During a report by CNN correspondent Dana Bash on Monday’s "The Situation Room," an on-screen chyron or graphic described John McCain’s campaign stop in Selma, Alabama in the following terms: "McCain: Off the GOP Path -- Courts Blacks, Moderates in Ala." Bash herself described McCain’s campaign "really trying to... choreograph events all week long to create his own brand of Republicanism, show, like you said, in impoverished areas, in heavily black areas, that he's a different kind of Republican." Bash then described how "if you took one look at the kind of people who came out to hear John McCain today, it was very clear he has a huge hill to climb."
It’s odd for the CNN graphic to describe McCain as being "off the GOP path" by courting moderates, since the media itself has consistently emphasized the importance of moderate voters in elections, and how both parties have courted them.
During a panel discussion on the April 9 edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty described the Chinese government as "basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." In response, according to a report from the Associated Press from April 15, "China demanded an apology from CNN." "‘We are shocked and strongly condemn the vicious remarks by Cafferty,’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. ‘We solemnly request CNN and Cafferty himself take back the malicious remarks and apologize to the Chinese people.’"
Cafferty had also blasted China for the substandard quality of many of the products that it exports from the U.S. "[W]e continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart."
CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, during a discussion on Friday’s "The Situation Room," defended Barack Obama’s comments, that small-town voters are often "bitter" and they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them," and blasted Hillary Clinton for her criticism of the comments. "I think that is so ridiculous.... I mean that is not at all what Barack Obama said.... I mean Hillary Clinton is clearly distorting what Obama said. And, by the way, what Obama said is factually accurate." Jack Cafferty, a regular contributor to "The Situation Room," agree with Toobin, and went further. "Look, Jeff's right. They call it the 'Rust Belt' for a reason.... The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps. I mean there's nothing new here."
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."
CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen, reporting live from in front Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," presented a sympathetic view of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his house of worship as being "under siege" -- from the national media. "Beyond what they say is the hurtful glare of the cameras, church leaders also say parishioners are hounded by reporters and they say the church received bomb threats. A church that feels under siege, now getting national support." Nearly the entire three minute segment, outside of Roesgen’s voice-overs and on-camera reporting, consisted of sound bites of the supporters of the church.
Besides featuring nobody but its supporters, Roesgen also painted the church and its congregations as victims of the controversy and of the news media. "I think they feel angry and they feel used. When they have talked about certain reporters, they were basically talking about reporters who were rude enough to go into the pews and hand out their business cards during the services, something of course CNN would never do."
CNN correspondent Dana Bash, during an interview of Senator John McCain which aired on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," raised the issue of whether the Republican presidential candidate felt voters’ pain on the economy. "[I]n this time of uncertainty, when there are so many people hurting, are you concerned that there are voters out there who hear that who say, John McCain is heartless when it comes to this issue?" The thought that McCain might be "heartless" was reenforced by inclusion of the chyron, "McCain & Voters’ Pain: Against Big Economic Bailouts." [Audio available here.]
Following her "heartless" question on the economy, Bash followed up by asking a particularly blunt question about whether the current economy would hurt him if it continued into the time immediately before the election. "If the headlines that are on the front page of the newspapers today are the same headlines on the front pages in late October, early November, does John McCain lose?"
CNN’s Carol Costello highlighted Pennsylvania Republicans who became registered Democrats on Friday’s "The Situation Room," and brushed aside the possibility that Rush Limbaugh’s "Operation Chaos" strategy to meddle in the Democratic primaries might be a partial explanation for the change. Costello, featuring two former Republicans who are now voting for the Democrats, said of the couple, "[I]f you think either Conrad is switching because they buy into Rush Limbaugh's dark strategy to weaken the Democratic party...."
CNN’s Dan Lothian, during a report on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," downplayed Hillary Clinton’s "sniper fire" statement on her trip to Tuzla, Bosnia during her time as First Lady, referring to it as a "misstep." Lothian, in his introduction to the report, referenced the "dangerous 1996 visit to Bosnia" and played Clinton’s now-famous false account of her arrival in the war-torn country. As file footage of Clinton’s arrival played, Lothian pointed out how the "video shot that day seemingly contradicts her version of events. No one seems to be running or ducking, and there does appear to be a ceremony." The video, which was first pointed out on NewsBusters by Rich Noyes, flatly proves Clinton’s statement to be false, not just "seemingly contradict" it.
