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CNN's 'Exclusive:' Nic Robertson's Forum for Hezbollah Agitprop --7/20/2006


1. CNN's 'Exclusive:' Nic Robertson's Forum for Hezbollah Agitprop
Tuesday night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson touted his "exclusive" exchange with a Hezbollah propagandist who led Robertson on a tour of a bombed-out block of southern Beirut. Hezbollah claimed to show that Israeli bombs had struck civilian areas of the city, not the terrorist group's headquarters. The Hezbollah "press officer," Hussein Nabulsi, even directed CNN's camera: "Just look. Shoot. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?" A few moments later, Nabulsi instructed CNN to videotape him as he ran up to a pile of rubble: "Shoot me. Shoot. This is here where they said Sheikh Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, is living. This is wrong!" AUDIO&VIDEO

2. Hezbollah Kills Toddler, NBC Guilts Israeli About Future Killing
On the same day that a Hezbollah rocket killed two children in Nazareth, Israel, NBC's Brian Williams visited an Israeli Defense Force artillery outpost in northern Israel and noted how the soldiers "don't think a whole lot about where these shells go" in Lebanon and laid a guilt trip on an Israeli officer by predicting how one of his shells will inevitably "kill a six-year old boy." Williams proposed to the officer: "One of these shells today or tomorrow, if we go with the law of averages, is going to kill a six-year-old boy somewhere. And it's not the intended target of one of these shells."

3. NYT Frets Over 'Asymmetry' in Death Toll for Israel v Hezbollah
Has Israel already gone too far, waged too successful of a counterattack against an incursion and double kidnapping by the terrorist group Hezbollah? As the assault on the Syria-and-Iran backed terrorist group goes on over Lebanon, the Times has taken a breath and begun to revert to its usual biases. Of four photos in Wednesday's Times, three showed images of destruction in Lebanon and Gaza City, although Hezbollah rockets continue to land in the Israeli port city of Haifa and in Nahariya. Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger fretted about "asymmetrical" death rates in his lead story, "With Israeli Use of Force, Debate Over Proportion."

4. ABC: Stem Cell Proponents 'Outraged'; Give Forum to Michael Fox
ABC News on Wednesday framed its coverage, of President Bush's veto of a bill to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, from the point of view of those upset by his decision. Charles Gibson, anchor of the newly-named World News with Charles Gibson, delivered a tease and a plug which conveyed only the view of those in favor of the bill and earlier in the day, before the veto occurred, Good Morning America featured an uncontested pleading by actor Michael Fox in favor of the taxpayer funding. Gibson teased, over video of Fox: "President Bush denies new funding for stem cell research, bringing outrage from some high-profile proponents." Before the first ad break, Gibson highlighted how Bush "vetoed expanded stem cell research and proponents are livid." GMA co-host Bill Ritter touted how "supporters believe this research could bring new hope to millions of people suffering from diseases like Parkinson's, people like actor Michael J. Fox, who spoke to us in a GMA exclusive." Viewers then saw an uninterrupted minute and 45 seconds from Fox, who lamented how "I find it frustrating that the President will use his first veto of his time in office to thwart this research. It just seems a shame to me." After the lecture, Ritter admired: "Michael J. Fox boldly in his own words."

5. Olbermann Rails at Bush for Appeasing 'Radical Right' on Cells
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann characterized President Bush's veto of a bill, to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, as "honking off" and "turning his back on" federal funding proponents "despite pleas from his own party." He also portrayed Bush's decision as "forget science, forget patients." Before the words "Appeasing the Base" were displayed on the monitor behind him, Olbermann employed a standard liberal attack accusing the "radical right" of inconsistency for being both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, charging that "there are no straight lines in the radical right's attitude towards life." The Countdown host also sympathetically declared that Democrats were "confounded by" Bush's "scientific double speak," while he mocked Bush as "confounded by exactly which rights are endowed by the Creator in the Declaration of Independence."

6. NYT Recalls Willie Horton, But Ignores NAACP's Notorious Byrd Ad
As President Bush's prepares to speak Thursday for the first time at the NAACP convention, New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney found the GOP's black outreach failing in Tuesday's "Republicans Coming Up Short in Effort to Reach Out to African-American Voters." Nagourney cited "resentment that built up over what civil rights leaders view as decades of racial politics practiced or countenanced by Republicans. One example they point to is the first President Bush's use of the escape of Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer, to portray his Democratic opponent in the 1988 election, Michael S. Dukakis, as soft on crime." But Nagourney failed to recite the NAACP's attacks on Bush, such the notorious 2000 ad which, over a images of chains behind a truck, compared Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill with James Byrd, who was murdered by being dragged behind a pick-up truck, getting "killed all over again."

7. "Top Ten Signs There's Trouble at the New York Times"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs There's Trouble at the New York Times."


CNN's 'Exclusive:' Nic Robertson's Forum
for Hezbollah Agitprop

Tuesday night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson touted his "exclusive" exchange with a Hezbollah propagandist who led Robertson on a tour of a bombed-out block of southern Beirut. Hezbollah claimed to show that Israeli bombs had struck civilian areas of the city, not the terrorist group's headquarters.


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More See & Hear the Bias

The Hezbollah "press officer," Hussein Nabulsi, even directed CNN's camera: "Just look. Shoot. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?" A few moments later, Nabulsi instructed CNN to videotape him as he ran up to a pile of rubble: "Shoot me. Shoot. This is here where they said Sheikh Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, is living. This is wrong!"

Robertson seemed to endorse Hezbollah's claims: "As we run past the rubble, we see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent of military equipment." And, while an animated Nabulsi gesticulated at what he claimed was evidence of Israel's errors and damage done to civilian sites, he quickly ended the tour after Robertson brought up how Hezbollah had killed civilians.

"Now there is jet fighters. We have to move," he instructed Robertson.

After Robertson's taped report, co-anchor John Roberts saluted his colleague: "Well, extraordinary tour that you took there today, Nic. And a lot of people here at CNN say you're very, very brave for doing it, but we expect nothing less."

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted with video Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The audio and video clips will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch a Real or Windows Media video clip of a hunk of Robertson's story, or to listen to an MP3 audio clip, go to: newsbusters.org ]

During the 1991 war with Iraq, CNN was given favored status in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as then-reporter Peter Arnett served as a willing conduit for the regime's anti-American propaganda, a role Arnett briefly reprised for MSNBC during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Does Robertson aspire to become the Peter Arnett of this conflict?

On July 18, CNN went to Robertson's taped piece at about 11:20pm EDT, after he alerted viewers to new bombing in the same area of southern Beirut:
"Tyre, the port city in the south of Lebanon, took a pounding from Israeli bombs Tuesday. Civilians were caught up in the carnage."

Robertson continued, over footage that included an injured Lebanese child: "Other Lebanese towns and villages in the south and east of the country were also targeted, and as it has every day since the bombing began last Thursday, Beirut's southern suburbs, the heartland of the Islamic guerrilla organization Hezbollah, part of which, until now, kept off-limits to outsiders."
Viewers saw Robertson in a blue shirt running amidst debris alongside the Hezbollah operative, who wore a red shirt. Robertson asked: "Where are we going now?"
Hussein Nabulsi, labeled on-screen as a "Hezbollah Press Officer": "Now we are moving to where Israeli jet fighters bombed what it called Hezbollah headquarters."
Robertson narrated: "In a reverse of recent policy, Hezbollah took CNN on an exclusive fast-paced tour of the most sensitive bomb sites."
To Nabulsi: "You are really worried about another strike here right now, yes?"
Nabulsi: "Of course, of course."
Robertson: "How dangerous is it in this area at the moment?"
Nabulsi: "It is very, very dangerous. It's -- we are now the most dangerous place in the most dangerous moment."
Robertson: "In civilian housing."
Robertson narrated: "Israel says it targets Hezbollah's leadership and military structure. Hezbollah wanted to show us civilians are being hit." At the base of a heavily-damaged multi-story concrete building, he asked Nabulsi: "What was here?"
Nabulsi gestured to the cameraman: "Just look. Shoot. It is civilians, buildings. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?"
Robertson: "Are you going to have -- go for this cease-fire? Are you have going to hand back the soldiers that they ask for?"
Nabulsi threatened: "We always teach Israel a lesson. We always teach it a lesson. Now we will teach Israel a lesson again. I tell Ehud Olmert we will not surrender. We will not surrender. We will not surrender. Dignity."
Robertson narrated: "Fearing renewed bombing, we move off again."
Nabulsi: "Okay. Hurry up. Hurry up...."
Robertson narrated: "As we run past the rubble, we see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent of military equipment."
Nabulsi: "This -- I will show you something." He gestured to the cameraman: "Shoot me. Shoot. This is here where they said Sheikh Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, is living. This is wrong."
Robertson: "This looks like a bunker-busting bomb has been used here to go down below ground level."
Nabulsi: "This was destroyed by Israeli -- the Israelis are coward. They don't come to fight us face-to-face. They come with jet fighters from high above in the sky."
Robertson: "Is that what you want them to do, fight you face-by- face?"
Nabulsi: "If they have -- if they are brave enough, face us! You know, we want you, we want to fight you face-to-face."
Robertson: "How long is this going to-"
Nabulsi, still speaking to the Israelis: "You don't dare to do it!"
Robertson narrated -- "I have more questions" -- and was shown posing his first tough question to Nabulsi: "But they say you're killing civilians."
Nabulsi pointed to the sky: "Now there is jet fighters. We have to move."
Robertson, running, talked directly to the camera: "Now we have been told we have to get out of the area. They believe that more Israeli planes are coming and that we need to get out of this area right now for our safety."
Then narrating, he pointed out: "As we leave, my questions are still unanswered. Has Israeli bombing degraded Hezbollah's military, as Israel claims? We track down a senior Hezbollah politician."
He then ran a soundbite (translated) from Dr. Ali Fayyad, Hezbollah Central Committee, who insisted that the Israeli attacks have been ineffective: "Hezbollah's infrastructure remains completely sound. What will show this to be true in the resistance continued ability to launch rockets. I can say we're still in the middle of this battle."
Robertson concluded: "A battle that in Beirut's normally densely populated southern suburbs, at least, is turning the city into a war zone."

Back live, he told co-anchor John Roberts: "I asked that politician as well if there was a possibility of a cease fire, the possibility of talks that are going on right now can bring about a comprehensive cease fire, to bring about an end to all the bloodshed and violence that's going on. He told me as it stands right now, he doesn't see that happening at all, John."

Roberts asked about Robertson's tour: "Military equipment in that area, that suburb of southern Beirut that you were going through today -- has Israel ever claimed that there was a lot of military material in there? Or were they only targeting it because it was a basically Hezbollah offices, a real stronghold for the organization?"
Robertson conceded: "You know, we don't know specifically what the Israelis were targeting when they were bombing that area. We know what their stated objectives are, which is to degrade Hezbollah's military and remove its leadership. From what we could see there, we didn't see any military type of equipment. We didn't go burrowing into all the houses. But of course, that's one of the problems. Hezbollah is an organization that grows out of the people in the community there. You know, you can have university professors going off to work during the day and coming home and being part of Hezbollah's military force. It's very difficult to find them and target them in an urban environment, John."
Roberts ended by congratulating Robertson: "Well, extraordinary tour that you took there today, Nic. And a lot of people here at CNN say you're very, very brave for doing it, but we expect nothing less. Nic Robertson in Beirut, thanks very much."

Hezbollah Kills Toddler, NBC Guilts Israeli
About Future Killing

On the same day that a Hezbollah rocket killed two children in Nazareth, Israel, NBC's Brian Williams visited an Israeli Defense Force artillery outpost in northern Israel and noted how the soldiers "don't think a whole lot about where these shells go" in Lebanon and laid a guilt trip on an Israeli officer by predicting how one of his shells will inevitably "kill a six-year old boy." Williams proposed to the officer: "One of these shells today or tomorrow, if we go with the law of averages, is going to kill a six-year-old boy somewhere. And it's not the intended target of one of these shells."

