2. NBC Showcases Bill Clinton Blast at Bush Tax Cut Plan
3. Everyone Against Bush on Iraq, But Jordan's King Says...
4. Rather Elevates Anger & Threats of Gun-Toting Iraqi Citizens
5. NBC Focuses on "Tourists" and "Farmers" in Iraq Mad at U.S.
6. McCaffrey Blasts Arnett for "Baby Milk Factory" Story
7. Letterman's Top Ten
>>> "30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: A Quick Look at the Media's Pro-Abortion Coverage." The MRC's Tim Jones has compiled this special section on the MRC's Web site which links to the MRC's documentation of the numerous instances of media bias against the pro-life movement and pro-life politicians. Go to:
Think the current frigid temperatures in much of the country might belie global warming? Don't worry, NBC's Robert Hager assured viewers on Thursday night that the record cold temperature trend in no way does so.
Hager contended on the January 23 NBC Nightly News, as he stood bundled up in Washington, DC:
"Sporadic bursts of hot and cold." That's just what scientists, whom the media ignore, say about global warming, that it is part of the natural variance of the Earth and is only minimally, if at all, induced by the burning of fossil fuels.
NBC, like the other networks, has yet to inform viewers of how the Bush tax cut plan would give a larger percent cut to the lower classes than the wealthy, would relieve millions at the lower end from having to pay income taxes at all and would further shift the burden of the income taxes onto the wealthy who would pay an even greater share of total income taxes, a share that far exceeds their portion of total income earned in the economy. But on Thursday night, Tom Brokaw highlighted Bill Clinton's attack from the left on Bush's plan as "a giveaway to the rich."
Brokaw announced on the January 23 NBC Nightly News: "Former President Bill Clinton today was the most critical he's been yet of the Bush administration, charging the administration's tax plan is what he called 'a giveaway to the rich' when too many low and middle income Americans are struggling to pay for health care and states are forced to cut back on basic services."
Let's just exempt the Clinton family from any tax cut.
Clinton made his remarks in an address in Washington, DC to a forum organized by the liberal group Families USA.
A Wall Street Journal editorial on Monday outlined a trend the Bush tax cut would exacerbate, how "the truth is that the Bush proposals would make the tax code more progressive, not less." That's not a take the networks want anyone to hear. An excerpt from the January 20 editorial:
....The soak-the-rich facts, if any journalists cared to look, are contained in the income distribution tables on the plan compiled by the Treasury Department. Looking at the impact for 2003, Treasury finds that the average reduction in income taxes is a touch more than 12%. But for those who make less than $30,000 the average reduction is about 17%, while for those who earn more than $100,000 it is 11.4% or less.
There's even better news for modern Robin Hoods. Because the percentage reduction for families with incomes under $50,000 is greater under the Bush plan, those families would pay a smaller share of the total income tax than they do under current law.
Families with incomes over $100,000 would end up paying a larger share of the total income tax. These families would pay 73% of all federal income taxes....
How could this happen? Mr. Bush would relieve 3.8 million lower-income taxpayers from paying any income taxes. The chief tax remover comes from his proposal to accelerate the increase in the child credit to $1,000 from $600, bumping a touch more than three million taxpayers right off the rolls....
But one certain consequence is that the plan exacerbates the growing problem of a bifurcated tax system....
We are merely pointing out the (apparently heretical) truth that the current tax system is very skewed against upper-income Americans. According to IRS data from 2000, the top 5% of tax filers paid more than 50% of total income tax revenue, and the top half of tax filers were responsible for almost all revenue -- 96% of the total take....
The Congressional Budget Office has looked at the distributive impact of various taxes for 1997. The income-tax share of the lowest-income family quintile (the bottom 20%) was negative 1.2% and the share of the highest family quintile was 73.3%. The difference in payroll-tax share was somewhat less dramatic at 3.9% for the lowest quintile and 40.6% for the highest. But when all federal taxes were thrown together, the share of the lowest quintile was 1.6%, while the share of the highest quintile was 60.2%. Karl Marx, call your office....
END of Excerpt
The full editorial is online at: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110002938
For the numbers from a Tax Foundation report on how those in the top one percent, top five percent, top ten percent, top 25 percent and top 50 percent all paid a greater share of the income taxes collected in 2000 than they earned as a share of overall income, but the bottom 50 percent took more from others than they put in, see the January 13 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030113.asp#5
In the Middle East and everywhere else, Peter Jennings contended at the top of Thursday's World News Tonight, nations think "the Bush administration is being too aggressive about Iraq and should make a greater effort to resolve the Saddam Hussein problem without going to war." But minutes later, in what should have been Jennings' lead, he relayed how Jordan's King Abdullah believes Hussein must go, "that the Iraqi people are more afraid of Saddam Hussein than they are of America's General Franks" and "that the Iraqi army will fold up like a house of cards."
In between, Jennings questioned the accuracy of the claim by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that Hussein has ordered that any scientist who talks to UN inspectors will be killed along with his family. Jennings tagged it a "very inflammatory charge" as he scolded: "There is no way to know how the administration verifies that Iraqi scientists were threatened with their lives if they talked to the UN inspectors. It is a very inflammatory charge at a very tense time."
From Amman, Jordan, Jennings opened the January 23 World News Tonight by stressing unified opposition to U.S. policy, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
Following several Iraq war-related stories, Jennings played an excerpt from an interview he conducted with Jordan's King. Wrapping up the segment, Jennings contradicted the premise with which he opened his broadcast:
...Or, picking up where item #3 leaves off above, the Iraqi people will fight to the death the American invaders. For Wednesday's 60 Minutes II on CBS, Dan Rather relayed the pro-Saddam Hussein and anti-U.S. comments he gathered from the streets of Baghdad last week. While he occasionally tossed in some caveats about how "Iraqis are restricted in what they can say publicly," he nonetheless treated the proclamations of the oppressed and ill-informed people as newsworthy as he relied on a Hussein political crony for expert guidance on the feelings of the Iraqi people.
Rather opened the 12-minute long piece by ominously warning: "For the Americans to win this time, Iraqis say, they will have to wage a perilous battle in the streets of Baghdad and if it comes to that, the civilians we spoke with say they will fight, too."
Rather proceeded to show a woman teaching others how to use a Kalishnikov in order "to protect the homeland." Rather marveled at how "everyone we met in Baghdad talks the Saddam line," including "Iraq's version of liberated women," who "are all Saddam supporters, and they don't trust the American government." One woman charged: "Who's a terrorist, you or us? You want to grab us, you want to eat, you want to eat our happiness."
Passing along anti-Israel propaganda, Rather highlighted how "most Iraqis, including these students at Al-Mustansiriyya University, say that pain is caused by Israel and the United States and has in fact strengthened their support for Saddam."
Later, Rather mocked the idea that some helicopters could have been outfitted to distribute chemical agents: "They are missing parts, they rattle and shake. The one we went up in, reluctantly, sounded more like a flying washing machine than a weapons delivery system."
At a gun store, Rather pumped a shotgun the Iraqis he talked to claimed they would use to shoot Americans. As he held a weapon in his hands, Rather explained how he "found Iraqi civilians out buying weapons" since "people think war is coming and they want to be ready."
Pumping a shotgun: Now that's something you'll never find Dan Rather doing back in the U.S.
The CBS News Web site posted a story based on Rather's piece and MRC analyst Brian Boyd compared it to the videotape in order to create a transcript for the January 22 60 Minutes II story. Here are some excerpts:
-- Rather set up his story: "Ask most people in America who Saddam Hussein is and you will get an earful. Spend a week in Baghdad, as we did last week, and you will hear a very different story -- the party line. He is more than a king they say, he is the supreme leader. Iraqis seem to think war is coming and they say Saddam will win again. That's right, again. In the war over Kuwait, much of Saddam's army collapsed and surrendered, but Saddam survived so Iraqis see him as the victor. For the Americans to win this time, Iraqis say, they will have to wage a perilous battle in the streets of Baghdad and if it comes to that, the civilians we spoke with say they will fight, too."
-- Woman showing how to use gun. Rather: "Officials did allow us to take pictures of civilians they said are getting ready to fight. People like Kareema, a teacher, who is giving a different kind of class at the elementary school in the town of El Dora. She's letting her fellow teachers in on the finer points of loading and using a high-powered Kalishnikov....Some of the kids hanging out for the teaching session are too young, even by Iraqi standards, to handle Kareema's Kalishnikov, so she says she will teach them to throw stones at the Americans, Intifada style.
Viewers then saw her firing off the rifle.
For a picture of Kareema holding a Kalishnikov: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/22/60II/main537535.shtml
-- Saddam cohort proclaims Iraqis will battle Americans in the streets of Baghdad. "Is Iraq prepared for war?" Rather asked Mohammed al Adhami, a member of Parliament and Saddam Hussein's Baath party, who replied: "Well, yes. You know, we have to, we have to because there is a threat."
-- Rather illustrated the peril: "And to control Iraq, you must control the cities on the ground. The Al Jamooreeah bridge, destroyed in night-time bombing in the last war, has been rebuilt so invading troops could cross the Tigris. But on the other side of the river, near the Al-Safeer copper market, it's a different story. The alleys are dark and impenetrable, even in the day time. This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baghdad, with very narrow streets and locked passageways. Easy to get pinned down, hard to escape, unless you know the way, and a perfect place for Saddam to ambush the invaders."
-- Rather mildly challenged Adhami: "It's popular in some parts of the United States and in the West to believe that Saddam Hussein is afraid of his people, true?"
-- Over huge paintings of Hussein on the sides of buildings, Rather reported: "At least on the surface, Saddam is firmly in control of his country, of Baghdad's six million people, of his image. He is all things to all people: Saddam the Warrior, Saddam the Father of the Homeland, Saddam the Supreme Arab Leader, Saddam the Great Provider. At his new mosque, called the Mother of All Battles Mosque, there is a copy of the Koran written, not with ink, but in blood -- supposedly Saddam's blood. Fifty pints of it they say."
-- Everyone loves Saddam. Rather: "Everyone we met in Baghdad talks the Saddam line, including these women. They are Iraq's version of liberated women, the educated elite of Baghdad: teachers and doctors, architects and diplomats who meet once a month at this art gallery and restaurant. They are all Saddam supporters, and they don't trust the American government. The owner of this place, Wedad el-Orfali, doesn't trust American journalists either."
-- U.S. "deserved" 9/11. Rather: "Most Iraqis, including these students at Al-Mustansiriyya University, say that pain is caused by Israel and the United States and has in fact strengthened their support for Saddam. Keeping in mind that Iraqis are restricted in what they can say publicly, we asked the students what they would say to President Bush."
-- UN inspectors almost as bad as the U.S. Rather: "Dr. al Obaydi is angry not only at the United States but also at what most Iraqis think are American puppets: The, as they say, intrusive U.N. inspectors."
-- Trust us, the weapons were destroyed. Rather: "While we were in Baghdad, the inspectors did find these empty chemical warheads, but the weapons they're looking for were destroyed several years ago according to Iraqi member of parliament Mohammed al Adhami."
-- Mocking the threat of Polish helicopters. Rather: "We visited another site, this remote landing strip, that the inspectors had come to several times. After years of U.N. sanctions, it's a helicopter graveyard. Chopper carcasses litter the runways. The inspectors wanted to find out if the nozzles and tanks on the helicopters had ever been outfitted to spread biological or chemical weapons. They found no evidence. We found that only a few of these Polish-made whirly-birds could even get off the ground. They are missing parts, they rattle and shake. The one we went up in, reluctantly, sounded more like a flying washing machine than a weapons delivery system."
I'll have to give Rather credit for his courage to go up in an Iraqi-maintained Polish "whirly-bird."
-- Rather's own gun show. Rather: "While the inspections continue, we found Iraqi civilians out buying weapons at the Al Soquour gun shop, a veritable arms bazaar in a souk about 30 minutes from downtown. People think war is coming and they want to be ready.
-- Fight until the end. Rather's piece concluded with him asking al Adhami about those urging Hussein to go into exile. Al Adhami got the last word: "They are dreaming. Really, they are dreaming. He, President Saddam Hussein will fight until the last moment."
On the willingness of the Iraqi people to fight to the death against Americans, I think I'll trust the assessment of Jordan's King Abdullah over that of the cowering people Dan Rather found.
CBS isn't the only network treating the staged anti-U.S. events in Baghdad as a legitimate news reflecting the genuine feeling of average Iraqis. Check out two filings this week for Today by NBC News reporter Patricia Sabga which were brought to my attention by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens. One morning she
-- January 22 Today. From Baghdad Sabga highlighted a PR gimmick done by foreigners, whom she dubbed "tourists": "Well while the White House says time is running out for Saddam Hussein here in Baghdad this morning growing signs of impatience. In what is becoming a near daily ritual in the streets of Baghdad more demonstrations this morning. This group of foreign tourists marched to UN offices in the capital to protest a possible U.S. attack against Iraq.
-- January 23 Today. Sabga in Baghdad: "Thousands of Iraqis turned out again this morning to protest U.S. hostility toward Iraq. Young and old burned flags and chanted their loyalty to Saddam Hussein. While UN arms experts kept up their search for banned weapons inspecting at least five sites including a food storage facility and a fiberglass plant north of Baghdad. And Iraqi TV last night broadcast pictures of Saddam Hussein meeting again with his top military advisors. Warning that any attempt to occupy Iraq would fail. As international pressure mounts to delay military action and give weapons inspectors more time to do their job in New York, Wednesday, chief inspector Hans Blix criticized Iraq for not giving enough information on weapons of mass destruction...."
Speaking of relaying enemy propaganda from behind enemy lines, on Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC retired Army General Barry McCaffrey blasted Peter Arnett for his CNN stories about how U.S. bombing in the Persian Gulf War destroyed a "baby milk factory." McCaffrey sternly told Arnett: "That milk, baby milk factory, for God's sake, was actually a biological weapons site also."
When Arnett refused to accept McCaffrey's premise, McCaffrey noted: "Somehow we ended up with thousands of tons of VX, mustard gas, biological weapons, for God's sake."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught the exchange which took place during the January 22 Hardball "College Tour" at Georgetown University. The relevant portion of the show:
Arnett complained about the U.S. killing civilians: "What I would like to see is the U.S. military being more responsive to acts of, of, of accidental bombing. There is a reluctance in the Pentagon, in the military, to even admit that these happened. It's not a question of calling the soldiers to account, but what about the reality of what happens on the ground? During the Gulf war, there's still argument over the baby milk plant that I reported the first three days of the war. There was argument over whether the, whether the air raid shelter, which had 350 civilians in it, was a military target or not. Why not admit that you make mistakes, that you hurt people, and then move on? And I would like to think that this time if indeed there is going to be a war and that I'm there, when we report from Baghdad what we're seeing, the U.S. military or the government won't, won't label us as traitors but that we're really eyewitnesses reporting on what we think is an accurate assessment."
After other panelists spoke, McCaffrey countered: "Let me add one other thing too because you know Peter Arnett is certainly a very astute journalist, but the Iraqis are involved in a major deception and denial program, both pre-combat and during the war. That milk, baby milk factory, for God's sake, was actually a biological weapons site also. I am not buying half the stuff-"
McCaffrey, who was Drug Czar for President Clinton, is under contract to NBC for military analysis. During the Persian Gulf War, he served as commander of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division. To remind yourself of who he is, check his Washington Speakers Bureau page which features a picture of him:
10. While watching CNN your daughter exclaims, "That's the guy who bought my Girl Scout cookies!"
9. Predator drones circling overhead
8. Your mailman made a mistake and gave you a shipment of plutonium
7. Streets have fewer minivans, more tanks
6. Sign on lawn: "Trespassers will be gassed and tortured"
5. Sean Penn keeps coming over
4. Your address: 145 Murray Street; newspaper's headline: "82nd Airborne Deployed To 148 Murray Street"
3. At Home Depot, you notice four Saddam doubles arguing about carpet
2. In driveway, Humvee with license plate "Ruthless 1"
1. Classified ad seeks "The mother of all affordable split-level homes"
> Watch Ed Harris question President George W. Bush's manhood. The MRC Web site now features a RealPlayer clip from the Fox News Channel of actor Ed Harris charging that Bush is not "a man," apparently because of his pro-life position. Harris leveled his insult at Bush's manhood during Tuesday night's NARAL Pro-Choice America banquet. Harris: "We've got this guy in the White House who thinks he is a man...and he's a good old boy, and he used to drink, and he knows how to shoot a gun and how to drive a pickup truck, etcetera like that. That's not the definition of a man, God [expletive]!"