For years, we've been telling you there's something very wrong at the Los Angeles Times (search) and that Howard Dean (search) is an irresponsible person. Today, those two situations crystallized. First, The Times. The editorial director took what I think is a very cheap shot against the Catholic Church. Writing about a local statue controversy in Venice, California, Kinsley began the editorial this way.
Quote, "The College of Cardinals elected an ultraconservative pope earlier this week, under a ceiling replete with genitals, breasts and buttocks that apparently gave no offense. Good thing Michelangelo painted his Sistine Chapel masterpieces in Rome and not Venice — California, that is."
Now, in trying to make a connection between the art of Michelangelo (search) and the perceived small mindedness of some in Venice, Kinsley labels the new pope an extremist and sets up a disrespectful non sequitur by referencing the Catholic Church, which he apparently sees as a puritanical outfit. Remember, the church has nothing to do with the statue controversy. The cardinals in the Sistine Chapel (search) have no relevance whatsoever. Yet Kinsley chose to put a negative spin on the conclave to make a foolish point about a foolish issue.
Now if Kinsley had referenced Islam or Judaism that way, he might be out of a job right now. But denigrating a Christian religion for absolutely no reason is perfectly acceptable at the L.A. Times. Now, I guess I could be overreacting, but I just think this is outrageous.
And then there's Howard Dean. Speaking at an ACLU (search) benefit, the head of the Democratic Party mocked commentator Rush Limbaugh (search) and pantomimed him snorting cocaine. We'll play you some of that in just a few moments. Like Kinsley, Dean did this for absolutely no reason other than to denigrate Mr. Limbaugh, and that's immature and irresponsible.
Once again, imagine the head of the Republican Party did something like that to a prominent Democrat. You'd hear the screaming all the way from Hollywood to Boston. "Talking Points" is well aware that ideological bomb throwers on both sides do stuff like this all the time in order to make money. Smearing pays well in America and these media guttersnipes are all over the place. But Kinsley and Dean are in positions of responsibility. They are not gadflies. If a major newspaper editor and the head of the DNC are allowed to use their power to injure and insult, then this country is in big trouble.
Dean and Kinsley should both resign today. They have smeared before, but they won't resign because they can get away with their tactics. And here's the last line on this.
Catholic bashing has become acceptable in the American media, and character assassination is now a legitimate political weapon for the likes of Howard Dean.
Shameful. And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Michael Moore (search) says he's donating money to set up a scholarship at California State University, San Marcos. But there are strings attached.
The scholarships can only be given to students who defy school authorities. Moore says he will give $5,000 a year for two students who are giving folks a hard time. Ridiculous: Come on, what do you expect from Michael Moore?
There is no truth to the rumor that you have to look like him to get the scholarship.
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Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.