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Inside the Beltway: The media’s lousy aim

"Anti-gun New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was half-right when he told NBC's Jimmy Fallon that there is 'scant coverage' of other firearms news, because there is virtually no coverage of self-defense uses," says Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a Washington state-based interest group.

"Press coverage of justifiable gun use in self-defense is almost invisible. Yet firearms are used in successful self-defense situations hundreds, if not thousands of times every day. It is disingenuous to talk about crime without mentioning the lives saved because an intended victim was armed," observes Alan Gottlieb, the organization's chairman.

"We know that hundreds of thousands of lives are saved in this country every year because someone had a firearm," he continues. "In most cases, a shot is never fired, but the display of a gun sends criminals running."

Such events are rarely covered beyond the local level, Mr. Gottlieb says, noting that it would be a "refreshing" change to see fair coverage of such events. But the mayor ultimately earns no real praise.

"While Bloomberg would ignore these people they really are first responders and they sometimes perform acts of remarkable heroism in saving innocent lives. The press only pays attention to tragedies while ignoring triumphs," Mr. Gottlieb adds.

HAGGLING OVER HAGEL

Now that House Speaker John A. Boehner is safely at his post, the next rancorous vote to note involves Chuck Hagel, who President Obama will nominate as the next defense secretary on Monday. Oh, Mr. Hagel kind of looks the part. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are leery of the former Republican Senator from Nebraska's potential hostility toward Israel, among other things. Some who once supported him have cooled, or gone neutral. Some are fiercely opposed.

"I will not support Chuck Hagel's nomination," proclaims Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican. "His opposition to Iranian sanctions and support for direct, unconditional talks with its leaders is both at odds with current U.S. policy and a threat to global security. To make matters worse, he has called for direct negotiations with Hamas. The worst possible message we could send to our friend Israel and the rest of our allies in the Middle East is Chuck Hagel."

Still, Mr. Obama is set in his choice.

"He thinks he's the right guy for the job. He thinks having an enlisted Vietnam veteran running the Pentagon who agreed with him when it came to Iraq and on Afghanistan, he's the right guy to do it," says ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

"There's going to be a big problem in the Senate on this," Mr. Karl continues, citing a Democratic source who claims that there are enough in the party concerned about Mr. Hagel "to put him well short of 50 until he makes the case.

The broadcaster adds, "I think ultimately he gets confirmed, but this will be a real battle in the Senate."

NIXON'S STILL THE ONE

Richard Nixon, a star? But of course, says Republican and California entrepreneur Paul J. Carter, who has created "Native Son Richard Nixon's Southern California: My Life on a Map!" The fold-out pamphlet is done up like an old school Hollywood guide to the stars, and chronicles the life and times of the only White House occupant born and raised in Southern California.

It's a hot item at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, selling more than 500 copies at $4.99 each.

"It's a really, really good seller," Jonathan Movroydis, spokesman for the Richard Nixon Foundation, tells the Los Angeles Times. Sales will likely jump on Tuesday, which begins a yearlong celebration of the centennial of Nixon's birth on Jan. 9, 1913.

Mr. Carter, meanwhile, tells The Times he intended to provide a "more complete picture of the man still known largely for the Watergate scandal."

He easily recouped his initial $2,000 investment, and has already begun a "bio-map" for Ronald Reagan. Mr. Carter says he likes Ike, too.

Nixon's younger daughter, Julie, and her husband, David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower, have asked for one on the nation's 34th president.

RESIDUAL ANNOYANCE

Some appear still hot to "fire" the House speaker.

So let's see. Was it a good idea for certain Republicans to stage an "attempted coup" against John A. Boehner in his fight to retain the pivotal title last week? Exactly two-thirds of the 13,000-plus respondents in an online poll conducted by National Review said, why yes. It was a good idea.

THE JOE SHOW

"We urge the Obama administration to authorize the production of a recurring C-SPAN television program featuring the daily activities and interactions of the vice president with elected officials, foreign dignitaries and everyday American families. Such a program would educate the American public about the duties and responsibilities of their vice president, while providing a glimpse of the lighthearted side of politics even in the midst of contentious and divisive national debates."

(A public petition filed at the "We the People" section of the White House website)

POLL DU JOUR

• 83 percent of Americans favor the federal government issuing nutritional and exercise guidelines; 10 percent oppose the idea.

• 75 percent oppose restricting the purchase of certain fatty foods or beverages like sugary sodas.

• 70 percent favor requiring restaurants to reveal calorie content of their dishes on the menu; 22 percent oppose it.

• 60 percent oppose taxes targeting "unhealthy foods."

• 36 percent say the federal government should not be involved in finding solutions to the nation's obesity problem.

• 33 percent say the federal government should be closely involved; 31 percent say it should be moderately involved.

Source: An Associated Press-NORC Center survey conducted Nov. 21 to Dec. 14 and released Friday.

Hue and cry, chortles to jharperwashingtontimes.com.

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