Couric: Nationalizing Banks Will Provide 'Big Dose of Confidence' --2/20/2009
2. CBS Criticizes GOP Governors for Opposing Stimulus
3. ABC Frets NY Post Comic Could Harm 'Post-Racial Glow' of Obama
4. CNN Talking Heads Unanimously Praise Holder's 'Coward' Remarks
5. Muslim Wife's Beheading Spiked, But Not Charge Against Catholic
6. Sign Up to Receive the MRC's Notable Quotables Via E-Mail
Katie Couric concluded a Thursday night look at the pros and cons of nationalizing banks by seeing the federal government as a comforting security blanket: "Nationalization may have a psychological impact as well, and Uncle Sam wrapping his arms around failing banks in this country might provide a big dose of confidence for the American consumer." Building to her pro-nationalization conclusion, Couric asserted that "everyone hopes to avoid what happened to Japan back in the 90s when the government pumped good money into bad banks, essentially keeping unhealthy financial institutions that weren't going to make it anyway on life support, crippling the economy" while, in contrast, "a government takeover of a bank last year" in Britain " helped to temporarily calm fears in the financial markets there."
Earlier in the CBS Evening News piece, Couric outlined the arguments for and against nationalization, ending with quite an understatement about the quality of government-provided customer service: "There are two sides to this coin. It could keep banks open and free up money so they can start lending again. But it could scare off private investors who will see government ownership as a sign of damaged goods, there could be more branch closings, and a government bureaucracy may not offer the best customer service."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The complete story as aired on the Thursday, February 19 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Today's decline on Wall Street was led by financial stocks. Investors are worried that the U.S. government may nationalize American banks. Why do that? And what impact might it have? Tonight we go beyond the headlines to look nationalization and what it means. For a lot of people on Wall Street, bank nationalization is a scary proposition.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith opened the show by declaring: "As President Obama heads on his first foreign trip, some state governors are saying 'thanks, but no thanks' to the stimulus money, even in these desperate times. We'll ask one of them why." Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and asked: "Even if it takes a while to get the money, how do you justify, let's say, not taking it to your constituents when in your state, for example, in December had the third highest unemployment rate in the country. Don't you need the money?" After Sanford explained that he was opposed to the bill but may accept some of the funding, Rodriguez responded: "You say you're against it, but you still might take the money. Do you realize how some people might think that you're putting ideology ahead of the interests of your constituents?" He began to reply: "Well, I'd say it's the reverse. If we take the money -- in other words, I've said -- I've made my ideological stand, saying this is a bad idea-" Rodriguez interrupted: "But if you're so against it, why take the money?"
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on the importance of the stimulus bill for states: "California is by far the worst, but 46 states face serious budget shortfalls. All 28 Democratic governors, and four Republicans, welcome the stimulus money, including Charlie Crist of Florida...Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty says he doesn't like the package but with a $5 billion deficit, he'll take the money... Here in California, taking the federal money is the one thing the Republican Governor and almost every other politician can agree on."
Whitaker made only brief mention of Republican governors opposing the federal funding: "But for other GOP governors, it's problematic. While all have shovel-ready projects, some have philosophical objections. Alaska's Palin, Barbour of Mississippi, and Jindal of Louisiana say they might not take the money...Texan Rick Perry is mulling it over."
Here is the full transcript of the Early Show segment:
Good Morning America reporter David Wright on Thursday worried that a comic strip appearing in Wednesday's New York Post could harm the "post racial glow" that America has been enjoying since Barack Obama's inauguration. Wright recounted the outrage expressed by the Reverend Al Sharpton and others over an editorial cartoon depicting a chimp shot by police and connecting it to the just passed economic stimulus bill.
Wright derided: "Ever since the inauguration, America has seemed to bask in a post-racial glow. But not so fast. Yesterday, the New York Post published a cartoon likening President Obama to a violent monkey shot by police." The GMA journalist chose to accept the most sinister view of the comic, that the dead ape was intended to represent the President. (Of course, since the comic refers to the chimpanzee as the writer of the stimulus bill and Obama didn't author the legislation, that argument doesn't seem to make the most sense.) See New York Post to view cartoon: www.nypost.com (Select February 18.)
Wright featured no one who offered a different interpretation of the cartoon. He simply stated, "The paper refused to apologize for the cartoon, calling it a clear parody of a current news event." Instead, Wright used the controversy as an opportunity to uncritically repeat Attorney General Eric Holder's comments on Wednesday that America is a "nation of cowards." Wright lectured, "Despite evident progress on race, America still has a long way to go, according to the nation's first black attorney general who spoke yesterday at a separate black history month event."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The ABC correspondent also intoned, "It turns out the 2008 election didn't settle the race issue." He then featured a clip of Kevin Alexander Gray, a writer for the very left-wing Progressive. According to Gray, Obama may be the Tiger Woods of politics, "But he's not necessarily going to change the game."
How liberal is Gray? In the October 2008 issue, he contemplated voting for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney over Barack Obama. Except for an onscreen graphic reading "writer, The Progressive," there was no hint of Gray's radical left views. See The Progressive www.progressive.org
A transcript of the February 19 segment, which aired at 7:18am, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: Anyway, we turn now to the question of race and motive in America. This new political cartoon, sparking controversy this morning. Some people saying that it was a racist attack against the President. Others, just a miscalculation. What do you think? Here's ABC's David Wright.
Anchor Campbell Brown's show on CNN is subtitled "No Bias, No Bull," but the show displayed plenty of bias in a Wednesday night segment on Attorney General Eric Holder calling America "a nation of cowards" on race issues. Brown praised Holder for "cutting through the bull," and a panel discussion was utterly unanimous: Gloria Borger, Soledad O'Brien, and Roland Martin all toed the liberal line and praised Holder for lambasting the nation. Martin wholeheartedly agreed with Holder's characterization. Borger defended the first black attorney general, stating that he was "trying to be provocative on purpose," while O'Brien thought the Obama appointee was trying to start a "honest conversation" on race.
As for 'cutting through bull,' Brown should have corrected O'Brien when she repeated the old radical line that somehow Black History Month is the shortest month on the calendar due to some racial slight, which completely mangles the facts. It began as "Negro History Week" and was founded by African-American historian Carter Woodson in mid-February to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are on the 12th and the 14th respectively.
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Brown introduced the topic with her praise of Holder and with excerpts from his speech: "On this program, we are all about 'Cutting Through The Bull,' and, for once, somebody in Washington is, too. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder went well beyond paying lip service to the nation's annual observance of February as Black History Month. It would have been easy for him to simply praise African-Americans...But, instead, Holder used his speech at the Department of Justice to demand that Americans confront our unfinished business on the uncomfortable subject of race."
After playing the excerpts, she introduced her guests, and directed her first question to Martin: "What did you think of what he said? Are we a nation of cowards?" Martin replied, "Absolutely....We have segregated schools. We have -- in terms of neighborhoods, churches, and so we have this nice little coexistence. But he's right. We don't want to be forcefully honest about where we stand when it comes to issues of race."
The anchor then asked O'Brien, "So, how do you break that cycle? I mean, you can't legislate it, Soledad." The CNN special correspondent agreed with Brown's assessment, and began her answer with her rant about Black History Month:
O'BRIEN: No, and I don't think he's asking to legislate it. I think what he was saying was -- take this Black History Month, which, frankly, I think a lot of people roll their eyes and say, oh, the shortest month of the year actually gets to be the month devoted to black people -- and let's actually have an honest conversation, where you can say what you're really thinking and I get to say what I'm really thinking, and we can talk about some of the issues that are out there. I think what he was saying was, this is an opportunity. It's going to be painful and it's going to be awkward, to quote him from his speech, but you really can't make progress. And you're looking at demographics, where -- let's throw Latinos into the mix, too -- the country is not going to be majority white in the year 2050. So, we're going to hit that moment and not too far in our future, and if we don't start having some real conversations -- you know, people will often say, I don't see color, and they think that that's a compliment in some way, and I think, why not? Why don't you see color? What you need to do is see color and respect people for who they are, regardless of color. I don't see color means you have very bad eyesight and you have a problem visually, truly.
Brown then turned to Borger, one of CNN's senior political analysts, and made the point that Holder's remarks were "all the more surprising" because he is a "consummate Washington insider." In her reply, Borger focused on how whites apparently reacted to his use of the word "coward" versus how blacks reacted to them:
BORGER: You talk to a lot of white people today, and in response to the word coward -- okay, and they will say that it was needlessly provocative, and that he shouldn't have used the word coward, that maybe he should have used the word fearful. And then you talk to a lot of African-Americans, as did I around our office today, who said, well, that's exactly the word he should use, because he was trying to get people to pay attention, and we wouldn't have paid attention if he had used the word fearful, because that's a word we use all the time --
At the end of the segment, the panel turned to the recent New York Post editorial cartoon which referenced the chimpanzee in Connecticut that was shot and killed by police after mauling a person. All three guests agreed that it really was a "clear" racist attack on President Obama:
BROWN: What did you think when you saw it, Soledad?
The founder of a TV network devoted to improve the image of Muslims being charged in the beheading of his wife is not a story the major media have leaped on. On Friday, news broke that Muzzammil Hassan, founder and CEO of Bridges TV, was charged with murdering his wife Aasiya after she filed for divorce. After some Nexis research, here's a listing of major media outlets that have yet to report it: ABC, NBC, NPR, the NewsHour on PBS, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
But on November 12, 1993, all these networks (including NPR) reported within hours on the charges made against Chicago's Catholic cardinal at the time, liberal-leaning Joseph Bernardin, by a 34-year-old AIDS patient, who had just "remembered" he was sexually abused 18 years after the alleged event, and wanted $10 million for his anguish.
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
It led newscasts on CNN and NBC. Connie Chung's sensational introduction on the CBS Evening News typified media reaction: "The Roman Catholic Church in America was rocked today by charges of scandal against one of its most prominent leaders and reformers." (The accuser, Steven Cook, recanted the lawsuit in March of 1994.)
While the Nexis search showed no CBS story on the beheading, MRC's Kyle Drennen found a news report on Wednesday's Early Show. While The Washington Post can't find space for the Muslim beheading story, it published the accusations against Cardinal Bernardin the very next day, with almost 1,000 words on page A-3. USA Today ran a story three days after the story broke.
CNN has offered a handful of stories on the beheading of Aasiya Hassan. But they aired the press conference of Cardinal Bernardin denying the charges live in the middle of the afternoon of November 12, 1993. On November 14, they ran a one-hour special on sex abuse in the Catholic Church two days after the Bernardin charges broke titled Fall From Grace, which continued the sensational coverage of the brand-new allegations. Host Bonnie Anderson reported "Charges that a prince of the Church, a man eligible to become Pope, a Cardinal on the forefront of reforming how the Church deals with clergy's sexual abuse has himself fallen from grace."
CNN triggered the sudden accusations. In her "Public Eye" column in the March 14, 1994 issue of Time, Margaret Carlson reported: "The plaintiff's lawyer had rushed to file the suit in hopes of having it included in an imminent CNN special on priests and sex." For the special, "Cook's charges were added to the program and used to promote it."
Major newspapers who have noticed the Hassan charges have downplayed the Muslim angle. Nexis says the New York Times reported the story on Wednesday with the headline "Upstate Man Charged With Beheading His Estranged Wife." The story began: "A man who founded a Muslim-American television station to help fight Muslim stereotypes is to appear on Wednesday in a suburban Buffalo court on charges that he decapitated his wife last week." (The Washington Edition of the Times we've received here in Virginia has featured no story.)
The Los Angeles Times also arrived on the story on Wednesday in a tiny 81-word article headlined "TV exec accused of beheading wife."
Wire-service reports also omitted the Muslim angle in their headlines. An AP dispatch was headlined "Police: TV exec beheads wife who filed for divorce." A Reuters story was titled "U.S. TV network founder charged with beheading wife."
Another edition of the MRC's new Notable Quotables e-mail will be distributed on Monday. Amongst the category headings: "Applauding Professor Obama's 'Teaching Moment,'" "ABC's Moran: Too Nice Obama 'Got No Honeymoon,'" "Scolding Anti-Spending GOP: 'Where's the Bipartisanship?'" and "Katie Celebrates 'Stimulus' Deal by Giggling with Pelosi."
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-- Brent Baker