- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2009


Memo to White House: Get a grip. Hush up about Fox News, talk radio and other media rivals, as the proverbial negative blowback could be a mere sound bite away.

“There he goes again: President Obama comparing Fox News to talk radio. Well, I wonder if Mr. Obama is on the payroll of these two news outlets? Every time he opens his mouth about either one, he generates more ratings and revenue for them,” Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine tells Inside the Beltway.

The founder of the magazine - which tracks the talk radio industry - has advice for the White House.

“If they want to avoid strengthening media rivals, stop carrying on about them. Mr. Obama may even misunderstand talk radio itself. While conservatives and Republicans have a demographic presence in the listening audience, the majority still call themselves ‘independent.’ Our own numbers place the listenership at 52 percent independent, 27 percent Republican, 16 percent Democratic,” Mr. Harrison says.

Hm-m. Could this be evidence of the emerging Tea Party party? Stay tuned.

“But listeners have one thing in common. They see politics as a spectator sport, and they’re loving the battle between the White House and the media. It’s very entertaining, and it’s a war that’s actually benefiting Fox News and talk radio,” he concludes.

Which brings us to Memo No. 2, to paranoid Republican “leadership”: Fellahs. Puh-lease. Stop being so afraid of Rush Limbaugh. He’s not going to run for office, or open a strategy firm anytime soon. He’s an idea guy with exquisite timing, his index finger upon the rapid pulse of the cultural-political beast. A “GOP vs. Rush” rivalry could prove an unnecessary sideshow and a distraction, as much so as Mr. Obama’s crabby moments with Fox.

As Mr. Limbaugh says, “Ladies and gentleman, I, Rush Limbaugh, live in Barack Obama’s head rent-free.”


Republicans should be wary of the pre-loaded political Tweet.

Progressives have announced plans for a social-media offensive, geared to “our new reality”, says Xavier Lopez-Ayala of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. The progressive group is one of several across the country that are honing the Twittering, blogging, videography and advocacy prowess of grass-roots types to “further change” as 2010 approaches.

Uh-oh. There’s that old “c” word, Mr. Obama’s onetime mantra. Progressives are hot to Tweet, and they still recall the Web-based victories of Howard Dean well over 100 years ago. Wait. It was 2004. It only seems like a century ago.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lopez-Ayala calls the dicey art of social media “impact journalism.” So, Republicans: Log in and get thee to thy Tweet board.


Zounds. Someone is casting a sizable, deliberate footprint.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s announcement of a successful, massive drug bust was burgeoning with big numbers and plenty of spoils. Imagine: 3,000 agents and officers participated, netting 729 pounds of methamphetamine, 62 kilograms of cocaine, 967 pounds of marijuana, 144 weapons, and 109 vehicles.

“There is no doubt that this takedown was strategically planned by the Justice Department to coincide with the release of the deputy attorney general’s memorandum,” Joseph DiBenedetto tells Beltway.

The New York criminal defense attorney defended Peter Gotti of the Gambino crime family at one point.

“This is a show of force. The government is sending a clear signal to manufacturers, transporters, etc. that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Most of the defendants are likely charged with crimes which require mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 10 years to life,” Mr. DiBenedetto said.


Is there a Reagan Circuit?

Craig Shirley, author of the just released “Rendezvous With Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America” will appear at three sites that are, well, hallowed in the hearts of conservatives and Republicans alike.

In November, Mr. Shirley will speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and at the Reagan Ranch, both in California. In December, he will speak at Eureka College - Mr. Reagan’s alma mater in Illinois.

“Without a doubt, the chance to speak to Americans - particularly young Americans - about Ronald Reagan, where he was born, where he lived and where his legacy lives on is simply the most gratifying and humbling experience of my life,” Mr. Shirley tells Beltway.


Bulletin from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“Sign up now to have important CDC information about H1N1 flu and other topics delivered directly to your mobile phone! To subscribe, text HEALTH to 87000. Subscribers can expect to receive about three health messages. … Standard text messaging rates will apply. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/mobile.”


- 77 percent of newspaper journalists are satisfied with their current jobs.

- 66 percent say they’ll still be in journalism two years from now.

- 59 percent say they’ll likely be in the same newsroom.

- 50 percent want to double their “digital focus.”

- 20 percent “yearn for the old days” of journalism.

Source: A Northwestern University survey of 3,800 journalists in 79 newsrooms conducted Jan. 19-March 11.

Send quiet asides, nervous finger-pointing and random noise to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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