CBS Showcases 106-Year-Old Catholic Nun Voting for Obama --10/13/2008
2. Evan Thomas: 'A Disgrace' If McCain Beats Obama with Ayers
3. NY Times: 'Hostile,' 'Angry' Crowds Cheer on McCain-Palin
4. More Good News In Iraq, Yet TV Networks Remain AWOL
Sunday's CBS Evening News ended with a feature piece on a 106-year-old nun in Rome who plans to vote for Barack Obama, her first time to cast a presidential ballot since the New Hampshire native voted for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, because Obama is "a good" and "honest" man. From Rome, reporter Allen Pizzey related how her "simple, old-fashioned standard for politicians," which apparently does not include the Catholic church's opposition to abortion, inspired her to decide to vote for the first time in 56 years. Sister Cecilia Gaudette explained: "As I say, a good straight man; good private life, honest and politically able to govern, of course." As she put her hand over an Obama button on her clothing, Pizzey cautioned that though she's decided "the Democrat fit the bill," she's "not about to campaign for him." (She'll leave that to the news media?)
Earlier, the newscast aired a report on young voters in New Hampshire, leading anchor Russ Mitchell to set up the look at the nun: "Finally this evening, we just heard how the presidential election in New Hampshire could be decided by the youngest voters. Then again, it could also hinge on the vote of one Roman Catholic nun whose 100th birthday is well behind her."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
CBS's story followed a BBC report, "106-year-old voter chooses Obama," to which the MRC's Brad Wilmouth alerted me. An excerpt from the posting by the BBC's David Willey:
A 106-year-old American nun living in a convent in Rome could well be the oldest person to vote in the 2008 US Presidential election.
Sister Cecilia Gaudette, who last voted for President Eisenhower in 1952, has registered to vote and says she will vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
Although hard of hearing, she keeps herself informed by reading newspapers and watching TV at the convent.
"I'm encouraged by Senator Obama," she says.
"I've never met him, but he seems to be a good man with a good private life. That's the first thing. Then he must be able to govern," she adds...
END of Excerpt
For the BBC story: news.bbc.co.uk
The story on the Sunday, October 12 CBS Evening News:
RUSS MITCHELL: Finally this evening, we just heard how the presidential election in New Hampshire could be decided by the youngest voters. Then again, it could also hinge on the vote of one Roman Catholic nun whose 100th birthday is well behind her. Allen Pizzey has more.
ALLEN PIZZEY: At 106 years old, Sister Cecilia Gaudette is one of, if not the oldest, voter in this election.
CBSNews.com video of Pizzey's story: www.cbsnews.com
Newsweek's Evan Thomas and NPR's Nina Totenberg, likely reflecting the attitude of many of their Washington press corps colleagues, declared Barack Obama's connection to unrepentant terrorist William Ayers as an out of bounds subject for the campaign. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, charged: "If he loses the election because of that, it's a disgrace." Totenberg alleged Sarah Palin's anti-Obama rhetoric is "pretty ugly and a little scary" and scolded the panel for even arguing over the relevance of Ayers: "Given what we are in, this is a stupid conversation."
Thomas fretted: "If he [Obama] loses the election because of that, it's a disgrace for him. If the Republicans make that the issue at the end, it's a disgrace....They should not be trying to beat Obama based on the company he kept. It's bad company, shouldn't have done it, but it shouldn't be the controlling issue."
This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A week earlier on the same show, as recounted in the October 6 CyberAlert, Thomas likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. Reacting to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role, Thomas contended:
For the previous CyberAlert item:
New York Times reporters Elisabeth Bumiller and Patrick Healy monitored a McCain rally in Wisconsin for more signs of GOP "anger" in Friday's "McCain Joins Attacks On Obama Over Radical." (At least the paper called the unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers a "radical.") The caption under a photo of McCain and Palin set the tone of the piece: "John McCain and Sarah Palin on Thursday in Waukesha, Wis. Their rallies have taken on an increasingly hostile atmosphere."
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: www.timeswatch.org ]
Bumiller and Healy led with those "angry" crowds:
Senator John McCain joined in the attacks on Thursday on Senator Barack Obama for his ties to the 1960s radical William Ayers, telling an angry, raucous crowd in Wisconsin that "we need to know the full extent of the relationship" to judge whether Mr. Obama "is telling the truth to the American people or not."
But what has been most striking about the last 48 hours on the campaign trail is the increasingly hostile atmosphere at Mr. McCain's rallies, where voters furiously booed any mention of Mr. Obama and lashed out at the Democrats, Wall Street and the news media.
"I'm really mad!" shouted a man in the audience in Waukesha, where Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, were conducting a town-hall-style meeting. "And what's going to surprise you, it's not the economy. It's the socialists taking over our country."
Co-author Bumiller followed up her piece from Thursday with another crack about the predominantly white Republican crowd:
A short time later, James T. Harris, a conservative talk radio host in Wisconsin who was one of the few African-Americans in the crowd, stood up and told Mr. McCain that in the next presidential debate, on Wednesday, "it's absolutely vital that you take it to Obama, that you hit him" where it hurts, because "we have all of these shady characters that have surrounded him," as well as, he said, Mr. Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.
For the October 10 article in full: www.nytimes.com
The headline gave the game away in a Thursday night posting at nytimes.com from reporter Michael Grynbaum: "In Struggling Ohio Town, Palin Again Invokes Ayers." The Times is having it both ways -- suggesting the McCain campaign is not dealing with real issues of interest to voters yet reacting with alarm when crowds respond positively to the attacks on Obama and Ayers.
Notice that the McCain campaign is merely "trying" to tie Ayers to Obama, as if the ties aren't actually there:
Ms. Palin also went on the attack early, invoking the name of William Ayers, the 1960s radical whom the McCain campaign has repeatedly tried to tie to Mr. Obama.
The crowd made it quite clear that it wholeheartedly agreed with Ms. Palin's attacks on the Democratic nominee, but there were few signs of the raw anger that has arisen at recent Palin events. Audience members loudly chanted "No-Bama" at points and booed at Mr. Obama's name.
For that NYTimes.com posting: thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com
A large front-page photo and above-the-fold story in Friday morning's New York Times offered more evidence that the troop surge that Barack Obama and Joe Biden vehemently opposed last year has substantially improved the lives of everyday Iraqis. The headline, "As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble," pointed to a new phase in the Iraqi capital, one where some of the cement barricades that divided Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods are now being torn down.
"The slow dismantling of the concrete walls is the most visible sign of a fundamental change here in the Iraqi capital. The American surge strategy, which increased the number of United States troops and contributed to stability here, is drawing to a close. And a transition is under way to the almost inevitable American drawdown in 2009," the Times reported.
But over the last few months, the big three broadcast networks have paid extremely little attention to the progress in Iraq. ABC's World News last presented a report from Iraq on September 16 -- 23 days ago -- as reporter Jonathan Karl covered the ceremony in which General David Petraeus handed his over his command over to General Ray Odierno. NBC Nightly News last carried a report from Iraq on September 7, more than a month ago. And the CBS Evening News hasn't broadcast a story from Iraq since July 31, 70 days ago.
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Friday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
If even the New York Times can carve out space on its front page to report about an important positive milestone in Iraq, can't the broadcast networks find a couple of minutes on their evening newscasts?
Here's an excerpt from the October 10 piece in the Times, which was reported by a team of three correspondents: Alissa J. Rubin, Stephen Farrell and Erica Goode:
BAGHDAD -- Market by market, square by square, the walls are beginning to come down. The miles of hulking blast walls, ugly but effective, were installed as a central feature of the surge of American troops to stop neighbors from killing one another.
"They protected against car bombs and drive-by attacks," said Adnan, 39, a vegetable seller in the once violent neighborhood of Dora, who argues that the walls now block the markets and the commerce that Baghdad needs to thrive. "Now it is safe."
The slow dismantling of the concrete walls is the most visible sign of a fundamental change here in the Iraqi capital. The American surge strategy, which increased the number of United States troops and contributed to stability here, is drawing to a close. And a transition is under way to the almost inevitable American drawdown in 2009.
There are now more than 148,000 United States troops in Iraq, down from the peak of around 170,000 a year ago, and President Bush has accepted the military's recommendation to remove 8,000 more by February.
Iraqis are already taking on many of the tasks the Americans once performed, raising great hopes that the country will progress on its own but also deep fears of failure....
In dozens of interviews across Baghdad, it is evident that while open hostilities have calmed, beneath the surface many Sunnis and Shiites continue to harbor deep mistrust.
If the changes work as hoped, it will be a huge step toward restoring normal life in Baghdad. Each move, however, has its pitfalls. Awakening members could return to insurgent activity. Bombers could take advantage of streets without walls. The National Police, long accused of being sectarian, could abuse its new positions.
American commanders concede the risks but contend that the changes are worthwhile, given the potential payoff.
"We've got to balance that: security with economic concerns," said Lt. Col. Tim Watson, commander of the Second Battalion, Fourth Infantry, attached to the First Brigade Combat Team, Fourth Infantry Division, for Baghdad.
But commanders acknowledged that the cost of failure would be high. Referring to the Awakening transfer, Colonel Watson's boss, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, said, "If the project were to fail, these guys would be out on the street, angry."
"Al Qaeda in Iraq will be recruiting them," he said....
END of Excerpt
For the entire article: www.nytimes.com
-- Brent Baker