the story states: "By a combination of luck and design, Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly good-looking candidates.
"The beauty gap between the parties, some on Capitol Hill muse, could even be a factor in who controls Congress after Election Day.
"Democratic operatives do not publicly say that they went out of their way this year to recruit candidates with a high hotness quotient. Privately, however, they acknowledge that, as they focused on finding the most dynamic politicians to challenge vulnerable Republicans, it did not escape their notice that some of the most attractive prospects were indeed often quite attractive."
Now it's not my desire to be mean. And certainly I'm not known for my own good looks.
But it seems to me that a party boasting such attractive folks as Barbara Mikulski, Rosa DeLauro, Janet Reno, Madeleine Albright, Michael Moore and John Kerry hasn't practiced "the politics of beauty" all that much.
"A federal grand jury has indicted Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, a top fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, on charges that he demanded millions of dollars in kickbacks from investment firms seeking business from the state teachers' pension system, according to an indictment unsealed today."
The story describes Rezko as a "longtime Chicago developer and active supporter of Republicans and Democrats."
According to Newsmeat.com, which tracks Federal Election Commission data, between 2002 and 2004 Rezko made political contributions (not to Blagojevich) of $20,500. Every dollar went to Democratic candidates.
The mainstream media not infrequently employs the word "archconservative." But if there are indeed archconservatives, are there not also archliberals? Not in the world of the Chicago Tribune. A computer check of the newspaper's archives for the past five years revealed not a single instance of "archliberal" being used.
I suspect that Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage would not have been surprised.
"I'm always being accused of being a Hollywood Republican," Willis is quoted as saying, " — but I'm not!"
According to the story, Willis is particularly interested in foster care, certainly a worthy concern. But he doesn't think free individuals can effectively address the matter: "This is not something for the private sector to solve. This is a problem for the federal government."
Not everyone is happy to see gasoline prices drop. On CNN's Live Saturday, network senior political correspondent Bill Schneider raised the question of whether dipping prices are part of a conspiracy orchestrated by big oil companies.
Said Schneider about lower gasoline costs: "That's good news for Republicans if only because it could reduce voter anxiety." He then noted: "Industry sources cite a lot of reasons, including higher fuel inventories, a so far mild hurricane season, the truce between Israel and Lebanon. But this oil industry critic believes that what drove prices up was speculation. And a report from a bipartisan congressional investigation may be having an impact."
"This oil industry critic" was one Tyson Slocum of the Naderite Public Citizen. Schneider then speculated that, "The dropping prices may last just a couple of months. Long enough to get through the November election. Could that be what the oil companies want?"
Today's Chicago Tribune carried a brief analysis of the new team on "Today." Wrote staffer Maureen Ryan:
"(Meredith) Vieira and (Matt) Lauer are an inspired pairing. They were even able to turn her flubs into jokes, the true sign of on-air chemistry. Early on, she messed up a line leading into a commercial. 'Redo! Redo!' Lauer yelped.
"No need. The warm Vieira fit right in with 'Today's' mix of frothy celebrity updates, tabloid stories and bits and bites of actual news."
Earlier in the piece, Ms. Ryan noted that "Hiring Vieira was clearly a smart move."
Such enthusiasm at the Tribune is usually reserved for Democratic Senator Barack Obama and other selected liberals.
It hasn't taken Katie Couric long to tailor the CBS Evening News to her liking. The New York Observer reports the Perky One has replaced medical correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin with Dr Jonathan LaPook, Ms. Couric's gastroenterologist.
What makes that move even more interesting is that the good doctor's father-in-law is longtime liberal activist Norman Lear. According to the Web site Newsmeat, the physician has contributed to the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Wesley Clark, and Al Gore.
Don't be surprised if the CBS Evening News begins reporting on stories relating to matters such as the health dangers of global warming and the desirability of socialized medicine.
The front page of today's Chicago Tribune carries the headline: "Bush's vows after Katrina go unfulfilled, Critics: Washington `all windup, no pitch.'"
The principal critic cited is the dependably liberal historian Douglas Brinkley of Tulane University. "'The Bush administration, post-Katrina, has been all windup and no pitch. It's a low point in Bush's tenure,' says Brinkley."
The professor's credentials as an impartial observer are questionable. Here, after all, is a man who claims that Jimmy Carter "is seen as a national treasure - even by people who didn't like him as president." A man who asserted: "I think he'd (John Kerry) make a first-rate president." A man who wants to see Bill Clinton's reputation rehabilitated and says, "Hopefully, we'll have a fuller view and also understand that he's had a great many important strengths."
"He's a role model for all of Africa," a Kenyan playwright effuses. The story is typically glowing as is much of the coverage Obama has gotten about his trip from the American media.
Yet Charles Thomas, a reporter for Chicago's ABC affiliate WLS-TV who is accompanying the senator, sees less enthusiasm in Kenya than here: "Producer Janet Hundley and I spent all of Wednesday in Nairobi and were somewhat surprised by the lack of 'buzz' surrounding the only African-American U.S. Senator's visit to his ancestral homeland. As the newspapers make little mention of it the television news programs make even less."
On the Chicago Tribune's front page today is the story of an illegal immigrant who's taken refuge in a Chicago church to avoid deportation. The headline is "Act of faith, defiance" and the article includes a color photo of the woman and her son.
Yesterday's Tribune coverage on the event noted: "The church's pastor, the Rev. Walter Coleman, said his congregation decided to offer Arellano refuge after praying about her plight.. . . 'She represents the voice of the undocumented, and we think it's our obligation, our responsibility, to make a stage for that voice to be heard,' he said."
Walter Coleman? Could that be Walter "Slim" Coleman, a longtime left wing activist? Yes, it is.
Today's Los Angeles Times includes an extended obituary on Dorothy Healey, described as "a onetime labor organizer, civil rights activist and Marxist radio commentator." The newspaper found nothing but praise for the old comrade. According to an acquaintance: "She was always so fiercely partisan for working people. Yes, of course, she cared about war and peace and women's issues, but she was always concerned about working people."
A college historian credits her union activism with leading "her to become an advocate of black and Chicano rights at a time when few other people were speaking out on such issues."
The Chicago Tribune may not be, as its competitor the Chicago Sun-Times can boast, a "proud sponsor of Gay Games VII," but you wouldn't know it by its coverage.
Last Sunday, the Tribune featured eight articles referencing the Gay Games. On Monday there were five and today there are three. In fairness, some of the articles have more to do with the weather than the games, but some pieces leave no question as to where the writer stands.
Columnist Mary Schmich, for example, writes: "It's been a generation since I knowingly met a gay person for the first time. A generation since the Gay Games started. A generation of huge, encouraging changes. And still not enough has changed."
According to Wallsten, the campaign be difficult for the congressman from "liberal Memphis," but "Ford argued that the old labels do
not apply -- not to this centrist, pro-war, anti-gay-marriage, deficit
hawk of a social conservative. . . "
Centrist? Let's see. For 2005, Mr. Ford received a score of 100 percent in the National Education Association's ratings. He was also perfect with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. The National Organization for Women gave him an 86, the AFL-CIO awarded him an 83 and he received a solid 80 from the Americans for Democratic Action.
In today's Chicago Sun-Times article, "Controversial judge plans to retire," the newspaper writes: "A judge who once upheld a speeding ticket given to a woman in labor, told two young girls they would 'go to hell' if they lied on the stand and denied a woman a bathroom break before she soiled herself is stepping down from the bench."
Three sentences later, the retiring judge is identified as a Republican. OK, fine, that's relevant and should be reported.
The problem is the newspaper doesn't do that consistently. Less than two years ago, a Cook County Democratic judge was temporarily removed from the bench by the chief judge who, after reviewing a court transcript,said he "was exceedingly troubled by (the judge's) lack of respect for the high office which he holds and for those individuals present for the proceedings." The Sun-Times reported at the time: "After (the judge's) outburst-- which included the judge using the 'F' word twice -- Chief Judge
Timothy Evans reassigned him and took him off the bench 'until further