Tags: Insider | Report: | Ann | Coulter | Targeted; | Katie | Couric

Insider Report: Ann Coulter Targeted; Katie Couric Freaked

Sunday, 19 August 2007 12:00 AM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. NBC Will Stop Fred Thompson Reruns
2. Reports: Castro's Health Deteriorating
3. Ann Coulter Targeted by Left-Wing Group
4. The Secret Behind the Dubai Ports Deal
5. Katie Couric Freaking Out Over New Book
6. We Heard: Obama, Cheney, Bin Laden, Maloof, Bill Donohue, More


1. NBC Will Stop Fred Thompson Reruns

If Fred Thompson announces his intention to run for the White House, NBC-TV is prepared to stop showing reruns of the "Law & Order" episodes he appears in because of Federal Communication Commission regulations.

Those rules allow presidential candidates to demand equal time if an opponent appears on TV. Stations did not air Ronald Reagan's films or TV appearances when he ran for president in 1980, nor did they broadcast Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles during his run for California governor in 2003.

But with "Law & Order," there a catch: The show is syndicated on the cable station TNT, which does not have to abide by the equal time rule because cable stations don't use the public airwaves, The New York Times points out.

However, TNT could choose to stop showing Thompson episodes voluntarily, just as cable networks did during Schwarzenegger's campaign.

In May, Thompson told NBC he did not want to appear in any new "Law & Order" episodes, and his final episode was rerun on Aug. 5.

In September, the Times reports, Sam Waterston — who played Thompson's deputy on the show — will replace him in the role of district attorney.

2. Reports: Castro's Health Deteriorating

Two reputable Spanish-language newspapers are reporting that Cuban leader Fidel Castro's already precarious health has taken a turn for the worse.

The Madrid paper Hechos De Hoy and the Mexican newspaper Reforma both say Castro can no longer eat solid food and is hooked up to an IV after recent emergency surgery.

Reforma also reported that Castro has lost a great deal of weight and does not want to walk or receive visitors.

Several other developments seem to confirm that Castro is severely ailing:

Castro did not appear in public on his 81st birthday, on Aug. 13, and there were no major celebrations to mark the event. He has not appeared in public for over a year. Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage telephoned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's talk show on Sunday, Aug. 5, to fill in for Castro, who usually phones. Lage did not explain why Castro did not call, the Miami Herald reported. Cuban dissidents say that Internet access has been curtailed for the very few Cubans who have it — mostly trusted "journalists" who work for the regime's official publications. Their correspondence is now routed through one government-monitored Web portal. The Spanish news agency EFE quoted Mariela Castro — daughter of Fidel's brother Raul and a Castro family spokesperson — as saying: "The concern that we all had about losing our leader is now closer to us." She also reportedly said: "For the first time, the people are taking stock of [Fidel's] process of aging, the process that the revolution has to continue without him, be it with my father or with other leaders who will come."

3. Ann Coulter Targeted by Left-Wing Group

The left-wing organization People For the American Way has sent out a mass e-mail to its supporters targeting Ann Coulter at an upcoming speech she will deliver at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sept. 6.

The e-mail sent this past week says it is seeking to turn the conservative commentator's "hatemongering against her" at an Ohio rally.

Noting that Coulter will receive a speaking fee of around $20,000, or about $5 per Xavier student, the mailing says People For the American Way (PAW) is "asking 'progressives' to chip in $5 to support groups like Xavier's Gay-Straight Alliance, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and Earthcare.

"Can you spare just $5 to support the same communities Coulter regularly bashes for pay?"

While Coulter is speaking, PAW and other left-wing students and activists "will participate in a rally on Xavier's campus, where we will counter Coulter's divisive message and present a check to Xavier's progressive student groups for the total amount raised."

The mailing touts the effort as "a way for progressives to turn radical right-wingers' vitriol, bigotry, and intolerance against them, while at the same time bolstering our movement."

It's signed "Your Allies (Against the Radical Right) at People for the American Way."

Coulter's next book, "If Democrats Had Brains, They'd Be Republicans," is due out in October.

4. The Secret Behind the Dubai Ports Deal

The Bush administration reportedly had a secret reason for pushing for the 2006 deal that would have allowed the United Arab Emirates-based Dubai Ports World to take over management of several American ports.

According to Rowan Scarborough, author of the new book "Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA," the administration supported the deal because the United Arab Emirates government had agreed to let the U.S. post agents inside its global port network to report on world shipping.

