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To mark Katie Couric's debut in the Dan Rather chair in media bias at the "CBS Evening News," please consult "Meet the Real Katie Couric," MRC's new Special Report on Couric's very tilted career.

And see our topic page dedicated to all our Couric blogs, including Brent Baker's report from a rebroadcast of the Aspen Ideas Festival, where she declared, without the laugh track she deserved, "I know that I've tried my best through my career to ask challenging questions to whomever I'm speaking, and whether it's a Republican or a Democrat."

Our bloggers' reviews of Katie's first show are just coming in: Mark Finkelstein and Greg Tinti have commented thus far. See Brent Baker's video summary here. Couric is also looking for suggestions for her new sign-off. Take part in the NewsBusters discussion of the subject here.

As the fifth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 approaches, Americans are once again facing the horrors surrounding this event, and the ominous portent it conveyed. Yet, for some reason, one group of citizens has chosen to commemorate this solemn occasion by protesting an ABC miniseries documenting the history of this calamity.

As amazing as it might seem, the top brass in the liberal blogosphere’s “Netroots” have been frantically writing the past couple of days about “The Path to 9/11,” declaring to their readers that this docudrama is “a piece of fiction,” and that ABC’s airing it represents “gross negligence.”

At the heart of the controversy is the belief universally shared by these Michael Moore devotees that the ABC program in question doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of their Hero-in-Chief, William Jefferson Clinton. Yet, it appears that none of the disgruntled commentators has actually seen the miniseries – a fact that some hypocritically suggest represents a part of the conspiracy – and, therefore, are coming to conclusions about the program’s contents from reviews by others.

Take for example Markos Moulitsas, the outspoken proprietor of Daily Kos. On September 5, he posted a blog at his website entitled “ABC’s Work of Fiction”:

The Washington Post continued on Wednesday its pattern of defining the news in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia as what the Democrats want the news to be. Reporter Tim Craig notes that a "nonpartisan" analysis shows Sen. George Allen has more "Hollywood" cash than his Democratic opponent:

There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from her column of this morning: Maureen Dowd does not take seriously the threat to our security and civilization that radical Islam poses.

The putative focus of New Themes for the Same Old Songs [subscription required] was a two-for-one snipe at W and Katie Couric. Straining to find some kind of parallel between the two on the occasion of Couric's CBS Evening News debut, Dowd managed: "W. and Katie were both on TV at 6:30 last night, trying to prove they were a man. Katie won, by a whisker."

Pretty catty stuff. But of more significance as a barometer of the contemporary liberal mindset were Dowd's remarks on the Islamist threat or - in her mind - the lack thereof.

Wrote Dowd: 'W., Dick Cheney and Rummy are on a campaign to scare Americans into believing that limp-wristed Democrats will curtsy to Islamic radicals and Iranian tyrants, just as Chamberlain bowed to Hitler, and that

only the über-manly Republicans can keep totalitarianism, fascism and the Al Qaeda 'threat to civilization' at bay."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann often laughably denies being a partisan liberal Democrat, fancying himself a 21-century truth-teller speaking truth to power in the liberal courageous tradition of Egbert Murrow. Apparently no one at MSNBC believes him.

The Israeli military was busy Tuesday evening in the Rafha refugee camp in Gaza, striking two separate vehicles driven by Hamas activists, according to the Beeb:

Three Hamas militants have been killed in two Israeli air strikes on cars in Rafah, southern Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

The first attack killed an activist from Hamas' military wing and hurt his companion. Dozens of bystanders were also hurt, Palestinian doctors said.

Is the Los Angeles Times "piling on" when it comes to covering sex abuse by Christians? Have they misled their readers again?

In the front section of today's Los Angeles Times (Tuesday, September 5, 2006) is an article, "Sex Charges Shadow a Local Curiosity in Texas: Five monks at the Christ of the Hills Monastery are accused of abusing boys. Police also say the church's famous crying icon was 'a scam'" by Times staffer Lianne Hart. The piece is accompanied by three color photos and a small map of Texas (to illustrate the location of the story, Blanco, Texas (population 1505)).

In a large color photo above the article is a man dressed in black, as a priest, surrounded by several relics and icons depicting Jesus and other Christian imagery. The caption of the photo reads, "Caretaker: Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas, is empty now. Father Thomas Flower of a San Antonio urban mission says he is looking after the place." Another color photo shows an icon of the Virgin Mary.

"Christ of the Hills," "Monastery," "Father," "urban mission," "monks," "Virgin Mary" ... Another example of abuse in the Catholic Church, right? At first glance, it would appear so. But it isn't. Buried more than halfway through the article is the fact that the monastery was affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and they cut ties with the monks seven years ago. Why are these facts practically hidden in the article? Deception, anyone?

I described the August employment news as "good, not great" on Friday.

