2. Time: Bush "Paying Homage" to Confederacy "Champion"? Never Mind
3. Today Examines How "Racism" & "Bigotry" Are "Alive and Well"
4. Garofalo Blasts Bush for Protecting Cells, Killing Iraqis
Though CBS's Dan Rather noted how the UN arms inspectors had found no "smoking gun" and NBC's Tom Brokaw pointed out how they "want more time," both led their newscasts by stressing how Iraq has failed to comply with the UN resolution. In contrast, ABC's Peter Jennings opened World News Tonight with the words "pleading for time" on screen over a shot of Hans Blix as Jennings stressed: "The inspectors want more time to do their job."
Jennings proceeded to highlight up top how the nuclear inspector, Mohamed el-Baradei, was much softer on Iraq, a point pf view CBS and NBC only got to in subsequent stories. Jennings announced that the nuclear team "said they have found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program so far and, his words now, 'provided there is sustained proactive cooperation by Iraq, we should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons program.'"
Jennings treated the reaction to the UN report from the White House and Hussein regime as equally credible: "After spending last week in Baghdad listening to the Iraqi government, what we heard from the Iraqi government today is also as it was at the White House: true to form."
Discussing the developments with George Stephanopoulos, Jennings pleaded: "The Democrats going to take on the President any more vigorously on the question of war?"
Below, a rundown of how CBS and NBC opened their Monday night, January 27 newscasts followed by how Jennings approached things on ABC:
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather teased his broadcast: "Tonight's headlines: Chief inspector slams Iraq. U.S. says time is almost up..."
Rather led the show: "Good evening. The next move is up to President Bush in his State of the Union address tomorrow night. Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Saddam Hussein today that the time for peaceful disarmament is fast coming to an end. This followed the long-awaited progress report from United Nations weapons inspectors. They have so far found no smoking gun to prove Iraq has weapons of mass destruction but, they said flatly, Saddam is not cooperating with the inspectors on matters of substance."
John Roberts started a report from the UN: "It was a sharply worded indictment of Iraq's reluctance to disarm and it only added fuel to President Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein is up to his same old game...."
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw teased the program: "Road to War: UN weapons inspectors say Saddam is not coming clean. They want more time..."
Brokaw began the show: "Good evening. After weeks of weapons inspections, posturing by Iraq, angry demands by the Americans and skepticism from Western allies, this was an important day on the road to either war or a peaceful solution in the stand off that now has the world on hold. Hans Blix made his report to the UN Security Council on the progress of the inspectors so far. And in his dry, diplomatic monologue, he ticked off some troubling issues that are still unresolved: Nerve gas and anthrax, missile and rockets, and most of all, Iraq's resistance to disarming."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings, over a shot of Blix with "pleading for time" on screen, teased the program: "On World News Tonight, the United Nations inspectors say Iraq has not yet accepted that it must disarm. The inspectors want more time to do their job."
Jennings introduced the show, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, with this lengthy rundown:
Setting up a subsequent story, Jennings treated the reactions in Washington and Baghdad as equally believable: "After spending last week in Baghdad listening to the Iraqi government, what we heard from the Iraqi government today is also as it was at the White House: true to form."
Jennings soon brought aboard Stephanopoulos: "Now to wrap up this subject just for the day, some observations from ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who is with us here in Washington. George, I know you spent part of the day talking to Democratic leadership here, tomorrow being the State of the Union, and the Democratic response. The Democrats going to take on the President any more vigorously on the question of war?"
ABC News has Jennings speaking for the Iraqis and Stephanopoulos for the Democrats.
Time magazine's effort to prove President George W. Bush's racism was based on false claims the magazine accepted from former Clinton officials.
Time magazine devoted a half page story in its January 27 issue to its discovery of a piece of evidence illustrating how, though "Bush issued a stern rebuke to Senator Trent Lott...for his praise of the segregationist 1948 presidential bid of Strom Thurmond," Bush "has revived a practice of paying homage to an even greater champion of the Confederacy -- Jefferson Davis." Specifically, Time reporters Michael Weisskopf and Karen Tumulty charged: "Last Memorial Day, for the second year in a row, Bush's White House sent a floral wreath to the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery."
The story was illustrated with a photo of a wreath in front of a memorial. The caption: "A wreath sent by President Bush to the Confederate monument."
On Thursday last week, however, the magazine had to admit its entire story was false. But New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who had pounced on the original tale as proof of Bush's racial intolerance, instead of just correcting herself, used her correction a few days later to take another shot at Bush's for supposedly trying to end the tradition of allow black to attend the University of Michigan.
The text of the January 23 correction issued by Time which, in the new February 3 issue, appears in small type in a corner of the Notebook section, the same section where the original piece ran:
That correction is online at:
The original story is still online:
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported on Monday that "Time based its account on interviews with participants in the ceremony and former Clinton officials." Weisskopf doesn't want to dwell on it. He told Kurtz: "We screwed up, we corrected it, we moved on."
Of course, the tale told by the Clintonistas matched what the reporters wanted to believe as it fit into Time's assumption that Republicans exploit racial divides.
As recounted in the December 19 CyberAlert, both parties have used race at times to attract votes, but this week's Time and Newsweek magazines smeared only Republicans, and especially conservatives, as the ones exploiting white resentments against blacks. Newsweek declared: "Trent Lott and the GOP grew up together in the South. They both have a painful secret." Time argued: "When the Democratic Party embrace the civil rights movement, many alienated Southerners turned to the Republicans. The effects are still being felt today." It only took 40 years. Time even portrayed the Contract with America as racist. See: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021219.asp#1
Even if Bush didn't re-start the wreath-laying, but simply continued what Clinton did free of any media criticism of him, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd remained unsatisfied. Here's her "correction" at the bottom of her January 26 column:
That Dowd column is online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/26/opinion/26DOWD.html
The United States has led the world in integrating peoples of various ethnic groups, races and religions into its society, and after 9-11 showed a remarkable lack of personal anger toward Muslims and Arabs with very few crimes committed against them, yet NBC's Today on Monday devoted the 9am hour to how, as Katie Couric put it, "the sad truth is in this country racism, prejudice, bias, bigotry whatever you want to call it is unfortunately alive and well."
Today focused on a few very deplorable but atypical instances of hate-inspired murder of people because of their skin color, sexual orientation or religious affiliation, and cited hugely exaggerated statistics on the number of "hate crimes." Today's panel revealed a political agenda behind the hour, though Today did not acknowledge it.
In addition to Judy Shepherd, the mother of Matthew Shepherd, who was killed because he was gay, and Ruby Bridges, "who at six famously integrated the William France public school in New Orleans, escorted by federal marshals," the panel featured the politically-motivated liberal Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Tolerance.org along with James Zogby, the President of the Arab American Institute, who has a specific policy agenda on such things as ethnic profiling at airports.
The Today Web page features a section, "Fighting Intolerance," with links to all the groups on the show plus more: http://www.msnbc.com/news/864683.asp
For the test on "hidden bias" against Arabs and Muslims, the test begins by asking you to agree or disagree with these two statements:
That "test" is online at: http://www.tolerance.org/hidden_bias/test.jsp?test=arab
So, if you acknowledge the reality that Muslim men from the Arab region of the world are more likely to commit mass murder than Swedish teenage girls, and you favor a policy to combat that, you are somehow prejudiced? Sounds more like being rational to me.
The actual test involves your quick and immediate reaction to a series of pictures.
Some highlights, or lowlights, from Today's half hour with the panel on intolerance brought to our attention by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens. Couric set it up:
Let's pause to ponder that statistic. The MRC's Tim Graham tracked down how the FBI says: "The term victim throughout this publication refers to a person, business, institution, or society as a whole, unless otherwise specified." That would seemingly make the victim number awfully nebulous and ill-defined, and to summarize it as "12,000 people" is not technically accurate. For the FBI numbers: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/01hate.pdf
Matt Lauer picked up from Couric: "In this half hour we're gonna take a look at the roots of intolerance focusing on how to prevent biased attitudes from becoming actions of hate. The key of course is education and we've invited an expert panel."
Couric later plugged the discussion: "And coming up next on Today we begin our examination of intolerance in America with a look at recent events that suggest we still have a lot of work to do."
Lauer recounted the problem: "It is only natural to identify ourselves with the groups we belong to. Our heritage, our religion, our community. But when it comes at the exclusion of others it can lead to bias and bigotry. History has shown this country's come a long way. But more recent events remind us that we still have a long way to go."
Lauer warned of what has occurred since 9-11: "And in the wake of 9-11 a disturbing new trend is emerging. So-called anti-Islamic crimes rose a staggering 1600 percent from the previous year. The number considered even higher because of attacks against people perceived to be Muslim. Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed in Mesa, Arizona just days after the September 11th attacks. He was neither Muslim nor Arab but rather an Indian Sikh...Sodhi went to his local Costco to buy American flags for the gas station he owned. And before leaving donated all of the money in his pocket, $75, to a victims of September 11th fund. He was shot and killed less than an hour later."
That certainly was a terrible incident of a crime committed by a moron, but it hardly proves any larger trend. The FBI report for 2001 lists only ten "hate" murders
And as James Taranto pointed out last year in his "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com: "For all the warnings about an expected wave of anti-Arab or anti-Muslim crimes after Sept. 11, we really didn't see much of one." He noted how Human Rights Watch only managed "to come up with three authentic examples of people who 'were murdered as a result of the September 11 backlash.' Curiously, none of the victims were Arab, and at least one was Sikh, not Muslim; it's a safe bet that Osama's boys wiped out considerably more of their innocent coreligionists on Sept. 11 than all America's 'haters' put together.
Returning to more traditional concerns, Lauer maintained: "And if history is any indicator bias is slow to overcome. Hate crimes against blacks are still the leading cause of racially motivated incidents....Anti-Semitism has consistently made up the majority of incidents against religion, according to the FBI. Intolerance against gays remains pervasive as well and estimates are that suicide among gay teens is disproportionately high."
During the subsequent panel discussion Lauer cued up Zogby: "You talk about the federal government. After 9-11 James, the President came out and said, 'Do not be intolerant of Arab Americans, people from Arab countries. But then we know that there was a roundup of people from certain countries where the government was looking to question those people. Seems like conflicting messages."
Lauer prompted Dees: "Morris, we talk about the high profile cases, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd and Ricky Byrdsong and, and should, I guess the question is should we be focusing more of our attention and pardon me for saying this Mrs. Shepard, but on the guy who spray paints a racial slur on a black church or a swastika. Are those the people that go on to further acts of violence if we don't get to them now?"
But Lauer actually suggested one liberal policy may fuel intolerance. He asked Bridges: "As you know the President, Ruby, has spoken out about the University of Michigan's admissions policy, saying they're weighted too much on race. Do you think affirmative action breeds intolerance? A white person who says, 'why is the minority getting what I'm not getting?'"
Zogby jumped in to demand "affirmative acceptance": "Affirmative action and I think it's critical and important that in 2002 that we graduate entire classes of kids from college, all white, don't know any one African American. Don't know anyone Asian, don't know anyone of another ethnic or racial group is wrong. But in addition to affirmative action we need affirmative acceptance programs. We need to do the kind of thing that Morris Dees does with the mixing-up days where kids brought together, socially-engineered together, then need to socially-engineer programs to know each other better so they take advantage of the diversity in the schools where they're now in."
Lauer ended on a dour note about the future: "Just a, I have about a minute left. Let me say, the makeup of this country is changing. It's, it's not gonna be long from now, California, it's already happened where the minorities become the majority. As the majority gets further squeezed are we going to see more intolerance, in your opinions?"
"I don't know that I would need to be famous as a Middle East policy expert to see that unilateral imperialism is bad policy," comedian/actress Janeane Garofalo declared in making a ridiculously over-hyped charge on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday before complaining about how the news media are not "taking me too seriously." She contended: "I think they use actors to marginalize the anti-war movement."
She complained to Howard Kurtz on the January 26 CNN show that "historically the mainstream media has never been particularly friendly to any socially progressive ideas" and then blamed the White House and the media for her ignorance:
Uninformed or refusing to accept the information? She complained: "You have anchors saying all the time, 'Well, we know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction.' No, we don't. We do not. We do not know that."
She clearly doesn't watch television network news. How else to explain her take on how the networks portrayed the recent anti-war march: "They tend to marginalize it by only interviewing the guy dressed as a carrot on stilts or Wavy Gravy. You know what I mean? Like some guy with no teeth and a tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt, because they want to marginalize it."
In fact, as anyone who actually watched or read the coverage, or read about it in CyberAlert, would know, the networks and major newspapers avoided the extremist organizers and attendees and focused nearly exclusively on those attendees who looked like mainstream America.
Refer back to:
Subsequent items in that CyberAlert looked at Washington Post and New York Times coverage.
-- Add CBS to the list of networks whitewashing Saturday's "peace" marches by ignoring the far-left agenda of those behind the protests and focusing on how marchers represented a cross-section of America. "Young, old, veterans and veteran activists united in the effort to stop the war before it starts," trumpeted CBS's Joie Chen. From San Francisco, John Blackstone highlighted a young boy who came with his father as Blackstone admired how "the crowd seemed to span the generations, a multitude that reminded" one protester "of the anti-war movement's glory days." Blackstone, however, did allow one woman to blast the "naiveté" of protesters. http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030121.asp#1
Garofalo showed the most animosity toward President Bush, telling Kurtz in a quote checked against the tape by MRC analyst Patrick Gregory:
Despite such ludicrousness, Garofalo, thanks to her celebrity status, gets plenty of air time on TV to spout her left-wing venom.
Monday's "Media Notes" column by Kurtz in the Washington Post nicely summarized most of what Garofalo said on Reliable Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47534-2003Jan26.html
Garofalo, who was once part of the Saturday Night Live cast, went on to co-star in HBO's Larry Sanders Show. Since then, she's done a lot of small roles and starred in a few semi-successful movies. For a photo of her and a rundown of her roles, see her Internet Movie Database page:
Her numerous TV appearances to complain about how she's not being taken seriously are giving her a nice career-advancing boost in visibility. -- Brent Baker