- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 19, 2009

Enough with the Sarah bashing, already. Quell that schadenfreude. She’s not running right now.

But the news media continues to hit Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with negative coverage that overlooks her job performance in favor of all things personal. The Anchorage Daily News spotted New York Times reporter Bill Yardley around Juneau; some observers suggest the Times is planning a “hit job” on Mrs. Palin though she left the campaign trail five months ago.

McClatchey News, meanwhile, recently offered the headline “Those crazy Palins: Todd’s half sister indicted in break-ins.”

Warner Todd Huston, a media analyst at Newsbusters.com, questions the nation’s third-largest newspaper chain.

“Has McClatchy ever had any headlines like this: ‘Those Crazy Kennedys’? Or since we recently had Obama’s half brother denied a visa to England over his rape charges — not to mention his illegal immigrant aunt — how about a headline like this: ‘Those Crazy Obamas?’” Mr. Huston asks.

“Did we ever see a headline about ‘Those Crazy Clintons’ when we discovered all the financial misdeeds and drug busts of Hillary and Bill’s extended family? How about Carter? Did good ol’ Billy Carter ever cause McClatchy to say ‘Those Crazy Carters’?” he continues.

But Palin-bashing brings rewards, apparently. On Wednesday, CBS anchor Katie Couric received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Journalism from the University of Southern California for the 2008 interview with Mrs. Palin that inspired unkind parodies of the governor on late night TV and elsewhere.

The name of the award? “Special Achievement for National Impact on the 2008 Campaign.” Filmmaker John Zeigler, who produced a documentary on Mrs. Palin’s unfair challenges in the media, is vexed.

“Its obvious Couric is being rewarded for the political result of her interview — the shooting down of a conservative superstar just in time to save the Obama campaign — and not the ‘journalism’ of it,” he observes.

Swine odor

The number of chummy earmarks in the 2009 appropriations bills have reached 10,160 — worth close to $20 billion, according to the watchdogs at Citizens Against Government Waste.

“Everyone in Washington has promised a new era of transparency and restraint in earmarks, from President Obama to the leaders of both parties in Congress,” said Tom Schatz, the group’s president. “Sadly, the hard numbers from the 2009 appropriations bills tell a different story. The current Democratic congressional majority is following the same trajectory as their Republican predecessors.”

The earmarks include $3.8 million for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy in Detroit; $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service in Connecticut; $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management research in Ames, Iowa; $380,000 for fairgrounds improvement in Kotzebue, Alaska, and $143,000 for the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in Connecticut.

See them all if you dare at the group’s Web site (www.cagw.org).

By the numbers

72 percent of American voters say members of Congress are only interested in helping their own careers.

60 percent give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unfavorable ratings.

58 percent of Americans say Congress must address “serious” issues in the next year.

49 percent do not think Congress has passed legislation in the last year that will improve life in America.

43 percent say Congress is doing a “poor job.”

41 percent say Congress is “corrupt.”

37 percent of Democrats say Congress is doing a good job.

9 percent of Republicans agree.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 30 and 31.

Quotes of note

“I don’t know how to break this to you, but people that go out and murder people don’t read The Wall Street Journal.” — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to CNN.

“Festooned in Newts Technicolor dream coat, congressional Republicans seem poised to dig themselves an even deeper hole as the anti-party.” — Robert Shrum, in The Week.

“Republicans have three obligations. Focus on Americans not the party, focus on being the party of better solutions and drop the outreach. Go to inclusion; invite everybody to design the policy.” — Newt Gingrich, to this column.

Days of yore

Listen for the “shot heard ‘round the world” today, which marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. At about 5 a.m. on April 19, 1775, some 700 British troops confronted 77 armed minutemen on the town green of Lexington, Mass. An unknown marksman fired the first shot; in the end, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded.

An era ended 58 years ago today as Gen. Douglas MacArthur stood before Congress with an intensely personal message. “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” he told the lawmakers.

Two grim anniversaries of note. After a 51-day siege, U.S. federal agents stormed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, on this day in 1993; 86 Branch members died, including leader David Koresh. And on this day in 1995, a truck bomb blew up outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City; 168 people were killed. Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing two years later.

Last but certainly not least, happy birthday today to former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, born on Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1963.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at www.twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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