CNN/Opinion Research Corporation’s poll on President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday significantly oversampled Democrats. The pollsters interviewed 427 Americans before and after their speech- only 18% were Republicans, while 45% were Democrats. Due to this skewing, CNN didn’t really play up the poll’s results on air, but they tried to do that on their CNN.com website.
The joint poll asked two questions before and after the speech. The polled were asked, “Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?” During the pre-speech period between September 5 and 8, 60% answered “right direction,” and 35% answered “wrong direction.” Immediately after the speech, the pollsters found that the “right direction” statistic went up to 70%, while the “wrong direction” number went down to 27%.
If you don't see eye-to-eye on an issue with your ideological counterparts - rather than debate the issue, you can go on national TV and call them derogatory names like liberal talking head David Sirota has done.
Earlier on CNN's Sept. 7 "American Morning", as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard pointed out, Sirota called Fox News host Glenn Beck a "right-wing political terrorist" and added that Van Jones was "a national hero." But this time he set his sights on Florida Republican chairman Jim Greer and "people like Jim Greer" who were concerned about President Barack Obama speaking to school children in a highly politicized environment.
"My take is simple," Sirota said on CNN's Sept. 7 "Campbell Brown". "The Orlando Sentinel wrote about what Jim Greer put out there. Jim Greer put out his criticism of Obama's socialist indoctrination plan before any of these lesson plans came out."
CNN’s Carol Costello report on Thursday’s American Morning about the end of abstinence-only sex education in North Carolina leaned to the left in the featured sound bites. Three clips came from those who endorsed “comprehensive” sex education, including one who worked for an organization that promotes abortion overseas, as opposed to only one clip from a conservative who favored the old program.
Costello’s report, which came just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was part of a week-long series about “Educating America.” The CNN correspondent began with a car analogy to describe the transition to the more liberal sex ed program: “You know, it’s sort of like going from zero to 100 miles per hour. School districts, like some in North Carolina, have not taught kids about how to use birth control or how to control sexually-transmitted diseases- or prevent them, I should say- and now they’re trying to come up with a more comprehensive sex education class. It’s challenging.”
Amid all of the tributes to Ted Kennedy’s lengthy career of expanding the scope of government and its cost to taxpayers, CNN’s American Morning on Friday dug up a six-week old op-ed from the Tax Policy Center’s Len Burman warning that massive trillion-dollar deficits are a catastrophe that could lead to the end of the U.S. as a great power “or even a mediocre one.”
With the on-screen graphic reading “Higher Taxes Inevitable?” business correspondent Christine Romans announced to viewers “I’ve just got to tell you about this handwringing that's happening, and what it's going to mean for you. We're spending vastly more than we take in. We will for the foreseeable future. We're racking up these deficits, we pay interest on all of this debt.”
On CNN's American Morning today, business correspondent Christine Romans explained to anchor Kiran Chetry why there are new estimates showing the Federal deficit to be much worse than originally projected by the Obama administration:
ROMANS: Why? OK, this is really -- it's a complicated problem with a very simple analysis. It's how much money the government is taking in and how much money is going out.
Let's look at how much is going out. Government spending has skyrocketed as you all know over the past couple of years, up 21 percent in the first ten months of this year. Unemployment benefits, health care, bailout programs. We are spending more money than we take in. We are spending gobs of money constantly on lots of different programs to try to get this economy out of the mess it's in. At the same time, revenue is plunging.
The money that's coming in to the Treasury Department is plunging down 17 months in the first ten months, or 17 percent, rather, in the first ten months, declining income and peril taxes. People are out of work. We're not making as much money.
ROMANS: That's going down. Non-wage income. All other kinds of income people have down sharply. And then that stimulus tax credit -- that has to come from somewhere. Right? Everyone is getting this big tax break, that means less money going in.
On Thursday morning, CNN downplayed the partisan nature of “legendary” Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to backtrack on a 2004 change in Massachusetts state law which allowed Democrats to hold on to John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the election. While anchor John Roberts and correspondent Dana Bash explained the circumstances of the 2004 change, Bash merely labeled it a “political irony.”
Roberts gave two news briefs about Kennedy’s letter to Massachusetts officials during American Morning, summarizing that the commonwealth “changed [the law] in 2004 requiring a special election because then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could have appointed someone had Senator John Kerry won the presidential election....Senator Kennedy wants there to be an interim appointment before a special election just to make sure that the state’s covered.” The anchor didn’t include any mention of the health care issue in either of his briefs, which is a clear factor in play with the liberal senator’s request.
CNN went searching for an example of health care reform without a public option on Aug. 20. Correspondent Jim Acosta found such a “model” in Massachusetts, but downplayed the state program’s flaws.
“What do you get when you take the public option out of health care reform? Well, according to some experts you get Romney Care,” Acosta said. “Three years after enacting its own version of reform, Massachusetts now has near universal coverage. Taxpayer watchdogs say it’s affordable … health care experts say it’s popular.”
Acosta included former Gov. Mitt Romney, Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation and Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health in his segment -- all supporting Romney Care.
The media have repeatedly stated how "angry," "hostile" and "ugly" town hall meetings across America are becoming. They are of course largely ascribing the nastiness to conservatives voicing their opposition to (among other things) President Barack Obama and Congress' proposed government takeover of the health care system.
The press has been particularly offended by the "extreme" use of references to Adolf Hitler specifically and Nazis generally. One image they have repeatedly used as an example of this alleged right-wing extremism is a poster of President Obama - on whose face a Hitler mustache has been Photo Shopped - bearing the caption "I've Changed."
We have compiled a video montage (at right) of just some of the recent news programs that have ascribed this Obama-with-Mustache poster to conservative town hall attendees. (The Obama-with-Mustache image itself appears just below the fold.)
CNN’s Jim Acosta claimed that Rush Limbaugh’s website “compares the [ObamaCare] reform supporters to Nazis” during a report on Tuesday’s American Morning. The website actually draws a comparison between the DNC’s “Organizing for Health Care” logo and the Nazis’ Parteiadler (Party Eagle) symbol. Acosta also claimed that conservatives “falsely compared” ObamaCare to the Canadian health system.
Acosta filed his report from Portsmouth, New Hampshire where President Obama plans to hold a health care town hall meeting later in the day on Tuesday. He began by detailing how opponents to ObamaCare in the state “aren’t just sounding off at congressional town hall meetings...protesters descended on staff members of Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the middle of a routine constituent’s services meeting. It wasn’t a town hall forum, and the senator wasn’t even there. The protesters recorded the confrontation and put it on YouTube.”
CNN correspondent Carol Costello aired a fair report on Friday’s American Morning about the several states which passed resolutions that asserted their rights under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and asked for viewer responses on the issue, but later stated that her “favorite [viewer] comment so far...‘asking for states’ rights is asking, you know, the children to be the parents’” [audio clips from the report are available here].
Costello began her report, which aired just before the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour, with the question, “should states’ rights trump the fed?” She also highlighted the premise that “the concept of states’ rights is as old as America.”
The CNN correspondent used three sound bites from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech to a tea party in April 2009, which was widely circulated around the Internet. She also featured clips from an Republican state legislator from Oklahoma and a constitutional law professor.
CNN's Jim Acosta devoted a three-minute segment to the Scheiner's left-wing criticism of the president's health care plan, but excluded any other voices, even after the doctor took a shot at the insurance industry.
"Chicago doctor David Scheiner has taken a hard look at Obama's prescription for health care reform and sees bad medicine," Acosta said before explaining why the doctor is "so special."
In fact, Scheiner was Obama's personal doctor for 22 years, but he blasted the president's plan for not going "far enough." Scheiner advocated a single-payer system like in Canada and Europe.
"If I had to say the single one thing that's the worst part of it is that private insurance companies continue to be a part of the health scheme. Everybody keeps saying we don't want the government getting involved in health care - the government is involved in health care and Medicare and it works!" Scheiner said.
In a balanced report, Scheiner's attack on private insurers would have been a followed by a statement or representative from the insurance industry. Acosta didn't produce one. Nor did he point out that since 1970, the cost of Medicare has risen 34 percent more per patient "than the combined costs of all health care in America apart from Medicare and Medicaid." He also didn't question Scheiner about the problems Medicare has created for patients when doctors decide to opt out of Medicare (because of lower reimbursements and "too much" hassle).
CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux made an apparent Freudian slip in response to a sound bite on health care reform from Senator Mitch McConnell on Monday’s American Morning. Malveaux initially labeled McConnell’s remark, in which the Senate Minority Leader cracked that the “only thing bipartisan about the measures so far is the opposition to them,” as a “snippy little phrase there” [audio clip from the segment available here].
The correspondent filed a report just after the beginning of the 6 am Eastern hour about the Obama’s administration and Democratic leaders’ efforts to get their health care “reform” package passed in Congress. Malveaux stated that “obviously, in public, there’s a lot of confidence. You heard Nancy Pelosi. You talk to White House aides....In an e-mail that I got this morning, however, one of the top White House aides was saying, look, this is a time when it’s important that the president look credible- look viable, still in this debate, and that the one thing that they are trying to get across to folks is that he is still a player in this, that he has not lost his political capital, despite the fact that he...did not get what he wanted this time around.”
John Roberts, on the July 21 edition of American Morning, appeared to expect Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to turn in a weak performance on the issue of health care. Hilarity ensued, as Jindal, who turned down Harvard Medical and Yale Law for a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, proved to be anything but a pushover.
The would-be newsman kicked off with some misleading statistics about Jindal’s performance as governor:
Governor, it’s good to see you. You penned a rather scathing editorial for the Politico.com on the Democrats’ health care proposals. But your state ranks dead last in the United Health Foundation survey of overall health. It also had the fourth highest Medicare cost per patient in the country from 1996 through 2006, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. So some people out there might be wondering if you’re the best person to be criticizing the administration’s plans for health care reform?
Since Jindal is a classy fellow, and realizes that this debate is not about his performance as Louisiana Governor, he neglected to point out that he took office January 14, 2008. That’s at least a full year after Roberts’ statistics ended. The Rhodes scholar responded:
Although Muller explained that only customers who pass a federal background check at a licensed firearms dealer will be able to get a gun, Costello arbitrarily drew the line of responsibility at owning a handgun:
COSTELLO: You know, some people watching this might think, you know, owning a handgun is one thing, but owning an AK-47 is something else, and maybe this is just a tad irresponsible.
As if to put icing on the proverbial cake, Costello also hit Muller by trying to pick a theological fight of sorts, wondering if Jesus would approve of carrying guns. [CNN video embedded below]
CNN on Friday turned again to The Daily Beast’s John Avlon for his designated “wingnuts”on the left and right, but he was much more critical of his right-wing selection. Avlon picked Rep. Henry Waxman as his leftist “wingnut,” but still labeled him a “respected” man. He conceded no such quality for his other pick. During a second appearance on Monday, Avlon focused on his conservative “wingnut,” omitting Waxman.
Avlon first appeared during the 6 am Eastern hour of American Morning on Friday with anchor Kiran Chetry. She first asked about his pick for the left. He described how Rep. Waxman, during an interview with NPR, characterized the Republicans’ opposition to President Obama as “rooting against the country.” The DailyBeast contributor even got a shot at the Right during his analysis of the Democrat’s remark: “That’s demonizing the opposition, and the idea that Republicans just have to get in line, that there can be no reasonable opposition based on principle- but rather, going de facto against someone’s patriotism- well, that’s wingnut stuff. We called that out when the right has done it in the past, and it’s only right to do it now against the left.”
Both Chetry and Avlon then got tough on Waxman for his failure to even read the cap and trade bill which carries his name. The CNN anchor later asked, “When you call him out as a wingnut this week, is this an isolated incident for Waxman?” Avlon replied, “No question, Henry Waxman is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, but he’s- you know, he’s a respected man. Sometimes reasonable people say unreasonable things. When you say that the opposition is rooting against the country, that’s an unreasonable thing. That’s a wingnut remark.”
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stuck with his analysis of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor from late June- that the judge was “mainstream,” and that it would be difficult to use the reversal of her decision in the New Haven firefighters case and her “Wise Latina” comment against her.
When anchor Rick Sanchez asked if one of those issues was more problematic, Toobin replied, “I think it’s a combination....some Republicans will use [it] to paint a picture of her as kind of an activist...someone who is more interested in helping her community than in interpreting the law. That’s a very tough sell, but I think that’s the argument that they’re building towards.”
During an earlier appearance on the June 29, 2009 edition of the CNN program with anchor Heidi Collins, the very day that the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Ricci/firefighters case, the analyst stated that the decision “will be a main focus of the attack against her by conservative senators, who will say that her views are out of step with the Supreme Court. Now, that will be a somewhat-tough argument to make, because...her views are clearly in-step with four justices on the Court, including the justice she will be replacing. So, it’s not like her position was so far out the mainstream on this case that you couldn’t even get a single justice to agree with her.”
On July 6, CNN’s American Morning may have positioned themselves as a fly in the White House’s public health-care ointment. In a story on Senator Mitch McConnell’s recent comments regarding Canadian national health care, CNN traveled to Canada to investigate whether this vision of long queues in health care was warranted. In investigating, however, CNN neglected to ask an important question of their own story, regarding the possible rationing of the healthcare of cancer patients.
The hospital singled out for Senator McConnell’s rhetorical wrath is Kingston General in Ontario, Canada. CNN’s Dana Bash traveled there under guise of inquiring whether McConnell’s view of Kingston was accurate.
Senator MITCH MCCONNELL: Knee replacements. Well, at Kingston General, the average wait is about 340 days.
BASH: Zelt's response, McConnell is exaggerating.
DR. DAVID ZELT, Chief-of-staff, KINGSTON GEN. HOSPITAL: Average time to get a knee replacement here is 91 days.
This may prove to be an accurate assessment. Oddly, however, this seems to be almost an afterthought in Bash’s report – choosing instead to highlight two anecdotes within Canadian health care.
During an interview of Brookings Institution senior fellow Kevin Casas-Zamora on Wednesday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts not only failed to mention the liberal political leanings of the fellow’s organization, but omitted any mention of the scandal which led to Casa-Zamora’s resignation from the vice presidency of Costa Rica.
Roberts brought on Casas-Zamora to discuss the recent military coup in Honduras, which unseated President Jose Manuel Zelaya, who had been seeking a referendum to extend his term in office. He introduced him as the “senior foreign policy fellow with the Brookings Institution- also recently served as the vice president of Costa Rica.” Specifically, the fellow served from 2006 until 2007 as the country’s vice president and minister of planning and economic policy.
Juan Carlos Hidalgo of the CATO Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperty wrote a column for the Miami Herald on October 5, 2007 which reported that in a leaked private memorandum written to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, Casas-Zamora had “suggested, among other things, withholding public money to mayors who failed to deliver their districts’ votes on CAFTA [the Central American Free Trade Agreement], and circumventing some electoral rules. The ensuing scandal led to Casas’ resignation and caused a dramatic fall in CAFTA’s popularity.”
Contrary to the claims of many liberals, at least some of Iran's anti-government protesters are anxious for Barack Obama to lend American support to their cause. An Iranian student interviewed on CNN’s American Morning on Monday pleaded for the world, and President Obama by name, to become more active in assisting the protests against the Islamic regime in Tehran: “International community....especially, I ask President Barack Obama directly...this government is a huge threat to global peace....We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.” [Audio from the segment available here.]
Near the end of the interview, anchor John Roberts asked the student, who went by the first name of Mohammed alone, for the specific demands of the protesters: “Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran, or are you looking for- as has been suggested- more civil rights, more freedoms, within the context of the existing regime?”
Without any sort of prompting, Mohammed first addressed some of the major controversies involving the Iranian regime: “For about three decades, our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime....We are peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of international community. We don’t want to be isolated....We don’t deny Holocaust. We...do accept Israel’s rights. And actually...we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.”
CNN correspondent Carol Costello underscored the left-wing campaign of blame targeting pro-lifers in the wake of the murder of abortionist George Tiller during a segment on Tuesday’s “American Morning.” She stated on the one hand that “criminologists we talked [to] would say it’s unlikely words alone could drive someone to kill, and until we know more about the accused killer, it’s best not to speculate,” but immediately added that “many anti-abortion groups are clearly on the defensive.” Costello also highlighted a sound bite by University of California, Berkeley professor and former Washington Post reporter Cynthia Gorney, who predicted that “they’re going to get a huge backlash against Right-to-Life. You’re going to get a lot of people now saying, see, those people are all crazy. They all advocate violence.”
Anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s report: “We’ve seen it all too often- the emotionally-charged debate over abortion leading to violence. Police say the man suspected of gunning down Dr. George Tiller acted alone. But did anti-abortion rhetoric also play a role?” Come again? The murder of abortionists happens quite rarely. The CNN correspondent then went further in this line: “You know, there’s no doubt- Dr. George Tiller had become the public face of late-term abortions, procedures done in the second trimester, the kind of procedure that evoked extreme emotion in an already emotional debate. Some say a long vicious war of words hastened Tiller’s death. Others say it was the act of one unbalanced man.”
CNN anchor Kiran Chetry let an “abortion provider” from Alabama, whose center was bombed by captured fugitive Eric Rudolph, denigrate all pro-life activists who have ever protested in front of such centers as potential murderers during a segment on Monday’s “American Morning.” When the “provider,” Diane Derzis, attacked “the people...who stand in front of these clinics every day....and the only way they see to take care of this is to kill us,” Chetry merely replied, “You don’t believe those words? You don’t differentiate between people who are opposed to abortion and pro-life for their religious reasons, versus those who are promoting violence?” (audio clips from the segment available here)
Chetry’s second question to Derzis during the interview was also rather sympathetic: “What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?” This question, highlighted by Laura Ingraham on Monday, led the talk show host to call for the firing of the CNN anchor.
The anchor began her interview of the abortion clinic owner by asking for her reaction to the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was gunned down in his church in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday. Once she offered her initial reply, Chetry followed-up by explaining Derzis’s connection to past violence against such clinics and asking her “target” question: “Your clinic was the one that was bombed, actually, as well, right, in Birmingham, Alabama, by Eric Rudolph, the suspect who’s now serving time because of that. What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?”
During a segment on Friday’s “American Morning,” CNN correspondent Carol Costello used two liberal talking heads to cast doubt on the “judicial activist” label used by conservatives. Costello used three sound bites from Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School, who branded the use of the term as “perfectly juvenile,” and one from NPR’s Nina Totenberg to cast aspersions on conservatives who are concerned about judges legislating from the bench.
Costello’s report, which began 20 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, began by labeling the “judicial activist” term itself an “act” by politicians: “We hear politicians say it all the time, ‘we don't need an activist judge legislating from the bench.’ But what exactly does that mean? Critics roll their eyes when they hear, ‘we don't want an activist judge on the bench,’ when, in reality, that’s exactly what they want. I’m just saying, if that’s true, why not drop the act and tell voters what you really mean?” She further explained that it was a “buzzword that’s got staying power.”
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday twice labeled President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “moderate liberal.” On American Morning, minutes after the Latina judge’s name emerged near the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour, Toobin predicted that she would “probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Hours later, during The Situation Room program, he predicted that Sotomayor, if confirmed, would rule as a “moderate liberal, like Ginsburg and Breyer.”
American Morning anchor T. J. Holmes brought on the legal analyst to discuss the Obama nominee. Toobin first outlined that Sotomayor was “a very eminent judge....She brings a certain bipartisan aura, because she was originally appointed to the federal district court by the first President Bush....[T]his looks like a very solid pick, someone who will probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Minutes before on the CNN program, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz referred to the nominee as “moderate and to the left.” Holmes followed up on this note, and asked, “Is that about right?”
Network anchors and reporters didn't hesitate to apply strong ideological labels (not just quoting others) to President Bush's two Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Will they be as willing to tag President Obama's nominee, U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, as “staunch,” and “hardline” and “ultra” liberal, or at least as “very liberal”?
In July of 2005, on the night Bush announced Roberts, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Ted Koppel both described him as not just conservative, but as “very conservative.” NBC's Brian Williams called Roberts “a kind of 'bedrock conservative,' not what is called a 'movement conservative.'”
The next night, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts (now with CNN) wanted to know of his namesake: “Has President Bush attempted to move the court further to the right with this pick?” On NBC, Chip Reid (now at CBS) highlighted how one liberal activist “says he worries that Roberts might be a stealth candidate, moderate on the outside but as conservative as Justices Scalia and Thomas on the inside.”
CNN anchor John Roberts failed to catch former Vice President Al Gore make a significant exaggeration about his criticism of the Bush administration in its early years during an interview on Friday’s American Morning. When asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent criticism of the Obama administration, Gore claimed that he had “waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical, and then of the policy.” In reality, he made a significant policy speech denouncing the Bush administration’s pre-war policy towards Iraq in September 2002. CNN itself reported on the speech, which was made in San Francisco in front of the Commonwealth Club. Later, when Gore said that he didn’t “want to get dragged into an argument with Dick Cheney about what he’s getting into,” Roberts joked sarcastically, “Oh, Mr. Vice President, you know I would never try to do that with you.”
