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Look who’s talking

“Though many journalists impose their views regularly in biased political coverage, on Tuesday night the broadcast networks framed Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the Wall Street Journal around what agenda the ‘controversial’ Murdoch will ‘impose,’ the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“Leading into pro and con sound bites, CBS’s Kelly Wallace described Murdoch as ‘a conservative who put his imprint on the New York Post and brought topless women to the Sun in London. His critics say he may not impose tabloid on the Journal, but will impose his point of view.’

“NBC’s Andrea Mitchell declared Murdoch ‘deeply conservative,’ but noted he’s also a ‘pragmatic’ man who has been ‘a supporter of liberal politicians.’ Mitchell relayed how Murdoch insists he ‘does not mix politics and business,’ but ‘still, some are skeptical.’ The liberal Ken Auletta of the New Yorker contended Murdoch ‘often’ uses ‘his media to advance either his business or his political interests.’

“Over on ABC, after a sound bite from Auletta about how Murdoch’s politics influence his publications, David Muir worried: ‘For that reason, this has turned into a painful decision’ for the family that owns the WSJ. ‘Sell for $5 billion? Or is that selling out? There were … fears in the newsroom.’ On screen, a WSJ headline: ‘Fear, Mixed with Some Loathing; Many Reporters at Wall Street Journal Fret Over Murdoch’s Arrival.’ ”

Matter of privilege

President Bush yesterday asserted executive privilege for the second time in the past month, telling Democrats in Congress that presidential adviser Karl Rove and his deputy will not respond to subpoenas ordering them to testify today about fired U.S. attorneys, reports The Washington Times‘ Jon Ward.

“It is regretted that the committee has forced this action, as the president’s offer of accommodation … could have provided information being sought in a manner respectful of Presidential prerogatives and consistent with a spirit of comity,” said White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding, in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s leaders.

Mr. Rove will not appear before the committee this morning, Mr. Fielding said, because Mr. Rove is such a close adviser to the president that he fits into the legal category of “immediate presidential advisor” and is “immune from compelled Congressional testimony.”

J. Scott Jennings, deputy director of political affairs, will appear before the committee, but will not answer questions or produce documents related to the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

Mr. Jennings’ former boss, Sara Taylor, appeared in a similar manner last month, answering limited questions but often telling senators that she could not talk about the firings.

Biden and Kos

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. said yesterday if he had been president in 2002 he, like President Bush, would have asked Congress to give him the authority to use force in Iraq.

“I would have asked for the authority, but I would not have used it,” the Delaware Democrat told a packed house at the National Press Club.

Mr. Biden was touting the release of his book, “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics.”

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