Mitchell: 'Populist' Hezbollah Chief 'Provides Social Services' --7/18/2006
2. View Ascribed to Others Becomes Fact: Admin 'Distracted' By Iraq
3. Couric's Publicist an Operative for Hillary Clinton and Schumer
4. Weekly Standard Recites How Media Mis-Report Joe Wilson Case
5. "Top Ten Answers to the Question: 'How Hot Is It?'"
NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked on Monday's NBC Nightly News: "What is Hezbollah and what is its end game?" Mitchell first answered that "experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't." But then she proceeded to refer to "Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah," also describing him as "a Shiite populist" who she relayed, over video of kids, "provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot." Mitchell refrained from labeling Hezbollah as "terrorist" -- or mentioning how its real "end game" is the destruction of Israel -- going no further than to say it "operates militias."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the July 17 "In Depth" NBC Nightly News piece on what Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Israel hope to "get" out of the conflict:
Anchor Brian Williams, in Israel: "Back with you from Tel Aviv where today here we were given a mostly off-the-record briefing by a high-ranking Israeli General mostly on Hezbollah and this current military campaign. The General described them as very capable and very dangerous. But what else is known about the other side in this conflict? More tonight 'In Depth' from our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell."
Andrea Mitchell, from Washington, DC: "As Hezbollah rockets reach farther into Israel, what is Hezbollah and what is its end game? Experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't. Since Syria was forced out of Lebanon a year and a half ago, Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has become Lebanon's best known and most controversial politician. A Shiite populist, Nasrallah provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot, has ministers in the cabinet and operates militias."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell has provided an illustrative example of how journalists attribute to others views which really match their own. On last Thursday's NBC Nightly News, without naming any names, Mitchell contended that "critics in both parties say the administration has been so focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has failed to pay enough attention to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Fast forward to the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, taped the next day for weekend airings, and Mitchell declared as fact: "Iraq is constraining our flexibility in the Middle East" and "we're bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan." She soon added: "I think they're distracted" by Iraq. Then, on Monday's Today, she was back to ascribing her perspective to others as she reported that "Bush is also thinking of sending Secretary Rice to the Mideast after criticism that the U.S. has been too disengaged" and she highlighted how "President Clinton criticized the administration for not doing more sooner."
The Friday, July 14 CyberAlert recounted: As if the incursions into Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah, and subsequent counter-attacks by Israel and now escalating efforts by Israel to fight back with bombings inside Lebanon, are somehow the fault of the Bush administration, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News reporter Andrea Mitchell asserted: "Critics in both parties say the administration has been so focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has failed to pay enough attention to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Mitchell had asked: "What role has the U.S. played? Today, U.S. diplomat David Welch arrived in Israel, but critics say, too late, 17 days after the first Israeli soldier was captured. And Condoleezza Rice has not been to Israel or the Palestinian territories since last November." James Steinberg of the University of Texas then maintained "that American credibility has been damaged by our unwillingness to get involved." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Chris Matthews: "But the problem is, I want to get back to one problem. Everybody knows the hitch in this deal is Iraq. We went alone with the coalition, the coalition of the willing, which is Britain and the Poles and the Guatemalans. But do we have to get out of Iraq before we can put this posse together?"
Matthews, a bit later: "Let me ask you about how the President puts all this together. A two-front war in Israel this week. The usual time when the great powers get together and blow the whistle and say 'everybody back to their sides,' we don't have that capability, do we, Andrea, right now in the world?"
On Monday's Today show, Mitchell reported how "Bush is also thinking of sending Secretary Rice to the Mideast after criticism that the U.S has been too disengaged."
Matthew Hiltzik, the man who is organizing incoming CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric's "Listening Tour" visits to some viewers gathered by a few CBS affiliates, put together Senator Hillary Clinton's 1999 "Listening Tour" of New York when she was running for the U.S. Senate. Hiltzik, Couric's "personal publicist," has a long history of liberal activism. His bio on the Web site for Freud Communications, where he is President and CEO, reports he toiled as "Press Secretary and Deputy Executive Director for the New York State Democratic Committee, working on the 1998 campaign that elected U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Hiltzik helped organize Hillary Clinton's 'Listening Tour' in 1999 and served as Director of Jewish Relations for Senator Clinton's 2000 United States Senate campaign."
The Freud Communications Web site is Flash-based, so to find his bio, go to: www.freud.com Then click on "North America," followed by "Our People" and "Bios" and you'll see Hiltzik listed.
The MRC's Rich Noyes noticed the Couric-Clinton connection cited in a Monday, July 17 New York Times story by David Carr, "Couric Listens, but Who Will Watch?" on Couric's stop in Minneapolis. Carr related:
For Carr's article in full: www.nytimes.com
The other stops on Couric's tour: Tampa, Dallas, Denver, San Diego and San Francisco.
Actually, the TVNewser blog picked up on the Couric-Clinton link back on July 11:
Katie's Tour: A Matthew Hiltzik Production
Dusty Saunders has a column about Katie's tour in the Rocky Mountain News. He's the first print person to directly tie the tour to her publicist:
"While this was essentially Couric's idea, the journey was co-coordinated with the help of publicist Matthew Hiltzik, who had similar duties during a 1999 'listening tour' that transformed Hillary Rodham Clinton from a former first lady into a U.S. Senator."
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For the TVNewser item: www.mediabistro.com
Dana's article: www.observer.com
Joe Wilson got another forum Monday night on MSNBC, in a session with Keith Olbermann touted as a "Countdown Exclusive," but this week's Weekly Standard scolded the news media for mis-reporting the basic facts of the Wilson case. The "Scrapbook" section of the July 24 edition of the magazine reported how last week "the Wilsons filed a civil suit against several senior Bush administration officials. The lawsuit is a joke. But it provided the couple with another few minutes in the spotlight, and the news media with another opportunity to misreport the basic facts of this entire sorry episode. In virtually every story about the case, there is a summary paragraph. And in virtually every story about the case, that summary paragraph is wrong." The magazine quoted a Washington Post story: "Despite Wilson's findings, Bush referred to the Niger uranium charges in his 2003 State of the Union speech outlining his reasons for going to war in March of that year." The Scrapbook writer added. "You get the idea: Bush lied, people died."
The July 24 Weekly Standard "Scrapbook" item:
Joe Wilson's Latest 15 Minutes
It has been a tough few weeks for the publicity-hound Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and his ex-CIA agent wife Valerie Plame. First, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald disclosed that Karl Rove, the man Wilson wanted "frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs" for supposedly leaking Plame's identity to columnist Robert Novak, wouldn't be charged with anything. Fitzgerald's decision makes it extremely unlikely that anyone will be charged with the alleged "crime" that triggered his lengthy investigation. To make matters worse, Plame's deal with Crown Publishing for her memoirs, worth some $2.5 million, was dissolved without explanation from either party.
So late last week, the Wilsons filed a civil suit against several senior Bush administration officials. The lawsuit is a joke. But it provided the couple with another few minutes in the spotlight, and the news media with another opportunity to misreport the basic facts of this entire sorry episode.
In virtually every story about the case, there is a summary paragraph. And in virtually every story about the case, that summary paragraph is wrong. Most of them read like this, from an Associated Press story on July 14 by one Toni Locy:
"The CIA had sent Wilson to Niger in early 2002 to determine whether there was any truth to reports that Iraq had made a deal to acquire yellowcake uranium from the government of Niger to make a nuclear weapon. Wilson discounted the reports, but the allegation that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa ended up in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address."
A Washington Post article tells us:
"Despite Wilson's findings, Bush referred to the Niger uranium charges in his 2003 State of the Union speech outlining his reasons for going to war in March of that year."
You get the idea: Bush lied, people died.
We refer our colleagues once more to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Iraq-Niger-Wilson affair. Wilson did not "discount" the reports of Iraqi uranium shopping when he was debriefed by the CIA about his trip. According to the Senate report (p. 46), a CIA reports officer gave Wilson's reporting a grade of "good." The officer "judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believed that the Iraqis were interested in uranium."
From Conclusion #13 of the Senate Report, we learn that "for most analysts, the information in the [Wilson] report lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal."
There's more. A month after Bush's 2003 State of the Union, the CIA was still defending Bush's statement. On February 27, 2003, the CIA responded to a letter from Senator Carl Levin asking for more information on "what the U.S. [intelligence community] knows about Saddam Hussein seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The CIA said it had reporting to "suggest Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Niger."
And where did the U.S. government get the idea that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger? Both from the original reports that led to Wilson's trip and -- you guessed it -- from "the CIA intelligence report on the former ambassador's trip to Niger."
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For all the items in the July 24 "Scrapbook" compilation: www.weeklystandard.com
From the July 17 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Answers to the Question: 'How Hot Is It?'" Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "It's so hot, Kim Jong Il has been stockpiling Italian ices"
9. "It's so hot, Star Jones has enjoyed getting the cold shoulder from Barbara Walters"
8. "It's so hot, Kobe Bryant is only nailing girls who work at Dairy Queen"
7. "It's so hot, Regis Philbin is hosting a new show called 'America's Got Heat Stroke'"
6. "It's so hot, President Bush told the sun to 'Stop doing this sh**'"
5. "It's so hot, the terror alerts level was raised to 'Sweaty'"
4. "It's so hot, the writer passed out before he could finish this joke"
3. "It's so hot, Osama bin Laden was spotted in front of the air conditioners at P.C. Richard"
2. "It's so hot, a disoriented Bill Clinton has been hitting on Hillary"
1. "It's so hot, Barry Bonds is injecting Slurpees in his ass"
-- Brent Baker