- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unseen thousands

Michelle Malkin (www.michellemalkin.com) notes the glaring double standard in coverage of protests in the mainstream media, which she refers to in shorthand as “MSM.”

“What if tens of thousands of protesters poured into Washington, D.C., exercising their free speech and joining peacefully to participate in public debate? How would the MSM cover them?

“If it’s tens of thousands of pro-illegal alien marchers, they get front-page, banner headline-plus-multimedia bonanza, panoramic coverage gushing over their ability to ‘flood the Mall’ with ‘passion’ and ‘pride.’ …

“If it’s Cindy Sheehan and her anti-war rabble, they get frenzied breaking-news, gaggle-crammed, hagiographic coverage. …

“But if it’s tens of thousands of pro-life marchers? You’d hardly know they overwhelmed the National Mall [Monday]. The story made A10 in The Washington Post under the blah-blah headline, ‘Abortion Foes to Renew Efforts.’ …

“I was at Union Station … as marchers streamed in after the event. The place was absolutely packed — wall-to-wall with families, babies, toddlers, teens, and college undergrads. I wish I had my camera, because the vast number of young people really struck me. … You never see them on the nightly news or the front page of the major newspapers.”

Fighting back

“As the former chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Republican Jim Inhofe was a coruscating critic of climate change alarmism. Now in the minority, he plans to make sure his voice is heard over the din of the media-savvy environmental groups through a new blog,” Kimberley A. Strassel writes in the Political Diary column at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“This is the latest in Senator Inhofe’s strategy of trying to shout louder than his many opponents in the environmental community. His media team is somewhat notorious in Washington for their ‘facts of the day’ and ‘weekly closer’ e-mails that attempt to get out another side of the story. And their new blog is already making waves, not to mention causing some congressional tech malfunctioning,” the writer said.

“Last week, the minority blog issued a scathing indictment of Heidi Cullen, host of the Weather Channel’s weekly global warming program ‘The Climate Code.’ Ms. Cullen had called for the American Meteorological Society to decertify any TV weatherperson who exhibits undue skepticism about climate warming. The widely read Drudge Report linked to the Inhofe site’s critique of Ms. Cullen, generating so much traffic that the Senate’s Web servers shut down. A subsequent e-mail update from the Senate sergeant-at-arms said the link had been bringing ‘30-50,000 queries per hour to senate.gov.’

“No word yet as to when Sen. Inhofe himself might roll up his sleeves and post a few items. Let’s hope the Senate can get its still-sluggish servers up to speed by then.”

For free speech

“It may have taken an upcoming presidential race to make Sen. [John] McCain believe in the First Amendment again, but whatever the reason, we’re glad to have him back on our side,” the New York Sun says in an editorial.

“Mr. McCain’s epiphany came during debate on the new ‘ethics’ bill the Senate passed earlier this month. Mr. McCain and the Republicans — joined by seven Democrats for free speech — voted down a provision that would have redefined the word ‘lobbyist’ to include groups like politically active churches, direct-mail companies, small nonprofit organizations, and even bloggers,” the newspaper said.

“Under the provision, known as Section 220 of the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, these ‘paid efforts to stimulate grass-roots lobbying’ would have been considered lobbying, meaning that organizations that asked the public to contact their elected representatives would have been regulated like multimillion-dollar K Street firms. …

“This was too much for even Mr. McCain to stomach, and he wasn’t alone. The unnecessary and restrictive regulation in the name of ‘ethics’ was such a clear violation of the right to free speech and to petition that it had organizations including the ACLU and National Right to Life joining forces to support an amendment introduced by Sen. [Robert F.] Bennett, a Republican of Utah, to strike the provision from the bill.”

‘Tremendous asset’

If elected president, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says her spouse and former Oval Office occupant will be a “tremendous asset,” but she’s the decider.

“I’m running to be the president, to make the decisions,” the New York senator told ABC’s “Good Morning America” yesterday.

For his part, formerPresident Bill Clinton told a New York audience that he looked forward to playing a “supporting role” in his wife’s campaign, the Associated Press reports.

“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” he said at a book party Monday night for Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. “She’s got the best combination of mind and heart, the ability to lead and learn, to stand fast … and to make honorable agreements with people who disagree with her than anybody I’ve known.”

Moderate ‘mask’

Many political pundits praised the speech in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the formation of a presidential campaign exploratory committee, saying the references to her middle-class roots appealed to centrist voters. But Dick Collins, founder of the Web site StopHerNow.com, was not impressed.

“From her references to her middle-class roots to her growing up in middle America, nothing is adding up to the truth,” Mr. Collins said. “Everything about her speech was designed to pull the wool over the eyes of Americans. What she failed to mention is that she is a senator from New York State with one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate. This is just the beginning of the Clinton machine churning out spin to mask Hillary as a moderate.”

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

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