Earlier on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Richard Engel highlighted how "in Qasmiya in south Lebanon, an Israeli bomb left a crater where children were playing. Ismail lost his son today. 'They were small children. Do you see Hezbollah here?' he asked." Martin Fletcher soon related how a Hezbollah rocket "smashed into the roof of a car dealership in the Arab town of Nazareth. Two boys playing in the garden were killed instantly. They were ages three and nine."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For a July 19 NBC Nightly News piece, Williams traveled to a unit on the Israel/Lebanon border which was firing artillery shells into southern Lebanon. The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the relevant portion.

Brian Williams: "The young men here are like soldiers anywhere."
Israeli soldier: "Actually they took us from the beach and our girlfriends. We don't really want to be here."
Williams: "They dream about the outside world. They know parts of Lebanon are being pulverized by what they do. They're proud of the accuracy of their weapons, but they know that's a relative term. And they don't think a whole lot about where these shells go. After a long stretch of silence during which these guns were mostly idle, then came a sudden volley, apparently in response to intelligence on a target from a spotter in the air."
Williams to Israeli officer Darone Speelman, a native of the Detroit area who moved to Israel after college: "One of these shells today or tomorrow, if we go with the law of averages, is going to kill a six-year-old boy somewhere. And it's not the intended target of one of these shells."
Speelman replied: "I don't think there's any way to rationalize the death of a six-year-old child. I think a six-year-old child is, having children myself, is unbelievably painful. However, I know the pains, having been here for days, that we're taking not to hit civilians. However, my family's at risk right now. Israel's at risk."

The online version of the Williams story: www.msnbc.msn.com

NYT Frets Over 'Asymmetry' in Death Toll
for Israel v Hezbollah

A reprint of a Wednesday, July 19 posting, by Clay Waters, on the MRC's TimesWatch.org site:

Fretting Over "Asymmetry" in Death Toll for Israel vs. Terrorist Hezbollah

Has Israel already gone too far, waged too successful of a counterattack against an incursion and double kidnapping by the terrorist group Hezbollah? As the assault on the Syria-and-Iran backed terrorist group goes on over Lebanon, the Times has taken a breath and begun to revert to its usual biases.

Of four photos in Wednesday's Times, three showed images of destruction in Lebanon and Gaza City, although Hezbollah rockets continue to land in the Israeli port city of Haifa and in Nahariya (the Jerusalem Post, for one, has no problem finding pictures of such destruction).

Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger fretted about "asymmetrical" death rates in his lead story, "With Israeli Use of Force, Debate Over Proportion."

"The asymmetry in the reported death tolls is marked and growing: some 230 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians, to 25 Israeli dead, 13 of them civilians. In Gaza, one Israel soldier has died from his own army's fire, and 103 Palestinians have been killed, 70 percent of them militants. "The cold figures, combined with Israeli air attacks on civilian infrastructure like power plants, electricity transformers, airports, bridges, highways and government buildings, have led to accusations by France and the European Union, echoed by some nongovernmental organizations, that Israel is guilty of 'disproportionate use of force' in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and of 'collective punishment' of the civilian populations."

There's an echo there of an infamous comment by the late NBC newsman John Chancellor on the March 12, 1992 Nightly News, after the first Iraq war, when he seemed embarrassed that more American soldiers hadn't been killed: "Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing."

Erlanger did let Israelis provide context: "Israel has heard these arguments before. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, 'Proportionality is not compared to the event, but to the threat, and the threat is bigger and wider than the captured soldiers.' "Israel is confronting a regional threat, she and the government argue, which begins with Iran and Syria and their proxy, Hezbollah, and stretches to the radical Islamic Palestinian group Hamas. "Nor does Israel deliberately single out civilians, she argued, as Hezbollah and Hamas do through rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Intent matters, she said. "But in Gaza and Lebanon, civilians are inevitably harmed when militants hide among them. And in Lebanon, she said, some of the dead may be civilians associated with Hezbollah, assisting it or storing its rockets....'When you go to sleep with a missile,' she said, 'you might find yourself waking up to another kind of missile.' Those arguments leave Lebanese and Gazans cold."

Erlanger wouldn't let it go: "Referring to complaints that Israel was using disproportionate force, Dan Gillerman, Israel's United Nations ambassador, said at a rally of supporters in New York this week, 'You're damn right we are.' "'If your cities were shelled the way ours were,' he said, addressing critics, 'you would use much more force than we are or we ever will.' "Raji Sourani, a Gazan lawyer who founded and directs the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, is running out of patience."

Wednesday's front-page story by Helene Cooper and Steven Erlanger, "Officials Expect Visit by Rice, but Not Yet," relied heavily on unchallenged rhetoric from Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who blamed the "international community" for not stopping Israel's counteroffensive.

"In the interview, Mr. Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, said that he favored a release of the two Israeli soldiers. But he coupled that call with other requirements. Any solution to the crisis, he said, should include Israel's withdrawal from the disputed Shebaa Farms area of the border, the release of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails and a return to the terms of the 1949 armistice between the two countries."

Cooper and Erlanger should know that even the United Nations admits Israel has left the Shebaa Farms area -- Lebanon's Syria-controlled government claims that Israel hasn't just to keep Hezbollah anger stoked.

END of Reprint from TimesWatch.

For the posted version on TimesWatch, with links: www.timeswatch.org

For daily TimesWatch postings, go to: www.timeswatch.org

To subscribe to the daily TimesWatch Tracker e-mail: www.timeswatch.org

ABC: Stem Cell Proponents 'Outraged';
Give Forum to Michael Fox

ABC News on Wednesday framed its coverage, of President Bush's veto of a bill to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, from the point of view of those upset by his decision. Charles Gibson, anchor of the newly-named World News with Charles Gibson, delivered a tease and a plug which conveyed only the view of those in favor of the bill and earlier in the day, before the veto occurred, Good Morning America featured an uncontested pleading by actor Michael Fox in favor of the taxpayer funding.

Gibson teased, over video of Fox: "President Bush denies new funding for stem cell research, bringing outrage from some high-profile proponents." Before the first ad break, Gibson highlighted how Bush "vetoed expanded stem cell research and proponents are livid." GMA co-host Bill Ritter touted how "supporters believe this research could bring new hope to millions of people suffering from diseases like Parkinson's, people like actor Michael J. Fox, who spoke to us in a GMA exclusive." Viewers then saw an uninterrupted minute and 45 seconds from Fox, who lamented how "I find it frustrating that the President will use his first veto of his time in office to thwart this research. It just seems a shame to me." After the lecture, Ritter admired: "Michael J. Fox boldly in his own words."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Gibson anchored the July 19 World News with Charles Gibson from Larnaca, Cyprus.

After opening with, as quoted above, "outrage from some high-profile proponents," Gibson's provided this plug before the first ad break: "When we return, the day's other news, including a veto by President Bush -- his first in five-and-a-half years in office. He vetoed expanded stem cell research and proponents are livid."

Gibson's introduction to the eventual story: "President Bush did something today that he has not done since taking office. He issued his first veto, rejecting legislation to expand federal funding of research on stem cells from embryos. Scientists say the research could produce treatments for so many diseases, but the President said the research would violate the dignity of human life."

Reporter Jake Tapper's story was much more balanced that Gibson's plugs. Tapper began with Bush's comments and the kids at the White House born from adopted embryos, before getting to supporters, including a clip of Fox.

In the second half-hour of the July 19 Good Morning America, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, co-host Bill Ritter set up Fox:
"Now to the debate over stem cell research. And later today President Bush is expected to veto a Senate bill that would expand federal support for stem cell research. If he does veto it, this will be the first time the President has vetoed a bill and it comes just as the debate over stem cell research is reaching a fevered pitch. Supporters believe this research could bring new hope to millions of people suffering from diseases like Parkinson's, people like actor Michael J. Fox, who spoke to us in a GMA exclusive."

