Must Federalize Screeners; Not Terrorists, "Alleged Hijackers"; Andy Rooney Mocked Bush as "Not Too Smart"; Granny Demented
1) Unity on ABC, CBS and NBC. "The President stops short of having federal government workers screen passengers, and many say that's a mistake," declared ABC's Dean Reynolds. "Many fliers," CBS's John Roberts insisted, "believe the government should take over the whole system." NBC's Campbell Brown contended that "some in Congress" want passenger screening to be conducted by people "who are directly employed by the federal government."
2) CNN reporters are supposed to refer to the "alleged hijackers" and not "terrorists," an AOL Time Warner spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, because "CNN cannot convict anybody; nothing has been judged by a court of law." But CNN journalists are not following the policy. They are citing the "terrorist attacks" and the "terrorist hijackers."
3) Andy Rooney mocked President Bush's intellect, but maybe Rooney should be looking closer to home as he, apparently quite seriously, did not comprehend the meaning of the word "harbor." Rooney showed a clip of Bush declaring that "this is an enemy that thinks its harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever." Rooney claimed that proved Bush is "not too smart" since "Afghanistan is landlocked, it doesn't have a harbor."
5) Granny Demented. The media hero for campaign finance "reform" rationalized foreign anger at the U.S. as she espoused conspiracy theories about the CIA and urged resistance toward Bush's war effort: "It is 'wag the dog' taken to an extreme level, for he is not covering up his failure with a fake war, but with a real one." On her Web page, she lamented: "All of the progress made to move Congress toward campaign finance reform has been derailed by the terrorist incidents."
Unity on ABC, CBS and NBC on Thursday night: President Bush's airport security plan comes up short because it does not call for the federal government to take over and run the baggage and personal screening process.
"The President stops short of having federal government workers screen passengers, and many say that's a mistake," declared ABC's Dean Reynolds. "The actual job of passenger screening would still be contracted out to private companies," bemoaned CBS's John Roberts, who noted: "It's that last point that bothers many fliers who believe the government should take over the whole system." From Capitol Hill, Bob Schieffer insisted that "most of the Democrats here and a good number of Republicans say" baggage screening "must be taken over by the federal government."
On the NBC Nightly News, Campbell Brown concluded, "Now some in Congress do think the President's plan falls short in one key area: airport screening. They want passenger screening and baggage screening to be conducted by federal agents who are directly employed by the federal government."
All three September 27 stories outlined Bush's plan to employ National Guard members at airports, provide federal funding to fortify cockpit doors, hire sky marshals and install video cameras so pilots can monitor the passenger cabin and to create a new federal agency to oversee security, before getting to the criticism.
On the CBS Evening News John Roberts
regretted, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "There would
be a uniformed officer at every checkpoint, but the actual job of
passenger screening would still be contracted out to private companies.
It's that last point that bothers many fliers who believe the government
should take over the whole system."
Bob Schieffer followed up from Capitol Hill: "Good start, but not nearly enough is the way to sum up the congressional reaction. Most of the Democrats here and a good number of Republicans say it is simply not enough to have the government supervise the minimum wage workers who inspect baggage now. They say that must be taken over by the federal government."
ABC's Dean Reynolds conceded that "most applauded the President's new safety plan," however, he added on World News Tonight: "But the President stops short of having federal government workers screen passengers, and many say that's a mistake. Keeping security in private hands, they say, however big the government oversight is, will still leave questions about standards and training because the determining factor to any private contractor will be the cost. And while screening passengers is an obvious necessity, what about the often spotty checks made on ground crews, baggage handlers, or those who provide airplane meals? They have relatively free access, and some in Congress want tighter controls."
Following a soundbite from Senator Dick
Durbin, Reynolds actually gave air time to those critical of the White
House for not agreeing to arming pilots: "And while the White House
is against it, some pilots want to be armed with guns."
That's a contrast to how NBC's Robert
Hager portrayed the idea as quite unpopular amongst the airline industry.
On Wednesday's Today, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, Hager contended:
"As for those armed sky marshals, some want them on every flight. But
that would require maybe 14,000 of them. Too many. Meantime, not much
enthusiasm for the pilots' idea that they be armed. Chilly reaction from
CNN reporters are supposed to call those who hijacked the planes "alleged hijackers" and not "terrorists," an AOL Time Warner spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, because "CNN cannot convict anybody; nothing has been judged by a court of law." But CNN on air staff are not following the policy.
The revelation of CNN's reasoning came three days after the Washington Post disclosed that Stephen Jukes, the global head of news for Reuters, explained in an internal memo: "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist." For more details, refer back to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010925.asp#1 
In a September 27 Wall Street Journal story,
highlighted by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/ )
and picked up by Brit Hume on his FNC show on Thursday night, reporters
Matthew Rose and Joe Flint wrote:
By that reasoning, would that mean CNN could not report that the World Trade Center towers no longer exist until New York City has officially removed them from its property tax rolls?
Fortunately, it seems CNN's journalists are not following the policy claimed by its corporate flak.
On Thursday afternoon, for instance, CNN reporter Kelli Arena asserted: "There are now 18 people that are under arrest, people who fraudulently tried to -- allegedly fraudulently -- tried to obtain licenses for trucks to carry hazardous material. But the Justice Department keeps saying that while these people are under arrest, they have established no direct links between those people and the terrorist attacks."
On Wednesday night, Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno declared: "Fifteen days after terrorist attacks on the United States, President Bush is expressing his unqualified support for the CIA."
Earlier on Wednesday, Joie Chen reviewed the top stories of the hour, including: "The FBI launches a huge nationwide records check of truck drivers who carry hazardous materials. Attorney General John Ashcroft says several individuals linked to the terrorist hijackers tried to get licenses to haul dangerous cargoes."
Good to see CNN's journalists have better judgment than the corporate flak.
[Web Update: The CNN public relations department sent the following clarification to the MRC, which matches the actual on-air content quoted above: "CNN has not 'banned' the use of the word 'terrorist.' In fact, CNN has referred to the persons responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as 'terrorists' and the act as 'terrorism' since September 11."]
Andy Rooney: Mean-spirited cheap shot, bad humor or, after he questioned President Bush's intellect, is he not too bright himself? Last Sunday on 60 Minutes Rooney showed a clip of President George Bush declaring that "this is an enemy that thinks its harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever." Rooney claimed that demonstrated Bush is "not too smart" since "Afghanistan is landlocked, it doesn't have a harbor."
Watching Rooney Sunday night while I was also doing other things, I assumed it was just some poorly executed humor. But MRC analyst Brian Boyd since suggested otherwise and after re-watching Rooney's commentary I've decided he was quite serious and really thought Bush's reference to "harbors" meant a port on an ocean, not what Bush was obviously referring to, nations which give terrorists protection. 
Up front in his September 23 commentary Rooney hinted at hostility toward Bush which he only tempered after being impressed by Bush's address to Congress: "I was going to say something about President Bush before he spoke Thursday. After he spoke, what I was going to say seemed wrong. The speech was good." Nonetheless, he soon complained that Bush "didn't sound like an intellectual" in saying he wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive" as Rooney "hoped there were other people in government too smart to be driven by vengeance alone."
Rooney began his commentary at the end of 60
Minutes on September 23:
Rooney is the one who is "not too smart" if he actually didn't understand that Bush was not referring to a navigable port but to providing a safe harbor for terrorists. Or, Rooney very well knew that and decided to take advantage of a sentence Bush uttered which was not perfectly clear in order to make his look dumb.
Now for the rest of what Rooney opined,
picking up where we left off: "Only one of three of the 25 million
people in Afghanistan can read. How can we understand people so different?
One in a hundred owns a car. They have 10 television sets for every
thousand people. We have about a thousand television sets for every ten
people. The country is smaller than Texas. Do we really want to kill
Afghans? It's convenient for us to lay this all on Osama bin Laden because
we'll get him eventually but our enemy is more than one man. The Taliban,
the fundamentalist Muslim ruling party is the enemy. Its leaders make
Jerry Falwell look like an atheist. They tore down the great Buddhist
statues because they're intolerant of any other religion. In August, they
arrested 24 people for teaching Christianity. The 19 men who killed
themselves killing 7,000 people didn't think they were evil. They were
religious. They were assuring their entry into heaven by getting in good
with Allah. How do you bomb that? President Bush was careful to be
politically correct about Islam in his speech."
The Taliban have displayed "media savvy" about Jesse Jackson's "position in a lot of national and international affairs" in inviting him to visit them, the now brunette Ashleigh Banfield gushed on MSNBC on Thursday morning as she recounted Jackson's past successes at negotiating settlements.
While whether Jackson was invited by the Taliban or invited himself is in dispute, that didn't hinder Banfield from praising the enemy's media prowess during an appearance Thursday morning with Don Imus during his radio show simulcast on MSNBC. Banfield, who used to be blonde, died her hair and cut it shorter so she would not stand out in Pakistan.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught this from Banfield, who was checking in from Pakistan: "It is interesting that the Taliban would be so media savvy about the Reverend [Jesse Jackson]'s position in a lot of national and international affairs. Thinking back to obviously 1999: his visit to Belgrade and the way he was able to work his way into the situation with those three trapped soldiers who were caught crossing over the Macedonian border. For a government that essentially doesn't allow television or media in the entire country, it is interesting that they are as media savvy as they are to make that kind of a contact with someone like Jesse Jackson."
The D in "Granny D" must stand for "demented," suggested James Taranto in his daily "Best of the Web" column (available on www.opinionjournal.com ). On Thursday he highlighted a bizarre recent speech, about the terrorist attacks, by the woman showcased as a hero last year by the networks for her cross-country walk to promote further regulation of free speech.
"Granny D" asserted that Americans were not "innocent" victims and she blamed Bush's "failure" for the terrorist attacks and charged that "he needs a dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is getting it. We must not go along with him." She claimed that "the Coca-Cola company has been accused of financing the death squads" and that "wherever our large mining companies extract the value from foreign lands, we have a CIA and a military working to keep any leaders in power who will guarantee us a cheap labor supply and cheap mining products, at the expense of local people and their efforts toward democracy."
Taranto set up an excerpt: "This one isn't a satire, more of a self-parody. Doris 'Granny D' Haddock, the nonagenarian campaign finance agitator, delivers a lunatic speech in the ironically named town of Unity, Maine."
Taranto relayed this excerpt from her September 22 remarks posted on her own Web page:
This is not a time for all good Americans to forget their political differences and rally behind the man in the White House. The man in the White House should apologize for the most serious breach of internal security in the nation's history, not disguise his failure in calls for war. Can he hope that the fiery explosions in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania will be more acceptable to us if they are placed in a larger context of explosions of our own making? I do not rally around that idea. It is "wag the dog" taken to an extreme level, for he is not covering up his failure with a fake war, but with a real one.
He has taken every opportunity to make the world less safe, first in North Korea and then in the Mideast and in Russia and in China. He needs a dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is getting it. We must not go along with him.
The international community may soon have to rescue the Afghan people from the Taliban just as we had to rescue Europe from the Nazis, and rebuild it and let it find its way to self-government, but that is not the same issue and that will not resolve international terrorism at its roots. It is a diversion of our attention from Bush's catastrophic failure at home and abroad.
Some more gems from the posted text:
-- And four months ago the current Bush administration gave $43 million to the current Taliban Regime so that it would please kill our enemies, the heroin dealers of Afghanistan. Or was it to protect an oil pipeline? That's what we are now learning.
Our subcontracting of death has never done us much good, with Vietnam still the shining example, and with many other examples still bleeding in Central and South America, Africa, and in Southeast Asia.
The Coca-Cola company has been accused of financing the death squads in Columbia that kill union activists among the plantation workers. This so that our Coca-Cola is affordable to us. Wherever our large mining companies extract the value from foreign lands, we have a CIA and a military working to keep any leaders in power who will guarantee us a cheap labor supply and cheap mining products, at the expense of local people and their efforts toward democracy.
END second excerpt
-- In a West Virginia college classroom last week, a friend of mine had something different to say.
"Look at it like this," he said to a classroom filled with honor students who couldn't imagine why America was under attack, except for reasons of religious extremism. "Imagine that West Virginia was a third world country," he said. "We have all this valuable coal, but there is one country, far away, that buys it all. They are the richest nation in the world, and they stay that way by getting our resources cheaply. They use their wealth to buy-off our government officials, and to kill or torture any worker here who tries to organize a union or clean up the government. How mad would we be toward that distant country, and just how innocent would we think its citizens are, who drive around in luxury cars and live in elegant homes and buy the best medicines for their children, and otherwise live a life in sparkling skyscrapers -- a life made affordable by the way they get resources from us? They admire their own democracy, turning a blind eye to what their government and their corporations do abroad."
The classroom was silent. "Well," he said, "that's pretty much what we do all over the world.".
END third excerpt
To read her entire September 22 anti-U.S. left-wing diatribe, go to: http://grannyd.com/maine.htm 
For a picture of Haddock, go to the March 1, 2000 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000301.html#3 
That CyberAlert recounted how network anchors gushed over her: "I love Granny D!" exclaimed Today's Matt Lauer of the woman who walked cross the nation in a gimmick to push campaign finance "reform." Katie Couric roared: "She's great!" Tuesday night Bob Dotson claimed she "has felt the nation hugging her shoulders."
But if you thought her effort to enact
campaign finance reform, however misguided, was about putting the
interests of all citizens ahead of "special interests," check
out the message at the top of the "Granny D" home page (http://grannyd.com/ ):
Yup, that's what is most important about the terrorist attacks: They have derailed "all of the progress" on campaign finance reform.
Given Haddock's virulent anti-U.S. left-wing conspiracy theories which put the blame on the U.S. by rationalizing foreign anger at the U.S., one hopes we will never again see her treated by the networks as a credible guest to promote her campaign speech regulation agenda. -- Brent Baker