Another Discerning Comparison

Plus: Celebrating Al Sharpton's Style Sense and "Poignant Commentary" from Sen. James Webb
Another Discerning Comparison
"The Bible Belt is the Loire Valley of American extremism - visitors glide across vast highways in the South and West to marvel at the revivalist megachurches and 'Honk for Jesus' road signs with the giddy awe of tourists exploring an alien civilization. And like Chenonceau or the vineyards of Sancerre, Christian evangelical churches rarely disappoint." - From television critic Alessandra Stanley's review of an HBO documentary, "Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi," January 25.

But Not a Real Rape from A Fake One
"The Rev. Al Sharpton, a man who says he knows a well-tailored suit from a fake, went to the United States Senate on Thursday to do some comparison shopping, meeting separately with four Democrats who are seeking the 2008 presidential nomination to discuss civil rights." - From Patrick Healy's January 26 story on Al Sharpton, who foisted the Tawana Brawley hoax on America.

"Poignant Commentary" from the Left's New Favorite Bush Fighter
"Perhaps the most poignant commentary on the war and the plan to increase troops came in the Democratic response to the speech, given by Senator James Webb of Virginia. He had been chosen because, as Senator Harry Reid, the Democrats' leader, said, he understood what it meant to go to war. A former secretary of the Navy and ex-marine, his son is serving in Iraq. In his speech, he held up a photograph of his father serving as an Air Force captain in Germany. He had carried it with him for most of his life, he said. And as a child, he had taken it to bed for three years as he prayed for his father's safe return." - Kate Zernike on Sen. James Webb's response to Bush's State of the Union address, January 24.

How Adorable
Patrick Healy on Hillary Clinton's presidential announcement, January 22.

France's "Unforgiving" Minister Who Dared Called Thugs "Thugs"
Elaine Sciolino on France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, January 15.

Marking MLK Day by Bashing Iraq, Economy
"Against the backdrop of an escalating war in Iraq and increasing economic disparity in the United States, many who spoke during the ceremony used Dr. King's pulpit to call for a return to the principles of social justice and nonviolence that defined the civil rights leader's life." - Brenda Goodman, January 16.

Major Misleading
"The Bush administration, in a surprise reversal, said on Wednesday that it had agreed to give a secret court jurisdiction over the National Security Agency's wiretapping program and would end its practice of eavesdropping without warrants on Americans suspected of ties to terrorists." - Eric Lichtblau and David Johnston, January 18.
"The full details of the new approach to the domestic eavesdropping program have not been publicly disclosed." - From a January 18 "news analysis" by Scott Shane.
"In a four-paragraph letter on Wednesday announcing that the Bush administration had reversed its position and would submit its domestic surveillance program to judicial supervision, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales used one phrase three times." - Adam Liptak's "news analysis," January 19.
Reality Check: The NSA program monitors communications originating from people in America to international numbers - it doesn't focus on "Americans" or on "domestic" calls between people living in America, citizens or not.

Bet That Hurt His Feelings
"The president wants to be like Truman. Some historians think he may be more like L.B.J." - Text box to a Week in Review story by Kate Zernike, January 14.

You Call That the Center?
"The promise may not outlast their political honeymoon, but Democratic Congressional leaders say they are committed to governing from the center, and not just on bread-and-butter issues like raising the minimum wage or increasing aid for education." - Robin Toner, January 16.