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)
On Sunday's This Week, during the roundtable discussion, host George Stephanopoulos embarrassed himself and had to backtrack after he raised Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry's recommendation -- that President Bush bomb the nuclear missiles on the launchpad in North Korea -- but then went a step further and combined Perry's proposal with blaming the Iraq war for preventing that type of action in 2003, only to be thoroughly refuted by George Will. “I don't even believe what I said,” Stephanopoulos sheepishly conceded, “So I take it back, you're right.”
Stephanopoulos had proposed: “What if in 2003, instead of invading Iraq, President Bush takes out the reprocessing facilities in North Korea, which according to Secretary Perry, President Clinton was willing to do back in 1993 before they started the negotiations? We would be in a far different place." How ground troops in Iraq precluded one of many Navy ships not committed to Iraq from firing off a few missiles at a target, Stephanopoulos did not explain. But Will pointed out how “the capital of South Korea is 30 miles away from the 38th parallel, North Korea, and we don't know what kind of spasm might result from this irrational regime. North Korea could destroy that capital without a soldier leaving the North Korea and using entirely conventional weapons." To which, Stephanopoulos offered his retraction and quickly segued to the Lieberman Senate race.
On Friday's Washington Week on PBS, taped at the Aspen Ideas Festival (“Inspired Thinking in an Idyllic Setting”), when asked by host Gwen Ifill about hateful speech in politics and directed at journalists -- “Is that polarization real or is it just people blogging?" -- NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell charged that “the kind of hateful speech that we have seen...in a lot of the blogosphere...goes back, in my own experience, to 1989 when the talk radio shows went crazy about the congressional pay raise.” She then reasoned: “The anti-Washington, anti-bureaucrat bias that was built into that debate was then taken up by cable talk hosts as well and that became the kind of really combative conversation that displaced reasoned discussions about controversial issues."
PBS picked six members of the Colorado conference audience to pose questions to the panel. None came from the right and four were clearly from the left, starting with a woman who wondered: “How can we keep religion out of government and politics?" A man complained: “What's the responsibility of government and the press regarding poor people and why do we hear so little about housing crisis, minimum wage, homeless people and low-wage workers?" That pleased James Bennet, a former New York Times White House reporter who is now Editor of The Atlantic magazine: "It's a great question. I've been wondering what happened to the issue of homelessness in America.” (Partial transcripts follow)
The White House criticism, of the New York Times over its story disclosing an ongoing anti-terrorism effort to track financial transactions, sent MSNBC's Keith Olbermann into a tizzy Tuesday night as he showed no interest in the substance of the criticism or behavior of the newspaper and instead focused on the appropriateness of daring to take on the media behemoth. His on-screen text during his tease at the top of Countdown, “DISTRACT THE PEOPLE: Attack the Messenger.” Olbermann soon cited “what some are calling the Swift-Boating of the American media, particularly the New York Times,” as if anyone but his own show is using that term meant to discredit criticism of liberals. "Swift-Boating the Media" was the on-screen display during part of the lead segment.
He also denounced a “hysterical editorial,” on National Review Online, “demanding the Times lose its White House press credentials," before guest Craig Crawford ridiculed the attacks as electoral politics: "I think it goes back to the midterm campaign strategy. This is another way for Republicans to stoke the base, to burn in effigy the elite news media....I think this is just classic attack the messenger, you know, to get those conservatives who hate the news media worked up again.” Olbermann also snuck in this shot, shall we say: “The Vice President hadn't drawn as much blood since he shot poor Mr. Whittington.”
The disgust of conservatives directed at the New York Times after the newspaper on Friday again undermined national security, this time by taking the lead in exposing a program to monitor international financial transactions by terrorist operatives, hasn't much disturbed the broadcast networks. While the cable news channels have been filled with coverage, especially after President Bush on Monday called the disclosure “disgraceful,” the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer hasn't touched the controversy -- though it has made time for stories on how at Wimbledon women are paid less prize money than men and on a left-wing (un-labeled) group's efforts to raise the minimum wage -- and other broadcast network coverage has questioned the administration's motives.
On Monday night, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “today's coordinated White House assault is more than simply shared frustration. Analysts say there is political upside as well." Tuesday, on NBC's Today, co-host David Gregory doubted the White House, wondering “whether we should be taking their word for it. That these are legal programs, inappropriate programs. Do you think the administration has earned the right, has any administration earned the right in this kind of war to protect that kind of secret?" Chris Matthews replied: "Well not this one.” On CBS's Early Show, Harry Smith called the paper an “easy target” and suggested: "Is this just a way to attack the evil media or does he have a legitimate beef here?" Meanwhile, on Tuesday's GMA, ABC's Jessica Yellin featured New York Times reporter Eric Litchblau's insistence that “we're not trying to tilt the debate, we're not trying to influence the debate one way or the other. We're just trying to inform the public debate," as well as a great zinger from radio talk show host Scott Hennen about how the Times has become “a terrorist tip sheet."
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, who in March condescendingly charged on Inside Washington that opposition to the UAE ports deals was a “classic for talk radio" since "it's something simple idiots can understand,” on this weekend's edition of the panel show again ridiculed talk radio -- this time as a caldron of “anger” on illegal immigration. But Thomas was dubious about whether the anger is really about immigration, or just where talk radio listeners have parked their incessant anger. He asserted that “in conservative talk radio there's this constant anger and it attaches itself to different issues. It sort of moves around. And right now, or for some months, it's been attached to immigration. What's not clear is whether that moveable anger will just find some other issue if Congress does nothing...”
The panel, on Friday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, denounced the New York Times for their Friday article, quickly picked up by other newspapers and published over the objection of the Bush administration and 9/11 commissioners, about how the CIA and Treasury Department are tracking international banking transactions by terrorist operatives.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer contended “there's a reason why we haven't had an attack since 9/11, and unfortunately we've learned about it by these journalistic leaks about all of the secret programs.” He lit into the judgment of the Times: “The idea of having it published out there, in a sense disarming us by letting the bad guys know how we're tracing their wire transfers, I think, is a disgrace.” Krauthammer added: “I think this is the 21st century equivalent of publishing the Enigma program in the Second World War in which we listened in on secret German communications in submarines.” Morton Kondracke suggested the New York Times assumes “we've got more to fear from our own government than we do from terrorist attacks” and regretted how “there are evidently people in the bureaucracy who share that view who are willing to blabber to the New York Times.” As for what motivates the newspaper, the panelists pointed to the wish to win another Pulitzer Prize. (Transcript follows)
The CBS Evening News has begun to run promos for Katie Couric's impending takeover of the anchor chair. The spots feature quick cuts, from different angles, of Bob Schieffer on the Evening News set as he assures viewers of Couric's qualifications. In the spot aired at the end of Wednesday's newscast, Schieffer promised that “she's tough, she's fair, she's a straight-shooter” and “she'll be terrific.” In Thursday's promo, Schieffer insisted: “The anchor chair will be in good hands because my friend Katie Couric will be here. Just watch." Each spot, which may also be airing across the CBS schedule, ends with a screen showing a smiling Couric on the left with “COMING IN SEPTEMBER” on the right over a stylized “CBS Evening Newswith Katie Couric” graphic. So, now we know she won't be reverting to “Katherine.” (Full text of the 10 and 15-seconds spots follow)
Of the three broadcast network evening shows Thursday night, only the NBC Nightly News reported the late Wednesday afternoon revelation by Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Chair of the House intelligence committee, that an unclassified portion of a National Ground Intelligence Center report had revealed that 500 munition shells of mustard and sarin gas -- weapons of mass destruction -- had been found in Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams teased: “One Senator's new claim that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq." Chip Reid relayed Santorum’s disclosure before downplaying the significance: “The claim quickly becomes a hot topic on cable TV and the Internet, but just as quickly Pentagon officials pour cold water on the story, telling reporters the shells are old and inactive, dating from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and that the shells are 'not the weapons of mass destruction we were looking for' when U.S. forces went into Iraq.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann ridiculed the finding of “WMD: weapons of minor discomfort," snidely suggesting “you might get a burn if you rub these weapons directly onto your skin.” Olbermann condescendingly marveled: “Independent experts and the level-headed staggering in amazement tonight that deteriorated mustard gas cannisters, at least 15 years old and as much as 18 years old, could be pawned off by desperate politicians as some kind of rationale for the deaths of 2,500 American servicemen and women in Iraq.” Soon enough, Olbermann raised Joe McCarthy, asking Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter: “Have Senator Santorum and Congressman Hoekstra moved directly into the league of Joe McCarthy waving the blank page that's supposed to contain the list of communists in the 50s?" (Transcripts follow)
In ending the June edition of his Real Sports news magazine show Tuesday night on HBO by urging Americans to watch and appreciate World Cup soccer, Bryant Gumbel slipped in a personal/political slam: “I know that in soccer they score about as often as Ann Coulter makes sense.” Back in February, Gumbel used a commentary, about how he would not watch the Winter Olympic games, to denounce Republicans over race as he condescendingly suggested viewers "try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." (Dave Pierre's NewsBusters item on that, with video)
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)