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By Patrick Goodenough | July 6, 2011 | 4:49 PM EDT

President Obama’s nominee to a top State Department post is one of the few American diplomats to have met North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, whom she later described as “smart, capable and supremely confident.”

Wendy Sherman traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 in her capacity as counselor to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Visiting South Korea four years later – when she was no longer in government – Sherman had positive things to say about the reclusive Stalinist leader. 

By Scott Whitlock | July 6, 2011 | 4:48 PM EDT

In a segment on the religiosity of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, MSNBC's Richard Lui on Wednesday looked to an author who has smeared conservative Christians as "radical," weird individuals who "hate" America.

The guest host for Martin Bashir interviewed Frank Schaeffer, a blogger on the liberal Huffington Post website and also a constant critic of the religious right. Schaeffer, the son of a conservative theologian, excoriated conservatives: "But, I came to understand that these people actually hate the United States as it is."

By Matthew Balan | July 6, 2011 | 4:36 PM EDT

CBS's Bob Schieffer took on the role of a left-wing activist on Sunday's Face the Nation, as he pressed all four of his guests from both parties about cuts in state and local spending. Schieffer bewailed how both Republican Governors John Kasich and Scott Walker "cut deeply into education" and asked Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa if he felt good about making "draconian cuts" [audio clips available here]

The anchor brought on the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as the mayor of Los Angeles and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, for his half-hour program to discuss the impasse over the federal budget and the debt ceiling and its impact on their states. After an initial question to Governor Kasich, where Schieffer claimed how, apparently, "things are worse than ever" between the two political parties, Schieffer set up his first question to Governor Walker with his lament of the apparent cuts to education in the states of his two Republican guests:

By Eric Ames | July 6, 2011 | 4:03 PM EDT

Newsweek's Tina Brown compared congressional Republicans to suicide bombers on Wednesday's Morning Joe after lamenting their refusal to agree to the tax hikes demanded by Democrats. "I think they’re the suicide bombers in all of this," said Brown. Will Tina Brown be banned indefinitely from Morning Joe? Sounds harsher than a crotch reference.

By Matt Hadro | July 6, 2011 | 3:53 PM EDT

American Morning co-host Christine Romans used David Brooks' words to press Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Wednesday on the stubbornness of conservative Republicans in the debt ceiling debate. Brooks, the faux "conservative" writer for the New York Times, wrote a scathing column Monday hitting Republicans for their refusal to accept Democrat "compromises" in the debt ceiling debate.

Romans twice referenced critics of the Republicans, first saying that critics fear the "new awakening" of the Tea Party and the 2010 elections as "dangerous for America." Later she read DeMint a quote from Brooks's piece in the Times.

By Eric Scheiner | July 6, 2011 | 3:13 PM EDT

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) willingness to work on entitlement reform while on the Senate floor Wednesday stating, “I don’t disagree with Paul Ryan saying we have got to look honestly at Medicare.”

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 6, 2011 | 3:10 PM EDT

Friday afternoon, the White House quietly released its annual report to Congress on White House staff salaries. Among the employees is the infamous director of progressive media and online response, Jesse Lee, who is paid $72,500 a year to provide White House sanctioned responses to any negative press it receives.

The position, which was previously part of the privately-funded DNC's rapid response team, is now a taxpayer-funded spin machine to thwart bad press against President Barack Obama. In effect, the position is a pulpit for the White House, through Lee, to ridicule critics and promote a liberal agenda. Lee frequently retweets liberal bloggers and media organizations, but also picks fights with a number of conservative bloggers.

By Matthew Sheffield | July 6, 2011 | 2:35 PM EDT

After letting it wither on the vine for a while, CNN has canceled the nightly television program hosted by disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.

The show, known as "In the Arena," had initially paired Spitzer with moderate conservative Kathleen Parker who proved no match for her much more vociferous liberal counterpart. AP reports on the lineup shuffle:

By Clay Waters | July 6, 2011 | 12:57 PM EDT

A defense of infidelity, put forward by gay-rights activist and explicit sex-advice columnist Dan Savage and penned by Mark Oppenheimer, “Married, With Infidelities,” served as the cover of the latest New York Times Sunday Magazine. The subhead to the banner headline in the print edition described Savage as a “devoted husband, proud father, sex columnist.” Left off the resume: Doorknob licker and conservative presidential campaign saboteur.

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes….Savage says a more flexible attitude within marriage may be just what the straight community needs. Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners. And that, Savage says, destroys more families than it saves.

By Tim Graham | July 6, 2011 | 11:53 AM EDT

CNN host Fareed Zakaria wasn't just on NPR last week dismissing Fox News as a CNN competitor. He spent most of an hour on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on June 30 sharing his liberal "wisdom" and promoting his book on "The Post-American World."  He may have encouraged the Chris Matthews 'fiscal Wahhabi" jag by comparing Grover Norquist's tax pledge to a "Vatican pronouncement." Pope Grover I? It came in this exchange:

TERRY GROSS: So in talking about conservative opposition to raising taxes, Grover Norquist, who's the head of Americans for Tax Reform, which is a group that believes no tax is good. He gets many Republicans to sign a pledge that they won't raise taxes, any kind of tax. And a lot of Republicans have signed on to that. Is that an example of what youre describing as a theological kind of debate, as opposed to a political debate of compromise?

By NB Staff | July 6, 2011 | 10:10 AM EDT

In another effort to engage the online community once bubbling with support for President Barack Obama, Obama will participate in a Twitter town hall today at 2 pm EDT to answer questions on jobs and the economy posed by Twitter users with the hashtag #askobama.

The questions Obama answers will be handpicked by Twitter staffers and pre-selected Twitter users, who will be tracking the popularity and geographical distribution of the questions to determine which questions to ask Obama. Don't expect any hardball questions, though. As Michelle Malkin points out, the moderator of the town hall, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is a close friend of the administration as a State Department adviser.

Will you be participating? Let us know what you think of Obama's latest online engagement effort in the comments.

By Clay Waters | July 6, 2011 | 8:33 AM EDT

The latest edition of the New York Times’s Sunday magazine gave conservatives a rare opportunity to repurpose Times Executive Editor Bill Keller as a pinata, though the paper’s intent may have been to make its conservative critics look irrational. Readers responded bluntly to Keller’s trashing of Sarah Palin in his column for the June 19 issue, in which he claimed “most journalists would recoil in horror from the idea” of a Palin presidency.

The Times printed a full page of letters, a dozen in all, from insulting Keller critics and Palin sympathizers. A few were incisive:

You write that only 21 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Sarah Palin. If you had the press constantly attacking you and putting you under the magnifying glass and all that was reported was negative press, perhaps no one would find favor with you, either. Had your fellow media colleagues given Barack Obama the same treatment as you have given Mrs. Palin, no one would care for him either.

Others were more, um, direct:

By Tim Graham | July 6, 2011 | 6:47 AM EDT

One of the iron laws of liberal media bias in every electoral cycle is that moderates are more electable than "ultraconservatives," and when moderates lose (John McCain, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford), the law is never junked. Naturally, Time magazine turned to McCain consultant Mike Murphy for a column that mocked the electoral chances of Michele Bachmann for President:

Liberals already nervous about the President’s failures on the economy and his cynical wiggling on gay marriage now curse at a new villain on their television screens, secretly hoping Tina Fey does something and quick, because this new GOP bogeywoman seems far more polished, and therefore more worrisome, than Palin ever was. GOP professionals curse under their breath and reach for another Excedrin. Damn, they say, what is it about our party base and hopelessly unelectable women in snappy outfits?

By Tom Blumer | July 6, 2011 | 12:44 AM EDT

On Friday, at its Political Hotsheet, Corbett B. Daly at CBS News, who joined the network in late May after leaving Reuters, appeared to virtually celebrate what he believes was the latest of Mitt Romney's flip-flops.

Though it's clear that Mr. Romney has flip-flopped in the past on a number of matters, it's hard to see how Daly or any of the other flip-flop scorekeepers has a case -- at least before Romney appeared to give in to the media meme.

Here is how Daly characterized it, complete with the presumption that what Romney has been saying on the campaign trail is "factually inaccurate":

By Tim Graham | July 5, 2011 | 9:55 PM EDT

On page 2 of the July 11 issue of Time, the magazine's editors touted as a "top read" a personal celebration of New York's gay marriage vote by Time news director Howard Chua-Eoan and "how religious institutions still frown on same-sex marriage." Time plucked out how one reader wrote: "If God exists, surely he has bigger fish to fry."

Chua-Eoan complained that "in one very important way, gay marriage will not quite be marriage even in New York," and that's the refusal of religious people to honor gay marriages. Everyone must be compelled into acceptance, and exemptions must be banned: