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Dionne, Borger and Ifill Fret About Snub of Carter from Funeral --4/11/2005


1. Dionne, Borger and Ifill Fret About Snub of Carter from Funeral
Some more fretting over the weekend about the supposed "snubbing" of former President Jimmy Carter from the official U.S. delegation to the Pope's funeral. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., a former reporter for the Post and New York Times, made Carter's exclusion his "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN. The night before, on PBS's Washington Week, Gloria Borger of U.S. News and CBS News reflected the media obsession as she conceded that "all week long we've been trying to figure out was he [Carter] invited or wasn't he invited." Host Gwen Ifill called Carter's absence "an awkward omission."

2. CBS Cites "Exceptional" Work of Iraqi Cameraman Detained by U.S.
CBS News on Friday night came to the defense of an Iraqi cameraman in their employ who was detained by U.S. officials after he was shot by a soldier and his film showed the immediate aftermath of some bombings, which suggested he had foreknowledge. CBS reporter Lee Cowan in Iraq told CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer: "This is a man that was recommended to us by someone that we worked with for a long time here in Baghdad that we trust deeply. He was a graduate of the university here. One of his family members actually works for the police force up in Mosul, and from every indication that we had, the work that he'd done for us the past three months had been exceptional."

3. Rather & Mapes Win Peabody Award for Abu Ghraib Abuse Story
Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, the reporter/producer team behind the discredited Bush National Guard hit job, won a prestigious Peabody Award last Thursday for their Abu Ghraib story which aired earlier last year on 60 Minutes II. The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication issues the awards every year and Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, insisted to the New York Times: "It was one of the most important stories of the year and was one of the crucial components of the ongoing conflict in Iraq." Mapes, who was fired by CBS over the Bush story, told the New York Times: "I think there is at least context here, if not vindication. And I am happy for my colleagues at CBS."

4. You Read It Here First: WashPost Picks Up Baldwin's Anti-GOP Rant
You read it here first. The "Names & Faces" column in Saturday's Washington Post picked up on a quote from Alec Baldwin cited in the April 4 CyberAlert: "'The leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the [posterior] of the conservative right,' so Alec Baldwin claimed while yammering on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher last week." The Post's Anne Schroeder, who compiles the Style section column, quipped: "It's a wonder he's not in Washington more often."


Dionne, Borger and Ifill Fret About Snub
of Carter from Funeral

Washington Post's E.J. Dionne Jr. & U.S. News's Gloria Borger Some more fretting over the weekend about the supposed "snubbing" of former President Jimmy Carter from the official U.S. delegation to the Pope's funeral. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., a former reporter for the Post and New York Times, made Carter's exclusion his "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN. The night before, on PBS's Washington Week, Gloria Borger of U.S. News and CBS News reflected the media obsession as she conceded that "all week long we've been trying to figure out was he [Carter] invited or wasn't he invited." Host Gwen Ifill called Carter's absence "an awkward omission."

Dionne's "Outrage of the Week" at the end of the April 9 Capital Gang:
"Former President Jimmy Carter was not part of the U.S. delegation to the Pope's funeral. He was the first President to host the Pope, this Pope at the White House and his humanitarian activities were in keeping with the Pope's teachings. What's known about this mess is that Carter was initially invited to join the delegation and accepted. Then there were more phone calls and Carter withdrew. Carter naturally did the decent thing and denies any snub. The White House insists that Carter could have gone but if that's true, why those extra phone calls? This was a time for simple graciousness."

PBS's Washington Week On the April 8 Washington Week on PBS, Gloria Borger asked Christian Science Monitor reporter Linda Feldman: "Well, there is someone who didn't go, and that is Jimmy Carter. And all week long, we've been trying to figure out was he invited or wasn't he invited. So what's the real story?"
Feldman: "Well, this has become one of those Washington situations where you, we're not going to know the answer. They've all closed ranks. The official story from both sides, from the President's side and from Jimmy Carter's side, is that he had offered to go, and then he decided not to go. But, you know, these things are, there's always politics involved with politicians, of course."
Gwen Ifill: "No, really?"
Feldman: "And there's some thinking that Carter was kind of, it was maybe suggested that he not go ultimately because there's some tensions between his camp and the President's camp. Jimmy Carter had some very sharp words against President Bush at the Democratic Convention last summer, so it's, we'll never know, but it's-"
Ifill: "It was an awkward omission."

Dionne, Borger and Ifill were just continuing an obsession expressed last week by NBC News reporters and anchors, as recounted in two CyberAlert items:

-- April 6 CyberAlert: NBC's Today treated the lack of inclusion of former President Jimmy Carter, in the official U.S. delegation to Friday's funeral for the later Pope John Paul II, as an inexcusable snub by the Bush White House and the biggest news of Wednesday morning. Katie Couric insisted at the top of the show that with President Bush going to Rome with the First Lady and Condoleezza Rice, as well as his father and Bill Clinton, "the question some people are asking is where's President Carter in all this? Are the Bushes and the Carters the modern day version of the Hatfields and the McCoys? Andrea Mitchell soon fretted: "You have to wonder why the White House couldn't have asked the Vatican to permit one more person in the Basilica? Particularly a Nobel Laureate who actually worked on Third World issues with John Paul II. And it seems as though this snub may have had something to do with Carter's strong criticism of the President at last summer's Democratic convention." Matt Lauer wanted to know "why doesn't Secretary of State Rice step aside and say, 'you take my spot, you know, former President Carter?'" See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- April 7 CyberAlert: NBC continued to obsess Wednesday night and Thursday morning, as NBC reporters and anchors had on Wednesday's Today, over the supposed snubbing of former President Jimmy Carter who is not part of the official U.S. delegation to the Pope's funeral. On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams insisted from Rome that "the arrival here tonight of three U.S. Presidents has some asking why Jimmy Carter isn't a part of the official American delegation." On MSNBC's Countdown, fill-in host Alison Stewart declared: "Notably absent from the day's arrival of the U.S. delegation, former President Jimmy Carter." She fretted to Andrea Mitchell that "the Air Force One presidential club took off without the Nobel Peace Prize winner." On Thursday's Today, Matt Lauer raised the subject with Tim Russert who contended that "I'm not sure we'll ever know the true facts until the biographies come out." Two hours later on Today, Katie Couric pressed an Archbishop: "Were you surprised...that President Carter was not a part of the delegation given the fact that the Pope visited President Carter at the White House?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

CBS Cites "Exceptional" Work of Iraqi
Cameraman Detained by U.S.

CBS's Bob Schieffer CBS News on Friday night came to the defense of an Iraqi cameraman in their employ who was detained by U.S. officials after he was shot by a soldier and his film showed the immediate aftermath of some bombings, which suggested he had foreknowledge. CBS reporter Lee Cowan in Iraq told CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer: "This is a man that was recommended to us by someone that we worked with for a long time here in Baghdad that we trust deeply. He was a graduate of the university here. One of his family members actually works for the police force up in Mosul, and from every indication that we had, the work that he'd done for us the past three months had been exceptional."

For a Saturday AP dispatch, "U.S. Military Detains Cameraman in Iraq," go to: news.yahoo.com

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the discussion on the April 8 CBS Evening News:

Schieffer: "The military command in Iraq notified us today that they have detained a freelance cameraman who has been working for CBS News in Iraq. He was shot and wounded by American troops in northern Iraq on Tuesday, and the Army says it now has reason to believe he poses a threat to coalition forces, and suspects him of cooperating with the insurgents. Obviously, we take this very seriously. We want to bring in Lee Cowan in Baghdad and Jim Stewart in Washington with the latest on this. Lee, what can you tell us about this? What do you know?"
CBS's Lee Cowan Cowan, in Iraq: "Well, not a whole lot at this point, Bob. We know that our cameraman was shooting the scene of a car bomb explosion up in Mosul. From what the military says, there was a man standing next to him that was brandishing a machine gun, an AK-47, inciting the crowd. The military then shot him and then they say they mistook the small hand-held camera that our cameraman was using for a weapon. They shot and injured him as well. This is a man that was recommended to us by someone that we worked with for a long time here in Baghdad that we trust deeply. He was a graduate of the university here. One of his family members actually works for the police force up in Mosul, and from every indication that we had, the work that he'd done for us the past three months had been exceptional."
Schieffer: "Jim Stewart, what have you found out in Washington?"
Jim Stewart, from Washington, DC: "Well, Bob, U.S. officials here say they became interested in the cameraman after they examined his video recorder and saw pictures of what appears to be the aftermath of four separate attacks by insurgents using IEDs, or those improvised explosive devices. The pictures were taken, they say, so soon after the attack, that they suggest the cameraman had to have foreknowledge that the attacks would take place. The scenes and the timing of the taping are 'very disturbing,' quote, unquote, said one official."
Schieffer: "Lee, it's not unusual, of course, all of the networks hire people, the Iraqis, because sometimes they can simply go places that Americans can't go. That part of it's not unusual."
Cowan: "As you said, we and basically every other news organization here hires Iraqis to help fill that gap, to go out and collect some of that information, and really it's at great risk to themselves as well because if they're caught carrying around an American press ID in some of the places that we ask them to go, they will be certainly less than popular in those places. They are considered part of our team, they're a respected part of our team, and frankly a very necessary part because a lot of the pictures that you and I see and the nation sees every night would be simply impossible without their help."
Schieffer: "Lee, I take it we're cooperating with the authorities there to get to the bottom of this."
Cowan: "We are. We've been talking to the military both here and in New York as well, Bob, yeah."

Rather & Mapes Win Peabody Award for
Abu Ghraib Abuse Story

CBS's Dan Rather Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, the reporter/producer team behind the discredited Bush National Guard hit job, won a prestigious Peabody Award last Thursday for their Abu Ghraib story which aired earlier last year on 60 Minutes II. The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication issues the awards every year and Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, insisted to the New York Times: "It was one of the most important stories of the year and was one of the crucial components of the ongoing conflict in Iraq." Mapes, who was fired by CBS over the Bush story, told the New York Times: "I think there is at least context here, if not vindication. And I am happy for my colleagues at CBS."

The entry about CBS in Peabody's list of winners:

"60 Minutes II: Abuse at Abu Ghraib CBS News This Dan Rather report broke the story of the abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, airing for the first time the photographs of American soldiers and abused Iraqi prisoners that shocked the world."

For the full list of winners: www.peabody.uga.edu

For the April 7 press release from the Peabody committee, "64th Annual Peabody Awards winners announced: Morley Safer to Host Awards Ceremony on May 16 at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria," go to: www.peabody.uga.edu

An excerpt from an April 8 New York Times article by David Carr:

....But it was the award to "60 Minutes II" that set tongues wagging because of the recent controversy that led to Ms. Mapes's firing and Mr. Rather's early departure. (He continues to work for CBS as a reporter.) Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, said that in this instance, an award is just an award.

The prison story "stands on its own merits," he said. "It was one of the most important stories of the year and was one of the crucial components of the ongoing conflict in Iraq."

Susan Stewart, a television critic with TV Guide and one of the judges of the awards, concurred.

"I have been participating in these awards for a number of years, and there is never any agenda; it is a pure process," she said. "Now, we don't operate in a vacuum and you can't turn your brain off, but the process of judging the work is separate from any other consideration."

In citing the report, the committee said, "This Dan Rather report broke the story of the abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, airing for the first time the photographs of American soldiers and abused Iraqi prisoners that shocked the world. "

Mary MapesMs. Mapes, who...is writing a book about the controversy created by the report on the president's National Guard service, said she got a call from Mr. Rather yesterday, one she received with a fair amount of trepidation.

"He said, 'I have some news for you,' and I said, 'Now what?' " Mr. Rather related the happy news that their Abu Ghraib collaboration had received one of broadcasting's highest distinctions. Ms. Mapes described the experience as bittersweet, "but more sweet than bitter."

"I was happy to get the news, especially from someone I love and respect so much," she said. "I think there is at least context here, if not vindication. And I am happy for my colleagues at CBS. I have always tried to separate the people who flicked me like a piece of lint off their shoulder when things were tough and the people that I worked with, who I remain very proud of."

While Mr. Rather may have called Ms. Mapes with the news, he chose to issue a very formal statement -- no Rather-isms to mark the honor -- instead of being interviewed.

"Each of us who worked on the Abu Ghraib story for CBS News is deeply and humbly appreciative to the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and to its advisory board of judges, for honoring the report with a Peabody Award," the statement said....

End of Excerpt

For the story in full: www.nytimes.com

You Read It Here First: WashPost Picks
Up Baldwin's Anti-GOP Rant

You read it here first. The "Names & Faces" column in Saturday's Washington Post picked up on a quote from Alec Baldwin cited in the April 4 CyberAlert: "'The leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the [posterior] of the conservative right,' so Alec Baldwin claimed while yammering on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher last week." The Post's Anne Schroeder, who compiles the Style section column, quipped: "It's a wonder he's not in Washington more often."

For the April 9 "Names & Faces" column: www.washingtonpost.com

The April 4 CyberAlert recounted: "The leadership class of the Republican Party," actor Alec Baldwin charged on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, "is a conservative Christian loony bin." That claim earned Baldwin loud applause from the Los Angeles audience. Baldwin then acceded as to how "most Republicans who are registered Republicans are decent, honest good people who you have a difference of opinion with," but, he alleged, "the leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the ass of the conservative right."

For the CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org

HBO every week posts quotes from Real Time with Bill Maher and while the highlights from the April 1 show includes a quote from Baldwin, it's a different comment: www.hbo.com

I searched Yahoo News and Nexis for any citations of the Baldwin quote highlighted by the Post and found none, so CyberAlert remains the only source I can find for the Post item.

-- Brent Baker