CBS Again Pushes Theme of Republicans Turning Against Bush on War --6/14/2005
2. CBS's Storm & Time's Novak Fret About Treatment of 20th Hijacker
3. Schieffer: Clinton Recognized Osama Threat, If Not for Starr...
4. Journalists Rue Greater Focus on 60 Minutes than Bush's NG Record
5. "Top Ten Things Overheard During the Michael Jackson Verdict"
Correction: Due to missing some errors in the closed-captioning, the June 13 CyberAlert item on Nina Totenberg's use of the "extremely conservative," "dramatically conservative" and "quite overwhelmingly conservative" labels, contained several errors in tenses and word form, but none which changed the substance of her point. Her labels were accurately transcribed. The Web-posting of the CyberAlert has been updated. See: www.mediaresearch.org
CBS News liked its theme so much about Republicans turning against President Bush, based on less than a handful of comments, that it pushed it two nights in a row. On Sunday, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts led with "mounting criticism" of Bush from "members of his own Republican Party." Viewers then saw a piece from Bill Plante who returned on Monday's CBS Evening News with a story featuring the same examples as Plante touted "even some Republicans now saying the [Guantanamo] prison camp should be closed." Plante showcased the media's new favorite Republican: "But U.S. deaths in Iraq, now over 1,700, and the continuing insurgency are prompting a volley of second thoughts from Republicans. Congressman Walter Jones, the man who coined the term 'Freedom Fries' to protest the lack of French support in the war, now wants a timetable for U.S. withdrawal." In between, The Early Show got into the act. On Monday morning, co-host Russ Mitchell cited "a renewed cry for the shutdown of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay after some shocking new reports of interrogation methods there." Plante claimed Bush "is taking heat from some unexpected quarters," including "from conservatives in his own party."
The June 13 CyberAlert recounted: Based upon one Republican Senator advocating the closure of the Guantanamo prison camp, another Republican Senator warning of declining public support for U.S. troops in Iraq, and one Republican U.S. Representative, Walter Jones, best-known for the silliness of re-naming french fries as "freedom fries," calling for the setting of a date to withdraw troops from Iraq, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts on Sunday night led with "mounting criticism" of Bush from "members of his own Republican Party." Roberts insisted: "In what appears to be a significant shift in the political landscape of Washington, the President is losing support from some key Republicans on some very major issues." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Fast forward to Monday night, and CBS ran basically the same story again from Plante who pointed to how "Congressman Walter Jones, the man who coined the term 'Freedom Fries' to protest the lack of French support in the war, now wants a timetable for U.S. withdrawal." Leading into a soundbite from Senator Lindsey Graham, Plante asserted: "Other Republicans are now criticizing the administration's lack of planning for post-war Iraq."
Anchor Bob Schieffer set up the June 13 CBS Evening News story:
Plante began, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "The continuing violence and U.S. death toll in Iraq, coupled with the damage to America's image from alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, are raising the political heat on President Bush. With even some Republicans now saying the prison camp should be closed, the Vice President pushed back today, not completely ruling that out, but warning that the prisoners there are the enemy."
Monday's Early Show ran a slightly re-jiggered version of PLante's Sunday night story, but the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, Russ Mitchell set it up with a very questionable allegation: "Some war weary lawmakers are becoming more vocal in their criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq, including some former supporters of the invasion. There's also a renewed cry for the shutdown of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay after some shocking new reports of interrogation methods there. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has more. Bill, good morning."
"Shocking reports of interrogation methods"? Shocking to CBS News, maybe, but not to most Americans.
Plante, at the White House, affirmed: "Good morning to you, Russ. That's right, the President is taking heat from some unexpected quarters, fallout from this war. Including from conservatives in his own party. Republican Senator Mel Martinez of Florida has now urged the White House to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, calling it 'an icon for bad stories.' This follows reports of very aggressive interrogation techniques on prisoners there and confirmation that the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was mishandled a number of times by American guards.
After a clip of Graham, Plante maintained: "And the London Times has obtained another briefing memo prepared for the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in the summer of 2002, months before the official decision to go to war. In it British intelligence notes the dangers of the post-war period. 'A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.' The report says, 'As already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point.'
Following a clip from Blair, Plante concluded: "And the White House is pushing back. It says there was post-war planning, points out the memo was written eight months before the political decision to go to war. And as for Guantanamo, the Vice President, in an interview to be broadcast today, says there are no plans to close the camp. And he says that the people who are at Guantanamo are there because they're bad people."
CBS's Early Show on Monday provided a sympathetic platform for Time magazine's Viveca Novak to plug her magazine's new cover story on how Mohammed al-Qahtani, the 20th hijacker, was supposedly mistreated at Guantanamo in the months immediately after 9/11. Hannah Storm cued her up to recite the awful "methods" used on him. Novak recounted how "he was allowed to sleep only about four hours a day, was interrogated for 20 hours at a time. Various techniques were used. He was made to bark like a dog and obey dog commands. He was subjected to hours of music blasted at him so he couldn't sleep." Storm fretted: "The log says that one thing he found particularly agitating was something called 'invasion of space by a female.' What was that?" When Storm did get around to the Department of Defense's response, Novak countered that "legal experts" say that the Geneva Conventions "were not honored" in the case of al-Qahtani, as if that's something to be ashamed of.
At least al-Qahtani is alive to have a U.S. media outlet complain about his treatment, unlike the 3,000 murdered by his colleagues.
Referring to the Bill Plante story from earlier in the 7am half hour (see item #1 above), Storm set up the June 13 session: "As we said, a growing number of lawmakers want the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay to be shutdown. But despite allegations of detainee abuse, on Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney said there were no plans to close the prison, which houses what he called 'hard-core terrorists.' The latest issue of Time magazine reports on the Guantanamo interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani, 9/11's so called 20th hijacker. Time Washington correspondent Viveca Novak contributed to the article and she's also co-written a book on the prison called Inside the Wire."
Storm's first question, as taken down by the MRC's Brian Boyd: "Let's talk about this detainee, this al-Qahtani who was deported from the U.S. trying to enter before 9/11. In Afghanistan picked up about a year later and taken to Guantanamo Bay. What is the interrogation log show about the methods that were used there?"
Time headlined its June 20 cover story, "Inside the Interrogation of Detainee 063; EXCLUSIVE: TO GET THE '20TH HIJACKER' TO TALK, THE U.S. USED A WIDE RANGE OF TACTICS. A SECRET LOG REVEALS THE FIRST DOCUMENTED VIEW OF HOW GITMO REALLY WORKS"
For the story, which really shows how gentle the U.S. is given the evilness of the detainee, go to: www.time.com
If it weren't for Ken Starr distracting Bill Clinton 9/11 could have been avoided? Interviewing Washington Post reporter John Harris, author of The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House, on Sunday's Face the Nation Bob Schieffer touted how Harris wrote that "Clinton really did early on recognize that Osama bin Laden was someone to be reckoned with." Schieffer ruminated, "I have always wondered: Do you think that had it not been for Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that was swirling around Bill Clinton, that we as Americans would have recognized earlier what a threat that Osama bin Laden posed because every time that Clinton would take action when he'd fire the missiles at what was supposed to be the terror training camp, people asked, 'Is this wagging the dog?,' 'Is this something to divert us from talking about Monica Lewinsky?'" Harris agreed that Clinton "understood the threat of Islamic terrorism generally, Osama bin Laden specifically, and yet he was not able to infuse his own government or the country at large with that sense of urgency."
Schieffer brought Harris aboard to discuss Senator Hillary Clinton's potential presidential bid. At the end of the segment, this exchange occurred on the June 12 Face the Nation:
Schieffer: "You know, you wrote also about the war on terrorism and how Clinton really did early on recognize that Osama bin Laden was someone to be reckoned with. I have always wondered: Do you think that had it not been for Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that was swirling around Bill Clinton, that we as Americans would have recognized earlier what a threat that Osama bin Laden posed because every time that Clinton would take action when he'd fire the missiles at what was supposed to be the terror training camp, people asked, 'Is this wagging the dog?,' 'Is this something to divert us from talking about Monica Lewinsky?'"
For Amazon.com's page on Harris' book, The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House, go to: www.amazon.com
"How do you feel about the fact that journalists seem to have done more work in reviewing the 60 Minutes reporting than they have in examining the underlying story about President Bush?" said Boardman.
The C-SPAN video confirmed the standing ovations recounted in the June 6 CyberAlert, which related: Dan Rather "received standing ovations at the start and end of his 45-minute appearance" Saturday night in Denver as the keynote speaker at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference, Dave McNary reported for Variety. Jim Hughes of the Denver Post recounted how "Rather left the room surrounded by star-struck, snapshot-taking reporters." Apparently, the reporters were unfazed by Rather's bad journalism. Daniel Zwerdling of NPR told Hughes: "Every journalist in this room, including me, makes mistakes. The question is, do we acknowledge them and learn from them? He has." See: www.mediaresearch.org
For IRE's page on the annual conference, with video of Rather's address: www.ire.org
Check the posted version of this CyberAlert item later today for an MP3 audio clip of the question and the audience applause. For daily postings of MP3 clips reflecting bias, check out the MRC's "Hear the Bias" list at: www.mediaresearch.org
From the June 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard During the Michael Jackson Verdict." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "A celebrity acquitted in L.A.? Stunning."
9. "Of course he's nervous -- look how pale he is"
8. "Oh finally, I can go back to my normal life of Ferris wheels, pet monkeys and sleeping in oxygen chambers"
7. "No, I think he'll do fine in prison"
6. "Are those tears of joy, or are his cheek implants leaking?"
5. "Do you think this'll be on the news tonight?"
4. "We the jury find the defendant creepy"
3. "Michael, good news -- I just saved 15 percent on my car insurance by switching to Geico"
2. "I'm glad we live in a country where prison is reserved for dangerous outlaws like Martha Stewart"
1. "Another case of a white guy getting preferential treatment"
-- Brent Baker