- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2011

GONE TO THE DOGS

Criticizing Sarah Palin, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and other Christian conservative women has become popular sport for assorted pundits, comics and journalists. Now it’s become a franchise. In development at ABC: “Good Christian Bitches”, a prime-time drama showcasing churchgoing women behaving badly from producer Darren Star, the man behind “Sex and the City” and “90210.” The concept - based on Kim Gatlin’s 2008 book of the same name - suggests Mr. Star longs to create an evangelical version of, say, Bravo’s “Real Housewives” series.

Shooting begins March 21. The Parents Television Council and the Women’s Media Center are among groups outraged by the “extremely offensive and distasteful show title,” said Fox News culture writer Hollie McKay. Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart of BigHollywood.com has managed to get a copy of the pilot script and promises a review; his site’s readers are already busy with their own, however.

Some wonder whether a version for Muslim women is in the offing, or whether the program is simply geared to “Christian bashing,” “liberal talking points” and other standard Hollywood fare.

“Lassie was a Christian?” one reader asks.

LEADERSHIP

“It’s telling that the White House can’t actually say who is running point on our nation’s budget situation. President Obama says he wants to cut spending but the Democrats on the Hill seem to have a mind of their own drawing their line in the sand over the weekend. This after the president names Vice President Biden to lead the budget effort only to ship him overseas,” observes the Republican National Committee.

BIDEN HIS TIME

Yes, even Vice President Joseph R. Biden - aka “VPOTUS” - must navigate the dreaded shopping trip, like this one during his weeklong trip to Finland, Russia and Moldova with wife Jill and granddaughter Finnegan, as described by Wall Street Journal correspondent Jonathan Weisman, designated “pool” reporter of the day:

“Motorcade rolled from the Hilton to the Esplanade in the center of Helsinki, where VPOTUS, Dr. Jill Biden and Finnegan made a beeline for Marimekko, the famous Finnish design store. Finnegan and Dr. Jill were drawn to black Converse basketball shoes covered in tear-dropped shaped white loops. VPOTUS wandered aimlessly like most men do in such shopping occasions, but he did express some skepticism about said shoes: “I’m not sure if she wants to go on the court in that.’ “

NOW HEAR THIS

“It’s a perception problem. … We are urban and rural, red state and blue state.”

National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller, explaining at the National Press Club on Monday that NPR does not have a liberal bias.

“We handled the situation badly. We made some mistakes. I made some mistakes.”

Mrs. Schiller on terminating the contract of news analyst Juan Williams last year after he expressed his uneasiness when seeing Muslims on airplanes.

ONE FOR ‘NAM

Not overlooked: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement at the Lincoln Memorial on Monday that her nation had donated $3 million for an underground education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial authorized by Congress in 2003. About 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam; 521 were killed.

“The Australians were our steadfast allies during the Vietnam War. We are gratified that the Australian people feel so deeply about helping us,” said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

CHARLIE HORSE

Choices, choices. Inform the public about Charlie Sheen, or explain undercover videos revealing that Planned Parenthood gives advice about abortions and birth control to underage females? The “Big Three” broadcast networks gave 20 times as much coverage to Mr. Sheen than revelations about Planned Parenthood that ultimately prompted a House investigation.

“If they ever take a break from publicizing Mr. Sheen’s cocaine dos and don’ts, or detailing the power politics within his Beverly Hills harem, the networks should grab a copy of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. And they may want to pay special attention to this entry: “Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity,’ ” said Matt Philbin, an analyst with the Culture and Media Institute.

With researcher Erin Brown, he sorted through often celebratory coverage on ABC, NBC and CBS: the networks wallowed in 4 hours, 51 minutes of Sheen coverage in 38 news accounts. Meanwhile, the possible use of taxpayer dollars to fund underage abortions received just 14 minutes and 32 seconds of airtime. Just one ABC report mentioned the video investigation, they found.

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of likely voters say that lowering the federal debt is important.

• 44 percent support the idea of a tax-reform plan that lowers taxes and brings in less revenue.

• 42 percent of likely voters said they could “live without” the mortgage interest deduction in exchange for lower tax rates.

• 41 percent favor keeping the deduction.

• 29 percent say tax reform should produce extra revenue earmarked for deficit reduction.

• 25 percent approve the White House fiscal commission ratio - two-thirds spending cuts, one-third tax revenue - to bring down budget deficits.

• 19 percent believe an overhaul of the tax code should be “revenue-neutral.”

Source: The Hill Poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 2.

Growls, yays, neighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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