The CBS and NBC anchors signed off Tuesday night by delivering glowing tributes to Dan Rather, who officially departed from CBS News earlier in the day, with CBS’s Bob Schieffer calling him a “great reporter” and Brian Williams offering him “a tip of the Stetson.” Schieffer, who succeeded Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News, exuded: “I'm going to miss Dan. He's been a part of my life for more than 40 years.” Schieffer touted Rather’s journalistic skills: “When a story broke, he wanted to be there. He thought that was the only way to report a story. That is the mark of all great reporters, that is what I most admired and will always remember about him. Dan Rather was one of the great reporters of his time.”
Williams closed the NBC Nightly News with a personal tribute to Rather’s career, ending: “As the man himself has been known to say many times and on similar occasions, a tip of the Stetson to you and we'll be seeing you down the road." On the controversy which led to Rather’s downfall, Williams asserted: “He was forced to resign 15 months ago after what has since been dubbed ‘Memogate,’ a story about President Bush's National Guard service, for which Rather later apologized.” Unmentioned by Williams: How Rather has yet to concede the story was false or based on forged documents. Last September, Rather declared: “The story is accurate." (Transcripts and links follow.)
Now that CBS News and Dan Rather have officially separated, the Media Research Center has re-organized and updated our extensive archive of Rather's liberal bias from over the years. Our index page, "The Dan Rather File: Decades of Liberal Media Bias," features video of the infamous 1988 encounter with VP George H.W. Bush and has links to several compilations of quotes and videos, such as “Liberal Bias by Topic,” “Liberal Bias by Year,” “Journalists Praise Rather and Rather Defends His Discredited Story,” “Dan's Downfall: Forged Documents,” “'Corny in Kansas' Rather-isms” and “Rather Lame Denials of Bias.” For a quick overview of Rather's worst quotes, check our February 28, 2005 special four-page Notable Quotables, "Dan Rather's Legacy of Outrageous Liberal Bias."
Karl Rove's accusation that Democrats, particularly Senator John Kerry and Congressman John Murtha, want to "cut and run" from Iraq enraged and baffled CBS's Bob Schieffer, as evidenced by how he repeatedly raised the quote on Sunday's Face the Nation. With his first guest, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, Schieffer read to him how Rove charged that "Democrats 'are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough, when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party's old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be with you for the last, tough battle.'" Schieffer demanded: "What pattern is he talking about? When have Democrats been cutting and running?" Schieffer followed up: "But are you comfortable with characterizing the Democrats as people who want to cut and run?" Later, with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who appeared with Democrat Joe Biden, Schieffer again cited the quote and then expressed his displeasure: "He's talking about two men who were wounded in combat when he says that. Is that really, is that really fair?"
Friday night PBS chat shows delivered a couple of slams from journalists at President Bush over his surprise trip to Baghdad early this week. After Richard Keil of Bloomberg News, who accompanied the President’s entourage, described some of the security precautions taken, Washington Week host Gwen Ifill cited “excessive security” as she derided the trip: “I wonder to what degree anybody in the White House thought maybe it might undermine our point if we have to take such excessive security precautions in order to go claim victory or whatever it was the President was trying to accomplish?" So trying to keep the President of the United States and his traveling party, including journalists, safe was “excessive”?
Up next on Washington, DC’s PBS affiliate after Washington Week: Inside Washington. On it, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg suggested Bush was rude toward Iraq’s new Prime Minister since he arrived “unannounced” and she compared Bush going to congratulate a just-chosen leader of a fledgling democracy, where over 100,000 U.S. troops are located, to British Prime Minister Tony Blair flying into DC congratulate Bush: “How would we feel if Tony Blair showed up right after -- you know, to say congratulations and didn't tell us, right after President Bush had won an election?" (Brief transcripts follow)
All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night put the 2,500 deaths of U.S. servicemen in Iraq mark ahead of the Iraqi government’s release of an al-Qaeda memo which admitted they are losing as it characterized their situation in Iraq as “bleak” and conceded that “time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance.” The CBS Evening News, however, at least incorporated both developments in their lead story run before the news that Bill Gates plans to step down from Microsoft in two years, though CBS anchor Bob Schieffer managed to slip in a plug for the upcoming Gates story as he opened: "We have two big stories tonight; Bill Gates, whose inventions changed the way we lived, is giving up day-to-day operations at Microsoft.” Schieffer then jumped to his lead: “There was also a grim milestone today. U.S. military deaths in Iraq now total 2,500.” Both ABC and NBC led with Gates.
During the panel segment on Wednesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke criticized and ridiculed the questions posed by the White House press corps during the morning’s presidential press conference in the Rose Garden. Kondracke pointed out how “there was hardly any question, critical question from the right,” such as about how Bush was following a misguided Clintonite path on Iran or how not enough troops are being allocated to securing Baghdad.
Barnes proposed: “These questions tell you what reporters are interested in and not what is really important or what the American people would like to hear about.” Barnes mockingly recited what upset him: “The President just went on a trip to Iraq to demonstrate that he's not pulling out the troops right away. If you couldn't realize that that's what that trip was partially about, you're an idiot. And yet the first question was about a troop pullout. The second question was about getting out of Guantanamo. I mean, it just went on and on. Two questions about Karl Rove. Karl Rove has just been vindicated, and these questions were, 'Mr. President, now really, now he may not be indicted but he really did bad stuff, right? Tell us about it.' Come on. This is, these are obsessions of reporters that don't match the feelings of the American people." Barnes also zeroed in on “preening by some reporter with a gotcha question. Ridiculous." (Transcript from Hume’s show, and of several of the questions posed in the Rose Garden, follow.)
Using language which painted Karl Rove as a guilty party who succeeded at avoiding capture by authorities, not proving his innocence, in his NBC Nightly News story on Wednesday (also carried at the top of MSNBC’s Countdown) about President George W. Bush’s morning Rose Garden press conference, David Gregory asserted: “Mr. Bush dodged several questions about Karl Rove eluding prosecution in the CIA leak case.” Viewers then saw this clip of Bush: “And obviously, along with others in the White House, took a sigh of relief when he made the decision he made and now we’re going to move forward.” The Oxford Concise Dictionary, built into the Corel WordPerfect I’m using to write this, defines “elude” as “evade or escape adroitly from.” Dictionary.com offers: “To evade or escape from, as by daring, cleverness, or skill.” Their illustrative example in a sentence: “The suspect continues to elude the police.”
MSNBC Countdown fill-in host Brian Unger on Tuesday night asked David Shuster about how “your sources seemed to indicate that Karl Rove would be indicted. What happened?" In fact, back on May 8, as recounted in a Tuesday NewsBusters posting, Shuster had gone beyond just citing sources and declared: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.” Responding to Unger, Shuster first blamed his sources: “The defense lawyers who have witnesses in front of that grand jury, sometimes they get it wrong, and that seemed to be the case in this particular case.”
Then Shuster suggested Rove really is guilty, but prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was afraid he’d be embarrassed if he lost such a high-profile case and so pulled back. Shuster contended that with the exception of Rove’s lawyer, “all” of the lawyers involved in the case contend that in “the same circumstances all over again, somebody testifying five times before a grand jury, somebody who had the burden to stop the charges, somebody who had to testify for three and a half hours the last time, and oh, by the way, he had a classification in the Libby case that almost suggested he would certainly be indicted, the lawyers saying they would have reached the same conclusion” that he would be indicted. “The issue, they say, though, is not that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concluded that the case was unwinnable, rather that it was not a slam dunk.” Unger presumed Fitzgerald let Rove off easy as he cited “straight arrow” Fitzgerald’s “remarkable restraint.” (Full transcript follows)
Of the broadcast network evening shows on Tuesday night, ABC’s World News Tonight delivered the most rancorous take on President Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad with Martha Raddatz citing “deception” and fretting about how while Bush was in the air to Iraq his staffers were still giving journalists a false schedule and she concluded by pointing out how there are more troops in Iraq now than when Bush last visited in 2003.
Raddatz asserted: "This trip was not only surrounded in secrecy, there was a bit of deception as well” since “at 7:45 last night Mr. Bush excused himself from a meeting, saying he was 'losing altitude' and wanted to read awhile before bed." Instead, he traveled to Andrews to get plane to Iraq. “While the President was flying,” Raddatz complained, “the White House Press Office was giving the Washington press corps a fake schedule." ABC News producer Jon Garcia then bemoaned: "They were still giving out details and information about a supposed White House Rose Garden event with the President." Raddatz sighed: "Not until he landed in Iraq did Washington know the truth.” She concluded by suggesting failure in how there are not fewer troops in Iraq: “When the President visited the troops in 2003, Charlie, there were 120,000 Americans there. Today, there are 128,000 Americans there, and no sign that those troops will be reduced dramatically in the future." (Transcript follows)
In his Tuesday World News Tonight story on how top White House adviser Karl Rove will not be indicted for perjury in the Valerie Plame case, ABC’s Jake Tapper, in a rare instance of one journalist criticizing another, actually highlighted an agenda-driven media miscue as he featured a quote showcased earlier today on NewsBusters: “The investigation has already resulted in one indictment, former White House adviser ‘Scooter' Libby. And some Democrats and some in the media wrongly predicted Rove would be next."
Viewers then a saw Web video quality clip of MSNBC’s David Shuster from the May 8 Countdown: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted." (Tapper, who earlier featured a soundbite from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, then moved on to how “Democrats said while Rove may not have violated the letter of the law, he may have violated a sacred trust.")
An October 17, 2005 NewsBusters item I wrote recounted: CNN's Jack Cafferty, on Monday afternoon's [October 17] The Situation Room, took a cheap shot at Karl Rove's weight and expressed delight in the possibility Rove will be indicted. Just past 3pm EDT, Cafferty announced his question of the hour: “What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?” Cafferty then answered his own question: “He might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one." Wolf Blitzer pointed out: “He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me." (Transcript follows)
The networks have been eager over the last few weeks to highlight every new charge or claim related to the alleged massacre by U.S. Marines of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq last November (a new study from the MRC counted 99 stories or interviews about it over just three weeks on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows), but when a front page Washington Post article on Sunday recounted Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich's contention that he and his squad followed the rules of engagement and were justified in their actions, the networks lost interest. NBC gave it a few seconds on Sunday's Today and a fuller story on Sunday's Nightly News, but ABC and CBS ignored it on their Sunday morning shows (GMA and Sunday Morning) while ABC's World News Tonight gave it a mere 20 seconds before a full story on suicides at Guantanamo and the CBS Evening News skipped it completely. On Monday, despite interview segments and stories on Iraq, the broadcast network morning shows ignored Wuterich's version, though ABC and NBC made time for full Guantanamo pieces. Amazingly, ABC's Charles Gibson didn't raise it with Congressman John Murtha, the lead accuser who appeared on GMA. The Monday evening shows also avoided the topic. (Detailed rundown and contrasts follow.)
Shown the Thursday Washington Post headline, “Victory in California Calms G.O.P.” followed by the New York Times headline, “Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems,” NPR's Nina Totenberg exclaimed on Friday night's Inside Washington: "The Times is wrong!" Syndicated columnist Mark Shields suggested his disagreement with the spin of the New York Times: "I don't think there's any question that if the Democrats had won they'd be yelling at the tree tops.” Shields added his analysis that the Times missed: “The culture of corruption, I think, is not a viable campaign message for 2006 for the fall. That ought to be a warning to the Democrats.”
On Thursday, in postings for the MRC's TimesWatch and on NewsBusters, “Double Huh: NYT Headline Says GOP's Cali Win Means 'Fall Problems' for Party,” Clay Waters provided a look at the tilted June 8 front page New York Times article about the congressional race in which Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby to replace imprisoned Republican Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.
NBC’s David Gregory on Friday night resurrected two of the favorite quotes of Bush-bashers as he contrasted past boasts with how the current “cautious view about the way forward in Iraq underscores the degree to which events on the ground have humbled the Bush team.” After a clip of Bush on Friday conceding the killing of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “not going to end the war. It's certainly not going to end the violence. But it's going to help a lot," Gregory declared: "It's a far cry from July, 2003" -- when Bush uttered his “bring ‘em on" taunt. Gregory then offered a second example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2005 prediction that "we're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." (Transcript follows)
On Tuesday, the day of the election in California's 50th Congressional District to replace imprisoned Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the CBS Evening News ran a story touting a potential Democratic takeover of the seat as reporter Jerry Bowen described the race “as a referendum on both the Republican Congress and the Republican President, whose popularity is sinking.” But after the Republican won, the newscast was silent about it Wednesday night. In fact, the morning after the vote, CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer declared on The Early Show that despite the win by Republican Brian Bilbray over Democrat Francine Busby, the 49 to 45 percent victory is “a warning shot for Republicans.” Busby, however, got just one point more of the district's vote than did John Kerry in 2004.
Schieffer had set up CBS's Tuesday night story about the San Diego County race: "Democrats believe they have a chance to take back control of Congress from the Republicans this year, and they're looking to a special election tonight for a sign that they may be right.” Jerry Bowen trumpeted how “when disgraced Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham went off to prison for taking millions of dollars in bribes, no one predicted what just may happen today as voters in this 25-year-long Republican stronghold pick his replacement: That a Democrat, local school board member Francine Busby, could emerge the winner." (Transcripts follow)
At a time when left-wing Bush-haters regularly call the President a “liar” and a killer, ABC and NBC on Wednesday night pegged stories to the controversy over Ann Coulter’s criticism of the very political 9/11 widows, with NBC anchor Brian Williams adding a nice touch by harkening back to Joe McCarthy as he promised a look at “why some are now asking, 'Have you no shame?'" But while the NBC Nightly News focused solely on Coulter, on ABC’s World News Tonight Jake Tapper suggested “our democracy has always been messy and vulgar” and he cited some anti-Bush slams.
The opening teaser from Williams: "And is it crossing the line? A conservative author's attack on 9/11 widows. This time, has the debate in this country just gone too far?" Williams set up the last story of his newscast by pleading: “Just when you think it seems like there are no limits on anything, someone comes along and makes a comment that goes over the line.” Reporter Mike Taibbi turned to the media’s favorite conservative-basher, David Gergen, to answer whether Coulter had “gone too far?” Over on ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor Charles Gibson cited the “uproar” over Coulter, but conceded “there is a lot of what passes for commentary these days on both sides of the political spectrum that many people find despicable.” Tapper cited how the New York State Comptroller referred to putting “a bullet between the President's eyes” and how Harry Belafonte charged that Bush is “no better” than Osama bin Laden. (Transcripts follow)
Rick Kaplan, who as reported earlier by Matthew Sheffield, announced his departure Wednesday from MSNBC where he’d run the least-watched cable news network as its President since February of 2004, has a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton and hostility to conservatives -- as well as admiration for Dan Rather combined with condescension for conservative critics of Dan Rather -- during his career with ABC News, CNN and MSNBC. The AP’s David Bauder on Wednesday night noted “speculation” that Kaplan “might be a candidate to run Good Morning America” now that the ABC show's Executive Producer, Ben Sherwood, “announced five days ago he was stepping down.”
At the News and Documentary Emmy Awards presented by the National Television Academy at a September 19, 2005 ceremony, Kaplan asserted that "Dan was meticulously careful to be fair and balanced and accurate" during his career. Kaplan then lashed out: "When did we allow those with questionable agendas to take the lead and convince people of something quite the opposite? It's shameful." Kaplan went so far to declare that Rather's "legacy" is "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to." Check this October 4 NewsBusters posting for a full transcript accompanied by a video clip in Real and Windows Media formats.
The Tuesday ABC and NBC evening newscasts ran tributes to Princeton University’s salutatorian, illegal immigrant Dan-el Padilla Peralta, and NBC also hailed the efforts of illegals in Queens to defy efforts to crack down on them. At the top of World News Tonight, Charles Gibson fretted, “American dream: A Princeton graduate who rose from homelessness to the top of his class, but could now be banned from the country because he is an illegal alien." Gibson soon touted how “we have an extraordinary story tonight of one illegal immigrant” who was amongst the few able to attend college, specifically “a young man who graduated from Princeton University today near the top of his class. He defied the odds spectacularly. Yet, because he is illegal, he faces an uncertain future.” David Muir explained his plight: "Dan-el is an illegal immigrant, which becomes very important because he's been invited to study at Oxford. And if he goes, U.S. immigration law says because he is an illegal, he can't come back for at least a decade."
Brian Williams ended the NBC Nightly News by trumpeting how Peralta “got over a major hurdle today. He graduated from the Ivy League despite living in the U.S. illegally. He moved here from the Dominican Republic when he was four. His mother was sick.” Just before the admiration from Williams, NBC ran a piece from David Gregory which looked at the immigration debate through the prism of illegals: “You see a neighborhood among the most diverse in the city on the leading edge of this fight. Some are afraid. Luis Amigo owns this bodaga. Here illegally, he says he won't visit his sister anymore, fearing he'll now get stuck in Mexico." Gregory set up “community activist” Ana Maria Archilla: “Leaving really isn't an option?" And before a minister, who didn’t differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants, argued that “we would fail our forefathers if we are not doing what we are supposed to do, to welcome immigrants,” Gregory delivered this chastisement of conservatives, "There is also this appeal: Don't let today's politics change the country." (Transcripts follow)
A new ABC News poll found that by a 22-point margin -- 58 to 36 percent -- a solid majority of Americans believe “same-sex marriage should be illegal,” yet, on Monday’s World News Tonight, ABC anchor Charles Gibson declared that “the polls show Americans are fairly evenly split on this issue.” ABCNews.com headlined its story, “Most Oppose Gay Marriage; Fewer Back an Amendment,” and reporter Jake Tapper pointed out how “forty-five of fifty states have passed either constitutional amendments or laws banning same-sex marriage, including in Democratic-leaning states Oregon and California.” Nonetheless, a seemingly befuddled Gibson asked George Stephanopoulos: “Why does the White House think this is a political winner for the President if indeed we're split?" Stephanopoulos explained that “the number of Americans who are strongly opposed to gay marriage is more than twice the size of the number who are strongly for it, and that group of voters who want to block gay marriage is three times as likely to vote on the issue.”
Gibson next relayed what Stephanopoulos characterized as the Democratic spin. Gibson inquired, “why, if the votes are not there for this constitutional amendment, does the Senate spend three days on this issue when there are a lot of issues that perhaps they could do something about it?" Stephanopoulos answered, “The Democrats think their best issue is misplaced priorities, and they say exactly what you say: The Senate shouldn't be spending their time on this when you have high gas prices and a war raging in Iraq." (Transcript follows)
Not even their liberal media colleagues are buying ABC’s May 24 hit piece on House Speaker Denny Hastert in which Brian Ross insisted that “federal officials tell us the congressional bribery investigation now includes the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert,” and "Justice Department officials describe the 64-year-old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation.” On Inside Washington aired Friday night on Washington, DC’s PBS affiliate WETA-TV channel 26, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg declared: "That seems to have been a bogus story. It really does seem to have been a bogus story." Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, proposed that the ABC News “investigative unit sometimes goes a beat too," presumably “far,” but another panelist talked over him.
A week after ignoring the announcement of a roaring 5.3 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter, and on the day unemployment fell a tenth of a point to 4.6 percent -- the lowest level since July of 2001 -- the CBS Evening News decided to lead Friday with how, as anchor Russ Mitchell put it: “There are new signs this evening that the economy is slowing down.” Reporter Anthony Mason asserted that “rising interest rates and rising gas prices are beginning to put the brakes on the U.S. economy." Mason laid out the bad news: "The newest numbers, just 75,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, well below forecasts. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs. But retail took the biggest hit, losing more than 27,000" and “the other hammer to the economy came from the once-booming construction sector. It came to a standstill in May.” Mason concluded with his own domino theory: "One major builder reported a nearly 30 percent drop in new orders for the past two months. Now that ripples right through the economy. Buying slows, then building slows, then hiring slows. And that, Russ, is why the economy is slowing."
On NBC, in contrast, Anne Thompson noted how “cuts on factory floors and at the country's retailers held back job gains for the second straight month,” but she characterized those as “signs analysts say of an economy that is slowing but not in trouble." Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, then emphasized how the economy “is throttling back from very rapid growth earlier in the year, but it is still a very strong economy, an economy that will perform well going forward." (Transcripts follow)
In a Thursday night update on the CBS Evening News on the condition of Kimberly Dozier, the CBS News correspondent seriously injured Monday in Baghdad, Sheila MacVicar reported that a soldier at the U.S. military hospital in Germany, where Dozier is recovering, gave her his Purple Heart. From Landstuhl, MacVicar related:
“Something happened that surprised and moved all of us this afternoon. A young American soldier came up to Kimberly's brother, Michael, and told him that he'd met Kimberly in Iraq two years ago after he'd been wounded with shrapnel in his arm. The soldier had his Purple Heart with him, and he told Michael that he'd now like Kimberly to have it because, he said, she suffered as much as any soldiers. That Purple Heart is now beside Kimberly's bed.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason trumpeted how North Carolina Treasurer Richard Moore, who got four soundbites, withheld that state’s pension fund votes from the ExxonMobil directors who he thinks gave too great a compensation package to the retired CEO, but Mason failed to identify his Democratic affiliation (not even on-screen) or let viewers in how CBS was delivering publicity benefitting a likely 2008 Democratic candidate for Governor of the Tar Heel state. The North Carolina Democratic Party was so excited by Moore’s move that they sent out a press release: “NC State Treasurer Richard Moore Takes on Oil Company.”
"Outside its annual shareholders meeting, ExxonMobil was under fire today from protesters frustrated with soaring gas prices and the company's former CEO," Mason touted before a woman protester outside the Dallas meeting charged: "He's one of the worst examples of corporate greed." After reciting ex-CEO Lee Raymond’s large compensation package, Mason noted that “ExxonMobil is the most profitable company in the country,” but “it's even starting to feel the heat here on Wall Street." For his evidence from “Wall Street,” Mason turned to Democrat Moore of Raleigh who declared: "I think the sentiment of disgust and outrage is very wide." Mason explained Moore’s power: “Richard Moore is North Carolina's state treasurer. The state's pension fund owns 11 million shares of ExxonMobil, worth more than $660 million. Today Moore, on behalf of the state, withheld all those share votes from the Exxon directors who backed Raymond's pay." Moore called the compensation package “un-American.” (Transcript follows)
Citing one comment from a meteorologist quoted on the ninth page (78th paragraph) of a Washington Post Magazine story, remarks by an unnamed “pundit” and an unidentified “Fox News analyst,” as well as a gentle TV ad campaign with the hardly threatening tag line of “Carbon dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life," fill-in MSNBC host Brian Unger ludicrously devoted a segment of Tuesday's Countdown to the “Swift-Boating of Al Gore.” Unger gushed about how "Gore wants to do something admirable like save the planet” and then fretted: “And what do critics call him? Hitler. The 'Swift-Boating' of Al Gore already in full swing."
Unger maintained that Gore's “wake-up call on climate change” has led “to some unfortunate analogies” and he then cited how meteorologist Bill Gray charged: “Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews.” Unger added: “Then there's the pundit who compared the Gore movie to Josef Goebbels' films about Nazi Germany, the Fox News analyst who said that global warming was bogus and dreamed up by environmentalists to stop economic development. And in true Swift Boat fashion, the campaign-style attack ads produced by a conservative think tank." That “campaign-style attack ad” doesn't even mention Gore's name and it attacks no one, a reality that became obvious when Unger played it. Ironically, Unger complained that when Gore “launches his campaign to save the world from global warming, his critics decide to ignore the science and attack Al Gore." But the ad deals only with science and Unger ignored science since the lengthy Washington Post Magazine story from which he quoted Gray was all about global warming skeptics, yet he didn't utter a syllable about their facts. (Transcript follows)
In reporting on President Bush’s nomination of Henry Paulson as his new Secretary of the Treasury, CBS’s Jim Axelrod on Tuesday night suggested that "the administration needs a salesman,” citing how “no matter how much they trumpet 5.3 percent economic growth in the first quarter, 5.2 million more jobs since August 2003, or unemployment down to 4.7 percent, there's another number to contend with. In the most recent CBS News poll, just 34 percent approved of the President's handling of the economy.” But might not part of the problem lie in lack of media attention to the booming economy? For instance, Axelrod’s citation of the 5.3 percent GDP growth in the first quarter, the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years, was the first on the CBS Evening News which ignored it when the number was announced last Thursday.
Earlier is in his story, Axelrod snidely marveled at why anyone would want to join the declining Bush administration: “Leaving a job that paid him $38.3 million last year in salary, stock, and options, to take one that pays 175 grand, and to join the last two and a half years of a struggling administration, the question isn't why the White House would want him, but why he would want the job?" (Transcript follows)
Charlie Gibson will take over the anchor duties tonight (Monday) for ABC's World News Tonight. The MRC's Web site features a just-compiled "Profiles in Bias" collection of liberal comments and reporting from Gibson. The page lists about 50 quotes, going back to 1990, with ten accompanied by audio/video clips.
On Good Morning America, which he has co-hosted for most of the past two decades, and as a frequent fill-in for Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, Gibson displayed little willingness to stray from the media elite's liberal template. The quotes collected from the MRC's archive exemplify Gibson's conventional liberal approach to the issues of the day: favoring gun control and campaign finance reform, portraying tax cuts as costly, unwise and unfair, and once even boasting about a sign in his house proclaiming: "War is not good for children and other living things."
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume, a veteran of ABC News, chided his former employer: “ABC News came out with this story, worded the way it was. 'Included in the investigation,' ‘in the mix of the investigation,' has an unmistakable implication, and that is the guy's under investigation. We have now had an absolutely unequivocal denial of that, not only from the Justice Department at one level, but when this business about what well, what about being 'in the mix' came along, Paul McNulty, the U.S. Attorney, came out and denied that as well. This looks like a bad story. They led their newscast with it. The implication was unmistakable. They ought to back off this story, and the sooner the better."
CNN's Howard Kurtz, on Sunday morning's Reliable Sources, raised the accuracy of the story with Linda Douglass who covered Capitol Hill for ABC News until the end of 2005: "Did ABC overplay that story?" Douglass was reluctant to lambast her ex-colleagues, but her disagreement with their news judgment was clear: "Well, I think leading with it was a controversial decision, is what I would say. And I think that saying he was part of the investigation, if in fact his name just came up, was, was a phrase you might want to revisit." (Transcripts, and a link to video of the Ross story, follow)
Confirming what's obvious to anyone watching or reading the gushing praise for Al Gore and his hysterical movie about global warming, on this weekend's McLaughlin Group, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift asserted: "There's some regret, even among the media, that Al Gore was mocked and ridiculed in 2000, and he didn't deserve it. And we're ready for a serious politician." Clift, who in her end of the show prediction, anticipated that “a year from now, there will be an Al Gore presidential exploratory committee," earlier in the program laid out how he can follow the “Nixonian play book” in “a very good way.” Clift pined: “He's campaigning to awaken the political leadership to the threat of global warming, but it's a campaign that can easily turn into a campaign for himself if he sees an opening. And he's following the Nixonian play book, the Nixonian in a very good way. Just as Richard Nixon was edged out of the presidency very narrowly in 1960 and then came back after eight years to win.”
C-SPAN on Saturday night (May 27) aired the Sunday, May 21 commencement remarks, by New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., at the State University of New York at New Paltz where he was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters. As reported Monday by Clay Waters, on NewsBusters and the MRC's TimesWatch site, in picking up local Hudson Valley newspaper accounts, Sulzberger delivered a left wing rant in which he presumed liberal policy goals are more noble than conservative ones as he offered an “apology” for the nation his generation has left to the next generation:
“You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain.”
The Friday morning and evening broadcast networks shows pounced on how when asked, at the joint Thursday night Bush/Blair press conference, whether he had any regrets about the conduct of the war in Iraq, President Bush responded: “Saying, ‘bring it on.' Kind of tough talk you know that sent the wrong signal to people” and “some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner. You know, ‘wanted dead or alive.'”
CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer suggested Bush isn’t always so honest as he described it as “an unusual burst of candor from President Bush.” Schieffer soon called it an “extraordinary statement” and reporter Jim Axelrod agreed it was “startling.” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams found Bush’s answer so important that he played a stand-alone clip of the “most interesting moment” and brought aboard Tim Russert who saw a “remarkable, remarkable admission." On her last night as anchor of World News Tonight, ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas asserted that “some of the bold talk we once heard from them is gone. Now they are voicing regrets and admitting mistakes.” Jake Tapper framed a story around how Bush and Blair “came together to project confidence in the new Iraqi government, but perhaps what came across strongest was regret." (Transcripts, and a brief look at the mornings shows, such as how NBC’s Today opened with “Admitting Mistakes” on screen, follow.)