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Nine Months After Portending Iraq "Civil War," Schieffer Repeats --2/23/2006


1. Nine Months After Portending Iraq "Civil War," Schieffer Repeats
Nine months ago, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer painted Iraq as spiraling into civil war. It didn't happen then, yet on Wednesday night Schieffer renewed his ominous forecast. But unlike in May, this time his ABC and NBC anchor colleagues expressed the same prospect. Back on May 19 of last year, Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News with this unique warning: "Good evening. I'm Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?" He soon added: "Now there's been a surge of attacks on Shiite and Sunni Muslim clerics, and some fear that Iraq is sliding toward civil war." On Wednesday night, Schieffer teased: "One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it's Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war." On World News Tonight, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas asserted: "One of the great fears of the American mission in Iraq has always been the prospect of civil war. Tonight, those fears are particularly real." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams warned of how "tonight there are new fears that Iraq is on the brink of civil war."

2. On MSNBC, Laura Ingraham Relays Positives She Saw In Trip to Iraq
On Wednesday's Scarborough Country, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough gave time to conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham to relay her experiences talking to American troops and doing her show in Iraq, and what she saw that contrasts with the predominantly negative view of the Iraq War as reported by the mainstream media. Scarborough found that her words confirmed the sentiments of e-mails he has received from U.S. troops in Iraq about how "there is a huge disconnect from what Americans are hearing in the media and what they're seeing on the ground over there," which is "misleading the American people on how things are really going in Iraq." Ingraham began by passing on the "great respect and admiration between American military trainers and their Iraqi counterparts," and the "important cooperation between average Iraqis, who are giving more tips to American and Iraqi forces than ever before."

3. Pacifica Radio Fundraiser of Celeb Readings: Tomei as Sheehan
The hard-left Pacifica Radio is a network of five public radio stations in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Houston. Together, these stations have regularly drawn about a combined $1 million a year in federal money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Perhaps their signature program is "Democracy Now!" with Amy Goodman, which boasts of public TV and radio stations far beyond the Pacifica-owned affiliates. On Monday, they went on one of their pledge drives with a new premium: a DVD of celebrities reading from leftist historian Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States." Celebrities included Danny Glover, Sandra Oh (of Grey's Anatomy), Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen and Marisa Tomei doing a dramatic reading of Cindy Sheehan calling President Bush a "warmonger" and an "evil maniac."

4. Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's Annual "DisHonors Awards"
Tickets are now on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.


Nine Months After Portending Iraq "Civil
War," Schieffer Repeats

Nine months ago, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer painted Iraq as spiraling into civil war. It didn't happen then, yet on Wednesday night Schieffer renewed his ominous forecast. But unlike in May, this time his ABC and NBC anchor colleagues expressed the same prospect. Back on May 19 of last year, Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News with this unique warning: "Good evening. I'm Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?" He soon added: "Now there's been a surge of attacks on Shiite and Sunni Muslim clerics, and some fear that Iraq is sliding toward civil war." From Baghdad, Mark Strassmann backed up Schieffer's thesis: "Tit-for-tat terror seems to be pushing Iraq towards civil war. This man says, 'We are heading toward a catastrophe.'"

On Wednesday night, Schieffer teased: "One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it's Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war." Schieffer also relayed how "some are saying Iraq has been plunged into civil war." On World News Tonight, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas asserted: "One of the great fears of the American mission in Iraq has always been the prospect of civil war. Tonight, those fears are particularly real." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams, just back to Manhattan from two weeks in Torino, warned of how "tonight there are new fears that Iraq is on the brink of civil war."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Schieffer teased the May 19, 2005 CBS Evening News:
"Good evening. I am Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war? We start there tonight."

Schieffer then opened his newscast:
"Since Iraq's first freely elected government took over late last month, not a day has passed without deadly bombings and other attacks. Hundreds have died, including at least a dozen Iraqis and two American soldiers today. Now there's been a surge of attacks on Shiite and Sunni Muslim clerics, and some fear that Iraq is sliding toward civil war with American forces caught in the middle."

For a full rundown of coverage that night, when neither ABC or NBC offered any fears of a civil war, see the May 20, 2005 MRC CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Schieffer's tease was the first runner-up in the "'Baghdad Bob' Was Correct Award" category in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2005: The Eighteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." To play a Real or Windows Media clip of Schieffer's tease, go to the MRC's posting of that award in the 2005 awards issue: www.mrc.org

Fast-forwarding to this week, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the leads of the February 22 ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, all of which began with fears of civil war breaking out in Iraq. We'll start with CBS:

# CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer, in opening teaser: "Good evening. I am Bob Schieffer. One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it's Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war. We start there tonight, and we'll cover these stories..."

Schieffer set up his lead story: "There is no other way to put it. Iraq exploded today. It began when at least three bombs went off inside a Shiite mosque in Samarra that is one of Iraq's holiest shrines. That triggered more than 100 attacks on rival Sunni mosques across Iraq. America's top commander in Iraq, General George Casey, says it is a critical moment in the war, and some are saying Iraq has been plunged into civil war. Our first report comes from Kimberly Dozier in Baghdad."



# ABC's World News Tonight. Co-anchor Diane Sawyer teased: "Tonight, a savage attack on a holy shrine in Iraq pushes the country closer to civil war. What does this mean for the United States?"

Co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas opened the newscast: "Good evening. One of the great fears of the American mission in Iraq has always been the prospect of civil war. Tonight, those fears are particularly real. President Bush and Iraqi leaders are appealing for calm after a brazen and provocative attack. This was the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites. And this is how it looked after insurgents bombed it today. The attack has sparked rage and revenge across the country. The majority Shiites are venting their fury on the minority Sunni Muslims, whom they hold responsible. More than 80 Sunni mosques have been targeted. ABC's David Kerley reports tonight from Baghdad."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams, back in New York City, teased: "Fury in Iraq: After an attack on the golden dome at one of Islam's most sacred shrines, tonight there are new fears that Iraq is on the brink of civil war."

Williams led: "Good evening. As we come on the air back here in New York tonight, we begin with a tense and violent situation half a world away. It is one of the holy sites in all of Islam. But more than that, it's a holy site to Shiite Islam. They're the majority in Iraq, and today, when their mosque was bombed on a site dating back over a thousand years, thousands of them took to the streets. Their anger is directed at the Sunnis, and now the U.S. and others are worried that this could be a kind of turning point in Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. The worst fear is that Iraq is sliding towards civil war. We begin here tonight with NBC's Ned Colt on the urgent situation in Baghdad."

On MSNBC, Laura Ingraham Relays Positives
She Saw In Trip to Iraq

On Wednesday's Scarborough Country, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough gave time to conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham to relay her experiences talking to American troops and doing her show in Iraq, and what she saw that contrasts with the predominantly negative view of the Iraq War as reported by the mainstream media. Scarborough found that her words confirmed the sentiments of e-mails he has received from U.S. troops in Iraq about how "there is a huge disconnect from what Americans are hearing in the media and what they're seeing on the ground over there," which is "misleading the American people on how things are really going in Iraq."

Ingraham began by passing on the "great respect and admiration between American military trainers and their Iraqi counterparts," and the "important cooperation between average Iraqis, who are giving more tips to American and Iraqi forces than ever before."

Scarborough also wondered about the effects of anti-war criticism from politicians like Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin comparing U.S. troops to Saddam Hussein, Nazis and the Khmer Rouge. Ingraham imparted that "you can see it on the Islamic Web sites and Al-Jazeera and so forth, is that some of those comments are obviously used to inflame and incite the worst among the Muslims in Iraq."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a transcript of most of the segment from the Wednesday, February 22 Scarborough Country:

