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CBS Gratuitously Portrays Bush as Driven by "Far-Right Ideology" --10/19/2004


1. CBS Gratuitously Portrays Bush as Driven by "Far-Right Ideology"
Without correcting John Kerry's distortion of a quote attributed to President Bush about how he'll "privatize" Social Security, on Monday's CBS Evening News, reporter Jim Axelrod ideologically augmented Kerry's strategy by saying it "is to raise the specter of a second Bush term driven by far-right ideology in which regular folks lose," a label Kerry did not employ. But in the previous story by John Roberts on Bush's day of campaigning, Roberts did not describe Bush's attacks on Kerry as painting the Democrat as a "far-left threat to national security" and, instead, backed up the charge from John Edwards that "Bush is playing on people's deepest fears, he's exploiting a national tragedy for personal gain and it's the lowest kind of politics." Roberts provided corroboration: "The President did today call it the first election since 9/11 and no question, the attacks on America play to his strengths."

2. NBC Focuses Stories on Charges Republicans Suppressing Vote
To NBC News, it's only Republicans who are suppressing votes. Looking Monday night at early voting in Florida, reporter Kerry Sanders featured two complaints from local Democrats, but not one comment from a Republican as he honed in on how computer problems in Tampa "sent some irritated voters home, some still angry after the 2000 election, and now suspicious of politics at play." NBC then featured a man who lashed out at how "we have an appointed supervisor of elections in this county, appointed by a Republican Governor who happens to be the President's brother" and "once again, we're at the polling places struggling to cast our votes." Later, Sanders aired a soundbite from Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler. Last week, the NBC Nightly News focused a story on, as introduced by Tom Brokaw, how "black and Hispanic voters in Florida and other states are complaining that there are efforts under way to suppress minority turnout on Election Day."

3. Newsweek's Thomas Reaffirms Media "Absolutely" Want Kerry to Win
Newsweek's Evan Thomas, who in July acknowledged that the media "want Kerry to win" and "that's going to be worth maybe 15 points" for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, on Sunday reaffirmed his belief that most reporters "absolutely" want Kerry to win, but on CNN's Reliable Sources he argued that his 15 point estimation was a "stupid thing to say." When host Howard Kurtz wondered if it is worth five points, Thomas acceded, "maybe."

4. Networks, Especially CBS, Barely Touch UN 'Food for Oil' Scandal
Monday's Los Angeles Times carried a front-page story putting a name and a face to the Americans involved in the United Nations "Oil for Food" program scandal: Texas oil tycoon Oscar Wyatt, who has given most of his political donations to Democrats. Despite nine ongoing investigations into UN corruption, how many full stories have tackled the topic this year on ABC, CBS, and NBC? Four. Three on NBC, one on ABC, and zero on CBS. The debate moderators ignored it, too.

5. Koch Scolds Media for Going Soft on Kerry, Raises Halperin Memo
Daily Show host Jon Stewart has made clear his preference for John Kerry, but Monday night on Comedy Central, Bush supporter Ed Koch used Stewart's program to scold the press for how it "doesn't ask" Kerry why he voted against the 1991 Gulf War when it had a large international coalition. Stewart, who believes the media are too soft on Bush, mockingly retorted: "And the press really hammers on Bush, too, so, I mean, it's surprising." Koch proceeded to raise the Mark Halperin memo as he castigated ABC News for instructing "its reporters, 'Go after this candidate, not that candidate,' I think they ought to look at its license." To audience applause, Stewart brought up a liberal cause celebre, firing back at Koch: "Oh, so Sinclair, you'd like to see their licenses removed?"


CBS Gratuitously Portrays Bush as Driven
by "Far-Right Ideology"

CBS's Jim Axelrod Without correcting John Kerry's distortion of a quote attributed to President Bush about how he'll "privatize" Social Security, on Monday's CBS Evening News, reporter Jim Axelrod ideologically augmented Kerry's strategy by saying it "is to raise the specter of a second Bush term driven by far-right ideology in which regular folks lose," a label Kerry did not employ. But in the previous story by John Roberts on Bush's day of campaigning, Roberts did not describe Bush's attacks on Kerry as painting the Democrat as a "far-left threat to national security" and, instead, backed up the charge from John Edwards that "Bush is playing on people's deepest fears, he's exploiting a national tragedy for personal gain and it's the lowest kind of politics." Roberts provided corroboration: "The President did today call it the first election since 9/11 and no question, the attacks on America play to his strengths."

Up first on the October 18 CBS Evening News, Roberts on Bush: "President Bush made his first campaign appearance of the year in the Democratic Garden State today, hoping to be the first Republican to take New Jersey since his father won it in 1988."
Bush at New Jersey campaign rally: "We're gonna win the state of New Jersey."
Roberts: "While polls show an uphill battle, the President is banking that his get-tough-on-terror message will play well in a state that lost almost 700 people in the World Trade Center attacks."
Bush: "Will we stay on the offensive against those who want to attack us?"
Crowd: "Yes!
Bush: "Or will we take action only after we're attacked?"
Crowd: "No!"
Roberts: "The Kerry campaign scoffed at the Presidents' venture into what has been solidly Democratic territory."
John Edwards at campaign rally: "George Bush is playing on people's deepest fears, he's exploiting a national tragedy for personal gain and it's the lowest kind of politics."
Roberts: "The President did today call it the first election since 9/11 and no question, the attacks on America play to his strengths. Our new CBS News/New York Times poll found most voters are deciding who to vote for based on national security [46 percent national security, 37 percent economic issues, 15 percent both] and most of those people support President Bush [of those who say national security most important, 63 percent for Bush to 29 percent for Kerry]. The President is attempting to extend that edge with a new ad campaign."
Bush/Cheney TV ad: "They opposed Reagan as he won the Cold War. Voted against the first Gulf War. John Kerry and his liberal allies, are they a risk we can afford to take today?"

Roberts moved on to note how the poll found the public losing confidence in the ability of both candidates to prevent a terrorist attack.

Up next, Jim Axelrod on the Kerry campaign: "Fifteen days out, it's usually time for closing arguments. But John Kerry's not quite done presenting evidence."
Kerry at a Florida rally: "Despite the President's arrogant boasting that he's done everything right in Iraq and that he's made no mistakes, the truth is beginning to come out."
Axelrod: "Kerry jumped on a Washington Post story detailing a letter the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, wrote last year complaining of a critical supply shortage, quoting [text, credited to Washington Post, on screen]: 'I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low.'"
Kerry: "The day after General Sanchez wrote that letter, you know what George Bush went out and told the American people? He said our troops were properly equipped."
Axelrod: "Working a retirement village in Florida, Kerry also hit Mr. Bush on Social Security, again quoting what the President supposedly said in a closed door meeting."
Kerry: "He's quoted as saying, 'next term, when I get back in, I'm going to move quickly to privatize Social Security.'"
Axelrod: "Kerry's strategy for the next two weeks:"
Kerry TV ad: "George Bush threatens Social Security."
Axelrod gratuitously added an extreme ideological label: "Is to raise the specter of a second Bush term driven by far-right ideology in which regular folks lose."
Kerry TV ad, text on screen next to picture of Bush, "Cut Social Security by 30 to 45 percent," audio: "The real Bush agenda? Cutting Social Security."
Axelrod: "President Bush returned fire this afternoon, telling a reporter, the Kerry campaign is guilty of quote, 'shameless scare tactics.'"

Axelrod wrapped up with a little bit on voting problems in Florida.

As for Bush wanting to "privatize" Social Security, as ABC's Dean Reynolds pointed out on World News Tonight, "the newspaper story quoted unidentified sources. And the President dismissed Kerry's comments as 'scare tactics.' This is what Bush has said publicly about Social Security."
Bush at third debate: "I believe that younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it into a personal savings account."

Indeed, the "privatize" quote came from an article, in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, by Bush-bashing reporter Ron Suskind, author of the Paul O'Neill book which ridiculed Bush. Suskind relayed what an unidentified person supposedly heard Bush say at a fundraiser:
"But as the hour passed, Bush kept coming back to the thing most on his mind: his second term. 'I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in,' Bush said, 'with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security.' The victories he expects in November, he said, will give us 'two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck.'"

For the New York Times Magazine article: www.nytimes.com

NBC Focuses Stories on Charges Republicans
Suppressing Vote

To NBC News, it's only Republicans who are suppressing votes. Looking Monday night at early voting in Florida, reporter Kerry Sanders declared that "it was not a good start today." His story featured two complaints from local Democrats, but not one comment from a Republican as he honed in on how computer problems in Tampa "sent some irritated voters home, some still angry after the 2000 election, and now suspicious of politics at play." NBC then featured a man who lashed out at how "we have an appointed supervisor of elections in this county, appointed by a Republican Governor who happens to be the President's brother" and "once again, we're at the polling places struggling to cast our votes." Later, Sanders aired a soundbite from Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler.

