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Shortly, the 2,000th death of an American serviceman or woman will occur in Iraq. That will generate an orgy of coverage in the American press on how “deadly” the war is. Sidebars will suggest that citizens are becoming “increasingly doubtful” about the conduct of the war. This Newsbusters article denounces that coverage as dishonest, in advance.



Tom Gross notes in this week's Spectator (London) that for some reason, if you're Jewish, your death in a terror attack is likely to get a lot less attention ("Dead Jews Aren't News"):

Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.

Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, an American radical who died in 2003 while acting as a human shield during an Israeli anti-terror operation in Gaza, has been widely featured in the British press. According to the Guardian website, she has been written about or referred to on 57 separate occasions in the Guardian alone, including three articles the Saturday before last.



The results of a recent poll by Zogby International were just released, and they show President Bush’s job approval back to where it was in July well before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans:

“President Bush, his job approval rating beleaguered by poor marks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rebounded from historic lows this summer to 45% in Zogby International’s latest poll, with job approval numbers bumping back up into the range where they have hovered for most of his second term.

“The survey also found that, while voters do not give the President passing marks on his handling of the Iraq War, half (50%) believe the recently-passed Iraqi constitution is a major step in the right direction for the strife-torn nation that will lead to peace and democracy." 

And, Americans are starting to feel better about where the country is heading:

“Bush’s bounce appears to be tied to overall perception of the nation’s direction; three weeks ago, just 40% said the nation was on the right track.  This number now stands at 45%.”

Yet, maybe most fascinating about the right-track/wrong-track numbers is their strict partisanship:

“The trend is even more pronounced along party lines.  While Republicans are overwhelmingly optimistic about the nation’s direction, with 75% saying the nation is on the right track, among Democrats, this drops to 17%.  Independents lag behind the national average at 42%.”



In an October 20, 2005 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on the issue of abortion and Roe vs. Wade, columnist Dahlia Lithwick claimed (emphasis mine),

Roe is quickly becoming legally irrelevant. The number of abortions in the United States has fallen dramatically in the last two decades ...



On this morning’s “The Chris Matthews Show,” Matthews played a videotape of British broadcaster David Frost interviewing former president Richard M. Nixon. In that interview, Nixon spoke about anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg.



Many Americans that are truly concerned about bias in the media fear that what is reported by the press will immediately be accepted as fact by the citizenry regardless of accuracy.



When, on this weekend’s Inside Washington, host Gordon Peterson recited a list of issues Democratic congressional candidates could use against Republican incumbents -- “you've got Iraq, you've got Harriet Miers, you've got Katrina, you got Tom DeLay being indicted. You've got a lot of ammunition” -- NPR reporter Nina Totenberg jumped in to shout: "And you've got the tax cuts!" She soon offered her recommendation on how Democrats should campaign: “One of the other things is you say, 'look, we're in this mess fiscally and they want to increase the tax cuts for the most wealthy people in the United States,’ the top one half of one percent would get a hundred thousand dollars, people who make over a million dollars or something like that." (Still shot of Totenberg and John Harwood.)

Totenberg’s been on a crusade. On the same show last month, as detailed in a September 24 NewsBusters posting, she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks, to pay for Katrina recovery, as small change and suggested that “if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." A week earlier, she asserted that President Bush’s New Orleans speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" And two weeks before that, as recounted with a video clip on NewsBusters, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”



John Dean, former counsel to president Richard M. Nixon, wrote a column for FindLaw yesterday that is an absolute must read. In it, he gave a thorough analysis of the issues facing special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, while indirectly discrediting the parade of media representatives who have declared in the past couple of weeks that chief White House aide Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, will be indicted next week.

 

The crux of his argument is that unless Libby and or Rove perjured themselves or suborned perjury, it would be difficult to prove that their actions were not in the interest of national security:

 

“It is difficult to envision Patrick Fitzgerald prosecuting anyone, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, who believed they were acting for reasons of national security. While hindsight may find their judgment was wrong, and there is no question their tactics were very heavy-handed and dangerous, I am not certain that they were acting from other than what they believed to be reasons of national security. They were selling a war they felt needed to be undertaken.

 

“In short, I cannot imagine any of them being indicted, unless they were acting for reasons other than national security. Because national security is such a gray area of the law, come next week, I can see this entire investigation coming to a remarkable anti-climax, as Fitzgerald closes down his Washington Office and returns to Chicago.

 

“In short, I think the frenzy is about to end -- and it will not go any further.”

 



In an October 19, 2005, article, veteran Associated Press reporter Tom Raum claimed (emphasis added),

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a Bush White House tactic: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.



There has been a lot of outrage in the media concerning the burning of a couple of dead, Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in early October. Yet, the Australian journalist who videotaped the proceedings, Stephen Dupont, stated in an interview on National Public Radio yesterday (audio link to follow courtesy of Bareknucklepolitics.com) that he believed the bodies were burned purely for reasons of hygiene when the local villagers refused to retrieve them, and that the American soldiers didn't do anything wrong. (Video links to an SBS "Dateline" promo for Dupont's piece as well as an SBS interview with him on the subject also follow):

“I actually believe that the guys who were involved in the burning did it with honorable, you know, reasons. They did it through their orders, or they did if for hygiene. I had no doubt in my mind that they were telling me the truth. If they were doing something that was problematic or controversial, there’s no way they would have shown me this. There’s no way they would have let me go up there and film this.”



I've never seen such a simple graph make me giggle so hard...


And we thought PBS films were bad. David’s Medienkritik reports the German government has subsidized a sympathetic film about Palestinian suicide bombers."Paradise Now" tells the story of two Palestinian men, Said and Khaled, who are selected as the latest suicide bombers, and debate which way is best to defeat Israeli occupiers. This is supposed to help us by "humanizing" the assassins. Oh, but lucky us! It’s coming to America, to the film festival circuit.



"And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed” because “outing a CIA agent is treason,” left-wing author and radio talk show host Al Franken asserted Friday night, to audience laughter, on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Franken qualified his hard-edged satire: "Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like." Franken later suggested that President Bush is at risk of receiving the same punishment, since Karl Rove likely told him what he did, but he added a caveat: “I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President."

Updated Sunday night with video. Excerpt #1: Real or Windows Media and MP3 audio. Excerpt #2: Real or Windows Media and MP3 audio. Transcripts of the exchanges, on the October 21 Late Show, follow.



On Friday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Lee Cowan filed a story on Congressman Tom DeLay's appearance in a Texas courtroom, which on some counts was balanced, but which glaringly highlighted a Replublican critic of Tom DeLay who referred to him as a "hog." Although Fort Bend Star publisher Beverly Carter has been a longtime critic of DeLay who even endorsed his opponent in last year's election, Cowan simply referred to



Lee Cowan did a report on the "CBS Evening News" tonight concerning Rep. Tom DeLay’s (R-Tex) first day in court. To demonstrate that even people on the right don’t like the embattled congressman, Cowan interviewed Beverly Carter, the Republican precinct chairwoman of Fort Bend County, Texas:

“I've not heard of any Republicans that are supporting Tom at this point win, lose or draw. Whether he's guilty or not guilty, they've kind of had it with him. Pigs get fatter but hogs get slaughtered, and Tom has been a hog.”

Cowan interjected with: “And that's coming from a Republican precinct chairwoman in his home district.”

The problem is that Carter has been an outspoken foe of DeLay’s for quite some time. John Judis of the New Republic wrote of this in May: