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Tony & Tacky
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March 4, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony & Tacky, our choices for the best and the worst of the week. This is the only photo we could find of this man, and this picture is six years old. His name is Phil Anschutz. He's a billionaire, and even though he does things like bankroll movies when no one else will, he's not very widely known and he likes it that way. Holman, tony or tacky?

HOLMAN JENKINS: He's tony. He has an amazing knack for being at center stage and yet completely invisible. He's the brains behind Quest Communications, which is now involved in the biggest merger battle of the decade. Nobody even knows he's part of the deal. He was a big Ray Charles fan. He bankrolled this movie when Hollywood wouldn't. It won two Oscars. Nobody even knows he's associated with it. He's also the owner of the L.A. Kings. He owns the ice hockey team. He's in the middle of this big strike to shut down the league for the season now, involved possibly in selling the whole league. Nobody knows.

PAUL GIGOT: The anti-Donald Trump.

HOLMAN JENKINS: You know, he makes more news in a week than Donald makes all year, and no one knows his name.

PAUL GIGOT: All right. Thanks, Holman. French wine -- a major French export, loved around the world, including by some of us. But drinking the stuff does not exclude it from Dan's critical eye. Dan, tony or tacky?

DAN HENNINGER: Well, this is one of the longest-running tackys we've had. THE JOURNAL reported just this past week that some French wine growers' sales to the United States have been down 30 percent since 2001. Now, I feel bad for these French wine growers, but they have got to understand they are paying the price for their president's relentless opposition to the Iraq war, and the way he behaved back then. It wasn't merely that they opposed the war, he and his foreign minister Dominic de Villepin. But they were loud, pushy, and ostentatiously public, and probably did more to fan the flames of anti-Americanism around Europe than any other country. So in this game, you pay you money and you take your chances, and France has become the poster boy for anti-Americanism.

Now another reason given is that people like fruitier, oakier new world wines, and so they've stopped drinking French wine. Well, you know, in that famous movie "Sideways," the main character, when he finally wants to drink his favorite bottle of wine, it's a 1960 one, Cheval Blanc. Well, if someone wants to give me a bottle of Cheval Blanc to drink, I'll be happy to drink it. But until the French repudiate Jacques Chirac for what he did, I'm still two corkscrews down on buying French wine.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay Dan, thanks. And finally, a quick tony of my own for 60-year-old adventurer Steve Fossett, who became the first man to fly a plane around the world without stopping or refueling. He did it in 67 hours, and landed with his fuel tanks almost empty. It took courage and commitment, to say nothing of money, and it captured our admiration and imagination.

That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week and we hope you'll join us then.