- The Washington Times - Friday, January 15, 2010

SHORT SHELF LIFE

Remark, what remark?

“The controversy over House Majority Leader Harry Reid’s crack about President Obama’s lack of a “Negro dialect” is apparently over, at least according to the broadcast networks. Although the story only broke Saturday afternoon, the last network news story aired Tuesday night on ABC’s ‘Nightline,’” points out Rich Noyes, research director of the Media Research Center.

An analysis from the watchdog group revealed that the networks ran 37 assorted items on Mr. Reid’s “Negro” remark, including interviews and panel discussions in that time span, heavily skewed in Mr. Reid’s favor: 71 percent of interview guests, sound bites or quoted sources were supportive of the Democrat, 29 percent were critical.

“It’s an excellent case study in how the liberal media aid in Democratic scandal control. Over four days, the networks morphed the story from one of an embarrassing racial gaffe by the Senate’s top Democrat into one about Republican over-reach in going after Reid - with some journalists even crediting the senator with keen insight on race relations,” Mr. Noyes observes.

They wax rhapsodic, too.

“This is the Mormon from Searchlight, Nevada with an ear of tin - and a heart of gold,” said PBS anchor Judy Woodruff earlier this week.

BEHAVE OR ELSE

Ready to rumble? The big closing banquet will feature Caesar salad, surf and turf, and chocolate cake. Public forums have titles like “Enough is Enough: Why Christians Must Engage” and “Conservatism and the Tea Party Movement.”

Indeed, the National Tea Party Convention is 19 days away. And it’s sold out. The event - which begins Feb. 4 at the 2,881-room Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville - features a cast of thousands that includes guest speakers Sarah Palin, Republican Reps. Michele Bachman of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Judge Roy Moore.

Organizers expect and encourage a spirited crowd. To a point. And it is a revealing one.

“Please be aware that any disruptive behavior will result in the immediate removal from the convention site and all ticket purchases will be forfeited. There will be no exceptions,” they say.

BUMPER PATROL

“Democrats: Hard on fetuses, soft on terrorists.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Dumphries, Va.

HERE IT COMES

Someone is at work: Rep. Vern Buchanan revealed Thursday he has drafted legislation requiring terrorists to be tried as enemy combatants, not common criminals. The Florida Republican’s bill, to be introduced in the House next week, will mandate that any terrorist who attacks the United States or its people be interrogated, prosecuted and tried in military court, not civilian court.

“The American people are outraged that foreign terrorists who have declared war on America are being tried in civilian courts,” Mr. Buchanan says. “Terrorists with ties to known terror organizations such as al Qaeda should not be afforded the same constitutional protections as American citizens, nor should sensitive homeland security and intelligence information be publicized in open, civilian court proceedings.”

His bill is co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California.

WAR FACTOR

Former President George W. Bush’s approval ratings were off the scale after the 9/11 attacks, as high as 90 percent, according to Gallup Poll records. His father, former President George H.W. Bush, enjoyed similar popularity during the Gulf War; his approval rating reached 88 percent in 1991.

President Obama will not experience the same phenomenon, according to Vanderbilt University political scientist Elizabeth Zechmeister, who charted public sentiment toward past wartime presidents.

“The Democratic Party is not perceived as capable as the GOP on national security issues,” she says. “That is one reason President Obama does not receive the same image boost that we found with former President George W. Bush when terrorism occurred on his watch. … People who felt threatened by terrorism tended to view Bush as a more charismatic and stronger leader.”

Ms. Zechmeister notes that the “lack of movement” in Mr. Obama’s approval ratings after the Underwear Bomber’s failed attack is consistent with their 2008 study.

“Obama’s incumbency lends him some advantage but this is canceled out by his affiliation with the party that historically has been perceived as relatively less capable on matters of national security,” she says.

THINK MILK CARTON

The State Department and FBI don’t want to leave the public out of the equation when it comes to terrorism.

Through digital enhancement, forensic artists at the FBI’s laboratory in Quantico have “age progressed” old photos of 18 terrorist suspects listed on the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Web site; 14 of these suspects also are being sought by the FBI. The enhancements also show them “with different grooming and clothing choices.”

And yes, there is a reward - like, money - for information leading to the apprehension and/or conviction of these suspects.

It is our hope that these digitally enhanced images will help someone recognize these terrorist suspects,” said Robert Eckert, assistant director for Diplomatic Security’s Threat Information and Analysis Directorate, which oversees the program.

“We now call on the public to help us locate and take into custody those who threaten us,” says Louis E. Grever, executive assistant director for the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch.

Yeah.

See for yourself here: www.rewardsforjustice.net.

POLL DU JOUR

• 85 percent of American voters trust their own judgment of national issues rather than the average reporter’s judgment.

• 67 percent say the press has too much power and influence over government decisions.

• 20 percent say reporters try to offer “unbiased” coverage.

• 51 percent say the average reporter is “more liberal” than they are.

• 84 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent of Americans overall say the reporters are “more conservative” than they are.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Jan. 12 and 13.

Sightings, fightin’ words, gripes to jharper@washington times.com.

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