During the roundtable segment on Monday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty compared the racist and anti-American words of Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's condemnation of the many abortions in America. Cafferty, who in January suggested that abortion is a "crap" issue, asserted: "How is this different than John McCain chasing after Pat Robertson or the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, who talk about how we have a culture of murdering unborn children in this country and that we've turned into Sodom because we coddled the gay community in this country? I mean, to me, that stuff is considerably more offensive than decrying racial violence and intolerance in this country, which members of the black community have some firsthand knowledge of." (Transcript follows)
[Update, 5:39 pm Eastern: The Acton Institute's office in Rome has provided an English translation of Bishop Girotti's interview. In it, the bishop has his own criticism for the media. "[I]t is necessary also to denounce the emphasis given to the media that on a daily basis casts discredit on the Church.]
A supposed list of "new sins" from the Vatican, such as pollution and genetic manipulation, made headlines across the world on Monday. The list actually didn’t come from any official Catholic Church document, but from an interview of a bishop that was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the "semi-official" newspaper in Vatican City, and it exposed the mainstream media’s fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
L'Osservatore Romano printed the interview of Gianfranco Girotti, a bishop who is a member of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in its March 9 edition. In it, Girotti discussed "new forms of social sin," and gave examples such genetic manipulation and drug trafficking. Girotti, who is the number-two official at the Tribunal, is in the mid-level of the Vatican’s bureaucracy, and wouldn’t make any official decisions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Despite Girotti’s lack of real authority, the mainstream media hyped up the interview as being authoritative. The Daily Telegraph’s website claimed that Girotti’s list of "new forms of social sin" "replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride." Reuters’ article reported that "the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight." CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on Monday’s "The Situation Room," even went so far to say that "some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat, or steal? But might would one more virtue be added -- go green? Find out why the pope says polluting the planet is a sin." And Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t even the one who was interviewed by L'Osservatore Romano!
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, in a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room," tried to put the Eliot Spitzer scandal into a better light by focusing entirely on past Republican scandals, and only mentioned two examples of Democrats caught in scandal -- Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank -- in passing.
Other than Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Costello brought up Republicans who had been accused of misbehavior by pornographer Larry Flynt. She only mentioned Spitzer at the very beginning of her report, and then immediately went to her first example, Louisiana Senator David Vitter. "Maybe Larry Flynt would say of Eliot Spitzer, there will soon be one less known hypocrite in government. That's how he described Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Flynt accused him of having been a client of the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Palfrey, after the senator's number was discovered in her phone records."
Costello then turned back the clock ten years, and instead of focusing on Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair, she brought up the Republicans that had been caught by Flynt.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty suggested that blame for high oil prices rests not only with Bush administration policies, but also with its "relationship with the oil companies." During a discussion of John McCain and President Bush's recent meeting, Cafferty, who once pushed the liberal conspiracy theory that Big Oil deliberately lowered gas prices before the 2006 elections to help Republicans get elected, once again demonstrated his lack of understanding of the world oil market as he suggested that a "relationship" with oil companies could impact world oil prices: "Oil was $28 a barrel when George Bush was sworn in. It's $104 right now and could go to $120 soon. Now, why do you suppose that is? It wouldn't have to do with the policies of the Bush administration or the relationship they have with the oil companies, would it? Come on." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's The Situation Room on CNN, Time magazine's managing editor, Richard Stengel, suggested that the 1961 Bay of Pigs attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro should not have been planned, as he assigned some of the blame for the fiasco to President Eisenhower for planning it in the first place. During a discussion of the importance of experience for a new President, Stengel contended: "John Kennedy, when he was first elected, very inexperienced President, got us into the Bay of Pigs. Terrible mistake. But who planned the Bay of Pigs? Dwight Eisenhower." (Transcript follows)
Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" brought on three Democratic operatives to denounce "controversial" remarks made by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show earlier in the day, with only one conservative/Republican, CNSNews.com’s Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey, on to defend the top-rated radio talk show host. Limbaugh’s apparent offense was when he brushed aside talk of a possible joint ticket between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "Let’s say put Hillary on top, that’s a position she is familiar with. Therefore you’ve got a woman and a black, first time ever on the Democrat ticket. They don’t have a prayer."
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile blasted Limbaugh during a segment about 50 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the program. "I think that comment is, as far as I can tell, a very un-American conversation.... [A]nd to suggest somehow or another that we are not capable of serving this country in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief is just, in my mind, mind-boggling."
Three CNN talking heads - "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and chief national correspondent John King - all denied that the mainstream media has a "double standard for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton," as "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer put it. Cafferty was the most adamant denier of the charge. "No, it's a vast left-wing conspiracy, Wolf. We all got together in the media and said okay, let's all decide collectively to beat up on Hillary and be nice to Barack Obama. That's nonsense."
What is it with these Hillary surrogates putting themselves in the limelight? Bill has famously turned the focus on himself, in effect giving Hillary's concession speech on a recent losing night and more recently exhorting people to elect "me."
Today it was Madeleine Albright's turn. Speaking with Wolf Blitzer on this afternoon's Situation Room ostensibly for purposes of promoting Hillary Clinton, Madame Secretary managed to use the "I" word 20 times in under four minutes. Throw in one "my" and another "myself" and that's more than a score of self references.
CNN’s Jon Klein, in an internal memo obtained by the TVNewser blog, bragged about the strong ratings the network won during its recent debates and primary coverage, and spun the reason for this success. "CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky's the limit. Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased — without an agenda — is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves." Klein might have had Keith Olbermann in mind when he referred to "partisan rants," but one would only need to look at the past three months to disprove such an outrageous claim by Klein.
Eyeblast has the video: On CNN's The Situation Room on Friday, former NBA star (and current TNT basketball analyst) Charles Barkley trashed conservatives as "fake Christians." You could tell how much CNN was going to enjoy this. At the top of the hour, anchorman Wolf Blitzer promised: "Plus, he's rooting for Barack Obama and he's taking shots at Republicans and the religious right. You're going to find out who NBA great Charles Barkley is calling fake." The screen graphic also read: "Barkley Takes on the Right: Blasts 'Fake' Christians." Blitzer made no attempt to ask the basketball star how a "real" Christian can whole-heartedly support Obama's liberal social agenda.
Ted Turner may no longer own CNN and TNT, but his spirit -- "Christianity is a religion for losers" and pro-lifers were "bozos" and "idiots" -- is still strong in his former properties. Does TNT really want to invite all this political and religious controversy to turn people away from watching their basketball broadcasts?
The Democratic presidential nomination process isn't even over, yet on Tuesday CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the media's favorite shorthand for vicious Republicans never forgotten from 1988, a name journalists can be counted on to resurrect every election season in order to discredit criticism of a liberal candidate, as he asked a guest how “worried” he was about Republicans energizing “elements of racism” by producing “Willie Horton kind of commercials...potentially against Barack Obama?” This, just a week after possible racism by Democratic voters was suggested by Obama's ten-point loss in California's primary after polls showed him up by 13 points. Columnist Bob Novak observed: “The way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect.”
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States," instead of "Commander-in-Chief of the military," as the CNN analyst called the former mayor's statement "pretty outrageous." Toobin further contended that Giuliani's words were an example of his "militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right. ... That's not what the President does. He doesn't run the country." (Transcript follows)
At about 6:40 p.m. on the January 30 show, host Wolf Blitzer led Toobin, Gloria Borger and Jack Cafferty in a discussion that included reaction to Giuliani's speech, which had run live earlier that hour. After Borger gave a positive review of the speech, Toobin responded:
You can tell a lot about how the news media feel about conservatives by watching how they talk about Rush Limbaugh. They want his influence curbed. They pine for the day his career hits the skids. They’re constantly looking for a moment where they can declare that conservatives no longer have – that Rush Limbaugh no longer has -- the Grand Old Party in a menacing trance. They don’t want Republican candidates seeking a Limbaugh endorsement.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello’s report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room" would have you believe that Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio have "lost influence," and the supposed proof is John McCain’s success up to this point in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
During the report, which aired at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour, Costello proclaimed that Republican primary voters have "betrayed" conservative talk show hosts, and the evidence that this is the case is John McCain’s primary victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She used a sound bite from former Republican Congressman Bob Barr to reenforce her point. Barr opined that McCain’s success is "a sign that no one or two talk show hosts really wield the influence that they did two or three [election] cycles ago."
The Establishment Media hailed the study's lead "finding" -- 935 false statements by Bush Administration officials in the two-year period leading up to the launch of the War. The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and -- of course -- the New York Times were all exhilarated to once again climb aboard the "Bush Lied - People Died" Express.
AP, MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times on Wednesday all promoted a “study” by a couple of affiliated far-left groups, supposedly documenting “935 false statements” about Iraq made by Bush officials, but in hyping the proof of “lies” which led to war, the news outlets disguised the ideology of the groups -- led by a former ABC and CBS reporter/producer -- and how many of the “false” statements were about Iraq possessing WMD, which FNC's Brit Hume pointed out was “a concept nearly universally accepted by most of the world's intelligence services at the time.”
Keith Olbermann, who in 2006 slammed the Media Research Center as a “rabid right-wing spin group,” Wednesday night on Countdown with “935 lies” on screen on top of a picture of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, described the Center for Public Integrity and Fund for Independence in Journalism as merely “two non-profit groups” who have “done the algebra” on “the administration's countless lies about Iraq.” Last September, CNN's Jack Cafferty accurately described the MRC as a “conservative media watchdog outfit,” but he euphemistically tagged the left-wing groups as “two non-profit journalism groups” with a study which “found President Bush led the pack with 260 lies.” Cafferty's labeling echoed AP's reference to “two non-profit journalism organizations.”
MSNBC's Dan Abrams lent the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) credibility as “a non-profit, non-partisan investigative journalism group.” On WashingtonPost.com, Dan Froomkin hailed the “non-profit group pursuing old-fashioned accountability journalism” and a Wednesday New York Times story cited CPI as “a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy.”
Cafferty, who commented on the study during his regular "Cafferty File" segment eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, bluntly referred to the supposed "false statements" made by these officials as "lies." He also repeated a line from the study that the "lies" "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." With that last phrase, one cannot doubt the political leanings of these "nonprofit journalism groups," as Cafferty referred to them.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during the roundtable segment, Jack Cafferty charged that Hillary Clinton's recent contention that she would be best prepared to deal with a terrorist attack amounted to "the same boogeyman fearmongering garbage we've had from the Bush administration for the last five years." He added that "it isn't the terrorists that are going to take this country down. We're doing a good job of that all by ourselves." (Transcript follows)
Cafferty also lamented that Republican candidates were talking about issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the Confederate flag, which he called "the same crap that we hear every election cycle." He went on to recommend both spending cuts and tax increases to improve the economy. Notably, Cafferty's reference to the Confederate flag gave an impression that he saw one of the candidates pushing the issue, when in reality, as reported by CNN's John King at about 4:30 p.m., the discussion of the Confederate flag consisted of a few people protesting outside, and a man in John McCain's town hall meeting audience bringing up the subject and complaining about the Arizona Senator's opposition to the flag's display above South Carolina's state capitol, with McCain defiantly standing by his opposition. Cafferty also neglected to mention that McCain has been talking about fighting against wasteful spending, which is consistent with some of what Cafferty was pushing for.
Taking a page out of Chris Cuomo’s play book on covering Barack Obama and race, CNN’s Carol Costello on Friday’s "The Situation Room" speculated whether Obama can continue to get whites to vote for him, or whether his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary points to "the undercurrent about race that exists in this country."
Costello repeated a theory proposed by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, that Hillary Clinton’s victory could be partially attributed to "poor, uneducated whites who don't participate in polls and who often don't vote for blacks." She also pointed out the fact that there are nine female governors, but only one black governor in the United States; as well as the fact that there are 16 female senators, but Barack Obama is the only black in the Senate.
Would a Mike Bloomberg presidential candidacy be the Dems' worst nightmare? Yes, according to Bill Schneider. The CNN Senior Political Analyst described the NYC Mayor in terms that should make Hillary Clinton's blood run cold: "a Ralph Nader, with money."
Schneider offered his analysis at 4:40 PM ET today on the Situation Room.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty went out of his way to compliment Hillary Clinton for "becoming emotional at a diner in New Hampshire" on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room." " In a brief, unguarded moment yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave us a peek behind the curtain, and it was terrific." He went on to say that Hillary "became one of us, just for a minute."
Cafferty’s lauds for Clinton came eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room" during his regular "Cafferty File" segment. Besides offering these words of praise, Cafferty leveled some criticism of how Hillary had handled herself up until that "unguarded moment."
CNN's Jack Cafferty on Monday advanced former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, posing as his “Cafferty File” question in the 6pm EST hour of The Situation Room: “Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?” Highlighting McGovern's bombastic op-ed in the “Outlook” section of Sunday's Washington Post, “Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,” Cafferty quoted McGovern's contention Bush and Cheney “have repeatedly violated the Constitution,” “have lied to the American people time after time” and have carried out a “murderous, illegal, nonsensical war.” So “illegal” that the House and Senate, controlled by Democrats, continue funding it.
All six of the posted answers, read later in the hour by Cafferty, castigated Congress for not following McGovern's advice. One argued “the Democratic Congress will not move on impeachment because we have nothing but cowards in Washington,” another Cafferty chose to spotlight asserted that “the collaborators who gave Bush everything they wanted won't condemn themselves now by impeaching him” and Cafferty ended with this sarcastic take from Sally, a neighbor of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia: “Because all they did was cause death, destruction, torture, defiling of the Constitution and decimation of the nation's finances. Thank goodness they didn't have sex with an intern.”