CBS Discovers Problem of Iraq War Veterans Homeless in America --4/26/2004
2. Koppel Scolds Bush for Barring Dover While Using 9/11 Shot in Ad
GMA Guest Blames 1991 Dover Photo Ban on Patriot Act
4. Editor's Association Lawyer Yearns for a Kerry Presidency
Just in time for the fall campaign, CBS News has rediscovered homelessness in America, pairing it with the plight of veterans returning from Iraq. Saturday CBS Evening News anchor Mika Brzezinski connected the case of Pat Tillman, the NFL star turned Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan, with a woman who couldn't get along with her mother and so had to live elsewhere, as she teased the broadcast, "A tale of two soldiers: One honored in death, the other homeless in life."
Reporter Kelly Cobiella recounted the predicament of the not really homeless woman as she relayed, without any doubt, the claims of a self-interested advocate: "There is no federal shelter to care for veterans. The burden falls on cash-strapped cities like New York which struggles to provide shelter for hundreds of veterans from World War II to Iraq. It is a growing problem, says Mary Brosnahan Sullivan with the Coalition for the Homeless." Sullivan helpfully explained: "Across the country, we have record homelessness and so veterans who are coming home are trying to compete in brutally tough housing markets."
Do reporters ever see any government agency as anything but "cash-strapped"?
Immediately after a story on reaction to Tillman's death, Brzezinski set up the next story on the April 24 CBS Evening News:
Over video of soldiers being greeted by hugs, reporter Kelly Cobiella asserted: "It is a soldier's dream, coming home to the comfort of family. But for some the reality is very different."
And fall right into a tale of woe the media cannot resist.
[Web Update: On the same day the CBS Evening News story aired, the New York Times featured an article about the plight of the very same woman. The posting of the April 24 story, "Home From Iraq, and Without a Home," includes a photo a Nicole Goodwin and her one-year-old daughter: www.nytimes.com]
In his "Closing Thoughts" on Friday's Nightline, ABC's Ted Koppel admitted that ABC News in 1989 "juxtaposing" the images of coffins returning to Dover with President George H.W. Bush's news conference, an incident which prompted the ongoing ban on showing pictures from Dover, was in "bad taste." But, he lectured, so was the Bush campaign for showing, in one of its ads, "the picture of a dead New York fireman being carried up from Ground Zero on a flag-draped stretcher."
Koppel's criticism, of the Bush administration for banning images of those killed in Iraq while featuring the fireman's coffin, was echoed by liberal columnist Mark Shields in his "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday night's Capital Gang on CNN.
At the end of the April 23 Nightline, Koppel addressed the controversy over the release, via a FOIA request, of many photos of flag-draped caskets being returned to the Air Force base on Dover, Delaware. It was common for the media to cover the returning caskets, Koppel recalled over video of President Reagan at a ceremony, but a ban on such coverage was put into place in January of 1991, at the start of the Gulf War.
But that ban was motivated by something which happened in December of 1989. Koppel explained: "What had angered members of the first Bush administration occurred a couple of years earlier actually, during a presidential news conference when television coverage opted to show a split screen [on screen, ABC News video from the time]: The news conference on one side, the caskets returning to Dover on the other. Showing the coffins wasn't in bad taste. Juxtaposing those images with the President's news conference, however, was.
With that, Koppel said good-night.
The next night, liberal commentator Mark Shields made the same contrast his "Outrage of the Week." Shields opined on the April 24 Capital Gang: "The Bush Pentagon has gone to great lengths to ban all photos of flag-draped coffins of fallen American heroes. This week, after a tastefully, respectful photo appeared in the Seattle Times, the woman who took it was fired by her military contractor employer. These pictures, which are a profound reminder of the incalculable cost of war, are banned by the White House, allegedly out of respect for the families. Yet, the dead bodies of brave Americans who perished at Ground Zero on 9/11 were prominently featured in the Bush campaign commercials."
ABC's Good Morning America on Friday proudly touted its "exclusive" with the sister of Tami Silicio, the woman who was fired by a Pentagon contractor after a picture she took of flag-draped coffins inside a plane in Iraq bound for Dover, of those killed in Iraq, appeared on the front page of the Seattle Times. But the sister hardly provided any expert or relevant information.
When co-host Charles Gibson prodded Toni Silicio into bashing the Pentagon, "Do you know if the Pentagon told that contractor, Maytag, to fire your sister and her husband?", she responded with nonsense: "They put pressure on them because of the Patriot Act that Bush has enacted, or President Bush has enacted."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught the embarrassing exchange on the April 23 GMA:
Charles Gibson: "She said, when I talked to her, that her immediate supervisor had been very sympathetic. Do you know if the Pentagon told that contractor, Maytag, to fire your sister and her husband? Do you know what the circumstances were?"
For the picture by Tami Silicio originally published on the front page of the April 18 Seattle Times: seattletimes.nwsource.com
Reflective of newspaper editors across the country? After Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Friday afternoon addressed the convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), C-SPAN's cameras caught the group's attorney, who also counsels the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA), boasting to Kerry: "I'd like to say I really hope to be able to sit across from you at the head table next year" at the WHCA dinner "when they're honoring you" as the new President.
Following the 2pm EDT hour address on April 23 to the assembled editors at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington, DC, the still-miked Kerry came down off the dais and stood around for about 12 minutes talking to those who came forward. Most of the exchanges involved when he night be visiting their state/city so they could set up an interview or editorial board meeting. A couple of people asked for autographs and one woman gushed to Kerry: "You've got my vote."
Just before Kerry's aides hustled him off, a comparatively short man, hidden by a women from C-SPAN's side shot of the crowd around Kerry, which mid-way through this exchange jumped to a shot from behind the man of Kerry head-on, enthused to Kerry:
For an article in which he's quoted as saying that Bush's policies on government information "scare" him, see: www.asne.org
ASNE's home page: www.asne.org
The home page for the White House Correspondents' Association: www.whca.net
The WHCA has their annual dinner this Saturday night. But to Goldberg's apparent disappointment, the honored guest will be George W. Bush.
# Chris Matthews is scheduled to appear tonight, Monday, on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno and 9-11 Commission member Bob Kerrey is scheduled to appear on Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
-- Brent Baker