NEWS AND OPINION:
The summer’s hot, the press is restless and the ideological divisions in the news media are spiked with malevolence. It’s also open season on a pair of conservative journalists. One is online publisher Andrew Breitbart, who posted the now infamous video clip of former U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod that prompted an intense national debate over race and politics. The other is Tucker Carlson, founder of the Daily Caller, who revealed damning details from “JournoList,” and the cumbersome conspiracy of left-leaning journalists behind it.
Mr. Breitbart and Mr. Carlson - their news gathering collectively drove press coverage for five days - are accused of being “a new breed of conservative pseudo-journalists” by Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, who claimed their work was, among other things, misleading, fragmentary, interpretive, out of context. Both are unfazed.
“They think my conservative credentials are to be challenged? Or are these ‘real’ journalists challenging my journalistic credentials who just don’t know how to write?” Mr. Breitbart tells Inside the Beltway.
“People who secretly carry water for politicians and political parties ought to be ashamed to call themselves journalists, much less criticize others who actually are,” says Mr. Carlson.
“Is Sarah Palin packing the GOP with powerchicks?” (Question from LaGrange College political science professor John Tures, in the Southern Political Report)
DRAWING THE LINE
“There should be no mosque near ground zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over,” says Newt Gingrich, now considering a run for president in 2012.
He joins a growing group of Republicans opposed to Cordoba House, a $100 million “community” a Muslim interest group hopes to build within two blocks of the former World Trade Center site that has garnered support from New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, among others.
“Most of them don’t understand that ‘Cordoba House’ is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain - the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex,” Mr. Gingrich explains. “It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.”
He adds, “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.”
ALSO DRAWING A LINE
“Given the political right’s hate-filled and hysterical response to all things Muslim, one has to ask whether American Muslims face a future in which they will no longer be treated as equal citizens,” counters Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“The best example of the right’s campaign to deprive American Muslims of the civil liberties enjoyed by citizens of other faiths is the neo-McCarthy-ite response to a planned Islamic cultural center in New York City,” Mr. Hooper says, citing as examples Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, New York gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio and security analyst Frank Gaffney.
“Why is all this bigotry and hatred being employed to stop the construction of a community center that will house recreational and banquet facilities, meeting rooms, an auditorium - and yes, a prayer space for Muslims and people of other faiths?” he asks.
Two months after the fact, Oklahomans are siding with Morgan Elizabeth Woolard - Miss Oklahoma - who supported Arizona’s new immigration law and ended up as first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in mid-May. A majority of Oklahomans - 55 percent - say Miss Woolard lost the title because of her “controversial answer” concerning immigration, according to a Sooner Poll of 503 likely voters conducted June 8 and released Thursday.
“I’m a huge believer in states’ rights. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about America, so I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law,” she said during the question/answer portion of the pageant, ultimately losing the title to Rima Fakih, Miss Michigan and the first Arab-American to win.
Miss Woolard has now been billed in some press accounts as “the new Carrie Prejean,” who was a former Miss California named runner-up in the 2009 pageant after she said she opposed same-sex marriage.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Pensacola, Clearwater, Sanibel?
“On Saturday, August 14, the First Family will travel to Florida’s Gulf Coast, where they will spend the weekend. More details … will be released in the coming days.” (From a White House dispatch.)
“Obamas to vacation on Gulf Coast for, like, two seconds,” observes Jim Newell of Gawker.com.
POLL DU JOUR
- 76 percent of Americans have “a great deal/quite a lot of confidence” in the U.S. military.
- 66 percent have the same confidence in “small business.”
- 59 percent have confidence in the police.
- 48 percent have confidence in church or organized religion.
- 36 percent have confidence in “the presidency.”
- 36 percent have confidence in the Supreme Court.
- 25 percent have confidence in newspapers, 22 percent in television news.
- 19 percent have confidence in health maintenance organizations.
- 11 percent have confidence in Congress.
Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,020 adults conducted July 8 to 11.
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