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MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Friday 9:40pm ET/PT

Rather Uses Staged Democratic Event to Justify Leakgate Story --10/27/2003


1. Rather Uses Staged Democratic Event to Justify Leakgate Story
CBS on Friday night used a partisan meeting of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee as an excuse to justify a story about, as anchor Dan Rather put it, "new developments" in "the investigation of who, possibly illegally, blew the cover of a CIA undercover agent in July." Doing his best to blame top Bush officials, Rather ominously warned that "the Justice Department has been looking into charges that it was a politically-motivated leak, a smear, from a White House staffer." The "new developments," a few ex-CIA staffers ruing the leak, was not so newsworthy to anyone else as the other networks ignored the staged event and the Washington Post, which created the "leakgate" scandal, in Saturday's paper didn't even bother mentioning what the ex CIAers said.

2. "Finally" a Prescription Drug Plan, But Rather Sees GOP in Way
Dan Rather on Thursday night painted awful Republicans and insurance company lobbyists as undermining the efforts of Congress to "finally" add prescription coverage to Medicare. Rather teased: "The long-awaited Medicare prescription drug benefit. Does Congress finally have a plan, or will insurance company lobbying and other politics kill it?" Rather set up the subsequent story by blaming only one side for any delay: "Millions of older Americans waiting for prescription drug coverage under Medicare may soon be in for either a pleasant surprise or a rude shock. While congressional negotiators have agreed on the outlines of a drug coverage plan, Democrats accuse Republicans of seeking to steer seniors out of Medicare and into private insurance company plans."

3. Jennings Skips Hezbollah Role in Marine Bombing, Rationalizes It
Just as he did in March of last year, on last Thursday's World News Tonight, ABC's Peter Jennings refused to hold the Hezbollah terrorist group responsible for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine compound in Lebanon. Yet on the 20th anniversary of the mass murder of 241 Marines, Jennings rationalized it by suggesting it only came in reaction to what Israel did with President Reagan's approval: "Israel had invaded the country [Lebanon]. The U.S. was resented by many in the region who believed that President Reagan had approved, and Palestinians had recently been massacred by Israel's Lebanese Christian allies."

4. CBS's Reagans: Reagan the "Anti-Christ," Ketchup as Vegetable
Since the New York Times story last Tuesday, the DrudgeReport.com has been given more excerpts from the script of CBS's mid-November mini-series, The Reagans, in which Nancy Reagan slaps five-year-old daughter Patti, Ronald Reagan curses in the Oval Office and refers to himself as "the anti-Christ," and, in what Drudge dubs the "showcase line," Nancy Reagan argues: "Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat, right? So IT IS a vegetable."

5. "Moderate" for Good Schools & Low Crime, "Conservative" Isn't
To the Washington Post, the "moderate" Democratic candidate in a local race is for good government, "low crime, excellent schools, state-of-the-art libraries and many other programs that other local governments envy," while the "conservative" Republican is just the opposite and so, seemingly, for bad government management, higher crime, bad schools, technologically-lagging libraries and against government services that other jurisdictions envy.

6. Journalist With Tie to MRC Rescues Man in al-Rashid Hotel
A member of the MRC's extended family did an heroic act in Iraq. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard magazine, who was also a judge for the MRC's year-end Best Notable Quotables of 2002: The Fifteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, was in the al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad when it was hit by rockets early Sunday morning and because he heard some moaning from a room that was hit, a man was pulled out alive.


Rather Uses Staged Democratic Event to
Justify Leakgate Story

CBS on Friday night used a partisan meeting of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee as an excuse to justify a story about, as anchor Dan Rather put it, "new developments" in "the investigation of who, possibly illegally, blew the cover of a CIA undercover agent in July." Doing his best to blame top Bush officials, Rather ominously warned that "the Justice Department has been looking into charges that it was a politically-motivated leak, a smear, from a White House staffer."

The "new developments," a few ex-CIA staffers ruing the leak, was not so newsworthy to anyone else as the other networks ignored the Friday staged event and the Washington Post, which created the "leakgate" scandal, in Saturday's paper didn't even bother mentioning what the ex CIAers said.

Rather introduced the October 24 CBS Evening News story: "There are new developments tonight in the investigation of who, possibly illegally, blew the cover of a CIA undercover agent in July. The Justice Department has been looking into charges that it was a politically-motivated leak, a smear, from a White House staffer."

Jim Stewart began, over video zooming in on the West Wing of the White House: "So far the FBI has focused its search for the secret-leaker here, on the West Wing of the White House itself. Karl Rove, the President's chief political adviser and Scott McClellan his chief spokesman, have both been questioned and officials say both may be questioned again...."

Stewart went on to recall the charge that Valerie Plame was outed by "senior administration officials." Then, over video of some men at one table talking in a small hearing room as Democratic Senators, whom I recognized as Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham listened, Stewart asserted: "That disclosure has outraged members of the intelligence community who today vented to a gathering of Democratic leaders. Vincent Cannistraro has worked in intelligence under several administrations."
Cannistraro, former Chief of CIA Counter-Terrorism Center: "By bringing Valerie's name into it wasn't germane to their argument, but they brought it there deliberately, vindictively and, in my judgment, a dirty trick."
Stewart: "Larry Johnson, another counter-terrorism veteran, called the leaker a bully."
Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst: "And I expect President Bush, having voted for him, I expected something different from him. I expected him to call them out immediately and not tolerate it."
Stewart: "While James Marcinkowski says he went to spy school with the outed agent."
James Marcinkowski, former CIA case officer: "My classmates and I have been betrayed. Together we have kept the secrets of each other's identities a secret for 18 years."

Without ever explicitly identifying it as a Senate Democratic Policy Committee event, Stewart moved on to the story about the Senate Intelligence Committee preparing a report critical of the CIA on pre-war intelligence about Iraq.

The Web site for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee puts their active political agenda on full display. A pop-up on Friday announced:

"Today is Friday, October 24, 2003

"It has been 142 Days Since the Passage of the Child Tax Credit Restoration Bill.

"Republican Leadership Continues to Delay Tax Relief for Families of 12 Million Children.

"State by State Numbers

"Daschle/Pelosi Letter To President Bush

"continue on to: Democrats.Senate.Gov"

That's all at: democrats.senate.gov

"Finally" a Prescription Drug Plan, But
Rather Sees GOP in Way

Dan Rather on Thursday night painted awful Republicans and insurance company lobbyists as undermining the efforts of Congress to "finally" add prescription coverage to Medicare. Rather teased the October 23 CBS Evening News: "The long-awaited Medicare prescription drug benefit. Does Congress finally have a plan, or will insurance company lobbying and other politics kill it?"

Rather set up the subsequent story by blaming only one side for any delay: "Millions of older Americans waiting for prescription drug coverage under Medicare may soon be in for either a pleasant surprise or a rude shock. While congressional negotiators have agreed on the outlines of a drug coverage plan, Democrats accuse Republicans of seeking to steer seniors out of Medicare and into private insurance company plans, such as HMOs. CBS' Wyatt Andrews reports on a pivotal moment for the future of American health care."

Wyatt Andrews treated a major expansion in government spending as "good news" as he began his story: "For senior citizens on Medicare it was the good news/bad news day of the year. The good news is that a breakthrough deal is now being made on exactly how to give a drug benefit to 40 million seniors. The bad news is that Democrats then denounced the overall package because of Medicare cost reforms demanded by Republicans."
Senator Tom Daschle: "That is virtually a showstopper."
Andrews rued what might be lost: "But here is the show starter: the outline of the historic deal to have Medicare cover drugs. Beginning in 2006 seniors using the drug benefit would pay $35 a month and a $275 deductible. Between $275 and $2,200 of cost, Medicare would cover 75 percent, then what's called the doughnut hole -- no coverage, zero, between $2,200 and $3,600. But above that number, Medicare would cover 95 percent. So what is the problem?"
Daschle: "There is no agreement."
Andrews outlined Democratic objections: "Democrats object to Republican plans to let HMOs compete with Medicare. If an HMO service has cost less than Medicare's, seniors choosing to stay in Medicare would pay the difference. Democrats call that a penalty."
Senator Ted Kennedy: "We will not support a conference report that is going to do harm to the Medicare system. We cannot be clearer than that."
Andrews: "But Republicans say the HMO competition will restrain costs."
Congressman Billy Tauzin: "We also have to, at the same time, have assurances that we're not busting such a big hole in the budget that the rest of the government services are going to dramatically suffer."
Andrews concluded: "The questions right now are: Number one, who blinks first, and, number two, can the HMO cost-saving language somehow be finessed? Both houses realize, though, that politically they can't come this close to achieving the actual drug benefit and then fail to deliver."

Jennings Skips Hezbollah Role in Marine
Bombing, Rationalizes It

Just as he did in March of last year, on last Thursday's World News Tonight, ABC's Peter Jennings refused to hold the Hezbollah terrorist group responsible for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine compound in Lebanon. Yet on the 20th anniversary of the mass murder of 241 Marines, Jennings rationalized it by suggesting it only came in reaction to what Israel did with President Reagan's approval: "Israel had invaded the country [Lebanon]. The U.S. was resented by many in the region who believed that President Reagan had approved, and Palestinians had recently been massacred by Israel's Lebanese Christian allies."

As for Hezbollah's role, Jennings ignored it: "The Marines were camped near Beirut airport when the suicide bomber struck, driving a yellow truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives past the guard posts and straight into their barracks."

That's just what Jennings did back in March of 2002 when he traveled to Lebanon and, without mentioning the role of Hezbollah, he recalled how "a man simply drove his truck to the front door" of the U.S. embassy "and blew himself up. Sixty-three people died. Later that year, the Marine barracks here were destroyed in much the same way, 241 Marines died." For more on Jennings that night: www.mediaresearch.org

Jennings concluded the October 23 World News Tonight with a 20th anniversary look back at the Beirut bombing of the Marine compound, starting with some memorial services, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Finally this evening, time may be a healer, but not completely, and this is a day not to forget. At Camp Lejeune in North Carolina today, Marines and their families gathered, as they have for many years now, to honor and remember 241 Marines who died on this day 20 years ago in Lebanon. 'When we close our eyes,' said their surviving commander five years ago, 'when we listen with our hearts, we can still see their faces.' After all this time, the survivors still remember the shock and disbelief of a horrible day."

Jennings, over video of the destruction in Lebanon: "It was just after six in the morning. The Marines were camped near Beirut airport when the suicide bomber struck, driving a yellow truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives past the guard posts and straight into their barracks. The Marines never saw it coming; the perimeter security was not designed then for such attacks -- what a mistake."

After a dated clip of a Marine talking about Marines screaming for help, Jennings continued: "The four-story building was totally destroyed. In 1983, the Marines were in Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission. Lebanon had been the scene of a civil war for 15 years. Israel had invaded the country. The U.S. was resented by many in the region who believed that President Reagan had approved, and Palestinians had recently been massacred by Israel's Lebanese Christian allies [video of destroyed building]. And six months before the Marines were attacked, this new era of violence had begun: The U.S. embassy in West Beirut had been attacked by a suicide bomber in another truck. Sixty-three people, including 17 Americans, had died that day. And four months after the Marine barracks bombing, the U.S. withdrew from Lebanon [video of tanks on beach being driven onto boats].
"America's enemies certainly believed they had found a way to make the U.S. retreat. In 1998, Osama bin Laden told ABC that American soldiers were paper tigers because the Marines had fled Lebanon. And since then, Somalia, and Kenya, and Tanzania, the USS Cole, Saudi Arabia, and of course the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Over video with taps being played, Jennings concluded: "Many families of Marines who died in Lebanon have believed through the years that their men have been forgotten. Today on the 20th anniversary of that appalling day, they ask us, again, to remember."

If only Jennings could remember who was responsible.

For more on Jennings' slanted approach to the Middle East, see the MRC's "Palestine Pete" collection: www.mediaresearch.org

CBS's Reagans: Reagan the "Anti-Christ,"
Ketchup as Vegetable

Since the New York Times story last Tuesday, the DrudgeReport.com has been given more excerpts from the script of CBS's mid-November mini-series, the Reagans, in which Nancy Reagan slaps five-year-old daughter Patti, Ronald Reagan curses in the Oval Office and refers to himself as "the anti-Christ," and, in what Drudge dubs the "showcase line," Nancy Reagan argues: "Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat, right? So IT IS a vegetable."

As reported in the October 22 CyerAlert, CBS's upcoming The Reagans mini-series starring James Brolin, aka Mr. Barbra Streisand, as Ronald Reagan, looks to be so slanted against Reagan from the left that even the New York Times has taken notice. In an October 21 story, Times reporter Jim Rutenberg revealed: "As snippets about the television movie circulate in Washington and Los Angeles, friends and relatives of the ailing Mr. Reagan are expressing growing concern that this deconstruction of his presidency is shot through a liberal lens, exaggerating his foibles and giving short shrift to his accomplishments."

Specifically, the two-parter which is scheduled to air on November 16 and 18, ignores the Reaganomics economic boom and recovery from Carter's malaise, claims Reagan provided the FBI with the names of communists in Hollywood, insists that he got the idea for SDI from a 1940 movie and, in a portrayal even liberal biographer Lou Cannon labeled as "unfair," paints Reagan as a mean-spirited lout on AIDS funding as he charges of AIDS victims: "They that live in sin shall die in sin."

For an excerpt of the Times story and a direct link to it: www.mediaresearch.org

Now, excerpts from two DrudgeReport.com postings. First, from Friday morning:

....Insinuations that Nancy pill-popped are scattered throughout the story, as are repeated allegations that Ronald Reagan was homophobic, and was suffering from Alzheimer's disease as early as 1984. [Nancy rushes to a doctor to warn that her husband is forgetting things.]

Actress Judy Davis's portrayal of Nancy Reagan appears to be inspired by the Joan Crawford camp biopic MOMMIE DEAREST; wild mood swings, dramatic lighting, and tart-mouth insults are hysterically delivered by Davis.

[The showcase line "Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat, right? So IT IS a vegetable" is likely to become the "No wire hangers ever!" camp highlight of the season.]

One camp scene shows Nancy and Ron both standing nude [wrapped in towels] when they first learn from NBC's John Chancellor they have won the election.

Pages 32, 33 of script:

INT. REAGANS' HOUSE -- PACIFIC PALISADES -- DAY

A FILM CREW is swarming all over the living room, setting up lights, cameras, etc. Reagan sits in the middle, putting on his own make-up.

INT. UPSTAIRS -- PATTI'S BEDROOM

Nancy arguing with Patti, (age 5), who won't come down.

NANCY: Come on, Patti. They're all set to go.

PATTI: No. I won't. I want to stay up here and play.

Nancy grits her teeth, and takes Patti by the wrist.

NANCY: No arguing. We're going down, right now.

PATTI: No! No! No! No! NO! NO!

Nancy reaches out, and slaps Patti. Patti reels, holding her cheek. Nancy freezes.

*** Nancy is shown talking with her own mother in one flashback.

Page 16 of script:

NANCY'S STEP-FATHER: Nancy, I don't know what you see in Hollywood. As far as I can tell, it's nothing but Communists and drug addicts.

NANCY: It didn't used to be this bad -- did it, Mother?

NANCY'S MOTHER, EDITH: Hell, no. When I was here, it was just wall-to-wall Jews and queers.

****

President Reagan, played by James Brolin, is shown cursing his staff during one Oval Office meeting.

Pages. 152 of script:

REAGAN: "Rank amateur"! Who does that sonofabitch think he is? I'm the goddam President of the United States, I'm his boss!

....

During a scene in the film which his wife pleads with him to help people battling AIDS, Reagan says resolutely, "They that live in sin shall die in sin" and refuses to discuss the issue further....

In 1992, Streisand wrote an essay condemning Reagan over AIDS:

"I will never forgive my fellow actor Ronald Reagan for his refusal to even utter the word AIDS for seven years, and for blocking adequate funding for research and education, which could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Then came George Bush, once the moderate, who, in a Faustian bargain, allied himself with the same primitive, gay-bashing, immoral minority."

Streisand, who spent weeks on the set of THE REAGANS, did not return calls seeking comment....

END of Excerpt

For Drudge's filing in full: www.drudgereport.com

Second, on Sunday night the DrudgeReport.com posted this item, an excerpt:

One shock scene in the final production script for CBS's upcoming telefilm THE REAGANS captures the former president declaring he is the anti-Christ, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal!

p. 209

During Iran-Contra Scandal --

INT. REAGANS'S BREAKFAST ROOM -- WHITE HOUSE -- MORNING

Reagan and Nancy sit in front of their breakfast. They can't eat. Can't drink. They're numb.

REAGAN: It's Armageddon...that's what it is. Armageddon. The Leader from the West will be revealed as the anti-Christ, and then God will strike him down. That's me. I am the anti-Christ.

NANCY: No, Ronnie...

REAGAN (overriding): And the Lord will strike down all of civilization, in order to make way for the new order... a new Heaven and a new Earth...

Nancy reaches out, grabs his hand, strongly.

NANCY: Hold on. You've got to hold on, Ronnie.

Reagan's eyes are filling with tears. He can't help it. He's crumbling.

REAGAN: I saved 77 lives in 7 years, Nancy...But I couldn't save those people in Lebanon....

END of Excerpt

For this second DrudgeReport item in full: www.drudgereport.com

"Moderate" for Good Schools & Low Crime,
"Conservative" Isn't

To the Washington Post, the "moderate" Democratic candidate in a local race is for good government, "low crime, excellent schools, state-of-the-art libraries and many other programs that other local governments envy," while the "conservative" Republican is just the opposite and so, seemingly, for bad government management, higher crime, bad schools, technologically-lagging libraries and against government services that other jurisdictions envy.

Normally CyberAlert ignores local news coverage in national papers like the Washington Post and New York Times, but back-to-back paragraphs in a Sunday page one story struck me as so over the top as to warrant attention, especially since the local news reporters of today are the White House correspondents of tomorrow.

The October 26 front page story by reporter Lisa Rein, "Fairfax Race Pits Views on Waste, Service," about the race for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County, the largest jurisdiction in the Washington, DC area, between Gerald Connolly, "a pro-business county supervisor who's perceived as a moderate, and [Mychele] Brickner, a School Board member known as a conservative."

See if the fifth and sixth paragraphs strike you the way they struck me:
"Brickner depicts a county government that has expanded, at taxpayer expense, with overly generous programs. She promises to dig for waste and what she calls 'frills,' and has pledged to limit increases in property tax revenue to 5 percent a year. With her campaign backed by money and advice from Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Brickner's race with an established opponent quickly tightened.
"Connolly's agenda, which is vastly different from Brickner's, aims to preserve what Fairfax has built: a local government that was voted America's best-managed by public administrators, low crime, excellent schools, state-of-the-art libraries and many other programs that other local governments envy. Brickner, he says, would squander such achievements to cut taxes."

Tom me, inserting that "Connolly's agenda, which is vastly different from Brickner's," clearly suggests that all the good things subsequently listed as items Connolly backs, "low crime, excellent schools" etcetera, are opposed by the awful conservative candidate who will destroy it all with tax cuts.

For the October 26 article in full: www.washingtonpost.com

Journalist With Tie to MRC Rescues Man
in al-Rashid Hotel

A member of the MRC's extended family did an heroic act in Iraq. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard magazine, who was also a judge for the MRC's year-end Best Notable Quotables of 2002: The Fifteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, was in the al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad when it was hit by rockets early Sunday morning and because he heard some moaning from a room that was hit, a man was pulled out alive.

Hayes was part of the group of press accompanying Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz on his tour of Iraq. Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Jim Miklaszewski, who was also on the trip, recounted to Tim Russert what happened and the fortunate good hearing of Hayes:
"Jim Long, the NBC cameraman, and I went out into the hallway. Down the hall one room was so damaged that the entire door and its frame were blown off and inside it was just a mass of ruble. We called into the room several times -- 'Is anybody in there?' 'Are you okay?' It was completely dark and there was water pouring down from busted water lines. And as we started to walk away, Stephen Hayes of Weekly Standard said, 'I hear moaning.' He waded into the debris and found a seriously injured man who was then pulled out and I got to tell you that if Stephen hadn't of heard the moaning I'm not sure that he would have made it."

During Miklaszewski's retelling of what occurred, NBC showed a brief clip of the bearded Hayes yelling down a darkened hallway for help with water pouring in all around. The same clip appeared on MSNBC on Sunday morning and on Sunday's NBC Nightly News.

MSNBC has posted, in Windows Media Player format, Miklaszewski's Nightly News story, which showed Hayes but did not name him. The still shot for the video playback is of Hayes. Go to: www.msnbc.com and scroll down a bit and you'll see it on the left side of the page.

The Weekly Standard Web site hasn't yet posted anything about this, but its home page does feature a drawing of Hayes' face in a link to a piece he wrote about another subject for this week's edition: www.weeklystandard.com

Sadly, from reading between the lines of Miklsazewski's Sunday night story and some other things I've read about the rocket attacks, it seems likely that the man rescued by Hayes and the NBC crew ended up being the one fatality in the attack, a U.S. Army Colonel.

-- Brent Baker