2. Al Hunt Urges Schwarzenegger to Raise Taxes Just Like Reagan
3. Andy Rooney Blames Bush's "Mistake" for Soldiers Dying in Iraq
4. ABC & NBC Celebrate Pope's 25th by Attacking Him from the Left
5. Brown & Franken on CNN,
Newsweek Delight in Limbaugh's Troubles
6. FNC's Hume Picks Up on ABC Dismissing Recall as "Temper Tantrum"
7. "Top Ten Pieces of Advice Gray Davis Has for Schwarzenegger"
CBS's Bob Schieffer displayed a fixation, on Sunday's Face the Nation, with getting his guests to agree that in order to fix California's problems, Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger must rescind his no tax hike pledge.
Schieffer opened his program by asking: "How can he fix the state's fiscal problems without raising taxes?" Schieffer repeatedly pressed guest David Dreier on the issue and had the same question for Leon Panetta: "Can he do this without raising taxes?"
Schieffer set up his October 12 program: "Today on Face the Nation, the Arnold election. Will recall fever spread? Last week former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California in a recall election. How can he fix the state's fiscal problems without raising taxes? And should President Bush and the rest of us bail out California? What does this election mean for the Republican Party?"
-- Schieffer's first question to David Dreier, Chairman of Schwarzenegger's transition committee: "He said throughout the campaign that he would not raise taxes. In fact, he promises to repeal the car tax. Is that an airtight promise?"
-- Schieffer's third question to Dreier: "If that's the case, if he's not going to raise taxes to pay California's bills, how is he going to come to Washington and ask for a federal bailout, because we keep hearing that's one of the things he might do, and how could anyone in the Congress possibly vote for something like that when he's not willing to do California's part? I mean, these are California's bills."
After a question to the casual shirt-wearing Senator John Burton, leader of the California Senate, Schieffer turned to Clinton's former chief-of-staff, Leon Panetta: "Can he do this without raising taxes?" Panetta: "I can't imagine how..."
A man after Schieffer's heart.
Now that they can point to him as a tax-raiser, 36 years later to some journalists Ronald Reagan has become a hero worth emulating. On CNN's Capital Gang, Al Hunt cited Reagan's precedent in raising taxes in 1967 after being elected Governor of California and urged Arnold Schwarzenegger to follow the same path.
Hunt, the Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opined on the October 11 Capital Gang:
As the October 9 CyberAlert reported, Dan Rather posed a similar question last week directly to Schwarzenegger: "The record shows that Ronald Reagan, who came to the governorship in California, saying he would not raise taxes, found a situation in which he eventually had to raise taxes by about $1 billion. Now if Ronald Reagan couldn't do it, with all of your optimism, all of your determination, your strength of will, how can you do it?"
Andy Rooney turned serious Sunday night and delivered a commentary at the end of 60 Minutes in which he lectured President Bush about how he looked "arrogant" in not showing enough respect for the UN and how "too many of our guys are dying" in Iraq because of Bush's "mistake" in not getting Un pre-approval for invading Iraq.
Rooney contended we need the UN as a check on ourselves: "We should change our attitude toward the United Nations. There has to be some power in the world superior to our own." Rooney argued that "when the President spoke at the United Nations, he came off as arrogant and it made all of us seem arrogant."
Though he conceded that the UN is "an ineffective, namby-pamby organization," Rooney, nonetheless, maintained that "we should not have attacked Iraq without the OK of the United Nations."
Rooney rued: "The President made the mistake though of deciding to attack anyway and now we have to live with that mistake. We're living with it and too many of our guys are dying with it."
Mike Wallace introduced the October 12 segment: "Tonight Andy Rooney steps out of character and takes a serious look at a serious problem."
Rooney delivered this commentary:
Sounds like he's talking about himself.
CBS has posted its transcript of this at: www.cbsnews.com
Media to the Pope: Happy anniversary, but your "conservative" and "authoritarian, antiquated view of women and sexuality" is "alienating" many. In what may well be a preview of what we can expect this week in coverage of the Pope's 25th anniversary, on Sunday both the NBC Nightly News and ABC's This Week criticized the Pope from the political left.
NBC's Dawna Friesen suggested that the Pope's conservative views mean the celebration will be "bittersweet." ABC's George Stephanopoulos contended: "Many of the Pope's critics have a hard time reconciling his outspoken championing of human rights, of human dignity with what they see as his somewhat authoritarian, antiquated view of women and sexuality." Cokie Roberts agreed: "When you go actually to the Vatican in Rome at St. Peters there's not a woman in sight around the altar, there's not a lay person in sight. And there is a sense of alienation."
On the October 12 NBC Nightly News, Friesen in Rome previewed the celebration week with a bit of a downer. After running through the Pope's deteriorating health condition, though she noted his stamina, she asserted: "For some, the celebrations will be bittersweet. The Pope's conservative views on abortion, contraception, divorce, woman priests and homosexuality have alienated many Catholics as did the sex abuse scandals involving priests. But not Mary Sadarno."
Earlier, on ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos played a collection of clips of five people commenting on the Pope's legacy, interspersed by questions from Stephanopoulos. The five: former communist dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, the Reverend Thomas Reese, identified as Editor of "America," Cokie Roberts in a fleeting return appearance to her old show, Cokie's mother, Lindy Boggs, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, and Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras.
Stephanopoulos proposed to Reese: "Many of the Pope's critics have a hard time reconciling his outspoken championing of human rights, of human dignity with what they see as his somewhat authoritarian, antiquated view of women and sexuality."
ABC next jumped to a clip of Roberts echoing Reese: "He's not a Democrat or a Republican, right. He is a person who feels strongly about life from, as the Catholic Church would say, from the moment of conception until natural death. And that means feeding the hungry and it means not having wars and the whole host of items that have to do with promoting life."
Stephanopoulos then pressed Reese only on the criticism from the left: "The Pope has held the line on women clergy and this has made many of his critics say he simply doesn't get it when it comes to women."
Roberts elaborated on that theme: "You can feel very left out when you approach an institution that is completely male-dominated and hierarchical. It's bad enough in this country where at least we have women on the altar doing readings and girls on the altar as serves. When you go actually to the Vatican in Rome at St. Peters there's not a woman in sight around the altar, there's not a lay person in sight. And there is a sense of alienation, there's no question about that. You really have to say to yourself, this is my church despite that."
Sort of like ABC's This Week after Stephanopoulos forced out Roberts.
Most of the television network stories Friday night, on Rush Limbaugh's announcement that he was addicted to pain killers and would immediately check into drug rehab, stuck to the basic facts of the story and avoided left-wing attacks on Limbaugh for supposed hypocrisy. But not CNN's Aaron Brown on Friday night or Jonathan Alter in this week's Newsweek, which both seemed to delight in Limbaugh's troubles.
Brown brought aboard NewsNight two vociferous Limbaugh critics to discuss his plight: Michael Wolff of New York magazine and left-wing ranter Al Franken, author of the mean-spirited screed, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. Brown conceded that since Limbaugh has previously criticized him, he could not deny the "permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face." Franken reveled in Limbaugh's hypocrisy in denouncing use of illegal drugs and charged: "I don't think he can do a rigorously honest show. I have listened to him enough, done enough books on him, that he is always, he's a dishonest demagogue."
In a Newsweek piece which carried the subhead, "It's been a bad year for bully-boy conservatives. Time for them to taste their own bitter medicine," Jonathan Alter concluded: "Liberals, believers in tolerance and drug treatment, treat Rush with insincere sympathy. Conservatives have the nerve to blast the liberals for playing too rough, the better to rally the faithful. The big guy himself could help the dialogue if he returns to the airwaves after rehab with a more tolerant and less vitriolic message. But then he wouldn't be Rush Limbaugh anymore."
In the cover story for this week's Newsweek, Evan Thomas argued that Limbaugh's life story "owes more to the Wizard of Oz than The Scarlet Letter. The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly."
Thomas contended that Limbaugh had "fooled" a lot of people: "Granted, Limbaugh's act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people. With his heartland pieties and scorn for 'feminazis' and 'commie-symps' like West Wing President Martin Sheen ('Martin Sheenski' to Limbaugh), he is the darling of Red State, Fly-Over America."
"Commie-Symps"? When did you last hear Limbaugh use that term?
Now, some more about CNN Friday night and this week's Newsweek:
-- CNN's NewsNight, October 10. Aaron Brown set up a segment: "Okay, here's the truth of it. Rush Limbaugh has been more than a bit unkind to me more than once. He's also been unkind to Al Franken, who in turn has been unkind to him. He's taken shots at Michael Wolff, New York magazine's media critic and Michael is hardly the retiring sort.
Franken soon alleged: "No, I don't think he can do a rigorously honest show. I have listened to him enough, done enough books on him, that he is always, he's a dishonest demagogue."
And Franken later charged: "This is a guy who has been so harsh, so mean to people who have taken drugs. Yes, I feel bad that he's addicted to whatever he's addicted to and he's going through a difficult time. And forgiveness is part of recovery. And I'd like to be able to forgive this guy. But I can't, what Michael's talking about I think is true. I don't think this guy's going to come back and actually go through the 12 steps and turn his will over to a higher power and actually work a program of rigorous honesty, because that's -- if he did, he'd have nothing. He'd have nothing left."
Wolff suggested: "If there is, if he is charged, then, even by his contract, he's off the air. The contract is null and void. He's finished. So, right now, that has to be first and foremost on his mind. How do you avoid that? And the interesting thing, is, those 20 million people, if they stay loyal to him, if I were a prosecutor in Florida, I certainly wouldn't want to provoke them. He is and remains an incredibly powerful and insidious force."
-- "Rush, to Judgment" reads the headline over the piece by Jonathan Alter in the October 20 Newsweek. The subhead: "It's been a bad year for bully-boy conservatives. Time for them to taste their own bitter medicine."
Alter outlined how Limbaugh is part of the media machine which benefits conservatives and how liberals are working on their answer to Limbaugh and FNC. Alter then observed:
For Alter's screed in full: www.msnbc.com
-- The subhead for the Newsweek cover story: "Limbaugh built an army of admirers with his hard-right rants. But off-air, he was a lonely man who may have broken the law to feed his addiction. The real Rush."
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, after noting past examples of the powerful being caught in hypocrisy, opined:
For the Thomas story in full: www.msnbc.com
You read it here first. Thursday night in his "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume picked up on an October 9 CyberAlert item about how, like Jennings had done nine years earlier with the GOP takeover of the Congress, ABC's Linda Douglass attributed Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory to a "temper tantrum" by the electorate.
Hume related: "Nine years ago, when the voters gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives for the first time in more than 40 years, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings characterized the election as a quote, 'temper tantrum,' a remark for which he would later apologize. In the Wednesday morning aftermath of the California recall election, ABC correspondent Linda Douglass reported that quote, 'Schwarzenegger acknowledged that the recall campaign was the result of a,' quote, 'statewide temper tantrum.' We have been unable to find any record of Schwarzenegger saying any such thing."
The October 9 CyberAlert revealed ABC's multi-century "temper tantrum" reasoning: What is it about ABC News personnel blaming temper tantrums when a popular revolt rejects the media's preferred candidate? In 1994, when Republicans won control of the House and Senate, Peter Jennings dismissed the meaning of that voter choice by charged that "the voters had a temper tantrum last week." And on Wednesday morning, ABC's Linda Douglass, without citing any quote to support her contention, asserted that "Schwarzenegger acknowledged that the recall campaign was the result of a statewide temper tantrum." See: www.mediaresearch.org
From the October 10 Late Show with David Letterman, as read via satellite by recalled California Governor Gray Davis, the "Top Ten Pieces of Advice Gray Davis Has for Arnold Schwarzenegger." Late Show Web page: www.cbs.com
10. "Governor, when you realize you don't know what you're doing, give me a call"
9. "Body-building oil will stain the mansion's Italian silk sofa"
8. "Listen to your constituents -- except Michael Jackson"
7. "(Sorry, joke number 7 was recalled)"
6. "To improve your approval rating, go on Leno -- when you get kicked out, go on Letterman"
5. "Study the master -- George W. Bush" (laughs) "Ah, I"m just kidding"
4. "You could solve the deficit problem by donating your salary from 'Terminator 3'"
3. "If things are bad, just yell, 'Save us, Superman!'"
2. "While giving speech, never say, 'Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara...same thing'"
1. "It's pronounced 'California'"
-- Brent Baker