- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2007

Up to Standard?

So, is the White House really a Tom-free zone — as in Rep. Tom Tancredo? The Colorado Republican is taking issue with a Weekly Standard report about his banishment from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for criticisms of President Bush’s immigration policies.

“That was a pretty shabby piece of journalism,” Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa said yesterday.

Mr. Espinosa was referring to “Tancredo’s Tall Tale,” which appeared Monday in the magazine, claiming that a gleeful Mr. Tancredo had perpetuated the notion that he was persona non grata in the Bush administration. The Standard, however, took Mr. Tancredo to task, citing an interview in this very newspaper that revealed the lawmaker actually had been invited to the White House at least a half-dozen times, “and showed up on most, if not all, of these occasions.”

Mr. Espinosa has parsed the Standard account with an eagle eye.

“Who was it they talked to? Who was the source in their piece? They never actually say they talked to [presidential adviser Karl] Rove. Were they just taking the word of some aide on the other end of a cell phone, rather than a private conversation with Tom? We need some insight on the news source here,” Mr. Espinosa said.

Hurricane Rush

A left-leaning county commission in Florida wants to stop broadcasting emergency hurricane information on one of the region’s top AM stations because it broadcasts Rush Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated talk-radio program.

The Fort Lauderdale-based Sun-Sentinel newspaper reports that Broward County’s all-Democrat commission ignored the recommendation of its emergency planners and did not renew a deal that had made radio station WIOD-610 AM the official station for emergency information from the county government for the past year.

Judy Sarver, the county’s public communications director, said she and other emergency planners wanted WIOD because of its signal strength, numerous FM sister stations and willingness to give Broward County top play, rather than Miami-Dade County. The deal guaranteed that news conferences from the county Emergency Operations Center in Plantation would be broadcast live and uncut.

But Commissioner Stacy Ritter said she would not support a station that aired Mr. Limbaugh and fellow conservative host Sean Hannity, and had a partnership with Fox News. “They have every right to speak, but we don’t have to do business with them,” she said.

Then Rush had his fun yesterday, calling the county’s qualms a sign of out-of-control partisanship. “They are politicizing the delivery of emergency news,” he said on his show. “They are making weather a partisan issue.”

Hard-liner

Washington Times reporter Stephen Dinan has connected the dots: President Bush’s new counselor, Ed Gillespie, is on record as opposing citizenship for illegal aliens — the key part of the immigration bill Mr. Bush is backing in Congress.

“Lawbreakers should not be rewarded with citizenship,” Mr. Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote in a Wall Street Journal column last year in the middle of the Senate immigration debate.

At the time, it was a bold position to take, given that Mr. Bush just months earlier had officially blessed a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, Mr. Dinan observed.

Mr. Gillespie did endorse a temporary-worker program for future workers and some sort of legal status for illegal aliens as a way to register them and make it easier for immigration authorities to track down those that didn’t register, and those that continued to enter the country illegally.

Mr. Bush’s administration used to take a similar position, calling for a temporary program that both current illegal aliens and future foreign workers could take part in. His program, spelled out in a 2005 congressional hearing by two Cabinet secretaries, called for the workers to be eligible for two work periods then required them to go home.

Online is offline

It may be a myth that Internet-based political campaigns can sway voters, according to an Adweek survey released yesterday.

Though 2008 presidential candidates doubtless think their online strategies prove they are hip and forward-thinking, the survey found that 85 percent of the respondents said they have not visited any of the candidates’ sites in the past six months. Not any. None. Nada. Eighty-four percent said that candidate videos posted at YouTube “are not credible,” while three-quarters would rather watch a debate on TV than online any day.

Cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — remain the destination of choice for political news, the poll found. The survey of 1,118 adults was conducted June 3, with a margin of error of three percentage points.

Boxing with Fox

Bill O’Reilly is mighty vexed over a new Project for Excellence in Journalism report that says that during the first three months of this year, Fox News had less war news coverage than MSNBC or CNN, where news chief Jonathan Klein noted that rival Fox “had to dial back coverage” once the “war went badly.”

Mr. O’Reilly had this to say in a memo posted at the Fox News Web site yesterday:

“We’ve done hundreds of Iraq reports,” he said. “But we don’t do the carnage du jour. We don’t highlight every terrorist attack because we learn nothing from that. And that’s exactly what the terrorists want us to do. I mean, come on, does another bombing in Tikrit mean anything other than war is hell? No, it does not. In my opinion, CNN, and especially MSNBC, delight in showing Iraqi violence because they want Americans to think badly of President Bush. And that strategy has succeeded.”

“Just who are these Project for Excellence in Journalism people? Well, their spokesman is a guy named Mark Jerkowitz, a former TV writer for the far left Boston Globe and the off-the-chart left Boston Phoenix.I’ve known Mr. Jerkowitz for many years. He hates FOX News and is a committed leftist. So much for journalistic excellence.”

Green in the face

It was inevitable. Now that kissing babies and flipping pancakes no longer cut it as feel-good campaign devices, political handlers are getting clever. As part of his White House bid, Sen.Christopher J. Dodd announced yesterday that his campaign offices in the early contest states, as well as the D.C. and Connecticut headquarters, “have officially become carbon-neutral.”

Wow. The Connecticut Democrat beat Al Gore to the green marketing bandwagon — that is, if he decides to run in 2008. Mr. Gore is now the official “fizzle” candidate, according to Bill Clinton — he’ll run if someone else “fizzles out.” Meanwhile, inquiring minds wonder whether “carbon-neutral” means that Mr. Dodd will spurn airplanes and stamp campaign buttons out of eco-friendly cellulose. He explains the mystery.

“We must all do our share to begin turning the clock back on global warming and reducing our carbon footprint,” Mr. Dodd said, explaining that he has teamed up with the CarbonFund as “their provider of carbon offsets.”

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