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Anyone who thought Hardball with Chris Matthews couldn't get any more antagonistic to the Bush administration should have watched the show with Norah O'Donnell substituting tonight. Not that Matthews is exactly Mr. Fair & Balanced, but Norah didn't even attempt to disguise her disdain for all things Republican.

Terry Mattingly at Get Religion surveys the landscape for this year's Oscars, and predicts that new gay-cowboy movie is going to be a phenomenon: "I think it’s going to be one of the three or four hottest religion/cultural stories of the year in 2006. More than one friend of mine out on the left coast has said that 'Brokeback Mountain' is a dead lock for the best-picture Oscar, in part because the competition is so weak and all of the true blockbusters this year are films for young people that the academy will laugh at.

One final blog from the MTP transcript. When Russert asked what's an underreported story in 2005, Brokaw said the failings at General Motors and the general problem of guaranteeing pensions. From there, Koppel brought up the "scandal" of the lack of government health insurance:

Next, Russert moved on to Iraq. As liberals, the anchors responded only to liberal criticisms of their coverage. The concept that these networks were too fervently in favor or liberals or Democrats was not entertained. But the idea that they were too soft on the Bushies was assumed to be the dominant, if not the only legitimate, critique.

Ick, you almost won't want to look at the Meet the Press transcript from yesterday. With Tim Russert hosting Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw and no one else, it was predictably an hour of liberal sermonizing. It's a scandal that America won't raise taxes. It's a scandal that America won't acknowledge they go to war for oil. It's a scandal that some people still don't have government-funded health insurance. They started with Hurricane Katrina.

The Zogby and Rasmussen polling organizations released some interesting survey results before Christmas that the mainstream media will certainly not report to their loyal customers. Taken in their totality, these polls show:

Check out this correction from today's (Sunday December 25, 2005) Los Angeles Times (emphasis mine):

Religion and government: A Dec. 18 article defending the separation of church and state stated that the Rev. Jerry Falwell claimed that Ellen DeGeneres played a role in the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina because she was the host of the Emmy Awards before both events. He made no such claim.

The correction does not identify the original article or its author, but the December 18 piece was called "The wall that unites us," and it was written by Stephen Julius Stein. So far, the correction has not been amended to the on-line version.

The question: How on earth did such an outrageous statement get past the editors at the Times? Is anyone proofreading their submissions?

Some other 2005 fluff for our slow posting period: Brent Baker and Rich Noyes looked back this June at our wackiest stuff in the special-edition 2000th CyberAlert.

The New York Times has a follow up on the NSA spy story. It's written in NYTease (pronounced new-yor-tease), so I will translate it for you.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

Yes, we know we already reported this exact story, but you didn't return the outrage against Bush we were looking for. Actually, his poll numbers are up (thank you Big Media brother Jersey Journal for finding a way to paint a negative - localize, newspapers, localize.) Let's all just take another shot at this. We'll add a few technical words like "switches", some anonymous sources that may or may not be the same anonymous sources from last time, and it will seem like a whole new article. All the usual suspects can then write hundreds of articles about this article, we'll talk about it on the Sunday talk shows, and with all of your determined help, we can bring down this evil conservative and the majority of Americans who recently elected him. again.

Last week an article came out claiming that the big brother tactics of the Patriot Act were abused to go after a poor little old college student just trying to do a paper on Chairman Mao. Apparently he had requested "The Little Red Book" and the next thing you know agents "dressed in black suits with thin black ties, 'just like the guys in Men in Black'" showed up to harass him and deliver a brow beating signed by President Bush.

Check out the Free Market Project's report on The Media's Top Ten Economic Myths of 2005.

In a somewhat sad but, unfortunately, true article, the UK Guardian Unlimited ran a story written by the Guardian's Jamie Wilson Titled: "Stars turn backs on America's troops in Iraq"

In an amazingly influential way, the New York Times article on NSA intelligence gathering last week has touched off a feeding frenzy in the press, where every outlet is rushing to get out their stories about how the Bush administration is violating the rights of average American citizens in their paranoid fantasy about terrorist enemies. The latest entry comes from U.S.

Washington Post staff writer Jonathan Weisman had the lead story on page A01 of the paper: "Patriot Act Extension Is Reduced To a Month," with the subheading being "House Action Overcomes Senate's Longer Reprieve"

The little Washington Post Magazine that comes with the Sunday paper had two episodes of weirdness this week.