Using Craig to Smear “Right Wing”
“Good morning, politician in peril. Idaho Senator Larry Craig, an opponent of gay rights, admits pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after a police officer accused him of soliciting sex in an airport men’s room. Can the right wing withstand yet another scandal involving one of its own?”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer opening Today, August 28. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
“It’s been a rough year for the right. Let’s list them: Congressman Mark Foley; conservative pastor Ted Haggard; Senator David Vitter — all involved in scandals, accusing them of inappropriate conduct. So the question’s gotta be asked, why do these kinds of scandals seem to be following Republicans, lately?...How does this specter of hypocrisy affect the party?”
— Fill-in co-host Ann Curry to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on NBC’s Today, August 28.
“The GOP campaigns as the party of family values and Senator Craig’s bathroom bust underscores the hypocrisy....There is former Republican Congressman Mark Foley, who built his social life on male pages; conservative pastor Ted Haggard, who had trysts with a male prostitute; Republican Senator David Vitter, who campaigned as a family man but later acknowledged encounters with a woman who police described as a prostitute. It all adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina.”
— MSNBC reporter David Shuster on Hardball, August 29. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Time to Topple the Dictator!
“Everything you said about [withdrawing some troops from] Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely. War today, war tomorrow, war forever!...A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, sir!...Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end, even if it means your resignation, even if it means your impeachment, even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term, even if it means a Democratic Congress and those true patriots among the Republicans standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and safe conduct home of our troops. This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next 500 days.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann addressing President Bush in a “Special Comment” on Countdown, September 4.
No Harsh Aftermath to Vietnam?
“On the day I visited the old U.S. Embassy in Saigon — where some of those iconic photos symbolizing American defeat were taken — I discovered government workmen removing a plaque that once commemorated the North’s victory over the ‘U.S. imperialists.’ In the waning days of that epochal year, 1991, the propaganda against American involvement in Southeast Asia was suddenly no longer politically correct. Hanoi’s new message: Yankee Come Back (and bring your investment dollars)....This was the ‘harsh’ aftermath that George W. Bush attempted to describe this week when he warned against pulling out of Iraq as we did in Vietnam. His remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City on Wednesday were an abuse of historical fact — no surprise, perhaps, coming from a president who is just now catching up with the Political Science 101 reading he shrugged off at Yale. Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years.”
— Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh in a “Web-exclusive” commentary posted August 23. After the communist takeover of South Vietnam, about 230,000 were executed or died in concentration camps, while hundreds of thousands of fleeing “Boat People” died at sea.
Mocking Bush’s Vietnam Analogy
“The mere mention of Vietnam and arguing for more sacrifice in Iraq is fraught with potential political peril. After all, President Bush didn’t serve in Vietnam and Vice President Cheney received multiple deferments, telling reporters a few years ago that in the 1960s he had other priorities than military service.”
— MSNBC reporter David Shuster, August 22 Hardball.
“Do you think the President has ever read a book about Vietnam?”
— Hardball guest host Mike Barnicle a few minutes later.
Hillary’s Talk Radio Helpers
“I think the secret weapon for Senator Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, is not simply Rudy [Giuliani]’s shortcomings, the perceived shortcomings of her opponent. I think you’ll see on the part of right-wing radio — conservative talk, however you want to call it — such overkill that it will make her, transform her into a figure of sympathy by a majority of people.”
— Columnist Mark Shields, Inside Washington, August 24. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Dreaming of an End to Humanity
Co-host Matt Lauer: “The book is called The World Without Us, and it asks the question what would happen to planet Earth if human beings were to suddenly disappear....And really it’s all about trying to figure out how long it would take nature to reclaim what we’ve created.”
Co-host Meredith Vieira: “The mess.”
Lauer: “How long it would take nature to fix the mess we’ve made?”
— Teasing upcoming segment on NBC’s Today, September 4.
“Would the Earth miss us at all? How long would it take for it to fix the problems we created?”
— Lauer to author Alan Weisman later in the same show.
Opposing Illegal Aliens = Racism
“Each generation fights the same battle, only it becomes more subtle, more sophisticated, but it’s still a war....Look at the immigration battle right now. We have about 13 million people who have been living in this country for years, raising their children, educating them, and there’s actually an argument about whether they should be here. They are here, and they are a vital part of the American fabric. The battle is never won. There are some people who still believe that people of color are not needed in this country.”
— Former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw in an interview with Television Week posted on their Web site August 6.
Appalled by “Ethnic Profiling”
“Are these two men terrorists casing the boats for attack?... Or are they totally innocent passengers, the victims of ethnic profiling?...The men are not accused of anything, leading the Muslim community to wonder, what if the two men did not appear to be of Middle Eastern descent?...Are these men a threat, or just victims of a jittery public?”
— ABC’s Neal Karlinsky on the August 23 Good Morning America, reporting on two men seen photographing the interior of ferry boats near Seattle, Washington.
Government Starving for Cash?
“It takes leadership. After World War II, we maintained the infrastructure we had and we built an incredible network of highways, and leaders in both parties agreed that these were priorities. Now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse, where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money.”
— Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on the August 25 McLaughlin Group discussing the Minneapolis bridge collapse. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Good News on Poverty, But...
“Here at home, mixed economic news tonight. For the first time in six years, the poverty rate is down slightly. In 2006, 12.3 percent of Americans lived in poverty, down from 12.6 percent in 2005. Poverty level income for a family of four is $20,400 a year, hardly enough for food and housing, much less other items like health insurance. And as Wyatt Andrews reports, more people are going without.”
— Katie Couric introducing a report about people without health insurance, CBS Evening News, August 28.
Scary “Totalitarian” Christians
“On [Christian youth activist Ron Luce’s Honor Academy] campus, students must follow a strict set of rules: No secular music or television. No R-rated movies. No alcohol. No drugs. No dating. [To Luce] When I, you know, read that women have to wear skirts of a certain length and guys aren’t allowed to, you know, go on the Internet unsupervised, I mean, I think, you know, totalitarian regimes.”
— Correspondent Christiane Amanpour in her August 23 profile of “Christian Warriors,” the last of CNN’s 3-part special on “God’s Warriors.”
Pot, Meet Kettle
“For the past week, CNN has been proudly promoting and then celebrating its series called ‘God’s Warriors,’ presumably a look at radicals of different religions willing to fight for their cause....CNN should have called it what it was: a defense of Islamic fundamentalism and the worst type of moral relativism....This series was well-produced and successful, but also shameful advocacy masked as journalism.”
— MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams on his Live with Dan Abrams, August 27.
“I think that Keith Olbermann may become a model for the newscast of the future.”
— Abrams, as quoted in a November 12, 2006 column by San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius.
Americans: Violent, Rage-Filled
“I don’t believe that any gun should be in the hand of a thinking, feeling, breathing human being. Americans are by nature filled with rage-slash-fear. And guns are a huge part of our culture. I know I’m crazy because I’m only supposed to say that in Europe. But violence corrupts absolutely.”
— Actress Jodie Foster in an interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote her new movie, The Brave One, September 7 issue.
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