How About a Rebuttal?

And now the most captivating two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

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How About a Rebuttal?

The White House says it has no problem with CBS News getting an interview with Saddam Hussein, but spokesman Ari Fleischer called Saddam's answers, "lies and propaganda."

Fleischer said the White House asked to have someone on the CBS broadcast of  to rebut Saddam, but that CBS at first would accept only the president himself, then relented and suggested the president, vice president or secretary of State would be acceptable.

The White House said no to that.  And CBS would accept no one else.

Surprised by Saddam's Offer?

Dan Rather, by the way, has said he was surprised that Saddam made the offer in the interview to debate President Bush, forgetting apparently that when Rather interviewed Saddam before the Gulf War 12 years ago, he made the same suggestion, the only difference being that at that time, he wanted to debate both the first President Bush and then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Memo Urging Sensitivity

The education commissioner in Maine has sent a memo to all the state's teachers urging them to be sensitive to the views of their students on the issue of Iraq.

The memo came yesterday, after TV station WABI in Bangor reported that National Guard officers were complaining that children whose parents were being called to active duty for a possible war with Iraq were being hassled by their teachers about their parents fighting in an unethical war.

WABI said that guard officers who had traveled in Maine recently said that complaints of such teacher behavior were relatively few, but had occurred in nearly every part of Maine.

Public Skeptical of Media?

The latest Gallup Poll indicates the public continues to be skeptical of the accuracy and fairness of the news media.

Fifty-eight percent of those questioned said the media were often inaccurate, while just 39 percent thought they get their facts straight.

On the question of bias, 60 percent thought the media were ideologically biased.

Of those, however, only 15 percent thought the media too conservative, while 45 percent thought them too liberal.

Thirty-six percent found the media just about right.

By the way, 48 percent of self-identified liberals thought the media just right, while 63 percent of conservatives thought the media too liberal, and 43 percent of moderates agreed.