[Update: Keith Kerr was known to CNN as a gay activist as far back as December 2003, when he was featured in this CNN article.]
CNN, as part of its Republican debate with YouTube, failed to mention that retired general Keith Kerr, who announced he was gay after his retirement from the Army, is a member of Hillary Clinton’s "LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee." Not only did General Kerr ask the question via a YouTube video, but he was also present in the audience, and got to ask the candidates for a "straight answer" (pardon the pun).
General Kerr’s, whose question came 47 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour the debate, is also part of the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network's advisory council, an organization "dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance"
[See updates below: Bill Bennett mentioned Kerr's possible Hillary connection on CNN 30 minutes after the debate, and Anderson Cooper confirms this at the close of the 10 pm Eastern hour.]
Cafferty made the comments just before the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday's "The Situation Room." Two minutes earlier, as part of the "Political Ticker" feature on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer read a brief about the sometimes-retired singer's plug for the former First Lady. This prompted a question from Cafferty as he prepared to read the viewer responses to his 'Question of the Hour' for the 4 pm Eastern hour. "Give me a hand with something. What exactly does the Streisand endorsement represent?" Blitzer responded, "It means that Barbara Streisand, great singer, is supporting Hillary Clinton." This prompted Cafferty's "reclusive, neurotic" line.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty gave another of his rantings against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration on Monday’s "The Situation Room." Cafferty, channeling Ramsey Clark, called the war in Iraq "an unprovoked act of naked aggression," and charged that the issues of establishing a Palestinian state and the brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians have been "virtually ignored by the Bush administration through almost two terms."
Cafferty made this commentary on the upcoming Annapolis, Maryland peace summit eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room" as part of his regular "Cafferty File" segment. In addition to the above, Cafferty speculated that the reason that the summit was occurring at this time was due to President Bush rushing to secure a legacy.
CNN International’s Hala Gorani couldn’t fathom why a Palestinian terrorist organization wasn’t invited to the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Following-up to an answer made by State Department spokesman Michael Pelletier during an interview, Gorani exclaimed, "How can you have a Middle East peace summit that doesn’t include Hamas? Forget whether or not you don’t like them as a group, or call them terrorists. How can you not?"
Gorani asked the question 18 minutes into the 12 pm "Your World Today" program on Monday, which is simulcast on CNN. Gorani began the interview on a bit of a skeptical, even hostile note, and she acted as if she should be the one directing the negotiations. After her initial question and the answer from Pelletier, Gorani shot back with the following point. "You have two very weak leaders. The Palestinian isn't even representative of his entire population. Ehud Olmert is the least popular Israeli prime minister, practically, in history. George Bush won't be in office in 13 months' time. Why would anything come out of this?"
CNN’s John Roberts conducted a softball interview with Joe Wilson on Wednesday’s "American Morning," based upon the claim by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that he had "unknowingly passed along false information" about the roles of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame "leak." McClellan made the claim in his upcoming book, and further stated that "Rove, Libby, the Vice President [Dick Cheney], the president’s chief of staff [Andrew Card at the time], and the president himself" were "involved" in this "misleading," as Roberts put it.
Roberts first asked Wilson (who was falsely identified as the "former U.S. ambassador to Iraq," when Wilson actually worked as Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq from 1988-1991, and as ambassador to Gabon from 1992 to 1995) for his response to McClellan’s statement. Wilson responded that the statement ‘advances the narrative a bit" about Vice President Cheney’s involvement in the "leak,"and proposed that President Bush was "either completely out of touch, or he's an accessory to obstruction of justice, both before the fact and after the fact" in the matter.
A report on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," which highlighted the anti-Giuliani campaign of some family members of firefighters killed on 9/11, also tried to throw some retrospective doubt on the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" who opposed John Kerry in 2004. CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick proposed the following question about the campaign: "is this another 'Swift Boat' situation, in which unsubstantiated attacks against John Kerry's service in Vietnam, scuttled his presidential candidacy. These families say no."
In addition to this question, CNN played two sound bites, one from Sally Reganhard, a prominent member of this campaign, and the other from a Baruch College professor, which reenforced the "unsubstantiated" label used by CNN. Reganhard indirectly accused the "Swift Boat" veterans of using lies. "The difference between the 'Swift Boating' and this is that everything that we are saying is the truth." Also, a chyron during the report proclaimed that "9/11 Families Challenge Giuliani: Efforts Compared to ‘Swiftboating.’"
Surprisingly, CNN, during its Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, asked a numbers of questions that conservatives might propose on Thursday night. During the first hour of the debate, moderators Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, and John Roberts asked a total of 13 questions (not counting follow-up questions) on a number of issues. Of these, five could be considered to be "conservative."
Campbell Brown directed the first such question to Barack Obama. "Senator Obama, I want to ask you about immigration....What do you say to those Americans who say they are losing out because you would give benefits to people who broke the laws of this country, who came here illegally. And then more generally, as president, where do you draw the line when it comes to benefits for illegal immigrants?"
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, while moderating the second half of the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Thursday night, added her own "two cents" to a question she fielded from an "undecided voter." After the voter asked the nominees what qualifications a Supreme Court nominee should possess, Malveaux directed the question to Senator Christopher Dodd, and added whether or not he would "require nominees to support abortion rights."
LaShannon Spencer, who was identified as a member of the First African Methodist Church, asked the question near the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour. She highlighted how health care and the Iraq war had, in her view, dominated the questions during past debates. "We constantly hear health care questions, and questions pertaining to the war. But we don't hear questions pertaining to the Supreme Court justice or education. My question is, if you are elected president, what qualities must the appointee possess?"
CNN, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," mislead its viewers by reporting that a new document issued by the Catholic bishops on voting stated that "the candidate who supports abortion rights shouldn't necessarily be counted out for your vote." Besides this misrepresentation, the report also highlighted the issue of denying pro-abortion politicians Communion. CNN correspondent Mary Snow reported that some "critics" state that "the Communion question was created by extremists, and they hope they're shut out of this election cycle." Speaking of "shutting out," conservative and faithful Catholics were not featured at all in the report. Instead, Snow played two sound bites from prominent liberal Catholics.
Instead of the progress that has been made in lowering violence in the country, CNN decided to focus on the "significant price" of the troop surge in Iraq. Tuesday’s "American Morning" reported that the Defense Department had decided to pull an entire brigade out of Iraq. Co-host John Roberts asked Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr "what’s this really mean for the war?" Starr only mentioned the decrease in violence in passing as she reported that the troop surge is "now officially in reverse gear." She did not include figures of this recent downturn in violence, something that only CBS Evening News did among the "Big Three" evening news broadcasts on Monday.
Starr’s report aired at the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour of "American Morning." After she reported which units were sending troops home, Roberts asked her about the "price" of progress in Iraq. "Barbara, a lot of people are talking about progress here in Iraq, but progress comes at a price." In response, Starr highlighted the Bush administration’s lack of pressure on the Iraqi government to work on reconciliation, the shift to working with local groups that may become "armed militias" when the U.S. leaves Iraq, and how "ethnic cleansing" has divided Baghdad.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on November 11 that Dubner, a co-author of "Freakonomics," addressed the Washington (State) Policy Center’s small business conference luncheon on November 8 and mentioned this apparent abortion/crime link during his speech. The link is a claim that Dubner’s co-author, Steven Levitt, first made in a 2001 paper entitled "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime." As Dubner put it during his speech, "Unwanted children are much more likely to become criminals. What happens, then, when your population pool has removed from it a big chunk of the unwanted children?" Dubner and Levitt devoted an entire chapter to the supposed abortion/crime connection in Chapter 4 of "Freakonomics."
As much as the mainstream media like Rudy Giuliani’s liberal viewpoints on abortion and homosexuality, a panel on CNN’s "The Situation Room" were divided on the issue of Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Jack Cafferty, who won MRC’s "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" last year, labeled Robertson as being part of a "lunatic fringe" and opined that the endorsement was "absolutely irrelevant." On the other hand, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin thought the Robertson/Giuliani alliance was a "big deal."
Cafferty and Toobin, along with host Wolf Blitzer and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger discussed the endorsement at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour. Blitzer introduced the roundtable discussion by highlighting the possible "mixed blessing" of Robertson. "While the value of Pat Robertson's endorsement is clearly debatable, he has tended to hitch his wagon to winners in the Republican primary."
Blitzer then introduced the panel, and directed the first question to Cafferty, who took the opportunity to not only criticize Robertson, but also go on one of his rants about the Iraq war.
CNN’s "The Situation Room," a program not known for featuring state legislators, did a live interview on Thursday of "little-known" Virginia state senator, Republican Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, whose liberal stance on gun control earned her the endorsement of Michael Bloomberg. The New York City mayor appeared with Devolites-Davis during the interview. As CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick put it during a report preceding the interview, "Today, the newly turned Independent threw his personal support behind friend and fellow gun critic Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, a Virginia state senator trying hard to get re-elected. His endorsement of a little-known legislator is rare for a man used to playing on a larger stage."
Host Wolf Blitzer introduced Feyerick’s report by highlighting Bloomberg’s apparent influence and his shared ideology with Davis. "...[T]he biggest city mayor is lending his muscle to a lawmaker in another state. Their common cause -- gun control."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, putting on his conspiratorial hat, questioned the timing of Karen Hughes’ resignation from her post at the State Department during the introduction of his "Cafferty File" segment. "Is it just a coincidence... that Karen Hughes left the State Department the day after we found out that the State Department granted some sort of immunity to 17 -- to these Blackwater guards who are suspected in the murders of 17 Iraqi civilians?" Even with this, Cafferty complimented Hughes as one of the "brighter bulbs" in the Bush Administration.
Cafferty then went on to criticize Hillary Clinton’s failure to answer questions she was asked at the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia. "She was also asked about conflicting statements on Social Security, a question she ducked, saying she believed in fiscal responsibility. What the hell does that mean? And when Clinton was asked why she wouldn't release her White House records from the time she was First Lady, her answer was, 'Well, that's not my decision to make.' Baloney, whose decision is it, the Easter Bunny's? Come on." His "Question of the Hour" reflected this criticism. "Why won't Hillary Clinton give a straight answer to the questions she's being asked?"
Sunny Hostin, a legal analyst for CNN’s "American Morning," demonstrated that she could not give an objective analysis on the legality of the death penalty during a segment on Wednesday’s show. Hostin, in a response to a question asked by co-host Kiran Chetry on the future of capitol punishment in the U.S., answered, "I think, as a society, perhaps, now we're moving towards the fact that, perhaps, killing by the state is not humane at all."
This "curious" reply, which came 21 minutes into the 7 am hour of "American Morning," wasn’t the only one Hostin made during the segment. Earlier, Hostin said that "people really are suffering" during lethal injection executions.
The mainstream media’s long march against the Iraq War continues unabated. On October 27, the Washington Post ran a front-page story with an attention-grabbing headline taken from a quote by an American soldier serving in Iraq: "I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life." Two days later on October 29, CNN’s Jack Cafferty on "The Situation Room" used the same quote in his "Question of the Hour:" "What does it say about the conflict in Iraq when troops there are saying things like, 'I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life.' Our soldiers are saying that stuff."
The Post story, written by Joshua Partlow, detailed the experience of American soldiers in a neighborhood of Baghdad called Sadiyah, which is known for its slide into sectarian violence over the past 14 months. The piece seemed to be tailored to put a negative spin on the recent drop in violence across Iraq. For example: "While top U.S. commanders say the statistics of violence have registered a steep drop in Baghdad and elsewhere, the soldiers' experience in Sadiyah shows that numbers alone do not describe the sense of aborted normalcy -- the fear, the disrupted lives -- that still hangs over the city."
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in an early birthday gift of a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," reported that Hillary Clinton’s 2007 was a "so far, so great career year" and was "dedicated to flexing her foreign policy muscle, while reshaping her public image from humorless, wild-eyed liberal to a approachable, reasoned politician." This "wild-eyed liberal" line is an example of the mainstream media only resorting to use the "dreaded ‘L’ word" to reject the reality of her consistently liberal record.
In addition to the obligatory Hillary file footage and sound bites, Doug Hattaway, the campaign spokesman for Gore/Lieberman in 2000 gushed "I think this really long campaign season has really benefitted Senator Clinton. It's given voters a chance to see her for who she really is, not some caricature created by the right-wing attack machine." Hattaway continued, "In the debates, she's been commanding. On the trail, she's been very personable. And that's a really powerful combination."
CNN’s special “worldwide investigation” “Planet in Peril,” in two segments looking at the debate amongst politicians and scientists on whether climate change is a man-made phenomenon, failed to mention that NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen [pictured at right], one the scientists featured in the second segment, has received funding from George Soros, while mentioning that “second biggest contributors to [global warming skeptic Senator James] Inhofe's Senate office are energy and natural resource companies.”
The first segment, which began 8 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday night’s program, examined the political debate over climate change, focusing on “the loudest voice” of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced the segment by referring back to the previous segments of “Planet in Peril,” which looked at the impact of climate change in different parts of the world. “From what we’ve seen in Greenland, Alaska, and Africa, the Earth's climate is clearly changing. It's not a theory. It's a fact. But what's causing those changes? The majority of the scientific community says it's mankind. But there are powerful voices who say otherwise.”
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," asked how the $2.4 trillion, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would be the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, could be better spent. Apparently, Cafferty, who is a well-known opponent of the Iraq war, also thinks that money being spent in Afghanistan for operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban could also be put to better use.
Cafferty’s "Question of the Hour" came 11 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." He included that this figure "amounts to about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country" and that it includes "$700 billion in interest, since these wars are all being fought on borrowed money to begin with. And more than 70% of this money would go to the war in Iraq." Cafferty also included that apparently "as of September 30th, the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $604 billion. That's more than either Korea or Vietnam, and there's no end in sight to this thing."
CNN decided to not to break away from its almost non-stop coverage of the California wildfires as President Bush formally awarded a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan the Medal of Honor, as its competitors Fox News and MSNBC aired the ceremony at the White House live.
The Medal of Honor went to Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who died in the line of duty in 2005 during operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Murphy received the first Medal of Honor awarded from Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush made the decision to give Lt. Murphy the nation’s highest military honor on October 11.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his regular "Cafferty File" segment on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," disdainfully criticized the appointment of a birth control skeptic to head a "family planning" agency at the Department of Health and Human Services by President Bush. "The question this hour is -- how much does it matter if the Bush Administration's appointee to head family planning programs has -- (LAUGHS) has been critical of birth control? This stuff is right out of ‘The Twilight Zone.'"
Cafferty’s comments came in response to the appointment of Susan Orr to the post in HHS, and aired just before the quarter-past-the-hour mark, and at the end of the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Normally, "The Cafferty File" airs 5 minutes earlier at about 10 minutes past the hour, but coverage of the bombing in Karachi, Pakistan near the motorcade of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto pushed it back.
Cafferty began his "Question of the Hour" commentary bouncing off the breaking news about the bombing. He was so "taken aback" by this appointment that he read the introductory remark twice. Cafferty then "frowned upon" (easy for him) the fact that Orr’s position is "acting" director of the agency.
CNN contributor Roland Martin, in an interview on Thursday’s "American Morning" about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s apparent threat against law enforcement officials in a recent speech, tried to explain away the comments as "rhetoric," and tried to put them in the context of "the history of the Nation of Islam." "It is not like it is a surprise when you actually hear the kind of rhetoric."
Co-host Kiran Chetry interviewed Martin near the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN morning show. Chetry played a clip from Farrakhan’s speech that he gave at the recent 12th anniversary of the Million Man March in Atlanta. "Do you want me, as the voice of the honorable Elijah Muhammad, and really a voice of God, to ask our people to retaliate in matters of the flame? A life for a life? Is that what you are driving us to?"
Tuesday’s "The Situation Room" featured two segments with aging rockers who voiced their opposition to Bush administration policies - the first with Crosby and Nash (but not Stills), and the second with Paul Simon. In the first segment, CNN correspondent Carol Costello interviewed the two hippie icons, who compared the Bush administration to a "junta." In the second, host Wolf Blitzer asked Simon about his opposition to President Bush’s veto of the expanded SCHIP program.
Both the Crosby/Nash segment and the Simon segment aired in the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." While Crosby and Nash used fiery rhetoric against Bush, Simon used subdued language. All three wore coats and business shirts, compared to the "rocker garb" of their youth.
Costello interviewed Crosby and Nash at Washington National Cathedral, where the two were to perform at a "peace concert." In their rant against President Bush, Crosby and Nash completed each other’s thoughts, as if they were telepathically-linked.
CNBC host Donny Deutsch appeared on Friday’s "Today" with co-host Meredith Vieira, to get his take on his recent interview of Ann Coulter, and for his response to something Vieira mentioned in the promo for the segment: "We're going to show you what she said, and then, you decide if you think, maybe she should be taken off the airwaves permanently. Some people are actually saying she should not be on television anymore."
