Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Wednesday, 9:30pm ET/PT

ABC and AP Focus on Those Upset by Bush's "Lavish" Inauguration --1/17/2005


1. ABC and AP Focus on Those Upset by Bush's "Lavish" Inauguration
ABC focused on how "some," and AP on how "many," are upset by a "lavish" inaugural in the midst of a war. ABC anchor Terry Moran teased at the top of Sunday's World News Tonight: "In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?" Geoff Morrell proceeded to relay the complaints of one anti-war activist and a rich sports owner who had voted for Bush. Without mentioning how FDR was near-death at the time, Morrell contrasted Bush with how "during World War II Franklin Roosevelt opted not to have a parade or a party -- just a White House swearing in followed by a small luncheon of chicken salad and pound cake." The AP headlined a Thursday night AP dispatch: "Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration." The AP's Will Lester led with how the $40 million for the inaugural could buy "200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq" or "vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami."

2. Washington Post: Kerry Didn't Favor Abortion & Same-Sex Marriage
Setting out to determine why those in Red America voted for President Bush, Washington Post reporter David Von Drehle corrected one Oklahoman woman who explained: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that." Though Kerry was endorsed by pro-abortion groups and was one of a small number of Senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, Von Drehle countered in a Washington Post Magazine article on Sunday: "Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter. But Joyce Smith heard it the way she heard it, and voted the way she voted."

3. 6 Days After CBS Panel Report Net Devotes Whole Show to Kennedy
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume marveled at how the first Face the Nation, after the CBS panel's report documented the network's hostility to President Bush, devoted the entire show to Senator Ted Kennedy who made a speech earlier in the week railing against Bush policies. Hume noted that the White House offered Communications Director Dan Bartlett "and CBS said, 'thank you, no' -- peculiar behavior for people who were only recently saying they wanted to make a, quote, 'fresh start' with the White House." Schieffer and co-panelist Dan Balz, a Washington Post reporter, tossed a series of softballs to Kennedy, prompting him for his "reaction" to Bush's claims. Balz echoed Senate Democrats: "Given the legal advice that Alberto Gonzales provided that led to some of these [prisoner abuse] scandals, are you going to vote to confirm him or will you oppose him to be the next Attorney General?"

4. Williams Frets CBS's "Mistakes...Obscured....Legitimate Story"
NPR commentator Juan Williams, a former Washington Post reporter, fretted on Fox News Sunday that because of CBS's "mistakes," the real "story has been lost in terms of Bush and the National Guard. And it was a legitimate story" which "has been obscured, pushed off, even while you had Swift Boat Veterans going after someone who was a legitimate war hero, John Kerry. So it was very much a real story in this campaign." Brit Hume countered that it may have been a legitimate story in 2000 before Americans learned what kind of Commander-in-Chief Bush would be, but after his years in office that question had been answered.

5. Carlson: Unlike at CBS, Bush Staffers Not Held Accountable
Time magazine's Margaret Carlson unfavorably contrasted CBS News with how President Bush has handled personnel matters. For her "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday's Capital Gang, Carlson noted that "President Bush was quote, 'pleased' CBS fired four people," but she contrasted that with how "Bush himself does the opposite. No architect of the Iraqi mess, for instance, is gone." She concluded: "Tell the truth in Bush land, you're dead. Screw up, you get the Medal of Freedom."

6. "Top Ten Perks of Being the New White House Dog"
Letterman's "Top Ten Perks of Being the New White House Dog."


ABC and AP Focus on Those Upset by Bush's
"Lavish" Inauguration

ABC's Terry Moran ABC focused on how "some," and AP on how "many," are upset by a "lavish" inaugural in the midst of a war. ABC anchor Terry Moran teased at the top of Sunday's World News Tonight: "In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?" Geoff Morrell proceeded to relay the complaints of one anti-war activist and a rich sports owner who had voted for Bush. Without mentioning how FDR was near-death at the time, Morrell contrasted Bush with how "during World War II Franklin Roosevelt opted not to have a parade or a party -- just a White House swearing in followed by a small luncheon of chicken salad and pound cake." The AP headlined a Thursday night AP dispatch: "Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration." The AP's Will Lester led with how the $40 million for the inaugural could buy "200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq" or "vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami."

On Friday, Rush Limbaugh ridiculed the AP story, noting that it could be argued that anyone's spending on anything could be better allocated to a needier cause.

The ABC story featured Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. The far-left TomPaine.com Web site posted a letter she wrote to Time magazine in which she railed against the magazine for making the man who "betrayed this country," George W. Bush, its Person of the Year. She complained:
"To top everything off -- after it has been proven that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, there were no ties between Saddam and 9/11 and over 1,300 brave young people in this country are dead and Iraq lies in ruins -- what does Time magazine do? Names George W. Bush as its 'Man of the Year.' The person who betrayed this country into a needless war and whom I hold ultimately responsible for my son's death and who was questionably elected, again, to a second term, is honored this way by your magazine."

For Sheehan's letter in full: www.tompaine.com

Moran teased on Sunday night, January 16: "On World News Tonight/Sunday, President Bush prepares for his second inauguration. In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?"

Moran set up the subsequent story: "Half a million people, nearly all paid or invited ticket holders, are expected to line the parade route where there will be an unprecedented level of security. It includes anti-aircraft missile batteries, snipers and patrols in the air and on the water. Six thousand law enforcement officers from across the country will be in the nation's capital, along with 7,000 military troops and they will be helping to seal off 100 square blocks of the city, which will be off limits to people without tickets or permission to be there. A sign of the times for sure. So the first inaugural events will kick off on Tuesday. The total cost associated with all the parties and ceremonies are expected to exceed $140 million. And some people are asking whether it's the right time for a celebration like this. Here's ABC's Geoff Morrell."

ABC's Geoff Morrell Morrell began with Sheehan: "In northern California this weekend, Cindy Sheehan packs for President Bush's inaugural, but there is no ball gown in her suitcase. She lost her son Casey in Iraq last April and is coming to Washington this week to protest the festivities."
Cindy Sheehan: "It's exactly the wrong time to be celebrating."
Morrell: "Sheehan's not alone. Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban, who twice voted for President Bush, is urging him to 'do the right thing,' cancel the inauguration parties. The parties and parade will cost a record $40 million, paid for by private donations, but that does not include security, which will run the District of Columbia $17 million, nor does it account for the nearly $85 million federal employees will be paid to take Thursday off. Inaugural planners insist the four-day celebration will tastefully reflect the fact the nation is at war. At least three events will honor the military, including a presidential ball for 2,000 troops just back from the front lines."
Tracey Schmitt, Inaugural Committee: "Well, I think you'll find that the entire week really will pay tribute to the men and women of our military and celebrate the very ideals they are fighting for."
Morrell: "However during World War II, Franklin Roosevelt opted not to have a parade or a party -- just a White House swearing in followed by a small luncheon of chicken salad and pound cake."
Michael Beschloss, presidential historian: "He felt that after nearly four years at war, the country really was not ready for a lavish, happy celebration."
Morrell: "But President Bush prefers the pageantry of a traditional inaugural."
Sheehan: "I think a simple inauguration would have been more appropriate."
Morrell concluded: "The millions saved, Cindy Sheehan says, would be better spent equipping troops in Iraq. Geoff Morrell, ABC News, Washington."

It should also be noted that FDR's fourth inaugural came after years of war in which more Americans often were killed in a week than have been killed in nearly two years in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For a picture of Sheehan in an earlier CBS piece: www.cbsnews.com

ABC's story matched what AP put out on Thursday night, January 13, from Washington bureau reporter Will Lester. An excerpt:

Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration

ABC On-screen graphicPresident Bush's second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars -- $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?

- 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.

- Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.

- A down payment on the nation's deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.

- Two years' salary for the Mets' new center fielder Carlos Beltran, or all of pitcher Randy Johnson's contract extension with the New York Yankees.

Weeks ago, the inauguration and its accompanying costs were considered a given, an historic ceremony with all the pomp, pageantry and celebrations that the nation had come to expect every four years.

But a recent confluence of events -- the tsunami natural disaster, Bush's warning about Social Security finances and the $5 billion-a-month price tag for the war in Iraq -- have many Americans now wondering why spend the money the second time around.

While the Presidential Inaugural Committee hopes to raise $40 million in private donations for the balls, parades and candlelight dinners for high-roller donors, millions of government dollars will be spent on construction of the platform and stands at the Capitol, police overtime, military personnel and the tightest security for the first post-Sept. 11 inaugural.

