2. GOP Challenger 'Conservative,' Left Wing Ones Simply 'Anti-War'
3. Jonathan Alter Puts Heavy-Breathing Political Fantasies on Paper
4. CNN Blames GOP for Disunity: 'Let's Just Talk About Republicans'
5. Vieira's First Day Blooper: Speaker of the House John Boehner
Bob Schieffer, CBS's Chief Washington Correspondent and host of Face the Nation, used the "freeSpeech" segment on Wednesday's CBS Evening News to denounce the Bush administration's "secret prisons," arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted "the methods of our enemies." But our terrorist enemies don't put Americans into prison -- they murder Americans. Schieffer, who anchored the CBS Evening News until two weeks ago, told viewers of the broadcast now anchored by Katie Couric that he was "glad" the U.S. took the "suspected 9/11 ringleaders" out "of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies."
Schieffer also contended that "weapons didn't win the [Cold] War. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines." He concluded by arguing: "As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies."
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
Schieffer's "freeSpeech" commentary on the September 13 CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
CBSNews.com has posted video on its "freeSpeech" page: www.cbsnews.com 
On Wednesday's Early Show on CBS, co-host Rene Syler offered results from Tuesday's primaries, but the labels were remarkably different. In Rhode Island, Syler classified Senator Chafee's opponent as a "conservative," but in New York, Senator Clinton's ultra-liberal opponent was simply classified as "anti-war." Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the Rhode Island race, and called the Club for Growth "very conservative." Back in August, Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont was labeled as "anti-war" while the Early Show never referred to Lamont backers as "very liberal."
[This item, by Michael Rule, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
The top story on the September 13 Early Show was the primary results, and the story was narrated by Rene Syler. She noted Stephen Laffey was a conservative: "Tuesday's vote was a run-up to November's elections and the battle for control of Congress, in a critical race for Republicans, Rhode Island moderate, Lincoln Chafee defeated a conservative challenger."
While in the New York race, Senator Clinton's left wing opponent was described as simply "anti-war": "New York Senator Hillary Clinton easily defeated her anti-war opponent winning the right to run for a second term."
Today was not the first time the Early Show classified a liberal as simply being "anti-war." In the days following the Connecticut primary, the Early Show failed to label Ned Lamont as a liberal challenger in Connecticut, instead, it utilized the label "anti-war." Nor did they identify his backers, such as Moveon.org, as "very liberal" organizations. However, this morning, Bob Schieffer described the Club for Growth as a "very conservative" group. Schieffer talked with co-host Harry Smith in the first installment of a weekly segment the Early Show has dubbed "Capitol Bob." Schieffer offered his insights on the November Congressional elections, including his take on the Rhode Island primary:
So the Club for Growth is "very conservative," while groups like Moveon.org were simply part of Mr. Lamont's "anti-war" base.
Schieffer continued, and promoted a Wednesday Washington Post article by Dana Milbank: "The fall out since the President's speech has just been extraordinary. Dana Milbank and the Washington Post this morning said we are now into the 'treason season,' where both sides are sort of accusing the other side of being unpatriotic because of their stand on the war."
However, Schieffer made Milbank's column sound as if it attacked all sides, when in fact it was an article that spouted the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are attacking their patriotism. But it is refreshing to note that even if Milbank's desire was to portray it as strictly a GOP tactic, that Schieffer pointed out that neither party has a monopoly on the tactic.
Remember Al Gore's "Saturday Night Live" skit where he pretended to be President and the world was a glorious place? Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter played that game in his column this week, suggesting that if Bush had been more Gore-like, just imagine what a paradise we would all be living in. In addition to fantasizing that the Arab world sympathized with us, and that Syria and Iran were "forced to help" with the war on terror, Bush's domestic agenda looked a lot like Jonathan Alter's domestic agenda: stiff gas taxes, terminated tax cuts, SUV-bashing, firing Rumsfeld. Alter dreamed that Bush "abandoned his tax cuts for the wealthy, reminding the country that no president in history had ever cut taxes in the middle of a war" and "he drove to his 2002 State of the Union address in a hybrid car. Sales soared." A liberal can dream, can't he?
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
In his piece in the September 18 edition of Newsweek, "An Alternate 9/11 History: By staying 'humble,' as he promised in 2000, Bush preserved much of the post-9/11 good will abroad," Alter fantasized:
And negative campaigning against liberals? Perish the thought:
Finally, Alter enjoyed imagining a world where Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq with an iron fist. Imagine the euphoria:
For Alter's fantasy in full: www.msnbc.msn.com 
CNN American Morning host Miles O'Brien prefaced a Wednesday interview with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow by mentioning the President's 9/11 speech and wondering "if lawmakers on both sides of the aisle" were heeding Bush's call for unity. It soon became clear, however, that when O'Brien said both sides, he meant only Republicans. The CNN anchor led the September 13 segment with a quote critical of Democrats by Majority Leader John Boehner. Snow then attempted to reference some tough statements made by liberal Senator Carl Levin. O'Brien responded: "No, no, I want to ask -- can I ask about Republicans first? Let's just talk about Republicans....I want to ask you about Republicans." This became the tone of the entire interview, which aired at 7:34am EDT.
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
What exactly are Republicans doing to disrupt unity? Snow attempted to point out that Democrats have opposed a terrorist surveillance program and other initiatives related to the war on terror. O'Brien, however, couldn't be dissuaded from his laser-like focus on the Republicans and their obstruction of unity. Take this exchange between the press secretary and the CNN anchor:
O'Brien: "I just want you to talk about Republicans for a moment."
Snow started to respond, but O'Brien interrupted to reiterate his thesis: "It doesn't sound like a lot of unity there."
So, essentially, Republicans are the obstruction? That statement might be easier to believe if you didn't have incidents such as the Democratic Minority Leader, Harry Reid, publically calling President Bush a "loser."
O'Brien then shifted subjects, but continued with the premise that Republicans are the problem. During a discussion of a recent CNN poll that showed 43 percent of Americans believe Saddam Hussein to have been personally involved in planning 9/11, the American Morning host cited a comment from GOP Senator Rick Santorum:
A visibly puzzled Tony Snow responded, "Huh? I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here." It soon became clear that O'Brien saw this as a dark Republican plot to blame Saddam for 9/11. Snow quickly pointed out the obvious:
It shouldn't be confusing, unless of course you're a CNN anchor trying to blame every problem in Congress on the Republicans and their apparent distaste for "unity."
On her first day of work, NBC's new Today co-host Meredith Vieira on Wednesday mistakenly called House Majority Leader John Boehner the "House Speaker." The blooper came as Vieira, in a segment with Tim Russert, referred to an earlier report by David Gregory, as he highlighted a remark from Boehner, whom he referred to as "House Republican leader John Boehner." Vieira asked Tim Russert: "Meanwhile you have, as David Gregory pointed out, the House Speaker saying, criticizing the Democratic, the Democrats for criticizing the President by saying that they're really soft on terrorism, that their commitment to fighting the war is not really there. That's worked effectively for the Republicans in the past, that argument. Do you think that it still will work?"
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org  ]
Russert corrected Vieira without pointing out her error: "The, the words that Congressman Boehner used, almost suggesting the Democrats were aligning themselves with the terrorists really sent shockwaves through Washington. And the White House when asked in press, by David Gregory, 'Does the President agree with that,' said no. It's a very fine line. You can accuse people of not being vigorous or strong on national defense and national security but when you start suggesting that they are closer to the terrorists than they are to protecting the American people, I think people in both parties, think that crossed the line."
Vieira was referring to the following portion in Gregory's report. Incidentally Today, as if to emphasize its egregiousness, ran a full graphic of the Boehner quote:
-- Brent Baker