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Jennings Showcases Video of Injured Girl in Baghdad Hospital -- 03/21/2003 CyberAlert


1. Jennings Showcases Video of Injured Girl in Baghdad Hospital
Less than 24 hours after the first U.S. missiles landed in Iraq, ABC's Peter Jennings highlighted video of an injured young Iraqi girl supposedly in a Baghdad hospital, even though he conceded "it's a little out of context" and "we cannot tell you what these pictures represent, except some poor child has been hurt." Jennings proceeded to relay the Iraqi regime's claim "that 37 people have been injured in the course of attacks on Baghdad today."

2. Koppel: "Tenuous" al-Qaeda Link Behind U.S. Invasion
As U.S. tanks and Bradley armored vehicles rolled by him in Iraq, Ted Koppel insisted "we ought to take note of the significance of what is happening here" because the U.S. "invasion...was not prompted by any invasion of the United States." He also complained that "members of the administration have been creating a tenuous linkage between al-Qaeda and the Iraqis so that there is that linkage between 9-11 and what's happening here now."

3. Jennings Features Guest Who Rues U.S. "Destruction of Iraq"
ABC's Peter Jennings brought aboard former Assistant United Nations Secretary General Denis Halliday, who denounced the "tragedy" of the U.S. "destruction of Iraq" and charged the U.S. does not "have a right to go in and dominate and dictate to another country how it should be governed." Jennings suggested "the United States forces will be welcomed with flowers" by Iraqis only because they want "to get out from under the yoke of Saddam Hussein, in part because the U.S. supported him staying in power for a long time and kept sanctions."

4. Moran Claims: "The United States Has Left the United Nations"
When ABC's Peter Jennings on Thursday afternoon noted the White House's incessant "enumeration" of the coalition and prodded Terry Moran to elaborate on how "this coalition of the willing" is "very different" from "the coalition of the participants," a baffled Moran wondered, "what will the United States do in big security issues going forward now that the United States has left the United Nations to do this?" Moran, however, had gone too far even for Jennings in saying the U.S. had "left" the UN, spurring Jennings to correct him: "Terry, the United States hasn't left the United Nations." But Jennings raised how "there was a lot of muscle used by the U.S. on a variety of countries beforehand."

5. ABC's Zeal for Protests, Jennings Laments Stifling of Foes
ABC and Peter Jennings displayed a special zeal for the cause of those against the war. Jennings bemoaned how "it's going to be very difficult for people who are opposed to the war to debate it now that the forces are in combat," pleaded with Senator Joe Biden that those opposed are looking "to members of the Democratic Party" to be "their port in a storm....What happens to them at the moment?" Reporter Chris Cuomo marveled at how the New York City protesters "came from the south and from the north, squeezing the police in the middle." Though they had "No Blood for Oil" signs, Cuomo contended: "The main point with them seemed to be that they don't understand what the war is about." Plus, Jennings felt compelled to explain what is meant by "no blood for oil."

6. NBC's Avila Discovers Pro-War Iraqi-Americans
On the bright side. NBC's Jim Avila highlighted anti-war protests, but he also raised "the voices" of those "not often heard" from: Pro-war Iraqi-Americans.


Editor's Note: At 2am EST Thursday night/Friday morning ABC's Peter Jennings finally signed off for the night. And the flow of bias for the day was suspended until whenever he returns to the air. All day and night I flipped channels, yet whenever I landed on ABC I'd inevitably catch a story with an anti-war or anti-Bush Iraq policy skew far greater or more aggressive than I saw on any other network. That's why this is a nearly all-ABC News CyberAlert. -- Brent Baker

>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/dishonor/03/info.asp
Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham amongst those helping to present awards.
Rush Limbaugh was one of the judges who picked the winners, along with Lawrence Kudlow, Steve Forbes, William F. Buckley Jr., Lucianne Goldberg, Michael Reagan, Kate O'Beirne, John Fund, Robert Novak and Walter Williams.
Plus, the Charlie Daniels Band will sing some songs. The award titles:
Ozzy Osbourne Award (for the Wackiest Comment of the Year)
I Hate You Conservatives Award
Ashamed of the Red, White, and Blue Award
And They Called It Puppy Love Award
The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
Come to the dinner to watch the winning quotes, see who wins and learn which conservatives will accept each award in jest. It will be a lot of media bashing fun. <<<

Jennings Showcases Video of Injured
Girl in Baghdad Hospital

Less than 24 hours after the first U.S. missiles landed in Iraq, ABC's Peter Jennings highlighted video of an injured young Iraqi girl in a Baghdad hospital, even though he conceded "it's a little out of context" and "we cannot tell you what these pictures represent, except some poor child has been hurt." Jennings proceeded to relay the Iraqi regime's claim "that 37 people have been injured in the course of attacks on Baghdad today." ABC's Peter Jennings highlighting video of injured girl.
ABC's Peter Jennings highlights video of an injured Iraqi girl in Baghdad hospital.

