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The 1,985th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
11:50am EDT, Friday June 3, 2005 (Vol. Ten; No. 98)

 
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1. Rather Insists Guard Story True, "Not Fact" to Call Memos "Fake"
Dan Rather reiterated to CNN's Larry King on Thursday night that he believes the memos, in his National Guard hit piece on President Bush, were genuine. Rather emphasized how "the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had" and were "supported by all kind of things other than the documents." When King wondered, "so, are you saying the story might be correct?", Rather replied: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view." Rather pointed out how the investigatory panel named by CBS said that "the story was not born of any personal or political bias." Rather soon scolded those who presume the memos as forged: "They often say, well, they dealt with fake documents or fraudulent documents. Let's just say gently that that's not known. That's not a fact." Earlier, King asked: "Do you think the Republicans, the right-wing Republicans were after you?" Rather, who insisted he's "independent," ignored the substance of his bad reporting as he again saw a political agenda behind his critics: "Some people for their own partisan, political and ideological reasons want to jump on people that they perceive to be not with them." Listen to MP3 audio clip

2. Stahl: Felt a "Big Hero" Justified By "Nazis" in the White House
CBS's Lesley Stahl proclaimed on Thursday's Hardball that she admires Mark Felt "as a big hero, and I just, I know that he's a very old man and he's had some strokes, I hope he really understands what a great service he did." Chris Matthews chipped in: "I agree with you." Stahl pointed out how Felt thought those in the Nixon White House "were like Nazis. That was in his own mind. So if he knows that he cleaned out that corruption, he shouldn't be called a 'traitor' by anybody, and he certainly shouldn't feel like one."

3. Brokaw Chides Buchanan for Calling Felt "Traitor," But He Didn't
Will Tom Brokaw, the Today show, Chris Matthews and CBS's Early Show offer a correction? As Brit Hume noted Thursday night, the Washington Post corrected a Wednesday article which reported, that on Hardball Tuesday night, Pat Buchanan had called Mark Felt a "traitor." The correction explained: "Buchanan said that Felt had no personal loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon, 'so I don't consider him a traitor in that sense.'" In fact, it was Matthews who first falsely claimed that Buchanan had tagged Felt a "traitor." On Wednesday's Today, Brokaw was appalled by Buchanan's supposed characterization: "I think Pat said yesterday that Mark Felt was a 'traitor.' A traitor to what? The truth?!" On CBS's Early Show the same day, Wyatt Andrews asserted: "Several former aides to President Nixon still argue what Felt did was wrong with one aide, Pat Buchanan, calling Felt a 'traitor.'"

4. Woodward and Bernstein Dance Around Felt's Personal Motivations
In their series of Thursday morning interviews on ABC, NBC, and MSNBC, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein tried to dance around the issue of Mark Felt's personal motivations for leaking Watergate information from the FBI (but don't call it "leaking," they protested). They also attacked conservatives for questioning that "the record about Watergate crimes is staggering, voluminous, and irrefutable." Today's Matt Lauer falsely asserted: "On this program yesterday, Pat Buchanan and Chuck Colson, a couple of the President's men, teed off on Mark Felt, saying he's not a patriot, he's a traitor." Neither had uttered the term "traitor."

5. CBS: Suicide Bombings to Decline in Iraq; ABC Warns Growing Worse
CBS versus ABC on suicide bombings in Iraq. On Thursday night, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts asserted that "there are signs the suicide campaign may finally be running out of steam" and, from Iraq, Kimberly Dozier relayed how "U.S. commanders tell CBS News they're seeing signs the militant bomb makers may be running out of willing delivery men. Commanders believe the recruiting pool is shrinking further as a result of this week's joint U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown." But viewers of ABC's World News Tonight heard only dire news. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas cited how "an unprecedented number of these attacks are now occurring. Military commanders are very concerned." From the Pentagon, Martha Raddatz concurred: "There is great concern the frequency of these suicide attacks is greater than it has ever been" and "the frequency is far greater than anything ever seen in Israel, ever seen in Chechnya" and now we're "seeing more and more Iraqis" acting as suicide bombers -- "homegrown terrorists."

6. Judy Woodruff Leaves CNN: A Rundown of Her Most Biased Quotes
CNN's Judy Woodruff will anchor Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics for the final time today (Friday) as she departs the network and CNN begins the process of shutting down Crossfire and phasing out Inside Politics, all to be replaced by a 3-6pm EDT block hosted by Wolf Blitzer. To mark Woodruff's departure, the MRC's Rich Noyes collated a collection of some of Woodruff's bias over the years, as documented in the MRC's Notable Quotables. My nomination for her most egregious instance of liberal bias: Anchoring NewsNight on May 15, 2002, she opened the newscast with this ludicrous exaggeration: "We begin with the news from the White House that President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th." My second favorite: When still with PBS in 1992, she fretted: "If the politicians don't have the courage to raise taxes, what are we facing down the road?"

7. CNN Ratings Down "Sharply" from Year Ago, FNC Draws Twice as Many
CNN may be celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but the network doesn't have much to celebrate ratings-wise. Broadcasting & Cable reported late Wednesday that CNN's total audience "fell sharply," down 16 percent from a year ago as FNC's grew a bit and MSNBC, while with a much smaller audience than CNN, held even. B&C's John Higgins related: "In the key news demo -- adults 25-54 -- CNN's prime time average dropped 12% to 179,000. Leader Fox News' average fell even more, off 16% to 332,000. MSNBC, on the other hand, was up 11% to 109,000."


 

Rather Insists Guard Story True, "Not
Fact" to Call Memos "Fake"

     Dan Rather reiterated to CNN's Larry King on Thursday night that he believes the memos, in his National Guard hit piece on President Bush, were genuine. Rather emphasized how "the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had" and were "supported by all kind of things other than the documents." When King wondered, "so, are you saying the story might be correct?", Rather replied: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view."
Listen to MP3 audio clip
Text of clip + audio archive

       Rather pointed out how the investigatory panel named by CBS said that "the story was not born of any personal or political bias." Rather soon scolded those who presume the memos as forged: "They often say, well, they dealt with fake documents or fraudulent documents. Let's just say gently that that's not known. That's not a fact." Earlier, King asked: "Do you think the Republicans, the right-wing Republicans were after you?" Rather, who insisted he's "independent," ignored the substance of his bad reporting as he again saw a political agenda behind his critics: "Some people for their own partisan, political and ideological reasons want to jump on people that they perceive to be not with them."

     As he did in his special in March, Rather again slyly attributed the liberal reputation of himself and CBS News to supporters of segregation as he pointed out how "we led in the coverage of civil rights movement. Not everybody liked it at the time." He also cited Vietnam and Watergate, but nothing he's done in the succeeding 30 years.

     The March 10 CyberAlert had recounted: In his Wednesday night prime time special reviewing his career, Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers, Rather, dismissing bias charges as a just the latest in a series of efforts to "intimidate" him, drew a line from being called "an 'N-lover'" during the civil rights movement to the Vietnam war years when critics tagged him with a "bad name: 'anti-military, anti-American, anti-war,'" and "then, when Watergate came into being was the first time I began to hear this word 'liberal' as an epithet thrown my way." Viewers then saw a montage of video clips and shots of Web sites with text accusing Rather and CBS of being "liberal," including the Media Research Center's logo and a headline over an MRC page on Rather. Without addressing evidence of his liberal tilt on policy, Rather charged that "people who have very strong biases of their own, they come at you with a story: 'If you won't report it the way I want it reported, then you're biased.'" On the memogate affair, the CBS special touted how the review panel found "no political agenda." www.mediaresearch.org

     Rather appeared in a second, special 10pm EDT Larry King Live which followed a regular 9pm show with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Throughout the live June 2 interview, in which Rather was in-studio with King -- presumably conducted from CNN's New York facility during a week of Larry King shows to mark the 20th anniversary of the interview program -- CNN touted at the bottom of the screen that it was Dan Rather's "1st live primetime interview since leaving anchor chair."

     As opposed to his May 22 appearance on CNBC's Topic [A] with Tina Brown, which while in primetime, was not live. The May 23 CyberAlert reported:
     Interviewed by Tina Brown in a session aired Sunday night on CNBC, Dan Rather praised Mary Mapes, the producer of the 60 Minutes story based on forged memos, as "a very good pro," and insisted that "she's the kind of professional that the audience should want in television." Asked by Brown if "after the flap over the National Guard story, do you feel inhibited?", Rather contended he's never "inhibited when it comes to news and trying to do fair-minded, accurate reporting on important stories." Then Brown wanted to know: "What are the realistic chances that you're going to be able to do a story that really shakes and rattles the Bush administration?" Rather maintained they are "excellent" since "CBS News has a culture, has a history that those of us who work here, it's very real -- that we see it as a sort of magical mystical kingdom of journalistic knights." See: www.mediaresearch.org
     In the second segment of Thursday's Larry King Live interview, King inquired: "As you reflect, and after seeing the report, what went wrong in your matter on the Air National Guard story? Where along the way did it snap?"
     Rather: "Without agreeing with the premise of whether it snapped or not-".
     King: "Well, I don't know another word. You might still believe the story, by the way."
     Rather: "Well, without getting into that because the panel, this panel that was chosen by CBS to look into it, they issued their report. CBS adopted the report. I said at the time and I say now, I read the report. I absorbed it. I carried forward in my work. Anybody wants to know the panel's version of what happened should read the report. The situation that we had and still have is the last line of this has not been written. I'll be very interested to see the last line of this story written. But, you know, I've acknowledged that we didn't do it perfectly. I wish we had. Others may say, well, you didn't do it well. They're entitled to that judgment.
     "We'll say this, that -- Carl Bernstein used the phrase, which is popular among journalists and I think is apt, that you 'get the best obtainable version of the truth.' Others will have to judge how good or how bad our version of the truth was and how close we came to it. We had here was, again, the documents, which were a weakness and I'm accountable and responsible for a great part of that, and when my name is on it, I take responsibility for it. But the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had, that the facts that we presented as -- and some of it new information -- was supported by all kind of things other than the documents.
     "Now, the documents were a support for those and an important support, and when questions were raised, well, how do we know that documents are true? We had some problems. However, I do want to point out, and I -- listen, anybody who wants to castigate this, us for this, have at it. I will point out that the panel, which was headed by a President Nixon, Reagan, Bush family supporter and a journalist who said that George Bush 1 was one of the greatest people he ever met -- this panel came forward and what they concluded, among the things they concluded after months of investigation and spending millions of dollars, they could not determine that the documents were fraudulent. Important point, that we don't know whether the documents are fraudulent-"
     King: "So, are you saying the story might be correct?"
     Rather: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view."
     King: "Do you have that view?"
     Rather: "Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view. Number two, it's important, the panel said that this story was not -- the story was not born of any personal or political bias. Now, that's not all they said. They were very critical of CBS News, of 60 Minutes Weekday, and of myself, very critical of us for all kinds of things that they believe we should have done that we didn't do. And with some of those things, I do agree.
     "But I do hope people will keep in mind that two of their findings were what I just described to you. Wasn't born of political or personal bias, and they could not determine whether the documents were fraudulent or not. It's not a complaint, but I do want to point out -- and I understand when people write about this story, they often say, well, they dealt with fake documents or fraudulent documents. Let's just say gently that that's not known. That's not a fact. And if you're going to criticize us -- and I think we should be criticized for some of the things we did and didn't do in reporting -- then gently I say, maybe you wouldn't want to say that, and the panel could not and did not conclude it."

     Rather soon summed up, "This much we know: Journalism is not a precise science. It's, on its best days, is a crude art. We make mistakes; I make mistakes. With more than 50 years as a journalist, I've at least had the opportunity to blow more stories, make more mistakes than maybe anybody in television. I'm not proud of this, but I do know the reality of reporting, and as good as they were, and they were as good as anybody in my lifetime, Woodward, Bernstein, Bradlee and company -- they're not -- you make mistakes as you go along. What you hope is the public will understand."

     Earlier, in the opening segment, King had wondered: "Do you think the Republicans, the right-wing Republicans were after you?"
     Rather denied the premise, but his full answer betrayed that that is what he really thinks: "No. Again, I'm not a victim of anything. I don't say, no, they weren't. You know, I don't know. But what I do know is that I've always tried to be an independent reporter. And italicize, all caps if necessary, independent reporter. And when you do that, not everybody is going to like you. And, certainly, there are some people in the category that you mentioned who are not all that fond of me or my work, there are some on other side of my fence who are not. It goes with the territory of a reporter. So, I'm not here to say that anybody was out to get us.
     "Clearly, there's some people for their own partisan, political and ideological reasons want to jump on people that they perceive to be not with them. You and I've talked about this before. And I think it's so important for the public to understand that what people in power want to do is, explicitly or implied, they want to say and they want to have you, the reporter, and more importantly, your bosses believe either you report the news the way we want you to report it or we'll make you pay a price.
     "And the price will begin by calling you some name. Radical, whatever. And the mark of trying to be decent, trying to be a good reporter, is you don't succumb to that. You say, you know, look, I try my best to report the news without fear of favor. I try my best to pull no punches, play no favorites. And the mark an independent reporter is someone who says, I'm willing to pay the price. Whatever the price is. Because -- and I know this strikes a lot of people perhaps as either old-fashioned, archaic or so out of touch as to be impossible -- but I do believe in journalism as a public service. I believe that in my id, it's a public service. It's something bigger than one's self when you do it right. And being human, we don't always do it right."

     King asked: "How did you get, you think, the image that you were favoring the liberal side, the Democratic side? That CBS had that image?"
     Rather: "Well, part of it is that I work for CBS News and proudly so and to this day for what now, 44 years. So, part of it is that. CBS News has a history. Murrow and McCarthy, 'Harvest of Shame,' civil rights movement in which we led in the coverage of civil rights movement. Not everybody liked it at the time."
     King: "Cronkite and Vietnam."
     Rather: "The Watergate -- Vietnam, Watergate, stories that CBS News has a reputation. It's a reputation I'm proud of, which is, we are independent. We're fiercely independent when it's necessary. And we'll make the tough calls. We'll take on the tough ones. So, that's part of it is CBS.
     "Part of it is myself. I'm not looking for somebody else. Look, I've made my mistakes. Have I ever. Nobody can do it perfectly. I hope that one mistake I haven't made is to be cowed -- if you want to see my neck swell, or forearms tightened, you just try to tell me where to line up and what to report. Now, people don't like that, particularly the higher you go in the power pyramid, the less they like it. Whether they're Republicans, Democrats, mugwumps or what have you, they don't like it."

     For CNN's transcript of the program: transcripts.cnn.com

     (CNN's transcript does not always match my transcript above since I corrected it in a few places.)

 

Stahl: Felt a "Big Hero" Justified By
"Nazis" in the White House

Lesley Stahl     CBS's Lesley Stahl proclaimed on Thursday's Hardball that she admires Mark Felt "as a big hero, and I just, I know that he's a very old man and he's had some strokes, I hope he really understands what a great service he did." Chris Matthews chipped in: "I agree with you." Stahl pointed out how Felt thought those in the Nixon White House "were like Nazis. That was in his own mind. So if he knows that he cleaned out that corruption, he shouldn't be called a 'traitor' by anybody, and he certainly shouldn't feel like one."

     (Stahl's reference to Felt being called a "traitor" may be a pick up of a false quote attributed to Pat Buchanan. See item #3 below.)
    
     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down some of Stahl's comments on the June 2 Hardball on MSNBC taped in New York City.

     -- Stahl: "This is what distresses me about Felt. If you do something like this, you embrace it, and you say, 'I'm not a traitor, my higher loyalty is to the country, my higher loyalty is to the law, and what I'm doing is good for the country and good for the future and good for the Constitution,' and you get that in your brain, and that becomes essentially you, and I guess I always assumed that Deep Throat would be like that. So I'm a little disappointed that he is so ambivalent about why he did all of this."

     -- Stahl, when asked about the contention Felt should have taken his concerns to proper authorities: "Who was he going to turn to? Where could he go if not to the press at that point? That's a whistleblower's role. I look upon him as a big hero, and I just, I know that he's a very old man and he's had some strokes, I hope he really understands what a great service he did."
     Chris Matthews: "I agree with you. I agree with you. Because if he hadn't done it, I always say the worst thing about Watergate would have happened if they weren't caught because these people really were overwhelmed with power, and it would have gotten worse."
     Stahl: "Did you see that in his book -- this was something Woodward wrote today in the Washington Post -- that Mark Felt wrote a book that nobody read, nobody bought, no one knew who he was, and in it he used a word that's something like gauleiter, or something like that, that meant, that was an official in the Nazi camp."
     Matthews: "Sure, a mayor basically."
     Stahl: "And he thought they were like Nazis. That was in his own mind. So if he knows that he cleaned out that corruption, he shouldn't be called a 'traitor' by anybody, and he certainly shouldn't feel like one."

     -- Matthews: "What do you make of the last three or four days' discussion where you have people on television, including on this show, who were involved with Watergate or were in the Nixon White House generally coming on as advocates, more or less defending Nixon implicitly in his behavior, and attacking the whistleblowers, the reporters, and the people who ratted out what happened?"
     Stahl: "After all this time. You know, to me, and I must say I was heartened by a poll that showed that Woodward and what he did are viewed by young people as heroes. You know, other systems have a lot of corruption. You look at a system that doesn't have that kind of penetrating press free to roam and take anonymous sources and print them, they have a layer of corruption. This is how we keep our system clean. This is how the United States, after all these years, gets to clean itself out because the press is allowed to do this and is free to do this, and if people start, the public starts clamping down on our ability to ferret around like this, it's not healthy for the whole system. To look back and say it wasn't in everybody's interest to clean out the corruption doesn't make any sense. And it was corrupt."

 

Brokaw Chides Buchanan for Calling Felt
"Traitor," But He Didn't

Tom Brokaw     Will Tom Brokaw, the Today show, Chris Matthews and CBS's Early Show offer a correction? As Brit Hume noted Thursday night, the Washington Post corrected a Wednesday article which reported, that on Hardball Tuesday night, Pat Buchanan had called Mark Felt a "traitor." The correction explained: "Buchanan said that Felt had no personal loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon, 'so I don't consider him a traitor in that sense.'" In fact, it was Matthews who first falsely claimed that Buchanan had tagged Felt a "traitor." On Wednesday's Today, Brokaw was appalled by Buchanan's supposed characterization: "I think Pat said yesterday that Mark Felt was a 'traitor.' A traitor to what? The truth?!" On CBS's Early Show the same day, Wyatt Andrews asserted: "Several former aides to President Nixon still argue what Felt did was wrong with one aide, Pat Buchanan, calling Felt a 'traitor.'"

     Hume's June 2 "Grapevine" item on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume: "The Washington Post reported yesterday that after learning that Deep Throat was actually former FBI number-two Mark Felt, quote 'former Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan labeled Felt a 'traitor' for having worked with reporters on stories that did severe damage to the administration.' What's more, while chatting with readers about it online later in the day, one Washington Post reporter called Buchanan's reaction quote, 'darkly hilarious.' But Buchanan never called Felt a traitor. In fact, in an interview with Chris Matthews, Buchanan said that because Felt had no personal loyalty to Nixon quote, 'I don't consider him a traitor in that sense.' The Post has now issued a correction."

     Indeed, the June 2 Post carried this correction on page A2:
     "A June 1 article on reaction to the confirmation that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was the Watergate source known as 'Deep Throat' incorrectly said that Patrick J. Buchanan called Felt a 'traitor' in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball. Buchanan said that Felt had no personal loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon, 'so I don't consider him a traitor in that sense.'" That's posted at: www.washingtonpost.com

     The original misquote appeared in a June 1 news story, "Contemporaries Have Mixed Views," by Dan Morgan. He reported: "Speaking last night on MSNBC's Hardball, former Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan labeled Felt a 'traitor' for having worked with reporters on stories that did severe damage to the administration."

     For that news story: www.washingtonpost.com

     From what I could track down, I have surmised that the "traitor" quote came about when Matthews paraphrased Buchanan's description of Felt as "a snake."

     During a 9pm EDT special edition of Hardball on Tuesday night, May 31, Matthews asked David Gergen: "Let me start with you, David Gergen. I haven't heard from you today. Do you think that Mark Felt was a hero, as his family is describing him, or is he a traitor, as Pat has described him?"

     After Gergen answered, Buchanan, a simultaneous guest, corrected Matthews: "I wouldn't of used the term 'traitor,' because I don't know that he was ever a Nixon loyalist." The two agreed Buchanan had castigated Felt as "a snake."

     For MSNBC's transcript of the 9pm EDT May 31 Hardball: www.msnbc.msn.com
     The next morning, on the Wednesday, June 1 Today, Tom Brokaw, the MRC's Geoff Dickens observed, picked up on Buchanan's supposed quote. Referring to the earlier appearance on Today of Chuck Colson and Buchanan, Brokaw marveled:
     "I thought I was back in 1973! I mean I thought I was dueling with Colson and Pat Buchanan all over again because that was the mindset of that time and it's the mindset that got the Nixon White House in great trouble. I think Pat said yesterday that Mark Felt was a 'traitor.' A traitor to what? The truth?! Here's a man who didn't make this stuff up. What he told Bob Woodward, giving him a road map, if you will, to follow the money and the other linkage that led to the, directly into the Oval Office or as John Dean described it, 'a cancer on the presidency,' this was true. It was illegal activity. This was not somebody acting as a private citizen in their own company. This was the highest-elected official that we have in our country."

 

Woodward and Bernstein Dance Around Felt's
Personal Motivations

Bob Woodward     In their series of Thursday morning interviews on ABC, NBC, and MSNBC, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein tried to dance around the issue of Mark Felt's personal motivations for leaking Watergate information from the FBI (but don't call it "leaking," they protested). They also attacked conservatives for questioning that "the record about Watergate crimes is staggering, voluminous, and irrefutable." Today's Matt Lauer falsely asserted: "On this program yesterday, Pat Buchanan and Chuck Colson, a couple of the President's men, teed off on Mark Felt, saying he's not a patriot, he's a traitor." Neither had uttered the term "traitor."

     [The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item to CyberAlert.]

     On NBC in the 7am half hour, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd found Matt Lauer began by telling Woodward his story in the Post was "a fascinating piece." He asked: "Were you so smart at the time that you realized this guy could have an enormous impact on your life and career?" Woodward declined to declare himself a genius.

     The duo would not suggest they had any opinion then or now about the heroism of Felt for offering his insights into their anti-Nixon work. Lauer explained: "Let's remember who Mark Felt was during the Watergate scandal. He was the number two guy at the FBI, he was a guy who'd been passed over for the director's job by Richard Nixon. You wrote in the article you thought it pretty much crushed him at the time. So when the meetings are taking place in that dark garage and you're back at the Post and you're writing the stories, were you guys, at the time, viewing him as a great American patriot and a hero or a man with a grudge, but who cares because he's solid gold?"
     Bernstein replied: "We had no idea of his motivations, and even now, some of his motivations are unclear. But we had very little time, one with Bob and Felt in the garage had very little time together, there are fewer than ten meetings and conversations in the course of a couple years. And the object was to get as much information, as much context, as much certainty to things we had obtained elsewhere as could be gotten."
     Lauer: "Let me go back to the question, did you think at the time he was a patriot and a hero?"
     Bernstein: "We didn't think in those terms. About anybody."
    
     Later, Lauer brought up the NBC interview with Pat Buchanan and Chuck Colson, which only made the Woodstein duo feisty: "On this program yesterday, Pat Buchanan and Chuck Colson, a couple of the President's men, teed off on Mark Felt, saying he's not a patriot, he's a traitor. They said he should have gone to a grand jury or resigned. And in closing, Pat Buchanan said the following, he said, 'Woodward and Bernstein were stenographers in the end,' meaning that you simply wrote what Mark Felt wanted you to write."

     (In fact, neither Buchanan or Colson used the term "traitor" during their June 1 Today appearance. For more on the "traitor" misquoting of Buchanan, see item #3 above.)

     Woodward attacked: "Yeah, but you know, that, I mean Pat is a propagandist. And...this is the old crowd kind of relaunching the wars of Watergate, saying let's make the conduct of the sources that we used-"
     Bernstein: "Or the press."
     Woodward: "-the issue rather than their own-"
     Bernstein: "Than the President and his men."
     Woodward: "-and you know, the record about Watergate crimes is staggering, voluminous, and irrefutable."

     The duo crossed Manhattan for a 7:30am half hour appearance together on ABC's Good Morning America. The MRC's Jessica Barnes noticed Charles Gibson followed a similar path. He praised the Thursday Woodward article in the Post as "a really interesting story." He explained: "That's really what's so interesting. He's in the upper echelons of the White House [sic] early on, before Watergate, and you write he thought there was little doubt that Felt thought the Nixon team were Nazis and you write he felt they were a threat to the integrity and independence of the FBI, right from the beginning."

     Nazis? In the Woodward story, he explained the reference:
     "Felt, a much more learned man than most realized, later wrote that he considered [Nixon aide Tom Charles] Huston 'a kind of White House gauleiter over the intelligence community.' The word 'gauleiter' is not in most dictionaries, but in the four-inch-thick Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language it is defined as 'the leader or chief official of a political district under Nazi control.' There is little doubt Felt thought the Nixon team were Nazis. During this period, he had to stop efforts by others in the bureau to 'identify every member of every hippie commune' in the Los Angeles area, for example, or to open a file on every member of Students for a Democratic Society."

     Felt's fascist references suggest he may have had more in common with the liberals than the conservatives.

     Once again, Gibson raised the question of Felt's motives, and again, Woodward and Bernstein dodged: "Carl, I asked you if you ever speculated between each other as to why he was cooperating with you, but you leave it unsaid at the end of your article today in the Washington Post as to why Felt cooperated with you, why he was doing this. Did the two of you ever speculate about what his motives were?"
     Woodward: "You know, this is daily journalism."
     Bernstein: "With the leader of the Free World coming down on you every day and saying that the conduct of you guys is the issue here, the press, not me and not the men around me, and our own editors."
     Woodward: "And Ben Bradlee, the editor, who is kind of the master of getting hot, 'where's the story?' And so we are worried about the next level because this is, you know, Watergate had so many avenues."
     Gibson: "So you weren't talking about it day to day, but have you ever gone back to Mark and said why did you do this?"
     Woodward: "Well, we're working out the details. We're going to tell the whole story here and the twists and turns, and exactly what happened in that 30 years after he retired."
     Gibson then wondered: "Everybody's debating, did he do the right thing? Was he honorable to his charge as number two at the FBI? Henry Kissinger says, look, you should resign and then go public with what you have to say if you feel things are wrong."
     Bernstein then turned his fire on the Nixon aides: "I don't think Mr. Kissinger resigned, nor did Mr. Colson who went to jail resign, nor did Mr. Liddy who went to jail resign. I don't think it was an option. I think it's is very easy in hindsight to say 'resign.' Clearly this person wanted to affect some kind of end to the criminality and unconstitutionality of what was occurring. And given the stories we were writing, we're only speculating here, but this might have been the one reliable avenue. All the other institutions corrupted at that point."
     Woodward: "There was a massive cover-up going on."
     Bernstein: "Corruption."
     Woodward: "And interestingly, I don't think at the point, the various stages of the coverage he knew what it all meant."

     In their interview on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Don Imus tried to get to Felt's motives. MRC's Jessica Barnes reported he said to Bernstein: "I'm asking Bob about what exactly Felt was doing if he wasn't leaking information. He was providing guidance? I mean, how would you characterize what he was doing?"
     Bernstein suggested it's not leaking if you're a reluctant leaker: "I think there's a lot more guidance than actually giving of information. I always stay away from the term 'leak' because usually it's held to get information out of anybody, including people who are inclined to be willing to give it to you, that usually you still have to do some real pulling and this was the case. He was a very reluctant giver of information...."
     Imus followed up: "So he didn't look at what he was doing as being a violation of his oath of office in providing information that they were gathering as an official investigative arm of this investigation, the FBI, in providing the newspaper with this."
     Woodward: "Well, it's got all of the ambiguity and the approach, avoidance of human nature. You know, I think he was distancing himself from, so he wouldn't be in a position of, you know, this came in from a specific FBI file, but‚€""
     Bernstein: "The truth is we don't know, you know, all of his motivations, and during the period, he was really never asked. You know, I think there was enough trouble when Bob had these brief meetings and conversations to deal with whatever information we were trying to get without going into a question of what was motivating him. So it's only later, much later, that we could really speculate and never have got a complete answer to his motivation."

 

CBS: Suicide Bombings to Decline in Iraq;
ABC Warns Growing Worse

ABC     CBS versus ABC on suicide bombings in Iraq. On Thursday night, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts asserted that "there are signs the suicide campaign may finally be running out of steam" and, from Iraq, Kimberly Dozier relayed how "U.S. commanders tell CBS News they're seeing signs the militant bomb makers may be running out of willing delivery men. Commanders believe the recruiting pool is shrinking further as a result of this week's joint U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown." But viewers of ABC's World News Tonight heard only dire news. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas cited how "an unprecedented number of these attacks are now occurring. Military commanders are very concerned." From the Pentagon, Martha Raddatz concurred: "There is great concern the frequency of these suicide attacks is greater than it has ever been" and "the frequency is far greater than anything ever seen in Israel, ever seen in Chechnya" and now we're "seeing more and more Iraqis" acting as suicide bombers -- "homegrown terrorists."

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning, of the contrasting June 2 spins, against the video.

     John Roberts teased the CBS Evening News: "Good evening. I'm John Roberts. Iraqis are dying by the hundreds every week, and the suicide bombers keep coming. But there are signs the suicide campaign may finally be running out of steam. That's where we begin tonight, and we'll have these stories."

     Roberts set up his lead story: "More than 800 people have been killed in Iraq since the new government took office just over a month ago, with suicide bombers causing the worst of the carnage. And there were more attacks yet again today. Yet some U.S. and Iraqi officials are hopeful the terror campaign may soon begin to ease, as Kimberly Dozier reports now from Baghdad."

     Dozier began, from Baghdad, over video of bombing scenes: "Using everything from car bombs to exploding motorcycles, militants killed more than three dozen people today, from Mosul to Kirkuk to Baquba. Most were suicide attacks, continuing a deadly new trend -- there were 69 suicide bombings in April, and 90 in May -- more than in the entire previous year. Nowhere in the world are suicide attacks so frequent. Some of the bombs are more technically sophisticated, a sign the insurgents may be getting extra training and funding from outside the country. And contrary to the popular view that it's only foreign Arabs blowing themselves up, an Iraqi interior ministry official says many of the bombers are Iraqis. Despite the staggering figures, U.S. commanders tell CBS News they're seeing signs the militant bomb makers may be running out of willing delivery men. Commanders believe the recruiting pool is shrinking further as a result of this week's joint U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown. The Iraqis have fought pitched battles in some neighborhoods, and they've sometimes had to call for American backup. They may be getting better and more independent, but they don't have main battle tanks."
     Captain David Irwin, First Cavalry Division Platoon Commander: "We can go some places where they can't in a safer way. They know that if they need something they can call and we'll come running as fast as we can."
     Dozier: "The combined forces have imposed an unusual calm in the capital for now. One senior official told CBS News they believe the insurgents have reached their peak in terms of manpower and resources, whereas the Iraqi government and security forces are growing stronger by the day. Eventually, the official said, one will be no match for the other. Kimberly Dozier, CBS News, Baghdad."

     Over on ABC's World News Tonight, which led with obesity, anchor Elizabeth Vargas introduced a contrasting story: "Overseas now: 38 people were killed today in insurgent attacks across northern and central Iraq. A car bombing south of Kirkuk killed 12 people, including a deputy prime minister's bodyguard. The deadliest assaults were all suicide bombings. An unprecedented number of these attacks are now occurring. Military commanders are very concerned. Our national security correspondent Martha Raddatz joins us now from the Pentagon with more. Martha?"

     Raddatz elaborated: "That's right, Elizabeth. There is great concern the frequency of these suicide attacks is greater than it has ever been. Today's three suicide attacks came within one hour, and all the targets had been carefully chosen -- a busy restaurant, an Iraqi official, and a convoy carrying civilian contractors. In May, a staggering 90 suicide attacks contributed to the death toll of more than 750 -- 90 people willing to turn themselves into human bombs and kill themselves and so many others. In April, there were 69 suicide attacks, more than all of the last year. The frequency is far greater than anything ever seen in Israel, ever seen in Chechnya. And today, this audio posting on a Web site purportedly tied to al-Qaeda in Iraq, claiming that a new suicide bombing cell has been created in Iraq and is responsible for a number of the recent attacks. A man says, 'We announced that we have formed the Al Bara bin Malek Brigade. We inform Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi of a new battle in Iraq.'
     "And one more disturbing development, Elizabeth. These are no longer just foreign jihadists who are putting on these suicide vests and driving suicide vehicles. They are seeing more and more Iraqis -- homegrown terrorists."
     Vargas: "All right, disturbing trend. Martha, thank you."

 

Judy Woodruff Leaves CNN: A Rundown of
Her Most Biased Quotes

Judy Woodruff     CNN's Judy Woodruff will anchor Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics for the final time today (Friday) as she departs the network and CNN begins the process of shutting down Crossfire and phasing out Inside Politics, all to be replaced by a 3-6pm EDT block hosted by Wolf Blitzer. To mark Woodruff's departure, the MRC's Rich Noyes collated a collection of some of Woodruff's bias over the years, as documented in the MRC's Notable Quotables. My nomination for her most egregious instance of liberal bias: Anchoring NewsNight on May 15, 2002, she opened the newscast with this ludicrous exaggeration: "We begin with the news from the White House that President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th." My second favorite: When still with PBS in 1992, she fretted: "If the politicians don't have the courage to raise taxes, what are we facing down the road?"

     The quotes collected by Rich:

     # "Bill Clinton is the quintessential American, super-sized.... Dreaming big. Flying sometimes too close to the sun. Falling hard and coming back strong." -- CNN's Judy Woodruff on the November 18, 2004 Inside Politics a few hours after the official dedication of Clinton's presidential library.

     # "Can the Republicans get away with putting these moderate speakers up there?" -- CNN's Judy Woodruff discussing the Republican National Convention, on Inside Politics, August 31, 2004.

     # "A post-script: When I asked Governor Weld about the state of civility of politics today versus a decade ago, he told me, quoting here, 'It's a different world now. Civility,' he said, ‚€˜started to go out the window in '94.' Which, we noted, was the year of the Gingrich Revolution." -- CNN's Judy Woodruff after showing a taped interview with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld on Inside Politics, July 29, 2004.

     # "It's silly to make too much of convention tunes, but some years they do provide a fitting soundtrack to a bigger story. Take the 1992 Republican Convention, the one that came to symbolize closed-door intolerance. That show in Houston was all country all the time, hardly a portrait of musical diversity." ‚€" CNN's Judy Woodruff on Inside Politics, July 27, 2004.

     # "The rest of year and for the last three years the President has dominated the news. Don't the Democrats deserve a few days in the sunshine, if you will?" -- CNN's Judy Woodruff to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, asking why the State of the Union was held during the Democratic primaries, on Inside Politics, January 19, 2004.

     # "Earlier today, Senator Edward Kennedy gave me his views of the issues involved. And I began by asking him about his signing off on a [Medicare] plan that would leave some seniors with less drug coverage than they need and whether he undercut those seniors and some of his own Democratic allies...."
     "Let me ask you, though, about the politics of this. At a time when the Democrats are trying mightily to carve out distinct positions for themselves against a very popular Republican President, in effect, what you have done is helped a Republican President take a very controversial issue off the table." -- CNN's Judy Woodruff on Inside Politics, June 18, 2003.

     # "We begin with the news from the White House that President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th." -- Judy Woodruff substituting as anchor of CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown, May 15, 2002.

     To watch a RealPlayer clip of that, as posted on the Best of NQ for 2002 page: www.mrc.org

     # "While we're talking about church and state, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Margaret, yesterday described in a speech, the war on terrorism in religious terms. He talked about how it's grounded in faith in God. Is this appropriate language for the Attorney General?" -- Judy Woodruff to Time's Margaret Carlson during a discussion of Ashcroft's speech before the National Association of Religious Broadcasters, CNN's Inside Politics, February 20, 2002.

