Friday, February 25, 2005

Nobles: High-school wrestler Firen Gassman, for doing a man’s job better than the men.

At 103 pounds, Gassman is quite normal for a 15-year-old girl. The Herndon High freshman, however, is not what many would consider normal. At least, making history isn’t what occupies most girls at her age. “It was never a specific goal of mine when I was really young [to become a wrestler], more like a dream,” she said to The Examiner. Well, now that dream has led her to being the first female wrestler to compete at the Virginia AAA state tournament.

In fact, Gassman is getting rather accustomed to making history. She was the first female to win the Concorde District Tournament and has posted a 43-8 record. Said one opponent who has managed to beat Gassman: “Even though she isn’t as strong as a lot of the guys, technique-wise she’s as good as anybody.” With a record like that, no kidding.

She even has a sense of humor about it, too. Posing in a picture for The Examiner, she’s sporting a t-shirt that reads “Man’s oldest sport.”

The best of luck to this week’s Noble, Firen Gassman.

Knaves: CNN’s “Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff,” for mistaking stupidity for balance.

Last weekend, Rep. Maurice Hinchey from upstate New York offered a tantalizing theory about the origin of the forged Texas Air National Guard memos CBS used on “60 Minutes II.” Speaking at a forum in Ithaca, N.Y., Mr. Hinchey said: “[They] originated with Karl Rove, in my belief, in the White House.”

Anyway, over at CNN’s “Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff,” this is hot-item news, worthy of serious investigation. So on Tuesday, Miss Woodruff invited the distinguished congressman from New York on her show to “share his views.” What followed could either qualify as comedy or tragedy — the Editorial Page can’t decide.

Here’s Miss Woodruff, displaying her hard-hitting interview skills for which she gets paid the big bucks : “Some would say, listening to what you said and hearing your acknowledgment that you don’t have any proof, that it’s irresponsible or — let me ask you, do you think it’s responsible for you to say this without evidence?”

“Some would say,” Miss Woodruff? She didn’t even have the courage to call him irresponsible. It’s enough to make one yearn for the shout fest over at Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” Would Bill O’Reilly have let Mr. Hinchey respond to this question — not that he would have ever asked it — with “I think it’s very responsible for me to speculate about where this manipulation is coming from. Yes.” It’s doubtful, but that’s exactly what Miss Woodruff did.

It’s telling moments like these that makes Fox News’ success not such a surprise after all.

For justifying its falling ratings, CNN’s “Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff” is the Knave of the week.

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