2. Lauer and Scarborough Scoff at Mitchell Touting of Hagel's Appeal
3. Couric: Lack of Health Insurance Subverts 'Unalienable Rights'
4. Here We Go Again: Nets Complain About 'Soaring' Gas Prices
5. NBC's Williams Highlights Pro-Gun Ruling Ignored by Other Nets
6. Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th Anniversary Gala
7. "Top Ten Things Overheard at bin Laden's 50th Birthday Party"
The NBC and ABC morning shows on Monday found it newsworthy that President Bush's "evil spirits" would have to be removed from Mayan ruins he would visit in Guatemala. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, traveling with Bush, relayed on the Today show how "he plans to tour Mayan ruins here in Guatemala and we're told some local priests want to purify the site afterward with a kind of ritual they say will get rid of what they call 'bad spirits.'" Over on ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Chris Cuomo reported how "President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site." He later related how Bush "will visit a sacred Mayan ruin, where some critics jab he is likely to leave behind, quote, 'evil spirits.' They say they are going to perform a spiritual cleansing there afterwards, just in case."
On Monday's Today, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell opened her report of the President's tour of Latin America with protest coverage, showing footage of a sign of Bush with a Hitler mustache, a man chanting "Gringo go home," and even noted local priests' desire to "purify" a Mayan site, Bush planned to visit, of "bad spirits." Over video of protestors O'Donnell emphasized: "The President is followed by Iraq and how bitterly unpopular the war is here. Protests in each country he visits."
The following is the full report as it aired on the March 12 Today:
Ann Curry: "In the news this morning President Bush is in Guatemala today on his five nation Latin American tour. His visit has been greeted with protest against his war policy and now the President is making a case for sending another 8200 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with the President. Kelly, good morning."
Kelly O'Donnell: "Good morning, Ann. A different kind of protest will follow the President today. He plans to tour Mayan ruins here in Guatemala and we're told some local priests want to purify the site afterward with a kind of ritual they say will get rid of what they call 'bad spirits.' Visiting Latin America for what he calls a tour of quiet diplomacy-"
During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of Good Morning America, reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush's visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests: "President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's President. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."
And during the 8am news read, Cuomo repeated the story. This time, however, those warning of evil spirts were simply referred to as "critics" as Cuomo relayed: "President Bush visits with Guatemala's leader today and then will visit a sacred Mayan ruin, where some critics jab he is likely to leave behind, quote, 'evil spirits.' They say they are going to perform a spiritual cleansing there afterwards, just in case. The President has had a lot of heat during his visit. This was the scene on the streets of Colombia's capitol Sunday, during the President's brief visit there. [Footage of rioting protesters.]"
By way of contrast, the MRC's Tim Graham noted that ABC News portrayed a 1997 Bill Clinton trip to Latin America in a much more positive light. According to the network, Mexicans simply didn't care about controversies such as Whitewater.
# "That answer, which the President has given before, will no doubt be scrutinized back in Washington but it has not ruined this Mexico trip. Mexicans could care less about Whitewater. They are joining the administration in calling this summit a success." -- ABC's John Donvan referring to Bill Clinton's insistence that "I know of no factual discrepancy, period" in Hillary's statements. May 6, 1997 World News Tonight.
# "When the President fended off a Whitewater question by saying, 'Look, I'm just down here doing my job,' the Caribbean journalists burst into applause, in part because they had heard enough about Whitewater and wanted to talk more about bananas." -- Donvan from Barbados, May 10, 1997 World News Tonight/Saturday.
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had a really hard time buying their colleague Andrea Mitchell's line of thinking that Senator Chuck Hagel might go places by appealing to anti-war Republicans. On Monday's Today, Mitchell proclaimed of a potential presidential run by the Nebraska Senator: "Hagel would give Republicans an anti-war alternative..." But just minutes later Lauer and Scarborough scoffed at that idea as even they couldn't choke down that odd bit of Andrea's analysis.
Matt Lauer: "Alright Chuck Hagel, he's a guy who's come out strongly against the war, that upset a lot of loyal Republicans and yet conservative on just about every major social issue. So what's his biggest challenge right now? Is it name recognition?"
Mitchell's strange take on the Republican nomination fight wasn't reserved to just this morning's comments. Over the weekend, on the syndicated Chris Matthews show, she not only projected a Hagel-inspired war debate within the GOP but also blamed Senator John McCain's falling support among Republicans on his pro-war stance:
Chris Matthews: "Welcome back. The big question, anti-war Republican Senator Chuck Hagel looks like he's headed for an announcement Monday that he's in the race for President. Does that mean we get a full-throated war debate inside the Republican Party?"
Andrea Mitchell soon answered: "A debate yes? Precisely because John McCain is having so much trouble in the poll rankings because he's embraced the war."
The following is the full Today show report from Mitchell followed by Lauer and Scarborough's analysis as it occurred on the March 12th Today show:
Matt Lauer: "Now to the race for the White House. The Republican field is pretty crowded already and now at least two more GOP hopefuls are dipping their toes into the presidential pool, not quite jumping in yet. NBC's Andrea Mitchell's in Washington with the latest on this. Hi, Andrea."
Andrea Mitchell: "Hi Matt, good to see you back. Today the Republican race will get even more scrambled. A leading ant-war senator is expected to announce today and a former senator, who has played the role of Ppresident, is also now thinking of doing it for real."
After assessing Fred Thompson, Lauer and Scarborough got to Hagel:
Lauer: "Alright Chuck Hagel, he's a guy who's come out strongly against the war, that upset a lot of loyal Republicans and yet conservative on just about every major social issue. So what's his biggest challenge right now? Is it name recognition?"
CBS anchor Katie Couric contended Monday night that the "self-evident" truths in the Declaration of Independence -- "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" -- are denied by the lack of health insurance for many Americans. Introducing a piece on a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City who treats the poor of Harlem, Couric adopted a very liberal definition of basic rights as she added "good health" and asserted on the CBS Evening News:
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Just as they did last Spring, the broadcast networks, particularly ABC and NBC, have begun hyperventilating about gas prices, specifically a 30 cent price increases per gallon which they characterized as "shooting up" and "soaring." On Saturday, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler teased: "Pain at the Pump: Gas prices going up more than 30 cents in a month. How high will they go?" Referring to an increase in a month from $2.20 to $2.53 a gallon, he soon insisted: "Gas prices are soaring again."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson made gas prices his lead story on Monday night, teasing: "Gas prices are not just creeping up again, they're shooting up." Reporter Dean Reynolds listed the higher prices around the nation, complete with a woman at a gas pump whining about the "ridiculous" price, before acknowledging prices are "in concert with the annual switch from winter grade to summer grade fuel" and that "unforeseen problems at refineries and pipelines, together with record demand for gasoline in January and February, have combined to push prices higher and higher." In other words, supply and demand. Nonetheless, Reynolds asserted: "All of which leads to questions about oil company profiteering."
Monday's NBC Nightly News also led with a full story on gas prices, but reporter Tom Costello managed to explain the cause without blaming nefarious oil company "profiteering." He cited supply and demand, noting how "refineries right now are operating at about 80 to 85 percent capacity" while "demand is rising."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
# ABC's World News. Charles Gibson teased his lead topic: "Tonight: Pressure at the pump. Gas prices are not just creeping up again, they're shooting up and we're still a long way from summer.
Charles Gibson began his March 12 newscast with the story (transcript provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video):
Dean Reynolds: "Good evening, Charlie. Well, one analyst we talked to today said Americans are just getting used to higher gasoline prices, and that despite them, demand this summer is expected to be astronomical. The lowest price for a gallon of regular gasoline in this country, $2.22 in Alaska. Everywhere else it's more, almost a buck more in San Francisco."
Brown led: "Good evening. You are probably feeling it because it is happening in every part of the country right now. Gas prices on the rise. It does seem a little early for that increase we're used to seeing at the beginning of summer, but take a look at these numbers. The current average price for a gallon of unleaded, $2.54. A month ago it was $2.21. That's up 33 cents in the last month."
Reporter Tom Costello explained the problem without, as ABC did, blaming nefarious oil companies or complaining about their "profiteering":
Of the broadcast network evening news shows, on Friday the NBC Nightly News uniquely covered the "history-making" federal court ruling striking down Washington, D.C.'s restrictive gun control laws. While anchor Brian Williams made the story his show's lead item, with correspondent Pete Williams calling it "the most important gun control ruling in 70 years," the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News ignored the story entirely.
Pete Williams set up his report relaying the story of D.C. resident Tom Palmer, "who was once assaulted and wants a gun in the house for self-defense." A party to the lawsuit against D.C., Palmer argued that since "criminals don't obey the law," that "it's the law-abiding citizens who are disarmed by this law." The report then featured opposing viewpoints in the form of soundbites from Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty and gun control advocate Paul Helmke complaining that the ruling could "weaken gun laws nationwide."
Notably, according to a January 2000 study by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens on media coverage of gun issues, while all three major broadcast networks were found to be substantially biased in favor of gun control, NBC was relatively least biased compared to ABC and CBS. See: www.mrc.org
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Below is a transcript of the story that appeared on the Friday March 9 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams, in opening teaser: "The right to bear arms: Tonight, a major court decision on gun control that is sure to stir up passions on both sides of the gun fight."
Brian Williams: "Good evening. As long as there have been firearms and for as long as there's been a Constitution of the United States, there's been a debate in this country over the definition of the right to bear arms. Today in Washington, a federal court struck down the law that bans guns in the nation's capital. It is one of the strictest gun control laws in the country. And when this case is all over, that right to bear arms just might have a whole new definition. We begin here tonight with this history-making case involving an emotional topic. Pete Williams starts us off in our Washington bureau this Friday night. Pete, good evening."
Pete Williams: "Brian, good evening. This is the most important gun control ruling in 70 years because for the first time a federal appeals court has used the Second Amendment to strike a gun law down. Today's ruling is a victory for Tom Palmer, a Washington, D.C. resident who was once assaulted and wants a gun in the house for self-defense."
Just over two weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala: www.mediaresearch.org
Date: Thursday, March 29 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Reception at 6pm, dinner and gala at 7pm. (Black-tie optional.)
Seats are $250.00 each, limited to two per individual unless you are an Associate or Trustee of the MRC. (Contribute $1,000 annually to earn Associate status; $5,000 annually to earn Trustee privileges.)
Every year we end up oversold, so if you want to ensure a seat, order ASAP.
Seats can only be purchased via phone. If you would like to reserve your seat, want more information on how to become an MRC Associate or Trustee, or information on purchasing a table for the evening, please contact Sara Bell at (800) 672-1423 between 9am and 6pm EST Monday through Friday. Or, e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MRC accepts all major credit cards.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories:
# Puppy Love Award
# Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis
# God, I Hate America Award
# Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories
# The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Larry Kudlow, Tony Blankley Mark Levin, Jack Singlaub, Stan Evans, Linda Chavez, Ken Cribb and Ron Robinson highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2006 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2005," which were presented on Thursday night, March 30, before an audience of more than 900 packed into the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at several unintentionally humorous clips from network newscasts and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, those in attendance watched a "Tribute to the American Military" video. It was preceded by a "Toast to the Fallen Comrade" and followed by remarks from Herman Cain, the former President of Godfather's Pizza and National Chairman of the MRC's Free Market Project.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 17 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Robert Novak and Mary Matalin, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and panelist on FNC's Fox Newswatch, served as Master of Ceremonies. Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company and National Review Online's economics editor, was the first presenter of nominated video clips, followed by Washington Times Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Major General Jack Singlaub (Retired), radio talk show host and conservative commentator Linda Chavez, Ron Robinson, President of the Young America's Foundation, Ken Cribb, President of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and a former Reagan administration official, and author Stan Evans, the founder of the National Journalism Center, who delivered an especially hilarious routine.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Colonel Robert Rust (Retired).
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations, check: www.mediaresearch.org
From the March 12 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard at Osama bin Laden's 50th Birthday Party." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "Who's up for 'Pin the turban on the blind Sheik?'"
9. "Death to these novelty candles that light again after you blow them out!"
8. "Mullah Omar's running late -- he forgot to change his clocks"
7. "To fool United States Special Forces, we had the bakery personalize the cake 'Happy Birthday Debbie'"
6. "For he's a jolly good fellow, which the infidels will deny"
5. "I hope you don't already have season one of 'Who's The Boss?' on DVD
4. "Paris Hilton will attend anything"
3. "When does the stripper jump out of the falafel?"
2. "No cake for Osama -- he's ballooned to 102 pounds"
1. "Saddam sent a congratulatory telegram from hell"
-- Brent Baker