2. Absurd Couric: "I Had to Take Out a Loan to Fill Up My Minivan"
Cindy Sheehan earned live interview segments at the start of Monday's 7pm EDT Hardball on MSNBC, where she appeared from Texas with her sister, Deedee Miller, and then just past 7:30pm EDT Sheehan showed up live on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 with anti-war activist Pat Vogel. After Sheehan went on at length about how the U.S. is "building bases the size of Sacramento, California in Iraq. They plan on never leaving" and "I see Iraq as the base for spreading imperialism. And if we don't stop them now, our babies and our unborn grandchildren will be fighting this," Matthews suggested: "You sound more informed than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run." In contrast, Cooper hit her with her own words, pressing her to re-affirm: "Do you really believe the President of the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world?" Cooper pushed her several times, but she wouldn't back off her claim.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's new blog, NewsBusters. To comment on this article or about coverage of Sheehan, go to: newsbusters.org ]
An exchange on the August 15 Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, with Cooper at CNN's studio in Manhattan and Sheehan outside in Crawford, Texas:
Cooper: "Cindy, I was reading some of the essays that you've been writing about the war over the last couple of months. In one you say the war is blatant genocide and you go on to say, and I quote, 'Casey was killed in the global war of terrorism waged on the world and its own citizen by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world, George and his destructive Neo-con cabal.' Do you really believe the President of the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world?"
An exchange on MSNBC's Hardball, from the end of the two segments with Sheehan:
Sheehan: "And when I came down here and said I was staying until I meet with him or until August 31, I met him, I wholly disagree with him. We're not going to cure terrorism and spread peace and good will in the Middle East by killing innocent people or, I'm not even saying our bullets and bombs are killing them. The occupation that they don't have food. They don't have clean water. They don't have electricity. They don't have medicine. They don't have doctors. We need to get our military presence out of there and that's what will start building good will. Because we know they're building bases the size of Sacramento, California in Iraq. They plan on never leaving. And I see in the future, they're starting to beat the drums against Iran. And I see Iraq as the base for spreading imperialism. And if we don't stop them now, our babies and our unborn grandchildren will be fighting this."
Katie Couric, who makes about $15 million a year, extended false "record high" gas price hype to a ridiculous level Monday morning when she opened Today by claiming that "I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It's crazy." On CBS's Early Show, Hannah Storm inaccurately claimed that "the average price of gasoline hits a record high" and Julie Chen insisted that "gas prices have hit another record high." ABC's on-air staff ignored its own network's online reporting. World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson on Monday cited "a new national record of an average of $2.55 a gallon" and Jeffrey Kofman asserted that "anyone who drives is feeling the pinch of record-high gas prices," but as a story posted Monday on ABCNews.com pointed out, "when adjusted for inflation, the price of gas hasn't reached a record yet. The all-time high, $3.03 a gallon in today's dollars, was set in March 1981 -- 63 cents higher than today's average."
The ever-vigilant Jessica Barnes, a recently-departed MRC news analyst, alerted me to the August 15 ABCNews.com posting, online at: abcnews.go.com
On Monday morning, the MRC's Rich Noyes posted, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog, this item about Couric's ludicrous tale of woe:
Katie Couric: I Need a Loan to Gas Up My Minivan
NBC's Today gave big play to the supposed havoc that rising fuel prices are having on American society. But the hype reached ridiculous levels when Katie Couric insisted during Monday's show opening that "I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It's crazy."
Couric makes at least $15 million a year co-hosting Today.
Here's how Couric and co-host Matt Lauer teased their upcoming segment on the "pain" of "sky high" gas prices:
Lauer: "Pain at the pump. Gas prices are going sky high. I paid $2.94 a gallon over the weekend to fill up the car." Couric: "It's ridiculous. I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It's crazy." Lauer: "People are saying, 'Pump faster,' at the gas station, before the prices go up again. We are going to talk about today things you can do at home -- if you are spending that much for gas -- things you can do to save money in other areas, part of a series we're calling 'Cheapskate 101.'"
As MRC's Brent Baker has pointed out several times, the media's mantra about "record high" gas prices has ignored the fact that prices are only now beginning to reach historic highs if you take inflation into account.
And as far as Couric is concerned, she should be able to afford even premium unleaded if and when gas prices actually reach record highs. As New York Times reporter Bill Carter disclosed back on December 20, 2001, Couric is one of the best-paid performers on TV today: "NBC and Katie Couric, the anchor of its Today show, agreed yesterday to what is believed to be the largest financial deal ever signed in television news, reaching beyond $60 million for the next four and a half years. Executives close to the negotiations said that Ms. Couric would receive compensation of $15 million to $16 million a year, in a deal structured to include both salary and stock in NBC's parent company, General Electric. The new figure represents a big jump from the estimated $7 million to $10 million a year she had been earning."
But if Katie is really feeling "pain at the pump," she could always trade the minivan in for something a little more economical --like one of those little electric cars.
END of Reprint of NewsBusters item
For links to earlier items on mis-reporting of gas prices, as well as a Windows Media Player and RealMedia video, and a place to post your comment, go to: newsbusters.org
-- Brent Baker