USA Today's Wednesday cover story ("Killings Escalate Piracy Crisis"), has this reference to a quote obtained by the Associated Press:

Killing hostages "has now become part of our rules," said a pirate who identified himself as Muse Abdi in a statement to the Associated Press. "From now on, anyone who tries to rescue the hostages in our hands will only collect dead bodies," Abdi said. "It will never, ever happen that hostages are rescued and we are hauled to prison."

Pretty provocative, right? In fact, it resembles a declaration of war without the rules of war. You might even call it a declaration of t-t-t-t ... terrorism.

The problem is, Abdi's quote is no longer in any story at the Associated Press's home web site, and is rarely present in other Internet news reports.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough thinks the GOP's house is already on fire in his latest Politico column, where he thrashes the party's leadership for a poor showing at CPAC. He ridiculed the gathering as "a conference cursed with dull speechmaking and intraparty battles."

"Like most Egyptians, the conservative movement still has no idea who will lead it through the next election," Scarborough writes. What is the biggest reason candidates have not entered the field, he thinks? They are scared to run against Obama.

A brief unbylined Associated Press item today with a 9:15 a.m. time stamp, which appears to be based solely on an e-mail to an AP reporter (no other source for the quotes are cited), tells us that Nir Rosen seems to be backtracking from his Twitter claim of being "ashamed of how I have hurt others" in his comments about CBS reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted by a Cairo mob on February 11.

The report also has an odd final sentence (not in the screen grab which follows) that could reasonably be interpreted as an admission that wire service personnel either saw or knew of what happened to Logan, and failed to report it:

Tuesday's "Morning Joe" featured guest Daisy Khan, wife of Imam Rauf who tried to establish a mosque two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks. The panel praised Khan and her husband as peace-making moderates, and arrogantly questioned why more Americans couldn't accept the mosque at Ground Zero.

"America is the beacon of the world," co-host Mika Brzezinski said echoing Khan's earlier words affirming American freedom. "And yet, we had such a controversy about the community center that you and your husband were trying to start blocks away from Ground Zero," she added, questioning the American "understanding" of the center.

"One of the most depressing things to me was the fact that in 2010, Americans seemed to be less accepting of Muslim Americans than they were even in the months after 9/11," co-host Joe Scarborough lamented from his soapbox. "Why do you think we Americans had such a reaction – again, in New York, a place that's supposed to be the most open-minded and pluralistic?" he asked guest Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine.


Seemingly looking for any way to smear the Fox network, MSNBC's Ed Schultz pointed the finger at Fox for singer and four-time Grammy wi

During a Monday morning recap of the Super Bowl, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough asked, tongue-in-cheek, if "right-wing, talk radio conservatives" would blame President Obama for the ghastly national anthem performance by four-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.

Amidst the light-hearted banter, Scarborough turned serious and asked "when we talked about what's driving the week – will conservatives, will conservatives – right-wing, talk radio conservatives – blame Barack Obama for Christina Aguilera defacing the national anthem?"

Time magazine's Mark Halperin, and co-host Willie Geist played along. "Glenn Beck's got the chalkboard going right now," Scarborough continued. "With the dotted line," Halperin added. "He's ready," chimed in Geist.

Given the chance to interview Katie Couric, I wouldn't ask her what newspapers she reads.  I'd want to know how she understands her role as anchor, and why she thinks it's appropriate to express opinions on controversial issues of the day.

For that's just what she's done on the subject of gun control, expressing disappointment that Pres. Obama didn't raise it in his SOTU.

Describing her dissatisfaction in her "Notebook" yesterday,  Couric asserted that PBO's failure to raise gun control put a "cloud" over the SOTU.

View video after the jump.

"[F]or all the surface civility [of the State of the Union], Obama wants to pick a fight, or at least draw a stark contrast, between his jobs-centric philosophy and the GOP’s determination to cut government first and ask questions later."

That's how Politico's Glenn Thrush and Carrie Budoff Brown described the main difference between the president and his Republican congressional opposition in a story filed early Wednesday morning.

Of course, Obama's State of the Union address carried a fresh call for soaking the nation's richest taxpayers and plowing millions into white elephant spending projects such as high-speed rail, but it apparently didn't occur to Thrush and Budoff Brown that Obama's prescription may be to "grow government first and ignore questions later" given the failure of the first stimulus package of his administration.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway has an interesting post at Get Religion examining some of the mainstream media coverage surrounding the 38th.

As usual, some of the accounts were found lacking, but Ziegler Hemingway did praised one newspaper for providing not just "a lot of data and explanation of the march" but that touched on "such topics as grace and redemption."

You can read the full post here.

Yesterday (covered here at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in his report on the arrest of Eric Fuller at an ABC "This Week" taping in Tucson, Arizona, the Associated Press's Bob Christie either failed to perform a basic web search that would have revealed Fuller's Friday "Democracy Now!" rant, or failed to report what he found.

This evening's AP report from Christie and Amanda Lee Myers at least recognizes Fuller's appearance on the far-left program. But that acknowledgment appears at Paragraph 14 of a report that is primarily about Gabrielle Giffords's recovery (headlined "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords condition improves"), instead of in a different AP dispatch this evening ("With shock subsiding, pain sets in for AZ victims") where addressing Fuller's outburst would have made more sense (what would have made the most sense is a separate report on Fuller alone).

The submission by Christie and Myers also fails to go into much of the substance of Fuller's "Democracy Now!" appearance. Readers get the impression that Fuller was fulminating against conservatives in general, when in fact he called out several by name -- including, bizarrely, new House Majority Leader John Boehner.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from Christie's and Myers's mishmash:

The New York Times simply can’t help themselves.  They simply cannot leave their opinions out of supposedly objective pieces of journalism.  Which begs the question, if the bulk of the articles contain this type of reporting, why does the Times even bother having a separate opinion section?

In a profile piece on Tucson gunman Jared Loughner titled, Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin of an Accused Killer, the Times takes two separate occasions to toss in a casual link to ‘right-wing groups’ (h/t Byron York).

The first cheap shot shows up on the first page of a seven page profile:

He became an echo chamber for stray ideas, amplifying, for example, certain grandiose tenets of a number of extremist right-wing groups — including the need for a new money system and the government’s mind-manipulation of the masses through language.

The second instance addresses the currency issue and casts blame on the right as well :

Let's see if this lasts. I'm guessing it will.

Here's the opening paragraph of the Associated Press's 8:16 p.m. ET report on the arrest of Eric Fuller:

One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled: "you're dead."

The rest of Bob Christie's dispatch reflects either a failure by "The Essential Global News Network" to do a simple Google search on the guy, or, if such a search was attempted, a failure to report what was found.