- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Noble: Margarita Chavez and Robert Gann of Abilene, Texas, for their selfless (not to mention wildly unsafe) actions in attempting to stop the abduction of an infant.

Mrs. Chavez was simply returning a shopping cart when it happened. She had stowed her three children, including 1-month-old Nancy, in the family minivan at the local Wal-Mart. Suddenly, Nancy wasn't there any more. She was inside a sedan speeding out of the parking lot.

Mrs. Chavez thought with her feet and fast. Dashing to the car, she sprang onto the hood in an effort to bring it to a stop. It didn't. Instead, she was dragged 30 or 40 feet, suffering scratches and bruises as she went.

Mrs. Chavez may have been helped to her feet by 13-year-old Robert Gann, who also attempted to stop the abduction. Hearing Mrs. Chavez's anguished cry, he sprinted to assist. First, he screamed at the kidnapper to stop. When that didn't work, he tried to open the passenger-side door. It was locked, so he punched through the window instead. Then, nursing his swelling knuckles, he was given a ride to a police station to help an artist sketch the suspect.

While Robert had previously seen plenty of the police, he pointed out, "It was the first time I ever rode in a cop car without going to jail." Robert had gotten into trouble with drugs, and had spent some time in a juvenile facility. In fact, before his rescue rush, he and his mother met with his probation officer.

His heroic actions, coupled with a statewide manhunt (and yes, the sedan's broken window was included in the police alert), contributed to Mrs. Chavez being reunited with her unharmed, newborn daughter about 24 hours after the kidnapping.


Knave: MSNBC host Phil Donahue, for his dubious decision to give air time to an anti-American conspiracy theorist.

Maybe he just saw Mel Gibson's "Signs" one too many times. If that's the case, it certainly didn't open Mr. Donahue's eyes, or for that matter, those of French author Jean Charles Brisard, whom Mr. Donahue hosted on his talk show Tuesday night.

In his book, "Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for bin Laden," Mr. Brisard lays out the bizarre theory that the Bush family was so anxious to preserve its big-money connections to big-oil interests and that it was so soft on both the Taliban and Saudi Arabia that it helped to precipitate September 11.

Most news hosts would censure such unsavory silliness, but Mr. Donahue has his reasons. Particularly of the ratings sort. Since a fairly high debut this summer, the show's numbers have tanked. Currently, Mr. Donahue badly trails time-slot rivals Connie Chung and Bill O'Reilly.

If his numbers continue to sink, it may mean that there will soon be another sign in Mr. Donahue's career as a conspiracy theory host one that says "STOP."

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