2. Matthews 'Thrilled' By Obama Surge,Pushes McAuliffe: Get Vote Out
3. NYTimes on VP Picks: Lots of Conservative Labels, No Liberal Ones
4. Bipartisan Support of New FISA, Nets See 'Controversy' & 'Spying'
5. CBS's Early Show: High Gas Prices Deadly for Sick and Elderly
After Obama attempted to reassure Mitchell that he still supported timetables for Iraq, the CBS anchor pressed for more comforting words: "So that's still the plan, 16 months after you take office?" Over on ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer pointedly told the candidate that "some of your core supporters" have been sensing "shifting positions and you've gotten quite a drubbing in a couple of fronts." She asked: "This is the question this morning: You have said previously, we will be out -- we will be out of Iraq in 16 months. Are you now saying it's your goal or that you might refine that or do you still repeat, we will be out in 16 months?"
On NBC's Today show, Matt Lauer lectured the Illinois Senator that "people" were "nervous" about Obama's backtracking on the issue of Iraq, as well as on other subjects. On Iraq, the journalist complained: "And on Iraq when, when throughout the primaries you did talk about this, this idea of getting U.S. troops out within 16 months of being elected and now you say, 'Look I'll talk to commanders and generals on the ground and my, my ideas are being refined.' People do get nervous about that Senator, you understand that?"
To prove Obama's rightward tilt on not just Iraq, the NBC co-host highlighted a complaint from leftist New York Times columnist Bob Herbert: "Let me read you what Bob Herbert said or wrote in the New York Times, on Tuesday. He said this, quote, 'Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He's lurching right when it suits him, he's zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that's guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.'"
When John McCain appeared on GMA on July 2, various hosts and reporters speculated five times that his trip to South America during such tough financial times might indicate a lack of caring about the economic situation of Americans. See a July 3, 2008 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org 
During the July 9 segment, however, Sawyer served up softballs for Obama to hit with campaign talking points. Noting that the Democrat will be doing an economic tour with Senator Hillary Clinton on the financial situation of women, Sawyer regurgitated: "One of the items [to be discussed] is to close the pay gap, which is now women earning 78 cents on the dollar for men. And yet it's only been closing for about two cents a year over the past decade. How are you going to close that gap?"
For the NewsBusters post on the Today show, with video: newsbusters.org 
For the Early Show post: newsbusters.org 
For the Good Morning America post: newsbusters.org 
On Wednesday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews seemed "thrilled" by new poll numbers showing Obama gaining strength and was so caught up in Terry McAuliffe's prediction of a Democratic sweep he encouraged the former DNC chair "to get the vote out."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org 
First up, on the July 9 edition of Hardball, Matthews made the following introduction to a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd on state by state poll numbers. "Welcome back to Hardball. The NBC News political unit has some brand new battleground maps on the fight for the White House. Let's check in with NBC News political director Chuck Todd. Chuck, dazzle us right now, will ya? Because I'm thrilled with this. Obama's strength in the Northeast, the West Coast and the Great Lakes."
Now to be fair Matthews, he could have just been "thrilled" in anticipation of Todd's dazzling poll analysis. However, a little later in the program, Matthews seemed to have gotten caught up in the excitement of former DNC Chair McAuliffe anticipating a big Democratic victory in the fall:
MATTHEWS: How many senators after this is all over for the Democratic Party? 55? 56?
While "conservatives" have trouble with Mitt Romney and Tom Ridge and like Sen. John Thune, there are apparently no liberals who have trouble with potential Democratic VP possibilities. Rounding another turn in the race to November 4, the New York Times "Election Guide -- Potential Running Mates," compiled by Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny and posted to nytimes.com on Monday, handicapped various potential vice presidents for Barack Obama and John McCain and analyzing whether they would help or hurt the candidate: politics.nytimes.com 
The initial filing contained twenty-one names, 11 potential Democrats and 10 potential Republicans (Democratic Sen. Jim Webb's name has since been removed after he took himself out of consideration). The rundown included seven uses of the word "conservative" as a description of either one of the candidates or a group of party supporters, including one "conservative Democrat," former senator Sam Nunn.
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org  ]
We learned South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham "has occasionally rankled some conservatives by not being conservative enough," that former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge might not help with "McCain's already uneasy relations with conservatives," and that South Dakota Sen. John Thune "has strong credentials with social conservatives."
By contrast, not a single "liberal" was found in a lineup that included John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.
The Times didn't even talk about possible opposition from "liberal" voters to some Democratic picks, although the paper had plenty of opportunity to when discussing controversial Sen. Jim Webb, a blood-and-soil Democrat: "But any vetting process would have to take into account the vast writings of Mr. Webb, a former author, who has penned tales about the Confederacy that are controversial in the eyes of some, as well as his on-the-record comments about women serving in the military."
As for "conservative Democrat" Sam Nunn: "Mr. Obama would certainly encounter some heat from his supporters if he turned to Mr. Nunn."
Instead of vague words like "some" or "supporters," why can't the Times simply state the obvious -- that those who would oppose Nunn and Webb are liberals -- in the same manner the paper so freely tosses around the term "conservatives"?
Overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the Senate and House agreed to a new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) the President will happily sign, with the Senate -- including 21 Democrats -- voting for it Wednesday by 69 to 29, yet NBC and ABC painted it as "controversial" based on how the bill blocks lawsuits against telecommunications companies which cooperated with the President after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Though the program tracked communication between suspected terrorists overseas and people within the United States, not all of them Americans, NBC's Brian Williams delivered a more nefarious picture of firms that had "helped to spy on Americans" and ABC's Charles Gibson referred to "the ability to listen in on Americans without a warrant."
Williams announced: "The Senate approved controversial new rules allowing the government to listen in on phone calls and read e-mails. And what happened today is controversial in large part because America's telecommunications companies get unprecedented protection from lawsuits if they helped to spy on Americans in effect."
Gibson asserted: "One of the most controversial aspects of the bill will protect telecommunications companies from lawsuits for giving the government the ability to listen in on Americans without a warrant."
On NBC, reporter Pete Williams fretted: "This dooms more than three dozen lawsuits against telephone companies and e-mail providers over what they did to help the government intercept communications after 9/11. So this means that no court can now be asked to rule on whether the Bush administration's eavesdropping program was ever constitutional."
Only Pete Williams, however, noted the foreign requirement to the monitoring: "Now the government gets authority to spy on terror suspects overseas even if they are talking to people in the U.S. and it can do that without a court order."
In June, the bill passed the Democratic House by 293 to 129.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
The AP dispatch, "Senate bows to Bush, approves surveillance bill," portrayed the Senate as bullied into the bill by President Bush. The lead from Washington bureau reporter Pamela Hess cited Bush's "demands" and how the telecommunication companies "helped the U.S. spy on Americans.":
See: news.yahoo.com 
By comparison, the WashingtonPost.com story carried a more straight-forward headline: "Senate Passes Surveillance Bill With Immunity for Telecom Firms." See: www.washingtonpost.com 
The New York Times article: "Senate Backs Wiretap Bill to Shield Phone Companies." See: www.nytimes.com 
ABC and CBS limited coverage to short items read by their anchors.
ABC's Charles Gibson, on the Wednesday, July 9 World News: "In Washington, the Senate has passed a bill which will overhaul the rules on the government's spying powers. The vote was 69-28. One of the most controversial aspects of the bill will protect telecommunications companies from lawsuits for giving the government the ability to listen in on Americans without a warrant. President Bush has been pushing hard for this bill for months."
BRIAN WILLIAMS: In Washington today, the Senate approved controversial new rules allowing the government to listen in on phone calls and read e-mails. And what happened today is controversial in large part because America's telecommunications companies get unprecedented protection from lawsuits if they helped to spy on Americans in effect. Our justice correspondent Pete Williams has more tonight from our Washington bureau. And Pete, for those who haven't kept up on this story, what's it all about?
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "The high cost of gas is hurting everyone these days. Families, businesses, and even charities. Many organizations that deliver food to the sick and elderly are being hit extra hard." In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly Wallace went even further: "In one rural California case, according to the president of Meals on Wheels nationwide, cutting back from daily deliveries to one every 14 days proved fatal. Two seniors were found dead." The Meals on Wheels president, Enid Borden, explained: "We have people who are literally dying in their homes waiting for a meal. That's a crisis." Wallace also played a clip of Maryland Meals on Wheels executive director, Tom Grazio, who worried: "Some day in the not too distant future, unless things get better, we'll be telling people they can't eat today and that's disheartening."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
Wallace then described "a dire situation in New York City," where Meals on Wheels director Marcia Stein continued the melodramatic theme: "For the first time in our 25-year history, we are having to ration food. We're having to make tough choices about who gets a meal, who does not get a meal, what days somebody might be without food." From this report, one is under the impression that people are literally starving to death across the country due to high gas prices. In May, the Early Show described how one woman "...pumps out her own blood, making $40 a pop so she has enough money to pump gas." See the May 29 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org 
Here is the full transcript of the story from the 8am half hour of the July 9 early Show:
RUSS MITCHELL: The high cost of gas is hurting everyone these days. Families, businesses, and even charities. Many organizations that deliver food to the sick and elderly are being hit extra hard. CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Meals on Wheels, Ruth.
-- Brent Baker