"Bellicose Language" Blamed; Terror Suspect a Victim to ABC; NYT Euphemisms for Plagiarism; Bush's "Brown-Shirted Thugs"; CNN v FNC
1) ABC News rationalized how few in Muslim nations think
Arabs committed the 9-11 terrorist acts and don't think the U.S.
response is morally justified. Without retort, Terry Moran allowed a
Muslim activist to denounce U.S. support for Israel and, after playing a
clip of Bush referring to the "axis of evil," Moran stressed:
"Other analysts say Mr. Bush's bellicose language may be
exacerbating the problem."
2) ABC also ran a story about how the FBI has mistreated a
Pakistani couple who have been "deeply affected" by the effort
to catch terrorist operatives. The husband, reporter Pierre Thomas noted,
"had a license to haul hazardous materials." Oh, and by the way,
"the couple was in the U.S. illegally."
3) More moral equivalence from ABC News. On Tuesday night,
ABC's reporter in Israel concluded a story by lamenting how the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one which "neither side seems willing to
4) FNC's Brit Hume caught how a New York Times story on
plagiarism by Doris Kearns Goodwin "never once used the word
'plagiarism.'" Instead, it referred to "unacknowledged
repetitions," "derivative passages" and "inappropriate
borrowing." A letter writer to the paper suggested: "Rather than
speeding, a motorist could be cited for 'inappropriate
5) "The real terrorist threats are George W. Bush and
his band of brown-shirted thugs," declared "actor, comedian,
entertainer" Sandra Bernhard during a Washington Post online chat.
6) Is CNN getting "snippy" now that FNC has
soared past it in the ratings? Aaron Brown and Jack Cafferty attributed a
dip in the Dow to an "erroneous" report by FNC that U.S.
operatives were inside Iraq. Cafferty quipped: "I understand they may
change the slogan from 'fair and balanced' to 'fair and balanced but
not necessarily very accurate.'" Plus, more people watched curling
on MSNBC than tune into MSNBC in prime time.
a mere 18 percent of people in Muslim nations believe Arabs carried out
the attacks on September 11th and three-fourths don't see the U.S.
response as morally justified, blame President Bush's "bellicose
language." At least ABC News gave that rationale credibility on
Wednesday night by giving it air time without retort.
Recounting the findings of a Gallup
Organization survey conducted in nine Muslim nations, on World News
Tonight Peter Jennings called it "a big setback for the Bush
administration and a challenge. "Terry Moran highlighted how
"many Arab-Americans say it's not just perceptions at issue but
U.S. policies, especially in the Middle East" as he allowed a
representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to denounce
U.S. support for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East: "We
have to have American values of justice and freedom applied across the
Moran quickly piled on, playing a clip of Bush
referring to the "axis of evil," and then carping: "Other
analysts say Mr. Bush's bellicose language may be exacerbating the
problem. "Putting on his air of superiority, Jennings concluded by
remarking of the poll findings, "revealing to many" -- implying
they came as no surprise to a world traveler like himself.
Neither the CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly
News mentioned the poll on Wednesday night, though MSNBC's The News with
Brian Williams devoted two segments to it as other MSNBC and FNC shows
also looked at it -- as I assume did some CNN programs, but I didn't see
it when I was watching.
Jennings introduced the February 27 World News
Tonight story: "There is a Gallup poll today which is making news
because it is surprising to some and revealing to many. It finds that in
several countries in the Muslim world the vast majority do not believe
that Arabs were involved in the attacks on the U.S. in September. ABC's
Terry Moran is at the White House tonight. Terry, this is a big setback
for the Bush administration and a challenge."
Moran agreed, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "It sure is, Peter. Over the past five months, the Bush
administration has launched several high-profile efforts to win hearts and
minds in the Muslim world. Stark findings in the poll released today show
just how far the U.S. still has to go in that endeavor. Nearly 10,000
people were polled in nine predominantly Muslim countries from Morocco to
Indonesia. On average, only 24 percent of Muslims polled in each of the
countries had a favorable opinion of the U.S. More disturbing, only an
average of 23 percent in six of the countries believe news reports that
Arabs carried out the September 11th attacks. As for the U.S. response to
September 11th, 76 percent of those polled, on average, say the American
mission in Afghanistan is not morally justified. President Bush
acknowledged today that the U.S. faces a major long-term problem."
George W. Bush: "There is no question that we
must do a better job of telling the compassionate side of the American
Moran looked to U.S. policy for the blame: "But
many Arab- Americans say it's not just perceptions at issue but U.S.
policies, especially in the Middle East."
Ibrahim Hooper, Council on American-Islamic
Relations: "We shouldn't just deal with spin control. We have to have
real changes to real foreign policies. We have to have American values of
justice and freedom applied across the board."
Bush: "We stand strong in the face of the evil
Moran: "Other analysts say Mr. Bush's
bellicose language may be exacerbating the problem."
Judith Kipper, ABC News Middle East consultant:
"The 'you're either with us or against us' rhetoric, the use of
the word 'crusade,' 'axis of evil,' and this simply confirms
suspicions that this is indeed an American war against Islam."
Moran concluded: "One finding that shows how
deep the misunderstanding runs, a finding Americans might find
particularly disheartening. In Kuwait where American troops fought and
died liberating that country from Iraq just a decade ago, 36 percent of
Kuwaitis, Peter, say they believe that the September 11 terrorist attacks
on the United States were morally justifiable."
Jennings followed up: "As we said, Terry,
many thanks. Revealing to many."
To access the Gallup poll numbers at gallup.com
you must be a paid subscriber, but USA Today on Wednesday published the
highlights. For their front page story, "In poll, Islamic world says
Arabs not involved in 9/11," go to:
Reporter Andrea Stone explained the
methodology: "Gallup conducted in-person interviews during December and
January of 9,924 residents in nine Muslim countries: Indonesia, Iran,
Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey."
Stone relayed these "key findings":
-- "Although U.S. officials say all 19 of the
Sept. 11 hijackers were Arab men, only 18% of those polled in six Islamic
countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks; 61% say Arabs
were not responsible; and 21% say they don't know."
-- "Just 9% say they think U.S. military
action in Afghanistan is morally justified. The least supportive: people
in Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan."
-- "Two-thirds say the attacks on the World
Trade Center and Pentagon were morally unjustifiable, but significant
minorities disagree. In Kuwait, which U.S. troops liberated from Iraq in
1991, 36% say the attacks were justifiable, the highest percentage of any
In a story inside the February 27 USA Today
about Kuwait, Stone noted that only "18% say they like the current
President Bush" and 89 percent do not think Arabs were behind the
September 1th attacks. For more:
For a nation-by-nation rundown of answers to
Interestingly, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would
not allow three of the four key questions to be posed: Whether U.S.
military action is morally justifiable, if they believe Arabs carried out
the attacks and if they like or dislike President Bush. Morocco disallowed
the last two. So much for respect for their people or for freedom. Can you
imagine the outcry if Israel blocked U.S. pollsters from asking a
after rationalizing why Muslims hate the U.S., ABC ran a story about how
the FBI has mistreated a Pakistani couple in New Jersey who have been
"deeply affected" by the effort to catch terrorist operatives. The
husband, reporter Pierre Thomas noted, "had a license to haul hazardous
materials" and "refused to carry two shipments on September 11th to
Washington, D.C. But the family still has not been told if Mamud is
charged with any crime." Oh, and by the way, "the couple was in the
Jennings introduced the sympathetic February 27 World News Tonight piece:
"The Justice Department told us again today that since September 11th
the U.S. has detained more than 700 non-U.S. citizens, and 327 of these
people are still in custody without charges as far as we know, and the
government will not reveal who they are or where they are. Tonight the
story of one family that has been deeply affected."
checked in: "On the morning of October 3rd, Ouzman Nahid (sp?) was
suddenly awakened by FBI agents in her bedroom."
Nahid: "I was scared and I got up and I say
'What's going on?' And he was looking in my closet."
