- The Washington Times - Monday, October 4, 2004

Brokaw and Rather

NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw has rushed to the defense of embattled CBS News anchor Dan Rather — and now finds himself under fire.

Mr. Brokaw, during a panel discussion in New York on Saturday, criticized what he called an attempt to “demonize” CBS and Mr. Rather on the Internet.

Mr. Rather finds himself in trouble for using fake documents to question President Bush’s National Guard record.

Mr. Brokaw said the criticism of his CBS counterpart “goes well beyond any factual information,” adding, “What I think is highly inappropriate is what is going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad … that is quite outrageous.”

BoycottCBS.com founder Michael Paranzino fired back yesterday, saying, “Tom Brokaw reads the news, but does he understand it? How could a man who reports on child-killings in Beslan, or beheadings in Iraq, be so insensitive to the reality of jihad?

“Jihad is not Americans demanding reforms from an arrogant and biased media. Jihad is Islamists mowing down children for sport, blowing up families at Tel Aviv cafes, and, in case he forgot, terrorists sending jet airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.”

Mr. Paranzino added: “We will not be cowed into silence by Mr. Brokaw’s intemperate remarks. Is it any wonder the networks have been hemorrhaging viewers for years? They just don’t get it.”

The contradiction

“Here’s why President Bush survives the gauntlet of three nationally televised debates: the Kerry contradiction,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

John Kerry is glib and knowledgeable and smart enough in his attacks on Bush to stop short of being overbearing and abrasive. But the dominant issue in the campaign is Iraq, and that’s where the contradiction comes in. Kerry would have you believe that the war in Iraq is a horrible fiasco we never should have gotten into — and he’s just the guy to win it. Does anyone really believe that, even Kerry himself? I doubt it,” Mr. Barnes said.

“The Kerry performance in the debate is likely to have the same effect as his speech at the Democratic convention in late July. The speech was lauded at the time as strong and persuasive — I thought so myself — but it didn’t wear well. Within days, Kerry’s lavishly touted record in Vietnam was under harsh scrutiny. And his failure to make an adequate case for his election was becoming clear. In the end, the convention speech raised more questions than it answered.”

Mr. Barnes added: “Instead of clearing up Kerry’s contradictory position on Iraq, the debate last week highlighted it.”

Media party

Rush Limbaugh and many others predicted that the media elite would find ‘surprising’ strength for John Kerry in the debates,” Tim Graham writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Kerry would have had to start babbling gibberish (think Steve Carell’s Jim Carrey-cursed anchorman in ‘Bruce Almighty’) to not receive liberal raves Thursday night and Friday morning,” Mr. Graham said.

“For example, Tom Shales began his Washington Post analysis saying, ‘John Kerry came off as more presidential than the president’ Thursday night. Shales predicted, ‘It could be that flip-flopping has played itself out, thanks in part to relentless lampooning of the phrase by topical TV comics.’

“Inside the liberal-media cocoon, as Mickey Kaus puts it, they’d like to believe that looking presidential and winning the election are the same thing. In other words, if Coke makes a better commercial than Pepsi, then Coke should sell more bottles. But liberals are missing the point that voters may have heard the candidates’ messages loud and clear and thought: I’ll stick with the guy who wants to play offense in the war on terrorism, not the guy aiming for world approval. I’ll take the man who won’t bend to international peer pressure over the man who sounds like he’s running for king of the U.N. prom.

“Perhaps the most comical moment in the liberal-media after-party Thursday night came on PBS’ ‘Charlie Rose,’ when Newsweek’s chief Democratic spinner, Jonathan Alter, mourned that Republicans have a ‘huge advantage’ after the debates because conservatives ‘control all of talk radio’ (sorry, Al Franken) and because there won’t be many on Fox News Channel speaking well of Kerry. By contrast, CNN and MSNBC and PBS all have the disadvantage of attempting to be balanced.

“But it seemed from flipping past Fox after the debate that they had several Kerry fans on — from aspiring secretary of state Richard Holbrooke to Sen. Bob Graham. And what made Alter’s statement so comical was that he was sitting on a PBS round table with Charlie Rose, Walter Isaacson, Karen Tumulty, Mark Halperin and Michael Kinsley — all credentialed members of the liberal media elite who liked Kerry’s performance.”

Dress for success

Sen. John Kerry’s no Al Gore. Just look at his clothes,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Where Gore’s fashionistas suggested earth-tone colors and upscale casual to soften his stiff image, Kerry has junked his Euro suits for khakis and a blue blazer. Come to think of it, he dresses like President Bush. And that’s no coincidence. Because, as Steve Barr, a senior vice president of Tropical Sportswear International, tells us, that’s what they wear in the battleground states,” Mr. Bedard said.

“His firm, which sells about 40 million pairs of pants annually under brands like Farrah and Van Heusen, did a sales study based on the electoral map. Result: GOP areas like khaki casual, and Democratic areas prefer dressy grays and blacks. As Kerry reaches into the red states to pull out a win, notes a Tropical spokesman, ‘one must accept a flip-flop’ in his style.

“Barr hints that it might not work, since Bush is a ‘jeans guy’ while Kerry is known for his formal Beacon Hill look. But there’s hope: Barr says men are starting to dress up more. Maybe 2008 would be a better bet for the Democrat. ‘It’s not John Kerry’s time yet,’ says Barr.”

Judicial editor

An Alaska judge has accepted two of three drafts of a ballot initiative summary that would change how U.S. Senate vacancies are filled in the state, supporters of the measure say.

Superior Court Judge Morgan Christen had twice ordered the summary rewritten, ruling the original was biased and inaccurate and that a new draft was still “one-sided.” Her initial ruling means 517,000 ballots must be reprinted and redistributed before the Nov. 2 election.

Democrats have pushed for the initiative, which began after Republican Frank H. Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to his Senate seat when he became governor in 2002.

After Judge Christen twice rejected his initiative summary language, Republican Lt. Gov. Loren Leman asked Judge Christen to pick one of three new drafts.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]m.

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