Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Wednesday, 9:30pm ET/PT

NBC's Engel with Troops: 'All Told Me It's Time to End This War' --2/12/2007


1. NBC's Engel with Troops: 'All Told Me It's Time to End This War'
Making up for advancing the view that soldiers in Iraq are upset by anti-war opponents at home? Exactly two weeks after the NBC Nightly News featured a report from Richard Engel about how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war," Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a dispatch from Engel which showcased soldiers who want the war to end. Engel ran just one soundbite, from a Staff Sergeant with the First Infantry Division, who declared: "It is pretty much almost a lost cause. I mean, nothing it seems we do is doing any good. Every country goes through a civil war. So, I mean, maybe it'd be better for them to have a civil war and hash it out and then try to help them after that." Engel added about the unit he had traveled with which narrowly escaped an IED explosion: "They all told me it's time to end this war. And, Brian [Williams], the soldiers also asked why it seems from here there are no plans to end the war, just discussions of battle tactics?"

2. Lott Scolds Media on GOP 'Blocking' Iraq Resolutions: 'Incorrect'
When, on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asserted that after the Senate debate over resolutions on Iraq "came to a halt, every newspaper in the country that I know about had a headline on the front page that said 'Republicans block debate on Iraq war,'" Republican Senator Trent Lott corrected Schieffer and all the other misguided journalists: "That was totally incorrect." A befuddled Schieffer asked about the spin which dominated the media early in the week: "How can all of them have been wrong?" Lott explained: "Because we didn't block debate. Actually, the vote was to continue debate." Indeed, Senate Republican wanted to allow votes on several proposed resolutions while the Democratic leadership wanted debate limited to two resolutions.

3. CBS: Gore/Branson 'Dynamic Duo,' Smith Asks: 'Is Gore a Prophet?'
To trumpet Al Gore's latest global warming partnership with Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson who is offering a $25 million reward to a scientist who can determine how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, CBS sent Early Show host Harry Smith all the way to London to conduct an "exclusive" interview with whom an on-screen graphic, promoting the upcoming segment, touted as the "Dynamic Duo." CBS put "Saving the Planet" on screen throughout the subsequent taped interview session, aired Friday, during which Smith championed Gore to Branson: "You've only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?" Smith also seemingly urged Gore to run for President: "Would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House as opposed to doing it in a sort of 'Johnny Appleseed' way?"


NBC's Engel with Troops: 'All Told Me
It's Time to End This War'

Making up for advancing the view that soldiers in Iraq are upset by anti-war opponents at home? Exactly two weeks after the NBC Nightly News featured a report from Richard Engel about how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war," Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a dispatch from Engel which showcased soldiers who want the war to end. Engel ran just one soundbite, from a Staff Sergeant with the First Infantry Division, who declared: "It is pretty much almost a lost cause. I mean, nothing it seems we do is doing any good. Every country goes through a civil war. So, I mean, maybe it'd be better for them to have a civil war and hash it out and then try to help them after that." Engel added about the unit he had traveled with which narrowly escaped an IED explosion: "They all told me it's time to end this war. And, Brian [Williams], the soldiers also asked why it seems from here there are no plans to end the war, just discussions of battle tactics?"

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

The January 29 CyberAlert, "NBC Relays Frustrations of Soldiers Disturbed by War Opposition," recounted:

[The January 26] NBC Nightly News gave rare voice to soldiers in Iraq disturbed by criticism of the war back home. Embedded with the Army's Stryker Brigade's Apache Company (the Fort Lewis, Washington-based 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment) in Hurriya, Richard Engel relayed how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war. Many take it personally, believing it is also criticism of what they've been


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

fighting for. Twenty-one-year-old Specialist Tyler Johnson is on his first tour in Iraq. He thinks skeptics should come over and see what it's like firsthand before criticizing." Johnson asserted: "You may support or say we support the troops, but, so you're not supporting what they do, what they're here sweating for, what we bleed for, what we die for. It just don't make sense to me."

Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun directly took on the spin of war critics, complaining that "one thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way." Engel soon powerfully concluded: "Apache Company has lost two soldiers, and now worries their country may be abandoning the mission they died for."

For the January 29 CyberAlert, with video of Engel's story: www.mrc.org

After the January 26 report aired, an outraged Williams Arkin, a military analyst for NBC News, posted an angry screed on his daily WashingtonPost.com blog in which he scolded the soldiers for daring to be critical of Americans back home:

....I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people....

These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President's handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.

Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order....

We pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?"...

END of Excerpt

For a more extensive excerpt from Arkin's January 30 rant, check the February 2 MRC CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

The segment on the February 9 NBC Nightly News:

Brian Williams: "We have an unusual and unexpected firsthand look tonight at just how dangerous it is on the ground in Iraq. Our veteran correspondent Richard Engel was embedded today with the U.S. First Infantry Division in a Sunni neighborhood called Adel in western Baghdad. It was billed as a routine patrol, part of this new security crackdown. What you're about to see, as Richard now reports for us, is what passes for routine in Iraq these days."

Richard Engel: "Our patrol was headed to a mosque, just a routine mission to monitor the Friday sermon. But as the convoy passed a trash dump -- soldiers call it the death field because of all the bodies they find here -- an IED exploded. It was detonated by remote control. We got lucky. It was badly timed and exploded just ten feet away. I was taping with a small camera."
Engel to his camera: "Inside here it still smells like gun powder. Luckily we were able to drive through it and no one in this convoy was injured. But we're still assessing, checking if there are any other bombs in the area."
Engel, back to narrating: "The soldiers call this 'gettin' blown up.'"
Copley: "It gets the adrenaline going a little bit, don't it?"
Engel, in the Humvee, responding: "I certainly does."
Engel: "It's the second time in less than two weeks for Staff Sergeant Chris Copley."
Voice: "How you feeling?"
Copley: "A little shook up, but I'm good."
Engel: "But back at the patrol base, Copley and others wondered what are they doing out here?"
Copley: "It is pretty much almost a lost cause. I mean, nothing it seems we do is doing any good. Every country goes through a civil war. So, I mean, maybe it'd be better for them to have a civil war and hash it out and then try to help them after that."
Engel: "The soldiers eventually decided to monitor the sermon from a rooftop. They all told me it's time to end this war. And, Brian, the soldiers also asked why it seems from here there are no plans to end the war, just discussions of battle tactics. Brian?"
Williams: "And Richard, their attitude as usual is unbelievable towards all this violence. You again today got very lucky as you said. Got very fortunate. Do they at least feel as well equipped as they possibly could be against this threat, this IED threat that's been around a long time, but is getting more specific?"
Engel: "Certainly. The vehicles they travel in are much more protected than the ones used early in the war. Had this been one of the earlier modeled up-armored Humvees, there probably would have been casualties. There were no casualties in this attack today. Still, these Humvees are not impenetrable. Earlier in the week, some of the soldiers I was embedded with were hit by a larger IED. That IED tore the door off the Humvee and the soldier inside had to have both of his legs amputated."

What are the chances Arkin will denounce Copley?

Lott Scolds Media on GOP 'Blocking' Iraq
Resolutions: 'Incorrect'

When, on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asserted that after the Senate debate over resolutions on Iraq "came to a halt, every newspaper in the country that I know about had a headline on the front page that said 'Republicans block debate on Iraq war,'" Republican Senator Trent Lott corrected Schieffer and all the other misguided journalists: "That was totally incorrect." A befuddled Schieffer asked about the spin which dominated the media early in the week: "How can all of them have been wrong?" Lott explained: "Because we didn't block debate. Actually, the vote was to continue debate." Indeed, Senate Republican wanted to allow votes on several proposed resolutions while the Democratic leadership wanted debate limited to two resolutions.

Schieffer himself endorsed the spin unfavorable to Republicans. On Wednesday's Early Show, Schieffer castigated Republicans: "So they did the only thing that they could do, they used the Senate rules to block the vote. Now that group will give you another version of all this, but basically that's what happened." For more, check the February 8 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

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

The Wednesday, February 7 MRC CyberAlert recounted: FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night scolded the mainstream media for framing their coverage, of the Senate battle over Iraq resolutions, around a spin favorable to Democrats. Citing headlines, such "GOP blocks a debate over Iraq policy" in the New York Times, Hume countered: "In fact, of course, both sides were trying to have the debate on terms most favorable to their party, but in this case as it happened, the Republicans were actually seeking a broader debate with more resolutions considered while the Democrats wanted to address just those that seemed most likely to come out their way." See: www.mrc.org

On the February 11 Face the Nation, guest questioner John Harris of The Politico, raised with Lott the public's frustration with the "debate about the debate" in the Senate over resolutions on Iraq policy. This exchange ensued:

Senator Trent Lott: "We want a debate, not a mandate. And I've been in the position as Majority Leader, where you have to decide how do you proceed, and I've learned the hard way you proceed by letting both sides have their say -- a full debate -- and offer different resolutions. You can't cut off the minority from offering one or more amendments. Senator McConnell, I thought, really worked aggressively to try to get this debate going forward. We had at least four or five resolutions that we would liked to have offered on our side. He agreed to cut it down to two, and then we were dictated to as to what that was going to be. But here, here's the point. That is inside Senate baseball. Should we have a full debate? Yes, we're ready to go forward."
Bob Schieffer: "Well, then why don't you have it, Senator? Because you can call it [over Lott] wait, let me just ask this question. You can call it inside baseball, but after that debate came to a halt, every newspaper in the country that I know about had a headline on the front page that said 'Republicans block debate on Iraq war.' Now, that can't a good thing for you."
Lott: "And that was totally incorrect. I don't know that I've ever-"
Schieffer: "How can all of them have been wrong?"
Lott: "Because we didn't block debate. Actually, the vote was to continue debate. Fifty-two United States senators in the United States in the last week talked and debated about the issue. But here's the point-"
Schieffer: "And in the end, did nothing."
Lott: "Well, you know, the Senate's been in session six weeks, we voted on two major bills, not one of them has gone to the President for a signature. One of the lessons that should have come out of last year's elections was the American people want action. They want us to step up and act on these issues, and yet we haven't produced one solid result yet. But here, I want to go back to the substance. All we were asking was that we have an opportunity to have an open debate, offer more than one resolution, but at least have a vote on whether or not we support funds for the troops that are in Iraq. Isn't that an important part of the debate? That's all it was really about. And we were told, 'No, no, no. We don't want you to have a vote on we support funds for the troops in the field,' because that would have been the top voting issue, and they -- the Democrats did not want that. I believe the American people want us to support our troops with the funds when they are doing a mission, even if you don't agree with the details of the mission. That was the crux of the debate. You can argue about the debate over the debate, but the substance really did matter. And we're going to have that debate. We're ready to go forward now. But we're not going to be dictated to that you can't have a vote on an issue as critical as providing funds for the troops...."

CBS: Gore/Branson 'Dynamic Duo,' Smith
Asks: 'Is Gore a Prophet?'

To trumpet Al Gore's latest global warming partnership with Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson who is offering a $25 million reward to a scientist who can determine how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, CBS sent Early Show host Harry Smith all the way to London to conduct an "exclusive" interview with whom an on-screen graphic, promoting the upcoming segment, touted as the "Dynamic Duo." CBS put "Saving the Planet" on screen throughout the subsequent taped interview session, aired Friday, during which Smith championed Gore to Branson: "You've only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?" Smith also seemingly urged Gore to run for President: "Would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House as opposed to doing it in a sort of 'Johnny Appleseed' way?"

[This item is adopted from a Friday posting by Michael Rule on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Smith lamented that the reward idea sounded like the men were giving up on the idea of conservation and reducing emissions:
"But, you know what, when you hear about somebody going up and figuring out some sort of contraption to get the, the, the bad stuff out of the air, it sounds like well, we've given up on the other end. We've reached a tipping point; we might as well be farming the stuff out of the air because nobody's going to stop driving their SUVs."

Branson responded that the political will was lacking in countries, particularly America, to encourage people to use less carbon. Smith soon questioned the intelligence of the American people: "There was an important conference in Paris just last week. Scientists came up with an idea that, because of global warming, and we feel like it's basically caused by human beings and 90 percent sure it's because of emissions. Do you think people in the United States understand that?"

After Gore remarked that American public opinion is shifting, Smith turned to Branson and, seemingly attempting to elevate Al Gore to sainthood, inquired: "You've only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?"

Branson expressed his admiration for Gore and asserted that outside the United States "he is perceived as a prophet, spelled in the right way," as opposed to "profit." Yet, Smith still doubted that Gore was going about spreading his message the right way, and that Gore should, perhaps, run for President: "Is this the right way to get your message across though? Because the question was asked in the press conference today, would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House as opposed to doing it in a sort of 'Johnny Appleseed' way, the way you're doing it now."

A transcript of the February 9 segment:

Harry Smith: "Former Vice President Al Gore and Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson are on their own very high powered, high profile people. So, put them together and you've quite a political PR machine. The two men announced here in London today that they are teaming up to save the planet, offering a $25 million prize to fight global warming. I spoke exclusively with Gore and Branson this morning and asked them why this prize and why now?"
Richard Branson, Virgin Group, Chairman: "Well, there is an awful lot of carbon in the earth's atmosphere already. And there are some people who say we've already got too much; we've already gone beyond the tipping point. But, whether or not that's the case or not, what we want to try to do is get every young mind, every scientist, and everybody to try to see if we can extract that carbon out of it and come up with a way of extracting it out."
Harry Smith: "Is this a gimmick?"
Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States: "No, I don't think it is. What we're facing is a planetary emergency, and so some things that you would never consider otherwise makes sense to consider. And it shouldn't by seen in any way as a distraction from the hard work that we have to do in improving efficiency of cars, everything that burns carbon based fuel. But in addition to that this is now an idea that should be explored."
Harry Smith: "But, you know what, when you hear about somebody going up and figuring out some sort of contraption to get the, the, the bad stuff out of the air, it sounds like well, we've given up on the other end. We've reached a tipping point; we might as well be farming the stuff out of the air because nobody's going to stop driving their SUVs."
Richard Branson: "It's going to be a problem to get the political will of, you know, some countries, and in particular America, to actually get out there and encourage people to go for smaller cars, to encourage people to, to, you know, to use less carbon. And if you don't get the political well, yes, we're definitely going to need this prize because we will go beyond the tipping point. But, you know, hopefully we'll get the political will as well as hopefully somebody who will win this prize."
Harry Smith: "There was an important conference in Paris just last week. Scientists came up with an idea that, because of global warming, and we feel like it's basically caused by human beings and 90 percent sure it's because of emissions. Do you think people in the United States understand that?"
Al Gore: "I think we've seen a big shift. We're not there, yet. But we're close to a political tipping point beyond which, I think you really are going to see a sea change in the way people demand that politicians in both parties make this their top priority."
Harry Smith: "You've only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?"
Richard Branson: "How do you spell prophet? They -- I think that Al Gore has been -- has almost single handedly brought global warming to the forefront of the world. You know, outside America, he is perceived as a prophet spelled in the right way, and, you know, inside America I think a lot of people who have read well and know that, you know, know that he's right and that something's got to be done."
Harry Smith: "Is this the right way to get your message across though? Because the question was asked in the press conference today, would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House as opposed to doing it in a sort of 'Johnny Appleseed' way, the way you're doing it now."
Al Gore: "Well, you know, I worked in the White House for eighth years and tried very hard to solve this crisis and found that in dealing with the Senate and dealing with the Congress, that the one element that was most needed was a sea change in public opinion to empower the politicians in both parties to do the right thing here. And so, I'm involved in a different kind of campaign to try to change enough minds to make it a new reality, so that whoever runs will hear it from the voters and hear it as a demand that they act."
Harry Smith: "So I take it you won't announce your candidacy at the Oscars or on our program."
Al Gore: "Well, I, no, I am not announcing anything today other than the fact that I admire Sir Richard Branson's decision to put this prize up. And it's so, it's so refreshing to have an international business leader who I go and say -- look, take a look at this and see what you can do? And he says, okay and then he comes up with these imaginative approaches to really help the world approach this problem. I really like that."

Smith to co-anchor Hannah Storm: "People here [London] are remembering the great story from the 1600s, the prize that was offered to discover how to measure longitude, same kind of prize but that was a long time ago, Hannah."

-- Brent Baker