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ABC: 'Petraeus Optimistic' on Iraq 'If Pols Give Him Enough Time' --7/12/2007


1. ABC: 'Petraeus Optimistic' on Iraq 'If Pols Give Him Enough Time'
On ABC's World News on Wednesday night, reporter Terry McCarthy gave time to how moves in Washington, DC to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq will undermine progress against al Qaeda. Reporter Terry McCarthy, who traveled with General David Petraeus in the Sunni Triangle's al Qaeda stronghold south of Baghdad, highlighted how the commander of all forces in Iraq "is still very optimistic about the military battle, if the politicians give him enough time." McCarthy asked him: "Are you concerned that the U.S. political clock could start ticking too fast and undermine security here? Undermine confidence here?" Petraeus replied that "obviously, that's in the back of our minds. And there is not a great deal we can do about it, other than to continue to press forward." McCarthy concluded: "The fields south of Baghdad are still a major battlefield in the fight against al Qaeda. But increasingly, Petraeus knows the most important battle in the Iraq war is being fought out in Washington."

2. NBC's Today Blames Iraq for McCain's 'Dwindling Poll Numbers'
NBC's Today show on Wednesday blamed Republican presidential candidate John McCain's support for the Iraq war and keeping troops in Iraq, not the Senator's frequent support for liberal policies, such his advocacy of the immigration bill which enraged conservative primary voters, for his plummeting poll numbers. Andrea Mitchell asserted in a story on the battle between President Bush and Congress over Iraq: "John McCain, just back from Iraq, defended the White House strategy, despite the political cost to his own campaign." Moments later, co-host Matt Lauer insisted: "Arizona Senator John McCain has been one of the President's staunchest allies when it comes to the war in Iraq and now that support may be partly responsible for dwindling poll numbers." Reporter Chip Reid maintained that McCain's "unwavering support of the Iraq war is unpopular with moderate Republicans," but Reid at least acknowledged how "another issue dragging him down" is "immigration reform. Many conservatives deeply resent his support for what they call amnesty."

3. Stossel Responds to RFK Jr, Lists False Environmentalist Scares
On Wednesday's Your World with Neil Cavuto, FNC's Cavuto hosted both ABC's John Stossel and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss Kennedy's charge, from the stage of Saturday's "Live Earth" concert in New Jersey, that the ABC anchor, as well as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have been "lying" about global warming and are "toadies" for corporations. Stossel asserted that some of Kennedy's comments about the environment are "silly" and brought up a number of big scares that have been promoted in recent years, some by environmentalists, that have turned out not to materialize. Asked by Cavuto if ignoring the issue may make it worse, Stossel responded: "Well, it's possible. And it's possible that the killer bees were going to come up and sting us all to death, and that Y2K was going to crash all the planes, and that the pesticides that his organization [Natural Resources Defense Council] is so upset about were causing the cancer epidemic, and the frog testicles were shrinking, were going to make us all sterile. The scares from the environmental groups have just come one after the other. None has been true."


ABC: 'Petraeus Optimistic' on Iraq 'If
Pols Give Him Enough Time'

On ABC's World News on Wednesday night, reporter Terry McCarthy gave time to how moves in Washington, DC to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq will undermine progress against al Qaeda. Reporter Terry McCarthy, who traveled with General David Petraeus in the Sunni Triangle's al Qaeda stronghold south of Baghdad, highlighted how the commander of all forces in Iraq "is still very optimistic about the military battle, if the politicians give him enough time." McCarthy asked him: "Are you concerned that the U.S. political clock could start ticking too fast and undermine security here? Undermine confidence here?" Petraeus replied that "obviously, that's in the back of our minds. And there is not a great deal we can do about it, other than to continue to press forward." McCarthy concluded: "The fields south of Baghdad are still a major battlefield in the fight against al Qaeda. But increasingly, Petraeus knows the most important battle in the Iraq war is being fought out in Washington."

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

A transcript of McCarthy's story on the July 11 World News:

REPORTER TERRY MCCARTHY, NARRATING VIDEO FROM A HELICOPTER: Rich farmland along the Tigris River. From the air, it looks peaceful. But this is the so-called triangle of death, the Sunni belt south of Baghdad full of al Qaeda extremists, enemy number one for General David Petraeus.
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: The enemy in Iraq that is causing the horrific attacks, that is igniting the sectarian violence, that is causing the mass casualties and damaging the infrastructure, by and large is al Qaeda.
MCCARTHY: This is al Qaeda territory, about 20 miles south of Baghdad and a major production area for car bombs. The primary mission of the U.S. military here is to turn the local population against al Qaeda and stop those car bombs making their way to Baghdad. Turning the local population against al Qaeda takes time. And that is one commodity that General Petraeus is running out of. He knows that Congress wants to draw down U.S. troops because they're losing faith in the Iraqi government.
PETRAEUS: No one is happy with where they are right now. We all share that frustration, frankly that disappointment.
MCCARTHY: Despite all this, Petraeus is still very optimistic about the military battle, if the politicians give him enough time.
MCCARTHY TO PETRAEUS: Are you concerned that the U.S. political clock could start ticking too fast and undermine security here? Undermine confidence here?
PETRAEUS: Obviously, that's in the back of our minds. And there is not a great deal we can do about it, other than to continue to press forward.
MCCARTHY: The fields south of Baghdad are still a major battlefield in the fight against al Qaeda. But increasingly, Petraeus knows the most important battle in the Iraq war is being fought out in Washington. Terry McCarthy, ABC News, Patrol Base Murray, central Iraq.

