Olbermann Outs Jennings' Military-Deriding Source on POW Rescue --5/9/2003
2. New York Times Mislabels Senator Bob Graham a "Moderate" Senator Bob Graham a "moderate"? That's how a May 7 New York Times story tagged the newest Democratic presidential candidate, but Graham has earned an 18 percent career rating from the American Conservative Union, making him more liberal than moderate.
3. Collins Elaborates on How Jennings Made Story Pro-Sandinista In a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC, much to the consternation of Bill Press, former ABC News reporter Peter Collins recounted how Peter Jennings changed one of his stories in 1989 to make it more positive toward the Sandinistas and thus earning the condemnation of the Media Research Center.
4. Dennis Miller Blasts Senator Byrd as a Doddering "Moron" Just two nights after appearing on NBC's Tonight Show, comedian Dennis Miller managed to deliver some fresh zingers Thursday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes. Miller blasted Senator Robert Byrd for his attacks on President Bush over landing on the aircraft carrier: "He's a moron, he's an old man. If your uncle started talking like that at Thanksgiving dinner, you know, you'd all have a talk when he left the room about how you have to keep an eye on Uncle Bobby."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday night inadvertently outed ABC's Peter Jennings as to how a piece on Wednesday's World News Tonight belittling the U.S. commando rescue of POW Jessica Lynch aired a few days after a story with that theme ran in Jennings' hometown newspaper, the Toronto Star.
Olbermann asserted on his May 8 show: "There are now questions about whether the daring nighttime commando raid to rescue her was actually necessary or actually that daring. The Toronto Star quotes Dr. Harith Harith Houssona, from the hospital in Nasiriyah in which Lynch was being held, as saying that all Iraqi military personnel had left that facility two days before the American raid took place."
It's logical to assume that Jennings saw the May 5 Toronto Star story and then got David Wright and a crew to travel to Nasiriyah to obtain video, leading to the World News Tonight story two days later. But that Star story was not obsessed, as was ABC, with how U.S. commandos unnecessarily broke doors and doorknobs. Toronto Star reporter Mitch Potter mentioned broken doors just once in his article and that did not occur until the 20th paragraph:
As recounted in the May 8 CyberAlert, Peter Jennings set up ABC's May 7 report: "When U.S. commandos stormed an Iraqi hospital to get Private Jessica Lynch last month it was described, you'll recall, in very dramatic fashion -- U.S. commandos rushing an enemy compound to save a comrade in the dead of night. Now we hear that it may have been less dangerous and maybe even less challenging than Central Command first told us."
From Nasiriyah, David Wright, over video of doors with the doorknobs punched out, noted that "the U.S. "soldiers broke down doors in the intensive care unit," but, he insisted, "they could have just asked where she was" since, people at the hospital told him, there were no Iraqi soldiers in the building. Over more video of punched out doorknobs, Wright complained that "the hospital still bears the scars of that midnight raid. The administrators had to sell precious drugs to pay for the damage."
Damage that still existed a month later when Potter and Wright arrived.
For a full rundown of the May 7 World News Tonight story, which included soundbites from the same doctors quoted by the Toronto Star, see the May 8 CyberAlert which now includes, thanks to the MRC's Tim Jones and Mez Djouadi, a picture, from ABC's story, of a door with the doorknob area broken away: www.mediaresearch.org
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth alerted me to Olbermann's bit of commentary on the 8pm EDT Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. After noting how Lynch does not remember much of her ordeal, Olbermann contended on his May 8 broadcast:
MSNBC's page for Olbermann's show, with a picture of him: www.msnbc.com
"The real 'Saving Pte. Lynch'" read the headline over the May 5 Toronto Star story. The subhead: "Iraqi medical staff tell a different story than U.S. military. 'We all became friends with her, we liked her so much.'" An excerpt from Mitch Potter's Nasiriyah-datelined story which so intrigued Jennings:
The fog of war comes sometimes with a certain odour, and cutting through its layers, like cutting through an onion, can bring tears to the eyes.
Such is the case with what is far and away the most oft-told story of the Persian Gulf War II -- the saga of Saving Private Lynch....
Precision teams of U.S. Army Rangers and Navy Seals, acting on intelligence information and supported by four helicopter gunships, ended Lynch's nine-day Iraqi imprisonment in true Rambo style, raising America's spirits when it needed it most.
All Hollywood could ever hope to have in a movie was there in this extraordinary feat of rescue -- except, perhaps, the truth.
So say three Nasiriya doctors, two nurses, one hospital administrator and local residents interviewed separately last week in a Toronto Star investigation.
The medical team that cared for Lynch at the hospital formerly known as Saddam Hospital is only now beginning to appreciate how grand a myth was built around the four hours the U.S. raiding party spent with them early on April Fool's Day.
And they are disappointed.
For Dr. Harith Houssona, 24, who came to consider Lynch a friend after nurturing her through the worst of her injuries, the ironies are almost beyond tabulation.
"The most important thing to know is that the Iraqi soldiers and commanders had left the hospital almost two days earlier," Houssona said. "The night they left, a few of the senior medical staff tried to give Jessica back. We carefully moved her out of intensive care and into an ambulance and began to drive to the Americans, who were just one kilometre away. But when the ambulance got within 300 metres, they began to shoot. There wasn't even a chance to tell them 'We have Jessica. Take her.'"...
At midnight, the sound of helicopters circling the hospital's upper floors sent staff scurrying for the x-ray department -- the only part of the hospital with no outside windows. The power was cut, followed by small explosions as the raiding teams blasted through locked doors.
A few minutes later, they heard a man's voice shout, "Go! Go! Go!" in English. Seconds later, the door burst open and a red laser light cut through the darkness, trained on the forehead of the chief resident.
"We were pretty frightened. There were about 40 medical staff together in the x-ray department," said Dr. Anmar Uday, 24. "Everyone expected the Americans to come that day because the city had fallen. But we didn't expect them to blast through the doors like a Hollywood movie."
Dr. Mudhafer Raazk, 27, observed dryly that two cameramen and a still photographer, also in uniform, accompanied the U.S. teams into the hospital. Maybe this was a movie after all.
Separately, the Iraqi doctors describe how the tension fell away rapidly once the Americans realized no threat existed on the premises. A U.S. medic was led to Lynch's room as others secured the rest of the three-wing hospital. Several staff and patients were placed in plastic handcuffs, including, according to Houssona, one Iraqi civilian who was already immobilized with abdominal wounds from an earlier explosion.
One group of soldiers returned to the x-ray room to ask about the bodies of missing U.S. soldiers and was led to a graveyard opposite the hospital's south wall. All were dead on arrival, the doctors say.
"The whole thing lasted about four hours," Raazk said. "When they left, they turned to us and said 'Thank you.' That was it."
The Iraqi medical staff fanned out to assess the damage. In all, 12 doors were broken, a sterilized operating theatre contaminated, and the specialized traction bed in which Lynch had been placed was trashed.
"That was a special bed, the only one like it in the hospital, but we gave it to Jessica because she was developing a bed sore," Houssona said.
What bothers Raazk most is not what was said about Lynch's rescue, so much as what wasn't said about her time in hospital.
"We all became friends with her, we liked her so much," Houssona said. "Especially because we all speak a little English, we were able to assure her the whole time that there was no danger, that she would go home soon."...
[T]hey all made a point of giving Lynch the best of everything, he added. Despite a scarcity of food, extra juice and cookie were scavenged for their American guest.
They also assigned to Lynch the hospital's most nurturing nurse, Khalida Shinah. At 43, Shinah has three daughters close to Lynch's age. She immediately embraced her foreign patient as one of her own.
"It was so scary for her," Shinah said through a translator. "Not only was she badly hurt, but she was in a strange country. I felt more like a mother than a nurse. I told her again and again, Allah would watch over her. And many nights I sang her to sleep."
In the first few days, Houssona said the doctors were somewhat nervous as to whether Iraqi intelligence agents would show any interest in Lynch. But when the road between Nasiriya and Baghdad fell to the U.S.-led coalition, they knew the danger had passed....
Three days before the U.S. raid, Lynch had regained enough strength that the team was ready to proceed with orthopaedic surgery on her left leg. The procedure involved cutting through muscle to install a platinum plate to both ends of the compound fracture. "We only had three platinum plates left in our supply and at least 100 Iraqis were in need," Raazk said. "But we gave one to Jessica."
A second surgery, and a second platinum plate, was scheduled for Lynch's fractured arm. But U.S. forces removed her before it took place, Raazk said.
Three days after the raid, the doctors had a visit from one of their U.S. military counterparts. He came, they say, to thank them for the superb surgery.
"He was an older doctor with gray hair and he wore a military uniform," Raazk said.
"I told him he was very welcome, that it was our pleasure. And then I told him: 'You do realize you could have just knocked on the door and we would have wheeled Jessica down to you, don't you?'
"He was shocked when I told him the real story. That's when I realized this rescue probably didn't happen for propaganda reasons. I think this American army is just such a huge machine, the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing."
What troubles the staff in Nasiriya most are reports that Lynch was abused while in their case. All vehemently deny it....
END of Excerpt
For the entirety of the May 5 Toronto Star story: www.torontostar.com
Lesson for the future: When wondering about where Jennings comes across stories you don't see widely covered elsewhere, check the Canadian media.
Senator Bob Graham a "moderate"? That's how a May 7 New York Times story tagged the newest Democratic presidential candidate, but as the MRC's Clay Waters noted on the TimesWatch.org Web page, his vote ratings belie the label.
Clay wrote on the MRC's TimesWatch page on Wednesday:
And while his ratings for the liberal Americans for Democratic Action show he's not a pure liberal across the board, he's certainly not a moderate. The ADA approved of 75 percent of his 2002 votes and he earned a lifetime rating of 69 percent through 2000, making him much more liberal than a true moderate like John Breaux who gets near-50 percent ratings from both ACU and the ADA.
For the ACU numbers: www.acuratings.com
In a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC, much to the consternation of Bill Press, former ABC News reporter Peter Collins recounted how Peter Jennings changed one of his stories in 1989 to make it more positive toward the Sandinistas and thus earning the condemnation of the Media Research Center.
The May 2 CyberAlert relayed how Collins first made his charge last week to the MRC's CNSNews.com:
The resulting story in question was featured in the MRC's MediaWatch and Notable Quotables. On the July 19, 1989 World News Tonight, Collins reported in his Jennings-modified report: "The Sandinistas brought with them Marxist ideas about spreading wealth and creating a new, unselfish society. And in the first few years, they did manage to reduce illiteracy, the infant death rate and launched the biggest land reform in Central America. But the Reagan Administration saw the Sandinistas as a threat and forced them into a war with the U.S.-backed Contras."
Tuesday, on MSNBC's 6pm EDT edition of Buchanan & Press, Collins recalled how Jennings "essentially dictated to me what I should say in the piece, and two weeks later a conservative media watch organization accused me of trumpeting the Sandinista line."
That would be us, back in our early days.
The relevant exchange on the May 6 MSNBC show in which Press became quite agitated over any criticism of Jennings:
Press: "So, as I understand it, you allege that Peter Jennings, I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but Peter Jennings twisted your words or your scripts or slanted the news, at least, to have a more liberal bias, correct?"
For an excerpt of the CNSNews.com story and a link to what Collins recounted in an op-ed about how he witnessed CNN groveling before Saddam Hussein, refer back to the May 2 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
Just two nights after appearing on NBC's Tonight Show, comedian Dennis Miller managed to deliver some fresh zingers Thursday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes. Plus, Thursday's Washington Times featured a profile of Miller headlined, "As Miller sees it, patriotism gets the last laugh."
On FNC, Miller blasted Senator Robert Byrd for his attacks on President Bush over landing on the aircraft carrier: "He's a moron, he's an old man. If your uncle started talking like that at Thanksgiving dinner, you know, you'd all have a talk when he left the room about how you have to keep an eye on Uncle Bobby."
Miller suggested that "anybody who doesn't believe" Iraq had chemical weapons "should have to go over and take a sip out of the Tigris River."
As for no evidence of a link "between the secular state of Iraq and al-Qaeda! Come on. They both think we're Satan. Isn't that a nice starting point? Why are you so loathe to believe they might have each other on lunatic speed dial?"
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down some of Miller's remarks and here are those above in full as uttered during Miller's appearance, via satellite from his home in Santa Barbara, on the May 8 Hannity & Colmes during which he did some sparring with Alan Colmes:
-- Sean Hannity: "You know, I got to think, because you see everything, you know, from the comedic standpoint, vantage point, and here, you know, here you have a former Klansman who was the head of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate, segregationist Robert Byrd, and hear his attack against the President for landing on an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, after a big military victory. I got think that-"
-- More Miller on Byrd: "If he wants to go down this road where he really questions President Bush and says that him landing on that aircraft carrier was a big problem, well, for God's sakes, two years from now it's going to be a bloodbath as far as the elections go, because that's what America is getting sick of, stuff like that, where they go, for God's sakes, it was just the President flying out to meet, to meet the troops as they reentered the port. It's, listen, most of us are sitting at home proud of that."
-- Miller: "You know, anybody who doesn't believe they have chemical weapons over there should have to go over and take a sip out of the Tigris River in the first place."
-- Miller, imitating Colmes: "And I know your next move, I watch you so much, 'There's been no proven link between the secular state of Iraq and al-Qaeda!' Come on. They both think we're Satan. Isn't that a nice starting point? Why are you so loathe to believe they might have each other on lunatic speed dial?"
Thursday's Washington Times featured a profile of Miller headlined, "As Miller sees it, patriotism gets the last laugh." An excerpt from the May 8 story by Jennifer Harper:
Dennis Miller may have the most muscular patriotism on the planet -- and he's not afraid to use it.
The comedian has emerged as an unabashed advocate for America, the Bush administration and the military.
He has struck a robust blow for flag and country in antiwar Hollywood, where home-front unity is at a premium.
"I am portrayed as the big anomaly in the community. But if you can't get behind your country at a time like this, what are you thinking? War in Iraq has only increased my patriotism," Mr. Miller said in an interview yesterday.
Mr. Miller was not in stand-up mode at the time, though his one-liners and rants had proved effective weapons in recent months.
"I would call the French scumbags, but that, of course, would be a disservice to bags filled with scum," he told Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show in February, after France refused to give its blessings to the war in Iraq.
"If you're in a peace march and the guy next to you has a sign that says Bush is Hitler, forget the peace thing for a second and beat his [posterior], because he is not Hitler," he added some time later.
Mr. Miller's public ferocity has been fomenting off and on since the September 11 attacks, punctuated by TV appearances that criticize liberals, prissy journalists and fellow celebrities for reviling the White House in wartime....
Mr. Miller has bashed the press for years, aiming piquant criticism on journalists who would violate the security of American troops for the sake of their stories.
"It's on constant slip-up patrol now. It used to be the five W's ? who, what, when, all that. Now it's the 5 W's and 'gotcha.' " he noted.
Mr. Miller carefully charted the course of the great Dixie Chicks debacle, which revealed much about the American mind-set in recent weeks. The country music trio suffered nationwide boycotts and ridicule after lead singer Natalie Maines assured a London audience in March that she was "ashamed" Mr. Bush was from Texas.
"What happened to the Dixie Chicks is exactly what should have happened. Natalie Maines was overseas and thought she could get away with her remark. That was naive," Mr. Miller said.
"Then the NASCAR audience got a hold of it through the Drudge Report, and Matt Drudge, by the way, is a latter-day Walter Winchell," he said, referring to the legendary newspaper columnist during the 1940s. "So people got mad for a while, and it scared the girls a bunch. But time passes, and they had a sold-out concert last week. It was a whole life cycle. It ended the way it should have ended."...
As for politics, Mr. Miller is in boxing stance as the 2004 presidential election rattles to life. He already has targeted his initial opponent.
"John Edwards has the most potential as a target for me," Mr. Miller said, referring to the Democratic senator from North Carolina. "He looks like a sketchily drawn John Grisham character. He's the one I'm going to watch."
Mr. Miller, who once described himself as a "lifelong Democrat," became a Bush stalwart.
"I didn't know what to make of Bush in the beginning. I liked his father, but I didn't know the son," Mr. Miller said. "Then President Bush got the whole September 11 thing in his lap, and Iraq. And he's dispatched it all beautifully."
He added: "Do I think he led a frivolous life in previous years? Yes. Do I think he saved himself? Yes. He's become a great commander in chief. He's stayed on message -- and I admire him."
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.washtimes.com
-- May 7 CyberAlert: A fresh round of zingers on Tuesday's Tonight Show from Dennis Miller. Amongst Miller's cracks: "If Clinton had only attacked terrorism as much as he attacks George Bush we wouldn't be in this problem." Miller also offered praise for the performance of the U.S. military, mocking those still complaining about the war: "Hey, it couldn't have gone any better, okay. We were killing suicide bombers. You know how fast you're moving when a guy -- the only thing he wants to do in life is kill himself -- and you beat him to it?" Read those and more quips from Miller. For those and more, see: www.mediaresearch.org
Reminder: Dennis Miller is scheduled to appear Friday night on CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.
-- Brent Baker