The latest from the Political Grapevine:
Election Week Surprise?
CBS' "60 Minutes" (search) is now acknowledging that it had planned to broadcast the questionable story of missing weapons in Iraq two days before the presidential election. And it's clear CBS had been working on the story for some time, having conducted interviews on it in Iraq last week.
But when CBS realized the story wouldn't hold, the network decided the New York Times — which helped investigate the story — should run it first.
In addition, CBS knew about a search of the Al-Qaqaa complex (search) on April 4, 2003 — a search that was thorough enough to find a suspicious white powder, and that found no indication of locked materials or IAEA (search) weaponry. But CBS hasn't mentioned that at all in its reports this week.
So how do we know CBS was aware of it? Well, because CBS reported it the day it happened last year.
Forget about Flip-Flopping?
John Kerry says Iraq is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that Saddam Hussein (search) had no weapons of mass destruction nor any ties to international terrorists threatening the U.S. But in November 2001, Kerry seemed to think differently, telling PBS' John McLaughlin, as quoted by the Weekly Standard (search), "I've never had any doubt ... about our ability to be successful in Afghanistan. ... [But] The larger issue, John, is what happens afterwards. How do we now turn attention ultimately to Saddam Hussein? ... What is our foreign policy going to be to drain the swamp of terrorism on a global basis?"
A Civics Lesson?
Hundreds of public-school students across the battleground state of Wisconsin are being excused from class to register voters in minority neighborhoods and communities with low voter turn out — traditionally Democratic areas. Students as young as 11 are canvassing the streets and using phone banks to call homes.
The program — which is voluntary and requires parental approval — was organized by the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund (search) — whose umbrella organization has endorsed John Kerry.
State republicans condemn the program as a "Democratic, partisan ... effort" and a "disgraceful use of taxpayer money." But organizers, quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, insist it's non-partisan and a "terrific" civics lesson.
The BBC's global news service, BBC World (search), is condemning U.S. media for "wrapping themselves in the flag" and going easy on the Bush administration.
What's more, Richard Sambrook, speaking at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, says media outlets may be endangering the lives of their reporters with such coverage, insisting, "Where once [journalists'] neutrality was widely recognized and respected, today they are targeted and sought out, seen as high-profile representatives of their countries or cultures."
Meanwhile, BBC World has announced its line-up of analysts for election-night coverage, featuring former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton's CIA director Jim Woolsey, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, and billionaire Bush-critic George Soros... to name a few.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report