CBS Scolds McCain: 'Respect Takes a Backseat to Ridicule' --8/14/2008
2. CNN's Roberts Pushes Obama's 'Similarities' to Eisenhower, Reagan
3. NY Times Attacks Anti-Obama Book, But With Liberal Books...
4. New BET 'The Truth' Show: 'Cross Between Olbermann and Maher'
5. CBS's Early Show Continues to Report on Edwards Affair
6. CNN's One-Sided Take on SD Abortion Bill, Avoids Obama's Votes
For the third weekday as Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii, John McCain on the campaign trail received more hostile coverage from the broadcast network evening newscasts -- to the extent they bothered to cover the presidential campaign. In a full story on CBS, Dean Reynolds recalled how McCain promised "to conduct a respectful campaign,"but citing McCain's celebrity ad, charged "now it frequently seems respect takes a backseat to ridicule."
NBC, which also didn't touch the campaign on Monday or Tuesday, ignored it again Wednesday, though in a story on TV ads during the Olympics Chris Jansing asserted the Obama ads deliver "optimism and hope" while McCain's have a "more negative tone." For the first time this week, ABC skipped the campaign, but anchor Charles Gibson raised Obama's "windfall profits" proposal with Exxon Mobil's chief: "When the public sees the kind of profits that the oil companies are making, isn't it fair that they wonder, 'why not?'"
CBS anchor Katie promised more about "the new look and sound of the McCain campaign," but Reynolds didn't approve of the change as he asserted: "The sharper edge by his aides and the candidate is further evidence that the McCain campaign has changed....Replaced by splashier events reminiscent of a previous Republican campaign for the White House," that would be Bush-Cheney. After a soundbite of Senator Joe Lieberman declaring at a McCain rally, "between one candidate, John McCain, who's had experience, been tested in war and tried in peace. Another candidate who has not," Reynolds played a clip of McCain from "months ago" pledging "to conduct a respectful campaign." Reynolds pounced: "But now it frequently seems respect takes a backseat to ridicule." The proof: The Paris Hilton ad's "attack on Obama" that "ran during the Olympics."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(NBC and CBS had brief mentions of Cindy McCain's sprained wrist.)
Chris Jansing, in the NBC Nightly News story on TV ads running during NBC's Olympic coverage, ads going for $750,000 for 30 seconds:
JANSING: From the Obama camp, the Olympic strategy is optimism and hope.
During the second of two interview segments with Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson, which Gibson traveled to Texas to conduct, Gibson raised McCain's proposal to open up offshore drilling, but without noting the popularity of the proposal as he did with Obama's wish to impose a "windfall profits" tax:
Of course, the oil companies would simply pass on to consumers any higher tax, a basic economic reality that eludes journalists and liberal politicians.
Earlier, when Gibson set up the interview excerpt by reporting "the high price of gas brought Exxon Mobil close to $22 billion in profit -- in profit -- for the first half of this year," and described how "I asked him how he justifies that amount that some see as obscene," Tillerson pointed out: "I saw someone characterize our profits, the other day, in terms of $1,400 in profit per second. Well, they also need to understand we paid $4,000 a second in taxes."
Previous CyberAlert items detailing ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscast coverage this week:
For Monday night: "Obama on Vacation, Yet Earns More and Better Coverage than McCain," go to: www.mrc.org
For Tuesday night: "Weekday #2: No Media Benefit for McCain from Obama's Vacation," check: www.mrc.org
The full CBS story. From the Wednesday, August 13 CBS Evening News, picking up after Couric's taped interview with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili:
KATIE COURIC: The Georgian President says he appreciates the support of American presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain and he says he speaks with McCain frequently.
DEAN REYNOLDS: At a press conference today in Michigan, John McCain decried what he called partisan political sniping over the crisis in Georgia.
CNN's John Roberts, during an interview of Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower and a Barack Obama supporter, on Wednesday's American Morning, asked about the Democratic presidential candidate's apparent similarities to the World War II hero, as well as how he might be like Ronald Reagan. Later in the interview, the CNN co-anchor also stated that "the McCain campaign has been trying to tear him [Obama] down at every opportunity and they keep on zeroing-in on this idea of celebrity. Let's take a quick look at the latest ad from the McCain campaign that hammers Obama on that point."
Barack Obama's campaign had announced the formation of "Republicans for Obama" on Tuesday, and Roberts interviewed Eisenhower about why she was among those "crossing party lines" to support the Illinois Senator. He asked in his first question to Eisenhower: "We all remember that the 'I like Ike' campaign back in 1952. But reading what you've said about Senator Obama, it seems like there are some similarities, that he may be just like Ike. What can you tell me about that?" After she replied, he followed-up with another presidential comparison: "You also see some similarities, you said, between Senator Obama and President Reagan. How so?"
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Roberts devoted his next two questions to Obama's experience, and in the first question, he referenced President Eisenhower's three pillars of national security: "Your grandfather, of course, was very famous for his three pillars of national security: address your enemies, provide economic security, moral authority as well. Do you believe that Senator Obama has the same type of experience to be able to carry on those three pillars of national security?"
After playing a clip from a recent John McCain campaign ad, which he introduced by making the "tear him down" comment, Roberts outlined President Eisenhower's "extraordinarily deep resume" and asked, "Are you confident that Senator Obama can measure up to that sort of experience that you've had historically in your family?" That last question brings up an obvious follow-up: does Obama "measure up" to the historical experience of McCain's family, whose father and grandfather were four-star admirals?
The full transcript of the interview, which began 28 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the Wednesday, August 13 American Morning:
JOHN ROBERTS: You have heard politicians talk about bi-partisanship, but what about a voter being on both sides of the fence? Our next guest is a Republican. In fact, her grandfather was President Eisenhower. Now, she's just one GOP member announcing that they are crossing party lines to form Republicans for Obama, and joining me now is Susan Eisenhower. Ms. Eisenhower, it's great to see you. We all remember that the 'I like Ike' campaign back in 1952. But reading what you've said about Senator Obama, it seems like there are some similarities, that he may be just like Ike. What can you tell me about that?
For years, the New York Times has praised misleading books from liberal authors attacking President Bush and the war in Iraq: Tomes by Michael Moore, Seymour Hersh, Kitty Kelley, Richard Clarke, Jane Mayer, and Ron Suskind (who has also reported for the paper) -- too many to mention. Yet when a wildly successful book appears that attacks the Times' favorite candidate, Democratic nominee Barack Obama, the paper unloaded a front-page push back against the "unsubstantiated, misleading...inaccurate" book.
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
From Wednesday's front page story by reporters Jim Rutenberg and Julie Bosman, "Book Attacking Obama Hopes To Repeat '04 Anti-Kerry Feat":
In the summer of 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of "Unfit for Command," the book attacking Senator John Kerry's record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger damaging campaign against Mr. Kerry's war credentials as he sought the presidency.
Almost exactly four years after that campaign began, Mr. Corsi has released a new attack book painting Senator Barack Obama, the Democrats' presumed presidential nominee, as a stealth radical liberal who has tried to cover up "extensive connections to Islam" -- Mr. Obama is Christian -- and questioning whether his admitted experimentation with drugs in high school and college ever ceased.
Significant parts of the book, whose subtitle is "Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," have already been challenged as misleading or false in the days since its debut on Aug. 1. Nonetheless, it is to make its first appearance on The New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction hardcovers this Sunday -- at No. 1.
In its timing, authorship and style of reporting, the book is strikingly reminiscent of the one Mr. Corsi wrote with John O'Neill about Mr. Kerry, "Unfit for Command," which included various accusations that were ultimately undermined by news reports pointing out the contradictions. (Some critics of Mr. Kerry quoted in the book had earlier praised his bravery in incidents they were now asserting he had fabricated; one had earned a medal for bravery in a gun battle he accused Mr. Kerry of concocting.)
Rutenberg took his critical cues from the liberal site Media Matters:
Web sites on the left have begun poring over Mr. Corsi's latest book. Media Matters, which is run by David Brock, a former right-wing journalist who wrote a classic of the attack genre, "The Real Anita Hill," has been particularly aggressive in fact-checking the book, and its press releases on inaccuracies in the book have gotten some attention on cable television.
Several of the book's accusations, in fact, are unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate.
END of Excerpt
For the August 13 article in full: www.nytimes.com
Rutenberg noted contradictions between Corsi and Obama regarding whether Obama has said he has stopped using drugs, and suggests Corsi wrongly relied on a Newsmax report stating Obama had attended a Jeremiah Wright sermon in which the radical preacher said particularly inflammatory things -- a day when Obama was in Florida.
Whatever the weakness of Corsi's arguments, the Times certainly never deployed such aggressive fact-checking to the vast majority of anti-Bush screeds that have come over the transom -- indeed, the paper has tended to greet them with open arms and blessed them with favorable notices both in its regular Arts pages and in the influential Sunday Book Review. If the Times does lower itself to review the Corsi book, expect the review to take several weeks to appear and for it to be brazenly hostile.
This isn't a new pattern: In the month before the 2004 election, the Times gave "Unfit for Command," an anti-Kerry book by Corsi and John O'Neill outlining the case against Kerry by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth a 100% negative review, while at the same time praised "The Family," a trashy Kitty Kelley biography of the Bush political dynasty. See: www.timeswatch.org
For the latest every day on liberal bias in the New York Times, check TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org
Viacom-owned BET on Friday night will launch a weekly half-hour news and interview program hosted by a left-wing political activist, and though it is titled The Truth, the AP's David Bauder reported it is "described as a cross between Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher with a black perspective." The 11 PM EDT show will be hosted by Jeff Johnson, whom Bauder noted in his Wednesday AP dispatch, was "an activist for the NAACP and People for the American Way."
Bauder observed that the program's "debut is timed for the Democratic National Convention" and that BET "will also air Barack Obama's speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 28 live, just like its competitor TV One. Neither network, however, is airing John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican convention the next week." Amongst "news specials" BET will air during the nights of the Democratic convention: one "focusing on how ex-convicts can't vote" and another on "whether Obama could be considered a manifestation of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech."
Bauder's August 13 story: news.yahoo.com
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Johnson's Huffington Post page provides a more complete bio:
Jeff Johnson is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, social activist and political analyst who has served as senior advisor for media and youth outreach for People for the American Way, national youth director for the NAACP and vice president for the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.
BET's page for the show trumpets:
THE TRUTH, a weekly show aired in front of a live audience, will take a look at news, trends, pop culture, current events and politics from an honest Black point of view. This show has no barriers, as it is conducted to show others the real view of the Black community by informing and entertaining the viewers all at the same time.
Not only will Johnson give his audience a view of Black culture through news, he will do it in a way that will keep his viewers engaged and excited. The show will include talk, investigating reporting, and one-on-one interviews with leading newsmakers. You won't just get the issues of the day; you'll see the emotional side of some of the most controversial stories through a three-way debate conducted by Johnson and a segment that compiles multiple stories of the Black community.
That page: www.bet.com
Viacom's page for BET, Black Entertainment Television: www.viacom.com
While ABC's Good Morning America suspended its coverage of the John Edwards scandal following reporting on Monday, the CBS Early Show continued to cover the affair for a third consecutive day on Wednesday. Even NBC's Today, covering the Olympics in Beijing, managed stories on Edwards on both Monday and Wednesday. Considering it was during an interview on ABC's Nightline on Friday that Edwards confessed to cheating on his wife, it is interesting that GMA was outdone in covering the story. On Wednesday, the Early Show looked at the money trail leading from Edwards to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "We will also talk about new bombshell revelations in the John Edwards affair, including claims that he did know his mistress was being paid and that he rekindled the affair after confessing to his wife."
The segment began with a report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano: "According to the National Enquirer, the publication that first broke the story of John Edwards' extramarital affair, Edwards was aware of payments being made to his former mistress Rielle Hunter, something he denied on Friday...The allegations could not only have legal ramifications, it would shed considerable doubt on Edwards' other denial, that he fathered Miss Hunter's child."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Rodriguez later talked to defense attorney Mickey Sherman about the case and asked: "If the money trail leads to John Edwards, could he be charged with a crime?" Sherman admitted that if campaign finances were used a crime may have been committed, but stipulated: "But the question is how do you prove that? And she was somehow working for the campaign. So was the money she got so inappropriately higher than what she deserved? That's going to be the issue the feds are going to have to look at." Rodriguez showed some surprise at the idea of a federal investigation: "You think the feds will get involved in this?"
Sherman again seemed to downplay the importance of such an investigation: "Will they come to the conclusion that we don't really need to go there because do we need to send the message to other presidential candidates not to have girlfriends? Is it that pressing an issue?"
Rodriguez followed by wondering if there was enough evidence to prove any wrongdoing: "She's allegedly still being paid $15,000 a month. She's been living in this California mansion that no one knows how she can afford, and she's refusing to accept John Edwards' offer to take a paternity test. That may seem like someone who's being paid hush money, but it's circumstantial. What kind of hard proof would they need?" Sherman replied: "They need to show that the money she received was so inappropriately larger than the amount and value of the services." Rodriguez asked: "Would that be enough?" Sherman added: "That might be enough at least to get to the threshold of an investigation."
Here is the full transcript of the August 13 segment:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Joining us now is CBS News legal analyst Mickey Sherman. Good morning, Mickey.
CNN co-anchor Don Lemon, during a brief report during the 1 PM EDT hour of Tuesday's Newsroom program about a pro-life measure on the ballot in South Dakota that would greatly restrict abortion, gave only the pro-choice side of the debate over the proposed law. He also oversimplified Barack Obama's stance on the abortion issue.
Lemon stated how the Great Plains state "is becoming a new focal point in the abortion debate" due to the measure, which is called Initiated Measure 11. He then introduced the sole soundbite from a Planned Parenthood official: "Opponents say it would be one of the most rigid and inflexible bans in the country. They worry about the impact it could have on Roe vs. Wade."
During the soundbite, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota argued: "Nowhere in America is abortion harder to access than in the state of South Dakota, and while South Dakota accounts for only .1 percent of abortions nationwide, it has a potentially disproportionate, powerful effect on public policy in our country, because of the attempts in South Dakota to create a vehicle to overturn Roe vs. Wade."
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
After reporting how "South Dakotans rejected a stricter law banning abortions in their state" in the 2006 election, Lemon devoted the second half of the report to an all-too-brief outline of the positions of Barack Obama and John McCain on "abortion rights," as an on screen graphic put it:
LEMON: The abortion issue isn't at the top of the list of voter concerns this year, but it's still a big emotional issue that matters to a lot of Americans. Here's where the two major presidential candidates stand on this issue.
Lemon omitted one key component to Obama's plank on abortion -- his extreme position during his time in the Illinois State Senate concerning a proposal which would have protected infants who were born alive after surviving abortion attempts. During four votes on the Illinois Born-Alive Infant Protection Act in 2001 and 2002, Obama voted against the legislation three times. He voted "present" the other time. CNN's Carol Costello omitted two of these votes by Obama during a report in July.
July 1 NewsBusters.org item, "CNN's Costello Omits Part of the Story About Obama's Radical Abortion Votes": newsbusters.org
During that report, Costello repeated how Obama claimed at the time that "the Illinois Born-Alive Infant Protection Act 'would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child.' In other words, Obama says now it 'lacked the federal language clarifying the act would not be used to undermine Roe v. Wade.'" On Monday, the National Right-to-Life Committee released documentation that demonstrated that Obama had in fact voted against a Illinois state measure that had this "federal language" when it came before the health committee he chaired in 2003 (a detail that had gone largely unnoticed before). The story was picked up by Jill Stanek, a central figure to this issue, on her blog, and it spread like wildfire all over the conservative blogs. So far, only a few mainstream media outlets, such as The Politico, have picked up on the story. One wonders when CNN will get around to mentioning these details.
August 11 item on Jill Stanek's blog, "Breaking news: New documents show Obama cover-up on born-alive survivors bill:" www.jillstanek.com
-- Brent Baker