2. Mary Mapes: Limbaugh Can't Lecture Me, That "Obese Drug Addict"
3. NYT Flashback: "Joyous" Welcome for U.S. Forces in Baghdad
4. "Top Ten Signs Things Are Nuts at the New York Post"
The three broadcast networks led Monday night with multiple stories which celebrated the protest marches held by illegal immigrants and their supporters, with all three featuring sympathetic anecdotes about the plight of those here illegally. "Tonight," ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas touted in forwarding the red herring that conservatives are against "immigration" as opposed to illegal entry, "hundreds of thousands of people marching in streets across America, trying to convince the country that it needs immigrants." World News Tonight went to three field reports, starting with Miguel Marquez in Phoenix: "Everywhere you look, there are American flags. They're marching under the banner of 'Somos America,' 'we are American.'" But Dan Harris in New York City saw that "like many people here," one man he spoke with "is carrying a Mexican flag. He says 'I don't need to carry an American flag for people to know that I want to be an American.'"
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, who never uttered the word "illegal" in his lengthy introduction, teased: "They are not American citizens yet, but they want to be. And from every corner of America, immigrants took to the streets today to ask for new immigration laws. We'll go city to city tonight." Schieffer trumpeted: "Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it. From the Canadian border to Texas, from California to the east coast, thousands upon thousands of immigrants in at least a hundred American cities took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations. Bill Whittaker championed "Alex Vega...a father of ten. He owns a business and a house in Orange County. He entered the U.S. illegally 28 years ago. He's marching today because he says he's tired of living in the shadows." From Washington's Mall, Jim Axelrod saw "tens of thousands of Americans" marching though many were illegals. Over on NBC, the least celebratory, Lester Holt heralded: "From border states like here in Arizona to unlikely places like South Bend, Indiana, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, illegal immigrants alongside their supporters stepped from the shadows. Marching under the American flag, they demanded a place at the American table."
Not one syllable from any protest podium was shown by ABC, CBS or NBC -- likely because of the radical messages delivered by speakers and organizers.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
Transcripts of much of the April 10 coverage on the evening newscasts of the three broadcast networks:
# ABC's World News Tonight:
Anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased, over video of marchers: "I'm Elizabeth Vargas. Tonight, hundreds of thousands of people marching in streets across America, trying to convince the country that it needs immigrants."
Vargas opened: "Good evening. We begin with an unprecedented show of support for America's illegal immigrants. Across the country today, hundreds of thousands of people came out in support of millions of undocumented workers. They marched in dozens of cities, with hopes that they could influence the government, which is considering major immigration reform. Protesters are particularly opposed to a bill passed in the house. It would create a 700-mile wall along the Mexican border and make it a felony for anyone to help an illegal alien. Today, we have reports from gatherings around the country. We begin with ABC's Miguel Marquez in Phoenix."
Marquez, walking with marchers, in Phoenix: "I'm Miguel Marquez in Phoenix, Arizona. Tens of thousands of people descended on the state capitol building here. Everywhere you look, there are American flags. They're marching under the banner of 'Somos America,' 'we are American.'"
ABC switched to Dan Harris: "I'm Dan Harris in New York City. The crowd here today is significantly more diverse than what we've seen at recent rallies. There is still a predominantly Hispanic hue, but among the thousands of people here, there are Asian faces, African faces and European faces."
ABC switched again, this time to Mike Von Fremd: "This is Mike von Fremd in Houston. More than 40 percent of the city is Hispanic and they have turned out by the thousands in a colorful, very powerful demonstration today. Santos Guerrera (sp?) is in this country illegally, but not afraid to show his face and use his name, in hopes of staying with his family."
Vargas set up a fourth piece: "At the heart of the debate of immigration is jobs. President Bush is pushing a guest worker program that would allow many immigrants to stay. But Congress is sharply divided. Many argue Americans and the U.S. economy are more dependent on undocumented workers than most people realize."
David Muir looked at how immigrants do unskilled jobs, illegals produce 9 percent of all goods and services and so the U.S. is "dependent on undocumented workers."
Anchor Bob Schieffer teased: "Good evening, I'm Bob Schieffer. They are not American citizens yet, but they want to be. And from every corner of America, immigrants took to the streets today to ask for new immigration laws. We'll go city to city tonight as we cover these stories..."
Schieffer led: "Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it. From the Canadian border to Texas, from California to the east coast, thousands upon thousands of immigrants in at least a hundred American cities took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations. We're looking live here at the demonstration going on in San Antonio, Texas. There and on every street the message was the same. Give us new laws to make it easier for us to become citizens.
Whittaker, on screen tag of "Awakening Giant": "Bob, people are gathering here in downtown Los Angeles for a rally here this evening, one of several in California today, including one at lunchtime in the heart of Orange County. Alex Vega is a father of ten. He owns a business and a house in Orange County. He entered the U.S. illegally 28 years ago. He's marching today because he says he's tired of living in the shadows."
From the Mall in Washington, DC Jim Axelrod started his report:
Following Axelrod, Byron Pitts provided a "Reality Check" on how small business owners depend on illegal immigrants, though they also impose $2.2 billion in health care costs, followed by Schieffer interviewing Maria Elena Salinas of Univision.
Brian Williams opened his newscast: "Good evening. In cities and towns across this country today, when the appointed hour arrived, people in many different walks of life stopped what they were doing and then walked out into the streets, all in an organized effort to protest this nation's immigration policy. Today there were rallies in more than one hundred U.S. cities, some still going on at this hour. It is an emotional issue in this nation. Estimates put the number of illegal immigrants in America at 11 million. A lot of today's anger fueled by the fact that congressional action has been stalled. The President said today's rallies were a sign that people feel strongly about the issue. Right now, that might just be an understatement. We have two reports tonight beginning with NBC's Lester Holt in Phoenix. Lester, good evening."
Lester Holt: "Brian, good evening to you. The fact that organizers could bring out tens of thousands of mostly Latino immigrants here in the American Southwest perhaps not a surprise, but they also brought out huge numbers in places like the plains states and the deep South. And it may be proving how deeply woven undocumented workers are in the fabric of American society. From border states like here in Arizona to unlikely places like South Bend, Indiana, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, illegal immigrants alongside their supporters stepped from the shadows. Marching under the American flag, they demanded a place at the American table."
NBC held itself to just two stories, the second from Carl Quintanila on how illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won't, but they lower wages and hurt poorer Americans.
On his new blog over at U.S. News & World Report, cranky old liberal John Mashek (who earned the C.O.L. title for dismissing MRC's DisHonors dinner as "preposterous" a few posts back) reported from a media panel at Middle Tennessee State University. He heard one Mary Mapes, still outraged by people who would insist she should prove a story before she puts it on the air: "Mapes ridiculed some critics of her reporting and authenticating. Of Rush Limbaugh, she said: 'I don't need to be lectured on ethics from a much married, obese, drug addict.'"
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An April 7 CyberAlert item, "Veteran Journalist Mashek Goes on Rant Against 'DisHonors Awards,'" recounted:
Now, an excerpt from Mashek's blog item in which he quoted Mapes:
Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who was fired over her role in a 60 Minutes II story about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, said profiteering had taken over at television networks at the expense of news. Mapes defended her professionalism in the controversy, indicating that a rush to run the story played a role in the errors admitted by CBS. Mapes implied that she took the fall, along with other female operatives, while the male executives at the network escaped with their jobs intact. Of course, Dan Rather, who had to humble himself for the mistake, left the network anchor chair a few months later.
In response to questioning from Wallace Westfeld, a former producer and executive at NBC News, Mapes ridiculed some critics of her reporting and authenticating. Of Rush Limbaugh, she said: "I don't need to be lectured on ethics from a much married, obese, drug addict."
END of Excerpt
It might help Mary's attempts at humor if they came anywhere close to reality. Limbaugh hasn't been "obese" for years now. Perhaps she's forged her own version of Rush.
For the April 7 blog posting in full by Mashek: www.usnews.com
While most in the media insist on bombarding audiences with constant pessimism when it comes to Iraq and the war on terror (Monday's New York Times headline, for example, asserts: "Arab Democracy, a U.S. Goal, Falters"), it is worth recalling that three years ago Monday morning, newspapers such as the New York Times were trumpeting good news from Iraq -- the "joyous" and "cheering, often tearful welcome" that the people of Baghdad had for American forces when they were finally liberated from Saddam Hussein's tyranny.
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. For links to more about Burns and to post your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The Times' John Burns -- who was himself, a target of Saddam's secret police during the final days of the dictatorship -- was eyewitness to the celebrations. His story appeared on the front page of the April 10, 2003 Times. While including the fact that some Iraqis were both anti-Saddam and anti-American, and noting the doubts many Iraqis had about the future, Burns makes it pretty clear that, to use Vice President Cheney's phrase, Americans were mostly "greeted as liberators." Excerpts:
Saddam Hussein's rule collapsed in a matter of hours today across much of this capital city as ordinary Iraqis took to the streets in their thousands to topple Mr. Hussein's statues, loot government ministries and interrogation centers and to give a cheering, often tearful welcome to advancing American troops.
After three weeks battling their way north from Kuwait against Mr. Hussein's hard-core loyalists, Army and Marine Corps units moving into the districts of eastern Baghdad where many of the city's five million people live finally met the kind of adulation from ordinary Iraqis that American advocates of a war to topple Mr. Hussein had predicted.
Amid the celebration, many of Mr. Hussein's troops and officials simply abandoned their posts and ran away.
Much of Baghdad became, in a moment, a showcase of unbridled enthusiasm for America, as much as it metamorphosed into a crucible of unbridled hatred for Mr. Hussein and his 24-year rule.
American troops, but almost as much any Westerner caught up in the tide of people rushing into the streets, were met with scenes that summoned comparisons to the freeing of Eastern Europe 14 years ago.
There was no word on the fate of Mr. Hussein or his sons, Uday and Qusay, targeted by American bombs in a western residential area on Monday. But his whereabouts -- even his very existence -- seemed irrelevant as American Marines used an M88 tank recovery vehicle to topple a large statue of Mr. Hussein in the central Firdos Square.
Crowds surged forward to stomp on the downed statue, whose head had briefly been covered in an American flag, and several men dragged its severed head through the streets.
A burly 39-year-old man named Qifa, assigned by Mr. Hussein's Information Ministry to keep watch on an American reporter, paused at midmorning, outside the inferno that had been the headquarters of Iraq's National Olympic Committee, to ask the reporter to grip his hand. The building, used to torture and kill opponents of Mr. Hussein, had been one of the most widely feared places in Iraq.
"Touch me, touch me, tell me that this is real, tell me that the nightmare is really over," the man said, tears running down his face.
It was real, at last. When the city awoke to find that the American capture on Monday of the government quarter in west Baghdad had been followed overnight by a deep American thrust into the city's eastern half, the fear ingrained in most Iraqis evaporated.
Iraqis on foot, on motor scooters, in cars and minivans and trucks, alone and in groups, children and adults and elderly, headed for any point on the map where American troops had taken up positions '€" at expressway junctions, outside the United Nations headquarters, at two hotels on the Tigris River where Western journalists had been sequestered by Mr. Hussein's government -- and erupted with enthusiasm.
Shouts to the American soldiers of "Thank you, mister, thank you," in English, of "Welcome, my friend, welcome," of "Good, good, good," and "Yes, yes, mister," mingled with cries of "Good, George Bush!" and "Down Saddam!"
But reporters who crossed one of the deserted midtown bridges across the Tigris into the western area of the city discovered quickly that Mr. Hussein's hold has not been wholly broken....
American commanders in the city barely paused to soak up the celebrations before warning tonight that much hard work remained to be done in extending the pockets of American control in east and west Baghdad into areas that remained no-man's lands, or worse, pockets of active resistance.
Those pockets were clearly still dangerous today, but they were also isolated. Many people seemed joyous. A middle-aged man pushed through a crowd attempting to topple a statue of Mr. Hussein outside the oil ministry with a bouquet of paper flowers, and passed among American troops distributing them one at a time, each with a kiss on the cheek.
A woman with two small children perched in the open roof of a car maneuvering to get close to a Marine Corps unit assisting in toppling a Hussein statue outside the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, the quarters for foreign journalists, wept as she shouted, "Thank you, mister, thank you very much."
END of Excerpt
From the April 10 Late Show with David Letterman, in the wake over the "Page Six" scandal, the "Top Ten Signs Things Are Nuts at the New York Post." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Today's headline? "Waffles Is Tasty"
9. Home deliveries now include something called a "Kickback Envelope"
8. Real estate section lists properties available in Islamabad
7. Film critic gave "Basic Instinct 2" four stars
6. Replaced "Garfield" with cheap Mexican knockoff "Senior Kitty"
5. 88 pages, no punctuation
4. Every answer in crossword puzzle is "burrito"
3. They've actually started checking facts
2. Reporters are taking more bribes than Tom Delay
1. They predict the Knicks will win it all next year
-- Brent Baker