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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.

All three major broadcast networks this evening covered President Bush’s speech in Kansas today concerning the domestic spying program. They all included the same quote of the president saying, “If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?” And, they all referenced statements made today at the National Press Club by Deputy Director of National Intelligence and former National Security Agency director Gen. Michael Hayden. Unfortunately, none of them did justice to the extraordinarily compelling description of the NSA eavesdropping program offered by the general, or his explanation of errors and omissions that have been quite common in media reports on this issue.

Regardless, what was conspicuously absent from the “NBC Nightly News” report on this subject was the most compelling statement made today by Gen. Hayden: “Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such.”

To be sure, it couldn’t have been a time issue that prevented NBC from including this key segment of Gen. Hayden’s statement. After all, toward the end of the broadcast, Brian Williams had plenty of time to discuss the person in the Kansas State University audience who asked President Bush if he had seen the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” as well as show footage of the president’s answer (from closed captioning): “I hadn't seen it. I would be glad to talk about ranching but I haven't seen the movie.” In fact, there was even time for Williams to speak glowingly about the film (also from closed captioning):

Hugh Hewitt thinks highly of Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia/> University/>/>'s graduate school of journalism and a staff writer for the New Yorker.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos invited former presidential candidate John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) on “This Week” yesterday to discuss a variety of pressing issues facing the nation. Primary amongst them was how the senator felt about domestic spying, and current revelations revealed in a New York Times article last month. During the discussion, Kerry made a rather glaring contradiction (hat tip to reader “JDW”) that should have set off alarm bells in any investigative reporter. Instead, Stephanopoulos gave Kerry a pass.

As the discussion moved in the direction of NSA wiretaps, Stephanopoulos played a clip of Karl Rove saying: “President Bush believes if al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why. Some important Democrats -- some important Democrats clearly disagree.” Stephanopoulos said: “He must have had you in mind. You've called the program a clear violation of the law.” To which Kerry replied: ‘We don't disagree with him at all. It is a violation of law and we don't disagree with him at all and this is exactly what Karl Rove does.”

Stephanopoulos then asked:

But foreign cars produced in the U.S. are largely made in union-friendly states.

The NYT's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney was ultra-sensitive to any sign of harsh Republican rhetoric during the 2004 campaign, and he’s no less raw about it a year later, using strong terms to describe Karl Rove’s speech to the Republican National Committee in a front-page story Monday. But what about Howard Dean calling Rove "unpatriotic"?

It really is amusing, on occasion, to watch the mainstream press go after non-stories that could make the President look bad. The latest example comes from Time Magazine, all worked up about the fact that there are allegedly pictures showing President Bush with Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of a congressional lobbying scandal. And the AP has decided that Time's non-story is news.
Bush himself has said that he doesn't recall meeting Abramoff.

Both Washingtonian and Time magazines have reported the existence of about a half-dozen photos showing the two together, however.

In attacking White House counselor Dan Bartlett over the NSA's surveillance of al Qaeda suspects, Katie Couric went as far as to cite a convicted terrorist's lawyer's claim of Bush's "crime." In the 7am half hour of this morning's Today, Couric noted "that many people believe that the President broke the law," and then went on to quote from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley that Bush's order, "was a crime." However Couric failed to mention that Turley is currently part of a convicted terroris

In a piggyback of a previous NewsBusters report concerning Hollywood producing less films in the near future, The Times Online is reporting (hat tip to the Drudge Report) that movie stars are going to take less money for their services to assist studios in becoming more profitable:

“Facing declining cinema audiences, Hollywood is trying to persuade its top actors to set an example by cutting back a lucrative arrangement known as ‘first dollar’, under which the director, producer and stars receive a share of a film’s box office take regardless of whether the studio has covered its filming costs.”

Apparently, this is going to impact some of Hollywood’s top stars: