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During an appearance on CNN's American Morning, Al Franken repeated once more his "joke" that Karl Rove and Lewis Libby will "definitely be executed" for their involvement in the CIA leak investigation. When asked by substitute host Zain Verjee during the 8:20 am interview about the investigation, Franken maintained that Rove and Libby had committed treason.

Zain Verjee: "So you, you and your other liberal friends really salivating the prospect of seeing an indictment here?"

Al Franken: "Well–"



The New York Times again portrays the far-left anti-war outfit IraqBodyCount as an objective source of casualty counts for civilians in Iraq.



Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus surprised yesterday with a slightly negative piece on Joseph Wilson, the U.S. diplomat turned discredited anti-war actvist whose wife Valerie Plame is the center of Patrick Fitzgerald's rinvestigation that has Democrats salivating and Republicans bracing over possible indictments.


In introducing Joe Scarborough this morning, Katie Couric described him a "former Republican congressman." After witnessing his performance, one is prompted to ask: was "former" intended to modify "congressman," or "Republican"? In any case, Scarborough was living proof of the adage that the kind of Republicans welcome on the Today show are those willing to take swipes at the Bush administration. Scarborough did so in spades this morning. Speaking of the Plame investigation, Katie asked, in her best butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth ingenue tone:


The Washington Post downplayed the announcement of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele officially announcing his Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring liberal Paul Sarbanes. It appeared on page B-9. That's not at the top of B-9, either. It's below "Pr.



A New York Times editorial this morning referred to the results of the recent Iraq referendum as being “modestly encouraging”: 



An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation's new constitution, but you'd have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday's CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence -- “Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum” -- before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece he could not resist introducing without adding this snide aside: "More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003.”

On ABC, which had time for a full piece from Terry Moran about the "potentially huge" story of Vice President Cheney's supposed role in the Plame case, anchor Elizabeth Vargas briefly noted how “in Iraq today, there was a milestone on the road to democracy: The official results show that a new constitution was ratified by an overwhelming margin.” That was it for the Iraqi constitution. ABC led with, as Vargas put it, the “terrible milestone” of 2,000 killed in Iraq. Viewers then saw two stories: Martha Raddatz on the anguish of Army medical personnel and Barbara Pinto on parents in an Ohio town who have lost sons in Iraq. (A summary of NBC Nightly News, which did report on the passage, as well as a transcript of Schieffer's presentation, follows.)



The news media insist that what conservatives don’t like about their reporting is the unpleasant truths they uncover. If that’s true, how do they explain their fixation on the reporting of unpleasantries which have yet to occur?

Monday morning, October 24, began with great conjuring of clouds and thunder claps about all the bad news about to land on President Bush. The gloom over the breakfast table was impenetrable, perhaps because the soothsayers all had partisan backgrounds. NBC brought on Tim Russert, former Democratic aide (Cuomo and Moynihan).



Cued up by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday's Countdown, Al Franken repeated the same “joke” he told on Letterman and the Today show about how he's “worried” that “Rove and Libby and others...may be executed." Olbermann then quipped: “But it would be a hell of a story for cable news." To which Franken chipped in to laughter from Olbermann: "It would. Especially if it got to the President and the Vice President because, and I think there should be a constitutional amendment passed as soon as possible that we can't execute either a sitting or recently-impeached President and Vice President." Olbermann picked up on a Monday NewsBusters item by Dave Pierre which highlighted how “in a 'comedy' skit for a promotional video at Amazon.com, Al Franken knees a self-described 'right-wing jerk' in the groin.” After playing an excerpt from the video, Olbermann didn't mention the name “NewsBusters,” but made his target clear as he denigrated the MRC's President: “One of the blogs affiliated with noted media watcher Brent Bozell, or as he's sometimes known, 'Red Beard the Pirate,' asks, 'Is there a theme of violence in Al Franken's work?'"

Two recent posts recount Franken's jokes about executions and offer video clips: On Letterman, Al Franken Jokes About Execution for Treason of Rove, Libby and Bush, and Al Franken's Rerun Rove and Libby Execution Remark Draws Laughter From Lauer.

Video excerpt of Olbermann/Franken in Real or Windows Media. (Full transcript follows.)



In its zeal to promote the “right” kind of candidates, the Associated Press put out a piece called, “Death Penalty, Bush Loom in Va.



[An update to my colleague Tim Graham's posts on Good Night and Good Luck co-star and director George Clooney found here and here.]

CBS Early Show host Harry Smith today interviewed George Clooney in the last half hour of the program. At one point Smith---who apparently from the interview really liked the film---notes he saw a screening of the film in New York City, with other journalists and asks Clooney for the reaction he received from his colleagues:



From avoiding Joseph Wilson's credibility collapse to misreading columnist Robert Novak, the New York Times just can't seem to get the facts of the Plame "scandal" straight.

Tuesday's lead scoop by David Johnston, Richard Stevenson and Douglas Jehl puts Vice President Cheney in the middle of Plame-gate ("Cheney Told Aide Of C.I.A. Officer, Lawyers Report").


Adage.com has published this article* about the harm caused to the United States by (gasp!) BLOGS!



What the heck is a "tangy meringue of maudlin and giddy?" Check out this overwrought introduction from last night's Hardball:

Chris Matthews: "In Washington, where no one`s ever late for a hanging, the sky is grim and cloudy. The mood, a tangy meringue of maudlin and giddy. The President today called the CIA leak probe a very serious investigation, is reported to be cranky and bitter, pointing blame at his top aides and the Vice President who he has reported to have said got too deep into the intel use to sell the Iraq war. Let`s play Hardball."



Earlier today, CNN.com had a headline on its front page about the 78 percent of Iraqis who voted in support of the constitution. Apparently not wanting to appear pro-Bush, that headline has been removed and replaced with a much more MoveOn-friendly title: U.S. death toll in Iraq hits 2,000.

Currently, nowhere on the front page does it mention the landslide victory in favor of the constitution.