NBC's Today Blames Iraq for McCain's
'Dwindling Poll Numbers'

NBC's Today show on Wednesday blamed Republican presidential candidate John McCain's support for the Iraq war and keeping troops in Iraq, not the Senator's frequent support for liberal policies, such his advocacy of the immigration bill which enraged conservative primary voters, for his plummeting poll numbers. Andrea Mitchell asserted in a story on the battle between President Bush and Congress over Iraq: "John McCain, just back from Iraq, defended the White House strategy, despite the political cost to his own campaign." Moments later, co-host Matt Lauer insisted: "Arizona Senator John McCain has been one of the President's staunchest allies when it comes to the war in Iraq and now that support may be partly responsible for dwindling poll numbers." Reporter Chip Reid maintained that McCain's "unwavering support of the Iraq war is unpopular with moderate Republicans," but Reid at least acknowledged how "another issue dragging him down" is "immigration reform. Many conservatives deeply resent his support for what they call amnesty."

The Wednesday morning Today matched the spin conveyed on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News where, in a story about the political fight over whether to withdraw troops from Iraq, David Gregory framed McCain's Tuesday morning Senate floor comments around how his stance on Iraq is what has "undermined" his campaign: "Just back from Iraq, Senator John McCain, whose presidential campaign has been undermined by his support for the war, gave the President a big boost."

The July 11 CyberAlert also recounted how CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric declared: "No public figure has supported the President's Iraq policy more than Senator John McCain, and he's paid a heavy price for that. His presidential campaign is struggling and today, Jeff Greenfield reports, there was a big shakeup." Greenfield, at least, paired Couric's spin with the immigration issue: "Money woes are only part of the problem. His Iraq views are at odds with more and more in his own party and McCain's a sponsor of the dead for now immigration reform bill that has incensed many conservatives."

As noted in that CyberAlert, while McCain may be more outspoken than other GOP candidates in his persistence about the need to keep U.S. troops in Iraq, every Republican presidential candidate but Ron Paul has stuck with President Bush on Iraq.

For the July 11 CyberAlert article: www.mediaresearch.org

Following Mitchell's July 11 Today story, Lauer set up a piece by Chip Reid, as taken down by the MRC's Geoff Dickens:

Matt Lauer: "Arizona Senator John McCain has been one of the President's staunchest allies when it comes to the war in Iraq and now that support may be partly responsible for dwindling poll numbers and a big shakeup among top campaign staffers on Tuesday. NBC's Chip Reid is on Capitol Hill with the latest on this. Chip, good morning to you."

In the piece, Reid asserted: "And McCain's problems are deeper than money. He's been falling steadily in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. From 29 percent in December to 24 in March and last month just 14 percent. One problem, his unwavering support of the Iraq war is unpopular with moderate Republicans and he insists he won't change his position for political purposes."
Sen. John McCain on the Senate floor on Tuesday: "A lot of us are driven by principle and a lot of us do what we think is right, no matter what the polls say."
Reid: "Another issue dragging him down, immigration reform. Many conservatives deeply resent his support for what they call amnesty. Despite his troubles McCain insists he's in the race to stay and says he's happy with his new, lean campaign. NBC News political director Chuck Todd says it's far too early to rule him out..."

Stossel Responds to RFK Jr, Lists False
Environmentalist Scares

On Wednesday's Your World with Neil Cavuto, FNC's Cavuto hosted both ABC's John Stossel and environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss Kennedy's charge, from the stage of Saturday's "Live Earth" concert in New Jersey, that the ABC anchor, as well as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have been "lying" about global warming and are "toadies" for corporations.

Stossel charged that some of Kennedy's comments about the environment are "silly" and brought up a number of big scares that have been promoted in recent years, some by environmentalists, that have turned out not to materialize. Asked by Cavuto if ignoring the issue may make it worse, Stossel responded: "Well, it's possible. And it's possible that the killer bees were going to come up and sting us all to death, and that Y2K was going to crash all the planes, and that the pesticides that his organization [Natural Resources Defense Council] is so upset about were causing the cancer epidemic, and the frog testicles were shrinking, were going to make us all sterile. The scares from the environmental groups have just come one after the other. None has been true."

