CBS Drowns Iraq Talk with Negative Poll, Skips Faulting of Media --3/14/2006
2. Hume Scolds Mag for Ignoring Upside of Iraq Assessment by Burns
3. Gergen: Backing Bush May Make McCain a "Hard-Core Conservative"
4. Olbermann Insists He "Goes After Power" Regardless of Party
5. You Read It Here: Limbaugh Picks Up Talk Radio for "Idiots" Slap
6. Last Days to Buy Tickets to MRC's March 30 "DisHonors Awards"
CBS News chose the day President Bush launched a series of speeches, intended to boost support for the Iraq war, to highlight a poll which found most Americans are much more pessimistic than is the President. In laying out on Monday's CBS Evening News a series of poll findings, including how 66 percent feel Bush has been describing the "things in Iraq" as "better than they are," both Bob Schieffer and Jim Axelrod skipped the finding that, while the media fare better than Bush, nearly a third (31 percent) say the media "make things sound worse in Iraq than they really are," compared to 24 percent who perceive the media are describing things "better than they are" and 35 percent who think journalism on Iraq "accurately" reflects the situation.
Schieffer rattled off how the percent who believe the "war is going badly" is up while the percent who see future success is down since January, before Axelrod followed Bush's warning, that the terrorists want to start a civil war, with a survey finding which matched the media's mantra: "Seven of ten Americans say Iraq is already in a civil war. Another 13 percent say it will be." Pouring on the dour numbers, Axelrod asserted: "The President wants to rally Americans, but public opinion is fading fast. Only 43 percent now believe Iraq will become a stable democracy. A 15 point drop in just two months." Axelrod concluded: "With suicide bombs now going off nearly every day in Iraq, it will take some real progress on the ground and not just speeches to revive American's optimism." You certainly can't count on the media for any optimism. Lara Logan soon checked in from Baghdad with how "there is grave concern amongst leaders here that civil war is exactly where this country is heading."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
A PDF posting on CBSNews.com of the poll results includes this finding not cited in the CBS Evening News reportage:
For the PDF of the poll's results: www.cbsnews.com
Some controversy has flared over the Republican versus Democratic make-up of those surveyed. See: www.mediaresearch.org
A transcript of the March 13 CBS Evening News coverage of the new CBS News poll:
Bob Schieffer, with a series of results displayed on screen: "Next Sunday marks the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and President Bush began a new round of speeches today to try and build support for the war. A new CBS News poll suggests he has his work cut out for him: 63 percent of those polled in January thought it 'very likely to somewhat likely' we would succeed in Iraq. Now only 51 percent believe that. 57 percent of those polled believed the war is 'going badly' ['going well' at 40 percent] and the President's credibility has also taken a hit. In January, 58 percent said the President was describing the situation in Iraq as better than it was. Well, now 66 percent feel that way ['accurately' fell from 31 to 23 percent]. The President spoke today at George Washington University. Jim Axelrod has our report."
Axelrod: "For a speech designed to build support for the war in Iraq, the biggest headline was accusing Iran of being behind some of the worst violence. Describing IEDs, those roadside bombs detonated by remote control, Mr. Bush said Iran is to blame for ever-more lethal versions."
In his Monday "Grapevine" segment, FNC's Brit Hume relayed how "in an interview with TV host Bill Maher over the weekend," New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns "remained pessimistic, but also said that now, quote, 'U.S. military and diplomatic leadership in Iraq is about as good as you could possibly get,' end quote, and he said the U.S. team there has, quote, 'got the formula more or less right.'" But, Hume lamented, "by the time the trade publication Editor & Publisher had edited and published the Burns interview, you wouldn't have known any of that. The magazine ignored it all, instead leading with the fact that Burns, it claimed, was for the first time predicting U.S. 'failure.'" Indeed, the headline over the story by E&P Editor Greg Mitchell proclaimed, "John Burns, Back from Baghdad: U.S. Effort In Iraq Will Likely Fail."
[This item was posted early Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher aired live at 11pm EST Friday night, March 10, with the Burns interview either live or taped shortly beforehand, yet E&P misdated its posting, "Published: March 10, 2006 12:15 AM ET." That would be about 23 hours before the interview occurred. For the E&P article: editorandpublisher.com
An excerpt from the E&P piece likely posted early Saturday morning:
John Burns, Back from Baghdad: U.S. Effort In Iraq Will Likely Fail
A day after returning to the U.S., after another long term as bureau chief in Baghdad, John F. Burns of the New York Times said on Bill Maher's live Friday night HBO program that he now feels that the failure of the American effort in Iraq "now seems likely." The chances that it will reach "a satisfactory conclusion" appears "improbable."
Asked if a civil war was developing there, Burns said, "It has been for some time," adding that it's just a matter of "scale." He said the current U.S. leaders there -- military and diplomatic -- were doing their best but sectarian differences may doom the enterprise.
Burns said that he and others underestimated this problem, feeling for a long time that toppling Saddam Hussein would almost inevitably lead to something much better. He called the Abu Ghraib abuse the worst of many mistakes the U.S. made but said that even without so many mistakes the sectarian conflict would have gotten out of hand....
Speaking from Cambridge, Mass., where he was speaking at a conference on the Vietnam war, Burns observed that he had been on the ground for 24 hours and, of all the people he had interacted with so far, "no one supports this war."...
END of Excerpt
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth tracked down the portion of the interview on the March 10 Real Time with Bill Maher taped from Los Angeles, with Burns in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who warned of failure, but also made the positive evaluation of the U.S. team, and how they have the "formula" for success, which Hume quoted:
On CNN's American Morning on Monday, U.S. News & World Report Editor-at-Large David Gergen fretted that Republican Senator John McCain may be transforming into a "hard-core conservative" after McCain expressed his support for President Bush at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Responding to a question from co-host Miles O'Brien on the conference's straw poll of potential Republican 2008 presidential candidates, Gergen worried that McCain's support of the President may threaten his image as a "straight-talking" moderate.
David Gergen asserted: "But the big news out of, out of Memphis was also John McCain swinging so forcefully behind President Bush. And he's, he's clearly making a move now to become the heir apparent to President Bush. The big question over John McCain right now is in moving behind President Bush, does he threaten to blur the, the portrait of him as a, as a maverick, independent, straight-talking, moderate conservative? Or does he become, begin to become another Bush hard-core conservative?"
[This item, by the MRC's Megan McCormack, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. See: newsbusters.org ]
Earlier in the interview, Miles O'Brien seemed to cast doubt on the credibility of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, for being too positive in his assessment of the progress in Iraq.
Miles O'Brien: "Is it time to strip a little bit of the varnish off, you know? I'm thinking, in particular, a week ago Sunday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, on, on Meet the Press, offered an extremely sanguine view of the situation, to say the least. And I think at, at a certain point people tune that out because they feel like it has very little credibility."
Gergen expressed surprise at the tone of Pace's comments, which he said was in conflict with news reports from Iraq and repeated the charge that "we may be on the edge of a civil war." While he scolded the Bush administration for offering "far more optimistic" rhetoric than former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did during World War II, Gergen did acknowledge that the American public views the media as being "overly negative."
During his C-SPAN Q&A interview with Brian Lamb aired Sunday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann denied a liberal bias, lamely vowing he "goes after power," Republican or Democrat, and he offered an explanation for why he has a regular "museum" of VHS tapes of his shows to preserve himself for posterity.
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was modified slightly from what was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your views, go to: newsbusters.org
About halfway through the March 12 C-SPAN hour, taped in New York City in February, Lamb played a typical Countdown clip, with Olbermann mocking Harry Whittington for suggesting the Cheney shooting accident happened on a "Friday" instead of a "Saturday." Lamb was a little blunt:
A likely story. In MRC's CyberAlert, Brent Baker recorded the impeachment-hating sentiments from the last days, and this shot from Olbermann's last show: "....he didn't leave without taking one last opportunity to show his disgust with the Lewinsky scandal. His last words on MSNBC: "I will say only this: If you need me I'll be hiding in sports. Wake me when it's over, if it's over." Check: www.mrc.org
At another point, Olbermann maintained: "No one in 1998, no one accused me of being a liberal in 1998 because I was covering the Clinton-Lewinsky story and whatever I had to do about it, I tried to be fair and honest and as accurate and informed as possible, and allow my viewer to be the same way. And nowadays it's the same way. Now, all of a sudden I'm a screaming liberal."
Stop the tape! Olbermann was a very biased liberal analyst of the Lewinsky scandal and a very regular MRC target. In 1998, he even won our year-end "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr)" when he suggested Starr looked like Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler:
To watch a RealPlayer video clip of that, which won the "I'm a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award (for media hatred of conservatives)" at the MRC's 1999 "DisHonors Awards for the Decade's Most Outrageous Liberal Media Bias," go to: www.mediaresearch.org
Olbermann also insisted on his fairness and balance in minute 49 of the program, when Lamb asked what he would tell a new viewer about his show:
Per C-SPAN tradition, Lamb did not inquire about whether his choice of guests doesn't suggest trying to elicit a political stance, since his regular guests are quite liberal, such as Washington Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank in his joke Cheney hunting gear. While Olbermann suggested during the show that many people at NBC hated his Bush-bashing instincts, he did not include in that number MSNBC boss Rick Kaplan, Bill Clinton's golfing buddy. Thirty-nine minutes into the show, he described how Kaplan freaked out yelling on one occasion about Olbermann talking about his mouth biopsy on the air after Peter Jennings had died of lung cancer.
Olbermann: "We were premiering a new 9:00 show that night and Rick, as the president of MSNBC -- very emotional, very high-strung, gigantic man, um, also a very squeamish man '€" was very surprised to hear, even though it had been discussed before, I was talking about spitting blood into a garbage can and all the rest of this stuff, and he was, he was -- he was mortified. He just assumed everybody would be terrified by what I was saying, change the channel and here we have the premiere of this new 9:00 show that I would have just ruined. And he was yelling, and he was yelling uncontrollably. And a couple of days later, after he calmed down, he was apologizing to the same degree of uh, uh [pause] giant-sized gestures and such. He was just, he was squeamish about blood. That was all it was.
Finally, there's the matter of Olbermann's tape archive of himself. Lamb popped the question after Olbermann discussed how he recently watched a 1987 newscast of himself with a friend:
Lamb: "Is it true that you have recorded 50 percent of the programs you've done in your life on tape?"
Olbermann should be made aware that the MRC has an extensive night-by-night collection of his appearances on cable-news networks, although we might differ on the reason for recording. We wouldn't necessarily declare "this is just too good" not to record. We're not attempting to preserve the great newscasters as they demonstrate their uninterrupted professionalism.
You read it here first. Citing the NewsBusters posting of an item later placed in CyberAlert, "Thomas: Ports 'Classic Talk Radio' Since 'Idiots Can Understand,'" Rush Limbaugh on Monday quoted from the denunciation of talk radio by Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas.
A little before 1pm EST on his March 13 show, Limbaugh informed his listeners:
For the RushLimbaugh.com transcript of the session: www.rushlimbaugh.com
The March 10 NewsBusters item and March 13 CyberAlert article had recounted: Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas condescendingly charged, on this past weekend's edition of Inside Washington, that opposition to the UAE ports deals resonated with the public "because it's something that simple idiots can understand." After a bit of snickering from the other panelists, especially NPR's Nina Totenberg, Thomas zeroed in on talk radio, even though the most popular talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, supported the deal. Thomas called the subject matter "a classic for talk radio" because "you can get it on a bumper sticker." Expressing his support for the UAE's purchase of the company operating several U.S. ports -- "We need Dubai as an ally. On balance, it would be better that the deal went through" -- Thomas proceeded to lament how "it was an easy one to demagogue on talk radio." As if much of the mainstream media didn't pile on too.
For the full details: www.mediaresearch.org
Just over two 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, especially since ticket sales will soon be cut off.
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 a order for 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