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."
4) The Taliban have displayed "media savvy" in
inviting Jesse Jackson to visit them, the now dark-haired Ashleigh
Banfield gushed on MSNBC on Thursday morning.
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
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
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."
Ossie Regan, flight attendant: "I feel more
secure when the federal government is involved and especially the
screening process because then you know that, you know, it's not up to
the airlines to find everything."
Roberts outlined the problem: "The airlines
need to win back consumer confidence. Since the attacks, flights have
dropped by one-fifth, passenger loads by as much as two-thirds. The ripple
effect through the economy has been devastating. But if the President
leaves responsibility for oversight of security with the FAA, as he might,
critics say he will do little to easy passenger anxieties."
Michael Boyd, aviation security expert:
"What we're doing right now is taking tweezers away from people on
the basis that some guy living in a cave in Afghanistan is scaring us to
death. We need to get confidence back, and that means having the feds run
this show and someone other than the FAA."
Roberts concluded: "President Bush today
also urged state governors to call up as many as 5,000 National Guard
troops to watch over airport security checkpoints until the new measures
go through Congress. But Mr. Bush today had nothing for the thousands of
airline and aerospace workers who have been laid off in the wake of the
attacks, leaving that matter for another day."
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."
John Nance, ABC News consultant: "Do we want
the pilots up their to be helpless? Absolutely not. We want them to have
the ability to make sure that no one will ever get control of an airliner
again, and that means we've got to arm them."
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
Patricia Friend, President of the Association of
Flight Attendants: "I hate the idea that we have to sit here and talk
about putting guns on airplanes and arming pilots."
Hager added: "Doubts about armed pilots from
the airport operators too."
David Plavin, Airports Council International:
"I'd be really reluctant to sort of encourage people to be carrying
arms on an aircraft."
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:
"During the past week, some newspapers,
television networks and wire services have rolled out new policies or
decided to enforce pre-existing codes for fear of appearing biased or
judgmental. CNN, owned by AOL Time Warner Inc., hasn't barred specific
words but is aiming to 'define people by their actions,' a spokeswoman
said. Those flying the planes that hit the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, for example, would be 'alleged hijackers,' not
'terrorists,' because, the spokeswoman said, 'CNN cannot convict
anybody; nothing has been judged by a court of law.'"
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
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
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."]
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
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
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:
"Nothing's funny these weeks. 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. He was
good and no one's in a mood to be critical. He's not Winston Churchill but
he has an appealing way of being and he knows we need a leader. You wonder
why anyone smart enough to be President would want to be President. George
W. Bush is getting a college education in how to be President. White House
101 and he's learning. Last week, we all cheered his go-get'em speech two
days after the attack."
George W. Bush: "There's an old poster out
west as I recall that said, 'Wanted Dead Or Alive.'"
Rooney scolded: "Well, he didn't sound like
an intellectual. I felt vengeful, too, but I hoped there were other people
in government too smart to be driven by vengeance alone. He threatened to
close our enemy's harbors."
Bush: "This is an enemy that thinks its
harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever."
Rooney, over a graphic of a map showing
Afghanistan, denigrated Bush: "Well, not too smart either.
Afghanistan is landlocked, it doesn't have a harbor. Neither does
Afghanistan have a building worth as much as one of our bombs would cost
to destroy it."
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."
Bush: "It's teachings are good and
peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the
name of Allah."
Rooney: "The fact is though, a small
minority of fundamentalist Muslims are more fanatic about Islam than most
fundamentalist Christians are about Christianity. I hope we aren't about
to do more harm to ourselves than the terrorists did to us. We're massing
weapons for an attack without knowing what to attack. We're initiating
security measures that will restrict our freedom without making us secure.
If we lose our freedom to move freely, I'm not going anywhere and neither,
I'm afraid, is our country."
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
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
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/):
"Special note: all of the progress made to
move Congress toward campaign finance reform has been derailed by the
terrorist incidents and response. The items below are for your
information, but please understand that any effort to persuade you[r]
Congressman to enact reforms will not result in action at this time. We
will be patient, waiting for the proper time to begin anew. In the
meantime, Doris Haddock will work for campaign reform at the state and
local level, and will try to be a voice for peace and justice in these
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
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