Larry Kudlow was more upbeat, and has a point:

The August jobs report should put to rest any fears that the economy is burning out. Following upwardly revised increases for June (134,000) and July (121,000), companies added 128,000 nonfarm payrolls last month. Meanwhile, the all-important but rarely mentioned household survey of people working gained by 250,000, sending the unemployment rate back to 4.7 percent from the July reading of 4.8 percent.

The cult of the bear, fussing about a housing-related recession, has once more been proven wrong.

The August employment showed once again that, with rare exception, there has been a fundamental disconnect between the number of new jobs reported in the Establishment Survey (phone calls to employers) compared to the Household Survey (calls to households). It's a difference that has been building since the economy began righting itself after enduring and adjusting to the trauma of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

For all the false cries of censorship when the marketplace and not the government marginalizes a voice, or point of view, this is blatant censorship enacted by our government through McCain-Feingold. h/t Instapundit.

Bloggers should consider coming together from both sides to challenge this un-democratic law by developing a series of podcast or YouTube commercials pointing out what they see as negative points regarding incumbents. Not only would it bring attention to a bad law, it would force the very thing these career politicians don't want heard to be featured in any coverage - that being the actual criticism itself.

Something almost without precedent in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold — aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day. Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.

The new CBS Evening News with Katie Couric showcased her over correspondents (in a change from Schieffer's day she handled the opening plugs for upcoming stories), spotlighted her legs (at the top of the show, as she sat with an interviewee and stood in front of the anchor desk at the end of the program) and marked the Early Show-ization of the evening newscast with stories crammed into gimmicky segment titles: “CBS News Briefing” (four stories in 40 seconds), “CBS News Snap Shot” (“exclusive” pictures of Suri Cruise which Couric giddily touted as “proof positive that yessiree, she does exist”) and a “freeSpeech” commentary in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock railed against how the media paint Americans into extremist positions. Over new theme music, the voice of Walter Cronkite announced: "This is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric."

On the political agenda front, Couric opened with a topic apart from Tuesday's events: Setbacks in Afghanistan as the new female anchor handed off to female correspondent Lara Logan: “In the War on Terror, you have to wonder: Is it back to the drawing board? It's easy to forget Afghanistan is where that war began, and that 21,000 U.S. servicemen and women are still there. Now, nearly five years after U.S. forces defeated the Taliban and scattered the al-Qaeda terrorists they were protecting, the Taliban and their terror tactics are back.” While ABC and NBC aired stories on President Bush's speech about the dedication of terrorists and the Democratic reaction, CBS ran a story on Bush's arguments and then countered them with Couric interviewing New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who mocked Bush: “He's saying we're in the fight of our life, that the World War III of our generation, but let's have a tax cut.” Friedman also lamented: “We're a country that is seen widely around the world as exporting fear and not hope."

Video of the opening to Tuesday's CBS Evening News (1:55): Real (3.3 MB), Windows Media (3.8 MB), plus MP3 audio (765 KB).

I just watched Katie Couric's debut as the anchor of the CBS Evening News and it was, much to my surprise, not very different than it was when Bob Shieffer was helming. I expected at least a couple radical stylistic changes that would set the CBS Evening News apart from it's competitors on NBC and ABC and shake things up a little. But there was nothing new. All in all, Couric's debut was, well, ordinary.

On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to attack President Bush's speech in which the President had compared modern day terrorists to Nazis and talked about Osama bin Laden's stated plan to launch a "media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government." Reminiscent of his recent "Special Comment" attacking Donald Rumsfeld and comparing the activities of the Bush administration to those of fascists, Olbermann again used a "Special Comment" segment to attack Bush for "linking" al-Qaeda to the media, "that familiar bogeyman of the far right," and branded Bush's words as "un-American."

The Countdown host accused President Bush and Vice President Cheney of "often attacking freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press." Olbermann also bizarrely took exception with Bush comparing terrorists to Nazis, arguing that terrorists would be "emboldened" by the comparison. Olbermann concluded by his own historical comparison, asking Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" an echo of remarks made by Joseph Welch made to 50s senator Joseph McCarthy. (Transcript follows)

Video clip of Olbermann's "special comment" (2:43): Real (4.6 MB) or Windows Media (5.3 MB), plus MP3 audio (950 KB)

In the coming hours and days, my colleagues at MRC and NewsBusters are sure to provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis of Katie Couric's debut this evening as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. From the opening segment, whose message was that things are worse in Afghanistan than you realize, to an interview with MSM foreign policy fave Thomas Friedman decrying tax cuts, to anti-McDonald's hypster Morgan Spurlock, ahem, spuriously trying to pass himself off as an opponent of hype, it was all pretty predictable liberal stuff.

But Katie did - unintentionally no doubt - permit a telling moment of candor to slip through the MSM filter. Introducing a segment on Pres. Bush' speech today on matters of national security, Couric said:

"The war on terror began of course with the September 11th attacks on the United States."

As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".

What’s wrong with this story?

The victim, an 11-year-old boy whose name was not released because of his age, was struck in the left wrist by a .22 caliber bullet riding the Old No. 2 Logging Co. Log Flume at the park, police said.