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CyberAlert -- 10/16/2001 -- So Far, No Defeats for Taliban

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So Far, No Defeats for Taliban; CBS: "We're Bullies" for Killing Civilians; "Right Wing" Blamed for Anthrax; "Urge to Be Unbiased"

1) "So far this is a war without any clear-cut victories or defeats," a befuddled David Wright reported from Afghanistan on ABC's World News Tonight. Wright relayed how Taliban troops say they "are still alive and well-armed and that the bombing isn't fazing them. 'We just laugh at these bombs,' one of the Taliban escorts said."

2) Dan Rather specifically noted the ingratitude of Saudi Arabia as he highlighted on Monday night how, "in public criticism of the United States, which saved his country from Saddam Hussein, one Saudi prince said the bombing in Afghanistan quote, 'does not please us at all.'"

3) In a 60 Minutes interview with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Lesley Stahl adopted Taliban propaganda as reality: "As we continue to bomb and as we continue to have missiles go off course and hit civilians" we are "instigating," in Muslim nations, "a growing sense that we're bullies."

4) Another error by Andy Rooney. Three weeks after he belittled President Bush as "not too bright" for saying terrorist "harbors won't be safe" when Afghanistan is "landlocked," Rooney goofed again. This past Sunday he remembered "how pleased we were in 1993 when the Pentagon showed us pictures of our bombs dropping on Iraq." Bill Clinton led the Gulf War?

5) A New York Times story quoted an official at Harvard University who suggested foreign terrorists may not be behind the Anthrax sent to media outlets since the media "has not been a particular target of Islamic fundamentalist groups....It has been a target of right-wing groups in America."

6) "The United States needs to be 'humble' in international affairs because of the resentment its wealth and power inspire," the Atlanta Constitution quoted Ted Turner as saying in explaining why the terrorist attacks occurred.

7) Nina Burleigh, a former Time reporter, bemoaned too much patriotism in the news media: "I think the events of September 11 unhinged people to such a degree that they,...temporarily one hopes, lost their urge to be unbiased."

8) Letterman's "Top Ten Little-Known Words Coined By the Guy Who First Said 'Guesstimate.'"


>>> NQ Posted. Now online, thanks to the MRC's Mez Djouadi and Kristina Sewell, the October 15 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. To access the text, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/nq20011015.html
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF which mimics the hard copy version: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/pdf/oct152001nq.pdf <<<

1

Afghanistan's Taliban regime isn't able to resist the United States as initial bombing wiped out their air defenses and the U.S. pounds away day and night destroying whatever the Taliban have, but ABC's David Wright isn't sure who is winning the war. He concluded a Monday night story from inside Afghanistan by declaring on World News Tonight: "So far this is a war without any clear-cut victories or defeats."

Wright's October 15 analysis came after he relayed how Taliban troops say they "are still alive and well-armed and that the bombing isn't fazing them. 'We just laugh at these bombs,' one of the Taliban escorts said."

Following a story from John McWethy at the Pentagon about U.S. damage claims and how Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the charge that the U.S. has killed 200 civilians, as he called the Taliban "accomplished liars," anchor Peter Jennings cautioned: "Afghanistan, as you know, is still largely out of bounds to reporters, which makes it harder to assess how much damage the U.S. bombing campaign is doing and very hard to assess what the Taliban is doing and whether they are telling the truth about various incidents. ABC's David Wright reports tonight from a place called Jabul-Saraj, just north of Kabul."

Wright maintained, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "When Taliban soldiers escorted foreign journalists to the outskirts of Jalalabad, they said civilians had been killed here. They said Taliban troops are still alive and well-armed and that the bombing isn't fazing them. 'We just laugh at these bombs,' one of the Taliban escorts said."

Wright then aired a soundbite from an "ABC reporter" who "was there" but whose name I could not begin to imagine how to spell, but who certainly seemed to be Arab and did not speak English. The on-screen subtitle read: "They said Americans are hiding. They are throwing bombs from a height, and they won't come face to face, you know, to the Afghans."

Moving on to how U.S. food drops were appreciated, Wright noted: "As for the U.S. efforts to befriend people, those American food packets rained from the skies in parts of Northern Afghanistan this weekend. People walked for miles to get them. 'I don't know how to use these packages because I can't read,' says this woman. 'I only know it's food.' And from the leaders of the key opposition force, the Northern Alliance, a confusing message. Some commanders still vow they'll be marching on Kabul any day now. Today the alliance's political leaders weren't so sure."
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Northern Alliance spokesman: "One cannot rule out that idea, but it doesn't meaning moving large number of military forces and military hardware into Kabul."
Wright observed: "For the moment, these troops aren't moving at all. Most are parked in their trenches."

Back on camera, Wright then concluded: "It's early days, but so far this is a war without any clear-cut victories or defeats. That's true of the bombings and of the battle for public sympathy."

The Taliban haven't suffered any defeats?

2

Dan Rather specifically noted the ingratitude of Saudi Arabia as he highlighted on Monday night how, "in public criticism of the United States, which saved his country from Saddam Hussein, one Saudi prince said the bombing in Afghanistan quote, 'does not please us at all.'"

Rather's observation followed a story on the Saudi ties of the September 11 terrorists. Rather added after the October 15 piece aired:
"While Saudi Arabia's royal family says it sees Osama bin Laden as an enemy and the United States as an ally, Saudi Arabia formerly backed the Taliban and Saudi Arabia's support for the war on terrorism has been weak. In public criticism of the United States, which saved his country from Saddam Hussein, one Saudi prince said the bombing in Afghanistan quote, 'does not please us at all.'"

3

Adopting Taliban propaganda as reality, in a 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday night with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Lesley Stahl contended: "As we continue to bomb and as we continue to have missiles go off course and hit civilians" we are "instigating," in Muslim nations, "a growing sense that we're bullies."

Stahl posed a series of hostile questions to Rice which were all based on the premise that the U.S. must justify its actions to Muslim people. MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down some of her inquiries made on the October 14 show.

Stahl worried: "Now the other night the President said that we are smoking al-Qaeda out of the caves. One of Osama bin Laden's goals has been to instigate a war between the West and Islam. We have seen demonstrations growing, spreading all across that region. Is it possible that some how he has smoked us out, that he has gotten us into this situation that he set out to get us into?"

Next, Stahl argued: "I haven't seen a single demonstration in that part of the world for us. I haven't seen that the people are rising up and saying, 'oh yes, it's wonderful that we're going to root him out.' And in fact, I just keep hearing more and more of this spreading hatred for us."

When Rice pointed out that the demonstrators number in the thousands in nations with millions of residents, Stahl countered: "Well, with all due respect, it does seem that the populations of these countries as we continue to bomb and as we continue to have missiles go off course and hit civilians, that we are instigating not less, or support for us, but a growing sense that we're bullies."

Stahl did not cite any evidence for her assumption that "we continue to have missiles go off course and hit civilians," but was probably referring to a Taliban claim denied on Monday by the Pentagon which suggested the damage to a village was really caused by armaments exploding and burning in an underground bunker.

Having just helped spread one myth herself, Stahl demanded to know what the administration was doing to correct another one: "The idea that we have no choice but to go in, I think, is one universally felt in this country. But at the same time we watch and have a feeling that we are losing the propaganda war. You say people know that Osama bin Laden went against Islam and hurt innocent people in this country, it seems from what I'm reading that a lot of people if not most people in that part of the world think the Israelis did this operation. This myth is out there. How do you reach, how do you engage in a propaganda war when they don't even think Osama bin Laden did this?"

4

Three weeks after he belittled President Bush as "not too bright" for saying terrorist "harbors won't be safe" when Afghanistan is "landlocked," an insult for which he later apologized upon acknowledging he was wrong in assuming Bush meant Afghanistan had a seaport, Rooney made another error.

This past Sunday he insisted that he remembered U.S. bombing of Iraq in 1993. But President Clinton didn't lead the Persian Gulf War which really took place in 1991.

For details about his October 7 retraction, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011012.asp#5

For a full rundown of Rooney's September 23 off-base commentary, refer back to the September 28 CyberAlert: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010928.asp#3

This past Sunday, October 14, over video from cameras inside planes showing bombs landing, and with "January 1993" on screen over it, Rooney asserted: "It's been satisfying to know we're bombing the hell out of the Taliban. We all like that. I remember though, how pleased we were in 1993 when the Pentagon showed us pictures of our bombs dropping on Iraq. We were going to bomb Saddam Hussein into oblivion. Well, that didn't happen, did it? We made more enemies than we eliminated there."

5

When in doubt, blame the right. In this case, for Anthrax. In an October 15 New York Times story, reporter Felicity Barringer approvingly quoted an official at Harvard University who suggested foreign terrorists may not be behind the Anthrax sent to media outlets since the U.S. media "has not been a particular target of Islamic fundamentalist groups or groups we associate with Sept. 11. It has been a target of right-wing groups in America."

The quote, MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey noticed, appeared in a story headlined, "New Tactic of Terrorists Is to Attack Messengers." Barringer relayed:
"Who did it? The timing, and the continuing threats from Osama bin Laden's network, Al Qaeda, make that group an easy suspect. In an appearance on Friday on the PBS program, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Vice President Dick Cheney noted that Mr. bin Laden's group trained its followers to use chemical and biological weapons. Implying a link between Mr. bin Laden and the anthrax incidents, he said, 'Again, we have not completed the investigation and maybe it's a coincidence, but I must say I'm a skeptic.'
"Juliette N. Kayyem, the executive director of the program on domestic preparedness at the Kennedy School [at Harvard University], was more cautious. So far, little is known, she said. 'We shouldn't go into this with blinders on trying to link this to Sept. 11.'
"The media, she said, 'has not been a particular target of Islamic fundamentalist groups or groups we associate with Sept. 11. It has been a target of right-wing groups in America.' The one thing that Islamic radicals and American right-wing radicals have in common, she added, is a paranoid belief that American media outlets are pawns in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. And one of the letters that has been a focus of the anthrax investigation in Florida came with a Star of David inside.'"

To read the New York Times story in full, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/15/business/media/15MEDI.html

While it is true that a few in the U.S., who are well outside of mainstream politics, have an anti-Jewish hatred and paranoia, the Times article reflected the left's view of the political spectrum by tying them to the right. Never forget that the Nazis were the National "Socialist" Party.

6

Ted Turner implied in remarks last week that the U.S. is at least partly to blame for the terrorist attacks by fueling resentment for our wealth, the October 11 Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Cox News Service correspondent Ahan Kim filed his report from Washington, DC. An excerpt:

The United States needs to be "humble" in international affairs because of the resentment its wealth and power inspire, Ted Turner said Wednesday.

Turner, the AOL Time Warner vice chairman, displayed his garrulous and sometimes profane style in offering pointed advice during a one-hour speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Because poverty and hopelessness can breed terrorism, Turner said, "If you're rich and powerful, you better be nice, and humble.... You can get a lot more cooperation out of people if they like you."

Recent events seem to prove that "the United States has a real good chance now of being more involved in the world," he said.

"As soon as the Cold War ended, we once again, to a large degree, withdrew from international affairs," Turner said. "And as the world's sole superpower, we left a tremendous vacuum in the world."

The 62-year-old billionaire, who founded CNN in 1980, also said the United States mishandled events leading up to the current crisis.

The United States, Turner said, "considered Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as heroes" a little more than a decade ago, when it backed Afghan rebels with more than $1 billion to fight the Soviet Union.

When Soviet forces withdrew, he said, the United States left the country to its own devices, which allowed the Taliban to impose its present regime.

But Turner also said that U.S. officials don't deserve all the blame for America's disengagement.

After the Persian Gulf War, he said, "The United States, to a large degree, turned insular, and I've accused the media of being partially responsible."

Turner criticized the closing of overseas bureaus by both broadcast and print media...

END Excerpt

To read the story in full

Turner has no role anymore in running CNN, a fact evidenced by how CNN displays a U.S. flag on screen, something Turner surely would never have allowed for fear of offending the international audience and showing allegiance to one nation over all others.

7

Former Time magazine reporter Nina Burleigh, who is most famous for expressing the view that she "would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal" since "American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs," is now concerned about how too much patriotism in the war against Osama bin Laden's theocracy has caused reporters to lose "their urge to be unbiased."

Reviewing a Close Up Foundation session with college students conducted October 10 on terrorism coverage, shown by C-SPAN on October 12, MRC analyst Patrick Gregory caught this criticism from Burleigh about patriotism in the news media: "I think the events of September 11 unhinged people to such a degree that they, many people lost their, temporarily one hopes, lost their urge to be unbiased."

That's an "urge" Burleigh lost long ago.

Just last week in her TomPaine.com commentary she expounded on left-wing fantasies. She wondered "whether 6,000 Americans might prove to have died in New York for the royal family of Saud, or oil, or both." She suggested President Bush is only going after terrorism because of "how Big Oil might benefit from a cleanup of terrorists and other anti-American elements in the Central Asia region." After reviewing the business ties of Bush's father and his buddies to oil-rich nations in the region, Burleigh ominously warned: "It doesn't add up to a conspiracy theory. But it does mean there is a significant MONEY subtext that the American public ought to know about."

For more on her October 11 rant, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011012.asp#4

8

From the October 12 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Little-Known Words Coined By the Guy Who First Said 'Guesstimate.'" Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. "Estiguess"
9. "Mediocre-iffic"
8. "Saskatchewannabe"
7. "Gore-itos"
6. "Opraholic"
5. "Viagrampa"
4. "Siegfroy"
3. "Mantastic"
2. "Lettermanure"
1. "Clintern"

Okay, not exactly political humor, but I liked #1. -- Brent Baker


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