2. Hardball Crew Gives Rave Reviews to Teddy's Obama Endorsement
3. CBS: 'Bush Redux,' Bad Legacy; CNN's Toobin: No 'Humanity' In GOP
4. CNN's Roberts Can't Stop Calling Surge the 'So-Called Surge'
The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how "today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot." CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, "Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy." NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded "it's almost hard to remain objective" when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how "the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar." Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.
(Later, on Nightline, with "New Son of Camelot" on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the "new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK." Moran soon hailed how "the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st." David Wright repeated his "the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny" line before championing the "merging ideals from two different eras" as "Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot.")
Seemingly relaying the perspective of the press corps more than the public at large, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams led by contending: "It's been 45 years since a Kennedy has been in the White House, and yet because of the American fascination with the family name, and the family business of politics, the Kennedy name still has the power to grab the attention of millions of Americans."
For more on Cowan's "it's almost hard to remain objective," check the January 11 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Jeff Greenfield's CBS Evening News story was the most restrained of the three networks and only CBS limited itself to just one story on the endorsement. ABC's World News featured a brief interview with Ted and Caroline Kennedy about why they picked Obama.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Though all but CBS aired multiple segments on the Kennedy endorsement of Obama, none found time to mention the arrest order issued Monday for Tony Rezko, a big Obama donor up on charges of fraud, extortion and money laundering. "Indicted Obama Fundraiser's Bond Revoked," read the headline over a Monday afternoon AP dispatch, which began:
CHICAGO -- A judge revoked the $2 million bond Monday for indicted businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who has raised thousands of dollars for Barack Obama and Illinois politicians.
U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve said she grew concerned after learning Rezko received $3.5 million from a company in Lebanon; he had claimed that he had no income. St. Eve said she feared Rezko could be a flight risk.
The real estate developer and fast food magnate was arrested Monday morning at his home in suburban Wilmette. At an afternoon hearing, the judge ordered him into custody and scheduled a Tuesday hearing where Rezko's attorneys will attempt to get bond reinstated.
Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering, and is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25. He is accused of pressuring businesses seeking work before two state regulatory boards to make campaign contributions and payoffs.
Rezko had long been a fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and for Obama, the presidential candidate and senator from Illinois. Neither Democrat has been accused of wrongdoing in the case...
END of Excerpt
For the AP story, as posted by WashingtonPOst.com: www.washingtonpost.com
Some snips from the Monday, January 28 evening newscast excitement in the shows all done from Washington, DC since the anchors were in town to visit the White House before the State of the Union address:
# ABC's World News. Charles Gibson teased: "Two generations of Kennedys give Obama a rousing endorsement..."
David Wright began his lead story: "Today they gathered by the thousands at American University, sensing a moment of history. John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address here five months before he was shot. And today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot..."
That last phrase aired over video of President Kennedy holding his son John Jr.
Moran opened: "Good evening, everyone. I'm Terry Moran. And tonight, on a night when the President gave his final State of the Union address, he was overshadowed. The political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st..."
David Wright began his story: "Today, the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. No mere endorsement this, more like a political anointment from the Kennedys, merging ideals from two different eras....
With "Camelot Effect?" on screen, Lee Cowan asserted: "Of all the memorable images of this campaign, Barack Obama has never had a moment quite like this: Two generations of Kennedys, the standard-bearers of the best-know political name in Washington, standing behind one young Senator from Illinois....The endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar."
The reviews are in and Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama was a bit hit with the crew over at Hardball. Chris Matthews compared Kennedy to King Arthur and said of the liberal Senator's speech: "Today we got a glimpse of the early 1960s when politics was alive." The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson admitted it gave him "goose-bumps," and MSNBC's Mike Barnicle called it "electric."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Monday night's Hardball the endorsement of Obama by the brother of John F. Kennedy threw the gang at Hardball into a wave of '60s nostalgia as they recalled glory days gone by of liberal legends like JFK and RFK.
The following are just some of the exhortations as they occurred on the January 28 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: But we begin with the box office political story of the day, the Kennedy endorsement of Barack Obama. I know when I look into the eyes of my own children the look of wonder when I speak of life back in the sixties. It's why the Rolling Stones are such a hit even in their sixties. Why Dennis Hopper is so compelling even when he's making pitches for something so unhip as long-term financial planning. But all of that, the hard rock, the hint of the drug culture, all that came later on when the 1960s became "the '60s," that turbulent, wild sometimes dark era of protest that ended when Richard Nixon was forced from the White House. Today we got a glimpse of the early 1960s when politics was alive, so here and now in Washington D.C. The era of serious commitment, of short hair, white shirts, narrow ties and the Peace Corps. Today, for a brief, shining hour the young got to see what we saw. Not the gauzy images of Camelot but the living spirit of the new frontier.
MATTHEWS COUNTING THE NUMBER OF TIMES KENNEDY CRITICIZED THE CLINTONS IN SPEECH: Well that's 16 times he took a direct shot, 16 counterpunches against the Clintons. It was King Arthur coming back from the Crusades to endorse Robin Hood! That's what I said.
MATTHEWS TO GUEST PANEL: Teddy Kennedy's speech. What it'd do to ya?
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know I'll tell you what it did to me. It was such an electric moment for me. I'm listening to Senator Kennedy and in my mind's eye, in the back of my mind's eye I can see Robert Kennedy in a motorcade in Gary, Indiana, whites and blacks merging toward the car, the crush of people just trying to touch him. I could see Robert Kennedy, in my mind's eye, coming down through Stockton, Tulare, Modesto, Delano, Bakersfield, California. I could see the farm workers. I never underestimate the passion and emotion of politics and that's what I saw. That's what I heard today.
EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: First it was one of those moments when the, makes you remember that politics really is about people's aspirations and hopes and dreams and, and, and you know was one of those goose-bump moments today.
ABC and NBC pivoted almost immediately from President Bush's State of the Union address to the 2008 presidential campaign, but CBS stuck to Bush's speech in its post-coverage in which Katie Couric complained "a lot of it was Bush redux," Bob Schieffer kvetched that Bush "did not say what his assessment of the state of the union was until the next to the last sentence" and historian Douglas Brinkley declared: "It's not looking good for his legacy. I mean it's hard to point to any big accomplishments." Schieffer, however, cautioned it's too soon to assess Bush, noting: "We're only beginning now to understand completely the impact of Ronald Reagan. When he left office, we didn't know that the Soviet Union was going to collapse."
Meanwhile, on CNN between Bush's address and the Democratic response, Jeffrey Toobin used Bush to condemn all the Republican candidates for lacking "humanity" in their approach to immigration. The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to this from Toobin at 10:12 PM EST: "The rhetoric that George Bush uses on immigration is still so different from the Republican candidates for President. He talks about being humane. You never hear Romney or, talking about McCain, talking about humanity these days."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A flavor of the post-speech analysis on CBS Monday night, following Schieffer describing the address as "flat" and historian Douglas Brinkley calling it "boilerplate," picking up at about 10:07 PM EST:
KATIE COURIC: I was going to say a lot of it was Bush redux too wasn't it? We heard many of these sentiments before -- whether it came to warning Iran to suspend its nuclear weapons program, or talking about the importance of FISA and basically monitoring terrorist communications in this country and renewing that act.
Over the course of at least nine months, CNN's John Roberts has regularly labeled the troop surge in Iraq, the amassing of 28,000 additional troops in the country, the "so-called surge." Liberals, such as Rockridge Institute Senior Fellow George Lakoff, have objected to the term "surge" in the past, since using the term would "subscribe to Bush's misleading frame." Roberts latest use of the phrase took place on Monday's American Morning. He posed the following question to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "The President is also going to be talking about Iraq tonight, Dana. He'll be talking, I guess, about the so-called surge, progress that's been made in terms of security and safety there. But there still has been little political progress. What's the President's message to Nouri Al-Maliki and the people who are in charge there in Iraq going to be tonight?"
This isn't the first time Roberts has used the "so-called surge" phrase in an interview with Perino. In an April 20, 2007 interview with then-Deputy White House Press Secretary, Roberts asked, "You say that this so-called surge is working, that things are getting better. There are 182 people killed the other day in Baghdad, is that really getting better?"
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Monday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Lakoff's criticism of the term "surge," read his article "Framing, Death, and Democracy:" www.rockridgeinstitute.org
Two weeks before Roberts' first interview of Perino, during CNN's This Week at War program on April 7, 2007, Roberts used the phrase "so-called surge" three times in the course of a segment. First,, Roberts inquired CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr about a recent statement made by Senator John McCain. "[T]he military likes good PR, likes to have people say, hey, what's happening on the ground with the so-called surge is a success. But do they think that McCain has gone off the reservation with this proclamations of how good things are?"
After Starr gave her answer, he then directed a question to CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips, who was then on-location in Baghdad. "Is there a concern there, Kyra, that the political debate here could hamper the chances for success of this so-called surge?" Following Phillips' reply, Roberts, in his third question in a row that used the phrase, asked Flynt Leverett of the New American Foundation, "Does this so-called surge need to be given a chance without all this heated political rhetoric surrounding it?"
Over two months later, during a June 20, 2007 interview of Lt. General Raymond Odierno, the then-commanding general of the Multi-national Forces in Iraq, Roberts again used the "so-called surge" phrase. "Let me go to you there on the ground there and ask: the so-called surge, is it working or not?" The interview took place five days after the surge had reached full strength and its operations had begun.
During a November 30, 2007 interview of Rep. John Murtha, after the Pennsylvania Democrat came out and said that he thought the surge was working, Roberts introduced the segment by stating, "First, he was a hawk, then he was a dove. But now, Democratic congressman John Murtha has changed his mind again apparently. He's just back from Iraq and says the troop build-up there, the so-called surge, is working."
Less than a month later on December 26, 2007, Roberts interviewed another American general in Iraq, Major General Kevin Bergner, and bested his previous "record" by using his phrase twice in the same question: "You know, the big story of 2007 was this fairly significant reduction in violence, particularly in Baghdad. But Democrats here in Washington are still saying that the so-called surge is a failure because it has not paved the way for political progress, particularly on the issue of reconciliation. So, when you look at the troop increase, and the idea it was to set the stage for political reconciliation, has this so-called surge been a failure or a success?"
Roberts hasn't always used the "so-called" label to describe the surge. The most notable example of this was his August 8, 2007 interview of Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Bob Casey, after the two made a visit to Iraq. Roberts only directly referenced the surge once in his questions, and he didn't use the "so-called" label. "But Senator Durbin, everybody in the Democratic Party is saying that the surge has failed. Senator Casey, do you agree with your colleague that there are some signs of military progress here?"
-- Brent Baker