Russert Validated DNC Attack Ad; Donaldson: Nuremberg Standard for Kerrey?; Alter's Gorbasm; Jennings Lauded "Living Wage" Effort
1) "There's nothing inaccurate in that ad," Tim Russert told Karl Rove about a DNC television ad which features a little girl asking, "may I please have some more arsenic in my water, mommy?" But on Friday evening, FNC's David Shuster and Jim Angle outlined how the ad is inaccurate.
2) After showing a clip of the new anti-Bush DNC ad in which a little girl asks her mother for "more arsenic in my water," CBS News White House reporter John Roberts relayed how "Democrats ask what happened to Mr. Bush's vaunted promise to change the tone in Washington and put an end to partisan sniping?"
3) Senators Kerry, Hagel and Cleland defending Bob Kerrey: "For our country to blame the warrior instead of the war is among the worst, and regrettably, most frequent mistakes we as a country can make." Sam Donaldson's wacky concern: "What do you say to people that after World War II we blamed, at Nuremberg and elsewhere, the warriors, not just the people who conducted the war?"
4) To the astonishment of Don Imus, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter had a Gorbasm: "He's only the most important political leader alive in the world today." Alter related how he and Mikhail Gorbachev commiserated about "how much credit Reagan gets for ending the Cold War" when Gorbachev "could have easily said he'd send the Red Army into Eastern Europe, crush what was going on there and we'd still have the Soviet Union."
5) CBS's John Roberts took on another Bush budget cut: "There are concerns about lost opportunities and questions why President Bush...would close the book on one of the most successful nationwide reading programs in history."
6) Peter Jennings gushed after a story on a bunch of Harvard University students who are protesting for a "living wage" for university staffers: "It is often said that this generation is not as committed as the last one. There's a counter argument."
"There's nothing inaccurate in that ad," Tim Russert told presidential adviser Karl Rove about the DNC ad which makes several false statements, including the assertion that President Bush "tried to roll back protections against arsenic in drinking water and salmonella in school lunches." The ad features a little girl asking for "more arsenic in my water," as if the Bush administration had done something to lead to "more" arsenic in water.
Russert played the TV ad, which given its low production values, seemed geared toward getting picked up by free media outlets. The ad opens with a little girl holding up glass of water as she asks: "May I please have some more arsenic in my water, mommy?" Then a little boy, holding a plate with a hamburger, pleads: "More salmonella in my cheeseburger, please." The announcer then declares: "George W. Bush tried to roll back protections against arsenic in drinking water and salmonella in school lunches. Bush is trying to allow oil drilling in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge and even in our national parks. George Bush's first hundred days. Brought to you by the oil industry, the meat industry, the chemical industry. The Republicans: These guys aren't for us."
Rove called the ad "almost laughable" and explained how the Bush administration will enact a lower arsenic level standard in time to meet the same schedule as Bill Clinton's last-minute order which would not have gone into effect until 2006. Russert raised how a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that asked to rate Bush's "performance on the environment," just 28 percent said "excellent/good" while 59 percent replied "fair/poor."
Rove argued: "The Gallup Poll says
that by a margin of 49 to 38, I believe the number is, that people applaud
the President's handling of the issue of the environment, even after all
of these ridiculous and phony charges made by like, for example, that
Having dealt with arsenic already, Rove pointed out another inaccuracy in the ad. As the ad announcer says "Bush is trying to allow oil drilling in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge," the on-screen graphic showed a picture of mountain. Rove noted that the mountain is far from the flat, frozen tundra where drilling would occur.
But over on Fox News Sunday, Tony Snow played the ad for DNC chief Terry McAuliffe. Snow pointed out how Clinton did not sign the arsenic rule until his last week in office and that in no way had Bush advocated "more" arsenic in water.
On Friday night the Fox News Channel provided a thorough evaluation of the ad, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed. On the April 27 Special Report with Brit Hume, anchor Tony Snow introduced a story: "By all accounts, Democrats have done a successful job of painting President Bush as anti-environmental, specifically with his policy on arsenic standards. But the opportunity to hammer the President may be more related to ineffective PR at the White House than to the actual implications of the arsenic decision itself."
David Shuster's piece began with an ad
Portraying Bush as a "friend of polluters" with the eager assistance of virtually every major media outlet. If journalists, especially at the networks, had just reported the Bush decision accurately Bush wouldn't have a PR problem.
Later in the show, during the roundtable
segment, FNC played the entire ad. FNC White House reporter Jim Angle
Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard agreed: "The truth is people are not being poisoned by arsenic in the water. If they were, I don't think even a rogue like Bill Clinton would have allowed the 50 parts per billion standard to last for 7 years and 360 plus days in his administration before acting just before leaving office. I mean come on, we're not being poisoned."
Without any irony, after showing a clip of the new anti-Bush DNC ad in which a little girl asks her mother for "more arsenic in my water," CBS News White House reporter John Roberts relayed how "Democrats ask what happened to Mr. Bush's vaunted promise to change the tone in Washington and put an end to partisan sniping?"
In a lengthy piece for Sunday's CBS
Evening News, Roberts reviewed President Bush's first hundred days in
office. After listing in successes in the China crisis and in leading the
charge for his tax cut, Roberts cautioned: "But among Mr. Bush's
achievements, some stumbles."
Given the tone and inaccuracy of the cheap attack in the DNC ad it's Bush who has the right to ask why Democrats abandoned his quest for civility and respect.
Wackiest question of the weekend: Sam Donaldson equating the holding accountable of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam with how the U.S. at Nuremberg held individual Nazis accountable, "not just the people who conducted the war."
On Sunday's This Week Sam Donaldson
interviewed the U.S. Senators with Vietnam experience: Chuck Hagel, John
McCain, John Kerry and Max Cleland. Picking up on a Washington Post op-ed
by Senators Cleland, Hagel and Kerry defending former Senator Bob Kerrey,
who last week admitted accidentally shooting and killing civilians in
Vietnam in 1969, Donaldson queried the three:
John Kerry replied by recalling how many WW II vets have terrible memories too of civilian atrocities and that in Vietnam civilians were often disguised combatants.
But Donaldson's premise is preposterous. The Nuremberg trial did not prosecute lieutenants in the field who carried out German Army or Navy orders from above, just the architects and leaders of horrific Nazi policies which, unlike the U.S. goal in Vietnam, was not to free people of tyranny.
A fresh "Gorbasm." Now that's a Rush Limbaugh-created term I've not had a need to employ for many years, but on Friday morning Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, fresh from an interview with the former communist leader, exclaimed, to the astonishment of Don Imus: "He's only the most important political leader alive in the world today."
Alter insisted on Friday's MSNBC simulcast of the Imus in the Morning radio show, that "if I look back over my lifetime who is the world leader who changed things the most and I don't actually think it is a close call." Alter related how he and Gorby commiserated about "how much credit Reagan gets for ending the Cold War" when Gorbachev "could have easily said he'd send the Red Army into Eastern Europe, crush what was going on there and we'd still have the Soviet Union."
MRC analyst Paul Smith caught the April 27 exchange and took it down in full:
Alter, referring to the lesson Gorbachev
provided his kids who were present for the interview: "I told them, I
think they will remember it for a long time, you know. He's only the
most important political leader alive in the world today, historically
speaking I guess I would maintain, don't you think?"
Imus is a lot more in touch with reality than Alter.
No budget cut is justified to CBS News which on Thursday night ramped up the tear ducts to bemoan how the Bush budget "would close the book on one of the most successful nationwide reading programs in history."
Dan Rather set up the April 26 CBS Evening News harangue noticed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd: "Questions are being raised tonight about what is not in the new Bush budget for one long running education program."
John Roberts began: "At the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, Book Distribution Day is all about opening up new opportunities...but on this day there are concerns about lost opportunities and questions why President Bush, who has made literacy a top priority, would close the book on one of the most successful nationwide reading programs in history."
After a clip from a school librarian on the value of reading, Roberts intoned: "With a budget of $20 million, Reading is Fundamental last year provided 14 million free books for school children, many of them disadvantaged. Mr. Bush wants to give that money to states to spend on education how they see fit. While states could individually choose to fund the program, administrators claim a piecemeal approach will destroy their purchasing power and distribution chain."
Following a soundbite from Dick Sells of
Reading is Fundamental, Roberts made the issue personal for Bush:
"Supporters of Reading is Fundamental wonder why the President would
jeopardize a program that has been successful since the days of Lyndon
Johnson and counts among its advisory board members the President's
If the program is so great, why can't it earn private support? I bet the federal money represents less than half its funding.
And as for dissing a program supported by his mother, isn't that something to be commended? After all of the CBS News bashing of Bush for doing what his business supporters command, how about a little credit for going against a personal conflict of interest?
A bunch of Harvard University students who are protesting for higher pay for university employees earned the admiration of ABC anchor Peter Jennings. After an April 26 World News Tonight story on the campus activity, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed how Jennings gushed: "It is often said that this generation is not as committed as the last one. There's a counter argument."
Jennings' accolade followed a full story on
the point of view of the radical students who want everyone paid what the
socialist city of Cambridge has decided is a "living wage." Dan
Harris began his piece: "There are 37 students holed up in this
administration building, sleeping on the floor, bathing in a communal sink
and using cell phones and a Web site to get their message out."
Jennings then opined: "It is often said that this generation is not as committed as the last one. There's a counter argument."
My suggestion: Harvard should raise the wages but then assess the cost in an additional fee paid by each student, not by their parents or any taxpayer-supported loans. When reality hits maybe their liberal idealism will recede.
From the April 27 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Responses to the Question, 'How Fat Is Al Gore?'" Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. He's so fat, when he appears in public the band plays "Hail To
And, from the Late Show Web page, some of the "extras," entries from the Late Show writers which did not make the final cut:
-- "He's so fat, when teaching class, he gets winded after picking
up the chalk"
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