2. NY Times' Tom Friedman Ecstatic at Thought of $100-A-Barrel Oil
3. Disgraced Anchor Proposes "Rather's Rules" for Good Journalism
4. Time Running Out to Buy Tickets to MRC's "DisHonors Awards"
The CBS Evening News on Thursday night used President Bush's signing of the Patriot Act renewal as a chance to run a full story on, as anchor Bob Schieffer worded it, "a Texas couple that blames the Patriot Act for ruining their marriage." Really. Schieffer had first noted how "the new law does include some additional protections for civil liberties," but "some critics still don't like it." Reporter Kelly Cobiella looked at the plight of the wife of Mahmoud Alafyouny, who "has been in prison for two years but never charged with a crime. He's a Palestinian fighting deportation back to Jordan because the Department of Homeland Security says he's a terrorist and a danger to national security." Rae Alafyouny, a TSA agent, must drive four hours to visit the prison holding her husband who "raised money for the Palestine Liberation Organization." Cobiella relayed how his ACLU attorneys "argue it's a double standard" since "the U.S. government has given the PLO's successor, the Palestine Authority, $1.3 billion since 1993."
But there's a big difference between government policy toward a foreign entity -- in this case money to try to maintain a stable society and reduce terrorist attacks on Israelis -- and what individuals are allowed to do.
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
After reading the NewsBusters posting, the MRC's Tim Graham tracked down how "CBS seems to be getting this case from (well, besides the ACLU lawyers) the Fort Worth Weekly, which mentions the CBS involvement in the case: "Alafyouny's case has also caught the attention of the CBS Evening News. Jason Sickles, a producer in the network's Dallas office, said immigration officials have twice refused his request to interview Alafyouny..." For the February 8 article in the paper in Schieffer's home town, check: 220.127.116.11
Graham added: "It's misleading for CBS and Cobiella to begin by asserting sympathy for Mrs. Alafyouny, since "this isn't the way Rae Alafyouny envisioned married life." But another look at the Fort Worth Weekly would suggest a chronology of Alafyouny's immigration status suggests strongly that when they were married, Mrs. Alafyouny knew he had already been ordered out of the country:"
Alafyouny came to the United States on a business visa in 1996, applied for political asylum in 1997, and was ordered deported in 1998. He subsequently married an American citizen, Rae Johnson, and the couple has been fighting his deportation ever since. He was arrested in the spring of 2004 after losing an appeal and has been imprisoned since then at the Rolling Plains Detention Center in Haskell.
In a strange twist, the government's case against Alafyouny is based on evidence that he voluntarily disclosed when he applied for political asylum, telling U.S, immigration officials that he feared persecution in Jordan because he had raised money for the PLO.
"This calls into question CBS claiming 'the government didn't seem to care about his PLO connection when he first applied for U.S. residency in 1998." But he applied for asylum in 1997, and was ordered deported in 1998, if you believe Fort Worth Weekly's account."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video of the CBS story.
Over video of President Bush at the signing ceremony, Schieffer introduced the March 9 CBS Evening News story which quickly switched to the married couple:
Kelly Cobiella began, over video of Rae Alafyouny in a car:
When asked on Thursday's Good Morning America how Iran could punish America, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman grew positively giddy thinking about the whopping economic depression they could cause, proclaiming that if "they cut off oil and oil went to $100 a barrel that would make my day. Because the sooner we go to $100 a barrel, the sooner we're going to have everyone in America driving a plug-in hybrid car fueled by corn and ethanol. And I think that would be a great thing and that would ultimately free us from having to worry about these people."
[This item is adopted from a NewsBusters.org posting by the MRC's Tim Graham. See: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Brian Boyd caught the exchange on the March 9 GMA:
Charles Gibson: "When Iran threatens harm and pain what can they do necessarily? I mean, are they talking about restricting oil sales and cutting off oil and perhaps driving the price of oil up? Are they talking about causing more problems in Iraq for the United States, what?"
Dan Rather spoke at a Cherry Hill, New Jersey high school Wednesday night, South Jersey's Courier-Post reported Thursday, and reporter Jim Walsh noted (without irony) that the disgraced and replaced CBS Evening News anchor proposed "Rather's Rules" for improving journalism. In posting this item on the MRC's NewsBusters blog, Rich Noyes wondered: "Isn't that a bit like 'Dr. Kevorkian's Rules' for better medicine?" Rather's rules: "Ask more questions, especially the tough ones" and provide "more real analysis."
In his speech, Rather repeated his recent chiding of the national media for being too soft, and in "need of a spine transplant." But when it came to his own journalistic transgression, the 2004 60 Minutes hit piece on President Bush's National Guard service -- a report based on forged memos -- Rather crouched behind his Nixonian stone wall: "'I've said pretty much all I have to say about this subject,' he said in response to a question. 'The public wants to move on,'" the Courier-Post reported.
An excerpt of the article summarizing Rather's "Star Forum" lecture:
The newsman proposed "Rather's rules," saying reporters should "ask more questions, especially the tough ones." He said the media should offer less sensationalism and "more real analysis." It should also pay more attention to international events, he said.
Rather said media improvement was needed for society's well-being.
"American journalism at its best is a public trust and is deeply bound up in our system of checks and balances," he said.
He anchored The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather for 24 years, but stepped down in March after a furor over a report on President Bush's military service during the Vietnam War era.
The story, which aired on 60 Minutes Wednesday during the 2004 presidential campaign, was based on alleged memos from Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard. However, CBS could not authenticate the documents.
Rather, who has said his departure from the anchor desk was unrelated to the National Guard story, did not mention the report in his speech.
"I've said pretty much all I have to say about this subject," he said in response to a question. "The public wants to move on."
END of Excerpt
To read the news story by Jim Walsh in full: www.courierpostonline.com
Less than three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. It's always a fun evening where we turn the tables on the press corps and play video clips on big screens to mock and laugh at their biased reporting. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy now.
To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
That page also has an order form you can print out and then mail in or fax, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."
Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
The judges this year who picked the winners for us:
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.
After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker