One of CNN's favorite people during the month of April is leftist presidential candidate extraordinaire Dennis Kucinich. His appearance on Wednesday's "American Morning" was the culmination of three straight days of coverage of the Ohio congressman's impeachment proposal against Vice President Cheney. Despite the amount of coverage he has been given, not just in the past three days, but also earlier in April, "American Morning" co-host John Roberts was the first to specifically mention Kucinich's 1 percent standing in the last CNN poll. So why all the free CNN publicity?
Monday's "The Situation Room" was the first to report that Kucinich was seeking the impeachment of Dick Cheney. Host Wolf Blitzer reported that the Ohio congressman scheduled a news conference where he would announce his articles of impeachment against the Vice President.
Without any regard to how school shootings in recent years have occurred in states and nations with stricter gun laws, including one last year at a college in Quebec, Canada, ABC and CBS on Tuesday night focused stories and questions on Virginia's “lax” gun laws. “How the gunman purchased the murder weapon,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased an upcoming story, “Virginia's controversial gun laws: How lax are they? Brian Ross investigates.” Ross confirmed that “Virginia's gun laws, indeed, are regarded by law enforcement officials as among the most lax in the country.” Ross relayed how “for gun control advocates, the ease with which Cho [Seung-Hui] was able to legally get his Glock and a box of ammunition reveals the problems with Virginia's gun laws.” Over undercover footage recorded by the New York City Police Department, Ross explained how it shows “it's possible to buy a handgun at a Virginia gun store with no waiting period and only what is called an instant background check.” Though Ross aired a condemnatory soundbite from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, he failed to note that Virginia has a lot fewer gun crimes per capita than does New York City.
As if the media have nothing to do with “igniting” a debate on guns (ABCNews.com on Monday posted the question: “Do you think this incident is a reason to pass stricter gun control legislation?”), Gibson asked President Bush: “After Columbine, there was ignited a national debate on guns. Do you think this is going to rekindle the national debate?” Over on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric, also on scene in Blacksburg, pressed Bush: “As you well know, after events like this, discussions about gun control inevitably follow. Is it too easy, in your view, for unstable people to purchase guns in this country?” Leading into an earlier story from Armen Keteyian, Couric cited “the question I asked the President about gun control. It's something many people are thinking about after the tragedy here at Virginia Tech, especially considering the gunman needed only two IDs and a credit card to buy the weapons and ammunition he used.”
UPDATE: Showcasing the same undercover video as Ross, on NBC's Dateline Chris Hansen interjected how “gun sales in Virginia have been more than a sticking point with gun control advocates.” (See more at end of item below)
In 1998, CNN was convinced that congressional oversight of the Clinton administration was a problem, and congressman Dan Burton was a harsh zealot with an unglued personality. Fast forward to 2007, and Jack Cafferty finds the president is the zealot, and the investigating congressmen and journalists are heroes.
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Cafferty was doing publicity for the Bush-hating site Salon.com, reciting some of the many quotes blogger Glenn Greenwald collected from a variety of liberal media sources, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, and the Associated Press. These quotes from news articles "tend to suggest a pattern," as Cafferty put it, of missing documents and e-mails with the Bush administration. Among the circumstances which Greenwald pulled up quotes for are the Abu Ghraib controversy, the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla (pronounced "Patilla" by Cafferty), the supposed gaps in President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard record, and Hurricane Katrina. After presenting many of Greenwald’s collected quotes, Cafferty asked viewers if they think there’s a pattern, and compared it to a "compost heap... the more stuff you pile on it, the greater the odor that emanates from it."
According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, President Bush would jump at the opportunity to use the kidnapping of 15 British soldiers as a pretext to invade Iran. On the Monday edition of "Situation Room," Cafferty asserted that he hoped U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask George W. Bush to join a coalition of the willing whose goal it is to free the captives.
Jack Cafferty: "Let’s hope British Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask the United States to join a coalition of the willing to invade Iran and get its hostages back. My feeling is President Bush would be on that like a bird on a worm."
The CNN host also saw scary implications in the fact that the U.S. Navy is just off the coast of Iran:
On Monday's The Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty expressed frustration that the Democratic Congress has not yet passed a minimum wage increase, even lamenting that the increase could not be made retroactive.
After Blitzer seemed to seriously ask if the minimum wage increase could be made retroactive to November, Cafferty rhetorically exclaimed that it should be "retroactive to ten years ago."
Blitzer: "I guess they can't make the increase in the minimum wage retroactive to back November, huh, Jack?"
Cafferty: "They ought to make it retroactive to ten years ago. That's the last time anybody addressed these folks."
Blitzer: "Don't hold your breath on that one." (Transcript follows)
Catching up on an item from Monday's The Situation Room on CNN, which has already been covered by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, CNN's Jack Cafferty condescendingly labeled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a "glorified waterboy for the White House" as he called for Gonzales to resign over the controversial firing of U.S. attorneys. After asking viewers to email him with their thoughts, Cafferty further called Gonzales a "weasel." Cafferty: "If you look up the word weasel in the dictionary, Wolf, you'll see Alberto Gonzales' picture there."
Below is a complete transcript of Cafferty's comments on Alberto Gonzales from the March 12 The Situation Room on CNN:
On Wednesday afternoon's The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Carol Costello filed a story about Vermont residents who have successfully voted on resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Costello described the impeachment supporters as "mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore" as she remarked that "even if this effort doesn't pay off, sure feels good."
After anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the story as "pretty interesting," Costello made her introduction: "Interesting story, and you might say, Wolf, they are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. And even if this effort doesn't pay off, sure feels good. They turned out in droves in tiny Jericho, Vermont. Despite the cold and the long wait, for the townsfolk, it was worth it." (Transcript follows)
During Tuesday’s "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty used the conviction of a former aide to Vice President Cheney as a springboard for wild attacks against George W. Bush. According to the CNN correspondent, a decision by the President to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby would be symptomatic of "an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation’s laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda."
Cafferty, who once giddily joked about Karl Rove being indicted in the CIA leak case, also furiously speculated about just who Lewis Libby is "protecting":
Jack Cafferty: "Remember this?"
George W. Bush (file footage): "America wants somebody to restore honor and dignity to the White House. That’s what America is looking for."
Cafferty: "That’s an interesting clip in light of today’s conviction of Vice President Cheney’s former top advisor Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. He was found guilty on four of five counts against him and they all had to do with lying and obstructing justice when it came to details about Valerie Plame’s identity. Why would he lie? Who was he protecting? We’ll probably never know the answer to that."
The Associated Press is reporting Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards responded harshly Ann Coulter’s "faggot" remark. At an appearance in Berkeley, California, he said:
"I think it is important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention. I also believe it is important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can’t stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used."
If only the former Senator would follow his own advice. Didn’t he reward "hateful, selfish, childish behavior" by hiring two harsh feminist, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian bloggers and then refusing to fire them? On the February 16 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer asked him about his staffers (unlike the evasive anchors Meredith Vieira at NBC, Terry Moran at ABC, and Bob Schieffer at CBS). Edwards passively said that he "rejected" their statements and he "strongly disagrees with them." He stated that their resignations were "a personal decision" and dismissed the criticism as coming "particularly from people on the far right of the political spectrum." The transcript from The Situation Room is below.
For the third time since the 2006 midterm elections, CNN’s "Situation Room" has highlighted liberal Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a role model for the national GOP. On the Monday edition of the cable program, reporter Jeff Greenfield discussed the California leader’s visit to Washington to give a speech and he also described Schwarzenegger’s "centrism." Additionally, Greenfield highlighted the former movie star's liberal initiatives:
Jeff Greenfield: " In 2005, frustrated by a Democratic legislature, Schwarzenegger went to war, promoting ballot measures to curb the power of unions, to cap the budget, to change redistricting. All of those measures went down to defeat."
Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I just made terrible mistakes."
Greenfield: "So, in a remarkable 180 degree turn, Schwarzenegger began cutting deals with the legislature on education spending, on expanding health care to all children, on dealing with the budget deficit and roads through bond measures, that’s borrowing. He’s joined Senator John McCain, embracing a massive effort to cut greenhouse gasses, something the conservative GOP base is not exactly crazy about. And he’s even defended the Republicans’ public enemy number one, Hillary Clinton, over her Iraq War vote."
It's Academy Awards night. Best documentary feature is up. And the Oscar is favored to go to "An Inconvenient Truth," starring Al Gore… Lawrence Bender and the film's other producers come up to accept the Oscar with Gore. The audience roars its approval. This is liberal Hollywood. Gore speaks.
The video then cut to Martin Kaplan, who is the director of the Norman Lear Center:
Are the "Clinton haters" mellowing? That’s the not-so-benign question NBC reporter David Gregory asked on the subject of whether conservative ire for Hillary Clinton has lessened. (Can you imagine a segment on "Bush haters?")
Fellow NBC alum Chris Matthews, perhaps offering an explanation for the media’s fawning over Barack Obama, explained that the Illinois Senator appeals to the "young at heart."
This week, CNN provided yet another example as to why "fair and balanced" wouldn’t be a good promotional phrase for them. Correspondent Bill Schneider asserted that African Americans don’t vote for the GOP because of a "perception of racism."
On Wednesday’s "Situation Room," reporter Bill Schneider, in a piece on minorities in America, very casually alleged that African Americans don’t vote for Republicans because of "the perception of racism."
He also claimed that blacks have no reason to distrust the federal government because, after all, that institution rescued them from slavery. (Apparently conservatives just don’t appreciate this point.) After noting the losses by several African American GOP candidates in 2006, Schneider made his point about racism:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush appointed two African-American secretaries of state. Republicans nominated three African-Americans for important statewide offices last year. None of them came close to carrying black voters, which suggests it's not just the perception of racism that drives most black voters away from the Republican Party. There's something else. Distrust of the federal government is a core issue for Republicans."
On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN political analyst Donna Brazile slammed 2008 presidential candidate John McCain as "cowardly" for his decision to skip the Senate’s non-binding vote on President Bush’s troop surge plan in Iraq. Brazile, who discussed the issue with host Wolf Blitzer and conservative commentator William Bennett, described the Arizona Senator’s decision as "an insult." She then proceeded to label the Vietnam veteran, who spent five and a half years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp, as "cowardly" for not returning to Washington on Saturday for the vote:
Donna Brazile: "I think it's an insult not to come and show up for a vote. This is a very important debate. And, for Senator McCain, who has been a staunch supporter of the President's plan, he should come and put up or shut up. But to -- to run away from the debate, and to say that this is meaningless is -- is -- is, in my judgment, cowardly."
During the Monday edition of the "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty discussed U.S. allegations that Iraqi militants are killing American soldiers with weapons provided by Iran. At the conclusion of the "Cafferty File" segment, the CNN host engaged in the always reliable media tradition of moral equivalence, comparing Iran’s action to U.S. support of Afghan rebels in the 1980s. Apparently, the fact that America was opposing the brutal Russian regime, whereas, in this case, Iran is the oppressive entity, makes no difference. Cafferty and "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer also exhibited skepticism about the United State’s timing in making these accusations:
Jack Cafferty: "So here is the question: ‘When it comes to Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq, who do you believe?’ E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/Caffertyfile. Reminiscent, Wolf, of the war in Afghanistan, when Russia invaded. It seems to me we were– The United States was supplying weapons and intelligence and things like that to the Afghan rebels."
Wolf Blitzer: "The Mujahideen, a lot. Through the CIA, through the Saudis, Those shoulder-fired missiles which brought down a lot of Soviet helicopters."
Cafferty: "So, that was okay but it's not okay if Iran-- I'm, I’m confused, Wolf."
Blitzer: "Well, you know, later we will talk to Michael Ware about the timing, why the U.S. is releasing all this information right now since it's been out there at least for a year, maybe two."
John Edwards is retaining his attack-dog leftist bloggers. His campaign has a statement on the Edwards blog, and the candidate claimed "they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked."
As anyone who's read the Kathryn Lopez smackdown on their blazing blog guns at Catholics (and Pope Benedict, the alleged dictator) knows, it's quite clear they intended to malign a faith. The subject emerged on CNN's The Situation Room Wednesday night, but the most disturbing part of the story appeared on screen. The graphic emphasized unproven allegations:
What? Kathryn's beginning made the vicious anti-Catholic flavor of Amanda Marcotte's blogging very clear:
Hillary has to be nervous. At this juncture in the campaign, she’s being edged out in the Goo Primary. Her natural allies in the media suddenly are more adulatory toward Barack Obama – and more defensive of anyone who would dare question his exotic biography.
Insight magazine, a long-standing publication of The Washington Times Company, published a gossipy item with anonymous “Democratic Party” sources (they claimed some of them came from Hillary’s camp) that Obama had attended a madrassa, a radical Islamic school, in Indonesia as a child. The story was unproven, and should not have been published in its sorry condition.
In the topsy-turvy world of CNN, Tom Tancredo's call to end racially-exclusive congressional caucuses might make him a racist. His call for an end to segregated caucuses might make him a segregationist.
As reported here, in the wake of a Dem congressman who represents a 60% black district being excluded from the congressional Black Caucus because he's white, Tancredo today said:
"It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a colorblind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race . . . If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses."
As NewsBusters has reported here, here, here, and here, former President Jimmy Carter has gotten himself into quite a pickle over his new book about the Israeli/Palestinian issue.
On Tuesday night, Carter spoke to students at Brandeis University. CNN’s report on this speech during the 7PM EST installment of Wednesday's “The Situation Room” appeared to be rather anti-Semitic potentially in an attempt to deflect criticism for Carter himself expressing anti-Semitic views in his controversial book (video available here, h/t Hot Air).
Early in her report, correspondent Carol Costello stated:
While Vice President Dick Cheney stared daggers into CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer over his pushing questions about his lesbian daughter’s December announcement of her pregnancy, Blitzer insisted it was a “responsible and fair question.” Cheney disagreed. There's an argument that Blitzer's question citing Focus on the Family, when considered alone, is a fair (if not kind) question. There's no doubt that Blitzer's question was a trouble-making question, which could easily serve to sow division among Republicans and press Cheney into making a big gaffe or controversy.
Here’s where it’s clearly unfair. When has a Democratic national candidate’s sons or daughters ever been the subject of a national controversy? Try this as Exhibit A. In 2000, while the networks tried to make great hay in the election’s last weekend over an antique George W. Bush drunk-driving ticket, CNN and the other liberal networks hyper-sensitively avoided the story of Al Gore's teenage son Albert Gore III, caught driving 97 miles per hour on an interstate highway, an offense on the public record, just two days before the 2000 Democratic convention. As I wrote for National Review Online in 2000:
On Wednesday, during an interview with Dick Cheney, "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer continued to badger the Vice President and quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. (Hat tip to Drudge) Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor, " I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6, 2006:
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 5:35pm on January 24, follows:
Wolf Blitzer: "Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: ‘Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child.’ Do you want to respond to that?"
Dick Cheney: "No, I don't."
Blitzer: "She's obviously a good daughter."
Cheney: "I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."
Vice President Dick Cheney squared off with CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday in a contentious, multi-part "Situation Room" interview. Blitzer seemed to openly adopt the mantra and talking points of the Democratic Party. In fact, in a tease for the interview, Blitzer promised, "The Vice President takes on his critics, including me." Cheney, whose wife Lynne aggressively sparred the cable anchor back in November, told Blitzer that a question about administration blunders was "hogwash." Elaborating on a clip of Democratic Senator Jim Webb, the "Situation Room" host asked Cheney about Bush failures:
Wolf Blitzer: "And it’s not just Jim Webb. It’s some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and in the House are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures. Gordon Smith– Gordon Smith--"
Dick Cheney: "Wolf. Wolf. I simply don’t accept the premise of your question. I just think it’s hogwash."
Blitzer: "That what? That there were no blunders? The President himself says there were blunders."
Just a couple of minutes before 9pm EST Tuesday night, as viewers awaited President Bush's State of the Union address, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up Anderson Cooper to inform viewers of how there would be an “issue that’s presumably going to be thunderously missing from this speech.” Cooper explained: “Yeah, of course, you’re talking about Hurricane Katrina, you’re talking about the Gulf Coast states and Mississippi and the rebuilding of New Orleans. No mention of that in this speech tonight. That is certainly going to upset a lot of people in the Gulf Coast region who already feel that the country has moved on, that Washington has forgotten them. In the State of the Union, the President, as we have been told so far, will make no reference to New Orleans or to Mississippi, the rebuilding there. So much still needs to be done there, obviously, and we will not be hearing about that tonight from this President.” (Hat tip to MRC's Rich Noyes)
Fourteen months after CNN’s John King showcased retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper to illustrate military disillusionment with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush’s Iraq policy, on Tuesday night, barely an hour before the State of the Union address, King checked in from New Bern, North Carolina and again featured Van Riper’s criticisms as if they had fresh meaning. In a story, near the start of the 8pm EST Situation Room, about the stresses on Marines and soldiers caused by repeated deployments to Iraq, King highlighted how “retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper is more optimistic now that the Pentagon is under new leadership, but says strategic blunders by the President and his team have left the military near the breaking point.” Van Riper asserted: “It’s a horrendous operational tempo and along with that you’ve got equipment problems. These men and women now are operating at a much faster pace than we did, particularly in Vietnam or Desert Shield/Desert Storm.”
King, who in 2005 touted Van Riper's take as "telling," then depicted Van Riper’s view as “striking” in a such a pro-Bush state: “It is striking in a state like this, a place with a deep military tradition, respect for the Commander-in-Chief, a state President Bush carried in two presidential elections, to hear such open skepticism, in some cases open criticism and opposition to the President’s war plan.”
CNN heavily promoted an "exclusive" last night with stories by John Vause and Howard Kurtz rebutting an Insight magazine article on Barack Obama’s Indonesian schooling, that it occurred in a "madrassa," with the on-screen graphic "DEBUNKING A SMEAR." Conservatives shouldn't defend journalism from conservative media outlets if the story doesn't stand up -- if it carries a lot of shaky anonymous sourcing and can easily and passionately be portrayed by liberal media outlets as a "smear." Insight's story seems underbaked, not ready to face prime-time liberals like last night's fusillade from Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn, who brought on CAIR, not Obama, for outrage over "Islamophobia."
The sad thing here is that Democratic candidates (and the Democrat-dominated media) will follow the usual Clinton formula: they'll push outrage at unsubstantiated charges, and then not really press the candidate about the issues raised. Obama's Illinois church and religious beliefs (and his former lack of religious beliefs) are very interesting topics. Like everything about Obama, they need more investigation from the media and less exaltation. But the media will quickly suggest (and have suggested) that Obama's exotic upbringing makes him more qualified to understand the world. He has certainly pushed that line. Take this AFP wire story where race-transcending Obama touted to the reporter that he was "greatly influenced" by his Asian sojourn:
On the Tuesday edition of "Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer asked Ted Kennedy whether Iraq and U.S. interests would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power. The CNN anchor spent much of his interview wondering how the Massachusetts Senator would stop President Bush from increasing troop levels in Iraq. However, he only briefly challenged Kennedy on what should be done in Iraq, preferring questions such as, "So, is this Vietnam?" Another example is his query on whether the world's interests would be better served if a dictator such as Hussein were still in power:
Wolf Blitzer:"You voted against that original resolution way back. And you say that was the best vote in your 42 years in the United States Senate. Saddam Hussein was executed, as you know, in the last few weeks. Was the country better off, was the U.S. interests in that part of the world better off under Saddam Hussein?"
Proving that he can be just as hard on Democrats as Republicans, CNN’s Jack Cafferty savaged the Democratic Party--for going easy on George Bush. Appearing on Thursday’s edition of "The Situation Room," the veteran journalist slammed Dems in Congress for stating that they won’t impeach the President, for refusing to cut funding for Iraq, and generally not standing up to Bush. According to Cafferty, this makes them "no better than the people committing these crimes."
The CNN host began by lamenting the agenda of the incoming Democrats:
Jack Cafferty: "But the Democrats are focused on raising the minimum wage. That’s fine, I guess. They’ve already said they won’t impeach President Bush. They’ve already said they won’t cut funding for the war. And several Democrats are hedging on the issue of independent ethics oversight of Congress. Gee, we don’t need that, do you?...If the Democratic Party refuses to confront this administration in a meaningful way on the issues that are threatening the very survival of our nation, then they’re no better than the people committing these crimes."