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BBC Election Coverage Features Derisive George Bush Impersonator --5/6/2005


1. BBC Election Coverage Features Derisive George Bush Impersonator
The BBC's idea of humor during its live election coverage on Thursday night: Bring aboard an impersonator of President George W. Bush to mispronounce names, confuse titles and terms and advocate Florida-style vote fraud. At about 7:10pm EDT during the live coverage carried on C-SPAN2, BBC went to a party at "Television Centre" where "George W. Bush" proceeded to tell a BBC host: "You're in Londonchester, Ohio, while you're having your general electrician while you try and find your new Prime Sinister, and I just wanted to pitch in with my people and wish my staunch ally, Barry Blair, a bunch of luck, him and his Chandelier of the Exchequer, Charlie Brown." The Bush character soon referred to "Michael Howard, the Duck from the Convertible Party" and urged: "If you don't get the result you want, keep counting the ballots until you do get it, and, you know, this is Britain, this is like the United States of Britainland. I mean, it's only about as big as Florida..."

2. Apple: Religious See NYT and WPost as "Arms of Democratic Party"
In a May 4 Washington Post op-ed, "When Columnists Cry 'Jihad,'" former New York Times reporter John McCandlish Phillips, who recalled that "I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees," charged that "in more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers [Times and Washington Post] in the past 40 days." Asked about the allegation that night on MSNBC's Hardball, New York Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple conceded to Chris Matthews: "I think both papers tend to be secular in their approach. Yes, I do. They serve largely secular audiences" and "like it or not, religious people, particularly in the Midwest, the mountain states, and the south, think that the Democratic Party is anti-religious. And, of course, they consider the New York Times and the Washington Post as arms of the Democratic Party."


BBC Election Coverage Features Derisive
George Bush Impersonator

BBC Network The BBC's idea of humor during its live election coverage on Thursday night: Bring aboard an impersonator of President George W. Bush to mispronounce names, confuse titles and terms and advocate Florida-style vote fraud. At about 7:10pm EDT during the live coverage carried on C-SPAN2, BBC went to a party at "Television Centre" where "George W. Bush" proceeded to tell a BBC host: "You're in Londonchester, Ohio, while you're having your general electrician while you try and find your new Prime Sinister, and I just wanted to pitch in with my people and wish my staunch ally, Barry Blair, a bunch of luck, him and his Chandelier of the Exchequer, Charlie Brown." The Bush character soon referred to "Michael Howard, the Duck from the Convertible Party" and urged: "If you don't get the result you want, keep counting the ballots until you do get it, and, you know, this is Britain, this is like the United States of Britainland. I mean, it's only about as big as Florida..."

About an hour earlier, the BBC had featured an impersonator of Tony Blair who played him as an elitist snob.

Both sessions took place in a noisy and crowded room with the BBC's Natasha Kaplinsky conducting the mock interviews.

The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the appearance, at about 7:10 EDT/12:10am BST, from the pretty poor Bush impersonator, and the MRC's Brad Wilmouth went back to take it down:

Natasha Kaplinsky: "The party is in full swing here at Television Centre with some extraordinary guests turning up. We were speaking to the Prime Minister early on. Well, President Bush has turned up, no less. Can you believe it? President, we are truly honored to have you with us this evening."
Bush impersonator: "Well, listen, Miss Nancy Kerplucky, I'm awfully proud to be with you. You're in Londonchester, Ohio, while you're having your general electrician while you try and find your new Prime Sinister, and I just wanted to pitch in with my people and wish my staunch ally, Barry Blair, a bunch of luck, him and his Chandelier of the Exchequer, Charlie Brown. I think they're going to kick royal ass. It's like four, nil, nil, like in the ball game, that's pretty good. So we're holding out a bunch of hope there, so it's just good luck from myself and Donald and Condoleezza Rice and her Uncle Ben, let's bring it on."
Kaplinsky: "What do you think of the political characters here in Britain?"
Bush impersonator: "Oh, I dig'em."
Kaplinsky: "Yeah?"
Bush impersonator: "I think they're real good. I love John Prescott, it's a shame he didn't punch nobody because that was fun. I was just watching Pax Man before, he's some kind of super hero. I love your Peter Snow, he's like a sort of crazy woodpecker something, it's crazy. And who else do we have? Charles F. Kennedy, he's kind of like the big eagle out of the Muppet Show, I like him, and Michael Howard the Duck from the Convertible Party, I sort of took a catch line off of him: 'Are you not thinking what I'm not thinking?' Thank you, Michael Howard the Duck."
Kaplinsky: "What would you say to the eventual winner, President Bush?"
Bush impersonator: "Hey, I've had a bunch of experience at this. I would say this: If you don't get the result you want, keep counting the ballots until you do get it, and, you know, this is Britain, this is like the United States of Britainland. I mean, it's only about as big as Florida, it's not too difficult to run a place like this, just pretend that you're the janitor of this cute little country, and you'll be fine. And, you know, Tony, if you don't get it -- I think you will -- but if you do not, you're still welcome to come around the White House. I'll welcome you. You're not allowed on the furniture, and you still have to beg for treats, but you can come around. God bless."
Kaplinsky: "Yes, thank you very much indeed for your time this evening. Enjoy the rest of the party."
Bush impersonator: "Inoption's not an action, roll VT, invade Iran, you're hot, I looked you up on the Web."
Kaplinsky: "Oh, now back to the studio for some words of wisdom."

Kaplinsky is usually a "presenter" on BBC's Breakfast. Picture and bio: news.bbc.co.uk

BBC's page devoted to election coverage: news.bbc.co.uk

Check the posted version of this CyberAlert for a still shot of Kaplinsky with the Bush impersonator.

Apple: Religious See NYT and WPost as
"Arms of Democratic Party"

R.W Apple In a May 4 Washington Post op-ed, "When Columnists Cry 'Jihad,'" former New York Times reporter John McCandlish Phillips, who recalled that "I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees," charged that "in more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers [Times and Washington Post] in the past 40 days." Asked about the allegation that night on MSNBC's Hardball, New York Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple conceded to Chris Matthews: "I think both papers tend to be secular in their approach. Yes, I do. They serve largely secular audiences" and "like it or not, religious people, particularly in the Midwest, the mountain states, and the south, think that the Democratic Party is anti-religious. And, of course, they consider the New York Times and the Washington Post as arms of the Democratic Party."

Back in late March on CNN's Reliable Sources, Steve Roberts, who noted how he "worked for the New York Times for 25 years," revealed: "I could probably count on one hand, in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, people who would describe themselves as people of faith." That disconnect hurt the media, Roberts suggested, in how "there was so much attention...on the rockers and the sports celebrities who were registering voters." Roberts asked: "And how many stories did we see about that compared to the pastors and churches in Ohio who were registered ten times as many voters?" For more, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

An excerpt from "When Columnists Cry 'Jihad,'" an op-ed in the May 4 Washington Post by John McCandlish Phillips, a New York Times reporter from 1955 to 1973:

I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately -- courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in "a theocracy" and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of -- hold your breath -- a "jihad."

In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.

I come at this with an insider/outsider vantage and with real affection for many of those engaged in this enterprise. When the Times put me on its reporting staff, I was the only evangelical Christian among some 275 news and editorial employees, and certainly the only one who kept a leather-bound Bible on his desk....

The opening salvo of the heavy rhetorical artillery to which I object came in on March 24, when Maureen Dowd started her column in the Times with the declaration "Oh my God, we really are in a theocracy." While satiric, as always with the ever-so-readable columnist, it was not designed to be taken lightly....

Three days later Frank Rich, an often acute, broadly knowledgeable and witty cultural observer, sweepingly informed us that, under the effects of "the God racket" as now pursued in Washington, "government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma." He went on to tell Times readers that GOP zealots in Congress and the White House have edged our country over into "a full-scale jihad." If Rich were to have the misfortune to live for one week in a genuine jihad, and the unlikely fortune to survive it, he would temper his categorization of the perceived President Bush-driven jihad by a minimum of 77 percent. If any "emboldened minority" is aiming to "remake America according to its dogma," it seems to many evangelicals and Catholics that it is the vanguard wanting, say, the compact of marriage to be stretched in its historic definition to include men cohabiting with men and women with women. That is, in terms of the history of this nation, a most pronounced and revolutionary novelty.

From March 24 through April 23 (when The Post twinned Colbert I. King's "Hijacking Christianity" with Paul Gaston's "Smearing Christian Judges"), I counted 13 opinion columns of similarly alarmist tone aimed at us on the Christian right: two more in The Post by the generally amiable and highly communicative Richard Cohen headlined "Backward Evolution" and "Faith-Based Pandering"; one by his colleague, the urbane Eugene Robinson, "Art vs. the Church Lady" (lamenting that "the pall of religiosity hanging over the city was reaching gas-mask stage"); and three by Dowd, two by Paul Krugman and three by Rich in the Times.

In "What's Going On" [March 29], Krugman darkly implied that some committed religious believers in our nation bear a menacing resemblance to Islamic extremists, by which he did not mean a few crazed crackpots but a quite broad swath of red-staters. In "An Academic Question" [April 5], Krugman, conceding the wide majority of secular liberals over conservatives on the faculties of our major universities, had the supreme chutzpah to tell us why: The former, unfettered by presuppositions of faith, are free to commit genuine investigative work and to reach valid scholarly conclusions, while the latter are disabled in that critical respect by their unprovable prior assumptions. So they are disqualified as a class from the university enterprise by their unfortunate susceptibility to the God hypothesis.

Yet most of what became the great East Coast universities (Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia and Yale among them) were, in cold fact, founded by men of faith and prayer for purposes that were informed and motivated by explicitly biblical principles....

In the long journey from the matchless moment when I became "born again" and encountered the risen and living Christ, I have met hundreds of evangelicals and a good many practicing Catholics and have found them to be of reasonable temperament, often enough of impressive accomplishment, certainly not a menace to the republic, unless, of course, the very fact of faith seriously held is thought to make them just that....

END of Excerpt

For the op-ed in full: www.washingtonpost.com

Romenesko ( www.poynter.org ) highlighted a mid-1990s profile of Phillips by the New Yorker's Ken Auletta. The slug line: "At one time, a whole generation of Times reporters wished they could write like McCandlish Phillips. Then he left them all for God." See: www.kenauletta.com

For a picture of Phillips: www.worldji.com

R.W. "Johnny" Apple, a veteran of the paper's Washington bureau where he served as bureau chief, came aboard MSNBC's Hardball on Wednesday night to plug his new book, Apple's America: The Discriminating Traveler's Guide to 40 Great Cities in the United States and Canada.

Host Chris Matthews raised with him the Phillips op-ed and the MRC's Geoff Dickens took down the exchange:

Matthews: "Let me talk about your newspaper. Today, in the Washington Post, somebody unloaded on the New York Times, said, his name is John McCandlish Phillips. He said your paper, and he used to work there, is anti-Christian, anti-evangelical, anti-conservative Catholic, the paper itself is."
R.W. Apple: "Well, he's talking, in fact, about, as I read the piece, about both us and the Washington Post."
Matthews: "Right."
Apple: "In terms of their columnists being anti-evangelical, anti-Catholic, anti-religious, because they claim that there's a jihad under way by the religious forces in this country. I do not believe that there's a jihad under way."
Matthews: "You believe the Times and the Post have that bias of secular bi-coastalism against the heartland of America and its religious beliefs?"
Apple: "I think, I think both papers tend to be secular in their approach. Yes, I do. They serve largely secular audiences. And I've been out around the country promoting my book. And before that, I was out on the campaign. And I have to say that, like it or not, religious people, particularly in the Midwest, the mountain states, and the south, think that the Democratic Party is anti-religious. And, of course, they consider the New York Times and the Washington Post as arms of the Democratic Party."

Amazon's page for Apple's book: www.amazon.com
Some past CyberAlert items documenting Apple's liberal world view:

-- February 2, 2005 CyberAlert: A September 4, 1967 New York Times story headlined, "U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror," is gaining momentum as the favorite anecdote of liberal journalists interested in undermining any good feelings about the election in Iraq. On Thursday's Imus in the Morning, prompted by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple asserted: "I was struck by the similarity between the euphoric reaction in Washington after the elections there [Vietnam] in 1967 and the euphoric reactions to the elections in Iraq. I'll just read you one, the lead paragraph of a piece from that year in the Times..." MSNBC's Keith Olbermann read the same passage Thursday night on Countdown. George Stephanopoulos had opened Monday's Nightline by showcasing the vintage news article. For more, including a picture of Apple: www.mediaresearch.org

-- June 12, 2004 CyberAlert: In a front page look Friday at Ronald Reagan's potential legacy, New York Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple dismissed Reagan's role in ending the Cold War as coincidence, since "he came to power as the Cold War was nearing a denouement," arguing "it was the result of 45 years of aggressive allied containment, but," Apple grudgingly conceded, "the commander in chief, as always, got much of the credit." Apple also delivered left-wing spin on imaginary budget cuts as if it were fact: "Much of the country, including most of those who are physically, economically or otherwise disadvantaged, deeply resented and still resent his insistence that government is the problem, not the solution. Severe and continuing cutbacks in government services to the poor and vulnerable resulted, and the gulf dividing rich from poor widened." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- April 22, 2003 CyberAlert: On Fox News Sunday, moderator Tony Snow made fun of New York Times veteran R.W. "Johnny" Apple for leading a story about war predictions by claiming that "nobody got it quite right" when, just a few weeks earlier, Apple had raised the specter of Vietnam in a piece about how the war was becoming a debacle for the U.S. Go to: www.mediaresearch.org
-- November 15, 2001 CyberAlert: R.W. Apple in the New York Times two weeks ago: "Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the United States facing another stalemate on the other side of the world?" Speaking of negative spin in the news media, the MRC's Rich Noyes recently collected a series of New York Times articles in which R.W. "Johnny" Apple, the newspaper's former Washington Bureau Chief, obsessed about how Afghanistan may become another Vietnam. For the quotes: www.mediaresearch.org

-- The TimesWatch.org index of Apple items: www.timeswatch.org

-- Brent Baker