On the Tuesday August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi poured water on claims that a global warming trend has been the cause of hurricanes of increased intensity as he contended that the Northern Hemisphere similarly saw periods of increased hurricane activity in past decades, going back to the 1890s. Bastardi: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. ... And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams, host and MSNBC general manager Abrams opened his show lambasting Karl Rove, tagging him the "Constitutional Crippler" for accusing judges of "bending the law" while Rove, Abrams contended, was doing much the same. Abrams: "If Karl Rove had been a professional wrestler, they might have called him 'the Constitutional Crippler.' Abrams further accused Rove of "hypocrisy" and of "shifting rules to accommodate his political objectives" as the MSNBC general manager declared that he would "not shed a tear" at Rove's departure.
Keith Olbermann a "fair and balanced" journalist for a day? Did the sweltering Chicago temperatures somehow get to him? The MSNBC host who is notorious for anti-Bush, anti-conservative rants employed a more balanced approach when he moderated Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, hosted by the AFL-CIO. While audience members posed numerous left-leaning questions to the candidates, Olbermann asked a number of challenging questions, a few even posed from the right. Olbermann not only asked "what should we not be funding" to find the money for repairs to infrastructure, without even suggesting a tax increase, but the MSNBC host also asked about the possibility of an al-Qaeda takeover in Iraq. Olbermann: "If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?" (Transcripts follow)
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer, while interviewing Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison about his recent trip to Iraq, asked the Congressman about his recent controversial remarks comparing President Bush to Hitler, words that could be interpreted as a suggestion that Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks, and comments that have received little media coverage. Blitzer gave Ellison the chance to "explain exactly what you did mean," and asked if the Congressman agreed that the "comparison of Bush and Hitler" was "inappropriate." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the "endless war and endless spending" had "crippled our ability to repair or just check our infrastructure," as he hosted Air America's Rachel Maddow in a discussion blaming the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Iraq war spending and unwillingness by conservatives to raise taxes. Olbermann quoted Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar's charge of "messed up priorities" and New York Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's labeling of bridge collapse victims as "almost victims of war" because "perpetual war depletes the funds available to maintain our infrastructure." Maddow charged that America is "paying this incredible deadly price for a brand of American conservatism that hates and demeans government." (Transcript follows)
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Kelly Cobiella filed a report about American medical students who are receiving the "gift" of a free education from the Latin American School of Medicine, established by former Cuban president Fidel Castro to train doctors for poor communities. But, while entertaining suggestions from one student who thought that Michael Moore's trip to Cuba for health care "proposed a really good question about looking at our medical system and seeing what things we need to change," the CBS correspondent also found that "Cuba is no health care paradise," as she reported on "crumbling" hospitals, doctors making $20 a month, and "shortages of just about everything from drugs to high-tech equipment." (Transcript follows)
ABC's World News Sunday featured a report about the upcoming meeting between President Bush and recently elected British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which included speculation about how Bush's relationship with Brown will compare to that with Tony Blair. Between anchor Dan Harris and correspondent John Cochran, the derogatory charge by Blair critics that he was Bush's "poodle" was mentioned three times. While Cochran described the label as "perhaps unfair," when the report concluded, Harris, after having already mentioned the "poodle" insult once as he introduced the story, followed up by remarking, "Potentially no more poodle." (Transcript follows)
On Friday's World News, ABC host Charles Gibson incorrectly implied that a murder suspect in New York City had purchased his weapon from a gun store in Virginia, ignoring the fact that the original owner, now deceased, had purchased the gun legally from the shop in 1999, and that police have not yet discovered how the suspect obtained the gun. Instead, Gibson contended that this case shows that criminals often go to shops for their weapons as he set up the piece: "Well, the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer is shedding some light on how criminals get their guns. Too often, they simply go to a store. And they know which stores to go to.
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Byron Pitts filed a report on the causes of and potential solutions for Philadelphia's high murder rate in which the correspondent heard from several people who approached the problem from a liberal point-of-view while the NRA's Wayne LaPierre voiced a conservative point-of-view on the issue. While LaPierre stressed the need for more prosecutions of criminals, other activists blamed the crime problem on such issues as income "disparity," "availability of guns," and "inherent racism." (Transcript follows)
On the Friday July 20 The Situation Room on CNN, substitute anchor Miles O'Brien insisted that, regarding the role of carbon emissions in global warming, "the scientific debate is over," as he lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts on the subject. In response to Watts' contention that "I don't believe the Earth is melting because of carbon emissions," O'Brien responded: "Well, 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)
On Wednesday's Your World with Neil Cavuto, FNC's Cavuto hosted both ABC's John Stossel and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss Kennedy's charge, from the stage of Saturday's "Live Earth" concert in New Jersey, that the ABC anchor, as well as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have been "lying" about global warming and are "toadies" for corporations.
Stossel charged that some of Kennedy's comments about the environment are "silly" and brought up a number of big scares that have been promoted in recent years, some by environmentalists, that have turned out not to materialize. Asked by Cavuto if ignoring the issue may make it worse, Stossel responded: "Well, it's possible. And it's possible that the killer bees were going to come up and sting us all to death, and that Y2K was going to crash all the planes, and that the pesticides that his organization [Natural Resources Defense Council] is so upset about were causing the cancer epidemic, and the frog testicles were shrinking, were going to make us all sterile. The scares from the environmental groups have just come one after the other. None has been true."
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann voiced his latest consipiracy theory regarding Bush administration officials politically timing the release of terror warnings or terrorism-related news to distract attention from stories embarrassing to the administration, as Olbermann seized on comments by Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff that he has a "gut feeling" that terrorists are more likely to strike during the summer. While interviewing Newsweek's Richard Wolffe, the Countdown host brought up his suspicions. Olbermann: "How about my gut feeling that Mr. Chertoff said this so that the lead story on the newscast on ABC would not be Iraq or Alberto Gonzales or that USA Today poll, but that it would be this, you know, 'gut feeling' of his, plus a vague sky-is-falling story about an al-Qaeda cell, which even the people in Homeland Security say is just nonsense?" (Transcript follows)
ABC's World News Sunday presented a sympathetic look at Philadelphia city officials who are threatening to sue the Pennsylvania state government, "dominated by rural lawmakers" from hunting country, for blocking the city's push for more gun regulation in the face of a high murder rate. Correspondent David Kerley suggested a link between New York City's gun control laws and its lower murder rate. Kerley: "Philadelphia has more murders than New York, with six times the population. But unlike New York, Philadelphia cannot pass its own gun laws." Instead of presenting the argument that a greater rate of gun ownership could help reduce crime, Kerley merely showed a soundbite of a Republican lawmaker who argued that gun control would not affect criminals, before concluding: "That argument is being echoed across much of the country, as rural sensibilities continue to rule the gun debate, and cities like Philadelphia prepare for another night, and another shooting death." (Transcript follows)
On the July 4 CNN Newsrooom, as correspondent Cal Perry reported on the Hamas role in the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston in Gaza, Perry characterized Hamas as a "military" organization fighting for "independence" against Israel without mentioning its long-term stated goal of taking over Israel as part of a Palestinian state, or its use of terrorism. Perry: "This is really an organization that's evolving. On the one hand, they're a political organization, they want to stay in political power, and of course on the other hand they're a military organization who are fighting for independence against Israel." (Transcript follows)
Perry did at least relay the criticism that Hamas was using the hostage release as a "PR ploy" for its own gain, and showed a clip of Fatah member Riyad al-Malki accusing Hamas of staging the kidnapping and using the release for "political gains." Below is a complete transcript of Perry's report which aired shortly after 2:00 p.m. during the Wednesday July 4 CNN Newsroom:
Among Friday's broadcast evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News uniquely reported a federal appeals court ruling, tagged by anchor Lester Holt as a "victory for the Bush administration," regarding the controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Friday's court action overruled an August 2006 court decision against the program by a liberal judge appointed by President Carter.
As documented by the MRC's Rich Noyes, all three broadcast evening newscasts had trumpeted the earlier ruling against the administration on August 17 of last year. ABC's Charles Gibson had labeled it a "major legal defeat" while ABC's Martha Raddatz had called it a "significant blow" to the administration. But neither ABC's World News with Charles Gibson nor the CBS Evening News mentioned Friday's ruling. But even on NBC, while Holt read news of the ruling, the words "Domestic Spying" appeared on screen, thus not conveying to the audience the international nature of the calls. Those words had similarly appeared during the NBC Nightly News coverage of the August 17 ruling. (Transcripts follow)
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to resign because of the commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence, contending that President Bush is only president of a "rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party." Olbermann further accused Cheney of being "without conscience" and compared the two to a "ventriloquist" and "dummy." After calling on Congress to "pressure, negotiate, impeach," Olbermann concluded: "Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9, 1974. Resign. And give us someone, anyone, about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, 'I didn't vote for him, but he's my President, and I hope he does a good job.' Good night and good luck." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann opened his show railing against President Bush, contending that the President "lied us into a war" and "needlessly killed 3,584 of our family and friends and neighbors" as the Countdown host attacked the President for commuting the sentence of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, referring to Libby's involvement in the "greatest crime of this young century." Olbermann later tagged Bush as "Worst Person in the World," and announced that he will call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to resign in a "Special Comment" on Tuesday's show. Olbermann: "As you may have suspected, tomorrow night, here on Countdown, a 'Special Comment' calling on this Vice President and this President to resign."
On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined the accuracy of the claims presented in Michael Moore's film Sicko. Gupta found that while there are complaints about America's health care system, "you won't find medical utopia elsewhere." Although Gupta did not show much skepticism in reporting that life expectancies in Cuba are about equal to those in America despite being outspent by American 26 to 1 in health care, the CNN correspondent did report that in countries with tax-funded universal health care, that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants."
Gupta discussed the waiting lines that exist in some industrialized nations, and found that "Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures," although he also found that "only Canada was worse than the United States when it comes to waiting for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem." After informing viewers of the higher taxes paid in other countries, he also relayed that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants" as health analyst Paul Keckley informed viewers that "15 to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system run by the government." (Transcript follows)
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Pete Williams presented a one-sided look at the Supreme Court's "shift to the right," conveying complaints by liberals over recent court rulings, but without showing any conservatives who supported some of the court's recent right-leaning decisions. Williams began his piece by quoting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer's complaint that "It's not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much," before playing a soundbite of the ACLU's Steven Shapiro: "Civil liberties and civil rights took a beating virtually across the board from race to religion to abortion to speech to the basic right to come into court and sue when you've been a victim of discrimination." Williams also found that Chief Justice John Roberts "has turned out to be more conservative than even some of the court's liberals thought he would be." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted that it was the 14th anniversary of a cruise missile attack on Iraq, ordered by then-President Clinton, in retaliation for a plot to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait earlier that year. CNN also played a clip of the CNN correspondent from June 26, 1993 in which, referring to President Clinton's speech to the nation, Blitzer relayed the Clinton administration's desire "to make sure that the Iraqi government does not engage in what the U.S. describes as state-sponsored terrorism." (Transcript follows)
Below is a complete transcript of the item from the June 26 The Situation Room on CNN:
On Wednesday evening, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and the NBC Nightly News both covered the Elizabeth Edwards/Ann Coulter controversy, noting that the Edwards campaign has eagerly used their run-ins with Coulter to raise campaign money. ABC's Jake Tapper uniquely noted this week's fundraising deadline for the presidential race, while relaying the Edwards campaign's success at raising "Coulter cash." Tapper: "Just as Coulter has a book to promote this week, Edwards has a fund-raising deadline. Enemies can have their uses."
NBC's David Gregory noted the Edwards campaign's immediate use of yesterday's flap to solicit campaign money, but the network also failed to put one of Coulter's controversial quotes in proper context, thus making it appear worse than it actually sounded in full. On Monday's Good Morning America, while answering a question about her joke from last March about John Edwards being a "faggot," Coulter suggested there was a double standard between the outrage over her remark and the greater tolerance by the media and liberals of a question by Bill Maher about whether the world would be a better place if Vice President Cheney had been assassinated. (Transcripts follow)
Two days after ABC correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than illegal CIA activities from decades ago, on Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC's Terry Moran made his own comparison between the past when the CIA was "running amuck" and modern times. Moran: "But many experts say [the documents] also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists.
Below is a complete transcript of Moran's report from the Tuesday June 26 World News with Charles Gibson, with the critical portion in bold:
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, while reporting from Lake Tahoe, correspondent George Lewis relayed one homeowner's complaint that environmental regulations had contributed to the danger of wildfires in the area. She further contended that the only reason her home survived was because she had cleared away brush near her home in violation of the law. Lewis: "She blames environmentalists and bureaucrats for creating rules that, in her opinion, increased the fire hazard. Says she had to break the law to clear brush off adjacent federal land."
Below is a complete transcript of the report by George Lewis from the Tuesday June 26 NBC Nightly News:
GEORGE LEWIS: As the fire has jumped those lines, additional evacuations of people who live here are under way. This, as people who live in the previously burned areas were trying to get back home. This morning, after she pleaded, argued and reasoned with the authorities, Sue Abrams was granted permission to return to her home, still standing in one of the burned out areas.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams highlighted a "surprise" letter presented to President Bush by high school students visiting the White House who wanted the President to "stop the practice of torture." Williams: "When they got there, 50 of them [out of 141] presented him with a handwritten letter that they had signed demanding that the United States stop the practice of torture."
During the 37-second segment, Williams recounted the story and at one point showed a copy of the letter on-screen with the sentence "We do not want America to represent torture" blown up so it was readable to viewers. The NBC anchor concluded by relaying the President's response. Williams: "The President told them the United States does not practice torture, the very same thing the President has said publicly in the past." (Transcript follows)
On ABC's World News Sunday, during a story about the release of classified information regarding the CIA's "cloak and dagger" past, correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than the illegal activities detailed in the documents. Marlantes: "But this all comes when the CIA is under fire for an alleged array of current abuses, including the use of secret prisons and torture. Some say the activities of the past may look mild by comparison."
As anchor Dan Harris set up the report, he conveyed that the documents "detail 30 years of illegal CIA operations, from assassination plots to experiments on humans." Marlantes listed some of the activities that included "assassination conspiracies against foreign leaders like Fidel Castro, the infiltration of anti-war groups, and screening of private mail, including letters to actress and antiwar activist Jane Fonda," and "putting journalists under surveillance." (Transcipt follows)
During CNN Newsroom on Saturday, correspondent Veronica de la Cruz showed portions of three recorded questions (out of a total of 197 that were posted so far on Youtube.com) that were submitted for the upcoming CNN/Youtube debates. Two of the clips featured questions that were asked from a liberal point-of-view, while one was asked from a conservative point-of-view, in which a woman cited the plummeting crime rate in Kennesaw, Georgia, after the town enacted mandatory gun ownership. But while both liberal questions were played in their entirety, only the first eight seconds out of one minute of the gun control question were played: "An armed society is a polite society. And indeed, Kennesaw, Georgia got a whole lot more polite after passing a law that every household had to have a gun." (Clip of entire question can be viewed here.) (Transcript follows)
On Friday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Greenfield, formerly of CNN, pointed out the one-sidedness of Michael Moore's film Sicko during a report that explored whether the film was likely to impact the presidential race. Although Greenfield did not debunk any aspect of the film in his report, he pointed out that the film "does not include critics" of government-run health systems in other countries "championed" by Moore. And, regarding Moore's claim that typical Cubans receive the kind of quality care presented in the movie, Greenfield cautioned: "That assertion is likely to be sharply challenged."
Anchor Katie Couric set up the report by relaying a CBS News/New York Times poll finding that 90 percent of Americans support "fundamental change or a complete overhaul" of America's health care system as she contended that those happy with the system are "in a minority." Couric: "If you're happy with the health care system in this country, well, you're in the minority." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, substitute host John King asked a question rarely asked by other journalists as he inquired whether the Democratic presidential candidates are moving too far left as they appeal to the anti-war movement, which King tagged the "juice of the left." During a discussion of the candidates' participation in the liberal Take Back America Conference and in an event for the labor union AFSCME, the CNN host asked Democratic strategist Paul Begala whether the push to withdraw from Iraq could "come back to haunt the party in a general election." King: "Anti-war is the theme, the energy, the juice of the left right now. ... Any concerns at all on your part that all of this, bring the troops home now, bring the troops home now, turn the page, close the door on Iraq, can come back to haunt the party in a general election?" (Transcript follows)
Did a liberal television network correspondent cause the 2000 Florida recount debacle?
When all eyes were on Florida and it wasn't looking good for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, his campaign was warned by a senior network correspondent that conceding on Election Night would be a bad idea. That intervention stopped Gore from conceding the election according to a top Democratic strategist.
Former John Kerry campaign manager and long-time Democratic political consultant Bob Shrum made the allegation on the CNN show "Reliable Sources" Sunday.
Interviewing Shrum about his new book, titled No Excuses, CNN host Howard Kurtz brought up Shrum's revelation that he was warned by a "senior network correspondent" to stop Al Gore from giving his planned concession speech on the night of the 2000 election.
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC's Geraldo Rivera and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin sparred over controversial comments Rivera had made on the June 8 show attacking Malkin's support for enforcing immigration laws, which Rivera had called "un-American" and had compared to "pulling down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised." Rivera, from June 8: "If, in her America, in Michelle's America, when you look, is that Hispanic guy an illegal or is he legal? It reminds me so much of when they used to pull down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised or not. It is, it is so, so pathetic. It's so un-American." On the Thursday June 14 show, Rivera contended that the issue is being pushed because "wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion lost steam with the extreme right, they've now seized on this as a way to appeal to energize the base." Video of the June 8 segments can be viewed here and the June 14 segment here. (Transcripts are below)