2. Olbermann Accuses Bush of 'Murderous Deceit,' 'Shut the Hell Up'
3. Bill Moyers Charges Rev. Wright 'Assassinated by Soundbites'
4. Matthews: Hillary Like Al Sharpton, Obama Is 'New Breeze'
5. CNN's Brown Rejects Suggestion McCain Hasn't Gotten 'Free Ride'
6. CBS's Early Show Offers Opposing Side in Global Warming Debate
Trumpeting the "major endorsement" from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night with the "dramatic" announcement of the "political prize" that gives Obama a "major boost." Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate "our top story tonight" as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: "John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two."
ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, compete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged: "Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy."
Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free. Gibson had teased his show: "Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards." Couric had hailed "a major endorsement for Barack Obama" before asserting "Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly." On NBC, Brian Williams touted: "Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The network newscast producers, anchors and reporters were tame Wednesday night compared to their giddiness the day Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama. For a refresher on that night, check the January 29 CyberAlert posting, "'Mystique' Means 'Audacity of Hope' Has 'Rendezvous with Destiny,'" which recounted:
The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how "today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot." CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, "Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy." NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded "it's almost hard to remain objective" when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how "the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar." Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.
(Later, on Nightline, with "New Son of Camelot" on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the "new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK." Moran soon hailed how "the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st." David Wright repeated his "the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny" line before championing the "merging ideals from two different eras" as "Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot.")
Seemingly relaying the perspective of the press corps more than the public at large, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams led by contending: "It's been 45 years since a Kennedy has been in the White House, and yet because of the American fascination with the family name, and the family business of politics, the Kennedy name still has the power to grab the attention of millions of Americans."
For the full rundown: www.mrc.org
Highlights from the Wednesday, May 14 ABC, CBS and NBC newscast coverage of the endorsement of Barack Obama by John Edwards:
# ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON, TEASE: Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards. Will it help Obama in his quest for support from white, working-class voters?
GIBSON LED: Good evening. We have a live picture to show you right now, from Grand Rapids, Michigan. A Barack Obama campaign rally, where John Edwards is about to take stage and endorse Barack Obama. Edwards flew to Grand Rapids, arriving moments ago. His is a major endorsement sought by both Obama and Hillary Clinton. We will go to the rally momentarily when the speaking begins.
AFTER COVERAGE OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN CHINA, A PIECE FROM DAVID WRIGHT ON THE ENDORSEMENT AND LIVE COVERAGE OF THE RALLY, GIBSON OBSERVED: Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy.
KATIE COURIC, TEASE: Tonight , a major endorsement for Barack Obama from former rival John Edwards.
COURIC LED: And good evening, everyone. Well, Hillary Clinton didn't get to enjoy her landslide win in West Virginia very long at all. Barack Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly -- John Edwards.
COURIC, AT VERY END OF NEWSCAST: And once again, our top story tonight: John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, TEASE: On the broadcast here tonight, a big endorsement this evening for Barack Obama
WILLIAMS LED: Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost. John Edwards, former North Carolina Senator, former presidential and vice presidential candidate, is endorsing Barack Obama for President. He informed Senator Clinton of his decision today by phone. Edwards got 7 percent of the vote last night in West Virginia. Interesting because he's not in the running anymore. But it does show support for him still out there, support that Obama now wants to convert in his attempt to put this race away.
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush accused the President of "panoramic and murderous deceit," and of "creating" an America that "includes 'cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives,'" contending that "they are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes." He further accused Bush, whom he referred to as having an "addled brain," of "laying waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives" in an "insurance-scam, profiteering, morally bankrupting war." Outraged by Bush's declaration that he had given up playing golf out of respect for those killed in Iraq, Olbermann called on the President to "Shut the hell up!"
Video of Olbermann's rant posted on MSNBC.com: www.msnbc.msn.com
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The Countdown host was responding to comments the President made during an interview with Politco.com. When asked what was the "worst that could happen" if U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq, Bush argued that extremists could feel "emboldened" to engage in "another attack on the United States," and referred to the "ideological struggle" in Iraq "against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives."
The MSNBC host thought it was insightful to take President Bush's words about terrorists and apply them to the Bush administration: "Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes 'cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives?' They are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes."
Olbermann continued: "Through your haze of self-congratulation and self-pity, do you still have no earthly clue that this nation has laid waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives? 'This ideological struggle' you speak of, Mr. Bush, is taking place within this country."
He soon accused the President of forming in Iraq "an American viceroyalty, enforced by merciless mercenaries who shoot unarmed Iraqis and then evade prosecution in any country by hiding behind your skirts, sir," and charged: "Terrorism inside Iraq is your creation, Mr. Bush!"
The MSNBC host referred to what he called Bush's "panoramic and murderous deceit" as he recounted recent Republican losses in Congress:
Olbermann was most offended at the President's declaration that he had given up playing golf out of respect for those lost in Iraq, as the MSNBC host thought Bush instead should have chosen to give up the war effort: "Sir, to show your solidarity with them you didn't give up your pursuit of this insurance-scam, profiteering, morally and financially bankrupting war."
After accusing Bush of having an "addled brain," of "helping funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to lascivious and perennially thirsty corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater," and of "sending 4,000 Americans to their deaths for nothing," Olbermann concluded by advising President Bush to "Shut the hell up!" Olbermann:
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
When it came to accusing the government of inventing AIDS as a tool of black genocide, Moyers acknowledged it was "black paranoia," but claimed he didn't ask Wright about it because he "ran out of time." The interview lasted almost an hour, and Wright has made clear some of the interview was edited out.
Stewart began by plugging the new book Moyers on Democracy, which he called a "wonderful collection of speeches," including the screeds from hard-left "media reform" conferences against the evil conservatives who complain about left-wing propaganda on PBS. When Stewart blithely asked why he would put together this set of speeches, Moyers boasted: "Because over the years I have developed what I hope is a more consistent and coherent understanding of democracy than I can communicate in sound bites on television." That led to the discussion of Wright. [Transcript by MRC's Melissa Lopez.]
STEWART: Really? So television is soundbite obsessed media.
Conveniently forgotten by these Obama defenders is the fact that Rev. Wright served on the Obama campaign's Values Action Team, which might not guarantee you a prominent role on the national stage, but it belies the idea that Wright wasn't seeking any national attention.
Stewart deserves a little credit for suggesting Wright said things that are beyond the pale, and even wondered if he's been too hard in mocking conservative religious leaders without reading their "body of work," as Wright's critics are charged:
STEWART: Did he have any idea what he said could be seen, even though small things could be taken out of context? Even when you put them into context, they still seem pretty tough to swallow for a lot of people. Did you have any sense that he had the knowledge that, yeah, I've got some ideas that are slightly out of the mainstream of what you would imagine.
It's an emerging campaign theme that the electorate proves its sophistication by voting for Obama, just as it proves it's not somehow racist by voting for Obama. The constant Moyers theme is that the fate of democracy and the fate of the Democrats are almost exactly the same thing. When conservatives win elections, democracy is in grave danger. Nuance is lost. Sophistication is missing. Only when liberals win are the voters impressive.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary, Chris Matthews three times compared Hillary Clinton to Al Sharpton because she recently cited her popularity with white blue-collar voters as a reason she should be the Democratic presidential nominee: "It's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people." Keith Olbermann claimed that media coverage of the Democratic campaign has been fair, but still conceded that "if the media leaned at any point early on in this race, it was not against [Clinton], but towards her." Matthews contended that, similar to the way Bill Clinton in 1992 had "a tremendous wind at his back in terms of press coverage because of generation," this time Barack Obama "has benefitted from being the new breeze."
Former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe also got to poke fun at Matthews over his over the top confession last February that an Obama speech caused a "thrill going up my leg." While discussing Clinton's speech from Tuesday night, McAuliffe joked: "I'm sure it sent shivers up Chris Matthews's leg."
For the original "thrill up my leg," see the February 13 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
At about 6:09 p.m., Matthews jokingly made a prophesy about Hillary Clinton he would himself soon fulfill: "You know, I think if Hillary Clinton says the word 'white' one more time, she's going to be accused of being the Al Sharpton of white people."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
During an interview with Obama supporter and Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Matthews more seriously brought up his concerns about Hillary's talk about race, comparing her to Sharpton: "This conversation as it's turned, I mean, I even hate saying things like 'white working class voters,' you know. I was taught growing up, don't even say words like 'blue collar,' don't even get into that kind of elitist talk....How do we get back away from this where these people like Hillary Clinton so loosely say 'hard-working white workers' and, you know, it's almost like she's the Al Sharpton of white people."
At about 8:13 p.m., during an interview with Mike Huckabee, Matthews seemed to cast aside his aversion to talking about racial politics as he asked what Obama has to do to "rebuild a diverse party." Matthews: "Doesn't he have to bring in real working guys, real labor-type white guys, if you will, to establish the fact that he's got connection with the working roots of the Democratic Party?"
About 8:25 p.m., during an interview with Clinton supporter and Democratic Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Matthews again brought up the Al Sharpton comparison: "I'm hearing her talk like a politician who's willing to talk in the language of politicians like Al Sharpton, who engaged in this kind of politics, group politics."
At about 9:32 p.m., after Hillary Clinton's speech, Olbermann decided to defend media coverage of the Democratic candidates: "I would suggest that, in terms of the media coverage towards Senator Clinton, has not been anywhere what she has presented it back to us as. It has not been brutal. It has not been disenfranchising....I just can't imagine that we would be sitting here tonight if the numbers were reversed, and this was Senator Obama claiming this race continue. I can't imagine that we, I think we'd have cartoons on right now instead of what we're seeing."
Matthews then made his comparison between Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama as the "new breeze" in the media:
Olbermann soon concluded: "And if the media leaned at any point early on in this race, it was not against her, but towards her."
Just a few minutes later, McAuliffe, a member of the Clinton campaign, appeared for an interview, after having already appeared earlier when he had built up expectations of the night's Clinton speech. The former DNC chairman joked about Matthews's declaration last February that one of Obama's speeches caused a "thrill going up my leg." McAuliffe: "I'm sure it [Hillary's speech] sent shivers up Chris Matthews's leg."
Laughing, Matthews admonished him: "You know, you keep going back to the golden oldies. How about some new material tonight, Terry?"
CNN's Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN's special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist's opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he's [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."
Brown must have forgotten that her own network hasn't exactly given a "free ride" to McCain in the recent past. Earlier in the week, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, speaking of McCain's environmental record, stated that "he's not as far as to the right as Bush is, but he's pretty close." On April 2, CNN correspondent Dana Bash interviewed McCain and asked if he was "heartless" on the issue of the economy.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
May 14 CyberAlert item on Toobin: www.mediaresearch.org
April 3 CyberAlert item on Bash: www.mrc.org
Hilary Rosen, a member of the panel and a Hillary Clinton supporter (oddly enough), proposed the concept of McCain receiving the "free ride" and that this was "unacceptable." Alex Castellanos, the Republican strategist, countered this by stating that apparently "the only negative ads run against a presidential candidate have been run by the Democrats against John McCain so far" and in his opinion, "McCain having a free ride, I haven't exactly seen a lot of that." Rosen and CNN contributor Roland Martin reacted with the same words: "Come on Alex!" At the same time, Brown voiced her general agreement with Rosen and Martin's reaction.
Castellanos then quipped in response, "So the negative ads the Democrats are running against McCain don't count. All right, I'm glad you all agree on that....I'll remember that in the fall."
The transcript of the relevant portion from the discussion, which began about 50 minutes into 8 pm Eastern hour of CNN's primary coverage on Tuesday evening:
HILARY ROSEN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: The good news about what Barack Obama's doing this week is that John McCain [has] had a free ride for the last couple of weeks, and that fact that Obama is out there now hammering back is good, and all Democrats appreciate that. And I think in some respects for Clinton supporters, we want to see how he does up against McCain. We want to see him taking on McCain because this free ride that McCain is getting is just unacceptable. And what he needs to do to be more successful, I think, is make sure that those lower middle class working voters, who have historically been Clinton supporters, you know, go along for the ride, because I don't think John McCain can get them. Barack Obama has to be speaking to them too.
In a rare case of balance, Wednesday's CBS Early Show highlighted both sides in the debate over declaring the polar bear an endangered species due to global warming as correspondent Daniel Sieberg declared: "They're at the top of the food chain at the top of the world, but their future is at the center of a political tug-of-war over drilling for oil versus protecting their habitat." Sieberg began his report with a dire prediction: "There are an estimated 20,000-25,000 polar bears in the Arctic region, but environmentalists warn that rising temperatures and disappearing sea ice will cause a 30 percent decline in their population over the next 50 years." He also played clips of liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer and John Kostyack from the National Wildlife Federation.
However, Sieberg also provided perspective from the Heritage Foundation: "But the research and educational institute, The Heritage Foundation, argues that listing the polar bear on the endangered species list might do more harm than good." He then played a clip of Heritage Foundation analyst Ben Liberman: "There's a real question whether the polar bear is threatened in the first place, and the Endangered Species Act, the way it would work, would actually do quite a bit of economic damage, and may or may not actually impact the bears."
(Notably, Sieberg's piece later in the day on the CBS Evening News, provided none of the contrarian information.)
[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Surprisingly, Sieberg did not provide the usual "conservative" label to Heritage in his Early Show report, but the story posted on the CBS News Web site did refer to it as a "conservative think tank." See: www.cbsnews.com
Sieberg went on to further highlight the concerns of opponents to listing the polar bear as endangered: "The polar bear would be the first animal to be listed endangered or threatened as a result of global warming -- which could mean two things. One -- some northern exploration for oil could be stalled, possibly leading to even higher energy prices at home. And two -- environmental groups could be empowered to sue any company or governmental agency contributing to the increase of greenhouse gases."
When co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Sieberg at the end of the report: "The opponents feel strongly that this is not about the bear, that this is about limiting oil and gas production in the arctic. Are there more opponents or supporters?," Sieberg replied, "You know, it really is split. I mean, the polar bear is such an iconic symbol of the Arctic. And so, in some ways, critics are saying, it's just being used to try to limit greenhouse gases. But environmentalists are very outspoken. They say it is absolutely essential to look at this issue and to try to do something about their habitat, which is the disappearing ice."
Here is the full transcript of the May 14 segment:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: The heated debate over global warming has snared an animal that can survive in the world's harshest conditions -- the polar bear. CBS News Science and Technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg is here with more. Good morning.
DANIEL SIEBERG: Yeah, good morning Maggie. The Department of the Interior has until Thursday to rule on whether or not the polar bear should be listed on the Endangered Species List. It's a debate more complicated than you might expect. They're at the top of the food chain at the top of the world, but their future is at the center of a political tug-of-war over drilling for oil versus protecting their habitat.
-- Brent Baker