Inside the Beltway: The grim aftermath of the shutdown

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A new Media Research Center study reviews each network’s evening newscast from the first day of the shutdown on Oct. 1 through the last night before a deal was announced Wednesday.

“Of the 124 full stories and brief items about the shutdown or the pending debt-ceiling deadline, 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides, and none specifically blamed Democrats,” says Rich Noyes, research director for the watchdog group.

This is an “acceleration,” he says, of a similar trend from the two weeks prior to the actual start of the shutdown. The networks ran 21 stories blaming Republicans, four blaming both sides, and none blaming Democrats.

“As the shutdown neared its end, the networks’ polls found the American public more critical of the GOP than either Democrats or the White House,” Mr. Noyes says. “While some blame can perhaps be assigned to Republicans’ lack of a unified conservative message, the incessant drumbeat of hostile, and slanted, media coverage surely took its toll as well.”

A SPEAKER ON A SPEAKER

Behold, some empathetic words for oft-beleaguered House Speaker John A. Boehner, from one who has been there and done that.

“I think he has an amazingly hard job. Boehner’s job is vastly harder than mine was,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Larry King, host of “Politicking with Larry King,” a prime-time talk show that aired Thursday night on RT, the Russia-owned news channel.

“It is harder for him to manage the House Republicans; he doesn’t have a Republican leader in the Senate the way I did. Instead, he has to deal with Harry Reid, who is a hard-core Democrat, and I had Bill Clinton, who you could talk with. He’s got Barack Obama, who doesn’t want to talk. So I think Boehner’s job is 10 times harder than mine was,” Mr. Gingrich told the veteran host.

“I have no idea how I would have done in that job. It is a different world with a different set of circumstances,” the former speaker mused.

THE SOLE OF THE MATTER

“Streamlined and tailored femininity” is the key to true power-dressing for women, at least among the elite lady executives of Hollywood.

“With dresses and heels replacing the old-school generic pantsuit — sorry, Hillary — a new element has come into play in 2013: the personal effect,” says Merle Ginsberg, a correspondent with The Hollywood Reporter, who finds the West Coast set favors sleek black ensembles embellished with something personal, possibly quirky.

It can all be in soaring shoes, apparently. Imagine. It would create a media ruckus if the aforementioned Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared in footwear of the towering Tinseltown tilt. Most certainly, Sarah Palin created both a ruckus and a photo opportunity by wearing her scarlet Naughty Monkey “Double Dare” high heels on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

“For Hollywood women, confidence is in the heel height,” declares Ms. Ginsberg, citing 20th Century Fox TV casting guru Sharon Klein, who revealed that her 6-inch purple designer stilettos are “executive armor.”

She added, “They make me feel tougher.”

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