2. Terry Moran: Blame Rumsfeld and Powell for France's Ire
3. Yet ABC Acknowledges Iraq's Lack of Cooperation with UN
4. Bush the "Worst President," But There's "Room for Redemption"
5. Jamie Lee Curtis and
The View Crew Rail Against Bush on Iraq
6. FOB Rick Kaplan Returns to ABC News as a Top Executive
ABC's Peter Jennings on Wednesday night again approached the Bush policy on Iraq from the assumption it is the administration and not a few of the allies which are not playing well with their friends. "It is quite clear in Washington tonight," Jennings intoned at the top of World News Tonight, "that the administration is prepared to jeopardize its relations with several of its oldest and best friends in order to get its way about Iraq."
Or, you could say that a few West European nations have jeopardized relations by their intransigence and hostility toward the U.S., to say nothing of putting a higher priority on trade revenue from Iraq. But if you thought that way, you wouldn't be Peter Jennings.
CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw managed to lead their newscasts with one of the strategies which so enraged Jennings -- Bush deciding to press the UN Security Council for a resolution with a deadline -- but without such a heavy-handed rebuke of the administration's approach. Brokaw teased from Kuwait: "Countdown Iraq. The U.S. will bring a new war resolution to a vote at the UN, President Bush calls it 'the last chance.'"
Also from Kuwait, Dan Rather announced at the top of the CBS Evening News: "Good evening from Camp Commando, headquarters of the U.S. Marine's First Expeditionary Force here in Kuwait. With the timetable for a possible new war with Iraq slipping, the United States is pushing for the United Nation's Security Council to give Saddam Hussein a flat deadline for disarming. The White House said it will offer a draft resolution this week or next."
Compare that to how ABC White House reporter Terry Moran characterized the approach: "With nearly 200,000 U.S. troops now in the Persian Gulf, the White House today presented what amounted to an ultimatum to the fourteen other nations on the Security Council."
Here's how Jennings set up that Moran story at the start of the February 19 World New Tonight:
CBS and NBC also looked at how Turkey now wants more money in exchange for using its land and facilities, but neither suggested anything like Jennings' claim that the problem demonstrated the Bush administration's willingness to "jeopardize" relations with Turkey.
Matching the same attitude he and Peter Jennings expressed on Wednesday's World News Tonight (see item #1 above), at the White House press briefing earlier in the day ABC's Terry Moran lectured Press Secretary Ari Fleischer about how the Bush team's rhetoric drove France against the U.S.
Citing how Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "has dismissively referred to France and Germany as 'old Europe,'" and how Secretary of State Colin Powell "warned France not be 'afraid' of its responsibilities," Moran demanded: "Is that the rhetoric of a great power, and is that really the most effective way of building alliances?" Moran followed up by arguing that the administration's rhetoric of "you're with us or you're against us," a "kind of dismissive superiority to some of the oldest American allies," is "contributing to the problems in forging a common front against Iraq."
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught the exchange at just before 12:30pm EST during the briefing carried by the cable news networks.
Moran began the interplay: "Ari, on the UN resolution, a second UN resolution, one of the forces that's at work, it seems, is increasing rancor and nastiness within the Western alliance. You've got newspapers here showing France and Germany as weasels at the Security Council, people calling France 'surrender monkeys.' Then you've got a lot of anti-Americanism on the streets over in France."
CNN's Aaron Brown conveyed the same blame the U.S. first theme on Monday's NewsNight. Interviewing New Republic Editor Peter Beinhart, Brown proposed on his February 17 show:
A day after the CBS Evening News reported that only three of the requested 30 Iraqi scientists have been willing to be interviewed by UN inspectors, ABC's World News Tonight caught up.
(For more on the February 18 story by CBS's Mark Phillips, see:
Just a few minutes after Jennings scolded the Bush administration because of how it "is prepared to jeopardize its relations with several of its oldest and best friends in order to get its way about Iraq" (see item #1 above), Dan Harris in Baghdad extolled how "Saddam Hussein has met many of the weapons inspectors' key demands," but he acknowledged, "there is less to Iraq's cooperation than meets the eye." Harris then recounted how Iraq has failed to comply with the requests of Hans Blix for a list of scientists and that only three of 30 scientists have agreed to interviews.
Jennings set up the February 19 World News Tonight report, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Lest we forget that part of the Bush administration's latest disagreement with its allies is about whether to attack Iraq or let the United Nations weapons inspectors continue to work there. ABC's Dan Harris reports from Baghdad tonight that the inspectors are not getting as much help as they want."
Yes, the very same "peace" marches which Jennings trumpeted on Tuesday night when he insisted that though "the enormous anti-war demonstrations" have not "changed" President Bush's "mind about Saddam Hussein," they "have certainly given Mr. Bush's opponents some sense that they have momentum." Details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030219.asp#1 
Asked by Phil Donahue on Wednesday night about her claim that George W. Bush "is the worst President in all of American history," Hearst Newspapers White House columnist Helen Thomas patronizingly suggested "there's always room for redemption" and "improvement." She recommended that in Iraq Bush should "declare a victory and leave."
As recounted in the January 29 CyberAlert, a story in the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California quoted how Thomas made the derogatory remark about Bush at a Society of Professional Journalists awards event. For details:
When Donahue read the quote to Thomas during a live interview on the February 19 edition of his MSNBC show, Thomas contended: "What I should have said is there's always room for redemption." She added: "But I should have added there's always room for improvement. I don't mean to be condescending, but there is always, he's got two more years."
Donahue prompted the long-time UPI White House reporter: "You want him to redeem himself by pulling back."
Bill Clinton, however, is her real hero. About him she gushed: "I think his heart was in the right place. He made mistakes obviously in his personal life, but he balanced the budget, he created the surplus, and I think he worked for peace in the Balkans, Ireland, Middle East."
But he went into the Balkans without UN Security Council approval!
An anti-Bush outburst from a Hollywood celebrity on ABC's The View on Wednesday. When penta-host Meredith Vieira dared to pass along how President Bush said he will not be swayed by the anti-liberation of Iraq marches because he will not make policy based on a "focus group" since "he believes that the role of a leader...is to decide policy based upon the security of the people," guest penta-host Jamie Lee Curtis flew into a rage: "So then what is he talking about that it's a focus group? That was millions of people!...That was millions of the people that he's supposed to serve."
Later in the show, Curtis boasted of how she had attended a "peace" rally over the weekend.
Penta-host Joy Behar offered this belittling quip about Bush: "What I think we should do is draw up a petition, everybody sign in crayon, and then he'll understand." Another of the five hosts, former NBC News reporter Star Jones, snidely lamented: "I guess the President says the majority of the people didn't elect him, he doesn't have to listen to 'em anyway."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson transcribed the war protest discussion on the February 19 The View, the daytime ABC program created and produced by Barbara Walters. This week the New York City-based show is being broadcast at 8am PST from Los Angeles with a different guest host each day joining the regular four.
Former CBS News reporter Meredith Vieira segued from a discussion about the popularity in Britain of penis extension surgery, to the war protests: "[President Bush] will not be deterred from war against Iraq if he thinks that's what we need to do. He says that he's not going to decide policy based upon a focus group. He believes that the role of a leader -- and he has a point here -- the role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security of the people."
For pictures and bios of The View crew:
For a photo of Jamie Lee Curtis and a listing of all her movie and TV roles, see her Internet Movie Database page:
Rick Kaplan, the Friend of Bill of who ran CNN from 1997 to 2000 as President of CNN/USA, is returning to ABC News, where he was a top producer for many years, for at least a three month stint overseeing special events coverage.
While serving as President of CNN, Kaplan played golf with President Clinton, stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom and participated in a mock debate session with Al Gore. When he was Executive Producer of Nightline in 1992 he advised presidential candidate Bill Clinton on how to handle the Gennifer Flowers revelation and later as Executive Producer of World News Tonight he blocked anti-Clinton stories from getting onto that newscast.
Below are summaries about all of that and links to fuller accounts, but first an excerpt from the AP story highlighted Wednesday afternoon by DrudgeReport.com:
With a potential war with Iraq looming, former CNN chief Rick Kaplan is rejoining ABC News for three months to oversee special events coverage, the network said Wednesday....
Kaplan has "proven his ability at producing and overseeing live television news coverage," said ABC News President David Westin. Westin's top deputy, Paul Friedman, announced last week that he was leaving management for a part-time role...
It's no fun to watch big stories breaking on television "and not have responsibility for any of them," Kaplan said....
END of Excerpt
Drudge linked to a Boston Globe-posted version:
I think the inside story here is that ABC News and Westin were embarrassed by their poor showing on the Saturday morning of the Columbia disaster, the one morning of the week when, because they have no newscast, they have had inadequate personnel in place to handle a breaking news event.
For a photo of Kaplan:
Now, as lifted from the November 19, 2002 CyberAlert, the rundown of Kaplan's liberal political activities over the years while serving as a network news executive:
> Rick Kaplan's close ties to President Bill Clinton:
# From the April 11, 2000 CyberAlert:
CNN President Rick Kaplan, who stayed overnight in Clinton's White House while at ABC News, spent another night there with his daughter last Thursday night after the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner, USA Today disclosed. But Kaplan doesn't see anything wrong with it.
In his "Inside TV" column for April 10, USA Today's Peter Johnson revealed:
CNN president Rick Kaplan, who took some heat when he worked at ABC News for staying overnight at the White House during President Clinton's first term, spent another night there Thursday -- after Clinton roasted ABC News over "Leogate."
"No, I do not feel embarrassed, ashamed or compromised in any way, shape or form," Kaplan said Friday, after sleeping in the Queen's Room while daughter Alexis, 21, slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Generally speaking, it's an ethical no-no for journalists to get too cozy with people they cover. But Kaplan, a former Nightline, PrimeTime Live and World News Tonight producer, said Clinton's gesture won't affect CNN's coverage of him.
"Everyone has relationships," Kaplan said. "We met each other before either of us knew we'd amount to anything. He doesn't expect anything from me, and I don't expect anything from him."
Kaplan, a Clinton friend for 30 years, said the president gave Alexis an "amazing" 2 '-hour White House tour. "It was extremely nice of him to do it. In the waning months of his presidency, I felt, 'What the heck?'"
END of Excerpt and of April 11, 2001 CyberAlert item
(Back in 1994 Knight-Ridder's Marc Gunther noted in a profile story that ran in the February 8, 1994 Detroit News: "Kaplan and Clinton have known each other since the late 1970s, and last year the ABC producer played golf with the President and spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom....")
# From the December 5, 2000 CyberAlert, a couple of months after Kaplan left CNN:
Was former CNN President Rick Kaplan involved in advising the Gore campaign while he was still running the cable news network? Did he have special behind-the-scenes access because of his close personal connection to Bill Clinton? Those questions are raised by an intriguing sentence in the November 20 Newsweek.
In early September Kaplan was let go by CNN, but back in March he was still President of CNN/USA. Keep that in mind as you read this paragraph from Newsweek's massive "The Inside Story" treatise on the campaign. This appeared about 30 pages into the series of articles which listed Eleanor Clift as the reporter with Gore, on page 65 in "Spring Fever" section:
END of December 5, 2000 CyberAlert item
Were Kaplan and Clift advising or observing? We'll probably never know because journalists didn't and don't care about a journalist advising a liberal candidate or President.
# See the June 14, 1999 CyberAlert for how, during a commencement address Kaplan delivered while President of CNN, he complained that Ken Starr is "putting obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation" while Bill Clinton has had "extraordinary" achievements. For a lengthy excerpt of his speech: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1999/cyb19990614.asp#4 
For a RealPlayer clip of it: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000831.asp#2 
# From the October 9, 1997 CyberAlert, how Kaplan's personal views directly impacted CNN content:
A two-hour CNN special on campaign finance was produced by CNN President Rick Kaplan, who U.S. News reported had demanded that CNN staffers "limit the use of the word 'scandal' in reporting on Clinton's campaign fundraising woes."
I wondered: "Can you do a two-hour show on Clinton's 1996 fundraising and not use the word 'scandal'?" A rhetoric question, or so I thought. But incredibly enough the answer is -- yes!
The October 7 show titled "Democracy for Sale" wandered well beyond Clinton to examine Republicans and to argue for campaign finance reform, but summarizing charges against Clinton took up a significant portion of the show. Nonetheless, the phrase "Clinton scandal" was never uttered.... Details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1997/cyb19971009.asp#4 
> Kaplan's activities on behalf of Clinton while at ABC News:
# For details on how in February 1992, while at ABC News, he advised Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers story: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1997/cyb19970806.asp#1 
# For extensive and illuminating excerpts from a January 1998 Vanity Fair profile which detailed how Kaplan once hired Hillary Clinton; how he not only advised Clinton about how to counter Gennifer Flowers, but had earlier counseled Clinton on how to recover from his too-long 1988 convention speech; how he had been a political operative for a liberal presidential candidate before jumping to journalism; how he made calls to console Hillary Clinton after Vince Foster's death and to Web Hubbell after he resigned; how he killed a Whitewater piece from ABC's World News Tonight, discouraged reporters and producers from pursuing the topic and only ran an in-depth look one night in 1994 because Nightline was about to grab it; and how he slurred conservative media critics who see liberal bias, specifically Reed Irvine and MRC President Brent Bozell, as "liars." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19980114.asp 
That's quite a piece about a political activist in the guise of a news man. -- Brent Baker