Jennings Mad at Pentagon; U.S. & Taliban Kill "Innocents"; Rather Urged Perseverance; More Skeptical of bin Laden Than Bush?
1) Peter Jennings is dissatisfied with the Pentagon's
information flow. After complaining about how the briefing was canceled,
he demanded to know: "Is the Pentagon unable to assess what it has
done or just doesn't want to share it with the public?"
2) A night after ABC dedicated a whole story to how U.S.
food drops are just "propaganda," World News Tonight
acknowledged that the Taliban are confiscating food trucks. But David
Wright put the U.S. and Taliban in the same category as he relayed claims
the U.S. bombs are killing "innocents" while "UN officials
today accused the Taliban of attacking innocents as well."
3) CBS's Bob Schieffer assigned an ulterior motive to
the "small group of Republicans" opposed to federalizing baggage
screeners. "Their underlying fear," Schieffer suggested
Wednesday night, is that if they "become federal employees they'll
probably join unions and unions often support Democrats."
4) Dan Rather concluded Wednesday's CBS Evening News
with a message about perseverance. "With America's fighting men and
women in peril far from home tonight we know," he said as his voiced
began to break up with emotion, "we must steel ourselves for many
more long months."
5) Geraldo Rivera on Donald Rumsfeld: "Really like
that guy, he's doing a great job."
6) Brit Hume suggested that the networks would be more
skeptical about a White House video than the one from Osama bin Laden.
Recalling how all the networks on Sunday immediately ran the raw bin Laden
video, Hume quipped that if the White House put out a video of unknown
content, "we'd be all annoyed about it, we'd be all 'they're
trying to put one over on us.'"
7) Helen Thomas remains infatuated with Bill Clinton.
Introducing him Tuesday night, she credited him with warning the nation
about terrorism, claimed he had "brought unprecedented prosperity to
our nation," maintained that he "personified" the
"human spirit" and given us "hope."
8) Cokie Roberts gets around the ABC News ban on flag pins
by wearing an eagle, she pointed out to David Letterman. She also joked
about how a terrorist may have targeted the "American Media"
building because "the guy thought he had hit the jackpot.
Everybody's right there, the whole American media."
Hume's "kumbayah" video. If you caught the end of FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume on either Tuesday or Wednesday night, you
saw an Internet mini-movie about Osama bin Laden with a surprise, yet
satisfying, ending. Hume played an encore of it on Wednesday night because
of how many requests he received after his Tuesday showing. If you
haven't seen it, it is worth viewing. It's called
"Diplomacy" and is posted on a video games site, but I don't
know who created it since the only credit for it is assigned to an AOL
e-mail address for a guy in the Boston area. To play the just under a
minute-long animation movie, go to this direct address: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view.php?id=33641
I don't know what kind of software is employed
to play it, but it worked fine for me via a frame launched inside
Netscape, though I suspect it may be a Shockwave file and so may require
you to download that plug-in if you don't already have it. <<<
Pentagon isn't divulging information fast enough or in great enough
detail to satisfy ABC's Peter Jennings, who on Wednesday night displayed
He opened the October 10 World News Tonight by
pointing out how there was no Department of Defense briefing earlier in
the day. After John McWethy at the Pentagon finished a report on military
activity in Afghanistan, Jennings returned to the lack of a briefing:
question about the briefing, John, which I'd said had been cancelled
today. We've been three days now, we've had three photographs of bomb
damage. Is the Pentagon unable to assess what it has done or just
doesn't want to share it with the public?"
replied: "It appears, Peter, that the Pentagon does not want to share
the details of what is going on. They keep saying that it is a different
kind of war, and so far it has been a war with very little
after ABC's World News Tonight dedicated a whole story to how U.S. food
drops are just "propaganda" as Peter Jennings asked, "Are
the U.S. food drops on Afghanistan making matters worse?" and
answered, "Some relief agencies say yes," ABC noted how a UN
official said the Taliban has "confiscated" truckloads of food
But, reporter David Wright only offered the
acknowledgment after highlighting how U.S. bombs hit "innocents"
as he drew parallels between the U.S. and Taliban by asserting the Taliban
were accused "of attacking innocents as well."
From Northern Afghanistan, Wright relayed how
"eight miles east of Kabul a family's home was hit. The target may
have been an abandoned fort nearby. 'We were about to get up for morning
prayers when the bomb hit our house,' says the owner, whose wife and two
children were injured."
Wright explained how many were fleeing into
Pakistan before blaming the U.S. for bombing civilians: "Many who are
leaving say it would be one thing if the Americans were only bombing the
terrorist camps in Afghanistan, but, they say, the killing of innocents is
not okay. UN officials today accused the Taliban of attacking innocents as
well. The UN says Afghan workers in three cities have been beaten by
Taliban authorities and that several truckloads of aid have been
NBC Nightly News provided a clearer take on
the UN charge as reporter Dana Lewis noted that UN food relief officials
"say it is not bombs but the Taliban that is endangering their
Bunker, United Nation's spokesman: "Staff have been beaten in
Kabul, in Kandahar and in Jalalabad."
"The Taliban today threatening to burn the food aid American planes
have been dropping..."
Maybe ABC News could look into that instead of
trying to discredit the U.S. food relief effort. For more on ABC's
Tuesday night story, in which Dan Harris asserted, "some say the U.S.
is actually doing more harm than good. The bombing raids have some truck
drivers too scared to carry food into the country," go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011010.asp#1
Wednesday's Nightline did offer a bit more
of a balanced presentation as John Cochran, at an Air Force base, relayed:
"The crew members here say they cannot understand why anyone would be
critical of their attempts to save lives." But complaints about the
effort were behind the story, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, as Ted
Koppel set up the segment: "Three leading aid organizations
criticized U.S. air drops of food into Afghanistan today. They complained
it was dangerous to confuse military and humanitarian flights. They
maintain the only way to get volumes of food to the refugees was by the
very trucks whose movements have been halted by the bombing. ABC's John
Cochran has been watching the preparations for the food drops in
explained around soundbites: "It's a busy time at Ramstein Air Force
Base, even though the American planes here take no part in the bombing
campaign. Here there is a lot of what everyone in the military calls grunt
work. This is where the military puts together the big cartons of food for
Afghanistan....Eight-four containers a day, 410 food packets in each
container, almost 3500 meals in all, every day. Meals with no animal
parts, nothing that would violate Islamic dietary restrictions....Six
thousand miles and almost 24 hours after leaving Germany, the crews
return, high-fiving each other, confident they hit their drop zones.
Military sources say satellite photos show the people who are supposed to
get the food are getting it. Still, critics say the air drops, even if
successful, can feed only a fraction of the millions threatened with
members here say they cannot understand why anyone would be critical of
their attempts to save lives. They say their air drops will be more
important than ever if truck drivers eventually decide it is too dangerous
to carry food into Afghanistan by land."
Koppel then interviewed Ken Bacon, the former
Wall Street Journal reporter who was the Pentagon spokesman during the
Clinton years and is now President of Refugees International. Koppel
proposed: "Give us a sense of the scope of what is needed, and how
and why it is that what is currently being delivered by air is more
symbolic than real." But, Koppel also pressed him to concede:
"Bottom line here, it's not enough, it's not nearly enough -- as you
say, a drop in the bucket -- but if you have to weigh the elements --
positive, negative -- is it better that the military does this or would it
have been better if they left it alone?"
admitted: "I think it's a plus probably; a narrow plus, but it's a
plus. The most important thing now is to get food to people in villages or
as close to villages as possible. This will prevent them from moving out
into refugee camps either in Afghanistan or into Pakistan and Iran."
conservative Republicans have an ulterior motive? CBS's Bob Schieffer on
Wednesday night lamented how the airport security bill is stuck because
"a small group of Republicans" oppose making security checkpoint
workers federal employees. He undercut their credibility by claiming
"their underlying fear" is that "if those baggage screeners
become federal employees they'll probably join unions and unions often
Referring to federalizing the baggage
screening, on the October 10 CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer bemoaned:
"By most counts majorities in both the House and Senate want to do
it, but a small group of Republicans who are worried about enlarging the
size of the federal government, has tied up the legislation to strengthen
airport security. It's one of the strangest tie-ups ever and the
bi-partisan group pushing the legislation has been left exasperated."
Following clips of Senators McCain, Hutchison
and Dorgan, Schieffer concluded: "Those pushing this legislation say
that is the only way to really make the airports safe, but the Republicans
opposing this say they're just philosophically opposed to creating a
larger federal bureaucracy. They don't state their underlying fear that
if those baggage screeners become federal employees they'll probably
join unions and unions often support Democrats."
Of course, many liberal Democrats probably
support the plan for just that reason.
Rather concluded Wednesday's hour-long CBS Evening News with another
patriotic message about perseverance. "It has been only a month since
so much has changed," he observed, "but it has been the longest
month." He added that "with America's fighting men and women
in peril far from home tonight we know," he said as his voiced began
to break up, "we must steel ourselves for many more long
Rather ended the Monday CBS Evening News with
a patriotic message about accepting the deaths of U.S. servicemen in
"a war forced upon us." As for fears of another terrorist
attack, he maintained: "This will remain the land of the free only so
long as it is the home of the brave." For the full quote, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011009.asp#2
The final story on Wednesday's CBS Evening
News looked at how the people in Middletown, New Jersey are coping with
the loss of their neighbors. Rather followed the taped piece with these
words of encouragement:
it goes in Middletown, so it goes across this vast country in towns
touched directly and indirectly by the evil of September 11th. As people
search amid their daily routines for tat elusive condition called
'normalcy.' 8:48am tomorrow marks one month since that awful morning.
Many, like those in Middletown, are finding that life does go on, does
return to normal, but that the definition of normal has changed
drastically. Normal now includes terrorist threats, bombing runs and
rumors and a slow running river of sadness for those lost. And for the
lives we knew so recently, though it seems now long, long ago. It has been
only a month since so much has changed, but it has been the longest month.
And with America's fighting men and women in peril far from home
tonight, we know, we know, we must steel ourselves for many more long
has even led Geraldo Rivera to find a Republican to admire. MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens noticed that on Tuesday night's Rivera Live on CNBC,
after playing a soundbite of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Rivera
like that guy, he's doing a great job. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld again
warning there will be casualties on our side in this long and determined
campaign against terrorism."
more skeptical about the Bush White House than the terrorist Osama bid
On Wednesday's Special Report with Brit Hume
on FNC, during a roundtable discussion about the White House request that
the networks not automatically run al-Qaeda video releases, panelist Fred
Barnes prompted Hume to let viewers in on an observation Hume made earlier
off air in reference to how all the networks on Sunday immediately ran,
without any hesitation, the raw bin Laden video.
Barnes recalled: "You made a point to me
that if, what if a tape came in from the White House, and it was the
President and you didn't know where and you didn't know exactly what
he was going to say, would you just rush that on the air?"
"No, we'd be all annoyed about it, we'd be all 'they're
trying to put one over on us.'"
Thomas remains infatuated with former President Clinton. Introducing him
Tuesday night at a Kennedy Center event in Washington, DC, the former UPI
White House reporter claimed that "throughout his eight years in
office" he had warned of terrorism and had "brought
unprecedented prosperity to our nation" which President Bush can use
during this crisis. She also maintained that he "personified"
the "human spirit," giving us "hope." She concluded:
"We miss him."
Thomas, now a columnist for the Hearst
Newspapers, introduced Clinton at an October 9 lecture sponsored by the
Greater Washington Society of Association Executives and shown live
Tuesday night on C-SPAN2. MRC analyst Patrick Gregory took down her
gushing comments about Clinton:
-- "Throughout his eight years in office,
President Clinton warned us that the next great menace was international
-- "He also brought unprecedented
prosperity to our nation, and because of that President Clinton [she meant
Bush] can use the surplus Mr. Clinton left behind to pay for many of the
nation's needs in this time of crisis."
-- "This lecture series is about the
human spirit. To me and millions of others, President Clinton has always
personified that. He is the man from Hope, and that is what he has given
us, hope. We miss him. Thank you, Mr. President."
Roberts gets around the ABC News ban on flag pins by wearing an eagle, she
pointed out to David Letterman on Wednesday's Late Show on CBS. She also
joked about how a terrorist may have targeted the "American
Media" building because "the guy thought he had hit the jackpot.
Everybody's right there, the whole American media."
Asked by Letterman about ABC's ban on flag
pins being based on the argument doing so would inhibit objectivity, she
defended the policy, but showed how she gets around it: "Since there
is a debate about it ABC has decided that we shouldn't be wearing flags,
so I wear an eagle."
Indeed, she was wearing and eagle-shaped
ornament on her lapel. She suggested that for journalists, "the
patriotic thing to do is ask questions."
Referring to the Anthrax cases at the building
in Florida which houses the company which publishes The Star and National
Enquirer, American Media, Roberts joked: "When I saw the first case,
I was just watching it on TV and saw the building and the building has
this big sign on it that says, 'American Media.' So I thought, well of
course. The guy thought he had hit the jackpot. Everybody's right there,
the whole American media."
I'll let that
joke stand on its own. -- Brent Baker
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