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ABC Paints Bush as Uncaring for Vetoing Health 'for Children' --10/4/2007


1. ABC Paints Bush as Uncaring for Vetoing Health 'for Children'
Again exploiting children and mothers to advance the goal of expanding federal spending and dependency, ABC's World News led Wednesday night by giving voice to the media-political establishment's astonishment that President Bush would veto a bill to provide health insurance "for children." Anchor Charles Gibson led: "Most politicians like to kiss babies, pet dogs and support programs for children. Not often you'll see one take a stand against a proposal providing health insurance for children. But that's what President Bush did today, vetoing the so-called S-CHIP program that would have expanded health insurance for children by $35 billion." Martha Raddatz highlighted how "the country seems to disagree" with Bush since "72 percent of Americans support expanding the program," which the media have promoted, "including majorities of Republicans and conservatives." Indeed, ABC's poll found self-identified conservatives favor the expansion by 61 to 36 percent. Raddatz, who two weeks ago used a crying mother to push increased spending, warned Wednesday that "the veto could have a profound impact," as an unlabeled left-wing activist from Families USA followed a mother who pleaded: "Having it taken away would be devastating. You can't do that to children. It's not right."

2. CNN's Cafferty Laments War Spending, Bush Veto of SCHIP
CNN's Jack Cafferty, in his 5pm EDT hour "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday's The Situation Room, offered a loaded question involving President Bush's veto of a proposed expansion of the SCHIP program: "President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children?" Before he asked that question, Cafferty detailed how President Bush's veto of SCHIP "was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors. No fanfare, no news coverage," and the reasons the President listed for his veto. He then added that "this is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq."

3. Today Features Wesley Clark to Denounce 'Annoying Gnat' Limbaugh
NBC's Today on Wednesday decided former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark's use of the "phony soldier" charge against Rush Limbaugh, to try to get Limbaugh off of Armed Forces Radio, merited an entire 7am segment in which co-host Meredith Vieira referred to Limbaugh as an "annoying gnat." Later, ABC's Ted Koppel, on to plug an upcoming show on the Discovery Channel, called Limbaugh's remarks "foolish," but when asked about Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, Koppel expressed sympathy: "I feel great pain for Dan." Vieira's first question to Clark: "You've started this email campaign to get Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio. It is a drastic step. Why do you think it is necessary?" She soon followed up: "Why don't you just brush off these comments by Limbaugh, like an annoying gnat instead of legitimizing them and bringing more attention to them?" Of course, it was Vieira and Today giving attention to Clark's effort.

4. Chris Matthews Continues Distortion of Rush Limbaugh
Chris Matthews refused to correct the record on Rush Limbaugh's criticism of "phony soldiers," instead choosing to toss a softball to anti-war Congressman Jack Murtha as he asked him on Wednesday's Hardball: "What do you think of Rush Limbaugh's comment the other day that somebody was a phony soldier because they opposed the war? He also said they were a phony Republican, by the way, because he said Republicans couldn't possibly, a Republican couldn't possibly be against the war? What do you make of that?" Matthews never pointed out Limbaugh was referring to soldiers who were proven not to have served in Iraq and it's not as if Matthews doesn't know better. On the October 2 edition of Hardball the day before he had give The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti a chance to clarify Limbaugh's actual position.

5. For Second Day, Roberts Again Assumes Clarence Thomas Guilty
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued: "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders: "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"


ABC Paints Bush as Uncaring for Vetoing
Health 'for Children'

Again exploiting children and mothers to advance the goal of expanding federal spending and dependency, ABC's World News led Wednesday night by giving voice to the media-political establishment's astonishment that President Bush would veto a bill to provide health insurance "for children." Anchor Charles Gibson led his newscast: "Most politicians like to kiss babies, pet dogs and support programs for children. Not often you'll see one take a stand against a proposal providing health insurance for children. But that's what President Bush did today, vetoing the so-called S-CHIP program that would have expanded health insurance for children by $35 billion."

Reporter Martha Raddatz highlighted how "the country seems to disagree" with Bush since "72 percent of Americans support expanding the program," which the media have promoted, "including majorities of Republicans and conservatives." Indeed, ABC's poll found self-identified conservatives favor the expansion by 61 to 36 percent. Raddatz, who two weeks ago used a crying mother to push increased spending, warned Wednesday that "the veto could have a profound impact." To back her assumption, Raddatz featured an unlabeled left-wing activist from Families USA followed a mother who pleaded: "Having it taken away would be devastating. You can't do that to children. It's not right."

PDF of the poll findings: abcnews.go.com

The CBS Evening News, however, at least noted that Bush wasn't against federal help to provide health insurance for poor kids, just against the bill which "would include more than the poor" by covering those with substantially higher incomes. Jim Axelrod explained: "Saying he supports expanding health care coverage for poor kids, just not to the extent the Democrats want, President Bush cast his veto." Axelrod warned that "this veto could be big trouble for Republicans who now face a 'shame on you' campaign complete with small children in red wagons delivering petitions to the White House," but he added: "Never mind that the President proposed his own $5 billion expansion to the program."

Noting how Bush "says he's curbing runaway spending," Axelrod countered from the White House lawn that "one GOP strategist says poor kids' health care trumps fiscal restraint every time. Democrats have two weeks until the override vote to frame the choice just that way." But, thanks to the news media, the choice has already been framed that way.

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

(Wednesday's NBC Nightly News limited veto coverage to a brief item read by anchor Brian Williams.)

"When the Story's Got Children, Who Needs Facts?" read the headline over an October 3 posting on the MRC's Business and Media Institute, an extensive report sub-titled: "Media coverage of State Children's Health Insurance Program expansion heavy on liberal talking points, light on its unattractive reality." Amy Menefee outlined "things the media didn't tell you" in coverage of the proposal to greatly expand the health program, including:

- Does Bush Care about the Children? - Who Really Wants Government Health Insurance Expansion? - What Congress Would Do vs. What Bush Would Do - Why the Tobacco Tax Increase Wouldn't Work

For the report in full: www.businessandmedia.org

The September 21 CyberAlert article, "ABC Exploits Kids and Crying Mom to Push Higher Health Spending," recounted:

CBS, and especially ABC, on Thursday night portrayed the debate over increasing federal spending on health insurance for children as an effort to help kids only the cold-hearted could oppose, a framing aided by scenes of cute toddlers, a crying mother and little emphasis on how those well above poverty would qualify. ABC anchor Charles Gibson overlooked the proposed expansion, to those in families who have or can afford private insurance, as he cited "a bill providing health insurance to millions of kids whose parents cannot afford private coverage."

Reporter Martha Raddatz found a poor mother to exploit, beginning her story: "Susan Dick depends on the so-called SCHIP [State Children's Health Insurance Program] program for her two sons, both of whom have asthma. The family income is too low for private insurance, too high for Medicaid." Raddatz briefly noted Bush's fear many would move from private insurance to the government program and then, leading into a soundbite from liberal Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, she hailed how "the expansion has bipartisan support across the country, including from many Republicans..." Capping her story, Raddatz featured a crying mother who sympathetically fretted: "If my boys don't have health insurance, it makes it very hard when you're a parent to know that they're sick and you have to get them to the doctor." Raddatz coldly concluded: "But the President made it very clear today, Charlie, he will veto this bill in its present form."

CBS anchor Katie Couric also painted Bush as opposed to helping kids: "President Bush opened a news conference today by attacking a proposed expansion of a health care program for low-income children."...

For the September 21 CyberAlert item in full: www.mrc.org

The August 2 CyberAlert posting, "CBS Hails 'Landmark' and 'Historic' Federal Control of Health," related:

Wednesday's CBS Evening News trumpeted two liberal efforts to expand government power, leading by heralding "landmark legislation" to have the FDA regulate cigarettes followed by a story slanted in favor of, as reporter Thalia Assuras described it, an "historic expansion of health care coverage for children" of the "working poor." Assuras, however, ignored such inconvenient facts as how a family of four with an income as high as $82,600 could get on the taxpayers' dole. Katie Couric had teased her top story: "Tonight, landmark legislation that supporters say could save millions of lives. Congress takes a step toward regulating everything about cigarettes for the first time ever."

Next, Couric introduced a look at "getting medical coverage for the millions of American children who don't have it." Assuras touted how a proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) "boosts funding by $50 billion over five years, almost doubling the number of uninsured kids covered from the current six million children to about 11 million." Sinking to the all too common media technique of exploiting a victim to push a liberal policy, Assuras cited "children like seven-year-old Pilar Edwards whose ear ache was so severe her mother brought her to this mobile medical clinic where she could get help even though Pilar is uninsured." Assuras did pass along how critics contend "the legislation is a slippery slope toward a universal health care plan," but against two negative soundbites, viewers heard from four advocates as Assuras concluded with a Senator's charge that "it would be a travesty if the President vetoed this legislation," followed by these final words from Assuras: "With kids caught in the middle." More like taxpayers...

For the entire item: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide transcripts of the October 3 stories on ABC and CBS:

# ABC's World News:

CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Welcome to World News. Tonight, a controversial veto. President Bush blocks a major expansion of health insurance for children, a measure that Congress and most Americans want.

...

GIBSON: Good evening. Most politicians like to kiss babies, pet dogs and support programs for children. Not often you'll see one take a stand against a proposal providing health insurance for children. But that's what President Bush did today, vetoing the so-called S-CHIP program that would have expanded health insurance for children by $35 billion. Democrats on the Hill and many Republicans support it. The President says it's too expensive. Our chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz is at the White House tonight. Martha?
MARTHA RADDATZ: Charlie, this is the fourth time the President has used his veto pen, but it is by far the most unpopular veto. The President signed the veto in private, but gave a very public and strident defense of it.

GEORGE W. BUSH: What you're seeing when you expand eligibility for federal programs is the desire by some in Washington, D.C. to federalize health care. I don't think that's good for the country.
RADDATZ: The country seems to disagree -- 72 percent of Americans support expanding the program, including majorities of Republicans and conservatives. And on the Hill today, Democrats and Republicans stood side-by-side against the President.
SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): And I don't think the President is somebody who doesn't want these kids to be covered. I think he's been given some pretty bad advice by some who, though sincere, are sincerely wrong.
RADDATZ: The so-called S-CHIP program was originally intended to reach families who earn at most three times the poverty level, which ranges on average from $20,000 to $60,000 for a family of four depending on where they live. Today, 6.6 million children are enrolled. The House and Senate, concerned about skyrocketing health care costs, passed this bill, which would have maintained the current enrollment and added nearly 3.5 million more children to the program. The veto could have a profound impact.
RON POLLACK, FAMILIES USA: If the states do not get enough money to pay for the additional costs of health care, then they're going to have to cut back on the coverage that they're currently providing to children. And as a result, about one million children currently in the program are at risk of losing it.
RADDATZ: Lori Siravo has S-CHIP coverage for her daughter Carly.
LORI SIRAVO, MOTHER: Having it taken away would be devastating. You can't do that to children. It's not right.
RADDATZ: Analysts say children like Carly could lose their coverage, but the White House strongly disagrees. Although they did say late today if there is not enough money to meet the program's original intent and families are struggling, we are willing to talk about how much more needs to be done. And, Charlie, the White House does say it is willing to compromise.


# CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: From the Pentagon to the White House now, where President Bush made good today on a threat to veto an expansion of the so-called S-CHIP program. That provides health insurance to about six million poor children. Congress wants to increase that to 10 million children, but the President says that would include more than the poor. Here's Jim Axelrod.

JIM AXELROD: Saying he supports expanding health care coverage for poor kids, just not to the extent the Democrats want, President Bush cast his veto, then flew to Pennsylvania to make it crystal clear he's ready to deal.
GEORGE W. BUSH: And if they need a little more money in the bill to help us meet the objective of getting help for poor children, I'm more than willing to sit down with the leaders and find a way to do so.
AXELROD: Despite significant Republican support, it's uncertain if Democrats can get the votes needed to override the veto. They're set in the Senate but still roughly 15 votes short in the House.
[clip of ad]
AXELROD: This veto could be big trouble for Republicans who now face a "shame on you" campaign complete with small children in red wagons delivering petitions to the White House. Never mind that the President proposed his own $5 billion expansion to the program.
REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D-IL): He knows he is on the wrong side of what is right and what is politically correct.
AXELROD: Democratic leaders like Rahm Emanuel are licking their chops.
EMANUEL: And so the President of the United States is asking 15 Republicans to stand with him on an argument about government-run health care and deny American kids health care and yet vote at the same time to give Iraq $190 billion.
AXELROD: The President says he's curbing runaway spending. One GOP strategist says poor kids' health care trumps fiscal restraint every time. Democrats have two weeks until the override vote to frame the choice just that way. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, the White House.

CNN's Cafferty Laments War Spending,
Bush Veto of SCHIP

CNN's Jack Cafferty, in his 5pm EDT hour "Cafferty File" segment on Wednesday's The Situation Room, offered a loaded question involving President Bush's veto of a proposed expansion of the SCHIP program: "President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children?"

Before he asked that question, Cafferty detailed how President Bush's veto of SCHIP "was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors. No fanfare, no news coverage," and the reasons the President listed for his veto. He then added that "this is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq." Cafferty also outlined how under President Bush's leadership, the ceiling for the national debt has been increased for the fifth time in seven years to $9.8 trillion, and how apparently, President Bush "has borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks since taking office than this country's first 42 presidents combined."

[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday evening, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video and audio will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Video (0:36): Real (0.98 MB) or Windows (1.11 MB), plus MP3 (278 KB)

The full transcript of "The Cafferty File" from Wednesday's The Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty once again. He's got the 'The Cafferty File.' Hi, Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY: Wolf, President Bush, who campaigned for the nation's highest office as a 'compassionate conservative,' vetoed a bill to expand children's health insurance today. That veto was cast very quietly this morning behind closed doors. No fanfare, no news coverage. The bill would have allowed an additional 4 million children to be covered at a cost of an additional $35 billion spread out over five years. $7 billion a year. And the tab would have been paid by raising the federal cigarette tax. But President Bush insisted the bill was too costly, took the program too far from its goal of helping the poor, and would encourage people covered in the private sector to switch over to government health insurance. He wanted only a $5 billion increase in funding. This is the same man who will soon go to Congress and ask for another $190 billion to continue that glorious war in Iraq.
Think about this: when President Bush came into office, the federal budget was in surplus, and the national debt was $5.6 trillion. Fast-forward seven years. Mr. Bush signed a measure last week to raise the debt ceiling for the fifth time in his presidency to $9.8 trillion. Not to mention the astronomical costs of those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of billions of dollars, all supplemental appropriations that don't show up as part of the budget, and therefore, don't show up as part of the deficit. And in fact, statistics show that Mr. Bush has borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks since taking office than this country's first 42 presidents combined. But the children's health insurance bill was too costly.
Here's the question. President Bush has increased the national debt by trillions of dollars. Why would he veto a bill providing health insurance for children? E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@cnn.com, or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER: $5.6 trillion when he took office, the debt now another $4.2 trillion. That raises it to almost $10 trillion. Jack, I did the math for you, almost double. Thanks very much.

As he does with all of his questions, Cafferty read some of the answers he received from viewers. Refreshingly, he presented arguments from both sides of the political spectrum.

Today Features Wesley Clark to Denounce
'Annoying Gnat' Limbaugh

NBC's Today on Wednesday decided former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark's use of the "phony soldier" charge against Rush Limbaugh, to try to get Limbaugh off of Armed Forces Radio, merited an entire 7am segment in which co-host Meredith Vieira referred to Limbaugh as an "annoying gnat." Later, ABC's Ted Koppel, on to plug an upcoming show on the Discovery Channel, called Limbaugh's remarks "foolish," but when asked about Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, Koppel expressed sympathy: "I feel great pain for Dan."

Vieira's first question to Clark: "You've started this email campaign to get Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio. It is a drastic step. Why do you think it is necessary?" She soon followed up: "Why don't you just brush off these comments by Limbaugh, like an annoying gnat instead of legitimizing them and bringing more attention to them?" Of course, it was Vieira and Today giving attention to Clark's effort.

Koppel's compassion wasn't just reserved for Rather but he extended it to criminals too, as he was invited on "Today" to promote his latest Discovery Channel documentary on overcrowded prisons. During the segment, Koppel criticized "three strikes" laws and griped about the state of prisons in this country: "It's, it's a national problem. And again, it comes back to the subject we started on, the stupidity of the sorts of things that we debate and argue in, in our political process today. Any politician who is trying to get elected and who says, 'You know what we really need is more vocational training for prisoners, we need anger management programs.' That man or woman is not going to get elected but we should be talking about that 'cause all these people are coming back into our society again."

On Limbaugh, Koppel asserted: "I mean this is not the first time Rush Limbaugh has said controversial things or foolish things, certainly not the first time I've said foolish things. But if, if that's the best that the U.S. Senate can, can find to debate and discuss, God help us."

The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens provided this transcript of the October 3 Today look at the left-wing manufactured controversy over Limbaugh:

Matt Lauer, tease: "And then why would they be talking about Rush Limbaugh on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. It all stems from some comments that the conservative talk show host made about some U.S. soldiers. We're gonna explain that controversy and while we're at it, we'll ask the question is this really what Americans want their elected officials to be debating on the floor of the Senate?"

....

Meredith Vieira: "Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy and now he is back in the spotlight again. Congressional Democrats are accusing him of slandering U.S. troops who oppose the war, Limbaugh says that's ridiculous. NBC's Norah O'Donnell has more. Good morning, Norah."

[On screen headline: "Dems Vs. Rush, Who Is More Unpatriotic?"]

Norah O'Donnell: "And good morning to you Meredith. Well both sides are now trading the equivalent of verbal hand grenades, accusing one another of being unpatriotic. 40 Senate Democrats have sent a letter to the company that syndicates Limbaugh's show, asking that his remarks be repudiated. Well this morning the CEO of Clear Channel responded, saying, 'Given Limbaugh's history of support for our soldiers,' quote, 'it would be unfair of me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers.' Bombastic broadcaster Rush Limbaugh says he is being smeared and is furious."
Rush Limbaugh: "This is a way to discredit me and rehabilitate the Democrats."
O'Donnell: "Democrats accuse Limbaugh of calling troops who oppose the Iraq war, 'phony soldiers.'"
Sen. Harry Reid: "Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to attack the courage and character of those fighting and dying for him and for all of us."
Limbaugh: "You want to come on this program and call me unpatriotic come on this program and call me unpatriotic."
O'Donnell: "At issue, comments Limbaugh made last week in a conversation with a caller about troops who have spoken out against the Iraq war."
Limbaugh: "The phony soldiers."
Caller: "The phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq."
O'Donnell: "Limbaugh claims his words were taken out of context and that he was referring to one soldier recently convicted of lying about his service."
Sen. Tom Harkin: "What's most despicable is that Rush Limbaugh says these provocative things to make more money. I don't know, maybe he was just high on his drugs again."
Limbaugh: "Well that's a full-fledged assault. Senator Tom 'dung-heap' Harkin on the floor of the Senate, denouncing me."
O'Donnell: "The mudslinging is just the latest in the high decibel fight over Iraq. First there was this moveon.org ad, which for days became a bigger focus than the war itself. Now the spat over Limbaugh has already spawned a new TV ad of its own."
[Veteran in ad: "Until you have the guts to call me a phony soldier to my face, stop telling lies about my service."]
John Harwood, CNBC Chief Washington correspondent: "It's a symptom of how tough this problem is that each side is simply quibbling with the other's bogeyman and not actually getting anything substantive accomplished on Iraq."
O'Donnell: "It is true the Democrats have been frustrated in their efforts to force President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq. Congress' approval rating stands at a low of 11 percent and it's not clear, at this hour, that the Democrats in the House have the willpower to bring a vote on one proposed resolution that would denounce Rush Limbaugh's comments. Meredith."

