CBS "Exclusive" Features Iraqi Men Who Are Killing U.S. Soldiers --7/22/2003
2. Half of NBC's Newscast on Bush "Under Fire," "Smearing" Critic
3. NBC Finds Lynch's Hometown Against War, Fear Another Vietnam
4. Today Pounds Away on Iraq, Couric Marvels Story Won't Fade
5. CNN's Woodruff Fails to Point Out Distortion in DNC Ad She Plays
6. And Woodruff Touts How Huffington Has "Evolved" Into a Liberal
7. Networks Virtually Ignore Anti-Regime Protests in Iran
8. Fox Newswatch Picks Up Evidence of Bias that
File under "Journalist First, American Second." Monday's CBS Evening News featured an "exclusive" report from David Hawkins in Iraq where, at an undisclosed location with their weapons on display, he talked to several disguised men who are actively hunting down and killing U.S. servicemen. Hawkins relayed how the enemy operatives maintained "they're not doing it for love of Saddam -- but instead for God and their country."
It's doubtful, to put it mildly, that Hawkins has or will do anything to help the U.S. track down the men who are actively trying to kill as many U.S. soldiers as they can.
Hawkins prompted the men who wore scarves over their faces: "So this is a religious war? It's a holy war?" Through a translator, they agreed: "Yes, yes. We are farmers. We're Iraqis. This isn't about politics." Hawkins followed up: "Why do you fight? Why do you attack American soldiers?" A man mimicked the Western opposition to the U.S. action: "This is occupation, so we fight against the occupation."
Hawkins concluded with an ominous warning: "Threats from these men won't frighten away anyone, but their fanaticism and fervor suggests they'll put up a fight for some time to come."
Back from a multi-week vacation, Dan Rather introduced the July 21 story: "So who is behind these attacks? As CBS's David Hawkins reports in this exclusive report, it's not necessarily and always Saddam."
In the desert with a few of their rocket-propelled grenade launchers on display, David Hawkins, through a translator, relayed the propaganda of three or four men wrapped in white from head to toe.
Hawkins to the men: "So these are the rocket-propelled grenades that you used to attack the American vehicles?"
Hawkins explained: "In an exclusive interview with CBS News, three men who claim to have participated in several recent and deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers say they're not doing it for love of Saddam -- but instead for God and their country. U.S. officials blame 'remnants of Saddam's regime' -- 'dead-enders' they call them -- for the unending attacks.
Hawkins to the men: "Are any of you former Saddam loyalists? Work for Saddam? Love Saddam?"
Hawkins to the men: "Why do you fight? Why do you attack American soldiers?"
Hawkins: "The Iraqi fighters chose this meeting spot in the middle of the desert -- in the middle of nowhere really, because they felt safe there. They say they know the territory well and the Americans don't."
Translator: "All of them will die here. We advise them that they have to leave Iraq before they die here."
Hawkins ominously concluded: "Threats from these men won't frighten away anyone, but their fanaticism and fervor suggests they'll put up a fight for some time to come. David Hawkins, CBS News, in the desert west of Baghdad."
Bad News NBC, part one. NBC Nightly News on Monday evening devoted its first 11 minutes, about half the show's total air time, to how "the Bush administration finds itself under fire on several fronts."
NBC began with Andrea Mitchell on the charge by former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who claimed to have disproved the Niger uranium story, that he is "now the subject of a smear campaign by senior administration officials" who leaked that his wife is a CIA operative, then moved on to Lisa Myers on how the Niger documents were obvious fakes, yet they fooled the CIA, a subject covered a week ago by ABC, CBS and CNN, and a look at how Shias in Iraq are trying to create an Islamic army so, as Richard Engel put it, the "U.S. got rid of Saddam only to open the door to Iranian Ayatollahs" and, finally, Tim Russert came aboard to discuss President Bush's plummeting approval numbers. Russert did not cite media hostility.
All that came in the first 11 minutes, before getting to Liberia. And that's not counting nearly another two minutes at the end of the program for a piece on how the people in ex-POW Jessica Lynch's hometown have turned against the war. See item #3 below.
(Tuesday's Today featured a re-play of the Mitchell story on Joe Wilson followed by Katie Couric interviewing Wilson.)
Anchor Brian Williams teased the July 21 broadcast: "Incoming fire. The Bush administration, the CIA, and an ugly feud over the President's case for war. One expert says he's the victim of White House retaliation."
Williams opened the show: "Good evening. The Bush administration finds itself under fire on several fronts. It has a lot to do with the fact that American troops are under fire still in Iraq and may be about to take up positions in another very dangerous land as fighting in Liberia breaks wide open. And the ongoing fight over false intelligence on Iraq today broke into the open. A former U.S. diplomat is tonight saying he is getting smeared by the White House for speaking out. The White House is denying all of this, but the charges are stinging nonetheless."
