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The 2,073rd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
1:20pm EDT, Thursday October 20, 2005 (Vol. Ten; No. 186)

 
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1. Matthews Raises Watergate Specter: "What Did the President Know?"
The first words out of Chris Matthews' mouth, at the top of Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC, raised the specter of Watergate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Matthews proceeded to trumpet "the New York Daily News now out in front on this story, reported this morning that President Bush rebuked ramrod Karl Rove over the leak story." Repeating his tease, Matthews previewed his first segment: "So tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again if people in the Bush administration crossed the line separating political hardball -- tough, clean, Machiavellian politics -- and criminality. We're led tonight by the news coverage to that unsavory tandem of questions: What did the President know and when did he know it?"

2. Olbermann: Bush and Others "Inescapably" Lied in Plame Case
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened Wednesday's Countdown with a graphic displaying that day's New York Daily News headline, "Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak," and the question beneath: "What did the President Know?" Olbermann called the implications of the story a "bombshell" and then recited his list of them with matching text on screen by a picture of Rove: "Mr. Rove would be involved. Mr. Bush would have known Mr. Rove was involved. When Mr. Bush's spokesman said nobody at the White House was involved, somebody would have been lying. And when Mr. Bush talked about what would happen if somebody on his staff was involved, he would have damn well known somebody was and he wouldn't have said anything about it." Olbermann went on to interview Washington Post reporter Jim Vandehei, prodding him: "Could everybody from Mr. McClellan and Mr. Rove to the President be inescapably described as having lied in some way during this?" Vandehei resisted such a broad conclusion.

3. AP Cites Bush Team's "Slash-and-Burn Assaults on Its Critics"
A Tuesday AP dispatch by Tom Raum of the Washington, DC bureau began: "Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a Bush White House tactic: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the President's Iraq war policies." James Taranto, in his "Best of the Web" column, highlighted the very opinionated lead of the story to which the AP attached a "Newsview" tag, a signal the story was a "news analysis" piece. But as FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment, "it was carried on the Web sites of such outlets as The Washington Post, Newsday and CNN with no such label. On CNN, there wasn't even a byline."

4. Roseanne: I'm Like Totally More Intelligent Than President Bush
Actress/comedian Roseanne Barr, who claims to be a psychic ("I channel the higher mind, the higher universal mind"), used the made-up word "overcomeable" and employed teenage phrases such as "like" and "totally," insisted on Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC that she would win a battle of intelligence with President Bush. Barr recounted how she's "going around telling jokes about our country and our people and the world and how screwed up everything is. And I just basically bitch." She soon maintained about Bush: "I could totally win him in a mind contest." Barr, the star of the mid-1980s to early 1990s ABC sit-com Roseanne, elaborated: "Like if it was like a psychic thing and he was like, okay Rosanne, bring your best powers against my best powers, even though he's like totally world-wide connected, and I'm not so world-wide, I could so totally still win on account of like being female, being a grandmother and like, you know, being intelligent. I could totally win."


 

Matthews Raises Watergate Specter: "What
Did the President Know?"

     The first words out of Chris Matthews' mouth, at the top of Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC, raised the specter of Watergate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Matthews proceeded to trumpet "the New York Daily News now out in front on this story, reported this morning that President Bush rebuked ramrod Karl Rove over the leak story." Repeating his tease, Matthews previewed his first segment: "So tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again if people in the Bush administration crossed the line separating political hardball -- tough, clean, Machiavellian politics -- and criminality. We're led tonight by the news coverage to that unsavory tandem of questions: What did the President know and when did he know it?"

     On Tuesday night, Matthews opened with a dire scenario for a Vice President with a bad temper: "Did the fierce battle of leaks between elements of the Central Intelligence Agency who opposed going to war in Iraq and the hawks in the Vice President's office escalate to actual law breaking? Did the Vice President in an effort to defend himself from an onslaught of charges by Joseph Wilson urge his staff to silence the former ambassador? Did Cheney, through anger or loss of temper, create a climate for political hardball and worse? Did he stoke his staff in the late spring and early summer of 2003 to such a level of ferocity that some of its members crossed the line into illegality? And will Patrick Fitzgerald determine that in doing so, he crossed that dire line himself?"

     The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens caught how later, on the October 18 program, Matthews wondered how prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could bring indictments which excluded Cheney:
     "In all decency, can he launch or indict on a grand conspiracy like they all got together in the vice president`s office with Scooter, the chief of staff of the Vice President, Karl Rove and a lot of other guys and they all sat together and they said, €˜let`s nail this guy. We don`t like him, Joe Wilson. Let`s out his wife, prove that he was just on a junket, blah, blah, blah,'turns out to be criminal, without including the Vice President? If it`s a grand conspiracy hatched in the Vice President`s office, how does he even logically exclude the top guy?"

     [This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
    
     "Bush whacked Rove on CIA leak," the October 19 New York Daily News headline read over an article which began: "An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News." The story did not report that Rove gave Plame's name to anyone, just that Rove "conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak." See: nydailynews.com

     Matthews teased the October 19 Hardball (live at 5pm EDT and on tape at 7pm EDT):
     "What did the President know and when did he know it? What did he know about his top hardballer Karl Rove's role in the CIA leak affair? What did he know about an alleged White House hit squad nailing critics of his Iraq war policy and when did he know it? And when did he tell the special prosecutor? And when will we, the people, know it all. Let's all play Hardball tonight."

     After the musical opening, Matthews set up a lead explanatory story from David Shuster:
     "Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews. The beat goes on. The wait for the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, to either indict or head back to Chicago with the secrets of his two-year investigation never told. The New York Daily News now out in front on this story, reported this morning that President Bush rebuked ramrod Karl Rove over the leak story. Was he mad when word surfaced that someone in the administration had outed the CIA agent or did he get mad on hearing that people in his inner White House circle were among those suspected? Or did he possibly get mad on learning from Karl Rove that he did, in fact, talk to the press about the CIA agent? And so tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again if people in the Bush administration crossed the line separating political hardball -- tough, clean, Machiavellian politics -- and criminality. We're led tonight by the news coverage to that unsavory tandem of questions: What did the President know and when did he know it? And this may be the heart of it: Did he know that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were involved in striking back at Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife for what they saw as the threat this couple posed to the President and Vice President's WMD case of the invasion in Iraq?"

 

Olbermann: Bush and Others "Inescapably"
Lied in Plame Case

     MSNBC's Keith Olbermann opened Wednesday's Countdown with a graphic displaying that day's New York Daily News headline, "Bush Whacked Rove on CIA Leak," and the question beneath: "What did the President Know?" Olbermann called the implications of the story a "bombshell" and then recited his list of them with matching text on screen by a picture of Rove: "Mr. Rove would be involved. Mr. Bush would have known Mr. Rove was involved. When Mr. Bush's spokesman said nobody at the White House was involved, somebody would have been lying. And when Mr. Bush talked about what would happen if somebody on his staff was involved, he would have damn well known somebody was and he wouldn't have said anything about it." Olbermann went on to interview Washington Post reporter Jim Vandehei, prodding him: "Could everybody from Mr. McClellan and Mr. Rove to the President be inescapably described as having lied in some way during this?" Vandehei resisted such a broad conclusion.

     [This item is modified from a Wednesday night posting, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To see two of the graphic images displayed by MSNBC, go to: newsbusters.org ]

     A complete transcript of relevant portions from the Wednesday October 19 show follows:

     Olbermann's teaser: "Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? 'I couldn't hear what you said. I'm old.' The President's response when asked if the news report is true that he rebuked Karl Rove for Rove's role in the CIA leak two years ago. That bombshell and its implications."

     After previewing other stories in the opening teaser, Olbermann began the show:
     "Good evening. The New York Daily News is politically quirky, although it serves an audience slightly more liberal than conservative, certainly not pro-George Bush. That the context for its source-based reporting today that a, quote, 'angry,' President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair. Our fifth story on the Countdown, the implications of that and of the quote from an unnamed source that Mr. Bush 'made his displeasure known to Karl, he made his life miserable about this.' The implications would be easy to comprehend. Mr. Rove would be involved. Mr. Bush would have known Mr. Rove was involved. When Mr. Bush's spokesman said nobody at the White House was involved, somebody would have been lying. And when Mr. Bush talked about what would happen if somebody on his staff was involved, he would have damn well known somebody was and he wouldn't have said anything about it. Neither the President nor spokesman Scott McClellan would comment on-camera about the Daily News report today, the President telling reporters during a photo-op, 'I didn't hear what you said. I'm getting old.' In the off-camera briefing, the so-called gaggle, Mr. McClellan said, quote, 'One, we're not commenting on an ongoing investigation, and, two, I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account.'
     "'Aha!' said the reporters. 'That was a comment. There, we run rings around you logically. What aspects of the story's accuracy are you challenging?' McClellan replied, quoting again, 'I read the story, and I didn't view it as an, uh, an accurate story.' The Daily News sources also said the President knows and appreciates that everything Rove did was for the President, but, quoting that source again, 'Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way,' while the New York Times had its own source story today about special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Quoting government officials who say he has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about his investigation, leading to the logical conclusion that he's not issuing a report because he instead expects that grand jury to issue indictments. Jim Vandehei, White House correspondent of the Washington Post, has been leading the advance of this story for weeks now, and he joins us. Good evening, Jim."
     Jim Vandehei, Washington Post: "Good to be here."
     Olbermann: "The Daily News report about Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush's supposed rebuke. It certainly is dramatic. It sounds a little convenient like finding the Holy Grail in your own basement. What's your assessment of the story?"
     Vandehei: "If it's true, I certainly haven't been able to confirm it. All the accounts that I've heard from inside the White House and from folks involved in this investigation was that basically Bush and Scott McClellan were misled a bit by Karl Rove early on and was told that he didn't have any role at all in this investigation. In fact, that's what Karl Rove had said publicly in July. So if that account's true, I haven't been able to find anyone else in Washington who's heard that."
     Olbermann: "Working backwards off Mr. McClellan's response at the gaggle today, even given his adamantine refusals to say anything about this story besides boilerplate, a subject I don't need to inform you on, did today's comments seem a little tepid? Did it seem like he might have gotten a little stronger in his repudiation of such a story?"
     Vandehei: "Well, it was interesting because it's true, he has refused to comment at all, and on this story, he clearly did comment. And I think they don't want the perception out there that the President actually knew that this was going on and was angry with Karl Rove. I think it's in their interests, especially if it's true, to be saying that the President didn't have any idea about this and was misled by Karl Rove because you obviously want to have that distance between what's happening and the President. I mean, if that New York Daily News story is true, you know, that could be potentially troubling for the President because it suggests that he was more involved and more aware than the White House has let on. But, again, I haven't been able to find anyone who said that's true."
     Olbermann: "And let me ask one more question that pertains to the implications of a report that we don't have verified outside of what we read in the papers today. Does it, if correct, tip over, generally speaking, a house of cards here? I mean, could everybody from Mr. McClellan and Mr. Rove to the President be inescapably described as having lied in some way during this? Or, even with this story, even with that idea that it could be true, is it still all more nuanced than that?"
     Vandehei: "Right, you know, sort of the, to paraphrase President Bush, I don't really deal in hypotheticals like that. It's too tough to say. I mean, you either, there are a bunch of what-if's and but's in this case. I mean, we have to deal with the facts that we know in those fragmentary pieces of evidence that we've been able to verify and show that it proved, it is a confusing enough case to not go down these roads that we don't even know are accurate."
     Olbermann: "All right, well, the New York news stands were full of reports today, what else they might have been full of is another question altogether, but the Times had Mr. Fitzgerald with no plans to issue a report with a general consensus that nobody really presumes that a special prosecutor is going to issue a report if there aren't indictments, but without a report, there is a not-very-great logical leap to the idea that that's because there would be indictments coming. Is that also too simplistic?"
     Vandehei: "Boy, I don't want to sound like a media critic here today, but yeah, I mean, it's sort of the presumption of innocence that we wouldn't see a report from the special prosecutor. And this isn't the, an independent counsel like a lot of your viewers might be familiar with where do you anticipate that you're going to see some kind of public report. If anything, we've been working on the assumption that if he does file a report, it would go over to justice, it would remain secret and we would never see it. So I don't know that you can look at those facts and read one way or the other whether it means indictments are coming or not coming. I can say there's been a lot of activity in this case the last couple of days. It does suggest we're going to see something from Fitzgerald in the next week, and a lot of the lawyers involved in the case think that will involve at least one indictment, if not more."
     Olbermann: "These days, Jim, we are all media critics. Jim Vandehei, the White House correspondent of the Washington Post, an even busier time than usual to have that job, so thanks for some of your time tonight, sir."

 

AP Cites Bush Team's "Slash-and-Burn
Assaults on Its Critics"

     A Tuesday AP dispatch by Tom Raum of the Washington, DC bureau began: "Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a Bush White House tactic: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the President's Iraq war policies." James Taranto, in his "Best of the Web" column, highlighted the very opinionated lead of the story to which the AP attached a "Newsview" tag, a signal the story was a "news analysis" piece. But as FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment, "it was carried on the Web sites of such outlets as The Washington Post, Newsday and CNN with no such label. On CNN, there wasn't even a byline."

     Indeed, see the CNN.com version here: www.cnn.com

     Taranto's October 19 column on OpinionJournal.com: www.opinionjournal.com

     Raum's second paragraph forwarded a broader liberal contention:
     "If top officials are indicted, it could seriously erode the administration's credibility and prove yet another embarrassment to President Bush on the larger issue of how he and his national security team marshaled information -- much of it later shown to be inaccurate -- to support their case for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003."

     For Raum's October 18 polemic in full, as posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com

 

Roseanne: I'm Like Totally More Intelligent
Than President Bush

     Actress/comedian Roseanne Barr, who claims to be a psychic ("I channel the higher mind, the higher universal mind"), used the made-up word "overcomeable" and employed teenage phrases such as "like" and "totally," insisted on Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC that she would win a battle of intelligence with President Bush. Barr recounted how she's "going around telling jokes about our country and our people and the world and how screwed up everything is. And I just basically bitch." She soon maintained about Bush: "I could totally win him in a mind contest." Barr, the star of the mid-1980s to early 1990s ABC sit-com Roseanne, elaborated: "Like if it was like a psychic thing and he was like, okay Rosanne, bring your best powers against my best powers, even though he's like totally world-wide connected, and I'm not so world-wide, I could so totally still win on account of like being female, being a grandmother and like, you know, being intelligent. I could totally win."

     Barr, who made the appearance to plug a new DVD of the first season of the Roseanne sit-com, boasted: "I have been psychic since I was very young, about three-years-old. Whenever I touch someone, I pick up all their vibes and stuff. So that's why I don't like to shake hands or touch people because I see like, you know, them dying in horrible car wrecks and stuff like that and it's depressing." Apparently, that was just a joke.

     [This item was posted Wednesday afternoon, with a video excerpt in both RealPlayer and Windows Media formats, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. Go to: newsbusters.org ]

     From Barr's appearance on the Monday night, October 17 Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC, which usually really airs early the next morning, at 12:07am EDT/PDT, but because of Monday Night Football, was pushed back to past 1:30am EDT and 12:30am CDT:

     Jimmy Kimmel: "Are you still going around the country, are you still talking about the President and politics and that sort of thing?"
     Roseanne Barr: "Well, I was doing standup around the President, you know, on election day when I went with Michael Moore to all those colleges. You know and that's why I came here to do stand-up. That's kind of like what I'm still doing, going around telling jokes about our country and our people and the world and how screwed up everything is. And I just basically bitch. I'm really good at it."
     Kimmel: "Do you think it helps? Do you think it helps at all?"
     Barr: "I think it really helps to laugh at stuff because then it doesn't seem like so overcomeable. Do you know what I mean? You got to laugh it into scorn and like move on. Because I think when people laugh at stuff, you can, once it's a laughing stock, it changes the whole chemistry of it I think."
     Kimmel: "It does. We laugh and it and we decide not to do anything about it."
     Barr: "Well, you think that's true?"
     Kimmel: "Yeah. I don't think we laugh at the scorn, I think we laugh until like [sighs] 'okay, what's next? We got our-'"
     Barr: "I think that if you like kind of make fun of it in the way that you're kind of an idiot if you don't do something, then it will work."
     Kimmel: "You think so?"
     Barr: "Yeah, absolutely."
     Kimmel: "I don't know. I don't know."
     Barr: "I do."
     Kimmel: "I think President Bush has decided certain things and I don't think there's any convincing him. Just like other people, just like, maybe you've decided things and he probably couldn't convince you of anything."
     Barr: "I could totally win him in a mind contest."
     Kimmel: "You think so?"
     Barr: "I could totally win out on him."
     Kimmel: "In a what? In a mind-"
     Barr: "In a mind contest."
     Kimmel: "Really? Well, I'd love to see that happen. That would be the greatest-"
     Barr: "Like if it was like a psychic thing and he was like, okay Rosanne, bring your best powers against my best powers, even though he's like totally world-wide connected, and I'm not so world-wide, I could so totally still win on account of like being female, being a grandmother and like, you know, being intelligent. I could totally win."
     Kimmel: "I'd love to see that." [applause]

     Barr soon added:
     "I channel the higher mind, the higher universal mind. And it comes through me with the answer. And I have to say it's not from me, it's threw through me. So I don't think people should get mad at me."
     Kimmel: "What percentage of the time are you right?"
     Barr: "I am one hundred percent correct at all times."

     Following an ad break:
     Barr: "I have been psychic since I was very young, about three-years-old. Whenever I touch someone, I pick up all their vibes and stuff. So that's why I don't like to shake hands or touch people because I see like, you know, them dying in horrible car wrecks and stuff like that and it's depressing."

     Barr conceded she was just kidding about seeing people die in car wrecks.

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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