Scandinavian Surprise

And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

FOX Fans: Missed the Grapevine? Watch it in the Screening Room!

Americans Standing Behind Troops, Bush
A new FOX News poll out shows that despite all the criticism of the U.S. postwar performance in Iraq, 80 percent of Americans approve of the military's performance since the war ended.

In addition, 77 per cent of Americans say they have a "great deal" of confidence in the armed services. That puts the military in first place on that question, followed by President Bush with 49 percent — way head of the news media, with only 9 per cent, behind even Congress.

Speaking of Congress, 79 percent of Americans believe Congress thinks of tax monies as their own money, while only 14 per cent believe the lawmakers see it as the public's money.

Ending the Investigation?
The New York Times has decided not to cooperate in a federal investigation of whether ex-Times reporter Jayson Blair (search) committed wire fraud in his plagiarized and falsified work for the Times. The New York Post says that effectively ends the investigation, since the Times was the victim.

The Times, meanwhile, is investigating itself in two ways. It has set up a committee of 20 staffers and two outside news executives to examine the way the Times newsroom is run.

The Post reports that the Times is also having its news staff investigate the work of some of the paper's most stylish writers after receiving tips that some of them may have committed Blair-like offenses. The Times says no offenses have been found so far.

Scandinavian Surprise
Norwegians are reportedly stunned to have heard their country's name in that taped call-to-arms by Usama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri (search).

Norway, which refused to support the U.S. on Iraq in the U.N., is now on high military alert and the U.S. has closed its embassy in Oslo.

The New York Daily News says some analysts think Al-Qaeda may still be angry that Norway helped topple the Taliban (search) in Afghanistan. Others, though, have a much simpler explanation: They think al-Zawahiri has merely confused Norway with its fellow Scandinavian — but pro-war — neighbor to the south, Denmark.

Tantalizing Tidbit?
Finally, this bit of information, deeply buried in The Washington Post today, in a column by the highly respected Jim Hoagland. He reports that in Iraq, "No sooner had Bush's new envoy, Paul Bremer, banned prominent Baathists from holding office than a State Department officer in Baghdad labeled his move 'fascistic' to her colleagues." No word on who the State Department officer was, and no comment from the State Department itself.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume