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Kids Around the World on ABC: Obama Means 'Peace' & 'Yes We Can!' --1/22/2009


1. Kids Around the World on ABC: Obama Means 'Peace' & 'Yes We Can!'
ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring "world peace" and inspires them to say "yes, we can!" Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how "we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President." Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for "peace, democracy and friendship" and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert "he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars," all before a boy from Indonesia promised: "He's going to change the world and make world peace." From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will "prevent Israel from attacking us." From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, "hope for an American President with a Muslim father." A boy then wished "he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims." And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: "I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will."

2. ABC's GMA Touts Kids to Obama: Stop the Wars! Save the Earth!
Good Morning America on Wednesday featured video messages from young children to Barack Obama. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that the kids, ranging in age from seven to 17, had "strong opinion[s]." Yet, every single one of these youths spouted the type of liberal propaganda usually reserved for people like Keith Olbermann and not one conservative voice was featured. One young boy sputtered: "Stop the wars. And because more people die. And it's just, they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die." Another child, who couldn't have been older than seven, bizarrely informed: "All this time, I've been alive, I've been having white presidents. And I think now, it's, this is my chance to have a black president." One boy incorrectly wondered: "And how come people who earn millions of dollars pay less taxes than us middle-class people?" A regulation-minded girl pleaded: "I want you to make people stop littering because our Earth is dying." Of course, this pleased liberal weatherman Sam Champion, who sat next to Cuomo. After the segment, he approved: "You heard global warming and trees and recycling. That's great. That's great."

3. CBS's Harry Smith: Obama Inauguration a 'Sacred Event'
At the end of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama's inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event." Smith continued to use religious language throughout the report: "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures."

4. Lee Cowan: Obama Inaugural Like Being in a 'Political Cathedral'
On Monday's inauguration edition of the NBC Nightly News, well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new President, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed: "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." He added: "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts."

5. CNN's John Roberts Dubs Inaugural Crowds 'Barack-Sstock'
During a short segment on Wednesday's American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts responded to the excited demeanor of the crowds attending President Barack Obama's inauguration by labeling the festivity "Barack-stock." Earlier in the segment, correspondent Carol Costello dubbed it "a gigantic love fest" after she stated there were no serious incidents or arrests involving the approximately 1.5 million people in attendance for the inauguration. The three-minute segment, which began 20 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the reactions of those in attendance on the National Mall for the swearing-in of President Obama. After giving her "gigantic love fest" label, Costello gave a gushing account about what it was like to be in the middle of the crowd there: "Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That's what it felt like yesterday."

6. George Stephanopoulos Recites Dem Talking Points on Economy
This Week host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America to claim that the stock market's 330 point drop on Inauguration Day was not an indictment of Obama but indicated the need for a swift confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Stephanopoulos, a former top Democratic aide, asserted: "The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days." According to Stephanopoulos, Geithner, who faces questions for not paying $34,000 in taxes since 2001, has "run into a little bit of trouble" on the topic. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer prompted the ABC anchor to tout more Democratic spin when she asked, "But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings [Obama is having on Wednesday]?" Stephanopoulos helpfully retorted, "Help is on the way, I think is the sentence."

7. Chris Matthews: 'Does Rush Limbaugh Hate This Country?'
On Wednesday's Hardball, Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh's patriotism, as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama: "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break: "Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?"

8. NBC's Roker Jabs Matthews and Olbermann for Obama Infatuation
During Tuesday's inauguration coverage on MSNBC, the Today show's Al Roker poked fun at co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as the NBC weather man, on location at the inaugural parade site, appeared with the MSNBC duo and joked that Matthews "got that tingle down his leg" because Obama looks good without a shirt. Discussing the admiration that so many young people feel for Obama, Roker declared: "It doesn't hurt...that he's a good-looking guy!...This is a guy, this is a President who can take his shirt off, you know. I mean, if I take my shirt off, people are running and screaming. You know, that's, so I think it's just an exciting, exciting time. And I know that's why Chris got that tingle down his leg!" After Matthews tried to go along with Roker's jovial mood by quipping that "we tingle up the leg, okay? It is a big freakin' difference. And don't you forget about it, buddy," Olbermann set himself up to receive a jab as well, as he joked that "it's left to me to be the referee." Roker, presumably referring to Olbermann's penchant for delivering outlandish tirades on his Countdown show, shot back: "And what does that say, if Keith Olbermann is the referee, Keith Olbermann is the voice of reason?"

9. Wash Post Emphasizes Critics In Obit of 'Media Elite' Co-Author
Tuesday's Washington Post obituary for Linda Lichter, co-author of the groundbreaking 1986 book documenting the liberal tilt of the mainstream media, The Media Elite, pettily devoted more paragraphs to critics assailing Lichter's work than explaining what she and her husband documented and its lasting importance -- affirming the old saying, "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." Reporter Adam Bernstein: "The book became widely cited but was harshly criticized by media leaders."


Kids Around the World on ABC: Obama Means
'Peace' & 'Yes We Can!'

ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring "world peace" and inspires them to say "yes, we can!" Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how "we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President." Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for "peace, democracy and friendship" and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert "he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars," all before a boy from Indonesia promised: "He's going to change the world and make world peace." From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will "prevent Israel from attacking us."

From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, "hope for an American President with a Muslim father." A boy then wished "he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims." And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: "I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will."

Sciutto ended by trumpeting how "that familiar campaign theme has gone global." Girl in South Korea: "Yes, we can." Boy in Italy: "Yes, we can." Barack Obama: "Yes, we can." Girl in France: "Yes, we can."

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

Sciutto's story followed a similar one, but on kids in the U.S., narrated by Sam Champion on Wednesday's Good Morning America. See #2 below for more on that story.

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Wednesday, January 21 World News on ABC:

CHARLES GIBSON: Worldwide reaction to Barack Obama: In the Middle East, many newspapers are taking note of the President reaching out to Muslims in his inaugural address, promising new relations. The headline of one Palestinian daily paper read: "Obama is Committed to Open New Page with Muslim World." And closer to home, Cuban President Raul Castro today said he wishes President Obama good luck, and that Obama, quote, "seems like a good guy." But it is not only adults and world leaders who have something to say about President Obama. Children around the world are welcoming him and weighing in with their reactions and their advice. Our Jim Sciutto has been sampling kids' reaction from around the world.

BOY IN RUSSIA: Peace, democracy and friendship.
BOY IN INDONESIA: Freedom and hope.
GIRL IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: He's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars.
JIM SCIUTTO: From the Far East-
GROUP OF CHILDREN SHOUTING: Hello, Mr. Obama!
SCIUTTO: -to the Middle East-
SCIUTTO: Do you place a lot of hope in him?
BOY IN ISRAEL: Yes, I do.
SCIUTTO: -from his childhood school in Indonesia-
GIRL IN INDONESIA: It's amazing.
BOY IN INDONESIA: He's going to change the world and make world peace.
SCIUTTO: -to his father's home in Kenya-
GIRL IN KENYA: He's prestigious, peaceful, and he wants to change America.
SCIUTTO: -we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President.
GIRL FROM THE PALESTINIAN WEST BANK: No one's better than anyone. We're all the same. We shouldn't discriminate anyone.
SCIUTTO: No matter where they're from or how young they are, children here all have something to say about Barack Obama, and some advice to give. In Israel and Gaza, it's hope he'll bring lasting peace. "We hope he will be fair to the Palestinian people," he said, "and prevent Israel from attacking us." And in Pakistan, hope for an American President with a Muslim father.
BOY IN PAKISTAN: He can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims.
SCIUTTO: We found children in many countries are aware of his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq
GIRL IN FRANCE: I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will.
SCIUTTO: And wherever we went, children spoke about how Obama's inauguration renewed their hope in the American dream.
BOY IN PALESTINIAN WEST BANK: This thing shows that America is the land where everybody has the chance to be something important.
SCIUTTO: That familiar campaign theme has gone global.
GIRL IN SOUTH KOREA: Yes, we can.
BOY IN ITALY: Yes, we can.
BARACK OBAMA: Yes, we can.
GIRL IN FRANCE: Yes, we can.
SCIUTTO: Jim Sciutto, ABC News.

ABC's GMA Touts Kids to Obama: Stop the
Wars! Save the Earth!

Good Morning America on Wednesday featured video messages from young children to Barack Obama. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that the kids, ranging in age from seven to 17, had "strong opinion[s]." Yet, every single one of these youths spouted the type of liberal propaganda usually reserved for people like Keith Olbermann and not one conservative voice was featured. One young boy sputtered: "Stop the wars. And because more people die. And it's just, they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die."

Another child, who couldn't have been older than seven, bizarrely informed: "All this time, I've been alive, I've been having white presidents. And I think now, it's, this is my chance to have a black president." One boy incorrectly wondered: "And how come people who earn millions of dollars pay less taxes than us middle-class people?" A regulation-minded girl pleaded: "I want you to make people stop littering because our Earth is dying." Of course, this pleased liberal weatherman Sam Champion, who sat next to Cuomo. After the segment, he approved: "You heard global warming and trees and recycling. That's great. That's great."

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

One girl, around 14, condescendingly explained that Obama "made it cool to be smart. And someone once said that humans will do anything to avoid thinking. And you have really inspired this generation to want to think." Proving she may have a future on ABC, Champion closed out the segment by touting, "And to hear them say being smart is cool. Gosh, that's so great to hear." Perhaps in a shot at President Bush, Cuomo replied, "Yeah. It's all about possibilities now." Now?

A transcript of the January 21 segment, which aired at 8:45am:

CHRIS CUOMO: You know, whenever we talk about change in politics, generally leads to a discussion about the next generation. About the kids.
SAM CHAMPION: Yeah, yeah. And you don't have to be- this is proof, though. You don't have to be old enough to vote to have a very strong opinion. And you found some folks who did.
CUOMO: Absolutely. Kids from seven to 17, all across the country. So, we asked them, what do you think about what's happened? And what advice do they have for their new president?
FEMALE CHILD #1: I think that the fact that America voted you to be president shows that we needed a change.
MALE CHILD #1: Mr. Obama, please, like, make all the trees not die because we all need oxygen to breathe.
FEMALE CHILD #2: When we were voting, lots and lots of people didn't have very much money. So, you wanted to give some money to other people. And I thought it was a great idea.
MALE CHILD #2: Can you please lower our taxes? And how come people who earn millions of dollars pay less taxes than us middle-class people?
FEMALE CHILD #3: You made it cool to be smart. And someone once said that humans will do anything to avoid thinking. And you have really inspired this generation to want to think. And to want to get involved politically.
FEMALE CHILD #4: A lot of times when I was younger, everyone used to say, "Oh, someday, you'll become president. And you'll live in the White House." Well, when you won, right then and there, when you won the election, I knew, wow. Since he can do it, I know I can do it.
MALE CHILD #3: [Note, child is about six years old]: All this time, I've been alive, I've been having white presidents. And I think now, it's- this is my chance to have a black president.
FEMALE CHILD #5: I would like it if you could change the laws of recycling, so we can help the Earth
MALE CHILD #4: My school needs more healthy food, like broccoli and cheese.
MALE CHILD #5: I have some tips to help you become president. First, to make great laws. Second, to help poor people. Third is to make better jobs.
MALE CHILD #6: Could you make the hybrid cars a little more cheaper so we could buy them? Because they don't pollute that much. And they pollute less.
FEMALE CHILD #6: I want you to make people stop littering because our Earth is dying.
MALE CHILD #7: Stop the wars. And- because more people die. And it's just- they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die.
FEMALE CHILD #7: I would also like you to give all the funds and science to the research for Type 1 diabetes because I'm a Type 1 diabetic. And we really need a cure.
FEMALE CHILD #8: Even though I'm only 16, I won't be directly affected by anything until, maybe, another two years. But by the time I get to 18, I'm going to be set.
FEMALE CHILD #9: I'll be praying for you and Joe Biden and your success. And I wish you both the very best. And I think you should get a golden retriever.
CUOMO: And I think they should get both of those dogs. A lot of talk about the environment from the kids.
CHAMPION: Yeah. You heard global warming and trees and recycling. That's great. That's great.
CUOMO: The best gift for any leader is to be able to spark the imagination of the people. If you can do that with the kids, that's good to be sure.
CHAMPION: And to hear them say being smart is cool. Gosh, that's so great to hear.
CUOMO: Yeah. It's all about possibilities now. We're going to have to see where it goes.

