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Lauer: Karzai Swearing-In "Tarnished" Since bin Laden Not Caught --12/8/2004


1. Lauer: Karzai Swearing-In "Tarnished" Since bin Laden Not Caught
Lauer's laments, first of three. Emphasizing the negative. On the morning of the swearing in of a democratically-elected President in Afghanistan barely three years after the U.S. went to war against the Taliban, NBC's Matt Lauer wanted to know "how much is that success tarnished by the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still out there and al Qaeda is so active?"

2. Battle Cry for Freedom in a Movie "Baffling" to Matt Lauer
Lauer's laments, second of three. Running through the ten "cheesiest" lines in films as determined by a poll in Britain, NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today, tagged as a "baffling battle cry" this line from Mel Gibson in Braveheart: "That they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" One wonders if Lauer is also confused by the New Hampshire license plates which declare: "Live free or die."

3. Lauer Lets Crichton Downplay Warming Fears, But Lauer Hypes Them
Lauer's laments, third of three. On Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer prompted novelist Michael Crichton to explain why he came to the conclusion that the claim global warming is a man-made phenomenon is "bunk" and to outline how in his new novel eco-terrorists are the bad guys, but without acknowledging the media's agenda on the subject, he asked Crichton: "If you found information that, that caused you to become skeptical of everything we've heard about global warming over the last decade or so why don't we hear more about it?" Lauer wondered: "Do you think though that we live in a state of fear?" Crichton indicted the media for false scare-mongering. Lauer and his Today colleagues have done plenty this year to spread unwarranted fear and hype left-wing theories about global warming catastrophes. Just look back at how in May they hyped the ridiculous The Day After Tomorrow movie about how within days global warming created tornadoes and tidal waves which destroyed Los Angeles and New York City.

4. Olbermann Quotes Claim Bush Win a "Crime Against Democracy"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night found it newsworthy that David Cobb, who got a mere 186 votes in all of Ohio, "said something even the Democrats won't. Quoting him here, 'There is a possibility that George W. Bush did not win Ohio. If that is the case, it would be a crime against democracy for George Bush to be sworn into office,' unquote."

5. Gallup Poll Ranks Journalists Very Low on Honesty and Ethics
Asked to rate the "honesty and ethical standards" of those in 21 professions, "TV reporters" and "newspaper reporters" came in 15th and 16th place in a new Gallup poll conducted last month and released on Tuesday. For TV reporters, only 23 percent rated them "very high" or "high" for "honesty and ethical standards." Newspaper reporters scored even worse, at 21 percent, though both journalistic categories were ahead on "business executives" at 20 percent. In what may provide an insight into how the public processes the media's bad news obsession with Iraq, "military officers" came in fourth place at 72 percent, way ahead of journalists. "Car salesmen" ranked last and "nurses" came out on top.


Lauer: Karzai Swearing-In "Tarnished"
Since bin Laden Not Caught

NBC's Matt Lauer & Tim Russert Lauer's laments, first of three. Emphasizing the negative. On the morning of the swearing in of a democratically-elected President in Afghanistan barely three years after the U.S. went to war against the Taliban, NBC's Matt Lauer wanted to know "how much is that success tarnished by the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still out there and al Qaeda is so active?"

Lauer's first question to Tim Russert, who appeared from Washington, DC, on the December 7 Today:
"On the one hand the administration is very happy about the success in Afghanistan. The newly elected and democratically elected President Hamid Karzai being sworn-in. But how much is that success tarnished by the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still out there and al Qaeda is so active? Just yesterday claiming responsibility for that attack on the U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia."
Russert: "Well it's a deep concern and you couple that with Mr. Musharev, the head of Pakistan pulling some of his troops away from the search of Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden, Matt, is the symbolism of evil of September 11th. And until he's captured an awful lot of people in this country, in this world, are gonna be very apprehensive."

Battle Cry for Freedom in a Movie "Baffling"
to Matt Lauer

Lauer's laments, second of three. Running through the ten "cheesiest" lines in films as determined by a poll in Britain, NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today, tagged as a "baffling battle cry" this line from Mel Gibson in Braveheart: "That they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" One wonders if Lauer is also confused by the New Hampshire license plates which declare: "Live free or die."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens caught Lauer's bafflement in the short segment toward the end of the 7:30am half hour on the December 7 program. Lauer noted: "Well two thousand British moviegoers were recently polled on a very important question. What are the Top 10 Cheesiest Movie Lines of all-time? In a list that puts the corn in popcorn we begin with number 10."

NBC showing clip of Braveheart Lauer then showed the ten clips, starting with Renee Zellweger in The Postman followed by Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire. Lauer then arrived at Gibson's line: "Braveheart takes number eight with the baffling battle cry."
Clip of Mel Gibson on horseback rallying his warriors in the movie Braveheart about 13th century Scots battling the British: "That they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!"

The Internet Movie Database's summary of Braveheart, a movie released in 1995: "William Wallace, a commoner, unites the 13th Century Scots in their battle to overthrow English rule." Gibson played Wallace. For IMDb's page on Braveheart: www.imdb.com

A BBC story on Tuesday led with the winner of the poll: "Actor Leonardo DiCaprio's declaration 'I'm the king of the world!' in the film Titanic has been voted the cheesiest line in movie history. Patrick Swayze's famous line in Dirty Dancing -- 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner' -- came second in the survey. 'Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed,' uttered by Andie MacDowell at the end of Four Weddings and a Funeral was placed third. The survey of 2,000 film-goers was commissioned by foodmakers Warburtons."

For the BBC article in full with all ten movie lines: news.bbc.co.uk

Lauer Lets Crichton Downplay Warming
Fears, But Lauer Hypes Them

NBC's Matt Lauer & novelist Michael Crichton Lauer's laments, third of three. On Tuesday's Today, Matt Lauer prompted novelist Michael Crichton to explain why he came to the conclusion that the claim global warming is a man-made phenomenon is "bunk" and to outline how in his new novel eco-terrorists are the bad guys, but without acknowledging the media's agenda on the subject, he asked Crichton: "If you found information that, that caused you to become skeptical of everything we've heard about global warming over the last decade or so why don't we hear more about it?" Lauer wondered: "Do you think though that we live in a state of fear?" Crichton indicted the media: "Absolutely. It's pretty interesting to me if you start to look at sort of the ongoing role of the media, how many things are brought up, 'this is a health hazard'...and an awful lot of them don't turn out to be correct."

Lauer and his Today colleagues have done plenty this year to spread unwarranted fear and hype left-wing theories about global warming catastrophes. Just look back at how in May, as documented by the MRC's Geoff Dickens, they hyped the ridiculous The Day After Tomorrow movie about how within days global warming created tornadoes and tidal waves which destroyed Los Angeles and New York City.

Lauer set up a May 26 segment with Dennis Quaid, an actor in the fantasy film Today took quite seriously: "What do you do when you mix an ocean with a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island? Well in the new big budget disaster film called The Day After Tomorrow the answer is a new ice age. Dennis Quaid stars as a death-defying climatologist trying to warn the world about the effects of global warming."

Lauer wondered: "So is it a fun summer romp or is it as we've been reading in the papers these days kind of a politically charged, environmental message movie?"

Two days earlier, on May 24, Today viewers heard this exchange:

Katie Couric: "Meanwhile, also ahead. Apparently a new ice age is coming because of global warming."
Matt Lauer: "Right."
Couric: "Now you've seen this movie."
Lauer: "Right."
Couric: "And that's the premise of this sort of-"
Lauer: "Basically the kind of currents change in the oceans and bring the northern hemisphere some brutally cold weather."
Couric: "And you're gonna be talking with Jake Gyllenhaal in this half-hour, about that."
Lauer: "Who plays the son of the main character in the movie who's a climatologist. We'll find out more about the movie which, by the way, is sparking some controversy because environmentalists are using it to attack the Bush administration."
Couric: "Okay, great."

On the May 20 Today, Couric warned: "An alarming new action film about catastrophic climate change is stirring up a storm of controversy."

Robert Hager then outlined the plot: "In the film called The Day After Tomorrow global warming has started melting the Earth's polar caps and whoops, is that a problem! In a flash it disrupts ocean currents. New York is hit by a tidal wave. Tornadoes rake California. And the ice age returns. All of this in spite of a warning from a climatologist played by Dennis Quaid to a Vice President who looks something like Dick Cheney."

Hager pointed out how environmentalists are "frustrated by what they consider their lack of progress fighting the pollutants they say cause climate change have now seized on the film to win political points. 'Global warming isn't just a movie it's your future,' screams a leaflet environmental activists plan to hand theater goers. It accuses President Bush of blocking anti-pollution regs that would prevent global warming and former presidential candidate Al Gore has chimed in too."
Al Gore: "This is a rare opportunity to have a national conversation about what truly should be seen as a global climate emergency."
Hager: "But the Bush administration remains skeptical about the whole idea of global warming. And others see the film as a dangerous intrusion into debate about cracking down on greenhouse gases. The conservative Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels."
Patrick Michaels, Cato Institute: "It's an attempt to stampede people into policies that will do absolutely nothing about global warming but cost a fortune."
Hager, however, asserted that the wild movie contained truth: "Nearly all scientists agree there couldn't be such instant climate change as in the movie. More a return of the ice age. So is this truth or fiction? A kernel of truth says the Natural Resources Defense Council's Dan Lashoff."
Dan Lashoff, Natural Resources Defense Council: "And New York is not gonna be facing a glacier problem anytime soon. But it will be facing more severe heat waves, infectious diseases potentially. Flooding from rising sea levels."
Hager allowed: "But Michaels says it's worse than fiction."
Michaels: "The Day After Tomorrow is the irrational, reactive, juvenile approach to global warming."
Hager refused the pass judgment, thus letting stand the exaggerated claims in the film: "Differing opinions on whether this film is a snow job. But off-screen it's clearly generating plenty of heat. For Today, Robert Hager, NBC News, Washington."

After Hager's taped piece, Lauer quipped: "I saw it yesterday. Bought a parka last night, I'll tell ya."

Back to the December 7 Today, Lauer set up the 8:30am half hour in-studio session: "When Michael Crichton attended Harvard Medical School he paid his tuition by writing thrillers. Now at the age of 62, which is hard to believe, he's sold more than one hundred million books including Jurrassic Park which also became, as you know, a hit movie. And drawing on his medical training Crichton created ER, one of television's most successful dramas. Well his latest novel State of Fear is about global warming and terrorists use the environment as a weapon. Michael Crichton welcome back."
Michael Crichton: "Thank you, Matt."
Lauer: "I don't think a lot of people consider using the words global warming and thriller in the same sentence. How did you come up with the idea for this?"
Crichton: "You know it was really, it was in this case it a story where my interest in a topic worked backwards and led me to try and write a book about it. You know I at a certain point became curious about what exactly the situation was with global warming. And so I went and started looking at, at the actual data, you know and being sort of simple-minded outside person if it's getting warmer what is the temperature record? And it didn't take me very long to get not only skeptical about it but more and more I didn't understand."
Lauer: "Skeptical and let me just do this briefly. You were in the mainstream for a while thinking basically this was a man-made problem, we're burning fossil fuel, the environment is heating up and, and, and now in the book what you ask readers to consider is, is perhaps that that's bunk."
Crichton: "Could be. Yeah."
Lauer: "Talk me through the plot okay and, and these environmental terrorists who, who find a way to really harness the weather and, and catastrophic events."
Crichton: "Right. Well you know when you have a topic like this that is difficult and very emotional one of the things that I wanted to do was try and make a really entertaining story so this is a story about a, an environmental group that apparently seems to be a good group but actually is attempting to promote an agenda and to do it through funding eco-terrorism. Curious idea considering the news today."
Lauer: "Basically, I mean, you can take it a step further and this I find kind of rich and maybe only you could come up with this is you've got terrorists using terror for non-profit fundraising."
Crichton: "Right."
Lauer: "In a way. Which is, which is a bizarre concept when you think about it. Tell me about some of the things they're able to do with the environment."
Crichton: "Well in this story and this part is absolutely fiction. You know one of the things they're trying to do is carve the largest glacier that breaks off in Antartica, they're trying to do an enormous flash flood in the American Southwest and they're trying to create a tsunami that'll hit California coming from the Solomon Islands."
Lauer: "So man-made tidal waves, we've got, they're trying to create monster hurricanes, lightning strikes where and when they want them."
Crichton: "That's right."

Lauer soon asked: "Before I move on to, to some other subjects. Back to global warming for a second. If you read and anybody could read then, if you found information that, that caused you to become skeptical of everything we've heard about global warming over the last decade or so why don't we hear more about it?"
Crichton: "You know I think that, that there's a sort of an ongoing, the easiest way for me to say it is when I was in medical school Lyndon Johnson was the president and we had the war on cancer and every single person who wanted a medicine grant had to be curing cancer. And you just had to twist it into that form because that was what was sort of going on at that time."
Lauer, oblivious to the media's role: "Wait are you saying that, that in search of funding top scientists are delivering the status quo?"
Crichton: "Well I'm saying that once an idea gets established as the idea that one deals with whether it's global warming ore curing cancer which people told Johnson at that time it wasn't gonna work, once that's the, that's the way things are done then it's sort of like the cost of doing business. Does that make sense?"
Lauer: "It does, it does. I mean it is really the status quo when it comes right down to it."
Crichton: "Right."
Lauer: "You write an article in Parade magazine this weekend. It's all about the things where we live in a state of fear, of being scared. You talk about some of the great ideas of the past. Y2K, and swine flu, and things like that. That perhaps have not panned out the way everybody thought they were going to. As a guy who makes a living scaring people, why would you bring things like that up?"
Crichton: "You know, it's funny. I think I hesitated about it, because I thought at a certain point this is one of the first books I've ever written that says don't be scared."
Lauer: "Because really, that's your bread and butter."
Crichton: "That's right."
Lauer: "Do you think though that we live in a state of fear?"
Crichton blasted the media: "Absolutely. It's pretty interesting to me if you start to look at sort of the ongoing role of the media, how many things are brought up, 'this is a health hazard,' 'this is a concern.' And an awful lot of them don't turn out to be correct. I mean, Y2K the most famous recently. We heard about it for years and years. People sold their houses, moved to higher ground, gave up their investments and it turned out to be nothing."

For Amazon.com's page on Crichton's new novel, State of Fear: www.amazon.com

Olbermann Quotes Claim Bush Win a "Crime
Against Democracy"

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night found it newsworthy that David Cobb, who got a mere 186 votes in all of Ohio, "said something even the Democrats won't. Quoting him here, 'There is a possibility that George W. Bush did not win Ohio. If that is the case, it would be a crime against democracy for George Bush to be sworn into office,' unquote."

I'd suggest it's a crime against journalism that Keith Olbermann gets an hour of prime time every weeknight to give credibility to wacky far-left claims about the Ohio vote.

On the December 7 Countdown, Olbermann provided this rundown of Ohio events, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"And only about a month to go in the Ohio recount, which is official tonight. The presidential candidates from the Green and Libertarian parties began to formally notify Ohio's eighty-eight county election boards of their request for a second tally today. Ohio's Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, said on this program last week that there will be a recount. A federal judge ruled that an individual Ohio county can't opt out of it just because the state has not raised the fee it charges for a recount since 1956 nor just because it is not obvious that a recount would overturn the election. That does not mean those county election officials have to like it. 'This is an excuse in futility,' says Larry Long, executive director of Ohio's Association of County Commissioners. He adds it's, quote, 'a ridiculous waste of time. Neither candidate has any chance of winning, so what's the point?' unquote.
"Green Party candidate David Cobb speaking today on the steps of the state capitol said he knows that, he only got 186 votes in Ohio. But he also says that what Secretary of State Blackwell has reported as glitches in the vote are actually, quote, 'widespread and systemic problems with the electoral process.' Cobb also today said something even the Democrats won't. Quoting him here, 'There is a possibility that George W. Bush did not win Ohio. If that is the case, it would be a crime against democracy for George Bush to be sworn into office,' unquote. That is what Mr. Cobb says."

Gallup Poll Ranks Journalists Very Low
on Honesty and Ethics

Asked to rate the "honesty and ethical standards" of those in 21 professions, "TV reporters" and "newspaper reporters" came in 15th and 16th place in a new Gallup poll conducted last month and released on Tuesday. For TV reporters, only 23 percent rated them "very high" or "high" for "honesty and ethical standards." Newspaper reporters scored even worse, at 21 percent, though both journalistic categories were ahead on "business executives" at 20 percent. In what may provide an insight into how the public processes the media's bad news obsession with Iraq, "military officers" came in fourth place at 72 percent, way ahead of journalists. "Car salesmen" ranked last and "nurses" came out on top.

Romenesko ( www.poynter.org ) on Tuesday highlighted Gallup's release.

The question in Gallup's survey: "Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields -- very high, high, average, low, or very low?"

The percent who answered "very high" or "high," for each job category:

1. Nurses: 79
2. Grade school teachers: 73
3. Druggists, pharmacists: 72
4. Military officers: 72
5. Medical doctors: 67
6. Policemen: 60
7. Clergy: 56
8. Judges: 53
9. Day care providers: 49
10. Bankers: 36
11. Auto mechanics: 26
12. Local officeholders: 26
13. Nursing home operators: 24
14. State officeholders: 24
15. TV Reporters: 23
16. Newspaper reporters: 21
17. Business executives: 20
18. Congressmen: 20
19. Lawyers: 18
20. Advertising practitioners: 10
21. Car salesmen: 9

For Gallup's posting of its analysis of the results from its poll conducted November 19-21: gallup.com


-- Brent Baker