- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

Publicity stunt?

In the latest twist in the Perez Hilton/Miss USA/gay marriage brouhaha, a leading religious conservative notes that Miss California’s response to a pageant judge’s question should not have been unexpected and accuses the pageant of ginning up a stunt for which it should apologize.

Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., who goes by the name “Perez Hilton” on the Internet, asked Carrie Prejean what she thought about gay marriage, and she responded that “I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.” Mr. Lavandeira, who is gay, openly grimaced during the show and then cussed up an unprintable storm against Miss Prejean on his site. He said, and Miss Prejean concurred, that the answer killed the title hopes of Miss Prejean, who finished first runner-up.

But Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted Wednesday that Miss Prejean’s Christian beliefs were not a secret to Miss USA organizers, pointing out that she quotes a biblical passage in her biography on the Miss California USA site.

Combined with Mr. Lavandeira’s “reputation for outlandishness and homosexual activism … the origins of this entire firestorm [are] suspect,” he said.

“It’s no secret that the Miss USA pageant’s ratings and prestige have plummeted significantly over the past several years. Carrie Prejean has been victimized by this flagging production in a vain attempt to generate interest through controversy rather than substance,” Mr. Perkins said.

No to ‘Doctrine’

The 10,000-member Society of Professional Journalists has announced its formal opposition to the Fairness Doctrine, a law that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to determine whether broadcasters were appropriately providing conflicting perspectives on controversial issues.

“SPJ in general opposes government intervention on speech. The Fairness Doctrine does that and discussion about having it again should end,” SPJ President Dave Aeikens said. “The SPJ Code of Ethics requires fairness in news coverage, but we don’t want the government to mandate that.”

No legislation has been introduced to pass the doctrine, although SPJ noted, “Some members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have indicated support for the Fairness Doctrine.”

Dobbs on Dupont

CNN firebrand and self-described “radical moderate” Lou Dobbs broadcast his radio program from the Palm Restaurant in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

“I feel like a stranger in a strange land when I come to our nation’s capital,” Mr. Dobbs said, commenting on how the city was filled with partisans and special interests. On the other hand, Mr. Dobbs joked that he “loves this town because it creates myths and makes them bigger than life.”

Mr. Dobbs hosted 2008 Republican presidential-primary candidate Fred Thompson, who came with his wife, Jeri Lynn, in tow, during his program. They discussed the Obama administration’s first 100 days while those watching the live broadcast in the Palm’s front room snacked on shrimp cocktail.

Mr. Dobbs criticized President Obama several times on security issues, ranging from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision not to use the word “terrorist” to Mr. Obama’s evolving position on torture.

“We’ve unleashed the dogs of hell, to tell you the truth,” Mr. Thompson, a former Senate Intelligence Committee member, said of Mr. Obama’s new willingness to prosecute former Bush officials for torture.

After the radio program ended, Mr. Dobbs’ staff quickly packed their equipment to make their way across town to CNN’s Washington bureau, where the host was to begin his television program in about an hour.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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