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The Times gives Democrats room for hope to take over Congress in 2006. Was the Times as enthusiastic about Republican prospects in 1994?

Robin Toner's Page One New York Times story ("Democrats See Dream of '06 Victory Taking Form") begins: "Suddenly, Democrats see a possibility in 2006 they have long dreamed of: a sweeping midterm election framed around what they describe as the simple choice of change with the Democrats or more of an unpopular status quo with the Republican majority."

Here is an interesting item linked to by Matt Drudge. London's Daily Mail reports that 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone will star in a new Rocky movie and a new Rambo movie.

Josh Rushing served as a Pentagon spokesman in Doha in 2003, during the first months of the invasion of Iraq. Now he is joining an all-English network owned by Al Jazeera. The new network, Al Jazeera International, is set to launch next year.

Joining him will be BBC veteran journalist Sir David Frost.

Rushing will report from the bureau in Washington and Frost will be in London.

Rushing was featured in "Control Room," a documentary about American efforts to create a positive image during the early stages of the war.

Ever wonder where the media find those people for the heart-wrenching personal interest stories used to illustrate a point? Me too.

The Today show aired a doozy this morning, and used it to make a hair-raising prediction that pointed the finger at insufficient government welfare spending.

The topic was increasing fuel prices, and in particular the rising cost of home heating.

On Wednesday night, viewers of MSNBC's Countdown got to see host Keith Olbermann elaborate on his latest conspiracy theory during a segment entitled "The Nexus of Politics and Terror," in which Olbermann outlined 10 of what he referred to in the segment's introduction as "13 similar coincidences -- a political downturn for the administration, followed by a terror event, a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning." After plugging this special segment on his show for the last couple of nights, the Countdown host devoted 24 minutes of his hour-long sh

Tonight on Countdown was the "Nexus of Politics & Terror" segment that Keith Olbermann has been hyping for several days. Olbermann uses far-out conspiracy theories to attempt to make it look like the Bush administration uses fake terror alerts when bad news is reported about them.

Number 3: Olbermann tries to make the comparison: Anti-war marches = a fake terror alert. There have been several anti-war marches since the start of The War in Iraq, however there hasn't been a terror alert for each and everyone. This is just a coincidence.

Number 5: Olbermann tries to equate a fake terror alert to the Chief UN Weapon resigning. So apparently every time someone important in the War on Terror resigns, we must have a terror alert. Why there wasn't one when Tom Ridge resigned or heck when Michael Brown (head of FEMA) resigned?

DOWNLOAD and view video here.

The results of the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were released last night, and pressrooms around the nation appeared to be pleased. “NBC Nightly News” reported it this way (video link to follow):

Tim Russert: Brian, not good news for George W. Bush's second term thus far. Only 39% of Americans approve his job. 54% disapproval. That 39% approval is the lowest in the five years of his presidency. And Brian, listen to this: Only 2%, 2% of African Americans in the United States approve of George Bush's handling of the presidency. The lowest we've ever seen in that particular measurement.

Sharyn Alfonsi was at it again on the “CBS Evening News.” In her ongoing tour of the country seeking poignant war stories, tonight she found a great one – twelve people protesting against the Iraq war in Birmingham, Alabama. She spoke with Vietnam war veteran, David Waters:

Alfonsi: Today at 59, Waters wants the U.S. out of Iraq and says he is not the only one.

Waters: Opposition to the war is definitely growing, yes.

Alfonsi: Even in the south?

Waters: Even in the south, yes.

Alfonsi: So we stopped by a weekly anti-war protest in Birmingham today, where we met Susan Mims, another Vietnam vet. But there's only about a dozen people here.

Alfonsi finished her report by saying, “The anti-war movement here is really nothing more than a murmur.”

Actually, with a population of 242,820, I’m not sure that twelve qualifies as a murmur.

What follows is a full transcript of this report, and a video link.

What they say:
Will the Gulf Coast Fish Again?
Katrina's Public Health Effects Still Unknown

TOXIC GUMBO: Katrina's Environmental Legacy
Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade' : EPA
Don’t go in the water: Katrina’s toxic legacy
Katrina's Next Disaster
Katrina leaves a toxic nightmare: Oil spills rival Exxon Valdez; then there's the deadly chemicals

The truth:
NOAA: Oct. 11, 2005 — NOAA completed additional analyses of fish, water and sediment samples collected from coastal and offshore marine waters of the Gulf of Mexico... The 154 fish and crab samples harbored no E. coli (Escherlchia coli), a bacteria associated with human or animal fecal contamination. Additional testing on shrimp samples taken from Mississippi Sound is ongoing. Analyses of water samples for indicators of human sewage or agricultural runoff found levels that are below the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limits for bathing beaches. These limits constitute the most stringent government standard for recreational waters. Fish muscle tissue analyzed for pesticides and other industrial chemicals, such as PCBs and DDTs show very low levels that are likely not related to hurricane runoff. The levels of PCBs ranged from 2.5 - 15 parts per billion and the levels of DDTs ranged from 0.8 - 2.2 parts per billion. The PCB levels found in these samples are far below the Food and Drug Administration's safety standards for commercial seafood and are similar to levels detected in fish in non-urbanized areas. (FDA's PCB limit is 2000 ppb, and their DDT limit is 5000 ppb). NOAA announced on September 29 that the first tests showed no elevated exposure to hydrocarbon contaminants, which are common in marine life after exposure to oil spills.

Who do you believe?

Last week Time Magazine’s cover story was called The Battle Over Gay Teens and I wrote an article discussing the bias from the writer of the article and also cited examples of where content was intentionally ignored. 

Wednesday's edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show was devoted to a look "Inside the Lives of America's Poor," coming out of the spirit of the reporting from hurricane Katrina. Once again, Oprah was outraged that anyone would disagree that whites would have drawn a better government response.

Spending federal money without raising taxes? Broadcasters have been incredulous at the thought, especially since Hurricane Katrina hit – so much so that 59 percent of their tax-related stories have suggested tax hikes. Reporters turned to everyone from Bill Clinton to the man on the street to fellow journalists to make the case for taxation.

A typical question from a network reporter showed annoyance at the president’s tax policy and implied that anything but raising taxes is irresponsible, sounding something like this: “The last thing in the world that George W. Bush wants to do is raise taxes, but the amount of money that we’re talking about here, we’re talking about many, many, many tens of billions of dollars. Can that be done without raising taxes?” That was ABC’s Ted Koppel following Bush’s address to the nation on September 15. Journalists made sure the audience didn’t forget several things – namely, that Americans are paying for military operations in Iraq and that the United States has a deficit. As the Free Market Project has shown reporters frequently refer to deficits as if they are inherently bad, though they are actually a small percentage of a multitrillion-dollar economy and should not inspire panic.

Ripped from the headlines: The plot for Wednesday's Law & Order on NBC is inspired by the Schiavo case -- and it looks like one of those fighting to keep the Schiavo-like character alive may also be a murderer since the NBC Web site's description of the episode says that “a car bomb kills the husband of an incapacitated woman shortly before the victim planned to disconnect her feeding tube.” I would caution, however, that L&O plots's blog, Public Eye, has a post today on their Early Show viewer demographics, broken down by half-hour block. They show that two-thirds of the audience are women throughout all four half-hour blocks of the show, but that the first half-hour is younger and has more male viewership.

During the 9:00am hour of the Today show Katie Couric tried to play herself off as a middle-of-the roader. Today invited Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake to promote their new book, What Women Really Want, which included a premise that women agree on 80 percent of the issues. Couric used that as an opportunity to essentially yell, "Me too! I'm everywoman!"