Networks Declare Bush's Vietnam Lesson Hypocritical and Invalid --8/23/2007
2. MSNBC's Barnicle Blurts: 'Has Bush Ever Read a Book on Vietnam?'
3. Crying Mom of Soldier Pleads on CNN for Bush Visit to Vermont
4. NBC's Mitchell Comes to Michelle Obama's Defense on Clinton Slam
5. Cafferty Promotes Poll: 'Liberals Read More than Conservatives'
6. ABC Fails to Wonder Why Canadian Mom Forced to U.S. to Give Birth
7. Letterman's 'Top Ten Signs Osama Bin Laden is Alive and Well'
The broadcast network evening news shows on Wednesday night pounced on President Bush's reminder that the U.S. pullout from Vietnam led to millions being killed, as all three shows featured historians to discredit Bush's parallel to what may happen if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, and NBC portrayed Bush as hypocritical for raising Vietnam after earlier rejecting comparisons to Iraq as a Vietnam-like quagmire. Only ABC, leading into Bush recalling "killing fields," showed a picture of stacks of skulls and ABC also uniquely featured two Vietnam vets who backed Bush's case.
NBC anchor Brian Williams asserted that "after years of rejecting any comparisons to Vietnam, today President Bush invoked the Vietnam War as a way of saying the U.S. must stay the course and not pull out." Reporter Kelly O'Donnell noted that "after years of pushback rejecting the Vietnam-Iraq comparison, today in Kansas City, before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the President made a turn and embraced his own Vietnam analogy." O'Donnell insisted: "Mr. Bush's comments to the VFW today contrast with what he said last year when asked if he saw an Iraq-Vietnam connection." Viewers then got just this very short soundbite from Bush at a June 14, 2006 press conference: "I don't see the parallels." Contrary to NBC's implication, there is no conflict between scorning of a liberal comparison of Iraq to a Vietnam-like quagmire and suggesting other lesson about Vietnam.
The actual exchange at that June of 2006 press conference shows Bush simply rejected the Iraq as a quagmire assessment:
REPORTER: Do you see, as some of your critics do, a parallel between what's going on in Iraq now and Vietnam?
Transcript of the June 14, 2006 news conference: www.whitehouse.gov
O'Donnell proceeded to highlight how "some historians claim his use today of Vietnam was too simple and not accurate" and "Democrat and Vietnam veteran John Kerry calls the President's comparison irresponsible."
On the CBS Evening News, Bill Plante ran a clip of Bush explaining that "one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps,' and 'killing fields.'" But then Plante countered: "Historian Douglas Brinkley says there's no real parallel."
Over on ABC's World News, Martha Raddatz forwarded how "for years, administration critics have likened the war in Iraq to the quagmire in Vietnam, a comparison President Bush has strongly rejected. But today, speaking before a supportive audience of veterans, Mr. Bush found a comparison to Vietnam he embraced." As Raddatz described how "the President asserted that it was the American retreat from Southeast Asia that led directly to the carnage and displacement that followed," viewers saw a zoom out from a picture of a big stack of skulls.
Like NBC and CBS, Raddatz featured an historian who rejected Bush's premise, but unlike the other network reporters Raddatz showcased how "at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington today, veterans offered support to the President." One vet declared: "I think he's right. If we pull out now, it's going to be Vietnam all over again." A second maintained: "We should have kept the politicians out of it, let the generals fight the war."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The White House's text of Bush's August 22 address to the VFW convention in Kansas City, Missouri: www.whitehouse.gov
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide transcripts of the Wednesday, August 22 evening newscast stories:
# NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Two developments today in Iraqi politics today. In this country, a new ad campaign designed to get people to support the war in Iraq was revealed. And after years of rejecting any comparisons to Vietnam, today President Bush invoked the Vietnam War as a way of saying the U.S. must stay the course and not pull out. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with the President.
KELLY O'DONNELL: After years of pushback rejecting the Vietnam-Iraq comparison, today in Kansas City, before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the President made a turn and embraced his own Vietnam analogy.
PLANTE: Speaking today to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mr. Bush offered a new rationale for staying the course: Don't let Iraq become another Vietnam.
PLANTE: But if things don't get better soon in Iraq, members of Congress aren't going to care as much about past history as they are about future elections. Bill Plante, CBS News, the White House.
FILL-IN ANCHOR ELIZABETH VARGAS: President Bush launched an aggressive new defense of his Iraq policy today. Facing a showdown with Congress over the war, the President urged perseverance. He told veterans in Kansas City that America's withdrawal from Vietnam was a mistake with tragic consequences, and that leaving Iraq now would be just as disastrous. Our chief Washington correspondent, Martha Raddatz, reports from Washington.
MARTHA RADDATZ: For years, administration critics have likened the war in Iraq to the quagmire in Vietnam, a comparison President Bush has strongly rejected. But today, speaking before a supportive audience of veterans, Mr. Bush found a comparison to Vietnam he embraced.
On Wednesday night's Hardball both substitute host Mike Barnicle and MSNBC's David Shuster took pot shots at George W. Bush over his stated concern about Iraq becoming a Cambodian-like massacre if the U.S. leaves too early. Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, Barnicle blurted: "Do you think the President has ever read a book about Vietnam?" Shuster sneered: "The mere mention of Vietnam and arguing for more sacrifice in Iraq is fraught with potential political peril. After all, President Bush didn't serve in Vietnam and Vice President Cheney received multiple deferments, telling reporters, a few years ago, that in the 1960s he had other priorities than military service."
Though during his Wednesday speech to the VFW Bush used the aftermath of Vietnam to warn of the mass deaths which could follow a withdrawal from Iraq, Shuster claimed "the President's argument today is at odds with his view of the Iraq war a few years ago" when Bush, in fact, was just rejecting the comparison of Iraq to a Vietnam-like quagmire. Shuster recalled: "A year into the war, as the insurgency was growing and the U.S. death toll was rising." He then a played a clip of a reporter asking Bush: "How do you answer the Vietnam comparison?" Bush answered: "Yeah, I think the analogy is false. I also, happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and sends a wrong message to the enemy."
[This item is adapted from a Wednesday night posting, by Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following is Shuster's full report, followed by Barnicle's belittling of Bush as they took place on the August 22 Hardball:
David Shuster: "35 years after America was torn apart by the 58,000 U.S. troops killed in the Vietnam War, today President Bush reopened the wounds. He argued to veterans in Kansas City that the United States got out of Vietnam too soon."
[On screen headline: "Vietnam: The Sequel?"]
Mike Barnicle: "First up, Vietnam: Apocalypse Today, the sequel. In a speech to the VFW today, President Bush compared the U.S. war in Iraq to a previous controversial U.S. war fought in Southeast Asia -- Vietnam. You might remember that, boys and girls. Drawing a comparison between the two wars, Bush is arguing that an early pull-out from Iraq will create agony for millions of innocent people, just like the millions who suffered when United States forces pulled out of Vietnam in 1975. So the question is, is Iraq Vietnam all over again and what does the President have to gain by opening old wounds? And I'd add a third question there, and we'll start with Joan Walsh. Do you think the President has ever read a book about Vietnam?"
In his introduction to King's piece, host Wolf Blitzer highlighted how Vermont "was the first state to outlaw slavery...the last state to get a WalMart, and it is the only state in the union not to have been visited by President Bush." Blitzer then asked King, "Is this a snub or an oversight?" King replied, "I think you can safely say 'snub,' Wolf," and detailed how the President has visited Missouri more than 30 times since his election, and how in 27 consecutive presidential elections between the 1850s and 1960, Vermont voted Republican.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
King's report played with the caption, "Vermont, Forgotten State." The word "forgotten" was also used by King at the beginning of his report: "Yet Vermont is the forgotten place in the crowded travelogue of George W. Bush, the only state he's failed to visit in his presidency."
King then cut to the "self-described socialist" U.S. Senator for the state, Bernie Sanders, who, as King put it, "all but dares Mr. Bush to visit, saying he would benefit from sitting down with his critics whether the issue be Iraq, the economy, or climate change." Sanders claimed in one soundbite from the report that "this President will probably go down in history as being the least popular President in modern history of this country. He should go forward and find out why that is so." King juxtaposed Sanders with a clip from Garrison Nelson, a political science professor at the University of Vermont, who saw "no upside" to a visit from the President: "It's a photo opportunity he does not need. I cannot imagine any assemblage in the State of Vermont that would give him an unalloyed positive reception."
After a clip from Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a "throwback to the moderate breed of Republicanism that once thrived across New England," King then played clips from his interview of Regina Gilbert. The full transcript from this portion of King's August 22 report:
REGINA GILBERT: He [President Bush] asked something that surprised me. 'Does it ever get easier?' And I just looked at him, and I looked at my husband, and I said absolutely not. I said this is a hole in my heart and it's always going to be there.
Perhaps King didn't realize it, but Regina Gilbert expressed the wish of many military families concerning the Iraq war, that "I want to hear something good about it." But don't expect too much of that kind of reporting on the war from CNN.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded Matt Drudge and other "Internet writers" for making much ado about nothing over Michelle Obama's "If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House" presumed slam of Hillary Clinton. On Wednesday's Today show, Mitchell ran the aforementioned quote from Sen. Barack Obama's wife and then proceeded to wag her finger at Drudge and other "Internet writers" everywhere: "But this time her words caught the attention of a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who said, 'It could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.' And before you could say Drudge Report, the story was an Internet headline: 'Obama Wife Slams Hillary.' When reporters raised it with Barack Obama, on a conference call, he tried to point out his wife was talking about her own family, not the Clintons."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday morning, on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Later in the piece Mitchell, who has a history of looking down her nose at those outside of the mainstream media, brought on Chuck Todd as he and Mitchell essentially told bloggers to simmer down:
Mitchell: "In fact, if the Internet writers took a deep breath they might have listened to Michelle Obama's entire thought."
For more of Mitchell deriding those outside of the mainstream media, check the July 10, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
The following is the full Mitchell piece as it aired in the 7am half-hour of the August 22 Today show:
Matt Lauer: "Now to Decision 2008. The candidates' spouses have played a big role in the campaign so far and now some people are wondering if Barack Obama's wife, recently, took a very subtle swipe at the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that story. Andrea, good morning to you."
[On screen headline: "Family Values, Did Obama's Wife Slam Clinton?"]
Andrea Mitchell: "Well good morning, Matt. It did have all the makings of a sexy, political story. Was the wife of Hillary Clinton's chief challenger, slyly hinting at past well-known problems in the Clinton marriage? Except that from all accounts, the so-called personal attack may be chiefly in the eye of the beholder. She is Barack Obama's secret weapon. In her standard stump speech, confiding how she and her husband balance their family life with the rigors of a presidential campaign. As in this Iowa stop last week, she frequently delivers a folksy lesson in Obama family values."
CNN's Jack Cafferty, who a day before thinly-disguised his support for the impeachment of President Bush, on Wednesday couldn't resist talking about the recent AP/Ipsos poll which found liberals read more books than conservatives, though by a very slight margin of one book -- nine to eight books with moderates reading only five in the past year. His "Cafferty File" question, during the 4pm EDT hour of The Situation Room, presumed the relevance of this poll finding: "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?" Most of the e-mailed responses Cafferty later read came from conservatives, including one who colorfully suggested: "Because conservatives are out working for a living while liberals are living off the dole in one form or another and have plenty of time to read."
PDF of some results from the Ipsos Public Affairs survey: www.ipsos-na.com
The full transcript of Jack Cafferty's August 22 segment:
I have nothing that pertains to the weather, but here is an interesting little factoid. Liberals read more books than conservatives. An AP/Ipsos poll found that while 22% of liberals and moderates say they have not read a single book in the last year, the number jumps up to 34% for conservatives. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that 1 in 4 Americans say they haven't read any books in the last year, but that's not what we're here to discuss. The poll found that among people who read at least one book a year, liberals typically read nine books; conservatives eight; moderates, five.
The head of a book publishing industry trade group offers this explanation. Pat Schroeder says, 'The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a few slogans. Things like no new taxes.' No surprise here. Pat Schroeder was a formerly liberal member -- a former member of Congress who is a liberal. She says liberals can't say anything is less than a whole paragraph. Mary Matalin, who is a Republican strategist, says that conservatives don't read less. They just get their information from different places, such as magazines or the Internet.
So here's the question. "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?"
I guess Cafferty should be given credit for giving both sides of the spin surrounding this poll.
The e-mail answers to his question that Cafferty read at the end of the 4pm hour were mostly from conservatives. Hugh in Vero Beach, Florida responded: "Speaking as a conservative, can you really believe a conclusion that was most likely researched and concluded by liberals?" Paul from Toledo Ohio wrote: "Liberals read more books because they read fiction only. Conservatives are too busy reading lengthy non-fiction dealing in facts!" A viewer named Brian opined: "Because conservatives are out working for a living while liberals are living off the dole in one form or another and have plenty of time to read."
