2. Month Ago CBS Saw Recession, But Now Skip Big Job Gains
3. ABC Puzzles Over Flag Pin 'Obsession'; Note Nixon Wore One
4. GMA Frets: Local Governments Going 'Too Far' Against Illegals?
5. 'Top Ten Pet Peeves of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad'
On Friday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews tried to explain away his "criminality" allegation against the Bush administration, hailed as his "hero" a CBS News correspondent who touted Jesse Jackson as "a sort of conscience of the country" and, in showing pictures from the Thursday night party celebrating Hardball's 10th anniversary, illustrated how he was surrounded by liberals.
Comments from Matthews on his show suggested that his charge against the Bush administration -- "they've finally been caught in their criminality" -- which the Washington Examiner quoted him as saying at the party, was merely a reference to Scooter Libby. But he failed to specifically clarify, correct or deny the quote. He argued "that in one case," Bush administration "efforts to silence critics, and to cover up those efforts, got a senior Cheney aide caught up in criminality, indeed, in a conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice." Matthews, playing the martyr to obviously unsuccessful supposed attempts to silence him, then trumpeted "my hero Eric Sevareid," who "once noted we cannot always be right on the facts, though we must try to be; we cannot always be fair, but we must try to be. But we must always be independent." If only Matthews really lived up to that "independent" promise.
Back in July of 1988, during CBS News coverage of the Democratic National Convention, Sevareid, sitting in the booth with Dan Rather, praised Jesse Jackson: "He has become here, a kind of new, he's acquired a new status. He's almost like Hubert Humphrey was, a sort of conscience of the country." (Screen shot, which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, is from the MRC's video archive from July 20, 1988.)
[This item was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Throughout Friday's Hardball, as the show went into commercial breaks, viewers were treated to pictures of Matthews at the anniversary party with various guests. Of ten people in the photos credited to Marty Katz, not counting his wife Kathleen Matthews who until recently was an anchor for DC's ABC affiliate, only one, Pat Buchanan, could be readily identified as a conservative. Those seen smiling and laughing with Matthews included five Democratic Senators or Congressman, but not one from the Republican side of the aisle:
-- Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, Democrat of Texas
-- Senator John Kerry
-- NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell and her husband Alan Greenspan
-- Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Patrick Kennedy
-- NBC's Tim Russert
-- Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News and formerly with Time magazine
-- Pat Buchanan
-- Congressman Ed Markey, Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan
In the Washington Examiner's "Yeas & Nays" column item posted Thursday night, Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin reported:
....In front of an audience that included such notables as Alan Greenspan, Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, Matthews began his remarks by declaring that he wanted to "make some news" and he certainly didn't disappoint. After praising the drafters of the First Amendment for allowing him to make a living, he outlined what he said was the fundamental difference between the Bush and Clinton administrations.
The Clinton camp, he said, never put pressure on his bosses to silence him.
"Not so this crowd," he added, explaining that Bush White House officials -- especially those from Vice President Cheney's office -- called MSNBC brass to complain about the content of his show and attempted to influence its editorial content. "They will not silence me!" Matthews declared.
"They've finally been caught in their criminality," Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, "Spiro Agnew was not an American hero."
Matthews left the throng of Washington A-listers with a parting shot at Cheney: "God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We'd all be under a parking lot."
END of Excerpt
That's online, in full, at: www.examiner.com
Seemingly addressing these quotes, on the October 5 Hardball Matthews delivered this brief commentary:
"Last night we had a great celebration here in Washington of ten years of Hardball. We celebrate the wonders of the First Amendment and our freedom of the press which Americans of all political stripes treasure. Anyway, I told the crowd that it hasn't always been easy these past ten years, that politicians don't like to be criticized, that in one case their efforts to silence critics, and to cover up those efforts, got a senior Cheney aide caught up in criminality, indeed, in a conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice.
On Tuesday, Matthews will co-host, with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, a debate amongst GOP presidential candidates. It will air live on CNBC from 4 to 6pm EDT with a re-run at 9pm EDT on MSNBC.
