2. Jennings Admits TV Focus on Violence "Overshadows" Gains in Iraq
3. NBC Wonders If Liberals "Too Nuanced" to Succeed in Talk Radio
4. CNN's Cafferty & NBC's Leno Mock Idea Media Lack Liberals
5. Most Say U.S. Safer Than Before 9-11, But
WashPost Flips Finding
6. Moyers Rants Over Bush "Deception," Urges Gore for Bush Cabinet
7. "Top Ten Questions You're Afraid to Ask Condoleezza Rice"
"The long job slump," in George Bush's America, "has left many Americans desperate enough to risk everything for a decent paycheck," CBS's Dan Rather suggested Wednesday night. So, that is driving people to "risk death in Iraq" by accepting dangerous civilian jobs over there where some end up paying "the ultimate price."
That man who was killed opposed Bush's war with Iraq, reporter Bob McNamara emphasized as he asked the widow: "Was he for this war?" McNamara insisted that the man's "desperation for work" led him to take the job in Iraq, but he was from Delaware where the unemployment rate is well below the national average.
After Rather teased the lead March 31 story on the gruesome murder of four U.S. civilian contractors in Fallujah, in which the bodies where burned, hacked apart, dragged and hung up, Rather asked, over the "Risking Death" heading on screen with video of people in a job application line: "What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy, it may be, for some, the only job they can find. [jump to picture of American family] This family paid the ultimate price."
Setting up the subsequent story after a piece on the gruesome murders, Rather intoned: "Given such risks, it may be hard to see why any civilian would agree to work in Iraq. But as CBS's Bob McNamara reports, among other reasons, the long job slump has left many Americans desperate enough to risk everything for a decent paycheck."
Over video of a crowd of people, at what turned out to be a Halliburton job hiring session, McNamara began: "The line is hundreds long, job hunters in Houston applying for work as cooks, truck drivers and construction workers in the chaos of Iraq."
In fact, while unemployment in Texas in February stood at 6.1 percent, when it's at 5.6 percent nationwide, that's down from 6.3 percent in January, and in February Texas was amongst the "states that had the largest hiring gains," according to an AP dispatch, gaining 9,600 positions. See this March 31 article: news.yahoo.com
Undermining CBS's case that high unemployment is forcing people to risk death in Iraq: The current unemployment rate in Delaware stands at a mere 3.4 percent, much lower than the national average or the rate in Texas.
ABC's Peter Jennings conceded on Thursday night that the media's "focus on the loss of American soldiers and now civilians on a sometimes almost daily basis...overshadows" how "life is improving for people in Iraq in many, many ways." The night before, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann saw the big picture and the deleterious impact of television war coverage as he asked whether TV showing the horrific images of the four American civilians mutilated in Iraq "may be a bad thing for this country, that policy could be unduly influenced by what is, no matter how horrific it is, an event that is counterbalanced by many successes and much progress in Iraq?"
For a preview of Jennings' Monday night marathon: abcnews.go.com
Boring equals "nuanced"? In a Wednesday NBC Nightly News story hyping the debut of the left-wing "Air America" radio network on small stations in a few cities, reporter Carl Quintanilla distorted a point made by conservative talk host Michael Reagan as he channeled liberal denigration of conservatives by contending that liberal talk radio has not yet succeeded because, unlike bombastic conservatives, liberals are "too-nuanced."
Quintanilla recalled in his March 31 story: "Liberals' attempts at radio -- Mario Cuomo, Jerry Brown -- haven't gone very far. Conservative talk show host Michael Reagan says that's because liberals are too-nuanced in their views to be provocative to listeners."
Where in Reagan's 20 words did he say that liberals are "too-nuanced"?
CNN's Jack Cafferty and NBC's Jay Leno this week mocked the idea that a liberal talk radio network is needed to give liberal views a forum in the media.
On Wednesday's American Morning, Cafferty, a New York City TV station veteran, noted the launch of the "Air America" radio network set for later in the day and then described his "Cafferty File" question of the day: "We'll talk about what that means, and whether we really need another liberal media outlet. I mean, if you don't like the New York Times or CBS News, or Peter Jennings, this might be just the ticket for you."
Later, when co-host Bill Hemmer wondered "why hasn't a liberal radio station or TV network never taken off before?", Cafferty pointed out: "We have them. Are you, did you just get off a vegetable truck from the South Bronx? They're everywhere!" Cafferty soon reminded his colleagues: "What do they call this joint? The Clinton News Network."
In the same vein as Cafferty, Leno joked on Monday's Tonight Show: "They say the purpose of Air America will be to balance out all the conservatives in the media, except, of course for NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and the New York Times. Other than that."
Now, full recitations of the remarks by Cafferty and Leno, starting with Cafferty, whose comments were brought to my attention by Keith Appell of Creative Response Concepts:
-- CNN's American Morning, March 31. At 7am EST, at the top of the show down from CNN's street-side Manhattan studio, as the three-person hosting team of Cafferty, Soledad O'Brien and Bill Hemmer greeted each other, Cafferty asserted: "How you doing? It's a red-letter day here in America. Air America, that communist radio network, starts broadcasting in a little while."
Later, at about 7:26am EST, after Andy Serwer had joined the team on the couches to make a foursome, Cafferty outlined his "Cafferty File" question of the day for viewers to e-mail him with their comments: "If the New York Times and Peter Jennings and perhaps CBS News aren't enough for you, then you're going to love this. The New York Observer reports former Vice President Al Gore is close to the sealing the deal to buy a cable TV channel. Gore's team says they will make the station a, quote, 'youth oriented public affairs channel.' Yes, that should sell pretty well.
O'Brien certainly didn't feel comfortable with the subject.
For CNN's page for American Morning: www.cnn.com
For a picture and bio of Cafferty: www.cnn.com
-- NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 29. A Leno opening monologue joke, as taken down by the MRC's Geoff Dickens after some e-mailers alerted us to it:
That liberal media joke is a repeat from Leno's joke vault. On the June 19 Tonight Show last year, he quipped: "And former Vice President Al Gore says he's looking to develop a liberal cable TV and radio network to counteract Fox and all the conservative shows. Gore says there's no outlet in this country for the liberal viewpoint. You know except ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Bravo, BET, Showtime, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, National Public Radio and IFC. Other than that, there's nothing!"
That Leno knows he'll get a laugh, for mocking the idea that liberals don't control the media, shows that he knows how ludicrous most find the claim that liberal voices are missing from the media.
The Washington Post's false headline. "Americans feel increasingly safe and secure," read the subhead over a section of a report, from the Council for Excellence in Government, about a poll which determined that "nearly half (47%) of all Americans say that the United States is safer today than it was on September 11, 2001," compared to 38 percent a year after 9-11, and a piddling 18 percent said they now feel less safe than before 9-11. The Washington Post's April 1 headline for a story about the findings: "Most Say They Are Less Safe Since 9/11."
But it wasn't an April Fools joke. The April 2 Post has this correction:
Yet the online version for the April 1 story by Christopher Lee, which ran on page A-3 of the hard copy, remains unchanged and uncorrected as of 9:30am EST today. See: www.washingtonpost.com
For the report from the Council for Excellence in Government about the poll conducted for them by Harris/Teeter, see (in PDF): www.excelgov.org
There are only a few months to go before Bill Moyers retires from PBS, but he's not going quietly. Last week on his Friday night show, he delivered a another left wing "commentary" in which he claimed President Bush's "credibility has been shredded" because of his "deception" over Iraq, warned that "there will come a time when the President will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right wing media," lamented how privates in Afghanistan and Iraq earn less than $16,000 dollars a year "while here at home the rich get their tax cuts" and recommended "a wartime cabinet to serve a wartime nation" with "Al Gore as head of Homeland Security" and John McCain as Secretary of State.
Sounds like a quote in the MRC's April Fools edition of Notable Quotables, but he really said it.
An excerpt from Moyers' commentary at the end of the March 26 Now with Bill Moyers on PBS. The MRC's Brian Boyd checked the tape against PBS's transcript:
President Bush spoke eloquently the other day about what the war on terror requires of us. Here's the main point he made:
President Bush: "The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation."
Those words ring true. Whatever drives them, whatever grieves them, Islamic fanatics have declared war and seem willing to wage it to the death. If they prevail our children will grow up in a world where fear governs the imagination and determines the rules of life. Mr. Bush clearly believes what he said: The war on terror is an inescapable calling of the generation now in charge.
Like many of you, I want to support him in that work; I want to do my part. But the President makes it hard. He confused us by going after Saddam Hussein when the villain behind the mass murders of 9/11 was Osama bin Laden. He seems not to realize how his credibility has been shredded by all the false and misleading reasons put forth to justify invading Iraq; Lyndon Johnson never recovered from using the dubious events at the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, and even if Mr. Bush wins reelection this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception.
The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the President will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right wing media; he will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality.
So what to do? How to assure we win this war?
Well, the 9/11 hearings in Washington suggest a start. It is clear now that the Bush White House bungled the warnings about Al Qaeda, but it's also clear that the Democrats under Bill Clinton made plenty of mistakes, too. Why can't both parties come clean, apologize, and start over?
Either party could lose this war but both parties together just might win it. Why not a wartime cabinet to serve a wartime nation? Al Gore as head of Homeland Security. Gary Hart at Defense. The John McCain or the independent Warren Rudman at State....
Surely, too, there are ways to subject all of us to a draft....
But so far sacrifice has been asked only of the men and women in uniform and their families. Nearly 600 dead since the war began over 400 of them since the President landed on that aircraft carrier under a banner reading 'Mission Accomplished.'
Even now the privates patrolling the mean streets of Baghdad and the wilds of Afghanistan make less than $16,000 dollars a year in base pay, their lives and limbs are constantly at risk. While here at home the rich get their tax cuts -- what Vice President Cheney calls "their due." Favored corporations get their contracts, subsidies and offshore loopholes. And even as he praises sacrifice the President happily passes the huge bills that are piling up on to children not yet born....
END of Excerpt
For the Moyers diatribe in full: www.pbs.org
Home page for Now: www.pbs.org
The featured guest tonight: John Dean, author of Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush.
From the April 1 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions You're Afraid to Ask Condoleezza Rice." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. "Did Bush ever hurt himself trying to pronounce your name?"
9. "At cabinet meetings, who besides you and Cheney wear lipstick?"
8. "Do you know Leeza Gibbons?"
7. "Do you own a condo?"
6. "Did you ever try the 'Condoleezza Rice' at Chi-Chi's?"
5. "As a souvenir, did you keep any of Saddam's beard lice?"
4. "Hey, where'd you get that cool Halliburton sweatshirt?"
3. "Who told CNN that Letterman faked the footage of the bored kid next to Bush?"
2. "About those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction -- did you check Baghdad Mini-Storage?"
1. "What kind of job will you and Bush be looking for in January 2005?"
Tonight, Friday, on the Late Show: Tyler Crotty, the 13-year-old son of the Chairman of Orange County, Florida who, as he was in camera-range behind President Bush, yawned, fidgeted stretched and looked at his watch during a Bush campaign speech.
The incident generated some notice when Letterman on Monday night edited the tape to jump from instance to instance of Crotty fidgeting and yawning and then CNN's Daryn Kagan on Tuesday inaccurately reported that the White House told CNN that the Late Show staff had digitally inserted the kid into the video, a claim CNN had to retract, conceding on Thursday that the White House never told them any such thing and that the video was unaltered.
I'm sure Letterman will play his compilation clip tonight. It's pretty funny. But if you can't wait, from this address, which DrudgeReport highlighted on Thursday, you can play a RealPlayer clip of a WKMG-TV in Orlando story about the kid and the incident, a story which includes what Letterman played (as well as some still shots and the text of an AP story outlining what Letterman showed and what CNN reported): www.local6.com
In Friday's Washington Post, Lisa de Moraes has an article about the White House trying to spin its way out of the reality of the tired kid as well as CNN's embarrassing backtracking and apology to Letterman: www.washingtonpost.com
-- Brent Baker