Only ABC Reports Military's Stats on Violence Plunging in Iraq --11/2/2007
2. Tibbets Disturbed by Calls for Remorse Which Williams Conveyed
3. Wash Post Has Nina 'Kneepads' Burleigh Review Book on Hillary
4. NY Times Reporter Befuddled Conservatives See Paper as Biased
5. Two New Episodes Now Online of MRC's 'NewsBusted' Comedy Show
Lt. General Raymond Ordierno on Thursday reported significant progress in reduced violence in Iraq, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts only ABC's World News bothered to cover the positive trend as anchor Charles Gibson introduced a full story on how "military officials gave one of the most upbeat assessments of the security situation in Iraq that we have heard since the opening months of the war." The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly skipped the positive trend, but CBS had time for a story on the investigation of the September shooting of civilians by Blackwater and NBC aired a piece on Hillary Clinton "playing the gender card." The Washington Post and New York Times on Friday also made very different news judgments on the importance of the positive direction as the Post put the news on its front page while the Times hid it in a story, on an inside page, about Iran's role in Iraq.
This was the third time in less than two weeks that ABC has uniquely highlighted positive developments in Iraq. On Tuesday, ABC ran a piece about "booming" shopping markets and significantly improving life in Baghdad and eight days earlier World News showcased Fallujah's "extraordinary comeback story."
Referring to the briefings by Ordierno via satellite from Iraq and by the Secretary of Dense at the Pentagon, ABC's Jonathan Karl relayed that "nobody over here is anywhere near ready to declare victory, but the military statistics tell an unmistakable story. Violence in Iraq is down, and down considerably. Baghdad's marketplaces are slowly coming back to life, as violent attacks in Iraq have fallen to less than half of what they were a year ago." Specifically, "roadside bombs fell in October to an average of 20 a day -- still high, but the lowest level since October 2004. Iraqi civilian deaths have fallen to a third of where they were a year ago. And after the deadliest summer ever for U.S. forces in Iraq, U.S. combat deaths fell to 29 last month, the lowest level in more than three years."
Karl ended with some caveats, pointing out the lack of political progress and how the 30,000 troops in the "surge" will be "going home in the coming months, raising the question of whether the violence will go up when they leave."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A PDF of a transcript of the November 1 briefing by Odierno, commander of multi-national forces in Iraq: www.defenselink.mil
Friday's Washington Post put the news on its front page, if with some caveats: "In Iraq, a Lull or Hopeful Trend? Signs of Declining Violence Leave Residents, U.S. Commanders Cautious." The Post's article from Baghdad began: "From store clerks selling cigarettes by generator power, to military commanders poring over aerial maps, Iraqis and Americans are striving to understand the sharp decrease in violence over the past several months and what it might herald for the future of Iraq." See: www.washingtonpost.com
But the New York Times buried Odierno's report in a story on page A-10 under a headline without any hint about the good news: "Gates Says Iran Gave Assurances on Explosives." For the NYT story: www.nytimes.com
More on ABC's two previous reports on improving conditions in Iraq:
# The October 31 CyberAlert, "ABC: Iraqis Adapt to 'New Normal' as 'Violence on Downward Trend,'" recounted:
....Gibson described "violence on a downward trend" in Iraq so now "Iraqis are learning to adapt to what might be called a new normal." Reporter Miguel Marquez conveyed how Baghdad's largest market is "booming. Big sales, says this vendor. Everything, 2,000 dinars. There hasn't been an attack here since February." Marquez highlighted "pockets of security where life is starting to get back to normal," but, he acknowledged, "it's not a normal by most standards" since though "large-scale violence between Sunnis and Shiites has stopped" in one neighborhood, "there are still criminal gangs" so "most people...are too afraid to leave their homes." Still, "with wedding season coming up," a woman florist "is hopeful that business and life will get back to something like normal."...
For the entire CyberAlert rundown of the story: www.mrc.org
The October 23 CyberAlert posting, "ABC Airs Upbeat Iraq Story on Fallujah's 'Remarkable Turnaround,'" reported:
A rare upbeat story on Iraq ran Monday night on ABC's World News. Anchor Charles Gibson touted "an extraordinary comeback story" about Fallujah, the city of one of the war's bloodiest and longest battles, but now where reporter Miguel Marquez discovered bustling markets, Marines welcomed by kids and no car bombs or shootings of Marines in several months. Gibson effused about how "we have an extraordinary comeback story tonight from the place where the Marines suffered their worst losses of the war. Fallujah is undergoing a remarkable turnaround. Tribal leaders, local officials and the U.S. Marines have united behind a common cause. Bringing security to a place that had been one of Iraq's most insecure."
Over matching video, Marquez described how "the markets bustle. Traffic chokes the streets. Marines, once despised here, are now a welcome sight." Viewers saw video of a Marines with kids before Colonel Rich Simcook told Marquez: "This is one of my big measures of effectiveness, where, you know, kids will come up to you, you know, they feel safe to come out and play." Speaking with a Marine Sergeant, Marquez wondered: "When's the last time you were shot at these days?" The Marine replied: "I'd say, end of March." Marquez saw a corollary sign things are going well: "The last car bomb in Fallujah was in May." Though Marquez added some caveats about high unemployment and the lack of weapons for the Iraqi police, he concluded on the bright side: "There are encouraging signs. Schools just opened, and enrollment is at its highest since before the war. Construction, from huge infrastructure projects to fixing sidewalks, is everywhere. Fallujah even sports solar street lights..."
For the rest of the CyberAlert article: www.mrc.org
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the November 1 edition of ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON: At the Pentagon today, military officials gave one of the most upbeat assessments of the security situation in Iraq that we have heard since the opening months of the war. And Jonathan Karl is at the Pentagon tonight. Jon?
JONATHAN KARL: Charlie, nobody over here is anywhere near ready to declare victory, but the military statistics tell an unmistakable story. Violence in Iraq is down, and down considerably. Baghdad's marketplaces are slowly coming back to life, as violent attacks in Iraq have fallen to less than half of what they were a year ago. Until recently, the trends had been deadly and consistent, violence steadily increasing to an all-time high in June. Since then, however, attacks have fallen four straight months in every category.
Reading a brief item Thursday night about the death of retired Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, NBC's Brian Williams noted that "he requested there be no funeral, no headstone left behind, so there would be no place for his detractors to protest." Interestingly, just over two years ago, Williams himself conveyed the very line of attack on the Enola Gay crew which so upset Tibbets: that they should be remorseful for dropping an atom bomb.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Enola Gay dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, Brian Williams went to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles Airport -- where the plane is on display -- to talk to the plane's navigator, Dutch Van Kirk. Williams asked: "Do you have remorse for what happened? How do you deal with that in your mind?" Van Kirk indignantly replied: "No, I do not have remorse..."
[This item was posted Thursday night, with video, on the MRC's blog. ]
The item read by Williams on the November 1 NBC Nightly News:
The AP obituary, by Julie Carr Smyth, recounted Tibbets' view on what he did and criticism of it: "Throughout his life, Tibbets seemed more troubled by other people's objections to the bomb than by him having led the crew that killed tens of thousands of Japanese in a single stroke. The attack marked the beginning of the end of World War II.
For the November 1 AP dispatch: news.yahoo.com
The Washington Post's obituary for Tibbets, by Adam Bernstein, recalled his anger at a planned 1995 Smithsonian exhibit: "Gen. Tibbets was angered by the planned 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution, which included a long explanation of the suffering caused by the atomic attacks. He and veterans groups said there was not enough about Japanese villainy during the war. The Smithsonian exhibit, at the National Air and Space Museum, went ahead without commentary or analysis."
For the Post obit in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Speaking of that Smithsonian controversy, a trip down memory lane with an excerpt from the MRC's "Janet Cooke Award" in the August of 1995 issue of our old MediaWatch newsletter:
ABC Special Contends U.S. Dropped the Bomb Unnecessarily to Stoke the Cold War
Professor Jennings' Fractured Fairy Tale
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum is currently exhibiting a newly refurbished Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima 50 years ago. But the museum's curators originally planned a confessional exhibit, displaying America's guilt and Japan's innocence in World War II. One museum passage would have read that for Americans, fighting Japan was "a war of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism."
That canceled leftist exhibit in a tax-funded museum became the center of ABC's July 27 Peter Jennings Reporting 90-minute special, "Hiroshima: Why the Bomb Was Dropped." ABC told viewers U.S. officials overstated the casualty estimates of an invasion of Japan; that the Allied demand for the dumping of the Japanese emperor delayed an imminent surrender; and that the U.S. dropped the bomb not to save lives, but to play a cynical Cold War game of intimidating the Soviets. For presenting a one-sided version of revisionist history much like the rejected exhibit, ABC earned the August Janet Cooke Award.
Jennings began by mourning the original Smithsonian vision, implying that the facts were no match for the politicians: "Many veterans insisted that by dropping the bomb, the U.S. avoided a ground invasion of the Japanese mainland. One million lives, they argued, had been saved. But when the Smithsonian responded that such a claim had no historical basis, the vets went to Capitol Hill. Eighty-one Congressmen took up their cause....the Smithsonian bent to pressure....There would be nothing on the decision to drop the bomb and there would be no pictures of the victims."...
Jennings ended the show with a gripe: "It's unfortunate, we think, that some veterans' organizations and some politicians felt the need to bully our most important national museum, so the whole story of Hiroshima is not represented here. That is not fair to history or to the rest of us. After all, freedom of discussion was one of the ideals that Americans fought and died for." ABC failed to air a free discussion....
END of Excerpt
For the MediaWatch article in full: www.mrc.org
A transcript of the second half of the August 5, 2005 NBC Nightly News story, picking up after Van Kirk offered some recollections of what he saw:
WILLIAMS INTONED, OVER VIDEO OF THE DEVASTATION AND INJURED CHILDREN: 70,000 people in the city of Hiroshima were killed instantly. The lingering radiation killed 70,000 more over the next five years. But Dutch and his fellow crew members will have none of the controversy surrounding the bomb. They point out that the firebombing of Japanese cities earlier in the war killed four times as many people. It's widely believed the U.S. would have invaded Japan, and that the Japanese would have fought to the very end.
That ended the NBC story.
On the front page of Thursday's Style section, the Washington Post awarded its book review of Sally Bedell Smith's new book on the Clinton marriage (For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton, The White House Years) to none other than Nina Burleigh, the former Time reporter who covered the Clinton presidency for the magazine and so memorably said in 1998 that she would gladly offer oral sex to Bill Clinton just for keeping abortion legal: "I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs." Instead of a book review, Burleigh offered a feminist warning to women to avoid judging Hillary Clinton's choices. She surmised that everyone wants to blame Hillary for the adultery, that "a successful wife to Bill Clinton would have had to be a full-time, full-service, round-the-clock succubus, but that doesn't give Hillary a pass." (The Oxford University Press dictionary defines "succubus" as: "A female demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men.")
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For more on Burleigh's 1998 comment, check the July 16, 1998 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
The July 7, 1998 CyberAlert highlighted her admiration for Bill Clinton: "I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Burleigh's real lecture came at the end of the so-called book review, in which she contended judging Hillary's marriage is an act of "cruelty" like judging other mothers, including those sad ones who give up a career:
Burleigh began her feminist screed with the usual overgeneralizing notes on the deficiencies and disloyalties of the male half of humanity:
Burleigh was clearly uncomfortable with the notion that Hillary's marriage was (or became) a political arrangement, and she mocked the notion that Sally Smith is reporting "that Hillary is a cold fish who has her husband by the short hairs." She desperately wants to believe that there's love somewhere inside the train wreck: "Maybe I'm a clueless romantic at heart, but I always believed Hillary was truly in love with Bill -- for a long time, if not still -- and that he broke her heart." That's a weird sentence, because feminists usually despise the idea of women being "clueless romantics at heart." Burleigh is a romantic of a different sort, who glorifies Hillary's marital bargaining as a "strange alchemy" of suppressing her emotions on the behalf of the advancement of Working Womanhood:
For the November 1 book review in full: www.washingtonpost.com
You can almost imagine Burleigh humming "I Am Woman" as she typed these paragraphs. For the record, while Bill Clinton announced his presidential run in October of 1991, the national media didn't really start the puffy profiles of Hillary (stirring the alleged "hysterical paroxysms") until the calendar turned to 1992.
But the conservative "paroxysms" are exaggerated. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates in 1992 had wives who were lawyers or professional women. Tom Harkin's wife, Ruth, was a lawyer for the high-powered Washington law firm Akin Gump. Paul Tsongas's wife, Niki, was a lawyer. Back in 1988, Bruce Babbitt's wife, Hattie, was a lawyer, and Bob Dole's wife Elizabeth was a ground-breaking cabinet secretary and a lawyer. Dan Quayle's wife Marilyn was a lawyer. What made Hillary Clinton unique from the beginning was their marital spectacle -- and its odor of political calculation.
A Reporter's Plea: "Did They Know How Hard We Worked to Report the News Fairly?" In a Sunday blog posting, New York Times reporter Michael Luo pleaded with conservative Christians: "I would try various tacks to defuse their hostility. Did they know there was a difference between the editorial and news pages? What about the fact that we get just as much criticism from the left as we do from the right? Did they know how hard we worked to report the news fairly?"
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
Luo posted Sunday morning on the New York Times' "The Caucus" blog on his days at the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the social conservative lobbying group Focus on the Family, where his Times credentials didn't exactly open doors of welcome.
Caging for interviews, Luo discovered once again that not everyone loves the Times:
When I first met Mrs. Crowe, she had been wary after I identified myself as a reporter from The Times. She confessed her suspicions, saying she watched Bill O'Reilly and harbored serious reservations about The Times. I had, in fact, experienced this kind of wariness, sometimes outright hostility, from nearly every person I stopped to interview at the summit. It had gotten to the point that I was even a bit nervous of approaching anyone for fear of rejection.
Each time I experienced a new wave of anger toward the paper, I would try various tacks to defuse their hostility. Did they know there was a difference between the editorial and news pages? What about the fact that we get just as much criticism from the left as we do from the right? Did they know how hard we worked to report the news fairly? I would always try to offer an example, or two. If the conversation went further, I might even drop a little bomblet about myself -- would they be surprised to know that I went to church? Almost invariably they were shocked. And that is when I'd jump in to ask their thoughts on the candidates.
END of Excerpt
Beyond Luo's empty and patronizing plea about "how hard we work," it's clear that whatever complaints they may direct at the paper, leftists expect the Times to be in their corner (the comments section of the paper's political blogs have a deep blue tinge). A Rasmussen Reports poll this summer found the Times to be the only media outlet which even liberals acknowledge has a liberal bias: www.timeswatch.org
Luo flashed a little touch of why Values Voters might have shunned his paper:
For Luo's October 28 blog posting in full: thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com
For the latest example of bias in the New York Times: www.timeswatch.org
Two new episodes were posted this week of the MRC's "NewsBusted" comedy video show displayed on our NewsBusters blog. "NewsBusted" is a new, twice a week, comedy show with jokes about politics, Hollywood and media bias. The idea for the show is really quite simple: Politics is absurd, so is the news. Why not have some laughs from it all? Enjoy the freshest comedy on the Web making fun of liberals and the media.
Topics in episode #116 posted Friday morning, November 2: Hillary Clinton, Tim Robbins, and Whoopi Goldberg. You'll find it at the top of NewsBusters: newsbusters.org
Direct link for #115 posted on Tuesday, with jokes about Barack Obama, Dan Rather, Hillary Clinton and Stephen Colbert: youtube.com
For the archive of ones you've missed, as posted on YouTube in click and play Flash format: www.youtube.com
There are 16 episodes online to enjoy.
-- Brent Baker