When the Labor Department reported a net loss of 4,000 jobs for August, the September 7 ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts highlighted the bad news as evidence of an impending recession, but on Friday, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the August number to a gain of 89,000 jobs and reported 110,000 new jobs for September, only ABC bothered to mention the revision while CBS didn't utter a syllable about either jobs gain. The CBS Evening News anchored by Harry Smith, however, found time to note the Postal Service's decision to honor two CBS journalists -- Eric Sevareid and George Polk -- with stamps.
A month ago, Katie Couric plugged an upcoming look at "new worries about the U.S. economy following a disappointing jobs report." Harry Smith then cited "new concern about the economy tonight following a report which showed the number of jobs in the U.S. dropped by 4,000 in August, the first monthly decline in four years." Anthony Mason asserted "it had a lot of economists uttering the 'r' word today, recession," and fretted: "These job numbers are the most worrisome sign yet, Harry, that the housing slump and the mortgage crisis could take the entire economy down with them." ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: "The economy loses jobs for the first time in years as the housing crisis raises the risk of recession." Betsy Stark declared: "The risks of a serious slowdown, even a recession, are rising. Today's jobs report was shockingly bleak."
Harry Smith's 24-second item on the new stamps: "Two CBS News legends are being honored with postage stamps. The Postal Service today unveiled images of Eric Sevareid and George Polk. Sevareid was one of Murrow's boys reporting on World War II and later a commentator on this broadcast. George Polk was killed while covering the civil war in Greece. One of the most prestigious awards in journalism is named after him. The stamps are due out next year."
While ABC ran a full story on the bad news and just an anchor update on the good news while CBS devoted a full segment to the bad news and ignored the good news, NBC's Brian Williams was consistent in running short items on both nights, though he failed to infirm his viewers of the upward revision. Instead, on Friday's Nightly News, Williams cited "good news on the jobs front" as "employers added 110,000 jobs to the nation's payrolls" in September, but he contrasted that with how "more people out there looking for work" had "pushed the unemployment rate up a tenth of a point to 4.7 percent."
But the report for September, from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, portrayed the unemployment rate as "essentially unchanged," explaining: "The number of unemployed persons (7.2 million) and the unemployment rate (4.7 percent) were essentially unchanged in September. A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 6.9 million and the jobless rate was 4.6 percent." PDF of the October 5 BLS release: www.bls.gov
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Dan Gainor asked in a Friday morning NewsBusters post: "I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported." For Gainor's report for the MRC's Business and Media Institute, "So Much for the ABC 'Recession' Talk: Job numbers outdo predictions and revisions change August numbers from negative to positive," go to: www.businessandmedia.org
Well, it turns out ABC's evening news program actually corrected the record while CBS didn't even try to spin the good news -- it just skipped it after a month earlier stressing (the since-corrected) bad news as portending a recession.
The brief updates on the Friday, October 5 ABC and NBC evening newscasts:
# ABC's World News, the only newscast to mention the revised jobs number:
CHARLES GIBSON: In financial news, the American job market picked up steam as employers added 110,000 jobs to the economy last month. The unemployment rate edged up to 4.7 percent, however, because more people are looking for work. The Labor Department also revised its report for August. It initially said 4,000 jobs had been lost, it turns out 89,000 jobs were created and investors responded favorably today, pushing the Dow up 92 points to close at 14,066.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: News on the economy tonight, good news on the jobs front. Employers added 110,000 jobs to the nation's payrolls, we're told, last month. That is about what analysts were expecting. There were also more people out there looking for work and, the way the numbers work, that pushed the unemployment rate up a tenth of a point to 4.7 percent. And the week ended on Wall Street this Friday with stocks up across the board. The Dow advancing 91 points at the end of the week.
# ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Labor pains: The economy loses jobs for the first time in years as the housing crisis raises the risk of recession.
GIBSON: Next, we're going to turn to the economy and jobs figures that came out today that caught nearly everybody by surprise. The government said the economy lost 4,000 jobs in August. It was the first monthly decline in four years. Stocks plunged on the news. The Dow Jones fell 250 points. The NASDAQ tumbled nearly two percent. ABC's Betsy Stark is joining us tonight. Betsy?
BETSY STARK: Charlie, many consider the jobs report the single most important barometer of the nation's economic health. Well, right now, that barometer is reading high alert. The risks of a serious slowdown, even a recession, are rising. Today's jobs report was shockingly bleak.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We switch now to the economy and jobs and a number that caught almost everyone off guard when it came out this morning. For the first time in four years in this country, employers cut jobs, 4,000 total. Economists had expected a gain of 110,000. That didn't sit too well on Wall Street. The Dow then dropped just under 250 points on the day. And we got late word tonight that more layoffs are on the way. For that, CNBC's Erin Burnett is with us tonight and Erin, what is the news on this front? [Countrywide Financial cutting 12,000 jobs]
KATIE COURIC, FROM DAMASCUS, IN PLUG: But up next, Harry Smith in New York with more of the day's news, including new worries about the U.S. economy following a disappointing jobs report.
HARRY SMITH: I'm Harry Smith in New York. There is new concern about the economy tonight following a report which showed the number of jobs in the U.S. dropped by 4,000 in August, the first monthly decline in four years. That news rattled traders on Wall Street. The Dow lost nearly 250 points. Anthony Mason is here to make some sense of it all. Good evening.
On Friday's Good Morning America, ABC reporter David Wright narrated a sympathetic look at Barack Obama's decision not to wear an American flag lapel pin and asserted that this country's "obsession with flag pins is relatively new." To further defend the Democratic presidential candidate, Wright pointedly noted that liberal bogeyman Richard Nixon wore such a pin: "Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate."
Of course, Wright himself was not wearing a pin with the U.S. flag on it. As the MRC has previously noted, ABC President David Westin banned on-air talent from having such pins adorn their lapels. In 2003, he deemed it the "patriotic duty" of reporters not to display the flag. At a journalist conference, he elaborated that "after 9/11, the question came up and we, as a matter of policy at ABC News, tell our people on the air, you shall not wear an American flag or any other symbol on the air." See the January 20, 2003 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In a brief follow-up piece, This Week host George Stephanopoulos criticized Barack Obama for his explanation surrounding the controversy. He derided the Illinois Senator's claim that the pins are a "substitute for...true patriotism," calling that a "mistake." Stephanopoulos asserted: "The problem for him is, in that first answer, he seemed to slam people who did wear the pin as we were moving towards war in Iraq and he was suggesting this was a protest on his part and that was a mistake for Barack Obama."
The ABC anchor predicted the gaffe could "limit his gains further on down the road." Of course, viewers should probably attribute the harshness of Stephanopoulos's statements not to objectivity, but to a continuing loyalty to the Clintons. Just last week, the network host touted talking points e-mails he received from the Hillary Clinton camp during the midst of a debate. See the September 28 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
And days before his GMA appearance, Stephanopoulos delivered a sycophantic interview with his old boss, Bill Clinton. He cheerfully asked if Clinton would be "okay" with being known as the "the philanthropist who happened to be President." See the October 1 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
A transcript of the GMA segment, which aired at 7:05am on October 5:
ABC Graphic: "Politics of the Pin: Why Won't Obama Wear Flag?"
Chris Cuomo: "And let's take a look at the race to '08 and why presidential contender Barack Obama won't wear an American flag lapel pin. His answer? Obama told an ABC affiliate that they've become a substitute for true patriotism and that's why he declined to wear one. But the story will not end there. David Wright has more."
David Wright: "After 9/11, the red white and blue lapel pin became the fashion accessory of choice for politicians, but not all of them."
Cuomo: "Now joining us live with the bottom line is ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos. George, thank you for joining us this morning as always. Tricky politics here for Barack Obama. When you're playing with the American symbol, the flag. How does this go for him?"
ABC's Claire Shipman fretted, on Friday's Good Morning America, over the fact that local governments are aggressively fighting illegal immigration. An ABC graphic worried, "Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants: Have Communities Gone Too Far?" Discussing the efforts by a Texas town to stop the influx of illegals, Shipman claimed: "Neighbors suddenly find they can't help themselves. The immigration debate exploding without the niceties." She also lamented the tone of the debate, saying that since the defeat of the Senate immigration bill, "what had once been a lofty political debate has now become a gritty, explosive reality."
At no point did it occur to ABC to wonder if illegals had "gone too far" in breaking American laws. Rather, Shipman highlighted sympathetic stories of terrified immigrants. She asserted that in Irving, Texas, "Latino parents have grown so nervous, they're keeping their kids out of schools." The GMA reporter also talked to an anonymous illegal immigrant in Virginia who recounted the ordeal of having a child who "comes home and asked me, 'Why do they hate us?'"
Additionally, GMA alerted viewers to a special edition of Good Morning America that will air on Monday, October 8. Co-host Diane Sawyer will be in Mexico to do extensive reporting on that country and illegal immigration in general. She will be interviewing Mexican President Felipe Calderon and promised to grill him with tough questions about immigration and controlling the borders. However, considering that this is the same reporter who asked Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad about what songs he has on his iPod, viewers could be forgiven for having some skepticism. See: newsbusters.org
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the October 5 segment, which aired at 7:14am:
ABC Graphic: "Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants: Have Communities Gone Too Far?"
Chris Cuomo: "Let's go now to the crackdown on illegal immigration. All over America this morning, a debate is raging about the best way to address this crisis with millions of people calling on the federal government to get tough on illegal immigrants. But how they are getting tough is raising questions as well. GMA senior national correspondent Claire Shipman joins us live now from Washington. Good morning, Claire."
Claire Shipman: "Good morning, Chris. Here's what's happening, why you're seeing so many dramatic headlines. When immigration reform efforts failed, federal law enforcement agencies decided they would start enforcing the laws on the books. Local government, local law enforcement, they've been coming up with their own solutions. And so what had once been a lofty political debate has now become a gritty, explosive reality. Irving, Texas-"
Diane Sawyer: "Hello, Claire, and good morning, America. We are in Mexico City, Mexico this morning because, as you just heard, the intense pressure is building to do something about illegal immigrants in the United States. And we're going to take you to the source. We're going to show you who is going across this border and how they're getting there. I'm also going to be talking to the president of this country, President Calderon, to talk to him about, is he going to crack down or in fact, is it to his advantage to leave the border open? We're also going to try and tackle this question of English in the United States. Does it change the country if English is no longer the only commonly used language? And I'll be showing you around a Mexico you have never seen before. It is an amazing place. We have things to show you that will make your mouth drop. And we're going to introduce you to the richest man on the planet. No, it is not Bill Gates. He lives here. And you will not believe how he lives."
From the Late Show's "Top Ten Contest" page, the winning responses posted October 6 for the "Top Ten Pet Peeves of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Being classified as a "madman" makes your home insurance rates go sky high (Tim P, Charlotte, NC)
9. Never can find coffee mugs with his name on them (Dennis S, Florence, MA)
8. No Men's Warehouse in Iran (Jaybeau J, Worcester, MA)
7. Can never beat the Israeli Prime Minister in Halo 3 online match (Patrick M, Philadelphia, PA)
6. Victoria's Secret does not make a burkha (Mark L, Parrish, FL)
5. Wasn't allowed to visit Minneapolis Airport Men's Room (John L, Canton, MI)
4. At his Columbia University presentation, absolutely no one was tasered (Trevor M, Kennewick, WA)
3. Visit to U.S. did not coincide with McDonalds McRib promotion (Citizen S, Santa Monica, CA)
2. Finished behind Fidel Castro in "People" magazine's list of sexiest dictators (Gary B, Hagerstown, MD)
1. Can't outwardly express his feelings for Celine Dion without sounding like one of those gay Americans (Natalie M, Bethalto, IL)
-- Brent Baker