Brace for it. Julian Assange has stepped back in the news. Like, right now. The elusive, silver-haired founder of WikiLeaks.org says he’ll release up to 500,000 classified documents reportedly gleaned from an Iraq-based “tactical reports database” on Monday, or in a few days. Indicators suggest it could be sooner rather than later for these whistleblowers, who vexed senior military officials in July by revealing 90,000 secret documents related to the Afghanistan war.
This time around, a 120-member Pentagon task force already has pored over the WikiLeaks site, now curiously closed for “scheduled maintenance.” Mr. Assange and company offered this Tweet on Sunday, reacting to what appears to be a canny pre-emptive strike using the Freedom of Information Act: “Pentagon appears to pre-empt alleged WikiLeaks Iraq leak with FOIA release.” Hmm. Well. Mr. Assange may be poised — as the public relations crowd likes to say — to “pull the trigger.”
NOT OVER BILL
Ah-h-h, political spectacle. The hostessesof ABC’s “The View” are still dithering over Bill O’Reilly. On Monday, the ladies will discuss their tumultuous visit from the Fox News he-man pundit in detail. It was a ratings bonanza: The network says the show’s online traffic increased tenfold after Mr. O’Reilly observed that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” prompting Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar to flounce off the set in high dudgeon.
But wait. To add to the fun, Playgirl centerfold Levi Johnston — aka Sarah Palin’s former-future-ex-son-in-law and candidate for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska — also will appear to discuss his upcoming reality TV show, “Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor’s Office.” There probably will be no grand exits, though you never know. The mind reels.
On a happier note, Mrs. Palin is launching the 30-city Tea Party Express “Liberty at the Ballot Box” tour in Reno, Nev., on Monday, to end in New Hampshire on election eve. The group has published a commemorative journal; see route and details at www.teapartyexpress.org. Meanwhile, her daughter and former Johnston fiancee Bristol Palin appears on Sarah Palin Radio, to air online (www.wsradio.com) before her appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday evening. Host LaDonna Hale Curzon, says that the show — plus interviews with 28 conservative candidates for Congress — are archived at www.sarahpalinradio.com.
THE MEAN NUMBER
“The elastic in Maureen Dowd’s gym shorts is way too tight.”
— Lucianne Goldberg, on the New York Times columnist’s insistence that the nation is in “The era of Mean Republican Women.”
AND THE REALITY
“Christine O’Donnell is the campaign here. She is colorful and outspoken and willing to attack her own party for giving her only minimal support after she upset Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican primary in September — all traits the press loves in a candidate. Castle, 70, has none of them. Nor does Chris Coons, who’s about as exciting as dry toast. Absent O’Donnell, the media wouldn’t be here,” observes Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes, on the U.S. Senate race in Delaware.
“She won’t be lacking for money. Since the primary, she’s raised $4 million, enough to pay for ‘tougher’ TV ads attacking Coons,” Mr. Barnes continues, noting that the press shrugged off the fact that a college-aged Mr. Coons once wrote about being “a bearded Marxist” among other things.
“O’Donnell’s life has been scrutinized far more aggressively. It was discovered she had dabbled in witchcraft as a teenager, and reporters took this revelation seriously,” Mr. Barnes adds. “So did O’Donnell in her first ad. ‘I’m not a witch,’ she said. ‘I’m you.’ The ad was controversial, but it more or less put the issue to rest. Now we’re about to see ‘a whole new Christine O’Donnell,’ she says. New or not, we’ll see a lot of her. She’s a political star, a celebrity, and the press can’t take its eyes off her.”