Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Newsweek magazine now says it will raise its standards for using anonymous sources. This after what the magazine calls "a great deal of soul-searching and reflection" in the aftermath of its retracted report on Koran (search) desecration.
In a letter to readers, Newsweek chairman and editor-in-chief Richard Smith promises to stop solely using the phrase "sources said" to attribute information, vows to work harder to corroborate information from anonymous sources, and says only the magazine's top editors will now be able to sign off on the use of anonymous sources. Smith says, "We got an important story wrong, and honor requires us to admit our mistake and redouble our efforts to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."
Viagra For Convicts
Democrats and Republicans alike are outraged after the New York state comptroller's office discovered that Medicaid has bought Viagra for nearly 200 convicted rapists and other sex criminals in that state. According to Comptroller Alan Hevesi (search), the practice, which began more than five years ago, is an unintended consequence of a federal directive in 1998, telling states to include Viagra in their Medicaid prescription programs.
New York Senator Hillary Clinton (search) calls it "deeply disturbing," and Republican Congressman Joe Barton, of Texas, says, "It's hard to imagine a more perverse misuse of taxpayers' money." Federal authorities, meanwhile, are now advising states they can deny sex offenders Medicaid coverage for Viagra.
Student Filibuster Aimed At Frist
The New York Times reported earlier this month that at Princeton University (search), the alma mater of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search), "students have been conducting a round-the-clock filibuster to protest Dr. Frist's proposal to bar filibusters on judicial nominees." According to the Times report, the student filibuster was so popular that it ended up lasting more than four times longer than expected, and potential speakers had to reserve a spot days in advance.
Well, the Times now acknowledges that the person who wrote the piece was not on its staff. In fact, she's a student at Princeton, who participated in the demonstration. In an editor's note, the paper says it was unaware she was a participant, and says it "does not ordinarily" let writers cover events they've taken part in.
A Rather Surprising Opinion of Mapes?
Former CBS News producer Mary Mapes (search) may have been heavily responsible for the Bush National Guard story that brought Dan Rather (search) to grief — and led to her firing — but that hasn't changed Rather's opinion of her, or what he thinks the public's opinion of her should be. Mapes, you may recall, was the producer of the story involving the discredited documents purporting to show that President Bush got favored treatment, and skirted his duties in the National Guard.
But, in an interview over the weekend on CNBC, Rather called Mapes, "a very good pro," adding, "She's the kind of professional that the audience should want in television."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report