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Brent Bozell talks about MRC's "Worst of the Worst 2014" on FNC's Hannity, 10:30pm ET/PT

Jimmy Carter Derides Dick Cheney and NBC's Brian Williams Jumps --10/11/2007


1. Jimmy Carter Derides Dick Cheney and NBC's Brian Williams Jumps
"Jimmy Carter is back in the news tonight," NBC anchor Brian Williams declared Wednesday night in making true what he, but not the ABC or CBS evening newscasts found newsworthy, "this time because of harsh words for the current Vice President." Williams proceeded to highlight how "in an interview with the BBC, former President Carter calls Vice President Cheney quote, 'a disaster for America' and 'a militant,' who has been in Carter's words, 'overly persuasive' on President Bush." A few hours later, MSNBC's Live with Dan Abrams led with Carter's derision with "'DISASTER'?" on screen under a picture of Cheney.

2. ABC's Cuomo Marvels at Media Ability to Turn U.S. Against Iraq
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz ignored the role that liberal bias has played in the decline of ratings for the network evening newscasts. At the same time, Cuomo and the Washington Post reporter seemed to be proud of the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted: "I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war." Cuomo agreed and complimented the journalist's analysis. He enthused: "It's easy to say, 'Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.' But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news..."

3. Oops on ABC: 1.5 Million 'Americans Were Killed by Ottoman Turks'
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth alerted me to a slip of the tongue Wednesday night by ABC anchor Charles Gibson, who didn't catch and correct his error -- at least in the 6:30pm EDT feed. In a brief item on the congressional resolution labeling a 1915 massacre of Armenians as "genocide," Gibson inadvertently said "Americans" instead: "Hard to believe, but there was a political fight in Washington today over something that happened 92 years ago. In 1915, as many as a million and a half Americans were killed by Ottoman Turks..."

4. 'Top Ten Surprises in Yesterday's Republican Debate'
Letterman's "Top Ten Surprises in Yesterday's Republican Debate."


Jimmy Carter Derides Dick Cheney and
NBC's Brian Williams Jumps

"Jimmy Carter is back in the news tonight," NBC anchor Brian Williams declared Wednesday night in making true what he, but not the ABC or CBS evening newscasts found newsworthy, "this time because of harsh words for the current Vice President." Williams proceeded to highlight how "in an interview with the BBC, former President Carter calls Vice President Cheney quote, 'a disaster for America' and 'a militant,' who has been in Carter's words, 'overly persuasive' on President Bush." A few hours later, MSNBC's Live with Dan Abrams led with Carter's derision with "'DISASTER'?" on screen under a picture of Cheney.

[This item was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A Reuters dispatch, "Jimmy Carter calls Cheney a 'disaster' for U.S.," reported Carter's attack:

"He's a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world," Carter told the BBC World News America in an interview to air later on Wednesday.

"You know he's been a disaster for our country," Carter said. "I think he's been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he's prevailed."

Yahoo posted that at: news.yahoo.com

The short item from Williams on the October 10 NBC Nightly News: "Jimmy Carter is back in the news tonight, this time because of harsh words for the current Vice President. In an interview with the BBC, former President Carter calls Vice President Cheney quote, 'a disaster for America' and 'a militant,' who has been in Carter's words, 'overly persuasive' on President Bush. Asked to respond, a Cheney spokesperson said quote, 'we are not going to engage in this type of rhetoric.'"

ABC's Cuomo Marvels at Media Ability
to Turn U.S. Against Iraq

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz ignored the role that liberal bias has played in the decline of ratings for the network evening newscasts. At the same time, Cuomo and the Washington Post reporter seemed to be proud of the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted: "I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war."

Cuomo agreed and complimented the journalist's analysis. He enthused: "It's easy to say, 'Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.' But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news..." According to Kurtz, the top three network anchors kept "framing the story in such a way" that the bad news finally had an impact. And while the two reporters wondered about the effect the iPod and Internet are having on network low ratings, at no time did they discuss liberal bias or salient facts such as that journalists backed John Kerry over George Bush by a two-to-one margin.

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC has done extensive analysis of liberal bias and accumulated a rich database of some surprising left-wing admissions, such as when Newsweek's Evan Thomas predicted that a liberal media would give the Kerry/Edwards ticket a 15 point head start. Could these facts and the American public's awareness of them have anything to do with the declining ratings? Cuomo and Kurtz didn't broach the subject. (The section of the MRC's Media Bias Basics on how journalists voted in 2004: www.mediaresearch.org )

However, Kurtz did enthuse over the liberal comedian Jon Stewart and his program, The Daily Show. He gushed: "But Jon Stewart is actually becoming a very big influence even on the newscasts and I don't think it's a bad thing." Kurtz even noted how Stewart set the agenda by first commenting on Hillary Clinton's odd laugh: "When he did the bit about Hillary laughing....Well, that ended up on the 'CBS Evening News' and a lot of cable shows." Good Morning America" was one such program, but reporter Kate Snow used Stewart's comedy as talking points to defend Hillary for "disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." Is this an example of Stewart setting the agenda? And how, exactly, can there be an honest discussion of Jon Stewart and the impact he has on the news, if journalists ignore the left-wing outlook that he holds? See the October 2 CyberAlert for more on Kate Snow's reporting about Hillary's laugh: www.mrc.org

Amazon's page for Kurtz's book, Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War: www.amazon.com

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:33am on October 10:

Chris Cuomo: "Here's something you've probably heard about. The concern that the big three network nightly newscasts are fading in popularity and significance, that we're becoming an internet, information society. Well, the man with us this morning, Howard Kurtz, yes, known to some as Howie, but he is uniquely qualified to look at this situation. He covers the media for The Washington Post and has a book on exactly this subject called 'Reality Show,' Inside the Last Great Television News War.' Howie, thank you very much for joining us to talk about this. It's an important topic for us and for Americans. Two big reasons to read this book, you have the inside game and the outside game. We were joking around, saying the most read part of this book by journalists may be the index."
Howard Kurtz: "Could be."
Cuomo: "That everybody's going to look at it. But there's also the outside, the big picture here. The question about what is the fate of the nightly newscast? Your conclusion?"
Kurtz: "Well, I think the nightly newscasts are better than ever but not good enough in an iPod age of a million media choices. They're kind of like these old Detroit gas guzzlers with the tail fins, constantly talking about, you know, back pain and menopause, hormone therapy and so forth. Younger people are being driven away. And they, of course, are the future of these broadcasts."
Cuomo: "Solution?"
Kurtz: "Solution would be in part to broaden the scope a little bit. Somebody ought to have the nerve to put on a newscast for an hour in prime time and try to draw more viewers. But, I think also, as we talk, Chris, about, you know, a lot of people are writing the obituary. They're irrelevant. Well, guess what? They still have the biggest media megaphone. 25 million combined viewers a night. And that becomes very important on the outside game, as you refer to, when you talk about, for example, the coverage of the war in Iraq. I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war."
Cuomo: "And I think you really have a unique brand of intelligence in this book about this. It's easy to say, 'Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.' But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news, even though we had the internet, even though we had the cables upon us at that time. Why do you believe that?"
Kurtz: "Well, we're drowning in information but somebody has to sort it out. So, when it came to the war, despite enormous pressure from the administration that said to the media, 'You folks in the media are being too negative. You're distorting the picture.' We had brave correspondents bringing us the carnage night after night, into our living rooms, what was going none Iraq. And you had the anchors framing the story in such a way that it really punched through. Brian Williams on NBC talked about how Baghdad coffin makers couldn't keep up with the demand. Charlie Gibson, you're familiar with him?"
Cuomo: "Yes."
Kurtz: "He, one night he talked about the 6,600 casualties of Iraqis over a two month period. He said, in American terms that would be 75,000 Americans killed. So that kind of thing, I think, went up against the administration spin, even the secret off the record meetings that the anchors had with President Bush at the White House and helped people see the war was not going well."
Cuomo: "You know, you dispel in the book this idea that when things matter, when there is significance, the networks sometimes play to the best interests of the American people. I think it's an interesting point. Because when you go out and you travel the country and you hear from people, they say, 'We're all about info-tainment now.' Jon Stewart has become a prevalent influence on the media now. Why do you think that is and is it good or bad?"
Kurtz: "Well, I do think the network newscast remain a repository of serious journalism for the most part. But Jon Stewart is actually becoming a very big influence even on the newscasts and I don't think it's a bad thing. What's happening is, people are copying his technique of using videotape to show, for example, that politicians use very repetitive talking points no matter what the question. When he did the bit about Hillary laughing when she did her five Sunday show interviews and whenever the tough questions-- [Imitates Hillary laughing.] Well that ended up on the 'CBS Evening News' and a lot of cable shows. So, I think that, you know, there's an effort to be a little more engaging by the anchors and not just be, 'Eat your peas' and I think Jon Stewart plays a role in that."
Cuomo: "I think the danger is the satirist like him or the other ones, they don't encourage people to take things seriously and that the big three still do. So, let me ask you as a final question what is the legacy for these, headed by Charlie, in my opinion, but the three network anchors right now? Are they the last generation?"
Kurtz: "Well, that is the question, because they're trying to save this franchise. And they can only do it by making it something that becomes appointment viewing even though we can get information at the click of a mouse. And how do you deal with the pressure of being an anchor, deciding whether to around tape of the Virginia Tech gunman as NBC did, deciding whether to put on the air the Mark Foley the first suggestive e-mail to a teenage House page by Congressman Mark Foley as Charlie Gibson decided not to do. Brian Ross broke the story online and Congressman Foley resigned. So they're really important. But they've got an uphill battle in this crowded media marketplace."
Cuomo: "And we're here to help them."

Oops on ABC: 1.5 Million 'Americans Were
Killed by Ottoman Turks'

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth alerted me to a slip of the tongue Wednesday night by ABC anchor Charles Gibson, who didn't catch and correct his error -- at least in the 6:30pm EDT feed. In a brief item on the congressional resolution labeling a 1915 massacre of Armenians as "genocide," Gibson inadvertently said "Americans" instead: "Hard to believe, but there was a political fight in Washington today over something that happened 92 years ago. In 1915, as many as a million and a half Americans were killed by Ottoman Turks..."
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[This item was posted, with video, Wednesday night on the MRC's blog. The Real and Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But to watch or listen in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Back in June a CyberAlert item, with video, recounted how ABC News producers confused ex-Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry with the man suing a dry cleaner for $54 million over lost pants:

Do all balding black guys look the same to ABC News? As anchor Charles Gibson teased a Tuesday, June 12 World News story, about DC administrative law judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against a Korean family's Washington, DC dry cleaning establishment over losing a pair of his pants, viewers saw video of what clearly appeared to be ex-DC Mayor Marion Barry. Gibson announced, over video of Barry in front of the DC courthouse, "Pant Suit: Ever lost anything at the dry cleaners? This man did, and claims he deserves $54 million dollars and he's not pulling your leg."

Barry is now a member of the District's City Council, but he has been in some legal trouble of late over charges of driving under the influence, and thus has recently visited the local courthouse.

See: www.mrc.org

Gibson's brief report in full on the October 10 World News (6:30pm EDT feed as carried by Washington, DC's WJLA-TV):
"Hard to believe, but there was a political fight in Washington today over something that happened 92 years ago. In 1915, as many as a million and a half Americans were killed by Ottoman Turks. Scholars call it genocide. A resolution in Congress right now wants the U.S., after all these years, to call it genocide. But today, the President, the Secretary of Defense and nine Secretaries of State, past and present, urged Congress to vote no on the resolution, arguing it would do great harm to U.S. relations with Turkey, a crucial U.S. ally and neighbor of Iraq. It is history colliding with today's foreign policy."

Reuters article on the resolution: news.yahoo.com

'Top Ten Surprises in Yesterday's Republican
Debate'

From the October 10 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in Yesterday's Republican Debate." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. McCain answered all questions with his sock puppet friend "Carl"

9. Debate was held at Chi-Chi's in Dearborn

8. The part where Giuliani slugged an audience member was odd

7. Mitt Romney proposed a big tax cut for guys named "Mitt" -- that's crazy -- who's ever heard of such a thing?

6. Candidates greeted each other with long, passionate kiss

5. No number 5 -- writer seeing hilarious remake of "The Heartbreak Kid" in theatres now

4. Tom Tancredo admitted even he doesn't know who the hell he is 3. Eddie Brill claimed the audience was one-third foreigners

2. Wayne Newton was voted off

1. Time limit enforced by Cheney with a shotgun

-- Brent Baker