2. Desertions Down; USA Today's Spin: "8,000 Desert During Iraq War"
3. CNN's Roberts: Dana Reeve's Kerry Endorsement Was "Poignant"
4. Lauer Empathizes with "Set Up" Teacher Who Likened Bush to Hitler
5. Time Running Out to Buy Tickets to MRC's "DisHonors Awards"
Of the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night, only the NBC Nightly News found Tom DeLay's Tuesday primary victory, which he won by a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff, newsworthy. Anchor Brian Williams gave 35 seconds to DeLay's 62 percent vote in "his first election test since being indicted on campaign finance charges last year." While ABC's Elizabeth Vargas found no time for DeLay, she managed to highlight how Wednesday was the UN-decreed "International Women's Day" and how in Belgium roses were given to "women on the European Commission" while "the UN issued a sobering study: Women fill about 16 percent of the world's legislative seats. Not much change in 30 years." The CBS Evening News skipped DeLay, but ran a story promoting Microsoft's new "Origami" hand-held computer device.
Williams read this short item on the March 8 NBC Nightly News:
On World News Tonight, solo anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced, over matching video:
As Vargas referred to the number of women in legislatures, anon-screen graphic, credited to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, listed 10.9% in 1975 compared to 16.3% in 2006.
A front page USA Today article on Tuesday reported how "the overall desertion rate" from the armed forces "has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001" and the 2005 rate represents "0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces" compared to a 3.4 percent desertion rate during the Vietnam war. Nonetheless, USA Today headlined its story, "8,000 desert during Iraq war," and reporter Bill Nichols related how "some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service." Later in the story, Nichols noted that, in fact, "there is only one known case of desertion in Iraq." Commenting on USA Today's spin, on Wednesday, OpinionJournal.com's James Taranto observed: "Many in the press seem determined to follow their Iraq-as-Vietnam script, whether or not it's consistent with the facts."
For Taranto's take in his March 8 "Best of the Web" compilation: www.opinionjournal.com 
While the online posting of the March 7 USA Today story carried just the "8,000 desert during Iraq war" headline, the hard copy of the paper also featured a subhead with the real news: "But overall desertions have fallen since 9/11."
An excerpt from the front page story by Bill Nichols:
At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
Since fall 2003, 4,387 Army soldiers, 3,454 Navy sailors and 82 Air Force personnel have deserted. The Marine Corps does not track the number of desertions each year but listed 1,455 Marines in desertion status last September, the end of fiscal 2005, says Capt. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman....
Some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service and that the Pentagon is cracking down on deserters.
"The last thing they want is for people to think...that this is like Vietnam," says Tod Ensign, head of Citizen Soldier, an anti-war group that offers legal aid to deserters.
Desertion numbers have dropped since 9/11. The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marine Corps showed 1,603 Marines in desertion status in 2001. That had declined by 148 in 2005.
The desertion rate was much higher during the Vietnam era. The Army saw a high of 33,094 deserters in 1971 -- 3.4% of the Army force. But there was a draft and the active-duty force was 2.7 million.
Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.
Opposition to the war prompts a small fraction of desertions, says Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins. "People always desert, and most do it because they don't adapt well to the military," she says. The vast majority of desertions happen inside the USA, Robbins says. There is only one known case of desertion in Iraq....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.usatoday.com 
Most of the television news story on the passing of Dana Reeve noted her work to get federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, but CNN's John Roberts, fresh from CBS News, was the most enthusiastic, imbuing "poignant" meaning to her 2004 endorsement of John Kerry. On Tuesday's The Situation Room, Roberts noted how "up until her death she carried on Christopher Reeve's legacy as an advocate of embryonic stem cell research." Viewers then saw a clip of her endorsing Kerry: "I am here today because John Kerry, like Christopher Reeve, believes in keeping our hope alive." Roberts then suggested: "It may have been Dana Reeve's most powerful and poignant political statement. In October of 2004, just two weeks after Christopher Reeve's death, she came out of mourning to publicly endorse Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign." The next day, on Wednesday's American Morning, Roberts set up the same soundbite from Reeves: "Just two weeks after Christopher's death, she became the symbol of his strength and spirit, signing on to John Kerry's presidential campaign."
Roberts also touted how "the stem cell research debate is not a strictly partisan one. Republican Senator Arlen Specter is a supporter of stem cell research..."
The MRC's Megan McCormack caught the two pieces from Roberts.
During the 4pm EST hour of the March 7 The Situation Room, which Roberts anchored from Washington with Wolf Blitzer in the Middle East, Roberts set up a look back at her life:
Soledad O'Brien set up the version which ran on the March 8 American Morning: "Dana Reeve leaves a legacy of love and caring, and dogged determination, frankly, to help people with paralysis. She had her victories, and defeats too. But the scripting of her legacy isn't over yet. CNN's John Roberts has our story."
President George W. Bush: "And I thank the Congress for doubling the funding of the National Institutes of Health."
Interviewing Colorado geography teacher Jay Bennish, who was suspended after one of his high school students recorded him comparing President Bush with Adolph Hitler, Today co-host Matt Lauer on Tuesday sympathized with him over how the student and his parents "didn't go to the school board with this tape," but instead "basically shopped it around to conservative media outlets and when they finally released it to one it created an uproar." As if those with a liberal agenda don't shop their ideas and books to Today, where they presume they will find receptive bookers. (Many conservative bloggers and FNC's Hannity & Colmes have focused attention on Bennish.) Lauer fretted that "on the tape you can hear Sean Allen," the student who recorded the class, "asking you questions that seem to be egging you on a little bit. Do you feel you were set up?"
An exchange from Today's "exclusive" in-studio segment with Bennish on March 7:
Lauer: "The, the, the family here, the, the student's family didn't go to the school board with this tape. They went-"
For the transcript of the entire interview, and how Today set it up, as well as links to MP3 audio clips of Bennish in action teaching his class as posted by Michelle Malkin on her blog, check a Tuesday posting by the MRC's Geoff Dickens on our NewsBusters blog. Go to: newsbusters.org 
Just three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each.
It's always a fun evening where we turn the tables on the press corps and play video clips on big screens to mock and laugh at their biased reporting. And you'll get to meet me and the rest of the staff behind CyberAlert!
Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy very soon. As in this week.
To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org 
That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in or fax, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."
Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.
After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz, check: www.mediaresearch.org 
-- Brent Baker