The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Roosevelt's inauguration during World War II...

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush -- twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.

"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the...devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.

Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."

END of Excerpt

For the AP article in full: news.yahoo.com

For the transcript of Limbaugh's January 14 criticism of the AP story: www.rushlimbaugh.com

Washington Post: Kerry Didn't Favor Abortion
& Same-Sex Marriage

Setting out to determine why those in Red America voted for President Bush, Washington Post reporter David Von Drehle corrected one Oklahoman woman who explained: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that." Though Kerry was endorsed by pro-abortion groups and was one of a small number of Senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, Von Drehle countered in a Washington Post Magazine article on Sunday: "Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter. But Joyce Smith heard it the way she heard it, and voted the way she voted."

For his lengthy January 16 article, "The Red Sea: Want to know why George Bush won? Set sail into the crimson heart of America," Von Drehle recounted an early December drive he and a photographer took through the Red counties from Waco, Nebraska south to Crawford, Texas.

An excerpt, picking up with his arrival in Oklahoma:

....On a warm, blustery morning we headed south from Oklahoma City past ranch houses with American flags snapping and popping on front-yard poles. At a gas station in Asher, we spoke to Joyce Smith, an immaculate woman in a bright red suit with her hair neatly done under a scarf. She was driving her husband, James, from their home in Coalgate to the capital for some medical tests. She smiled when we asked about her vote.

"Well, you know, real Bible-believing Christians are in a minority in this country," she answered, "so I was a little concerned that Kerry could win. I am so thankful that he didn't. See, I believe if our president has good morals, our country will be blessed, and if he doesn't, we won't. That's what the Bible says, in the Old Testament."

Smith has led "quite a life," as she put it -- abandoned by one husband in the Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo; widowed by husband No. 2 with retirement approaching and no nest egg. Through it all, she kept the faith she first professed when she was 12 years old, having been coaxed to baptism by her sixth-grade teacher.

"I've been blessed," Smith said, gesturing toward James, her third husband, a retired rural mail carrier with a good pension and benefits.

She was too polite to say, in so many words, that she felt John Kerry was a man of bad morals. Instead, she put it this way: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."

Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter. But Joyce Smith heard it the way she heard it, and voted the way she voted....

END of Excerpt

For Von Drehle's article in full, with an image of the cover of the magazine which features a photo of Joyce Smith and her husband, go to: www.washingtonpost.com

If Von Drehle really believes a voter, who thought a John Kerry presidency would be friendly to those for abortion and same-sex marriage, would have been wrong to think so, then he illustrates how out of touch the Blue state media are with reality.

6 Days After CBS Panel Report Net Devotes
Whole Show to Kennedy

Fox News Channel's Brit Hume On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume marveled at how the first Face the Nation, after the CBS panel's report documented the network's hostility to President Bush, devoted the entire show to Senator Ted Kennedy who made a speech earlier in the week railing against Bush policies. Hume noted that the White House offered Communications Director Dan Bartlett "and CBS said, 'thank you, no' -- peculiar behavior for people who were only recently saying they wanted to make a, quote, 'fresh start' with the White House." Schieffer and co-panelist Dan Balz, a Washington Post reporter, tossed a series of softballs to Kennedy, prompting him for his "reaction" to Bush's claims. Balz echoed Senate Democrats: "Given the legal advice that Alberto Gonzales provided that led to some of these [prisoner abuse] scandals, are you going to vote to confirm him or will you oppose him to be the next Attorney General?"

On the January 16 Fox News Sunday, Hume scolded the panel for coming up short in two areas:
"One was, you know, the continuation of Dan Rather in the job, really, which, you know, may have not been theirs to speak to, but the whole thing looks a little odd. You know, Rather's involved, deeply involved in the story, and yet -- and he's retiring in a couple of months but not from the program from which the story emanated. That looks a little odd.
"The other thing, of course, is this matter of bias, which you showed Lou Boccardi talking about. CBS is behaving as if it's been fully acquitted of bias. It seems to me that what the panel was saying is that there wasn't enough evidence at this point to indict, which is not quite the same. And I think that, you know, there was plenty of evidence nonetheless. They chose not to indict, but I think CBS still has a problem with that.
"And you saw it again today. Ted Kennedy makes a very partisan speech this week. Ted Kennedy is not the large figure that he once was in American life and probably will never be again. And he is the soul guest on the CBS program this morning. The White House was happy to put Dan Bartlett or somebody else on that program, and CBS said, 'thank you, no' -- peculiar behavior for people who were only recently saying they wanted to make a, quote, 'fresh start' with the White House."

Indeed, after a three minute update from David Martin in Iraq, Bob Schieffer devoted the entire Face the Nation to Kennedy's attacks on the Bush administration. The questions posed:

-- Schieffer: "We're going to turn now to Senator Edward Kennedy, truly an icon of the liberal left, and one of the most influential members of the Democratic Party. Senator Kennedy, in an interview published this morning in The Washington Post, President Bush says his re-election validated his Iraq policy and he infers that the election takes care of questions about accountability for whatever mistakes and misjudgments were made. I want to take a look here at exactly what the president said. And here's the quote: 'We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.' The direct quote from President Bush. What is your reaction, Senator?"

-- Schieffer: "So what should the United States do now? Should we pull out?"

-- Schieffer: "Let me just ask you one more question about this. Let's say once we get past the election and things are not getting any better in your view, then should we start to think about withdrawing?"

-- Balz: "Let me ask one more question on Iraq. And that is, the elections are two weeks off. Do you share President Bush's optimism that democracy can be brought to a country like Iraq? And what do you think the elections could do to provide legitimacy for that policy?"

-- Balz: "Let me turn now to the biggest domestic battle that's seen on the horizon which is President Bush's plan to try to introduce private savings accounts into the Social Security system as a way to reform it and guarantee its financial stability. It was reported today in the New York Times that the President and the White House have enlisted the Social Security Administration to help make the case that the system is in crisis and to push for his accounts. What's your reaction to that and what should Democrats do about it?"

-- Balz: "Let me ask you this about the crisis of the system. You say Social Security is not in crisis. You did say last week at the Press Club that the Medicare system may be a bigger crisis than Social Security. By the middle of this century, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume at least three-quarters of all domestic spending -- all federal spending other than interest on the debt. Why aren't Democrats coming forward with their own plan to deal with these problems?"

-- "How will we pay for that?"

-- Schieffer: "And we're back again with Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator, I want to go back to what we were talking about at the top of the program. The President says that his election means that his Iraq policy was validated. Different people have given different reasons why they think President Bush won this election. Why do you think he won?"

-- Balz: "Senator, over the weekend, former Army Specialist Charles Graner was sentenced to 10 years for his role in the torture of prisoners in Iraq. Given the legal advice that Alberto Gonzales provided that led to some of these scandals, are you going to vote to confirm him or will you oppose him to be the next Attorney General?"

-- Schieffer: "Senator, as you look forward to the next administration and this coming administration, can you at this point see any program that you believe you can work with this administration on and, if so, what would that be?"
Kennedy: "Well, I would hope so in the areas of education..."

-- Schieffer: "How do you get along with the President these days?"

Williams Frets CBS's "Mistakes...Obscured....Legitimate
Story"

NPR commentator Juan Williams, a former Washington Post reporter, fretted on Fox News Sunday that because of CBS's "mistakes," the real "story has been lost in terms of Bush and the National Guard. And it was a legitimate story" which "has been obscured, pushed off, even while you had Swift Boat Veterans going after someone who was a legitimate war hero, John Kerry. So it was very much a real story in this campaign." Brit Hume countered that it may have been a legitimate story in 2000 before Americans learned what kind of Commander-in-Chief Bush would be, but after his years in office that question had been answered.

NPR commentator Juan Williams Williams opined during the panel segment on the January 16 Fox News Sunday: "Well, I think that, you know, when you think about what CBS has done here, from a journalistic point of view -- I mean, let's -- you know, there's an anti-steroid policy now in baseball. Let's take it away in terms of news, you know, hate or love CBS, all the rest. Forget that for a second. Let's talk about the news. The story has been lost in terms of Bush and the National Guard. And it was a legitimate story, Bill [Kristol]. It wasn't a matter of beating the bushes.
"This story had been around for a long time. President Bush had refrained from speaking out about it, not answered questions about it. There were legitimate questions about whether or not he had reported....So that is the problem that you have here. They were going after it. And now, because of the mistakes they made, that story has been obscured, pushed off, even while you had Swift Boat Veterans going after someone who was a legitimate war hero, John Kerry. So it was very much a real story in this campaign."
Hume: "Now, hold it."
Kristol: "It's revealing that you compare CBS with Swift Boat Veterans. Because the normal line, of course, is Swift Boat Veterans are a bunch of partisans-"
Williams: "Well, they were."
Kristol: "-who play fast and loose with the truth."
Williams: "They did."
Kristol: "CBS, exalted, non-partisan news organization."
Williams: "And they were pushed-"
Kristol: "CBS's behavior was worse, in my view, than the Swift Boat Veterans."
Williams: "No, I don't think that's the case."
Hume: "Juan, let me make a couple points about this. This story -- let's assume the story as CBS presented it was true and that Bush had been given favorable treatment in the National Guard. The story had been around for a while, the accusation had been around for a while. When President Bush was up for election the first time, we had no real way of knowing or any idea of what kind of Commander-in-Chief he would be, which is obviously what we care about. That's what stories like this may shed light on.
"So, he gets elected. The story is still kind of hovering out there. We now watch him for three-and-a-half years dealing with a wartime situation. We go into two wars under him. Now we have an idea what kind of Commander-in-Chief he would be. This story about whether he got favoritism in the Air National Guard had lost its news value. It didn't matter anymore. And the obsession that CBS had with it was remarkable. One of the things pointed out in the report that was very good, was that they were talking about the interview that was done with Ben Barnes, who was an official who thought he might have helped Bush because a family friend asked him to, it was never very clear. They said it didn't have any news value. They said it wasn't newsworthy. It wasn't newsworthy.
"What's striking about this, and perhaps the best evidence of bias at all, as Bill suggests, is that CBS was still pursuing this Captain Ahab or this Moby Dick of a story after all these years when the public already had plenty of basis to judge Bush."

Carlson: Unlike at CBS, Bush Staffers
Not Held Accountable

Time magazine's Margaret Carlson unfavorably contrasted CBS News with how President Bush has handled personnel matters. For her "Outrage of the Week" on Saturday's Capital Gang, Carlson noted that "President Bush was quote, 'pleased' CBS fired four people," but she contrasted that with how "Bush himself does the opposite. No architect of the Iraqi mess, for instance, is gone." She concluded: "Tell the truth in Bush land, you're dead. Screw up, you get the Medal of Freedom."

Carlson's "Outrage of the Week" on the January 15 Capital Gang on CNN: "President Bush was quote, 'pleased' CBS fired four people, although Bush himself does the opposite. No architect of the Iraqi mess, for instance, is gone. Meanwhile, the White House let go the Inspector General of Homeland Security for reporting that known felons manned airport security, little cargo was being inspected, there was no terrorist list and that Tom Ridge spent a half a million dollars to throw a party to celebrate the mess. After Dr. David Graham testified that Vioxx killed 55,000 people, he now feels like a pariah at the Food and Drug Administration. Tell the truth in Bush land, you're dead. Screw up, you get the Medal of Freedom."

"Top Ten Perks of Being the New White
House Dog"

From the January 14 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by First Lady Laura Bush's gift of a Scottish terrier named "Miss Beazley" to President Bush, the "Top Ten Perks of Being the New White House Dog." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. You're one of the few dogs that is smarter than his master.

9. Heart worm? I think Cheney's got a pill for that.

8. If you eat the President's briefing papers, it's not like he'll notice.

7. "Miss Beazley" isn't half as ridiculous as "Condoleezza"

6. K-9 color blindness means you don't have to worry about that terror chart crap.

5. Cannot be put in a kennel without approval of both the House and Senate.

4. Rumsfeld smells like bacon.

3. Get the same high-quality leashes that are used on Abu Ghraib prisoners.

2. At the rate Bush's Cabinet members are leaving, will be a senior advisor in no time.

1. An owner who sleeps as much as you do!


In sign that some of Red America, or at least some Red people from Blue America, make up the audience in the Ed Sullivan Theater, #10 and #3 earned loud groans from the audience, forcing Letterman to pause.


-- Brent Baker