Pilots with Guns Scare Cokie Roberts; Chomsky "Quite Conservative" to the Washington Post; GMA Picked the Kennedys as the "Most Amazing Family"; Seymour Hersh's Tirade
1) Pilots with guns scare ABC's Cokie Roberts because "airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe." This Week co-host Sam Donaldson stood with Roberts against guns in the cockpit.
2) Noam Chomsky is a radical left-wing MIT professor who sees the United States as a greater purveyor of terrorism than Osama bin Laden. So how did the Washington Post label him in a Sunday "Style" section profile? Post reporter Michael Powell cited Chomsky's description of himself as "quite conservative."
3) Good Morning America's trip across the nation last week began and ended with tribute's to liberals. On Monday, from North Carolina, Charles Gibson celebrated the rise of Senator John Edwards, whom People calls "America's sexiest politician." From Massachusetts on Friday, GMA picked the Kennedys as the state's "most amazing family." Claire Shipman admired their "conscious" and how "they're not only politicians. They're authors, businesspeople and environmentalists."
4) In a recent address, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh described John Ashcroft as "demented," declared, "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan" and charged: "We've got a Secretary of Defense who thinks he's Woody Allen. We've got the only man -- Powell -- who has some sort of moderate instincts, and he's completely being attacked." Hersh was also upset that the rights of John Walker Lindh and Zacarius Moussaoui are being trampled.
Pilots with guns scare ABC's Cokie Roberts because "airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe." This Week co-host Sam Donaldson stood with Roberts against guns, even when pressed by George Will about whether he wished the pilots had guns on September 11th.
During the roundtable segment on the May 5 This Week with, for now, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, Donaldson raised how commercial airline pilots have signed a petition to allow them to carry guns in the cockpit.
The prospect horrified Roberts, who denounced the idea: "I don't feel safer. Airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe."
George Will quipped: "It is the case, I think, that support for pilots being armed increases as people have more and more experience with so-called airport security."
Will soon asked Donaldson: "Do you or do you not wish the pilots on September 11th had been armed? Yes or no Sam."
What ideological tag do you apply to Noam Chomsky, the radical left-wing MIT professor who sees the United States as a greater purveyor of terrorism than Osama bin Laden, a man who contends that the U.S. bombing which killed one man in Sudan was a "morally worse crime" than September 11th? If you're Washington Post reporter Michael Powell, you quote Chomsky's description of himself as "quite conservative."
That label appeared in the seventh paragraph of the story: "He is a white-hot contrarian, a distinguished linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who 'tends to be quite conservative' and is devoted to 'simple moral truisms.'"
Only nine paragraphs later did Powell tie Chomsky to the Left, and then only indirectly as Powell bemoaned the lack of publicity for Chomsky's book: "To pick up the most powerful newspapers and intellectual magazines in the United States, to tune in the 463 television political babble-athons, is to conclude that Chomsky is invisible. His book has garnered just a single review in a major newspaper. It's as though the professor inhabits Dimension Left, the alternative celebrity universe."
That was the closest Powell came in 2,600 words over 169 paragraphs to linking Chomsky to the Left.
"An Eminence With No Shades of Gray," announced the headline over the top of the May 5 Style section profile. The subhead trumpeted: "In a New Bestseller, Noam Chomsky Argues Against the War in Afghanistan."
And by what means does Chomsky's collection of his anti-U.S. rantings qualify as a "bestseller"? Powell explained: "Chomsky's new book -- a pamphletlike collection of interviews with the professor -- is titled '9-11.' The book, which argues that the war in Afghanistan is morally and legally appalling, not to mention an act of state terrorism, has sold 160,000 copies and three weeks ago ranked ninth on the Washington Post bestseller list. It's been translated into a dozen languages, from Korean to Japanese to two varieties of Portuguese."
That's right. Three weeks ago it made #9 for one week.
Powell's piece relayed Chomsky's disgust with the nation in which he lives. Chomsky wrote:
Powell added: "He takes pride in noting that he's always described the attacks on the World Trade Center as an atrocity, though he always adds that such attacks pale next to the West's 'deep-seated culture of terrorism.'"
Powell also passed along how Chomsky thinks the U.S. bombing of a building in Sudan which killed one person was worse than September 11th:
If anyone linked to the Right in America ever made such fatuous arguments I'd bet the Washington Post would stress his or her ideology, not disguise it by letting them define themselves as "quite liberal."
To read the entire piece on Chomsky: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27441-2002May3.html
ABC's Good Morning America began and ended its week of shows last week from a different state each day with tributes to liberal politicians. On Monday, from North Carolina, Charles Gibson celebrated the rise of Senator John Edwards, whom, he helpfully pointed out, People magazine calls "America's sexiest politician." Gibson pressed Edwards from the left: "You have been a representative of the little guy in plaintiff suits against big companies, but you've never taken on the tobacco companies, have you? You've never represented somebody in a suit against tobacco."
On Friday from Massachusetts, the program picked the Kennedys as the state's "most amazing family." Claire Shipman marveled at their "conscious," in which a "deliberate call to service inspired this family to produce a President, three senators, three congressmen, three ambassadors, and of course, they're not only politicians. They're authors, businesspeople and environmentalists."
No suggestion by Shipman that maybe many of the Kennedys of today can dabble in politics, business and environmentalism not because of any talent they have but because they can live off of the family name.
On the previous four days, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, GMA avoided politics in selecting its "most amazing family" in each state from which they broadcast. On Monday, in North Carolina, they looked at the chaplain of the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. On Tuesday, in Minnesota, the "most amazing family" was that formed by the scholarship program founded by former Vikings player and current state supreme court Justice Alan Page. On Wednesday, in Houston, it was the doctors from Memorial Hermann Hospital. And on Thursday, in California, ABC profiled a family with three generations of stunt doubles.
But on the Friday, May 3, stop on their "Great American Cross-Country Road Trip," ABC decided to honor a family of liberal busybodies, most of whom have devoted their lives to taking more money, through higher taxes, from those far poorer than themselves.
From Boston, Diane Sawyer set up the profile: "All along the way, we have been profiling amazing families, and we're here in Boston, so we thought it might be a good thing to take a look at a family with three generations of public service, three generations of survivors and take a look at them in their native habitat. We're talking, of course, about the Kennedys, at home, and our senior national correspondent Claire Shipman had a chance to talk."
Shipman began, over clips of old Kennedy home movies: "The images are almost memorialized by now, classic glimpses of uninhibited fun and unbridled ambition from a family that has long made its home in our collective consciousness. But for the Kennedys, of course, home as always been here."
I guess commitment to your wife and kids does not preclude girlfriends.
After Shipman's piece, Sawyer interviewed Maxwell Kennedy a son of Robert F. Kennedy. Her questions were hardly challenging:
On Monday, April 29, GMA featured a flattering profile of Edwards. Gibson explained: "We start with our newsmaker of the morning, Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina -- some say even a possible presidential candidate to run against George Bush in the year 2004. A possible presidential candidate, and yet most people have heard very little or maybe even nothing about him.
Gibson's questions to Edwards:
-- "So U.S. News says, 'Who Can Beat Bush?' Can you? Could you?"
-- "And that's the answer you've been giving and you're somewhat coy about whether you're interested or not, but you've been traveling to Iowa, you've been traveling to New Hampshire. That's where presidential candidates go."
-- "Is George Bush beatable in 2004? You've been saying Democratic candidates ought to be more outspoken in taking him on."
-- "Can a presidential candidate from North Carolina get elected? Because of this state's interests, you have to be a supporter of tobacco."
-- "I had mentioned that you had spent your life and made your money as a plaintiffs' lawyer before you got into politics, and you say, 'I've been representing people who played by the rules and got hurt by people who didn't.' You have been a representative of the little guy in plaintiff suits against big companies, but you've never taken on the tobacco companies, have you? You've never represented somebody in a suit against tobacco."
-- "Senator, we're going cross the country in the next 50 weeks, and we're talking to people in all states, and we're talking about, I mean, it seems rather simple in nature, but we're talking about what it means to be an American and whether that's changed in any way in the last eight months and whether it doesn't entail some obligations and some responsibilities. What do you think it means now to be an American?"
Eight months after September 11th the news media are back where they were on September 10th: polishing the image and appeal of liberal politicians.
Attorney General John Ashcroft is "demented." The week before last, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, went on a tirade against how the Bush administration is prosecuting the war. Thanks to Steve Rhodes of Chicago Magazine, we know what Hersh sputtered during a Chicago Headline Club talk.
Amongst Hersh's comments:
-- "It's a government run by three, four, five people. We've got a Secretary of Defense who thinks he's Woody Allen. We've got the only man -- Powell -- who has some sort of moderate instincts, and he's completely being attacked, being sent off on a suicide mission."
The Chicago Magazine rundown was highlighted on Thursday by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/).
Rhodes set up the May 2-posted piece reciting Hersh's diatribe: "No reporter in America has been more penetrating, illuminating, and controversial in reporting on the war in Afghanistan -- and on the accompanying foreign policy implications -- than Seymour Hersh in the pages of The New Yorker. (His work there made him a finalist in the reporting category of the National Magazine Awards, whose winners were announced Wednesday; he lost to The Atlantic Monthly's William Langewiesche.) So it was something of a coup for the Chicago Headline Club, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, to land Hersh, an alumnus of the famed City News Bureau, as its keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary of its annual Peter Lisagor Awards, held last week.
Some excerpts from the Hersh quotes recited by Rhodes:
-- "I was thinking of telling you when I got here that you all missed a great story because, actually it's a fact that John Ashcroft is outside, in Chicago today. He was announcing the arrest of three jaywalkers on Michigan boulevard.
-- "So there was a hearing that you all read about. When the hearing began, he [Zacarius Moussaoui] raised his hand and the judge let him speak, and for 50 minutes he buried himself. This is what's interesting to me about it. This is a man who the federal government says cannot be allowed to communicate with anybody unfettered in any way, because he's gonna pass the message....He spoke for 50 minutes. It was live on the Internet. Hundreds of reporters were listening. The court reporter had the transcript. And not once did the government jump up and say, 'Your Honor, clear the court!' Not once did it say, 'Your Honor, let's go into
chambers with this. He has a right to speak but we can't have him speak publicly because we think he's capable of doing something.'
If they had stopped him, I'm sure Hersh would have been howling about Moussaoui being suppressed.
-- "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan; I don't care what George Bush says. I don't care that George Bush doesn't know much, but the people around him should know more who don't seem to know more. That bothers me. We didn't win the war in Afghanistan. Right now, we're not being told very much. We're sort of pacified, because we're all scared, too, and we don't know what's going to happen, and we don't like what happened to us."
-- "We have a man in Pakistan, Musharraf, who has seized power. We now have changed the game. We have a new Cold War. In the old days, the way it worked was, anybody, any despot, any fingernail-puller, that was against the Communists was our man. If you were against the Communists, you were our boy."
-- "I really think it's circa 1967 again, in a funny way. We were fighting a terrible war in Vietnam and everybody knew there was something wrong, and you couldn't see anybody coming out leading.
One wonders how much applause these remarks earned from the journalists in the Chicago audience.
For Chicago Magazine's story in full: http://www.chicagomag.com/pressbox/pressbox_story.htm
From the May 2 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by ten airmen from the 315th and 437th Airlift Wings at Charleston Air Force Base, the "Top Ten Reasons I Love My Job." Late Show Web site: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/
10. The frequent-flier miles really pile up
9. When the pilot's not looking, we throw water balloons out of the jet
8. Gillette's new Mach 3 Turbo works even better if you shave while going Mach 3
7. Growing up, Mom always told me not to throw food. Well guess what, mom? The United States Air Force is paying me to throw food
6. The cockpit is full of shiny buttons and lights
5. I know he's not a refugee, but sometimes I'll drop stuff on Letterman's house just to mess with him
4. The dental plan
3. The sense of fulfillment after a day's work -- just kidding. The jets go, like, super fast!
2. Sometimes I sneak a crate of freeze-dried beans for myself
1. I'm at the controls of a $200 million jet -- what do you drive?
Used up all of my quips for the day in items above. -- Brent Baker