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Laura Ingraham Tweaks Lauer and Today on Obama Obsession--4/9/2009


1. Laura Ingraham Tweaks Lauer and Today on Obama Obsession
The Today show devoted much of last week's coverage of Obama's European trip to obsessing over such frivolous matters as what Michelle Obama was wearing and what kind of gift the Obamas gave the Queen, so when Laura Ingraham was invited on Wednesday's Today show, the conservative radio talk show host couldn't resist knocking the silly coverage, telling NBC's Matt Lauer: "We know that Europe loves President Obama. He had adoring crowds. The press loves Obama. The question is how will this date end? Okay? The question is, to what end? Why do they love President Obama? They love his personal story, they love his wife. North Korea, China and Russia don't really care about Michelle's arms and, you know, whether they gave an iPod to the Queen, okay? They care about whether America is still going to lead, exhibit strength and doesn't just talk about these vague concepts, Matt, of global cooperation."

2. Obama 'Wins Troop's Cheers,' But Bush's Visit Greeted w/ Petulance
New York Times contrast. Obama visits Baghdad: "In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers." Bush visits Baghdad in Thanksgiving 2003: "President Bush with American troops yesterday at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport."

3. CNN's Sanchez Blames Fox News, 'Right-Wing Radio' for Cop Killings
CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to blasting conservatives on Wednesday's Newsroom program, blaming the recent murder of three Pittsburgh police officers on the Fox News Channel and other media on the right: "That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, 'Our rights were being infringed upon.'" He tag-teamed with Media Matters fellow Eric Boehlert to argue that conservative media personalities like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were offering "garden-variety fear and hate mongering...night in and night out."

4. NBC: Only GOP Governors Caught in Sex Scandals Get Party Label
Just this past Monday, NBC's Today show studiously avoided mentioning disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer's Democratic affiliation during his interview with Matt Lauer, but fast forward to Wednesday's Today and a story about another governor embroiled in a sex scandal -- in this case Nevada Republican Governor Jim Gibbons -- and NBC's Michael Okwu was careful to note he is a Republican at the very top of the story: "If voters in Nevada were betting on a nasty gubernatorial divorce, this week they hit the jackpot. That's Republican Governor Jim Gibbons. There's his future ex-wife, Dawn. After 23 years of a polished political marriage to Dawn Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman, the governor has filed for divorce citing incompatibility in what's become a very public war of the roses."


 

Laura Ingraham Tweaks Lauer and Today
on Obama Obsession

 

The Today show devoted much of last week's coverage of Obama's European trip to obsessing over such frivolous matters as what Michelle Obama was wearing and what kind of gift the Obamas gave the Queen, so when Laura Ingraham was invited on Wednesday's Today show, the conservative radio talk show host couldn't resist knocking the silly coverage, telling NBC's Matt Lauer: "We know that Europe loves President Obama. He had adoring crowds. The press loves Obama. The question is how will this date end? Okay? The question is, to what end? Why do they love President Obama? They love his personal story, they love his wife. North Korea, China and Russia don't really care about Michelle's arms and, you know, whether they gave an iPod to the Queen, okay? They care about whether America is still going to lead, exhibit strength and doesn't just talk about these vague concepts, Matt, of global cooperation."

Just before Ingraham's appearance NBC's foreign correspondent Richard Engel contrasted the praise Iraqis had for Obama to the shoe-throwing hatred for Bush.

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

For his part, the one time Lauer attempted to be critical of Obama, in his over-apologizing for America, he stopped short as he claimed Obama's "apologetic" stance was just being "honest": "Well let me take it a step further because some critics of, of President Obama say the reason the Europeans love him is, is less about respect and more about the fact that he's been somewhat apologetic, and some would call that honest, and, and, and the Europeans like this."

Right before Ingraham's appearance NBC's foreign correspondent Richard Engel contrasted the praise Iraqis had for Obama to the shoe-throwing hatred for the President who freed them from Saddam Hussein's oppression:
"Across Baghdad, President Obama was warmly welcomed. At a barber shop, I asked Kaid Abdel-Qatar (sp?) if President Obama is turning a page in relations with Muslims? 'Yes,' he said, 'A new chapter is what we need.' Next door the baker told me, 'Obama cares about Islam. We didn't see this from President Bush.' During former President Bush's last visit a journalist threw two shoes at him. The reporter was sentenced to three years in prison, but many Iraqis sympathized with his anger. Yesterday a court here reduced the sentence to just one year."

The following is a complete transcript of the Engel set-up piece followed by the full interview segment with Ingraham as it was aired on the April 8 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: But first President Obama back home at the White House after an unannounced tour of Iraq's war zone. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is in Baghdad for us this morning. Richard, good morning to you.

RICHARD ENGEL: Good morning, Meredith. U.S. troops and Iraqis today are both welcoming President Obama's visit after he made a surprise stop to Baghdad's Camp Victory. At times, the room looked frenzied. Hundreds of U.S. troops clamored to take photographs of President Obama in the rotunda of what had been Saddam Hussein's favorite palace.
BARACK OBAMA: I love you back! It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. They, they need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty.
ENGEL: The President promised to stick to a plan, to pull out combat forces by August 2011.
OBAMA: We have not forgotten what you've already done. We are grateful for what you will do, and as long as I'm in the White House, you are going to get the support that you need.
ENGEL: Across Baghdad, President Obama was warmly welcomed. At a barber shop, I asked Kaid Abdel-Qatar (sp?) if President Obama is turning a page in relations with Muslims? "Yes," he said, "A new chapter is what we need." Next door the baker told me, "Obama cares about Islam. We didn't see this from President Bush." During former President Bush's last visit a journalist threw two shoes at him. The reporter was sentenced to three years in prison, but many Iraqis sympathized with his anger. Yesterday a court here reduced the sentence to just one year. Reaching out to Muslims was one of President Obama's main themes. He arrived in Baghdad from Istanbul, Turkey, once the capital of the Muslim world. With his shoes off he toured the city's famed Blue Mosque.
OBAMA: It's spectacular.
ENGEL: And Hagia Sophia, itself a symbol of reconciliation. Once a church, then a mosque, now it's a museum. The President told Turkish students he's committed to more engagement with Muslims.
OBAMA: We can't afford to talk past one another to focus only on our differences.
ENGEL: Asked how he was different from President Bush, Mr. Obama said, "Steering the U.S. is like piloting a big tanker."
OBAMA: They're not like speedboats. You can't just whip them around and go in a new direction. Instead, you've got to slowly move it and then eventually you end up in a very different place.
ENGEL: Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's government. Thousands of demonstrators are expected to gather in the square where Saddam's statue was pulled down. They will be calling for all U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Matt?
MATT LAUER: Alright Richard Engel in Baghdad for us this morning. Richard thank you very much. So was the President's first trip overseas a success? Laura Ingraham is a Fox News analyst and nationally syndicated radio host. Laura, good to see you, good morning.

[On screen headline: "Conservative Criticism, Is Obama Apologizing For America?"]
LAURA INGRAHAM: Hey Matt.
LAUER: Let, let's start with the brass tacks of the trip. The, the President went with some stated goals. He wanted money from these other leaders to help with the global economic recovery. He wanted some help in Afghanistan, whatever form that might have taken, whether military or financial. Wanted to talk about nuclear non-proliferation. So give him a report card on those subjects.
INGRAHAM: Well look, first when it comes to getting all these countries to give two percent of their GDP for this global stimulus, I mean they took that off the table before they even went overseas on this big trip. So that was completely lost. This idea that we were going to, you know, bring people to the table and we were going to, you know, come up with this, this, this plan that was gonna make the world safer. I mean look, we're gonna meet with the Russians at some point in the next year. There's no clear sense that, that's going to accomplish anything. We know Russia, Matt, was set to eliminate some of these defense systems and update their defense systems and this was a conversation that the Russians started to have with President Bush. So I don't think we've, we've seen much there. Look what we do-
LAUER: So let's be fair and say that he didn't come away accomplishing what he went there to accomplish, but is it possible to say, look at it slightly differently, Laura, and say some of these things take a while to bear fruit and that perhaps some of these leaders, other leaders were reluctant to come forward with some of these things under the glare of the summit spotlight and they may be more forthcoming in the coming weeks and months?
INGRAHAM: Well I don't know, I guess that's possible. But look we, we know that Europe loves President Obama. He had adoring crowds. The press loves Obama. The question is how will this date end? Okay? The question is, to what end? Why do they love President Obama? They love his personal story, they love his wife. North Korea, China and Russia don't really care about Michelle's arms and, you know, whether they gave an iPod to the Queen, okay? They care about whether America is still going to lead, exhibit strength and doesn't just talk about these vague concepts, Matt, of global cooperation-
LAUER: Right.
INGRAHAM: -but actually backs up talk with action. And that's-
LAUER: And let me take that-
INGRAHAM: -where I think he failed. The North Korea missile test was his first test and what's happened since? The UN Security Council -- a deafening silence. Now the popularity of Obama is so far not translating into a lot. But look he's well liked and you know he has succeeded, I think, in turning page. But the Europeans haven't done much yet.
LAUER: Well let me take it a step further because some critics of, of President Obama say the reason the Europeans love him is, is less about respect and more about the fact that he's been somewhat apologetic, and some would call that honest, and, and, and the Europeans like this. This is less about respect and more about Schadenfreude. They like to see a diminished United States. Would you be on that bandwagon?
INGRAHAM: Well yeah they, they like to see America on her knees, until they need America. So they love the fact that he said, "We're arrogant, Americans don't understand Europe." They love the fact that he continues to talk about, you know, America and her flaws and, and "Yeah, America, I believe in American Exceptionalism but the Greeks believed in their exceptionalism and, and Britain believes in her exceptionalism."
LAUER: But wasn't he pretty even-handed with that Laura? I think the, the part of the speech that you're referring to right now, let me read it as I throw my glasses on here. He said, quote, "In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even, even derisive." But in the next sentence he went on to say, "But in Europe there's an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious." So what's wrong with kind of starting from that base level of saying, "We've both been to blame in the past?"
INGRAHAM: Well it, it, that's fine, that's fine. And he did say that. There was one or two mentions of that. But I think what we didn't hear from the President is a challenge to Europe, a strong challenge, to say, "Look I'm asking my people back at home to sacrifice in this time of, of global crisis. We need Europeans to sacrifice more. We need you to make a real commitment, militarily to securing liberty and freedom in the world and we will lead, we always have and we will continue to lead. I'm not making apologize, apologies for America's desire to lead the world. We believe we have the right path forward. We're listening to you but we're leading." He got not a single French troop, Matt. Not a single French troop to join the effort in Afghanistan. Nothing! They got a paltry increase in the number of troops going to Afghanistan on this trip. For someone who is this popular and so, you know, laudatory about global cooperation and these ideals, he comes home with precious little in terms of results, in global cooperation. That's my point. Is he well liked? Absolutely.
LAUER: Okay.
INGRAHAM: Does he have a beautiful family? Yes. Does it result in actual benefits to us and the American people? I don't think so.
LAUER: Alright Laura Ingraham. Laura, it's good to have you here. As always, nice seeing you, thanks.
INGRAHAM: Thanks Matt.

To read about the Today show's obsessive Obama coverage, check these recent CyberAlert:

# For "NBC's Friesen on Michelle Obama: 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You,'" go to: www.mrc.org

# For "NBC's Today Cheers Obamas Bring 'Charisma' & 'Stardust' to UK," see: www.mrc.org

# For "NBC's Today Can't Get Enough of 'Michelle's Magic' in the UK," go to: www.mrc.org

 

 

Obama 'Wins Troop's Cheers,' But Bush's
Visit Greeted w/ Petulance

New York Times contrast. Obama visits Baghdad: "In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers." Bush visits Baghdad in Thanksgiving 2003: "President Bush with American troops yesterday at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport."

The front page of Wednesday's Times featured a huge Associated Press photo of President Obama greeting troops on his surprise trip to Baghdad. The caption (from the print edition): "In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers -- Military personnel at Camp Victory in Baghdad applauded President Obama on Tuesday when he said 'It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis.'"

That teased a favorable story about Obama's visit on Page 11, which included another photo of Obama and the troops, with a more straightforward caption (again from the print): "President Obama spoke to American troops at Camp Victory, Iraq, on Tuesday. The president said that it was time for Iraqis 'to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty.'"

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

Compare the photographic enthusiasm the Times showed over Obama's first trip as President to Iraq to the coolness with which the paper's photo-caption writers greeted President George W. Bush's dramatic first, secret visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day 2003, which occurred during intense wartime hostilities.

While even Bush-hostile reporter Elisabeth Bumiller admitted in her front-page story that the President was surrounded by "stunned, whooping soldiers," none of that enthusiasm made it into the photo captions from Bush's visit to Baghdad.

The caption accompanying a front-page photo of Bush carrying a turkey among troops was coolly descriptive: "President Bush with American troops yesterday at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport."

And a photo caption that evidently appeared on the article's jump page was self-obsessed and petulant. According to the Times archive (the photo itself is not online), the text read: "President Bush posed for a photograph yesterday during his surprise visit to American troops at the airport in Baghdad, Iraq. Few journalists were told of the trip or allowed to cover it."

For the latest instances of bias in the New York Times, check TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org

 

 

CNN's Sanchez Blames Fox News, 'Right-Wing
Radio' for Cop Killings

 

CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to blasting conservatives on Wednesday's Newsroom program, blaming the recent murder of three Pittsburgh police officers on the Fox News Channel and other media on the right: "That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, 'Our rights were being infringed upon.'" He tag-teamed with Media Matters fellow Eric Boehlert to argue that conservative media personalities like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were offering "garden-variety fear and hate mongering...night in and night out."

One could be sure that Sanchez would be pointing his finger squarely at his competitors on the right from the first moment he mentioned the gun issue, which was 13 minutes into the 3 PM EDT CNN hour. After playing audio of gunshots from the Pittsburgh murders, he gave the following promo: "What you're hearing there is three police officers killed by a man who thought President Obama would take away his guns. Who put that thought in his head? And how many more Americans believe that? Could it be 1.2 million Americans? You're going to see why I'm asking that question." Sanchez gave a further hint that his target was Fox News during another promo ten minutes later: "Are Americans being fed a pack of lies about President Obama and guns laws? And is it creating a gun buying panic? 'We'll report, you decide.' That's not too obvious, is it?"

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

The issue was apparently so important to Sanchez that he gave two more promos to the segment. In the second, he brought in briefs about two other recent mass shootings and gave further details about the Pittsburgh murders, including his line about "Fox News and listening to right-wing radio." After denying that the Obama administration had actually expressed its desire for a ban on "assault weapons," he then provided his own biased take on the matter:

SANCHEZ: Here's the real issue here: Poplawski [the murderer of the Pittsburgh police officers] may not be alone in this crazy, "they're coming to get us" mindset. There is evidence of a gun buying panic. According to the FBI, there have been 1.2 million more requests for background checks of potential gun buyers from November to February than there in the same four months last year....Who is stirring the pot?...Who is trying to use this to get people to not trust President Obama, and more importantly, is there any truth to the fear of more restrictive gun ban? That's what I'm going to tackle when I come back.

For more on the Obama administration's desire to reinstate the assault weapons ban, see the February 25 item by ABC News correspondent Jason Ryan, "Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban," at: abcnews.go.com

When Sanchez finally began the segment, he went further in his left-wing, anti-conservative rhetoric:

SANCHEZ: The failing economy; the election of Barack Obama, the nation's first minority -- minority president; and then there's the garden-variety fear and hate mongering provided compliments of Fox News night in and night out. That's where Glenn Beck is seen night after night, talking about doomsday, about the country coming apart, while his counterpart Sean Hannity calls the president a socialist, and worse, implying day in and night out that he's trying to destroy America. Here's an apparent result. Americans are scarfing up guns and ammunition at an alarming rate. Growing numbers of people appear to believe that the government wants their weapons.

The anchor then played clips of YouTube videos of people expressing their concerns about gun control from the Obama administration. As you might expect, all of these individuals were white males. Sanchez replied to them as he introduced a report from CNN correspondent Jim Acosta: "Again, there is an unrelenting message being pushed by the right -- far right, we should say, that Obama will mount an assault on the Second Amendment. Is it true? Is there anything at all to it? What are the facts? That's what Jim Acosta looks into." Acosta's report, contrary to Sanchez's earlier outright denial, acknowledged that Attorney General Eric Holder had expressed that the Obama administration sought "a few gun-related changes...among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons." The correspondent tried to neutralize this by reporting how "65 pro-gun House Democrats have fired off a letter to Holder, urging him to abandon the assault weapons ban."

After Acosta's report, Sanchez again expressed his alarm over how "there have been 1.2 million more requests for background checks of potential gun buyers from November to February, than there were in the same four months last year." He then introduced Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation and Media Matters' Boehlert for a debate. When Gottlieb initially covered President Obama's pro-gun control record in the past, Sanchez replied sardonically, "So that's all you got, is the record -- the past?" The gun activist continued by introducing a more recent statement by Attorney General Holder related to stopping the supposed flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels: "I don't think our Second Amendment will stand in the way of the efforts we have begun and will expand upon."

For more on Holder's statement about the Second Amendment, see Evan Perez's April 2, 2009 item on The Wall Street Journal's website, "U.S. and Mexico Meet on Border Issues" at: online.wsj.com

Sanchez brushed this statement aside and read an excerpt from Holder's confirmation hearing in January. When Gottlieb countered with more of the attorney general's past record, he turned to Boehlert to give the left-wing talking points on the matter, as Sanchez himself had done earlier. The anchor would chime in from time to time to assist.

ERIC BOEHLERT, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: Well, I think people on the right and the single-issue passionate people are desperate to find some sort of opening so they can -- they can push this -- this narrative. I mean, Glenn Beck yesterday on his radio show said Barack Obama will take away your gun any way -- one way or another -- he's going to take away your gun. This message has been on Fox News for weeks and months, and it's not just the gun control issue. They are painting, as you mentioned, sort of this doomsday scenario, almost mainstreaming this militia idea of tyranny and, you know, totalitarian state in America. It's incredibly irresponsible to be doing.
SANCHEZ: Alan, what do you think of that? Alan, what do you think of that, because, you know, just about any independent person who looks at some of this coverage that we've been seeing, not just on Fox News, but on other places as well -- it seems alarmist. It almost seems like -- well, let me leave it at that.
GOTTLIEB: Well, I think -- I think the alarming thing is -- is that not that it's a doomsday scenario, but there's no doubt that nobody can argue that the government isn't growing at alarming rates, at record levels of spending, record levels of control-
SANCHEZ: It grew during the Bush administration!
GOTTLIEB: Oh, it sure-
SANCHEZ: Where were -- where were your concerns then?
GOTTLIEB: I had concerns then, too, but they are not growing at the alarming rate that they are right now. Government regulations, controls -- everything on individuals in this country is significantly going in the direction of more and more government. Nobody can deny that, and, of course, that goes right into the argument of more and more gun control as well, when government wants to regulate people.
SANCHEZ: Eric?
BOEHLERT: Well, you know, saying the government is growing in size is a lot different than saying they are going to come knock on your door and take your guns, that democracy in America is on the wane, and that we're going to turn into a socialist or Marxist or fascist, depending on what week it is with Glenn Beck. That's quite a leap, and again, that's incredibly irresponsible. We have never seen, you know, a television news outfit, you know, sort of exploit these kind of fears before, and they're doing it on a daily basis. And again they're basically mainstreaming this militia -- this militia movement and this militia rhetoric.
SANCHEZ: It just -- it just-
GOTTLIEB: I like how you're using the word militia. I mean, you're trying to label everybody as militia, as being, you know, evil, crazy people out there. You know, there are 90 million gun owners in America and they're not members of militias. The bottom line is, the Pew Research Center just did a survey that shows that Barack Obama is the most polarizing president we have had in four decades-
SANCHEZ: But -- but hold on, Alan. Is that fair? How can --
GOTTLIEB: The reason why people are buying guns is [that] he's polarizing them.

Despite this combined effort, Gottlieb would get the last word when Sanchez blamed conservative media for the polarization:

SANCHEZ: Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan -- how could he not be polarizing when people are saying those messages that we have been talking about? If -- if I was to get on the air and start saying horrible things about anyone day in and day out and scaring the bejesus out of you and telling you that the world is going to end as a result of this particular politician, whether he's on the right or on the left or in the middle, don't you think he would be polarizing?
GOTTLIEB: Well, I think maybe the media did that to George Bush -- one could make a very good argument what you're saying is true. Maybe it wasn't Fox News -- maybe it was CNN and MSNBC.
SANCHEZ: All right, we'll leave it at that. I suppose that's -- that's fair, and I thank you, sir, for taking time to talk to us. Alan, my thanks to you-
GOTTLIEB: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: And Eric my thanks to you as well.

 

 

NBC: Only GOP Governors Caught in Sex
Scandals Get Party Label

Just this past Monday, NBC's Today show studiously avoided mentioning disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer's Democratic affiliation during his interview with Matt Lauer, but fast forward to Wednesday's Today and a story about another governor embroiled in a sex scandal -- in this case Nevada Republican Governor Jim Gibbons -- and NBC's Michael Okwu was careful to note he is a Republican at the very top of the story: "If voters in Nevada were betting on a nasty gubernatorial divorce, this week they hit the jackpot. That's Republican Governor Jim Gibbons. There's his future ex-wife, Dawn. After 23 years of a polished political marriage to Dawn Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman, the governor has filed for divorce citing incompatibility in what's become a very public war of the roses."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Back in March of 2008, when they first covered Spitzer's prostitution scandal, Today devoted an entire 4-hour program to ignoring the "D" next to Spitzer's name and in that same month Today also bypassed the party affiliation of yet another Democrat caught in compromising position, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

The following is a complete transcript of the Okwu story as it was aired on the April 8 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: And now to what could be one of the nastiest divorce battles in America right now. Nevada's First Lady accusing her husband Governor Jim Gibbons of having multiple, extramarital affairs. NBC's Michael Okwu has the latest.

MICHAEL OKWU: If voters in Nevada were betting on a nasty gubernatorial divorce, this week they hit the jackpot. That's Republican Governor Jim Gibbons. There's his future ex-wife, Dawn. After 23 years of a polished political marriage to Dawn Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman, the governor has filed for divorce citing incompatibility in what's become a very public war of the roses.
KATHLEEN TURNER IN WAR OF THE ROSES MOVIE CLIP: Was it as good for you as it was for me?
OKWU: In the divorce papers unsealed this week, Dawn Gibbons says her husband wanted out, to pursue his dalliances and accused him of having affairs with at least two married women, including a former Playboy model seen here two-stepping ahead of the governor at a Reno rodeo.
JOHN SMITH, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, COLUMNIST: Is the divorce a big deal here? Sure, it is. This is a three-ring circus and all three rings are full.
OKWU: The other, other woman, according to Dawn Gibbons, was a state employee. Last year when news broke, the governor had reportedly sent the worker more than 800 text messages over several weeks, sometimes in the middle of the night. It was a scandal.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER TO GIBBONS: Is this an affair as your wife claims through your attorney?
GOVERNOR JIM GIBBONS: Absolutely not.
SMITH: The only response is OMG, are they BFFs?
OKWU: Tuesday the governor's lawyer told NBC News the allegations are not worthy of a response, "Continuing infidelity is not relevant to anything in Nevada. We're a no-fault state." In the court documents, Dawn Gibbons says she is devastated and feels like a cast-away wife after standing by her man. Standing by him, even in 2006 after Las Vegas cocktail waitress accused Gibbons, then a five-term U.S. Congressman running for the state house, of making unwanted sexual advances.
GIBBONS: I unequivocally deny that I ever engaged in any inappropriate or offensive behavior.
OKWU: No criminal charges were filed, ruling in the civil suit is pending. In the meantime, Dawn Gibbons has moved out of the governor's mansion and into a one-room apartment on the property. For his part the governor says his wife has been overly aggressive. In one legal motion, the governor's lawyer said, "Being in close quarters with such a volatile person was like being locked in a phone booth with an enraged ferret." For "Today," Michael Okwu, NBC News, Los Angeles.

To read about how "Today" covered Democrats caught in sex scandals see the April 7 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

And March 12, 2008 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
And: newsbusters.org

 

-- Brent Baker