2. Olbermann's New Anti-War Signoff Mocks "Mission Accomplished"
3. Dem Intel Leader Charges NYTimes Eavesdropping Story "Inaccurate"
4. ABC Uses Hunting Accident for Gratuitous Shot at Cheney On Scalia
5. CBS Touts "Saint Jack" Danforth's Conservative-Bashing
6. You Read It Here First: IBD Scolds CBS for Budget "Cut" Claims
Correction: The February 7 CyberAlert item, "Nets Cite Imaginary 'Cuts' as Federal Budget Continues to Soar," quoted from CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod, but referred to him as both "David Axelrod" and "Jim Axelrod." His first name is Jim. http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2004/cyb20040601.asp#1
Appearing by phone on Friday's Imus in the Morning radio simulcast on MSNBC, to plug his then-upcoming Sunday night 60 Minutes report on the struggles and achievements of some military members severely wounded in Iraq, Mike Wallace admitted he was "astonished" at how "almost all of them support the war despite the fact that it's taken such a toll on them." He elaborated, "We asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at the President..." Indeed, in Sunday's 60 Minutes piece, Wallace gave four wounded vets a total of 45 seconds to express support for the war -- but then allocated twice as much time to a wounded vet to denounce the war. Over video of Tomas Young with Cindy Sheehan, Wallace note how he "has become an anti-war activist since he was paralyzed in Iraq." Young recalled how he heard President Bush "standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center with a megaphone saying that we were going find the people that did it and smoke them out of their caves and all that rah rah. And so I wanted to go to Afghanistan to seek some form of retribution on the people that did this to us." Instead of Afghanistan, Wallace pointed out, "he found himself in Iraq, which he considers the wrong war in the wrong place."
Wallace has previously made clear his disgust with the war. In late November on FNC, he contended that "Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam" and asserted that "we should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods." Back in 2004 at a Smithsonian forum, Wallace argued that "this is not, in my estimation, a good war" and declared that "it sure is not a noble enterprise."
During the 8:30am EST half hour interview on the February 10 Imus in the Morning, Imus asked Wallace: "Did any of these kids get into the politics of the war?" Wallace replied, by phone:
Past Wallace remarks about Iraq:
# On the November 28 O'Reilly Factor, as recounted in a NewsBusters posting, Wallace contended that "Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam" and asserted that "we should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods." Wallace, however, suggested Bush may not really have been in charge and thus may not be to blame: "Now, whether the President was sold a bill of goods or whether Dick Cheney was sitting in the chair at that time, I don't know." See: newsbusters.org
# The June 1, 2004 MRC CyberAlert recounted, with an accompanying RealPlayer clip, how "Mike Wallace, at a Smithsonian Institution 'National World War II Reunion' event on Friday [May 28] shown later by C-SPAN, denounced the war in Iraq. 'This is not, in my estimation, a good war,' Wallace declared a panel event, on 'World War II veterans as journalists,' held in a tent on the Capitol end of Mall the afternoon before the dedication of the World War II Memorial. 'I don't know how we got into a position where our present Commander-in-Chief and the people around him,' the 60 Minutes correspondent lamented, 'had the guts to take our kids and send them on what seems to be -- it sure is not a noble enterprise.'" Go to: www.mediaresearch.org
Wallace observed: "Despite the price they've paid, none of the vets you've just met question President Bush's decision to go into Iraq."
For the online version Wallace's story: www.cbsnews.com
After President Bush delivered his speech on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in April 2003 welcoming U.S. troops home from Iraq and declaring an end to major combat operations, the media for some time sought to embarrass Bush each time American soldiers were killed by recounting how many U.S. troops had died since that speech, and by referring to the "Mission Accomplished" sign displayed at the time. On Monday, February 6, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to resurrect references to that speech with a new addition to his regular sign-off, which he repeated each day last week, in the form of recounting the number of days it has been "since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq." For instance: "That is Countdown for this, the 1,012th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
Olbermann, who has long used his Countdown show to criticize President Bush regarding the Iraq War, has typically ended each night's show with words similar to, "That's Countdown for tonight. Keep your knees loose. Good night and good luck," before balling up a piece of paper and tossing it toward the camera. On the February 6 show, Olbermann first inserted words into his sign-off tallying the number of days since the display of the "Mission Accomplished" sign.
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was first posted Saturday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To add your comments: newsbusters.org ]
Exact transcripts for each night's sign-off:
From the February 6 show: "That is Countdown for this, the 1,012th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
From the February 7 show: "That's Countdown for this, the 1,013th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
From the February 8 show: "That's Countdown for this, the 1,014th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
From the February 9 show: "Our MSNBC coverage continues next with Rita Cosby Live and Direct, and that's Countdown for this, the 1,015th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
From the February 10 show: "That's Countdown for this, the 1,016th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. A reminder to join us again at midnight Eastern, 11PM Central, 9 Pacific for the late edition of Countdown. Until then, a special presentation of Lockup: Inside Louisiana is next. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."
In an interview conducted in her office, Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told FNC's Jim Angle that the "very valuable" terrorist surveillance program "fits within" the FISA law. In the session excerpted on Friday's Special Report with Brit Hume, she deplored how leaks are hurting intelligence efforts and scolded the news media for "not extremely accurate" characterizations of the program. Zeroing in on the New York Times, which first revealed the program, Harman asserted their story was "inaccurate" because they reported it included a "domestic-to-domestic" surveillance effort. She also charged that "these leaks are compromising some core capability of the United States," regretting how "it's tragic that this whole thing is being aired in the newspapers."
As to who is the blame, however, she bore in on the Bush administration for how "this can't be handled in normal channels because this administration refuses to share the information with Congress."
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The relevant portion of the excerpt of the interview with Harman, who represents the coastal West side of the City of Los Angeles south from Marina del Ray to San Pedro, through the independent cities in between of El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, as aired on the February 10 Special Report with Brit Hume:
Asked by Angle whether the law or the program needs to be changed, Harman replied: "We need to assess whether or not this program fits within FISA. I say it does. I have seen no reason why it doesn't. If it fits within FISA, the administration, in my view, has to follow the law. If it doesn't fit within FISA for some reason that I have not yet understood, then we need to consider whether we change the program or change the law. But bottom line here is this very valuable program -- and I insist, you know, I won't back off that for a minute, at least the one on which I was briefed, there may be something else out there -- but the valuable program on which I was briefed must comply with the law and can."
Harman's Web site features a February 1 press release, "HARMAN: FISA WARRANTS CAN COVER ALL ACTIVITIES OF THE NSA PROGRAM: Letter to President Highlights Eight Specific Changes Made After 9/11 to Modernize FISA." See: www.house.gov
In the midst of ABC's lead story Sunday night about how Vice President Dick Cheney had, on Saturday afternoon, accidentally hit hunting companion Harry Whittington with shotgun pellets while he was aiming at some quail, reporter John Yang resurrected a two-year-old media-created scandal which amounted to little at the time: How Cheney invited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia along on a hunting trip while the court was facing a decision on a lawsuit involving the Vice President's official duties. Yang brought up Cheney's affiliation with the NRA and then asserted: "His hunting made headlines in 2004. He took Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on a duck hunting trip to Louisiana on board Air Force Two, at a time when the court was considering a case filed against Mr. Cheney by environmental groups." The Supreme Court sided with the VP's office, which sent the case back to a federal appeals court which rejected, 8-0 in 2005, the Sierra Club's request to learn what advice industry experts gave Cheney's energy task force.
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell managed to deliver a longer story on the shooting, at a ranch in southeastern Texas, without making any mention of the discredited lawsuit. (Golf bumped the CBS Evening News in the Eastern and Central time zones.)
[This item was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your thoughts, go to: newsbusters.org ]
On the February 12 World News Tonight, over a picture of Cheney holding a rifle on stage at an NRA convention, followed by still pictures of Cheney hunting, of Antonin Scalia and of people standing next to Air Force Two, Yang asserted from the White House:
Saturday's CBS Evening News devoted its "Weekend Journal" segment to, as anchor Russ Mitchell explained, "the Senate veteran who is known far and wide as 'Saint Jack.'" Bill Whitaker proceeded to relay, without any competing voices, the anti-Christian Right enmity of former moderate, at best, Missouri Republican Senator Jack Danforth who is on a crusade to rid the Republican Party of the influence of Christian conservatives. Whitaker began with a clip of Danforth declaring: "I am concerned about the Republican Party becoming, in essence, the party of the Christian conservatives." Whitaker then bucked-up Danforth's authority: "This is no Republican-basher speaking. It's party stalwart John Danforth, a lifelong Republican with rock solid conservative credentials." To support the ludicrous claim that Danforth holds "solid conservative credentials," Whitaker cited how he "led the bitter partisan battle to put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court" -- when that just reflected personal loyalty to Thomas who had worked on Danforth's staff when he was Missouri's Attorney General -- and how as "an episcopal priest, he presided over the funeral of Ronald Reagan," as if all those involved in the service were right-wingers.
The Los Angeles-based Whitaker, who traveled to La Quinta, California to interview Danforth, trumpeted how "this faithful Republican is worried about the direction his party is taking." After relating Danforth's contention that the involvement of religious conservatives "makes the party seem exclusive, and I think it makes American politics meaner" as well as his complaint that Republicans "pander" in "the conscious development of wedge issues in order to excite religious passion," Whitaker sighed: "But even he admits it works. The GOP now controls the White House, the Senate, the House. But at what cost?" Danforth alleged: "If by winning an election we've caused such divisions in the country that we are unable to address the really big issues before us, then we've done more harm than good."
[This item was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
A NewsBusters posting last week by Tim Graham examined an admiring February 2 Washington Post "Style" section look at Danforth's rants against the Christian Right, "'St. Jack' and the Bullies in the Pulpit." See: newsbusters.org
The transcript of the February 11 CBS Evening News story, as provided by the MRC's weekend warrior, Brad Wilmouth, who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
Anchor Russ Mitchell: "It appears sometimes that issues of faith and politics are dividing Americans more frequently than ever. And one senior figure with a foot in both camps believes it's no accident. For tonight's 'Weekend Journal,' Bill Whitaker talks to the Senate veteran who is known far and wide as 'St. Jack.'"
Former Senator John Danforth (R-MO), to Whitaker as the two sat in what appeared to be an office: "I am concerned about the Republican Party becoming, in essence, the party of the Christian conservatives."
You read it here first. A February 8 editorial in Investor's Business Daily scolded the media for false reports about "cuts" in President Bush's budget proposal: "Among the media, CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod was perhaps typical. Using five-year budget forecasts, he recited the following misleading litany: 'Education, cut 28%; Housing and Urban Development, cut 30%' and '$36 billion in Medicare cuts over the next five years.'" The February 7 CyberAlert had recounted how "new CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited "education, cut 28 percent; Housing and Urban Development, cut 30 percent" and "$36 billion in Medicare cuts over the next five years."
For the February 7 CyberAlert article: www.mediaresearch.org
Government Spending: Politicians, as we know, sometimes have trouble being honest. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in how they use the term "cuts" in discussing the federal budget.
As noted here Tuesday, President Bush's new budget slows the growth of spending, but doesn't reverse it. Yet, listening to media pundits and even members of Bush's own party, you'd think spending was being slashed. It's not.
Sen. Arlen Specter, for example, decried Bush's proposed reductions for education and health as "scandalous." Another Republican -- Maine's Olympia Snowe -- said she was "disappointed, even surprised" by "cuts" in Medicaid and Medicare.
Among the media, CBS correspondent David Axelrod was perhaps typical. Using five-year budget forecasts, he recited the following misleading litany: "Education, cut 28%; Housing and Urban Development, cut 30%" and "$36 billion in Medicare cuts over the next five years."
In the fevered swamp that is Washington, rhetoric rarely matches reality. It's fair to say this budget isn't quite what critics say.
Federal spending, in fact, will increase this year by 2.3% to $2.77 trillion -- capping a 43% surge since fiscal 2001. By 2011, the budget will be 20% bigger, at $3.24 trillion. Meanwhile, a lot of what some call "cuts" aren't cuts at all.
Take Medicare. Is Bush's request really $36 billion lower than this year's allocation? No. Under Bush's plan, Medicare will grow 66% from 2005's $294 billion to $489 billion in 2011.
As for those "cuts" in Medicaid, well, spending is set to climb 44% to $270 billion.
OK, you say, but what about education? Here, CBS' Axelrod has a point -- in a way. Education spending will go from $56.5 billion in the 2006 budget to $54.4 billion in 2007 -- a drop of 3.8%. It will also fall over the next five years.
Seems a little tightfisted until you realize that education spending in 2007, even after the 3.8% cut, will be nearly 36% higher than it was in 2001. That comes out to an average annual gain of 6% -- the biggest sustained rise in education spending in U.S. history....
END of Excerpt
For the IBD editorial in full: www.investors.com
-- Brent Baker