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The Washington Post has a way of celebrating anniversaries in an odd way -- say, highlighting an anti-war activist on Memorial Day. Friday's Washington Post, just days shy of the fifth anniversary of 9-11, devoted a long lead article in the Style section to the idea that the Bush administration was behind the almost 3,000 deaths on 9/11. That's a horrendous concept to entertain. But reporter Michael Powell not only found it entertaining.

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MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who in late 2003 devoted a fraction of the time to CBS's The Reagans movie as he has just this week to liberal complaints about ABC's The Path to 9/11 (he's led Countdown with it for two nights in a row), castigated MRC President Brent Bozell for supposed hypocrisy in criticizing The Reagans while not denouncing the new 9/11 movie. Naming Bozell his “Worst Person in the World” on Friday's show, Olbermann ridiculed him as “Bozo the Clown: Right-wing hysteric Brent Bozell weighing-in in his usual light-weight manner.” Olbermann quoted how on The Path to 9/11, Bozell wrote in his column that “as a docudrama, it has taken certain poetic license with history,” but on the Reagan movie Bozell said “there is no such thing as creative license to invent falsehoods about people. I don't care who you are, you don't have that right.” Olbermann snidely lectured: “Hey, Brent, when you look in the mirror, how many faces do you see? The rest of us count at least two. Brent Bozell, today's Worst Person in the World!”

Olbermann ignored how saying the movie takes “poetic license” is criticism and how on Wednesday's Scarborough Country, Bozell asserted: "I think that if you have a scene or two scenes or three scenes, important scenes, that do not have any bearing on reality and you can edit them, I think they should edit them.”

Video clip (45 seconds): Real 1.3 MB or Windows Media (1.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (275 KB)

Friday's broadcast network evening newscasts delivered three different levels of priority to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's report which concluded there were no connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, hardly fresh news. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric didn't air a syllable about it [UPDATE: CBS led with it on Saturday evening, see below], ABC's World News with Charles Gibson teased it and made it the newscast's second story (after the suicide bombing in Kabul) and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams led with it. Gibson teased: “A Senate report rejects a central argument for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying there is no Iraqi link to al-Qaeda." Reporter Martha Raddatz characterized the report as “a stinging rebuke to those assertions made by the White House leading up to the war...and long afterwards. In four years, the administration has argued that Saddam Hussein was tied to Abu Musab Zarqawi and al-Qaeda."

Williams opened his program by mocking the naivete of many Americans: "Good evening. According to an opinion poll just released this week, 43 percent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. That is almost half the country. Linking Iraq and al-Qaeda has been a tricky business. Some in the administration have made the tie. Tonight the notion of any link between the two has been shredded by a big new report issued by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.” (Partial transcripts follow)

Friday's NBC Nightly News previewed an exchange between President Bush and Matt Lauer in the Oval Office, part of a longer session which will air on Monday's Today show, in which Lauer cited Amnesty International as the authority to undermine Bush's assertion that secret prisons to hold al-Qaeda operatives are legal.

Something tells me this excuse wouldn't fly with 99.9 percent of American women, much less any woman as attractive as Ms. Jolie:

NEW YORK Sep 8, 2006 (AP)— Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won't be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped.

NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham appeared on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" to discuss the Clinton team's efforts to censor ABC's upcoming docu-drama, "The Path to 9/11."

Graham said the Clinton administration was acting like a "bunch of babies that can't handle criticism." Neil Cavuto asked whether the situation was similar to CBS' pulling of a Reagan movie after pressure from conservatives. Graham said that this situation is different because Reagan "was not allowed to defend himself" and "dying of Alzheimer's Disease" when CBS wanted to air the movie. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, is able to defend himself and say "don't put any lies in it."

After conservative complaints about the Reagan movie, Graham said, the New York Times ran an editorial noting the "Soviet-style chill in the air." But with Democrats now attacking the movie and even threatening to pull the license of ABC, Graham said he doesn't "see anyone attacking the Democrats and the Clinton administration for being censors, for being the people that can't stand criticism."

Video clip (3:17): Real (5.6 MB) or Windows Media (6.5MB), plus MP3 audio (721 KB).

But a recent study shows Wal-Mart gave 289 times more money to liberal groups in 2004.

While former President Bill Clinton is angry with ABC over the content of it’s miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," he shouldn’t find much to complain about regarding the network’s news coverage of his wife. The entire Wednesday edition of ABC’s "Nightline" was devoted to anchor Cynthia McFadden’s day of campaigning with Senator Hillary Clinton in upstate New York. The half hour was full of softball questions and Bush bashing. While no Clinton critics were highlighted in her report, McFadden did find a New York Republican supporter of Clinton who gushed:

Unidentified female: "I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s more beautiful in person. But more than her beauty, she’s genuine and very intelligent and well-spoken."

McFadden: "But you’re a Republican?"

Unidentified female: "Yes, I am."

Look no further than NewsBusters for complete coverage of Katie Couric’s debut as the anchor of the "CBS Evening News." The MRC’s Brent Baker began the week by noting a previous Couric claim that she’s not biased, but Fox is. Additionally, the new anchor has hired liberal Douglas Brinkley as the show’s historian. On September 5, Couric appeared on "The Early Show," only to apparently forget the program’s name! (Perhaps the perky anchor should do some homework on her new network.)

Ms. Couric wasn’t the week’s only big news. On September 6, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews talked to a Green Party candidate who called for President Bush’s execution. He later told the man, "I like you already." Somewhat ironically, this was only a day after Matthews wondered if Republicans would be using "fear tactics" and other extreme strategies to get elected. (Perhaps calling for the President’s execution could be an example?)

In another Chris Matthews story, NewsBusters Editor Matthew Sheffield talked to the host and was told the Valerie Plame story is now too complicated for coverage. In international news, Mr. Sheffield also noted the BBC’s continuing refusal to disclose the religious background of terror suspects.

The New York Times’ Wal-Mart beat reporter Michael Barbaro teams up with Stephanie Strom for a story on the front page of Friday’s business section, “Conservatives

With our very own Matthew Sheffield, literally confronting him last night, it seems like Newsbusters has gotten into Chris Matthews’s head or at least his bookmarks. On last night’s Hardball Matthews confessed to regularly checking out what the blogosphere is saying about him and seemed close to mentioning Newsbusters as one of the sites he visits.

Attendance at Thursday's pro-illegal alien rally fell way below even the latest low-balling protest organizer estimates. In Friday's Washington Post, reporters Darryl Fears and N.C. Aizenman estimated that "fewer than 5,000" attended the festivities yesterday. The first paragraph was a stunner:

This morning’s Wall Street Journal carries an editorial summarizing the findings of a new study from the Media Research Center that documents how the broadcast networks have skewed their coverage of the War on Terror in favor of those most concerned about civil liberties, not protecting the American people from another homeland attack. Here’s how it begins:
The title of a CBS special report Wednesday night posed the question that haunts us all after 9/11: "Five Years Later: Are We Safer?" Given the show's brevity--an hour minus commercials--and the complexity of the subject, CBS's treatment was predictably shallow. After host Katie Couric asked President Bush a few questions of the "your critics say . . . how do you respond?" sort, and we toured the federal antiterrorism command center, there was little time left for an in-depth examination of anything.

[After being called out by NewsBusters, Matthews ended his boycott late Friday. Be sure and read updates to this post below.]

Since the revelation that Richard Armitage, a former high-ranking official in the State Department, was the source of the much-ballyhooed Valerie Plame "leak," many in the media have refused to touch the story with a ten-foot pole. This was quite a turnaround since before the Armitage involvement was known, many journalists believed the CIA leak story was one worth pursuing on a daily basis. Some even believed it could bring down the Bush White House, or at least end the careers of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

One of the biggest media figures boycotting the Plame story has been MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who has yet to mention the scandal at all since the Armitage report broke, a dramatic contrast to the 27 times he mentioned the "scandal" in the five months leading up to it.

Like P.J. Gladnick, I couldn't help but notice Matthews's strange flip. So I decided to ask him about it. His answer revealed an animus toward Vice President Dick Cheney and a fear of being asked to answer tough questions himself.

Last night, I went to a press conference/party held by MSNBC and National Journal celebrating a new venture the two media outlets are launching together. Quite a few NBCers were there, including Chris Matthews. I struck up a conversation with the host about the topic of Plame and why he hadn't talked about the story at all. Here's a rough transcript of our discussion which I wrote down shortly thereafter: