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In an especially contentious exchange on this evening's Hannity and Colmes (Friday February 3, 2006), cantankerous cartoonist Ted Rall, a guest on the program, unbelievably declared, "We do not owe our liberties to the military." The topic was the recent Washington Post cartoon by Tom Toles that has outraged many. The cartoon prompted a letter to the editor (linked at Michelle Malkin) from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who tagged the the work as "beyond tasteless." Needless to say, Rall (who himself has created bigoted trash in the past) defended Toles' cruel piece. Here's the relevant exchange (audiotape on file, emphasis mine):

SEAN HANNITY: Here's what you're missing. The reason that you have the right to be mean, and you were mean to this guy [killed in Afghanistan, former NFL star Pat] Tillman, who gave up a football contract to save his country. The reason you have the right to be mean in your cartoons, and Toles has a right to mean and insensitive in his cartoons, is because of people like this (Sean holds up the WaPo cartoon) that literally put their lives on the line so you have the right for free expression. And you insult them and use them as props so you can make your left-wing political points.

RALL: Sean, you could not possibly be more wrong about the nature of this country. We do not owe our liberties to the military. We owe them to the Constitution. We have civilian rule in the United States --



Washington Post political reporter Jim VandeHei did the Post website's daily politics chat, and the most interesting thing to draw from it is that a) the Democrats want to build their strategy around the Abramoff scandal, and b) coincidentally or not, the Post reporter thinks Abramoff-gate is a "huge deal."

A questioner from New Madrid, Missouri asked:



Consider two different public figures, with different backgrounds, and different organizations, and associated in the public mind with different political parties. Neither speaks for the party that the public associates them with, and both are relatively marginal public figures.

Pat Robertson is an evangelical preacher best known as the host of "The 700 Club." In 1988, he was one of the large group running for the Republican presidential nomination.



The New York Times ran a story on 28 January, 2006, entitled, “Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study.” Well, it wasn’t a “government” study. It was only paid for by a government grant. When one looks into the methodology of the study and the histories of its two researchers, the results are highly suspect.

The Times wrote:



The untold story, however, is the trend toward increased safety and higher productivity in American mines.


Networks ignore the story while major newspapers downplay it.


World News Tonight features Bonos call for more foreign aid, but no critics of corrupt African governments.


There is seemingly no business-news lemonade that The Associated Press won't try to spin into lemons.



The Tom Toles political cartoon depicting a soldier as a quadruple amputee appeared in the Washington Post on January 29. Since that day, less than a week ago, there has been a continuing drumbeat by the media defending their right to place such hurtful and denigrating political commentary in print.



A day after passing off reductions in the rate of growth for entitlement spending as "cuts" which will "pinch the elderly," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman bemoans tax cuts which will "cost" the government $70 billion:

One day after Congress gave final approval to a contentious measure to reduce the deficit by nearly $40 bill



In the wake of the departure from CBS News of John Roberts to CNN, CBS News President Sean McManus on Thursday promoted Jim Axelrod to assume Roberts' Chief White House Correspondent slot, named Lara Logan Chief Foreign Correspondent and shifted Byron Pitts to “National Correspondent, covering the biggest domestic stories and reporting on a new beat focusing on faith, family and the culture.”

Pitts won the “John Kerry Suck-Up Award” at the MRC's 2005 “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004,” for his sycophantic post-Kerry convention speech wonderment over how Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity." In a runner-up, on that morning's Early Show, Pitts had narrated a Kerry profile that could easily have passed for a Democratic campaign commercial. The more than three-minute story included quotes only from Kerry, his wife, laudatory soundbites from liberal Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, and Pitts' fawning narration: "Tonight's acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it's his destiny." Pitts also earned a runner-up spot for the “Blue State Brigade Award,” in the MRC's “Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting,” for, on the day Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, gushing: "It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party's new dream team." (Transcripts -- and video clips -- follow.)



Campbell Brown substituted for anchor Brian Williams last night, and she also subbed on the NBC Nightly News blog, the Daily Nightly. Here's how she summarized the decision to censor out anti-Islam cartoons:



Hand me a tardy pass, but Cam Edwards, radio host for NRANews.com (also on Sirius satellite radio), relayed earlier this week on his new three-amigos blog that an ABC Radio executive (please note: not an "objective" news guy) was an anti-Alito activist on the side:



The wounding in Iraq of ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt spurred New York Times Metro columnist Clyde Haberman to talk Friday (TimesSelect required) about the 61 journalists killed in Iraq.



Let's give Today its due. It devoted extended coverage this morning to the growing nuclear threat from Iran. In Katie Couric's interview of Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, it was quickly established that Iran does indeed represent a serious danger. Much of the conversation involved a discussion of the various options - none of them ideal - to address the threat.