The Marines Say Fox News Channel Misses the Mark
Fox News Channel, which famously prefers the term "homicide bomber" over "suicide bomber," is taken to task in the new documentary "Outfoxed" for another attempt to make sure its newscasters use the right words. (And by right, we mean "correct," of course, not right wing.) A batch of internal advisories to Fox staffers, obtained by the filmmakers, includes one issued April 28 when U.S. Marines were conducting operations at Fallujah:
"Let's refer to the US marines we see in the foreground as 'sharpshooters,' not snipers, which carries a negative connotation," the network's senior vice president for news, John Moody, told staffers via e-mail. One problem: Marines want to be called snipers. "Sharpshooter" has less luster.
"There is no better sniper than a U.S. Marine Corps sniper," Maj. Jason Johnston, a USMC spokesman at the Pentagon, told us Friday. "A sniper would say, 'I'm not a sharpshooter, I'm a Marine Corps sniper, not to be confused with any other service's snipers.' . . . Hey, Marines are very proud of their titles."
In sniper school, he explained, "we have three levels of marksmanship. The lowest level is marksman. The second one is sharpshooter. The highest you can get is expert."
Though Fox prides itself on accurate, pro-military coverage, Johnston described the blunder this way: "It's just as bad as when the media calls us soldiers." (A soldier serves in something known as the Army.)
A network spokesman said he had no comment on the memos but referred us to Moody's remarks in The Post last week defending Fox and saying: "People are free to call me or message me and say, 'I think you're off base.' Sometimes I take the advice, sometimes I don't."
Our advice: If a Marine calls, listen.
Opening a New Front in Nader's War of Words
* Curses, foiled again: Relations between independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and the black establishment seem to be going from bad to worse. In a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus last week, Nader accuses Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), a member of the group, of using an "obscene racist epithet" in a contentious meeting with the candidate in June. He claims Watt called him a "[expletive] arrogant white man."
The consumer activist declares: "Just as African Americans demanded an apology from Agriculture Secretary Earl Butts and Senator Trent Lott -- prior to their resignation and demotion, respectively -- for their racist remarks, I expect that you and others in the Caucus will exert your moral persuasion and request an apology from Congressman Watt."
Don't hold your breath, Watt responds in a statement from his office. "I emphatically deny that I used the 'F' word or any curse word or other 'obscene epithet' in the meeting the Congressional Black Caucus held with Mr. Nader. Further, I have confirmed with other CBC members and staff who attended the meeting that Mr. Nader's version of what transpired is untrue in a number of respects (including his charge that I cursed him)."
The alleged name-calling came at a closed-door meeting June 22, at which several members of the organization demanded Nader quit the presidential race so as not to take votes from the Democratic ticket. Meanwhile, in another letter he made public last week, Nader expressed "surprise" that he wasn't invited to speak at the NAACP convention in Philadelphia. His politely worded offer to address the group came to naught.
Gennifer Flowers's New Opening Act
* With less than two months to go until the primary in the so-so Florida U.S. Senate race and 40 percent of voters undecided, according to Republican candidate Larry Klayman, it's time to bring out the big guns. For Klayman, that would be his good friend Gennifer Flowers.
The singer, born-again Christian and former Bill Clinton gal pal has agreed to do a few fundraisers later this month for Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, who reminds everyone on his Web site: "Larry led the fight against the abuses of Bill and Hillary Clinton."
"She's going to say: 'Support Larry Klayman. He's a good guy -- when no one else was there for me, he was there,' " Klayman confidently predicted of his former client. "She's a very fine lady and I'm very happy to have her."
In his new memoir, Clinton repeats his previous acknowledgement that "back in the 1970s, I had had a relationship with her that I should not have had," denies they had a 12-year affair and says, "I don't wish her ill." Klayman goes unmentioned in the book and says, "I was kind of flattered by it."
Annals of Puffery
An occasional verbatim press release
* "Reality TV fans are dying to know how they can win a double date with Trista and Ryan Sutter from 'The Bachelorette'! Can you believe we're making it all happen? K-Y Brand National Date Night is a holiday designed for couples in committed relationships to go on a real date together. In conjunction with this special evening, we are hosting a contest that every married couple should enter. The winner will enjoy an intimate double date with reality TV's most romantic couple. Entering is easy and only a website away. Please visit www.k-y.com."
With Anne Schroeder