NBC/MSNBC Team Up to Repress Anti-Kerry Ad, Fret Over "Loophole" --8/9/2004
2. Time Warner CEO: CNN Not Liberal, Bias for "Revealing the Truth"
3. Reporters: Journalist Crowd Cool to Bush, Enthusiastic for Kerry
NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Friday night denounced the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, treating the group's expression of free speech as a "loophole" in campaign finance law that must be plugged. Unencumbered by any restrictions on their free speech, NBC's Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann launched their own independent attack on the Vietnam vets who are detractors of John Kerry in order to discredit those with a viewpoint NBC/MSNBC apparently wants to keep hidden from the American people. "They may get away with it," Mitchell fretted. Approaching lunacy, Olbermann warned that an upcoming book from a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth leader is "from Regnery Press, which is supported in some way by Richard Mellon Scaife of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and you now bring in the whole mystical right-wing conspiracy jazz."
So, in Olbermann's bizarro world, anything conservative is somehow tainted by a connection to Scaife, the evil puppet-master, even a book publisher like Regnery which is a division of a private company, Eagle Publishing, and so doesn't get donations from anyone -- though maybe Scaife has gone to a book store and purchased a few of their books over the years.
Keep in mind: Neither NBC Nightly News nor MSNBC's Countdown, which have both frequently relayed scenes of Kerry and his Vietnam vet supporters, covered the May 4 press conference by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. As they did on Thursday night, on Friday night both CNN's NewsNight and ABC's World News Tonight ignored the ads and so since both those shows also skipped the May 4 press conference, their viewers have yet to learn there even are Vietnam veterans who served with Kerry who don't think he's fit to be President. Back on July 29, the night of Kerry's convention speech, ABC's Peter Jennings introduced a taped interview with Kerry by noting how "Kerry's campaign certainly believes that his service in Vietnam is a huge asset in this campaign." Jennings, however, observed that "there are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership" and, Jennings promised, "we'll hear from them in the weeks ahead." We're still waiting.
Maybe if the networks had covered the fact that a significant number of those who knew Kerry in Vietnam don't trust him or support him, the vets wouldn't have had to have resorted to buying TV time to get an airing for their views. See the end of this item for a list of previous CyberAlert items which documented how the networks have ignored or smeared the Kerry detractors while championing his "band of brothers" from Vietnam.
Tom Brokaw announced Friday night that "a harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole."
Mitchell's story failed to air any of the audio from the ad, but she ominously reminded viewers that "some of the same players organized anonymous attack ads against John McCain four years ago, when he was running against George Bush." Mitchell lamented how "at a campaign picnic today, the President refused to disavow it."
Mitchell popped up 90 minutes later on MSNBC's Countdown where Keith Olbermann led with how the Boston Globe reported that one of the 13 men in the ad had recanted -- though the man, George Elliott, Kerry's commander in Vietnam, maintained the Globe misquoted him and that he stands by the ad his claim that Kerry did not earn his Silver Star -- as if the other 12 men in the ad don't count. "None of the men actually served on either of Kerry's swift boats," Olbermann stressed in a point repeated by Mitchell, but neither explained that those in the ad were officer colleagues of Kerry's who commanded other swift boats based with Kerry's boat, so were hardly unfamiliar with him. In fact, to try to discredit Elliott, Olbermann read from a 1969 fitness report Elliott wrote on Kerry.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has an interesting Web page with a photo from Vietnam of Kerry posing with 19 of his officer colleagues. Put your curser over it and all but Kerry and one of the men disappear. The two are the only ones of the 19 who are supporting Kerry. Go to: www.swiftvets.com
Mitchell took sides: Friday morning on the Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed, Mitchell declared as beyond dispute that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad "is grossly distorting the record, according to anybody who knows anything about Kerry's record."
Olbermann on Friday night at least figured out the group's name, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, after he repeatedly mis-identified it on Thursday night, as recounted in the August 6 CyberAlert: Olbermann repeatedly, and one must assume deliberately, misstated the name of the group behind the ads, calling it not "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," but three times referring to "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush." Olbermann lamented: "The ads of campaign 2004 just stepped up to a new level today -- or down to one -- with the release of an anti-John Kerry commercial that immediately brought the condemnation not merely of the Kerry campaign, but also of Republican Senator John McCain, and even generally and at a distance, the White House. Our fifth story on the Countdown, Swift Boat Veterans for Bush..." See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Tom Brokaw teased: "Up next, NBC News 'In Depth' tonight: The latest campaign ad from an independent political group. Harsh attacks. Are these ads totally out of control?"
Brokaw set up the story which treated the method and not the facts as the story: "NBC News 'In Depth' Tonight: A harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole."
Mitchell began, over video of Kerry on the Democratic convention platform with Vietnam buddies: "It's a central image of John Kerry's campaign, the candidate literally wrapping his arms around his Vietnam crew mates. [video, but not sound, of ad as Mitchell talked] But now Republicans are challenging Kerry's war record with a TV ad featuring other Vietnam veterans, none of whom served on Kerry's boat, claiming Kerry did not earn his medals. The ad is paid for by Bush contributors using a loophole in the McCain-Feingold law. The groups' adviser."
Funny how those anti-Bush ads never generated such media angst.
Olbermann introduced his lead item, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Good evening. First, he said in a commercial that John Kerry was a liar about what happened in Vietnam. Then he told a newspaper that he made a, quote, 'terrible mistake,' saying that. Now his wife says he supports the commercial after all. You might want to get a pencil and paper and write all this down. Our fifth story on the Countdown, swifter than the swiftest of their swift boats, the story of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has changed twice already today, and there's plenty of time for it to change yet again. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott is one of 13 Vietnam veterans heard in the TV commercial, which began running in three key states yesterday. None of the men actually served on either of Kerry's swift boats. Most of their comments were generally critical, but not Elliott's."
Olbermann to Mitchell: "Andrea, if you want an opinion about Lieutenant John Kerry, ask Lieutenant Commander George Elliott. He seems to have expressed all of them now."
Check the Web site of Eagle Publishing to see if you can find Scaife's fingerprints: www.eaglepub.com
The home page for Regnery Publishing, which as of August 7 doesn't even mention the O'Neill book: www.regnery.com
For the August 6 Boston Globe story, "Veteran retracts criticism of Kerry," see: www.boston.com
That's online at: humaneventsonline.com.edgesuite.net
Saturday's Boston Globe followed up with a story headlined: "Veteran claims misquote on Kerry; Globe stands by its story." www.boston.com
-- August 6 CyberAlert. CBS, CNN and MSNBC on Thursday night decried a new anti-Kerry TV ad produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. CBS anchor John Roberts stressed criticism of it: "A harsh new television ad that attacks John Kerry is being denounced as quote, 'dishonest and dishonorable' by a Bush supporter, Republican Senator John McCain." (Just last week on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trumpeted "John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission.") CNN's NewsNight didn't inform viewers of the views of the veterans in the ad, just as the show on May 4 ignored, along with ABC and NBC, the press conference held by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But NewsNight, and ABC, had time on Thursday night for how John Kerry mocked President Bush for the seven minutes in the Florida classroom highlighted by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann repeatedly mis-identified the group as "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush." See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- July 29 PM convention edition. In a glowing profile, Byron Pitts showed Kerry as an anti-Vietnam war protester in 1971 dramatically asking Senators, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," but he gave no hint how Kerry alienated a great many Vietnam veterans by making unfounded charges of war crimes. CBS's entirely positive review of Kerry's life ended with some of the Kerry campaign's preferred "Band of Brothers" imagery:
-- May 5 CyberAlert. CBS on Tuesday night tried to discredit some Vietnam veterans critical of John Kerry by impugning them as partisan activists tied to the Bush campaign, though the only link seems to be a public relations firm involved in the 2000 campaign, and tarring all of them with the supposed dirty work for Richard Nixon of one. Very McCarthyistic. FNC's Carl Cameron, however, managed to avoid innuendo as he undermined the credibility of specific vets by showing how in the past they had praised Kerry. CBS's Byron Pitts went back to 1971 as he recalled how John O'Neill, who debated Kerry about Vietnam on ABC's Dick Cavett Show, "was handpicked by the Nixon administration to discredit Kerry." Pitts added, without any explanation, that "the press conference was set up by the same people who," in 2000, "tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service." Then Pitts connected the anti-Kerry veterans to a presumed nefarious "strategy" they had nothing to do with implementing: "It's the same strategy used to go after Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam." See: www.mediaresearch.org
CNN is dedicated to "revealing the truth," and you just think that's liberal bias. During a Friday session at the UNITY: Journalists of Color conference in Washington, DC, Richard Parsons, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, ridiculed the Fox News Channel as a place where "crazy people exchange views" and contended that CNN "is viewed as liberal" because journalists "tend to want to look under the covers and reveal the things that the establishment doesn't want to be revealed, and so they get put in the category of being liberal for that reason." Plus, the "bias towards both discovery and revealing the truth that is inherent in journalism comes through in CNN, and they get characterized as being a liberal network."
The DrudgeReport.com on Friday highlighted a Broadcasting&Cable magazine posting about Parsons' comments at the forum, but on Friday night the MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down in full the relevant Parsons remarks as shown by C-SPAN.
UNITY: Journalists of Color, is an every-fifth-year combined convention made up of four groups of journalists: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. Its home page: www.unityjournalists.org
In the August 6 session, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos elicited Parsons' views. One of his questions: "Many people have the perception that CNN is a liberal network and Fox News is a conservative one. First, why is CNN losing the [ratings] battle with Fox News?"
For a picture and bio of Parsons: www.timewarner.com
How John Kerry was enthusiastically greeted by those at the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention while President George W. Bush received a much more tepid reception, was noted by several major news outlets, including USA Today, CNN and the Washington Post.
Kerry spoke before the group on Thursday at the Washington, DC Convention Center and Bush appeared on Friday, but they sure weren't treated the same by the audience of those attending the every-fifth-year conference which brings together the Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.
Their Web page makes clear they have an agenda, with these two lines up top:
"Democrat's speech draws hearty cheers at journalists' convention," announced an August 6 USA Today headline.
On CNN's Inside Politics on Friday, anchor Candy Crowley noted that "Senator Kerry's appearance on Thursday was greeted with enthusiastic applause. The audience also applauded many of his answers. The President's reception this morning was polite but noticeably cooler."
Later, on CNN's Friday night Paula Zahn Now, fill-in host Heidi Collins asserted that Bush "was addressing a very unfriendly crowd." CNN reporter Maria Hinojosa, who attended the convention, conceded that Bush received "oftentimes aggressive questioning from reporters of color," that the applause "was kind of tepid for President George W. Bush" and that "there was clearly more cheering for the Democrat." Hinojosa recalled: "I can tell you that for me, when Senator Kerry walked into the room yesterday, just as he walked in, to see, I don't know, probably half of the room stand up and applaud, for me as a journalist, was uncomfortable."
In Saturday's Washington Post, reporter Amy Goldstein related how "the journalists' reaction to Bush was tepid compared with their enthusiastic reception for Kerry, who spoke at the same convention Thursday. Breaking with journalists' custom of neutrality, the audience gave Kerry a standing ovation even before he began speaking and interrupted his remarks with applause nearly 50 times."
That "custom" has become quaint.
Fuller presentations of the quotes above:
-- An excerpt from the May 6 USA Today article by Mark Memmott, brought to my attention by the MRC's Rich Noyes:
....Sen. John Kerry got an enthusiastic response Thursday from delegates to the Unity 2004 convention for minority journalists.
There was applause nearly 50 times during his address. There was laughter when he took a shot at the Bush administration by noting that "just saying there are weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq) doesn't make it so." He got a standing ovation at the end.
President Bush speaks to the conference today. "I expect there will be much less cheering," said Brian Tong, a Brisbane, Calif., TV host, though he and others interviewed said Bush would get a respectful reception....
