2. Matthews Derides Rove as a 'Bum,' Claims He 'Divided' the Nation
3. More See 'Surge' Success, But CBS Buries Poll Deep Into Newscast
4. CBS's Early Show Endorses DiCaprio's Alarmist '11th Hour' Film
Reporting on the resignation of presidential political adviser Karl Rove, ABC's World News on Monday night absurdly blamed Karl Rove for the ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and featured John Kerry's condemnation of Rove as all three broadcast network evening shows castigated Rove for his criticism of how Democrats want to coddle terrorists and highlighted his "leaking" of Valerie Plame's name. ABC's David Wright cited Rove's "political ju-jitzu" in "turning opponents' strengths against them." With a Swift Boat ad clip on screen, Wright described a "sustained attack on John Kerry's war record, an audacious move considering Bush's Vietnam War record was weak." Wright contended that Rove sometimes went "too far," such as when "he accused the Democrats of offering therapy and understanding to our attackers. 9/11 families asked him to stop." Rounding out Rove's offenses, Wright asserted that "he's been on the defensive over the leaking of a CIA agent's name as political payback against her husband, and for his part in the fired U.S. attorneys scandal." Following Wright's report, anchor Charles Gibson showcased how Kerry "said he orchestrated a political strategy 'that promised to unite Americans but instead left us more divided than [ever] before.'"
On the CBS Evening News, which found the oldest video of Rove -- from 1972 -- Jim Axelrod stressed how "Rove survived five grand jury appearances during the Valerie Plame CIA leak case without being indicted. He's currently defying congressional subpoenas to testify about the fired U.S. attorneys." Axelrod maintained Rove "lost some of his luster last year when painting the Democrats weak on terror and the Iraq war backfired, and the GOP lost the House and Senate." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell recalled how "he enraged Democrats" by "accusing them of weakness after 9/11."
Of course, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group was created by Vietnam veterans and funded by sources outside of the control of Rove or the campaign, mainly Texas billionaire Boone Pickens. On the Plame case, once again, none of the network stories noted that while Rove may have mentioned her employer to reporters, it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's leak to columnist Robert Novak which got her name and CIA employment into the news media.
[This item was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with at least two segments each on Rove's resignation as of August 31. ABC began with Wright's piece and then Charles Gibson talked to George Stephanopoulos about it; CBS started with Jim Axelrod's story followed by a piece from Jeff Greenfield on how Rove aimed to create a permanent Republican majority and then Katie Couric interviewed Nicolle Wallace; Kelly O'Donnell launched NBC's coverage before Brian Williams discussed Rove with David Gregory, an in-studio guest since he's in Manhattan to co-host the Today show this week.
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the entire August 13 Wright story on ABC as well as highlights from the Axelrod piece on CBS and O'Donnell's report for NBC (both of which included praise for Rove before getting to critics):
# ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON: Good evening. From the time the President took the oath of office, Karl Rove has been the most powerful unelected man in Washington. Close advisor to George Bush for more than 30 years, Rove announced today he's resigning, effective at the end of this month. Any picture you may see of George Bush, chances are very good Karl Rove is right there. He has been a lightning rod credited with many of the President's successes, blamed by critics for many White House mis-steps. We start tonight with ABC's David Wright at the White House. David?
DAVID WRIGHT: Good evening, Charlie. This is very much the end of an era for the Bush White House. Karl Rove has been sort of the political operating system here -- the architect of victories, the spinner of defeats. Today the President called him a "dear friend."
GIBSON, with matching text on screen: Well, Senator Charles Schumer said Rove will still have to answer questions about the firings of those U.S. attorneys. He "has every bit as much of a legal obligation to reveal the truth once he steps down as he does today," said Senator Schumer. And Senator John Kerry, who lost his bid for the White House in that campaign run by Rove that David mentioned, said he orchestrated a political strategy "that promised to unite Americans but instead left us more divided than [ever] before."
JIM AXELROD: ....Rove survived five grand jury appearances during the Valerie Plame CIA leak case without being indicted. He's currently defying congressional subpoenas to testify about the fired U.S. attorneys.
KELLY O'DONNELL: ....Not shy about mugging for cameras, Rove has also been a consistent magnet for controversy. He enraged Democrats, accusing them of weakness after 9/11, saying liberals wanted to:
A little later Matthews snapped that the only way the American people would hear Rove spill the truth is to pay for it on the lecture circuit: "Tonight's debate on Hardball: Should Congress be able to force Karl Rove to talk? Now that he's leaving the White House, that's the Hardball debate, he's gonna go out and make a fortune on the lecture circuit. Do you have to pay to get the truth from Karl Rove?"
[This item is adapted from a Monday night posting, by Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Then Matthews resorted to flat out name-calling when he derided Rove as a "bum" when recalling the Valerie Plame case: "Yeah but Bush, the President said, that 'anyone of my people involved with leaking this will be taken care of.' Did he, is that what he meant by today's ceremony, the bear hug and everything? Was that being taken care of? And, I mean, I've never seen a staff aide be signed-off on at the presidential helicopter with such majesty. It was almost regal today, like he was knighting the guy. And, and he said he was going to take care of this bum, anybody that leaked in the CIA case. Well this is how he took care of him. He knighted the guy."
When a CBS News poll in July found 73 percent believed the surge of troops in Iraq was making the situation "worse" or having "no impact," the CBS Evening News led with that number. But on Monday, when a new CBS poll discovered that percent had fallen 12 points to 61 percent, as the percent who think the surge is making the situation "better" jumped ten points from 19 to 29 percent, CBS gave it 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast. "Major attacks decline in Iraq: Military credits troop increase, civilian tipsters," declared the headline at the top of Monday's USA Today front page. Katie Couric, however, ignored that report and, after briefly relaying the new poll number, couldn't resist highlighting "one thing that hasn't changed, two-thirds say that, overall, things are still going badly in Iraq."
Couric had led the July 18 CBS Evening News: "In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse." On Monday, she acknowledged: "Americans are starting to come around on that troop surge in Iraq. In our CBS News poll out tonight, 29 percent say the surge is making things better. That's a ten point increase since July." It's doubtful the ten percent who have come around are consumers of CBS or other mainstream media outlets which concentrate on the negative.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The July 19 CyberAlert recounted how Couric led the July 18 CBS Evening News:
Hello, everyone. Senate Democrats failed today in their latest attempt to bring American troops home from Iraq. After a rare, all-night debate, they couldn't come up with the votes today to bring the latest troop withdrawal measure to the floor. And that is in spite of pressure from the voters themselves. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse. And nearly two out of three want the President to bring some or all U.S. forces home.
The two CBS News polls found the percent who believe the troop surge is making the situation "better" in Iraq grew from 19 to 29 percent while the percent saying the situation is "worse," or the surge is having "no impact," fell to 61, down from 73 percent a month or so ago. "No impact" fell from 53 to 46 percent and "making it worse" dropped from 20 to 15 percent. The CBSNews.com PDF comparing the July and August surveys: www.cbsnews.com
Couric's August 13 Iraq news update about twenty minutes into her newscast, though it was followed by a story on the rescue of a malnourished Iraqi child whose picture was on the front page of Monday's New York Times, a topic also covered by the ABC and NBC evening newscasts:
An excerpt from the August 13 USA Today top of the front page story, "Major attacks decline in Iraq: Military credits troop increase, civilian tipsters," by Jim Michaels:
The number of truck bombs and other large al-Qaeda-style attacks in Iraq have declined nearly 50% since the United States started increasing troop levels in Iraq about six months ago, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.
The high-profile attacks -- generally large bombs hitting markets, mosques or other "soft" targets that produce mass casualties -- have dropped to about 70 in July from a high during the past year of about 130 in March, according to the Multi-National Force-Iraq.
Military officers say the decline reflects progress in damaging al-Qaeda's networks in Iraq. The military has launched offensives around Baghdad aimed at al-Qaeda sanctuaries and bases.
"The enemy had the initiative and the momentum in '06," said Jack Keane, a retired general who is a chief architect of the increase in troop levels and mentor to Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "We've got it now."...
END of Excerpt
For the August 13 USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com
CBS's Early Show on Monday delivered a lengthy promotional segment for the new dire, panic-stricken documentary, The 11th Hour, about how mankind is destroying the Earth and must act fast to save it. Following a taped piece with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who produced and narrated the movie set to open August 17, co-host Julie Chen offered up, with DiCaprio's face on screen, that "to see how you can help protect the environment, log on to our Web site at CBSNews.com." Co-host Harry Smith gushed that "he's such a smart guy" before Chen endorsed DiCaprio's cause: "He is a smart guy and he's such a great spokesperson to have for this very important cause." Setting up her session with DiCaprio, Chen hyped how the documentary "warns that humanity and nature are on a crash course that could lead to disaster" and shared how "determined to continue the environmental wake-up call ignited by Al Gore, DiCaprio searched out experts from around the world including Kenny Ausubel. Their message is clear and foreboding." When DiCaprio boasted about how he has "energy efficient appliances. I drive a hybrid car. I have solar panels," Chen oozed: "Where did this passion come from?"
The documentary's Web site, which touts the expert involvement of Mikhail Gorbachev, ominously warns: "The forests are disappearing, deserts are widening, the arctic sea ice is melting, the permafrost has begun to crack. The earth has grown warmer. Not since a meteor hit the planet 55 million years ago have so many forms of life gone extinct."
For a Flash video of the trailer for the Warner Brothers production, an extensive compilation of the documentary's "experts" (Gorbachev is under "Environment and Ecoliteracy") and "Take Action" tips, go to: wip.warnerbros.com
After the above-cited obligatory hat tip to Al Gore, Chen featured Kenny Ausubel, whom CBS identified as the "founder" of "Bioneers." They failed to disclose that Ausubel is a left wing activist. On one of his many Huffington Post articles, "Mighty Corporate," Ausubel implied American corporate culture was the driving force behind the Iraq invasion, claimed corporations are not taxed enough (he seems to forget corporate taxes are passed on to the consumer) and made this snarky comment about Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist: "He's got a really serious issue about taxes, especially on the rich." See: www.huffingtonpost.com
JULIE CHEN: Leonardo DiCaprio is a Hollywood A-lister, but he's also very passionate about the environment. He provides the star power for a new documentary The 11th Hour, which warns that humanity and nature are on a crash course that could lead to disaster.
CHEN, BACK LIVE: He has also turned his official Web site into an eco-site. News about his latest movies is posted side by side, with updates from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. And to see how you can help protect the environment, log on to our Web site at CBSNews.com.
-- Brent Baker