What must be the most ridiculous claim of the night's Iowa caucus coverage came on CNN when political analyst Bill Schneider argued that because only 16 percent of Democrats who showed up to caucus call themselves "very liberal," that these Democrats are "pretty moderate voters," but that Republican voters are "very conservative." Schneider based his claims simply on how voters chose to identify themselves for CNN's entrance poll of those who arrived to caucus: "The Democrats are moderate. Only about 16 percent of them call themselves 'very liberal.' There's a cliche that only liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans show up. That's half true. Republicans are very conservative. Almost half of them say they are 'very conservative.' But Democrats are pretty moderate voters." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's Fox and Friends, Democratic strategist and FNC contributor Bob Beckel found amusing Hillary Clinton's contention that her trip to Bosnia in 1996, which Clinton has been accused of exaggerating as a dangerous mission despite the presence of daughter Chelsea and comedian Sinbad on the plane as she mentioned the need for a "corkscrew" landing and running on the tarmac in case of sniper attack, was evidence of her foreign policy experience. Clinton's comments, which were a response to Barack Obama's charges that her foreign policy experience consisted only of talking and "having tea" with foreign dignitaries, evoked an amused and cynical reaction from the liberal Beckel: "I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."
On Monday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Mike Taibbi oddly suggested that Barack Obama could be considered an "independent" or centrist politician as he included the liberal Senator as one of several politicians with an "independent streak" with whom New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been associated. Taibbi: "Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." Such a juxtaposition seems especially out of place in light of National Journal's 2006 vote ratings which found that Obama had a more liberal voting record than all but nine of his Senate colleagues. (Transcript follows)
FNC's morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of "Fox and Friends." Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these "best of" lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it.
On Friday's "Countdown," viewers were treated to a retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on conservatives, featuring four of his favorites from the year 2007. An announcer teased the show glorifying Olbermann while intermixing complimentary quotes from various media with clips of Olbermann reading his "Special Comments." The announcer read a quote from "Playboy" calling the MSNBC host the "truth teller in chief," and a quote from the "Akron Beacon Journal" claiming that he is "the one journalist actually working to save the democracy." Among the quotes from Olbermann featured in the teaser was the MSNBC host's charge that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush." (Transcript follows)
Sunday's "NBC Nightly News" featured retired General Barry McCaffrey, NBC News military analyst and "one-time war critic," as he voiced his "surprising new assessment" that conditions in Iraq have improved "dramatically" since the surge. McCaffrey, former Drug Czar of the Clinton administration, remarked: "A year ago, I thought the thing was going over the edge of a cliff. That has changed dramatically in a very short period of time."
Anchor Lester Holt played up McCaffrey's history of being a war critic as he teased the December 23 show: "Reality Check: New progress in Iraq, and a surprising new assessment from a four-star general and one-time war critic, just back from Baghdad." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to denounce President Bush as a "pathological presidential liar or an idiot-in-chief" for continuing to talk about the potential danger of a nuclear Iran after receiving word in August of the possibility the newest national intelligence report would find that Iran no longer has an active nuclear weapons program, but had suspended such a program in 2003. Olbermann: "We have either a President who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War III about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole, or we have a President too transcendently stupid not to have asked, at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so, whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible. The pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief." (Transcript follows)
Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Republican candidates largely lived up to its promise to be a debate fitting for Republican voters as the vast majority of the questions used were asked from a conservative point of view. But the GOP debate's slant toward conservative questions was less than the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate's slant toward liberal questions. On Wednesday, out of a total of 34 video questions presented, conservative questions outnumbered liberal questions by 14 to 8, with the remaining questions ideologically ambiguous or neutral. During the Democratic debate, out of a total of 38 video questions, the slant toward liberal questions came in at 17 liberal to 6 conservative, with the remainder ambiguous or neutral.
On Wednesday's "World News with Charles Gibson," host Gibson highlighted a woman suffering from breast cancer who chose to keep her baby instead of having an abortion while opting to be treated during the second and third trimesters when her baby would likely be able to withstand the chemotherapy. Gibson recounted the story of the new mother who "spent her pregnancy fighting to save her baby's life and her own," relaying her choice not to have an abortion. Gibson: "Her doctor told her she could abort the baby, but Linda found specialists who told her there was another choice, that she could treat the cancer and carry her child to term." (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Wednesday November 28 "World News with Charles Gibson" on ABC:
If the preview shown on "CNN Sunday Morning" is any guide, Wednesday's CNN/YouTube Republican debate will likely be dominated by questions posed from the left, just as the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate also featured questions posed from the left. CNN correspondent Josh Levs showed clips of several sample questions, including a question from a gay Republican who charges "a vote for you is a vote against my family," a question from a woman concerned about "returning the civil liberties to the American people and stopping these outrageous attacks on our security and our privacy," and a question about CEO salaries increasing faster than the minimum wage. While Levs cautioned that he does not know whether any of the questions used in his piece will be chosen for the debate, none of the questions that appeared in the report were posed from a conservative point-of-view. (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the November 25 "CNN Sunday Morning":
During an appearance on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw pointed out that before the invasion of Iraq, even "people who were critical of the war" thought that Saddam Hussein "had weapons of mass destruction," as he responded to criticism that the media were not aggressive enough about challenging President Bush before the Iraq invasion. And while commenting on racial issues, giving his view that "we need to have a dialogue in this country" about race, Brokaw lamented the problems posed by "political correctness" which means "you're in danger of being a racist if you go against the merits of some issues and just try to look at it objectively." Brokaw added: "Within the black culture, there's a fear about speaking out, about what some people see as wrong, because they say, don't go there, you know, it will only hurt our people." (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann accused Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway and Fox News of "race hatred" in response to Conway making an arguably alarmist suggestion on Monday's "The O'Reilly Factor" that allowing the EEOC to sue employers for requiring its employees to speak English on the job could eventually lead to the hiring of non-English-speaking employees for other more serious jobs like air traffic controllers, resulting in airplanes crashing. During the "Countdown" show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, the MSNBC host went over the top by charging that Conway was "trying to dress up the lunatic fringe's race hatred over there at Fox News," and, addressing Conway, advised: "If you were just honest about your racism, at least you wouldn't look quite that stupid." (Transcript follows)
During a Monday November 19 appearance at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, CNN founder Ted Turner charged that the Bush administration has "turned a lot of our friends into enemies," as he contended that when President Bush came into office, "we were friends with just about everybody in the world." Turner remarked, as documented by Raleigh's newspaper the "News and Observer": "Making friends where there used to be enemies is a very important thing to do. ... That's why I'm so sorry about this administration. Because we were friends with just about everybody in this world -- the United States was -- when this administration came to power. Now, we've turned a lot of our friends into enemies. ... I think the country with the most friends is the one that wins in the end." (More quotes follow)
On Friday's "Countdown" show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, while condescendingly chastising FNC's Bill O'Reilly for erroneously remarking that the "Book of Revelation" was written 5,000 years ago, made a mistake of his own in explaining O'Reilly's error, as the "Countdown" host claimed Jesus Christ "died roughly 2007 years ago." Olbermann: "Now, he [Christ] was supposed to have died roughly 2007 years ago, which is where we get the number on the calendar thing with the years in it. It's A.D., Anno Domini, Year of Our Lord, it's sort of dated back to the death-" [Stops talking and sighs] (Transcript follows)
On Sunday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Pete Williams previewed details of a new book, The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack, by Ronald Kessler, in which Kessler revealed information obtained by the an FBI agent who extensively interviewed Saddam Hussein and found, among other things, that the former Iraqi leader had deliberately tried to "fool the U.S." into believing he had weapons of mass destruction because "he wanted Iranian leaders to believe that he had nuclear and biological weapons." The FBI agent, named George Piro, also reported that Saddam Hussein "hoped the post-Gulf War sanctions on Iraq would dissolve, allowing him to pursue a nuclear capability." (Transcript follows)
On Sunday's "Late Edition," CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage about his role in accidentally leaking that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, an event often ignored as most media coverage has focused on Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. While Armitage agreed with Plame's contention that what he did was "very foolish," he also argued that he believed her status not to be covert because he had "never seen, ever, in 43 years of having a security clearance, a covert operative's name in a memo." When asked by Blitzer if he had assumed that she was "just an analyst" at the CIA, Armitage responded: "That's what it, not only assumed it, that's what the message said, and she was publicly chairing, chairing a meeting." (Transcript follows)
In the November 7 "Washington Post," in an article reporting on the Virginia General Assembly elections, staff writer Tim Craig adopted the liberal terminology of referring to government spending as "investing" as he relayed that Democratic Governor Tim Kaine hopes to get more support for his "agenda to invest more in education, health care, and the environment." The complete text of a similar article using the same line can be found on the Washington Post's Web site here. In the front-page article "Delays in Counting Slow Results in State, Local Races," after summarizing some of the early election results, including the plight of some Republican state senators running for re-election in Democratic-trending districts, the following one-sentence paragraph ran on page A12:
On Monday's "Countdown," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment," inspired by revelations that former Acting Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin had advised the Bush administration that waterboarding of Al-Qaeda terrorists should be considered torture, as the "Countdown" host charged that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush." He further accused Bush of intentionally inducing Al-Qaeda prisoners to make false confessions which Bush could speak of publicly for political gain, which Olbermann contended would "mean George W. Bush is going to prison." He also warned that Bush would like to use his "nightmare presidency" to move America on a course similar to that of 1930s Japanese fascism.
On Saturday, CNN ran an interview with Bill Cosby on "Larry King Live," which originally ran on Thursday October 18, in which the entertainer plugged his new book "Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors," about problems faced by America's black population. While Cosby talked about such conservative themes as personal responsibility, which in recent years he has been famous for discussing, the entertainer also demonstrated that he has not entirely made the trip over to the conservative side as he derided Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "brother lite," repeatedly charging that Thomas "doesn't want to help anybody." Cosby also proclaimed that he "loves" far-left Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. (Transcript follows)
In a recent Web interview with "Foreign Policy" magazine, dated October 2007, which focused on environmental issues, CNN founder Ted Turner claimed that global warming presents a greater danger to the world than Iran. Turner: "Iran does not put us in peril like global warming does." In a September interview with "GQ" magazine, Turner had similarly downplayed the nuclear threat from Iran as he argued that America's nuclear arsenal poses a greater threat to the world: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands." The CNN founder further suggested that global warming is to blame for the drought in the Southeast, and contended that the same Al Gore who refuses to debate scientists on global warming is as "smart as a whip." (Transcript follows)
On Sunday's "Late Edition," CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired a pre-recorded interview in which the CNN anchor asked one of the most irrational questions of the weekend, as he seemed to treat as credible accusations by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that Israel was behind the recent assassinations of anti-Syria politicians in Lebanon. As Blitzer interviewed Walid Jumblatt, a member of the Lebanese parliament who is a "harsh critic" of Syria, the CNN host read a quote from the Hezbollah leader charging that "the hand that is killing is Israel's," and that Israel "has a sure interest in the assassinations." After Jumblatt scoffed that "that's the biggest joke that I've ever heard," Blitzer responded: "So you reject what Hassan Nasrallah is saying, that Israel is responsible for all of this?" (Transcript follows)
Blitzer had set up the interview with Jumblatt: "It's an extremely dangerous time for politicians in Lebanon. There have been a series of high-profile political assassinations, with many Lebanese blaming Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, and his regime in Damascus. Walid Jumblatt is a leading member of the Lebanese parliament. He's a very harsh critic of Syria. I spoke with him here in Washington this week."
On Friday night, CNN viewers were treated to the special "Keeping Them Honest: The Truth About Global Warming," which took time to examine nine "alleged inconsistencies or exaggerations" in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," as enumerated in a ruling by a British judge. Host Miles O'Brien also interviewed a member of the IPCC, the group which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore, in the form of a scientist who has challenged Gore's views on global warming. O'Brien, who a week earlier had tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders" and "a very small fringe," on this show suggested that people who are "skeptical" about global warming are "in the dark," and presented what he called "surprising" polling data showing a substantial number of Americans have doubts about global warming theory. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's "20/20," ABC's John Stossel presented the views of scientists who dissent from the Al Gore view of global warming, including two former members of the IPCC – the committee which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore. These scientists disagreed with the selection process of the committee's members and some of its conclusions. The ABC host disputed some of the claims in "An Inconvenient Truth," and even presented the view that increased carbon dioxide levels are the result of global warming, rather than the cause, as he took on Gore's famous graph from the movie. Stossel: "But the real inconvenient truth is that carbon increases came after temperature rose -- usually hundreds of years later. Temperature went up first. I wanted to ask Mr. Gore about that and other things, but he wouldn't agree to talk about this." Video of the segment can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's "Countdown," MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that President Bush "hates" kids because of the President's veto of the SCHIP funding bill, as the "Countdown" host teased the show: "Why does President Bush hate American kids?" Olbermann also suggested that it was "refreshing" to see Democratic Congressman Pete Stark refuse to apologize for accusing President Bush of gaining "amusement" at U.S. troops having "their heads blown off" as he asked of guest Jonathan Alter: "Did you not, in that, obviously he went to extremes there, but was there not something refreshing about his at least refusal to back down when somebody came after him?" (Transcript follows)
Olbermann teased Thursday's show while showing the words "Unhealthy GOP Vote" on-screen:
CNN viewers on Friday saw a relatively rare acknowledgement of those who are skeptical of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," including a British judge who recently ruled that there are nine inaccuracies in the movie. But CNN's Miles O'Brien dismissed the views of dissenters, and downplayed the importance of the errors cited by the judge.
As he made several appearances on various CNN shows on Friday, O'Brien tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders," a "tiny fraction of a minority," and a "very small fringe," as he linked skeptics to fossil fuel companies. He also repeatedly declared that the scientific debate on global warming is over. Notably, on the July 20 "The Situation Room," O'Brien had curtly lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts with similar comments on the subject. O'Brien: "You're not paying attention to the science, J.C. You're definitely not paying attention. ... The scientific debate is over, J.C., we're done." (Transcript follows)
During an interview by "GQ" magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons. Turner: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio. Turner: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat. ...
If you thought the proper way to refer to terrorists who commit violence in the name of Islam was by using such terms as "Islamic terrorists," "Islamic militants," or even "Islamic extremists," be on notice that you may be offending Alan Colmes. In fact, even if you refer to the terrorist group "Islamic Jihad" by that name, which is the name the group uses to refer to itself, you're still not in the clear.
On Monday's "MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams," host and former MSNBC General Manager Abrams used the show's regular "Beat the Press" segment to respond to criticism by some Fox News personalities of recent anti-Bush comments made by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, and their questioning of whether Matthews is too partisan to host the latest Republican debate. Abrams: "The attack team over at Fox News is trying to get some traction out of comments Chris Matthews made ... Now, in a silly and obvious partisan attack, they're suggesting Matthews shouldn't host the Republican debate." After playing a clip of Bill O'Reilly charging that NBC News was "in the pocket" of the Democratic party, Abrams accused FNC of being "in the pocket" of the Republican party. Abrams: "The Republicans have had Fox News, and O'Reilly in particular, in their pocket on the Republican talking points since 1996." Abrams ultimately defended Matthews as "far less predictable" than Fox News hosts. (Transcript follows)
After playing a clip of FNC's Gretchen Carlson complimenting Brit Hume as their regular moderator of debates, Abrams challenged Hume's objectivity by playing a clip of the FNC host expressing his opinion that "a lot of Democrats" don't take the war on terrorism seriously, which came from a roundtable discussion from the July 29 "Fox News Sunday."
Friday's "Hannity and Colmes" featured a discussion of a recently released Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll which found that, when asked the question, "Do you personally think the world would be better off if the United States loses the war in Iraq?" 19 percent of Democrats answered "yes" while 20 percent answered "don't know," leaving only 62 percent who definitely disagreed with the idea that the world might be better off if America lost. By contrast, 87 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Independents disagreed with the idea that a loss by America might be a good thing for the world. (Transcript follows)