Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Nets Skipped or Barely Touched Durbin & Clinton, Now Jump on Rove --6/24/2005


1. Nets Skipped or Barely Touched Durbin & Clinton, Now Jump on Rove
When Howard Dean made any number of his outlandish attacks on Republicans, Senator Hillary Clinton described Republicans as "people who have never been acquainted with the truth" and Dick Durbin slimed servicemen by equating detainee treatment at Guantanamo with Nazis and the Soviet gulag, the broadcast network evening and morning shows ignored the remarks, or got to them fleetingly months or a week or so later. But when Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief-of-Staff, observed that "liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers," the networks pounced within hours. ABC's World News Tonight, which had never shown the allegations from Clinton or Durbin, jumped on Rove. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas snidely asserted that Rove "was not attempting to reach across the aisle." Jake Tapper relayed how Rove's "remarks had Democrats up in arms today as they recall the bipartisan resolution to go to war against al-Qaeda." Tapper scolded: "President Bush came to office promising to change the tone in Washington. Political observers say it has changed. It's nastier." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell passed along: "Adding insult, Democrats say after 9/11, both parties stood with the President."
CNN's Aaron Brown chided Rove for his "silly" comments. with audio and video

2. Morning Shows Pounce on Rove, Unlike Handling of Dem Comments
CBS's Early Show has yet to utter a word about how Senator Dick Durbin's June 14 sliming of servicemen by equating detainee treatment at Guantanamo with Nazis and the Soviet gulag, but on Friday morning CBS highlighted how, as Rene Syler put it, "presidential advisor Karl Rove stirred up a hornet's nest with a speech about liberals and the war on terror." NBC's Today didn't get to Durbin until the morning after his June 21 apology, and then only in a brief item during the 8am news update, but on Friday, Today led with Rove as Matt Lauer trumpeted: "Good morning, President Bush's right hand man under fire. Did Karl Rove go too far in his comments on liberals and 9/11?" Today aired a full story from Kelly O'Donnell before Lauer dedicated most of a session, with White House Counselor Dan Bartlett, to Rove. Lauer read how Senator Harry Reid wants Rove to apologize and resign, and then demanded: "Why won't Karl Rove apologize?" Over on ABC's Good Morning America, which got to Durbin with a full story only the morning after his apology, Bill Weir pressed Bartlett about Rove with two questions. Weir set them up: "Top political advisor Karl Rove certainly stirred controversy with some comments attacking liberals this week. Let's listen to this."

3. Washington Post Buried Durbin, But Puts Rove on the Front Page
Like the networks, the Washington Post showed it's a lot more excited about Karl Rove, putting him on Friday's front page, after burying Dick Durbin in short stories inside.

4. Hardball Panel Frets GOP Making National Security a "Wedge Issue"
On Thursday's Hardball on MSNBC, during a discussion about Karl Rove's remarks, Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Klaidman charged that "national security has become a wedge issue for the Republicans in a way that race was in the 1980s." He contended the comments were a diversionary tactic: "They need an enemy, someone that they can demonize as they go forward. And particularly at a time when the President is having problems in terms of his poll numbers and the economy and other issues." Fill-in host David Gregory soon scolded the White House for having Vice President Dick Cheney "say 'let's remember they're all bad people' [at Guantanamo] and when you send such a lightning rod like Karl Rove out to say that the left wanted to subject the 9/11 terrorists to therapy. Doesn't that sort of caricature what are important debates in the country?"


Nets Skipped or Barely Touched Durbin
& Clinton, Now Jump on Rove

When Howard Dean made any number of his outlandish attacks on Republicans, Senator Hillary Clinton described Republicans as "people who have never been acquainted with the truth" and Dick Durbin slimed servicemen by equating detainee treatment at Guantanamo with Nazis and the Soviet gulag, the broadcast network evening and morning shows ignored the remarks, or got to them fleetingly months or a week or so later. But when Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief-of-Staff, observed that "liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers," the networks pounced within hours. ABC's World News Tonight, which had never shown the allegations from Clinton or Durbin, jumped on Rove. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas snidely asserted that Rove "was not attempting to reach across the aisle." Jake Tapper relayed how Rove's "remarks had Democrats up in arms today as they recall the bipartisan resolution to go to war against al-Qaeda." Tapper scolded: "President Bush came to office promising to change the tone in Washington. Political observers say it has changed. It's nastier." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell passed along: "Adding insult, Democrats say after 9/11, both parties stood with the President." CNN's Aaron Brown chided Rove for his "silly" comments.

Later, in the "Tomorrow's Papers Tonight" segment at the end of CNN's NewsNight, anchor Aaron Brown scolded Rove for his "silly" comments: "The Washington Times, 'Rove's mockery of 9/11 liberals riles Democrats.' Karl Rove making, I thought, some silly comments. And in a week of silly comments, the dumb Dick Durbin comments for which he apologized. Mr. Rove will not apologize, I guarantee you." Aaron Brown
Listen to MP3 audio clip
Text of clip + audio archive

MSNBC's Countdown didn't mention Durbin until a day after he apologized, but fill-in anchor Alison Stewart made Rove her second item on Thursday night: "Karl Rove usually spends his time making things happen behind the scenes, but tonight he is front and center because of what he said last night at a fund-raiser in New York City....Democratic lawmakers are angry, and many New Yorkers are mighty peeved as well."


# More on Durbin vs. Rove:

ABC's World News Tonight used Rove as an opportunity to finally play, for the first time, a brief version of Durbin's Nazi charge, but Jake Tapper paired it with a remark from a Republican Senator and regretfully concluded: "Two nights ago, Senator Durbin offered an apology for his comments. It was a moment of reconciliation that lasted less than 24 hours." On Tuesday night of this week, World News Tonight had run a short item on Durbin's apology, its first mention of the controversy.

The NBC Nightly News carried a brief anchor-read item on Durbin on June 16, two nights after his comment, and another brief item a week later on his apology.

The CBS Evening News remained consistent: It has yet to utter a syllable about Durbin and on Thursday night skipped Rove. (Friday's Early Show, however, jumped on Rove. See item #2 below for details.)


# Evidence to Support Rove:

Carl Cameron While the ABC and NBC stories on Thursday night presumed Rove was off-base, on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Carl Cameron provided some evidence to support Rove: "Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, anti-war liberals rallied [video of marchers and sign: "To Stop Terrorism Stop Terrorizing"] in D.C., San Francisco, and elsewhere urging a moderate peaceful non-military response. House Democratic liberals such as Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Barbara Lee of California, and several others denounced military action and demanded peaceful negotiations. Rove specifically cited the liberal online group MoveOn.org, which also circulated a nationwide petition urging restraint after the atrocities."

To refresh your memory about how Rove is accurate, refer to the "Bad" and "Ugly" sections of the MRC's October 1, 2001 edition of Notable Quotables, "Terrorist Attack on America; Media Coverage: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." See: www.mediaresearch.org

And check the October 14 edition too: www.mediaresearch.org


# Hillary Clinton's June 6 denunciation of Republicans.

As reported in the June 7 New York Times, at a June 6 "Women for Hillary" event at a Manhattan hotel, Senator Clinton charged:
"'I know it's frustrating for many of you, it's frustrating for me. Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them?' she continued to growing applause. 'I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth.'"

Neither ABC's World News Tonight or NBC Nightly News, nor any of the broadcast network morning shows, ever reported her slam about how Republicans are liars. The CBS Evening News did get to it in a June 21 story by Gloria Borger on how Senator Clinton is moving to "the center" in anticipation of a presidential run. Borger also noted: "And what is Senator Clinton doing to attract the liberals who vote in Democratic primaries? She's got harsh words about Republicans when she's not standing next to them."
Clinton, from June 6: "It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about they're doing. [edit jump] It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

On June 16, Senator Clinton appeared with Senator Frist on all three broadcast network morning shows, to talk about a health privacy bill, and while the hosts asked about Guantanamo and Terri Schiavo, they did not use the opportunity to raise Clinton's slam. In fact, the next morning NBC's Katie Couric gushed to Tim Russert about how both Senators were trying to "soften" their image: "In a rare display of bipartisanship, we saw Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton appear on this program yesterday talking about some legislation that they're pushing in terms of health care. Was this an effort by both individuals to somehow soften their image, to move a little bit toward the middle so they're not as polarizing as they look toward 2008?"

CNN's Inside Politics, which on June 6 held Clinton to a two sentence "Political Bytes" item, and then raised the issue during a discussion segment, on Thursday made Rove its second story with a full story followed by host Dana Bash pounding White House Chief-of-Staff Andy Card over it, plus raised it in a discussion segment.


# Howard Dean's obnoxious comments. MRC President L. Brent Bozell's June 7 column documented how the networks for months ignored Dean's rude and crude comments. See: www.mediaresearch.org


# Now, a rundown of the Thursday, June 23 Rove stories cited above, followed by links to previous CyberAlert items on the lack of interest in Durbin.

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"We have another story about the political dialogue in the country getting more brazen. One of the most powerful people in the Bush administration has drawn intense criticism today for some remarks he made last night about liberals, conservatives and the reaction to 9/11. Karl Rove is the President's senior advisor and Deputy Chief-of-Staff. Last night, it's safe to say, he was not attempting to reach across the aisle. Here's ABC's Jake Tapper."
Tapper: "At the dinner for conservatives, Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political advisor, served up some red meat."
Karl Rove, Bush advisor, in video from NY1 of Rove before a crowd at a Manhattan hotel: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
Tapper: "Those remarks had Democrats up in arms today as they recall the bipartisan resolution to go to war against al-Qaeda."
Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), on the Senate floor: "There was no dispute between the parties on this issue. We all agreed that we had to defeat the enemy of America."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), to Rumsfeld at hearing: "I would hope, Mr. Secretary, that you and other members of the administration would immediately repudiate such an insulting comment from a high-ranking official."
Tapper: "But the White House praised Rove for his candor."
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "He was talking about it and telling it like it is when it comes to the different approaches for winning the war on terrorism."
Tapper: "President Bush came to office promising to change the tone in Washington. Political observers say it has changed. It's nastier. It is a bipartisan disease. Democrats have chosen for their leader outspoken partisan Howard Dean, whose attacks on Republicans are nonstop."
Howard Dean, DNC Chairman: "A lot of them never made an honest living in their lives."
Dick Cheney: "I've never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does."
Dean: "I don't care if Dick Cheney likes my mother or not. We are going to fight back."
Tapper: "Senators are throwing around Nazi analogies."
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Senate floor, May 19: "It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942."
Richard Durbin, Senate Minority Whip, June 14: "You would most certainly believe this must have happened by Nazis."
Tapper: "Two nights ago, Senator Durbin offered an apology for his comments. It was a moment of reconciliation that lasted less than 24 hours. Jake Tapper, ABC News, Washington."
Vargas: "The state of political dialogue today."


-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams asserted: "To say that Washington is more harshly divided these days than any other time in recent memory is probably a gross understatement. The political rhetoric has been hot, accusations and countercharges fly around town, calls for apologies and resignations on both sides of the political aisle. Tonight, Karl Rove, an administration official who is not known for mincing words, is drawing fire. Here is NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell."

O'Donnell began: "The President's top political advisor, Karl Rove, usually a force behind the scenes, but tonight front and center in controversy after what he said last night."
Karl Rove, Bush advisor: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
O'Donnell: "The room was friendly, a conservative fund-raiser in New York. And before his words became an issue, Rove chastised Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, who got in trouble and then apologized this week-"
Richard Durbin, Senate Minority Whip, on Tuesday: "I extend my heartfelt apologies."
O'Donnell: "-after Durbin compared the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo to the Nazi camps. Rove said Durbin's comments put U.S. troops in danger, adding, quote, 'no more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.' Today, angry Democrats demanded a few more words from Rove: an apology. Some even want his resignation. Hillary Clinton of New York is a likely presidential candidate."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), at press conference: "And to have someone like Karl Rove go to New York City and say what he said is just almost unimaginable."
O'Donnell: "Adding insult, Democrats say after 9/11, both parties stood with the President."
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), at press conference: "Karl Rove took something that is virtually sacred to New Yorkers, which is what happened at 9/11, and politicized it."
O'Donnell: "The White House claims Rove was not indicting Democrats overall, but was referring to what officials call 'extreme elements of the liberal movement.'"
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "Karl was simply pointing out the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."
O'Donnell: "Tonight the White House says Rove will absolutely not apologize because his comments were misconstrued, while Democrats plan to keep up the pressure. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, the White House."


-- MSNBC's Countdown. Alison Stewart teased: "First Nazis, now 9/11. An apology has been demanded following some political trash talk, I mean rhetoric. The man dubbed 'Bush's brain' has opened his mouth."

Stewart reported during her opening segment: "It is clear there is still division on the subject of the war in Iraq, but can the same be said about the war on terror? After all, in the wake of the September 11th attacks, Americans pulled together like never before. Only that's not how the President's top political advisor sees it. Karl Rove usually spends his time making things happen behind the scenes, but tonight he is front and center because of what he said last night at a fund-raiser in New York City."
Karl Rove: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks, and they prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban."
Stewart: "Democratic lawmakers are angry, and many New Yorkers are mighty peeved as well. And if those New Yorkers are Democratic lawmakers, well then you can just forget about it."
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY): "We understand that he's a political infighter, but there's a certain line that you should not cross. And last night, Karl Rove crossed that line. He didn't just put his toe over that line. He jumped way over it."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Clip #1: "So either he said something in a hasty, ill-conceived reckless moment-"
Clinton Clip #2: "-or he said it deliberately, intentionally, as part of a continuing effort to divide Americans. So the only way we'll know for sure as to what his real intention was last night in New York City is whether or not he retracts these comments and apologizes."

