Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell to appear on FNC's Kelly File at 9:20 p.m. EST

Roberts Falsely Reports Gen. Pace Admitted Iraq War "Mistakes" --12/2/2005


1. Roberts Falsely Reports Gen. Pace Admitted Iraq War "Mistakes"
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."

2. Barnes: "Mainstream Media Still Rules," Trumps Alternative Media
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.

3. News Media Ignored Lieberman, But Leno Presses Dean About Him
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..."

4. C-SPAN to Air Interview of Mary Mapes Conducted by MRC's Bozell
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.


Roberts Falsely Reports Gen. Pace Admitted
Iraq War "Mistakes"

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.
"We made a conscious decision in June of '04, when the Iraqi government took over sovereignty, that we would step back a little bit in the press to do the proper thing, which was to let the Iraqi government speak for itself publicly. And that was a good idea.
"But as a result of stepping back, I think we may have stepped back a little too far inside of our own country with regard to explaining to our own people what we were doing. And I think you can do both. I think you can have the Iraqi government, properly so, speaking about what they are doing for their own country and their own people and still have U.S. military leaders, in our case, talk about what the U.S. military was doing in a way that explains to the American public the progress that's being made.
"So it's incumbent not only on folks like me in Washington, but also on lieutenant colonels and colonels and captains and lieutenants and lance corporals and corporals -- when they come home, we should be encouraging them inside their local communities to take the opportunity to talk to the local newspapers, to the local chamber of commerce; just to be able to answer our fellow citizens' questions as openly and honestly as we can, understanding that PFC Pace's view of the battlefield is different than General Pace's view of the battlefield.
"But if enough of us are making ourselves available to answer questions publicly, then the American people will have a large enough buffet, so to speak, that they can pick and choose and read and listen and determine for themselves what's really going on.
"If you remember back when the war first began, it was 24/7 coverage. You could watch TV all day long, you could read magazines, you could read newspapers. If you cared to, you could have all the information you wanted to determine for yourself what was really going on. Understandably, we don't have 24/7 coverage anymore. Therefore, the amount of information out there for the general public is less than it used to be. Those of us who have the opportunity to put more on the table for more people to look at and turn around and decide for themselves what's right and what's not need to take those opportunities. That's a reason why I mentioned up front how appreciative I am of the press being here today.
"But it's also an answer to your question, which is not just the senior leaders of our organizations, whether they be civilian or military, need to be out talking, but all of us need to think through what do we know that we'd like our fellow citizens to know, and how might we have the opportunity to just sit with groups and talk and have a dialogue in a way that would help them understand what their military is doing."

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:
"And in his speech at the Naval Academy yesterday, President Bush suggested that his strategy in Iraq will change as Iraqis take over more of the fighting. Well, for sure, the public relations strategy is already changing, and we get more on that now from John Roberts at the White House."

