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.)
Tonight (Friday) will be the last day as anchor of ABC's World News Tonight for Elizabeth Vargas, who after a maternity leave will reportedly return to the weekly 20/20. Before joining ABC in 1996, Vargas toiled at NBC. During her years at ABC, she was a regular fill-in co-host and news reader on Good Morning America and a frequent fill-in on World News Tonight, taking the lead role on that broadcast when Peter Jennings fell ill in early 2005. On the occasion of her stepping down from World News Tonight, from the MRC's archive, a look back at her most biased moments.
For the MRC's collection of 50 biased quotes from Charlie Gibson, who takes over Monday for Vargas, go to this page for the compilation which also features ten videos.
A night after ABC’s World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas hyperbolically led “with a major development in a Washington bribery scandal” in “a story with potentially major political implications” and Brian Ross asserted that “federal officials tell us the congressional bribery investigation now includes the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert,” which George Stephanopoulos called “potentially seismic," Ross acknowledged that the “Department of Justice issued two separate denials of our report,” yet he stood by his story. Ross asserted on Thursday’s World News Tonight: "As for the facts of our story itself, here is what our sources have confirmed today:” Ross then recited facts that didn’t sound as ominous as his Wednesday hype: How “the FBI interrogation of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff included specific and repeated questions about his relationship with Speaker Hastert,” how “although Hastert is not a formal target, the FBI has been looking into a letter Hastert and others sent to the Secretary of the Interior” about an Indian casino and “that a few days before the letter was sent, Abramoff hosted a fundraiser for Hastert at a restaurant he owned.” Doesn't "not a formal target" contradict Ross' original claim that the "bribery investigation now includes" Hastert?
Meanwhile, on FNC Morton Kondracke recommended that “ABC should remember Dan Rather and the Bush National Guard case where they didn't do the right thing and say, you know, we can't prove the story and just get rid of it.” And Jeff Birnbaum revealed that “ABC did not call the Speaker until an hour before the broadcast” and “that ABC did not check for an official response from the Justice Department, which seems sort of basic here.” (Transcripts, and video of the Wednesday Ross story, follow)
NBC brought Tom Brokaw back onto the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday to trumpet Al Gore’s “stylish and compelling movie” which “graphically describes the realities and consequences of global warming."
Sitting at the anchor desk with Brian Williams, Brokaw gushed: "Brian, the Vice President's film tonight, which is called An Inconvenient Truth, is a stylish and compelling video version of an argument that he's been making for a long time, that global warming is real and it's getting worse.” Brokaw presumed Gore’s claims are accurate as he touted how “the man who lost the presidency in the U.S. Supreme Court is suddenly everywhere again, the leading man in a new documentary that graphically describes the realities and consequences of global warming." Gore sat down with Brokaw for an interview and Brokaw pressed him about running again for President after heralding how "Gore's high-profile involvement in this film and in other public appearances these days is causing a political buzz." Back at the anchor desk, Williams asked if Gore’s movie offers any solutions. Brokaw offered up a plug for Gore’s hysterical Web site before noting a shortcoming: "Well, they direct you to a Web site called ClimateCrisis.Com. They don't deal with nuclear power which many people believe is one of the solutions that will have to be examined.” (Transcript follows)
A half hour after championing Al Gore's "comeback" on Tuesday's Good Morning America (see this earlier NewsBusters item), the show celebrated the Dixie Chicks and their new album, treating them as victims for the negative reaction to the lead singer's 2003 charge, from overseas, that she was "ashamed" to be from the same state as President Bush. Diane Sawyer fretted over how "suddenly country radio stations pulled their music, people destroyed the album, hounded their relatives and tracked them down with death threats." But, she touted, "they are roaring back. It is a new album called 'Taking the Long Way' and in it they dare to announce, at least when it comes to the haters, they're not ready to make nice. They are spirited, unbowed and they are back with a new single called 'Not Ready to Make Nice.'" Sawyer insisted that "among their biggest supporters were the soldiers fighting in Iraq who said they were fighting for the right to freedom of thought and speech." After highlighting how the group's video features a hit on Vice President Cheney -- "to talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming" -- Sawyer read a sympathetic e-mail to them: "Do you feel basically that you've been vindicated and that the American public moved to your position?" (Transcript follows)
With "The Comeback Kid? Al Gore Takes on the World,” as the on-screen moniker, ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday championed Al Gore’s comeback, through his hysterical global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which ABC took quite seriously as Claire Shipman touted a potential Gore presidential run.
Shipman enthused: “The guy that George Bush Senior derisively dubbed 'Ozone Man' may have hit his stride after five years in hibernation by promoting his longtime passion.” Shipman trumpeted: "Al Gore and global warming. On the face of it, not two subjects you'd expect to add up to the buzziest film since the last Michael Moore flick. But check it out, here's Al being celebrated in Cannes, doing the celebrity thing at an LA opening, power-walking a green carpet in Washington as rumors of another presidential run swirl." Without scolding Gore for scaremongering or the usual media accusation against conservatives -- using fear -- Shipman calmly relayed how Gore’s “environmental message is blunt: humanity is sitting on a time bomb and has about ten years left to deal with it. It's the messenger, though, this almost President turned dynamic professor who's making most of the waves, dominating the blog-chatter.” Letting a hopeful Arianna Huffington answer, Shipman cued her up: “Is he going to go for the Oval again?" Shipman concluded by gushing: "What does Al Gore say about the possibility of another run? We asked him the other night....He gave a hearty laugh but didn't say no." (Transcript follows)
Gloria Borger concluded her Monday CBS Evening News story on the FBI’s weekend confiscation of cash from a freezer in Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson’s home by declaring a pox on both parties: “At a time when 77 percent of the American public believes that all members of Congress take bribes, Congressman Jefferson's troubles help no one in either party.” Unlike ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and NBC anchor Campbell Brown who noted Jefferson’s party affiliation in their story introductions, CBS’s Bob Schieffer managed to set up Borger’s report without identifying Jefferson’s party: "The government says FBI agents videotaped Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson taking $100,000 in cash from an informant and later found $90,000 in his home freezer.” Borger did subsequently identify Jefferson as a Democrat. (Partial transcript follows)
On the Sunday shows, three top journalists mocked and ridiculed the Thursday Senate vote to make English the official national language, and thus prevent demands for government agencies to provide official forms and processes in other languages. On ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts dismissed it as “a very silly debate” and Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, castigated the bill as “nonsense” and “nativist populism that is distasteful." In his end of show commentary on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer also derided the vote as “silly.”
Criticizing Americas for speaking too few languages, Zakaria demanded: “What is the great problem in the United States?...That we speak too many foreign language languages, there are too many signs -- Americans are too multi-lingual? Have we forgotten what language we speak?" Zakaria soon charged: “It's a political football that has nothing to do with the real problem. It is simply one more way to try to assert a certain kind of nativist populism that is distasteful." Schieffer mockingly asked: “Were you like me and thought English was our national language? Sort of like we know the Washington Monument honors George Washington even though it doesn't have a sign on it that says 'Official Monument to George Washington.'...Of course new citizens should speak English, but why would the Senate spend hours debating whether to make English our national language? Let me break it to you gently: because it gives Senators something to do while they avoid addressing the real problems...” (Transcripts follow.)
An editorial in Saturday's Washington Times highlighted the discovery by the MRC's Rich Noyes, as detailed in a Friday NewsBusters posting, about how “Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who 'broke' the news that three major U.S. telecommunications companies were assisting the National Security Agency in building a database to more easily track any communications by potential terrorists, is listed as a donor to former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, according to a search of the Center for Responsive Politics Web site.”
The May 20 editorial, “Spinning, Spying and USA Today,” recounted: “With Verizon and BellSouth both challenging USA Today's report on their alleged participation in NSA's surveillance programs, it's not yet clear whether or to what extent the claims in the Gannett daily's much-discussed article are true. What's clearer is that USA Today reporter Leslie Cauley has ties to the Democratic Party, which the Media Research Center's 'NewsBusters' Web site unearthed yesterday. Searching through campaign-filing records, Rich Noyes discovered that Miss Cauley gave $2,000 to then-Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt in 2003. That's the type of activity that journalists normally avoid if they wish to be perceived as objective...” (How Rush Limbaugh also picked up the posting, follows)
Bob Schieffer on Friday decided to use the uprising at Guantanamo as an opportunity to express his disdain for the detention facility. Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by asking: “Has the U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo become more trouble than it's worth?” He then presumed: “Even those who created it have to be asking that question tonight.” Schieffer listed a litany of reasons it should be closed, “It has generated reams of bad publicity for the United States, today a UN committee said it ought to be shut down because it violates the Geneva Convention, and now the latest: Prisoners wielding improvised weapons lured ten guards into an ambush and a riot broke out.” (Uninterrupted transcript follows)
Lisa Myers delivered an enterprising report, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, on how a Senate committee is investigating possible UN “oil-for-food” program misdeeds by former Senator Robert Torricelli. But no where in her story did she identify Torricelli's party. He's a Democrat. The only party label in the story came in an on-screen "(R) Minnesota" for Senator Norm Coleman. Anchor Brian Williams summarized the oil-for-food program and then noted how “there are allegations that a former member of Congress may have been involved in part of the scandal.” Myers began by reminding viewers of how “former Senator Robert Torricelli, forced to abandon a Senate race four years ago because of ethical lapses today is back under investigation again.” She explained: “In 1996, then-Congressman Torricelli repeatedly lobbied Iraqi officials to give lucrative contracts to a company owned by Korean-American businessman David Chang, who later went to prison for making illegal campaign contributions to Torricelli.” (Hat tip to NewsBusters contributor Tom Johnson.)
All the networks got a few minutes Thursday afternoon with President Bush at an outdoor setting along the Arizona-Mexico border, and while ABC's Martha Raddatz, CBS's Bill Plante, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and FNC's Carl Cameron all stuck, as least as aired, to immigration questions, NBC's David Gregory compared Bush's approval to Nixon's, suggested the public has reached a “final judgment of disapproval” and pressed Bush to name more “centrist” policies he'll adopt. And when Bush named tax cuts, Gregory made clear he didn't consider that centrist.
MSNBC's Hardball carried the entire interview while viewers of the NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown only saw a few excerpts. In the NBC Nightly News/Countdown piece, David Gregory reported: "The President brushed off the fact that his poll ratings are now similar to Richard Nixon's when he resigned the presidency." Gregory featured this question he had posed: "Do you think it's possible that, like Nixon and Watergate, that the American people have rendered a final judgment of disapproval on you and your war in Iraq?" Those watching the 5 and 7pm EDT Hardball heard all that, as well as how Gregory proposed: “You've said and have said in this immigration debate that you want to find 'rational middle ground' on this issue. What other areas can the American people expect you to urge a more centrist approach to policy?" Bush replied that “cutting people's taxes is rational.” To which Gregory retorted: "But is that middle ground?" (Transcripts follow)
Illustrating the far-left composition of the faculty at one of the most prestigious journalism schools, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism professor Sandy Padwe called the dismissal by Time magazine, for budget reasons, of investigative reporters Donald Bartlett and James Steele, “a disgrace. Two of the best investigative reporters ever, and they're on the street? It's a f---ing travesty." In fact, at both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Time, Bartlett and Steele delivered shoddy, ideologically-driven left-wing “journalism” which should have embarrassed any journalist with pride in their profession. Nonetheless, in the Thursday CJR Daily posting which quoted Padwe, veteran journalist Steve Lovelady gushed: “Barlett and Steele came to be regarded by many as the premier investigative team in the business, and one that consistently met benchmarks to which others could only aspire.”
On the six month anniversary of Democratic Congressman John Murtha's successful publicity stunt call for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News jumped on the chance to highlight Murtha's charge that last November some Marines deliberately killed more than a dozen innocent Iraqi civilians. But in treating Murtha as some kind of authoritative figure making “new allegations,” NBC ignored how the fairly well established as accurate charge (pictures exist of the immediate aftermath and three Marine officers were relieved of their commands) is old and has already been widely-reported -- including on the March 20 NBC Nightly News.
