Ruling a 'Big...Stinging' Defeat, Prove 'Embarrassing' for Bush --6/13/2008
2. Cafferty Scolds House Democrats for Not Pushing to Impeach Bush
3. Bob Novak: Media's Obama Love Exceeds Their 1960 Love for JFK
4. ABC's GMA Touts Sci-Fi Future of Death, Doom and Fire
5. You Read It Here First: FNC Picks Up Williams, Brokaw/Letterman
The broadcast network evening newscasts gave as much emphasis Thursday night to the biting dissent as the majority opinion in the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on behalf of the Guantanamo detainees, but told the story through the prism of the Bush administration getting rebuked by the decision characterized as "historic" and "landmark" -- with ABC's Martha Raddatz ominously warning "it could be very embarrassing for the administration." CBS avoided any label for the majority while tagging the dissenters as "conservative" and only NBC noted how some of those already released have committed atrocities.
"The Supreme Court, for the third time, has slammed the Bush administration for its handling of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay," CBS anchor Katie Couric announced. Wyatt Andrews asserted "the ruling essentially tells the Bush administration no more halfway justice at Guantanamo" as he segued to a soundbite from a representative of a left-wing group by relaying how "lawyers for the detainees called it a victory for America's reputation around the world." Andrews, who applied no liberal labels, said the "ruling was bitterly rebuked by the court's conservatives."
From Kabul, NBC's Brian Williams teased "a big defeat for the Bush administration," though he later uniquely portrayed the "landmark ruling" as "victory" for the detainees, before Pete Williams tagged both sides, citing "the court's five more liberal members" and "the four conservative dissenters." ABC anchor Charles Gibson reported that the court "today handed the Bush administration a stinging defeat." Jan Crawford Greenburg applied the most accurate labeling, referring to how "moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision with the four liberal justices" while "conservative Justice Antonin Scalia read a sharp, almost personal dissent."
Asked by Gibson how the Bush administration will proceed, Raddatz raised the possibility secrets will be revealed that "could be very embarrassing" for the administration: "It really removes the vail of secrecy. And it could be very embarrassing for the administration. We don't know what these people did. We don't know what they're charged with. We don't know how serious the charges are against many of them."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Transcripts of the Thursday, June 12 CBS, NBC and ABC evening newscast stories on the 5-4 SCOTUS ruling:
# CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Now to Washington where the Supreme Court, for the third time, has slammed the Bush administration for its handling of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Wyatt Andrews reports federal courts could see a flood of detainee cases as a result of the latest high court decision.
WYATT ANDREWS: The ruling essentially tells the Bush administration no more halfway justice at Guantanamo, that the detainees there, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy, "have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus." That simple statement gives the 270 detainees the right to challenge their detentions, not at a military tribunal, but in front of a U.S. judge.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, IN KABUL, WITH "HISTORIC RULING" ON SCREEN: Now to a big decision out of Washington today at the U.S. Supreme Court that has a direct connection to the Bush administration's fight against terrorism going on right here. The vast majority of people locked up by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay without trials have been picked up here in Afghanistan or across the border in Pakistan. Today, a landmark ruling from the court that's a victory for them. Our justice correspondent, Pete Williams, is standing by at the Supreme Court tonight with that. Pete, good evening.
PETE WILLIAMS: Brian, this ruling means that 270 or so detainees now get the constitutional right to have their lawyers come before federal judges here in Washington and argue this: You've got the wrong guy. For the first time in history, the Supreme Court ruled that constitutional rights apply even outside the U.S. to foreign citizens held by the American military. Writing for the court's five more liberal members, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, the "Constitution designed to remain in force in extraordinary times," including the "right to be free from arbitrary and unlawful restraint," something many of the detainees have been without for as long as six years. And because the ruling is based on the Constitution, Congress cannot take detainee rights away simply by passing a law as it did two years ago.
CHARLES GIBSON: Next, we turn to the Supreme Court, which today handed the Bush administration a stinging defeat. The justices ruled 5 to 4 that foreign terror suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay prison do have a constitutional right to challenge their detention in court. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the President and the Congress can't switch the Constitution on and off at will. Jan Crawford Greenburg is our legal correspondent, covers the court, is at the court tonight. Jan?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Charlie, this is one of the most significant wartime rulings in the nation's history and it literally undercuts the entire system the Bush administration and Congress created to imprison and eventually bring to trial these terror suspects. It was a cornerstone in the Bush administration's war on terror, sending hundreds of terror suspects to a U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba under U.S. military control, but outside U.S. courts. Today's ruling throws open the courthouse doors, giving terror suspects a basic constitutional right to challenge their detention in federal courts. They can ask to see classified evidence, call witnesses, and ask a federal judge to set them free. President Bush's reaction was terse.
Six months after he chastised Congress for not following George McGovern's advice to impeach President Bush, CNN's Jack Cafferty on Thursday scolded House Democrats for disposing of the latest impeachment effort by the far-left Dennis Kucinich (earlier NB post on Cafferty's blog entry). Fretting that "the House of Representatives voted to send an impeachment resolution against President Bush to a committee where it will die," Cafferty used his "Cafferty File" segment during the 4 PM EST hour of The Situation Room to lecture:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The January 8 CyberAlert item, "Cafferty Channels McGovern: 'Why Won't Congress Impeach Bush?'" recounted:
CNN's Jack Cafferty on Monday advanced former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, posing as his "Cafferty File" question in the 6pm EST hour of The Situation Room: "Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?" Highlighting McGovern's bombastic op-ed in the "Outlook" section of Sunday's Washington Post, "Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse," Cafferty quoted McGovern's contention Bush and Cheney "have repeatedly violated the Constitution," "have lied to the American people time after time" and have carried out a "murderous, illegal, nonsensical war." So "illegal" that the House and Senate, controlled by Democrats, continue funding it.
For the full rundown: www.mediaresearch.org
The House of Representatives voted to send an impeachment resolution against President Bush to a committee where it will die. Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment this week, most of the resolution focusing on the Iraq war. But they also charge President Bush with illegally detaining both U.S. citizens and foreign captives, a charge upheld by the Supreme Court as you saw earlier, condoning torture, mishandling the response to Hurricane Katrina, and on and on and on.
But Congress doesn't want to hear it. They voted largely along party lines, 255-166, to send the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee, which is exactly what happened to Kucinich's impeachment articles against Vice President Cheney last year.
Congress sent that resolution to the same committee last November. It is still there. Nothing has been done. Nothing will be done. Congress continues to refuse to exercise its constitutional responsibility, which is oversight of the executive branch of our government. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi long ago said impeachment is off the table. This is a joke. We have a President who has abused the power of his office over and over and over again. It's what got the Democrats elected to the majority in Congress in 2006. Now it's election time again, and every member of the House is up for re-election in November.
The Democrats, no doubt, are worried what it will look like to many voters if they spend their time on impeachment. To hell with what's right or wrong. What will it look like? This is why Republicans voted yesterday to bring Kucinich's resolution up for debate immediately, trying to make the Democrats look silly for focusing on this instead of gas prices, the economy, et cetera. It boggles my mind. Anyway, here's the question: "What does it mean when Congress refuses to even consider 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush?"
Longtime reporter and columnist Robert Novak appeared on FNC's O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday and agreed with host Bill O'Reilly that media bias may not help Barack Obama that much. But that doesn't mean it isn't biased. Novak declared: "I've been covering presidential campaigns since 1960. I have always said I have never seen the media as much entranced by a candidate than when they were in my very first campaign, in 1960, when they were for JFK. But I'm telling you right now, the enchantment with Obama beats the JFK syndrome."
O'Reilly was amazed and mentioned how Novak recounted his early days in his memoir Prince of Darkness. But a bigger infatuation than with JFK?
Novak reaffirmed: "I believe it is. It is just such a feel-good atmosphere of my colleagues, my senior colleagues, people I've known for years. And I get it from some of the young people, too. They just feel this is such a wonderful thing, in the first place to have an African-American candidate, nominee, but also one that makes them feel so wonderful."
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
O'Reilly conceded that Obama was tremendously charismatic and could have his own TV show, but the he also makes them feel wonderful because they hate Bush and hate conservatives.
Novak replied with some amusement: "And then the other interesting thing about the media is that they have dropped, Bill, they have dropped John McCain like an old girlfriend. I mean, I remember how much -- some of the very same people who really felt that he was something new, something different in the year 2000 when he ran against Bush. They have no use for him now. They say well, he is not the same guy. He is the same guy! He is exactly the same. Same person but it's a different circumstance. He is not running against Bush. He is running against Obama."
O'Reilly suggested Hollywood and the entertainment industry seemed unanimous in their desire to influence the race for Obama:
O'REILLY: You say then that the media's tilt and we put it at about 80 percent here, toward Obama, not going to help him that much because people really aren't reading The New York Times or the L.A. Times any more. They are not watching the network news any more. But they certainly are going to pick it up as we did in our first segment from people like David Letterman, from MTV, from all of this pop culture stuff which is almost 100 percent on Obama's bandwagon.
However, the oddest concept of this upcoming special includes a interactive online game that Woodruff claimed "puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world." Certainly Dan Rather and the ethical machinations of other journalists have lowered the bar of journalism in recent years, but how does one "report" on life in the year 2100? Is ABC providing a time machine? Doesn't "report," in this instance, just mean "making stuff up?"
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At one point, Woodruff played a few examples of these "reports." In one, a teenager laments: "It's June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99." Another video features a second teenager who admits he's "scared [profanity bleeped] right now."
The scientist/talking heads featured in the piece weren't much more calm then the civilians. Featuring a cavalcade of alarmists that included James Hansen, Al Gore's science advisor and Heidi Cullen, the climate change expert for the Weather Channel, to name a few, the GMA segment preceded to terrify viewers with a apocalyptic future of death and destruction. (It should also be pointed out that ABC failed to identify any of these people and their names/associations were only discerned after matching up quotes from an article on GMA's Web site.)
Professor John Holdren of Harvard University darkly announced that the future would bring "more floods, more droughts, more wildfires." The segment featured movie-style footage of flames, rioting and general destruction. Added to this were unidentified "reporters" who scarily proclaimed such things as "Flames cover hundreds of square miles." Of course, these predictions were provided with no context and generally just seemed designed to induce panic.
At the end of this montage, even GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed frightened. He asked Woodruff: "I think we're familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That's seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?" (The special will look not just at the year 2100, but also the years and decades leading up to it.) Woodruff cited unnamed scientists who believe "if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we're approaching maybe even a perfect storm." Admitting the goal of this special, the journalist opined, "So, the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it."
The segment wrapped up with a discussion of the hypothetical future visions that the "Earth 2100" special will include. Before playing the aforementioned speculative examples, Woodruff called them "some remarkable interviews." He later referred to the guesses as "ideas." But, again, isn't this just making stuff up? Will the special include viewers who believe that, 100 years hence, the world will be run by super intelligent apes who lord over mute humans? (Perhaps that scenario is too familiar.)
If viewers are to use their imaginations and create scenarios, how about one where journalists don't use fear mongering to try and cripple the economy with leftist environmental policies?
MRC readers can go here to submit their own frightening scenarios: earth2100.tv
A transcript of the June 12 segment, which aired at 8:34am:
CHRIS CUOMO: Now, we will have a dramatic preview for you of an unprecedented ABC News event called "Earth 2100." We're asking you to help create a story that is yet to unfold: What our world will look like in 100 years if we don't save our troubled planet. Your reports will actually help form the backbone of a two-hour special airing this fall. ABC's Bob Woodruff will be the host. He joins us now. Pleasure, Bob.
You read it here first -- or second. On Tuesday night, FNC's Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly picked up statements reported Monday night on the MRC's NewsBusters blog and Tuesday morning in CyberAlert. O'Reilly set up his O'Reilly Factor "Top Story" segment by running two clips, starting with David Letterman trashing President Bush on Monday night: "Even I am perceiving now that things are horrible in ways they shouldn't be horrible. Now, we're not going to impeach the guy. Could we get our money back?" Then O'Reilly played this from NBC anchor Brian Williams' commencement address on Sunday at Ohio State, a quote the DrudgeReport had highlighted in linking to the NewsBusters posting on it: "I come here today with a request for the Class of '08: We need you to fix the country."
Earlier in the evening Tuesday, June 10, Brit Hume read this item during his "Grapevine" segment:
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw chided Late Show host David Letterman, Monday, for his claims that the nation is in a horrible state because of President Bush. Letterman said, quote: "Everything has gone so lousy in the last eight years." But Brokaw snapped back, quote: "Let me remind you that 40 years ago...Dr. King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, we had the Chicago riots, 16,000 people were killed in Vietnam...the Kerner Commission said we are two societies '€" one white, one black." Brokaw said the 1968 election was quote "as contentious an election as we've ever had."
Letterman then went on about global warming, saying reducing carbon emissions by 2020 would be quote, "too late...it's already a hundred degrees now!" Brokaw suggested that Letterman is among those who drive big carbon-emitting vehicles and fly in airplanes that have only two passengers.
The June 10 CyberAlert article, "Brokaw Scolds Letterman on 'Horrible' U.S.; Environmental Hypocrisy," recounted:
Tom Brokaw came aboard Monday's Late Show to promote his book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today, but soon chided David Letterman with some historical context after Letterman forwarded standard liberal claims about how the America of 2008 is in a "horrible" state thanks to the awful President George W. Bush, and when Letterman fretted about government inaction on global warming, Brokaw embarrassed the late night host by pointing out how he's a big carbon-producer since he drives a big vehicle and flies executive jets.
On the terrible state of the nation, Letterman contended "everything...has gone so lousy in the last eight years" so "things are horrible in ways they shouldn't be horrible." Brokaw pointed to his book about 1968, and delivered a friendly lecture:
"Let me remind you that forty years ago this year, Doctor King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, we had the Chicago riots, 16,000 people were killed in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election, the Kerner Commission said we are two societies -- one white, one black, separate and unequal -- we had urban riots and in the fall we had as cantankerous and as contentious and in many way as mentally violent an election as we've ever had..."
Similarly assuming the present is the worst ever, Letterman complained: "People are all talking about, 'okay we're going to change the emissions by 2035, by 2020.' That's too late. I mean, it's a hundred degrees now!" Letterman pleaded: "It's got to come from the government. They have to lead us." Brokaw agreed, but then made the host uncomfortable:
BROKAW: The government has to lead and those of us who drive -- uhh uhh -- big carbon-emitting vehicles or fly in airplanes that have only two passengers on them-
LETTERMAN: Alright, alright, that's fine Tom.
For the complete rundown, with video: www.mrc.org
The NewsBusters version, also with video: newsbusters.org
Another June 10 CyberAlert posting, "Williams Tells Grads U.S. Broken: 'Need You to Fix the Country,'" related:
Delivering the commencement address Sunday at Ohio State University in Columbus, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams implied America is broken as he told the graduates: "We need you to fix the country." That clip, squeezed in between Al Gore at Carnegie Mellon and Martin Sheen at Notre Dame, aired as part of an annual compilation of commencement advice run at the end of Monday's NBC Nightly News. In full video of his remarks posted on MSNBC.com, Williams apologized for his contemporaries: "On behalf of my generation, I'm sorry, the Internet is so cool we got sidetracked." He urged the graduates to "pick one area" and do something about it, recommending they "start with climate" since "something tells me this may be a challenge in the years ahead" to "find a way to get around without fuel in our tanks that comes from an enemy of this country."
Echoing a theme of those calling for "change," Williams pleaded: "We won't seen an election like this for decades again in this country. We are at a crossroads. They don't get more important and it's so important that you all get involved."
Williams scolded bloggers for writing about themselves, exhorting bloggers to talk "about all of us" since "we need to start thinking of us as the collective, the United States that we used to know."
The previous CyberAlert item in full: www.mrc.org
The NewsBusters version from Monday night, to which Drudge linked: newsbusters.org
-- Brent Baker