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September 16, 2005



Winners and losers, picks and pans, Tony or Tacky. Our way of calling attention to the best and the worst of the week. Forty-five years ago, a presidential candidate named John F. Kennedy made a famous speech about his religion -- Catholicism -- and what influence it would have on his decisions. That issue was raised again this week.

Dan, tony? Tacky?

DAN HENNINGER: Well, this one was pretty tacky. I mean times have changed. At least they didn't ask Judge Roberts whether he was a Papist or a Romanist. But Senator Feinstein did manage to say that for centuries people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs as if we are living in the 15th Century.

Senator Feinstein would never ask a female nominee her views on gender discrimination. She would never ask a black, Hispanic or even Arab-American nominee whether their ethnicity would effect their decisions. They would never ask an Arab-American what their views were on the Patriot Act. What's going on here is a very hoary stereotype that deserves to die. It seems that only Catholics, only Evangelical Christians and perhaps Orthodox Jews get asked these questions. I think Senator Feinstein and Senator Specter, who engaged in it, should stop it. It's beyond tacky. It's beyond the pale.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay, thanks Dan. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan had reason to smile this week, despite harsh criticism of his performance he now seems sure to keep his job. Melanie, who gets the tacky?

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK: Kofi Annan gets the tacky. Here is a man who has presided over the United Nations at a time of the biggest fraud ever recorded in history -- the $100 billion oil for food scandal benefiting Saddam Hussein.

Paul Volker, the former federal reserve chairman, is leading an international commission investigation the scandal and he found that Kofi Annan, at the very least, participated in the cover up. So what happens? He's feted and honored this week by the general assembly in New York. President Bush comes to pay his respect. Condoleezza Rice says she does not have a better relationship with anyone. So I'm also going to give a tacky to the administration which some how thinks that it can effect reform at the United Nations by working with what they see as a weakened Kofi Annan rather than taking their chances on a new man.

PAUL GIGOT: I agree with you. Melanie, pretty cynical short term politics on the part of the administration here. Thanks.

And finally, Garrison Keillor, who has made a career of using humor and parody to make his point, seems to lose his sense of humor when his Prairie Home Companion is the object of the parody. Dorothy?

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: Yes, well a blogger decided to have some fun at the expense of that great Midwestern liberal icon Garrison Keillor by marketing a tee shirt which made a play on the name of his empire and Mr. Keillor's lawyer immediately sued. What is so wild and wonderful about this is that Mr. Keillor, in his life as a bitterly partisan political writer, is very certain that Bush Administration or the Christian right and all similar enemies are making away with all of our Constitutional rights and tearing the bark of the Constitution and silencing the opposition. These are his own words. My oh my. Mr. Keillor, who writes the kinds of invective that can make Al Franken seem like Casper Milquetoast now is not at all worried about silencing the opposition. Garrison Keillor.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay, thanks Dorothy. 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.