THE FOG OF WAR
Sen. John McCain was in midsentence when Army Gen David H. Petraeus got woozy during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. That 15 seconds, including the Arizona Republican’s baffled reaction and a scramble to help the ailing officer, was captured on video, though Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell sprang to his feet to block C-SPAN cameras and protect the officer’s privacy like a “media cop,” according to one observer, a military veteran. Things got politicized, too.
Mr. Morrell, a former ABC News newsman, was “flacking for war boss Petraeus,” says James Gordon Meek, a New York Daily News columnist. Mr. McCain’s interrupted commentary, meanwhile, got lost in the shuffle. Here’s exactly what he was saying as the Central Command chief keeled over, just for posterity:
“I think you are one of America’s great heroes. But I continue to worry a great deal about the message we are sending in the region about whether we are actually going to stay or not, and whether we are going to do what’s necessary to succeed, rather than set an arbitrary timeline,” Mr. McCain said, later noting in a hasty tweet, “I’m glad General Petraeus is OK!”
Let the Googling begin. The Beltway will take the high road when it comes to the Star tabloid news of Al Gore’s reported affair with celebrity environmentalist Laurie David, former wife of “Seinfeld” creator Larry David. We will report that the rogue claim is coursing through the mainstream press, as ever vigilant journalists discover, among other things, a 2006 Guardian story quoting Ms. David saying, “Al Gore is incredibly funny and brilliant and charming. He’s like the professor you wished you had in college.”
Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan could begin in less than two weeks. Allies are rallying in the meantime - including 70 law school deans, who sent a letter of support for Ms. Kagan to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking Republican. The missive provides counterpoints to Kagan critics who fear her liberal ideology will assert itself, should she prove bench-worthy. The many signers include Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, and Robert C. Post, dean of Yale Law School.
“This ability to hear opinions from strongly opposed sides and to find resolutions that all can accept, and that even those who disagree can respect, are exactly what we should want in a collegial body like the Court,” the group says.
“Elena Kagan has, over the course of her career, consistently exhibited patience, a willingness to listen, and an ability to lead, alongside enormous intelligence. The same qualities that enabled her to unify what some described as a fractious campus will serve the nation, and the Constitution, well.”
“South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley, a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, is the latest victim of the scandal-mill,” says Nathan Burchfiel, an analyst with the Culture and Media Institute, who finds that the press lent much credibility to unsubstantiated claims that Mrs. Haley had “inappropriate relationships” with a blogger and a lobbyist.
“In spite of the accusers’ inability to prove their claims, the media have done all they can to attach the scarlet ‘A’ to Haley’s name as she prepares for a runoff election June 22. Across the three broadcast networks and four major newspapers - the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post - 42 stories mentioned Haley on or after Election Day, June 8. Of those, 37 reference the accusations of infidelity, and only two noted they were ‘unsubstantiated,’ ” Mr. Burchfiel notes.
SO THAT’S IT
“In what is being called a game-changer for the embattled oil company, British Petroleum announced today that it has developed a new technology to convert lies into energy… because lies are a totally renewable resource,” quips comedian Andy Borowitz.
EYES ON THE PRIZE
It’s time for the annual - and very generous - Bradley Prizes, to be awarded Wednesday night at the Kennedy Center by the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a stronghold of support for American democratic capitalism, limited government and a strong defense, among other things. The recipients, who receive $250,000 each, bristle with titles:
They are: Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Paul A. Gigot, editorial-page editor of the Wall Street Journal, and winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for commentary; Bradley A. Smith,professor of law at Capital University and a former member of the Federal Election Commission; and John B. Taylor, professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow in economics at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.
“I’m very grateful for the award, and particularly because I have such great admiration for the work the Bradley Foundation has done over the years,” Mr. Barone tells the Beltway.
POLL DU JOUR
c 68 percent of U.S. voters say that most reporters “try to help the political candidate they want to win.”
c 65 percent of say they are “angry” at the media.
c 54 percent say reporters “hide information” to help their preferred candidate.
c 51 percent say reporters are “more liberal” than they are; 15 percent say they are “more conservative.”
c 48 percent say reporters “are trying to help” President Obama pass his agenda.
c 23 percent say most reporters try to offer unbiased news coverage.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted June 13-14.
c Rumors, factoids, grumbles to jharper@washingtontimes .com
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