Should there be a background check for national reporters?
One wonders. On June 21, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special report for CBS’ “60 Minutes.” In this report, Cooper repeated the tired, discredited, blatantly incorrectidea that 90% of Mexican drug cartels’ arms supply comes from the United States. In addition, Cooper showed some interesting B-roll footage of seized weapon, some of which clearly cannot be bought on the civilian market.
You might expect this sort of simple revelation from the New York Times reporting, but a May 11 article declared that when Chevron hires a former reporter to tell the company's side of the story, it's intended to make them look good - or not as bad as the eco-activists deem appropriate.
After CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a one-sided segment attacking Chevron (NYSE:CVX) for a mess the oil company contends it is not responsible for, a Times article by Brian Stetler questioned the merits of their efforts to counter the claims, specifically in hiring a former CNN reporter to speak on the company's behalf.
"As a demonstration of just how far companies will go to counteract negative publicity, the Chevron case is extraordinary," Stetler wrote. "Gene Randall, a former CNN correspondent, spent about five months on the project, which was posted on the Internet in April, three weeks before the ‘60 Minutes' report was shown on May 3."
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent David Martin reported on the "soft approach" to terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "Each time the United States releases Saudis from the prison at Guantanamo, the kingdom dispatches a 747 to Cuba to pick them up...the Saudi government is paying for cars, homes, even marriages for these reformed jihadists."
After explaining that "...more than half the so-called 'detainees' will probably never go before a jury because the U.S. government does not have a case that will stand up in court," Martin went on to describe a Saudi Arabian program for released detainees: "What we found is a rehabilitation program that attempts to make solid citizens out of holy warriors by convincing them Bin Laden has it all wrong."
Not only did Martin highlight the Saudi efforts to "rehabilitate" terror suspects, but he explained: "Some Saudis have been in Guantanamo for seven years, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq believes the longer a man is there, the harder he is to treat." Martin then asked Hadlaq, a Saudi psychologist who runs the program: "They come out of Guantanamo hating Americans?...Is there evidence that Guantanamo has made them more radical?" Hadlaq replied: "I think so, yes. Because, in their journey, you know, from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, they have faced a lot of torturing. It's so important to deal with this, you know, issue of torture."
In response, Martin added: "‘Torture’ is, of course, a loaded word, but at the very least, the treatment en route to Guantanamo was rough, and provided the raw material for Al Qaeda propaganda videos to drum up new recruits."
Pelley's report featured a suit filed by the Amazon Defense Coalition, a group described as "eco-radicals," who are trying to squeeze $27 billion from Chevron for environmental cleanup that the nation's government signed off on more than a decade ago. Pelley described ADC as working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there are only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites.
On Sunday’s CBS ‘60 Minutes,’ anchor Scott Pelley, who once remarked that global warming critics were the equivalent of Holocaust deniers, identified the American coal industry as one of the main culprits of climate change: "The future of our climate might be summed up in one question, what do we do about coal? Coal generates nearly half the electricity in the United States and in the world. But it is the dirtiest fuel of all when it comes to carbon dioxide, or CO-2, the leading greenhouse gas. A few days ago, the Obama administration declared, for the first time, that CO-2 is a threat to human health and it plans to impose limits."
Pelley’s story did feature a representative of the coal industry, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, who actually called for limitations on carbon emissions: "It's my judgment it is a problem. We need to go to work on it now. And it's critical that we start to act in this country...Our goal line is substantially to reduce our carbon footprint, to de-carbonize our business, by 2050." However, that wasn’t good enough for Pelley: "Four decades? That's a long time."
Pelley followed up by citing left-wing global warming activist Jim Hansen: "2050 is too late. We will have guaranteed disasters for our children, grandchildren, and the unborn." Pelley explained: "Jim Hansen is NASA's top climate scientist. He's credited with some of the earliest and most accurate projections on climate change. He thinks that Rogers plan leaves the Earth in the oven decades too long."
During a fawning interview on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, anchor Lesley Stahl repeated White House talking points portraying Vice President Joe Biden’s constant verbal gaffes as a positive attribute: "After trying to muzzle the man, often ridiculed for his loose lips, the White House now calls his, shall we say, exuberance, an asset. They call it ‘truth-telling.’ And see his talent for connecting as a real advantage. Let Joe be Joe. With his ‘at a boying,’ hand-gripping, ‘hot’ personality, versus Obama's cool cat...Call him ‘schmoozer-in-chief.’"
Stahl went on to highlight some of roles that Biden has taken on as vice president: "With so much on his plate, the President has made his number two the stimulus cop. The assignment, to see that the $787 billion in stimulus money is spent wisely...He's on the phone several hours a week with mayors and governors, making sure they follow the rules...The Vice President gets especially high marks as a team player. For those who predicted he and the Secretary of State would be rivals, they both say 'uh-uh.' And in fact, they meet for a policy breakfast every Tuesday."
As further evidence of Biden being "schmoozer-in-chief," Stahl later declared: "He's physically ‘embracive’ with everybody, total strangers. He hugs, he slaps, he punches, grabs, holds, noses in, and bumps foreheads. Children are a special magnet: he and his wife Jill worked them like a rope line of voters on a campaign. And he cannot resist speechifying, even when his audience is made up of six year olds."
On Sunday’s CBS 60 Minutes, commentator Andy Rooney read from some viewer letters: "It's always fun to read the letters people send, I get a lot of them, although, to be honest, if I took all the letters seriously I wouldn't ever say anything again. I get quite a few bad letters and, of course, I pay least attention to those. I don't want you to see me cry."
Some of those "bad letters" came from viewers who criticized Rooney’s and the media’s pro-Obama bias: "Thomas Overley writes from Oceanside, California. He's mad because he thinks I like President Obama. 'Very sorry to see someone I respected contribute to this mass media love affair,' Tom says. Well, to tell you the truth Mr. Overley, I do like Obama but I didn't think you'd notice. Todd, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, says 'the reason I don't hear about the people who hate Barack Obama is because the press has put a muzzle on them.' I don't know about that Todd. I show the producer my piece before it goes on the air every week and he'll tell me it isn't any good but he never puts a muzzle on me."
At the end of the January 25 broadcast, Rooney declared: "Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Well, apparently Rooney has found some Obama critics, in his own audience.
In his newly released book ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ author Mark Levin criticizes the mainstream media for its systematic support of left-wing causes. In chapter 8, entitled "On Enviro-Statism," Levin focuses on the media’s slanted coverage of global warming and points out its confusion on the subject:
In 1975, scientists again raised the specter of global cooling. A famous article appearing in Newsweek magazine, titled "The Cooling World," concluded, "The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down."...In 2008, the same Newsweek that gave weight to the false science of global cooling published an article titled "Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year’s Extreme Weather."
Levin goes on to expose CBS’s Scott Pelley as a diehard global warming advocate:
Consider CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. When asked why his reporting on global warming did not acknowledge the views of skeptics, he replied, "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier? This isn’t about politics or pseudo-science or conspiracy theory blogs. This is about sound science."
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz performed one of his periodic "beat sweeteners," playing up the network TV stars and pleasing network publicity departments. The sugar cube on Monday was handed out to CBS reporter Steve Kroft, now acknowledged as the top on-air dog of 60 Minutes. But Kurtz left something out about Kroft’s series of interviews with Obama: CBS News sells them on a DVD for Obama-lovers called Road to the White House. It’s still advertised on the 60 Minutes home page.
When asked during a Monday chat session at washingtonpost.com, Kurtz said that was news to him: "I was unaware of that, but you know what? Several networks have done that, and all the major newspapers and newsmagazines (including The Post) have been peddling special commemorative issues about Obama's victory. I'm not defending that, but clearly these companies see a marketing opportunity and are trying to make a few bucks."
Steve Kroft caught Barack Obama "laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the economy", at one point asking "Are you punch-drunk?" Politico says "his awkward laughter highlighted an issue Obama has faced dating back to the campaign, a sense that he sometimes is too 'cool' and detached to fully grasp the public anxiety over mounting job losses and economic worries."
We learn in the 60 minutes interview that Mr. President has time off in the afternoon to see his kids, have dinner with the family, and takes weekends off after poking his head in to see what's going on. So basically, the POTUS puts in less hours per week than I do. Kroft also fawns over the first family's playground. What Kroft won't tell you is that while millions of Americans wonder how their next mortgage payment is going to be made, and while their father demonizes Americans for having a culture of greed, the Obama children are literally playing in a castle.
The Obama's went with a Rainbow Play System which Obama himself called "the Rolls Royce of swingsets", specifically the model is Supersized Monster Castle Package IV with a Double Bubble on the Penthouse, which retails for $14,799 plus $1500 install, not including the surface it sits on. Taxpayer* money well spent in a down economy. What, don't your children have a penthouse on their swingset?
(*There is no official word yet on who paid for this swing set.)
Appearing on Wednesday’s O’Reilly Factor on FNC, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft discussed his campaign interviews with Barack Obama that have been spliced together to create a CBS News DVD, ‘Obama: All Access,’: "Well, they were dying to have somebody come out, especially '60 Minutes,' very early on to kind of explain their campaign...we developed a nice rapport."
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Kroft about the documentary: "...what does it say to people other than ‘go, go Obama?’" Kroft replied: "It's an historical document. And I think we'll probably sell a lot of copies to libraries and things like that. Maybe to some -- maybe to some Republican political consultants." O’Reilly followed up: "Is there cheerleading in it?" Kroft responded: "No, I don't think so. It's -- we've taken the interviews and it is a straight narrative of the campaign."
However, during the CBS News documentary aired on Sunday, December 28, 2008 and re-aired this Sunday, Kroft pulled out the pom-poms: "...on the campus of George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs, where Obama held his first campaign rally, just two weeks after establishing an exploratory presidential committee...It was our first exposure to what came to be known as 'Obama-mania.' You sensed immediately that something unusual was going on, something rarely seen in American politics... 5,000 students had turned out to see him...he urged his young audience to cast aside its cynicism of politics and engage the system, evoking the words of Martin Luther King."
At the end of Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, commentator Andy Rooney did some of his usual thinking out loud, praising Barack Obama: "I've lived through the election of a lot of American presidents -- more than ten, I think -- and about half the people I knew at the time hated one or the other of the two candidates...Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Perhaps Rooney should stop listening to his own network’s fawning Obama coverage and consult the 46% of the country that did not vote for the Democratic president.
Rooney touted some of the president’s early decisions: "I think we've got ourselves a really good president with a funny name...Obama has frozen the salaries of people in the White House who are making more than $100,000...Obama has put limits on lobbyists who infest Washington. He reversed Bush's policy of making it hard to get information out of our government through the Freedom of Information Act." Rooney concluded his fawning by declaring: "Obama just looks good every time he does anything."
On Sunday’s ‘60 Minutes’ on CBS, anchor Bob Simon reported on the spread of Jewish settlements and at one point described the situation this way: "Demographers predict that, within ten years, Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Without a separate Palestinian state, the Israelis would have three options...They could try ethnic cleansing...they could give the Palestinians the vote...or they could inflict apartheid -- have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians. But apartheid regimes don't have a very long life."In April 2008, Simon interviewed an Israeli Air Force pilot and remarked: "You don’t look like a killer."
Simon spoke to a Palestinian doctor and former presidential candidate, Mustafa Barghouti, who declared: "Unfortunately, and I have to say to you that apartheid is already in place." Simon asked: "Apartheid is already in place?" Barghouti replied: "Absolutely." Simon then made Barghouti’s argument: "Apartheid? Israel is building what it calls a security wall between the West Bank and Israel. The Palestinians are furious because it appropriates 8% of the West Bank. Not only that, it weaves its way through Palestinian farms, separating farmers from their land. They have to wait at gates for soldiers to let them in. Settlers get a lot more water than Palestinians, which is why settlements are green and Arab areas are not."
My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .
Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers. After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
The predicate was a provocative one. Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child. Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.
The Washington Post’s TV Week (your weekly TV listings) promoted the liberal CBS 60 Minutes team on its cover on Sunday with a team photo and the headline "Like Clockwork: Time-Honored 60 Minutes Enjoys Ratings Boost." Freelancer Marc D. Allan finds Indiana University professor Julia Fox to explain that the show’s improved ratings:
"Everyone jokes about how old the personalities are on 60 Minutes," she said, "but the fact is, they've been in the business for many, many years, and they're very credible."
There’s no mention in the article that the credibility of 60 Minutes took an enormous hit from Dan Rather and Mary Mapes using phony documents to try and torpedo George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. There’s only room for congratulations:
There was no Memorex around when the brontosauri were bidding bye-bye, but I think we have a pretty good idea of what they sounded like as they were going extinct. Just listen to Brian Williams this morning. Appearing on Morning Joe, the NBC Nightly News anchor lamented the decline of "classically-trained" journalists in favor of guys with "an opinion and a modem."
A question from Pat Buchanan about the ebbing fortunes of the old media set Williams off on a soliloquy he assured us was not self-interested.
In a softball profile of the liberal Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank on Sunday’s CBS 60 Minutes, anchor Lesley Stahl led with: "Barney Frank has been called the smartest guy in Congress, which is lucky for us, since he works on some of the thorniest issues around. The 14-term, 68-year-old Harvard-educated Democratic congressman from Massachusetts is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which means his portfolio includes banks, housing, and now the auto industry. " Stahl later added: "...even the most hardened Republicans give him good reviews." Stahl never named any of those "hardened Republicans."
Stahl did offer some critical descriptions of Frank: "There are many ways to describe Barney Frank. I wanted to read you a sampling of descriptions of you. They almost -- they kind of come in couplets. We have, ‘impatient and anti-social,’ ‘sharp-tongued and downright mean.’" However, she soon followed up with positive testimonials of Frank’s non-ideological pragmatism:
Listen to what the financial community says. Here's Henry Paulson on Barney Frank: ‘He’s a market savvy pragmatist who looks for areas of agreement because he wants to get things done.’ Here’s a guy from JP Morgan Chase, he said, ‘He hasn't veered off into Crazyland,’ meaning liberalism. I've heard someone describe you this way: ‘You're liberal on social issues; you're a pragmatist on economic issues.’"
Near the end of the story, Stahl observed: "True to form, he's an equal-opportunity curmudgeon, also criticizing Barack Obama for not being assertive enough on the credit crisis." Frank explained: "Senator Obama has said we only have one president at a time. Well, that overstates the number of presidents we have at this time. We don't appear to have any." Apparently, saying that having President Bush is like not having a president is somehow critical of Barack Obama.
On Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" (11/30/08), Lara Logan profiled Army hero Private Monica Brown, an 18-year-old medic who was awarded the Silver Star. Yet as wonderful as Brown's heroics were, Logan's profile could not shake the impression that it really wanted to get in some cheap shots at the United States military. Here's how Logan opened her piece:
Private Monica Brown is only the second woman to be awarded the Silver Star since the Second World War. She’s an Army medic who risked her own life to save two critically wounded paratroopers of the 82nd airborne division in Afghanistan.
O.K. so far. But then Logan abruptly switched gears:
Under Army regulations, women cannot be assigned to front-line combat units, but in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq today, that’s exactly where they often end up. Some male soldiers aren’t so happy about that, including members of Private Brown’s own unit. But her superior officers say she’s a hero, a hero who earned one of the military’s highest awards for exceptional valor when she was only 18 years old.
That women "cannot be assigned to front-line combat units" is a theme that Logan hammered throughout her piece. The problem? Private Brown was not on a front-line combat mission. As Logan's own story indicated, Brown was a medic in a unit that had been "searching for weapons in a village" when it was ambushed while returning to base. (By the way, Logan identifies those who ambushed our men and woman simply as "hidden enemy fighters.")
60 Minutes viewers got better economic rationality Sunday night from President-elect Barack Obama than from the journalist who interviewed him. CBS's Steve Kroft proposed: “People are comparing this to 1932. Is that a valid comparison, do you think?” Obama didn't accept the comparison: “Well, keep in mind that 1932, 1933 the unemployment rate was 25 percent, inching up to 30 percent. You had a third of the country that was ill housed, ill clothed...” But Kroft wouldn't let go of trying to paint the America of 2008 as dire as 1932. Eight minutes later in the interview, when Obama related how he was reading briefing papers and had read about Abraham Lincoln putting political rivals in his cabinet, Kroft returned to the Depression: “Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?”
In between in the generally light and friendly interview centered on getting Obama to outline his plans, Kroft cued up Obama to reiterate his campaign promises, such as: “How high a priority are you placing on re-regulation of the financial markets?” Kroft also pressed Obama to say whether he will “take early action” to issue executive orders “to shutdown Guantanamo Bay” and “change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops?”
With nine days left before Election Day, "60 Minutes" aired a segment Sunday evening addressing a complex investment tool at the heart of the current financial crisis without fully explaining the presidential campaign ramifications behind the laws that made the market meltdown almost inevitable.
Despite accurately calling credit default swaps "The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street," CBS didn't properly inform viewers that George W. Bush had absolutely nothing to do with the Clinton-signed legislation that deregulated them, and that frequent campaign statements by Barack Obama and Joe Biden blaming the current financial crisis on Bush economic policies are therefore completely false.
The producers also chose not to expose the key Democrats -- most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) -- that voted in favor of this legislation back in 2000 but have in recent weeks dishonestly blamed President Bush for the current crisis.
Instead, CBS's Steve Kroft offered viewers a very general and nonpartisan political background to the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (video embedded right):
In an otherwise pretty friendly 60 Minutes profile of T. Boone Pickens and his “Pickens Plan” to reduce dependence on foreign oil, Charlie Rose, on loan from PBS, couldn't resist repeating the usual derogatory media descriptions and canards about the 2004 “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ads against John Kerry, which Pickens helped fund, as “infamous,” “widely criticized” and “representative of dirty politics, smear politics, character assassination.” After video of Pickens taking his case to Democrats at their convention in Denver, Rose highlighted:
It didn't take long for the new non-partisan Boone Pickens to have a visibly uncomfortable encounter with his partisan past: Senator John Kerry, whose presidential campaign Pickens helped destroy four years ago when he gave money for the infamous and widely criticized “Swift Boat” ads that attacked the Senator's service in Vietnam and his later testimony before Congress.
Rose pressed Pickens about any regrets: “You spent $3 million funding an advertising campaign that, in some people’s mind, was representative of dirty politics, smear politics, character assassination, all of that. At this stage, do you have any reservations, do you have any-?” Pickens jumped in with an emphatic “none” and told Rose he'd do it over again.
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
Three Sundays ago, in a 60 Minutes interview CBS's Steve Kroft cued up Barack Obama with Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications compared to him: “Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?” But on Sunday night, in a 60 Minutes devoted to new interviews with both Obama and John McCain, Scott Pelley also hit McCain from the same angle on Palin's qualifications, telling him “the criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she's not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs,” before he demanded: “In your judgment, can you see her as President of the United States?” When McCain replied “Absolutely,” Pelley's voice betrayed astonishment as he fired back: “As President of the United States?”
Steve Kroft again got the sit-down with Obama and when Obama contended that if he loses, his race will not be the cause, Kroft countered that he knows “for a fact...there are a lot of people out there...who won't vote for you because you're black.” Kroft declared as the two sat in Elko, Nevada:
I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko, who won't vote for you because you're black. I mean, there's not much you can do. But how do you deal with it? I mean, are there ways that, from a political point of view, that you can deal with it? And how do you fight that?
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
While interviewing Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward on Sunday’s 60 Minutes about his latest book on the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq war, The War Within, anchor Scott Pelley described how: "Another part of that story, according to Woodward, is the president's frustration with the attitude of the Iraqi people." Woodward explained: "He has a meeting at the Pentagon with a bunch of experts and he just said, 'I don't understand that the Iraqis are not appreciative of what we've done for them,' namely liberating them." Pelley then asked: "But tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis had been killed in the invasion and through the occupation. He didn't understand why they might be a little ungrateful about what had occurred to them?"
Woodward replied by skeptically explaining President Bush’s perspective: "His beacon is liberation. He thinks we've done this magnificent thing for them. I think he still holds to that position." Earlier in the interview, Pelley seemed to imply that Bush was almost bloodthirsty, wanting know how many enemy had been killed each day: "Mr. Bush told Woodward that he was frustrated with his commanders and asked for enemy body counts so he could keep score." Woodward described: "And this is Bush's concern that we're not going out and killing. In fact, [General George] Casey told one colleague privately that the president's view is almost reflective of ‘kill the bastards, kill the bastards, and that way we'll succeed.’"
Yikes. The only thing missing from Steve Kroft's interview with Barack Obama and Joe Biden on CBS's 60 Minutes (Sun. 8/31/08) was an "Obama/Biden '08" button on Kroft's lapel. As NB's Brent Baker has already noted, Kroft teed one up for Obama by presuming Sarah Palin had "less experience" than he did. But take a look at some of the softball questions Kroft lobbed at Obama and Biden:
(To Obama backstage at the Convention last week:) "Did you ever doubt it (your nomination) was going to happen?"
(To Biden backstage at the Convention:) "Were you surprised to be up there (on stage with Obama)?"
(To Obama:) "What do you think of Sen. McCain's vice presidential choice?"
(To Obama:) "Does the fact that he (McCain) chose as his vice president someone who has less experience than you take away that weapon out of his arsenal?"
(To Biden:) "Have you two talked, have you spoken specifically, about what your role would be in an Obama administration?" (Obama jumped in to answer, and Kroft didn't stop him!)
(To Biden:) "What's your role in the campaign? Can you make a difference in this race? And how do you do that?"
CBS's 60 Minutes led Sunday night with a taped interview with the Democratic ticket and in the piece Steve Kroft, who couldn't resist labeling Sarah Palin as a “conservative” while never tagging Joe Biden, presumed as fact that Palin “has less experience” than Obama and cued up Obama to agree with his own campaign's rhetoric about how Palin undermines McCain's experience argument:
Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams pursued the same media narrative as he pressed McCain about how as “a 72-year-old cancer survivor” he chose “a not yet one full term Governor of Alaska. Is she the best person to be literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, Senator?” McCain rejected the premise and, without even knowing it, countered Kroft:
She's been in elected office longer than Senator Obama. She's been the chief executive of the state that supplies 20 percent of America's energy, she has balanced budgets. She's had executive experience as Governor, as Mayor, as a city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Senator Obama was still a quote “community organizer.”
Williams, however, remained unconvinced: “But you know the question, Senator, given the field, given all that we know, is she the best person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?”