By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, April 23, 2010; C01
Vice President Biden went on ABC's daytime talk show "The View" Thursday morning to refute a news report claiming that a secret memo written by Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States lacks a policy to thwart Iran's march toward nuclear capability. Biden also made a point of shooting down the notion that Israel is debating whether to attack Iran without U.S. permission, to state emphatically that China will agree to sanctions against Iran, and to nuke a report that the president is mulling a national sales tax.
Biden's visit with the Ladies of "The View" got a boatload of press coverage. You may have seen all the headlines:
-- Biden on 'The View': Obama laughed 'like the devil' at F-bomb
-- Biden reflects on BFD
-- Biden: No Idea Microphones Picked Up F-Bomb Until Obama Told Me
-- Joe Biden on 'The View': F-Bomb 'Was a Little Embarrassing'
-- Biden explains his health-care-victory expletive
Almost every member of the news media who threw something up on a Web site shortly after Biden's visit to the show decided the most pressing issue addressed by the vice president of the United States of America was his use last month of the naughty word that rhymes with "duck" when, in his girlish enthusiasm over the historic nature of the moment -- he was congratulating President Obama on passage of national health-care reform -- he whispered into Obama's ear, "This is a big [expletive]-ing deal!" and the microphone picked it up.
Now we're just a lowly columnist who covers television. We leave it to the political-reporting experts -- including Politico, MSNBC, Huffington Post, The Washington Post's political blog, the Los Angeles Times and Fox News Channel, among others -- to determine what was the most important bit of news to come out of a nationally televised appearance by the man who is a heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world. We'll take the lead of the professionals and give you the all the details on this most important of stories:
The issue was brought up by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is famously "The View's" token pretty blond Republican:
"Obama has been in the past talking about words, you know, he's told us that there are certain words that, as America, we should kind of stay away from: war on terror, radical Islam, etc. You get up there, health-care bill signed, and you throw the f-bomb!" she said.
What Hasselbeck wanted to know was why he, Biden, thought he "got the pass" from the president of the United States after perpetrating this outrage.
Biden did not take her by both wrists, waggle her about a bit and call her a nincompoop -- which explains why he's the vice president and we're only entrusted to run a TV column. Instead, he said, good naturedly/contritely: "I was just thankful my mother couldn't hear it. It was a little embarrassing."
"You did not realize there was a microphone?" co-host Joy Behar asked, speaking for us all.
"I realized there was a microphone, but I had no idea it was that sensitive. I was far away from it, and I was whispering in his ear," Biden explained, adding, "After it was over, we walked out and got into the limo to go over to another event, and he was laughing like the devil. I said 'What's so funny? I don't see anything funny about this.' He said, 'Well, Katie, my secretary, told me when you said that to me, everybody could hear it.' "
A couple of renegade reporters, at the Wall Street Journal and Entertainment Weekly, broke ranks Thursday in their initial coverage of Biden's trip to "The View" and focused on other big news to come out of the meeting:
-- Joe Biden visits 'The View': Elisabeth Hasselbeck tells security team, 'I'm a Republican, wand me.'
-- Biden on 'The View': 'I Like Sarah Palin'
Meanwhile, some numbskull over at CBS News decided the real headline was:
Biden: China Will Agree to Sanctions Against Iran
Fortunately, less than an hour after posting that on the CBS site, someone at the news division realized how badly they'd missed the Big Story, and filed another report that went like this:
Biden: Obama Was 'Laughing Like the Devil' at F-BombComedy Central censors "South Park"
"South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker issued a statement Thursday complaining that Comedy Central had censored this week's episode of their animated series after a radical Islamic Web site posted a "warning" that Stone and Parker would likely be killed for their depiction of Muhammad in last week's 200th episode.
"We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode," the duo said in their missive, which they slapped on the show's Web site.
"Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle's customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn't mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too," Stone and Parker continued.
In last week's episode, viewers were led to believe Muhammad had on a bear mascot costume. After that episode debuted, the Web site Revolutionmuslim.com posted a statement saying, "We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid.
"They will probably end up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show," the group warned.
That's a reference to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 after making a documentary about violence against Muslim women. The Web site illustrated its point with a photo of Van Gogh's body, according to news reports. The site also posted the addresses of Comedy Central's New York headquarters and of the "South Park" production company.
In this week's episode, all verbal references to Muhammad were bleeped out, and the bear costume was unzipped to reveal Santa Claus inside. All images of Muhammad were redacted with a large black strip on which had been written the word "censored."
Parker and Stone included images of Muhammad in a 2001 episode that was not censored.
Comedy Central confirmed their version of what happened to this week's episode but declined further comment.
For more, read the Comic Riffs blog for Comedy Central host Jon Stewart's take on the network's "South Park" censorship.