2. NBC Story Cites MRC Monitoring of "Alleged Liberal Bias"
3. Newsweek: Bush as "Red Buttons" and Cheney as "Arrogant"
4. Hersh: "Never Too Early" to Brood About Another Vietnam
5. AP Reporter Worries About U.S. "Demonizing the Iraqis"
6. Garofalo: "Stupid People" Watch Fox & Talk Radio Hosts Lie
>>> Now online, a special "America at War" edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. For the March 31 edition with three pages of war coverage quotes, plus a page devoted to the winners of the MRC's 2003 DisHonors Awards:
It took Peter Arnett just a few hours to hook up with a far-left, virulently anti-American tabloid in London. In his first piece for the Daily Mirror, which featured on its front page the screaming headline "SLAUGHTER" about U.S. soldiers killing some Iraqi civilians, Arnett charged that he lost his job because the U.S. government and "right-wing media" fear his "truth" telling.
Arnett asserted in his story in the April 1 edition of the tabloid: "They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems." And why, Arnett not so humbly wondered, was "my successful NBC reporting career...turned to ashes?" His answer: "Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television; that the US war timetable has fallen by the wayside." Arnett elaborated on the conspiracy against him: "The right-wing media and politicians are looking for any opportunity to be critical of the reporters who are here."
But he continued to demonstrate a strange way of conveying the truth, showing at the very least that he has no ability to discern the difference between reality and a propaganda: "The Ba'ath party, currently led by Saddam Hussein, has been in power for 34 years. Tariq Aziz told me the US will have to brainwash 25 million Iraqis because these people think exactly the same as Saddam does."
Arnett's next sentence: "Maybe he is wrong, maybe not."
And the Ba'ath party is "currently led by Saddam Hussein," as if he might soon retire, be peacefully replaced and the party will carry on with its good works for the people of Iraq?
Arnett's biggest whopper: "Some reporters make judgements but that is not my style. I present both sides and report what I see with my own eyes."
An excerpt from Arnett's April 1 piece for the Daily Mirror, apparently not an April Fools joke, which carried the very circumspect headline: "THIS WAR IS NOT WORKING"
I am still in shock and awe at being fired. There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming out from Baghdad.
They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems.
I reported on the original bombing for NBC and we were half a mile away from those massive explosions. Now I am really shocked that I am no longer reporting this story for the US and awed by the fact that it actually happened.
That overnight my successful NBC reporting career was turned to ashes. And why?
Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television; that the US war timetable has fallen by the wayside....
I'm not angry. I'm not crying. But I'm also awed by this media phenomenon.
The right-wing media and politicians are looking for any opportunity to be critical of the reporters who are here, whatever their nationality. I made the misjudgment which gave them the opportunity to do so.
I gave an impromptu interview to Iraqi television feeling that after four months of interviewing hundreds of them it was only professional courtesy to give them a few comments.
That was my Waterloo -- bang!...
But whatever happens I will never stop reporting on the truth of this war whether I am in Baghdad or somewhere else in the Middle East -- or even back in Washington.
I was here in 1991 and the bombing is very similar to that conflict but the reality is very different.
The US and British want to come here, take over the city, upturn the government and take us through to a new era. The troops are in the country and fighting there way up here. It creates a very different atmosphere.
The Ba'ath party, currently led by Saddam Hussein, has been in power for 34 years. Tariq Aziz told me the US will have to brainwash 25 million Iraqis because these people think exactly the same as Saddam does.
Maybe he is wrong, maybe not.
For months, Iraqis have said officially and privately: "We will fight the Americans, we will use guerrilla tactics, we will surprise them."
But the Iraqi opposition has said: "This will be a pushover, everyone wants to rebel against Saddam."
Now the reality is being played out on the battlefield.
We have to watch the reality now and some Iraqis are fighting and the government does seem very determined. For me to see that and to be criticised for saying the obvious is unfair.
But it has made me a target for my critics in the States who accuse me of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
I don't want to give aid and comfort to the enemy -- I just want to be able to tell the truth.
I came to Baghdad with my crew because the Iraqi side needs to be heard too.
It is clear the original timetable that America would be in Baghdad by the end of March has fallen by the wayside.
There is clearly debate in the US about this, reinforcements are being sent in and there are delays.
This doesn't mean it is going badly. Every casualty is a loss but they have been in limited numbers so far....
The US optimism is justified.
On the other hand, at what cost to civilians?
During the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, I entered a US-held town which had been totally destroyed.
The Viet Cong had taken over and were threatening the commander's building so he called down an artillery strike which killed many of his own men.
The Major with us asked: "How could this happen?" A soldier replied: "Sir, we had to destroy the town to save it."
The Bush and Blair administration does not want that label stuck on this war, it is a liberation for them. But the problem is US Marines at checkpoints are suspicious of every man, woman and child because of the suicide bomb.
Already there is suspicion growing.
And in the south, there have not been popular rebellions and uprisings. As the battle for Baghdad grows, the potential for civilian casualties grows.
This is the spectre rising as this war continues. The US and Britain have to figure this out.
I don't think you can tell how it will end, there are many scenarios. A siege of Baghdad... a special operations strike on Saddam. Optimists in the Pentagon talk about an internal coup.
Who would have had believed Umm Qasr would hold out for six days or US Marines directing traffic would be killed by a suicide bomber? This is more like the West Bank and Gaza and it could become like that in some areas....
I'm not here to be a superstar. I have been there in 1991 and could never be bigger than that.
Some reporters make judgements but that is not my style. I present both sides and report what I see with my own eyes.
I don't blame NBC for their decision because they came under great commercial pressure from the outside....
END of Excerpt
For Arnett's rant in full:
For a look at front pages of recent editions of the Daily Mirror with their screeching anti-war and anti-American themes: http://www.mirror.co.uk/frontpages/
"TERROR" read one which asked: "Did U.S. Bomb Kill 58 in Market?"
"SICKENING" screamed another below a photo of two U.S. POWS, then asked: "But What the Hell Does America Expect When it Treats POWS Like This?" The "this" pointed to a photo of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
It looks like Arnett should fit right in.
On Monday night C-SPAN repeatedly played the entirety of Arnett's ten minute or so interview on Sunday with Iraqi TV and CNN has posted a transcript of it at:
-- Arnett boasting about how his coverage is boosting the anti-war effort in America: "It is clear that within the United States there is growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. So our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces, are going back to the United States. It helps those who oppose the war when you challenge the policy to develop their arguments."
-- Arnett boasting of undermining U.S. claims and of aiding Iraqi propaganda: "Whenever I gave a report on civilian casualties on CNN (in the first Gulf War) the Pentagon and the Bush administration got very angry and called me a traitor. However, when missiles hit the Al-Maria shelter in early February of 1991, killing nearly 400 women and children, the Bush administration had to admit that they were responsible. And when that happened, there was a different attitude to the war. They had to try and complete the war fast, because the world criticized that bombing very severely."
-- Arnett boasting of how he's baffled that the U.S. government didn't heed his warnings about Iraqi nationalism: "Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces. And I personally do not understand how that happened, because I've been here many times and in my commentaries on television I would tell the Americans about the determination of the Iraqi forces, the determination of the government, and the willingness to fight for their country. But me, and others who felt the same way were not listened to by the Bush administration....That is why now America is re-appraising the battlefield, delaying the war, maybe a week, and re-writing the war plan. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance now they are trying to write another war plan."
For a big rundown of everything Arnett from 1991 to present, refer back to Monday's CyberAlert Extra dedicated to Arnett:
Monday's NBC Nightly News used Peter Arnett's forced departure from NBC News as a hook for a story on the debate over whether reporting dissent conflicts with patriotism, a story which, after noting angry e-mail to NBC over Arnett, mentioned how "alleged liberal bias in the media is what the Media Research Center in Virginia looks for every day."
"With the country at war, patriotism looks more black and white than gray. 'You're either for America or against America,' many say," Roger O'Neill reported. "But Kate and Rex Stevenson of Denver argue peace is patriotic."
Tom Brokaw read this short item on Arnett: "NBC News announced earlier today it has severed its relationship with Peter Arnett, the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist on assignment for National Geographic Explorer and NBC News in Baghdad. Arnett gave in an interview to Iraqi television, in which he criticized American war planning and said his reports about civilian casualties and the Iraqi resistance were encouraging to anti-war protesters in America. This morning on Today here on NBC, Peter apologized to NBC and the American people for his misjudgements, acknowledging that his remarks created a firestorm."
Brokaw then set up a story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "This is an emotional time, as it is whenever America goes to war. On the one hand, the American people deserve to know what's being done in their name. On the other hand, American lives are at stake. And the intersection between those two interests is not always clearly marked or easily navigated. NBC's Roger O'Neill tonight on the war of perceptions and patriotism."
O'Neill began his March 31 piece: "Is patriotism a flag of red, white and blue? Or could it also be a sign demanding, 'Stop the killing'? In Webster's Dictionary, 'love for or devotion to one's country.' Could flags and signs both apply? With the country at war, patriotism looks more black and white than gray. 'You're either for America or against America,' many say. But Kate and Rex Stevenson of Denver argue peace is patriotic."
After quoting a couple which used words like "shame" for Arnett and NBC, O'Neill stated over video from over the shoulder of MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens watching Today with Arnett on the screen: "Alleged liberal bias in the media is what the Media Research Center in Virginia looks for every day."
NBC's crew was pretty efficient on Monday compared to some past experiences we've had in which crews spent hours with us but then used just a few seconds of footage. The NBC cameraman and producer were in the building for barely an hour.
Brad informed me that the story also ran during the 10pm EST second edition of The News with Brian Williams, but without him, on CNBC.
A particularly vicious "Conventional Wisdom" box in this week's Newsweek with President Bush assigned a down arrow because "his war cluelessly flings open the gates of hell" and Vice President Cheney also getting a down arrow for once suggesting that "we will be greeted as liberators," a forecast Newsweek denounced as "an arrogant blunder for the ages."
In awarding Tony Blair an up arrow for how he "can actually explain this thing coherently," the magazine couldn't resist a shot at Bush: "He's Churchill to Bush's Red Buttons."
The MRC's Ken Shepherd first alerted me to the slant of the box usually composed by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. From the April 7 Newsweek, the full list of "Conventional Wisdom" items, starting with this up top summary of the week: "Gee, that little war was easy, just like we told everybody. Now it's on to Iran, North Korea and... Wha!! They're fighting back? No fair!"
-- Bush, down arrow: "Steadfast, but his war cluelessly flings open the gates of hell, making any sort of victory Pyrrhic."
-- Blair, up arrow: "British P.M. can actually explain this thing coherently. He's Churchill to Bush's Red Buttons."
-- Cheney, down arrow: "Tells Meet the Press just before war, 'We will be greeted as liberators.' An arrogant blunder for the ages."
-- Rumsfeld, down arrow: "Taking fire from TV retired generals for flawed war plan. And how did you miss the fedayeen?"
-- Wallace, up arrow: "Top general honest enough to admit U.S. misjudged the enemy. But bosses not honest enough to admit he's right."
-- Blogs, up arrow: "Internet diarists, both here and abroad, offer fresh, feisty angles. Beats Aaron Brown every time."
To see the actual Conventional Wisdom box in color as it graphically appears in the magazine, check: http://www.msnbc.com/news/744311.asp
It's never too early to worry about another Vietnam, Seymour Hersh contended on Monday's Today show on NBC.
Brought aboard to expound on his latest article in the New Yorker about how Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected war plans and asked that war planners reduce the number of troops to be used, a charge denied by Rumsfeld, Hersh insisted: "It's never too early to start hearing words like, 'we're, you know, there's light at the end of the tunnel.'...some of us from the Vietnam War" see "a tremendous discrepancy between what the four-star generals and the high officials in this government."
Citing that "huge disconnect" Hersh maintained that for those who "went through the Vietnam War it's sort of terrifying to think it's starting already."
Hersh's comments, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, came in response to Katie Couric challenging his angst just nine days into the war: "We should mention that Donald Rumsfeld called this, 'absolutely false,' he went to say, went on to say, 'that what you're seeing is fiction. You're seeing second-guessers out there.' He also said, 'Nine days into the war, it's a little early for post-mortems, it's a little early to write history.' Isn't there something to be said for that Sy? That at this stage of the game it's a little premature to start second-guessing since the war is relatively new?"
A day after suggesting Iraqis who use terroristic tactics are just employing "legitimate resistance" methods, AP reporter Nicole Winfield followed up at Monday's CENTCOM briefing by worrying about why the coalition is "demonizing the Iraqis" in para-military units by tagging them as "terrorist death squads," a classification which she suggested could imperil U.S. POWs.
For Winfield's Sunday question to General Tommy Franks:
At Monday's 7am EST CENTCOM briefing, as tracked down by MRC analyst Ken Shepherd, Winfield questioned Brigadier General Vincent Brooks about the labeling of the Fedayeen:
Brooks replied: "We characterize them with terms that describe their behavior. It doesn't necessarily put them into any particular legal category from the perspective of this command. I think our government has been clear that there will be accountability for the violations of the Geneva Convention. There will be accountability for failing to live up to the obligations one has when prisoners of war are taken in. We can't account for what this regime will do with our prisoners of war. We hold them responsible for what they do with our prisoners of war. We have seen that they are very unreliable in terms of protecting lives of people, even their own. And so what will happen next, we just don't know. I think that any characterization we make will not influence the Iraqi regime at all. Their behaviors are a function of their choices, not a function of our actions. But there will be accountability when it's all said and done."
For your browsing convenience, for transcripts of all the CENTCOM briefings: http://www.centcom.mil/
For transcripts of the DOD briefings at the Pentagon:
Actress/comedienne Janeane Garofalo is back. War coverage may be keeping her, for now, off the cable news channels, but she popped up Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. [Be advised, this item includes an accurate quotation of a vulgarity.]
Garofalo labeled the U.S. attack on Iraq as "not fair" because it is an "unprovoked strike." Talking about those denouncing Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks for saying she was "ashamed" to be from the same state as President Bush, Garofalo suggested the attacks on the Dixie Chicks are a "wonderful way for really stupid people to hook up. They meet...they tell stories about who their favorite Fox anchor is..."
When co-panelist Michael Graham, a radio talk show host, recalled seeing a sign at an anti-war march proclaiming, "We Support Our Troops...When They Shoot Their Officers," Garofalo doubted it ever existed and flew into a rage about how "that's what all you right-wing radio guys do. You make shit up all the time."
In between, Garofalo preposterously maintained: "Dissent is being criminalized."
When we last heard from Garofalo she was claiming that Bush is just as dangerous to the world as Saddam Hussein. "Equal, in a different way," actress/comedienne Janeane Garofalo replied when, on the March 6 The Pulse on Fox, Bill O'Reilly asked her if she thinks "George W. Bush is more of a danger to this world than Saddam?" After she condemned Bush for his "with us or against us" rhetoric and claimed his "'axis of evil' speech was not helpful," O'Reilly shot back: "When you say that, people out there, they're gonna think you're a loon." See:
Back to Friday's, March 28, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. Garofalo appeared on the panel with talk show host Michael Graham and comedian/actor Larry Miller.
-- Garofalo whined about Iraq as the victim of the U.S.: "I would say a pre-emptive, unprovoked strike is not fair. This is a pre-emptive strike. It was not provoked. That is not fair."
-- On anger at the Dixie Chicks: "You know what is good about these Dixie Chicks burnings or bashings? It's a wonderful, wonderful way for really stupid people to hook up. They meet, they throw some things on the fire, they talk about Vin Diesel, they tell stories about who their favorite Fox anchor is, they exchange phone numbers and in some cases has led to marriages."
-- Graham recalled seeing this sign at an anti-war march: "We Support Our Troops...When They Shoot Their Officers."
That set off Garofalo: "That one guy that had that one sign that you'll probably beat into the ground. You're going to use it over and over whether it actually existed or not. That's what all you right-wing radio guys do. You make shit up all the time."
The audience cheered Garofalo's attack on talk radio.
[Web Update: A photo on the Web site of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center showcases a photo of the very sign Garofalo disputed even existed. Go to:
For the Internet Movie Database bio and picture of Garofalo:
For HBO's page on Maher's show: http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/
For the MRC's collection of celebrity anti-war comments:
This episode of Real Time will run again tonight at midnight on HBO East and HBO West.
-- Brent Baker