Inside the Beltway: Conservatives ponder next ‘character assassin’

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While Sarah Palin quietly continued her national tour to promote her new book “Good Tidings, Great Joy,” MSNBC host Martin Bashir quietly resigned from the network Wednesday, three weeks after broadcasting blatant slurs against the former Alaska governor.

“I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments,” Mr. Bashir said in a statement. “I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers.”

But wait. Did the major broadcast networks cover any of the controversy following Mr. Bashir’s comments? CBS, ABC and NBC itself did not offer a single story, according to Newsbusters analyst Geoffrey Dickens, who monitored coverage following the Nov. 15 broadcast. He notes that after Rush Limbaugh made a crude joke about pro-choice activist Sandra Fluke last year, the same networks went “ballistic,” offering 32 stories on the matter.

“The hypocrisy from the supposed civility cops in the liberal media is stunning,” Mr. Dickens observes.

“The question is this: Which vile character assassin will NBC/Comcast recruit to replace Martin Bashir? MSNBC is an absolute laughingstock. If you’re not apologizing for your insults — Ed Schultz — you’re resigning because of them — Martin Bashir. And if you’re not smart enough to resign, they have to fire you — Alec Baldwin,” declares Brent Bozell, director of the Media Research Center, parent company to Newsbusters. “NBC is the network where civility goes to die. And Comcast: You own that indecency.”

And what about Mrs. Palin, whose book defends the faith-based values of Christmas? Though she previously called Mr. Bashir’s comments “vile” and vowed to “move forward,” she did not immediately react to his statement and employment status, instead staying on message during an appearance at Liberty University on Wednesday.

“This young university is educating a whole new generation of American leaders who understand the positive effect our Christian heritage has had not only in our personal lives, but also in the life of our nation,” she told the assembled students.

DEMOCRATS TAKE A HOLIDAY OFFENSE

Here’s a micro-niche in the Christmas wars, meanwhile.

“The official organization charged with electing Republicans to the House — the national Republican Party! — thinks that telling people ‘Happy Holidays’ is something that only liberals do. They’re even selling coffee mugs and T-shirts with that claim and using the proceeds to elect more Republicans. It isn’t just divisive. It’s offensive,” says Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, in an open letter to all Democrats.

“As Democrats (and Americans) we want everyone to enjoy whatever holiday it is that they’re celebrating this time of year. And that goes for our Republican friends, too. So in the spirit of the season, we thought we’d make it easy for everyone to share a holiday greeting with the GOP,” Mr. Elleithee continues.

And he offers this suggested text: “Happy holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Chanukah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa.”

Well, he forgot the Winter Solstice, but no matter.

“While we’re getting in the holiday spirit, don’t miss your chance to join us at our annual holiday party,” Mr. Elleithee adds in his message. “Chip in $10 or whatever you can to be automatically entered, and if you win, we’ll fly you and a guest to D.C. to celebrate all of this season’s holidays with us.”

HERE COMES THE REPUBLICAN FOIA

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