- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In a week fraught with distressing news, the press leaped to cover a report from Atlantic Magazine claiming an anonymous “senior Obama administration official” called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chicken****.” In the industrial-strength pantheon of contemporary expletives, that particular word does not see a great deal of use in popular song and story. But no matter. Atlantic’s national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg went on to write that “another senior official” agreed with this assessment, then detailed the implications.

Hubbub followed. There was much diplomatic back and forth over the anonymous revelations, complete with denials, counter-offenses and condemnations from Mr. Netanyahu, the White House, the State Department, plus assorted members of the Republican and Democratic parties. Journalists, — perhaps suffering from either Ebola or election fatigue — joined in with great vigor.

It is interesting to note how many stories appeared within a matter of hours from news organizations around the world. About 3,500 reports turned up within 24 hours according to a Google News count, chronicling the cultural, historical and comedic aspects of the matter. It was deemed an uproar, a controversy, a love-hate relationship, a war of words, and yes, “Chickens****gate”.

Even more interesting was how many of these news organizations decided to print the entire expletive throughout their headlines and stories, indicating that both the media marketplace and journalistic ethics that have become, uh, more casual. Among the many that opted to use the complete C-word: The Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Haaretz, The Guardian, Roll Call, Fox News, ABC News, Chicago Tribune — to name just a few.

Something got lost in the hubbub, though: The original opening headline from Mr. Goldberg, trumpeted forth before the writer even revealed the now infamous C-remark. “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel relations is officially here. The Obama administration’s anger is ‘red-hot’ over Israel’s settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.” That, perhaps, is what really deserved serious attention.



CONDI ENDORSES JONI

It is not surprising that Condoleezza Rice has taken a shine to Joni Ernst. The former Secretary of State has endorsed the Republican hopeful for the U.S. Senate seat in Iowa — who also is a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard with some significant experience. She served as a company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom, overseeing convoys through Kuwait and into southern Iraq throughout 2003, and her political philosophy remains in the can-do realm.

“We need leaders who know that America can’t ‘lead from behind,’ because when you’re behind others, you’re really just following,” Mrs. Ernst says.

So no wonder she has an adamant new fan.

“Joni Ernst has dedicated her life to the service of others, bravely leading troops in Iraq and safely bringing them home to Iowa. Now Iowans have an opportunity to make her the first female combat veteran to ever serve in the U.S. Senate,” says Miss Rice. “We need more leaders, like Joni, who understand America’s role abroad and the threats posed against us.”

Mrs. Ernst has also made John Bolton‘s list of “national security” candidates who support a strong national defense and a feisty global profile. The former U.N. ambassador admires her “true Iowa values” and has already endorsed her, and contributed $10,000 to her campaign via his political action committee.

“Joni understands what it takes to lead and ensure that American values are represented at home and abroad,” Mr. Bolton says.

AND ABOUT THAT COSTUME

Since the big day will be upon us in 24 hours, a new YouGov poll reveals what not to wear on Halloween, should a costume be on the agenda.

Eighty percent of Americans frown upon dressing up like a “terrorist” — that includes 87 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats, by the way. Another 77 percent overall say dressing with an Ebola theme is unacceptable. And yes, that would likely include the much ballyhooed “Sexy Ebola Containment Costume” for women from a California-based company that has priced them at $60.

But the walking dead? That apparently passes muster. A mere 18 percent say dressing like a zombie on Halloween is unacceptable; 20 percent of the GOPers and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

#GETOUTTHEVOTE

They have laid claim to organizing the largest get-out-the-vote effort ever. That would be the interest group HeadCount, which has persuaded 303 high profile performers and musicians to urge their young fans to show up at the polls on Nov. 4. The campaign is meant to counter “drop-off” voters, who vote in presidential bouts but skip the midterms.

“The 303 entertainers involved average over one million social media followers each across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, totaling more than 350 million,” the group reasons. They count Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Fergie, Weird Al Yankovic and the “living members” of the Grateful Dead among those who promise to nag young voters Tuesday. The organization is also offering a trip to a major music event to those who sign a pledge to vote on Nov. 4. See their pitch at HeadCount.org

“The incumbent Congress is the least popular in history, so we can’t leave it to the candidates alone to inspire people,” says Marc Brownstein, HeadCount’s co-founder and the bass player in the Disco Biscuits. “We’re trying to get the message across that being dissatisfied is a bad reason not to vote. It’s the exact reason why participation is so important.”

IGNORE MILLENNIALS ‘AT YOUR PERIL’

Contrary to popular narratives, the young and the restless may not committed to the Democratic Party. This news is coming from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics which polled over 2,000 members of the 18- to 29-year-old set with some surprising findings.

“Slightly more than half — 51 percent — of young Americans who say they will ‘definitely be voting’ in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control,” the organization says, framing this as “a significant departure” from previous poll findings.

“Candidates for office, ignore millennial voters at your peril,” notes the institute’s director Maggie Williams.

Strategists who are curious about this hefty voting bloc should note that the poll found that the largest number of the respondents self-described themselves not as Democrats or Republicans — but as independents. More telling, the group most often said they were conservatives, rather than liberals or moderates.

POLL DU JOUR

80 percent of Americans say U.S. citizens should be “quarantined upon arrival” after traveling from West Africa; 84 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents agree.

66 percent of Americans say their local hospital is not prepared to deal with Ebola; 71 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents agree.

56 percent say the federal government is not prepared to deal with the disease; 67 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents agree.

47 percent approve of President Obama‘s handling of the Ebola issue; 23 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents agree.

40 percent approve of the way the CDC has handled the issue; 31 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of independents agree

Source: A CBS News poll of 1,269 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 23-27.

Mawkish remarks, caterwaul to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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