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ABC & CBS Lead w/ Powell v Cheney & Limbaugh, GOP Too Conservative --5/26/2009


1. ABC & CBS Lead w/ Powell v Cheney & Limbaugh, GOP Too Conservative
ABC and CBS, which two weeks ago gave short-shrift to Dick Cheney choosing Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell as the better representative of the Republican Party (brief anchor-read items), both led Sunday night with Powell push back against Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. "Colin Powell hitting back at Dick Cheney and other Republican critics, saying he's still a member of the party, a party he says has to change," ABC anchor Dan Harris teased Sunday's World News. On CBS, Russ Mitchell announced: "Tonight, Colin Powell versus Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. The former Secretary of State defends his Republican credentials." In the lead CBS Evening News story, Kimberly Dozier made Powell's case, reporting how on Sunday's Face the Nation "he said the criticism he faces points to what's wrong with his party" and "he pointed out the party's recent poor track record, losing the presidency by ten million votes and losing a majority in Congress." Dozier had noted that Powell endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain last year, but failed to suggest any hypocrisy in then fretting about the Republican candidate losing. Instead, Dozier proceeded to highlight how "moderate Republicans worry that the party is perceived as embracing only a few narrow issues -- anti-abortion, anti-tax and pro-gun rights."

2. Cummings Whines Cheney's 'Made It Much Harder to Close Guantanamo'
The Politico's Jeanne Cummings, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, fretted on this weekend's Inside Washington that former Vice President Dick Cheney has "changed this debate in a way that has made it much, much harder to close Guantanamo, which the President is already committed to doing." So he's done an awful thing in daring to oppose something President Obama is "committed to doing." Dreadful! In fact, she soon charged that in complicating Obama's intention to close Guantanamo -- which Obama had announced without any plan for where to place the detainees -- "Cheney really did damage to the effort to keep our country secure by turning this into a political issue. We were going to have to deal with this and to make it a political issue is not helpful. It's just not."

3. CNN's Anderson Cooper: Is Cheney 'Emboldening Our Enemies?'
Anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney on his CNN program on Thursday evening about her father's defense of the Bush administration's anti-terror tactics. At one point, he asked: "Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we're much weaker now than ever before? Isn't that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn't you make that argument?" Cooper later asked the former State Department official, "If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn't be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?" The anchor also questioned whether the CIA actually took care in implementing its enhanced interrogations: "But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?"

4. New Animated Series on ABC to Lampoon Environmentalists
With television hosts unwilling to joke about President Barack Obama as those comedians regularly ridicule conservatives, there's a bright spot coming up this week in a new TV show set to debut on ABC which will mock leftist environmentalism. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday: "The new animated television series 'The Goode Family' is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words 'What would Al Gore do?' Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet's dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid."

5. Flashback: Couric to Mr. & Mrs. Edwards, 'One Frosty, Two Straws?'
Nearly five years ago, when compliant journalists were touting then-vice presidential candidate John Edwards and admiring his supposed idyllic marriage to Elizabeth Edwards, Katie Couric celebrated the happy couple's annual wedding anniversary "romantic ritual" of eating at Wendy's, wondering as all three laughed together: "What do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'" Pretty ridiculous in retrospect.

6. New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location for CyberAlerts
The MRC launched a new Web site on Friday, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video. Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." Sometime this week, I hope, the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.


ABC & CBS Lead w/ Powell v Cheney & Limbaugh,
GOP Too Conservative

ABC and CBS, which two weeks ago gave short-shrift to Dick Cheney choosing Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell as the better representative of the Republican Party (brief anchor-read items), both led Sunday night with Powell push back against Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. "Colin Powell hitting back at Dick Cheney and other Republican critics, saying he's still a member of the party, a party he says has to change," ABC anchor Dan Harris teased Sunday's World News. On CBS, Russ Mitchell announced: "Tonight, Colin Powell versus Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. The former Secretary of State defends his Republican credentials."

In the lead CBS Evening News story, Kimberly Dozier made Powell's case, reporting how on Sunday's Face the Nation "he said the criticism he faces points to what's wrong with his party" and "he pointed out the party's recent poor track record, losing the presidency by ten million votes and losing a majority in Congress." Dozier had noted that Powell endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain last year, but failed to suggest any hypocrisy in then fretting about the Republican candidate, the most liberal since Gerald Ford, losing or then complaining the party is too conservative. Instead, Dozier proceeded to highlight how "moderate Republicans worry that the party is perceived as embracing only a few narrow issues -- anti-abortion, anti-tax and pro-gun rights."

As opposed to Democrats embracing only a few narrow issues: pro-abortion, pro-tax and pro-radical environmentalism.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBuster.org: newsbusters.org ]

Neither story mentioned Powell's criticism of Obama's handling of Guantanamo: "I think President Obama didn't handle it very well by going up to the Congress and asking for $80 million without a plan."

(Sunday's NBC Nightly News folded Powell into a larger story on expectations Obama will name his Supreme Court pick on Tuesday.)

Harris opened the May 24 World News: "Good evening. Colin Powell, a decorated war veteran knows a thing or two about fighting back, and so today, Powell plunged into the raging debate between moderate and conservative Republicans over the future of the party by answering his loudest critics, specifically Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, who have openly mocked Powell as a Republican In Name Only."

The CBS Evening News story:

RUSS MITCHELL: The battle for the soul of the Republican Party continues this weekend. After his loyalty was questioned by party powerhouses, former Secretary of State Colin Powell responded this Sunday and issued a challenge to his critics. Kimberly Dozier has more from Washington.

KIMBERLY DOZIER: General Colin Powell, a veteran of both the Reagan and the Bush administrations, fired back today at his critics on the Republican right.
COLIN POWELL ON FACE THE NATION: Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican.
DOZIER: On Face the Nation two weeks ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney questioned Powell's loyalty to the party for endorsing Barack Obama last fall. Cheney said right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, a staunch Powell critic, is the better Republican.
DICK CHENEY, MAY 10: I'd go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin had already left the party.
DOZIER: Today on Face the Nation, Powell responded. He said the criticism he faces points to what's wrong with his party.
POWELL: Well the concern about me is, well "is he too moderate." I have always felt the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years.
DOZIER: He pointed out the party's recent poor track record, losing the presidency by ten million votes and losing a majority in Congress. Moderate Republicans worry that the party is perceived as embracing only a few narrow issues -- anti-abortion, anti-tax and pro-gun rights.
POWELL: You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base, but what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to dictates that come down from the right wing of the party.
DOZIER: From voices like Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: The only thing emerging here is Colin Powell's ego.
DOZIER: With his 20 million listeners, he remains a powerful force among Republicans. Other GOP moderates are concerned this intra-party wrangling is driving voters away.
TOM RIDGE, ON CNN'S STATE OF THE UNION: Let's be less shrill and particularly let's not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas.
DOZIER: Another former White House staffer said of the Powell-Cheney ideological debate, let the best man win.
KARL ROVE, ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY: I want Colin Powell to go out there and lay out his vision and then I want him to back it up by finding people who share it.
DOZIER: The Republican leadership calls this the marketplace of new ideas. The idea is whoever comes up with the best plan to get the most new members gets to shape the next run for the White House. Russ?

Cummings Whines Cheney's 'Made It Much
Harder to Close Guantanamo'

The Politico's Jeanne Cummings, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, fretted on this weekend's Inside Washington that former Vice President Dick Cheney has "changed this debate in a way that has made it much, much harder to close Guantanamo, which the President is already committed to doing." So he's done an awful thing in daring to oppose something President Obama is "committed to doing." Dreadful!

In fact, she soon charged that in complicating Obama's intention to close Guantanamo -- which Obama had announced without any plan for where to place the detainees -- "Cheney really did damage to the effort to keep our country secure by turning this into a political issue. We were going to have to deal with this and to make it a political issue is not helpful. It's just not."

To which a befuddled columnist Charles Krauthammer retorted by pointing out the overwhelming bi-partisan vote to block the closing: "Cheney is the one who turned it into a political issue? I thought it was a 90-6 vote in the Senate. Just about every Democrat in the Senate-" Cummings jumped in to blame Cheney for turning virtually every Senate Democrat against Obama: "No, Cheney started making political arguments a week ago. That is when you did start to see the tide turn up on Capitol Hill. It was after Cheney started to talk about 'I don't want to be the Member who says I brought a terrorist to a jail in my district.'"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Inside Washington is a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station: www.insidewashington.tv

Politico's bio for Cummings: www.politico.com

From the edition first aired on Friday night, May 22, on WETA-TV:

JEANNE CUMMINGS: I think that the country actually suffered a setback this week. This debate was supposed to be about edifying the reasons why the Bush White House had its policies and Obama has their own policy, but if the presumption is Guantanamo was going to be closed either Bush, McCain, or Obama, it just got much more difficult this week because the Vice President made it political. He went on shows saying basically "I don't want to be the member of the House who sees terrorists brought to a jail in my district." And that changed this debate in a way that has made it much, much harder to close Guantanamo, which the President is already committed to doing.

....

CUMMINGS: Cheney really did damage to the effort to keep our country secure by turning this into a political issue. We were going to have to deal with this and to make it a political issue is not helpful. It's just not.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Cheney is the one who turned it into a political issue? I thought it was a 90-6 vote in the Senate. Just about every Democrat in the Senate-
CUMMINGS: No, Cheney started making political arguments a week ago. That is when you did start to see the tide turn up on Capitol Hill. It was after Cheney started to talk about "I don't want to be the member who says I brought a terrorist to a jail in my district."
KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, so Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, says he that will not allow any terrorist out of Gitmo onto American streets or even in American jails -- it's because he had heard it from Cheney and was hypnotized into believing it?
CUMMINGS: Not hypnotized. Cheney hit a nerve. There's no doubt about it, it's a good political argument. It's a strong one.

CNN's Anderson Cooper: Is Cheney 'Emboldening
Our Enemies?'

Anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney on his CNN program on Thursday evening about her father's defense of the Bush administration's anti-terror tactics. At one point, he asked: "Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we're much weaker now than ever before? Isn't that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn't you make that argument?"

Cooper later asked the former State Department official, "If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn't be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?" The anchor also questioned whether the CIA actually took care in implementing its enhanced interrogations: "But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?"

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The CNN anchor had the Cheney daughter on for a live interview eleven minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his Anderson Cooper 360 program. He came out the gate using a term that he led his program with: "Is it -- is it appropriate for your father to be so out in front right now so soon after leaving office, essentially mocking the sitting president of the United States?" When she initially responded by denying that her father was "mocking," Cooper replied, "Well, saying he's pandering to Europe?" Liz Cheney agreed with her father, the former vice president, that President Obama was "pandering to Europe," and that "there's sort of a level of political nicety that's important to observe, except in certain circumstances, and one of those circumstances is where the national security of the nation is at risk, as my father feels strongly that it is....I think my dad began to feel very strongly that somebody needed to speak out, that this needed to be a full airing of views, and not a one-sided mischaracterization of the last eight years."

Cooper then trotted out the standard liberal line about the use of waterboarding: "But these -- these are techniques which have been around. I mean, the Nazis used them. The -- the Khmer Rouge used them. The -- the North Koreans used them. So, it's not as if terrorists were unfamiliar with these techniques, if they wanted to train for them, and I'm not sure you really can train for torture or -- or enhanced interrogation."

The former State Department official answered that the "legal memos are very clear, and this was a -- a very carefully designed program...that the CIA designed, that they had the lawyers look at, to make sure that the line that divided sort of rough treatment from torture wouldn't be crossed....What the president has done is ensure that no future president can use any of these techniques. So, that's a big step, and that's a step that I think really does endanger the country."

The anchor followed-up with his "emboldening our enemies" question:

COOPER: Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we're much weaker now than ever before? Isn't that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn't you make that argument?
L. CHENEY: I think that it is a moral obligation to stand up and say, wait a second. You know, when you-
COOPER: But you can write letters. You can -- you can have meetings with the president. He could have a meeting with the president, and say very firmly, 'This is what I believe,' and the president would either listen to him or not. But to stand up publicly and -- if-
L. CHENEY: Yeah. No, absolutely.
COOPER: If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn't be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?
L. CHENEY: Look -- I don't think -- I don't think -- no, and I don't think that our political system was designed so that, when a party takes power, immediately, the opponents are silenced. I don't think that's healthy for the political system. I think that may, in fact, have been what the Obama administration was anticipating or was hoping for, that they could tell the American people, 'Trust us. We know what's best, and these tactics didn't work.' But I think that, in fact, what's happened is, my dad has stood up and said, 'Wait a minute. If you're going to be the transparency president, and if you're going to libel the brave men and women who conducted this program, and if you're going to release information that helps the terrorists, at least you ought to release the information that tells the American people what we learned from this program.'

Later in the segment, Cooper twice brought up the "100 people have died in U.S. custody" and how "20 of those have been ruled a homicide." The Cheney daughter shot back, accusing the anchor of "conflating things that aren't conflated."

COOPER: Well, 20 people -- but 100 people have died in U.S. custody, 20 of it ruled a homicide.
L. CHENEY: Anderson, the question you should be asking is, when a terrorist has information about an attack on the United States -- as we saw in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for example -- is it the obligation of the president to, within the law, be able to get that information and save American lives? And I think the vast majority of Americans believe it is.
COOPER: But-
L. CHENEY: Or is it the case, as President Obama has said, that we won't enlist any of these techniques -- what we will do is, we allow the terrorists to lawyer up, and we will simply ask them nicely for information? Now, that puts you in a position where you are sacrificing American lives because you are concerned about the rough treatment of terrorists, and that's not where the majority of the American people are, and I don't believe that that is fulfilling a president's duty to defend the nation....
COOPER: ...Your father says that he is -- is speaking out for national security, and I think there's no reason not to believe that he firmly believes this and you firmly believe this. But he is also -- and some in the Obama administration have made this argument today -- he's essentially defending policies which the Bush administration itself stepped away from -- I mean, the Bush administration moved away from, after 2003, 2004, into 2005.
L. CHENEY: No. that's-
COOPER: He's also defending policies which the Supreme Court, a Republican-dominated Supreme Court, repeatedly, or a pretty evenly-split Supreme Court, repeatedly have rejected. And, so, isn't -
L. CHENEY: That's also wrong. No, I disagree with you, Anderson.
COOPER: In fact, he actually defending, then, his legacy more than national security, because-
L. CHENEY: No, that's -- that's not fair. Look, in the case of the Supreme Court, you know, what happened was, the Bush administration worked very hard, after Supreme Court decisions -- which I happen to think were wrong in a number of instances -- but worked very hard to make sure that things like the military commissions program were consistent with the law of the land. So, in fact, the programs that we were running at the end of the administration were consistent with those decisions. With respect to enhanced interrogation, the fact that it stopped after a certain point proves the point that it was used on hardened terrorists, it was used at a time in our nation's history when we had very little information about al Qaeda, and when we, in fact, needed that information, and I would, you know, refer you to George Tenet on this-
COOPER: Right.
L. CHENEY: Who said that we learned more from this program, in terms of preventing attacks and saving American lives, than, you know, the entire CIA and FBI and NSC combined.
COOPER: But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?
L. CHENEY: Well, Anderson, I think that your question is highly irresponsible, and I think that you're --
COOPER: Why?
L. CHENEY: Because you are conflating things that aren't conflated.
COOPER: What-
L. CHENEY: When somebody dies or is murdered in U.S. custody, then we are a great nation, and we take the people who are responsible, and we put them on trial, as you've seen happen a number of times now throughout the last eight years. That is not the enhanced interrogation program. And to somehow suggest that those two things are the same, I think, willfully conflates something, and -- and ends up in a situation where we aren't able to sort of take a truthful look at the last eight years as we go forward, because we are muddying the waters about what really happened in the last eight years.
COOPER: Do you personally have any reservations about what may have gone on with these enhanced interrogation techniques, as you call them, under CIA control, or in Abu Ghraib, or in Bagram, or in Guantanamo? I mean, do you have -- do you have any doubts at all? Because your father seems, very clearly, to have no doubts.
L. CHENEY: Look, of course -- of course, as my father made clear today, what happened at Abu Ghraib should not have happened. Nobody is defending what happened at Abu Ghraib. I have no doubts at all, no reservations and no regrets, and, in fact, I feel that we all owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women at the CIA who carried out this program. I think there are Americans alive today because of that program, and I think that it is the height of irresponsibility for the president to release those techniques, so that, you know, the terrorists can train to them, and now we have our hands tied. Every future president's hand will be tied and will not be able to use those techniques, if necessary.

New Animated Series on ABC to Lampoon
Environmentalists

With television hosts unwilling to joke about President Barack Obama as those comedians regularly ridicule conservatives, there's a bright spot coming up this week in a new TV show set to debut on ABC which will mock leftist environmentalism. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday:
"The new animated television series 'The Goode Family' is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words 'What would Al Gore do?' Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet's dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid."

The series, from Mike Judge who created Beavis and Butt-Head for MTV and King of the Hill for Fox, will debut Wednesday night at 9 PM EDT/PDT, 8 PM CDT/MDT. The May 22 Journal article, "Making a Mockery of Being Green -- The creator of 'Beavis and Butt-Head' and 'King of the Hill' has a new target: environmentalists," observed: "Much as Mr. Judge's series King of the Hill finds humor in the dramas of a working-class Texas family, Goode lampoons a liberal Midwestern household. In Goode, the characters are often mocked for being green just to fit in with their friends and neighbors."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

ABC.com has preview with commentary from Judge and his collaborators: abc.go.com

DebbieSchlussel.com, "Can't Wait for This: New Animated ABC Mike Judge Series Mocks Liberal Enviro-Crazies," has gathered in one post three YouTube clips from the show: www.debbieschlussel.com

May 22 Wall Street Journal article: online.wsj.com

Flashback: Couric to Mr. & Mrs. Edwards,
'One Frosty, Two Straws?'

Nearly five years ago, when compliant journalists were touting then-vice presidential candidate John Edwards and admiring his supposed idyllic marriage to Elizabeth Edwards, Katie Couric celebrated the happy couple's annual wedding anniversary "romantic ritual" of eating at Wendy's, wondering as all three laughed together: "What do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'" Pretty ridiculous in retrospect.

In the taped interview aired on the Thursday, July 15, 2004 Today show, Couric cued up the couple: "I know you'll be celebrating your 27th wedding anniversary. And I understand you go through a romantic ritual every year to commemorate that date. Share it with us will you?" John Edwards answered that "we go to Wendy's for our anniversary" before his wife provided her take, prompting a delighted Couric to marvel: "So every year for 26 years so far?" As John Edwards quipped "you could question our sanity," Couric jumped in: "I was gonna say, what do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Karen Hanna tracked down the videotape of the exchange, recounted in the July 16, 2004 MRC CyberAlert, and created the clip.

At another point in the session, Couric reminded Mrs. Edwards of her husband's sexiness: "Let me ask you, when your husband was voted Sexiest Politician by People magazine were you like bleah? Or were you like, 'Hey! That's my man!?'"

Not just her man.

New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location
for CyberAlerts

The MRC launched a new Web site on Friday, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video.

Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." Sometime this week, I hope, the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.

The HTML version of the "new" CyberAlert will feature all the content previously available only online: Pictures/screen shots, images which will link you directly to online video playback, and embedded links. Don't worry, we will continue to have a plain text version sans anything but the text. Whichever version you now receive is the one you will continue to receive.

To read online any of the items in today's CyberAlert, go to the "BiasAlert" page on our new site which is populated with the latest posts: www.mrc.org

Oh, and to check out the new Media Research Center Web site: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker