2. Moran Bemoans Bush Not "Sufficiently Challenged" by Reporters
3. CBS Looks at Backlash Against France and French Products
4. NBC Notes How Liberal MC Blames Jews for Fueling the War
5. CNN's Aaron Brown vs. Winston Churchill on Pre-Emptive Action
6. NBC's Historian: Civil War Longer Than Predicted, So...
7. A Return of Blacklisting? Actor Says: "I'm Afraid of Bush"
8. Today Show Again Cites Tax Cut as Negative Force on Economy
>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
ABC's Terry Moran adopted the ludicrous "rushing to war" verbiage on Wednesday night as he warned that a stubborn President Bush "is not now willing to budge from the March 17th deadline despite claims from leaders around the world that he is rushing to war."
Moran's use of the term came during a look at the British proposal for a set of terms for Saddam Hussein to reach. In his March 12 World News Tonight story, Moran cautioned that the Bush administration is not in sync with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in one area:
ABC White House reporter Terry Moran, who blamed President Bush at the presidential press conference last week for how "so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power," has complained that Bush was not "sufficiently challenged" by reporters at the press conference.
Moran complained, about what he saw as a too compliant press corps, to the New York Observer's Michael Crowley who penned a piece in this week's edition, "Bush Eats the Press," about how the White House supposedly manipulated reporters and avoided tough questions.
Crowley quoted Moran: "'I don't think he was sufficiently challenged,' said ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran. He said Mr. Bush's hyper-management left the press corps 'looking like zombies.'"
Later, Crowley elaborated: "A lack of follow-ups was also problematic. 'In that room, one of the things a questioner has to do is create a moment, a confrontation with the President,' said Mr. Moran, who got in a question about world opinion-but now regrets not following up more forcefully. 'Not to showboat, not to draw attention to yourself, but to bring the President back down to what he is: a citizen President who needs to be engaged in a normal, ordinary conversation about these issues. So you almost have to issue a challenge to him up there. The point is to get them to answer questions, not just to stand up there and use all the majesty of the Presidency to amplify his image.'"
Moran's "question" in the form of a polemic at the March 6 event: "In the past several weeks, your policy on Iraq has generated opposition from the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, the Arab League, and many other countries; opened a rift at NATO and at the UN; and drawn millions of ordinary citizens around the world into the streets and anti-war protests. May I ask what went wrong that so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?"
Some of the other supposedly softball questions posed by reporters pre-selected to be called upon:
-- CNN's John King: "How would you answer your critics who say that they view, they think this is somehow personal? As Senator Kennedy put it tonight, he said your fixation with Saddam Hussein is making the world a more dangerous place. And as you prepare the American people for the possibility of military conflict, could you share with us any of the scenarios your advisors have shared with you about worst case scenarios in terms of the potential cost of American lives, the potential costs to the American economy, and the potential risks of retaliatory terrorist strikes here at home?"
-- CBS's Bill Plante: "Mr. President, to a lot of people, it seems that war is probably inevitable because many people doubt -- most people, I would guess -- that Saddam Hussein will ever do what we are demanding that he do, which is disarm. And if war is inevitable, there are a lot of people in this country -- as much as half, by polling standards -- who agree that he should be disarmed, who listen to you say that you have the evidence but who feel they haven't seen it, and who still wonder why blood has to be shed if he hasn't attacked us."
-- CBS's Mark Knoller: "Mr. President, are you worried that the United States might be viewed as defiant of the United Nations if you went ahead with military action without specific and explicit authorization from the UN?"
-- Ed Chen, Los Angeles Times: "Sir, you've talked a lot about trusting the American people when it comes to making decisions about their own lives, about how to spend their own money. When it comes to the financial costs of the war, sir, it would seem that the administration surely has costed out various scenarios. If that's the case, why not present some of them to the American people so they know what to expect, sir?"
-- And a reporter for Cox or Copley, whose name now escapes me: "Mr. President, millions of Americans can recall a time when leaders from both parties set this country on a mission of regime change in Vietnam. 50,000 Americans died. The regime is still there in Hanoi, and it hasn't harmed or threatened a single American in the 30 years since the war ended. What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?"
For the New York Observer story, "Bush Eats the Press," go to:
A story you won't see on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Wednesday's CBS Evening News ended with a look at how Americans disappointed with France are reacting, from a World War II veteran who is returning to the French a "certificate of gratitude" they sent him, to a store owner who won't sell French products and some people who took sledgehammers to a Peugeot.
Dan Rather set up the March 12 story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "France's steadfast opposition to Bush's policies against Iraq has many Americans up in arms themselves over the French. CBS's Bobbi Harley reports this wave of French bashing ranges from the humorous to the personal."
Harley began: "Angelo Pizzuti remembers the horrors of liberating France in World War II."
All the more for Peter Jennings to drink.
NBC's Tom Brokaw on Wednesday night offered the first broadcast network evening show mention of liberal Democratic Congressman Jim Moran's claim that "if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war we would not be doing this."
If such "blame the Jews" sentiment were expressed by a conservative Republican one can only imagine the Trent Lott-like level of media hullabaloo which would certainly have ensued.
Brokaw read this 30-second item on the March 12 NBC Nightly News: "A Virginia Congressman is in big trouble tonight over recent remarks about the looming war on Iraq. Jim Moran, a Democrat, sparked controversy when he said quote, 'if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war we would not be doing this.' Tonight, six of his fellow Democratic House members said Moran should not be re-elected next year. The six, who are all Jewish, called Moran's comments wrong, offensive, ignorant and grossly irresponsible. Moran apologized for the remarks yesterday. Tonight his office had no immediate comment."
The six Democratic House members, as reported by Greg Pierce in Thursday's Washington Times: Henry Waxman and Tom Lantos of California, Martin Frost of Texas, Sander Levin of Michigan, Benjamin Cardin of Maryland and Nita Lowey of New York.
CyberAlert headquarters, the offices of the Media Research Center, are stuck in Moran's district. But the home office is not.
CNN's Aaron Brown on Tuesday night got into a bit of an argument with Winston Churchill's grandson about the appropriateness of pre-emptive action.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught this exchange between Brown and Winston Churchill, the grandson of the former British Prime Minister, on the March 11 NewsNight:
Brown: "You don't have, you have no concern about the whole notion of pre-emptive war? That is to say to go to war with a country that has yet to fire a shot at you."
NBC's resident historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, used an appearance on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning to complain about how President Bush's "bullying" is ruining FDR's "dream" of a United Nations, that Bush's belief in God makes him "so sure" that he is on the right side that he can't put "reason into our doubting minds" and since someone predicted the "Civil War would last 60 days, and of course it lasted four years with more than 600,000 lives, which is equivalent to five million today," she declared that "I take these predictions," of a short war against Iraq, "with a grain of salt."
Now that's a new line of reasoning I hadn't heard before, judging a modern war by how someone misjudged one 140-plus years ago.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down some of the comments made by Goodwin on the March 12 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC:
Don Imus: "According to Maureen Dowd this morning, Ari Fleischer, in a White House press briefing, suggested that if the United Nations didn't get on board here, that they would be replaced with another international body."
How do you reason with anyone who sees the prospects for a modern, high-tech warfare against an out-gunned enemy through the prism of a war from more than a century ago involving two largely equally-equipped sides?
Raymond's dad "afraid" of President Bush. In the midst of an Access Hollywood story Wednesday night by Pat O'Brien on fears of a "return of Hollywood's darkest hour, blacklisting," a harkening back to when in the 1950s "actors and writers suspected of communist ties were subjected to a witch hunt," actor Peter Boyle, who plays "Frank Barone" on the CBS sit-com Everybody Loves Raymond, told O'Brien that "I've made a commitment not to make any anti-war statements" because "I'm afraid...of Bush."
In the same story, actor Richard Gere revealed he has no clue about true public opinion, as he demanded: "Why is it when we have tens of millions of people in this country who say no, we still have a President who says yes in a democracy? This is, something's wrong here."
What's wrong is Gere's inability to judge public opinion and realize he's in the minority.
A CBS News/New York Times poll released on Monday determined 66 percent "approve" of "military action against Iraq" compared to just 30 percent who "disapprove."
Even if you do not watch Access Hollywood, a product of NBC Productions that is carried by all NBC-owned stations and syndicated on other stations in non-NBC O&O markets, you may recognize him from his frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning and anchoring duties during NBC's Olympic coverage.
O'Brien opened the March 12 Access Hollywood with the ridiculous fears of "blacklisting," as if people choosing to not watch a show or see a movie because they disagree with an actor is anything like federal officials using the law and subpoena power to intimidate actors.
O'Brien intoned, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
O'Brien soon found an alleged victim: "But Sean Penn, who made a visit to Iraq, feels he's already been a victim. Sean's suing producer Steven Bing, accusing him of reneging on a film agreement due to Penn's stand against the war. Bing has countersued. Perhaps in part due to fear, no actor this awards season has gone as far as using an acceptance speech as a political platform. Newsweek's Marc Peyser doubts the Oscars will be any different."
For the Internet Movie Database's bio and rundown of Boyle's many movie roles over the year, and a picture of him: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Boyle,+Peter
For CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond page on him:
And for a look at what Melissa Gilbert, "half pint" from Little House on the Prairie, wore, or shall I say didn't wear, to the SAG Awards carried by TNT, and her acting credits: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Gilbert,+Melissa
Monday night on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, Hollywood Reporter correspondent Paul Bond dismissed the idea that public choice equals blacklisting:
Bond also pointed out that the courageous position in Hollywood is not denouncing the war, but favoring it. Referring to the upcoming Academy Awards, he suggested: "When you get right down to it, if they're really concerned about good television, maybe they just ought to say, you know what, you've got 30 seconds to make your presentation speech, say whatever you want. You know, that might make the best television, especially if there is a celebrity with the courage to go on the Academy Awards show and actually speak against the grain in support of George Bush and the war on terrorism. You know, in Hollywood, that takes a lot of courage nowadays, because so much of the entertainment community is on the peace movement side."
I wouldn't count on hearing any pro-war comments from the stage.
Today hosts keep advocating a tax hike, or at the very least, a rejection of Bush's tax cut proposal. The latest example: On Wednesday's Today Ann Curry cited Bush's tax cut proposal as one of the things about which "a lot of people are very worried" will hurt the economy.
During a March 12 interview with Lawrence Kudlow, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Curry interrupted Kudlow's optimistic look at the economy: "Well let me interrupt you for just a second because we have a war that we don't know for sure how much is going to cost, maybe $100 billion, maybe not. We've got a, what, a $30 billion deficit occurring in this country. We've got maybe a $700 billion tax cut the President is talking about, so I mean, a lot of people are very worried. So those people who say, 'well look at the numbers,' what do you say?"
Back on the March 5 Today, Curry summarized a question she had posed to Treasury Secretary John Snow: "Some grim news for the U.S. economy today. The Dow closed Tuesday near a five-month low and some disappointing corporate earnings reports are expected today. The Bush administration is pushing for a big tax cut to boost the economy. Well this morning I asked Treasury Secretary John Snow why should taxes should be reduced now when the deficit is high and a war may be coming."
And last Friday, Matt Lauer argued that "a lot of people say, 'why are you cutting taxes now when you're increasing the deficit. Shouldn't be this a time when you're increasing taxes?'" When CNBC's Ron Insana suggested "it would be very difficult to increase taxes right now, given the weakness in the economy" and "doing nothing may be better than raising taxes certainly because the economy is so soft," Lauer came back: "At the very least not cutting taxes." See:
> Lange bumped. For those who care, Charlie Rose announced Wednesday night that while he taped an interview with Jessica Lange, it would not air as scheduled on that show. Expect it to run either tonight or Friday night on Rose's PBS show. -- Brent Baker