2. Wallace Cites to Petraeus MRC Study on Declining Coverage of Iraq
3. MSNBC Features Olbermann' Favorite 'Special Comments' of 2007
For the entire awards issue package, with dozens of Flash videos: www.mrc.org
The last three CyberAlerts listed the winning quotes and runners-up, as well as the names of all the judges.
For the December 31 New York Post editorial, "HOIST BY THEIR OWN PETARD," go to: www.nypost.com
For the December 28 column by Mike Rosen, one of our judges, "Liberal lowlights of 2007," go to: www.rockymountainnews.com
For the January 1 Waterbury Republican-American editorial: www.rep-am.com
For the collection posted December 19 by Human Events: www.humanevents.com
And for the quotes Jewish Press Senior Editor Jason Maoz chose to highlight in an article posted December 19: www.jewishpress.com
Now, more on the December 31 FNC segment in which the morning anchors highlighted a few of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007" on the Monday edition of Fox and Friends. Included were a quote of MSNBC's Chris Matthews comparing Bill Clinton's speaking ability to that of "Jesus at the temple" when the former President spoke at Coretta King's funeral, and a quote of comedian Bill Maher commenting that if [Vice President Cheney] died, "more people would live." FNC co-anchor Alisyn Camerota joked that Matthews has a "man crush" on former President Clinton: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
[This portion of this item is lifted from Brad Wilmouth's Monday night NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org ]
Possibly inspired by the New York Post's Monday editorial listing of some of the MRC's featured quotes, co-host Steve Doocy opened the 7:30am EST half hour segment recounting that many shows have a "best of" list at the end of the year, as he brought up the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2007." Doocy: "At the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these 'best of' lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it."
First up was the Matthews quote about Clinton, read by Camerota: "When I watched [President Bill Clinton] at Mrs. King's funeral, I just have never seen anything like it....There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple. I mean, amazing ability to transcend ethnicity...in this country and, and speak to all of us in this amazingly primordial way."
After Doocy revealed that the person quoted was "Mr. Hardball, Chris Matthews," Camerota joked: "I think he has a man crush on Bill Clinton. He's using such rhapsodic language. I believe he has a crush on Bill."
Doocy then read Maher's quote about Vice President Cheney: "I'm just saying, if he did die, other people, more people would live. That is a fact."
Co-host Brian Kilmeade read the third featured quote, in which CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked the director of "The Nativity Story" if "non-believers" would feel "excluded and diminished" by religious films: "Do you worry that all the non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're divided by so much?"
Below is a transcript of the segment from the Monday, December 31 Fox and Friends:
STEVE DOOCY: All right, we're going to play a little game. You know, at the end of the year, people always have, news outfits always have these 'best of' lists and stuff like that. Over at the Media Research Center, what they did was they took a look at some of the outrageous things that people in the public eye said in the past year. And we're going to play this little game. Who do you think said this? We're going to do a quote, and then you try to figure out who said it, okay? First quote, Alison.
Citing the MRC's December Media Reality Check study, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War; MRC Study: As Surge Succeeds and Casualty Rates Fall, ABC, CBS and NBC Lose Interest In Iraq War," on the Fox News Sunday just before Christmas, host Chris Wallace asked General David Petraeus, architect of the successful surge in Iraq: "Any thoughts about why success in Iraq isn't news here at home?"
On the December 23 Fox News Sunday, with the MRC's numbers on screen, Chris Wallace asked: "General, it seemed to us that you haven't been in the news much recently, which probably is a good thing from your point of view, since you came back from Washington in September. But we decided to check it out, and the Media Research Center says that the three evening network evening newscasts did 178 stories on Iraq in September when you were here. But in October, as the surge took hold, there were 108 stories. And in November, that dropped to just 68. General, any thoughts about why success in Iraq isn't news here at home?"
General David Petraeus responded: "Well, clearly, there are other more newsworthy items -- the political campaign issues in the states, understandably; challenges in Pakistan and other places. And so as you note, probably this is a sign of progress, that, in a sense, no news is good news. In fact, actually, there was one nightly news show a week or so ago that said the news from Iraq is that there is no news, that there were no attacks in a certain area or something like this. So again, we're not reluctant to see that. The only reluctance would be that America continue to remember its soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who are serving out here in this very important endeavor."
Indeed, confirming the recollection of Petraeus, as the December 19 CyberAlert noted, on Friday, December 14 ABC anchor Charles Gibson uniquely noticed the lack of any violence in Baghdad that day and used it as a hook for a look at life returning to normal. Gibson set up the December 14 story:
A December 4 CyberAlert Special provided the text of the MRC study by MRC Research Director Rich Noyes. The key finding:
....MRC researchers examined all 354 Iraq war stories that aired on the big three evening newscasts from September 1 through November 30, including weekends. That figure includes 234 field reports, plus 120 short headline items read by the news anchor.
Vanishing War. Back in September, as reporters voiced skepticism of General Petraeus' progress report, the networks aired a total of 178 Iraq stories, or just under two per network per night. About one-fourth of those stories (42) were filed from Iraq itself, with most of the rest originating in Washington.
In October, TV's war news fell by about 40 percent, to 108 stories, with the number of reports filed from Iraq itself falling to just 20, or less than one-fifth of all Iraq stories. By November, the networks aired a mere 68 stories, with only eleven (16%) actually from the war zone itself....
END of Excerpt
For the December 4 report in full, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War; MRC Study: As Surge Succeeds and Casualty Rates Fall, ABC, CBS and NBC Lose Interest In Iraq War," go to: www.mediaresearch.org
For the PDF, which matches the hard copy: www.mediaresearch.org
On MSNBC Countdown shows re-played over the Christmas week, viewers were treated to a retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on conservatives, featuring four of his favorites from the year 2007. An announcer teased the show glorifying Olbermann while intermixing complimentary quotes from various media with clips of Olbermann reading his "Special Comments." The announcer read a quote from Playboy calling the MSNBC host the "truth teller in chief," and a quote from the Akron Beacon Journal claiming that he is "the one journalist actually working to save the democracy." Among the quotes from Olbermann featured in the teaser was the MSNBC host's charge that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, as first posted on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]
As the show's announcer tagged 2007 "a pivotal year in the war and the future of our country," Olbermann seemed oblivious to the reported successes in the U.S. troop surge in Iraq as the Countdown host marched forward bragging of his anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War rants.
The announcer teased the December 21 show, re-played again a week later on December 28: "2007: A pivotal year in the war and the future of our country. As the political stakes got higher, so did the intensity and purpose of Keith Olbermann's Special Comments."
Olbermann opened the show invoking George Orwell, which the MSNBC host habitually does on his show, as he charged that the Bush administration punishes those who "tell the truth." Olbermann: "Good evening. Eric Blair as George Orwell wrote: 'In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.' But to object to this White House? Those in government found it was career suicide. That generals critical of the war and its mismanagement out of a job. Valerie Plame Wilson, an American hero working at the CIA, outed by the White House because her husband criticized war intel. And United States attorneys, not willing to turn their offices into political extensions of the White House, fired, and the American public lied to about why. Extraordinary times we are enduring, which only highlight the importance of standing up and shouting from the rooftops all that we hold dear and true. Dissent we will because dissent we must. Here on 'Countdown,' that dissent finds its voice in the form of my Special Comments."
Olbermann introduced the first featured "Special Comment," taken from the January 2 show, in which Olbermann had attacked President Bush for ignoring the Iraq Study Group and announcing plans to send more troops to Iraq. On the January 2 show, Olbermann had charged that Bush was extending the "senseless, endless" war in Iraq as part of an ulterior motive to transfer money to "war profiteers" because "you can't sell [the Army] any more [Humvees] until the first thousand have been destroyed."
The complete text of the January 2 "Special Comment" can be found in the January 3 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
After replaying the entire "Special Comment" from January 2, and after a commercial break, Olbermann introduced his "Special Comment" from the May 23 show, in which the Countdown host had attacked Democrats for caving in to President Bush by continuing to fund the war. Olbermann introduced the segment on the December 23 show: "At a time when the stakes had never been higher, stopping Mr. Bush would mean holding the purse strings tight...Instead, by the middle of May, right up there with the fall of Baghdad itself, Americans were faced with the fall of the Democratic Congress, which had agreed to fund the conflict without any time lines for withdrawal, without holding the President accountable, a failure that precipitated a 'Special Comment' holding lawmakers accountable for delivering on the anti-war mandate."
The complete text of the May 23 "Special Comment" can be found in the May 25 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Then the May 23 "Special Comment" was replayed, in which the MSNBC host had accused Congressional Democrats of "betrayal" of the voters for making a deal with President Bush on funding this "war of lies," and compared their deal with Bush to Neville Chamberlain's deal with Adolf Hitler before World War II.
Before the next commercial break, the announcer plugged Olbermann's soon-to-be-released book compiling his "Special Comment" rants, titled: "Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values."
Olbermann introduced his third featured "Special Comment," from September 20, as he condemned those who attacked MoveOn.org for the "General Betray Us" ad in the New York Times, and, on the December 23 show, charged that "the same Republicans who let Walter Reed Hospital become a nightmare for injured enlisted personnel jumped to defend General Petraeus, creating a media circus in the Senate..."
Then Olbermann's "Special Comment" from the September 20 show was replayed, in which the "Countdown" host had called President Bush's criticism of the MoveOn.org ad a "pissy juvenile blast," and had accused him of "pimping" General David Petraeus and of making the general into a "political hack" at the risk of moving America's government toward a "military junta."
The complete text of the September 20 "Special Comment" can be found in the September 21 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Olbermann then moved to the fourth of his featured "Special Comments," this time from the April 25 show, as he quoted remarks by Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani in which the former New York City mayor had charged that a Democratic President would put America "on defense" in the War on Terrorism, and had contended that a Republican President would be more aggressive. Olbermann derided the "divisive nature" of Giuliani's words, and, referring to Giuliani's words as an "abomination," charged that Giuliani was "choosing the same path pioneered by Karl Rove ... literally terrifying the electorate with terror, telling the Live Free or Die state, in effect, 'Vote Democrat or Die.'"
Then came a replay of the April 25 "Special Comment," in which the MSNBC host had labeled Giuliani's words as "terrorism," and accused the former mayor of "threatening the American people with 'casualties' if they...elect a Democrat president," and of "doing Osama bin Laden's work for him."
The complete text of the April 25 "Special Comment" can be found in the April 26 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
After the replay, Olbermann referred to the "ugliness of Giuliani's terror remarks" as he encouraged viewers to tune in to his "Countdown" show for the latest news on the '08 presidential campaign. Olbermann: "Will these final days of campaigning before the first results are in from Decision '08 compare to the ugliness of Giuliani's terror remarks?"
Below is a transcript of the opening teaser and the introductions to the "Special Comment" replays from the Friday December 21/28 Countdown shows on MSNBC:
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: 2007: A pivotal year in the war and the future of our country. As the political stakes got higher, so did the intensity and purpose of Keith Olbermann's Special Comments.
[replay of "Special Comment" from January 2, 2007]
ANNOUNCER, at 8:14 p.m.: The President didn't stop it. The surge went ahead. Months later, the new Democratically-controlled Congress got a chance to change course in Iraq, but instead caved in to the demands of an unpopular President. The betrayal of the Democrats, when this special presentation of Countdown returns.
OLBERMANN, at 8:19 p.m.: One year ago, there was the hope that the war in Iraq might soon be over, that hope pinned squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats in Congress who, on November 7th, regained control of that Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. The Democratic leadership, fully aware of the forces that have returned them to power.
[replay of "Special Comment" from May 23, 2007]
ANNOUNCER, at 8:28 p.m.: The politics of betrayal reared its ugly head again, a full-page newspaper ad from MoveOn.org. General Petraeus or General "Betray Us"? Criticism the military was sugar-coating the surge. Up next, Keith's "Special Comment" on the hypocritical reaction to the ad from President Bush. Now, you can own a piece of Special Comment's history. "Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values," available in book stores in time for the new year.
OLBERMANN, at 8:34 p.m.: When came the sixth anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on America, Congress and the White House were not busy working on some way finally to avenge the 3,000 dead or to bring their killer to justice. The President had sent his hand-picked military spokesman, General David Petraeus, to Capitol Hill, to sell instead Mr. Bush's war in Iraq again. On September 10, a full-page advertisement appeared in the "New York Times," placed by the liberal anti-war group MoveOn.org. The ad's headline read: "General Petraeus or General 'Betray Us'?" The text referred to published reports questioning Petraeus' assessment of the administration's latest claim of progress in Iraq. It did not disparage anyone else in the military by name or otherwise. And many top Democrats criticized the ad. All facts of which the President seemed or acted unaware.
[replay of "Special Comment" from September 20, 2007]
ANNOUNCER, at 8:41 p.m.: Up next, crossing the line on the campaign trail: Rudy Giuliani going where only his party had hinted at. Point blank, saying America will be safer with a Republican President. Keith's "Special Comment" on Giuliani's record and the politics of fear, when this special edition of "Countdown" returns.
OLBERMANN, at 8:46 p.m.: On a day named for Abraham Lincoln, a President who literally reunited this country, Rudolph W. Giuliani indicated the divisive nature of his own presidential candidacy, telling an audience at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Rockingham, New Hampshire, that, quote, "If any Republican is elected President, and I think obviously I would be the best at this, we will remain on offense, and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do, and try to stop them before they do it." He added, "I listen a little to the Democrats, and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense." "We will wave the white flag on Iraq." "We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation..." "...and we will be back to our pre-September 11th attitude of defense." This was long before any of us knew of Mr. Giuliani's reported financial gain from electronic surveillance. At this point, the only positive, that while terrorism will eventually be defeated, quote, "The question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?" "If we are on defense, we will have more losses and it will go on longer." He pledged that "Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it." "And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense."
[replay of "Special Comment" from April 25, 2007]
OLBERMANN: Will these final days of campaigning before the first results are in from Decision '08 compare to the ugliness of Giuliani's terror remarks? Please watch "Countdown" in the new year live every week night at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, as we cover the buildup to the Iowa Caucuses and beyond. We thank you for watching our "Special Comment" retrospective. Our time constraints allowed us to show only four of the comments, but you can read more of my comments in the new book, "Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values," available in book stores as of December 26. There's new material, additional observations that you'll find only in the book. You can also log onto our Web site countdown.msnbc.com to watch all the Special Comments. Once again, we thank you for your attention and for making 2007 the best year yet for us here at "Countdown." I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.
-- Brent Baker