- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2001

Lessons from Al

"Al Gore's maiden lecture at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism was the occasion [Tuesday] for a dozen or so would-be journalists to get a practical crash course in the finer points of the business.

"Lesson 1: Whether a newsworthy person says anything of interest in class or not, you can't write about it… .

"Lesson 2: You can't talk about it, either. At least that was the message from the journalism school's dean, passed on to students through e-mail messages… .

"In the end, the first appearance as a lecturer by Mr. Gore … had a wonderfully paradoxical quality.

"On the one hand, his talks could give students a unique perspective on the interplay between politicians and the press. On the other, the constraints surrounding his talks could give them a unique perspective on how politicians try to control the press.

"Journalism schools are all about teaching students how to ferret out the truth; journalism classes like Mr. Gore's, however, are off the record."

Felicity Barringer, writing on "From Gore, an Off-the-Record (Kind of) Lecture," in Wednesday's New York Times

Crying wolf

"With the confirmation by the U.S. Senate last week of all of President George W. Bush's Cabinet nominees, the nation's business may finally be lurching back to relative normalcy after the agonizing civil wars over the Florida count in last fall's election.

"The campaign by a coalition of liberal special-interest groups to block former Sen. John Ashcroft's confirmation for attorney general collapsed when they failed to produce credible evidence for their claim that he is a dangerous reactionary who threatens democracy… .

"I think that for most Americans trying to conduct their daily lives, Democratic activists have cried wolf once too often. The saturation point has long been reached for hysterical, rote charges about racism, sexism and homophobia particularly when they issue from a party that professes populist ideals but has just elected the detestable, money-grubbing Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton henchman, as head of the Democratic National Committee.

"If the party doesn't get its act together after the lies, mess and celebrity glitz of the Clinton years, disaffected Democrats like me will vote Green again in 2004."

Camille Paglia, writing on "Crying wolf," Wednesday in Salon at www.salon.com

Spiritual Democrats?

"I don't think there's anything more spiritual about being a Republican. And we have had three or four Democrats speak at our policy and principle events.

"We get a fair amount of cooperation, but a larger percentage of folks who get involved in our ministry do seem to be from the Republican side of the aisle. And that's certainly not by our design or choice we are totally nonpartisan.

"I do think that among some Democrats, there is a suspicion about the religious right. And Dr. [D. James] Kennedy's ministry, despite our nonpartisanship, fits the bill of the religious right.

"There's just a skepticism among Democrats about those who come from that political persuasion. Once we get engaged with them and interact with them, a lot of that goes away, because we are able to establish our credibility with them. But it is a barrier we are trying to overcome. And I think after 5 and 1/2 years of ministry on [Capitol Hill], people are realizing that what we say is true.

"When I first got here, I said to Dr. Kennedy, 'How am I going to overcome this perception that we might just be another lobbying organization?' And he said you're going to do it the same way everybody else does it you're going to build your reputation one brick at a time and over time people will watch you and see that you are actually doing what you say you are doing and they will begin to believe you."

Frank Wright, executive director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship, in a recent interview

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