Vieira: "Norah O'Donnell, thanks very much. Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark is a former Democratic presidential candidate. He wants Congress to pull Rush Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio Network, which is funded by taxpayers. Clark is also the author of the new book, A Time To Lead, For Duty, Honor and Country. General Clark, good morning to you sir.
Gen. Wesley Clark: "Good morning, Meredith."
Vieira: "You've started this email campaign to get Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio. It is a drastic step. Why do you think it is necessary?"
Clark: "Because I think that his comments just crossed the line. I think there's a lot of people serving in Iraq, a lot of veterans who've served. A lot of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who have thoughts about the war, that aren't necessarily in agreement with President Bush. That's their right as American citizens. It doesn't mean they weren't great soldiers. It doesn't mean they didn't do their, or aren't doing their duty to the best of their ability. I just think that when you mischaracterize the, the qualities of these people, it crosses the line. Now I think, that, that when it crosses the line and it's free speech, that's fine. When it crosses the line and put on and paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, I think that's another matter."
Vieira: "You know to make it to General you have to be a pretty tough cookie, I'm sure there are some people who might ask you, why don't you just brush off these comments by Limbaugh, like an annoying gnat instead of legitimizing them and bringing more attention to them?"
Clark: "I don't think this legitimizes them. I think it's a matter of balance. And after what happened with the Moveon ad, which I didn't support, they didn't check with me, and I, I don't condone that kind of name-calling to General Petraeus, about General Petraeus. He's a fine officer, he's doing the best he can with a difficult job. But I think it has to apply on both sides of the political debate. I always hear politicians saying, 'Gee, you know it's too bad. We're gonna improve the, the quality of the discourse in America. Well here's a chance to do something about the quality of the discourse but you have to grasp the issue. It's a time for leadership. And yes, it's distasteful to have to worry about this kind of quibbling. But this goes to the heart of why the discourse is so ugly. Just listen to the point that you quoted Rush as saying about an American senator. Fine, that's politics. Senator Harkin is a big man. He can take care of himself but our soldiers aren't. They're over there, putting themselves in harms way. And they deserve a little bit of respect and that respect should be in the dialogue of people who are broadcasting on Armed Forces Network to our soldiers."
Vieira: "But you hear a lot of yelling and screaming over these, these issues, General and a lot of name-calling. Isn't this a distraction or do you worry that it is a distraction from what we should be debating which is U.S. policy in Iraq?"
Clark: "It is a distraction but it's also fundamental because free speech and a certain quality in that speech is, is essential in a democracy. We should be talking about the facts but we weren't. When 70 some-odd senators wanted to spend two days in the Senate condemning the ad for moveon.org they distracted the and it served as a distraction, which met the needs of one side in the debate. I think we need balance in this debate and I think that all of the senators and congressmen in the United States should take their responsibility to restore balance. Let's condemn it on both sides. Let's get to the issues. Let's work to find the right policy to success in this region."
Vieira: "And finally, very quickly, what response have you been getting to your email campaign?"
Clark: "It's a, it's a good response. We've had 15,000 people come back and sign up on the Web site. It's called SecuringAmerica.com, www.SecuringAmerica.com. And I think there are a lot of people out there who see this as an important issue where Congress should set the tone in condemning this kind of rhetoric, which disparages our men and women in uniform."
Vieira: "General Wesley Clark, thank you very much sir."

Chris Matthews Continues Distortion of
Rush Limbaugh

Chris Matthews refused to correct the record on Rush Limbaugh's criticism of "phony soldiers," instead choosing to toss a softball to anti-war Congressman Jack Murtha as he asked him on Wednesday's Hardball: "What do you think of Rush Limbaugh's comment the other day that somebody was a phony soldier because they opposed the war? He also said they were a phony Republican, by the way, because he said Republicans couldn't possibly, a Republican couldn't possibly be against the war? What do you make of that?"

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

Matthews never pointed out Limbaugh was referring to soldiers who were proven not to have served in Iraq and it's not as if Matthews doesn't know better. On the October 2 edition of Hardball the day before he had give The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti a chance to clarify Limbaugh's actual position.

After a segment in which liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz and Heidi Harris debated the topic, Continetti felt the need to let Matthews know he was off-base with his claim that Limbaugh was calling any soldier who criticized the Iraq war as being "phony."

From the October 2 Hardball:

Matthews: "We're back with the New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, the Houston Chronicle's Julie Mason, and the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to go back to the fight we had a few minutes ago, before you all came on, involving Rush Limbaugh. I always like to say on this program, I am not a media critic. I don't like baseball players that make fun of other baseball players. It's kind of unsavory, if you will. I let people who do it for a living, like Howie Kurtz or whatever, of the Washington Post, do this business. But Matt, I hear you wanted to make a clarification or a correction in the way we discussed that issue of Rush Limbaugh's reference to, to phony soldiers, or soldier, or whatever. What's your correction?"
Matthew Continetti: "Well I just think, rather than correction, Chris, we need to break it down this way. If Rush Limbaugh was saying that all soldiers who were anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-surge are phonies, then he was totally out of line and that's incorrect to say and it's dishonorable to say. However, if Rush Limbaugh was saying that some of the soldiers who have taken those political positions have turned out to be phonies, then I think-"
Matthews: "Oh, you mean they weren't really soldiers, they never really fought?"
Continetti: "No, the, their stories, their stories have turned out to be phony."
Matthews: "Oh okay."
Continetti: "And later Limbaugh mentioned one in particular, and there are, there have been others. If he's saying that, then I do think that's a legitimate fact."
Matthews: "Okay, you know, it's interesting, I looked back after you called us on this, and I checked back the context, which I find fascinating because he also said to the guy, you can't possibly be a Republican. You can't possibly be against the war and be a Republican. And you and I know there are a lot of Republicans around, not just Ron Paul, Gordon Smith, Chuck Hagel; there are Republicans out there who think the war, not that they're against it ideologically. They just think it was a bad U.S. policy mistake and they think we ought to cut our losses. You heard that in his arguments. Rush Limbaugh is really out on a limb here saying you can't disagree with the Republican policy if you're a Republican. Well that's a tautology."
Continetti: "So is the idea of Rush Limbaugh going out on a limb. Right?"
Matthews: "Okay, great, great."
Continetti: "I mean he's an entertainer. He's been doing it for 20 years."

Earlier on Tuesday's show, Matthews repeated the "phony soldiers" charge several times, as seen in the following excerpts from that October 2 segment:

Matthews: "Welcome back to Hardball. Democrats in Congress are going after Rush Limbaugh after the radio talk show host called those who served in Iraq but then came home to oppose the Bush administration's war policy as 'phony soldiers.' Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called on the chief executive of Clear Channel Communications, I guess it's the company that runs Limbaugh's operation, to condemn or denounce Limbaugh's remarks, which he says are, quote, 'hateful and unpatriotic.' So who is right in this fight, Harry Reid or Rush Limbaugh? Ed Schultz hosts a syndicated radio talk show host. And Heidi Harris is also a radio talk show host. Let me ask, Heidi, first of all, what do you make of Rush Limbaugh's reference to soldiers who oppose the war as phony soldiers?"
Heidi Harris: "Well, he was talking about one particular soldier. He was using a phrase someone else had used to describe people who weren't really soldiers and tried to be and tried to make points that way. And ultimately, you know, Harry Reid is the last person who should be criticizing Rush Limbaugh for anything. Harry Reid is the one who said, if we continue on the same path, the war is lost. Harry Reid, talk about a guy who shouldn't even look for rocks, it's ridiculous. And he is really wasting a lot of time, government time, by the way, that I'm paying for on the floor of the Senate, denouncing Rush Limbaugh. For what reason? It is ridiculous, the whole thing."
Matthews: "Well, let me go to Ed Schultz on that. Do you think that Rush Limbaugh was right to call people who oppose the war who have served 'phony soldiers?'"
Ed Schultz: "No. It's insulting, Chris. And the Republicans started all of this by-"
Matthews: "Well, it is meant to be insulting. We know that. It's meant to be insulting. But let's move on from that."
Schultz: "Well, of course it is meant, and it is the wrong thing to do. It is not supporting the troops. It is not showing the respect that they deserve after serving. I don't believe Limbaugh has served any time soon. And it's not about one soldier. This is a pattern of behavior. It's about a policy. Every time somebody comes out against the war, they become a target for Limbaugh, and his cronies on the right. They, they went after Chuck Hagel. They've gone after Paul Hackett. Even said Paul Hackett went to Iraq to pad his resume. Is this what you get if you serve in the military, if you don't go along with the policy, that you get called a phony? I think that Limbaugh is a phony. I think that."

...

Matthews concluding the segment: "Believe it or not, despite all this heat, and I love the heat, there's been some illumination here. I think you both agree that it's wrong for any commentator to refer to pol-, the political views of soldiers who come back having faced the action and been shot at and, in many cases wounded, that they have a right to speak in this country, generally. Don't you agree with that, Heidi?"
Harris: "Absolutely."
Matthews: "So we're agreed, so we all disagree with Rush Limbaugh. Anyway, thank you very much Ed Schultz and Heidi Harris."
Harris: "I don't know about that."

For Second Day, Roberts Again Assumes
Clarence Thomas Guilty

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued: "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders: "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"

Implicit in this question is the idea that Hill's claims against the now-Supreme Court justice are true. Would Roberts use Clinton-accuser Paula Jones as a similar comparison to a modern case? On Tuesday's GMA, the ABC host employed the same tactic in the interview with Anita Hill. Roberts sympathetically questioned: "Is it better now in the workplace for women?" Again, this leaves the assumption that for things to be "better," Thomas must have been guilty of making them worse for Hill. See Monday's CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

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

A partial transcript of Robert's interview with Anucha Brown Sanders, which aired at 7:18am on October 3:

Robin Roberts: "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court and I asked her about what those 16 years, what they have meant and what they have meant for other people. Take a listen."
Anita Hill: "I've heard from so many people who say those hearings taught me. They allowed me to come forward, they allowed me to reconcile with what happened in my life. And so with hindsight, I can't think that I should have done anything differently."
Roberts: "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"
Anucha Browne Sanders (Won $11.6 million in Sexual harassment case): "I hope it does. I hope it has an impact, particularly for the people that are left there at Madison Square Garden. And for employers across industry to take heed and to pay attention and take responsibility for the workplace and I really believe that it's leadership and an environment is guided by leadership. And I think when leadership decides that this is acceptable, then it's acceptable throughout, and when leadership decides it's unacceptable and we're not going to put up. They begin to'€" They're the ones who set the standard."
Roberts: "Anucha, thank you very much. Certainly appreciate your time this morning. All the best for you."

-- Brent Baker