2. CBS and NBC Morning Shows Ignore Dem Embarrassment Over MoveOn Ad
3. NYT's Frank Rich Complains Couric Drank Bush 'Kool-Aid' in Iraq
4. MSNBC's O'Donnell Overlooks Griffin's 'Suck It, Jesus' Remark
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as the New York Times revealed Tuesday, may be concerned about how much evening news program coverage fugitive donor/fundraiser Norman Hsu attracts, but they had nothing to worry about Tuesday night. ABC didn't utter a word about the campaign's decision to refund the largest amount ever, $850,000 solicited by Hsu, yet anchor Charles Gibson found time to note how the New England Patriots broke an NFL rule by videotaping New York Jets coaches giving signals, while CBS's Katie Couric gave Hsu barely 20 seconds -- about half the time she devoted to the death of "Alex the Parrot" -- and NBC allocated 25 seconds, but only after a three-minute piece framed around how Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 image "stirs angry resentment."
So far, including Tuesday night, the three broadcast network evening newscasts have each run one full story on Hsu while CBS and NBC, but not ABC, have aired two additional 20-second or so anchor-briefs. NBC Nightly News ran a full story on Thursday, August 30 (details in the August 31 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org ) and ABC and CBS caught up the next night, Friday, August 31 (details in the September 4 CyberAlert: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2007/cyb20070904.asp#5 ). A week later, on Friday, September 7, CBS and NBC aired brief items on how Hsu was captured in Colorado after failing to appear for a bail hearing in California (details in the September 10 CyberAlert: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2007/cyb20070910.asp#3 ).
And Tuesday night, not even the Clinton campaign's maneuver of announcing their decision, to send back $850,000 collected by Hsu, at 6:40pm EDT Monday -- after the start of the evening newscasts -- irritated network producers enough to run a full story, nor ABC to even mention the development.
The very last paragraph of a story by Patrick Healy, buried on page A-22 of Tuesday's New York Times, reported:
The Washington Post put the news on its front page Tuesday, "Clinton's Campaign to Return $850,000: Her Team Cuts Ties to a Top Fundraiser Jailed in Fraud Case." See: www.washingtonpost.com
(The morning shows haven't been any more interested in the story, though NBC's Today on Tuesday did feature a short story from Andrea Mitchell. ABC's Good Morning America and CNN's American Morning allocated a few seconds and CBS's Early Show ignored the story altogether.)
[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Tuesday's NBC Nightly News tried to undermine Rudy Giuliani's image as reporter John Yang centered a story around how the "campaign's central message" of "strong leadership in times of chaos" now "stirs angry resentment in some who lost loved ones in the attacks." Focusing on the parents of a killed firefighter, Yang relayed how "they say Giuliani should have anticipated another attack after the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing." Yang proceeded to highlight an attack from a left-wing union that regularly endorses liberal Democrats: "The nation's biggest firefighters union produced a video attacking what they call the Giuliani myth." Yang then outlined how "there are two main complaints. That in 1999, Giuliani built the city's emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex, despite the earlier attack there. And that firefighters' radios didn't work properly, causing them to miss the evacuation orders before the second tower collapsed." Only at the very end of the piece did Yang get around to how a biographer said the attacks on Giuliani are "unfair."
September 11 morning show coverage of Hsu, as tracked by the MRC's Matthew Balan, Scott Whitlock and Geoffrey Dickens:
# CNN's American Morning, John Roberts:
And Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is giving back $850,000. The money was raised by Norman Hsu who is under investigation now for allegedly violating election laws. Hsu is accused of reimbursing donors for their campaign contributions in order to get around limits on donations.
Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is going to vet its fundraisers more closely now, that includes conducting criminal background checks. The changes come as the Clinton camp returns $850,000 raised by Democratic backer Norman Hsu. Hsu is being investigated for his fund-raising practices.
# NBC's Today:
DAVID GREGORY: Another developing story today in presidential politics. Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign on the defensive this morning. It's now returning $850,000 linked to one of her big donors who is facing prison time in an old fraud case. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is covering that story for us from Washington, this morning. Andrea, good morning to you.
# CBS Evening News:
- 20 seconds on Hsu from Katie Couric:
- 37 seconds on a dead bird:
COURIC: The death of a parrot doesn't normally make the evening news, but rarely has there been a parrot like Alex.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The political career of Rudolph Giuliani can easily be seen in two parts. Before and after 9/11, split right down the middle by tragedy. He took on the title of "America's Mayor" almost starting on that awful day. And that day became the basis, really, for his run for President. And not everyone feels the same way about it. Our report from the Giuliani campaign tonight from NBC's John Yang.
