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Olbermann Links Bush to Caning of Sumner & to Domestic Terrorism --11/2/2006


1. Olbermann Links Bush to Caning of Sumner & to Domestic Terrorism
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the the 1856 caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennessee Senate race. As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes." AUDIO&VIDEO

2. New CNN Anchor Hails Jesse Jackson and Sen. Obama as 'Great Ones'
On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry's gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson's adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he's still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally interviewing Jackson's daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama's wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."

3. Brit Hume Marvels at How Newspapers Buried Kerry Insult Story
"The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today," Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, "you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said."

4. ABC's Gibson Denies Media Bias, Behar Rants Against the GOP
ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson visited the ladies of The View Wednesday morning to discuss a range of topics, from next week's midterm election and John Kerry's controversial remark to liberal media bias. Gibson argued that the controversy surrounding Senator Kerry's recent statement that those who fail to make use of their education will end up "stuck in Iraq," was in reference to President Bush and that Republicans "grabbed" onto the statement to energize the GOP base. When asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck about a perceived liberal bias in the media, fellow co-host Rosie O'Donnell laughed off the notion, while Gibson stated that balance is something for which he strives.

5. ABC Political Chief Halperin: 70% of Media Will Vote Democratic
In his "Grapevine" segment on Wednesday night, FNC's Brit Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, "says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic."

6. You Read It Here First: Hume & O'Reilly Pick Up on Bias for Kerry
You read it here first. On Wednesday night, both FNC's Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly highlighted liberal bias, on coverage of John Kerry's insult of U.S. troops "stuck in Iraq," which was showcased by the MRC. In his "Grapevine" segment, Hume picked up on how ABC framed the story: "On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A couple of hours later, Bill O'Reilly set up a segment, with Laura Ingraham, by playing that Gibson clip, as well as a clip of Katie Couric mimicking a potential Republican ad about the Kerry comment, an imitation which, with video, was the lead item in Wednesday's CyberAlert.

7. Letterman's "Top Ten John Kerry Excuses"
Letterman's "Top Ten John Kerry Excuses."


Olbermann Links Bush to Caning of Sumner
& to Domestic Terrorism

On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the the 1856


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More See & Hear the Bias

caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennessee Senate race.

As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes."

[This item by Brad Wilmouth was posted, with video, Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video/audio will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

MSNBC.com has posted a transcript with MSN video: www.msnbc.msn.com
Olbermann began his nearly 12-minute long "Special Comment" by describing the 1856 cane attack by South Carolina Congressman Brooks on Massachusetts Senator Sumner because of Sumner's opposition to slavery, which the MSNBC host described as a time when "the deteriorating American political system veered towards the edge of the cliff," although "others will cite John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable." Tying in President Bush, Olbermann contended that "Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane," and accused Bush and the GOP of a willingness to "exploit" any political division. Olbermann's tie-in with the 19th century slavery debate and Civil War is reminiscent of the time Olbermann seemed to compare those who supported President Bush after his much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina with those who supported the racist, pro-slavery 1864 candidacy of George McClellan against Abraham Lincoln. See: www.mrc.org

Somewhat later in Olbermann's rant, he brought up accusations of racism by Republicans over the controversial RNC campaign ad, featuring a white woman, that attacked Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford's attendance of a Playboy party. Olbermann accused Bush of getting his "henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party's advertisement against Harold Ford."

After contending that Al Gore and John Kerry had both been "too cordial" to President Bush in past presidential campaigns, the Countdown host brought up the possibility that Bush is "far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested" and is unable to "follow the construction of a simple sentence." Notably, Olbermann himself has a history of distorting the words of those he criticizes: In 2004, the MSNBC host used selectively edited clips of Vice President Cheney to make it appear Cheney had argued that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks as a justification for the Iraq invasion. See: www.mrc.org

In 2005, Olbermann accused FNC's John Gibson and talk radio host Janet Parshall of sounding like terrorists from "an al-Qaeda show on Al-Jazeera" as Olbermann distorted Gibson's remarks about the American tradition of majority religions tolerating minority religions: newsbusters.org

On Jay Leno's show, Olbermann even accused FNC host Bill O'Reilly of defending the Nazis from World War II because of O'Reilly's mixup of the events of the Malmedy Massacre. See: www.mrc.org

In his Wednesday "Special Comment," in light of Kerry's recent apology for his controversial comments, Olbermann soon called on President Bush to apologize to American troops for several actions related to the Iraq invasion, and then moved to attack Republican Senator John McCain for his own denunciation of Kerry's comments, charging that McCain "should be ashamed of himself," and, again referring to the Sumner beating, referred to "the symbolic stick" McCain had broken "over Kerry's head." After labeling McCain's anti-Kerry comments a "cheap and tawdry political trick" and accusing him of being a "front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats," the MSNBC host, who has a habit of suggesting that the "Orwellian" President Bush is a threat to the free speech rights of Olbermann and other administration critics for simply responding to their anti-Bush attacks, himself argued that McCain should not practice his own right to free speech because McCain campaigned against a wounded Iraq War veteran a fellow veteran who is now running as a Democrat for Congress in Illinois:
"He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth. Support some of the wounded veterans, but bad-mouth the Democratic one. And exploit all the veterans and all the still-serving personnel in a cheap and tawdry political trick to try to bury the truth: that John Kerry said the President had been stupid. And to continue this slander as late as this morning, as biased or gullible or lazy newscasters nodded in sleep-walking assent, Senator McCain became a front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats, one of them his friend, another his fellow veteran, legless, for whom he should weep and applaud or at minimum about whom he should stay quiet."

Olbermann lambasted Bush for "redefining" America and getting "a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult" before moving on to inject racism into the discussion by referring to the controversial RNC ad being run against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford in Tennessee: "This is our beloved country now as you have redefined it, Mr. Bush. Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult. Or get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party's advertisement against Harold Ford."

Olbermann moved on to blame Bush for other controversial actions by his supporters, including, referring to Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Michael J. Fox, "getting someone to make fun of the cripple." Olbermann again brought up recent relatively innocuous comments about Fox by First Lady Laura Bush and contended that Bush has "already assured that the terrorists are winning," and accused Bush of "systematic, institutionalized laying and smearing and terrorizing."

Olbermann: "Oh, and sir, don't forget to drag your own wife into it. 'It's always easy,' she said of Mr. Fox's commercials, and she used this phrase twice, 'It's always easy to manipulate people's feelings.' Where on Earth might the First Lady have gotten that idea, Mr. President? From your endless manipulation of people's feelings about terrorism? 'Wherever they put it,' you said Monday of the Democrats, on the subject of Iraq, 'their approach comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses.' No manipulation of feelings there. No manipulation of the charlatans of your administration into the only truth-tellers. No shocked outrage at the Kerry insult that wasn't; no subtle smile as the First Lady silently sticks the knife in Michael J. Fox's back; no attempt on the campaign trail to bury the reality that you have already assured that the terrorists are winning....And here we have deliberate, systematic, institutionalized lying and smearing and terrorizing, a code of deceit that somehow permits a president to say, 'If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one,' permits him to say this while his plan in Iraq has amounted to a twisted version of the advice once offered to Lyndon Johnson about his Iraq, the thing called Vietnam. Instead of 'declare victory and get out' we now have 'declare victory and stay indefinitely.'"

Olbermann then linked President Bush to recent instances of threats against administration critics, including an Anthrax hoax perpetrated against Olbermann:
"And also here, we have institutionalized the terrorizing of the opposition. True domestic terror. Critics of your administration in the media, sir, receive letters filled with fake Anthrax. Braying newspapers, sir, applaud or laugh and reveal details the FBI asked to have kept quiet, and thus impede or ruin the investigation. A series of reactionary columnists, sir, encourage treason charges against a newspaper that published supposed 'national security information' that was openly available on the Internet. One radio critic receives a letter threatening the revelation of as much personal information about her as can be obtained and expressing the hope that someone will then shoot her with an AK-47 machine gun. And finally, a critic of the incumbent Republican Senator, a critic armed with nothing but words, is attacked by the Senator's supporters and thrown to the floor in full view of television cameras as if someone really did want to re-enact the intent, and the rage, of the day Preston Brooks found Senator Charles Sumner."

Olbermann concluded by charging that, in a manner reminiscent of King Henry's suggestion that Archbishop Thomas Becket should be killed, President Bush has indirectly inspired his supporters to go after Bush's critics, even blaming Bush indirectly for an Anthrax hoax against Olbermann himself:
"Of course, Mr. President, you did none of these things. You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax, nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."

Olbermann's teasers and introduction to the show:

Keith Olbermann, in opening teaser: "And presumably the President will now apologize to the troops for creating a war with no plan, no exit strategy, and no hope, for mocking them in a tuxedo while they died in Iraq.
George W. Bush: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere. Nope, no weapons over there. Maybe under here."
Olbermann: "My 'Special Comment' about the apologies Mr. Bush owes and about his new policy of talking loudly while letting others swing the big stick."

Olbermann, introducing the show: "Good evening. This is Wednesday, November 1st, six days until the 2006 midterm elections. In the words of then-President Gerald Ford, 'My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.' Senator John Kerry having now apologized for the misinterpretation, the deliberate misinterpretation of what was actually a joke or an insult at the expense of the President. The White House having already said tonight that Senator Kerry has done the right thing, so why, in our fifth story on the Countdown, have the Republicans rushed a campaign manifesto onto the Web site using the video of Kerry's comments and decided not to take it down. And ahead this hour, my 'Special Comment.' We have Senator Kerry's apology to the troops. So where are the ones from the President to the troops?"

For the complete transcript of Olbermann's "Special Comment" from the November 1 Countdown show, check Brad Wilmouth's NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org

New CNN Anchor Hails Jesse Jackson and
Sen. Obama as 'Great Ones'

On the heels of reporter Suzanne Malveaux saying "we hope" John Kerry's gaffe goes away, another CNN employee is letting the personal political opinions fly. New CNN afternoon anchorman Don Lemon interviewed Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and after noting Jackson's adultery and asking pointed questions about whether he's still relevant, Lemon lauded him as a major historical figure: "But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights." A few hours later, while informally interviewing Jackson's daughter Santita and Sen. Barack Obama's wife Michelle for a chat, Lemon cooed: "Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."

If Lemon betrayed an obvious familiarity with these people in Chicago, it may be because Lemon joined CNN in September after a few years as an anchor in Chicago for NBC affiliate WMAQ. (He had a national stint with NBC in New York before that.)

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

Lemon's November 1 interview with Jackson in the 11am EST hour must have sounded a little bit harsh to Jackson:
"How Soon We Forget could be the theme of Jesse Jackson's last decade or so. After all, it was him marching or sitting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in all those civil rights photographs. But lately he's been called everything from an opportunist to a philanderer to an agitator."
Lemon (on camera): "So when people say, Jesse Jackson plays the race card too much, your answer to them is?"
Rev. Jesse Jackson: "Well, that it is not true. It is true that blacks have high infant mortality rates and shorter life expectancy. That's because of structures, conditions that must change."
Lemon: "When people say, Jesse Jackson inserts himself into every big news story, that he's enamored with the media and publicity, you say?"
Jackson: "The media is the outlet for ideas. No African-American leader or journalist has a primetime show to get ideas out. And so if I go to Syria or Iraq or Cuba or Yugoslavia to bring Americans back home, I didn't chase the ambulance, the ambulance chased me."
Lemon: "People would say, well, what is his job? Does Jesse Jackson have a job? Has he gotten a job yet? And your answer is?"
Jackson: "It's an attempt to demean our Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. It is a human rights organization. People who speak that way are speaking in pejorative, demeaning terms. You have to dismiss it. Consider the source."
Lemon interjected: "Jesse Jackson is a reverend, yet he had an affair. He's got a kid."
Jackson replied: "We all stand and fall for the glory of God. But if we are honest and open, God will forgive and redeem and allow us to move on and get back up again."
Lemon in voice-over: "Even one of the largest black-owned publications, Ebony Magazine" recently asked the question, does the Reverend Jesse Jackson still matter?"
Lemon (on camera): "Does Jesse Jackson still matter?"
Jackson: "They didn't say that. They asked that."
Lemon: "That's a question."
Jackson: "And the people answered."
Lemon: "Answered, and many came to his defense."
Camille Cosby, wife of Bill Cosby: "Of course he still matters. He has always mattered. You cannot eradicate all the wonderful work that he has done throughout his career."
Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama (D): "That's obvious. I mean, he is teaching us in everything he does and says. He still takes the kind of risks to say things that a lot of us can't. He's in a position to use his leverage and he does it every single time. I mean, we wouldn't be here if it weren't for Jesse Jackson. That's just a no-brainer."
Unidentified female: "That's true."
Lemon: "Even Michelle Obama's husband, Barack Obama agrees."
Sen. Barack Obama (D) Illinois: "Reverend Jackson continues to be one of the most powerful voices on behalf of the disaffected, the dispossessed. Wherever he goes, he makes news."

Later, co-anchor Heidi Collins asked Lemon: "How does he resonate with African-Americans across all demographics? I mean, if you had to sort of make a guess on, you know, for or against, they understand his thoughts today?"
Lemon answered: "That's a very good question, Heidi. It's a mixed bag. Mostly because of his history, because he is who he is and most African-Americans have suffered some form of racism at least once, a lot more in their lives, but at least once. So they do resonate with him and they do think that he has a message and a place. But not everybody's going to agree with you just because you're African- American doesn't mean you agree with everything that Jesse Jackson says or does. But for the most part he is an appreciated person in society, in America, and someone who most African-Americans, at least speaking for myself, think that he has made huge contributions, especially when it comes to civil rights."

In the 2pm EST hour, Lemon showed an interview with Michelle Obama, wife of Sen. Barack Obama, about Jesse Jackson:

Lemon: "What do you think of this guy? 65?"
Obama: "I love this man. I grew up in this man's house. I've seen it all."
Lemon: "What do you think of the comparisons to him and your husband?"
Obama: "You know, it's an honor. I mean to be compared -- he's done it, right?"
Lemon: "Right."
Obama: "We're just sort of learning."
Lemon: "Yes, any advice you think you'll ask him if he decides to run [for president] from this guy because he's done it."
Obama: "Well, we talk to him as much as we can, so a lot of it is just looking and listening and watching and making sure we're thinking and doing the right thing. But yes, we will be consulting with him and all the leaders in the community."
Lemon: "Are you ready to be First Lady?"
Obama: "No comment."
Lemon: "Where's Hubby tonight?"
Obama: "He's coming. He is flying in. His flight doesn't come in until late. My date is Santita Jackson."
Lemon: "Santita, get over here."
Obama: "Get over here."
Lemon: "Santita Jackson and Michelle Obama. Let me get you guys right here. Daughter of the great one who's turning 65. Wife of the great one now."

After this interview, anchor Kyra Phillips suggested: "Okay, she's sounding like a First Lady. She says no comment, but..."

Lemon pulled the praise out again: "Yes, well, the thing is, you don't hear a lot from her. She's a very smart woman, graduated from Princeton, sociology degree with honors and then went on to Harvard, got a law degree. So she is the woman behind the man. She's very smart. Very nice lady. And since we were there, we talked about it."

Phillips sounded a feminist note: "Maybe she should run for President. Barack Obama could be supporting her."
Lemon: "I don't know. But she's a very nice lady."

Brit Hume Marvels at How Newspapers Buried
Kerry Insult Story

"The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today," Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, "you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said."

[This item is adopted from a Wednesday night posting on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters: newsbusters.org ]

Hume led the "Grapevine" segment on the November 1 Special Report with Brit Hume:
"The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today, but you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said. The Washington Post put the whole story on page 8. Both the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal put the Kerry flap on a par with the incident in which some of Virginia GOP Senator George Allen's supporters roughed up a heckler after an Allen event.

Update: Thursday's Washington Post put Kerry's apology on the front page and USA Today gave it a front page tease, but the New York Times again kept the topic off its front page.

ABC's Gibson Denies Media Bias, Behar
Rants Against the GOP

ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson visited the ladies of The View Wednesday morning to discuss a range of topics, from next week's midterm election and John Kerry's controversial remark to liberal media bias. Gibson argued that the controversy surrounding Senator Kerry's recent statement that those who fail to make use of their education will end up "stuck in Iraq," was in reference to President Bush and that Republicans "grabbed" onto the statement to energize the GOP base. When asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck about a perceived liberal bias in the media, fellow co-host Rosie O'Donnell laughed off the notion, while Gibson stated that balance is something for which he strives.

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

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, referring to an assessment by ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin (see item #5 below) wondered: "What do you think about the, the fact that a lot of people are talking about a media bias? You know, that they can see seventy-some odd percent of the news stories that come out have a liberal slant versus maybe twelve that, that have a more conservative slant? How do you respond to that?"
Rosie O'Donnell: "I would say that's a Fox poll and I don't think it's accurate..."
Charles Gibson: "...There is no such thing as objectivity, there is just lesser degrees of subjectivity...And you have to, all the time, say to yourself, are we being fair? Are we being down the middle, as we can? And I simply can tell you that is something which, which I try to implant on everybody at World News."

The real fireworks on Wednesday's chat fest, however, occurred prior to the segment with Gibson, between Hasselbeck, the View's token conservative, and liberal Joy Behar.

Before Gibson's appearance on the program, the View women got into a heated dispute over this remark made by Senator John Kerry during a campaign speech: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, and you study hard, and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Behar, who realized that Kerry's comment could hurt Democratic candidates and energize Republican supporters, said Kerry "should put a sock in it," but then went on to spew more Daily Kos talking points: "I also have to say that I feel very sad that John McCain and John Kerry are arguing and fighting over, over the support for the troops when both of them are veterans of Vietnam, and these draft dodgers, Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney are making hay over this. America, wake up!"

Hasselbeck then chimed in, leading to this interesting exchange on Kerry, Bush and elitism:

Hasselbeck: "When I, when I heard him say that, I just, I just counted my blessing, it made me feel thankful that he, that John Kerry isn't the president of the United States. You know, that was a possibility. He's so elitist, and he makes just, I think he just-"
Behar: "What do you mean by elitist? What do you mean by elitist, Elisabeth?"
Hasselbeck: "I believe he thinks he's better than everybody else. And I, if he was talking about President Bush, and he was saying, if you did your homework, President Bush had a higher I.Q. than he does, and he also had better grades than he did."
Behar: "Well, they both went to Yale, they both had money. Why is Kerry an elitist and Bush not?"
Hasselbeck: "Because John Kerry talks like he's God."
Behar: "Because Bush talks like he's from Texas?"

Barbara Walters stepped in and defended Kerry: "He just speaks good English, don't pick at him for that."
When Walters moved on to ask whether Kerry's remark would hurt the Democratic Party, Behar asserted that the Republicans would win if people were "stupid enough" to believe supporters of the war, which upset Hasselbeck greatly.

Behar: "Well, as long as the people who are against the Democrats are going to make hay out of this and lie about, about their record and, and go and continue to say that this war has been a good idea, when everybody knows its not been, then they're going to win. If people are stupid enough to believe that, then go ahead."
Hasselbeck: "Wait a second, wait a second, wait a second. By you saying that, cause I'm a person who believes that this war is justified, in fact, that we're fighting global terrorism, so I don't, I don't appreciate saying if you're stupid enough to believe that -- I do support'€"I, I don't believe they've done everything right, okay, and I believe it needs to be examined-"
Behar: "I'm going out there now on a limb, Elisabeth-"
Hasselbeck: "I'm going to try to finish-"
Behar: "I'm going out on a limb with that."

O'Donnell, who had remained silent throughout the debate, threw her two cents in and then acted as a quasi-moderator and allowed Behar and Hasselbeck one final comment.

O'Donnell: "Here we go. Wait. Listen. I'm going to give you, just like I'm on 'Crossfire,' the closing comment and you a closing comment, and I would just like to say a startling fact. This is November 1st. In October, we lost the most American troops ever, 101 Americans-"
Behar: "Of our people. Our people! Our children!"
O'Donnell: "-who were killed in a civil war in another country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and that had no weapons of mass destruction. Final comment, Joy, and then Elisabeth."
Behar: "All these people who love this war, who don't they send their husbands and children? Okay."
O'Donnell: "Okay?"
Behar: "Okay. That's not my final...I have one more thing to say. I just think they should stop changing the conversation. We are in the middle of a heinous war that is, that is destroying our country. It is splitting our country. Stop talking about gay marriage. I don't want to hear about gay marriage right now! I want to hear about this war. Stop it now."
O'Donnell: "And now, Elisabeth, you have a closing comment?"
Hasselbeck: "I think, I think when you go to the polls next week, I think you should choose to either fight the war on terror or fight Republicans. Pick your battle."

As noted earlier, Charles Gibson sat down with the co-hosts to discuss this issue, along with other political topics. The transcript of that interview:

Barbara Walters: "The midterm elections are next week, may decide the future of America, although I think we've been deciding it today. And here to give us a blow by blow of the hottest political battles, is the anchor of ABC World News, I love him so, Charles Gibson. Please welcome, Charlie...So what we were talking about was, is this John Kerry's own problem or is this going to spill over on the Democrats?"
Charles Gibson: "Well, I think it's a'€"first of all, it's an interesting question I asked George Stephanopoulos last night on the air. I said, do you really think that John Kerry intended to denigrate the troops? Does the, does the White House really think that? And as George said, it doesn't make a difference. First of all, it's not in their interest to try to save John Kerry's tush and secondly, they saw an issue and they grabbed it."
Walters: "But do you think he really meant to do that?"
Gibson: "I think he was talking about George Bush."
Rosie O'Donnell: "Yes."
Gibson: "But it doesn't make any difference. What its done is, it has, it is taken the argument back, which is probably advantageous to Republicans, for a Bush v. Kerry argument. And secondly, what is really important, I think to the Republicans and what they have been concerned about all along is, how do we energize our base? How do we get the base Republican voters to go to the polls? And they think they perhaps have found an issue here that, for at least a few days, will energize Republicans. But, but I think, essentially, and we've seen this in the polls over and over again that have been taken, and you could'€"I'm not talking about individual, are you going to vote for this guy or are you going to vote for that woman. I'm talking about the polls about where is the mood of the country, and, and I think there's no question, when you look at those polls, that the kind of discussion you just had on the air is going on over many dining room tables, over many-"
Joy Behar: "Let's hope so."
Walters: "Is this election then a referendum on, on Iraq or is it, as some people say, local issues?"
Gibson: "Yes. Yes."
Walters: "No, you think it's a referendum on the President and Iraq."
Gibson: "No, this is, this is, in race after race when you look at this, it is a referendum. It is the number one issue in people's minds, and when you look at the advertising and the way candidates are approaching this, Democrats are in, in district after district and state after state trying to tie the Republican candidate to the war and to George Bush, and they feel that will be effective for them. And the Republicans feel if they turn out their base that they can certainly hold the Senate, and perhaps even hold the House."
Behar: "This could all be meaningless if those voting machines are tampered with, which is really a problem that I'm having, this whole season-"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "You should get an absentee ballot."
Behar: "I'm very worried about that."
O'Donnell: "Charles, have you seen the documentary that's airing on HBO this week called Hacking Democracy, about those machines?"
Gibson: "I have not. But it, it, just from a baseline standpoint, I, I do know a lot about that show. From a baseline standpoint, it is phenomenal to me that a democracy that is 230 years old can't count the votes."
O'Donnell: "Yeah."
Gibson: "It just drives me crazy."
Behar: "They had six years. They didn't fix it. Why?"
Gibson: "It, it goes back to 2000. Electronically we ought to be able to do it. Theoretically, it seems to me, if you vote electronically, with a paper back-up, that it ought to be an accurate count. But in many of these areas, there won't be a, there won't be a paper back-up. And, and so we actually have on Tuesday night a correspondent who is going to be devoted to, well, he's going to be in Ohio, and there's a lot going on in Ohio, so he'll be looking at those races. This is Jake Tapper, but also will be looking at the problems with voting machines, to the extent that they may show up."
Hasselbeck: "...What do you think about the, the fact that lot of people are talking about a media bias? You know, that they can see seventy-some odd percent of the news stories that come out have a liberal slant versus maybe twelve that, that have a more conservative slant? How do you respond to that?"
Gibson: "Well, I-"
O'Donnell: "I would say that's a Fox poll and I don't think it's accurate, but-"
Hasselbeck: "Maybe."
Gibson: "I, I always, I can't speak for everybody. I, the, the dictum which is foremost in my mind, and which is something that I try to carry around in the back of my mind like a little plaque, is something that David Brinkley used to say. There is no such thing as objectivity, there is just lesser degrees of subjectivity."
Hasselbeck: "I agree with that."
Gibson: "And you have to, all the time, say to yourself, are we being fair? Are we being down the middle, as we can. And I simply can tell you that is something which, which I try to implant on everybody at World News."
Behar: "Well, talk radio is very conservative, so it kind of balances itself out in the media, if that happens to be true, what you're saying, which I doubt."
Gibson: "My, my concern, and there was an attempt at liberal talk radio recently with Air America."
Behar: "Oh, well that failed because they weren't entertaining enough."
O'Donnell: "Yeah. Well-"
Gibson: "Is there something about conservative talk radio that is inherently more entertaining than liberal talk radio?"
Behar: "I guess so, because it's more black and white."

ABC Political Chief Halperin: 70% of
Media Will Vote Democratic

In his "Grapevine" segment on Wednesday night, FNC's Brit Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, "says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic."

[This item is adopted from a Wednesday NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org ]

Hume noted on the November 1 Special Report with Brit Hume:
"ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, by the way, says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic. Halperin tells radio host Hugh Hewitt that the preponderance of liberal thought in media organizations is an endemic problem and he says it is why quote, 'for 40 years conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake,' end quote, Mark Halperin."

Indeed, as provided by a transcript (of Monday's show) posted on radio host Hugh Hewitt's site, Halperin conceded the media's overwhelming tilt to the left:

Hugh Hewitt: "But the old media is overwhelmingly liberal, correct, Mark Halperin?"
Mark Halperin, referring to the book he co-authored, The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008: "Correct, as we say in the book."
Hewitt: "And so everyone that you work with, or 95% of people you work with, are old liberals."
Halperin: "I don't know if it's 95%, and unfortunately, they're not all old. There are a lot of young liberals here, too. But it certainly, there are enough in the old media, not just in ABC, but in old media generally, that it tilts the coverage quite frequently, in many issues, in a liberal direction, which is completely improper. And it goes from the big and major like CBS' outrageous story about President Bush's draft record right before the 2004 election, to the insidious and small use of language describing Nancy Pelosi's liberal policies and ideas different than they would Newt Gingrich's conservative ones."
Hewitt: "And that's what I'm getting at. Inside of ABC News political division, how many people work with you, Mark Halperin, in that division?"
Halperin: "You know, it's hard to quantify it, because you've got people involved in a political year like this one, or during a presidential race, you've got hundreds of people who are touching our political coverage. There aren't very many people, just a handful of us, are full-time political reporters."
Hewitt: "But with editorial control, a producer, an editor-"
Halperin: "It's literally hundreds-"
Hewitt: "Okay."
Halperin: "Because again, you've got people on Good Morning America, people on World News Tonight, or World News, we call it now. So literally hundreds."
Hewitt: "Of those hundreds, what percentage do you think fairly, honestly, are liberal, and would vote Democratic if they voted?"
Halperin: "The same as in almost every old media organization I know, which is well over 70%."
Hewitt: "Isn't it, Thomas Edsall, in an interview that I know you read, because you wrote me about it, he said 95-"
Halperin: "I think 95's well overstated-"
Hewitt: "He said 15-25:1 in the Washington Post, liberal to conservative. Do you think that's fair?"
Halperin: "Absolutely. And again, I mean, look. John and I work for old media organizations. We write things in the book that most people in old media won't admit. But we're proud of our organizations, but I don't want to say it's singular to ABC. It's in all these, it's an endemic problem. And again, it's the reason why for forty years, conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake."

The transcript: hughhewitt.townhall.com

For audio of Halperin on Hewitt's October 30 program: www.townhall.com

A September 29 MRC CyberAlert item "WashPost Vet: By 25:1, Journalists 'Overwhelmingly to the Left,'" recounted Edsall's admission: www.mediaresearch.org

As for Halperin, an October 26 CyberAlert article (posted with video), "ABC News Political Chief Admits Media More Favorable to Liberals," reported:
Picking up on Monday's item in "The Note," the weekday ABCNews.com political compilation, titled "How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election," FNC's Bill O'Reilly brought aboard ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, who confirmed his belief that conservatives have good reason to view the media as hostile to their views. Halperin conceded: "If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair." And, he amazingly admitted: "The mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted..."

For more, and video: www.mrc.org

You Read It Here First: Hume & O'Reilly
Pick Up on Bias for Kerry

You read it here first. On Wednesday night, both FNC's Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly highlighted liberal bias, on coverage of John Kerry's insult of U.S. troops "stuck in Iraq," which was showcased by the MRC. In his "Grapevine" segment, Hume picked up on how ABC framed the story: "On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson. See: www.mrc.org

A couple of hours later, Bill O'Reilly set up a segment, with Laura Ingraham, by playing that Gibson clip, as well as a clip of Katie Couric mimicking a potential Republican ad about the Kerry comment, an imitation which, with video, was the lead item in Wednesday's CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

O'Reilly also highlighted CNN's Jack Cafferty hope that the Kerry story would disappear, a quote highlighted on the MRC's NewsBusters blog. All three quotes (Gibson, Couric and Cafferty) were showcased in a Wednesday press release from the MRC: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Rich Noyes tracked down O'Reilly's set up to his November 1 segment:

Bill O'Reilly: "Personal story segment tonight, while many Democrats are running away from the John Kerry controversy as we said, the media can't run, they have to report it. Now far-left publications like the Oregonian buried the story today but the TV and radio people can't do that.
Clip of Katie Couric from October 31 CBS Evening News: "Do you think Republican operatives are putting these, this comment into political campaigns all over the country. [mimicking a deep-voiced announcer] 'John Kerry insults the troops. Do we really want the Dems to take over?'"
Clip of Charles Gibson from October 31 World News on ABC: "How in this day and age an idle political remarks gets seized upon, becomes fodder for the talk shows, the blogs, and the politicians."
Clip from October 31 The Situation Room on CNN:
Paula Zahn: "Will it be dismembered by election night is the question Jack Cafferty."
Jack Cafferty: "If we have our way with it, it will be."
Wolf Blitzer: "I'm sure there will be something else that will pop up between now and probably an hour from now."
Cafferty: "One can only hope."

Guest Laura Ingraham later observed: "Well look, every election cycle the dinosaur media, the old media gets more partisan than the election before. It's hard to believe they actually could, but every time election rolls around, it gets worse. And every election cycle, I think the mainstream media's influence diminishes, and they don't seem to understand the correlation."

Letterman's "Top Ten John Kerry Excuses"

From the November 1 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten John Kerry Excuses." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Lightheaded from too much Botox

9. Hasn't been himself since he heard Bob Barker is retiring

8. Remark was an ill-conceived, careless blunder, kind of like the war

7. Just displaying that famous wit that cost him the 2004 election

6. Hoped saying something really stupid would make him seem more presidential

5. Too much Halloween candy

4. Relax, the election is months away

3. So I botched a joke -- Letterman does it every night

2. On the advice of his friend Mel Gibson, he's blaming it on the Jews

1. "Hey, it was still funnier than most of the jokes on this list"


# Rosie O'Donnell is scheduled to appear on Thursday's Late Show.

-- Brent Baker