- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Catty bunch

The same week that she indicts herself and fellow “spin sisters” Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, Myrna Blyth will come to Washington to present her case and talk about her new book at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute luncheon Friday.

“Probably, it will be the first time I will be in a room with so many females who agree with me since I attended the first Beatles concert at Town Hall and we all thought they were the cutest things we ever saw,” the former Ladies’ Home Journal editor in chief tells Inside the Beltway.

That was 40 years ago, when the budding lady scribe covered the Beatles’ arrival in America for the teen magazine Ingenue. She later rose to become founding editor in chief of More magazine and executive editor of Family Circle. She most notably retired recently after 21 years at the helm of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Now, in her book “Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America,” to be released this week by St. Martin’s Press, Mrs. Blyth — to the consternation of many in the Fourth Estate — is coming clean.

“Bernie Goldberg warned me how nasty the media would be,” she says of former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, author of the bestseller “Bias.”

“Certainly the spin sisters, especially the women’s magazine editors, have been trying to give me a once over,” she tells this column, “just being personally catty.”

Who can blame the ladies? Mrs. Blyth labels them “elitist, liberal, parochial and pampered, and all of them believe that if you’re a woman you should think like them.”

The luncheon will be in the Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium on Capitol Hill. Reservations are recommended.

Iraqi sojourn

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Cooke was waiting on the tarmac of Baghdad International Airport to greet Rep. Phil Gingrey, a freshman Republican from Georgia and member of the Armed Services Committee.

Later that day, Cooke died.

“It was my only opportunity to ever be in a theater of combat operations,” recalls the congressman, “and it seemed relatively safe there on the tarmac. As I looked into his crystal-clear blue eyes, he told me about his 26 years of service to this country in Kosovo, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and now Operation Iraqi Freedom as well.

“He was looking forward to his retirement in four years,” Mr. Gingrey added, “but very proud of his service to his country.”

The command sergeant major’s final day was a heroic one, in many ways. Shortly before a roadside bomb ripped into his Humvee north of Baghdad, he’d explained in a letter home why he didn’t sign up for a two-week leave to visit his family — he didn’t want to leave behind a 1st Armored Division comrade who didn’t qualify for the pass.

An hour or so before he died, he had heard about an injured soldier in urgent need of O-positive blood. So he rushed to a field hospital and donated his own blood, then raced back to rejoin his doomed convoy.

Recently, Sgt. Cooke was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Kissing cousins

Rapidly spreading ancestral roots and branches digitally mapped out by the Family Forest Project reveal closer family ties than originally thought between President Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry.

Heck, the two are related.

According to a fully sourced ancestral history lineage-linked in the Family Forest Web page, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry now are calculated to be at least 9th cousins twice removed. And as more of the pair’s ancestral lines continue to grow, the relationship might become even closer, experts say.

On top of that, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry have several intriguing cousins in common: Walt Disney, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, the Wright Brothers, Meriwether Lewis, Hugh Hefner, Clara Barton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Princess Diana — and even former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Other members of the proud Bush-Kerry family include Benedict Arnold, Crown Prince Leka II of the Albanians, Prince Emanuel Filiberto of Italy, Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Alexandra of Greece, Crown Prince Felipe of Spain, singer David Crosby and finally, um, John Hinckley Jr.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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