CNN correspondent Tom Foreman omitted identifying a "foreign policy expert" as a former member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council during a report on John McCain’s strong position towards Russia on Wednesday’s Election Center program. This expert, Charles Kupchan of the Council of Foreign Relations, accused McCain of becoming a belligerent position towards the country: "Well, over the last few years, McCain's views on Russia seem to be getting more and more confrontational, and I think he's really aligned himself with the far right, not with the centrists within the Republican Party. And, in some ways, it almost appears either if he thinks the Cold War is still on or that he wants it to return."
Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, served as Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during Clinton’s first term. He also has complimented Barack Obama for his willingness to "engage adversaries," which to him is "a sign not of naiveté or inexperience, but of hard-headed realism." Foreman used two sound bites from the professor during his report. At the beginning of the segment, the CNN correspondent played Ronald Reagan’s famous "tear down this wall" line from 1987 as he introduced McCain’s position on Russia: "In the final years of the Soviet Union, as Ronald Reagan was thundering at the Russians, John McCain was a first-term senator cheering him on, and, 21 years later, he still distrusts Russia."
CNN co-anchor Don Lemon, during a brief report on Tuesday’s Newsroom program about a pro-life measure on the ballot in South Dakota that would greatly restrict abortion, gave only the pro-choice side of the debate over the proposed law. He also oversimplified Barack Obama’s stance on the abortion issue.
Lemon stated how the Great Plains state "is becoming a new focal point in the abortion debate" due to the measure, which is called Initiated Measure 11. He then introduced the sole sound bite from a Planned Parenthood official: "Opponents say it would be one of the most rigid and inflexible bans in the country. They worry about the impact it could have on Roe vs. Wade."
During the sound bite, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota argued, "Nowhere in America is abortion harder to access than in the state of South Dakota, and while South Dakota accounts for only 0.1 percent of abortions nationwide, it has a potentially disproportionate, powerful effect on public policy in our country, because of the attempts in South Dakota to create a vehicle to overturn Roe vs. Wade."
After Barack Obama’s more-than-enthusiastic greeting by many attendees at the UNITY convention for minority journalists in Chicago on Sunday, some in the media have expressed outrage that some have now questioned their objectivity, despite the appalled reactions from some of their own peers to the display and the live video shown on CNN (at right).
April Yee wrote on Andrew Romano’s blog on Newsweek.com on Monday about the question of whether minority journalists can cover the Illinois senator objectively. She quoted Ernest Suggs of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who objected to this question even coming up in the first place: "That mindset needs to change.... It is offensive that because we have the same color or the same agenda, our journalistic ethics and responsibilities go out the window."
Suggs might have a point, since two of the biggest cheerleaders for Obama in the media are white men: Lee Cowan and Chris Matthews.
On today's CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, network White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux moderated a discussion with Barack Obama at the UNITY convention of minority journalists. Beforehand, Blitzer asked her about someone who wasn't attending the conference:
BLITZER: Senator McCain, I take it, he was invited to address this conference, as well. Is that right?
MALVEAUX: Yes, he certainly was. His campaign said there was a conflict of interest, that he had a lot of other things that were going on. He wasn't able to attend. This is a conference that has spanned across four days or so here in Chicago. Thousands of people have attended. It happens every four years. And so it really is very important to the journalists here, a lot of writers, a lot of people who represent media throughout the country are going to be paying very close attention. It is a shame that he wasn't able to attend.
McCain begged off because of other commitments. That may well be true, but even if it weren't it would have been a mistake for him to participate. He would not have been received nearly as warmly as Obama and the contrast would have given the mainstream media an opportunity to joyfully focus on the disparity.
"[Europe] wants to see an [American] president committed to free trade," cautioned CNN Chief International Correspondent from Berlin, Germany, the site of a speech by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Amanpour pointed to Obama's wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as a problem for the Illinois senator. She explained why on the July 24 broadcast during Obama's visit to Europe.
"But let me tell you a word of caution. The European top trade official for instance has said, ‘Listen Barack Obama quit that crowd pleasing rhetoric and get serious for instance on the issue of trade.' You know Barack Obama as a candidate has talked about renegotiating NAFTA. Well, that does not go down well in Europe, which believes in internationalism and globalism, in globalization," said Amanpour on the morning broadcast.
