Roberts Falsely Reports Gen. Pace Admitted Iraq War "Mistakes" --12/2/2005
2. Barnes: "Mainstream Media Still Rules," Trumps Alternative Media
3. News Media Ignored Lieberman, But Leno Presses Dean About Him
4. C-SPAN to Air Interview of Mary Mapes Conducted by MRC's Bozell
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, in a story framed around a supposed "'campaign of contrition' to win back the public trust on Iraq," John Roberts mischaracterized an observation by General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as an admission of a "mistake" in the conduct of the Iraq war. Pace never used the word "mistake" (or any synonym) and his comment actually related to regret about not being vocal enough about successes achieved in Iraq. Roberts cited how "today" Pace "admitted mistakes have been made" and then played this soundbite from q & a Pace conducted Thursday with international students at the National Defense University: "We, guys like me, have not articulated well enough what is happening in Iraq and in Afghanistan." Roberts proceeded to highlight how on "Wednesday it was President Bush, who for the first time went into detail about course corrections in the training of Iraqi forces." Viewers saw a clip of Bush conceding "it always hasn't gone smoothly." Putting both comments under the same umbrella, Roberts asserted that "the change in tone is an answer to critics who claim the President won't acknowledge errors or learn from them."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth caught how Roberts distorted Pace's comment by presenting it as an example of an admission of a mistake in war policy.
Brad tracked down on Nexis a transcript of Pace's remarks, which C-SPAN carried Thursday night. An audience member asked: "Sir, it seems like the press and the media have one perception of how the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is being conducted. And on the other end of the spectrum, we have our government and the military's perception of how the war is being carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan. In my view, there's a gap. In other words, those perceptions do not match. What are we doing about it? And specifically in the victory outline, I noticed there could be a lot more reference to informational use as an instrument of power. And I'd like your comments please, sir."
Pace replied (with portion CBS played in ALL CAPS): "Yes, thanks. I think you are correct that we have not, WE, GUYS LIKE ME HAVE NOT ARTICULATED WELL ENOUGH WHAT IS HAPPENING IN IRAQ AND IN AFGHANISTAN.
On Friday, this Department of Defense page should post a transcript of Pace's December 1 session at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Southwest Washington, DC: www.defenselink.mil
Now, a complete transcript of the story from the December 1 CBS Evening News, starting with anchor Bob Schieffer's set up:
John Roberts began: "Call it a 'campaign of contrition' to win back the public trust on Iraq. Today, it was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who admitted mistakes have been made."
Citing how the "the mainstream media elevated" Cindy Sheehan to "stardom" and the hyping of Congressman John Murtha's call for a withdrawal from Iraq, in a Thursday posting on the Weekly Standard's Web site, Executive Editor Fred Barnes laid out the case that "despite all the good done by the alternative media, the mainstream media is still able to impose its interpretation on news events. It has no qualms about creating out of whole cloth national figures it likes. And the mainstream media continues to hold to a double standard, one for Democrats and liberals, another for Bush and Republicans." Barnes explained: "It's simply that the mainstream media is far bigger and much, much stronger -- and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Talk radio, websites and bloggers don't report. They can only react to the reporting of the mainstream media." Barnes proposed that "the conservative alternative media has vigorously challenged the mainstream media's take on many stories, but has rarely changed it." He cited as examples the the CIA leak case, the interest in Bush's Vietnam-era record but not in Kerry's, negativity on Iraq and how Democrats are not forced to justify claims Bush misled the nation into war.
An excerpt from the piece by Barnes, "Conventional Wisdom: The mainstream media still has the power," posted December 1:
CONSERVATIVES are justifiably proud of the alternative they've created to the mainstream media -- the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, big regional papers, TV networks, and the national news magazine. Last year, conservative talk radio, websites, and bloggers forced the Swift Boats vets story onto the national media agenda and instantly destroyed 60 Minutes's case against President Bush and his Texas Air National Guard service. But conservatives shouldn't get triumphal. The mainstream media still rules.
We see this every day. Consider the case of Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, who recently called for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The mainstream media treated this as a shot out of the blue by a defense hawk who suddenly concluded that the war was unwinnable. Conservatives knew better -- namely that Murtha had been criticizing the war for many months and that his call for withdrawal was utterly irresponsible.
The mainstream media view prevailed. Murtha was treated as a pro-war hawk who had reluctantly -- and more in sorrow than in anger -- turned against the intervention in Iraq....
Despite all the good done by the alternative media, the mainstream media is still able to impose its interpretation on news events. It has no qualms about creating out of whole cloth national figures it likes. And the mainstream media continues to hold to a double standard, one for Democrats and liberals, another for Bush and Republicans.
I don't mean to diminish the alternative media. It's simply that the mainstream media is far bigger and much, much stronger -- and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Talk radio, websites and bloggers don't report. They can only react to the reporting of the mainstream media....
A GOOD EXAMPLE of the mainstream media's power is Cindy Sheehan, the left-wing mother of a soldier slain in Iraq. She showed up in Texas last summer demanding to see the president, who was on vacation at his ranch. The mainstream media elevated her stardom, rarely mentioning that she had already met once with Bush and had allied herself with far-left activists.
Cindy Sheehan was created out of whole cloth. Having talked to Bush in person since her son was killed, she had no special claim on his time. Nor, as an antiwar protester, was she representative of parents of slain GI's -- quite the contrary....
The conservative alternative media has vigorously challenged the mainstream media's take on many stories, but has rarely changed it. Consider the CIA leak case. The conventional story line is that the Bush White House sought to punish a brave whistleblower, Joseph Wilson, for publicly refuting a Bush claim about Iraq by outing his wife, a CIA agent. In truth, the Bush White House merely sought to knock down Wilson's story because it was false.
The mainstream media line has survived. We see it repeated endlessly. The alternative media has cataloged Wilson's numerous lies -- with little effect....
On Iraq, the mainstream media have been relentlessly negative. And this has had a clear impact on the public, whose support for the president's Iraq policy has nosedived. The alternative media has played up the many examples of good news and optimistic assessments of Iraq. It's not difficult to see who has been the dominant force on that issue.
Last year, the mainstream media went into a frenzy after the president was accused of being AWOL during his National Guard duty. But the same media was uninterested when scored of Swift Boat veterans who served with John Kerry challenged his heroic account of his Vietnam service. And when it finally took up the Kerry story, the mainstream media's focus was primarily on discrediting the vets, not Kerry.
This year, the same double standard applies to the Democrats' attempt to market the story that the president lied about Iraq intelligence before war. With rare exceptions, Democrats are not required to justify their charge with evidence. Bush, though, is being called on to defend his innocence.
On top of all that, the mainstream media likes to throw its weight around, often at Bush's expense. When he attended the Summit of the Americas in Argentina earlier this month, Bush met with American reporters to answer a few questions. The first four (of five) were about whether he would fire senior aide Karl Rove, apologize to the American people, combat the notion he's untrustworthy, or try to give his presidency a fresh start. Only one dealt with his policy toward Latin America.
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.weeklystandard.com
After leading their evening newscasts with Democratic Congressman John Murtha's call for a withdrawal from Iraq, the ABC and CBS shows on Tuesday skipped Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman's disclosure that, after a recent trip to Iraq, he saw "real progress" and argued against withdrawing troops. The NBC Nightly News merely gave Lieberman a brief soundbite. But on Wednesday's Tonight Show on NBC, Jay Leno raised the perspective of the 2000 Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate with Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Leno characterized Lieberman's position as one which "more or less agrees with the President" as he pressed Dean: "How about Joe Lieberman now? Obviously a prominent Democrat....He came back, and he's been there a few times to Iraq. And he more or less agrees with the President, correct?" Dean, who dismissed Bush's speech as "repetitive dribble," began his answer: "Everybody gets to march to their own drummer in this party..."
An excerpt from the top of a November 30 CyberAlert posting, "Broadcast Nets, Which Led With Murtha, Ignore Lieberman."
Twelve days ago when Democratic Congressman John Murtha, who had long been critical of the Bush administration's running of the war, advocated withdrawing troops from Iraq, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all emphasized his importance and influence as they led with his press conference. CBS showcased Murtha's attack on Vice President Dick Cheney's lack of military service and ABC ran a 90-second excerpt of Murtha. But on Tuesday night, after the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed ("Our Troops Must Stay") from the 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate, Senator Joe Lieberman, in which he cited "real progress" in Iraq and argued against withdrawing troops, ABC and CBS didn't utter a syllable about his assessment. The NBC Nightly News, at least, squeezed in a soundbite from Lieberman, though David Gregory also highlighted a puny protest as he relayed how "opposition to the war followed the President today to a Denver fundraiser, as more than a hundred angry critics met Mr. Bush's motorcade." In his op-ed, Lieberman had bemoaned: "What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory."
ABC's World News Tonight, which led with multiple stories from New Orleans on the three-month anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, held its coverage of Iraq to a brief item on "peace activists" taken hostage and anchor Elizabeth Vargas provided a 20-second preview of Bush's Wednesday speech on his Iraq policy.
Snowstorms topped the CBS Evening News before David Martin provided a story on how Secretary of Defense "Rumsfeld rattled off signs of progress," which Martin ran through. "For all the progress cited by administration officials," Martin then ominously concluded, "one key factor shows no sign of improving: For the past two months, an average of three Americans has been killed each day in Iraq, and that's the highest since January." Anchor Bob Schieffer then turned to Lara Logan in Baghdad who said one of Rumsfeld's assertions "simply isn't true" and undermined a couple of others.
END of Excerpt
For the November 30 CyberAlert item in full: www.mediaresearch.org
Jay Leno: "Let's talk about some of the issues here. Bush's speech today. What did you think?"
C-SPAN2's weekend "Book TV" on Saturday and Sunday will air an hour-long interview conducted by MRC President L. Brent Bozell with Mary Mapes, the disgraced ex-CBS News producer behind the 60 Minutes hit job on President Bush based on forged memos. The hour-long session, taped Thursday afternoon, will run on Saturday at 8pm EST and repeat Sunday at 6pm EST and 9pm EST.
The C-SPAN Web site has this preview of the show which is part of Book TV's After Words series of interviews:
Keep in mind that this is C-SPAN, so Brent Bozell was more Brian Lamb than Chris Matthews (I watched a tape of the session) as he ran through all the major criticisms of Mapes and her story, allowing her to respond and then moving on to the next point. But her answers sink her.
To comment on this topic, go to NewsBusters.org
-- Brent Baker