- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Decadent decade
"Back in the early days of the Clinton administration, Barbra Streisand became known as a C-SPAN junkie, immersed in the [details] of public policy. She had the ear of the president and that ear needed to be filled with her insights. When Streisand, who'd stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom very early in Clinton's first term, learned that another blonde had stayed at the White House, she reportedly erupted with incredulity, 'What does Sharon Stone know about policy?'
"This little episode is a useful reminder about Clintonism. The brilliance and the horror of Bill Clinton was that each successive chapter of sleaze eclipsed the previous one. The Lewinsky scandal and, finally, the pardons-for-sale scandal blocked from view our memories of the earliest manifestations of not merely the metaphysical tackiness of the Man from Hope but the moral hall of mirrors that was the entire decade from the O.J. Simpson and Menendez trials to a Wall Street gold rush that made the alleged excess of the 1980s seem sober by comparison."
Jonah Goldberg, writing on "That Was No Lady," in the Oct. 28 issue of National Review

Brave stand
"It's a sign of how bad things have gotten for the anti-war left that at [the Oct. 10] 'Prominent Citizens Oppose War with Iraq' press conference, a large placard sat next to the panelists at the front of the room that read: 'UN Inspections Not U.S. War.' A little free marketing advice: 'Make Love, Not War' was a lot catchier.
"The event at the National Press Club in downtown Washington was sponsored by a host of mainstream lefty (is that an oxymoron?) organizations among them the National Council of Churches, and NOW. It's clear they're in a bind. On the one hand, they hate George W. Bush. But Saddam Hussein, who is quite wicked to women and homosexuals and other minorities, doesn't make a good victim.
"Thus, the prominent citizens on display have decided to take this brave stand: They're for the United Nations and against war. The speeches were hardly inspirational.
"I went to this event hoping to be disturbed and wasn't. At least not by the speakers. But they might have been disturbed by the crowd they drew, which was further to the left, and with which they seemed out of touch. The question and answer session that followed wasn't about some namby-pamby, progressive, pro-U.N. triangulation for the most part it featured people who either identified with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, hated America, or both."
Jonathan V. Last, writing on "Left Behind," Oct. 11 in the Weekly Standard Online at www.weeklystandard.com

Steak and sizzle
"This year Greta Van Susteren's eye job, Paula Zahn's 'sexy' lips and Ashleigh Banfield's hair color probably made more news than any of the actual stories those women produced. Sure, TV news has been short on steak and long on sizzle for years, but when a reputed journalist gleefully milks her own plastic surgery in an (apparently successful) attempt to boost ratings for a new show, steak is probably off the menu for good.
"As the hyper-young face of the Afghan war, Banfield and her reporting from the field about how the video phones work really shed light on a mysterious corner of the world. (Her deblonding was so talked about, you'd have thought Osama bin Laden himself was her colorist.) At least CNN's 'just a little sexy' ads for Zahn were an honest, if tacky, sell.
"In the hallowed halls of CBS News, things were not much different. Citing budget constraints, executives at '60 Minutes II' dumped Carol Martin, a veteran newswoman with a wheelbarrow of awards. But somehow they ponied up around $750,000 to hire Lara Logan, a 31-year-old TV reporter and former swimsuit model. Here's an idea: Maybe we should do away with TV journalism for good and just have models or actresses read stories off the wire. Oh, right, somebody already thought of that."
David DeNicolo, writing on "News Babes," in the October issue of Allure

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