Video of Deaths U.S. Caused; Pull the Cipro Patent; Pledge of Allegiance Too Intolerant; "Staunch Republican" Can't Help Poor?
1) ABC and NBC gave life to Taliban propaganda by airing video of injured civilians. ABC's Dan Harris declared: "U.S. attacks on a village near Kandahar killed 93 civilians on Tuesday, including 18 members of one family." Harris prompted a doctor: "How do you feel when you see these kids?" Harris directed him: "Angry at the United States?" Peter Jennings mocked Pentagon denials, but CBS and NBC noted they conceded some mistakes.
2) Are most Muslims anti-U.S.? Depends which week you watch 60 Minutes. Lesley Stahl argued on October 14: "We have seen demonstrations growing" as "I haven't seen a single demonstration in that part of the world for us." But a week later, Christiane Amanpour played video of demonstrators in Pakistan, and noted: "Look off to the sidewalk, the shopkeepers aren't joining in. In fact, nor is most of the country."
3) On Sunday morning Sam Donaldson and Tim Russert gave legitimacy to the liberal idea of pulling Bayer's patent on Cipro. Russert pressed: "Canada has removed the patent from the Bayer company and allowed other pharmaceutical companies to manufacture generic Cipro....Should we not do that here in the United States?"
4) The Pledge of Allegiance is too intolerant? Reacting to the decision by the New York City schools to reinstate the Pledge, Ann Curry highlighted how the ACLU worries those "who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment." Curry suggested that "perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance."
5) In one of its daily obituaries for victims of the terrorist attacks, the New York Times reported a man "brimmed with contrasts." He "was a staunch Republican...but he also helped nonprofit groups raise money for food and clothing for poor children."
ABC and NBC on Tuesday night aided the Taliban propaganda effort by airing graphic video of civilians supposedly injured by U.S. bombing. Though he conceded "there has been no independent confirmation," ABC's Dan Harris declared: "U.S. attacks on a village near Kandahar killed 93 civilians on Tuesday, including 18 members of one family." In his piece for World News Tonight, Harris highlighted terrible things caused by the U.S. as he relayed how "this boy is one of the injured. His uncle says he had heard American radio broadcasts promising civilians wouldn't be targeted."
Harris prompted a doctor: "How do you feel when you see these kids?" When he replied that he was "angry," Harris helpfully directed him: "Angry at the United States?" After the doctor responded affirmatively, Harris asserted: "Everyone we spoke with at this tiny hospital said the ongoing raids have made the population here and across the border angry at the U.S. and supportive of the Taliban."
Anchor Peter Jennings set up the Harris piece by mocking Pentagon denials of causing any civilian deaths. He listed several Pentagon denials of other claims which were later contradicted and then concluded: "And when we asked about two new incidents in which civilians have been killed, the Pentagon said it didn't know."
In fact, as both CBS and NBC noted, the Pentagon did concede on Tuesday that bombs went astray. "The Pentagon acknowledges there have been a few instances of bombs hitting civilians," CBS's David Martin reported Tuesday night before this clip from the Pentagon's Torie Clark: "At 11:24 on Saturday a U.S. Navy F-14 missed its intended target and inadvertently dropped two 500 pound bombs in a residential area northwest of Kabul."
NBC also ran a piece with video of kids supposedly injured by U.S. bombing, but it aired after Jim Miklaszewski pointed out that the Taliban are placing military equipment near civilians and mosques and reporter Ron Allen also found some hatred of America's enemy: "Everywhere people say they hate America, but many also now blame Osama bin Laden."
CBS's Martin outlined the Taliban propaganda strategy which ABC and NBC aided by going beyond words to show graphic video: "With their communications and air defenses in ruin, the Taliban can put up very little resistance. The chief weapon seems to be pictures they say are innocent civilians killed or injured by the bombing."
Jennings introduced the October 23 story by undermining the Pentagon's credibility: "At the Pentagon today, there was another wrestling match between reporters and those who brief on the Afghanistan campaign. Yesterday the Pentagon said it knew nothing about an alleged stray bomb hitting a hospital in Herat in western Afghanistan. Today a spokeswoman said a bomb had gone astray and landed near a senior citizens' home. Yesterday the Pentagon said these aircraft wheels probably came from some Taliban junkyard. Today we're told that a U.S. helicopter did lose its wheels as it was heading back from a raid. And when we asked about two new incidents in which civilians have been killed, the Pentagon said it didn't know. From Pakistan and the Afghanistan border tonight, ABC's Dan Harris."
Over hospital scenes, Harris asserted, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Video phone footage from
Al-Jazeera television today shows body bags lined up in a hospital hallway
in Kandahar. There have been reports of civilian casualties before but
never these kinds of pictures. According to Al-Jazeera, U.S. attacks on a
village near Kandahar killed 93 civilians on Tuesday, including 18 members
of one family. There has been no independent confirmation. Across the
border in the Pakistani town of Quetta, five people arrived today at a
hospital with injuries they say they suffered in another U.S. attack, this
one about 75 miles north of Kandahar. They say 29 people died when their
village was hit Monday night. This boy is one of the injured. His uncle
says he had heard American radio broadcasts promising civilians wouldn't
be targeted, but he says his village was nowhere near any Taliban
positions. Abdul Jabar is the doctor in charge. How do you feel when you
see these kids?"
Jennings added afterward: "The Pentagon said again today it does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Jim Miklaszewski
at the Pentagon pointed out: "The Pentagon also admits today there
have been some costly mistakes. Over the past few days two errant bombs
were dropped in a residential neighborhood outside Kabul and a thousand
pound bomb landed next a senior citizen home near Herat. But the Pentagon
disputes Taliban claims that hundreds were killed."
Anchor Tom Brokaw then set up a follow-up story: "Now the war zone itself. Exclusive pictures tonight on the human side of this war through the lens of an Afghan journalist who is allowed by the Taliban to roam unescorted through the capital of Kabul."
From Pakistan, Ron Allen narrated over the
hospital video: "In a Kabul hospital, doctors fail to save another
life. A man killed, his distraught son says, by shrapnel from an American
bomb. These exclusive pictures obtained by NBC News, shot with a home
video camera, show desperate conditions inside the capital where hospitals
have only a few hours of electricity each day, no blood in the blood
banks, and little medicine as some wards fill with young victims [video of
screaming kid]. Doctors literally tied this child into a bed to restrain
him. They have no pain killers. 'We try to buy medicines in the
market,' she says. 'The hospital doesn't have any.' Danishe (sp?),
an Afghan journalist whom we met across the border in Pakistan, took the
pictures during the past four days. He says the Taliban's only
restriction was that he not show any military activity.
CBS's 60 Minutes offered contradictory takes a week apart on whether Muslims are angry at the U.S. or supportive of the U.S. war on terrorism. On the October 14 show, Lesley Stahl argued to National Security Adviser Condeezza Rice that "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" and that "I haven't seen a single demonstration in that part of the world for us."
A week later, however, on the October 21 show, Christiane Amanpour played video of demonstrators in Pakistan, but then observed: "Look off to the sidewalk, the shopkeepers aren't joining in, in fact, nor is most of the country."
Back on October 14, as detailed in the October 16 CyberAlert, 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."
Fast forward a week and 60 Minutes supported
Rice's point. As taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd, on the October 21
edition, Amanpour observed over video
of protest marchers: "From the day America began its war on terrorism
this is what the world has seen of Pakistan: street protests, angry
people, fundamentalists demanding their government stop siding with the
Let's follow Canada into battle....with a German pharmaceutical company. Without any regard to property rights, or how it will likely lead to other nations undermining U.S. patents for products they would like to have made locally, some liberal Democrats want the U.S. to follow Canada's lead by withdrawing Bayer's patent on Cipro so that other companies can manufacture a generic version of it.
Their effort got a boost on Sunday morning from ABC's Sam Donaldson and NBC's Tim Russert as both gave the idea credibility by pressing guests about the anti-capitalist concept.
On the October 21 This Week, Donaldson pressed Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott: "Cipro is one of, of course, the main antibiotics to deal with anthrax. Bayer has the patent on it. Canada has decided to break that patent and, and have some generic drug made immediately. And I think you and Senator Kennedy and others are suggesting that maybe that should be done here. What's your thought?"
Over on Meet the Press, Russert raised the
idea with Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health:
"People now know the drug Cipro."
Having school kids say the Pledge of Allegiance is offensive and intolerant to the hosts of NBC's Today which demonstrated how, to at least some in the media, not "offending" anyone in the U.S. who is not a citizen is more important than affirming loyalty. On Friday morning, NBC brought aboard Ninfa Segarra, the President of the New York City School Board, to defend its resolution to require that the Pledge of Allegiance be said each morning by school kids.
NBC's Ann Curry, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, went to the concerns of the ACLU which claims "that those young people who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment." After her colleague Matt Lauer worried about how some kids will be ostracized, Curry suggested that in addition to "renewing...a symbol of patriotism," that "perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance."
That's right, the kids in schools in Southern Manhattan who saw the World Trade Center explode are the ones who need a lesson in tolerance.
Curry began the interview segment late in the October 19 show by letting Segarra outline why the schools had decided to reinstate the long-ago discontinued practice of having kids say the Pledge. Curry then pounced: "You know the Supreme Court decision way back in the '40s limits, basically prevents you from requiring, forcing students to say the Pledge. But you know the American Civil Liberties Union is very concerned about your resolution. They are saying basically that those young people who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment. And The New York City school system has a lot of people, a lot of students and perhaps even teachers who are not American citizens, isn't that correct?"
If they don't believe in pledging allegiance to the nation giving them a free education, then why should anyone care about offending them? They are the ones acting offensively.
When Segarra noted that no one will be forced to take the Pledge, Lauer remained troubled: "But how would you do that? I mean if you are in a classroom of 30 students and five sit in a corner and don't stand and put their hands on their hearts as the Pledge is recited aren't the other kids going to ostracize them a little bit?"
Curry soon elaborated on Lauer's concern: "But part of the thinking behind some of the criticism is that perhaps maybe an addendum to a renewing of, of a symbol of patriotism that perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance. Now is the school district, you are focusing on that in a new way?"
Segarra assured Curry that remains a concern.
Being a "staunch Republican" contravenes helping "raise money for food and clothing for poor children," the New York Times contended in one of its daily obituaries for a victim of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Sadly, the New York Times could not keep the liberal tilt of its staff from infecting its commendable effort, which will take about a year, to run brief obituaries every day until it has done one on every victim.
Under the heading of "Defying Easy
Categorization," the October 19 Times item began:
As James Taranto, author of OpionionJournal.com's "Best of the Web" column commented: "If the Times thinks there's something unusual about Republicans helping poor children, it should say so on its editorial page, not in a news article -- and especially not an obituary."
To read the entire article about Murphy's life, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/19/nyregion/19MISS.html?pagewanted=all
Murphy is the eighth item and the link does require a New York Times online registration.
Last week on Brit Hume's show, FNC's panel unanimously condemned CNN's decision to submit written questions to Osama bin Laden. "If anyone is going to give a signal to sleeper terrorists, it would certainly be Osama bin Laden. So this is really very dangerous ground," declared Fortune's Jeff Birnbaum.
Fred Barnes observed that "if somebody from the White House came and said, you know, if you submit some written questions to the President, you know, we'll get some answers for you, and he'll give them on tape and we'll give you the tape and you can run it, no network would have anything to do with it." Barnes argued: "They wouldn't do it for Bush, and in World War II they wouldn't have done it for Hitler, either." Hume pointed out how presenting questions in advance in writing violates CNN's own guidelines.
For a rundown of CNN's questions, refer to the October 18 CyberAlert which listed them and outlined CNN's reasoning: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011018.asp#4
Hume raised the CNN move of his October 18
show, MRC analyst Patrick Gregory observed. Hume announced on Special
Report with Brit Hume:
Birnbaum: "It strikes me as a
contradiction to the, I think, very reasonable agreement by a lot of
networks not to air the statements of Al Qaeda spokesmen, certainly
immediately after reviewing it, for fear that maybe some sort of signal is
being given to sleeper terrorists in this country. If anyone is going to
give a signal to sleeper terrorists, it would certainly be Osama bin
Laden. So this is really very dangerous ground, and I think that any
network should think twice before pressing to get him to answer questions
in this way."
Apparently not. -- Brent Baker