Brokaw's Election Template: 'Repubs Running from the Far Right' --11/7/2006
2. ABC Trumpets Democratic Women and 'Historic First Female Speaker'
3. Olbermann's Anti-Bush Rant: 'Unchecked and Unbalanced' So 'Vote'
4. Cafferty Smears Rumsfeld as 'Obnoxious Jerk and a War Criminal'
5. Predictions from Hume's Panel: Dems Get House, Senate Teetering
6. Matthews Blames Racist White Conservatives If Harold Ford Loses
7. Russert Aghast at Dole's 'Content to Lose' Jab at Democrats
8. Election Is 'Iraq, Iraq, Iraq,' But Most Media Have Fled Iraq
9. WPost Recognizes Troops Support Bush Policy, Oppose Iraq Pullout
10. Helen Thomas: 'I Will Be a Liberal Till the Day I Die'
Even before any results were known, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw already had his template for the mid-term elections: The people are tired of "far right" Republicans and pleased by the emergence of Democrats who are "moving toward the center." Brokaw, who will be part of the NBC News election team, was asked by Brian Williams, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, what "trends" he sees emerging. Though a Democratic takeover of the House would likely put the far-left Nancy Pelosi into the Speaker's chair along with several other hard-left Congressman into committee chairmanships, Brokaw applied an extremist ideological tag only to Republicans as he saw an end to a "polarized" nation ahead:
[This item was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Brokaw's response, in full on the November 6 NBC Nightly News, to the question about election trends:
This wasn't the first time Brokaw has painted Republicans as impeded by the influence of the "hard right." Two years ago, on the night before the Republican National Convention opened in New York City, Brokaw charged that the party's choice of moderate speakers was a ruse, "a popular con game" called "three-card monte." Brokaw was the first runner-up, in the "Bitter in the Big Apple Award (for Republican Convention Coverage)" in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," for this remark on the August 29, 2004 NBC Nightly News:
For the quotes posted with RealPlayer video and MP3 audio: www.mediaresearch.org
ABC's Kate Snow wrapped up a Monday night story on the impact of the large number of Democratic women candidates for Congress by celebrating how if "female voters choose a lot of women tomorrow night, Charlie, there will also be another historic first as you know: The first female Speaker of the House." Anchor Charles Gibson reiterated: "She would be the 52nd Speaker of the House, but the first woman." Neither uttered the name of "that woman," Nancy Pelosi.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
This isn't the first time ABC's World News has trumpeted Pelosi for Speaker. An October 27 CyberAlert item, "ABC's Shipman Daydreams: 'Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?", about the October 26 World News, recounted (with video):
Just before the 1994 election, ABC's Jim Wooten treated Newt Gingrich as the perpetrator in a worsening political landscape, declaring that his "slash-and-burn rhetoric against Democrats has made him the poster boy for political resentment and rage, and he's proud of it." But with Pelosi, Shipman painted her as the victim of Republican "scare tactics" and, after a soundbite from President Bush, cued her up: "What do you think when you hear him say the things he says about you?" Shipman acknowledged that "Pelosi's blunt style is polarizing," but characterized it as a positive, citing how "she's used it to pull off something nobody thought was possible: Organizing the congressional Democrats. Under her leadership, they voted as a bloc against the Republicans almost 90 percent of the time."
Go to: www.mrc.org
A transcript of the Democratic women-touting story on the November 6 World News with Charles Gibson on ABC, which I created by correcting the closed-captioning against the video:
Charles Gibson: "Even if Republicans hold the House and Senate, change is coming to Congress. The New York Democrat, Bella Abzug, famously won a congressional seat 36years ago with the slogan [text on screen], 'this woman's place is in the house -- the House of Representatives.' Well, today, there are 67 women in the House and 14 in the Senate. Those numbers are likely to increase tomorrow night. And ABC's Kate Snow is here with that story. Kate?"