The crowd's reaction made some Unity delegates uncomfortable. "It was a little awkward for me," said Akilah Johnson, a "night cops" reporter at the Sun-Sentinel in Delray Beach, Fla. "I guess a lot of people were acting like citizens, not reporters."...
END of Excerpt
For the USA Today item in full: www.usatoday.com
-- CNN's Inside Politics, May 6. Fill-in anchor Candy Crowley: "Also, in the name of minority outreach, both Senator Kerry and President Bush spoke to a convention of minority journalists this week in Washington. Senator Kerry's appearance on Thursday was greeted with enthusiastic applause. The audience also applauded many of his answers. The President's reception this morning was polite but noticeably cooler. The journalists applauded harder for the questions and questioners than they did for many of the President's answers. He did make some news, though, telling a questioner that colleges should abandon legacy admissions and admit students on merit. George W. Bush followed his father to Yale and acknowledged today quote, 'I had to knock on a lot of doors to follow the old man's footsteps.'"
In a subsequent story, Jill Dougherty noted: "President Bush began the day in Washington, D.C., at the Unity Conference, bringing together minority journalists. It was the same venue that Senator John Kerry spoke at yesterday. The reception with Kerry, a bit more positive, a bit more warm, today, more standoffish. In fact, there was even one heckler for the President."
-- CNN's Paula Zahn Now, May 6, with Heidi Collins as host. In a taped piece, Maria Hinojosa boasted that "President Bush addressed the crowd Friday morning. He faced unusual and oftentimes aggressive questioning from reporters of color, who are rarely seen in the White House pool."
Collins brought aboard Hinojosa and Roland Martin, a columnist who as a panelist had pressed Bush about how blacks were supposedly disenfranchised in Florida. Collins went first to Hinojosa: "Maria, I want to begin with you, if I could. It looks like from what we saw on TV and what I watched this morning, the President was addressing a very unfriendly crowd."
For a bio and picture of Collins: www.cnn.com
For a bio and picture of Hinojosa: www.cnn.com
For a bio and picture of Crowley: www.cnn.com
-- Excerpt from an August 7 Washington Post news story by Amy Goldstein, which was mostly about Bush's comments at the convention, about affirmative action, and his visit to New Hampshire:
The journalists' reaction to Bush was tepid compared with their enthusiastic reception for Kerry, who spoke at the same convention Thursday. Breaking with journalists' custom of neutrality, the audience gave Kerry a standing ovation even before he began speaking and interrupted his remarks with applause nearly 50 times.
In contrast, Bush drew a smattering of polite applause and a standing ovation at the end of his appearance. At one point, his speech was interrupted by a heckler who cried out "Shame on you for lying to the media, misleading the public" before being evicted from the room.
Ernest Sotomayer, a Newsday Web journalist who is president of Unity '04, echoed the views of many audience members when he said of Bush, "I wish he would have been able to give us much more detail on things like affirmative action and commitments to get more [minority] hiring in the media industry."
Kerry drew loud applause Thursday when he said the government should take steps to ensure that every vote is counted in the November elections because more than 1 million African Americans had been disenfranchised in 2000 "in one of the most tainted elections in history."
END of Excerpt
For the August 7 Post article in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Media Diversity Test [for] the multi-cultural masses at UNITY. Test-takers get five points for every statement they mark "YES."
1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life.
2. I think my taxes are too high.
3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment.
4. I voted for President Bush in 2000.
5. I am a gun owner.
6. I support school voucher programs.
7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools.
8. I oppose bilingual education.
9. I oppose gay marriage.
10. I want Social Security privatized.
11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense.
12. I shop at Wal-Mart.
13. I enjoy talk radio.
14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien."
15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive.
16. I eat meat.
17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.
18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured.
19. I cry when I hear "Proud To Be an American" by Lee Greenwood.
20. I don't believe The New York Times.
I'm sure a large number of my culturally and ideologically diverse readers would earn a perfect score, as I did. What is the average score among UNITY attendees? Take the test, my fellow journalists of "diversity," and show us your true colors.
END of Excerpt
For Malkin's column in full: www.townhall.com
-- Brent Baker