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Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Memo to Sen. John McCain. Now that even fake infomercials are viable political strategy, bring on the ginzu knives, a Popiel Pocket Fisherman and maybe some OxiClean next time. The media-savvy, Tweeting, Facebook-ing Arizona senator has attacked his main political rival J.D. Hayworth - once an infomercial pitchman himself - using a cavalcade of vintage clips featuring everyone from dollar-bill emblazoned Matthew Lesko to psychic Miss Cleo. Mr. Hayworth is framed as the ultimate 3 a.m. TV shill. “Caveat emptor, buyer beware,” warns the 90-second video, concluding, “character matters.”

Meanwhile, the media-savvy, Twittering, Facebook-ing Mr. Hayworth prefers to think of himself as “the consistent conservative,” and his campaign has dismissed Mr. McCain’s video as “unbecoming to a senator.” See it here: www.youtube.com/user/JohnMcCaindotcom.

ALREADY OUT THERE

“Bork Kagan.”

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MONEY TALKS, MAYBE

Oh, the humanity. BigHollywood.com founder Andrew Breitbart believes that a fat reward might reveal the veritable Rosetta Stone of liberal journalism.

“In the interests of journalistic transparency, and to offer the American public a unique insight in the workings of the Democrat-Media Complex, I’m offering $100,000 for the full ‘JournoList’ archive, source fully protected. Now theres an offer somebody cant refuse,” Mr. Breitbart says.

The aforementioned “list” was created in 2007 by Washington Post economic columnist Ezra Klein as a forum for left-leaning journalists and policy wonks to share insights in “an insulated space,” he explains, claiming it is not meant as secretive conspiracy, but rather as “a fractious and freewheeling conversation.” All the freewheeling eventually caught up with former Post writer David Weigel, whose private e-mails - contained in the list’s archives - were made public. Mr. Weigel, once tasked with covering conservatives for the paper, resigned Friday after three months on the job - but has already been hired by MSNBC.

“Dave Weigel is not the story. The ‘JournoList’ is the story: who was on it and which positions of journalistic power and authority do they hold? Now that the nature and the scope of the list has been exposed, I think the public has a right to know who shapes the big media narratives and how. Dave Weigel is a portal into the dark world of hardcore liberal bias in the media” Mr. Breitbart says.

“We want the list of journalists that comprised the 400 members of the ‘JournoList’ and we want the contents of the listserv. Why should Weigel be the only person exposed and humiliated?”

KOS AND EFFECT

It is a teachable moment. What do you do when 18 months worth of public opinion polls have turned up faulty? Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, who published the fraudulent polls in good faith at his Web site, staged a precise pre-emptive strike and effectively defused this bomb. He declared the findings “likely bunk,” fired the pollster, removed the surveys from the website, and warned a vigorous lawsuit against the research company would follow.

“I held publication of the report until [Tuesday], because I didn’t want to partake in a cliche ‘Friday Bad News Dump’. This is serious business, and I wasn’t going to bury it over a weekend,” Mr. Moulitsas says.

“Sure, our friends on the Right will get to take some cheap shots, and they should take advantage of the opportunity. … As difficult as it has been to learn that we were victims of that fraud, our commitment to accuracy and the truth is far more important than shielding ourselves from cheap shots from the Right,” he notes.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ETC.

Amid the press and pundit caterwaul over Elena Kagan’s Senate confirmation hearing came a moment of, well, hope, for C-SPAN. Asked by Sen. Herb Kohl, Wisconsin Democrat, if she approved of TV cameras in the Supreme Court for oral arguments, Ms. Kagan had enthusiasm.

“I have said that I think it would be a terrific thing to have cameras in the courtroom. … I think it would be a great thing for the institution, and more important, I think it would be a great thing for the American people,” she said.

The public affairs network has pined to provide such coverage for decades.

“We are aware, of course, that the Court may someday decide to allow television coverage of its public sessions. If the Court makes the decision to allow televised coverage, C-SPAN will cooperate in any way it can,” said C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb in a 1988 letter to Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist.

“C-SPAN prefers not to take a position on legislation forcing the Court to televise its arguments. That is up to public officials. But as a matter of principle we continue to advocate for television coverage of Supreme Court oral arguments, as we have for greater openness of Americas government in general,” said C-SPAN corporate vice president Bruce Collins in April.

POLL DU JOUR

c 68 percent of Americans say President Obama has done an “only fair or poor” job in handling the economy.

c 95 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents give Mr. Obama a negative review.

c 61 percent of Americans are “not confident” that the White House and the Obama administration will produce policies to “fix the economic crisis.”

c 91 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agree.

c 48 percent of Americans overall “do not trust” Mr. Obama to “do what is right for the American economy.”

c 64 percent do not trust Democrats in Congress on the economy, 70 percent do not trust Republicans.

Source: A Harris Polls of 2,227 adults conducted June 14 to 21.

c Caterwaul and fake infomercials to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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