Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

NBC Excited About Slap at Obama, Not So About Slam on McCain --3/4/2008


1. NBC Excited About Slap at Obama, Not So About Slam on McCain
Last Tuesday, when before a John McCain campaign rally, Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham used Barack Obama's full name and derided Obama as "the great prophet from Chicago," NBC and ABC pounced with full stories on the "controversy." But after over the weekend, where at an event touted as "One Million for Hillary with Gloria Steinem" the left-wing feminist icon ridiculed John McCain's years as a prisoner of war, ABC did not utter a word about the remarks while NBC on Monday gave them -- sanitized -- a few seconds.

2. Clift: Forced to Choose Between Obama and Hillary a 'Tragedy'
Torn by her liberal guilt of being forced to choose between a woman or an African-American man to have a shot at making history, Eleanor Clift lost it on this weekend's McLaughlin Group as she called the choice a "tragedy." The Newsweek editor claimed liberals, particularly women, were confused as to whether to dump Hillary for Obama as she blurted: "Women have waited decades to see the first woman President and it's actually something of a tragedy that a talented African-American guy comes along at the same [time.]"

3. Halperin of Time Mag and ABC: Obama and McCain Both 'Centrist'
Ignoring National Journal's recent finding that Barack Obama had the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate in 2007, Time magazine's senior political analyst Mark Halperin, appearing on Thursday's American Morning on CNN, claimed that both Obama and John McCain were "centrists" as he explained New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision not to run for President. Citing Bloomberg's intent to run only if both major parties nominated extreme candidates, Halperin, formerly the Political Director for ABC News where he still frequently appears as a guest expert, insisted: "He ended up with two guys who are centrists."

4. CNN Finds 'Lifelong Republicans' Who Want Universal Health Care
On CNN on Sunday morning, correspondent Al Velshi reported in by phone from Texas with his story of "lifelong Republicans" who are planning to vote Democratic this time because of health care: "They are retired, they've been lifelong Republicans who are actually looking to change over. They're probably going to vote Democrat this time around." CNN then played a video clip of Velshi's earlier discussion with three Texas residents, whom he had visited initially because they live in oil country and benefit from high oil prices, but he found that "their biggest concern was health care." Small business owner Kris Portmann complained about insurance companies and expressed his belief that universal health care would have to be an improvement: "If everybody's covered, and everybody's sharing the same, you know, how everything's spread out, it's got to work. I mean, it works other places. It works other countries. I mean, not maybe 100 percent, but it doesn't work 100 percent here, either."

5. CBS Devotes Piddling 3% of Hillary Profile to Her Many Scandals
In a lengthy seven-a-half minute Friday CBS Evening News profile story, "For the Record: Hillary Clinton," reporter Nancy Cordes devoted a measly 15 seconds, a piddling three percent of the story, to scandals connected to Clinton's actions. But the night before, in a "For the Record: Barack Obama" profile, reporter Dean Reynolds allocated 42 percent of his piece to Obama scandals: Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's ties to him and his church as well as his connections to indicted developer Tony Rezko. Here's the totality of all viewers heard Friday night from Cordes about scandals blamed on Hillary Clinton during her life: "Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees." Cordes then stressed her innocence as she led into a mention of Monica Lewinsky; "But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute...."

6. ABC's McFadden: 'Rock Star' Hillary Talks to Real People
Nightline correspondent Cynthia McFadden filed another fawning profile on "rock star" Hillary Clinton for Thursday's program. The journalist, who has developed a long history of gushing over the former First Lady, recited lines that read like Clinton press releases. Discussing the presidential candidate's Ohio campaign, she asserted: "Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in real people's lives." Describing Clinton's appearance at a fast food diner, McFadden enthused: "Clinton is greeted like a rock star by patrons at the Bob Evans restaurant." During the interview, the ABC journalist asked penetrating questions such as inquiring: "So, how are you?" In an attempt to gingerly address Clinton's string of 11 straight primary losses to Senator Barack Obama, McFadden seemed to echo a famous Beatles song. "Can you really let go of yesterday," she queried.

7. After Much Obama Boosting, ABC's Moran Finally Quizzes Him
Nightline host Terry Moran appeared on Monday's Good Morning America with a segment (much of which also aired later on Monday's Nightline) in which he repeatedly quizzed Senator Barack Obama on the subject of his relationship to indicted political operative Tony Rezko, now facing corruption charges. Moran persistently asked the Democratic presidential candidate if he would release all information relating to the role Rezko played in a house purchase by Obama. After several evasive answers, Moran scolded: "You call yourself a reformer? You talk about your judgment?" He then bluntly followed-up by wondering: "And yet, how could you enter into this transaction with a long-term contributor who, at that time, was known to be under investigation for corruption? What does that say about your judgment?" This is quite a change for the anchor, who, in 2006, skipped Rezko and gushed over Obama as "an American political phenomenon" and someone who might be "the savior of the Democratic Party."

8. Rivera: Limbaugh 'Dean' of 'Most Savage Talk Radio Campaign'
Geraldo Rivera charged that Rush Limbaugh is "the dean of the academy" in a "nativist reaction" in "the most savage talk radio campaign ever in history" against illegal immigrants. Appearing on Monday's The View to promote his new book, His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S, the Fox News Channel host also characterized McCain's virtual lock of the Republican nomination as "a victory for the decency wing of the GOP." Rivera claimed Mitt Romney "was such a nice guy" as Governor of Massachusetts, but "suddenly became an anti-immigrant radical."


Early readers: The MRC's Tim Graham is scheduled to appear at about 6:20 AM EST this morning on FNC's Fox & Friends First to discuss his Media Reality Check, "The Audacity of Silence About Tony Rezko." That's online at: www.mediaresearch.org

NBC Excited About Slap at Obama, Not
So About Slam on McCain

Last Tuesday, when before a John McCain campaign rally, Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham used Barack Obama's full name and derided Obama as "the great prophet from Chicago," NBC and ABC pounced with full stories on the "controversy." But after over the weekend, where at an event touted as "One Million for Hillary with Gloria Steinem" the left-wing feminist icon ridiculed John McCain's years as a prisoner of war, ABC did not utter a word about the remarks while NBC on Monday gave them -- sanitized -- a few seconds.

A New York Observer posting on Sunday quoted Steinem: "'Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], 'What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?'" Steinem said, to laughter from the audience. McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five and a half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, 'I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be President? I don't think so.'"

On the NBC Nightly News, which had run six Cunningham soundbites, David Gregory quoted only a small portion of Steinem: "No McCain endorsement from feminist author and Hillary Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem, who belittled McCain's ordeal as a prisoner of war during Vietnam during a Clinton campaign event in Texas. She was quoted by New York newspapers saying, 'this is supposed to be a qualification to be President?' The Clinton team later disavowed Steinem's remarks."

And Gregory only mentioned the comment as he paired it with questions about another supporter of McCain: "Today, he faced questions about the endorsement of Texas televangelist John Hagee. Social conservatives are a key GOP voting bloc, but some of the televangelist's public remarks have offended Catholics."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Nothing Monday night about the subject on the CBS Evening News, but at least that newscast didn't get excited about Cunningham. Monday's World News did include the show's first story, by Brian Ross, on Obama and Tony Rezko. Sunday's World News did not touch Steinem's remarks, but did show clips of Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live.

The Observer posting: www.observer.com

The February 27 CyberAlert item, "Nets Decry 'Caustic' Talk Host Who 'Compelled McCain to Apologize,'" which showed how NBC put "Damage Control" on screen with McCain's face, recounted:

With cover from John McCain, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night condemned the "caustic" and "mocking" remarks of Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham who, on stage before an Ohio campaign appearance by McCain, dared to utter Barack Obama's middle name and call him "a hack" Chicago politician.

Though Hillary Clinton on Sunday, without upsetting journalists, ridiculed Obama with religious overtones ("Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing!"), NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "Cunningham's nearly ten-minute provocative performance veered into more controversy when he parodied Obama as a religious figure." Cunningham's supposedly offensive line: "When the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya together." O'Donnell maintained that Cunningham's words "compelled John McCain to apologize" and she took for granted that he properly acted "to quickly undo any damage." Damage the media assumed needed undoing.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: "Bashing Obama. John McCain apologizes for remarks made about Barack Obama at a McCain rally." Ron Claiborne charged that "local conservative radio personality Bill Cunningham made caustic references to Barack Obama, calling him a hack politician from Chicago" and presumed Cunningham had a nefarious motive since he "went on to use Obama's Muslim middle name, Hussein, three times. Obama is actually a Christian." At least Claiborne however, unlike NBC's O'Donnell, highlighted conservative disgust with McCain's cave-in to media sensibilities: "Rush Limbaugh wasted no time mocking McCain's apology."...

END of Excerpt

For that previous CyberAlert in full: www.mrc.org

The second half of Gregory's March 3 NBC Nightly News story on Mike Huckabee and John McCain:

DAVID GREGORY: Despite Huckabee, McCain is moving on, building a general election campaign centered on his national security credentials. Democratic infighting over that very subject is playing into his hands.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think the McCain team is already envisioning the ads quoting Hillary Clinton going over Barack Obama on national security.
GREGORY: But McCain is now in the firing line as well. Today, he faced questions about the endorsement of Texas televangelist John Hagee. Social conservatives are a key GOP voting bloc, but some of the televangelist's public remarks have offended Catholics.
JOHN McCAIN: It's pretty obvious that you get a lot of endorsements in a political campaign. That does not mean I embrace the views of the people who endorse me.
GREGORY: Today, Hagee denied being anti-Catholic. No McCain endorsement from feminist author and Hillary Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem, who belittled McCain's ordeal as a prisoner of war during Vietnam during a Clinton campaign event in Texas. She was quoted by New York newspapers saying, "this is supposed to be a qualification to be President?" The Clinton team later disavowed Steinem's remarks.
McCain is now looking for a knockout blow against Mike Huckabee tomorrow, giving him the chance to battle the Democrats full time. David Gregory, NBC News, New York.

