2. Miklaszewski Puts Nefarious Spin on Bush Urging Larger Military
3. CBS Hypes 'Fallout' from 'Secretive' WH Hiding Cancer from Media
4. Olbermann Won't Support MRC, So We're Counting on Your Donation
5. Late Show's "Top Ten Holiday Traditions at the White House"
On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and David Shuster derided President for not being in touch with the views of a left-wing Hollywood actor -- Matt Damon, whom Matthews hailed as "prophetic." At his Wednesday morning news conference, Bush noted how "a recent report on retail sales shows a strong beginning to the holiday shopping season across the country" and added: "I encourage you all to go shopping more." Matthews scolded: "I wonder if he's in touch with the critics out there, like Matt Damon, the actor, who was on this program Monday, who actually mocked the President, he ridiculed the President for saying to the people of America, 'Don't share the burden of our fighting forces over there, go have a good time and go shopping.'" Contrasting Bush's remark with Damon's comment on Monday's Hardball, Shuster insisted "the timing was simply unbelievable" and contended "a lot of people, I think, are going to suggest" Bush's remark "was a mistake." Matthews then chastised Bush for "saying go out and spend your money and have fun when people are dying over there."
Monday's pre-taped Hardball, with Damon and Robert DeNiro at George Mason University as part of the Hardball "College Tour," wll re-run on Friday night.
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the exchange near the top of the December 20 Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "I think there are two big news items in the President's presentation today in this last press conference. One is he's not really sure we're going to send more troops into Baghdad. He's skeptical to that to some extent. But this other comment you started with, with the President saying we should go out there and shop more. I mean, I wonder if he's in touch with the critics out there, like Matt Damon, the actor, who was on this program Monday, who actually mocked the President, he ridiculed the President for saying to the people of America, 'Don't share the burden of our fighting forces over there, go have a good time and go shopping.'"
As if political tradeoffs and deal-making isn't how politics works every day in the nation's capital, on Wednesday night NBC News Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski delivered a nefarious take on President Bush's willingness to increase the size of the military, at least the Army and Marine Corps. Picking up on Bush's comments during his morning news conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how "a lot of Generals have been asking for this for a long time, as recently as last week on Capitol Hill."
Miklaszewski, however, stressed how "some military officials are highly suspicious of the President's sudden turnaround on the issue" since "they believe that he's dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military's support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq -- as if it's some kind of tradeoff." Those military leaders "that we're talking to," Miklaszewski relayed, "still oppose a surge, they still believe it won't work and will put more Americans at risk." He concluded: "As one senior military official put it today, it'll be like throwing kerosene on a fire." It may be unwise to "surge" troops, but a President giving in one area to get what he wants in another is hardly unusual. Normally the press corps laud such "compromise."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Neither ABC's World News or the CBS Evening News matched Miklaszewski's framing of the increased military size story.
The exchange between Williams and Miklaszewski on the December 20 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: "The President's decision to push for this expansion of the U.S. military has caught a few people at the Pentagon by surprise. We turn on our Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski. And Jim, a lot of Generals have been asking for this for a long time, as recently as last week on Capitol Hill."
As detailed in Wednesday's CyberAlert, the Tuesday CBS Evening News framed the story of Laura Bush's skin cancer around how the White House didn't reveal it rather than the cancer itself, and Wednesday's Early Show continued this theme. CBS News correspondent Joie Chen asserted that Tony Snow got his "Christmas goose cooked" by downplaying the story, and Early Show co-host Rene Syler opened the segment by noting the "fallout" from the fact that "the White House felt the need to keep it secret for so long." Chen used the incident to imply a wider pattern: "What other health secrets is the White House hiding?" Chen, recognizing the media's over-zealousness, also suggested the First Lady could have avoided this whole controversy, if only she had worn pants instead of a skirt: "And he [Tony Snow] never even got to the other burning question, why didn't the First Lady just put on pants?"
[This item is adopted from a Wednesday posting, by Michael Rule, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The December 20 CyberAlert recounted: Reminiscent of the high dudgeon Washington press corps reaction after a few hours passed before they were notified of Vice President Cheney's hunting accident, on Tuesday some reporters denounced the White House for failing to publicly announce how last month First Lady Laura Bush had a skin cancer growth removed from one of her legs. On FNC, Brit Hume played a montage from the daily briefing showing how journalists "demanded to know why they hadn't been told earlier." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, for instance, asked "how was the decision reached not to disclose this publicly until questions were asked?" And she challenged White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: "Do you feel any obligation as a person of public status to talk about this?"
The transcript of the December 20 Early Show segment:
Rene Syler: "And more fallout over First Lady Laura Bush's recent skin cancer surgery. Some want to know why the White House felt the need to keep it a secret for so long. CBS News correspondent Joie Chen reports."
Joie Chen: "To hear the White House tell it, it was no more significant than a little holiday party chit-chat. That's where the story started, at the President's Hanukkah celebration. A sharp eyed reporter detected a band-aid on the First Lady's leg. The response, yes, the First Lady had a squamous cell carcinoma, a very common skin cancer, and had it removed. Those who make it their business to know pressed the President's spokesman."
Rene Syler: "And the First Lady's Press Secretary says Mrs. Bush is doing just fine, and that no other procedures are expected at this point."
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From this week's e-mailed Late Show Newsletter from the Late Show with David Letterman, "an exclusive un-aired Top Ten for newsletter subscribers," the "Top Ten Holiday Traditions at the White House." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Making festive decorations out of unread intelligence memos
9. Halliburton charges 1.9 billion dollars to put up the tree
8. NSA performs illegal wiretaps to find out what people are getting the president
7. Tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of elves
6. Clinton stops by to determine which interns belong on the "naughty" list
5. Roasting Iraqi study group report over an open fire
4. Attempting to out-chug the twins
3. Trying to find three wise men in Congress, am I right, people?
2. Democrats send over a holiday assortment of tainted Taco Bell chalupas
1. Cheney guns down old guy dressed as Santa
-- Brent Baker