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Olbermann Lashes Out at Editorial that Cited CyberAlert Quote --8/5/2004


1. Olbermann Lashes Out at Editorial that Cited CyberAlert Quote
On a day when both the New York Times and NBC News reported fresh intelligence about active al-Qaeda moves inside the U.S., MSNBC's Keith Olbermann lashed out at an editorial "in a thing called the Investor's Business Daily," which had picked up on a CyberAlert quotation of Olbermann, to denounce it for supposedly doubting his patriotism when he questioned if politics were behind Sunday's terror warning: "I got ripped. Anybody who said anything other than, 'Yes, sir, Homeland Security, thank you for the information, we'll do what you say,' was viewed as unpatriotic and inspiring lack of confidence and aiding the terrorists, good Lord, there's everything but accused us of keeping, you know, a phone line open to bin Laden."

2. CBS Fumbles Iowa's Population and Number of Electoral Votes
CBS News reporter Cynthia Bowers fumbled the facts from Iowa Wednesday morning, claiming Iowa had not "many more" than 100,000 people and that it only has "five electoral votes." In fact, 2.9 million people live in Iowa and the state has seven electoral votes.

3. NPR Tags Knights of Columbus, But Not a Far-Left Group
On Tuesday and Wednesday morning's Morning Edition on National Public Radio, anchors and reporters highlighted how President Bush addressed the convention of the Knights of Columbus, a social service group of Catholic men. NPR insisted upon describing the group as "a conservative Catholic group" and as "much more conservative" than Catholics as a whole, but last week NPR didn't manage to apply an ideological label International ANSWER, the radical left-wing anti-war group.

4. FNC Asks Franks to Expound on How "Combat Over" Was His Idea
Update: On FNC's Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning, retired General Tommy Franks was asked to expound on how it was his idea to have President Bush announce that major combat operations were complete in Iraq. ABC's Ted Koppel had plowed through Franks' admission so he could get in more Bush-bashing.


Olbermann Lashes Out at Editorial that
Cited CyberAlert Quote

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann On a day when both the New York Times and NBC News reported fresh intelligence about active al-Qaeda moves inside the U.S., MSNBC's Keith Olbermann lashed out at an editorial "in a thing called the Investor's Business Daily," which had picked up on a CyberAlert quotation of Olbermann, to denounce it for supposedly doubting his patriotism when he questioned if politics were behind Sunday's terror warning: "I got ripped. Anybody who said anything other than, 'Yes, sir, Homeland Security, thank you for the information, we'll do what you say,' was viewed as unpatriotic and inspiring lack of confidence and aiding the terrorists, good Lord, there's everything but accused us of keeping, you know, a phone line open to bin Laden."

Investor's Business Daily did not call Olbermann "unpatriotic," though Olbermann had done a bit more than just raise the possibility of political influence; he had brought up the name Joe McCarthy.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann The August 3 CyberAlert had recounted how Olbermann devoted an entire segment Monday night on his 8pm EDT Countdown show to speculation that Bush re-election politics were really behind Sunday's threat warning. Olbermann argued: "History tells us Presidents have exaggerated threats to the public safety to gain political advantage or simplify complex needs of strategy. Ask Lyndon Johnson. Ask William McKinley. Do we need to ask George W. Bush?" Olbermann soon threw in Joe McCarthy in the pantheon President Bush is supposedly following, "from Joe McCarthy to Lyndon Johnson's manipulation of the Gulf of Tonkin, our politics have been filled with politicians who have created a kind of evil twin to FDR's famous phrase, 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' All of that seems particularly relevant when the Secretary of Homeland Security changes the threat level three days after his boss' challenger accepts the nomination of the rival party."

For a full rundown of Olbermann's Monday remarks, which came before Tuesday newspaper stories about how the al-Qaeda surveillance occurred before 9/11, stories which were superceded by Wednesday stories about al-Qaeda activities which occurred this year, see: www.mediaresearch.org

In a Wednesday editorial, Investor's Business Daily decried "the sorry state of America's political discourse today" where "a serious, credible warning of a possible terror attack leads not to calls for action, but to cries of political mischief and worse."

Investor's Business Daily cited Howard Dean and then honed in on a couple of journalists: "The media also took a whack at Bush for the terror warning. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann basically called him a liar.
"'History tells us presidents have exaggerated threats to the public safety to gain political advantage or simplify complex needs of strategy,' he said. 'Ask Lyndon Johnson. Ask William McKinley. Do we need to ask George W. Bush?'
"Over at ABC, anchor Don Dahler noted 'the last press conference that Secretary Ridge made happened to fall right after Senator Edwards was announced as a vice presidential candidate.'"

IBD's Web site (previous editorials not available online, however, without a subscription): www.investors.com

The August 2 CyberAlert had relayed Dahler's spin: Politically-inspired terror warning? Barely four hours after Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced specific terrorist targets in New York City and Washington, DC, on Sunday night ABC anchor Don Dahler recalled how "the last press conference that Secretary Ridge made happened to fall right after Senator Edwards was announced as a vice presidential candidate" and "there are those who are already saying that the timing smacks of politics." Richard Clarke, now an ABC consultant, rejected the notion, but nonetheless rebuked Ridge for how Ridge went "out of his way to praise President Bush's programs today in the press conference and I thought that was inappropriate." See: www.mediaresearch.org

Olbermann introduced his item #3 on the August4 Countdown on Wednesday night, as observed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"There is a new element to Sunday's zip code targeted terror alert, and at least two ways to view that new element. Either homeland security withheld until today the existence of a, quote, 'second stream,' of intelligence, maybe a third one, and provided the urgency to the original warning. Or, in essence, on Sunday, it said, 'We have terror information, you must trust us,' and today, it added, 'You didn't entirely trust us? Well, we have more terror information. Now you really must trust us.'
"Our third story on the Countdown tonight, however you take the temperatures of the streams, the gist of the message is, the orange alert was not based solely on data three and four years old found stored in a computer in Pakistan. There were two separate reports today. This morning, the New York Times, quoting senior government officials who would say only that there had been a previously undisclosed separate stream of intelligence that reached the White House late last week which pointed to a current threat against financial targets in New York and possibly also Washington. Late this afternoon, a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that two other streams of intelligence arrived here on Friday night not connected with the materials in the Pakistani laptop. One location specific, the other time specific, and that U.S. intelligence was now investigating whether the possessor of that laptop, the computer master, Mohammed Noor Khan, had contacted people in the U.S. in the last few months."

Olbermann then proceeded to interview former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb. Olbermann soon complained: "I guess, big picture here, you mentioned what the, Governor Dean said, and what some other critics of the way the White House and the way Homeland Security have handled this and the big picture since 9/11 have said. There was an editorial, I guess, in a thing called the Investor's Business Daily, or something, today. Governor Dean was ripped, I got ripped. Anybody who said anything other than, 'Yes, sir, Homeland Security, thank you for the information, we'll do what you say,' was viewed as unpatriotic and inspiring lack of confidence and aiding the terrorists, good Lord, there's everything but accused us of keeping, you know, a phone line open to bin Laden. As a professional in this field, are you alarmed at the way this is being treated and, secondarily, alarmed at the way the criticism of it is being treated?"
Whitcomb: "Yeah, I am..."

Indeed, as Olbermann dismissively alluded to before he complained about anyone daring to criticize him for suggesting politics were behind Sunday's warning, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News led with fresh, scary information. Anchor Campbell Brown announced:
"Good evening. There's new information tonight about possible terror plans against the United States, including word that an al qaeda operative in Pakistan made contact with someone inside this country recently. The new intelligence has led some experts to believe al qaeda militants may be moving from the planning to the operational stage of a possible attack. But there are still many questions about potential targets and timing."

In a story not re-played on Olbermann's Countdown, Pete Williams explained on Nightly News: "U.S. officials tonight say several intelligence sources corroborated the evidence found on a computer in Pakistan revealing interest in attacking five U.S. financial buildings. For one, signs that the highly-detailed computer data was recently accessed, showing a potential interest in using it. And detainees recently interrogated gave information, not yet verified, that the plan was about to be put into action. Intelligence officials continue going over material on that computer and questioning the man arrested with it. Federal agents are checking out indications that he contacted people in the U.S. Within the past few months. If confirmed, that could prove that al-Qaeda operatives were here that recently."

"New Qaeda Activity Is Said to Be Major Factor in Alert," declared a Wednesday front page New York Times story to which Olbermann referred. For the August 4 Times article: www.nytimes.com

As Investor's Business Daily concluded: "In the current, highly charged political atmosphere, if the White House didn't warn us of an impending attack and one happened, there would be political hell to pay."

That would surely include a condemnatory lecture from the cocksure Keith Olbermann.

CBS Fumbles Iowa's Population and Number
of Electoral Votes

CBS News reporter Cynthia Bowers fumbled the facts from Iowa Wednesday morning, claiming Iowa had not "many more" than 100,000 people and that it only has "five electoral votes." In fact, 2.9 million people live in Iowa and the state has seven electoral votes.

[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]

In the 7am half hour of the August 4 Early Show, Bowers, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, reported on how both presidential contenders would campaign in Davenport, Iowa on Wednesday: "Amazing when you consider Davenport is home to only one hundred thousand. Iowa, itself, home to not that many more, but it is home to the country's first caucuses which propelled Kerry's presidential bid." She then asked Davenport Mayor Charlie Brooke: "Mr. Mayor, you have to admit this is a lot of hoopla for a state that has five electoral votes."

The mayor did not correct Bowers, but the U.S. Census Bureau determined in 2000 that the population of Iowa is 2,926,324, 29 times 100,000. And, since Iowa has five districts in the House of Representatives and two Senators, that adds up to seven electoral votes. Why the "hoopla"? Perhaps because Al Gore won Iowa by 0.3 percent, and the final electoral college margin was five electoral votes: 271 to 266.

For the Census Bureau's facts on Iowa: quickfacts.census.gov

NPR Tags Knights of Columbus, But Not
a Far-Left Group

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning's Morning Edition on National Public Radio, anchors and reporters highlighted how President Bush addressed the convention of the Knights of Columbus, a social service group of Catholic men. NPR insisted upon describing the group as "a conservative Catholic group" and as "much more conservative" than Catholics as a whole, but last week NPR didn't manage to apply an ideological label International ANSWER, the radical left-wing anti-war group.

On Tuesday, before Bush's speech, NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep previewed it with Tom Roberts, editor of the liberal newspaper the National Catholic Reporter. (NPR didn't care to label the liberal guest, even as he distinguished between "social justice issues" and abortion.) Inskeep began by noting: "President Bush gives a speech today to the Knights of Columbus in Dallas. It's a conservative Catholic group. It has 1.6 million members."

Yet last week, Morning Edition couldn't find an ideological description for International ANSWER, the radical America-haters. Reporter David Welna referred to the far-left protest outfit Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER) only as a "national group." For more on NPR's imbalanced labeling last week, see the July 29 PM edition of CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

This week, NPR on Wednesday again underlined the conservatism of the Knights of Columbus. Anchor Renee Montagne set up a report on Bush's address the day before: "The President pushed a conservative social agenda and highlighted his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage." White House reporter Don Gonyea explained: "The Knights of Columbus describes itself as a non-partisan service organization, and its spokesman says it invited Mr. Bush, a Methodist, to speak as the President and not as a candidate, but it was hard to tell that yesterday." (Audio followed of crowd chanting "four more years.")

Tom Johnson, the MRC's man on NPR, noted that on Wednesday morning, Don Gonyea concluded by stressing: "Despite the ovations the Knights of Columbus convention gave the President...the group is not representative of American Catholics as a whole, but is much more conservative."

For the audio of that Wednesday story: www.npr.org

For audio of the Tuesday exchange: www.npr.org

FNC Asks Franks to Expound on How "Combat
Over" Was His Idea

Update: On FNC's Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning, retired General Tommy Franks was asked to expound on how it was his idea to have President Bush announce that major combat operations were complete in Iraq.

The August 4 CyberAlert had reported: ABC's Ted Koppel plowed right through Franks' admission that President Bush's May 2003 announcement that major combat was over was his idea, motivated by a desire to bring "closure" to troops and to convince nations which promised troop support as soon as combat was complete to provide those troops. But instead of exploring those rationale, Koppel fired at Franks with snooty statements about President Bush, such as, "you didn't suggest he put on a flight suit and sit backseat on a plane landing on an aircraft carrier, did you?" and "I assume, you didn't paint the banner that said 'mission accomplished,' either?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

The taped Koppel interview aired Monday night. Franks appeared live Wednesday morning on FNC to promote his new book, American Soldier, and MRC analyst Megan McCormack caught this question to him from Steve Doocy: "Let me ask you about this. John Kerry's people have made a lot about President Bush's photo-op onboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, with the sign behind 'Mission Accomplished.' They say, 'you know, Karl Rove dreamed that up in the White House.' Karl Rove did not dream that up, you did."
Franks: "Well, I didn't actually dream the part on the aircraft carrier, but I did ask the President, through Don Rumsfeld, to declare an end, a success, at major combat operations, and so I plead guilty. And I was, and I appreciated the fact that the President of the United States did that, because we had a hundred thousand plus soldiers on the ground in Iraq, and they'd been involved in a big war, and it gave them closure for what they had done. So yeah, I did that. Guilty as charged."

-- Brent Baker