2. Tariq Aziz Too Soft on Israel for Helen Thomas Tariq Aziz too much of a squish, not anti-Israel enough, for Helen Thomas? Apparently so. Back in 1984 when Thomas was still UPI's White House reporter, at a party in Washington, DC she asked Iraq's then Foreign Minister, "Why didn't you retaliate" against Israel "when [it] destroyed your nuclear reactor?" When Aziz "tried to brush away the question," Jerusalem Post reporter Barry Rubin recalled, "Thomas did not find the response acceptable, 'Just yellow, I guess,' she complained."
3. NBC Distances Itself from Banfield's Attack on War Whitewashing NBC News is trying to distance itself from remarks made last week by Ashleigh Banfield in which she expressed her disgust with how U.S. TV networks did not show the "horrors" of war and so Americans are not sufficiently anti-war for her. She complained about "cable news operators who wrap themselves in the American flag," like MSNBC, and criticized MSNBC for hiring Michael Savage. The Hollywood Reporter on Monday relayed how NBC News issued a statement declaring: "We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her."
4. Actors Grammer, Priestley and Duvall Denounce Anti-War Celebs At Saturday's White House Correspondents Association dinner, actors Kelsey Grammer, Jason Priestley, Robert Duvall and Ron Silver all told CNSNews.com reporter Marc Morano how they disagreed with Michael Moore's anti-Bush rant at the Academy Awards and wish their fellow celebrities would refrain from making comments about politics. Priestly, Morano relayed, "lamented the excessive coverage of anti-war celebrities by what he termed the 'liberal media.'"
5. NBC More Interested in Santorum Than Murray's Osama Remarks Senator Rick Santorum versus Senator Patty Murray. Both made comments which brought condemnation from political activists, but NBC News only considered the harangues of liberals against Santorum to be newsworthy.
6. Weekly Standard Delivers Spoof of Post-Revolutionary War Media A great media parody. The back page of the May 5 Weekly Standard carries a mock-up of an imagined front page of the "Ye Newe York Times" from November 11, 1781, full of angst about the future immediately after America's victory over Britain. Lead story: "THREE WEEKS AFTER YORKTOWN, STILL NO CONSTITUTION READY." Subhead: "Hamilton, Fellow 'Neo-Federalists,' Said Eyeing Empire Across Continent." Another story: "Calvinists, Other Extremists Planning Theocracies."
A pre-war flashback: Diane Sawyer's trusted guidepost to European disgust with President Bush, it turns out, was on Saddam Hussein's payroll to the tune of $3 million a year. As recounted in the February 28 CyberAlert, on Good Morning America Sawyer showcased Labor Member of Parliament George Galloway's swipe at how "this born again, right-wing, Bible-belting, fundamentalist, Republican administration in the United States wants war," a screeching she called "a wake-up call for me." She contended that such widespread disgust with President Bush and America "really raises the question about what it means to override the United Nations if we don't get those nine votes...in order to pass the second resolution."
Now we know, thanks to London's Daily Telegraph, that papers found at Iraq's Foreign Ministry document payments to Galloway.
An excerpt from a story in the April 22 Daily Telegraph by David Blair in Baghdad, "Galloway was in Saddam's pay, say secret Iraqi documents."
George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least 375,000 [pounds] a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.
A confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his spy chief said that Mr Galloway asked an agent of the Mukhabarat secret service for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil for food programme. He also said that Mr Galloway was profiting from food contracts and sought "exceptional" business deals. Mr Galloway has always denied receiving any financial assistance from Baghdad.
Asked to explain the document, he said yesterday: "Maybe it is the product of the same forgers who forged so many other things in this whole Iraq picture. Maybe The Daily Telegraph forged it. Who knows?"
When the letter from the head of the Iraqi intelligence service was read to him, he said: "The truth is I have never met, to the best of my knowledge, any member of Iraqi intelligence. I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one."
In the papers, which were found in the looted foreign ministry, Iraqi intelligence continually stresses the need for secrecy about Mr Galloway's alleged business links with the regime. One memo says that payments to him must be made under "commercial cover".
For more than a decade, Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has been the leading critic of Anglo-American policy towards Iraq, campaigning against sanctions and the war that toppled Saddam....
END of Excerpt
For the story in full: www.telegraph.co.uk
For a follow-up story the next day about Galloway's requests for higher payments: www.telegraph.co.uk
Galloway denies he got paid by Hussein, but a story in the Daily Telegraph on Monday recounted new allegations that "the appeal set up by George Galloway to treat a sick Iraqi child spent more than 800,000 [pounds] on political campaigns and expenses, including a direct salary payment to his wife, the MP admitted yesterday..."
For that story, which at the bottom lists links to previous articles, go to: www.telegraph.co.uk
A piece by Stephen Hayes in the May 5 Weekly Standard nicely summarizes the stories about Galloway, including a Christian Science Monitor article which pegged Galloway's take from Iraq at around $3 million a year. Check: www.weeklystandard.com
In light of the revelation about Galloway being on Hussein's payroll, let's revisit how Sawyer, on the February 27 Good Morning America, treated Galloway as a wise counselor issuing a warning both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair should heed.
Sawyer's citation of Galloway came during an interview with the British Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock. Sawyer, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, highlighted Galloway's vitriolic attack on Bush:
Sawyer wondered: "Does America have to face the fact that we are seen, that Americans are seen and this administration is seen this way overseas?"
Sawyer owes her viewers an apology for trumpeting as credible and relevant the anti-American hatred of such a disreputable man.
Tariq Aziz too much of a squish for Helen Thomas? Apparently so. Back in 1984 when Thomas was still UPI's White House reporter, at a party in Washington, DC she asked Iraq's then Foreign Minister, "Why didn't you retaliate" against Israel "when [it] destroyed your nuclear reactor?" When Aziz "tried to brush away the question," Jerusalem Post reporter Barry Rubin recalled, "Thomas did not find the response acceptable, 'Just yellow, I guess,' she complained."
OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web" column (www.Opinionjournal.com) on Monday by James Taranto highlighted Rubin's recollection as published in an April 26 article. An excerpt from Rubin's piece, "My dinner with Tariq Aziz."
The surrender of former Iraqi foreign and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz to US forces took me back almost 20 years to my own meeting with the man, who for decades was Iraq's main representative to the world.
On a warm night in November 1984, I walked up the path of a luxurious house in northwest Washington that served as the Iraqi ambassador's mansion. That very day, the two countries had announced the resumption of diplomatic relations and the Iraqi flag flew outside for the first time in many years. The charming, worldly ambassador, Nizar Hamdoun, had invited a small group to dinner to meet then foreign minister Aziz. It was a time when many in Washington wanted to ingratiate themselves with that government. Robert Hunter, later president Bill Clinton's ambassador to NATO, shocked me when he told Hamdoun to beware of me because I had written articles critical of Iraq.
Aziz's strong resemblance to the late British actor Peter Sellers softened his menacing presence as representative of a gangster regime. He had an engaging way with his Cuban cigars and fondness for Johnny Walker black label scotch of hinting at cosmopolitan proclivities and implying that he was more civilized than the tough guys who were his colleagues. Aziz had also perfected one of the great diplomatic skills: he could lie persuasively "Oh, no," he said, "Iraq has never used chemical weapons" while his eyes conveyed a world-weary, sophisticated regret at uttering such falsehoods.
Aziz was visiting Washington to secure more US help in Iraq's war with Iran. Significantly, the main course included a garnish of bacon and a generous supply of fine wine, a culinary gesture of militant secularism, since both violated Islamic law. Aziz made a strong pitch for the United States to support Iraq in the Gulf.
At that point, though, Helen Thomas of UPI interrupted him, "Why didn't you retaliate" against Israel, she asked, "when [it] destroyed your nuclear reactor?" The foreign minister tried to brush away the question. Thomas did not find the response acceptable, "Just yellow, I guess," she complained.
Hamdoun looked uncomfortable. Insulting the foreign minister might have been a capital offense in Baghdad.
But Aziz soldiered on. He was just explaining why the Iran-Iraq war was the most important issue in the Middle East when Rowland Evans, co-author of the famous Evans & Novak column, interrupted him. "You must not talk like that!" he lectured the startled Iraqi foreign minister. Evans instructed Aziz to tell the US government that the Arab-Israeli conflict was the Middle East's central issue and that the lack of peace was all Israel's fault.
Unaccustomed to being attacked for excessive softness on Israel, Aziz looked astonished....
END of Excerpt
For Rubin's piece in full: www.jpost.com
NBC News is trying to distance itself from remarks made last week by Ashleigh Banfield in which she expressed her disgust with how U.S. TV networks did not show the "horrors" of war and so Americans are not sufficiently anti-war for her.
As recounted in the April 28 CyberAlert, in remarks last Thursday at Kansas State, Banfield rued: "I'm not sure Americans are hesitant to do this again -- to fight another war, because it looked to them like a courageous and terrific endeavor." She also complained about "cable news operators who wrap themselves in the American flag."
Banfield also denounced MSNBC for giving an hour a week to radio talk show host Michael Savage.
The Hollywood Reporter on Monday relayed how NBC News, which runs MSNBC, a network that prominently displayed the flag, issued a statement declaring: "We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her."
Romenesko ( www.poynter.org ) highlighted the April 28 Hollywood Reporter story by Andrew Grossman. An excerpt:
NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield has ripped television news networks, including her own, for their "glorious" coverage of the Iraqi war and a lack of focus on international news overall.
In a speech Thursday at Kansas State University, she also attacked NBC News for hiring right-wing radio talk-show host Michael Savage to do a show on MSNBC. Savage recently called Banfield a "slut" after her reports portraying the radical Arab point of view.
Banfield, who won her first notoriety for her coverage from the World Trade Center on 9/11, might be in some trouble for her comments. In a statement issued on Friday, NBC News said, "Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her. In the meantime, we want to emphasize how proud we are of the journalism produced by NBC News and of the men and women who worked around the clock, even risking their lives, to bring this story to the American public."...
Banfield, who hosted an unsuccessful talk show on MSNBC last year and is now reporting for both MSNBC and NBC News, criticized the networks for showing a bloodless war that gave a skewed picture which glossed over the horrors of battle. She did not report from Iraq during the war, but has been stationed overseas in the past.
"It was a glorious and wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news," she said at the college's annual Landon Lecture in Manhattan. "But it wasn't journalism because I'm not so sure we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war...because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successfully terrific endeavor."
What was wrong with the coverage?
"You did not see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortars landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me," Banfield said.
She ripped NBC for putting Savage on the air saying, "He was so taken aback by my daring to speak to martyrs...for being prepared to sacrifice themselves, he chose to label me a slut on the air, and that's not all, as a porn star and an accessory to the murder of Jewish children. These are the ramifications for simply bringing the message in the Arab world."
Banfield said it was vital to present the Arabs' viewpoint because of a lack of understanding among them and Americans in what has driven them to such violence....
Banfield also criticized Fox News Channel for merging entertainment value with news, saying the network has risen to the top by targeting conservative viewers. "Fox has taken so many viewers away from CNN and MSNBC because of their agenda and because of their target marketing of cable news viewers. I'm afraid there's not a really big place in cable for news," she said.
She added that networks like MSNBC have tried to compete by aping Fox's format. "You can see the big hires on other networks, right-wing hires to try and chase after this effect," she added....
END of Excerpt
For the story in its entirety: story.news.yahoo.com
I'm not sure I'd want to defend her Middle East coverage from last year, but I certainly don't want to get anywhere near Savage's over the top and crude comments. From my listening to his radio show, he's less any kind of a genuine conservative and more of an actor playing out a liberal's caricature of how conservatives are hateful, mean, ill-informed, prejudiced and immature, a stereotype he regularly fulfills.
At Saturday's White House Correspondents Association dinner, actors Kelsey Grammer, Jason Priestley, Robert Duvall and Ron Silver all told CNSNews.com reporter Marc Morano how they disagreed with Michael Moore's anti-Bush rant at the Academy Awards and wish their fellow celebrities would refrain from making comments about politics.
Priestley, Morano relayed, "lamented the excessive coverage of anti-war celebrities by what he termed the 'liberal media.'" And, Morano learned, "CNN's Bob Franken did not like Fox News's use of the phrase 'we' when covering the U.S. armed forces during the war."
An excerpt from Morano's April 28 story about what the actors told him before the April 26 dinner at the Washington Hilton:
Hollywood celebrities attending the 89th annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington on Saturday night made it a point to condemn celebrity anti-war activists.
Actor Kelsey Grammer, who plays the lead role in NBC's "Frasier" sitcom, said he refused to watch this year's Academy Awards because of the anti-war "crap" that fellow celebrities spewed.
Grammer said he was spared filmmaker Michael Moore's anti-war acceptance speech and attack on the Bush administration at the March 23rd Academy Awards. "I didn't hear it because I didn't watch [the Academy Awards], Grammer told CNSNews.com.
"I wasn't interested. I knew that that kind of crap was going to be there and I thought, I am not interested," Grammer added.
While accepting an Oscar for his anti-gun documentary "Bowling For Columbine," Moore said, "We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons...Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you."
Grammer called Moore's movie "a one-sided film" and blamed the media for giving so much publicity to Moore's anti-war speech.
"The media just loves to pay attention to whatever is happening that makes the most noise," Grammer explained.
Jason Priestley of "Beverly Hills 90210" television fame, agreed with Grammer and lamented the excessive coverage of anti-war celebrities by what he termed the "liberal media."
"I think more people should keep their opinions to themselves," Priestley said. He was particularly incensed by Moore's acceptance speech.
"It was shocking. I did not believe that was the forum to voice your opinions. Michael Moore is allowed to have opinions and his opinions are valid like everyone else's opinion, but I just didn't think the Academy Awards were the place to voice them in that manner," he explained.
'Keep their mouths shut'
Actor Robert Duvall said he is not a fan of Michael Moore, and he lashed out at Hollywood political activists.
"They should keep their mouths shut," Duvall said.
Asked if the media over-emphasizes celebrity opinions, actor Ron Silver emphatically agreed.
"I do, because at the end of the day, who cares? There are more important things on the table. But if they wanted to use Natalie Maines (of the Dixie Chicks) or Tim Robbins or me, or whomever, that is their business," Silver said.
Silver, a cofounder of the Creative Coalition, a generally liberal Hollywood activist organization, was an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.
Asked if he has received any flak from other celebrities such as fellow Creative Coalition founder Susan Sarandon for his outspoken support of the war, Silver quipped, "Absolutely none, absolutely none, we just don't talk anymore."
Silver also dismissed Moore's acceptance speech,, saying, "I don't listen to Michael Moore...I didn't agree with him."...
CNN's Bob Franken did not like Fox News's use of the phrase "we" when covering the U.S. armed forces during the war.
"I disagree with the Fox approach to it. I believe it was jingoistic, but that's their approach to it. They would disagree with me, I suspect," Franken told CNSNews.com.
"We have to be remember and even those of us who are in the embed [program] have to remember, it is 'they,' not 'we'. It's just an important distinction. We serve our country by doing that," Franken explained....
END of Excerpt
For the story in full: www.cnsnews.com
For more about the celebrities quoted, see their bios on the Internet Movie Database site:
For Kelsey Grammer: us.imdb.com
For Jason Priestley: us.imdb.com
Before the Screen Actors Guild Awards in early March Grammer told Access Hollywood that he supported the war: "I'm pro, that simple." See: www.mediaresearch.org
As recounted in the February 11 CyberAlert, on FNC's Beltway Boys actor Ron Silver recounted his negative reaction to anti-Americanism in Europe and rejected the idea that it's Bush's fault. He even suggested that imposing U.S. values on the world isn't "a bad idea by the way, I kind of think our values are fairy universal and might be helpful." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Senator Rick Santorum versus Senator Patty Murray. Both made comments which brought condemnation from political activists, but NBC News only considered the harangues of liberals against Santorum to be newsworthy.
Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, filed this item for CyberAlert:
The hubbub is over surrounding Sen. Rick Santorum's remarks to AP reporter Lara Jakes Jordan on a Supreme Court sodomy-law case. In retrospect, the storm was fairly mild on the broadcast television networks, mostly contained to a series of stories and interviews on NBC. But NBC didn't find an occasion for news when Sen. Patty Murray compared U.S. foreign aid unfavorably with the philanthropy of Osama bin Laden.
Reporter Joe Johns did news reports on the Santorum hubbub on both Today and NBC Nightly News on April 23. The next morning on Today, Katie Couric plugged an upcoming set of segments on Santorum: another news report from Johns, and an interview with Tim Russert to assess "the fallout from these comments."
NBC wasn't creating any "fallout" for Democrats last December, when Sen. Patty Murray, like Sen. Santorum a party leader in the Senate as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said something that would have clearly made her an object of national derision. On December 18, 2002, Sen. Murray told a group of high school students in Vancouver, Washington that Osama bin Laden had "been out in these countries for decades building roads, building schools, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. It made their lives better. We have not done that." NBC coverage was zero, as it was on ABC and CBS.
END Submission by Graham
This finally give me an opportunity to run something long ago forgotten in my pending file: Back on January 9 FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, but anchored that night by Tony Snow, played home movie-type video of Murray's remarks in a high school classroom.
Snow recalled, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
A great media parody. The back page of the just-published May 5 edition of the Weekly Standard carries a mock-up of an imagined front page of the "Ye Newe York Times" from November 11, 1781, full of angst about the future immediately after America's victory over Britain. Though it is based upon the New York Times, it could apply to much of the angst over the Iraq war expressed at times in many media outlets.
The graphic image is online at: www.weeklystandard.com
MRC analyst Patrick Gregory typed in my favorite parts:
-- The top headline: "THREE WEEKS AFTER YORKTOWN, STILL NO CONSTITUTION READY." Subhead: "Hamilton, Fellow 'Neo-Federalists,' Said Eyeing Empire Across Continent."
The story, by "R. BERKE," began: "Boston, NOV. 6 -- After days of meetings, Leaders of the former Colonies still have not devised a system of Government that will stand through the Ages. And there are troubling signs that American Culture might not be compatible with Democracy. 'Look at the rhetoric,' observes Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Historian waiting for Television to be invented. 'Give me liberty or give me death.' 'Don't tread on me' -- These are partisan, radical, and uncivil statements, not the kind consistent with Democracy.'
"Meeting in small Think Tanks, a group of influential intellectuals known as 'Neo-Federalists' is now plotting to extend American Democracy as far west as Ohio, envisioning a vast, sprawling Nation under one system of Government. 'The arrogance, the stupidity, the naivete of this Scheme is appalling,' says Jessica Matthews of the Tudor Endowment for International Peace and Stability."
-- An "Analysis" piece by "R.W. Apple" carried this headline: "Triumph Over Britifh Empire was Easy Part." Subhead: "Mayheme, Discontent Betray Hollow Victory." A second subhead warned: "Desire To Return To British Sovereigntye Becoming Widespread."
The top of the story: "The easy part is over. Defeating the world's greatest Empire, enduring the winter at Valley Forge -- those were simple military problems. But Nation-Building, as Geo. Washington likes to call it, is improving insurmountably difficult...."
-- Two items under "In the News": "Five Houses Planned In Field Near Boston." Summary: "Right-Minded Souls Fear Unbridled 'Sprawle'" And: "Cold Since Mid-1700s A Wood-Stove Legacy." Summary: "Leading Natural Scientists Say Ice Age by 2000 A.D. A 'Certaintye'"
-- "Ye Shattered Dream: Revolution's Grievous Wake," read the heading over a section plugging inside stories, including:
+ "Calvinists, Other Extremists Planning Theocracies." The summary: "Hopes That New Nation Might Emerge As Enlightened, Secular State Dashed As Hundreds Of Shakers March On Boston Waving Wicker Chairs, Calling For Universal Ban On Procreation."
+ And my favorite, picking up on the Dixie Chicks now appearing nude on the cover of Entertainment Weekly: "Clog Dancing Troupe Retracts Disparagement Of Washington." The story summary: "Head Clogger Regrets 'Wood-Toothed, Slave-Owning Stiff' Slur; Group Seeks To Regain Favour By Circulating Engraving Of Selves In Nightclothes."
As I said, a great parody and one well worth checking out.
-- Brent Baker