Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Hearing Framed from Left; Williams Touts Specter's "Independence" --9/14/2005


1. Hearing Framed from Left; Williams Touts Specter's "Independence"
Some noteworthy quotes from Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the Senate's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. ABC's Linda Douglass saw civil rights through a liberal prism as, over a picture of Roberts with Ronald Reagan, she relayed how "Democrats hammered him about things he wrote as a young government lawyer 25 years ago, when the Reagan administration was fighting against expanding civil rights laws." Conservatives would contend Reagan was just trying to ensure equal treatment of all races. Douglass also highlighted questions about the improper influence of Roberts' religious beliefs, as if anyone with them is disqualified: "Democrats made clear they suspect Roberts, a devout Catholic, will lower the wall between church and state. One Senator quoted John Kennedy." Over on CBS, Gloria Borger negatively framed Roberts' views on another topic: "The only woman on the panel grilled Roberts on his old legal memos, which appear to disparage women and their complaints about unequal pay." Borger repeatedly used the term "abortion rights" and Bob Schieffer hoped: "When he says today that Roe v. Wade is a 'settled legal precedent,' as he calls it, does that mean he supports abortion rights?"

2. CNN's Brown Confronts MRC's Bozell on Criticism of Injecting Race
On Tuesday's NewsNight, CNN anchor Aaron Brown set up an interview with MRC President L. Brent Bozell by complaining that "we were called a 'race-baiter' by a conservative media Web site. Needless to say, we don't agree, which made our conversation with the piece's author, Brent Bozell, that much more interesting tonight." Brown pleaded to Bozell: "Why do you call me, little old innocent me, you know, why do you call me a 'race-baiter' for asking the question [clip from an earlier show]: 'Do you think black America is sitting there thinking, "If these were middle class white people, there'd be cruise ships in New Orleans, not the Superdome"?"
with audio

3. CNN's O'Brien: No Denial Bush Slow When "Black People Were on TV"
CNN on Wednesday morning continued it effort to interject race into the hurricane Katrina disaster, with American Morning co-host Soledad O'Brien ridiculing President Bush's promise that the "storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort." She presumed some level of credibility to the charge that racism delayed the response as she lectured: "No one's claiming the storm discriminated, and certainly no one has anything but praise for the Coast Guard, who were among the first to pluck people out of their roofs, where they were clinging for dear life. Isn't the question really, and the question that's not necessarily being answered, but isn't the question really, was the administration slow to respond when pictures of mostly black people were on TV, and over days, were clearly in dire straights? Has there been a direct answer to that question?" Why should such an uncorroborated allegation get a serious response?

4. Tim Russert Makes Democrat Tim Kaine's Day in Virginia Debate
The Washington Post reported Wednesday on the Virginia gubernatorial debate between Republican Jerry Kilgore and Democrat Tim Kaine, noting how Kilgore "faltered under a series of questions by moderator Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press." University of Virgina political science professor Larry Sabato asserted that Russert was "much tougher on Kilgore than on Kaine."

5. "Top Ten Questions on the FEMA Director Application"
Letterman's "Top Ten Questions on the FEMA Director Application."


Hearing Framed from Left; Williams Touts
Specter's "Independence"

Some noteworthy quotes from Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the Senate's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. ABC's Linda Douglass saw civil rights through a liberal prism as, over a picture of Roberts with Ronald Reagan, she relayed how "Democrats hammered him about things he wrote as a young government lawyer 25 years ago, when the Reagan administration was fighting against expanding civil rights laws." Conservatives would contend Reagan was just trying to ensure equal treatment of all races. Douglass also highlighted questions about the improper influence of Roberts' religious beliefs, as if anyone with them is disqualified: "Democrats made clear they suspect Roberts, a devout Catholic, will lower the wall between church and state. One Senator quoted John Kennedy." Over on CBS, Gloria Borger negatively framed Roberts' views on another topic: "The only woman on the panel grilled Roberts on his old legal memos, which appear to disparage women and their complaints about unequal pay." Borger repeatedly used the term "abortion rights" and Bob Schieffer hoped: "When he says today that Roe v. Wade is a 'settled legal precedent,' as he calls it, does that mean he supports abortion rights?"

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams trumpeted the liberal ideology of Arlen Specter, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and how Specter is "unafraid to act independently." Williams touted: "He says his brushes with death have made him hyper-aware of the life-saving possibilities of stem cell research. He brought an hour glass to a Senate hearing, he says, to point out time's a-wastin'." Williams soon championed how "from his earliest days in politics, on the staff of the Warren Commission, running for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967, to his 25 years in Congress, Specter has been unafraid to act independently. It's a virtue he believes will serve him well throughout these hearings."

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias.]

Transcripts, compiled by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# ABC's World News Tonight, September 13, picking up after Douglass reported on Specter's push to get Roberts to agree that Roe is protected by the right to privacy.

Douglass, over a still shot of Roberts with Ronald Reagan: "Democrats hammered him about things he wrote as a young government lawyer 25 years ago, when the Reagan administration was fighting against expanding civil rights laws."
Senator Ted Kennedy: "I'm deeply troubled by a narrow and cramped and perhaps even a mean-spirited view of the law that appears in some of your writings."
Douglass: "Roberts would not say whether he agreed with those policies."
Roberts: "Senator, I was a staff lawyer. I didn't have a position."
Senator Joe Biden: "His answers are misleading, with all due respect."
Senator Arlen Specter: "Now, wait a minute, wait a minute. They may be misleading, but they're his answers."
Biden: "Okay."
Roberts: "With respect, they are my answers and with respect, they're not misleading. They're accurate."
Douglass: "Democrats made clear they suspect Roberts, a devout Catholic, will lower the wall between church and state. One Senator quoted John Kennedy:"
Senator Dianne Feinstein: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."
Roberts: "I don't know what that means when you say absolute separation. I do know this, that my faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role in judging."
Douglass: "Several pressed him to reveal what kind of justice he will be."
Senator Charles Grassley: "Well, is there any room in a constitutional interpretation for the judge's own values or beliefs?"
Roberts: "You don't look to your own values and beliefs. You look outside yourself, to other sources. This is the basis for, you know, the judges wear black robes, because it doesn't matter who they are as individuals."
Senator Lindsey Graham: "What would you like history to say about you when it's all said and done?"
Roberts: "I'd like them to start by saying, 'he was confirmed.'" [laughter]
Douglass: "Now, most believe that Roberts was unscathed, that his answers basically had something for everyone. The Democrats are going to continue to try to pepper him on issues like the death penalty, and school prayer and other kinds of rights, but they think that there's very little chance they can defeat him."


# CBS Evening News, September 13:

Anchor Bob Schieffer: "And now to the other major story of the day, the Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the United States. The Judiciary Committee peppered Roberts with questions today, and it didn't take long for the subject to turn to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on abortion. Here's Gloria Borger."
Gloria Borger: "For a lawyer little known to the public until this summer, John Roberts looked like a man who had prepared for this job interview his entire life. The first flash point, abortion rights. The key question: Is the precedent of Roe versus Wade so strong that Roberts would not vote to overturn it?"
John Roberts, Supreme Court nominee: "I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent."
Borger: "The Republican Chairman, who favors abortion rights, continued to press."
Senator Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman: "Would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent in light of-"
Borger: "Roberts refused to go any further, except to say:"
Roberts: "There's nothing in my personal views, based on faith or other sources, that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the court."
Borger: "The only woman on the panel grilled Roberts on his old legal memos, which appear to disparage women and their complaints about unequal pay."
Roberts: "I have always supported and support today equal rights for women."
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Senate Judiciary Committee): "You speak about modesty and humility, and yet none of these comments are modest or humble."
Borger: "Another point of contention, civil rights. In this case, a memo written by Roberts 23 years ago in which he argued for narrowing the reach of the Voting Rights Act."
Roberts: "It was the position of the Reagan administration for whom I worked."
Borger: "Roberts said he had always supported the anti-discrimination law, and fought back."
Roberts: "You have not accurately represented my position."
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Senate Judiciary Committee): "These are your words."
Borger: "For a litigator who has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, Roberts proved just as unflappable in the Senate hearing room."
Senator Joseph Biden (D-Senate Judiciary Committee): "His answers are misleading, with all due respect."
Specter: "Well, they, now, wait a minute, wait a minute. They may be misleading, but they're his answers."
Biden: "Okay, fine."
Specter: "You may finish, Judge Roberts."
Biden: "Fire away."
Roberts: "With respect, they are my answers, and, with respect, they're not misleading, they're accurate."
Borger: "Watch for conservatives to start questioning Judge Roberts very closely on Roe versus Wade. They want him to vote to overturn it, and they're not sure he would, Bob."

Schieffer: "Okay, hold on just for a second, Gloria. We want to bring in Jan Crawford Greenburg, our legal analyst from the Chicago Tribune. Jan, you're the lawyer. When he says today that Roe V. Wade is a settled legal precedent, as he calls it, does that mean he supports abortion rights?"
Jan Crawford Greenburg, CBS News analyst: "No, it does not. There was a comma after that sentence. He said it was settled law subject to the legal principle that allows courts to rethink their decisions if there are compelling reasons to do so. He did not say he would not overturn Roe, despite question after question from senator after senator trying to pin him down on those views."
Schieffer: "Did we find out anything about him, Jan, that we didn't know?"
Greenburg: "Today, very much what we saw was the John Roberts that we've seen much of the summer, the John Roberts that the justices have seen when he argued before them before the Supreme Court. He's a man who is prepared -- we saw his humor -- we didn't really see him go off his points that he's made before."
Schieffer: "I thought he did very well, Gloria. Just from the politics of it, what's going to happen next? Do you think he picked up any votes today?"
Borger: "I'm not sure that he picked up any votes, Bob. You can see that the Democrats had the points that they wanted to make, and they made them about issues like civil rights and Roe versus Wade. But privately, the Democrats I speak with are telling me, 'We understand that Judge Roberts is going to get confirmed,' and lots of them are starting now to focus on just who the second nominee for the Supreme Court is going to be. There's lots of thought that that nominee could be more conservative and more controversial and they ought to start thinking about that one."


# NBC Nightly News, September 13:

Brian Williams: "We're back with NBC News 'In Depth' tonight, more on those hearings to decide this nation's next chief justice. They're being presided over by a 75-year-old man who, by the way, grew up in Russell, Kansas, not far from Bob Dole. Like Bob Dole, he has risen to the top of his power in the U.S. Senate. And this is his moment. It's almost incidental that, along the way, Senator Arlen Specter -- 'Mr. Chairman,' to most -- was told he had cancer. 'The work,' he said, 'must go on.' Senator Arlen Specter knows this one is for the history books. His last chemo treatment was in late July. You realize that you're something of a hero to a lot of people living with cancer. [Specter] The senator who looks so startlingly different than he did just months ago knows he could have instead put on a wig or remained out of the public eye. [Specter] This is not his first health scare. Back in 1993, Specter survived a brain tumor. Five years later, it was heart bypass surgery. He says his brushes with death have made him hyper-aware of the life-saving possibilities of stem cell research. He brought an hour glass to a Senate hearing, he says, to point out time's a-wastin'."
Senator Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman: "I'm now engaging in a fierce battle, so there's a very strong personal note to my own view."
Williams: "From his earliest days in politics, on the staff of the Warren Commission, running for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967, to his 25 years in Congress, Specter has been unafraid to act independently. It's a virtue he believes will serve him well throughout these hearings."
Specter: "The activities that I have undertaken reflect my parents' values. Both were immigrants, and growing up on the plains of Kansas, I've been imbued with what I think has been accurately characterized as independence, perhaps fierce independence."
Williams: "That independence got him into deep trouble in his own party when he said publicly that he doubted the Senate would confirm a nominee who would overturn Roe versus Wade."
Specter: "Roe versus Wade and a woman's right to choose will be front and center. That is the big, big issue, but it is not the only issue."
Williams: "Unlike past hearings -- and this is his tenth confirmation -- Specter sees his role as Chairman as more of an umpire. [clip of exchange among John Roberts, Senator Joseph Biden, Arlen Specter] [Specter] The man they call 'Mr. Chairman,' Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the first of at least two confirmation hearings he is expecting to preside over."


To comment on this coverage, go to the NewsBusters.org node for this article: newsbusters.org

CNN's Brown Confronts MRC's Bozell on
Criticism of Injecting Race

On Tuesday's NewsNight, CNN anchor Aaron Brown set up an interview with MRC President L. Brent Bozell by complaining that "we were called a 'race-baiter' by a conservative media Web site. Needless to say, we don't agree, which made our conversation with the piece's author, Brent Bozell, that much more interesting tonight."


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Brown pleaded to Bozell: "Why do you call me, little old innocent me, you know, why do you call me a 'race-baiter' for asking the question [clip from an earlier show]: 'Do you think black America is sitting there thinking, "If these were middle class white people, there'd be cruise ships in New Orleans, not the Superdome"?"

In fact, the "race-baiter" formulation did not appear in Bozell's column, but was in a September 3 NewsBusters headline (also part of the September 6 CyberAlert): "Race-Baiting by Blitzer and Brown; Race Raised by Williams and Koppel."

[This item was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. To watch two video clips from the interview, in both RealPlayer and Windows Media formats, go to: newsbusters.org ]

What the MRC and Bozell wrote which so upset Brown:

# "Race-Baiting by Blitzer and Brown; Race Raised by Williams and Koppel" read the headline over the September 3 NewsBusters/September 6 CyberAlert posting. An excerpt:

CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday afternoon repeatedly prodded reluctant Congressional Black Caucus member Elijah Cummings to blame racism for delays in rescuing hurricane victims in New Orleans....Later, on CNN's NewsNight, Aaron Brown took up the same agenda with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones: "What I'm wondering is, do you think black America's sitting there thinking, if these were middle class white people, there would be cruise ships in New Orleans?" When she wouldn't take the bait, Brown lectured: "Now, look, here's the question, okay? And then we'll end this. Do you think the reason that they're not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren't there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, isn't there, is a matter of race and/or class?"

END of Excerpt

For the full NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org

For the CyberAlert version: www.mediaresearch.org

# "Cheering on Racial Division" read the title over Bozell's September 7 column. An excerpt:

But perhaps the strongest news pitchman for the Vast Racist Conspiracy -- you know the one, like the skit on "Saturday Night Live" where Eddie Murphy paints himself white and they hand him free money at the bank -- was CNN anchor Aaron Brown. Brown baited Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones: "Do you think black America's sitting there thinking, if these were middle class white people, there would be cruise ships in New Orleans, not the Superdome?"

Jones tried to put race aside, focusing her outrage on charging "the government has not allocated the resources." But Brown went back to his Love Boat for Whites theme: "Now, look, here's the question, okay? And then we'll end this. Do you think the reason that they're not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren't there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, isn't this a matter of race and/or class?"

END of Excerpt

For the column in full, as posted on NewsBusters: newsbusters.org


# A transcript, provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, of Bozell's appearance, in a taped and edited interview, on the September 13 NewsNight with Aaron Brown on CNN:

Aaron Brown: "Of all the complicated questions the response to Katrina raises, questions of race and class in the country rank right at the top. We have on the program on three different occasions talked about issues of race and Katrina, and the other day we were called a 'race-baiter' by a conservative media Web site. Needless to say, we don't agree, which made our conversation with the piece's author, Brent Bozell, that much more interesting tonight."

He began the taped segment: "Brent, just dealing with the column you wrote on the 7th, the other day, to me, a fair reading of the column is that you don't want us to talk about race at all, probably class at all, but surely not race at all, as it may or may not relate to people's perceptions of the relief effort."
Brent Bozell: "Well, I think the problem is that these perceptions -- which are wholly false -- are being created on the one hand by demagogues, and on the other hand, by some in the media who are giving the demagogues a hearing on this. The fact of the matter is that two-thirds of New Orleans is black. Katrina didn't aim for that, nor was the federal relief response, as inadequate as it was, inadequate because they were blacks, you know. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew decimated the East Coast. The response from the federal government was terrible. It was mostly whites. Was that racism?"
Brown: "You've decided, which is absolutely your right, that there is no, there is no truth to anyone's belief that race is somehow involved in how people were treated in the week after the hurricane. Fair enough. I don't disagree with that. But perception is powerful and perception is important, and what we know from polls is that black Americans do look at this differently than white Americans as they look at a lot of things differently from white America."
Bozell: "And, Aaron, perception is dangerous if it's not rooted in reality, which is my point. If anyone had come forward in the last 15 days with any tangible proof to back up the suggestion that there may have been racism at place, I'd like to hear it, and then report it. But there's no evidence. It's just this accusation that's being thrown out. What I see is whites and blacks helping each other in New Orleans. I don't see any racism."
Brown: "I don't support the notion that race, as such, is the issue here, though. I'm less sure honestly about class. I wonder the degree to which class played a role in how the government responded, governments plural, responded. I don't know. But I am interested in what people think, and I think it's my job to ask."
Bozell: "Well, but, you know, it is appropriate to ask, Aaron. I don't question that, but when someone is making a very dangerous accusation, and by dangerous, I mean an accusation that splits the seam of the cultural fabric in this country."
Brown: "If it's appropriate to ask these questions, which is how you began that answer, why do you call me, little old innocent me, you know, why do you call me a 'race-baiter' for asking the question-"
Brown, to Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, in a clip from his September 2 show: "Do you think black America is sitting there thinking, 'If these were middle class white people, there'd be cruise ships in New Orleans, not the Superdome'?"
Bozell: "You may say, 'Well, I'm just a questioner, I'm just a reporter, I'm just asking questions.' But, in fact, when people hear you, they believe that what's coming from you is not a question but a statement of fact. Now, you may say, 'Well, that's unfair because I don't mean it that way,' but that's the reality."
Brown: "So journalists ought not ask these because their questions are perceived as statements?"
Bozell: "I think journalists ought to be careful that they not create perceptions that are based on falsehoods."
Brown: "How do you know it's perceived based on a falsehood unless you ask questions?"
Bozell: "Well, I think that somebody making the accusation ought to have some evidence before making the accusation."
Brown: "No one's, no, Brent, there's no accusation there."
Bozell: "Well, sure there is. Sure there is."
Brown: "No."
Bozell: "There are public policy leaders in New Orleans right now -- and they've been there for a week -- who have been making this accusation. I'm not saying the press is. I'm saying they are. But if the press's role, I think, ought to be to go to those people and say put up or shut up."
Brown: "I think it is the role of the reporter to ask the question, even when the question is uncomfortable, and here I think that's all we did."
Bozell: "Well, Aaron, when I see a reporter say those infamous words, 'some people say,' and then you go on to continue with the sentence, I'm always wondering who those 'some people' are. You know, if somebody's saying something, put that person's name on the record."
Brown: "I actually think it's possible this is, be a moment for us."
Bozell: "Holy moly, here it comes."
Brown: "There really is an opportunity to discuss a complicated and important American question about race and class and poverty and how they fit together. And Katrina gives us that opportunity."
Bozell: "There's something else, Aaron. Yeah, but there's something even better than that. There is the opportunity to celebrate the color-blindness that we saw after 9/11, the color-blindness that we saw after Hurricane Katrina in so many quarters. That ought to be celebrated."
Brown: "I'll give you the last word on that."
Bozell: "Thank you, sir."
Brown: "It's nice to see you."

This morning, the MRC's Tim Graham posted this comment on NewsBusters.org:
"Yesterday, Rich Noyes and I discussed what Aaron would say to L.B.B., and I think we pretty much agreed that he would do this: make no difference between news coverage of race and anchorman questions baiting allegations of racism in the response. Brown claims a 'fair reading' says Bozell wants no discussion of race and class. That's not a 'fair reading,' you pompous poseur. He clearly skipped over this sentence in the column: 'There's a difference between citing racial and class realities and goosing black politicians to endorse the poisonous idea of a conscious conspiracy of neglect against poor minorities.'
"It's stunning that he would agree that accusations of racism are groundless, but that it's somehow his job to solicit groundless accusations so we can all listen to them and ponder them. That really suggests he's not there to find the truth. He's there to offer a platform for baseless accusations of racism.
"It's also stunning that he doesn't recognize that when he goads black legislators into alleging whites would have had Mai Tais on a cruise ship after the hurricane if they were the majority in New Orleans, HE is the one floating the accusation. It's not just a question, it is putting the accusation in play. And, as the NewsBusters account notes, CNN anchors asked the question TWICE when the first answers from black leaders didn't seem harsh enough against the allegedly racist response effort."

To add your comment, go to: newsbusters.org

CNN's O'Brien: No Denial Bush Slow When
"Black People Were on TV"

CNN on Wednesday morning continued it effort to interject race into the hurricane Katrina disaster, with American Morning co-host Soledad O'Brien ridiculing President Bush's promise that the "storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort." She presumed some level of credibility to the charge that racism delayed the response as she lectured: "No one's claiming the storm discriminated, and certainly no one has anything but praise for the Coast Guard, who were among the first to pluck people out of their roofs, where they were clinging for dear life. Isn't the question really, and the question that's not necessarily being answered, but isn't the question really, was the administration slow to respond when pictures of mostly black people were on TV, and over days, were clearly in dire straights? Has there been a direct answer to that question?" Why should such an uncorroborated allegation get a serious response?

In the 9am EDT half hour of the September 13 American Morning, O'Brien, the MRC's Megan McCormack noticed, brought up the race question with Dana Bash, who sat with her in CNN's Manhattan studio:
"Let's talk about race and what kind of a role race may or may not have played in'€"in the aftermath of this tragedy, frankly. There are polls out that show white people may not think that race was an issue, but black people certainly do."
Dana Bash, over a graphic with the poll results: "That's right, and we can take a look at the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll which shows 12 percent of whites say that efforts to help the New Orleans victims were slow because many of the victims were black. But the number that is striking is 60 percent. 60 percent of blacks thinks that is the case. Now Soledad, the White House is very careful what they say publicly about this. But on top of that kind of number, you also have very influential black stars like Kanye West saying things like 'George Bush doesn't care about black people,' to which the First Lady called disgusting. But the White House understands that they need to try to beat this back. They, more than a week ago, invited African-American leaders to the White House. You have the President down in the disaster area, time and time again, meeting with the victims, showing the fact that he does care about them. And he was asked specifically about the race question yesterday. Let's listen to his response."
President George W. Bush: "Storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort. When those Coast Guard choppers, many of whom were first on the scene, were pulling people off roofs, they didn't. they didn't check the color of a person's skin. They wanted to save lives."
O'Brien: "Well, you know, what I find a little interesting about that soundbite, though, is no one's claiming the storm discriminated, and certainly no one has anything but praise for the Coast Guard, who were among the first to pluck people out of their roofs, where they were clinging for dear life. Isn't the question really, and the question that's not necessarily being answered, but isn't the question really, was the administration slow to respond when pictures of mostly black people were on TV, and over days, were clearly in dire straights? Has there been a direct answer to that question?"
Bash: "No. The answer is no. There hasn't been. And they are very, very careful to stick to their line at this point. But, the bottom line is this is a question that is not, it's going to be asked time and time again of the White House. Politically, what is perhaps most disconcerting for the White House, Soledad, is that President Bush tried so hard during 2004 to court the African-American vote. The Republican National Committee Chairman has spent virtually the entire last year as having that his number one priority, to really expand the Republican Party to include African-Americans. It's really going to be interesting to see what this particular storm and these accusations that it was -- that there was racism involved will do to that effort."
O'Brien: "Yeah. It'll be interesting to see if this has been a major back step, frankly, in the African-American community."

One egged on by journalists like O'Brien.

Tim Russert Makes Democrat Tim Kaine's
Day in Virginia Debate

The Washington Post reported Wednesday on the Virginia gubernatorial debate between Republican Jerry Kilgore and Democrat Tim Kaine, noting how Kilgore "faltered under a series of questions by moderator Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press." University of Virgina political science professor Larry Sabato asserted that Russert was "much tougher on Kilgore than on Kaine."

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias.]

Russert asked Kilgore whether he would sign a bill to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Kilgore called the question hypothetical. Russert followed up by asking if he would veto a tax hike. He said he would. "That's a hypothetical question!" Russert said, "prompting laughter from the luncheon crowd of more than 500 Northern Virginia business executives," the Post reports. The story then quotes poli-sci professor/pundit Larry Sabato: "Kilgore was nervous and tense. He sounded bad. He argued badly," said Sabato, who will moderate the last gubernatorial debate next month. "This was Kaine's best performance ever." The Post doesn't really note that Northern Virginia business executives in this crowd want higher taxes for better roads and better business for them.

You get a much different flavor in the Fredericksburg FreeLance-Star, where Sabato is quoted as saying: "This is Kaine's debate. It's Kaine's audience. It's probably Kaine's region," calling it "one of the most one-sided debates I've ever seen." He said Russert was "much tougher on Kilgore than on Kaine," but that he exposed internal contradictions by both candidates.

To see it on the local NBC affiliate last night, Russert looked more like a debater than a moderator, especially with all the crowd whooping against Kilgore. You would think the NBC folks would show a moment of Russert pressing the Democrat (he did ask Kaine why he won't work to stop the death penalty), but he apparently never flustered the Democrat. He made his day.

For the September 14 Washington Post story: www.washingtonpost.com

For the Fredericksburg FreeLance-Star article: fredericksburg.com

To comment on this item, go to the NewsBusters.org node for it: newsbusters.org

"Top Ten Questions on the FEMA Director
Application"

From the September 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions on the FEMA Director Application." The Late Show's home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Are you able to convey a false sense of security?"

9. "What percentage of your resume is fabricated?"

8. "In a crisis, which state or local officials would you blame?"

7. "What are your plans after you resign?"

6. "Do you mind if the last guy left the office smelling like Arabian horses?"

5. "Which is most serious: A disaster, a catastrophe, or a dis-astrophe?"

4. "Does Robert Blake dating again count as an emergency?"

3. "Can the President easily add '-ie' to your last name to form a nickname?"

2. "Can you screw up bad enough to take the heat off the President's mistakes?"

1. "Michael Brown...Idiot or moron?"


Ted Turner is scheduled to appear Thursday night on the Late Show, his first appearance on a show hosted by Letterman since he was on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman on March 17, 1982 -- back when conservatives considered him an ally.

-- Brent Baker