2. NYT Chief Keller Follows NBC: Reporters Can Call Iraq "Civil War"
3. CBS Exec: 'Civil War' a 'Political Statement, Not News Judgment'
4. Read It Here First: IBD Editorial Features Quotes from CyberAlert
Correction: The November 29 CyberAlert spelled the last name of Morton Kondracke in two ways, one correct and one incorrect by dropping a "c." It's Kondracke. Not Kondrake.
DeVito then began what was supposed to be mimicry of Bush, making a variety of weird sounds and facial expressions. It's impossible to really capture DeVito's performance in words (he admitted he'd been up partying all night with George Clooney), so you'll need to watch the video to understand his ridicule.
Video of about a minute of one of his more explosive moments will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or MP3 audio -- all rendered by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey, go to: newsbusters.org
After his Bush-bashing, DeVito then asked the panel what they thought about "the hat trick last week -- Rumsfeld, the House and the Senate," referring to the Democrats' election victories and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld stepping down. DeVito announced how he reacted to the news: "I took my clothes off."
After the show aired, DeVito apologized to Barbara Walters "for anything that could be constructed as unfortunate." See ABCNews.com: abcnews.go.com
Good news for New York Times Baghdad-based reporter Edward Wong: Executive Editor Bill Keller declared Times reporters can now call the conflict in Iraq a "civil war."
A reprint of an item by Clay Waters posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site, dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times:
On Tuesday morning, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller announced the paper will follow NBC's lead and allow its reporters to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war."
Keller said in a statement to Editor & Publisher: "After consulting with our reporters in the field and the editors who directly oversee this coverage, we have agreed that Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate. It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war. We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of 'civil war' is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."
For the Editor & Publisher posting: www.mediainfo.com
As TimesWatch has documented, at least one of the Times Baghdad-based correspondents, Edward Wong, has been eager to call the Iraq morass a "civil war" for years.
After nearly two years of finding Iraq on the brink of "civil war" (starting with a December 2004 piece headlined "Mayhem in Iraq Is Starting to Look Like a Civil War") Wong's day has finally arrived.
Either anticipating or fostering the recent change at NBC and the Times was Wong's Sunday "news analysis," "A Matter of Definition: What Makes a Civil War, and Who Declares It So?"
Wong began: "Is Iraq in a civil war? Though the Bush administration continues to insist that it is not, a growing number of American and Iraqi scholars, leaders and policy analysts say the fighting in Iraq meets the standard definition of civil war."
A day later, NBC's Today show clumsily announced the change, calling attention to what it must think will become the latest "Cronkite Moment" of the Iraq war.
END Reprint of TimesWatch article which is posted online at: www.timeswatch.org
In an interview with the New York Observer, Rome Hartman, the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, called the decision by NBC News, to announce how the network would now describe the situation in Iraq a "civil war," as a "political statement, not a news judgment." He insisted to Rebecca Dana of the weekly paper published on Wednesdays: "We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day."
But while CBS may not have made a declarative decision, his show has not refrained from putting the term in play. Tuesday's CyberAlert recounted:
And the Friday, May 20, 2005 MRC CyberAlert item, "CBS Cites Dire Litany, Asks: Is Iraq 'Sliding Toward Civil War?'", reported:
For Tuesday's CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Dana's item in her November 29 column:
What Becomes a Civil War Most?
What do you call a problem like escalating sectarian violence in Iraq?
"A civil war," said Matt Lauer on the Today show on Nov. 27. NBC brass had discussed it, he told viewers, and had come to the bold and publicity-generating -- if not exactly jaw-dropping -- conclusion that democracy is maybe not flourishing quite the way we planned.
The other two broadcast networks, equally boldly, have not followed suit.
"It was their decision to make and their process," said Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC's World News. "We constantly discuss editorial matters here -- all the time, every day. How that decision got made there I have no idea, nor do I want to guess."
"To be honest with you, I think it's a political statement, not a news judgment," said Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News. "We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day, not by -- never mind, I'm not gonna go there." Then he did.
"It should be noted that the day that this pronouncement -- and who makes pronouncements anyway? But that's what it sounded like -- was a quiet day, relatively speaking, in Iraq," he said.
CNN's official statement on the matter is: "CNN will continue to report on what is happening in Iraq on a day-to-day basis. And we will also report on the ongoing debate in academic and political circles about what constitutes a civil war."
It perhaps goes without saying that the Fox News Channel has not leaped onto the civil-war bandwagon. Fox anchors will join most of their colleagues in television news in anticipating their own Cronkite Moments.
"Every news organization is entitled to make editorial calls how they see fit. This was not a decision we came to lightly, without a great deal of discussion. We reached out to experts, military analysts, historians, people on the ground in Iraq, and they all unanimously agreed this was the appropriate label for the conflict," said Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for NBC News...
END of Excerpt
For Dana's column in full: observer.com
You read it here first. An editorial in Wednesday's Investor's Business Daily, "NBC Has Its Own 'Cronkite Moment,'" relayed quotes featured in three Tuesday CyberAlert items about how the NBC Nighty News led by calling Iraq a "civil war," how Keith Olbermann compared NBC's decision to Walter Cronkite speaking out against the Vietnam war and how CBS's Lara Logan insisted to General John Abizaid that it's time to "manage defeat" in Iraq. IBD's summary for the November 29 editorial, "WWIII: NBC calls Iraq a 'civil war,' acknowledging that its decision could 'erode' support for our effort there. Isn't that the point? As in Vietnam, the media blame America first and become the enemy's mouthpiece."
If Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's No. 2 terrorist and aide to Osama bin Laden, gets tired of his current post, he might try seeking the position of managing editor at NBC News. As al-Zawahiri wrote in a 6,000-word letter dated July 8, 2005: "(W)e are in a battle, and more than half this battle is in the media."
On Monday, NBC officially defected to the other side.
Matt Lauer, host of its "Today" show, made the grand announcement, saying the peacock network had given "careful consideration" to the decision. And of course it did, knowing full well that by not calling Iraq part of the global war on terror it was embracing the position held by the Democratic Party and rendering aid and comfort to the opponents of democracy and freedom in the Middle East.
Twelve hours later, Brian Williams led off the "NBC Nightly News" under a bold graphic of the word "IRAQ" with "CIVIL WAR" underneath. "This," he solemnly intoned, "begins a crucial week in determining future U.S. involvement in what has become a civil war in that country."
He might as well have been standing under the words "CUT" and "RUN."
On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann's nightly meltdown included calling the NBC decision "the Walter Cronkite moment of the Iraq War." It was a reference to the media icon's calling the Vietnam conflict a "stalemate" after the massive Viet Cong and North Vietnamese defeat during the 1968 Tet offensive. That conflict was also touted by opponents as a "civil war" in which we shouldn't be involved.
Tet was a military disaster for Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who failed in his plan to seize and hold 13 of 16 provincial capitals and spark a popular uprising. Instead, he lost 50,000 men in an offensive that eliminated the Viet Cong as an effective force.
As David Horowitz, who helped organize the first campus demonstrations against the war at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1962, has written: "Every testimony by North Vietnamese generals in the postwar years has affirmed that they knew they could not defeat the United States on the battlefield, and they counted on the division of our people at home to win it for them." And the nightly news.
The U.S. knows what a civil war is. It lost more soldiers in a single battle at Antietam than have been lost in three years in Iraq. And what's going on in Iraq is not a civil war. The media would like to portray it as opposing factions competing for power, but this is a microcosm of the worldwide battle between those defending democracy and those attacking it, a battle in which Western civilization is the ultimate target.
NBC is not the only singer in the surrender chorus. On CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday, correspondent Lara Logan confronted Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, with the assertion "We hear very little about victory in Iraq these days. We hear a lot about how to manage the defeat."
She's right. We hear very little about victory in Iraq '€" from the media. Abizaid rightly cut her off, asking, "What defeat?" As in Vietnam, Americans have not been defeated where it counts '€" on the battlefield. When Logan persisted in using the word "defeat," Abi-zaid objected: "That's your word. Defeat is your word, not my word."
Indeed, defeat is their word, their mantra, to which the phrase "civil war" may now be added . They have sounded forth the trumpet that shall always call retreat. Whatever name may be applied to the evening news, it should never be called reality television.
END of Editorial
-- Brent Baker