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Schieffer: Bush 'Adopting' Enemy Methods with Secret Prisons --9/14/2006


1. Schieffer: Bush 'Adopting' Enemy Methods with Secret Prisons
Bob Schieffer, CBS's Chief Washington Correspondent and host of Face the Nation, used the "freeSpeech" segment on Wednesday's CBS Evening News to denounce the Bush administration's "secret prisons," arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted "the methods of our enemies." But our terrorist enemies don't put Americans into prison -- they murder Americans. Schieffer, who anchored the CBS Evening News until two weeks ago, told viewers of the broadcast now anchored by Katie Couric that he was "glad" the U.S. took the "suspected 9/11 ringleaders" out "of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies."

2. GOP Challenger 'Conservative,' Left Wing Ones Simply 'Anti-War'
On Wednesday's Early Show on CBS, co-host Rene Syler offered results from Tuesday's primaries, but the labels were remarkably different. In Rhode Island, Syler classified Senator Chafee's opponent as a "conservative," but in New York, Senator Clinton's ultra-liberal opponent was simply classified as "anti-war." Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the Rhode Island race, and called the Club for Growth "very conservative." Back in August, Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont was labeled as "anti-war" while the Early Show never referred to Lamont backers as "very liberal."

3. Jonathan Alter Puts Heavy-Breathing Political Fantasies on Paper
Remember Al Gore's "Saturday Night Live" skit where he pretended to be President and the world was a glorious place? Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter played that game in his column this week, suggesting that if Bush had been more Gore-like, just imagine what a paradise we would all be living in. In addition to fantasizing that the Arab world sympathized with us, and that Syria and Iran were "forced to help" with the war on terror, Bush's domestic agenda looked a lot like Jonathan Alter's domestic agenda: stiff gas taxes, terminated tax cuts, SUV-bashing, firing Rumsfeld. Alter dreamed that Bush "abandoned his tax cuts for the wealthy, reminding the country that no president in history had ever cut taxes in the middle of a war" and "he drove to his 2002 State of the Union address in a hybrid car. Sales soared." A liberal can dream, can't he?

4. CNN Blames GOP for Disunity: 'Let's Just Talk About Republicans'
CNN American Morning host Miles O'Brien prefaced a Wednesday interview with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow by mentioning the President's 9/11 speech and wondering "if lawmakers on both sides of the aisle" were heeding Bush's call for unity. It soon became clear, however, that when O'Brien said both sides, he meant only Republicans. The CNN anchor led the September 13 segment with a quote critical of Democrats by Majority Leader John Boehner. Snow then attempted to reference some tough statements made by liberal Senator Carl Levin. O'Brien responded: "No, no, I want to ask -- can I ask about Republicans first? Let's just talk about Republicans....I want to ask you about Republicans." This became the tone of the entire interview.

5. Vieira's First Day Blooper: Speaker of the House John Boehner
On her first day of work, NBC's new Today co-host Meredith Vieira on Wednesday mistakenly called House Majority Leader John Boehner the "House Speaker." The blooper came as Vieira, in a segment with Tim Russert, referred to an earlier report by David Gregory, as he highlighted a remark from Boehner, whom he referred to as "House Republican leader John Boehner." Vieira asked Tim Russert: "Meanwhile you have, as David Gregory pointed out, the House Speaker saying, criticizing the Democratic, the Democrats for criticizing the President by saying that they're really soft on terrorism, that their commitment to fighting the war is not really there. That's worked effectively for the Republicans in the past, that argument. Do you think that it still will work?"


Schieffer: Bush 'Adopting' Enemy Methods
with Secret Prisons

Bob Schieffer, CBS's Chief Washington Correspondent and host of Face the Nation, used the "freeSpeech" segment on Wednesday's CBS Evening News to denounce the Bush administration's "secret prisons," arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted "the methods of our enemies." But our terrorist enemies don't put Americans into prison -- they murder Americans. Schieffer, who anchored the CBS Evening News until two weeks ago, told viewers of the broadcast now anchored by Katie Couric that he was "glad" the U.S. took the "suspected 9/11 ringleaders" out "of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies."

Schieffer also contended that "weapons didn't win the [Cold] War. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines." He concluded by arguing: "As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies."

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

Schieffer's "freeSpeech" commentary on the September 13 CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
"I have no sympathy for those suspected 9/11 ringleaders. If the evidence proves them guilty, I hope they get the death penalty. But I'm glad they took them out of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies.
"Of course we must do all in our power to protect this country. During the Cold War we built a mighty arsenal of weapons, and it kept the Soviet Union at bay for decades. But the weapons didn't win the war. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines.
"They saw that open government based on law gave them a better chance to have those things than government conducted in secret and based on the whims of unelected leaders. And so the Iron Curtain fell.
"As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies."

CBSNews.com has posted video on its "freeSpeech" page: www.cbsnews.com

GOP Challenger 'Conservative,' Left Wing
Ones Simply 'Anti-War'

On Wednesday's Early Show on CBS, co-host Rene Syler offered results from Tuesday's primaries, but the labels were remarkably different. In Rhode Island, Syler classified Senator Chafee's opponent as a "conservative," but in New York, Senator Clinton's ultra-liberal opponent was simply classified as "anti-war." Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the Rhode Island race, and called the Club for Growth "very conservative." Back in August, Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont was labeled as "anti-war" while the Early Show never referred to Lamont backers as "very liberal."

[This item, by Michael Rule, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The top story on the September 13 Early Show was the primary results, and the story was narrated by Rene Syler. She noted Stephen Laffey was a conservative: "Tuesday's vote was a run-up to November's elections and the battle for control of Congress, in a critical race for Republicans, Rhode Island moderate, Lincoln Chafee defeated a conservative challenger."

While in the New York race, Senator Clinton's left wing opponent was described as simply "anti-war": "New York Senator Hillary Clinton easily defeated her anti-war opponent winning the right to run for a second term."

Today was not the first time the Early Show classified a liberal as simply being "anti-war." In the days following the Connecticut primary, the Early Show failed to label Ned Lamont as a liberal challenger in Connecticut, instead, it utilized the label "anti-war." Nor did they identify his backers, such as Moveon.org, as "very liberal" organizations. However, this morning, Bob Schieffer described the Club for Growth as a "very conservative" group. Schieffer talked with co-host Harry Smith in the first installment of a weekly segment the Early Show has dubbed "Capitol Bob." Schieffer offered his insights on the November Congressional elections, including his take on the Rhode Island primary:
"...So the Republicans simply had to keep this seat. Now, what happened was that some economic conservatives, this Club for Growth, this very conservative group put a bunch of money in up there and backed this mayor of the town of Cranston, Steve Laffey and he made a very formidable candidate..."

So the Club for Growth is "very conservative," while groups like Moveon.org were simply part of Mr. Lamont's "anti-war" base.

Schieffer continued, and promoted a Wednesday Washington Post article by Dana Milbank: "The fall out since the President's speech has just been extraordinary. Dana Milbank and the Washington Post this morning said we are now into the 'treason season,' where both sides are sort of accusing the other side of being unpatriotic because of their stand on the war."

However, Schieffer made Milbank's column sound as if it attacked all sides, when in fact it was an article that spouted the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are attacking their patriotism. But it is refreshing to note that even if Milbank's desire was to portray it as strictly a GOP tactic, that Schieffer pointed out that neither party has a monopoly on the tactic.

For Milbank's September 13 piece: www.washingtonpost.com

For Tim Graham's analysis of it on NewsBusters: newsbusters.org

Jonathan Alter Puts Heavy-Breathing Political
Fantasies on Paper

Remember Al Gore's "Saturday Night Live" skit where he pretended to be President and the world was a glorious place? Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter played that game in his column this week, suggesting that if Bush had been more Gore-like, just imagine what a paradise we would all be living in. In addition to fantasizing that the Arab world sympathized with us, and that Syria and Iran were "forced to help" with the war on terror, Bush's domestic agenda looked a lot like Jonathan Alter's domestic agenda: stiff gas taxes, terminated tax cuts, SUV-bashing, firing Rumsfeld. Alter dreamed that Bush "abandoned his tax cuts for the wealthy, reminding the country that no president in history had ever cut taxes in the middle of a war" and "he drove to his 2002 State of the Union address in a hybrid car. Sales soared." A liberal can dream, can't he?

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

In his piece in the September 18 edition of Newsweek, "An Alternate 9/11 History: By staying 'humble,' as he promised in 2000, Bush preserved much of the post-9/11 good will abroad," Alter fantasized:
"At home, some aides suggested that Bush simply tell the nation to 'go shopping.' But the President knew he had a precious opportunity to ask Americans for real sacrifice. He took John McCain's suggestion and pushed through Congress an ambitious national-service program that bolstered communities and helped train citizens as first responders.
"Soon Bush put the country on a Manhattan Project crash course to get off oil. He bluntly told Detroit that it was embarrassing that Chinese automakers had better fuel efficiency, he classified SUVs as cars, and he imposed a stiff gas tax with a rebate for the working poor. To pay for it, he abandoned his tax cuts for the wealthy, reminding the country that no president in history had ever cut taxes in the middle of a war. This president would be damned if he was going to put more oil money into the pockets of Middle Eastern hatemongers who had killed nearly 3,000 of our people. To dramatize the point, he drove to his 2002 State of the Union address in a hybrid car. Sales soared."

And negative campaigning against liberals? Perish the thought:
"When Karl Rove suggested that the war on terror would make a perfect wedge issue against Democrats in the 2002 midterms, Bush brought him up short. Didn't Rove understand that bipartisanship is good politics? Lincoln and FDR had both gone bipartisan during wartime, he reminded his aide. So when evidence of torture at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay surfaced and Rumsfeld was forced to resign, former Democratic senator Sam Nunn got the job. With post-9/11 unity still at least partially intact in 2004, Bush was re-elected in a landslide."

Finally, Alter enjoyed imagining a world where Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Imagine the euphoria:
"In 2003, Vice President Cheney advised the president to take out Iraq's Saddam Hussein militarily. But Bush was beginning to understand that his veep, while sounding full of gravitas, was in fact reckless. When it became clear that Saddam posed no imminent threat, Bush resolved to neuter him, Kaddafi style. When the president found, after a little asking around, that the 10-year cost of invading Iraq would be a crushing $1.2 trillion, he opted out of this war of choice.
"Five years after that awful September day, even Bush's fiercest critics have learned an important lesson: leadership counts. Imagine if we'd done the opposite of these things. This country -- and the world -- would be in a heap of trouble."

For Alter's fantasy in full: www.msnbc.msn.com

CNN Blames GOP for Disunity: 'Let's Just
Talk About Republicans'

CNN American Morning host Miles O'Brien prefaced a Wednesday interview with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow by mentioning the President's 9/11 speech and wondering "if lawmakers on both sides of the aisle" were heeding Bush's call for unity. It soon became clear, however, that when O'Brien said both sides, he meant only Republicans. The CNN anchor led the September 13 segment with a quote critical of Democrats by Majority Leader John Boehner. Snow then attempted to reference some tough statements made by liberal Senator Carl Levin. O'Brien responded: "No, no, I want to ask -- can I ask about Republicans first? Let's just talk about Republicans....I want to ask you about Republicans." This became the tone of the entire interview, which aired at 7:34am EDT.

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

What exactly are Republicans doing to disrupt unity? Snow attempted to point out that Democrats have opposed a terrorist surveillance program and other initiatives related to the war on terror. O'Brien, however, couldn't be dissuaded from his laser-like focus on the Republicans and their obstruction of unity. Take this exchange between the press secretary and the CNN anchor:

O'Brien: "I just want you to talk about Republicans for a moment."
Snow: "I see. Okay."
O'Brien: "Forget the Democrats for just a moment."
Snow: "Well, here's the thing-"
O'Brien: "I know that's hard to do."
Snow: "Well, no, you're asking-"
O'Brien: "Just tell me about what the Republicans are saying and their rhetoric, post the President's speech."

Snow started to respond, but O'Brien interrupted to reiterate his thesis: "It doesn't sound like a lot of unity there."

So, essentially, Republicans are the obstruction? That statement might be easier to believe if you didn't have incidents such as the Democratic Minority Leader, Harry Reid, publically calling President Bush a "loser."

O'Brien then shifted subjects, but continued with the premise that Republicans are the problem. During a discussion of a recent CNN poll that showed 43 percent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein to have been personally involved in planning 9/11, the American Morning host cited a comment from GOP Senator Rick Santorum:
"Once again, talking about some Republicans on the Hill, Senator Rick Santorum said this on the Senate floor yesterday. He said: 'The very people that planned the attacks,' referring to 9/11, 'are the people who are in Iraq, Al Qaeda, in Iraq causing that sectarian violence.' It's no wonder people are confused."

A visibly puzzled Tony Snow responded, "Huh? I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here." It soon became clear that O'Brien saw this as a dark Republican plot to blame Saddam for 9/11. Snow quickly pointed out the obvious:
"Let me try to make it clear. Al Qaeda did not have operational duties within Iraq, it was not sitting around, you know, in a corner office with Saddam Hussein plotting 9/11. There were Al Qaeda there....Miles, don't get confused about the fact that there are Al Qaeda members in Iraq. Of course there are. They were before the war and after the war. They just weren't part of Saddam's officials retinue and they weren't doing formal operations with Saddam's government. I don't think it should be that confusing."

It shouldn't be confusing, unless of course you're a CNN anchor trying to blame every problem in Congress on the Republicans and their apparent distaste for "unity."

Vieira's First Day Blooper: Speaker of
the House John Boehner

On her first day of work, NBC's new Today co-host Meredith Vieira on Wednesday mistakenly called House Majority Leader John Boehner the "House Speaker." The blooper came as Vieira, in a segment with Tim Russert, referred to an earlier report by David Gregory, as he highlighted a remark from Boehner, whom he referred to as "House Republican leader John Boehner." Vieira asked Tim Russert: "Meanwhile you have, as David Gregory pointed out, the House Speaker saying, criticizing the Democratic, the Democrats for criticizing the President by saying that they're really soft on terrorism, that their commitment to fighting the war is not really there. That's worked effectively for the Republicans in the past, that argument. Do you think that it still will work?"

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

Russert corrected Vieira without pointing out her error: "The, the words that Congressman Boehner used, almost suggesting the Democrats were aligning themselves with the terrorists really sent shockwaves through Washington. And the White House when asked in press, by David Gregory, 'Does the President agree with that,' said no. It's a very fine line. You can accuse people of not being vigorous or strong on national defense and national security but when you start suggesting that they are closer to the terrorists than they are to protecting the American people, I think people in both parties, think that crossed the line."

Vieira was referring to the following portion in Gregory's report. Incidentally Today, as if to emphasize its egregiousness, ran a full graphic of the Boehner quote:
"The House Republican leader John Boehner added this about Democrats, Tuesday, quote, 'I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than they are protecting the American people.'"

-- Brent Baker