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."
General Peter Pace, Joint Chiefs Chairman: "We, guys like me, have not articulated well enough what is happening in Iraq and in Afghanistan."
Roberts: "Wednesday, it was President Bush, who for the first time went into detail about course corrections in the training of Iraqi forces."
George W. Bush: "The training of the Iraqi security forces is an enormous task, and it always hasn't gone smoothly."
Roberts: "The change in tone is an answer to critics who claim the President won't acknowledge errors or learn from them. The new candor won praise from some Democrats, but others still insist what's really needed is a timetable for withdrawal."
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA): "It's not going to end until the Iraqis take over themselves. And I was disappointed that he didn't give any kind of a definite plan which would have reassured the American public, which they want. They're crying out for reassurance."
Roberts: "Even as the White House tries to boost its credibility on Iraq, it took another hit with the discovery that under a Pentagon contract, the Lincoln Communications Group has been paying Iraqi journalists and newspapers to write and run stories favorable to America -- by one count, about 100 of them. The White House, already stung by other embarrassing episodes of buying media influence, said it was 'very concerned about the reports.' The head of rival Edelman Public Relations calls the practice 'a perversion that destroys trust.'"
Richard Edelman, Edelman Public Relations: "It's not only unacceptable, it's also ineffective because as soon as it comes out that we're paying for the space, the credibility of the content diminishes substantially."
Roberts: "White House officials aren't the only ones worried about the planted stories. The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee today ordered Pentagon officials to come up and see him at Capitol Hill tomorrow and explain what's going on. Bob?"
Schieffer: "Well, John, the Congress has been at home over the Thanksgiving holidays. Is the White House getting any feedback yet about, from these Republicans, especially, what they're hearing from their constituents about these demands from Democrats?"
Roberts: "Well, a lot of these congressional members are going back to their home districts, they're hearing from their constituents, you know, 'What's the real story in Iraq? We're not hearing enough about it.' So they've exacted a lot of pressure on this White House to engage in further and clearer dialogue with the American people. They know that this election year is coming up. They know that Iraq is going to be a big issue, and they're just leaning on the White House to say you've got to say something more about this than you have been before. Inform people, tell them what's going on, Bob."

Barnes: "Mainstream Media Still Rules,"
Trumps Alternative Media

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

News Media Ignored Lieberman, But Leno
Presses Dean About Him

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

As for newspapers, those which put Murtha on the front page, weren't so excited about Lieberman's position. FNC's Brit Hume noted Wednesday night: "The Washington Post, New York Times and USA Today...ran not a word" on Lieberman. See: www.mediaresearch.org

The relevant exchange from the November 30 Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC:

Jay Leno: "Let's talk about some of the issues here. Bush's speech today. What did you think?"
Howard Dean: "Hmm. My job is I'm supposed to be tactful now. It doesn't come easy."
Leno: "Oh, no, forget that."
Dean: "I thought it was his usual nonsense, and repetitive dribble that we've heard for the last two-and-a-half years."
Leno: "Well, that's tactful."
Dean: "Well, I mean, he didn't say anything new. He's defending a strategy that was built on things that weren't true, and, of course, we're in trouble. And I think staying the course is not a strategy, especially when you didn't tell the truth to get us there in first place."
Leno: "Okay. Well, how about Joe Lieberman now? Obviously a prominent Democrat."
Dean: "Now, I really have to be tactful."
Leno: "Well, I mean, he came back, and he's been there a few times to Iraq. And he more or less agrees with the President, correct?"
Dean: "Everybody gets to march to their own drummer in this party. What we need to do is have a real strategy to make sure that we have the strategic redeployment. We need not to have 150,000 troops that are being attacked every single day in Iraq. We shouldn't have been there in the first place and the fact is, we've made a big mess over there. We've created more of a danger than there was in the first place, and probably one of the results is that we did something Iran couldn't do, we helped them win their objectives within the Iran-Iraq war. So, we're in a lot of trouble in Iraq and John Murtha's right, we ought not to be hurting more Americans, and having more American wounded kids come home, and be in the kind of position they're in." [cheers and applause from audience]

C-SPAN to Air Interview of Mary Mapes
Conducted by MRC's Bozell

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:
"This week on 'After Words' journalist Mary Mapes explains her investigative story on George W. Bush's National Guard record that aired on 60 Minutes II. Her new book about the experience is titled Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power. Ms. Mapes tells her version of the controversy over the segment, and the ensuing internal investigation at CBS that led to Dan Rather's resignation as anchor of CBS Evening News, and her own dismissal. She is interviewed by Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center."
That's posted at: www.booktv.org

By time zone, the interview will air on C-SPAN2/Book TV at:
EST: 8pm Saturday and 6pm and 9pm Sunday
CST: 7pm Saturday and 5pm and 8pm Sunday
MST: 6pm Saturday and 4pm and 7pm Sunday
PST: 5pm Saturday and 3pm and 6pm Sunday

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