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The book by disgraced former CBS producer Mary Mapes, Truth and Duty : The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, has finally been put back on Amazon.com. But this time the excerpt from the book has been removed.



Actor Woody Harrelson, appearing on Tuesday’s Late Show with David Letterman, denounced “this oil-garchy that calls itself our executive branch” and complained about the “petrochemical industry taking over the world." Then viewers saw a clip of him playing a lawyer in a new movie, North Country, in which his character paints Anita Hill as a maligned victim as he warns a sexual harassment victim about how she’ll be characterized in court as a “nut” or a “slut” since “right has nothing to do with the real world. Look at Anita Hill, because she's you.” That movie, opening next week, is based on a book by former Newsweek White House reporter Clara Bingham, Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law.

The Internet Movie Database's plot summary for the film: "A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit." That would place the lawsuit filing seven years before anyone heard of Anita Hill. (More of what Harrelson told Letterman follows.)



Does the MSM sense blood in the Bush administration water? That seems to be the case, judging from the breathtaking accusation that Katie Couric just leveled at it.

The context was Couric's interview of Chris Matthews on the subject of the investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into possible leaks in the Valerie Plame affair.



At Get Religion, Terry Mattingly notes that Gov. Jeb Bush is catching flak from the atheist lobby for encouraging Florida children to read "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is typically wheezing over anyone encouraging stories with Christian metaphors. (Actually, Lynn's claiming C.S.



Remember all those media predictions about the toxic nature of the floodwaters in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina?  Well, it appears that much like their prognostications of casualties, how long it was going to take to drain the city, and the likely devastation to America’s economy, this too was an extraordinary exaggeration.

Here’s a sampling of the press opinions concerning this water made shortly after Katrina hit:

  • ABC News reported on September 6: "Thousands of hurricane survivors who spent hours trapped in or wading through floodwaters likely exposed themselves to a wide range of bacteria and other contaminants.”
  • Reuters reported on September 7: “The brew of chemicals and human waste in the New Orleans floodwaters will have to be pumped into the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain, raising the specter of an environmental disaster on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, experts say.”
  • The Christian Science Monitor reported on September 8: “Chemicals leaking from cars and factories will cause one of costliest environmental cleanups ever.” 

Yet, today:



On Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer interviewed President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at a house building zone for those who were affected by Katrina to live in, in which the President is contributing too. Lauer immediately accused Bush of using this as a photo-op situation.



Sharyn Alfonsi did a story on “The CBS Evening News” tonight that brought me to tears.  Now, I don’t know whether the intention was to stoke anti-war sentiment, or just to show how children at Fort Benning, Georgia are coping with their parents being deployed to Iraq.




Author Jane Smiley in a letter to Salon (emphasis mine):

Gary Kamiya writes, "In a just world, Bush, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Feith and their underlings would be standing before a Senate committee investigating their catastrophic failures, and Packer's book would be Exhibit A." No.

In a just world, these people would be taken out and shot.



Readers of a September 22, 2005, Newsbusters story, posted by this writer, may be pleased to see that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has written a letter to Air America radio host Randi Rhodes.



People outside of Prince George’s County, Maryland might not be aware of it, but the Pentagon launched a new cable channel recently, and CNN is concerned that this might be a violation of a 50-year-old law barring the government from creating propaganda. CNN’s Jamie McIntyre reported on today’s “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees”:

“The Pentagon Channel originates from studios here in Alexandria, Virginia. There's everything here you'd expect to find in a modern television station, cameras, teleprompters, computers. The one thing it says it doesn't have is an agenda to advance administration policies.”

However, to counter this view, McIntyre asked the opinion of former CNN correspondent and current University of Delaware Professor Ralph Begleiter:

“You want to have radio free America or some such hypothetical title, broadcasting propaganda to the United States, no. We don't allow that in this country. It's a law.”

What follows is a full transcript of this report, along with a video link.



This week, Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC's Countdown show, is continuing to push his latest conspiracy theory that terror alerts have been politically timed to distract attention away from events embarrassing to the Bush administration, or for other political reasons.



The dead tree news media is suffering these days and their readership is aging. This is not a sign of good things to come for the newspaper industry (from the Star Tribune):
Newspaper readership is down. Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups.


If you a member of the media and you intend to snipe at a critic over the quality of localized newspaper reporting, you might want to start by not mischaracterizing what he says.

Jay Rosen of PressThink takes Raleigh, NC News and Observer Executive Editor Melanie Sill to task on her blog for getting it wrong.



The opposition from the religious right faced by the fictional Republican presidential candidate on NBC's The West Wing, symbolizes for Jim Warren, the former Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune who is now a Deputy Managing Editor for the paper, how real-life conservatives, upset over the Harriet Miers pick, will never be satisfied. On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, Warren admired how the fictional drama's Alan Alda character “confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that.” Warren asked and answered his own question: “Why is that relevant? I think it's relevant because just like Bill Clinton could never satisfy his left, it seems that Bush can never satisfy a group for whom he has cut taxes, delivered Saddam Hussein on a platter, done what they want on late term abortion and stem cell research, come out against gay marriage and picked a whole lot of conservative judges.”

Full transcript of his proposition, and the West Wing scene, follows.



Now with David Brancaccio on PBS last Friday was a special treat for conservative taxpayers. Brancaccio conducted a fawning interview with Kurt Vonnegut, a novelist who spent most of his time either attacking the Bush administration or more generally whining about life.

After a half-hour of failing to challenge Vonnegut's nuttier statements, Brancaccio gushingly declared: "Well, I think it's easy to notice that some moments with you Mr. Vonnegut add up to I think a magic moment.