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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FRIENDS ELSEWHERE

There is talk that his hair is speckled with worrisome gray and that the daily tide of public opinion polls is a welter of White House negativity. Though the hope-and-change era appears to have waned in the U.S., it's still bright elsewhere, apparently.

"President Obama's news coverage is more positive in Arab and European television newscasts than on U.S. network news. His most positive coverage came from Al Jazeera, the controversial international news network based in Qatar, while his most negative coverage came from the U.S.-based Fox News Channel," says S. Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.

Mr. Lichter and fellow media scholars Stephen Farnsworth and Roland Schatz of Media Tenor International parsed the coverage of Mr. Obama from January 2009 through June 2010 on the evening newscasts of 13 major American, European and Middle Eastern television outlets, including Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al-Manar, LBC and Nile News.

"The differences in tone partly reflect the different focus of news about the U.S. government in different parts of the world. In addition, coverage of Mr. Obama's personality and character were covered more positively abroad than at home," Mr. Lichter adds.

Al Jazeera, incidentally, could prove a formidable friend for a White House with flagging numbers. The 14-year-old network, according to current industry sources, enjoys an audience of 53 million Arabic households, and 100 million worldwide.

RAHM WATCH

"Almost certainly."

The odds that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will run for the mayor of Chicago, now that Mayor Richard Daley announced he won't seek re-election in 2011. (Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers)

PARSING COURIC

As CBS Evening News, uh, anchorlady Katie Couric celebrated her fourth anniversary with the network on Tuesday, the news program ratings are lingering at an all-time low, below 5 million viewers, the Media Research Center notes. The press watchdog has charted Miss Couric's top-40 most politically biased quotes, the same variety that "eroded CBS' credibility under Dan Rather," says analyst Brent Baker.

But is there a worst of the worst? You betcha. This one leads the list:

"There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to ground zero. But we cannot let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values." (Miss Couric on the "ground zero mosque," Aug. 23.)

NEVER TOO EARLY

Conservative fiscal and social values appeal to an ever widening group of voters as we trudge toward the 2012 presidential election. Who's got 'em? At least 17 hopefuls, including six governors. The Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit is coming to Washington, D.C., Sept. 17 to 19, complete with presidential straw poll of possible Republican and/or conservative candidates. They are:

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, New Jersey Gov. ChrisChristie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, MikeHuckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, Sarah Palin, Rep. RonPaul of Texas, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Rick Santorum.

"Values voters are already surveying the very wide field of possible candidates," observes FRC President Tony Perkins.

WE'RE SO RELIEVED

Your federal agency at work: Two asteroids - one measuring 32 feet by 62 feet, the other 20 feet by 46 feet - will veer within as little as 49,000 miles of Earth on Wednesday, NASA has announced. Suddenly.

"Neither asteroid will hit Earth," NASA says. Helpfully.

Hurray. Carry on.

JUST IN CASE

Well, you never know, what with an election coming up and all. Forbes magazine has come up with eight of the best places to hide "where you can never be found," should the need arise. Curious? They are: Tristan da Cunha, a British territory in the South Atlantic; Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Indian Ocean; the Darien Gap separating Panama and Colombia; Laguna San Rafael National Park in Chile; the hinterlands beyond Ulan Bator, Mongolia; Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, Canada; the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia; and Papua New Guinea.

"Fortunately, it is still possible to get off the grid. It just takes a little more time, effort and willpower than it used to," notes Forbes correspondent Elisabeth Eaves .

POLL DU JOUR

- 54 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle terrorism, 34 percent cited Democrats.

- 53 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle illegal immigration, 35 percent cited Democrats.

- 46 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle the economy, 43 percent cited Democrats.

- 46 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle taxes, 43 percent cited Democrats.

- 46 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle the federal budget deficit, 40 percent cited Democrats.

- 45 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle Afghanistan, 42 percent cited Democrats.

- 45 percent of Americans prefer Republicans to handle health care, 46 percent cited Democrats.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,024 adults conducted Sept. 1 and 2.

Hue and cry, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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