- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FUN FACTS, PART 2

News + comedy + bias = comedy. The conservative blogosphere rattled with revelations that CNN went to great lengths to “fact check” a parody of President Obama on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The serious news segment featured anchor Wolf Blitzer, correspondent Kareen Wynter and Bill Adair, an analyst at PolitiFact.com.

Wait. It’s a comedy show, not, say PBS’ “Frontline.” But the analysis machine was in motion, and the segment was rife with solemn pronouncements, graphics, cut-aways; Mr. Adair intoned that “SNL” “missed the mark” and “glossed over progress” of the Obama administration. Greg Hensley of Townhall.com and Salem Radio Network producer Lee Habeeb were the sharp-eyed sages who first noticed this ironic cultural moment, and then demanded to know why CNN did not “fact check” the now-infamous Tina Fey impressions of Sarah Palin.

And where there is a cultural moment, mirth may follow. This went viral - picked up in print, broadcast and online - and on an instant Twitter topic, #CNNfactcheck. The Tweets continue to pile up by the minute, suggesting other CNN fact-checkin’ headlines. Among the many:

“This just in: Wolf Blitzer not really a wolf,” “Rhett really did not give a damn. Confirmed,” “David Letterman is, in fact, not attractive,” “Just in: Pepe Le Pew was really a cat that smelled like a skunk,” “CNN Report: Despite widespread claims, few actually ‘scream’ for ice cream,” “CNN Nautical reporting that Captain Crunch neither is or has been an actual captain of any vessel,” “CNN Report: President Obama never actually used phrase ‘diddly squat’. ”

SLEEPING GIANT

Yankee resolve is alive and well. Some American public opinion for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to perhaps consider:

“There is broad willingness across the political spectrum to use military force to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Seven-in-ten Republicans (71 percent) and two-thirds of independents (66 percent) say it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if it means taking military action. Fewer Democrats (51 percent) express this view,” says a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Sixty-one percent of American overall approve of force to prevent Iran from going nuclear. And while 63 percent approve of negotiations with Iran - a no-no in the George W. Bush administration - only 22 percent say the methods actually will work. Meanwhile, 78 percent approve of tougher economic sanctions against the nation, though less than a third say it will have any effect.

The survey of 1,500 adults was conducted Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

BECK AND CALL

The ongoing advertising boycott of Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has gone global. Waitrose - an upscale British grocery chain that is as steeped in social and corporate responsibility as a cup of strong tea - has pulled its advertising from Fox News, seen locally in the nation on the Sky Broadcasting channel.

Old comments never die or even fade away, apparently. Mr. Beck’s observations suggesting President Obama was a “racist” against whites in the wake of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s arrest in July are still being discussed in British circles.

“We have pulled advertising because we believe it’s the right thing to do. Our customers’ views are important to us,” Waitrose said.

LESS IS MORE

We hear from our brilliant Beltway readers daily; here’s some wisdom from our pal Bob Emmrich of Fairfield, Ohio, regarding the bloated federal bureaucracy:

“If you think you need more government in your life consider this: There are 31 words in the Pledge of Allegiance, 58 words in the Preamble to the Constitution, 269 words in the Gettysburg Address and approximately 13,500 words, in five different federal agency manuals, on the handling of cabbage,” Mr. Emmrich points out.

“We add that the Lord created the Earth in 50-something words, a jot and tittle that Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden pointed out to his reporters on numerous occasions.”

TRILLION BAZILLION JILLION

Uh-oh. Consider this, done in the familiar cadence of children’s voices, courtesy of the Employment Policies Institute:

“I pledge allegiance to America’s debt - and to the Chinese government that lends us money. And to the interest - for which we pay, compoundable - with higher taxes - and lower pay. Until the day we die.”

Indeed, the children are intoning these lines on a multimillion-dollar advocacy-ad campaign from the District-based nonprofit research group, now airing on CNN, Fox News Channel and CNBC. And you may have seen their 17 raggedy costumed Uncle Sams wandering through Washington, begging. Too much? They don’t think so.

“This campaign is all about getting people to understand the frightening reality of the massive federal debt,” says the group’s executive director, Richard Berman. “People do not realize just how much $12 trillion is, and what it will take for our country to get out from under that level of debt.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 29 percent of Americans say they are less likely to watch CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” after the host revealed his marital infidelity on the air.

• 63 percent said his revelations had no impact on their viewing habits.

• 46 percent have an unfavorable view of Mr. Letterman.

• 42 percent have a favorable impression of him.

• 52 percent are not following the story closely.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Oct. 3-4.

Guffaws, murmurs, surveys to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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