2. Iraq War Vets Are Hostage-Taking Bank Robbers in Spike TV Movie
3. Townsend Grilled on 'So-Called War on Terror,' Bush's Osama 'Spa'
4. Newsweek Promotes Utah Leftist's Attack on Mitt Romney
The CBS Evening News led Wednesday night by framing the failed Senate vote, on setting a timetable to start withdrawing troops from Iraq within 120 days, as evidence of how out of step the Senators are with the American public, while just as Katie Couric did in February, CBS ignored how a piddling 8 percent favor the left-wing activist position of blocking all funding. Citing the measure which earned 52 votes, eight short of the necessary 60 to move the bill forward, Couric related that even after "a rare, all-night debate" Democrats "couldn't come up with the votes today to bring the latest troop withdrawal measure to the floor. And that is in spite of pressure from the voters themselves. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse." Reporter Sharyl Attkisson also saw the vote through the prism of public opinion, noting the result came "despite the latest CBS News poll showing 61 percent of Americans want the war funded with a timetable for withdrawal."
As Couric pointed out how "nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse," the on-screen graphic showed "No Impact or Worse" at 73 percent. But "not working" was not an option in the survey and only 22 percent said the surge is making the situation "worse." The majority, 51 percent, answered "no impact."
In reciting how 61 percent want the troops funded with a timetable, Attkisson skipped over how a mere 8 percent wish all funding blocked, a share unchanged from a February CBS News poll which determined that Americans were almost exactly evenly split on whether Congress should "pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq" with 44 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. But, as recounted in the February 13 CyberAlert:
In highlighting how the Senate "will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush's Iraq troop build-up," CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric ignored that finding of an evenly-divided nation. Instead, she focused on how "a total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely."
In offering up that number, which combined two answers, she obscured the poll question's real news: A piddling 8 percent wish to "block all funding" for the war in Iraq. As an on-screen graphic showed, to get to 53 percent Couric and CBS producers combined the 8 percent with the 45 percent who want to "block funding for more troops" -- a percent only slightly higher than, and within the three-point margin of error, the 42 percent who want to "allow all funding." CBS's graphic did not include the 42 percent result.
For the February 13 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this partial transcript from the July 18 CBS Evening News:
Couric led: "Hello, everyone. Senate Democrats failed today in their latest attempt to bring American troops home from Iraq. After a rare, all-night debate, they couldn't come up with the votes today to bring the latest troop withdrawal measure to the floor. And that is in spite of pressure from the voters themselves. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse. And nearly two out of three want the President to bring some or all U.S. forces home. Sharyl Attkisson is on Capitol Hill tonight. And, Sharyl, we haven't seen a Senate session like this one in quite a while, have we?"
In the subsequent story, Attkisson observed: "But when the sun rose, the moment served only to define the entire Congress as powerless to keep the Democrats' campaign promise to force an end to the war. That's despite the latest CBS News poll showing 61 percent of Americans want the war funded with a timetable for withdrawal."
Those who oppose the Iraq war are always adamant that they support the troops, but how do you characterize people who think it's good television programming to portray Iraq war veterans as violent criminals? This Sunday at 9pm EDT/PDT, the Spike TV cable channel, part of the CBS/Viacom empire, starts The Kill Point, a four-part, eight-hour mini-series "event" revolving around a group of Iraq war veterans who rob a bank and take hostages. John Leguizamo, "Dr. Victor Clemente" on NBC's ER, stars as the leader of the heavily-armed robbers and the Spike Web site for the show describes his character as a man who is "fighting his own personal demons from the Iraq war." Spike TV, best known for incessant re-runs of CSI, will air The Kill Point in two-hour blocks over four successive Sundays, starting this Sunday, July 22.
IMDb bio page for Leguizamo: www.imdb.com
[This item was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
From Spike TV's page on their mini-series:
Emmy Award-winning actor and Golden Globe nominee John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg star in Spike TV's new original scripted series, THE KILL POINT, an eight-hour event focusing on two men as they square off during a bank heist gone horribly wrong and the hostage negotiations that ensue. THE KILL POINT premieres on Spike TV with a two-hour event beginning Sunday, July 22 at 9:00-PM ET/PT.
John Leguizamo is "Mr. Wolf," the leader of a small group of military veterans who set out to rob a major bank in Pittsburgh. When things go awry, they're forced to take more than a dozen hostages from all walks of life, including a wealthy and powerful businessman's daughter. Suddenly, "Mr. Wolf" finds himself battling the police, the hostages and members of his own team while at the same time, fighting his own personal demons from the Iraq war and from his own war at home. Will he be sharp enough to hold it all together or lose control of the situation? And will he find redemption before it's too late -- and does he even care to?
On the opposite side of the perimeter is "Horst Cali," the Pittsburgh Police Department Hostage Negotiator, played by Donnie Wahlberg, who must go toe-to-toe with "Mr. Wolf." "Cali" must use his wit and negotiating skills, while managing his own personal issues, to manipulate the situation and convince Wolf to free the hostages before the FBI takes control, or worse.
With time of the essence and the uncertainty of the unfolding events, both men need to remain resourceful and collected or risk losing lives. THE KILL POINT reveals how the hostage takers leverage their situation and how the negotiator tries to unravel their plans. Which man will blink? Who will outsmart the other? Who will survive? It's a dangerous game of chess played out with human lives at stake.
That's online at: www.spiketv.com
White House homeland security advisor Fran Townsend made the rounds of the TV morning shows on Wednesday -- except for NBC, which was too busy chronicling the Senate Democrat stunt on Iraq. ABC's Diane Sawyer pounded Townsend with criticism from former Clinton adviser Dick Clarke and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Bush created a "spa" for Osama bin Laden. CNN's Kiran Chetry homed in on how critics say Iraq was a diversion from the war on al-Qaeda. On the Early Show on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm pulled a Dan Rather '€" as in the man who liked to use the words "the group calling itself the Christian Coalition" -- and referred to the "so-called War on Terror."
Storm's first question: "So we're almost six years after 9/11. Billions of dollars spent on the so-called War on Terror. Thousands of Americans lives lost. And yet we hear this report that we're no safer now than we were then. Why not?" Townsend said, "That's not what the report says," that they are regenerating, but are not at pre-9/11 strength.
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was throwing hardballs: "There have been some really blistering editorials this morning and statements from people about the report, saying that it is grim, that it shows the administration has a failed strategy, that al Qaeda has not only strengthened and reconstituted, but this is Richard Clarke, the former terrorism czar who said, quote, 'al Qaeda has been recovering and it's on President Bush's watch.'"
That is a bit sleazy, but typical, from Clarke, who Bush retained from the Clinton administration, talking up how bad things are on "Bush's watch." If Clarke had been a George H.W. Bush aide who was retained by Clinton and then attacked Clinton's terror-fighting record, you can bet Diane Sawyer would not be quoting him.
Townsend said Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf is committed to rooting out extremism in his country and wants no safe haven for terror there. Sawyer rebutted with the odd sound of a war-mongering Maureen Dowd: "But on a matter of this importance and one columnist this morning said, in effect, that he has given a spa to Osama bin Laden and also Ayman al-Zawahiri to refresh themselves and get back in shape. And she goes on to say that it's time for the U.S. to go in and do something, that going in for pinpoint exercise is not enough, it's time for the U.S. to go in."
On CNN's American Morning, co-host Kiran Chetry pleased Democrats by keeping the Iraq "diversion" line the main focus of her Townsend interview:
CHETRY: So has the war in Iraq diverted resources, like the American troops needed, to be able to contain and fight al Qaeda in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan?
The "BeliefWatch" column in the front section of Newsweek magazine is often better described as a "Non-BeliefWatch," offering the latest supportive coverage of atheists, humanists, Unitarians, free-thinking leftist dissidents, and "blasphemy challengers." In this week's "BeliefWatch," Newsweek's Lisa Miller highlighted leftist Rocky Anderson, the Mayor of Salt Lake City, running down Utah as deluded and denouncing Mitt Romney as a sellout to right-wing handlers.
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Miller wrote in the July 23 Newsweek:
"There is a culture of obedience in this country, but it's probably no more evident than in most parts of Utah," Anderson told NEWSWEEK in an interview. "That's why we've seen the highest approval ratings here for this entirely corrupt, disastrous presidency." As for Romney, his "opposition to abortion and stem-cell research is a very different Mitt Romney than the one who ran for governor of Massachusetts. I felt that Mitt Romney was a man who could really bring people together in a nonpartisan fashion, who would always stand up for the highest ideals and not worry about the polls ... I can only think this is a man who's caving to what his handlers want him to say."
For the BeliefWatch piece: www.msnbc.msn.com
Miller also highlighted how Mormon voters are more diverse, many of them blue-staters like that "nonpartisan" Romney circa 2002. She declared they're "almost universally socially conservative," but can be convinced to back liberal Democrats on other issues "like health care." She concluded with Jeff Fox, a researcher at BYU, a researcher of Mormon voting patterns, as they highlighted the progressive Mormon minority: "Most Mormons, he says, have supported the War on Terror, but 'I for one opposed it completely.' Rocky Anderson may not be an LDS poster boy, but in some small circles, Mitt Romney isn't either."
-- Brent Baker