Clift: Forced to Choose Between Obama
and Hillary a 'Tragedy'

Torn by her liberal guilt of being forced to choose between a woman or an African-American man to have a shot at making history, Eleanor Clift lost it on this weekend's McLaughlin Group as she called the choice a "tragedy." The Newsweek editor claimed liberals, particularly women, were confused as to whether to dump Hillary for Obama as she blurted: "Women have waited decades to see the first woman President and it's actually something of a tragedy that a talented African-American guy comes along at the same [time.]"

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the March 1 edition of The McLaughlin Group:

ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: Women have waited decades to see the first woman president and it's actually something of a tragedy that a talented African-American guy comes along at the same -- this isn't liberal guilt.
PAT BUCHANAN: Why's it a tragedy?
CLIFT: Because you have to choose between two people who you-
BUCHANAN: That's a tragedy?
CLIFT: Well maybe you, maybe you want, I call it a tragedy, yes. Because people, women, women in particular are having a very hard time deciding here. But this not liberal guilt! This is not liberal guilt! This is a very, I want to finish my thought.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Alright, alright quickly.
CLIFT: I want to finish my thought. And that is that Barack Obama is a unique, once-in-a-generation figure.
MCLAUGHLIN: Ahh!
CLIFT: He has met every test!
MCLAUGHLIN: He's an ordinary pol!
CLIFT: He's not an ordinary pol! He's not an ordinary pol any more than Hillary Clinton is an ordinary pol! They have both, he is not an ordinary pol any more than Hillary Clinton is. They are both class-act people. And I am proud as a citizen to see that both of them are in contention.

Halperin of Time Mag and ABC: Obama and
McCain Both 'Centrist'

Ignoring National Journal's recent finding that Barack Obama had the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate in 2007, Time magazine's senior political analyst Mark Halperin, appearing on Thursday's American Morning on CNN, claimed that both Obama and John McCain were "centrists" as he explained New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision not to run for President. Citing Bloomberg's intent to run only if both major parties nominated extreme candidates, Halperin, formerly the Political Director for ABC News where he still frequently appears as a guest expert, insisted: "He ended up with two guys who are centrists."

Even though anchor John Roberts hinted that the words "independence" and "bucking some party orthodoxy" apply less to Obama than to McCain, Halperin suggested that those words only apply more to McCain "in terms of their time in Washington, in part because Obama hasn't been there very long." After describing McCain as someone who has "made a career" of "going after his party when he thinks the country's interests should stand above the party's interests," Halperin asserted that "that's what Obama is talking about as well."

National Journal's assessment of Obama: nj.nationaljournal.com

[This item is adapted from a posting, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Thursday, February 28 American Morning:

JOHN ROBERTS: So Mark, what do you make of all of this, the timing for Bloomberg, and the fact that he has finally decided to close the door on a presidential run if that door was ever open?
MARK HALPERIN, Time magazine Senior Political Analyst: Well, he did have that ballot deadline, as you mentioned. But I think that the handwriting went right up on the wall when the nominees were determined. Now, John McCain, as you said, the de facto Republican nominee, good friends with Bloomberg and someone who shares a lot of what Bloomberg wants to see in a President. In fact, if you read Bloomberg's op-ed piece, a lot of it could have been written by John McCain. Now, the other two possible presidents, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, also present challenges for Bloomberg. Clinton, of course, also from New York, has worked closely with the mayor. And if Obama is the nominee, which is more likely than a not, at this point, he also has a lot of the same qualities that Bloomberg would offer up -- appeal to independents which McCain also has, and at least the rhetoric of saying Washington doesn't work, I want to change the way things work. The very appeal that Bloomberg would have brought to the race is the very appeal that McCain and Obama have for a lot of voters.
ROBERTS: Yeah, you know, an advisor to McCain says it's good to great news, I guess, thinking about the idea that Bloomberg could have played spoiler the way Ralph Nader did back in 2000. And here's what Bloomberg said, just to reiterate. Quote, "If a candidate takes an independent nonpartisan approach and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy, I'll join others in helping that candidate win the White House."
Mark, you suggested just a second ago that both John McCain and Barack Obama have got elements of that independence and perhaps bucking some party orthodoxy. But what Bloomberg said there, does that, does that describe McCain to a greater degree than it does Obama?
HALPERIN: Well, it does certainly in terms of their time in Washington, in part because Obama hasn't been there very long. McCain has made a career out of doing just what Bloomberg says he wants, going after his party when he thinks the country's interests should stand above the party's interests. That's what John McCain has gotten famous for. That's what he's done for most of his career in Washington on a lot of big issues, and that's what Obama is talking about as well. Bloomberg's plan all along was, to run, was to see two nominees on the extremes -- people who were more partisan or more associated with the extreme wings of their party. He ended up with two guys who are centrists. Bloomberg only wanted to run, John, if he thought he could win, and I think he sees very little room. And he likes both McCain, and he also likes Obama a lot.

