On Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, as host Keith Olbermann and NBC News correspondent Richard Engel discussed the apparent murder of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian government forces as part of the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, and the possibility that she will become the visual symbol for her country’s pro-democracy movement because her death was recorded, Engel brought up the infamous Mohammed al-Dura video clip from September 2000 and claimed that the Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli troops – as if this story were not in dispute – even though many who have examined the case closely over the years believe not only that the boy was not hit by Israeli bullets, but that the video purporting to document his shooting and death was likely a hoax.
The exchange from Monday's Countdown show, in which both Engel and Olbermann assumed the al-Dura story to be undisputed:
KEITH OLBERMANN: To the point of Neda Soltan, I don’t know that there’s ever been a revolution, or even a near revolution, that did not have an identifiable face, a martyr, you think of everything from Tiananmen Square to Lexington and Concord-
RICHARD ENGEL: I was thinking more, remember Mohammed al-Dura, the boy who was shot in Gaza-
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes.
ENGEL: -in his father’s arms-
ENGEL: -and who became a symbol of injustice? I think this is a similar moment.
On the Wednesday, June 10, Hannity show on FNC, host Sean Hannity showed a pre-recorded interview with actor Craig T. Nelson, who repeated his recent suggestion that taxpayers should refuse to pay as long as their money is being spent by the government irresponsibly, and this time tied in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's failure to pay thousands of dollars in taxes. After recounting the government’s lack of "fiscal acuity," Nelson continued:
And I'm saying to myself, "Wait a minute. What if each of those withheld as much as Timothy Geithner withheld? You know what? We're not going to pay that." ... It would say to the government, you know, we're protesting the way you're doing it. I didn't know I was responsible for this bailout. I really didn't know. I wasn't asked about it. There were companies that went under. Aren't we a capitalistic system? Aren't we free to do that?
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Wednesday, June 10, Hannity show on FNC:
On the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC, during an interview with host Glenn Beck, actor John Voight informed viewers that he decided to abandon his left-wing past partly because he blamed the "Marxist" anti-war movement of the Vietnam War era for causing the "slaughter" in South Vietnam and Cambodia after America pulled out of the region. After recounting that "I was surrounded by people who were very heavily programmed Marxist, and I didn't even realize it at the time that this was communist-based stuff, you know, that the communists were behind organizing all of these rallies and things," Voight continued:
And then I saw the end of the war. I saw us pull out, and then I saw the communists move in and slaughter 2 1/2 million people in South Vietnam and Cambodia. And I saw the left that had precipitated this turn away, just walk away from it. ... They didn't take seriously the blood that they had been directly causing. And it didn't – but I must say programming is very, very deep. And I didn't really pull out of it for quite a while afterward. But that's where the dime dropped and things started to happen. And then I , you know, then 9/11, of course.
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC:
On Thursday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, host Dobbs interviewed former inspector general Gerald Walpin to talk about his suspicious firing by President Obama after he headed an investigation that uncovered the misuse of over $800,000 in tax dollars by Obama friend Kevin Johnson, while the White House had initially given only vague reasons for his dismissal. After explaining that Walpin is "technically on administrative leave" currently, Dobbs pointed out that Senator Claire McCaskill "straightened the White House out on requirements of the law" in giving "30 days notice to Congress." Dobbs:
Of, well, of 64 total offices of inspector general, three fired. You among them, one of the most prominent. The White House did not respond to your firing in explanation beyond the perfunctory until Senator Claire McCaskill straightened the White House out on requirements of the law, which is to give 30 days notice to Congress, which had not been done at that time.
After quoting the most recent White House explanation that Walpin had been "confused, disoriented," and "unable to answer questions," Walpin charged that that statement by the White House was "given only as the third reason" for the action:
On Thursday evening, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News presented opposite takes on whether Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is really a moderate, or whether he is actually about as extreme and dangerous as current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CBS’s Mark Phillips argued that Mousavi is merely more moderate in "tone" than Ahmadinejad while taking similar policy positions, while NBC’s Richard Engel played up Mousavi as a real alternative to Ahmadinejad. CBS News substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez introduced Phillips’s report: "Mir Hossein Mousavi insists he won the presidential election there, only to have it stolen from him. He's been cast as an outsider, anxious for reform. But as Mark Phillips reports, that's not exactly the case."
After beginning his report contending that "Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran's mullah-dominated government," Phillips further argued that Mousavi would bring little substantive policy difference to the presidency:
On Wednesday, several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin, after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the story so far.
Beck, who had previously interviewed Walpin on Monday, interviewed him again on Wednesday, and informed viewers of a claim by the White House that Walpin had shown up at a meeting "disoriented," leading the President to dismiss him. Walpin charged that the administration was engaging in "an amazing slinging of mud" against him, and later added:
Tuesday's Fox and Friends on FNC gave attention to the case of former inspector general Jerry Walpin, of the Corporation for National and Community Service, who was abruptly dismissed from his position, after he headed up an investigation of one of President Obama's political allies for misuse of AmeriCorps funds, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Co-anchor Steve Doocy also brought up the possibility that Obama had broken the law in firing Walpin without just cause. As he was interviewed by co-hosts Gretchen Carlson and Doocy, Walpin summed up his agency's findings against Johnson:
We found out that Johnson had misused the members of the AmeriCorps volunteers for his own personal purposes, had used them in political campaigns, had used them to wash his car, and had even taken them to New York to lobby for him, and they're supposed to be working tutoring students in Sacramento. He took them to New York to lobby for him to get a charter school charter here in New York.
Walpin also charged that Johnson was never required by the Obama administration to reimburse the $800,000 he owed the government:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann slammed Jonah Goldberg of the National Review during the show’s "Worst Person in the World" segment because Goldberg complained about the treatment of neoconservatives by liberals, as the National Review Online editor recently charged that "mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives – usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel – as an alien, pernicious cabal."
Olbermann, who has a history of blaming conservatives like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly for violent acts by extremists, accused the "far right" of "enabling" recent murders, and then claimed not to have ever heard the term "neocons" associated with a particular "religious or ethnic group." He went on to suggest that the word "neocon" may really be code for "belligerence, pig headedness, stupidity, wasteful, indifference to human life," and "paranoid."
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Jennifer Griffin informed viewers that the Obama administration has once again snubbed the British government, as the administration transferred a group of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the British protectorate of Bermuda without first consulting the British government as protocol requires. Substitute anchor Chris Wallace raised the issue:
Let's talk about the Bermuda part of the story because Bermuda is a British protectorate. We supposedly have a special relationship with the U.K., but we didn't talk to them, we didn't inform them about our deal to put the Uighurs there.
Griffin described the administration's faux pas as "stunning":
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly gave attention to threatening tactics from some on the far left, as he focused on the case of a Bishop from the D.C. area who became a target after speaking out against same-sex marriage. O'Reilly began the interview:
For example, if you oppose gay marriage, some far-left people will try to hurt you, as Bishop Harry Jackson is finding out, and the Bishop joins us now from Washington, D.C. Now, since you made the gay marriage issue a centerpiece of your commentary, because you are a traditional guy and you believe in traditional man-woman marriage, what's happened to you?
On World News Sunday, ABC News anchor David Muir read a brief story relaying to viewers an attack on former Vice President Cheney by CIA Director Leon Panetta which appeared in the New Yorker magazine. In the interview, Panetta suggested that Cheney may desire to see terrorists hit America again for his own benefit. Muir recounted:
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that President Obama’s speech in Cairo may have been responsible for the defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections which occurred a few days after the speech. But as Olbermann discussed the possibility that Obama had a hand in the results, he neglected to inform viewers that the apparent 71 out of 128 seats won by pro-Western candidates in 2009 is nearly identical to the 72 won in the last such round of elections in 2005.
During the show’s opening teaser, Olbermann brought up Obama’s speech: "The Cairo effect: Did this already pay off practically?"
After a clip of Obama’s speech, the MSNBC host continued: "Three days later, voters in Lebanon elected an American-backed coalition instead of a Hezbollah-backed coalition."
Saturday’s NBC Nightly News aired a report filed by NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers in which she looked into President Obama’s tendency to award lavish jobs as ambassadors to some of his top campaign fund-raisers – whose qualifications in foreign policy are questionable – and in which she noted that Obama had criticized President Bush for appointing donors to positions in government. Myers: "It's worth noting that candidate Obama criticized President Bush for rewarding his donors with ambassadorships."
Anchor Lester Holt introduced the story: "Now to NBC News ‘In Depth,’ and another tradition still going strong in Washington: rewarding major fund-raisers with plum positions as foreign ambassadors. It's a custom apparently embraced by President Obama. One-third of his nominees raised big money for his campaign."
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
The network evening newscasts on Thursday gave positive reviews to President Obama's speech in Cairo, with the NBC Nightly News the most glowingly positive, and ABC giving the most attention to skeptics in the Muslim world. NBC focused on positive reactions to the speech, quoting one observer who got "goose pimples," and another who compared the speech to that of President Kennedy in Berlin. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell seemed to have the most elevated expectations of what will result from Obama’s speech. After acknowledging that Obama risked alienating Jews for his criticism of Israel, she suggested the "rewards" may be worth it: "That said, the reward is huge. This was a transformational speech potentially, by reaching out to the Islamic world, by using the language, as Richard pointed out, by saying "As-Salamu ‘Alaykum," he has transformed the view of America among 1.5 billion people, and that is potentially the biggest, biggest benefit of all. This could change the Obama presidency."
All three made a point of characterizing Obama’s use of the Arabic phrase "As-Salamu ‘Alaykum," or, "Peace be with you," as a gesture that would greatly impress the Muslim world. CBS’s Lara Logan talked about the "excitement" in Cairo over Obama’s "historic" speech, and highlighted Obama’s personal popularity there: "This is a first in Cairo – the name of an American President on T-shirts and souvenirs on sale here. It's a sign of Barack Obama's personal popularity and how much is resting on his shoulders."
On Tuesday's Hannity show on FNC, while interviewing author Brigitte Gabriel, host Sean Hannity suggested that, rather than make apologies for America in the Muslim world, that President Obama should point out that Muslims have benefited from America's assistance in various countries, and Gabriel pointed out that the United States sided with Muslims against Christians in the former Yugoslavia.
Hannity posed the question: "Shouldn't the President be highlighting, for example, the sacrifice of America to help save some Kuwaiti Muslims and in Somalia and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in other parts of the world?"
On Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O’Reilly interviewed liberal civil rights attorney Bartle Bull about the Justice Department’s recent decision to drop charges against Black Panther members who engaged in voter intimidation in Philadelphia polling place last November. Bull – who worked for both Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter – was an eyewitness to some of the intimidation, and charged that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to pursue the case was "100 percent politically motivated."
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Friday, May 29, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann placed blame on FNC host Bill O’Reilly for inciting the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller, widely known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas. After showing a number of clips of O’Reilly and other FNC personalities attacking Tiller, Olbermann encouraged his viewers to request that businesses like restaurants that run FNC on their televisions change the channel because "Fox News Channel will never restrain itself from incitement to murder and terrorism – not until its profits begin to decline, when its growth stops." Referring to O’Reilly, he also declared that "the goal here, to get this blindly irresponsible man and his ilk off the air," and that "we must again make the world safe for people condemned by the Fox News Channel."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, June 1, Countdown show on MSNBC:
UPDATE: MRC's Times Watch site tackled the Times's strange omission of the Muslim extremism angle last week: TimesWatch.org
On Saturday's Fox Newswatch, host Jon Scott led the panel in a discussion of the New York Times's coverage of the terror plot against synagogues in New York City, as the paper downpayed the extreme Muslim beliefs of the plotters. Even liberal analyst Jane Hall took the New York Times to task, arguing that the conversion of the plotters to Islam while serving time in prison was "an important part of the story."
Scott opened discussion of the topic:
Coverage of the stories in the New York Times seemed to gloss over the group's openly expressed desire to commit jihad, even though the police commissioner mentioned it at a news conference. Why did the New York Times decide to shy away from mentioning the suspect's extreme Muslim beliefs?
Conservative analyst Andrea Tantaros complained about a trend toward oversensitivity in talking about Muslim extremism to the point of omitting key facts in a story:
On Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC host Baier informed viewers that the Justice Department had dropped charges against New Black Panther members who engaged in blatant voter intimidation in Philadelphia last November. As previously documented by Newsbuster Noel Sheppard, last November Fox News ran a report by Rick Leventhal detailing the activity which was ignored by the mainstream media. On Friday's Special Report, Baier quoted a former 1960s civil rights lawyer: "The most blatant form of voter intimidation. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC's Bill O'Reilly and Bernard Goldberg talked about the double standard of the New York Times in ignoring the life story of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during his confirmation, while playing up a similar life background in the liberal Judge Sonia Sotomayor. O'Reilly opened his discussion with Goldberg reminding viewers of Gonzales's history of growing up in poverty, his service in the Air Force, and his Harvard education:
This is Alberto Gonzales' resume: Migrant parents. Poorer than the judge's parents, poorer, okay? Gets out of high school, joins the Air Force, does well in the Air Force. They send him to Air Force Academy. Graduates at the top of his class. He goes to Harvard Law School. Bernie, correct me if I'm wrong, in his confirmation hearing, I didn't hear any compelling stories out of the New York Times. I didn't hear any NBC people weeping about Alberto Gonzales.
On Monday’s Tonight Show on NBC, Jay Leno incorrectly called New York’s former Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer a Republican during the show’s monologue as he joked about Republican sex scandals. Inspired by John McCain’s daughter Meghan’s recent declaration that she is a "pro-sex Republican," Leno used her comment to poke fun at Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, as well as Democrat Spitzer, who were both revealed to have hired prostitutes. But Leno’s joke assumed both disgraced politicians were Republicans: "Don’t confuse that with other Republicans like Senator Vitter and Eliot Spitzer. They like to get their sex from a pro."
If Leno was confused about Spitzer's party affiliation, it is hardly surprising, as the MRC’s Brent Baker previously documented the mainstream media’s reluctance to label Spitzer as a Democrat, and Rich Noyes documented the media’s greater willingness to label Republicans involved in sex scandals.
Below is the complete text of Leno’s joke from the Monday, May 25, Tonight Show on NBC:
On Thursday's Beck program on FNC, actor Craig T. Nelson complained about excessive taxation and spending by the California state government, as well as the federal government, as he suggested that people should stop paying taxes to protest the government's handling of their money. Nelson: "If my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchild who is about to be here, is not going to be educated properly, then I'm through with it, you know. I'm not going to spend money on these things that you're asking me to. Look, they should be allowed to go bankrupt. What happened to, we are a capitalistic society. Okay, I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out."
According to a posting at MediaBistro's TVNewser, FNC's Geraldo Rivera admitted to being so excited about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's selection for the Supreme Court that he got "goosebumps" when he heard the news and bumped his head on a light fixture when he sprang from his chair in excitement. TVNewser's Gail Shister writes: "The Fox News host was so excited about the high court's first Hispanic nominee that he leapt from his chair in his home office and bopped his head on a low-hanging light fixture."
She went on to quote Rivera: "This is as important to us as Obama was to the African-American community. I have goosebumps."
During a news brief on the Saturday, May 23, The Early Show, CBS’s Priya David used that famous euphemism of liberals, “woman’s right to choose,” to refer to the legal right to an abortion, as the show gave attention to Liberty University’s recent decision to withdraw recognition of the school’s club for young Democrats. She also incorrectly exaggerated Liberty's action by claiming that the Democratic group "won't be allowed on campus anymore" when in reality, according to the school, the group can still hold meetings, but just cannot use the school's name or money.
On the Monday, May 18, Today show, NBC’s Ann Curry also used the term in a story about President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, which allowed the pro-choice President to speak despite being a Catholic university.
Below are complete transcripts of the relevant news briefs from the Saturday, May 23, The Early Show, on CBS, and the Monday, May, 18, Today show, on NBC:
On Memorial Day, 2002, FNC's Hannity and Colmes held an interview with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Troy Dunlap, who was held in Iraq as a POW during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and his attorney, Steve Fennell, to discuss a lawsuit against the Iraqi government because of torture Dunlap and other POWs endured. During the current debate over how high-level Al-Qaeda prisoners should be treated, and the practical impact harsh interrogations may have on the treatment of American POWs in future wars, it is noteworthy that this kind of review of the violent treatment American POWs have a history of receiving, even before the debate over waterboarding terrorists even began, has been so absent in the media.
Fennell summed up the treatment POWs endured in 1991 in Iraq, despite the fact that the country was a signatory of the Geneva Convention:
We have 17 POWs, the injuries range from broken legs, fractured skulls, beatings that were so bad that the body looked like it had been dipped in indigo dye. Techniques that were used where things such as beatings to the point where most of the beatings stopped only when the POW reached unconsciousness, use of electric shock, cattle prods, drug injections.
On April 5, 2002, the Washington Post article, "Hussein Sued by Ex-POWs; U.S. Gulf War Veterans Say They Were Beaten, Tortured," by Peter Slevin, reported:
Friday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC gave attention to Vice President Biden's tendency to commit gaffes, with the notably centrist Morton Kondracke of Roll Call commenting that "I say little prayers every day for the health of Barack Obama, who is a lot more intelligent than Joe Biden." Kondracke went on to give a negative assessment of the Vice President's Senate career: "For all the time that Joe Biden was in the Senate, he was wrong about practically every foreign policy issue that there was."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Fox All Stars segment from the Friday, May 22, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:
During his Saturday, May 16, commencement speech at Fordham University, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw fretted that the "vital signs" of "Mother Earth" have "taken a turn for the worse," as he cited global warming as a problem this year's graduating class would need to help solve. He also used the term "economic justice," a term commonly invoked by the Left, as he called on graduates to "restore economic justice." Brokaw: "We need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."
Early in his speech, Brokaw referred to the current economic problems that largely originated in the financial sector as he argued that "the economic model that has defined your lives was, in too many ways, a house of cards," and referred to "greed and avarice" in that sector, before he more optimistically praised America as a relatively more prosperous place than the rest of the world. Brokaw: "America remains a land of unparalleled economic opportunities with a standard of living that even in these constricted circumstances is well beyond the hope of hundreds of millions in less developed countries."
Update: Brokaw also spoke at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 17, and madesimilar comments.
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."