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Only Jennings Ignores Pro-Troops Rally in New York City -- 04/11/2003 CyberAlert


1. Only Jennings Ignores Pro-Troops Rally in New York City
No anti-war protest has been too small to earn coverage from ABC's Peter Jennings who in recent months has highlighted anti-war events involving just a few hundred people, a "virtual" protest and even one guy who jumped off a bridge, but on Thursday night, while CBS and NBC noted a pro-troops rally featuring 15,000 in New York City, Jennings could not manage to mention it on World News Tonight.

2. Couric Asks Marine's Family if Proud Despite U.S. Flag Display
Strangest question of the day: Katie Couric asked the family of the Marine, who briefly put a U.S. flag over the face on the Saddam Hussein statue shortly before it was toppled, whether they thought "he made any kind of mistake by doing it or did you still feel very proud of him?" As if the family were about to say they were not proud, that hoisting the U.S. flag embarrassed them?

3. Koppel Rebukes "a Mockery of Objective Reporting" -- Abroad
Ted Koppel has found media bias -- in the Middle Eastern media and "international news agencies." He opened Wednesday's Nightline by chiding them for "a mockery of objective reporting," as "a number of international news agencies presented the competing claims" of Iraq's Minister of Information defying reality and the U.S. government "as if they had equal merit."

4. Olbermann Mocks Dire Media Predictions on War Disaster
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked the mis-predictions of those who forecast disaster if the U.S. went to war in Iraq, with Iraqis "more angered by American invaders than they would be worried by Saddam's Fedayeen, the street to street fighting in Baghdad could create a modern day Stalingrad," etc. Olbermann suggested on Wednesday night that "there remain groups who were invested in the idea that the coalition couldn't or shouldn't succeed. In other words, not a really good day to be French" or a New York Times columnist.

5. On NBC's Today, Miller Praises Bush, Ridicules the French
Repeating many of the same lines he's used in recent Tonight Show appearances, on Thursday's Today actor/comedian Dennis Miller touted that "I'm like Bush, I see the world more like checkers than chess." Miller, on to plug a Saturday night HBO special, declared: "I'm a huge fan of the President's." He also delivered a series of anti-French zingers: "See to me we move the furniture, the French come in later and put the doilies on top of it..."

6. Time Yet for Janeane Garofalo's Apology? She Promised One
Time for Janeane Garofalo's comeuppance? Will Garofalo follow through on her promise, made to Fox's Bill O'Reilly, that if she is proven wrong and Iraqis welcome U.S. troops who find stores of weapons of mass destruction, "I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, 'hey, you were right, I shouldn't have doubted you.'"


Only Jennings Ignores Pro-Troops Rally in
New York City

No anti-war protest has been too small to earn coverage from ABC's Peter Jennings who in recent months has highlighted anti-war events involving just a few hundred people, a "virtual" protest and even one guy who jumped off a bridge, but on Thursday night, while CBS and NBC noted a pro-troops rally featuring 15,000 in New York City, Jennings could not manage to mention it on World News Tonight.

CNN, FNC and MSNBC all covered some of the April 10 event live in the noon hour and later included it in their hourly or more rundowns of the day's events. CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, but anchored by Forrest Sawyer, also highlighted it.

CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith noted it, though he felt compelled to explain what he apparently thought viewers would find a foreign notion, that many see the war in Iraq as part of the battle against terrorism:
"Here in New York City, thousands of trade union workers and firefighters rallied at Ground Zero in support of American troops fighting in Iraq. Speakers and many in the crowd see the war in Iraq as part of the war on terror which began after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001."

As Smith talked, viewers could hear those rallying chant, "USA, USA!" CBS showcased a sign proclaiming:
"We Gave Peace
a Chance, We
Got 9/11!
Support
Our Troops!!"

Tom Brokaw managed to squeeze in a 6-second item on the April 10 NBC Nightly News, announcing over video of a sea of waving U.S. flags: "In New York, tens of thousands gathered near Ground Zero to show support for the U.S. troops in Iraq."

The event featured New York Governor George Pataki and former Senator Bob Dole. An AP story pegged attendance at 15,000: "The rally stretched for several blocks north from the World Trade Center site. Carpenters, electricians and firefighters carried American flags and homemade signs and chanted USA! USA!' Police and organizers estimated the crowd at more than 15,000. The rally was sponsored by the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York."

Read the AP story by Michael Weissenstein in full as posted on Yahoo.com.

Jennings couldn't even find six seconds for the rally which took place just a few miles south of the ABC News headquarters, but he did find two minutes for a look at how an Iman in Detroit had a warning for the Bush administration. Jennings noted that in the Detroit suburbs Iraqis "are celebrating, but they also have a message for the Bush administration."

Reporter Dean Reynolds acknowledged that "it would be an understatement to say people in this neighborhood are happy Saddam is finished" but, highlighting Iman Husham Al-Husainy of the Karbalaa Islamic Center, Reynolds passed along how he says U.S. policy "should concentrate on dealing with nations instead of autocratic rulers and he believes that would send a strong signal to Iraq's Arab neighbors."

Those against the war haven't had to gather a lot of people for Jennings to consider their cause newsworthy:

-- From the October 25 CyberAlert: It doesn't take much to arouse Peter Jennings' interest -- if you're left-wingers protesting Bush. Jennings found the time to highlight and show video of a mere 200 anti-Bush protestors.
Jennings reported on the October 24 World News Tonight: "More than 200 people demonstrated outside the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas today. They say they wanted the President to focus on issues affecting the poor and the working class and they were escorted away by police."
From the video, it was barely 200. Amongst the signs held up by these average Americans:
"President Bush & VP Cheney: People's Need, Not Corporate Greed."
"Wanted: [Bush/Cheney photo] "For Corporate Greed"
Looked more anti-Bush/Cheney than pro-poor.

-- From the February 27 CyberAlert, a "virtual" protest which neither the CBS or NBC evening shows found newsworthy:
Jennings intoned on the February 26 World News Tonight: "In Washington today, thousands of people opposed to war against Iraq bombarded the Senate and the White House with phone calls, faxes and e-mails. They called it a virtual march on the Capitol. Communications were virtually paralyzed in the Senate for a while. Many congressional phone lines were jammed for several hours and one Senator reported 18 times more e-mail than usual." For more see the February 27, 2003 CyberAlert.

-- From the March 6 CyberAlert: Jennings went out of his way to make anti-war demonstrators appear more well-rounded and reasonable. Highlighting some protests on college campuses, Jennings stressed on World News Tonight that "while the students oppose war," they made "a point of saying they support homeland security but believe the government should be focusing on jobs, security and health care, as well." For details see the March 6, 2003 CyberAlert.

-- From the March 17 CyberAlert, Jennings hyped a small protest as he anchored World News Tonight/Sunday the night of the Azores summit: Over video of a small protest, Jennings announced: "There were, as there are somewhere every day now, some demonstrations against the war. In Chicago, among other places, several thousand people gathered in Daley Plaza, religious, labor and community leaders among them. Several speakers said the war would cost billions of dollars the country needs for schools and for health care."

For more on Jennings' anti-war spin that night see the March 17, 2003 CyberAlert.

-- From the March 20 CyberAlert: Jennings demonstrated that no anti-war demonstration is too small for him to consider it newsworthy as he picked up on a solitary effort: "And in San Francisco, a man apparently leaped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge. Our affiliate there, KGO, reports that he read an anti-war statement before jumping."

When the war began, Jennings displayed his sympathy for the anti-war cause:

-- From the March 21 CyberAlert: ABC and Peter Jennings displayed a special zeal for the cause of those against the war. Jennings bemoaned how "it's going to be very difficult for people who are opposed to the war to debate it now that the forces are in combat," pleaded with Senator Joe Biden that those opposed are looking "to members of the Democratic Party" to be "their port in a storm....What happens to them at the moment?" See the entire March 21, 2003 CyberAlert item.

-- From the March 22 CyberAlert: Jennings rued to David Gergen that the administration has a "tendency" to "pretend" anti-war protests are not happening. Gergen agreed and then worried that since "Iraq is putting up so little resistance," the U.S. will appear to "have been a bully." Jennings largely tossed softballs to two anti-war group leaders, such as: "Why do you feel so strongly about this war?" And he saw an inadequate level of activism: "The college campus appears rather quiescent to some." See the entire March 22, 2003 CyberAlert item.

-- For a rundown of how ABC and Peter Jennings hyped the larger anti-liberation of Iraq protests, distorted their "diversity" and ignored the true agenda of organizers, scroll down to the "Sanitizing Radical Protesters" section in the MRC's Special Report by Tim Graham, "Peter's Peace Platoon: ABC's Crusade Against 'Arrogant' American Power." Read the entire Special Report.

Couric Asks Marine's Family if Proud
Despite U.S. Flag Display

Strangest question of the day: Katie Couric asked the family of the Marine, who briefly put a U.S. flag over the face on the Saddam Hussein statue shortly before it was toppled, whether they thought "he made any kind of mistake by doing it or did you still feel very proud of him?"

As if the family were about to say they were not proud, that hoisting the U.S. flag embarrassed them?

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this question from Couric to the family of Marine Corporal Edward Chin, on the April 10 Today: "Now that flag was taken down very quickly as you all well know because there was some concern that it would upset the Iraqi people and frankly other Arab nations. And there's been a very strong effort on the part of coalition forces not to appear as if the U.S. is occupying Iraq. What are your thoughts on that? Did you feel he made any kind of mistake by doing it or did you still feel very proud of him?"

His parents, of course, affirmed their pride.

Couric soon surprised the family by bringing Corporal Chin aboard via satellite to talk with his family. He subsequently explained the origins of the flag: "And then the United States flag was brought up too. It was the, it was the flag that was in the Pentagon building when it got bombed. So I put it up there for a brief moment to, to, the Iraqi crowd was really happy that we did that. Then after that we put their flag up."

Koppel Rebukes "a Mockery of Objective
Reporting" -- Abroad

Ted Koppel has found media bias -- in the Middle Eastern media and "international news agencies." He opened Wednesday's Nightline by chiding them for "a mockery of objective reporting," as "a number of international news agencies presented the competing claims" of Iraq's Minister of Information defying reality and the U.S. government "as if they had equal merit."

From his encampment at the Baghdad airport, Koppel announced near the top of the April 9 Nightline after U.S. troops took control of downtown Baghdad, as observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Until the very end, the Iraqi government continued to play out the charade that it was inflicting huge losses on U.S. forces, that there were no U.S. troops at the airport, let alone inside Baghdad itself. And in a mockery of objective reporting, a number of international news agencies presented the competing claims of Baghdad and Washington as if they had equal merit: 'U.S. forces claim to be inside Baghdad, but the Iraqi Minister of Information continues to insist,' that sort of thing."

Olbermann Mocks Dire Media Predictions
on War Disaster

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked the mis-predictions of those who forecast disaster if the U.S. went to war in Iraq, with Iraqis "more angered by American invaders than they would be worried by Saddam's Fedayeen, the street to street fighting in Baghdad could create a modern day Stalingrad," etc. Olbermann suggested on Wednesday night that "there remain groups who were invested in the idea that the coalition couldn't or shouldn't succeed. In other words, not a really good day to be French" or a New York Times columnist.

Olbermann set up a segment with Frank Gaffney on his 8pm EDT show on April 9, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed: "Mapping it out tonight, there were not enough ground troops, Iraqis would be more angered by American invaders than they would be worried by Saddam's Fedayeen, the street to street fighting in Baghdad could create a modern day Stalingrad. Okay, what the critics meant to say was, joining me now to look at how the cards all came up in order and the slot machine kept spitting out the jackpot is Frank Gaffney..."

Later, introducing Los Angeles radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Olbermann observed: "You would think there would be very few people anywhere who would be upset by today's news from Baghdad, but as has become obvious, beyond those who merely and honestly sought peace or greater consensus, there remain groups who were invested in the idea that the coalition couldn't or shouldn't succeed. In other words, not a really good day to be French. Hugh Hewitt joins us now..."

Olbermann suggested: "I imagine, Hugh, that you and I could argue for three weeks without a breath about whether the media is biased against the right or biased against the left, but without question, there are some newspaper columnists, especially, who may have to call in sick tomorrow. For example, Bob Herbert of the New York Times who wrote 24 days ago, 'We're about to watch the tragedy unfold. The President, who's wanted war with Iraq all along, has been unwilling to listen seriously to anyone with an opposing view.' Do you think now that there will be necessarily a media swing to the right, whether or not there already was one?"

We wish, but media errors of the past based on believing and promoting a liberal world view haven't led to any introspection.

Read the PDF version of MRC's Media Reality Check by Tim Graham, "Wrong, Wrong, Wrong on the 'Arab Street'; Baghdad-Based Reporters Issued Piles of Unreliable, Inaccurate 'Reporting' On Iraqi Public Opinion."

Read the April 9 CyberAlert Extra "Special Gloat and Quote Edition: Media's Erroneous Predictions," with three dozen examples of media foolishness and dire war forecasts.

On NBC's Today, Miller Praises Bush,
Ridicules the French

Repeating many of the same lines he's used in recent Tonight Show appearances, on Thursday's Today actor/comedian Dennis Miller touted that "I'm like Bush, I see the world more like checkers than chess." Miller, on to plug a Saturday night HBO special, declared: "I'm a huge fan of the President's."

Miller also delivered a series of anti-French zingers: "See to me we move the furniture, the French come in later and put the doilies on top of it...It's a simple fact they've always been reluctant to surrender to the wishes of their friends and are almost anticipatory in their urge to surrender to wishes of their enemies. And if they want to get their hands dirty now they're just gonna have to run 'em through their own hair."

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens passed along a hunk of the April 10 interview with Katie Couric. She challenged his technique:
"You would agree though, Dennis, that you push the envelop certainly, and, and you know you, you enjoy offending certain people and sensibilities. Yes?"
Miller: "Well yeah, probably like Bill Clinton. I never liked Clinton and I always liked winding him up, you know? And I'm sure he doesn't even know who I am probably but I always would take-"
Couric: "I'm sure he does actually."
Miller: "-I would always take, yeah I just thought that, he, he didn't earn my respect. Conversely Bush who I never thought I would, you know when he first came in thought I don't even know what to make of this guy. I've grown very fond of him. I think he's handled himself amazingly with some of the most brutal cards that history's ever dealt anybody."
Couric: "And you've certainly, you, you've been very supportive of the war."
Miller: "Oh I'm proud that he's my President. You know, I'm, I'm like Bush I see the world more like checkers than chess. I think that's how George Bush sees the world. I think it's more of a pragmatic thing and I consider myself a pragmatist. You know I'm a huge fan of the President's. I might, I might start pronouncing it, nuclear, [mispronounces nuclear like Bush does] just as an homage."
Couric: "What do you think, you know obviously, it, it's interesting to me how people in this country are, are either sort of appalled when celebrities come out with political positions or just want nothing to do with that and, and really don't care how they feel one way or the another?"
Miller: "Yeah well I assume there's a lot of people who could care what I feel about it. All I know is that I, I have to express my opinions right now. I'm a, I'm a comedian that talks about topical issues and this is the topic of the day. People say, 'Do you worry about your career out in Hollywood?' You know my career is, I've gotten a better deal than I ever thought I was gonna get. What is the urge to have a nicer house if you can't live with yourself? You gotta speak your mind?"
Couric: "Meanwhile you, you've missed a lot of opportunities because of the time of the special because you, you have great French jokes."
Miller: "Well the French have great French jokes. I mean, you know I went down and took the UN tour, even the guidebook is spineless. [Laughter in the studio, Couric grimaces and then smiles.] See to me we move the furniture, the French come in later and put the doilies on top of it, you know? It's a, it's a simple fact they've always been reluctant to surrender to the wishes of their friends and are almost anticipatory in their urge to surrender to wishes of their enemies. And if they want to get their hands dirty now they're just gonna have to run 'em through their own hair. I think they should come in and I think they should come in now and act as a concierge for Iraq and take care of the day to day. Theater tickets."
Couric: "You, you, you said their rationale, their rationale for invading Iraq would've been what?"
Miller: "Well, well if they found truffles in there. You know these are people who get off work when the day they invented béarnaise. This, this is an odd culture over there."
Couric: "You, you said that, that when the, when the United States had the decency to chisel off the arm-"
Miller: "Off the armpit hair from the Statue of Liberty. Listen, if they keep pushing us maybe we invade Iraq then invade Chirac. You want a pipeline from the oil fields over to the Eiffel Tower? Turn it into the world's biggest oil derrick, you just have Bush down at the bottom in a cowboy hat with a lariat and a branding-iron putting a big 'W' on Chirac's ass, it'll drive him crazy."
Couric: "Okay on that note Dennis Miller. Wow what did you have for breakfast?"
Miller: "Nothing yet."
Couric: "I want whatever it was."

Miller's media tour is to plug an HBO special, Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed, which debuts Saturday at 10pm EDT. It was taped over a month ago, well before the war, in Chicago and, given it's HBO, be warned that it will likely contain language and non-political subjects not used or addressed during Miller's Tonight Show appearances. HBO's page for the special as posted on www.hbo.com.

For all of the HBO air times see the schedule posted on www.hbo.com.

The April 4 CyberAlert recounted Miller's last appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Another round of pro-American patriotism, pro-President Bush and anti-liberal jibes, jests and slams from actor/comedian Dennis Miller on Thursday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, including a nice zinger at Peter Arnett: "How am I supposed to trust the honesty of a reporter that has that bad of a comb-over on top of his head?...Hey guess what Pete? We know you're bald, okay? The outside of your skull is as empty as the inside."

For details and links to recitations of earlier Miller appearances, see the April 4, 2003 CyberAlert.

Time Yet for Janeane Garofalo's Apology?
She Promised One

Time for Janeane Garofalo's comeuppance? Will Garofalo follow through on her promise, made to Fox's Bill O'Reilly, that if she is proven wrong and Iraqis welcome U.S. troops who find stores of weapons of mass destruction, "I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, 'hey, you were right, I shouldn't have doubted you.'"

During the taped interview shown on the March 6 edition of The Pulse on the Fox broadcast network, this exchange occurred:

Janeane Garofalo O'Reilly: "If you are wrong, all right, and if the United States -- and they will, this is going to happen -- goes in, liberates Iraq, people in the street, American flags, hugging our soldiers, all right, we find all kinds of bad, bad stuff, all right, in Iraq, you gonna apologize to George W. Bush?"
Garofalo promised: "I would be so willing to say I'm sorry, I hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say you were wrong, you were a fatalist, and I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, hey, you were right, I shouldn't have doubted you. But I think to think that is preposterous."

We have liberated Iraq with people in the streets welcoming U.S. troops and waving American flags, and while we have yet to definitively identify stores of weapons of mass destruction, that will inevitably occur in a matter of days or, at most, weeks, as U.S. troops move into the most pro-Hussein areas and get tips from Iraqis.

So, either now or when that evidence of weapons of mass destruction is found, will Garofalo apologize to President Bush and all those whose motives she has smeared?

During the same interview, when asked by O'Reilly if she thinks "George W. Bush is more of a danger to this world than Saddam?", the left-wing actress/comedienne maintained: "Equal, in a different way."

A transcript of that earlier portion of the interview leading up to her walking on cut glass promise:

O'Reilly: "Let me ask you a flat-out question. Do you think that George W. Bush is more of a danger to this world than Saddam?"
Garofalo: "I would say he is a danger in a different way, and I'll tell you why."
O'Reilly: "More or less than Saddam?"
Garofalo: "Equal, in a different way. Wait a minute, and let me, let me say it. I would say there needs to be some accountability for the idea that we might not be where we are right now if some different choices had been made in the wake of 9/11. I would say the 'with us or against us' rhetoric was not helpful, the 'axis of evil' speech was not helpful. And this huge ramping up of war, and this go-it-alone attitude has not been helpful. Now, do I think he's a crazy despotic ruler like Saddam Hussein who would pour acid on his own people? Absolutely not."
O'Reilly: "Okay. Now, I respect your opinion. I think you're wrong. But just the fact that you equate on a moral level Saddam with George W. Bush-"
Garofalo: "I'm not equating on a moral level."
O'Reilly: "I just asked you a flat-out question, Janine, who's a bigger threat to the world, and you said they're equal."
Garofalo: "In a different way."
O'Reilly: "When you say that, people out there, they're gonna think you're a loon."
Garofalo: "No, I don't know if they'll think, well, they certainly are entitled to."

Other CyberAlert items on Garofalo:

-- Garofalo claimed on MSNBC back on February 20 that Bush is as great a threat to peace as Hussein. As recounted in the February 21 CyberAlert, asked by Mike Barnicle on MSNBC about whether she considers Bush or Hussein to be "a bigger threat to world peace?", actress/comedienne Garofalo maintained: "I say at this point, for different reasons, they are both very threatening to world peace and to deny that is to be incredibly naive." For details read the February 21, 2003 CyberAlert item.

-- The January 28 CyberAlert recounted how in the midst of repeating ludicrous far-left anti-war comments, such as maintaining that "we do not know" if Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, Garofalo complained about how the news media are not "taking me too seriously" as "they use actors to marginalize the anti-war movement." Contrary to reality, she claimed the media focus only on odd looking anti-war marchers. She was most upset by Bush's "glaring hypocrisy" in wanting to ban abortion, "yet at the same time he is asking us to drop bombs on Iraqi civilians." So, "if you are a pre-sentient mass of cells, this country will protect you," but if you are an Iraqi "we can just drop bombs on you with impunity." For details read the January 28, 2003 CyberAlert item in its entirety.

-- For highlights of her heated exchange with FNC's Brian Kilmeade, refer back to the February 26 CyberAlert.

-- On HBO in late March, Garofalo denounced the U.S. attack on Iraq as "not fair" because it is an "unprovoked strike." She suggested the attacks on the Dixie Chicks are a "wonderful way for really stupid people to hook up. They meet...they tell stories about who their favorite Fox anchor is..." When co-panelist Michael Graham, a radio talk show host, recalled seeing a sign at an anti-war march proclaiming, "We Support Our Troops...When They Shoot Their Officers," Garofalo doubted it ever existed and flew into a rage about how "that's what all you right-wing radio guys do. You make s*** up all the time." For more of what she said and a picture of the protest sign she denied existed see the April 1, 2003 CyberAlert.

For a picture of Garofalo and a full rundown of her TV and movie roles, see her bio on the Internet Movie Database Web site at us.imdb.com.

> Will Dan Rather make it to Baghdad in time for Friday's CBS Evening News? On Monday he was at a "secret special forces base" in the region. On Tuesday, in Kuwait City. On Wednesday, "in the war zone," aka Amman, Jordan. And on Thursday night, on the road in the "near outskirts of Baghdad," from where he checked in, in green, via videophone at night.

He's getting close.

-- Brent Baker