ABC made time Wednesday night for Martha Raddatz to read from a letter the Gold Star Moms for Peace sent to President Bush in which they charged that "you put our troops in harm's way based on a lie. We are military families who demand an end to the lies, and call for you to bring our troops home now." But, after weeks of hyping Cindy Sheehan, neither Raddatz nor anyone else on World News Tonight mentioned how Bush spent nearly three hours meeting with family members of those killed in Iraq. Neither did the CBS Evening News which held its coverage of Bush's speech in Idaho to the National Guard to a soundbite of Bush quoting a mother with four sons in Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how Sheehan's group "said today its members will follow President Bush around the country protesting the war," but at least Kelly O'Donnell noted that Bush "met privately with 68 family members who grieve for sons and husbands lost in war."
Full CyberAlert article follows. For today's MRC CyberAlert with five more items.
ABC's Charles Gibson opened the August 24 World News Tonight, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Good evening. In a time when many are calling for troops to start coming home from Iraq, the Pentagon announced that, to the contrary, more will be going. That is just one of today's developments on Iraq. New battles broke out there between Iraqi factions, which might jeopardize getting that country's new constitution. And President Bush defended the war in another speech and seemed to speak even more directly to those anti-war mothers who are protesting against him every day. We start, tonight, with ABC's Martha Raddatz. Martha, the additional troops. Why are they being sent over?"
Raddatz checked in from the Pentagon: "The 1,500 additional troops, Charlie, are being sent over to secure the upcoming referendum in October and also elections in December. But they probably won't be the last additional forces. President Bush made clear to National Guard families in Idaho today that this will be a long fight with continued sacrifice."
George W. Bush in Idaho: "In this war, we have said farewell to some very good men and women, including 491 heroes of the National Guard and Reserve."
Raddatz: "It was the second time this week that Mr. Bush has talked about the war dead, arguing, again, that pulling troops out of Iraq now would dishonor them. The President picked out one Idaho mother to make that point, seeming to use her as a contrast to the anti-war protester, Cindy Sheehan."
Bush: "A mom named Tammy Pruett."
Raddatz: "Tammy Pruett has four sons serving in Iraq."
Bush: "Tammy says this, and I want you to hear this: 'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country.'"
Raddatz, with text on screen: "And from some of those who have already lost loved ones in Iraq, a letter to President Bush today, the Gold Star Moms for Peace saying, 'You put our troops in harm's way based on a lie. We are military families who demand an end to the lies, and call for you to bring our troops home now.' But that will not be happening anytime soon."
Raddatz proceeded to recount the latest violence in Iraq.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced: "Back here in the U.S., peace activist and the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, arrived back in Crawford, Texas, after spending several days in Los Angeles with her mother, who suffered a stroke. A group she co-founded, called Gold Star Families for Peace, said today its members will follow President Bush around the country protesting the war. The President was in Idaho today, continuing what has become a campaign to praise military sacrifice while countering Sheehan's protests. Here is NBC's Kelly O'Donnell."
O'Donnell began: "Today, a presidential thank-you note hand-delivered to Idaho. Mr. Bush praised the 1,700 members of Idaho's National Guard, now in Iraq. A small state, but with the country's highest percentage of its guard mobilized."
George W. Bush in Idaho: "Laura and I are here to thank you for your service."
O'Donnell: "And the President engaged his critics in a new way. On the defensive and dogged by attention around protest mom Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in battle, today, after careful planning, the President put a name and face on his supporters."
Bush: "And here in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruett."
O'Donnell: "The Pruetts say they were contacted by the White House last week. They have four National Guard sons in Iraq today. A fifth son and dad Leon already served and came home safely. The President made his point that the fight is worth it by quoting mother Tammy Pruett."
Bush: "'I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country.'"
O'Donnell: "The Pruetts quickly and even tearfully offered condolences to those families who have lost loved ones, naming Cindy Sheehan. The Pruetts fully support the war, but say they don't want to be viewed as judging those who oppose it."
Tammy Pruett, mother of U.S. soldiers: "We don't feel like we're out here trying to be a poster family. We're just proud of our sons. They're proud of the service that they're doing."
O'Donnell: "In sharp contrast with this rousing event, the President later met privately with 68 family members who grieve for sons and husbands lost in war. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, with the President in Nampa, Idaho."