Mitchell Scolds Bush on Israel, Hints Iraq Distraction Led to War --7/14/2006
2. Nets Which Went Apoplectic Over Bush Ad Silent on Democratic Ad
3. Brokaw Global Warming Show 'Devoid of Balance and Objectivity'
4. Moyers Connects Greek Hero Myths to Bill Clinton and Impeachment
5. "Top Ten Good Things About Having a Dog as a Governor"
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."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of Mitchell's July 13 NBC Nightly News story, provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
Anchor Brian Williams: "Now the natural question becomes: Where does all of this leave the United States, a big player in Middle East politics? On the eve of the G-8 summit of industrialized nations, President Bush is overseas and at odds with several allies over Israel's military actions. More on that part of this story now from NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell."
Andrea Mitchell: "In Germany today, the President strongly supported Israel's right to defend itself, blaming Syria for harboring terror groups active in both Lebanon and Gaza."
Two years ago when the Bush presidential campaign produced a TV ad with a fleeting image of a flag-draped stretcher at the Ground Zero site, the networks went apoplectic, with the broadcast network morning and evening shows focusing segments on how Bush had "exploited 9/11," and the cable networks joined in too. But when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week released an anti-GOP attack ad on their Web site which showed flag-draped coffins in an airplane, with the clear implication they were bodies of soldiers killed in Iraq, the same media outlets have been conspicuously silent despite the hook of several House Republicans on Thursday holding a press conference to denounce the ad. A presidential campaign's TV ad is clearly higher profile than a Web ad, but the Web ad was produced by a major party committee and raises hypocrisy in how that party was so critical of the Bush use of 9/11 flag images. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday night did raise the new ad, but instead of focusing on media or Democratic hypocrisy, he railed against supposed Republican hypocrisy.
In a Thursday NewsBuster.org blog posting, "Democratic Ad Using Images of War Dead Results in Media Yawn," the MRC's Scott Whitlock documented how the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows have all ignored the Democratic ad while FNC's Fox & Friends on Thursday morning looked at the controversy: newsbusters.org
And I can add that there has been nothing on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening newscasts and I haven't noticed anything on CNN, particularly on The Situation Room. I have seen coverage on several FNC shows in addition to Fox & Friends.
To watch the DCCC ad, which has "America Needs a New Direction" over images until a soundbite at the end from Bill Clinton: www.dccc.org
An excerpt from the March 5, 2004 CyberAlert about March 4 coverage:
The Bush campaign may have $100 million to spend, but the Kerry team has the news media as part of its base, a reality demonstrated on Thursday, a day John Kerry took off and didn't even campaign. Based on a single news story in the New York Daily News quoting a single firefighter and a few members of families with 9-11 victims, the morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC, as well as CNBC and MSNBC in prime time, picked up the charge that new Bush campaign TV ads, which very briefly show images from 9-11, somehow improperly exploit that day for political gain.
In the morning, Karen Hughes was quizzed about it and in the evening the supposed "controversy" led or was the number two story on every evening newscast.
ABC's Diane Sawyer, CBS's Harry Smith and CNN's Soledad O'Brien highlighted how the "firefighters union" protested the ad, but failed to point out how that union, the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), long ago endorsed John Kerry. Sawyer asked Hughes on GMA, for instance: "The firefighters union says in a statement that it was a cheap trick to use even fleeting images of the real events of 9/11."
Kate Snow set up that GMA segment: "Using these 9/11 images is already drawing political fire from Senator John Kerry and outrage among some victims' families; 'a slap in the face,' says one widow, 'of the murders of 3,000 people.'"
Over on CBS's The Early Show, Harry Smith lectured Hughes: "But you know this is one of those things where images can make or break a candidate. Could this turn into another 'Mission Accomplished?'"
NBC's Katie Couric avoided distorting the firefighter's upset as something independent from the Kerry campaign, but Couric, like the other morning hosts, ignored the quotes in the New York Daily News from 9-11 victim family members who found the ads perfectly fine and quoted only from those who attacked the Bush campaign: "One September 11th widow told the Daily News this morning she was offended by the use of 9-11 images in these ads saying quote, 'After three thousand people were murdered on his watch it seems to me that takes an awful lot of audacity. Honestly, it's in poor taste.' What's your response to that?"
