Appearance Alert!
Brent Bozell talks about MRC's "Worst of the Worst 2014" on FNC's Hannity, 10:30pm ET/PT

Cronkite: "We Were Misled on Iraq," "Impressed" by Democrats --9/11/2003


1. Cronkite: "We Were Misled on Iraq," "Impressed" by Democrats
Walter Cronkite, appearing on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN, declared that he thinks "we were misled" by the Bush administration about the Iraqi threat and contended "it's a question seriously of whether that was deliberately done." The performance at the Tuesday night debate of the field of left-wing presidential candidates pleased Cronkite: "I was impressed with the field. It was perhaps better than some people thought it might be." But he thinks Bush can be beaten since "no matter how the trickle-down theory works with the tax cut finally reaching the people in the lower levels," it's "not going to be enough to wipe out the memories of this long period of unemployment among so many people. And not just unemployment, but a depression."

2. Jennings on Ashcroft: One of the "Most Divisive Public Figures"
Peter Jennings confusing the liberal elite of New York City with the feelings of "the country"? Interviewing Attorney General John Ashcroft, on Wednesday's World News Tonight Jennings relayed how he asked Ashcroft "if he was uncomfortable being thought of as one of the country's most divisive public figures?"

3. CBS's Storm Cues Up Graham's Spin, Skips His Bizarre Claims
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday continued its string of softball interviews with harsh Bush critics. Hannah Storm cued up Senator Bob Graham to deliver his campaign lines, asking: "How much has the war on Iraq hurt the war against al-Qaeda?" and given higher spending on Iraq, "How has domestic security suffered?" But Storm avoided asking him about two recent controversial remarks in which he bizarrely forecast "bridges falling into the Mississippi River, with schools tumbling in on children" and emphatically affirmed his belief that President Bush "intentionally misled the American people" on Iraq.

4. Lauer Presses Actor Gary Sinise to Confirm Poor Morale in Iraq
NBC's Matt Lauer on Wednesday morning went fishing for proof that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are demoralized, asking actor Gary Sinise, who recently traveled to Iraq as part of a USO tour, to confirm "a lot of reports" about how "there's frustration, that they're concerned about their deployment....Things are not going as planned. Did you get a sense that there was a morale issue?" Sinise disappointed Lauer, relaying how those he saw "were ecstatic...they were really, really grateful, very, very appreciative that we were there."

5. CBS Complains About Effort to End Buying Drugs from Canada
Dan Rather on Wednesday night framed a story on prescription drugs around the assumptions of liberal advocates. He complained that since a "growing numbers of Americans...are struggling to pay the high cost of prescription drugs, many have stopped waiting for the government to help and are taking action on their own" by buying their drugs from Canada. But, Rather warned, "the Bush administration, through the FDA, is now taking action to stop them." CBS's Cynthia Bowers characterized a liberal group, which is a leading proponent of a greater federal role in regulating and paying for health care, simply as "consumer advocates."

6. "Top Ten Things to Remember When Packing and Shipping Yourself"
Letterman's "Top Ten Things to Remember When Packing and Shipping Yourself."


Cronkite: "We Were Misled on Iraq," "Impressed"
by Democrats

Walter Cronkite Walter Cronkite, appearing on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN, declared that he thinks "we were misled" by the Bush administration about the Iraqi threat. Cronkite contended "it's a question seriously of whether that was deliberately done or whether it was just their vocabulary got ahead of their thinking."

The performance at the Tuesday night debate of the field of left-wing presidential candidates pleased Cronkite, who thought Howard Dean "did quite well." Cronkite added: "I thought that really all of them did fairly well last night. I was impressed with the field. It was perhaps better than some people thought it might be."

But he thinks Bush can be beaten since "no matter how the trickle-down theory works with the tax cut finally reaching the people in the lower levels, even if that shows some effect, it's not going to be enough to wipe out the memories of this long period of unemployment among so many people. And not just unemployment, but a depression."

A "depression"? Of course, as all but journalists know, those in the "lower levels" already paid no income taxes or, if they did, directly received the biggest tax cuts in the Bush plan, removing many more of them completely from the tax rolls.

Cronkite's comments in full context as uttered on the September 10 Larry King Live broadcast this week from New York City, instead of King's usual Los Angeles studio:

-- King on Iraq: "Do you think this is a mistake or do you think we were misled?"
Cronkite: "By whom?"
King: "By the administration, weapons of mass destruction and the like, fed to the United States."
Cronkite: "Oh, yes. I think we were misled. I think it's a question seriously of whether that was deliberately done or whether it was just their vocabulary got ahead of their thinking."
King: "Do you think they wanted to go to war in Iraq?"
Cronkite: "Oh, I don't think there's any doubt about that, no. They saw this as a necessity and they were making whatever case they could to convince us all that we had to go and go then."
King: "Why would you want to go war? Why would you want to go to war?"
Cronkite: "Well, I think we can accept that as an honest situation on their side, perfectly, talking about the government, this administration's side. I think the President was convinced that Hussein was a living danger to us, and had to be eliminated. And that's a perfectly legitimate objective. It's kind of how we were then led into it, and the planning, which, obviously, we know now was inadequate and has led to the situation we have today."

-- King: "What do you make of the story of the day, Governor Dean of Vermont, former Governor?"
Cronkite: "Well, I think he's doing quite well. I thought in the debate last night, and the previous debate, he showed up well, along with other candidates alongside of him as they were each answering much the same questions. I thought he showed up well."
King: "Are you surprised?"
Cronkite: "Somewhat, yes. He came out of nowhere and without any record on the national scene that we could compare to anything in the past, and therefore I think he's a surprise, but I thought he did quite well. I thought that really all of them did fairly well last night. I was impressed with the field. It was perhaps better than some people thought it might be."

-- King: "Do you believe the President is beatable?"
Cronkite: "I believe that today he is."
King: "You do?"
Cronkite: "I think that the war, for one thing, the cost of the war-"
King: "But the Americans support him 60 percent about the war."
Cronkite: "Well, I don't think they have to support the President to support the war. The war is there. If the Democrats should win, they are going to inherit that war. They're not going to turn away from Election Day and call in the troops and walk out. They can't do that. So they're going to be stuck with it, and that is why Wesley Clark would have a shot at it.
"But also, there is the economy, of course, as everybody knows about. We know, with the millions of unemployed, and I don't think, no matter how the trickle-down theory works with the tax cut finally reaching the people in the lower levels, even if that shows some effect, it's not going to be enough to wipe out the memories of this long period of unemployment among so many people. And not just unemployment, but a depression."

Jennings on Ashcroft: One of the "Most
Divisive Public Figures"

Peter Jennings confusing the liberal elite of New York City with the feelings of "the country"? Interviewing Attorney General John Ashcroft, on Wednesday's World News Tonight Jennings relayed how he asked Ashcroft "if he was uncomfortable being thought of as one of the country's most divisive public figures?" Jennings followed up: "Do you think these portraits of you abusing power, seeking power, relentlessly exercising individual power are caricatures?"

Jennings devoted most of the interview, which was taped on Tuesday, to the Patriot Act and to pressing Ashcroft to defend the detention, as an "enemy combatant," of accused dirty bomb plotter Jose Padilla and why he is not allowed to see a lawyer.

On the Patriot Act: "An unlikely combination, an alliance, almost, of your best allies, and some of your most profound critics, think the Patriot Act has gone too far already."

On Padilla: "I'd like to talk a little bit about Jose Padilla. He's an American citizen, born in the Bronx, picked up in Chicago, held in an American prison, and now he is neither charged, nor allowed to see a lawyer. Why not? It seems the most basic of American instincts."

After a couple of follow-ups on Padilla, Jennings set up another interview excerpt: "I asked the Attorney General if he was uncomfortable being thought of as one of the country's most divisive public figures."
Ashcroft: "I take no pleasure in anything that I would do ever to divide America."
Jennings: "Do you think these portraits of you abusing power, seeking power, relentlessly exercising individual power are caricatures?"
Ashcroft: "Me?"
Jennings: "Yes."
Ashcroft: "Me?"
Jennings: "Precisely."
Ashcroft, laughing: "People are free to say and do about me anything they choose to."
Jennings: "Of course they are, but do you think, what, but, but analyze them for us."
Ashcroft: "I think they miss the mark here. I am very concerned about freedoms. I always have been. My heritage has been one that has been focused on the liberties of individuals. And I will continue to have those concerns. And the reason I'm as ardent as I am about prosecuting the war on terror is that terror is the number one threat to our freedoms."
Jennings: "One of the members of your staff said you're more concerned about the judgment of history than opportunists on either side of this great debate about the Patriot Act and civil liberties."
Ashcroft: "The truth of the matter is, I'm more concerned about the judgment of eternity. When I look in the mirror, I want to be able to think that, in the presence and in the sight of God, I will have done my utmost to serve this country with honesty and integrity. That's the most important thing."

