As much as the mainstream media like Rudy Giuliani’s liberal viewpoints on abortion and homosexuality, a panel on CNN’s "The Situation Room" were divided on the issue of Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Jack Cafferty, who won MRC’s "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" last year, labeled Robertson as being part of a "lunatic fringe" and opined that the endorsement was "absolutely irrelevant." On the other hand, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin thought the Robertson/Giuliani alliance was a "big deal."
Cafferty and Toobin, along with host Wolf Blitzer and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger discussed the endorsement at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour. Blitzer introduced the roundtable discussion by highlighting the possible "mixed blessing" of Robertson. "While the value of Pat Robertson's endorsement is clearly debatable, he has tended to hitch his wagon to winners in the Republican primary."
Blitzer then introduced the panel, and directed the first question to Cafferty, who took the opportunity to not only criticize Robertson, but also go on one of his rants about the Iraq war.
CNN’s "The Situation Room," a program not known for featuring state legislators, did a live interview on Thursday of "little-known" Virginia state senator, Republican Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, whose liberal stance on gun control earned her the endorsement of Michael Bloomberg. The New York City mayor appeared with Devolites-Davis during the interview. As CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick put it during a report preceding the interview, "Today, the newly turned Independent threw his personal support behind friend and fellow gun critic Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, a Virginia state senator trying hard to get re-elected. His endorsement of a little-known legislator is rare for a man used to playing on a larger stage."
Host Wolf Blitzer introduced Feyerick’s report by highlighting Bloomberg’s apparent influence and his shared ideology with Davis. "...[T]he biggest city mayor is lending his muscle to a lawmaker in another state. Their common cause -- gun control."
Filing a report on how crucial single female voters are for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), CNN reporter Carol Costello left out the central, defining aspect of a liberal political action committee hoping to elect Clinton.
Costello's report aired on the November 1 "The Situation Room" about a quarter before 6 p.m. Eastern. Here's how she blandly described EMILY's List over B-roll showing the group's Web site (pictured at right):
Two thousand eight could well be the year of the woman, or rather the single, anxious female. According to new research by EMILY's List, a political network for Democratic women, they might just put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Yet the very same Web site declares the group to be "the nation's largest grassroots political network" that is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local offic." Hammering home the point that the abortion issue is THE litmus test for candidate funding, the Web site answers the question "Who is EMILY" by among other things asserting that she's "every woman who’s ever had to defend her right to be pro-choice. She’s every woman who’s ever had to explain her choice not to have a child."
The mainstream media’s long march against the Iraq War continues unabated. On October 27, the Washington Post ran a front-page story with an attention-grabbing headline taken from a quote by an American soldier serving in Iraq: "I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life." Two days later on October 29, CNN’s Jack Cafferty on "The Situation Room" used the same quote in his "Question of the Hour:" "What does it say about the conflict in Iraq when troops there are saying things like, 'I don't think this place is worth another soldier's life.' Our soldiers are saying that stuff."
The Post story, written by Joshua Partlow, detailed the experience of American soldiers in a neighborhood of Baghdad called Sadiyah, which is known for its slide into sectarian violence over the past 14 months. The piece seemed to be tailored to put a negative spin on the recent drop in violence across Iraq. For example: "While top U.S. commanders say the statistics of violence have registered a steep drop in Baghdad and elsewhere, the soldiers' experience in Sadiyah shows that numbers alone do not describe the sense of aborted normalcy -- the fear, the disrupted lives -- that still hangs over the city."
Despite CNN “American Morning” anchor John Roberts asking tough questions about tax increases from liberal Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel’s tax bill, but an onscreen graphic read “Major Tax Reform,” suggesting the network viewed it differently.
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in an early birthday gift of a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," reported that Hillary Clinton’s 2007 was a "so far, so great career year" and was "dedicated to flexing her foreign policy muscle, while reshaping her public image from humorless, wild-eyed liberal to a approachable, reasoned politician." This "wild-eyed liberal" line is an example of the mainstream media only resorting to use the "dreaded ‘L’ word" to reject the reality of her consistently liberal record.
In addition to the obligatory Hillary file footage and sound bites, Doug Hattaway, the campaign spokesman for Gore/Lieberman in 2000 gushed "I think this really long campaign season has really benefitted Senator Clinton. It's given voters a chance to see her for who she really is, not some caricature created by the right-wing attack machine." Hattaway continued, "In the debates, she's been commanding. On the trail, she's been very personable. And that's a really powerful combination."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," asked how the $2.4 trillion, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would be the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next decade, could be better spent. Apparently, Cafferty, who is a well-known opponent of the Iraq war, also thinks that money being spent in Afghanistan for operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban could also be put to better use.
Cafferty’s "Question of the Hour" came 11 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." He included that this figure "amounts to about $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country" and that it includes "$700 billion in interest, since these wars are all being fought on borrowed money to begin with. And more than 70% of this money would go to the war in Iraq." Cafferty also included that apparently "as of September 30th, the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $604 billion. That's more than either Korea or Vietnam, and there's no end in sight to this thing."
CNN's Jack Cafferty used one of his Monday “Cafferty File” segments to denounce the Bush administration for opposing the expansion of the S-CHIP program, and now threatening to veto spending for home energy assistance, while pushing more money for Iraq. An exasperated Cafferty: “No money for kids' health insurance, no money to help poor families pay their heating bills, but President Bush wants $190 billion additional for 2008 for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Cafferty contended “thirty million of the poorest Americans will be left in the cold this winter because a government program that's supposed to help pay their heating bills doesn't have enough money” and yet “the Bush administration wants to cut the program's budget. No heat for the poor people. Starting to sound familiar, isn't it? Remember a couple of weeks ago President Bush went into a closed office, shut the door, no reporters, vetoed a health bill to provide health insurance for kids.”
Cafferty's loaded question in the 7pm EDT hour of The Situation Room:
When it comes to American citizens, you really have to wonder what President Bush's priorities are. Where do the citizens of this country fit into his game plan? Hundred and ninety billion for the wars, cut the heating bill budget, veto the kids' health insurance. The question is the Bush administration doesn't have enough money to help poor families pay for heat this winter, but they want $190 billion for the Iraq war. What's your reaction to that?
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in his regular "Cafferty File" segment on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," disdainfully criticized the appointment of a birth control skeptic to head a "family planning" agency at the Department of Health and Human Services by President Bush. "The question this hour is -- how much does it matter if the Bush Administration's appointee to head family planning programs has -- (LAUGHS) has been critical of birth control? This stuff is right out of ‘The Twilight Zone.'"
Cafferty’s comments came in response to the appointment of Susan Orr to the post in HHS, and aired just before the quarter-past-the-hour mark, and at the end of the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Normally, "The Cafferty File" airs 5 minutes earlier at about 10 minutes past the hour, but coverage of the bombing in Karachi, Pakistan near the motorcade of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto pushed it back.
Cafferty began his "Question of the Hour" commentary bouncing off the breaking news about the bombing. He was so "taken aback" by this appointment that he read the introductory remark twice. Cafferty then "frowned upon" (easy for him) the fact that Orr’s position is "acting" director of the agency.
Tuesday’s "The Situation Room" featured two segments with aging rockers who voiced their opposition to Bush administration policies - the first with Crosby and Nash (but not Stills), and the second with Paul Simon. In the first segment, CNN correspondent Carol Costello interviewed the two hippie icons, who compared the Bush administration to a "junta." In the second, host Wolf Blitzer asked Simon about his opposition to President Bush’s veto of the expanded SCHIP program.
Both the Crosby/Nash segment and the Simon segment aired in the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." While Crosby and Nash used fiery rhetoric against Bush, Simon used subdued language. All three wore coats and business shirts, compared to the "rocker garb" of their youth.
Costello interviewed Crosby and Nash at Washington National Cathedral, where the two were to perform at a "peace concert." In their rant against President Bush, Crosby and Nash completed each other’s thoughts, as if they were telepathically-linked.
CNN viewers on Friday saw a relatively rare acknowledgement of those who are skeptical of Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth," including a British judge who recently ruled that there are nine inaccuracies in the movie. But CNN's Miles O'Brien dismissed the views of dissenters, and downplayed the importance of the errors cited by the judge.
As he made several appearances on various CNN shows on Friday, O'Brien tagged dissenters with such labels as "dead-enders," a "tiny fraction of a minority," and a "very small fringe," as he linked skeptics to fossil fuel companies. He also repeatedly declared that the scientific debate on global warming is over. Notably, on the July 20 "The Situation Room," O'Brien had curtly lectured former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts with similar comments on the subject. O'Brien: "You're not paying attention to the science, J.C. You're definitely not paying attention. ... The scientific debate is over, J.C., we're done." (Transcript follows)
Wolf Blitzer’s interview of former president Jimmy Carter on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" demonstrated the CNN host’s catering to prominent liberals. In one question to the former president, Blitzer asked about the ongoing presidential campaigns. "Do any of these candidates, presidential candidates, scare you?" After Carter answered that none of the Democrat candidates scared him, Blitzer asked as follow-up questions, "What about the Republican side?" and "Who scares you the most?"
Later in the interview, Blitzer asked Carter, "By your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture?" Carter’s unequivocal answer: "I don't think it. I know it, certainly." This led to a follow-up question from Blitzer on the question of whether President Bush should be impeached. "But you don't want to see any formal charges or a trial?"
Update, 6:10 PM - Video (4:45): Real (3.50 MB) or Windows (2.91 MB), plus MP3 (2.17 MB)
ABC anchor, and former Clinton employee, George Stephanopoulos interviewed his old boss on ABC’s "This Week." Stephanopoulos sycophantically highlighted a story in The Atlantic about the ex-President's philanthropy. Stephanopoulos quoted the author, "'History may remember Bill Clinton as the philanthropist who happened to be President" and then asked if Clinton was "okay" with that description.
Why did President Bush veto a federal health insurance bill "for children?" Well, ABC painted the President as uncaring and not concerned about the poor, rather than mention the program actually covers more than just the destitute.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, in a "Question of the Hour" segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," offered a loaded question involving President Bush’s veto of a proposed expansion of the SCHIP program. "President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children?"
Cafferty’s question came 10 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room." Before he asked that question, Cafferty detailed that President Bush’s veto of SCHIP "was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors. No fanfare, no news coverage," and the reasons the President listed for his veto. He then added that "this is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq." Cafferty also outlined how under President Bush’s leadership, the ceiling for the national debt has been increased for the fifth time in seven years to $9.8 trillion, and how apparently, President Bush "has borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks since taking office than this country's first 42 presidents combined."
Following ABC’s lead and sixteen years of puffball precedent, a CNN camera crew with an unidentified reporter caught up with Anita Hill in New York City and threw softball questions at her. The interview aired on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. The "unidentified male" used the term "painful" in two of his questions to describe Hill’s past in the Clarence Thomas saga. For example, "Do you think your experience, as painful as it was, changed the society and its approach to this particular issue?" I guess that’s the kind of "withering scrutiny from the press" Robin Roberts was referring to on Tuesday’s "Good Morning America."
The full transcript of the Anita Hill interview from Tuesday’s "The Situation Room:"
Bill Bennett corrected CNN's Wolf Blitzer's presumption on Monday that Rush Limbaugh's “phony soldiers” comment was directed at soldiers who served in Iraq and now oppose the war, but in setting up the “Strategy Session” segment on Tuesday's The Situation Room, Blitzer again adopted as fact the spin of the far-left group pushing the attack on Limbaugh. With the text on screen, Blitzer highlighted how “Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania...says: 'Someone should tell chicken hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do.'” To Bennett and Donna Brazile, Blitzer wondered: “What do you make of this strategy that Harry Reid...and others are saying now that Rush Limbaugh was inappropriately offensive to veterans?” Bennett retorted with “not much” and observed: “When you shoot at a king, and he's the king of talk radio, you better get him. They didn't get him here.”
On Monday night, Blitzer had dismissed Limbaugh's explanation, that he was referring to anyone who claims to have served in Iraq but has not, and introduced a story on “Limbaugh's charge that some veterans who are criticizing the war are, in his words, quote, 'phony soldiers.'" Meanwhile, on Tuesday's American Morning, CNN anchor Kiran Chetry proposed: “Two weeks after Republicans went after MoveOn.org's 'General Betray Us' ad, the Democrats are turning the tables on Rush Limbaugh. They say that he made hateful and unpatriotic remarks about U.S. troops on his radio show.” Not until the end of the story, after relaying Senator Tom Harkin's insult that “maybe he was just high on his drugs,” did Chetry provide Limbaugh's take.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night matched MSNBC in distorting the target of Rush Limbaugh's “phony soldiers” comment as the 7pm EDT hour of The Situation Room devoted a full story to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's attack on Limbaugh based on a Friday hit job on Limbaugh by the far-left Media Matters. “It's an angry new shot in the dispute over the war in Iraq,” Blitzer asserted before reporting that Limbaugh had charged “that some veterans who are criticizing the war are, in his words, quote, 'phony soldiers.'" In fact, on his show Friday and Monday, Limbaugh made clear he was referring to those who claimed to be soldiers, but never served, a point mentioned by reporter Dana Bash, but only after Blitzer framed the story by adopting as fact the spin of the left wing attack group.
Bash offered a favorable take on Reid's reasoning: “Harry Reid combined a biting attack on Limbaugh with a demand for an apology for what Democrats call an insulting rant against soldiers who joined Democrats in opposing the war.” Though Bash noted that “Limbaugh insists he was only talking about one anti-war soldier, Jesse MacBeth recently convicted of falsely claiming to have served in Iraq,” she proceeded to highlight how “Limbaugh's comments are burning up the liberal blogosphere. Watchdog group Media Matters, among the first to blast Limbaugh, says it doesn't buy his explanation.” She next vaunted how “this new escalation of the Iraq debate has Democrats looking to turn the tables after the controversy of MoveOn.org's attack on the commanding General in Iraq.” A strategy that will only work if the media play along. Bash did air a bit of Limbaugh's response to Reid: Laughter, followed by “he's got to be a nut!”
A preview of an interview of impeached former president Bill Clinton ran on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room," in which Clinton blasted "disingenuous" Republicans for their "feigned outrage" over MoveOn.org’s ad attacking General David Petraeus. Clinton put on his best "angry face" during the clip. "This was classic bait-and-switch.... These Republicans that are all upset about Petraeus - this is one newspaper ad. These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with Max Cleland, who lost half his body in Vietnam – in the same ad, with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That’s what the Republicans did."
Many people track the success of book sales by just checking the best sellers at Amazon.com. If you did that on Saturday, you’d see the folks at Amazon are providing a little promotional blitz for CNN’s Bush-bashing ranter Jack Cafferty and his new book “It’s Getting Ugly Out There.” (Did he have to put his face on the cover to underscore the point?) It might explain why the book is at #83 today. At the top of the best-seller pages is a pic of the Cafferty book and the headline "Cafferty Spells It Out," followed by this promotional blurb:
Jack Cafferty, who appears on CNN's The Situation Room, voices the views, hopes, and fears of the average American in his inimitable style. Now, in It's Getting Ugly Out There, he brings his level-headed wisdom to bear on the most critical issues facing us today.
Bill Maher gave an unsatirizable interview on Tuesday evening’s "The Situation Room" on CNN, spending a large portion of his ten-minute interview attacking, among others, General David Petraeus, Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, labeling them "stooges" for President Bush. When host Wolf Blitzer asked about the recent congressional testimony of the general and the ambassador, Maher parroted the MoveOn.org line. "Well, it was a White House-written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So, in other words, he puts words into his stooges' mouths, and then, he quotes them."
On Monday's "The Situation Room," hosted by Wolf Blitzer, CNN's liberal political analyst/former Clinton advisor Paula Begala distorted Alan Greenspan's words about the Iraq war being about oil, and referred to the "most damning indictment and betrayal that Mr. Bush could have committed." Begala also commented that Greenspan's words show that Michael Moore and MoveOn.org "were in the center" on the issue of Iraq. Begala: "Alan Greenspan ain't the kook left. He ain't Michael Moore. He ain't MoveOn. In fact, he is a guy who now shows that Michael Moore, MoveOn, and the rest of them were in the center." (Transcript follows)
During a heated interview over the Iraq war on Thursday’s "The Situation Room" with substitute host Suzanne Malveaux, White House press secretary Tony Snow went on the offensive against the mainstream media. In response to a question from Malveaux about how President Bush could "regain credibility" with the American people about the success of the troop surge in Iraq, Snow replied, "Well, you know what Suzanne, your credibility rating -- journalists’ credibility ratings are lower than the President’s."
The most heated exchange came in the last three minutes of the 5pm EDT hour interview. Malveaux brought up the results of a recent New York Times/CBS News poll that found that 71% of those polled disapproved of the way President Bush is handling the situation with Iraq.
Crusty CNN commentator Jack Cafferty had a "Live Chat" on The Huffington Post on Wednesday, and he sounded like a regular HuffPost blogger, charging that Bush lied us into war to enrich his friends, and never wants America to leave: "I don't think President Bush ever had any intention of leaving Iraq. I think we have been lied to about that the same way we were lied to about WMD. Military bases are under construction all over the country including one on the Iran-Iraq border." Cafferty also agreed with a questioner complaining about how the "good concepts" of "Kucinich, Paul, Richardson, and Gravel" are ignored by the media, and suggested the country needs publicly-funded political campaigns, but it will never happen.
The typical Bush-buried-3,000-troops-for-his-rich-friends line tumbled out this way:
Thanks to a Wednesday night AP story by David Bauder (Breitbart, WashPost.com) CNN's Jack Cafferty and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Thursday highlighted the Media Research Center's new study, “Rise and Shine on Democrats: How the ABC, CBS and NBC Morning Shows Are Promoting Democrats on the Road to the White House” (Executive Summary). It found that, from January through July, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows devoted nearly twice the time to stories about, and interviews with, Democratic over Republican presidential candidates, avoided placing liberal labels on Democrats and also overwhelmingly posed questions which pressed candidates of both parties from the left.
NewsBusters and the MRC's CyberAlert regularly criticize Cafferty for his left-wing rants and attacks on conservatives, but we can't complain about his straight-forward summary Thursday night of the MRC's study: “The network morning news shows have given a lot more air time to the Democratic presidential candidates than to the Republican ones. That's according to a conservative media watchdog outfit called the Media Research Center.” Reading replies later in the hour, Cafferty included one which asserted “the media are overwhelmingly biased in favor of the Democrats. 90 percent of the media voted for Kerry.” But Cafferty couldn't resist ending with this one: “All are being fair except for the F-word network!”
Video clip of the August 30 “Cafferty File” segment in the 7pm EDT hour (1:10): Real (2 MB) or Windows Media (2.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (400 KB)
CNN apparently wants to milk all it can out of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on the Gulf Coast for the benefit of the Democrats. On Monday’s "The Situation Room," CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip of a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the hurricane’s aftermath. On Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," O’Brien upped the ante in another segment. This time, more footage of damage from Hurricane Katrina ran at the same time an audio clip from President Bush’s first post-Katrina speech in New Orleans began. The video then cut to the President speaking in Jackson Square, and as the clip ended, the picture froze and went to black-and-white, as you might expect in an election campaign commercial.
O’Brien, on-location in New Orleans, appeared during the 5 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Host Wolf Blitzer asked her what people along the Gulf Coast were saying about the rebuilding effort. O’Brien’s reply: "You know, Wolf, if you had to pick on a single word, then I think that word would be they're very, very frustrated." She went on to say that people there also "feel let down by their local leaders, the state leaders, and the federal government, too." O’Brien mentioned the local and state leaders first, but they were not to be mentioned in her report. It focused entirely on the response of the Bush administration, and Democrats’ criticism. In addition to this "frustration" she cited, O’Brien would go on to talk about a conspiracy theory about why the federal aid to the region has been so slow.
Soledad O’Brien’s segment on "some of the leading White House hopefuls" and their recent visits to New Orleans on Monday’s "The Situation Room" might leave one wondering where the "Paid for by the DNC" caption in small font was hiding. O’Brien’s report juxtaposed a clip from a recent speech by Barack Obama with stock footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and featured only the three Democrat frontrunners. Clearly, other "White House hopefuls" have visited the hurricane-damaged area in and around New Orleans, but CNN chose to focus on Clinton, Obama, and Edwards.
It goes without saying that one of the defining moments in the 2006 elections was when former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned in September over electronic messages sent to male House pages.
The press firestorm was extraordinary, with all media outlets focusing huge amounts of air and print space on Foley on a daily basis as Election Day neared.
Yet, eleven months later, when it was revealed Friday afternoon that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement apparently hasn't found anything to actually charge Foley with, besides UPI and a brief mention by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, not one major press organization felt it was newsworthy.
CNN used an old tactic in the mainstream media’s play book - a person overcome by emotion - to drive home the point they wanted to make - that the only state that hasn’t been visited by President Bush is Vermont. In a segment during the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room" detailing this apparent "snub," CNN chief national correspondent John King played a clip from an interview of Regina Gilbert, the mother of Kyle Gilbert, who was killed serving in Iraq four years ago. Gilbert fought back tears as she made her plea for a visit from the President.
In the 7pm EDT hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, Jack Cafferty expressed disappointment in Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd for rejecting efforts to impeach President Bush because of how it would hurt Democratic chances in 2008. “So, Senator Dodd is putting the election prospects of the Democratic Party next year ahead of whether or not President Bush might be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors of a kind which would mandate his removal from office,” Cafferty lamented. He noted that “Congress's job is oversight of the executive branch” and then, he sniffed, with a disapproving shake of his head: “Unless, of course, that oversight interferes with getting elected.” Cafferty soon reiterated his displeasure with the liberal Connecticut Senator: “It's a pretty amazing statement to come out of Senator Dodd's mouth.”