2. No GOP Stars on Sunday Shows Before Democratic Conclave, But...
3. If Bush Wins We'll Have "Same Diseases We Have Now in 20 Years"
4. Nets Hype Pro-Kerry Witnesses, But Only NBC Notes Schachte
5. NPR's Nina Totenberg: Swift Boat Ad "Nothing More Than a Lie"
6. CBS & NBC Describe Powell-Hating Communists as "Greek Activists"
In a likely preview of a media obsession this week, Tom Brokaw ended Sunday's NBC Nightly News by complaining that the decision to feature three "middle of the road" speakers, in contrast to the party's "hard right" positions, may be seen by "streetwise New Yorkers" as "the political equivalent of a popular con game in this tough town -- three-card monte." But, Brokaw lamented, "that's a game in which the dealer almost always wins."
Five weeks ago, on the Sunday before the opening of the Democratic convention, Brokaw did not anchor the NBC Nightly News -- Brian Williams handled that duty from Boston -- and so did not offer any warnings about Democrats trying to disguise their "hard left" views.
In the NBC News booth overlooking an empty Madison Square Garden, Brokaw concluded the August 29 NBC Nightly News with these cautionary words:
Inequitable Sunday show guest line-ups on ABC and NBC. On the Sunday before the Democratic convention last month, ABC's This Week featured an interview session with keynote speaker Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate candidate in Illinois, and George Stephanopoulos traveled to Ted Kennedy's Hyannis home to tape an interview with him. NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert also brought aboard Obama. But on the Sunday before the Republican conclave, having not featured any Republican political guest a month earlier, both shows decided to showcase a star of the opposing party with both programs devoting segments to interviews with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. For the GOP side, Stephanopoulos quizzed New York Governor George Pataki and Russert interviewed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom he pounded over disagreements with the Republican platform.
On both Sundays Russert previewed the conventions with Tom Brokaw.
In addition to Kennedy and Obama on ABC, and Obama on NBC, the two shows on July 25 had also devoted a segment to the 9-11 Commission report with the Chairman and Vice Chairman, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, appearing on Meet the Press, and members John Lehman and Bob Kerrey appearing on This Week. But Kean and Lehman were not convention preview guests as was Clinton.
CBS's Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday remained consistent: On July 25, Face the Nation featured three Democrats before their convention: Obama, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the Chairman of the convention, and Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. On Sunday, Bob Schieffer turned the show over to a Republican, Senator John McCain. The pre-Democratic convention Fox News Sunday featured three Democrats: Richardson, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and John Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz. On Sunday, August 29, Fox News Sunday brought aboard House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for a joint appearance, along with a Democrat, but one who will be the GOP's keynote speaker, Georgia Senator Zell Miller.
Plus, while Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace ended his July 25 show with a short talk with Howie Carr, a Boston radio talk show host with little regard for John Kerry, he concluded his August 29 program with comments from Bush-basher Maureen Dowd, a New York Times columnist.
On Meet the Press, Russert pounded away at how the Republican Party platform does not match Guiliani's views. Some of his questions/statements to Guiliani as the two sat in NBC's Madison Square Garden booth:
-- Russert: "If you read the draft platform of this party and this convention, however -- take for example, abortion and here it is. It says very simply, 'We support a human life amendment to the Constitution....We oppose using public revenues for abortion, will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.' Ban all abortions, litmus tests for judges. You're against that?"
-- Russert: "Take, for example, gay marriage. It says, not only against gay marriage but also there should be no benefits for gay couples."
-- Russert: "You were always known as a Mayor tough on crime. You always believed that a motorist had to have a license for an automobile, that if you owned a gun, you should have a license. Your party's platform adopted, outright rejects Rudy Giuliani's view of gun control."
-- Russert: "But the impression you're giving the American people -- Harry Truman said it this way: 'To me, party platforms are contracts with the people, and I always looked upon them as agreements that had to be carried out.' There's no possible way that you or the Mayor of New York or the Governor of New York or John McCain or Arnold Schwarzenegger, the prime-time speakers, agree with this party platform, which led the head of the Log Cabin Republicans to say this: 'You can't craft a vicious, mean-spirited platform, then try to put lipstick on the pig by putting Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger on in prime time.'"
No less than news media outlets which claim to be unbiased.
Chris Matthews, set to anchor MSNBC's nighttime Republican convention coverage starting tonight, made clear Friday night on HBO that he has little regard for the policies of President George W. Bush. Appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher, Matthews belittled voters for considering relevant how they like Bush personally, and asked two very leading questions that adopted liberal polemic points as fact, which made clear which candidate is favored by the former aide to liberal Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill: "Do you want to go to an economy that's basically geared towards tax cuts for people who have a lot of income and the working class and the middle class gradually disappear?" And: "Do you want health research for the next twenty years or do you want the same diseases we have now in twenty years?"
Asked by Maher about what Kerry can do to sway undecided voters, Matthews, who appeared by satellite from New York on the August 27 HBO program produced in Los Angeles, went into a rant:
Some swift boat witnesses more newsworthy than others. When CBS News saw on Saturday, August 21 that the Chicago Tribune Web site had posted its Sunday print edition story by one of its editors, William Rood, a swift boat commander, who defended John Kerry's version of events in shooting a Viet Cong, CBS Evening News anchor Sharyl Attkisson trumpeted it: "Breaking the silence. A swift boat commander who fought with John Kerry speaks out for the first time." The other networks soon touted Rood's account. But when six days later Chicago' other newspaper, the Sun-Times, published the first on the record interview with a retired Rear Admiral, who said he was on the boat with Kerry when Kerry suffered the wound for which he earned his first purple heart, but knows it was self-inflicted and thus should not have qualified for the medal, CBS remained silent all weekend. So did ABC. Friday's NBC Nightly News, however, also relayed the recollections of William Schachte as Lisa Myers counter-balanced him with another man on the boat who maintains Schachte was not present.
Lack of video of Schachte is no excuse for CBS or ABC since both networks went with the Rood story despite his refusal to appear on camera for anyone.
Columnist Robert Novak wrote the August 27 Chicago Sun-Times article, "Admiral speaks out, disputes Kerry's account of 1st wound," but it was a news story for the paper, not one of his syndicated columns. An excerpt:
Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident that led to his first Purple Heart.
"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 [grenade launcher]," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."
Schachte, a lieutenant, said he was in command of the small boat called a Boston whaler or skimmer, with Kerry aboard in his first combat mission in the Vietnam War. The third crew member was an enlisted man, whose name Schachte did not remember.
Two enlisted men who appeared at the podium with Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston have asserted that they were alone in the small boat with Kerry, with no other officer present. Schachte said it "was not possible" for Kerry to have gone out alone so soon after joining the swift boat command in late November 1968.
Kerry supporters said no critics of the Democratic presidential nominee ever were aboard a boat with him in combat. Washington lawyer Lanny Davis has contended that Schachte was not aboard the Boston whaler and says the statement that Schachte was aboard in Unfit for Command undermines that critical book's credibility....
Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush out enemy forces so that the larger swift boats could move in. Around 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and, "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.
Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis are the two enlisted men who said they were aboard the skimmer and did not know Schachte. However, two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions.
Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and said, "I don't think he [Kerry] was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.
Ted Peck, another swift boat commander, said, "I remember Bill [Schachte] telling me it didn't happen" -- that is, Kerry getting an enemy-inflicted wound. He said it would be "impossible" for Kerry to have been in the skimmer without Schachte.
"I was astonished by Kerry's version" [in his book Tour of Duty] of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" on Aug. 12....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.suntimes.com
Anchor Brian Williams set up a Friday NBC Nightly News story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "For more than three weeks now, we have taken note of the controversy over John Kerry's service record, controversy that was sparked by a group of men who, like Kerry, fought in the Vietnam War. Tonight, NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers has a reality check on their central charges against Kerry, including new questions about Kerry's first of three Purple Hearts."
Myers' piece began with a clip of John Kerry at the Democratic Convention: "Reporting for duty."
The mainstream media certainly won't sustain the matter for which most journalists have disdain.
For a full transcript of Myers' session with Schachte, an interview conducted on Tuesday, August 24: www.msnbc.msn.com
MSNBC's Web posting does not have a picture of Schachte, as the TV story did. To see a shot of Schachte on the NBC Nightly News, go to the posted version of this item where the MRC's Mez Djouadi will place it soon after this CyberAlerts had been distributed.
Despite support for much of what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth charged in their first TV ad, about how Kerry misstated what he did in incidents for which we got medals, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg asserted on Inside Washington over the weekend that the "allegations made in that first ad are nothing more than a lie." She also regretted how the "lie" has "not caught up until now and it has done significant damage to the Kerry campaign."
It may be true that the media have focused on a few eyewitnesses who have come forward to back Kerry's versions of events, but that does not make the recollections of many more witnesses a "lie."
Totenberg, back from vacation after three weeks, opined: "Watching this story sort of evolve from a distance, it's pretty interesting because you see a group of people spend, in fact, not very much money, very small amount of money, go to Washington and peddle this story. It then gets picked up, particular on cable TV, a sort of old fuddy-duddy press then sets about to find out what really what the truth is. Now, in the last week, we really can pretty much establish that the allegations made in that first ad are nothing more than a lie. In the first ad. They are a lie. But that has not caught up until now and it has done significant damage to the Kerry campaign."
To NBC and CBS, communists in Greece are nothing more than "Greek activists." Near the Acropolis, the "Greek activists" hung a huge sign which demanded: "POWELL KILLER GO HOME." To the right of the last word the sign displayed a big ref hammer and sickle. Nonetheless, with a shot of the sign on screen, NBC's Lester Holt and CBS's Russ Mitchell ignored that communist symbol when, on Saturday, they read short items on how Secretary of State Colin Powell had canceled his trip to watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.
On the August 28 Today, Lester Holt announced from Athens: "At the last minute Secretary of State Colin Powell canceled his trip to Athens. He had planned to attend tomorrow's closing ceremony. Just hours before that happened Greek activists hung a huge banner on the Acropolis. It said, 'Powell Killer Go Home.'"
Later, on Saturdays CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell asserted: "In Athens, a third consecutive Olympic gold medal today for the U.S. women's basketball team. The U.S. men did salvage some pride, they won the bronze. Secretary of State Colin Powell has canceled plans to attend the Olympic's closing ceremonies. Greek activists, protesting the war in Iraq, put up a banner denouncing Powell near the Acropolis today. Police used tear gas last night to disperse protesters marching on the U.S. Embassy."
To see a shot of the sign, see this item in today's posted version, where the MRC's Mez Djouadi will place it.
Expect another CyberAlert this afternoon, covering the morning shows, particularly Matt Lauer with George Bush, Claire Shipman with Dick Cheney and Charles Gibson with John McCain.
-- Brent Baker