Dave Must Go

I've never been a devoted fan of David Letterman, but I've watched his show enough to appreciate his wit. He can be truly funny, and his political humor, though always one-sided, is some of his best work.

But this week he went too far.

By now, more people know about his remarks Tuesday night — about Palin, mother and daughter — than they do about the potentially regime-changing election in Iran and the stiff new U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

Bill O’Reilly Finally Exposed

The big media shootout is over, and the final score is: CNN 1; Bill O’Reilly 0.

In case you missed it, the shootout kicked off when O’Reilly and other Fox News anchors started spreading the outrageous claim that CNN gave massive coverage to the murder, in church, of Dr. George Tiller, but zero coverage to the murder in Arkansas of Army recruiter William Long.

Using talking points no doubt provided by the Republican National Committee, O’Reilly told his viewers that “all day long,” CNN anchors had ignored Long’s murder until Anderson Cooper’s 10 p.m. broadcast. This proved the “liberal bias” of CNN, O’Reilly charged. They care more about abortion doctors than members of the military.

The only problem: It wasn’t true. Not even close.

The Mean Machines

It's a variation on one of our great philosophical questions: "If Newt Gingrich says something utterly ridiculous, and nobody is listening, did he really say it?”

The answer is "Of course not. What a silly question.”

The problem is that the Newts and Rushes and their counterparts on the left have built entire careers because we pay attention to their bombast. Also, might I add, they've accumulated sizable fortunes.

David Brooks: Relativist, or Just a Critical Legal Studies Theorist?

Like most Democrats, I love reading David Brooks, but a few of his latest columns are venturing into dangerous territory normally reserved for first-year philosophy students who discover relativism and unknowingly repeat that famous line from “The Big Lebowski”: Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Brooks has allowed his curiosity for the latest social science research on cognition and decisionmaking to lead him to make some intellectually sloppy and relativistic arguments. In a column last month, he suggested that all rational thought was an illusion and absolute truth is an anachronistic outpost of dead Greek men.

Secrecy and Democracy

Consider one of the Franken Rules of Life: There is nothing good that someone won't corrupt.

Today we talk about secrecy. Obviously, there are many worthwhile reasons to keep things confidential. There is sensitive personal information that is no one's business except those who require that you reveal it to them as a condition for something they can give you in return.

Remembering Irving R. Levine and John Wilke

The Hill yesterday published a heartfelt letter from Nelson Lewis on the recent passing of news legend Irving R. Levine. While Lewis includes personal anecdotes of how Levine served as a mentor, he also makes clear Levine's prescience and influence, writing:

Were it not for Mr. Levine — who co-founded the predecessor to CNBC, the Financial News Network — the entire financial TV news industry would not exist in today’s form. ... Mr. Levine will be remembered as a pioneer of American broadcasting. His precise delivery and unique ability to explain the intricacies of international finance in everyday language made him a top-notch raconteur, whom others have subsequently tried to emulate."

Save the Newspapers — Is It Time for Congress to Act?

I have to admit my bias — I love newspapers.

I love that one of my earliest memories as a kid was reading the newspaper to my dad (try to do that over a computer screen). I love waking up and picking up the newspaper on my front lawn (it so seldom makes it anywhere near my front door, btw). I love that there are smart writers, columnists and journalists on an array of topics that I can read on any given day.

Tea Parties, Brought to You by Fox News

Today marks a new first in television journalism. Normally, it’s the networks’ job to cover news events. Except for Fox News. They no longer just cover events. They now create events first — and then cover them.

Take today’s so-called “Tea Parties.” Without Fox News, they wouldn’t exist.

Yes, they were designed, planned and paid for by three right-wing organizations: FreedomWorks, dontGo, and Americans for Prosperity. But they were promoted — exclusively! — on Fox News.

The Bare Facts

Thankfully, The New York Times has a sense of humor.

Amid the reports of daily tragedy, doom and disaster, a clever editor included John Tagliabue’s “Appenzell Journal.” It exposes naked hikers in the Alps, as if they needed exposure. Apparently, it is a common practice there to hike wearing only shoes (and sunblock), and there is a cheeky photo of two hikers doing so, accompanying Tagliabue’s expose. “… the hills,” he writes, were “alive with the sound of everything but the swish of trousers.” One is left to ponder where they keep their car keys.

Chris Matthews Has Lost All Journalistic Credibility

When you get some time today, you must watch this MSNBC clip of an often-heated exchange between “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

The clip runs over 16 minutes (unheard of on cable programming these days with just one guest) and shows Mr. Fleischer repeatedly and aggressively rebutting Matthews on a litany of issues.