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Switzerland Wants to Protect the Rights of Plants

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Wrong on Wright?

Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs. The Bill Moyers interview of Reverend Wright on PBS drew heavy criticism from viewers.

Network ombudsman Michael Getler wrote "inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged... there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft… this came across to me more as a conversation among theologians than it did as a truly probing interview with a truly controversial person who had said some truly inflammatory things."

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt also was critical of his paper — which he said angered some readers by putting a review of Wright's recent appearances on its front page before ever reporting what the reverend actually said in a news story.

Hoyt wrote, "It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election."

Time Management

Former President Clinton joked Sunday that he still has the ability to make people faint after two folks fell during campaign events in sunny North Carolina. But the swooning may have had more to do with long waits in the hot weather than with the former president's charisma. Mr. Clinton reportedly was about 40 minutes late for his appearance in Lenoir, at which one person passed out.

Afterwards Mr. Clinton joked, "Somebody faints at nearly every one of these things now. At my age, I didn't think I could make anybody faint anymore."

Harsh Reaction

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for the suspension of the jockey and trainer for Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles following the horse's collapse after the race. Eight Belles broke both front ankles and the horse was euthanized.

PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky's racing authority saying the filly was "doubtlessly injured before the finish." PETA accuses the jockey of whipping the horse mercilessly and inflicting terrible suffering on the animal.

But there was no immediate evidence the filly's injury occurred during the race. To the contrary — the horse's trainer says Eight Belles was clearly uninjured when she crossed the finish line.

"I don't know how in the heck they can even come close to saying that. She has her ears up, clearly galloping out," said trainer Larry Jones.

PETA is also calling for a switch to softer track surfaces, and an end to racetrack betting.

Plants' Rights

It isn't just the rights of animals that some are promoting. The Weekly Standard reports an ethics panel in Switzerland is expressing concern that the arbitrary killing of plants is morally wrong. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology says that humans cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants; that "individual plants have an inherent worth," and that man may not use them as he pleases.

It cites a hypothetical example of a farmer "decapitating" wildflowers as expressing a moral stance toward the organism and possibly doing something bad to the flowers themselves.
One critic of the report says the concept of plant dignity provides what he called "another tool of opponents to argue against any form of plant biotechnology."

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" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume