- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bad spellers

“Are Red Staters really the uneducated rubes that so many beautiful Blue people make them out to be? ” David Freddoso asks at National Review Online (www.nationalreview .com).

“Maybe. But Oklahomans, Hoosiers, and Idahoans have at least one thing over their well-educated New York counterparts — they can at least spell their presidential candidate’s name correctly,” said Mr. Freddoso, who is a political reporter for the Evans and Novak Inside Report.

“According to the official documents displayed on the Web site of the National Archives, the Empire State’s 31 electoral votes all went for someone named ‘John L. Kerry’ from Massachusetts. No such person could be found in the phone book, although there is a John T. Kerry in Plymouth.

“New York Deputy Secretary of State Eamon Moynihan was audibly surprised when the mistake was pointed out to him over the phone. ‘It was a typo in Albany,’ he explained later in the day, after looking into the matter. ‘It will be corrected — a corrected version will be sent with an explanatory note,’ he said.

“This electoral-college mistake was not the only one for 2004. The press has widely noted that one of Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes was not cast for Kerry. However, the write-in electoral vote for president did not go to John Edwards, as was widely reported, but instead for someone named ‘John Ewards.’ ”

The Ailes interview

Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News, fired back at his critics during an interview Sunday on C-SPAN’s “Q&A.;”

“You know, we get attacked and we get copied, usually at the same time by the same people,” Mr. Ailes told interviewer Brian Lamb. “And basically, it’s fear that we’re doing something they’re not doing, and they try to pretend that we’re doing something political which they’re not doing, but that’s nonsense. We’ve been around eight years. We’re not retracting stories. We don’t have a former attorney general looking into us to try to determine how we screwed it up, we’re just doing the news every day. …

“What they’re trying to do is say that Fox News is mixing opinion and fact. That’s just simply not true. I mean, if you watch Shep Smith’s show at 7:00, I have no idea what Shep thinks politically. I don’t see any particular agenda. Bias can be a lot of different ways — story selection, story placement, story emphasis. There’s a lot of ways you can create subtle bias. But the networks for years have mixed these things, and now they’re claiming we mix it, when, in fact, Bill O’Reilly is a news analysis show, or Greta [Van Susteren] or somebody else, and the hard news we do is not in question.”

Mr. Ailes, responding to recent criticism from ABC News chief David Westin, said: “He’s the guy who wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to be a journalist for him. He’s the guy who had his head of politics during the election basically come out and say they didn’t have to be fair, they should support Kerry in the debates. I find that odd. I think David’s got a lot of work to do in house before he goes out taking a shot at us.”

The Fox executive also referred to CNN International as “the anti-American channel.”

Moral vicars

“Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California, finds herself on the wrong side of a group of fundamentalists,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“A modest piece of legislation that Ms. Boxer sponsored is under attack in court by plaintiffs who demand that the government enforce their moral views,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“These are secular fundamentalists, not religious ones. At issue is the California Missions Preservation Act, which allots $10 million to restore and repair 21 historic churches in the Golden State. On December 2, two days after President Bush signed the act into law, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit on behalf of Betty, Carol, John and Ronald Doe — not their real names — contending that such funding violates the separation of church and state.

“A description of the four Does sounds like the beginning of a joke: A Unitarian, a Jew, a Buddhist and a ‘freethinker’ go before the bar. …

“Americans United is selective in its opposition to government funding of religious expression. The group filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the 1998 case of National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, in which it unsuccessfully urged the Supreme Court to overturn a law imposing ‘decency and respect’ restrictions on NEA grantees. Among the NEA-funded works that had prompted Congress to impose the regulations was Andres Serrano’s notorious photograph ‘Piss Christ,’ which depicted a crucifix submerged in the photographer’s urine.

“The lawsuit prompted a heartening display of bipartisanship, as the California Republican Party issued a press release ‘coming to the defense of Senator Boxer.’ Maybe the country isn’t quite as bitterly divided as it seemed on November 2.”

Chomsky cheer

“Deck the halls with … Noam Chomsky? ” asks Washington writer Evan Gahr.

“The notorious MIT professor, who traffics in anti-Israel and anti-American invective and even Holocaust denial, hardly seems the ideal person to bring Christmas good cheer. But People for the American Way, the high-profile liberal lobbying group founded by ‘All in the Family’ creator Norman Lear, apparently feels otherwise.”

Two autographed Chomsky books were among the items up for bids in PFAW’s annual Christmas EBay auction/fund raiser, Mr. Gahr reports at his Web site (www.chimpstein.com). Also donating to the liberal group’s online auction were actress Sarah Jessica Parker, “who gave PFAW one of the dresses she wore on the hit show ‘Sex in the City,’ ” as well as 1970s crooner James Taylor, who donated an autographed copy of his greatest-hits CD.

In one of the donated books, “Pirates and Emperors” (which went for $81 in the PFAW auction), “Chomsky likens the United States to a child molester in cahoots with — who else? — Israel,” Mr. Gahr writes, adding that Mr. Chomsky compares former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and former President Ronald Reagan to “terrorist commanders.”

“The auction, inadvertently, shows PFAW’s real colors,” Mr. Gahr says.

Keynote speaker

The “State of the Movement” keynote address at the 2005 Conservative Political Action Conference will be delivered by Rep. Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, on Feb. 17, America Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene announced yesterday.

“CPAC’s kickoff address in years past has been delivered by chairmen of the Republican National Committee, Vice President Dick Cheney, and last year by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, recently elected chairman of the House Republican Study Committee,” Mr. Keene said. “We look to the keynote speaker to exhibit those qualities that reflect resolute advocacy of traditional conservative principles.

“[Mr. Ryan] has earned a reputation as a dogged advocate of conservative Social Security reform,” Mr. Keene said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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