Minimal Media Coverage

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

While images of riots in France have transfixed international viewers, French citizens are being offered little or no coverage by broadcast networks outside of regular evening newscasts. What's more, The Wall Street Journal reports that France's state-owned TV channels have stopped reporting on the number of cars torched by rioters, refusing even to show burning automobiles for fear of inciting more violence.

Meanwhile, some U.S. media outlets can't help but draw parallels between the riots and Hurricane Katrina. CNN's Christiane Amanpour introduced a report on the riots by lamenting that there are no Muslim or Arab members of French Parliament, saying, "Just as Hurricane Katrina exposed racism and poverty in the United States, these riots have done the same here."

Good Journalism?

The former CBS News producer behind that discredited "60 Minutes" story on President Bush's National Guard service says she still believes the disputed memos are real and she's continuing to investigate their source. Promoting her new book "Truth and Duty," Mary Mapes defends her failure to authenticate the documents telling ABC News, "I don't think I committed bad journalism. I really don't."

In the book, Mapes calls senior White House adviser Karl Rove, "the mastermind of the Republican attack against the story." So what evidence does she give to back up her claim? Mapes tells The Washington Post, "I'm not saying I had any proof at all."

Background Checks Racist?

Republican Governor Bob Riley is defending Alabama's decision to perform criminal background checks on Hurricane Katrina evacuees housed in the state after FEMA refused to do so, on the grounds that such checks could be seen as racist.

In an e-mail to Alabama officials, FEMA's security adviser for Alabama said background checks were a "potentially explosive issue given the existing race/class issues," and performing them on all evacuees "gets you into the realm of profiling." But Riley tells the Republican-led House committee investigating the hurricane response that Alabama officials identified two evacuees with criminal backgrounds, who were subsequently removed from state housing.

Political Priorities

Hillsdale, Michigan's newly elected mayor is ready to tackle the town's problems, but first he'll have to graduate from high school. The Toledo Blade reports that Michael Sessions, a Hillsdale High senior and write-in candidate for mayor, won a four-year term in the town of 8,000 by an unofficial margin of 65 votes. His incumbent opponent declined to campaign saying, "How much credibility does an 18-year-old have?"

But Sessions, who campaigned on bringing business back to Hillsdale, says, "They elected me mayor, so obviously the people of Hillsdale took me seriously."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report