Stephanopoulos Backtracks from Charge Iraq Blocked Korea Nuke Fix --7/10/2006
2. NBC's Andrea Mitchell Blames Talk Radio and Bloggers for Hate
3. WashPost on Mexican Leftists: Streets Swelled with 'Rage of Poor'
4. Poll Finds Most Think NY Times Should Face Criminal Prosecution
On Sunday's This Week, during the roundtable discussion, host George Stephanopoulos embarrassed himself and had to backtrack after he raised Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry's recommendation -- that President Bush bomb the nuclear missiles on the launchpad in North Korea -- but then went a step further and combined Perry's proposal with blaming the Iraq war for preventing that type of action in 2003, only to be thoroughly refuted by George Will. "I don't even believe what I said," Stephanopoulos sheepishly conceded, "So I take it back, you're right."
Stephanopoulos had proposed: "What if in 2003, instead of invading Iraq, President Bush takes out the reprocessing facilities in North Korea, which according to Secretary Perry, President Clinton was willing to do back in 1993 before they started the negotiations? We would be in a far different place." How ground troops in Iraq precluded one of many Navy ships not committed to Iraq from firing off a few missiles at a target, Stephanopoulos did not explain. But Will pointed out how "the capital of South Korea is 30 miles away from the 38th parallel, North Korea, and we don't know what kind of spasm might result from this irrational regime. North Korea could destroy that capital without a soldier leaving the North Korea and using entirely conventional weapons." To which, Stephanopoulos offered his retraction and quickly segued to the Lieberman Senate race.
[This item was posted late Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
During the July 9 roundtable on the ABC show, with Democratic/ABC News consultant Donna Brazile, Peter Beinhart of the New Republic and columnist George Will, Stephanopoulos asserted:
PBS picked six members of the Colorado conference audience to pose questions to the panel. None came from the right and four were clearly from the left, starting with a woman who wondered: "How can we keep religion out of government and politics?" A man complained: "What's the responsibility of government and the press regarding poor people and why do we hear so little about housing crisis, minimum wage, homeless people and low-wage workers?" That pleased James Bennet, a former New York Times White House reporter who is now Editor of The Atlantic magazine: "It's a great question. I've been wondering what happened to the issue of homelessness in America."
Web page for the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival: www.aspeninstitute.org
In addition to Mitchell and Bennet, Ifill was joined by Priscilla Painton of Time magazine.
The Aspen Institute touts as its motto, "Timeless values, enlightened leadership," and is led by President & CEO Walter Isaacson, the former President of CNN and Managing Editor of Time magazine. The July 3-9 "Aspen Ideas Festival: Inspired Thinking in an Idyllic Setting," promises "a weeklong public celebration of important and intriguing ideas, with scores of top minds offering seminars, lectures, classes, and more." Indeed, the agenda, which skips over the Washington Week session, lists seminars and lectures on a wide-range of topics from big names ranging from Colin Powell to Laura Ingraham to Wolf Blitzer to James Fallows to Madeleine Albright.
Aspen's bio page for Isaacson: www.aspeninstitute.org
The audience questions posed:
# Woman: "I would like to ask how can we keep religion out of government and politics?"
# Man: "Has there been a parallel in American history when issues normally reserved for the states, such as who can marry and right to die, that has so driven national politics?"
# A second man's agenda warmed Ifill and Bennet: "What's the responsibility of government and the press regarding poor people and why do we hear so little about housing crisis, minimum wage, homeless people and low-wage workers?"
The next three audience questions:
# Second woman, with quite an insight: "I really think that having two political parties divides us as a nation. And I wonder what your thoughts are. I think if we really wanted to be united, we wouldn't have any political parties, we'd all work together and then we'd be the United States of America."
# Third man: "Much as been made of the creative redistricting by Tom DeLay and do you believe there is any possible mechanism for a uniform redistricting or districting in the states so that no group is left unrepresented?"
# Fourth man: "What impact blogs have on the political culture. And secondly, which blogs do you track?"
Bennet plugged his own blog on The Atlantic site and Mitchell observed that Hillary Clinton's hiring of a blogging expert shows blogs will be important in the pre-primary season.
What is it about the liberal media that regularly confuses mass protests with public opinion? In Mexico, the vote has been certified, and conservative Felipe Calderon is the President-elect. But on Saturday, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) held a massive protest in Mexico City insisting he's the winner. The top of The Washington Post's front page Sunday carried a large photo of "Tens of thousands" of AMLO supporters, under the headline "Contender Alleges Mexico's Vote Was Rigged." Reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia began the story as if he was waving a leftist flag in the square: "Downtown Mexico City swelled Saturday with the accumulated frustration and rage of the poor, who were stoked into a sign-waving, fist-pumping frenzy by new fraud allegations that failed populist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hopes will overturn the results of Mexico's presidential election."
The Post reporter continued: "López Obrador ignited the smoldering emotions of his followers Saturday morning, alleging for the first time that Mexico's electoral commission had rigged its computers before the July 2 election to ensure the half-percentage-point victory of Felipe Calderón, a champion of free trade. In a news conference before the rally, López Obrador called Calderón 'an employee' of Mexico's powerful upper classes and said a victory by his conservative opponent would be 'morally impossible.'"
For the July 9 front page article, "Contender Alleges Mexico Vote Was Rigged: Populist's Plan for Legal Challenge Ignites Boisterous Crowd at Massive Rally in Capital," go to: www.washingtonpost.com
Let's imagine, just for the sake of theory, that it's a reporter's job to report the facts, and not make political assumptions. It's obvious that Lopez Obrador's entire political strategy was about accumulating and stoking the "frustration and rage of the poor." But can we assume that everyone who was poor in Mexico voted for the socialists? And that everyone in the upper classes voted for that "employee" Calderon? Roig-Franzia seems to forward that thesis without any attempt at qualification.
The entire story seems dedicated to publicizing the leftist party's case, on Lopez Obrador and his strategies and the voices of his supporters complaining that "They stole this from us" and "The Mexican people are awakening." There is no room in the story for Calderon or his supporters -- or from nonpartisan political analysts or electoral experts of any kind. It does acknowledge that European Union electoral observers found no significant irregularities, that most Mexicans have accepted the results, and that Calderon has been taking congratulatory calls from world leaders. But it ended as it began, in a flourish that suggests the reporter's allegiances:
"Countless voices" is a swoon in print, not a just-the-facts, ma'am approach.
Catching up from before the holiday week: A Fox News poll, released just before the long July 4 weekend, confirmed the public is not pleased with the decision by the New York Times to disclose an ongoing effort to track international financial transactions by terrorist operatives. Jim Angle recounted in the "Grapevine" segment on the Friday, June 30 Special Report with Brit Hume: "The latest Fox News poll reveals that 60 percent think the New York Times decision to publish a story on the financial tracking program helped the terrorists. Sixty-six percent say news organizations that report classified security information should face criminal charges and 43 percent say reporting on secret national security data amounts to an act of treason." And a week ago on Fox News Sunday, Fortune magazine's Nina Easton suggested the New York Times "has opened itself up to attack when its Publisher just declared this war as 'a misbegotten war.'"
An excerpt from a summary of the poll posted on FoxNews.com:
....The Bush administration asked the New York Times not to publish information about the secret program, but the newspaper went ahead because it felt it was in the public interest to do so. By publishing the story, a 60 percent majority thinks the Times did more to help terrorist groups than the public (27 percent).
More Americans blame government employees for leaking the classified info (51 percent) than the media for reporting it (28 percent).
Furthermore, almost all (87 percent) think the employees who leaked should face criminal charges and two-thirds think the news organizations should. Even so, only 43 percent are willing to call what the media did treason, and almost as many think the organizations that published the information were operating for the public good (37 percent).
Overall, by 40 percent to 25 percent, Americans trust news reporters more to tell the truth than government officials, with 26 percent saying "neither." These results are in line with polling conducted last summer: 38 percent said they trust news reporters more, 18 percent government officials and 33 percent neither (June 2005)....
END of Excerpt
For the report on the survey in its entirety: www.foxnews.com
During the panel segment on the July 2 Fox News Sunday, after Brit Hume and Bill Kristol suggested an anti-Bush bias at the New York Times and denounced the newspaper for publishing the story which hurt an ongoing anti-terrorism effort, Nina Easton, the former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for the Boston Globe, who recently jumped to Fortune magazine, reminded viewers:
A video clip of Sulzberger will be added to the posted version of this
CyberAlert, but in the meantime, you can watch it in RealPlayer or Windows Media
formats, or listen to the MP3 audio, by going to the May 30 CyberAlert:
-- Brent Baker