In BET Interview, Ex-NBC Reporter Presses Kerry from the Left --10/8/2004
2. ABC: U.S. School Diagrams Found in Iraq, CBS Skips Iraq Origin
3. CNN's Brown Suggests Bush "Apologize" for Bad Intel on Iraq
4. Letterman's Unaired "Top Ten Presidential Debate Rules"
There's a network even to the left of ABC, CBS and NBC. Thursday night on Black Entertainment Television (BET), a unit of Viacom which also owns CBS, John Kerry was hit repeatedly from the left by Ed Gordon, a former NBC News and MSNBC reporter and anchor, whose questions painted Kerry as too conservative. In the pre-taped session, Gordon pushed Kerry to promise to get the U.S. out of Iraq, reminding him of how "one of the things that put you on the map early was you were one of the few that came back and said, 'Folks, Vietnam is a mistake and we need to get out.'" Gordon asked if President Bush had "knowingly" misled the nation on Iraq and told Kerry that "many Americans" see Iraq "as a vendetta" by Bush. On the domestic side, Gordon pressed Kerry about what he'd do to "implement" affirmative action, told him how one guy complained him, "I'm tired of voting for two wealthy white guys at the top of the ticket" and reminded Kerry that many blacks don't feel voting matters given how their votes weren't counted in Florida.
Unmentioned by Gordon in pressing Kerry about affirmative action and Democrats taking blacks for granted: How the incumbent President has blacks in top level positions never before held by anyone black.
The MRC's Geoff Dickens took down all of Gordon's questions posed in the 20-minute session taped in Philadelphia in a fancy room setting with a painting on the wall in the background. BET aired the interview at 8pm EDT Thursday as a half-hour BET Speak Out special. It will re-air Friday at 11:30pm EDT.
-- "I'd like to pose this to you. Had you been President rather than George Bush would we be at war today?"
-- "You've said, 'wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.' That being said could you paint any scenario if you're elected that you would just pull out? Perhaps give financial aid and pull out?"
-- "Yet it, yet it's such a quagmire there. You've talked about initial pullout of some troops, perhaps six months in."
-- "But at some point, one of the things that put you on the map early was you were one of the few that came back and said, 'Folks, Vietnam is a mistake and we need to get out.'"
-- "But could you, but, but could you see any scenario in the immediate future that you could look at Iraq and say that?"
-- "You have suggested, your words not mine, that this President 'misled the nation.'"
-- "Before we move to the domestic side of things let me take you back to the last question before the break. The question is and there are a lot of African-Americans frankly who saw this and many Americans as a vendetta. That George Bush walked into the White House looking for a way to get, to get into Iraq. Do you buy that?"
-- "And finally, finally do you buy what he is suggesting now that he went with was the best intelligence at the time?"
-- "Sudan, brought up briefly during the debate. Some people saw it as throw away, frankly, on both sides. 50,000 people dead, many more to come. One million homeless, the word genocide came up. Tell me what you would do if you're in office to help Sudan?"
-- "Let's move to domestic issues, quickly, if we can. The economy is the number one issue for African-Americans in this country based on polls. You have a comprehensive plan for healthcare and education. You speak specifically to minorities. Yet I've talked to many who suggest that while that is all well and good there has to be a vision an idea of access for African-Americans. The word affirmative action has not been heard much during this campaign. Talk to me about access for African-Americans across the board....Would you implement it?"
-- "But what do you do for the people who are not in your campaign, who are not political, who are out there trying to make it day-to-day? What do you do once you win the presidency, for them specifically?"
-- "Senator let me ask you, 8 to 1 is the margin, a poll that BET News and CBS News did in terms of support from the African-American community for you over the President. That being said, I'm, I'm curious whether or not you believe Democrats, on a whole, have taken blacks for granted?"
-- "I spoke with some young African-Americans just the other day and I told them I was coming to speak with you. A young man said this to me, tell me what you would tell him. He said, 'I think I'll vote but respectfully I'm tired of voting for two wealthy white guys at the top of the ticket who just don't get it.'"
-- "Senator, a lot of young people watch BET. One of the things that we see now, Russell Simmons, Drew Barrymore, P-Diddy, pushing the vote. Yet many of them say that, that's simply why they're voting because they're told by celebrities that it's the thing to do. While that's a great start what do you tell them to get more involved in the political process and understand it?"
-- Gordon: "Senator, it's fair to say if polls are to be believed if you could just energize the African-American community to come out in a large number you will be in the White House. I think that's fair. People who study the numbers suggest that's the case, if you get a large black turnout, you win. Can you do that?"
For BET's page on the interview, with a still shot of Gordon and Kerry: www.bet.com
Not anymore. That was in the 1997-1999 range, I believe.
For the Keppler Associates page: www.kepplerassociates.com
In the midst of the networks leading this week with how Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction and how that undermines the Bush administration's case for the war, Thursday's World News Tonight on ABC gave time to Brian Ross to report how "law enforcement officials tell ABC News that someone described as a captured Iraqi insurgent had downloaded school floor plans...from elementary schools and high schools" in six U.S. states. Ross explained that "the discovery of the school layouts was made in July by the military but did not take on real urgency until after the September attack on the school children in Beslan." CBS's Dan Rather picked up the same story about a warning issued to schools, but held it to a brief item in which he managed to not mention how floor plans were found with the enemy in Iraq.
Rather read this short item on the October 7 CBS Evening News:
Thursday's NBC Nightly News didn't mention it at all.
Peter Jennings set up the World News Tonight piece, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Other news today, the Department of Education has sent a letter to educators across the country which may cause some concern about how they keep their children safe. The letter encourages the educators to learn from the tragedy at a school in Russia a few weeks ago by increasing security and being on the lookout for people who might be conducting surveillance. ABC's Brian Ross is with us tonight and has learned that in some cases they have learned that surveillance was done from someone in Baghdad."
Ross explained: "That's right, Peter. Six schools, schools in six states, in particular, are now being closely watched based on information uncovered by the U.S. military in Baghdad this summer. Law enforcement officials tell ABC News that someone described as a captured Iraqi insurgent had downloaded school floor plans, like these [video of floor plans on paper], from elementary schools and high schools in the six states. [National map] School officials in Fort Meyers, Florida, Salem, Oregon, Jones County, Georgia, two towns in New Jersey, one in Michigan, and two in California have been told to increase security in light of the discovery. And the superintendent of schools in Jones County, Georgia, sent this letter [shot of letter] to parents last week notifying them security was being increased during the election season. The superintendent said the information was not considered a threat.
CNN's Aaron Brown opened Thursday's NewsNight by asking a question, the very posing of which suggested he believes the answer is yes: "Should the President apologize for the pre-war intelligence that was flat-out wrong on Iraq?" Interviewing a guest a bit later, Brown inquired: "Should the President do what Tony Blair did and essentially apologize for the intelligence?"
Pairing how Bush should apologize for Iraq with the question of whether Kobe Bryant's accuser should be identified, CNN anchor Brown posited in his "Page Two" comments at the start of the October 7 NewsNight:
Brown brought aboard Bush supporter Jed Babbin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, and Kerry backer Dan Feldman, a former National Security Council advisor.
Brown to Babbin: "I do think to some extent both sides are spinning a little bit on what the report says. The President today said that Iraq still had, that Iraq had the means and intent. David Kay just said that's just not at all, at least on the subject of means, what the report says."
But Brown also pressed Feldman: "Dan, doesn't Senator Kerry have a problem here given that he looked at all this intelligence and he voted to authorize, and it makes it harder to argue with all of this as it comes out, doesn't it?"
Brown followed up with Feldman: "Should the President do what Tony Blair did and essentially apologize for the intelligence?"
Finally, to Babbin: "Do you believe, just a slightly different question, do you believe if the country had known that there were no WMD in Iraq, that the President could have convinced the country to go to war?"
From the Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Presidential Debate Rules." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
This list, originally slated to run the night of the first presidential debate last week, didn't make it onto the show. It made it, however, into this week's Late Show Newsletter distributed on Monday. With another debate tonight (Friday), the subject again matches current events. Newsletter sign up page: www.cbs.com
10. Debate will be as bland and uninteresting as possible
9. Loud buzzer sounds every time Bush makes up a word
8. No bare midriffs
7. Candidates may give props and shout-outs to their peeps
6. Makeup artist will be on hand to touch up Senator Kerry's cosmetically enhanced, Day-Glo orange horse face
5. If the candidates wish to chew tobacco, they must provide their own spittoons
4. If Kerry gets too long and boring, he'll be shot with a taser
3. When tough questions are asked, candidates may phone a friend
2. First half of debate will focus on Kerry's flips, second half, flops
1. Bush must wait until closing arguments to wheel out caged Osama bin Laden
-- Brent Baker