Joe Scarborough: "Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham is back from Iraq where she met with troops and actually broadcast her show from Baghdad. And while much of the mainstream media is only reporting one side of the story, Laura went to see for herself what's happening on the ground. I asked her to tell us what she saw."
Laura Ingraham: "I don't pretend to have gotten the broadest perspective of Iraq, but I know what I saw when I was there. And I was in, kind of, the 30, 40-square mile radius around Baghdad, which obviously is very dangerous, very difficult security situation as we saw with the attacks on yet another historic mosque in Iraq today. So the security situation very difficult. What I did also see were things that weren't reported in the media. The great respect and admiration between American military trainers and their Iraqi counterparts. They write to each other's wives, they get to know each other's families, they go to each other's memorial services, and the dedication on the part of both the Iraqi forces newly trained and their American counterparts really was something I wasn't expecting, and it was really heartening."
Scarborough: "You know, Laura, people listening to you that have only gotten their news from, well, the news, might think that you were trying to whitewash the situation there, but what you're telling me, it's in line with all the e-mails I get from troops that are on the ground over there that say there is a huge disconnect from what Americans are hearing in the media and what they're seeing on the ground over there. Why is there this massive disconnect that, quite frankly, is misleading the American people on how things are really going in Iraq?"
Ingraham: "Well, I think, you know, it's a lot easier to cover the latest IED or the latest car bomb attack or the fact that people like Moqtada Sadr is becoming more politically popular in some quarters. That's not so hard to cover. What is hard to cover is this slow and sometimes difficult, but important cooperation between average Iraqis, who are giving more tips to American and Iraqi forces than ever before, and more difficult maybe to cover the woman that I interviewed, who's 19 years old and employs 40 people in her building maintenance company and puts her life on the line, by the way, Joe, to start a new business in Baghdad. I mean, those stories are out there, and there are some media that are doing a much better job than they were, let's say, even six months ago, in Iraq, including a couple of New York Times reporters doing great pieces about the new Iraqi special forces. But it's a little bit too little too late because I think a lot of people still have a very negative view of what's possible in Iraq, and it's difficult, but I think if we're patient, we're going to see a lot of success."
Scarborough: "I want to ask you about politics, politics in the United States and how much of an impact it has, how much the Iraqi people hear. Like, for instance, when Ted Kennedy compares American troops, as he did after Abu Ghraib, to Saddam's torturers, or when you have the Democratic whip in the Senate, Dick Durbin comparing our troops to Nazis and the Khmer Rouge, do they hear that negativity? Does that have an impact on them over there or is that just something that basically stays in the United States and is part of our white hot debate over this war?"
Ingraham: "What I think ends up happening, Joe, and you can see it on the Islamic Web sites and Al-Jazeera and so forth, is that some of those comments are obviously used to inflame and incite the worst among the Muslims in Iraq and among people who are disenfranchised, angry and maybe not making any money, and this, it's put out there and put out there and put out there. And I think that doesn't do anything to help us, and I can tell you, a consistent comment from our military, and I spent a lot of time talking to the Fourth Mountain Division, 710 Cavalry, and in the Fourth I.D., these men and women consistently said to me, Laura, if you don't support the mission, we don't feel supported as troops because a lot of people say, oh, well, we support the troops but not what they're doing. Well, that's what they're doing. So they don't really get that attempt by some people to say, well, we don't believe in what we're doing in Iraq, but we love you, the troops. That doesn't really work for them."
Scarborough: "Yeah, you know, that's why I actually was one of, I think, one of the few conservatives that loved Joel Stein's column in the L.A. Times because it said, hey, I don't support the mission or the troops, I don't support the troops."
Ingraham: "Yeah, it's honest."
Scarborough: "I thought it was, yeah, I thought it was intellectually honest, unlike let's say, for instance, Howard Dean, who said this: 'The idea that we're going to win this war is just plain wrong.'"
Ingraham: "Yeah, thanks."
Scarborough: "What kind of impact does that have on our soldiers' morale, our Marines' morale over there?"
Ingraham: "Well, they're tough. I mean, I was with the Army and the Air Force for most of the time. And I think that, you know, they are so dedicated to their mission, they're dedicated to their units. They want to make a difference. It's very difficult to be away from their families for so long, and they really want positive encouragement and support. So I wanted to go there and do the first sort of national live radio show from Iraq so they could talk to people calling in, and they loved it. They loved hearing the shoutouts from back home and saying hello, and they asked for letters, they want letters from Americans, just regular letters. That really means a lot to them to get that support. And when they heard it, you could see their eyes light up. And they really love that, Joe. So I think their morale is something they'll say is strong and stalwart. But I got the sense that it does hurt when the negativity is all you hear in the mainstream media."

Ingraham's Web site features a daily journal in which she recounted what she saw and learned during her time in Iraq: www.lauraingraham.com

Pacifica Radio Fundraiser of Celeb Readings:
Tomei as Sheehan

The hard-left Pacifica Radio is a network of five public radio stations in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Houston. Together, these stations have regularly drawn about a combined $1 million a year in federal money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (For a while, conservative Rep. Joel Hefley would push an amendment every year to reduce the federal CPB budget by $1 million in protest.) Perhaps their signature program is "Democracy Now!" with Amy Goodman, which boasts of public TV and radio stations far beyond the Pacifica-owned affiliates. On Monday, they went on one of their pledge drives with a new premium: a DVD of celebrities reading from leftist historian Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States."

Web site for Democracy Now!: www.democracynow.org

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Celebrities included Danny Glover, Sandra Oh (of Grey's Anatomy), Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen, and the one reader that really surprised me: Marisa Tomei doing a dramatic reading of Cindy Sheehan. The Internet Movie Database's page for Tomei: www.imdb.com

On the radio, Tomei, the perky, surprising Oscar winner for My Cousin Vinny, could be heard dramatically reading Cindy Sheehan's speech from August 5, 2005 to the Veterans for Peace convention, obscenities bleeped, of course. Transcript posted here: www.veteransforpeace.org

It included some lines that remind us of the vicious speech the media carefully edited out of their "Peace Mom" coverage (NOTABLE PASSAGES IN ALL CAPS):

But do you think George Bush will interrupt his vacation and go visit the families of those 20 marines that have died in Ohio this week? No, because he doesn't care, HE DOESN'T HAVE A HEART. (Wild applause here from audience for Tomei on that line.) That's not enough to stop his little playing cowboy game in Crawford for 5 weeks.

...So anyway that FILTH-SPEWER AND WARMONGER, George Bush, was speaking after the tragedy of the marines in Ohio, he said a couple things that outraged me. Seriously outraged me. And I know I don't look like I'm outraged, I'm always so calm and everything, that's because if I started hitting something, I wouldn't stop til it was dead. So I can't even start, cause I know how dangerous that would be, but George Bush was talking, and he never mentioned the terrible incident of those marines, but he did say, that the families of the ones who have been killed can rest assured that their loved ones died for a noble cause.

And, he also said, he says this often, and this really drives me crazy, he said that we have to stay in Iraq and complete the mission, to honor the sacrifices of the ones who have fallen.

And I say, why should I want one more mother to go through what I've gone through, because my son is dead. You know what, the only way he can honor my son's sacrifice is to bring the rest of the troops home. To make my son's death count for peace and love, and not WAR AND HATRED LIKE HE STANDS FOR.

I don't want him using my son's death or my family's sacrifice to continue the killing. I don't want him to exploit the honor of my son and others to continue the killing. They sent these honorable people to die, and are so dishonorable themselves.

So, as many of you have heard, and I didn't mean to cause any problems with the convention, but I was writing an email to everybody, and I was so mad, like I said, and I just had this brainstorm, I'm going to Dallas, I don't know where Crawford is. I've been in Texas, Casey was stationed at Fort Hood. I drove from northern California to Fort Hood one time, it took like, 30 hours. And I thought, I could be driving for days to get from Dallas to Crawford!

But I don't care, I'm goin'. And I'm gonna tell them, "You get that EVIL MANIAC out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

...You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the CANCER OF PAX AMERICANA, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.'

Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.

END of Excerpt of Sheehan rant

So if you gave, for example, the station I was listening to, Washington's WPFW, $150, you received a DVD of the Zinn readings. The Howard Zinn Web site has more, including Viggo Mortensen promoting Zinn on Charlie Rose's interview show on PBS: howardzinn.org

Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's
Annual "DisHonors Awards"

Tickets are now on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.

To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

(Just enter a multiple of $250.00 for how many tickets you want; ie: if you want three seats, enter $750.00. You will receive an e-mail from us confirming your order. Tickets will not be mailed, but will be held at the event registration table for you.)

That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.

At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."

Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.

But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.

This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award

If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:

Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.

DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.

Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.

In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.

After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.

END Reprint of Summary of last year's event

To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz, check: www.mediaresearch.org

To read about and watch video from all of the past DisHonors Awards galas, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

For the page on this year's upcoming gala, with an option to buy tickets: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker