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:

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

The Washington Post devotes the most prominent part of its "Style" section front page today to a story headlined "'St. Jack' and the Bullies in the Pulpit." In a curious bout of news judgment, the Post and its reporter Peter Slevin decided it was newsworthy that former GOP Senator John Danforth has published two op-eds trashing the Christian right (one in the New York Times), bemoaning their place in today's majority Republican Party.

Tonight President Bush will deliver his annual State of the Union Address, and Harry Smith of the "Early Show" previewed the speech this morning. Smith interviewed Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President in the 7:00 half hour and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the 7:30 half hour. There were stark differences in the tone Smith took with each of his guests, and in the amount of time allotted to each.

With all the speculation about Katie Couric moving to the CBS Evening News anchor desk, a guy like me whose shtick is to cover her antics at the Today show could be concerned about his blogging future.

Not to worry. Flipping over to Good Morning America today reassured me: there is an apparently inexhaustible supply of liberal media bias and the talking heads to spout it.

Since it's a slow posting day, allow me to note how the NPR show "On The Media" aired a typically liberal commentary last weekend attacking CNSNews.com (a project of the MRC) for investigating Rep. John Murtha's military record. (Forget the idea that the show is "pro-journalism." They're obviously "pro-journalism that aids the liberal cause, anti-journalism that doesn't.") Co-host Brooke Gladstone attacked the story as "arson," not reporting:

On yesterday's Today show, Howard Dean did his best angry imitation of Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex" and/or Rafael Palmeiro's "I have never used steroids" performances. His voice rising, Dean insisted over Katie Couric's attempts to claim otherwise that:

"Katie, not one dime of Jack Abramoff money ever went to any Democrat. Not one dime."

Interviewing Howard Dean this morning, you could almost hear Katie Couric thinking: "sure, he's a fellow member of our great Democratic family.

It’s been apparent since the story broke about President Bush’s terrorism surveilance program that the media wanted to frame the debate as "domestic spying" and warrantless wiretaps, and nowhere has this been more clear than on CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning. In the span of 9 minutes, there were two stories regarding the subject, and four mentions of or references to this topic.

7:00 Story Tease:

The Public Broadcasting "Service" selected Paula Kerger from the mega-station WNET in New York to be their new president yesterday. Liberal AP media reporter Frazier Moore, a fan of "truth-telling" Bill Moyers, excluded any conservative reaction, but listed the fight over liberal bias to be among Kerger's challenges.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos invited former presidential candidate John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) on “This Week” yesterday to discuss a variety of pressing issues facing the nation. Primary amongst them was how the senator felt about domestic spying, and current revelations revealed in a New York Times article last month. During the discussion, Kerry made a rather glaring contradiction (hat tip to reader “JDW”) that should have set off alarm bells in any investigative reporter. Instead, Stephanopoulos gave Kerry a pass.

As the discussion moved in the direction of NSA wiretaps, Stephanopoulos played a clip of Karl Rove saying: “President Bush believes if al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why. Some important Democrats -- some important Democrats clearly disagree.” Stephanopoulos said: “He must have had you in mind. You've called the program a clear violation of the law.” To which Kerry replied: ‘We don't disagree with him at all. It is a violation of law and we don't disagree with him at all and this is exactly what Karl Rove does.”

Stephanopoulos then asked:

The folks over at Rasmussen Reports recently released results of a new poll with some rather stunning findings that are not likely to make their way into mainstream media reports. Apparently, not only aren’t Americans shocked by the activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but they hold such a lowly view of members of Congress that they perceive used car salesmen as being more ethical:

“Forty percent (40%) of Americans say that used-car salesmen are generally more ethical than members of Congress. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 27% believe the nation's elected representatives are more ethical.”

As for the Abramoff affair: