2. "Bush Cheered at Fort Benning" v "Bush Speaks & Base Is Subdued"
3. CBS Ignores Lower Count and Hypes Most Dire Homeless Guesstimate
4. Time Trashed Flat Tax in '96, Now Flat Tax Boom In Eastern Europe
5. "Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's 60 Minutes Interview"
Monday's CBS Evening News featured a recounting, by Lara Logan, of how over the weekend U.S. Army soldiers rescued an Iraqi surgeon and his family who were trapped for eight days on Baghdad's Haifa Street, suffering in dire conditions and in danger of getting killed in fighting between Sunni militias and the Iraqi army. After the rescue, Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir proclaimed on camera: "These are days that I will never forget in my life. Thank you American military, thank you people!" The "Crazyhorse" troops of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry of the U.S. Army conducted the mission after the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq saw CBS's Friday story on the plight of Dr. al-Kasir, a very prominent Iraqi doctor who once attended a meeting at the White House.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The CBSNews.com online version of the story: www.cbsnews.com
Lara Logan: "....The famous surgeon, once a guest of President Bush at the White House, was now hiding in a dark bathroom with his wife and three children, shivering from cold and hunger."
"Are There Two Different Fort Bennings?" So asked James Taranto in his Friday "Best of the Web Today" compilation for Opinion Journal.com as he cited an AP story posted on ABCNews.com with the headline, "Bush Cheered at Fort Benning," while the New York Times headline declared: "Bush Speaks and Base Is Subdued."
The headline and lead paragraph to a January 11 Associated Press dispatch: "Bush Cheered at Fort Benning: FORT BENNING, Ga. -- President Bush, surrounded on Thursday by cheering soldiers in camouflage, defended his decision to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq and cautioned that the buildup will not produce quick results. 'It's going to take awhile,' he said." See: www.abcnews.go.com
January 12 New York Times story: "Bush Speaks and Base Is Subdued: FORT BENNING, Ga., Jan. 11 -- President Bush came to this Georgia military base looking for a friendly audience to sell his new Iraq strategy. But his lunchtime talk received a restrained response from soldiers who clapped politely but showed little of the wild enthusiasm that they ordinarily shower on the commander in chief." Check: www.nytimes.com
Taranto's January 12 "Best of the web Today" column: www.opinionjournal.com
The CBS Evening News delivered the same spin the night before the New York Times story ran. Katie Couric characterized, on January 11, as "out of the ordinary" the "response the President got today from a usually receptive audience," soldiers at Fort Benning. Reporter Jim Axelrod checked in: "To start selling his plan, President Bush picked about the friendliest audience he could find -- soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia. But even rallying the troops is now a challenge. The mood here was polite but muted, more somber than usual for a President talking to soldiers." For more, see the January 12 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
Two days after the National Alliance to End Homelessness released its survey which estimated that in January of 2005, "744,313 people experienced homelessness," the CBS Evening News on Friday picked an earlier, more dire, guesstimate covering an entire year from the group with a self-interest in making homelessness seem as ominous as possible. Introducing an "Assignment America" piece from Steve Hartman on a homeless shelter in Gloucester, Massachusetts that "could be a museum, or at least a bed and breakfast" since it's "350 years old and beautifully restored," fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell declared, "It's a sad truth: Too many Americans don't have a house to call their own. Over the course of any year, some 600,000 families find themselves homeless, and that includes more than 1.3 million children." On screen, viewers saw matching numbers attributed to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, but in a study released on Wednesday, the group reported that its month-long survey located "98,452 homeless families."
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A page on the group's Web site contends: "Most Americans underestimate how the problem of homelessness affects families. About 600,000 families and 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the United States." See: www.endhomelessness.org
For the report: www.endhomelessness.org
More than a decade after publisher Steve Forbes's flat-tax platform temporarily vaulted him to the top of the pack of GOP presidential candidates, another prospective Republican presidential candidate is making tax simplification a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign. In announcing his exploratory committee, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback argued, "We need a flat tax instead of the dreadful, incomprehensible tax code we now have," Monday's Wichita Eagle reported.
But unlike back in 1996, the media are now confronted with the evidence that the flat tax help boost wealth-producing economic growth. This week's Time reports on the economic boom in the former Soviet republic of Estonia, which like many Eastern European countries has seen its fortunes rise since dumping socialism and instituting a flat tax. "The economy is now one of Europe's most dynamic, racing along at an 11.3% growth clip," Peter Gumbel writes this week in his "Letter from Estonia." See: www.time.com
[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs perfectly echoed the liberal establishment's disdain for both the flat tax and conservative economic theories: "The heart of his [Steve Forbes's] fiscal crusade is his flat tax, a plan derided as 'deja voodoo' by economists who blame Reagan's supply-side tax cuts for the explosion of the national debt. He has captured perfectly the fury Americans feel for a system they think treats them like suckers while the rich enjoy a secret tax code written just for them -- not withstanding his flat tax could favor the rich even more effectively." See: www.time.com
Since regaining independence in 1991 with the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Estonia (pop. 1.35 million) was the first former Soviet republic to introduce its own currency and adopt a flat-tax system, now widely copied in the rest of Eastern Europe. It has also become one of the most technologically advanced places on the planet. You can use your mobile phone to pay for parking, buy bus tickets or check your children's school schedule. Wi-fi hot spots are ubiquitous, and the nation's most famous start-up is Skype, the Internet phone titan, which eBay acquired for $2.6 billion. That's slightly more than the annual output of the entire Estonian economy 15 years ago.
The economy is now one of Europe's most dynamic, racing along at an 11.3% growth clip. Estonia is the only new European Union member to have a budget surplus, and its national debt is shrinking rapidly. Naturally, there are growing pains: the unemployment rate has fallen so sharply, from 14% in 2000 to about 4% today, that businesses are scrambling to find workers. "This is the best time in our history," says Sten Tamkivi, Skype's Estonian operations manager....
Most Estonians, enjoying a boost in living standards, are hoping the boom can continue. But there's at least one caveat: Estonia needs to resolve its labor shortage. "We are running out of people," says Craig Rawlings, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Tallinn. Still, Estonia has shown that it can improvise. "We're a very small country," says Skype's Tamkivi. "That means we just have to be efficient." So far, they've managed.
END of Excerpt
The question is, if Brownback's candidacy takes off, will Time remember its own reporting on Eastern Europe's flat tax boom? Or will they once again go after the flat tax as a threat to liberals big government priorities?
From the January 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's 60 Minutes Interview." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Interview was conducted in the Camp David hot tub
9. President refused to talk about anything except Jennifer Hudson's performance in "Dreamgirls"
8. Announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election
7. While walking through the woods, constantly ducking Cheney buckshot
6. Vowed in the future he'll make much better mistakes
5. All the Heineken empties
4. Paused for a CIA briefing about likely Golden Globe winners
3. His Andy Rooney-esque rant about hard-to-open ketchup packets
2. Bush's tearful admission he bet entire United States budget on the Chargers
1. Just like Britney -- no underpants
-- Brent Baker