2. CNN: McCain Victories Show Limbaugh's 'Diminishing' Influence
3. ABC Derides 'Not-So-Big Time' Celebrities Backing GOP Candidates
4. Flashback: 20th Anniversary of Dan Rather's Ambush of VP Bush
5. 'Top Ten Barack Obama Campaign Promises,' Presented by Obama
Instead of pressing John McCain to defend himself to Republican primary voters in the wake of a New York Times editorial endorsing him which praised McCain for his more liberal views on global warming, campaign finance and illegal immigration, during Thursday night's GOP presidential debate on MSNBC, Brian Williams demanded Rudy Giuliani respond to the denigration of him by the left-wing newspaper -- which Williams called "your home town paper" -- as a "vindictive man" with a "breathtaking" level of "arrogance and bad judgment." To audience applause, Giuliani pointed out that if he ever "did anything the New York Times suggested...I wouldn't be considered a conservative Republican."
Concluding the 97-minute debate from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Williams promised questions about "how you counter the attacks against you from your opponents," presumably those on stage, and Williams did hit Mitt Romney on his flip-flops and McCain on his age. But leading off with Giuliani shortly before 10:30pm EST, Williams pursued:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The January 25 New York Times editorial endorsing Hillary Clinton: www.nytimes.com
An excerpt from the praise for McCain in the shorter January 25 editorial endorsing the Arizona Senator:
....Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.
We have shuddered at Mr. McCain's occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle. He was an early advocate for battling global warming and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate. A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country's treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character....
Mr. McCain stood up for the humane treatment of prisoners and for a ban on torture. We said then that he was being conned by Mr. Bush, who had no intention of following the rules. But Mr. McCain took a stand, just as he did in recognizing the threat of global warming early. He has been a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation, just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.
That doesn't make him a moderate, but it makes him the best choice for the party's presidential nomination.
END of Excerpt
For the entire editorial: www.nytimes.com
BRIAN WILLIAMS: These questions are designed to speak to who you all are in terms of how you counter the attacks against you from your opponents, the weaknesses your opponents among others perceive. Mayor Giuliani, we're going to begin with you. In tomorrow morning's editions of the New York Times they are out with their endorsements in the New York primary. Senator Clinton on the Democratic side, Senator McCain on the Republican side. In tonight's lead editorial, they say, quote: "The real Mr. Giuliani, who many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive vindictive man. His arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking." How can you defend against that in your home town paper? How have you changed as a man since this portrait?
CNN correspondent Carol Costello's report on Thursday's Situation Room would have you believe that Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio have "lost influence," and the supposed proof is John McCain's success up to this point in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
During the report, which aired at the bottom of the 5pm Eastern hour, Costello proclaimed that Republican primary voters have "betrayed" conservative talk show hosts, and the evidence that this is the case is John McCain's primary victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She used a soundbite from former Republican Congressman Bob Barr to reenforce her point. Barr opined that McCain's success is "a sign that no one or two talk show hosts really wield the influence that they did two or three [election] cycles ago."
Costello then brought up the fracture in the Republican Party and gave two possible explanations for it. She first mentioned the supposed theory of the conservative "talkers," who blame McCain for the divide, due to his "covert liberalism." She then juxtaposed this with Bob Barr's theory that it's President Bush's fault that there's a divide in the GOP.
Another supposed sign of conservative talkers' "diminishing power" is "John McCain himself," who, according to Costello, is "unfazed" by their criticisms. She also pointed to McCain's recent appearance on the cover of Time magazine.
At the conclusion of her report, Costello repeated an alternate theory for McCain's success, made by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. "Hugh Hewitt believes McCain is doing so well because he's a darling of the liberal media, including CNN....He believes we've put McCain on top, but thinks Mitt Romney will prevail in the end."
Costello did not mention several details involving McCain's victories. Both New Hampshire and South Carolina were open primary states where McCain struggled with the Republican vote. In New Hampshire, McCain won less of the primary vote this time around than he did in the 2000 primary, and in South Carolina, much of the conservative vote was split between Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, who has now dropped out of the race.
By ignoring the above and by pointing to Time magazine's coverage of McCain, Costello is actually proving once again that McCain is truly the liberal media's Republican darling.
The full transcript of Carol Costello's report from the January 24 The Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER: Conservative radio hosts talked up a storm back when the Bush administration was riding high. But now the possibility, possibility that John McCain could become the GOP standard-bearer is almost enough to leave some of them speechless. Let's go to Carol Costello. She's watching this story for us. So, what's going on, Carol?
CAROL COSTELLO: Well, what's going on -- some believe those radio talk show hosts have lost influence, in large part because of who is running in the Republican primary, and who happens to be hot right now.
Good Morning America correspondent John Berman filed a snide report on Thursday's show that mocked the "not-so-big time," occasionally C-list, celebrities backing Republican presidential candidates. Berman framed the segment as a "bizarro awards show" (see picture at right in the posted CyberAlert) and it played out like a bad Saturday Night live sketch. The ABC correspondent sarcastically mused: "Best portly retiree with a big mustache? Backing John McCain, Wilford Brimley."
Clearly, Berman's point was that the "cool kids" are behind the Democrats. Of another nominee, he added: "Best estranged relative of Angelina Jolie? The winner? John Voight, backing Rudy Giuliani." Mentioning Chuck Norris's support for Mike Huckabee and the action star's explanation of why he didn't choose McCain, Berman derided: "[Norris] also prevailed in the category of most creative math skills, trying to say John McCain is old."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At no point did he mention the "not-so-big time" celebrities who have endorsed 2008 Democratic contenders. Does anyone believe that Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory actor Gene Wilder will significantly help Barack Obama? And as far as "bizarro" endorsements, Berman forgot to mention that Hillary Clinton has won the affection of porn star Jenna Jameson.
Finally, there are big name celebrities that have endorsed Republicans in 2008. Movie and television stars such as Kelsey Grammer and Adam Sandler are backing Rudy Giuliani. While promoting the new Rambo film, Sylvester Stallone threw his weight behind John McCain.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:18am on January 24:
DIANE SAWYER: Okay, we couldn't resist. The celebrity endorsement, the celebrities out on the campaign trail this time around and this presidential race seem a little different from years before. And ABC's John Berman decided to track them and tell us about how they got there.
JOHN BERMAN: Hollywood is abuzz over which big time celebrities will win Academy Awards. George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett. Meanwhile, the political world is abuzz over which not-so-big time celebrity is backing which presidential candidate. Imagine the bizarro awards show you could have there. In the category of best black belt endorsement: The winner, Chuck Norris backing Mike Huckabee.
Twenty years ago today, January 25, 1988, a Monday that year, Dan Rather had his infamous showdown with then-Vice President George Bush in which Rather, in the hostile interview that went much longer than planned, lectured the presidential candidate over the Iran-Contra scandal: "You and the President were being party to sending missiles to the Ayatollah of Iran. Can you explain how -- you were supposed to be the, you are, you're an anti-terrorist expert! Iran was officially a terrorist state....You made us hypocrites in the face of the world! How could you sign on to such a policy?!"
The MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me of the anniversary and will be posting a NewsBusters
blog entry on Friday morning with a lengthy click-and-play Flash video excerpt from the January 25, 1988 CBS Evening News showdown.
In the meantime, for a 30-second excerpt via click-and-play format (a clip which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert), scroll down to "Rather: The Ambush that Failed" in the MRC's 20th Anniversary edition of Notable Quotables posted in October: www.mrc.org
Get the Flash Player to see this player.|
From that spot you'll also see a nearly seven minute-long Windows Media file you can download (just 4.2 MB) and play of the most contentious portion of the confrontation. Direct address for the wmv file: www.mediaresearch.org
The same Windows Media video is also downloadable from: www.mediaresearch.org
Direct address for the Real video file (4.9 MB) of the nearly seven minute-long clip: www.mediaresearch.org
Direct address for the MP3 audio (1.5 MB): www.mediaresearch.org
From the January 24 Late Show with David Letterman, as presented from a remote location by Barack Obama, the "Top Ten Barack Obama Campaign Promises." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
From this page (see the little video camera icon just beneath the list's title) you can watch video of Obama presenting the list: www.cbs.com
10. "To keep the budget balanced, I'll rent the Situation Room for sweet sixteens"
9. "I will double your tax money at the craps table"
8. "Appoint Mitt Romney Secretary of Lookin' Good"
7. "If you bring a gator to the White House, I'll wrassle it"
6. "I'll put Regis on the nickel"
5. "I'll rename the tenth month of the year 'Barack-tober'"
4. "I won't let Apple release the new and improved iPod the day after you bought the previous model"
3. "I'll find money in the budget to buy Letterman a decent hairpiece"
2. "Pronounce the word nuclear, nuclear"
1. "Three words: Vice President Oprah"
-- Brent Baker