2. NBC's McCaffrey: Military Plan a Success, No It's a Failure
3. Oops. TV Guide: "Arnett is the Comeback Kid in Iraq"
4. FNC Contributor Says If Geraldo Annoys General, He Should Go
5. Stephanopoulos and Russert Recommend Tax Cut Be Rejected
6. NBC's The West Wing: Global Warming is Killing Alaskans
>>> 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..."
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."
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:
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:
That story is online at:
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:
For how Arnett charged that he lost his job because the U.S. government and "right-wing media" fear his "truth" telling, see:
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:
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."
Who isn't Geraldo a pain in the ass to?
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?"
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?"
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:
A summary of the poll is online at:
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.
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: "Sorry, man. We're on the same page, now."
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."
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."
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-"
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.
For a complete rundown of the show's most obnoxious left-wing preaching through early 2002:
NBC's page for the show:
For a look at all the regulars:
For a picture and bio of Joshua Malina as Will Bailey:
For Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman:
For John Spencer as Leo McGarry:
> CyberAlert getting out a bit late today. I'll try to do it earlier tomorrow.
-- Brent Baker