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You have to love it when reporters play dumb. The case for the NSA program, approved by the American people in nearly all polls (sometimes by as much as a 2-1 margin) understand, fund and support the program.

The first words issued by NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams tonight were as follows:

"The plot thickens. Tonight, the President reveals new details about an alleged terrorist plot involving hijackers, shoe bombers, and a sky scraper in Los Angeles.

But there are questions."

Reporting on President Bush’s Thursday speech in which he detailed a foiled al-Qaeda attack on a Los Angeles office tower, the three broadcast network evening newscasts fretted about the timing in relation to controversy over “domestic eavesdropping.” ABC co-anchor Charles Gibson cued up George Stephanopoulos, “Democrats in Washington immediately began asking: Why is the President talking about this now?” Stephanopoulos contended “there is a lot of politics at play here,” but portrayed Democrats as the victims as he relayed how “Republicans hope that this war on terror issue is going to be the key to have them keeping control of the House and the Senate in these 2006 mid-term elections” while Democrats “know” they “can’t let Republicans play the fear card.”

CBS’s Jim Axelrod maintained that “the eavesdropping issue is starting to cut just a little bit differently, as even some Republicans now are starting to call for more oversight" and “the President's speech came at a time when his tactics in the war on terror are under attack from some quarters with the eavesdropping controversy consuming Washington.” It certainly is “consuming” the press corps. Axelrod zeroed in how “the White House won't go anywhere near this question of whether the eavesdropping program had anything to do with the foiling of this West coast bomb plot, won't go anywhere near it. But checking across the government today, we couldn't find one single U.S. official to say that it had.” Jim Stewart reported that “they got this information not from any wiretap, but from what they called the rigorous questioning of some al Qaeda detainees.” To which Bob Schieffer translated: “Torture." NBC’s Brian Williams opened: “The White House says it was just a coincidence that during this time while the President is under fire for a program of domestic eavesdropping, and while he's been trying to renew provisions of the Patriot Act, he just happened to choose today as the day to talk about a planned terrorist incident in the U.S. that was thwarted.” (Transcripts follow.)

Nancy Soderberg, a former Ambassador to the United Nations and Foreign Policy Advisor under the Clinton administration, repeated the often-heard myth that President Clinton prevented Millennium attacks on the United States. Soderberg made the debunked claim as a guest on tonight's episode of The O'Reilly Factor (Thursday, February 9, 2006).

Viewers of today's American Morning on CNN were treated to co-host Miles O'Brien's view of scientists who dare question the validity of global warming. In a debate between Reverend Jim Ball, director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Reverend Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics commission, shortly after 8:15am, O'Brien revealed his beliefs.

Miles O'Brien: "You know, I know that science and religion are often at odds, but the scientific evidence is overwhelming at this point. Are you denying that?"

Reverend Richard Land: "There are scientists who deny it. There are scientists who've said -- "

O'Brien: "Scientists who are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually."

Land: "Well, not, not necessarily. I'm not going-"

O'Brien: "Mostly, yeah."

Via Romenesko, we learn New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove reported that retired CBS "60 Minutes" boss Don Hewitt finally decided that Dan Rather did in fact deserve the ax for that Memogate fiasco:

     In New Hampshire on February 8, President Bush gave a simple lesson journalists could use. He compared slowing spending growth to driving the speed limit, rather than cutting spending, which would be like putting your car in reverse. The media, however, chose to steer readers wrong with an insistence on calling spending increases cuts and amplifying liberal outrage for not spending enough money.

     Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are getting funding

Ken Shepherd forwarded to me another piece of evidence that the NAACP has thrown its old attempted bipartisan stance, last seen in the Benjamin Hooks era, out the window. Reporter Hazel Trice Edney, a Washington correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association ("The Black Press of America"), has this report in the Baltimore Times and other papers:

Lizette Alvarez reports from Denver Thursday on the Army’s drive to recruit more Hispanics in “With Charm and Enticements, Army Is Drawing Hispanic Recruits, and Criticism.”

She paints the drive in a negative light:

Imagine you're the host of a morning news show, and the head of the country's major opposition party has just invoked the danger of the President of the United States turning the country into a police state akin to Iran. Would you perhaps ask a follow-up question challenging your guest to substantiate his inflammatory remark? No, you wouldn't. At least, not if you're GMA's Charlie Gibson. For when Howard Dean made just such an allegation this morning, Gibson never blinked.

The gargantuan task of rebuilding New Orleans after hurricane Katrina is an ongoing news story -- but it doesn't have to be presented solely as a liberal narrative, with the Democratic local officials, Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco, assigned only the role of heroic pleaders to the racist Republican administration, while left-wing protest groups cheer on Barney Frank's claims that the administration is conducting "ethnic cleansing by inaction."

This is going to be controversial.

In an article written earlier today by Benny Morris and published by the UK's Guardian Unlimited newspaper, famous historian and civil rights activist John Hope Franklin had this to say regarding his home:

Press reaction – that Mideast imports are no big deal – is inconsistent with earlier assertions that oil is the reason for Iraq war.  Free Market Project

Some speakers at Tuesday's memorial service near Atlanta for Coretta King used the opportunity to blast from the left the racial, budget and foreign policies of President George W. Bush, who was himself amongst the speakers. Yet Wednesday's NBC Nightly News managed to turn the event into an indictment of Bush and imaginary “deep cuts” in social programs, without mentioning the vitriolic hatred directed toward him by the very black organizations and leaders NBC's Andrea Mitchell suggested he has snubbed. Anchor Brian Williams noted how the service included “criticisms of President Bush's domestic and foreign policies.” But then he framed the story around how it supposedly “raised fresh questions about the Bush administration's record on race.”

Mitchell began with a back-handed slap at Bush: "It was an in-your-face rebuke rare for any President, especially one who doesn't often surround himself with critics." Mitchell at least pointed out how Andrew Young considered it an inappropriate forum for attacking a President, before she recited Bush's mistakes: “After five years in office, deep cuts in social programs, and searing criticism of the response to Hurricane Katrina, George W. Bush is still struggling to explain himself to African-Americans.” Of course, there haven't even been mild cuts in social programs, never mind Mitchell's ludicrous claim about “deep cuts.” Mitchell also relayed how “critics, often Democrats, remember that he has not attended an NAACP convention since taking office.” Maybe that's because a few months after he attended one in 2000, the NAACP produced a TV ad narrated by the daughter of James Byrd, the black man murdered by being dragged behind a pick-up truck, which charged that since “Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.” And Mitchell also skipped how just last week NAACP Chairman Julian Bond alleged that the Republicans' “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side-by-side" and he asserted that “Republicans draw their most rabid supporters from the Taliban wing of American politics." (Transcript follows, as well as video of the 2000 NAACP ad)