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Mark Steyn: ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO BURY
National Post (via SteynOnline) ^ | 4/17/03 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 04/18/2003 8:59:12 PM PDT by The Hon. Galahad Threepwood

ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO BURY

Remember Jo Moore? She was the British civil servant who on September 11th 2001, as she watched the twin towers burn, sent a memo round the Department of Transport saying, “It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury.”

Victory in war is also a very good time to get out anything you want to bury, so before they’re lost in the passing parade I would like to mention a couple of hasty interrments. If you’re a devoted New York Times reader, you may recall that, at the end of last year, the paper developed a weird Page One obsession with Augusta National and its attitude to women. The Times had no position on war with Iraq but by golly it knew where it stood on the burning question of Augusta’s sexism and it hammered it home by every means at its disposal, calling on both CBS and Tiger Woods to pull out of the Masters and then reporting both parties’ total indifference to the Times’ blustering as a sign of the growing “controversy”. Rarely has the paper’s mighty firepower been so concentrated on a single target. Even when events temporarily diverted their attention to less important issues like war, they managed to find a golf angle:

“Citing Role of Women in War, Burk Raises Pressure on Augusta
By Richard Sandomir

“Martha Burk intensified her campaign to force Augusta National Golf Club to admit women as members yesterday by invoking the war in Iraq, saying that women can serve in the armed forces and die in combat but cannot join the home of the Masters...”

Make club, not war! That’s the spirit. The Masters drew nearer and The Sunday Telegraph in London asked me if I’d like to write a piece on the raging furor at Augusta. I politely declined, saying there is no furor, it’s just Martha Burk, of the National Council for Women’s Organisations; Rent-a-Rev Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the People’s Republic of Himself; Howell Raines, executive supremo of the Times; and maybe a couple of dozen others. It’s a big nothing, I advised the Telegraph. As usual, they paid me no heed and ran a piece claiming that “Far from going away, the row has got louder.”

Well, this weekend we finally got to see how loud it was. According to this newspaper, Ms Burk’s big protest attracted two dozen supporters, outnumbered five to one by the press. According to USA Today, she had 40 supporters, outnumbered more than two to one by the cops.

Let’s be generous and call it 40. Four-zero? That’s it? In the last nine months, The New York Times has run 95 stories on Martha Burk and Augusta. So, aside from being outnumbered by police and reporters, Ms Burk’s 40 supporters were outnumbered more than two to one by New York Times stories on Ms Burk. Every time the Times mentioned this allegedly raging furor, it attracted approximately another 0.4 of a supporter to her cause. If The National Post’s figures are correct, Ms Burk’s supporters in the campaign against Augusta National came perilously close to being outnumbered by the holes.

Undeterred, Ms Burk is now threatening to move on from “live” protests to a campaign of commercial pressure on Augusta’s corporate associates, like Coca-Cola. "Let's sum it up this way: Round one ended with a protest with placards," she says. "Round two begins with a protest through the pocketbook." If all 40 of her supporters boycott Coke, that could cost the company as much as, oh, nine hundred bucks a year.

But, if I were Howell Raines, I’d crawl into a fetal position halfway down the fairway and hope the groundsmen grass me over. The Times’ carpet bombing of Augusta has proved a pathetic bunker-bust. This is supposed to be the most influential newspaper in America, the one whose front page all but dictates the agenda of the network news shows. And its most fiercely sustained campaign can’t fill a single school bus?

Fortunately for the Times, this debacle got lost in the confusion of war. Also falling into the very-good-time-to-bury category was CNN’s self-serving explanation of its Iraqi coverage. As the statues of Saddam toppled, Eason Jordan, chief news executive of CNN, went to his typewriter and bashed out a piece for the Times whose headline was its own indictment: “The News We Kept To Ourselves”. It seems that Eason Jordan has been easier on Iraq these last 12 years for fairly predictable reasons: there were “awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.”

That sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? Except that it’s not entirely clear Eason Jordan’s get-along policy with Saddam didn’t kill as many people as it protected. For example, the butcher’s psycho boy Uday told Jordan that he intended to murder Saddam’s two sons-in-law, who’d defected. Jordan felt he couldn’t tip off the guys because it would have jeopardised the life of CNN’s translator, who was also present at the meeting. So the sons-in-law returned to Baghdad and were promptly killed. “I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me,” whimpers Jordan. But it’s not really a “story”, is it? It’s some other fellow’s life. Did Jordan tell his bosses? Was it a corporate Time-Warner decision to go ahead and let these guys get whacked? Heigh-ho. Feeling awful about having stories bottled up inside you is better than being in Saddam’s dungeon having bottles up inside you.

Throughout this period, instead of acknowledging the open secret that he couldn’t report fairly from Baghdad, Jordan huffily insisted that he could. If news is the issue, CNN didn’t need to be in Iraq. The truth of what was going on was easily ascertained from talking to Iraqis in Amman, Kuwait and London. But that doesn’t work for CNN. They sell themselves as a global brand and it’s more important to them to be seen to have a Baghdad bureau than to have any real news emerging from that bureau. So for a decade their bureau gave Saddam an international seal of respectability, reporting the responses of “ministers” and “members of parliament” and “voters” as if they were real ministers, MPs and voters. What mattered to CNN was not the two-minute report of rewritten Saddamite press releases but the sign off: “Jane Arraf, CNN, Baghdad”. As Jordan acknowledged, this squalid trade-off cost real lives. Once the terms of doing business with Saddam were clear, they should have got out. But CNN willingly conceded the right to report any news for what it saw as the far more valuable right to be allowed to continue to appear as if it were reporting the news.

CNN’s slogan is “The Most Trusted Name In News”, which rings a little hollow now. I like the counter-slogans doing the rounds on talk-radio: “No Blood For News”.

CNN’s had a bad war. Fox News had 14 of the top 15 primetime cable shows the other week. ABC and CBS, two networks whose news ratings traditionally rise during war, have instead seen them tank. I wonder if that’s because, after Day Three, they hewed too closely to the New York Times quagmire-fest as opposed to the eerily accurate predictions of certain columnists one could mention. Perhaps if these guys spent less on Dan Rather’s hair and more on news gathering, they might be able to pursue a line less dependent on that morning’s newspaper.

But one should never underestimate the seductive power of inertia in human affairs. Now that the war is won, the pressure to plaster over the cracks and return to the way we were is enormous - and not just vis a vis the UN, France, etc. In the media, that means CNN’s disgusting relationship with Saddam will be forgotten and, instead of a deserved instant collapse, they’ll merely resume their remorseless genteel decline. Despite its own risible coverage of the war, The New York Times will continue to be the dominant influence on a self-regarding media elite that often seems to know less of the American hinterland than it does of the remoter parts of Kurdistan.

But some of us will remember these buried stories of the media’s insulation from reality: the network that traded lives for access, the paper that claimed  Bush was waging a “war on women” but couldn’t find 50 women to support its own resistance movement. I’d argue that Howell Raines’ epic campaign was all chiefs and not enough Indians. But of course you can’t say that in the Times...
The National Post, April 17th 2003


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: burk; cnn; easonjordan; iraq; jordan; marksteyn; marksteynlist; newyorktimes; raines; steyn
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I find it hard to believe that there's a Steyn column that no one before me has posted, but I did do a search.

But one should never underestimate the seductive power of inertia in human affairs. Now that the war is won, the pressure to plaster over the cracks and return to the way we were is enormous - and not just vis a vis the UN, France, etc. In the media, that means CNN’s disgusting relationship with Saddam will be forgotten and, instead of a deserved instant collapse, they’ll merely resume their remorseless genteel decline. Despite its own risible coverage of the war, The New York Times will continue to be the dominant influence on a self-regarding media elite that often seems to know less of the American hinterland than it does of the remoter parts of Kurdistan.

And that's the way it is....

1 posted on 04/18/2003 8:59:13 PM PDT by The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood; Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; ...
I checked earlier (Nat. Post & Telegraph) and found nothing. I figured he was off on vacation.

Steyn ping.

2 posted on 04/18/2003 9:02:28 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
"Feeling awful about having stories bottled up inside you is better than being in Saddam’s dungeon having bottles up inside you."

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me....

L

3 posted on 04/18/2003 9:03:55 PM PDT by Lurker ("One man of reason and goodwill is worth more, actually and potentially, than a million fools" AR)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
And that is sad but true.
4 posted on 04/18/2003 9:06:49 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Scathingly wonderful piece from the Master Scather himself.
5 posted on 04/18/2003 9:08:30 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: Lurker
LOL...that was my first thought, too....
6 posted on 04/18/2003 9:16:14 PM PDT by BkBinder
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
bttt
7 posted on 04/18/2003 9:22:02 PM PDT by sarasmom
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood; Pokey78
Sometimes the pieces in the National Post are not available on-line till the next day.

Thanks for the ping!

Happy Easter!
8 posted on 04/18/2003 9:22:20 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
The Old Gray Streetwalker---not Burk, I mean the Times---tried so very hard to make a bogieman out of Johnson and just proved herself to be a howelling joke instead. What a hoot.
9 posted on 04/18/2003 9:34:37 PM PDT by Rockpile
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To: Lurker
than a frontal lobotomy.

Existential Blues

Tom “T-Bone” Stankus

10 posted on 04/18/2003 9:35:45 PM PDT by dts32041 (The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it continues until it destroys.- RAH)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
I like the counter-slogans doing the rounds on talk-radio: “No Blood For News”.

That's not a good slogan, people bleed for news all the time (like Michael Kelly). And the whole complaint is that CNN isn't reporting the news. "No Blood for Access" is a better slogan.

11 posted on 04/18/2003 9:54:21 PM PDT by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: BartMan1
steyn ping
12 posted on 04/18/2003 9:58:24 PM PDT by IncPen
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To: xm177e2
Fah...just keep with the basics...see the tag line.
13 posted on 04/18/2003 10:13:04 PM PDT by FreeperinRATcage (Tell CNN: NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS!)
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To: IncPen
Steyn!!!!!
14 posted on 04/18/2003 10:14:26 PM PDT by lainde
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To: Pokey78
But some of us will remember these buried stories of the media’s insulation from reality: the network that traded lives for access, the paper that claimed Bush was waging a “war on women” but couldn’t find 50 women to support its own resistance movement. I’d argue that Howell Raines’ epic campaign was all chiefs and not enough Indians. But of course you can’t say that in the Times...

Many of us will NEVER FORGET, not the buried stories, not the innocent lives, not the blood of our troops. Not me.

15 posted on 04/18/2003 10:14:33 PM PDT by nicmarlo
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
But some of us will remember...

Right on Marko. Some of us will remember.

16 posted on 04/18/2003 10:16:07 PM PDT by beckett
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To: xm177e2
"Compromised News Network," "Cowardly News Network," or "Can't-Tell News Network" are all pretty good monikers.

If we ever find out how much CNN has sold out to the intimidation of the Palestinians, Michael Savage's "Crescent News Network" tag will be proven accurate.
17 posted on 04/18/2003 10:20:12 PM PDT by litany_of_lies
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping.
18 posted on 04/18/2003 10:35:34 PM PDT by patricia
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Steyn is brillian as usual.
19 posted on 04/18/2003 10:53:09 PM PDT by Maynerd
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Not only do you have marvelous taste in screen names, you also have wonderful taste in writers. Mark Steyn is a fave of mine.
20 posted on 04/18/2003 11:05:19 PM PDT by Mr. Mulliner (QUANDO OMNI FLUNKUS MORITATI: When all else fails, play dead)
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To: Mr. Mulliner; The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Glad to see you two finally got together.

I'm not surprised to see that there's an overlap between fans of Plum's and fans of Steyn's, since I'm one, too. But I am surprised to see Red Green go into the mix. I thought I was the only one. We must constitute a very small minority.

Lambo
21 posted on 04/18/2003 11:31:17 PM PDT by lambo
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To: lambo
I think it's Sauropod who had another Red Green tagline and inspired mine for this week. However, I doubt he's got any connection with Plum.
22 posted on 04/18/2003 11:35:32 PM PDT by Mr. Mulliner (QUANDO OMNI FLUNKUS MORITATI: When all else fails, play dead)
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To: Rockpile
The New York Times:"All the News That's Fit To Print Print to Fit"
23 posted on 04/19/2003 12:11:23 AM PDT by lorrainer (Oh, was I ranting? Sorry.....)
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To: FreeperinRATcage
That... is a fine slogan. NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS!
24 posted on 04/19/2003 3:12:43 AM PDT by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: Pokey78
thanks and bump. Good comments about the "Lesbians for Non-Discriminatory Rich Social Golf Clubs" protest at Augusta.

Steyn is the best writer I've seen since Coulter and Sowell. I wish Steyn'd get on www.Townhall.com
25 posted on 04/19/2003 4:34:26 AM PDT by RobFromGa (Real Americans Support our Troops 100%)
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear
Ping
26 posted on 04/19/2003 4:48:16 AM PDT by knighthawk
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Bump for later reading
27 posted on 04/19/2003 4:54:43 AM PDT by Gothmog
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To: xm177e2
The day CNN has to fold is going to be a big day to celebrate. Once the downhill slide starts, it is difficult to reverse.
28 posted on 04/19/2003 4:58:43 AM PDT by doosee
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To: xm177e2
How about

"No blood for the priveledge of being censored"

29 posted on 04/19/2003 5:15:15 AM PDT by Tripleplay
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To: doosee
Maybe Jane Fonda, in a bid to seek redemption and become a 'Christian Martyr", will strap on a suicide vest and detonate herself at a CNN board meeting thus bringing down that international brand of Carefully Nuanced News.
30 posted on 04/19/2003 5:32:01 AM PDT by battlegearboat (line removed by matadore.)
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To: lambo
I'm not surprised to see that there's an overlap between fans of Plum's and fans of Steyn's, since I'm one, too. But I am surprised to see Red Green go into the mix. I thought I was the only one. We must constitute a very small minority.

I'm not so sure about that.

Keep your stick on the ice.

31 posted on 04/19/2003 6:36:58 AM PDT by The Hon. Galahad Threepwood (If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood; Pokey78; yall
Steyn hit the nail on the head here !:

CNN’s slogan is “The Most Trusted Name In News”, which rings a little hollow now. I like the counter-slogans doing the rounds on talk-radio: “No Blood For News”.

Or for Access, etc. CNN's slide will continue alright ! FOX News rules the Roost and will for some time now !
32 posted on 04/19/2003 6:47:57 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Pokey78
If I became aware that murders were going to be committed...and declined to notify "the authorities" or the intended victims...aren't I guilty of a crime of sorts?
33 posted on 04/19/2003 6:51:52 AM PDT by DCPatriot
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Thanks for making sure this one got posted. It's a treasure!

"...the network that traded lives for access.."

The arrogance of deliberately telling us lies, day after day, then admitting doing so but without remorse or promise never to do it again.....really, you'd have to be mentally challenged, severely, to tune in to CNN for 'news.' And that includes going to their website. I am not mentally challenged, thank God.

34 posted on 04/19/2003 6:54:13 AM PDT by WaterDragon (Only America has the moral authority and the resolve to lead the world in tClhe 21st Century.)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
What? CNN and The New York Times are still in business?

The should re-name them Fairy Tales For Liberals!

35 posted on 04/19/2003 7:05:59 AM PDT by Gritty
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To: WaterDragon
Rent-a-Rev Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the People’s Republic of Himself

As always, in a few words Steyn captures the complete essense of JJ

Someone should mention to Jackson he is the only thing in the world more irrelevent than the UN.

36 posted on 04/19/2003 7:12:19 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Wow, he whacked both CNN and the NY Times in the same piece. That makes for some enjoyable reading.
37 posted on 04/19/2003 8:15:53 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Mr. Mulliner
Bump. Love your tag line.
38 posted on 04/19/2003 8:18:53 AM PDT by JusPasenThru (Eliminate the ninnies and the twits...)
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To: Pokey78
A Steyn fix! Whew! Just in time, I needed that.
39 posted on 04/19/2003 8:30:21 AM PDT by NewYorker
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To: NewYorker
You might want to check into this Golden Oldie re-posted yesterday-- "How does it Feeeeeeeel?"
40 posted on 04/19/2003 12:09:20 PM PDT by Paul Ross (From the State Looking Forward to Global Warming! Let's Drown France!)
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To: Temple Owl
ping
41 posted on 04/19/2003 12:11:17 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: RobFromGa
Steyn is the best writer I've seen since Coulter and Sowell.

He's the best non-fiction writer I've seen since ... anyone.

42 posted on 04/19/2003 12:31:49 PM PDT by mrustow (no tag)
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To: xm177e2
Wasn't my creation...I stole it :)
43 posted on 04/19/2003 3:18:09 PM PDT by FreeperinRATcage (Tell CNN: NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS!)
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To: NewYorker
A Steyn fix! Whew! Just in time, I needed that.
Ain't it the truth!

44 posted on 04/19/2003 3:44:08 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: lorrainer
The New York Times:"All the News That's Fit To Print Print to Fit"

If I'm not mistaken, that should be:

The New York Times: "All the News That's Fit To Print That Fits Our Views"

45 posted on 04/19/2003 4:04:46 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Pokey78
CNN's slogan is "The Most Trusted Name In News", which rings a little hollow now.

Agreed.

46 posted on 04/19/2003 5:15:50 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: WaterDragon
Once the terms of doing business with Saddam were clear, they should have got out. But CNN willingly conceded the right to report any news for what it saw as the far more valuable right to be allowed to continue to appear as if it were reporting the news.
This fits in with the effort of journalism in general to herd together, avoiding flame wars among journalistic outlets. Homogeneity as a substitute for veracity . . . The price is just the same--some things which you know are true, you decline to print for business reasons.

IOW, the putative "right to know" is a sham. You don't have a "right to know" anything. You have to filter out the irrelevant and the erroneous, and come to your own (fallible) conclusion. If you have that right, you also have the responsibility to yourself to think for yourself. And the first thing you must do in order to reach an intelligent conclusion is to clear your mind of the propaganda from journalism which cons you to assume that the whole truth is served on a silver platter by popular journalism.


47 posted on 04/19/2003 6:41:06 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: Heuristic Hiker
Mark Steyn ping
48 posted on 04/19/2003 7:53:58 PM PDT by Utah Girl
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To: Pokey78
Rent-a-Rev Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the People’s Republic of Himself...Perfect!!

Pokey, I don't always thank you for the pings, but thanks. I always love these columns. War Eagle!! (Just a little spring practice for the fall.)
49 posted on 04/20/2003 7:05:15 PM PDT by AUsome Joy
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Says it all...

Once the terms of doing business with Saddam were clear, they should have got out. But CNN willingly conceded the right to report any news for what it saw as the far more valuable right to be allowed to continue to appear as if it were reporting the news.

50 posted on 04/21/2003 6:58:15 PM PDT by GOPJ
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