A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released today discovered, by “by a margin of 50 percent to 34 percent, Americans think that news organizations have hurt rather than helped the interests of the American people” with “news reports that the government has been secretly examining the bank records of American citizens who may have ties to terrorist groups.” However, “an even larger 65 percent to 28 percent majority believes that these news accounts told citizens something that they should know about.”
Republicans are much more upset with the media than Democrats, the poll, conducted July 6-19, found: “While nearly seven in ten Republicans (69 percent) believe the press reports have hurt the interests of the American people,” with a piddling 17 percent of Republicans contending it helped, “relatively few Democrats agree (38 percent). Instead, a 46 percent plurality of Democrats regards the press reporting as beneficial to the public's interest.”
A week after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans prefer to get their news from the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, a new Gallup Poll released today provides additional evidence that Democrats look more favorably upon the "mainstream media" as Gallup showed how “Democrats are more favorable than Republicans in their views” of eleven of 17 news personalities respondents were asked to assess. Dan Rather had the greatest net difference -- 38 percent -- with 86 percent of Democrats viewing him favorably, compared to just 48 percent of Republicans. Only two of the 17 news personalities (Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera) got more favorable evaluations from Republicans than Democrats. (Hat tip to Romenesko)
Others with a significant Democratic versus Republican approval gap include the incoming CBS Evening News anchor and the new co-host of NBC's Today: 17 points for Katie Couric (68% vs. 51%) and 15 points for Meredith Vieira (45% vs. 30%). Some others: Anderson Cooper (49% vs. 36%); Matt Lauer (65% vs. 53%), Barbara Walters (71% vs. 59%), Diane Sawyer (86% vs. 74%), Larry King (62% vs. 53%) and Bob Schieffer (54% vs. 47%).
On Monday, the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer (but anchored by Harry Smith) aired a new promo for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in which Couric promised a newscast that will not just explain “what happened,” but also what the news “means to you.” That sounds just like a plug for the worst of gimmicky local TV “news you can use.” Couric maintained, of providing what the news “means to you,” that “I'd like to see more of that and I think viewers would too." For Couric's portion of the 15-second promo, CBS made her image fuzzy, as well as the knick-knacks and flowers in the background. Could the Martha Stewart-like stage be the new “news” set? Beside her you can see a phone and what looks like the top of a computer screen. Maybe the blurry image is intended to convey warmth and softness.
In a Monday USA Today profile of Oliver Stone, published two days before the opening of World Trade Center, the movie he directed about the rescue of two Port Authority police officers, Stone didn't follow the apolitical script of the film. Reporter Anthony Breznican quoted Stone: “'Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,' he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. 'At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,' a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.” Stone also complained in the article in which he denounced President Bush: "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak." (Excerpt follows)
In the very last seconds of the 7pm EDT hour of Friday's The Situation Room on CNN, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked to Jack Cafferty: "You know, one of the big stories this week, perhaps under-reported, top U.S. Generals now acknowledging, Guess what? The Iraq situation may be on the verge of a civil war." Is Blitzer in a parallel universe? Those comments Thursday, from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and General John Abizaid, about the "possibility" that Iraq "could" fall into civil war, were all over the cable networks Thursday and Friday, including Blitzer's three hours.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Thursday all made the civil war talk their lead stories. NBC's Brian Williams, for instance, began: "Tonight, is civil war becoming a reality in Iraq? Two of the Pentagon's most senior Generals now say it looks that way." The broadcast network morning shows on Friday all devoted first half hour time to the warnings. “Is Iraq on the brink of civil war? It was a stunning admission from two top Generals testifying on the escalating violence in Iraq,” CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen announced. "U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War," heralded a Friday New York Times front page story and the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today all plastered it on their front pages. (Full rundown follows)
Like the CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Thursday, ABC led with how at a Senate hearing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and General John Abizaid acceded to the “possibility” that Iraq “could” fall into civil war -- what substitute ABC anchor Diane Sawyer heralded as a “stunning admission” -- but ABC also hyped as important how after the hearing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called for President Bush to accept the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Sawyer touted “breaking political news tonight” and brought aboard George Stephanopoulos from Washington, DC who trumpeted how “for the first time, she has called on President Bush to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation.” Stephanopoulos asserted that the New York Senator “has resisted that for the last three years” and propounded that though the “chances of President Bush accepting that advice are about zero,” it is, ABC's Chief Washington correspondent insisted, “a dramatic sign of how much the support for this war effort is slipping on Capitol Hill." (Transcript follows)
Using the very same expert the CBS Evening News cited on Monday, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News made -- as its second story of the night -- the case that the current heat wave can be blamed on global warming. Anchor Brian Williams set up the piece by ruminating about how “you hear a lot of people saying it didn't used to be like this, didn't used to be this hot, and because of global warming we've done this to ourselves.” Reporter Tom Costello asked: “So is our current heat wave a symptom of global warming?" Jay Gulledge of the self-interested Pew Center on Climate Change confirmed “this heat wave” is “completely consistent with what we expect to become more common as a result of global warming,” before Costello noted there have been heat waves in the past, but insisted that “experts say our current heat wave is unique."
Costello soon cautioned that “scientists want to see whether this heat wave is part of a pattern of longer more intense heat waves before declaring it all part of a bigger global warming phenomenon.” Costello concluded, however, without any doubt, as he referred to “the concern that in the coming decades 100 degrees may be the new summertime norm.” (Transcript and more follows)
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his “Worst Person in the World” for “suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror.” Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed “something another commentator said nine years ago,” namely Osama bin Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: “Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!" (Transcript follows)
A night after ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted some good news on the Iraq front -- how “the U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month” to “the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years" -- NBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday chose to put a downbeat spin on the situation in Iraq as he provided only the total number of U.S. deaths without any mention of whether they are increasing or decreasing. On the August 1 NBC Nightly News, Williams, who on Monday did not report the declining monthly deaths, set up a story from Iraq: “This has also been an especially deadly day in Iraq where dozens of soldiers and civilians were killed and tonight we have an update on the number of American troops killed since the invasion: 2,579. Meantime, attacks and kidnapings are getting worse in the capital city. Our report from there tonight from NBC's Ned Colt...” On screen as Williams spoke, “DEATH TOLL” with this beneath: “2579 TROOPS SINCE THE INVASION.”
Liberal media critics dismiss FNC as biased to the right, pointing to how Republicans prefer to watch it, but a new poll completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that by the same margin that Republicans choose to get their news from FNC, Democrats prefer to learn their news from the broadcast networks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, CNN and NPR. In the survey released Sunday, 34 percent of Republicans reported they watch FNC regularly, compared to 20 percent of Democrats -- a 14 point spread. As for the broadcast networks, Pew reported: “The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38 percent of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24 percent of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22 percent of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13 percent of Republicans.” A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans watch CNN, MSNBC, network morning shows, Sunday morning interview programs and TV news magazine shows. Other than FNC, Rush Limbaugh is the only measured news source to which more Republicans than Democrats turn.
One week after ABC anchor Charles Gibson made a special point about how bad the situation in Iraq remained while media attention focused on the Israel-Hezbollah war, specifically noting how “more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict,” Gibson on Monday night -- uniquely on the broadcast network evening newscasts -- highlighted some good news: How U.S. military deaths are falling in Iraq. Gibson read this short item on the July 31 World News: “One item to mention from Iraq tonight. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month, despite the rising sectarian violence. As of yesterday, 44 U.S. forces had been killed in July. And that's the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years.” An accompanying on-screen chart showed the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq declining from 76 in April to 69 in May to 61 in June and 44 in July.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer on Friday night forwarded the idea that the Israeli situation in Lebanon matches the U.S. miscalculation in Iraq. “Despite this heavy bombing that Hezbollah's been getting from the Israelis,” Schieffer told reporter David Martin, “they continue to attack and some critics are saying the Israelis may have made the same mistake that the United States made in Iraq, and that is underestimated what they were up against.” Martin didn't address Schieffer's comparison of the Israel-Hezbollah war with the Iraq war, but he did confirm that “Pentagon officials say both U.S. and Israeli intelligence have underestimated the strength, capabilities, and resilience of Hezbollah.” (Transcript follows)
If Democrats win big this fall, David Gregory's Thursday story on NBC Nightly News may look prescient, but his effort to show how Republicans are newly in trouble in suburban Philadelphia suffered from several analytical flaws. Of those in four featured soundbites, three complained about Iraq, including one comment from a Democratic congressional candidate who hardly represented any trend among Republicans, and one lamented Bush's lack of “fiscal responsibility.” Unmentioned: Illegal immigration, an issue on which many Republicans disagree with Bush. Gregory served up as emblematical of Republican troubles a “lifelong Republican” and two “Republican voters,” but while they may be frustrated with national Republicans, if they are truly Republicans why would they vote for a candidate from the opposition party? Gregory described the Haverford area as “reliably Republican in the past,” asserting that “this year the mood has changed.” But seconds later, he undermined his premise when he acknowledged that the area “has been trending Democratic in recent years, even narrowly supporting John Kerry for President."
At the top of his piece, viewers saw a zoom-in on a car's bumper sticker with an image of a woman pulling out her hair: “Haven't You Had It with Republicans? “Vote for Change!”
ABC's World News with Charles Gibson on Thursday night hyperventilated over “breathtaking profits” for ExxonMobil, how the company made “more in 30 seconds than many families earn in a year" and how “just” $4 billion went to exploration while $6 billion went to “enriching” shareholders. But ABC never cited the company's quarterly profit number -- which at $10 billion matches $4 billion plus $6 billion and means 40 percent went for exploration.
Reporter Betsy Stark asserted: "The earnings reported today are astounding. In three months, Exxon earned $114 million a day, $80,000 a minute. Or, look at it this way: In 30 seconds, the ExxonMobil corporation makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year." (ABC charges more for a prime time ad than many families make in a year, but it's an equally silly comparison. A better one: Charles Gibson earns more in a day than most make in a year.) Stark fretted that “Exxon said just $4 billion went to exploring for new sources of oil. But $6 billion went to buying back its stock, enriching its shareholders.” How awful. But those two expenditures match the total of Exxon's profit, a number Stark conveniently failed to report verbally or on screen. Stark concluded by noting how “Democrats denounced" the profits announced by oil companies. Well, Stark and ABC certainly advanced the Democratic agenda. (Transcript follows)
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin could have cited a letter (PDF of it) to President Bush from Congressman Ike Skelton, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, about how "nearly every non-deployed combat brigade in the active Army is reporting that they are not ready to complete their assigned wartime mission." But instead, when asked by anchor Bob Schieffer about the “strain” on troops longer deployments in Iraq will cause, Martin cited the left-wing's favorite Democrat as his authoritative source: "Congressman Jack Murtha said today Iraq has drained the Army to the point now that the vast majority of combat brigades in the U.S. and Europe are rated at the lowest level of readiness."
Declaring that "I think the next President's got to be stronger and smarter than this one," on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning, MSNBC's Chris Matthews went on a tirade for over two minutes against President Bush and those around him who filled his intellectual vacuum. Don Imus pleaded: "Did you plan on taking a breath at any point?"
"It's all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology,” Matthews fretted as he charged: “The President bought it hook, line and sinker.” Matthews delivered insults as he asserted that Bush “trusts the intellectuals, the guys he knew at school. You know, they're a bunch of pencil-necks and now he buys completely their ideology because he didn't have one of his own coming in. That was his problem. I don't know what Bush stood for except 'I'm a cool guy and Gore isn't.'” The Hardball host yearned: “I hope the next election isn't a problem of who goes to bed with their wife at 9:30 at night or who knows how to tell a joke on a stage, but it's who has the sense of strength that comes from having read books most of their life, tried to understand history.” Though Matthews didn't warn of “every single” bad development in Iraq, he contended that “every single thing that's happened in Iraq was predicted by history” and lamented that “Bush didn't have the academic background to challenge” the ignorant ideologues who ignored history. (Transcript follows)
In a Tuesday USA Today article on the 90th birthday of NPR's left-wing commentator, Daniel Schorr, Peter Johnson revealed the ignorance of NPR producers about modern history. Johnson began his July 25 puff piece on the CBS News veteran, “60 years later, NPR's Schorr is still a 'precious resource,'” with some anecdotes about how NPR producers turn to him for basic facts:
Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam? (Answer: Korea.)