Last week, the NBC Nightly News focused a story on, as introduced by Tom Brokaw, how "black and Hispanic voters in Florida and other states are complaining that there are efforts under way to suppress minority turnout on Election Day." Chip Reid relayed how talk radio callers in Detroit were "angry about reports that Republicans have a plan to intimidate black voters." Reid insisted that "allegations of minority vote suppression and intimidation are not new, but what is new this year is the intensity of those charges and how frequently they're arising." Though he noted how "Republicans say voter suppression is a myth made up by Democrats to fire up minority voters," without citing any evidence of any actual misdeeds, he gave credibility to the charges by reciting a litany of allegations.

So far nothing on the NBC Nightly News about Democratic registration efforts which have registered more voters than live in some counties or how paying registration drive workers extra for each person who actually casts a vote only encourages vote fraud.

From Miami, Kerry Sanders checked in on the October 18 NBC Nightly News: "There are still lines this first day of early voting in Florida. A huge turnout by Republicans and Democrats caught election officials off guard. And then there were problems checking voters' registrations. It was not a good start today."
Unidentified election official to crowd: "I am so sorry. I really am."
Sanders: "Florida's polls opened early, and the voting stopped almost immediately."
Roberta Berger, Florida voter: "Here I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm an American. I want to vote. And look what's going on. They're making it hard for me to vote."
Sanders: "In South Florida's Broward County, more than half of the early voting precincts shut down when there were computer problems."
Gisela Salas, Broward County Deputy Supervisor of Elections: "It is a wrinkle in the system. Hopefully, we'll get it worked out."
Sanders: "In Tampa today, similar computer problems, plus a shortage of touch screen machines, sent some irritated voters home, some still angry after the 2000 election, and now suspicious of politics at play."
Mike Ferlita, Florida voter: "I just can't understand why we have a, you know, we have an appointed supervisor of elections in this county, appointed by a Republican Governor who happens to be the President's brother. And once again, once again, we're at the polling places struggling to cast our votes."
Sanders: "In Jacksonville, officials opened only one polling location, in this a huge city, 758 square miles. Critics charge only one polling place disenfranchises voters who live far away. And to make matters worse there, today the supervisor of elections resigned, citing health problems."
Unidentified man: "It's a terrible start."
Sanders: "It wasn't supposed to be like this. Sweeping changes made since 2000 were designed to improve Florida's old punch card system, but new touch screen machines have no paper printouts, prompting a lawsuit supported by Democrats that was in federal court today."
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL): "There's no certainty in the machines. There's no certainty in the results. And each and every Floridian under Florida law is required to a manual recount. And these machines can't provide them so that we have a backup system."
Sanders: "And for those who vote early, a reminder."
Professor Aubrey Jewett, University of Central Florida: "They really could miss out on something crucial or dramatic. For instance, in Iraq, maybe there'll be a big counterterrorism effort or something happens in Afghanistan or perhaps the stock market crashes or booms."
Sanders concluded: "Tonight those in line are waiting about 30 minutes before they can cast their vote. Elections officials say they now believe they have traced the problem to an Internet connection, a problem that they say they've resolved and that should not be repeated."

Last Wednesday, the day of the third presidential debate, Tom Brokaw set up an October 13 NBC Nightly News story caught by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Black and Hispanic voters in Florida and other states are complaining that there are efforts under way to suppress minority turnout on Election Day. Do their worries have merit? 'Making Your Vote Count' tonight. Here's NBC's Chip Reid."

