Ad Councils bias
“When a revered charity dupes the public once, it can be chalked up as a mistake,” USA Today says.
“But when the charity persists in the deception, theres no getting around the fact that its intentional,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
“And now that the Advertising Council has decided to renew its controversial fund-raising support for partisan environmental groups, the conclusion is inescapable: In spite of its reputation for high-quality public-service ad campaigns, the Ad Councils standards for political neutrality are situational, at best. Consequently, TV stations and newspapers that donate air time and ad space to the Ad Council (among them USA Today) have no guarantee their charitable efforts wont be used for partisan purposes.”
The newspaper said that over the past 10 years the Ad Council “has been raising money for environmental and allied political groups with controversial agendas that spread beyond the environment — including support for campaign-finance reform, opposition to bankruptcy legislation and advocacy of civil disobedience to fight the deployment of a national missile defense.”
The councils new series of ads will solicit donations for Earth Share, an umbrella organization that includes such partisan groups as the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Friends of the Earth and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Fourteen of these groups already have launched attack ads targeting the Bush administration, the newspaper said.
Not the early bird
Karen Hughes, the senior presidential adviser, phoned this column yesterday to make one thing clear: She is not usually the first person to arrive at the White House in the morning.
“Im not the early bird,” Mrs. Hughes said, laughing.
In an item Wednesday involving a story on Mrs. Hughes for ABCs “Good Morning America,” this column offered up a quote that suggested Mrs. Hughes beats everyone else into the White House each day (except the president, of course, who lives there).
“I was expressing surprise,” Mrs. Hughes said, that she was the first to arrive on that particular day. “Thats a bit unusual.”
“Heres one for the books: The plaintiff in a libel suit agrees to drop the suit and pay off the defendant — because, he says, further litigation would be a ‘nuisance,” the New York Post says.
“Usually, its the other way around. But there was never anything normal about the lawsuit that former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal filed against cyber-gossip Matt Drudge — including Blumenthals consulting with the president and vice president of the United States before he filed suit,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
“Back in 1997, Drudge posted an erroneous story on his Web site, alleging that court documents showed that Blumenthal had beaten his wife. Within hours, Drudge had retracted that story and profusely apologized.
“But Blumenthal — whod earlier toiled for the Clinton-Gore crowd as a writer for the New Yorker — saw a chance to harass Drudge and other fierce critics of his favorite president. So he embarked on a costly lawsuit.
“Now, hes decided to throw in the towel. In return, he gets absolutely nothing from Drudge: no apology, no cash payment, no nothing.
“In fact, Blumenthal is the one shelling out cash — $2,500 to Drudges lawyer.
“Kudos to Drudge for sticking this one out.”
Cheneys turning point
It is said that behind every successful man, theres a woman. And that is apparently the case with Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who is married to Lynne Cheney, a successful person in her own right. Mr. Cheneys debt to his wife is expressed in his own words in the May 7 issue of the New Yorker.
After flunking out of Yale after four semesters, the young Mr. Cheney returned to Wyoming, where he worked on and off for six years as an electrical worker.
“When I should have been graduating from Yale, one of the worlds finer universities, with a first-rate education, all paid for by the university, I found myself in Rock Springs working, building power lines, having been in a couple of scrapes with the law,” Mr. Cheney told writer Nicholas Lemann.
“Arrested twice within a year for driving under the influence, once in Cheyenne, once in Rock Springs … I was headed down a bad road, if I continued on that course.”
Lynne, whom he had dated since high school, “made it clear she wasnt interested in marrying a lineman for the county. That was really when I went back to school in Laramie. I buckled down and applied myself. Decided it was time to make something of myself.”
Labors ‘peace feeler’
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney will be courting as many as a dozen House Republicans at a dinner Tuesday, Roll Call reports.
“Reps. Jack Quinn and Frank LoBiondo (of New Jersey) will lead the Republican delegation. Its unclear exactly how many members will attend the gathering, although 20 members were invited. The dinner is scheduled to take place at the Monocle Tuesday,” reporter John Bresnahan writes.
One top union leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called the dinner “a peace feeler.”
A mixed bag
Former Vice President Al Gore has taught his final journalism class at Columbia University, and while a book is in his future, running for office may not be.
“I dont know if Ill ever be a candidate,” Mr. Gore told students Wednesday. “I need more time and distance from the last experience.”
He is writing a book with his wife, Tipper Gore.
Students said that having Mr. Gore as a professor was a mixed bag, the Associated Press reports.
“Its really a problem to have a professor whos afraid to say what he thinks,” said Seth Solomonow.
“I learned how to interact with a very intelligent, highly connected and experienced source who isnt there to tell me what I want to know; hes there to tell me what he wants me to know,” said student Michael Arnone.
Mr. Gore brought in Rupert Murdoch, David Letterman and Alan Greenspan as guests for the class.
He refused to answer students questions about the election, saying he didnt want to criticize President Bush during a “period of constitutional vulnerability.”
Journalists were not allowed to observe the class and Mr. Gore refused requests from the media for news conferences on campus. Students were forbidden to tape or provide transcripts of the class to the media, although a few quotes leaked out during the semester.
The name game
The name Hillary has fallen on hard times, Tom Adkins writes at the Philadelphia Inquirer Web site (inq.philly.com)
“The once-popular name, which cracked the top 100 a decade ago, now ranks (rim-shot, please) 860. A quick, hard tumble from grace, eh? From celebrated figure to a despised embarrassment,” said Mr. Adkins, publisher of the Common Conservative. He blames the decline of “Hillary” on a certain senator from New York.
Man of the people
Treasury Secretary Paul H. ONeill, the former head of Alcoa, is one of the richest men in President Bushs Cabinet, but he still knows how to pinch pennies.
In a cost-cutting move, he has stopped using Secret Service agents to provide security for his routine movements around Washington, the Associated Press reported.
The issue came up yesterday in an appearance by Mr. ONeill before the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees his agency.
Treasury Department spokeswoman Michele Davis said later that Mr. ONeill still has Secret Service protection on his out-of-town trips and at high-profile events.
Its not even in stores yet, but already Bill Sammons book, “At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election” is a best seller.
As of Wednesday night, the new book by Mr. Sammon — chief White House correspondent for The Washington Times — was ranked No. 1 in sales by on-line bookseller Amazon.com.