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Wallace Touts How, Unlike Bush, Putin Reads Papers -- Yet... --5/10/2005


1. Wallace Touts How, Unlike Bush, Putin Reads Papers -- Yet...
Asked Monday night by Bob Schieffer if he found Russian President Vladimir Putin "informed on what's going on in the West?", Mike Wallace, who had interviewed Putin for 60 Minutes, touted how "unlike President Bush" who says "'I don't read newspapers'" and gets the news through his aides, Putin said "'Not me, I read newspapers all day long. I don't want to hear the biases of my aides....I want to find out for myself. And that's why I read papers.'" But during the interview aired on Sunday night, Putin had displayed glaring ignorance when he declared, in reference to Dan Rather, that "some of the American journalists were fired because of their positions on Iraq or the presidential election campaign." When Wallace told him otherwise, Putin maintained: "On our TV screens, we saw him resigning. We understood that he was forced to resign by his bosses at CBS. This is a problem of your democracy, not ours."

2. ABC's Gibson Scolds Bush for Criticizing Putin on Eastern Europe
Continuing ABC's theme from the weekend when Terry Moran framed Latvia's President as the "main instigator" of the "controversy" over whether the Soviet Union was the "liberator" or "occupier" after World War II of the Baltic nations, on Monday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson treated President Bush as the one out of line for daring to contradict Vladimir Putin's version of history. Gibson complained about how "Mr. Bush has been getting the Russians a bit riled up, even provoked an official letter of protest from their Foreign Minister." Gibson demanded of White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett: "I'm curious why the President...would feel it necessary to poke them in the eye verbally and criticize them for the occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans?" Gibson contended: "Isn't it a slap in the face for the Russians on the eve of an occasion that's so important to them, the celebration of the end of World War II?" Katie Couric opened Monday's Today with a similar complaint about how "President Bush is irritating his host with a trip to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia."

3. Newsweek's Meacham Chastises Bush for Lamenting Yalta Agreement
Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham chastised President Bush for criticizing the Yalta agreement. "It's like he stuck a broomstick" in FDR's "wheelchair wheels" Meacham remarked on Monday's Imus in the Morning on MSNBC, calling it "a remarkable attack." Bush didn't actually mention FDR in his Saturday speech in Riga, Latvia where he lamented how the "attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history." Meacham described that as "a really a-historical thing to say" and rebuked the conservative view of history: "Basically Yalta, for generations of Republicans, was kind of a dog whistle that Republicans could blow and the very right wing would sort of jump up and realize that this was code for 'liberal sellout to Soviets,' and it was an old Cold War canard."

4. Media Pounce in Outrage Over Minister Who Ousts Kerry Voters
Liberals can regularly use African-American churches to promote Democratic political candidates, with barely a peep from the media, but when a single minister in a small church in a rural area goes a bit far and forces out members for voting for John Kerry, the national media pounce in outrage. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted chunks of his Friday and Monday Countdown shows to the situation at the East Waynesville Baptist Church in western North Carolina. Monday's Good Morning America on ABC dedicated a sympathetic interview segment, in the first half hour, to a couple of the upset parishioners and CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer found time for how "members of a Baptist Church say they have been expelled from the congregation because of an argument over how they voted in the last election." Reporter Jim Acosta solicited a condemnatory comment from left-wing activist Jim Wallis, whom CBS described on screen simply as a "church observer." ABC's World News Tonight also aired a story, but unlike on GMA or CBS, Jake Tapper at least pointed out how "last year, black preachers endorsed Kerry in churches across the country."


Wallace Touts How, Unlike Bush, Putin
Reads Papers -- Yet...

CBS's Mike Wallace Asked Monday night by Bob Schieffer if he found Russian President Vladimir Putin "informed on what's going on in the West?", Mike Wallace, who had interviewed Putin for 60 Minutes, touted how "unlike President Bush" who says "'I don't read newspapers'" and gets the news through his aides, Putin said "'Not me, I read newspapers all day long. I don't want to hear the biases of my aides....I want to find out for myself. And that's why I read papers.'" But during the interview aired on Sunday night, Putin had displayed glaring ignorance when he declared, in reference to Dan Rather, that "some of the American journalists were fired because of their positions on Iraq or the presidential election campaign." When Wallace told him otherwise, Putin maintained: "On our TV screens, we saw him resigning. We understood that he was forced to resign by his bosses at CBS. This is a problem of your democracy, not ours."

Monday's CBS Evening News featured a fresh excerpt from Wallace's session with Putin in which the two discussed how much President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had pressed him on democratic reforms.

After the tape ended, anchor Bob Schieffer turned to Wallace on the set: "Let me ask you this other question, though, Mike. Do you find him informed on what's going on in the West?"
Wallace affirmed: "You know something? He's a foreign intelligence expert, that's where he came from. And unlike President Bush who, I understand, says, 'Look, I get the news, I don't read newspapers, I get the news from my aides.' He said, 'Not me, I read newspapers all day long. I don't want to hear the biases of my aides. I don't want to hear what they believe is the news. I want to find out for myself. And that's why I read papers.'"

But in the interview shown the night before on 60 Minutes, Putin displayed ignorance. The transcript below joins the interviews just before Putin's claims about Dan Rather:

Putin, via translator: "In the United States, you first elect the electors and then they vote for the presidential candidates. In Russia, the President is elected through the direct vote of the whole population -- that might be even more democratic. And you have other problems in your elections. Four years ago, your presidential election was decided by the court. But we're not going to poke our nose into your democratic system because that's up to the American people."
Wallace: "His obvious implication was that Americans should not poke their nose into Russia's democracy. We had some questions of our own about freedom of the press in Russia."
Wallace to Putin: "I am told that there are three major TV news channels and that they are controlled by you. Your people run these news channels and the opposition has no news channels, if there is indeed opposition to you."
Putin: "There is opposition to me. It's normal. The opposition has an opportunity to openly express its views and that's what they are doing."
Wallace to Putin: "Where?"
Putin: "Everywhere. Including in the streets, and on radio and television and in newspapers."
Wallace: "All true, but he did not deny that the Kremlin controls the most powerful news broadcasts on the three main television networks. Putin is a counter-puncher who then pointed to problems between journalists and the government in the United States."
Putin: "Haven't we seen resignations of leading American journalists from the national media due to their positions on Iraq?"
Wallace to Putin: "Wait, wait, wait. What are you saying, Mr. President? Journalists resigning because what?"
Putin: "Don't you know that some of the American journalists were fired because of their positions on Iraq or the presidential election campaign?"
Wallace to Putin: "Were you talking about Dan Rather, at CBS News?"
Putin: "Yes, exactly."
Wallace: "Mr. Putin apparently believed that Dan's resignation as anchor of the CBS Evening News meant he had been fired from CBS."
Putin: "On our TV screens, we saw him resigning. We understood that he was forced to resign by his bosses at CBS. This is a problem of your democracy, not ours."
Wallace to Putin: "He still works for CBS News. He continues to work as a matter of fact on 60 Minutes."

Putin probably isn't alone in not being aware of Rather's work on 60 Minutes Wednesday, but there's less of an excuse for believing political pressure over Rather's position on Iraq or the election led to his departure from the CBS Evening News without any realization that Rather was the face of a hit job based on made-up documents.

It was also interesting to note how Wallace referred to "60 Minutes," not "60 Minutes Wednesday," so maybe he considers the two shows as one.

For the posted version of the May 8 60 Minutes story on Putin: www.cbsnews.com

ABC's Gibson Scolds Bush for Criticizing
Putin on Eastern Europe

Continuing ABC's theme from the weekend when Terry Moran framed Latvia's President as the "main instigator" of the "controversy" over whether the Soviet Union was the "liberator" or "occupier" after World War II of the Baltic nations, on Monday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson treated President Bush as the one out of line for daring to contradict Vladimir Putin's version of history. Gibson complained about how "Mr. Bush has been getting the Russians a bit riled up, even provoked an official letter of protest from their Foreign Minister." Gibson demanded of White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett: "I'm curious why the President...would feel it necessary to poke them in the eye verbally and criticize them for the occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans?" Gibson contended: "Isn't it a slap in the face for the Russians on the eve of an occasion that's so important to them, the celebration of the end of World War II?"

On a similar theme, Katie Couric opened Monday's Today: "After attending a Red Square parade honoring Russia's military might, President Bush is irritating his host with a trip to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia."

The May 9 CyberAlert recounted: ABC's Terry Moran treated Latvia President Vaira Vike-Freiberga as the "instigator" of controversy, during President Bush's trip to mark V-E Day, for maintaining that the Soviet Union was not a "liberator" of the Baltic states, but an "occupier" for 45 years after World War II. After noting on Friday night how the "Russians are furious," Moran asked Vike-Freiberga: "So is the Russian government today, then, lying about that history?" When she replied "yes," Moran painted her as the one out of line: "That's an extraordinary thing for the head of state to say about another government." The next night, Saturday anchor Bob Woodruff portrayed the truth of the history as up for debate: "The war was followed by decades of Soviet military presence. There are many ways to view that history." Moran soon asserted: "The main instigator of this controversy is Latvia's outspoken President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga." Woodruff brought aboard left-wing professor Stephen Cohen who wondered: "Who can say whose truth is truer?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

During the 7am half hour of the May 9 Good Morning America, with "New Cold War? Mission to Moscow" on the screen, Gibson set up an interview with Bartlett:
"We turn now to President Bush and the new chill with Russia. As Robin mentioned in the newscast, the President in Moscow celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany, but Mr. Bush has been getting the Russians a bit riled up, even provoked an official letter of protest from their Foreign Minister. Is a new Cold War heating up? We're going to turn now to White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett."

The MRC's Jessica Barnes took down the exchange with Bartlett, who appeared via satellite from Moscow:
"Dan, I'm curious why the President, on the eve of an important visit to an important country like Russia, would feel it necessary to poke them in the eye verbally and criticize them for the occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans?"
Bartlett: "Well, actually Charlie, I think what it demonstrates is that when President Bush and world leaders from all across Europe and elsewhere come to commemorate and to recognize the sacrifice that millions of Russians made to defeat Nazism, there's also been progress made in the region and the fact that President Bush lent his support, as we have in the past, to the Baltic states demonstrates how much progress has been made in the last 60 years."
Gibson: "But they don't share interpretations of what happened after World War II. This is an argument about history and isn't it a slap in the face for the Russians on the eve of an occasion that's so important to them, the celebration of the end of World War II?"
Bartlett: "Well, the difference of opinions pre-dates President Bush. We have long recognized the fact that we believe that it was an occupation. That is not news, everybody knows that..."
Gibson: "I'm just curious as to why the President has raised this. Are we concerned that the Russians are regressing on democratic reforms and are concerned that they might indeed occupy their neighbors again?"
Bartlett: "Absolutely not, not the fact of occupation, but what it does, what President Bush is recognizing, things that have been recognized by many people in the region, and that is how much, that there's been some lack of progress when it comes to a free media, for example, or issues of rule of law, to make sure that contracts are honored so capital can be spent in a responsible way here in this country...."
Gibson: "I was just curious, Mr. Putin slapped back a little bit last night, saying on 60 Minutes 'Look, we may be more democratic than you are. We directly elect our president and your elections in 2000 wound up in the courts.'"
Bartlett: "President Bush also recognizes that democracy in Russia is going to reflect Russian principles and Russian ideas and their own character, and he fully recognizes that, but there are some universal principles that all democracies should adhere to..."

Newsweek's Meacham Chastises Bush for
Lamenting Yalta Agreement

Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham chastised President Bush for criticizing the Yalta agreement. "It's like he stuck a broomstick" in FDR's "wheelchair wheels" Meacham remarked on Monday's Imus in the Morning on MSNBC, calling it "a remarkable attack." Bush didn't actually mention FDR in his Saturday speech in Riga, Latvia where he lamented how the "attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history." Meacham described that as "a really a-historical thing to say" and rebuked the conservative view of history: "Basically Yalta, for generations of Republicans, was kind of a dog whistle that Republicans could blow and the very right wing would sort of jump up and realize that this was code for 'liberal sellout to Soviets,' and it was an old Cold War canard."

Meacham's reflexive defense of President Roosevelt may in part, at least, be explained by Meacham's authorship of the 2003 book, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. Amazon's page for it: www.amazon.com

The relevant excerpt from President Bush's May 7 address in Riga, Latvia, as provided in a posting on the White House Web site:
"As we mark a victory of six days ago -- six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox. For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but it did not end oppression. The agreement at Yalta followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable. Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history.
"The end of World War II raised unavoidable questions for my country: Had we fought and sacrificed only to achieve the permanent division of Europe into armed camps? Or did the cause of freedom and the rights of nations require more of us? Eventually, America and our strong allies made a decision: We would not be content with the liberation of half of Europe -- and we would not forget our friends behind an Iron Curtain. We defended the freedom of Greece and Turkey, and airlifted supplies to Berlin, and broadcast the message of liberty by radio. We spoke up for dissenters, and challenged an empire to tear down a hated wall. Eventually, communism began to collapse under external pressure, and under the weight of its own contradictions. And we set the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace -- so dictators could no longer rise up and feed ancient grievances, and conflict would not be repeated again and again."

For the text of the speech in full: www.whitehouse.gov

(Only MSNBC carried the address live from Riga in the 10am EDT hour on Saturday morning. CNN stuck with its money advice show hosted by the Dolans husband and wife team and FNC stayed with its pre-taped package of stock advice programs.)

Monday morning, the MRC's Jessica Barnes noticed, during an appearance by phone on the Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, Meacham took on Bush.

A bit past 7:30am EDT, Don Imus noted: "Bernard telling me that the President is slapping around Roosevelt over the weekend? What's that all about?"
Meacham: "Oh, it's like he stuck a broomstick in his wheelchair wheels. Yeah, it was a remarkable attack."
Imus: "Tell me about it."
Meacham: "He basically, basically on Friday he went over there and gave a speech saying that America had a certain culpability for the beginning of the Cold War because we had abandoned Eastern Europe and Poland at the very end of the war, and we should never have countenanced tyranny and even democracies like ours commit sins. So basically, remarkably after 60 years of World War and Cold War, Bush was saying if it weren't for Yalta and the agreement that Roosevelt and Churchill made there with Stalin, the Cold War might have taken a different route and maybe these countries which suffered under the Soviets for 40 years and more would not have suffered that, which is a really a-historical thing to say. Basically, everybody who was at Yalta thought that, Roosevelt and Churchill thought that things were going to work out pretty well. They had no great illusions that Stalin was a good guy to do business with, but they had no anticipation that the Iron Curtain was about to fall. They left Yalta quite happy. You know, they'd spent, you know, a couple of weeks together drinking and trying to set up various free elections in Poland, and it was only afterward, when Stalin started breaking his promises that things really went downhill and to say that somehow or another Roosevelt and Churchill were in some way responsible for letting Stalin have his way over there is just, it's really kind of a misreading of the record....You know, the Soviet army, one of the reasons that Bush is over there now, the Soviet army was already throughout Poland and Stalin himself once said 'anyone who occupies a territory militarily imposes his political system on it, it can be no other.' So that was the situation and I think the President for some complicated reasons decided to take a very conservative interpretation of what happened at Yalta to talk about it this week."
Imus: "...What did the President suggest, did he have any suggestion of what Roosevelt and Churchill should have done at Yalta?"
Meacham: "Well, no, because that would have made the argument complicated and, perhaps, interesting and had he tried to do that, it would have fallen apart, so no, he didn't. The idea was we should have been tough, we should have stood up to the Soviets. Well, that's very easy to say 60 years after the event, and in fact, Republicans did say it pretty much at the time....Basically what I find so interesting about this is George W. Bush, who is taking on some of the most complicated and difficult problems any President can and who has asked us many times -- I think, very reasonably -- to be patient, to understand that history is full of surprises, that success does not come overnight, remember he quoted skeptics about the rebuilding of Europe when he talked about the rebuilding of Iraq. He's been very good in his use of history so far, until last week, and basically Yalta, for generations of Republicans, was kind of a dog whistle that Republicans could blow and the very right wing would sort of jump up and realize that this was code for 'liberal sellout to Soviets,' and it was an old Cold War canard and I just think it's really not fair to go back where Churchill and Roosevelt were and to whack them around for what got out of their control, but would have gotten out of anyone's control."

Media Pounce in Outrage Over Minister
Who Ousts Kerry Voters

Liberals can regularly use African-American churches to promote Democratic political candidates, with barely a peep from the media, but when a single minister in a small church in a rural area goes a bit far and forces out members for voting for John Kerry, the national media pounce in outrage. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted chunks of his Friday and Monday Countdown shows to the situation at the East Waynesville Baptist Church in western North Carolina. Monday's Good Morning America on ABC dedicated a sympathetic interview segment, in the first half hour, to a couple of the upset parishioners and CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer found time for how "members of a Baptist Church say they have been expelled from the congregation because of an argument over how they voted in the last election." Reporter Jim Acosta solicited a condemnatory comment from left-wing activist Jim Wallis, whom CBS described on screen simply as a "church observer." ABC's World News Tonight also aired a story, but unlike on GMA or CBS, Jake Tapper at least pointed out how "last year, black preachers endorsed Kerry in churches across the country."

Indeed, toward the end of his May 9 World News Tonight piece, Tapper noted: "To some, what's happening here at East Waynesville Baptist Church is the logical next step in what's seen as an increasingly amount of politics being preached from the pulpit. Last year, black preachers endorsed Kerry in churches across the country."

As Tapper spoke, viewers saw video of John Kerry and Al Sharpton sitting behind a minister at a pulpit and then a very brief soundbite of the minister: "God has a John Kerry."

-- With "God and Politics: Faithful Thrown Out of Church?" on the screen, Robin Roberts, as of Monday officially part of GMA's new three-host team, set up the 7am half hour segment as taken down by the MRC's Jessica Barnes: "Now to a political controversy rocking the 100-member East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina. Worshipers say Pastor Chan Chandler has kicked out nine members of the congregation for not supporting his political views, and in the last presidential election he stated his position loud and clear."
Pastor Chandler, in audiotape: "The question then comes in the Baptist Church, how do I vote? Let me just say this right now, if you vote for John Kerry this year, you need to repent or resign. You have been holding back God's church way too long, and I know I may get in trouble for saying that, but just pour it on me."

Roberts then introduced her guests who appeared from outside of the church: "Edith Nichols has been a member of the church for 29 years, Frank Lowe for 43 years, when they were told to leave, and now they're trying to do something about it. They joined us outside the church with their attorney David Wijewickrama. Edith, we just heard a portion of Pastor Chandler's sermon when he told the congregation if you did vote for John Kerry you needed to repent. What was your reaction when you heard the pastor say that?"
Edith Nichols: "Well, we were unwilling to do this because we didn't feel like this was the right thing. We felt like it was our right to vote for whoever we wanted to."
Roberts: "You were so upset you called him at home to talk to him about it?"
Nichols: "Yes, I did, and was informed that they were just preaching the Bible."
Roberts: "Now, Edith, the irony here is you're Republican, correct?"
Nichols: "That is true."
Roberts: "And so why were you still asked to leave the church?"
Nichols: "Because when this was, when he stated that if we were not politically, if we were not in favor of this being a politically-active church, that we would be dismissed and I was not in favor."
Roberts: "Frank, I know that you are a Democrat and there was a meeting that was held on Monday and church members were asked to attend. Can you tell us what happened in that meeting, Frank?"
Frank Lowe: "We had the meeting and we were told that the church had decided that it was going to be a politically-active church and that if we did not pledge to support his political views to get up and leave."
Roberts: "You have been a member of that church for 43 years. Has anything like this happened before?"
Lowe: "No, not to this extent."
Roberts: "Mr. Wijewickrama, do you think there's there a bigger issue here at play?"
David Wijewickrama: "I do think there's a bigger issue, yes, Robin."
Roberts: "And that is?"
Wijewickrama: "Everyone in this country has freedom to vote. Everyone in this country has a freedom to express their religious beliefs. This country's strength does not come from a unity of beliefs, but from a diversity of beliefs, and when we start condemning diversity of thought, then we're losing something that makes this country a beautiful place to live in."
Roberts: "And Edith, what do you want to see happen? What do you want to come of all of this?"
Nichols: "I am hoping that we will get our church back, so we will have a place to worship and be with our church family and that some agreement can be reached."
Roberts: "Well, Edith Nichols and Frank Lowe, thank you both very much, and Mr. David Wijewickrama, we'll be keeping a close eye. We appreciate it very much."


-- On Monday's CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer announced, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Washington is not the only place a political storm is building. In North Carolina, members of a Baptist Church say they have been expelled from the congregation because of an argument over how they voted in the last election. Here's Jim Acosta with that story."

Acosta began: "It's a case of the cross getting caught in the crossfire. Nine members of this North Carolina Baptist church claim their pastor forced them out of the congregation. Their sin was their vote -- for John Kerry. Was this an ultimatum?"
Frank Lowe, former church deacon: "That's the way it sounded to me."
Acosta: "Former church Deacon Frank Lowe says the Reverend Chan Chandler issued that ultimatum in a sermon last fall."
Rev. Chan Chandler audio: "Let me just say this right now. If you vote for John Kerry this year, you need to repent or resign."
Acosta: "The ousted members say Chandler made good on his threat last week."
Lowe: "He's the shepherd of the flock, and I don't think politics is what he needs to preach."
Acosta: "Even though churches can jeopardize their tax-exempt status by endorsing candidates, conservative congregations these days may be the country's most potent political force. Suburban mega-churches boosted President Bush's reelection campaign, organizing so-called 'values vote' drives, political code words for defeating John Kerry. Theologian Jim Wallis, author of 'God's Politics,' says what happened in North Carolina is another case of politicizing the pulpit."
Jim Wallis, identified on screen as "church observer": "When the religious right says that those who don't agree with their agenda are not people of faith, they've overstepped the boundaries."
Acosta: "Even President Bush criticized some evangelicals for overreaching."
George W. Bush, at his last press conference: "People in political office should not say to somebody you're not equally American if you don't happen to agree with my view of religion."
Acosta concluded: "Reverend Chandler declined our request for an interview. A spokesman says he's busy making repairs to a house of worship that's become a house divided. Jim Acosta, CBS News, Waynesville, North Carolina."

Wallis is the Editor of the liberal protestant magazine Sojourners and President of Call to Renewal. His picture and bio on the Sojourners site: www.sojo.net

On the Call to Renewal site: www.calltorenewal.org



# Ann Coulter is scheduled to appear tonight, Tuesday, on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is scheduled to appear tonight on CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Comedy Central's Web site says that CNN's Christiane Amanpour will appear on Tuesday night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but I'm not sure that is accurate.

-- Brent Baker