ABC: "Stinging Rebuke" of Bush, CBS: Senate Finally Reins Him In --11/16/2005
2. ABC Gives Conservative GOP House Speaker a Segregationist History
3. Actors Rob Reiner and John Cusack Launch Vicious Attacks on Bush
The networks pounced Tuesday night on the Senate's non-binding resolution calling for Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security so that U.S. troops can start coming home next year. With "Stinging Rebuke" on screen, Elizabeth Vargas teased World News Tonight: "A stinging rebuke for President Bush on Iraq. For the first time, his own party demands more accountability for the war. Democrats say there is no exit strategy." She opened the newscast: "In Washington today, there was a powerful sign of the growing frustration in the country over the war in Iraq. The Senate, led by the President's own party, has formally demanded more accountability from the Bush administration." CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer, however, emphasized how "the Republican-controlled Senate today turned back the Democrats' effort to set a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq." Schieffer soon admiringly pointed out how "by my recollection, this is really the first time, I think, that the Congress has acted to rein in the President, perhaps, since 9/11."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected against the closed-captioning the November 15 ABC and CBS stories:
# ABC's World News Tonight. Elizabeth Vargas [in opening teaser]: "A stinging rebuke for President Bush on Iraq. For the first time, his own party demands more accountability for the war. Democrats say there is no exit strategy."
Vargas led: "In Washington today, there was a powerful sign of the growing frustration in the country over the war in Iraq. The Senate, led by the President's own party, has formally demanded more accountability from the Bush administration. Some Democrats have long complained that President Bush has no exit strategy. Today, the discontent spread across party lines. ABC's Linda Douglass reports."
Linda Douglass: "For the first time, Senate Republicans sent a strong message that they are feeling the pressure to get the U.S. out of Iraq. One senior Republican argued it is time for the Iraqis to start governing themselves."
Gloria Borger: "By now, the arguments are familiar:"
A September 29 CyberAlert posting presciently forecast how "ABC's new Commander in Chief drama...clearly intends to make the conservative Republican 'House Speaker Nathan Templeton,' played by Donald Sutherland, the foil on the show revolving around Geena Davis as 'President Mackenzie Allen.'" On Tuesday's episode, the villainous Templeton has been told that "Special Assistant to the President Vince Taylor" is HIV-positive and he plans to reveal his health situation and to out him as gay, a move that so outrages Templeton's chief aide that she alerts the White House. Friends of the parents of "Kelly Ludlow," Press Secretary to the independent President, then come to DC with a tape of a 16 millimeter film of a 1965 fund-raiser, featuring the future House Speaker, made by their father who recently died. On the grainy black and white videotape of a smoke-filled room, Templeton contended that "segregation is the word of God" and railed about how "if the Lord Almighty wanted colored people to mix with whites...he wouldn't have placed them on separate continents." Referring to the Supreme Court, the early Templeton argued that "nine men in Washington can't change natural law" and, bringing up the KKK, that "black robes are worse than white robes." Templeton then laughed.
President Mackenzie calls Templeton to the Oval Office where he explains: "I was a young, Southern Democrat saying whatever I had to say to get elected." Showing him the video works, though, and he backs off his nefarious scheme to out Taylor.
[This item was posted Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. To watch, in either RealPlayer or Windows Media formats, video of what ABC portrayed as the background of the conservative Republican politician, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The show carried a "story by" credit for the Executive Producer of the program, TV veteran Steven Bochco.
Back in September, in an interview on the BBC, Sutherland delivered a tearful rant against President Bush and American conservatives: "We have children. How dare we take their legacy from them? How dare we? It's shameful what we are doing to our world." Sutherland also charged that Bush and GOP leaders "only care about profit. They will destroy our lives. And so it's something you have to care about if you're passionate about the lives of our children because we've stolen their future." For more, check this October 7 CyberAlert item: ttp://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20051007.asp#3
President Mackenzie gathers the senior staff and they watch on a TV the grainy black and white video tape of Templeton in a smoke-filled room:
For the September 29 CyberAlert article with an overview of the ABC drama, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
In recent days two Hollywood liberals have gone on vicious rants against President Bush and conservatives. "To send people off to die for a lie -- I swear I never thought I'd see that again in my lifetime," Rob Reiner told a New York Times reporter for a Sunday profile. Reiner claimed "It's beyond impeachable. If we had just one house of Congress, this man would be impeached." Reiner exclaimed: "To me, the death of people at somebody's hands over the stupidity of this man is astounding!" In a Friday piece on the Huffington Post blog, actor John Cusack asserted: "How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually is." Cusack railed against those "lying about the war and profiting from it. And trying to privatize Iraq so corporate interests could have a free-market laboratory without all those pesky questions about 'who owns what' and 'who gets a piece of the action.'...This is indeed a league of bastards -- these men are human scum." On the bright side, Cusack ruminated: "All this makes me think of Jon Stewart, and the tricky position he finds himself in...I love the man. He is the most important media watchdog right now."
Clay Waters, editor of the MRC's TimesWatch (www.timeswatch.org) alerted me to the Sunday New York Times profile of Reiner by Matt Bai. An excerpt:
....I sat with Reiner, who is often mentioned as a California gubernatorial candidate, and his political consultant, Chad Griffin, in an office lined with posters from Reiner's movies: "When Harry Met Sally," "This Is Spinal Tap," "A Few Good Men." "To send people off to die for a lie -- I swear I never thought I'd see that again in my lifetime," Reiner told me. "We went through it in Vietnam. To me, it's the most unconscionable thing you can do. It's beyond impeachable. If we had just one house of Congress, this man would be impeached." By "we," he meant the Democratic Party.
Reiner talked authoritatively about weapons inspectors and the National Intelligence Estimate, and he made reference, with evident satisfaction, to a poll showing that just 38 percent of the public thought the country was now headed in the right direction. The decibel level of his voice began to rise in anger, as if it were not I sitting across from Reiner on his couch but the president himself. "To me, the death of people at somebody's hands over the stupidity of this man is astounding!" he shouted at me. "When I hear that on the weekend of the Super Bowl an Iraqi expatriate was explaining to him the difference between Kurds and Sunnis and Shiites, it makes me want to cry. I want to cry!" (Reiner said he recalled hearing this anecdote on cable news or talk radio, though I wasn't able to find any reference to it subsequently.) "How do you send people into a region, the most powerful superpower in the world, when you have no idea what's going on there? I'm not an Arab expert. Fine. So read a book! Sit down and learn something!" At this, Reiner leaned forward and emphasized each word with a nod of his sizable head: "Read! A! Book!"...
END of Excerpt
Murder is a crime. Uunless it is done...by a poooollliiicceeeman. Or an ariissssstoocrat -- Joe Strummer
Bush 2. How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually is...how low the moral bar has been lowered...and (though I know I'm capable of intellectually lazy notions of collective guilt) how complicit our silence as citizens is...Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and future. But where are the Dems? American foreign policy is in chaos. We are now left in the surreal position of having to condemn American-sponsored torture as official policy while a deranged President Bush orders his staff to attend ethics briefings -- a "refresher course" -- from the White House counsel. The very idea of America is in chaos and this chaos has created a vacuum. One question for any Democrat: Who will have the balls to get us out of Iraq? If the Democrats don't step up and fill this vacuum, the Republicans will. They will take us out of Iraq. And then the Democrats will be left holding the bag -- first as the enablers who let the Republicans take us into an unnecessary and immoral war, and then as the whipping boys who stood by while the Republicans kept justifying what was clearly an unnecessary and immoral war. They were so worried about positioning themselves as hawks, not being seen as soft on terror and war, that they lost the capacity for outrage when the person responsible for a legal memo that denied the validity of the Geneva Conventions was appointed Attorney General. And it was downhill from there.
The Republicans, especially leading up to the 2006 elections, with the Bush administration crumbling, KNOW they have to find a way out of Iraq. So they will basically find a way to declare victory and do something that looks like a withdrawal, and the Democrats will be left as passive bystanders -- because they don't have the courage to suggest that people who lied to get us into war should not only not be in office, they should be in prison.
Last Tuesday, Harry Reid demonstrated wonderful signs of life. The question now is, are they going to build on this, or is it going to be an isolated episode that doesn't lead to a fundamental shift? Will enough Democrats now be willing to admit that voting to authorize the war was a mistake? Whether they were genuinely misled, they bought into it, or they were too cowardly to vote for what they believed was true, it was a mistake. Will they now have the courage to say, "This was wrong, and that we need to get our brave troops out of Iraq now." Are the Democrats going to offer an alternative plan to get us out of Iraq? Are they going to fill this vacuum created by the chaos in Iraq and a scandal-plagued administration in tatters, or are they going to wait for the Republicans to do it their way, reap the political diviedends, and leave the Democrats sniping outside the palace gate?
All this makes me think of Jon Stewart, and the tricky position he finds himself in...I love the man. He is the most important media watchdog right now. As Bill Moyers said "If Mark Twain were back today, he'd be at Comedy Central."
But I hope we're not putting too much pressure on Mr. Stewart. There should be a lot more like him, but right now he's all we've got. He's the vanguard. And therefore when Republicans, who were the ones who led us into this war, and the ones whom he's so rightly skewering every night, sit across the table from him -- there is some kind of unspoken message being given that they are not part of the problem, that they can wink and laugh with Jon and the things he is making fun of. That they are not them, when in fact, they are...
And they are getting a free pass to sit next to someone who speaks truth to power. They get reflected hipness just by sitting across the table from him, and the irony is that they share a laugh over the same things that he rails against. As an example, look at the jokey appearances by Bill Kristol, or David Frum. These are not dutiful soldiers standing by their president (which would be bad enough), these are the intellectual architects of the the invasion. Bill Kristol, the editor of the neocon house organ The Weekly Standard, came on and could barely keep a straight face when he said that Bush was a good president. And as anyone knows, reflected hipness on these types of men is a truly ugly thing. I would suggest each Republican must face a press conference, or a gauntlet perhaps, of Daily Show correspondents...or at least Lewis Black.
Yes, there is a difference between the McCain/Hagel Repubs and the neo-con/White House Iraq Group lunatics. But it's also good to remember: no matter what he does from here on out, McCain stood by the president, a man (and his machine) who smeared him viciously on the 2000 campaign trail, and then, at the GOP convention four years later, campaigned for him when we were well on to this disastrous course. And thinking men -- of which McCain is surely one -- knew the neo-cons were exploiting 9/11 for their hideous misadventure in Iraq, and knew this was an administration that would not allow photos of the dead. Etc. etc. etc. Every man who stood by Bush should be forced to answer for it. The problem isn't with Jon Stewart, who's a hero. The problem is that he's the only one (with ratings at least; none of the right-wing heavyweights are going on the Al Franken show, are they?). And we are pouring too much concrete under his pedestal. But I must admit that he's far too polite to the architects and enablers of the tragic last five years. If I hear one more asshole say, "The issue isn't whether I would send my own children to Iraq, this is an all-voluntary army...National security is at stake... There are monsters in this world." Well, thanks for telling us that -- and for lying about the war and profiting from it. And trying to privatize Iraq so corporate interests could have a free-market laboratory without all those pesky questions about "who owns what" and "who gets a piece of the action." (See Naomi Klein's excellent Baghdad Year Zero.) This is indeed a league of bastards -- these men are human scum. There were many who would have given their life to fight al-Qaeda. Many parents would have sent their children on that cause. It is the issue...of course that is the issue... Here's an American thought: Arab life has as much intrinsic value as American life. We are SUPPOSED to be better than the horrible regimes we must fight (not choose to fight). Due process is a fundamental tenet of civilization. The law is supposed to be better than us. We have veered so badly away from sanity that re-reading an Eisenhower speech or two puts him to the left of Howard Dean. I miss Hunter S. Thompson....
END of Excerpt
Last Friday, NewsBusters.org blogger Noel Sheppard posted an item on Cusack's rant: newsbusters.org
-- Brent Baker