CNN Regurgitates Democrat Talking Points on Iraq and Kerry Comments

CNN has already made it crystal clear that the cable network is taking sides in the midterm election. Political reporter Bill Schneider reinforced that view with a report on Wednesday’s "American Morning" that sounded like something straight out of Democratic talking points. During the segment, he offered occasional asides that "spoke" for the voters. Here’s one example:

Bill Schneider: "When Americans concluded the Vietnam war was unwinnable, they turned against it. When they began to see Iraq as a civil war between rival Islamic sects, their frustration mounted. Why should that be our war? Six months ago 44 percent of Americans felt the United States would never accomplish its mission in Iraq. Now, a majority feel that way. The administration's response? Turn the question on the Democrats. What's their alternative?"

Schneider began the piece, which aired at 7:12a.m. on November 1, by telling viewers how Americans feel "misled:"

Soledad O’Brien: "Okay, a look at the numbers now: 435 congressional elections, 33 Senate races, and one overwhelming issue for voters, the issue of Iraq. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider joins us this morning. Nice to see you. Good morning."

Schneider: "Good morning."

O’Brien: "It is the issue, truly, that voters -- across the board -- are focused on. It's what motivates people to get to the polls. And what, in some cases, is motivating the candidates to, to take a really strong stance against President Bush, isn't it?"

Schneider: "It certainly is. And the 2006 midterm may come to be known as the Iraq election. Many Americans felt misled when the Bush administration's case for war, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, proved false. Increasingly, Americans are deeply disturbed by the mounting losses. More than 2,800 Americans killed so far. Underneath it all is a stark political reality. Americans don't want to fight an unwinnable war, which is why President Bush talks about a plan for victory."

He then shifted into a charitable analysis of Democratic plans:

President Bush: "This is a serious political party in the midst of a war. And they have no plan for success. They don’t even have a plan for victory."

Schneider: "Most Democrats don't talk about immediate withdrawal."

Howard Dean: "There is a plan that has been adopted by many Democrats, certainly not all of them, called strategic redeployment which gets us out of Iraq over a reasonable period of time but keeps troops in the region, not in Iraq."

Schneider: "Most Americans do favor withdrawing U.S. troops, but not immediately. They don't want to risk Iraq becoming a base for terrorists who threaten the United States."

What a coincidence! Schneider helpfully announced that "most Democrats" oppose an "immediate" withdrawal, noting that they’re in sync with the American public on a phased pull-out. CNN’s political reporter then closed by, once again, divining meaning from the election-to-be:

Schneider: "Democrats feel they don't really need a clear alternative--yet."

Dean: "The truth is, that if we were able to take over Congress, that the President is still going to control foreign and military policy to a large degree. So, what we will be able to do is, is put some restraint on the President, but we are not going to be able to change the policy overnight. That’s going to require a new President."

Schneider: "If Americans elect a Democratic Congress, the message would be that Americans want a change in the nation's Iraq policy. It's not working, do something else."

Finally, "American Morning" co-host Soledad O’Brien briefly asked Schneider about John Kerry’s controversial remarks that if you don’t get a good education, "you get stuck in Iraq." Once again parroting DNC talking points, Schneider noted that Democrats wanted to talk about "bigger" issues. Ms. O’Brien deemed the incident "a distraction:"

O’Brien: "Six days and counting 'til we find out. Let me ask you a question about Senator Kerry and his remarks, which we've been talking about all morning. How much of a gift is this, whether it was said as a slam to troops or it was said as a slam against the President, how much of this was a gift to the Republicans at this point in the election?"

Schneider: "Well, it does create the possibility of driving up anger and enthusiasm among Republicans. So far in this campaign Democrats have been the angry voters. They're the ones with the intense motivation. But when Republicans hear remarks like that, their juices get flowing. And it could drive them out to the polls in large numbers. I'm not sure it's going to change many minds. And I think a week from now, it may not be a defining issue in this election, but it could get some Republicans out to vote because they get angry when they hear remarks like that."

O’Brien: "And you're talking about it, which means you're not talking about other issues."

Schneider: "That's right. Democrats do not want this issue on the agenda. They want to talk about other issues, bigger issues. This is just a diversion for them."

O’Brien: "A distraction. Bill Schneider, nice to see you in person, as always."

It’s interesting, when Senator George Allen made his now famous "macaca" remarks, CNN didn’t seem to think that was a distraction.

A transcript of the segment follows:

11/1/06

7:12a.m. EST

Soledad O’Brien: "Okay, a look at the numbers now: 435 congressional elections, 33 Senate races, and one overwhelming issue for voters, the issue of Iraq. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider joins us this morning. Nice to see you. Good morning."

Bill Schneider: "Good morning."

O’Brien: "It is the issue, truly, that voters -- across the board -- are focused on. It's what motivates people to get to the polls. And what, in some cases, is motivating the candidates to, to take a really strong stance against President Bush, isn't it?"

Schneider: "It certainly is. And the 2006 midterm may be come to be known as the Iraq election. Many Americans felt misled when the Bush administration's case for war, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, proved false. Increasingly, Americans are deeply disturbed by the mounting losses. More than 2,800 Americans killed so far. Underneath it all is a stark political reality. Americans don't want to fight an unwinnable war, which is why President Bush talks about a plan for victory."

Bush: "Our plan for victory says that we want an Iraq that can defend itself, govern itself and sustain itself."

Schneider: "When Americans concluded the Vietnam war was unwinnable, they turned against it. When they began to see Iraq as a civil war between rival Islamic sects, their frustration mounted. Why should that be our war? Six months ago 44 percent of Americans felt the United States would never accomplish its mission in Iraq. Now, a majority feel that way. The administration's response? Turn the question on the Democrats. What's their alternative?"

President Bush: "This is a serious political party in the midst of a war. And they have no plan for success. They don’t even have a plan for victory."

Schneider: "Most Democrats don't talk about immediate withdrawal."

Dean: "There is a plan that has been adopted by many Democrats, certainly not all of them, called strategic redeployment which gets us out of Iraq over a reasonable period of time but keeps troops in the region, not in Iraq.

Schneider: "Most Americans do favor withdrawing U.S. troops, but not immediately. They don't want to risk Iraq becoming a base for terrorists who threaten the United States."

Bush: "Imagine a safe haven for an enemy that ended up with the resources that it had."

Schneider: "Democrats feel they don't really need a clear alternative-yet."

Dean: "The truth is, that if we were able to take over Congress, that the President is still going to control foreign and military policy to a large degree. So, what we will be able to do is, is put some restraint on the President, but we are not going to be able to change the policy overnight. That’s going to require a new President."

Schneider: "If Americans elect a Democratic Congress, the message would be that Americans want a change in the nation's Iraq policy. It's not working, do something else."

O’Brien: "Six days and counting 'til we find out. Let me ask you a question about Senator Kerry and his remarks, which we've been talking about all morning. How much of a gift is this, whether it was said as a slam to troops or it was said as a slam against the President, how much of this was a gift to the Republicans at this point in the election?"

Schneider: "Well, it does create the possibility of driving up anger and enthusiasm among Republicans. So far in this campaign Democrats have been the angry voters. They're the ones with the intense motivation. But when Republicans hear remarks like that, their juices get flowing. And it could drive them out to the polls in large numbers. I'm not sure it's going to change many minds. And I think a week from now, it may not be a defining issue in this election, but it could get some Republicans out to vote because they get angry when they hear remarks like that."

O’Brien: "And you're talking about it, which means you're not talking about other issues."

Schneider: "That's right. Democrats do not want this issue on the agenda. They want to talk about other issues, bigger issues. This is just a diversion for them."

O’Brien: "A distraction. Bill Schneider, nice to see you in person, as always."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org