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A telephone tipster made a very interesting point to us today about The Washington Post. In the midst of their coverage of the Anna Nicole Smith case, and a Vermont campaign-finance limit case, the Post found no room Wednesday for the pro-life win in NOW v. Scheidler. (That's the case where NOW tried to have clinic protesters charged under a mob-racketeering statute.) The Post could argue that the case is a bit of a rerun: the court dismissed it in 2003, only to have a federal judge keep the case alive like a zombie.



Wednesday's CBS Evening News devoted about 20 seconds to anchor Russ Mitchell highlighting how “it was revealed today” -- as if it were some kind of cover-up being exposed -- “that the [Supreme] Court's newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sent a personal thank you note to a conservative Christian leader who supported his nomination.” Mitchell then identified that recipient as James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, and stressed how he “is a leading opponent of abortion.” What did Alito write that CBS considered so newsworthy? Mitchell relayed: “Dobson read the note in his radio program today, quoting Alito as saying he appreciated those who prayed for him and he'll remember the 'trust' that's been placed in him." But a reading of the actual letter (reprinted below) suggests Dobson just got a form letter Alito sent to all of those who congratulated him on his confirmation, not a coded commitment to Dobson's agenda on abortion.

Neither ABC or NBC mentioned the matter on their Wednesday night newscasts, but that could just be due to the AP not distributing a dispatch on it until late in the day. The AP's Colleen Slevin allowed a Supreme Court spokesman to explain how the same language appeared, in Slevin's words, “in many replies he wrote to congratulatory letters." Slevin, however, felt compelled to consider potential improprieties, turning to a professor who “said Alito's letter did not appear to violate ethical standards,” before she related how “Americans United for Separation of Church and State called the letter 'grossly inappropriate.'” (More from the AP story, the text of the letter and CBS's item in full, all follow.)



According to a poll commissioned by the McCormick Tribune Foundation (details here) reveals that Americans know more about the long-running Fox cartoon family the Simpsons than they do about the First Amendment.



A charismatic anti-American dictator commands a South American country's large state-owned oil reserves and rails frequently against American capitalism, yet the media coverage of his human rights abuses and his threats to the United States ranges from little to none.



Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas gave an interview to Campus Progress, the campus project of the liberal Center for American Progress. Her theme, unsurprisingly, was that the Washington press corps is a bulk pack of weenies:



Media criticize greed of energy executives, but go easy on Venezuelas oil strongman


Media criticize greed of energy executives, but go easy on Venezuelas oil strongman


When asked if Hollywood is liberal (culturally or politically), whether it's outside the American mainstream, or attempting to drag it to the left, two big stars told CNN's Larry King no.



New from the Business & Media Institute




     The pounding waves and 165-mph winds announced the arrival of Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Hugo battered the East Coast, costing $8 billion and taking 50 lives.

     Now a new Hugo is threatening the U.S. with far more force than his predecessor. This storm is smaller and filled with hot air, but its a bigger danger. Meet Venezuelas President Hugo Chavez, whose career has been filled with human rights violations,


Minnesota ABC affiliate KSTP continues to defend its refusal to run an ad from the conservative group Progress for America which says the American news media is witholding good news about the war in Iraq.



The Columbia Missourian reported on CBS's on-air apology for using a fake photograph on "48 Hours."
CBS News issued a public apology at the end of Saturday’s “48 Hours” episode and on the newsmagazine’s Web site for altering a photo on the front page of The Columbia Daily Tribune. The photo was shown during a “48 Hours” segment about the conviction of Ryan Ferguson for the murder of Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.
Henry J. Waters III, publisher of the victimized Tribune, took CBS to task for its "show business masquerading as journalism."


In an interview with NPR's "On The Media," former ABC reporter Dave Marash, now signed up for the English-language version of al-Jazeera, goes almost faint singing the praises of his new employer:



Is Chris Matthews rooting for civil war in Iraq? It's hard to interpret his words otherwise when, after asserting that officials in previous administrations and former President Bush had warned that going into Iraq would lead to civil war, Matthews observed:

"The problem is it took a little time for this to take shape."



NewsBuster Tom Johnson has condensed his time reviewing NPR broadcasts for MRC (poor man) into an article for The American Enterprise magazine. His general theory is that NPR has traveled from a fairly radical past to a present in which it's fairly indistinguishable in its biases from the rest of the "mainstream" media establishment. Here's an excerpt: