On the "Saturday Early Show" this past weekend on CBS, co-host Tracy Smith interviewed CBS terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer, who once attempted to spin the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, as being good for al Qaeda, used this occassion to claim that we are losing the global war on terror:
"There's an element of desperation, and it wouldn't matter if the Democrats or the Republicans were in power. We really are losing the war on terrorism overseas and probably within North America and Europe also. Bin Laden has inspired a whole generation of Muslims--young Muslim men, especially--to hate our foreign policies. They're very comfortable with our society and with the tools of modernity, whether it's communications equipment or anything else, but our foreign policies are driving people to attack us, and I think that's what we saw in Florida."
Yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation", host Bob Schieffer claimed Congress is failing in its job to improve the lives of their constituents, and it wasting time and resources debating trivial conservative matters like Constitutional Amendments banning gay marriage and flag burning:
"It's been so long since Congress did anything, I have to stop and think to remember what it is they're supposed to do. Oh, I remember now, improve the lives of the people who elected them. I can't think of another reason; can you?
Don't misunderstand me. Congress does stay busy. The debate on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage took a lot of time. Of course, all sides knew there was no chance it would pass. Did the debate improve your life?"
Last night CNN and Larry King gave the Democratic party a generous election year gift. King’s guests consisted of 9liberal Democrat Senators, four of whom are up for reelection in November, and 0 Republicans. Larry King noted that a few weeks ago he had the Republicans on. However, that program, on May 18th, was designed to have Republicans fight each other and show divisions in the Republican party. But last night, Larry King made it clear this was going to be an opportunity for these Democratic Senators to show unity and attack the Bush Administration and the Republican Party:
"Tonight, exclusive, all 9 Democratic women of the United States Senate [Senators Hillary Clinton-NY, Barbara Boxer-CA, Dianne Feinstein-CA, Patty Murray-WA, Maria Cantwell-WA, Debbie Stabenow-MI, Barbara Mikulski-MD, Blanche Lincoln-AK, and Mary Landrieu-LA]. Could one of them become the first female President? How do they think Bush is doing, and how would they do it differently? Together for the hour next on Larry King Live."
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro found that on CBS’s Sunday Morning yesterday, movie critic David Edelstein politicized his movie review of "The Lake House." Edelstein discusses time travel movies and describes the plot of "The Lake House," as:
"I even loved the incredibly dumb time travel romance "The Lake House," where Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock send letters back and forth between 2004 and 2006."
Seems Edelstein couldn’t resist the opportunity to interject his political philosophy into the review as he alluded to the 2004 election and the fact that he believes George Bush and the Republican Party stole Ohio:
On this morning’s "Early Show" CBS terrorism analyst and former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb told co-host Hannah Storm that he believes the seized al Qaeda documents are believable, i.e. the ones where al Qaeda admits it’s losing in Iraq, and that the United States is making significant progress in the overall war on terrorism.
Ms. Storm began her interview of Mr Whitcomb inquiring about the authenticity of these al Qaeda memos:
"The Iraqi government has released a document it said was found at the site of the bombing when al Zarqawi was killed. Actually, the U.S. government says it was found a few weeks before on a hard drive. But the bottom line is this document says that al Qaeda's weakening. It's an al Qaeda document, supposedly. Do you buy it? Can we take it at face value?"
Yesterday Lee Cowan, of CBS News, may have exaggerated the size of the protests in Baghdad by people loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr, in response to President Bush’s surprise visit. But today, he made up for it. Cowan, reporting from Baghdad for "The Early Show" on CBS, was the only reporter on the 3 major network morning shows to quote from al Qaeda documents found after the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
While "Good Morning America" on ABC and "Today" on NBC gave only cursory mention of the documents, "The Early Show" led the program with the story. Co-host Julie Chen noted the significance of the documents and what they could mean when she introduced Cowan’s piece:
After being off the last two days, Harry Smith returned to CBS’s "Early Show" this morning and apparently he didn’t forget the bias. Today Smith interviewed Dan Bartlett, a counselor to President Bush. While Smith set up Senator Joe Biden on June 5 to go on the offensive against the war, he tried his best to keep Bartlett on the defensive while downplaying President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq yesterday.
Smith began the questioning:
"Well, the Iraqis now have a constitution. Now they actually have a government as well. What they don't have in Baghdad is day-to-day security or even electricity. How does the president's visit change that?"
After the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on perjury charges, rumors have circulated that President Bush’s top political adviser Karl Rove would soon be indicted as well. Today, we found out that would not be the case.
On April 27, when Karl Rove was set to testify before the grand jury for the fifth time, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, appearing on "The Early Show" noted:
"Sources close to the case say they think that it’s almost at an end. If it is cleared up in Rove’s favor, that will be a big lift to this White House."
A big lift for the White House? You wouldn’t have known that watching "The Early Show" this morning. All that was said on the subject amounted to about 25 seconds and came from 2 anchor reads from co-host Julie Chen. In fact, the story wasn't big enough news to earn a tease or a mention at the top of the show, but at about 7:06 Chen mentioned:
On this Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, Bob Schieffer once again turned to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for analysis on developments in Iraq, the overall war on terrorism, and the Israel/Palestinian peace process.
Among the claims Friedman made were claiming that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was the "anti-Statue of Liberty." That America is alone in Iraq, discounting the contributions by the British and other coalition partners. And that he doesn’t "really want to blame America" for the inability of the Israelis and Palestinians to come to a workable peace agreement.
Friedman began by seemingly eulogizing Zarqawi. He focused on how effective Zarqawi was as a terrorist, but doesn’t offer praise to our troops or thanks that he has been removed from the equation in Iraq:
As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening. In one segment, Schieffer interviewed two critics of the war in Iraq, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and CBS News Analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer had also appeared earlier in the day on "The Early Show."
Schieffer focused on Friedman first, inquiring what Friedman thought about the development:
There has been some buzz in the email this morning about a question Pam Hess of UPI asked General William Caldwell in a briefing this morning. In her question, Hess referred to those who died in the air strike that killed the most wanted man in Iraq, including Abu Musab al Zarqawi himself, as victims. Her full question was:
"General, this is Pam Hess of UPI. What's going to happen to Zarqawi's body after the autopsy? Does it get returned to Jordan to his family? And do you have anything on the identity of the others killed in the strike? And was it 6 victims including Zarqawi or was it 7?"
A legitimate question, however, her word choice is unfortunate. Let us remember the true victims are the ones who were savagely murdered by Zarqawi and his network of thugs. Zarqawi and his associates killed along with him, are not victims here, rather, they are the recipients of justice.
On a day when many in America are rejoicing at the death of the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a man who is responsible for countless deaths in Iraq and who made it his mission to spark civil war, CBS brought in a long time Bush administration critic to discuss its implications on this morning's "Early Show." Co-host Harry Smith, utilizing spin that would make "Baghdad Bob" jealous, attempted to portray Zarqawi’s death as being bad news for America, and his guest, CBS News Terrorism Analyst Michael Scheuer, was happy to back his assertions even going so far as to claim Zarqawi’s death was good for Al Qaeda.
Looks like another person on the CBS payroll missed a memo. First it was weatherman Dave Price giving positive reports on Iraq. Now, on this morning’s "Early Show" Colonel Randy Larsen, the director of the Homeland Security Institute and according to co-host Hannah Storm, a CBS News consultant, debunked a few myths that have been promoted by the media.
Larsen used the arrests in Canada to defend the National Security Agency’s (NSA) reported collection of phone records data and to illustrate its usefulness:
"But, it's a superb example, Hannah, of this controversy in the past few weeks about NSA and having the big database of telephone calls. When they arrested these people this weekend, they got cell phones and they got access to other phone numbers they didn't have before. And I'll tell you what, as a U.S. citizen, I'm really happy there's a database we can quickly look into now and see who they've been calling in the United States and start looking into that. So, there's a specific example of about how this data mining can really provide us more security here."
On this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith continued his crusade against the war in Iraq, and suggested that not only is the war in Iraq a quagmire, but the whole war on terror is one as well. In an interview with Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat and probable candidate for President in 2008, Smith accentuated the negative in Iraq without challenging Biden on his positions.
Smith set the tone for the segment with his first question, suggesting that nothing has been accomplished in Iraq:
"The insurgency appears to be operating virtually at will. Have we made no progress there or is there, do you see any signs of hope of this ending?"
On this Morning’s Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned himself into a one man anti-war protest by delivering a two minute commentary on the loss of life in Iraq and the lack of progress being made. His statement may have been intended as an expression of grief over the losses suffered by CBS, the deaths of crew members James Brolan and Paul Douglas, and the injuries sustained by CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, but it was clear that Smith and CBS are now firmly against the war in Iraq and believe the cost of the war is too high. It was Harry Smith’s "Walter Cronkite moment." For those who do not understand the reference, it refers to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Cronkite">Walter Cronkite’s statement on the "CBS Evening News" on February 27, 1968 that the US was stuck in a stalemate in Vietnam. Today, Smith began his diatribe against the war in Iraq implying that death is so common in Iraq that we are desensitized to it:
Yes this is a few days old, from this past Sunday’s "60 Minutes" on CBS, but Andy Rooney’s commentary on the show was so far out, it had to be shared with the Newsbusters community. Although he began by making valid points about Americans needing to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and not just viewing it as a day off, and solemnly remembered friends he lost in World War II, some of his statements called into question whether the sacrifices made by those killed in battle were worth it.
"There's only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us. They died."
Former Vice President Al Gore was on "The Early Show" this morning to discuss his documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," and his political future with co-host Harry Smith. The former Vice President, or as Harry Smith referred to him, this "road warrior for the environment," claimed there was no reason to debate the existence of global warming, "And, I’ve been trying to tell this story for 30 years, Harry, and the debate among the scientists is over. There’s no more debate, we face a planetary emergency." Harry Smith acknowledged that global warming is not a universally accepted fact, but also charged that it’s the conservative media who don’t accept the premise, "But if I look at more elements, more conservative elements of the media, I would say there is a debate going on..." Mr. Gore responded by comparing conservatives who question the science supporting global warming to those who question the moon landing or the shape of the Earth. Harry Smith did not question this conclusion, instead he just interjected "right." In fact, this sounded less like an interview, and more like a discussion on the Senate floor between 2 liberal Democrats who agree with each other.
It got a little crazy in the 8:30 half hour of "The Early Show" on CBS as co-host Harry Smith, hosted a segment on "organic furniture." Smith interviewed Susanna Salk, a special projects editor for "House and Garden" magazine. The segment focused on "green" fashion and the benefits of hemp. Why is this a big deal? Hemp is monitored by the DEA because it resembles marijuana and as USA Today reported, "The DEA says allowing farmers to grow hemp in the USA would undermine the war on drugs."
Smith acknowledged the relationship between hemp and marijuana:
"And every time you say hemp, people are going to giggle because they think they can smoke their chairs."
Are American troops savages? Harry Smith grasped onto today's leak in the "New York Times" to suggest so. On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, the co-host interviewed General George Casey, commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Smith’s questions focused on the negative, such as alleged atrocities by Marines and the loss of life in Baghdad. He asked nothing about whether hope can be found in the new Iraqi government coming together. Smith’s questions may have been designed to rattle the General, but General Casey remained level headed and confident throughout Smith’s grilling of him.
Smith began the segment by implying that U.S. troops randomly kill civilians:
Hannah Storm, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," interviewed CNN’s Anderson Cooper, anchor of "Anderson Cooper 360" about his new memoir. Storm was gushing over Cooper, referring to him as "one of the brightest stars in the news business" and as the "popular CNN anchorman," as she introduced him:
"Anderson Cooper is one of the brightest stars in the news business. The popular CNN anchorman became a household name after his reporting on Hurricane Katrina. But, this is certainly not the first time the seasoned journalist has come face to face with death and disaster. For years, Cooper's been covering war and poverty in countries that often get little attention here at home. And, he writes about both his personal and professional experiences in his new memoir, ‘Dispatches from the Edge.’"
Once again Harry Smith reported from Baghdad for this morning’s Early Show. This morning, his focus was talking with ordinary Iraqis about their life during the war, and Harry Smith may have once again been surprised when he heard one Iraqi thank America and all Americans who supported the war for what they did for Iraq. Rene Syler opened this segment:
Rene Syler: "We see opinion polls almost weekly telling us how Americans feel about the war in Iraq. But what do ordinary Iraqis think? Harry's live in Baghdad with that story. Harry, good morning."
Harry Smith: "Rene, an extraordinary opportunity. Seven Iraqi young men, all in their 20s, all college educated, they all speak English. We talked about everything from the danger of their everyday lives to Saddam Hussein and the role of America in this country. Now their answers will enlighten you, and they may surprise you."
Harry Smith, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," has spent the last few days reporting from Baghdad. On Friday, he reported the security situation was such that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream. But today, he decided to look for a success story. He found one, but he proved that while he can report a bad news story without mentioning any good news, he can’t report a success story without finding negative items to talk about. Reporting from Baghdad, Harry Smith began his piece, which profiled the work of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division’s work in the town of Sababor, talking about the violence in Iraq: "Yeah, good morning. I'll tell you what, just an illustration of how much bad news there is here. A friend of mine here in Iraq told me the other day 'the busiest people in this town are the terrorists.'" Later, he talked of a bombing in Sababor which occurred a month ago: "It hasn't been easy. Just a month ago, a bomb here killed 15 people."
And at one point, "The Early Show" co-host appeared surprised to learn that people in Sababor view Americans positively. And Smith seemed even more shocked when one of the boys told him his name was "Bush" after Smith had an apparent James Bond like moment in introducing himself to the boy.
Video clip of exchange between Iraqi kid who called himself "Bush" and Smith (21 seconds): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (825 KB), plus MP3 audio (125 KB)
NPR’s Nina Totenberg claimed that the United States was becoming East Germany on the program "Inside Washington" which airs on some PBS affiliates, and in the Washington D.C. market on News Channel 8 as well as the local ABC affiliate.
Host Gordon Peterson, opened a discussion segment regarding a report by ABC News Investigative reporter Brian Ross, who asserted that a federal law enforcement officer advised him and his producer to get new cell phones because the government was tracking the phone numbers dialed in an effort to root out confidential sources. Peterson wondered what effect this would have on reporters:
"He says the official told him ‘it's time for you to get some new cell phones quick.’ Reporters are going to start functioning like al Qaeda operatives? Go to a pay phone if the can find one?"
On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, co-host Harry Smith reported from Baghdad. However, unlike Dave Price, the "Early Show weatherman who reported on high morale and security progress in Iraq -- his reporting can be seen here and here -- Smith focused on the negative, and even complained that the security situation is so bad that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream.
Harry Smith: "Now the one other example I can give you of what the security situation is like here, just around our hotel, it's very, very secure. But when I asked our folks if I could go down to the corner and out of the secure zone to get an ice cream last night they said it's a risk just simply not worth taking. Hannah."
As Rich Noyes pointed out yesterday, the morning shows jumped on the "USA Today" story about the NSA having phone records of ordinary Americans. This morning, CBS’s "The Early Show" continued with the coverage, and used the story to revive one of their favorite terms, "Domestic Spying." In covering this story this morning, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Delaware Senator Joe Biden, a critic of the NSA program, and asked softball questions. With the exception of 2 short clips of President Bush and 1 clip of General Michael Hayden, the President’s nominee to be CIA Director, viewers did not hear from any supporters of the NSA’s actions.
Harry Smith opened the broadcast with the following tease:
"Good morning I’m Harry Smith. The heat turns up again on the domestic spy scandal as members of Congress call for an investigation into a report that the government collected the phone records of millions of Americans. We'll have the latest."
It was reported on this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS that the Dow Jones Industrial average is on the verge of reaching record highs. CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis went so far as to mention that was are "In a three-year bull market that has some experts predicting a new record could come any day." That raises the question, where has the media been the last three years? It appears that CBS wants to ignore positive economic news because maybe it will help President Bush and Republicans.
Despite the news that the Dow is on the verge of a record high, reporters were shocked that the blue chips are doing so well due to the facts, that they reminded viewers of of high gas prices and that real estate is down. Co-host Julie Chen offered the following story tease at the top of the program:
The May 8th issue of "U.S. News and World Report" featured an article about high gas prices. Now, the fact that a news magazine would look at the rising cost of gas is not a surprise. But, that a magazine would dedicate a section to interviewing someone who served in the gas line plagued Carter Administration about what the solution to high gas prices is, does come as somewhat of a surprise. Does U.S. News and World Report forget the oil shortages under the Carter Administration. Does the magazine forget the "odd" and "even" licence plates?
The article in question appeared on page 26 and was entitled "Why a Gas Tax is Good For You." The article contained three softball questions at gas tax proponent Philip Verleger, who served in the Carter Treasury Department.
On this morning’s Early Show, co-host Hannah Storm implied to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist that the Congress ought to pay attention to the immigrant boycott and protests from yesterday and pass "immigration reform," a euphemism for "amnesty." That if one million immigrants rallying across the country isn’t enough, what more is it going to take:
"Wanna change gears here for a second because Monday over one million immigrants skipped work and skipped school and marched in streets across America. What is it going to take, Senator, for Congress to come together and institute some meaningful immigrant reform, and how long is that going to take?"
On this morning’s Early Show, in the 7:00 half hour, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Democrat Governor Bill Richardson and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander regarding the immigration debate. While Smith asked Richardson weak "how do you feel" questions, he grilled Senator Alexander over the issue. He began by asking about the protests: "Senator, let me ask you first, is this protest today a good idea?"
Senator Alexander, in his response tried to remind viewers what the protests were really about:
"Well, free speech is a part of living in this country. Unexcused absences from work or from school have consequences. And protests about legal immigration, I think most people in the Congress would welcome. Protests in favor of illegal immigration have very little sympathy here."
The subject of Iraq was once again discussed on this morning’s "Early Show" as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both made unannounced visits to Baghdad to show support for the new government.
CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, reporting from Baghdad, mentioned that the formation of a unity government in Iraq will eventually allow US troops to draw down, though she made clear that it was unclear when this could happen. She also noted that Rumsfeld was visibly tired when he got off the plane, but it couldn’t just have been because he flew all night, no, Dozier implied it also had something to do with the criticism of some retired generals.