Twice in less than 24 hours, Jim Pinkerton, conservative columnist at Newsday and Tech Central Station, left liberal talking-head rivals at a loss for words on the issue of missile defense.
Pinkerton's first victim was Neal Gabler, on last evening's Fox News Watch. In the context of the North Korean missile tests, liberal Gabler flatly stated: "Missile defense does not work. That is what we have learned." Shot back Pinkerton: "The Japanese believe in it. That's why they're building it right now." Gabler's silence was golden.
In 2000, that darn MSM elected George Bush by bashing Al Gore. And when it comes to the theological argument as to whether gays and women should be Christian clergy, well, actually, there isn't an argument. There's only one side. The liberal one, of course.
Don't believe me? Ask Neal Gabler. The reliably liberal member of the Fox News Watch panel expressed those views on this evening's show.
Host Eric Burns asked whether the torture and murder of two US soldiers, coupled with the charges brought against a group of Marines in the killing of an Iraqi civilian brought us to a turning point of more open press opposition to the war.
Responded Gabler: "I think it is a right-wing frame to say is this a turning point to go overtly against the war. As if [the press] have been covertly against the war." In a strange non sequitur he continued "This press elected George Bush by bashing Al Gore. This press facilitated our entrance into the war and acted as if Bush had had a sudden turn-around by going to Iraq."
Neal Gabler might have hit a new low when it comes to the coarseness of his criticism. On this evening's Fox News Watch, he branded as 'sub-moronic' a statement President Bush made during his recent Iraq trip. And, furious that the media has been insufficiently critical in its coverage of Iraq for his taste, Gabler repeatedly labelled the MSM 'brain dead.'
Gabler began his assault by pouring cold water on the president's recent uptick in the polls: "the boost is very small. . . If you want to look at his numbers, his numbers are very, very low."
Even so, Gabler was galled that the press hasn't given sufficient attention to the bad news from Iraq. "The most positive media development for the president has been the fact that on the very day that he visited Baghdad, 24 Iraqis were killed in Kirkuk of all places and 50 were killed around Iraq, but it got no coverage. It was page 15 of the New York Times."
Jealous guardians of high standards or just . . . jealous? There was a rare bit of consensus on tonight's Fox News Watch, as pundits from left and right came together to condemn Ann Coulter for what they judged to be money-motivated excesses in her latest opus, 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism'. The focus was Coulter's controversial statements about the Jersey Girls - the 9/11 widows turned harsh Bush administration critics. Highlighted was this excerpt from Ann's book:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them . . . I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much."
Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch? Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.
The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns.
Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests: