On ABC, Charles Gibson Gives Murtha A Spit-and-Polish Shoeshine
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Charles Gibson interviewed Rep. John Murtha, the perfect opportunity to press him hard on how Zarqawi might not have been defeated if our troops had gone "over the horizon," as CNN’s Carol Lin suggested the other day. But that didn’t happen. MRC's Brian Boyd reports Gibson calmly set him up to turn the entire good news around into more grist for getting out of Iraq ASAP. It began with Charlie playing up Murtha’s military credentials (oops, left out those controversial medals):
"We're going to turn now to Congressman John Murtha, who has been a very outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. A combat veteran; spent 37 years in the Marine Corps, himself; and he's joining us this morning from Johnstown, Pennsylvania."
He did not explain to viewers that Murtha is a liberal or even a Democrat, or a man angling to be a leader of the House Democrats if they win a majority in the fall elections (that never came up). See how open-ended and unchallenging the interview questions were:
– "Congressman, appreciate you're being back with us...Let me ask you about the situation as it stands now. In the last few days we've had the death of Zarqawi, we've had a completion of the Iraqi cabinet with the most important ministries being filled and we've also had this or about to have this joint U.S. and Iraqi cabinet meeting by video conference with the President in Camp David. So, doesn't this look like it's a good opportunity and a beginning of a troop draw down and disengagement?" Murtha concluded with his usual thought: "I hope the Iraqis ask us to leave."
– "So, I don't think they're going to consult you at this Camp David meeting given the criticisms you've voiced in recent days, but in your mind what would be the best thing to come out of this two day conference at Camp David?" Murtha muttered about the need to close down Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and "80 percent of the Iraqis want us out of there. And I think he's got to listen to realism and what the public wants in the United States. It costs $9 billion a month, Charlie. It'll cost almost $500 billion by the end of this fiscal year." Again, no challenge on any of this from Gibson.
– Then, more on troop withdrawals. Gibson ran a soundbite of new Iraqi defense minister Mowaffak al-Rubaie saying on CNN that coalition forced will be under 100,000 by year’s end, and nearly all will be out by the end of 2007: "And many expect that we'll have a continuing presence eventually of about 50,000 troops. Does that seem about right to you?"
– "And just finally, Congress has in front of it still a massive appropriations bill to fund this war. It does not seem as if Congress is willing at this point to start tightening the purse strings to get us out."