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ABC Frets Demise of 'Landmark' Immigration; NBC Blames 'Extremes' --6/8/2007


1. ABC Frets Demise of 'Landmark' Immigration; NBC Blames 'Extremes'
ABC's Charles Gibson fretted Thursday night over the likely impending demise of the "landmark" immigration deal as George Stephanopoulos blamed conservatives and on NBC Chip Reid faulted "extremes on the left and the right." Gibson teased World News: "Tonight, the landmark compromise on immigration is in big trouble on Capitol Hill. Some Senators saying if we can't pass this, we can't pass anything." Gibson proceeded to assert that the bill "was considered the best hope for doing something on immigration." After a story from Jake Tapper on the debate in the Senate, Gibson expressed frustration to George Stephanopoulos: "What's so counterintuitive to me, George, is that a lot of the Senators who think and say most strongly that something has to be done to reform immigration are the ones who are voting for these killer amendments." Stephanopoulos held conservatives responsible: "They are getting a lot of cross pressures, Charlie, particularly on the conservative side."

2. ABC Spins Autocratic Russia: 'Everybody is Very Happy With Putin'
On Thursday's Good Morning America, reporter Claire Shipman portrayed the simmering tensions between Russia and the United States as a replay of the Cold War and also took President Bush, who is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week's G8 summit, to task for missing a "critical diplomatic opportunity" to cooperate with the Russians over the placing of a proposed missile defense system in Poland: "The Russians are genuinely furious about the U.S. proposed missile defense system and the U.S. clearly missed a critical diplomatic opportunity to make it more of a joint project." Additionally, Shipman, while noting Putin's rollback of democracy, also contended that Russia's President is "wildly popular at home" and hyperbolically claimed that "everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there." While it's true that Putin's autocratic nature appears to have done him no harm in the polls, it's quite silly to say that "everybody" is happy in a country where journalists and spies continue to die mysteriously

3. Ben Affleck Pronounces Bush Admin 'One of the Worst in History'
On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews invited on actor Ben Affleck to pontificate on the 2008 presidential race and while the liberal actor largely stuck to safe, conventional wisdom observations on the likes of Rudy, Hillary and Barack, he couldn't resist a pointed jab at the current administration. When Matthews recited an e-mailer's question about impeaching President Bush, Affleck reasoned it wasn't necessary since Bush and Cheney are "going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history."

4. Read It Here First: CNN's Zahn Highlights Item on NBC and Obama
You read it here (or on the MRC's NewsBusters blog) first. In a story on reaction Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's warning of a "quiet riot" of discontent in the black community, CNN's Paula Zahn on Wednesday night put "Brent Baker, Newsbusters" on screen along with the quote she cited as she reported: "Conservative blogs, like Newsbusters.org, said Obama should blame black communities themselves; that he 'avoided holding those in question responsible for their own plight.'" AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

5. 'Top Ten President Bush Global Warming Solutions'
Letterman's "Top Ten President Bush Global Warming Solutions."


ABC Frets Demise of 'Landmark' Immigration;
NBC Blames 'Extremes'

ABC's Charles Gibson fretted Thursday night over the likely impending demise of the "landmark" immigration deal as George Stephanopoulos blamed conservatives and on NBC Chip Reid faulted "extremes on the left and the right." Gibson teased World News: "Tonight, the landmark compromise on immigration is in big trouble on Capitol Hill. Some Senators saying if we can't pass this, we can't pass anything." Gibson proceeded to assert that the bill "was considered the best hope for doing something on immigration." After a story from Jake Tapper on the debate in the Senate, Gibson expressed frustration to George Stephanopoulos: "What's so counterintuitive to me, George, is that a lot of the Senators who think and say most strongly that something has to be done to reform immigration are the ones who are voting for these killer amendments." Stephanopoulos held conservatives responsible: "They are getting a lot of cross pressures, Charlie, particularly on the conservative side."

Meanwhile, on the NBC Nightly News, Chip Reid described how Democrats are opposed to the temporary worker program because of how it may take jobs from Americans and Republicans are opposed to what they consider "amnesty" for illegals -- both mainstream views in the two parties. Yet Reid applied an "extreme" tag: "You've got the extremes on the left and the right trying to kill the entire bill, rather than except the provisions they detest."

The immigration deal has received virtually no broadcast network evening newscast coverage over the past few weeks and the CBS Evening News matched the priority by limiting its coverage to this short item from Katie Couric:
"That compromise immigration bill in the Senate is in trouble tonight. There's a crucial test vote scheduled, and if it fails the bill could be dead, at least for the time being. Supporters spent the day trying to salvage the deal which would tighten the borders while giving millions of illegal immigrants a path towards legal status."

[This item was adapted from a posting Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide these transcripts from June 7:

# ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:

CHARLES GIBSON: Good evening. Many legislators on Capitol Hill agree that something has to be done on the issue of immigration reform, but that's about all they agree on. A proposal put forth three weeks ago to tighten border security, create a guest worker program, and give most of the nation's 12 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship was considered the best hope for doing something on immigration. But ever since, a chorus of objections to the bill have been raised, and tonight it is in very big trouble.
[Story from Jake Tapper]
GIBSON: George, everyone seems to agree that if you can't pass this version of an immigration bill, then nothing's going to pass. Correct?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, IN DC: Oh, Charlie, this is the last chance. There is no question about that. Every day we get closer to the next election means the chances of passing a new immigration bill go down. But, Charlie, just as we were going on the air, I got contacted by two Democratic sources who do say now they believe they're making tentative steps toward working out a deal to proceed tonight.
GIBSON: But what's so counterintuitive to me, George, is that a lot of the Senators who think and say most strongly that something has to be done to reform immigration are the ones who are voting for these killer amendments.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right. They are getting a lot of cross pressures, Charlie, particularly on the conservative side. President Bush has seen his approval rating on this issue drop by about 16 points among conservatives over the last couple of weeks. They are hearing a boatload from people back home. They're really getting a lot of complaints about this bill, and they're walking away from the deal.
GIBSON: Now, you say that even in the last few minutes there is an attempt to salvage this in the Senate, but even if they do that, the sledding looks even tougher on the House side, right?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Always has been, Charlie. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has said that they need 60 to 70 Republican votes in order to get this through the House. Right now, sources on both sides -- Republican and Democrat -- agree there are no more than 40 Republican votes for this deal.


# NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: While the President was overseas, one of his big agenda items domestically, immigration, was on the line back home in Washington. It still is tonight. NBC's Chip Reid is on Capitol Hill for us. Chip, in plain English, this is an issue important to so many Americans. These are, after all, our elected representatives. All day long, we were hearing this was crashing into a pile. What's going on there? And how could this happen?
CHIP REID: Well, Brian, everybody agrees the system is broken, and everybody agrees it desperately needs to be fixed. The problem is the two parties dramatically differ in how to go about it. Take the Republicans. They say you absolutely cannot have an immigration bill without a robust guest worker program. They want hundreds of thousands of foreign workers coming into this country every year. Democrats say wait a minute, that is taking jobs away from Americans. So some Democrats are so opposed to that that they're doing everything they can to kill the entire bill to keep that provision from becoming law.
The same thing is happening on the other side. What Democrats want more than anything else is a path to citizenship for the 12 million illegal immigrants already here. Some Republicans detest that. And they are doing everything they can to kill that provision. They call it amnesty. They say you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig, and you can gussy up amnesty, you can require that they pay a fine, or you can require them to learn English, but it is still amnesty.
So on both sides, you've got the extremes on the left and the right trying to kill the entire bill rather than accept provisions they detest.

ABC Spins Autocratic Russia: 'Everybody
is Very Happy With Putin'

On Thursday's Good Morning America, reporter Claire Shipman portrayed the simmering tensions between Russia and the United States as a replay of the Cold War and also took President Bush, who is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week's G8 summit, to task for missing a "critical diplomatic opportunity" to cooperate with the Russians over the placing of a proposed missile defense system in Poland: "The Russians are genuinely furious about the U.S. proposed missile defense system and the U.S. clearly missed a critical diplomatic opportunity to make it more of a joint project."

Additionally, Shipman, while noting Putin's rollback of democracy, also contended that Russia's President is "wildly popular at home" and hyperbolically claimed that "everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there." While it's true that Putin's autocratic nature appears to have done him no harm in the polls, it's quite silly to say that "everybody" is happy in a country where journalists and spies continue to die mysteriously. For poll numbers: commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

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

Chris Cuomo began the June 7 segment, which aired at 7:03am, by drawing a parallel between the current U.S./Russia difficulties and those during the Cold War. Cuomo's introduction contained a odd comparison. He asserted: "Now, as in 1945, when the Cold War began, the issue is military presence. And once again, Russia is in a key to help or hinder America's international efforts."

So, a missile defense shield is the same thing as communism and the Red Army's refusal to leave East Germany for multiple decades?

A short time later, after Shipman observed how "wildly popular" Putin was, she quoted Michael McFaul, a senior associate at the liberal Carnegie Endowment for Peace, over how "discredited" the United States has become: "[Putin] wants to be a player. And at the same time, the U.S. has been clearly distracted."
Michael McFaul, professor of political science, Stanford University: "Putin rightly understands that the United States is weak and discredited around the world and therefore he can make points, if you will, on the international stage."

Not surprisingly, McFaul's liberal connections were not mentioned. Shipman continued and even singled out former Communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev as a "reliable old friend" and featured a bullying quote from the "prickly" former General Secretary: "We have succeeded in many ways. Do you really think you are smarter than us?"

Shipman closed by proclaiming President Bush "missed a critical diplomatic opportunity" in failing to work with the Russians on the missile. She also remarked that "everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there."

Over on CBS, the Early Show managed to do without the effusive comments about Putin's popularity. However, co-host Harry Smith talked with the Brooking Institute's Michael O'Hanlon and he claimed missile defense as a Bill Clinton initiative. MRC intern Joe Steigerwald transcribed this exchange between the two:

Harry Smith: "Let's talk about this missile system a little bit. We need to explain, I think, to folks, because it's just really popped into consciousness in the last couple of days. The president wants to put missile systems in the Czech Republic and Poland. Why?"
Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institute: "Because we're worried about Iran, frankly. As you know, Harry, we've deployed a missile defense system in Alaska and California in the last couple of years. It was actually a concept that Bill Clinton developed but the technology wasn't ready while he was in office. George Bush then deployed it."

It certainly would also have been helpful to mention President Reagan's role in the creation and development of missile defense.

A transcript of the June 7 GMA segment:

Chris Cuomo: "Now, this meeting that we're hearing about this morning between Presidents Bush and Putin highlights a long simmering point of tension between our two nations. Now, as in 1945 when the Cold War began, the issue is military presence. And once again, Russia is in a key to help or hinder America's international efforts. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman who spent years reporting in Russia will walk us through the situation. Claire, we're hearing the term cold war. Too strong?"

Claire Shipman: "Not necessarily, Chris. It's not a new cold war, but the relationships is worse than it has been in decades. Russia is now in a position to disrupt oil and gas to Europe, hold up a settlement to Kosovo and then there's Iran. The U.S. needs help from Russia in trying to keep from Iran going nuclear. So far, that cooperation hasn't fallen apart, but everybody is watching it very closely. It certainly sounds like th bad, old days, especially what's coming from the Kremlin.
President Vladimir Putin, through translator: "We are seeing a one sided disarmament by Russia."
President Bush "You shouldn't fear a missile defense system. As a matter of fact, why don't you cooperate with us."
Putin: "In our opinion, it is nothing but imperialism."
Shipman: "The lowest blow? Vladimir Putin recently comparing U.S. foreign policy to that of the Third Reich. Okay, so we're not at this point yet. [Footage of 'duck and cover' nuclear bomb film.] But-"
Michael McFaul (Professor of political science, Stanford University): "But the rhetoric out of Moscow is the most alarming rhetoric that I can remember in 20 years. It seems as if they want to have a cold war."
Shipman: "What's going on? Two things: Putin in recent years has become a much bigger force to contend with, wildly popular at home, despite his democratic roll backs. He's now presiding over an oil rich country. He wants to be a player. And at the same time, the U.S. has been clearly distracted."
McFaul: "Putin rightly understands that the United States is weak and discredited around the world and therefore he can make points, if you will, on the international stage."
Shipman: "And even reliable old friends of the U.S. have become combative over recent months. When we talked to Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow before the last G8 meeting about Russia's moves to authoritarianism, he was prickly."
Mikhail Gorbachev: "We have succeeded in many ways. Do you really think you are smarter than us?"
Shipman: "But the Russians are genuinely furious about the U.S. proposed missile defense system and the U.S. clearly missed a critical diplomatic opportunity to make it more of a joint project."
McFaul: "The Bush administration did not handle this idea well. They could have worked with the Russians. They could have quietly come up with a plan of operations together."
Shipman: "Now, part of the problem, Russians tend to see things in black and white. What's a gain for the United States is a loss for Russia. Just looking at today's Russian newspapers: [Shipman pronounces name of Russian newspaper]. One of the headlines is, 'the approach of NATO to the borders of Russia.' So, again, you hear that old style mentality. You know, President Bush has invited Putin to Kennebunkport in July hoping to reignite some of that personal chemistry. Remember when he so memorably said on his ranch, he saw into Vladimir Putin's soul. I don't think either man is going to like what they see."
Robin Roberts: "And you were saying that this Russia is not the Russia of old."
Shipman: "Well, and that's where I think the U.S., you know, we haven't been paying enough attention and in the last couple years Russia has transformed itself into much more of an economic powerhouse and everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there. It gives him a lot of leverage."

Ben Affleck Pronounces Bush Admin 'One
of the Worst in History'

On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews invited on actor Ben Affleck to pontificate on the 2008 presidential race and while the liberal actor largely stuck to safe, conventional wisdom observations on the likes of Rudy, Hillary and Barack, he couldn't resist a pointed jab at the current administration. When Matthews recited an e-mailer's question about impeaching President Bush, Affleck reasoned it wasn't necessary since Bush and Cheney are "going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history."

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

The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the June 7th edition of MSNBC's Hardball:

Chris Matthews: "Scott Trent of North Carolina: 'Mr. Affleck, what is your opinion on the possibility of impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Do you support impeachment for the crimes of the administration?' That's Trent, Scott Trent of North Carolina."
Ben Affleck, via satellite: "While I understand that, that feeling of being angry and feeling kind of frustrated and, and I really do, you know that seems kind of unlikely and probably counterproductive. And, you know, so, so I get that but it doesn't seem like it's something that's probably gonna happen. And probably a place we have our, our energies would be better spent. There's no, President Bush and Vice President Cheney and they're wildly unpopular and they're going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history. Failed impeachment is not going to really change that, other than to kind of make the, the Congress seem kind of petty and vindictive and spiteful and I don't think that's gonna help anyone at this point."

Read It Here First: CNN's Zahn Highlights
Item on NBC and Obama

You read it here (or on the MRC's NewsBusters blog) first. In a story on reaction Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's warning of a "quiet riot" of discontent in the black community, CNN's Paula Zahn on Wednesday night put "Brent Baker, Newsbusters" on screen along with the quote she cited as she reported: "Conservative blogs, like Newsbusters.org, said Obama should blame black communities themselves; that he 'avoided holding those in question responsible for their own plight.'"


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More See & Hear the Bias

CNN must have been desperate to include a criticism of Obama to have pulled that clause out of a June 5 NewsBusters blog/June 6 MRC CyberAlert item I wrote critical of Brian Williams and NBC Nightly News for touting Obama's comments as noteworthy enough to justify a story when they matched the standard liberal viewpoint on race and federal spending.

The NewsBusters/CyberAlert article, "NBC's Williams Showcases Obama Blaming Bush for Black Despair Going Back to 1991," began (portion Zahn quoted IN ALL CAPS):

Touting it as "some unusually direct talk today from Democratic candidate Barack Obama on the issue of race, something he rarely focuses on in his speeches," NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday decided to showcase a clip of Obama delivering a standard liberal critique of President Bush for not spending enough federal money on social programs. Williams relayed how "Obama said the Bush administration has done little to address what he called 'a quiet riot' of discontent and despair among blacks in this country, one that erupted in L.A. 15 years ago and has been building again since the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina."

In the clip, NBC viewers heard Obama issue the hardly unusual liberal talking point that "this administration was color blind in its incompetence" before he AVOIDED HOLDING THOSE IN QUESTION RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN PLIGHT: "All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day, which is that there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, whole sets of communities that don't have meaningful opportunity and don't have hope and are forgotten."

The NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org

The CyberAlert version: www.mrc.org

MRC intern Michael Lanza caught the reference to NewsBusters in the story on the June 6 Paula Zahn Now. Here's Lanza's transcript of Zahn quoting me, along with some preceding sentences to provide context:

PAULA ZAHN: It started when a jury acquitted police officers in a brutal assault case in which the victim was a black motorist named Rodney King. But Obama says the unrest was growing long before that.
Sen. BARACK OBAMA (D-Ill.): Those riots did not erupt overnight. There had been a quiet riot building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.
ZAHN: And Obama told the ministers these quiet riots are still happening today all over the country fueled by poverty, hopelessness, and despair.
OBAMA: That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, 'not guilty' or a hurricane hits New Orleans and that despair is revealed for the world to see.
ZAHN: Now nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Obama insists our country still ignores communities that are impoverished and without hope.
OBAMA: Nothing really changes except the news coverage quiets down and Anderson Cooper's on to something else. And the quiet riot keeps on.
ZAHN: Conservative blogs, like Newsbusters.org, said Obama should blame black communities themselves; that he 'avoided holding those in question responsible for their own plight.'"

Ken Shepherd, Managing Editor of NewsBusters, rendered audio and video of Zahn and those media clips will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org

'Top Ten President Bush Global Warming
Solutions'

From the June 7 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten President Bush Global Warming Solutions." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Instead of "Partly sunny," have weatherman say "Partly cloudy"

9. Stop using Air Force One for Texas barbecue runs

8. Replace dangerous CO2 in the atmosphere with more eco-friendly CO1

7. Encourage people to walk more by distributing free Dr. Scholl massaging gel inserts. Are you gellin'?

6. Watch Al Gore movie one of these nights instead of "Dukes of Hazzard"

5. Bob Barker's free. Get him workin' on it

4. Send more troops to Iraq

3. I dunno, tax cuts for the rich?

2. Reduce hot air emissions by cancelling "The View"

1. Resign


#2 sounds like a good idea.

-- Brent Baker