The only really left-wing response that Cafferty read came, as you might expect, from San Francisco. Ron from that liberal enclave claimed: "Unlike conservatives, liberals tend to get all the information we can to make up our own minds, and yes, that includes reading books. I can't imagine having Rush 'Windbag,' Ann Coulter, and/or the rest of the residents of 'Wingnutia' telling me what to think. The idea of blindly buying ideology and not challenging what you're told is disgusting."
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo completely glossed over the health care implications of a Canadian mother forced to give birth in the United States, not her own nation, to identical quadruplets. According to Cuomo, Karen Jepp and her husband, the new parents of four girls, had to be flown 300 miles from Calgary to Montana on August 16 because "every neo-natal unit in their country was too crowded to handle four preemie births." Apparently, it didn't occur to Cuomo to wonder why all the hospitals in Canada, a nation with universal health care, were full. During a subsequent "exclusive" interview with Jepp and her husband J.P., the co-host continued with this unquestioning explanation: "Towards the very end, it gets even more complicated....You know, they're not ready for them at the hospital. Your doctors have to make calls. You have to fly 300 miles to have them." In fact, The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, reported that Canada's "stretched" national health-care system means "expectant mothers going into labour before 32 weeks gestation (when babies need the highest level of neonatal intensive care) are often sent by air ambulance to hospitals in Washington, Montana, Michigan and New York."
Considering that back in June, Good Morning America co-anchor Diane Sawyer announced "a commitment to take a hard look at the health insurance industry," it seems odd that circumstances, which forced a very pregnant mother to fly to another country and give birth, would be of such little interest to Cuomo. See NewsBusters: newsbusters.org
[This item was adapted from a Wednesday afternoon posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An August 17 Globe and Mail article disclosed:
A Calgary mother was sent to the United States to give birth to a rare set of identical quadruplets because no neonatal intensive care unit in Canada had enough beds for them....
Ms. Jepp's case highlights the increasing tendency for Canadian women with high-risk pregnancies to be sent to the United States to give birth, a development some attribute to an increase in the number of premature births, a nursing shortage and a stretched health-care system.
With no beds available in their home province or nearby, expectant mothers going into labour before 32 weeks gestation (when babies need the highest level of neonatal intensive care) are often sent by air ambulance to hospitals in Washington, Montana, Michigan and New York.
In Alberta, at least five pregnant women were transferred to Montana this year...
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.theglobeandmail.com
A partial transcript of the August 22 interview with the Jepp couple via satellite from Calgary, Alberta, which aired at 8:07am:
Chris Cuomo: "Okay. We all know that a child is an overwhelming blessing for any parent. But imagine quadruplets, identical quadruplets. That's a one-in-15-million blessing and that's what the Jepp family now has. Talk about a difficult delivery. This one took three plane trips and two countries. Here's the story. It took just four minutes on a Sunday afternoon to change the life of the Jepp family forever. These four, tiny miracle babies are identical quadruplets, one of just 50 sets of identical quads in the world. And these little girls, Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia, were conceived without the help of fertility drugs. In Karen Jepp's case, one egg split three times to produce four babies. Typically, there are four placentas. But in this rare case, there was just one."
Cuomo: "Now, so interesting that on top of all the stress you must have been feeling to deal with the fact that quads were coming, towards the very end, it gets even more complicated. You can't, you know, they're not ready for them at the hospital. Your doctors have to make calls. You have to fly 300 miles to have them. How did you cope with all of that?"
From the August 22 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Osama Bin Laden is Alive and Well." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. FBI has indicted him for funding an illegal goatfighting operation
9. On recent Al Qaeda audiotape, he says some kind words about Merv Griffin
8. The new US Weekly has photos of him in a hot tub with Britney
7. The congratulatory phone call to Barry Bonds
6. He's booked with Regis and Susan Lucci at Foxwoods Resort & Casino
5. His MySpace page was updated this morning
4. Starring in a new series about a bunch of misfits who try to rob Ayman Al-Zawahiri
3. Al Jazeera reports he's endorsing Mitt Romney for President
2. Afghanistan moviegoers report a 7-foot bearded guy laughing his nuts off at "Superbad"
1. Seen house hunting in L.A. with wife Posh Bin Laden
-- Brent Baker