2. CBS Ignores David Kay's Optimism About Finding WMD Evidence
3. Lauer Picks Up
NY Times' Anti-Bush Polemic, Buries Pro-Bush Poll
4. ABC Runs Two Stories Misconstruing the Gay Marriage Debate
5. ABC's Cochran Trumpets Hillary's Victory Over Conservatives
6. CEO of DC's PBS Station Mad About Day Laborers Next to Studio
7. CBS Ideologically Tags GOP Candidates in CA, But Not Democrats
8. "Top Ten Reasons Schwarzenegger is Not Running for Governor"
CBS News has found al-Qaeda fighting for Saddam Hussein inside Iraq. A day after CBS's John Roberts discredited any pre-war ties between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda, highlighting how disgruntled former national security staffer Rand Beers claimed "that connection was way overblown" as Roberts warned that "the President's critics say that his claims of an Iraq/al-Qaeda alliance may be the next shoe to drop in the intelligence controversy," on Thursday's CBS Evening News reporter Byron Pitts in Iraq relayed how "military commanders now believe al-Qaeda terrorist cells are most likely working in Iraq, part of the resistance still loyal to Saddam Hussein."
Roberts, in his July 30 CBS Evening News story on President Bush's news conference: "President Bush insisted again today that while it may take time, the truth about Iraq's weapons and its alleged ties to al-Qaeda will come out. But according to [Rand] Beers, who saw much of the intelligence on al-Qaeda, that connection was way overblown."
Fast forward a day to Thursday night, July 31, and Byron Pitts in Iraq reported on a U.S. soldier killed when an armored personnel carrier hit land mine. He then added: "Military commanders now believe al-Qaeda terrorist cells are most likely working in Iraq, part of the resistance still loyal to Saddam Hussein. The army thought they were getting close to capturing the former Iraqi leader, but no longer."
The CBS Evening News on Thursday night, anchored by Jane Clayson, ignored arms inspector David Kay's optimistic report to Congress that Iraqis are cooperating and his team will uncover evidence of weapons of mass destruction. NBC and ABC made time for short items relaying his comments to reporters after he conducted closed-door briefings for two Senate committees.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced: "On Capitol Hill, some positive news from David Kay who is leading the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Over on ABC's Word News Tonight, anchor Bob Woodruff didn't run a soundbite and passed along doubts from Democrats, but at least did convey the thrust of Kay's assessment:
Matt Lauer goes for the most negative assessment of Bush. In his Thursday news story about President Bush's Wednesday press conference, New York Times reporter Richard Stevenson described Bush as "unruffled and well prepared for the occasionally sharp questions," but on Thursday's Today Matt Lauer skipped that evaluation and picked up on a negative one, loaded with liberal polemics, from the paper's editorial page.
Lauer asked Tim Russert on the July 31 Today, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens observed: "There's a kind of scathing editorial in the New York Times this morning, which perhaps isn't all that surprising, talking about the fact that the President has these press conferences so rarely and it goes on to say, 'If he decided to make a rare exception yesterday Mr. Bush should've been able to come up with better responses to two big and obvious questions: why he ordered the invasion of Iraq and why he pushed for tax cuts that have left the nation sinking into a hopeless quagmire of debt?' How do you think he handled those subjects?"
Today led its segment with Bush's approval rating decline and problems on the economy, only squeezing in at the end (Lauer: "Ten seconds left, good news for the President in terms of his war on terrorism?") how the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 69 percent supported Bush's war on Iraq while 66 percent agree with his leadership against terrorism.
Lauer introduced the segment: "A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the President's approval ratings have fallen 15 points in the past three months."
After first quoting the editorial, as cited above, Lauer moved on to the declining approval rating, down from an unsustainable wartime high: "Let's talk about approval ratings, okay? The, the numbers have come in and these compare to his numbers before the war in Iraq. What did we find out?"
Lauer prompted Russert: "You, you've said it here a number of times Tim, a net job loss for a sitting President going into an election is a huge hurdle."
In the first of back-to-back stories tied to the Vatican's statement condemning gay marriage and saying Catholic politicians are "obligated" to oppose it, ABC's World News Tonight on Thursday ran a soundbite from a Catholic state senator proclaiming how the Constitution mandates "that we will keep our principles about what's good for our country and our constituencies separate from our individual religious principles." But reporter Bill Blakemore failed to note how the woman is just not any old Catholic politician with no self-interest in the matter; she's a lesbian.
In a second story on the quest of gay couple to get married, ABC's John McKenzie portrayed "conservatives" as the ones who disagree, as if they are particularly intolerant. But a CBS News poll this week found more Democrats oppose gay marriage than support it. The real disparity, 73 to 18 percent against, comes with those 65 and older.
