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Olbermann Compares Bush Supporters to Lincoln's Opponents --9/8/2005


1. Olbermann Compares Bush Supporters to Lincoln's Opponents
On Wednesday night's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, one night after he scathingly attacked President Bush's handling of hurricane relief, made what seemed to be a bizarre comparison between those who approve of Bush's handling of disaster relief and those who voted against Lincoln's re-election in 1864. Olbermann relayed his belief that the current political climate was a "re-creation" of the "mindset of the national politics of the year 1864," when 45 percent of American voters voted for Democratic candidate George McClellan, "whose campaign platform consisted entirely of promising to immediately end the war, let the South secede, and let slavery continue there." Considering the recent criticisms made by some that President Bush was insensitive to hurricane victims trapped in New Orleans because most were black, Olbermann's choice of McClellan, a man who ran on a pro-slavery platform, suspiciously looks like an accusation that Bush's supporters similarly are insensitive to the black population, or, at least, are supporting a man who is just as obviously undeserving of support as was McClellan. with audio

2. Unlike Media, Public Holds Local Officials, Not Bush, Responsible
ABC's Charlie Gibson announced at the top of Wednesday's Good Morning America that a new Gallup poll found that 42 percent assessed Bush's response to the hurricane as bad or terrible versus 35 percent who called it good or great. Later in the day, CNN's Bill Schneider repeated that finding, but on The Situation Room Schneider relayed some telling numbers that Gibson skipped which show how the public does not agree with the news media. As to who is responsible for the problems in New Orleans, Schneider passed on the results: "The number one answer is nobody. It's an act of God. After that, 25 percent hold state and local officials responsible for the problems, 18 percent say federal agencies. Only 13 percent say President Bush is most responsible for the problems."

3. Gibson Presses Sen. Clinton to Raise Taxes, Frets She Won't Agree
Six days after ABC's Diane Sawyer pressed President Bush about raising taxes, her colleague, Charles Gibson, also exploited the hurricane disaster to raise the subject of a tax hike with Senator Hillary Clinton. Following his Wednesday interview on Good Morning America with Clinton, Gibson related how "just before we went on the air" he "asked her given the fact that it's going to cost so much for recovery and with what we're spending in Iraq whether we're not going to have to raise taxes." Gibson fretted: "You can't get a politician to say definitively we're going to have to raise taxes. And so, she didn't." Last Thursday, Sawyer related how after her White House session with Bush, "I also asked him about this idea that the whole economy could be torqued by this in such a way. And I said, 'will you call for tax increases, in fact, if that's required?'"

4. CBS's Smith Worries "Church Families" Will "Proselytize" Victims
In an otherwise apolitical interview in the final half hour of Tuesday's Early Show with Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist pastor and best-selling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, Harry Smith worried that some Hurricane Katrina victims taken into the homes of church parishioners might be forced to attend church in order to get a decent meal.


Olbermann Compares Bush Supporters to
Lincoln's Opponents

On Wednesday night's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, one night after he scathingly attacked President Bush's handling of hurricane relief, made what seemed to be a bizarre comparison between those who approve of Bush's handling of disaster relief and those who voted against Lincoln's re-election in 1864.


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Olbermann relayed his belief that the current political climate was a "re-creation" of the "mindset of the national politics of the year 1864," when 45 percent of American voters voted for Democratic candidate George McClellan, "whose campaign platform consisted entirely of promising to immediately end the war, let the South secede, and let slavery continue there." Considering the recent criticisms made by some that President Bush was insensitive to hurricane victims trapped in New Orleans because most were black, Olbermann's choice of McClellan, a man who ran on a pro-slavery platform, suspiciously looks like an accusation that Bush's supporters similarly are insensitive to the black population, or, at least, are supporting a man who is just as obviously undeserving of support as was McClellan.

Olbermann then went on to recite Gallup poll results that shed light on whom the public blames for disaster relief problems, but excluded the finding that only 13 percent of those polled believe Bush was "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane." He instead distorted the results by combining those who blame Bush -- 13 percent -- and those who blame federal agencies -- 18 percent -- to say that 31 percent blame "the President or federal agencies."

[This item was written by MRC news analyst Brad Wilmouth who posted it overnight on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog.]

The September 7 CyberAlert recounted: Olbermann's arrogant hypocrisy. On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann misidentified Tom DeLay as the House "Minority" Leader, an error for which he soon conceded that "I'd like to give you a good explanation for it, but there wasn't one. I just kicked it." But the night before, Olbermann had launched a five-minute diatribe which pegged great meaning to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff's miscue that "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater." Olbermann thundered: "Well, there's your problem right there. If ever a slip of the tongue defined a government's response to a crisis." Olbermann soon provided ridicule: "Anybody seen the Vice President lately, the man whose message this time last year was 'I will protect you, the other guy might let you die'? I don't know which 'we' Mr. Bush meant. For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week." Olbermann also suggested Bush looked "like a 21st century Marie Antoinette."

See: www.mediaresearch.org

Olbermann's September 7 recitation: "It would seemingly be impossible to re-create the mindset of the national politics of the year 1864. But consider the fact that in the middle of the Civil War, just after the capture of Atlanta, with victory, as it proved, no more than five months away, with only people in the Northern states eligible to cast a ballot, with all that, 45 percent of all voters still voted against the Republican, Abraham Lincoln, and for the Democrat, George McClellan. McClellan, whose campaign platform consisted entirely of promising to immediately end the war, let the South secede, and let slavery continue there, 45 percent, 1.8 million out of 4 million voters said yes to that.
"Our third story in the Countdown: Well, maybe it isn't impossible to re-create the mindset of the national politics of the year 1864. The latest Gallup poll results are in. Only 10 percent of Democrats give the President a positive rating for his response to the hurricane, and only 10 percent of Republicans give the President a negative rating for his response to the hurricane. Taken as a whole, 10 percent of the country thinks Mr. Bush did great, 25 percent good, 21 percent neither good nor bad, 18 percent bad, 24 percent terrible. Cut out the middle, that's 35 percent good or great and 42 percent bad or terrible. In that black-and-white fashion, he gets about the same blame as everybody else. How'd the federal agencies do? 35 percent good or great, 42 percent bad or terrible, exactly the same as the President. How about state and local officials? 37 percent good or great, 35 percent bad or terrible. Who's most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane? 'No one to blame' was the clear winner with 38 percent. 'The President or federal agencies' 31 percent, 'state or local officials' 25 percent.
"And one old number, though, for contrast, how the President was perceived shortly after the great crisis of 9/11. Gallup poll closing Friday September 22, 2001, 90 percent approved of how he was doing his job, six percent disapproved. Continuing the theme of bipartisanship, 'bi' as in goodbye. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader of the Senate, Bill Frist, meeting the media this afternoon to announce a joint House-Senate bipartisan investigation into the preparation and response to Katrina, but, when reached for comment, the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Republicans have not contacted the Democrats at all about any investigation. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, the thought may have already crossed your mind: Is this disconnect between the two sides really political or have the members of each party simply begun to inhabit separate and mutually exclusive physical planes of existence? You know, like separate universes?"

To comment on Olbermann's take, go to the NewsBusters.org node where this item was first posted: newsbusters.org

Unlike Media, Public Holds Local Officials,
Not Bush, Responsible

ABC's Charlie Gibson announced at the top of Wednesday's Good Morning America that a new Gallup poll found that 42 percent assessed Bush's response to the hurricane as bad or terrible versus 35 percent who called it good or great. Later in the day, CNN's Bill Schneider repeated that finding, but on The Situation Room Schneider relayed some telling numbers that Gibson skipped which show how the public does not agree with the news media. As to who is responsible for the problems in New Orleans, Schneider passed on the results: "The number one answer is nobody. It's an act of God. After that, 25 percent hold state and local officials responsible for the problems, 18 percent say federal agencies. Only 13 percent say President Bush is most responsible for the problems."

Gibson asserted about a minute into the September 7 GMA, over a graphic with matching numbers: "There have been many questions about the government's response to the disaster at all levels. This morning, a new Gallup poll shows Americans have mixed feelings about President Bush's response. Forty-two percent calling it 'bad' or 'terrible' and 35 percent calling it 'good' or 'great'. Everyone divided."

On CNN's The Situation Room, the MRC's Megan McCormack noticed, Bill Schneider provided a fuller rundown of the CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll. Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked in the 4:30pm EDT half hour:
"Are Americans pointing fingers when it comes to the government's response to the hurricane? We polled across the country over the past two days and our senior political analyst Bill Schneider is joining us now live with some results. So, what do Americans think about the President's response to Katrina, first of all, Bill?"
Bill Schneider: "Well, the President does not get high marks, but not as negative as you might think given the torrent of criticism. 35 percent say he's done a good job, 42 percent say he's done a bad job. And this response is intensely partisan. Republicans overwhelmingly give the President positive marks, Democrats overwhelmingly say he's done a bad job. So, there's no evidence that the country is coming together behind the President in this crisis."
Blitzer: "What about the state and local officials? How do they emerge from this latest poll?"
Schneider: "Mixed reviews. 37 percent say they did a good job, 35 bad, but there is no partisanship here. Democrats and Republicans give state and local officials that same mixed assessment. Ask about President Bush, and you find a country divided, but the farther you get from the President, the less you find any division."
Blitzer: "So, who do Americans hold responsible for the problems that erupted?"
Schneider: "That's what we asked, and the number one answer is nobody. It's an act of God. After that, 25 percent hold state and local officials responsible for the problems, 18 percent say federal agencies. Only 13 percent say President Bush is most responsible for the problems."
Blitzer: "Do Americans want someone to be fired?"
Schneider: "No, they do not. Despite all the criticism of federal agencies and bureaucrats, people do not think any top official in the federal emergency management should be fired. The public doesn't seem to be in a mood for any recriminations right now except for one thing, gas prices. Nearly 80 percent say they think oil companies are taking advantage of the situation by charging unfair prices. That is where people see wrongdoing."

The poll results are posted online at: www.cnn.com

Gibson Presses Sen. Clinton to Raise
Taxes, Frets She Won't Agree

Six days after ABC's Diane Sawyer pressed President Bush about raising taxes, her colleague, Charles Gibson, also exploited the hurricane disaster to raise the subject of a tax hike with Senator Hillary Clinton. Following his Wednesday interview on Good Morning America with Clinton, Gibson related how "just before we went on the air" he "asked her given the fact that it's going to cost so much for recovery and with what we're spending in Iraq whether we're not going to have to raise taxes." Gibson fretted: "You can't get a politician to say definitively we're going to have to raise taxes. And so, she didn't." Last Thursday, Sawyer related how after her White House session with Bush, "I also asked him about this idea that the whole economy could be torqued by this in such a way. And I said, 'will you call for tax increases, in fact, if that's required?'"

On the September 7 GMA, Gibson in New York interviewed Clinton on Capitol Hill. Afterwards, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, Gibson told Sawyer and Robin Roberts, who were both outside in Gulfport, Mississippi: "That interview just before we went on the air, Diane and Robin, and I asked her given the fact that it's going to cost so much for recovery and with what we're spending in Iraq whether we're not going to have to raise taxes. But, you can't get a politician to say definitively we're going to have to raise taxes. And so, she didn't."
Sawyer: "Well, the President, of course, said to me when I talked to him last week, no tax rises. He said you don't want to throw a curve to the economy. So he's made up his mind about what he thinks has to be done."

The September 2 CyberAlert reported how on the September 1 GMA, just past 7:30am EDT, as she sat in a chair in the White House, Sawyer had related how "the President and I continued to talk, by the way, after the interview." She passed along how "I also asked him about this idea that the whole economy could be torqued by this in such a way. And I said, 'will you call for tax increases, in fact, if that's required?' And he said there won't have to be tax increases, that he believes that it's very important not to throw a curve to the economy at this particular moment."

CBS's Smith Worries "Church Families"
Will "Proselytize" Victims

In an otherwise apolitical interview in the final half hour of Tuesday's Early Show with Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist pastor and best-selling author of The Purpose-Driven Life, Harry Smith worried that some Hurricane Katrina victims taken into the homes of church parishioners might be forced to attend church in order to get a decent meal.

[The MRC's Ken Shepherd posted this short item Tuesday on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog.]

From New Orleans, Smith asked Warren, who appeared from Tennessee: "Let me ask you this, though: is this an opportunity for a church to witness? Or if I'm a family, am, do I need to be concerned that I'm going to go live with a church family, are they going to proselytize me, are they going to say, 'you better come to church with me or else, I'm, you know, you're not going to get your breakfast this morning'?"

To post a comment or to watch the question in either RealPlayer or Windows Media format, go to the NewsBusters.org node: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker