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Worry Rice Represents "Hard Right Turn," Urge Reliance on UN --11/17/2004


1. Worry Rice Represents "Hard Right Turn," Urge Reliance on UN
Network journalists on Tuesday showed they will miss Colin Powell's "moderation" and fear Condoleezza Rice is a "hard right" ideologue, but she'll ease fears if she relies on the UN. Concluding a CBS Evening News story on how President Bush has nominated Rice for Secretary of State, John Roberts asserted that "senior diplomats" maintain that "the jury is still out on whether Rice will be a moderate realist, as Colin Powell was, or a hard-line ideologue." In the morning, NBC's Matt Lauer asked at the top of Today: "Does her nomination mean that U.S. foreign policy will take a hard right turn?" After wondering if "there is any danger" in how the Bush administration will be "speaking much more with one voice," Katie Couric pled to a guest: "Will the State Department hopefully reach out more to the United Nations?" Charlie Gibson, in opening ABC's World News Tonight, echoed Couric's concern about a uniform voice. Gibson asked of President Bush: "Is he limiting debate and dissent within his inner circle?" ABC and CBS reminded viewers of Rice's "baggage" in ignoring pre-9/11 warning signs and forwarding "false" claims about Iraq.

2. Chris Matthews: Iraqi Insurgents "Not Bad Guys Especially"
More moral equivalence from MSNBC's Chris Matthews. A month after he suggested a "parallel" between the insurgents in Iraq and the colonial fighters of America's Revolutionary War, Matthews on Monday night described the insurgents based in a Fallujah, who have conducted terrorist attacks which have killed thousands of Iraqis in their quest for autocratic power, as "not bad guys especially, just people that disagree with us. They are, in fact, the insurgents fighting us in their country." Matthews offered his description in a discussion of the much-hyped video of a Marine shooting an injured Iraqi insurgent inside a mosque: "If we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?" NBC military analyst Ken Allard insisted: "We probably would."

3. ABC, NBC and FNC Tag Harry Reid as "Moderate" and "Pro-Life"
ABC, NBC and even FNC on Tuesday night emphasized how Senator Harry Reid, the new Senate Minority Leader, is not liberal, but while he may stray occasionally from the liberal line, he's far from the middle of the spectrum. Nonetheless, NBC's Tom Brokaw tagged him as a "moderate" and ABC's Charlie Gibson dubbed him "a centrist" who "opposes abortion rights and some gun controls." FNC's Brit Hume called him a "pro-life moderate," a description Fred Barnes soon challenged.

4. Brokaw Counters Liberal Bias with Claim Media Aid and Abet Bush
Tom Brokaw countered claims of liberal bias with how people on Manhattan's West Side maintain the media's "conservative bias" has aided and abetted George W. Bush. Appearing on Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Tuesday night, Brokaw recalled how at an event he attended in Houston the night before, "there were a lot of questions about the liberal bias of the networks and mainstream media, and I said come with me to New York and walk to the West Side and hear what they have to say about the conservative bias of what we're doing. We're the ones who are responsible for the election of George Bush. 'Don't you realize that he stole the election four years ago?' 'How could you allow him to invade Iraq the way that he did?'"

5. "Top Ten Things John Kerry Would Do Differently in 2008"
Letterman's "Top Ten Things John Kerry Would Do Differently in 2008."


Worry Rice Represents "Hard Right Turn,"
Urge Reliance on UN

CBS's Dan Rather Network journalists on Tuesday showed they will miss Colin Powell's "moderation" and fear Condoleezza Rice is a "hard right" ideologue, but she'll ease fears if she relies on the UN. Concluding a CBS Evening News story on how President Bush has nominated Rice for Secretary of State, John Roberts asserted that "senior diplomats" maintain that "the jury is still out on whether Rice will be a moderate realist, as Colin Powell was, or a hard-line ideologue." In the morning, NBC's Matt Lauer asked at the top of Today: "Does her nomination mean that U.S. foreign policy will take a hard right turn?" After wondering if "there is any danger" in how the Bush administration will be "speaking much more with one voice," Katie Couric pled to a guest: "Will the State Department hopefully reach out more to the United Nations?"

Charlie Gibson, in opening ABC's World News Tonight, echoed Couric's concern about a uniform voice. Gibson asked of President Bush: "Is he limiting debate and dissent within his inner circle?" Gibson elaborated: "Rice is one of the President's most loyal confidantes, a woman said to be so in sync with Mr. Bush, she can finish his sentences. But there are questions about whether the President runs a risk in surrounding himself with so many people who share the same world view."

Do you recall any media fretting about how Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and William Cohen were too much in sync?

ABC's Terry Moran soon reminded viewers of how "Rice brings some baggage to her new post as well. Her former White House colleague, Richard Clarke, charged that on her watch, terrorism was not a priority before 9/11, a claim she sharply rejected." Moran also emphasized how she made "false" claims about Iraq. CBS's Roberts also picked up the same theme: "She also brings with her some baggage. The 9/11 Commission sharply criticized her department for ignoring warning signs before the 9/11 attacks. And she marched in lockstep with President Bush on the now discredited claim that Saddam was pursuing nuclear weapons."

On the NBC Nightly News, David Gregory warned: "Many of the changes also represent a victory for Vice President Cheney, whose hard-line foreign policy views are now expected to dominate the war council."

Now a more complete rundown, starting with the November 16 Today followed by the November 16 CBS and ABC evening newscasts:

-- NBC's Today, as reviewed by the MRC's Geoff Dickens. Katie Couric announced as she sat at the anchor desk next to Matt Lauer: "Condoleezza Rice as you know is one of the President's closest advisers but she could face some tough questioning at a confirmation hearing when it comes to September 11th and the run-up to the war in Iraq."
Lauer chimed in: "That's a little bit down the road. Meanwhile does her nomination mean that U.S. foreign policy will take a hard right turn? We're gonna ask a former State Department official that question. He closely worked with both Colin Powell and Dr. Rice. Then the U.S. military is investigating a disturbing incident that was caught on tape in Fallujah. It happened over the weekend. As an NBC News camera rolled a U.S. Marine shot a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi insurgent. This morning we'll tell you where the investigation stands and ask retired Army General Barry McCaffrey if there's any way that could have been justified?"

In a 7am newscast story, Norah O'Donnell emphasized the rise of "hardliners" in the Bush team: "This is not just a personnel change but represents a major policy shift in this President's national security team toward the hard-liners. Another major shakeup. Colin Powell, the most popular and moderate member of the President's cabinet is resigning..."

Couric brought aboard Richard Haass, "a former top State Department official who's now the President of the Council on Foreign Relations," for an in-studio interview and soon got to the "dirt." She wanted to know: "Let's talk about the, sort of, the dirt for a second, respectfully. The infighting that was going on between the neo-cons, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and, and Colin Powell. How nasty did it get Richard?"

Couric next relayed a Clintonista's complaint: "New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson, who was a UN ambassador during the Clinton administration, I'm sure you know well, says Colin Powell's departure, quote, 'is a loss to the moderate internationalist voices in the Bush administration. What will be lost with the departure of Colin Powell as Secretary of State? And, and what purpose did his voice serve?"
Haass: He was a multi-lateralist, knew U.S. on own could do nothing better that we could with other nations.
Couric: "But, but, but what I'm saying, I guess, is how healthy is dissension in an administration? I mean clearly you've been involved in many of them and you know about discussions that take place. Is the Bush administration, will they be speaking much more with one voice and is there any danger in that?"
Haass: "I think it's good for the administration to speak with one voice but it's not good-"
Couric: "-to discuss with one voice."

After Haass cited some world trouble spots, including Iran and North Korea, Couric wondered: "But, but do you see any kind of, do you see more aggressive action in any of those areas that you mentioned? For example will the U.S. get more involved in Sudan? What will happen with North Korea and Iran and their nuclear capabilities?"
Haass: "...I think what you will probably see is less emphasis on putting together diplomatic solutions where others come on board. Maybe more assertive or aggressive foreign policy, but with one caveat: This administration starts in a far more difficult place than last Bush administration four years ago. You've got 135,000 soldiers in Iraq, 15,000 in Afghanistan. Economically we've gone from a tremendous surplus to a deficit. It's going to be difficult for this administration to have as much latitude or discretion as Mr. Bush had four years ago."
Couric pled for more reliance on the UN: "Well will the State Department hopefully reach out more to, to the United Nations, for example, for help in some of these areas?"
Haass: "It's not clear to me. It may be forced to just like over the last few months it's been forced to, somewhat reluctantly but I think in the first instance the instincts of this administration are going to be the United States sets the course, takes the lead. If others choose to follow so much the better. But I don't, I don't get the reading that the United States is going to prepare to make great compromises in order to get others to follow?"
Couric: "Is that a mistake in your view?"
Haass: "Results will speak for themselves."
Couric: "Okay Richard Haass. Richard thanks so much."


CBS's John Roberts -- CBS Evening News. John Roberts began, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "It is one of the most important appointments the President can make, and for President Bush, an easy one."
George W. Bush: "In Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace, and the decency of our country."
Roberts: "The world will also see a passionate defender of the President's policies. Rice was Mr. Bush's foreign policy tutor during his first run for the White House, and remains one of his closest advisors and confidantes."
Robert Lieber, Georgetown University: "They've had a very good and close working relationship over the last four years. That's something Powell did not have, and it's a major asset she would bring with her."
Roberts cautioned: "But she also brings with her some baggage. The 9/11 Commission sharply criticized her department for ignoring warning signs before the 9/11 attacks. And she marched in lockstep with President Bush on the now discredited claim that Saddam was pursuing nuclear weapons."
Bush: "The smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
Condoleezza Rice in file footage: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
Roberts: "Both issues are likely to play prominently in her confirmation hearings. There's also concern in Congress that unlike Colin Powell, who was often at odds with administration hawks, Rice is on the same flight path."
Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE): "Many of us have good working relationships with Dr. Rice over the last four years, and we will ask her some tough questions about where she and the President want to take foreign policy over the next four years."
Roberts: "Rice's nomination caps a stellar rise from her roots as the granddaughter of a poor Alabama cotton farmer. She was a Soviet specialist for the first President Bush, provost of Stanford University, competitive skater, and concert pianist. But with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the Middle East all now falling to her, orchestrating American foreign policy will be her toughest challenge yet. The first big challenge for Rice will be to build loyalty in a department that's not a huge fan of her management style. And, say senior diplomats, the jury is still out on whether Rice will be a moderate realist, as Colin Powell was, or a hard-line ideologue."


-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Charles Gibson, who filled in for Jennings who was in Little Rock to interview Bill Clinton for a Thursday night ABC special on the opening of the Clinton presidential library, teased: "On World News Tonight, the President makes history, nominating Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. But is he limiting debate and dissent within his inner circle?"

Gibson opened: "Good evening. The President has made an historic choice, Condoleezza Rice, to succeed Colin Powell as Secretary of State. She would be the first African-American woman in American history to fill the post. Rice is one of the President's most loyal confidantes, a woman said to be so in sync with Mr. Bush, she can finish his sentences. But there are questions about whether the President runs a risk in surrounding himself with so many people who share the same world view. Here's ABC's White House correspondent, Terry Moran."

Moran reported: "In the White House this morning, President Bush took evident pride in naming one of his closest confidantes to be the nation's 66th Secretary of State."
George W. Bush making the announcement: "Secretary of State is America's face to the world. And in Dr. Rice, the world will see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country."
Moran: "The nomination of Rice cements a foreign policy team that now, with the departure of Colin Powell, an occasional dissenter in the ranks, will be stocked with staunch supporters of the President's policies. Rice, who turned 50 years old on Sunday, was clearly moved today, as the President mentioned her late parents, who raised her in the 1950s and '60s in Alabama."
Bush: "As a girl in the segregated South, Dr. Rice saw the promise of America violated by racial discrimination and by the violence that comes from hate. But she was taught by her mother, Angelina, and her father, the Reverend John Rice, that human dignity is the gift of God and that the ideals of America would overcome oppression."
Moran: "Analysts say Rice will bring to her new job at the State Department a huge trump card in the inevitable turf battles in the second Bush term."
Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek International: "She has the one attribute that every successful Secretary of State has had, which is a very good, close relationship with the President of the United States."
Moran reminded viewers: "But Rice brings some baggage to her new post as well. Her former White House colleague, Richard Clarke, charged that on her watch, terrorism was not a priority before 9/11, a claim she sharply rejected."
Rice, at April 8 hearing: "There was no silver bullet that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks."
Moran: "And before the Iraq war, Rice made some of the most alarming claims about Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction programs."
Rice on CNN on September 8, 2002: "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
Moran: "Claims which proved false, but which she sticks by."
Rice, on This Week on October 8: "I stand by, to this day, the correctness of the decision to take seriously an intelligence assessment that Saddam Hussein would likely have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade if you didn't do something."
Moran concluded: "Those issues and others are bound to be brought up by Democrats who want to lay down a marker with Dr. Rice in her confirmation hearings, which the White House wants to see as early as next month. Charlie, she's expected to be confirmed easily, however. And if she is, she'll be fourth in line to the presidency of the United States."

Chris Matthews: Iraqi Insurgents "Not
Bad Guys Especially"

More moral equivalence from MSNBC's Chris Matthews. A month after he suggested a "parallel" between the insurgents in Iraq and the colonial fighters of America's Revolutionary War, Matthews on Monday night described the insurgents based in a Fallujah, who have conducted terrorist attacks which have killed thousands of Iraqis in their quest for autocratic power, as "not bad guys especially, just people that disagree with us. They are, in fact, the insurgents fighting us in their country." Matthews offered his description in a discussion of the much-hyped video of a Marine shooting an injured Iraqi insurgent inside a mosque: "If we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?" NBC military analyst Ken Allard insisted: "We probably would."

Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday played an audio clip from Matthews on Monday's hardball. For Limbaugh's take: www.rushlimbaugh.com

MSNBC's Hardball On the November 15 Hardball, Matthews asked Allard, a retired Army Colonel: "Let me ask you about this. If this were the other side and we were watching an enemy soldier, a rival, I mean they're not bad guys especially, just people that disagree with us. They are, in fact, the insurgents fighting us in their country. If we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?"
Allard: "We probably would. I mean what you have to remember about these things is the fact that if what you're seeing is enough to inflame senses, that is precisely the reason why we think of those things in terms of war crimes. And it's also why we tell our soldiers, look, the reason why we have you observe the laws of warfare is because it makes peace so much easier."
Matthews: "The thing is, I guess I don't want to get into the exculpatory mood or the indictive role. That's not my role. It's simply to report what we know so far and what he implications are. Colonel, that fellow was apparently alive. Clearly alive at the time the trooper went in there. He wasn't some dead guy covered up or clouded up with what do you call it, explosive that were going to blow when the guy was touched. He wasn't booby-trapped. Was there any justification for killing him then?"
Allard: "You would have to say probably not..."

"He wasn't booby-trapped." And how was the Marine to have been so sure of that in advance?

The October 20 CyberAlert recounted: George W. Bush as misguided as King George since both "misled" their people into an "unnecessary war"? On Monday night [October 18], MSNBC's Chris Matthews painted the Iraqi insurgents as modern Minute Men when asked Jimmy Carter, author of a new novel set during the Revolutionary War, whether he sees "any parallels between the, the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

ABC, NBC and FNC Tag Harry Reid
as "Moderate" and "Pro-Life"

ABC, NBC and even FNC on Tuesday night emphasized how Senator Harry Reid, the new Senate Minority Leader, is not liberal, but while he may stray occasionally from the liberal line, he's far from the middle of the spectrum. Nonetheless, NBC's Tom Brokaw tagged him as a "moderate" and ABC's Charlie Gibson dubbed him "a centrist" who "opposes abortion rights and some gun controls." FNC's Brit Hume called him a "pro-life moderate," a description Fred Barnes soon challenged.

Labeling on Tuesday night, November 16:

NBC's Tom Brokaw -- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw: "As for the Democrats, today they picked a new Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. A moderate, he'll replace Senator Tom Daschle, who was defeated for re-election in South Dakota. Reid is 64 years old and served as Daschle's second in command. When asked how he would approach his new post, the former amateur boxer told reporters, quote, 'I would always rather dance than fight. But I know how to fight.'"

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Charles Gibson: "In Washington, Senate Democrats picked a new leader today, a centrist who opposes abortion rights and some gun controls. Nevada's Harry Reid will replace Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who lost his bid for re-election. The Senate will convene in January with 44 Democrats, the fewest at any time since the late 1920s."

-- FNC's Special Report. Brit Hume: "Senate Democrats today elected their new leadership team. At the top, a devout Mormon who grew up in dusty mining town in Southern Nevada. Senator Harry Reid is a pro-life moderate who will lead the smallest Democratic caucus since before the Great Depression."

Later, during the panel segment, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, disputed Hume's assessment: "I do question this thing about calling him 'pro-life' though. He gets that reputation only because he twice voted against the Harken amendment which would have had the Senate go on record-"
Hume: "Oh, I thought he voted pretty much across the board."
Barnes: "I'll tell you a little bit about what his record is. He's against the Mexico City policies, against the UN Population Fund which would use U.S. money to promote abortions overseas."
Hume: "He's against restrictions on that."
Barnes: "He's against restrictions on them which both the Bush and Reagan administration sponsored. On all the legislation that comes up, whether it's partial birth abortion or the Unborn Victims of Violence Act-"
Hume: "How'd he vote on that, by the way?"
Barnes: "He votes for them after previously voting for the measures that would reduce their impact or gut them entirely. So I would say he really doesn't deserve being called a pro-lifer who is someone who believes abortion should be banned or at least that Roe v Wade should be overturned."

Indeed, for 2003-04, the National Right to Life Committee assessed Reid's abortion policy votes at 55 percent in agreement with the pro-life position, so he'll not star at a NARAL event, but he's far from a solid pro-life record. To review his recent votes on abortion: www.capwiz.com

As for his overall ideology, Reid has earned a 21 percent "lifetime" rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU) and the liberal Americans for Democratic Action gave Reid a career rating of 76 percent.

Compare the ACU's 21 percent for Reid to true Senate moderates: 46 percent for Democrat John Breaux and 56 percent for Republican Susan Collins.

For Reid's ACU rating: acuratings.com

For Reid's ADA: www.adaction.org

Brokaw Counters Liberal Bias with Claim
Media Aid and Abet Bush

Tom Brokaw countered claims of liberal bias with how people on Manhattan's West Side maintain the media's "conservative bias" has aided and abetted George W. Bush. Appearing on Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Tuesday night, Brokaw recalled how at an event he attended in Houston the night before, "there were a lot of questions about the liberal bias of the networks and mainstream media, and I said come with me to New York and walk to the West Side and hear what they have to say about the conservative bias of what we're doing. We're the ones who are responsible for the election of George Bush. 'Don't you realize that he stole the election four years ago?' 'How could you allow him to invade Iraq the way that he did?' So we do hear it from both sides..."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth grabbed Brokaw's thesis from the November 16 Daily Show, an episode which will re-run tonight at 7pm EST/PST.

Brokaw: "I was in Texas just last night doing something at the Baker Institute, Jim Baker, the former Secretary of State."
Stewart: "The velvet hammer."
Brokaw: "Right, the velvet hammer. And there were a lot of questions about the liberal bias of the networks and mainstream media, and I said come with me to New York and walk to the West side and hear what they have to say about the conservative bias of what we're doing. We're the ones who are responsible for the election of George Bush. 'Don't you realize that he stole the election four years ago?' 'How could you allow him to invade Iraq the way that he did?'
"So we do hear it from both sides. What has changed now is that it's much more intense because it's a 24/7 cycle. And it's not just cable news, but it is the bloggers, as you said, and it's also talk radio. Rush Limbaugh is an original, but there are a lot of Rush Limbaugh wannabes out there because they think that's the way that they can get a number in the morning or whatever they're doing, so they're out after us as well."

That would explain Brokaw's absence from Monday's NBC Nightly News.

The home page of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy ( www.bakerinstitute.org ), based at Rice University, highlights Brokaw's appearance, but has nothing more about it: "On November 15, 2004, two weeks before he formally retires from NBC News, Tom Brokaw (Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News) presented a lecture titled An Anchorman Looks at the World. This event will be made available in the event archives soon. Mr. Brokaw's presentation was sponsored through the Shell Distinguished Lecture Series."

I could not find anything about it in the Houston Chronicle and the student newspaper at Rice University is a weekly which won't publish until Friday.

"Top Ten Things John Kerry Would Do Differently
in 2008"

From the Late Show with David Letterman, as published in this week's Late Show Newsletter distributed by e-mail on Monday, an un-aired "Top Ten" list: "Top Ten Things John Kerry Would Do Differently in 2008." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Don't repeat rookie mistake of winning every debate

9. To seem more presidential, legally change name to "President" Kerry

8. Prove his toughness by killing campaign volunteer with an axe handle

7. Appeal to Hillary supporters by wearing only stylish pantsuits

6. You thought John Edwards was hot? Wait'll you see the man-meat I've got planned for 2008!

5. Less flipping, more flopping

4. Select as running mate remains of President Harry Truman

3. To raise campaign funds and win Florida: wrassle a gator on pay-per-view

2. Try to get that valuable Osama endorsement a little earlier

1. Amp up the Botox, baby!

-- Brent Baker