Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Daily Headliners--GOP hype over ad, Media Matters report. Craig files to undo guilty plea

Here's some Daily Headliners for you to chew on.

GOP hype over controversial ad: I've been watching this story with interest over the past couple of days, but I have not had a chance to comment on it. On September 11, 2007, posted a controversial, full page New York Times ad, criticizing General David H. Petraeus' congressional testimony on the results of the Bush troop surge with the headline General Petraeus or General Betray Us. The ad became a major side story of the entire Petraeus media show, with The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Politico, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine. And this ad also generated a lot of Republican outrage.

What I find rather amazing here is all this contrived Republican anger over this one ad, while at the same time, the Republicans ignore some of the most outrageous conservative attacks against the Democrats and liberals on practically everything. Consider the crap that coming from the mouths of such conservative personalitiesAnn Coulter, Michelle Malkin, James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Pat Robertson, and Bill O'Reilly. Day in and out, these conservative personalities constantly attack liberal views and Democrats with some of the worst sleaze and slime that they can make up, sometimes without providing any documented evidence to support their outrageous claims. I don't see any Republican congressmen condemning these outrageous attacks by these conservative personalities.

Steve Benen over at The Carpetbagger Report nicely sums up the real problem with this controversy over the GOP hype on the MoveOn ad:

My first thought was to note the crocodile-tears quality of all of this. Do we really need to rehash every recent instance of a notable right-wing lawmaker, activist, or media personality using over-the-top rhetoric? Every example of this crowd questioning a Democrat’s patriotism, and engaging in character assassination? Every occasion of a far-right talk-show host using disgusting language on the air, only to have Dick Cheney on shortly thereafter?

But that’s probably the wrong response, in part because it equates MoveOn with clowns like DeLay, Coulter, Falwell, and O’Reilly. My second thought was to note that it wasn’t liberal activists who came up with “General Betray Us” line, it was conservatives.

But that’s unsatisfying, in part because it’s kind of irrelevant. The real point here is that, whether the ad was offensive or not, is not the problem here.

Too many Republicans, particularly in the House and at the grassroots, have apparently decided that Iraq policy is far too difficult, so it’s preferable to attack MoveOn. But that’s absurd — we’re in the midst of a national discussion on a war. Lives are at stake. National security is on the line.

The right’s priorities are spectacularly flawed. The plan is apparently a short-term political victory over a boogeyman — the RNC wasted no time in trying to raise money off the MoveOn ad — instead of engaging in a serious debate about the costliest policy catastrophe in a generation.

And to that end, I'd tell the Republicans to EF OFF, if they don't like the MoveOn ad.

Black and White and Re(a)d all over: Media Matters has published an interesting report revealing that conservative syndicated columnists get more columns published in newspapers across the country than progressive columnists. You can read the entire report here on Media Matters website, or you can download the report in a PDF file here. Here are some of the details in the executive summery of this report:

* Sixty percent of the nation's daily newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists every week than progressive syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced.

* In a given week, nationally syndicated progressive columnists are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of 125 million. Conservative columnists, on the other hand, are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of more than 152 million.2

* The top 10 columnists as ranked by the number of papers in which they are carried include five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.

* The top 10 columnists as ranked by the total circulation of the papers in which they are published also include five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.

* In 38 states, the conservative voice is greater than the progressive voice -- in other words, conservative columns reach more readers in total than progressive columns. In only 12 states is the progressive voice greater than the conservative voice.

* In three out of the four broad regions of the country -- the West, the South, and the Midwest -- conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists. Only in the Northeast do progressives reach more readers, and only by a margin of 2 percent.

* In eight of the nine divisions into which the U.S. Census Bureau divides the country, conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists in any given week. Only in the Middle Atlantic division do progressive columnists reach more readers each week.

I haven't had a chance to read the report yet, so I don't really want to comment on it. But just from watching the corporate news media, it would seem to me that there is a greater conservative editorial slant, over that of a moderate or progressive viewpoint. So this might just be an interesting report to read.

Craig files to undo guilty plea: This is a quick little Washington Post story reporting that Republican Senator Larry Craig has filed a motion to undo his guilty plea in the sex sting operation at a Minneapolis airport. According to the WaPost:

Craig's attorneys wrote that "faced with the pressure of an aggressive interrogation and the consequences of public embarrassment, Senator Craig panicked and chose to plead to a crime he did not commit."

Craig's affidavit said he decided on the day of his arrest to plead guilty to whatever charge was eventually filed against him.

The timing could become important because more than a month and a half passed between Craig's June 11 arrest and Aug. 1, when he signed a guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge.

Craig's actions, his attorneys argued, were influenced in part by police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who arrested and interrogated the senator. Karsnia told the senator he could resolve the case by paying a fine, and added: "I don't call media."

"In his mind, the terms of the plea included the promise made by Officer Karsnia that the alleged incident would not be released to the media," Craig's attorneys wrote.

"While in his state of intense anxiety, Senator Craig felt compelled to grasp the lifeline offered to him by the police officer," they wrote.

Excuse me? Are Craig's attorneys now accusing the Minnesota police department of leaking Craig's conviction to the media? Are Craig's lawyers now claiming that the Minnesota police should have kept the conviction secret because that was part of the plea agreement? It would seem to me that Karsnia made a personal agreement to Craig to not call the media to reveal Craig's conviction. But I would seriously doubt that Karsnia could not make that promise on behalf of the entire Minneapolis Police Department and the Minneapolis Court. It would be too easy for any employee in the PD, or court, to leak this information to the media. And maybe someone did leak this to Roll Call. Or maybe Roll Call found out about this story from a source outside the Minneapolis PD or court, and then confirmed the story by obtaining the arrest report and conviction from the Minneapolis PD. I can't say. But the whole Larry Craig sex scandal defense is getting interesting here.

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