In the afternoon, on CNN's Inside Politics, Judy Woodruff refused to note the agenda of the IAFF as she intoned in leading into a soundbite from IAFF President Harry Schaitberger: "Two of the new Bush campaign ads include brief images of the World Trade Center ruins, and of firefighters. That's not sitting well with some firefighters, and relatives of 9/11 victims."
On screen during the 5pm EST Wolf Blitzer Reports on CNN: "Trading on Tragedy?"
By the evening, the network stories at least noted how the firefighters union had endorsed Kerry, but they nonetheless still quoted union chief's Shaitberger's attack on Bush despite the fact that the union's main agenda is a selfish quest for more federal spending for fire departments, a matter of a liberal-conservative split on the role of federal spending on tasks traditionally the responsibility of local governments. That didn't dissuade CBS's John Roberts: "The firefighters union, which backs John Kerry, wants them off the air, adding, 'President Bush has short-changed first responders on critically needed equipment and training.'"
Dan Rather set up that story: "President Bush today began running the first television advertisements of his re-election campaign, and already they are drawing heavy criticism, including some from families of 9/11 victims. Political opponents, 9/11 families, and others are accusing the President of doing something he insisted he would never do: Exploit a national tragedy for political gain." Roberts concluded it: "Some critics are calling the ads the height of election-year hypocrisy, pointing out that President Bush was quick to use 9/11 to build up his image. At the same time, he is refusing to cooperate fully with the commission investigating the attacks on America."
NBC's David Gregory reminded viewers how "this is not the first time Mr. Bush has been accused of using the 9-11 attack for political gain. In May of 2002 the White House was criticized for allowing congressional Republicans to use a picture of the President on Air Force One speaking to the Vice President just hours after the attacks on New York and Washington."
George Stephanopoulos, on ABC's World News Tonight, provided the most rationale look at the tempest as he pointed out how "you'll have to look very closely to see what all the fuss is about. Blink twice and you'll miss it." Stephanopoulos put the 9-11 scene time in the two ads combined at four seconds -- and that's probably on the high side.
Later Thursday night, on CNN's 8pm EST Paula Zahn Now, Zahn insisted the ads "outraged a lot of folks." Setting up a segment with a professor and followed by two Congressmen, one critical of the ads and one supportive of them, Zahn played an ad clip and then failed to identify the true pro-Kerry agenda of the union involved: "Glimpses of World Trade Center wreckage, as you just saw, and human remains being removed from the site, provoked outrage from the firefighters union and some victims' families."
Over on MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann teased at the top of his 8pm EST program: "Quote: 'It's as sick as people who stole things out of the place.' Some firefighters, some families of the victims of 9-11 protesting President Bush's new campaign ad."
An hour later, MSNBC's Deborah Norville Tonight provided an interview segment with a two 9-11 widows, one opposed to the ad and one in favor of it, but the on-screen graphic visible throughout the session assumed the Bush team is in the wrong: "IS PRES. BUSH EXPLOITING 9/11?"
The topic also led CNN's 10pm EST NewsNight with Aaron Brown, but anchored by Anderson Cooper, as well as The News on CNBC.
The scenes in question in the two ads are very brief. In one, with moving music playing, text on screen reads: "A test for all Americans" followed by "Then...a day of tragedy." Under the latter, the ad shows a full screen of the WTC outer wall with a flag in front, then a scene of firefighters carrying a flag-draped casket takes over one-third of the screen on the right, and then the left image is replaced by a man raising flag outside of any 9-11 scene.
In the second ad, the announcer says: "Some challenges we've seen before. And some were like no others." During a portion of those words, for barely a second, viewers see a flag flying in front of the WTC building wall. Both ads have the images surround by fuzzy, fading in black borders, so the images are relatively small....
END of Excerpt of previous CyberAlert
For the full rundown in the March 5, 2004 CyberAlert, with a screen shot from the Bush ad: www.mrc.org
An excerpt from a Thursday night NewsBusters.org blog posting, "Olbermann Portrays Republicans as Hypocritical on Democratic Coffins Ad," by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
....When Republicans recently criticized Democrats for an ad that included images of flag-draped coffins of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, most of the media ignored the controversy, but not MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The Countdown host instead weighed in taking the side of Democrats. Olbermann portrayed Republican criticism of the ad as "rock throwing" by those living in "glass houses" while putting no burden on Democrats to be consistent after their criticism of the Bush ad two years ago, as he relayed the Democratic argument justifying the ad: "Democrats say the Republicans erased the line years ago."
Olbermann ran two plugs ahead of the segment in which he singled out Republicans as having a double standard. Plug number one: "And images of our war dead: Coffins draped with American flags. Is it fair to use those images in political ads? Republicans say the Democrats have crossed a line. Democrats say the Republicans erased the line years ago."
Plug number two: "Our own war dead at the center of a political firestorm here. Democrats using images of flag-draped coffins in a new advertisement. Republicans crying foul and, in doing so, possibly forgetting their own ads using 9/11 and military images."
Olbermann introduced the segment comparing the President's use of 9/11 images and appearances with active military personnel in his campaign to Democrats' use of the coffins of U.S. troops in their ad: "Republicans have used images of 9/11 in each campaign advertising year since 9/11. A President ran for re-election with active servicemen standing behind him at every other turn." He then cited the marketing of military-style caps by the conservative NewsMax Web site, tagged by Olbermann as "rabidly right-wing," as he bolstered the case that critics of the Democratic ad are being hypocritical: "A current advertisement by the rabidly right-wing Web site NewsMax is offering U.S. military desert camouflage hats featuring photos of the hats being worn by laughing twentysomething models on a beach somewhere, and of the hats being worn by grim-faced twentysomething military grunts standing in harm's way somewhere."
Without mentioning any inconsistency by Democrats, Olbermann continued by referring to the old adage about throwing stones in glass houses: "There are a lot of people living in a lot of glass houses on the question of what's appropriate or inappropriate in political ads. But that never stopped the rock-throwing before, and it's not stopping it now."
Olbermann brought aboard NBC News correspondent Chip Reid to discuss the controversy and, at one point, brought up House Republican Leader John Boehner's response to a reporter's question about what the difference was between the Democratic ad and the Bush ad, but Olbermann still did not bring up past criticism of the Bush ad by Democrats: "A reporter asked what the difference was between Democrats using images from Iraq in a political campaign, Republican ads from 2004 that used pictures of the World Trade Center attacks to get the President reelected."
After a clip of Boehner, Olbermann continued: "Mr. Boehner went on to say that the differences are as clear as night and day. But I gather that he never actually mentioned what those differences are. Do we have any idea what the differences are?"
Below is a transcript of portions of the segment from the July 13 Countdown show:
Keith Olbermann, before commercial break at 8:13 p.m.: "And images of our war dead: Coffins draped with American flags. Is it fair to use those images in political ads? Republicans say the Democrats have crossed a line. Democrats say the Republicans erased the line years ago."
Olbermann, before commercial break at 8:20 p.m.: "Our own war dead at the center of a political firestorm here. Democrats using images of flag-draped coffins in a new advertisement. Republicans crying foul and, in doing so, possibly forgetting their own ads using 9/11 and military images."
Olbermann, introducing the segment: "Republicans have used images of 9/11 in each campaign advertising year since 9/11. A president ran for reelection with active servicemen standing behind him at every other turn. A current advertisement by the rabidly right-wing Web site NewsMax is offering 'U.S. military desert camouflage hats featuring photos of the hats being worn by laughing twentysomething models on a beach somewhere, and of the hats being worn by grim-faced twentysomething military grunts standing in harm's way somewhere. So in our third story in the Countdown tonight, there are a lot of people living in a lot of glass houses on the question of what's appropriate or inappropriate in political ads. But that never stopped the rock-throwing before, and it's not stopping it now."
[clip of ad shown]
Olbermann: "That is the latest ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Of course, we would not even have known it existed but for the House Republicans who went before TV cameras today armed with helpful diagrams to express their outrage over the use of the images of casualties from the war in Iraq."
[clips shown of House Republicans denouncing the ad]
Olbermann: "House Republicans did not stop at a news conference. Rep. Tom Cole introduced a resolution calling for Congress to condemn the use of military caskets or funerals for partisan political and fund-raising purposes. ...
Olbermann: "Let me get your reaction to something that the House Majority Leader, Mr. Boehner, said in his daily briefing. A reporter asked what the difference was between Democrats using images from Iraq in a political campaign, Republican ads from 2004 that used pictures of the World Trade Center attacks to get the President reelected."
[clip of Boehner shown]
Olbermann: "Mr. Boehner went on to say that the differences are as clear as night and day. But I gather that he never actually mentioned what those differences are. Do we have any idea what the differences are?"
Olbermann: "But also, I'm struck by the offense being taken by critics about images of flag-draped coffins while no one seems to be objecting to the fact that there are flag-draped coffins. Would it seem a little less disingenuous, could somebody really steal the march here for somebody criticizing this to just drop in one line starting with, 'Of course we wish there were no coffins to show,' before they launch political bombshells? Or am I once again asking too much of politicians?"
END of NewsBusters excerpt. For Brad's posting in full: newsbusters.org
Don't expect balance in Tom Brokaw's two-hour Sunday night special on the Discovery channel, produced in conjunction with the BBC and NBC News, Global Warming: What You Need to Know. A press release this week, from the majority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, concluded that "Brokaw's partisan past and his reliance on scientists who openly endorsed Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and who are financially affiliated with left wing environmental groups, has resulted in a documentary that is devoid of balance and objectivity." The release reported that "former Colorado state climatologist and professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University, Roger Pielke, Sr, viewed an advance copy of the Brokaw's special and declared that it contained 'errors and misconceptions.'" Pielke asserted: "The show relied on just a few scientists with a particular personal viewpoint on this subject which misleads the public on the broader view that is actually held by most climate scientists." On Wednesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann ignored the substance of the criticism and awarded the press release writers his "worser" slam in his "Worst Person in the World!" for having "smeared" Brokaw.
The Discovery Channel's page for the program: dsc.discovery.com
A reprint of the undated press release this week by Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works staffers Marc Morano, formerly a reporter for the MRC's CNSNews.com, and Matt Dempsey:
BROKAW'S OBJECTIVITY COMPROMISED IN GLOBAL WARMING SPECIAL
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw's lack of objectivity and balance on the issue of global warming appears to have tainted his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called: "Global Warming: What You Need To Know" airing on July 16.
Brokaw's partisan past and his reliance on scientists who openly endorsed Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and who are financially affiliated with left wing environmental groups, has resulted in a documentary that is devoid of balance and objectivity.
Former Colorado state climatologist (as of July 1, 2006) and professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University, Roger Pielke, Sr, viewed an advance copy of the Brokaw's special and declared that it contained "errors and misconceptions."
"The show relied on just a few scientists with a particular personal viewpoint on this subject which misleads the public on the broader view that is actually held by most climate scientists," Pielke wrote on July 7.
Unfortunately, viewers should not expect a scientifically balanced view of the climate from the former NBC newsman. Brokaw who has been affiliated with the Sierra Club and has recently lavished praise on former Vice President Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth." Brokaw, who called Gore's film "stylish and compelling", has called the science behind catastrophic human caused global warming "irrefutable." Brokaw also chose to ignore all 60 scientists who wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in April of 2006 questioning the science of climate alarmism.
Brokaw's partisan environmental credentials are so firmly established that the former anchor was offered a job in the Clinton-Gore Administration to be the director of the National Park Service in 1993. According to The Washington Post, Brokaw '€˜very seriously' considered the offer at the time but decided to remain with NBC News. "I have a lot of friends in the environmental movement," Brokaw said. Brokaw's wife also serves as vice-chairman of the board of directors of the environmental group Conservation International.
In his new Discovery Channel special, Brokaw does not disclose the potential and known biases of the scientists he chose to feature.
For example, Brokaw presents NASA's James Hansen as an authority on climate change without revealing to viewers the extensive political and financial ties that Hansen has to Democratic Party partisans. Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by former Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz.
Subsequent to the Heinz Foundation grant, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004, a political endorsement considered to be highly unusual for a NASA scientist.
Hansen also has acted as a consultant to Gore's slide-show presentations on global warming, on which Gore's movie is based. Hansen has actively promoted Gore and his movie, even appearing at a New York City Town Hall meeting with Gore and several Hollywood producers in May.
Hansen also conceded in the March 2004 issue of Scientific American that the use of "extreme scenarios" to dramatize climate change "may have been appropriate at one time" to drive the public's attention to the issue --- a disturbing admission by a prominent scientist.
Brokaw's special also features Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. Brokaw once again fails to disclose Oppenheimer's partisan and ideological affiliations to viewers.
Brokaw fails to note that Oppenheimer actively campaigned against President George Bush in 2004 and, like Hansen, endorsed Senator Kerry for president. Oppenheimer was affiliated with the partisan group Scientists and Engineers for Change and the green group Environment2004 financially bankrolled in part by the Heinz Foundation where Teresa Heinz-Kerry serves as the chairwoman. Environment2004, which put up billboards in Florida mocking President Bush in the final months of the 2004 presidential election.
Viewers of Brokaw's program will not be informed that Oppenheimer personally donated to the group Environment2004, a group that was so partisan it encouraged visitors to their Webpage to "get involved" in defeating President Bush by playing a game called "Whack-a-Bush."
In addition, Oppenheimer also serves as a "science advisor" to the left wing and politically charged group Environmental Defense and was a co-founder of Climate Action Network.
Finally, Oppenheimer appeared with Hollywood activist Leonardo DiCaprio and Gore's movie producer Laurie David on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.
Brokaw's Special 'a disappointment'
Brokaw's special has led climatologist Pielke to conclude that Brokaw presents "a narrow view of the issue of natural and human climate variability and change."
"It is a disappointment that this show, hosted by Tom Brokaw, did not use the two hours to present a balanced view on the spectrum of perspectives on the human influences on the climate system," Pielke wrote.
Pielke has authored more than 275 peer reviewed journal articles on climate. According to Pielke, Brokaw also presents flawed science in his program.
"Rapid glacial retreat is not a new observation, nor are all glaciers retreating. The Grand Pacific glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, for example, retreated 48 miles from 1794 to 1879, and a further 17 miles by 1916. Large masses of glacial ice breaking from the Antarctic continent are not a new feature of this region," Pielke noted.
END of Reprint
That's online at: epw.senate.gov
The release disturbed Olbermann, who made it his runner-up Wednesday night, July 12, in his "Worst Person in the World!" segment:
Another edition of Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason will air on most PBS stations tonight. On last Friday's show, the PBS omnipresence hosted a discussion more on Greek mythology than religion. The guest in his first half-hour was lesbian novelist Jeanette Winterson, who bitterly mocked her fundamentalist parents and suggested the Christian Bible showed a God and scriptures full of contradictions. Yawn. Standard "transgressive" PBS.
But it took a political turn about 20 minutes in, when Winterson elaborated on how Prometheus stealing fire from the gods for mankind led to suffering and punishment, his liver being ripped out daily by an eagle. To which Moyers responded: "Why do you think we're so fascinated with the stories of heroes and gods brought down by sex? I mean, do you think Bill Clinton wished he had known his mythology when he got into the White House?"
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Winterson replied: "I wish somebody had told him. I wish somebody had told Kenneth Starr. It's exactly this -- it was a Greek myth being played out in front of our eyes. You know, that was a modern Greek drama."
How deep. Or at least how deeply liberal.
PBS's page for the latest Moyers program: www.pbs.org
From the July 13 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by the write-in campaign for Governor of Alaska on behalf of Brinkley, a golden retriever dog (see: www.nbc10.com ), the "Top Ten Good Things About Having a Dog as a Governor." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Can easily diffuse a tense situation by rolling over and playing dead.
9. Want a bill passed? Scratch his head.
8. Only sexual scandal is with the leg of a couch.
7. You get novelty deck of cards featuring state's most wanted fleas and ticks.
6. First Governor to wear a choke collar since McGreevey.
5. All state offices closed during Westminster dog show.
4. When he sticks his head out of the motorcade window, gives the impression he's a dog of the people.
3. Would chase more tail than Clinton....Hello, is this thing on?
2. Fun to watch him sniff visiting dignitaries.
1. Easier the understand than Schwarzenegger.
-- Brent Baker