Lead with 'Rebuke' of Bush on Terror Suspect; Skip Clinton Role --6/12/2007
2. Today Show Whacks Bush with Powell's Charges on Meet the Press
3. Dan Rather: Iraq 'Strategic Catastrophe of Historic Proportions'
4. Reviewer: Comedy Central's Lil' Bush a 'Juvenile Pile of Manure'
ABC and CBS on Monday night led by celebrating a 2-to-1 federal appeals court ruling against the Bush administration's policy of holding a sleeper cell suspect at a military brig without redress in civilian courts, but in eagerly quoting from the ruling neither bothered to mention that the two judges in the majority were Clinton appointees. "Tonight," Charles Gibson teased at the top of World News, "a stinging rejection for the President." Gibson set up his lead story by marveling at how "it is not often you will see a federal court call a policy of the President's 'disastrous.'" Gibson recited how the appeals court "says the President 'claims power that far exceeds that granted him by the Constitution,' a strong rebuke of the administration," a characterization soon repeated by ABC legal reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg: "The language in this decision is almost indignant, it's a sharp rebuke to these policies of President Bush..." ABC also featured the suspect's attorney, who asserted: "The court is warning is that if they can do that to Mr. Al Marri, they can do it to you, they can do it to your mother."
With "Bush Setback" on screen, CBS anchor Katie Couric trumpeted "a big defeat for President Bush." Reporter Wyatt Andrews relayed how "the ruling bluntly tells President Bush he has gone too far arresting civilians as enemy combatants," but he at least quoted a clause from the dissenting judge before concluding by describing the ideology of the court circuit without regard for who nominated the two judges who issued the ruling: "This is a case the White House lost in the appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, perhaps the nation's most conservative. And while the President is still arguing he has unquestioned authority to detain terror suspects, the courts are now firmly saying he does not."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Oddly, the NBC Nightly News folded the court ruling news into its lead story about the lawsuit alleging a connection between autism and vaccines.
The lengthy ruling (PDF of it: pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov ) was written by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz and joined by Judge Roger L. Gregory, with the dissent from Bush appointee Judge Henry Hudson: http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/tGetInfo?jid=2954
The federal judiciary page bio of Motz, based in Maryland, reports: "Nominated by William J. Clinton on January 27, 1994, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089." See: www.fjc.gov
Gregory was part of a big showdown with the Republican-controlled Senate and President Bill Clinton made him a recess appointment in late 2000. President Bush later re-nominated him so he could remain on the bench. The federal judiciary bio recounts: "Received a recess appointment from William J. Clinton on December 27, 2000, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089; nominated on May 9, 2001; Confirmed by the Senate on July 20, 2001, and received commission on July 25, 2001." See: www.fjc.gov
A December 28, 2000 Washington Post article by Dan Eggan began:
President Clinton, complaining that Republicans have stymied his attempts to diversify the federal bench, bypassed the Senate yesterday to appoint the first black judge to the all-white 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.
The temporary appointment of Richmond lawyer Roger Gregory lasts only a year, but Clinton said he will also formally nominate Gregory to the seat for a second time in January, when the new Congress convenes.
The dramatic gesture marks the first time in 20 years that a president has filled a judicial opening with a recess appointment, which allows him to seat a candidate while Congress is out of session.
Clinton had nominated Gregory for the slot in June, but the recommendation languished without hearings or a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The famously conservative appellate court -- which serves Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas -- has a larger minority population than any other circuit but has no minority judges. It was the first court in the country to strike down college scholarships reserved exclusively for blacks. Last year, the court also ruled that Arlington and Montgomery counties could not consider a student's race as a basis for admission to a particular school...
END of Excerpt
Al Kamen reported in the January 31, 1994 Washington Post:
The Clinton administration made judicial history last week by proposing the first (within recent memory) husband-wife team to the federal judiciary. Clinton nominated Diana Motz, now an associate judge on the Maryland Special Court of Appeals, to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Maryland, Virginia and three other states.
Her husband, former Baltimore U.S. attorney J. Frederick Motz, is a Reagan-appointed federal district judge in Maryland, which means she could reverse his opinions.
Diana Motz told the White House, however, that she will not sit on appeals from her husband's rulings.
Transcripts of the June 11 ABC and CBS stories:
# ABC's World News. The tease from Charles Gibson: "Tonight, a stinging rejection for the President. A federal court rules the government cannot hold terrorism suspects in this country indefinitely."
GIBSON OPENED: Good evening. It is not often you will see a federal court call a policy of the President's 'disastrous.' But it happened today as a panel the of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the government cannot order the military to hold a civilian in the U.S. indefinitely even if that civilian might be a potential terrorist. The three-judge panel, by a 2-to-1 majority, says the President 'claims power that far exceeds that granted him by the Constitution,' a strong rebuke of the administration. We begin tonight with ABC's Pierre Thomas.
THOMAS: Ali al Marri has been in solitary confinement in this South Carolina naval brig for four years. Al Marri was arrested in December 2001, suspected of being an al Qaeda sleeper agent who was preparing to launch a second wave attack after 9/11.
GIBSON: So, how important is this decision today from the appeals court? Our legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg is joining me now. Jan, as I read this decision the court said, in effect, that no matter how bad a guy this may be, even if he was here to set off a second wave of the terrorism after 9/11, you've either got to try him or let him go, correct?
COURIC LED: Hello, everyone. A key element of President Bush's war on terror was struck down today in court. A federal appeals panel in Richmond, Virginia, ruled the administration cannot continue to hold a legal U.S. resident suspected of terrorism without charges. The government says the suspect in question trained at Osama bin Laden's camp in Afghanistan, met with the master mind of 9/11 plot in the summer of 2001, and arrived in the U.S. just before the attacks. But the court said detaining him without charges violates his constitutional rights. Wyatt Andrews has more now about the ruling and the impact.
WYATT ANDREWS: The ruling bluntly tells President Bush he has gone too far arresting civilians as enemy combatants. In the case of Ali al Marri, a legal U.S. resident who has been held without charge in a South Carolina naval brig for four years, a federal appeals court said the President may not do that to a civilian in America. [With text on screen credited to Judge Diana Gribbon Motz] "The Constitution," the court said, "does not allow the President...to seize civilians in the U.S. and detain them indefinitely...even if he calls them 'enemy combatants.'" Civil liberties groups, and al-Marri's attorney, called it a victory for all Americans."
There's nothing like a Republican turning on his President to get liberal reporters tongues wagging. On Monday's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira along with Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell repeatedly whacked President Bush over the head with Colin Powell's criticism from his Meet the Press appearance. In the 7am half-hour of the program, Vieira first teased the segment: "President Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking out for the first time in a long time and his former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying."
Then Mitchell opened her report with Powell's laundry-list of complaints: "Well breaking a long silence with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Colin Powell expressed regret about the justification for the Iraq war, doubt about the surge and hinted at abandoning the Republican Party in the 2008 election."
Throughout the story Mitchell set up the points of contention, from the surge strategy to pre-war intelligence, and then played the corresponding Powell soundbite. Then Mitchell eagerly concluded the piece surmising that the "life-long Republican" could abandon the GOP: "Powell did not rule out serving in a future cabinet and he acknowledged giving advice to a Democrat, Barack Obama. In fact this life-long Republican said he would support the best candidate, hinting it could well be a Democrat or even an independent, Meredith."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
After the Mitchell set-up piece Vieira brought on Russert to underscore Powell's charges: "As Powell said to you yesterday, had he known in February 2003, that there were no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Iraq there would've been no case to invade the country. So do you think that now he regrets the role that he played in that decision?"
The following is the entire Mitchell set-up piece followed by Vieira's interview with Russert on the June 11 Today:
Meredith Vieira: "President Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking out for the first time in a long time and his former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is here with the details. Andrea, good morning to you."
[On screen headline: "Breaking His Silence, Powell Blasts Bush War Policies."]
Andrea Mitchell: "Good morning Meredith. Well breaking a long silence with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Colin Powell expressed regret about the justification for the Iraq war, doubt about the surge and hinted at abandoning the Republican Party in the 2008 election. In a rare, broad-ranging interview, Colin Powell spoke bluntly on Meet the Press about all aspects of the war and the administration's latest strategy to win it."
Meredith Vieira: "Andrea Mitchell, thank you. NBC's Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press, Tim Russert, conducted that interview with Colin Powell. Tim, good morning to you."
Rather, who was appearing to promote his new special on the HDNet cable channel, seemed to be angling for a moment similar to Walter Cronkite's denouncement of the Vietnam War. The former CBS Evening News host justified a retreat by saying, "There is nothing wrong with a, a strategic withdrawal from Iraq that takes the position, 'Look, hell, we did the best we could there. We've lost more than 3,000 dead. We need a strategic withdrawal.'" The man who prides himself on folksy aphorisms, and advocating "courage," claimed such a withdrawal would be "a different thing than a retreat."
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted with video Monday afternoon on the MRC's NewsBusters blog. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But to listen or watch in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC has documented Dan Rather's long history of liberal bias. A collection of "greatest hits" can be found here: www.mrc.org
A transcript of the exchange, which occurred at 7:47am EDT on MSNBC's Morning Joe show:
Dan Rather: "I went to the graduation exercises at West Point as part of doing this program for tomorrow night. And, you know, what sticks in my mind, Joe, is the drumbeat. You know, badarump, badarump, badarump. As I heard that drumbeat and looked out and saw these you know, 21 and 22-year-olds who have dedicated their lives to protecting the country, putting their lives on the line to do so. Saying, you know, with every drumbeat it reminds me that a lot of these young man and woman that I'm watching are going to die.
Comedy Central's new Lil' Bush cartoon show set to debut Wednesday night, in which President Bush and allies are impish little kids in the White House of his father set in present time, is so "borderline-irresponsible" that even the reviewer for Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly magazine "begged" readers not to watch it. Whitney Pastorek denounced it and pleaded: "Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Condi Rice are kids! And they're all stupid and evil! Cheney drinks the blood of chickens! And Jeb Bush is retarded! Etc. It's a juvenile pile of manure aching to hit the conservative pundit fan. Thus, I beg those on the right -- and, while I'm at it, everyone else -- not to watch it."
In a Tuesday AP dispatch, Frazier Moore reported that the creator of the cartoon show believes Bush thinks in a "simplistic, cartoony fashion," and in "one episode, Lil' George and his gang protest an unwanted menu change in the school cafeteria by torturing the cafeteria workers a la Abu Ghraib." As for whether Bush supporters will take issue with the show, the creator confirmed his own political prejudice: "The good news is, 68 percent of the country aren't his supporters anymore."
An excerpt from "'Lil' Bush': a cartoon take on the prez," a June 11 AP story by Frazier Moore:
Created by Donick Cary, whose credits include writing for David Letterman and a stint on "The Simpsons" as writer-producer, "Lil' Bush" is "this fantastical Bush World bridging the two Bush presidencies, where anything can happen....
"Somehow, this president that we have lends himself to thinking in a simplistic, cartoony fashion," Cary says. "He's always been about soundbites, one-word answers, move ahead, act from the gut."...
At 38, Cary is a veteran decider, too, where comedy is concerned, and he insists the main strategery for "Lil' Bush" is delivering laughs.
Even so, at times the humor packs a punch. In one episode, Lil' George and his gang protest an unwanted menu change in the school cafeteria by torturing the cafeteria workers a la Abu Ghraib.
Will the president's supporters take issue with "Lil' Bush"?
"The good news is, 68 percent of the country aren't his supporters anymore '€" or whatever the number is," says Cary, pretty close to the number in a poll released last week. "But we aren't backing away from viewer criticism. I would have loved this to get on, the first year of his administration."...
END of Excerpt
Pastorek's item in full in the "What to Watch" section of the June 15 Entertainment Weekly, a portion of the magazine which is not online:
Entertainment Weekly's home page: www.ew.com
-- Brent Baker