Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Good News Is No news
When the government announced last week that the federal budget deficit had fallen to its lowest level in five years — it was big news. But apparently not big enough to make a big splash in The New York Times or Washington Post. The New York Times ran a wire story in the back of the "A" section Friday. The Post put a wire story on its Web site Thursday afternoon and nothing in the paper.
But in an editorial Friday — The New York Times wrote the concept that lower tax rates generate more tax revenues is "nonsense." "That theory has been tested and failed, leading to enormous deficits during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush."
But in both those administrations, tax revenues grew after tax rates were cut. Indeed, in fiscal year 2007 tax revenues grew 6.7 percent — to a record of more than $2.5 trillion — and the deficit has declined each of the past three years.
The media eagerly reported comments by former top commander of coalition forces in Iraq General Ricardo Sanchez — calling the war in Iraq a "nightmare with no end in sight."
But there has been considerably less reporting of his harsh criticism of the press — in the same speech Friday to military reporters and editors. Some examples — "Over the course of this war tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for America because of the tremendous power and impact of the media and by extension you the journalist. In many cases the media has unjustly destroyed the individual reputations and careers of those involved," "you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war," "for some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas."
A newly formed organization of investigative journalists called Pro Publica intends to take aim at wrongdoing in government and business — and offer its stories without charge to major newspapers. The New York Times has already said it's interested.
But a closer look at the group suggests it is not a politically neutral operation prepared to let the chips fall where they may. The Pro Publica organization was created by Herbert and Marion Sandler — former owners of one of the country's largest mortgage and banking companies. The Sandlers made about $2.5 billion when they sold it. They are major Democratic political donors, who gave all their campaign contributions to Democrats in 2006. They have also been longtime critics of President Bush.
And a woman in Chicopee, Massachusetts was driving down the street recently when she noticed a witch hanging from a noose. To most people it would be an innocent Halloween decoration.
But a local TV station reports the ironically-named Kelly Lynch found it offensive. In fact she was so offended she is telling people it is a hate crime against her religion — because Ms. Lynch is in fact a witch.
"We are just like Christians, Muslims," she says. "We have our own religion." Lynch asked the owner of the decoration to take it down — and he refused. She says if the owner does not comply soon — she will protest outside his home.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill 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."