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"Peace" Marchers: "Republicans," "Soccer Moms" & "Grandparents" -- 01/20/2003 CyberAlert


1. "Peace" Marchers: "Republicans," "Soccer Moms" & "Grandparents"
"Peace march" whitewash. Ignoring the radical agenda of organizers, the networks painted attendees as sympathetically as possible, stressing how they were made up of "grandparents," "honor students," "soccer moms" and "Republicans." CNN highlighted an elderly Nazi survivor who wants to "stop more suffering." ABC's description: "Black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old." MSNBC: "A growing number of people are speaking out against a war with Iraq: Students, grandparents, businessmen..."

2. Whitewashing Radical Agenda of Organizers
What the media whitewashed. The Web site for the rally organizer, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) clearly proclaimed the group's very radical agenda. It railed against "Bush's criminal war" for "oil," denounced "the nuclear threat posed by the United States" and demanded "the immediate elimination of U.S. weapons of mass destruction" as "a people's inspection team will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems" since the "trigger-happy George W. Bush," not Hussein, is the real threat.

3. Newspapers Ignore What Official Speakers Said on Stage
Too embarrassed to report what was said from the stage? A 1,500-word article in Sunday's Washington Post contained a single nine word quote from an official speaker while a 1,000-word New York Times article failed quote a syllable from the DC stage. A Post reporter admired how the marchers "represented a cross- section of the nation, from World War II to Gulf War veterans... The Green Party brought a contingent, as did the American Indian Movement."

4. ABC's Peace Marchers Really Pro-Saddam
To illustrate worldwide opposition to President Bush's Iraq policy, ABC anchor Terry Moran on Saturday night cited how "thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic as they marched in Syria's capital, Damascus." But, as an AP dispatch noted, those marchers were hardly advocating peace since they shouted, "Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv."

5. ABC News Prez: "Patriotic Duty" to Not Wear Flag Lapel Pin
ABC News President David Westin on Friday's Nightline/Viewpoint special defended his ban on any ABC News personnel wearing a flag lapel pin as based on the "patriotic duty" of journalists "to try to be independent and objective and present the facts to the American people." Nice goal.


"Peace" Marchers: "Republicans," "Soccer Moms" & "Grandparents"

"Peace march" whitewash. Though Saturday's anti-war with Iraq "peace" march in Washington, DC was organized by a far-left group, had a bunch of zany leftist outfits as sponsors, featured some far out rhetoric from the stage which belied the notion that the organizers simply want a peaceful solution, and ended with a march to the Washington Navy Yard to demand access to U.S. "weapons of mass destruction," as if the U.S. and Iraqi possession of them is equivalent, major media outlets, both print and broadcast, ignored such realities which might have reduced empathy for the cause.

(This item looks at the networks. See item #3 below for newspaper coverage.)

Instead, the networks painted participants as sympathetically as possible, trying to make them identifiable to viewers as people next door, stressing how they were made up of "grandparents," "honor students," "teachers," "businessmen," "military veterans," "soccer moms" and "Republicans." Plus, CNN really turned on the syrup by focusing on an elderly a Nazi survivor who caught "a ride with a busload of young people, all to stop another war, to stop more suffering."

Hardly a word from the stage got aired as the networks preferred to focus on the most normal looking people in the crowd. On stage, Ramsey Clark demanded Bush be impeached and one speaker even described convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as "a political prisoner."

"Braving frigid temperatures," ABC's Lisa Sylvester proclaimed on Saturday's World News Tonight, "they traveled across the country -- black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old." In a second January 18 story, ABC News reporter Geoff Morrell followed the trip to DC by a doctor and his "honor student" daughter: "So they rode a bus all night from Asheville, North Carolina. On board were businessmen, soccer moms and military veterans -- all members of the same church."

The night before, despite the fact polls show overwhelming public support for President Bush's policy, Peter Jennings insisted that "the nation, as we all know, is somewhat divided and confused about attacking Iraq, you see it in almost every poll." That led into a piece by Bill Blakemore previewing the next day's protest: "Never mind the cold, they're going to protest. Democrats and Republicans. Many middle-aged. From all walks of life."

Back to Saturday, the day of the protest rally, at just past 3pm EST on MSNBC reporter Jeannie Ohm championed live from Washington's mall how "a growing number of people are speaking out against a war with Iraq: Students, grandparents, businessmen, politicians, teachers, actors and activists, standing shoulder to shoulder in protest."

The Web site for the rally organizer, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), clearly proclaimed the groups' very radical agenda to eliminate U.S. defenses and claim that the U.S. under Bush poses the greatest danger to the world, but none of that anti-American vitriol was conveyed in any television network story I saw. See item #2 below for the spiked agenda of those behind the rallies.

Instead, viewers heard about the opposition to Bush's policy by "honor students," "Republicans," "soccer moms" etc. Details:

-- MSNBC, 3pm EST hour on Saturday. After John Elliott in San Francisco talked with Tom Rainey, creator of a Web site named BushonCrack.com, the network went live to Jeannie Ohm in Washington, DC:
"Organizers were expecting perhaps a hundred thousand protesters out here. It's really hard to say what the final tally will be, but it's clear there was a large number of people who took a stand against war."
Man screaming on stage: "No War on Iraq! End the sanctions now!"
Ohm: "They came from different parts of the country, but all armed with the same message."
Man in crowd: "The message is that the United States, the people of the United States are not ready to go to war."
Woman in crowd: "Let's take care of our schools, let's take care of health care, let's take care of the issues in this country."
Ohm: "As the military buildup continues in the Persian Gulf, a growing number of people are speaking out against a war with Iraq: Students, grandparents, businessmen, politicians, teachers, actors and activists, standing shoulder to shoulder in protest."
Jesse Jackson on stage: "We choose brains over bombs."

-- CNN, noon EST hour on Saturday: Kathleen Koch declared live from Washington's Mall that "perhaps some of the people in the crowd, some of the Americans who have come from great distances who have the most poignant stories."

Koch went to a pre-taped piece: "A Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home where peace protesters gather waiting to head to Washington. But only one truly understands war's grim realities."
Ava Cutler: "And I'm not afraid to speak out, because this is why I came to this country, to speak my mind if I have to."
Koch: "Seventy-six-year-old Ava Cutler was a Jewish teenager in Budapest, Hungary when her country was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1944."
Cutler: "We're being besieged day by day, night by night, constantly we were being bombarded. There are no winners in wars, there are only losers, and we have to find a different way of how to deal with differences. We've had all the differences with Russia, didn't we? OK, did we go and attack Russia? No."
Koch: "Local reporters quiz Cutler about whether Saddam Hussein, like Hitler, is a danger to the world."
Cutler: "He was a threat to Kuwait, then we went to help Kuwait. That was legitimate. What is the reason now?"
Koch: "Cutler isn't a member of any protest group. She decided to come on her own, catch a ride with a busload of young people, all to stop another war, to stop more suffering."
Cutler: "I'm not fighting for myself anymore. I'm fighting for all the other people who have to face the same thing that I have had to go through, possibly, or worse."

Back on live, Koch did at least note the march to demand the U.S. disarm: "Now, it is because of protesters like Ava that the speakers up on stage are being encouraged to keep their remarks to two minutes or less today, because it is just simply so very, very cold. Now, in about an hour, everyone will start heading up to Capitol Hill. They're going to take the march, take the rally to the U.S. Navy Yard, where what organizers are calling a people's weapons inspection team will demand to inspect U.S. weapons of mass destruction. Organizers promised that there, as here, the protest will remain peaceful."

-- ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday. Fill-in anchor Terry Moran trumpeted at the top of the January 18 show: "It was a day of protest across the nation. On the West Coast and in Washington, DC demonstrators marched in vast numbers in the name of peace in the nation's biggest one day expression of opposition to U.S. war plans in Iraq. The protests come as tens of thousands of U.S. troops continue shipping out to the Gulf."

Lisa Sylvester opened her story with video of protesters holding a sign reading "Collateral Damage Means Babies" as they chanted: "One, two, three we don't want your corporate war."
Sylvester then asserted: "They came to march against what they call the march toward war."
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, protest organizer, in crowd: "This is a war for conquest and for empire. This is a war of aggression and it doesn't have to happen."
Sylvester portrayed the protesters as just average Americans: "Braving frigid temperatures, they traveled across the country -- black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old. Their worries are varied."
Saladin Muhammed, anti-war demonstrator, in the crowd: "There would be a disproportionate number of people of color that would have to engage in this war."
Rev. John Dear, Fellowship of Reconciliation, on stage: "Bombing Iraq will only protect the oil companies, sow the seeds of further terrorism and massacre hundreds of thousands of people."
Sylvester: "The protesters say there is no evidence justifying a war with Iraq and say the government needs to hear their views."
Jessica Lange, on stage: "It is an immoral war that they are beginning and we must not be silenced. We have to be able to stand up and say no."
Sylvester: "Protesters are looking to attract support for their cause before January 27th, the day weapons inspectors are expected to report their first major findings to the United Nations. Demonstrators fear the Bush administration will use that deadline as a jump off point for war. Charley Richardson and his wife worry about their son, a Marine in the Persian Gulf."
Charley Richardson: "Every morning when we wake up we think about him, we think about where he is, we think about how much we love him."
Sylvester gave a sentence to the other side: "Near the Vietnam War memorial those who favor war with Iraq held their own rally."
Brian Brosnan, counter demonstrator: "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and it's time to disarm him before another 9-11 thing happens."
Sylvester concluded: "But today's anti-war demonstrators believe it is not Saddam Hussein who is the aggressor in this case, it is the United States."

Moran then pointed out how the protesters are not in the majority: "Now the huge demonstrations represent only one side of what has become a lively and nuanced public debate about war. In general, polls show strong public support for military action against Iraq. A recent ABC News/Washington Post survey found 62 percent of Americans support action to depose Saddam Hussein, but that's with international support. Only 42 percent of Americans support a war if the U.S. has to go it alone."

Next, reporter Geoff Morrell followed a North Carolina man and his teenage daughter, the Blakes, "who traveled all night" to the DC protest. "She's an honor student, he's a medical doctor," Morrell explained, who "fear President Bush is rushing to war with Iraq," so "they rode a bus all night from Asheville, North Carolina. On board were businessmen, soccer moms and military veterans -- all members of the same church."

Morrell beefed up Dr. Blake's credentials: "Dan Blake supported the 1991 Gulf War, but says this President hasn't convinced him Saddam Hussein is a threat to the U.S. or its allies."
Blake: "I would like to see a smoking gun that makes me think well, my family, my country, my community is in danger now."
Morrell contended Blake is very typical: "In that sense, Blake is like most Americans who say they will support military action if the President provides proof Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."

Over a shot of a protester holding a "No Blood for Oil" sign, Morrell concluded: "The Blakes doubt this protest, as big as it was, will slow the march to war. But they say it certainly proves there is a vocal minority opposed to it."

-- World News Tonight, Friday, January 17. Peter Jennings insisted: "The nation, as we all know, is somewhat divided and confused about attacking Iraq, you see it in almost every poll. In cities across the country today, many people who are opposed to war began to head for Washington. Here is ABC's Bill Blakemore."

Over video of a sign proclaiming "Drop Bush Not Bombs," Blakemore began his story from New York: "Never mind the cold, they're going to protest. Democrats and Republicans. Many middle-aged. From all walks of life. And some students. Nancy and Steve Boyda are Republicans, he's a Vietnam veteran."
Steve Boyda, Vietnam Veteran, on bus: "As an American, as a voter, as a participant on this side of the fence, I want to hold our leaders accountable to showing us why we make these kinds of decisions."
Blakemore: "There's a variety of worries.
Woman on bus: "These people have no control over what their government does and we're about to go kill them and there is nothing they can do about it."
Another woman: "We want to say, we love our country very dearly, we love it so much, that we don't want our country to make a horrible mistake."
Blakemore: "Many will represent the feelings of others back home."
Woman at Chicago City Council meeting: "Who's gonna die?"
Blakemore championed a liberal government agency doing something liberal as if that's newsworthy: "Chicago City Council voted last night against rushing to war with Iraq 46-1. Forty other city councils passed resolutions citing the loss of U.S. and Iraqi lives or the money a war would cost. The organizers of the march charged today that President Bush is lying about reasons for war to cover oil interests."
Man at press conference: "This is a war for big oil."
Blakemore: "News polls indicate that if weapons of mass destruction are found, three-quarters of Americans support a war. But with no evidence, or heavy casualties, or going to war alone, support drops to less than half."
Ann Florini, Brookings Institution: "This is not a group of people who are opposed to all war at all costs. In fact, there is a number of labor unions involved who supported the Vietnam War, who supported the earlier Gulf War. But they have real questions about this one."
Blakemore concluded: "Traveling from every state, these people are what one analyst calls a large 'reservoir of unease.'"

-

Whitewashing Radical Agenda of Organizers


What the media whitewashed. The Web site for the rally organizer, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) clearly proclaimed the group's very radical agenda to eliminate U.S. defenses:
"Jan. 18 NATIONAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON to demand:
NO WAR AGAINST IRAQ
ELIMINATE U.S. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION"

The ANSWER Web site: http://www.internationalanswer.org/

Amongst those listed as part of the coalition:
Ramsey Clark
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
New York City Labor Against the War
San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Black Voices for Peace
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Global Exchange
Jessica Lange
Janeane Garofalo
Michael Moore

That list is posted at:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/j18/endorsers.html

Another page outlined ANSWER's case against "Bush's criminal war" for "oil," denounced "the nuclear threat posed by the United States" and demanded "the immediate elimination of U.S. weapons of mass destruction" as "a people's inspection team will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems" since the "trigger-happy George W. Bush," not Hussein, is the real threat by which the world is now "menaced." An excerpt:

When Congress rejects the will of the people, the people must act themselves. Congress has rubber-stamped Bush's criminal war that seeks to conquer the oil, land and resources of the Middle East....

This week Bush signed into law Congress's new defense budget that transfers a billion dollars a day from the people into the hands of the military-industrial complex....

The world is being menaced by Weapons of Mass Destruction in the hands of a government that is openly threatening and planning to use nuclear weapons in preemptive wars of aggression against others, including non-nuclear countries. While all eyes are focused on the purported threat coming from Iraq, the Bush Administration has sharply reorganized U.S. military doctrine and strategy as it prepares to actually use Weapons of Mass Destruction in coming conflicts as a matter of declared policy.

It is for this reason that on January 18, people across the United States will converge at the West side of the Capitol Building in Washington DC and march in a mass demonstration to the Washington Navy Yard -- a massive military installation located in a working class neighborhood in Southeast Washington DC that parks warships on the Anacostia River. We will demand the immediate elimination of US weapons of mass destruction and a people's inspection team will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems.

Bush seeks to have world attention focused on the disarmament of Iraq as the preeminent threat to world peace, while the real threat of nuclear war and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction arises within the U.S. Administration....The nuclear threat posed by the United States is neither rhetoric nor speculation, it is the now announced doctrine and strategy of the Bush White House. It represents the ushering in of a new era of unrestrained and unprovoked catastrophic violence....

A.N.S.W.E.R. believes that all Weapons of Mass Destruction should be banished from the planet. But this is impossible until the biggest arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction -- the one at the disposal of trigger-happy George W. Bush and Co. -- is eliminated. Any other call for disarmament will not be viewed as legitimate by the rest of the world....

It would be cowardly and foolish to turn our attention away from the open threats and plans to use Weapons of Mass Destruction that are issuing from the White House, not Iraq, and are embodied in the new Bush military doctrine.

We must stop the Bush Administration from threatening and killing the people of the world who are not our enemy.

END of Excerpt

The full rant/statement is online at: http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/j18/j18endorse.html

Newspapers Ignore What Official Speakers Said on Stage

Newspaper whitewash too/Too embarrassed to report what was said from the stage?

A 1,500-word article in Sunday's Washington Post contained a single nine word quote from an official speaker while a 1,000-word New York Times article failed quote a syllable from the DC stage, but offered statement made by Martin Sheen in San Francisco.

From my casual watching of only a part of the program on C-SPAN I know there was plenty of wacky far-left stuff said from the stage including advocacy of all sorts of Muslim causes, Palestinian liberation and, as noted in #1 above, characterizing a convicted murderer of a police officer as "a political prisoner."

A story in Sunday's Washington Times offered a hint of what the Washington Post and New York Times blacked out. Reporters Denise Barnes and H.J. Brier relayed:
"Ramsey Clark, U.S. attorney general during the Johnson administration, called for Mr. Bush's impeachment, evoking cheers from the throng.
"Mr. Clark noted the U.S. Constitution's impeachment criteria -- 'treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors' -- then laid out his case against Mr. Bush in a stream of rhetorical questions.
"'Has he assumed the power to wage aggressive war by himself? Is that an impeachable offense? Has he threatened to use nuclear weapons? Is that an impeachable offense?' he said, as the crowd yelled 'yes' after each question. 'Then let's impeach him.'
"Mr. Clark and other rally organizers said a Web site will be set up to enlist support for Mr. Bush's impeachment."

But the Post didn't mention any of that. "Thousands Oppose a Rush to War," announced the headline over the lead story in Sunday's Washington Post. The inspirational subhead: "Chill Doesn't Cool Fury Over U.S. Stand on Iraq." But in the 1,500-word story reporters Manny Fernandez and Justin Blum quoted a mere nine words uttered from the stage, an innocuous-sounding comment from Jesse Jackson: "'The world is cold, but our hearts are warm,' Jesse Jackson told the crowd to applause."

That was it, the totality of what Post readers learned about what the officially sanctioned speakers had to say as the reporters focused on what people in the crowd told them.

Fernandez and Blum began their glowing article: "Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators converged on Washington yesterday, making a thunderous presence in the bitter cold and assembling in the shadow of the Capitol dome to oppose a U.S. military strike against Iraq." For the entire story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12152-2003Jan18.html

A Post story datelined San Francisco carried the upbeat headline: "Antiwar Sentiment Galvanizes Thousands." The agreeable subhead: "Groups See Numbers Rise as They Reach Out to Supporters Via Internet, E-Mail"

Reporter Evelyn Nieves admired the diversity of those who supported the marches: "The rallies organized by A.N.S.W.E.R. here and in Washington, D.C., were promoted through Internet networks. Demonstrating just how effective the Internet has become in expanding and diversifying the antiwar movement since the last big rallies in October, contingents carrying banners in San Francisco included 'Labor Against War,' 'Environmentalists Against the War' and 'Students Against the War' -- national groups that didn't formally exist two months ago."

"National groups" or really just three people with signs they painted up?

Nieves admiringly observed: "The marchers on a day reminiscent of late spring represented a cross-section of the nation, from World War II to Gulf War veterans, baby boomers and their children, teenagers and many older citizens. The Green Party brought a contingent, as did the American Indian Movement and many other groups."

That's a cross-section to the Post: radical environmentalists to radical Indian activists!

For the January 19 Nieves article in full:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12145-2003Jan18.html

Another Post story looked at various crowd estimates, from the probably too conservative 30,000 suggested by the U.S. Capitol Police, to the ludicrous claim of 500,000 forwarded by event organizers. (On Sunday's This Week on ABC George Stephanopoulos cited the range of "50,000 to 500,000.") For the Post story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12060-2003Jan18.html

In Sunday's thousand-word New York Times story reporter Lynette Clemetson didn't find space for any quote from a DC protest rally speaker, but did relay this from the San Francisco event: "'You all know what I do for work, this is what I do for a living,' said Mr. Sheen, who plays the President on the television show The West Wing. 'If the people lead, the leaders will follow.'"

Clemetson described ANSWER as simply an "activist" group: "Both marches were sponsored by the activist group International Answer, after months of intense local organizing following a similar large demonstration in the capital last October."

She offered more innocuous labeling: "Among the groups in attendance were the Gray Panthers, a social advocacy group; Code Pink, a women's group; Black Voices for Peace, an African-American group; and the Green Party, representing environmentalists."

For the Times story in its entirety: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/19/national/19PROT.html

ABC's Peace Marchers Really Pro-Saddam


To illustrate worldwide opposition to President Bush's Iraq policy, ABC anchor Terry Moran on Saturday night cited how "thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic as they marched in Syria's capital, Damascus." But, as an AP dispatch noted, those marchers were hardly advocating peace since "some people shouted, 'Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv,' a refrain from the 1991 Persian Gulf War."

Following the stories recited in item #1 above, on ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday, Moran intoned from the anchor desk:
"The scene was similar on the West Coast where anti-war protesters marched in San Francisco. Tens of thousands of people packed the city's streets and, as in Washington, they called for the U.S. to resolve the crisis in Iraq peacefully. And there were anti-war demonstrations in dozens of cities around the world as well. Thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic as they marched in Syria's capital, Damascus. In Tokyo, the scene was similar...."

However, an AP story in Sunday's Washington Post pointed out: "Not all protesters were pushing for peace: In the Syrian capital, Damascus, some people shouted, 'Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv,' a refrain from the 1991 Persian Gulf War."

ABC News Prez: "Patriotic Duty" to Not Wear Flag Lapel Pin

ABC News President David Westin, who maintained he flies the flag "on the Fourth of July, I put one on the antenna of my car and drive through the main street of my hometown for the parade," on Friday's Nightline/Viewpoint special defended his ban on any ABC News personnel wearing a flag lapel pin as based on the "patriotic duty" of journalists "to try to be independent and objective and present the facts to the American people."

Keep trying.

Near the end of the 90-minute January 17 Viewpoint from the National Defense University, "Patriotism, Journalism and War," host Ted Koppel raised how panelists from the military were wearing a flag pin as was panelist Tony Snow of Fox News, but not CBS News reporter David Martin or Westin.

Martin defended his decision: "I wouldn't wear it because it looks too much like part of a uniform. I mean, the Vice President wears one. And you just look a little too much like an administration 'suit' when you're up there on television. If I wore one, I wouldn't do anything differently. It's strictly an appearance factor. The day we started bombing in Afghanistan, October 7th, when I left home that morning, I put an American flag up outside my house. Had no problem with that, a personal show of patriotism. But I wouldn't wear one in public appearing on television."

Koppel soon fretted to Snow about how those who wear one make him look bad: "I'll tell you the one thing that troubles me about it, is that because you wear it on the air, David [Martin] and David [Westin] and I and my colleagues who choose not to wear it on the air, are in some eyes then regarded as less patriotic. I understand, not your problem."
Snow: "I look on that as bull. For anybody to draw assumptions about your patriotism about whether you wear a lapel pin or not, to me is nuts."
Koppel: "It's surprising how people make their judgments."

Westin noted that "after 9/11, the question came up and we, as a matter of policy at ABC News, tell our people on the air, you shall not wear an American flag or any other symbol on the air." His explanation for the policy:
"I think our patriotic duty as journalists in the United States is to try to be independent and objective and present the facts to the American people and let them decide all the important things. Now, I respect Tony's right to wear one. I respect any other news organization taking a different tack, but for me, part of the symbolism of the fact that what we're doing in our constitutional democracy, what we're trying to do to help quote, 'the cause of the country overall,' is to be objective and give just the straight facts to the American people and let them decide what they want to do about it."

A nice goal.

> A lot I didn't get to today, including a fun exchange on FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas. When Lesley Stahl denied there's any liberal bias and claimed the networks are packed with conservatives, Thomas asked her to name a conservative at CBS News. She couldn't. -- Brent Baker