CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during a discussion of President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East on Monday’s "American Morning," cited her discussion with unnamed "analysts and experts," and concluded " it's hard to discern any evidence of any success on this trip whatsoever." "American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips, following-up to Amanpour’s analysis, remarked, "Well, critics have come forward and said, okay, whether it's his policies in Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he's failed everywhere."
CNN contributor Roland Martin, asked about Democrats’ low poll results concerning national security on Friday’s "Election Center" program, answered using his best Barack Obama impression. "...John McCain, you're a war hero. You served. But you also voted for the war that's led to the death of 4,000 Americans. We have spent billions of dollars and, frankly, it has not stabilized the Middle East.... He's [Obama] going to put the cost of the war and how it has not done what it was supposed to on his back and say, you know what? Explain that, Mr. War Hero."
Twenty-four hours after CNN started giving covering fire for Barack Obama in response to President Bush’s "appeasement" remark, the network has now aided the Democratic spin machine in attacking John McCain as a hypocrite with regards to Hamas, based on a 2006 video clip provided by Clinton adviser James Rubin. In the excerpt, the Arizona Senator appeared to be endorsing negiotiations with the terror group. But CNN conducted its own interview of McCain at the same time, January 28, 2006, in which he insisted that Hamas "renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again." So CNN is trusting Rubin as the authority on what McCain’s stance was two years ago, instead of their own archival video [see video clip below]
UPDATE, 6:30PM ET: National Review's The Corner has a post up indicating that the full Rubin-McCain interview from 2006 also seriously undercuts Rubin's claims of hypocrisy.
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
Just when you thought the "green" hype couldn’t get any worse, Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN introduced the world to the latest celebrities to jump on the "environmentally-friendly" bandwagon: rocker Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Johnny Colt, the bassist for the pop group Train. Co-host Tony Harris interviewed the three for seven minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour of the CNN program so the new trio could promote their upcoming "reality" series, "Battleground Earth" on Discovery Network’s new "green" channel. This brings up the inevitable question, will the Church of Scientology sue for copyright infringement for the show’s title being so close to L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp sci-fi novel "Battlefield Earth"?
Harris, as might be expected, didn’t ask the three any hard-hitting questions, though the celebrities did seem like they were stumped by some of the softballs the CNN host lobbed at them. For example, Harris asked the celebrities about the presidential election and their favorite candidates. Of course, two of them endorsed Obama.
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
CNN’s Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN’s special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist’s opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he’s [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."
At the close of her interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Monday evening, host Larry King asked ABC’s Barbara Walters "Have you had a major disappointing interview?... Someone you had looked forward to, didn't work out right." Walters named a few notables, and gave the following anecdote: "I have said, I'm very mellow. I'm not auditioning anymore. I'm not out to get the great get. And then one reporter said to me, and what if Osama bin Laden called? I said I'll pack." King, in agreement, replied, "You’re not kidding. Who wouldn't?" So, these two media celebrities would jump at the opportunity to interview the terrorist guru, despite any possible propaganda coup that may result, thus putting the advancement of their career over the national interest.
Almost immediately before this, a viewer asked Walters, "I was just wondering, who's your candidate for president this year?" Walters responded, "Well, you see, part of being in the news department, because I'm part of ABC News, is we do not give opinions. I don't mind writing in the book about my own life, but I don't give my opinions about political candidates." Walters must have forgotten about her colleague at ABC, David Wright, who is a well-known Obama cheerleader, as well as her own endorsement of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" and Michael Moore’s "Sicko."
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a panel discussion on Monday’s "The Situation Room," reacted sarcastically to John McCain’s recent campaign speech on climate change. "Well, you know, this story illustrates just how low the bar is for Republicans on the environment.You know, the fact that he acknowledges global warming is seen as a big advantage for him, but it's like acknowledging gravity. It is a scientific fact." Toobin then compared McCain to President Bush on the issue, stating that "the real issue is not whether it [global warming] exists. The question is what to do about it, and, in that area, he's not as far as to the right as Bush is, but he's pretty close." [audio available here]
Christiane Amanpour interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her October 2000 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim "He’s Not a Nut" Jong Il, as part of her "Notes from North Korea" program, which aired on Saturday and Sunday evenings. During the segment, the CNN senior international correspondent failed to note how her husband, James Rubin, worked as spokesman and Assistant Secretary for State for Albright from 1997 until May 2000. Albright emphasized how "it's possible to have verifiable agreements" with the North Korean regime and how "negotiations need to be pursued actively." The Clinton administration that she worked for conducted negotiations with the communist dictatorship during the 1990s and signed a nuclear agreement with them, which the North Korean government violated by conducting a secret uranium enrichment program. So much for "verifiable agreements."
Amanpour did call the North Korean regime "a police state" and a "dictatorship" during her special, but she downplayed the communist government’s responsibility for the deaths of millions of North Koreans during a famine in the 1990s. [audio available here]
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer tossed mostly softball questions at Senator Barack Obama on Thursday’s "The Situation Room." Besides his attempt to minimize his record as a liberal and as being the Hamas-endorsed candidate, Blitzer, for 22 minutes, skipped the Rev. Wright issue and both began and ended his interview with feel-good topics -- Obama’s appearance on the cover of Time magazine, and asking the Illinois Senator about what his mother would think of him if she was alive today.
As the interview began 10 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program, Blitzer first asked Obama about Time’s "And the Winner Is" cover story emblazened with a picture of the Senator. The CNN host followed-up by referring to the so-called "Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx:" "It's almost like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Is that what you're -- you're nervous about that?"
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, during a much hyped interview of Barack Obama on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," tried to dismiss facts about the Illinois Senator’s as mere opinions. First, the CNN host made a prediction about the upcoming general election campaign: "You know they're going to paint you -- the McCain camp, Republicans -- as a classic tax and spend liberal Democrat, that you are going to raise the taxes for the American people, and to spend money like there's no tomorrow when it comes to federal government programs. You ready to handle that kind of assault?"
Wolf Blitzer, on Friday’s "The Situation Room," conducted a softball interview of Arianna Huffington, helping her to promote her new book, "Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe," and asking her for her take on the three presidential candidates. He failed to identify her "Huffington Post" website, "one of the most popular websites," as he put it, as a liberal stomping ground, and basically sucked up to her during the entire segment. "I read ‘Huffington Post.’ I read your blog on Huffington Post all the time." Also, "You've really created an enormous success with HuffingtonPost.com, in part because everyone there seems to be blunt, honest. They don't hedge."
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, introducing a panel discussion on Monday’s "The Situation Room," asked concerning Hillary Clinton’s "obliterate Iran" comments, "[I]s Senator Clinton's tough talk against Iran part of a larger move to the right?" The chyron or graphic on the screen that accompanied the discussion seemed to give Blitzer's question an air of certainty: "Inside Her Move to the Right: How Clinton's Redefining Herself."
Each member of the panel, all contributors to CNN, had a slightly different answer to the question. Jack Cafferty quipped "it's another attempt to pander to voters, to, you know, to sound tough on national security." CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger thought "she's really running a classic Republican campaign against Barack Obama" and that Hillary "feels she has a real opportunity here, if she turns Obama into a liberal." And CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin labeled her comments "more populist than right-wing." Blitzer also made an uncharacteristic move by quoting from the conservative publication, The Weekly Standard.
CNN’s John Roberts apparently took David Gergen’s advice from last week, and during his interview of Barack Obama on Monday’s "American Morning," declared out of the gate that he wasn’t going to ask the Democrat from Illinois about his former pastor. "I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So, no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewers want us to move on, so this morning we're going to move on. Is that okay with you?" Obama reacted favorably to this declaration. "Fair enough. That sounds just fine."
Following Suzanne Malveaux’s gushing interview of Michelle Obama and her supporter Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg on Wednesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," Gary Tuchman gave a glowing report on the campaign travels of Bill Clinton for his wife on Thursday’s edition of the program. After portraying the former president as a person "some have seen as a loose cannon and occasionally even a political liability," Tuchman observed that "[a]t times, it feels like he's running for a third term. After all, how many political spouses get handed the proverbial baby?"
Two segments that aired on two days straight on CNN underscored the network’s alignment with those who stand against a gasoline tax holiday during the summer driving season. First, Carol Costello’s segment on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" program used last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis to advance the idea that "things like road construction and bridge repair" would suffer as a result of the lost revenues. The following day, on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, on McCain’s proposal, asking, "So when you say that he would take the money from reserves, in other words, we would go further into debt to pay for this tax break?" During the interview, a chyron or graphic on the screen claimed, "Saving on Gas Could Cost You: Whether to Suspend Fed Gas Taxes."
After Jimmy Carter and Joy Behar, CNN’s Larry King had a prominent liberal guest on his show for the third night in a row on Wednesday, this time Michael Moore. After King played a clip from Bill O’Reilly’s interview of Hillary Clinton which concerned the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Moore pulled out the "black rage" card, as well as the stereotypical rich white liberal guilt. "[Y]ou have to ask yourself, Larry, what's it like to be black in America? And what kind of rage would you feel? And if you did feel that rage, what kind of things would you say that, at times, would be outrageous, crazy even, because you've had to live through this for so long. And I do not believe, as a white guy, that I am in any position to judge a black man who has had to live through that." [audio clip here]
Moore appeared as a guest on "Larry King Live" for the entire hour of the program. His comments on Wright came twenty minutes into the program. Besides explaining away Wright’s many polarizing and outlandish statements, he also attacked Hillary Clinton for her actions in the campaign, as well as his more usual targets of George W. Bush and John McCain.
CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos, who is known for her light and often humor-tinged reports on a variety of topics, profiled politically-active elderly women in a report which aired on Wednesday’s "American Morning" and "Newsroom" programs, devoting all but six seconds of her two-and-a-half plus minute report to "granny" supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While the Democratic supporters are seen dancing at rallies and posting YouTube videos, the only McCain supporter who appeared in the segment was McCain’s own 96-year-old mother, who merely stood in a background during a campaign stop.
Monday’s "The Situation Roon" followed-up on Kelli Arena and Wolf Blitzer’s biased reporting on the Supreme Court upholding Indiana’s voter ID law with two segments featuring five talking heads -- four liberals to one conservative. In the first segment, Donna Brazile, who appeared in Arena’s report via sound bite and continued her "voter suppression" argument, faced-off against Republican strategist John Feehery, who effectively countered the liberal argument by bringing up the fact that he had to show ID in order to enter the CNN studio. In the second segment, Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, and Gloria Borger picked up on Brazile’s suppression argument and portrayed the Court’s decision as possibly "something sinister" and a "partisan enterprise."
During a segment on Monday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer and CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena framed the Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana’s "strict" voter ID law according to the liberal view (a law so "strict" that it calls for the voter show photo ID before voting). Arena’s report offered three critics of the decision to only one supporter, who happened to be Indiana’s Secretary of State. One of the three critics was a quadriplegic who apparently "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was" before getting an ID in Indiana. After Arena’s report, Blitzer tried to spin this as a decision by Republican-appointed justices, despite the fact it was John Paul Stevens, one of the Court’s most liberal members, who wrote the opinion. [audio available here]
Blitzer introduced Arena’s report by describing the decision as having "an enormous impact," and asked Arena to describe "the enormity of what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided." She then first harkened back to the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000. "The 2000 presidential race raised questions about election integrity. And Democrats say today's Supreme Court ruling may raise even more."
