- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Numbers mystery
"It's a mystery worthy of Robert Hanssen himself," writes Steven Zeitchik of Publishers Weekly, referring to Washington Post reporter David Vise's rapid rise on the New York Times' best-seller list with his new book, "The Bureau and the Mole" (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25).
Why, wonders Publishers Weekly, would Mr. Vise buy thousands of copies of his own book from Barnesandnoble.com only to return them?
"There's the generous explanation that he needed large numbers to sell off his Web site and at live events," Mr. Zeitchik notes. "He was tempted by BN's offer for free shipping, and then returned the books when the Web site lowered its price so he could order them for less."
Certainly plausible.
"Then there's the cynical explanation that Vise was attempting to smooth his way onto the best-seller list," Mr. Zeitchik continues.
You don't say?
"At this point, it may take a team of FBI interrogators to figure out the truth," concludes the writer, who called Mr. Vise, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, for comment but was told the reporter was on vacation (we were told yesterday he was on leave, "out selling books.")
Here's what Mr. Zeitchik learned: a weekly report of top sellers from Baker & Taylor at the end of January did not include the book one day, but the wholesaler made the unusual move of sending out a revised list the next day that put the book at No. 4.
Sources are also quoted as saying that Mr. Vise ordered as many as 17,000 books from Barnes and Noble, while others said the figure was in the thousands, yet significantly lower than 17,000.

Who's land is this?
WorldNetDaily.com might be the Internet's leading independent English-language news site, but that's not helping its founder, editor and CEO, Joseph Farah former editor in chief of the Sacramento Union obtain Capitol Hill press credentials.
Mr. Farah, who is moving from the West Coast to Washington next month, says he's been trying for 13 months to get his popular news site, which employs 13 full-time editorial professionals, accredited to cover Congress. But his application has been rejected.
"They say there is not enough original content" among other things, says Mr. Farah, who cites numerous exclusives written by WorldNetDaily's Washington bureau chief, Paul Sperry, a former reporter for Investor's Business Daily.
Mr. Farah will appeal the rejection at a hearing in the Senate Press Gallery on April 15. Perhaps he'll call as his witness Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican, with whom he co-authored the book "This Land is Our Land" for St. Martin's Press.

Wily bunch
A just-concluded nationwide poll of registered voters by Washington-based Wilson Research Strategies finds a majority 44 percent believe no matter how the country's campaign finance laws are written, politicians will always find legal loopholes to get the cash they need.
Twenty-four percent, or fewer than one in four respondents to the survey of 1,000 registered voters, believe Congress' recently passed campaign finance reform bill will be an improvement over existing campaign rules.
As for this column, which wasn't polled, we agree with 14 percent of those surveyed who conclude: "Congress regulating money in politics is like letting a fox mind a hen house."

Chris acquires Chris
Speaking of Wilson Research Strategies, one of the fastest growing public opinion research firms in the country, has just gotten bigger, acquiring 411 Communications, a leading provider of public affairs and political research services.
Which means WRS President Chris Wilson has brought aboard Chris Ingram, founder of 411 Communications, who becomes a principal in the firm. Prior to introducing 411, Mr. Ingram was senior vice president of Luntz Research Companies, overseeing polling and communications for clients like American Express, the National Rifle Association and last, but not least anymore, Sir Rudolph Giuliani.

Not forgotten
The National Capital Memorial Commission has unanimously agreed that a 3-foot plaque should honor post-Vietnam war casualties at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Congress two years ago authorized the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commemorative Plaque to be erected at Washington's most visited memorial, which sits on three acres near the Lincoln Memorial.
The plaque, recognizing those whose names are not eligible to be added to "the Wall" due to Pentagon policy, will likely be displayed near the Three Servicemen statuary. A number of Vietnam veterans died after their service to the country ended, many from Agent Orange-related cancer, among other war-related ailments.

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