At 9:15am on CNN’s American Morning, senior political analyst Bill Schneider reported that President Bush declassified national security information in order to discredit a critic of the administration. In doing so, he promoted Democratic attacks against the President for being "hypocritical" in "leaking" information from the National Intelligence Estimate [NIE]. Schneider did acknowledge that it was legal for the President to declassify this information, but then took this shot at him:
Bill Schneider: "Well, the White House doesn't really want to get into a discussion of this issue. For one thing, it makes the President look a little, well, shall we say, hypocritical?...It was not a crime for the President to do that because, as the attorney in the White House said, anything he authorizes is instantly declassified. But it does make the President look a little foolish and deceptive, because this leak was authorized, again, according to Mr. Libby, to discredit a political critic of the administration. It was authorized for political reasons, and that’s a little bit embarrassing."
CBSEvening News anchor Bob Schieffer praised Katie Couric’s selection as his successor in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer aired during the 4pm EDT hour, and again in the 7pm EDT hour, of Thursday's The Situation Room. As MRC analyst Brian Boyd reported here, CBS correspondent Andy Rooney appeared on the April 5 Imus in the Morning radio program, where he told Don Imus that he was "not enthusiastic" about Couric’s hiring, and that "I don’t know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she’s coming here." When Schieffer was asked about Rooney’s comments, he politely disagreed with his colleague.
Bob Schieffer: "Well, if he says he didn’t know anyone I, I hate to tell you, Andy, but you must have not talked to me, because I’m pleased she’s coming here, so I’d have to question you on that. You know, I, I learned a long time ago that I let everybody speak for themselves. That’s Andy’s view. That’s what, you know, that’s what Andy does. He, he speaks his mind. I, I just don’t agree with him. He’s a great friend of mine but I don’t agree with him on that."
Count CNN’s Jack Cafferty among the growing number of reporters who have expressed disdain towards those who criticize the mainstream media. During his 4pm EST "Cafferty File" segment on Thursday's The Situation Room, Cafferty was all riled up to take on those who believe the MSM’s coverage of Iraq has failed to report on progress being made there:
"This is nonsense. It’s the media’s fault and the news isn’t good in Iraq. The news isn’t good in Iraq. There’s violence in Iraq. People are found dead every day in the streets of Baghdad. This didn’t turn out the way the politicians told us it would. And it’s our fault? I beg to differ."
During the 11pm hour of the March 21 Anderson Cooper 360, Cooper moderated a discussion on the media’s coverage of Iraq. Among those featured in the debate was Baghdad bureau chief for Time magazine, Michael Ware, who asserted that the "main winners" in Iraq were al-Qaeda and "superstar of international jihad" Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Cooper started off the debate by asking conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt why he believes that the public is only hearing bad news out of Iraq. Hewitt slammed the media:
"Anderson, I think the coverage of the Iraq invasion right from the start, all the way through to the present day, has been abysmal in the mainstream media...A lot of new media that goes to Iraq, whether it’s Michael Totten, whether it is Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, whether it’s Victor Davis Hanson or Laura Ingraham or, especially, Robert Kaplan, whose book, Imperial Grunts, is must reading on this, report back enormous progress being made in the country."
Ware sounded defensive as he went after those who dared to criticize the media:
"All of these critics who are saying that we’re not telling the good news stories, I’d like to know just how many of them have spent any time here on the ground? Or any of these people who are reporting the good news from within the belly of the U.S. military, how much time have they spent on the Iraqi street?"
Following up on Brent Baker's report on the network coverage of Helen Thomas' exchange with President Bush during this morning's presidential press conference, it should be noted that during the 5pm hour of today's The Situation Room, the former UPI White House bureau chief sat down for an interview with anchor Wolf Blitzer. Thomas admitted that she "sort of" apologized to President Bush for her condemnation of him as "the worst president ever." However, it didn't take long for Thomas to resume her attacks on the Bush administration, which she slammed for "encouraging all of the horror that's going on" in Iraq. Thomas also placed the blame for the deaths of innocent civilians not on the terrorists, but on the United States.
Helen Thomas: "In this case, in the case of the President and his cohorts, I think they have really spread war throughout the Middle East. They have really encouraged all of the horror that's going on. We have killed so many innocent people.."
To paraphrase that famous George Santayana phrase, perhaps political reporters who highlight liberal efforts to embarrass the President on Friday are destined to find those same moves inadequate on Monday. Having awarded liberal Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold with the "political play of the week" for his motion to censure President Bush on the March 17 The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider during today’s 4pm hour wondered why the senator isn’t proposing impeachment.
Bill Schneider: "Wolf, the philosopher George Santayana wrote those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But sometimes that happens with those who remember the past all too well. Senator Russ Feingold’s motion to censure President Bush raises a question. If he believes the President broke the law, why isn’t the senator proposing impeachment?"
Schneider then highlighted four panels from the March 19 Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau’s left-wing cartoon strip:
Anderson Cooper sounded more like a political pundit than an objective journalist during a discussion with Time columnist Joe Klein on March 17 on the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Cooper expressed outrage that "none of us have been asked to sacrifice" during this time of war, while Klein asked, "why aren't we collecting clothing for the children of Iraq," even though there are numerous organizations and programs established to do just that.
First, though, Cooper set up Klein to take this shot at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
Anderson Cooper: "I mean, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, there’s a lot of people who’ve been calling for his head, and you’ve talked to a lot of people in the Pentagon who are surprised he’s still there. But he looks like he’s–there’s no sign of him going."
Joe Klein: "Rumsfeld ran the most criminally incompetent military campaign, you know, in, in, in the last 100 years, perhaps in American history."
On Friday afternoon’s The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider touted Senator Russ Feingold’s motion to censure President Bush as his choice for this week’s "political play of the week," heaping this praise upon him: "Spines, backbones, they help you stand up for what you believe. Of course it’s risky, that’s what a play of the week is all about. Senator Feingold did not choose an easy issue to confront the President on, like allowing an Arab government-owned company to operate U.S. ports. He chose wiretapping conversations with suspected terrorists and that’s a tough one." Earlier in his piece, Schneider played a soundbite of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggesting Feingold was displaying "principle." That prompted Schneider to recall Ronald Reagan: "Imagine that. Acting on principle need not be political suicide. Ronald Reagan gave Republicans a healthy injection of principle just when they needed it, after Watergate." (Transcript follows.)
On CNN’s American Morning, U.S. News & World Report Editor-At-Large David Gergen fretted that Republican Senator John McCain may be transforming into a "hard-core conservative" after McCain expressed his support for President Bush at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tennessee on March 10. Responding to a question from co-host Miles O’Brien on the conference’s straw poll of potential Republican 2008 presidential candidates, Gergen worried that McCain’s support of the President may threaten his image as a "straight-talking" moderate.
David Gergen: "But the big news out of, out of Memphis was also John McCain swinging so forcefully behind President Bush. And he’s, he’s clearly making a move now to become the heir apparent to President Bush. The big question over John McCain right now is in moving behind President Bush, does he threaten to blur the, the portrait of him as a, as a maverick, independent, straight-talking, moderate conservative? Or does he become, begin to become another Bush hard-core conservative?"
During the 5pm hour of this evening’s The Situation Room, CNN senior national correspondent John Roberts devoted a portion of his report from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference [SRLC] in Memphis, Tennessee to highlight one potential GOP presidential candidate that most people have likely never heard of. Roberts set up the exchange with Dr. Mark Kline in the live portion of his report:
John Roberts: "His name is Dr. Mark Kline. He’s a psychiatrist from California who is launching an exploratory campaign for president."
Shortly thereafter, the taped exchange between Roberts and Kline was shown:
Roberts: "So, Dr. Kline, you’re–you’ve launched an exploratory committee here for president. What do you, what do you think of the current administration?"
Dr. Mark Kline: "I think this is actually the worst administration I’ve ever seen in my entirelife."
Think the mainstream media has let go of its anger over the events surrounding the release of Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting accident to the press? Judging from the tone of his comments on today’s American Morning, CNN’s senior national correspondent John Roberts certainly has not. Roberts, formerly biased over at CBS News as the MRC’s Rich Noyes reported here, appeared shortly after 8am to discuss President Bush’s speech in India. After trumpeting the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showing the job approval numbers for the President slipping, Roberts attributed the decline to a "tired" White House staff.
John Roberts: "But there’s no question that the people at the White House have, you know, they’re almost like the gang that can’t shoot straight–"
That’s when Roberts took his shot at the White House and Cheney:
Roberts: "–and when they do shoot straight, they don’t tell people about it for 24 hours. But the problem could be that they’re, they’re suffering real fatigue there, that they’re burned out, that they need to bring in some new blood."
The transcript of the segment with American Morning co-host Miles O'Brien is behind the cut.
While Jon Stewart and George Clooney have denied any disconnect between Hollywood and middle America, as reported by Tim Graham here, today’s American Morning aired a piece shortly before 8am that seems to disprove what these members of the liberal Hollywood elite were claiming. CNN entertainment reporter Brooke Anderson spoke to residents of small town Lebanon, Kansas, who expressed their view that Hollywood is not honoring or promoting the type of films that they enjoy.
Randy Maus, Lebanon resident: "Out here, at least in rural America, where it’s–you could say it’s the Bible belt, we’re still looking for movies that have creative substance and a storyline."
Unidentified Female: "We’re just not interested in all the sex and skin."
Brooke Anderson: "What kind of movies do you want Hollywood to make?"
Unidentified Female: "What about Sound of Music and some of those?"
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, used his February 27 appearance on Larry King Live to take some political jabs at the Bush administration. Stewart launched several attacks against the Bush White House, including his charge that the administration has "shown no real credibility."
Jon Stewart: "...My mind has been blown just so consistently by this administration’s insistence on their own competence without ever, sort of, delivering, kind of, any sort of evidence to that...They say trust us, everything’s fine. Yet,they’ve shown no real credibility."
In response to a question on the public’s reaction over the controversial deal between the U.S. and a United Arab Emirates-owned company to manage six American ports, Stewart went on the attack again:
Stewart: "I keep wondering what it takes to get fired from this administration. It seems like, literally, the worse you do, the bigger the medal you get."
The rest of Stewart’s liberal talking points are behind the cut.
During this afternoon’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty mocked the President for referring to the Bush administration as "my government." Yesterday morning, President Bush, while responding to a reporter’s question on the controversy surrounding the management of six U.S. ports being turned over to a United Arab Emirates-owned company, remarked that the transaction had been vetted by "my government" and that the ports would remain secure.
This innocuous phrase seemed to tick Cafferty off during his daily Cafferty File segment shortly before 4:15pm.
Jack Cafferty: "Is it still Bush’s government? Remember in the cabinet meeting he said, don’t worry about security, my government has taken a look at this and everything’s alright?..That’s unbelievable."
Silly as this may sound, Cafferty took great offense that the President of the United States had referred to his administration as, well, his. Cafferty, bafflingly, interpreted "my government" to mean that President Bush had decided to take sole ownership of the U.S. government. When anchor Wolf Blitzer reassured Cafferty that it is indeed "our government," Cafferty fired back angrily:
Cafferty: "Well, not, not according to President Bush it isn’t. It’s my government, he said."
Following up on Brent Baker’s earlier posting on this topic, the networks are not the only ones reluctant to apply the term "partial-birth abortion" in reporting on the Supreme Court decision to review whether a federal law banning the procedure is constitutional. Shortly before 10:30pm on the February 21 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, substitute host John King discussed the issue with legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. The term "partial birth" was referred to only twice in the segment by King, who made sure to note that it was a term used by "critics" of the procedure.
Toobin, for his part, fretted that the partial-birth abortion ban, along with parental notification laws, was part of a strategy from "pro-life forces" to "chip away" at the, apparently set in stone "right" to abortion. To Toobin’s credit, he did mention the popular support for these "later-term abortion restrictions" by the American public.
Jeffrey Toobin: "This is part of a strategy that the pro-life forces have followed for many years, which is that chip away at the right, parental consent laws, later-term abortion restrictions. That’s been effective and the Court has–it is also politically much more popular than regulating early-term abortions. These, these laws, like later-term abortion restrictions, are pretty popular with the public."
A full transcript of the exchange is behind the cut.
On the February 18th edition of CNN’s In the Money, CNN business contributor Andy Serwer took a cheap shot at U.S. foreign policy during a discussion on lower than expected ratings for the Winter Olympics in Torino. CNN’s resident curmudgeon, Jack Cafferty, pointed to disappointing performances from some U.S. athletes as a possible reason for NBC's woes. This led Serwer to make this comparison:
Andy Serwer: "You know, it kind of reminds me, I hate to say this, but the performance of the U.S. Olympic team kind of reminds me of what we’re doing around the world."
Serwer continued, over the laughter of Cafferty and CNN correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, by calling the performance of the U.S. Olympic team "spotty" and "raggedy,"and made this surprising statement disparaging U.S. wins:
Serwer: "You know, we’ve got some unexpected victories, but, you know, kind of rolling my eyes, right?"
The transcript of the full exchange is behind the cut. (Hat tip: Free Market Project's Ken Shepherd)
Viewers of today's American Morning on CNN were treated to co-host Miles O'Brien's view of scientists who dare question the validity of global warming. In a debate between Reverend Jim Ball, director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Reverend Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics commission, shortly after 8:15am, O'Brien revealed his beliefs.
Miles O'Brien: "You know, I know that science and religion are often at odds, but the scientific evidence is overwhelming at this point. Are you denying that?"
Reverend Richard Land: "There are scientists who deny it. There are scientists who've said -- "
O'Brien: "Scientists who are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually."
Land: "Well, not, not necessarily. I'm not going-"
Shortly before 8am EST Wednesday on CNN's American Morning, co-host Miles O'Brien expressed outrage at Cindy Sheehan's ejection from the House of Representatives during Tuesday evening's State of the Union address, declaring that her free speech had been "thwarted." Mr. O'Brien incorrectly stated that soon after Ms. Sheehan entered the gallery, and revealed that she was wearing an anti-war T-shirt, security went up to her and "grabbed her and took her out of her seat." When it was pointed out to Mr. O'Brien that Ms. Sheehan, prior to her removal, had been ordered to cover up the shirt, which was in violation of a House rule against any form of demonstration in the galleries, he brushed off the issue and revealed the source of his information: Cindy Sheehan's own blog entry posted on left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore's website.
Does President Bush resemble Adolf Hitler and Satan? That seemed to be the implication during the 9am half hour of CNN's American Morning. A protester wearing a George W. Bush mask, complete with a colored in Hitler-esque mustache and red horns attached to the forehead was deemed a Bush "look-alike" by reporter Susan Roesgen. In her report on how the bureaucracy at FEMA is delaying federal funds for rebuilding New Orleans, Roesgen highlighted a group of female Catholic school students demonstrating for money to repair the city's levees. The students, as Roesgen noted, "hoped the President would stop by" the protest. It was then that the demonstrator wearing the Bush mask was highlighted on camera, while Roesgen narrated, "But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." The "wad of cash" in the demonstrator's hand was actually several phony dollar bills mocking the Bush administration.
Susan Roesgen: "City officials aren’t the only ones wondering when federal money will materialize. Catholic school girls marched on Jackson Square. They and their teachers say more money is needed to fix the levees, and they hoped the President would stop by after his meeting with business leaders. But while a look-alike showed up with a wad of cash, Mr. Bush did not." Real Player or Windows Media
Closing out a slow news week on CNN’s American Morning today, anchor Miles O’Brien couldn’t resist taking a potshot at the Iraq war. O’Brien was discussing singer Willie Nelson’s brand of alternative fuel, "BioWillie," with co-host Carol Costello shortly before 6:30 am. Costello noted that Nelson views his product as an anti-war statement, "He says, why not grow--grow our own fuel, instead of starting wars over it?" In response, O’Brien quipped, "Well, then, we’d have to invade Nebraska. Get the corn, right?"
The transcript of the brief exchange follows below.
CNN’s promotion of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war crusade continued on today’s American Morning. During the show’s Top Five in ‘05 segment, anchor Carol Costello profiled ‘The Peace Mom’ who "forced the nation and President Bush to take a long, hard look at the war," as number three in their countdown. And while a billion Catholics worldwide may disagree, CNN actually ranked Sheehan’s "national movement" and "worldwide spectacle" higher than the legacy of one of the most influential religious leaders of our time, Pope John Paul II, number four on American Morning’s list.
During the mostly fluff piece on Sheehan and her "fight," one line was particularly laughable. Costello asserted, "Love Cindy Sheehan or loathe her, the one thing that was almost impossible to do in 2005 was to ignore her." CNN helped make that possible, thanks to their constant coverage of Sheehan's every move from Crawford to D.C. to her most recent trip to Britain, as reported by Newsbusters.
A full transcript from the 9:45 am segment follows below.
As one might have suspected, ABC's Good Morning America did not grant nearly the same amount of coverage to President Bush's improving poll numbers in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, as they did to his declining ratings over a month ago when the program unfavorably compared Bush's low numbers to LBJ's.
The new ABC poll, which shows Bush's approval rating rising eight points to 47 percent, was hidden in a two-sentence story read by news anchor Robin Roberts shortly before 7:15 this morning. In contrast, an earlier ABC News poll showing Bush's approval rating down to 39 percent merited a full report from national correspondent Claire Shipman on November 4th. In that report, Shipman declared that while the 39 percent rating was "grim," the noteworthy story from the poll was "the White House hemorrhaging on those issues of trust and credibility." In the November 2nd poll, Shipman reported that "just 40 percent call President Bush honest and trustworthy," which she deemed "extremely bad news." Did GMA note this morning that Bush's ratings on the issues of trust and credibility had rebounded to 49 percent? Of course not.
As reported by Brent Baker in today's CyberAlert, on December 13th, during the second hour of Anderson Cooper 360, CNN highlighted Cindy Sheehan's trip to England, where she traveled to spread her anti-war message. CNN correspondent Paula Newton championed Sheehan as "America's most famous bereaved mom" who "isn't challenged on her opinions about President Bush here in Britain." Newton's piece also featured a British woman who "says she will stop Tony Blair a la Sheehan." The woman, of Stop the War-U.K., declared that President Bush is "nothing but a warmonger."
The transcript from today's CyberAlert continues below.
An interesting contrast occurred on the morning shows regarding ExxonMobil’s record high quarterly earnings. Over at CNN’s American Morning, Miles O’Brien and Andy Serwer fretted over ExxonMobil’s announcement, with O’Brien declaring it the, “outrage moment of the morning.” Meanwhile, Good Morning America’s financial contributor Mellody Hobson explained how the profits were a result of supply and demand. Hobson explained to ABC’s Charlie Gibson how the “outrage” over these profits are “not warranted” and “the oil companies have nothing to do with how gas prices are set.”
On CNN’s American Morning, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was quick to attach the “very conservative” label to possible Supreme Court nominees Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and Michael Luttig. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, however, Toobin deems to be “a lot more politically appealing.”
At 9:55 am, Toobin did not merely state that Owen was a conservative judge on the Texas state supreme court.
During an appearance on CNN's American Morning, Al Franken repeated once more his "joke" that Karl Rove and Lewis Libby will "definitely be executed" for their involvement in the CIA leak investigation. When asked by substitute host Zain Verjee during the 8:20 am interview about the investigation, Franken maintained that Rove and Libby had committed treason.
Zain Verjee: "So you, you and your other liberal friends really salivating the prospect of seeing an indictment here?"
Al Franken: "Well–"
Verjee: "Are you out in your apartments sort of having a good laugh and–"
Franken: "Yes. Well, I’ll tell you why. Because there is an important aspect to this. This is really about covering for lying about why we went to Iraq. So what I see and, and of course, it looks like definitely Rove and Libby outed a CIA agent, an undercover CIA agent, which George H.W. Bush, the president’s father, who was head of the CIA, called treason. So I think, you know, people ask me what’s going to happen. I–this is treason and I think Libby and Rove definitely be executed. I think that’s, you know, I’m not–I’m against the death penalty."
As reported by Brent Baker in today’s CyberAlert, Wolf Blitzer was taken aback by CNN founder Ted Turner’s defense of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and his treatment of the North Korean people. Turner disputes Blitzer's charge that the North Korean leader's regime is "despotic", insisting, "he didn't look too much different than most other people." When Turner declared we should "give 'em a break," and insisted that North Korea poses a "non-existent" threat to the U.S., Blitzer suggested North Korean missiles could reach Alaska. In response, Turner stated: "Well, what, the Aleutian Islands? There's nothing up there but a few sea lions."