During his earlier interview of Coulter, Deutsch compared the conservative writer to Iranian president Ahmadinejad, after Coulter confirmed that she believed all people should be Christians. "Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? Come on, you can't believe that." Coulter made an awkward defense of this belief, which may have dug the hole deeper for the writer, since she immediately responded by saying, "We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say."
Wolf Blitzer’s interview of former president Jimmy Carter on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" demonstrated the CNN host’s catering to prominent liberals. In one question to the former president, Blitzer asked about the ongoing presidential campaigns. "Do any of these candidates, presidential candidates, scare you?" After Carter answered that none of the Democrat candidates scared him, Blitzer asked as follow-up questions, "What about the Republican side?" and "Who scares you the most?"
Later in the interview, Blitzer asked Carter, "By your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture?" Carter’s unequivocal answer: "I don't think it. I know it, certainly." This led to a follow-up question from Blitzer on the question of whether President Bush should be impeached. "But you don't want to see any formal charges or a trial?"
Update, 6:10 PM - Video (4:45): Real (3.50 MB) or Windows (2.91 MB), plus MP3 (2.17 MB)
On Monday’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight," host Lou Dobbs took aim at Katie Couric and Bill Moyers for "silly public statements" they’ve made regarding the practice of wearing an American flag lapel pin. "CBS's Katie Couric, of all people, taking exception to an American journalist saying 'we,' when referring to the United States.... I'm sorry, Katie Couric, but who could possibly be offended by acknowledging those troops who have sacrificed so much for us and ours?... PBS's Bill Moyers says the flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. Oh, please, Bill Moyers, you're too smart for this kind of babble."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in a "Question of the Hour" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," offered a loaded question involving President Bush’s veto of a proposed expansion of the SCHIP program. "President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children?"
Cafferty’s question came 10 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." Before he asked that question, Cafferty detailed that President Bush’s veto of SCHIP "was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors. No fanfare, no news coverage," and the reasons the President listed for his veto. He then added that "this is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq." Cafferty also outlined how under President Bush’s leadership, the ceiling for the national debt has been increased for the fifth time in seven years to $9.8 trillion, and how apparently, President Bush "has borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks since taking office than this country's first 42 presidents combined."
Following ABC’s lead and sixteen years of puffball precedent, a CNN camera crew with an unidentified reporter caught up with Anita Hill in New York City and threw softball questions at her. The interview aired on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The "unidentified male" used the term "painful" in two of his questions to describe Hill’s past in the Clarence Thomas saga. For example, "Do you think your experience, as painful as it was, changed the society and its approach to this particular issue?" I guess that’s the kind of "withering scrutiny from the press" Robin Roberts was referring to on Tuesday’s "Good Morning America."
The full transcript of the Anita Hill interview from Tuesday’s "The Situation Room:"
CNN has highlighted the Media Matters-driven spin on Bill O’Reilly’s race remarks on his radio program since the beginning of the week, and has specifically used "Out in the Open" program, hosted by Rick Sanchez, to carry the water on the subject Monday through Friday of last week.
"Out in the Open" first did a segment on the O’Reilly issue on Monday, at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez played select audio clips from O’Reilly’s radio show, outside of the greater context of the entire hour that O’Reilly discussed race. He also read some of the quotes from a transcript of the radio broadcast. CNN contributor and O’Reilly critic Roland Martin appeared unopposed during the segment, which lasted about six minutes. During the segment, Martin, in his attack on O’Reilly, played-up the parts from O’Reilly’s remarks that both Media Matters and Sanchez chose to highlight.
Ted Turner made a rare appearance on CNN on Wednesday’s "American Morning," and made an odd statement about what his priority was in global affairs. "Well, the two things that I'm most concerned about are the nuclear arsenals and the fact that they are still on hair-trigger alert, the Russian and American arsenals, and if something were to go wrong, or a mistake, and they get accidentally launched, it's the end of the world in an afternoon. I think that's probably the greatest danger that we face. And the second one is probably global warming."
Turner also made a thinly-veiled attack on the Bush Administration while making a prediction about the future of the world. "We're in a dangerous spot, but we can pull it out if we really work together and go to work on it, and do the smart things and stop doing the dumb things, like bombing Third World countries."