ABC and AP Focus on Those Upset by Bush's "Lavish" Inauguration --1/17/2005
Post: Kerry Didn't Favor Abortion & Same-Sex Marriage
3. 6 Days After CBS Panel Report Net Devotes Whole Show to Kennedy
4. Williams Frets CBS's "Mistakes...Obscured....Legitimate Story"
5. Carlson: Unlike at CBS, Bush Staffers Not Held Accountable
6. "Top Ten Perks of Being the New White House Dog"
ABC focused on how "some," and AP on how "many," are upset by a "lavish" inaugural in the midst of a war. ABC anchor Terry Moran teased at the top of Sunday's World News Tonight: "In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?" Geoff Morrell proceeded to relay the complaints of one anti-war activist and a rich sports owner who had voted for Bush. Without mentioning how FDR was near-death at the time, Morrell contrasted Bush with how "during World War II Franklin Roosevelt opted not to have a parade or a party -- just a White House swearing in followed by a small luncheon of chicken salad and pound cake." The AP headlined a Thursday night AP dispatch: "Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration." The AP's Will Lester led with how the $40 million for the inaugural could buy "200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq" or "vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami."
On Friday, Rush Limbaugh ridiculed the AP story, noting that it could be argued that anyone's spending on anything could be better allocated to a needier cause.
The ABC story featured Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. The far-left TomPaine.com Web site posted a letter she wrote to Time magazine in which she railed against the magazine for making the man who "betrayed this country," George W. Bush, its Person of the Year. She complained:
For Sheehan's letter in full: www.tompaine.com
Moran teased on Sunday night, January 16: "On World News Tonight/Sunday, President Bush prepares for his second inauguration. In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?"
Moran set up the subsequent story: "Half a million people, nearly all paid or invited ticket holders, are expected to line the parade route where there will be an unprecedented level of security. It includes anti-aircraft missile batteries, snipers and patrols in the air and on the water. Six thousand law enforcement officers from across the country will be in the nation's capital, along with 7,000 military troops and they will be helping to seal off 100 square blocks of the city, which will be off limits to people without tickets or permission to be there. A sign of the times for sure. So the first inaugural events will kick off on Tuesday. The total cost associated with all the parties and ceremonies are expected to exceed $140 million. And some people are asking whether it's the right time for a celebration like this. Here's ABC's Geoff Morrell."
Morrell began with Sheehan: "In northern California this weekend, Cindy Sheehan packs for President Bush's inaugural, but there is no ball gown in her suitcase. She lost her son Casey in Iraq last April and is coming to Washington this week to protest the festivities."
It should also be noted that FDR's fourth inaugural came after years of war in which more Americans often were killed in a week than have been killed in nearly two years in Iraq or Afghanistan.
For a picture of Sheehan in an earlier CBS piece: www.cbsnews.com
Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration
President Bush's second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars -- $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
- 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
- Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.
- A down payment on the nation's deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.
- Two years' salary for the Mets' new center fielder Carlos Beltran, or all of pitcher Randy Johnson's contract extension with the New York Yankees.
Weeks ago, the inauguration and its accompanying costs were considered a given, an historic ceremony with all the pomp, pageantry and celebrations that the nation had come to expect every four years.
But a recent confluence of events -- the tsunami natural disaster, Bush's warning about Social Security finances and the $5 billion-a-month price tag for the war in Iraq -- have many Americans now wondering why spend the money the second time around.
While the Presidential Inaugural Committee hopes to raise $40 million in private donations for the balls, parades and candlelight dinners for high-roller donors, millions of government dollars will be spent on construction of the platform and stands at the Capitol, police overtime, military personnel and the tightest security for the first post-Sept. 11 inaugural.
The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Roosevelt's inauguration during World War II...
Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush -- twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.
"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the...devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.
Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."
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Setting out to determine why those in Red America voted for President Bush, Washington Post reporter David Von Drehle corrected one Oklahoman woman who explained: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that." Though Kerry was endorsed by pro-abortion groups and was one of a small number of Senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, Von Drehle countered in a Washington Post Magazine article on Sunday: "Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter. But Joyce Smith heard it the way she heard it, and voted the way she voted."
For his lengthy January 16 article, "The Red Sea: Want to know why George Bush won? Set sail into the crimson heart of America," Von Drehle recounted an early December drive he and a photographer took through the Red counties from Waco, Nebraska south to Crawford, Texas.
An excerpt, picking up with his arrival in Oklahoma:
....On a warm, blustery morning we headed south from Oklahoma City past ranch houses with American flags snapping and popping on front-yard poles. At a gas station in Asher, we spoke to Joyce Smith, an immaculate woman in a bright red suit with her hair neatly done under a scarf. She was driving her husband, James, from their home in Coalgate to the capital for some medical tests. She smiled when we asked about her vote.
"Well, you know, real Bible-believing Christians are in a minority in this country," she answered, "so I was a little concerned that Kerry could win. I am so thankful that he didn't. See, I believe if our president has good morals, our country will be blessed, and if he doesn't, we won't. That's what the Bible says, in the Old Testament."
Smith has led "quite a life," as she put it -- abandoned by one husband in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo; widowed by husband No. 2 with retirement approaching and no nest egg. Through it all, she kept the faith she first professed when she was 12 years old, having been coaxed to baptism by her sixth-grade teacher.
"I've been blessed," Smith said, gesturing toward James, her third husband, a retired rural mail carrier with a good pension and benefits.
She was too polite to say, in so many words, that she felt John Kerry was a man of bad morals. Instead, she put it this way: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."
Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter. But Joyce Smith heard it the way she heard it, and voted the way she voted....
END of Excerpt
For Von Drehle's article in full, with an image of the cover of the magazine which features a photo of Joyce Smith and her husband, go to: www.washingtonpost.com
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume marveled at how the first Face the Nation, after the CBS panel's report documented the network's hostility to President Bush, devoted the entire show to Senator Ted Kennedy who made a speech earlier in the week railing against Bush policies. Hume noted that the White House offered Communications Director Dan Bartlett "and CBS said, 'thank you, no' -- peculiar behavior for people who were only recently saying they wanted to make a, quote, 'fresh start' with the White House." Schieffer and co-panelist Dan Balz, a Washington Post reporter, tossed a series of softballs to Kennedy, prompting him for his "reaction" to Bush's claims. Balz echoed Senate Democrats: "Given the legal advice that Alberto Gonzales provided that led to some of these [prisoner abuse] scandals, are you going to vote to confirm him or will you oppose him to be the next Attorney General?"
On the January 16 Fox News Sunday, Hume scolded the panel for coming up short in two areas:
Indeed, after a three minute update from David Martin in Iraq, Bob Schieffer devoted the entire Face the Nation to Kennedy's attacks on the Bush administration. The questions posed:
-- Schieffer: "We're going to turn now to Senator Edward Kennedy, truly an icon of the liberal left, and one of the most influential members of the Democratic Party. Senator Kennedy, in an interview published this morning in The Washington Post, President Bush says his re-election validated his Iraq policy and he infers that the election takes care of questions about accountability for whatever mistakes and misjudgments were made. I want to take a look here at exactly what the president said. And here's the quote: 'We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.' The direct quote from President Bush. What is your reaction, Senator?"
-- Schieffer: "So what should the United States do now? Should we pull out?"
-- Schieffer: "Let me just ask you one more question about this. Let's say once we get past the election and things are not getting any better in your view, then should we start to think about withdrawing?"
-- Balz: "Let me ask one more question on Iraq. And that is, the elections are two weeks off. Do you share President Bush's optimism that democracy can be brought to a country like Iraq? And what do you think the elections could do to provide legitimacy for that policy?"
-- Balz: "Let me turn now to the biggest domestic battle that's seen on the horizon which is President Bush's plan to try to introduce private savings accounts into the Social Security system as a way to reform it and guarantee its financial stability. It was reported today in the New York Times that the President and the White House have enlisted the Social Security Administration to help make the case that the system is in crisis and to push for his accounts. What's your reaction to that and what should Democrats do about it?"
-- Balz: "Let me ask you this about the crisis of the system. You say Social Security is not in crisis. You did say last week at the Press Club that the Medicare system may be a bigger crisis than Social Security. By the middle of this century, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume at least three-quarters of all domestic spending -- all federal spending other than interest on the debt. Why aren't Democrats coming forward with their own plan to deal with these problems?"
-- "How will we pay for that?"
-- Schieffer: "And we're back again with Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator, I want to go back to what we were talking about at the top of the program. The President says that his election means that his Iraq policy was validated. Different people have given different reasons why they think President Bush won this election. Why do you think he won?"
-- Balz: "Senator, over the weekend, former Army Specialist Charles Graner was sentenced to 10 years for his role in the torture of prisoners in Iraq. Given the legal advice that Alberto Gonzales provided that led to some of these scandals, are you going to vote to confirm him or will you oppose him to be the next Attorney General?"
-- Schieffer: "Senator, as you look forward to the next administration and this coming administration, can you at this point see any program that you believe you can work with this administration on and, if so, what would that be?"
-- Schieffer: "How do you get along with the President these days?"
NPR commentator Juan Williams, a former Washington Post reporter, fretted on Fox News Sunday that because of CBS's "mistakes," the real "story has been lost in terms of Bush and the National Guard. And it was a legitimate story" which "has been obscured, pushed off, even while you had Swift Boat Veterans going after someone who was a legitimate war hero, John Kerry. So it was very much a real story in this campaign." Brit Hume countered that it may have been a legitimate story in 2000 before Americans learned what kind of Commander-in-Chief Bush would be, but after his years in office that question had been answered.
Williams opined during the panel segment on the January 16 Fox News Sunday: "Well, I think that, you know, when you think about what CBS has done here, from a journalistic point of view -- I mean, let's -- you know, there's an anti-steroid policy now in baseball. Let's take it away in terms of news, you know, hate or love CBS, all the rest. Forget that for a second. Let's talk about the news. The story has been lost in terms of Bush and the National Guard. And it was a legitimate story, Bill [Kristol]. It wasn't a matter of beating the bushes.
Time magazine's Margaret Carlson unfavorably contrasted CBS News with how President Bush has handled personnel matters. For her "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday's Capital Gang, Carlson noted that "President Bush was quote, 'pleased' CBS fired four people," but she contrasted that with how "Bush himself does the opposite. No architect of the Iraqi mess, for instance, is gone." She concluded: "Tell the truth in Bush land, you're dead. Screw up, you get the Medal of Freedom."
Carlson's "Outrage of the Week" on the January 15 Capital Gang on CNN: "President Bush was quote, 'pleased' CBS fired four people, although Bush himself does the opposite. No architect of the Iraqi mess, for instance, is gone. Meanwhile, the White House let go the Inspector General of Homeland Security for reporting that known felons manned airport security, little cargo was being inspected, there was no terrorist list and that Tom Ridge spent a half a million dollars to throw a party to celebrate the mess. After Dr. David Graham testified that Vioxx killed 55,000 people, he now feels like a pariah at the Food and Drug Administration. Tell the truth in Bush land, you're dead. Screw up, you get the Medal of Freedom."
From the January 14 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by First Lady Laura Bush's gift of a Scottish terrier named "Miss Beazley" to President Bush, the "Top Ten Perks of Being the New White House Dog." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. You're one of the few dogs that is smarter than his master.
9. Heart worm? I think Cheney's got a pill for that.
8. If you eat the President's briefing papers, it's not like he'll notice.
7. "Miss Beazley" isn't half as ridiculous as "Condoleezza"
6. K-9 color blindness means you don't have to worry about that terror chart crap.
5. Cannot be put in a kennel without approval of both the House and Senate.
4. Rumsfeld smells like bacon.
3. Get the same high-quality leashes that are used on Abu Ghraib prisoners.
2. At the rate Bush's Cabinet members are leaving, will be a senior advisor in no time.
1. An owner who sleeps as much as you do!