Tape: Proof of Bush’s Ineptitude...
“In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal dis-aster officials warned President Bush and his Homeland Security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage....”
— Lead paragraph of a March 1 AP dispatch on briefings given to President Bush prior to Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, a story which provoked widespread coverage claiming the President had been warned of a levee “breach.”
...Or AP’s Anti-Bush Attitude?
“In a Wednesday story, the Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his Homeland Security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing. The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.”
— An AP “clarification” released late on Friday, March 3.
MSNBC: Tape Shows Breach Alert
MSNBC’s David Shuster: “Clearly, the President’s team did anticipate the breach. This teleconference video from the day before the storm reached New Orleans shows the President was warned the breach was possible, and the tape shows the President’s team openly worried about the outcome. Max Mayfield, a leading hurricane expert, warned of massive devastation. Then, Mayfield directly addressed the reliability of the levees.”
Max Mayfield, August 28 video conference: “I don’t think anyone can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern.”
— MSNBC’s Hardball, March 2. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
NBC: No Warning of Levee Breach
“Today, [hurricane expert Max] Mayfield told NBC News that he warned only that the levees might be topped, not breached, and that on the many conference calls he monitored, ‘nobody talked about the possibility of a levee breach or failure until after it happened.’”
— NBC’s Lisa Myers on the March 2 Nightly News, at about the same time Shuster’s story was on MSNBC. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Still Waiting for Iraq’s “Civil War”
“There is no other way to put it: Iraq exploded today. It began when at least three bombs went off inside a Shiite mosque in Samarra that is one of Iraq’s holiest shrines.... Some are saying Iraq has been plunged into civil war.”
— Anchor Bob Schieffer introducing the CBS Evening News on February 22.
“Just as the United States is struggling to bring peace and order to Iraq, there is real fear tonight that the country could be headed instead towards civil war.”
— Fill-in anchor John Roberts beginning the August 29, 2003 CBS Evening News.
“Tonight, the deadliest day in Iraq since the fall of Saddam: a series of attacks target Shiite Muslims, raising new fears of civil war.”
— Dan Rather opening the March 2, 2004 Evening News.
“I’m Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?”
— Schieffer beginning the May 19, 2005 Evening News.
“What do you think, Kelly? Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?”
— Anchor John Roberts to correspondent Kelly Cobiella on the January 1, 2006 CBS Evening News.
Public Is Catching Our Pessimism
“An ABC News/Washington Post poll out today suggests that Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation in Iraq. Eight in ten Americans believe a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis is likely.“
— Elizabeth Vargas, ABC’s World News Tonight, March 6.
ABC’s Complaint: No War Protests
“Bitterly cold and covered in snow, Kent State seems a world away from Baghdad. Most students here, and on campuses across the country, are too busy studying, socializing — even sleeping, to worry much about the war in Iraq....Such indifference is surprising at this school, a hotbed of anti-war protests during Vietnam, and still popular with liberals....Indeed, most students we spoke with oppose the war, but believe they are powerless to stop it.”
— ABC’s Geoff Morrell reporting from Kent State University on World News Tonight, February 26. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Teacher Offends, Student Blamed
“The family here, the student’s family, didn’t go to the school board with this tape....They basically shopped it around to conservative media outlets and, when they finally released it to one, it created an uproar, and on the tape you can hear [student] Sean Allen asking you questions that seem to be egging you on a little bit. Do you feel you were set up?”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer on the March 7 Today interviewing suspended high school teacher Jay Bennish, who was recorded telling students the U.S. was the “most violent nation” and comparing George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler.
A Catholic Town? How Awful!
“Some of the values, depending on your perspective... may be deemed wholesome, but in other ways, I think, people will see this community as eschewing diversity and promoting intolerance....Do you think the tenets of the community might result in de facto segregation as a result of some of the beliefs that are being espoused by the majority of the residents there?...You can understand how people would hear some of these things and be like, wow, this is really infringing on civil liberties and freedom of speech and right to privacy and all sorts of basic tenets that this country was founded on. Right?”
— NBC’s Katie Couric on the March 3 Today, questioning Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan and real-estate developer Paul Marinelli, who are building a community based on Catholic values in Ave Maria, Florida. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Right-Wing Conspiracy Exposed
“It was revealed today that the [Supreme] Court’s newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sent a personal thank you note to a conservative Christian leader who supported his nomination. James Dobson, the founder of the group Focus on the Family, is a leading opponent of abortion. Dobson read the note in his radio program today, quoting Alito as saying he appreciated those who prayed for him and he’ll remember the trust that’s been placed in him.”
— Fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell, CBS Evening News, March 1.
Helen Wants Even More Bias
“Starting after 9/11, they [the Washington press corps] rolled over and played dead — they were so afraid of being called unpatriotic and un-American and they thought the American people were watching on television. They lost their guts and they did a lousy job.... We’ve killed people in torture. That’s not us — is it? Where is the outrage?”
— Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas in a Q&A with the liberal Center for American Progress and posted on the group’s Web site February 28.
Bush, Like a Sneaky Drug Dealer
“He’s coming in [to Pakistan] like a drug dealer. I mean, having to sneak in like that, with the lights off, with the windows slammed shut on the plane. Is this a security question, really, or is it a problem of that government? Is it a problem that within the security service in Pakistan there are people out to hurt the President?...What message [does] this sends to the people of Pakistan? They know how the President’s coming in over there. Guess what, the leader of the greatest nation in the world, our ally in the war against terrorism, had to sneak into the country last night by cover of night.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on the March 3 Hardball, asking security expert Roger Cressey and former Clinton aide David Gergen about President Bush’s Pakistan trip. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Praising Publisher’s Left Turn
“Mr. Chandler was given the reins of the newspaper in 1960, bringing with him a reputation as a ruggedly handsome golden boy with a preference for body-building over journalism. But he shed that image as publisher as he set about remaking what was then a provincial, lightly regarded daily. Almost immediately he angered family members and local Republicans by shifting the paper from its right-wing bias to a more centrist outlook.”
— New York Times reporter Jonathan Kandell in his February 28 obituary of former Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler.
“For much of its early existence, the Los Angeles Times was a profitable laughingstock. Like the Chandler clan, its politics were squarely with the reactionary arm of the Republican Party: pugnaciously anti-union, starkly anti-communist and gleefully burying important news of Democratic political candidates....[Chandler] displayed a remarkable independence that confronted the paper’s long-held prejudices.”
— Washington Post staff writer Adam Bernstein in his obituary of Chandler, February 28.
The Gospel According to D.L.
“If I hear one more person tell me how this man [President Bush] is a man of faith, I think I’ll lose my mother-f***ing mind [audience applause]. Let me tell you why. I’ll tell you why. He left his ranch in Crawford to see about one woman, Terry Schiavo, he left his ranch early. But when thousands and thousands of people were being, dying in New Orleans, this son of a bitch didn’t do sh*t, and that’s very un-Christlike to me [applause]. To me, Christ certainly cared more about the poor than he did Halliburton.”
— Actor/comedian D. L. Hughley on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, March 3. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio) (WARNING: Audio and video clips contain uncensored vulgarities.)
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule, Scott Whitlock
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERN: Matthew von de Crommert