Brian Williams touted: "There are disturbing new allegations tonight from the Congressman and decorated Marine veteran who stunned the Bush administration about six months ago with his call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.” Following a rundown from Jim Miklaszewski of the allegations, Williams trumpeted Murtha's credibility and relevance: “Jim, we should go over again, why is it significant that John Murtha is the one saying this?" Miklaszewski responded with Murtha's argument that the event bolsters his political point as to why the U.S. should leave Iraq, preceded by the misnomer that Murtha had “recently” turned against the war: “It's important because as somebody who recently turned against the war, Murtha held this up today as one of the reasons the U.S. military should get out of Iraq as soon as possible." (Transcript follows, as well as examples of earlier reporting on the November incident)
Tuesday's CBS Evening News devoted a story to how all three phone companies -- BellSouth, Verizon and AT&T -- denied they supplied the NSA with massive records of numbers called by their customers, as charged in a Thursday front page USA Today story which led to an ongoing media firestorm. Verizon, for instance, maintained: “Contrary to the media reports, Verizon was not asked by NSA to provide, nor did Verizon provide customer phone records.” NBC Nightly News ran a story on the denials by BellSouth and Verizon. But ABC's World News Tonight didn't utter a syllable about the denials which undermine the media's obsession of the last six days.
Instead, anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced: “We begin with President Bush and the growing dissatisfaction in this country with the job he is doing. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that the President's approval now stands at just 33 percent, tying a 25-year low. George Stephanopoulos soon inserted a Vietnam comparison as he explained: "Everything President Bush says and does is seen through the filter of Iraq and the American people are judging it a failure. Look at these poll numbers: 59 percent call the war in Iraq a mistake. It took several more years back in the 1970s, far deeper into the Vietnam war, for the American people to reach that same judgment about Vietnam.” (Transcripts follow)
Following President Bush's Monday night prime time address on immigration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann ruminated to Chris Matthews: “Could he also be kind of back-dooring changes in the personnel totals in Iraq with this because, as Dick Durbin did point out in the Democratic response, an assignment of 6,000 National Guards troops is not just 6,000 guys going to the Southwestern borders of this country, it involves a lot more people and could provide at least a reason to bring people back from Iraq and Afghanistan out of the Guard. Could it not do that? Could he not be, in a sense, saying that?" Matthews called Durbin "generous in his math" in estimating 150,000 National Guard members will be needed over two years to maintain 6,000 on the border, before Olbermann again prodded Matthews with his contention: "Don't they have to come from Iraq? In other words, could this be the way, you know, as I said, a backdoor way for the President to say, 'Well, I've got to bring these people in for this pressing urgent issue on the Mexican border and we have got to just coincidentally reduce troop levels by removing the National Guard from Iraq and Afghanistan?'"
In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos aired on Sunday's This Week, First Lady Laura Bush rejected the notion the media are “unfair” to her husband, but citing how the press puts low approval polls on the front page and how those she meets around the nation aren't nearly as downbeat as the media portray, she charged that “I think they're maybe enjoying this a little bit. I mean, that's what it seems like.” To which Stephanopoulos, surprised by the suggestion, exclaimed: "Enjoying it?" Mrs. Bush elaborated: "That's what it seems like a little when I read it in the paper. Because it isn't really what I see everywhere. I mean, I travel all around our country. I go to every part of our country, and what I see is that Americans are standing with our troops. They want them to succeed. They want them to be successful. They want the Iraqi people to be successful. They want the people in Afghanistan to be successful, and they want to rebuild the Gulf Coast. I mean, that's what I see everywhere in our country."
Tonight (Sunday, May 14 at 8pm EDT/PDT, 7pm CDT/MDT) NBC will air the final episode of The West Wing. Since its debut in September of 1999 when "President Josiah Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, told some cartoon-ish conservative religious leaders to "get your fat asses out of my White House" (an episode NBC will re-air before the final episode), the prime time drama regularly advocated liberal policies and showcased liberal causes. The MRC has compiled text and video/audio for a "Top Ten Left Wing Scenes on NBC's The West Wing" presentation of some of the program's most notorious liberal moments and crusades. Actually, you'll find nine scenes pushing liberal ideas followed by one unusual scene which mocked liberal opposition to tax cuts.
ABC's Elizabeth Vargas and George Stephanopoulos reported Friday night that lawmakers opposed to the NSA's program, which collects phone numbers dialed, were “surprised” that by two-to-one Americans consider the effort an “acceptable” anti-terrorism program. But given the media's hyperbolic negative reaction to the supposed “Big Brother” program, which spread into a second day on Friday, it's Vargas and Stephanopoulos -- along with the rest of the mainstream media -- who should be embarrassed by news judgment so out of touch with the public.
“An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support the surveillance of phone records as a way to protect them against a potential terrorist strike,” Vargas reported as she cued up George Stephanopoulos by relaying how “some lawmakers were taken by surprise by this widespread public support for the program." Stephanopoulos echoed: "That's right, Elizabeth. When I was speaking to opponents of the program today they were really surprised that more Americans didn't share their outrage.” (Those "opponents" are presumably in politics, but I'm sure the same could be said for journalists.) Stephanopoulos further marveled at how “two-thirds of Americans wouldn't be bothered, even if the NSA was collecting their own phone records.” (ABC transcript, plus brief quotes from CBS and NBC on Friday night, follow)
Incoming NBC Today show co-host Meredith Vieira, on Friday's ABC daytime show The View, showcased her susceptibility to baseless media hype and her own economic ignorance. Interviewing ABC's John Stossel, on to plug his new book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel -- Why Everything You Know is Wrong, and a Friday night 20/20 about it, Vieira demanded: "You say there is no gas 'crisis.' How can you say that?" Stossel explained it's plentiful and half the price as in Europe, but Vieira remained unswayed, ridiculously insisting: "But it's still a crisis, I mean in the sense that gas prices are going up. That's a crisis for us." A few minutes later, a befuddled Vieira exposed not only a lack of basic economic knowledge, but also unfamiliarity with a common conservative argument: "Why does raising the minimum wage, this is one I don't get, actually hurt poor people? I don't understand that one at all." (Partial transcript follows)
Matching the agenda of the morning shows, Thursday's network evening newscasts led with USA Today's front page story, “NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls," with none noting how the New York Times reported the same information back on December 24. Unlike CBS, however, both ABC and NBC at least pointed out how many Members of Congress were aware of how Verizon, AT&T and Bell South were providing the NSA with the numbers called by their customers, but didn't complain. Didn't complain, that is, until the news media decided to make it a big issue on which they could rail, thus providing the news media with material for further coverage.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer demanded: “Does the government need to know who you've been talking to on the phone? Then why is it collecting millions of our phone records?” Schieffer led with how the phone companies “have been turning over the telephone records of tens of millions of their customers to a government spy agency. The overriding question is why and who has access to them. And it set off a storm on Capitol Hill where Republicans and Democrats alike are demanding answers.” Well, one liberal Republican, Senator Arlen Specter, who Schieffer interviewed. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas announced: "We begin with a revelation that may change the way Americans think about phone calls” because “the government has been collecting tens of millions of phone records. This includes phone calls to and from citizens who are not suspects in any crimes.” (Partial transcripts follow)
CBS and NBC on Wednesday night painted the tax cut extensions passed by the House through a liberal prism, relaying liberal spin meant to portray the cuts as unfair by citing the dollar amounts of expected cuts for the rich versus those earning lower incomes, without any regard for how an incredible 41 percent pay no income tax and so can't get a tax cut while the wealthier pay huge dollar amounts and so even a small percentage reduction represents a big dollar number. CBS's Sharyl Attkisson put on screen, without any attribution, how “for incomes of $50,000 or less, you'll average no more than $46 in savings. Up to $100,000, average is no more than 400 bucks saved. $100,000 to a million saves anywhere from about $1,300 to a little more than $5,500. Over a million, your savings will average nearly $42,000 a year.” After Attkisson, anchor Bob Schieffer set up a piece from Anthony Mason, on how the national debt will reach $10 trillion by the end of the Bush presidency and the National Debt clock in Manhattan is running out of space, by declaring that “critics...remind us that any tax cut is just going to drive the national debt higher."
On the NBC Nightly News, Chip Reid recounted how Republicans claimed tax cuts have helped the economy before he picked up the left-wing numbers without offering any context about the dollar amounts of the cuts compared to the rate paid at various income levels, but at least he identified the source as “liberal.” Reid highlighted how “Democratic critics say the overall bill is heavily tilted in favor of the very wealthy" and passed along how “according to the liberal-leaning Tax Policy Center, those earning more than $1 million a year would save an average of about $42,000 a year. But families earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would save only $110 a year. And the savings are even smaller for those making between $40,000 and $50,000." (Transcripts and tax burden facts follow)