2. CNN's Blitzer Showcases Demand Armed Forces Radio Drop Limbaugh
3. Howell Raines Goes on Anti-Bush and Conservative-Bashing Tirade
4. O'Reilly Confronts Wallace Over Saying Iraq "Not a Good War"
Tom Brokaw devoted over a minute of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News to promoting Michael Moore's left-wing, Bush-bashing movie, even running a portion of the movie trailer, the kind of promotional advertising normally reserved for paid spots, movie theater "coming attractions" and movie previews on entertainment shows. NBC Nightly News, in fact, gave Moore's screed more than three times more air time Wednesday night than did Paramount's syndicated Entertainment Tonight (18 seconds) and four times more time than did NBC's own syndicated entertainment news show, Access Hollywood (14 seconds).
Brokaw at least characterized Moore as a "liberal activist," but he described Moore's production simply as "an award-winning film about President Bush and his team." Brokaw also noted how the film, "which won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, will be in the theaters June 25th."
Accepting that award back on May 22 in France, the "Palme d'Or" picked by a jury led by actor/director Quentin Tarantino, Moore told the delighted crowd that he was dedicating the award "to all the children in America and in Iraq and throughout the world who suffer as a result of our actions."
On the June 2 NBC Nightly News, Brokaw announced: "An award-winning film about President Bush and his team, by documentarian and liberal activist Michael Moore, will show up in American theaters after all. The Walt Disney Company at first refused to release the film for political reasons, so a separate partnership was formed headed by the Weinstein brothers of Miramax Films. They began publicizing the film, Fahrenheit 9/11, today with selected clips."
That "news story" consumed 1:08. Over on Access Hollywood, a product of NBC Productions, Fahrenheit 9/11 got just 14 seconds as co-anchor Pat O'Brien stated, over scenes from the film of Bush playing golf: "Michael Moore's controversial film, Fahrenheit 9/11, which is critical of President Bush's actions in the months leading up to September 11th, is expected to roll out on June 25th."
Entertainment Tonight took 18 seconds to convey the same news, but they didn't have any film trailer video and so showed a couple of B-roll clips of Moore.
To view the promotional trailer, check the home page for the film: www.fahrenheit911.com
Direct address for the trailer, via either Apple's QuickTime or Microsoft's Windows Media Player: www.fahrenheit911.com
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) on May 22 broadcast live the awards ceremonies at the Cannes Film Festival in France and MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down Moore's diatribe from the stage upon winning the festival's top honor, the Palme d'Or:
"What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this. Merci. You have to understand the last time I was on an awards stage in Hollywood, all hell broke loose, so I'm just, I can't begin to express my appreciation and my gratitude for this to the jury, to the Festival, to Gilles Jacob, and Thierry Frémaux, to Bob and Harvey at Miramax, to all of the crew who worked on this film.
The jury, which selected Moore's film as the winner, was led by U.S. movie director and actor Quentin Tarantino, best known for his Kill Bill movies. For the Internet Movie Database's page on him: imdb.com
The Washington Post's Desson Thomson reported the next day, May 23, that "the whole evening, it seemed, had been a setup for Moore's crowning moment. When Jonas Geirnaert's Flatlife won a prize for best short film, the Belgian director issued from the stage a message urging 'the American people not to vote for Bush.' And moments later, British actor Tim Roth congratulated Geirnaert for his 'brave' remarks."
For the Web site in English for the Festival de Cannes: www.festival-cannes.fr
On his Web site ( www.michaelmoore.com ) Michael Moore pleads: "When you hear the wackos on Fox News and elsewhere refer to this prize as coming from 'the French,' please know that of the nine members of the Festival jury, only ONE was French. Nearly half the jury (four) were Americans and the President of the jury was an American (Quentin Tarantino). But this fact won't stop the O'Reillys or the Lenos or the Limbaughs from attacking the French and me because, well, that's how their simple minds function."
CNN on Wednesday elevated the calls, by a few left-wingers, to have the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) remove from its radio side its one hour a day of Rush Limbaugh, into a full-fledged "controversy" worthy of a full story on the 5pm EDT Wolf Blitzer Reports program. "Rush Limbaugh. Why critics say American troops in Iraq are a captive audience," Blitzer plugged the upcoming segment. Blitzer described as a "sort of interesting kind of story" the demand the government censor Limbaugh for "comparing the prisoner abuse scandal to what he suggested was fraternity hazing."
CNN reporter Tom Foreman acknowledged "it's a bit of tempest in a teapot," but that didn't inhibit CNN from devoting three-an-a-half minutes to it just past 5:30pm EDT. Foreman maintained that "this controversy over Rush Limbaugh's role in Iraq has been simmering for weeks and now it seems to be coming to a boil."
More like its been "simmering" amongst a very small group of liberal activists.
So what did Foreman cite as justification for making it a story on Wednesday: "The folks in charge of the military radio service responded today to an angry Senator." That Senator was liberal Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa.
(A month ago, Blitzer wasn't so enamored with efforts to silence a voice in the media, in that case for just one day. On April 30 he highlighted a Senator's complaint about a private company deciding, based on its content, to not air a program: "Republican Senator John McCain is blasting the Sinclair Broadcast Group for ordering its ABC stations not to air tonight's Nightline. The show carries the names and photos of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war. Sinclair says Nightline, quote, 'appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the U.S. efforts in Iraq.'")
Foreman, who featured an attack on Limbaugh from Al Franken, referred to "Rush Limbaugh's conservative talk show," but didn't see NPR as quite so evidently ideological, describing that network as one "which some people consider liberal."
I guess those who are uninterested in the "simmering" controversy.
In fact, as National Review's Byron York documented last week, Armed Forces Radio has a wide-variety of programming, including news from CNN, a bunch of NPR news and talk shows the total daily air time for which far exceeds Limbaugh's hour, and commentaries from Jim Hightower and Dan Rather. AFRTS's radio service is more diverse ideologically than NPR.
From what I can gather, this "simmering" controversy can be traced back to the fledgling new left-wing Web site created by David Brock, MediaMatters.org. Last week, apparently unable to comprehend Limbaugh's humor or tolerate an opinion with which they disagree, they demanded that the Defense Department remove Limbaugh from the line-up. Salon.com followed up with a story very hostile to Limbaugh. Then on Monday, U.S. News & World Report and Time picked up on the complaint about the single Limbaugh comment. In U.S. News, the June 7 "Washington Whispers" column ran this item:
That's online at: www.usnews.com
Limbaugh answered: "I was totally misinterpreted and taken out of context. In a three-hour show, I would wager that two hours and 58 minutes were spent discussing the aspects of those photos that repulsed everybody, including me. The point I made was that this is not worth demeaning our entire war effort. And I think that these photos have been used as a political opportunity here by opponents and enemies of the President to discount the entire war in Iraq."
For the other nine questions and answers: www.time.com
-- "Rush Limbaugh. Why critics say American troops in Iraq are a captive audience."
-- "The troops are tuning in to Rush Limbaugh but can they listen to other voices as well? We'll have a report."
-- "And liberals say Armed Forces Radio is beaming the wrong message to U.S. troops in Iraq. Is it a rush to judgment or a judgment of Rush?"
-- "One conservative voice heard over the airwaves in Iraq. Now some liberals are calling for a balance to Rush Limbaugh overseas. We'll get to all of that. First though, a quick check of the latest headlines."
On screen, as Blitzer introduced the eventual segment:
During the Foreman piece, viewers saw:
(Please note that the transcript below does not always match CNN's posted transcript. I corrected it against the tape of what actually aired.)
Blitzer began: "Controversy and talk radio often go hand in hand, both this time, both message and messenger are under fire. At issue, Rush Limbaugh's comments carried on Armed Forces Radio, comparing the prisoner abuse scandal to what he suggested was fraternity hazing. CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us with a little bit more. This is a very perplexing, sort of interesting kind of story."
Foreman, another ABC News veteran who has jumped to CNN, was live in studio. He reported: "It's a bit of tempest in a teapot, but one that the sides are taking very seriously. This controversy over Rush Limbaugh's role in Iraq has been simmering for weeks and now it seems to be coming to a boil. The folks in charge of the military radio service responded today to an angry Senator."
Foreman, over scenes from Iraq: "Over the thunder of the machinery and the rattle of the rifles, one voice is heard in Baghdad for an hour each evening Monday through Friday."
As if anything he reported would have disillusioned Limbaugh listeners.
"A New Attack on Rush: David Brock doesn't want American soldiers to hear Limbaugh," read the headline over a May 28 National Review Online posting by Byron York. An excerpt from the piece in which York demonstrates that there's plenty of liberal programming available to listeners of Armed Forces Radio:
David Brock, the former self-described "right-wing hit man" turned "progressive" activist, is escalating his campaign against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Brock runs a new organization called Media Matters for America, which, according to Brock, was created to fight "conservative misinformation" in the media. Earlier this month, Brock and Media Matters produced a television commercial attacking Limbaugh for comments about the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal....
Now, Brock has written a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asking that the Pentagon remove Limbaugh's program from the American Forces Radio and Television Service, formerly known as Armed Forces Radio. Arguing that Limbaugh has condoned the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Brock wrote, "It is abhorrent that the American taxpayer is paying to broadcast what is in effect pro-torture propaganda to American troops." Brock asked Rumsfeld to consider removing the Limbaugh program to "protect" American troops from Limbaugh's "reckless and dangerous messages." Brock also expressed concern that Limbaugh "continually uses prejudiced rhetoric that divides rather than unites Americans."
Brock based his letter in large part on a story that appeared Wednesday in the anti-Bush online magazine Salon. That article, "Rush's Forced Conscripts," in turn relied on Brock and other critics, like Limbaugh competitor Al Franken of the new liberal talk-radio network Air America, to accuse American Forces Radio of a "rightward tilt" and of airing a generous portion of Limbaugh while not allowing liberal voices to be heard....
Salon editor David Talbot....wrote that American Forces Radio "bombard[s]" military men and women with "Limbaugh's incendiary tirades, to the exclusion of all other voices."...
American Forces Radio provides not only NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered but NPR commentary, as well. American military men and women abroad have access, for example, to the talk show of liberal host Diane Rehm. Indeed, Rehm's biographical sketch on the NPR website says her program is "heard on U.S. military installations around the world via Armed Forces Radio."
Military listeners can also hear NPR's Tavis Smiley Show, Talk of the Nation, and Fresh Air programs. Beyond NPR, listeners can also hear brief commentaries by former talk-show host Jim Hightower and CBS News anchorman Dan Rather. Viewed as a whole, the list of names suggests that military listeners, if they want to hear a variety of views, can do so on American Forces Radio.
But according to those who design its programming, the point of American Forces Radio is not to provide some sort of perfect ideological balance but rather to give military men and women a representative sample of the programming they could hear at home. To that end, American Forces Radio provides about 1,200 different programs to military radio stations around the world, which then make up their own schedules....
Most of those programs are music shows, but there is a significant news and talk lineup as well. If you liked to listen to Dr. Laura Schlessinger at home, and you're stationed in South Korea, you can listen to her there, too (the first hour of her program is included in American Forces Radio, just as the first hour of Limbaugh's program is provided). If you liked NPR's Car Talk at home, you can listen overseas, too. If you preferred Dan Patrick's ESPN Radio show, that's there, too.
Given that, it would be odd if American Forces Radio attempted to replicate the menu of radio choices available in the United States and decided not to include Limbaugh, who produces one of the most popular programs in America....
END of Excerpt
For York's piece in full: www.nationalreview.com
For the home page of AFRTS: www.afrts.osd.mil
Another page, on a DOD site: myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil
The schedule for "AFN Radio News," which features CBS's Charles Osgood: myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil
The schedule for "AFN Voice," the channel which carries Limbaugh from 9:06 to 10am PDT. You'll see that it also carries newscasts from ABC and CNN, Jim Hightower's daily commentary and two hours of NPR's All Things Considered: myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil
Howell Raines, the Executive Editor of the New York Times until he quit last year in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, penned an article this week for Britain's far-left newspaper, The Guardian, and it certainly erased any doubt that he's a left-wing Bush-hater who sees conservatives and Republicans at the root of evil in politics. After describing John Kerry as both "pompous" and "ponderous," he quipped: "If John Kerry was ever a populist, George W Bush is a Rhodes scholar."
Here's how he characterized their policy differences: "The difference between him and Bush is that Kerry represents the liberal, charitable wing of the Privilege party and George W represents the conservative, greedy wing of the Privilege party."
Raines claimed that "Americans aren't antagonistic toward the rules that protect the rich because they think that in the great crap-shoot of economic life in America, they might wind up rich themselves. It's a mass delusion, of course, but one that has worked ever since Ronald Reagan got Republicans to start flaunting their wealth instead of apologising for it."
He urged Kerry to follow Republicans and take the low road: "Kerry has to understand that when a cure is impossible, the doctor must enter the world of the deluded. What does this mean in terms of campaign message? It means that he must appeal to the same emotions that attract voters to Republicans -- ie greed and the desire to fix the crap-shoot in their favour."
Raines began his rant by complaining that "ever since Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980, presidential elections have been dominated by Republican expertise in finding a tiny crack -- real or imaginary -- in a candidate's public facade and expanding that fissure until the whole edifice crumbles."
Later, he referred to Kerry as "America's first war-hero candidate since John F Kennedy." As James Taranto pointed out in his Best of the Web column for Opinion Journal.com ( www.OpinionJournal.com ), even excluding John McCain, since he did not win a nomination, Raines' history lesson ignored both George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. I guess to Raines "America's" means the "Democratic Party's."
Raine regretfully concluded: "Kerry has to face the fact that even though the incumbent looks like Goofy when he smirks, he's going to win unless Kerry comes up with something to say. To stay 'on message', you have to have one."
"Must do better" read the Guardian headline over the June 2 piece in which Raines pled with Kerry to realize how underhanded his opponents will be. An up front note from the Guardian warned that Raines will contribute regularly to the paper during the U.S. campaign:
For the Raines rant in full: www.guardian.co.uk
Update. FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Wednesday night, prompted by a Tuesday CyberAlert item, interviewed CBS's Mike Wallace about how, at a Smithsonian event last Friday tied to the opening of the Word War II Memorial, he had declared that the war in Iraq "is not, in my estimation, a good war" and contended "it sure is not a noble enterprise."
Wallace reiterated how the Iraq war "is not a war that I believe in." He also falsely claimed, that in contrast to World War II, "we don't have allies." But, pressed by O'Reilly about whether the venue was proper to "denigrate" the sacrifice of those in Iraq, Wallace, who said "I had no idea C-SPAN was there," conceded: "I should not probably have said it there."
The June 1 CyberAlert recounted: CBS News veteran Mike Wallace, at a Smithsonian Institution "National World War II Reunion" event on Friday shown later by C-SPAN, denounced the war in Iraq. "This is not, in my estimation, a good war," Wallace declared. "I don't know how we got into a position where our present Commander-in-Chief and the people around him," the 60 Minutes correspondent lamented, "had the guts to take our kids and send them on what seems to be -- it sure is not a noble enterprise." Citing President George W. Bush's lack of military experience, both Wallace and fellow panelist Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today, unfavorably compared him to George Washington and Wallace contrasted Bush with President Franklin Roosevelt, but failed to acknowledge that FDR lacked any military experience.
For the full CyberAlert item, enhanced with a RealPlayer clip of Wallace making his comment: www.mediaresearch.org
O'Reilly talked to Wallace, by phone, on the June 2 edition of The O'Reilly Factor. O'Reilly played a clip from C-SPAN of Wallace and Wallace reiterated at length why he thinks World War II was a good war and the current one a bad war. The two also discussed how a few audience members got angry and shouted at Wallace.
Picking up on the view that an event tied to World War II, specifically a forum on journalists who served in World War II, O'Reilly ended the segment with this exchange, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
O'Reilly: "Do you think it was the proper venue to make those comments because, you know, it was a celebratory situation where, and you knew that some World War II veterans were going to disagree with you, so was it the right venue?"
One wonders what other opinions Wallace shares when C-SPAN cameras aren't around.
-- Brent Baker