2. Get Out! Network Morning Shows Dismiss Hillary's Race as 'Over'
3. Veteran Washington Reporter: Media 'Took Much Too Long' on Wright
4. CNN's Blitzer to Huffington: 'I Read Your Blog All the Time'
Last October the NBC Nightly News was the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005, and on Wednesday the newscast stood alone in highlighting the Navy's announcement that a guided-missile destroyer will be named the "USS Michael Murphy." Anchor Brian Williams outlined what earned Murphy the Medal of Honor recognition: "During an intense firefight in Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan back in '05, while pinned down under fire, he chose to stand up to get a signal on his satellite phone to communicate their location. He knew that standing up would expose him to withering fire. It did. He was hit several times and killed."
Williams also noted that a park in Patchogue, New York was dedicated Wednesday "in his name on what would have been his 32nd birthday." Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter made the ship naming announcement during the dedication ceremony at the park along side Lake Ronkonkoma where Murphy had been a lifeguard.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For the Newsday story posted Wednesday night, "Navy to name ship after fallen Patchogue serviceman," go to: www.newsday.com
For Navy Web site article, "SECNAV Names New Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Michael Murphy," see: www.navy.mil
The MRC honored Murphy last month at our April 10 Gala & DisHonors Awards, with a special tribute as the evening's events ended on a somber note, with a video tribute to Murphy before MRC Trustee Boone Pickens came on stage to present Murphy's father, Daniel, and brother, John, with a $1 million check in their name for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Daniel Murphy thanked Pickens and expressed gratitude for the 29 years he had with his son.
See the MRC's tribute page for the video on Murphy's heroism, as well as the comments made by his father and the presentation of the check: www.mrc.org
The October 17 CyberAlert item, "NBC First to Praise Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy," recounted:
The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night became the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, announced last week, to Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005. "His story is already the stuff of legend," anchor Brian Williams related before Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski recounted Murphy's heroism: How during a battle with Taliban fighters "Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help." A survivor recalled that Murphy "took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again." Standing by a memorial in Brookhaven, New York, Miklaszewski explained that in addition to the memorial, "they've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man."
Miklaszewski got out of the way and allowed his story to end with two moving tributes from Murphy's parents. Maureen, his mother, revealed: "I miss him. I'm glad that he got the medal because other people will know what a great guy that he was." Dan, Michael's father, got the last word, a desire for appreciation: "While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it." To that, Williams certainly spoke for many viewers: "Here, here."...
For that previous CyberAlert in full: www.mrc.org
The update from Williams on the Wednesday, May 7 NBC Nightly News: "The U.S. Navy announced today it's naming a ship after a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Michael Murphy was from Long Island, New York, where today they dedicated a park in his name on what would have been his 32nd birthday. During an intense firefight in Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan back in '05, while pinned down under fire, he chose to stand up to get a signal on his satellite phone to communicate their location. He knew that standing up would expose him to withering fire. It did. He was hit several times and killed. The destroyer USS Michael Murphy will be built in the state of Maine."
Wednesday's broadcast network morning shows sounded eager to drum Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic presidential race and turn all critical eyes on John McCain. NBC was most emphatic. Today ran MSNBC midnight footage of Tim Russert declaring Barack Obama the winner: "We now know who the Democratic nominee is gonna be and no one is gonna dispute it." Russert added live: "I cannot find an objective Democrat who does not think this race is over." On ABC, George Stephanopoulos endorsed the New York tabloid newspaper headlines: "Toast. Hil Needs a Miracle. That's exactly right....this nomination fight is over." On CBS, co-host Maggie Rodriguez suggested to Bob Schieffer: "Bob, this party needs a nominee and fast. What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton get out, and when?" Schieffer declared "This race is over."
The same message came through in the screen graphics. For example, ABC pictured Mrs. Clinton with the words "End of the Road?" as co-host Robin Roberts began the show: "This morning, is it over?" NBC's Matt Lauer also asked "Is it over?" and so did the NBC screen. The segments to follow answered the question with an emphatic yes.
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
These developments aren't necessarily anti-conservative or pro-liberal, but viewers could sense a real partisan panic among network pundits that a prolonged Democratic contest is a real danger, a "demolition derby" for Democratic hopes for unity and electability. The network breakdown:
# ABC's Good Morning America. Despite his years of work for the Clintons, ABC Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos stuck a fork in them and proclaimed them done:
ROBIN ROBERTS: So the big question of the morning, what happens now? And the New York papers, this is Clinton's home state, you see it there. "Toast" and "Hil Needs a Miracle.
Stephanopoulos added that watching Hillary's victory speech in Indiana was revealing: "you saw on their faces last night, you heard in their words, they know reality here."
Rodriguez: Here we are at the end of another series of primaries. Still no nominee and a Democratic Party that's growing more divided every day. Bob, this party needs a nominee and fast. What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton get out, and when?
# NBC. Today took out the TV equivalent of a yellow Hi-Liter pen and emphasized that Hillary must acknowledge "reality" and surrender:
MATT LAUER: Now it's essentially impossible for Senator Clinton to catch up in the pledged delegate count and here's what NBC's Tim Russert had to say to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC just past midnight.
NBC and Russert entertained the notion of what the Clintons would say to stay in the race, but they certainly made it clear that they shouldn't.
"It took much too long for major news media outlets to appreciate the importance of the Wright connection" to Barack Obama, Don Campbell, who spent "nearly two decades as a Washington reporter, editor and columnist for Gannett Newspapers and USA Today," asserted in a Wednesday op-ed piece for USA Today. The headline over the piece by Campbell, now journalism lecturer at Emory University in Atlanta, asked: "Wright story: What took so long?" Only after "the most incendiary clips...landed on YouTube" were the news media, Campbell observed, "dragged into the controversy holding their noses, but by then Obama had the goal line in sight."
Nonetheless, Campbell contended "Obama has been ill-served by a press corps that seemingly was mesmerized by the large, frenzied crowds who turn out to see the Democratic rock star." Indeed, "crowds can be deceiving," as Campbell recalled: "McGovern, nobody's idea of a rock star, attracted huge and exuberant crowds throughout the fall of 1972 -- on his way to losing 49 states to Richard Nixon."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Emory University's bio for Campbell: "Don Campbell's 30-plus years in journalism included nearly two decades as a Washington reporter, editor and columnist for Gannett Newspapers and USA Today. He also served as director of the Washington Journalism Center and of a fellowship program for journalists newly assigned to Washington. He taught journalism at Northwestern University, the University of Oregon and Arizona State University before he coming to Emory. Author of Inside the Beltway: A Guide to Washington Reporting, Don is also a freelance writer and serves on USA Today's board of editorial contributors."
Emory's page: www.journalism.emory.edu
An excerpt from Campbell's op-ed in the Wednesday, May 7 USA Today:
Wright story: What took so long? The controversial reverend's 20-year relationship with Obama was left to simmer for a year. In our 24/7 media age, how could this have happened?
....[I]t took much too long for major news media outlets to appreciate the importance of the Wright connection. (Not that they all do yet; the pummeling of ABC News by commentators for raising this and similar issues in the Pennsylvania debate further illustrated how out of touch some commentators are.)
The record shows that publications such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Rolling Stone magazine had detected the controversial nature of Obama's church about the time he entered the presidential race, in early 2007. Soon after the announcement speech, moreover, Wright himself volunteered to The New York Times that he had been disinvited to give the invocation at Obama's presidential launch because of the baggage he would bring to the podium. That set off conservative bloggers and talkers, but little or no follow-up in the regular or so-called mainstream news media.
More than a year passed before ABC News' Brian Ross had the clever idea to purchase videos of Wright's sermons to review them. The most incendiary clips quickly landed on YouTube, and the rest is history. The news media were dragged into the controversy holding their noses, but by then Obama had the goal line in sight....
Speculation aside, Obama has been ill-served by a press corps that seemingly was mesmerized by the large, frenzied crowds who turn out to see the Democratic rock star. Crowds can be deceiving: McGovern, nobody's idea of a rock star, attracted huge and exuberant crowds throughout the fall of 1972 '€" on his way to losing 49 states to Richard Nixon....
END of Excerpt
For the column in full: blogs.usatoday.com
CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on Friday's The Situation Room, conducted a softball interview of Arianna Huffington, helping her to promote her new book, Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe, asking her for her take on the three presidential candidates. He failed to identify her Huffington Post blog, "one of the most popular Web sites," as he put it, as a liberal stomping ground, and basically sucked up to her during the entire segment. "I read 'Huffington Post.' I read your blog on Huffington Post all the time." Also, "You've really created an enormous success with HuffingtonPost.com, in part because everyone there seems to be blunt, honest. They don't hedge."
Blitzer's gentle treatment of Huffington could be put into the context of what happened two days later. The Fishbowl DC blog exposed that on Sunday night, Blitzer himself appeared at Huffington's Right is Wrong book release party, which major Democratic contributor Beth Dozoretz held at her home: www.mediabistro.com
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
After giving his "I read Huffington Post" endorsement, Blitzer threw a series of softballs on her new book. "Your book is subtitled, 'How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America.' Who's the lunatic fringe?" Then, "Like who? Like who do you mean specifically?" And finally, "And you're suggesting in your subtitle of the book that they also shredded the Constitution and made us all less safe. Are these the same people?"
Speaking of a "lunatic fringe," the most recent example of the Huffington Post's contributors being so "blunt" and "honest" is Jeffrey Feldman comparing Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" to the "radio broadcasts that incited violence in Rwanda and Kenya." Only a few months ago in September 2007, the MRC's Tim Graham detailed "Huffington's House of Horrors: A Compendium of Far-Left Flame-Throwing, Name-Calling, and Attack-Dogging."
Ken Shepherd's NewsBusters post on Jeffrey Feldman's comparison: newsbusters.org
MRC Special Report, "Huffington's House of Horrors: A Compendium of Far-Left Flame-Throwing, Name-Calling, and Attack-Dogging:" www.mrc.org
Earlier, at the beginning of the interview, Blitzer asked Huffington, "[L]et's talk about Hillary Clinton. What's wrong with her?" Her reply consisted entirely of comparing the New York senator to Karl Rove. "Well, she has really taken a page out of Karl Rove's play book, when it comes to her advertising especially. The ad -- the '3:00 a.m.' ad -- basically was straight out of the '04 campaign against John Kerry.... And then, on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, we had the Osama ad appear, which is again straight out of the '04 Karl Rove playbook."
Blitzer then asked her McCain and Obana. She repeated the standard liberal talking point that a McCain presidency would be a "third Bush term," and that she has "a whole chapter in my book called 'John McCain: Hijacked By the Right,' because on every major issue, he has basically surrendered -- on tax cuts, on immigration, even on torture." She had noted earlier that she hadn't endorsed any of the candidates, but she all but gave Obama her endorsement. "I definitely believe that the key thing right now is for the Democrats to rally, preferably around Barack Obama."
The full transcript of Blitzer's interview of Huffington, which began 13 minutes into the 5 pm EDT hour of Friday's The Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER: She's editor-in-chief of one of the most popular Web sites, thehuffingtonpost.com, and now she has a brand new book out called 'Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe.' Arianna Huffington is joining us now in 'The Situation Room.' Arianna, congratulations on the new book. Thanks for coming in.
-- Brent Baker