Are you an extremist? That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".
The loony left is furious that we have outed Cindy Sheehan (search) as a radical, diminishing her credibility. Ms. Sheehan's latest is calling foreign terrorists, who infiltrate into Iraq freedom fighters. Very nice.
And the loopy right is mad because I said Jesus might not be down with Reverend Pat Robertson (search) putting out a contract on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
There are no shortage of extremists here in the land of the free. However, there's a problem with labeling someone an extremist. And that is they may be rational in most areas, but off the wall in a few.
But I think we can safely establish some rules for the road here. An extremist is someone who rejects facts and holds on to opinions no matter what. Millions of Americans wanted Richard Nixon (search) to stay in office despite overwhelming evidence he covered up a felony. That was an extreme position.
Millions of others thought it was perfectly fine for President Clinton to lie under oath in the Paula Jones (search) deposition. Another extreme position.
Extremists aren't born. They evolve. Baby Brandon doesn't pop out of the womb, demanding to watch "The 700 Club" or "Fahrenheit 911."
In my opinion, extremists have a neurosis. They really don't want to hear anything other than the conclusion they've arrived at, no matter what the evidence suggests.
So are you an extremist? "Talking Points" has devised a short list of indicators:
• If you think Michael Moore reports accurately, you're an extremist.
• If you think the documentary "Outfoxed" tells the truth about this network, you're in the extreme zone.
• If you agree with Reverends Falwell and Robertson that gays and abortionists caused God to allow 9/11, you're an extremist.
• If you still think Terri Schiavo (search ) is aware of her surroundings, this extreme is for you.
• If you believe an open border is good for the USA, you have entered extreme territory.
• If you feel foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, and convicted child sex offenders should not serve long prison terms, say hello to the extremist label.
• If you agree that Allah is OK with slaughtering civilians, you're extreme.
• If you admire the philosophy of the Third Reich (search), you're there.
• And if you agree with everything President Bush has done, you're an extremist.
• And if you think everything he's done has been wrong, put a big 'E' on your forehead as well.
• And finally, if you applaud when Barbra Streisand (search) talks geopolitics or when a right wing talk show host urges a nuclear strike on Iran, welcome to the wonderful world of extremism.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
It looks like the “The Factor” will win this week in the cable news ratings war. More than a million viewers ahead thus far. And if that lead holds, we will have won the ratings race an amazing 200 weeks in a row.
As I've said many times, it's entirely thanks to you. We work hard here, but lots of people work hard. It's you who decide who the winner is.
Now, to put “The Factor's" total audience, at 8 and 11 p.m. ET, in perspective, we are about tied with Jay Leno for viewers and far ahead of the other late-night programs.
We're about two million viewers behind "The CBS Evening News," and they have 20 percent more homes than we have. So does Leno. My goal is to get close to them, CBS News, next year.
In October "The Factor” will celebrate its ninth birthday. Ridiculous? Only to those who fail to recognize our charm. Yes, they are out there.