Bad News NBC, part two. The people of ex-POW Jessica Lynch's hometown will be "thrilled" to see the soldier return home on Tuesday, but Bob Faw found "they are troubled about the situation she left behind."
Faw's Monday NBC Nightly News story focused on angry West Virginians and only got to a positive comment at the very end of the otherwise all-negative story. "Our people is getting killed over there for nothing as far as I'm concerned," complained one woman before Faw raised the specter of Vietnam: "As Wirt County, West Virginia, prepares a hero's welcome, it also worries Iraq might be a quagmire like Vietnam." Faw stressed the "anxiety" he observed: "There is anxiety here about rising casualty figures, about the cost of the war -- $4 billion a month, and about using intelligence that may have been flawed."
Anchor Brian Williams set up the July 21 piece, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "For a while there, it was the focus of the world media, a tiny town called Palestine, West Virginia, made famous as the hometown of Private Jessica Lynch, wounded in Iraq, now safe and recovering thanks to a daring rescue. The folks in Palestine are squarely behind their most famous citizen, but are they still behind this war? NBC's Bob Faw is there tonight."
Faw began: "In Jessica Lynch country, where everything is made from scratch, they are thrilled the soldier -- today awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and POW medal -- is coming home, but they are troubled about the situation she left behind."
Bad News NBC, part three. [Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, submitted this item for CyberAlert based upon transcripts provided by Geoffrey Dickens] While ABC and CBS morning shows went light on the war on Monday morning, NBC's Today kicked off the work week by pounding hard on the negative line about Iraq, about killed Americans, questioned intelligence, and tough political times for President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the midst of the pounding, Katie Couric asked Howard Fineman, as if the media were bystanders and not instigators: "Are you surprised this story has had so much traction and it just refuses to go away?"
Couric began Monday morning's broadcast with gloom: "Good morning, deadly days in Iraq. Another U.S. soldier is dead in Baghdad following more violence over the weekend and more questions about what the White House knew about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." In the show's first newscast, Baghdad-based reporter Tom Aspell elaborated on the soldier's death and suggested: "It's a far cry from the welcome American soldiers expected after toppling Saddam Hussein. But many Iraqis now see them as occupiers rather than liberators."
In the first half-hour, Couric turned to Newsweek political writer Howard Fineman for analysis. Her first question: "Are you surprised this story has had so much traction and it just refuses to go away?" Not if NBC decides it won't.
Fineman explained that the Bush team's attempt to release some details of the intelligence estimates on Iraq's potential to develop nuclear weapons "poured gasoline on the fire because, I'm told by very good sources on the Hill, who are involved in intelligence, that if the full report is put out then there will be even more doubts about the justification for the war."
Couric did ask if "too much attention being paid to the 16-word sentence," but Couric and Fineman soon rushed to the gloomiest of scenarios. Couric relayed: "The Washington Post reports that, that national intelligence estimate also talks about the fact that intelligence services were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his government was collapsing after a military attack by the United States. So wouldn't it be the ultimate irony if the invasion of Iraq actually prompted a closer alliance between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda and in fact the decimation of weapons of mass destruction or dissemination rather?"
Fineman laid out the doomsday scenario: "It would not only be ironic it would be, it would be a political disaster for the President if it resulted in the death of Americans. And don't forget another part of the equation here, Katie. We have 140,000 American troops in Iraq. The American people want to know that they're there and that they're risking their lives because we in the homeland are being made safer as a result. If it turns out to be the reverse then George Bush will face the political consequences which are much bigger than the controversy inside the Beltway that we're all obsessed with right now."
In the 8am newscast, NBC went to reporter Patricia Sabga in London, where the suicide of former UN weapons inspector David Kelly is hurting the already-struggling government of Tony Blair: "The public sees Kelly as an innocent victim and the question of what may have driven him over the edge has plunged Blair into the worst political crisis of his career....For now Blair has ruled out resigning, but the public is demanding justice for the death of an honorable man."
Reuters reported an angle that Sabga did not: the Blair government was struggling, but so is the BBC since it disclosed that Kelly was its source for claiming the Blair team "sexed up" the pre-war report on Iraq's threat when Kelly had denied conveying any such assessment. Reuters relayed: "But the British Broadcasting Corporation, which has admitted that Kelly was 'the principal source' for its bombshell allegation, is in just as deep trouble. Politicians said the BBC's acknowledgement called its whole report into question because Kelly had said he did not provide the substance of the report -- that a claim that Saddam could launch banned weapons at just 45 minutes' notice had been overplayed by government officials."
CNN's Judy Woodruff showcased, on Monday's Inside Politics, a new Democratic National Committee ad attacking President Bush over his State of the Union claim about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, but she failed to point out how the DNC ad distorted Bush's words by dropping the first six words of his sentence, which attributed his assertion to how "the British government has learned," and only used the last ten words of the 16-word sentence.
The sentence in question in full: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Woodruff, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, read this item on the July 21 Inside Politics after clips of President Bush's comments from a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi:
Viewers then saw an ad clip with typewriting sounds as text scrolls onto screen: "In his State of the Union address George W. Bush told us of an imminent threat..."
Woodruff, as rest of ad aired muted in background visual: "The ad will see limited air time. It will run for about a week in the Madison, Wisconsin, market."
An oft-repeated conservative line about journalists is they think conservatives have "grown" or "evolved" when they become more liberal. CNN's Judy Woodruff on Monday gave reality to the apocryphal tale as she trumpeted how the politics of "one-time conservative activist" Arianna Huffington, now touted as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate in California, "have evolved toward the Left in the recent years."
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the characterization and Ken Shepherd took it down from the July 21 Inside Politics:
Using statistics compiled by the Media Research Center, the Washington Times on Monday editorialized that while the networks are "fixated" on the controversy over a single sentence in President Bush's State of the Union address, they are missing a much more significant story: the swelling anti-government protests in fundamentalist-controlled Iran. [Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Research, submitted this item for CyberAlert.]
The Times' editorial headlined, "Ignoring Iran's Abuses," pointed out that "while American news outlets fixate on the 16 words spoken by President Bush about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium...they have largely ignored a far more important story from that region of the world: the efforts of the people of Iran to overthrow an oppressive dictatorship, and the regime's brutal efforts to hang on to power, which now may include the murder of a Canadian journalist by Iranian security forces."
"With the demise of Saddam Hussein, Tehran is indisputably the world's leading supporter of international terrorism and a determined foe of U.S. efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. The regime has chemical and biological weapons, and could produce nuclear weapons in the next few years," the Times noted. "In June, during 10 nights of mass protests throughout the country, police arrested 4,000 people -- virtually all of whom remain behind bars." The Times recounted how a photo journalist with joint Canadian-Iranian citizenry, Zahra Kazemi, was arrested by Iranian police on June 23 for taking pictures near an Iranian jail, and died of a fractured skull while in prison.
"What's remarkable thus far is how little attention the democracy protests and the abysmal human rights situation in Iran have received from the three major networks: From the beginning of June through Thursday night, ABC, NBC and CBS evening news programs devoted less than nine minutes of air time to the human rights situation in Iran -- a mere 11 seconds a night."
Those figures were passed along to the Washington Times editorial page after they were compiled by Media Research Center interns Nicole Casey and Susan Vaughan, who used the MRC's News Tracking System to identify all of the appropriate stories, found the correct videotapes, and then timed each one. As if more proof was needed, they showed once again how the networks are skipping over a lot of important stories so they can pursue topics reflecting a liberal news agenda.
For the Washington Times editorial: www.washtimes.com
You read it here first. FNC's Fox Newswatch over the weekend cited CyberAlert indirectly as an example of the "new media" that gets out information that has been ignored by the mainstream media, and picked up on two subjects addressed recently in CyberAlerts: The tendency of the networks to portray prescription drug coverage advocates for lobbying groups as typical seniors suffering from high drug prices and how liberals, such as Julianne Malveaux and Nina Totenberg, were not punished for advocating the death of conservatives, but MSNBC fired Michael Savage for wishing AIDS and death upon a caller to his show.
MRC analyst Patrick Gregory took down the MRC-related portions of the July 19 show:
-- Jim Pinkerton, on coverage of the Iraqi evidence controversy: "But, the difference between this and Watergate and Iran-Contra is that now there is so much new media, whether it's Fox, or blogs, like Rich Galen's 'Mullings,' which are sending out completely different messages, especially Galen, or the MRC.org. Those groups are taking a much different take on this, especially on Bush overall. And it's a much different dynamic than it was fifteen or thirty years ago."
-- Host Eric Burns set up a segment: "The Cybercast News Service, a conservative group, is charging some network newscasts with deception. Now it says that this woman, Viola Quirion has been interviewed about the high cost of prescription drugs for seniors at least three times in the past four years by CBS News. On none of those occasions, the Cybercast News Service reports, was Quirion identified as an activist who has testified about prescription drug costs on Capitol Hill. And just last month, says the CNS, NBC News interviewed senior activist Pat Roussos on the same topic, again, without disclosing her vested interest in the subject."
For the CyberAlert excerpting the CNS.com story, which was prompted by an earlier CyberAlert article: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Burns, during the end of show viewer mail segment: "Ed from Vestal, New York says this: 'I think someone on the panel should have mentioned the consequences Julianne Malveaux suffered when she said she hoped Justice Clarence Thomas's wife 'feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early,' or Nina Totenberg when she said of Jesse Helms, 'if there's retributive justice, he'll get AIDS, or one of his grandchildren will get it.' What were those consequences anyway?"
Very good question.
For the CyberAlert recounting those two examples of unpunished liberal hate speech, plus a link to RealPlayer videos of both: www.mediaresearch.org
# Reminder: Dennis Miller is scheduled to appear Wednesday night on NBC's Tonight Show.
-- Brent Baker