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NBC Uniquely Highlights Latest Medal of Honor Recipient --4/4/2008


1. NBC Uniquely Highlights Latest Medal of Honor Recipient
On Thursday evening, NBC Nightly News was again the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight a Medal of Honor recipient -- only the third given for heroic action in Iraq, and the first to a sailor in that theater -- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. Williams observed: "This nation has a new Medal of Honor recipient, though he is not alive to accept the honor. Michael Monsoor was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in Ramadi in 2006 when he absorbed the blast of a grenade to save his entire unit. His commanding officer and his sister spoke today about the him and the nation's highest military honor." Monsoor's platoon commander hailed his bravery: "He was a hero more than once and if I could cite every time he did a heroic action, he would have 35 or 50 medals to wear."

2. Stephanopoulos Spins Clinton Cayman Connection: Nothing There
On Thursday's Good Morning America, investigative reporter Brian Ross provided a refreshingly thorough look into the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton to release their tax records and to the fact that, despite Hillary Clinton's railing against how the wealthy misuse the tax code, the power couple have investments in off shore locations such as the Cayman Islands. Unsurprisingly, however, This Week host George Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton operative, appeared after the segment to perform his old duty of defending his ex-employers. As though he was back on the podium talking to the White House press corps, Stephanopoulos first acknowledged that this could be a "distraction" for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He then went into defense mode and regurgitated that the Democratic presidential candidate doesn't think this is "going to be a bombshell." Without providing any specifics, he spun: "The bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity."

3. Rivera Proclaims on FNC That He's 'Proud' to Vote for Obama
The next time another liberal complains about Fox News being conservatively biased they should be reminded that one of the network's hosts is on record as being "proud" to vote for Barack Obama. On Saturday night's Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera, during a discussion on Jeremiah Wright, made the following admission: "He is a wonderful candidate and I'd be proud to vote for him in every regard, just about."

4. ABC's Nick Watt Smears Dutch Filmmaker as a Racist
Good Morning America reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered: "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?" Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided: "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied: "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting: "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."

5. Read It Here First: FNC Picks Up Turner's 'Cannibal' Prediction
Picking up on absurd statements CNN founder Ted Turner made on Tuesday's Charlie Rose show on PBS, comments first reported late that night on the MRC's NewsBusters blog and later in CyberAlert, FNC's Bret Baier, filling in for Brit Hume, reported on Thursday's Special Report how "Turner believes that inaction on global warming will lead to cannibalism," that he "went on to ridicule the U.S. military" and that he described Iraqi insurgents who are killing Americans as "patriots." The Drudge Report on Wednesday morning linked to the NewsBusters post and Rush Limbaugh played the "cannibal" clip on his radio show later in the day.


NBC Uniquely Highlights Latest Medal
of Honor Recipient

On Thursday evening, NBC Nightly News was again the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight a Medal of Honor recipient -- only the third given for heroic action in Iraq, and the first to a sailor in that theater -- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. Williams observed: "This nation has a new Medal of Honor recipient, though he is not alive to accept the honor. Michael Monsoor was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in Ramadi in 2006 when he absorbed the blast of a grenade to save his entire unit. His commanding officer and his sister spoke today about the him and the nation's highest military honor."

Monsoor's platoon commander hailed his bravery: "He was a hero more than once and if I could cite every time he did a heroic action, he would have 35 or 50 medals to wear."

Williams reported that on April 8 President Bush will present the medal to Monsoor's family and promised "that night on this broadcast we'll have the story his life and his heroism." No doubt, the other networks will too that evening.

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

Last October, Williams and NBC were also ahead of the other networks in highlighting the previous Medal of Honor recipient. The October 17 CyberAlert item, "NBC First to Praise Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy," recounted:

The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night became the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, announced last week, to Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005. "His story is already the stuff of legend," anchor Brian Williams related before Jim Miklaszewski recounted Murphy's heroism: How during a battle with Taliban fighters "Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help." A survivor recalled that Murphy "took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again." Standing by a memorial in Brookhaven, New York, Miklaszewski explained that in addition to the memorial, "they've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man."

Miklaszewski got out of the way and allowed his story to end with two moving tributes from Murphy's parents. Dan, Michael's father, got the last word, a desire for appreciation: "While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it."

For the previous CyberAlert article in full: www.mrc.org

The short segment on the Thursday, April 3 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: This nation has a new Medal of Honor recipient, though he is not alive to accept the honor. Michael Monsoor was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in Ramadi in 2006 when he absorbed the blast of a grenade to save his entire unit. His commanding officer and his sister spoke today about the him and the nation's highest military honor.
SETH STONE, PLATOON COMMANDER: He was a hero more than once and if I could site every time he did a heroic action, he would have 35 or 50 medals to wear. Absolutely.
SARA MONSOOR, SISTER: We knew that if anything were to happen, Michael would be the first to jump in and try to fix it or solve it.
WILLIAMS: An April 8th President Bush will award the Medal of Honor to Monsoor's family and that night on this broadcast we'll have the story his life and his heroism.

For an April 1 Washington Post article, "SEAL Killed in Iraq to Get Medal of Honor," go to: www.washingtonpost.com

An Orange County Register story posted April 3 about the remarks made about Monsoor on Thursday at the U.S. Navy Liaison Office in Los Angeles. Monsoor was from Garden Grove in Orange County, California. See: www.ocregister.com

The U.S. Navy's page paying tribute to Monsoor: www.navy.mil

Stephanopoulos Spins Clinton Cayman Connection:
Nothing There

On Thursday's Good Morning America, investigative reporter Brian Ross provided a refreshingly thorough look into the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton to release their tax records and to the fact that, despite Hillary Clinton's railing against how the wealthy misuse the tax code, the power couple have investments in off shore locations such as the Cayman Islands.

Unsurprisingly, however, This Week host George Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton operative, appeared after the segment to perform his old duty of defending his ex-employers. As though he was back on the podium talking to the White House press corps, Stephanopoulos first acknowledged that this could be a "distraction" for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He then went into defense mode and regurgitated that the Democratic presidential candidate doesn't think this is "going to be a bombshell." Without providing any specifics, he spun: "The bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity." Of course, no one, certainly not Ross in his report, had mentioned charitable giving. Apparently, Stephanopoulos just felt the need to mention something positive.

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

Ross's piece was fairly hard-hitting in its analysis of the Clintons failure to release their tax records. The investigative journalist noted, "On the campaign trail, Senator Clinton has promised to end tax breaks for the rich." He then went on to describe Bill Clinton's holdings in an investment fund registered in the Cayman Islands. The political power couple, who have made over $50 million since leaving the White House, have pledged to make their tax records public in the next few weeks. According to Ross, this will "answer a lot of questions about how they made so much and whether they paid their taxes like average Americans or the like the super rich they have become."

Tax attorney Jack Blum was even more harsh. He derided Bill Clinton's association with Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle and the $20 million payout he will receive for simply advising Burkle's investment funds. According to Blum, the former commander in chief is "selling the presidency." Blum fumed: "It's also attracting rich investors who think, 'Well, I'll get close to Bill Clinton if I buy into that fund.' He's selling his charm and ability to get other people to buy in."

So, while ABC and Brian Ross should be commended for actually providing an in depth look into the Clintons and their Cayman Island holdings, (NBC and CBS have done no such investigation), no one should be surprised by Stephanopoulos's quick defense of his old boss.

(Neither Wednesday's nor Thursday's World News on ABC aired the Ross story or made any reference to the topics he explored.)

Ross, it should be pointed out, also investigated Senator Barack Obama and the controversial comments made by his former preacher, Jeremiah Wright.

A transcript of the April 3 segment, which aired at 7:11am:

7:01am tease, ROBIN ROBERTS: And it is -- Don't have to tell you. It's tax time. Everybody, even the politicians. So, the Clintons have made millions since leaving the White House, what will their tax records show? Brian Ross is here with his investigation.

7:11am, CHRIS CUOMO: Now to the race for '08. Senator Barack Obama released his tax returns months ago and has been pressing Senator Hillary Clinton to do the same. Hers would be joint returns, of course, with former President Clinton. The Clintons are expected to release them sometimes in the coming days, but is there something behind the delay? What might we see in those returns? ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross is here and he's been looking at that. Good morning, Brian.
ABC GRAPHIC: Tax Time for Clintons: What's Known About Their Millions?
BRIAN ROSS: Good morning, Chris. The delay has raised lots of questions. From reports Senator Clinton has already filed, we know she and her husband have made well over $50 million since they left the White House. But it could be a lot more. And the tax returns expected any day now will answer a lot of questions about how they made so much and whether they paid their taxes like average Americans or the like the super rich they have become. On the campaign trail, Senator Clinton has promised to end tax breaks for the rich.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: We are going to scrub down that tax code, so that the middle class gets the tax breaks, not the wealthy and well connected.
ROSS: And among the wealthy's favorite legal but controversial tax breaks, setting up investments and accounts offshore in secretive places like the Cayman Islands. And an examination of the records Clinton has filed, reveals her husband is a partner in an investment fund, Yucaipa Global Partnership, registered in the Cayman Islands.
JACK BLUM (tax attorney, Baker Hostetler): No average person has interests and funds in the Cayman Islands. This is all of the above average, non-tax paying super rich.
ROSS: The former president's Cayman Island investment is part of his dealings with a close friend, Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle. According to the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is also expected to receive a payout of around $20 million for his role as an adviser to Burkle's investment funds.
BLUM: He's selling the presidency. It's also attracting rich investors who think, well, I'll get close to Bill Clinton if I buy into that fund. He's selling his charm and ability to get other people to buy in.
ROSS: Clinton has also been paid millions as a consultant to a company run by another close friend, Indian American businessman Vinod Gupta. Shareholders in Gupta's data collection agency have complained that Gupta used company resources to ingratiate himself with Clinton and other personal friends, including the use of the company's private jet. Gupta has said it was a legitimate business expense to hire Clinton. In addition to his consultant deals, the former president made tens of millions of dollars giving speeches around the world. $150,000 for this appearance in Dubai, and as much as $450,000 for a speech in London. A new accounting by ABC News found that as of June last year, Clinton had earned $47 million in speaking fees since leaving the White House. A spokesman for the Clinton campaign says the former president and his wife pay full U.S. taxes at the ordinary income tax rate, meaning they get no special tax breaks because the Cayman investment fund off shore doesn't not give them one, they say. But with taxes, the devil is in the details and the proof of what they really pay will come when the Clintons finally make public their tax returns, sometime they say before April 15.
CUOMO: You make a good point there, Brian. We get it. They have a lot of money. But why would you have offshore accounts?
ROSS: They say it's to attract foreign investors who don't have to pay U.S. taxes, but the tax experts we talk to say whenever you go off shore, it immediately raises questions and it's been one of the issues Senator Clinton has raised during the campaign. So, these tax returns will raise a lot of questions that reign very large right now.

7:14am, ROBIN ROBERTS: Now for the bottom line, we turn to host of ABC's chief Washington correspondent and host of This Week George Stephanopoulos. And let's pick it up here, George. Tax time and with the delay from the Clintons with their tax return, is there a concern within her campaign about this impending release?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Robin, I think they know it's going to be a distraction. People are going to be really interested in how President Clinton and Senator Clinton made all this money, what they did with it, how much they gave to charity. But I think they also believe this is not going to be a bombshell, that the bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity.

Rivera Proclaims on FNC That He's 'Proud'
to Vote for Obama

The next time another liberal complains about Fox News being conservatively biased they should be reminded that one of the network's hosts is on record as being "proud" to vote for Barack Obama. On Saturday night's Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera, during a discussion on Jeremiah Wright, made the following admission: "He is a wonderful candidate and I'd be proud to vote for him in every regard, just about."

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

The following is the full statement from Rivera as it aired on the March 29 edition of Geraldo At Large:

GERALDO RIVERA: Here's what I think is, is the problem. I don't think that, that this is past Senator Barack Obama. Although he is a, you know, he's a very, he's everything that he is. He is a wonderful candidate and I'd be proud to vote for him in every regard, just about. I think he's, he's a terrific guy.
But I have no doubt, in my mind, having lived through the David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani bare-knuckled campaign for the mayor of New York, that certain people and there's a big "silent majority," they used to call them during Reagan's era, out there are going to remember this, I'm talking about white people basically, they are gonna go into the secrecy of that polling place. They're gonna remember Reverend Wright, they are going to be affected in a negative way. And I think that it will make Barack Obama's success in the campaign for the White House extremely difficult.
I think that he is the odd's on favorite to get the nomination. But to win the general election now, in the face of this, where race is so much at play, I think he's in a very, very tough spot.

ABC's Nick Watt Smears Dutch Filmmaker
as a Racist

Good Morning America reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered: "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?"

Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided: "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied: "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting: "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."

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

A transcript of the March 29 segment:

KATE SNOW's TEASE: Also this morning we'll tell you about a controversial new film, it criticizes the Koran. A Dutch director attacking Islam's holiest book and says Muslims should change their ideology. The film has ignited real protests around the world. So, is this hate speech or free speech? We'll talk to the filmmaker himself.

SNOW: David, now to the furor over a film. Earlier this month there were protests in Pakistan and Europe in anticipation off a film that criticizes the Koran, Islam's holiest book. The director defends his short movie and spoke to ABC's Nick Watt at the Hague.
ABC GRAPHIC: FANNING THE FLAMES: FILMMAKER DEFENDS ANTI-ISLAM MOVIE
NICK WATT : The 17-minute movie shows terrorist attacks and quotes lines from the Koran. 'Where ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks and fight them until there is no dissension.'
GEERT WILDERS (FILMMAKER): The Koran is not an old book somewhere in the shelves where nobody is looking at it. But, this is indeed often the base of a lot terrible things happening throughout the world.
WATT: Wilders wants Holland to ban all Muslim immigration and he wants Muslims to change their ideology, which he likens to Nazism.
WILDERS: I believe that our culture is far better than the Islamic culture.
WATT: What do you mean, better?
WILDERS: Well, we have a separation of church and state. We treat women equally.
WATT: Last night, the website hosting Wilders' movie took it down. They explained, following serious threats to our staff. In Holland and across Europe there is anger. Many Muslims do feel insulted, but so far no violence. There have been demonstrations in Pakistan and elsewhere. Anticipating trouble, the Dutch prime minister condemned the movie.
JAN PETER BALKENENDE (DUTCH PRIME MINISTER): We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offense.
WATT: This is what happened when a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in 2005, violent protests around the world, more than 100 people were killed.
ABDOU BOUZERDA (ARAB EUROPEAN LEAGUE): I think that this political message is even worse than the cartoons, which were drawn in Denmark.
WATT: You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?
WILDERS: No, I'm nothing. Once again, I am not a racist because I have nothing against any race.
WATT: For now, Dutch Muslim leaders are urging debate and restraint. And if things turn nasty-
WILDERS: If unfortunately it would happen, of course the people who use this violence and use this non-democratic means can be the only ones held responsible.
WATT: Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames. For Good Morning America, Nick Watt, ABC News, the Hague.

Read It Here First: FNC Picks Up Turner's
'Cannibal' Prediction

Picking up on absurd statements CNN founder Ted Turner made on Tuesday's Charlie Rose show on PBS, comments first reported late that night on the MRC's NewsBusters blog and later in CyberAlert, FNC's Bret Baier, filling in for Brit Hume, reported on Thursday's Special Report how "Turner believes that inaction on global warming will lead to cannibalism," that he "went on to ridicule the U.S. military" and that he described Iraqi insurgents who are killing Americans as "patriots."

The Drudge Report on Wednesday morning linked to the NewsBusters post and Rush Limbaugh played the "cannibal" clip on his radio show later in the day.

[This item will be posted later this morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The April 2 CyberAlert posting (with video and audio), "Turner: Iraqi Insurgents 'Patriots,' Warming Inaction: Cannibalism," recounted:

Interviewed Tuesday for Charlie Rose's PBS show, CNN founder Ted Turner argued that inaction on global warming "will be catastrophic" and those who don't die "will be cannibals." He also applied moral equivalence in describing Iraqi insurgents as "patriots" who simply "don't like us because we've invaded their country" and so "if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing." On not taking drastic action to correct global warming: "Not doing it will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hotter in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals."

Turner ridiculed the need for a big U.S. military, insisting "China just wants to sell us shoes. They're not building landing craft to attack the United States," and "even with our $500 billion military budget, we can't win in Iraq. We're being beaten by insurgents who don't even have any tanks." After Rose pointed out the Iraqi insurgents "have a lot of roadside bombs that kill a lot of Americans" and wondered "where do you think they come from?", Turner answered: "I think that they're patriots and that they don't like us because we've invaded their country and occupied it. I think if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing: we'd be bombing them too. Nobody wants to be invaded."

For the full quotes and a video clip: www.mrc.org

Baier's item in full on the Thursday, April 3 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC:

If you thought some people are concerned about climate change -- CNN's founder Ted Turner believes that inaction on global warming will lead to cannibalism. Interviewed earlier this week on PBS, Turner said that in 30 or 40 years quote, "none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals."

Changing topics, Turner then went on to ridicule the U.S. military saying: "Even with our 500 billion dollar military budget, we can't win in Iraq. We're being beaten by insurgents who don't even have any tanks." Interviewer Charlie Rose then asked Turner what he thought about insurgents using roadside bombs. Turner replied, quote: "I think they're patriots and that they don't like us because we've invaded their country and occupied it."

Though FNC's screen text listed the date as March 31, Turner appeared on the April 1 edition of Rose's show.

-- Brent Baker