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Meredith Vieira departed ABC's The View (registration required) today and she certainly went out with, uh, a bang. At 11:36AM EDT, co-host Joy Behar toasted Vieira, who will join the Today show in September. She remarked, "I’m so upset....And I just don’t know how to express it, you know? I thought to myself, what would Rosie O’Donnell do?"

Then Behar took Vieira in her arms and the two engaged in a long kiss. In case you missed it, ABC replayed it in slow-motion a few seconds later as they went to commercial.

A silly moment on an unserious show? Perhaps. But opponents of gay rights probably shouldn’t expect the new host of the Today show to give their arguments much credence.

The media’s defeatist analysis of the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi has now continued into a second day. Matt Lauer opened the June 9 Today show with this cheery greeting:

"Good morning. What now? The day after the world learned of the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi. The question remains, who will take his place and will it spark revenge attacks?"

Almost ten minutes later, at 7:09AM EDT, Lauer prefaced an interview with Karen Hughes, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, by asking the following question:

"So how will the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi impact the battered image of the United States around the world?"

In addition to this now familiar negativity, the Today show also came up with a new angle: How does the death of a brutal thug make his supporters feel?

Reuters reports that the country music trio Dixie Chicks is having trouble filling seats at concerts as it continues to take heat for criticism of President Bush.

NBC Marks Death Tax Bills Demise with Democratic Zinger
Anchor Brian Williams left out conservative talking points and studies showing negative impact of estate tax.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
June 9, 2006

Reporter Lothian leaves out how taxpayers are picking up a large part of the bill.

BusinessWeek cited oil analysts who estimated much higher costs from terrorism.

LA Times ran a jaw dropping lead this morning:

Bin Laden Far More Difficult to Find than Zarqawi, Officials say

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Although the U.S. military located and killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, finding Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains a tougher task, officials and analysts said Thursday....

Thanks LAT, don't know what I'd do without you.

There has been some buzz in the email this morning about a question Pam Hess of UPI asked General William Caldwell in a briefing this morning. In her question, Hess referred to those who died in the air strike that killed the most wanted man in Iraq, including Abu Musab al Zarqawi himself, as victims. Her full question was:

If the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were "good" news, it's hard to imagine how the media could report much worse for "bad" news in Iraq.

Pretend Pundit has a good roundup of media headlines.

One day after the killing of Al-Zarqawi, it's business-as-usual for the Drive-by Media. The Washington Post even ran a poll reminding us that we all think Iraq sucks.

If I'm a Democratic strategist, I couldn't be happier. Here are this morning's top headlines:

The NY Times’ Carl Hulse says goodbye and good riddance to Rep. Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader resigning his seat in Congress today, with “Defiant to the End, Delay Pats Himself on the Back and Bids the House a Torrid Goodbye.”

It's not necessary for reporters to agree that the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a major victory. But they should let their readers know such people, outside the Bush Administration, exist.

In After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq by the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, every independent expert downplays the significance of Zarqawi's death. Even a mysteriously identified "longtime participant in the U.S. military hunt for Zarqawi" sees it as upside for the bad guys. Yet at least one of Knickmeyer's named sources is more upbeat in a different outlet, and she omits the passionate political convictions of another.

Washington Post culture critic Philip Kennicott has filed a series of essays for the Style section about images of the war in Iraq, like the images out of Abu Ghraib. He lowered the boom today on the insensitive louts who framed a picture of dead Zarqawi.

If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?

Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.

In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.

According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:

"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."

However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment:

It really has been fascinating to watch the left-wing hysteria this week over Ann Coulter’s new book “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Of course, from a publicity standpoint, Coulter must be thrilled about all the free attention these folks have given her.

Yet, maybe the most telling example of liberal disgust with Coulter came from Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois) who actually took some time on the House floor to discuss his outrage over this book. In his minute-plus diatribe, he referred to Coulter as a “hatemonger.” Emanuel even likened Coulter to terrorists stating that, “The hate she spews is the same kind of hatred we're battling in the war on terror.”

Emanuel concluded by chastising Republicans for not speaking against the conservative author asking, “Does Ann Coulter speak for you?"

What follows is a transcript of this speech, and a video link, both courtesy of Crooks and Liars.

Anchor Brian Williams left out conservative talking points and studies showing negative impact of estate tax.