Run, Dick, Run
“The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for President, I’ll kill myself. All we need is one more liar.”
— Hearst White House columnist Helen Thomas, as quoted in the “Under the Dome” column by Albert Eisele and Jeff Dufour in The Hill newspaper, July 28.
Must Not Have Heard Herself
“I’ve known John Roberts for years. I think it’s a very sensible pick in all serious ways. But I must say that when I was, spent five hours reviewing all of his documents from when he worked in the Justice Department, I was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on the July 30 Inside Washington. Totenberg had previously referred to Judge Roberts as “very, very conservative,” “very, very, very conservative,” “a really conservative guy,” “a conservative Catholic,” and “a hardline conservative.”
Nope. No Bias Here
“An Advocate for the Right.”
— Headline over a New York Times “news analysis” of Judge John Roberts’ judicial philosophy, July 28.
“Balanced Jurist at Home in the Middle.”
— Headline over a June 27, 1993 New York Times story on Clinton Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Frist Moves Left, Media Applaud
Anchor Bob Woodruff: “We assume that Bill Frist is going to run for President. We don’t know for sure. If he does, does this hurt him or does this help him?”
George Stephanopoulos: “Well, one conservative activist told me today it’s game over, there’s no way that Bill Frist can get the nomination right now. And you saw that barrage of criticism he got today from the pro-life movement. On the other hand, this re-establishes his credentials as a man of science and a doctor....”
— ABC’s World News Tonight, July 29, following Senator Frist’s announcement that he backs additional federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
“I think it goes a long way toward rehabilitating his image as a physician, which took a nose-dive after his medical comments during the Schiavo case. Today, he’s back in the mainstream of prevailing medical science opinion....I think he’s returning to his basic science beliefs.”
— ABC News medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson, a few minutes later on the same program.
Booing Bush’s “End Run”
“The President sidesteps the Senate: He appoints a controversial new UN ambassador while lawmakers are on vacation.”
— Substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas on the August 1 World News Tonight.
“President Bush is defying his opponents in the Senate. He has bypassed the confirmation process and appointed John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the UN. Democrats objected to Bolton’s nomination for a variety of reasons, but they were especially angry that the White House refused to release documents they said were important.”
— Campbell Brown on the August 1 NBC Nightly News.
Today Changes Its Tune
“President Bush is poised to use his recess appointment power and send John Bolton to the UN without a Senate confirmation vote. How can he do that?!”
— Katie Couric to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on NBC’s Today, August 1.
“You take a look at your resume and you seem like a pretty good candidate to be Assistant Attorney General for civil rights. But you’ve run into a wall in Congress....There’s a solution here, albeit a temporary solution. The President could make you what’s called a recess nominee. Which means he can give you the job for a year, almost a trial run. And that way Republicans can say, ‘Hey he’s pretty good at this,’ and then vote on you a year from now.”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer to Clinton nominee Bill Lann Lee on Today, December 12, 1997. President Clinton directly appointed Lee as Assistant Attorney General, a post he held for three years without ever obtaining Senate consent.
Feel Bad About Ending WWII?
Brian Williams: “You just told me the story about one photograph from the war that always kind of catches you, the Japanese soldier returning to his city that’s been destroyed. Do you have remorse for what happened? How do you deal with that in your mind?”
Enola Gay navigator “Dutch” Van Kirk: “No, I do not have remorse! I pity the people who were there. I always think of it, Brian, as being, the dropping of the atom bomb was an act of war to end a war.”
— Exchange in a taped segment on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, NBC Nightly News August 5.
Glorifying Gang of Lefty Grannies
Fill-in host Natalie Morales: “Beware! There is a group of grannies serving up much more than milk and cookies. NBC’s Peter Alexander caught up with them, proving commitment has no age limit....”
Reporter Peter Alexander: “With more than a thousand years among them, this gray army of activists doesn’t hesitate to fight for its beliefs....Their latest mission: to end the war in Iraq....With their will and their words as their only weapons, these grannies from 53 to 93 years of age protest on this downtown street corner every Wednesday.... With weekly meetings these ladies are committed....and compassionate....with hopes their message is conta-gious....These grannies are going straight to the streets.... hoping their chorus catches on and other women find reason to rage, even in the twilight of their lives.”
— August 8 Today story about a group of elderly women protesters shown carrying signs with slogans including “No Blood for Oil” and “Pentagon Lies, Recruits Die.”
Saluting a Mudslinger’s “Candor”
Reporter Geoff Morrell: “Until four months ago, [Democratic congressional candidate Paul] Hackett was commanding a Marine unit in Fallujah. He volunteered to go to Iraq despite opposing the war....But Hackett is no fan of his Commander-in-Chief, calling him a ‘chicken hawk,’ and ‘the biggest threat to America.’”
Paul Hackett: “That’s who I am. I stand by it.”
Morrell: “If elected, Hackett says he’ll use that same candor to educate Congress about what’s really going on in Iraq.”
— ABC’s World News Tonight, July 31. Hackett lost the August 2 special election.
Critic’s Not-So-Stealthy Agenda
“Stealth is a pretty fair military-hardware action movie until you start thinking about it — at which point it turns incredibly sour in your mouth. I can therefore recommend it to any and all audiences lacking higher brain functions. Sea cucumbers, perhaps. Ones waving American flags....This is exactly the sort of movie we don’t need right now: a delusional military fantasy in which collateral damage doesn’t exist....For a movie to pretend, in the face of the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children directly or indirectly caused by our presence there, that we can wage war without anyone really getting hurt isn’t naive, or wishful thinking, or a jim-dandy way to spend a Saturday night at the movies. It’s an obscenity.”
— Boston Globe movie critic Ty Burr in a July 29 review of the movie Stealth, about a fighter jet that is piloted by a computer with artificial intelligence.
Respect for Unborn Pandas
“A 13-year-old giant panda gave birth to a cub at San Diego Zoo, but a second baby died in the womb, officials said Wednesday.”
— Lead sentence of August 3 Associated Press dispatch.
“A brain-dead pregnant woman who has been kept on life support for nearly three months to give her fetus more time to develop gave birth to a baby girl Tuesday, the woman’s brother-in-law said.”
— Lead sentence of August 3 Associated Press dispatch. Later versions dropped “her fetus” and referred to “the child she was carrying.”
News Editor Prescribes Socialism
“Finns have one of the world’s most generous systems of state-funded educational, medical and welfare services, from pregnancy to the end of life. They pay nothing for education at any level, including medical school or law school. Their medical care, which contributes to an infant mortality rate that is half of ours and a life expectancy greater than ours, costs relatively little....Finnish senior citizens are well cared for. Unemployment benefits are good and last, in one form or another, indefinitely....If Finland can’t be a blueprint for us, it can be an inspiration.”
— Washington Post Associate Editor (and former Managing Editor) Robert Kaiser in a Sunday Outlook section piece, “In Finland’s Footsteps: If We’re So Rich and Smart, Why Aren’t We More Like Them?”
Dan “I Am Not a Crook” Rather
“Many of the people who call it [Memogate] do so for their own partisan and/or ideological purposes. No crime was committed here. The central facts in the story were correct, and they have not been denied.”
— Ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather, in a “What I’ve Learned” interview published in the September edition of Esquire.
Charmed by Dapper Dictator
Host Craig Ferguson: “You met Saddam Hussein. He was in power when you met him. Was he crazy? Was he, like, biting the heads off puppies and stuff?”
Former CNN and MSNBC reporter Peter Arnett: “Well, when I drove to the interview ten days into the first Gulf War, I had that impression because that’s what the propaganda sort of suggested — the Hitler of the Middle East and so forth. Actually, he turned out to be a very elegant, diplomatic guy. Of course, he said ‘We’re winning the war’ — at that point Baghdad was in flames.”
— Exchange on CBS’s Late Late Show, July 26.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Ken Shepherd, Megan McCormack
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
CIRCULATION MANAGER: Jennifer Bookwalter
INTERNS: Kyle Drennen