ABC Fails to Note Depth of Its Arnold "Admired" Hitler Misquote --10/6/2003
2. LA Times Gets Angry Reader Backlash for its Last-Minute Stories
3. Kay Lashes Out at How Media Downplayed What He Found in Iraq
4. Krauthammer: Arnold Went to the Clinton School of Courtship
Even though the New York Times corrected it in late Thursday editions and again on Friday, Linda Douglass of ABC News waited until Sunday before correcting, sort of, the inaccurate quote she highlighted on Thursday's World News Tonight about how Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly once asserted: "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it."
In fact, according to a transcript of a portion of the 1970s Pumping Iron documentary which did not make it into the final movie, but which was part of the director of the film's book proposal, Schwarzenegger actually said (with portion ABC News left out in ALL CAPS): "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for HIS WAY OF GETTING TO THE PEOPLE AND SO ON. BUT I DON'T ADMIRE HIM FOR what he did with it."
A bit of a different meaning.
But while World News Tonight featured the original quote in on-screen text, when Douglass got around to clarifying it on Sunday's This Week, she did not display the full and accurate text on screen nor read the full and accurate quote, and so really failed to convey the depth of her misquote. Giving a "This Week" briefing, she noted that the Schwarzenegger campaign has "produced the author of the book which contains some statements that Schwarzenegger made claiming to admire Hitler. Now the author of the book says he admired his speaking style, but not what he did with those speeches."
In a Saturday New York Times story, David Kirkpatrick explained how after the Times contacted George Butler on Thursday for a Friday story about the quotes in his book proposal based on his documentary, Butler called back with a correction. An excerpt from the October 4 New York Times story:
After early editions of The Times were printed Thursday night, Mr. Butler called a reporter to say that he had driven to his home in New Hampshire to find transcripts of the interviews with Mr. Schwarzenegger that Mr. Butler said corrected certain quotations and provided fuller context. Later editions of The Times included the fuller quotations.
Mr. Butler said yesterday that he had located a relevant transcript of about 20 pages. He read portions over the phone to a reporter, but he declined to provide the transcript in full without the authorization of the campaign. By the time that a spokesman for the campaign authorized the release at the end of the day, Mr. Butler could not be reached.
In the portion of the interview read over the phone and later distributed by the campaign, Mr. Schwarzenegger said: "In many ways I admired people -- It depends for what. I admired Hitler for instance because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn't admire him for what he did with it. It is very hard to say who I admired and who are my heroes. And I admired basically people who are powerful people, like Kennedy. Who people listen to and just wait until he comes out with telling them what to do. People like that I admire a lot."
Mr. Butler said the book proposal had erroneously dropped a few words from a quotation attributed to Mr. Schwarzenegger. According to Mr. Butler's reading of the transcript, Mr. Schwarzenegger followed his comments about Hitler's public speaking by adding, "But I didn't admire him for what he did with it." He did not say, "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it," as he was quoted in the book proposal and in early editions of The Times.
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.nytimes.com
On the Thursday, October 2 World News Tonight Linda Douglass trumpeted:
For more on that story, see the October 3 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
ABC has no newscast on Saturdays during college football season, but Douglass offered California campaign updates on Sunday on both This Week, where she delivered a "This Week Briefing," and on World News Tonight/Sunday where she featured the claims of two more women.
But ABC never gave equal prominence, by displaying it on screen or even by reading it in full, to the correction as they had the original misquote.
And, as of Monday morning, the original story with the false quote was still featured on the ABCNews.com page for World News Tonight: abcnews.go.com
The text of the still-online October 2 Douglass story:
That story is online at: abcnews.go.com
The Los Angeles Times has suffered some angry reader feedback over its series of last-minute stories about women who charge Arnold Schwarzenegger with inappropriate sexual advances toward them, allegations that go back decades. To its credit, on Sunday, the paper carried a story about its upset readership.
An excerpt from the October 5 story, "Readers Angry at The Times for Schwarzenegger Stories," by Steve Hymon, Cara Mia DiMassa and Mitchell Landsberg:
Kathy McIver is a Democrat from La Habra and a longtime subscriber to The Times. Today's paper, she says, will be the last that will be delivered to her door.
Like many readers, McIver is angry. She is angry about The Times' coverage of the California recall campaign, and especially angry about the stories that the newspaper has run in recent days detailing allegations that Arnold Schwarzenegger touched women inappropriately.
"I was disappointed that The Times was being used to be the messenger," she said in an interview Saturday, "and that they would do that type of investigation and not balance it out by having something negative about [Gov. Gray] Davis because, as we all know, he's done some negative things."
Since publishing an article Thursday that described allegations by six women that Schwarzenegger groped them or made inappropriate comments, The Times has come under attack on talk-radio stations and television, and has been the target of vociferous complaints by the Schwarzenegger campaign.
Schwarzenegger complained Saturday that The Times was taking part in an effort "to derail my campaign, and I think that it's part of the puke campaign that Davis launched now."
But the greatest volume of outrage has come from readers, who have flooded the paper with calls, e-mails and letters.
"To me this is a fairness issue," said Debbie Mahoney, a 52-year-old Northern California resident who said she has read the paper periodically for the last five years. She said The Times has demonstrated "true bias" in its coverage of Schwarzenegger.
"You don't even call him by his name," she said. "Whenever I see coverage of Schwarzenegger, I see 'actor.' He's not running as an actor. He's running as a businessman."
As of Saturday evening, about 1,000 readers had canceled their subscriptions to protest the handling of the Schwarzenegger story. In addition, the newspaper had received as many as 400 phone calls critical of its coverage -- many angry, some profane.
About 800 people had written to praise the newspaper's coverage, many apparently motivated by a liberal Web site that urged readers to register their support.
Jamie Gold, who has served as The Times' readers' representative since August 2001 and is responsible for responding to complaints, said she was aware of few events that have ever triggered such anger by the newspaper's readers.
Most of the criticism revolves around a belief that the newspaper has intentionally targeted Schwarzenegger as part of a partisan agenda, and a concern that the stories about him were published too close to Tuesday's election to allow his campaign to respond....
Some readers said they had decided to vote for Schwarzenegger as a reaction to The Times stories.
"You've pushed me over to hold my nose and vote for him," said Kenneth Sesley, a pastor in Lake Elsinore. "Because I just don't think it was fair. And that's the backlash. A lot of Californians don't think it was fair."
Lewis Garrigus, 55, a retired financial analyst who described himself as a longtime Times reader, was among those saying he would cancel his subscription.
"It's not just me saying the L.A. Times is prejudiced," said Garrigus, who lives in the Orange County town of Stanton. "It's everyone. I finally got absolutely sick of it. There is never anything positive about Schwarzenegger on the front page of the paper."
Garrigus said that he hasn't voted in 20 years, but plans to vote Tuesday -- because he is so upset by The Times' coverage. "I swear, I can't stand it anymore," he said. "There are never two sides of something on the front page. Who does your editor think he's kidding?"
Editor John Carroll responded that he believed The Times has provided balanced coverage, and that it has published critical stories about several candidates in the recall race.
"Early in the campaign, we reported that Arianna Huffington had paid no state income taxes, which was devastating to her campaign," he said. "In the case of Davis, we did, three or four weeks ago, a huge front-page story on our biggest circulation day, Sunday, on the case against him. It was the most comprehensive account of all of his shortcomings that I've read in any publication."...
END of Excerpt
For the Times piece in full: www.latimes.com
CIA Iraq arms inspector David Kay on Sunday lashed out at how stories last week on his preliminary report focused on how his team did not find weapons of mass destruction when they did locate stores of deadly biological agents and of other weapons which violated UN resolutions. On Fox News Sunday, Kay asserted: "I'm sort of amazed at what was powerful information about both their intent and their actual activities that were not known and were hidden from UN inspectors seems not to have made it to the press. This is information that, had it been available last year, would have been headline news."
Kay made a similar point in his other two Sunday appearance, on ABC's This Week and CNN's Late Edition, but ABC's George Stephanopoulos and George Will and CNN's Wolf Blitzer were more interested in getting him to shoot down specific pre-war claims made by Bush, Powell and Rumsfeld and so did not press him to elaborate on bad stuff that he did find.
Fox's Tony Snow, however, allowed him to expand on his complaint about media coverage.
Snow began the October 5 session by displaying some Friday newspaper headlines:
Snow asked: "Is that what you found?"
To be fair to reporters, though both TV and print led with definitive headlines about how no WMD were found, all the stories I saw on the TV networks and in major newspapers did at least briefly convey how Kay had found an effort to build prohibited missiles and possessed deadly biological agents.
For instance, here's the fourth paragraph of the October 3 Washington Post story by Dana Priest and Walter Pincus:
Best line of the weekend. Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News Sunday, on Arnold Schwarzenegger accosting women: "He went to the Bill Clinton School of Courtship and graduated rather high in his class."
# This week on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Monday night, Katie Couric and Al Franken; Tuesday night: Dennis Miller.
And Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart will go live Tuesday at 11pm EDT to cover the recall vote, as will all the cable news networks since California polls close at 11pm EDT.
-- Brent Baker