CNN Creates Sunday Show for Liberal Journalist Fareed Zakaria

CNN has decided to give weekly, hour-long Sunday show to Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, whose writings and media appearances over the last few years peg him as a pretty conventional liberal on foreign and domestic policy. The AP's David Bauder reported Monday that “'Fareed Zakaria -- GPS,' which stands for 'global public square,' will air Sundays at 1 p.m. EDT and be rebroadcast at a yet-to-be determined time on CNN International.” Bauder also noted that “Christiane Amanpour will be among the panelists to appear frequently.”

Zakaria, author earlier this year of the book, The Post-American World, which contends the “era” of “'American exceptionalism' is over,” snidely quipped in a 2005 Newsweek article: “As an Iraqi politician said to me, 'There are currently two Grand Ayatollahs running Iraq: Sistani and Bush. Most of us feel that Sistani is the more rational.'” A regular for several years on ABC's This Week, in 2006 Zakaria castigated an English as the official language bill as “nonsense” and “nativist populism that is distasteful.” Back in 2004, he ridiculed President Bush's promise to usher in a “new responsibility era” as he concluded: “Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe. I'm sure he takes full responsibility.”

On two domestic issues, Zakaria has come down solidly on the left. In 2003, he approached the proposed Bush tax cut from the left, claiming it's “mostly skewed to they very wealthy,” and the year before he complained that putting the Justice Department on the side of those who believe the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to bear arms struck him as “constitutional fundamentalism” which “doesn't make any sense.”

Excerpts from articles quoting Zakaria in the MRC's archive:

May 5 NewsBusters item, “Newsweek Editor Declares Era of 'American Exceptionalism is Over,'” recounted:
NBC's Today show invited on Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria to promote his book, The Post-American World, on Monday's show and during his segment the author depicted the United States as a nation in decline as he declared the "era" of "'American exceptionalism' is over."

As examples of America's declining standing in the world the Newsweek editor cited such facts as China now having the "largest ferris wheel in the world," Minneapolis' "Mall of America" no longer being the largest in the world and Macau having surpassed Las Vegas in the size of their casinos.
June 28, 2006 MRC CyberAlert posting, “Newsweek's Zakaria: Amnesty for Those Who Killed U.S. Soldiers,” reported:
During the roundtable on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International and a columnist for the domestic edition, declared he was going to say "something controversial," that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's amnesty proposal "has to include amnesty for insurgents." Zakaria contended that "as we grieve for any American who has lost his life, any family member who has lost a loved one, the reality is what you need to end an insurgency is a political track" to give amnesty to those who "have attacked Iraqi or American forces." ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz said that she didn't see why that was controversial, just a required step. When Stephanopoulos suggested amnesty "makes sense," CNN anchor Lou Dobbs retorted that the idea "sticks in my craw."

Zakaria knows the idea is "controversial" because it will rub the American public the wrong way, but also because the Democrats on television (like Sen. Durbin minutes earlier on This Week) have made a strong pose against amnesty for insurgents.
The May 21, 2006 NewsBusters rundown, 'Top Journalists Denounce English as Official Language as 'Silly,'" began:
On the Sunday shows, three top journalists mocked and ridiculed the Thursday Senate vote to make English the official national language, and thus prevent demands for government agencies to provide official forms and processes in other languages. On ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts dismissed it as "a very silly debate" and Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, castigated the bill as "nonsense" and "nativist populism that is distasteful." In his end of show commentary on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer also derided the vote as "silly."

Criticizing Americas for speaking too few languages, Zakaria demanded: "What is the great problem in the United States?...That we speak too many foreign language languages, there are too many signs -- Americans are too multi-lingual? Have we forgotten what language we speak?" Zakaria soon charged: "It's a political football that has nothing to do with the real problem. It is simply one more way to try to assert a certain kind of nativist populism that is distasteful."
February 2, 2005 MRC CyberAlert item, “Zakaria: W Less Rational Ayatollah, Stewart: Afraid Bush Right,” recounted:
Prompting cheers from the audience, on Monday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria passed along how an Iraqi politician told him that "there are two Grand Ayatollahs running Iraq: Bush and Sistani -- and Sistani seems the more rational." Stewart, a Bush-bashing opponent of the war who has called John Kerry "my guy," admitted that his "great fear" is that if Bush "has been right about this all along I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may...implode." Stewart soon sarcastically suggested that the Bush team has "convinced themselves that the whole reason we went to Iraq was for the election, I don't think they even remember that there was a whole weapons thing." But Stewart also took a shot at Ted Kennedy: "He doesn't have great timing... Literally the night before the election he was like, [mimicking Kennedy] 'This will never work.'"....

He did indeed conclude an article, in the January 24 Newsweek, with the same anecdote he recounted on the Daily Show: "In the words of one of his [Sistani's] aides, 'the representation of our Sunni brethren in the coming government must be effective, regardless of the results of the elections.' As an Iraqi politician said to me, 'There are currently two Grand Ayatollahs running Iraq: Sistani and Bush. Most of us feel that Sistani is the more rational.'"
May 11, 2004 MRC CyberAlert, “'Pictures Shred the Last Good Reason to Feel Righteous' on War,” recited:
Time and Newsweek put the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal on their covers this week as pieces inside the magazines denounced how the Bush administration has conducted the war and turned the world against us and they blamed the abuse on the Rumsfeld-authorized notion that in a war on terrorists the Geneva Conventions cannot always be followed. Time’s Nancy Gibbs, after pointing out how human rights became the reason for the war after WMD were not found, declared: “Psychologically, if not in fact, these pictures shred the last good reason to feel righteous about having gone to war.” In Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria, a regular on ABC’s This Week, ridiculed President Bush’s promise to usher in a “new responsibility era” as he concluded, “Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe. I'm sure he takes full responsibility.”
May 6, 2003 MRC CyberAlert, “Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria Takes on Bush Tax Cuts from the Left,” reported:
Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International and now a regular on ABC's This Week, approached the proposed Bush tax cut from the left, claiming it's “mostly skewed to they very wealthy” and that the wealthy do not invest their tax cut in the economy: “The wealthy actually save those tax cuts whereas middle-class people spend them.” Zakaria, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, made his comments on Sunday's syndicated Chris Matthews Show.

Zakaria asserted on the May 4 program carried by many NBC affiliates: “Well it’s also the wrong kind of tax cut. I entirely agree that the economy is sluggish. It needs some kind of stimulus. This tax cut is essentially a tax cut mostly for the out-years, mostly skewed to they very wealthy. What you need is an immediate middle-class tax cut that would actually have some effect. But one has to point out this is not gonna make much of a difference. It’s a $10 trillion economy. The oil prices dropping will probably be a greater stimulus.”
May 13, 2002 MRC CyberAlert, “Gun Rights View 'Doesn’t Make Any Sense,'” relayed:
Putting the Justice Department on the side of those who believe the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to bear arms strikes Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria as “constitutional fundamentalism” which “doesn’t make any sense.” On ABC’s This Week, Cokie Roberts agreed: “I completely agree with Fareed that anything that makes it easier to get guns is a bad thing.” But, Roberts conceded, “it’s certainly not clear” that the amendment “only means the militia” were meant to own guns.

During the May 12 roundtable, co-host Sam Donaldson raised the subject of how the Bush Justice Department has changed the government’s position on the Second Amendment to stand with those who believe it protects an individual’s right. ABC displayed on screen the amendment’s wording: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Guest panelist Zakaria expressed concern: “It strikes me that one can become, we’ve seen religious fundamentalism, now you’re going to have constitutional fundamentalism. You can interpret this various ways. It seems to me the phrase 'well-regulated’ suggests somebody is allowed to regulate and that somebody is obviously the state. But if you go, it seems to me, beyond the constitutional issues, what is the fundamental security threat that American citizens face today it is that small groups and individuals nowadays can get access to bad kinds of weapons. In this climate, to be reversing a decades-long policy, to be reversing in effect the Reagan Justice Department, the Bush Senior Justice Department, to make it easier for people to get guns, just doesn’t make any sense.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center