2. Flashback: 'Major' Edwards Endorsement to 'Create One America'
3. Flashback: GMA Coos Over John & Elizabeth Edwards' Wendy's Visit
4. Again Friday Morning, No (D) for Incarcerated Detroit Mayor
5. On Party Labeling, FNC Credits 'Media Watchdog NewsBusters.org'
6. Neuharth: Olympics Beat Naziism & Communism, Now Ping-Pong...
7. Boston Globe Imagines 'What If?' Dukakis Won 20 Years Ago
After elevating Edwards to such heights, she asked CNN deputy political editor Paul Steinhauser to consider "all of that and this stunning admission" and speculate as to "what type of political career could this man have going forward."
Steinhauser: "I think short term, not so much...."
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The exchange took part at about 7:25am EDT on Saturday, August 9:
CO-ANCHOR MELISSA LONG: Democrats say John Edwards likely will not be taking part in their convention after admitting he had an affair and lied about it. News of his infidelity is dominating the political headlines this morning, no surprise. CNN deputy political editor Paul Steinhauser is joining us live now from Washington with the very latest on Edwards and, of course, the news from the campaign trail. Paul, nice to see you. Happy Saturday.
Trumpeting the "major endorsement" from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night [May 14] with the "dramatic" announcement of the "political prize" that gives Obama a "major boost." Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate "our top story tonight" as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: "John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two."
ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, compete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged: "Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy."
Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free.
Gibson had teased his show: "Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards." Couric had hailed "a major endorsement for Barack Obama" before asserting "Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly." On NBC, Brian Williams touted: "Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was re-posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The May 15 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Highlights from the Wednesday, May 14 ABC, CBS and NBC newscast coverage of the endorsement of Barack Obama by John Edwards:
# ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON, TEASE: Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards. Will it help Obama in his quest for support from white, working-class voters?
GIBSON LED: Good evening. We have a live picture to show you right now, from Grand Rapids, Michigan. A Barack Obama campaign rally, where John Edwards is about to take stage and endorse Barack Obama. Edwards flew to Grand Rapids, arriving moments ago. His is a major endorsement sought by both Obama and Hillary Clinton. We will go to the rally momentarily when the speaking begins.
AFTER COVERAGE OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN CHINA, A PIECE FROM DAVID WRIGHT ON THE ENDORSEMENT AND LIVE COVERAGE OF THE RALLY, GIBSON OBSERVED: Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy.
KATIE COURIC, TEASE: Tonight , a major endorsement for Barack Obama from former rival John Edwards.
COURIC LED: And good evening, everyone. Well, Hillary Clinton didn't get to enjoy her landslide win in West Virginia very long at all. Barack Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly -- John Edwards.
COURIC, AT VERY END OF NEWSCAST: And once again, our top story tonight: John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, TEASE: On the broadcast here tonight, a big endorsement this evening for Barack Obama
WILLIAMS LED: Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost. John Edwards, former North Carolina Senator, former presidential and vice presidential candidate, is endorsing Barack Obama for President. He informed Senator Clinton of his decision today by phone. Edwards got 7 percent of the vote last night in West Virginia. Interesting because he's not in the running anymore. But it does show support for him still out there, support that Obama now wants to convert in his attempt to put this race away.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America [July 31, 2007], co-hosts Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at a Wendy's fast food restaurant. Perhaps in a Freudian slip, Roberts even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Roberts: "We have a very special picture of the morning. It's an anniversary party of sorts at Wendy's. That, of course, presidential nominee John Edwards and his beautiful wife Elizabeth. 30 years. Their 30th anniversary." She recounted how Elizabeth had a "Frosty and also some chili as well. He had a cheeseburger." Sawyer gushed: "That's right. And they are going to renew their vows. Happy anniversary."
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren't quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer's 28,000 square-foot mansion once. After an admittedly tough question (from an audience member) about Edwards's $400 haircut, Sawyer observed, "...You have a big house that you're building..." However, considering that the subject matter, and that the ex-Senator received 38 minutes of air time, one would assume it would get greater prominence.
Good Morning America isn't alone in highlighting the cutesy story of the millionaire couple spending their anniversaries at Wendy's. During the 2004 campaign, Katie Couric, then a host of NBC's Today, cheerfully wondered about the dining experience. She cooed, "What do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'" See: www.mrc.org
[This was originally part of the August 1, 2007 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org ]
A transcript of the July 31 segment, which aired at 7:20am:
Robin Roberts: "We have a very special picture of the morning."
[Clip from town hall interview]
Roberts: "She got that Frosty and also some chili as well. He had a cheeseburger."
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick's arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC's Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
August 8 CyberAlert Item, "Kilpatrick Leads Democratic Group, Yet Nets Refuse to Name Party:" www.mrc.org
Ironically, NBC's Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The on-screen captioning in Allen's report identified two others who had sound bites in the report -- the judge who sent Kilpatrick to jail and a member of the Detroit city council. But in the mayor's sole sound bite, he was not identified on-screen.
Earlier this year, the Today show also neglected the party affiliation of Mayor Kilpatrick when news of his sex scandal broke. The February 1, 2008 CyberAlert recounted how co-anchor Ann Curry "forgot to note the party affiliation of the Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in her report on his recent ordeals."
February 1, 2008 CyberAlert item, "Today Show Fails to Cite Party of Democrat Caught in Sex Scandal:" www.mrc.org
The transcripts of the Good Morning America news brief and both items from the Today show:
# ABC's Good Morning America, from 7:06 am EDT:
RYAN OWENS: The Mayor of Detroit is waking up in a jail cell this morning. Kwame Kilpatrick violated his bond in a perjury case by traveling to Canada. And the mayor faces more legal trouble today. He's expected to be charged with assaulting a sheriff's deputy.
NATALIE MORALES: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent the night in jail after he violated the terms of his bail on earlier charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He admits traveling to Canada without notifying the court.
NBC's Today Show, from 8:04 am EDT
NATALIE MORALES: Detroit's embattled mayor woke up this morning behind bars after a judge sent him to jail for the night for violating his bond. NBC's Ron Allen is in Detroit with more. Ron, good morning.
You read it here first, or second. In the lead item on Friday's "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier credited the MRC's NewsBusters blog for documenting how Thursday night ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News stories, on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being sent to jail by a judge, "failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation." Baier first outlined how the AP neglected to mention his party, but "when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted" last month "the AP made his party affiliation clear" since "the article included the word 'Republican' seven times and 'GOP' four times." Baier then pointed out: "Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The cited Thursday night NewsBusters posting, "Kilpatrick Leads Democratic Group, Yet All But CBS & FNC Refuse to ID Him as (D)," which was also posted in Friday's CyberAlert, recounted:
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: "Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics..."
Making that same "rising star" point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation: "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions..."
Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate. Filling in on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle avoided Kilpatrick's party in a brief item on news of his jailing while on CNN's The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer did not note Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in several updates and plugs and, in a full story in the 5PM EDT hour, the MRC's Matthew Balan noticed, Mary Snow failed to verbally name Kilpatrick's party in her piece. The only hint came in this chyron at the bottom of the screen for barely three seconds: "MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D) DETROIT."
For the full rundown in the August 8 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Catching up with the news from Friday night, NBC Nightly News didn't report on Kilpatrick while ABC again failed to identify Kilpatrick's party. Fill-in anchor Kate Snow read this short item on the August 8 World News: "In Detroit, a court let Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick out of jail where he had been held for violating his bond. Moments later, he was arraigned on charges of assaulting a police officer. It's all related to perjury charges stemming from a civil trial last year."
The full lead "Grapevine" item on the August 8 Special Report with Brit Hume, though anchored by Bret Baier:
Earlier we told you about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick getting out of jail today. Thursday, when the Associated Press reported that he had been imprisoned for violating terms of his bond in his perjury case, the AP failed to mention his party affiliation. Kilpatrick is a Democrat. But back on July 29th, when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted, the AP made his party affiliation clear. The headline read, quote: "Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP Senator." The article included the word "Republican" seven times and "GOP" four times.
Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.
AP story on Stevens: ap.google.com
AP dispatch on Kilpatrick: ap.google.com
USA Today founder Al Neuharth suggested in his weekly column for the paper on Friday that, as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin preceded the rise of the German democracy and the 1980 Olympics in Moscow preceded Russia's move toward democracy, the Olympic games this year in Beijing "will bring 1.3 billion closer" to the end of communism. In the "Other Views" below Neuharth's column, Foundation for Defense of Democracies journalist in residence Claudia Rossett scoffed at Neuharth's naive romanticism which discounted the role of America's efforts: "Progress in Germany and Russia had nothing to do with the Olympics, and everything to do with the U.S. fighting for freedom in two global conflicts: World War II and the Cold War. America didn't win by playing ping-pong."
Neuharth had contended: "Nazi Germany hosted the Games in Berlin in 1936. Now that country is one of the world's proudest democracies. Communist Moscow was the host city in 1980. Now Russia has moved close to true democracy, although it's not quite there yet. This is not a prediction that communism will disappear from China quickly. But betcha the Olympic Games will bring 1.3 billion closer to that goal. So China and the world will win. Ping-pong might even become a global pastime."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from Neuharth's August 8 column, "Why China will win more than ping-pong"
....Some sarcastic sportswriters say the only gold medal China is sure to win is ping-pong (table tennis). That's the country's national pastime, à la baseball in the USA. It's actually a fun game to watch, because the little white ball hit with a tiny paddle travels up to 80-100 miles per hour.
Most important, China will win much more than medals. What the host and other countries get out of these Games is a closer look at one another. The good and not so good. But a better understanding. The Olympics historically have aspired to be above politics. Athlete-to-athlete and people-to-people.
Nazi Germany hosted the Games in Berlin in 1936. Now that country is one of the world's proudest democracies. Communist Moscow was the host city in 1980. Now Russia has moved close to true democracy, although it's not quite there yet.
This is not a prediction that communism will disappear from China quickly. But betcha the Olympic Games will bring 1.3 billion closer to that goal.
So China and the world will win. Ping-pong might even become a global pastime.
Other views on the Olympics
"Progress in Germany and Russia had nothing to do with the Olympics, and everything to do with the U.S. fighting for freedom in two global conflicts: World War II and the Cold War. America didn't win by playing ping-pong." -- Claudia Rossett, journalist in residence, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
END of Excerpt
For the column in full: blogs.usatoday.com
Bio for Rossett: www.defenddemocracy.org
Over a drawing of Michael Dukakis waving in front of Air Force One, the cover story for the August 3 Boston Globe Magazine posed the question very few have ever wanted answered, but if such people exist they most likely live within the Globe's home delivery area: "What If? Twenty years later, imagining there was a President Dukakis." While certainly hagiographic, staff magazine writer Charles P. Pierce avoided the ludicrous level of veneration he espoused in a 2003 profile of Senator Ted Kennedy: "If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age."
The August 3 piece imagined a tour of the new Michael Dukakis Presidential Museum and Library in Lowell, Mass. which highlights how the former Massachusetts Governor slam-dunked Bernard Shaw's murder of Kitty Dukakis question, "deftly saved" himself from the tank ride embarrassment "by quipping, 'I looked silly in a tank for 15 minutes. George Bush has been in the tank for 30 years,'" applied his diplomatic skills to prevent Saddam Hussein from invading Iraq and thus avoided the Gulf War, and "the success of his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East gave him the political capital to spend on reforming the nation's passenger-rail system" and so "the third floor of the museum is built around a central hall celebrating what Dukakis had come to call 'The Steel Interstate.'"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(Boston Globe illustrations, in the images to be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, by Josue Evilla.)
In a retrospective portion of the article looking at Dukakis's real life, Pierce portrayed the Democrat as a victim of unfair attacks during the 1988 campaign:
He was pilloried over the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and over a prisoner furlough program that had begun under his Republican predecessor. America got to know who Willie Horton was because the Republicans introduced them to each other, and the Dukakis campaign seemed incapable of fighting back. When unfounded rumors arose concerning Dukakis's mental health, then-president Ronald Reagan chimed in that he "wasn't going to pick on an invalid." Much of the campaign was so feverish that Lee Atwater, the Republican consultant who was its principal architect, apologized for it on his deathbed. After winning the Democratic nomination, Dukakis never found his feet again.
An excerpt from Pierce's pretend world in which President Dukakis served two-terms, as recounted by a look inside his presidential museum:
Early on, Dukakis had piled up a 17-point lead over Bush, but the power of incumbency began to whittle that away. Most political observers believe that Dukakis managed to recover his lead because of two pivotal moments. On a television screen on one wall of the museum, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw is shown asking Dukakis if he would support the death penalty for a criminal who had raped and murdered his wife. "If this were anyplace else and any other time, Bernie," Dukakis memorably replied, "I'd ask you to step outside for a minute." Raucous applause broke out in the studio audience.
Not far away, on another wall, was the famous photograph of Dukakis riding in a tank outside a General Dynamics plant in Michigan. The visual might have become a blunder of historic proportion had Dukakis not deftly saved the situation by quipping, "I looked silly in a tank for 15 minutes. George Bush has been in the tank for 30 years." Both incidents had worked to undermine the image of Dukakis as a bloodless technocrat and are widely credited with helping him to his narrow victory.
The second floor of the Dukakis Library is dominated by a multimedia presentation concerning the Persian Gulf Crisis of 1991. After President Dukakis cut off all aid to both sides of the Iran-Iraq conflict, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein felt his grip on power threatened. He appeared to be mobilizing his army to move south into Kuwait. Secretary of State Joseph Biden -- who'd taken the Cabinet job after reconciling with Dukakis over the role the latter's campaign had played in hanging a plagiarism charge on Biden during the primary season -- warned Hussein against such a move.
The story is now well known as to how Biden and Gary Hart, whom Dukakis had appointed a special envoy to the Middle East, enlisted the help of Republican operative James Baker to build an international coalition to resist Iraqi aggression. The United Nations passed a resolution threatening massive military action if Hussein moved into Kuwait. For two weeks, the Iraqi president fumed and dithered but, ultimately, his troops stayed in Iraq. Hussein's capitulation caused his regime to gradually become less and less stable in the face of a Kurdish independence movement in the north and a restive Shiite majority elsewhere in the country.
The success of his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East gave him the political capital to spend on reforming the nation's passenger-rail system. The third floor of the museum is built around a central hall celebrating what Dukakis had come to call "The Steel Interstate." There is a scale model of the system of regional rail networks in the middle. And the walls are full of photos in which the president, surrounded by local officials and smiling citizens, is opening yet another station.
Next to it is a picture of President Dukakis throwing out the first pitch of the 1994 World Series. Next to him is the former co-owner of the Texas Rangers who became the baseball commissioner, George W. Bush, the son of the man Dukakis had defeated in 1988 and widely regarded as the man who saved baseball from its own folly.
END of Excerpt
For the entire Sunday, August 3 story: www.boston.com
Pierce's Wed site: www.charlespierce.net
As for Pierce's claim about Kopechne and Kennedy, that won the "Ozzy Osbourne Award (for the Wackiest Comment)" in the MRC's 2004 DisHonors Awards: www.mediaresearch.org
The January 13, 2003 MRC CyberAlert item, "Kennedy Would've 'Brought Comfort' to Kopechne 'In Her Old Age,'" related:
In what Tony Snow all too accurately dubbed, in the "Below the Fold" segment on Fox News Sunday, as "the macabre political observation of the year," in a Boston Globe Magazine tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy, veteran Globe staffer Charles Pierce asserted: "If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age."
Wow. That's some rationalization.
Kopechne was the woman who drown while trapped in Kennedy's car on Chappaquiddick Island off Martha's Vineyard in 1969.
Here's the paragraph in full from the piece in the January 5 Boston Globe Magazine: "And that's the key. That's how you survive what he's survived. That's how you move forward, one step after another, even though your name is Edward Moore Kennedy. You work, always, as though your name were Edward Moore. If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age."
"Kennedy Unbound" read the headline over the profile. The fawning subhead: "After 40 years in the U.S. Senate, Edward M. Kennedy has transcended the family mythology and become his own man."
That previous CyberAlert is online here: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker