Earlier today I noted that in her HuffPo column, ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes continues to cling to the delusion that the Memogate documents were authentic. In an inteview on "Morning Joe," Dan Rather has now made a comparable reality-defying claim.
Mika Brzezinski, who, as was repeatedly pointed out, used to work at CBS and has friends on both sides of the issue, conducted the interview. Bubbles didn't have the gumption to challenge Rather regarding the forged documents at the heart of the story. Interestingly, Rather chose to raise the issue himself, and in doing so demonstrated his tenuous grip on reality and some twisted journalistic standards.
Reading the actual legal complaint in the Dan Rather lawsuit quickly (but repeatedly) reveals the extreme egotism of the disgraced CBS anchor. The first finding begins: "Plaintiff, Dan Rather, one of the foremost broadcast journalists of our time, seeks to recover damages from CBS, his employee of 44 years" for "CBS’s intentional mishandling of the aftermath" of the fake-documents story.
It added: "Throughout his career, Mr. Rather has promoted, championed, and been emblematic of journalistic independence and journalistic freedom from extraneous interference such as governmental, political, corporate, or personal interests. Defendants’ improper responses to the attacks on the Documents wrongfully damaged Mr. Rather and these values which he championed."
How can I put this nicely? Mary Mapes [file photo] has reality "issues." Three years after the Memogate producer was exposed for having perpetrated one of the worst frauds in the history of presidential-campaign journalism, she continues to paint herself as the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. And incredibly, despite a mountain of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, she clings to the notion that the blatantly forged documents at the heart of Memogate were authentic.
Mapes's meltdown-in-the-guise-of-a-column appeared in yesterday's Huffington Post. Excerpts from the metaphor-gone-wild "Courage for Dan Rather" [emphasis added]:
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to attack President Bush's "pissy juvenile blast" for the President's criticism of the MoveOn.org "General Betray Us" ad during the day's news conference, accusing him of "hypocrisy" for not criticizing what Olbermann called the Republican "hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry." Olbermann further accused Bush of "pimping" General David Petraeus and of making the general into a "political hack" at the risk of moving America's government toward a "military junta." Olbermann: "It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a military junta. Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous and stupid transgression as a call to further politicize our military." (Transcript follows)
CBS and NBC on Thursday night aired brief updates on how the Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against Norman Hsu, the captured fugitive Democratic/Hillary Clinton campaign donor, for bilking $60 million from investors -- but ABC was once again absent on the story. ABC's World News hasn't uttered Hsu's name since its one and only story the Friday night of Labor Day weekend while Thursday's mention was the fifth for NBC and fourth for CBS. (Coverage details below.) On the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams read this very short item: “Norman Hsu, that Democratic fundraiser indicted today by federal prosecutors -- accusations of a massive Ponzi scheme. Hsu funneled a lot of money to Senator Clinton's campaign.”
Over on the September 20 CBS Evening News, Katie Couric relayed a bit more expansively:
-- Did you notice no one asked President Bush at his press conference today about Dan Rather suing CBS? I wouldn’t argue that Bush should be asked to critique the liberal media in a routine press conference, but he WAS the target of Rather’s atrociously phony National Guard story.
Instead, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux was desperately attempting to fuse together the Jena 6 protests and the GOP candidates’ failure to accept debates in hostile liberal territory. Whenever race relations seep into the news, do reporters just have to jerk their knees like Kanye West and assume Republicans hate black people?
At the beginning of September, Channel 5 News revealed a shocking story in Roma, Texas. As their cameras chronicled, each morning dozens of Mexican kids are crossing the border from Mexico into the Texas border town of Roma to attend an American school, free of charge. You read that correctly. American tax money is funding the education of kids who actually live IN Mexico and who are illegally crossing the border every single day to attend U.S. schools. I have waited a suitable period of time to bring this story up, hoping that the national news sources will pick up on this absurd violation of our National sovereignty and misuse of our tax money... yet not a peep has been heard to my knowledge.
It is estimated that $4 million has been spent on Mexican kids just in Roma, Texas, alone. And no one really even knows how much has been thrown down the rat hole in other Texas border towns, not to mentions similar towns in other border states.
News Channel 5 reported on the 6th of September that these Mexican kids are getting a free education from US taxpayers because the county schools do not have very stringent residency requirements. (See video here)
CBS, and especially ABC, on Thursday night portrayed the debate over increasing federal spending on health insurance for children as an effort to help kids only the cold-hearted could oppose, a framing aided by scenes of cute toddlers, a crying mother and little emphasis on how those well above poverty would qualify. ABC anchor Charles Gibson overlooked the proposed expansion, to those in families who have or can afford private insurance, as he cited “a bill providing health insurance to millions of kids whose parents cannot afford private coverage.”
Reporter Martha Raddatz found a poor mother to exploit, beginning her story: “Susan Dick depends on the so-called SCHIP [State Children's Health Insurance Program] program for her two sons, both of whom have asthma. The family income is too low for private insurance, too high for Medicaid.” Raddatz briefly noted Bush's fear many would move from private insurance to the government program and then, leading into a soundbite from liberal Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, she hailed how “the expansion has bipartisan support across the country, including from many Republicans...” Capping her story, Raddatz featured a crying mother who sympathetically fretted: “If my boys don't have health insurance, it makes it very hard when you're a parent to know that they're sick and you have to get them to the doctor.” Raddatz coldly concluded: “But the President made it very clear today, Charlie, he will veto this bill in its present form.” CBS anchor Katie Couric also painted Bush as opposed to helping kids: “President Bush opened a news conference today by attacking a proposed expansion of a health care program for low-income children.”