The CBS and NBC morning shows on Tuesday ignored the embarrassment and discomfort that a new MoveOn.org ad, which vilified General David Petraeus, caused Democrats running for the White House. While The Early Show and Today failed to cover the print advertisement from the far-left group, ABC's Good Morning America at least briefly addressed the subject. The ad in question asked: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" and declared under a picture of him: "Cooking the books for the White House."
To see the MoveOn ad: pol.moveon.org
GMA co-host Robin Roberts took great pains to discuss the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on Monday, in neutral terms. She claimed it simply "caught everybody's" attention and caused "a lot of reaction." Explaining the political ramifications, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, however, acknowledged the MoveOn ad put "Democrats on the defensive" and "in a bit of a bind." The This Week host also provided a reason as to why Democratic '08 contenders haven't rejected the advertisement. He explained: "They want the support of MoveOn.org, so you saw the presidential candidates saying, 'Well, we don't like what they said,' but they wouldn't repudiate it."
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the brief discussion of the MoveOn ad, which aired at 7:13am on September 11:
Robin Roberts: "I want to ask you something about an ad that caught everybody's, a lot of people's attention. It was in The New York times. It was placed by the liberal group MoveOn.org. In the ad, it says, 'General Petraeus or General Betray Us, cooking the books.' That got a lot of reaction from both sides of the aisle."
Not even CBS anchor Katie Couric is sufficiently liberal to satisfy New York Times drama critic turned political commentator Frank Rich, who in his latest epic Sunday column accused the CBS anchor, who recently went to Iraq, of "drinking the...Kool-Aid" regarding Bush's optimistic pronouncements on the war. Following the lefty line, Rich also referred to two scholars from the left-of-center Brookings Institution as "Pentagon junketeers" for daring to suggest things are improving on the ground in Iraq.
[This item, by Clay Waters of the MRC's TimesWatch site, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from Rich's September 9 column:
What's surprising is not that this White House makes stuff up, but that even after all the journalistic embarrassments in the run-up to the war its fictions can still infiltrate the real news. After Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, two Brookings Institution scholars, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed article in July spreading glad tidings of falling civilian fatality rates, they were widely damned for trying to pass themselves off as tough war critics (both had supported the war and the surge) and for not mentioning that their fact-finding visit to Iraq was largely dictated by a Department of Defense itinerary.
But this has not impeded them from posing as quasi-journalistic independent observers elsewhere ever since, whether on CNN, CBS, Fox or in these pages, identifying themselves as experts rather than Pentagon junketeers. Unlike Armstrong Williams, the talking head and columnist who clandestinely received big government bucks to 'regularly comment' on No Child Left Behind, they received no cash. But why pay for what you can get free?"
To bolster his slander of the scholars, Rich linked to a story at Salon by the immensely self-satisfied left-wing blogger Glenn Greenwald: ace.mu.nu
Then it was on to Couric.
Anchoring the CBS Evening News from Iraq last week, Katie Couric seemed to be drinking the same Kool-Aid (or eating the same lobster tortellini) as Mr. O'Hanlon. As "a snapshot of what's going right," she cited Falluja, a bombed-out city with 80 percent unemployment, and she repeatedly spoke of American victories against "Al Qaeda." Channeling the president's bait-and-switch, she never differentiated between that local group he calls "Al Qaeda in Iraq" and the Qaeda that attacked America on 9/11.
END of Excerpt
Rich's column is behind the TimesSelect wall: select.nytimes.com
The screen shot of Rich which will accompany this item is of Rich on the September 7 Late Show with David Letterman plugging the paperback edition of his book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America: www.amazon.com
Reporting Tuesday afternoon on how comedian Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks at the creative arts Emmy Awards taped over the weekend will be "censored" when shown this coming Saturday night on the E! cable channel, MSNBC anchor Norah O'Donnell left out the harshest line. The effect was to make it sound as if the liberal former guest host of ABC's The View, who won "Best Reality Show" for her program on Bravo, was being unfairly "censored" by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for making a mild joke about award recipients who thank Jesus for their success, rather than blaspheming Jesus Christ directly.
O'Donnell recited only that Griffin announced: "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus." But Griffin's acceptance remarks also included an exclamation of "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now." Reuters story with the quote: news.aol.com
[This item is adapted from an item, by Ken Shepherd, posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Here's how Norah O'Donnell described the controversy on MSNBC Live, at about 3:15pm EDT on September 11:
-- Brent Baker