Viewers then saw 1:45 taped talk from Fox sitting in a chair in a living room setting:
"Personally, you know, I'd love to see these things solved in the next 20 years. Personally, I regret the loss of six years and five years where real progress could have been made. And I find it frustrating that the President will use his first veto of his time in office to thwart this research. It just seems a shame to me.
"I'm certainly respectful of those who oppose this research and their reasoning for it, but they do represent a minority and I think, I think that to make a choice to protect millions of cells that are going to be destroyed over protecting millions of living and soon to be living human beings and citizens of this country is, it's hard to get around that. I mean, I can't quite understand the reasoning behind it.
"People really want this and they've considered it and they've prayed on it and they've thought about it and I think you have to trust the American people, our scientists, our institutions, our facilities to really do the right thing and lead the way with this because it's going to happen anyway. So why doesn't it happen with American oversight and federal funding and with the enthusiastic and well thought out approach.
"Since when does America wait for somebody else to figure it out? I mean, we should figure it out. We've been blessed with resources and the intelligence and the spirit and the energy to tackle these kind of problems and we're all set to do it and we need leadership from the top to spur us on to do it. And if I can add my voice to it and for whatever reason get a little more attention, then I'm happy to do that. I see it as a responsibility and a privilege."

Ritter then opined: "Michael J. Fox boldly in his own words."

Olbermann Rails at Bush for Appeasing
'Radical Right' on Cells

On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann characterized President Bush's veto of a bill, to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, as "honking off" and "turning his back on" federal funding proponents "despite pleas from his own party." He also portrayed Bush's decision as "forget science, forget patients." Before the words "Appeasing the Base" were displayed on the monitor behind him, Olbermann employed a standard liberal attack accusing the "radical right" of inconsistency for being both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, charging that "there are no straight lines in the radical right's attitude towards life." The Countdown host also sympathetically declared that Democrats were "confounded by" Bush's "scientific double speak," while he mocked Bush as "confounded by exactly which rights are endowed by the Creator in the Declaration of Independence."

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

After mentioning the segment in the opening teaser, Olbermann gave four additional plugs, during which he used such loaded language as "despite pleas from his own party," as he called the veto a "hard stance" and "a setback for stem cell research." In one plug, he portrayed Bush as ignoring "science" and "patients" while "turning his back on members of his own party." Olbermann: "Forget scientists, forget patients. President Bush turns his back on members of his own party, vetoing more federal funds for stem cell research. Could there be lasting political damage from that decision?"

Olbermann began the segment by mocking the logic of the "radical right" being both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty. The Countdown host, who neglected to mention that conservatives support federal funding of research that uses adult stem cells, shook his head in disapproval after he relayed the refusal of many conservatives to change their minds on embryonic stem cells in spite of Ronald Reagan's illness: "If the shortest distance between two points is still a straight line, and we only have the scientists' word for that, there are no straight lines in the radical right's attitude towards life. Anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, against converting stem cells that would otherwise be thrown away that might have been used to alleviate the suffering of one of their political patron saints, Ronald Reagan."

Accusing conservatives of "waving the democracy banner," the Countdown host cited polls that "suggest support as high as 72 percent for that which President Bush vetoed today." Before showing clips of President Bush and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer discussing the veto, while the words "Political Science" were displayed at the bottom of the screen, Olbermann sympathetically portrayed Democrats as "confounded" by Bush's "scientific double speak," and mocked Bush as "confounded" in his understanding of the Declaration of Independence: "Democrats confounded by the scientific double speak. Mr. Bush appearing to be confounded by exactly which rights are endowed by the Creator in the Declaration of Independence."

After bringing aboard Dana Milbank of the Washington Post to further discuss the issue, Olbermann's first question portrayed Bush as "honking off" Republicans who support the expansion of federal funding: "What's the benefit here for the President? If stem cell research is not even really a wedge issue, if three-quarters or more of the American public is supporting research like this, Nancy Reagan supports it, Senator Orrin Hatch supports it, 50 House Republicans, what's the upside of honking all of them off?"

Olbermann also painted other bills that were signed by the President, such as one that "banned aborting an implanted embryo just to get the stem cells," as "bordering not merely on firing up the base, but almost on hysteria." Olbermann: "Could they make some mileage out of the two things that the President did sign today? One of these bills banned aborting an implanted embryo just to get the stem cells, which is something apparently no scientist is talking about doing. I mean, there might be a few murderers and ghouls out there, but those things seem to be bordering not merely on firing up the base, but almost on hysteria."

Milbank contended that the other bills were a "smokescreen," and, in discussing the political implications of embryonic stem cell policy for the midterm elections, Milbank declared the issue "a sleeper issue" that is "the same thing that gay marriage really was for the Republicans."

For a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday July 19 Countdown, check the NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org

NYT Recalls Willie Horton, But Ignores
NAACP's Notorious Byrd Ad

A reprint of a Wednesday, July 19 posting, by Clay Waters, on the MRC's TimesWatch.org site:

Bush and the NAACP -- Bring Up Willie Horton, Ignore NAACP's Notorious James Byrd Ad

As President Bush's prepares to speak Thursday for the first time at the NAACP convention, political reporter Adam Nagourney found the GOP's black outreach failing in Tuesday's "Republicans Coming Up Short in Effort to Reach Out to African-American Voters."

"There has been no end to speculation about what the party was up to. Was it simply a ploy to improve the party's image with moderate white voters? Did the White House see an opportunity to make small though significant changes in the American political system by pulling even a relative few black voters into its corner in important states like Ohio? (Yes, and yes.)

"But as Mr. Bush is tentatively scheduled to speak at the N.A.A.C.P. convention in Washington this week -- after five years of declining to appear before an organization with which he has had tense relations -- it seems fair to say that whatever the motivation, the effort has faltered.

"Mr. Mehlman's much-publicized apology to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People seems to have done little to address the resentment that built up over what civil rights leaders view as decades of racial politics practiced or countenanced by Republicans. One example they point to is the first President Bush's use of the escape of Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer, to portray his Democratic opponent in the 1988 election, Michael S. Dukakis, as soft on crime.

"That perception of Republicans as insensitive to racial issues was fed again by the opposition mounted by some House conservatives to an extension of the Voting Rights Act. The House approved the extension last week."

The racism of the Willie Horton ad is a comforting liberal myth. The official Bush ad was a generic ad that never even showed Horton's face. (That was another, independently produced ad.) And it was none other than Al Gore, in the 1988 Democratic primary, who first raised the issue of Dukakis' wacky furlough program for murderers.

But while pondering whether Republican outreach to groups like the N.A.A.C.P. has been adequate, and listing alleged GOP failures in that regard, Nagourney makes no mention of the nasty vitriol about Bush coming from the N.A.A.C.P. itself. Julian Bond, chairman of the organization's governing board, accused Bush in 2001 of reaching into "the Taliban wing of American politics" to fill his administration and of appeasing "the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."

And then there was the notorious ad from the NAACP Voter Fund from 2000, comparing then Gov. Bush's refusal to endorse hate-crime legislation in Texas as equal to the brutal murder by dragging of James Byrd in 1998.

On October 24, 2000, the Fox News Channel ran a clip (available here in RealPlayer format) featuring the NAACP's inflammatory ad.

Perhaps "outreach" goes both ways.

END of Reprint from TimesWatch.

For the posted version on TimesWatch, with links and the Real clip of FNC's airing of the vicious 2000 ad which compared Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill with Byrd getting "killed all over again," go to: www.timeswatch.org

For daily TimesWatch postings, go to: www.timeswatch.org

To subscribe to the daily TimesWatch Tracker e-mail: www.timeswatch.org

"Top Ten Signs There's Trouble at the
New York Times"

From the July 19 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by the announcement the New York Times will reduce the size of its pages in order to save money, the "Top Ten Signs There's Trouble at the New York Times." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Extensive coverage of recent fighting between the Israelis and the lesbians

9. Pages 2 through 20 are corrections of previous edition

8. Every sentence begins, "So, like"

7. TV listings only for Zorro

6. Weather forecast reads "Look outside, dumbass"

5. Multiple references to "President Gore"

4. Obituary includes list of people they wish were dead

3. Headlines fold over to create surprise Mad magazine-type hidden message

2. Restaurant critic recently gave IHOP four stars

1. Reporting that Oprah isn't gay, but Letterman is


Numbers 9 and 5 aren't far off from what you sense should be and they wish would be.

-- Brent Baker