2. Maher Wishes Bush to Match TV, Tell Christian Right to "Go Screw"
3. MRC Study: "ABC, CBS & NBC's Defeatist Coverage of War in Iraq"
4. "Top Ten Signs Your Barber Is Working for Al Qaeda"
Wolf Blitzer pointed out: "He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me."
Just under a month ago, Cafferty took a shot at Tom Delay: "Has he been indicted yet?" And then a week later insisted that "I had no inside information on DeLay's upcoming indictment," but boasted of how "it's probably a piece of videotape that I'm going to hang onto."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. For a video clip, in both RealPlayer and Windows Media formats, as well as to post a comment, go to: newsbusters.org ]
# The Thursday, September 22 MRC CyberAlert reported:
For video of that exchange, check the CyberAlert item: www.mrc.org
# The Thursday, September 29 MRC CyberAlert followed up:
# NewsBusters Executive Editor Matthew Sheffield alerted me to Cafferty's Monday slams on Rove and the MRC's Megan McCormack tracked down the 3:09pm EDT comments so she could provide this transcript checked against what aired:
On this past weekend's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, comedian Bill Maher pointed to the liberal scriptwriters of NBC's West Wing for political guidance. Maher touted how "Alan Alda plays a Republican Senator who tells the Christian Right to go screw." Maher yearned: "Why can't we have that in real life?" Last Tuesday (October 11) on MSNBC's Hardball, the Chicago Tribune's Jim Warren had also held up how the Alda character "confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that." Maher proceeded to wonder: "Why can't we have a real Alan Alda character who says to the Christian Right what the Democrats basically say to the black people, which is, 'you know what? Where else are you going to go?'"
[This item was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comment, go to: newsbusters.org ]
On the October 9 West Wing, the head of the "American Christian Assembly" tells Drudge that "Arnie Vinick," the un-conservative GOP presidential candidate played by Alda, promised to appoint only pro-life judges, a pledge "Vinick" had made. Explaining it to his upset staff, "Vinick" admits: "I lied to a liar. Miserable little," Vinick's voice trails off as he slams a folder down and stands up: "He's what's wrong with this party. He's the problem, not me! Tell that lying little creep the United States Senate gets to advise and consent on judges, not the clergy. If his gang wants to have a say in picking judges, tell him to run for the Senate."
On the newest Real Time with Bill Maher, shown live Friday night, October 14 on HBO at 11pm EDT, and re-played over the weekend, Maher segued from his panel's discussion about the Iraqi elections to the Harriet Miers nomination:
MRC Special Report. "TV's Bad News Brigade: ABC, CBS and NBC's Defeatist Coverage of the War in Iraq."
The "executive summary" for the new MRC study conducted and written by Rich Noyes, the MRC's Research Director. It was released on Thursday:
Ever since the United States and an international coalition toppled Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in the spring of 2003, the Iraq war has dominated network newscasts. Since then, there's been a lot of undeniably bad news, as terrorists have launched a savage campaign to thwart efforts to establish democracy in a major Arab state. But are network reporters giving the public an inordinately gloomy portrait of the situation, as some critics charge? Are the positive accomplishments of U.S. soldiers and Iraq's new democratic leaders being lost in a news agenda dominated by assassinations, car bombings and casualty reports?
The answer to both questions is: Yes.
This conclusion is based on a Media Research Center study of broadcast network news coverage of the Iraq war so far this year. MRC analysts reviewed all 1,388 Iraq stories broadcast on ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News from January 1 through September 30. (In 2006, the MRC will release a similar analysis of cable news coverage of Iraq.) Among the key findings:
# Network coverage has been overwhelmingly pessimistic. More than half of all stories (848, or 61%) focused on negative topics or presented a pessimistic analysis of the situation, four times as many as featured U.S. or Iraqi achievements or offered an optimistic assessment (just 211 stories, or 15%).
# News about the war has grown increasingly negative. In January and February, about a fifth of all network stories (21%) struck a hopeful note, while just over half presented a negative slant on the situation. By August and September, positive stories had fallen to a measly seven percent and the percentage of bad news stories swelled to 73 percent of all Iraq news, a ten-to-one disparity.
# Terrorist attacks are the centerpiece of TV's war news. Two out of every five network evening news stories (564) featured car bombings, assassinations, kidnappings or other attacks launched by the terrorists against the Iraqi people or coalition forces, more than any other topic.
# Even coverage of the Iraqi political process has been negative. More stories (124) focused on shortcomings in Iraq's political process -- the danger of bloodshed during the January elections, political infighting among politicians, and fears that the new Iraqi constitution might spur more civil strife -- than found optimism in the Iraqi people's historic march to democracy (92 stories). One-third of those optimistic stories (32) appeared on just two nights -- January 30 and 31, just after Iraq's first successful elections.
# Few stories focused on the heroism or generous actions of American soldiers. Just eight stories were devoted to recounting episodes of heroism or valor by U.S. troops, and another nine stories featured instances when soldiers reached out to help the Iraqi people. In contrast, 79 stories focused on allegations of combat mistakes or outright misconduct on the part of U.S. military personnel.
# It's not as if there was no "good news" to report. NBC's cameras found a bullish stock market and a hiring boom in Baghdad's business district, ABC showcased the coalition's successful effort to bring peace to a Baghdad thoroughfare once branded "Death Street," and CBS documented how the one-time battleground of Sadr City is now quiet and citizens are beginning to benefit from improved public services. Stories describing U.S. and Iraqi achievements provided essential context to the discouraging drumbeat of daily news, but were unfortunately just a small sliver of TV's Iraq news.
# It is probably predictable that journalists would emphasize bad news, but network TV's profoundly pessimistic coverage has shortchanged the accomplishments of both the U.S. military and Iraq's new leaders and has certainly contributed to the public's growing discontent with the war. Just as it would be wrong for reporters to conceal any bad news, it is wrong for journalists to downplay the good news that is being made in Iraq. Reporters have the responsibility to fully inform citizens about progress that is being made amid great sacrifice, and they are not doing so.
END of Reprint of executive summary
For the executive summary online: www.mrc.org
For the full Special Report: www.mrc.org
For a PDF which combines the executive summary and the full study into one document: www.mrc.org
From the October 17 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Your Barber Is Working for Al Qaeda." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "You change part in your hair, that night it's top story on Al Jazeera"
9. "Instead of small talk about sports, it's small talk about streets flowing with Zionist blood"
8. "Customers pay with cash, credit card, or goat"
7. "Disinfects his combs in a jar of sarin gas"
6. "When he makes a mistake, says, 'Ah, the turban will cover that'"
5. "Got his license at the Al Masadah Barber School and Training Camp"
4. "Manicures are done by sister, Tammi Bin Laden"
3. "During haircut he shouts, 'Death to uneven sideburns!""
2. "His protein-infused deep-conditioning creme rinse? Hummus"
1. "CIA picking up lots of 'chatter' about your dandruff"
-- Brent Baker