Falling Gas Prices Leads NBC, But Williams Raises Election Motive --9/21/2006
2. Schieffer: 'Hard to Tell Difference' Between Iraq & Vietnam Spin
3. NBC Hypes Allen's 'Macaca' and Heritage Stories, Puffs Opponent
4. National Review: WPost Baghdad Bureau Chief Full of Errors & Bias
5. Letterman's "Top Ten New Fall Shows on al-Jazeera"
NBC anchor Brian Williams deserves kudos for, on one night at least, giving as high a priority to declining gas prices as he and the media gave when they were rising, but then he suggested a political motive. Williams led Wednesday's NBC Nightly News by acknowledging the plunging prices and his own newscast's inaccurate predictions: "If you have filled your tank lately, then you've noticed. After some dire predictions on this broadcast and elsewhere that prices were rocketing to $4 a gallon, gas prices are coming down" to an average of $2.50 per gallon.
Reporter Anne Thompson attributed the fall to greater supplies and to no interruptions from hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Thompson concluded, however, on a downbeat note: "Despite the decreases, analysts warn that we are just one hurricane or one major political crisis away from higher prices." Williams then raised wild speculation about oil executives, with the ability to open a "big spigot," manipulating prices for political advantage, "Now Anne, as you know there are skeptics and there are cynics out there who say there's nothing to make voters happier than paying less for gasoline and they're going to wonder: Did somebody just open a big spigot?" Thompson rejected his premise: "No, that's not true..."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Williams teased the September 20 NBC Nightly News: "Suddenly, prices are plummeting at the gas pump. Why now and for how long?"
Williams opened his newscast, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
After outlining the increased supplied and running soundbites from happy drivers, Thompson concluded from an outside location in New York City:
Williams then asked her: "Now Anne, as you know there are skeptics and there are cynics out there who say there's nothing to make voters happier than paying less for gasoline and they're going to wonder: Did somebody just open a big spigot?"
For the second week in a row, Bob Schieffer used his Wednesday "freeSpeech" slot on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric to forward a left of center outlook on the world. Last week, he denounced the Bush administration's "secret prisons," arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted "the methods of our enemies." This week, the network's Chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation said he rejected equating Iraq with Vietnam, but "I am beginning to see parallels in the remarkably similar way the government then and the government now reports war news. During Vietnam, the government was on a never ending search for good news. Victory was always just around the corner. Over and over there were sightings of that light at the end of the tunnel. In 1964, a Senator returned from the war zone and declared: 'We are winning and everybody knows it, but Americans.' Sound familiar?"
Schieffer, anchor of the newscast until just a few weeks ago, cited some misinformation about Iraq and then argued: "Two different wars, but when the government spin machine starts spinning, it is hard to tell the difference."
Schieffer did, however, separate himself from the far-left as he acknowledged "good intentions" behind the Iraq war, concluding his piece, "Sadly, there is no difference on one point: We went to Vietnam with good intentions and a bad plan. We may have managed to do the same thing in Iraq."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(The Thursday, September 14 CyberAlert recounted how Schieffer used the "freeSpeech" segment on Wednesday's CBS Evening News to denounce the Bush administration's "secret prisons," arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted "the methods of our enemies." But our terrorist enemies don't put Americans into prison -- they murder Americans. Schieffer, who anchored the CBS Evening News until two weeks ago, told viewers of the broadcast now anchored by Katie Couric that he was "glad" the U.S. took the "suspected 9/11 ringleaders" out "of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies." For more: www.mediaresearch.org )
Schieffer's "freeSpeech" commentary on the September 20 CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
On its "freeSpeech" page, CBSNews.com has posted video of Schieffer's commentary: www.cbsnews.com
Following the Washington Post script, NBC Nightly News on Wednesday covered the Senate race in Virginia as tightening all because of Senator George Allen's bumbling. Brian Williams teased the story at the show's opening: "First an ethnic slur, now the touchy topic of his own Jewish roots. Virginia's Republican Senator is suddenly in a tight race for his own job." Chip Reid's story dwelled mostly on the Post's personal stories on Allen, and touched on issues only to allow Allen's opponent Jim Webb to denounce the Iraq War. While NBC lingered on Allen's "Macaca" remark (which they called "politically devastating") and his newly discovered Jewish roots, they completely left out the Post's front-page story on Webb's trouble with feminists over his old "Women Can't Fight" article, that said co-ed dorms at the Naval Academy are a "horny woman's dream." Instead, they promoted him as a Reagan man, noted his Marine son deployed in Iraq, and his view that Iraq is a "blunder of historic proportions."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth transcribed the September 20 Virginia Senate story, apparently the start of a series. Republicans won't be welcoming this series if it's in any way as slanted in the Democrats' favor in each race like this story was.
Williams: "NBC Nightly News 'In Depth' tonight, we begin a special series that will take a close look at some of the most interesting races in these upcoming midterm elections. We begin tonight in the Commonwealth of Virginia where a Republican incumbent, who shares a name with his famous football coach father, is facing a tighter contest than anyone would have guessed. It's largely because of things he has said. Our report from NBC's Chip Reid."
Chip Reid, over video of Allen on a horse in a parade: "For Virginia Republican Senator George Allen, reelection was supposed to be an easy ride to victory. Supporters say his 'aw, shucks' style, cowboy boots and chewing tobacco give him the air of a regular guy and were promoting him for President in 2008."
Notice NBC's insinuation that Allen's image is manufactured. It would "give him the air of a regular guy," not demonstrate he's a regular guy. Reid continued:
This is one of those assertions that demonstrate liberal bias, even as they ignore it. The "Macaca" issue dominated "the news" because the Washington Post fiercely promoted it, putting it on the front page at least four times and at least twice on the front page of the Metro section.
Reid continued by puffing up opponent James Webb, underlining he worked for Reagan, his son deployed in Iraq, and his denunciation of the war:
Nowhere in the story are the domestic issues that may make the difference in Virginia. Iraq is certainly an issue. But Reid was more interested in Allen's personal issues than in exploring the economy, immigration, abortion, gay marriage, taxes and spending. Instead, it looked like story cooked up to order for Webb's political advisers.
Over at The Corner, National Review's blog, Andy McCarthy went on the warpath Wednesday against Rajiv Chandrasekaran (who later in the day appeared on MSNBC's Hardball), the Washington Post's Baghdad Bureau Chief, in particular a front page excerpt on Sunday from his anti-war book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City (referring to Americans in Baghdad's "Green Zone"), dealing with Simone Ledeen, the daughter of Michael Ledeen of AEI and National Review. The Post's loaded headline over its excerpt: "Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq." McCarthy explained: "Chandrasekaran writes: 'The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator...[was] tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though [she] didn't have a background in accounting.' This is just disgraceful. Simone did not manage any budget in Iraq. She executed the budget, which was actually managed by her superiors. Moreover, Simone was highly qualified to do this work. She had an extensive background in accounting, including a master's degree in business administration."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
McCarthy's September 20 blog entry continued:
And now, even after having been set straight, Chandrasekaran is still unwilling or unable to get his facts right. Today, the Post grudgingly concedes error:
"A Sept. 17 article incorrectly said that one person who helped manage Iraq's budget had no background in accounting. The woman, described as the daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator, has a background in accounting but lacked experience managing the finances of a large organization."
Great...except the self-justification offered by Chandrasekaran for his screw-up is just as wrong as the screw-up was. Again, it was not Simone's job to "manage the finances of a large organization," but rather to carry out the initiatives of those who were managing the finances. Why, under the circumstances, should it have mattered that this woman with accounting skills and an MBA had never managed the finances of a large organization? Would it be worth a moment of the Post's attention if she were not the daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator?
But let's leave transparent bias and rudimentary error aside. Although Chandrasekaran is actually a year behind Simone in the sense of having graduated from college the year after she did, he was elevated by the Post to the position of Baghdad Bureau Chief. That is, while Simone was serving her country, in that same dangerous place, by doing such scut work as making sure officials there got paid, Chandrasekaran was given the awesome responsibility of shaping world opinion against the war.
I wonder what Chandrasekaran would say if someone had the temerity to suggest, in a page-one extravaganza for a famous, widely-read publication, that, regardless of his qualifications, family or political connections must have been why he got his more glamorous job at such a young age. I imagine he would indignantly insist he was there based on merit and experience.
On that score, Simone tells me that Chandrasekaran never called her for comment or to check on the accuracy of his story. I don't pretend ever to have been a reporter, but isn't that pretty basic reporter work? And if he didn't want to pick up the phone for some reason, a simple Google check would have turned up Simone's background credentials. Isn't that pretty basic reporter work?
Chandrasekaran's scurrilous suggestion is that Simone was not sufficiently steeped in the background skills required for the job she very ably performed. Exactly what skills is one supposed to master before being made a bureau chief at the Washington Post?
END of Excerpt
For Andy McCarthy's September 20 The Corner posting: corner.nationalreview.com
From the September 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten New Fall Shows on al-Jazeera." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "How I Met Your Mullah"
9. "CSI: Cave"
8. "Dancing with the Sheiks"
7. "Afghanistan's Next Top Martyr"
6. "SpongeAbdul SquareTurban"
5. "Battlegoat Galactica"
4. "Barnaby Jones"
3. "Welcome Back, Kotter from Your Detainment at Gitmo"
2. "The Man from C.A.M.E.L."
1. "Pimp My Beard"
-- Brent Baker