Giuliani Too 'Hawkish,' 'Hard Line' and 'Neocon' for NYT and NBC --10/26/2007
2. If Bush 'Thought Anybody Doing "Heck of a Job," He Didn't Say So'
3. ABC Gushes: Clintons Are 'Masters at Turning Bad News Into Good'
4. Wash Post Hails Henry Waxman But Panned GOP Predecessor Burton
5. The Worst 'Notable Quotables' of the Past 20 Years: Evil America
"The people guiding" Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani "in his foreign policy message...are drawing some attention," NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Thursday evening in advancing the news agenda of a front page New York Times story which ominously warned Giuliani "is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers" and that has "raised concerns among some Democrats." Reporter Ron Allen explained how "New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran" and treated it as newsworthy that "among the Republican hopefuls, it is Rudy Giuliani who has most closely surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, many from the Bush-Cheney administration." Giving credit to the source of NBC's story idea, Allen relayed the paper's rogues' gallery of those who have advised Giuliani: "This morning's New York Times lists advisors who have called for profiling Muslims at airports, another who favors ending the U.S. ban on carrying out assassinations, and the author of 'The Case for Bombing Iran.'"
Allen soon found great wisdom in a commentator not usually considered so wise by journalists: "It was the neoconservative voices in the Bush administration that most forcefully made the case for invading Iraq, a decision even some conservative Republicans say was a disaster." Viewers then heard from Pat Buchanan, long outside of the GOP mainstream on Iraq, denouncing neoconservatives: "If these people, the neoconservatives, are Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy team, a vote for Rudy is tantamount to a vote for permanent war."
[This item was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from the top of the October 25 front page New York Times article, "Mideast Hawks Help to Develop Giuliani Policy," by Michael Cooper and Marc Santora:
Rudolph W. Giuliani's approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations.
But in developing his views, Mr. Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers.
Their positions have been criticized by Democrats as irresponsible and applauded by some conservatives as appropriately tough, while raising questions about how closely aligned Mr. Giuliani's thinking is with theirs.
Mr. Giuliani's team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible"; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the United States' ban on assassination.
The campaign says that the foreign policy team, which also includes scholars and experts with different policy approaches, is meant to give Mr. Giuliani a variety of perspectives.
Based on his public statements, Mr. Giuliani does not share all of their views and parts company with traditional neoconservative thinking in some respects. But their presence has reassured some conservatives who have expressed doubts about Mr. Giuliani's positions on issues like abortion and gun control, and underscored his efforts to cast himself as a tough-minded potential commander in chief.
And while Mr. Giuliani, like other New York mayors, liked to be seen as conducting his own brand of foreign policy from City Hall, he had little direct exposure to many of the specific issues the next president will confront and is still meeting for the first time with some of his advisers to develop detailed positions on particular subjects.
Mr. Giuliani has taken an aggressive position on Iran's efforts to build a nuclear program, saying last month it was a "promise" that as president he would take military action to keep the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon.
Warnings like that one and his reliance on advisers like Mr. Podhoretz, who wrote an article in June for Commentary magazine called "The Case for Bombing Iran," have raised concerns among some Democrats.
Mr. Podhoretz said in an interview published Wednesday in The New York Observer that he recently met with Mr. Giuliani to discuss his new book, in which he advocates bombing Iran as part of a larger struggle against "Islamofascism," and "there is very little difference in how he sees the war and I see it."...
END of Excerpt
For the October 25 article in full: www.nytimes.com
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the October 25 NBC Nightly News story:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: All of this brings us to the campaign trail, and a look tonight at the still developing foreign policy of the leading Republican in the race, Rudy Giuliani. Like others in his party, Giuliani talks tough on Iran and tough on terror, he mentions 9/11 constantly, but it's the people guiding Giuliani in his foreign policy message who are drawing some attention as we hear tonight from NBC's Ron Allen.
RON ALLEN: On the campaign trail, New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran.
Cheap shot of the night, a gratuitous reference to President George W. Bush's 2005 "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie," remark about then-FEMA Director Michael Brown's handling of the Katrina hurricane catastrophe. Dean Reynolds in Escondido, California, concluding a Thursday CBS Evening News story on Bush's visit to the fire-ravaged region: "Mr. Bush dismissed comparisons between Katrina and California and seemed generally satisfied by the efforts he witnessed today. But if he actually thought anybody was doing a 'heck of a job,' he didn't say so in public."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On the NBC Nightly News, John Yang managed to raise shortcomings following Katrina without citing the comment used by liberals to ridicule Bush: "After the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, the President has been offering a robust response to these fires. But the real test may come in the rebuilding, which could cost a lot of money and take a lot of time."
In early October, ABC reporter Kate Snow sprang to the defense of Senator Hillary Clinton's much maligned laugh. On Thursday's Good Morning America, the correspondent marveled over Bill Clinton's successes and also how his wife is able to make turning 60-years-old a good thing. While an ABC graphic wondered if the Democratic power couple are "masters of spin," Snow gushed: "The Clintons have always been masters at turning bad news into good."
Snow's piece focused on the Clintons' ability to, essentially, spin the American public. The GMA reporter featured comments exclusively from liberals such as Gail Sheehy (author of the sympathetic book "Hillary's Choice") and the Washington Post's Sally Quinn. Quinn asserted that the Clintons ability to "pretend to have a wonderful marriage" "works" for them, as well as other political couples. Snow continued this theme by credulously repeating: "On the eve of this birthday, Hillary is trumpeting the strength of their marriage." The correspondent rhapsodized over a money-raising birthday party the senator is throwing and marveled that "instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold."
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In an odd contrast to the age issue, while ABC's segment touted Hillary Clinton's ability to overcome being 60, Harry Smith referred to the Clintons on Tuesday's Early Show as a "still-young couple." See the October 24 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
The media's crowning of the Clintons as kings of spin seems to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Reporters constantly gush over the their ability to "turn bad news into good," just as these journalists play no small role in helping the couple do exactly that. However, it's important to remember that for all the media fawning, Bill Clinton never received more than 50 percent of the vote in 1992 or 1996 and he was also impeached.
A transcript of the October 25 segment, which aired at 7:15am:
DIANE SAWYER: Now, the race for '08. Believe it or not, ten weeks, just ten weeks until you cast your first vote in the election, the Iowa primary. And the candidates are being watched more closely than ever, especially Hillary Clinton. Firing up the after-burners, holding a big bash for her 60th birthday party tonight, which is a political party and a political party. To explain, ABC's Kate Snow's here. Kate?
ABC GRAPHIC: The Clinton Image Machine: Masters of Spin?
KATE SNOW: Good morning, Diane. The Clintons have always been masters at turning bad news into good, if you will. And all week they've been capitalizing on a milestone that makes a lot of women cringe. We're talking about the big six-o. But, instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold. Bill Clinton set the pace last year, raising money hand over fist for his foundation when he turned 60. So tonight, Hillary Clinton takes a page from her husband's play book. Billy Crystal is back to introduce British rocker Elvis Costello and the Wallflowers to a sold-out crowd at New York's famed Beacon Theater.
FILE FOOTAGE OF BILL CLINTON FROM '92: We're going to organize ourselves to compete and win.
Thursday's Washington Post front page featured a laudatory profile of hard-charging partisan House Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman. Reporter Jonathan Weisman hailed the liberal veteran from Beverly Hills as a "tireless" bright spot for House Democrats. The only Republican quotes used by Weisman underlined how impressive Waxman was. Ten years ago, when conservative Dan Burton rose to the Government Reform committee chairmanship, a front-page profile was exactly the opposite. Burton was portrayed by fellow Republicans as "this kind of crazy life insurance salesman."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Weisman's Waxman profile has a "God, I admire you" tone throughout:
"Waxman has become the Bush administration's worst nightmare: a Democrat in the majority with subpoena power and the inclination to overturn rocks. But in Waxman the White House also faces an indefatigable capital veteran -- with a staff renowned for its depth and experience -- who has been waiting for this for 14 years.
The sentence goes on, but it emphasizes what Weisman omits: that Waxman might be one who's guilty of politicizing the entire federal government. Weisman never scorns the idea of Waxman's partisanship, even in a good-government, pox-on-both-houses way. When Waxman embarrasses, foils and defeats Republicans, Weisman sounds pleased in recounting it. There is one paragraph that allows the GOP staff (without actual quotation) to land their complaints:
"'We have to let people know they have someone watching them after six years with no oversight at all,' said Waxman, 68. 'And we've got a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick.'
That's fascinating. It makes Tom Davis look like he's saying "yes, Henry is now doing oversight, which I never did when I was chairman." But Weisman wasn't finished in extolling the excellence of the Democrats of Waxman and Company:
Republicans and Democrats say that Waxman has marshaled three ingredients from his staff -- tenacity, experience and loyalty -- to make it one of the brightest spots on the new Congress's otherwise mixed record.
...The committee's style can be brash. To depose witnesses, Democratic staff members must notify Republicans, explain exhaustive legal rights and release transcripts only by committee agreement, said David Marin, the Republican staff director. So Schiliro and company favor less formal interviews, knowing that the penalty for perjury can be just as stiff. Word is out among government contractors to demand depositions whenever possible when the oversight panel comes to call.
Committee rules also require the majority staff to send a memo to the minority three days in advance, detailing the subject of an upcoming hearing and the issues that will be raised. Marin said advance memos tend to be milquetoast previews. Supplemental memos, which may reach Republicans just hours before the curtain rises, deliver the goods on just what Waxman is about to spring. With no time to formulate a rebuttal, Republicans can only watch the show.
But what a show it has been, including former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's debut before the cameras to former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's return to the spotlight to answer what he knew about the "friendly fire" death of National Football League safety-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
END of Excerpt
"But what a show it has been." Is Weisman a reporter, or a drama critic? Is Weisman an objective journalist, or a thinly disguised partisan cheerleader? Weisman repeats for the reader that "Waxman has shown himself to be tireless." The Republicans are presented repeatedly to underscore the Post's adulation:
Marin said Waxman has been dealt a very strong hand: an unpopular administration, an unpopular war and carte blanche from his leadership to go wherever he wants. Waxman's staff has a knack for atmospherics, holding information in its back pocket until news events pique interest.
"They understand there's nothing more exciting than seeing an e-mail or a secret document that you weren't ever supposed to see," Marin said...
All of those threads work to the Democrats' advantage in multiple ways, hitting the Bush administration, keeping the war front and center, and bolstering Democratic efforts to steal the issues of waste, fraud and abuse from the GOP.
"We want to be the party that is ferreting out waste and fraud," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), "and Henry's committee is the point of the spear for us."
END of Excerpt
All of page A4 in Thursday's Post was taken up by Weisman's story, and at the top of the page, a huge calendar of Henry's greatest hits of 2007. The headline borrowed from the Tom Davis quote: "Looking Over Their Shoulder." Weisman explained his big chart:
There are 23 highlighted days, often augmented with Waxman's most notable quotes. It's the political equivalent of a stack of baseball cards for fans of partisan hardball.
For Weisman's October 25 front page story: www.washingtonpost.com
Now go back to the front-page story Rep. Dan Burton received on March 23, 1997 from Washington Post reporter Edward Walsh. It began:
To his friends, Rep. Dan Burton, the Indiana Republican now running the House probe of political fund-raising, is an extraordinarily tenacious man. But even they say that the same relentless approach that has helped him triumph over many personal obstacles also has led him down some unusual paths.
Burton was so convinced that Vincent Foster was murdered that he launched a private investigation and reenacted the shooting of the White House aide....
All this may be prologue for the challenge now facing the affable former insurance salesman with a self-described "pit bull" approach to politics. For years an obscure backbencher, Burton, 58, now finds himself for the first time in the public eye as the leader of a highly publicized congressional investigation....
Burton is aware that sometimes, in the words of former Lugar aide Mark Helmke, he comes across as "this kind of crazy life insurance salesman."
"People have always thought I was very aggressive and they worry about that in a judicial position," Burton said. But he argued that the responsibility of his new position has transformed him.
"As chairman, I want my role to be more a judicial role, more of a referee," he said. "When we go public [in hearings], I think I have to be as measured as I can be and I will be."
Measured is not a word often associated with Burton's House career. First elected in 1982, he was an early acolyte of a future speaker, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Burton was one of the conservative firebrands who spent hours haranguing an empty House chamber to the entertainment of the C-SPAN audience.
He waged a one-man crusade against what he deemed "pork," repeatedly challenging provisions of appropriations bills to the deep annoyance of senior members of both parties. Even Socks, the first cat, came under his scrutiny. Burton once publicly questioned the use of White House personnel to answer letters addressed to the Clinton family pet. He now laughs this off as a "mistake" dreamed up by a staff aide.
In 1994, Burton engaged in what many consider his most outrageous crusade. In lengthy speeches on the House floor, he challenged the official finding that the death of deputy White House counsel Foster was a suicide. There were dark if unspoken suggestions in Burton's insistence that Foster's body had been moved and that he did not die in Virginia's Fort Marcy Park, where the body was found.
At one point during his personal investigation, Burton fired a gun at a "head-like thing" (which he still won't identify) in his back yard to prove, he says, that the sound of a gunshot in the park would have been heard by security guards at the nearby residence of the Saudi Arabian ambassador.
"I do not recant on any of it," Burton said. "I still believe that his body was moved but I'm not going to beat on that."
END of Excerpt of 1997 story
Now Online with 50 Flash Videos: 20th Anniversary NQ. Since the MRC was founded 20 years ago, Notable Quotables has been a vital tool in our mission to document, expose and neutralize the media elite's liberal bias. The special 20th Anniversary Edition contains more than 100 of the most outrageous quotes from our past two decades, many accompanied by audio and video clips. Watch Dan Rather berate Vice President Bush during a live interview; listen to Bryant Gumbel suggest radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh bore responsibility for the Oklahoma City bombing; and recall the media's sneering disdain for Ronald Reagan, and their utter admiration for Bill and Hillary Clinton.
To read the quotes and watch the videos: www.mrc.org
For the 8-page PDF which matches the hard copy, but without any pictures or videos: www.mrc.org
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Today's installment: America the Awful. On Monday, I recounted how many journalists offered sympathetic coverage of totalitarian communist regimes. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, too many journalists opted to take a harsher approach with their own country. In a commencement address at the State University of New York at New Paltz back on May 21, 2006, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., exposed his extreme left-wing agenda as he railed against the awfulness of the world as he saw it:
"It wasn't supposed to be this way. You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life, or the rights of gays to marry, or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain. You weren't. But you are. And for that, I'm sorry."
And, of course, Rosie O'Donnell took her America-trashing routine to ABC's daytime line-up after Barbara Walters hired her to co-host The View. "As a result of the [9/11] attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries....Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America," O'Donnell railed on September 12, 2006.
Then on May 17, 2007, O'Donnell insinuated American troops were terrorists: "I just want to say something: 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?...If you were in Iraq, and the other country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?"
Immediately after 9/11, some in the media claimed their professional obligation to be totally unbiased meant that they had to give the terrorists as fair a shake as the U.S. government:
# "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack." -- Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, in an internal memo cited by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz in a September 24, 2001 article.
# "The Pentagon as a legitimate target?...As a journalist, I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a position on. I'm supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be." -- ABC News President David Westin at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on October 23, 2001 shown four days later on C-SPAN.
Soon, however, journalists began singling out the U.S. for culpability:
# "Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as 'ground zero' in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. 'war on terror' since September 11." -- Caption for a Reuters News Service photo distributed with a September 3, 2002 story by Richard Waddington headlined, "Rights the first victim of 'war on terror.'"
# "I decided to put on my flag pin tonight -- first time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see....I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks....I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us." -- Bill Moyers on PBS's Now, February 28, 2003.
# "I have a feeling that it [Osama bin Laden's new videotape] could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing." -- Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite on CNN's Larry King Live, October 29, 2004.
# "I just want to say: Who are we? We are people who have always been for inspections of prisons, for some degree of human rights, and now we're defending neither....We have now violated everything that we stand for. It is the first time in my life I have been ashamed of my country." -- NPR's Nina Totenberg discussing secret CIA prisons for captured terrorists, Inside Washington, November 4, 2005.
# "I don't support our troops....When you volunteer for the U.S. military...you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism....I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea." -- Los Angeles Times columnist and former Time staff writer Joel Stein in a January 24, 2006 column.
# "Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded [on 9/11]....We're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it, I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us." -- CBS's Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, September 10, 2006.
-- Brent Baker