But when one asked, "You covered the Spanish-American War, didn't you?” Schorr couldn't help but respond, matter-of-factly: “That was 1898.”
“Oh, sorry, of course,” the younger man said, excusing himself.
On Monday's World News, ABC anchor Charles Gibson segued from coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah battle to remind viewers of how badly things are going in Iraq. Over an on-screen graphic of the numbers of civilians and military members killed in Iraq compared to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Gibson announced: “Well the focus of the world, in recent days, has been on Israel and Lebanon. And attention has been diverted from Iraq. But it should be noted that in the thirteen days since the Israeli/Lebanese crisis began, more Iraqi civilians have died  than Lebanese . And more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks  than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict . Also somewhat overlooked is the fact that Saddam Hussein has been on a two-week hunger strike. ABC's Terry McCarthy is in Baghdad tonight....”
Without any mention of the vicious hostility the NAACP displayed toward President Bush since he spoke before the group in 2000, including a TV ad linking Bush's refusal to sign a hate crime bill to the dragging death of a black man in Texas, the Thursday broadcast network evening newscasts portrayed Bush as the one responsible for the estrangement. All stressed how Bush's Thursday appearance before the NAACP convention was his first and all three ran soundbites only from attendees critical of him.
"It took five and a half years, but President Bush finally said yes to the NAACP,” ABC's Charles Gibson asserted, elaborating: “The President has ignored invitations throughout his presidency to speak to the civil rights group.” Martha Raddatz emphasized Bush's absences: "The White House saw this as an opportunity the President couldn't pass up. But it is an opportunity he had passed up every year since he was elected.” CBS anchor Bob Schieffer highlighted how Bush “spoke today to the NAACP for the first time in six years as President.” Jim Axelrod relayed how “prior to Katrina, he never spoke to the convention as President, but since September, he's reached out to the head of the NAACP three separate times." NBC's Brian Williams set up a story by noting how “President Bush spoke to the NAACP for the first time in his presidency.” David Gregory asserted that efforts to reach out to blacks “have failed” and “then came Katrina and charges that racism motivated the federal government's slow response.” (Transcripts follow.)
ABC News on Wednesday framed its coverage, of President Bush's veto of a bill to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, from the point of view of those upset by his decision. Charles Gibson, anchor of the newly-named World News with Charles Gibson, delivered a tease and a plug which conveyed only the view of those in favor of the bill and earlier in the day, before the veto occurred, Good Morning America featured an uncontested pleading by actor Michael Fox in favor of the taxpayer funding.
Gibson teased, over video of Fox: "President Bush denies new funding for stem cell research, bringing outrage from some high-profile proponents." Before the first ad break, Gibson highlighted how Bush “vetoed expanded stem cell research and proponents are livid." GMA co-host Bill Ritter touted how “supporters believe this research could bring new hope to millions of people suffering from diseases like Parkinson's, people like actor Michael J. Fox, who spoke to us in a GMA exclusive.” Viewers then saw an uninterrupted minute and 45 seconds from Fox, who lamented how “I find it frustrating that the President will use his first veto of his time in office to thwart this research. It just seems a shame to me.” After the lecture, Ritter admired: "Michael J. Fox boldly in his own words."
On the same day that a Hezbollah rocket killed two children in Nazareth, Israel, NBC's Brian Williams visited an Israeli Defense Force artillery outpost in northern Israel and noted how the soldiers “don't think a whole lot about where these shells go” in Lebanon and laid a guilt trip on an Israeli officer by predicting how one of his shells will inevitably “kill a six-year old boy.” Williams proposed to the officer: “One of these shells today or tomorrow, if we go with the law of averages, is going to kill a six-year-old boy somewhere. And it's not the intended target of one of these shells."
Earlier on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Richard Engel highlighted how “in Qasmiya in south Lebanon, an Israeli bomb left a crater where children were playing. Ismail lost his son today. 'They were small children. Do you see Hezbollah here?' he asked." Martin Fletcher soon related how a Hezbollah rocket “smashed into the roof of a car dealership in the Arab town of Nazareth. Two boys playing in the garden were killed instantly. They were ages three and nine.” (Partial transcript of Williams follows)
Jim Murphy, who castigated the MRC as “more biased” than the mainstream media and rejected criticism in NewsBusters when he was the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, will soon take control of ABC's Good Morning America. Broadcasting & Cable magazine's Web site today reported that ABC's news division “is expected to name Jim Murphy...as Senior Executive Producer of Good Morning America, according to sources inside ABC News.” Murphy ran the CBS Evening News for six years, until being replaced in November.
Last September, when two NewsBusters/MRC CyberAlert items criticized biased CBS Evening News stories about President Bush and Katrina (a CBS reporter gratuitously pointed out how Bush spoke “inside an air-conditioned tent” while most were sweltering and on another night CBS uniquely highlighted a slam at the Bush administration from Jimmy Carter), CBS's Public Eye blog asked Murphy to respond and he charged that the Media Research Center “is a much more biased organization than any institution in the MSM."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked on Monday's NBC Nightly News: “What is Hezbollah and what is its end game?” Mitchell first answered that “experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't.” But then she proceeded to refer to “Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah,” also describing him as “a Shiite populist” who she relayed, over video of kids, “provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot.” Mitchell refrained from labeling Hezbollah as “terrorist” -- or mentioning how its real "end game" is the destruction of Israel -- going no further than to say it “operates militias." (Transcripts follows)
When, on the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift charged that President Bush is “a dictator who's ineffective,” an incensed Chrystia Freeland, a Canadian native who is the Managing Editor in the U.S. of London's Financial Times, scolded Clift for using the dictator label “so loosely” and inaccurately.
Clift opined that of those attending the G-8 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin is “the only one of those leaders who goes in there with a commanding popularity among his own people, because he is perceived to be an effective dictator. What we have in this country is a dictator who's ineffective." Freeland, shouting over panelists who were trying to move on to other points, retorted: "But he's not a dictator! I mean we can't use, no we can't use these terms so loosely." Clift backtracked a bit: “Well we have an authoritarian President who is ineffective." But Freeland stood her ground, pointing out: "You guys can elect your Presidents and there can be a free choice. That's not the case in Russia."
Tom Brokaw's two-hour Sunday night special, Global Warming: What You Need to Know, may be airing on the Discovery Channel, but NBC News, a co-producer of the program, is adopting it as its own even as another reviewer has asserted it provides a one-sided presentation. At the end of Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted, “One quick program note here about a friend of ours: Tom Brokaw's special report on global warming airs this Sunday night on the Discovery Channel. That's at 9 Eastern time.” A bit later Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann previewed a clip of the cable special: "Tom Brokaw has faced right-wing attacks for his report on global warming. We'll give you your first look at his special report and about how the latest news is that the Earth's warming is leading to the deaths of polar bears." Countdown viewers were then treated to an excerpt from the show in which Brokaw presented one scientists' take on how global warming is harming polar bears in the Arctic which, Brokaw definitely declared, are “likely to become another statistic in one's database of a species on its way to extinction." The excerpt -- identical to the preview clip aired on Friday's Today -- was certainly one-sided, but Olbermann insisted Brokaw's special “is plenty balanced. It is the Earth's atmosphere that is not balanced."
Meanwhile, in a review posted Friday by Bloomberg News, Dave Shiflett concluded: “You'll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program.” (A transcript, excerpts and a picture of cute baby polar bears follow)
[UPDATE: Saturday's NBC Nightly News aired an excerpt which showed the special matches Al Gore's fear-mongering ]
On Thursday night, and then again on Friday night, anchor Brian Williams gave time on the NBC Nightly News to highlighting Valerie Plame Wilson's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former Chief of Staff Scooter Libby and top Bush advisor Karl Rove. On Thursday, Williams framed the story from Plame Wilson's agenda, reporting her “cover was blown after her husband criticized the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,” and relayed how her lawsuit says Cheney, Libby and Rove “all conspired to discredit, punish and seek revenge against the couple and claims their constitutional and legal rights were violated.” Rove's denial then got five words.
On Friday night, Williams heralded how “today we heard Plame speak in public for the very first time. She told reporters in Washington she and her husband filed this lawsuit with quote, 'heavy hearts.'" Viewers then saw a clip of Plame slamming her targets: "I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the current administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American." (Transcripts follow.)
