During the 5pm hour of this evening’s The Situation Room, CNN senior national correspondent John Roberts devoted a portion of his report from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference [SRLC] in Memphis, Tennessee to highlight one potential GOP presidential candidate that most people have likely never heard of. Roberts set up the exchange with Dr. Mark Kline in the live portion of his report:
John Roberts: "His name is Dr. Mark Kline. He’s a psychiatrist from California who is launching an exploratory campaign for president."
Shortly thereafter, the taped exchange between Roberts and Kline was shown:
Roberts: "So, Dr. Kline, you’re–you’ve launched an exploratory committee here for president. What do you, what do you think of the current administration?"
Dr. Mark Kline: "I think this is actually the worst administration I’ve ever seen in my entirelife."
In his Monday "Media Notes" column, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz first reports on one of Jack Abramoff's friends in the media. His second item -- on CNN's Jack Cafferty -- used several quotes outlined by Brent Baker in CyberAlerts and several NewsBusters bloggers.
Cafferty's cutting remarks have made him a hero to some on the left. Liberal radio host Cenk Uygur called for Cafferty to get his own prime-time show, saying on http://HuffingtonPost.com that "he is a rare truth-teller on cable news." But Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center writes that Cafferty "has created a little career as a gruff anti-Bush commentator" in "an attempt to be the anti-Bill O'Reilly."
During this afternoon’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty mocked the President for referring to the Bush administration as "my government." Yesterday morning, President Bush, while responding to a reporter’s question on the controversy surrounding the management of six U.S. ports being turned over to a United Arab Emirates-owned company, remarked that the transaction had been vetted by "my government" and that the ports would remain secure.
This innocuous phrase seemed to tick Cafferty off during his daily Cafferty File segment shortly before 4:15pm.
Jack Cafferty: "Is it still Bush’s government? Remember in the cabinet meeting he said, don’t worry about security, my government has taken a look at this and everything’s alright?..That’s unbelievable."
Silly as this may sound, Cafferty took great offense that the President of the United States had referred to his administration as, well, his. Cafferty, bafflingly, interpreted "my government" to mean that President Bush had decided to take sole ownership of the U.S. government. When anchor Wolf Blitzer reassured Cafferty that it is indeed "our government," Cafferty fired back angrily:
Cafferty: "Well, not, not according to President Bush it isn’t. It’s my government, he said."
Politicians across the political spectrum are raising their voices against the arrangement which would allow a United Arab Emirates company to manage six U.S. seaports, and on Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty acted as a rabble-rousing activist as he encouraged his viewers to rise up against any politician who doesn't act to block the deal and he highlighted two viewer e-mails which advocated the impeachment of President Bush over the matter. Cafferty excoriated: "If our elected representatives don't do everything in their power to stop this thing, each of us should vow to work tirelessly to see that they are removed from public office....Here's the question. What should be done to stop a deal that would allow an Arab company with ties to terrorism to run U.S. ports?" Cafferty soon read from one e-mailer who argued that "this deal is nothing short of collusion with a foreign power of unknown intent during wartime. The President should be impeached." And another: "Putting George Bush in charge of our country was a huge mistake, and my fellow citizens finally realize that it was a disaster. Time to impeach this President." (Transcript follows)
On the 7pm hour of CNN's The Situation Room, Jack Cafferty who anchors the segment "The Cafferty File" said that President Bush used the "fear" card to get elected to a second term in office. Cafferty also implied that the War in Iraq is not apart of the War on Terror when he compared the Iraq war as being "advertised" apart of the latter. Cafferty also mocked the "fight them [terrorists] over there so we don't have to fight them over here" line.
JACK CAFFERTY: Since 9/11, the priority number one has been to protect this country from another terrorist attack. President Bush rode our fear of that very thing to a second term in office. The War in Iraq is advertised as part of the War on Terror. A half a trillion dollars and 2300 dead Americans soldiers, so that we can quote "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here". But what about over here?
NRO's Media Blog notices something that is too common: Clintonistas who spent eight years warning us against the "politics of personal destruction," against diverting people's attention from the issues "that matter to their lives" onto scandalous personal behaviors, doing exactly that with Republicans. (Of course, the Clintons and their spinners commonly dug into the mud of the personal lives of their antagonists in an attempt to shut them up or discredit them.) In the case of Cheney, Paul Begala came on CNN to demand blood samples to prove the accidental shooting wasn't fueled by alcohol, earning him the "Count Begala" title:
BEGALA: The vice president's performance yesterday leaves a whole lot of questions unanswered. First and most importantly, why was he drinking, how much was he drinking and did that affect his ability — his cognitive ability — while he was hunting?
Stephen Spruiell notes: "Then Begala goes from dumb to downright creepy, repeatedly calling for [victim Harry] Whittington's blood." How classy:
Admitting he hadn’t seen the interview, at about 4:15pm EST Wednesday on CNN’s The Situation Room, Jack Cafferty charged that “it didn't exactly represent a profile in courage for the Vice President to wander over there to the F-word network for a sit-down with Brit Hume. I mean, that's a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde, ain't it?” Cafferty soon called FNC a “safe haven” for Dick Cheney and predicted “he's not going to get any high hard ones from anybody at the F-word network." CNN colleague Lou Dobbs opened his show by complaining: “Vice President Cheney finally talking about his shooting accident, but to only one news organization. Is that full disclosure or is it blatant news management?" Guest Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News called it “ridiculous” for Cheney to give “one interview to his favorite network.”And later, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann castigated Cheney for choosing the “more malleable cameras of Fox News" in place of a press conference.
Over on the broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC’s David Gregory, the most aggressive reporter in the White House press briefings, fired back at Hume, suggesting either Hume had an anti-White House press corps axe to grind or at least that Cheney chose him because of that opinion: "Speaking out for the first time, the Vice President chose to speak with Fox anchor Brit Hume, a former White House correspondent, he has been outspoken in his criticism of the White House press corps' coverage of this story." On the CBS Evening News, correspondent Jim Axelrod characterized FNC as a “friendly” venue: "The Vice President chose to make his first public comments on Fox News Channel's Special Report, a broadcast Mr. Cheney sees as friendly, and has turned to before.” One doubts reporters presumed Vice President Al Gore was going to friendly media when he sat down with ABC, CBS, NBC or CNN. (Fuller transcripts follow.)
CNN's Jack Cafferty has created a little career as a gruff anti-Bush commentator on "The Situation Room." His schtick has struck me as an attempt to be the anti-Bill O'Reilly. So it's not surprising that on The Huffington Post, left-wing radio show host Cenk Uygur is campaigning for CNN to give Cafferty his own hour-long soap box in a post titled "How Jack Cafferty Can Save America." (Hat tip: TV Newser.) All by himself, Cafferty can reverse a supposedly unanimous conservative American media:
He is a rare truth teller on cable news. He gets a couple of minutes a day on CNN to do "The Cafferty File." And every time it is a breath of fresh air - a man speaking truth to power. If CNN would just give Cafferty his own show in primetime, where he can frame the conversation, he can choose the topics and he can ask the right questions, we can turn this whole thing around.
Before President Bush’s Tuesday State of the Union address, at least three network reporters seemingly read from the same talking points as they described the public mood with the exact same word: “sour.” As noted in an earlier NewsBusters item, on World News Tonight, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos insisted that “the country is just in a sour mood.” About 90 minutes before Bush’s address, CNN’s Jeff Greenfield wondered “whether the President can connect with a populace that is in a sour, pessimistic mood?” He pointed out how “only Nixon, in the year of his resignation, had a lower job approval rating,” before echoing his earlier question: “I think the President would like the country to believe he feels their pain or at least their anxiety about health care, about jobs, about the whole sense that something's gone a little sour." Then on Fox, minutes before Bush began, Chris Wallace attributed the “sour” assessment to Bush as he predicted Bush would deliver a “presidential pep talk where he believes that the country has, the mood has turned sour -- sour on the war, sour on the economy, sour on the government's response to Katrina.” Afterward, Wallace described the speech as “tough in terms of the war in Iraq and people souring on that.” (Transcripts follow.)
Just before reading e-mailed responses to his “Cafferty Files” question of the 4pm EST hour on Thursday afternoon's The Situation Room on CNN, “How important is the new Osama bin Laden tape?", Jack Cafferty proposed a conspiracy existed in the timing, one meant to help Bush justify his NSA wiretapping: “The last time we got a tape from Osama bin Laden was right before the 2004 presidential election. Now here we are, four days away from hearings starting in Washington into the wiretapping of America's telephones without bothering to get a court order or a warrant, and up pops another tape from Osama bin Laden. Coincidence? Who knows.” One viewer endorsed Cafferty's conspiracy theory: “It seems suspicious. Every time the Republicans get into trouble, bin Laden sends a tape. Is it possible bin Laden's working out of the White House?” Earlier, Cafferty took a shot at President Bush's decision to invade Iraq: “The thought of this mutant hanging out in a cave somewhere and sending taped threats to the American people makes me angry. Why wasn't this guy taken care of before we went wandering off into Iraq?” (Transcripts follow.)
A friend told me on Wednesday I had to check out Wolf Blitzer's taped CNN interview with ex-president Jimmy Carter. Filling in as host on "The Situation Room," Tom Foreman puffed up Carter's resume: "Since losing the White House 25 years ago, Jimmy Carter developed a reputation as a better ex-president than president. This is not a reputation that he cares for much. Nonetheless, he has been a leading voice for free and fair elections, and a 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner -- a very accomplished man."
Blitzer read Carter wild, accusatory paragraphs about Bush's "imperialistic" policies. In his second quoting-the-book question, Blitzer asked: "Let me read from 'Our Endangered Values' once again, Mr. President. "Some neo-cons" -- referring to neoconservatives in the administration -- "now dominate the highest councils of government. They seem determined to exert American dominance throughout the world and approve preemptive war as an acceptable avenue to reach this imperialistic goal." Blitzer explained that Team Bush believes it can wage pre-emptive war on nations which threaten our security to prevent terror attacks: "That's their argument for preemptive strikes, an argument you reject?" Carter said no, he would defend the country against an imminent threat, but Iraq wasn't imminent.
CNN on Tuesday afternoon gave credibility to the ruminations from a few hardcore leftists that President Bush should be impeached over authorizing, without prior court approval, eavesdropping on people within U.S. borders communicating with those abroad who have ties to al-Qaeda. Both Jack Cafferty and anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the subject during the 4pm EST hour of The Situation Room. Cafferty's question of the hour: “Do you think it's an impeachable offense for the President to authorize domestic spying without a warrant?” He set that up by insisting that “if you listen carefully, you can hear the word impeachment.” He asserted that “two congressional Democrats are using it, and they're not the only ones,” referring to how “Senator Barbara Boxer sent a letter to legal experts yesterday asking if they think the President's wiretapping of phone calls without a warrant is a quote, ‘impeachable offense,' unquote.” Cafferty cited the claims of John Dean and touted how Newsweek's Jonathan Alter “says that similar abuse of power was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974.” (Tom Johnson filed a NewsBusters item on Alter's online rant.)
Sandwiched between Cafferty's question and his reading of e-mail replies, Blitzer set up a live interview with Boxer on Capitol Hill: “Some Democrats now are raising the possibility that Mr. Bush's authorization of the plan may be an actual impeachable offense. Joining us now, one of the staunchest critics, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California. Precisely, Senator Boxer, where do you stand on this very sensitive issue of impeachment?" Blitzer did, however, soon move on to challenging Democratic spin on the “domestic spying” matter. (Transcripts follow.)
On the 4pm hour of CNN's The Situation Room, on air personality Jack Cafferty blasted the Bush administration's decisions to combat the War on Terror, especially the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. Cafferty also said the administration leaked name of CIA agent and "covert operative" Valerie Plame. This diatribe served as a segue for "The Question of the Hour", which asked reader's opinions about the New York Times' report of the NSA spying on American citizens. Cafferty offers no proof other than the report by a known left-wing publication.
On yesterday’s installment of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Ali Velshi and Bill Schneider fantasized about talk-show megastar Oprah Winfrey supporting a presidential run by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) in 2008. Clinton and Winfrey met at the International Emmy Award ceremony on Monday, and in Schneider’s words, “had a very interesting and possibly politically significant encounter.” Schneider's view:
"What would a Hillary Clinton-John McCain race look like? The CNN-'USA Today'-Gallup poll pitted the two frontrunners against each other among registered voters nationwide. The result: McCain leads Clinton by 10 points.
"Why? Men. Men give McCain a huge lead over Clinton. Women are divided. Maybe an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey could make a difference. If she were to rally women to support Hillary Clinton, the race could become a lot closer."
What follows is a full transcript of this exchange.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Why, thank you, Wolf. It's getting ugly out there. According to Vice President Cheney, if you question, if you dare question the use of pre-war intelligence, according to that speech this morning, you are dishonest and reprehensible.
My remarks today concern national security, in particular the war on terror and the Iraq front in that war. Several days ago, I commented briefly on some recent statements that have been made by some members of Congress about Iraq. Within hours of my speech, a report went out on the wires under the headline, "Cheney says war critics 'dishonest,' 'reprehensible.'"
One thing I've learned in the last five years is that when you're Vice President, you're lucky if your speeches get any attention at all. But I do have a quarrel with that headline, and it's important to make this point at the outset. I do not believe it is wrong to criticize the war on terror or any aspect thereof. Disagreement, argument, and debate are the essence of democracy, and none of us should want it any other way.
CNN reporter Dana Bash did some ‘bashing’ of the President’s actions during his trip to Asia.
She begins the segment with the President attempting to open a locked door at the end of a press conference. She said reporters on the scene immediately dubbed this "the no exit strategy press conference". Even the sheepish President couldn't ignore the obvious metaphor.
Bash continued her segment by concluding President Bush's trip to Asia was a failure because of the failures at home in the US.
When Bush was asked “Is that evidence that your party is increasing splitting with you on Iraq?”, Bash dubbed his answer as "talking points".
Bash called Vice President Cheney’s speech as "red hot Iraq rhetoric" and then said his speech was to "discredit Democrats criticizing the war". She referred to the statement released by the White House that compared Murtha to Michael Moore as a "blistering statement".
She concluded the segment by noting a reporter that asked a “question on many minds”, "Mr. President you seem to be a little bit of your game". Bush responded with "have you ever heard of jet lag". Bash gave the reaction of "how dare he say that".
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Bill Schneider awarded Congressman John Murtha his “Play of the Week,” and after Schneider’s piece host Wolf Blitzer suggested the call by Murtha, “a very moderate conservative” (whatever that is), to withdraw troops is reminiscent of CBS anchor Walter Cronkite’s 1968 assertion the U.S. was losing in Vietnam, and so Republicans “probably realize they’ve got some serious problems." Schneider explained his pick: “In 1968, Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam and told Americans that, in his opinion, the Vietnam War had become a stalemate. That was a turning point. Now, it's too early to tell whether what happened this week was a turning point in Iraq, but it certainly was the political 'Play of the Week.'” Schneider played up Murtha’s influence: "He rarely speaks to the press. When he does, Washington listens. This week, Murtha spoke.”
When Schneider finished his recap of Murtha’s remarks and the reaction to them, Blitzer reminded him and viewers: "Bill, you’ll remember what President Johnson said when he heard what Walter Cronkite had said at that point, after coming back from Vietnam. He said if he’s lost Walter Cronkite, he’s probably lost the country. And I suppose that some Republicans are saying now if they’ve lost John Murtha, a very moderate conservative Democrat, a strong supporter of the military, they, they probably realize they’ve got some serious problems." Schneider agreed: "I think they do." (Complete transcript follows.)
The stunt by Senate Democrats who forced the chamber into closed session so they could get publicity for demands for an immediate probe into administration use of pre-war intelligence, earned a favorable tirade Tuesday afternoon from CNN’s Jack Cafferty who charged that “there's a perception in this country that we were lied to about the run-up to the war in Iraq.” Most believe they were “lied” to? More like Cafferty channeled the claims of the radical left. Cafferty proceeded to concede that “maybe we were, and maybe we weren't, but there are a lot of people who think we were.” Cafferty rued, as if WMDs were the only reason for the war: “A half a trillion dollars and 2,000 of our kids later, we're still there. We're mired in a thing that has no visible end” and so “if they lied to us, if there was some kind of intent to deceive, then they ought to find out who did it, and tear their fingernails out, and then get rid of them.” He insisted that “it's about what's right and what's wrong and what people who are entrusted to govern this country do with the power we give them. If it's being abused, we damn well have a right to know, and something should be done about it.”
In the days and weeks following the disaster in New Orleans, many in the media suggested that the federal government’s “slow” response to Hurricane Katrina was caused by the race and economic condition of those impacted. President Bush had to regularly answer the questions of reporters concerning this, while media members opined at will.
Most famous of such assertions was reported by NewsBusters when rapper Kanye West said during a televised Katrina relief fundraiser that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Earlier that day, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said, “Almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black.” And, as also reported by NewsBusters, CBS News’s Nancy Giles said: “[Bush] has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."
CNN's Jack Cafferty, on Monday afternoon's 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."
Just under a month ago, Cafferty took a shot at Tom Delay: "Has he been indicted yet?" And then a week later insisted that "I had no inside information on DeLay's upcoming indictment,” but boasted of how “it's probably a piece of videotape that I'm going to hang onto." (Full transcript, and links to his earlier comments, follow.)
Just before 5pm EDT Friday, during The Situation Room's review of blog postings, CNN's Jacki Schechner recited examples of blog sites critical of the media's hyping of the so-called “staged” live tele-conference Thursday between President Bush and soldiers in Iraq. With a shot of the NewsBusters posting, “Shocked, Just Shocked Network Reporters Hype 'Staged' Bush Event with Troops” on screen, Schechner relayed: “From NewsBusters, this is a group site that was put together to combat what they call the liberal media bias, saying there is nothing wrong with figuring out 'who should answer which question' or telling soldiers, who aren't familiar with media interviews, to 'take a breath' before answering.”
Thursday's NBC Nightly News led, yes led, with how, as anchor Brian Williams put it, President Bush had that morning conducted “a staged event" via satellite with ten U.S. soldiers and one Iraqi soldier in Iraq. “Today's encounter was billed as spontaneous,” Williams intoned. “Instead, it appeared to follow a script.” Andrea Mitchell warned that “the troops were coached on how to answer the Commander-in-Chief” and, indeed, not until two minutes into her three-minute story -- after showing clips of how a DOD official had told the soldiers the questions Bush would ask -- did Mitchell note how “the White House and at least one of the soldiers says the troops weren't told what to say, just what the President would ask." So, the answers were not staged. The soldiers, naturally nervous about appearing on live TV with the President of the United States, were simply told who should answer which question and to “take a breath” before answering. Scandalous! Over video of Bush on the aircraft carrier, Mitchell went on to remind viewers of how “this isn't the first time this administration used troops to help sell the Iraq war.” But she also admitted a media double-standard: “Many administrations, Democrat and Republican, stage-manage events and often the news media ignore the choreography.”
ABC's World News Tonight also devoted a full story, though not the lead, to the media-generated controversy. Terry Moran contended that “the fact that this was so carefully choreographed...shows just how urgently the White House wants not just a success on the ground in Iraq, but a PR success at home for this embattled President." Over on the CBS Evening News, anchor Bob Schieffer opined that “unfortunately for the President, after satellite cameras caught administration aides rehearsing the soldiers beforehand, Democrats dismissed the whole thing and said the troops deserved a lot better.” Lara Logan managed to cover other material in her story and uniquely showcased a soldier who told CBS: "The truth is that everything that was said was meant to be said, though it may have sounded scripted in some places. Nerves kick in, for one. Two, everyone puts their thoughts together. You put it down, you go over and over it a hundred times."
MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann also led Thursday with the “staged” event and the AP distributed a story breathlessly headlined, “Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged.” But on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume noted complaints the event was "not entirely spontaneous" before Carl Cameron pointed out that Bush posed an unplanned question to the Iraqi soldier. In the panel segment, Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon recalled how when “back in December” a soldier asked Rumsfeld about armor, a question that “had been planted by a reporter, I didn't hear any outcry from the press.” (UPDATE with CNN coverage and transcripts follow.)
Wolf: James Dobson's claims about Harriet Miers making it into the Cafferty File today. Jack is in New York, and he's smiling, as only Jack can do.
Jack Cafferty: I love this. I mean, I...this is just going to be one of the great shows, unless she backs away, one of the great shows we've seen in a while. If the Miers nomination to be a Supreme Court justice wasn't in trouble before, it is now. And by the way, it was in big trouble before. With evangelical leader Dobson hinting he might have secret information about Miers' views on such issues as abortion, and with his acknowledgment that he talked with Karl Rove at the White House about her nomination, Miers' opponents have been handed a loaded gun. Even if Dobson is called before the Senate Judiciary Committee and actually testifies, there'll always be a suspicion that we're not getting the whole story on her. Nevertheless, all that being said, I can't wait for the hearing. I mean, I wish they'd start this afternoon. Here's the question. Should evangelical leader James Dobson have to testify, be subpoenaed and be forced to testify at Harriet Miers' confirmation hearings...I hope he does. And I hope she does, and I just...I mean, I just can't wait. This is going to be a dream for people like me.
WB: You might have to wait until early December for those hearings, though, Jack.
Jack Cafferty: Yeah, but I mean, you know, this is going to be like watching those super trains that go from the Tokyo airport into downtown Tokyo, go off the tracks at maximum speed. I mean, you just won't see anything better than that.
So let me get this straight .. the pain, suffering, and death of hundreds of people is equal to the Judiciary Committee's questioning of Harriet Miers? Jack never ceases to amaze me. Download .WMV
Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s “The Situation Room,” had Angelina Jolie on yesterday. After a discussion on the Katrina disaster and her reaction to the newly discovered “poverty” there, the topic shifted to her relief work in Africa and HIV/Aids issues, and eventually, of course -- to funding. Wolf Blitzer, jumping on an opening, had the following line ready to go [emphasis added] - brief disussion followed:
BLITZER: Bono, another star who has been deeply involved in trying to help people around the world. He was quoted in "Time" magazine in June as saying, "the most important and toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he's already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he has, but he started from far too low a place."[Here is the point from which the interview should develop. Clinton admin. was doing way too little, now we are doing much more. How much more?] Are you getting involved in the politics here in Washington, as well, trying to excite people, Democrats and Republicans?
As reported by Brent Baker in today’s CyberAlert, Wolf Blitzer was taken aback by CNN founder Ted Turner’s defense of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and his treatment of the North Korean people. Turner disputes Blitzer's charge that the North Korean leader's regime is "despotic", insisting, "he didn't look too much different than most other people." When Turner declared we should "give 'em a break," and insisted that North Korea poses a "non-existent" threat to the U.S., Blitzer suggested North Korean missiles could reach Alaska. In response, Turner stated: "Well, what, the Aleutian Islands? There's nothing up there but a few sea lions."
On CNN’s The Situation Room last evening, Wolf Blitzer adroitly set up Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean with questions surrounding racism in Hurricane Katrina rescue and prevention efforts:
“Do you believe the response from the federal government, the Bush administration specifically, the president of the United States, that there were racist or racial overtones in that response?”
“Some, as you know, critics of the president, Kanye West, the rap artist, have accused him of being a racist. I want you to listen to what Laura Bush said last night.”
Reading viewer email at the bottom of 4:00 hour of CNN's "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty dismissed a call from a viewer "try to be 'fair and balanced'" in his commentary segments, deriding the audience member's suggestion as a "thinly veiled reference to the F-word network."
And finally, John writes: Cafferty, your liberal opinions are not appreciated by a majority of the viewers. Your smart remarks about our President and Vice President are not welcome. If at all possible, try to be "fair and balanced."
I think that was a thinly veiled reference to the F-word Network, Wolf. What do you think?
On this evening’s The Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty ran a poll asking the following question concerning ongoing rescue efforts in New Orleans: What should be done with the people who refuse to leave?
“Officials want everybody out of town because the health risks of the contaminated water are simply too great. But not everybody wants to leave.”
This raises an interesting question that seems to be eluding media representatives like Mr. Cafferty: If a large percentage of people don’t want to leave now as the health risks in the water that is surrounding them are mounting and obvious, why should we be surprised that a similarly large percentage of the New Orleans population didn’t leave prior to the hurricane making landfall?
On last evening’s The Situation Room, CNN’s Ed Henry did a report on the politicization of Hurricane Katrina. One of the first segments was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with some rather unkind words about our president:
“He chose someone with absolutely no credentials. You know what? When I said to the president that he should fire Michael Brown, he said why would I do that? I said because of all that went wrong with all that didn't go right last week. He said what didn't go right.
“Oblivious, in denial. Dangerous.”
And that was just the beginning of Ed’s report. It gets even better.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday afternoon repeatedly prodded reluctant Congressional Black Caucus member Elijah Cummings to blame racism for delays in rescuing hurricane victims in New Orleans. Blitzer asked Cummings on The Situation Room: “Do you believe, if it was, in fact, a slow response, as many now believe it was, was it in part the result of racism?” When Cummings demurred from such a blanket accusation, Blitzer wouldn’t give up: “There are some critics who are saying, and I don't know if you're among those, but people have said to me, had this happened in a predominantly white community, the federal government would have responded much more quickly. Do you believe that?"
Later, on CNN’s NewsNight, Aaron Brown took up the same agenda with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones: “What I'm wondering is, do you think black America's sitting there thinking, if these were middle class white people, there would be cruise ships in New Orleans?” When she wouldn’t take the bait, Brown lectured: “Now, look, here's the question, okay? And then we'll end this. Do you think the reason that they're not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren't there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, isn't there, is a matter of race and/or class?”
Opening the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams predicted that the "catastrophic hurricane strike, and the U.S. government response to it, will in the years or decades to come, perhaps necessitate a national discussion on race, on oil, politics, class, infrastructure, the environment and more.” ABC’s Ted Koppel charged on Nightline that “the slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina has led to questions about race, poverty and a seemingly indifferent government.”