Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Bush's 'Omission' of Katrina/Gulf Coast Treated as Scandalous --1/25/2007


1. Bush's 'Omission' of Katrina/Gulf Coast Treated as Scandalous
A night after CNN anchors fretted about how Katrina and the recovering Gulf region were "thunderously missing" from President Bush's State of the Union address, CBS and NBC picked up the cause. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric regretted on Wednesday night how "there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue." Noting that "there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers," Couric asserted: "Some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'" Reporter Armen Keteyian, a veteran of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, featured one New Orleans man who, "like many here, watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word." Keteyian listed how "there were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night," and insisted that "reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt...all across the Gulf." Kateyian concluded with how "words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address."

2. PBS's Pundits Agree Democrat Webb Eloquent, 'A Star Is Born'
Leftists always complain that FNC's Hannity & Colmes is a perpetually uneven match, a game of Strong vs. Weak where Sean Hannity always gets to be more aggressive and that other Colmes fellow is timid. On the PBS NewsHour, the situation is reversed. Mark Shields is the Hannity that always sounds a strong partisan tone, and David Brooks is the timid guy, willing to tone it down for the face time and, as Bill Clinton once put it, "preserve his viability" within the network he's on. After the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Shields remembered Bill Clinton's 1998 speech as a "rhetorical home run" and really drove home how great that prickly Jim Webb was: "I think that the old line that freshmen should be seen and not heard was totally repealed and revoked." After lauding the Webb speech's eloquence and memorability, Brooks helpfully added: "Mark said 'A star is born.'"

3. SOTU Tradition: Wash Post's Shales Praises Kennedy's Good Looks
In his review of Tuesday night's State of the Union address, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales praised the performance of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, who apparently did a fine job of sitting in his chair and looking senatorial. "He looks so venerable and distinguished by now that it's hard to get a bad picture of him," Shales gushed. "In fact he seems more and more to resemble Claude Rains as a veteran white-haired senator in Frank Capra's classic movie 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Life imitating art's imitation of life." Three years ago, Shales was similarly ecstatic at Kennedy's ability to strike a pose. "The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role," Shales wrote after the 2004 State of the Union. "Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore.

4. Cheney to Blitzer: 'You're Out of Line' on Inquiry About Daughter
On Wednesday's Situation Room on CNN, during an interview with Dick Cheney taped earlier at the Vice President's office, Wolf Blitzer quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor: "I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6. AUDIO&VIDEO

5. Walters: 'Hooray' for Pelosi; O'Donnell Urges Impeachment of Bush
On Wednesday's The View, the morning after the State of the Union address, Barbara Walters oozed about how it was a "treat to see the first female Speaker of the House" as she hailed Nancy Pelosi with a hearty fist-raised "hooray" while Rosie O'Donnell sang "I am woman, hear me roar," O'Donnell denounced Bush for praising the subway hero when he sends Americans "to die in Iraq," Joy Behar charged that Bush's insistence on the surge in the face of public opposition means the U.S. is "not a democracy anymore" and that led O'Donnell to urge Bush's impeachment. O'Donnell asserted that "someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush" so "the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this President's choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who is leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country, he does not lead as a monarch." Behar chipped in: "Amen." AUDIO&VIDEO

6. "Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Boost His Popularity"
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Boost His Popularity."


Bush's 'Omission' of Katrina/Gulf Coast
Treated as Scandalous

A night after CNN anchors fretted about how Katrina and the recovering Gulf region were "thunderously missing" from President Bush's State of the Union address, CBS and NBC picked up the cause. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric regretted on Wednesday night how "there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue." Noting that "there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers," Couric asserted: "Some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'" Reporter Armen Keteyian, a veteran of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, featured one New Orleans man who, "like many here, watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word." Keteyian listed how "there were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night," and insisted that "reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt...all across the Gulf." Kateyian concluded with how "words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address."

Leading into an image of a headline in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "New Orleans left out of president's script," as if a local newspaper story should have national import, David Gregory highlighted on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News: "That focus on Iraq, and the political toll it's taken, has led the White House to divert its attention from other priorities -- like rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Last night, not a word. The omission was headline news."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A Wednesday CyberAlert item, "CNN: Katrina 'Thunderously Missing' from Bush Speech, Gulf Residents 'Upset,'" outlined the distress expressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the January 24 CBS Evening News story:

Katie Couric: "In his State of the Union Address, President Bush took note of the unrest in Lebanon as well as the suffering in Darfur, but there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue. The federal government has spent $80 billion on recovery efforts in the Gulf region, but there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers. And as chief investigative reporter Armen Keteyian reports, some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'"

Armen Keteyian: "It sits on a flat gravel mud-soaked lot, the irony of the name ["Mt. Olive Gardens"] not lost on its residents. Seventeen months after Katrina, nearly 200 people uprooted by a hurricane still live in Mt. Olive Gardens, whole families packed into 200 square foot FEMA trailers they now call home."
Chris Davis: "God can't let this happen."
Keteyian: "Chris Davis is one of the displaced from New Orleans now living near Baton Rouge. Like many here, he watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word."
Davis: "At this time, I almost broke my TV and knocked it off the stand, you know?"
Keteyian: "A Vietnam vet, Davis lost a job as a ship builder to Katrina, now in a place where crime's a constant worry, and children rarely venture outside. He's long since lost hope."
Davis: "It gets hopeless and more hopeless every day."
Keteyian: "Toni Bankston, a mental health case worker, couldn't believe what the President wasn't saying."
Toni Bankston: "People were already feeling forgotten, and I think that this may potentially reinforce that."
Keteyian: "There were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night, and reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt not only here in tiny Mt. Olive Gardens, but all across the Gulf."
Governor Kathleen Blanco (D-LA): "The pains of the hurricane are yesterday's news in Washington."
Raymond Jetson, Louisiana Family Recovery Corps: "There's been a lot said, very little done, and now we've evolved to the point where there's even very little, if nothing, being said."
Keteyian: "To a point where in places like Mt. Olive Gardens, words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address. Armen Keteyian, CBS News, Baton Rouge, Louisiana."

PBS's Pundits Agree Democrat Webb Eloquent,
'A Star Is Born'

Leftists always complain that FNC's Hannity & Colmes is a perpetually uneven match, a game of Strong vs. Weak where Sean Hannity always gets to be more aggressive and that other Colmes fellow is timid. On the PBS NewsHour, the situation is reversed. Mark Shields is the Hannity that always sounds a strong partisan tone, and David Brooks is the timid guy, willing to tone it down for the face time and, as Bill Clinton once put it, "preserve his viability" within the network he's on.

After the State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Shields remembered Bill Clinton's 1998 speech as a "rhetorical home run" and really drove home how great that prickly Jim Webb was: "I think that the old line that freshmen should be seen and not heard was totally repealed and revoked." After lauding the Webb speech's eloquence and memorability, Brooks helpfully added: "Mark said 'A star is born.'"

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After Bush's speech was over, Shields had this impression:
"But I guess what most surprised me about the evening was that there was less intensity. I think it was a fine speech, but I recall, and I was trying to jog my memory on this, when Bill Clinton came in in 1998, it was fire. Within 72 hours of the Monica Lewinsky story breaking."
Lehrer: "Right. I remember that."
Shields: "And people just couldn't believe he showed up, let alone, he really did hit a rhetorical home run. I don't know what tomorrow what the lead is. Almost half of the speech was on Iraq and the Middle East. Five and a half pages out of the 12-page speech."

Shields would make a lousy newspaper editor. After the Webb address, it became quite apparent that Shields wasn't just pro-Webb. He was fast friends with Webb.

Lehrer: "Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, making the Democratic response. What did you think of that, Mark?"
Shields: "...I think that the old line that freshmen should be seen and not heard was totally repealed and revoked. He spoke forcefully, he spoke from his own credentials'€'.And he confronted the president directly, the president took us into this war recklessly and the consequences have been paid in terms of isolation. It was a strong, tough statement. And surprising in its intensity."
Lehrer: "Surprisingly strong and intense?"
Brooks flexed a little rhetorical muscle: "Not for Jim Webb. This is the guy who couldn't have a civil conversation with Bush in the White House."
Shields leapt to Webb's defense: "I've talked to Jim Webb about that and I'd be happy to give you his side of the story."
Brooks: "It was intense. It was writerly, and it was eloquent, and it was forceful. But you we can forget everything I said about setting Iraq aside and having some bipartisanship. There wasn't a hint of bipartisanship in this speech, a sense of well, we can disagree on that and agree on this. That was out the window. This was a very confrontational speech."

Brooks noted that Webb's position for aggressive withdrawal or "redeployment" was not the unanimous Democrat position, but it was pushed forward by his speech. Lehrer turned it back to Shields:

Lehrer: "Do you agree? The party got pushed forward on Iraq tonight?"
Shields: I think that Jim Webb, we don't separate the message from the messenger in American politics. He is, as David said, because of his own history, his own credentials, he is a very effective messenger, a very strong messenger. So I think the message was reinforced, and I think he made it, in linking it to Eisenhower and Korea, something that hadn't been done before, that the great American military hero of World War II, said the bloody stalemate there was going nowhere and ended it. That we are not stronger because of Iraq. That was the centerpiece of his argument. Because we went into Iraq, the United States is not stronger and more secure tonight. "
Lehrer to Brooks: "Likely to have any impact? Because usually responses to State of the Union addresses have little or no impact. What about this one?"
Brooks: "I think it will. Mark said 'A star is born.' I think it was way above average. Just as a speech. I think it was way above average for a speech. And it will rally I think, a lot of people, a lot of Democrats, who didn't like the atmosphere in the room, who want a more confrontational tone, they will say Jim Webb is the guy who we can guarantee will be forceful and who will rebut it and who has the personal life story to do that."

Lehrer was either out of time or loved that answer as the last word: "David, Mark, thank you very much."

SOTU Tradition: Wash Post's Shales Praises
Kennedy's Good Looks

In his review of Tuesday night's State of the Union address, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales praised the performance of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, who apparently did a fine job of sitting in his chair and looking senatorial. "He looks so venerable and distinguished by now that it's hard to get a bad picture of him," Shales gushed. "In fact he seems more and more to resemble Claude Rains as a veteran white-haired senator in Frank Capra's classic movie 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Life imitating art's imitation of life."

The January 24 piece by Shales on the front of the "Style" section: www.washingtonpost.com

Three years ago, Shales was similarly ecstatic at Kennedy's ability to strike a pose. "The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role," Shales wrote after the 2004 State of the Union. "Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore.

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

But after the 2002 State of the Union, when Kennedy had the more arduous task of standing to receive a presidential compliment, Shales was less enthusiastic: "As the cherry on the sundae, he [President Bush] acknowledged the help of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and praised him, which brought Kennedy to his feet smiling to the cheers of the crowd. Kennedy looked hale and robust, though one couldn't help notice a certain resemblance to SpongeBob SquarePants, the popular Nickelodeon cartoon character."

Oh, and as for the actual speech-giver, Shales was tepid: "George W. Bush flirted with eloquence only at the end of his so-so, nuts-and-bolts State of the Union speech last night....As seen on all the major and minor networks, the speech was workmanlike and the presentation presentable."

But that pink, puffy, sleepy Ted Kennedy -- he sure can sit, can't he?

Cheney to Blitzer: 'You're Out of Line'
on Inquiry About Daughter

On Wednesday's Situation Room on CNN, during an interview with Dick Cheney taped earlier at the Vice President's office, Wolf Blitzer quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor: "I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6.


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More See & Hear the Bias

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted with video late Wednesday afternoon on the MRC blog. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to listen to the MP3 audio or to watch the Real or Windows Media video, go to: newsbusters.org ]

A transcript of the segment in question, which aired at about 5:35pm EST on January 24:

Wolf Blitzer: "Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: 'Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child.' Do you want to respond to that?"
Dick Cheney: "No, I don't."
Blitzer: "She's obviously a good daughter."
Cheney: "I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."
Blitzer: "I think all of us appreciate-"
Cheney: "I think you're out of -- I think you're out of line with that question."
Blitzer: "-your daughter. We like your daughters. Believe me, I'm very, very sympathetic to Liz and to Mary. I like them both. That was just a question that's come up and it's a responsible, fair question."
Cheney: "I just fundamentally disagree with your perspective."

Walters: 'Hooray' for Pelosi; O'Donnell
Urges Impeachment of Bush

On Wednesday's The View, the morning after the State of the Union address, Barbara Walters oozed about how it was a "treat to see the first female Speaker of the House" as she hailed Nancy Pelosi with a hearty fist-raised "hooray" while Rosie O'Donnell sang "I am woman, hear me roar," O'Donnell denounced Bush for praising the subway hero when he sends Americans "to die in Iraq," Joy Behar charged that Bush's insistence on the surge in the face of public opposition means the U.S. is "not a democracy anymore" and that led O'Donnell to urge Bush's impeachment.


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More See & Hear the Bias

O'Donnell's chastisement of Bush for daring to pay tribute to Wesley Autrey: "I think it's interesting, too, that he wants to hail this hero in New York, who is obviously a great man, who saved a stranger's life. One man's life, worth it. But he sends 20,000 new Americans over to die in Iraq." O'Donnell soon asserted that "someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush" so "the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this President's choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who is leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country, he does not lead as a monarch." Behar chipped in: "Amen."

[This item was posted late Wednesday night, with two video clips, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog. The two audio/video clips, of Walter and O'Donnell gushing over Pelosi and of O'Donnell urging Bush's impeachment, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to listen to the MP3 audio or to watch the Real or Windows Media video, go to: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcript of the relevant exchanges during the "hot topics" segment of the January 24 edition of the ABC daytime show, The View:

Rosie O'Donnell: "You were watching the State of the Union?"
Barbara Walters: "I was watching the State of the Union."
O'Donnell: "Of course you were. You're a good American."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "We're so exciting, aren't we?"
O'Donnell: "What did you think?"
Walters: "First of all, the treat was to see the first female Speaker of the House, to see Nancy Pelosi."
O'Donnell: "Yes."
[applause]
O'Donnell: "Very exciting for the country, for women, thrilling."
Walters: "I must say, the most dramatic moment, you [Elisabeth Haselbeck] and I both felt, was when the President came out, turned around, you know, she's sitting behind, shook hands with her and said, 'Madame Speaker.' Hooray!" [Walters claps and raises fists]
O'Donnell: "And all of a sudden, women across America, [singing Helen Reddy song] 'I am woman, hear me roar in number too big-"
Walters: "That's your ballad for today."

Seconds later:

Joy Behar: "Also, 'In conclusion' was my favorite [tech difficulties] when he said that."
O'Donnell: "It was a long speech, right? Very long."
Walters: "Didn't you also wonder, Elizabeth, didn't you also wonder what she was wearing?"
Hasselbeck: "Yes, I was wondering. I thought she looked incredible. I thought Hillary Clinton, Senator Clinton also looked pretty good, too. They had a shot of her. I thought she looked gorgeous. But I thought he seemed to be a man of just incredible fortitude last night like he, it was a chilly environment, obviously, like walking in there when the country's been pretty much against him, and I thought he did an incredible job, and he admitted the fact that it's a difficult situation right now in Iraq, and I felt sort of that things were more unified."
Behar: "Didn't you feel he was a little desperate, a little desperate?"
Hasselbeck: "I didn't sense [desperation] in him. I sensed confidence in him."

And a bit later:

O'Donnell: "I thought it was interesting. I watched it when I got home on TiVo, you know, with the list fast forward button. But I thought it was interesting that he's talking about health care and, you know, where were these ideas six years ago, number one? And number two, had we not spent $800 billion invading Iraq, we could have fixed all the issues he spoke about in the first two hours."
Behar: "But his answer is, you know, we needed to go. That's his answer, but we don't agree."
O'Donnell: "I think it's interesting, too, that he wants to hail this hero in New York, who is obviously a great man, who saved a stranger's life. One man's life, worth it. But he sends 20,000 new Americans over to die in Iraq. What is the difference between-"
Hasselbeck: "I don't think he's sending them over there to die."
O'Donnell: "Wait, okay, three thousand are dead in America, three thousand Americans who, if they were on a subway station, he would hail their surviving, right?"
Hasselbeck: "He is hailing and showing incredible respect for those soldiers who have fallen, too, don't you think?"
O'Donnell: "He's saying to give a chance. I'm like, we've given you a chance. We've given you nearly four years and three thousand American lives. Enough, sir. Enough."
[applause]
Hasselbeck: "I thought he was pretty wise in his choice of words when he said, you know, this may not be the war that we began, that we started in Iraq, but it's the war we're in."
Behar: "Thanks to him. Thanks to him."
Hasselbeck: "How do you feel about that, though? I mean, don't you feel as though this is true, now we kind of, we're there right now, okay-"
Walters: "That's the argument, Elizabeth. That is the argument. We are there, and do we send more troops, which is what you're talking about, or do we try to find an alternative that was the Baker report that gave some options? This is the debate that's going on in this country, and will continue to."
Behar: "It doesn't seem to be a debate. It seems to be that everybody's against the surge, and he says I'm the decider, I'm doing it."
Walters: "Well, everybody isn't. Elizabeth isn't."
Behar: "No, but the Congress-"
O'Donnell: "He has lower approval ratings than Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal."
Hasselbeck: "However, last night, a CNN poll had him, three-quarters of the people in America had a positive reaction to his speech last night. So I think that says a lot, too."
Behar: "That's momentary."
Hasselbeck: "So is every poll."
Behar: "It's momentary."
Hasselbeck: "So is every poll."
Behar: "But, yeah, I mean, if the country is against the surge, if the Congress is against the surge, are we going to call ourselves a democracy when the President makes the decisions without the people? It's not a democracy anymore."
Walters: "Let us also see what the Congress does. There are people who are saying that the Congress is talking but hasn't done anything."
O'Donnell: "You know what I think the Congress should do? And this, I'm sure, will make me in some sort of celebrity feud or AOL poll, but someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush to let the world know-"
[applause]
O'Donnell, after asking others to let her finish her point: "...I think we should do it so the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this President's choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who is leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country, he does not lead as a monarch."
Behar: "Amen."
[applause]
O'Donnell: "And that's what I think, even if he doesn't get impeached, that we should call on it to tell the world we are against his policies."


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Hasselbeck: "I just think it could be pretty dangerous when you're in the middle of a war to call for the impeachment of your leader. I think that we have to think about the long-term effect-"
Walters: "And the turmoil and the trial and the-"
O'Donnell: "I'm saying someone should call for it to be in the history books. Someone should stand up and say, 'When democracy was dying, I, Senator, said I am against this, I am against what he is doing.'"
Walters, drowned out partially by applause : "-who are saying that. They are saying that."
O'Donnell: "But to call for an impeachment is a political statement from the people they represent. Isn't there some Senator brave enough to stand up and say it?"
Hasselbeck: "I think instead of wasting the time just doing it as a statement, they should focus on how we're going to have a proper long-term exit from Iraq and keep our country safe."
O'Donnell: "Right, but we should impeach the President because he had an affair."
Behar: "Well, that was then."
[applause]
[crosstalk]
Walters: "...Without renewing it again, it was because he was lying, you know, anyway-"
O'Donnell: "It was because of a sexual act that he had in the privacy of his own life."
Hasselbeck: "No, I think it was lying to the American people."

"Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Boost
His Popularity"

From the January 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Boost His Popularity." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Hang Saddam again

9. Improve focus by removing Playstation 3 from Oval Office

8. Develop steamy "Will they or won't they?" relationship with Nancy Pelosi

7. Make people believe there's a waffle shortage; then when people see waffles in the supermarket, he'll be a hero!

6. Turn weekly radio address into wacky morning zoo

5. Redecorate Oval Office to look like the set of "The View" -- People love "The View"!

4. Resign

3. Convene blue ribbon panel to find out what the hell is wrong with Paula Abdul

2. Nail a heavyset intern

1. Deploy 20,000 troops to put underpants on Britney Spears

-- Brent Baker