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

NBC Trumpets Vindication for Murtha, But No Mention of Okinawa --12/5/2006


1. NBC Trumpets Vindication for Murtha, But No Mention of Okinawa
NBC's Today on Monday ludicrously contended that a memo outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld penned in early November, which included amongst its options for Iraq the redeployment of troops to the perimeter of Iraq or to Kuwait, vindicated Congressman John Murtha, the featured guest of the 7am half hour, who advocated moving troops to Okinawa -- at least 5,000 miles away. David Gregory ignored Murtha's Okinawa idea: "What's striking is that Rumsfeld also suggested troop withdrawals or repositioning of forces to border areas or nearby Kuwait. When Democrats like John Murtha have suggested similar options the White House has accused them of quote, 'cutting and running.'" Matt Lauer read part of Rumsfeld's memo to Murtha: "'Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions, cities, petroleum, etcetera. Move U.S. forces to a quick reaction force operating from within Iraq and Kuwait to be available when Iraq security forces need assistance.' How does that sound as compared to what you've been suggesting for more than a year?" Murtha agreed that's "exactly what I said a year ago," leading Lauer to empathize: "So without putting words into your mouth you feel that you were chided unnecessarily and wrongly and, and in some ways made the poster child for 'cut and run'..."

2. Couric Frets 'Non-Believers May Feel Excluded' by Spiritual Films
In the midst of an otherwise positive story Monday night about the "revival" of religiously-inspired movies, such as The Nativity Story and Facing the Giants, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric saw a dark side. She pressed Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story and Mike Rich, the film's screenwriter: "Do you worry at all that non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're so divided about so much?" As if there's a dearth of non-spiritual films for people to see. Has anyone at CBS News ever worried about how the faithful feel "excluded" and "diminished" by multiplexes playing only violent and sexually-explicit films, to say nothing of the many which include scenes ridiculing the faithful or portraying religious figures as criminals? The CBSNews.com online version of the story has this text in place of Couric's question: "But what if you don't believe? That was Chicago Mayor Richard Daly's concern last week when he banned ads for The Nativity Story from the city's annual Christmas festival." A "Christmas" festival without the very story on which it is based!

3. In Volunteerism Update, ABC's Gibson Tags 1980s 'Me Decade'
On Monday's World News with Charles Gibson, anchor Gibson referred to the 1980s as the "Me Decade" while reading a short story about volunteerism in America. Citing an unspecified "new study" showing that volunteerism is at a 30-year high with 27 percent of Americans donating time to community service, the ABC host noted that the number was "up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s." Gibson added: "Which, you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"

4. Andrea Mitchell on Hillary '08: Will Bring Back 'Good Old Days'
Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked the panel of this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show to rate Hillary Clinton's chances for the Democratic nomination. In doing so Mitchell claimed that Hillary "hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days." Mitchell also snidely put down the entire South when she wondered if they would accept a female president: "What about down South?...Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?" When the panel turned to whether Bill Clinton would be a negative or positive for Hillary, Mitchell agreed with New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, exclaiming, either way, that it would be "Great for journalism!"

5. Here Comes 2008 Bias: AP Tags Hillary and Bayh as 'Centrists'
Here comes the 2008 presidential cycle, and on cue, Associated Press reporters are finding "centrists" in the race whose voting records are NOT a 50-50 mishmash of conservative and liberal. This cycle's "centrist" contenders are Hillary Clinton (actually strongly, staunchly liberal) and Evan Bayh (liberal most of the time.)


Correction: The December 4 CyberAlert item about George Stephanopoulos described how "on Sunday, he pushed Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for Governor, to call for higher taxes on energy." That should have referred to how Vilsack is a candidate for "President."

NBC Trumpets Vindication for Murtha,
But No Mention of Okinawa

NBC's Today on Monday ludicrously contended that a memo outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld penned in early November, which included amongst its options for Iraq the redeployment of troops to the perimeter of Iraq or to Kuwait, vindicated Congressman John Murtha, the featured guest of the 7am half hour, who advocated moving troops to Okinawa -- at least 5,000 miles away. David Gregory ignored Murtha's Okinawa idea: "What's striking is that Rumsfeld also suggested troop withdrawals or repositioning of forces to border areas or nearby Kuwait. When Democrats like John Murtha have suggested similar options the White House has accused them of quote, 'cutting and running.'"

