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In the week leading up to former FEMA director Mike Brown’s exodus, the media spent a lot of time castigating the president for hiring someone with such poor qualifications. Yet, a video report (to follow) from CNN of all places states that the Democrats had a large hand in this appointment.

Of course, that hasn’t been the media’s position up to this point. Here is an article from this week’s edition of The New Republic:

“By now, the basic contours of Mike Brown's ascendancy to director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema) have come to light. Journalists have uncovered that Brown had almost no relevant experience for the position and got hired by fema because he was a longtime friend of George W. Bush's close associate Joe Allbaugh. The story being reported, in other words, is that Brown was a lawyer who ended up with a crucial post in the Bush administration because of rank cronyism.”

“Yet, far from being a caricature, this description, if anything, understates the absurdity of the situation. The real story of Brown's meteoric rise from obscurity is far more disturbing, as well as a good deal more farcical. It's clear that hiring Brown to run fema was an act of gross recklessness, given his utter lack of qualifications for the job. What's less clear is the answer to the question of exactly what, given Brown's real biography, he is qualified to do.”





The media continue to use the 60th anniversary of the United Nations as a platform to criticize U.S. foreign aid as “second lowest of any wealthy country.” This is part of an ongoing, celebrity-filled push to get the United States to give billions of dollars in aid – totally ignoring the massive contributions already made by American charities.



Is the Reagan Revolution finally coming to an end? “Progressives” like Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift certainly would like to think so. In fact, in a recent op-ed, Eleanor contends that the wake of Katrina is the death knell for such heinous things as tax cuts and smaller government:

“If there’s an upside to Katrina, it’s that the Republican agenda of tax cuts, Social Security privatization and slashing government programs is over. It may be too much to predict an upsurge of progressive government, but the environment and issues of poverty, race and class are back on the nation’s radar screen.”

Of course, never one to suppress an opinion no matter how caustic, Eleanor couldn’t resist giving President Bush a few kicks while he’s down:



As reported here yesterday, the Associated Press thoroughly misrepresented and understated better than expected inflation data that was released by the Labor Department. Today, Reuters botched a report released by the Commerce Department concerning retail sales:

“U.S. retail sales dropped by a larger-than-expected 2.1 percent in August, the sharpest drop in almost four years, after car purchases collapsed from July's near-record level, government data showed on Wednesday.”

Unfortunately, Reuters chose not to inform its readers that the drop in car sales was expected for a number of reasons. First, July was a blowout month for automakers due to huge incentives. Second, August is historically a bad month for the car industry as it prepares to rollout the new model year in September.

Here’s how Bloomberg reported the same data:



CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen vented yesterday on CBSNews.com about how mum John Roberts has been during questioning, refusing to take the bait on hot-button questions posed by liberal senators. But in doing so, Cohen gives away his bias: he'd prefer a Supreme Court justice who believes in judicial activism, rather than judicial restraint:



The crowded blog search space may soon contract now that Google has debuted its Blog Search service. Like competing services Technorati, Feedster, Blogpulse, and Ice Rocket, the database relies on site notification rather than crawling. Like Feedster and Ice Rocket, Google's index uses RSS feeds as its data source. Google's entry is still beta quality but in some informal testing, I found it had picked up a number of blogs which its competitors had ignored. Things are about to get even more interesting as blog searching becomes increasingly sophisticated. I wonder which Google competitor will bite the dust first?


In a report on the United Nations summit during the 1pm hour of CNN’s Live From, anchor Kyra Phillips confused the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, with another well-known Bolton:

Kyra Phillips: "Now, I've seen Michael Bolton sitting behind the President. Obviously not now, we're looking at different live pictures. Are we going to hear from him? Or have we heard from him?"

Richard Roth: "Well, you may -- you're not going to hear him sing. I think you said Michael Bolton, John Bolton the US ambassador-"

Phillips (embarrassed): "John Bolton. Richard, thank you so much. You're taking me back now to, what, the early '80s? My goodness."

Roth: "Yes, and this ambassador has much shorter hair."

Phillips: "And no relation, right? Maybe we should make that clear."

Roth: "No relation. Though some of his remarks has -- have caused some hair-raising reaction from advocates for some groups...."

Transcript continues below. Video available in Windows or Real.



Editor & Publisher reports on a cozy little deal made by The Washington Post and The New York Times in which the two MSM giants let each other know in advance what their most important product - the Front Page - will be, every day.



New from the Business & Media Institute



When prices rise, it helps get resources to the places theyre needed most.


Over at Brainster, there is an item about the media seizing on Bush's statement that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breaching of the levees." Eleanor Clift said Bush "will regret those words just as Condoleezza Rice did her comment that nobody could imagine a plane flying into a building like a missile."

But all the predictions and simulations before Katrina predicted nothing but water going above the levees, not breaking them.



Tom Johnson, a long-time friend and colleague, forwarded to me a passage from Weekly Standard writer Christopher Caldwell observations on the tenth anniversary of the Murdoch-funded think mag:



In another New York Times story seemingly spurred by Democratic complaints, Philip Shenon reports Wednesday: "The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane Katrina and would investigate


Gloria Borger's Early Show recap of yesterday's confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts was dominated by exchanges with liberal senators pressing the Chief Justice nominee from the Left on abortion, but Borger closed off her report noting that conservatives are concerned about Roberts's views on overturning Roe v. Wade: "Conservatives are listening very closely to what Judge Roberts has to say about Roe versus Wade."