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ABC Frets Over Richardson as 'Distraction' from Obama's Agenda --1/5/2009


1. ABC Frets Over Richardson as 'Distraction' from Obama's Agenda
ABC anchor Dan Harris led Sunday night's World News with Commerce-nominee Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal, but framed the story around worries over Richardson becoming a "distraction" from Barack Obama's agenda. George Stephanopoulos, however, assured him it will only "be a blip." Harris recited how "Obama is facing trouble abroad, trouble at home, and now trouble in his own cabinet." So, "this is another major challenge" for the besieged Obama, Harris empathized, "at a time when the economy is reeling and war is raging between the Israelis and Palestinian militants." Following a report from Jake Tapper, Harris went to George Stephanopoulos: "Obama's coming into office with a very ambitious agenda, and if you add together what's going on with Richardson right now with the Blagojevich scandal, is that going to be a distraction in the key early days?" Stephanopoulos assured him, given all the issues on Obama's agenda including "the panoply of national security challenges he's going to face when he takes office," that "this is likely to be a blip."

2. CNN Omits Radical Left-Wing Bent of 'Activists' Protesting Obama
During a report on Friday's Situation Room, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen failed to mention the left-wing affiliation of the "activists" who were protesting near the Chicago home of President-elect Barack Obama. She only labeled them as "pro-Obama" and that they "promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care." Roesgen's short report, which began 36 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with a description of the tight security outside Obama's home, and how "anyone who wants to make a political statement is pretty much pushed off to the side." She described the group of people making the demonstration as "small in number, big in spirit."

3. Holiday Weeks CyberAlert Headlines: Hyping Obama & Deriding Palin
After a couple of holiday weeks, headlines and links to some CyberAlert items those away from their computers missed which are still relevant. "Mitchell in Awe of Cabinet 'Brain Power,' Donaldson Pro-Cuomo"; "Obama's 'The Man,' CBS's Early Show Explores 'How Cool is Obama?'"; "Network Morning Shows Fawn Over Obama Vacation Photos"; "Newsweek Uses Year-End Edition to Take Potshots at Palin"; "NYT Falls for French Prank After Mocking Palin for Similar Gaffe"; "'Disheartened by What Bush Did to Us,' He Should Be 'Ashamed'"; "Joe the Plumber Laughs at CNN Anchor Who Insists He's Fair"; "NBC Promotes Vanity Fair's 'Good Riddance' Story on Team Bush"; "Globe's Carroll Dreams Obama Can Match Gorbachev's 'Greatness'"; "NBC Empathizes with Obama's Plight: Hounded by Press Corps"; and "As U.S. Succeeds in Iraq, Network TV Pulls the Plug."

4. 4th Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Annual Awards for Worst Reporting
The fourth runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Monday's CyberAlert featured the winners, Tuesday's had the first runners-up, Wednesday the second runners-up, Friday the third runners-up; today the fifth place quotes.

5. List of the 44 Judges Who Selected the Winning Worst Quotes
In recognition of their time and effort, a listing of the names and affiliations of the judges for the "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."


ABC Frets Over Richardson as 'Distraction'
from Obama's Agenda

ABC anchor Dan Harris led Sunday night's World News with Commerce-nominee Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal, but framed the story around worries over Richardson becoming a "distraction" from Barack Obama's agenda. George Stephanopoulos, however, assured him it will only "be a blip." Harris recited how "Obama is facing trouble abroad, trouble at home, and now trouble in his own cabinet." So, "this is another major challenge" for the besieged Obama, Harris empathized, "at a time when the economy is reeling and war is raging between the Israelis and Palestinian militants."

Following a report from Jake Tapper, Harris went to George Stephanopoulos: "Obama's coming into office with a very ambitious agenda, and if you add together what's going on with Richardson right now with the Blagojevich scandal, is that going to be a distraction in the key early days?" Stephanopoulos assured him, given all the issues on Obama's agenda including "the panoply of national security challenges he's going to face when he takes office," that "this is likely to be a blip."

It will be if journalists decide to make it one.

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

From the January 4 World News on ABC:

DAN HARRIS: Good evening. President-elect Obama is arriving in Washington tonight, where he will be inaugurated in 16 days. Mr. Obama is facing trouble abroad, trouble at home, and now trouble in his own cabinet. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today abruptly withdrew his nomination to be Obama's Commerce Secretary because of a grand jury investigation into the awarding of a lucrative contract to a campaign donor. This is another major challenge for Obama, at a time when the economy is reeling and war is raging between the Israelis and Palestinian militants.

....

HARRIS: By all accounts, Obama's coming into office with a very ambitious agenda, and if you add together what's going on with Richardson right now with the Blagojevich scandal, is that going to be a distraction in the key early days?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think so, Dan, for the reason you mentioned, because there's so many other challenges of such magnitude. President-elect Obama coming to the Hill tomorrow to talk about his economic plan, the largest one since the Great Depression; this ground war in Gaza; the panoply of national security challenges he's going to face when he takes office. I think that means that this is likely to be a blip, especially if they're able to come in with a replacement for Governor Richardson in the next week or so.

CNN Omits Radical Left-Wing Bent of 'Activists'
Protesting Obama

During a report on Friday's Situation Room, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen failed to mention the left-wing affiliation of the "activists" who were protesting near the Chicago home of President-elect Barack Obama. She only labeled them as "pro-Obama" and that they "promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care."

Roesgen's short report, which began 36 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with a description of the tight security outside Obama's home, and how "anyone who wants to make a political statement is pretty much pushed off to the side." She described the group of people making the demonstration as "small in number, big in spirit."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The CNN correspondent went on to describe the "activists" and their agenda:

ROESGEN: These activists represent various local and national groups, like Veterans for Peace and Democracy Now, and they've joined forces to promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care.

Actually, Democracy Now not an "activist" group, but a radio program syndicated by the left-wing Pacifica Radio network. While Roesgen didn't mention any other organizations by name, a protesters' banner displayed briefly on screen gave away the informal name for their campaign, which is "Camp Hope." The campaign's website has a list of participating organizations, which includes the Chicago and northwest Indiana chapters of Code Pink, the Great Lakes regional office for the American Friends Service Committee, Oxfam International, and an organization called "Movimiento 10 de Marzo," which advocates amnesty for illegal immigrants.

For the website of the "Camp Hope" coalition and the list of participating organizations, go to: camphope2009.org

For the website of "Movimiento 10 de Marzo," go to: www.movimiento10demarzo.org

The full transcript of Susan Roesgen's report from Friday's Situation Room:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: ...Susan, tell us about demonstrations that are now against Barack Obama, as well, that are taking place in Chicago.
SUSAN ROESGEN: Well, actually, Suzanne, these folks are pro-Obama -- they're pro-the-president. But they're activists and they want some things done, and when Barack Obama says 'yes, we can,' they say, 'yeah, you better.'
(CNN GRAPHIC: 'Activists Targeting Obama: Demonstrators pressuring president-elect to keep his promises')
ROESGEN (voice-over): This is about as close as you can get to Barack Obama's Chicago home these days -- there's a cop car on every corner. So anyone who wants to make a political statement is pretty much pushed off to the side -- like this group -- small in number, big in spirit.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm sure he knows we're here, and he can come out and talk to us.
ROESGEN: These activists represent various local and national groups, like Veterans for Peace and Democracy Now, and they've joined forces to promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This campaign was to build bridges across the issues. We're working both on the domestic issues, as well as globally.
ROESGEN: You know, once again, these are activists, Suzanne, who supported President-elect Obama, who voted for him in the election. They just don't want him to forget his campaign promises to pull the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, to stop home foreclosures, and they're going to stay out there, even in this bitterly cold weather -- they say, in eight-hour shifts every day up to Inauguration Day. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Thank you, Susan.

Holiday Weeks CyberAlert Headlines: Hyping
Obama & Deriding Palin

After a couple of holiday weeks, headlines and links to some CyberAlert items those away from their computers missed which are still relevant. From oldest to newest:

# December 22 CyberAlert:

- "Mitchell in Awe of Cabinet 'Brain Power,' Donaldson Pro-Cuomo." See: www.mrc.org

- "Erroneous WashPost Front Page: Obama's 'Team of Moderates.'" See: www.mrc.org


# December 29 CyberAlert:

- "Obama's 'The Man,' CBS's Early Show Explores 'How Cool is Obama?'" Go to: www.mrc.org

- "Network Morning Shows Fawn Over Obama Vacation Photos." See: www.mrc.org

- "Newsweek Uses Year-End Edition to Take Potshots at Palin." Check: www.mrc.org

- "NYT Falls for French Prank After Mocking Palin for Similar Gaffe." See: www.mrc.org

- "'Disheartened by What Bush Did to Us,' He Should Be 'Ashamed.'" Go to: www.mrc.org

- "Joe the Plumber Laughs at CNN Anchor Who Insists He's Fair." Posted with video: www.mrc.org


# December 31 CyberAlert:

- "NBC Promotes Vanity Fair's 'Good Riddance' Story on Team Bush." Go to: www.mrc.org

- "Globe's Carroll Dreams Obama Can Match Gorbachev's 'Greatness.'" See: www.mrc.org


# January 2 CyberAlert:

- "NBC Empathizes with Obama's Plight: Hounded by Press Corps." Check: www.mrc.org

- "As U.S. Succeeds in Iraq, Network TV Pulls the Plug." See: www.mrc.org

4th Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Annual
Awards for Worst Reporting

The fourth runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Monday's CyberAlert featured the winners, Tuesday's had the first runners-up, Wednesday the second runners-up, Friday the third runners-up; today the fifth place quotes. For all the winners and runners-up, many posted with video and audio: www.mrc.org

The Media Research Center's annual awards issue provides a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2008 (December 2007 through November 2008). To determine this year's winners, a panel of 44 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to eight quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote.

A list of the judges, who were generous with their time, appears in item #5 below. Or, you can see them online here: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Michelle Humphrey, Kristine Lawrence and Melissa Lopez distributed and counted the ballots, then produced the numerous audio and video clips that accompany the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes assembled this issue and Stu James posted the entire package, with dozens of Flash videos, on the MRC's Web site.

The direct address for the issue online where it's posted with audio/video (click-and-play Flash video, as well as downloadable Windows Media video and MP3 audio clips), a PDF and downloadable text (Word, WordPerfect and OpenOffice): www.mrc.org

Direct address for the Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mrc.org

Now, the fourth runner-up quotes in the six award categories which have a fifth quote (check online for the winners and runners-up in the other 12 categories):

The Obamagasm Award [fourth runner-up]

"When was the last time our nation cheered this much?...'We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union' -- that's what the Constitution says. Last night, all across America, for so many people, that's how it felt. A more perfect union."

-- Correspondent Byron Pitts on the November 5 CBS Evening News. [26 points]



The Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin [fourth runner-up]

"A campaign that's turned down and dirty: Down in the polls, the McCain campaign has found a new attack dog.... Yesterday she [Sarah Palin] took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate."

-- CBS's Bob Schieffer opening the October 5 Face the Nation. [31]



Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Soft & Cuddly Interviews [fourth runner-up]

Anchor Brian Williams: "Last time we were together, I handed you a copy of Newsweek, it was the first time you'd held it in your hands with you on the cover. Have you yet held this [Time magazine cover declaring Obama the primary winner] in your hands?" Senator Barack Obama: "No, I don't want to. Because the last time it was in New Hampshire and I ended up losing. So, I'm not sure whether it's the magazine or you, Brian, that's the jinx, but I'm not taking any chances." Williams: "Last time, you looked at it and you thought instantly of your mom." Obama: "She'd like that picture. She always encouraged me to smile more."

-- NBC Nightly News, May 8. [29]



The Irrelevant Reverend Wright Award [fourth runner-up]

"Every time he [Reverend Jeremiah Wright] appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for. And it takes attention away -- we have huge, huge problems facing this country....I think it's time for him to get off the stage and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on."

-- CNN's David Gergen during live coverage following Wright's speech to the National Press Club, April 28. [24]



MSNBC = Maudlin Sycophantic Nutty Blathering Chris Award [fourth runner-up]

Chris Matthews: "What are you looking for tonight?" Unidentified college student: "I'd like, I'd like a display of knowledge and expertise." Matthews: "So you're on the Obama side, right?"

-- MSNBC's Hardball, before the October 2 vice presidential debate. [19]



Admitting the Obvious Award [fourth runner-up]

"Even in the conversations we have as colleagues, there is a sense of trying especially hard not to drink the Kool-Aid. It's so rapturous, everything around him [Barack Obama]. All these huge rallies."

-- Correspondent Lee Cowan, who covers Obama for NBC News, as quoted by New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg in a March 1 story. [22]



# For all the winners and runners-up in all 18 categories: www.mrc.org

List of the 44 Judges Who Selected the
Winning Worst Quotes

In recognition of their time and effort, a listing of the names and affiliations of the judges for the "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

As explained in item #4 above, the panel of 44 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and expert media observers received a ballot and each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to eight quotes in each category.

The judges, in alphabetical order:

- Lee Anderson, Associate Publisher and Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

- Chuck Asay, editorial cartoonist via the Creators Syndicate

- Brent H. Baker, MRC's Vice President for Research and Publications; Editor of CyberAlert and Editor the NewsBusters blog

- Mark Belling, radio talk show host, WISN-AM in Milwaukee

- Robert Bluey, Director of the Center for Media an dPiblic Policy at the Heritage Foundation

- Neal Boortz, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

- L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center

- Priscilla Buckley, retired Senior Editor for National Review

- Bill Cunningham, nationally syndicated radio talk show host from WLW in Cincinnati; nationally-syndicated by Premiere on Sunday nights

- Mark Davis, talk show host, WBAP Radio in Dallas; columnist for the Dallas Morning News

- Midge Decter, author, member of the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees

- Bob Dutko, radio talk show host, WMUZ-FM in Detroit

- Jim Eason, retired radio talk show host

- Barry Farber, radio talk show host

- Don Feder, consultant at Don Feder & Associates, writer of Don Feder's Coldsteel Caucus Report

- Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the NewsBusters blog

- Steven Greenhut, columnist, Orange County Register

- Kirk Healy, radio talk show host, WDBO Radio in Orlando

- Quin Hillyer, Associate Editor, The Examiner (of Washington, DC)

- Cliff Kincaid, Editor, Accuracy in Media

- Mark Larson, Program Director and talk show host on San Diego 1700 AM

- Jason Lewis, talk show host, 100.3 KTLK-FM in Minneapolis

- Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of National Review Online

- Brian Maloney, radio analyst, creator of The RadioEqualizer blog

- Patrick McGuigan, Managing Editor of The City Sentinel in Oklahoma City; contributing editor for Tulsa Today

- Jan Mickelson, radio talk show host on WHO in Des Moines

- Rich Noyes, Director of Research, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the NewsBusters blog

- Kate O'Beirne, President, the National Review Institute

- Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief of World magazine; Senior Fellow at the Acton Institute

- Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

- Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist, The Detroit News

- Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

- Dan Rea, host of Nightside on WBZ Radio in Boston

- Chris Reed, editorial writer, San Diego Union-Tribune

- Mike Rosen, radio talk show host, KOA in Denver; columnist for the Rocky Mountain News

- William A. Rusher, Distinguished Fellow, Claremont Institute; syndicated columnist

- Matthew Sheffield, Executive Editor of NewsBusters, the MRC's blog

- James Taranto, Editor of OpinionJournal.com

- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist; panelist on FNC's Fox News Watch

- R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of The American Spectator

- Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch.org

- Walter E. Williams, economics professor, George Mason University

- Thomas S. Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events

- Martha Zoller, radio talk show host for WDUN in Gainseville, GA

For links to Web pages for the judges: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker