CNN's New Chief Defended CBS on Forgery Charge, Aided Gumbel --11/23/2004


1. CNN's New Chief Defended CBS on Forgery Charge, Aided Gumbel
Jonathan Klein, named President of CNN/U.S. on Monday, in September on FNC praised Mary Mapes, the producer of the CBS story which used forged documents in a political hit against President Bush, as "absolutely peerless, I'd say, in the profession. She is a crack journalist," insisted that 60 Minutes, which it turned out got the forgeries from a well-known Bush-hater, is "probably the most careful news organization, certainly on television when it comes to the vetting sources" and denigrated bloggers who uncovered CBS's misdeed as he ludicrously defended CBS's standards: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks." In 1996-98 Klein served as Executive Vice President of CBS News and in February of 1998 took over as Executive Producer of the failing Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel prime time show a month before Gumbel lashed out at Kathleen Willey and Linda Tripp.

2. ABC Graphic Goof: "300,000-500,000 More Soldiers Needed in Iraq"
Oops. ABC only off by 297,000 to 495,000 in the net number of additional troops slated to be deployed to Iraq. As ABC anchor Peter Jennings led Monday's World News Tonight by reporting how "U.S. commanders are telling us that they are going to need three to five thousand more soldiers before the Iraqi elections in January," ABC's on-screen graphic declared, "U.S. Commanders: 300,000-500,000 more U.S. soldiers needed in Iraq before January." That would be quite feat given there are only 138,000 there now.

3. Newsweek's Alter Praises Clinton for Addressing Raunchy TV
This week's Newsweek magazine rewarded the ABC "Monday Night Football" publicity stunt by putting the ABC prime-time soap Desperate Housewives on the cover, "Mad About Housewives!", lauding the show as "smart...delicious...delightful." (But the show's critics didn't get a quote.) In a related column, Jonathan Alter argued that the whole mess is suffused in hypocrisy, save for one man: Bill Clinton, who in his White House years "was trying to think a way out of the problem of raunchy television, which beats heedless snickering or pious outrage when the towel drops to the locker-room floor."

4. Canadian Journalists Enraged that FNC is Coming to Canada
You think liberal bias is bad in the U.S., people in Canada have it a lot worse. The decision late last week by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow the Fox News Channel to be distributed on digital cable and satellite, enraged Canadian journalists. "CRTC likely to approve abrasive Fox News," read a front page headline in the national Globe and Mail newspaper. The lead sentence of the supposed news story: "Fox News, the Canada-baiting house organ of the U.S. right, will come to Canadian digital television next year..." For good measure, the paper added that FNC is "often called 'the unofficial official voice of the Bush administration.'" The Toronto Star headline over a column by Antonia Zerbisias: "Misinformation station OK'd at last."


CNN's New Chief Defended CBS on Forgery
Charge, Aided Gumbel

Jonathan Klein, named President of CNN/U.S. on Monday, in September on FNC praised Mary Mapes, the producer of the CBS story which used forged documents in a political hit against President Bush, as "absolutely peerless, I'd say, in the profession. She is a crack journalist," insisted that 60 Minutes, which it turned out got the forgeries from a well-known Bush-hater, is "probably the most careful news organization, certainly on television when it comes to the vetting sources" and denigrated bloggers who uncovered CBS's misdeed as he ludicrously defended CBS's standards: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks."

Former CBS News Executive Jonathan Klein In 1996-98 Klein served as Executive Vice President of CBS News and in February of 1998 took over as Executive Producer of the failing Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel prime time show a month before Gumbel lashed out at Kathleen Willey and Linda Tripp for daring to take on President Clinton. On March 17, 1998, Gumbel highlighted how "an attorney who is suing Willey levels troubling charges that she may have falsified her account of her meeting with the President." Gumbel also derided Tripp as "a Clinton-basher who seems to be at every ugly turn in this controversy." Gumbel asked a left-wing journalist, Jane Mayer, who had written a derogatory profile of Tripp: "You write that co-workers often viewed her as an inveterate busybody. Has she always been a snoop and a gossip with a particular interest in other people's romantic lives?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

After leaving CBS News, Klein founded FeedRoom.com, a streaming video service.

