2. NBC Touts Gore's 'Return to Electoral Politics' to Endorse Obama
3. Ex-Journalist Linda Douglass: I 'Always' Had Problems with McCain
4. Williams: Afghanistan Deadlier Than Iraq,As If Iraq Not Improving
5. AP & CNN Herald Elian Gonzalez's Entrance into Young Communists
Campbell Brown, filling in for Anderson Cooper, led CNN's 10 PM EDT hour Monday evening by letting viewers in on her excitement over Al Gore's endorsement of Barack Obama earlier in the evening: "Tonight, everybody, he blew the roof off the joint. Al Gore, one of the last big-name Democrats, getting behind Barack Obama in a big way, making a speech that could have won him the White House if he'd been making this kind of speech eight years ago." In highlights of the speech CNN soon aired, Gore charged: "After eight years in which our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected, we need change!"
Turning to a panel of CNN's Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger as well as David Gergen, Brown, who jumped to CNN from NBC last year, yearned: "Do you think there is any chance that we might see an Obama-Gore ticket?" Not dampened by doubts he would want the VP slot, Brown pressed Gergen on another role for Gore and then conceded she sounded like "I want it just too badly."
BROWN: Even if it was pitched to him perhaps as an opportunity to kind of be, I think it was James Carville who suggested it, energy czar, you know, to expand the role, the traditional role of Vice President, and to make the issues that he cares most passionately about center stage for him and let him take those issues and run with it?
Gergen suggested valuable roles on behalf of Obama for both Gore and Bill Clinton: "He could be the person who renegotiates the Kyoto treaty, which expires during the first term of the next President. If he were willing to put himself forward and be anointed, in effect, during the campaign, I do think that would help the Obama campaign a lot. He could represent the United States. If you, in effect, said Bill Clinton is going to help me in the Middle East and Al Gore is going to help us deliver a climate change agreement with China and India, that would be a huge contribution to the next administration."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
From the Monday, June 16 Anderson Cooper 360:
CAMPBELL BROWN: Tonight, everybody, he blew the roof off the joint. Al Gore, one of the last big-name Democrats, getting behind Barack Obama in a big way, making a speech that could have won him the White House if he'd been making this kind of speech eight years ago. Well, now he's got the Nobel Prize and the Oscar, but does Al Gore still have political clout?
AL GORE CLIP #1: In looking back over the last eight years, I can tell you that we have already learned one important fact since the year of 2000. Take it from me: Elections matter. If you think the next appointments to our Supreme Court are important, you know that elections matter. If you live in the city of New Orleans, you know that elections matter. If you or a member of your family are serving in the active military, the National Guard or Reserves, you know that elections matter.
CAMPBELL BROWN: Gloria, like me ask you, his presence on the stage standing next to Obama will inevitably trigger VP speculation. Do you think there is any chance that we might see an Obama-Gore ticket?
Just under a year after NBC turned over more than 75 hours of air time on several of their channels to Al Gore's "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis," Monday's NBC Nightly News championed Al Gore's "major endorsement" of Barack Obama -- as if a Democratic politician backing the Democratic nominee is newsworthy. (ABC's Jake Tapper gave the then-upcoming event a sentence while the CBS Evening News didn't mention any aspect of the presidential campaign. CNN and MSNBC covered the run-up during much of the 8 PM EDT hour and went live to Gore a little past 9:00 PM EDT. FNC showed video of Gore, but stayed with Hannity & Colmes guest Karl Rove.)
With Gore's words on screen, NBC's Lee Cowan trumpeted live from the venue in Detroit: "He says he'll do whatever he can to make sure that Barack Obama gets elected President. He announced his decision today on his blog, e-mailing a very deep list of supporters telling them to get behind this ticket both with a little elbow grease and with a little money as well. 'I've never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before,' he said, 'but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action.'"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For network excitement over Gore getting a Nobel Prize, see the October 15 CyberAlert item, "ABC, CBS and NBC Hail 'Sweet Vindication' for Al Gore," online at: www.mediaresearch.org
The July 10 CyberAlert article, "Gore Thanks NBC for 'Live Earth' Coverage, Curry Urges Him to Run," recounted, with video:
Appearing with Today news reader and Dateline anchor Ann Curry during NBC's prime time coverage Saturday of Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts, Gore gave a shout out to the network for its donation to his global warming cause, as Gore told Curry: "Thanks for what NBC has been doing." Curry didn't exactly deliver a hard-hitting interview. When Gore declared the concerts "the largest global entertainment event in all of history," she congratulated him before pressing him about running for President, suggesting that "without you there will not be the political will in the White House to fight global warming."
She pleaded: "A lot of people want me to ask you tonight if you're running for President. And I know what you're answer is gonna be, believe me. I gotta ask you though. After fueling this grass roots movement, if you become convinced that without you there will not be the political will in the White House to fight global warming to the level that is required, because the clock is ticking, would you answer the call? Would you answer the call, yes or no?"
For the complete rundown: www.mediaresearch.org
The story on the Monday, June 16 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now to presidential politics and a major endorsement for Democrat Barack Obama tonight, in addition to a big defection from a former enemy camp. Our own Lee Cowan is with us tonight from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Lee, good evening.
LEE COWAN: Good evening, Brian. This isn't all entirely unexpected, but this will be Al Gore's return to electoral politics, announcing tonight that he says he'll do whatever he can to make sure that Barack Obama gets elected President. He announced his decision today on his blog, e-mailing a very deep list of supporters telling them to get behind this ticket both with a little elbow grease and with a little money as well. [text on screen] "I've never asked members of AlGore.com to contribute to a political campaign before," he said, "but this moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action."
Ex-journalist Linda Douglass, now a spokesman for Barack Obama, admitted in a piece in Monday's Washington Post that she "always" had "fundamental differences" with Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The former reporter also announced to the Post's Howard Kurtz that she believes "reporters are constantly struggling with themselves to suppress their own opinions," but Douglass personally finds working for Obama to be "really liberating." The former correspondent for both CBS and ABC denied claims of media bias by oddly citing other journalists as the best judges of her objectivity: "It was no secret to the reporters around me that I have Democratic-leaning views. But they said I was always fair."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from the June 16 article, "As Obama Aide, Reporter Dons Flack Jacket," by Howard Kurtz:
....Given her background, is Douglass, who covered John McCain's 2000 campaign, prepared to slam the presumed Republican nominee?
"I do like McCain and the people around him, and I consider him still to be a friend," she says. "But I have fundamental differences with John McCain on the issues and always have. I don't have any problem criticizing John McCain."
Describing her disagreements with the Arizona senator -- on the Iraq war, health care and the Bush tax cuts -- Douglass says: "It was no secret to the reporters around me that I have Democratic-leaning views. But they said I was always fair."
Douglass lives in Georgetown with her husband, lawyer John Phillips. He is an Obama donor, but it was she who was first intrigued by the freshman lawmaker in 2005, when she was covering the Senate for ABC. "I'd come home and say, 'This guy is really impressive. He's got an unusually calm demeanor. He's very smart and strikes me as someone with good judgment.' "
Douglass briefly offered Obama some debate advice in early 2007, while she was teaching at Harvard but before she joined National Journal. It wasn't until a 45-minute job interview with Obama last month that she decided to leave journalism for good.
"The thing that really made me feel at peace with the decision is this conversation we had about telling the truth," she says. "He wants me to tell the truth. Coming from a background in journalism as opposed to PR, that was really the thing I wanted to hear."
At first, "I was afraid I'd slip into on-one-hand/on-the-other-hand mode. I think reporters are constantly struggling with themselves to suppress their own opinions." Because she believes in Obama's message, Douglass says, "for me this is really liberating."...
END of Excerpt
Post story in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Some quotes from her years as a reporter:
Where's the Squishy Bush?
Rigid Far Right Ultra Conservative Extremists
See the May 22 CyberAlert posting for more examples: www.mrc.org
Of course, the former colleagues of Linda Douglass have not seemed fazed or surprised by her career shift. Appearing on the June 4 edition of Good Morning America, news anchor Chris Cuomo breezily introduced her: "We're going to begin with someone representing Obama, whom we know very well here at ABC News. Linda Douglass, a former, respected journalist, a longtime ABC News family member. But now Linda is an Obama campaign strategist and spokesperson." See the June 5 CyberAlert for more: www.mrc.org
NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday evening rued that Afghanistan "is too often called the other war or perhaps even the forgotten war" when "in the month of May, for the first time ever, American and allied combat deaths were higher in Afghanistan than the monthly loss in Iraq." But that's as much because of good news from Iraq, which Williams ignored, as bad news from Afghanistan. The number of U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq in May was the fewest in any month since the war began in 2003 -- a positive trend Williams, unlike his colleagues at ABC and CBS, failed to share with his viewers two weeks ago.
Back on Monday, June 2, the other networks noted how 19 died in May as a result of combat in Iraq. In the same month, total U.S. (15) and allied troop deaths in Afghanistan rose to 23, the Washington Post reported Sunday: www.washingtonpost.com
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The update from Williams on the Monday, June 16 NBC Nightly News:
The Tuesday, June 3 CyberAlert posting, "NBC Nightly News Spikes News About Fewest Troop Deaths of War," recounted:
As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that "because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind," and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.
For more: www.mrc.org
Two days after Williams skipped the news, FNC's Bill O'Reilly named Brian Williams his "pinhead" of the day for not reporting the low death level, enraging MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who made O'Reilly one of his "Worst Persons in the World" for relying on "the hilariously inept right-wing Web site NewsBusters."
The Monday, June 9 CyberAlert item, with video, "Olbermann Ridicules MRC's 'Hilariously Inept Right-Wing' Blog," reported:
Erroneously recounting a Tuesday NewsBusters post I wrote about how, unlike ABC and CBS, the NBC Nightly News did not report the lowest U.S. death level in May for any month since the war in Iraq began, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Friday night made FNC's Bill O'Reilly his "Worst Person in the World" runner-up for "picking up some of his features from the hilariously inept right-wing Web site NewsBusters." Olbermann proceeded to claim that NewsBusters had "criticized our colleague Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News for leading Monday's newscast not with the lower May casualty figures from Iraq, but with a story on how underfunded mass transit system can't keep up with increased ridership caused by the rape of the driver by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and their oil buddies."
But Olbermann is the inept one. The June 2 NB item did not scold Williams for failing to lead with the development (nor, of course, for any "rape" of drivers by Bush), but for not mentioning it at any time in his newscast: "ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News."
Derogatorily impersonating O'Reilly, Olbermann recited O'Reilly's Wednesday hit on Williams as his "pinhead" of the night. Olbermann then asked and answered about O'Reilly: "Surprised that you're a blithering sociopath cutting and pasting items from NewsBusters? No, I am not..."
For the video and more: www.mrc.org
CNN, following the same vein as the Associated Press, highlighted how Elian Gonzalez is now a member of Cuba's Young Communist League. Correspondent Shasta Darlington reported on Monday's American Morning that the newly-minted communist "vowed he would always follow the examples of Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, Cuba's new President." She also acknowledged unquestioningly Fidel Castro's "personal relationship" with the boy.
Darlington, reporting live from Havana, introduced her report by announcing that Elian took his "first step that, for a select few, lead to a bright political future in Cuba." She then gave a short summary of the custody dispute over the child eight years ago, during which she stated that "Fidel Castro himself led the ideological battle to bring Gonzalez back to Cuba and his father."
[This is adapted from two items by Matthew Balan, posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org
And: newsbusters.org ]
The CNN correspondent also ran archival video of a younger Elian, dressed in the uniform of the communist "club" for younger children, the "Jose Marti Pioneer Organization," thanking "my family and the Cuban people and Commander Fidel" for his return to Cuba.
On the issue of Castro's "personal relationship" with the 14-year-old, Darlington reported that "[t]he aging president attended the young boy's birthday on more than one occasion. At this party, he helped him blow out the candles." She then concluded, "With those credentials, for most Cubans, it comes as no surprise that Elian Gonzalez joined the ranks of those young people who [are] most committed to Fidel Castro's revolution."
American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry, on her first day back from maternal leave, then asked Darlington, "And how common is it to join this young communist organization?" She replied, "Well, it's not entirely exclusive. This year, for example, there were 18,000 young people. But then again, not everyone does it, and it does show a certain commitment to the revolution and to the party that not all youngsters have."
The same morning, one of Yahoo.com's front page news items linked to a story from the Associated Press about Elian Gonzalez's entrance into Cuba's Young Communist Union. The short uncredited story put the news this way:
The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
Now 14, Elian was 6 when Miami relatives lost their fight to keep him in the United States and he was returned to Cuba in mid-2000 with his father.
Elian had survived a boating accident off the Florida coast that killed his mother, who was attempting to get to the U.S.
Juventud Rebelde says in its Sunday edition that the boy was among 18,000 people who joined the group on Saturday.
The AP, as CBS correspondent Bob Simon did when he interviewed Elian in 2005, failed to ask the obvious question: is this something the kid really wanted to do, or does he feel like he's being used for political ends?
October 5, 2005 NewsBusters.org item on Bob Simon's 60 Minutes segment on Elian Gonzalez: newsbusters.org
Also, in the American Morning segment, neither Darlington nor Chetry asked skeptically whether Gonzalez actually had the choice to join the Young Communist League, or whether if he actually was "committed to Fidel Castro's revolution." Another key detail left out of the segment was the Clinton administration's role in sending the child back to Cuba.
While Darlington did mention that Elian's mother "was killed when a boat smuggling them to the United States flipped over," there was no mention of the conditions in the communist country that may have warranted her move to risk the journey.
-- Brent Baker