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Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times wrote an op-ed today (hat tip to the Drudge Report) entitled “Warriors and Wusses.” In it, he made his feelings about the war in Iraq quite clear in the opening sentence: “I don't support our troops.” In the heart of his piece, he elaborated:

“But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.”

Stein then had the audacity to suggest that America’s support for the troops is actually keeping them in Iraq longer: reports Rolling Stone is printing a magazine with Kanye West as a black Jesus on the cover: "The Passion of Kanye West." First impression: typical counter-cultural aging-hippie mag.

Ford Motor Company's recently-announced layoffs are the result of years of declining market share coupled with rising labor costs. But while the media have relayed information on Ford's declining market share, they've avoided discussing the role labor unions have had in driving up costs.

Searching for reasons behind layoffs, reporters skip $140 million paid yearly to former employees.

BBC reports (HT Instapundit):
Poll finds surprising optimists

Iraqis and Afghans are among the most optimistic people in the world when it comes to their economic future, a new survey for the BBC suggests.

...In Afghanistan, 70% say their own circumstances are improving, and 57% believe that the country overall is on the way up.

The Times again looks for holes in the strong U.S. economy, this time on the front page of Sunday’s special Job Market section, in a report by Eduardo Porter, “Pockets of Concern Slow a Strong U.S. Economy.” The caption to an accompanying chart emphasizes “A Weak Jobs Recovery.”

Times readers may find the article’s tone familiar. Here’s Porter from Sunday:

As Harry Belafonte proclaimed at Duke University that American policies were based on  "the demise of the poor," and Sen. Barack Obama declared on ABC that the GOP has "a very narrow agenda that advantages the most powerful," what about their own cozy fortunes?

Laura Ingraham noted today a report from the Wall Street Journal. Belafonte’s suffering from declining millionaire real-estate values:

This year’s Martin Luther King Day celebration was a wild and woolly collection of left-wing blather.

In Washington, showing remarkable feats of amnesia that he was ever vice president in a corrupt administration, Al Gore gave a speech claiming President Bush was a law-breaking president and his illegal actions a threat to the survival of our democracy, an extraordinary accusation for even this man to make, given the same policies were executed by the Clinton-Gore administration.

Virginia state Sen. Russell Potts decided to run for governor last fall as an Independent, trashing GOP nominee Jerry Kilgore all the way. Democrat Tim Kaine ended up winning easily. But today, Washington Post reporter Rosalind Helderman takes GOP anger and goes a little wild with the metaphors: "Incensed by Potts's run against Republican nominee Jerry W. Kilgore, party activists had screamed for his blood."

When Matt Lauer began peppering Bill O'Reilly with rapid-fire questions on this morning's Today show, the prime-time host complained "you're going so fast - it's 7:10 in the morning!"

Host Chris Matthews interviewed White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, on Hardball last night. Strayhorn is running for Governor of Texas as an Independent. She is the current Comptroller of Texas and held the position as a Republican for over twenty years. She recently made the switch to an independent because she wanted to get rid of "partisan politics". Matthews, however, took her party change as a sign of anger with the Republican Party because it is "corrupt". Matthews brought up the subject of her party change many times during the interview and repeatedly tried to get her to say she left the party because of corruption, as if she had an ulterior motive. At one point in the interview he tried to link current Governor, Rick Perry (R) with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay.

The interview included questions like “Did you leave the Republican party because of Rick Perry?”, “Are you a conservative”, and “Do you feel that Republicans have left their fiscal conservative roots”.

Video follows.

In a December 23 USA Today front page story, “USO cheers troops, but Iraq gigs tough to book; Safety concerns, disagreement with war keeping many celebrities from volunteering,” reporters Martin Kasindorf and Steven Komarow related how actor/comedian Robin Williams, “who like [Al] Franken has been an outspoken critic of Bush's management of the war -- and [Wayne] Newton, a Republican who backs Bush, say some stars have turned down the USO because they thought such performances would amount to endorsing the war.” But in a Friday evening Nightline story, Terry Moran, through his use of soundbites from two left-wingers, portrayed cowardly conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh who isn't a stage performer, as the problem facing the USO in trying to get stars to go to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Moran asserted: “While the USO has been able to attract some big names for tours in recent years -- Jessica Simpson, Robin Williams, the rapper 50 Cent -- some of the top stars are AWOL. Like, say-" Comedian Kathy Griffin charged: "Mel Gibson, big conservative. Go on over, Mel, anytime. They'd be glad to see you. They all love Braveheart." Moran elaborated on how Griffin, a “opponent of the war” who has done several USO tours, “loves performing for the troops and she wonders why some vocal war supporters have stayed home." Moran then featured this blast from Griffin: “I think Rush Limbaugh should, you know, pop a few of those Oxycontin that he probably still has laying around and go over. I mean, I'm not saying go straight, he's got to take the edge off, but, you know, put your money where your mouth is, O'Reilly, go do a book tour or something over there." (In fact, Limbaugh hasn't gone on a USO tour, but in late February 2005 he did go on a U.S. Agency for International Development trip to visit troops in Afghanistan.)

Moran let Al Franken tell an anecdote about how Sylvester Stallone was too afraid to go to Iraq before excusing liberals from any responsibility: "USO President Ned Powell insists the divisive politics of the Iraq war and the liberal tilt of Hollywood have had no impact on the organization's ability to recruit stars.”

Video excerpt: (1:55) Real (3.3 MB) or Windows Media (3.8 MB), plus MP3 audio (900 KB). (Update, with Limbaugh's take, and full transcript follows.)

The Public Broadcasting "Service" selected Paula Kerger from the mega-station WNET in New York to be their new president yesterday. Liberal AP media reporter Frazier Moore, a fan of "truth-telling" Bill Moyers, excluded any conservative reaction, but listed the fight over liberal bias to be among Kerger's challenges.

Note: Today marks the beginning of a regular column here on NewsBusters called "Media Roundup." It'll keep track of that day's media news. Feel free to post a link to other stories you see in the comments for each entry.

Sugar Ray Nagin is still in the news for that horrible chocolate comment. I found the back tracking to be even more ridiculous than the original comment; "Do you know anything about chocolate? How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That's the chocolate I'm talkin' about." I know enough about dark chocolate to know that when you pour milk on it you get more of a chocolate cereal than a delicious drink. Calls to determine where that leaves Asians in New Orleans went unreturned.

Readers of the Louisville Courier-Journal may not know what we're talking about. Their Ombud explains:

Nagin's reference to "chocolate New Orleans" had been edited out of that same story in these pages. Instead, our version read, "Nagin also promised that New Orleans will be rebuilt and again will be 'a majority African American city.' " So, what gives? The short answer: We messed up.

There has been a lot of messing up by the media lately. Susan Orlean apparently messed up when she promoted the fact that she is rich because it "calls severely into question the journalist's ability to identify with the ordinary people about whom one is called upon, at least once in a while, to write." What the heck, it wouldn't be the first time journalists hid the truth from the public.

CNN finally hired a conservative talker, Glenn Beck. Media Matters is all flustered about the whole thing, but in the end they are just ticked off they are going to have to watch another hour of conservative TV every day.