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ABC Finds Soldiers In Iraq Backing Candidates: Obama and Clinton --4/8/2008


1. ABC Finds Soldiers In Iraq Backing Candidates: Obama and Clinton
ABC, which wasn't so interested in 2004 in reporting overwhelming military support for President Bush over John Kerry, on Monday night aired a story on how soldiers in Iraq are split between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- with only an afterthought about how "some" prefer John McCain. Relating how "only moments before we talked to them, these troops had been listening to Vice President Cheney give a rousing speech," but Cheney "didn't change their political preference," Raddatz played clips from two soldiers backing Obama and two supporting Clinton. Those endorsing one of the Democrats echoed common campaign themes as Obama's supporters asserted Obama "has our better interests in mind" and "he represents change" while the Clinton backers declared "that her husband did a good job as President" and "that we should have a gradual draw down," but Raddatz chose to air just this one soundbite from the McCain supporter with a rather narrow self-interest: "Well, Republicans paid my paycheck this far. Might as well keep it going."

2. Bill McCuddy of Fox News: Heston 'Infamous for His Politics'
Before ABC News on Sunday night described Charlton Heston as "polarizing" for his conservative views and CBS News dubbed him "controversial," the Fox News Channel aired a obituary piece which impugned Heston as "infamous for his politics, including his belief that the Bill of Rights is built upon the bedrock of the Second Amendment." The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the characterization on Fox & Friends Weekend, at about 7:12 AM EDT Sunday morning, in a pre-packaged piece narrated by Bill McCuddy, though he was never identified or shown, possibly because he is longer with FNC. The Oxford dictionary defines "infamous" as "well known for some bad quality or deed" or "morally bad; shocking." The Merriam-Webster dictionary: "Having a reputation of the worst kind: notoriously evil," or "causing or bringing infamy: disgraceful."

3. Charlton Heston: 'Villain to Many,' or NRA's Moses?
Even in sympathetic appreciations of Charlton Heston's life and career, his conservative activism for gun rights was treated as a sour note. Richard Corliss, on Time's Web site, felt compelled to write: "He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association." But in Monday's Washington Post, film critic Stephen Hunter compared Heston to one of his most famous roles, Moses.


ABC Finds Soldiers In Iraq Backing Candidates:
Obama and Clinton

ABC, which wasn't so interested in 2004 in reporting overwhelming military support for President Bush over John Kerry, on Monday night aired a story on how soldiers in Iraq are split between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- with only an afterthought about how "some" prefer John McCain. Relating how "only moments before we talked to them, these troops had been listening to Vice President Cheney give a rousing speech," but Cheney "didn't change their political preference," Raddatz played clips from two soldiers backing Obama and two supporting Clinton.

Those endorsing one of the Democrats echoed common campaign themes as Obama's supporters asserted Obama "has our better interests in mind" and "he represents change" while the Clinton backers declared "that her husband did a good job as President" and "that we should have a gradual draw down," but Raddatz chose to air just this one soundbite from the McCain supporter with a rather narrow self-interest: "Well, Republicans paid my paycheck this far. Might as well keep it going."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The November 2, 2004 CyberAlert item, "Most in Military Back Bush, But ABC and CBS Avoid that Reality," recounted:

Though it's illegal to poll the military about their voting choices, a National Annenberg Election Survey found that when those in the active duty military were "asked whom they would trust more to handle the responsibility of commander-in-chief, 69 percent...preferred Bush to 24 percent for Kerry" while 69 percent had a favorable view of Bush compared to just 29 percent for Kerry. But on Monday night, CBS and ABC managed to avoid conveying that presidential preference in stories on Marines in Iraq preparing for an assault on Fallujah. CBS's Kimberly Dozier asserted that "most" of the Marines "didn't even know Election Day was almost here." A Lance Corporal declared: "I really don't have any favorites right now. They both got their pluses and their minuses."

ABC's Jim Sciutto, however, found the Marines very aware of the election with "many" having "voted three weeks ago" by absentee ballot. Sciutto featured a political comment from one Marine who echoed Ralph Nader: "I hope that the people try to make the decision on who to vote for take into consideration that this conflict needs to end. And it needs to end now."...

For the entire previous CyberAlert article: www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Monday, April 7 World News on ABC:

CHARLES GIBSON: We have heard a great deal from voters in this campaign season. But one block of voters we haven't heard from much are the men and women stationed in Iraq. The war is their key issue, of course, but it's not the only one. ABC's Martha Raddatz has talked with many of the troops about whom they support and why.

MARTHA RADDATZ: The military is not supposed to engage in partisan political activity, making these endorsements by troops in Iraq all the more striking. Who do you want for President?
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JEREMY SLATE, U.S. ARMY: Barack Obama.
RADDATZ: And why?
SLATE: Because I think he has our better interests in mind. Yes.
RADDATZ: He wants to pull out of Iraq right away.
SLATE: Yes, so.
RADDATZ: You do, too?
SLATE: Well, that would be nice. I'd like to be home. Yes.
STAFF SERGEANT MIRANDA GLOVER, U.S. ARMY: Probably Hillary.
RADDATZ: Why?
GLOVER: Because I think that her husband did a good job as President.
RADDATZ: Only moments before we talked to them, these troops had been listening to Vice President Cheney give a rousing speech. But he didn't change their political preference.
SPECIALIST IMUS LOTO, U.S. ARMY: Obama.
RADDATZ: And why?
LOTO: I think he, it will be something different.
RADDATZ: He wants to pull out of Iraq.
LOTO: Pull me out, too.
FIRST SERGEANT DAVID LOGAN, U.S. ARMY: I'm leaning towards Hillary. I think that we should have a gradual drawdown.
RADDATZ: Who are you supporting for President?
SERGEANT FIRST CLASS PATRICIA KELLER, U.S. ARMY: Barack Obama.
RADDATZ: And why?
KELLER: He represents a change.
RADDATZ: There were some McCain backers. Why is that?
SENIOR AIRMAN JEDIDIAH BRYAN, U.S. ARMY: Why? Well, Republicans paid my paycheck this far. Might as well keep it going.
RADDATZ: On visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, we found that U.S. troops are following the presidential race and the issues closely -- issues far beyond the wars they are fighting.
SPECIALIST MATTHEW DURKIN, U.S. ARMY: I'd have to say that education back in the states is one of my main concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: The economy is a big part. Things like gas prices and looking at the environment and what we're going to be leaving to our children.
RADDATZ: These soldiers, deployed here a year ago, some of them for the second or third time.
SERGEANT JUSTIN SARBAUM, U.S. ARMY: Iran, obviously, a big issue. Here in Iraq for my third time as, you know, is starting another world right now, is that really necessary?
RADDATZ: Immigration. Where does that stand with you?
SPECIALIST GUY ANDREASON, U.S. ARMY: I think that's a big deal. As far as illegal immigrants coming over here and, you know, working under the table.
LIEUTENANT DANIEL HARTMAN, U.S. ARMY: My platoon sergeant, for example, he was born in Mexico. Immigrants do contribute to our society. But I think a lot of people forget that. They just focus on the problem.
RADDATZ: At this remote outpost in Afghanistan, where these soldiers have also spent the last year, many of the same concerns.
LIEUTENANT LEAH WICKS, U.S. ARMY: We do think about, you know, how our family's doing back home. And so that's, those are major concerns, like how the economy is doing and also, as well as, you know, where we're going to be in the future.
RADDATZ: These opinions are likely to matter. In 2004, 73 percent of the U.S. military voted for a presidential candidate. Officials believe it may be even higher this time around. Martha Raddatz, ABC News, with U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ABCNews.com online version of the Raddatz story, with video of it: abcnews.go.com

Bill McCuddy of Fox News: Heston 'Infamous
for His Politics'

Before ABC News on Sunday night described Charlton Heston as "polarizing" for his conservative views and CBS News dubbed him "controversial," the Fox News Channel aired a obituary piece which impugned Heston as "infamous for his politics, including his belief that the Bill of Rights is built upon the bedrock of the Second Amendment."

The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the characterization on Fox & Friends Weekend, at about 7:12 AM EDT Sunday morning, in a pre-packaged piece narrated by Bill McCuddy, though he was never identified or shown, possibly because he is longer with FNC.

The Oxford dictionary defines "infamous" as "well known for some bad quality or deed" or "morally bad; shocking." The Merriam-Webster dictionary: "Having a reputation of the worst kind: notoriously evil," or "causing or bringing infamy: disgraceful." See: www.merriam-webster.com

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Bio page with picture of McCuddy: premierespeakers.com

The April 7 CyberAlert item, "Nets Remember Heston as 'Polarizing' and 'Controversial,'" recounted:

Remembering Charlton Heston, who died Saturday night in his Beverly Hills home at age 84, the ABC and CBS anchors on Sunday tarnished the actor's political activity on behalf of conservative causes, particularly his leadership of the NRA, as "polarizing" and "controversial." Dan Harris, anchor of ABC's World News, asserted: "As President of the National Rifle Association, he became one of the most-polarizing figures in American politics." CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell declared: "Once the quintessential big screen hero, in his later years he drew as much attention for his controversial politics."

Those pro-gun rights views were certainly "controversial" to network journalists who disagreed with him and so hit him repeatedly from the left on the issue in 1998 and 2001 morning show interviews, especially Katie Couric....

For the Monday CyberAlert article in full: www.mrc.org

From McCuddy's story aired on Sunday, April 6:

"In his later years, Heston was known for his Republican views, but when he first became politically active, he voted Democratic -- for Kennedy and then Johnson. He was also an early supporter of civil rights, and marched on Washington....
"As famous as he was for his film roles, he became infamous for his politics, including his belief that the Bill of Rights is built upon the bedrock of the Second Amendment, and in 1998 began his long presidency of the National Rifle Association. It was also during this time that he underwent treatment for prostate cancer."

Charlton Heston: 'Villain to Many,' or
NRA's Moses?

Even in sympathetic appreciations of Charlton Heston's life and career, his conservative activism for gun rights was treated as a sour note. Richard Corliss, on Time's Web site, felt compelled to write: "He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association."

But in Monday's Washington Post, film critic Stephen Hunter compared Heston to one of his most famous roles, Moses:

Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star's trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried had only one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land -- like Moses.

[This item is adapted from a Monday morning posting, by the MRC's Tim Graham, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Corliss, by contrast, suggested Heston's embarrassing trip over to the "rear guard" (after supporting civil rights and Bobby Kennedy and opposing Richard Nixon and Vietnam) was all about seeking adulation:

But as time marches on in political events, at an ever more agitated pace, the advance guard often becomes the rear guard, and then disburses, grumbling. So Heston supported restrictions on abortion; he campaigned for Reagan (possible bumper sticker: "God Likes the Gipper") and both Bushes; he inadvisedly posed for a photo with a white supremacist leader. He spoke at any conservative function that would have him, and what group wouldn't? At these appearances he showed a thespic vitality absent from his diminishing turns before the movie and TV cameras. The actor's stentorian talents may have been looking for the kind of forum they had lately been denied in films. If screenwriters would no longer write heroic lines for his movie characters, he'd do it himself.

END of Excerpt

For the "appreciation" by Corliss posted on Sunday, April 6: www.time.com

Hunter recalled meeting Heston at an NRA event, and suggested Heston took on that controversial role simply because he believed in it:

Why then, it must be asked, did he take the leadership of the NRA, never the most popular of lobbying outfits in Washington? One cynical explanation is that the old star was looking for an audience that would treat him as he had been treated in the late '50s and early '60s, almost as a god.

But the abuse he took! The anger he generated. The fury he absorbed from a Hollywood and a critical community that were turning ever more liberal in the wake of the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Good Lord, he didn't need that at all.

The only answer can be: He believed. His had to have been a ramrod sense of the Second Amendment and he never varied from it. Hate his politics or love them, you have to say: There was a man....

END of Excerpt

For Hunter's April 7 remembrance in full: www.washingtonpost.com

-- Brent Baker