This story about Ohio has nationwide application. That's because Ohio's media have been awfully quiet about the tax increases that will be necessary if the Buckeye State's version of "universal health care" comes to pass. The bill was introduced on April 25, according to this Ohio Legislative Services Commission bill analysis, and has flown under the radar ever since. I expect that national Old Media scrutiny of the Second Coming of Hillarycare will also be minimal.
My interest in the so-called "Ohio Health Care Plan" was perked when I heard an ad from the Ohio Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) claiming that the plan would cost Ohio taxpayers $50 billion.
$50 billion. With a "b." In one state.
That's over $4,400 for every man, woman, and child in Ohio, or over $17,000 for a family of four.
A separate fiscal analysis by the Legislative Services Commission is pending, so I thought that the NFIB might be engaging in a bit of reckless hyperbole.
"As a public relations effort, I mean, this is like the litigation equivalent of a suicide bombing. It just doesn't make any sense," noted MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham about former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS. The NewsBusters senior editor was interviewed shortly after 5:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday's "Big Story" by Fox News reporter Heather Nauert.
Video (3:04):Real (2.24 MB) and Windows (1.87 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.39 MB). [related links listed below fold]
Sticking and moving like a prize fighter, talk show host and author Laura Ingraham, outnumbered in a three against one fight, took out not only "Hardball" host Chris Matthews but his colleague David Shuster and NBC News political director Chuck Todd, as well.
View video here. (courtesy NB contributor Mark Finkelstein)
On Thursday night's "Hardball" Ingraham took Matthews to task for his outrageous claims about the Iraq war being about oil as she threw his past bias in his face: "What? What? Chris are, were you the one, the other night, correct me if I'm wrong, who said that we should hang Exxon and Mobil signs at, at Arlington National Cemetery?" Then Ingraham slapped down Matthews about his pessimistic view on the war: "Chris, I'm different from [where] you are on this. I actually have hope that goodness will prevail."
On the eve of the Senate voting overwhelmingly to condemn MoveOn's recent "General Betray Us" ad, Michael Kinsley chose to defend the actions of this far-left group while poking fun at conservatives for being so outraged (h/t NB reader Lee Martin).
In an article published by Time Wednesday, the former "Crossfire" host stated that the ad could be interpreted "merely as questioning the general's honesty, not his patriotism," and that Republicans were suddenly practicing "political correctness" that could turn "discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette."
Besides omitting Iran’s terror ties in their coverage Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s planned visit to Ground Zero in New York City, as Scott Whitlock noted in his earlier post, ABC and CBS, as well as NBC, failed to mentioned that Ahmadinejad is also giving a lecture at Columbia University. The lecture, sponsored by the University, is planned on September 24, the same day Ahmadinejad will be addressing the United Nations.
Byron York over at the National Review's Corner blog is reporting that the Senate has just voted 72 - 25 condemning MoveOn's "General Betray Us" advertisement published by the New York Times last Monday (h/t's to Charles Johnson and Glenn Reynolds).
This raises an interesting question: How will media report this vote?
After all, as York reported, every Republican Senator voted "Yea," while key Democrat leaders - including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Majority Leader Harry Reid - voted "Nay."
In the September 20 presidential press conference, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux sought to blame President Bush and the GOP for a perceived nationwide deterioration in race relations. In doing so, Malveaux raised the plight of the so-called Jena Six, a group of black Louisiana teenagers charged in the beating of a white student.
Media outlets covering the controversy have generally skirted around reporting on the victim of the "Jena Six" assault, focusing more on the political dimensions of the controversy, particularly Thursday's Al Sharpton-led protests in the small Louisiana town. For example, in a separate post, NewsBusters contributor Matthew Balan notes how news outlets like CNN.com and USAToday are burying or ignoring details about victim of the Dec. 4, 2006 beating, Justin Barker.
Below are the questions Malveaux asked, as well as a separate "Jena Six" question posed by Michael Fletcher of The Washington Post, who the president referred to as "Fletch":
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflect a conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story.
The former network star charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator, telling Kurtz: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."
The websites of CNN and USAToday joined their "Big Three" network brethren in covering the march in Jena, Louisiana to support the so-called Jena 6, while at the same time, either burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all.
CNN.com’s report, in which CNN correspondents Susan Roesgen, Tony Harris, Kyra Philips and Eliott McLaughlin were contributors, didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story.
The teens were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight on December 4, 2006.
Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots, said his mother, Kelli Barker.
Before this, the report focused entirely on the planned march in support of the so-called Jena 6.
A respected member of the blogging community who also happened to be serving our nation was killed in Iraq Wednesday.
Frank Salvato, editor of The New Media Journal, sadly e-mailed his readers:
It is with a very heavy heart and swollen eyes from the tears that I inform you all that one of our fellow writers, Sgt. Eddie Jeffers who was serving in Ramadi, Iraq, was killed today. He was patriot, humble, kind and dedicated to his mission, his country, his family and his faith.
Many of you might be familiar with Sgt. Jeffers's piece "Hope Rides Alone" posted on February 1, 2007: