- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SON OF ASSANGE

Lost in the tumult of WikiLeaks press coverage is Daniel Assange, 20, the estranged son of jailed founder Julian Assange. “Let us do our best to ensure my father is treated fairly and apolitically,” the younger Mr. Assange advises the world in a series of tweets. “I’m hoping this isn’t just an intermediary step towards his extradition to the U.S. … every single news outlet that has republished the cables or derivatives thereof is equally culpable.”

On another front, Alana Goodman of the conservative Culture and Media Institute observes, “Get used to seeing that chalk-white hair and dour expression. Julian Assange may quickly come to replace Che Gueverra as an iconic folk hero of the left. Even as the U.S. grapples with the largest leak of military secrets of all time, the media myth-making and revisionism about the rogue WikiLeaks founder has already begun.”

She adds that Mr. Assange is “destined to be canonized as the patron saint of the anti-war crowd in the inevitable Oliver Stone-directed biopic. Over at Politico, the breathless debate over which actor will play Assange has already begun.”

ABOUT THAT TONE

“He’s coming across as hectoring, defensive, and not well acquainted with the facts or the policy. This may be the worst presidential press conference I’ve seen since Bill Clinton denied ‘that woman.’”

Pajamas Media correspondent Bryan Preston, on President Obama’s Tuesday afternoon press conference addressing, among other things, proposed tax cuts.

LORDS OF PORK

From our read-it-and-weep desk, there are now 39,294 congressional earmark requests for fiscal 2011 — that’s $131 billion worth — bobbing around in the great money seas of Washington. Those requests are no longer anonymous flotsam, however. A trio of advocacy groups — Taxpayers Against Earmarks, WashingtonWatch.com and Taxpayers for Common Sense — are tracking those earmarks in a public database.

“Even though some members of Congress insisted that it was technologically impossible or would cost too much to create an earmark-requests database, our three groups were able to build a database in less than six months for less than $100,000,” says research director Stephanie Mesick.

The groups are monitoring lawmakers and the partisan divide. Indeed, $106 billion has been requested by Democrats, $23 billion by Republicans. On the spendthrift “Hooligan Representatives” list are four Republicans and a whopping 253 Democrats; among sensible “Hero Representatives” are 175 GOPers and five Democrats. There are findings on senators, too. See it all here: http://endingspending.com.

STILL REMEMBERING

Telling, but a melancholy finding too: Out of 24 demographic groups, Democrats were the most confused over who actually bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. According to a Marist Poll released on the 69th anniversary of the events, 81 percent of the Democratic respondents correctly identified the Japanese in the attacks — compared to 94 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of the overall U.S. population. Marist College polled 1,020 adults and released the findings on Tuesday.

TAX LAMENTATIONS

By a 6-1 margin, broadcasters emphasized “tax cuts” and “tax breaks” in the coverage of that debate, overlooking that forestalling a tax increase could jeopardize the weak recovery, says a Media Research Center analysis. In 23 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about the tax debate from Nov. 15 through Dec. 5, reporters used the phrase “tax cut” a total of 71 times. In contrast, the more accurate term “tax increase” or a synonymous phrase was used just 11 times.

“The lopsided network coverage perpetuates the Democratic premise that George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts were an aberration from the presumably ‘normal’ rates established by Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase,” says news analyst Kyle Drennan. “It’s a sign that newly empowered conservatives will have to fight a two-front war in 2011. Against both a wounded liberal Democratic administration and a hostile news media that puts government first.”

MCCASLIN/HOLMES HOME

A number of Washington-area Beltway readers want to know where they can listen locally to “America’s Morning News,” the snappy talk-radio collaboration between The Washington Times and Talk Radio Network, hosted by John McCaslin and Amy Holmes, with regular contributions from Times staffers. Answer: WTNT, 730 AM, from 6 to 9 a.m. Listen online as well at www.730wtnt.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 83 percent of those who contributed to President Obama’s campaign “deeply” oppose tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year.

• 74 percent deeply oppose a deal with Republicans to extend the tax cuts.

• 67 percent say they support extending tax cuts for those who make less than $250,000.

• 57 percent say they are less likely to support Democrats who favor this deal.

• 51 percent say they are less likely to contribute to Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Source: A Survey USA/Washington Post poll of 1,132 registered voters in 20 states conducted Dec. 6.

Ballyhoo, hoopla and such to jharper@washingtontimes.com