How the Media See Their Job
Moderator Gordon Peterson: “Are the mainstream media bashing the President unfairly?”
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas: “Well, our job is to bash the President. That’s what we do.”
— Inside Washington, February 2. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Trumpeting the Tears of a Tyrant
Co-host Diane Sawyer: “A number of people have already said, ‘Is there anything surprising, personal about [Iranian] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad that we didn’t know?’ Well, it turns out, someone told me he cries a lot. That he is dramatically sentimental and sympathetic if someone comes up and expresses a personal plight. So I just asked him, are you often in tears?”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Yes, that’s true. Not only for Iranians, of course, they are very close to me and I love all Iranians. And anywhere, when I see people suffering, I have the same reaction....Even when I see on TV that, for example, some Americans, because of tornadoes or a hurricane, they have lost their homes, I become sad.”
— ABC’s Good Morning America, February 13.
Iran No Worse than America
“A war of words, Wolf, heating up between the United States and Iran. U.S. officials yesterday showing off what they call a growing body of evidence that Iranian weapons are being used to kill coalition soldiers in Iraq. They say that Iran is making the violence worse there by providing Shiite groups with technology, money, and training.... Reminiscent, Wolf, of the war in Afghanistan, when Russia invaded. It seems to me we were, the United States was supplying weapons and intelligence and things like that to the Afghan rebels....So, that was okay but it’s not okay if Iran — I’m, I’m confused, Wolf.”
— CNN’s Jack Cafferty, The Situation Room, February 12. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Not Surrendering Fast Enough
“If they [Democrats] can’t pass a kind of symbolic vote, how do they ever have the strength to do something more serious?... Put yourself in the position of Joe and Mary Smith living somewhere across this country right now and you’ve watched these politicians for more than a month talk about passing a symbolic vote. Does it amount to little more than them ringing someone’s door bell and running away?”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer to Washington bureau chief Tim Russert on the February 19 Today.
NBC: Soldiers See “Lost Cause”...
Reporter Richard Engel: “[Staff Sergeant Chris] Copley and others wondered what are they doing out here?”
Sgt. Chris Copley: “It is pretty much almost a lost cause. I mean, nothing it seems we do is doing any good. Every country goes through a civil war....”
Engel: “The soldiers....all told me it’s time to end this war. The soldiers also asked why it seems from here there are no plans to end the war, just discussions of battle tactics.”
— Story about Engel’s day with a group of soldiers from the First Infantry Division, February 9 NBC Nightly News. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
...But on ABC, GIs See “Treason”
Reporter Jake Tapper: “Trying to seem strong on military issues, Democrats lined up veterans of Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as their first speakers in favor of the anti-surge resolution....ABC News asked these Army sergeants in Ramadi what they thought of the resolution.”
First Sergeant Louis Barnum: “It makes me sick. I was born and raised a Democrat, but when I see that it just kind of makes me sad.”
Sergeant Brian Orzechoski: “I don’t want to bad-mouth the President at all. I mean, to me it’s treason.”
— ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, February 13. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Money “Poured Down the Hole”
Co-anchor Jim Clancy: “Do you have any idea at all how much money in U.S. taxes have poured down the hole, so to speak, in Iraq?...”
Tom Foreman: “How much money has been spent on Iraq? The Priorities Project estimates enough to hire more than six million teachers, enough to build more than 700 new elementary schools in each state. Eight million police officers could be hired, or six million cargo inspectors for ports. Or, we figure, every American driver could get free gasoline for a year....In the time it took you to watch this story, Iraq cost America almost a half million dollars more.”
— CNN’s Your World Today, February 6.
Al Gore, Global Warming Prophet
“Former Vice President Al Gore and Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson....announced here in London today that they are teaming up to save the planet, offering a $25 million prize to fight global warming....[to Branson] You’ve only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?”
— CBS’s Harry Smith on The Early Show, February 9.
A Message from Mr. Tolerance
“Look at the little empires that people like James Dobson or Pat Robertson run. They are despotic, Third World fiefdoms where these guys fly around with bodyguards and Lear jets and amass hundreds of millions of dollars taken from people who live on the margins of American soci-ety...The image that they present of Jesus and of the Christian is essentially a warrior cult. I mean, it is that obsession with violence, it’s that notion that America can use its imperial power and use its violence to create a Christian society. They condemn...other religion as satanic, I mean, they’re constantly blasting Islam, nominal Christians, liberals. It is a message that’s deeply anti-Christian and I think filled with a lot of bigotry and a lot of intolerance.”
— Former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, author of the book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, on the February 8 Colbert Report on Comedy Central. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
CBS’s Selective Poll Reporting
“Tomorrow the House will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush’s Iraq troop build up. But our new CBS News poll shows a majority of Americans wants Congress to go even further. A total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely.”
— CBS’s Katie Couric on the February 12 Evening News.
“When it comes to what Congress ought to do about the war in Iraq, the public remains divided, much as it was last month....44% would like to see Congress pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq. Nearly the same percentage — 45% — oppose the resolution.”
— CBSNews.com report on the same poll, February 12.
Don’t Expect Hardballs from Chris
“On behalf of our producers here and everybody that works at MSNBC, we would like a lot to have your candidate, Barack Obama....on a town meeting with college students at some college, perhaps, of his choice....It’s a great platform for a guy who, clearly, according to my kids, and maybe me, too, the kid in me, appeals to the youth of America and the young at heart. There’s no doubt what you say is true. He does draw on something deeply good about this country. And we will have to see whether he can really deliver.”
— Host Chris Matthews to Obama campaign aide David Axelrod on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 19.
Read His Lips: No More Ranches
“[Former New York City Mayor Rudy] Giuliani is the city guy, and I’m so sick of southern guys with ranches running this country. I want a guy to run for President who doesn’t have a f***ing — I’m sorry, a ranch. Wouldn’t that be good, Don, a guy who wasn’t on the ranch during Katrina, he was on the street corner answering questions?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to host Don Imus on Imus in the Morning, February 7. Matthews’ expletive was censored from the radio version, but not MSNBC’s simulcast. [Warning: Audio and video clips contain an uncensored vulgarity.] (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Sorry Hillary, Bush Is the Worst
“A year ago I criticized Hillary Clinton for saying ‘this (Bush) administration will go down in history as one of the worst.’ ‘She’s wrong,’ I wrote. Then I rated these five presidents, in this order, as the worst: Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, Hoover and Richard Nixon. ‘It’s very unlikely Bush can crack that list,’ I added. I was wrong. This is my mea culpa. Not only has Bush cracked that list, but he is planted firmly at the top. The Iraq war, of course, has become Bush’s albatross....Bush admitting his many mistakes on Iraq and ending that fiasco might make many of us forgive, even though we can never forget the terrible toll in lives and dollars.”
— USA Today founder Al Neuharth in a February 16 column.
Prefers Suicide to Rosie O’Donnell
Host Michael Eisner: “How would you have done it if you had been in that same position [as co-host of ABC’s The View] and Rosie O’Donnell just came in to replace Star Jones. Could you control her?”
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira, laughing: “I was gonna say I would have gone out into the alley with a gun and done away with me. I mean, again, extremely strong-minded, very opinionated person, and that’s what the show is about. But it’s hard to rein people in.”
— CNBC’s Conversations with Michael Eisner, February 14.
Bush “Vain Half-Wit” & “Gilligan”
“Joe Scarborough did a whole week of panel discussions on whether he [President Bush] was an idiot....People who were defending him were saying, ‘Well, he’s just inarticulate.’ But inarticulate doesn’t explain foreign policy. I mean, it’s not that complicated. The man is a rube. He is a dolt. He is a yokel on the world stage. He is a Gilligan who cannot find his ass with two hands. He is a vain half-wit who interrupts one incoherent sentence with another incoherent sentence. And I hope I’m not piling on, Jay.”
— HBO’s Bill Maher on NBC’s Tonight Show, February 20. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Mike Rule, Scott Whitlock and Justin McCarthy
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Michael Chapman
CIRCULATION MANAGER: Holly Schnitzler