Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
At President Bush's press conference yesterday, ABC News reporter Terry Moran described the case of a Jordanian activist, Ali Hattar, who Moran said had been arrested and charged with slander for promoting a boycott of U.S. goods. Moran called it an "abuse of human rights," and invited the President to condemn it, saying, "If you won't, sir, then what ... do your fine words [about freedom] mean?"
President Bush said he was unaware of the case. He was in good company. The Hattar case appears never to have been mentioned by any news outlet in the U.S., including Moran's own network, that is, until Moran asked his question.
Oh, and one more thing. Jordanian officials claim Hattar was not arrested for encouraging a boycott of U.S. goods, but for claiming that Jordan was buying weapons from the U.S. and using them against the Jordanian people.
"Ignorance" And "Institutional Mindset"?
An independent panel, commissioned by the BBC, is accusing the network of "ignorance" and an "institutional mindset" that prevents it from covering European issues impartially.
In its report, the panel says the BBC's coverage tends to favor the European Union, by polarizing and oversimplifying issues, and in some cases not reporting them at all. The report says, "there is a serious problem. ... urgent action is required to put this right." In response, the BBC says it's "pleased" the panel found no "systematic bias." But by "systematic bias," the panel said it meant coverage slanted on orders from above.
A new Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll out today shows Americans split on what should happen after Iraqi elections on Sunday, with 47 percent saying U.S. troops should start coming home, and 46 percent saying they should stay until the country is stabilized.
A clear majority of Americans, however, believe Iraqis are better off today because of U.S. military action, and a majority says Democracy in Iraq will make the world safer from terrorism. The poll also shows 50 percent approve of President Bush's job performance. That's down from 52 percent two weeks ago.
Cahill Coming Clean?
Mary Beth Cahill, the former Kerry campaign manager who along with other Kerry advisors argued repeatedly, in effect, that the election was Kerry's to lose, now says, "This was an election that was completely overshadowed by 9/11 and every issue that rose was seen by the voters and the candidates through that prism."
Speaking at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas, Cahill said, "At the moment when our nation was under attack, President Bush rose completely to the occasion and established a relationship that was the backdrop for the entire [campaign] ... For John Kerry and for the Democratic Party, this was ... very costly..."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report