2. CBS's Pitts Blames Iraq War for Rise in Violent Crime in the U.S.
3. Alter Wishes for 'Demise' of 'Values Voters' in Fall Elections
4. Borger: Voters Will Reject 'Arrogance of American Foreign Policy'
5. "Top Ten Ways Country Would Be Different If Woman Were President"
Over headlines from Daily Kos and Huffington Post, Mason conceded you can "call the conspiracy theory crazy," but he touted how "it's spreading through Internet blogs and over the airwaves. And a recent poll found 42 percent of people actually believe the Bush administration has deliberately manipulated the price of gas to affect the election."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
Back in late September, CNN's American Morning also gave credence to the conspiracy, as detailed in a September 27 MRC CyberAlert item, "CNN: Are Falling Gas Prices a Conspiracy Between Big Oil and GOP?", which began:
For the third time in less then a month, CNN has aired a report investigating the connection between falling gas prices and the GOP's fortunes in the looming fall election. This time, on Monday's American Morning, reporter Ali Velshi looked into the conspiracy theory that oil companies are trying to help Republicans by dropping prices. Co-Anchor Soledad O'Brien teased the report: "Ahead this morning, is there a conspiracy behind the drop in gas prices? Bloggers say there is something fishy going on." Velshi gave credibility to the theory: "Are lower gas prices a Republican plot? This blogger wonders if Republicans are trying to soften voters, who have spent the last year angry about high prices." He even asked: "Could President Bush have had anything to do with plummeting gas prices?" Velshi doubted the conspiracy idea, but then offered up: "Maybe the oil companies realize that the Democrats coming in, it's going to be bad for them, because the Democrats have pretty much said to the oil companies, we're going to pile the taxes on if we, we take over in November."
For the CyberAlert in full: www.mrc.org 
The August 31 CyberAlert recounted how CNN's Jack Cafferty saw a conspiracy by the oil companies: "You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away." For more: www.mrc.org 
The transcript of the October 16 CBS Evening News story, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
Katie Couric: "The way things are going at the gas pump, there's no point in topping off your tank today. Chances are, the price will be even lower tomorrow. As of tonight, gas is the lowest it's been all year, a nationwide average of $2.23 a gallon. It hasn't been that low since last Christmas. But is this an election year present from President Bush to fellow Republicans? Here's Anthony Mason."
Anthony Mason: "For two months now, gas prices have been in free-fall, plunging 81 cents a gallon since August and giving the President some rare good news."
In a Monday CBS Evening News story on how the FBI has reported that violent crime rose 2.3 percent in 2005, with a 9.2 percent hike in mid-sized cities -- a topic CBS hyped as "Eye on Crime: The Crisis" -- Byron Pitts attributed the increase in part to police officers deployed to Iraq as well as to the media's favorite culprit: a cut in federal spending. Pitts traveled to a mid-sized city, Minneapolis, where he found that "like so many cities its size, resources are strained. One burden, dollars diverted to Homeland Security. An added burden, the war in Iraq." A police officer lamented: "We have probably 30 to 40 officers that are serving in Iraq right now." But in a department of nearly 900 officers, that's only about four percent of the force. Pitts soon proposed another factor: "Since 2004, the Feds have cut funding for state and local police departments by nearly 50 percent. So with fewer police officers, more at-risk kids and more gangs go unwatched."
I'd bet the "cut" has been much less than 50 percent. And why should local policing be a federal responsibility?
The Minneapolis Police Department's page: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us 
[This item was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the relevant portion of the October 16 CBS Evening News story:
Byron Pitts: "....But like so many cities its size, resources are strained. One burden, dollars diverted to Homeland Security. An added burden, the war in Iraq."
What does the "N-word" racial epithet and the pollster term "values voter" have in common? According to Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, by some elastic calisthenics of the brain, the word "values" needs to be drained of its poison, deprived of its "sting" against liberals, deflated of any political advantage, so that liberals can be seen as just as morality-oriented as conservatives. In describing his latest column, on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning program on Monday, Alter said this "values voter" term is "driving me nuts," that certain people have a "monopoly" on "so-called traditional values." Alter also displayed an intense desire for the "demise" of "values voters" in the fall election.