Arena then played three sound bites in a row of critics of the voter ID law. In the first sound bite, Donna Brazile charged that the "voter ID scam is a suppression tactic used by many people to undermine the right to vote in this country." In the second, Melissa Madill, identified as an "Indiana voting rights advocate," stated that it was "infuriating that people who really need to impact the system the most are being denied the right to do so." In the last sound bite, Karen Vaughn, who Arena introduced as "a quadriplegic who doesn't have a driver's license or a passport," and who "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was," accused the supporters of the law of not caring about people like her.
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
During a taped interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which aired on Thursday’s "Larry King Live," Larry King did not bring up the California Democrat’s longstanding use of a fictional quote from the Bible, which CNSNews.com chronicled in a report on April 23.
During the interview, which totaled just under 19 minutes, King asked Pelosi about a variety of topics, such as the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the congressional Democrats’ failure to end the war in Iraq, and the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia. But Pelosi’s quote, "To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us," which she has used on at least seven occasions since 2005, did not come up.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN’s series titled “The League of First Time Voters,” featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on “American Morning” and CNN’s “Newsroom” program on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked, “When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?” Later, he asked, “You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?” [video available here]
After his “War on Terror” question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez asked, “Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?” Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his “bin Laden” question. After woman answered affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, “We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?” Two others answered his question as well.
CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's "The Situation Room." "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be president.'" While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who apparently agreed with it.
During a report by CNN correspondent Dana Bash on Monday’s "The Situation Room," an on-screen chyron or graphic described John McCain’s campaign stop in Selma, Alabama in the following terms: "McCain: Off the GOP Path -- Courts Blacks, Moderates in Ala." Bash herself described McCain’s campaign "really trying to... choreograph events all week long to create his own brand of Republicanism, show, like you said, in impoverished areas, in heavily black areas, that he's a different kind of Republican." Bash then described how "if you took one look at the kind of people who came out to hear John McCain today, it was very clear he has a huge hill to climb."
It’s odd for the CNN graphic to describe McCain as being "off the GOP path" by courting moderates, since the media itself has consistently emphasized the importance of moderate voters in elections, and how both parties have courted them.
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."
During a panel discussion on the April 9 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty described the Chinese government as "basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." In response, according to a report from the Associated Press from April 15, "China demanded an apology from CNN." "‘We are shocked and strongly condemn the vicious remarks by Cafferty,’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. ‘We solemnly request CNN and Cafferty himself take back the malicious remarks and apologize to the Chinese people.’"
Cafferty had also blasted China for the substandard quality of many of the products that it exports from the U.S. "[W]e continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart."
All three broadcast networks on Tuesday led their evening news programs with Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival at Andrews Air Force Base to begin his visit to the U.S., as well as his comments during a press conference on the plane about the priest sex abuse scandal. ABC’s "World News" and CBS’ "Evening News" especially focused on the scandal. In addition to this, "World News" also highlighted what the Pope said about illegal immigration during the press conference and gave a false impression of what the Pope had said on the issue.
ABC correspondent Dan Harris gave the following spin on Benedict XVI’s comments on immigration. "Also on the plane, the Pope addressed another hot issue, immigration. Hispanics are the fastest-growing part of the American church right now, and the Pope said he would discuss this issue with the President, particularly the 'dangerous' impact of families of illegal immigrants being separated."
CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a discussion on Friday’s "The Situation Room," defended Barack Obama’s comments, that small-town voters are often "bitter" and they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them," and blasted Hillary Clinton for her criticism of the comments. "I think that is so ridiculous.... I mean that is not at all what Barack Obama said.... I mean Hillary Clinton is clearly distorting what Obama said. And, by the way, what Obama said is factually accurate." Jack Cafferty, a regular contributor to "The Situation Room," agree with Toobin, and went further. "Look, Jeff's right. They call it the 'Rust Belt' for a reason.... The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps. I mean there's nothing new here."