2. ABC Resurrects Abramoff Scandal Day Before Rest of Media Pounce
3. Olbermann Insults Ailes as He Celebrates Midnight Win Over FNC
4. Mo Dowd: Dick Cheney Is Out to Destroy Our Checks and Balances
5. WashPost Vet: By 25:1, Journalists "Overwhelmingly to the Left"
6. Letterman's "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jim McGreevey's Book"
Is NBC News the publicity agency for CBS News? While Thursday's CBS Evening News had nothing on Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's new book, for which he sat for an interview with Mike Wallace set to air on this Sunday's 60 Minutes, the NBC Nightly News led with the "explosive new book" about the Bush administration's "deception" on Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams hyped: "It alleges that attacks by insurgents on coalition forces in Iraq are worse than Americans have been led to believe. It also alleges a kind of campaign of deception on the part of the Bush administration."
Reporter Jim Miklaszewski read aloud how Woodward "tells CBS's 60 Minutes 'it's getting to the point now where there are eight, nine hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces.'" Not until the very end of his piece did Miklaszewski relay how "military officials are strongly disputing Woodwards's figures on attacks against Americans in Iraq and just as strongly deny there is any attempt to hide the truth about the war." But that didn't dissuade Williams from presuming Woodward's accuracy, as Williams proposed to retired General Barry McCaffrey: "Is this now the accurate portrait emerging of what's going on over there?"
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Woodward's book, State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III, is being published Monday by Simon & Schuster, part of the CBS corporate empire and thus the timing of the promotion set for Sunday's 60 Minutes.
Thursday's CBS Evening News didn't plug the interview, though it probably will on Friday, and instead aired an Iraq story about money wasted there on shoddy construction projects.
A late afternoon posting on the DrudgeReport.com seems to have been NBC's resource, and CNN's The Situation Room hosted by Wolf Blitzer also pounced on the Drudge posting of a link to the CBSNews.com page with a summary of Woodward's allegations: www.cbsnews.com
The tease from Brian Williams: "New allegations tonight that the Bush administration is keeping secrets about the level of violence against troops in Iraq."
Williams led: "Good evening. An explosive new book, now just days away from store shelves, is tonight making news even before arriving on the market. It is the work of journalist Bob Woodward and according to advanced publicity materials released to the news media, it alleges that attacks by insurgents on coalition forces in Iraq are worse than Americans have been led to believe. It also alleges a kind of campaign of deception on the part of the Bush administration. While this news is just now emerging, this will not be a welcome development at the White House. We will start here tonight with the Pentagon angle, beginning with NBC's Jim Miklaszewski. Jim, good evening."
Jim Miklaszewski: "Good evening, Brian. Now it's no secret that the Bush administration has tried to put the best face on the war in Iraq. But author Bob Woodward claims it's a deliberate attempt to deceive the American people about the worsening state of the war.
Williams: "Jim Miklaszewski on duty at the Pentagon for us tonight, thanks. For more on this story, we are joined tonight by retired four star Army General and NBC News military affairs analyst Barry McCaffrey. And General, is this now the accurate portrait emerging of what's going on over there?"
Citing a report to be released on Friday, ABC's World News uniquely led Thursday night by resurrecting the Abramoff scandal. Anchor Charles Gibson promised that the report, from a House committee, "will be something of a bombshell in Washington tomorrow," a forecast the news media can make come true. Gibson asserted that the report will "show White House contacts with now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates were far more extensive than the White House has ever acknowledged. And the report will state that prime among Abramoff's lobbying targets, were the man who is now Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove."
George Stephanopoulos related how the report will "detail offers from Abramoff and his associates of dinners and concert tickets and other kinds of meals and drinks to White House officials" and provides "circumstantial evidence that Abramoff did get what he wanted on behalf of his clients." But while there "were 450 contacts with White House officials, including nine contacts" with Rove, the report "also shows that Abramoff tried to get 20 people hired in the administration," yet "he was only successful, though, once." Five percent success hardly demonstrates inordinate political pull.
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Web site for the House Committee on Government Reform: reform.house.gov
The top story on the September 28 World News on ABC:
Charles Gibson: "We have late news, tonight, about a congressional report coming out tomorrow that will show White House contacts with now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates were far more extensive than the White House has ever acknowledged. And the report will state that prime among Abramoff's lobbying targets, were the man who is now Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove, the President's top political adviser. It will be something of a bombshell in Washington tomorrow and out Chief Washington Correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, is joining us."
Gibson to Stephanopoulos, in DC: "George, I know this report comes from the House government affairs committee (sic), which, of course, is led by Republicans. What do we know about what's in it?"
A night after slamming Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes as the "Worst Person in the World" for saying former President Clinton's reaction to Chris Wallace was "an assault on all journalists," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday mocked "the circular gentleman" for telling the FNC staff on the tenth anniversary of the network that in the future they need "to focus more on taking audience away from broadcast networks, not the other cable news networks."
"Not so fast, Sidney Greenstreet," Olbermann fired back, in an apparent insulting reference to the rotund and bald actor who passed away in 1954. "Check out last night's ratings," Olbermann directed his viewers, with viewership numbers on screen for four cable news channels. He proceeded to seriously tout as meaningful how, in the 25 to 54 years-old demographic, the midnight EDT repeat airing of Countdown the night before beat FNC's re-run of Brit Hume's show -- by a bare 16,000. Then, without noting how more than three times as many people watch FNC during Countdown's live airing, or how within the age demographic 50 percent more watch Hume at 6p EDT than Olbermann at 8pm EDT, Olbermann ridiculously suggested: "Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada." Whatever that means.
[This item was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Wikipedia's page on Sidney Greenstreet: en.wikipedia.org
For the September 28 CyberAlert item on Olbermann's Wednesday night insult, "Olbermann Hits 'Ming the Merciless' Ailes for Criticizing Clinton," go to: www.mediaresearch.org ####
Midnight Eastern is 9pm in the West, so maybe all of his wild "Special Comment" rants over the past few weeks have prompted a few thousand more 25 to 54 year-old left coasters to tune in, though I suppose that leaves out Barbra Streisand.
Olbermann's item on the September 28 Countdown:
One of the blogs with the remarks from Ailes: insidecable.blogsome.com
New York Times columnist (and former Times reporter) Maureen Dowd appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Wednesday night with her typical take on the news: Bush and Cheney are suffering from testosterone poisoning, and she urged the media to keep pushing because "checks and balances is what Dick Cheney is trying to destroy." But Hillary Clinton is too cautious, "fetches coffee for older male Senators," and needs to be more outspoken: "I would love to see Barack Obama and Hillary speaking out more."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Smiley asked Dowd about if it was tough to write her column: "The first couple of years I had the column, I was curled up in a ball on the floor of my house, crying a lot." She continued: "But as a student of literature and Shakespeare, you know that power can be poisonous. And in the case of Bush and Cheney, testosterone can be poisonous. And it's just my job to tweak them and say before the Iraq war, we should not be ginning this case up to go to a war unless we're sure that we understand the culture, and we didn't. So I feel that journalism has a really important place in checks and balances, without being corny about it. And checks and balances is what Dick Cheney is trying to destroy. So I feel that it's important that we keep pushing."
When asked about Hillary on the September 27 show, she complained: "I think so far, she's been very cautious. It's hard to tell whether she's been too cautious on issues like Terri Schiavo and the Iraq war. The whole country is in such a roiling turmoil, and I think they really need a voice. And I would love to see Barack Obama and Hillary speaking out more. And maybe she'll start doing that now. But up until now, she hasn't. So I think it remains to be -- and also, she's turned off a lot of the Democrat base by triangulating.
Smiley shifted the subject to the squabble over the National Intelligence Estimate, and drew a typical response on how Team Bush deals from its imagination, not reality:
Smiley followed up: "Does it get better before he gets out of office, or do you see that as an impossibility?"
Catching up with a surprising, yet refreshingly candid, admission from last week: Long-time Washington Post national political reporter Thomas Edsall, who recently accepted a buy-out from the newspaper, admitted the "mainstream media presents itself as unbiased, when in fact there are built into it many biases, and they are overwhelmingly to the left." Asked by Los Angeles-based syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt, during the September 21 interview, to quantify the skew, the very liberal Edsall pegged it at "probably in the range of 15-25:1 Democrat."
Hewitt wondered: "Can the mainstream media ever be fair as a result?" Edsall suggested it means the mainstream media are clueless about conservatives: "I think the problem is that there is a real difficulty on the part of the mainstream media being sympathetic, or empathetic, whatever the word would be, to the kind of thinking that goes into conservative approaches to issues. I think the religious right has been treated as sort of an alien world."
Edsall appeared on the radio show to push his new book, Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power. Amazon's page for it: www.amazon.com
Hugh Hewitt: Well, I don't know. Let me go to page 102, where you're blasting away at Limbaugh and me, and a bunch of people. "Limbaugh, with an estimated 20 million listeners a week, has since been joined by a flood of right wing radio hosts, among them Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Reagan, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Limbaugh notes that-
Thomas Edsall: I didn't include you?
Hewitt: Oh, no. I'm in there. Thank you.
Hewitt: -that being a deejay teaches you the elements of broadcasting that are crucial, no matter what kind of show you are doing. Timing, brevity, quickness, get in and get out. Is there any reason, do you think, why there are so many conservatives out there? You don't explain why there are so many of them out there. Why do you think they're there.
Edsall: Because there's a huge market for them.
Hewitt: And why is there a market for them?
Edsall: Because the Democratic Party and liberals have, through a lot of whatever you want to call it, politically correct and other values and programs, made themselves highly vulnerable to criticism that is difficult to voice in the workroom, because it's kind of verboten. But on talk radio, you can say a lot of things that you think and feel.
Hewitt: For example, you got anything in mind? I think that's a caricature, Thomas Edsall. I think-
Edsall: Oh no. I'm saying that favorably.
Hewitt: I know you're saying that favorably, but I think that's, that's not really what goes on on talk radio. Do you listen-
Edsall: I'm just saying that's one part of it. And when Limbaugh first became famous, now, he's become much more of a Republican. When he first went on the radio, one of his strengths was pointing out the foibles of the Democratic Party and liberalism.
Hewitt: A proposition. The reason talk radio exploded, followed by Fox News, followed by the center-right blogosphere, is that because folks like you have been the dominant voice in American media for a long time, and you're a pretty thoroughgoing, Democratic favoring, agenda journalist for the left, and you've been the senior political reporter of the Washington Post for a very long time. And people didn't trust your news product, not you, personally, but the accumulation of you, throughout the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and they got sick and tired of being spoon fed liberal dross, and they went to the radio when an alternative product came along.
Edsall: To a certain degree, I agree with that.
Hewitt: And so, why do you think it's wrong, somehow, for people to want to hear news that they don't consider as biased? I mean, that's what it is. It's just unbiased news is what people wanted. That's why conservatives like me got platforms, and our blogs get read, and our columns get absorbed.
Edsall: One, I don't think it's unbiased.
Hewitt: It's transparent at least. Everyone has bias. I agree with that. Everyone's got bias.
Edsall: It's transparent. Okay, that I would agree. And I agree that whatever you want to call it, mainstream media, presents itself as unbiased, when in fact, there are built into it, many biases, and they are overwhelmingly to the left.
Hewitt: Well, that's very candid.
Hewitt: Have you ever said that, in the course, when you were working for the Post, would you tell people who you voted for, and how liberal you were?
Edsall: You mean people people?
Hewitt: Yeah. You ever write a column about, you know, I'm a left wing Democrat, but you can trust me. I won't mess around with the candidates?
Edsall: No, because I've screwed over as many or more Democrats as I have Republicans.
Hewitt: Again, I'd have to look at your body of work. I've been reading you for years. I would have to assess that myself. That might be a little self-delusional, don't you think?
Edsall: No, I think partly, I can say that because for all the years that I worked locally at the Baltimore Sun, the only politicians who were there were Democrats.
Hewitt: I know, but national politics. Local politics is different. I think it's in the selection of stories, stories not pursued. I mean, right now, the canard is oh, I covered the impeachment of Bill Clinton, liberal Democrats who are newsroom types tell me. I say, well, you have to. That's a story you can't, it's like not seeing the iceberg, and taking the Titanic down. But in the agenda setting stuff, let me approach it this way. Is there any big name political reporter, and you know them all, Thomas Edsall. That's why your book, Building Red America, is getting read left and right. Are there any of them who are conservative?
Edsall: Big name political reporter?
Edsall: Jim Vandehei of the Washington Post.
Hewitt: Think he's voted for Republicans for president?
Edsall: Yes, I think he has. I don't know, because he's never told me. But I would think he has.
Hewitt: And so, of those sorts, and he's a very fine reporter.
Edsall: He is.
Hewitt: He probably is a Republican. But given that number of reporters out there, is it ten to one Democrat to Republican? Twenty to one Democrat to Republican?
Edsall: It's probably in the range of 15-25:1 Democrat.
Hewitt: Can the mainstream media ever be fair as a result?
Edsall: Well, you know, you're asking, I think, a wrong question. I think the problem is that there is a real difficulty on the part of the mainstream media being sympathetic, or empathetic, whatever the word would be, to the kind of thinking that goes into conservative approaches to issues. I think the religious right has been treated as sort of an alien world.
END of Excerpt of transcript
To listen to audio, scroll down to September 21 on this page: www.townhall.com
Hugh Hewitt's show is produced weekdays 3-6pm PDT. His blog: hughhewitt.townhall.com
From the September 28 Late Show with David Letterman, as presented by retired Late Show writer Gerard Mulligan pretending to be former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey who last week cancelled a scheduled appearance to read the list on the Late Show, the "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jim McGreevey's Book Presented By 'Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.'" Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "The Day I Got Caught Governing Myself"
9. "How to Pretend to Like Girls for 47 Years"
8. "From Schwarzenegger to Pataki: Governors I'd Like to Oil Up"
7. "Another Confession -- I Can't Resist Entenmann's Pound Cake"
6. "At First I Just Thought I Was Bipartisan"
5. "The New Jersey Budget Crisis -- What Would Judy Garland Do?"
4. "A Look at the Governor's Balls"
3. "Politicians Who Left a Bad Taste in My Mouth"
2. "How to Push Through a Bill -- Or a Steve Or a Larry..."
1. "Why I Don't Like Bush"
-- Brent Baker