MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow “apologized” on Friday for her false report the previous night that conservative public relations executive Craig Shirley was somehow behind a Web site that hosted incendiary anti-Obama video, a site funded by a group called Grassfire.org. “I apologize for saying that they [Shirley & Banister Public Affairs] were still currently involved in representing Grassfire. They are not,” she admitted.
Undeterred, Maddow then ludicrously tried to impugn Shirley & Banister by connecting them to the anti-ObamaCare protests (as if that would be a bad thing) through a convoluted set of associations. She then displayed Friday’s NewsBusters’ article on her wrong reporting as evidence that “right-wing Web sites” were using “threats and intimidation” to pressure Maddow to back off.
“I will not and we will not be intimidated out of covering the news,” Maddow pompously declared.
On her MSNBC show last night, the left-wing Air America host Rachel Maddow took a swipe at the conservative Shirley & Banister Public Affairs firm, specifically President and CEO Craig Shirley. Maddow accused Shirley of being behind a grassroots Web site funded by the group Grassfire.org, based on a research provided by the “independent watchdog group Public Citizen,” and she showed still images from an incendiary “Obama=Hitler” video that’s posted on the Grassfire’s ResistNet.com Web site.
But Maddow was wrong. The Public Citizen web page she cited is several years old. Shirley & Banister hasn’t represented Grassfire.org since 2004. And Diana Banister, a partner and Vice President at Shirley & Banister, told NewsBusters that Maddow’s false report has led to hate mail and even death threats to the public relations firm. (Let’s see if the left-wing thuggery gets any attention from the MSM.)
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
From time to time, our analysts at the Media Research Center have compiled in one location the research we have in our files on a major news celebrity. By pulling all of the worst quotes and video clips into a single Web page, we hope that these “Profiles in Bias” can be a useful resource for anyone looking into the topic of media bias or looking for background on a network news personality.
This summer, we’re pulling together reports on the big morning news anchors. MRC’s Kyle Drennen, who watches The Early Show for us, has assembled all of the worst bias from CBS’s Harry Smith, who has co-hosted the show since 2002. Previously, Smith co-hosted CBS’s This Morning from 1987 to 1996; he also occasionally fills in as host of Face the Nation and anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The package Kyle assembled, “A Smattering of Harry Smith’s Liberal Smugness,” contains the worst quotes from the past 20 years. A sample of what he uncovered in his research follows the jump; for the full package, including nearly a dozen video clips, visit www.MRC.org.
Would you believe that Dan Rather is calling on former President George W. Bush to lead a blue-ribbon effort to reform the news media? Well, obviously, the disgraced ex-CBS News anchor is not trusting the future of journalism to Bush, but in an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post, he is asking President Barack Obama “form a commission to address the perilous state of America’s news media.”
Rather insists he is not asking for any kind of a “government bailout” or “government control” of the media, just a high-profile discussion of the state of the media:
Why bring the President into it? Because this is the only way I could think of to generate the sort of attention this subject deserves. Academia and think tanks generate study after study, yet their findings don't reach the people who need to be reached....
There’s something deeply wrong with journalism that scrutinizes and criticizes the institutions of free and successful nations, but produces puff pieces on the supposed achievements of totalitarian dictatorships. On Thursday, CNN aired a piece of Communist Party propaganda about how Cuba could serve as “a model for health care reform” in the United States, complete with an authoritative sound bite from an American medical expert, identified only as someone “who’s lived and worked in Cuba for decades.”
But the expert, Gail Reed, is a longtime admirer of the Cuban revolution, married to the Cuban official who served as ambassador to Grenada in the early 1980s when U.S. troops liberated the island from hardline communists who had executed the leftist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. She's also worked at Granma, Cuba’s official communist party newspaper.
Correspondent Morgan Neill also recited all of the standard tropes about how Cuban health care is the best in Latin America, is completely free, and “no one falls through the cracks.” While he acknowledged that “critics charged that conditions in Cuban hospitals are appalling and that Cubans had to pay bribes to get decent care,” nearly all of the August 6 report was positive.
In Friday’s Washington Post business section, columnist Steven Pearlstein — who last week condemned the conservative “fantasy” that raising taxes is damaging to the economy — blasted Republicans as “political terrorists” who are “poisoning the political well” by peddling “lies” about liberal health care plans, lies that are “so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage.”
"As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree," Pearlstein claimed before warning: "Today, I'm going to step over that line."
But the “facts” Pearlstein uses to slam the anti-ObamaCare “terrorists” line up better with Democratic talking points than the analysis of non-partisan sources such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). For instance, Pearlstein claims it is a lie that the Democratic bills would push people out of private insurance, that it is a lie that the price tag is $1 trillion, and trumpets “offsetting savings” as bringing the cost down to “less than 1 percent of a national income that grows at an average rate of 2.5 percent every year.”
ABC was embarrassed last week by NewsBusters’ exposure of how their new senior medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser of the federal Centers for Disease Control, donated $400 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, presumably an indication of his political sympathies. An ABC News spokeswoman, Cathie Levin, defended Besser to the Associated Press, arguing that he’s a doctor “whose job it is to give impartial and unvarnished advice and he’ll be able to do the same for a television audience.”
Maybe Besser can indeed separate his political views from his reporting on health care, but a review of campaign finance records at OpenSecrets.org finds that CBS’s Dr. Jon LaPook and NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman have also chipped in their own cash to Democratic — but never Republican — candidates. And both correspondents, along with Besser’s future ABC colleague, Dr. Tim Johnson, have showered the liberal Obama health care plan with fawning press. Details:
So how unusual is it for a new President to be featured seven times on Time’s cover, as Barack Obama has been (with First Lady Michelle Obama snagging her own solo appearance)? A look back at Time’s covers finds Bill Clinton matched Obama’s celebrity in 1993 — seven covers for himself, one for Hillary. But the last three Republican Presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush — were given relatively short shrift. (Larger images below the jump.)
Indeed, looking at the covers from when those three Republicans won the presidency through early August of their first year in office, Reagan and the two Bushes combined were only featured seven times — and it would have been only six if Reagan hadn’t been shot by an attempted assassin (April 13, 1981 cover story).
Liberal hopes for a quick health care bill are in collapse, as Senate Democrats push any floor action off until the fall, a move House Democrats may match this week. But if the Obama White House is upset that their plans for a huge expansion of government health care have been delayed, they surely cannot complain about the media coverage.
Last week, a new study by the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (BMI) found broadcast coverage during the first six months of 2009 tilted heavily in favor of Barack Obama’s big government plan. BMI’s Julia Seymour and Sarah Knoploh looked at 224 health care stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows from Obama’s January 20 inauguration through his June 24 prime time special on ABC.
The TVNewser blog alerted me to Katie Couric’s “Notebook” item yesterday, in which she mocks the New York Times for making “not one, not two, but seven errors” in their remembrance of the late Walter Cronkite last week. TVNewser suggested Couric may have trying to get “payback” for an anti-Couric piece that the Times’s Alessandra Stanley wrote four years ago when Couric worked at NBC:
Wow. This is good. In her 'Notebook' on CBSNews.com, Katie Couric takes down New York Times columnist Alessandra Stanley, and she does it in the cruelest of ways: without mentioning her by name....There is no love lost between the anchor and the columnist. The most memorable Stanley story on Couric may be this 2005 take-down of the then-Today show anchor: "At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights," Stanley wrote about Couric.
Well, this might be Couric's payback. And just look at the smile on her face during the segment...
Couric sounded pretty high and mighty in her take-down of the Times: “As we say goodbye to the dean of TV news, let's all remember as journalists when as we say, 'That's the way it is,' it really is.” But a few years ago, Couric utterly embarrassed herself in a Today interview with Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham, as she quoted extensively from an obvious parody of Graham’s habit of diary-keeping. Apparently clueless to the fact that she was quoting a made-up story, Couric confronted Graham: “What, what do you do this for?!” (Video above; audio available here.)
Former Clinton campaign operative George Stephanopoulos generally tries to put a happy face on big Democratic Party initiatives, but on Tuesday’s Good Morning America the ABC chief Washington correspondent was gloomy about the prospects for Barack Obama’s health care bill. He told co-host Diane Sawyer that “the votes are not there right now” for the White House to get a bill before the August 8 recess, as the President has demanded, and thought polls showing dwindling support for Obama and rising anxiety about the deficit were a “big problem” for the Democrats.
But he did argue that Obama has the chance to turn the situation around by stressing how the massive bill will be “paid for” — even though another stumbling block he cited was more conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats upset by the massive tax increase embedded in the House bill.
“Whether they're going to be able to get there [to a health care bill by the end of the year] is still unclear, Diane, but I think those who are counting it out right now, who are saying there is no way this is going to happen because July is tough, I think they are wrong as well,” Stephanopoulos gamely argued.
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.
Earlier this week, ABC, CBS and NBC all noted the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr. That Kennedy was an “icon” according to CBS’s Harry Smith, and “the Prince of Camelot” to ABC’s Chris Cuomo, a former cousin-in-law. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, killed July 18, 1969 after leaving a party with Senator Edward Kennedy. That night, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, and left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
Over the course of the past four decades, the media elite have touted Kennedy as a “liberal lion,” spending far more time celebrating his ideological agenda than reminding people of his behavior that night in 1969. As my colleague Brent Baker noted in an op-ed back in 1999, the media have come to refer to Chappaquiddick as a “Kennedy tragedy,” not a “Kopechne tragedy.”
The House Ways and Means committee approved a half-trillion dollar tax increase overnight, but the ABC and NBC morning news shows offered only a single sentence to the development, while CBS’s Early Show skipped it entirely.
Neither NBC’s Today nor ABC’s Good Morning America mentioned the tax increases $544 billion price tag, as each newscast folded the development into larger pieces on President Obama’s push for health care “reform.”
ABC’s Deborah Roberts first gave a mere two sentences to the CBO report that contradicts White House claims that Obama’s plan would save money. She then mentioned the big tax increase: “Meantime, a House committee approved billions in new taxes on the wealthy to pay for the reforms.”
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.
Catching up on a short item I noticed over the weekend, conservative columnist George Will has finally found a bright spot to the media's wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson over the past couple of weeks: at least it's time not spent pushing a liberal big government agenda. Will pointed out on ABC's This Week: "When the mainstream media is preoccupied with this, it's probably doing, on margin, less damage than when it's dealing with public policy."
At that, longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson interjected, "Oh, thanks a lot!"
During the July 12 roundtable, host George Stephanopoulos opened a segment on the media's coverage of Jackson (under the graphic headline "Michael Jackson: Media Overkill") with a clip of Republican Congressman Peter King decrying the lavish coverage given over to Jackson, who faced trial four years ago over charges he molested a young boy. Here's the full exchange:
In announcing that she was stepping down as Alaska Governor on Friday, Sarah Palin noted the unrelenting hostility of liberal media elites. In the barely ten months since she burst onto the national scene, Palin has been scorned and mocked by journalists -- including many supposedly objective reporters -- like few other politicians. Here are a few of the choicer attacks, as compiled from MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter:
"She is a far-right conservative who supported Pat Buchanan over George W. Bush in 2000. She thinks global warming is a hoax and backs the teaching of creationism in public schools. Women are not likely to be impressed by her opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and incest." — Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter in a "Web exclusive" posted on his magazine’s Web site, August 29, 2008.
"[McCain has] done it [picked Sarah Palin] at great cost, because the whole Republican convention...was going to be the slogan, ‘He’s not ready to lead,’ meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it’s just, it’s no contest." — Newsweek’s Howard Fineman on MSNBC’s Countdown, August 29.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: "This [McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin] is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it’s been literally laughter in many places across news-" Host John McLaughlin: "Where is that? See that?" Clift: "In very, very many newsrooms." — Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, August 31, 2008.
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
Following up on Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of New Haven firefighters who were denied promotion after no black applicants passed a written exam, ABC’s Bob Woodruff on Tuesday’s Good Morning America approached the decision from a liberal perspective, wondering if “the ruling really make future workplace discrimination harder to prove” — as opposed to wondering whether the ruling will protect workers from discriminatory tactics from employers seeking to achieve nebulous goals such as workplace “diversity.”
Woodruff also asked correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg whether the ruling could “tarnish” the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was part of a three-judge panel that ruled against the firefighters.
Greenburg stressed the arguments of Sotomayor’s supporters: “Oh, Bob, right away we saw critics say this was a clear rebuke to Judge Sotomayor, since she had ruled against those white firefighters. But, her supporters said, ‘Look, she was just following the law,’ and they pointed out that the Court, the Court itself, was deeply divided. The four liberal justices would have agreed with her, including that justice she’s been nominated to replace, David Souter.”
As my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted this morning, now that gay activists are unhappy with Barack Obama, CBS has dusted off the “far left” label and used it to describe those who are upset that the President has not done more to advance the gay agenda. Co-host Harry Smith on Thursday: “President Obama gets some pressure from an unlikely source, the far left....”
So when was the last time CBS even used the phrase “far left” to describe fringe groups beyond the liberal mainstream? A Nexis search reveals that the last time the phrase crossed the lips of a CBS reporter was five months ago. On Inauguration Day, anchor Katie Couric mildly described unnamed “people on the far left or far right who don’t want Barack Obama to succeed.”
And the last time the “far left” label was used by CBS to describe a particular person or group was more than two years ago. On the May 17, 2007 CBS Evening News, reporter Sharyl Attkisson was talking about an immigration reform bill: “It’s a complete reform of US immigration law as we know it, worked out by a bipartisan group of negotiators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, politically on the far left, and Saxby Chambliss on the far right.”
All three broadcast network morning shows on Wednesday made a point of labeling Nevada Senator John Ensign as a “Republican” after the Senator came forward last night to admit having an extramarital affair last year. NBC, which refrained for days from calling New York Governor Eliot Spitzer a “Democrat” after his relationship with a prostitute was exposed, called Ensign a “conservative Republican,” while CBS made a point of reciting Ensign’s associations with Christian groups.
ABC’s Good Morning America provided the only full report, with the on-screen headline declaring “Leading GOP Senator Admits Affair.” News anchor Chris Cuomo and correspondent Jonathan Karl noted Ensign’s Republican affiliation three times: “A rising star in the Republican Party is coming forward....” “John Ensign is a member of the Republican leadership....” and “The Republican from Nevada admits cheating on his wife...”
Last year, NewsBusters noted how the networks always added the “Republican” label to GOP politicians caught in sex scandals, but not Democrats; with their coverage of the Ensign scandal this morning, the networks are maintaining their perfectly slanted approach.
On Sunday’s This Week roundtable, ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman tried to argue that it would be “very hard” for Republicans to label Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal. “When you look at Sotomayor's record and look at the cases, it's very hard for people to make the case that she's a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher,” Shipman declared.
That was too much even for liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is currently the editorial page editor of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution but will this summer move to Washington as the paper’s D.C.-based political columnist. “She is certainly liberal, she’s called herself liberal,” Tucker informed Shipman, but agreed that Sotomayor is “nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift seemed flabbergasted on this weekend’s McLaughlin Group as fellow panelists Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley and Mort Zuckerman all criticized President Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of her Newsweek colleagues, Clift exclaimed: “Until I came on this set, I heard nothing but rave reviews for this speech. I feel like I’m in a total parallel reality.”
The McLaughlin Group tapes on Friday afternoons, which means that for the better part of two days Clift was completely insulated from the various criticisms of Obama’s speech which were easy to discover on talk radio, many newspapers, and the Internet. She seemed particularly enraged by the group’s consensus that Obama has been “badmouthing” the United States by repeatedly emphasizing past misdeeds and ignoring America’s valuable contributions to the rest of the world.
A dozen Republican members of Congress have formed the “Media Fairness Caucus,” the group’s chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced this morning on FNC’s America’s Newsroom. Smith told FNC co-anchor Bill Hemmer that the problem of liberal journalists skewing the information reaching Americans is a worse threat than “a recession or another terrorist attack,” and said his group’s goal would be to “encourage the media to adhere to the highest standards of their profession and to provide the American people with the facts, not tell them what to think.”
Newsmax’ Ron Kessler wrote about the formation of the new group yesterday: “The Media Fairness Caucus will point out unfair stories, meet with members of the media, and write op-eds and letters to the editor to highlight media bias. For the past two years, Smith has conducted his own campaign against unfair coverage in weekly one-minute speeches on the House floor. The caucus is intended to broaden and fortify the effort.”
Here are key excerpts from Smith’s appearance on the Fox News Channel Thursday morning (video here):
Tomorrow, June 4, is the 20th anniversary of the Chinese army massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. Back in 1989, the big networks provided in-depth coverage of the massive protests that swelled in mid-May, and harsh coverage of the brutal reaction from the communist authorities.
But, as the Media Research Center noted at the time, the networks also used the occasion for some bizarre comparisons. Two that stand out from our archive: CBS’s Eric Engberg comparing the People’s Liberation Army’s planned assault on students with the Ohio National Guard’s panicky shooting into anti-war demonstrators at Kent State University in 1970, killing four; and NBC commentator John Chancellor ruing the heavy focus on the bloodshed in Beijing instead of a then-new Carnegie report found problems with America’s middle schools.
Thursday night, as my colleague Brent Baker noted, ABC and NBC fretted that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor might not adhere to a strict liberal orthodoxy on abortion. NBC reporter Pete Williams said Sotomayor’s views on abortion were a “mystery,” while ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg declared “both sides in the contentious debate want to know more.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews sounded the same alarm: “Pro-abortion rights groups worried aloud today that the President — who promised an abortion rights nominee — never asked Sotomayor, who is Catholic, where she stands.”
On Thursday’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer opened the show by demanding to know “Where does she stand? Liberal activists voicing concerns over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her stance on abortion. This morning, they’re demanding to know if she’s pro-choice or pro-life — and why President Obama never asked.”
But this isn’t the first time the networks have channeled the worries of liberal pro-abortion groups about a Democratic President’s Supreme Court nominee.
Moments after President Obama announced his pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and Katie Couric enthused over what Couric called Sotomayor’s “very, very compelling life story,” with Schieffer cheering that she was “the political advisor’s dream candidate.”
“This woman has a life story that you couldn’t make up!” Schieffer exulted: “She’s born in the public projects, in the shadow of Yankee stadium, a single parent household, she goes to a Catholic school, she gets scholarships to the best schools in the country, Princeton and Yale, she overcomes all that while dealing with diabetes all her life, and she is Hispanic. This will be a historic pick.”
Couric immediately followed-up with her own salute: “Add to that, Bob, the fact that her father was a factory worker who died when she was nine years old, raised by a single mother who raised her brother to be a doctor and, obviously, her daughter to be an extremely accomplished lawyer and now judge. So it is a very, as you say, very, very compelling life story.”
After three weeks of virtual silence, all three broadcast networks provided full reports last night (Thursday) about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s shifting story about what she knew about the interrogation methods used against al Qaeda terrorists, methods that liberals have decried as criminal torture. This morning (Friday), NBC and CBS also provided full reports, but ABC’s Good Morning America weirdly relegated Pelosi’s rant that the CIA “misleads us all the time” to a brief, 28-second report during the 8am ET hour.
That’s about as much time as the newscast gave to the rescue of a kangaroo caught in deep water off an Australian beach.
NBC’s Today was by far the toughest on Pelosi this morning, with co-host Matt Lauer opening the show by demanding: “What did she know and when did she know it? The CIA claims in a 2002 briefing, they told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they were using harsh interrogation techniques. She says that’s a lie. So who’s telling the truth?”
For the past three weeks, controversy has swirled around Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called for a “truth commission” to expose the supposed war crimes of the Bush administration but who herself was briefed years ago on the use of waterboarding and the other enhanced interrogation techniques that are now drawing howls of outrage.
ABC, CBS and NBC have said nothing about the Speaker’s shifting stories, or the potential hypocrisy of her once supporting (or at least not objecting to) policies that she would later condemn as illegal “torture.”
The current round of stories began April 22, after the Obama administration released selected memos from the Bush administration on the legal limits to interrogation. That night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a brief mention of how Pelosi was one of those who had been told: “Members of Congress were briefed at the time and reportedly didn’t dissent, including intelligence committee leaders Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby.” ABC and CBS said nothing about Pelosi that night.