Budget = "Enron Accounting"; Worried About Too Much Nationalism; Bus Money to Canada for Jennings; Van Susteren's Clinton Defense
1) When liberal Senator Kent Conrad denounced President
Bush's budget for cutting taxes and not raising spending enough, Al Hunt
resounded: "Amen, brother Conrad." Hunt sarcastically declared
that "this budget is about as credible as an Enron accounting
2) "A pompous idiot." That's what Newsweek's
Evan Thomas thinks of Democratic Senator Robert Byrd who last week
lectured Treasury Secretary O'Neill about how he was never poor enough
to understand the downtrodden whom Byrd claims to represent.
3) Today's Katie Couric kvetched Friday morning from the
Olympics in the Salt Lake City area about how "the games themselves
will be very patriotic in feel and yet sometimes the international
community can interpret that as arrogant nationalism." She ruminated:
"It will be interesting to see how these games balance sort of the
nationalistic, patriotic fervor with the sentiments of the entire
4) ABC anchor Peter Jennings disclosed last week that
people occasionally "send me bus money to go home to Canada." In
an interview with the Atlanta Constitution, he condescendingly boasted
that he's tougher on the U.S. than either Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather
because "I'm not one of those members of Congress or the leadership
of the country who is proud not to have a passport, which I believe is
5) FNC's Greta Van Susteren pummeled Dick Morris over
his view that Bill Clinton wasn't interested in combating terrorism, but
she prompted Madeleine Albright to criticize George W. Bush's policies.
Morris fired back: "You're still a CNN person." When Morris
said she was delivering spin, Van Susteren provided a classic retort:
"No, I got this out of the New York Times."
6) Former Washington Post reporter and editor Haynes
Johnson denounced President Bush's reference to an "axis of
evil" as "a very reckless statement."
7) Quip of the week, from ABC's John Stossel:
"Asking someone in the media about liberal bias is like asking a fish
about water. 'Huh, what are you talking about? Where is it?'"
8) Letterman's "Top Ten Cool Things About Being in
the Air Force."
brother Conrad," Al Hunt enthused over liberal Senator Kent
Conrad's denunciation of President Bush's budget proposal. On CNN's
Capital Gang on Saturday night, Hunt sarcastically declared that
"this budget is about as credible as an Enron accounting
statement," as he castigated the "guns and caviar budget."
Hunt's remarks followed Conrad's standard
criticism of the budget plan from the left, simultaneously castigating the
deficit and tax cuts while ruing the lack of enough spending in many
areas. The North Dakota Democrat complained, in part:
not paying the bills. Instead, we're putting it on the credit card and
the baby boomers are going to start to retire. Then the country is going
to be faced with agonizing choices of big cuts in benefits, massive tax
increases or huge increases in debt."
Hunt, the Executive Washington Editor of the
Wall Street Journal, applauded the liberal spin: "Amen, brother
Conrad. I want to tell you, Mark [Shields], this budget is about as
credible as an Enron accounting statement. Kate [O'Beirne], unlike
previous wartime budgets this one proposes tax cuts for the wealthy, takes
care of every corporate interest. It is, as I said last week, a guns and
caviar budget. It talks about Social Security reform, provides no money at
all. You can't reform Social Security when you're raiding Social
Security. It cuts funds for low income energy assistance and it cuts funds
for the CDC...."
The National Review's Kate O'Beirne had
earlier pointed out that unlike wartime budgets of years past the Bush
budget does not cut domestic spending. It hikes it substantially. Just not
enough to satisfy liberals like Hunt.
Democrat whom Newsweek's Evan Thomas does not respect. On Inside
Washington over the weekend, Thomas rebuked West Virginia Senator Robert
Byrd, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, as a "pompous
Thomas's characterization came during a
discussion of the Senate Budget Committee hearing last week in which Byrd
lectured Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill as out of touch for daring to
suggest that high taxes and regulation impede people. In the much
re-played exchange, Byrd tried to out-poverty O'Neill by recounting how
he grew up without indoor plumbing or electricity.
Admiring how O'Neill fired back by reciting
how he rose from poverty Thomas, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor,
announced: "It is a kamikaze attack, I admit it. But it's so great
to see somebody call Byrd's bluff. He sits up there, that pompous idiot,
sits up there and where he's been, you know, handing out the pork. I'm
really totally anti-Byrd and have been for years and he gets away with it
because people are sacred of him because, as you say, he controls the
kvetching on NBC's Today about whether U.S. fans at the Olympics may
display too much patriotism or nationalism. Katie Couric worried on Friday
morning about how "the games themselves will be very patriotic in
feel and yet sometimes the international community can interpret that as
arrogant nationalism." She also speculated: "It will be
interesting to see how these games balance sort of the nationalistic,
patriotic fervor with the sentiments of the entire international
In addition, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens
noticed, Couric wished "that people here in the United States will
appreciate the athletes from all over the world." She maintained that
"this is a competition where not really country but character
On Thursday morning, as cited in the February
8 CyberAlert, Matt Lauer pressed the President of the U.S. Olympic
Committee to agree: "We have to also be careful and draw a line not
to let our patriotism get in the way of the games in general." For
On the February 8 Today, just hours before the
opening ceremony, Couric asked Salt Lake Olympic Committee Creative
Director Scott Givens: "Obviously the opening ceremony, the games
themselves will be very patriotic in feel. And yet sometimes the
international community can interpret that as arrogant nationalism.
Obviously you've gotta balance those two things. Are you all, clearly
you're mindful of that. How are you, how are you going to do that?"
explained: "You know we really try to balance three, three different
levels. We want the world to understand and appreciate our games. We hope
that Americans will be, in general, proud of our games. And of course the
local population whose put so much energy and effort, the people of Utah,
we hope that they'll be indeed proud of our games. We try to balance all
three in everything creative we do."
At another point in the show, when talking
with prime Bob Costas, host of NBC's prime time coverage, Couric
wondered: "Obviously these Olympic games, here in the United States,
it will be interesting to see how these games balance sort of the
nationalistic, patriotic fervor with the sentiments of the entire
suggested the U.S. is held to a different standard: "And that's
always a question. It seems because the United States is the biggest and
the richest and the most powerful and most influential country, because
our culture is exported so much, people resent nationalism, patriotism
when they see it coming from America in a way that they wouldn't seeing it
somewhere else. 'Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy!' all the time in Australia is
charming. 'USA, USA!' may give us goose-bumps but someone outside the
United States may resent it. My hope is the spontaneous displays which
we're almost certain to see here in the aftermath of September 11th will
be understood, and accepted and respected by the international
"And that, that people here in the United States will appreciate the
athletes from all over the world."
"As one person wrote in Time magazine this is a competition where not
really country but character matters."
"Mm-hmm. I think that the displays of national pride are to be
expected but we have to be good hosts. And we have to be ready to, to not
just to acknowledge but even revel in the performances of the athletes
from around the world."
anchor Peter Jennings disclosed last week in Atlanta that people
occasionally "send me bus money to go home to Canada." In an
interview with the Atlanta Constitution, he condescendingly boasted that
he's tougher on the U.S. than either Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather because
"I'm not one of those members of Congress or the leadership of the
country who is proud not to have a passport, which I believe is utterly
Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Jennings
anchored a portion of World News Tonight from Detroit, then Atlanta and,
finally, Miami. He participated in a town meeting, which bumped an hour of
ABC's prime time schedule, on each city's ABC affiliate.
This latest elitist shot at Americans by
Jennings reminded me of how he exhibited hints of leftist concerns on the
Late Show with David Letterman in December as he twice fretted about the
difference between "nationalism" and "patriotism,"
asserted that "campaigning against terrorism" means recognizing
the "root causes for dissatisfaction around the world,"
maintained that global leadership is not just "selling American
culture," and bemoaned how "Americans are pretty insular people
for the most part." For details:
For a February 8 Atlanta Constitution story
highlighted by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, reporter Steve Murray
interviewed Jennings. An excerpt:
....In November, Jennings toured Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco to
see how occupied each city was with television's coverage of the war on
"Immediately after 9/11, passions were very high in the country,''
he said. "Many of us in the media were criticized, myself included,
if there was the slightest suggestion in people's minds that we'd
criticized the president or the administration. I think that's waned
On Sept. 11, Jennings stayed on the air for 19 hours. "But you
know, you didn't want to go anywhere," he says. "But finally you
have to go home. I was on for 17 hours the next day." On Sept. 13, at
4 a.m., he visited "the hole" to see if television had captured
the texture and scale of ground zero. Up close, he thinks TV did a good
job but not so great from a distance.
"The immediate intensity of the coverage was stunning for all of
us who were doing it," Jennings said. "But television, as we
realized subsequently, it's more than just news coverage. It's where we
gather as a nation in moments of crisis or great import. Television at its
best is awesome. Television at its worst is just rancid."
A Canadian, Jennings has earned a reputation in some quarters for being
tougher on the United States than rivals Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. If so,
he attributes it to a global perspective he gained from many years of
reporting in Europe and the Middle East.
"I tend to see the United States through a variety of
prisms," he admitted. "I'm not one of those members of Congress
or the leadership of the country who is proud not to have a passport,
which I believe is utterly foolish.
"When people really decide they're going to get pissed off at me,
they still, on rare occasions, send me bus money to go home to
Canada." He chuckled. "I always try to give it to a charity of
END of Excerpt
How about the MRC?
For the article in full, go to:
The Web site of WXYZ-TV in Detroit has nothing
up about the town meeting with Jennings, but Atlanta's WSB-TV has posted
text of a few comments made by panelists on its Thursday night show,
though very little from Jennings:
Miami's WPLJ-TV posted a preview story
which, as of Sunday night, hadn't been touched since before the Friday
night town meeting aired, but could be updated at some point:
Friday morning's Fox & Friends, FNC host Greta Van Susteren insisted
that her confrontational interview with Dick Morris the night before, over
Bill Clinton's commitment to combat terrorism, only proved how she's
"fair and balanced." But a comparison with how she treated
Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright earlier in the week proved
Morris, a Fox News contributor himself, came
aboard Thursday night to discuss his February 5 Wall Street Journal op-ed
about how President Clinton did not show much interest in fighting
terrorism. Van Susteren spent the entire eight-minute segment arguing with
his first-hand account as a Clinton adviser. She cited New York Times
stories about Clinton policy initiatives as proof of Clinton's efforts.
Morris fired back at one point: "No you're still a CNN person.
You're sitting here, and you're telling me, never having participated
in any of these meetings, never having read the agendas of these meetings,
that I'm incorrect when I'm telling you that there was no response and
Van Susteren countered: "Dick, let me
stop you for a second. What I'm confronting you with are facts that at
least the New York Times lays out-"
"Facts that your spin doctors are giving you to spout on this
then delivered a classic comeback: "No, I got this out of the New
I'd bet Van Susteren doesn't comprehend
the irony in that defense.
Three nights earlier, however, Van Susteren
only offered a perfunctory challenge to Albright about Clinton policies on
terrorism and prompted Albright to explain why she thinks Bush's
terrorism policy is off base. Van Susteren seemed befuddled by how anyone
could criticize Clinton's efforts: "What do you think would provoke
Condoleezza Rice to suggest that the Clinton administration pulled its
punches?" She soon set up Albright: "As you look back at what
the Bush administration is doing, are they doing something that's a fatal
flaw, in terms of their strategy, in dealing with these countries?"
Van Susteren displayed her hostility toward
Morris's thesis as opened the February 7 segment of her 10pm EST show,
On the Record, by trying to show how Morris has no inside knowledge:
to talk to you about your op-ed pieced in the Wall Street Journal. You say
the Clinton administration essentially turned its back on terrorism. Is
"Yeah I think it's true. In his first term. I think in his second
term he couldn't do anything. In his first term, he didn't want to do
"All right, first of all let's figure out, you were working, doing
polling for President Clinton right? Not in the administration,
"So you weren't involved in the foreign policy decisions,
corrected her, but also showed he's thinks quite a lot of himself,
breaking into a smile during his Stephanopoulos line: "Wrong. I
didn't have security clearance, but the President and I, I was probably
the President's closest advisor for two years. Stephanopoulos says I was
President. And we talked about everything, and we talked at length about
Van Susteren contended, in a transcript
checked against the tape by the MRC's Patrick Gregory: "Okay, I did
a little research for tonight because I obviously read your op-ed piece,
and this is what the New York Times reported about six weeks ago, or less
than six weeks ago: 'President Clinton on Terrorism. 1996, Clinton
Administration and the CIA created a virtual station code named 'Alex'
to track Bin Laden's activities around the world.' Obviously,
anti-terrorism. 'July 25, 1996. Clinton put Vice President Al Gore on
head of commission on aviation security and safety.'"
"Let me stop you- "
"Let me stop you right there."
"I let you talk. No let me go through the list and I'd let you
"You invited me on your show- "
"I did but you say he didn't do anything do anything. I'm telling
you what I read. 'August '98, Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes
on an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan-'"
Van Susteren and Morris continued their verbal
back-and-forth until Van Susteren lectured: "What I can tell you is
that he tripled the budget in terms of counter-terrorism between '95 and
2000, both the FBI and the CIA. Obviously interested. He signed orders to
go out and get Bin Laden, to kill Bin Laden, and I can't, you know and
the fact that he didn't kill Bin Laden, and we've had the entire
United States military since September 11th, until we started the bombing
in October, we haven't been able to find-"
Morris interjected with the reality of what he
observed, but Van Susteren kept reading from her collection of New York
Times quotes: "Year 2000, '225 million of Taliban controlled assets
blocked in U.S. accounts.' He also froze, I think, Hamas money. I mean
the fact is, Dick, is to say, to make the indictment in the Wall Street
Journal that he sort of didn't care about terrorism may be sort of
flashy, but when you look at the facts."
getting testy: "Greta, Greta, you don't know a damn thing about
these facts because you weren't there, I was. And let me give you some
assuming if it's in he New York Times it must be true: "I'm just
telling you what's being reported."
"In 1995, in 1995, a bill was pending in the United States Senate to
require that sanctions be imposed on oil companies or other companies that
enhance the Iranian oil industry. Sandy Berger advised a veto. Clinton
signed it as well as there was a national security waiver."
"And that was, and that had to do with the issue of the
"Clinton then continued, Clinton then continued to waive the
imposition of sanctions the three times that something like that happened.
In 1996, when we had the Air 800, when we had the Olympics, and when we
had Saudi Arabia, and there was decisive evidence that these were caused
by terrorists. Clinton absolutely refused to look at this issue."
"Dick you can't say-"
"Greta how many times have you sat in the White House with Bill
"Dick, you can't-"
"How many times have you participated in domestic meetings with
"Dick, if you're going to start talking about terrorism and flight,
TWA flight 800, I think most people agree, listen to me, most people
"In '96, we all thought that was terrorism."
"But it wasn't. When you talk about the bombing at the Olympics,
that was a single bomber, Eric Rudolph who they think was a suspect."
back with a great line: "No you're still a CNN person. You're
sitting here, and you're telling me, never having participated in any of
these meetings, never having read the agendas of these meetings, that
I'm incorrect when I'm telling you that there was no response and no
"Dick, no wait a second, I'm telling you. Dick, wait a
"We proposed a driver's license screening system to see if people
had their visas expired were wanted by the FBI. That was shot down by
Stephanopoulos as being politically incorrect."
"Alright Dick, let me talk for a second. Dick, stop for a
"We proposed a ban on fundraising by charitable organizations, he
wouldn't do it."
"Dick, let me stop you for a second. What I'm confronting you with
are facts that at least the New York Times lays out-"
"Facts that your spin doctors are giving you to spout on this
"No, I got this out of the New York Times."
The argument continued for a few more minutes,
but I'll end on the humorous note of Van Susteren's 'it can't be
spin because the New York Times reported it' line.
Now compare Van Susteren's attitude with her
solicitous approach to Madeleine Albright on February 4, the night On the
Record debuted. Van Susteren's inquiries to Albright:
-- "Madame Secretary, Condoleezza Rice
seems to suggest that the Clinton administration pulled its punches with
terrorism and terrorists. Is that true?"
-- "Besides the issue of lumping those
three countries together as the axis of evil, what do you think would
provoke Condoleezza Rice to suggest that the Clinton administration pulled
-- Picking up on Albright's criticism of
Bush's "axis of evil" concept, Van Susteren pushed Albright to
elaborate: "Now, there's no doubt in my mind that we all have the
same goal here, to fight terrorism. But as you look back at what the Bush
administration is doing, are they doing something that's a fatal flaw, in
terms of their strategy, in dealing with these countries?"
-- "Let me switch gears a little bit. At
least one news organization is reporting that al Qaeda terrorists may have
targeted your former boss, President Bill Clinton, to kill him, that they
found some documents. What do you make of that?"
Van Susteren finished up the interview by
asking about the hunt to find reporter Daniel Pearl.
Washington Post reporter and editor Haynes Johnson, a familiar face during
the 1980s and early 1990s on PBS's Washington Week in Review, scolded
President Bush for his reference, in his State of the Union address, to an
"axis of evil." Johnson called that a "a very reckless
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd, an alumnus of the
University of Maryland, caught Johnson's remarks in the Diamondback, the
student newspaper of the university where Johnson holds the Knight chair
for political journalism.
An excerpt from the February 7 Diamondback
story by Logan Cooper:
"Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun," Bush
said. "Countries like [Iran, Iraq and North Korea], and their
terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace
of the world."
The term "axis of evil" originally referred to Italy, Germany
and Japan in World War II.
"This was a very reckless statement from the president," said
Haynes Johnson, Knight chair for the journalism department and political
journalist. "In no way could this be related to World War II, and to
link them together just doesn't work historically."
Iran, Iraq and North Korea have no documented allegiance linking them
together and the President's statement may have done more harm than good,
"Although the President did not give a plan of action towards the
three countries, he indirectly declared war on all three of them, each in
possession of full scale armies," Johnson said.
END of Excerpt
For the entire article:
the week. The MRC's Liz Swasey alerted me to this item, in the Page Six
column in Friday's New York Post by Richard Johnson, Paula Froelich and
Chris Wilson, from ABC's John Stossel "addressing the Fabiani
Society, the young conservatives who meet each month at the Princeton
Stossel cracked: "Asking someone in the
media about liberal bias is like asking a fish about water. 'Huh, what are
you talking about? Where is it?'"
February 8 Late Show with David Letterman, as presented by ten Airmen from
the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the "Top Ten
Cool Things About Being in the Air Force." Copyright 2002 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. If I want Chinese food, I fly to China
(Senior Airman Steven Scott)
9. When the G-forces pull back your face, you look and feel years
(Staff Sergeant Ricky Johnson)
8. One weekend a year, you get to take your jet home with you
(First Lieutenant Jannell MacAuley)
7. You're looking at a guy with one million frequent flier miles
(Airman First Class Dennis Ray)
6. At 20,000 feet you see lots of clouds that look more like bunnies
(Staff Sergeant Jonathan Hodges)
5. Always fun watching the new guy try to parallel park a C-130
(Staff Sergeant Tony Willis)
4. Seasickness is for losers -- airsickness is the way to go
(Captain Michelin Conerly)
3. Free headsets on transcontinental flights
(Airman First Class Melvin Harper)
2. Whenever people ask where I've been, I can tell them "the wild
(Senior Airman Naeem Stanley)
1. Chicks dig planes
(First Lieutenant Nathan Miller)
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