ABCNews.com has posted a roughly accurate transcript of the interview as shown on the September 10 World News Tonight, but the transcript left out this exchange which aired:

Jennings: "When things get rough for you in this job, does your faith make a great deal of difference to you?"
Ashcroft: "My faith does make a great deal of difference to me and I literally ask for God's help and blessing upon myself an upon America every day."

For the posted transcript: abcnews.go.com

CBS's Storm Cues Up Graham's Spin, Skips
His Bizarre Claims

CBS's Early Show on Wednesday continued its string of softball interviews with harsh Bush critics. Senator Bob Graham, a democratic presidential candidate, was asked what would have amounted to tough questions -- if the guest had been a Republican -- such as: "How much has the war on Iraq hurt the war against al-Qaeda?" and: "Looking at potentially a $150 billion price tag for Iraq. The budget for the Department of Homeland Security is just $28 billion. How has domestic security suffered?"

But to Graham, they were little more than prompts for one of his standard campaign lines. MRC analyst Brian Boyd captured highlights of Early Show co-host Hannah Storm's easy sit-down with the Democratic Senator from Florida, an interview in which she cued up his polemical points as she avoided asking him about two recent controversial remarks in which he bizarrely forecast "bridges falling into the Mississippi River, with schools tumbling in on children" and emphatically affirmed his belief that President Bush "intentionally misled the American people" on Iraq.

[Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, drafted this item for CyberAlert.]

CNN-veteran Storm began like a press secretary's dream: "One man with a lot to say on the war on terrorism is Democratic presidential candidate and Florida Senator Bob Graham. Good morning, Senator...Spent ten years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, you have called Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Forgotten. How much has the war in Iraq hurt the war against al Qaeda?"

Storm then added the notion that fighting in Iraq automatically compromises security at home: "Looking at potentially a $150 billion price tag for Iraq. The budget for the Department of Homeland Security is just $28 billion. How has domestic security suffered?" It didn't occur to CBS that maybe preparing for an attack against the homeland is logically less costly than launching a military campaign abroad and rebuilding the liberated country.

The CBS star's third question was the most informational and newsworthy: "Senator Graham, I want to ask you about a story in the news this morning about this gentleman shipping himself from New York to Dallas. You have been very critical of airport security. How much of a concern should cargo security be at this point?"

CBS posed no question connected to Tuesday night's debate or Graham's take on opponents in the Democratic primaries. Storm could have raised Graham's strange take, on the Eastern blackout, in the September 4 debate in Albuquerque: "We got a wake-up call a couple of weeks ago when our electric system went down. The same thing could have happened with bridges falling into the Mississippi River, with schools tumbling in on children." On Tuesday night, during the FNC/Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate, former NBC News reporter Ed Gordon asked Graham: "In your heart, do you believe that the President intentionally misled the American people?" Graham emphatically affirmed: "Yes."

But the presidential candidate labeling the President a liar didn't interest Storm.

Instead, Storm concluded with another press release question, promoting Graham's upcoming speech: "Senator, you are going to give a presentation tomorrow to the Council on Foreign Relations entitled '9/11 Two Years Later: Are We Safer?' Quickly, what is your answer going to be, yes or no?"

Previous CyberAlert items on the Early Show this week:

-- Contrasting approaches to Condoleezza Rice versus Howard Dean: www.mediaresearch.org

-- CBS continued its soft approach to presidential critics on its morning show, "balancing" critical Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy on Tuesday with the media's second favorite Republican, after John McCain, critical Senator Chuck Hagel. Early Show co-host Harry Smith regurgitated a discredited charge against Tony Blair as he asked Kennedy if the Bush team was just as guilty: "Tony Blair was charged with sexing-up intelligence to justify war. Do you think that charge could be put on President Bush?" www.mediaresearch.org

Lauer Presses Actor Gary Sinise to Confirm
Poor Morale in Iraq

NBC's Matt Lauer on Wednesday morning went fishing for proof that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are demoralized, asking actor Gary Sinise, who recently traveled to Iraq as part of a USO tour, to confirm "a lot of reports" about how "there's frustration, that they're concerned about their deployment. Of course they become targets. Things are not going as planned. Did you get a sense that there was a morale issue?"

Sinise disappointed Lauer, relaying how those he saw "were ecstatic...they were really, really grateful, very, very appreciative that we were there."

Lauer set up the September 10 segment with Sinise, as observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: "One of Gary Sinise's best known roles is that of Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Dan in the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump. And recently he mingled with some real U.S. troops during USO tour that took him to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy and Germany. Sinise is also starring in a new film coming out next month called the Human Stain with Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman. Gary Sinise, good to have you back, welcome. Tell me about the USO trip. You called them, right? And you said what can I do to help?"
Sinise: "Yeah I did after September 11th, shortly after that, I called, I wanted to volunteer and then we went into Afghanistan. I kept, you know, trying to get in touch with them and eventually I ended up on this giant tour to Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar with a whole group of people. Wayne Newton, Kid Rock, you know."
Lauer: "Rebecca Romjin-Stamos."
Sinise: "And John Stamos."
Lauer: "What, what kind of interaction do you actually have with the troops on a trip like that?"
Sinise: "Well that's what the trip is about for me because I'm not a performer. So I go and shake hands, I sign autographs. I just talk to them and, and meet the troops, that's, that's the whole thing for me."
Lauer raised bad morale: "So tell me a little bit about the mood of the troops because a lot of reports that come out, Gary, that there's frustration, that they're concerned about their deployment. Of course they become targets. Things are not going as planned. Did you get a sense that there was a morale issue?"
Sinise: "Occasionally you would meet somebody when you would ask them how they were doing they would say, 'I'm hot, I wanna go home,' that kind of thing. But for the most part I didn't see that because when we were there, they were ecstatic. You know, so they were really, really grateful, very, very appreciative that we were there. It's a difficult situation as everybody knows. It's hot and dusty out there."
Lauer: "Change your impressions though, of, of servicemen and servicewomen by getting there and, and getting into a theater of action like that?"
Sinise: "Well I've, I've been active with veterans groups for, for over 20 years so I don't know that, it just reaffirmed my impression of our great servicemen and what they do for our country is very, very important and the kind of dedication that we have in the, in the military service. I've been all over. I've been to Germany, Italy, Kuwait all that. I was just down at Ft. Stewart yesterday and the day before visiting a lot of the Third Infantry who's, who's recently been deployed back. So, so they're, they're a great bunch of people and they deserve our support."

For a picture of Sinise and a rundown of his career, check his Internet Movie Database page: us.imdb.com

CBS Complains About Effort to End Buying
Drugs from Canada

Dan Rather on Wednesday night framed a story on prescription drugs around the assumptions of liberal advocates. He argued that since a "growing numbers of Americans...are struggling to pay the high cost of prescription drugs, many have stopped waiting for the government to help and are taking action on their own" by buying their drugs from Canada. But, Rather warned, "the Bush administration, through the FDA, is now taking action to stop them."

CBS's Cynthia Bowers subsequently characterized a liberal group, which is a leading proponent of a greater federal role in regulating and paying for health care, simply as "consumer advocates."

Rather introduced the story on the September 10 CBS Evening News: "Growing numbers of Americans, especially seniors, are struggling to pay the high cost of prescription drugs. Many have stopped waiting for the government to help and are taking action on their own. They're importing drugs from Canada. But CBS's Cynthia Bowers reports tonight the Bush administration, through the FDA, is now taking action to stop them."

Bowers, from Chicago, proceeded to focus on two potential victims of the new Bush policy, two older women who buy drugs from Canada, and gave a soundbite to Minnesota Republican Congressman Gil Gutknecht who favors drug importation from Canada.

Bowers, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed, obscured the true identity of a liberal group: "FDA officials say they can't condone the sale of medicine that may be unsafe. But consumer advocates say the motive is money for the drug makers."
Ron Pollack, Families USA: "They're throwing endless amounts into the fight to enable drug prices to remain high."
Bowers concluded her piece: "Money also matters to Patricia Loeser [one of the victims], but in the form of affordable prescriptions, not profits."

Without profits, Loeser wouldn't have any prescriptions to complain about.

"Top Ten Things to Remember When Packing
and Shipping Yourself"

From the September 10 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things to Remember When Packing and Shipping Yourself." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com

10. Clearly mark box "Handle with care -- dumb guy inside"

9. Make sure you're delivered to a Fed Ex location near a hospital

8. Bring a pen to sign for yourself when you get there

7. The "Etc." in "Mail Boxes Etc." stands for shipping live human beings in crates

6. Traveling in box still more comfortable than flying America West

5. Styrofoam peanuts not as tasty as real peanuts

4. It's quicker and cheaper to fax yourself

3. Headset rental is not available in the airplane's cargo hold

2. TiVo "Queer Eye"

1. Be prepared to endure headlines like "Jackass In The Box"

# Tonight at 9pm EDT/PDT, Showtime will re-air its DC 9-11: A Time of Crises "docudrama" about the Bush White House in the days after September 11th, 2001. For more about the movie, see two previous CyberAlert items on it and on negative journalistic reaction to its "too pro-Bush" portrayal: www.mediaresearch.org
www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker