Murtha CBS's Authoritative Source on the Army's Lack of Readiness --7/27/2006
2. CBS Showcases Whining About Prescription Entitlement 'Donut Hole'
3. 100 TV Critics Show Their Prejudice By Walking Out on FNC's Ailes
4. Russert and NYTimes' Tom Friedman Call for "Miracle Tax" On Gas
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin could have cited a letter to President Bush from Congressman Ike Skelton, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, about how "nearly every non-deployed combat brigade in the active Army is reporting that they are not ready to complete their assigned wartime mission." But instead, when asked by anchor Bob Schieffer about the "strain" on troops longer deployments in Iraq will cause, Martin cited the left-wing's favorite Democrat as his authoritative source: "Congressman Jack Murtha said today Iraq has drained the Army to the point now that the vast majority of combat brigades in the U.S. and Europe are rated at the lowest level of readiness."
Searching the Web Wednesday night, the only article I could find quoting Murtha was a late afternoon Reuters dispatch, "House Democrats seek more Army funding," centered on how "a group of Democrats in the House of Representatives on Wednesday called for at least $10 billion in additional funds to help the U.S. Army rebuild resources depleted by the Iraq war, now in its fourth year." Reporter Richard Cowan quoted from Skelton's letter to Bush, only getting to Murtha in his sixth, seventh and eighth paragraphs, but he didn't recount the specific claim attributed to Murtha by Martin:
Rep. John Murtha, the pro-defense Pennsylvania Democrat who stunned Washington last year by calling for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, said most Army units do not have adequate equipment and ammunition to train on before going to war. "Under-trained units have higher rates of casualties" once they enter combat, Murtha told reporters.
He said in order to patch the funding shortfall, some Army bases in the United States have stopped using ammunition in training and stopped cutting grass for the rest of the summer while also suspending custodial services, except for cleaning restrooms.
At the Red River Army depot in Texas, Murtha said there was no money to repair 2,500 Humvees, trucks and other vehicles used in training.
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The July 26 Reuters dispatch: news.yahoo.com
Bob Schieffer: "Iraq's Prime Minister addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress today, but some members stayed away to protest criticism that he had leveled at Israel. He urged the lawmakers to support Iraq as a front line in the global war on terror, but the speech was interrupted at one point by an anti-war heckler in the gallery [video of screaming woman in police custody with "Troops Home Now" on her shirt]. Later, he and President Bush flew to an Army base in Virginia and had lunch with the troops there.
Martin, at the Pentagon: "Well, Bob, the Bush administration is claiming they can put an additional three to four thousand American troops into Baghdad simply by pulling them out from other places in Iraq. But what's actually happening is that 3,700 soldiers due to come home have been told they'll probably be extended past their one-year tour of duty which they've been promised. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld hasn't approved that yet, but the troops who will relieve them are already in Iraq, so if one unit comes in and the other doesn't leave, that's an increase."
Summer re-runs from CBS News? Three years after the CBS Evening News ran a story how there would be a "doughnut hole" in the proposed Medicare prescription drug program because "with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it," prompted by complaints from some liberal Democrats about the "doughnut hole," the same newscast on Wednesday night aired another story focused on whining from ungrateful seniors. Wyatt Andrews explained how "Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs, but at $2,250 coverage drops to zero and does not resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Here, Medicare kicks in again paying 95 percent of cost, but it's this gap of almost $3,000 that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable. To highlight the issue, Democrats held a hearing on who the coverage gap hurts." Andrews featured two victims, one who claimed "giving up one of those prescriptions can really be fatal to me" and another who called the gap "catastrophic."
Left unsaid by Andrews in focusing on the hardships on those getting the handout and not the taxpayers burdened by paying for it: As calculated by the MRC's Rich Noyes, under the new entitlement program, the two complaining senior citizens had the government (taxpayers) cough up $1,687.50 that they weren't getting before -- 75 percent of the first $2,250 in costs.
The June 25, 2003 CyberAlert recounted: "With only $400 billion to spend." Not even $400 billion is enough spending for CBS which on July 24 lamented the inadequate level of spending proposed to create a huge new entitlement program, prescription drug coverage in Medicare. Dan Rather warned: "The plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for." Joie Chen proceeded to find a victim of "the donut hole. That's the point at which there's no coverage." And why the so-called "donut hole"? Because of a lack of spending: "Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it, at least not without cutting into some other part of the plan." See: www.mrc.org
Now, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video, a transcript of the July 26 CBS Evening News story.
Anchor Bob Schieffer: "Medicare Part D is providing prescription drug coverage to millions of older Americans, but ever since the program went into effect in January, there's been an epidemic of confusion and headaches. And here comes another one. Our report is from Wyatt Andrews."
Paul Jutras, at a table with prescription containers: "This is a listing of all my medications."
When Fox News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes spoke to the Television Critics Association Monday night at the group's gathering in Pasadena, about two-thirds of the 150 attendees in the room walked out in protest, with several "voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News' conservative spin," the Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin reported on Wednesday.
[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Can you imagine 100 TV critics, upset by CBS's liberal bias, walking out on CBS chief Les Moonves or CBS News President Sean McManus? Or even a dozen critics turning their backs on the scandal-scarred Dan Rather? Such open disdain for Fox News Channel's uniquely non-liberal approach speaks volumes about the media elite's arrogant belief that it's journalistic malpractice to give a fair shake to conservatives.
But, Garvin noted, Ailes had his own tweaks for the critics, citing their articles from a decade ago predicting "a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996." Thwarting the critics' desires, FNC has topped cable news ratings charts for more than four years, with CNN, Headline News and MSNBC trailing far behind.
After Glenn Garvin's story appeared in Wednesday's Miami Herald, Peter Ames Carlin, TV critic for The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, sent a letter to Poynter's Jim Romenesko saying that Garvin had it wrong: "If some reporters left grumbling about FNC's politics they were a distinct minority. The room remained crowded, there were plenty of questions, hardly any of them were confrontational....To say the room emptied is simply not true." See: poynter.org
About an hour later, Garvin sent his own letter to Romenesko: "Peter's claim that the room was 'crowded' is quite mysterious to me. There were about 150 critics accredited for Monday's session, and I'd say my estimate of 50 in attendance was generous....I certainly heard several derogatory comments about Fox News before the session from critics who did not attend." See: poynter.org
Excerpts from Garvin's July 26 article, "Fox News' Ailes says he's just getting started," datelined from Pasadena:
Firing poison darts at his cable-news competitors and taunting his critics in the media, Fox News Channel boss Roger Ailes celebrated the 10th birthday of his network but instead of cake, served notice that his conquest of other television empires already is under way....
Ailes made his comments during an appearance Monday evening before North American television critics, a hostile audience that generally makes no secret of its contempt for his network. Fox News panels here have often been something closer to hand-to-hand combat than to news conferences, and this one was no exception.
About two-thirds of the 150 critics left the room before Ailes took the stage, several of them openly voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News' conservative spin.
Ailes quickly returned their fire with a brief promotional film featuring blurbs from critics and TV writers (Bill Carter of The New York Times wrote that Fox News Channel was created "to give Mr. Ailes a toy to play with, though, given the current state of Fox News as described by some insiders, it may be less a toy than an imaginary friend") predicting a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996....
Instead, as Ailes gleefully reminded the critics, his network has led the cable news pack in the Nielsen ratings for the past 55 months and has more viewers than its competitors, CNN and MSNBC, combined.
"Fox News is doing pretty well," Ailes said with a sly smile, noting that many of the critics who forecast the channel's doom were "sitting in their hotel rooms right now" instead of attending his news conference....
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For Garvin's July 26 article in full: www.miami.com
Tim Russert and Tom Friedman don't think you're paying enough at the gas pump, in fact they seemed downright giddy about the prospect of increasing the gas tax as a way to end America's "oil addiction." Appearing on last weekend's CNBC's Tim Russert program, the New York Times columnist was asked for his solutions to America's energy crisis. Friedman warned: "Tim if we don't find an alternative to fossil fuels to fulfill their dreams, we're going to burn up, choke up, heat up and smoke up this planet so much faster than even Al Gore predicts," and then he issued this clarion call for green technology: "Green, my fellow Americans, is the new red, white, and blue. That's my motto." Then Friedman, egged on by Russert who pleaded, "Is there a political leader who understands it may be necessary to raise the cost of gasoline?", went even further by calling for a "miracle tax" on gas.
[This item, by the MRC's Geoff Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following came in Friedman's response to Russert asking him if he saw, "any strategy to wean us off oil?"
-- Brent Baker