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MOLE HOLE

Media Matters for America has declared “war” on Fox News in the past week, with much public whispering and innuendo that surely there is a mole - a secret source within the network supplying Media Matters with internal information - to feed cause and content. But one has to ponder the presence of turncoat moles within the operation, which includes “Cruise Ship Confession,” one of a series of recent hits on Bill Sammon, Fox News Channel’s vice president of news and Washington managing editor.

“In newly uncovered audio, a Fox News executive boasts that he lied repeatedly during the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign when he speculated on-air ‘about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism’,” begins the analysis by Eric Hananoki, which showcases Mr. Sammon’s remarks made during a cruise sponsored by Hillsdale College almost three years ago.

And about that mysterious mole. This particular account is not based on clandestine sources. In his final paragraph, the enterprising Mr. Hananoki reveals, “Media Matters obtained audio of Sammon’s remarks by purchasing it through Hillsdale College.”

INSTITUTIONALIZED

Uh-oh. Summon the Founding Fathers - and mothers. Get back to basics and ignore the trite distractions of partisan argument, biased press and corrosive culture. Americans have “lost faith in our nations most significant public institutions” says a new survey by the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University that even the pollsters deemed “deeply troublesome.”

The survey found that 83 percent of the respondents have less trust in politics than they did 10 or 15 years ago - an era that included the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Another 79 percent don’t trust big business and major corporations, 78 percent they have less trust in government and 72 percent report declining trust in the media.

“No partisan interests benefit from these findings. Its a resounding wake-up call for all political parties and everyone engaged in public life,” says Michael Ford, director of the campus center. “Public cynicism regarding government, politics, business and the media is a long-running recipe for disaster. A nation cannot function effectively without confidence in its institutions.”

OUTFOXED

Yes, the “war” on Fox News continues, but viewers apparently have not gotten the memo. “Fox News Channel has been the most-watched news channel for 37 consecutive quarters in total viewers for both total day and prime time - a streak that began nine years ago,” says Chris Ariens, managing editor of TVNewser.com.

And the numbers? Fox draws close to 2 million viewers during prime-time hours and 1.1 million during the day, according to Nielsen numbers released Tuesday. The news network is the fourth most-watched network in prime time.

CNN, meanwhile, has topped rival MSNBC in prime time in the much-coveted 25- to 54-year-old audience demographic for the first time in six quarters and has bested MSNBC in total daytime viewing as well. Newcomer “Piers Morgan Tonight” has seen the most growth of any cable news program this quarter, increasing total viewership by 23 percent.

AN ARPAIO MOMENT

“Given the level of danger posed by the smugglers, deputies and qualified armed posse volunteers including the SWAT team will be equipped to respond on the ground with M-16s and other firearms including the Sheriffs 50-caliber machine gun.”

- From Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s official announcement that he had launched “Operation Desert Sky,” a full-scale law enforcement offensive to deter illegal immigration and the flow of narcotics in his region. He also promises “little to no disruption of normal law enforcement operations - manpower and resources will be furnished largely by the sheriffs armed volunteer posse to include 30 fixed-wing aircraft and pilots.”

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