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ABC: 'Everyone Is Concerned' About 'Getting the Hell Out of Iraq' --9/5/2007


1. ABC: 'Everyone Is Concerned' About 'Getting the Hell Out of Iraq'
The issues of interest to Iowa caucus-voters "tend to be the same issues that everyone is concerned about around the country," ABC's Kate Snow maintained Tuesday night, a contention she illustrated by citing "one voter" who recited to her a litany of liberal agenda topics: "She's worried about health care, Social Security and...'getting the Hell out of Iraq.'" Snow's conclusion from Des Moines followed a World News piece from Jake Tapper in New Hampshire where he similarly found getting out of Iraq is the most important issue, at least to "independent" voters. After pointing out how there are more independents than either Republicans or Democrats in the Granite State, Tapper explained that "a key issue for so many independents here, such as contractor Gerry Hamel, is opposition to the war in Iraq." Hamel expressed his view that "we can only be there so long and it's time to leave." Tapper helped Hamel out as Tapper unintentionally showed how Snow's take on Iraq matched the Democratic position: "And the Democratic candidates are saying that, not the Republicans?" Hamel agreed.

2. Olbermann: Bush a 'Liar' with 'Evil Secret' on Troop Withdrawal
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant against President Bush, branding him a "liar" because Bush raised the possibility of withdrawing some American troops during his speech in Iraq, after the President had also spoken, in Robert Draper's new book, "Dead Certain," of "sustaining a presence" in Iraq. Olbermann assumed Bush's two statements could not be consistent, thus contending Bush had revealed an "evil secret." Olbermann: "A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir!" Olbermann took exception with Bush's declaration that troop levels would be based on "a calm assessment by our military commanders" and not "a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media," as he labeled the President's words as a "depraved indifference to democracy." Olbermann: "That, perhaps, was the most perfectly-crafted phrase of his presidency. For depraved indifference to democracy, for the craven projection of political motives onto those trying to save lives and save a nation, for a dismissal of the value of the polls and the importance of the media, for a summary of all he does not hold dear about this nation or its people, nothing could top that."

3. GMA: Most Want Hillary as Driving Companion, Boss and President
Tuesday's Good Morning America showcased a "quirky" poll indicating that between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton more Americans would like Clinton next to them for a multi-hour, cross country drive and would prefer the New York Senator to run the company that employs them. George Stephanopoulos spun the poll questions into good news for Clinton: "This almost perfectly tracks the head-to-head match-ups next year if you put Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, in the general election those numbers are almost a perfect match-up. Those two questions we ask actually get at what people are looking for in a President." A driving companion and a boss?

4. Matt Lauer's Environmental Solution: Earth Without Humans
On Tuesday's Today show Matt Lauer discovered the solution to all the environmental crises Al Gore and his ilk have warned about, there's just one hitch, it involves the extinction of all mankind. Promoting a book that examined how long it would take for the Earth to clean up "the mess we've made," Lauer pondered how pristine the planet would be without us: "Then we're gonna talk to the author of a book and this is, really asks an interesting question. The book is called The World Without Us and it asks the question what would happen to planet Earth if human beings were to suddenly disappear. What would happen to our cities? What would happen to our landmarks? How quickly would our streets turn to rivers? How quickly would our farmland turn to forest? What would happen to natural wonders and man made wonders, like the Panama Canal or the Statue of Liberty. We're gonna talk to the author about that. And really it's all about trying to figure out how long it would take nature to reclaim what we've created." Meredith Vieira chimed in: "The mess." Lauer echoed: "How long it would take nature to fix the mess we've made?"

5. In Duke Case, 'Lot of Journalists Behaved in a Shameful Fashion'
ABC's Chris Cuomo talked, on Tuesday's Good Morning America, to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse alleged rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged: "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen." He even proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media." Former New York Times reporter Stuart Taylor, co-author of Until Proven Innocent, a book about the case, indicted liberal journalists: "The desire to bally-ho the sensational allegation, coincided with a lot of political prejudices that a lot of journalists have, in particular, the, sort of, the race/class/sex obsession. You find a bunch of privileged white males. You find a underprivileged black female who says, 'They raped me.' They loved it. The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it. And a lot of journalists behaved in a shameful fashion." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

6. CNN Relays Charge 'Terror' Motivates Arabic School Opponents
CNN, in their day-long reporting Tuesday about the opening day for a controversial publicly-funded Arabic-language school in New York City, sympathized with the school and its supporters, and helped denigrate its opponents. On American Morning and throughout the day, CNN aired a report from correspondent Richard Roth on the Khalil Gibran International Academy, whose curriculum will focus on, CNSNews.com reported last week, teaching "Arabic language and culture." The school's principal, Roth relayed, was replaced after she "was quoted defending the use of the word 'Intifada' on a T-shirt." That ouster led Carmen Colon, the focus of Roth's story, to pull her son from the school before its opening. Roth closed with a clip from Colon, who charged: "The people who are so against this school who, for me, seem more like the terrorists by terrorizing the community and making us feel that it's unsafe for our children to be there. They're the ones who are terrorizing us, not the school, not the principal, and not the administration."

7. 'Top Ten Dumb Guy Ways to Make the Internet More Exciting'
The Late Show's "Top Ten Contest" winning responses for the "Top Ten Dumb Guy Ways to Make the Internet More Exciting."


ABC: 'Everyone Is Concerned' About 'Getting
the Hell Out of Iraq'

The issues of interest to Iowa caucus-voters "tend to be the same issues that everyone is concerned about around the country," ABC's Kate Snow maintained Tuesday night, a contention she illustrated by citing "one voter" who recited to her a litany of liberal agenda topics: "She's worried about health care, Social Security and...'getting the Hell out of Iraq.'"

Snow's conclusion from Des Moines followed a World News piece from Jake Tapper in New Hampshire where he similarly found getting out of Iraq is the most important issue, at least to "independent" voters. After pointing out how there are more independents than either Republicans or Democrats in the Granite State, Tapper explained that "a key issue for so many independents here, such as contractor Gerry Hamel, is opposition to the war in Iraq." Hamel expressed his view that "we can only be there so long and it's time to leave." Tapper helped Hamel out as Tapper unintentionally showed how Snow's take on Iraq matched the Democratic position: "And the Democratic candidates are saying that, not the Republicans?" Hamel agreed.

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Partial excerpts from the back-to-back stories on the September 4 ABC's World News:

JAKE TAPPER, IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: A key issue for so many independents here, such as contractor Gerry Hamel, is opposition to the war in Iraq.
GERRY HAMEL, INDEPENDENT VOTER: "We can only be there so long and it's time to leave.
TAPPER: And the Democratic candidates are saying that, not the Republicans?
HAMEL: I think the Democrats are.
TAPPER: Hamel went for McCain in the 2000 presidential primary, but is now leaning Democratic.

Then, in the next story, Kate Snow checked in from Des Moines, with the Iowa state capitol in the background, and after she noted how an Obama rally attracted young people, she concluded her report:
"The majority of caucus-goers, though, are over 50, they are white, they are well-educated, they're not all farmers. Far from it. In fact, a lot of voters in Iowa now live in urban areas like this, in Des Moines, or suburban areas. Their issues tend to be the same issues that everyone is concerned about around the country. One voter said to me yesterday she's worried about health care, Social Security and, Charlie [Gibson], 'getting the Hell out of Iraq.'"

Olbermann: Bush a 'Liar' with 'Evil Secret'
on Troop Withdrawal

On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant against President Bush, branding him a "liar" because the President raised the possibility of withdrawing some American troops during his speech in Iraq, after the President had also spoken, in Robert Draper's new book, "Dead Certain," of "sustaining a presence" in Iraq. Olbermann assumed Bush's two statements -- about withdrawing some troops and "sustaining a presence" -- could not be consistent, thus contending Bush had revealed an "evil secret." Olbermann: "A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir!"

Olbermann took exception with Bush's declaration that troop levels would be based on "a calm assessment by our military commanders" and not "a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media," as the Countdown host labeled the President's words as a "depraved indifference to democracy." Olbermann: "That, perhaps, was the most perfectly-crafted phrase of his presidency. For depraved indifference to democracy, for the craven projection of political motives onto those trying to save lives and save a nation, for a dismissal of the value of the polls and the importance of the media, for a summary of all he does not hold dear about this nation or its people, nothing could top that."

MSNBC.com's transcript and video: www.msnbc.msn.com

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MSNBC host opened his eight minute, show-ending rant by referring to the President's "startling admission of the true motive for this war," and labeled a Bush quote from Draper's book as "horrifying." Olbermann: "He presumably did not know that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper's book 'Dead Certain:' 'I'm playing for October-November,' Mr. Bush said to Draper. That, evidently, is the time during which he thinks he can sell us the real plan, which is, to quote him, 'to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will become comfortable about sustaining a presence.'"

The Countdown host called for the President's impeachment again: "Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end, even if it means your resignation, even if it means your impeachment, even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term, even if it means a Democratic Congress and those true patriots among the Republicans standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and safe conduct home of our troops. This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next 500 days. Not while you, sir, are playing."

Olbermann also exhibited an overreaction to Bush's use of the word "play" as he cited Bush's quote from Draper's book that he was "playing for October-November." Olbermann: "And there it is, sir. We've caught you. Your goal is not to bring some troops home, maybe, if we let you have your way now. Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal. You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, 'playing' at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us into it with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon. Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely. War today, war tomorrow, war forever! And you are playing at it! Playing!"

Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's "Special Comment" from the end of the Tuesday, September 4 "Countdown" show on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, a "Special Comment" about Mr. Bush's trip and his startling admission of the true motive for this war, which was revealed during his absence. And so he is back from his annual surprise gratuitous photo-op in Iraq, and what a sorry spectacle it was. But it was nothing compared to the spectacle of one unfiltered, unguarded, horrifying quotation in the new biography to which Mr. Bush has consented.
As he deceived the troops at Al-Asad Air Force Base yesterday with the tantalizing prospect that some of them might not have to risk being killed and might get instead to go home, Mr. Bush probably did not know that, with his own words, he had already been proved to be a liar, that he had been lying, is lying, will be lying about Iraq.
He presumably did not know that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper's book "Dead Certain."
"I'm playing for October-November," Mr. Bush said to Draper. That, evidently, is the time during which he thinks he can sell us the real plan, which is, to quote him, "to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will become comfortable about sustaining a presence."
Comfortable, that is, with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, "stay longer."
And there it is, sir. We've caught you. Your goal is not to bring some troops home, maybe, if we let you have your way now. Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal. You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, "playing" at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us into it with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon.
Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely.
War today, war tomorrow, war forever!
And you are playing at it! Playing!
A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir!
And yet, yesterday at Al-Asad, Mr. Bush kept playing, and this time, using the second of his two faces.
The President told reporters, quote, "They (General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker) tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces."
And so, Mr. Bush got his fraudulent headlines today: "Bush May Bring Some Troops Home."
While the reality is, we know from what he told Draper, that the President's true hope is that they will not come home; but that they will stay there because he is keeping them there now in hope that those from his political party fighting to succeed him will prolong this unendurable disaster into the next decade.
But, to a country dying of thirst, the President seemed to vaguely promise a drink from a full canteen, a promise predicated on the assumption that he is not lying.
Yet you are lying, Mr. Bush. Again. But now, we know why.
You gave away more of yourself than you knew in that Draper book. And you gave away still more on the arduous trip back out of Iraq hours in the air, without so much as a single vacation.
"If you look at my comments over the past eight months," you told reporters, "it's gone from a security situation in the sense that we're either going to get out and there will be chaos, or, more troops. Now, the situation has changed, where I am able to speculate on the hypothetical."
Mr. Bush, the only "hypothetical" here is that you are not now holding our troops hostage. You have no intention of withdrawing them. But that doesn't mean you can't pretend you're thinking about it, does it?
That is your genius, sir. As you see it, anyway. You can deduce what we want. We, the people, remember us? And then use it against us.
You could hold that canteen up and promise it to the parched nation. And the untold number of Americans whose lives have not been directly blighted by Iraq or who do not realize that their safety has been reduced and not increased by Iraq, they will get the bullet points: "Bush is thinking about bringing some troops home. Bush even went to Iraq."
You can fool some of the people all of the time, can't you, Mr. Bush? You are playing us!
And as for the most immediate victims of the President's perfidy and shameless manipulation, those troops -- yesterday sweating literally as he spoke at Al-Asad Air Base -- tonight, again sweating figuratively in the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, the President saved, for them, the most egregious "playing" of the entire trip.
"I want to tell you this about my decision, about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground, not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media."
One must compliment Mr. Bush's writer. That, perhaps, was the most perfectly-crafted phrase of his presidency. For depraved indifference to democracy, for the craven projection of political motives onto those trying to save lives and save a nation, for a dismissal of the value of the polls and the importance of the media, for a summary of all he does not hold dear about this nation or its people, nothing could top that.
As if, sir, you listened to all the "calm assessments" of our military commanders rather than firing the ones who dared say the emperor has no clothes, and the President no judgment.
As if, sir, your entire presidency was not a "nervous reaction," and you yourself nothing but a Washington politician.
As if, sir, the media does not largely divide into those parts your minions are playing, and those others who unthinkingly and uncritically serve as your echo chamber, at a time when the nation's future may depend on the airing of dissent.
And as if, sir, those polls were not so overwhelming, and not so clearly reflective of the nation's agony and the nation's insistence.
But this President has ceased to listen. This President has decided that night is day, and death is life, and enraging the world against us is safety. And this laziest of presidents actually interrupted his precious time off to fly to Iraq to play at a photo opportunity with soldiers, some of whom will on his orders be killed before the year, maybe before the month is out.
Just over 500 days remain in this presidency. Consider the dead who have piled up on the battlefield in these last 500 days.
Consider the singular fraudulence of this President's trip to Iraq yesterday, and the singular fraudulence of the selling of the Petraeus report in these last 500 days.
Consider how this President has torn away at the fabric of this nation in a manner of which terrorists can only dream in these last 500 days.
And consider again how this President has spoken to that biographer, that he is "playing for October-November," that the goal in Iraq is "to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence." And consider how this revelation contradicts every other rationale he has offered in these last 500 days.
In the context of all that, now consider these next 500 days.
Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end, even if it means your resignation, even if it means your impeachment, even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term, even if it means a Democratic Congress and those true patriots among the Republicans standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and safe conduct home of our troops.
This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next 500 days.
Not while you, sir, are playing.
Good night and good luck.

GMA: Most Want Hillary as Driving Companion,
Boss and President

Tuesday's Good Morning America showcased a "quirky" poll indicating that between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton more Americans would like Clinton next to them for a multi-hour, cross country drive and would prefer the New York Senator to run the company that employs them. George Stephanopoulos spun the poll questions into good news for Clinton: "This almost perfectly tracks the head-to-head match-ups next year if you put Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, in the general election those numbers are almost a perfect match-up. Those two questions we ask actually get at what people are looking for in a President." A driving companion and a boss?

Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer also discussed Senator Clinton's attempts to increase her likability ratings. Stephanopoulos repeated a talking point by parroting the former First Lady's claim to be "the most famous person in the world that people don't know." Then, he helpfully played clips of Mrs. Clinton demonstrating warmth and humor on such venues as The Late Show and Ellen Degeneres's program. Finally, what little time was left for the Republicans was spent criticizing former Senator Fred Thompson for "fritter[ing]" the summer away and not exciting crowds.

Discussing the ABC poll results, Sawyer noted that, by a 48 to 45 percent split, respondents would prefer Clinton over Giuliani for a cross-country trip. On the subject of running their company, the New York Senator came out on top again: "It would be 45 percent for Hillary Clinton, against Giuliani. 45 percent to 42 percent."

[This item is adapted from a Tuesday afternoon posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A transcript of the September 4 segment, which aired at 7:11am:

Diane Sawyer: "Now to the race to 2008. Here is a statistic that caught our attention. When Bill Clinton first ran for President in 1992, he had spent $20,000 by this point in the race. His wife, Hillary Clinton, Senator Clinton, has now spent $20 million and today is the official kick-off of the campaign. Chief Washington correspondent, host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos joins us with the bottom line. Good morning, George."
George Stephanopoulos: "Good morning."
Sawyer: "Here we are, four months to go until the big race. First of all, I can't imagine what they are going to do, the pace they are going to keep."
Stephanopoulos: "Well, you know, Robin was saying this was the first day of school. These guys didn't get a summer break. They went all through the summer and for the next four months, the next 120 something days, it is going to be double time."
Sawyer: "Let's talk about the to-do list, starting with Hillary Clinton. One of the things that they wanted to get done by this point was this likability issue. Her national polls shows that she's got almost double Obama's numbers, but the likability question is key?"
Stephanopoulos: "She says that she's the most famous person in the world that people don't know. So what they try to do in this first phase is put Hillary Clinton in warmer, more personal more intimate settings. Take a look."
[Rapid clips of Hillary follow]
Senator Hillary Clinton, on the Ellen Degeneres Show: "Let's start with this, which is running for president for dummies. I read it. It's very helpful."
Ellen Degeneres: "And I'm on the cover."
Clinton, eating ice cream: "I was told that you can get everything on a stick."
David Letterman, on The Late Show With David Letterman: "It's true in college you were a Republican?"
Clinton: "I was. I was. Yeah, I was."
Letterman: "What lead you to the, people gasping!"
Clinton: "I think somebody fainted in the third row."

Stephanopoulos: "This is a strategy that worked for Hillary Clinton in her Senate run back in 2000-2001. They think it will work again."
Sawyer: "And we told everybody we had a quirky, kind of, little poll. Couple of questions we want to ask that you might ask at home. One question, which candidate would you like to drive across country with of the Democrats. Take a look at this. Look who won. Hillary Clinton. 51 percent of you said that you would rather drive across country with her. Obama 22. Edwards 14."
Stephanopoulos: "It shows the strategy is paying off for Hillary Clinton, number one. It also shows, though, she's the most famous candidate far and away."
Sawyer: "Most famous. So, in the next four months what does she have to do to hold on to that lead with Obama now chipping away at her?"
Stephanopoulos: "There were a pair of dueling soundbites over the weekend that you have to take a look at to help illustrate this."
Clinton: "Change is just a word if you don't have the strength and experience to make it happen."
Senator Barack Obama: "I might not have the experience Washington likes but I believe I have the experience America needs right now."
Stephanopoulos: "That is the fight for the Democratic nomination in 15 seconds. Hillary trounces all of the other candidates, Barack Obama, John Edwards on the issue of strength and experience. She thinks that she has to convince the voters she can bring about change in Washington. And you see, both Barack Obama and John Edwards hitting at that. That's what they will focus on in the next four months, saying she can't do it."
Sawyer: "Quick question now about the Republicans and Giuliani, who is also ahead substantially. But there's something called a Labor Day lock for the Republicans, whoever is ahead on Labor Day, today, should win the nomination?"
Stephanopoulos: "Going back to 1952 every single Republican who had the lead on the Labor Day the year before the election got the nomination."
Sawyer: "And yet Thompson is getting in the race today, former Senator."
Stephanopoulos: "He's getting in this week. He had a tough summer and probably frittered away some excitement he had. What he's got to do is prove in the next week and he's only got about a week, that he can perform as well on the campaign trail as he does on television. He hasn't excited crowds yet."
Sawyer: "All right. Let's take a look though, before we let you go because we promised you the answers to our national poll questions. We did match up Hillary Clinton against the front-runner Rudy Giuliani on our two little questions that we asked everybody. If you were driving cross country and you had to choose between Clinton/Giuliani, the results? 48 percent said Clinton on that drive across country. And if you were picking someone to run the company, where you are heading back to work today, whom would you pick there? Well-"
Stephanopoulos: "That's on the Republican side."
Sawyer: "This is the Republican side. It would be 45 percent for Hillary Clinton, against Giuliani. 45 percent to 42 percent."
Stephanopoulos: "And, you know, this almost perfectly tracks the head-to-head match-ups next year if you put Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton in the general election those numbers are almost a perfect match-up. Those two questions we ask actually get at what people are looking for in a President."

Matt Lauer's Environmental Solution:
Earth Without Humans

On Tuesday's Today show Matt Lauer discovered the solution to all the environmental crises Al Gore and his ilk have warned about, there's just one hitch, it involves the extinction of all mankind. Promoting a book that examined how long it would take for the Earth to clean up "the mess we've made," Lauer pondered how pristine the planet would be without us: "Then we're gonna talk to the author of a book and this is, really asks an interesting question. The book is called The World Without Us and it asks the question what would happen to planet Earth if human beings were to suddenly disappear. What would happen to our cities? What would happen to our landmarks? How quickly would our streets turn to rivers? How quickly would our farmland turn to forest? What would happen to natural wonders and man made wonders, like the Panama Canal or the Statue of Liberty. We're gonna talk to the author about that. And really it's all about trying to figure out how long it would take nature to reclaim what we've created." Meredith Vieira chimed in: "The mess." Lauer echoed: "How long it would take nature to fix the mess we've made?"

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Incidentally, Lauer's segment was very reminiscent of an observation made by Newsweek's David Adler way back in their December 31, 1990 issue: "It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem." That quote was so outrageous it was a runner-up for the MRC's Quote of the Year. To see that quote and the entire list of winners for that year, go to: www.mrc.org

And this wasn't the first time Lauer had ruminated about a planet Earth without humans. In June of 2006 he narrated a Sci-Fi Channel special, "Countdown to Doomsday," in which he declared: "Today, life on earth is disappearing faster than the days when dinosaurs breathed their last, but for a very different reason." He claimed: "Us homo sapiens are turning out to be as destructive a force as any asteroid." Lauer intoned: "Today, some of our greatest scientific minds are warning that we could be on the brink of another terrible extinction, only this one, is our own." For a full rundown, check the June 22, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Back to Tuesday's Today show, during the interview with the book's author Lauer wondered how long it would take for such environmentally-damaging things like farmland and the Statue of Liberty to degrade and then concluded:
"What's the lesson here? Would the Earth miss us at all? How long would it take for it, to fix the problems we created?"
Alan Weisman, author: "Some things, obviously, would be colonized by nature and covered by nature very quickly. Other things that we've done are gonna be very cloying. Plastics. Nothing knows how to break them down yet. They'll be around for millions of years. They'll be a part of the geologic record. Our radioactive wastes-"
Lauer: "We got, we got a lot of lessons to learn and this book might teach us a few of them. Alan Weisman, thanks for being here."

(Later Tuesday, Weisman was Jon Stewart's guest on Comedy Central's Daily Show.)

The following are the silly teasers from Lauer and Vieira, followed by the full interview segment as they aired in the 8am half hour of the September 4 Today show:

Matt Lauer: "Also how about this? What would happen to our planet if human beings were to disappear? It's an interesting question. Probably better off. What would happen to our homes, our cities, our landmarks? Actually how long would it take Mother Nature to reclaim what human beings have created? We'll talk to the author of a new book that poses that very question."

...

Matt Lauer: "Then we're gonna talk to the author of a book and this is, really asks an interesting question. The book is called The World Without Us and it asks the question what would happen to planet Earth if human beings were to suddenly disappear. What would happen to our cities? What would happen to our landmarks? How quickly would our streets turn to rivers? How quickly would our farmland turn to forest? What would happen to natural wonders and man made wonders, like the Panama Canal or the Statue of Liberty. We're gonna talk to the author about that. And really it's all about trying to figure out how long it would take nature to reclaim what we've created."
Meredith Vieira: "The mess."
Lauer: "How long it would take nature to fix the mess we've made?"

...

Matt Lauer: "There's been a lot of debate these days about what mankind is doing to our planet. So here's an interesting question for you. What would happen to Earth if humans simply disappeared? Author and journalist Alan Weisman tackles those questions in his new book, it's called, The World Without Us. Alan, good morning. Nice to have you here."
Alan Weisman: "My pleasure."
Lauer: "I like the idea. So many people spend time thinking about how long we can survive on Earth, you take the question one step further and say what happens to Earth after we're gone? Where did you come up with this idea?"
Weisman: "Well, as an environmental writer I get more and more concerned that people don't want to read stuff that is really frightening to them because they're scared that we're all gonna die if something doesn't change or we don't change. So I figured that by theoretically wiping us off the face of the Earth and then just seeing what would happen next, it sort of gets people thinking that, 'Well okay we're already dead. This is gonna be fun. We get to see the future."
Lauer: "So let me just, first of all, fill people in. How did you wipe us off the face of the Earth? What happened to us that created the situation?"
Weisman: "I don't spend, really, much time. I pose a few possibilities. They're remote possibilities. A homosapien-specific virus might pick us off. And let's say that AIDS were airborne, instead of transferred by fluids. Let's say there's a rapture or some nano-genius figures out a way to sterilize us."
Lauer: "One way or another we're gone."
Weisman: "Yeah."
Lauer: "We're gone? Alright, let's get into some specifics. You got a lot of people, right now, Alan, they're watching from their comfortable homes, their houses. Human beings are gone from the Earth. What happens to those homes?"
Weisman: "Well everyone who owns a home knows that nature is always trying to repossess it faster than the bank. And if you're not maintaining it constantly stuff is going to come in. You're gonna have little animals coming in, be they insects or small mammals. Mold is coming in and most of all water is trying to get in. And if you're not maintaining your roof water will start to seep underneath and then it starts to fall apart."
Lauer: "And let's face it, we're using cheaper and cheaper building materials these days so, so Mother Nature is gonna win. You write this, 'Gradually the asphalt jungle will give way to a real one.' You talk about cities. For example, New York City. And what's gonna happen underground in the tunnels, under the streets with water damage. What's the scenario? And how long does it take?"

Weisman: "Well subway engineers took me underneath New York to show me that, even on a sunny day, 13 million gallons of groundwater has to be pumped away. This used to be a very hilly island. There were streams that would whisk the water away to the sea. That we flattened the city down to superimpose the grid. So the water is underground and if they're not pumping it uphill or if there are no human beings manning the power plants, it's gonna flood and then the columns holding up the streets are gonna corrode and-"
Lauer: "So Lexington Avenue is a river and-"
Weisman: "It would take 20 years or so for those columns to corrode enough that the streets would cave-in but that would definitely happen."
Lauer: "A lot of bridges around the world would simply collapse and fall."
Weisman: "Right, but Manhattan's bridges, because they were built really early in the 20th century, oftentimes they're overbuilt, so they're probably gonna last longer than say some of our interstate freeway bridges that are already starting to collapse."
Lauer: "How long would it take for farmland to turn into forest again?"
Weisman: "It depends on whether that farmland had received a lot of fertilizer and pesticides and all the other things that we've done to soil. And I've got comparisons of both kinds in this book. The, the farms in northern New England that never saw much fertilizer, they're already turning into forests. The ones that have gotten all this coating of municipal sludge and the other things that we do to so-call improve soil, they're very acidic. They've been very leeched, it's gonna take a while."
Lauer: "Let's talk about some landmarks, things we can all see. Some iconic images around the world. The Great Wall of China. No human beings. How long does that last?"
Weisman: "Great Wall of China isn't all that great compared to other things because it really depends, just like our subways, just like our bridges on human maintenance. It's a pastiche of bricks and mud and sticks and even rice gluten to hold it all together. And if people weren't there maintaining it, erosion would just dissolve it."
Lauer: "The Panama Canal? What's its future with no humans?"
Weisman: "The Panama Canal was described to me, in Panama by engineers there, as this great wound in the Earth that amputated one continent from the other. It would take less than 20 years, probably less than 10 years for that wound to be healed by nature."
Lauer: "Here's something that would last longer than I ever, the Chunnel. Okay, the tunnel that, that goes from Great Britain to France? How long would that last?"
Weisman: "Well the Chunnel was built, intelligently, through one geographic layer. So it probably wouldn't get divided by a fault or anything. It would, it's a really well-built tunnel that might be buried down there forever. However, the, the Calais side, the French side isn't that high above sea level. So if seas keep rising it may flood and water will collect at the lowest point. It's kind of v-shaped."
Lauer: "Things that would last a long time: the Statue of Liberty, pennies minted before a certain year. What's the lesson here? Would the Earth miss us at all? How long would it take for it, to fix the problems we created?"
Weisman: "Some things, obviously, would be colonized by nature and covered by nature very quickly. Other things that we've done are gonna be very cloying. Plastics. Nothing knows how to break them down yet. They'll be around for millions of years. They'll be a part of the geologic record. Our radioactive wastes-"
Lauer: "We got, we got a lot of lessons to learn and this book might teach us a few of them. Alan Weisman, thanks for being here."
Weisman: "Thank you very much, Matt."

In Duke Case, 'Lot of Journalists Behaved
in a Shameful Fashion'

ABC's Chris Cuomo talked, on Tuesday's Good Morning America, to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse alleged rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged: "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen." He even


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More See & Hear the Bias

proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media." Former New York Times reporter Stuart Taylor, co-author of Until Proven Innocent, a book about the case, indicted liberal journalists: "The desire to bally-ho the sensational allegation, coincided with a lot of political prejudices that a lot of journalists have, in particular, the, sort of, the race/class/sex obsession. You find a bunch of privileged white males. You find a underprivileged black female who says, 'They raped me.' They loved it. The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it. And a lot of journalists behaved in a shameful fashion."

However, while Cuomo did engage Taylor and his co-author, K.C. Johnson, on the subject of the media's failings in relation to the scandal, the GMA anchor ignored an example from his own network. In April of 2007, ABC reporter Terry Moran blogged on the network's site that Americans shouldn't feel too bad for the students because of their wealth. He also claimed that the women of Rutgers basketball team suffered more from Don Imus:
"As students of Duke University or other elite institutions, these young men will get on with their privileged lives. There is a very large cushion under them -- the one that softens the blows of life for most of those who go to Duke or similar places, and have connections through family, friends and school to all kinds of prospects for success. They are very differently situated in life from, say, the young women of the Rutgers University women's basketball team." See April 13 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A transcript of the September 4 segment, which aired at 8:40am:

Chris Cuomo: "For too many, the phrase Duke lacrosse conjures images of sexual assault rather than sport. And the names Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and Dave Evans seem criminal, though no evidence of any crime was ever produced. So it's a simple question: How did this investigation go so wrong? And what was the motivation for such assumed prejudice? The answers now come in the form of a book written by two men very close to the case. The title says it all. What is it? 'Until Proven Innocent.' It would be, 'Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.' The authors, Stuart Taylor, K.C. Johnson join us now. Appreciate it. Stuart, let's get to what shocks the conscience here. We were talking before, we were talking all along with this case. Never saw anything that gave me such pause as a journalist and as an attorney, a prosecutor so out in front with so little behind his suggestions. Why did this happen?"
Stuart Taylor Jr., co-author: "Well, you were on this before we were, but I think it happened in, most generally, because Mike Nifong, the prosecutor, was desperate to win an election. The reason he was desperate to win an election was not that he wanted to be a big-shot politician or governor. He was worried about his pension. He was a career prosecutor. His pension would be a lot lower if he got fired by the person who was going to beat him in the election which is what would have happened and therefore he was desperate to win and the way he decided to win was by exploiting and demagoging this case to inflame the black vote into a frenzy of hatred of these innocent defendants."
Cuomo: "An easy ploy, but, you know, and again, you're reporting is rich in the book, but it's such an absurd conclusion. A pension? That's what it was about? What is your main reason for believing that?"
Taylor: "Because Jackie Brown, the campaign manager to Mike Nifong, during that primary campaign has gone public and has said and told us in more detail, told Casey in more detail, I believe, that that is why he told her he was desperate to win the election. That's why he told her he was running for election. And, of course, whether it's because he wanted a pension or because he wanted to be a big shot is probably less important than the fact that he decided to prosecute three people in the face of evidence that he had to know, unless he was deluded, showed that they were innocent, to prosecute them so he could win an election."
Cuomo: "And perhaps more sad, the man was embraced and that takes to us the theme of the political correctness, what it seemed like it was the right thing to do. You had an alleged victim who was a minority. You had a university campus that wanted to stand up for diversity and come after this culture of sportsmen who supposedly were a little too wild and K.C., you worked with the ABC law and justice unit, best unit at ABC News, as far as I'm concerned. You got involved because of what you saw among the academics. Why?"
K.C. Johnson, co-author: "That's correct. I had no connection to Duke. I didn't know Duke had a lacrosse team when this started. But even before there were indictments, well before there were indictments, 88 professors at Duke came out with a public statement saying, unequivocally, something happened to the accuser, thanking protesters who had carried a castrate banner. And this was such an extraordinary betrayal of what professors are supposed to do. They are supposed to stand up for due process. They are supposed to stand up for the dispassionate evaluation of evidence. And what we had here were professors who were exploiting their own students' difficulties for their own agenda."
Cuomo: "And it went into all facets of society. I mean, we think of the obvious example, O.J. Simpson drew down about how the system works, about black versus white. Well, this did the same thing but in reverse fashion. And it carried all the way into the media. It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen. Something had to happen. It couldn't be nothing. Why did the media fall into it, Stuart, in your opinion?"
Taylor: "We call it, in a chapter heading, politically correct sensationalism. Sensationalism is an obvious thing. It's not necessarily political. This was a sensational allegation. But in this case, the desire to bally-ho the sensational allegation, coincided with a lot of political prejudices that a lot of journalists have, in particular, the, sort of, the race/class/sex obsession. You find a bunch of privileged white males. You find a underprivileged black female who says, 'They raped me.' They loved it. The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it. And a lot of journalists behaved in a shameful fashion present company excepted, I'm glad to say."
Cuomo, laughs: "Yeah. And yet, it also brought out the best in journalists. You mentioned in here, the AP, the wire stories that were coming out. They were working hard to ferret out clues. This, some guy named Dan Abrams, worked at some other place. He was working at it. It did bring out the best in people as well. But, it brings us to this: What is the lesson here? What did we learn other than what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media. What is the lesson?"
Johnson: "This was the highest profile case of prosecutorial misconduct to unfold before our eyes in American history and groups that we think of as defenders of due process and opponents of this kind of behavior, liberals in the media, leftists in the academy, civil rights organizations, especially in North Carolina, not only didn't protest against Mike Nifong's behavior, they gleefully embraced it. And this suggests a corruption of elements of our culture that is, really, depressing."
Cuomo: "Stuart, quickly tell me because the boys are who matter here at the end of the day, how are they doing? Collin, Reade, Dave. How are they doing?"
Taylor: "They are doing well, I think. Dave has got a job on Wall Street. Colin has transferred to Loyola Marymount. Just Loyola, not Marymount. And, and Reade is going to Brown. They are going to play lacrosse. I would like to add, we got to know these kids and their families very well. They are wonderful kids. There's a lot of people who would like to pillory them as bad kids. 'Oh, well, maybe they may not have been rapists, but they are bad kids because they hired strippers.' Well, one of them was involved in hiring strippers. Let him who without sin cast the first stone. I thought they were terrific people."
Cuomo: "Absolutely. Nobody is perfect. But, I'll tell you what, this was a perfect topic to choose. Stuart, K.C., thank you very much. If you want to read an excerpt of the book, and you can get any title that is featured on GMA, go to ABC News.com."

CNN Relays Charge 'Terror' Motivates
Arabic School Opponents

CNN, in their day-long reporting Tuesday about the opening day for a controversial publicly-funded Arabic-language school in New York City, sympathized with the school and its supporters, and helped denigrate its opponents. On American Morning and throughout the day, CNN aired a report from correspondent Richard Roth on the Khalil Gibran International Academy, whose curriculum will focus on, CNSNews.com reported last week, teaching "Arabic language and culture." The school's principal, Roth relayed, was replaced after she "was quoted defending the use of the word 'Intifada' on a T-shirt." That ouster led Carmen Colon, the focus of Roth's story, to pull her son from the school before its opening. Roth closed with a clip from Colon, who charged: "The people who are so against this school who, for me, seem more like the terrorists by terrorizing the community and making us feel that it's unsafe for our children to be there. They're the ones who are terrorizing us, not the school, not the principal, and not the administration."

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips challenged a critic of the school: "Isn't that what we would want our children to do, is have a better understanding of the Arabic culture, so we don't create more prejudice, we don't create more division among Americans and the Arab culture?"

For the August 29 CNSNews.com story: www.cnsnews.com

Roth's report aired multiple times during the day, including Your World Today, a program on CNN International, which is simulcast on CNN during the 12pm Eastern hour. The report was often prefaced and followed by Roth's live reporting from the school in Brooklyn and from City Hall in Manhattan, where a rally against the school took place.

[This item is adapted from a Tuesday evening posting, by Matthew Balan, on MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During the 2pm Eastern hour of CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips interviewed Pamela Hall of the organization "Stop the Madrassa" after the report re-ran. Hall, who was featured in Roth's report, faced a hostile interview from Phillips, who took the statements from NYC education officials associated with the school at face value.

Excerpts from Phillips' interview of Hall:

KYRA PHILLIPS: Pamela, tell me more about why you want this school closed down.
PAMELA HALL, "STOP THE MADRASSA": Well, the situation has never changed. We still do not know what the curricula is. It has not been released. We do not have the textbooks. We do not know what has been created. It is a false statement to say that they have to simply abide by some kind of public school regulations. And the latest document released by the Department of Education is that they cannot find the curricula. They opened that school today, 7:30 this morning. They've (sic) teaching the children something and they will not tell us what.
PHILLIPS: We will tell you what, because Garth Harries, who works for the school system, talked about the curriculum this morning on CNN. Here is what he had to say.
GARTH HARRIES, NYC DEPT. OF EDUCATION: It's the core sixth grade curriculum that these kids are starting with, which is the basics, math, English, history, science, and the kids are also going to be learning Arabic, which is an incredibly exciting and unique opportunity for these kids. Religion plays absolutely no part in this school. This is a public school. It wouldn't play a part in any of our schools. As a themed school focused on a language, it's like so many other. We have 70 dual-language programs around the city. Those are programs that frankly give our kids a leg up. It gives them a language, they're inclusive, and they let them learn about the world.
PHILLIPS: Well, there you have it. There's your answer. Do you feel better about the school now?
HALL: No. No, that is not an answer. Garth Harries is being quite dishonest with you. He himself, the Department of Education, they have known that they are not releasing the curricula, and they have not released it. That's why we have to go to court next week. They have told us they cannot find the curricula and it will take them at least a month to find it-
PHILLIPS: Well, I'm curious why you're calling it a Madrassa. It's an academy.
HALL: It is a public school that has associated with it people like Almontaser and her all-religious board of imams. These people are all-
PHILLIPS: But they disassociated them from that woman who was wearing the T-shirt that was the principal. And they now have a new principal, a white Jewish woman-
HALL: She's not new. She's not new.
PHILLIPS: She's the acting principal right now-
HALL: Yes. She's not new. She helped create the school.
PHILLIPS: But she's not Islamic. She's not Arabic.
HALL: Because you're trying to make this be that we are saying that they are teaching religion. This is an Islamist ideology propaganda textbooks that are out there that we have seen and we have done our research on-

CNN clearly showed its knack for sympathizing with groups they see as "persecuted minorities" in the above excerpts. Since 9/11, they have focused in particular on the "plight" of Muslims and Arabs who live in the U.S. (as Christiane Amanpour did in "God's Muslim Warriors"). They also showed their apparent disinterest in the school system's lack of transparency with regards to the school's curriculum.

After another clip from the earlier "American Morning" interview of Harries was played, Phillips put her "multi-culturalism hat" on.

PHILLIPS: Now, Pamela, isn't that what we would want our children to do, is have a better understanding of the Arabic culture, so we don't create more prejudice, we don't create more division among Americans and the Arab culture?
HALL: Whose Arab culture? We keep asking them. That is why we have the friends of Khalil Gibran have said, please cease and desist using this name. How are they going to teach about Maronite, Melkite Christians that make up some of, most of the Arab-speaking world? How will they teach about their cultures? There is no Arab culture. Whose culture is he speaking about?
PHILLIPS: You're talking about those that speak Arabic, those that live in the Middle East, those of Middle East decent that live in the United States. They're talking about bridging a very divided world right now. You've got the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, all the insurgency, the terrorism, what happened on 9/11. There's a lot of misconception about the Middle Eastern people, and this is one step toward teaching our children -- this is what they say -- to understand the language and the culture of the Middle East. Don't you think that's important?

'Top Ten Dumb Guy Ways to Make the Internet
More Exciting'

From the Late Show's "Top Ten Contest" page, the winning responses posted September 1 for the "Top Ten Dumb Guy Ways to Make the Internet More Exciting." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Replace wireless mouse with real mouse (Walid A, Paris, France)

9. Add a $1 menu (Lynne P, Altoona, PA)

8. Pop-OUT ads (Klen D, Stratford, WI)

7. Computers with built-in Cheez-Whiz dispenser (Mitch T, Endicott, NY)

6. www.askKFED.com (Brian D, St. Augustine, FL)

5. Do a shot every time you get a pop-up ad (Gary C, Horicon, WI)

4. Invest in new "digital potted meat technology" that would allow you to receive actual Spam (Dave B, Willis, TX)

3. More videos of people eating off the floor (Gareth S, Dublin, Ireland)

2. Have illegal Mac vs. PC computer fights hosted by Michael Vick (Kathleen M, Philadelphia, PA)

1. Have Miss Teen South Carolina give tutorial (David D, LaValle, WI)


This week's contest: "Senator Larry Craig's Top Ten Excuses." To submit your entry, go to: www.cbs.com

-- Brent Baker