With its hiring of Klein, CNN, which has a prime time line-up that is falling further behind FNC, continued its musical chairs of top executives. The AP noted on Monday: "When he moves into his new New York office next month, Klein will become the eighth executive to hold one of the top two slots at CNN since Fox News began in 1996. During that time, Roger Ailes has remained as Fox's unquestioned boss." For the AP story in full: news.yahoo.com

For a picture of Klein: story.news.yahoo.com

The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes pointed out on Tuesday: "Holding down one of the top jobs at CNN has been kind of like being a contestant on The Apprentice pretty much since the competing Fox News Channel hit the scene in the late 1990s. Eight different suits have warmed the top two seats at CNN since then -- five of them in this job alone: Rick Kaplan, Sid Bedingfield, Teya Ryan, [Princell] Hair and now Klein." For the entirety of the November 23 Post story, with a photo of Klein: www.washingtonpost.com

In Tuesday's New York Times, Bill Carter observed: "Mr. Hair, who was given another position at the network yesterday, had been in the job only since September 2003. The top job at the domestic network has turned over five times since 2000 and the job of heading all of CNN has changed hands three times in that span." For Carter's article in full, with a picture of Klein: www.nytimes.com

Two nights after the September 8 CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes used the forged memos in the hit job on Bush's National Guard service, Klein came aboard the Friday, September 10 O'Reilly Factor on FNC, hosted by Tony Snow, to defend CBS News. He appeared in-studio in New York City. Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard, who had just written an article about how document experts suspected a fraud, checked in via satellite from Washington, DC.

The relevant portion of the session:

Jonathan Klein: "I have a lot of faith in the producer of this segment only because I worked with her for a long time. And she is absolutely peerless, I'd say, in the profession. She is a crack journalist. And in this case, she's the same producer who broke the Abu Ghraib story. And at the time, there was a big flurry of, you know, a lot of attempts to discredit that story. And it turned out to be even bigger than the story they originally broke. But in this case, she's worked on this story for four years. I mean, this is a multiple Emmy winning producer-"
Tony Snow: "But if you've worked on this for four years, you're thinking, you know, I've got something here. And if you worked for four years, you're going to want to make it work. Again, in talking to Gary Killian -- one of the things he said in this conversation with her is I've got the names of some people who can directly contradict this, who have worked with my father. They were his superiors. They knew the President. And she said I don't know, you know, I've got to find out if they're Bush supporters. Again, is that the kind of question you'd really ask when you're doing something like this?"
Klein: "Oh, it speaks to the care that they take to validate sources of all kinds. They're not going to just throw somebody on the air just because they say something. It's a real integral part of the 60 Minutes process. They are probably the most careful news organization, certainly on television when it comes to the vetting sources."
Snow: "But they put Ben Barnes on the air. And he's working for John Kerry."
Klein: "But they disclose things. You know, they disclose stuff like that. And they vet people's veracity. And they have multiple checks and balances in the process to make sure that not too much slips by. Now they're human. They could make mistakes, but it's not going to be by forgetting to call the sources that the [unintelligible] gave them."
Snow: "Because the point on CBS -- 60 Minutes got burned by a forged document case in the late 1990's and ended up having to pay some money for it. It was the border patrol."
Klein: "Well, their track record over 35 years is just about pristine. They have the best record of just about anybody."
Snow: "Steve, one of the interesting developments here is that this story has come to light in part because of people like you writing online for The Weekly Standard, a series of Web logs, including PowerLine and others, which seem to be driving the story. Talk a little bit about the role of new journalism in this."
Hayes: "Well, I think it's an important moment. You know, it remains to be seen whether these things are forgeries. Certainly there are many, many, many valid questions that have been raised by document authentication experts. But the people who really called this to light are these Web loggers, who you know, basically said some of this doesn't smell right. I want to raise these questions in a public way and let the people who really know how to deal with these issues answer the questions. I think that's what they did and they-"
Klein, cut in over Hayes: "In contrast to 60 Minutes, bloggers have no checks and balances and you couldn't, I agree, it's an important moment because you couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks."

Reminds me of what Aaron Brown does most nights.

The night Klein defended CBS and disparaged bloggers, Dan Rather remained in full denial. As recounted in the Saturday, September 11 CyberAlert:
Dan Rather, on Friday's CBS Evening News, spent nearly six minutes defending his Wednesday 60 Minutes story which used 32-year-old memos to impugn President Bush, documents which have come under wide suspicion of being forgeries. But instead of addressing those concerns, Rather stonewalled as he employed loaded language to reiterate the charges about supposed Bush misdeeds and put them in the worst possible light, denigrated his critics as "partisan political operatives" even though many mainstream media outlets have featured experts who concluded the memos are fakes, including NBC News and CNN, distorted the issue of whether typewriters could do superscript in 1972, discounted the charge that the font used wasn't available on typewriters in the early 1970s by making the irrelevant point that the font was invented in 1931, ignored other font/spacing/kerning issues which have led experts to decide the memos are fakes, and he concluded by having a Bush-bashing author assert the White House was letting the "blogosphere" undermine charges they know are true. See: www.mediaresearch.org

ABC Graphic Goof: "300,000-500,000 More
Soldiers Needed in Iraq"

ABC's on-screen graphic Oops. ABC only off by 297,000 to 495,000 in the net number of additional troops slated to be deployed to Iraq. As ABC anchor Peter Jennings led Monday's World News Tonight by reporting how "U.S. commanders are telling us that they are going to need three to five thousand more soldiers before the Iraqi elections in January," ABC's on-screen graphic declared, "U.S. Commanders: 300,000-500,000 more U.S. soldiers needed in Iraq before January." That would be quite feat given there are only 138,000 there now.

Neither Jennings nor reporter Martha Raddatz noted the error in the graphic, though before the last story of the night, Jennings repeated his lead, this time over a graphic with the correct "3,000-5,000" numbers on screen: "Senior U.S. commanders in Iraq tell ABC's tonight they're going to request three to five thousand more troops in advance of elections..."

Jennings opened the November 22 newscast: "Good evening, everyone. Ever since the war began in Iraq there has been a debate, often very heated, about how many soldiers would be needed to win. Or get an independent Iraqi government fully on its feet. [inaccurate graphic displayed on screen] Tonight, U.S. commanders are telling us that they are going to need three to five thousand more soldiers before the Iraqi elections in January. There are 138,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq tonight. ABC's Martha Raddatz reports from the Pentagon, on why commanders say they need the help."

Raddatz explained: "The most difficult problem -- where to find additional U.S. troops. The military already announced that 6,500 soldiers will have to stay in Iraq an extra two months because of the upcoming elections. To get 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers on top of that, commanders are looking at three options. First, extend even more soldiers who were scheduled to come home in January. Second, send in the 3rd infantry division earlier than its scheduled January arrival. Third, and most likely, deploy part of the 82nd airborne division, which is currently on what is called 'emergency standby' in the U.S."

To see ABC's graphic goof, go to the posted version of this CyberAlert item where the MRC's Mez Djouadi will place it.

Newsweek's Alter Praises Clinton for
Addressing Raunchy TV

This week's Newsweek magazine rewarded the ABC "Monday Night Football" publicity stunt by putting the ABC prime-time soap Desperate Housewives on the cover, "Mad About Housewives!", lauding the show as "smart...delicious...delightful." (But the show's critics didn't get a quote.) In a related column, Jonathan Alter argued that the whole mess is suffused in hypocrisy, save for one man: Bill Clinton, who in his White House years "was trying to think a way out of the problem of raunchy television, which beats heedless snickering or pious outrage when the towel drops to the locker-room floor."

[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]

ABC claimed it was sorry for having Desperate Housewives actress Nicolette Sheridan drop her towel on national TV and many parents were appalled, but you can't argue with the bumper crop of publicity from liberal media outlets. Newsweek's cover story by Marc Peyser and David Jefferson was headlined: "America is feeling 'Desperate.' How did a racy series about fortysomething housewives take over pop culture -- and what took it so long?" As they lauded the show ("smart...delicious...delightful") and described the show's creator, Marc Cherry, as a "somewhat conservative gay Republican," no one critical of the show was quoted.

For Newsweek's November 29 issue cover story: Story: www.msnbc.msn.com

But Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter turned the whole Desperate Houswives controversy into another reason to laud the political acumen of Bill Clinton. While everyone else in this argument is somehow suffused in hypocrisy -- from the networks to the NFL to the critics armed with "pious outrage" -- Clinton is the only sincere figure "thinking a way out of the problem."

In a column titled, "A Shabby Fiesta of Hypocrisy," Alter explained that John Kerry missed what Clinton mastered. He wrapped up the column:
"But if only a tiny number are highly offended by raunchy TV, millions are mildly or somewhat offended. And those millions vote. They want to know that the President is on their side in the ever-worsening battle between parents and popular culture for the attention of their children. John Kerry talked about 'values' in the abstract but he never quite got the point. If he had, he would have risked the taunts of Blue State sophisticates and denounced Janet Jackson's Super Bowl 'wardrobe malfunction,' or otherwise signaled that he sympathized with those trying to raise kids amid today's cultural garbage.
"Bill Clinton understood this. In the years before he, Ken Starr and Tom DeLay familiarized American middle schoolers with oral sex, Clinton was always looking for 'third way' remedies for 'values' issues, from advocating school uniforms to pushing V-chip technology, which lets parents block objectionable programming. The V-chip is now a reality in every new TV -- though the reality is that almost no one uses it. (And it doesn't work for live programs.) But at least Clinton was trying to think his way out of the problem of raunchy television, which beats heedless snickering or pious outrage when the towel drops to the locker-room floor."

Alter didn't explain how the V-chip is "a way out of the problem" when "almost no one uses it," leaving the obvious question: was Clinton thinking about ending the cultural problem, or merely about calibrating his own political posture?

For Alter's column: www.msnbc.msn.com

Canadian Journalists Enraged that FNC
is Coming to Canada

You think liberal bias is bad in the U.S., people in Canada have it a lot worse. The decision late last week by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to allow the Fox News Channel to be distributed on digital cable and satellite, enraged Canadian journalists. "CRTC likely to approve abrasive Fox News," read a front page headline in the national Globe and Mail newspaper. The lead sentence of the supposed news story: "Fox News, the Canada-baiting house organ of the U.S. right, will come to Canadian digital television next year..." For good measure, the paper added that FNC is "often called 'the unofficial official voice of the Bush administration.'" A CTV.ca story on the Web site of the Canadian TV network, repeated the "unofficial official" Bush line and referred to FNC as "the right-wing, all-news channel."

"Misinformation station OK'd at last," announced a Toronto Star headline over a column by Antonia Zerbisias who sarcastically asserted that with FNC "Canadians might finally understand why so many of its American fans are convinced that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, that Saddam and Al Qaeda were linked, and that the world approved of the U.S.'s attack on the country."

The entire Big Brother power of Canada's CRTC is alien to U.S. residents where no such government agency has the power to say which channel a cable system can carry and, in fact, across the north of the U.S., from Maine to Washington, cable systems have long carried Canada's CBC.

James Taranto, in his "Best of the Web" column on Friday for OpinionJournal.com, highlighted the Globe and Mail's take which prompted me to find additional coverage.

For the CTV.ca story: www.ctv.ca

Excerpts from the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star articles:

-- Globe & Mail, November 18 front page "news story" by James Adams:

CRTC likely to approve abrasive Fox News

Fox News, the Canada-baiting house organ of the U.S. right, will come to Canadian digital television next year, the federal broadcast regulator is expected to rule today.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will announce its much-anticipated decision on Fox News's famous "fair and balanced" coverage at 11 a.m. EST from Ottawa.

Although broadcasting insiders expect the CRTC to give the go-ahead to the 24-hour-a-day service, often called "the unofficial official voice of the Bush administration," it was unclear yesterday what conditions, if any, might be applied.

An anonymous source close to the CRTC said yesterday that the regulator's announcement "will be clear and unambiguous."

However, "if they do come back with conditions, it complicates matters," said Kristina Babulic, director of communications for the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association.

The association asked the CRTC in April for permission to carry Fox News to Canadians with digital cable, satellite or wireless television service. Fox, launched in 1996 by Roger Ailes, a former adviser to several Republican presidents, is a subsidiary of News Corp. Ltd.

News Corp. is controlled by the right-wing Australian media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch.

It claims to have more than 80 million subscribers in the United States alone, subscribers who have made it that country's top-rated all-news channel and its commentators Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Bill O'Reilly full-fledged media personalities.

The abrasive Mr. O'Reilly, in particular, has developed an intense, albeit negative, interest in things Canadian in the past two years.

He used his much-watched The O'Reilly Factor program as a launching pad for feuds with The Globe and Mail's John Doyle and Heather Mallick, and attacked, variously, Canadian teens (for being "ignorant"), the CRTC (for "banning" Fox), former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien (for being "a bum"), The Globe and Mail ("a far-left newspaper"), Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell (for being soft on heroin users) and Canadian health care ("socialist")....

Another CRTC concern has been the impact of non-Canadian English-language TV services on the financial health and competitiveness of Canadian channels, such as CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet. While Fox will be available on the specialty digital tier (Newsworld is on analog cable), it has the potential to pull viewers from Canadian news services.

However, since Canadians have access to MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN and BBC World News, the CRTC likely felt consistency required approval for Fox....

END of Excerpt

For the "news story" in full: www.theglobeandmail.com


-- Toronto Star, November 19 column by Antonia Zerbisias:

Fox News finally free of regulatory snares Misinformation station OK'd at last

Now that our broadcast regulator has approved the addition of the Fox News Network to the digital TV dial, Canadians might finally understand why so many of its American fans are convinced that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, that Saddam and Al Qaeda were linked, and that the world approved of the U.S.'s attack on the country.

Of course, none of these beliefs are true. Still, they are among the misperceptions that Fox followers have, according to surveys conducted last year by the Program on International Policy Attitudes of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland.

Their research shows that 80 per cent of Fox viewers are likely to have had one or more of these perceptions, way ahead of those who watch CNN (55 per cent), rely on print media (47 per cent) or prefer public broadcasters (23 per cent).

But hey, with freedom of information comes the freedom to disinformation. Now Canadians will have the right, as do their parliamentarians, who already receive Fox on satellite, and TV signal pirates, who get it illegally, to hear, as viewers of the top-rated Bill O'Reilly did in the run-up to the invasion, that "a load of weapons-grade plutonium has disappeared from Nigeria."

No wonder Fox is U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney's favourite channel. He calls it "more accurate" than others. But then, he has a rocky relationship with the truth. And if you don't believe that, type "Cheney lies" into Google.

So welcome to Canada, Fox News! Come on up and preach your Gospel according to George W. Bush -- and make an all-American profit on us too....

Yesterday's much-anticipated decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) allows Fox on the dial with none of the restrictions it applied to the Arabic-language news channel Al Jazeera. Fox can run its programming untrammelled here, as long as it plays by the rules other U.S. news channels do....

One of Fox's favourite Canadian punching bags, MP Carolyn Parrish, best known for calling the Bush posse "bastards," told me yesterday that the CRTC decision was "consistent with (Prime Minister Paul) Martin's pro-American stance.

"I guess if we can send our trash to the States, they can send us theirs," joked Parrish, an ex-Liberal as of yesterday. "Seriously, I'm disappointed at the further infiltration of the American propaganda machine. A tough fight gets tougher to hang onto Canadian culture. Sad day."...

Because the channel is licensed for digital carriage, it requires a digital box which rents for about $8 a month. Then, depending on the combo of channels you buy, it will cost extra for a subscription. As a stand-alone, the price may be $3 a month.

Whether that moves the hundreds of thousands of Canadians already getting the channel illegally to pay up, is one of the many unknowns in this story.

But then, when it comes to Fox News, we could make it up and call it reporting.

Fox does, doesn't it?

END of Excerpt

For the rant in full: www.thestar.com

-- Brent Baker