     # "We were just reminded in that moving film that we saw here of your lifelong work as an advocate for children's causes. And yet, late last week, your husband signed a welfare reform bill that as you know, Senator Patrick Moynihan and other welfare experts are saying is going to throw a million children into poverty. Does that legislation threaten to undo so much of what you've worked for over the years?....Eleanor Roosevelt, whom you admire, mentioned her again just now, said that much of the time she kept her disagreements with the President to herself in private, but there were times that she felt it was important to disagree publicly. Does there ever come a time with you, and if not welfare reform, then what?" -- Questions from CNN's Judy Woodruff to Hillary Clinton, August 26, 1996 Inside Politics.

     # "March madness has begun on Capitol Hill, and almost as predictable as a B horror film, the slashing has begun. House Republicans have made a small down payment on their plan to make massive budget cuts." -- CNN anchor Judy Woodruff on Inside Politics, March 16, 1995.

     # "He was a lifelong Republican, but over the years, Harry Blackmun built a reputation as a liberal, sometimes defiant Justice, whose fierce protection of individual rights led some to anoint him the moral conscience of the court." -- Judy Woodruff on CNN's Inside Politics, April 6, 1994.

     # "Americans tend not to be too enthusiastic about having their taxes raised again....But if the American people aren't going to accept it, if the politicians don't have the courage to raise taxes, what are we facing down the road?" -- Judy Woodruff interviewing Paul Samuelson, March 10, 1992 PBS MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.

     # A reprint of an article from the MRC's old MediaWatch newsletter of September 1992 which examined convention coverage:

Woodruff vs. First Lady MRS. BUSH FIGHTS BACK

Last month, when PBS anchor Judy Woodruff interviewed Hillary Clinton, Woodruff mentioned the now infamous Harvard Educational Review article and asked: "How important is it that that not enter in, and should it enter in?" During PBS/NBC joint coverage August 18, First Lady Barbara Bush didn't get softballs from Woodruff, but the First Lady fought back.

Woodruff's questions came from the Democratic playbook: "I want to ask you about some of the statements that have been made here at this convention over the last few days starting with this one."

Mrs. Bush interrupted: "You said you weren't going to ask all these same old questions." But Woodruff went on, "Now these questions you've never heard before...Republican Party Chairman Rich Bond saying the views of the Republicans are America, Democrats' views are not America... Well I didn't hear a Democrat say that you're not American if you're Republican?" Democrats "were absolutely vicious and nobody called it a dirty attack. So I'm not going to apologize for Rich Bond," Bush responded.

Unfazed, Woodruff demanded: "Campaign official Charles Black and Pat Buchanan have both said in the past 24 hours those who favor rights for homosexuals have not place in the Republican Party... Were you pleased to have that message going out over television?"

"I'm not sending that message," Bush said. Woodruff continued: "U.S. Treasurer Mrs. Villalpando, who just said yesterday, who joked that Gov. Clinton is a skirt chaser... does that have a place in this campaign?"

The First Lady took Woodruff to task: "Look you're saying nothing nice... where were you during the Democrat convention defending us?" Woodruff returned to her inquiry: "But Mosbacher who said in the last day or so that Gov. Clinton's alleged marital infidelity is a legitimate campaign issue."

After a final attempt to get Mrs. Bush to respond, Bush let loose: "You didn't listen to the Democrat Convention I think... I'm not sure you've been [sic] to the same political year I've been to, Judy. Now c'mon, be fair." Mrs. Bush got in the last word: "I'm going to listen to your questions. I'm going to monitor you."

     END of Reprint

 

CNN Ratings Down "Sharply" from Year
Ago, FNC Draws Twice as Many

     CNN may be celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but the network doesn't have much to celebrate ratings-wise. Broadcasting & Cable reported late Wednesday that CNN's total audience "fell sharply," down 16 percent from a year ago as FNC's grew a bit and MSNBC, while with a much smaller audience than CNN, held even. B&C's John Higgins related: "In the key news demo -- adults 25-54 -- CNN's prime time average dropped 12% to 179,000. Leader Fox News' average fell even more, off 16% to 332,000. MSNBC, on the other hand, was up 11% to 109,000."

     A reprint of Broadcasting & Cable's June 1 brief distributed by e-mail on Thursday morning, June 2:

Without the spike from coverage of Pope John Paul II's death and successor, CNN's ratings resurgence faded in May, while Headline News continued to grow in prime.

CNN's total audience fell sharply, during prime time, off 16% compared to May 2004 to an average of 610,000 viewers.

Rival Fox News, meanwhile, increased 11% to 1.4 million. MSNBC was up a hair -- 1% to an average 286,000 viewers.

In the key news demo -- adults 25-54 -- CNN's prime time average dropped 12% to 179,000. Leader Fox News' average fell even more, off 16% to 332,000. MSNBC, on the other hand, was up 11% to 109,000.

CNN's Headline News maintained its gains in prime time, benefiting from the network's spending on promotion and programming, particularly the addition of tabloidish anchor Nancy Grace.

Headline News's prime time audience hit 317,000. That's 82% more than last year and up 16% from April.

     END of Reprint

     That item is posted online at (registration required): www.broadcastingcable.com

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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