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
In his phone interview with Imus in the October 16 6:30am EDT half hour, Alter told Imus:
Whoa. That's an interesting use of words. "Demise" might sound like 'decline,' but it primarily means 'death.' Is he wishing death on social conservatives? Or is he just verbally clumsy? (Don't tell me Alter would let Sen. George Allen off the carpet with a verbal miscue like that.) On the one hand, Alter wants to declare that social conservatives will not win out as they did last time, but then he has to claim not only that their traditional values are "so-called," but that they were merely "seen" to have been decisive. So if they weren't decisive, why is Alter so "nuts" that they might influence the election again this year?
He wrapped up: "And the indications are they have less clout this time out. You know, there are a lot of reports that they are going to stay home which is bad news for the Republicans."
You can clearly hear through his irritation, saying social conservatives, go home. Religious right-wingers, get out. Stop ruining our liberal utopia, where abortion is widely available and gays getting married is the highest expression of our societal progress. Here's Alter's festival of wishful thinking in the Newsweek column suggesting that Republicans will stew in their own disgusting social-conservative juices:
For Alter's piece in the October 23 edition of Newsweek, "The Myth of the 'Values' Voter: The term is loaded and unfair. It implies that people who 'do not share our values' aren't just wrong but morally inferior," go to: www.msnbc.msn.com 
Liberals like Alter profess that religious liberals have a different agenda to press, to shame conservatives into realizing they also have a biblical duty to assist the poor, a different set of values to vote on. But isn't it obvious to them that this is exactly the "wedge" that they've applied against conservatives since, mmm, the Great Depression? That conservatives didn't share their "values" of assisting the poor? That they cornered the market on virtue and compassion? Alter isn't sick of "values" having a definition. He's sick of it having a conservative definition. The liberal media want to rewrite the dictionary so that everyone uses their language with their meaning, and they can't stand it when conservative rhetoric wins with voters.
On the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, NBC's Andrea Mitchell and CBS's Gloria Borger sounded like Blame America Firsters when explaining what the American public wants in a candidate for '08. Mitchell worried that the big challenge for the next President is how the world now views the U.S. as "bullies" and "arrogant." Borger punctuated Mitchell's theory, predicting "American voters are going to say, 'Next time around we want somebody who can work in a bipartisan way, who can work in a reasonable way, who can work abroad in a reasonable way. We're done with the arrogance of American foreign policy.'"
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
The following exchange occurred on the October 15th edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Andrea Mitchell: "That and I think what might most, could be the most profound problem beyond our men and women overseas in harm's way is how much hated the United States is for a variety of reasons. Fairly or not fairly. There is a perception abroad and it's in Europe and it's in the Islamic world and it's in Asia is that we are bullies, is that we're arrogant. It goes back to decisions that were made or perceptions of decisions, the wars. And whether it's fair or not somebody's gotta fix that and that cannot be fixed with Radio Free Europe or its descendants. It is a big, big problem."
As submitted by Late Show with David Letterman newsletter subscribers and Web site visitors, the winning entries in last week's "Top Ten Contest," the "Top Ten Ways the Country Would Be Different If a Woman Were President." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com 
10. On our currency, "In God We Trust" will be replaced with "You Go, Girl!" (Teri G., Santa Cruz, CA)
9. NASA's Mars mission cancelled, replaced by mission to Venus (Bill R., Paducah, KY)
8. Wars would be over as soon as someone breaks a nail (Annie H., Youngsville, NC)
7. New cabinet position: Secretary of Electrolysis (Jason K., Covina, CA)
6. Library of Congress changed to Oprah's Book Club (Ronbo J., Dodgeville, WI)
5. Terror Threat Level colors are plum, mauve, fuchsia, periwinkle and pink (Jim G., Manhattan, KS)
4. Inaugural speech urging the nation to "moisturize" (Frankie C., Narberth, PA)
3. She wouldn't interrupt prime time TV for a stupid press conference, especially when "Grey's Anatomy" is on (Lori R., Barto, PA)
2. Pointless invasion of Bloomingdale's (Ken B., Santa Barbara, CA)
1. Mandatory prison sentence for leaving the toilet seat up (Riley L., Hong, Kong)
-- Brent Baker