CNN Finds 'Lifelong Republicans' Who
Want Universal Health Care

On CNN on Sunday morning, correspondent Al Velshi reported in by phone from Texas with his story of "lifelong Republicans" who are planning to vote Democratic this time because of health care: "They are retired, they've been lifelong Republicans who are actually looking to change over. They're probably going to vote Democrat this time around."

CNN then played a video clip of Velshi's earlier discussion with three Texas residents, whom he had visited initially because they live in oil country and benefit from high oil prices, but he found that "their biggest concern was health care." Small business owner Kris Portmann complained about insurance companies and expressed his belief that universal health care would have to be an improvement: "As soon as you have something, there's a policy, there's a reason on why it doesn't cover it. And that's why, never before maybe have thought of universal health care, but if everybody's covered, and everybody's sharing the same, you know, how everything's spread out, it's got to work. I mean, it works other places. It works other countries. I mean, not maybe 100 percent, but it doesn't work 100 percent here, either."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the March 2 CNN Sunday at 9:03am EST:

T.J. HOLMES: So, of course, there's been a lot of the candidates saying stuff to the voters. Well, what are the voters really wanting to say to the candidates? Of course, as we mentioned, we got our best political team on television all over the map, and one guy who has been all over the map literally, our Ali Velshi. He's been traveling throughout the country, and, lately, in Texas, aboard CNN Election Express. He joins us now on the phone this morning from Green, Texas. What are they talking about down there, Ali?
ALI VELSHI, by phone: Good morning, T.J. You know, the funny thing is, I went to this area in central Texas because I wanted to talk to people about oil. These are the people who might be on the other side of the oil question -- in other words, making money off of the high price of oil and gas. And I actually ran into two couples -- they are retired, they've been lifelong Republicans who are actually looking to change over. They're probably going to vote Democrat this time around. And they actually had some involvement in oil. They have a piece of land on which there are oil wells. So they get those royalty checks. Here's the thing: Their biggest concern was health care. Here's what they told me:
MOLLY ENGLISH, Retiree: That's all we talk about because we're all having trouble getting health care coverage, or our coverage is a, you know, it's pitiful.
PEGGY PORTMANN, Small business owner: It's not affordable, but not only is it not affordable. There is affordable out there, and we get turned down for the most ridiculous reasons.
KRIS PORTMANN, Small business owner: No, the insurance covers everything that you don't have.
PEGGY PORTMANN: That's right.
KRIS PORTMANN: Okay, as soon as you have something, there's a policy, there's a reason on why it doesn't cover it. And that's why, never before maybe have thought of universal health care, but if everybody's covered, and everybody's sharing the same, you know, how everything's spread out, it's got to work. I mean, it works other places. It works other countries. I mean, not maybe 100 percent, but it doesn't work 100 percent here, either.
VELSHI, back live by phone: That's kind of interesting hearing lifelong conservatives and Republicans talk about the possibility of universal health care, but that issue is playing very big here in Texas, particularly amongst Democrats. Health care is the second biggest issue around here. So number one is the economy, and, amongst that, inflation and oil prices and gas prices, but we are hearing and have heard a lot this past week about health care. We're wheels up on the bus, and we're headed to some place else where we're going to talk to Texans about what's concerning them about this election and the issues, so we'll be back with you later on today to tell you a bit more about that.

CBS Devotes Piddling 3% of Hillary Profile
to Her Many Scandals

In a lengthy seven-a-half minute Friday CBS Evening News profile story, "For the Record: Hillary Clinton," reporter Nancy Cordes devoted a measly 15 seconds, a piddling three percent of the story, to scandals connected to Clinton's actions. But the night before, in a "For the Record: Barack Obama" profile, reporter Dean Reynolds allocated 42 percent of his piece to Obama scandals: Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's ties to him and his church as well as his connections to indicted developer Tony Rezko.

Here's the totality of all viewers heard Friday night from Cordes about scandals blamed on Hillary Clinton during her life: "Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees."

Cordes then stressed her innocence as she led into a mention of Monica Lewinsky; "But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady." Cordes proceeded to segue into her Senate years: "She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

CBS News could contend that since Obama's past and questionable relationships are less known -- and certainly have been virtually ignored by the media -- that his profile needed to take more time to get viewers caught up on those matters. But a piddling three percent of a story to go through the many scandals in Clinton's past, to say nothing of the present with Norman Hsu? That seems ridiculously short and missed an opportunity to remind viewers of the myriad of Clinton scandal details they have probably forgotten.

Also, while Reynolds had described Obama as "a traditional liberal," Cordes refrained from applying any ideological tag to Clinton.

In his February 28 story, which at 6:16 was more than a minute shorter than the time Clinton got Friday night, Reynolds gave 2:37 (157 of 376 seconds, 42 percent) to charges Obama's church is "anti-Israel," how "a church-related publication saluted Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, a well-known anti-Semite who in turn has praised Obama's candidacy," and Tony Rezko:
"Obama's long association with a now-indicted developer named Tony Rezko could be a liability. An Obama fundraiser from the early 90s, Rezko goes on trial for fraud next week. But his unsavory reputation was well-known for years. So it raised eyebrows when Obama and Resko's wife, Rita, bought property next to each other on Chicago's South Side on the very same day in 2005 even though by then Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. But no one has charged Obama with wrongdoing..."

The time Cordes devoted to Clinton administration scandals in the February 29 CBS Evening News story in which I counted her first paragraph (15 seconds of a 444-second story, 3 percent) as allocated to raising scandals for which Hillary Clinton could be blamed (this entire portion took up 38 seconds, just over 8 percent of the story).

CORDES: Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees.
But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady.
HILLARY CLINTON, IN 1998: I am happy to answer the grand jury's questions.
NANCY CORDES: She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself.

For the online version of "For the Record: Barack Obama," with video of the story: www.cbsnews.com

For the online version of "For the Record: Hillary Clinton," with video of the story: www.cbsnews.com

ABC's McFadden: 'Rock Star' Hillary Talks
to Real People

Nightline correspondent Cynthia McFadden filed another fawning profile on "rock star" Hillary Clinton for Thursday's program. The journalist, who has developed a long history of gushing over the former First Lady, recited lines that read like Clinton press releases. Discussing the presidential candidate's Ohio campaign, she asserted: "Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in real people's lives."

Describing Clinton's appearance at a fast food diner, McFadden enthused: "Clinton is greeted like a rock star by patrons at the Bob Evans restaurant." During the interview, the ABC journalist asked penetrating questions such as inquiring: "So, how are you?" In an attempt to gingerly address Clinton's string of 11 straight primary losses to Senator Barack Obama, McFadden seemed to echo a famous Beatles song. "Can you really let go of yesterday," she queried.

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Much of the segment featured McFadden spinning events for the Senator. "Unlike the stadium events where Barack Obama thrives, Clinton seems to prefer smaller, more intimate settings where her voice is softer and her message more personal," she claimed in regards to Clinton's front-runner opponent. Describing a visit to an Ohio Head Start classroom, McFadden opined, "Senator Clinton was in her element, comfortable, she says, as head of the class, but not head of the pack." (This last comment related to a Clinton assertion that she hated being a front-runner.)

Finally, towards the end of the piece, McFadden spoke dismissively of Obama's supporters. As though mystified, she asked, "What do you think it is that they don't know? Are they ill-informed? Are they deluded? What is it they're not seeing?" This was too much even for Clinton. She replied, "Well I wouldn't put it that way."

The February 28 segment followed previous softball interviews by McFadden. In February, she wondered, "When you lie awake at night...what worries you?" And back in December, McFadden queried to Clinton, "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?" For more on previous McFadden interviews with Hillary Clinton, see the February 4 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

A partial transcript of the February 28 segment:

MARTIN BASHIR: We turn now to presidential politics, and it's just five days until the two crucial Democratic primaries that everyone agrees Hillary Clinton must win to keep going. And it couldn't be much closer. Just a few months ago, Senator Clinton was up more than 20 points in Ohio. Now, she has just a single-digit lead. And my co-anchor Cynthia McFadden has spent the day with her. She has this Nightline exclusive from Ironton, Ohio.
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Good evening, Martin. Well it's doubtful that the Clinton roadmap to the presidency involved a pit stop in Meigs County, Ohio as it did earlier today. Locals tell us that Meigs County only has 2,500 registered Democratic voters total. And yet it wasn't supposed to come down to Ohio and Texas, but it has and every vote here counts. A bit of a crowd turned out to welcome Hillary Clinton to Pomeroy, Ohio, 50 people perhaps. But then in Pomeroy, 50 is a quite turnout, nestled in the Appalachian foothills, where poverty blankets the air at one and a half times the national average. Ohio is a big state. Why are we here?
CLINTON: Because I really want to draw attention to a lot of the problems in southern Ohio.
MCFADDEN: With so much at stake, Clinton will spend most of the morning at Brian Holman's trailer.
CLINTON: You're awfully kind to have us come.
BRIAN HOLMAN (CLINTON SUPPORTER): We're honored to have you here.
MCFADDEN: Three generations of the Holman family welcomed Clinton, daughter Chelsea and Ohio's popular governor, Ted Strickland. It was a full house. Only a couple of possible votes inside, but Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in real people's lives.
CLINTON: I wanted to have a chance just to hear directly from some of you about what you think your biggest challenges are.
MCFADDEN: Health insurance, gas prices and jobs are very much on their mind.
HOLMAN: A lot of unemployment here. People struggle. And working a minimum wage job it's hard to afford the health insurance.
MCFADDEN: About 45 minutes down the road in Gallia County--
CLINTON SUPPORTER (FEMALE): Can I tell you something non-political real quick? I love your highlights.
CLINTON: Thank you.
MCFADDEN: Clinton is greeted like a rock star by patrons at the Bob Evans restaurant.
CLINTON: I was gonna' take a few orders. In case this other endeavor I'm involved in doesn't work, I know I can come back to Bob Evans.
MCFADDEN: So, how are you?
CLINTON: I am good. I am great. I'm having a terrific time. I mean, from the outside, campaigns look as hectic and grueling as they are, but on the inside it's really - it's a really intimate experience in a lot of ways. You feel like you're invited into people's lives in a way that is very precious to me.
MCFADDEN: And yet, less than three months ago, ABC News had you 30 points ahead of Barack Obama. Now, it's neck and neck.
CLINTON: Right. Right.
MCFADDEN: At least in Texas and in Ohio. It's hard for people to believe that you really feel so upbeat.
CLINTON: Well I never believed those polls. You see, I don't pay attention to polls. I mean I try very hard to stay focused on what I'm touching I'm feeling and I'm learning. Because I have found over many years that that gives me a better sense. [From speech] You know a lot of their ideas in the Republican administration-
MCFADDEN: But 2:00 this afternoon, we arrived in Hanging Rock, Ohio. Unlike the stadium events where Barack Obama thrives, Clinton seems to prefer smaller, more intimate settings where her voice is softer and her message more personal.
CHILD (MALE): Are you Hillary Clinton?
CLINTON: I am Hillary Clinton:
MCFADDEN: After talking to the grown-ups, she handed out snacks to the kids in the head start classroom. Senator Clinton was in her element, comfortable, she says, as head of the class, but not head of the pack. You also said I hate being the front-runner. Now, that one I have to tell you, you lost me on that. You hate being the front-runner?
CLINTON: Because you are the big target. You know, for - I'm still being treated like that, in terms of, you know, coming after me when, you know, this is a close contest.
MCFADDEN: When you look back and I know you say you don't look back-
CLINTON: Not yet. I can't look back. I've got to keep looking forward.
MCFADDEN: So you'll look back at some point?
CLINTON: At some point, right, at some point. But I just have learned that it's really important to keep your concentration where it needs to be. I get up every day and think I think what do I have to try to do to advance my campaign?
MCFADDEN: Can you really let go of yesterday?
CLINTON: Absolutely.
MCFADDEN: So if you feel you blew it at a moment in the debate, you don't-
CLINTON: No, I am so tired by the time I finally get to bed. By the time my head hits the pillow it's lights out.
MCFADDEN: I want to tell you, I've talked to women around the country, many who are ardent supporters of yours, some who are not, some women who haven't made up their minds yet. Every single one of them has said the same thing to me in the last week or so. I feel sorry for Hillary Clinton right now. What do you think that means?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I think a lot of women project their own feelings and their lives on to me, and they to see how hard this is. It's hard. It's hard being a woman out there. It is obviously challenging with some of things that are said, that are not even personal to me so much as they are about women. And I think women just sort of shake their heads. My friends do. They say, "Oh, my gosh, this is so hard." Well, it's supposed to be hard. I'm running for the hardest job in the world. No one has ever done this. No woman has ever won a presidential primary before I won New Hampshire. This is hard. Now, every so often, I just wish it were more of an even playing field, but you know, I play on whatever field is out there. And now increasingly, Cynthia, everywhere I go, people say to me, don't give up. Don't give up. I'm with you, stay in this.
MCFADDEN: When we come back, what Hillary Clinton has to say about her rival, Barack Obama.
11:53pm
MCFADDEN: But whether she'll get to implement any of her ideas as president is far from clear. After losing 11 contests in a row, there have been a growing number of Democratic voices making her task even harder. Yesterday, it was John Lewis, a highly respected civil rights leader, super delegate and long-time friend of the Clintons, who announced he would switch his support to Obama.
REP JOHN LEWIS: I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama.
CLINTON: I understand the pressure he's under. It's been very intense and I respect him. I consider him a friend. I told him that when I spoke with him.
MCFADDEN: When he talks about Barack Obama as this sort of phenomenon, what do you think it -- obviously, a lot of voters agree. What do you think it is that they don't know? Are they ill-informed? Are they deluded? What is it they're not seeing?
CLINTON: Well I wouldn't put it that way. You know, I think the best description actually is in Barack's own book, the last book he wrote "Audacity of Hope" where he said that he's a blank screen. And people of widely differing views project what they want to believe onto him. And then he went on to say, I am bound to disappoint some if not all of them. He just hasn't been around long enough. I'm a full-fledged canvas. You know, some people love me, some people a little less, but you know where I stand. You know the fights I've taken on. You know that you can count on me to do what I say I will do.

After Much Obama Boosting, ABC's Moran
Finally Quizzes Him

Nightline host Terry Moran appeared on Monday's Good Morning America with a segment (much of which also aired later on Monday's Nightline) in which he repeatedly quizzed Senator Barack Obama on the subject of his relationship to indicted political operative Tony Rezko, now facing corruption charges. Moran persistently asked the Democratic presidential candidate if he would release all information relating to the role Rezko played in a house purchase by Obama.

After several evasive answers, Moran scolded: "You call yourself a reformer? You talk about your judgment?" He then bluntly followed-up by wondering: "And yet, how could you enter into this transaction with a long-term contributor who, at that time, was known to be under investigation for corruption? What does that say about your judgment?" This is quite a change for the anchor, who, in 2006, skipped Rezko and gushed over Obama as "an American political phenomenon" and someone who might be "the savior of the Democratic Party."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During a January 29, 2008 piece for Nightline, Moran also lauded the Illinois Senator as someone who makes "connections" and believes that "divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination." And although co-anchor Martin Bashir promised that Moran, who interviewed Obama at a restaurant, would dish out "tough chili and tough questions," the subject of Tony Rezko never came up. (A truncated explanation of the controversy: The owner of a Chicago property also possessed the next door lot and wished to sell both. Rezko's wife bought the adjacent land for full value. The new senator then purchased the other property for $300,000 less than the asking price. This all occurred on the same day.) For more on the earlier Nightline segment, see the January 31 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

For a November 6, 2006 piece, Moran famously provided this hyperbolic description of Obama: "You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"

To read Moran's entire tribute, check the November 8, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

And, even though outlets such as the Chicago Sun Times were already investigation Obama's connection to Rezko, Moran, again, never mentioned it.

In 2008, Moran's tone began to be more sharp. For a February 25 report, he even noted that Obama is a liberal who tends to favor raising taxes. To read more about the host calling Obama liberal, see the February 26 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

However, during his March 3 appearance on GMA, despite the tough queries, the ABC journalist did occasionally lapse back into rhapsodizing about the Senator. According to Moran, the real trouble may not be Rezko, "but sustaining his remarkable run. The crowds, the enthusiasm, the hope." After wondering if Obama will be able to maintain that enthusiasm from his audience, he queried, "Do you see this almost rock star quality in the crowds?"

A transcript of the March 3 GMA segment:

CHRIS CUOMO: Now, let's move over to Senator Obama. Terry Moran, anchor of "Nightline," has been with Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio and sat down for an exclusive interview with the senator in these final hours before the big primary voting. Good morning, Terry.
TERRY MORAN: Good morning, Chris. Columbus, Ohio, one of the last, perhaps, front lines in this battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And you spend a little time with the Barack Obama campaign, you can feel this is a candidate and a campaign deeply confident. They think they're on the verge of nailing this thing down and they're increasingly focusing on John McCain. Of course, Hillary Clinton isn't going anywhere yet. And Barack Obama still has a real struggle on his hands. After 11 wins in a row, these are good days for Barack Obama. You having fun?
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Of course, I'm having fun.
MORAN: And with polls showing Obama virtually tied with Hillary Clinton in Ohio and Texas, after being down by double digits just two weeks ago, this candidate smells victory. If you win Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, is that it? Is it over? Is it time for Hillary Clinton to get out?
OBAMA: Well, I think that will be up to Senator Clinton. But if we do well in Texas and Ohio, I think the math is such where it's going to be hard for her to win the nomination. And they'll have to make a decision about how much longer they want to pursue it.
MORAN: But Hillary Clinton is still coming after Obama with this ominous ad calling into question his readiness to be president in a crisis.
HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD: It's 3:00am and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?
MORAN: What do you think of that?
OBAMA: Well, I think she's got a little desperate towards, towards the end of this campaign and I think has been a lot more aggressive in her negative attacks. And as I pointed out, we've actually had a pretty significant moment in the last several years that called people judgment into question. And that was the war in Iraq. And she had a lot time to consider it and made the wrong call, just as Senator McCain did.
MORAN: What's the one thing in your life that you think prepares you best for that moment?
OBAMA: I'm not sure it's one thing. I think it is a matter of temperament. You know, one of the things that I've known about myself for a long time, and I think that most people who have gotten to know me come to realize is that in difficult or stressful moments, I don't get rattled. And I don't get rattled during campaigns.
MORAN: The Clinton campaign is also trying to rattle Obama by talking about Tony Rezko, Obama's longtime friend and fund-raiser who goes on trial for corruption this week. Obama bought his house at the same time Rezko's wife bought a piece of the same lot. And that's raised a lot of questions. The Clinton campaign has now called on you to release all of the material, the e-mails, the correspondents, surrounding the purchase of your home on Rezko's purchase of that lot. Will you do it?
OBAMA: Well, look, Terry, this is a story that has been going on for a year and a half. We have seen more than 200 articles written about it. And we in fact released an e-mail just recently from the seller of the home that confirmed that Mr. Rezko had nothing to do with the price that I got for my house. He got into trouble. That was completely unrelated to me. And the trouble that he's in right now is completely unrelated to anything that I have done.
MORAN: Will you release that material?
OBAMA: There isn't much material to release.
MORAN: E-mails, correspondence?
OBAMA: We have provided people with all of the information that's needed to make an assessment.
MORAN: Is that enough?
OBAMA: Terry, we have released all of the information. I don't know what information the Clinton campaign is referring to.
MORAN: I think the bottom-line question for voters on this issue might be, you call yourself a reformer?
OBAMA: Right.
MORAN: You talk about your judgment?
OBAMA: Right.
MORAN: And yet, how could you enter into this transaction with a long-term contributor who at that time was known to be under investigation for corruption? What does that say about your judgment?
OBAMA: Well, I think, understand, Terry, that this is a transaction that was completely above board. That was a standard real estate transaction. And there's, I've already said that this was a mistake. And I've never made a claim that I've never made mistakes.
MORAN: Obama's real concern may not be Tony Rezko, but sustaining his remarkable run. The crowds, the enthusiasm, the hope. Enthusiasm is a transitory thing. Is it possible that it could evaporate? Are you concerned about that?
OBAMA: No, no.
MORAN: Do you see this almost rock star quality in the crowds?
OBAMA: This is what people have been saying for months. This is what people said when I first announced. They said, "Oh, you know, it's a flash in the pan. It will fade." I don't have a bunch of romantics here. I mean, there are a whole bunch of people in this crowd who have lost jobs, lost health care. They're not in it out of infatuation. They think this is now we're going to change the country and I think they're right.
MORAN: Confidence, it's never been in short supply on the Obama campaign. One final note, we asked Senator Obama about the portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live by Fred Armisen. He said it was fine. He said his wife thinks it shows he needs to smile more, because Armisen's is a very somber Obama. Chris?

Rivera: Limbaugh 'Dean' of 'Most Savage
Talk Radio Campaign'

Geraldo Rivera charged that Rush Limbaugh is "the dean of the academy" in a "nativist reaction" in "the most savage talk radio campaign ever in history" against illegal immigrants. Appearing on Monday's The View to promote his new book, His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S, the Fox News Channel host also characterized McCain's virtual lock of the Republican nomination as "a victory for the decency wing of the GOP." Rivera claimed Mitt Romney "was such a nice guy" as Governor of Massachusetts, but "suddenly became an anti-immigrant radical."

[This item was adapted from the NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]

Rivera also said he refuses to even shake CNN correspondent Lou Dobbs' hand. The relevant transcript from the March 3 program:

BARBARA WALTERS: But when we have someone like John McCain, and, and others who say "look, let's let the illegals work their way back, be identified, pay a fine," you know, have to have certain steps, it's called "amnesty."
GERALDO RIVERA: I don't think that that's amnesty at all. And thank God John McCain is basically the Republican nominee because he is, his victory is a victory for the decency wing of the GOP. The other candidates, Mike Huckabee, a wonderful guy otherwise, he put the co-chairman of the Minutemen on his advisory committee.
HASSELBECK: And Mitt Romney.
RIVERA: And Mitt Romney, I mean, who was such a nice guy when he was mayor, governor of Massachusetts, suddenly became this anti-immigration radical. And the reason conservatives don't have Mitt Romney to vote for is that the Hispanics in Florida listen to his hateful rhetoric, and they said "forget about it. We don't care that you come down here and drink cafe com leche and say 'Cuba si,' and 'yankee no' and all these other formulaic things. If you are slandering people that look like me and sound like me, we're not going to vote for you." They voted for John McCain five to one. That's why he's out.
JOY BEHAR: Wasn't that to appeal to the base? And why would the base go along with something like that?
RIVERA: Well, you know, where, it stems from kind of a nativist reaction that started really at the grassroots and it's driven by the most savage talk radio campaign ever in history.
BEHAR: Name names.
RIVERA: Well, I think that Rush Limbaugh is the dean of the academy. Lou Dobbs on CNN has been shameful in his hate mongering.
BEHAR: I heard you won't shake his hand.
RIVERA: I would not shake his hand because this is a man who has done more damage to the cause of sensible comprehensive reform than anyone else with a microphone. And for him to be banded about as the next presidential candidate or an independent candidate. What? On the backs of these poor people, the most vulnerable? He's scapegoating. He's falsely blaming them for crime, for disease, for terror, for stealing jobs, and if you examine the studies, all of it is untrue.

-- Brent Baker