Roberts’s taped interview of Gore aired in three parts, and his questions to Gore about Cheney came during the second part, which began at the bottom half of the 7 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. The anchor asked the former vice president, “You were a big critic of the previous administration, particularly in the run-up to the war and thereafter. What do you think of Vice President Cheney’s statements that the Obama administration’s policies are leaving this country less safe?”
On Friday’s American Morning, CNN anchor Kiran Chetry used the liberal talking points about Wanda Sykes and Rush Limbaugh, the two “Wingnuts of the Week,” according to John Avlon of The Daily Beast, Tina Brown’s Huffington Post knock-off site. After playing clips from Sykes’ now-infamous routine which bashed the talk show host and wished him dead, Chetry replied, “So, some would say, wait, she’s just a comedian, and she was trying to get laughs at the correspondents’ dinner. So what’s the harm in her joke, and why do her comments qualify her for wingnut of the week?” Later, the anchor asked Avlon concerning Limbaugh, “He’s certainly really dominated the voice of the GOP for -- for the past several months, and, you know, the left has been saying he’s the new voice of the Republican Party. Why did you pick him as the wingnut of the week?” [audio excerpt available here]
The CNN program began the “Wingnut of the Week” last week with Avlon, as a proposed regular segment on Fridays targeting, in his words, “the professional polarizers, the unhinged activists, the folks who are trying to always hijack our debates and divide us.” His picks last week were Representative Michelle Bachmann, for her recent anti-Jimmy Carter remark, and former Representative Cynthia McKinney, for comparing herself to Rosa Parks and referring to Washington, DC as a “Zionist-occupied government.”
Correspondent Jim Acosta, “carrying the CNN flag” on the island of Cuba, filed several reports for the American Morning program during the first week of May which slanted favorably towards an end to the trade embargo with the communist country. His May 1 report on the policy that allows Cuban-Americans to travel to their homeland featured no critics of the Castro regime, nor did it mention the government’s human rights abuses. This was also the case during a May 4 report about tourism to the island and how economic competitors of the U.S. are taking advantage of the country’s resources. Acosta even referred to the ailing dictator emeritus Fidel Castro as a “Cuban icon.”
Acosta’s May 1 report, which aired 21 minutes into the 6 am hour of the CNN program, highlighted the Obama administration’s loosening of restrictions for Cuban-Americans who wish to return to the native soil. The correspondent featured one woman who was “taking bundles of food, clothing, and even toys back to her brother and sister on the island,” and emphasized the popularity of charter flights back to Cuba.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny gained new fans for his goofy "enchanted" softball question at Wednesday night's press conference. On Thursday's American Morning on CNN, former White House reporter John Roberts proclaimed "Good job, Jeff!" and strangely compared Zeleny's Obama softball to Bush hardballs in 2004 pressing him to confess his greatest mistakes. Roberts cited former Time magazine writer John Dickerson -- and forgot he asked a similar hardball in the same press conference.
The only similarity in these questions is they knocked the president "off his talking points." That, and they both betray a liberal bias. Here's the exchange between Roberts and his morning co-anchor Kiran Chetry:
CNN amped up the alarmism about swine flu April 30 when co-host John Roberts interviewed Dr. Martin Blaser of NYU without rounding out the segment with other opinions.
Roberts asked Blaser to put the virus, which had already sickened 109 people in ten states, "in perspective."
Blaser responded, "This is a pandemic. It's all over the world. Right now it's early and it's mild so everybody's at risk. But right now the risk is low."
On April 29, the World Health Organization raised its alert level to stage 5, which "is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries," according to WHO Web site. Phase 6 is "the pandemic phase."
Roberts also asked Blaser to respond to a prediction by John Barry, author of a book about the worst flu epidemic in history, that this virus would act in the same manner.
"John Barry, who wrote a fabulous book on the 1918 flu pandemic called ‘The Great Influenza', thinks this is just the opening act of a very long play. That this virus is probably going to go away for a little while and then maybe next winter or early next year come back with a vengeance. What do you think?" Roberts asked.