Ruing No Al Qaeda "In Custody"; Terrorists Protecting Animals; Excusing Anti-Western Rage; Ashcroft's "McCarthyism"; MRC in VRWC
1) The U.S. routed the Taliban and killed many Al Qaeda soldiers, but Peter Jennings on Monday night emphasized the negative: "After two months of war in Afghanistan the U.S. acknowledged today it has no senior Al Qaeda members in custody."
2) CBS discovered environmental and animal rights "terrorists carrying on business as usual right here at home." But Jerry Bowen concluded with the group's justification: "A domestic war being waged by anonymous individuals who see themselves as self-appointed protectors of the Earth and its animals."
3) Western hater first, journalist second and Brit third. A reporter for The Independent justified an attack on him by a mob of Afghan refugees because "thousands of innocent civilians are dying under American air strikes in Afghanistan," where "the 'War of Civilisation' is burning and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and destroying their homes because 'good' must triumph over 'evil.'"
4) John "McCarthy" Ashcroft. Al Hunt: "For Mr. Ashcroft to charge that his critics...are somehow un-American, are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, is a smear worthy of Joe McCarthy." Jack Germond agreed.
5) ABC's The Practice condemned detaining Arabs: "We're back to interning people. Sticking them in prison because of where they were born. It happened in World War II with the Japanese Americans and it's back."
6) CyberAlert as the fuel for the VRWC. In The Nation, Eric Alterman lamented: "Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast...Westin soon found himself chewed up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing media food chain. Brent Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center sent it out on a daily 'CyberAlert.'..."
may have routed the Taliban and killed many Al Qaeda soldiers and leaders,
but Peter Jennings on Monday night chose to emphasize shortcomings. He
introduced a December 10 World News Tonight story:
Dan Rather provided a contrast on the CBS Evening News with his set up for a story on the same subject: "For U.S. forces in Afghanistan the war has settled into two distinct campaigns: One is the hunt for bin Laden and his remaining loyalists, thought to be hiding in or near the mountain bastion of Tora Bora in the east. The other is in the South where U.S. Marines are expanding their range of operations near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar."
Far left environmental and animal rights terrorists discovered by CBS. Two weeks after ABC's 20/20 hyperbolically claimed a few anti-abortion zealots are just as dangerous as Al Qaeda, the CBS Evening News delivered a more nuanced look at, as Dan Rather put it, "terrorists carrying on business as usual right here at home with one surprise attack after another."
On the November 28 edition of 20/20 reporter Jami Floyd had claimed: "Since September 11th the word terrorist has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign, but many believe we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion crusaders."
Monday night on the CBS Evening News reporter Jerry Bowen allowed critics to denounce the tactics of the Earth Liberation Front, but he concluded with the terrorist group's justification: "A domestic war being waged by anonymous individuals who see themselves as self-appointed protectors of the Earth and its animals."
Dan Rather introduced the December 10 story,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "It's been nearly
three months since the United States began a war against terrorism with
military action in Afghanistan. But even as that war goes on overseas,
there are terrorists carrying on business as usual right here at home with
one surprise attack after another. CBS's Jerry Bowen reports on them in
tonight's Eye on America."
Bowen then played a clip of David Barbarash of the Animal Liberation Front who complained that since the 11th there has been no stopping of "atrocities" against animals.
Bowen picked up: "The incidents are the latest in a year of destructive attacks on targets ranging from housing developments to university research facilities. Frustrating for investigators, say FBI sources, because international terrorism demands their primary attention. Outrageous to officials want a crackdown."
Bowen played a soundbite of Congressman Scott McGinnis (R-CO), who represents Vail where a ski lodge was burned down, before he pointed out the groups say people are not targeted as their goal is "to make Earth a better place."
Barbarash asserted, referring to September 11:
"It was my hope that after these attacks people would understand a
little more about suffering and become more a little more compassionate in
their day to day lives. But we don't see that."
If you think U.S. journalists sometimes don't appreciate the privilege of living in a free society, they are jingoistic warmongers compared to some British journalists who are Third Worlders first, journalists second and Brits third.
Robert Fisk, a reporter for The Independent in London, justified an attack on him by a mob of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, reasoning that "if I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find" because "thousands of innocent civilians are dying under American air strikes in Afghanistan," where "the 'War of Civilisation' is burning and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and destroying their homes because 'good' must triumph over 'evil.'"
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, DrudgeReport.com, OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web" and FNC's Brit Hume all cited the Fisk rationalization on Monday. Here's an excerpt of his December 10 story in the Independent, a piece headlined: "My beating by refugees is a symbol of the hatred and fury of this filthy war." The excerpt:
They started by shaking hands. We said "Salaam aleikum" -- peace be upon you -- then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn't see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
So why record my few minutes of terror and self-disgust under assault near the Afghan border, bleeding and crying like an animal, when hundreds -- let us be frank and say thousands -- of innocent civilians are dying under American air strikes in Afghanistan, when the "War of Civilization" is burning and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and destroying their homes because "good" must triumph over "evil"?
Some of the Afghans in the little village had been there for years, others had arrived -- desperate and angry and mourning their slaughtered loved ones -- over the past two weeks. It was a bad place for a car to break down. A bad time, just before the Iftar, the end of the daily fast of Ramadan. But what happened to us was symbolic of the hatred and fury and hypocrisy of this filthy war, a growing band of destitute Afghan men, young and old, who saw foreigners -- enemies -- in their midst and tried to destroy at least one of them.
Many of these Afghans, so we were to learn, were outraged by what they had seen on television of the Mazar-i-Sharif massacres, of the prisoners killed with their hands tied behind their backs. A villager later told one of our drivers that they had seen the videotape of CIA officers "Mike" and "Dave" threatening death to a kneeling prisoner at Mazar. They were uneducated -- I doubt if many could read -- but you don't have to have a schooling to respond to the death of loved ones under a B-52's bombs. At one point a screaming teenager had turned to my driver and asked, in all sincerity: "Is that Mr Bush?"....
The first we knew that something was wrong was when the car stopped in the middle of the narrow, crowded street. A film of white steam was rising from the bonnet of our jeep....
That's when the first mighty crack descended on my head. I almost fell down under the blow, my ears singing with the impact. I had expected this, though not so painful or hard, not so immediate. Its message was awful. Someone hated me enough to hurt me. There were two more blows, one on the back of my shoulder, a powerful fist that sent me crashing against the side of the bus while still clutching Justin's hand....
The next blow came from a man I saw carrying a big stone in his right hand. He brought it down on my forehead with tremendous force and something hot and liquid splashed down my face and lips and chin. I was kicked. On the back, on the shins, on my right thigh. Another teenager grabbed my bag yet again and I was left clinging to the strap, looking up suddenly and realizing there must have been 60 men in front of me, howling. Oddly, it wasn't fear I felt but a kind of wonderment. So this is how it happens. I knew that I had to respond. Or, so I reasoned in my stunned state, I had to die....
I was back in the middle of the road but could not see. I brought my hands to my eyes and they were full of blood and with my fingers I tried to scrape the gooey stuff out. It made a kind of sucking sound but I began to see again and realized that I was crying and weeping and that the tears were cleaning my eyes of blood. What had I done, I kept asking myself? I had been punching and attacking Afghan refugees, the very people I had been writing about for so long, the very dispossessed, mutilated people whom my own country -- among others -- was killing along, with the Taliban, just across the border. God spare me, I thought. I think I actually said it. The men whose families our bombers were killing were now my enemies too....
I realized there were all the Afghan men and boys who had attacked me who should never have done so but whose brutality was entirely the product of others, of us -- of we who had armed their struggle against the Russians and ignored their pain and laughed at their civil war and then armed and paid them again for the "War for Civilization" just a few miles away and then bombed their homes and ripped up their families and called them "collateral damage".
So I thought I should write about what happened to us in this fearful, silly, bloody, tiny incident. I feared other versions would produce a different narrative, of how a British journalist was "beaten up by a mob of Afghan refugees".
And of course, that's the point. The people who were assaulted were the Afghans, the scars inflicted by us -- by B-52s, not by them. And I'll say it again. If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
END of Excerpt
For Fisk's chronicle in full, go to:
On OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web column on Monday (OpinionJournal.com/best), James Taranto commented: "Even granting Fisk the benefit of the doubt and assuming the attack actually happened as he describes it, Fisk's explanation still seems too convenient. Why should we believe that his attackers share his ideological outlook? Maybe someone in the crowd recognized Fisk as a reporter who's written sycophantic pieces about the Taliban, whose oppression the refugees had fled. Or maybe the attack had nothing to do with politics."
Two pundits over the weekend hurled the accusation of "McCarthyism" at Attorney General John Ashcroft as they committed the kind of exaggeration they were condemning Ashcroft for perpetrating.
On Inside Washington, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
noticed, liberal columnist Jack Germond, who I normally ignore since
he's not a reporter and hasn't been one in many years, went over the
On CNN's Capital Gang, Wall Street Journal
Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt spewed venom:
Not that it would have made any difference to Germond or Hunt, but while you still can disagree with Ashcroft, he never said that all critics of his policies were aiding America's enemies. He was referring during his Senate testimony to those making hyperbolic declarations about "lost liberty."
"We're back to interning people." That was the message of a politically-charged episode of ABC's The Practice on Sunday night which condemned the detention of an Arab-American.
On Sunday's The Practice, a drama about a low-brow Boston law firm which defends criminal clients, the husband of one of the firm's lawyer's is detained by the FBI for questioning. After his wife is unable to learn anything about his location or status and is unable to see him, she hires lawyer "Rebecca" to try to force the federal government to reveal his location and allow him access to a lawyer.
After initial stonewalling by FBI agents who cite "national security," a judge orders a hearing where the man can see, but not talk to his wife. In an intriguing plot twist, the detained man refuses counsel and says it's his patriotic duty to do whatever his government wants, even if that means continued detention at a secret location without any contact with his wife or kids.
His attitude disgusts Rebecca, leading to this exchange between "Rebecca Washington," played by Lisa Gay Hamilton, and lawyer "Lindsay Dole," played by Kelli Williams:
Lindsay: "Okay. You all right?"
If it we were really "back," tens of thousands of Arabs would be in internment camps, not tens in prison cells.
In the show, the man was a U.S. citizen for many years. In real life, few of those detained are U.S. citizens.
The Web page for The Practice: http://abc.go.com/primetime/thepractice/index.html
Another milestone for CyberAlert: Cited by the far-left The Nation magazine as the starting point of the vast right wing conspiracy (VRWC). In an article in the December 24 Nation, Eric Alterman criticized the recent Weekly Standard story by Fred Barnes which praised much of the media for its patriotic attitude while condemning some media figures, like ABC News President David Westin, for being unsure if the Pentagon was a "legitimate' target.
Alterman, who is a contributor to MSNBC.com, bemoaned: "Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast, however, Westin soon found himself chewed up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing media food chain. Brent Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center sent it out on a daily 'CyberAlert.'..."
An excerpt from Alterman's piece titled, "'Objectivity' RIP."
Something quite odd is going on with media coverage of this war. Critics on all sides of the political equation have historically attacked the media for bias in one direction or another, but rarely were willing to admit that they were doing so on behalf of biases of their own. Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes did just that, however, in a recent cover story celebrating top journalists' willingness to throw the old objectivity rulebook out the window as a result of the attacks of September 11....
Barnes is quite understandably excited about Dan Rather's post-9/11 appearance on the David Letterman show, when the anchor declared: "Wherever [the President] wants me to line up, just tell me where. And he'll make the call." Given that Presidents routinely lie about matters of war and peace, Rather is volunteering here to be a mindless propagandist rather than a thinking journalist....
A second source of Barnes's glee is no less instructive. During a recent class at the Columbia Journalism School, ABC News president David Westin was asked whether he considered the Pentagon to be a legitimate target for attack by America's enemies. Westin replied, "I actually don't have an opinion on that...as a journalist I feel strongly that's something I should not be taking a position on." As a lesson in the pretense of objectivity, Westin was right on point, if not exactly credible. No further questions on this topic were asked.
Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast, however, Westin soon found himself chewed up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing media food chain. Brent Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center sent it out on a daily "CyberAlert." There, it was picked up by Rupert Murdoch-funded Fox News Channel anchor Brit Hume, then rereported by the Murdoch-funded New York Post and later trumped by Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, who spent about an hour on it on his radio show. While Limbaugh was still on the air, Baker received a call and an e-mail from Westin containing what Barnes accurately terms Westin's "total capitulation." "I was wrong," he wrote. "Under any interpretation, the attack on the Pentagon was criminal and entirely without justification."
This is silly. There are millions of people all over the world whose interpretations of the attack lead them to believe it was justified, however wrong they may be. Even so, the question is a no-brainer. Of course the Pentagon is a legitimate target for an attack for those at war against us. Hello? War is the Pentagon's entire reason for being. It's where we plan our wars and figure out how to carry them out. By what conceivable definition of war could the Pentagon be excluded as a potential target? The shock of that aspect of the attack was that we didn't know we were in a war with these people in the first place. Now we do.
What's most interesting about Westin's answer was his willingness to drop any pretext of objectivity upon having his patriotism questioned and offer an apology no less indefensible than Rather's pathetic pandering....
Barnes credits some of the change in atmosphere to the emergence of right-wing "media critics, watchdog groups, press websites, and astute journalistic observers like Andrew Sullivan." And he may be right: As Joseph McCarthy demonstrated, using terms like "fifth columnist" to smear reporting with which one disagrees may not be pretty, but it is effective....
END of Excerpt
For Alterman's polemics in full, go to:
For excerpts from the Fred Barnes article, go
For the Weekly Standard piece by Barnes in
full, go to:
A Fox News Channel executive noticed that CNN on Friday morning borrowed their slogan, an incident reported in the December 10 CyberAlert. On Monday's Mornings with Paula Zahn, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, CNN replayed this clip from the December 7 show wrapping up an interview segment:
Paula Zahn: "We report."
Back on live on December 11, Cafferty reported: "Now there was no last name. I just said, 'are you listening, Roger?' But the phrase, 'We report, you decide' is a thing that they've hung on Fox News up the street. So I get this e-mail over the weekend from some guy named John Moody. I have no idea who he is, but he writes me this: 'Jack, Roger was not listening, and apparently he's not alone. However, I mentioned your media segment question this morning to him. He joins me in sending you congratulations and best wishes.'"
Cafferty wondered: "How did they know we
were talking about Roger Ailes? We never mentioned his last name. And who
is John Moody?"
To see the December 7 use by CNN of the FNC
slogan, check the RealPlayer clip of it posted by the MRC's Mez Djouadi: