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ABC and NBC Peg Stories to Criticism of Bush for Invoking 9/11 --6/30/2005


1. ABC and NBC Peg Stories to Criticism of Bush for Invoking 9/11
While ABC and NBC on Wednesday night gave time to the White House's defense of President Bush's mentioning of September 11th in his Tuesday night address on Iraq, the evening newscasts on both networks pegged stories to Democratic criticism on that point. "It was his frequent mention of the 9/11 attacks that seemed to get critics especially riled," World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson asserted in setting up a piece from Terry Moran who relayed: "Democrats responded furiously, accusing the President of exploiting the attacks and of trying to suggest that Iraq was directly linked to them." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams emphasized how "there was strong reaction to the way the President once again invoked the September 11th attacks while trying to build support for the war in Iraq." Kelly O'Donnell gave voice to critics as she began her story: "The subject was Iraq, yet President Bush was at the podium last night just 61 seconds before he spoke of 9/11....Five more references followed."

2. CBS Lets Soldier in Iraq Express Frustrations with Media Coverage
Three soldiers in Iraq, thanks to CBS News, got a chance to express their frustrations with media coverage and with those who have turned against the war. Wednesday's CBS Evening News showed clips from the soldiers talking with CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, including Captain Christopher Vick of the 18th Airborne Corps, who complained that "there's no focus on the good things that go on" and expressed concern that if the insurgents "can turn public perception away from the good that is happening in this country, then they will eventually win the battle."

3. ABC Looks at Successful Transfer of Authority to Iraqi Soldiers
President Bush's speech prodded ABC into airing a good news story from Iraq. "The President last night said Iraqi security forces would be used more and more in place of American troops," ABC anchor Charles Gibson noted. "Well, we have the story of one street in Baghdad where that is happening, successfully." Gibson relayed how Haifa Street in Baghdad "was a no man's land, teeming with insurgents," but "it has become a model of the transformation the Bush administration would like to see all across Iraq." Nick Watt proceeded to relate how the transformation occurred.

4. FNC Picks Up On Other Side of Guantanamo: Feces Thrown at Guards
FNC on Wednesday uniquely focused a story on testimony, about the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, at hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, whose members just returned from an inspection of conditions there. In a story on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Molly Henneberg highlighted how Brigadier General Jay Hood, commander of the Guantanamo detention facility, revealed that "it is not unusual" for a guard to "have urine or feces or spit or some other liquid thrown at him by a detainee. It's not unusual for a detainee to look at an American and tell him, 'When I get out of here, I'm going to kill you and your family. I'll find you.'" Henneberg pointed out how one detainee, whom the U.S. even fitted with a prosthetic leg, "was released from Gitmo last year and returned to the fight against Americans in Afghanistan." The headline over a Reuters dispatch on the hearing: "Democrats see 'whitewash' of Guantanamo problems."

5. TV Land to Air 1983 Left-Wing ABC TV Movie, The Day After
The TV Land cable channel, on Thursday night, will provide an opportunity to re-live early 1980s left-wing propaganda at its zenith when the channel airs The Day After, a 1983 ABC television movie about the impact of nuclear war as seen through people in Lawrence, Kansas. The film aired at the height of the "nuclear freeze" movement in protest of President Reagan's move to deploy new missiles in West Germany. The movie, which starred Jason Robards, originally aired on Sunday, November 20, from 8-10:35pm, followed by a discussion show which featured Carl Sagan and William F. Buckley Jr.

6. "Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's Prime-Time Address"
Letterman's "Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's Prime-Time Address."


ABC and NBC Peg Stories to Criticism
of Bush for Invoking 9/11

While ABC and NBC on Wednesday night gave time to the White House's defense of President Bush's mentioning of September 11th in his Tuesday night address on Iraq, the evening newscasts on both networks pegged stories to Democratic criticism on that point. "It was his frequent mention of the 9/11 attacks that seemed to get critics especially riled," World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson asserted in setting up a piece from Terry Moran who relayed: "Democrats responded furiously, accusing the President of exploiting the attacks and of trying to suggest that Iraq was directly linked to them." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams emphasized how "there was strong reaction to the way the President once again invoked the September 11th attacks while trying to build support for the war in Iraq." Kelly O'Donnell gave voice to critics as she began her story: "The subject was Iraq, yet President Bush was at the podium last night just 61 seconds before he spoke of 9/11....Five more references followed."

(On Wednesday morning the networks focused on the same complaints, as highlighted in a Media Reality Check distributed Wednesday afternoon, "Going Over Easy for Democrats in the Morning: Network Anchors Tenderly Offer Senators Chance to Rebut and Criticize President's Fort Bragg Speech." See: www.mediaresearch.org )

Gibson introduced the June 29 World News Tonight story, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Gibson: "The debate about the Iraq war took on a new dimension today after the President's prime time speech last night. Mr. Bush said the sacrifice of American lives is worth it and vital to long-term U.S. security. And he opposed any timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. But it was his frequent mention of the 9/11 attacks that seemed to get critics especially riled. Here's ABC's White House correspondent Terry Moran tonight."

Terry Moran Moran checked in from the White House: "Charlie, the response to the President's speech divided along sharply partisan lines today, especially when it came to the President's references to the attacks of September 11, 2001. As he sought to rally public support for the war in Iraq last night, President Bush, again and again -- five times in all -- directly referred to the 9/11 attacks."
George W. Bush Clip #1: "The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th."
Bush Clip #2: "After September the 11th, 2001-"
Bush Clip #3: "-they tried to shake our will on September the 11th."
Bush Clip #4: "After September the 11th, I made a commitment."
Bush Clip #5: "The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001."
Moran, over pictures from New York City on 9/11: "Democrats responded furiously, accusing the President of exploiting the attacks and of trying to suggest that Iraq was directly linked to them."
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), on the House floor: "The President shamelessly, in my opinion, invoked the tragedy of September 11th to justify our continued occupation."
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), at press conference: "It had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. It had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. It had nothing to do with September 11th."
Rush Limbaugh, in audio clip from his show: "The President did not say Iraq caused 9/11. He didn't say that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11."
Moran: "Today, administration officials were arguing that the extremism the nation is fighting in Iraq is exactly the same kind that spawned the 9/11 attacks."
Donald Rumsfeld: "The enemies we face in Iraq today come from the mold similar to those who killed 3,000 people on September 11th."
Moran: "At the White House, it boiled down to this:"
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "These are the same kind of people. They are terrorists who seek to dominate the Middle East."
Moran: "Mr. Bush's critics argue that terrorists are now in Iraq because of the U.S.-led invasion. But for many Americans, including many military families, the President's words may resonate. Heidi Whitney's husband has been in Iraq since January."
Heidi Whitney: "Even if you are not a believer at this point, all you have to do is just remember September 11th, and then you think, 'Yeah, okay, yeah, that's why we're there.'"
Moran concluded: "White House officials say they were taken aback by the intensity of the Democratic criticism of the President's references to 9/11. But they insist, Charlie, that the President will not back down from arguing that the war in Iraq is now an extension of the war that began then."

Over on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams announced: "And now to reaction coming out of last night's speech by President Bush, and there was strong reaction to the way the President once again invoked the September 11th attacks while trying to build support for the war in Iraq. Here with that, NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell."

O'Donnell began: "The subject was Iraq, yet President Bush was at the podium last night just 61 seconds before he spoke of 9/11."
George W. Bush Clip #1: "The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001."
O'Donnell: "Five more references followed."
Bush Clip #2: "If we forget the lessons of September 11th-"
Bush Clip #3: "-just as they tried to shake our will on September 11th."
O'Donnell: "Today, igniting a new version of an old debate, a link between the war and those attacks. Democrats accuse the President of politicizing 9/11 to rebuild support for the war."
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): "-somehow figuring that it clicks a button that everybody grows more patriotic and more patient."
O'Donnell: "Other Democrats suggested the President is twisting a national tragedy to obscure the debate over current strategy. But the White House says those critics misconstrued the kind of connection the President is making now."
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "They are the same. They have the same hatred."
O'Donnell: "-saying the relevant link is that the attackers of 2001 and the enemy in Iraq today think alike."
Bush: "-followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens."
O'Donnell: "And so the administration claims if the public embraces this ideological link, it will approve a continued fight in Iraq. Vice chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton agrees to a point."
Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission: "And it has become a center of the war on terrorism, but it's quite distinct in my mind from 9/11."
O'Donnell concluded: "A distinction still fueling debate, another battle in the war of ideas and words. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, the White House."

CBS Lets Soldier in Iraq Express Frustrations
with Media Coverage

Christopher Vick Three soldiers in Iraq, thanks to CBS News, got a chance to express their frustrations with media coverage and with those who have turned against the war. Wednesday's CBS Evening News showed clips from the soldiers talking with CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier, including Captain Christopher Vick of the 18th Airborne Corps, who complained that "there's no focus on the good things that go on" and expressed concern that if the insurgents "can turn public perception away from the good that is happening in this country, then they will eventually win the battle."

Anchor Bob Schieffer introduced the June 29 look: "Like soldiers in any war, Americans now serving in Iraq have plenty of time to think, and one thing they think about is what people back home think about them. Today, some of them talked with our Kimberly Dozier."

Viewers then saw and heard from Captain Christopher Vick, 18th Airborne Corps, standing outside in Iraq: "I think it's hard for Americans to get up every day and turn on the news and see the horrible things that are going on here because there's no focus on the good things that go on. What they see is another car bomb went off."
Dozier: "Do you think that's exactly what the militants are trying to do?"
Vick: "Sure. You've got to win the information war. I mean, it's, if they can turn public perception away from the good that is happening in this country, then they will eventually win the battle."
Dozier: "Do the soldiers still see the American people as pro-military, if not pro-war?"
Colonel Ben Hodges, Multinational Forces in Iraq: "Public opinion is probably a mix of frustration a little bit like, doggone, we still have soldiers getting killed and, you know, we've been at it now for about two years."
Specialist Kenneth Berlin, 82nd Airborne Division: "People don't understand why we do the things we do. A lot has to do with, you know, duty to country and the American flag and, you know, just love for freedom."
Dozier: "Does that make you angry?"
Berlin: "It makes me sad. I really wish that, you know, people would respect the troops, I mean, even if you don't respect the war itself or, you know, the reasons why we're out here."
Schieffer: "Voices from the front."

ABC Looks at Successful Transfer of Authority
to Iraqi Soldiers

Charles Gibson President Bush's speech prodded ABC into airing a good news story from Iraq. "The President last night said Iraqi security forces would be used more and more in place of American troops," ABC anchor Charles Gibson noted. "Well, we have the story of one street in Baghdad where that is happening, successfully." Gibson relayed how Haifa Street in Baghdad "was a no man's land, teeming with insurgents," but "it has become a model of the transformation the Bush administration would like to see all across Iraq." Nick Watt proceeded to relate how the transformation occurred.

Gibson set up the June 29 World News Tonight piece: "The President last night said Iraqi security forces would be used more and more in place of American troops. Well, we have the story of one street in Baghdad where that is happening, successfully. Not too long ago, Haifa Street was a no man's land, teeming with insurgents. The Iraqi battalion overseeing the street lost 26 men in attacks. But it has become a model of the transformation the Bush administration would like to see all across Iraq. How did that happen? Here's ABC's Nick Watt."

From Baghdad, Watt narrated: "It's a major Baghdad thoroughfare lined with upscale apartment blocks and food stands. But last year, Haifa Street became known as 'Death Street.' [video of burning cars] Insurgents set up their own checkpoints. They terrorized local people. They ambushed and killed troops who ventured in. For most of last year, Haifa Street was off limits for American and Iraqi soldiers. These troops tell us that insurgent leaders were paying local men $2 for every Iraqi soldier they could kill. Over the past seven months, U.S. and Iraqi troops have turned it around. Four key insurgent leaders were captured, their followers retreated and U.S. forces decided the Iraqi army was ready to take charge. Handing areas like this over to the Iraqis, that's a big step."
SFC Jeffrey Almand, U.S. Army: "Yes, it is. But it's a natural one because it's their neighborhoods."
Watt: "Iraqi troops started patrolling Haifa Street on their own three months ago. Since then, not one of them has been shot, not one killed. 'The people here didn't like the American troops,' says the platoon leader. 'We're Iraqis, so people talk to us. They give us information.' 'They're not foreigners,' said this man. 'If I see something, I tell them.' Now, a woman complains her electricity still isn't working. An Iraqi sergeant orders men laying sewage pipes to speed up. And a coffee shop owner thanks soldiers for bringing peace. 'I couldn't even open my shop for five months because of the violence,' he tells them. 'Now I stay open till midnight.' They don't call it 'Death Street' anymore. Nick Watt, ABC News, Baghdad."

FNC Picks Up On Other Side of Guantanamo:
Feces Thrown at Guards

FNC on Wednesday uniquely focused a story on testimony, about the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, at hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, whose members just returned from an inspection of conditions there. In a story on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Molly Henneberg highlighted how Brigadier General Jay Hood, commander of the Guantanamo detention facility, revealed that "it is not unusual" for a guard to "have urine or feces or spit or some other liquid thrown at him by a detainee. It's not unusual for a detainee to look at an American and tell him, 'When I get out of here, I'm going to kill you and your family. I'll find you.'" Henneberg pointed out how one detainee, whom the U.S. even fitted with a prosthetic leg, "was released from Gitmo last year and returned to the fight against Americans in Afghanistan." The headline over a Reuters dispatch on the hearing: "Democrats see 'whitewash' of Guantanamo problems."

None of the broadcast networks mentioned the hearings on Wednesday night, and I didn't see any coverage on CNN, at least nothing beyond a mention of how Hood said interrogators are able to get valuable information from detainees even after they've been held for years.

Tuesday night on his show, the MRC's Megan McCormack noticed, Hume did a "Grapevine" item on the media's lack of interest in how Democratic Congressmen and Senators found no evidence of abuse at Guantanamo:
"Congressional Democrats, who reported favorably on conditions at Guantanamo Bay after visiting the detention camp over the weekend, received almost no coverage in key mainstream media outlets. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said, quote, 'I feel very good' about prisoner treatment at Guantanamo. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, also a Democrat, said, quote, 'We have made progress there,' and California Democratic Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher insisted, quote, 'The Gitmo we saw today is not the Gitmo that we heard about even a few years ago.' Wyden's quote made The New York Times today, on page nineteen; the other remarks were left out. The Washington Post, meanwhile, hasn't reported any of it."

On Wednesday night, June 29, Hume introduced Henneberg's story:
"The General who runs the terrorism detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told a House panel today that military interrogators have gained valuable information about al-Qaeda and that the detainees should continue to be held indefinitely. As for suggestions the facility should be closed, Fox News correspondent Molly Henneberg reports there was no support for that idea."

Henneberg began, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told a hearing today that Guantanamo Bay is not a gulag and will stay open. He and 15 other lawmakers visited Gitmo on Saturday."
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), at hearing: "We saw a world class detention facility where detainees representing a threat to our national security are well fed, given access to top-notch medical facilities, and provided an opportunity to obtain legal representation."
Rep. Madeleiene Bordello (D-Guam), at hearing: "I was particularly impressed, and I'm one of those that I inspect every little detail, the cleanliness of the facility and the treatment of the prisoners."
Henneberg: "Still, the committee members pressed Gitmo officials about allegations that detainees were abused or that U.S. guards mishandled the Koran. Today, the General in charge there said ten service members had been punished for misconduct out of 10,000 men and women who have served at Gitmo, conducting over 28,000 interrogations. And he said this is not easy duty."
Brigadier General Jay Hood, JETTED. Guantanamo Commander, at the hearing: "It is not unusual through the course of a day or week at Guantanamo that some young American walking on a guard block will have urine or feces or spit or some other liquid thrown at him by a detainee. It's not unusual for a detainee to look at an American and tell him, 'When I get out of here, I'm going to kill you and your family. I'll find you.'"
Henneberg: "The lawmakers also asked about interrogations, specifically about reports in the New England Journal of Medicine and the New York Times that doctors at Gitmo were providing medical information to interrogators to help them get detainees to talk. The top doctor at Gitmo says that's not true."
Cary Ostergaard, JTF Guantanamo Hospital Commander: "Interrogators are not allowed into the medical facilities where we store the medical files. We do not go into the interrogation centers except for an emergency."
Henneberg, over a big picture of the terrorist on a board in the hearing room: "This man, Abdullah Massoud, drew particular attention and anger at the hearing. He was released from Gitmo last year and returned to the fight against Americans in Afghanistan."
Duncan to Hood: "Is this a gentleman we fitted with a prosthetic leg at Guantanamo?"
Hood: "Yes, sir. He came to us without one leg from about the knee down. We fitted him with a prosthetic leg there before he left."
Henneberg: "Representative Hunter then asked rhetorically if Massoud had let the U.S. know how the leg was working on the battlefield. Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Ellen Tauscher said today's hearing was not balanced. She said Democrats wanted to hear from a lawyer for some of the detainees. Republicans scheduled that lawyer to appear before the committee later in the day. In Washington, Molly Henneberg, Fox News."

Reuters didn't get to anything about the detainee who returned to the battlefield or the feces thrown at U.S. guards. Reuters had other concerns in its article headlined, "Democrats see 'whitewash' of Guantanamo problems." An excerpt from the top of the un-bylined story, as posted Wednesday by Yahoo News:

U.S. lawmakers just back from visiting the Guantanamo prison compared it to a resort, but Democrats complained of a "whitewash" at a hearing on Wednesday because they were unable to hear from an attorney for detainees.

Officials of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that well-fed detainees gained an average of six pounds, and described mostly benign interrogations based on establishing rapport.

But Democrats said Republicans blocked testimony at the hearing from an attorney for detainees, giving a skewed view of the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds about 520 foreign terrorism suspects.

"I think we should hear from people that are dealing with detainees there, not just from our side of the fence," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat. "I don't think that just using a thin whitewash on this is going to fix it," she said after the hearing....

END of Excerpt

For the Reuters dispatch in full: news.yahoo.com

TV Land to Air 1983 Left-Wing ABC TV
Movie, The Day After

The TV Land cable channel, on Thursday night, will provide an opportunity to re-live early 1980s left-wing propaganda at its zenith when the channel airs The Day After, a 1983 ABC television movie about the impact of nuclear war as seen through people in Lawrence, Kansas. The film aired at the height of the "nuclear freeze" movement in protest of President Reagan's move to deploy new missiles in West Germany. The movie, which starred Jason Robards, originally aired on Sunday, November 20, from 8-10:35pm, followed by a discussion show which featured Carl Sagan and William F. Buckley Jr.

TV Land will air the movie from 8-11pm EDT/PDT tonight, Thursday. It will air again next week, but the TV Land Web site doesn't say when.

TV Land's page about the Movies of the Week it is showing this week: www.tvland.com

The Internet Movie Database's summary of the plot: "A graphic, disturbing film about the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of central Kansas."

Recognizable names in the cast: Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg, John Lithgow and Amy Madigan.

For IMDb's page on the movie: www.imdb.com

IMDb also reported on the lack of advertisers and what ABC aired after the movie: "The premiere of this TV movie was a major media event. No sponsors bought commercial time after the point in the movie where the nuclear war occurs, so the last half of the show was aired straight through, without commercials.
"Immediately after the film's original broadcast, it was followed by a special news program, featuring a live discussion between scientist Dr. Carl Sagan (who opposed the use of nuclear weapons) and Conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. (who promoted the concept of 'nuclear deterrence'). It was during this heated discussion, aired live on network television, where Dr. Sagan introduced the world to the concept of 'nuclear winter' and made his famous analogy, equating the nuclear arms race with 'two men standing waist deep in gasoline; one with three matches, the other with five.'" See: www.imdb.com

The Web site for the Museum of Broadcast Communication has this on the historic impact of the movie:
"The Day After, a dramatization of the effects of a hypothetical nuclear attack on the United States was one of the biggest media events of the 1980s. Programmed by ABC on Sunday, 20 November 1983, The Day After was watched by an estimated half the adult population, the largest audience for a made-for-TV movie to that time. The movie was broadcast after weeks of advance publicity, fueled by White House nervousness about its anti-nuclear 'bias'. ABC had distributed a half-million 'viewer's guides' and discussion groups were organized around the country. A studio discussion, in which Secretary of State took part, was conducted following the program. The advance publicity was unprecedented in scale. It centered on the slogan 'THE DAY AFTER -- Beyond Imagining. The starkly realistic drama of nuclear confrontation and its devastating effect on a group of average American citizens...'"

For more from that article, go to: www.museum.tv

"Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's
Prime-Time Address"

From the June 29 Late Show with David Letterman, "Top Ten Surprises in President Bush's Prime-Time Address." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Claimed he had plan to win war, then switched on the bat signal

9. Kept talking about how Scientology changed his life

8. Ten minutes of policy, 20 minutes of Karaoke

7. Imploring all Americans to support Joey McIntyre in the next episode of "Dancing with the Stars"

6. It was basically a 50-minute infomercial for new George Bush grill

5. Spent 15 minutes looking at himself in the monitor

4. Most of speech was devoted to his Fourth of July deviled egg recipe

3. Revealed he'll soon be giving uncensored weekly addresses on Sirius satellite radio

2. Midway through, he got engaged to Tom Cruise

1. Finished up by asking if Kerry still wanted the gig

-- Brent Baker