During a segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" program on Monday afternoon, anchor Kyra Phillips voiced her clear objections to The New Yorker’s satirical depiction of Michelle Obama as a radical leftist and Barack Obama as a Muslim. "If I see this magazine cover, okay? And I mean, this is pretty racial. I mean, let's look at it again. You've got Michelle Obama in an Afro. You know, you've got, you know, her husband, Barack Obama, in a turban. We're talking about racism and terrorism. I mean, these are -- and burning of the flag. These are the most sensitive issues in our country right now. If I see that, I'm going to think, oh my God, is this who we want in the White House?" She later asked the question, "Do you think in any way that this cover sets us back, that it's more divisive than anything else and only proves that we're still pretty racially insensitive?"
Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN, in a report promoted to be about how "controversial comments are nothing new to Jesse Jackson," was actually a retrospective from two years ago that largely glowed about Jackson’s affiliation with Martin Luther King, Jr., and giving the man a platform to answer his critics. "Newsroom" co-anchor Don Lemon, who interviewed Jackson in the report, remarked of his career, "‘How far soon we forget’ could be theme of Jesse Jackson's last decade or so. After all, it was him, marching or sitting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in all those civil rights photographs." Lemon did mention the leader’s extramarital affair in which he sired a child, but omitted the former Democratic presidential candidate’s bigoted "Hymietown" comments from 1984.
On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed Carolyn Lochhead, the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent. The topic was "Obamacans," conservative Republicans who support Barack Obama for president.
Lochhead wrote a recent article on the phenomenon and was brought on to discuss the mythical beast:
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of becoming host of CNN's Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer defended Al Gore's famous statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," as the CNN anchor argued that Gore's words, which came during a March 1999 interview with Blitzer, were "misreported" and "twisted" by the media. Blitzer: "It never dawned on me that that would be exploded and, to a certain degree, misreported on what he said. He never said, 'I invented the Internet,' although that headline was so damaging to him, as a result of that interview."
After host Howard Kurtz asked if the media "kind of twisted the meaning of the words," Blitzer agreed with that assessment, and credited Gore with work in Congress that "resulted in a lot of other people creating the Internet." Blitzer: "Yes, yes. Because if you look precisely at what he said ... when he was a member of the Congress, he did take the initiative in passing the legislation that eventually resulted in a lot of other people creating the Internet, not necessarily him. But all of it, as you correctly point out, was lost because the headline was 'I invented the Internet.' And that really, that really hurt him a lot." (Transcript follows)
Gerri Willis co-hosts CNN's daily "Issue Number One," a program devoted to the economy. For her, it appears almost every day is a struggle.
Last Thursday, she spoke of "high gas prices, one of the many cost(s) Americans struggles with in this economy." She took a break from the struggle on Wednesday, when a CNN anchor filled in for her and co-host Ali Velshi.
The previous day, however, her question to CNNMoney.com's Poppy Harlow was: "So what do you have to say to folks out there who are struggling to pay those (energy) bills?" Willis also employed another of her favorite words, tough. "There are," she noted, "all kinds of programs across the country to make sure that doesn't happen, but times are so tough." Later on the show, she observed: "These tough economic times can be especially hard on retirees."
Over the course of two programs on Tuesday evening, CNN political analyst Roland Martin unhesitatingly ran to the defense of Barack Obama against the recent criticism of Dr. James Dobson, who characterized the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate of "distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology" in a 2006 speech. On the "Election Center" program, Martin tried to deny Dobson’s influence in the American evangelical community: " I think we're doing the nation a disservice by calling James Dobson an evangelical leader." Then on "Anderson Cooper 360," he accused Dobson and other evangelicals of wanting to "tear down Obama, the person who is talking about faith..."
In a statement reminiscent of Howard Dean’s controversial statement from 2005 about the RNC and "people of color," Time magazine columnist Joe Klein blasted Karl Rove’s recent slam of Barack Obama on Monday’s "Election Center" program on CNN. "I just think that the image is kind of hilarious when you think about it: Barack Obama at a country club sipping a martini. It's kind of a parody of the Republican view of the world. Everybody belongs to -- since when [did] we start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?"
"People like Barack Obama"? That sounds like Dean’s "You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?... Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there."
"Election Center" substitute host Wolf Blitzer read Rove’s quote earlier in the segment, which began 22 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall, and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."
"Change We Can Believe In" is the new "I Have a Dream," that is, if you ask the crew at CNN.
During Tuesday’s live election coverage, CNN reporters and analysts gushed over Barack Obama’s speech, comparing it to those of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln as well as praising Obama for his graciousness towards Hillary Clinton.
Leading up to Obama’s speech, Anderson Cooper announced: "An extraordinary moment for Barack Obama, for his wife, Michelle Obama, for all of those supporters, not only gathered in that, in that stadium tonight, but people watching around the country, even those who may not support Barack Obama certainly taking this moment to reflect on the historic nature of what is happening on this evening."
CNN contributor Roland Martin, asked about Democrats’ low poll results concerning national security on Friday’s "Election Center" program, answered using his best Barack Obama impression. "...John McCain, you're a war hero. You served. But you also voted for the war that's led to the death of 4,000 Americans. We have spent billions of dollars and, frankly, it has not stabilized the Middle East.... He's [Obama] going to put the cost of the war and how it has not done what it was supposed to on his back and say, you know what? Explain that, Mr. War Hero."
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
Just when you thought the "green" hype couldn’t get any worse, Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN introduced the world to the latest celebrities to jump on the "environmentally-friendly" bandwagon: rocker Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Johnny Colt, the bassist for the pop group Train. Co-host Tony Harris interviewed the three for seven minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour of the CNN program so the new trio could promote their upcoming "reality" series, "Battleground Earth" on Discovery Network’s new "green" channel. This brings up the inevitable question, will the Church of Scientology sue for copyright infringement for the show’s title being so close to L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp sci-fi novel "Battlefield Earth"?
Harris, as might be expected, didn’t ask the three any hard-hitting questions, though the celebrities did seem like they were stumped by some of the softballs the CNN host lobbed at them. For example, Harris asked the celebrities about the presidential election and their favorite candidates. Of course, two of them endorsed Obama.
CNN’s Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN’s special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist’s opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he’s [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."
Christiane Amanpour interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her October 2000 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim "He’s Not a Nut" Jong Il, as part of her "Notes from North Korea" program, which aired on Saturday and Sunday evenings. During the segment, the CNN senior international correspondent failed to note how her husband, James Rubin, worked as spokesman and Assistant Secretary for State for Albright from 1997 until May 2000. Albright emphasized how "it's possible to have verifiable agreements" with the North Korean regime and how "negotiations need to be pursued actively." The Clinton administration that she worked for conducted negotiations with the communist dictatorship during the 1990s and signed a nuclear agreement with them, which the North Korean government violated by conducting a secret uranium enrichment program. So much for "verifiable agreements."
Amanpour did call the North Korean regime "a police state" and a "dictatorship" during her special, but she downplayed the communist government’s responsibility for the deaths of millions of North Koreans during a famine in the 1990s. [audio available here]
Government meddling with the free-market forces can have ill consequences. Just look at how government mandates for corn-based ethanol have affected the global food supply.
According to CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, CNN viewers rate the economy as the most important issue and named gas prices as their number one concern. "AOL Money Coach" Hilary Kramer agreed with viewers, but regarded Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's proposal as "valuable" when matched with alternative energy legislation.
"Absolutely right," Kramer said on CNN's May 5 "Issue #1." "That's why Barack Obama with a $150 billion package that he wants to jumpstart an entire industry alternative energy and clean technology could be very valuable, especially matching that up with legislation to force the use of alternative energy."
Two segments that aired on two days straight on CNN underscored the network’s alignment with those who stand against a gasoline tax holiday during the summer driving season. First, Carol Costello’s segment on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" program used last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis to advance the idea that "things like road construction and bridge repair" would suffer as a result of the lost revenues. The following day, on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, on McCain’s proposal, asking, "So when you say that he would take the money from reserves, in other words, we would go further into debt to pay for this tax break?" During the interview, a chyron or graphic on the screen claimed, "Saving on Gas Could Cost You: Whether to Suspend Fed Gas Taxes."
CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos, who is known for her light and often humor-tinged reports on a variety of topics, profiled politically-active elderly women in a report which aired on Wednesday’s "American Morning" and "Newsroom" programs, devoting all but six seconds of her two-and-a-half plus minute report to "granny" supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While the Democratic supporters are seen dancing at rallies and posting YouTube videos, the only McCain supporter who appeared in the segment was McCain’s own 96-year-old mother, who merely stood in a background during a campaign stop.
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN’s series titled “The League of First Time Voters,” featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on “American Morning” and CNN’s “Newsroom” program on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked, “When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?” Later, he asked, “You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?” [video available here]
After his “War on Terror” question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez asked, “Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?” Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his “bin Laden” question. After woman answered affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, “We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?” Two others answered his question as well.
Rather than beating up on home lenders and accuse them of intentionally targeting borrowers who were in over the head, CNN took a more instructive approach.
The April 14 edition of CNN's new business show, "Issue #1," showed that there are ways other than whining and moaning about how you were victimized by an unscrupulous lender. A Brooklyn, N.Y., homeowner on the brink of foreclosure sent a letter to a lender asking for some leeway on her mortgage payments.
"I'm a single, divorced mother living alone with my children," Jillian Simmons said to CNN, reading the letter she sent to Fremont Investment and Loan (NYSE:FMT). "Please lower my rate from 7.95 percent I have at the moment so that somehow my payments will be more affordable and changed to a fixed rate. Thank you, Jillian Simmons."
Kudos to NBC's David Gregory for making a relatively rare declaration of just how fanatically anti-Israel the terrorist group Hamas actually is. On Friday's Race for the White House on MSNBC, Gregory hosted a panel discussion of whether Jimmy Carter's plans to meet with a Hamas leader are a danger to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during which Gregory described Hamas as "the terrorist organization bent on destroying Israel." After liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz suggested that negotiation with Hamas may some day be necessary, Gregory further clarified his description of Hamas's nature: "But, well, but this is a different matter. I mean, Hamas has made it very clear, Tony Blankley, that it wants Israel destroyed in no uncertain terms." (Transcript follows)
On the Thursday April 10 The Situation Room, CNN's Brian Todd similarly noted that Hamas has "called for Israel's destruction." Todd: "Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. It's called for Israel's destruction."
Last night on CNN Headline News's "Showbiz Tonight," so-called Hip Hop Professor Marc Lamont Hill noted that he was "freaked out" by Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus's claim that she loves Jesus. Host AJ Hammer played a clip from a YouTube video where Cyrus and pal Mandy answered fans' questions, this one dedicated to their religion:
Are we Christian?
Yes. We are.
We love Jesus. Happy Easter by the way. He died for our sins. That is how great he is. That`s why we do what we do. I sing and act Jesus. Not the acting but I sing and dance for Jesus. Actually, I act for Jesus, too. And now that I think about it, I do everything for Jesus.
Roland Martin, a talk radio host out of Chicago and contributor to CNN, appearing on the network immediately Barack Obama’s "race speech" on Tuesday morning, compared the reaction to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s much-publicized comments to the reaction to the Catholic sex scandal. Co-anchor Heidi Collins asked, "He [Obama] didn't disagree strong enough to go to a different church though. He stayed for many, many years. How do you think that will play?" Martin’s responded, "But frankly, I think that is irrelevant, because I don't -- look, I was born and raised Catholic. The first 25 years of my life of my life, I was Catholic.... And there are a number of people out there who are still Catholic today, even though the Church dropped the ball when it came to the whole issue of sex offenders, and some who left. But that's fine. But the reality is a person's faith is a personal decision."
Martin made similar comments on Monday’s "Newsroom" program during a discussion of Rev. Wright’s comments with co-anchor Don Lemon and Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus at the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour. "[Y]ou have a number of people who have said that, for Catholics, will you leave the Catholic Church because of what the church did when it came to sexual abuse victims? And you know what? A lot of folks have stayed."
CNN’s Kyra Phillips, currently in Iraq on assignment, apparently couldn’t any Iraqi troops who support the Republicans for the November election in the U.S. All of those featured in her report on Friday’s "Newsroom" program said glowing things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or the Democrats in general. Ahmed Mansour, one of the soldiers from Iraq’s Sixth Division that Philips interviewed, expressed his preference for Hillary Clinton. "The truth is I pay attention to Democratic Party -- even more, Hillary Clinton." When asked why he liked Hillary, he said, "Because I like her personality, because she's new. In America, you need something new, a new female president. We saw and lived under the Republican Party, under Bush. We would like to see what the Democrats have to offer."
"I said it before and I'll say it again," Amanpour said. "I believe that we failed as a profession to do our duty which is simply to ask the hard questions, to stay on it, to fact check and to cross-check and to not take one version of the story hook, line and sinker."
CNN’s Anderson Cooper and "The Nation" editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel joined the attack on Bill Cunningham’s anti-Barack Obama comments at a rally for John McCain in Cincinnati, Ohio, comments that McCain himself repudiated. Cooper began his "Anderson Cooper 360" program on Tuesday by referring to Cunningham as a "talk show pit bull" and criticizing his use of Obama’s middle name. "Tonight: ugly words from a talk show pit bull about Barack Obama at a John McCain event, calling him a hack, using his middle name as a slander." Later, Cooper described Cunningham as a "a two-bit radio host." On Wednesday’s "Election Center" program on CNN, vanden Heuvel went even further than Cooper. "This talk radio guy is very unstable. He went from supporting McCain to Hillary and then Ralph Nader in one minute."