Thomas: "Nahid and her husband Ansa Mamud
(sp?), who are from Pakistan, were questioned in their New Jersey home for
Nahid: "They told me, 'You get ready, we want
to arrest you.' And I started crying and I said, 'Why?'"
Thomas: "The couple was in the U.S. illegally,
and the FBI suspected Mamud had ties to the 9-11 hijackers. According to
an FBI affidavit, Mamud, who had a license to haul hazardous materials,
refused to carry two shipments on September 11th to Washington, D.C. But
the family still has not been told if Mamud is charged with any crime."
Nahid: "If I told you that you are terrorist,
would you accept it? You cannot say anybody terrorist unless you prove
Thomas: "Nahid said she did not hear one word
about her husband for 23 days and had to hire an attorney to find him.
With no source of income, she sold her furniture -- beds, tables, even her
refrigerator. ABC News put in a request with the Justice Department to
interview Ansa Mamud at the Brooklyn Detention Center. The answer was
Monami Maulik, Immigration Rights Activist:
"The main issue is that any kind of idea of due process has pretty much
been thrown out the door."
Thomas concluded his tale of woe: "The Justice
Department says it can't afford to take any chances. Ouzman Nahid has no
idea what will happen to her husband. Today she and the children go back
If they hadn't
come to the U.S. illegally the husband wouldn't have ended up in a U.S.
for an ABC News bias trifecta, some more moral equivalence from the
network. On Tuesday night, ABC's reporter in Israel concluded a story by
lamenting how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one "neither side
seems willing to end."
For the February
25 World News Tonight, Gillian Findlay reported on two pregnant women who
gave birth hours after being shot: How Israeli soldiers fired on a car
which did not stop at a checkpoint, killing the husband of a woman shot in
shoulder and how Palestinians shot some settlers, killing two and wounding
a pregnant Israeli.
by noting how since her grandfather was killed, the Israeli baby "will
grow up without a grandfather, he died in the shooting, just as Heeda [the
Palestinian baby, sp?] will grow up without a father, the two newest
victims of a conflict neither side seems willing to end."
I think it's a
lot more reasonable to say that the Palestinian side is the one unwilling
to end its multi-decades of terrorism.
plagiarism "unacknowledged repetition" and "inappropriate
borrowing"? When the New York Times reports on a case involving a
liberal media star, FNC's Brit Hume pointed out Wednesday night.
After a Saturday New York Times story
documented additional examples of plagiarism in Doris Kearns Goodwin's
1987 book, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Hume noted that she has taken
a leave of absence from the PBS NewsHour. (The Weekly Standard first
reported in January examples of Goodwin's plagiarism.)
Hume added: "The New York Times Saturday
report never once used the word 'plagiarism' to describe Goodwin's
copying of the work of others. Instead it refers to quote, 'passages
copied,' 'unacknowledged repetitions,' 'derivative passages,'
'repeated sentences' and 'inappropriate borrowing.'"
Hume proceeded to quote from a "sardonic"
letter to the New York Times published on Wednesday in which B.C. Milligan
of Cockeysville, Md, picking up on the "inappropriately copying"
phrase used by the paper, suggested: "Perhaps we can even add this word
to our penal code, to define actions that are somewhere between a felony
and a misdemeanor. Thus, for example, rather than speeding, a motorist
could be cited for 'inappropriate acceleration.' And instead of
burglary, one might be arrested for 'inappropriate possession of the
property of others.'"
You can read the entire letter online:
Indeed, check out this excerpt from the
Feruary 23 New York Times story headlined, "Historian Says Borrowing Was
Wider Than Known," by David D. Kirkpatrick:
The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, under fire for inappropriately
copying several passages in a book she wrote in 1987, yesterday disclosed
that her borrowings were far more extensive. In all, she said that in the
same book she failed to acknowledge scores of quotations or close
paraphrases from other authors.
Ms. Goodwin, one of the nation's best-known historians and a frequent
television commentator, admitted last month that she borrowed some
passages in her book, "The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys," from
three previous works. She also said that in 1987 her publisher, Simon
& Schuster, paid to settle a legal claim by one author under a
confidentiality agreement. Yesterday Ms. Goodwin said that since those
revelations, her research assistants had found passages copied from
several other books as well....
Ms. Goodwin said that all of her unacknowledged repetitions were
No one has publicly accused Ms. Goodwin of copying passages in her
other books, including "No Ordinary Time."...
Ms. McTaggart [Lynne McTaggart, author of "Kathleen Kennedy: Her
Life and Times"] complained to Simon & Schuster about repetitions
from her book in 1987. In an interview last month, Ms. McTaggart, who now
lives in London, said she hired a copyright lawyer to press her claim but
settled for a monetary payment, the addition of about 40 footnotes, and a
flattering mention of her book "the definitive biography of Kathleen
Kennedy" in Ms. Goodwin's acknowledgments. But she said she did not
demand that repeated sentences appear in quotation marks....
Ms. Goodwin said that as soon as articles about the copied passages in
"The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys" appeared last month, she
began to fear the problems were more widespread....She said her
researchers had turned up additional repetitions from several new books as
END of Excerpt
For the entire story, those registered with
the New York Times can go to:
For more about her departure from the NewsHour,
see a February 27 story by the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes:
The liberal Goodwin has been a constant
presence on NBC News and MSNBC. Will those networks follow PBS and have
the integrity to cease featuring her pontificating?
real terrorist threats are George W. Bush and his band of brown-shirted
thugs," declared "actor, comedian, entertainer" Sandra Bernhard
during a February 25 Washington Post online chat brought to my attention
by Tom Johnson of the Parents Television Council.
name may not be familiar but who you would probably recognize from her
supporting movie roles and appearances on many TV shows, and who, for a
week last August, had a try-out for an 11pm EST talk show on the A&E
cable channel, was promoting a her new one-woman stage show. The Post
described it: "Bernhard's latest production, Hero Worship, revels in
satire and the actress-comedian-singer's famously caustic wit. The show
uses spoken word and several musical genres -- backed by a five piece rock
band -- to tackle classic Bernhard topics such as pop stars, popular
culture and unpopular politics."
February 25 online session, a questioner identified as being from
Brattleboro, Vt., inquired: "A couple of questions for you, m'lady:
-- Without You I'm Nothing was a brilliant film.
Is it coming to DVD?
-- How are things going in the world, in your
opinion? Who are the real terrorist threats?
-- What is the secret of being in the 'in
crowd'. Do I just wear something different and spend more on dinner? Any
advice is welcome. Thank you, and rock on, grrrl."
"We're working on having it released on DVD. I can't tell you when. The
real terrorist threats are George W. Bush and his band of brown-shirted
thugs. Just keep it real."
To read the entire chat and to see a photo
For a complete
listing of Bernhard's TV and movie roles, and a photo of her, check out
her data recited by the Internet Movie Database:
has a guest role on NBC's Will & Grace.
the Fox News Channel has soared ahead of CNN in the ratings, it seems that
some CNN personnel are getting a little "snippy about it," to borrow a
phrase from election night 2000. CNN's Aaron Brown on Tuesday night and
Jack Cafferty on Wednesday morning attributed a dip in the Dow Jones
Industrial Average to an "erroneous" report by FNC that U.S.
operatives were inside Iraq. Cafferty snidely quipped: "I understand
they may change the slogan from 'fair and balanced' to 'fair and
balanced but not necessarily very accurate.'"
On the February 26
NewsNight, anchor Aaron Brown asserted: "On we go. The stock market
did a morning plunge today, the Dow down 150 points when traders started
selling after a report that American ground forces were in Iraq. The
report, which was aired by Fox News, was quickly denied by the Pentagon,
and the market began recovering. No explanation from Fox on where the
report came from or why Fox ran the same report a week ago, which was also
denied. Enough said."
As the MRC's
Rich Noyes, who caught Cafferty's quip, observed, it's probably the
first time CNN has taken a Pentagon denial a face value. Of course, a
consumer confidence survey, showing a surprising drop, came out at the
exact same moment as FNC was reporting its story at 10am EST on Wednesday.
10am Jon Scott set up an interview segment: "Fox News has learned that a
small group of special operations troops are on the ground in Iraq keeping
tabs on Saddam Hussein. Their mission: To develop better ties with local
Kurds in Iraq, beef up intelligence and even incite unrest against the
Iraqi regime. So does our presence there mean military action is
imminent?" The guest, retired Marine Lt. Col Bill Cowan, answered no and
explained it will take six to eight months to prepare for any military
action, but the U.S. could have agents on the grounds making contact with
American Morning with Paula Zahn, at 7:39am EST, viewers heard this
exchange between tri-host Cafferty and a CNN financial reporter:
Salama is at the 'NASDAQ Marketsite' in Times Square. A quick look at
how the markets may do today. Sasha, yesterday the markets held up
reasonably well in the wake of some tough stuff: consumer confidence fell,
the GAP had lousy numbers and bad forward guidance, some other
disappointing earnings, and there was another erroneous report on
television that affected the market early in the session, right?"
Salama: "That's right, Jack. There was a
rumor that the U.S. was getting into Iraq militarily. This is the second
such rumor in a about week and right around ten o'clock when those worse
than expected confidence numbers came out both the Dow and the NASDAQ took
a turn down-"
Cafferty: "It was more than a rumor. Wasn't
it reported on Fox News? Didn't they run some sort of a crawl suggesting
that American forces were on the ground in Iraq?"
Salama: "They did and they kind of got the
blame laid at their feet."
Cafferty: "Now today I understand they may
change the slogan from 'fair and balanced' to 'fair and balanced but
not necessarily very accurate.'"
Salama, distancing herself from the attack, drew
out the word okay: "Ohkaaay?"
Cafferty: "It's a thought."
Salama: "Yeah, I'm not going to touch that
one, but I'll tell you that it shows how sensitive the markets are these
days to every little rumor. There's a lot of anxiety out there."
there's some "anxiety" inside CNN about FNC's surge in the
ratings. I can't recall a CNN anchor ever pouncing on a ABC, CBS or NBC
story as "erroneous."
As Matt Kempner
reported in the February 27 Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Fox News Channel tightened its grip as cable's
top news network in February by doubling its viewership lead over CNN.
"Although CNN continued to grow as well, Fox
News averaged about 395,000 more viewers than CNN did in prime time. Last
month, Fox News had a 170,000 lead in average viewership, taking CNN's
title for the first time.
"Overall, CNN averaged 815,000 prime-time
viewers in February while Fox News averaged 1.21 million, according to
data from Nielsen Media Research."
For the rest of
attracts fewer viewers than FNC in the morning. Relaying January numbers,
in the January 31 Washington Post Lisa de Moraes noted: "In the
mornings, FNC's Fox & Friends averaged 651,000 viewers; CNN's American
Morning With Paula Zahn did 571,000." (But Zahn is the one whose star
has really fallen. She had at least five times as many viewers when she
co-hosted CBS This Morning.)
(And don't try
to find the Cafferty comment online. It's not in the transcripts posted
by CNN or on Nexis. I had to take it down myself from our videotape.)
FNC, by the way,
stands by its report from Carl Cameron, who never appeared on air to tell
it, according to a Baltimore Sun story highlighted on Jim Romenesko's
MediaNews page (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/).
Brit Hume summarized Cameron's report Tuesday night and then Scott cited
it Wednesday morning. For more, see the Baltimore Sun story:
Washington Post, de Moraes pointed out that when MSNBC on February 21
skipped the Pearl death to stick with women's Olympic curling, it
"nabbed an impressive 1.1 million viewers from 4:30 to 6 p.m. CNN and
FNC trailed with 980,000 and 900,000 viewers, respectively." She
wondered how MSNBC General Manager Erik Sorenson is "going to explain to
the bright bulbs at GE that daytime curling coverage nabbed bigger
audiences than February averages of prime time stars Chris Matthews
(507,000 viewers), Brian Williams (389,000), Ashleigh Banfield (353,000)
and Alan Keyes (226,000)?"
Here's an idea:
Maybe CNN could improve its morning ratings by showing curling. Instead of
American Morning with Paula Zahn, how about American Curling with Paula
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