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Dan Rather Touts "First Husband" Opportunity for Bill Clinton --1/3/2006


1. Dan Rather Touts "First Husband" Opportunity for Bill Clinton
Dan Rather fawned over former President Bill Clinton, and giddily promoted Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, in a new story for the New Year's Day 60 Minutes ostensibly focused on Clinton's effort to get low-priced AIDS medicines into China. Rather pointed out how Clinton couldn't take Air Force One on a trip to China, and wondered: "Do you miss it?" Clinton said he misses the workplace on it. Rather, looking bemused, followed up: "Do you, in some quiet moment, look forward to the time when maybe you fly on it in a different capacity, as First Husband?" Rather then trumpeted Geena Davis' character on ABC's Commander-in-Chief: "We now have on television, we have a woman President of the United States. Is the country ready for a woman President, a real woman President as opposed to one on television?"

2. Newsweek's Meacham Frets Bush Has Ruined Trust in Government
Asked by Tim Russert to name the biggest story of 2005, on Sunday's Meet the Press Jon Meacham, Managing Editor of Newsweek, lamented how President Bush's incompetence on Katrina and Iraq has disillusioned the new generation about the great "positive" things government can do. Meacham fretted that the new "generation coming of political consciousness, they're coming to consciousness when there are many, many questions about the competence of the government in Katrina, the competence of the government in terms of intelligence." But, he rued, "there's not the good part which happened in the '60s. There's not a civil rights movement. There's not a race to the moon, where things are, show what government can do in a positive way." Meacham zeroes in on Bush as he bemoaned how Bush's conduct "has raised a lot of questions about fundamental competence of the government, both abroad and at home, whether it's in Baghdad or in New Orleans." A conservative might see that as an unintended positive development.

3. ABC and CBS Revive Fears of Impending "Civil War" in Iraq
Interviewing General Peter Pace, from Iraq, on Sunday's This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran pressed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "One of the concerns that people have right now, post-election, is that it's one thing in a democracy to learn how to vote, it's another to learn how to lose. Are you concerned at all, and is the United States prepared, for the potential of a civil war?" Pace assured Moran that is unlikely. Later in the day, on the CBS Evening News, after Kelly Cobiella reported from Iraq on Sunni dissatisfaction with the election results, anchor John Roberts put "civil war" into play: "Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?"

4. ABC Skips How Anti-Bush "Constitutional Scholar" on Far-Left
Without identifying David Cole as the "constitutional scholar" for the far-left magazine The Nation, Friday's World News Tonight on ABC featured his denigration of the probe into who leaked the secret eavesdropping story to the New York Times and his expert declaration that "the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping." Reporter Pierre Thomas described Cole as a "constitutional scholar" and the on-screen graphic read: "Prof Georgetown Univ Law School." Cole's latest piece for The Nation calls Bush an "Emperor." Thomas did balance Cole with former federal prosecutor David Schertler, but the former homicide prosecutor has no equivalent ties to right-wing politics and did not make a declaration about which side of the dispute is correct.

5. Sheehan Is Clift's "Person of the Year" for Giving Bush "Hell"
On the Christmas weekend edition of the McLaughlin Group, which featured the show's annual "Year-End Awards," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift named Cindy Sheehan her "Person of the Year." Clift championed Sheehan's negative impact on President Bush: "I give it to Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mother who gave the President a vacation from Hell and brought the war home in a way that it hadn't been before and set the stage for the deceleration in the President's poll ratings."

6. Brokaw and Koppel Push Bush to Move Left and Raise Taxes
Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel demonstrated, during nearly an hour on the Christmas Day Meet the Press, how the old-guard mainstream media live in a world where conservatives are the impediment preventing rational policies. In the pre-taped session with Tim Russert, Brokaw fretted about how "no sacrifice is being asked of anyone at home" during the Iraq war, citing how "the President is not asking us to conserve oil or to ration gasoline or to push hard for alternative sources of energy in this conflict." Koppel chirped up: "Or to pay a nickel more in taxes." Brokaw contended that "unless we can build a coalition in the middle...we're going to be stuck in this place that is a polarized national capital when the rest of the country longs for pragmatic solutions and moving forward." Koppel charged that it is a "scandal" how "most Americans can't" get "the best medical care in the world" and "there are 43 million Americans who aren't getting any medical care at all," as if lack of insurance means no medical care. Brokaw related that is was "stunning" to him that the Bush administration "put as its highest priority the reform of Social Security and not health care in America."

7. CBS's Roberts Picks Up Democrat's Defense of Bush's "Spying"
Though Bob Schieffer introduced the December 21 CBS Evening News by using loaded language as he pointed out how, "to protest the President's decision to continue spying on American citizens, a federal judge took the unprecedented step of resigning from the court that issues warrants in such cases," an event also highlighted by ABC and NBC, unlike those networks, CBS White House correspondent John Roberts informed viewers how "the President got support today from an unusual quarter: Democrat Jane Harman, a key figure on the House Intelligence Committee." He highlighted how she asserted that "I believe the program is essential to U.S. national security" and, in a slam at the leaker and the New York Times, that the "disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities." Schieffer, however, remained most interested in the resignation. After Roberts wrapped up his story, Schieffer marveled to him: "I want to go back to this federal judge resigning. I must say in all my years in the news business, I've never heard of a federal judge resigning in protest over anything."

8. New York Post Devotes Editorial to MRC's "Best of NQ" Awards
The New York Post on Saturday devoted its entire editorial space to the editorial staff's favorite quotes from the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2005: The Eighteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

9. "Top Ten George W. Bush New Year's Resolutions"
Letterman's "Top Ten George W. Bush New Year's Resolutions."


Dan Rather Touts "First Husband" Opportunity
for Bill Clinton

Dan Rather fawned over former President Bill Clinton, and giddily promoted Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, in a new story for the New Year's Day 60 Minutes ostensibly focused on Clinton's effort to get low-priced AIDS medicines into China. Rather pointed out how Clinton couldn't take Air Force One on a trip to China, and wondered: "Do you miss it?"


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Clinton said he misses the workplace on it. Rather, looking bemused, followed up: "Do you, in some quiet moment, look forward to the time when maybe you fly on it in a different capacity, as First Husband?" Rather then trumpeted Geena Davis' character on ABC's Commander-in-Chief: "We now have on television, we have a woman President of the United States. Is the country ready for a woman President, a real woman President as opposed to one on television?"

CBSNews.com posted a semi-transcript of the story, but by providing summaries of Rather's inquiries, instead of a word-for-word transcript, the sycophantic nature of Rather's exchange is obscured. See: www.cbsnews.com

[This item was posted Sunday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, or to watch a video clip, in either Real or Windows Media formats, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Earlier in the story, Rather hit Clinton from the left on the prices charged by pharmaceutical companies: "Too strong, or not strong enough, to say there's price-gouging on these AIDS medicines?" Clinton pointed out: "Their view is they're protecting their intellectual property." Rather wasn't convinced: "Can you argue with anybody who says, 'well I think it's price gouging'?" Clinton came around: "Well, in my mind, I think they could sell them for a lot less without losing money. I do think that."

Rather's piece was the second story aired on the January 1 60 Minutes. A transcript I did, picking up after the first two-thirds of the story in which Rather followed Clinton around in China. This exchange, however, took place at Clinton's Harlem office:

Dan Rather: "Mr President, when we traveled with you in China, you weren't aboard Air Force One. Do you miss it?"
Bill Clinton: "Well, I don't miss the trappings so much, but I loved the plane because it's a great place to work."
Rather, looking bemused: "Do you, in some quiet moment, look forward to the time maybe when you fly on it in a different capacity, as First Husband?"
Clinton chuckled, then responded: "Well, the answer to that is no, I don't. I don't think about that and I have urged all of Hillary's supporters not to think about that, because she's got to run for re-election. And it's a big hazard for anybody who's up for re-election to think about anything but re-election."
Rather, trumpeting Geena Davis on ABC's Commander-in-Chief: "Well, as you know, we now have on television, we have a woman President of the United States."
Clinton: "Yeah, Geena Davis."
Rather: "Is the country ready for a woman President, a real woman President as opposed to one on television?"

Clinton: "I don't know. My gut is, yes, that if a woman came across as strong and seasoned and well prepared, if you said the right things in the right way and you had a good record to back it up, my gut is, yes. But the hard truth is we won't know until it happens."
Rather, narrating over video of Clinton with AIDS patients in China: "For now, Mr. Clinton says he's concentrating his efforts on AIDS. But globe-trotting can take its toll. In China, the President seemed grayer and thinner than the last time we had seen him."
Clinton: "I did five cities in China, seven cities in eight days, halfway across the world, and I was truly exhausted. But I want to work hard. I don't know how much time I've got to live, and I want to make as much difference as I can."
Rather: "But why not try to make a difference, we wondered, on problems closer to home?"
Clinton: "This is our problem. Eight thousand people die of AIDS in the world every single day. It's our problem. It's a big problem. I'm working hard on trying to help the victims of Katrina. I'm working hard on trying to help the victims of the tsunami. But we have a tsunami-like death toll once a month with AIDS."

Newsweek's Meacham Frets Bush Has Ruined
Trust in Government

Asked by Tim Russert to name the biggest story of 2005, on Sunday's Meet the Press Jon Meacham, Managing Editor of Newsweek, lamented how President Bush's incompetence on Katrina and Iraq has disillusioned the new generation about the great "positive" things government can do. Meacham fretted that the new "generation coming of political consciousness, they're coming to consciousness when there are many, many questions about the competence of the government in Katrina, the competence of the government in terms of intelligence." But, he rued, "there's not the good part which happened in the '60s. There's not a civil rights movement. There's not a race to the moon, where things are, show what government can do in a positive way." Meacham zeroes in on Bush as he bemoaned how Bush's conduct "has raised a lot of questions about fundamental competence of the government, both abroad and at home, whether it's in Baghdad or in New Orleans." A conservative might see that as an unintended positive development.

Meacham was joined on the roundtable by New York Times columnist William Safire, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and NBC's favorite historian, the left-wing Doris Kearns Goodwin, who chafed over how President George W. Bush has "taken the negative parts of his father about raising no taxes."

[This item was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To offer your views, go to: newsbusters.org ]

(Meacham won the "Madness of King George Award for Bush Bashing" in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2005: The Eighteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," for this shot on Imus in the Morning following Bush's criticism of Roosevelt's Yalta deal with Stalin on post-war Europe: "It's like he [President Bush] stuck a broomstick in his [FDR's] wheelchair wheels." See: www.mrc.org )

Back to Meet the Press: Jon Meacham, on what he considers the biggest story of 2005:
"I think Iraq, and I think, somewhat to Bill's [Safire] point about an angle on it, is the issue of trust and the questions about the pre-war intelligence, the questions about the conduct of the war. In an interesting way to me, for this generation coming of political consciousness, they're coming to consciousness when there are many, many questions about the competence of the government in Katrina, the competence of the government in terms of intelligence. But there's not the good part which happened in the '60s. There's not a civil rights movement. There's not a race to the moon, where things are, show what government can do in a positive way, and I think this has been a difficult year for government as an idea. And I think that the President, who has chosen to project power in this way, to use Richard Haas' phrase, as a 'war of choice,' he has done so in a way that now has raised a lot of questions about fundamental competence of the government, both abroad and at home, whether it's in Baghdad or in New Orleans."

Much later in the show, Doris Kearns Goodwin, on what books people should read in 2006:
"Well, you know, oddly I just re-read Mr. Bush Sr.'s All the Best, which is his letters and diaries, and if the junior would read that, it talks about bipartisanship, it talks about shmoozing with the Congressmen, being much more open and being willing to just listen to what people are saying. I think he's taken the negative parts of his father about raising no taxes and not using the political capital. There's a lot of positive pieces in that classy father that are in that book."

I have no idea what she meant by "not using the political capital," but that's what she said.

ABC and CBS Revive Fears of Impending
"Civil War" in Iraq

Interviewing General Peter Pace, from Iraq, on Sunday's This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran pressed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "One of the concerns that people have right now, post-election, is that it's one thing in a democracy to learn how to vote, it's another to learn how to lose. Are you concerned at all, and is the United States prepared, for the potential of a civil war?" Pace assured Moran that is unlikely. Later in the day, on the CBS Evening News, after Kelly Cobiella reported from Iraq on Sunni dissatisfaction with the election results, anchor John Roberts put "civil war" into play: "Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?"

[This item was posted early Monday morning on the MRC blog, NewsBusters.org. To add your comment, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Kelly Cobiella had concluded her January 1 story:
"Of the 275 seats up for grabs in the parliament, religious Shiites are expected to win about half with Kurds taking another quarter. The rest will be divided among nationalist parties and Sunni Arabs. Which means they're not likely to have a major impact on the makeup of the new government. Which is why some Sunnis are already rejecting the results. So the question becomes can these factions move beyond their party lines and form a government which would unite all of Iraq's warring ethnic tribes. John?"
Roberts: "What do you think, Kelly? Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?"
Cobiella: "That's been mentioned, and when you consider that all of these factions have their own militias loyal just to them, if they feel as though they're being left out of the political process, it could happen. The hope, of course, is that some concessions, enough concessions will be made to bring all of them into the fold."

ABC Skips How Anti-Bush "Constitutional
Scholar" on Far-Left

Without identifying David Cole as the "constitutional scholar" for the far-left magazine The Nation, Friday's World News Tonight on ABC featured his denigration of the probe into who leaked the secret eavesdropping story to the New York Times and his expert declaration that "the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping." Reporter Pierre Thomas described Cole as a "constitutional scholar" and the on-screen graphic read: "Prof Georgetown Univ Law School." Cole's latest piece for The Nation calls Bush an "Emperor." Thomas did balance Cole with former federal prosecutor David Schertler, but the former homicide prosecutor has no equivalent ties to right-wing politics and did not make a declaration about which side of the dispute is correct.

Substitute anchor Claire Shipman set up the story by mis-characterizing the surveillance of international contacts with those linked to terrorists: "Now to the administration's secret eavesdropping program in which the government monitors domestic conversations without a warrant." Thomas highlighted how "some constitutional scholars say the NSA spying is illegal and that the New York Times article disclosing it is a public service. They say this investigation is retribution." Cole argued: "On the face of it, there were two crimes committed here. One, a leak by a government official, something that happens almost every day in Washington. The other, the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping. Yet which one is being investigated?"

[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To contribute your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

"The Emperor's Powers" is the headline over Cole's latest piece for The Nation. The summary of the story, which is available online only to subscribers, on the magazine's Web page for him: "The Bush Administration believes it can ignore the rule of law -- in pursuit of torture, Pentagon surveillance of antiwar groups and now, domestic spying. We must continue to insist that in a democracy, the rule of law cannot be ignored." See: www.thenation.com

The December 30 World News Tonight story in full, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

Claire Shipman: "Now to the administration's secret eavesdropping program in which the government monitors domestic conversations without a warrant. Today, the Justice Department launched a leak investigation to find out who in the government was responsible for leaking details of the program to the New York Times. Here's ABC's Pierre Thomas."

Pierre Thomas: "A visibly angry President Bush has all but campaigned for a leak investigation into who revealed the NSA's secret program to the New York Times."
George W. Bush, at December 19 press conference: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in time of war."
Thomas: "Administration officials say the program, which allows the government to eavesdrop on people in the U.S. without a court order, has prevented acts of terrorism. Sources tell ABC News the NSA sent a letter to the Justice Department explaining how the leak had damaged national security."
David Schertler, former federal prosecutor: "The Department of Justice would take a leak of that kind of information, which could be detrimental to the security interests of the United States, very seriously."
Thomas, with matching text of his points on screen: "Some constitutional scholars say the NSA spying is illegal and that the New York Times article disclosing it is a public service. They say this investigation is retribution." [This portion of the story, as aired at 6:30pm EST, had an audio/video jump so the word "some" did not air, but the closed captioning had the word "some" as Thomas' first word and that word makes sense.]
David Cole, identified on screen as "Prof Georgetown Univ Law School,"asserted: "On the face of it, there were two crimes committed here. One, a leak by a government official, something that happens almost every day in Washington. The other, the President of the United States violated a clear criminal prohibition on warrantless wiretapping. Yet which one is being investigated?"
Thomas, from in front of the Justice Department building: "The investigation sets the stage for another constitutional showdown between the rights of the press and the need to protect national security. A former federal prosecutor says New York Times reporters and editors should be expecting subpoenas and more."
Schertler: "The New York Times reporters, if they refuse to testify and identify their sources, face going to prison for contempt of court."
Thomas: "Tonight, officials at the New York Times are declining to comment. They know an intense legal fight is coming. Pierre Thomas, ABC News, Washington."

Sheehan Is Clift's "Person of the Year"
for Giving Bush "Hell"

On the Christmas weekend edition of the McLaughlin Group, which featured the show's annual "Year-End Awards," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift named Cindy Sheehan her "Person of the Year." Clift championed Sheehan's negative impact on President Bush: "I give it to Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mother who gave the President a vacation from Hell and brought the war home in a way that it hadn't been before and set the stage for the deceleration in the President's poll ratings."

[This item was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]

In other categories, Clift assigned the "Best Spin" to the "shameless spin" from the Bush White House of "allowing the terrorists to kill thousands of Americans in Iraq so that they won't kill thousands of Americans here." For "Fairest Rap," Clift forwarded: "The Bush administration misled us into war. They exaggerated the evidence they believed was true and left out all the caveats." And for "Best Photo-Op," Clift picked "President Bush trying to get out of a locked door. Wonderful metaphor for the trap he's in in Iraq."

Brokaw and Koppel Push Bush to Move Left
and Raise Taxes

Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel demonstrated, during nearly an hour on the Christmas Day Meet the Press, how the old-guard mainstream media live in a world where conservatives are the impediment preventing rational policies. In the pre-taped session with Tim Russert, Brokaw fretted about how "no sacrifice is being asked of anyone at home" during the Iraq war, citing how "the President is not asking us to conserve oil or to ration gasoline or to push hard for alternative sources of energy in this conflict." Koppel chirped up: "Or to pay a nickel more in taxes." Brokaw contended that "unless we can build a coalition in the middle...we're going to be stuck in this place that is a polarized national capital when the rest of the country longs for pragmatic solutions and moving forward." Koppel charged that it is a "scandal" how "most Americans can't" get "the best medical care in the world" and "there are 43 million Americans who aren't getting any medical care at all," as if lack of insurance means no medical care. Brokaw related that is was "stunning" to him that the Bush administration "put as its highest priority the reform of Social Security and not health care in America."

Earlier, in an intriguing assertion which would undermine much of the media hostility to Bush, Koppel had maintained that "if 9/11 had happened on Bill Clinton's watch, he would have gone into Iraq."

Some excerpts, in time sequence, from the December 25 Meet the Press on NBC:

# Clinton too would have invaded Iraq:

Brokaw: "There was not, you know, the French intelligence were sharing the same conclusions with the administration. I thought, I agree with you that I don't think that we pushed hard enough for vigorous debate. I think that on Capitol Hill that the debate was anemic, at best. You had Ted Kennedy and Senator Byrd, really, were the only ones speaking out with any kind of passion in the Senate, the people who-".
Russert: "And they were not questioning whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."
Brokaw: "No. No. No."
Russert: "That seemed to be a uniformly held belief."
Brokaw: "Right. Yeah."
Koppel: "Nor did the Clinton administration beforehand. I mean, the only difference between the Clinton administration and the Bush administration was 9/11."
Brokaw: "Right."
Koppel: "If 9/11 had happened on Bill Clinton's watch, he would have gone into Iraq."
Brokaw: "Yeah. Yeah."


# If only we could raise taxes, have Bush admit his screw-ups and we could get around his conservative policies by following McCain's centrist lead:

Brokaw: "The other thing that I think can happen domestically, Tim, is that, and I completely agree with Ted on this. I think that, and I've been talking about this around the country some -- this disconnect between those people who are in uniform and fighting this war over there and a large portion of our population, because no sacrifice is being asked of anyone at home. The President is not asking us to conserve oil or to ration gasoline or to push hard for alternative sources of energy in this conflict."
Koppel: "Or to pay a nickel more in taxes."
Brokaw: Or to pay more in taxes for it. And so it allows someone to say, 'Well, we have a mercenary army.' I don't believe that we have a mercenary military. I think people volunteer for the right reasons. No one is going to go over there for the kind of paychecks that they get and expose themselves to IEDs and the kind of random death that exists all day, every day for any kind of a group. But I don't believe that this administration, or, for that matter, the opposition has asked enough of the American people, or raised that as an issue about we're all involved in this at this point and we're all going to get, we all got into it and we're all going to get out of it if we all play a part."
Koppel: "But the point, the one issue I would add, Tim, is the mousetrap that is waiting for the Democrats is if they do not publicly acknowledge that U.S. national interest is just fundamentally involved in a stable Iraq and a stable Persian Gulf, if they simply come after the Republicans, and take the cheap shots on the war, and say, 'You gotta bring the troops home at all costs,' they might even win the election, but if they win the election, they're going to find themselves confronting the same issues of national interest that the Republicans are facing right now. The simple fact of the matter is it is in America's national interest that there be stability in the Persian Gulf, and if we precipitously pull the troops out of that area now, there'll be hell to pay."
Russert: "Wouldn't it be easier to develop a bipartisan consensus if there was more acknowledgment of mistakes being made?"
Brokaw: "It would be. I think that the, one of the reasons the President's doing better in the national polls is he's beginning to say that 'It was more difficult than we thought,' 'the intelligence was flawed,' it would have been a lot easier if we had our allies with us, as well. I think that they fumbled that at the beginning. The comments of Don Rumsfeld about old Europe and new Europe, the refusal of the President to reach out, to take a little more time to have inspections.
"Go back to Katrina for a moment. I think that Katrina then became a metaphor for our political culture. We have a political culture of blame now. Everybody after Katrina was blaming everyone else. No one wanted to step up and take responsibility or accountability for what had happened there. And that's going on with Iraq. One of the reason that I think John McCain continues to get good notices is that he put together the Gang of 14 in the Senate, to say, 'Enough of this; we've got to find a way through-'"
Russert: "The swing moderates."
Brokaw: "'-the swing moderates-' through these intractable positions in which we constantly find ourselves. Unless we can build a coalition in the middle, deal with filibusters, with our, the tricky issues of torture or what we're going to do about Iraq, and the budget, and the deficit, we're going to be stuck in this place that is a polarized national capital when the rest of the country longs for pragmatic solutions and moving forward."
Russert: "Ted Koppel, what is it about political leaders that prevent them from fessing up? If they say that 'the war is going to cost X amount,' or 'we're not going to need hundreds of thousands of troops,' or 'we'll be greeted as liberators' -- if things on the ground are different, why not come on Nightline or Meet the Press and say, 'You know what? We got it wrong. But this is how we're adjusting to fix it'?"
Koppel: "I think all the political analysts and the same people who advise our bosses as to what kind of a demographic we need to get on a news program are the same people who are advising the politicians. They say you come out and tell the truth, 'You're gonna get nailed. Your hide will be nailed to the wall. I mean, people 50 years from now will admire your courage, but the other guy's gonna win the office.'"
Brokaw: I don't agree with that. I think the, I think that the -- there's a longing now-"
Koppel: "I'm not saying that's what it should be. I'm saying that's what the advisers-"
Brokaw: "No. I know. But I think they give that kind of advice, I agree with that. But I think that there's a longing now for people who will acknowledge that they, that there were mistakes made and that we need to reach across lines a lot more and work together. Doesn't mean you have to give up your ideology or your most cherished beliefs. But, you know, the great strength of this country is we've always been able to find the center and find our way through our most difficult crises by forming these coalitions, and people, at the end of the day, getting together in the Senate caucus or being summoned down to the White House, and working things out, and saying, 'Look, I'll give a little on this if you'll give a little on that,' and we're gonna move forward. There's precious little of that these days."


# Most Americans don't get good health care and that should be the national priority:

Russert: "Is there a story that you think was under-reported this year?"
Brokaw: "Yes, I do. I think a big story that was under-reported within industrial foundation of America, General Motors may not survive. That has been the cornerstone of American industry, all those manufacturing jobs in Detroit, the automobile industry defined who we were. And at the secondary level of that story is what's going to happen with pensions in America and companies and corporations?"
Russert: "A thousand companies have failed pensions."
Brokaw: "Yeah. And the arithmetic is pretty simple. We're either all going to pay for it at great expense or a lot of people are going to get to age 65 and not have the money that they expected to have there. In the meantime, both members of that family are working and they're on a constant consumer binge and they're thinking it's going to be there for them and it's not going to be there for them. And the largest automobile company in the world is about to be Toyota. America will give up that leadership."
Russert: "Ted Koppel, I was reading a Government Accountability Office report. $20 trillion in government liabilities in 2000. It's now $43 trillion in 2004 -- Medicare, Social Security, pensions. And yet you talk about it, people's eyes glaze over. How do you make these stories interesting to people?"
Koppel: "I think the only way you can make them interesting is to bring them down to the individual level. And the fact of the matter is that when we show one person whose pension has just been taken away from her or him-"
Russert: "That's memorable."
Koppel: "That's memorable, and you can say, 'I identify with that person,' or people out there watching your program can say, 'I identify with that person.' But, you know, to follow up on Tom's point. I think the medical care, which is a function of what we're talking about -- yes, we have been priding ourselves on having the best medical care in the world -- and you know something? You can get the best medical care in the world, he can get the best medical care in the world, I can. Most Americans can't. And there are 43 million Americans who aren't getting any medical care at all. That is a scandal.".
Brokaw: "That is getting attention at least, where people are trying to come to grips with that. And what was so stunning to me was that the Bush administration, after winning a very sizeable popular vote in the 2004 election, put as its highest priority the reform of Social Security and not health care in America because I thought that's where most people were concerned."
Russert: "Agree?"
Koppel: "Sure. I'm not gonna disagree with him. I'm at NBC here. I got to agree with Brokaw."

It takes a lot of chutzpah to complain about the size of entitlement liabilities when the national media are a huge impediment to addressing the problem since every time anyone suggests even a minor slowdown in the growth of spending on these programs, never mind any kind of real cut, the media roll out the potential "victims" and tell tales about seniors who will soon be forced to eat dog food. And who led the charge to create another entitlement program, prescription coverage in Medicare? Liberals and the news media.

CBS's Roberts Picks Up Democrat's Defense
of Bush's "Spying"

Though Bob Schieffer introduced the December 21 CBS Evening News by using loaded language as he pointed out how, "to protest the President's decision to continue spying on American citizens, a federal judge took the unprecedented step of resigning from the court that issues warrants in such cases," an event also highlighted by ABC and NBC, unlike those networks, CBS White House correspondent John Roberts informed viewers how "the President got support today from an unusual quarter: Democrat Jane Harman, a key figure on the House Intelligence Committee." He highlighted how she asserted that "I believe the program is essential to U.S. national security" and, in a slam at the leaker and the New York Times, that the "disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities." Schieffer, however, remained most interested in the resignation. After Roberts wrapped up his story, Schieffer marveled to him: "I want to go back to this federal judge resigning. I must say in all my years in the news business, I've never heard of a federal judge resigning in protest over anything."

Naturally, no one pointed out that President Clinton appointed Judge Robertson.

ABC held its "eavesdropping" coverage to an anchor-read brief, but one devoted to the judge, while in a full story on the Patriot Act and Bush's "decision to order spying inside the U.S. without a warrant," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell highlighted the resignation.

[This item was posted December 21 on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. See: newsbusters.org ]

Harman's Web site does not have the statement posted (www.house.gov ), nor do the press (http://intelligence.house.gov/Releases.aspx ) or minority pages (http://intelligence.house.gov/Minority/default.aspx ) for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on which she is the ranking Democrat.

On the December 21 CBS Evening News, over matching text on screen from Harman's statement, Roberts relayed:
"The President got support today from an unusual quarter: Democrat Jane Harman, a key figure on the House Intelligence Committee. 'I believe the program is essential to U.S. national security,' she said in a statement, 'and that disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.' But Harman added she's worried the spying goes beyond what she was briefed on. New concerns were raised today that the eavesdropping accidentally swept up purely domestic conversations. But the deputy National Intelligence director insists that 'One end of these communications are always outside the Unites States of America.'"...

Over on ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced, over video of Robertson walking on a sidewalk:
"And one more item from Washington: There is more fallout over President Bush's program to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants. A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance and intelligence cases. James Robertson reportedly did so to protest the President's actions. The Washington Post says the judge is worried that the President's surveillance program is tainting the work of the court and may, in fact, be illegal."

In a story on the NBC Nightly News pegged to the debate over the Patriot Act, Kelly O'Donnell interjected:
"But in the President's war on terror, defining the line between liberty and security is drawing new fire and new fallout over his decision to order spying inside the U.S. without a warrant. In protest, this federal judge, Judge James Robertson, has resigned from the special court known as FISA, set up to oversee government wiretaps. The White House vigorously defends the surveillance program, saying it's limited to al-Qaeda suspects and those associated with the group and had no comment on the judge's resignation."
Scott McClellan: "I don't know the reason why the judge resigned from the FISA court. The FISA court's important one."
O'Donnell: "Another FISA judge confirmed the resignation to NBC News, and says the remaining ten judges on the court plan to meet soon to discuss the once secret program."

New York Post Devotes Editorial to MRC's
"Best of NQ" Awards

The New York Post on Saturday devoted its entire editorial space to the editorial staff's favorite quotes from the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2005: The Eighteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

To see which quotes the Post highlighted, in the December 31 editorial headlined "Hoist By Their Own Petard," go to: www.nypost.com

As noted in Friday's CyberAlert, the December 30 Rocky Mountain News in Denver featured a column, "Liberals Shine in Media," by one of our judges, Mike Rosen, with his favorite quotes from the "Best of" awards issue: www.rockymountainnews.com

For the posted version of the awards issue, with RealPlayer and Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, for all the quotes from television shows, check: www.mrc.org

"Top Ten George W. Bush New Year's Resolutions"

From the January 2 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten George W. Bush New Year's Resolutions." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Fewer decisions based on wild, drunken hunches

9. Have N.S.A. find out what really happened between Nick and Jessica

8. Stop using Situation Room monitors to play X-Box 360

7. More C-SPAN, less "Yes, Dear"

6. Team up with leading scientists to make Cheetos even cheesier

5. To capture and bring to justice King Kong

4. Beat the twins at beer pong

3. Respond to reporters questions with, "Bitch, don't go there"

2. Scale back on grueling 12-hour work week

1. "Who needs resolutions? Everything is fine"


FNC's Bill O'Reilly is scheduled to appear Tuesday night on the Late Show.

-- Brent Baker