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Jennings Hypes Saudi Opposition to Iraq War -- 10/10/2002 CyberAlert

Jennings Hypes Saudi Opposition to Iraq War; Walters Praises Castro for "Great Things" He's Done; NPR Hires Liberal from ABC; CNN Accurately Labels a Liberal; Sheen Complains Dissent Being Suppressed; Belafonte Calls Powell Bush's "House Slave"; Whoopi Calls Corporate Crooks "Terrorists"

1) There's "concern at the highest levels about the U.S. attacking Iraq," Peter Jennings hyped on Wednesday's World News Tonight. That would be the "highest levels" of Saudi Arabia as Jennings warned: "The most influential man in Saudi Arabia says be careful about Iraq." Though most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, Jim Sciutto relayed how they think that since the U.S. is suspicious of the intentions of Saudis entering the U.S. that the U.S. has betrayed them, stressing how in Saudi Arabia there is "a deep sense of betrayal following the September 11th attacks."

2) Just back from interviewing dictator Fidel Castro in Cuba, on Wednesday's The View Barbara Walters heralded how "he's done great things for education and he's done great things for health." Walters recalled how when "we went to a school with him" the "children were sobbing just to see him." She also talked to Elian Gonzalez's father and she passed along how "Elian talks about America, but he's mad at what they did to him."

3) In hiring ABC reporter Michele Norris as the new co-host of All Things Considered, NPR picked a reporter who found a nefarious motive behind President Bush's call last fall for schoolchildren to donate one dollar each to help kids in Afghanistan. Last year Norris asserted that "there are concerns that American children are being used in a propaganda campaign." And, she rued, "school officials said they wouldn't dare air those concerns publicly, not when America appears to be swept up by symbolism."

4) Some accurate labeling by CNN. In previewing the Senate race in Minnesota, NewsNight anchor Aaron Brown on Tuesday night described incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone as "a liberal in big, block, capital letters," though he claimed "there aren't many of those left." In the subsequent story, reporter Candy Crowley called Wellstone "one of the purest liberals on Capitol Hill."

5) The West Wing is liberal even without any show plot input from its star, Martin Sheen, he revealed on Wednesday's Today in saying that he has "not once" suggested a subject for the program to tackle. Pressed by Katie Couric about Iraq, Sheen complained: "There is a great deal of fear in the country now, speaking out, it seems particularly on this issue and being thought of as unpatriotic and actually the reverse is true."

6) Secretary of State Colin Powell is a "house slave" serving the interests of his "master," President Bush, actor/singer Harry Belafonte charged during an interview on a San Diego radio station on Tuesday morning. Belafonte also equated John Ashcroft's tactics with the McCarthy era, claiming Ashcroft's policies will "cast a great shame on us and lead us back to another dark period."

7) Actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg contended earlier this week that corporate crooks are "terrorists" who are "much the same as Saddam" because "they're just as horrific and in terms of, literally, destroying people's lives on a daily basis."


1

Apparently having exhausted for now the supply of U.S. opponents of Bush's Iraq policy, on Wednesday night ABC's World News Tonight elevated the importance and relevance of opposition by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. "Overseas tonight," Peter Jennings hyped, "concern at the highest levels about the U.S. attacking Iraq."

Peter Jennings teased at the top of the October 9 broadcast: "The man who effectively rules Saudi Arabia. His first U.S. television interview. Brief and to the point: The U.S. should be very careful about attacking Iraq."

Leading into an ad break, Jennings warned: "When we come back this evening, an ABC News exclusive: The most influential man in Saudi Arabia says be careful about Iraq."

Jim Sciutto relayed from Saudi Arabia how top Saudis are "saying a U.S. attack on Iraq would be an attack on Islam. 'Why else,' they say, 'would Washington enforce UN resolutions against Baghdad but not on Israel despite escalating violence against Palestinians?'"

Though most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia and the nation funds terrorism, Sciutto passed along how they think that since the U.S. is suspicious of the intentions of Saudis entering the U.S. that the U.S. has betrayed them: "In Saudi Arabia, America's closest ally in the region for decades, there is something more, a deep sense of betrayal following the September 11th attacks."

Jennings introduced Sciutto's story: "Overseas tonight, concern at the highest levels about the U.S. attacking Iraq. And it only took one comment from the most influential man in Saudi Arabia to make it clear. ABC's Jim Sciutto is in Saudi Arabia where access to the Crown Prince, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is very rare. This is the first interview that he has given to American television."

Sciutto began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "We were invited inside the ornate palace of the Crown Prince for his weekly meeting with Saudis from around the country. They're treated to an eight-course dinner in his private dining room, and they see him face to face to ask for help. Most requests are personal. This man asks for a job. But among Saudis, the talk is of a U.S. attack on Iraq. The Crown Prince expresses little enthusiasm for war.
Sciutto to Aziz: "Do you think the Bush administration has made the case for war in Iraq?"
Sciutto related his answer: "'I wish him well,' he says. 'But I think President Bush should think carefully about what he's about to do.'"
Sciutto outlined the Saudi position: "Before the Gulf War, many Saudis genuinely feared Iraq. They thought that after Kuwait, Saudi Arabia could be next. But today they see Saddam Hussein and his military as much weaker, more of a nuisance than a real threat. 'Economic sanctions have kept Saddam in check,' this man says. 'Another war would be bad for the whole region.' At traditional majallas, or council meetings, where Saudis discuss politics and world affairs, they're also saying a U.S. attack on Iraq would be an attack on Islam. 'Why else,' they say, 'would Washington enforce UN resolutions against Baghdad but not on Israel despite escalating violence against Palestinians?' 'Do you think what's happening to the Palestinians is acceptable to any human conscience?' the Crown Prince says. 'I think President Bush should fulfill his obligations to the Palestinian people.' This sentiment is echoed throughout the Persian Gulf. In Saudi Arabia, America's closest ally in the region for decades, there is something more, a deep sense of betrayal following the September 11th attacks. Fahad Al Amar fought alongside the U.S. in the Gulf War."
Fahad Al Amar, retired Saudi Navy officer: "Nobody wanted to have anything to do with you, and we did. Now we get our pictures taken when we go to the United States like you do to criminals when you put them in jail. You know, for us that's heart-breaking."
Sciutto: "U.S. Ambassador Robert Jordan says the U.S. should listen more closely to Saudi concerns."
Robert Jordan, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: "This isn't some favor that we're conferring on the Saudis. In many, many ways, we need the relationship as much as they do."
Sciutto concluded: "The government here says it will allow the U.S. to launch attacks on Iraq from bases inside Saudi Arabia if there's a new UN resolution. But the Saudis are once again performing a delicate balancing act -- trying to give some support to the U.S. on Iraq without creating more anger at home. Jim Sciutto, ABC News, Riyadh."

2

Just back from interviewing dictator Fidel Castro in Cuba for a segment set to air on Friday's 20/20 marking the 40th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, on Wednesday's The View Barbara Walters heralded how "he's done great things for education and he's done great things for health."

Walters recalled how when "we went to a school with him" the "children were sobbing just to see him." (On Thursday's The View Walters played video of students cheering Castro and yelling "Fidel!, Fidel!")

Walters also talked to Elian Gonzalez's father and she passed along how "Elian talks about America, but he's mad at what they did to him."

Barbara Walters & Fidel Castro
Walters and Castro during the interview session. The complete interview will air on Friday's 20/20.

MRC analyst Jessica Anderson transcribed the October 9 discussion on ABC's daytime program The View about what Walters learned while in Cuba:

Walters: "But we went to a school with him, and these children were sobbing just to see him. I mean, whatever the feeling is, they are-"
Joy Behar, cut her off and jokingly recalled how Castro has fathered many kids: "They're saying, 'Daddy! Daddy! Papa!'"
Walters, while everyone laughs and audience applauds: "Fidel! Fidel! Fidel!"
Star Jones: "They care for him over-"
Walters: "They, I mean, listen, they've never known anyone else. He's been there 40 years."
Lisa Ling: "But they can't say anything negative about him, anyway."
Walters praised Castro's achievements and acknowledged the lack of freedom: "You cannot, right off, say anything negative about him, but he's done great things for education and he's done great things for health. But the big question you want to ask is can't you have education and health and freedom?"
Meredith Vieira: "Yeah, but you go down to Miami, you're going to find a lot of people who think that he is scum of the earth. They hate him."
Walters countered: "That's right, but you also find a lot of people in Miami, especially the younger people, who feel that the embargo should be lifted, that it hasn't done anything."
Ling: "A lot of people in America do."
Behar: "Yeah."
Walters: "So, you know, we do have the difference of opinion."
Ling: "How's Elian? How's Elian?"
Walters: "Elian? He's nine years old, going to be nine years old. Father says that he is angry at America -- I don't want to use, you know, put words in his mouth, but that Elian talks about America, but he's mad at what they did to him."
Vieira: "Well, it was scary, I'm sure, from a child's point of view."
Walters: "He wanted to be with his father. I mean, he does not have fond thoughts, he says, of the family, but you know, what's the father going to say? And now there's another little baby in the family and Elian is the image of his father. Remember what the father looked like?"

"The big question you want to ask is can't you have education and health and freedom?" A very good question. But did Walters ask it? We'll have to watch Friday's 20/20 to see.

Tonight's World News Tonight will feature a preview of the Walters interview with Castro.

3

A perfect match? In hiring ABC News reporter Michele Norris as the new co-host of All Things Considered, National Public Radio picked a reporter who found a nefarious motive behind President Bush's call last fall for schoolchildren to donate one dollar each to help kids in Afghanistan, castigating it as insidious "propaganda."

Sounds right in tune with NPR.

In October of last year on World News Tonight, Norris asserted that "behind the scenes" at schools "there are quiet grumblings about this dollar drive. There are concerns that American children are being used in a propaganda campaign." And, she ominously rued, "school officials said they wouldn't dare air those concerns publicly, not when America appears to be swept up by symbolism."

Norris, a former Washington Post reporter, appeared infrequently on ABC, which may help explain her decision to leave, but back in 1995 the MRC caught her using ABC's airwaves to try to undermine reform efforts being pushed by conservatives in 1995 after winning control of the House. She concluded a story on the June 1, 1995 World News Tonight:
"The laws that protect America's water, both its rivers and what we drink, are under assault by lawmakers who think federal regulations are too tough on industry. But today's findings suggest that millions of Americans are drinking unsafe water, if anything, because regulations may not be tough enough."

In the October 12, 2001 World News Tonight story about negative reaction to Bush's call for kids in the U.S. to help Afghan children, Norris showed video of kids in St. Paul and Washington, DC enthusiastically lining up to put dollar bills into bottles and boxes following the President's request made at a press conference. A five-year-old kid in Kansas City, she noted, decided to give all the money he had, $29.

Norris asked an 11-year-old boy in Washington, DC: "What do you think it says about this country?"
The kid replied: "I think it says that our country is loving and caring."

Norris then countered his naive idealism, as she ominously intoned: "Behind the scenes there are quiet grumblings about this dollar drive. There are concerns that American children are being used in a propaganda campaign. But school officials said they wouldn't dare air those concerns publicly, not when America appears to be swept up by symbolism. Apparent today as America's school children, at the urging of the White House, simultaneously recited the Pledge of Allegiance."

Following video of children at various locations reciting the pledge, Norris concluded on an affirmative note: "In the war against terrorism, a new tactic: Responding to hatred with generosity from America's young."

With the kind of jingoistic attitude the 11-year-old expressed ("I think it says that our country is loving and caring"), he'll never get a job at NPR.

Jim Romenesko's MediaNews posted NPR's press release announcing how Norris would join the network's daily afternoon news show in December. An excerpt:

Michele Norris, an award-winning journalist with nearly two decades of experience, will join long-time host Robert Siegel and the newly appointed Melissa Block, as a regular co-host of All Things Considered, public radio's longest-running national program. Norris comes to NPR from ABC News, and will begin as co-host on December 9, 2002.

"After nine extremely rewarding years working with a dedicated and talented team of broadcasters at ABC News, I now look forward to this new and extraordinary opportunity," said Michele Norris. "As a devoted listener of All Things Considered, I have long been impressed and inspired by the show's commitment to excellence and by its gifted stable of correspondents and commentators who guide listeners on an incredible journey to new destinations and discoveries each day. It will be a privilege and an honor to join Robert and Melissa in hosting that daily conversation with NPR's committed and intellectually curious audience."...

Norris has been a correspondent for ABC News since 1993. As a contributing correspondent for the "Closer Look" segments on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, Norris reported extensively on education, inner city issues, the nation's drug problem and poverty. Norris has also reported for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times....

"Michele Norris will make her mark on public radio," said Bruce Drake, vice president for news. "Her range is broad; she's comfortable reporting on everything from Washington politics to popular culture. She will bring to All Things Considered an approach to domestic subjects like education and poverty that is diverse and wide-ranging."...

END of Excerpt

Meaning liberal and narrow.

For the press release in full: http://www.poynter.org/medianews/memos.htm

For a picture and bio of Norris, as long as ABC keeps it up: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/WorldNewsTonight/norris_michele_bio.html

4

Some appropriate labeling of a liberal by CNN. In previewing the Senate race in Minnesota, NewsNight anchor Aaron Brown on Tuesday night described incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone as "a liberal in big, block, capital letters," though he claimed "there aren't many of those left." In the subsequent story, reporter Candy Crowley called Wellstone "one of the purest liberals on Capitol Hill."

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed the unusual ideological tagging by TV reporters of a liberal politician.

Brown set up the October 8 story on NewsNight: "Senator Paul Wellstone would have had a tough run to hold his seat under any circumstances. He's a liberal in big, block, capital letters. There aren't many of those left. He's running despite a promise he made a decade ago to only serve two terms. Minnesotans accept liberals more than most, not so sure how they feel about broken promises. And he has a challenger: Popular, moderate Republican, handpicked by the White House. And then, there is Iraq. Here's CNN's Candy Crowley."

Crowley began her piece, which also ran on Wednesday's Inside Politics: "It is 48 degrees and pouring in Eveleth, Minnesota. Senator Paul Wellstone is here to talk union business and small business, but a local reporter wants to know about the Iraq business."
Reporter: "Can you comment on Iraq and the debate -- yesterday's debate a little bit?"
Wellstone: "Um, yeah."
Crowley: "One of the purest liberals on Capitol Hill, the senior Senator from Minnesota is in one of the toughest races of the season, in one of the most unpredictable states in the country...."

Crowley, however, later employed a euphemism for liberalism: "Iraq could play either way or not at all in Minnesota, a largely progressive, proudly populist state, where independent thought is practically a religion."

5

The West Wing is liberal even without any show plot input from its star, Martin Sheen, he revealed on Wednesday's Today in saying that he has "not once" suggested a subject for the program to tackle. Pressed by Katie Couric about Iraq, Sheen complained: "There is a great deal of fear in the country now, speaking out, it seems particularly on this issue and being thought of as unpatriotic and actually the reverse is true."

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed how Couric tried to prompt Sheen, who plays "President Josiah Bartlet," to say something liberal.

Couric asked him on the October 9 Today: "Here we are on the verge it appears of a war with Iraq. I know that you've dealt with terrorism in the final episode. Do you think you're going to take a stab at the conundrum of dealing with a despot like Saddam Hussein in terms of what a government should do in a situation like that?"
Sheen: "Yeah I can't tell you specifically because I'm not Aaron Sorkin." [Sorkin is the creator/writer of The West Wing]
Couric: "You'd have to kill me."
Sheen lamented: "No I hope that we will deal with these issues and, and create more of a public debate. There is a great deal of fear in the country now, speaking out, it seems particularly on this issue and being thought of as unpatriotic and actually the reverse is true. I think you gotta love your country enough to risk its wrath by challenging it to really get to the base part of the issue."
Couric: "You're so politically active Martin, you know-"
Sheen: "Well I'm not really. I'm not in politics."
Couric: "Well, no, no, no but you've made your feelings known on a variety of issues in the past, homelessness, for example. And you've taken part in rallies and protest marches. Do you ever sit down and say to Aaron, 'Listen I really wanna, wanna tackle such and such an issue. This is important to me,' or-"
Sheen: "No, not once. No, not never."
Couric: "Never? Why not? I mean why not?"
Sheen: "No because the show is something different, that's what I do for a living. What I do outside is what I do to stay alive."
Couric: "So keep them separate."
Sheen: "You got to, yeah."

If only Couric followed that philosophy.

Comments Sheen made last week to PBS's Charlie Rose seem to contradict Sheen's promise of separation between his personal political view and his acting work. Sheen disclosed to Rose: "I think if you took three Presidents that I happen to admire very greatly and put them all together you'd have the fantasy of Bartlet, and that would be John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton."

Sheen made the same point on Wednesday's Live with Regis and Kelly.

For more about what Sheen said on the October 3 Charlie Rose show, see the October 8 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021008.asp#4

6

Secretary of State Colin Powell is a "house slave" serving the interests of his "master," President Bush, actor/singer Harry Belafonte charged during an interview on a San Diego radio station on Tuesday morning.

Belafonte, who is probably best-known for singing "The Banana Boat Song," aka "Day-O," also equated the Justice Department's tactics under John Ashcroft with the McCarthy era: "Families were destroyed, neighbors spied on neighbors. Now we find Ashcroft cutting in under the guise of catching terrorists, suspending liberties and rights. To deny those rights, to any citizen, to any people, is to cast a great shame on us and lead us back to another dark period."

Tuesday night on FNC's Hannity and Colmes, Sean Hannity played an audio clip from Belafonte's appearance that morning, October 8, on KFMB in San Diego. MRC analyst Patrick Gregory took it down:
"There is an old saying, in the days of slavery. There were those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master, do exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. That gave you privilege. Colin Powell is committed to come into the house of the master, as long as he would serve the master, according to the master's purpose. And when Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture. And you don't hear much from those who live in the pasture.
"I think Colin Powell made a decision to serve the Republican Party, and he's served that kind of an ideological leader. And I think that he's finding even the best of himself having no room to be heard, because that's not the voice they want. What Colin Powell serves is to give the illusion that the Bush cabinet is a diverse cabinet made up of people of color, and made up of people of another gender, and that that alone is to give Bush the credentials to say that he's a truly democratic man, when in fact none of that is what is true."

On the DrudgeReport.com page, Matt Drudge reported that "Belafonte also sang the praises of the United Nations as a pillar of global democracy, and decried President Bush for failing to attend the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa earlier this year.
"'There were tens of thousands of peoples and leaders from all over the world gathered to discuss the issue of race. It was an honorable arena...But by not showing up, by sticking it to the government of Nelson Mandela...It was a dark page on our foreign policy.'"

For Drudge's story in full: http://www.drudgereport.com/hb.htm

Belafonte's hate-filled comments were uttered during Ted Leitner's morning show on KFMB and the station has posted a Windows Media Player audio clip of the October 8 interview: http://www.760kfmb.com/personalities/ted_leitner/index.php

Drudge provided this link to a page with the melody of "The Banana Boat Song" in Apple QuickTime along with text of the lyrics: http://singalongwithme.com/banana/

For a picture of Belafonte (Drudge's story linked above also has a photo of him) and complete rundown of his movie and TV roles over the decades, check his page on the Internet Movie Database: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Belafonte,+Harry

7

Actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg contended earlier this week that corporate crooks are "terrorists" who are "much the same as Saddam" because "they're just as horrific and in terms of, literally, destroying people's lives on a daily basis."

Except they didn't commit any mass murders and don't have the power to imprison others for life or have them executed.

Goldberg issued her exaggerated comparison during a taped interview on CNBC's Monday night show, After Hours with Maria Bartiromo.

Asked by Bartiromo on the October 7 program about how she's working the corporate scandals into her comedy act, Goldberg replied by commenting on the subject in general:
"It's kind of frightening, the arrogance with which this has gone down. And, you know, people really trusted and wanted the best and wanted the best for the country only to turn around and see corporate terrorists -- because I think these guys are much the same as Saddam. I think they're just as horrific and in terms of, literally, destroying people's lives on a daily basis."

For a bio and picture of Goldberg, see the Internet Movie Database's page on her: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Goldberg,+Whoopi

A little over the top. Equating corporate sleazes with terrorists and mass murdering dictators could cause the reality of true terrorists to be diluted. -- Brent Baker


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