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It’s probably not the first time it has happened, but with the exception of ABC’s George Will – who, of course, has been a regular on that network’s “This Week” for many years – the networks’ Sunday political talk shows had no established conservative guests to participate in their weekly panel discussions. Joining George Stephanopoulos and George Will this morning were Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, TIME magazine’s Jay Carney, and ABC’s Claire Shipman. NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” featured Katy Kay of the BBC, Michael Duffy of TIME magazine, Norah O’Donnell of MSNBC, and Terry Neal of the Washington Post. CBS’s “Face the Nation” did its annual Thanksgiving “historians” program.

The most left-leaning of the panels was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” where Tim Russert invited Judy Woodruff, formerly of CNN’s “Inside Politics,” David Broder of the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson also of the Washington Post, and David Gregory of NBC News. While the “This Week” and “Matthews” panels actually engaged in a comparatively well-rounded discussion, the “Meet the Press” group spent the bulk of its half-hour talking about the “disaster” in Iraq. For instance, Robinson said, “I think that there's general agreement now that there will be a mess in Iraq when U.S. troops finally withdraw and it certainly won't be an Athenian democracy, as the administration said it was out to create.” Gregory agreed, “And unfortunately, perhaps the only outcome is a kind of low-level civil war that's akin to the Arab- Israeli situation with U.S. soldiers in the way.”

Woodruff then joined in by paraphrasing a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly:



The Washington Post's political feature writer Mark Leibovich today reports on the jostling to succeed Sen. Jon Corzine in New Jersey, headlined "For Sen. X, D-N.J., the Line Forms to the Left." But the ideological label that might be expected in the text, Democrats on the "left," or "liberals," are never used.



Dave Huber explains at Oh, That Liberal Media that the Boston Globe erred in its headline in an AP story with the words "Teacher Under Investigation for Alleged Liberalism":



Reuters reported a few hours ago that the government of North Korea has accused CNN of airing a fabricated video of a public execution in that country (hat tip to Drudge): “CNN earlier this month broadcast a documentary, ‘Undercover in the Secret State,’ which among other images showed a grainy clip of what it called a public execution by firing squad of a man accused of helping a refugee cross into neighboring China.”

Kim Jong Il’s government is not happy: “‘The video tape is full of sheer lies negating the popular and class nature and the democratic principle of the DPRK's laws and tarnishing its image from A to Z,’ the North's official KCNA news agency said in a commentary.”

On November 14, a Korean website, The Chosun Ilbo, published an article on this documentary along with the picture to the right:

"According to the cable broadcaster, dissidents used small digital cameras and camcorder phones as weapons in their fight to show the outside world what is really happening in the secretive country. Footage also showed a dissident defacing a Kim Jong-il poster to draw attention to growing internal opposition to the country's leader."

This past Tuesday, the Korea Times reported that the man who took these video images is a North Korean defector currently being held by the South Korean government:



Tired of public opinion polls? Well, an article in today’s New York Times might be an indication that Americans have seen enough polls in the past three months, and that a new strategy is necessary to inform them how to think. How does it work?



The big news story from Iraq yesterday was the suicide bombing in Mahmudiya which killed 31 people. The Washington Post story makes it clear what the "insurgents" are really doing:
A suicide attacker steered a car packed with explosives toward U.S. soldiers giving away toys to children outside a hospital in central Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 31 people. Almost all of the victims were women and children, police said.


It was a classic "gotcha" moment.

Ellen Ratner, the short, liberal side of The Long & the Short of It on Fox & Friends Weekend, just let the liberal cat out of the bag. Discussing the Democrats' approach to Iraq withdrawal proposals, Ratner admitted:

"If you got [Dem leaders] in a room off camera everyone agrees, but people are trying to look tough on security so the Democrats can win the House back in 2006."



Hot right now on the NPR website: Penn Jillette (the tall, loud half of Penn & Teller) expounding his atheism as part of "This I Believe" series on "Morning Edition." This is the hot paragraph:



The 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s death in New York drew a big article in Newsweek by Jeff Giles, filled with all the normal liberal genuflections: "the man who wrote ‘Imagine,’ ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘All You Need Is Love,’ which amount to the greatest ad campaign for brother- and sisterhood in history." In between that and Sinead O’Connor’s scary metaphors for Lennon ("He was my breast milk, you know?") was a series of rock star tributes to their favorite song



The Associated Press and United Press International are reporting that another Democratic hawk, Norm Dicks (D-Washington), has changed his position on the Iraq war. They are both quoting from and referencing a Seattle Times article first published about 16 hours ago entitled “Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake.” Yet, they are conveniently ignoring previous statements made by Dicks concerning the war that were also reported by the Seattle Times.

Today’s article stated:



Comedian and “Air America” radio host Al Franken was on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” last night, and took the opportunity to defame all three of America’s leading conservative media personalities. First, O’Brien set him up nicely by asking:



ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday broke a story about Michael Jackson that has received surprisingly little press. In a report about the pop star’s finances, as well as his relationship with financial advisors, an audiotape was played of a telephone message Jackson left for a former business associate:



I've recently described, here and here, how an unexpected streak of reasonableness broke out at the Today show.  On successive days, Matt Lauer criticized the Democrats for trying to make political hay out of Iraq without offering any alternatives of their own.

Strangely, sanity has seemingly struck again.  And this in the most unlikely person of NBC reporter Jim Maceda, who only last week, as I reported here was carping that the French were not appeasing their Muslim rioters assiduously enough.



In his Monday chat with Charlie Rose on PBS, Ted Koppel played armchair general or armchair Secretary of State and explained why he would not have gone to war with Iraq, didn't see the urgent need to remove Saddam, saw no connection with terrorism, and worst of all, smeared Ronald Reagan as not caring about the gassing of Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988. This is, as a matter of historical record, untrue.



Ted Koppel did a long interview with Charlie Rose on PBS Monday night, a day before he retired as host of "Nightline." One segment of the interview that stuck out was their discussion of racism and racial inequality and how passionate they are about it. Koppel said it "just infuriates" him. Rose agreed: