Does the New York Times have a favorite Democratic candidate?

The Chicago Tribune's Frank James thinks the Democrats really need to stop this insistence on retreat... from the word liberal. In short, James wrote at the paper's "The Swamp" blog today, if Democrats don't hunker down and fight Republicans on the dreaded L-word, the GOP will keep moving on and make "progressive" an epithet as well.

Here's James' argument, portions in bold are my emphasis:

Filling in on July 17 for Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's Alison Stewart devoted a "Countdown" segment to criticizing the dress Wendy Vitter wore during a July 16 news conference in which her husband, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), admitted to an affair with a prostitute.

With "Fashion Ho-Pas?" emblazoned on-screen (pictured at right), Stewart interviewed Radar Online's Jeff Bercovici, who snarked that Vitter's sartorial choice could mark "a complete reversal of the laws of skankery." [Video (1:37): Real (2.54 MB) and Windows (2.90MB), plus MP3 audio (753 kB)]

Olbermann returned to his program's hosting duties the next day and also hosted the July 19 program before turning over the helm yet again to Stewart for his July 20 show*, despite having had three days to become aware of the "ho-pas" segment, take disciplinary action against Stewart, and make her issue an apology. Olbermann either saw the light or felt the heat over the weekend, apparently, as he issued an apology about one-third of the way through his July 23 program (h/t Ian Schwartz):

CNN "American Morning" co-hosts Kiran Chetry and John Roberts, in a discussion on Tuesday morning on the Democrat presidential candidates' performance CNN/ debate, could only offer constructive criticism to one of the candidates, and nothing but praise for most of the others. Roberts gushed, "You know, I think that Hillary Clinton did really, really well last night. I thought John Edwards did well.... Barack Obama, I thought was very good as well. I was a little disappointed in Mike Gravel."

Chetry responded: "You know, and Joe Biden got off a couple of one-liners. Dennis Kucinich also did really do what he is best at doing, which is showing how different he is from some of the other candidates." Neither said anything about Chris Dodd or Bill Richardson, but given they offered praise for all of the others but Gravel, odds are they would have said something positive about them if they were given an opportunity.

He's a "burly man" with "rhetorical punch" from Catholic, blue collar roots in Baltimore who trekked a "remarkable rise" to become "one of Maryland's most powerful public officials." But today former state senator Thomas Bromwell (D-Md.) finds himself facing a judge and entering a guilty plea in a federal racketeering case that's been years in the marking.

CNN's Pressroom announced that its upcoming six-hour special “God's Warriors,” reported by Christiane Amanpour, will discuss “the impact of religious fundamentalism as a powerful political force.” In the process, CNN revealed what it thinks about the various “fundamentalists” around the world by pushing the typical multi-culti PC media position that no one religion is more problematic or violent than another, with all types of fundamentalism being equally dangerous.

Their examples of fundamentalists spoke volumes. Photo captions on the program's website easily labeled a Jewish group “terrorist,” but in every mention, called Palestinian suicide bombers “martyr” or “martyrs.” Into that mix of religious violence, CNN bizarrely included the non-violent American Christian youth group, Battle Cry. Sure, that makes sense. No conviction by association there.

CNN correspondent Tom Foreman's examination of the role of faith in the 2008 presidential race on Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" featured the standard left-wing labeling of Christian conservatives. The segment, an  examination of the so-called "separation of church and state," featured extensive soundbites from Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Ohio, characterized Parsley as "no agent of tolerance," due to his stance against homosexuality and criticism of Islam.

Foreman opened his segment with a line that is eerily reminiscent of the creation account in the biblical Book of Genesis, and reflects the Left's view of the First Amendment.

TOM FOREMAN: In the beginning, there was a wall, a mighty barrier built by the Founding Fathers to separate church and state, block one from meddling in the affairs of the other. In school, we are taught that's what makes our country special. But what if that wall never existed? What if it's a myth conjured up in our lifetime to mask a greater truth, that America was conceived as a Christian nation?

CNN congressional correspondent Joe Johns apparently couldn't resist inserting some sarcastic remarks about Republican presidential candidates Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani in his "Raw Politics" segment on Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360." [Video (1:46): Real (1.29 MB) Windows (1.09 MB) MP3 (806 kB).]

JOE JOHNS: Ever heard the phrase all about the Benjamins? In this town, when you want to monetize power, you go to K Street, lobbying, where top lobbyists make 500 bucks an hour or more. The problem is, you can end up lobbying for some politically awkward clients, like Fred Thompson did for an abortion-rights group, which takes some explaining in front of an anti-abortion audience. "The New York Times" and "Raw Politics" dug up his billing records. Mr. Conservative "Law & Order" got paid $5,000 for 20 hours of work. Heavy political baggage, a hand full of Benjamins. Hope it was worth it, Senator.

There are millions of Web sites floating around the Internet on any given day, so finding five ones to label as the "worst" in the world is risible on its face. And if you did, wouldn't you think that NAMBLA, the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, pedophile sites and the like would constitute the absolute worst? I mean, MySpace is annoying, but it's not as bad as jihadist Web sites by any stretch.

Say you write for or edit the metro section of a major metropolitan newspaper and you have a juicy story of a local ex-mayor who was arrested for running a brothel. It's right on the heels of the Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) prostitution scandal and the politician in the local story in question was once a sheriff's deputy, clearly no stranger to anti-prostitution laws.

Party affiliation is just one more tidbit of information that couldn't hurt your readers, right?

Not for the Washington Post.

Apparently, the grandstanding by Edward R. Murrow-wannabe Keith Olbermann during his performance as co-moderator of the May Republican debate won the support of the AFL-CIO. On its blog, the union announced the big news that Olbermann will also moderate the August 7 Democratic debate, which the powerful union is sponsoring.

It looks like the man who once stated that “the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party,” will have the responsibility of questioning the Democratic candidates' positions and challenging their statements.

July 17, the AFL-CIO Now blog promoted Olbermann's new moderator gig, and since the site didn't mention Matthews' name or anyone else's, it looks as if Olbermann will fly solo (via Inside Cable News, emphasis mine throughout):

On the same day that he attacked the GOP as being "scared of black folks," CNN contributor Roland Martin posted a column on in which he proclaimed the "irrelevancy" of Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church, specifically in the context of a recent document that clarified what the Catholic Church teaches about other Christian denominations. He advised non-Catholic Christians that they "shouldn't even bother getting upset" over the recent document issued by the Catholic Church. "Just chalk up to an old man trying to get a little attention," he said of Pope Benedict XVI. Martin also described the Pope as a "hardliner" who was trying to correct interpretations of the Second Vatican Council by liberals, who, in the Pope's view, had gone "too far in some of their declarations." At the same time, he also praised a Catholic priest in Chicago (Martin's current place of residence) who launched a death threat publically against a gun shop owner in a nearby suburb earlier this year.

Martin's column, as described by CNN, "are part of an occasional series of commentaries on that offers a broad range of perspectives, thoughts, and points of view." CNN's own past indicates that they probably aren't going to make the "range of perspectives" very broad. When controversy erupted over the Danish Mohammed cartoons in 2006, they took the following stance: "CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam."