Ode to the “Charismatic Commie”
“To some, Fidel Castro is a romantic revolutionary. To others, he’s a ruthless and absolute dictator. But regardless of your opinion of the man, there is no doubt but that he is a towering historic figure, and meeting and interviewing him was one of the most memorable experiences of a young reporter’s life....After Castro fainted during a 2001 speech and later fell and shattered an arm and kneecap in 2004, people on both sides of the Fidel divide started thinking about life after the charismatic commie who successfully defied the world’s greatest power for almost half a century. Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Fidel Castro has had a great run.”
— Geraldo Rivera on Fox’s Geraldo at Large, August 1. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
The “Comforts of Communism”
“When outsiders think of Cuba, it’s often the lack of political freedoms and economic power that comes to mind. Cubans who have chosen to stay on the island, however, are quick to point out the positives: safe streets, a rich and accessible cultural life, a leisurely lifestyle to enjoy with family and friends....For all its flaws, life in Castro’s Cuba has its comforts, and unknown alternatives are not automatically more attractive....Many foreigners consider it propaganda when Castro’s government enumerates its accomplishments, but many Cubans take pride in their free education system, high literacy rates and top-notch doctors. Ardent Castro supporters say life in the United States, in contrast, seems selfish, superficial, and — despite its riches — ultimately unsatisfying.”
— Associated Press writer Vanessa Arrington in an Aug. 4 dispatch, “Some Cubans enjoy comforts of communism.”
Ideologues Snookered Dumb Bush
“It’s all ideology with this crowd. All they care about is ideology. The President bought it hook, line and sinker. It was just put into his head sometime after 9/11. And his philosophy is what was given to him. He didn’t have any philosophy when he went in and they handed it to him....Every single thing that’s happened in Iraq was predicted by his-tory....Ten, twenty years from now, when kids are reading this in high school, they’re going to say, ‘Why were the Americans so dumb? They made the same mistakes all the Europeans had made before.’...Bush didn’t have the academic background to challenge them....I think the next President’s got to be stronger and smarter than this one.”
— Hardball host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning, July 25. (With MP3 audio)
CNN Exposes Big Media Cover-Up
“One of the big stories this week, perhaps under-reported, top U.S. generals now acknowledging — guess what? — the Iraq situation may be on the verge of a civil war.”
— Anchor Wolf Blitzer to Jack Cafferty on CNN’s The Situation Room, August 4.
“Tonight, a stunning change of tone about Iraq. The American generals in charge warn of the brink of civil war.”
— ABC substitute anchor Diane Sawyer teasing her lead story on the August 3 World News with Charles Gibson.
“I am Bob Schieffer. ‘As bad as I have seen it, and moving towards civil war.’ That’s how America’s top commander in Iraq described the situation there today....”
— Schieffer opening the August 3 CBS Evening News.
“Tonight, is civil war becoming a reality in Iraq? Two of the Pentagon’s most senior generals now say it looks that way.”
— Brian Williams beginning NBC Nightly News, Aug. 3.
“U.S. General Says Iraq Could Slide Into a Civil War”
— Front page headline in the August 4 New York Times.
“Generals Give Grim Report on Iraqi Strife”
— Lead headline in the August 4 Los Angeles Times.
Jack Admires Conyers’ Extremism
“Well, somebody’s finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud: We have a constitutional crisis in this country. So says Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. He’s the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. And in an upcoming report, he describes what he calls an alarming pattern by the Bush administration of operating outside the law....Conyers says the Bush administration may have broken a total of 26 separate laws and regulations.”
— CNN’s Jack Cafferty on The Situtation Room, August 2. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Touting Hillary’s “Dramatic Sign”
Substitute anchor Diane Sawyer: “We have some breaking political news tonight, George?”
George Stephanopoulos: “That’s right, Diane. You saw Senator Clinton in a hearing earlier today. Now, for the first time, she has called on President Bush to accept Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation....It’s a dramatic sign of how much the support for this war effort is slipping on Capitol Hill.”
— ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, August 3.
Osama bin Limbaugh?
“Our winner tonight, comedian Rush Limbaugh, [for] suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror: ‘Until those civilians start paying the price for propping up these kind of regimes, it’s not going to end, folks.’ That would be a little less alarming if it didn’t echo something another commentator said nine years ago: ‘The American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility because they chose this government and voted for it, despite their knowledge of its crimes.’ That was said by Osama bin Laden. Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today’s Worst Person in the World!”
— Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown, August 1. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Millionaires Appalled by Profit
Charles Gibson: “Today, ExxonMobil reported a profit number so big, it was staggering, even by oil company standards. ABC’s Betsy Stark takes a look at the numbers.”
Reporter Betsy Stark: “The earnings reported today are astounding....Look at it this way: In 30 seconds, the ExxonMobil corporation makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year.”
— ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, July 27.
Time to Boost Burden on Business
“For the nearly two million Americans who work for the minimum wage, the 10-year status quo has been painful. While their wages have stood still, rents have gone up 34 percent, the cost of seeing a doctor is up 30 percent; a gallon of milk is 29 percent more; a gallon of gas has more than doubled....Never in the history of the minimum wage has Congress gone this long without raising it.”
— Reporter Betsy Stark on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson, August 2.
America Followed Sinatra’s Arc
“It has been said that [Frank] Sinatra’s journey from skinny, starry-eyed ‘Frankie,’ strewing hearts and flowers, to the imperious, volatile Chairman of the Board roughly parallels an American loss of innocence. As Sinatra entered his noir period in the mid-1950s, his romantic faith gave way to a soul-searching existentialism that yielded the most psychologically complex popular music ever recorded. Following a similar arc, the country grew from a nation of hungry dreamers fleeing the Depression and fighting ‘the good war’ into an arrogant empire drunk on power and angry at the failure of the American dream to bring utopia.”
— New York Times critic Stephen Holden in an August 2 profile of singer Tony Bennett.
Connecticut’s Mr. Conservative?
“[Democrat Ned] Lamont knows that he mustn’t come across as a one-issue candidate. He has elaborate position papers, available on his Web site, on everything from civil liberties to the situation in the Middle East....They are the views of a fiscal conservative, a social liberal and a foreign-policy moderate. He is a few degrees to the right, generally speaking, of the bloggers who have championed him.”
— The Washington Post’s David Segal in a “Style” section profile of the ultra-liberal Senate candidate, Aug. 2.
Welcome to Bush’s Big Chill
PBS’s David Brancaccio: “But if you think this is just hyperbole, the idea of state censorship in America, but — it’s not that far of a leap. I mean, when the New York Times went to press with that [story revealing a U.S. program to monitor terrorists’ finances] there was a suggestion from one congressman that maybe the paper had violated the Espionage Act, and what follows from that is maybe you throw an editor in jail, or a reporter in jail.”
Journalism professor Orville Schell: “I think the effects of what the Bush administration has been doing are infinitely more chilling to the spirit of a free press than even they can imagine....”
Brancaccio: “But would you say the Bush administration has been successful? The news media is now cowed?”
Schell: “Yes. I think the Bush administration’s been very successful.”
— PBS’s Now, August 4.
I’m Not Biased, I’m “Correct”
“I’ve been accused of being a liberal, which is interesting because the last time I was on doing the news in the late ’90s, I did 218 consecutive shows about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, and no one accused me of being a liberal then. It’s very interesting the way you can be sort of pigeonholed. I like to think of myself politically as ‘correct.’ ...I don’t have a rooting interest other than in what happens to the country.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, appearing on CBS’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, July 28. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
NPR, Island of Ignorance
“Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam? (Answer: Korea.)”
— USA Today’s Peter Johnson beginning a July 25 profile of NPR’s Schorr, a longtime CBS news correspondent.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule and Scott Whitlock
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERNS: Eugene Gibilaro, Chadd Clark