2. CNN/You Tube Preview Questions from the Left on Health, Religion
3. ABC Honors Clinton with Interview on 'Work to Save a Continent'
4. Moyers Scolded on Impeachment, Bode: Bush Crimes 'Impeachable'
5. AP: Tammy Faye a 'Symbol of Greed and Hypocrisy in 1980s America'
The first part of Spike TV's mini-series, The Kill Point, on Sunday night featured a scene in which an Iraq war veteran bank robber holding hostages earned applause from a crowd outside the bank when he denounced the war. Walking outside the bank to meet the police negotiator, "Mr. Wolf" played by John Leguizamo, a former Marine Corps Sergeant who served a year in Leavenworth for disobeying an order that apparently led to the deaths of other Marines, removed his shirt and pants to show scars from his war wounds. He proclaimed: "I didn't spill my blood for this country for freedom to have it taken away when I came home. I got some demands because they took everything away from me," citing the loss of medical coverage for his wife after his conviction. "Wolf" shouted his demands: "I want a flak jacket for every soldier in Iraq! Because our stupid-ass government doesn't think that they're necessary. And I want the son of every Senator who voted yes for this war to sign up for active duty." That led to applause from the civilians in the street watching the unfolding drama, with a few even jumping up and down in approval.
As detailed in the July 19 CyberAlert, the eight-hour mini-series is centered around a group of Iraq war vets who rob a Pittsburgh bank, but end up taking hostages when police arrive before they can flee. The CBS/Viacom channel mini-series about the siege began Sunday night with a two-hour premiere and will air weekly in one and two-hour installments on Sunday nights through August. For the July 19 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
The rant from the bitter ex-Marine as he stood outside the bank addressing the negotiator, police snipers and the crowd, an event carried live on local television:
I love my country, man. I fought for my country and I would die for my country. Do you think I wanted to end up here? Do you think I wanted guns in my face again, man? No way. No freakin' way. But I came home to sickness and nightmares. You know when I close my eyes you know what I see? I see the faces of the soldiers and civilians that I killed, that's what I see. I spoke to my captain and he makes me talk to a shrink who doesn't know shit. Then the God damned government smokes me out with their lies and away goes my pension, away goes my medical. And if my wife gets sick, who's going to pay for it? Who's going to pay? I pay. We pay. I served my country, man. I served 15 years I gave, 15 years. Who's going to protect me? Who's going to protect me, huh, who?
So I started this and look where I am, man, look where I am, back in the firing line. So maybe you should shoot me, go ahead, maybe you should shoot me. I'd rather die than go to jail, that's for damn sure. I didn't spill my blood for this country for freedom to have it taken away when I came home. I got some demands because they took everything away from me, okay.
I want antibiotics 'cause I got injured in there. And I want a flak jacket for every soldier in Iraq! Because our stupid-ass government doesn't think that they're necessary. And I want the son of every Senator who voted yes for this war to sign up for active duty. You get me those things! And I'll leave here. I'll ask for bus and a chopper and I'll disappear. Got that?
Spike's page for the mini-series: www.spiketv.com
The July 18 CyberAlert recounted: Of the videos aired on Monday's CNN/You Tube preview, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), ten were politically neutral, eight were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only one was clearly conservative. See: www.mrc.org
[This item is culled from Friday NewsBusters blog postings by MRC interns Michael Lanza: newsbusters.org
During the video, Kim removed her wig to reveal a bald head, presumably from the effects of chemotherapy. The video, indeed heartbreaking, was one of many submissions aired by CNN promoting universal or government-assisted health care:
- From Jim Pence of Kentucky: "The place that I worked at for 35 years promised me healthcare insurance as part of my retirement package; they broke their promise...Members of Congress have the best healthcare insurance money can buy, paid for with my tax dollars. Why should I pay for their healthcare insurance when they didn't bother to protect mine?"
- CNN also aired a video from little Susie Flynn, who claimed to be "running for President." Behind Susie was what appeared to be her campaign van complete with a banner that read: "SUSIE FLYNN FOR PRESIDENT" and "9 million uninsured children need a solution now."
Susie Flynn's question: "Children are the least expensive to insure compared to other costs the government easily funds...Why is it so difficult to find the money to insure them?"
- Ann Carter of Charleston also weighed in. "My father suffers from diabetes...I want to know what you intend to do to emphasize provision in your healthcare plan so that the cost and burden of common disease is decreased for future generations."
Missing from the CNN preview hours: Videos critical of government intervention in healthcare.
On Thursday night, July 19, Paula Zahn previewed some of the video questions that had been sent in. The topics up for debate included faith and values, the environment and gay rights. Zahn led the segment on faith and values with the comment, "we are seeing an amazing variety of questions about faith and values for next Monday's debate." Unfortunately the four YouTube questions that followed were anything but a "variety." The questions aired:
- Zennie Abraham, Oakland, California: "This quarter reads 'United States of America.' And when I turn it over, you find that it reads 'Liberty. In God We Trust.' What do those words mean to you?"
- Stephen Marsh, Thousand Oaks, California: "I'm worried about the amount of time given to evangelical concerns, while secular voters are more or less getting snubbed. Am I wrong in fearing a Democratic administration that may pay lip service to be extremely religious as much as the current one?"
- Kevin, Seattle, Washington: "I am part of a very large group here on YouTube that has been traditionally marginalized by the political process. And that is atheists. For anybody brave enough to take it, what will do you to represent my interests and the interests of other Americans who do not profess a belief in God?"
- Monty Knight, Charleston, South Carolina: "As President of our local chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, as in the First Amendment to our nation's Constitution, my question is this. Does one have to be the right kind of Christian to be elected president of our great nation?"
Aside from the first question, which is politically neutral (but a complete softball,) each had a distinctly liberal flare to them.
ABC's Good Morning America interviewed Bill Clinton on Thursday morning, and while he made the news for saying Iraq is hopeless ("There is no military victory here"), the interview was also notable as another opportunity for ABC to honor Clinton as a global statesman and ask him softball questions for almost nine minutes. Co-host Diane Sawyer reported he was in Africa to see Nelson Mandela and do his AIDS work: "And President Bill Clinton weighs in, speaking out on the war, his work to save a continent and Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign. An exclusive interview."
When the interview began nine minutes into the July 19 show, Sawyer lauded his humanitarian foundation work again, saving hundreds of thousands of people: "And we turn now to an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton, who is in Johannesburg South Africa this week as part of his life's work with his foundation which has provided life saving treatments for nearly 800,000 children and adults with AIDS in Africa and also simple solutions like fertilizer to revolutionize agricultural production."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org
The MRC's Scott Whitlock provided the transcript and noted the interview segment lasted eight minutes and 57 seconds. The ABC graphic during the interview was "Bill Clinton One on One: On the War And His Mission." Sawyer's first question was on Iraq. She included the note that generals Peter Pace and Raymond Odierno are seeing some progress in Iraq as she introduced her taped interview:
Sawyer: "Mr. President, so good to have you with us this morning. Thank you. If you were still president and these were your generals, these were your generals, saying give me more time, would you give them more time?"
Next, Sawyer turned to the Elizabeth Edwards comments to Salon.com, and to her credit, Sawyer didn't clip the harsher line about Hillary behaving "as a man" by avoiding "women's issues." (A Kate Snow story on the ABC web site edited out that line, though.) Sawyer read the line, and then only asked vaguely for a response. It wasn't designed to ruffle his feathers.
Sawyer: "A very quick question about some political news this morning and then I want to turn to the important work in Africa. As you know, the wife of Senator John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, has said of Senator Clinton, 'I'm not convinced she'd be as good an advocate for women,' meaning as Senator Edwards would be, and says, 'Sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues. I'm sympathetic. She wants to be commander in chief.' Do you have a response to her?"
When Sawyer turned to AIDS in Africa, the typical pattern kicked in: Slick Willie got to start a lecture that goes on and on before a follow-up emerged. His first AIDS answer lasted a minute and forty seconds before they hit the edit button.
Sawyer: "All right. I do want to turn to Africa now. You were, I believe, the first American president ever to go to South Africa and I know for the past five years as part of the foundation you've been going every single year. Two million Africans died of AIDS last year. Is there a benchmark you can give Americans for when you think the tide can turn if enough is done?"
Clinton's answers -- especially his deft touch on trash-talking cancer sufferer Elizabeth Edwards -- were smooth. But Clinton's smoothness has always been much enhanced by liberal interviewers who are extremely hesitant to interrupt and appalled at the notion of throwing him a high fastball. Any major-league pitch can draw one of those Fox News Sunday temper tantrums. Sawyer even concluded on a note that would make Clinton look humble: "And a small foot note. As the President was leaving, I asked about the much-reported moment of mistaken identity when a couple of women saw him in the July 4th parade, started screaming excitedly and said, 'It's Bob Barker.' Here is what he said."
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler has to be getting uncomfortable for calling out unbalanced liberal programs on the taxpayer-funded network. After he agreed with critics that a pro-Kerry editorial was wildly out of place on the History Detectives show, now he has noticed the incredibly one-sided July 13 Bill Moyers Journal hour on impeaching Bush and Cheney and mildly noted it could have used a smidgen of balance. Despite Nancy Pelosi's promise to avoid impeachment hearings, he wrote: "I would argue that it is still a newsworthy topic. So, as a viewer, I'm grateful that it is being addressed....On the other hand, there was almost a complete absence of balance, as I watched it, in the way this program presented the case for impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney."
Picking up on the theme of the Moyers show, former NBC News and CNN political correspondent Ken Bode, now Ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, agreed Bush's "crimes are real and probably impeachable, and the monarchial arrogance of the Bush-Cheney administration is monumental," but for political reasons, "the timing is wrong" for impeachment.
[This item is adapted from a Saturday posting, by Tim Graham, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org
For more on Getler's criticism of the History Detectives show, go to the July 19 CyberAlert item, "PBS Ombudsman Calls Foul on Blatant Claim Kerry 'Smeared' in '04," online at: www.mrc.org
Getler's July 20 PBS ombudsman column praised Moyers and his guests for some educational television (and most of the letters he reproduces are rave reviews). He concluded: "This was an hour-long program and it was, in many ways, an education, listening to this view of the impeachment process being laid out, whether or not you agree with it. But the program, in my view, would have been not only less vulnerable to charges of political bias, but also even more educational to more people in terms of illuminating the public about impeachment, if it had contained at the very least a succinct summary of the likely legal challenges to each of the main charges raised by the pro-impeachment process guests."
It would have been a lot easier to do that by having more of a debate. But Getler failed to address several issues, such as the outrageous historical comparisons guest Bruce Fein used, comparing Bush to the Nazis and the Soviets, and he failed to consider that PBS had no such "educational" hour when the House considered impeaching President Clinton, displaying a bias when comparing past to present.
Getler's column: www.pbs.org
Charges: Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib. Rendition. Indefinite detention. Starting a war of aggression in Iraq without cause. Hiding and torturing captives without due process. Illegal wiretapping. Some would add obstructing honest elections and gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans after Katrina.
The list of Bush administration crimes is very real, but I have not paid much attention to the blogs, petitions and other efforts to promote impeachment, on the theory that they are diversionary to the more important efforts to end the war in Iraq. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "Impeachment is not on the table," which I thought was good politics. Then a friend urged me to look at last Friday's PBS broadcast of "Bill Moyers Journal," a program devoted to putting the case for impeachment in a more serious context....
Only through impeachment hearings is it possible to concentrate the mind of the public on the monarchical arrogance and sneering attitude of George W. Bush. "I am king," Fein says of Bush's view of executive powers....
The crimes are real and probably impeachable, and the monarchial arrogance of the Bush-Cheney administration is monumental. But the timing is wrong.
END of Excerpt
For Bode's July 20 column in full: www.indystar.com
Tammy Faye Messner -- who became infamous as Tammy Faye Bakker -- died Saturday of cancer. Jim Bakker and his wife were rich fodder for the liberal media as their "PTL" televangelism empire collapsed in 1988 and their financial excesses were exposed, right down to the air-conditioned doghouse. Liberal media types found the Bakkers to be the very model of Reagan's Decade of Greed back then. Apparently, that liberal line was not retired. In his report on Messner's death, Associated Press reporter Steve Hartsoe concluded: "For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim's infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America."
For the Raleigh-datelined AP dispatch: news.yahoo.com
Johnson -- one of the Post's most dramatic liberal hacks -- was a regular on Washington Week in Review and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. For a time, Johnson was even included mysteriously on the NewsHour's panel of historians.
-- Brent Baker