- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2008

Press coverage

“Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass — no, make that shameless support — they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press,” journalist Michael S. Malone writes in an opinion piece at abcnews.go.com.

“Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play. …

“No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del. …

“Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

“The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber. Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.”

Under the bus

“Political parties are rarely so cold-hearted as to throw their own over the side in pursuit of votes. But that’s happening to Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich as the Illinois Democratic Party is using the unpopular governor as a club to defeat a Republican for a key vacant U.S. House seat,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began spending $1 million this week airing TV ads that link Mr. Blagojevich to Marty Ozinga, the GOP candidate for Congress in the suburban Chicago district being vacated by GOP Rep. Jerry Weller,” Mr. Fund said.

“‘Concrete’s a dirty business, especially for Republican Marty Ozinga,’ the ad’s script reads. ‘Republican Marty Ozinga and his companies gave 23 grand to Rod Blagojevich,’ the ad continues, showing an unflattering picture of Mr. Blagojevich. Mr. Ozinga, the script concludes, is ‘the last guy you’d send to clean up Washington.’ …

“Gov. Blagojevich, whose approval ratings have sunk to a dismal 13 percent in the wake of the ethical investigations that have linked him to convicted real estate developer Tony Rezko, probably feels more like his own party has just backed up a truck and run over him.”

‘Ominous stuff’

“I’ve been thinking this for a while, so I might as well air it here. I honestly never thought we’d see such a thing in our country — not yet anyway — but I sense what’s occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places,” conservative pundit Mark R. Levin writes in a blog at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“I can’t help but observe that even some conservatives are caught in the moment as their attempts at explaining their support for Barack Obama are unpersuasive and even illogical. And the pull appears to be rather strong. Ken Adelman, Doug Kmiec, and others, reach for the usual platitudes in explaining themselves but are utterly incoherent. Even non-conservatives with significant public policy and real world experiences, such as Colin Powell and Charles Fried, find Obama alluring but can’t explain themselves in an intelligent way,” Mr. Levin said.

“There is a cult-like atmosphere around Barack Obama, which his campaign has carefully and successfully fabricated, which concerns me. The messiah complex. Fainting audience members at rallies. Special Obama flags and an Obama presidential seal. A graphic with the portrayal of the globe and Obama’s name on it, which adorns everything from Obama’s plane to his street literature. Young schoolchildren singing songs praising Obama. Teenagers wearing camouflage outfits and marching in military order chanting Obama’s name and the professions he is going to open to them. An Obama world tour, culminating in a speech in Berlin where Obama proclaims we are all citizens of the world. I dare say, this is ominous stuff.”

Free speech

Shippensburg University and a religious student group have settled a lawsuit concerning free-speech rights, the Associated Press reports.

The Christian Fellowship of Shippensburg University asserted in a federal lawsuit filed in May that it had been threatened with being shut down because it requires members to be Christians and its president to be a man.

The group said the state-owned university in Pennsylvania violated a 2004 settlement of a separate lawsuit over the school’s student code of conduct.

In the 2004 case, a civil liberties group sued the university over a student code barring “acts of intolerance” including racist, sexist and anti-gay speech. University officials said they would revise the code after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of that provision.

The Washington-based Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom said the latest lawsuit stemmed from Christian Fellowship’s expulsion from campus by the student senate in February in a dispute over its membership and leadership requirements.

The group, which has been recognized by the university since the early 1970s, was later told it could resume operations, but said it feared the possibility of further sanctions.

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

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