2. Jennings Highlights Negroponte's Anti-Palestinian UN Votes
3. "Surprise" Turnover Really "Highlights the Problem" of Security
4. Handover Moved Up Because WH Wanted to "Stay Ahead" of Moore
5. Rather Finds High Morale Amongst Troops, Brokaw Happier Iraqis
6. "Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About 'Fahrenheit 9/11'"
NBC's Tom Brokaw introduced his interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi by marveling at how he "still believes that Saddam was connected to al-Qaeda." When Allawi expressed that view during the interview aired on Monday's NBC Nightly News, Brokaw scoffed and corrected him: "Prime Minister, I'm surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 Commission in America says there is no evidence of a 'collaborative relationship' between Saddam Hussein and those terrorists of al-Qaeda." But Allawi stood his ground: "I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al-Qaeda."
Brokaw also pressed Allawi to agree that "won't you always be seen, really, as an instrument of the U.S. military and therefore of America?" and proposed: "Can't you understand why many Americans feel that so many young men and women have died here for purposes other than protecting the United States?"
Brokaw, from Baghdad, led the June 29 newscast with an edited tape of his sit-down with Allawi. After explaining how legal custody of Saddam Hussein will be transferred to the new Iraqi government, over video of Brokaw and Allawi walking side-by-side, Brokaw set up his interview: "We begin with that story tonight in my interview with the new Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who still believes that Saddam was connected to al-Qaeda."
Brokaw outlined Allawi's background, with an emphasis on his CIA ties: "Allawi, a neurosurgeon who went into exile and worked with the CIA after he survived a Saddam assassination attempt, has been trying to rally Iraqis to fight for what is now their country."
NBC then cut to the taped interview, in which the questions and answers were clearly edited, that took place in a plain-looking room. Brokaw to Allawi: "As long as the United States military remains a conspicuous presence in your country working hand in glove with the new Iraqi government, won't you always be seen, really, as an instrument of the U.S. military and therefore of America?"
That ended the interview, but I noticed that in Allawi's last answer NBC cut from what aired a sentence which appeared in the posted transcript on MSNBC.com: www.msnbc.msn.com
In the that version, Allawi's last answer began, with what NBC cut in ALL CAPS: "No. I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al-Qaeda. AND THESE RELATIONS STARTED IN SUDAN. We know Saddam had relationships with..."
By coincidence, last Friday's (June 25) NBC Nightly News ignored a front page New York Times story, from that day, about how a document found in Iraq revealed that Hussein's regime reached out to bin Laden in Sudan. The Times headlined its story: "Iraqis, Seeking Foes of Saudis, Contacted bin Laden, File Says." Thom Shanker reported how a Defense Department "task force concluded that the document 'appeared authentic,' and that it 'corroborates and expands on previous reporting' about contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Mr. bin Laden in Sudan, according to the task force's analysis....The document, which asserts that Mr. bin Laden 'was approached by our side,' states that Mr. bin Laden previously 'had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative,' but was now willing to meet in Sudan, and that 'presidential approval' was granted to the Iraqi security service to proceed."
A week earlier, the NBC Nightly News didn't bother to report how at a press conference on Friday, June 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed that "after Sept. 11, 2001...the Russian Special Services" passed along to the U.S. how it had "received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States..." For details, see: www.mediaresearch.org
Tom Brokaw insisted on the June 16 NBC Nightly News: "And the 9/11 Commission also has come to some conclusions about the link, or the absence of it, between Iraq and al-Qaeda. As NBC's David Gregory reports from the White House tonight, the Commission is sharply at odds with what leading members of the administration continue to claim." Gregory contended that "the 9/11 Commission contradicts the White House today, particularly on claims that Iraq and al-Qaeda were linked before the war." Gregory at least pointed out how "the report reveals for the first time that in 1994 an Iraqi intelligence official met Osama bin Laden in Sudan," but he decided that "it's clear this report is a blow to the President's rationale for war." For more on coverage that night: www.mediaresearch.org
The next night, after the Chairman and Vice Chairman made clear that the media had distorted their staff's finding, Brokaw repeated how the commission had detemined "that there was no 'collaborative relationship' between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda." But, Brokaw lectured, "despite that conclusion, President Bush insisted there was a relationship between the two." NBC buried what should have been its lead. At the very end of his report, almost as an afterthought, David Gregory informed viewers of how "Lee Hamilton said today that he does not see much different between administration statements and the commission's report."
The comments from Chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton:
-- Kean: "Were there contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq? Yes. Some of them are shadowy, but there's no question they were there."
-- Hamilton: "I must say I have trouble understanding the flap over this. The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that."
For more on the lack of coverage on June 17 of the scolding of the media by Kean and Hamilton, see the June 18 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
Peter Jennings couldn't resist on Tuesday night pointing out how the Iraqi media have figured out that when the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, "was at the United Nations as Ambassador he was the one to cast the U.S. veto against resolutions condemning Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians." Yes, the same UN which only sees Israel as the evil aggressor.
While CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw managed to relay without derisive editorial comment how Negroponte presented his credentials to the new Iraqi government, on ABC's World News Tonight Jennings, in Iraq, added a point which matched his personal political agenda:
One wonders if Jennings may have been the one to tip off the writers of those articles.
On the day after a triumph as the U.S. turned over sovereignty to Iraqis, NBC's Matt Lauer portrayed failure, pressing retired General Wesley Clark to agree that "the fact that they did this early and as a surprise really kind of highlights the problem? That there is no security in Iraq right now and that in order to try and safeguard the process they had to do it as a surprise?" Lauer, however, later wondered if "the administration deserve a certain amount of credit" since "they made a promise that they'd get rid of a treacherous dictator, and although it's been a difficult process over the last year, they said they'd return Iraq to the Iraqi people and now they've done that."
The MRC's Geoff Dickens caught the Tuesday morning question on Today which came during a session with Clarke and Senator Lindsey Graham.
Lauer's first question on the June 29 show: "General Clark, let me start with you. Okay, they hand over power two days early. A surprise to most people. Presumably also to the insurgency that was hoping to derail the, the actual date. Was it a good idea in your opinion on the part of the administration and the interim government?"
When Clark was too positive, Lauer proposed: "Do you think in some ways though, the, the fact that they did this early and as a surprise really kind of highlights the problem? That there is no security in Iraq right now and that in order to try and safeguard the process they had to do it as a surprise?"
Clark agreed, and Lauer forwarded his point to Graham: "Senator Graham what about that? Basically what General Clark is saying that this shows the problem as opposed to the solution?"
Lauer moved on to dour poll numbers for Bush: "General Clark let me ask you this. The, the handover comes a little less than a week after a poll came out, CNN/USA Today poll that showed 54 percent of the American people think going to war in Iraq was a mistake. It comes on the heels of the President's approval ratings dipping to about 42 percent. In your opinion, the images, the news out of Iraq in the last 24 hours. How might that impact those opinions?"
Lauer's other questions:
-- "General Clark does the administration deserve a certain amount of credit here? They made a promise that they'd get rid of a treacherous dictator, and although it's been a difficult process over the last year ,they said they'd return Iraq to the Iraqi people and now they've done that. What credit do they deserve?"
-- "Senator Graham I'm gonna end with you. If things, if violence continues in Iraq under the interim government how do you think that impacts the President's fortunes moving toward the November elections?"
The White House pushed for an early handover of sovereignty because they wanted to "stay ahead" of Michael Moore's "stoking of resentment about the war"? So Newsweek's Howard Fineman asserted on Monday's Hardball on MSNBC.
Substitute host Andrea Mitchell asked Fineman on the June 28 program: "Howard, the strategy behind this surprise handover?"
If that was the plan, it didn't work since Moore's movie hit theaters three days before the turnover and despite the turnover much of the media still championed the anti-Bush screed.
Mitchell went on to explore the "downside" of the speeded-up by two days handover: "Is there a downside? Does it make it look as though they can't do this in public, they can't do it in the light of day, they can't have a big ceremony. They're still on the defensive, in a defensive crouch as it were?"
Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw stumbled into some good news in Iraq as they spent a few hours with U.S. soldiers on the ground. While Tuesday's World News Tonight on ABC aired a piece by Jim Sciutto on how the U.S. is spending money to try to overcome how those in Sadr City are "bitterly hostile to the occupation," CBS's Dan Rather relayed how "morale is high and so is re-enlistment" in the Army's 1st Cavalry Division. NBC's Tom Brokaw related how an Army lieutenant "thinks he detects a warmer reception" amongst Iraqis and Brokaw described how the lieutenant "and his men are greeted enthusiastically in this neighborhood."
In a June 29 CBS Evening News piece in which Rather recounted some time he spent with the Army's 1st
Cavalry Division on patrol in Sadr City, which included some other Bradleys coming under fire, Rather returned to their base camp and passed along: "Some 500 mortar rounds have been fired at this base alone. But morale is high and so is re-enlistment."
CBS's cameras didn't show Rather in the field and when he was with Upton he was wearing jeans and an Army-like jacket, and no helmet. NBC, however, didn't shy away from showing Brokaw in full combat regalia, sporting a bullet-proof vest and helmet.
Brokaw recounted his hour with another unit of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division. Over video of them driving and walking down city streets, Brokaw explained: "For these members of the First
Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas not much has changed in Baghdad. They still have to go out on patrol morning, noon and night and they're well aware than an American Humvee convoy is a favorite target of insurgents. Still, Lieutenant Peter Balk (sp?), a 23-year-old West Point graduate on his first combat assignment, thinks he detects a warmer reception."
From the June 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'" Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing
9. It oversimplified the way I stole the election
8. Too many of them fancy college-boy words
7. If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported
6. Didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger
5. Of all Michael Moore's accusations, only 97% are true
4. Not sure -- I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe
3. Where the hell was Spider-man?
2. Couldn't hear most of the movie over Cheney's foul mouth
1. I thought this was supposed to be about Dodgeball
#7 is not a bad idea. The French would embrace him.
-- Brent Baker