Stewart introduced her guest: "We're now joined by David Gergen, an advisor to four presidents. He is now editor-at-large to U.S. News and World Report, as well as a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and he's fighting a pretty bad cold. So, David, thank you so much for being with us tonight....You're a veteran of many White House administrations -- Republican and Democrat. What are your reactions to Karl Rove's comments?"
Gergen: "Well, is somebody putting something terrible in the water in Washington these days? I mean, we just had a spate of just crazy, meanspirited comments. First, you had Senator Durbin, a Democrat, comes out and compares Guantanamo to the Nazis, and for which he properly apologized. But now Karl Rove comes along and swipes not at just Durbin but the Democrats, almost impugning their patriotism as a party. I'm just, I'm very surprised and disappointed."
Stewart: "Yeah. Senator John Kerry came out on the Senate floor just a little while ago, and he said that the President should expect a public apology from Karl Rove and that he ought to fire him. What do you think about both of those ideas?"
Gergen: "Well, I think that Karl, who is usually quite tempered is his remarks, should revisit them and submit edited and revised remarks for the record, I think, about Democrats in general. I mean, they, the Republicans got quite angry when Howard Dean, the Democratic Chairman, said that basically the Republicans have become a white Christian party. And they were angry and were properly so. And I think that in the same way, you can't sort of go after Democrats as a group and say their reaction to 9/11 was not to look for revenge, but to look for indictments of America and call in the therapist for the attackers. I mean, that basically says they're milk toast who won't stand up for America, and that's obviously not true. So I do think Karl should change his comments. But should the President fire him? No, I don't think he should. I think Karl should take care of this himself. And he's a tough guy. He can do that. But I, listen, Senator Durbin's not retiring from the Senate, nor should he, and by the same measure, Karl Rove should not be fired from the White House."
Stewart: "No matter your politics, most people would agree that Karl Rove is an extremely talented strategist. Why would he say something that could be classified as so extreme? What's the strategy?"
Gergen: "Well, that's an extremely interesting question, and what appears to be happening, Alison, is that the Republicans have been ratcheting up their rhetoric in the White House here in the last week or two against the Democrats, as the public mood has soured on the war, and Democrats are now beginning to call for timetables and pullouts and that sort of thing. And they're also opposing the President every turn in the Congress. There's been an obvious effort in the White House, or decision in the White House to step up the rhetorical attacks against Democrats, to basically, the President went out and attacked them as standing in the way of all progress. He used very strong language against them a few days ago. Now Karl Rove comes forward and paints them, tars them with this terrible brush, you know, so it seems that what they're doing is they're trying to stymie criticism of their administration by basically questioning the motives and the patriotism of those who oppose them, and that's a tactic we've seen in American politics for a long time. In the past, it's never worked. I don't think it'll work now."
Stewart: "Do you think there's a potential for a blowback effect on the White House, especially when you start talking about 9/11? It's so sensitive."
Gergen: "Well, 9/11 is such a delicate subject, and you will recall that America came together after 9/11. Democrats and Republicans stood together. It was a magic moment for a while, for which the President deserves a lot of credit for his leadership. And then there was a split over Iraq, so I think that it's just historically inaccurate to say that Democrats were unwilling to stand up to the attackers of 9/11. They gave the President full-throated support for his response in Afghanistan. That was a unanimous, essentially unanimous effort, and a united effort. So I just think that on this one, Karl Rove, who has been the mastermind of so much of what's happening in the Bush administration, I think he has gone over the line. I might say it does not appear that it was an off-the-cuff remark. We have so much to do in this country. I think Americans are just sick and tired of the name-calling and the BS that's coming out of some of the political headquarters in Washington."


-- CNN's Inside Politics. Just a few minutes into the Thursday program, the MRC's Ken Shepherd noticed, host Dana Bash announced:
"The President's uber-strategist, Karl Rove, has given Democrats and the White House even more to argue about today. At issue, Rove's characterization of the Democrats response to the September 11 attacks. Our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has more on Rove's remarks and the Democrats demand for an apology."

Following Malveaux's piece, Bash bashed Andy Card who appeared, in the pre-taped interview, from the White House lawn:
"Secretary Card I want to turn to some comments that the President's, your top political advisor Karl Rove made speaking to the New York State Conservative Party last night just a couple of miles from Ground Zero. He said that Democrats called for moderation and restraint after 9/11. And listen to what he said."
Karl Rove: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks an prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
Bash: "Secretary Card is it appropriate for Karl Rove to apparently be politicizing 9/11?"

And: "Secretary Card, Democrats, however, say that this was quite inappropriate. Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader is calling on Karl Rove to apologize and calling on President Bush to repudiate those remarks."