Blakemore began his July 31 World News Tonight story by reporting on the Vatican's statement that gay marriage would mean approval of "deviant behavior" and how (ellipses and words in brackets how text he read was displayed on screen), "it declares unambiguously that 'Catholic politicians are obligated...to vote against' [new gay marriage laws and oppose existing ones.] In the nation's capital today, many Catholic Members of Congress turned down requests for a comment. They have often voted against Vatican positions before. Cheryl Jacques is a state senator from Massachusetts."
Blakemore highlighted a Pew poll that found 45 percent of Catholics support gay marriage compared to 37 percent of the overall population.
Jacques is certainly entitled to her opinion, but Blakemore was obligated to inform viewers that she is not just a typical Catholic politician, but as a lesbian, one with a conflict of interest in evaluating the Vatican's decree.
Bay Staters know that Jacques, who represents Needham, the town where ABC's Boston affiliate, WCVB-TV, is located, is a quite open lesbian. Two citations from Boston Globe stories:
-- August 25, 2002 article by reporter Rhonda Stewart: "While Camenker said the programs show how out of step the state is with the rest of the country, Senator Cheryl Jacques, who is openly gay, strongly disagrees."
-- November 4, 2001 story by reporter Christopher Rowland: "Representative Scott Brown wandered into a political thicket last week when he disparaged Democratic state Senator Cheryl Jacques and her domestic partner, Jennifer Chrisler, for deciding to have children. Now, armed with a new vocabulary for talking about gay and lesbian parenthood, the Wrentham Republican is looking for a way out."
In a second World News Tonight piece, John McKenzie looked at the plight of gay couples who are unable to marry, focusing on two men who are raising twin babies. McKenzie explained: "Andy Berg and Dominic Pisciotta have been together for five and a half years and are raising twins."
Conservatives don't agree with gay marriage, but neither do a lot of non-conservatives since an overall majority oppose it. A more accurate evaluation split is age, a CBS News/New York Times poll released earlier this week determined.
Question: "Would you favor or oppose a law that would allow homosexual couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as other married couples?" The favor versus oppose percents by category:
The Polling Report has posted that survey result at: www.pollingreport.com
Hillary the Great. Without any peg to a news event, on Thursday night ABC News championed the success of Senator Hillary Clinton in beating her conservative critics. World News Tonight anchor Woodruff cited her book and celebrated how she's sold "more than a million copies in the U.S. alone." He trumpeted: "There's no disputing her ambition, only how far it will take her."
John Cochran then outlined how "conservatives, who have long opposed her, trashed her book as phony and self-serving. Now some conservative worry that attempts to demonize her have backfired." Cochran soon celebrated how "she has not only signed 20,000 copies of her book, she has also put her name on more legislation than any other Senator in this Congress," as if having staffers sign-off on having her name added to co-sponsor lists on bills circulated by staffers for other Senators takes any effort. The time and effort is in deciding which bills you wish to co-sponsor, not just agreeing to support anything in certain categories.
Clinton has certainly sponsored some left-wing bills which wouldn't appear very mainstream, but Cochran skipped over anything controversial as he asserted she is "sponsoring or co-sponsoring 396 bills, ranging from resolutions on Girl Scouts Week to funds for rebuilding Iraq and:"
Woodruff set up the July 31 tribute to Hillary Clinton's greatness and wiseness, in the guise of a news story: "Hillary Clinton has had no shortage of fans or detractors since she became First Lady more than ten years ago. The best-selling status of Living History, selling more than a million copies in the U.S. alone, has brought her even more attention. There's no disputing her ambition, only how far it will take her. Here's ABC's John Cochran."
When she runs, she'll certainly have the Washington press corps rooting for her.
And not to quibble too much since her book certainly is a best-seller and will probably top one million in sales at some point, but it hasn't so far. It's amazing how many media outlets, ABC being just the latest, happily relay with doubt the claims of a book publisher's PR people.
As the Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com ) reported on Wednesday, through last week, Neilsen's "Bookscan," the most accurate compilation of book sales figures, pegged Living History as selling 31,267 copies over the previous seven days, 908,622 so far in total.
PBS cares about the riff-raff and plight of undocumented aliens and condemning mean-spirited conservatives for not caring about them -- think of many prime time PBS specials on those being "left behind" and lectures from Bill Moyers -- but not when they actually have to see them next door.
Earlier this week, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, CEO of WETA, the Washington, DC PBS station really located in Arlington County, Virginia, lashed out at the county board for voting to build a pavilion, to house day laborers waiting for work, next door to WETA's studios where the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week are taped.
"WETA balks at having day-labor shelter next door," declared the headline over the July 31 story in the Northern Virginia Journal about WETA's reaction to the Tuesday night vote by the all-Democratic county Board of Supervisors.
An excerpt from the story by Scott McCaffrey:
The Arlington County Board's decision to build a $100,000 pavilion to house day laborers waiting for work may have severely ruptured relations with one of the county's most prominent employers.
After more than three hours of public comment and debate, County Board members voted 4-1 to spend up to $140,000 to create the new facility, which would be located not far from Interstate 395 at the intersection of 27th Street South and South Shirlington Road.
The new facility is designed to give day laborers, mostly Hispanic immigrants, a place to congregate and meet employers each day. It is located across Four Mile Run Drive from the current, informal day-laborer site on the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park trail head.
The new day-laborer site will be located adjacent to the WETA broadcast facility, one of several buildings it uses in Shirlington.
WETA's Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, who made an almost unprecedented appearance at the board meeting, was stinging in her rebuke to board members.
"You've been wonderful to work with -- until recently," Rockefeller said.
She predicted a "pretty hostile environment" for WETA employees who could be accosted by day laborers while walking from one building to another. Putting the day-laborer building in the planned location will also inconvenience high-profile guests who arrive to be interviewed on the "NewsHour," public broadcasting's signature news program that is produced from WETA's studios in Shirlington, Rockefeller said.
"This is not going to be a good solution," Rockefeller said. "It would absolutely complicate our lives."...
On average, about 30 workers congregate most mornings at the current pickup site, county officials said. About two-thirds of them find employment and are gone by noon.
The new facility, located adjacent to Arlington's Jennie Dean Park, will be open to employers from 6 a.m. to noon daily. Although pickup facilities will be closed at noon, day laborers who did not find work will be allowed to stay in the vicinity throughout the day.
County officials promised a vigorous police presence, something they acknowledge does not always occur at the current day-laborer site. Police will not, however, take on the role of immigration officers; county officials concede that many of those who are looking for work are in the United States illegally....
END of Excerpt
You need to subscribe to the Monday through Friday newspaper to access its stories, as I do, but you can view the leads of the day's stories on the Northern Virginia Journal's home page: www.jrnl.com
Remember this the next time you see anything on PBS decrying how conservative policies don't respect illegal aliens and the poor.
CBS reporter Sandra Hughes insisted upon applying an ideological tag to every potential Republican gubernatorial candidate she mentioned in a story on California's upcoming recall vote on Governor Gray Davis, but she refused to label either Democrat she cited, Davis or Dianne Feinstein.
MRC analyst Brian Boyd picked up on how she described Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Riordan as "moderate Republicans" before referring to Bill Simon as being "on the conservative Republican side" along with "conservative Congressman Darrell Issa." Bur for the two Democrats, it was simply "Democratic Governor Gray Davis" and "Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein."
Hughes reported on the July 31 Early Show on Thursday: "CBS News has learned that movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger is leaning against running for Governor because of family concerns, but by no means is that definite. Undecided too, so far, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. Schwarzenegger was campaign co-chairman when Riordan ran for Governor last year."
After a soundbite from Schwarzenegger, Hughes began to apply labels: "Both are moderate Republicans thought to have the best shot at attracting Democrats who've had it with Democratic Governor Gray Davis, if, that is, the state's most popular politician doesn't jump in. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is now being pressured by some in her party to put her name on the October ballot as a back-up in case Davis loses."
Following a clip of Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Hughes found two more Republicans to tag: "On the conservative Republican side, Bill Simon, who lost to Gray Davis last year, paid the filing fee but isn't ready to announce yet, either."
Hughes played a Simon soundbite before tagging one of his challengers: "The only announced candidate, conservative Congressman Darrell Issa, is facing questions following a Los Angeles Times report of discrepancies and exaggerations in his biography. As for Governor Gray Davis, he may not know the field of candidates he's facing until the filing deadline, August 9th."
But CBS will make sure we all know the non-ideological Davis is facing a bunch of conservatives.
From the July 31 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger is Not Running for Governor of California." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. Name wouldn't fit on campaign button
9. Robot from future killed his campaign manager
8. After you're "Mr. Universe," "Governor of California" seems kinda lame
7. Week-long budget talks would leave no time to work on his pecs
6. Can't spell governor
5. Has decided to run for Hulk instead
4. Rumor that they test gubernatorial candidates for steroids
3. Decided he only wants jobs where it's appropriate to be "oiled up"
2. Realized his questionable background and dumb-guy reputation would better qualify him to be president
1. Didn't want to take a $29 million dollar pay cut
#1 is a pretty good reason. Schwarzenegger will announce his intentions on Wednesday's Tonight Show on NBC next week.
Tonight on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher at 11pm EDT on HBO East/11pm PDT on HBO West: Alec Baldwin.
-- Brent Baker