ABC Deplores Bush TV Ad for Intimating Dems "Soft on Terrorism" --11/24/2003
2. Evan Thomas Denounces Democrats as "Cowards" on Gay Marriage
3. Peter Jennings: "My Dad Wrote 'Smoke Pot' in Cloves" on a Ham
ABC on Friday night condemned a new RNC television ad on behalf of President Bush. Peter Jennings intoned on World News Tonight that it "will, potentially, make an already bitter debate about war in Iraq and the campaign against terrorism, even more so." Jennings maintained that "the ad seems to suggest that if you are tough on the President, or criticize the war in Iraq, you may be soft on terrorism."
And though the words "terrorists," "others" and "self-defense" also appear in red in text which is interspersed in the ad otherwise made up of clips of Bush's State of the Union address, Dean Reynolds highlighted just one word as he suggested some nefarious motive in putting it in "blood red." Reynolds asserted: "While he never mentions his political adversaries, the President's message, and the printed words -- 'retreat,' for example, is written in blood red -- leave little doubt that the Democrats are his targets and that those who oppose his policies are soft on terror."
ABC's tone on Friday night, November 21, contrasts markedly with how Jennings and the network approached Ted Kennedy's vitriolic attack on President Bush's motives exactly nine weeks earlier, on the Friday, September 19 World News Tonight. Kennedy had claimed that the war in Iraq was a "fraud made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically." Without any evidence, Kennedy had also charged: "This whole thing was a fraud" and alleged that money for Iraq "is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops."
But, as the September 22 CyberAlert noted, after illustrating how Kennedy's claims lacked evidence, though John Cochran passed along how Tom DeLay castigated Kennedy's remarks as "a new low" in politics, Cochran gave equal credibility and legitimacy to why Kennedy leveled his baseless charges: "Sources familiar with Kennedy's reasoning say he stepped up his attacks on the President in an effort to get the country to pay more attention to a situation in Iraq that he feels is catastrophic."
Jennings introduced the September 19 World News Tonight story without any of the negative judgments he brought to bear on Bush this past Friday night: "Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts has launched a major attack on the President's war policies. He gave an interview yesterday, which certainly got a lot of attention, and today we asked ABC's John Cochran to check out what the Senator had said and whether he had his facts right."
See the September 22 CyberAlert for more on how ABC handled Kennedy's scurrilous charges: www.mediaresearch.org
From Des Moines, Reynolds began his piece: "For months, the airwaves here in Iowa have been flooded by messages like this one."
[Brief full screen shot of black text on white background: "Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others"
Bush voice in ad: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions?"
As Reynolds wrapped up, ABC showed this text from the ad: "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."
The word "terrorists" was in red.
The RNC has posted a script for the ad. Judge for yourself if it matches the underhandedness suggested by ABC News:
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: "It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
CHYRON: Strong and Principled Leadership
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: "Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power."
CHYRON: Some are now attacking the President for attacking the terrorists.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: "Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?"
CHYRON: Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others.
CHYRON: Call Congress Now
CHYRON: Tell them to support the President's policy of preemptive self-defense.
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ED GILLESPIE: "The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."
END Reprint of script rnc.org
To watch the ad via RealPlayer: www.rnc.org
Unfortunately, though they may fix it, the RNC didn't bother to make sure it worked with Netscape, so if you want to play it you'll have to be using Internet Explorer. The Washington Post, however, has posted it in a way also compatible with Netscape: www.washingtonpost.com
Newsweek's Evan Thomas illustrated the gulf between the public, which by two-to-one opposes gay marriage, and the Washington press corps as he expressed befuddlement about why gay marriage is such a controversy." On Inside Washington over the weekend, he admitted: "I really don't get this whole debate" as he declared that "anything that promotes commitment between couples, and helps the institution of the family, is a positive thing." Thomas wondered: "Why aren't we for that?"
Thomas, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor, also denounced the Democratic presidential candidates as "cowards" for not coming out in favor of gay marriage, urging them to "show a little bit of leadership here and educate the public."
(The two-to-one poll number comes from a poll conducted last month by the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which found the public opposed to gay marriage by 59 to 32 percent. See: people-press.org )
On the November 22 edition of Inside Washington, a syndicated show carried by many PBS stations which is produced and aired in Washington, DC by the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate, WUSA-TV, Thomas contended: "I really don't get this whole debate. I'm pro-marriage. I don't care whether it's gays, straights. Anything that promotes commitment between couples, and helps the institution of the family, is a positive thing. Why aren't we for that?"
Thomas soon added a shot at Democrats: "I think the Democrats are a bunch of cowards."
A bit later in the discussion, Thomas again pressed Democrats to come through for him: "I think the Supreme Court follows the election returns and I think they're going to take their time about essentially approving gay marriages. Eventually, they're going to do it. In the meantime, our political leaders, particularly the Democratic Party, which fancies itself as being the progressive party, might show a little bit of leadership here and educate the public."
A second television news star has recalled a memory of an oddity committed by a parent. A few weeks ago, Katie Couric conceded that her mother, when she learned of AIDS, bought stock in companies that made condoms. Now, in a remembrance of his childhood Canadian Thanksgivings, Peter Jennings noted how one year "my dad wrote 'smoke pot' in cloves on the very large ham."
Jennings penned the cover story for this past weekend's USA Weekend, the newspaper supplement published by Gannett, "My First Thanksgiving as an American."
In it, the Canadian-born Jennings who became a U.S. citizen this year, recalled his Canadian childhood:
I believe Jennings' father was a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) journalist of some sort.
For the Jennings piece in full: usaweekend.com
The November 10 CyberAlert reported how NBC's Katie Couric revealed her feminist side in the November issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, suggesting she originally had no plans for children "because I came of age at the height of the feminist movement." Plus, she disclosed that her feminist mother "was a homemaker and Planned Parenthood volunteer growing up" who, when AIDS first appeared in the press, tried to capitalize on the malady as she "bought a lot of stock in condom companies." See: www.mediaresearch.org
# Scheduled to appear Tuesday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman: Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
-- Brent Baker