# Previous CyberAlerts which recounted media avoidance of Durbin:

June 17: ABC and CBS led Thursday night with how four backbench Members of Congress held a press conference to publicize their resolution calling for a draw down of troops in Iraq by October of 2006, but neither network uttered a word about Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's outlandish comparison of the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags" or Pol Pot. Only NBC reported Durbin's comparison, but that brief item aired only after Kelly O'Donnell touted the vision of "North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, who today alongside two Democrats and a fellow Republican, proposed what many Americans, weary of the violence in Iraq, appear increasingly eager to see, a withdrawal date for U.S. troops." On ABC, anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced: "We start tonight with the Bush administration and the growing discontent over the war in Iraq. On Capitol Hill today, a resolution was introduced that would require U.S. troops to begin pulling out of Iraq a year from this fall. The resolution was sponsored by a small, bipartisan group of Congressmen, but it is a first." See: www.mediaresearch.org

June 17: Senators Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton made the rounds of the morning shows Thursday to publicize their bill on medical privacy guidelines for hospitals, but none of the ABC, CBS or NBC interviewers took advantage of the opportunity to bring up Dick Durbin's allegation (see item #1 above). On CBS, Julie Chen highlighted how "Republican Congressman Walter Jones once supported the war but today he'll join a group of lawmakers calling for a firm date to withdraw U.S. forces." NBC's Matt Lauer posed a tough question to Frist about how the Terri Schiavo autopsy disproved his claim that "'she does respond,' end quote. Were you wrong in your diagnosis?" But he then cued up Clinton with how Senator Leahy says Guantanamo should be closed and asked: "Does Guantanamo serve a purpose or is it a black-eye for the United States?" www.mediaresearch.org

June 20: NBC's Katie Couric and Tim Russert managed on Friday morning to cover just about everything in the news -- except Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's incendiary comments equating Guantanamo with the Nazi regime and the Soviet gulags. Couric raised with Russert how the "House introduced a resolution that would require President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq beginning next year," how "according to the latest Gallup Poll, 56 percent of Americans say now the war was not worth it, almost 60 percent say the Pentagon should pull some or all of the troops out of Iraq," how "some senior Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for a full investigation of the so-called Downing Street Memo," and she concluded with how "in a rare display of bipartisanship, we saw Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton appear on this program yesterday talking about some legislation that they're pushing in terms of health care." Ignored by Couric: Durbin's charge: "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others." www.mediaresearch.org

June 22: It took an action by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin himself to generate some broadcast network attention for his June 14 remarks on the Senate floor in which the Senate's Assistant Minority Leader described interrogation techniques at Guantanamo and claimed that "you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others." Late Tuesday afternoon Durbin apologized for smearing U.S. servicemen, leading to short items on the ABC and NBC evening shows Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning to a brief item on NBC's Today and a full story on ABC's Good Morning America, the first mentions of the subject on ABC's World News Tonight or the two morning programs. Last Thursday, the NBC Nightly News carried a very brief item. CBS, however, maintained its blackout and didn't utter a word about Durbin on Tuesday's CBS Evening News or Wednesday's Early Show. CNN's Aaron Brown snidely hoped: "You would think now this story would go away, and it probably will in your lifetime." See: www.mediaresearch.org

June 23: The CBS Evening News has yet to inform its viewers about Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's comparison on June 14 of interrogation techniques at Guantanamo to those employed by "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags," nor his June 22 apology, but on Wednesday night, in story on how "there are allegations Christian Evangelicals at the [Air Force] academy have been harassing cadets of other faiths," David Martin highlighted a Republican Congressman's charge which had enraged Democrats. Martin relayed how the "explosive charge of religious intolerance" at the service academy "triggered this heated exchange when Democrat David Obey brought it up on the floor of the House." Viewers saw a clip from Monday of Republican Congressman John Hostettler of Indiana: "Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians." CBS then showed Obey's rebuke: "I move the gentleman's words be taken down." See: www.mediaresearch.org

June 23: MSNBC's Countdown has been a lot more interested in Nazi comparisons by Republicans than Democrats. In May, Keith Olbermann castigated Republican Senator Rick Santorum for criticizing another Senator's Nazi reference and dug out video from 2003 of Santorum "comparing the New York Times to Nazis," but not until Wednesday night of this week did the show mention Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's comparison of treatment of detainees at Guantanamo to how the Nazis behaved. Fill-in host Alison Stewart asserted that Republicans were the hypocrites since "the outcry comes from leaders in the Republican Party whose own members and supporters have used that word, even made it a suffix -- i.e., 'feminazi.'" Stewart reminded viewers that "Durbin is not the only lawmaker to attack a practice or policy by comparing it to Nazis. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?" She then cited three Nazi quotes from GOP Senators before Craig Crawford rued how "the Democrats lost the portrayal of these remarks by Durbin to the spin from the Republican side." See: www.mediaresearch.org

Morning Shows Pounce on Rove, Unlike
Handling of Dem Comments

CBS's Early Show has yet to utter a word about how Senator Dick Durbin's June 14 sliming of servicemen by equating detainee treatment at Guantanamo with Nazis and the Soviet gulag, but on Friday morning CBS highlighted how, as Rene Syler put it, "presidential advisor Karl Rove stirred up a hornet's nest with a speech about liberals and the war on terror." NBC's Today didn't get to Durbin until the morning after his June 21 apology, and then only in a brief item during the 8am news update, but on Friday, Today led with Rove as Matt Lauer trumpeted: "Good morning, President Bush's right hand man under fire. Did Karl Rove go too far in his comments on liberals and 9/11?" Today aired a full story from Kelly O'Donnell before Lauer dedicated most of a session, with White House Counselor Dan Bartlett, to Rove. Lauer read how Senator Harry Reid wants Rove to apologize and resign, and then demanded: "Why won't Karl Rove apologize?" Over on ABC's Good Morning America, which got to Durbin with a full story only the morning after his apology, Bill Weir pressed Bartlett about Rove with two questions. Weir set them up: "Top political advisor Karl Rove certainly stirred controversy with some comments attacking liberals this week. Let's listen to this."

The ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows have yet to pick up on Senator Hillary Clinton's June 6 description of Republicans as "people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

See item #1 above for the full Durbin and Clinton quotes, as well as for much more about coverage of Durbin and Clinton, including by the morning shows (check links to previous CyberAlerts as listed at end of #1.)

The MRC's Brian Boyd, Ken Shepherd and Jessica Barnes provided a rundown of June 24 morning show coverage of Rove.

-- CBS's Early Show. Rene Syler set up the lead item: "First though, we want to get right to our top story. And that is the battle over the war. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in the hot seat in Congressional hearings on Iraq, Thursday. Meanwhile, presidential advisor Karl Rove stirred up a hornet's nest with a speech about liberals and the war on terror. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has details. Bill, good morning."

After reporting on the contentious hearing, Plante noted: "Remarks by senior presidential advisor Karl Rove added to the partisan dispute. Rove blasted liberals for their response to the attacks of 9/11 and he did it in New York City."
Rove: "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
Plante: "Furious Democrats demanded a retraction and apology or failing that, Rove's resignation."
Hillary Clinton: "To have someone like Karl Rove go to New York City and saw what he said is just almost unimaginable."
Plante concluded from the White House: "But don't look for an apology because with support for the war going south, the one area where the President still enjoys majority support of the public is in the fight against terrorism."

A few minutes later, Hannah Storm asked Bartlett, who appeared from the White House lawn, a series of questions about Rumsfeld, the Senate hearing and the situation in Iraq, including: "Senator Ted Kennedy asked the Secretary of Defense yesterday whether or not it was time for him to resign and Mr. Rumsfeld said that he had offered his resignation twice to the President and was rejected. In light of all that's going now, if he offered his resignation today would the President accept?" (Answer: No.)

Her last question: "On a different subject, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has criticized liberals for wanting to offer quote 'therapy and understanding' for our attackers after 9/11. He's taken a lot of heat for this. Does the President agree with Mr. Rove's assessment?"


-- NBC's Today. Matt Lauer teased: "Good morning, President Bush's right hand man under fire. Did Karl Rove go too far in his comments on liberals and 9/11?"

Then after Lauer and fill-in co-host Natalie Morales plugged the upcoming Tom Cruise interview, Lauer returned to Rove: "Then from War of the Worlds to a war of words over 9/11, this week President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, said liberals wanted to offer quote, 'therapy and understanding,' end quote, to terrorists after 9/11. Now some Democrats are calling on him to apologize for that, or, in one case even resign. We're going to get reaction from a top White House official in just a couple of minutes."

Following the news update, with "Rove Under Fire" as the on-screen graphic, Lauer introduced his top story of the morning: "On Closeup this morning, Rove under fire. President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, is taking a lot of heat from Democrats over his comments on liberals and 9/11. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell has more on this. Kelly, good morning."

Kelly O'Donnell, live on the White House lawn: "Good morning, Matt. The administration is doing some damage control after a senior White House official who was speaking at a New York City fundraiser claimed that liberals are soft on terror. Now, that charge isn't new. What is different is how and where it was said."
O'Donnell, videotaped: "Known as the architect of the President's political strategy, Karl Rove shapes much of the White House message. So Democrats took notice when Rove made arguably provocative comments Wednesday about 9/11."
Karl Rove: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks, and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
O'Donnell: "Democrats recoiled and fired back."
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY): "To say that after 9/11, people of one political stripe wanted to fight terror, and the other sided with the terrorists, or sympathized with the terrorists, is beyond the pale."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "To have someone like Karl Rove go to New York City and say what he said is just almost unimaginable."
Clip of Congressmen singing after 9/11/2001: "From the mountains, to the prairies-"
O'Donnell: "Democrats say Rove forgets that both parties united with the President after 9/11, and want action from President Bush now."
Senator John Kerry (D-MA): "He should at very least expect a public apology from Karl Rove, and frankly, he ought to fire him."
O'Donnell, over still shot montage of Michael Moore, Al Franken, and Howard Dean: "But senior officials say Rove was not indicting Democrats, but instead aimed his remarks at what they call liberal extremists."
Scott McClellan: "He was talking about it and telling it like it is when it comes to the different approaches for winning the war on terrorism."
O'Donnell, back live from the White House lawn: "And Democrats say they will continue to press for an apology, but the White House says Karl Rove has no reason to say he's sorry."

Lauer then hit Bartlett: "Let's read you something that Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, said, quote, 'Karl Rove should immediately and fully apologize for his remarks or he should resign. The lesson of September 11th is not different for conservatives, liberals, or moderates.' Why won't Karl Rove apologize?"
Dan Bartlett, Counselor to President Bush: "Well, Matt, I think it's somewhat puzzling why all these Democrats, Harry Reid, Senator Clinton, Chuck Schumer, other of these Democrats who responded forcefully after 9/11, who voted to support President Bush's pursuit in the war on terror, are now rallying to the defense of MoveOn.org, this liberal organization, who put out a petition the days after 9/11 and said we ought not use military force in responding to 9/11. That is who Karl Rove cited in that speech. That is who he was talking to. There was no reason to apologize for the statement that was made."
Lauer wouldn't let go: "But was it a slip of the tongue, then, should he have been more clear. Let me go back to his comments. 'Conservatives saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers.' He didn't say liberal extremists, he said liberals, and you know that that's a term that's applied with a broad brush by Republicans to describe Democrats."
Bartlett: "Matt, two sentences later in that very same speech, his evidence that he points to is a citation of MoveOn.org, a petition they put out publicly in the days right after 9/11. That is specifically who he cited in the speech, that is specifically who he was referencing. And the fact that Democrats feel they have to rally around MoveOn.org and Michael Moore is baffling to me, because you're right, they distanced themselves from that type of rhetoric by voting forcefully to support President Bush's pursuit of the war on terror after 9/11."
Lauer sarcastically asked: "So your message this morning is Democrats accounted for themselves extremely well in the days and months after 9/11."
Bartlett: "Well, the ones that were cited in the package there, they did, they voted to support President Bush. It was MoveOn.org, the ones who came out and said no. So I think Karl was very specific, very accurate in who he was pointing out. And I'm just, it's touched a chord with these Democrats. I'm not sure why, because if they are defending and representing MoveOn.org, that's a whole other matter, but they can defend their own votes because they supported President Bush's actions."
Lauer finally moved on: "Alright, John Bolton, okay. Twice the Democrats have blocked his nomination or a vote on his nomination for UN ambassador. So the Democrats want these documents from the White House. They say it's important they see them before any vote. Will the White House turn them over?"


-- ABC's Good Morning America. Closing an interview with presidential counselor Dan Bartlett in the 7am half hour, usual weekend co-host Bill Weir highlighted: "Top political advisor Karl Rove certainly stirred controversy with some comments attacking liberals this week. Let's listen to this."
Karl Rove: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."
Weir: "Does the President agree with those comments?"
Bartlett: "Karl Rove was just pointing out something that this organization had said and we're glad that members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, have supported this war and will continue to do so in the future."
Weir followed up: "Well, Karl Rove did go on to attack Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, who apologized this week for comments he made likening soldiers at Guantanamo to Nazis or Soviets in gulags, and he said, quote -- we have it here [onscreen] -- that 'Al-Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America's men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.' What does he mean by that?"
Bartlett: "This specific Democrat, Dick Durbin, apologized because I think he recognized exactly the ramifications of his remarks, and that's why he apologized and I think Karl was just pointing that out."

Washington Post Buried Durbin, But Puts
Rove on the Front Page

Like the networks, the Washington Post showed Friday it's a lot more excited about Karl Rove, putting him on Friday's front page, after burying Dick Durbin in short stories inside.

On Friday morning, the MRC's Tim Graham posted this item on National Review's "The Corner" blog:

The Washington Post puts the Karl Rove "controversy" on the front page today. That's funny. Durbin's remarks never made the front page (June 17, A-11; June 18 in briefs, A-5; June 19, A-6; June 22 apology, A-6). This seems like Democratic party news judgment, not an independent person's news judgment. Durbin compared American soldiers to Soviet henchmen in the gulag, and that's less outrageous to the Posties than saying liberals thought therapy was the answer to terror. Durbin was dead serious. Rove was in campaign red-meat humor mode.

The easy answer to the Rove controversy is to simply go look at the public record. Did liberals preach "moderation and restraint" and wonder about all the ways we asked for it? Yes. You can find examples of that all over. Did many Democrats speak like flag-waving patriots in the aftermath? Yes, they did. But Rove wasn't talking about Democrats. He was talking about liberals. It's funny how the media thinks politicians like Hillary or John Kerry shouldn't be painted as "liberals," and yet watch them get very angry (as if they are under attack) when you attack liberals. Any-hoo, Rove's saying liberals are soft on terror -- um, Clinton indicted Osama bin Laden in Manhattan. That WAS his policy. Oh, that and bombing pharmaceutical factories in Sudan.

PS: Maybe the Post is mad because one of their own liberals found America's come-uppance in the attack, and found all kinds of ironic comparisons between the enemy and us. For example:

"Americans felt they had the power, and the right, to act alone, to pursue national interests regardless of the wishes of others. In that spirit...a new administration came to Washington this year determined to pursue its vision of American interests without much regard for the wishes of others, even old allies. The United States, the world's finest monument to the rule of law, has often shied away from international arrangements that might protect our interests. At home we long ago rejected the idea that might makes right; in world affairs we've been much less certain. Now, ironically, we have been attacked by murderers who, through twisted logic and a blinding hatred, seem to have concluded that their might will set us right." -- Washington Post associate editor Robert Kaiser writing in the September 16, 2001 "Outlook" section.

END of Reprint

For the item as posted, with links to some articles: corner.nationalreview.com

Hardball Panel Frets GOP Making National
Security a "Wedge Issue"

Dan Klaidman On Thursday's Hardball on MSNBC, during a discussion about Karl Rove's remarks, Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Klaidman charged that "national security has become a wedge issue for the Republicans in a way that race was in the 1980s." He contended the comments were a diversionary tactic: "They need an enemy, someone that they can demonize as they go forward. And particularly at a time when the President is having problems in terms of his poll numbers and the economy and other issues." Fill-in host David Gregory soon scolded the White House for having Vice President Dick Cheney "say 'let's remember they're all bad people' [at Guantanamo] and when you send such a lightning rod like Karl Rove out to say that the left wanted to subject the 9/11 terrorists to therapy. Doesn't that sort of caricature what are important debates in the country?"

In the second half of the June 23 Hardball, Gregory asked: "One of the things that's happening is that both sides are trying to sharpen this divide between them right now. And a lot of this comes back to the war in Iraq. This was larger than that. This was really the campaign theme of who's tougher, you or me?"
In studio with Gregory, Klaidman echoed: "You know what you've got here, David, you've got in the comments from Dick Durbin and then now the comments from Karl Rove, you've got sort of polar ends of the culture wars when it comes to the military and national security issues. You've got Durbin on the one hand who said our soldiers, compared our soldiers to Nazis and then Karl Rove who is saying that Democrats, liberals, are not tough, they're not strong. National security has become a wedge issue for the Republicans in a way that race was in the 1980's and this is something, you know John is right, Karl Rove is going back to the bank with this one."

A bit later, Gregory wondered: "Are these remarks wrong? I mean, are they just wrong on their face?"
Klaidman responded: "You know, these are, they're caricatures. What Karl Rove is trying to do is create the sort of Republican fantasy of a liberal, a kind of a stereotype liberal who they can, you know, launch a political war against. And they need an enemy, someone that they can demonize as they go forward. And particularly at a time when the President is having problems in terms of his poll numbers and the economy and other issues."

Gregory soon turned to his other in-studio guest, former Time magazine reporter John Dickerson who is now with Slate: "Is there a danger, John, in trivializing, for instance, Guantanamo Bay, the treatment of detainees? When you send Dick Cheney out, the Vice President, to say 'let's remember they're all bad people,' and when you send such a lightning rod like Karl Rove out to say that the left wanted to subject the 9/11 terrorists to therapy. Doesn't that sort of caricature what are important debates in the country?"
John Dickerson, Slate: "Well sure, Rove, there's a challenge when you go out and you strike these big blows and that is that you get, it ends up backfiring. But I think what the White House wants to do is again, and Scott McClellan in his briefing today at the White House used the word 'philosophy' more than a dozen times. They want to take this aperture and blow it way back out. Stop talking about the bombings that are happening on the ground. Let's talk about the big philosophy and who's better to handle that."

-- Brent Baker