Matt Lauer read part of Rumsfeld's memo to Murtha: "This is from Donald Rumsfeld's memo: 'Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions, cities, petroleum, etcetera. Move U.S. forces to a quick reaction force operating from within Iraq and Kuwait to be available when Iraq security forces need assistance.' How does that sound as compared to what you've been suggesting for more than a year?" Murtha agreed that's "exactly what I said a year ago," leading Lauer to empathize: "So without putting words into your mouth you feel that you were chided unnecessarily and wrongly and, and in some ways made the poster child for 'cut and run,' based on some assumptions you made and suggestions you made that the Secretary of Defense later came to the same conclusion, in some parts." Murtha liked Lauer's summary: "There's no question I was way ahead..."

The Today team somehow ignored this exchange on the June 18 Meet the Press on their own network:

John Murtha: "We can go to Okinawa. We, we don't have -- we can redeploy there almost instantly. So that's not -- that's, that's a fallacy. That, that's just a statement to rial up people to support a failed policy wrapped in illusion."
Tim Russert: "But it'd be tough to have a timely response from Okinawa."
Murtha: "Well, it, you know, they -- when I say Okinawa, I, I'm saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And when they don't know we're coming. There's no question about it. And, and where those airplanes won't -- came from I can't tell you, but, but I'll tell you one thing, it doesn't take very long for them to get in with cruise missiles or with, with fighter aircraft or, or attack aircraft, it doesn't take any time at all. So we, we have done -- this one particular operation, to say that that couldn't have done, done -- it was done from the outside, for heaven's sakes."

For MSNBC.com's posted transcript: www.msnbc.msn.com

The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the December 4 Today:

Matt Lauer, at the top of the show: "Fallout, does a memo written by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggest the administration was saying one thing but thinking something else when it comes to Iraq?"

Ann Curry soon set up a report from David Gregory: "But first the week that could define the Bush presidency for the ages. It comes just days after a memo from outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was leaked to the press presenting a range of options for Iraq. Some of them very surprising coming from the administration's chief cheerleader for the war. NBC's chief White House correspondent David Gregory joins us now this morning. Hey David, good morning."
On screen headline: "Exit Strategy, Rumsfeld Memo Vs. 'Cut and Run.'"

David Gregory: "Good morning Ann. That Rumsfeld memo captures the high anxiety within the White House about the war and comes as officials say the President is just weeks away from making significant changes in Iraq. The Defense Secretary sent the candid assessment about Iraq to the President last month, two days before he resigned. First obtained by the New York Times it says quote, 'What U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough. It is time for a major adjustment.'"
Donald Rumsfeld: "That, we should, just a minute! That is false!"
Gregory: "The often combative Defense Secretary who bristled at criticism of the war suggested lowering the public's expectation of success. 'Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals, how we talk about them, go minimalist,' he wrote. What's striking is that Rumsfeld also suggested troop withdrawals or repositioning of forces to border areas or nearby Kuwait. When Democrats like John Murtha have suggested similar options the White House has accused them of quote, 'cutting and running.' Ironically the very day Rumsfeld submitted this anxious memo about the war the President, on the eve of the election, was verbally lashing Democrats for pushing course correction in Iraq."
George W. Bush: "Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory! Second guessing is not a strategy! We have a plan for victory!"
Gregory: "The President's national security advisor on Meet the Press."
Stephen Hadley: "I think the Rumsfeld memo represented is kind of a laundry list of ideas that have been considered. The President said, 'We need to make changes.' Some of those changes are gonna be significant changes."
Gregory: "Democrats said the memo reveals that the White House did not level with the public."
Sen. John Kerry: "They all indicate, that in fact, there's very different thinking inside the administration than the administration has been sharing with the American public."
Sen. Joe Biden: "The bottom-line is there is no one, including the former Secretary, who thought the policy the President continues to pursue makes any sense."
Gregory: "Iraq will dominate the debate this week in Washington. Tomorrow the President's choice to succeed Rumsfeld to the Pentagon, Robert Gates, begins confirmation hearings and Wednesday the Baker-Hamilton commission issues its highly anticipated report on the way forward in the war. Today the President meets with Iraq's most powerful Shiite leader Abdul Azziz al-Hakim, considered an integral part of shoring up the Maliki government in Iraq. The politics now, a major emphasis Matt, of this White House as it tries to chart a new way forward in Iraq."

Matt Lauer: "Alright David, thanks very much. David Gregory at the White House this morning. Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania has been leading the charge for a pullout from Iraq since last year when he called for a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops. Congressman, good morning to you."
[Rep. John Murtha]
Lauer: "As we are hearing and we heard from Stephen Hadley in David's piece there that, that this is seen as a laundry list of potential options to fix things and change the course in Iraq. I'm sure one of the items on this laundry list caught your attention. Let me read it to you. This is from Donald Rumsfeld's memo: 'Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions, cities, petroleum, etcetera. Move U.S. forces to a quick reaction force operating from within Iraq and Kuwait to be available when Iraq security forces need assistance.' How does that sound as compared to what you've been suggesting for more than a year?"
Murtha: "Exactly what I said a year ago..."
Lauer: "So without putting words into your mouth you feel that you were chided unnecessarily and wrongly and, and in some ways made the poster child for 'cut and run,' based on some assumptions you made and suggestions you made that the Secretary of Defense later came to the same conclusion, in some parts."
Murtha: "There's no question I was way ahead..."
Lauer: "Well based on the midterm elections and other things there's a lot of pressure on the White House, right now, as you know Congressman to come up with some, some new options for Iraq. And, and let me read you some of the things the President has said just in the last week or so. After his meeting with Prime Minister Maliki he said, quote, 'This business about a graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all.' He suggested on his radio address on Saturday that if Iraq fails it could become a base for al-Qaeda and terrorists to destabilize the region and plan attacks against the American people. So do you think the President, right now, sounds like someone who's about to change course in Iraq?"
[Murtha]
Lauer: "Yeah but what happens then, Congressman? You want these troops out sooner than later. You'd like them out now. What do we leave behind? What does Iraq look like, in your opinion, in six months, in a year, in five years, if we pull out now?"
[Murtha]
Lauer: "But if you have a weak government there that can't quite protect its own people doesn't it become a safe haven for, for terrorism?"...

Couric Frets 'Non-Believers May Feel
Excluded' by Spiritual Films

In the midst of an otherwise positive story Monday night about the "revival" of religiously-inspired movies, such as The Nativity Story and Facing the Giants, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric saw a dark side. She pressed Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story and Mike Rich, the film's screenwriter: "Do you worry at all that non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're so divided about so much?" As if there's a dearth of non-spiritual films for people to see. Has anyone at CBS News ever worried about how the faithful feel "excluded" and "diminished" by multiplexes playing only violent and sexually-explicit films, to say nothing of the many which include scenes ridiculing the faithful or portraying religious figures as criminals?

The CBSNews.com online version of the story has this text in place of Couric's question: "But what if you don't believe? That was Chicago Mayor Richard Daly's concern last week when he banned ads for The Nativity Story from the city's annual Christmas festival." A "Christmas" festival without the very story on which it is based!

For the CBSNews.com posting: www.cbsnews.com

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

A transcript of the last story on the December 4 CBS Evening News:

Katie Couric, after a clip of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments: "Back in the 1950s, no one needed Cecil B. DeMille to tell him the oldest stories make for great movies. Then Bible epics dried up for a few decades, but now they're back. Call it a revival. There's a new gospel according to Hollywood where the prophet speaketh. It was a Vatican first: Thousands of the faithful gathering, not for an audience with the Pope, but for a movie premiere: The Nativity Story about Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem."
Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story: "This little girl, after she saw the movie, she said 'Mary speaks!' She always thought of her as a little statue, and not a human."
Couric: "Screenwriter Mike Rich says there was a time when getting the green light for the film would have been a miracle."
Couric to Rich: "You said, that if I had come up with this concept five years ago it never would have gotten made. What's changed in your view?"
Rich: "Well, I think Passion of the Christ changed the landscape a little bit. The phenomenal success of that film, I think, it opened the door." .
Couric: "Mel Gibson's 2004 blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ, earned a staggering $1 billion in box office and DVD sales. Since then, Hollywood studios have been saying, 'lights, camera, Alleluia!'"
Stephen Feldstein, Fox Faith: "God's enjoying a renaissance in Hollywood."
Couric: "Steven Feldstein is a Vice President with a new division of 20th Century Fox called 'Fox Faith.' But he admits it's less about belief and more about the bottom line."
Feldstein: "It is a significant market. We as a studio, we're in the business of entertainment. It's not our job, or it's not our business to preach or proselytize."
Couric: "But 2,300 miles from Hollywood, at the Sherwood Baptist Church in southern Georgia, they have move the sermon to the big screen. Baptist minister Alex Kendrick directed and stars in Facing the Giants about a Christian high school football coach's struggles on and off the field."
Coach in movie: "If we win, we praise him, and if we lose, we praise him."
Couric: "It was made for $100,000 and has grossed almost $10 million."
Alex Kendrick: "There's a large part of America that shares our faith and values and that longs to see something that they can take their kids to, that they believe in."
Couric to Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story and Mike Rich, the movie's screenwriter: "Do you worry at all that non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're so divided about so much?"
Mike Rich: "I think you run that risk if you isolate yourself in your approach to either one faith or just the faith-based audience. And I think there is a place for these stories, stories about faith, inspirational stories, spirit of the heart. I think there's going to be a place for those for quite some time."
Couric: "The Nativity Story grossed $8 million over the weekend, and its creators are hoping it resonates even more as the day it depicts approaches."

Web site for The Nativity Story: www.thenativitystory.com

For Facing the Giants: www.facingthegiants.com

In Volunteerism Update, ABC's Gibson
Tags 1980s 'Me Decade'

On Monday's World News with Charles Gibson, anchor Gibson referred to the 1980s as the "Me Decade" while reading a short story about volunteerism in America. Citing an unspecified "new study" showing that volunteerism is at a 30-year high with 27 percent of Americans donating time to community service, the ABC host noted that the number was "up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s." Gibson added: "Which, you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"

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

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the December 4 World News on ABC:
Charles Gibson: "And one note about what a lot of Americans are doing with their time. They're donating it. A new study out today says volunteering is at a 30-year high. More than a quarter of all American adults now spend time doing community service, up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s, which, as you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"

Andrea Mitchell on Hillary '08: Will
Bring Back 'Good Old Days'

Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked the panel of this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show to rate Hillary Clinton's chances for the Democratic nomination. In doing so Mitchell claimed that Hillary "hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days." Mitchell also snidely put down the entire South when she wondered if they would accept a female president: "What about down South?...Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?" When the panel turned to whether Bill Clinton would be a negative or positive for Hillary, Mitchell agreed with New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, exclaiming, either way, that it would be "Great for journalism!"

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

The following are the fuller exchanges that occurred on the December 3rd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:

Andrea Mitchell: "First up, the restoration. Who is the most likely Democratic nominee for president? Any way you slice it, Hillary Clinton is the one to beat. Right now, she is a stronger candidate in a stronger position than any primary contender since Texas Governor George W. Bush cornered the Republican market in 1999. Some Democrats are getting cold feet though. She doesn't beat John McCain or Rudy Giuliani in trial heats. Hillary hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days."

...

Andrea Mitchell: "What about down South? Is there a different gender perception, the perception of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton down South? Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?"

...

Mitchell: "Cynthia, quick reality check from outside. Are people willing to accept Bill as first spouse?"
Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta-Journal Constitution: "I think that, that would be a huge change for most Americans, and again, I'm not sure we're quite ready for that yet."
Mitchell: "Okay."
Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times: "Great for journalism."
Mitchell: "Well when we come back -- great for journalism! And it's all about us."

Here Comes 2008 Bias: AP Tags Hillary
and Bayh as 'Centrists'

Here comes the 2008 presidential cycle, and on cue, Associated Press reporters are finding "centrists" in the race whose voting records are NOT a 50-50 mishmash of conservative and liberal. This cycle's "centrist" contenders are Hillary Clinton (actually strongly, staunchly liberal) and Evan Bayh (liberal most of the time.)

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

In a Monday dispatch, AP reporter Beth Fouhy stressed that Hillary Clinton won "even the most conservative areas of her adopted home state of New York," but there are drawbacks: "Despite her centrist six-year Senate voting record, Clinton's reputation remains deeply rooted in her polarizing eight years as first lady. Skeptics say she may still be too liberal for many voters, who recall her husband's scandal-plagued presidency and her own audacious effort to reform the nation's health care system." The December 4 article as posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com

AP does the same for Senator Evan Bayh in a piece posted Sunday on the Washington Post site: "The 50-year-old senator has charted a centrist's course throughout his political career, including two terms as governor and eight years in the Senate." See: www.washingtonpost.com

But the American Conservative Union's voting index doesn't match these assessments. Senator Bayh's lifetime ACU rating is 21 percent conservative, so he votes the liberal position about four of every five Senate votes they've counted. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime ACU rating of nine percent, or 91 percent liberal. In 2005, Bayh was a 20. Hillary was a 12.

ACU's ratings: newsbusters.org

Or consult Americans with Democratic Action, the liberal vote-counters. Did they find Evan and Hillary in the center? On their 2005 tally, Hillary Clinton is one of 22 "Senate Heroes" who scored a perfect 100 percent with the liberal group. Evan Bayh scored a less-than-centrist 95.

ADA's ratings: www.adaction.org

We've been here before. The Washington Post painted the same inaccurate picture in 2005: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker