- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

CBS probe sought

BoycottCBS.com, which led the successful fight last fall against the CBS miniseries that mocked the Reagans, has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether CBS and its parent company, Viacom, violated federal election laws by using obviously fraudulent documents to attack a presidential candidate less than 60 days before Election Day.

Under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, corporate funds cannot pay for broadcasts that name a candidate within 60 days of a general election. While CBS claims a media exemption for its news division, yesterday’s FEC complaint argues that the media exemption does not protect fraudulent broadcasts or those coordinated with a candidate’s campaign.

“If Dan Rather and CBS want to peddle lies, we believe they should be free to do so,” said Mike Paranzino, boycottCBS.com creator and president of the nonprofit group that brought the complaint. “But under the McCain-Feingold law that Rather and CBS/Viacom championed for years, broadcasting fraudulent material that names a candidate less than 60 days before an election is a violation of federal law, as is coordinating such a broadcast with a candidate’s campaign. The FEC must investigate this at once.”

Jersey in play

“Even New Jersey seems to have soured on U.S. Sen. John Kerry,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“Once regarded as a sure thing, winning Democrat-friendly New Jersey in November appears increasingly uncertain as Kerry’s late-summer swoon has clouded his prospects in a must-win state,” reporter Tom Turcol writes.

“Poll results issued last week showed that President Bush’s surge after the Republican National Convention also swept over New Jersey. The 20 percentage-point lead that Kerry had amassed in the state after his convention at the end of July virtually evaporated, with Bush trailing by only 4 percentage points in the latest Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers Poll. …

“‘If John Kerry is fighting for his life in a Democratic state, he can’t win the election,’ said Stuart Rothenberg, a Washington political analyst.”

Teresa: Bush’s ‘flaw’

Teresa Heinz Kerry yesterday said that President Bush is unwilling to change, a character flaw she said shows “inattention and indifference,” rather than strength.

Speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the wife of Democratic Sen. John Kerry said her husband is a more capable leader, who would respond to issues important to Hispanics, something she said the Republican incumbent has not done.

She said of her husband, “His value in understanding complexity and not being afraid to face it and take action and follow through have been a trademark throughout his life.”

Of Mr. Bush, Mrs. Heinz Kerry said the president “demonstrates he cannot and will not change.”

“The president thinks this shows strength, when all it shows is inattention and indifference.”

Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, responded: “John Kerry has taken eight positions on the war in Iraq and has taken both sides of nearly every important issue facing America today.”

Biased coverage

American newspapers tend to give more positive news coverage to the same economic news when Democrats are in the White House, according to a study released yesterday.

“When all types of news are pooled into a single analysis, our results are highly significant. However, the results vary greatly depending upon which economic numbers are being reported,” said John R. Lott Jr. and Kevin A. Hassett, both of the American Enterprise Institute.

When GDP growth is reported, Republicans received between 16 percent and 24 percent fewer positive stories for the same economic numbers than Democrats, the study found.

For durable-goods orders, Republicans received between 15 percent and 25 percent fewer positive news stories than Democrats.

For unemployment, the difference was between zero percent and 21 percent. Retail sales showed no difference.

Among the Associated Press and the top 10 papers, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times and the AP tend to be the least likely to report positive news during Republican administrations, while the Houston Chronicle slightly favored Republicans, the study found.

Zell returns fire

“My critics in the national media are working overtime trying to paint me as an angry nut who got the facts all wrong in my speech to the Republican National Convention,” Sen. Zell Miller writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Since there’s not enough time to challenge all of these critics to a duel, let me set the record straight here and now,” the Georgia Democrat said.

“First, the anger. A lot has been said about my angry demeanor. I’ve made enough speeches to know that you’re supposed to connect with the audience by telling a joke or a humorous anecdote or some amusing tale. It’s a tried-and-true formula that I’ve used for most of my life. But this was not a normal speech in a normal time.

“Today, we are at the most serious moment of history that we may ever know, and I wanted to connect with the seriousness of this moment, not the audience.

“Now, about those facts. I charged that John Kerry is weak on national security, and I listed some of the many weapons systems he has opposed over the years. My critics tripped over themselves to point out that Dick Cheney opposed some of the same weapons systems when he was defense secretary.

“But, like with so many things in life, timing is everything. Mr. Kerry was proposing the cancellation of many of these weapons systems at the height of the Cold War,” while Mr. Cheney “waited until after we had won the Cold War to propose modernizing our forces and replacing older weapons systems. There’s a huge difference.”

Football flap

The Green Bay Packers, more than any other football team, has become intertwined with presidential politics this year, CNN’s Steve Brusk writes in the Morning Grind column at www.cnn.com.

Sen. John Kerry “created a mini-flap while visiting this football-crazy city of Green Bay on August 25th when he mispronounced the name of the team’s sacred stadium, confusing ‘Lambeau Field’ with ‘Lambert Field.’ Within two weeks, the Badger State had flipped from Kerry’s column to Bush’s. Coincidence?” Mr. Brusk asked.

Lambert Field is a St. Louis airport.

“Kerry’s Lambeau faux pas caught the attention of Dick Cheney, campaigning last Thursday in Green Bay. He told a local audience after Kerry’s visit, ‘I wanted to be sure to see Lambert Field all for myself.’ Cheney then said, ‘The next thing you know, he’ll be confusing Vince Lombardi with a foreign leader who supports his candidacy.’”

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

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