ABC Caught Unprepared, Continues Airing 'The Bachelor' -- 03/20/2003 CyberAlert
2. Jennings Muses that Iraqis Won't Know What "Coalition" Means
3. ABC: U.S. War Driving Iraqi Women Into Caesarian Sections
4. NBC's Gregory Portrays Daschle as Victim Not Perpetrator
5. Arnett Relays Iraqi Propaganda About 10 Million Deaths,
6. Cronkite Denounces Bush, Calls Carter "Smartest President"
7. Couric Admits Her 7-Year-Old Daughter Opposes the War
>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
ABC News caught unprepared by the start of the war. While CBS News and NBC News went live at about 9:32pm EST with their star anchor, White House reporter, Pentagon reporter and military analysts, as did CNN and FNC, ABC viewers had to endure more than ten additional minutes of The Bachelor reality show reunion episode until ABC News cut in at 9:44pm EST with fill-in anchor Chris Wallace and Katy Textor, an off-air producer, who was thrust onto live television from the White House press briefing room.
Apparently, ABC anchor Peter Jennings, White House correspondent Terry Moran and Pentagon reporter John McWethy had already called it a night and gone home -- left their posts even earlier than President Bush's famously early bed time.
It took ABC until 9:57pm EST to get military analyst Tony Cordesman on the air, until 10:04pm for Jennings to show up and a another couple of minutes before viewers heard from McWethy and I don't know when Moran popped in, but it was even later.
But CBS viewers got to immediately see Dan Rather with Bill Plante at the White House and David Martin at the Pentagon and NBC watchers saw Tom Brokaw with Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon and Peter Arnett in Baghdad, joined before 10 by Campbell Brown at the White House.
This may not matter much to you, but I guarantee there are many mighty angry managers/owners of ABC affiliates, especially so soon after a similar fiasco following the Columbia explosion when ABC had Bill Blakemore anchoring from a closet for several hours while Jennings was stuck in traffic.
Another highlight of the early live coverage: We got to see Tom Brokaw wearing eyeglasses.
It's now 11:55pm and I just noticed that ABC is running ads during Nightline. No ads yet during coverage on any other network, cable or broadcast.
Some last shots at the war effort from Peter Jennings before the war began. On Wednesday's World News Tonight, Jennings mused that he's "not sure that Iraqis will know what" the term "coalition" means on the flyers instructing them on how to surrender safely, highlighted the claim that pregnant women in Iraq "are so afraid of going into labor after an attack begins that they're having their babies born by Caesarian section now," rued how a man who "leaped to his death" from the Golden Gate Bridge read an anti-war statement before he jumped and assured viewers ABC will never divulge anything which would put at risk the lives of U.S. servicemen.
-- After Pentagon reporter John McWethy showed a postcard-sized flyer being dropped by air on Iraqi troops, which instructed in English, over a picture of white flags on tank antennas, that "to avoid destruction, follow Coalition guidelines," Jennings complained: "As you noticed, that label there, that leaflet said follow the instructions of the 'coalition' forces. We're not sure that Iraqis will know what the 'coalition' is."
Does Jennings even know what it is? During Monday night's ABC prime time special, Jennings repeatedly asked about the cost of the U.S. "going it alone." See the March 18
-- Jennings also found time to relay: "The Reuters news agency reports tonight that in one Iraqi hospital pregnant women are so afraid of going into labor after an attack begins that they're having their babies born by caesarian section now."
-- Next, Jennings demonstrated that no anti-war demonstration is too small for him to consider it newsworthy as he picked up on a solitary effort: "And in San Francisco, a man apparently leaped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge. Our affiliate there, KGO, reports that he read an anti-war statement before jumping."
-- Jennings also assured viewers: "Just one word to viewers tonight concerned that our reporting about a war sometimes puts Americans at risk. The issue comes up in every war. We know of no reporter who would knowingly put lives at risk. We work very closely with the forces we are with. And as you know from the Gulf War, very often the government does not tell us what is going on."
Let's hope not.
Peter Jennings' reference on Wednesday's World News Tonight to Iraqi women getting caesarian sections was the last in a trilogy of citations of that story on ABC News shows, starting with Tuesday's Nightline, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed.
Those three references, in time sequence:
-- Nightline, March 18. Chris Bury, from Qatar: "And there is one more sign this ticking clock is taking its toll. Baghdad maternity wards are reporting a rush of expectant mothers seeking early caesarian deliveries for fear they will not be able to get proper medical attention once the war begins."
-- Good Morning America, March 19. From Baghdad, Richard Engel, a freelance reporter used by ABC worried: "Now on a more personal level, there are reports overnight that about a dozen Iraqi women went to the hospital -- these are pregnant women -- to have caesarian sections prematurely so that they wouldn't be giving birth during wartime."
-- World News Tonight, March 19, the same Jennings quote cited in item #2 above: "The Reuters news agency reports tonight that in one Iraqi hospital pregnant women are so afraid of going into labor after an attack begins that they're having their babies born by Caesarian section now."
As NBC's Campbell Brown did the night before, on Wednesday's Today show David Gregory portrayed Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle as the victim of White House attacks instead of the perpetrator of inappropriate castigations of a President in the time of war. And, matching Brown, Gregory also failed to inform viewers of Daschle's most incendiary claim -- that President Bush's policies will be culpable for the deaths of U.S. servicemen.
In a speech on Monday to the AFSCME union, Daschle spewed: "I'm saddened we have to give up one life because this President couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical to our country."
Plus, at the end on Monday's Moneyline, CNN's Lou Dobbs scolded Daschle for his hypocrisy in demanding unity last fall but now denouncing the Bush policy he endorsed: "Senator Daschle has every reason to be saddened, but by his own words and deeds, not those of the President."
(On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, the March 19 CyberAlert recounted, Tom Brokaw intoned: "At the White House today there were lots of harsh words directed at Democrats on Capitol Hill. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in particular."
Katie Couric introduced the March 19 Today story, as taken down by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, by characterizing both sides as equally blamable: "As battle plans move forward in Washington a war of words has erupted between the White House and Capitol Hill. NBC's David Gregory is at the White House this morning with more on that story. David, good morning."
Wednesday's CyberAlert pointed out how in contrast to NBC's Campbell Brown, CNN's Aaron Brown introduced a story on Tuesday's NewsNight by reminding viewers of how "rules have evolved" that say you should refrain from criticism during a time of war.
An alert CyberAlert reader informed me that the night before, CNN's Lou Dobbs had also chided Daschle. MRC analyst Brian Boyd tracked down the transcript and checked it against the tape for the March 17 Moneyline. Dobbs concluded with these comments:
The same old bad Peter Arnett unhesitatingly conveying enemy propaganda and a glimmer of a new Arnett for a new war? On Wednesday's Today, Arnett passed along how an Iraqi official claimed the U.S.-caused UN pull-out from Iraq was "shameful" and "would leave 10 million Iraqis possibly starving in a few weeks." But late last night, Tom Brokaw recalled how hours earlier Arnett discovered that many Iraqis are looking forward to their liberation.
On the March 19 Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Arnett told Matt Lauer from Baghdad: "The government here maintaining a very strong pugilistic position, you might say. In fact the National Assembly met this morning in special session and criticizing the U.S. One other aspect Matt, the Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has called the UN's act of completely leaving Iraq all its aid workers, he called that, 'shameful' and he suggested it would leave 10 million Iraqis possibly starving in a few weeks if the war does continue."
But about 18 hours later, at 11:23pm EST, Tom Brokaw recalled, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed in watching NBC's coverage of the first hours of the war, how Arnett found that Iraqis welcome liberation. Brokaw related to former Ambassador to Iraq Edward Peck:
At a March 18 forum at Drew University former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, the Daily Record of Parsippany, New Jersey reported in a Wednesday story, "said he feared the war would not go smoothly, ripped the 'arrogance' of Bush and his administration and wondered whether the new U.S. doctrine of 'pre-emptive war' might lead to unintended, dire consequences."
The newspaper also relayed how Cronkite "said that the smartest President he ever met was Jimmy Carter" and that journalists tilt to the left because "they see the poverty. They see the want" and thus "tend to favor the underprivileged."
An excerpt from the March 19 story, by reporter Rob Jennings, which Brit Hume highlighted Wednesday night on his FNC show:
The "most trusted man in America," retired CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, put aside his journalistic impartiality Tuesday night and issued a blistering dissent to President Bush's decision to wage war with Iraq.
At a Drew University forum, Cronkite said he feared the war would not go smoothly, ripped the "arrogance" of Bush and his administration and wondered whether the new U.S. doctrine of "pre-emptive war" might lead to unintended, dire consequences.
"Every little country in the world that has a border conflict with another little country...they now have a great example from the United States," Cronkite, 86, said in response to a question from Drew's President, former Gov. Thomas Kean....
"I'm very disappointed that we've come to this point," Cronkite said.
While many are confident the United States would easily oust Saddam Hussein, Cronkite said he isn't so sure. "The military is always more confident than circumstances show they should be," he said.
Cronkite speculated that the refusal of many traditional allies, such as France, to join the war effort signaled something deeper, and more ominous, than a mere foreign policy disagreement.
"The arrogance of our spokespeople, even the President himself, has been exceptional, and it seems to me they have taken great umbrage at that," Cronkite said. "We have told them what they must do. It is a pretty dark doctrine."
Cronkite chided Congress for not looking closely enough at the war and attempting to ascertain a viable estimate of its eventual cost, particularly in light of Bush's commitment to tax cuts.
"We are going to be in such a fix when this war is over, or before this war is over...our grandchildren's grandchildren are going to be paying for this war," Cronkite said.
"I look at our future as, I'm sorry, being very, very dark. Let's see our cards as we rise to meet the difficulties that lie ahead," he added, in a play on Bush's dismissive remarks about France....
In response to a question about media bias, Cronkite said the press is not politically partisan but does tilt toward liberalism. He said that the smartest President he ever met was Jimmy Carter.
"Most news people start their early years as cub reporters, covering the seamy side of life. They see the poverty. They see the want" -- and as a result, Cronkite said, tend to favor the underprivileged.
END of Excerpt
For the story in its entirety:
Of course, people are in poverty and want after decades of massive spending advocated by journalists.
Katie Couric is doing her part to churn out another generation of liberal journalists. On Wednesday's Today, she conceded that her daughter is against a war with Iraq: "My 7-year-old says, 'Why can't they just work it out?' She's like a little Rodney King. 'Why can't we just get along? Why do they have to fight?'"
Don't expect Mommy to set her straight.
Couric's admission, which MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught, came during a segment about how to comfort children during war coverage. Couric told Dr. Robin Goodman of New York University:
Couric soon suggested a response, though she didn't sound enthusiastic about it: "Sometimes war is necessary for peace, I guess. Or you could use, history sometimes is a good way to sort of help kids along."
The thinking of Couric's 7-year-old is no less logical than the reasoning espoused by the adult Janeane Garofalo. -- Brent Baker