2. CBS on Iraqi Shoe-Thrower: 'Sock and Awe;' 'Thrilled Arab World'
3. NY Times: 'Hyperpartisan' Era Begin with Clinton's Impeachment
Nightline anchor Cynthia McFadden and ABC reporter John Donvan on Monday gushed over the possibility that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton as the Senator from New York. McFadden teased the segment by cooing: "So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?"
Donvan repeatedly mentioned that Caroline Kennedy wouldn't have much experience for such a post. But, he didn't seem bothered at all by this, at one point stating: "All she will have at first is that name. But, at least she has kept it the way it was remembered, as part of a story that so many wanted to believe in." Contrast this with the coverage vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received over a perceived lack of experience. Certainly, the media were not as forgiving for a non-Kennedy such as the Governor of Alaska.
Donvan contributed the requisite vapid reminiscing of the Kennedy years. The ABC journalist described Washington D.C. as a place "where, when her dad was the President, we first came to know the little girl, riding his shoulders, saddled up on ponies."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Donvan did, at least, note that some "Kennedys of her generation ran afoul of the law," but he quickly followed up by boosting Caroline Kennedy because she "raised her kids and did work for charity and did the family name proud."
A transcript of the December 15 segment:
Tease from Cynthia McFadden: "Plus, Senator Kennedy? Caroline, that is. President John F. Kennedy's sole surviving child wants Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat. So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?"
MCFADDEN: We turn now to politics and certainly one of the most famous names of the past century, Kennedy. But this Kennedy, Caroline, who told New York Governor David Paterson today that she is indeed interested in being appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, is in many ways a political newcomer. The 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy has, until recently, shunned the spotlight. She does has a law degree and has written several books, though always avoiding politics. But no longer, as John Donvan reports.
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith offered this witty line teasing a story on the Iraq journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush: "Sock and awe. How the Iraqi shoe-thrower is now being hailed as a hero and drawing thousands of supporters." Later, Smith introduced a report about the shoe-thrower: "It's being referred to as the 'toss heard around the world.' In fact, many Iraqis are showering accolades on the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush."
The report, by correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, declared: "As demonstrators across the Arab world called for Muntathar al-Zaidi's release, his stature as a folk hero was growing...al-Zaidi using his shoes his shoes to disrespect America's president has thrilled the Arab world."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Palmer, who offered a similar report during Monday's CBS Evening News, went on to describe al-Zaidi's global popularity: "The internet is brimming with shoe jokes and a Saudi businessman has offered a million dollars for Zaidi's shoe...al-Zaidi's TV station announced today that not only are they going to give his family a house, but that his support extends beyond the Arab world. Another fierce critic of America, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Al Zaidi permission to settle there, whenever, that is, he gets out of jail." Palmer also featured testimony from Shibley Telhami, a Middle East expert from the liberal Brookings Institution: "It's a reminder, and a reminder that we shouldn't forget that the vast majority of people, in the Middle East and around the world, still think Iraq is a huge failure and that the Iraq war was a big mistake."
More on Palmer's Monday Evening News, check the Tuesday CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
On Monday's Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth compared President Bush's unpopularity in Iraq to that of Saddam Hussein. On Tuesday, Palmer promoted the same theme in her report: "al-Zaidi got into the Green Zone wearing his weapons and then threw first one, then the other, at President Bush...But in the Middle East, there is no bigger insult. When Saddam's statue was toppled, this is how Iraqis showed their contempt." Footage of Iraqis beating the head of Hussein's statue with their shoes was shown.
See Monday's Early Show coverage here: newsbusters.org
Here is the full transcript of Palmer's Tuesday report:
New York Times political reporter Peter Baker's front-page story for the Sunday Week in Review, "The Lasting Effects of Political Poison," tried to diagnose the source of today's political polarization, and located a popular liberal cause. Patient Zero of what Baker called the "hyperpartisan age" is, in Baker's telling, President Bill Clinton, victim of impeachment by a Republican Congress in 1998 for mere "prevarications about sex" (as opposed to his perjury).
The text box to Baker's story read: "Since 1998, little taste for impeachment, or for consensus." But did the age of nasty partisanship really begin with Republicans in 1998? How about the vicious personal smears against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991?
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Monday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
An excerpt from Baker's December 14 piece:
Ten years ago this week, Bill Clinton became the first elected president ever impeached by the House of Representatives, the culmination of a sex-and-lies scandal that consumed the nation and fractured the political system. Although he was eventually acquitted by the Senate, the scars run deep even as veterans of that showdown return to power under a new president promising to repair the breach that still divides Washington.
As key members of Mr. Clinton's defense a decade ago, Mr. Podesta, his chief of staff; Mr. Emanuel, his senior adviser; and Mr. Craig, his special counsel, bring the lessons of that searing moment to the table as they now serve in President-elect Barack Obama's inner circle. They learned the imperatives of moving quickly, closing ranks, controlling information and never conceding an inch when the president faces a threat, strategies employed with varying degrees of effectiveness back then.
Those instincts took over again last week with the furor surrounding the alleged scheme by the governor of Illinois to sell Mr. Obama's old Senate seat for personal advantage, perhaps a cabinet position or other favors from the incoming president. Mr. Podesta, now Mr. Obama's transition co-chairman; Mr. Emanuel, the incoming White House chief of staff; and Mr. Craig, tapped to become White House counsel, knew the playbook.
Indeed, except for brief interludes, Washington in the last decade has been governed by a climate of anger and animosity, a modern-day tribalism pitting faction against faction that some trace to the days of the impeachment.
Conservatives would object to omissions in Baker's timeline by arguing that the Democrats fired first. In their view, the bloody battles didn't begin in 1998 but in 1987, during the vicious Supreme Court hearings for Reagan's failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, followed in 1991 by hearings for the first President Bush's Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Both of those conservatives were attacked in revoltingly personal terms by the Democratic left. Baker also ignores the attacks on George W. Bush as a fascist, which began after his close electoral college win in 2000 (before 9-11).
Baker also forwarded the convenient Democratic argument that the Republican-instigated impeachment proceedings took the government's eyes off Al Qaeda, although there's no evidence that the Clinton administration ever had its eye on Al Qaeda in the first place (witness its desultory response to the deadly bombing of the U.S. Navy Destroyer the USS Cole in Yemen, in which 17 U.S. solders were killed).
Former Representative James E. Rogan, Republican of California, who lost re-election, said he had no regrets. "I did what you're supposed to do in politics," he said. "I went home, made the best case I could make for what I did to my constituents and they shellacked me." But he added: "If the question is, knowing what I know now would I have done everything differently, the answer is no. I did my duty as I saw it."
With the passage of time, others have come to a different conclusion. "At the end of the day, the Republicans were hurt more," said Mark Corallo, an aide to Mr. Livingston at the time and later a Justice Department spokesman under President Bush. "We became the party of the moral jihad. I'm as guilty as anyone. We all got wrapped up in it."
Some blame the fixation on impeachment for distracting attention away from larger issues, like the looming threat of Al Qaeda. This was, after all, a battle waged in the luxury of peace and prosperity. Certainly today, in an era of collapsing banks and teetering automakers, terrorist cells and roadside bombs, Mr. Clinton's prevarications about sex seem less profound.
END of Excerpt
For the December 14 piece in full: www.nytimes.com
For the latest on bias in the New York Times, check TimesWatch regularly: www.timeswatch.org
-- Brent Baker