- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2007

Perky bias

“Katie Couric is getting new producer, Rick Kaplan (formerly of ABC, CNN and MSNBC), to beef up her nightly news broadcast. I confess my initial reaction was to try to recall the last time I watched a network evening news broadcast. I think it was when I had the flu in 2003. Really, who among the politically curious in America goes until 6:30 p.m. to catch the news and can find 30 minutes of time at that hour of the day to watch it? It is remarkable that apparently many millions of people still do. … So why does it matter if Katie is perky or serious or if her newscast is substantive or biased?

“We could say it matters less than in the pre-cable and pre-Internet world. Surely any news consumer at any hour of the day can select from literally thousands of choices. …

“Maybe Katie would do better to choose a former Fox producer rather than one from MSNBC. She might hear an opposing view or two, he might suggest she modify some loaded language and the two of them could argue about whether it really is fair to say ‘Extreme Liberal Senator Kennedy’ just like they say ‘Arch Conservative Sam Brownback.’ Until that happens, news consumers aren’t likely to abandon their news ghettos any time soon.”

— Jennifer Rubin, writing on “The Skinny on Katie,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Carter’s sunset

“Jimmy Carter’s list of self-humiliations began with the double-digit inflation during the time he occupied the White House. Then there was the hostage crisis of November 1979, when Iranian ‘students’ mobbed the U.S. embassy, took more than 50 prisoners and kept them locked up for 444 days, while Carter wrung his hands. … The long Carterian nightmare finally concluded when all the hostages went free on Jan. 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan’s inauguration day. …

“The very name Carter became synonymous with political ineptitude. Still, in retirement the ex-commander in chief attempted to repair his reputation, building homes for the poor and staying out of the limelight. But obviously, he found being ignored intolerable. So he began to attack American foreign policy and negotiate on his own with totalitarians around the globe, all the while lobbying for the Nobel Peace Prize — a reward he received in 2002. …

“Since then, Carter has been as predictable as the sunset, doing what no other former president has ever done: continuing to assail the U.S. administration while currying favor with foreign governments.

— Stefan Kanfer, writing on “The Big Lie, Clothbound,” in the winter issue of City Journal

Comic tragedy

“Captain America was murdered on the steps of the federal courthouse in New York. …

“The death of Captain America became, quite improbably, a minor cultural event. According to Joe Quesada, the editor in chief of Marvel Comics, Marvel made the decision to kill Cap 18 months ago, while it was plotting the direction of its seven-issue limited series ‘Civil War,’ which details the rift between heroes following a law that required superheroes to register with the government. …

“Cap was born in March 1941, when a scrawny Steve Rogers tried to enlist in the Army. Rejected because of his feeble physique, Rogers volunteered for a secret government program attempting to create a super soldier through genetic enhancement. …

“The Army sent him into battle with a red, white and blue shield and the moniker Captain America.”

— Jonathan V. Last, writing on “Captain America, RIP,” Tuesday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

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