Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Friday 9:40pm ET/PT

Longtime Friend of Bill Clinton to Produce the CBS Evening News --3/8/2007


1. Longtime Friend of Bill Clinton to Produce the CBS Evening News
The AP reported Wednesday night that CBS News will announce Thursday that Rick Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, will become the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Kaplan has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's "legacy" was "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."

2. Morning News Shows Hype 'Cloud' Over Cheney, Skip Wilson Critics
Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday's network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train. Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby's memory. NBC's Meredith Vieira saw impending doom for Cheney, asking Tim Russert: "Is this the beginning of the end, do you believe, for the Vice President?"

3. GMA's Sawyer Spins Libby as 'Scapegoat' and 'Fall Guy' for Cheney
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, anchor Diane Sawyer framed of the conviction of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby through the perspective of anti-Bush liberals, continuing a tradition that began with the previous day's evening news programs. An ABC graphic described Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Cheney, as the "fall guy" and Sawyer wondered if he was "a scapegoat." And nowhere in the segment did the GMA co-host find time to mention some very pertinent points, such as the fact that CIA Agent Valerie Plame, wife of ex-Ambassador Joe Wilson, had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration official critical of the Iraq war, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

4. Washington Post's Contrarian Editorial: Wilson 'a Blowhard'
A Wednesday Washington Post editorial, "The Libby Verdict: The serious consequences of a pointless Washington scandal," certainly didn't match the angle of the rest of the media's coverage of the Libby conviction. Far from treating Joe Wilson as a truth-telling hero, the March 7 Washington Post editorial declared: "Mr. Wilson's case has besmirched nearly everyone it touched. The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard." The Post castigated Libby for "lying under oath," yet explained that while "Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had 'twisted,' if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq....a bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife."

5. NBC's Brian Williams Highlights Troops Who Support U.S. in Iraq
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams, reporting from Baghdad, delivered a refreshing end to the show as he showcased several U.S. troops who voiced support for their work in Iraq, and for America continuing its presence there. While Williams did present one soldier who was less than enthusiastic about the mission, other troops, featured in pre-recorded soundbites, spoke of "staying until the job is done," and of feeling "proud" about helping the Iraqis.

6. The View Crew Sees 'Treason' and 'Delight' in Cheney's Troubles
The very first topic on Wednesday's The View was about the conviction of Scooter Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice. So what do Rosie O'Donnell and Joy Behar have to say? They convicted the administration of "treason" as Behar asked: "If, in fact, it is treasonous...to out a CIA operative and Robert Novak was the first to report it because Richard Armitage and Karl Rove told him, and then Scooter Libby also slipped it to somebody, why aren't they all being charged with treason?" Behar exclaimed that it was a "delight" for her that Dick Cheney is "in trouble" and Rosie O'Donnell agreed. Behar, known for her conspiracy theories, suspected the timing of Vice President Cheney's blood clot: "Who wouldn't have a blood clot after the lying that he did? Talk about a backup of blood!"

7. Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th Anniversary Gala
Exactly three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala -- and tickets are now on sale.


Longtime Friend of Bill Clinton to Produce
the CBS Evening News

The AP reported Wednesday night that CBS News will announce Thursday that Rick Kaplan, a former Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline who later ran both CNN and MSNBC, will become the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Kaplan has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to


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the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and once even declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's "legacy" was "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."

For David Bauder's March 7 AP dispatch updated on March 8, in which Bauder described Kaplan as "a large, opinionated man with a booming voice" who "was also a good friend of President Clinton," go to: news.yahoo.com

CBSNews.com has also posted a story, "CBS To Name New Evening News Chief: Rick Kaplan Expected To Take Over As Executive Producer," online at: www.cbsnews.com

[UPDATE: After the announcement, TV Week reported online the praise for Kaplan from CBS News President Sean McManus and anchor Katie Couric: "'Few broadcast journalists have a list of accomplishments and the history of success that Rick has had -- the list is truly extraordinary,' Mr. McManus said. 'I'm very much looking forward to working with Rick and having the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge as we continue to build the best evening news broadcast at CBS News.'
"'Rick Kaplan is a big personality with big ideas,' said Ms. Couric, the broadcast's anchor and managing editor. 'Though I've never worked directly with him, I know Rick is an extraordinarily experienced producer who has exciting plans for our broadcast. I'm thrilled he has decided to come home to CBS News.'" See: http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=11675 ]

My headings over excerpts, see below, from a 1998 Vanity Fair magazine profile of Kaplan: "Clinton Cries on Kaplan's Shoulder/Kaplan Hired Hillary," "Helped Clinton Play Media to Overcome Flowers," "Donaldson Says Kaplan's Pro-Clinton Bias Showed" and "Kaplan Called Hillary the Night Foster Died."

At the News and Documentary Emmy Awards presented by the National Television Academy at a September 19, 2005 ceremony, which honored Dan Rather, Kaplan asserted that "Dan was meticulously careful to be fair and balanced and accurate" during his career. Kaplan then lashed out: "When did we allow those with questionable agendas to take the lead and convince people of something quite the opposite? It's shameful." Kaplan went so far to declare that Rather's "legacy" is "the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to."

A video clip of those remarks, in Real and Windows Media formats, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert.

During a May 16, 1999 commencement address Kaplan delivered at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, while President of CNN, he complained that Ken Starr is "putting obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation" while Bill Clinton has had "extraordinary" achievements. A 45 kbps low quality Real video clip, as well as MP3, of some of what Kaplan told the students, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert.


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Here's a hunk of Kaplan's 1999 commencement address which matches the video:

In the past eighteen months, we have seen a Congress damage itself in the shameless partisanship of the House. We have seen a Senate run from the light to debate the future of a President in secret. The independent counsel law seems destined to die but Ken Starr is still around and many believe still putting obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation. And then there is the President, who if not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, well, it may have been because our Founding Fathers never thought a President would get caught acting in such a manner.

Is there a lesson here? We have learned more about perjury and fidelity in the presidency of Andrew Johnson than I ever thought imaginable. Our young children learned more about sex than I may know right now. But if in the wake of this national tragedy, how many of you now believe that with the right connections, you can get away with anything. The President got impeached but he didn't lose his job so did he get away with it? I'm here to tell you that there is always a price to be paid. Not always paid on demand but paid in the end, always.

As many of you may know, I've been privileged to be a friend of Bill Clinton's for more than twenty years and like many, I had high expectations for his presidency. His intellect and his heart and his drive to help people should have guaranteed his success, his greatness. But as it stands now, when history writes this President's story, his accomplishments, while noteworthy, even extraordinary at times, will be listed after an explanation of who Monica Lewinsky was. He kept his office, but at a very high price and I'm only talking about his public life. Well, before it's all over others will pay, I trust, as well. But remember there is always a price. You are not going to be perfect. We all make mistakes.

END of Excerpt of text which matches the video

A "Friend of Bill" (FOB), who ran CNN from 1997 to 2000, after a multi-decade career with ABC News, re-joined ABC News in 2003 as Senior Vice President, the number two slot he held until shortly before jumping to MSNBC in early 2004 where he remained until mid-2006.

While serving as President of CNN, Kaplan played golf with President Clinton, stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom and participated in a mock debate session with Al Gore. When he was Executive Producer of Nightline in 1992 he advised presidential candidate Bill Clinton on how to handle the Gennifer Flowers revelation and later as Executive Producer of World News Tonight he blocked anti-Clinton stories from getting onto that newscast.

Now, as lifted from the November 19, 2002 CyberAlert, the rundown of Kaplan's liberal political activities over the years while serving as a network news executive. This is divided into two parts: a) Rick Kaplan's close ties to President Bill Clinton; and b) Kaplan's activities on behalf of Clinton while at ABC News.

A) Rick Kaplan's close ties to President Bill Clinton:

# From the April 11, 2000 CyberAlert:

CNN President Rick Kaplan, who stayed overnight in Clinton's White House while at ABC News, spent another night there with his daughter last Thursday night after the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner, USA Today disclosed. But Kaplan doesn't see anything wrong with it.

In his "Inside TV" column for April 10, USA Today's Peter Johnson revealed:

CNN president Rick Kaplan, who took some heat when he worked at ABC News for staying overnight at the White House during President Clinton's first term, spent another night there Thursday -- after Clinton roasted ABC News over "Leogate."

"No, I do not feel embarrassed, ashamed or compromised in any way, shape or form," Kaplan said Friday, after sleeping in the Queen's Room while daughter Alexis, 21, slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Generally speaking, it's an ethical no-no for journalists to get too cozy with people they cover. But Kaplan, a former Nightline, PrimeTime Live and World News Tonight producer, said Clinton's gesture won't affect CNN's coverage of him.

"Everyone has relationships," Kaplan said. "We met each other before either of us knew we'd amount to anything. He doesn't expect anything from me, and I don't expect anything from him."

Kaplan, a Clinton friend for 30 years, said the president gave Alexis an "amazing" 2 1/2-hour White House tour. "It was extremely nice of him to do it. In the waning months of his presidency, I felt, 'What the heck?'"

END of Excerpt and of April 11, 2001 CyberAlert item

(Back in 1994 Knight-Ridder's Marc Gunther noted in a profile story that ran in the February 8, 1994 Detroit News: "Kaplan and Clinton have known each other since the late 1970s, and last year the ABC producer played golf with the President and spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom....")


# From the December 5, 2000 CyberAlert, a couple of months after Kaplan left CNN:

Was former CNN President Rick Kaplan involved in advising the Gore campaign while he was still running the cable news network? Did he have special behind-the-scenes access because of his close personal connection to Bill Clinton? Those questions are raised by an intriguing sentence in the November 20 Newsweek.

In early September Kaplan was let go by CNN, but back in March he was still President of CNN/USA. Keep that in mind as you read this paragraph from Newsweek's massive "The Inside Story" treatise on the campaign. This appeared about 30 pages into the series of articles which listed Eleanor Clift as the reporter with Gore, on page 65 in "Spring Fever" section: "Yet even after Gore had sewn up the nomination, he kept on robotically attacking Bradley in primaries that were, for all intents and purposes, meaningless. At a rehearsal for a California debate on March 1, former CNN President Rick Kaplan joked, 'Let's do the debate now.' Gore's sparring partner, Tom Downey, intoned, 'I'm going to kick you're a--.' Without missing a beat or cracking a smile, Gore mechanically launched into his standard rap, attacking Bradley's health care plan."

END of December 5, 2000 CyberAlert item

Were Kaplan and Clift advising or observing? We'll probably never know because journalists didn't and don't care about a journalist advising a liberal candidate or President.


# From the October 9, 1997 CyberAlert, how Kaplan's personal views directly impacted CNN content:

A two-hour CNN special on campaign finance was produced by CNN President Rick Kaplan, who U.S. News reported had demanded that CNN staffers "limit the use of the word 'scandal' in reporting on Clinton's campaign fundraising woes."

I wondered: "Can you do a two-hour show on Clinton's 1996 fundraising and not use the word 'scandal'?" A rhetoric question, or so I thought. But incredibly enough the answer is -- yes!

The October 7 show titled "Democracy for Sale" wandered well beyond Clinton to examine Republicans and to argue for campaign finance reform, but summarizing charges against Clinton took up a significant portion of the show. Nonetheless, the phrase "Clinton scandal" was never uttered.



B) Kaplan's activities on behalf of Clinton while at ABC News:

# From the August 6, 1997 CyberAlert, details on how in February 1992, while at ABC News, he advised Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers story:

Shortly after he took over World News Tonight, this is how Knight-Ridder's Marc Gunther opened a profile story that ran in the February 8, 1994 Detroit News: "When ABC News installed Rick Kaplan as Executive Producer of World News Tonight, the network put an FOB -- friend of Bill, President Clinton, that is -- in charge of America's most watched evening newscast. "Kaplan and Clinton have know each other since the late 1970s, and last year the ABC producer played golf with the President and spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom....But conservative media critics [that's the MRC] say Kaplan went beyond friendship during the 1992 campaign when he operated as an occasional and informal adviser to Clinton, while working as Executive Producer of Prime Time Live."

From the March, 1997 MediaWatch, an excerpt from the Revolving Door column detailing how Kaplan crossed the line during the 1992 campaign:

Clinton's Slumber Party

The names of several media executives were sprinkled among the 831 names made public of overnight White House guests in Clinton's first term: CNN founder Ted Turner, CBS Entertainment President Leslie Moonves, and Rick Kaplan, a long-time ABC News executive recently in charge of specials in ABC's entertainment division....

Kurtz noted that Kaplan was the Executive Producer of World News Tonight when he "stayed at the White House with his wife in the summer of 1993." So, is there anything wrong with accepting an invitation from Clinton, whom Kaplan calls a longtime "friend"? Not as long as you keep it secret, Kaplan suggested in the March 3 Electronic Media: "It's nobody's business." Kurtz summarized Kaplan's view: "Kaplan said his visit did not create an appearance problem because it was never made public until now. He said his ties to Clinton had no impact on his work." He assured Kurtz: "The idea that you could suddenly decide to gild the lily or twist the news, it's a non-starter."

Kaplan is more than just a one-night guest. While Executive Producer of Prime Time Live in 1992 he provided Clinton campaign strategy when the Gennifer Flowers story broke. "Clinton called Kaplan for advice," Los Angeles Times reporter Tom Rosenstiel recounted in his campaign book Strange Bedfellows. On the way to the airport, Clinton made another call to Kaplan and the "night ended for Kaplan at 4am, when Clinton called one last time."

Two months later as Clinton's campaign floundered in New York, aides suggested an appearance on the Don Imus show. "The appearance was clinched," CNN producer Matthew Saal recalled in the January 1993 Washington Monthly, "when Rick Kaplan...called the radio show host to see if he could get the pair together. The answer was yes."

END MediaWatch Excerpt

In the overnight calls after the Flowers story broke, Gunther noted that Rosenstiel quoted Kaplan as telling Clinton: "Do the toughest interview you can. If you want to prove your credibility, you don't want to do it on Good Morning America or the Today show. And you don't won't get ratings in the morning. You have to go for the largest audience." After Clinton decided to go on 60 Minutes, during the 4am call, Rosenstiel learned, Kaplan advised Clinton to face down a famous name like Mike Wallace or Morley Safer. Voters "are going to remember that you stood up to Mike Wallace." [The Clinton's went on with Steve Kroft.]

Of course, if Kaplan were acting as a newsman and not a political adviser he would have used his friendship to get Clinton to appear on an ABC show.

END Excerpt from August 6, 1997 CyberAlert


# Illuminating excerpts from a January 1998 Vanity Fair profile which detailed how Kaplan once hired Hillary Clinton; how he not only advised Clinton about how to counter Gennifer Flowers, but had earlier counseled Clinton on how to recover from his too-long 1988 convention speech; how he had been a political operative for a liberal presidential candidate before jumping to journalism; how he made calls to console Hillary Clinton after Vince Foster's death and to Web Hubbell after he resigned; how he killed a Whitewater piece from ABC's World News Tonight, discouraged reporters and producers from pursuing the topic and only ran an in-depth look one night in 1994 because Nightline was about to grab it; and how he slurred conservative media critics who see liberal bias, specifically Reed Irvine and MRC President Brent Bozell, as "liars."

That's quite a piece about a political activist in the guise of a news man.

And here are a few of the most interesting excerpts from the January, 1998 Vanity Fair profile of Kaplan written by David Margolick:

-- Clinton Cries on Kaplan's Shoulder/Kaplan Hired Hillary:
"Clinton and Kaplan met in early 1977, when Kaplan was a producer for Walter Cronkite, and Clinton was Attorney General of Arkansas. (The matchmaker was Susan Thomases, one of Hillary's best friends from Yale Law School.) Both gregarious, both personable, both deeply interested in politics, both news junkies, both charmers, both voracious eaters (their first encounter, appropriately enough, was in a restaurant), they hit it off instantly. 'I just remember he was a terrific guy,' Kaplan said. 'Fun.'
"When, in the 1980s, Clinton considered trading politics for a million-dollar job on Wall Street, he sought out Kaplan's advice. It was Kaplan's shoulder Clinton cried on, over Chinese takeout in Nightline's New York studio, following his much-ridiculed 32-minute speech-a-thon at the 1988 Democratic convention in Atlanta. 'He was sitting there saying, 'My career is over. I'll never be anything,' Kaplan recalled. 'And we all said, 'You know, have a sense of humor about it. If you joke about it first, everyone else will joke about it.' Then he ended up going on The Tonight Show, and, by being great, he actually vindicated himself.'
"If anything, Kaplan was at least as close to Hillary, who shares his Chicago roots; he even hired her to work on coverage of the 1980 Democratic convention. When Chelsea Clinton was searching for a 49th-birthday present for her dad, Kaplan sent along a titanium golf club fashioned from a melted down Soviet missile. After Kaplan's younger daughter underwent serious surgery in 1994, calls from both Clintons helped a near-miraculous recovery, Kaplan said."

-- Helped Clinton Play Media to Overcome Flowers:
"When Clinton needed airtime to defuse his Gennifer Flowers problem, Kaplan became a player in presidential politics. In his 1994 book, Strange Bedfellows, a study of the press coverage of the 1992 presidential campaign, Tom Rosentiel of the Los Angeles Times describes a frantic evening when Clinton called Kaplan repeatedly, baring his soul and seeking strategic advice. Kaplan advised Clinton to stay off lower-rated shows such as Today and Good Morning America; if you do 60 Minutes, he said, go with a tough interviewer such as Mike Wallace or Morley Safer. To his critics, Kaplan had crossed the line.
"Kaplan maintained that his only objective was to get Clinton on PrimeTime Live, or at least on ABC. But then Clinton chose 60 Minutes and asked Kaplan what he thought. 'What am I supposed to say? Tell him to screw off and come back to ABC?' Kaplan asked. 'He'd made up his mind, at which point I said to him, 'If you're going to do 60, do 60 and don't be concerned about who the toughest interviewer is; the tougher the interviewer, the better you are.' Clinton then asked Kaplan what to say if asked whether, quite apart from Flowers, he'd had any extramarital trysts. 'And I just said, 'Whatever answer you give, I'm going to run it myself 100 times between now and Election Day, so good luck.'
"'And that was the total extent of it,' he continued. 'It's the kind of stuff journalists say to politicians, whether they're friends or not. There isn't a journalist in the world who hasn't given advice of that sort.'"

-- Donaldson Says Kaplan's Pro-Clinton Bias Showed:
"Ten months later, on the eve of the election, Sam Donaldson did taped interviews with Clinton and President Bush. Donaldson was in what he called 'my manic, take-no-prisoners mode,' he recalled, and was 'equally bad or equally good' with both candidates. But to Kaplan, Donaldson had been much harder on the challenger. 'You've go to do a tag line to make it clear that you don't hate Clinton,' Kaplan told him. This Donaldson dutifully did ('That's commitment,' he stated, referring to Clinton's campaign style), but begrudgingly Donaldson called Kaplan 'a terrific Executive Producer,' but added, 'I think that, without meaning to, Rick was letting his feelings get in the way there.' Kaplan insists it wasn't Clinton he was protecting, but Donaldson."

-- Kaplan Called Hillary the Night Foster Died:
"Kaplan has taken some precautions during the Clinton era; there have been no more presidential golf games. Inevitably, though, as investigations widened and documents proliferated, his name periodically popped up. Phone logs revealed that on the night Vince Foster killed himself Kaplan called Hillary Clinton. 'I knew they were all great friends and you know that she's gotta be totally depressed, so it was just like to say, 'Hey, I'm really sorry,' Kaplan said. When Webster Hubbell resigned, he called him too. 'I happen to like Webb,' Kaplan said. 'I would have just said, 'Good luck,' or something.'"

-- Stopped Whitewater Stories from Airing on WNT (at the time Kaplan was Executive Producer of the show):
"In late October 1994, Kaplan killed Jim Wooten's exclusive interview with an Arkansas state trooper who claimed a Clinton aide had tried to muzzle him; after that, Wooten refused to do any more pieces on Whitewater. Wooten clearly likes his former boss, whom he called 'a character in an age without them.' But on Clinton, he said, Kaplan had 'a blind spot.' Also convinced that 'the bar kept getting higher' for putting Whitewater stories on the program, Chris Vlasto, World News Tonight's investigative producer for Clinton-related stories, would sometimes shop them around to other ABC News shows. True, in February 1994, World News Tonight devoted an extraordinary 18 of its 22 minutes to a primer on Whitewater. But that segment had been held for a month, and ran only after Nightline tried to run it first."

END of Vanity Fair Excerpts

Morning News Shows Hype 'Cloud' Over
Cheney, Skip Wilson Critics

Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday's network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train.

Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby's memory.

NBC's Meredith Vieira saw impending doom for Cheney, proposing to Tim Russert: "You know one of the jurors that you just heard Tim, he, he said that several of the jurors actually felt bad for Libby, they felt he was a fall guy for others including his former boss, the Vice President. During the trial prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said and I'm quoting here, 'There is a cloud over what the Vice President did.' And in today's New York Times, Republican strategist Scott Reed was quoted saying, quote, 'The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney. It's hurt him inside the administration. It's hurt him with the Congress, it's hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate.' Is this the beginning of the end, do you believe, for the Vice President?"
Russert: "Well what was interesting in listening to the juror because he expressed an interest that the jury had been listening, personally, to Mr. Cheney. There was a suggestion by the defense that Mr. Cheney would testify. That never materialized. The President is on record saying that if anyone leaked information like this they would be dealt with. It appears the jury believed that Mr. Cheney gave Mr. Libby the information. As Kelly reported Mr. Armitage, Mr. Rove shared information with reporters and so the President now has to, at some time, come to grips with that and recognize that having made a commitment to deal with it how will he do that?"

For a rundown of Tuesday night coverage, see the March 7 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Item #3 below has more on ABC's Good Morning America. Otherwise, here's how the three network morning shows summed it all up on Wednesday, March 7:

[This item is adapted from a posting, by Tim Graham, Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org, and based upon transcripts provided by Geoff Dickens, Scott Whitlock and Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]

# On ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Robin Roberts began in hyperbolic historical terms: "We begin with the highest ranking White House official to be convicted since the Iran-Contra affair some two decades ago. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby was once a close advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, now he could face up to 25 years in prison for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation. ABC's Pierre Thomas joins us from Washington with the fallout about this."

(The ABC graphic made sure to include Cheney: "Cheney Aide Guilty: What Does it Mean For the White House?")

Thomas began with the typical last-thing-Bush-needs setup: "Robin, with bad news coming out about the Iraq war almost daily, this may be the last thing the administration needs. As you said, Libby is now the highest ranking member of the Bush administration convicted of a felony. Libby's wife fought back tears as the jury read its verdict. The reality was sinking in that her husband now faces up to 25 years in prison Libby was stoic as his defense attorney vowed to appeal."
Ted Wells: "He is totally innocent. Totally innocent."
Thomas portrayed Fitzgerald as the righteous guardian of the law: "Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said no one is above the law."
Patrick Fitzgerald: "The truth is what drives our judicial system. If people don't come forward and tell the truth, we have no hope of making the judicial system work."

Thomas then turned to the Plame identity "leak," but ignored Armitage and glossed over another major issue by describing Valerie Plame as a "one-time" covert CIA agent: "The jury concluded Libby lied to investigators looking into who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a one time covert CIA officer. The jury believed the prosecution's argument that Libby lied to cover up a campaign by the Vice President to discredit Joe Wilson, an administration critic."

But if campaigns to discredit critics were illegal, how many Clinton administration officials would have gone to jail? Thomas should know that this kind of rhetoric out of a prosecutor sounds like a partisan "Hardball" appearance, not a staid legal argument. From there, it was on to the talkative juror:

Denis Collins: "He was the fall guy. And, you know, it, it, it just seemed, again, like I said, some, some jurors commented at some point, I wish we weren't judging Libby. You know, this sucks. This is, you know, we don't like being here, doing this. But, that wasn't our choice."
Thomas: "Prosecutors said Libby's actions left a dark cloud over the Vice President's office."
Michael Levy, former federal prosecutor: "I think the jury looked at the context of the, of the entire case. And the context of the entire case was clearly shaped by the Vice President."

Thomas did not explain that it was Fitzgerald who uncorked the "cloud over Cheney" line, which again sounds awfully political for a straight-arrow prosecutor. Thomas continued:
"Vice President Cheney released a statement saying he was very disappointed with the verdict and that he was saddened for Scooter and his family. President Bush watched news reports of the conviction in the Oval Office."
Dana Perino, Deputy White House Press Secretary: "He respected the jury's verdict, that he was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family."
Thomas: "The White House refused to comment on a possible pardon for Libby, saying such speculation was extremely premature. And the legal fight for the Bush administration is only beginning. Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame have filed a lawsuit. Not only against Libby, but also against Vice President Cheney, and also key White House advisor Karl Rove."

So Thomas highlighted the danger the Wilsons represent to Cheney and Rove, but not the raft of book and movie deals they've landed.


# On CBS's The Early Show, Gloria Borger's report didn't mention Armitage, and didn't even include any soundbite from anyone defending Libby or the Bush team. Harry Smith began with a note in passing: "Lawyers for Lewis 'Scooter' Libby say they will ask for a new trial. Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff was found guilty of lying and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. CBS News national political correspondent Gloria Borger is live in Washington with more. Good morning, Gloria."

Gloria Borger also cranked up the hype machine of the verdict's massive importance:
"Good morning, Harry. It took four years of investigation and then ten days for the jury to decide. And in the end, they delivered a verdict that shook the White House and ground zero was the Vice President's office."
Patrick Fitzgerald, again the portrait of virtue: "The nature of any person telling a lie under oath to a grand jury is a serious problem. Having someone, a high level official, do that under oath in a national security investigation is something that can never be acceptable."
Borger: "The jury found that Lewis 'Scooter' Libby lied about his conversations with reporters regarding the identity of an undercover CIA agent. The vice president's former chief of staff, who stood motionless when the verdict was read, said he simply forgot the conversations because he was so busy with national security matters. The jury didn't buy it."
Denis Collins, juror: "How he could remember it on a Tuesday and then forget it on a Thursday and then remember it two days later."
Borger's summary of the case was riddled with politics: "Like most things in Washington, the heart of this case involves a political dispute. Libby was at the center of the White House's case for war in Iraq. His boss, the vice president, was rattled by this: An article in July 2003 attacking the administration's rationale for war that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It was written by Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was sent to Africa by the CIA to look into whether Saddam was buying ingredients there to make a nuclear weapon. Wilson said he was not. Cheney wanted Wilson discredited. He knew that his wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA. On a clipping of Wilson's column, he wrote, 'did his wife send him on a junket?' To undermine the importance of the mission, Cheney wanted to spread the word that Wilson's wife sent him and he asked Libby to do it."

Borger's summary completely disregarded what a bipartisan Senate panel found in 2004: that Valerie Plame did campaign inside the CIA to send her husband on the Niger "junket," contrary to Joe Wilson's public claims, and that Wilson's Niger report actually bolstered the case against Iraq to most intelligence analysts. For the July 10, 2004 Washington Post story, "Plame's Input Is Cited on Niger Mission: Report Disputes Wilson's Claims on Trip, Wife's Role," by Susan Schmidt, go to: www.washingtonpost.com

Perhaps Borger couldn't explain this, because they Cheney's "campaign to discredit" could also be cast an attempt to get out true facts on the Wilsons. Borger then highlighted Denis Collins:
"But the big question on the juror's minds was, what was this guy doing here?"
Collins: "Where's Rove? Where's, you know -- where are these other guys? We're not saying that we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but that it seemed like he was the fall guy."
Borger: "Libby will most likely get one and a half to three years. His lawyers are going to ask for a new trial. But if that fails, Libby, of course, will appeal. Harry."

Harry Smith asked: "The Vice President was not asked to come and defend -- in defense of 'Scooter' Libby. Why not?"
Borger said Cheney would have been destroyed on the stand: "Well, I think they were worried that it could really backfire. Of course, he was a witness for the defense. He could have gotten on that witness stand, Harry, and a prosecutor could have ripped him apart. And in the end that would have only made 'Scooter' Libby look worse so I think they decided to hold off on that one, although in the end it didn't help Libby very much."


# On NBC's Today, Meredith Vieira reported "We're gonna turn to some very troubling news, this morning as well, for the White House. The conviction of Vice President Cheney's former right hand man, Scooter Libby, for lying to a grand jury and FBI agents looking into the leaking of a CIA official's identity."

Reporter Kelly O'Donnell's story was fairly straightforward, but in mentioning the role of Richard Armitage, she discussed it very vaguely, and not precisely, that Armitage was the source of Robert Novak, the source of years of outrage for "outing" Plame's name. She said merely that Armitage and Karl Rove "had talked to reporters about the secret CIA operative." That phrasing also suggested to the view that Plame was a covert agent at that time, which is still unclear:
"And good morning, Meredith. From here at the White House we're seeing slightly different reactions from President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Aides say the President is saddened but accepts the jury's decision while Vice President Cheney called the verdict disappointing and he remained especially loyal saying Libby had served the country with great distinction. Convicted on four of the five felony counts the Vice President's former chief-of-staff, Lewis Scooter Libby will ask for a new trial and appeal the guilty verdicts. Libby attorney, Ted Wells."
Ted Wells: "And we intend to keep fighting to establish his innocence."
O'Donnell: "Courthouse conventional wisdom suggests the longer a jury takes the better for the defense. Libby's jury spent 10 days on the case. Juror Dennis Collins, a former reporter for the Washington Post, says some did believe one defense claim, that Libby was a White House scapegoat."
Denis Collins: "That we're not saying that we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of but that it seemed like he was, to put it in Mr. Wells' point of view, he was the fall guy."
O'Donnell: "Though other officials including Karl Rove and former State Department official Richard Armitage had talked to reporters about the secret CIA operative, Valerie Wilson, whose diplomat husband, Joe, had become a leading war critic. Only Libby was charged and not for the leak but for lying about his own role. Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice, lying to the FBI and perjury before a grand jury. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald."
Patrick Fitzgerald: "Having someone, a high-level official do that under oath in a national security investigation is something that is, can never be acceptable."
O'Donnell: "And while the White House expressed 'sadness' for Libby and his family Joe Wilson says he is pleased by the verdict but not the President's response."
Joe Wilson: "I would feel better had the President, in addition to or instead of expressing sorrow for Mr. Libby and his family if he had expressed sorrow for what had been done to my wife."
O'Donnell: "And while there is a lot of political fallout to calculate for Libby what comes next is the potential of a prison sentence. Now the maximum for these four counts is 25 years. But legal experts say what would be much more likely would be something under three years. And of course he's appealing and he'll try to get a new trial."

Also omitted from all three stories: how journalists performed on the stand, how their memories held up, or didn't. How convenient it must be for the media to ignore the media witnesses and what they did to Libby, or how they compared to him on credibility.

GMA's Sawyer Spins Libby as 'Scapegoat'
and 'Fall Guy' for Cheney

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, anchor Diane Sawyer framed of the conviction of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby through the perspective of anti-Bush liberals, continuing a tradition that began with the previous day's evening news programs. An ABC graphic described Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Cheney, as the "fall guy" and Sawyer wondered if he was "a scapegoat."

And nowhere in the segment did the GMA co-host find time to mention some very pertinent points, such as the fact that CIA Agent Valerie Plame, wife of ex-Ambassador Joe Wilson, had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration official critical of the Iraq war, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Sawyer interviewed Denis Collins, a juror from the trial, and a sampling of her questions seems to reveal who she thinks is responsible:

# "Do you think that Scooter Libby got in trouble because he was trimming the truth to protect his boss?"
# "You said the Vice President had clearly tasked [Libby] to talk to reporters about CIA agent Valerie Plame. How do you think the Vice President should feel this morning?"
# "At the end of the day, what's the big message sent by this jury and this verdict?"

The ABC anchor also failed to mentioned the apparent conflict of interests shared by juror Collins, including his friendships with reporter Bob Woodward and the fact that he was a former neighbor of Tim Russert. See: corner.nationalreview.com

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

Sawyer began the segment, which aired at the top of the 7am hour on March 7, with a tease that signaled the interview's tone. She then quickly shifted the focus to Vice President Cheney: "And, the verdict. A top aide to the Vice President convicted of lying and obstructing justice in the CIA leak case. But was Scooter Libby a scapegoat? We talk to the juror who called him 'the fall guy.'"

ABC's graphics: "The Fall Guy?" And: "Juror: Libby Did Not Act Alone: 'He Was Fall Guy'"

Diane Sawyer: "Well you heard this extraordinary statement, the sympathy expressed in that press conference about Scooter Libby. Four men, seven women, had to wade through an ocean of evidence before reaching a guilty verdict in the trial of Scooter Libby. And just minutes ago I spoke to juror Denis Collins, the man you saw there, to learn more about their decision in this historic case. Mr. Collins, so grateful your with us this morning. It was an extraordinary thing you said yesterday, to express sympathy for someone you had convicted on these counts. Do you think that Scooter Libby got in trouble because he was trimming the truth to protect his boss?"
Denis Collins: "Well, of course we were not asked to look into that, but of course you can't help but touch on all these different, you know, areas. Um, you know, somebody on the jury said a couple of days ago, said he was taking it for the team, and there was no, no real response to that. But, I think that, that is definitely a feeling. He, he was asked to go and interview reporters, to get the word out about that the Vice President's office was not the one that sent Joe Wilson, former ambassador Wilson to Niger. And, uh, you know, I think the defense said he was, in effect, putting his neck into the meat grinder."
Sawyer: "You said the Vice President had clearly tasked him to talk to reporters about CIA agent Valerie Plame. How do you think the Vice President should feel this morning?"
Collins: "Well, I'm sure he's not happy. I, I know that from all we, we saw and heard, Mr. Libby was very dedicated to the Vice President. Someone told us that he spent more time with the Vice President than he did his wife and family. So, I'm sure it's, it's not very pleasant for him either."
Sawyer: "Let me tackle the question from a different angle. $1.4 million spent two years for this investigation, and yet the question at the center of it, did the White House blow the cover of a CIA agent, a covert CIA agent, by talking to journalists about her. That question was never addressed. It was instead a question about truth telling and some people have said truth telling on the margins here. Do you feel that the real issue was tackled?"
Collins: "I can only say that three or four times during this, you know, this trial, someone in the jury would say, 'What are we doing here? Why are we dealing with Libby Where are these other guys?' And we had heard testimony that it was Armitage and, you know, Karl Rove who made the initial leak, to, well, one, to, to Bob Woodward at '€˜The Washington Post' and so, there, seemed to be a frustration that we were trying someone for telling a lie apparently about an event that never became important enough to file charges anywhere else."

Notice that it's the juror, Collins, who made the only mention of Armitage. Also, Sawyer described Valerie Plame as a "covert CIA agent," never giving a hint that there is any controversy over whether or not Plame was, in fact, undercover. The GMA co-host closed the interview by asking what the "big message" of the conviction is:
Sawyer: "You have talked about the hard work of this jury, and, the amount of hours you spent carefully pouring over the evidence. Everyone really trying to do the right thing. At the end of the day, what's the big message sent by this jury and this verdict?"
Collins: Well, I would hope that the message sent by this jury shouldn't be that big a message. I mean, we did'€" We had a giant job to do. But I'm not sure if this case was less celebrated. The people on this jury, and I give all the credit to the other jurors, there were people on this jury who really took this task as seriously as anything they'd ever done in their lives, and meticulously took apart every bit of testimony. Put it on 35, 36 giant sheets of paper, all over this jury walls, set up, you know believability charts, motivation, evidence in favor of X, evidence against Y. And, and, we never sped up the process. It never once was where somebody said, '€˜look, I've got things to do. I've got a life out there. Let's get this done quickly. So I would hope that the message is, '€˜Hey this is what a jury does.' You may not want to be on a jury, but when you get there, do the job."

Washington Post's Contrarian Editorial:
Wilson 'a Blowhard'

A Wednesday Washington Post editorial, "The Libby Verdict: The serious consequences of a pointless Washington scandal," certainly didn't match the angle of the rest of the media's coverage of the Libby conviction. Far from treating Joe Wilson as a truth-telling hero, the March 7 Washington Post editorial declared: "Mr. Wilson's case has besmirched nearly everyone it touched. The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard." The Post castigated Libby for "lying under oath," yet explained that while "Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had 'twisted,' if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq....a bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife."

An excerpt from the March 7 editorial:

....Particularly for a senior government official, lying under oath is a serious offense. Mr. Libby's conviction should send a message to this and future administrations about the dangers of attempting to block official investigations.

The fall of this skilled and long-respected public servant is particularly sobering because it arose from a Washington scandal remarkable for its lack of substance. It was propelled not by actual wrongdoing but by inflated and frequently false claims, and by the aggressive and occasionally reckless response of senior Bush administration officials -- culminating in Mr. Libby's perjury. Mr. Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had "twisted," if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq. In conversations with journalists or in a July 6, 2003, op-ed, he claimed to have debunked evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger; suggested that he had been dispatched by Mr. Cheney to look into the matter; and alleged that his report had circulated at the highest levels of the administration.

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.

The partisan furor over this allegation led to the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame's name. In fact, he learned early on that Mr. Novak's primary source was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, an unlikely tool of the White House. The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame's identity -- and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.

It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case....

Mr. Wilson's case has besmirched nearly everyone it touched. The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were overbearing in their zeal to rebut Mr. Wilson and careless in their handling of classified information. Mr. Libby's subsequent false statements were reprehensible. And Mr. Fitzgerald has shown again why handing a Washington political case to a federal special prosecutor is a prescription for excess.

Mr. Fitzgerald was, at least, right about one thing: The Wilson-Plame case, and Mr. Libby's conviction, tell us nothing about the war in Iraq.

END of Excerpt

For the editorial in full: www.washingtonpost.com

NBC's Brian Williams Highlights Troops
Who Support U.S. in Iraq

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams, reporting from Baghdad, delivered a refreshing end to the show as he showcased several U.S. troops who voiced support for their work in Iraq, and for America continuing its presence there. While Williams did present one soldier who was less than enthusiastic about the mission, other troops, featured in pre-recorded soundbites, spoke of "staying until the job is done," and of feeling "proud" about helping the Iraqis.

As the NBC anchor introduced the story about how the military tries to deliver foods and items to comfort the troops stationed in Iraq, he featured an Army Lieutenant Colonel who does not feel "trepidation" about going out on patrol, even after the recent loss of American lives. Lieutenant Colonel Quammie Semper commented: "I think we should stay here until the job is done."

Williams then turned to Sergeant Tina Neal, on her third tour of duty, who "says she keeps coming back and risking her life for the Iraqi civilians." Neal commented: "I feel very proud to be here helping them. I think that it is a good thing that we're doing for them."
After featuring one soldier showing frustration at the mission, and after delving into some of the comforts troops are supplied with, Williams concluded the story with an exchange with Sergeant Kenneta Nelson, who "thinks America ought to stay in Iraq." Nelson: "It's not possible to just up and go. I mean, there are, with the things that are going on here, it's kind of like we're in the middle of something."

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

The March 6 CyberAlert had recounted:

Visiting Iraq, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams learned from Army officers that Iraqis want U.S. forces to remain in their country, from NBC News Baghdad reporter Richard Engel that Al-Sadr's insurgents have stepped down and are counting on pressure from anti-war opponents to provide them with victory, and from retired General and NBC News military analyst Wayne Downey that U.S. troops are proud of their mission. Traveling with Lieutenant General Ray Odierno for stories on his Monday newscast, Williams ran a clip of Army Colonel John Charlton proclaiming that Iraqis "do not want us to leave" and a soundbite from Army Lt. Colonel Charles Ferry who asserted: "The people here are very glad to see us." Williams marveled: "You just said, 'They don't want us to leave.' That's the tenth time today I've heard that. I've got to go back to the States and do a newscast that every night has another politician or 12 of them saying, 'We have got to get out of that godforsaken place.'"

To explain the decreased violence in Baghdad, Engel noted how "the militia decided they fought the U.S. two-and-a-half years ago, didn't have a lot of success. They decided this time they're going to wait it out, see if political pressure in the U.S. can help them win this time." Downey related how "every soldier that I ran across today I asked him: 'How do you feel about what's going on,'" and "without exception -- this was spontaneous, especially when you start talking to PFCs and Spec 4s, they're going to tell you the truth, no party line. Very proud of what they're doing. Very, very dedicated."

For more: www.mrc.org

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday, March 6 NBC Nightly News:

Brian Williams: "We are back here in Baghdad tonight at this massive U.S. base they call Camp Victory. And for the thousands of American soldiers now asleep in these tents, it is nothing at all like home. So the military tries to make it at least comfortable, knowing so many have volunteered to serve and are dedicated to their jobs, however dangerous. On the very day when they received word that so many more of their fellow soldiers have been killed, you would forgive the young Lieutenant for showing some trepidation about the patrol he's about to lead into Baghdad or the mission overall. But not this lieutenant, and not on this day."
Lieutenant Quammie Semper, U.S. Army: "I think we should stay here until the job is done."
Williams: "You feel you have an investment?"
Semper: "We do. We do. I see that every day, every time I roll out this gate."
Williams: "The sergeant on this same patrol is on her third tour in Iraq. She says she keeps coming back and risking her life for the Iraqi civilians."
Sergeant Tina Neal, U.S. Army: "I feel very proud to be here helping them. I think that it is a good thing that we're doing for them."
Williams: "Not all the solders here are like her. Go to one of the new American outposts in a dangerous, exposed part of Baghdad, and you'll hear this from a staff sergeant also on his third tour."
Staff Sergeant Jason Simmer, U.S. Army: "I've seen too many people get injured and no reason for it, and I've just seen enough."
Williams: "The highest ranking enlisted man on this base, Command Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, has been around a long time. He can readily spot the soldiers who have been out in it and badly need a break."
Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, U.S. Army: "They'll have the signs and symptoms that they're just, you know, they're dirty, they're tired, you know, they've got wrinkles on their face from staring, you know, down the road at something. Nobody here is riding for free."
Williams: "Camp Victory in Iraq is a stressed out, teeming city of American soldiers and those who support them, who are keeping up a fast tempo in a spotty war. There are victories and defeats, desk jobs and dangerous missions. And for all of them, the military has tried to provide. It is possible in the middle of this 10-square-mile fenced in corner of Baghdad desert to pretend you're home. There's Popeye's and there's Burger King. There's Cinnabon and some of Seattle's Best. And there's a spot for lunch right up against a concrete blast wall with a canopy of camouflage netting overhead. There are more culinary reminders from home. In this case, Subway, and over here, Pizza Hut. In this case, emphasis on 'hut.' And inside the base PX, it's as if someone airlifted a Wal-Mart from America to Iraq. Everything you could ever want to eat, drink, watch, including watches and wear. A massive attempt to provide. For those just back from the action, this station tries to provide a respite from it, though some aren't looking for any more action than they've already seen. Sergeant Kenneta Nelson thinks America ought to stay in Iraq, even if we later found out she isn't."
Sergeant Kenneta Nelson, U.S. Army: "It's not possible to just up and go. I mean, there are, with the things that are going on here, it's kind of like we're in the middle of something. Even if I was staying longer than Friday-"
Williams: "Friday?"
Nelson: "Considering I'm going home, my year is done-"
Williams: "Wow!"
Nelson: "It's still not."
Williams: "Wow!"
Nelson: "Yes."
Williams: "You got to be careful."
Williams: "The day so many soldiers live for, the end of the tour. That's our look at Camp Victory tonight, and that's the end of our broadcast for this Tuesday night. Thank you, as always, for being with us. I'm Brian Williams, reporting again tonight from Baghdad. We'll look for you again from here tomorrow night. For Campbell Brown in New York and our team on the ground here, good night."

The View Crew Sees 'Treason' and 'Delight'
in Cheney's Troubles

The very first topic on Wednesday's The View was about the conviction of Scooter Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice. So what do Rosie O'Donnell and Joy Behar have to say? They convicted the administration of "treason" as Behar asked: "If, in fact, it is treasonous...to out a CIA operative and Robert Novak was the first to report it because Richard Armitage and Karl Rove told him, and then Scooter Libby also slipped it to somebody, why aren't they all being charged with treason?" Behar exclaimed that it was a "delight" for her that Dick Cheney is "in trouble" and Rosie O'Donnell agreed. Behar, known for her conspiracy theories, suspected the timing of Vice President Cheney's blood clot: "Who wouldn't have a blood clot after the lying that he did? Talk about a backup of blood!"

At that point, Barbara Walters sought to play Pontius Pilate washing her hands free of Joy and Rosie. In standard disclaimer format she stated: "I would like to point out, which Rosie and I talk about, that the opinions expressed in this program are the opinions of the individual people."

Rosie preceded to say that Watergate was "like a tiny little rainstorm and this is like a tsunami," and once again called to impeach the entire administration. Behar responded by calling to "send them to jail. Impeachment takes too much time."

Throughout the course of the discussion the audience applauded the most inflammatory statements and even hissed a comment by token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The transcript for the March 7 discussion:

[This item is adapted from a posting, by Justin McCarthy, on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog: newsbusters.org ]

O'Donnell: "What does it all mean? Joy, take it."
Joy Behar: "Well, you know, I don't know exactly what it means. I know that Dick Cheney is in trouble now, which is a delight for me."
O'Donnell: "Yes, I agree."
[Applause]
Hasselbeck: "And many others, I'm sure."
Behar: "And many others. I think it's, it's not a coincidence that he has a blood clot this week, which is Spanish for, you know, I'm going to go down next so I think I'll retire."
[Applause]
Hasselbeck: "You think so?"
Behar: "Yeah."
Hasselbeck: "Oh, that's harsh."
Behar: "It's not harsh. It's a way out."
Hasselbeck: "That's no joke."
Behar: "A lot of times, no I'm not making fun of the blood clot. I think he probably, you know, psychosomatically may have a blood clot."
Hasselbeck: "Interesting."
Behar: "Who wouldn't have a blood clot after the lying that he did? Talk about a backup of blood!"
Hasselbeck: "I just would like to know where are the other people?"
Walters: "I would like to point out, which Rosie and I talk about, that the opinions expressed in this program are the opinions of the individual people."
Behar: "That's right. I agree"
O'Donnell: "So if anything that we say, me or Joy, don't call Barbara and complain because it has nothing to do with Barbara. She gets a call: 'I got another call from someone!' I'm like, 'tell them to call me!' You know."
Walters: "They say, 'it's your fault you can control her.' I can control her?"
O'Donnell: "No, no, but God knows you've tried and I appreciate it."
[...]
Behar: "Let me ask you a question. If, in fact, it is treasonous, as you said, to out a CIA operative and Robert Novak was the first to report it because Richard Armitage and Karl Rove told him, and then Scooter Libby also slipped it to somebody, why aren't they all being charged with treason?"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "That's what I mean, that's what I'm saying. Well, here's the thing: It hasn't been proven that Valerie Plame at the time was indeed covert."
O'Donnell: "She was a NOC. No, no, she was a NOC. She was 20 years in the CIA and she was a NOC."
Hasselbeck: "Absolutely but it has never been proven that she was-"
Behar: "She was a what?"
Hasselbeck: "-on paper-"
O'Donnell: "A NOC, N-O-C, right, a covert operative."
Hasselbeck: "Look at her photo. Like how could anyone that cute be covert all that time?"
O'Donnell: "Oh, come on, Elisabeth."
[audience hiss]
Hasselbeck: "I'm just saying-"
O'Donnell: "This woman risked has her life for our country going to other countries as a spy to try to help our government, for our security, which you love. So, you know-"
Hasselbeck: "I'm just saying she's so noticeable."
O'Donnell: "But that, but that, listen. You cannot, as a result of being upset that a reporter is reporting the truth of your lies, threaten other reporters by outing the wife-"
Hasselbeck: "Of course not."
O'Donnell: "-which puts her life and the life of everyone she worked with in danger."
Hasselbeck: "He's not accused of that. He wasn't convicted of that."
Walters: "There's, there's another aspect of this, which is that reporters have always claimed, most reporters have claimed that information that was given to them confidentially, off the record, whatever, they do not have to reveal. Judith Miller from the New York Times went to jail rather than reveal this. Other reporters revealed it only under duress and they wanted a law so that reporters could continue to keep their information confidential."
O'Donnell: "Even when it's criminal? Even when the act is criminal?"
Walters: "Yes."
O'Donnell: "So if a reporter knows about a murder or a reporter knows about a treasonable offense, they're not allowed to say who did it?"
Walters: "No, no, no. No, no, no. It's not that they're not allowed say it. You're allowed to do whatever you want to do. Here you're talking about judgment. It's not that you're not allowed. It is that, if you want to keep this information -- if you are asked to keep this information private and you agreed to keep this information private, should you be allowed to keep it private?"
Behar: "Yes."
O'Donnell: "I think if a crime is involved, no."
Behar: "Well, you have to, you can't do that because then you put the journalist at risk, and no one will talk to them anymore."
Walters: "And the journalist may be investigating further."
O'Donnell: "When the journalists, or when media in our nation has let us down as a democracy. When they have not followed through on any of the truths that have been happening, when you compare what happened in Watergate to what happened now, Watergate is like a tiny little rainstorm and this is like a tsunami."
Behar: "Yes, that's right."
[Applause]
Behar: "That's true."
O'Donnell: "And we are not standing up going, hold it, impeach the entire group of them."
Behar: "No. No, no. Send them to jail. Impeachment takes too much time."
Walters: "But that's the only thing that's interesting about it."
[...]
Walters: "What you were talking about is the buck stopped there. The buck, the buck stopped with Scooter Libby. It did not go higher."
O'Donnell: "But think that, that it's absurd in the same way that Lindy England is in jail right now, as if, Lindy England, this little girl from New Jersey was the one who came up with the standards for tortu, torture at Abu Ghraib. Now, come on. That's absurd. None of the people who were in the hierarchy who make the decisions, Dick Cheney leaked this information because he was furious that somebody was saying he was lying."
Hasselbeck: "Has that been proven?"
O'Donnell: "That is the truth."
Hasselbeck: "But it's not been proven yet though."
O'Donnell: "Well, I know because the media is controlled by-"
Behar: "Cheney is gone. Cheney's going, he's going, I'm telling you."
Hasselbeck: "But let's not put the cart before the horse. Is that the correct expression? Yes. We are, right now, we're dependent right now on our system of justice to make sure things are done properly and that truth is told. So we have to be patient in the fact that Cheney has not been convicted of doing that and also of the fact that Scooter Libby has not been convicted of outing Valerie Plame."
Joy Behar: "So what does it mean?"
Walters: "Cheney, Cheney-"
O'Donnell: "Was not called."
Walters: "-on the record, did not lie."
Hasselbeck: "Right."
Walters: "I mean the thing that happened with Scooter Libby is, when he talked to the FBI, he, they say did not tell the truth, obstructed justice."
O'Donnell: "But the question is, is he covering for someone?"
Behar: "But the motivation to go to war is the real important point here."
O'Donnell: "But I think, I feel bad for Scooter Libby. I think that he's a fall guy and that I hope when he appeals that he sings like a bird and he sits there and says Dick Cheney told me to do this and that's why I did this because he's my boss and he's a criminal."
[Applause]
Hasselbeck: "But he did not say at his trial."
O'Donnell: "I know because he's the fall guy."
Behar: "He also might get off. So why lie now?"
Walters: "Joy, Joy, we don't know what he thought."
O'Donnell: "Right, right, we don't know what he thought. But, actually I feel bad for him, strangely. There will be an appeal and let's hope that Scooter Libby and his family think about all the years he'll spend in jail while Dick Cheney slips away with his blood clot back to his Halliburton life."

Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th
Anniversary Gala

Exactly three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala: www.mediaresearch.org

Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies and we'll have several conservative stars presenting and accepting the awards, including Ambassador John Bolton, radio talk show host Neal Boortz, columnist/author/provocateur Ann Coulter, FNC and radio host Sean Hannity, political strategist Mary Matalin, game show host Pat Sajak and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele. Plus, we'll have some big-name surprise guests.

Date: Thursday, March 29 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Reception at 6pm, dinner and gala at 7pm. (Black-tie optional.)

Seats are $250.00 each, limited to two per individual unless you are an Associate or Trustee of the MRC. (Contribute $1,000 annually to earn Associate status; $5,000 annually to earn Trustee privileges.)

Every year we end up oversold, so if you want to ensure a seat, order ASAP.

Seats can only be purchased via phone. If you would like to reserve your seat, want more information on how to become an MRC Associate or Trustee, or information on purchasing a table for the evening, please contact Sara Bell at (800) 672-1423 between 9am and 6pm EST Monday through Friday. Or, e-mail her at: sbell@mediaresearch.org

The MRC accepts all major credit cards.

At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest.

But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.

This year's award categories:

# Puppy Love Award

# Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis

# God, I Hate America Award

# Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories

# The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award

If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:

Cal Thomas, Larry Kudlow, Tony Blankley Mark Levin, Jack Singlaub, Stan Evans, Linda Chavez, Ken Cribb and Ron Robinson highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2006 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2005," which were presented on Thursday night, March 30, before an audience of more than 900 packed into the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at several unintentionally humorous clips from network newscasts and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, those in attendance watched a "Tribute to the American Military" video. It was preceded by a "Toast to the Fallen Comrade" and followed by remarks from Herman Cain, the former President of Godfather's Pizza and National Chairman of the MRC's Free Market Project.

DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 17 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Robert Novak and Mary Matalin, who served as judges.

Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and panelist on FNC's Fox Newswatch, served as Master of Ceremonies. Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company and National Review Online's economics editor, was the first presenter of nominated video clips, followed by Washington Times Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin.

In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Major General Jack Singlaub (Retired), radio talk show host and conservative commentator Linda Chavez, Ron Robinson, President of the Young America's Foundation, Ken Cribb, President of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and a former Reagan administration official, and author Stan Evans, the founder of the National Journalism Center, who delivered an especially hilarious routine.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Colonel Robert Rust (Retired).

END Reprint of Summary of last year's event

To watch video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations, check: www.mediaresearch.org

To read about and watch video from all of the past DisHonors Awards galas, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

Again, for the Web section on this year's upcoming gala: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker