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NBC Uses Car Bombing to Resurrect "Mission Accomplished" Marker --3/1/2005


1. NBC Uses Car Bombing to Resurrect "Mission Accomplished" Marker
Will they ever let it go? Some in the media can't resist using any and all setbacks in Iraq as an opportunity to mock President Bush's May 1, 2003 speech on an aircraft carrier with a "mission accomplished" sign hung behind him. Though Bush never uttered the phrase, in reporting on a car bomb which killed at least 115 in Hillah, on Monday's NBC Nightly News Peter Alexander asserted that it was "the single deadliest attack since President Bush declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq." In fact, it was the deadliest attack since the war began. As CBS's Kimberly Dozier noted, it was the "worst single act of terrorism since the fall of Saddam."

2. Gibson Hypes How White House "Responds" to Rock, But They Didn't
Misleading hype. At the top of Monday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson trumpeted "controversy" at the Academy Awards the night before as he announced that "host Chris Rock pulls no punches about President Bush and the White House responds." A half hour later, Gibson again referred to how "the White House responded" to Rock. Viewers would have expected a push back at Rock, because of his anti-Bush jokes, from the White House. But when ABC got to the story, Bill Weir revealed that the White House didn't really "respond." Weir tried to save face for Gibson, but couldn't quite pull it off: "The White House issued their own response, sort of, quote, 'The White House leaves monologues at the Oscars to Hollywood.'"

3. Matthews & Carlson Reject Notion White House Press Corps Liberal
"If we're worried about too many conservatives in the White House press briefing room, this is a discussion that's not...gonna resonate with the American public," Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard suggested to Chris Matthews on Friday's Hardball after Matthews raised the "Jeff Gannon" case. Matthews expressed astonishment: "You think it's mostly packed with liberals?" When Hayes affirmed, "yes, of course," Matthews remained astonished: "Really?" Matthews insisted "there are a lot of straight reporters in that room" and Time veteran Margaret Carlson agreed: "I think they're mostly straight reporters." Carlson insisted that though "Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times, which has a liberal editorial page," she "plays it straight down the middle." Carlson, who was unable to see any bias in the mainstream media, found it on cable news as she ridiculed FNC's slogan by mangling it: "Cable is, 'We don't report, you decide.' It's, it's all, it seems to me, skewed."

4. Hollywood Celebrities Oppose Liberal Because He's "Anti-Choice"
Hollywood versus a liberal Democrat. CNN's Judy Woodruff on Monday picked up on a New York Times story about how some Hollywood celebrities are raising money to oppose the nomination of current Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin to challenge nominal Republican Lincoln Chafee for his Senate seat in 1996. Woodruff explained that the donors, "including the wife of actor Dennis Hopper and actors Christine Lahti and Camryn Manheim, oppose Langevin because he is against abortion rights." But he's liberal on everything else.


NBC Uses Car Bombing to Resurrect "Mission
Accomplished" Marker

NBC's Peter Alexander Will they ever let it go? Some in the media can't resist using any and all setbacks in Iraq as an opportunity to mock President Bush's May 1, 2003 speech on an aircraft carrier with a "mission accomplished" sign hung behind him. Though Bush never uttered the phrase, in reporting on a car bomb which killed at least 115 in Hillah, on Monday's NBC Nightly News Peter Alexander asserted that it was "the single deadliest attack since President Bush declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq." In fact, it was the deadliest attack since the war began. As CBS's Kimberly Dozier noted, it was the "worst single act of terrorism since the fall of Saddam."

Monday's attack took place by a row of police recruits lined up for health checks.

Alexander's February 28 story also covered the capture of Saddam's half brother who is suspected of financing the insurgency. Alexander concluded his report from Baghdad:
"If the arrest of Saddam's half brother was a blow to the insurgency, it's hard to tell by the death toll in Hillah. Even though police say they have arrested several people linked to the Hillah bombing, tonight it remains the single deadliest attack since President Bush declared 'mission accomplished' in Iraq. Peter Alexander, NBC News, Baghdad."

Gibson Hypes How White House "Responds"
to Rock, But They Didn't

Charles Gibson Misleading hype. At the top of Monday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson trumpeted "controversy" at the Academy Awards the night before as he announced that "host Chris Rock pulls no punches about President Bush and the White House responds." A half hour later, Gibson again referred to how "the White House responded" to Rock. Viewers would have expected a push back at Rock, because of his anti-Bush jokes, from the White House. But when ABC got to the story, Bill Weir revealed that the White House didn't really "respond." Weir tried to save face for Gibson, but couldn't quite pull it off: "The White House issued their own response, sort of, quote, 'The White House leaves monologues at the Oscars to Hollywood.'"

The MRC's Jessica Barnes noticed that at the top of the February show, which Gibson and Diane Sawyer hosted at 4am PST from the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. Gibson teased: "And controversy. Host Chris Rock pulls no punches about President Bush and the White House responds."

Introducing the 7:30 half hour segment, Gibson hyped: "Also, one of the interesting things, I think, last night was Chris Rock, who did a real riff on the President last night and the White House responded, and we'll tell you about that in a few moments."

Bill Weir soon reviewed Rock's monologue delivered at the start of the Oscar telecast: "Rock didn't need to talk dirty to create controversy, setting his sights on the President."
Chris Rock, in his Oscar monologue: "I think Bush is a genius. You know, when Bush got into office they had a surplus of money. Now there's like a $70 trillion deficit. Now, just imagine you worked at The Gap. You're $70 trillion behind on your register and then you start a war with Banana Republic, because you say they got toxic tank tops over there. Now, a thousand Gap employees are dead, that's right, bleeding all over the khakis. You finally take over Banana Republic and you find out they never made tank tops in the first place."
Weir: "Not everyone was laughing, though. Viewers called ABC to complain and the White House issued their own response, sort of, quote, 'The White House leaves monologues at the Oscars to Hollywood.'"

For more on Rock's remarks during the Academy Awards, see the February 28 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Matthews & Carlson Reject Notion White
House Press Corps Liberal

Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes & Time's Margaret Carlson "If we're worried about too many conservatives in the White House press briefing room, this is a discussion that's not...gonna resonate with the American public," Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard suggested to Chris Matthews on Friday's Hardball after Matthews raised the "Jeff Gannon" case. Matthews expressed astonishment: "You think it's mostly packed with liberals?" When Hayes affirmed, "yes, of course," Matthews remained astonished: "Really?" Matthews insisted "there are a lot of straight reporters in that room" and Time veteran Margaret Carlson agreed: "I think they're mostly straight reporters." Carlson insisted that though "Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times, which has a liberal editorial page," she "plays it straight down the middle." Carlson, who was unable to see any bias in the mainstream media, found it on cable news as she ridiculed FNC's slogan by mangling it: "Cable is, 'We don't report, you decide.' It's, it's all, it seems to me, skewed."

As for how Bumiller plays it "straight down the middle," recall this loaded question she posed to President Bush at an April 13, 2004 news conference: "Two and a half years later, do you feel any sense of personal responsibility for September 11th?" To watch video of that, with a still shot of Bumiller, go to the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting": www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's TimesWatch.org has a bunch of articles documenting Bumiller's bias. For a list of articles from 2003 and 2004: www.timeswatch.org

For Bumiller's biased news stories from this year, as documented by TimesWatch.org, go to the TimesWatch home page and enter "Bumiller" in the search field. (Don't ask me why the archive is split into two parts without any accompanying explanation.) TimesWatch home page: www.timeswatch.org

The MRC's Geoff Dickens caught the exchange on the February 25 Hardball amongst Matthews, Hayes and Carlson. We join in progress Matthews' obsession with the Jeff Gannon story:

Matthews: "What do you think of this guy? You're a real reporter. What do you think of this guy who says he's a, he operates under a different name. He's a blogger, I guess. He, but he has always got time on his hands to sit in the White House press room all day."
Hayes: "Well, it certainly raises questions about the screening process, to say the very least. But, look, at the end of the day, if we're worried about too many conservatives in the White House press briefing room, this is a discussion that's not, that's not gonna resonate with the American public."
Matthews: "You think it's mostly packed with liberals? Are you saying most of those people who are paid to be journalists in that room are lib-labs, they're liberals?"
Hayes: "Yes, of course."
Matthews: "Really? Is that true?"
Hayes: "I don't think there's any, is there a debate about that?"
Matthews: "Well, there's Helen Thomas, who I would call liberal. But who else is in there? Seriously. There are a lot of straight reporters in that room."
Carlson: "I think they're mostly straight reporters. And I don't think you can keep your job otherwise."
Hayes: "Well, I don't think, I don't think these are people who necessarily go in and are ready to wield an ideological axe. I think that many of them are informed sort of by a conventional- wisdom, liberal world view. And their questions reflect that."
Carlson: "No. But Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times, which has a liberal editorial page. But she plays it straight down the middle."
Hayes: "Oh she does not play it straight down the middle!"
Carlson: "I think these get confused."
Hayes: "Look, she is a good reporter. She's a smart reporter. She is a liberal reporter. There's no question. You can go back and look at her columns, one after another after another of her articles."
Carlson: "She doesn't write columns."
Hayes: "Well, we can debate that. Her news articles-"
Matthews: "Do you think the New York Times and the Washington Post and the major journals like the L.A. Times are still packed with liberal writers?"
Hayes: "Yeah, I think, by and large, they are. I mean I think, I agree those-"
Carlson: "When you look at the front page of the Post or the Times, it's exactly what the White House said. You open saying, you know, the White House is pleased with Bush's trip. Well, yeah. And that's what they do. The whole front page is reporting on what the White House has dished out."
Hayes: "I don't remember the White House saying, 'we lied about WMD.' I mean, that was on the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post for months."
Carlson: "I don't think I saw the word lied-"
Hayes: "'Deliberately misled'-"
Carlson: "But, in fact, they didn't level about weapons of mass destruction. So you call it as it is."
Matthews: "The New York Times probably is more a liberal paper. I don't think the Post is anymore. And I think other papers like the Inquirer in Philadelphia are probably liberal papers. But, and by the way, I disagree with you. I think it's also in the news sections. I sense it, because I also listen-"
Carlson:: "So Elisabeth Bumiller is, is writing-"
Matthews: "No, no, no I would never single anybody out, because I don't think she is, actually, in her case."
Carlson: "Yeah, yeah."
Matthews: "But I do think that we're separated, since we've entered this discussion, which is never gonna end, cable television, with the exception of this show, is pretty conservative. I don't know where I'm at sometimes. Talk radio is pretty damn conservative. I don't know many successful liberal people out, we'll see how Franken does. But the major newspapers and the prime-time, rather, the network, broadcast network news shows, I think are balanced off by these, these new media. I think it's a fact. I don't know who's gonna win this war, but it's, you don't think it's alive out there, a battle of the media between left and right?"
Carlson: "Oh, it's totally alive."
Matthews: "I think it's a very hot fight, it's probably good for the country, unless you only watch one."
Hayes: "I went to, I went to Columbia's-"
Carlson: "But cable is, 'We don't report, you decide.' It's, it's all, it seems to me, skewed."
Hayes: "No, there's plenty of good reporting, I think, on all of the cable stations, I mean CNN, MSNBC, and Fox."
Carlson: "But at night, at night, almost everything is skewed one way or the other."
Hayes: "Sure, but at least it's labeled."
Carlson: "Right."
Hayes: "I mean, I think that's the major difference between cable and what you get on the front page of the New York Times sometimes, is that it's labeled as opinion."
Matthews: "So, right now, you think we need to have at least one clear-cut ringer in the White House press room on the right to balance off what you see-" [laughter]
Hayes: "I'm not pro-ringer. I don`t want to be known as pro-ringer."
Carlson: "Yeah who has, who has a porn Web site on the side."

The February 22 CyberAlert pointed out: If Gannon/Guckert's initial crime was to pose too-soft questions in the Bush White House, a review of the MRC's archive proves that plenty of mainstream media reporters were just as guilty during the Clinton years. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Hollywood Celebrities Oppose Liberal
Because He's "Anti-Choice"

Hollywood versus a liberal Democrat. CNN's Judy Woodruff on Monday picked up on a New York Times story about how some Hollywood celebrities are raising money to oppose the nomination of current Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin to challenge nominal Republican Lincoln Chafee for his Senate seat in 1996. Woodruff explained that the donors, "including the wife of actor Dennis Hopper and actors Christine Lahti and Camryn Manheim, oppose Langevin because he is against abortion rights." But he's liberal on everything else.

The MRC's Ken Shepherd caught this short item from Woodruff on the February 28 Inside Politics: "A group of Hollywood activists are raising money to oppose Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin who is being recruited by party leaders to run for the Senate. The New York Times reports that the donors, including the wife of actor Dennis Hopper and actors Christine Lahti and Camryn Manheim oppose Langevin because he is against abortion rights."

Christine Lahti is now starring on WB's Jack and Bobby. Manheim is best known for her role on ABC's former series, The Practice.

"Donors Oppose Senate Choice Over Abortion" read the headline over the February 28 article by David Kirkpatrick. An excerpt:

A group of wealthy Hollywood donors is raising money to fight the Democratic leadership's first choice to run for a Senate seat in Rhode Island because that candidate opposes abortion rights.

Victoria Hopper, wife of the actor Dennis Hopper, enlisted 16 actors, producers and philanthropists to sign a letter objecting to the potential candidacy of Representative Jim Langevin, who is being recruited for the 2006 race by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee....

"This is even more important than one precious Senate seat; it is a fight to protect women and families, and a fight for the core and soul of our party," Ms. Hopper wrote in the letter. "Unbelievably, some conservative D.C. Democrats have recruited Representative Jim Langevin, a radically anti-choice candidate."...

Ms. Hopper's letter included a roster of big Hollywood donors, including Chris McGurk, vice chairman of MGM; Cindy Horn, wife of Alan Horn, president of Warner Brothers; the actors Camryn Manheim, Christine Lahti, Kathy Najimy and Heather Thomas; Susie Tompkins Buell, a founder of the Esprit clothing company; and Callie Khouri, the screenwriter of "Thelma and Louise."...

END of Excerpt

For the article in full: www.nytimes.com

Langevin's Web site: www.house.gov

Langevin is hardly right of center. The American Conservative Union has assessed an 18 percent rating for him over his congressional career (he was elected in 2000), barely less liberal than his Ocean State colleague, Patrick Kennedy, whom ACU put at 12 percent. For the ACU's ratings of the delegation from Rhode Island and Providence Plantation: acuratings.com


-- Brent Baker