Friday’s "Good Morning America" broadcast yet another bad-news-for-Republicans story concerning the party’s chances in the upcoming mid-term elections. In a report from Robin Roberts, three southern women, all either former Republicans or Republicans considering voting for Democratic candidates, were given air time to express their disenchantment with the GOP:
Robin Rasmussen: "I voted Republican in every election since I was 18."
Robin Roberts: "But not this year. Robin Rasmussen is thinking of voting for a Democrat and she’s not alone."
Janna Herbison: "And I used to consider myself to be a Republican."
Tracy Quick Bradford: "...I think that the, the candidates that, that represent the Democratic party this year are most in line with my views."
While former President Bill Clinton is angry with ABC over the content of it’s miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," he shouldn’t find much to complain about regarding the network’s news coverage of his wife. The entire Wednesday edition of ABC’s "Nightline" was devoted to anchor Cynthia McFadden’s day of campaigning with Senator Hillary Clinton in upstate New York. The half hour was full of softball questions and Bush bashing. While no Clinton critics were highlighted in her report, McFadden did find a New York Republican supporter of Clinton who gushed:
Unidentified female: "I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s more beautiful in person. But more than her beauty, she’s genuine and very intelligent and well-spoken."
USA Today reported that gasoline prices could be closer to $2 a gallon by Thanksgiving. The paper sites the end of the summer driving season and decreased demand as causes for this predicted decline. Not surprisingly, CNN’s Jack Cafferty sees something more sinister at work here. Before his daily Cafferty File segment on ‘The Situation Room’ Wednesday afternoon, substitute anchor John King and news reader Zain Verjee discussed this report and cheered on lower gas prices as good news. Cafferty then spouted off the old liberal conspiracy theory connecting Republicans and Big Oil:
Jack Cafferty: "You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away."
For those who were not watching Fox News Channel at 6:30am EDT today, 'Fox and Friends First' had a little bit of fun with CNN anchor Kyra Phillips’ restroom conversation, inadvertently broadcast live Tuesday during President Bush’s speech in New Orleans.
Making light of Phillips’ gaffe, anchor Kiran Chetry, having returned from a commercial break, was interrupted by an off-air "personal" conversation taking place between fellow F&F anchors Steve Doocy and Mike Jerrick.
Looking for a "passionate, compassionate, great, great" man? Well, according to CNN’s Kyra Phillips, they do indeed exist.
During CNN’s live coverage of President Bush’s remarks from New Orleans, Phillips was unaware that her microphone was on and picked up portions of a conversation she was having with another woman, apparently in a CNN restroom. At 12:49pm EDT, those listening carefully could hear Phillips praise her husband:
Phillips: "Yeah, I’m very lucky in that regard with my husband. My husband is handsome and he is genuinely a loving, you know, no ego–you know what I’m saying. Just a really passionate, compassionate great, great human being. And they exist. They do exist. They’re hard to find. Yup. But they are out there."
Phillips also inadvertently revealed how she feels about her sister-in-law:
Phillips: "..Brothers have to be, you know, protective. Except for mine. I’ve got to be protective of him...Yeah. He’s married, three kids, but his wife is just a control freak."
There was more bad news for President Bush during the 4pm EDT hour of Monday's "The Situation Room." In two separate reports from Bill Schneider and Dana Bash, the President was labeled "clueless" on his handling of Hurricane Katrina and Democratic talking points on the subject were repeated yet again.
Schneider’s piece focused on the toll Hurricane Katrina took on President Bush’s poll numbers. CNN’s senior political analyst argued that the President took two hits from Katrina:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush’s self-declared image as a compassionate conservative also took a hit. The public saw a remote, even clueless, President after Katrina struck."
ABC’s Claire Shipman appeared eager to trot out more Democratic hyperbole on President Bush’s handling of Iraq during Tuesday’s "Good Morning America." Setting up Shipman’s piece, GMA anchor Robin Roberts reported on the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, which found President Bush’s overall job approval rating up to 42%. Minutes later, discussing the President’s stance on the war in Iraq, Shipman asserted that during his Monday news conference, the President "offered no real softening of a policy that grows more unpopular by the day, even among Republicans."
An examination of the same USA Today/Gallup poll that Roberts reported on shows that 36% of those polled approve of President Bush’s handling of Iraq. This is actually a one percent increase since USA Today/Gallup last measured public opinion on the issue in July.
