An excerpt from my latest item up at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site. See my article for more, including links to external content:
The recent discovery of new oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico was the perfect excuse for CNN’s Jack Cafferty to revisit his election-year conspiracy theory. But when the September 9 "In the Money" aired, the program’s panelists talked to an oil analyst about the future of oil and gas prices, leaving out the idea of a Big Oil-GOP axis of petrol.
"You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away," Cafferty suggested on the August 30 "Situation Room," just five days before the Chevron (NYSE: CVX) oil discovery.
While NBC's Matt Lauer baited Sen. Hillary Clinton to admonish the administration to say we're not safer, he attacked the President for, in fact, trying to make the nation safer. Lauer prompted Clinton: "Are you comfortable that the United States did not break the law in conducting that kind of interrogations in those secret sites?" Then later in the program, as first noted by MRC's Brent Baker, Lauer repeatedly attacked Bush over interrogation methods worrying: "Are you at all concerned that at some point, even if you get results, there is a blurring the lines of, between ourselves and the people we're trying to protect us against?"
Video clip of Lauer's combative exchange with Bush over treatment of terrorists (3:20): Real (5.6 MB) or Windows Media (6.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.1 MB)
On Monday morning, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on the morning shows of each of the three broadcast networks, ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today," and CBS’s "Early Show. While "Good Morning America," and "Today" avoided talk of possible future campaigns, Rene Syler on the "Early Show" looked ahead to the Presidential campaign in 2008 and inquired if Mr. Giuliani would himself be a candidate:
"If I could, sir, ask you about your political aspirations because there's been a lot of talk. You remain a presidential prospect for 2008, will you run for president?"
On September 11's edition of the MSNBC show "Imus in the Morning," Don Imus hosted former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, where Brokaw promised to underline in his NBC spots that "we still don't understand Islamic rage." And, in case you wondered if Tom was a wee bit liberal, he said he was a "big fan" of Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen -- who felt the death penalty wasn't appropriate for Timothy McVeigh. Imus brought up Quindlen to discuss her preference to stay in New York despite the terror threat, noted her new novel would be number one on the new New York Times: "I realize it's not a morning to promote books. I like her." Brokaw replied warmly: "You can promote Anna any time on my watch. I'm a big fan."
Watching Tom Brokaw on this morning's Today show viewers couldn't help feel depressed as Brokaw painted a divided America that is disrepected abroad and losing the war on terrorism. On this morning's special 9/11 anniversary edition of Today, Brokaw opined: "Five years later there are more questions, more uncertainty. After all five years later the Taliban are back in Afghanistan, Iraq is on the verge of anarchy, Iran is more dangerous than ever. Five years later there have been no more attacks on the U.S. but the terrorists are still out there."
Brokaw worried about government overstepping its bounds and wrung his hands about the origins of Islamic anger:
"Just who else is listening in on our conversations? The Islamic rage, where does that come from?"
As expected, the airing of the ABC movie, The Path To 9/11, has infuriated the left-wing blogosphere. Their comments range from dark threats against ABC for broadcasting this movie to a self-pitying sense of despair over their inability to keep it from airing. Here is a sampling of enraged comments from the Democratic Underground, the Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post:
If ABC/Disney goes through with its plans to air "Path to 9/11" tomorrow and Monday I don't blame them at all. Why? Because they are not scared of the left and quite frankly we have not given them any damn reason to fear us.
NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If we give up on this we will give up on everything they wish to spoon feed us. I have sent all of my e-mails, and cancelled plans for a vacation next summer in disney world. If they end up showing this docu, they will just as easily steal the elections in `06. But, actually `06 is ssssssooooooooooo minor compared to `08. They have no intentions of leaving, the power has been too much of a narcotic for them to give it to the dems.
The 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, is clearly an event that needs to be marked and acknowledged. One can only imagine the furor that would arise if the President of the United States were to neglect observing and commenting on the day. On the other hand, if he were to choose this particular time to come out with partisan political attacks, to attempt to take advantage of the anniversary observances in purely political ways, I believe we can say, with some confidence, that the mainstream press would be vociferous in their condemnation. History suggests to us that the media in this country is on the lookout for any signs of partisanship from the President today. (It also suggests that that vigilance is, shall we say, one-sided. Attacks against the President for allowing the towers to be destroyed "on his watch," as it were, would be unlikely to arouse the same sense of outrage.)
On this solemn occasion, our hearts go out to all who lost friends, colleagues, and family members five years ago, as well as to those who worked tirelessly and selflessly to save them. God Bless America.
For those that watched “The Path to 9/11” last evening, and were interested in which scenes were targeted by the Clinton administration for editing, you should see Dan Riehl’s post on the subject here.
Those that are interested in what apparently was altered in the final edition should see Al Brown's post here, as well as Editor & Publisher’s article on the subject.
With that as pretext, I wanted to offer my impressions of Part I.
Matt Lauer gave it the old college try, doing his best to lure Hillary Clinton into some Bush-bashing on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. But demonstrating savvy political instincts, or at least those of her advisers, Clinton held fire, not deigning to swing at the anti-Bush softballs Lauer served up on this morning's 'Today.'
Lauer: "Are we safer today five years after the attacks of 9-11?"
Hillary: "I think it is fair to say we are safer but not safe enough. We have a lot of work to do."
Lauer lobbed a couple questions inviting Hillary to suggest that our war on terrorism has made things worse:
"I am curious how you feel about this. Do you think there are more or less people today, more or fewer people today who want to bring harm to the United States than there were in the days prior to 9-11 and the actions we have taken post 9-11?"
