- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2004

Skewed coverage

“After terrorists beheaded Korean hostage Kim Sun-il, the New York Times kept the photo showing the horror of his final moments off [Wednesday’s] front page,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“Instead, the Times’ front page bizarrely describes Kim as ‘sitting or kneeling quietly’ as he waited to die — in reality the photo, back on Page A-11, shows Kim with his mouth open wide in terror, and the video shows him shaking with fear,” Miss Orin said.

“It’s just the latest instance of how the press often hesitates to show the true savagery of America’s enemies in the War on Terror, whether al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein’s thugs, precisely because the images are so awful.

“Last week, The Post revealed that reporters were ignoring a gruesome video of torture by Saddam’s thugs while obsessing over prisoner mistreatment by a small group of U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib jail where the photos are less upsetting.”

Miss Orin added: “Last fall, when Fox broke the story of the Saddam torture videos, the Times ran all of five paragraphs back on Page A-14 with a small picture — versus, so far, 181 stories on Abu Ghraib, more than 40 on the front page.”

A frank exchange

Vice President Dick Cheney cursed at Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, in a confrontation on the Senate floor while members were having their annual group picture taken earlier this week, Mr. Leahy and Senate sources told the Associated Press yesterday.

Senate aides with knowledge of the encounter Tuesday said the vice president confronted Mr. Leahy about some of the Democrat’s accusations of improprieties in Iraq military contracts awarded to Halliburton, Mr. Cheney’s former company.

Mr. Leahy then brought up charges of anti-Catholicism made last year by White House allies against Democrats who opposed one of President Bush’s judicial nominees, said one Senate aide, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the aide, Mr. Cheney then responded with a barnyard epithet, urging Mr. Leahy to perform an anatomical sexual impossibility.

That account was backed by another aide, also speaking on condition of anonymity. Mr. Leahy confirmed that the confrontation took place, but would not provide details, saying the vice president “was just having a bad day.”

“That doesn’t sound like language that the vice president would use, but there was a frank exchange of views,” said Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems.

A moment in time

Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11” criticizes President Bush for listening to Sarasota, Fla., second-graders read a story for nearly seven minutes after learning the nation was under attack September 11.

But Gwendolyn Tose’-Rigell, the principal at Emma E. Booker Elementary School, says Mr. Bush handled himself properly.

“I don’t think anyone could have handled it better,” Miss Tose’-Rigell told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in an article published yesterday. “What would it have served if he had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?”

Mr. Bush told the federal 9/11 commission, which released its report last week, that he remained in the classroom because he felt it was “important to project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening.”

Mr. Moore says Mr. Bush failed to take charge.

Politician in robes

“In case you’ve been living on Pago Pago and haven’t heard, American liberals loathe President Bush. But even those of us who hear this every day are surprised at the recent remarks by federal judge Guido Calabresi,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“A Clinton appointee to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Calabresi … according to the New York Sun … told a conference of liberal lawyers in Washington, D.C., this weekend that ‘In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States … somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power. That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power.’

“It’s striking enough for any judge to accuse his superiors of ‘illegitimate acts,’ but Mr. Calabresi rolled on. ‘The reason I emphasize that is because that is exactly what happened when [Benito] Mussolini was put in by the king of Italy.’ Ditto [German President Paul von] Hindenburg’s installment of [Adolf] Hitler, said the former dean of Yale Law School, adding that while Mr. Bush is no Hitler, Americans should defeat him nonetheless to cleanse the democratic system.

“For the record, Mr. Bush won the last election under every single vote recount, including those painstakingly run by the media,” the newspaper said. “But phony history aside, Mr. Calabresi’s remarks violate the judicial Code of Conduct that says judges may not ‘publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.’ He surely understands this, since he made a point of noting that his comments about expelling Mr. Bush had ‘nothing to do with the politics of it. It’s got to do with the structural reassertion of democracy.’ Sure.”

Swing voters

The number of swing voters has dropped, but enough exist that one of the presidential candidates could win big in November.

The Pew Research Center analyzed swing voters and found that two in 10 either are undecided or said they could change their minds, down from three in 10 in February.

“The conventional wisdom has been this must be a close race, but there is the potential for voters to get solidly behind either President Bush or John Kerry because the swing vote is pretty sizable,” said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. “More typically one in three voters are up for grabs; now it’s one in five.”

Weeding felons

A political group that paid felons to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives with the aim of ousting President Bush in the 2004 election pledged yesterday to weed out any employees convicted of violent or serious offenses.

America Coming Together (ACT) announced a new policy for background checks after the Associated Press reported Wednesday that the group had used people convicted of burglary, assault and sex offenses to canvass neighborhoods in at least three election swing states — Missouri, Florida and Ohio.

ACT declined to define what it considers violent or serious offenses under the new policy.

Wisdom of Sally

Actress Sally Field has come up with an unusual idea for deciding who should be allowed to live in the United States.

Entering a Washington movie theater Wednesday night to see the local premiere of Michael Moore’s Bush-bashing film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Miss Field said, “The sin in this country is if you choose to be not informed. That’s the real sin. Then you don’t have any right to live in America if you aren’t willing to be informed — you can make up your mind after that.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide