- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2011

NOBLE EXTREMISTS

The ongoing Wall Street protests get such cozy press. Why, they’re just a bunch of spirited kids, right? Business & Media Institute analyst Julie Seymour pored over recent protest coverage in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and on ABC, CBS and NBC to find that of 44 newspaper stories, only eight used such words as liberal, left-wing, radical, extreme or even progressive to describe the events. The 25 broadcast reports used none such terms.

“The media embrace ‘noble’ extremists occupying Wall Street and ignore radicalism 88 percent of the time,” Ms. Seymour says. “The news media ridiculed, obscenely nicknamed and attempted to discredit the tea party movement.”

TOUGH AUDIENCE

Another Republican presidential debate looms Tuesday night, this one centered on the economy, hosted by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post. The hopefuls must be in Academy Award-winning form and playing the part of fiscal genius - because here’s what they face:

“Do you think your own family’s financial situation would be better if President Obama wins a second term or if a Republican wins the election?” asks a poll from the host news organizations. Forty-four percent of the respondents say it makes “no difference” either way, 24 percent cited the mystery Republican, 24 percent Mr. Obama.

WILLIAMS/GOLDBERG 2012

When in doubt, run for president. Or vice president. And sing about it. Country music kingpin Hank Williams Jr. was recently vilified for indirectly comparing President Obama to Hitler. He’s striking back with a new protest tune titled “Keep the Change,” released to iTunes on Tuesday and boasting such lyrics as, “So Fox ‘n Friends wanna put me down, ask for my opinion, twist it all around,” plus a cheeky reference to “The United Socialist States of America.”

Naturally, Mr. Williams is now selling “Hank Williams for President” T-shirts for $20 each. He’ll also appear Tuesday to explain his case to Fox News host Sean Hannity and the ladies of ABC’s “The View,” who more or less supported the singer’s case last week.

Whoopi and Joy understood what I was saying,” Mr. Williams said, referring to hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar. “Who knows. Whoopi may run for president and I’ll be her vice president. Now that will really stir it up.”

OH BEHAVE

Dartmouth College hopes to avoid “embarrassing incidents of audience misbehavior” when the political/media hordes descend on the campus Tuesday for the Republican presidential debate. “The behavior of the debate-goers became a bigger story than the candidates’ statements,” warns an editorial in the Dartmouth, a student publication, referring to debates held elsewhere.

“It would be an enormous black eye for the College and a damning indictment of our maturity and political culture if Dartmouth’s debate were to be characterized by another inappropriate outburst, no matter its ideological origin … As students, we especially should recognize the value of ideas over antics, of rebuttals over ruckus.”

THE WEINIE LOBBY

Look out, now. Every one and everything has a lobby. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is now addressing the recent hot dog toss at Tiger Woods during a PGA tournament.

“The use of an iconic food in an act of violence against an iconic golfer like Tiger Woods is reprehensible, and a violation of hot dog etiquette,” says council President Janet Riley. “Hot dogs are meant to be enjoyed - not weaponized.”

THE ICE CREAM LOBBY

“We, the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, compelled by our personal convictions and our Company’s mission and values, wish to express our deepest admiration to all of you who have initiated the non-violent Occupy Wall Street Movement and to those around the country who have joined in solidarity. … We know the media will either ignore you or frame the issue as to who may be getting pepper sprayed rather than addressing the despair and hardships borne by so many.”

(Statement from the aforementioned Vermont ice cream manufacturer, in support of the protests. No ice cream flavor has been named for the movement. Yet.)

SCIENCE CORNER

Uh-oh. So much for the virtuous, green-minded, reusable grocery store bag. University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba has discovered in a laboratory test of 87 of the bags that “large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags,” included the dreaded e-coli. Just 3 percent of shoppers ever wash the bags, which get contaminated by leaky meats and dairy products in hot car trunks and double as gym or laundry bags.

“There has been a growing movement to use reusable bags when we shop, but without proper washing, these bags can expose our families to bacteria that can cause illness,” says Mr. Gerba, who advises hot soapy water, adding “It will remove 99.9 percent of germs.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 52 percent of Americas say it’s likely there will be another U.S. financial crisis.

• 45 percent of agree that if a Republican were president right now, the economy “would be the same”; 25 percent say it would be “worse,” 23 percent “better.”

• 44 percent say there would not be “much difference” in their family financial situation if President Obama or a Republican candidate were in office.

• 17 percent say Mitt Romney would do the most “to improve the economy” if elected.

• 10 percent cited Herman Cain, 7 percent each cited Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul, 4 percent each cited Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann.

• 15 percent say Mrs. Bachmann would do “the most damage to the economy” if elected.

• 12 percent cited Mr. Perry, percent 7 Mr. Paul, 6 percent Mr. Gingrich and 5 percent Mr. Romney, 2 percent Mr. Cain.

Source: A Washington Post/Bloomberg News poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 6 to 9.

Tunes, runes, grocery bags to jharper@washingtontimes.com.