Stossel expressed his unwillingness to let Kennedy restrict the use of air conditioning or "tell poor people they can't have a car," and contended that Kennedy's recommendation that changing light bulbs would help fight global warming was "silly." Stossel: "But to call me a flat-earther because I'm saying we shouldn't turn our freedom and our choices over to Robert Kennedy so he can run our lives and tell us when we can have air conditioning or tell poor people they can't have a car is a bit much. Clearly, there is global warming. Climate changes. The earth has been warming. Is it all our fault? Is changing a light bulb going to make any difference? Some of what he says, I think, is silly." The ABC News correspondent who co-anchors 20/20 later alluded to global warming that happened in Earth's past before the time of the Industrial Revolution as he mentioned that Greenland "was called Greenland for a reason."

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

Below is a transcript of the segment that featured both Stossel and Kennedy from near the end of the Wednesday, July 11 Your World with Neil Cavuto on FNC:

After interviewing Kennedy alone, Cavuto brought aboard Stossel and read Kennedy's recent comments accusing him of "lying."

NEIL CAVUTO: John, your response.
JOHN STOSSEL: Well, what can you say? I suppose he calls me a corporate toady because I'm a consumer reporter who now defends corporations because I've found, by and large, they do good things for Americans. But to call me a flat-earther because I'm saying we shouldn't turn our freedom and our choices over to Robert Kennedy so he can run our lives and tell us when we can have air conditioning or tell poor people they can't have a car is a bit much. Clearly, there is global warming. Climate changes. The earth has been warming. Is it all our fault? Is changing a light bulb going to make any difference? Some of what he says, I think, is silly. I invite you to debate me about this, to come on 20/20 and talk about it. I'd love to have you.
CAVUTO: All right, for now, Robert, what did you mean to say, that John is "lying" to people?
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: Yes, absolutely. Lying and lying repeatedly. First of all, the, everything we need to do, the science on global warming is settled, 2500 scientists and the IPPC report, the top meteorologists and climate scientists from around the world have announced the global consensus that global warming exists, that we are causing it, and that its impacts are going to be catastrophic. You don't need that science, though. All you need to do is walk outside. I just came back from the Arctic. The Arctic is melting. It is catastrophic. The good news is that everything that we need to do to solve global warming are things we ought to be doing anyway for the sake of America's prosperity, for our national security, for our economic independence.
CAVUTO: All right, so, John, what do you think of that? By ignoring this, you're making the problem worse. What do you think?
STOSSEL: Well, it's possible. And it's possible that the killer bees were going to come up and sting us all to death, and that Y2K was going to crash all the planes, and that the pesticides that his organization is so upset about were causing the cancer epidemic, and the frog testicles were shrinking, were going to make us all sterile. The scares from the environmental groups have just come one after the other. None has been true. It's possible that this one will be true, but it is just not true to say there is a scientific consensus that global warming will be a catastrophe. It's probably far better to wait, see what happens, these models have not been that good at predicting the future, many scientists disagree with them despite what Mr. Kennedy says. Let's see what happens. Don't make the country poor.
CAVUTO: All right, well, Robert, what do you think of that? Is it wise, on your part, if someone disagrees with you, Robert, to go after their advertisers, to essentially shut John up?
STOSSEL: Sure, that's free speech. He should be able to do that. That's the American way.
CAVUTO: All right, but go ahead, Robert. Go ahead.
KENNEDY: Absolutely, I think, I mean, you know, the air waves are owned by the public. The airwaves are licensed to the broadcasters, but the broadcasters are obligated to use those airwaves primarily to promote the public interest and to advance our democracy. If you are lying to people about science, about the impact of things like global warming, it's something that you should be challenged on. And the advertisers, of course, should be questioned about that.
CAVUTO: Would you apply the same, John, to Robert Kennedy in any venue he appeared on? Would you urge your listeners or viewers to boycott advertisers in which he's featured.
STOSSEL: No, that's not the way I would do it. I would just argue with him. I mean, this is a man who also said that there's no doubt that mercury in vaccines have poisoned an entire generation. I think he's just silly about a lot of things, including this.
CAVUTO: Robert?
KENNEDY: You know, to go back to the global warming issue, global warming, to say that we should wait and see what's happening, it's already happening. I would urge John Stossel to go to Alaska, go to Glacier National Park, where I visited this summer, where there were 127 glaciers at the beginning of the century. There are 17 left now. On every continent, the glaciers and every mountain range on Earth, the glaciers are now receding.
CAVUTO: So you say we ignore this at our peril. John, you just think it's strong-arming to make us accept that.
STOSSEL: Climate changes. Greenland was once called Greenland for a reason. It's not, that doesn't prove that man's doing it and that our not driving a car, and, heck, I live in an apartment and ride my bike to work. I'm his environmental role model, but it's not going to make any difference.

-- Brent Baker