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Bush Mistakenly Targeting Iraq Because of Daddy -- 10/21/2002 CyberAlert

Bush Mistakenly Targeting Iraq Because of Daddy; Tony Snow Undermines Daschle Premise; Basking in Glory of Clinton Joining Black Hall of Fame; Bush, Not Clinton, the Villain to ABC Over North Korea; Democrats Afraid of Russert?; Sean Penn: Bush Will "Sacrifice the Children of the World"; MRC Outlasts McEwen

1) Cheap shot of the weekend. NPR reporter Nina Totenberg on the revelation North Korea has nuclear weapons: "Well, maybe this shows that one ought not pick ones targets based, at least in part, on who tried to kill one's dad."

2) Best question of the weekend: Tony Snow to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on Fox News Sunday. Snow pointed out how Daschle, who claimed Bush's policies have caused a "precipitous drop in international stature" for the U.S., shares the same views as Bush on the three issues which most annoy Europeans: Kyoto, the criminal courts treaty and going to war with Iraq.

3) NBC's Soledad O'Brien basked in the glory of Bill Clinton's honorary induction into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. During an interview on Sunday's Today, O'Brien fondly recalled how "there are certainly some who have called you the first black President," prompted Clinton to describe his "surprise" at being picked and admired how Time magazine had dubbed Clinton the "go-to guy" in Democratic politics.

4) ABC's Martha Raddatz on Friday night noted how "a Bush administration official today called the Clinton administration's North Korea policy 'an abject lesson in wishful thinking and self-delusion.'" But she still managed to portray the Bush team as the villains: "Of course, the Bush administration was deluded as well not realizing until a few months ago that North Korea had this secret weapons program. And, of course, Peter, they didn't tell anybody for many more months."

5) Democratic Senate candidates seem to be more afraid of NBC's Tim Russert than do Republican Senate candidates. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz disclosed that when offered debate time on Meet the Press, "nine Democratic candidates have said thanks but no thanks after their GOP opponents had agreed to debate on NBC," but "only two Republicans have taken a pass after their Democratic rivals said yes." On the upside, the reluctance of Democrats to participate will give Russert fewer chances to push his liberal anti-tax cut mantra.

6) Add actor Sean Penn to the list of celebrities angry at President Bush's policy toward Iraq. He spent $56,000 to buy an ad in Friday's Washington Post. Penn told Bush: "Many of your actions to date and those proposed seem to violate every defining principle of this country over which you preside" and scurrilously charged that "you seem to be willing to sacrifice the children of the world." Penn also warned: "You are a man of faith, but your saber is rattling the faith of many Americans in you."

7) The MRC has outlasted Mark McEwen. In 1987 McEwen started doing the weather on CBS This Morning and the MRC was founded. Friday was McEwen's last day, but the MRC is still around.


1

Self-admitted cheap shot of the weekend. On the syndicated Inside Washington, produced at Washington, DC's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate and carried by PBS stations around the country, moderator Gordon Peterson, picking up on the revelation that North Korea has nuclear weapons, asked NPR reporter Nina Totenberg: "There's talk about a two-front war, al-Qaeda and Iraq. Now possibly a three-front war?"

Totenberg shot back: "Well, maybe this shows that one ought not pick ones targets based, at least in part, on who tried to kill one's dad."
Peterson could be heard off camera saying "wow, wow, wow" as another panelist groaned, prompting Totenberg to concede: "Cheap shot. Okay."

2

Best question of the weekend: Tony Snow to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on Fox News Sunday. Snow pointed out how Daschle, who claimed President Bush's policies have caused a "precipitous drop in international stature" for the U.S., shares the same views as Bush on the three issues which most annoy Europeans: Kyoto, the criminal courts treaty and going to war with Iraq.

On the October 20 Fox News Sunday, Snow read back to Daschle a remark Daschle had made on Friday: "I don't know if we've ever seen a more precipitous drop in international stature and public opinion with regard to this country as we have in the last two years."

Snow suggested to Daschle: "Typically people cite several things with regard to this, one is the Kyoto Protocol. Correct?"
Daschle: "Correct."
Snow: "You voted against that?"
Daschle: "I did."
Snow: "Okay, the International Criminal Court. You voted against that."
Daschle: "That's correct."
Snow: "And Iraq, where you voted with the President. So on all these key issues, the ones that the Europeans are constantly citing, you're on the same side as the White House. So if you were President would the same thing be the case?"

Daschle argued that it is not the positions, but his concern is "the attitude" and "unilateral approach" taken by Bush.

3

NBC's Soledad O'Brien basked in the glory of Bill Clinton's honorary induction into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. During an interview on Sunday's Today touted as an "exclusive," O'Brien fondly recalled how "there are certainly some who have called you the first black President," prompted Clinton to describe his "surprise" at being picked and admired how Time magazine had dubbed Clinton the "go-to guy" in Democratic politics.

O'Brien conducted the taped interview with Clinton and Charles Stewart, of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, before the Saturday night event.

On the October 20 Today O'Brien recalled how "I asked the former President what the honor meant to him."

Following Clinton's reply, O'Brien wondered: "There are certainly some who have called you the first black President. You have your offices uptown in Harlem. And yet with all that you still must have been a little bit surprised when they said you were going to be an inductee, right?"
Clinton chortled: "I was. I gotta call Toni Morrison who started this whole thing and tell her that when she said it it sparked a lot of laughs but now I'll have the papers to prove it."

O'Brien turned to Stewart to ask why his group chose Clinton for the honor and she wondered if anyone had cast doubt on the idea. Back to Clinton, she inquired about his efforts to combat AIDS in Africa before trumpeting:
"Let's talk a little bit about politics. Time magazine says that you are the go-to guy in tri-state politics. Does this mean then that you are fully back in the fray, that you're negotiating behind the scenes of Democratic politics?"

After querying Clinton on Iraq, O'Brien wrapped up by giving Clinton a chance to preview his acceptance remarks.

4

ABC's Martha Raddatz on Friday night noted how the U.S. had been "duped" for years by North Korea as she relayed how "a Bush administration official today called the Clinton administration's North Korea policy 'an abject lesson in wishful thinking and self-delusion.'" But she still managed to portray the Bush team as the villains: "Of course, the Bush administration was deluded as well, not realizing until a few months ago that North Korea had this secret weapons program. And, of course, Peter, they didn't tell anybody for many more months."

The Clinton administration foolishly trusted a communist thugogracy to follow an agreement, but to ABC News it is the Bush administration, of course, which deserves the scolding.

(Neither CBS or NBC on Friday night mentioned how the Clinton administration, led by former President Carter, had traded economic assistance for North Korea's promise to suspend its nuclear weapons development. CBS mentioned the Clinton deal on Thursday night. See the October 18 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org
/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021018.asp#1
)
Martha Raddatz
World News Tonight's Martha Raddatz

On the October 18 World News Tonight, Raddatz reported, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "There were suggestions today that the U.S. has been duped by the North Koreans for years. In 1994, North Korea promised to halt its plutonium-based nuclear programs. The Clinton administration rewarded the North Koreans by helping to supply them with half a million tons of fuel oil a year. But while the Clinton administration was celebrating its new arrangement, North Korea was running a secret nuclear weapons program."
Frank Gaffney, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense: "We wanted people to believe we'd addressed the problem of a North Korean nuclear program when we hadn't."
Raddatz: "A Bush administration official today called the Clinton administration's North Korea policy 'an abject lesson in wishful thinking and self-delusion.' Of course, the Bush administration was deluded as well, not realizing until a few months ago that North Korea had this secret weapons program. And, of course, Peter, they didn't tell anybody for many more months."

But at least the Bush administration people put reality ahead of pieces of paper.

In fact, as Doug Struck and Glenn Kessler reported in Saturday's Washington Post, the U.S. knew about North Korea's efforts back in 2000, before Bush even came to office. They began their October 19 story: "The United States received evidence of uranium enrichment efforts in North Korea as early as two years ago, but only recently decided to confront the government there about it, sources in the United States and Asia said today."

5

Democratic Senate candidates seem to be more afraid of NBC's Tim Russert than do Republican Senate candidates from around the nation. In Sunday's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz disclosed that when offered debate time on Meet the Press, "nine Democratic candidates have said thanks but no thanks after their GOP opponents had agreed to debate on NBC. Only two Republicans have taken a pass after their Democratic rivals said yes."

So far, with only two Sundays to go before election day, Russert has managed to conduct two Senate debates with the Republican and Democratic candidates in Colorado and South Carolina.

Russert used each to press the candidates from both parties to agree with his own personal agenda in favor of rescinding the Bush tax cuts, so on the upside the reluctance of Democrats to participate will give Russert fewer chances to push his liberal anti-tax cut mantra. CyberAlert items on the two Senate candidate sessions:

-- If it's Sunday with a Senate candidates on Meet the Press, it's time for Tim Russert to press them to "postpone" the tax cuts. To South Carolina Democrat Alex Sanders on the October 13 show: "Would you consider freezing or postponing the Bush tax cut in order to have the revenues so we don't tap into Social Security and have the revenues to pay for the potential war in Iraq?" Russert treated Republican Lindsey Graham as an oracle of wisdom, reminding him how he had warned Bush's tax cut would "eat up all the surpluses" and was "not fiscally responsible." Russert praised his foresight: "You were prescient, prophetic about the Bush tax cut." Details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021014.asp#1

-- Back on September 23, in his first Senate debate segment, Russert pressed the Colorado candidates to agree with him that Bush's tax cuts should be rescinded. To Democratic candidate Ted Strickland: "Would you be supportive of freezing or postponing the Bush tax cut in order to raise revenues to help fight the war in Iraq?" To Republican incumbent Wayne Allard: "How are you going to pay for the war in Iraq without, would you suggest, holding off on the tax cut?" For details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020923.asp#1

Back to Kurtz's article in the October 20 Washington Post, he listed the candidates who turned down Russert's invitation:
"The latest to forgo Sunday morning debate is Texas Democrat Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor, who trails state Attorney General John Cornyn. The Kirk campaign did not return several calls.
"In New Jersey, former Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg also vetoed the invitation. The Democrat he replaced, Robert G. Torricelli, had agreed to a debate, as had GOP candidate Doug Forrester....
"Other Democrats who said no or couldn't find time on their schedules: Mark Pryor (Ark.), Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Sen. Paul D. Wellstone (Minn.), Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Sen. Max Cleland (Ga.), Sen. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Sen. Jean Carnahan (Mo.)....
"The situation is reversed in North Carolina, where Republican Elizabeth Dole said no, and Tennessee, where Lamar Alexander turned thumbs down."

Given the large disparity in one party's candidates over the other preventing Russert from having any more debates on Meet the Press, you'd think he would inform his viewers on an upcoming show about which campaigns rejected his offer. We'll see.

6

Add actor Sean Penn to the list of celebrities angry at President Bush's policy toward Iraq. He spent $56,000 to buy a three-fourths of a page ad on page A8 of Friday's Washington Post titled, "An Open Letter to the President of the United States of America."

To Penn's credit, his letter showed far more respect for the President than have other celebrities, such as Woody Harrelson, Tim Robbins, Jessica Lange or Ed Asner.

Penn admitted: "I do not believe in a simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil." He told Bush: "Many of your actions to date and those proposed seem to violate every defining principle of this country over which you preside" and that "you seem to be willing to sacrifice the children of the world."

As only someone from the Barbra Streisand school of political analysis could, Penn urged Bush to "listen to Gershwin, read chapters of Stegner, of Saroyan, the speeches of Martin Luther King." Penn also warned: "You are a man of faith, but your saber is rattling the faith of many Americans in you."

Since the text is not online anywhere, I cobbled together some quotes from the ad by cutting and pasting from stories about the ad in the Washington Post, Washington Times, New York Post and Reuters, and typed in some more myself.

And I think I've managed to put the quotes in proper sequence, though I'm note sure that helps since much of what he wrote is disjointed and nonsensical:

-- "I do not believe in a simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil. I believe this is a big world full of men, women, and children who struggle to eat, to love, to work, to protect their families, their beliefs, and their dreams."

-- "Many of your actions to date and those proposed seem to violate every defining principle of this country over which you preside: intolerance of debate ('with us or against us'), marginalization of your critics, the promoting of fear through unsubstantiated rhetoric, manipulation of a quick comfort media, and the position of your administration's deconstruction of civil liberties all contradict the very core of the patriotism you claim."

-- You lead, it seems, through a blood-lined sense of entitlement. Take a close look at your most vehement media supporters. See the fear in their eyes as their loud voices of support ring out with that historically disastrous undercurrent of rage and panic masked as 'straight tough talk.' How far have we come from understanding what it is to kill one man, one woman, or one child, much less the 'collateral damage' of many hundreds of thousands. Your use of the word, 'this is a new kind of war' is often accompanied by an odd smile. It concerns me that what you are asking of us is to abandon all previous lessons of history in favor of following you blindly into the future."
"It worries me because with all your best intentions, an enormous economic surplus has been squandered. Your administration has virtually dismissed the most fundamental environmental concerns and therefore, by implication, one gets the message that, as you seem to be willing to sacrifice the children of the world, would you also be willing to sacrifice ours. I know this cannot be your aim so, I beg you Mr. President, listen to Gershwin, read chapters of Stegner, of Saroyan, the speeches of Martin Luther King."

-- "You are a man of faith, but your saber is rattling the faith of many Americans in you."

-- "As a father of two young children who will live their lives in the world as it will be affected by critical choices today, I have no choice but to believe that you can ultimately stand as a great president. History has offered you such a destiny. So again, sir, I beg you, help save America before yours is a legacy of shame and horror. Don't destroy our children's future. We will support you."

-- "Sacrificing American soldiers or innocent civilians in an unprecedented preemptive attack on a separate sovereign nation may well prove itself a most temporary medicine."

A "quick comfort media" and "take a close look at your most vehement media supporters"? Penn really does live in a Hollywood fantasy world.

For a picture and bio of Penn, check his Internet Movie Database page: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Penn,+Sean

Penn's anger didn't come close to matching the vitriol of Woody Harrelson, who in a Guardian opinion piece last week declared: "This is a racist and imperialist war. The warmongers who stole the White House (you call them 'hawks', but I would never disparage such a fine bird) have hijacked a nation's grief and turned it into a perpetual war on any non-white country they choose to describe as terrorist." For more: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021018.asp#4

For many more examples of left-wing rantings from celebrities, check out the new "Celebrities on Politics and War" page compiled by the MRC's Tim Jones: http://www.mediaresearch.org/mrcspotlight/war/welcome.asp

7

MRC outlasts Mark McEwen. In 1987 the Media Research Center was founded and Mark McEwen started handling the weather on CBS This Morning. Friday was McEwen's last day on CBS's since-re-named morning program, The Early Show, but the MRC is still around -- and still using the same name.

Next Monday CBS will debut its new quad-sized morning team sans McEwen. -- Brent Baker


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