As if the incursions into Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah, and subsequent counter-attacks by Israel and now escalating efforts by Israel to fight back with bombings inside Lebanon, are somehow the fault of the Bush administration, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News reporter Andrea Mitchell asserted: “Critics in both parties say the administration has been so focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has failed to pay enough attention to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” Mitchell had asked: “What role has the U.S. played? Today, U.S. diplomat David Welch arrived in Israel, but critics say, too late, 17 days after the first Israeli soldier was captured. And Condoleezza Rice has not been to Israel or the Palestinian territories since last November." James Steinberg of the University of Texas then maintained “that American credibility has been damaged by our unwillingness to get involved." (Transcript follows)
Declaring he “absolutely” believes “the truth” of his discredited story based on forged memos, about President Bush's National Guard record, on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN Dan Rather contended that “we had a lot, a lot of corroboration, of what we broadcast about President Bush's military record. It wasn't just the documents.” Rather then attacked those who dared to expose his misdeeds: “It's a very old technique used, that when those who don't like what you're reporting believe it can be hurtful, then they look for the weakest spot and attack it, which is fair enough. It's a diversionary technique."
A bit later, Rather played the martyr. Reminded by King of how Rather's CBS News was called “the liberal network,” Rather charged: "They call you names when you insist on being independent.” Rather proceeded to insist, clearly talking about himself, that journalists who are “willing to be truly independent, and fiercely independent when called upon, and dedicated to pulling no punches and playing no favorites have become in recent years a bit of an endangered species.” Rather even resurrected how CBS “took on” Senator McCarthy and “led in coverage of the only President in history who resigned as an unindicted co-conspirator in a widespread criminal conspiracy. Now, when you're a reporter involved in those kinds of stories on a regular basis, there are...powerful people who say we've got to get rid of this guy or...we're going to damage him up. And that's when they start hanging the signs around you."
Video clip #1, Rather "absolutely" believes Bush story "true" (43 seconds): Real (1.3 MB) or Windows Media (1.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (260 KB)
Video clip #2, Rather denounces his critics and insists he's "fiercely independent" (2:32): Real (4.4 MB) or Windows Media (5 MB at 256 kbps or 1.7 MB at 100 kbps), plus MP3 audio (900 KB)
Wednesday's CBS Evening News ran a story on same-sex marriage which presumed that once enacted -- “resolved” in the term used by reporter Byron Pitts -- it should not be reversed, as Pitts portrayed the issue through the prism of same-sex marriage advocates upset by a move to pass a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts to make it illegal. “The battle has now moved to the only state where it is legal but where,” anchor Bob Schieffer cautioned, “if opponents have their way, it won't be for long.” Pitts demanded of Kristian Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute: "How did it get to this point? This is liberal Massachusetts. This state resolved this issue two years ago." After Mineau pointed out that unelected judges imposed same-sex marriage, Pitts trumpeted how “advocates had hoped it was the start of another Massachusetts revolution."
Pitts twice challenged the views expressed by Mineau, but didn't challenge an advocate of same-sex marriage. For instance, when Mineau complained about how “the children of this commonwealth are already radically affected because kindergarten and first-graders that are being indoctrinated into the homosexual lifestyle and into homosexual marriage," an appalled Pitts retorted: "You say that as if homosexuality is something evil." Over a map of the U.S., Pitts fretted: "For supporters of gay marriage nationwide, this proposed amendment in Massachusetts couldn't come at a worse time. Much of that momentum first generated here a few years ago now seems headed the other way. Nineteen states have already adopted a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Six more could have it on their ballot this November." (Transcript follows)
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday delivered short items on how this year's budget deficit will be $296 billion, down substantially from the administration's predication of $423 billion, but while ABC anchor Kate Snow and CBS anchor Bob Schieffer stuck to how economic growth fueled increased tax revenue, NBC anchor Brian Williams decided to relay, without naming any names, a conspiracy theory: “Many economists and administration critics say the White House has deliberately inflated its own deficit projections in the past few years to score political points when the actual numbers came in lower." Of the three anchors, only CBS's Schieffer noted the role of tax cuts, citing how President Bush “gave the credit to his tax cuts, saying they stimulated the economy and boosted the amount of money coming into the Treasury." (Transcripts follow)