Friday’s morning shows largely preferred the JonBenet Ramsey case over yesterday’s district court ruling declaring the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program to be unconstitutional. NBC’s "Today" and CBS’ "The Early Show" limited their reporting on the issue to brief anchor reads, as did their evening news counterparts, as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth previously reported.
"Good Morning America," however, did devote more than a few seconds on the topic, with ABC’s Jessica Yellin reporting from the White House. In her report, Yellin never acknowledged the liberal background of Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, who, Yellin pointed out, "accuses the President of acting like a king" and says the NSA program "blatantly disregards" the parameters established in the Bill of Rights. Yellin labeled the court’s decision a "stinging setback" for President Bush, and highlighted this warning to the President from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley :
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that. It's true that this Congress does not want to--"
During the 4pm EDT hour of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty had a thing or two to say about a U.S. district court judge ruling the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program as unconstitutional. Cafferty attacked the "arrogant" Bush administration for its supposed "abuse of power" and accused the President of lying to the American people and violating his oath of office:
Jack Cafferty: "So what does this mean? It means President Bush violated his oath of office, among other things, when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It means he’s been lying to us about the program since it started, when he’s been telling us there’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing."
On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Jake Tapper’s "exclusive" interview with Bill Clinton was little more than another friendly platform for the former president to attack the current administration. Tapper parroted Clinton’s "warning" for Republicans "hoping to use the London terror arrests to score political points," then failed to challenge any of Clinton’s litany of supposed Republican failures on national security. Moving on to discuss AIDS prevention, Tapper hyped up the work of Clinton’s foundation before asking this softball question regarding "concerns" about abstinence program funding requirements in President Bush’s AIDS initiative: "Do requirements like that hinder the progress of treating and combating AIDS?"
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Diane Sawyer hyped the release of yet another book attacking Christian beliefs. During the 8am half hour, Sawyer interviewed Kathleen McGowan, author of The Expected One. Like The DaVinci Code, The Expected One is premised on the theory that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had children together, and that their bloodline lives on in the present day. It should also be noted that McGowan believes that she herself is a descendant of Christ, which she and Sawyer discussed at length.
When Sawyer asked the author for proof to bolster her "facts" about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the author had no hard evidence to provide :
Sawyer: "For everybody who says, a novel, fine, write a novel, promote a novel. But there’s no proof here. There’s really no proof either of Mary Magdalene and Jesus being together."
McGowan: "That’s absolutely untrue, there’s all kinds of proof."
Sawyer: "Tell me."
McGowan: "It’s just not the traditional academic proof."
During a July 18th segment on the science behind stem cell research with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, American Morning substitute host Carol Costello displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of basic reproductive science. Costello was questioning Cohen on what federal funding for stem cell research would mean for those who had frozen embryos. Cohen explained that scientists with federal grants would seek out these embryos, and it would be up to individuals to decide whether or not to make a donation. Costello showed her confusion on the topic with this question:
Cohen: "These are four-day old embryos. We’re talking about very tiny, tiny embryos."
Costello: "And they’re not fertilized either, right?"
Cohen, forced to correct Costello, gave her a quick explanation of how an embryo is formed:
Once again, CNN has highlighted calls for the impeachment of President Bush. During the 4PM EDT hour of Thursday’s The Situation Room, senior political analyst Bill Schneider reported on the liberal city council of Berkeley, California’s decision to place a measure on the November ballot calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President Cheney. Schneider highlighted the reasons for the city council’s decision to go "one step further" than other liberal municipalities, such as those in Vermont, which passed resolutions calling for impeachment :
This week, the Berkeley, California city council went one step further and put an impeachment measure on the November ballot. The grounds? Lying about the case for war in Iraq, torture of detainees and unlawful domestic spying.
The homepage of NewsBusters.org was displayed on CNN briefly during the 7am EDT hour of American Morning. The blink-and-you'll-miss it moment was during an Andrea Koppel report on the House Republican resolution condeming the New York Times for its publication of a story that revealed a secret government program to track terrorists by monitoring international financial transactions.
The NewsBusters homepage was on-screen during this segment of Koppel's voiceover:
House Republicans are not alone in targeting the New York Times, along with other media. For days, bloggers have been up in arms, while conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh have had a field day.
