- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Rather report

CBS anchorman Dan Rather has assumed the status of soap opera star as observers continue to plumb the meaning of his pending resignation from the chair.

Online newsman Matt Drudge has revealed that on Nov. 22, the day of Mr. Rather’s resignation, CBS brass received the report of the private internal investigation of his reliance on forged documents for a “60 Minutes” story that said President Bush had compromised his National Guard service three decades ago.

“I was told that last Monday, the preliminary report on the Rather document matter was given to management at CBS,” Mr. Drudge told his talk-radio listeners in the early morning hours yesterday.

“This is before the Rather announcement, and I’ve got immaculate sources at CBS. So [the report] must not be good. CBS News President Andrew Heyward is now in the bulls-eye. They can’t let too many people go. They don’t have that many left.”

Mr. Rather denied yesterday that his resignation hinged on the “60 Minutes” debacle.

Will all this hubbub have any dampening effect on the rest of the press?

Fans of the Media Research Center say no: An online poll from the Alexandria-based conservative watchdog group finds that 91 percent of its readers say Mr. Rather’s resignation will have “no effect” on liberal bias in the news media.

Schundler on list

With Democrat James E. McGreevey gone, the Republican dance card for New Jersey governor is filling up.

Republican Bret Schundler, who lost the 2001 race to Mr. McGreevey, announced yesterday that he will seek the job again in 2005.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Schundler told cheering supporters during a Jersey City announcement that he would cut taxes by keeping state spending below the rate of economic growth.

The former mayor of Jersey City is the second prominent Republican to announce that he will seek the party’s gubernatorial nod. Businessman Douglas R. Forrester, who lost the 2002 U.S. Senate race to Democrat Jon Corzine, announced last week that he will run.

Among Democrats, Mr. Corzine and acting Gov. Richard J. Codey, who assumed the post Nov. 16 in the wake of Mr. McGreevey’s resignation over a homosexual scandal, are said to be considering runs.

Dream of genie

Liberals have been busy warning one another to prepare for 2008.

Now conservatives are getting a “heads-up” from Time magazine’s Michelle Cottle, who believes American culture will ultimately accept homosexual “marriage,” stem-cell research and other “culture war” issues that irk conservatives.

“While the Bush White House may be on the side of social conservatives, time is not,” she writes, later noting, “As with women’s rights and civil rights, the genie cannot be stuffed back into the bottle.

“Day to day, liberals have the luxury of ignoring conservative America. … Social conservatives, by contrast, cannot escape the world view of blue staters. Every time they go to the movies or turn on the television or open their child’s schoolbooks they’re reminded that traditional values ain’t what they used to be.”

Ms. Cottle continues, “Social conservatives don’t realize the full depth of blue-state America’s condescension. They assume that liberals sit around all day thinking about how much smarter or more sophisticated or more enlightened they are than social conservatives. Truth be told, most of the time liberals don’t bother to think about social conservatives at all.”

She concludes that conservatives “may have won the battle, but their prospects for the broader culture war remain dim.”

Fungus among us

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, is very serious about mold.

Last year, he introduced the nation’s first Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act — which establishes guidelines to treat indoor mold and a national “toxic mold insurance program,” plus financial grants for mold removal from public buildings and tax credits for those who repair the nasty damage.

Now, he’s ready to talk mold.

Mr. Conyers will journey to Boston on Dec. 9 to testify in a public hearing, joined by doctors who treat mold-related illnesses, a group of California teachers, researchers, environmentalists and “mold advocacy groups,” said Boston City Council member Maura Hennigan, who organized the hearing.

“Although indoor mold is sometimes invisible to the naked eye, the potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures are very visible and include, but are not limited to, allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. This is a serious public health risk,” she noted yesterday.

Wallace woos Washington

“Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace has topped ABC’s “This Week” program with George Stephanopoulos in the Sunday political talk show ratings race among Washington viewers, according to Nielsen numbers for November.

“Fox News Sunday” grabbed a 2.1 rating and a 6 share while “This Week” garnered a 1.7 rating and a 5 share. One rating point equals 1,022,000 households and reflects the number of televisions; share equals the percentage of TV households tuned in at the time.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Hope springs eternal

David Cobb, the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, filed official requests for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in New Mexico and Nevada yesterday, along with Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik.

“The Green Party’s dedication to protecting the integrity of the election process has led me to file for a recount in both New Mexico and Nevada. We want to ensure that every vote is counted and verify the accuracy of the electronic voting machines, particularly those which produce no paper trail,” Mr. Cobb explained.

Report card

Cautious State Department and Homeland Security officials fret that terrorists can slip into the country on student visas. Demand for the visas has risen for years: The State Department issued 65,000 in 1971. By 2000, the number hit 315,000.

One Harvard University man thinks the United States has gotten too mean, though.

“Last year, the number of foreign students at American colleges and universities fell for the first time since 1971,” observed government professor Joseph Nye in the New York Times yesterday.

Mr. Nye rues the loss of “the foreign students who return home and carry American ideas with them. They add to our soft power, the ability to win the hearts and minds of others.”

He continues, “To exclude a dangerous few, we are keeping out the helpful many,” citing the experience of a student from the former Soviet Union who was “strongly influenced by his studies of pluralism with David Truman, the Columbia political scientist.”

Mr. Nye concluded, “Balancing security risks against the political and economic benefits of admitting foreign students has always been a problem. It is now doubly difficult in a post-September 11 world, but the recent enrollment decline suggests we have not yet got the balance right.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or jharper@washingtontimes.com

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