Jennings showcased the images at about 7:15pm EST on Thursday. ABC's audience saw 28 seconds of video showing a young girl, probably about 6 or 7-years-old, lying on her side in a hospital bed, facing the camera, with a bandage on her arm, then video from the other side of her focused on a big bandage in the middle of her back and, finally, a look at an adult woman laying on back with her entire stomach area covered in bandages. An on-screen graphic read: "Al Yarmouk Hospital; Baghdad, Iraq." (There was no credit for a source of the video.)

Over the video, Jennings announced: "We have been getting some video in from Baghdad at the moment, from both al-Alabia [sp a guess], which is a new television cable satellite network in the Middle East, funded in Saudi Arabia. Now you have two, al-Alabia from Saudi Arabia and al-Jazeera, which is owned by the Qataris, where Central Command is located. We cannot tell you what these pictures represent, except some poor child has been hurt. We do not know how, but they are reporting tonight that 37 people have been injured in the course of attacks on Baghdad today and that is all we can tell you. It's a little out of context, but there it is."

Seconds later, Jennings went to a taped piece from Baghdad-based freelance reporter Richard Engel. His story included different video from the hospital, but featured shots of only the very same child and adult. Engel explained that the video was obtained during a visit to the hospital led by Iraq's Ministry of Information.

Though it may have been, I've not seen this video highlighted by any other network.

Koppel: "Tenuous" al-Qaeda Link
Behind U.S. Invasion

As U.S. tanks and Bradley armored vehicles rolled by him in Iraq, Ted Koppel insisted "we ought to take note of the significance of what is happening here" because the U.S. "invasion...was not prompted by any invasion of the United States." He also complained that "members of the administration have been creating a tenuous linkage between al-Qaeda and the Iraqis so that there is that linkage between 9-11 and what's happening here now."

Koppel revealed his discomfort with the Bush administration's policies at about 10:22pm EST Thursday night, 5:22am in Iraq, from his embedded position with the 3rd Infantry Division which had crossed into the Iraqi desert. After discussing the situation with Jennings for a while, Jennings wondered: "Anything else for the moment?"

With tanks and armored personnel carriers traveling in a convoy behind him at the line of departure, Koppel divulged he had something to get off his chest:
"Well, I just think Peter, we ought to take note of the significance of what is happening here because this is an invasion that in this particular case, of course, was not prompted by any invasion of the United States. I know that members of the administration have been creating a tenuous linkage between al-Qaeda and the Iraqis so that there is that linkage between 9-11 and what's happening here now, but this is a more pro-active, pre-emptive kind of operation, certainly a larger pre-emptive operation than I think the United States of America has ever engaged in and whichever way it goes I think it's going to shift the plates of the world."

ABC replayed the segment during the midnight EST hour.

Jennings Features Guest Who Rues U.S.
"Destruction of Iraq"

Shortly before 1am EST Thursday night/Friday morning, ABC's Peter Jennings brought aboard former Assistant United Nations Secretary General Denis Halliday, who denounced the "tragedy" of the U.S. "destruction of Iraq" and charged the U.S. does not "have a right to go in and dominate and dictate to another country how it should be governed."

Jennings gently challenged Halliday, but spent more time prompting him. Jennings suggested "the United States forces will be welcomed with flowers" by Iraqis only because they want "to get out from under the yoke of Saddam Hussein, in part because the U.S. supported him staying in power for a long time and kept sanctions."

The war was barely 24 hours old, yet Jennings was already raising dire forecasts about long-term U.S. occupation: "So, do you think that the danger" is "not the liberation, but the possibility that the United States will stay for a long period of time deep in the Arab heartland?"

MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth transcribed a hunk of the live interview aired at about 12:45am EST:

Jennings: "You've been watching this unfold tonight. Given what you do for a living, what do you think?"
Halliday: "Well, Peter, I've been to Am-Qasar [sp?], I know Basrah, of course I know Baghdad and Babylon, and this is a great country and a great people, and it's a tragedy for me to sit here and see the destruction of Iraq, and I just hope that we don't go any further and that we can find a non-violent solution, and maybe that is unfolding before our eyes. This is a tragedy, as far as I'm concerned."
Jennings: "Do you mean the destruction of Iraq by advancing American forces, which we're not altogether sure of, or by Saddam Hussein?"
Halliday: "I mean by advancing American forces."
Jennings was apologetic for playing devil's advocate: "And do you have any sense of what they may have done along the way? And just to be argumentative with you here for the point, why is it not, as the administration argues, a liberating experience?"
Halliday: "Because I don't believe that the United States, no matter how good the intentions of Mr. Bush are, have a right to go in and dominate and dictate to another country how it should be governed. The people of Iraq can make their own decisions. If we gave them back their lives, ended the sanctions, they would decide to change government, as we've seen in other countries like the Philippines or Indonesia. But we have denied the Iraqis their rights, and that's something we need to think about."
Jennings: "I've heard it said many times before, to stay on this point for just a second, that the United States is not particularly popular in Iraq, though it is often said we'll be welcomed, the United States forces will be welcomed with flowers in order to get out from under the yoke of Saddam Hussein, in part because the U.S. supported him staying in power for a long time and kept sanctions, economic sanctions on the Iraqis for all these years. How do you actually honestly think U.S. forces will be received?"
Halliday: "Well, actually, you know, the years I lived in Iraq, '97 into '98, the end of '98, people are very sophisticated in Baghdad, and they distinguish very clearly between the administration in Washington and the American people. Today Americans are in Baghdad, they're very well-received, they receive great courtesy, they're not held responsible. But it's the Washington administration and the policies of this county overseas and through the United Nations. That's where Iraqis have an argument, and that's where they're critical."
Jennings: "So, do you think that the danger, and this has been talked about before, is perhaps on one part, not the liberation, but the possibility that the United States will stay for a long period of time deep in the Arab heartland?"
Halliday: "I think that is the concern of people throughout the Middle East. Recently I was in North Africa, I was in Cairo, and Jordan, and in Turkey, and there was great concern that the U.S. is getting into something where it does not belong, where it does not understand the complexity, where it's really not adequately sympathetic to the Arab community, judging by the neglect, say, of the Palestinians."

Moran Claims: "The United States Has
Left the United Nations"

When ABC's Peter Jennings on Thursday afternoon noted the White House's incessant "enumeration" of the coalition and prodded Terry Moran to elaborate on how "this coalition of the willing" is "very different" from "the coalition of the participants," a baffled Moran wondered, "what will the United States do in big security issues going forward now that the United States has left the United Nations to do this?"

Moran, however, had gone too far even for Jennings in saying the U.S. had "left" the UN, spurring Jennings to correct him: "Terry, the United States hasn't left the United Nations." But Jennings raised how "there was a lot of muscle used by the U.S. on a variety of countries beforehand."

The exchange with Moran, who stood in the rain outside the White House, took place at about 3:05p EST.

Jennings inquired, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Terry, help us with one thing. I don't think I'm the only person to notice this. And that is the real emphasis on the coalition of the willing and the enumeration. It's very different -- this coalition of the willing -- compared to the coalition of the participants."
Moran agreed: "Well, it is, certainly, at the ground combat level. There's no question about that. There are only three countries participating in ground combat. But what you hear in the White House as they talk about this coalition of the willing, they're fighting back. They are fighting back against this argument that is being launched at them by governments around the world as well as by many people in the streets around the world that the United States is acting unilaterally. And you heard Ari Fleischer saying, 'Hardly. The 35 plus nations in this coalition of the willing represent 1.8 billion people.' Now, a lot of that is overflight rights, perhaps picking up some slack for the American military as they shift resources into the Persian Gulf. But, Peter, there was one thing the President said last night that nations around the world will pay very close attention to. He said that the nations in this coalition of the willing will share in the honor and the responsibility of defending freedom. There's a lot of question around the world, what will the United States do in big security issues going forward now that the United States has left the United Nations to do this?"
Jennings reprimanded Moran: "Well, Terry, the United States hasn't left the United Nations, to start with. And there was a lot of muscle used by the U.S. on a variety of countries beforehand. Isn't another, at least, relevant question, these people will judge the United States, in some measure, depending on how successful the war is?"
Moran: "No question about it, Peter. For weeks, I have been hearing from senior officials, victory is our best argument. There has been almost, it seems, an over-reliance on the prospect that victory will answer all of the arguments that the opponents of the Bush administration policy concerning Iraq have raised. The President is an executive by training, by education, and by style, and he likes to think, as he said last night, decisive action that produces positive results quickly will win converts. That's the theory of this war politically."

People around the world and nations aren't the only ones who believe "the United States is acting unilaterally." So does Jennings.

During ABC's two-and-a-half hour long prime time special Monday night after President Bush's speech, Jennings repeatedly asked about the risk of the U.S. "going it alone." See:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030318.asp#2

ABC's Zeal for Protests, Jennings
Laments Stifling of Foes

Every network aired stories on Thursday about anti-war protests in the U.S. and around the world, but ABC and Peter Jennings displayed special zeal in highlighting the protesters, lamenting how tough it supposedly is for them to get their views out, camouflaging their true agenda and prodding guests to be more aggressively anti-war.

Jennings, at about 2:40pm EST, conveyed how he was "very struck" by "huge" anti-war ads in newspapers before bemoaning how "history tells you that it's going to be very difficult for people who are opposed to the war to debate it now that the forces are in combat."

Minutes later, Jennings pleaded with Senator Joe Biden that "a large number of people in the country who are opposed to this" are looking "to members of the Democratic Party" to be "their port in a storm, their place to manifest their dissatisfaction. What happens to them at the moment?"

A few hours later, ABC reporter Chris Cuomo marveled at how the protest in New York City swelled quickly: "At first, there were a couple of dozen people in the rain protesting, and it soon grew to hundreds, and then closer to a thousand to maybe two thousand." He also admired their strategy in how "they came from the south and from the north, squeezing the police in the middle."

But though they wore "No Blood for Oil" buttons and held up matching signs, Cuomo preposterously assured viewers that they were not really against the war, they just lacked information: "The main point with them seemed to be that they don't understand what the war is about."

Jennings then felt compelled to explain, without any condemnation of the malicious theory, what is meant by "no blood for oil," as if his viewers didn't comprehend: "They believe the United States wishes to occupy Iraq in the long term to have the oil."

Now the details:

-- Around 2:40pm EST on Thursday, Jennings whined to historian Michael Beschloss, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"We both know, Michael, that there is a considerable body of opinion in the United States that thinks this war is a mistake and was opposed to the war. Very struck yesterday, huge ads in some of the nation's newspapers on the very eve of all this, being opposed to the war. History tells you that it's going to be very difficult for people who are opposed to the war to debate it now that the forces are in combat."
Beschloss agreed: "Usually that's right, that's the American tradition, that once American women and men are in harm's way, that debate gets very muted, although after the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991, about 10 days in, there was a very large demonstration in Washington and elsewhere. I seem to remember about 25,00 people on the Ellipse. Although, as that war got more and more successful and came to an end, that evaporated, and as you remember, the elder President Bush at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 had that famous poll rating of about 90 percent."

A few minutes later, when Democratic Senator Joe Biden, on Capitol Hill, told Jennings that the Senate was working on passing a unanimous resolution supporting the troops and the President, it seemed to suddenly strike Jennings that the time for debating the merits of the war has passed: "I suppose it makes sense that the time for debating the war or the future of the campaign is completely over."
Biden confirmed: "Completely over. I mean, in my view, Peter -- you know, I suffer from being a professor of Constitutional law -- he is the Commander-in-Chief. Once the war has begun -- and we gave him the authority to begin it - once it's begun, it is his responsibility, his job, and I am confident in the ability of our Commander-in-Chief, as well as our military officers, to wage this war in, quote, 'the proper way.'"
Jennings then pleaded with him to address the needs of hose against he war who look to Democrats for leadership: "Let me ask you this, then. There are still a large number of people in the country who are opposed to this, realize they cannot stand [may have meant 'stop'] it, but look to members of the Democratic Party, particularly, to sort of be their port in a storm, their place to manifest their dissatisfaction. What happens to them at the moment?"
Biden showed he has better footing than Jennings: "Well, I think that that will come after this war is over, but if they're looking to Joe Biden or any Democrats to be a port in a storm about arguing whether or not we should be at war now, they've got the wrong port. I mean, the decision's been made. We voted to give him the authority. A lot of us don't like how we got here. A lot of us think, you know, that we could've done it with more help, but the point is that's done, that's over. We're at war, he's the Commander-in-Chief. Now, the real big debate's going to come, Peter, after this war, the shooting stops, and the debate that's going on within the administration now and will involve us is whether or not we're going to involve the international community in maintaining the peace..."

Within the following half hour, NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS's Dan Rather also interviewed Biden, but neither displayed the kind of advocacy delivered by Jennings. Brokaw raised protesters, but without ruing their lack of influence or prodding Biden to take up their cause: "Tell me about your e-mail to your office. Are you hearing from protesters?"

-- During the World News Tonight time slot, at about 6:45pm EST, Jennings set up a series of stories on protests:
"While we're still overseas, even as you'll recall, President Bush's approval rating in terms of handling the war and the United Nations has gone up in the last several days, there continues to be a huge body of opinion, and despite, too, the coalition of the willing that the administration has talked about today, there's a huge body of public opinion in other parts of the world, that thought and may still think indeed that this war is a very bad idea."

After a story by Dean Reynolds, Chris Cuomo checked in from Times Square in New York City: "It's quiet now. But what made this protest very interesting is how quickly it started. At first, there were a couple of dozen people in the rain protesting, and it soon grew to hundreds, and then closer to a thousand to maybe two thousand. And it was also interesting in how it was done as almost of a strategic attack protest. They came from the south and from the north, squeezing the police in the middle right between 42rd and 43rd Street. Three blocks below, three blocks above. They were shouting, 'This is what democracy looks like. But soon it turned from peaceful protest into anger and disruption. But to give the police their credit, they held themselves in check and acted very reasonably. More repelling force than actively engaging the crowd.
"When you talk to these people, once the anger subsided, the main point with them seemed to be that they don't understand what the war is about. They were saying, 'No blood for oil,' but that was a little bit of a simplistic explanation. Once you went beyond that, they were more in terms of puzzled about why we're at war than having problems with the specific reasons."

Jennings, assuming his viewers are idiots, followed up without judgment upon the malicious claim of far-left anti-war marchers: "By the way, 'No blood for oil,' from many people who are opposed to the war is, is not complicated at all. They believe the United States wishes to occupy Iraq in the long term to have the oil, just so we understand why they wear those little buttons, 'No blood for oil.'"

NBC's Avila Discovers Pro-War
Iraqi-Americans

On the bright side. NBC's Jim Avila recounted anti-war protests, but he also raised "the voices" of those "not often heard" from: Pro-war Iraqi-Americans.

In a piece aired during the NBC Nightly News EST time slot on Thursday, and at other times on MSNBC, Avila segued from clips of the left-wing rallies:
"Among the voices not often heard, Iraqi-Americans, some somber and quiet, in their support of the U.S. attack. 'Baby Baghdad,' America's largest Iraqi community, more than 100,000, mostly exiles, now living in Detroit and its suburbs."
Unidentified Iraqi-American: "Good Bush, good America, no good Saddam."
Avila: "Tonight those who came to America to escape Saddam, like this tortured man still bearing his scars, are filled with anticipation of a new regime and fear for the safety of relatives left behind."
Oass Imal-Naksh, Iraqi-American: "It hurts me inside, you know, to see my own country being bombed, but he's going to kill them anyway, so it don't matter. Either they die now or they die later."
Avila: "When the bombs fell over Baghdad today, Iraqis in Dearborn prayed and turned up the TV."
Unidentified Iraqi-American: "I hope they kill him so everybody can be happy."
Avila: "Mohammed Mohammed is a Gulf War veteran. He fought for Iraq in 1991 and today roots for America."
Mohammed Mohammed, Iraqi-American: "I was a soldier of Saddam Hussein because over there we have no choice."
Avila: "Tonight he fears that more innocent Iraqis will be killed again following Saddam's propaganda."
Mohammed: "They tell people over there, 'American people come to rape your woman.'"
Avila concluded: "In a country where protest is not allowed, where demonstrations like this one would end not with arrest, but death."

Three cheers to NBC and Avila.

> An amazing technological world. The networks early this morning were all broadcasting live video of their reporters riding inside, or in David Bloom's case hanging on the outside, of U.S. military vehicles as they drove through the Iraqi desert.

At least, given the need for some level of operational security, the background of beige sand looks the same everyone and so offers little clue as to the exact location of the units. -- Brent Baker