By all appearances, Lauer was headed for a genial stroll in the park with affable former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson, in to discuss the Alito hearings. Thompson had been the successful 'sherpa' for John Roberts in his confirmation process.
Today's "legal context" article in the NYT shifted the focus of the Alito confirmation hearings from abortion to the limits of presidential power. Once again, reporter Adam Liptak offers a confusing round-up of the issues Alito will likely face in the hearings today and during the week.
The opening line of the article, however, is key when asking some later questions:
The magazine to the stars, Variety, called the New York Times’ James Risen a “journalistic hero.” In an article about the problems that Risen’s new book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," might pose for the Times, Variety reporter Michael Learmonth began by offering great praise for the author: “After years of entanglement with Judith Miller, the New York Times can celebrate a true journalistic hero in James Risen, the reporter who uncovered the NSA eavesdropping story.”
“The book also indicates Iraq had abandoned its nuclear weapons program shortly after the first Gulf War, but that information was ignored by the neocons selling an invasion of Iraq. Those on the selling end of the equation had the ear of Miller, whose W.M.D. stories got most of the headlines when it mattered.”
Learmonth concluded by expressing concern for the future of this new “hero”:
The Associated Press reported that American singer Harry Belafonte, as part of a delegation visiting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez that included actor Danny Glover and Princeton University scholar Cornel West, publicly stated that President Bush is “the greatest terrorist in the world.”
“‘No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution,’ Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast.”
Had it not been for coverage provided by the blogosphere (hat tip Malkin), most people would not have known that the trial of the Election Day Slashers had started today. The coverage of the trial to this point is limited to a few local sources such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
As Michelle Malkin puts it:
Two days earlier, CBS suggested the GOP is in a “panic.” On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, just hours after DeLay announced his decision to not seek reinstatement as House Majority Leader, anchor Thalia Assuras asked reporter Gloria Borger: "So is there panic in the Republican Party?" Borger, who in her preceding lead story had described DeLay as "a brash, often uncompromising conservative," affirmed the thesis forwarded by Assuras: "I would have to say there is some panic, an awful lot of nervousness in the aftermath of this Jack Abramoff scandal..." (More in Monday’s MRC CyberAlert. Full transcript of Borger’s Monday story follows.)
After dissecting, and mostly defending, the "they're alive, they're dead" reporting calamity, Kurtz criticizes what he sees as media disinterest in on-the-job health and safety reporting:
Saturday’s front-page teaser for its Page One business section story by Edmund Andrews and Richard Stevenson (“Bush Cites 2 Million New Jobs in 2005 and Healthy Economy”) is headlined “Jobless Rate Declines But Wages Lag Inflation.”
This continues the Times’ stubborn insistence on putting a negative spin on good economic news, a motif reflected in the paper’s broader coverage.
Today's Washington Post chat with political reporter Shailagh Murray featured some prognosticating bravado from Murray, who insisted Tom DeLay's political career was over: "I would put my chips on DeLay not being on the ballot in November." From there, a weird questioner from New Mexico jumped in:
A piece in today's NYT by Adam Liptak has numerous holes and discrepencies (just some documented here) that can be expected from a newspaper who officially endorsed the Democrats in the last two elections.