Left-Leaning Media?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The majority of mainstream media tilts to the left... that according to a revised study by UCLA, set for publication next week. Among the findings: The Wall Street Journal, despite its conservative opinion pages, is the most liberal outlet, followed by CBS' Evening News, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

In fact, of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 of them scored left-of-center. Programs ranked among the most centrist news shows include The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and ABC's Good Morning America.

The study examines U.S. media coverage over the last 10 years, comparing individual news outlets with individual lawmakers. Lawmakers were scored on the basis of votes and speeches, while media organizations were scored on their references to think tanks and policy groups.

Hurricane Hit All

Nearly as many wealthy people died in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as did poor people, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times. While many of the bodies remain unidentified, findings show that of the 528 bodies recovered from identifiable addresses throughout the city, 230 came from middle and upper class neighborhoods the city's poorer areas accounted for 298 bodies. The analysis discounts claims that low-income residents were hit hardest by the hurricane.

Research conducted by Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella, who is quoted by the Times, suggests that New Orleans' predominantly white districts were just as vulnerable as predominantly black districts. A spokesman for the Louisiana Population Data Center associates Katrina's widespread effects with the city's diversity.

Saddam the Biker?

Moments before U.S. military forces captured him, Saddam Hussein claims he was prepared to make a run for it and escape on a motorcycle. The former Iraqi dictator tells London's Sun newspaper that he knew his great escape was botched when he saw the motorcycle wasn't there.

He also claims that U.S. troops gassed him in order to get him out of the hole he was hiding in. When asked about the on-going trial and the possibility of being sentenced to death, Saddam said, "I don't mind being killed. There will always be another Saddam."

Freedom Flourishes

A global survey released today from Freedom House shows that the Arab Middle East saw a modest but significant increase in political rights and civil liberties this year. The survey — dubbed Freedom in the World — shows the number of countries rated as “Not Free” dropping from 49 to 45, the lowest number in over a decade.

And freedom grew worldwide with 27 countries showing gains and only 9 countries experiencing setbacks. Arch Puddington, director of research at Freedom House says, "The global picture thus suggests that 2005 was one of the most successful years for freedom since Freedom House began measuring world freedom in 1972."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report