From Imus To Iraq

A man stands next to the collapsed al-Sarafiya bridge in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 12, 2007. A suicide truck bomb exploded on the major al-Sarafiya bridge in Baghdad early Thursday, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars toppling into the Tigris river below, police and witnesses said.
AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

A busy news week draws to an end Friday with three stories competing for space on the front pages of the nation's major papers.

The suicide bomb blast inside Iraq's parliament building was the lead in The New York Times and Washington Post, and the top item in the Wall Street Journal's What's News section.

The Post called it the "worst-ever breach of security" in Baghdad's heavily fortified International Zone, and said it "profoundly shocked many leaders and caused some to question the effects of the heightened security efforts" recently put it into place by the Bush administration.

The Times said the attack, coming at a time "when Iraqis are increasingly questioning the government's ability to protect them," raised the "the troubling possibility that it could not even fully protect itself."

The Post and the Times also featured page-one stories on the growing controversy over missing White House e-mails that may be related to the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

The Times said the issue was becoming "a fresh political problem for the White House," as congressional Democrats pushed their investigation into whether Bush political adviser Karl Rove and other White House aides used e-mail accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee to sidestep government record-keeping rules. The Post said Democrats are concerned that Rove and other top officials used the RNC accounts to avoid scrutiny from Congress.

Meanwhile, the apparent end of the Don Imus imbroglio, following CBS Corp.'s decision to fire the shock jock, made the front page of all the major dailies.

"A talk powerhouse is shut down," reads the headline in the Los Angeles Times. While USA Today suggests the incident has sparked a "national dialogue" over "vile stuff" on the airwaves.

The Wall Street Journal focuses on how the furor over Imus' bigoted remarks about Rutgers women's basketball team was fanned by the Internet. While there was initially little reaction to Imus' now infamous slur, the Journal says a liberal watchdog group helped spread his comments, and before long, "the Internet sent Mr. Imus to millions of PC screens, driving executives, advertisers and employees to distance themselves from his racist words. "

Hollywood Moves China On Darfur

What do Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg have to do with the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the slaughter in Darfur?

Plenty, according to a New York Times report that details how the actress and the film director spurred China, which has long opposed U.N. sanctions against Sudan, to start pushing the government there to do something about the ongoing violence in the troubled region.

How'd they do it? The Times says the credit goes mostly to Farrow, a good will ambassador for UNICEF, who began a campaign to label the Beijing Games the "Genocide Olympics." She called on corporate sponsors, as well as Spielberg, who is an "artistic adviser" to China for the Olympics, to press China – which has significant business ties in Sudan – to change its position on Darfur.

Farrow even suggested, in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal that Spielberg could "go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games," a reference to the German director who made propaganda films for the Nazis.

Spielberg responded by sending a letter to China's president, asking him to use his influence to help bring an end to the suffering in Darfur. China subsequently sent a top diplomat to Sudan to press the government there to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force for Darfur.

China has not yet agreed to sanctions for Sudan, but the Times says the Hollywood campaign has more plans in store before the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Games next year.

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