CBS's Harry Smith: Obama Inauguration
a 'Sacred Event'

At the end of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama's inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event." Smith continued to use religious language throughout the report: "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures."

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

Smith later concluded the segment by hoping: "And the agenda and the problems, you just hope that some of the momentum, some of the inspiration of yesterday, can continue to filter through the culture." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez agreed: "I thought the same thing. I was standing there with everyone, thinking back to the last time that I was on the Mall watching an inauguration. It was 1989 and I was a college student here in Washington. And there I was yesterday, older, not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and yet, more optimistic, because you couldn't help but get caught up in that euphoria and that optimism and that hope. And waking up this morning, you just hope, you know, you have your fingers crossed that it continues."

Here is the full transcript of the January 21 segment:

8:47AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: Up next, emotions laid bear on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

8:49AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: Well, we've both been reflecting this morning on how fortunate, I think, we both felt to be able to be amongst the crowd on the Mall yesterday to experience what happened.
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: I was in a mob of people, standing room only, about seven blocks from the Capitol, on the Mall, where you could hear a pin drop during the speech and swearing in. But as soon as it finished, euphoria.
SMITH: I made one of the best decisions ever. I decided I wanted to see this event unfold and I spent the morning on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration.
ARETHA FRANKLIN [SINGING]: My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty.
SMITH: So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event.
FRANKLIN: Land where our fathers died.
SMITH: As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered-
BARACK OBAMA: The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit.
SMITH: -emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No matter how optimistic I have ever been as a human being, I never thought this moment would come and that I met this these wonderful people, total strangers, and we can all share it together.
SMITH: An inauguration is a renewal of faith.
OBAMA: We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.
SMITH: A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures. These pictures were taken by Reggie Huff, a CBS camera man for 30 years, an old friend and a son of the south.
REGGIE HUFF: I used to see a cross burn up on the hill. And actually seeing hatred then and seeing love now, it's -- it's wonderful.
BARACK OBAMA: May God bless you. May God bless the United States of America.
SMITH: So as all of that emotion came pouring out yesterday, it is kind of interesting to sort of feel that all over again.
RODRIGUEZ: Wow, I know, I know.
SMITH: We have this bright, clear, sun drenched day and so kind of the cold reality of Wednesday morning is here.
RODRIGUEZ: Right, exactly right.
SMITH: And the agenda and the problems, you just hope that some of the momentum, some of the inspiration of yesterday, can continue to filter through the culture.
RODRIGUEZ: I thought the same thing. I was standing there with everyone, thinking back to the last time that I was on the Mall watching an inauguration. It was 1989 and I was a college student here in Washington. And there I was yesterday, older, not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and yet, more optimistic, because you couldn't help but get caught up in that euphoria and that optimism and that hope. And waking up this morning, you just hope, you know, you have your fingers crossed that it continues.
JULIE CHEN: Yeah, absolutely. Hey, does anybody -- it was great hearing from Reggie Huff in your piece. Does anyone know that tear in his eye when he was shooting, was that from the emotion or the cold of D.C. yesterday? Does anyone know? Or both?
RODRIGUEZ: 100% emotion I would guess.

Lee Cowan: Obama Inaugural Like Being
in a 'Political Cathedral'

On Monday's inauguration edition of the NBC Nightly News, well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new President, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed: "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone."

He added: "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing: "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared." (See a March 28, 2008 CyberAlert posting for more on Cowan and his quaking knees: www.mrc.org )

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

Cowan's effusiveness was, perhaps, only surpassed by the individuals he chose to quote for the segment. One woman lauded, "The election was the wedding, but this is like the marriage!" Another asserted, "I will remember this forever and ever, ever until the day I die."

A transcript of the January 20 segment:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all. Tonight, our own Lee Cowan was watching them.
LEE COWAN: The lucky ones, of course, were there in person, packed shoulder to shoulder. But for the rest of us-
CHIEF JUSTICE JOSEPH ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
COWAN: -today's inauguration was a long distance date with history.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: The words can't even describe. I was like, 'Oh my God. This is not happening.'
COWAN: Noon in the East was celebrated at 9 in the West.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: The election was the wedding, but this is like the marriage!
COWAN: Everywhere people gathered around high tech hearths, big screens in New York and small ones in Texas as it all streamed live on the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I never thought I'd ever see anything like this in my life.
COWAN: It was living history in classrooms in Atlanta and a more boisterous history at Michelle Obama's old high school in Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: It's like hope for all of us, you know?
COWAN: And here-
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: Good morning, Barack Obama Elementary School.
COWAN: -students in their freshly-minted sweatshirts watched their namesake with pride. It was appointment television in a barber shop in south L.A. where racial tensions once simmered to a boil.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: For all of the right thinking people, black and white, it's a victory today.
COWAN: A victory that brought the nation to a standstill. There were cab drivers who stopped driving, shoppers who stopped shopping, diners who stopped dining.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: I have never felt so much a part of the world as I felt today.
COWAN: We even found doctors with a TV in the operating room who paused before surgery on a young Marine. In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone. Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts. And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #5: I will remember this forever and ever, ever until the day I die.
COWAN: An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared. Lee Cowan, NBC News, Chicago.

CNN's John Roberts Dubs Inaugural Crowds
'Barack-Sstock'

During a short segment on Wednesday's American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts responded to the excited demeanor of the crowds attending President Barack Obama's inauguration by labeling the festivity "Barack-stock." Earlier in the segment, correspondent Carol Costello dubbed it "a gigantic love fest" after she stated there were no serious incidents or arrests involving the approximately 1.5 million people in attendance for the inauguration.

The three-minute segment, which began 20 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the reactions of those in attendance on the National Mall for the swearing-in of President Obama. After giving her "gigantic love fest" label, Costello gave a gushing account about what it was like to be in the middle of the crowd there: "Suddenly, someone would just come up and hug you. It was just amazing. It was -- it was like you were standing in the middle of these strangers, and all of a sudden, you had a million friends around you. That's what it felt like yesterday."

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

Once she played some clips of some of the interviews she took from people on the Mall, Costello commented on how easy it was for her to find people to appear on camera. Roberts responded with his "Barack-stock" label:

COSTELLO: You know, usually, you have a little bit of a problem getting people to agree to be on television, but not yesterday. People were begging to be on TV. They wanted their thoughts recorded. They were very much aware that history was being made, and they wanted to be a part of it in whatever way they could.
JOHN ROBERTS: It really was 'Barack-stock' -- peace, love, and history.
COSTELLO: It really was.

Earlier in the week, ABC's Diane Sawyer referred to a pre-inauguration concert as "Obama-stock" as a graphic proclaimed "Inauguration of Barack Obama: The American Pilgrimage."

For more on Diane Sawyer and Good Morning America's coverage of the pre-inauguration concert, see the January 20 CyberAlert item, "ABC Touts 'Obama-Stock,' 'American Pilgrimage' of D.C. Visitors," at: www.mrc.org

George Stephanopoulos Recites Dem Talking
Points on Economy

This Week host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America to claim that the stock market's 330 point drop on Inauguration Day was not an indictment of Obama but indicated the need for a swift confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Stephanopoulos, a former top Democratic aide, asserted: "The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days."

According to Stephanopoulos, Geithner, who faces questions for not paying $34,000 in taxes since 2001, has "run into a little bit of trouble" on the topic. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer prompted the ABC anchor to tout more Democratic spin when she asked, "But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings [Obama is having on Wednesday]?" Stephanopoulos helpfully retorted, "Help is on the way, I think is the sentence."

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

He went on to tell Sawyer how impressed he was with Obama's biblical reference. After playing a clip of Obama asserting at his inauguration, "We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to move away from childish things," Stephanopoulos lectured:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Move away from childish things. Now, what he chose, though, that is in the course of Scripture that is all about love. Love and charity. Yet, he took the tough love message out of that. And I think that was the theme of the speech. We are, as he said, in a winter of hardship. We're going to get of it. But it's going to take a lot of change and a lot of tough measures. And a lot of sacrifice.

A transcript of the January 21 segment, which aired at 7:10am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: Joining us now with the bottom line, ABC chief Washington correspondent, host of "This Week," George Stephanopoulos. Good morning again.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello.
SAWYER: George, we heard Jake Tapper run through the list of meetings for the day. But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Help is on the way, I think is the sentence. And so much of the focus is not even going to be on the White House today, but here on Capitol Hill where Tim Geithner, he's the President's nominee for Treasury Secretary is going to face his hearing. He's run into a little bit of trouble over his own tax problems to head Treasury. But they are getting this done quickly because the financial markets are in collapse.
SAWYER: Yesterday, to everybody's surprise, even as the inauguration was going on, the market collapsed more than 330 points.
STEPHANOPOULOS Worst day ever on an inaugural, that drop in the market. And it's all because of real loss of confidence in the banks of the United States. Banks all around the world. The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days.
SAWYER: Day two, now, the morning after the inauguration speech. New thoughts about it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I'm still focused on President Obama's choice of Scripture, from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He had one that clear line. Take a listen.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to move away from childish things.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Move away from childish things. Now, what he chose, though, that is in the course of scripture that is all about love. Love and charity. Yet, he took the tough love message out of that. And I think that was the theme of the speech. We are, as he said, in a winter of hardship. We're going to get of it. But it's going to take a lot of change and a lot of tough measures. And a lot of sacrifice.
SAWYER: And he seemed to make clear that he felt some of it was by our own doing. Namely, Wall Street's doing and squandering energy.
STEPHANOPOULOS He had a lot of blame to go around. He talked about Wall Street. He talked about the collective failure of the American people. But also, I mean, let's face it, he was very tough on President Bush in that speech yesterday. When he talked about ending this era when we weren't making the choices we needed to make.
SAWYER: We studied President Bush's face yesterday when that was going on. And nothing visible.
STEPHANOPOULOS Not at all. And what a gracious man overall, yesterday. Not only hugging President Obama on the way out. But, we noticed, as he was walking in, as he was walking onto the podium, he turned to someone on the right and said, "It's a great day for our country." And that's a great comment on our country.
SAWYER: As we said before, there was a folder left on the desk for President Obama. It was labeled 44. Any thoughts about what might be in there?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wish I could find out. As soon as I do, I'll let you know.
SAWYER: Call me at home.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay.
SAWYER: All right. Thanks so much, George.

Chris Matthews: 'Does Rush Limbaugh Hate
This Country?'

On Wednesday's Hardball, Chris Matthews questioned Rush Limbaugh's patriotism, as the MSNBC host wondered how the radio talk show host could dare to oppose Barack Obama as he exclaimed to his viewers: "Does Rush Limbaugh hate this country?" Matthews jumped on a quote from Limbaugh saying of Obama: "I hope he fails," apparently not understanding the concept that Limbaugh opposes any and all who would promote liberal policies precisely because he believes they will be harmful to the country. Matthews slammed Limbaugh in the following tease before going to a commercial break:
"Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing-, I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?"

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening, with video added by Ken Shepherd, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Later in his "Sideshow" segment Matthews aired a soundbite from Limbaugh and then snidely remarked: "Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back."

The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the January 21 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing. I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?

...

MATTHEWS: But it turns out that not everyone has warm wishes for the new president. On Friday radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said he was asked by a major print organization to offer 400 words on his hope for the Obama presidency. Here's what Rush had to say just days before the Inauguration.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, okay I'll send you a response but I don't need 400 words. I need four. I hope he fails.
MATTHEWS: Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back.

Later in the show Matthews returned to the Limbaugh bashing with his guest panelists:

MATTHEWS: Michael [Smerconish], Happy New Year. Happy, you're not with Rush Limbaugh, by the way, you're not, you're not rooting for this guy's failure?
JOAN WALSH, SALON: No.
MATTHEWS: I'm going to Smercon-, I know you don't. Smerconish you're not one of these radio guys that says, "Gee I hope this guy goes down in miserable defeat because that'll help me, well my support group out on the highway selling stuff?" Is, is this your view? You hope Barack fails?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hell no!
MATTHEWS: I know because-
SMERCONISH: No I think that is-
MATTHEWS: What is Rush Limbaugh's problem? Rooting for the guy's failure. What's that all about?
SMERCONISH: You know unfortunately there's a part of my industry that's sort of predicated on stirring the pot and being the opposition. I want this guy to succeed. I looked at those images yesterday and, and I feel wonderful. Look at that First Family. Look at those daughters. You want to talk about the politics of this. Imagine the political capital that the two daughters are gonna bring to the table on behalf of the First Family. No, I want them to succeed. Absolutely!

...

MATTHEWS: But the bigger question to everybody is, if this guy fails, the only President we have, on the economy, taking office as it's going down that's killing everybody. How can you root for the failure of the only guy at, at the lever? At the steering wheel?
WALSH: It's an outrageous thing. It's an outrageous thing to say but Rush thrives on being outrageous. Michael is a smart conservative who, I believe endorsed- (interrupted)

To see Limbaugh's quote in full context, visit his site: www.rushlimbaugh.com

NBC's Roker Jabs Matthews and Olbermann
for Obama Infatuation

During Tuesday's inauguration coverage on MSNBC, the Today show's Al Roker poked fun at co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as the NBC weather man, on location at the inaugural parade site, appeared with the MSNBC duo and joked that Matthews "got that tingle down his leg" because Obama looks good without a shirt. Discussing the admiration that so many young people feel for Obama, Roker declared: "It doesn't hurt...that he's a good-looking guy!...This is a guy, this is a President who can take his shirt off, you know. I mean, if I take my shirt off, people are running and screaming. You know, that's, so I think it's just an exciting, exciting time. And I know that's why Chris got that tingle down his leg!"

After Matthews tried to go along with Roker's jovial mood by quipping that "we tingle up the leg, okay? It is a big freakin' difference. And don't you forget about it, buddy," Olbermann set himself up to receive a jab as well, as he joked that "it's left to me to be the referee." Roker, presumably referring to Olbermann's penchant for delivering outlandish tirades on his Countdown show, shot back: "And what does that say, if Keith Olbermann is the referee, Keith Olbermann is the voice of reason?" Matthews added: "That is a strange role for Keith Olbermann. Very strange."

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

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, January 20, inauguration coverage on MSNBC from about 2:08 p.m. EST:

AL ROKER: I was talking to some of these kids. They've watched Obama, President Obama, on the Internet, on YouTube. They feel like he is one of them, he understands them. They are all engaged, you know, these are, I mean, look, these were two busloads full of, you know, for the most part, young Caucasian kids, and they were as invested, it seemed, in this inaugural as any group of kids. And yet, you stand here and, looking across at the bleachers over here, young people -- black, white, Hispanic -- everybody coming together. It really is, it is a moment that I think we, I haven't seen, I was five years old when President Kennedy was inaugurated, and, you know, I think that was the last time that youth, that young people felt engaged in a presidency. I got to tell you, I got a 22-year-old daughter, and that's all she and her friends talk about, is Obama, and it doesn't help, it doesn't hurt, I should say, that he's a good-looking guy! You know. So, I think, you know, look, this is a guy, this is a President who can take his shirt off, you know. I mean, if I take my shirt off, people are running and screaming. You know, that's, so I think it's just an exciting, exciting time. And I know that's why Chris got that tingle down his leg!
[KEITH OLBERMANN, RACHEL MADDOW AND EUGENE ROBINSON LAUGH]
MATTHEWS: Hey, Roker, come into the positive stuff. Stay with the positive. Stay off the negative today, will you?
ROKER: That's positive!
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, we tingle up the leg, okay? It is a big freakin' difference. And don't you forget about it, buddy.
ROKER: I said "tingle"! I said "tingle"!
OLBERMANN: Well, it's left to me to be the referee. Al Roker on the parade route. Thanks a lot, Al.
ROKER: And what does that say, if Keith Olbermann is the referee, Keith Olbermann is the voice of reason?
MATTHEWS: That is a strange role for Keith Olbermann. Very strange.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, my raison d'etre is right out the freakin' window. Al Roker, thank you. Chris Matthews, thank you.

Wash Post Emphasizes Critics In Obit
of 'Media Elite' Co-Author

In the 1980s and 1990s, I [Rich Noyes] had the pleasure of working for Bob and Linda Lichter, co-founders of the Center for Media and Public Affairs and co-authors, with fellow social scientist Stanley Rothman of Smith College, of the groundbreaking 1986 book The Media Elite: America's New Powerbrokers: www.amazon.com

It was thus sad to read in Tuesday's Washington Post that Linda Lichter has passed away at the age of 53, survived by her husband. Linda was someone who was charmed by Victorian values -- her always-spotless downtown D.C. office was furnished with antiques -- and she argued that yesteryear's stricter roles for both men and women gave dignity and power to both sexes. Her book, The Benevolence of Manners: Recapturing the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living, championed an age of politenesss that has indisputably been lost in today's modern world: www.amazon.com

But Linda's more famous work was her collaboration on The Media Elite. Using both surveys of journalists and quantitative studies of news media content, Bob and Linda Lichter demonstrated that America's newsrooms were overpopulated with liberals whose political views formed the template for media coverage of such issues as nuclear energy, oil prices and busing.

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

Although the Lichters were political moderates, their exhaustive research helped move the issue of the media's liberal bias from something dismissed as a crackpot conservative complaint to a widely-accepted view (even if many journalists still vehemently disagree).

The Lichters made their case in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and journalists hated it. The typical comeback from journalists in those days was that social science could not really study journalist (although the media had no problem citing social science experts about the presidency, Congress, interest groups, voters and every other actor in political life), and among those supporting the Lichters' research were conservatives, so none of it could be trusted.

So it was striking that in Tuesday's obituary for Linda Lichter, the Washington Post pettily devoted more paragraphs to critics assailing the Lichters' work than explaining what they documented and its lasting importance -- affirming, I suppose, the old saying, "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." An excerpt:

In 1984, Dr. Lichter and her social scientist husband, S. Robert Lichter, founded the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington. She was co-director for many years and most recently vice president.

She co-wrote several books arguing that evidence pointed to overwhelmingly liberal political leanings and religious secularism emanating from leading practitioners of journalism and TV entertainment.

These elite image-shapers were far to the left of Americans generally, wrote Dr. Lichter, who often collaborated with her husband and the social scientist Stanley Rothman.

Their best-known book, "The Media Elite" (1986), said the liberal tilt can affect coverage unconsciously. The authors focused on case studies of issues such as the energy crisis of the 1970s, nuclear power and busing to foster racial integration in schools.

The book became widely cited but was harshly criticized by media leaders, including then-Washington Post executive editor Benjamin Bradlee and Michael Kinsley of the New Republic.

Sociologist Michael Schudson, writing in the Los Angels Times, asked: "First, do journalists report their own views or do their stories reflect the division of opinion among powerful elites outside journalism?

"The former may be true, but the latter is the more powerful factor. If journalists' own views on busing, for instance, are as homogeneously liberal as the authors suggest, it is hard to explain why they find anti-busing themes dominant in the media in 1974-75, even in a paragon of liberalism like the Washington Post.

"Growing division about busing among politicians, however, is a likely explanation. Journalists report what legitimate authorities say."

END of Excerpt

For the January 20 obituary by Adam Bernstein: www.washingtonpost.com

Irrespective of what the Post has to say, The Media Elite was and remains an important milestone in the understanding that journalists are not a neutral political force, but actors who are influenced by their world view and who in turn exert influence on the political life of this nation. I hope that Linda Lichter was proud of her legacy, and I hope that Bob Lichter is today comforted by reflecting on the many contributions that he and his wife made to deepening the understanding of the media elite's role in our society.

-- Brent Baker