At 7:30AM EDT on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN’s Miles O’Brien was particularly antagonistic toward Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. O’Brien began the segment by highlighting video of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accusing Republicans of concentrating on issues such as the flag burning amendment, while ignoring more pressing matters. O’Brien jumped at the charge:
Miles O’Brien: "I–the question that a lot of people have on their minds, Senator, is, are you,are you fiddling while Rome is burning?"
O’Brien continued to pound Frist throughout the interview, and cited an editorial from a Chattanooga, Tennessee paper which slammed Frist for his "shameless pandering to conservatives." O’Brien asked the majority leader why Americans were not hearing the message that the Senate was taking action on these issues. Frist turned the tables on O’Brien, charging him for focusing on the Senate debates over same-sex marriage and the flag amendment, while not mentioning: "what we’ve done on the floor for the last six weeks: Iraq, the war on terror, making you safer, yes, cutting your taxes, fighting for fairer tax code over time, addressing border security head-on. Where’s your coverage of that?"Frist then directly answered O’Brien’s charge that Americans are not hearing his message:
Senator Bill Frist: "What you do is concentrate on the things that are spun to you from the other side of the aisle, and that’s why that message doesn’t get out."
What do you do when you’re a cable news network struggling to keep up in the ratings? Do you lure viewers away from your competitor with programming that they would want to watch, or alienate those same viewers by insulting their intelligence?
The latter seems to be the strategy for CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Shortly before 5pm EDT on the June 22 The Situation Room, Cafferty made this remark to substitute host John King after reading viewer responses to his question of the hour:
John King, substitute host: "Jack, I’m glad they always tell you exactly what they’re thinking."
Cafferty: "And, and they’re pretty smart, too."
King: "Yes they are, yes they are. Thank you very much–"
Cafferty: "The dumb ones watch Fox."
King [laughing]: "Ouch! Ouch, ouch, that’s going to bring some more e-mail."
During her much hyped June 20 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actress Angelina Jolie expressed a view that may shock many of her liberal Hollywood friends:
Just because someone’s Republican doesn’t mean that they don’t also, you know, have the capacity to understand or care about children...
This backhanded compliment was in response to Cooper’s adoring praise of activist Jolie’s "non-partisan" efforts to "affect change" in the world. If by non-partisan Cooper meant indirectly attacking the Bush administration and the Iraq war, then Jolie certainly is "non-partisan."
You can certainly see that the amount of money being spent at war, and the amount of money we are not spending in countries and dealing with situations that could end up in conflict if left unassisted, and then cause war. So, so our priorities are quite strange. So we’re not–we’re missing a lot of opportunities to do a lot of the good that America is used to doing, has a history of doing. And we’re not able to be as generous.
More from the two hour Cooper-Jolie lovefest is behind the cut:
In a report on Wednesday's American Morning, CNN entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson reported on the deal between People magazine and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt over the exclusive rights to the photos of the couple’s daughter, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. During her report, Anderson made this rather strange analogy between the birth of Jolie-Pitt and Jesus Christ:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s newborn baby finally arrived on May 27th. Her name, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Some biblical references define Shiloh as, quote, ‘generally understood as denoting the Messiah.’ And perhaps not since Jesus has a baby’s arrival been so eagerly anticipated, at least in some circles.
Perhaps Anderson was attempting to be witty with her remark, having explained the biblical connection to the name Shiloh. Still, one wonders how the arrival of Pitt and Jolie’s child is different from any number of other high-profile births: Britney Spears’ son Sean Preston, Julia Roberts’ twins Hazel and Phinneaus, and of course, who can forget the earthshaking arrival of Suri Cruise?
CNN’s Bill Schneider sounded more like a spokesman for the Democratic Party than a seasoned political analyst during the 4pm EDT hour of today’s The Situation Room. In his report on the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and the impact it will have on the 2006 mid-term elections, Schneider opined over a picture of Bush looking out the window of Air Force One:
"The President’s image of compassion was shaky to begin with, even though he calls himself a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it."
That zinger met with strong approval, not surprisingly, from Schneider’s colleague, Jack Cafferty during his Cafferty File segment minutes after Schneider’s report: "Great line from Bill Schneider. ‘Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it.’"
Continuing their endless media blitz to promote their latest album, the Dixie Chicks were Larry King’s guests May 31. When asked by King about her 2003 remarks at a London concert where she said she was ashamed that President Bush was a fellow Texan, lead singer Natalie Maines maintained that her "genius" comment was spontaneous and that she believed she was "defending" America.
Natalie Maines: They [the comments] were not planned. That genius comes to me off-the-cuff...I felt like I was defending America by saying that we don’t all think the same and you can’t just call us Americans like we have one voice and one opinion.
Whatever her intentions may have been, her swipe at the President was read by many fans of the group as an easy way to score some applause from a friendly audience overseas.
Newsbusters readers who had the misfortune of watching CNN May 30 were not experiencing deja vu. Democratic Congressman John Murtha was interviewed on not one, not two, but three separate network programs throughout the day. Murtha’s day of CNN appearances began with an interview conducted by American Morning's Soledad O'Brien, followed by a late afternoon exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Anderson Cooper 360 viewers, not to be left out, were treated to a pre-taped interview between Cooper and Murtha during the 10pm hour.
While O’Brien and Blitzer were eager to hear Murtha equate the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, only Cooper questioned whether Murtha might be rushing to condemn the Marines before the official investigation is complete.
Cooper: "Congressman Murtha, you believe the military investigation will ultimately show that the, the troops in Haditha, quote, ‘overreacted because of the pressure on them and killed innocent civilians in cold blood.’ That’s a quote from you. How are you so sure at this point? The investigation isn’t even complete."
Good Morning America and Today weren’t alone in expressing their enthusiasm over the return of Al Gore to the public eye. At 4:30PM EDT on CNN’s The Situation Room, political analyst Bill Schneider not only promoted Gore’s new global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, but a potential Gore candidacy for president, as well. Schneider gushed:
Wolf, the new Al Gore movie opens today. Is it a star is born or could it be a political star is reborn? Could this be Al Gore’s moment?
Schneider applauded the timing of the documentary’s release and claimed Truth is "not overtly partisan," before using clips from the film to slam President Bush over one of his "greatest failures." Pointing to Richard Nixon’s comeback win for the White House in 1968, Schneider seemed to express glee that history could repeat itself in Gore’s favor:
It’s not very often that a reporter for a major cable news network will openly express their desire to see political change, but viewers of CNN’s In The Money on May 13 heardjust that. CNN Headline News correspondent Jennifer Westhoven was interviewing the New America Foundation’s Len Nichols, along with Money host Jack Cafferty and CNN business contributor Andy Serwer, on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Following Nichols’ conclusion that the Bush administration was "far right of the edge" on health care policy, Westhoven wrapped up the interview by expressing her desire to see "different" political leaders [i.e. Democrats] in office.
Len Nichols: "...I would say it’s very important to keep a distinction between the Bush administration’s philosophy and Republican philosophy. In my opinion, the Bush administration is the far-right of the edge, and most Republicans are not there, which is why Chuck Grassley, the chair of Senate Finance, among others, have worked very hard to try to correct the mistakes of this implementation process and I think as we go forward we do have hope of bipartisan success."
Jennifer Westhoven: "Len Nichols, director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation. Thank you very much. And we will hope that there’ll be maybe some different political leaders at some point, maybe after the elections, who are looking out for people who are getting left out by some of these programs. Thank you."
During today's 4pm EDT hour of CNN's The Situation Room, Jack Cafferty expressed his "outrage" over the revelation that the National Security Agency has been compiling a national database of phone records from AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Referring to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter’s demand that the phone companies testify before Congress regarding this issue, Cafferty angrily stated that Specter could be the one preventing the United States from becoming a "full-blown dictatorship."
Wolf Blitzer: "Let’s get some words of wisdom from Jack Cafferty. He’s in New York right now. Jack?"
Jack Cafferty: "I don’t know about wisdom, but you’ll get a little outrage. We better all hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cause he might be all that’s standing between us and a full-blown dictatorship in this country. He’s vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records and yours and tens of millions of other Americans. Shortly after 9/11, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth began providing the super-secret NSA with information on phone calls of millions of our citizens. All part of the war on terror, President Bush says. Why don’t you go find Osama bin Laden and seal the country’s borders and start inspecting the containers that come into our ports?"
Has Anderson Cooper been a source of inspiration for you or someone you know? From staging demonstrations to adopting children, Oprah wants to hear about it! According to TVNewser, Oprah appears to be preparing a segment dedicated to the CNN anchor, and is asking viewers to write about how Cooper’s reporting has inspired them to "take action."
The Oprah Winfrey Show website lists a few examples of what they are seeking:
It’s not unfair that CNN reported on difficult times for the Republican-led Congress. However, in Bill Schneider’s report for CNN’s The Situation Room this afternoon, there was virtually no mention of how the Democrats in the House and Senate may have contributed to the low approval ratings for the legislative branch.
Schneider’s report, which aired at 4:30pm EDT, blamed the low poll numbers on several factors, while barely implicating Democrats in Congress’ inaction. Instead, Schneider wondered "how low" can GOP lawmakers go?
"Approval of Congress has dropped from 35 to 25 percent. Why? Oh let’s see. Congress can’t pass immigration reform. They can’t pass a budget. They can’t even control their own spending. Ethics? Don’t get us started. Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and now a Democrat, William Jefferson, under investigation."
Count CNN’s Bill Schneider among those in the media who are all too eager to stoke the public’s anger over rising gas prices. In a report this afternoon on The Situation Room, Schneider highlighted the President’s low approval ratings on gas prices, and predicted gloom and doom for the Republican party:
Schneider: "President Bush’s job approval is down to 33 percent in the latest CBS News poll. His approval rating on gas prices, 17 percent. Yikes!..The political impact is dramatic. In January, about equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats said they felt more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. Now, Democrats have a clear edge. Republican voters seem to be demoralized."
Schneider then promoted Democratic conspiracy theories regarding Republicans and the business sector:
Appearing on CNN’s The Situation Room April 20, real estate executive, and star of NBC’s The Apprentice, Donald Trump discussed his views of the Iraq war. During the 5:30pm interview, anchor Wolf Blitzer tried several times to get "the Donald" to use his famous catchphrase from his reality show to describe what he would do to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld if he were his boss:
Wolf Blitzer: "All right, now here’s the question. If Don Rumsfeld worked for you, what would you say to him?"
Trump: "Well, I know what you want me to say, you want me to say, ‘You’re fired.’ But I wouldn’t necessarily say that..."
Blitzer: "Why wouldn’t you fire Donald Rumsfeld if he worked for you, and helped get you into this mess, as you described it, in Iraq?"
Trump: "Well, I’m not saying I wouldn’t fire him. I’m saying I don’t think the President will...I don’t think this President will fire Secretary Rumsfeld."
Blitzer: "But let me press you. Would you?"
Blitzer was finally satisfied when Trump stated that he would "make a change" and would "get out of that war as soon as possible."
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider was eager to tout yesterday’s illegal immigration rallies as a "consciousness-raising moment" for Hispanics who harbor "resentment" against those who feel illegal immigration is a serious problem facing the United States. Schneider was discussing the effect of the protests on the 2006 mid-term elections with American Morning co-host Miles O’Brien:
Miles O’Brien: "According to the numbers I’ve seen, Jon Kyl [Republican Senator from Arizona who is up for re-election in 2006] is–has a comfortable margin of lead right now, has taken a pretty conservative stand on immigration. Think those numbers will narrow over this issue?"
Bill Schneider: "Well, that’s what he and probably a lot of people are worried about, namely, what–to what extent are those demonstrators going to become, become is the key word, a political force? They have not been in the past. But this looks like a consciousness-raising moment, because so much of these demonstrations were really spontaneous..."
Kudos to CNN reporter Drew Griffin for reporting on a potential Democratic scandal that the majority of the mainstream media seems to have ignored. Griffin highlighted allegations that liberal Democratic Congressman John Conyers violated House ethics rules by ordering members of his staff to perform such non-official duties as tutoring and baby-sitting his children. These complaints of rules violations were filed against Conyers, the powerful ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, by former members of his staff. Griffin reported:
"What this is about, Soledad, is ethics on Capitol Hill and who is and who is not doing anything to investigate when members of Congress are accused themselves of violating the rules. What we found out is former staff members of Congressman John Conyers of Detroit had been complaining about him for years. One says she was expected to baby-sit the boss’ kids for weeks at a time."