For the third time in less then a month, CNN has aired a report investigating the connection between falling gas prices and the GOP’s fortunes in the looming fall election. This time, "American Morning" reporter Ali Velshi looked into the conspiracy theory that oil companies are trying to help Republicans by dropping prices. Co-Anchor Soledad O’Brien teased the report this way:
Soledad O'Brien: "Ahead this morning, is there a conspiracy behind the drop in gas prices? Bloggers say there is something fishy going on."
A few minutes later, at 8:24AM EDT, the program’s other anchor, Miles O’Brien, introduced the segment and joined in the theorizing:
Miles O’Brien: "Well, the national average is now $2.38 for unleaded regular. One month ago, it was $2.87. A year ago, it was $2.79. The price is supposed to go even lower as we head toward the election. Hmm."
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in an interview for the September 20 "Situation Room," questioned President Bush about Iran and wondered, "Why would it be so bad if this Iranian regime had a nuclear weapon?" Blitzer also alternated between complaining that not enough has been done to fight terrorism and wondering if the President was unnecessarily scaring the American people.
On the subject of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the CNN anchor quizzed Bush as to why he couldn’t meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
BLITZER: "Given the stakes involved -- a nuclear confrontation -- what do you have to lose by sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?"
President Bush replied by reiterating the need for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Not to be deterred, however, Blitzer tried again a few minutes later:
BLITZER: "But if it would help -- if it would help to sit down, talk to them and try to convince them....What would be wrong to just sit down with them and tell them, you know what, here are the options before you?"
In a September 15 report for "The Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider wondered if the current decrease in gas prices has been timed to help Republicans in the midterm elections. He ominously asked:
Schneider: "The drop in prices may last a couple of months, long enough to get through the November election. Could that be what the oil companies want?"
Does this mean that high prices in the spring and summer were an attempt to hurt the Republicans? This theme, that oil companies are trying to aid the GOP, was repeated or insinuated throughout the report. In the segment, which aired at 4:40PM, anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced Schneider by noting that a form of smog reducing gasoline will be pulled "as we head into the fall and the November elections."
USA Today reported that gasoline prices could be closer to $2 a gallon by Thanksgiving. The paper sites the end of the summer driving season and decreased demand as causes for this predicted decline. Not surprisingly, CNN’s Jack Cafferty sees something more sinister at work here. Before his daily Cafferty File segment on ‘The Situation Room’ Wednesday afternoon, substitute anchor John King and news reader Zain Verjee discussed this report and cheered on lower gas prices as good news. Cafferty then spouted off the old liberal conspiracy theory connecting Republicans and Big Oil:
Jack Cafferty: "You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away."
On Thursday, all three network evening newscasts covered the ruling by a federal judge against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Stemming from a case filed by the ACLU and other plaintiffs, Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee, found the program to be unconstitutional. Unlike CNN and FNC, which conveyed that the ruling would likely be overturned, none of the network evening newscasts mentioned the liberal credentials of Judge Taylor or the debate over judicial activism and legal weaknesses in the ruling, such as the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiffs themselves were not found to be the subjects of surveillance. (Transcripts follow)
During the 4pm EDT hour of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty had a thing or two to say about a U.S. district court judge ruling the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program as unconstitutional. Cafferty attacked the "arrogant" Bush administration for its supposed "abuse of power" and accused the President of lying to the American people and violating his oath of office:
Jack Cafferty: "So what does this mean? It means President Bush violated his oath of office, among other things, when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It means he’s been lying to us about the program since it started, when he’s been telling us there’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing."
Dontcha love it when liberal media members are confounded by poll results that don’t fit their view of the world? It drives them so batty that they suddenly start espousing all manner of absurd rationalizations they believe explain why so many Americans disagree with them.
Such was the case during the 7PM installment of “The Situation Room” Friday when Jack Cafferty shared with his viewers recent poll statistics showing that half of the country believes that Saddam Hussein had WMD before America invaded Iraq in March 2003. This didn’t sit well with Cafferty, who, true to form, blamed the public’s sentiments on Republicans.
This is really wonderful stuff necessitating the reader to be careful with drinking vessels (video link to follow):
In the very last seconds of the 7pm EDT hour of Friday's The Situation Room on CNN, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked to Jack Cafferty: "You know, one of the big stories this week, perhaps under-reported, top U.S. Generals now acknowledging, Guess what? The Iraq situation may be on the verge of a civil war." Is Blitzer in a parallel universe? Those comments Thursday, from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and General John Abizaid, about the "possibility" that Iraq "could" fall into civil war, were all over the cable networks Thursday and Friday, including Blitzer's three hours.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Thursday all made the civil war talk their lead stories. NBC's Brian Williams, for instance, began: "Tonight, is civil war becoming a reality in Iraq? Two of the Pentagon's most senior Generals now say it looks that way." The broadcast network morning shows on Friday all devoted first half hour time to the warnings. “Is Iraq on the brink of civil war? It was a stunning admission from two top Generals testifying on the escalating violence in Iraq,” CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen announced. "U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War," heralded a Friday New York Times front page story and the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today all plastered it on their front pages. (Full rundown follows)
It is safe to say that most conservatives hold Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) in minimal esteem, which is probably putting it mildly. So, when a member of the press goes gaga over anything this man says, it really makes for a boatload of chuckles. As such, the reader is hereby warned to make sure all drinking vessels are tucked safely away from proximity.
Assuming you have followed directions, Jack Cafferty, on the 5PM ET installment of Wednesday’s “Situation Room,” used his media platform to promote another in an ongoing litany of anti-Bush rants by the gentleman from the Great Lake State (video to follow). Cafferty began:
Well, somebody has finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud. We have a constitutional crisis in this country. So says Congressman John Conyers of Michigan.
Dontcha just love the delicious irony of a Congressman with the kind of ethics problems Conyers has talking about a Constitutional crisis? Obviously, this was lost on Cafferty, who continued...with a straight face, no less:
On the 4pm hour of Monday's The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer highlighted several political news stories, including Republican candidate for president, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)'s use of the term "tar baby". To some, the term is a racial epithet, however the true meaning of the word is a "sticky situation," hence the term 'tar'.
CNN's Jack Cafferty joined the program Blitzer was finished reading the headlines with his 'Cafferty File' segment. Cafferty, who is known for his unscripted remarks, opined on the 'tar baby' situation and applied Romney meant the comment in a racist sense. However, Cafferty did not make the audience aware of his racist past (video link to follow):
President Bush announced some great news about the economy Tuesday, but the media weren't in any mood to celebrate. Though the budget deficit for 2006 looks to be significantly lower than forecast just five months ago, TV news outlets were quick to rain on the president's parade.
CNN's Ed Henry cynically compared this announcement to the president declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq in 2003. Meanwhile, NBC's Brian Williams downplayed the good news by stating “administration critics say the White House has deliberately inflated its own deficit projections in the past few years to score political points when the actual numbers came in lower.”
CNN's Jack Cafferty would never pass up an opportunity to attack Karl Rove, whether that means a fat joke, or in this case, painting him as a criminal, even though he did nothing wrong. On the 5pm hour of yesterday's The Situation Room, Cafferty played the clip he loves oh so much of President Bush saying he will "take care of" anyone who violated the law in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name. It turns out no one did violate the law, according to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Well, it seems this wasn't enough for Cafferty who responded "oh, please" to the tape of the President's remark. (Video link to Expose the Left after the break)
Cafferty follows his distress of Rove's occupational status with the most illogical thought on leaks, even for Jack Cafferty. The CNN anchor complained the administration thinks leaking information about a terrorist surveillance program is a threat but leaking Plame's name is not. Jack, who seemed to want it the other way around, doesn't share the news outlets who release information about national security programs may be breaking the law. Go figure.
Better put your coffee cups down, folks – and your wine glasses for that matter – as Team CNN yesterday provided viewers with quite a knee-slapper. During the 7PM ET installment of Tuesday’s “The Situation Room,” Wolf Blitzer and the boys shared some global warming gloom that must have made sommeliers around the country spit up their merlot.
Blitzer began (with a straight face, mind you!): “Global warming threatening California's multi-billion dollar wine industry, that's the crux of a new study which says as much as 81 percent of the state’s prime growing areas will be unusable by the end of the century.”
81 percent, huh? Are you drunk?
(Update -- For even more laughs, a reader e-mailed me an October 31, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article reporting that 2005 was expected to be the second-largest grape harvest in California history!!!)
Blitzer then passed the bottle to correspondent Chris Lawrence:
As reported by NewsBusters here, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) made some rather insensitive statements last month concerning not being able to “go to a 7- Eleven or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” CNN invited Biden on Friday's 5PM ET installment of “The Situation Room” to discuss how things are going in Iraq – amongst other things – and then gave him a great opportunity to explain these Indian remarks (video link to follow).
Rather than challenge the Senator in any way, host John King filling in for Wolf Blitzer basically gave Biden a platform to rationalize why these statements weren’t inappropriate. After reading the offending sentences from Biden captured by C-SPAN, King simply asked, “What were you thinking?” Biden was then given the floor to make any statement that he wanted about this issue, without any grilling or interrogation whatsoever by King:
MRC intern Chadd Clark found that CNN had the same old pattern of centering the day's big state court decisions on "gay marriage" as a ruling for "proponents" first. This report aired Thursday in the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Perhaps the newspapers were merely copying from the CNN stylebook. Or maybe it's the GLAAD stylebook.
John King: "Moving on, though. Proponents of gay marriage are reeling today from a one-two legal punch. Courts in Georgia and in New York State issued new rulings now having an impact on the culture wars. CNN's Allan Chernoff has more from New York. Hi, Allan."
On the 7pm hour of CNN's The Situation Room on Tuesday afternoon, Jack Cafferty admitted President Bush "might have been on to something" when discussing the Axis of Evil in his 2002 State of the Union address (video link from Expose the Left to follow). The topic of the hour was North Korea's long-range missile "testing". North Korea is a country in Bush's Axis of Evil.
CAFFERTY: That was January 2002, the president referring, of course, to Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Fast forward four years. The U.S. has now been involved in the war in Iraq for well over three years with no end in site. Iran continues its efforts to enrich uranium, insisting it's just for peaceful purposes while many around the world fear they are actually embarking on a nuclear weapons program. And now we have North Korea going ahead today with test missile launches, including the failed launch of at least one long- range missile today. Looks like President Bush might have been on to something, doesn't it. Here's the question, which country from President Bush's axis of evil, Iraq, Iran, or North Korea poses the greatest threat to the United States. E-mail your thoughts to email@example.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. John?
Once again, CNN has highlighted calls for the impeachment of President Bush. During the 4PM EDT hour of Thursday’s The Situation Room, senior political analyst Bill Schneider reported on the liberal city council of Berkeley, California’s decision to place a measure on the November ballot calling for the impeachment of the President and Vice President Cheney. Schneider highlighted the reasons for the city council’s decision to go "one step further" than other liberal municipalities, such as those in Vermont, which passed resolutions calling for impeachment :
This week, the Berkeley, California city council went one step further and put an impeachment measure on the November ballot. The grounds? Lying about the case for war in Iraq, torture of detainees and unlawful domestic spying.
One of the more interesting emerging stories in the world of American philanthropy is the dramatic growth of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spurred this week by a massive donation by investor Warren Buffett. But MRC intern Chadd Clark found that on Monday's early edition of The Situation Room, CNN's Jeff Greenfield didn't see this as an occasion for lauding charity, but an occasion for chiding the wealthy for having too much, that there's too much income inequality. Greenfield even pushed the socialist notion that private charity shouldn't be relied on when the people should rely on the public sector:
It is real gee-whiz news when the second richest man in the world decides to give away the bulk of his fortune, most of it to a foundation run by the richest man in the world. But there is a bigger story here. It's about the massive accumulation of private wealth, the shift toward a less equal America, and the potential of what that wealth might do about it. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates made it official today. Some $30 billion of Buffett's fortune will be transferred to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which already has more money than any foundation in America....
Associated Press TV reporter Lynn Elber profiled CNN commentator Jack Cafferty on Wednesday, and when she asked him about his sense of personal responsibility -- we're not shown the question, but I'm sensing he was asked about popping off without thinking it through -- "Cafferty, his memory triggered, segues directly into recounting the newscast in which he got a jump on then U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's legal woes."
Said Cafferty: "I thought (anchor) Wolf Blitzer was going to eat his script when I asked if Tom DeLay had been indicted yet, because he hadn't been," Cafferty recalled, adding: "If he hadn't been indicted he probably should have and I hope he goes to prison and sits there for the rest of his life. He's a jerk." Elber then noted: There he goes again, spouting off with the kind of stuff that gets him pilloried on Web sites such as NewsBusters ("Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias.") As in here, or the full Cafferty menu here.
What do you do when you’re a cable news network struggling to keep up in the ratings? Do you lure viewers away from your competitor with programming that they would want to watch, or alienate those same viewers by insulting their intelligence?
The latter seems to be the strategy for CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Shortly before 5pm EDT on the June 22 The Situation Room, Cafferty made this remark to substitute host John King after reading viewer responses to his question of the hour:
John King, substitute host: "Jack, I’m glad they always tell you exactly what they’re thinking."
Cafferty: "And, and they’re pretty smart, too."
King: "Yes they are, yes they are. Thank you very much–"
Cafferty: "The dumb ones watch Fox."
King [laughing]: "Ouch! Ouch, ouch, that’s going to bring some more e-mail."
In America, people are innocent until proven guilty, unless of course they are Republican.
No finer example of such legal relativism has occurred in recent memory than the case of President Bush’s top advisor, Karl Rove. For months, virtually every mainstream media outlet proclaimed his guilt regarding the Valerie Plame Wilson affair, or what has been not so affectionately named the CIA-leak case.
Take for example the media’s excitement over pending indictments for Rove. This hit a fevered pitch last fall as Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, after almost two years of research, depositions, and grand jury testimonies, was about to announce his findings on October 28.
Sadly for the drive-by media, no indictments were handed down for Rove that day.
As a result, restaurateurs and bar owners around the country were likely forced to give back millions of dollars in deposits for all the “Rove is Going to Jail” parties that ended up being cancelled by disappointed Democrats coast to coast.
However, hope – which some ironically claim springs eternal – reemerged in late April when Rove appeared in front of a grand jury for the fifth time to answer more of Fitzgerald’s questions. This re-ignited a media firestorm of enthusiasm
An October 17, 2005 NewsBusters item I wrote recounted: CNN's Jack Cafferty, on Monday afternoon's [October 17] The Situation Room, took a cheap shot at Karl Rove's weight and expressed delight in the possibility Rove will be indicted. Just past 3pm EDT, Cafferty announced his question of the hour: “What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?” Cafferty then answered his own question: “He might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one." Wolf Blitzer pointed out: “He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me." (Transcript follows)
The networks have been eager over the last few weeks to highlight every new charge or claim related to the alleged massacre by U.S. Marines of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq last November (a new study from the MRC counted 99 stories or interviews about it over just three weeks on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows), but when a front page Washington Post article on Sunday recounted Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich's contention that he and his squad followed the rules of engagement and were justified in their actions, the networks lost interest. NBC gave it a few seconds on Sunday's Today and a fuller story on Sunday's Nightly News, but ABC and CBS ignored it on their Sunday morning shows (GMA and Sunday Morning) while ABC's World News Tonight gave it a mere 20 seconds before a full story on suicides at Guantanamo and the CBS Evening News skipped it completely. On Monday, despite interview segments and stories on Iraq, the broadcast network morning shows ignored Wuterich's version, though ABC and NBC made time for full Guantanamo pieces. Amazingly, ABC's Charles Gibson didn't raise it with Congressman John Murtha, the lead accuser who appeared on GMA. The Monday evening shows also avoided the topic. (Detailed rundown and contrasts follow.)
On the 4pm hour of Friday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Jack Cafferty lambasted the Bush administration's push for a national gay marriage ban. However, what Cafferty did not inform the audience of is his own bigoted past.
JACK CAFFERTY: Hi, Wolf. Guess what Monday is? Monday is the day President Bush will speak about an issue near and dear to his heart and the hearts of many conservatives. It's also the day before the Senate votes on the very same thing. Is it the war? Deficits? Health insurance? Immigration? Iran? North Korea? Not even close. No, the president is going to talk about amending the Constitution in order to ban gay marriage.
This is something that absolutely, positively has no chance of happening, nada, zippo, none. But that doesn't matter. Mr. Bush will take time to make a speech. The Senate will take time to talk and vote on it, because it's something that matters to the Republican base. This is pure politics. If has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in gay marriage. It's blatant posturing by Republicans, who are increasingly desperate as the midterm elections approach. There's not a lot else to get people interested in voting on them, based on their record of the last five years. But if you can appeal to the hatred, bigotry, or discrimination in some people, you might move them to the polls to vote against that big, bad gay married couple that one day might move in down the street. Here's the question: Is now the time for President Bush to be backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
CNN’s Bill Schneider sounded more like a spokesman for the Democratic Party than a seasoned political analyst during the 4pm EDT hour of today’s The Situation Room. In his report on the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina and the impact it will have on the 2006 mid-term elections, Schneider opined over a picture of Bush looking out the window of Air Force One:
"The President’s image of compassion was shaky to begin with, even though he calls himself a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it."
That zinger met with strong approval, not surprisingly, from Schneider’s colleague, Jack Cafferty during his Cafferty File segment minutes after Schneider’s report: "Great line from Bill Schneider. ‘Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it.’"
Newsbusters readers who had the misfortune of watching CNN May 30 were not experiencing deja vu. Democratic Congressman John Murtha was interviewed on not one, not two, but three separate network programs throughout the day. Murtha’s day of CNN appearances began with an interview conducted by American Morning's Soledad O'Brien, followed by a late afternoon exchange with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Anderson Cooper 360 viewers, not to be left out, were treated to a pre-taped interview between Cooper and Murtha during the 10pm hour.
While O’Brien and Blitzer were eager to hear Murtha equate the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, only Cooper questioned whether Murtha might be rushing to condemn the Marines before the official investigation is complete.
Cooper: "Congressman Murtha, you believe the military investigation will ultimately show that the, the troops in Haditha, quote, ‘overreacted because of the pressure on them and killed innocent civilians in cold blood.’ That’s a quote from you. How are you so sure at this point? The investigation isn’t even complete."
Good Morning America and Today weren’t alone in expressing their enthusiasm over the return of Al Gore to the public eye. At 4:30PM EDT on CNN’s The Situation Room, political analyst Bill Schneider not only promoted Gore’s new global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, but a potential Gore candidacy for president, as well. Schneider gushed:
Wolf, the new Al Gore movie opens today. Is it a star is born or could it be a political star is reborn? Could this be Al Gore’s moment?
Schneider applauded the timing of the documentary’s release and claimed Truth is "not overtly partisan," before using clips from the film to slam President Bush over one of his "greatest failures." Pointing to Richard Nixon’s comeback win for the White House in 1968, Schneider seemed to express glee that history could repeat itself in Gore’s favor:
On The Situation Room on Thursday, CNN's Jack Cafferty used his Cafferty Report segment to rant against a proposal by Republican Senators for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage as "shameless" and "an effort to appeal to right-wing nuts" in the Republican Party. He further accused Republicans of "groveling at the feet of the lunatic fringe," and sarcastically concluded, "That's leadership."
Cafferty began his segment by labeling it a "lesson in hypocrisy" as he went on to recount a private meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was held by Republican Chairman Arlen Specter, and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold's decision to storm out after an argument with Specter. Cafferty commented, "These guys are shameless," and then continued: "Senator Specter, in a real show of courage, says that he's, quote, 'totally opposed to the amendment,' but he voted for it anyway, saying it deserves a debate in the Senate." (Transcript follows)
In this morning's special "Situation Room" covering General Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings for his appointment as CIA Director, CNN national security correspondent David Ensor said that Hayden could expect questions "about really the most fundamental point for a top intelligence officer. This one, who's been so loyal to the president, when the chips are down and the intelligence doesn't fit what the president wants it to fit, will he speak truth to power?"
Speak truth to power? That vague, usually meaningless catchphrase is a favorite of many liberals. Dan Rather speaks truth to power. Cynthia McKinney speaks truth to power. John Kerry speaks truth to power. And now CNN national security correspondent David Ensor anticipated questions about speaking truth to power.
During today's 4pm EDT hour of CNN's The Situation Room, Jack Cafferty expressed his "outrage" over the revelation that the National Security Agency has been compiling a national database of phone records from AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Referring to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter’s demand that the phone companies testify before Congress regarding this issue, Cafferty angrily stated that Specter could be the one preventing the United States from becoming a "full-blown dictatorship."
Wolf Blitzer: "Let’s get some words of wisdom from Jack Cafferty. He’s in New York right now. Jack?"
Jack Cafferty: "I don’t know about wisdom, but you’ll get a little outrage. We better all hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cause he might be all that’s standing between us and a full-blown dictatorship in this country. He’s vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records and yours and tens of millions of other Americans. Shortly after 9/11, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth began providing the super-secret NSA with information on phone calls of millions of our citizens. All part of the war on terror, President Bush says. Why don’t you go find Osama bin Laden and seal the country’s borders and start inspecting the containers that come into our ports?"