Cartoon Controversy

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The Washington Post, which had no qualms about publishing a cartoon attacking the U.S. military which drew a rare letter of protest from the joint chiefs — has declined to run the controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Executive editor Len Downie tells Editor and Publisher that the cartoons violate the paper's standards on religious sensitivity and "general good taste." The Post isn't alone — among U.S. newspapers, only the New York Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Rocky Mountain News and California's Riverside Press-Enterprise have printed any of the drawings.

The Los Angeles Times joined The New York Times and others in declining to run the cartoons, even while saying they support the right to publish them.
Meanwhile, the AP has refused even to send the pictures to its member newspapers for them to do with as they choose.

Pig-Faced Prophet?

Last night we told you that Danish Imam Ahmed Abu Laban used unpublished images of Muhammad — in addition to the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper — to inflame public opinion in the Middle East. One of those, purported to portray the Prophet Mohammad with a pig face was actually an AP photograph of a contestant in a hog calling contest in France wearing a pink pig snout and fake ears.

An aide to the imam tells the Brussels Journal the additional pictures were meant to provide insight into "how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims."

Greatest Threat

Fear of a nuclear Iran has led Americans to label that country the single biggest threat to the United States, according to a new Pew Poll in which 27 percent name Iran as America's greatest danger — up from 9 percent last October.

Fifty-seven percent of those who've closely followed news on Iran say the country is likely to attack the United States or Europe if it develops nuclear weapons and 86 percent believe Iran would give a nuclear bomb to terrorists.

The poll also found that 54 percent of the public believes the government should be authorized to conduct warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists inside the United States. Last month, the public was evenly divided on the issue.

Inspection Concerns

The environmental group Greenpeace says Iran's decision to limit the International Atomic Energy Agency's access to nuclear sites worries them... not because nuclear activities won't be monitored, but because Iran may lose its chance to prove its innocence.

Greenpeace nuclear analyst Felicity Hill says the IAEA,"…won't be able to tell how far the Iranians are ahead with enrichment, which may mean that estimates could err on the side of more rather than less," adding that the IAEA will be unable to "calm some of the fears and expunge rumors and doubts about Iran's true intentions."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report

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