Dan Rather's Patriotic Fervor; MRC Has Taped 1400 Hours of Network Coverage; Time's Case for Rage; Newsweek: "God Bless America"
1) Dan Rather praised
President Bush as "Giuliani-esque" for saying, "Osama: Dead
or alive." Later on Monday's Late Show he volunteered for the war
effort: "George Bush is the President. He makes the decisions
and...wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where." An
emotional Rather broke down twice as he recalled the heroic work of the
firefighters and recited a stanza from "America the Beautiful."
2) Time magazine's Lance
Morrow argued for rage: "For once, let's have no 'grief
counselors' standing by with banal consolations, as if the purpose, in
the midst of all this, were merely to make everyone feel better as quickly
as possible. We shouldn't feel better."
3) Over the past week the MRC
has filled 210 six and eight-hour videotapes with news coverage from nine
networks. That's about 1,400 hours taped so far.
4) Updates on recent
CyberAlerts: Louis Rukeyser confused Prime Ministers? Another Web site
with more options to hear the famous "The Americans" radio
commentary. And it's a new media world as the cover of Newsweek
announces: "God Bless America."
Rather has done plenty over his career to earn the suspicions of
conservatives, but Monday night, on CBS's Late Show with David
Letterman, Rather displayed emotion and patriotic fervor which all
Americans should respect. Rather twice broke down into tears, and had to
stop speaking, in what certainly appeared to be genuine outpourings of
emotion as he recalled the heroic work of the firefighters and later
recited lines from "America the Beautiful."
Rather wondered: "Who can sing now, with
the same meaning we had before, one stanza of that that goes 'so
beautiful for patriot's dream, that sees beyond the years, thine
alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears.' We can never say that
song again, that way..."
Rather's appearance on the somber Late Show,
the first produced since the terrorist attacks, came after Letterman
opened the program with a very emotional chain of thoughts.
It was quite a contrast to the standard
liberal political carping which Bill Maher espoused at the top of ABC's
Politically Incorrect as Maher pivoted off the attacks to rail against
missile defense, religious believers of all faiths and drug laws.
Rather generated applause for praising
President Bush as "Giuliani-esque" for looking "the camera
straight in the eye, unblinking" and saying: "Osama: Dead or
alive." Rather later sounded ready to sign-up for the war effort as
he declared: "George Bush is the President. He makes the decisions,
and, you know, it's just one American, wherever he wants me to line up,
just tell me where. And he'll make the call."
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down a few
quotes from Rather's appearance. Letterman started by asking what had
happened during the day. Rather replied:
some very interesting things happened this afternoon. President Bush made
what I think is his strongest statement yet when he went to the Pentagon
this afternoon. He was 'Giuliani-esque.' I don't think he'd mind
my saying that, no. No, he looked the camera straight in the eye,
unblinking, and said, 'Osama: Dead or alive.' And he also underscored,
David, which I think is very important to understand, two things, and the
President made this extremely clear. One, this is for the long haul. Wars
are won by -- in no particular order -- firepower, willpower, and staying
power. And what President Bush was talking about today, I don't think he
could have made it any clearer, that we have the firepower, we've
mustered the willpower, and unlike the Gulf War, we will have the staying
power. That's the message you got out of that."
A couple of minutes later Rather promised:
"But I couldn't feel stronger, David, that this is a time for us,
and I'm not preaching about it, George Bush is the President. He makes
the decisions, and, you know, it's just one American, wherever he wants
me to line up, just tell me where. And he'll make the call."
As for why the U.S. has not yet struck back,
Rather wisely counseled: "There's a saying in the Far East. Revenge
is best served cold. Which is to say, wait your time, take your time.
It's also, Rudyard Kipling wrote, that the law of the jungle is, you
never lose your temper. Well, we're past that. We've lost our temper.
And I'm sorry I've shown [emotion] so clearly here tonight, but
there's a rage within in all of us that has to be sort of tempered while
we take care of business."
++ Rather video. Rather's noteworthy
comments and breakdowns are spread apart over the lengthy two-segment
appearance, so I'm not even quite sure yet what to highlight, but on
Tuesday morning the MRC's Mez Djouadi will post a RealPlayer clip of a
portion of Dan Rather's appearance on the Late Show. After 11am EDT, go
morning e-mail from a CyberAlert reader just reminded me of another
passionate entreaty from a member of the mainstream media worthy of
admiration. "The Case for Rage and Retribution" blared the
headline over the piece by Lance Morrow on the back page of last week's
special mid-week Time magazine.
For once, let's have no "grief counselors" standing by with
banal consolations, as if the purpose, in the midst of all this, were
merely to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible. We shouldn't
For once, let's have no fatuous rhetoric about "healing."
Healing is inappropriate now, and dangerous. There will be time later for
the tears of sorrow.
A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have
What's needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple
American fury -- a ruthless indignation that doesn't leak away in a week
or two, wandering off into Prozac-induced forgetfulness or into the next
media sensation (O.J.... Elian... Chandra...) or into a corruptly
thoughtful relativism (as has happened in the recent past, when, for
example, you might hear someone say, "Terrible what he did, of
course, but, you know, the Unabomber does have a point, doesn't he, about
Let America explore the rich reciprocal possibilities of the fatwa. A
policy of focused brutality does not come easily to a self-conscious,
self-indulgent, contradictory, diverse, humane nation with a short
attention span. America needs to relearn a lost discipline, self-confident
relentlessness -- and to relearn why human nature has equipped us all with
a weapon (abhorred in decent peacetime societies) called hatred....
To read Morrow's essay in full, go to: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101010914-174765,00.html
hours and growing. While the MRC decided to refrain for a reasonable time
from documenting any liberal political bias in network coverage of the
tragic terrorist acts, so that people can focus on what is really
important, we've been keeping quite busy taping all of it for our
uniquely thorough video archive. Witness that I'm still at the office at
2:30am typing this after setting tapes for the overnight and morning.
In the week since the attacks the MRC has kept
16 VCRs going nearly around the clock to tape the three cable news
networks 24 hours a day and the three broadcast networks nearly as much,
with some double taping of key hours. Plus, approximately 16 hours a day
of C-SPAN and CNBC, not to mention PBS at night.
So far we've used 210 six and eight-hour VHS
videotapes. That totals about 1,400 hours of broadcast and cable network
updates on items in recent CyberAlerts:
-- Several readers have suggested that PBS's
Louis Rukeyser confused Stanley Baldwin with Neville Chamberlain. The
September 15 CyberAlert had quoted Rukeyser, who expressed gratitude that
no one is "throwing Israel to the wolves as we did Czechoslovakia, a
country that, to paraphrase Britain's pre-war Prime Minister Stanley
Baldwin, seems far away and remote from our practical interests and
-- The September 14 CyberAlert reprinted
Canadian Gordon Sinclair's 1973 radio commentary, "The
Americans." To read it: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010914.asp
I've since learned that in addition to the
Web page I cited, Sinclair's Toronto radio station has posted an article
about it and the CFRB Radio Web page features both RealPlayer and mp3
clips of the original commentary as broadcast on June 5, 1973. Go to: http://www.cfrb.com/archives/american.html
Final thought. It's a new media world.
"God Bless America" proclaims the headline on the cover of
Newsweek over the now famous photo, taken by Bergen Record photographer
Thomas Franklin, of firemen raising a flag at the site of the World Trade
Let's hope that kind of media attitude
endures. -- Brent Baker
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