- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek’s error

“Let’s do a thought experiment about the worst example of journalistic malfeasance in recent years — and considering the competition from Jayson Blair and Dan Rather, that’s saying a lot,” New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

“Let’s say that the item that Newsweek magazine disavowed on Sunday and retracted [Monday] — the item by Michael Isikoff and John Barry that said an American interrogator of terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay had flushed the Koran down the toilet — was actually true. It wasn’t. But let’s say it was.

“Would factual accuracy have justified publishing the item in Newsweek or anywhere else?” Mr. Podhoretz asked.

“That publication led to the furtherance of the notion, extraordinarily dangerous to Americans abroad, that our government is in the habit of desecrating the Muslim Holy Book — and to scores of people getting killed and hundreds getting injured in riots that extended from Afghanistan to Gaza.

“The answer seems obvious now, doesn’t it?

“Newsweek ran an incendiary item about an American official desecrating the Koran, and this incendiary item did what incendiary items are supposed to do. It blew up.

“Only it didn’t blow up the target it was intended to blow up. The intended target was in Washington. We’d have to know the identity of Newsweek’s supposedly ‘good and credible’ source to know precisely whom the source was trying to injure (and you can bet that, no matter what evil nonsense this supposedly ‘good’ source was peddling, Newsweek will protect his name forever).”

Liberal hysteria

“To Democrats, Janice Rogers Brown is the scariest nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the history of the republic,” Peter Kirsanow writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Since her nomination nearly two years ago, she has been the subject of the most vitriolic and persistent attacks ever leveled against a nominee to the federal bench other than Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas,” said Mr. Kirsanow, who is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“The black sharecropper’s daughter, born in segregated Alabama, has been excoriated as a closet member of the Ku Klux Klan who, at least according to the Senate minority leader, would like nothing better than to return America to ‘Civil War days.’

“Left-leaning political cartoonists depict her as an Aunt Jemima on steroids, complete with exaggerated physical features typically found only in the racist literature distributed by hate groups. She’s been called insensitive to the rights of minorities, the plight of the poor, and the difficulties of the disabled. Her opponents warn that she is ‘the far right’s dream judge’ and that ‘she embodies Clarence Thomas’s ideological extremism and Antonin Scalia’s abrasiveness and right-wing activism.’

“And her opponents are plentiful, a who’s who of left-wing advocacy groups: Planned Parenthood, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, NAACP, NOW, People for the American Way, National Abortion Federation, Feminist Majority, and the American Association of University Women, just to name a few.

“What’s driving the hysteria? Three things: demographics, abortion (more specifically, the doctrinal approach that produced Roe v. Wade), and impending Supreme Court vacancies.

“As Professor Steven Calabresi of Northwestern University Law School has noted, Democrats are determined ‘not to allow any more conservative African-Americans, Hispanics, women or Catholics to be groomed for nomination to the High Court with court of appeals appointments.’”

Tomlinson hits back

Kenneth Tomlinson, who chairs the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors, has accused former public-television host Bill Moyers of smearing his name.

Mr. Tomlinson demanded that the former LBJ White House press secretary issue a retraction.

Mr. Tomlinson, who has criticized PBS programming for liberal bias, singled out Mr. Moyers as one of the worst offenders. Mr. Moyers struck back in a speech Sunday, suggesting that Mr. Tomlinson might have been part of an effort during the Reagan administration to put left-wingers on a government “blacklist” concerning who should be sent on lecture trips by the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency.

Mr. Tomlinson, who saw Mr. Moyers’ speech on C-SPAN II, sent out a stinging letter to Mr. Moyers yesterday, saying, “Bill, you can’t make this stuff up. No one has ever linked me to any form of blacklist incident. In fact, I was known at the Voice of America for protecting the institution from State Department attempts to interfere with its journalism.”

Mr. Tomlinson added: “You may want to issue an apology before we meet to discuss public broadcasting. But you most certainly must issue a correction.”

Nuclear option

“Barring a surprise last-minute deal, this week Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will ask for a ruling from the chair — Vice President Dick Cheney presiding — that ending debate on a judicial nominee requires a vote of a simple majority of 51 senators, not a supermajority of 60. The nuclear option — aka the ‘constitutional option’ — will have been detonated. Judicial filibusters, R.I.P.,” the Wall Street Journal says.

” … It’s a shame it has come to this. But at this point, it would be worse if Republicans let a willful minority deny the president’s nominees a vote on the Senate floor,” the newspaper said in an editorial Monday.

” … The audacity of the Democrats’ radicalism is illustrated by the breadth of their claims against the nominees. It isn’t just one nominee they object to; it’s 10, and counting. It isn’t just abortion they’re worried about, but the entire range of constitutional law….

“They are going to such bitter lengths, we suspect, precisely because they view the courts as their last hold on federal power.”

Sex suit

Claiming invasion of privacy and humiliation, a staff lawyer for a U.S. senator has filed suit against a woman who published details of their sexual relationship on her blog, or Web log.

Robert Steinbuch, a counsel for Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, filed the civil suit on Monday against Jessica Cutler, whose brief employment on Mr. DeWine’s staff was terminated by revelations about her graphic journal of her sexual escapades.

Writing under the nom de plume “Washingtonienne,” Miss Cutler last year briefly kept an X-rated online diary of her simultaneous relationships with up to six men around town, including an unidentified Bush administration appointee.

Mr. Steinbuch was not identified in the diary, but he claimed in the suit filed in U.S. District Court here that Miss Cutler’s use of his initials, “R.S.,” first name and other details made him “clearly identifiable,” Agence France-Presse reports.

“Cutler’s outrageous actions, setting before anyone in the world with access to the Internet intimate and private facts regarding [ Mr. Steinbuch], constituted a gross invasion of his privacy,” the suit says.

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

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