Front Lines

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

A little late today, as I was out at the WGA strike rally in front of Fox Plaza. Thousands of picketers, gathered on Avenue of the Stars, and listened as guild leaders, Jesse Jackson, Seth McFarlane and Norman Lear addressed them in support. Jackson said that he talked to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday. Jackson called on Schwarzenegger to take a more active role, and suggested that it is “only a matter of time” before he got involved. “The Governor ought to use his strength to get people back to the table,” Jackson said after leading the crowd in a chorus of “Keep Hope Alive” chants. “This strike should not linger.” Schwarzenegger was in Northern California, visiting the site of an oil spill that threatens the coastline, but there were a few groans when it was announced that he would not be at the rally. Also among the crowd were about 15 supporters of Barack Obama, wearing campaign T-shirts.

George_senior_002_2Fox Milestone: Fox Broadcasting is celebrating a “Fox News Sunday” victory in the ratings race against all of the other Sunday talk shows. The network says that Chris Wallace’s show topped the others in the all inportant Washington DC market for the first time ever. Wallace interviewed former President George Bush.

Is Robertson Real?: On the GOP side, there is still buzz over the surprise decision by Pat Robertson to endorse Rudy Giuliani, given the former New York mayor’s stance on abortion and other social issues. But is Robertson really still that much of a factor on the religious right? Apparently plenty of evangelicals are pretty agahst many times he opens his mouth, like a crazy uncle they’re trying to merely ignore.

Gal Beckerman in the Columbia Journalism review writes, “If there is so much evidence — in the body of the story itself – that points to Robertson’s diminishing power and influence among conservative Christians, was this news given such prominent placement? And are newspapers like the Times willing to take responsibility for sustaining the notion that Robertson is an important cultural bellwether, when he might actually be representative of only one constituency: the voices in his head?”

Robertson still has his “700 Club” mouthpiece, boosted by its placement on ABC Family. But that is not by ABC Family’s choice — through the sales of the cable network through the years, they are under contractural obligation to keep his show on the air.

Fake News Folly: It was the press secretary for the Federal Emergency Management Agency who was responsible for the fake news conference that the government entity staged during the California wildfires, according to an inquiry. From the Washington Post: “FEMA announced the news conference at its Southwest Washington headquarters about 15 minutes before it was to begin at 1 p.m., making it unlikely that reporters could attend. None did, and real reporters listening on a telephone conference line were barred from asking questions.”

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