Russert Again Presses for Tax Cut Repeal; Stephanopoulos: Gore & Bush Both "Going after Jesse James"; ABC Labels German Right But Not Left; Clift: Clinton Did More to Fight Terror Than Did Bush; New Bush Policy Recalls Reagan for Jennings; Poll Finds Media "Too Liberal"; Celebrities Denounce "Unjust" War on Terror
1) If it's Sunday, it's time for Tim Russert to push his Meet the Press guests to agree with him that Bush's tax cuts should be rescinded. Russert kept up his mantra during a Colorado Senate debate segment. To Democratic candidate Ted Strickland: "Would you be supportive of freezing or postponing the Bush tax cut in order to raise revenues to help fight the war in Iraq?" To Republican incumbent Wayne Allard: "How are you going to pay for the war in Iraq without, would you suggest, holding off on the tax cut?"
2) For the second Sunday of This Week with George Stephanopoulos ABC dropped the outside of DC questioner, but came up with a new way to promote the liberal agenda: "Briefing Book." Stephanopoulos used it to highlight Al Gore's stance on Iraq which he portrayed as having the same practical outcome as Bush's: "As a Gore aide put it, Bush is the lone cowboy going in with guns blazing. Gore is rounding up the posse. Both are going after Jesse James."
3) German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition, which even the Washington Post described as "left-of-center," includes the Green Party, but ABC News refused to apply any label to him or it on World News Tonight/Sunday, but twice tagged his opponent as "conservative."
4) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift argued on the McLaughlin Group over the weekend that the Clinton administration "did a heck of a lot more" to combat terrorism than the Bush administration "did in their first nine months in office." She also assured viewers that "the combination of arrogance and secrecy in the administration won't allow them to go ahead with a blue ribbon commission" to look into September 11th, but just as she was taping the show the administration agreed to just that.
5) The ultimate sign of media disgust with a policy is for it to be compared to Reagan. That's just what Peter Jennings did Friday night in citing President Bush's new strategy for the U.S. to replace containment with military superiority and preemptive strikes. Jennings stated that it lays "out a far more aggressive approach than at any time since Ronald Reagan was President."
6) CNBC anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday night suggested the "military swagger" of the U.S. is "part of what got the United States in trouble September 11th."
7) A new Gallup Poll found a large plurality of Americans think the news media are liberal as more than three times as many said the media are "too liberal" as considered the media "too conservative." Even amongst Democrats, more see the media as "too liberal" than "too conservative."
8) A bunch of left-wing celebrities, including Ed
Asner, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei, helped pay for a full page New York Times ad denouncing President Bush's war on terrorism. The ad screeched: "We call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate."
The signers also equated 9/11 with the terror inflicted by the U.S. military in Baghdad, Panama City and Vietnam.
If it's Sunday, it's time for NBC's Tim Russert to push his Meet the Press guests to agree with him that Bush's tax cuts should be rescinded. Just last week Russert came up with a new reason to repeal the tax cuts, asking Senator Hillary Clinton: "Can we afford a war in Afghanistan or in Iraq and the Bush tax cut?"
| Yesterday, Sunday September 22, Russert pursued the same reasoning during a Senate candidate debate session with incumbent Republican Colorado Senator Wayne Allard and his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland. Russert inquired: "Mr. Strickland, would you be supportive of freezing or postponing the Bush tax cut in order to raise revenues to help fight the war in Iraq?" And to Allard: "How are you going to pay for the war in Iraq without, would you suggest, holding off on the tax cut?"
Meet the Press, Tim Russert kept up his tax cut repeal mantra
as he pressed Colorado's Senate candidates
But unlike in previous weeks, after several minutes of repeatedly pressing his two guests to agree that the tax cuts must be rescinded, he eventually acknowledged, in just one question, spending: "How do you possibly balance the budget by spending more on domestic programs, putting tax cuts in place and making some permanent, and tapping into the Social Security surplus?"
Less than four minutes into the segment with Allard and Strickland, Russert pounced:
"Talk about the cost of the war. This was the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Monday. 'President Bush's chief economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, estimates that the U.S. may have to spend between $100 billion and $200 billion to wage a war in Iraq...the war's costs would be significant enough to make it harder for the Bush administration to climb out of the budget deficit hole it faces.' Mr. Strickland, would you be supportive of freezing or postponing the Bush tax cut in order to raise revenues to help fight the war in Iraq?"
Strickland replied that he would make permanent the cuts for the middle class, the marriage penalty remedy and the estate tax cut for farmers and small business, but not make the tax cuts permanent for those in higher brackets.
Russert clarified: "But you'd leave the tax cut in place for the next nine years?"
Strickland: "I would."
Russert then demanded: "Where would you find the money to pay for the war in Iraq?"
Strickland, sounding like a conservative Republican, suggested getting it by having the economy grow.
Russert turned to the incumbent: "Senator Allard, we now have deficits. We have the tax cut in place for the next nine years. The projections for the cost of the war in Iraq, $100 to $200 billion. How are you going to pay for the war in Iraq without, would you suggest, holding off on the tax cut?"
Allard recalled that the tax cut had helped the economy before pointing out that with proposed plans in the $400 to $800 billion range over ten years, more could be spent on a prescription drug plan than on a war in Iraq.
But instead of pursuing the idea of not creating a new entitlement program, Russert recited how in the first 20 months of Bush-Cheney the Dow has fallen by 32 percent, unemployment has risen 36 percent and two million jobs have been lost. He asked Allard whether he's "comfortable running on that record?"
During his reply, Allard suggested that "we need to make permanent those temporary tax cuts that we passed a year and a half ago-"
That was too much for Russert, who pounced: "That would increase the deficit!"
Allard proceeded to note that if no new programs are instituted we will be out of a deficit in six years just by holding spending to the inflation rate.
Russert scolded: "But what would be cut? If in fact you freeze all programs people will say you're cutting farm programs, you're cutting environmental programs and you don't have a prescription drug program. You can't have it all -- have tax cuts, a war in Iraq and still balance the budget."
Allard pointed out that only in Washington, DC is less of an increase called a cut.
Russert demanded: "If you postpone the Bush tax cut would that be a tax increase?"
Allard: "Yeah, I think it would be a tax increase if you postpone the tax cuts."
Russert argued: "And if you froze spending why wouldn't it be a cut?"
Russert soon turned back to Strickland, finally noting how spending also eats up the budget: "The Democrats promised in the year 2000, with the Republicans, they would not spend the Social Security surplus. Both parties are now spending it. Farm bills, prescription drug programs, every program has come to town, spend, spend, spend. And, as you just said, you're also for the Bush tax cut. And you're also for the war in Iraq. How do you possibly balance the budget by spending more on domestic programs, putting tax cuts in place and making some permanent, and tapping into the Social Security surplus?"
Russert's obsession with the tax cut is nothing new:
-- In a span of just over five minutes, eight times on the
Labor Day weekend edition of Meet the Press Russert urged that the Bush tax cuts be rescinded: "Would it be better to freeze, postpone, the Bush tax cut?....Why not freeze the tax cut rather than spend the Social Security surplus?....How did they squander it? With the tax cut?....As part of a budget summit, would you be in favor of freezing the Bush tax cut?....You did come to office with a $5.6 trillion surplus, and it's gone, and a third of that can be directly attributed to the tax cut." For details:
-- The MRC's Rich Noyes documented Russert's tilt in a Media
Reality Check back on July 30. "A Bias Blind Spot for Meet the Press Host; One-Sided Questioning: Russert Pushed Both Friends and
Foes of Bush Tax Cut to Suspend Its Benefits." To read it: http://archive.mrc.org/realitycheck/2002/fax20020730.asp
Another week, another liberal gimmick. Last week the inaugural edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos promised to feature a guest questioner from outside of Washington, DC, only to use the concept to have a newspaper editor in Kentucky pose a liberal question.
On the September 15 inaugural broadcast that opportunity to pose a question went to Amanda Bennett, Editor of a newspaper in
Lexington, Kentucky who told National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that "four ordinary middle-aged readers showed up
unexpectedly in my office, sat down and their question to me was: 'How we can stop the President from forcing us into Iraq?'"
Bennett wanted to know: "What should I tell them?'" For details:
That gimmick lasted exactly one week as the show didn't feature the outside of DC question on its second Sunday, but ABC came up with a fresh gimmick to promote the liberal agenda: The "Briefing Book," a segment Stephanopoulos used to highlight, and then equate with the same policy outcome as Bush's position, Al Gore's stance on war with Iraq.
The This Week announcer promised before one ad break on the September 22 program: "Al Gore is going to make news on Iraq tomorrow. We'll tell you what it is today."
Stephanopoulos plugged before another ad break: "When we come back: Al Gore will take a stand on Iraq tomorrow. We'll tell you what it is."
Finally, getting to the segment at the end of the program, Stephanopoulos excitedly relayed:
"In this week's 'Briefing Book' Al Gore enters the fray on Iraq with a speech tomorrow to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Gore, who voted for the Persian Gulf War in 1991, will repeat his call for military action against Saddam Hussein. But in an exclusive excerpt for the 'Briefing Book,' Gore also takes a swipe at President Bush's new national security strategy. Gore says that President Bush, by claiming a uniquely American right to take pre-emptive action against adversaries, 'presents us with a proposition that contains within itself one of the most fateful decisions in our history: a decision to abandon what we have thought was America's mission in the world -- a world in which nations are guided by a common ethic codified in the form of international law.'
"Or, as a Gore aide put it, Bush is the lone cowboy going in with guns blazing. Gore is rounding up the posse. Both are going after Jesse James."
Except one had eight years to pursue Jesse James and didn't.
For Sunday's second outing of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC replaced the tacky big blue circle with a TW in the middle with a classier identifier in the bottom left corner of the screen:
Also, did you notice how Stephanopoulos sits in special chair with a higher seat than the others so that he doesn't appear lower than everyone else on the show?
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition, which even today's Washington Post described as "left-of-center," includes the Green Party, but ABC News refused to apply any label to him or it on World News Tonight/Sunday, but twice tagged his opponent as "conservative."
Anchor Carole Simpson introduced a story on the September 22 broadcast: "In Germany, U.S. policy on Iraq has played a key role in the extremely tight race between Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his conservative challenger. Schroeder may win even with fewer votes because of strong coalition support."
Richard Gizbert then began his report from Germany: "Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was far behind in the polls as recently as last month, trailing his conservative challenger Edmund
That was it. Gizbert applied no further labels to either candidate.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift argued on the McLaughlin Group over the weekend that the Clinton administration "did a heck of a lot more" to combat terrorism than the Bush administration "did in their first nine months in office." She also assured viewers that "the combination of arrogance and secrecy in the administration won't allow them to go ahead with a blue ribbon commission" to look into September 11th, but just as she was taping the show the administration agreed to just that.
Clift opined about what occurred before September 11th: "There's plenty of blame to go around. But you can argue the Clinton administration didn't do enough, but they did a heck of a lot more than the Bush administration did in their first nine months in office. Because when the Clinton people went out they told the Bush people that terrorism was going to be the number one priority. But the Bush people were focused on the big strategic threats. They wanted to put a missile defense system in place, they worried about China. They didn't want to look at this little low level asymmetric threat. And the reason they don't want a commission -- and they're stonewalling information -- is political embarrassment. They don't want to look like they weren't paying attention."
Clift soon added: "The combination of arrogance and secrecy in the administration won't allow them to go ahead with a blue ribbon commission unless here's an overwhelming political momentum behind it and that's not there -- not yet."
The McLaughlin Group is taped at about 2pm on Fridays. At about that time the administration announced it would go along with setting up a commission.
Clift's prediction was inaccurate before it even aired.
The ultimate sign of media disgust with a policy is for it to be compared to a Reagan policy. That's just what Peter Jennings did Friday night in citing President Bush's new strategy for the U.S. to replace containment with military superiority and preemptive strikes against enemies which threaten the U.S. Jennings stated that it lays "out a far more aggressive approach than at any time since Ronald Reagan was President."
Jennings set up a story on the September 20 World News Tonight: "As the Bush administration makes its case for attacking Iraq, President Bush and his staff have finished formalizing their strategy for the way he intends to deal with the rest of the world in general. And the details appeared today in a document called 'The National Security Strategy' for the United States. And it does lay out a far more aggressive approach than at any time since Ronald Reagan was President."
CNBC anchor Brian Williams, the future permanent anchor of the NBC Nightly News, on Wednesday night suggested the "military swagger" of the U.S. is "part of what got the United States in trouble September 11th."
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught this exchange, between Williams and Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria, on the September 18 The News with Brian Williams, during a discussion about how powerful the U.S. military is compared to all other counties:
Williams: "I was going to say we'd have to go back to the days of the empire. And that gives the U.S. obvious military swagger. Does it give them any kind of moral courage above anyone else and anyone's world, and isn't that world view part of what got the United States in trouble September 11th?"
Zakaria: "Well, you're absolutely right. It does two things, I think. One is we have the luxury to worry about these kinds of problems that are really problems of world order. You know, the President has to keep saying that Iraq is a dire threat to the United States. The truth of the matter is, it probably is a threat to the United States, but it's a dire threat to its neighbors, to the idea of world order, to collective security, and we're the only country that's thinking in those broad terms. And it is precisely because we think in those broad terms, involve ourselves around the world, that we are, as you say, target number one. To my mind, it comes with the territory. We could do things to alleviate it. I think the Bush administration has been somewhat unnecessarily provocative in the way it's gone about its diplomacy. But fundamentally it comes with the territory of being as powerful as we are."
A new Gallup Poll found more evidence that a large plurality of Americans think the news media are liberal as more than three times as many said the media are "too liberal" as responded the media are "too conservative." A piddling 13 percent think the media are "too conservative." Well, they have Donahue to watch.
Even amongst Democrats, more believe the media are "too liberal" than "too conservative." Gallup reported that though "a majority of Democrats perceive the news media to be mostly balanced in their news coverage," 18 percent see the media "as being too conservative" while "27 percent say they are too liberal."
MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey saw the poll question cited by National Journal's Hotline. The subscriber-only National Journal Web site listed the responses to this question: "In general, do you think the news media is -- too liberal, just about right or too conservative?"
|Just about right:
The question was part of a Gallup Poll, released on Friday, of a "national sample of 1,004 adults, 18 years and older, conducted Sept. 5-8, 2002." The Gallup Web site lists many results for the poll in an article titled, "Americans Trust Each Other to Make Sound Judgments in Public Affairs; Public divided in rating news media," but not the specific question about media bias, though an explanatory paragraph noted the Republican versus Democratic split on the question.
The Web site article listed by party the percent of respondents who "trust" the news media a "great deal" or a "fair amount." For Republicans 49 percent; independents 52 percent and Democrats 59 percent. The Gallup article then explained:
"Democrats' high confidence in the news media is most likely due to the Democrats' more favorable perceptions of the news media's fairness. The Sept. 5-8 Gallup Poll finds that a majority of Democrats perceive the news media to be mostly balanced in their news coverage; only 18% perceive them as being too conservative and only 27% say they are too liberal. By contrast, nearly three-quarters of Republicans (72%) say the media are too liberal, while only 20% say the news media are about right in their coverage."
No word on whether any Republicans exist who think the media are too conservative.
For Gallup's story on its poll:
A bunch of left-wing celebrities, including Ed Asner,
Ossie Davis, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Casey Kasum, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone and Marisa Tomei, helped pay for a full page ad in last Thursday's New York Times denouncing President Bush's war on terrorism.
Also adding their name to the ad: Time magazine contributor
Barbara Ehrenreich and Steve Earle, singer of John Walker's Blues. (To see how NBC's Today showcased him:
Across the top of the page the ad screamed: "PRESIDENT BUSH has declared: 'you're either with us or against us.' Here is our answer:"
The ad, paid for by a group calling itself "Not in Our Name," screeched below: "We call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate."
The signers equated 9/11 with the terror inflicted by the U.S. military: "We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam."
The Bush administration "put out a simplistic script of 'good vs. evil,'" the signers complained, a formula "that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media."
An excerpt of the low-lights:
Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression.
The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world....
We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their own governments do -- we must first of all oppose the injustice that is done in our own name. Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate. We choose to make common cause with the people of the world.
We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.
But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home....
In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The President's spokesperson warns people to "watch what they say." Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed. The so-called Patriot Act -- along with a host of similar measures on the state level -- gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts.
In our name, the executive has steadily usurped the roles and functions of the other branches of government. Military tribunals with lax rules of evidence and no right to appeal to the regular courts are put in place by executive order. Groups are declared "terrorist" at the stroke of a presidential pen.
We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order. We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights....
President Bush has declared: "you're either with us or against us." Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed....
Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our failure to act. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it.
END of Excerpt
For the Not in Our Name Web site:
For a PDF of the ad as it appeared in the September 19 New York Times:
For the text of the ad:
Below I've listed the recognizable Hollywood signers, along with links to their Internet Movie Database bios and pictures so you can be reminded of who they are:
-- Robert Altman
-- Edward Asner
-- Ossie Davis
-- Jane Fonda
-- Danny Glover
-- Susan Sarandon
-- Marisa Tomei
-- Oliver Stone
For the full list of signers:
What a bunch of ingrates.
-- Brent Baker
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