Reid began: "On 'Inside Detroit,' callers are already worried, angry about reports that Republicans have a plan to intimidate black voters, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Reverend Wendell Anthony is Detroit NAACP President. And there's no doubt in your mind that voter suppression is real?"
Rev. Wendell Anthony, Detroit NAACP President: "It's very real. It's as real as you and I standing here on this sidewalk."
Reid: "He says suppression includes tougher enforcement of voting standards in black areas, even subtle threats -- usually hard to prove, but now he says there's a smoking gun. Republican State Legislator John Pappageorge, who this summer said, 'If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election.' So you're confident that John Pappageorge revealed a Republican strategy of suppressing the black vote in Detroit?"
Anthony: "He could not have done a better job unless he had come to the city clerk's office and burned a cross on the steps."
Reid: "Allegations of minority vote suppression and intimidation are not new, but what is new this year is the intensity of those charges and how frequently they're arising -- not just here in Detroit, but across the nation. In South Dakota, Democrats have accused Republicans of suppressing the vote of Native Americans. In New Mexico, it's Hispanics, another Democratic stronghold. In Florida last week, black leaders at a Jacksonville election office demanded an early voting site in black neighborhoods. But Republicans say voter suppression is a myth made up by Democrats to fire up minority voters."
Benjamin Ginsberg, election attorney: "The Democrats are putting out those stories without a whole lot of backup to them or validity because they're needed as a get-out-the-vote mechanism."
Reid: "Remember John Pappageorge? He says his comment about suppressing the vote was distorted by Democrats. He claims he was talking about a local issue that had nothing to do with race."
State Rep. John Pappageorge (R-MI): "I was talking about changing voter preferences in Detroit because of the issue that was on the ballot in Detroit only dealing with medical marijuana."
Reid: "Republicans say that's exactly how voter suppression myths are created while Democrats say such explanations simply don't make sense, yet another example of this nation's deep political divide. Chip Reid, NBC News, Detroit."

A divide in which NBC Nightly News has given credibility to the derisive allegations of one side.

Newsweek's Thomas Reaffirms Media "Absolutely" Want Kerry to Win

Newsweek's Evan Thomas Newsweek's Evan Thomas, who in July acknowledged that the media "want Kerry to win" and "that's going to be worth maybe 15 points" for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, on Sunday reaffirmed his belief that most reporters "absolutely" want Kerry to win, but on CNN's Reliable Sources he argued that his 15 point estimation was a "stupid thing to say." When host Howard Kurtz wondered if it is worth five points, Thomas acceded, "maybe."

The July 12 CyberAlert reported: Recognition of the obvious. The media "wants Kerry to win" and so "they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic" and "there's going to be this glow about" them, Evan Thomas, the Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, admitted on Inside Washington over the weekend. He should know. His magazine this week sports a smiling Kerry and Edwards on its cover with the yearning headline, "The Sunshine Boys?" Inside, an article carrying Thomas' byline contrasted how "Dick Cheney projects the bleakness of a Wyoming winter, while John Edwards always appears to be strolling in the Carolina sunshine." The cover story touted how Kerry and Edwards "became a buddy-buddy act, hugging and whispering like Starsky and Hutch after consuming the evidence."

The full Thomas quote on the July 10 Inside Washington, a weekend discussion show taped at and run by the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate in Washington, DC, WUSA-TV, and carried by many PBS stations across the country:
"There's one other base here: the media. Let's talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards -- I'm talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but -- they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there's going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that's going to be worth maybe 15 points."

For a RealPlayer video clip of Thomas making his comment: www.mediaresearch.org

Fast forward to the October 17 Reliable Sources on CNN where Thomas appeared, in the program produced live at 11:30am EDT Sunday from CNN's top floor set with the Capitol dome in background, with Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank and conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.

Host Howard Kurtz asked Thomas: "Well, it is a tight race. But do you believe that most reporters want John Kerry to win?"
Evan Thomas: "Yeah. Absolutely."
Kurtz: "Do you think they're deliberately tilting their coverage to help John Kerry and John Edwards?"
Thomas: "Not really."
Kurtz: "Subconsciously tilting their coverage?"
Thomas: "Maybe."
Kurtz: "Maybe?"
Thomas: "Maybe."
Kurtz: "Including in Newsweek?"
Thomas, nodding: "Yeah."
Kurtz reminded him: "You've said on the program Inside Washington that because of the portrayal of Kerry and Edwards as 'young and dynamic and optimistic,' that that's worth maybe 15 points. So that would suggest-"
Thomas: "Stupid thing to say. It was completely wrong. But I do think that, I do think that the mainstream press, I'm not talking about the blogs and Rush and all that, but the mainstream press favors Kerry. I don't think it's worth 15 points. That was just a stupid thing to say."
Kurtz: "Is it worth 5 points?"
Thomas: "Maybe, maybe."

Milbank insisted that reporters like him would prefer a Kerry presidency only because they favor spending time in Nantucket over Crawford.

Another bias flashback: More evidence of journalistic support for Kerry over Bush. From the August 2 CyberAlert:
By a one-party state-like overwhelming margin, political reporters who are covering the presidential campaign think John Kerry would make the better President, New York Times reporter John Tierney discovered in overseeing an informal survey of 153 journalists at a press party during the Democratic convention last week in Boston. "When asked who would be a better President," Tierney relayed in his Sunday news section "Political Points" column of tidbits from the campaign trail, "the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1." For details: www.mrc.org

For a look at how Tierney, appearing on FNC's O'Reilly Factor, maintained that "most reporters are driven not by ideology," see the August 4 CyberAlert which features a picture of Tierney: www.mrc.org

Networks, Especially CBS, Barely Touch
UN 'Food for Oil' Scandal

Monday's Los Angeles Times carried a front-page story putting a name and a face to the Americans involved in the United Nations "Oil for Food" program scandal: Texas oil tycoon Oscar Wyatt, who has given most of his political donations to Democrats. Despite nine ongoing investigations into UN corruption, how many full stories have tackled the topic this year on ABC, CBS, and NBC? Four. Three on NBC, one on ABC, and zero on CBS. The debate moderators ignored it, too.

[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]

Los Angeles Times reporter T. Christian Miller reported Monday on Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt's surfacing ties to Iraq: "This month, Wyatt was one of three Americans whose names surfaced in a CIA report listing the people and companies whom Hussein allegedly awarded lucrative vouchers to buy oil in the decade that followed his defeat in 1991." Wyatt is a mostly Democratic donor: "Since 1991, Wyatt and his wife, Lynn, for instance, have given more than $700,000 to federal campaign and political organizations, most to Democrats and most after Wyatt and his firm began to buy oil from Iraq in 1997, according to records maintained by the Campaign Finance Analysis Project." (Some of these same details appeared in a brief update in the October 18 issue of Newsweek, last week's edition, in the "Periscope" section.)

For the LA Times story: www.latimes.com

ABC, CBS, and NBC made major hay on October 6 out of weapons inspector Charles Duelfer's report that he did not find stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq. But only NBC reported on another important part of the Duelfer report. Duelfer found that Saddam Hussein used the United Nations' Oil for Food program to offer secret oil vouchers to persuade international officials to erode UN sanctions.

Reporter Lisa Myers burrowed right into the UN scandal. "The former chief of the UN Oil for Food program, Benon Sevan, allegedly was given vouchers to purchase 13 million barrels of Iraqi oil, and according to the report, cashed in more than seven million of them. The potential profit, as much as $2.5 million...NBC News had learned that an independent UN investigation run by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker also has evidence suggesting Sevan received millions from Saddam but has not yet found the money. The UN official has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and, in a previous interview with NBC News, defended his handling of the program amid allegations of rampant corruption....The report claims Saddam personally approved the secret vouchers 'on a lavish and almost indiscriminate scale' to undermine UN sanctions and curry favor with those able to help Iraq politically."

The Washington Post reported on its front page October 7 that the greatest recipients of vouchers were three permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Russia, France, and China. Another recipient of oil vouchers was Benon Sevan, the man in charge of the UN Oil for Food program. "Saddam approved and removed all names of voucher recipients, " Duelfer reported.

Since January 1, 2004, here are the number of morning and evening news stories and interview segments the networks have devoted to uncovering the growing Oil for Food scandal: four. NBC aired three: a January 15 report by Myers, a July 20 report from Andrea Mitchell, and the October 7 Myers story. ABC aired only one: from investigative reporter Brian Ross on April 21, the day the UN announced its own internal probe into the scandal. But MRC analysts found CBS has not aired a single story on the scandal, even when using a list of different search terms in the Nexis search engine trying to find one.

It has, however, been mentioned in passing. On October 7, the CBS Evening News dismissed the scandal with a Dick Cheney soundbite, followed by White House reporter John Roberts insisting: "The corruption was never mentioned as a reason for war. The President's new argument: Saddam was actively using that program to undermine sanctions so he could restart his pursuit of weapons...As protesters dogged President Bush's Wisconsin rally today, Kerry scoffed at what he called another convoluted attempt to justify the war."

Three of the four debate moderators (Bob Schieffer gets a pass for his supposedly all-domestic policy debate) never found this worth pressing John Kerry about in the debates despite their eagerness to press other Iraq questions that were tougher for Bush than Kerry.

Why isn't this a major scandal for the major networks? Despite the nine ongoing probes, the networks would rather chase anti-Bush angles. ABC, CBS, and NBC have combined for more than 75 stories on George W. Bush's National Guard Service, more than 50 stories on "skyrocketing" gasoline prices, and hundreds on prison abuse at Abu Ghraib. All year, Kerry has touted a greater UN and European role in Iraq. Now, those players look like what liberals called "the coalition of the bribed." And the anchormen are keeping quiet.

It should be noted that at least one television network has devoted time and money to the UN scandal -- the Fox News Channel. On September 19, FNC aired a special "Breaking Point" documentary entitled "United Nations Blood Money." You can find a review of Fox's UN coverage at: www.foxnews.com

Koch Scolds Media for Going Soft on Kerry,
Raises Halperin Memo

Ed Koch & Jon Stewart Daily Show host Jon Stewart has made clear his preference for John Kerry, but Monday night on Comedy Central, Bush supporter Ed Koch used Stewart's program to scold the press for how it "doesn't ask" Kerry why he voted against the 1991 Gulf War when it had a large international coalition. Stewart, who believes the media are too soft on Bush, mockingly retorted: "And the press really hammers on Bush, too, so, I mean, it's surprising." Koch proceeded to raise the Mark Halperin memo as he castigated ABC News for instructing "its reporters, 'Go after this candidate, not that candidate,' I think they ought to look at its license." To audience applause, Stewart brought up a liberal cause celebre, firing back at Koch: "Oh, so Sinclair, you'd like to see their licenses removed?"

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the exchange between Stewart and the former Democratic Mayor of New York City who proclaimed that while he disagrees with Bush on every domestic issue, he backs him because of Bush's understanding of the "overriding" issue of how we face an "Islamist terrorist" war on us. (Koch's pledge of support for Bush brought boos from the audience.) The relevant exchange on the October 18 program:

Jon Stewart: "The Iraq thing to you wasn't a distraction in any respect?"
Ed Koch: "No. In fact, what I find rather strange is that Kerry, who says that if we had the coalition he would be happier, and that, in fact, he voted for this particular going into Iraq. But back in '91 when we had the coalition, he voted no. It makes absolutely no sense."
Stewart: "It's a flip-flop!"
Koch: "No, I don't care about flip-flop. What I care about is that the press doesn't ask him. Why isn't he asked, 'Why did you vote no-?'"
Stewart mocked: "And the press really hammers on Bush, too, so, I mean, it's surprising."
Koch: "Well, it happens the press, no, no, you have a Vice President of WABC who said to his people in, stupidly, in writing, 'Go after Bush. It's his mistakes that we're interested in. You don't have to go out after Kerry.' That's a paraphrase, but that's what he said."
Stewart: "Well, somebody was saying, I think, someone said he was saying going after, you know, when you're talking about mistakes, you can judge which mistakes were, let's say, more grievous. Like, for instance, [jokingly pointing at his hair] if I were to say this is not a toupee, well, that's a mistake. But if I were to say Iraq is helping al-Qaeda, that's maybe a bigger mistake."
Koch: "Well, look, we have a presidential election, and when a national television station instructs its reporters, 'Go after this candidate, not that candidate,' I think they ought to look at its license."
Stewart, to audience applause: "Oh, so Sinclair, you'd like to see their licenses removed?"
Koch: "Anyone who violates, let me just say, anyone who violates the rules and procedures and conveys a prejudice in favor of for or against. If Sinclair is not honest when it says this is a news show, then you should go after them."

This edition of the Daily Show will re-run Tuesday evening at 7pm EDT/PDT, 6pm CDT.

Koch's "Vice President of WABC" is really Mark Halperin, Political Director for ABC News. The October 9 CyberAlert related: In an internal memo which was given to the Drudge Report, ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin declared that "the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done." Halperin told his colleagues: "We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable when the facts don't warrant that." He also bemoaned the "stepped up Bush efforts to complain about our coverage," claiming it "is all part of their efforts to get away with as much as possible." See: www.mediaresearch.org

As for Stewart's political views, the October 18 CyberAlert recounted: To no surprise to anyone who watches the Daily Show on Comedy Central, on Thursday its host, Jon Stewart, "said he expects to vote for Sen. John Kerry for President," CBS.MarketWatch.com's Jon Friedman reported. On Friday, in a quite serious appearance on CNN's Crossfire, co-host Tucker Carlson wondered if, given Stewart's support for Kerry, it will be "harder for you to mock his administration if he becomes President?" Stewart responded with a slam at Bush: "The only way it would be harder is if his administration is less absurd than this one. So, in that case, if it's less absurd, then, yes, I think it would be harder. But, I mean, it would be hard to top this group, quite frankly." At the Thursday event, Stewart also lashed out at columnist Bob Novak: "He leaked a CIA source for punitive reasons -- for ugly, partisan purposes." Stewart grew even more vicious: "He shouldn't be on television. CNN should not have him on the air. He should not be amongst civilized people." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker