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GMA Features "Outraged 9/11 Wives," Don't Note They Backed Kerry --12/7/2004


1. GMA Features "Outraged 9/11 Wives," Don't Note They Backed Kerry
With "OUTRAGED 9/11 WIVES" as the on-screen heading, Monday's Good Morning America featured Kristen Breitweiser and Patty Casazza, to denounce those opposed to the intelligence reform bill, without bothering to mention how both endorsed John Kerry. (In a Kerry ad, Breitweiser declared that since "I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe...I am voting for John Kerry." Casazza had pined that "on 9/11, my life was in a long, dark tunnel. Now I can see some light. John Kerry has the answers.") On GMA, Breitweiser launched into left-wing paranoia about how "Defense contractors need to recognize the fact that with $40 billion of a budget being spent on things that are not making us safer, we need a director of national intelligence to reallocate those funds to human intelligence on the ground." Casazza demanded: "What do we say to our children at this point in time? My son is 14. In three years he could be drafted to go to the war if that is brought back -- you can go to war, but we will not protect you here at home. That's unconscionable."

2. Olbermann Sees as "Tantalizing" Idea Bush Win "All But Certain"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann keeps hanging on to strands of hope Bush's Ohio victory might be overturned. On Monday's Countdown, Olbermann quoted a Kerry lawyer as saying they do not intend to challenge the popular vote in Ohio, but Olbermann picked up on how "then seemingly just to tantalize a little bit further, he added, 'While the election of the Bush-Cheney ticket by the Electoral College is all but certain.'" Olbermann proceeded to resurrect another of his irrelevant anecdotes: "Last week, [Congressman John] Conyers and eleven other members of the Judiciary Committee wrote to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell asking 34 specific questions about last month's vote there, starting with the still-unexplained lockdown of access during vote counting in Warren County outside of Cincinnati."

3. Washington Post Reporter Blames U.S. for UN Oil for Food Scandal
Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly turned the UN Oil for Food program scandal into an opportunity to blame America first, but Brit Hume quickly rejected her premise. On Fox News Sunday, Connolly opined: "Of course, the U.S. was also involved in the Oil for Food program, and you have to look a little bit carefully in terms of how much scrutiny and oversight we were giving all of those years as well." Hume jumped in: "Oh come on, Ceci. I mean, this problem was not the fault of the United States..."

4. CBS's Safer: "God Bless America" = "God Bless Us and Screw You"
To those abroad, "God bless America" looks like code for "God bless us and screw you," 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer asserted Sunday during an appearance at the Stonington, Connecticut community center as recounted Monday by The Day newspaper in New London. "'This country looks arrogant, foolish and scary from overseas,' said Safer, who has a weekend home in Chester," The Day relayed. Safer "was frustrated that the press collectively branded John Kerry 'boring and lugubrious' when discussion never should have turned on questions of personality." Reporter Kate Moran revealed that Safer "wore his liberal leanings on his sleeve" as he regretted how Bill Clinton had "succeeded by 'co-opting the Republican agenda' and leaving his own party 'in disarray' with nothing to stand for." As for Iraq, a downbeat Safer warned: "This war is going to be more of a lingering disease than Vietnam...I do not see any resolution."


GMA Features "Outraged 9/11 Wives," Don't
Note They Backed Kerry

ABC's Good Morning America With "OUTRAGED 9/11 WIVES" as the on-screen heading, Monday's Good Morning America featured Kristen Breitweiser and Patty Casazza, to denounce those opposed to the intelligence reform bill, without bothering to mention how both endorsed John Kerry. (In a Kerry ad, Breitweiser declared that since "I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe...I am voting for John Kerry." Casazza had pined that "on 9/11, my life was in a long, dark tunnel. Now I can see some light. John Kerry has the answers" and after Bush won she worried the public was in more danger.) On GMA, Breitweiser launched into left-wing paranoia about how "Defense contractors need to recognize the fact that with $40 billion of a budget being spent on things that are not making us safer, we need a director of national intelligence to reallocate those funds to human intelligence on the ground." Casazza demanded: "What do we say to our children at this point in time? My son is 14. In three years he could be drafted to go to the war if that is brought back -- you can go to war, but we will not protect you here at home. That's unconscionable."

It isn't as if ABC were unaware that there are many 9/11 families who oppose the bill. On last Tuesday's (November 30) World News Tonight, Linda Douglass reported: "The legislation is still being blocked by the two committee chairs. Armed Service Chairman, Duncan Hunter, who argues the bill dilutes the power of the military. And Judiciary Chairman, James Sensenbrenner, who is demanding national standards for driver's licenses to deny them to illegal immigrants. Some September 11th families support that."
ABC then played a soundbite from Peter Gadiel at a Capitol Hill press conference: "No bill should pass this Congress, unless it includes border security and driver's license measures."

In a December 1 Washington Times story headlined, "9/11 kin support provisions on illegals," reporters Stephen Dinan and Brian DeBose explained (an excerpt):

A group of families of September 11 victims yesterday told Congress to scrap the entire intelligence overhaul effort this year and start over next year rather than pass the pending bill, which omits strong immigration security provisions.

"You allowed the murder of my son. I will not allow you to kill my daughters," said Joan Molinaro, mother of a New York City firefighter who died September 11, as she first held up a picture of her son and then a picture of her two daughters. "No bill should pass the Senate, the House, anywhere, unless it contains immigration reform -- you secure our borders, you keep my girls alive."

She and fellow leaders of the 300-member 9/11 Families for a Secure America sought to counter the publicity machine of those who support the bill by running radio commercials praising key House Republicans who blocked the bill from coming up for a vote on Nov. 20. The ads instead blame senators....

END of Excerpt

For the article in full: www.washingtontimes.com

"9/11 Families Endorse John Kerry for President," announced a September 14 Kerry campaign press release which stated:
"Five September 11th families Tuesday endorsed John Kerry for president during a press conference in Washington, DC. The five women who lost their husbands in the World Trade Center on September 11th met Kerry last week and endorsed him today saying they believe that John Kerry has a stronger commitment to and will be more effective at fighting and winning the war on terror. The five women are committed to working over the next 49 days to elect John Kerry as president.
"The women endorsing Kerry are: Kristen Breitweiser of Middletown Township, NJ; Patty Casazza of Colts Neck, NJ; Monica Gabrielle of West Haven, CT; Mindy Kleinberg of East Brunswick, New Jersey; and Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick, NJ.... See: www.johnkerry.com

The MRC's Tim Graham passed along a September 21 Newsday column by Dennis Duggan who relayed, after a New York University rally with Kerry: "I talked to three of the women yesterday morning as they exited the auditorium after being hugged by Kerry. They were standing on a sun-splashed sidewalk waiting for a van to take them uptown. 'This was a fabulous speech,' Casazza said. 'On 9/11, my life was in a long, dark tunnel. Now I can seem some light. John Kerry has the answers.'" See: www.newsday.com

After Kerry lost, a November 7 Asbury Park Press, New Jersey newspaper story by Andrea Alexander displayed how deep in the tank for Kerry Casazza was and her disgust with Bush:

As Patty Casazza sat in Boston's Faneuil Hall listening to U.S. Sen. John Kerry's concession speech Wednesday, she worried about the safety of the people sitting around her.

"I couldn't help but think if we continue on this war path we seem to be on under this administration, there will be more lives lost," said Casazza, formerly of Colts Neck...

Casazza takes comfort knowing that states around New York City voted for Kerry.

"We were trying to prevent more terrorism by pushing for reforms to make sure our loved ones did not die in vain," Casazza said. "I am not sure 3,000 lives lost (in the World Trade Center) and those lost in Iraq have been quite enough for the American states untouched by terror to realize the 'bring it on' mentality only brings on more terrorists and more deaths."...

END of Excerpt

For the story in full: www.app.com

Diane Sawyer set up the December 6 Good Morning America segment as tracked by the MRC's Jessica Anderson:
"Well, now the showdown on Capitol Hill over intelligence reform. As you know, some key House Republicans have been holding up the reform bill, blocking the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. It has sparked outrage, a lot of confusion about how to make the nation safer. And also, today is a key day for breaking the deadlock, and ABC's Linda Douglass is on Capitol Hill to lead us off. Linda."
Linda Douglass: "Well, Diane, the families of some of the 9/11 victims will be on Capitol Hill today pleading with Congress to pass that bill that would overhaul the nation's intelligence system, and if Congress does not vote this week, the bill is probably dead until next year. The 9/11 families held a vigil at Ground Zero, hoping to shame Congress into acting."
Beverly Eckert: "I don't think that I can come here again to the place where my husband died, knowing that I failed him and that his government failed him again."
Douglass: "President Bush has now put his own credibility on the line in an effort to get the bill passed. Sources say he called the Speaker of the House and asked him to schedule a vote and Mr. Bush also made a public appeal on the radio."
[Bush]
Douglass: "But House Republicans still have not budged. The White House spent the weekend negotiating with the key holdout, Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter, who argues the bill would dilute the power of the military. A powerful Republican Senator called Hunter's concerns unfounded and warned the country will be vulnerable to attack if Congress doesn't act."
[Sen. Pat Roberts]
Douglass: "The political stakes are also very high, especially for the President. If he can't persuade his own party to do as he asks on this issue, it will raise questions about whether he's going to be able to persuade them to push through the rest of his agenda in the next term, Diane."

With "OUTRAGED 9/11 WIVES" on screen, Sawyer introduced her two guests, one in-studio and one from Capitol Hill: "Alright, well, thanks to you, Linda. We're joined now this morning by two of those women you saw at Ground Zero at the ceremony there. They lost their husbands on September 11th, they have fought relentlessly, first for the creation of the 9/11 Commission and now for this legislation, and from Capitol Hill, Patty Casazza joins us right now. And also, here with me, Kristen Breitweiser with us in Times Square, and as we said, they did attend that vigil at the World Trade Center. I want to start up on the Hill, if I can, with you Patty, because I know you're up there to campaign again this morning. After all the years, the time, the hours, the travel, the tears, if this doesn't happen this week, whom or what do you blame?"
Patty Casazza: "Absolutely the White House and House Republicans. President Bush actually could have signed this legislation via executive order, but he has chosen not to do that and has relied on the Congress to do the work for him, and maybe that work is to thwart the efforts of this legislation. It seems like that at this point in time."
Sawyer: "But Kristen, let me play a soundbite from President Bush who has said his position on this is unmistakable. Here it is."
President Bush in Saturday radio address: "I urge members of Congress to act next week so I can sign these needed reforms into law. We have made great progress against the terrorists who seek to harm our nation. We are safer, but we are not yet safe."
Sawyer: "Now, the President said he does urge them, he is doing everything he can."
Kristen Breitweiser: "Well, I think there is a difference between urging, you know, subtly in the front of the lines and making phone calls in the back, and I think that if the President was really behind this, this would get done. This is a President that got elected, that said he had a mandate, that he had political capital to spend, and truthfully, the American people, the 9/11 Commissioners, all of Congress, with the exception of two congressmen, are behind this legislation. How is it not getting done? Why was it not brought to vote two weeks ago? This nation is at great risk. We're coming up to the holidays, we are in a transition period, we had Osama bin Laden tapes a couple of weeks ago. This is no time to be wasting."
Sawyer: "But let me ask you, Kristen, because the centerpiece of this legislation is the formation of an Intelligence Czar, one place overseeing intelligence from all of the departments, including the Pentagon. And those who are holding it up say, in part, do we really want to put somebody else between the Pentagon, its intelligence and the soldiers in the field?"
Breitweiser: "Listen, if we cannot ask our Pentagon to do two things at once, which is withstand an overhaul of our intelligence community and protect troops on the ground, then we're in trouble. Bin Laden is out there doing hundreds of things at a time, planning to kill Americans. We need to expect more from our Pentagon and I think Defense contractors need to recognize the fact that with $40 billion of a budget being spent on things that are not making us safer, we need a director of national intelligence to reallocate those funds to human intelligence on the ground. That's not going to make the Defense contractors money, but it's going to make Americans safer."
Sawyer: "So you think it's just a turf war, really."
Breitweiser: "I think it has to do with turf, power and money, and you know what, that is putting our national security at risk."
Sawyer: "Patty, if it doesn't happen this week, after all you've done, what are you going to do? Are you going to just give it a rest and go away?"
Casazza: "No, absolutely not. It will have to go forward with the 109th Congress. It's hard for me to believe, three and a half years later, with being in two wars at this time, with increased attacks on Americans -- you saw the consulate in Saudi Arabia was just taken hostage this morning -- it's unconscionable. What do we say to our children at this point in time? My son is 14. In three years he could be drafted to go to the war if that is brought back -- you can go to war, but we will not protect you here at home. That's unconscionable, but I will go forward and fight the good fight."
Sawyer: "Patty Casazza and Kristen Breitweiser, again, thanks for being with us. A lot of time you've put into this. We'll see what happens this week."

ABC on Monday wasn't the first network to treat Breitweiser as an independent sage. The October 22 CyberAlert recounted:
Kristen Breitweiser has been an active, publicity-seeking Bush-bashing 9/11 widow who has spent time on the campaign trail for Kerry-Edwards and is featured in a new Kerry-Edwards TV ad in which she declared that since "I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe...I am voting for John Kerry." But on Thursday's Early Show, CBS News reporter Byron Pitts mentioned none of that as he portrayed her as some sort of random Bush voter who was so impressed by a Kerry speech line making fun of President Bush that she now plans to vote for Kerry. Pitts played a clip of Kerry, during an Ohio campaign appearance: "A President of the United States has to do more than one thing at the same time and I believe that this President has failed, failed to make our country as safe and secure as we ought to be." Pitts asserted: "That struck a chord with supporters here, especially one." Breitweiser proclaimed: "My favorite part of the speech is when he said that we should expect our President to do more than one thing at a time." Pitts then painted her as a randomly persuaded voter: "Kristen Breitweiser lost her husband on 9/11. One of the leading advocates for the 9/11 commission, she voted for President Bush four years ago, not this time." See: www.mrc.org

Olbermann Sees as "Tantalizing" Idea
Bush Win "All But Certain"

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann MSNBC's Keith Olbermann keeps hanging on to strands of hope Bush's Ohio victory might be overturned. On Monday's Countdown, Olbermann quoted a Kerry lawyer as saying they do not intend to challenge the popular vote in Ohio, but Olbermann picked up on how "then seemingly just to tantalize a little bit further, he added, 'While the election of the Bush-Cheney ticket by the Electoral College is all but certain.'" Olbermann proceeded to resurrect another of his irrelevant anecdotes: "Last week, [Congressman John] Conyers and eleven other members of the Judiciary Committee wrote to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell asking 34 specific questions about last month's vote there, starting with the still-unexplained lockdown of access during vote counting in Warren County outside of Cincinnati."

Following an item on supposed ethical lapses by Bernard Kerik, Bush's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, Olbermann launched into this list of non-newsworthy events as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"Long before the confirmation hearings on Kerik, Congress will be opening the votes of the Electoral College -- one month from today, in fact. Thus a flurry of activity from Ohio, including another odd comment from John Kerry's lead attorney on the ground there, in which he kept his campaign's toe in the water by injecting a qualifier and stating that Mr. Bush's election is, quote, 'all "but" certain.'
"First off, per schedule, the state Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, certified the vote, which turned out to be not a 135,000 margin for the President, but rather one of 119,000, and was to be immediately challenged on two fronts. Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb today scheduling a news conference for tomorrow afternoon at which the recount request from he and the Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik will be formalized. And still delayed, a long, long, long shot bid spearheaded by the man on your right, the attorney Cliff Arnebeck, to have an Ohio Supreme Court Justice contest the actual election, holding off making the first count official until voting irregularities are reviewed by a court. Mr. Arnebeck tells us it may be Wednesday before his case is filed, but the protests are not just from the fringes anymore.
"Citing the long lines, the shortages of ballots, voting machine meltdowns, spoiled ballots, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe today announcing his party would spend whatever it takes to conduct what it calls a comprehensive investigative study of the vote in Ohio, one that will be completed some time next year.
"But just as McAuliffe insisted that the study was not intended to contest the results of the 2004 election, a slightly different message was coming from what remains of the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Ohio. Kerry's lead electoral attorney there, Daniel Hoffheimer, said the study would echo the campaign's insistence that every vote be counted and that everybody in the campaign was very pleased, Hoffheimer saying, quoting here, 'Neither the pending Ohio recount nor this investigation is designed to challenge the popular vote in Ohio,' then seemingly just to tantalize a little bit further, he added, 'While the election of the Bush-Cheney ticket by the Electoral College is all but certain.'...
"Last week, Conyers and 11 other members of the Judiciary Committee wrote to Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell asking 34 specific questions about last month's vote there, starting with the still-unexplained lockdown of access during vote counting in Warren County outside of Cincinnati."

Washington Post Reporter Blames U.S.
for UN Oil for Food Scandal

Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly turned the UN Oil for Food program scandal into an opportunity to blame America first, but Brit Hume quickly rejected her premise. On Fox News Sunday, Connolly opined: "Of course, the U.S. was also involved in the Oil for Food program, and you have to look a little bit carefully in terms of how much scrutiny and oversight we were giving all of those years as well." Hume jumped in: "Oh come on, Ceci. I mean, this problem was not the fault of the United States..."

The MRC's Megan McCormack caught this from the panel discussion on the December 5 Fox News Sunday:

Ceci Connolly: "Of course, the U.S. was also involved in the Oil for Food program, and you have to look a little bit carefully in terms of how much scrutiny and oversight we were giving all of those years as well."
Brit Hume: "Oh come on, Ceci. I mean, this problem was not the fault of the United States. The United States did not have the oversight responsibility-"
Connolly: "I'm not suggesting that-"
Hume: "Well, I'm saying though, that-"
Connolly: "-But the U.S. is an enormous player, obviously-"
Hume: "Well that's right, no doubt about it."
Connolly: "-and it was in the Oil for Food program as well."
Hume: "But oversight of the, the oversight of the Oil for Food program was the U.N.'s own job. And talk about a job not even attempted. I mean, this is really -- this is in dollar terms, the biggest scandal in the history of the world, in money terms. And the news, of course, the news coverage has come to this very, very late and only gradually, and only through the offices of people like Norm Coleman, who are kind of, you know, official people leading official investigations too big to ignore. But, my sense is that that will intensify, and as it does, I think that the reputation of the U.N., as Bill [Kristol] suggests, will suffer further."

CBS's Safer: "God Bless America" = "God
Bless Us and Screw You"

To those abroad, "God bless America" looks like code for "God bless us and screw you," 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer asserted Sunday during an appearance at the Stonington, Connecticut community center as recounted Monday by The Day newspaper in New London. "'This country looks arrogant, foolish and scary from overseas,' said Safer, who has a weekend home in Chester," The Day relayed. Safer "was frustrated that the press collectively branded John Kerry 'boring and lugubrious' when discussion never should have turned on questions of personality." Reporter Kate Moran revealed that Safer "wore his liberal leanings on his sleeve" as he regretted how Bill Clinton had "succeeded by 'co-opting the Republican agenda' and leaving his own party 'in disarray' with nothing to stand for." As for Iraq, a downbeat Safer warned: "This war is going to be more of a lingering disease than Vietnam...I do not see any resolution."

Though he didn't highlight Safer's "God Bless America" crack. Romenesko ( www.poynter.org ) on Monday listed The Day article about the appearance by Safer and Osborn Elliott, the former far-left Editor of Newsweek.

An excerpt from the December 6 story, "Two Veteran Journalists Critical of Today's Media Coverage," by Kate Moran:

....In a talk sponsored by the Stonington Free Library, the two colleagues and old friends discussed how to fortify coverage in an era when news outlets are so obsessed with being even-handed that their stories take the shape of point-counterpoint rather than an incisive examination of an issue.

"We've heard a lot of criticism of the election coverage -- or non-coverage -- by the right and the left alike," said Elliott, the Stonington Borough resident and former editor of Newsweek.

Elliot criticized the press for not sufficiently challenging the Bush administration's hyperbolic claims about the weapons threat in Iraq. Condoleezza Rice, he said, was able to peddle fear that the "smoking gun" in Iraq could be a "mushroom cloud."

Safer, an editor and correspondent for "60 Minutes" for three decades, perceived that reporters had soaked up the mood of cautiousness and deference to the White House that he said infected Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Even for those reporters inclined to be critical, Safer said, disproving the Bush administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction was a nearly impossible task. Safer said the president could assert the danger in Iraq but that the press had little means to investigate such a claim outside "the best testimony of weapons inspectors."...

The two journalists were particularly harsh in their criticism of Rupert Murdoch, the media baron they faulted for focusing on profit at the expense of good journalism.

Murdoch's preoccupation with the bottom line is symptomatic of what Safer and Elliott said afflicts news corporations as a whole. With the cost of keeping correspondents abroad, they said, coverage of international affairs can get short shrift.

"It's why we're the most ill-informed nation about the rest of the world," Safer said.

Safer, who covered the Vietnam war for CBS News, said the American press has not done enough to convey the image this country has around the world. He watched the political conventions this summer from Europe and said he cringed at the "awful bravado" he heard in speeches from members of both parties.

He said the candidates seemed little aware that their conventions were broadcast around the world. By taking two minutes to acknowledge the international audience, Safer said, the candidates could have dispelled the air of superiority they emitted with their exhortation, "God bless America," a statement that he said seemed to be code for "God bless us and screw you."

"This country looks arrogant, foolish and scary from overseas," said Safer, who has a weekend home in Chester.

Safer criticized the press for turning election coverage into a "beauty contest" in a year when reporters had vowed to focus on substantive issues. He was frustrated that the press collectively branded John Kerry "boring and lugubrious" when discussion never should have turned on questions of personality.

Yet Safer, who wore his liberal leanings on his sleeve, also faulted Kerry for failing to convey a coherent message and a strong sense of conviction. He said this lack of a compass was partly the legacy of Bill Clinton, the president who succeeded by "co-opting the Republican agenda" and leaving his own party "in disarray" with nothing to stand for....

To groans from the audience, Safer said he thinks the situation in Iraq will continue to deteriorate.

"This war is going to be more of a lingering disease than Vietnam," he said. "I do not see any resolution."

END of Excerpt

For The Day story with a photo of Safer: www.theday.com

For CBS's bio page of Safer: www.cbsnews.com

The far-left views of Elliott, Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek from 1961-76, were on display on May 16, 1992 in a speech at a "Save Our Cities" rally: "We hold accountable Republicans who have savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services. We hold accountable Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery....We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight."


-- Brent Baker