NBC's Mitchell Suggests GOP Officials May Cheat Obama in November --5/21/2008
2. With Kennedy as Hook, Couric Rues Inadequate Cancer Spending
3. Dobbs Confronts Rubin Over 'Hypocrisy' Charge that Duped CNN
4. NYT: McCain Didn't Learn Correct Liberal Lessons from Vietnam
5. More Sexist or Racist? Do Dems Answer Famous Sawyer Question?
6. ABC's Kate Snow Turns on Clinton With Inflatable Doll Metaphor
7. HBO Campaign 2000 'Recount' Film Endorsed by Liberal Media Stars
8. 'Top Ten Surprises in the New Osama bin Laden Audio Tape'
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
During an interview with Lisa Caputo of the Clinton campaign, Caputo had commented that the possibility of Clinton winning the popular vote among Democratic primary and caucus voters while Obama wins the delegate count reminds her of the 2000 election. Matthews then contended that Al Gore "may well have won the election" if he had requested a statewide recount instead of "just a couple of counties" because Gore might have won most "intended votes."
A few minutes later, at about 7:56pm EDT, Mitchell appeared and brought up an accusation by the Clinton campaign, which Mitchell treated as credible by calling her sources on the Clinton campaign "realists," that "Katherine Harris-type election officials" in some red states may make it difficult for Obama to carry some states he hopes to win, as Obama would have to "figure out a way to get a fair vote." Mitchell: "There are, you know, Republican governors and Secretaries of State, if you will, Katherine Harris-type election officials in those states. So, even though he may have won primaries or caucuses in those states, he has to go up against the establishment, which would be Republican, and he has to figure out a way to get a fair vote if he's the nominee in those red states."
Below is a transcript of Mitchell's relevant comments from MSNBC on Tuesday, May 20:
LISA CAPUTO, CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: In a way, I feel like we're having a conversation dating back to 2000 and the presidential election when Al Gore won the popular vote and it had to go to the Supreme Court. The point is, we've got a system, it is around delegates, but you can't ignore when a candidate is ahead in a popular vote. You can't. And that's what the superdelegates are waiting for, and that's why the Clinton campaign is making it's case to the superdelegates on electability....
ANDREA MITCHELL: They've been arguing that their electoral map is different, that they can do this with North Carolina and Colorado, and other places where they have won either primaries or caucuses. Other people, I should point out, other Clinton loyalists, but realists, say that that electoral map is a stretch in one regard: There are, you know, Republican governors and Secretaries of State, if you will, Katherine Harris-type election officials in those states. So, even though he may have won primaries or caucuses in those states, he has to go up against the establishment, which would be Republican, and he has to figure out a way to get a fair vote if he's the nominee in those red states.
CBS anchor Katie Couric used news, that Senator Ted Kennedy is suffering from a brain tumor, as the hook for a lengthy story in which she railed against reduced federal funding for cancer research, though her own numbers and official numbers contradict her premise of any significant reductions. Noting how "nearly one in two men, and more than one in three women, in this country will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime," Couric regretted: "Yet since 2004 federal funding for research into the four most common kinds of cancer -- lung, colon, breast and prostate -- has been cut by more than $100 million." In fact, National Cancer Institute numbers show a 4.4 percent overall budget increase since 2003, not enough to match inflation but hardly a huge cut, while spending on "brain & central nervous system" (Kennedy's plight) grew by 33 percent and spending on pancreatic cancer, which killed Couric's sister, rose 75 percent.
Relying on a March report published by seven research companies and universities interested in more grants, "Broken Pipeline? Flat Funding of the NIH Puts a Generation of Science at Risk," Couric asserted that "experts worry this small, elite army" of cancer scientists "is leaving the field in droves because government funding, which once allowed cancer research to flourish, is now drying up." Seconds later, however, Couric reported that "between 1998 and 2003, Congress doubled the National Institutes of Health budget, allowing research to thrive," but "since 2004, funding has flat lined." So it has "flat lined" at a level double where it stood ten years ago.
Broken Pipeline home page: www.brokenpipeline.org
Their report: www.brokenpipeline.org
Couric then yearned for the U.S. to follow the European model, lamenting how scientists are "heading overseas where governments and companies in Asia and Europe are creating a brain drain in this country."
No CBS story would be complete without someone blaming the Iraq war and, indeed, Couric featured a Cornell doctor who insisted the grant situation is "disheartening" because of "all the economic problems" and "the continuation of the Iraq war."
Couric concluded that "the more than 10 million Americans currently living with cancer" have "the most to lose" from "declining research dollars."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The view from conservatives Wednesday night? Couric plugged how in part two of "The War on Cancer, Where We Stand," CBS will look at how "it can take years for the FDA to approve experimental treatments. Is red tape costing lives?" That's an unusual take for network news which loves to hype any studies that suggest any danger from a prescription drug.
Maybe cancer research is deserving of more government funding over less-pressing areas, but viewers deserve better than inflammatory claims of huge imaginary "cuts" in funding and the assertion that a doubling of spending to $4.7 billion (NCI's budget) means money "is now drying up."
Page vii (page 10 of the PDF) of the National Cancer Institute's "2007 Fact Book" states: "The NCI budget has increased by $200.3 million -- or 4.4% -- since FY 2003. Cancer Centers, Specialized Centers, and R&D Contracts have experienced percentage increases greater than the total NCI growth since FY 2003." Research grant spending has risen "by 2.6 percent" -- below the inflation rate.
(NCI is part of the National Institutes for Health, which in turn is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.)
The Fact Book: obf.cancer.gov
Total NCI funding, by recent fiscal year:
2003: $4.592 billion
On page xiii (page 16 of the PDF) a chart on research funding from 2003 to 2007 reports the allocations for the four cancers cited by Couric:
Lung: down $46 million
Colorectal: down about $3 million
Prostate: down about $9 million
Breast: up $24 million
That net outs to a $34 million reduction, far from Couric's $102 million claim. The cut is even less if measured from 2004.
Of course, funding levels change year by year depending on the promise of grant requests and lobbying of Congress, so several cancer areas saw big hikes between 2003 and 2007:
Brain & Central Nervous System grew by $37 million (33 percent), from $111 million to $148 million
Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma rose $23 million (20 percent), from $95 million to $113 million
Pancreatic increased $31 million (75 percent), from $42 million to $73 million
Transcript of Couric's piece on the Tuesday, May 20 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: The news today that Senator Ted Kennedy has cancer reminds us again how this disease can change our lives in an instant. Nearly one in two men, and more than one in three women, in this country will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. And yet since 2004 federal funding for research into the four most common kinds of cancer -- lung, colon, breast and prostate -- has been cut by more than $100 million [$102]. Tonight we begin a special series: The War on Cancer, Where We Stand.
Online version of Couric's Tuesday night story, with video: www.cbsnews.com
Lou Dobbs, during an interview on Monday evening with James Rubin, challenged the Clinton campaign advisor over his accusation that John McCain was a "hypocrite" and a "flip-flopper" in terms of dealing with Hamas, noting that CNN's own interview of McCain contradicted Rubin's charge. Dobbs chastised: "I would not have taken it as far. I would not put it as forward-leaning as you on the issue."
Dobbs' approach contrasts with CNN's promotion coverage on Friday morning, when American Morning substitute host Kyra Phillips brought Rubin on board to attack McCain without any balance from any Republican or any suggestion that CNN's own archives contradicted Rubin.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
May 19 CyberAlert item on Rubin's 'hypocrisy' charge, "CNN Lets Clintonista Denounce McCain's 'Hypocrisy' on Hamas, But," recounted:
Twenty-four hours after CNN started giving covering fire for Barack Obama in response to President Bush' s "appeasement" remark, the network aided the Democratic spin machine in attacking John McCain as a hypocrite with regards to Hamas, based on a 2006 video clip provided by Clinton adviser James Rubin. In the excerpt, the Arizona Senator appeared to be endorsing negotiations with the terror group. But CNN conducted its own interview of McCain at the same time, January 28, 2006, in which he insisted that Hamas "renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again." So CNN trusted Rubin as the authority on what McCain's stance was two years ago, instead of their own archival video.
In addition to politely going after Rubin with regards to his charge of "hypocrisy," Dobbs became the first major CNN personality to read the April 13 statement of Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef, which voiced the terror group's endorsement of Barack Obama. In comparison to this, Wolf Blitzer, during an interview of Senator Barack Obama on May 8, read McCain's remark that Obama was favored by Hamas, but didn't mention Yousef's statement, and let Obama portray McCain's remark as a "smear."
May 9 CyberAblert item on Blitzer's interview of Obama: www.mrc.org
The segment, which started 36 minutes into the 7 pm EDT Eastern hour of Lou Dobbs Tonight, began with the CNN host asking Rubin to clarify what his accusation against McCain: "You kicked up a bit of a ruckus in suggesting that Senator McCain was being hypocritical in his statements when he talked with you when you were employed at that time with Sky News in 2006. You inferred from that interview, obviously, that what he was saying is that there should be direct engagement with Hamas, correct?"
After a few follow-up questions, Dobbs then played the key quote from the Rubin interview, followed by McCain's answer in CNN's interview from the time. After getting Rubin's take on McCain's answer from the CNN interview, Dobbs stated that his take on the answers "would differ" from Rubin's:
DOBBS: I would not have taken it as far. I would not put it as forward-leaning as you on the issue. And in putting in balance that comment and the context of the time -- that is, Hamas having just won an election -- it seems to me that that's context that's critically important to understand what he was saying, and in the weeks that followed and Hamas' intransigence on the issues of terror and rejection of the right of Israel to exist seemed to not be in contravention at all with anything Senator McCain had said.
In response, Rubin answered, "Well see, here's the funny part. I wasn't saying that Senator McCain was offering direct talks. All I was pointing out, what I think is demonstrably true. He was remarkably open to Hamas.... So, to me, what was the hypocrisy was for two years later for him then to try to smear somebody and say, you are the favorite candidate of Hamas, I'd be their nightmare, was a far cry from what he was saying a couple of years earlier."
This answer from Rubin prompted Dobbs to read the Hamas endorsement of Obama as stated by Yousef: "As you interpret it, I can understand your reasoning. As I say, my interpretation was not that. Obviously, it was not the interpretation of the McCain campaign....This from Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef who said, '€˜We like Obama. And we hope he will win the election.' Isn't it reasonable to ask why in the world Hamas, or one of its principal spokesmen would want to interject itself into the presidential campaign?"
The Clinton adviser defended his take on the issue:
RUBIN: Sure, people can ask that. But, look, John McCain has been around a long time, and he knows when you say that your opponent is the preferred candidate of a terrorist group and I'm their nightmare, that he's trying to make a point.... To say that your opponent is a pal of terrorists, is a pretty nasty thing to say.... All I want out of this is for John McCain to think twice before he ever again says I'm their nightmare and you, Barack Obama, are their preferred candidate, and I suspect he will think twice about it.
Matt Bai, a major contributing writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, denigrated John McCain's service in Vietnam in his big cover profile, "The McCain Doctrines," suggesting his five years spent isolated in a POW camp meant he didn't learn the correct liberal lessons from the Vietnam War, resulting in his support for the Iraq War: "In private discussions with friends and colleagues, some of them have pointed out that McCain, who was shot down and captured in 1967, spent the worst and most costly years of the war sealed away, both from the rice paddies of Indochina and from the outside world. During those years, McCain did not share the disillusioning and morally jarring experiences of soldiers like Kerry, Webb and Hagel, who found themselves unable to recognize their enemy in the confusion of the jungle; he never underwent the conversion that caused Kerry, for one, to toss away some of his war decorations during a protest at the Capitol. Whatever anger McCain felt remained focused on his captors, not on his own superiors back in Washington."
[This item is adapted from a Tuesday posting, by Clay Waters, on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
While the Times found Sen. John Kerry's service in Vietnam gave him credibility on his opposition to the Iraq War, McCain's five years spent isolated in a POW camp has evidently cursed him with a narrow perspective of America, right or wrong. Explaining why McCain still supports the Iraq War, Bai wrote in the May 18 story:
Among his fellow combat veterans in the Senate, past and present, he is the only one who has continued to champion the war in Iraq; by contrast, Kerry, Webb and Hagel have emerged in the years since the invasion as unsparing critics of American involvement there. (In a new book, Hagel, who voiced deep concerns about Iraq even as he voted for the war resolution in 2002, predicts that the war will turn out to be "the most dangerous and costly foreign-policy debacle in our nation's history.") This divide among old allies may be the inevitable result of a protracted war that has cleaved plenty of American households and friendships. But it may also be that the war is revealing underlying fractures among the Senate's Vietnam coalition.
There is a feeling among some of McCain's fellow veterans that his break with them on Iraq can be traced, at least partly, to his markedly different experience in Vietnam. McCain's comrades in the Senate will not talk about this publicly. They are wary of seeming to denigrate McCain's service, marked by his legendary endurance in a Hanoi prison camp, when in fact they remain, to this day, in awe of it. And yet in private discussions with friends and colleagues, some of them have pointed out that McCain, who was shot down and captured in 1967, spent the worst and most costly years of the war sealed away, both from the rice paddies of Indochina and from the outside world. During those years, McCain did not share the disillusioning and morally jarring experiences of soldiers like Kerry, Webb and Hagel, who found themselves unable to recognize their enemy in the confusion of the jungle; he never underwent the conversion that caused Kerry, for one, to toss away some of his war decorations during a protest at the Capitol. Whatever anger McCain felt remained focused on his captors, not on his own superiors back in Washington.
Not all of McCain's fellow veterans subscribe to the theory that the singularity of his war experience has anything to do with his intransigence on Iraq. (Bob Kerrey, for one, told me that while he was aware of this argument, he has never believed it.) But some suspect that whatever lesson McCain took away from his time in Vietnam, it was not the one that stayed with his colleagues who were "in country" during those years -- that some wars simply can't be won on the battlefield, no matter how long you fight them, no matter how many soldiers you send there to die.
"McCain is my friend and brother, and I love him dearly," Max Cleland, Georgia's former Democratic senator, told me when we talked last month. "But I think you learn something fighting on the ground, like me and John Kerry and Chuck Hagel did in Vietnam. This objective of 'hearts and minds'? Well, hello! You didn't know which heart and mind was going to blow you up!
"I have seen this movie before, and I know how it ends," says Cleland, who lost three of his limbs to an errant grenade during the battle of Khe Sanh. "With thousands dead and tens of thousands more injured, and years later you ask yourself what you were doing there. To the extent my friend John McCain signs on to this, he is endangering America's long-term interests, and probably his own election in the fall."
END of Excerpt
For the magazine article in full: www.nytimes.com
What Bai doesn't get into: That John Kerry came back home and, as a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, infamously denigrated his fellow troops before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. An excerpt from Kerry's testimony:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
That didn't stop Kerry from turning the 2004 Democratic National Convention into a military parade, and he exploited his three Purple Hearts he was awarded in Vietnam for all they were worth -- until the Swift Boat Veterans turned the tables by credibly questioning their legitimacy.
Check TimesWatch daily for the latest bias in the New York Times: www.timeswatch.org
Has Good Morning America host Diane Sawyer finally answered her now infamous question about whether America is more racist or sexist? On Tuesday's program, she discussed how being a woman effected Hillary Clinton's run for the White House and wondered: "Is it an argument that she can make, that in some sense, sexism has cost her the race?"
For the last year and a half, Sawyer has been fascinated by this question. On November 13, 2006, she asked Senator Barack Obama if America is "secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?" The very next day, on November 14, she quizzed liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd about America's hidden prejudices: "Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?" On February 16, 2007, Sawyer darkly proclaimed that the 2008 presidential race is turning "a spotlight on questions about race and what Americans really feel inside." To see a round-up of Sawyer's quotes on the issue, see a February 16, 2007 NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Of course it should be pointed out that on Tuesday, Sawyer was interviewing long time ABC journalist Cokie Roberts and political contributor Matthew Dowd specifically about Democratic primaries, rather than the country as a whole. So, she asked about efforts to "unify the party" and queried Roberts, "So, tell me, Cokie, what does Senator Obama have to do to win those women over to him?" Answering another question, Roberts asserted that "certainly the blogosphere was exceptionally sexist" to the New York senator.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:04am on May 20, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: [Off of Kate Snow report] What you were talking about there, the effort to unify the party brings us to the question: What about her most impassioned support group? Older women. This morning, Senator Clinton herself is quoted in the Washington Post, a Lois Romano article, citing sexism in the race. And here's what she said: 'There should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head. It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists. It's been deeply offensive to millions of women.' And here's what one Clinton supporter said she felt. She felt betrayed by her own party.
ABC reporter Kate Snow, who has repeatedly gushed over the Hillary Clinton campaign in the past, appeared to be edging away from the Democratic candidate on Tuesday's Good Morning America. Discussing the long odds the New York Senator now faces to the nomination, Snow gratuitously offered this comparison: "And here's a metaphor. Last month, supporters gave Clinton an inflatable doll. The other day, it was spotted all shriveled up, deflated."
The GMA correspondent also made sure to point out that "[Clinton's] biggest Kentucky crowds are closer to a thousand and Obama just pulled 75,000 in Oregon." She also explained, "An event in Oregon in a dimly lit room had more reporters than voters. Clinton was somber." This type of downbeat reporting is quite a change from Snow's cheery, pro-Hillary journalism. On January 7, 2008, she marveled at the senator's knowledge and enthused, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense."
On October 1, 2007, Snow rhapsodized at Clinton's ability to disarm "her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." See the December 3, 2007 CberAlert: www.mrc.org
And a January 8, 2008 posting for more on Snow's fawning: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On October 25, 2007, Snow extolled Bill and Hillary Clinton for being "masters of spin" and as experts at "turning bad news into good."
So, if Hillary Clinton has lost (or is losing) Kate Snow, it may be a very bad sign for her presidential campaign.
A transcript of the May 20 segment, which aired at 7:02am, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: We begin though with the race for '08 this morning. Voters going to the polls today in primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. Senator Clinton expected to win Kentucky, Senator Obama, Oregon. So, what's going to happen after tonight? ABC's Kate Snow is in Louisville, Kentucky where Senator Hillary Clinton is telling voters not to write her off just yet. Isn't that right, Kate?
Here's a sure sign the new HBO Campaign 2000-nailbiter movie "Recount" will have a liberal slant. In a full-page newspaper ad appearing on the back cover of the A section of Monday's Washington Post, it was endorsed as "terrific" by a list of Gore-voting liberal media notables: Joe Klein, Matt Cooper, Jonathan Alter, Tina Brown, George Stephanopoulos, and Judy Woodruff. The movie's slogan is "The future of the nation was hanging by a chad."
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
We haven't seen these quotes in print, so we assume they come from a celebrity screening or publicist interview:
The votes are in.
Joe Klein, Time.com: "Terrific"
Matthew Cooper, Portfolio.com: "HBO is as good as ever. Watch 'Recount' and see...[they do] history better than any other studio."
Jonathan Alter, Newsweek: "This is the seventh presidential campaign I've covered for Newsweek and Recount conveys the nitty gritty of politics better than any movie I've ever seen."
Tina Brown: "The suspense is so skillfully maintained, it actually makes you unsure of the outcome. The smartest movie of the year."
George Stephanopoulos, ABC News: "The fight for Florida was the most consequential political battle of our lifetimes. Recount captures the stakes and the strategies with amazing clarity."
Judy Woodruff, (ex-CNN, now Bloomberg): "Recount," the fascinating story of 37 days that changed the political world, is as exciting to watch today as it was to cover eight years ago; an HBO tour de force."
Forgive us if this seems like a sign that the fix is in, not that the filmmaking is first-rate. We'll have to see.
HBO's page for the film: www.hbo.com
The May 19 CyberAlert article, "HBO's 'Recount' Movie: Favors Democrats, Harris as Cruella De Vil," recounted:
An early review is in for HBO's upcoming movie, Recount, about the Bush-Gore battle in Florida after 2000 election. Gillian Flynn in Entertainment Weekly, which like HBO is part of the Time-Warner family, has described the film, to premiere Sunday night, as tilted against the Republican characters. In her review in the May 23 edition of the magazine, Flynn asserted: "Recount may not be downright blue, but it's not as purply as it wants to appear." Saying "Recount is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story," Flynn reported that the "Republican players here are coolly calculating -- Tom Wilkinson's James Baker III, the Bush team quarterback -- or they teeter on the edge of madness, like Laura Dern's Katherine Harris." In fact, in an interview elsewhere, the writer of the movie slammed Harris as "a fraud."
For more: www.mrc.org
From the May 19 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in the New Osama bin Laden Audio Tape." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. The tape begins with, "Jihad, Jihad, 1, 2, 3...Jihad, Jihad, 1, 2, 3..."
9. Kept promoting weekly iTunes terror podcasts
8. Went nuts on caller who said Joe Girardi's doing a good job
7. He's a little pitchy, dawg
6. It's just an infomercial for his new "Lean, Mean Goat Grillin' Machine"
5. Complains "Grey's Anatomy" has totally "jumped the shark"
4. He's interrupted three times by the blind sheik yelling, "Baba Booey!"
3. Background noise suggests he's clearly at a bowling alley
2. Announced his engagement to Star Jones
1. Even he can't believe Bush hasn't caught him
-- Brent Baker