2. Mitchell Skips Evidence Against Wilson, Relies on Bush Critic
3. Ousted CBS News Chief Denounced MRC as "Extreme," Denied Bias
4. "Top Ten Signs Your Supreme Court Nominee Is Not Qualified"
MSNBC's Chris Matthews assumed pernicious wrong-doing on the part of Bush officials and cited facts not in evidence as he opened Wednesday's Hardball by presuming Valerie Plame was a victim, though her publicity-seeking husband was incompatible with keeping her employer secret. Matthews declared that the "FBI closes in on the bad guys," described Plame as "undercover CIA agent" and touted how she "was a courageous spy for her country," even though she was working at CIA headquarters and her specific status is in dispute. Bob Novak, for instance, reported that her overseas career was over. Matthews proceeded to assert that her neighbors had "no idea" of what job she held "until quote, 'high administration officials,' closed quote, exposed her to America's enemies."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
Matthews opened the October 26 Hardball, live at 5pm EDT and on tape at 7pm EDT:
Matthews has been on a crusade over the past few weeks. An October 20 CyberAlert posting, for instance, recounted: "The first words out of Chris Matthews' mouth, at the top of Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC, raised the specter of Watergate: 'What did the President know and when did he know it?'" See: www.mediaresearch.org
On Wednesday night's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a story in which she turned to Bush administration critic and former National Security Council member Flynt Leverett, "who quit in protest before the war," to contribute a soundbite charging that the Bush administration "had decided to fight back" against Joseph Wilson in response to his criticism of the Iraq invasion. Mitchell also, without challenge, relayed Wilson's contention that his trip to Niger discredited the possibility that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger, as she merely passed on that he concluded "it wasn't true." Absent was the argument that Wilson's original report, which mentioned Iraq's attempt to expand trade with Niger, may have actually added credibility to President Bush's State of the Union assertion that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," since Bush's statement said nothing of whether the efforts were successful. Additionally, the British government has continued to stand by its claims.
These arguments were outlined by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, as quoted in an article at CNN.com on July 13, 2003. While defending the British government's assertions that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Niger, Straw "insisted [its dossier] was based on what British officials regarded as 'reliable intelligence' which had not been shared with the United States." Straw explained that "as CNN [has] reported, Ambassador Wilson's report also noted that in 1999 an Iraqi delegation sought the expansion of trade links with Niger -- and that former Niger government officials believed that this was in connection with the procurement of yellowcake." Straw concluded that "uranium is Niger's main export. In other words, this element of Ambassador Wilson's report supports the statement in the government's dossier." For the complete text: www.cnn.com
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced the October 26 story: "And while everyone waits for word on possible indictments here, a reminder tonight of what is at the root of this case: The Bush administration's prewar intelligence assessments. Iraq had weapons, they said, and they posed a threat to the U.S. NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell has more."
Andrea Mitchell: "In the beginning, it was a fight over weapons of mass destruction. Did Saddam Hussein have them? Were they an imminent threat? Administration hardliners voiced no doubt."
Heyward argued that viewers confused "tough questions" to "the establishment" posed by CBS reporters with liberal bias and went so far as to seriously maintain that of "the people I work with, many of them are surprisingly conservative." Plus, he said with a straight face: "Our job is to communicate the truth to people."
[This item was posted Wednesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To watch Heyward from 2000, in either RealPLayer or Windows Media, as located in the MRC archive by Karen Hanna, go to: newsbusters.org ]
A reprint of a short article in the Monday, July 31, 2000 Morning Edition of the MRC's twice-daily, three-page Media Reality Check on the party conventions, in this case on the Republican convention at Philadelphia's Comcast Center from which Heyward appeared the afternoon before, Sunday, on a C-SPAN call-in show:
CBS News President: MRC "Extremists of the Right"
"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I do deny that we have a bias, and I'm familiar with the work that [Brent] Bozell and [Reed] Irvine do. They are activists and extremists of the Right," declared CBS News President Andrew Heyward Sunday afternoon on C-SPAN in dismissing a caller who asked about liberal media bias on CBS documented by the Media Research Center and Accuracy in Media.
After denigrating the work of the heads of the two groups, Heyward proceeded to claim "the people I work with, many of them are surprisingly conservative."
As for why people see a liberal bias, Heyward maintained it's only because "as journalists we're always holding the establishment up to scrutiny, whether it's a Republican or a Democratic administration, a Republican or a Democratic Congress."
"It's our job to ask tough questions and to shine a light in corners that might otherwise remain dark. And if you tend to be conservative, by definition somebody who's constantly challenging the status quo, even though that's how we see our jobs, is seen potentially as unpatriotic or they're anti-government, anti-American."
He ended his answer by insisting: "Our job is to communicate the truth to people."
END of Reprint
A standard not quite met by him and Dan Rather in Memogate a little more than four years later.
From the Late Show with David Letterman Web site, as posted on Monday, the winners in last week's "Top Ten Contest" for submissions for the "Top Ten Signs Your Supreme Court Nominee Is Not Qualified." Late Show "Top Ten Contest" page: www.cbs.com
10. Snickers every time somebody mentions the word "briefs" (Dave S., Ankeny, LA)
9. Was lead counsel for plaintiff in case of Great Taste v. Less Filling (Michael B., Carmel Valley)
8. Uses judicial gavel to break open walnuts during press conference (Ed S., Torrance, CA)
7. Thinks Thurgood Marshall is the rich dude on "Gilligan's Island" (Michael P., St. John's)
6. Her most valued legal resource? Seasons 4-7 of "Law & Order" on DVD (Terry A., San Francisco, CA)
5. During press conference announces she's looking forward to working with judges Judy, Joe Brown and Wapner (Dan B., Millbroo, AL)
4. Never heard of Roe vs Wade, but did see "Kramer vs. Kramer" (Mike S., Spokane, WA)
3. Once recommended pardon for woman who shot J.R. Ewing (Matthew S., Longmeadow, MA)
2. She's trying to overturn Alien vs. Predator (Robert H., Huntingdon, PA)
1. Law school diploma signed by Judge Judy (Ben N., Columbus, OH)
-- Brent Baker