2. Kristol Astounds Lauer by Rejecting Media Touting of Warner & NIE
3. Newsweek's Michael Hirsh Ridicules 'Harsh' Vietnam Aftermath
4. CBS: Mass. Health Insurance Mandate, Subsidy Don't Go Far Enough
5. CNN's 'God's Warriors' Reflects MSM's Bias Against 'Big 3' Faiths
6. FNC's Fox News Watch Shows MRC Home Page with CyberAlert Headline
[This item was posted Friday night, with audio and video, on the MRC's blog. The Real and Windows Media, along with MP3 audio, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But to watch or listen in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]
In addition to appearing weekly on the PBS NewsHour and Inside Washington, before CNN canceled it, Shields was a regular on Capital Gang. Inside Washington also airs over the weekend on NewsChannel8, the DC area all-news cable channel operated by Allbritton Communications which also owns the local ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV channel 7.
Matching the theme of NBC Nightly News from the evening before, the Today show on Friday morning portrayed Republican Senator John Warner's call for 5,000 troops to return home by Christmas as "a major defection" and "sharp rebuke" to President Bush, but to the astonishment of co-host Matt Lauer, who described Warner as "a pretty heavy domino" falling against Bush, guest Bill Kristol rejected the media's presumptions about the importance of Warner's stand. On Thursday, NBC anchor Brian Williams had hailed a possible "turning point in the debate over America's involvement in Iraq" because of "a major defection from President Bush's camp." Friday morning, Andrea Mitchell echoed Williams as she trumpeted "a major defection from the most authoritative Republican Senator on all things military. It is a sharp rebuke to the President" from "the Senate's most influential Republican on the Armed Services Committee."
When Kristol made clear he didn't think Warner's comments were such a big deal since he remains opposed to a pull-out timetable, Lauer argued: "What about the signal it sends to moderate Republicans in Congress? You know everybody talks about some sort of large scale defection. Isn't John Warner a pretty heavy domino?" Kristol countered: "No, because it hasn't fallen. He's not going to vote against the President in September, that's the more important thing." Turning to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, which Mitchell had described as "grim," Kristol highlighted positive findings about defeating al-Qaeda, prompting an incredulous Lauer to wonder: "Are they looking at the same country that you just saw?" Lauer soon insisted: "It paints a much more pessimistic picture than you just painted for me."
[This item was posted late Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For a look at Thursday night hype of Warner, check "NBC Again Hails Iraq 'Turning Point,' CBS: 'Major Blow' to Bush," in the August 24 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
The MRC's freshest news analyst, Kyle Drennen, provided a transcript of the coverage on the August 24 Today show on NBC:
MATT LAUER, 7am tease: On the way out. The out-going Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will reportedly urge President Bush to cut the number of U.S. Forces by almost half, a day after a key Republican Senator said it is time to start bringing troops home from Iraq.
MATT LAUER, 7:06am: Now though to the War in Iraq and storm clouds on the horizon for President Bush. There is a new report out today that says the President's top military man will ask him to bring nearly half of U.S. troops home from Iraq in about the next year. NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that. Andrea good morning to you.
MATT LAUER: Alright Andrea, thanks very much. Andrea Mitchell in Washington for us this morning. Bill Kristol is the Editor of the Weekly Standard and a long time supporter of President Bush's Iraq strategy. Bill good to see you, good morning.
In a "Web-exclusive" commentary posted Thursday, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh ridiculed President George W. Bush's warning that a precipitous pull-out from Iraq could lead to the humanitarian horrors that followed the American pull-out from Vietnam. Recalling a trip he made to Vietnam in 1991, Hirsh reported that he found a nation looking to the West and capitalism, adding that "today Vietnam remains" only "nominally communist." He then snidely asserted: "This was the 'harsh' aftermath that George W. Bush attempted to describe this week when he warned against pulling out of Iraq as we did in Vietnam." James Taranto, in his Friday "Best of the Web Today" posting for OpinionJournal.com, asked: "Could that last sentence be any more disingenuous? To Hirsh, the 'aftermath' of America's withdrawal from Vietnam didn't begin until 1991, more than 16 years after Saigon fell. About events between 1975 and 1991, he has only this to say: 'Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years.'"
To that, Taranto astutely observed: "Never mind Vietnam's and Laos's 're-education' camps; never mind Cambodia's killing fields. It is as if one visited West Germany in 1960, found a prosperous democracy, and reached positive conclusions about the 'aftermath' of Nazi rule. It misses the point by a light-year." For Taranto's August 24 posting: www.opinionjournal.com
Indeed, Hirsh's blind-spot reflects that apparently prevalent in the mainstream media in the 1970s. The August 24 CyberAlert, "Flashback: 'The Unnewsworthy Holocaust: TV News and Terror in Cambodia,'" recounted a study which documented how from 1975 to 1978 the three broadcast network evening newscasts, as well as the New York Times and Washington Post, virtually ignored the ongoing massacre by the Khmer Rouge: "Over the four-year period of the Khmer Rouge rule, the three networks devoted less than sixty minutes on weeknights to the human rights situation in Cambodia. That averaged out to less than thirty seconds per month per network." For the full rundown: www.mrc.org
Hirsh also couldn't resist getting in a cheap shot about how Bush's remarks "were an abuse of historical fact -- no surprise, perhaps, coming from a president who is just now catching up with the Political Science 101 reading he shrugged off at Yale."
An excerpt from the top of Michael Hirsh's August 23 "Web-exclusive" posting on MSNBC.com, "Why America's Pullout from Vietnam Worked: The truth behind Bush's mangling of Cold War history.":
The Soviet Union was in its final days of existence when I visited Vietnam in late December of 1991. The cold war was about to end forever with the collapse of one of the two adversaries that had kept it going for 40-odd years. A lot had changed in Vietnam, too, I discovered during my trip. The coziness between Moscow and Hanoi, once comrades within the Soviet bloc, had curdled into mutual hatred. Throughout the country, but especially in the North, the Vietnamese had come to despise the large resident Russian population for its cheap spending habits and arrogance. Visiting Americans, by contrast, were welcomed with smiles ("Russians with dollars," we were called.) On the day I visited the old U.S. Embassy in Saigon -- where some of those iconic photos symbolizing American defeat were taken -- I discovered government workmen removing a plaque that once commemorated the North's victory over the "U.S. imperialists." In the waning days of that epochal year, 1991, the propaganda against American involvement in Southeast Asia was suddenly no longer politically correct. Hanoi's new message: Yankee Come Back (and bring your investment dollars). Today Vietnam remains nominally communist, but Hanoi knows it is an ideological relic surrounded by Asian capitalist tigers, all of them U.S. allies or dependents (one reason Vietnam was so eager to have Bush visit last November: it wants to be part of that club). The cold war dominoes did fall -- but the opposite way.
This was the "harsh" aftermath that George W. Bush attempted to describe this week when he warned against pulling out of Iraq as we did in Vietnam. His remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City on Wednesday were an abuse of historical fact-- no surprise, perhaps, coming from a president who is just now catching up with the Political Science 101 reading he shrugged off at Yale. Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years. Above all, we have learned that Vietnam and Southeast Asia were never really central fronts in the cold war (although Korea at the time of the outbreak of war in 1950, when Beijing still kowtowed to Moscow and before the Soviet Union and China split, might have fit that bill). The decision to pull out had very little effect on the ultimate outcome. America triumphed in the cold war because it had the right kind of economy -- an open one -- compared to Moscow and Beijing, and its ideas about freedom were more attractive to the states within the Soviet bloc than their own failed ideas were....
END of Excerpt
For the posting in full: www.msnbc.msn.com
A year and a half after the CBS Evening News celebrated the then-upcoming Massachusetts mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance and the state subsidizing it for those with lower incomes -- "Imagine this: Virtually everyone guaranteed health insurance coverage. It's happening in one state, and it could be a model for the rest" -- Friday's newscast found it has come up short. Anchor Katie Couric teased the upcoming story on how the law didn't go far enough in providing subsidies, "Universal health insurance: It is supposed to mean everyone is covered. But in the only state that has it, hundreds of thousands are not. That story next." Introducing the subsequent story, Couric touted how former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney "signed a landmark law mandating universal health insurance, the only state so far to do so. So you would think everyone in Massachusetts is now covered. But it is not working out that way."
Reporter Wyatt Andrews highlighted how state-subsidized coverage saved one man's life, trumpeting that as "the state's achievement. Out of 400,000 uninsured residents last year, around 170,000 now have insurance." But, he continued, "the gap that remains is huge. It includes some 130,000 young adults, most of them middle income men who have to pay their own premiums. They either don't want insurance or can't afford it." For expert advocacy, Andrews turned to the head of a liberal group, Health Care for All: "Health care advocate John McDonough praises the state for a good start but says that gap in affordability has to be filled."
[This item was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Health Care for All's Web site: www.hcfama.org
Back on April 5, 2006, as recounted in a CyberAlert posting, CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell celebrated the government mandate, as he led the newscast:
"Good evening. I'm Russ Mitchell. Imagine this: Virtually everyone guaranteed health insurance coverage. It's happening in one state, and it could be a model for the rest. So we'll begin there tonight."
Mitchell, with "Massachusetts" next to one side of his head and "Insuring Everyone" on the other side, led: "Health care costs are rising by the day, and more than 45 million people in this country have no insurance to cover it. Now, one state is doing what no other state or the federal government has been able to do: Provide near-universal health coverage. The Massachusetts legislature approved it with overwhelming bipartisan support. And it could become a model for the rest of the country. Here's Trish Regan."
Trish Regan: "President Clinton promised it but did not deliver, states have wrestled with it unsuccessfully for decades, and now Massachusetts has apparently done it. It's about to become the first in the nation to provide nearly universal health coverage. Under a bill approved by the legislature, the state will require every citizen to be insured. Governor Mitt Romney pushed for the program."...
For the April 6, 2006 CyberAlert, "Nets Champion 'Revolutionary' Bay State Mandated Health Insurance," in full: www.mediaresearch.org
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the August 24 CBS Evening News story:
KATIE COURIC: In the presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney was in Florida today announcing his plan for getting more Americans covered by health insurance. An estimated 45 million Americans have no insurance. Romney would give them tax cuts to help them buy it. When he was Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a landmark law mandating universal health insurance, the only state so far to do so. So you would think everyone in Massachusetts is now covered. But it is not working out that way, as Wyatt Andrews reports in "Eye on Your Money."
WYATT ANDREWS: When the Massachusetts experiment with universal health care began this year, one thing it did was save Henry Murphy's life. Last year, after developing heart trouble, he lost his job and then his insurance.
Christiane Amanpour's six-hour "God's Warriors" mini-series first aired Tuesday-Thursday nights last week on CNN reflected less of the reality of "fundamentalist" monotheists -- Jews, Muslims, and Christians -- and more of liberals' attitudes about these faiths. It is clear, given how CNN and Amanpour covered each faith, that they have sympathy towards Muslims in the U.S., "concern" with the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and are uncomfortable towards the beliefs and practices of Christian evangelicals.
(CNN re-ran all six hours over the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday nights.)
Tuesday night's "God's Jewish Warriors" focused on the cause of the "right-wing" Jewish settlers. The term "right wing" was used seven times to describe the settlers and/or their supporters in Israel and in the United States, and "fundamentalist/-ism" was used three times, once in reference to Christian supporters of the settlers in the U.S. On Wednesday night's "God's Muslim Warriors," "fundamentalist/-ism" was the more prevalent term, used 11 times. "Right wing" was used twice, only to describe Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament.
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A partial transcript of the first occasion Amanpour used the term "right-wing" to describe Wilders:
AMANPOUR: Across Europe, Islam is the fastest growing religion, the number of Muslims tripling in the last 30 years. This increased Muslim presence, and violence like the Van Gogh murder, play into the hands of right-wing politicians, like Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament-
A few minutes later, after talking about the "culture clash" between the native European Dutch and the Muslims in the country, Amanpour continued her profile of Wilders.
AMANPOUR: Emerson Vermaat, a Dutch investigative journalist, has spent years studying the group [the so-called "Hofstad Group," a terror cell in the Netherlands] and the murder of Van Gogh.
Thursday night's "God's Christian Warriors," by contrast, took the use of "right-wing" or similar terms to a new high. "Religious right" was used ten times, "Christian right" was used twice (once by a left-wing protester in San Francisco), "right" was used once, and "right-wing" was used once, for a total of 14 uses of "right" terms.
Amanpour also spent much more time focusing on opponents and/or dissenters of the "Christian Right" in the United States during her look at "God's Christian Warriors." She used three whole segments on profiles of Jimmy Carter, whose new cause is for Christians to "focus on issues like poverty rather than on divisive issues like abortion and gay marriage," and opposing "the growing influence of fundamentalism in many religions characterized by rigidity, male domination, and exclusion;" Greg Boyd, a Yale and Princeton-trained minister in Minnesota who wants calls for a "divorce" in the "marriage between "conservative" Christianity" and "right-wing politics;" and Richard Cizik, the vice president for the National Association of Evangelicals, who, in Amanpour's words, preaches the "gospel of saving the planet." These segments took up over 20 minutes of time in the two-hour special, which probably had more than a half-hour of commercials in it.
These 20 minutes compares with about 14 minutes spent on former Muslims and/or former Islamic radicals in "God's Muslims Warriors. -- under 8 minutes of a full segment on Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who was a Muslim radical; and clips from interviews of Ed Husain, a Muslim in the UK who was once a member of the radical Hiz Ut-Tahrir organization, and wrote a book to "raise the alarm" about Islamism; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali Muslim-turned-atheist who is a former member of the Dutch Parliament. Neither Husain, who was given about 5 minutes; nor Ali, who was given just under a minute and a half; were profiled in full segments.
Critics of the Jewish settlers in "God's Jewish Warriors" -- Theodor Meron, a Holocaust survivor and international lawyer who stood by his 40-year old opinion that the Jewish settlements on the West Bank violate the Fourth Geneva Convention; Jimmy Carter; John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, who wrote an article critical of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.; and Dror Etkes of the Israeli organization "Peace Now" received just over 3 minutes of air time in various segments.
For more, check Matthew Balan's later NewsBusters posting, "On CNN, Muslim 'Warrior' Gets Sympathetic Treatment, Christians Are 'Totalitarian,'" online at: newsbusters.org
You saw it here first. FNC's Fox News Watch on Saturday set up a segment, on a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll on how Americans distrust the media and see it as biased, by showing screen shots of the home pages of a couple of media watchdog groups, including the Thursday CyberAlert headline on the MRC's home page, "Networks: Bush's Vietnam Lesson Hypocritical & Invalid." Check the posted version of this CyberAlert for a look at the image FNC displayed of the MRC's home page.
For the August 23 CyberAlert item: www.mrc.org
The August 13 CyberAlert, "Most See Media as Liberal, More Trust Military than Media on Iraq," summarized the Pew poll:
Many Americans do not believe the news media are fair, accurate or even moral, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The poll of 1500 Americans conducted late last month found that most of the public thinks news organizations are politically biased (55%) and often publish inaccurate stories (53%), and that roughly a third of the audience say the media are too critical of America (43%), hurt democracy (36%) and are immoral (32%).
Half of Americans (52%) label the media as liberal, led by self-described Republicans (75%) but also large percentages of independents (49%) and even Democrats (37%). And while journalists tout themselves as the public's objective eyes and ears, many more Americans are confident that the military provides an accurate view of the war in Iraq (52%), compared with 42 percent who trust that the press offers accurate reports.
For the rundown in full: www.mrc.org
-- Brent Baker