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Jennings Relays How Iraqis "Don't Wave at Us Any More" -- 04/02/2003 CyberAlert


1. Jennings Relays How Iraqis "Don't Wave at Us Any More"
ABC's Peter Jennings again emphasized the negative on Tuesday night, passing along how one embedded reporter, whom he did not name, claimed that as the unit with which he was traveling moved into farmland outside of Baghdad, they went from "the desert where they waved at us" to an area where "they don't wave at us any more."

2. NBC's McCaffrey: Military Plan a Success, No It's a Failure
Barry McCaffrey versus Barry McCaffrey. In an op-ed in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal the Army General turned NBC News military analyst praised the military plan against Iraq: "Gen. Tommy Franks's superb air-land-sea forces have achieved total air dominance, sunk the remainder of the Iraqi navy, and achieved a blitzkrieg success in plunging an Army-Marine three-division task force 300 miles into Iraq up to the gates of Baghdad." But a New York Times news story the same day quoted McCaffrey denouncing the military strategy as a failure. "Their assumptions were wrong," McCaffrey told the Times, complaining: "They went into battle with a plan that put a huge air and sea force into action with an unbalanced ground combat force."

3. Oops. TV Guide: "Arnett is the Comeback Kid in Iraq"
Talk about bad timing. The headline over a story in the new TV Guide arriving in homes this week: "At 68, Arnett is the Comeback Kid in Iraq." Apparently, TV Guide is a bit embarrassed by the story penned by Max Robins since they have removed it from their Web site. Robins admired Arnett's "redemption" and raved that "for Arnett, the Iraq war is nothing short of a professional resurrection."

4. FNC Contributor Says If Geraldo Annoys General, He Should Go
If the Army General in charge "thinks that Geraldo is jeopardizing the security of his troops and is a distraction, then I'm with" the General, "get him out of there," Fred Barnes proclaimed on FNC about FNC's Geraldo Rivera. Barnes added on Monday night: "If he's a pain in the ass to the General, have him leave."

5. Stephanopoulos and Russert Recommend Tax Cut Be Rejected
Using the war as a fresh rationale for rejecting President Bush's tax cut proposal. Politicians from both parties wish to enact a huge new entitlement program, prescription drug coverage for the elderly, but that doesn't bother ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert who both suggested to guests on Sunday that war costs mean we cannot "afford" a tax cut. And Katie Couric raised the subject with Russert on Monday's Today.

6. NBC's The West Wing: Global Warming is Killing Alaskans
Last week's The West Wing delivered the usual liberal politics, such a First Lady obsessed with stripping from a foreign aid bill a "gag rule" prohibiting abortion counseling at U.S.-funded overseas clinics, but most preposterously, the show presented a case for the notion that global warming isn't just a theoretical hazard, but is already killing Americans -- in this case, by melting a glacier which caused a catastrophe in an Alaskan village. An expert hydroclimatologist asserted: "A shift in these collapsing glaciers puts pressure on the lakes, forcing them to overflow their natural limits, and killing, this morning, 14 people."


>>> Correction: The April 1 CyberAlert quoted Janeane Garofalo as charging: "That's what all you right-wing radio hosts do. You make s**t up all the time." In fact, she used the word "guys," not "hosts," so the sentence should have read: "That's what all you right-wing radio guys do..." <<<

Jennings Relays How Iraqis "Don't Wave at Us Any More"

ABC's Peter Jennings again emphasized the negative on Tuesday night, passing along how one embedded reporter, whom he did not name, claimed that as the unit with which he was traveling moved into farmland outside of Baghdad, they went from "the desert where they waved at us" to an area where "they don't wave at us any more."

But minutes later, ABC's John McWethy marveled at the "surprising development" that "a trickle of Iraqi civilians are now risking their lives to help British and American forces find weapons catches and Saddam Hussein loyalists" and that, "for first time, two Iraqis spoke out against Saddam Hussein on Arabic language television."

