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Olbermann: Limbaugh 'Worst' for 'Following Ethics' of bin Laden --8/2/2006


1. Olbermann: Limbaugh 'Worst' for 'Following Ethics' of bin Laden
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his "Worst Person in the World" for "suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror." Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed "something another commentator said nine years ago," namely Osama bin Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: "Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!" AUDIO&VIDEO

2. Williams Skips Declining Troop Deaths, Cites Total 'Death Toll'
A night after ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted some good news on the Iraq front -- how "the U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month" to "the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years" -- NBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday chose to put a downbeat spin on the situation in Iraq as he provided only the total number of U.S. deaths without any mention of whether they are increasing or decreasing. On the August 1 NBC Nightly News, Williams, who on Monday did not report the declining monthly deaths, set up a story from Iraq: "This has also been an especially deadly day in Iraq where dozens of soldiers and civilians were killed and tonight we have an update on the number of American troops killed since the invasion: 2,579. Meantime, attacks and kidnapings are getting worse in the capital city. Our report from there tonight from NBC's Ned Colt..." On screen as Williams spoke, "DEATH TOLL" with this beneath: "2579 TROOPS SINCE THE INVASION."

3. In '59, NY Times Called Castro 'Conservative,' Justified Killings
Now that Fidel's reign may have ended, the New York Times Web site included a sidebar "From the Archives," with links to PDF versions of their own coverage of Castro's rise to power in the late 1950s. At least one reflected an incredible pro-Castro bias, with the Times justifying Castro's executions of political opponents, touting his genius and insisting that his new government wasn't communist but "conservative." In the 1959 "Week in Review" article, Herbert Matthews oozed: "Whatever one wants to think, everybody here seems agreed that Dr. Castro is one of the most extraordinary figures ever to appear on the Latin-American scene. He is by any standards a man of destiny. Cubans wish that the United States would realize he is the creature of his race, his history and his traditions, and above all of the horror and tyranny of the seven-year reign of Fulgencio Batista."

4. You Read It Here First: On FNC, Pinkerton Chides CNN on Hezbollah
You read it here first. Picking up on some CyberAlert/NewsBusters items by the MRC's Rich Noyes on how CNN covered the Hezbollah terrorist group, on FNC's Fox Newswatch over the weekend Jim Pinkerton recited how CNN's Nic Robertson relayed Hezbollah propaganda and CNN's Anderson Cooper later showed how Hezbollah manipulates the media.


Olbermann: Limbaugh 'Worst' for 'Following
Ethics' of bin Laden

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night targeted "comedian" Rush Limbaugh as his "Worst Person in the World" for "suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror." Employing a mockingly braggadocios voice to try to impersonate Limbaugh, Olbermann read a sentence from Limbaugh and then asserted that Limbaugh had echoed "something another commentator said nine years ago," namely Osama bin


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More See & Hear the Bias

Laden. Olbermann read the bin Laden quote, without any mocking impersonation, and then concluded the August 1 Countdown segment: "Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!"

A video and audio clip will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or to listen to the MP3 audio clip, go to the NewsBusters.org blog node where this item was first posted on Tuesday night: newsbusters.org

Olbermann's announcement of the winner in the daily segment in which he lists three candidates:
"Our winner tonight: Comedian Rush Limbaugh. Suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror. [mockingly impersonating a braggadocios voice:] 'Until those civilians start paying the price for propping up these kind of regimes, it's not going to end folks.' That would be a little less alarming if it didn't echo something another commentator said nine years ago. 'The American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility because they chose this government and voted for it, despite their knowledge of its crimes.' That was said by Osama bin Laden. Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today's Worst Person in the World!"

Surprisingly, there's nothing on the Media Matters for America Web site -- Olbermann's usual source for attacks on conservative media figures -- about this analysis by Limbaugh, so I don't know where Olbermann got his Limbaugh quote.

Limbaugh beat out the "worser" runner-up, a Rochester, New York man who had asked his employer for a paid leave of absence to take care of his three-year-old son suffering from cancer, though the son was perfectly healthy, a scam he had pulled with a previous employer.

Williams Skips Declining Troop Deaths,
Cites Total 'Death Toll'

A night after ABC anchor Charles Gibson highlighted some good news on the Iraq front -- how "the U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month" to "the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years" -- NBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday chose to put a downbeat spin on the situation in Iraq as he provided only the total number of U.S. deaths without any mention of whether they are increasing or decreasing. On the August 1 NBC Nightly News, Williams, who on Monday did not report the declining monthly deaths, set up a story from Iraq:
"This has also been an especially deadly day in Iraq where dozens of soldiers and civilians were killed and tonight we have an update on the number of American troops killed since the invasion: 2,579. Meantime, attacks and kidnapings are getting worse in the capital city. Our report from there tonight from NBC's Ned Colt..."

On screen as Williams spoke, "DEATH TOLL" with this beneath: "2579 TROOPS SINCE THE INVASION."

[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

An August 1 CyberAlert item recounted:
One week after ABC anchor Charles Gibson made a special point about how bad the situation in Iraq remained while media attention focused on the Israel-Hezbollah war, specifically noting how "more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict," Gibson on Monday night -- uniquely on the broadcast network evening newscasts -- highlighted some good news: How U.S. military deaths are falling in Iraq. Gibson read this short item on the July 31 World News: "One item to mention from Iraq tonight. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month, despite the rising sectarian violence. As of yesterday, 44 U.S. forces had been killed in July. And that's the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years." An accompanying on-screen chart showed the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq declining from 76 in April to 69 in May to 61 in June and 44 in July.

In '59, NY Times Called Castro 'Conservative,'
Justified Killings

As the totalitarian communist dictator of Cuba for 47 years, Fidel Castro repressed those who worked for democracy, human rights and a free press. Yet through the decades, many in the American media have maintained their romanticized mythology of Castro as a progressive revolutionary icon, provider of "free" health care, a Latin American David vs. the Goliath of the United States.

In contrast to their coverage of right-wing dictators, like Chile's Augusto Pinochet, journalists do not often mention those killed, imprisoned or exiled by Castro's ruthless "revolution," but treat him as a celebrity head of state. Just a few years ago, ABC's Barbara Walters trekked to Havana to produce yet another soft feature on the dictator.

"For Castro, freedom starts with education," Walters oozed on the October 11, 2002 20/20. "And if literacy alone is any yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth." See: www.mrc.org

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Now that Fidel's reign may have ended, it was interesting to see that the New York Times Web site included a sidebar "From the Archives," with links to PDF versions of their own coverage of Castro's rise to power in the late 1950s: www.nytimes.com

I didn't read them all, but one that I clicked on showed an incredible pro-Castro bias, with the Times justifying Castro's executions of political opponents, touting his genius and insisting that his new government wasn't communist but "conservative."

Herbert L. Matthews wrote the article, headlined "Castro Aims Reflect Character of Cubans," which the Times Web site indicates originally appeared on page E6 ("Week in Review" section) of the January 18, 1959 edition, just a few days after Castro seized Cuba. The Times's subheadline on Castro: "He Is a Creature of His Country and He Is Followed as a Hero."

Here is an excerpt, beginning with the first paragraph:

The hunted young man who for three hours whispered his passionate hopes and ideals into my ear in the gloomy jungle depths of the Sierra Maestra at dawn on Feb. 17, 1957, is now the chief power in Cuba. In the eyes of nearly all his compatriots, Dr. Fidel Castro is the greatest hero that their history has known.

People in the United States are now disturbed by the executions of men who, Cubans are convinced, were torturers and killers under Gen. Fulgencio Batista.

The Cuban point of view can be simply stated. For seven years, Cuba lived through the most brutal reign of terror in recent history. Cubans know this, because there is hardly a family in Cuba that did not have a member at least arrested and at worst tortured and killed by President Batista's soldiers and police. Moreover, in every city, town and village, the killers and torturers are known.

Then came the revolution, and much to everyone's surprise, especially the Cubans, there was no blood bath. In the first twenty-four hours in Havana, the riff-raff and gangsters ran around looting; but as soon as the 26th of July Movement and the other organized rebel groups got going, order was restored. It had been taken for granted that there would be fearful mob violence because of the bitterness and hatred of the people against the tormenters. Nothing of the sort took place.

However, Fidel Castro and the new Provisional Government felt, in the first place, that justice must be done and, in the second place, that, if the authorities did not mete out justice in an orderly way, the people would exercise lynch law and in the process there would be some private vengeance and some innocent victims....

The sensational stories [about the executions] that some American correspondents sent and the reaction in the United States astounded and hurt Cubans greatly.

To anyone writing about Cuba at this moment it's necessary to keep a basic fact in mind. Dr. Castro is not in any sense different in character from his fellow Cubans. Those who want to condemn him must condemn all Cubans, as there are very few Cubans indeed who would disapprove of the executions that have been and are taking place.

Two years ago Dr. Castro was a revolutionary pure and simple. He was then 30 years old. As an undergraduate of 21 at the University of Havana, he had been a wild harum-scarum, so careless of politics that he was involved with student organizations containing Communists. Neither the Batista regime nor the United States Embassy in Havana was ever able to present proof that Fidel personally had been a Communist. He himself always denied that he knowingly had anything to do with communism....

The ministerial Cabinet in office today consists mainly of older men and, by any standard that can be applied, it is economically and politically conservative....

Whatever one wants to think, everybody here seems agreed that Dr. Castro is one of the most extraordinary figures ever to appear on the Latin-American scene. He is by any standards a man of destiny. Cubans wish that the United States would realize he is the creature of his race, his history and his traditions, and above all of the horror and tyranny of the seven-year reign of Fulgencio Batista.

END of Excerpt

That's online at: www.nytimes.com

Matthews' homage to Castro makes today's bias seem downright objective. Why the New York Times would want to post such a sycophantic embarrassment is beyond me.



# Later today, the MRC will distribute a Media Reality Check collated by Rich: "Decades of Cheering Castro's Communism."

You Read It Here First: On FNC, Pinkerton
Chides CNN on Hezbollah

You read it here first. Picking up on some CyberAlert/NewsBusters items by the MRC's Rich Noyes on how CNN covered the Hezbollah terrorist group, on FNC's Fox Newswatch over the weekend Jim Pinkerton recited how CNN's Nic Robertson relayed Hezbollah propaganda and CNN's Anderson Cooper later showed how Hezbollah manipulates the media.

On the July 29 Fox Newswatch, Pinkerton, a columnist for Newsday, observed of media coverage of the Israel-Hezbollh war:
"Sometimes it can be highly misleading. For example, Nic Robertson on CNN said, 'Now I'm here for an exclusive look at what's going on in Lebanon,' and the Hezbollah press aide was saying, 'Now look at this over there, civilian destruction. The Israelis just killed all these civilians.' And Robertson, 'Oh, that's really bad.' And then the Hezbollah guy said, 'We got to run.' So Robertson goes trotting along behind him like a little puppy dog. I mean, it, later, even Anderson Cooper, on the same network, CNN, said, 'Hey, that's too much. You fell for it. You can't let yourself get bamboozled that much.' Obviously, both sides are censoring. But it's the reporter's duty to say, 'Listen, I'm being censored. You might not be seeing the whole thing. And Robertson, at least for awhile, fell for it.'"

The three CyberAlert items on the topic, in date sequence:

# July 20, CNN's 'Exclusive:' Nic Robertson's Forum for Hezbollah Agitprop:
Tuesday night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson touted his "exclusive" exchange with a Hezbollah propagandist who led Robertson on a tour of a bombed-out block of southern Beirut. Hezbollah claimed to show that Israeli bombs had struck civilian areas of the city, not the terrorist group's headquarters. The Hezbollah "press officer," Hussein Nabulsi, even directed CNN's camera: "Just look. Shoot. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?" A few moments later, Nabulsi instructed CNN to videotape him as he ran up to a pile of rubble: "Shoot me. Shoot. This is here where they said Sheikh Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, is living. This is wrong!"

For full details and a video clip: www.mrc.org


# July 25, CNN's Robertson Admits: Hezbollah 'Had Control' of His Piece:
Better late than never? On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson added all of the caveats and disclaimers that he should have included in his story last week that amounted to his giving an uncritical forum for the terrorist group Hezbollah to spout unverifiable anti-Israeli propaganda. In his original story, Robertson had no complaints about the journalistic limitations of a story put together under such tight controls, and Robertson himself at one point seemed to agree with the Hezbollah propaganda claim that Israeli jets had targeted a civilian area: "As we run past the rubble, we see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent of military equipment." Challenged by Howard Kurtz on Sunday, Robertson suggested Hezbollah has "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations," that the terrorist group "had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath." See: www.mrc.org


# July 26, CNN's Anderson Cooper Exposes Hezbollah's Media Manipulations:
On Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN's Anderson Cooper related his visit to a Hezbollah-controlled section of Beirut where he was supposed to photograph certain damaged buildings, part of the terrorist group's strategy of generating news stories about Lebanese civilian casualties caused by Israeli bombs. But instead of merely transmitting Hezbollah's unverified and unverifiable claims to the outside world, Cooper -- to his credit -- exposed the efforts by Hezbollah to manipulate CNN and other Western reporters. It's quite a contrast from the much more accommodating approach taken by his colleague, Nic Robertson, in a report that aired on a variety of CNN programs (including AC360) back on July 18, a report that Robertson himself has now conceded was put together under Hezbollah's control. Cooper exposed for CNN viewers that the sight of speeding ambulances, sirens blaring, was just a phony play staged by Hezbollah: "One by one, they've been told to turn on their sirens and zoom off so that all the photographers here can get shots of ambulances rushing off to treat civilians....These ambulances aren't responding to any new bombings. The sirens are strictly for effect." See: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker