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Reuters Caught Distributing Photos Doctored to Besmirch Israel --8/8/2006


1. Reuters Caught Distributing Photos Doctored to Besmirch Israel
After being caught by a blogger, Reuters on Sunday was forced to admit it had distributed a doctored photo (very obviously so), of the results of an Israeli strike on a Beirut suburb, taken by freelance photographer Adnan Hajj who the London-based news service dropped in the wake of the embarrassing revelation. Then on Monday, Reuters conceded at least one more picture had been manipulated by Hajj -- to show three missiles, instead of the actual one flare, from an Israeli jet -- and the news service removed all 920 photos from Hajj in its photo database.

2. Reuters' Pro-Terrorist Tilt: More than Dishonest Photos
It's not just the doctored photos. Apart from the most recent travesty of journalistic ethics, it's worth recalling how Reuters has also tilted its words in favor of those who promote terror and misery around the world. For example, Iraqis compelled to vote for Saddam Hussein back in 2002 were "defiant" and in a "festive mood," while Saddam's capture by U.S. forces a year later was marked by "resentment...of life under U.S. occupation." For Reuters' editors, the first anniversary of 9/11 was a reminder that "human rights around the world" have been a "casualty" of the war on terror, while the second anniversary was a time to point out how "sympathy [for America] soured" as the U.S. actually fought back against the forces of darkness.

3. Olbermann Mocks Bush's Vacation, Compares Bush to Chamberlain
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened Monday's Countdown by fretting about President Bush's unwillingness to delay his vacation, in contrast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the current fighting in the Middle East. Olbermann mocked Bush during the teaser by twice uttering the words: "He's on vacation." He even drew a negative parallel from history as he recounted that the Nazi invasion of Europe received a boost while infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain vacationed, as the Countdown host then similarly uttered the words, "Chamberlain was on vacation," to link him to Bush. Olbermann, who has never compared the appeasement-minded Chamberlain to anti-war liberals, then further contrasted Bush with current Prime Minister Blair's decision to cancel his own vacation: "His close ally, Tony Blair, avoided the direct Chamberlain comparison and cancelled his own time off because of the events in the Middle East."

4. 'CBS Evening Mush with Couric'? Promises What News 'Means to You'
On Monday, the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer (but anchored by Harry Smith) aired a new promo for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in which Couric promised a newscast that will not just explain "what happened," but also what the news "means to you." That sounds just like a plug for the worst of gimmicky local TV "news you can use." Couric maintained, of providing what the news "means to you," that "I'd like to see more of that and I think viewers would too." For Couric's portion of the 15-second promo, CBS made her image fuzzy, as well as the knick-knacks and flowers in the background. Could the Martha Stewart-like stage be the new "news" set? Beside her you can see a phone and what looks like the top of a computer screen. Maybe the blurry image is intended to convey warmth and softness. AUDIO&VIDEO

5. Matthews Makes Push for Lamont, Warns of 'Imperial Presidency'
On this past weekend's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews made one last pitch for Ned Lamont in his bid to unseat Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Matthews is openly "anti-war" so when he urged a "huge turnout," in the Connecticut primary and declared: "If Democrats in Connecticut think this war has not been good for America they should use their precious ballot, fought and died for, for two centuries of patriots to say so," it sounded an awful like a final Get Out The Vote, rally cry for Lamont. Matthews made that pitch in his final commentary but he stoked the anti-war fires early in the program when he compared the Bush administration to the "imperial presidency" of Richard Nixon. Guest panelist Dan Rather railed against administration attacks on the New York Times, suggesting while that is good for the GOP base, somebody must have "the gumption to get up and say, 'but what about the country, Mr. President? Is it good for the country to have this kind of division?'"

6. Oliver Stone: Bush Lacks 'Conscience,' Is 'Manchurian Candidate'
In a Monday USA Today profile of Oliver Stone, published two days before the opening of World Trade Center, the movie he directed about the rescue of two Port Authority police officers, Stone didn't follow the apolitical script of the film. Reporter Anthony Breznican quoted Stone: "'Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,' he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. 'At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,' a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers." Stone also complained in the article in which he denounced President Bush: "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak."


Reuters Caught Distributing Photos Doctored
to Besmirch Israel

After being caught by a blogger, Reuters on Sunday was forced to admit it had distributed a doctored photo (very obviously so), of the results of an Israeli strike on a Beirut suburb, taken by freelance photographer Adnan Hajj who the London-based news service dropped in the wake of the embarrassing revelation. Then on Monday, Reuters conceded at least one more picture had been manipulated by Hajj -- to show three missiles, instead of the actual one flare, from an Israeli jet -- and the news service removed all 920 photos from Hajj in its photo database.

Keeping with the Reuters policy of not applying the "terrorist" label -- "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist," Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, wrote in an internal memo in 2001 -- the wire service's articles on their doctored pictures referred to the "Shi'ite Islamic group Hizbollah" and how Hajj "altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah."

For more on Jukes, see item #2 below.

On Saturday, the Little Green Footballs blog site first exposed the doctoring: littlegreenfootballs.com

Reuters has posted the original photo of smoke rising from above city buildings alongside the altered version they distributed with darker smoke containing perfect circles over repeating images of the same buildings: today.reuters.com

The Jawa Report blog noted the second Hajj photo doctoring: mypetjawa.mu.nu

As James Taranto explained in his Monday "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com, the Reuters photo by Hajj "purports to show an Israeli F-16 plane firing missiles" when, in fact, "they are," the Jawa Report asserted, "'flares designed to be a decoy for surface to air missiles.' And although the picture purports to show three of these 'missiles,' in fact two of them are simply copies of the first." August 7 Best of the Web: www.opinionjournal.com

An excerpt from a Sunday Reuters dispatch, "Reuters drops Lebanese photographer over doctored image," which carried no byline:

LONDON (Reuters) - Reuters, the global news and information agency, told a freelance Lebanese photographer on Sunday it would not use any more of his pictures after he doctored an image of the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on Beirut.

The photograph by Adnan Hajj, which was published on news Web sites on Saturday, showed thick black smoke rising above buildings in the Lebanese capital after an Israeli air raid in the war with the Shi'ite Islamic group Hizbollah, now in its fourth week.

Reuters withdrew the doctored image on Sunday and replaced it with the unaltered photograph after several news blogs said it had been manipulated using Photoshop software to show more smoke.

Reuters has strict standards of accuracy that bar the manipulation of images in ways that mislead the viewer....

END of Excerpt

For the August 6 dispatch in full as posted by Reuters: today.reuters.com

An excerpt from a Monday Reuters dispatch, "Reuters withdraws all photos by freelancer"

LONDON (Reuters) - Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database on Monday after an urgent review of his work showed he had altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah.

Global Picture Editor Tom Szlukovenyi called the measure precautionary but said the fact that two of the images by photographer Adnan Hajj had been manipulated undermined trust in his entire body of work.

"There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image," Szlukovenyi said in a statement.

"Reuters has zero tolerance for any doctoring of pictures and constantly reminds its photographers, both staff and freelance, of this strict and unalterable policy."

The news and information agency announced the decision in an advisory note to its photo service subscribers. The note also said Reuters had tightened editing procedures for photographs from the conflict and apologized for the case.

Removing the images from the Reuters database excludes them from future sale....

END of Excerpt

For that August 7 story in full, as posted by Reuters: today.reuters.com

As posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com

I don't know how many publications ran the known doctored photos, but Clay Waters of the MRC's TimesWatch.org site, noted the front page of Saturday's New York Times featured a Reuters photo, credited to Adnan Hajj, of a "wounded civilian." To see the picture, check Clay's NewsBusters posting: newsbusters.org


# Watch and discuss the Monday night appearance of Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, on FNC's Hannity & Colmes where he discussed the Reuters photo scandal. If you missed it (including his clash with Alan Colmes), watch the video clip of his entire appearance posted on NewsBusters, the MRC's blog. For a four-and-a-half minute Real or Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, go to this NewsBusters node where you can also post your comments about the show: newsbusters.org

# While I'm on the topic of MRC people on TV, NewsBusters also features a video clip of MRC President Brent Bozell on Friday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC where he talked about Hollywood's hypocrisy in condemning Mel Gibson while otherwise ridiculing religious believers. Watch at: newsbusters.org

Reuters' Pro-Terrorist Tilt: More than
Dishonest Photos

It's not just the doctored photos. Apart from the most recent travesty of journalistic ethics, it's worth recalling how Reuters has also tilted its words in favor of those who promote terror and misery around the world.

For example, Iraqis compelled to vote for Saddam Hussein back in 2002 were "defiant" and in a "festive mood," while Saddam's capture by U.S. forces a year later was marked by "resentment...of life under U.S. occupation."

For Reuters' editors, the first anniversary of 9/11 was a reminder that "human rights around the world" have been a "casualty" of the war on terror, while the second anniversary was a time to point out how "sympathy [for America] soured" as the U.S. actually fought back against the forces of darkness.

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted late Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A few of the more memorable quotes from the Media Research Center's Notable Quotables archive:

# "Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington Monday as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation." -- Lead sentence of Reuters correspondent Joseph Logan's December 15, 2003 dispatch, "Saddam Arrest Cheer Fades Into Iraqi Ire at U.S."

For more, check the December 16, 2003 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

# "The suicide hijack attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 produced a remarkable outpouring of sympathy for America, but sympathy soured as Bush declared a vague 'war on terror' that he took to Afghanistan and then, far more controversially, to Iraq." -- Reuters' caption on a September 2, 2003 photo composite of anti-war demonstrators.

For more, see the September 5, 2003 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

# "One side prides itself on discipline and travels in well-defined military columns; the other uses guerrilla tactics -- sniping at the enemy, harassing them with 'irregulars' and disregarding certain generally accepted rules of war. It may sound like the current war in Iraq, but it's also a description of the conflict between British troops and colonial forces who fought in the American War of Independence from 1775 to 1783. As U.S. and British authorities accuse Iraq of not fighting fairly, some historians have noted wryly that British officers made the same complaints about American colonists in the late 18th century." -- From an April 8, 2003 Reuters dispatch by Greg Frost.

For more, go to the April 9, 2003 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

# "Defiant Iraqis lined up to show their support for Saddam Hussein Tuesday as Western powers were deadlocked over how to deal with the veteran leader they say threatens world security....Iraqis were in a festive mood as they turned out to vote in a presidential referendum Saddam is sure to win." -- Reuters reporter Nadim Ladki in an October 15, 2002 dispatch from Baghdad.

# "Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as 'ground zero' in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. 'war on terror' since September 11." -- Reuters News Service caption for a photo of the destroyed World Trade Center site which was distributed with a story by Richard Waddington headlined, "Rights the first victim of 'war on terror,'" September 3, 2002.

For more, check the September 5, 2002 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Oh, and let's not forget:
"We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack." -- Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, in an internal memo cited by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz in a September 24, 2001 article.

See the September 25, 2001 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Olbermann Mocks Bush's Vacation, Compares
Bush to Chamberlain

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened Monday's Countdown by fretting about President Bush's unwillingness to delay his vacation, in contrast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the current fighting in the Middle East. Olbermann mocked Bush during the teaser by twice uttering the words: "He's on vacation." He even drew a negative parallel from history as he recounted that the Nazi invasion of Europe received a boost while infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain vacationed, as the Countdown host then similarly uttered the words, "Chamberlain was on vacation," to link him to Bush. Olbermann, who has never compared the appeasement-minded Chamberlain to anti-war liberals, then further contrasted Bush with current Prime Minister Blair's decision to cancel his own vacation: "His close ally, Tony Blair, avoided the direct Chamberlain comparison and cancelled his own time off because of the events in the Middle East."

Referring to Condoleezza Rice's handling of Middle East negotiations, Olbermann contended that she was "picking up the pieces of the President's foreign policy."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During the show's teaser, Olbermann contrasted Bush's vacation choice with that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair:
"Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Va-kay! In light of increasing hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, British Prime Minister Blair cancels his vacation. The President starts his."
George W. Bush: "The humanitarian crisis in Lebanon is of deep concern to all Americans, and alleviating it will be a priority of my government."
Olbermann: "He's on vacation. The war itself: Is he dealing with foreign heads of state in hopes of bringing an end to the now 27-day conflict?"
Bush: "Condi's handling those conversations, and she's doing a fine job of doing so."
Olbermann: "He's on vacation."

After the teaser, Olbermann opened the August 7 show by harkening back to Chamberlain's failed dealings with Adolf Hitler and his obliviousness to the outside world while on vacation:
"On August 4, 1939, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, adjourned the British parliament and ordered it reconvened on October 1st. He went on vacation. Eighteen days later, the Russians and Germans signed a non-aggression pact removing the last obstacle to the Nazis rolling through Europe. When Chamberlain was located by his secretary, he was knee-deep in a river fishing. When the secretary told him that Hitler and Stalin had just cut a deal, Chamberlain told him, 'You must have gotten that wrong somehow.' Chamberlain was on vacation. World War II started nine days later."

As Olbermann covered Democratic Senator Joseph Liebermann's troubles with anti-war Democratic voters in Connecticut's primary, Olbermann referred to Bush's foreign policy being in pieces: "Condi Rice, Secretary of State Rice not the only one picking up the pieces of the President's foreign policy. Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman now facing the prospect of losing tomorrow's primary vote in Connecticut, thanks in part at least, to his staunch support for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq."

After bringing aboard Newsweek's Howard Fineman to discuss the day's news, Olbermann started off by asking if it was a "cheap shot" to bring up Bush's vacation, while Fineman supported Olbermann's concerns and charged that Bush has a spotted history with vacations. Fineman:
"Don't forget in 2001 he got that famous warning about the possible attack of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's interest in attacking the United States just a month before 9/11. And then last year, during Katrina, there was evidence that he wasn't really on his game and really vigilant the way he should have been, as early as he should have been, and he paid a lot politically for it."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the August 7 Countdown show:

Olbermann, opening the show: "Good evening. On August 4, 1939, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, adjourned the British parliament and ordered it reconvened on October 1st. He went on vacation. Eighteen days later, the Russians and Germans signed a non-aggression pact removing the last obstacle to the Nazis rolling through Europe. When Chamberlain was located by his secretary, he was knee-deep in a river fishing. When the secretary told him that Hitler and Stalin had just cut a deal, Chamberlain told him, 'You must have gotten that wrong somehow.' Chamberlain was on vacation. World War II started nine days later. Our fifth story on the Countdown, depending on how you parse it, there barely is or barely isn't a civil war in Iraq, and the intensity of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah continues to spiral upwards. But President Bush, right on time, started his vacation today. His close ally, Tony Blair, avoided the direct Chamberlain comparison and cancelled his own time off because of the events in the Middle East. But the President went to Crawford, Texas today anyway. There he announced two new United Nations resolutions to end the conflict perhaps while making it clear he is not actually involved with a lot of the diplomatic legwork that is needed to make either resolution stick, like actually talking to the leaders of Lebanon and Israel about it."
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, to Bush in Crawford: "You have spoken with Prime Minister Blair and Chancellor Merkel about this? Have you spoken directly with Prime Ministers Olmert and Siniora? And if not, why not?"
Bush: "Because Condi's handling those conversations, and she's doing a fine job of doing so."
Olbermann: "Condi Rice, Secretary of State Rice not the only one picking up the pieces of the President's foreign policy. Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman now facing the prospect of losing tomorrow's primary vote in Connecticut, thanks in part at least, to his staunch support for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.... "[covers Lieberman race]

Olbermann: "Is it more than a cheap shot to say the President's on vacation? Is it even possible to stop Israel and Hezbollah without the President at least giving the appearance of being involved in the process?"
Howard Fineman, Newsweek: "Well, I don't think it's a cheap shot, although the White House is trying to tell everybody that this is a much shorter vacation than ones he's taken in the past, more like a campaign year. It's that much of an emergency. But the key thing is not how many days he spends in Crawford, it's what he does or doesn't do when he's there. Unfortunately for him, his Crawford record of vigilance is not that terrific politically or substantively. Don't forget in 2001 he got that famous warning about the possible attack of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's interest in attacking the United States just a month before 9/11. And then last year, during Katrina, there was evidence that he wasn't really on his game and really vigilant the way he should have been, as early as he should have been, and he paid a lot politically for it. Now you got the combination of him being down in Crawford while at the same time saying that he's not talking to the two most important leaders in the Middle East conflict right now, the leaders of Israel and Lebanon."
Olbermann: "In the context of the PDB from 2001 and Katrina from 2005, we know that every few weeks the White House tries to change the delivery of the message or how the message is received or to blame reporters about the message. Does anybody there believe in history? Would somebody say to Mr. Bush, 'Hey, you know, it would mean something, at least symbolically, if you delayed this trip even by a couple of days if there was some sense that it was not business as usual'?"
Fineman: "There may be some people who might say that to him. They're not in his inner circle. Some measure of August vacation in Crawford is sacrosanct with George W. Bush. They think they've made a big sacrifice. He thinks he's made a big sacrifice by having it only be about 10 to 11 days and not the nearly month that he sometimes takes and would prefer to take. They're not going to say it to him. This is a guy who operates sometimes stubbornly by delegation, who operates on a rhythm, who cares very much about routine, and he's not going to change, and I daresay most of the American people have already come to a conclusion about the character and public persona of George W. Bush. They either like him loathe him, and that's really not going to be changed by the number of days he spends in Crawford."

'CBS Evening Mush with Couric'? Promises
What News 'Means to You'

On Monday, the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer (but anchored by Harry Smith) aired a new promo for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in which Couric promised a newscast that will not just explain "what happened," but also what the news "means to you." That sounds just like a plug for the worst of gimmicky local TV "news you can use." Couric maintained, of providing what the news "means to you," that "I'd like to see more of that and I think viewers would too." For


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

Couric's portion of the 15-second promo, CBS made her image fuzzy, as well as the knick-knacks and flowers in the background. Could the Martha Stewart-like stage be the new "news" set? Beside her you can see a phone and what looks like the top of a computer screen. Maybe the blurry image is intended to convey warmth and softness.

[This item was posted, with a video/audio clip, Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert item, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Transcript of the promo spot aired in the last ad break of the August 7 newscast anchored by Harry Smith:
Couric: "I believe people really want perspective and I think there's a way to do that by explaining not just what's happened, but what it means to you. I'd like to see more of that and I think viewers would too."
Announcer: "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric begins September 5th."

As detailed in a June 23 CyberAlert posting, anchor Bob Schieffer promised, in an earlier pre-taped promo, that Couric will be a "straight-shooter":
"Journalism is a team sport and I've known Katie Couric since she broke into journalism and she's going to be a great addition to the CBS News team. She's tough, she's fair, she's a straight-shooter. I'm heading back to Washington this fall and I want to welcome Katie to our team. She'll be terrific. Just watch."

For a screen shot and the text of another promo from June: www.mrc.org

Matthews Makes Push for Lamont, Warns
of 'Imperial Presidency'

On this past weekend's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews made one last pitch for Ned Lamont in his bid to unseat Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Matthews is openly "anti-war" so when he urged a "huge turnout," in the Connecticut primary and declared: "If Democrats in Connecticut think this war has not been good for America they should use their precious ballot, fought and died for, for two centuries of patriots to say so," it sounded an awful like a final Get Out The Vote, rally cry for Lamont. Matthews made that pitch in his final commentary but he stoked the anti-war fires early in the program when he compared the Bush administration to the "imperial presidency" of Richard Nixon. Guest panelist Dan Rather railed against administration attacks on the New York Times, suggesting while that is good for the GOP base, somebody must have "the gumption to get up and say, 'but what about the country, Mr. President? Is it good for the country to have this kind of division?'"

[This item, by Geoff Dickens, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Matthews began the show with the following intro: "Nixon's revenge? After Watergate the imperial presidency took a hit but are Bush and Cheney now claiming the kind of far-reaching power Nixon and his forebears never dreamed of?" Matthews then played consecutive clips of Nixon and then Bush and asked panelist Dan Rather: "Dan, have we been here before?"

Rather took the cue to admonish the administration: "We have been here before and what interests me on sort of a sidebar is Chris, is how it all wound up with President Nixon. You'd think the lessons out of the Watergate, Vietnam period, one of them would be the dangers of assuming the President needs to be so strong he can break into people's houses, which is one of the things that happened with Watergate, do all these things. Now I'm not equating George Bush with Richard Nixon but it surprises me that this president and those around him haven't learned what I would consider, personally, the real lessons out of Watergate, Vietnam era. In our system of government it's true the President is not only head of government, he's head of state. A lot of people don't recognize the very important difference so he gets a lot of respect including respect from reporters but in our system, in the United States of America a president is not a descendant of a sun god where people are supposed to bow down and he's supposed to throw these lightning bolts down."

Later in the segment Rather whined the press had been browbeaten by the administration with the "unpatriotic" stick.

Matthews: "Do you think today, that there is a different sort of deference shown to the President because of 9/11?"
Dan Rather: "I do and up to a point I agree with it but the point she raised, what's happened is the natural inclination overwhelmingly reporters, no matter how it may seem, we love the country, we're pulling for the President, we're pulling for the President to, in the wake of 9/11 that undertow got very strong. It probably got, in my opinion, it got too strong but what happened and I think this was a critical, political mistake to say nothing, a mistake for the country as a whole, the President and those around him took the view, 'If you're not with us, if you don't, if you ask any tough questions we're gonna hang a sign around you says you're unpatriotic.' And that worked on reporters' minds and therefore-"
Matthews: "Individuals? The individual reporters covering the President felt that if they didn't go along and be reasonably positive in their coverage that they'd be nailed as a traitor?"
Rather: "Something akin to that, exactly right. Now what's happened is the spine, the gravel in the gut, required of a good reporter, particularly a good White House reporter, understandably reporters said, '€˜Listen, you know, you stand up and ask a tough question and then follow up with a tough question and you're gonna be called unpatriotic.' That's a powerful incentive to just sit there and continue and to take your notes."
Matthews, sounding like the student who sucks up to the professor by quoting from one of his papers, played an old Rather clip from 1973: "But these days a lot of the exchanges you get between the President and the press involve, you know, nicknames, the President's on his side and a lot fraternity house kidding all around. Take a look at Dan Rather, however, back in San Clemente in '73 in the midst of Watergate."
Matthews: "Dan he actually had an almost like a canine begun to show his teeth to respond to you. This was serious business. Do you think we need more of that tough questioning?"
Rather: "Well of course I do and I don't except myself from this criticism that in the wake of 9/11 we sorta lost our way but the definition of a patriotic reporter, a patriotic American journalist is one who has the will and, and the guts to stand up and ask the tough question. That's being patriotic."

The panel then moved on to the administration's criticism of the New York Times. After the Times' David Brooks pointed out it was a good way for the Republicans to rally the base, Rather came to the Times' defense. Rather, who lost his position at CBS News after he stubbornly stuck to a false story about the President in the 2004 campaign, pompously decried the tactic:
"Let me respond to something David said before and I think this gets to the, the, heartwood of the problem. It may have been good with Republicans for the President and Vice President to literally accuse the Times, questioning their motives, not their judgement but what about the country? If, if you subscribe, you're talking about presidential power, the power of the American presidency is in no small way the power to persuade and in our system of government you must, its imperative that you have a high degree of communicable trust between the leadership and the led. Now if you go around for political purposes saying, 'Listen it's good for our Republican base if we jump on the New York Times,' somebody has got to, have the gumption to get up and say, 'but what about the country, Mr. President? Is it good for the country to have this kind of division?'"

Finally Matthews concluded the show with this thinly-veiled endorsement of Ned Lamont:
"This August 8th the Democratic voters of Connecticut will render a decisive verdict. If challenger Ned Lamont beats Joe Lieberman then it will tell us the Democratic Party has had it with the war in Iraq. If Senator Lieberman survives it will tell us all, Republicans and Democrats, independents that it's safe for anyone to support this war. That's right even a Democrat from a liberal state where most Democrats hate the war and detest the President who chose to fight it. Let me venture a simple argument on the validity and the essential fairness of this test of popular will. If we Americans in Connecticut or anywhere else aren't willing to cast our personal vote on this clear matter of war when will we? What is our franchise for if not to say on the most vital of questions where we stand. The fact is it's very hard these days to get your vote to count. Very few of us live in states that aren't clearly red or blue. Congressional districts are so gerrymandered it's almost impossible to change things even when there's no incumbent running, if there is, forget it! These guys are headless nails. Once they get hammered in nobody, certainly not a few ticked-off voters are going to pry them out. So I, for one, am looking forward to the vote in Connecticut. I want a huge turnout. I want it to matter. I want people to vote their deepest beliefs, not just about who they want as their senator but what kind of a country they want to live in. If Democrats in Connecticut think this war has not been good for America they should use their precious ballot, fought and died for, for two centuries of patriots to say so. That's the show, thanks for watching, see ya here next week."

Oliver Stone: Bush Lacks 'Conscience,'
Is 'Manchurian Candidate'

In a Monday USA Today profile of Oliver Stone, published two days before the opening of World Trade Center, the movie he directed about the rescue of two Port Authority police officers, Stone didn't follow the apolitical script of the film. Reporter Anthony Breznican quoted Stone: "'Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine,' he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. 'At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....Bush is The Manchurian Candidate,' a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers." Stone also complained in the article in which he denounced President Bush: "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak."

[This item was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

An excerpt from the August 7 USA Today "Life' section cover story, "Oliver Stone minus the edge: 'World Trade Center' puts politics aside," by Anthony Breznican:

....That his movie does not criticize the actions or policies of President Bush should not be read as an endorsement. Stone is not a fan.

"Bush makes Nixon look like St. Augustine," he says of the saint known for his zeal in confessing wrongs. "At least Nixon had some intelligence and a conscience....[ellipses in original] Bush is The Manchurian Candidate," a reference to the 1962 movie about a presidential contender manipulated by immoral handlers.....

Stone is a Vietnam veteran who enlisted in the Army after dropping out of Yale. He served combat duty in the infantry and was wounded twice, receiving the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster and a Bronze Star for valor....

Stone is a fan of the hit Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth and would like to develop a drama about the environment. "To dramatize that and make it exciting would be brilliant. But how do you make carbon dioxide poison exciting?" he laughs....

Would he have preferred to make a film that explores the political implications of 9/11 instead of a strict rescue docudrama?

"If I could go back, would I change it? Good question. At what point am I a filmmaker and at what point am I John Q. Citizen?" He begins quietly, and then rouses his own anger. "I hate that kind of censorship which says celebrities can't speak." Stone hammers an open palm against his chest with each syllable: "John Q. Citizen -- that's my right. I served my country. I've got a host of medals. I paid my taxes. I raised children, went through the whole system. And I can't (expletive) speak, as John Q. Citizen, about the state of the nation?"

END of Excerpt

For the USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com

-- Brent Baker