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CNN's Cafferty Slams Limbaugh as 'Corpulent Oxycontin Aficionado' --1/28/2009


1. CNN's Cafferty Slams Limbaugh as 'Corpulent Oxycontin Aficionado'
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty labeled Rush Limbaugh "that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio" during his usual "Cafferty File" segment on Tuesday's Situation Room. The slam came as Cafferty launched a mild criticism of President Obama's first week in office on issues such as his reluctance to answer questions from the press, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and making an exception on his ban on lobbyists from his administration. Cafferty fretted: "And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings."

2. Olbermann: Obama 'Separating Mullah Limbaugh from the Herd'
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann branded Rush Limbaugh as the "extreme right," and made an analogy between Barack Obama talking about trying to divide jihadists from Muslim moderates during his inauguration, and the President's current efforts to isolate Limbaugh from other conservatives. Hosting Newsweek's Jonathan Alter as guest, Olbermann began: "In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he's trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?" 3)Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration "to buy merchandise with any depiction" of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people "that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations." All the Presidents going back for "generations" before Obama were "evils"? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the "lesser of two evils," but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%). Williams soon insisted "none" of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency "is about a party" since, he quite seriously maintained, "none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center." Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how "we have a dazzling family in the White House" and tout how Obama "has an enormous brain." Then, the "down the center" Williams endorsed Obama's "stimulus" plan.

3. Brian Williams: Obama 1st Non 'Choice of Evils' in 'Generations'
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration "to buy merchandise with any depiction" of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people "that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations."

4. NBC: 'Immediate Action' Needed to Stop 1,000 Yrs Global Warming
Uniquely among Monday's broadcast evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams read a short item citing a "disheartening" report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting that the world is in danger of suffering effects of global warming that will take 1,000 years to reverse unless "immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases." Williams: "The folks at NOAA ... say that if carbon dioxide continues to build up unchecked in our atmosphere, then the effects of global warming could be irreversible for more than a thousand years. That could mean severe drought in some parts of the world. Researchers conclude things are not hopeless as long as immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases."

5. Gregory Insists NBC News 'Not Influenced' by MSNBC's Hosts
In an interview with Marisa Guthrie of Broadcasting & Cable magazine, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory insisted that the on-air Chris Matthews tingles over Obama and Keith Olbermann send-Bush-to-jail Special Comments at MSNBC are not to be confused with NBC: "NBC News as an organization is not influenced by those passionate, opinionated people that we have on the air." Gregory was objecting to the notion that MSNBC's "in the tank" political coverage harms NBC's reputation for fairness.

6. McFadden: Reporters Saw Obama as 'Bright Hope in the Distance'
According to Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, during the 2008 presidential campaign "many in the media" saw Barack Obama as a "bright hope in the distance." The ABC journalist made that admission during a "Morning Media Menu" podcast interview with TV Newser editor Steve Krakauer on Tuesday. In a justifying tone, she quickly added: "It's also clear that a lot of Americans thought that." McFadden didn't explain if she felt it was the role of journalists to simply reflect public will. The discussion on Obama media bias was prompted by Krakauer's mention of the new Bernie Goldberg book on the same subject, "A Slobbering Love Affair." Defending fellow co-anchor Terry Moran, McFadden asserted: "Anyone who knows Terry and his work would say there's nothing slobbering about him. I mean, he's as tough as they come. I think he brought a very jaundiced eye to the campaign." In actuality, with a few notable exceptions, Moran frequently slobbered over Barack Obama.

7. ABC Highlights 'Brutal' Reaction to Obama's Abortion Order
Catching up on an item from Friday night, the three broadcast evening newscasts aired virtually nothing on January 23 about President Obama's executive order permitting federal funding of abortions, overturning orders signed by President Bush in his first week in office back in 2001. Both CBS and NBC's White House reporters squeezed in a single sentence about Obama's action during stories about the economic stimulus bill, while ABC's World News said nothing about the orders on Friday. But on Sunday's World News, ABC's Dan Harris highlighted conservative criticism of Obama's abortion decision, arguing that it showed how "despite his desire to reach out to people who disagree with him, the new President may find that on some issues, it may be impossible to find common ground." Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi also painted the President -- whom she said hoped "not to provoke" conservatives by banning photographs of the signing -- the victim of a "brutal" reaction from conservatives.


CNN's Cafferty Slams Limbaugh as 'Corpulent
Oxycontin Aficionado'

CNN commentator Jack Cafferty labeled Rush Limbaugh "that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio" during his usual "Cafferty File" segment on Tuesday's Situation Room. The slam came as Cafferty launched a mild criticism of President Obama's first week in office on issues such as his reluctance to answer questions from the press, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and making an exception on his ban on lobbyists from his administration. Cafferty fretted: "And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings."


[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Cafferty began his commentary, which aired nine minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, by acclaiming the apparent success of President Obama's first week in the White House: "It's been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it's been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East." He continued by focusing on how the new President has also been "learning some things along the way," and began his critique of some of the actions by the Democratic executive, which included his smear of the conservative talk show host.

CAFFERTY: For example, the White House press room is where the press is, and if you don't want the press to ask you questions, then don't go there. And if you're going to ban lobbyists from working for you, then you have to ban the one that used to lobby for Raytheon from working in the Defense Department as well. And if you're going to close Guantanamo, you have to have a plan for what to do with the inmates there. You see, a couple of them have turned up in recent al Qaeda videos. And you cannot overturn President Bush's executive order banning abortion funding for charitable groups overseas without incurring the wrath of the anti-abortionists in this country. And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings.

The CNN commentator's broadside against Limbaugh seems to come with a lack of understanding on his part, to say the least, since Cafferty himself admitted to a long struggle with alcoholism in the past. Stay classy, Jack.

For more on Cafferty, including his past struggles with alcoholism, see Time magazine's September 15, 2007 interview, "CNN's Jack Cafferty Mouths Off," at: www.time.com

The full transcript of Cafferty's "Question of the Hour" segment, along with his reading of some of the viewers responses from near the top of the 6 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday's Situation Room:

CAFFERTY: It's been exactly one week since Barack Obama became our 44th president -- what a week it's been: signing executive orders; meeting with his teams of advisers on the economy, national security, Iraq, the Middle East. He's also been meeting with lawmakers from both parties, trying to win support for that emergency stimulus package.
In addition to getting his feet wet, the new President's also learning some things along the way. For example, the White House press room is where the press is, and if you don't want the press to ask you questions, then don't go there. And if you're going to ban lobbyists from working for you, then you have to ban the one that used to lobby for Raytheon from working in the Defense Department as well. And if you're going to close Guantanamo, you have to have a plan for what to do with the inmates there. You see, a couple of them have turned up in recent al Qaeda videos. And you cannot overturn President Bush's executive order banning abortion funding for charitable groups overseas without incurring the wrath of the anti-abortionists in this country. And picking a fight with that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh -- well, that mobilizes a bunch more on the conservative right, and eventually, it will begin to bring down your approval ratings.
Nevertheless, the new President seems to be weathering it all quite well. The latest Gallup Poll, taken over the weekend, gives him a 69% job approval rating, roughly 40 points higher than his predecessor.
So here's the question: how would you rate President Obama's first week in office? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile [and] post a comment on my blog.
WOLF BLITZER: A lot of people, including his critics, are very impressed, I have to tell you, Jack, and you know that. Thanks very much.

5:52 pm EST
CAFFERTY: The question this hour is -- how would you rate President Obama's first week in office?
Andrew writes from California, "As long as President Obama continues to distance himself from the Bush administration, like he did in his first week, he will maintain his support nationally. It's too early to grade him on his performance, but I like what I see so far."
Markel in Houston: "Obama has been impressive, Congress has not. Change takes time. Obama's making his mark. He's still trying to show Congress a new, involved management style. I think our hyper-partisan Congress ought to look to the youngster for guidance on how to get along with their colleagues."
Joey in Yankee Island, New York: "Personally, I'd give him an F. He's doing all the things he thinks are politically-correct, not what the American people want. He needs to cut the pork out of the stimulus package [and] not try to get the Republicans on-board with some sort of barter. Pork is pork, and it's the taxpayers' money that they're spending. Plus, he moved a criminal into the Treasury Department."
Susan writes, "I think his first week in office has been outstanding. Reagan used to be known as the Great Communicator. I don't have a catchy phrase to describe him, but President Obama has demonstrated, through his actions and words, that he understands the basic human need to communicate and be respected by going to the State Department, to inspire that workforce that's been shabbily treated, going to the Hill to meet with the House Republicans, to granting his first interview to the Arab media -- a stroke of genius. I'm more excited than ever about his presidency and the future of our country."
Kay in West Virginia says, "I give him a solid 'D.' Comments like, 'Well, I won, so I'm going to get my way,' are in no way bipartisan; signing executive orders with so many loopholes to give himself wiggle room, like he did on Gitmo, is a complete copout. Making new lobbying rules and then immediately giving one [a] personal waiver is a reminder of the kind of thing we've seen for the last eight years. Where's the change?"
And Jeremy writes, "For a guy who has walked into hell, he seems cool as a cucumber."
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- look for yours there among hundreds of others.
BLITZER: I love our viewers, Jack. Thank you very, very much.

Olbermann: Obama 'Separating Mullah Limbaugh
from the Herd'

On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann branded Rush Limbaugh as the "extreme right," and made an analogy between Barack Obama talking about trying to divide jihadists from Muslim moderates during his inauguration, and the President's current efforts to isolate Limbaugh from other conservatives. Hosting Newsweek's Jonathan Alter as guest, Olbermann began: "In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he's trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?"

Inspiring laughter from Olbermann, Alter's opening act was to take a jab at Limbaugh's past addiction to Oxycontin in distinguishing him from the Islamic mullahs: "Yes, I do think that`s what [Obama is] doing, although the mullahs don`t send their maid out into the parking lot to score drugs for them, so I`m not sure about the comparison."


[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Alter admitted that he and Olbermann did not like the period since the mid-1990s when Limbaugh was so much in the center of politics, and argued that the conservative talk radio host is now moving to the "fringes," with the Newsweek editor opining, "which is where he belongs."

In his last question, Olbermann used the term "Reaganesque" to describe Obama's personality, but seemed to hesitate in using the term, which probably indicates a not unexpected negative view of Ronald Reagan on Olbermann's part: "If we can collectively pardon this expression, there may have been a certain, all right, Reaganesque quality in the Obama words today, it was tough talk about no longer ignoring facts, not passing the buck. So far, is the President effectively going over the heads of conservative punditry and even going over the heads of GOP leaders in trying to sell this idea and other ones?"

After Alter talked about how Obama, like Reagan, tries to talk about the big picture, Olbermann made another one of his infamous jabs at the physical appearance of conservatives, which at times have come in the form of fat jokes. Olbermann: "And we won`t make any large jokes about Mr. Limbaugh."

Last September, while discussing one of the presidential debates in which Henry Kissinger was brought up, Olbermann talked about the possibility of Obama "throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain's face," adding that doing so "is physically a tough act to do certainly."

In September of 2006, Olbermann made several fat jokes about Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, which can be found here: newsbusters.org

On January 5, Olbermann referred to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as "that one guy who always looks like he has not readjusted after somebody popped a flash bulb too close to him."

Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's interview with Jonathan Alter from the Monday, January 26, Countdown on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN: And if the Republican theme is obstruction, much of its authorship comes from the same group of conservative commentators with whom the President dined a few days before he took office, many of them now bemoaning the Obama stimulus package as all bad, all the time, like David Brooks in his column in the New York Times. "It is an unholy marriage that manages to combine the worst of each approach -- rushed short-term planning with expensive long-term fiscal impact." And the fired again Bill Kristol on "Fixed News" (Olbermann's name for Fox News), quote, "The stimulus has so much bad stuff in it they let the House Democrats get out of control in sort of writing a pork-laden bill. Politically, I think the Republicans have more room to argue for changes and ultimately vote against it." And the Washington Post's ever-happy columnist, Charles Krauthammer, telling Fox News, quote, "Look, this is one of the worst bills in galactic history. FDR left behind the Hoover Dam, and Eisenhower left behind the interstate highway system. We will leave behind, after spending $1 trillion, a dog run in the East Potomac Park."
And there are those with whom Obama did not break bread, those on the radical right like comedian Rush Limbaugh. Comedian says that, quote, "Obama's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at reestablishing eternal power for the Democratic Party rather than stimulating the economy." Wait, if it's eternal power, it never stopped and you neither need to nor you can re-establish it. There was this from the always windated Limbaugh, a "throw-him-a-bone- along-with-a-few-stones" moment today.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: -I support, I just don't support his policies. It appears he doesn't know what he's doing. He hasn't run anything in a long time, and he`s never really accomplished much.
OLBERMANN: Let's call in Newsweek's senior editor, MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter. Jon, good evening.
JONATHAN ALTER: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he's trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?
ALTER: Yes, I do think that's what he's doing, although the mullahs don't send their maid out into the parking lot to score drugs for them-
[OLBERMANN LAUGHS]
ALTER: -so I`m not sure about the comparison. But, look, Rush Limbaugh is now in the process of moving from the center of our politics for the last 15 years '€" you and I might not have liked it, but that's where he was. He was extraordinarily important in American politics -- to the fringes of our politics, which is where he belongs. That doesn't mean he loses his ratings. He'll still have his fortune, but he's no longer central to the debate. And when you have somebody like Bill Bennett saying that he was s out of line, Rush Limbaugh that is, in hoping that Barack Obama fails, that gives you some indication of how he can be marginalized. So what the President did was give that a little bit of a push, try to push Limbaugh out of the picture. And even though he gives him some more publicity in the short run, he does, as you say, separate him from the herd.
OLBERMANN: The Obama plan B, which clearly he has, to which he has clearly alluded, is that he will have enough votes to get what he wants on the stimulus package, even if he can't get the super majority that he'd get from the bipartisan support out of the Republican Party. So, is this both his backstop and his prime bargaining chip even as he is seeking bipartisanship, "Look, if you don't come along with me, here`s what it looks like when you don`t come along with me"?
ALTER: Well, I don't think he's getting into threatening anybody at this point. He's still very much in a conciliatory, generous mode, which is where he wants to be politically because the American public does like that bipartisan tone. But every Republican member of Congress knows that this stimulus package, whatever the pundits might be saying about it, is in the bag. It is going to happen. The alternative is to do nothing. We've been there. It has failed. And so, the idea of Republicans going into the midterm elections, having voted against the President taking action against the crisis, it's not going to do very well for them, even though a lot of times their base wants them to vote against this. So they will come up short, and the only question is, you know, what the numbers are. And I think what Obama will probably do is not focus too much on whether he got a super majority, focus on the fact that he'll get some Republicans and then declare it to be a bipartisan victory shortly before Valentine's Day.
OLBERMANN: If we can collectively pardon this expression, there may have been a certain, all right, Reaganesque quality in the Obama words today, it was tough talk about no longer ignoring facts, not passing the buck. So far, is the President effectively going over the heads of conservative punditry and even going over the heads of GOP leaders in trying to sell this idea and other ones? ALTER: I think he`s just starting that process. He has more some work to do in communicating with the American public that we have to move on this. But the Reagan comparison is an interesting one, Keith. Remember, during the campaign, Barack Obama got in some difficulty with Bill Clinton by saying that it was Ronald Reagan who changed what Obama called the trajectory of American politics and that Bill Clinton was not able to do that. So, in some ways, Reagan is a model for Obama in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt was a model for Ronald Reagan, even though in each case, they're on different sides of the spectrum. The idea is to think big and to play large in the theater of American politics. And that`s what Obama is aiming for.
OLBERMANN: And we won't make any large jokes about Mr. Limbaugh.
[ALTER LAUGHS]
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and MSNBC. Thank you, Jon.
ALTER: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: "We don't make these figures up," said the Pentagon spokesman. Yet, as what lingers from the Bush administration, desperately struggled to keep Guantanamo Bay open, even going so far as to theorize that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could wind up as an American citizen if we don't, it sure looks like the very figure in question: How many Gitmo detainees went home to become terrorists, anew or again? Sixty-one was, in fact, made up. We can't use 57. They already did the joke about Heinz 57 in the Manchurian Candidate. We can't use 42 '€" that`s from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Stalag 17, 21 Jump Street, all right, how about 57 plus 42, that will give us 99, and then, minus the 17 is 82, minus the 21: 61.

Brian Williams: Obama 1st Non 'Choice
of Evils' in 'Generations'

Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration "to buy merchandise with any depiction" of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people "that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations."

All the Presidents going back for "generations" before Obama were "evils"? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the "lesser of two evils," but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).

Williams soon insisted "none" of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency "is about a party" since, he quite seriously maintained, "none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center." Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how "we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture" and tout how Obama "has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man." Then, the "down the center" Williams endorsed Obama's "stimulus" plan: "If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years..."


[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Seeing the primary role of the federal government is to resolve his driving challenges in Manhattan and speed up his commute to DC, Williams contended:
"We got a Willis Avenue bridge up here in Harlem that shouldn't be anywhere in our nation. It's an embarrassment. East River Drive, West Side Highway, La Guardia airport, and then go West. The Acela high-speed train slows down to 25 miles an hour to go through a rickety, leaking old tunnel in Baltimore. That's the best rail system we've got. We can't have that. So there's no shortage of things to do from East Coast to West. If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years, that's what they're talking about in Washington."

As for the New York City roadways and bridges, they are in a city and a state controlled by liberal Democrats with big spending governments, so why aren't their roads and bridges the best in the nation?

Williams did at least resist taking Letterman's bait when Letterman blamed the "bereft" Bush administration for all the problems Obama must fix.

From the Monday, January 26 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS; closed-captioning corrected against the video by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

DAVID LETTERMAN: Paint for us the word picture about the inauguration. It was something for the ages.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: It was stunning. I happen to think it was the largest crowd ever assembled in Washington.
LETTERMAN: We're talking about three million people in the streets there at the mall.
WILLIAMS: For a public event. It was absolutely stunning. People with tears in their eyes. Dave, people lining up, and this is something I just can't wrap my arms around, to buy merchandise with any depiction -- this is a guy we just elected President. It's not a rock star or an athlete or an actor. This is our President. To see people, whatever your politics, that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations. [audience laughter] It is unbelievable to me. And, again, this is absent politics. This has to do with history and excitement. As events go, it was a stunner.

...

WILLIAMS: I'd like to say something because, you know, people were in tears on the air on Inauguration Day. My friend Juan Williams works for Fox News. It's impossible to watch the clip of Juan without crying yourself. None of this is about a party. None of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center. But we have seen an extraordinary thing that our country has just done. We have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture.

....

LETTERMAN: The symbolic import of this is not lost on anyone. But another part of the thing which is great, we actually have a guy who might be able to live up to this incredible challenge.
WILLIAMS: I think regarding temperament and training, intellectual vigor, this guy is a, is an, has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man. He's going to need everybody's help, though. When he says it's time to put away childish things, you can read all sorts of tangents in that one sentence in his inaugural address. I think it's time for eyes on the ball. As I always say, we got a Willis Avenue bridge up here in Harlem that shouldn't be anywhere in our nation. It's an embarrassment. East River Drive, West Side Highway, La Guardia airport, and then go west. The Acela high-speed train slows down to 25 miles an hour to go through a rickety, leaking old tunnel in Baltimore. That's the best rail system we've got. We can't have that. So there's no shortage of things to do from East Coast to West. If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years, that's what they're talking about in Washington. The Republicans just want accountability.

NBC: 'Immediate Action' Needed to Stop
1,000 Yrs Global Warming

Uniquely among Monday's broadcast evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams read a short item citing a "disheartening" report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting that the world is in danger of suffering effects of global warming that will take 1,000 years to reverse unless "immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases." Williams: "The folks at NOAA ... say that if carbon dioxide continues to build up unchecked in our atmosphere, then the effects of global warming could be irreversible for more than a thousand years. That could mean severe drought in some parts of the world. Researchers conclude things are not hopeless as long as immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases."


[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a complete transcript of the item from the Monday, January 26, NBC Nightly News, as read by Williams:
"Meantime, the federal government is out tonight with a disheartening finding on the environment. The folks at NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, say that if carbon dioxide continues to build up unchecked in our atmosphere, then the effects of global warming could be irreversible for more than a thousand years. That could mean severe drought in some parts of the world. Researchers conclude things are not hopeless as long as immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases."

Gregory Insists NBC News 'Not Influenced'
by MSNBC's Hosts

In an interview with Marisa Guthrie of Broadcasting & Cable magazine, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory insisted that the on-air Chris Matthews tingles over Obama and Keith Olbermann send-Bush-to-jail Special Comments at MSNBC are not to be confused with NBC: "NBC News as an organization is not influenced by those passionate, opinionated people that we have on the air." Gregory was objecting to the notion that MSNBC's "in the tank" political coverage harms NBC's reputation for fairness:

Q. Do you think the "in the tank" criticism that was leveled at MSNBC was fair? And do you think the image of the network has been resuscitated post-election?
A. We have opinionated people on MSNBC in that role in primetime. I don't think that is a systemic point of view. NBC News as an organization is not influenced by those passionate, opinionated people that we have on the air. Generally speaking people try to ascribe motives to particularly the political press. They reach these judgments through their own ideological prism. We're doing what we need to do.

SUSPEND EXCERPT


[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For the complete interview of Gregory by Guthrie, see "Q&A: David Gregory's Sunday Grill," at: www.broadcastingcable.com

It's always annoying when liberal media elites try to insist that their critics have an "ideological prism" that they completely lack. Gregory also insisted that Tim Russert's Democratic political background was an "extra qualification" and suggested the press will be tough on Team Obama, eventually:

Q. Do you ever feel that no matter how smart the question is or how well you follow it up, that Tim Russert had built-in advantages because Russert worked in the political sphere?
A. I don't agree with your premise that his credibility in the chair was about the fact that he worked in politics. His credibility was [due] to his work as a journalist and somebody who held people accountable. The fact that he worked in politics was an extra qualification. There are a lot of reasons to feel daunted succeeding Tim Russert. I don't feel daunted because I never worked in politics.
Q. How has the Obama administration handled the Washington press corps so far?
A. I think there's actually a lot they've tried to learn from the Bush team with regard to managing the press and being very disciplined. The Bush approach was to see the press as a special interest, in some ways to be dismissed. The Obama team would like to have a measure of control over the press and a little bit of distance.
Q. Critics say coverage of Obama has been rather adoring. How long do honeymoon periods last?
A. I went through that with the Bush administration where there was a period where people thought the press went too light with him. There is a period where the press is going to give [Obama] some room to get to do what he says he's going to do. And then there's time to match that up with the reality of the record. This is a period of chronicling. And look, the press is also fairly capturing a lot of the excitement about this president, about the mood of the country toward him.
Q. The administration was accused of selling the exclusive rights to Barack and Michelle's Inaugural dance to ABC News. To many, I think it flew in the face of the administration's pledge of transparency and openness. Do you think they could have possibly painted themselves into a corner?
A. They may be more transparent about how government money gets spent. There may be more of an effort to grant FOI [Freedom of Information] requests. But in terms of how they operate internally, their strategic thinking, I don't think they're going to be much different than any other administration. There are things they're going to try to keep under wraps; there are things we're going to try to shove out into the open. That's the tension between the press and the White House. We'll find out what their transparency really means.

END EXCERPT

Gregory also promised tougher times for Obama earlier on The Colbert Report. "I think the press will do a good job, I think the press will ask the right questions," he said. "I think you will see this press corps '€" I certainly will ask the same kinds of questions to this administration that I asked to the last. I think I asked tough questions of the last administration and I will do the same."

McFadden: Reporters Saw Obama as 'Bright
Hope in the Distance'

According to Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, during the 2008 presidential campaign "many in the media" saw Barack Obama as a "bright hope in the distance." The ABC journalist made that admission during a "Morning Media Menu" podcast interview with TV Newser editor Steve Krakauer on Tuesday. In a justifying tone, she quickly added: "It's also clear that a lot of Americans thought that." McFadden didn't explain if she felt it was the role of journalists to simply reflect public will.

For TV Newser's January 27 interview: www.mediabistro.com

The discussion on Obama media bias was prompted by Krakauer's mention of the new Bernie Goldberg book on the same subject, "A Slobbering Love Affair." Defending fellow co-anchor Terry Moran, McFadden asserted: "Anyone who knows Terry and his work would say there's nothing slobbering about him. I mean, he's as tough as they come. I think he brought a very jaundiced eye to the campaign." In actuality, with a few notable exceptions, Moran frequently slobbered over Barack Obama.

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On November 6, 2006, he famously gushed that Obama was "an American political phenomenon" and, perhaps hopefully, he wondered, "Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?" See a November 8, 2006 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

On January 29, 2008, Moran promised Nightline viewers a "tough" interview with the Democratic presidential candidate. That apparently included lauding Obama's ability to make "connections." The co-anchor went on to coo, "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination." See a January 31, 2008 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

After Obama's election, on the November 5, 2008 show, Moran described the victory celebration: "No one who was in Grant Park in Chicago last night will ever forget it. The jubilation. The emotion. The pride." See a November 6, 2008 NewsBusters posting for more: www.newsbusters.org

As noted earlier, there are exceptions. On February 25, 2008, Moran challenged Obama and noted that the politician was a "reliable liberal Democratic vote" in the state legislature. He pointed out that Obama supported numerous tax increases and partial birth abortion. The journalist also highlighted how often the then-state senator often voted present and Obama's relationship with convicted Chicago businessman Tony Rezko. On another occasion, Moran pressed Obama on his former preacher Jeremiah Wright. These interviews, however, were not the norm.

In McFadden's podcast interview, she knocked the John McCain campaign for being "hard to cover" and not providing access. It's not hard to see why. On September 18, 2008, Moran slammed McCain for being hypocritical. He assailed, "Make no mistake, John McCain very well may defeat Barack Obama. But to do so, has he compromised principles in the style that got him this far?" On October 13, he asked Joe Biden if the rhetoric of McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, made the senator "concerned" for "Senator Obama's safety." See a September 22, 2008 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org

And a October 14, 2008 posting: www.mrc.org

McFadden, who touted the fairness of Nightline while talking to TV Newser, also has a history of touting a Democratic presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton. On two separate occasions, starting on December 19, 2007, she asked Clinton variations on this question: "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?" See a February 4, 2008 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the relevant portions of the podcast interview follow:

11:27 into 15 minute interview
STEVE KRAKAUER: What do you think of the argument that Bernie Goldberg is making here?
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Well, you know, I haven't read the book, so I- But to the general proposition, I think, I feel I'm in the best position to comment about the way 'Nightline' covered Barack Obama. And I have to say, my colleague Terry Moran did, I believe, more interviews with Barack Obama in the course of the last year than any other journalist, extensive sit down interviews. But, I think maybe the final total was, maybe, six or seven. Anyone who knows Terry and his work would say there's nothing slobbering about him. I mean, he's as tough as they come. I think he brought a very jaundiced eye to the campaign. He's a seasoned political reporter. And I think that, at least on 'Nightline,' Barack Obama got fair but tough coverage. We tried to balance it out. I was on the Clinton campaign during the primary and think I did, probably, six or seven interview pieces with Clinton through that process. And then in the general, we worked hard to cover the McCain campaign. The McCain campaign was hard to cover. It was hard to get access to them during the general as has been widely discussed and reported. But, I think at least at our shop, we tried very hard to bring the same kind of scrutiny to Barack Obama's campaign as we did to John McCain. So, it's the broader principle. I haven't made a study out of how the media covered Barack Obama. Is it clear that- Is it clear that a lot of people in the media business thought he was a, you know, bright, bright hope in the distance? Yeah. It's also clear that a lot of Americans thought that. Were they prejudiced in his favor? You know, I don't feel I'm in a good position to answer it. I didn't- I must say, I didn't feel like there was a lot of slobbering at ABC. I thought, if anything, people were trying to bend over backwards to be tough. Certainly Jake Tapper, who covered him for us.
KRAKAUER: Right.
MCFADDEN: Nothing slobbering about Jake. So, in fact, I can't wait to ask Jake about this, actually, when we get off this. I'm calling Jake next when we get off the call here. You know, so, I don't know. I guess I'm punting on this one. I can only say from the world in which I'm inhabiting, ABC News, I don't think there was slobbering going on. I'm anxious to read the book and see what he has to say. But, you know, it's quite a title, let's say that.

ABC Highlights 'Brutal' Reaction to Obama's
Abortion Order

Catching up on an item from Friday night, the three broadcast evening newscasts aired virtually nothing on January 23 about President Obama's executive order permitting federal funding of abortions, overturning orders signed by President Bush in his first week in office back in 2001. Both CBS and NBC's White House reporters squeezed in a single sentence about Obama's action during stories about the economic stimulus bill, while ABC's World News said nothing about the orders on Friday.

But on Sunday's World News, ABC's Dan Harris highlighted conservative criticism of Obama's abortion decision, arguing that it showed how "despite his desire to reach out to people who disagree with him, the new President may find that on some issues, it may be impossible to find common ground." Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi also painted the President -- whom she said hoped "not to provoke" conservatives by banning photographs of the signing -- the victim of a "brutal" reaction from conservatives:
"At churches across the country, the good will coming from the pulpit to the President seems to be wavering....On Friday, the President signed an executive order, reversing the ban on federal funding for international organizations that facilitate abortions in other countries. The President didn't allow cameras to film the signing, hoping not to provoke anti-abortion groups....It didn't work. Reaction was fast and brutal. Family groups accused Obama of plotting the infanticide of African children. And the Christian faithful say they're now losing faith in Obama."


[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Eight years ago, however, the burden was all on George W. Bush when he revoked Bill Clinton's executive orders permitting federal funds to go to abortions. Highlights from the January 22, 2001 evening newscasts, which cast the news as a controversy needlessly instigated by Bush to appeal to his right-wing base (no one this week suggested Obama was appealing to his left-wing base with his abortion orders):

ABC's Terry Moran: "One of the President's first actions was designed to appeal to anti-abortion conservatives. The President signed an order re-instating a Reagan-era policy that prohibited federal funding of family planning groups that provided abortion counseling services overseas. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was peppered with questions about the order at his first daily briefing."

CBS's John Roberts: "The President waded into controversy on his first day. In a nod to anti-abortion groups on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he announced he'll cut federal funding to organizations that provide family planning and abortion counseling overseas. Abortion rights activists fear there's more to come."

NBC's Tom Brokaw: "We'll begin with the new President's very active day, which started on a controversial note...."
Reporter David Gregory: "On his first day of official business Bush decides to send his strongest message on the issue of abortion. 28 years to the day since the Roe v Wade decision legalized abortion, Bush today issues an executive order banning federal funding for international groups that offer abortions or abortion counseling abroad, a ban President Clinton had lifted."

For more on how the networks handled Bush's executive orders, and how their approach contrasted with their coverage of Bill Clinton in 1993, check the January 23, 2001 CyberAlert: LINK: www.mrc.org

Here's how CBS and NBC covered Obama's abortion orders on their Friday, January 23 evening newscasts:

CBS's Chip Reid: "Meanwhile, the president overturned yet another Bush administration policy today by executive order, this one on abortion, ending the ban on federal funding for international organizations that perform the procedure or do abortion counseling. But Mr. Obama continued another controversial Bush administration policy, allowing two missile strikes inside Pakistan that killed at least one al-Qaeda operative."

NBC's Savannah Guthrie: "One other note from here tonight, Brian, late this afternoon the president signed an order ending the ban on federal funding to international organizations that provide abortion services or abortion counseling. Brian, back to you."

And while ABC's World News did not mention the controversy on Friday, World News Sunday offered an entire segment about how conservatives were lambasting Obama's new policy:

DAN HARRIS: President Obama has another big fight on his hands, this one with social conservatives. Despite his desire to reach out to people who disagree with him, the new President may find that on some issues, it may be impossible to find common ground. Here's ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi.
SHARYN ALFONSI: At churches across the country, the good will coming from the pulpit to the President seems to be wavering.
LOS ANGELES ARCHBISHOP ROGER CARDINAL MAHONY: He is not on the same page as we are.
ALFONSI: The issue? Abortion. The Vatican condemned the President's policy today, calling it disappointing. On Friday, the President signed an executive order, reversing the ban on federal funding for international organizations that facilitate abortions in other countries. The President didn't allow cameras to film the signing, hoping not to provoke anti-abortion groups.
PROTESTERS: Pro-life remains alive. You don't care if women die.
ALFONSI: It didn't work. Reaction was fast and brutal. Family groups accused Obama of plotting the infanticide of African children. And the Christian faithful say they're now losing faith in Obama.
TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: I think that to the degree that the President and his administration departs from the focus on the economy and becomes entangled in these social policy issues, which he does not have consensus and support from, from the majority of Americans, I think he runs the risk of derailing his administration.
ALFONSI: Earlier this week, a decision by the FDA to approve the first human trials of embryonic stem cells intensified the divide. But that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Some conservatives are angry Obama's economic stimulus plan contains funding for contraceptives.
POLITICAL ANALYST DOUG MUZZIO: The religious right is not going away. They're going, you know, the issues are abortion, stem cells, a whole series of issues. They are going to oppose a lot of what Obama said he wants to do.
ALFONSI: And the President may upset some more people in the days ahead. He is expected to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research as early as this week. And proving he's not afraid of a fight, the President told Republicans this week they should stop listening to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh or risk a new culture war with conservative voters. Dan?
HARRIS: I know there are those who would say the culture wars never ended. Sharyn Alfonsi, thank you very much.

-- Brent Baker