Kate Snow: "Charlie, remember 1992 was dubbed the Year of the Woman. But tomorrow night may rival that. The number of women in the Senate could grow. The number in the House could grow by double digits. And by most projections, it will be the biggest incoming class of women ever on Capitol Hill. Lois Murphy, a mother of two young girls, ran against Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach two years ago and lost by just 6,400 votes. This, she believes, is her year."
Olbermann complained: "Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and rewritten the Constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about 'timelines' but instead extolled 'benchmarks,' you've now resorted, sir, to this? We must stay in Iraq to save the $2 gallon of gas?" He argued: "Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow. Sir, you have been making this up as you went along." And Olbermann fretted: "Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have and maybe thousands more. He'll get out faster than we will." He concluded to exhorting his viewers to return "checks and balances" to the political system, slamming the Bush administration: "Unchecked and unbalanced. Vote."
[This item was posted, with video, Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video/audio will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]
MSNBC has posted a transcript and usually later adds MSN video: www.msnbc.msn.com
Below is that transcript corrected against what he actually said on the air (I added seven or eight words missing from the transcript and deleted a few he didn't speak):
"And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow's elections:
CNN's Jack Cafferty chose the day before the election to morph into a complete Daily-Kos/left wing clone. He slammed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." The comments, made in reference to an editorial in the Arly, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps 'Times' newspapers calling for Rumsfeld's ouster, came during his "Cafferty File" segment in the 4pm EST hour of Monday's Situation Room.
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the November 6 segment, which began at 4:11pm with Cafferty reading from the editorial:
Cafferty didn't bother to offer any evidence for his "war criminal" smear. Not surprisingly, his statements became more fevered as the election grew closer. On October 10, he lamented George Allen's lead in the polls: www.mrc.org
A little over a week later, Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove would engineer an "October Surprise." See: www.mrc.org
Last week he suggested Bush deserves to be impeached: www.mrc.org
On Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume -- broadcast from FNC's (pretty dark) Manhattan headquarters instead of Washington, DC -- Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke and Bill Kristol made some last-minute predictions on what will occur in Tuesday's election. All three agreed that Democrats, who need to capture 15 more seats to re-gain a majority in the House, will succeed. Barnes pegged the Democratic pick-up at 20 to 25 seats, Kondracke at 25 to 30 seats and Kristol at 35 to 40 seats.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Meanwhile, on Monday's CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer, the network's Chief Washington Correspondent, predicted the Democrats will takeover the House while the Senate will end up 50-50.
For many more predictions, check the Monday CyberAlert posting: "Pundits on McLaughlin, Beltway Boys, Inside Wash Make Predictions." That's online at: www.mrc.org
According to MSNBC's Chris Matthews, if Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford loses Tuesday, you can blame it on white conservatives. On Sunday morning, as he appeared in a segment hosted by Alex Witt, Matthews chided whites for an unwillingness to vote for black politicians, contending that "blacks vote for whites," but "whites don't vote for blacks." Matthews added that in states with large black populations, fear leads whites to become conservative Republicans. Matthews: "The larger the black population, where the whites are afraid historically, and in Deep South states, they tend to become very conservative Republican out of fear, whatever, of an overwhelming, or a large number of African-Americans because of the kind of culture."
Ignored by Matthews was the willingness of white conservatives to support black statewide candidates like Maryland's Michael Steele, Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell, and Pennsylvania's Lynn Swann, in this year's elections, while white liberals will be supporting white Democratic candidates instead, demonstrating that party affiliation is the deciding factor in whether white conservatives vote for a black candidate. Notably, in Maryland's Senate primary, Democratic voters rejected black Democratic candidate Kweisi Mfume, a former Congressman, in favor of white candidate and Congressman Benjamin Cardin during their party's primary, while the Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, is black.
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusteers.org: newsbusters.org ]
Below is a transcript of Matthews' comments, which aired on MSNBC about 9:16am EST on Sunday November 5:
Chris Matthews: "I think it's always been a Hail Mary pass, to use a football term, for Harold Ford Jr. I think it's just a tough one, and we all know the history of our country electing white people. Blacks vote for whites. Whites don't vote for blacks. It's just been a problem. It's just a horrible problem. I thought he was really courageous in making this run. I never thought it was really that winnable. He's from Memphis. He's had a history of family illegalities. Talk about the old man being involved in affecting your election. An uncle in trouble. I think he had to overcome an awful lot. But most importantly, he's an African-American guy running in the United States. That's just a challenge. I mean, Deval Patrick up in Massachusetts will be elected governor, but Massachusetts has an interesting, they don't have that large African-American population like you have in states like Tennessee. They don't therefore have those frictions. I mean, the larger the black population, where the whites are afraid historically, and in Deep South states, they tend to become very conservative Republican out of fear, whatever, of an overwhelming, or a large number of African-Americans because of the kind of culture. Only when we get to these situations where they think they can do it without fear, like Deval Patrick, do they operate this way. I say this as almost like a sermon, but white people aren't voting for black people in this country."
Sparks flew on the set of NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, after Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole observed about Iraq, "It's almost as if the Democrats, you know, it's like they're content with losing because to pull out, to withdraw from this war is losing. No question about it." Both moderator Tim Russert and Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel immediately berated Dole for her statement, but on Monday a liberal Boston Globe columnist revealed the real Democratic mindset on Iraq, suggesting the U.S. must "accept defeat" in Iraq.
[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Dole made her comment about 40 minutes into the hour-long debate between the GOP senatorial and congressional campaign committee chairman and their Democratic counterparts. After Russert brought up a Vanity Fair article quoting some Iraq war supporters as criticizing the way the war has been handled, Dole responded by going after the Democrats' position of withdrawing troops regardless of whether their mission has been accomplished: "It's almost as if the Democrats, you know, it's like they're content with losing because to pull out, to withdraw from this war is losing. No question about it."
"The Democrats are content with losing?" an astonished Russert demanded, adding. "That's a very strong statement."
What followed was a long period of Congressman Rahm Emanuel protesting Dole and the two talking over each other. Emanuel acted as if Dole had defamed the Democratic party: "I will not sit idly by with an accusation that Democrats are content with losing," he interjected. "We want to win and we want a new direction to Iraq....You should take that back, Senator....We'll have differences, but we do not disparage you like that, Senator."
Too bad for Emanuel, Monday's Boston Globe carried a column by liberal James Carroll, "What It Will Take to End War," suggesting that at least some Democrats have exactly the mindset that Dole alleged. After hoping that Democratic control of the House of Representatives leads to hearings on Iraq, Carroll sought a parallel from the Vietnam era:
We have been here before. Of all the acts of opposition to the war in Vietnam, none was more consequential than the hearings presided over by Senator William Fulbright -- a Democrat challenging a Democratic administration. The Fulbright hearings served as the nation's classroom, with a visceral uneasiness about the war evolving into informed opposition. The decisive election year was 1968, and, sure enough, voters cast their ballots for peace.
But if the past has ever offered instruction to the present, here is one lesson that must not be missed: The Vietnam War dragged on for nearly seven more years after that critical election. Why? Because public uneasiness with the course of the war was not enough. The only way out of the disaster was to accept defeat, and that America was loath to do. President Nixon came into office on the promise that he had a "secret plan" to end the war, but no sooner had he moved into the White House than he swore he would not be the first US president to lose a war. "Peace with honor" became the shibboleth. The killing continued, the air war came into its own, and more people died in Vietnam after 1968 than had died before. The American public's retreat from concern about the war was epitomized by Nixon's overwhelming reelection in 1972. How did that happen?
It is one thing to feel uneasy about your nation's war, or even to move to a position of outright opposition. It is another to face the harsh fact that the only way out of the war is to accept defeat. The goal of "peace with honor" assumes that the nation's honor has not already been squandered. During Vietnam, for all the widespread opposition to the war, the American public was never ready to face the full truth of what had been done in its name, and so the martial band played on. And on. The war ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, with the United States whining that somehow it had been the victim. Not incidental to the present disaster is the fact that the men dragging out that shameful last moment of Vietnam, when our nation's abject defeat was made plain for all the world to see, were Ford administration honchos Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
Rumsfeld and Cheney are prepared to do it to their nation again. The question now is whether America will let them? The general uneasiness with the war in Iraq is mostly tied to how badly it has gone. Tactical and strategic planning have been bungled at every level, and the elusive enemy is yet to be understood in Washington. If the Democrats take power with the elections tomorrow, congressional hearings will have a lot of such questions to consider. But what about the moral question? For all of the anguish felt over the loss of American lives, can we acknowledge that there is something proper in the way that hubristic American power has been thwarted? Can we admit that the loss of honor will not come with how the war ends, because we lost our honor when we began it? This time, can we accept defeat?
END of Excerpt
For Carroll's November 6 column: www.boston.com
As you've probably already heard, journalists are insisting that Tuesday's elections are a referendum on Iraq -- so don't even think about voting based on where the candidates stand on extending or rescinding the effective Bush tax cuts.
On Monday's Today, MSNBC's Chris Matthews (a highly opinionated anti-war Democrat who will nonetheless anchor the network's election night coverage) actually warned voters that if they don't vote Democratic, the President will regard it as a mandate to continue fouling up in Iraq: "If you go in the voting booth and you say 'yes' to the Republican Party, the whole world press, everywhere in the world, they're gonna report Wednesday morning, 'Bush does okay in the election.' If the people vote 'no,' the world press will say, 'Bush's Iraq policies were rejected.' And by the way, the President will read it that way. If you vote Republican Tuesday, the President will say, 'Thank you for supporting my war policy.' It's about Iraq, Iraq, Iraq and there's no real other big issue."
So if it's truly "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq," how come there is so little media interest in actually reporting from Iraq itself? A new report from the MRC's CNSNews.com found "fewer than two dozen" journalists are working in Iraq now, down from more than 600 when the war began in 2003.
CNSNews reporter Randy Hall interviewed the president of Military Reporters and Editors (MRE), Sig Christenson, who said the paucity of reporters "clearly hurts everyone....We get less news out of Iraq, and more of it focuses on the bombing of the day -- especially from the broadcast spectrum where mass media have such influence over American perceptions and opinion." An excerpt:
Although Iraq is one of the most important issues in Tuesday's midterm election, the number of journalists reporting alongside U.S.-led coalition troops in that country has fallen to "terrible" levels, according to the head of an organization of military journalists.
More than 600 reporters, TV crews and photographers accompanied U.S. and British units during the coalition invasion of Iraq during March of 2003, but that number has dropped to fewer than two dozen in recent months, said Sig Christenson, president of Military Reporters and Editors (MRE).
That figure is also far less than October 2005, when 114 embedded reporters were in Iraq when the nation approved a new constitution, he noted.
By late September this year, the number of journalists fell to its lowest point of 11, and it has rebounded only slightly since.
Christenson, who also covers the military for the San Antonio Express-News, told Cybercast News Service that the coverage levels were "terrible."
"The number of embedded reporters in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad has tumbled precipitously, and the quantity and quality of the reporting from the war zone has gone down with it," Christenson said in a report on the MRE website.
"That clearly hurts everyone," Christenson noted. "We get less news out of Iraq, and more of it focuses on the bombing of the day -- especially from the broadcast spectrum where mass media have such influence over American perceptions and opinion."
END of Excerpt
The Washington Post certainly waited until the last-minute, the day before the mid-term elections, to run a story pointing out how soldiers in Iraq are committed to the mission and don't want the U.S. to leave, but they should get kudos for printing the article which contradicts the assumptions of much of the media's reporting on Iraq, "Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results" -- though the paper's editors only squeezed it onto page A-13. From "Forward Operating Base Sykes," Post correspondent Josh White disclosed that he talked to "dozens of soldiers across the country" and they feared "leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences."
White reported in the article published November 6: "With a potentially historic U.S. midterm election on Tuesday and the war in Iraq a major issue at the polls, many soldiers said the United States should not abandon its effort here. Such a move, enlisted soldiers and officers said, would set Iraq on a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy." In addition, "the soldiers...expressed support for the Bush administration's approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from the story:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SYKES, Iraq, Nov. 5 -- For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy, calm and chaotic, deafeningly loud and eerily quiet.
The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.
With a potentially historic U.S. midterm election on Tuesday and the war in Iraq a major issue at the polls, many soldiers said the United States should not abandon its effort here. Such a move, enlisted soldiers and officers said, would set Iraq on a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy.
"Take us out of that vacuum -- and it's on the edge now -- and boom, it would become a free-for-all," said Lt. Col. Mark Suich, who commands the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment just south of Baghdad. "It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war."
The soldiers declined to discuss the political jousting back home, but they expressed support for the Bush administration's approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own.
Leading Democrats have argued for a timeline to bring U.S. troops home, because obvious progress has been elusive, especially in Baghdad, and even some Republican lawmakers have recently called for a change in strategy. But soldiers criticized the idea of a precipitate withdrawal, largely because they believe their hard work would go for naught.
Capt. Jim Modlin, 26, of Oceanport, N.J., said he thought the situation in Iraq had improved between his deployment in 2003 and his return this year as a liaison officer to Iraqi security forces with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based here on FOB Sykes outside Tall Afar. Modlin described himself as more liberal than conservative and said he had already cast his absentee ballot in Texas. He said he believed that U.S. elected officials would lead the military in the right direction, regardless of what happens Tuesday.
"Pulling out now would be as bad or worse than going forward with no changes," Modlin said. "Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated. It's not 'stay the course,' and it's not 'cut and run' or other political catchphrases. There are people's lives here. There are so many different dynamics that go on here that a simple solution just isn't possible."...
"This is a worthwhile endeavor," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Multinational Division North and the 25th Infantry Division. "Nothing that is worthwhile is usually easy, and we need to give this more time for it to all come together. We all want to come home, but we have a significant investment here, and we need to give the Iraqi army and the Iraqi people a chance to succeed."
Numerous soldiers expressed frustration with the nature of the fight, which many said amounted to driving around and waiting for the enemy to engage them, often with roadside bombs, known within the military as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs....
In Rushdi Mullah, a small farming village near Baghdad, Capt. Chris Vitale, 29, of Washington, Pa., said his unit's recent moves to the edge of this insurgent safe haven have made a major difference for residents. "If my unit left town, the insurgents would come back in and use it to stage attacks on Baghdad," he said. "I'm sure of it."
In the north, where Iraqi army and police units have made strides toward controlling their own territory, U.S. soldiers said they were at a critical point in helping the Iraqi forces develop.
Capt. Mike Lingenfelter, 32, of Panhandle, Tex., said that U.S. troops have earned the trust of residents in Tall Afar over the past couple of years and that leaving now would send the wrong message. His Comanche Troop of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment is working with Iraqi forces to give them control of the city.
"We'll pull their feet out from under them if we leave," Lingenfelter said.
"It's still fragile enough now that if the coalition were to leave, it would embolden the insurgents. A lot of people have put their trust and faith in us to see it to the end. It would be an extreme betrayal for us to leave."...
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.washingtonpost.com
The liberalism of White House eternal Helen Thomas isn't exactly a state secret, and she readily owned up to it in a sympathetic profile in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer in which she denied it had any impact on her journalism: "I'm a liberal, I was born a liberal, and I will be a liberal till the day I die. That has nothing to do with whether or not this administration is telling the truth. Nor does it have anything to do with the way I presented my stories when I was a news reporter."
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The White House Bureau Chief for United Press International since forever (until she quit when it was acquired by the company that owns the conservative Washington Times) at 87 she's now a syndicated columnist for Hearst News Service. She told the Inquirer:
For the interview on the November 5 Philadelphia Inquirer: www.philly.com
-- Brent Baker