- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 9, 2010

BURNING ISSUES

The media frenzy over a minister in Gainesville, Fla., and the unusual trajectory of his activities has distracted the public momentarily from its growing dismay over President Obama and the Democratic Party - a welcome respite for the White House perhaps. The blame-America-first crowd remains in full cry. The public is jittery, but solemn on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the “tea party” patriots ready to rumble. Pundits seek teachable moments. And the press, meanwhile, has gone into soul-searching chaos mode.

“The Koran burning threats led network news to discover the wisdom of Sarah Palin and the Pope Benedict XVI,” muses Media Research Center analyst Brent Baker. “I found it amusing how network journalists decided Mrs. Palin, the Pope - and even Pat Robertson - are now sources of wisdom worth publicizing.”

Indeed, many broadcasters quoted them - and half the known universe - in their zeal to blast a local curiosity into a global controversy. Credibility questions loomed: Both Fox News and the Associated Press threatened a press blackout, had Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones lit fire to the holy books. Instead, he claims he’ll be in New York on Saturday, parsing out the challenges of the “ground zero mosque,” not to mention his critics.

“AP policy is not to provide coverage of events that are gratuitously manufactured to provoke and offend. In the past, AP has declined to provide images of cartoons mocking Islam and Jews,” says Tom Kent, director of editorial standards for the newswire, who notes that grisly scenes or images “displayed by hostage-holders in an effort to intimidate their adversaries and advance their cause” are also on the no-no list.

“In this new environment since 9/11, where images of the actions of only a few narcissistic radicals are used to drive the emotions of militants across the globe, this event should serve as a stimulus that America must quickly develop a coordinated international information war in defense of freedom and liberty and our American values - and offensively against jihadists and their indefensible platform of militancy and political Islam,” says Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

THE WASILLA WAY

Progressives and pundits and a compliant liberal press have ramped up the notion that Fox News host Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. SarahPalin are “profiting” from 9/11 by charging an admission fee for their nearly sold-out speaking event at an Anchorage, Alaska, arena on Saturday. The locals may not agree.

The Wasilla-based Conservative Patriots Group will host a nonpartisan, nonpolitical remembrance “Standing Strong for America” rally in the very town Mrs. Palin calls home. Their “bring your kids” event features current Wasilla Mayor Verne E. Rupright and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller - and likely the former mayor/governor herself, according to local sources.

It sounds pretty friendly. Not a peep over the admission. Following the afternoon rally, attendees will follow Mrs. Palin to Anchorage “in a giant motorcade for her scheduled speech,” according to local press reports. It’s about a 45-mile trip.

“Glenn had always intended to donate the speaking fee from the event on Saturday, September 11th, in Alaska to Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Governor Palin is not and was never going to receive a fee for introducing Glenn at this event,” a spokesman for Mr. Beck tells Inside the Beltway.

BUMPER PATROL

“CAUTION: I brake for Stop Signs.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Oxon Hill, Md.

UNDER THE TARP

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