- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Then and now

The TV networks ran 58 stories on the Karl Rove-Valerie Plame-Joseph Wilson flap from July 10 to yesterday, although the special prosecutor has never said Mr. Rove is even the target of the investigation, the Media Research Center’s Rich Noyes reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Even though the morning shows often eschew esoteric political stories, there have actually been 32 morning-show segments devoted to Rove, compared with 26 on the evening newscasts,” Mr. Noyes said.

“Flash back seven years ago to the Lewinsky scandal, when the New Yorker ran an article attempting to discredit Linda Tripp by announcing that she had been arrested for shoplifting as a teenager, but hadn’t noted the arrest when she applied for a Pentagon security clearance (because the judge had expunged the arrest from her official record).

Bill Clinton’s Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth Bacon, eventually confessed to leaking Tripp’s confidential personnel file to the New Yorker’s Clinton-friendly reporter Jane Mayer, but his ‘apology’ could be described as less than contrite: ‘I’m sorry that I did not check with our lawyers or check with Linda Tripp’s lawyers about this,’” he said at a May 21, 1998, briefing.



“But when the victim was an anti-Clinton whistleblower, the networks didn’t seem to care that a high-ranking government official had used an illegal leak (violating the Privacy Act) to a reporter in an effort to discredit a critic. From March 1998 to November 2003 (when Tripp was awarded $595,000 from the Defense Department), the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows ran just 13 stories on Clinton’s ‘Leakgate’ over five-and-a-half years. Much of the coverage was downright hostile to Tripp, not those who violated her privacy.”

Northern Strategy

“Call it the Northern Strategy. Last week Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman stepped out in front of a crowd gathered for the NAACP National Convention in Wisconsin and coolly announced the death of the hotly debated and controversial electoral strategy successfully used by Richard Nixon in 1968.

“The ‘Southern Strategy,’ as it has become known, helped Republicans win in many states of the former Confederacy in that election by appealing to defecting conservative Democrats,” Brendan Miniter writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“The GOP’s success in what was once the solidly Democratic South came, unfortunately, as some Republicans were ‘looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization,’ Mr. Mehlman told the group. ‘I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.’

“These aren’t the first steps Republicans have taken to reach out to black voters. But Mr. Mehlman’s speech is an important turning point in reaching out to a reliably Democratic voting bloc. It’s also a necessary step if Republicans are going to remain competitive on the presidential level by improving their performance in Northern states with large, inner-city black populations.” Mr. Miniter said.

“On the same day that Mr. Mehlman spoke to the NAACP, President Bush traveled to Indiana to meet with black leaders and spotlight their volunteer activities. The president also has appointed two secretaries of state — Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — who are both accomplished individuals who happen to be black.”

Mr. Miniter said the new approach is likely to get its first significant test in Maryland’s 2006 Senate race, where black Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is expected to be the Republican standard-bearer.

Gore’s TV channel

Former Vice President Al Gore, co-founder of a television channel launching next month, said he’s shunning politics — and so is his media venture.

“I consider myself a recovering politician. I’m on step nine,” Mr. Gore said Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif., at a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

The 2000 Democratic candidate for president was asked whether he was concerned the 24-hour news and information channel, called Current, would be perceived as having a political slant. It’s scheduled to start Aug. 1.

“I think the reality of the network will speak for itself. It’s not intended to be partisan in any way,” said Mr. Gore, Current’s co-founder (with businessman Joel Hyatt) and chairman of the board.

Bloomberg’s numbers

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s approval rating hit a three-year high of 60 percent, with Democrats and minorities joining in giving him good marks, a poll shows.

The first-term Republican’s overall approval rating in the Quinnipiac University Poll released yesterday is a jump from the previous three-year high of 55 percent from a poll released last month.

“At this rate, New York City Republicans could stay home on Election Day,” Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll said. “The mayor could win this one with Democrats and independent voters.”

Seventy-two percent of Republicans approved of Mr. Bloomberg, while 23 percent disapproved. Even among Democrats, the poll found 58 percent approved, while 32 percent disapproved. Black voters approved 59 percent to 27 percent and Hispanic voters approved 50 percent to 40 percent.

Priorities in order

The far left knows what matters.

MoveOn.org yesterday announced a television ad demanding that President Bush fire chief political adviser Karl Rove for “his involvement in disclosing the identity of a covert CIA officer.”

But their statement about the ad was released yesterday afternoon, after the White House revealed that Mr. Bush would announce his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The liberal group smelled a rat.

“President Bush has apparently speeded up the announcement of his Supreme Court nominee to deflect public attention from the Karl Rove scandal,” read the first words of the statement from Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action.

The statement’s headline read “President Bush and Karl Rove Star in ‘Wag The Dog II.’” The statement went on to quote a Reuters news agency report that “a Republican strategist” had said the announcement “helps take Rove off the front pages for a week.”

Who cares about the Supreme Court? There’s scandal afoot.

Dropping out

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller said yesterday that he was abandoning his run for governor, an office his father held for two terms, because of a blood disorder that eventually could turn into leukemia.

Mr. Rockefeller, 56, said it would be unfair to his political supporters to continue his campaign against former Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson for the Republican nomination in 2006, the Associated Press reports.

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

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