Jennings announced on the April 1 World News Tonight over a map showing the progress of U.S. forces: "Countryside is changing here now, passing from desert into farmland, and one embedded reporter with the U.S. forces, beginning we think now to move forward, said earlier today: 'When we came out of the desert where they waved at us, notice they don't wave at us any more.'"

Checking in from the Pentagon, John McWethy, however, had a more upbeat look at the Iraqi populace: "Another surprising development: A trickle of Iraqi civilians are now risking their lives to help British and American forces find weapons catches and Saddam Hussein loyalists. Villagers in the Western desert showed U.S. troops to a hospital that had become a hidden arsenal. And today, for the first time, two Iraqis spoke out against Saddam Hussein on Arabic language television."
After a few words of a man in the desert speaking in Arabic on Abu Dhabi TV, McWethy added: "Joining others talking to the Western press." Then viewers heard a man say in English: "People don't like this government. They want to finish from this government. That is all they want."

NBC's McCaffrey: Military Plan a Success, No It's a Failure

Barry McCaffrey versus Barry McCaffrey. In an op-ed in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal the former Army General turned NBC News military analyst praised the successful military strategy against Iraq: "Gen. Tommy Franks's superb air-land-sea forces have achieved total air dominance, sunk the remainder of the Iraqi navy, and achieved a blitzkrieg success in plunging an Army-Marine three-division task force 300 miles into Iraq up to the gates of Baghdad."

But a New York Times news story the same day quoted McCaffrey denouncing the military strategy as a failure. "Their assumptions were wrong," McCaffrey told the Times, complaining: "They went into battle with a plan that put a huge air and sea force into action with an unbalanced ground combat force."

FNC's Brit Hume, on his show on Tuesday night, pointed out the conflicting views espoused by McCaffrey.

An excerpt from the top of the April 1 Wall Street Journal op-ed, "Despite some setbacks, the war plan is proceeding well," which carried McCaffrey's byline:

The initial success of the CENTCOM attack has been impressive. Gen. Tommy Franks's superb air-land-sea forces have achieved total air dominance, sunk the remainder of the Iraqi navy, and achieved a blitzkrieg success in plunging an Army-Marine three-division task force 300 miles into Iraq up to the gates of Baghdad. Special-operations forces by the thousands infiltrated throughout Iraq, seized the western deserts preventing a potential attack on the Israelis, stabilized the Kurdish front with the support of airborne troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and conducted direct action and strategic reconnaissance missions throughout the theater of operations.

There have been setbacks. No plan survives contact with the enemy without significant disruptions caused by enemy action, weather, terrain or miscalculation. But while early criticisms of the Pentagon have been overheated, the American public needs to start looking at Iraq as a war -- like all wars -- that we must fight hard to win.

Saddam Hussein, if he survived the brilliant first strike on his headquarters, has used every cruel and illegal tool in his menu of options to blunt the attack and seek increasing opposition to the U.S. by the international and Muslim communities....

The "rolling start" concept of the attack dictated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has put us in a temporarily risky position. We face a war of maneuver in the coming days to destroy five Iraqi armor divisions with only one U.S. armored unit (the Third Mechanized Infantry) supported by the modest armor forces of the First Marine Division and the Apache attack helicopters of the 101st Airborne. We will succeed in this battle because of the bravery and skill of our soldiers and Marines combined with the ferocious lethality of the air power we will bring to bear on the enemy force....

END of Excerpt

For McCaffrey's Wall Street Journal piece in full:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110003277

While McCaffrey added some caveats to his initial enthusiasm, compare that to what New York Times reporter Michael Gordon quoted him as saying. From Gordon's April 1 news story about critics of Rumsfeld:
"'Their assumptions were wrong,' said retired Gen. Barry M. McCaffrey, who led the 24th Mechanized Division into the Euphrates valley to fight the Republican Guard during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. 'There is a view that the nature of warfare has fundamentally changed, that numbers don't count, that armor and artillery don't count. They went into battle with a plan that put a huge air and sea force into action with an unbalanced ground combat force.'"

That story is online at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/01/international/worldspecial/01STRA.html

Oops. TV Guide: "Arnett is the Comeback Kid in Iraq"

Talk about bad timing. The headline over a story in the new TV Guide arriving in homes this week: "At 68, Arnett is the Comeback Kid in Iraq." NBC severed its relationship with Arnett on Monday after he went on enemy TV to praise the enemy's resistance and boast how his "reporting" was aiding the efforts of domestic dissenters to undermine U.S. policy.

For a full rundown of what Arnett said on Iraqi TV and his record of spreading enemy propaganda, see Monday's CyberAlert Extra:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030331_extra.asp

For how Arnett charged that he lost his job because the U.S. government and "right-wing media" fear his "truth" telling, see:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030401.asp#1

Apparently, TV Guide is a bit embarrassed by the story penned by Max Robins since they have removed it from their Web site, but you can still access it via Google.

In the article in the April 5-11 edition of TV Guide, Robins admired Arnett's "redemption" and raved that "for Arnett, the Iraq war is nothing short of a professional resurrection." Noting how Arnett was forced out of CNN after the Tailwind scandal, Robins related how Arnett felt victorious over his CNN tormentors now that Ted Turner and former CNN Chairman Tom Johnson are gone from CNN, "the Iraqis have thrown the CNN crew out of Baghdad, and I'm still here. Any satisfaction in that? Ha, ha, ha, ha."

Northern Virginia freelance writer Steve Allen alerted CyberAlert to the Robins piece and how it was still available on Google even after TV Guide took it down. An excerpt from the Robins story:

If you were watching NBC when war with Iraq began, you were also witnessing the redemption of Peter Arnett. As NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw said to him during a recent live report from Baghdad: "Go ahead, Peter, you're in charge."

The 68-year-old Arnett has been reporting from the Iraqi capital, just as he did 12 years ago for CNN during the Gulf War.

NBC made a deal with Arnett's current employer, National Geographic Explorer, to provide war coverage to NBC News and MSNBC. (Explorer airs Sundays, 8 pm/ET, on MSNBC.)...

For Arnett, the Iraq war is nothing short of a professional resurrection. His career came to a halt in 1998 after the Tailwind scandal: a CNN report that said the U.S. military had used nerve gas during the Vietnam War, a charge the network was forced to retract....

"I was furious with [CNN founder] Ted Turner and [then-CNN chairman] Tom Johnson when they threw me to the wolves after I made them billions risking my life to cover the first Gulf War," Arnett says via phone from the Iraqi capital. "I was resentful and wanted a way to redeem myself. Now [Turner and Johnson] are gone, the Iraqis have thrown the CNN crew out of Baghdad, and I'm still here. Any satisfaction in that? Ha, ha, ha, ha."

Arnett's journey back to Baghdad began shortly after September 11, 2001, when the independent news service and production company Camera Planet hired him.

"This was a guy who had one bad chapter in an otherwise incredible career," says CameraPlanet CEO Steve Rosenbaum....

Eventually, CameraPlanet struck a deal with National Geographic Explorer for Arnett to do the 2002 documentary Back to Baghdad, which was followed this year by a second documentary, Baghdad on the Brink.

When it appeared that war with Iraq was imminent, NBC News made its deal with National Geographic Explorer.

The fortuitous arrangement gave NBC the most seasoned correspondent at this war's epicenter.

"The Iraqis have let me stay because they see me as a fellow warrior," Arnett says. "They know I might not agree with them, but I've got their respect."...

END of Excerpt

For the index of stories by Robins, where this piece should be listed but isn't: http://www.tvguide.com/magazine/robins/

For Google's capture of the article as originally posted: CLICK HERE

FNC Contributor Says If Geraldo Annoys General, He Should Go

If the Army General in charge "thinks that Geraldo is jeopardizing the security of his troops and is a distraction, then I'm with" the General, "get him out of there," Fred Barnes proclaimed on FNC about FNC's Geraldo Rivera. Barnes added on Monday night: "If he's a pain in the ass to the General, have him leave."

It appears that after some negotiation between the Department of Defense and Fox News, Rivera has been removed from Iraq, where he was traveling with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, after the commanding General accused him of compromising operational security. On Sunday night/Monday morning U.S. time, live on FNC, Rivera had smoothed out some sand and then marked the present position of his unit relative to Baghdad and where he expected them to soon go.

FNC certainly isn't reticent about allowing it contributors trash Rivera, at least judging by this exchange on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:

The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes, a Hume show regular: "My view is if the General, General Wallace, thinks that Geraldo is jeopardizing the security of his troops and is a distraction, then I'm with General Wallace. Get him out of there."
Morton Kondracke of Roll Call: "Look, it's very difficult to tell on the basis of that map drawn in the ground. That map looked a lot like what I've seen from war rooms on every channel. I don't see exactly what secrets he gave away, but I agree with Fred-"
Hume: "Well, I think there's a rule of the embedded correspondents is they're not supposed to do any mapping or location reporting of any kind."
NPR's Mara Liasson: "And he isn't the first one that's been booted out for the same reason. There was a Christian Science Monitor unembedded reporter who also was thrown out."
Barnes: "I don't care whether he did the map or not. If he's a pain in the ass to the general, have him leave."

Who isn't Geraldo a pain in the ass to?

Stephanopoulos and Russert Recommend Tax Cut Be Rejected

Using the war as a fresh rationale for rejecting President Bush's tax cut proposal. Politicians from both parties wish to enact a huge new entitlement program, prescription drug coverage for the elderly, but that doesn't bother ABC's George Stephanopoulos or NBC's Tim Russert who both suggested to guests on Sunday that the war costs mean we cannot "afford" a tax cut. And Katie Couric raised the subject with Russert on Monday's Today.

Stephanopoulos queried former Treasury Secretary James Baker: "Given those costs, given the size of the deficit right now, can the country afford a tax cut on the scale that President Bush is proposing?" Baker stood by the tax cut idea.

Over on NBC, Russert cued up Senator John McCain, an opponent of Bush's plan: "Do you believe the President, because of the war, should be asking Americans for more sacrifice and should hold off on any future tax cuts until we have a sense of the costs of the war?" Naturally, McCain agreed.

On the March 30 This Week, Stephanopoulos wrapped up an interview with Baker, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "Finally sir, you know, you mention in your report the costs of reconstruction -- twenty-five to a hundred billion dollars; that's on top of $75 billion, at least, for the cost of the war. I want you to put on your Treasury Secretary hat for a second, sir, as Treasury Secretary for President Reagan. Given those costs, given the size of the deficit right now, can the country afford a tax cut on the scale that President Bush is proposing?"
Baker: "In my view, yes, George, but you're talking to a reformed drunk when you talk to me about the effect of supply-side economics, and supply-side economics is grounded in lowering marginal tax rates."

On NBC's Meet the Press, Russert treated McCain as if he were on Bush's side when he's never favored the overall Bush plan: "Several Republican Senators crossed over and voted with the Democrats to reduce the President's tax cut. Do you believe the President, because of the war, should be asking Americans for more sacrifice and should hold off on any future tax cuts until we have a sense of the costs of the war and the state of our economy?"
McCain: "Yes, I do. I believe that until we find out the cost of this war and the reconstruction that we shouldn't hold off on tax cuts. We may need a stimulus. We may need a stimulus to our economy. I don't know what it's going to be like after the war. I think we're going to see a short-term bump. I don't know how long it's going to be, but clearly, we should hold off until we see what the cost of the war is, so I hope we do that."

Monday morning on Today, during a discussion about a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Couric noted how the poll asked about the tax cut and she set up Russert, as observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
"I know that the President's proposed tax cut was a bone of contention for many before this war started. 38 of those polled, 38 percent, felt the tax cut should be passed because it's needed for domestic economic growth. But more than half, 52 percent, felt that Congress shouldn't pass the tax cut now because the budget is in deficit and the costs of the war are unknown. Surprised by that?"
Russert: "Well these numbers are rising, Katie. People believe that the two biggest risks in this war will be American casualties and the financial cost. Two of three Democrats believe there should not be a tax cut, a majority of independents, now 39 percent of Republicans believe they should hold off on a tax cut until they understand the costs of the war."

A summary of the poll is online at:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/893035.asp?0dm=C1BQN

How about the "cost" of another ever-spiraling entitlement program? History shows that entitlement programs are always more "costly" than tax cuts since once in place they always cost more than anticipated and can never be reduced, never mind eliminated. But tax cuts are regularly undone by later tax hikes. Just look at how the 1986 tax rate reductions were undone during the Clinton years.

NBC's The West Wing: Global Warming is Killing Alaskans

With another fresh episode of NBC's The West Wing airing tonight at 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST, I was reminded of this contribution to CyberAlert written up by the MRC's Director of Research, Rich Noyes, about the wild liberal doomsday fantasies expounded in last week's episode.

From here until my pithy comments at the end of this item, this is what Noyes penned after suffering through the March 26 episode:

Last week's West Wing pushed typical liberal plot lines. One story line involved the White House trying to obtain an immunity deal for a corporate whistle-blower who could reveal how his company had concealed the dumping of "lots" of "highly carcinogenic toxins," while the First Lady was obsessed with stripping what they called a "gag rule," prohibiting abortion counseling at U.S.-funded overseas clinics, from a foreign aid bill.

But most preposterously, the program about a fictional White House presented a case for the notion that global warming isn't just a theoretical hazard, but is already killing Americans -- in this case by melting a glacier and causing a sudden catastrophe in an Alaskan village.

The West Wing writers created an expert hydroclimatologist, "Hillary Toobin" who told an astonished White House Chief-of-Staff, "Leo McGarry" played by John Spencer, that 14 people who died after the lake flooded were "definitely global warming fatalities."

Early in the program, Deputy Chief-of-Staff "Josh Lyman" played by Bradley Whitford, briefed McGarry about a natural disaster in Alaska.

Lyman told McGarry: "Last night at 3:45am, Battle Tree Lake burst through its natural dam in what is known, in what is known as a glacial lake outburst, okay. It's a rushing river of ice and water and rock. It's about 300 feet wide and it's sweeping through Kechetee (sp?), which is a town on one of the sides of the lake."
McGarry incredulously asked, "A 300-foot wide river of ice and water is sweeping through a small town?"
Lyman: "Yeah."
McGarry queried: "And you think that's funny?"
Lyman: "No."
McGarry: "I thought you were trying to be funny."
Lyman: "No, I'm trying to brief you on a state of emergency in Alaska."

McGarry: "Sorry, man. We're on the same page, now."
Lyman: "We have an agreement with Canada and Russia for mutual assistance in Arctic airborne rescues, so we think the President's going to need to get on the phone, or at the very least be briefed."
McGarry: "Yeah, me too. I'll see to it. Why did it happen? Why did the natural dam break?"
Lyman: "The natural dam was part of a glacier, and the glacier melted."
McGarry, incredulous: "The glacier melted?!"
Lyman: "It did."
McGarry: "Glaciers melt like once every 100 million years. This one melted today?"
Lyman: "I don't know anything about geology. I think it's been melting for a long time, but yeah, 3:45am this morning was the straw that broke the camel's back."
McGarry: "Alright."
Lyman: "Thank you."
McGarry: "Do you want to stand here for a moment and reflect on the fact that a glacier melted this morning?
Lyman: "Well, I would Leo, but a glacier melted this morning and so at this point Americans are simply trying to outrun it."
McGarry: "Okay"
Lyman: "Thank you"

Later in the program, McGarry is in a roomful of people being briefed on the situation. A man identified only as "Paul" informs him that "so far we've evacuated 250 people, but residents along the shores of the lake have been difficult to reach." McGarry asks, "Why?" The man tells him: "For one thing, most of them don't have addresses anymore."
McGarry, exasperated: "Paul-"
Paul: "And for another, there are high winds in the more exposed areas right along the shore."
McGarry: "Alright. And Canada?"
Paul: "Canada is delivering the Pavehawks (?) inside the hour."
McGarry: "Can someone tell me why this happened? Is this an act of God?"
Woman's voice pipes up from the back of the room: "No."
McGarry, confused: "I'm sorry?"
Paul: "This is Hillary Toobin. She's a hydroclimatologist with the USGS."
McGarry: "What's a hydroclimatologist?"
Hillary Toobin: "An expert in what I'm about to say. Mean temperatures in Alaska have risen 7 degrees in the last 30 years. That's insane. The temperature hike has caused glaciers to shrink and go backward, leaving lakes of melted glacier water in their wake. A shift in these collapsing glaciers puts pressure on the lakes, forcing them to overflow their natural limits, and killing, this morning, 14 people, not spotted owls."
McGarry, looking uncomfortable: "Are you telling me that the deaths this morning are the first fatalities of global warming?"
Toobin: "They're definitely global warming fatalities, but I doubt that they're the first."

At a reception, McGarry approaches Press Secretary "C. J. Cregg," played by Allison Janney, and Deputy Communications Director "Will Bailey," played by Joshua Malina. McGarry announces: "I've just spent a portion of the day with a hydroclimatologist named Hillary Toobin who says Alaska happened because of greenhouse gas. Seven other geologists think so, too."
Cregg: "We can't politicize it."
McGarry: "We have to politicize it -- it's politics."
Cregg: "It's disrespectful."
McGarry: "It is, and we'll have to say so."
Cregg: "Is Hillary Toobin ready to get publicly scolded by the White House?"
McGarry: "She is. She'll call for a 25 percent decrease in the emissions over the next ten years, and you'll reprimand her for politicizing the tragedy." McGarry turns to Bailey: "What do you think."
Bailey: "I think that's right, but I think I should do it."
Cregg: "You don't want to do it."
Bailey: "I really don't, but I don't think a researcher at Interior is going to jumpstart this the way you need."
McGarry: "I appreciate it."
Bailey: "Yes, sir."

Fast forwarding to the end of the show, "President Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, and the First Lady, played by Stockard Channing, are getting ready for bed in the living quarters. The TV is on and the announcer says: "The White House is doing some quick backpedaling today, claiming Deputy Communications Director Will Bailey was not speaking for the President when he said the flooding and deaths in Kechetee (sp?), Alaska were caused by, quote 'reckless disregard for the issue of global warming.' Senate Republican Whip Bill Armstrong said-"
The President, turning down the volume on the TV: "Will is a good boy."
First Lady: "He fell on it?"
President: "Yeah."

END of the article contributed by Rich Noyes and time for my pithy comments. But I can't think of one. I'm too stunned by the absurdity of the West Wing plot.

I do, however, recall how in an episode last season the program's characters railed against drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) as they recited a litany of talking points espoused by real-life liberal environmental groups.
See the April 3, 2002 CyberAlert for the left-wing dialogue:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020403.asp#6

For a complete rundown of the show's most obnoxious left-wing preaching through early 2002:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020306.asp#4

NBC's page for the show:
http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/index.html

For a look at all the regulars:
http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/bios/index.html

For a picture and bio of Joshua Malina as Will Bailey:
http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/bios/Joshua_Malina.html

For Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman:
http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/bios/Josh_Lyman.html

For John Spencer as Leo McGarry:
http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/bios/Leo_McGarry.html

> CyberAlert getting out a bit late today. I'll try to do it earlier tomorrow.

-- Brent Baker