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Tim Vincent, the Britain-born New York correspondent for Access Hollywood, sported a hammer and sickle T-shirt on Friday's show as he stood in front of NBC's Rockefeller Plaza complex and introduced a piece on American Dreamz, the movie takeoff of American Idol. Though he wore a jacket over the red shirt with the symbol of the regime which murdered tens of millions and oppressed hundreds of millions more for decades, a gold hammer and sickle was clearly visible inside a red star. The gold-outlined red star, sans the hammer and sickle, matches the Soviet's Red Army emblem. I don't get it. Is this some kind of cool statement with thirtysomethings, elite New Yorkers or Brits? Or is it just part of some promotion for an upcoming movie? Imagine the proper outrage that would explode if he had worn a Nazi swastika. I put "hammer and sickle t-shirt" into the Copernic search engine and though I did not find the exact shirt adorned by Vincent, I was shocked to find a couple of dozen sites which sell hammer and sickle T-shirts -- and mugs too.

Vincent, a veteran of the BBC as detailed in his posted bio, is also a contributor of celebrity news for NBC's Today show. Access Hollywood is produced by NBC at its Burbank facility and is carried in the early evening by all the NBC-owned stations -- and by affiliates of NBC and other networks in other cities.

Video clip (20 seconds): Real (660 KB) or Windows Media (750 KB)



The controversy over Comedy Central's decision to censor its show "South Park" continues to heat up. Late Thursday, the network issued a statement admitting that it did refuse to run a scene which featured a cartoon depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammed.

"In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision," the cable channel said.

That decision has sparked howls of protest from fans and critics, making it the most-searched for term on the blog search engine Technorati (ht Michelle Malkin).

The show's executive producer, Ann Garefino, confirmed that the network censored the scene, stating that she believed it did so out of "fear" of protests or violence.

"We were happy that they didn’t try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance," Garefino said in an interview with Volokh.com.

She was not aware of any particular threats being made against the show or Comedy Central had the deleted scene aired.



Demonstrating that for the press corps “maverick” means going to the left -- or at least that you're a conservative-basher -- ABC's World News Tonight on Friday aired a story fretting about how the media's favorite Republican has agreed to give the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. “During his 2000 campaign, McCain gathered support as a straight-talking maverick by attacking some members of his party's base,” anchor Elizabeth Vargas recalled while viewers saw "Right Turn?" beneath a picture of McCain. She then warned: “Now it appears he's on a very different course.” Reporter Dan Harris fondly remembered how in 2000 “straight talk included taking on powerful Christian conservatives like Jerry Falwell, whom he called an 'agent of intolerance.'" Harris then repeatedly pushed McCain to denounce Falwell: "Let me just press you on this. Do you think he's still an 'agent of intolerance'?...So do you take back your statement about him being an 'agent of intolerance'?"

Harris helpfully reminded viewers that "since 2000, Falwell has said Jews can't go to heaven unless they accept Christ, and on The 700 Club, that gays and feminists bore responsibility for 9/11." Noting how analysts say McCain is trying to “repair relations with the religious right” before he launches another presidential bid, Harris cautioned McCain: “Politicians often try to appeal to the party's base, but for McCain, doing so could jeopardize his reputation for being a different kind of politician.” Of course, given the disrepute the media and many Republicans hold for Falwell, you could argue that reaching out to him is a “maverick” move for McCain. But you're only a “maverick” to journalists when you undermine a conservative or boost a liberal position. (Transcript follows.)



Three days after CNN's Wolf Blitzer wondered, on The Situation Room, “if Bill Clinton could run for President again, would he be re-elected?" and Jack Cafferty excitedly agreed “he probably would be, in a heartbeat” since "Clinton would be the answer to a prayer” for Democrats, CNN's Bill Schneider on Friday awarded Bill Clinton with his “Political Play of the Week.” Schneider touted how “in a series of appearances this week, the fo




As the breathlessness grows over calls by a handful of former generals for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign, The Political Pit Bull has learned that General Tommy Franks--the former commander of CENTCOM who led both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq--will announce on tonight's Hardball that he supports R


World News Tonight provides a forum for one mans complaint about being gouged.


Paper blames rich for crowding out middle class residents even though government owns 97 percent of the land.


MRC's Brian Boyd found this morning that like NBC, ABC's Good Morning America also leaped on the chance to interview Rumsfeld-bashing Gen. John Batiste. Co-host Diane Sawyer said in the show's first secondsRevolt of the generals. As of this morning, six retired generals call for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to resign. One of them, a top battlefield commander, joins us live."



Let’s all give one collective “Awwwwww” for the newspaper industry that seems destined to go the way of the Dodo bird. As reported by The New York Times on Friday, the first quarter was another bad period for an industry which continues to see ad revenues decline as America’s readers increasingly lose interest in their content:

“The newspaper industry continues to flag financially, with three companies — The New York Times, Tribune and McClatchy — reporting sharply lower first-quarter earnings yesterday.

“Executives of all of the newspaper companies said they were hurt by stagnant advertising, particularly in the automotive and entertainment categories, and a continuing rise in the cost of newsprint. The Times Company and Tribune also cited the cost of severance packages after cutting hundreds of jobs.”

Nobody seemed immune to the contagion that continues to devastate the industry:



Newsweek’s senior editor Jonathan Alter was Keith Olbermann’s guest on Wednesday’s “Countdown,” and, as could be expected, the two engaged in quite a Bush Bash (hat tip to Crooks and Liars with video link to follow). First, Alter suggested that the administration has changed Franklin Roosevelt’s famous depression phrase of “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” into “The only thing we have to use is fear itself.” As a result, in Alter’s view, “what you could see coming up on these midterm elections is them trying to use fear to restore their political position.” Of course, neither of them addressed the likelihood that candidates on the other side of the aisle will use the fear of losing abortion rights or losing Social Security or Medicare benefits to scare women and seniors into voting for them as has happened in every election for decades.

Sadly, the best was yet to come. After Olbermann mentioned the president’s poll numbers, Alter replied “there are not a lot of people who expect him to move very much in the polls. And once you`re tagged as an incompetent, that`s pretty hard to recover from.” I guess that's why folks like Olbermann and Alter continue to reiterate such a view, a delicious irony that seems lost on these two intellectual heavyweights.

Of course, Alter didn’t just attack the president, for Cheney was next on the hit parade:



The Washington Post coverage of Monday's pro-illegal-immigration rally was so massive and positive, it took time to study it all. To get a sense of how massive, let’s begin by paying attention to the resources deployed for the Tuesday paper:

Number of Post reporters with immigration-rally by-lines: 19.

Number of other Post staff writers credited for contributions from across America: 20.

Number of Post staff photographers listed in photo credits: 7.



Quentin Langley blogs about all the "failures" in Iraq that are not being reported by the media.
It’s a disaster. The predictions have proved hopelessly inaccurate. The figures are explicit and show clear trends. That these figures have remained hidden from the American people is a disgrace. It really is time those who have deceived people about Iraq for all this time took responsibility for this mess and resigned.



It was a fleeting victory, but one nonetheless. By taking a conservative tone with his constant broadside against illegal immigration, Lou Dobbs managed to beat Brit Hume in the 25-54 demographic last week.

Reports TV Newser:



Thursday’s New York Times carries a largely hagiographic obituary by Marc Charney of the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, worshipped in left-wing circles for his anti-war protests of the 60s from his position of influence as chaplain of Yale University.