- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Liberal crowd

If you didn’t already gather, a majority of newspaper and broadcast reporters covering the federal beat in Washington “are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public.”

So reveals the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which finds reporters are “notably different from the general public in their ideology and attitudes toward political and social issues.”

A whopping 34 percent of “national journalists” surveyed this month describe themselves as “liberals,” compared with 19 percent of the general public.

“Moreover, there is a relatively small number of conservatives at national and local news organizations,” the center finds. “Just 7 percent of national news people and 12 percent of local journalists describe themselves as conservatives, compared with a third of all Americans.”

The findings are based on interviews with 547 national and local reporters, producers, editors and executives across the country.

But before you cancel your “liberal” newspaper subscription or switch TV channels, an accompanying Pew commentary on the survey asks the question: “But what does ‘liberal’ mean to journalists?

“We would be reluctant to infer too much here,” says the center. “The survey … suggest journalists have in mind something other than a classic big government liberalism and something more along the lines of libertarianism.”

Zionist conspiracy

Speaking of liberals, or at least the “liberal use of hyperbole,” a South Carolina congressman has some harsh words for his state’s senior senator.

“While I appreciate Sen. [Ernest F.] Hollings’ years of service to the state and nation, I must respectfully disagree with his recent column, ‘Why we are in Iraq,’ ” Republican Rep. Jim DeMint writes to the State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., charging that the retiring senator’s published opinions “crossed the line of decency.”

Mr. Hollings’ assertion that President Bush’s real reason for invading Iraq “was primarily to make Israel, not America, more secure is outlandish,” says the congressman, who is one of six Republicans seeking Mr. Hollings’ Senate seat. “His insinuation that a Zionist conspiracy has hijacked American foreign policy is at a minimum bizarre, and at worst, chilling.”

Politicians rock

Blender is celebrating this election year by getting down with some of the most “rockingest” politicians ever — a style of living that has made Sen. John Kerry, British Prime Minster Tony Blair, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton “some of the most interesting public servants of all time.”

If you want to be hip, especially among the ladies, “don’t join a band — join the government!” writes the publication’s Clark Collis, who reveals of Mr. Kerry: “In high school, the [likely] Democratic presidential nominee played bass in a rock band called the Electras … [and] Kerry’s office in Washington is decorated with Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen posters and a handwritten note from U2’s Bono.

“Last September, he performed Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ at a fund-raiser with Moby,” Mr. Collis continues.

Says Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge of the Massachusetts Democrat: “I would love to sit down and play guitar with him, but I’ll wait until he’s president, and I can be the ambassador to England or something.”

Record turnout

A follow to our item last week on the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, which is now predicting that nearly 7 million Hispanic Americans — now surpassing blacks as the largest minority in this country — will make their voices heard in this November’s presidential election.

Muslim matters

Washington will play host this weekend to the second annual convention of the Universal Muslim Association of America, the only organization of Shi’ite Muslims in the United States.

An expected 10,000 Shi’ite Muslims from across the United States and Canada will arrive in the nation’s capital to discuss topics relevant to their community, including turmoil in Iraq.

The main speaker will be Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and a representative of the Islamic Dawa Party. The featured guest will be Shirin Ebadi, who, in 2003, became the first Muslim woman to receive a Nobel Prize for her efforts on behalf of democracy and human rights.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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