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On Friday, talk show host Laura Ingraham laughed at how MSNBC's Chris Matthews started demoting Zarqawi on Thursday night's "Hardball" as a minor-league threat, a "Triple-A" terrorist instead of a real "World Series" win. MRC's Geoff Dickens passed on the transcript:

On the day of the running of the final leg of the Triple Crown, we've got a new leader in the Wackiest Zarqawi-Take Stakes. The new favorite in the kooky conspiracy derby is far from a colt. Galloping ghosts! It's De-Frosted Anti-Vietnam War Man and battle-hardened Jane Fonda veteran Tom Hayden. His winning notion? That Zarqawi might really have been our guy in Iraq.

Shown the Thursday Washington Post headline, “Victory in California Calms G.O.P.” followed by the New York Times headline, “Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems,” NPR's Nina Totenberg exclaimed on Friday night's Inside Washington: "The Times is wrong!" Syndicated columnist Mark Shields suggested his disagreement with the spin of the New York Times: "I don't think there's any question that if the Democrats had won they'd be yelling at the tree tops.” Shields added his analysis that the Times missed: “The culture of corruption, I think, is not a viable campaign message for 2006 for the fall. That ought to be a warning to the Democrats.”

On Thursday, in postings for the MRC's TimesWatch and on NewsBusters, “Double Huh: NYT Headline Says GOP's Cali Win Means 'Fall Problems' for Party,” Clay Waters provided a look at the tilted June 8 front page New York Times article about the congressional race in which Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby to replace imprisoned Republican Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.

NBC’s David Gregory on Friday night resurrected two of the favorite quotes of Bush-bashers as he contrasted past boasts with how the current “cautious view about the way forward in Iraq underscores the degree to which events on the ground have humbled the Bush team.” After a clip of Bush on Friday conceding the killing of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “not going to end the war. It's certainly not going to end the violence.

As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening.

Meredith Vieira departed ABC's The View (registration required) today and she certainly went out with, uh, a bang. At 11:36AM EDT, co-host Joy Behar toasted Vieira, who will join the Today show in September. She remarked, "I’m so upset....And I just don’t know how to express it, you know? I thought to myself, what would Rosie O’Donnell do?"

Then Behar took Vieira in her arms and the two engaged in a long kiss. In case you missed it, ABC replayed it in slow-motion a few seconds later as they went to commercial.

A silly moment on an unserious show? Perhaps. But opponents of gay rights probably shouldn’t expect the new host of the Today show to give their arguments much credence.

The media’s defeatist analysis of the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi has now continued into a second day. Matt Lauer opened the June 9 Today show with this cheery greeting:

"Good morning. What now? The day after the world learned of the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi. The question remains, who will take his place and will it spark revenge attacks?"

Almost ten minutes later, at 7:09AM EDT, Lauer prefaced an interview with Karen Hughes, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, by asking the following question:

"So how will the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi impact the battered image of the United States around the world?"

In addition to this now familiar negativity, the Today show also came up with a new angle: How does the death of a brutal thug make his supporters feel?

Reuters reports that the country music trio Dixie Chicks is having trouble filling seats at concerts as it continues to take heat for criticism of President Bush.

NBC Marks Death Tax Bills Demise with Democratic Zinger
Anchor Brian Williams left out conservative talking points and studies showing negative impact of estate tax.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
June 9, 2006

Reporter Lothian leaves out how taxpayers are picking up a large part of the bill.

BusinessWeek cited oil analysts who estimated much higher costs from terrorism.

LA Times ran a jaw dropping lead this morning:

Bin Laden Far More Difficult to Find than Zarqawi, Officials say

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Although the U.S. military located and killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, finding Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains a tougher task, officials and analysts said Thursday....

Thanks LAT, don't know what I'd do without you.

There has been some buzz in the email this morning about a question Pam Hess of UPI asked General William Caldwell in a briefing this morning. In her question, Hess referred to those who died in the air strike that killed the most wanted man in Iraq, including Abu Musab al Zarqawi himself, as victims. Her full question was:

If the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were "good" news, it's hard to imagine how the media could report much worse for "bad" news in Iraq.

Pretend Pundit has a good roundup of media headlines.

One day after the killing of Al-Zarqawi, it's business-as-usual for the Drive-by Media. The Washington Post even ran a poll reminding us that we all think Iraq sucks.

If I'm a Democratic strategist, I couldn't be happier. Here are this morning's top headlines: