Ruing No Al Qaeda "In Custody"; Terrorists Protecting Animals; Excusing Anti-Western Rage; Ashcroft's "McCarthyism"; MRC in VRWC
1) The U.S. routed the Taliban and killed many Al Qaeda
soldiers, but Peter Jennings on Monday night emphasized the negative:
"After two months of war in Afghanistan the U.S. acknowledged today
it has no senior Al Qaeda members in custody."
2) CBS discovered environmental and animal rights
"terrorists carrying on business as usual right here at home."
But Jerry Bowen concluded with the group's justification: "A
domestic war being waged by anonymous individuals who see themselves as
self-appointed protectors of the Earth and its animals."
3) Western hater first, journalist second and Brit third.
A reporter for The Independent justified an attack on him by a mob of
Afghan refugees because "thousands of innocent civilians are dying
under American air strikes in Afghanistan," where "the 'War of
Civilisation' is burning and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and
destroying their homes because 'good' must triumph over
4) John "McCarthy" Ashcroft. Al Hunt: "For
Mr. Ashcroft to charge that his critics...are somehow un-American, are
giving aid and comfort to the enemy, is a smear worthy of Joe
McCarthy." Jack Germond agreed.
5) ABC's The Practice condemned detaining Arabs:
"We're back to interning people. Sticking them in prison because of
where they were born. It happened in World War II with the Japanese
Americans and it's back."
6) CyberAlert as the fuel for the VRWC. In The Nation,
Eric Alterman lamented: "Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast...Westin soon
found himself chewed up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing
media food chain. Brent Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center
sent it out on a daily 'CyberAlert.'..."
7) CNN noted that FNC caught CNN's borrowing of FNC's
"We report, you decide" slogan.
may have routed the Taliban and killed many Al Qaeda soldiers and leaders,
but Peter Jennings on Monday night chose to emphasize shortcomings. He
introduced a December 10 World News Tonight story:
"Well, after two months of war in
Afghanistan the U.S. acknowledged today it has no senior Al Qaeda members
in custody. And the Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, who you saw
a moment ago, said U.S. forces will face a long and a hard job of routing
out both the Taliban and the Al Qaeda leadership. The campaign now extends
beyond the borders of Afghanistan."
Dan Rather provided a contrast on the CBS
Evening News with his set up for a story on the same subject: "For
U.S. forces in Afghanistan the war has settled into two distinct
campaigns: One is the hunt for bin Laden and his remaining loyalists,
thought to be hiding in or near the mountain bastion of Tora Bora in the
east. The other is in the South where U.S. Marines are expanding their
range of operations near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar."
environmental and animal rights terrorists discovered by CBS. Two weeks
after ABC's 20/20 hyperbolically claimed a few anti-abortion zealots are
just as dangerous as Al Qaeda, the CBS Evening News delivered a more
nuanced look at, as Dan Rather put it, "terrorists carrying on
business as usual right here at home with one surprise attack after
On the November 28 edition of 20/20 reporter
Jami Floyd had claimed: "Since September 11th the word terrorist has
come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign, but many believe
we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion
Monday night on the CBS Evening News reporter
Jerry Bowen allowed critics to denounce the tactics of the Earth
Liberation Front, but he concluded with the terrorist group's
justification: "A domestic war being waged by anonymous individuals
who see themselves as self-appointed protectors of the Earth and its
Dan Rather introduced the December 10 story,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "It's been nearly
three months since the United States began a war against terrorism with
military action in Afghanistan. But even as that war goes on overseas,
there are terrorists carrying on business as usual right here at home with
one surprise attack after another. CBS's Jerry Bowen reports on them in
tonight's Eye on America."
Bowen began: "Animal rights crusaders turn
1400 mink loose on an Iowa farm, documenting the attack on home video. A
primate research center in New Mexico is torched. A federal wild horse
corral in Northeastern California is firebombed causing $80,000 in
Jeff Fontana, Bureau of Land Management:
"Any time an act like this would take place it's a horrible thing.
In the wake of September 11th, it's even worse."
Bowen: "Acts of domestic terrorism claimed
by the elusive Animal Liberation front and Earth Liberation Front. Strikes
continuing without pause or apology since September 11th."
Bowen then played a clip of David Barbarash of
the Animal Liberation Front who complained that since the 11th there has
been no stopping of "atrocities" against animals.
Bowen picked up: "The incidents are the
latest in a year of destructive attacks on targets ranging from housing
developments to university research facilities. Frustrating for
investigators, say FBI sources, because international terrorism demands
their primary attention. Outrageous to officials want a crackdown."
Bowen played a soundbite of Congressman Scott
McGinnis (R-CO), who represents Vail where a ski lodge was burned down,
before he pointed out the groups say people are not targeted as their goal
is "to make Earth a better place."
Barbarash asserted, referring to September 11:
"It was my hope that after these attacks people would understand a
little more about suffering and become more a little more compassionate in
their day to day lives. But we don't see that."
Bowen then concluded: "So, says the
spokesman, the surprise attacks will continue -- a domestic war being
waged by anonymous individuals who see themselves as self-appointed
protectors of the Earth and its animals."
think U.S. journalists sometimes don't appreciate the privilege of
living in a free society, they are jingoistic warmongers compared to some
British journalists who are Third Worlders first, journalists second and
Robert Fisk, a reporter for The Independent in
London, justified an attack on him by a mob of Afghan refugees in
Pakistan, reasoning that "if I was an Afghan refugee in Kila
Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked
Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find" because
"thousands of innocent civilians are dying under American air strikes
in Afghanistan," where "the 'War of Civilisation' is burning
and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and destroying their homes because
'good' must triumph over 'evil.'"
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, DrudgeReport.com,
OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web" and FNC's Brit Hume
all cited the Fisk rationalization on Monday. Here's an excerpt of his
December 10 story in the Independent, a piece headlined: "My beating
by refugees is a symbol of the hatred and fury of this filthy war."
They started by shaking hands. We said "Salaam aleikum" --
peace be upon you -- then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy
tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back.
Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and
head. I couldn't see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping
my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they
were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close
to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert
Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
So why record my few minutes of terror and self-disgust under assault
near the Afghan border, bleeding and crying like an animal, when hundreds
-- let us be frank and say thousands -- of innocent civilians are dying
under American air strikes in Afghanistan, when the "War of
Civilization" is burning and maiming the Pashtuns of Kandahar and
destroying their homes because "good" must triumph over
Some of the Afghans in the little village had been there for years,
others had arrived -- desperate and angry and mourning their slaughtered
loved ones -- over the past two weeks. It was a bad place for a car to
break down. A bad time, just before the Iftar, the end of the daily fast
of Ramadan. But what happened to us was symbolic of the hatred and fury
and hypocrisy of this filthy war, a growing band of destitute Afghan men,
young and old, who saw foreigners -- enemies -- in their midst and tried
to destroy at least one of them.
Many of these Afghans, so we were to learn, were outraged by what they
had seen on television of the Mazar-i-Sharif massacres, of the prisoners
killed with their hands tied behind their backs. A villager later told one
of our drivers that they had seen the videotape of CIA officers
"Mike" and "Dave" threatening death to a kneeling
prisoner at Mazar. They were uneducated -- I doubt if many could read --
but you don't have to have a schooling to respond to the death of loved
ones under a B-52's bombs. At one point a screaming teenager had turned to
my driver and asked, in all sincerity: "Is that Mr Bush?"....
The first we knew that something was wrong was when the car stopped in
the middle of the narrow, crowded street. A film of white steam was rising
from the bonnet of our jeep....
That's when the first mighty crack descended on my head. I almost fell
down under the blow, my ears singing with the impact. I had expected this,
though not so painful or hard, not so immediate. Its message was awful.
Someone hated me enough to hurt me. There were two more blows, one on the
back of my shoulder, a powerful fist that sent me crashing against the
side of the bus while still clutching Justin's hand....
The next blow came from a man I saw carrying a big stone in his right
hand. He brought it down on my forehead with tremendous force and
something hot and liquid splashed down my face and lips and chin. I was
kicked. On the back, on the shins, on my right thigh. Another teenager
grabbed my bag yet again and I was left clinging to the strap, looking up
suddenly and realizing there must have been 60 men in front of me,
howling. Oddly, it wasn't fear I felt but a kind of wonderment. So this is
how it happens. I knew that I had to respond. Or, so I reasoned in my
stunned state, I had to die....
I was back in the middle of the road but could not see. I brought my
hands to my eyes and they were full of blood and with my fingers I tried
to scrape the gooey stuff out. It made a kind of sucking sound but I began
to see again and realized that I was crying and weeping and that the tears
were cleaning my eyes of blood. What had I done, I kept asking myself? I
had been punching and attacking Afghan refugees, the very people I had
been writing about for so long, the very dispossessed, mutilated people
whom my own country -- among others -- was killing along, with the Taliban,
just across the border. God spare me, I thought. I think I actually said
it. The men whose families our bombers were killing were now my enemies
I realized there were all the Afghan men and boys who had attacked me
who should never have done so but whose brutality was entirely the product
of others, of us -- of we who had armed their struggle against the
Russians and ignored their pain and laughed at their civil war and then
armed and paid them again for the "War for Civilization" just a
few miles away and then bombed their homes and ripped up their families
and called them "collateral damage".
So I thought I should write about what happened to us in this fearful,
silly, bloody, tiny incident. I feared other versions would produce a
different narrative, of how a British journalist was "beaten up by a
mob of Afghan refugees".
And of course, that's the point. The people who were assaulted were the
Afghans, the scars inflicted by us -- by B-52s, not by them. And I'll say
it again. If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done
just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other
Westerner I could find.
END of Excerpt
For Fisk's chronicle in full, go to:
On OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the
Web column on Monday (OpinionJournal.com/best),
James Taranto commented: "Even granting Fisk the benefit of the doubt
and assuming the attack actually happened as he describes it, Fisk's
explanation still seems too convenient. Why should we believe that his
attackers share his ideological outlook? Maybe someone in the crowd
recognized Fisk as a reporter who's written sycophantic pieces about the
Taliban, whose oppression the refugees had fled. Or maybe the attack had
nothing to do with politics."
pundits over the weekend hurled the accusation of "McCarthyism"
at Attorney General John Ashcroft as they committed the kind of
exaggeration they were condemning Ashcroft for perpetrating.
On Inside Washington, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
noticed, liberal columnist Jack Germond, who I normally ignore since
he's not a reporter and hasn't been one in many years, went over the
"Here is a guy who says people who disagree
with the policies of this administration are aiding and abetting
terrorism, that's the kind of thing McCarthy used to say. That is not
the case, good Americans can disagree with these people even if he
doesn't like it. The other thing is his credentials are somewhat tainted
by the fact that he is a right-wing extremist himself, he was an
ideological extremist, he was a religious fundamentalist extremist as a
Senator and a Governor, he is not the man with clean hands in this thing.
He was a terrible choice."
On CNN's Capital Gang, Wall Street Journal
Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt spewed venom:
"I think it has to be said that in a time of
war there are going to have to be some limits, that is absolutely
unavoidable. But what John Ashcroft and George Bush propose is to trample
all over fundamental principles. Military tribunals in selective cases, I
think probably, are unavoidable, but not without any ground rules or
procedures. Some people may to have to be detained for a long period of
time without being charged, but not in secrecy as John Ashcroft has done.
And for Mr. Ashcroft to charge that his critics, who range, on these
measures, who range from Pat Leahy to Bob Novak, are somehow un-American,
are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, is a smear worthy of Joe
Not that it would have made any difference to
Germond or Hunt, but while you still can disagree with Ashcroft, he never
said that all critics of his policies were aiding America's enemies. He
was referring during his Senate testimony to those making hyperbolic
declarations about "lost liberty."
back to interning people." That was the message of a
politically-charged episode of ABC's The Practice on Sunday night which
condemned the detention of an Arab-American.
On Sunday's The Practice, a drama about a
low-brow Boston law firm which defends criminal clients, the husband of
one of the firm's lawyer's is detained by the FBI for questioning.
After his wife is unable to learn anything about his location or status
and is unable to see him, she hires lawyer "Rebecca" to try to
force the federal government to reveal his location and allow him access
to a lawyer.
After initial stonewalling by FBI agents who
cite "national security," a judge orders a hearing where the man
can see, but not talk to his wife. In an intriguing plot twist, the
detained man refuses counsel and says it's his patriotic duty to do
whatever his government wants, even if that means continued detention at a
secret location without any contact with his wife or kids.
His attitude disgusts Rebecca, leading to this
exchange between "Rebecca Washington," played by Lisa Gay
Hamilton, and lawyer "Lindsay Dole," played by Kelli Williams:
Lindsay: "Okay. You all right?"
Rebecca: "Why wouldn't I be all
Rebecca: "We're back."
Lindsay: "We're back to-?"
Rebecca: "Interning people. Sticking them in
prison because of where they were born. It happened in World War II with
the Japanese Americans and it's back. I mean, the government will
apologize for it later, but then it'll be too late. Innocent people are
having their lives ruined now. Mr. Habib, he thinks being a good American
is giving up your rights, not fighting for them."
Lindsay: "Most people know that
Arab-Americans are Americans, Rebecca, and that they're our neighbors.
But everyone is afraid. We don't know who we know and who we don't
know. And we're afraid."
Rebecca concludes the scene: "Yeah,"
she laments, pausing before charging: "We're back."
If it we were really "back," tens of
thousands of Arabs would be in internment camps, not tens in prison cells.
In the show, the man was a U.S. citizen for
many years. In real life, few of those detained are U.S. citizens.
The Web page for The Practice: http://abc.go.com/primetime/thepractice/index.html
milestone for CyberAlert: Cited by the far-left The Nation magazine as the
starting point of the vast right wing conspiracy (VRWC). In an article in
the December 24 Nation, Eric Alterman criticized the recent Weekly
Standard story by Fred Barnes which praised much of the media for its
patriotic attitude while condemning some media figures, like ABC News
President David Westin, for being unsure if the Pentagon was a
Alterman, who is a contributor to MSNBC.com,
bemoaned: "Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast, however, Westin soon found
himself chewed up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing media food
chain. Brent Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center sent it out
on a daily 'CyberAlert.'..."
An excerpt from Alterman's piece titled,
Something quite odd is going on with media coverage of this war.
Critics on all sides of the political equation have historically attacked
the media for bias in one direction or another, but rarely were willing to
admit that they were doing so on behalf of biases of their own. Weekly
Standard executive editor Fred Barnes did just that, however, in a recent
cover story celebrating top journalists' willingness to throw the old
objectivity rulebook out the window as a result of the attacks of
Barnes is quite understandably excited about Dan Rather's post-9/11
appearance on the David Letterman show, when the anchor declared:
"Wherever [the President] wants me to line up, just tell me where.
And he'll make the call." Given that Presidents routinely lie about
matters of war and peace, Rather is volunteering here to be a mindless
propagandist rather than a thinking journalist....
A second source of Barnes's glee is no less instructive. During a
recent class at the Columbia Journalism School, ABC News president David
Westin was asked whether he considered the Pentagon to be a legitimate
target for attack by America's enemies. Westin replied, "I actually
don't have an opinion on that...as a journalist I feel strongly that's
something I should not be taking a position on." As a lesson in the
pretense of objectivity, Westin was right on point, if not exactly
credible. No further questions on this topic were asked.
Thanks to a C-SPAN broadcast, however, Westin soon found himself chewed
up and spat out by the nation's vast, right-wing media food chain. Brent
Baker of the Scaife-funded Media Research Center sent it out on a daily
"CyberAlert." There, it was picked up by Rupert Murdoch-funded
Fox News Channel anchor Brit Hume, then rereported by the Murdoch-funded
New York Post and later trumped by Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, who
spent about an hour on it on his radio show. While Limbaugh was still on
the air, Baker received a call and an e-mail from Westin containing what
Barnes accurately terms Westin's "total capitulation." "I
was wrong," he wrote. "Under any interpretation, the attack on
the Pentagon was criminal and entirely without justification."
This is silly. There are millions of people all over the world whose
interpretations of the attack lead them to believe it was justified,
however wrong they may be. Even so, the question is a no-brainer. Of
course the Pentagon is a legitimate target for an attack for those at war
against us. Hello? War is the Pentagon's entire reason for being. It's
where we plan our wars and figure out how to carry them out. By what
conceivable definition of war could the Pentagon be excluded as a
potential target? The shock of that aspect of the attack was that we
didn't know we were in a war with these people in the first place. Now we
What's most interesting about Westin's answer was his willingness to
drop any pretext of objectivity upon having his patriotism questioned and
offer an apology no less indefensible than Rather's pathetic pandering....
Barnes credits some of the change in atmosphere to the emergence of
right-wing "media critics, watchdog groups, press websites, and
astute journalistic observers like Andrew Sullivan." And he may be
right: As Joseph McCarthy demonstrated, using terms like "fifth
columnist" to smear reporting with which one disagrees may not be
pretty, but it is effective....
END of Excerpt
For Alterman's polemics in full, go to:
For excerpts from the Fred Barnes article, go
For the Weekly Standard piece by Barnes in
full, go to:
News Channel executive noticed that CNN on Friday morning borrowed their
slogan, an incident reported in the December 10 CyberAlert. On Monday's
Mornings with Paula Zahn, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, CNN replayed
this clip from the December 7 show wrapping up an interview segment:
Paula Zahn: "We report."
Michael Kramer of the New York Daily News and
Rich Lowry of National Review, in unison: "They decide."
Jack Cafferty, amidst laughter, referred to Fox
News Chairman Roger Ailes: "Are you listening, Roger?"
Back on live on December 11, Cafferty
reported: "Now there was no last name. I just said, 'are you
listening, Roger?' But the phrase, 'We report, you decide' is a
thing that they've hung on Fox News up the street. So I get this e-mail
over the weekend from some guy named John Moody. I have no idea who he is,
but he writes me this: 'Jack, Roger was not listening, and apparently
he's not alone. However, I mentioned your media segment question this
morning to him. He joins me in sending you congratulations and best
Cafferty wondered: "How did they know we
were talking about Roger Ailes? We never mentioned his last name. And who
is John Moody?"
Zahn: "He's a big guy over there! He's like
number two or three in command over there. They must like you, Jack."
Cafferty: "'Roger was not listening, and
apparently he's not alone.' A little attempted humor there on John's
Zahn: "Yeah, I got that. That was very
subtle, wasn't it?"
To see the December 7 use by CNN of the FNC
slogan, check the RealPlayer clip of it posted by the MRC's Mez Djouadi:
-- Brent Baker
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