"Dubai Ports, in essence, was going to become an agent of the CIA," Scarborough told Bill Gertz, author of the Washington Times' "Inside the Ring" column.

The agents could then help the U.S. "detect whether any kind of terror contraband was being moved around."

The deal to turn over the management of New York and five other ports to Dubai Ports World was eventually killed due to concern in Congress that it could affect American port security.

Scarborough's book is also critical of the CIA's intelligence support for the Iraq war.

5. Katie Couric Freaking Out Over New Book

The author of an upcoming book about Katie Couric promises it will reveal "a dark side" of the struggling CBS News anchor — and says Couric is already "freaking out" about the book.

Ed Klein, author of the New York Times best seller "The Truth About Hillary," declares that his new book "will knock readers' socks off."

"Katie: The Real Story" will show readers "a dark side of Katie, personally and professionally," Klein told mediabistro.com. This book is due out at the end of August.

"Beneath the public image of the blithe spirit, there is a life story of great tumult, confusion, conflict, ambition, over-reaching, diva-like behavior, and romantic relationships gone bad."

Klein is keeping mum about the details, but the book could offer insight into CBS News' dramatic fall since Couric took over the anchor chair.

Couric's publicist Matthew Hiltzik told mediabistro: "We de-Klein comment."

But Klein insisted: "There's no question she's freaking about the book."

6. We Heard . . .


The Democratic presidential hopeful will be on hand at the Mansion nightclub in Miami Beach on Aug. 25 for what an e-mail from his campaign calls a "ground-breaking event."

The occasion: The launch of "a new nationwide grass-roots campaign called Generation Obama aimed at engaging young professionals."

The cost: $100 for general admission and $25 for students.

That Vice President

An e-mail from the Council acknowledges that historically, vice presidents have been "fairly useless," but then states in the case of Dick Cheney: "We are blessed to have a vice president who plays a key role in the effort to defend America."

THAT former Defense Department official

"I still believe that he is alive and well in the eastern part of Iran in Baluchistan," Maloof told Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.

In the most recent videotape depicting bin-Laden, he appeared well-nourished and healthy.

Said Maloof, who was a member of the Pentagon's Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group: "He could not look that well or obtain such quality videotaping in Waziristan."

THAT the Bush administration spent some $1.6 billion for good press.

Seven federal departments shelled out that much money from 2003 through the second quarter of 2005 on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, media organizations and individuals, a new Government Accountability Office report discloses.

Some of the outlays went to feed TV stations "prepackaged, ready-to-air news stories that touted administration policies, but did not reveal the government as the source," according to The Washington Post.

But the administration has asserted that disseminating information about federal programs is part of the departments' mission.

THAT Catholic League President,

The billboard near the West Side Highway shows a large wire hanger with the inscription, "Your closet space is shrinking as fast as her right to choose."

The ad was placed by a company called Manhattan Mini Storage.

"New Yorkers are accustomed to Manhattan Mini Storage posting billboards that bash the Bush Administration, but when it makes the leap from partisan politics to crude cultural commentary, it is stepping on dangerous turf," Donahue said.

"Why a storage company finds the need to advertise its support for abortion is a story all of its own, but when it seeks to depict the pro-life community — which is primarily Catholic and Protestant — as oppressive, then a line has been crossed.

"Manhattan Mini Storage is not only guilty of crudeness, but of cowardice. To wit: Why didn't it have the guts to identify the object of her ‘shrinking' choice?"

THAT in the wake of large-scale downsizing at U.S. newspapers, editors are increasingly "too busy" to return phone calls even from industry bible Editor & Publisher.

That's the word from E&P Senior Editor Dave Astor, who says that until several years ago, the vast majority of newspaper editors returned his calls.

"During the last few years, however, I have noticed a difference," he writes in E&P. "Now when I phone a bunch of newspaper editors, I'm lucky to get 25 to 50 percent of them to return my calls.

"For instance, when I phoned more than 20 newspaper editors this March to find out whether they might drop columnist Ann Coulter for hurling a gay slur at John Edwards, only about a quarter of the editors talked. The other 15 or so never even called back."

Astor says he has "a feeling that many editors at staff-shrunk newspapers are just too busy these days."


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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. NBC Will Stop Fred Thompson Reruns 2. Reports: Castro's Health Deteriorating 3. Ann Coulter Targeted by Left-Wing Group 4. The Secret Behind the Dubai Ports Deal 5. Katie Couric Freaking Out Over New Book 6. We...
Sunday, 19 August 2007 12:00 AM
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