With many internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft knuckling under pressure from the rulers of China to censor their content, it's refreshing to see it when one takes a stand against political censorship (h/t: Caine Starfire):
The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its
users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to
censorship of politically sensitive entries.
Jimmy Wales, one of the
100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine,
challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their
claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with
Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West,
has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google,
Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions
on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for
Did the editorialists of the New York Times and its Beantown subsidiary the Boston Globe have a little side bet as to who could fashion the viler 9/11 editorial? If so, for all the Times's earnest editorial effort to heap bile on Pres. Bush, I'm going to give the nod to the Globe. For in its editorial of this morning, the Globe made explicit what the Times only suggested: George Bush is a bigger threat to America than radical Islamic murderers.
Said the Globe of 9/11:
"In the long run, the reaction of the Bush administration may prove more harmful to the national interest than even these horrific attacks."
The New York Times's 9/11 editorial is no less despicable for being thoroughly predictable.
On a day when we should be coming together, the Times does its best to tear us apart. On a day when the focus should be on the terrorists who threaten us and the brave people who have defended us against them, the Times trains all its bile on the Bush administration.
"Without ever having asked to be exempt from the demands of this new post-9/11 war, we were cut out. Everything would be paid for with the blood of other people’s children."
Other people's children? Perhaps the children of the people who run and largely read the New York Times don't tend to enter the military and fight and die for their country. But why would that be the fault of George Bush?
In his commentary at the end on Sunday's 60 Minutes, the day before the five year mark since 9/11, Andy Rooney noted that “we're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons,” a policy with which he only grudgingly agreed as he lamented, “we have to do it I guess.” Then, however, he suggested the fault for terrorism lies with American behavior, not the murderous ideology of terrorists who want to destroy Western democratic culture: “But might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us." By that reasoning, during the Cold War should the U.S. have adopted policies meant to appease the Soviets? Rooney delivered his remarks on the season premiere of the program (delayed in the EDT/CDT zones by tennis for nearly a half hour) which gave two of the show's three segments to Katie Couric's piece on World Trade Center first responders who are suffering from the air they inhaled. (Transcript follows)Video clip (25 secs): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (800 KB), plus MP3 audio (135 KB)
ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
On today's episode of Meet the Press (Sunday, September 10, 2006), Tim Russert interviewed Vice President Cheney. In the interview, Russert took issue with the fact that the Vice President once stated on his show that it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague in April 2001.
Here's the craftiness by Russert: Mr. Cheney made the "pretty well confirmed" remark in a December 9, 2001, appearance, over four-and-a-half years ago. Russert failed to inform his audience this morning when the remark was originally made. In addition, in three following appearances on Meet the Press (3/02, 9/02, and 9/03), when the Vice President breached the topic of the Atta-Prague allegation, he essentially told Russert that he "[didn't] know" if the visit occurred, that it was "unconfirmed," and that intelligence had been unable "to nail down a close tie between the al-Qaida organization and Saddam Hussein." The Vice President's stance on the issue was certainly modified from the one he originally aired in 2001.
In fact, in the very last appearance that the Vice President made on Meet the Press (in September 2003), Mr. Cheney specifically told Russert that "we just don't know" if such a meeting ever happened. And in his September 2002 appearance, the Vice President said almost the opposite of it being "pretty well confirmed"; he said the meeting was "unconfirmed"! Yet this morning Russert harked back to the original 2001 appearance over four-and-a-half years ago to try and hammer the Vice President for the "pretty well confirmed" words. Fairness, anyone? Not at all.
The Washington Post has found an evangelical Christian it likes. Conveniently enough he's not a fan of the Christian right. Here are some nuggets from staff writer Caryle Murphy's September 10 profile of a "progressive" pillar of the "emerging church" movement, Brian D. McLaren.:
“When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels," McLaren said in a recent interview.
The Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, as well as Commissioner John Lehman, were George Stephanopoulos’s guests on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, and they both spoke out strongly in favor of the upcoming miniseries “The Path to 9/11” (video link to follow).
At the beginning of this discussion, Stephanopoulos presented concerns expressed by Clinton administration officials about the docudrama, and asked Kean if the program should be aired. Kean responded:
Oh, of course, it should be aired. I mean, I'm not for censorship or not allowing people to see things. In my experience with these people who’ve been working in the film they've been responsive to criticism, mine and other people’s, and have made changes that were necessary. I haven't seen the final cut. It's a miniseries. It's not a documentary. It's not done by ABC news. It's done by ABC news entertainment, but as I've seen it, I think it'll make a contribution.
Stephanopoulos then reiterated concerns of the Clinton administration, in particular about a couple of scenes in the film, and asked, “Did you ask the filmmakers to change those scenes and did they change them?” Kean responded:
Brent Bozell's column on the entertainment media culture this week addressed an amazing double standard from NBC. For Saturday mornings, they've picked up a Christian-media favorite, the cartoon "Veggie Tales" -- but is cutting out the religious angles. That's sort of sad when our media's more tolerant of Islam, the "religion of peace," than they seem to be of Christianity:
The early word from producers is that NBC has grown increasingly fierce about editing something out of “Veggie Tales” – those apparently unacceptable, insensitive references to God and the Bible.
So NBC has taken the very essence of “Veggie Tales” – and ripped it out. It’s like “Gunsmoke,” without the guns, or “Monday Night Football,” without the football.
Sometimes, in spite of itself, ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" shines a light on liberal thinking that liberal political strategists would prefer remain dark. Today Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the Left's answer to Michael Savage, revealed that her thinking remains firmly stuck in pre-9/11 mode.