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The 2,275th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
11:05am EDT, Tuesday September 26, 2006 (Vol. Eleven; No. 161)

 
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1. Olbermann Demeans Wallace as 'Monkey,' Bush Not 'True American'
Keith Olbermann ended Monday's Countdown with his latest "Special Comment" rant, complete with video from a man on a rack in the movie 1984 as Olbermann described President's Bush's supposedly awful deeds. In praising how, in his interview aired on Fox News Sunday, "Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration," Olbermann portrayed Chris Wallace, who conducted the interview, as an agent of the White House and delivered the lowest of insults, calling Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster." On Bush, Olbermann accused him of "cowardice" and argued: "Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton's. Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly. As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy. Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon." Olbermann concluded his 10-minute plus diatribe: "Mr. Bush: Are yours the actions of a true American?" AUDIO&VIDEO

2. Nets Ignore Clinton's Claims, See Strategy to Motivate Democrats
Instead of exploring the accuracy or inaccuracy of former President Clinton's claims during his temper tantrum directed at Chris Wallace in an interview aired on Fox News Sunday, the ABC and NBC evening newscasts on Monday suggested a larger strategy to motivate Democrats. ABC anchor Charles Gibson framed the event: "When asked about efforts he made to get Osama bin Laden, the former President got angry. Was he really mad or was he using anger to make a larger point?" Reporter Dan Harris proposed: "Unlike Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry, who many believe failed to effectively combat efforts to distort their image, the Clintons believe Democrats have to push back hard." NBC anchor Brian Williams turned to David Gergen who rationalized the tantrum: "He'd just come off a terrific week as ex-President and raised over $7 billion for worthy causes, walked into an interview with Fox with Chris Wallace that he thought was going to be at least half about his initiative. And then he thought he got sandbagged by this question...which echoes the conservative criticisms." Gergen predicted: "It's going to be a rallying cry for Democrats because Bill Clinton has sent a very clear message to Democrats. If you get bullied, if they try to roll over you, you've got to punch back and punch back hard. That's the way to win."

3. Flashback: Clinton Wagged Finger at Jennings: 'Don't Go There!'
Bill Clinton's diatribe against FNC's Chris Wallace, who dared to question the ex-President about his failed efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, reminded some of the last time Clinton exhibited such vitriol. Back on November 18, 2004, in the midst of a quite positive ABC News prime-time special, "Bill Clinton: A Place in History," about the dedication of the Clinton presidential library, Bill Clinton angrily wagged his finger at Peter Jennings, accusing ABC of conspiring with Ken Starr to "repeat every little sleazy thing he leaked" during the investigation into Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice. AUDIO&VIDEO

4. CBS Analyst Blames Clinton for Failure to Kill bin Laden
Despite Bill Clinton's angry protestations, the bulk of the blame for America's failure to catch or kill Osama bin Laden lies squarely on the Clinton administration, at least according to former CIA officer turned CBS News analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer's words, delivered on Monday's edition of CBS's Early Show, must have come as a shock for co-host Harry Smith since the liberal media's usual refrain on bin Laden is to blame Bush for the failure to kill him back in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign. That just isn't the case, Scheuer argued, implicitly criticizing the press: "The former President seems to be able to deny facts with impunity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him," he said. AUDIO&VIDEO

5. Newsweek Editor Calls Gore 2000 Winner; Doubts Bush's Legitimacy
The incoming top editor of Newsweek magazine, Jon Meacham, cast aspersions on the legitimacy of President Bush when he appeared by phone on Monday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC. Meacham conjured up memories of the 2000 election, asserting that "Al Gore was elected by the American people, but not allowed to serve." Additionally, Meacham gave credence to the left wing blogosphere and claimed that not since 1988 has a candidate for President won a clear majority of the popular vote without "any questions about the count in a presidential election. It's been 20 years since we've had a president who has clearly been a majority choice."

6. Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Osama Bin Laden Isn't Really Dead"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Osama Bin Laden Isn't Really Dead."


 

Olbermann Demeans Wallace as 'Monkey,'
Bush Not 'True American'

     Keith Olbermann ended Monday's Countdown with his latest "Special Comment" rant, complete with video from a man on a rack in the movie 1984 as Olbermann described President's Bush's supposedly awful deeds. In praising how, in his interview aired on Fox News Sunday, "Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration," Olbermann portrayed


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More See & Hear the Bias

Chris Wallace, who conducted the interview, as an agent of the White House and delivered the lowest of insults, calling Wallace "a monkey posing as a newscaster."

     On Bush, Olbermann accused him of "cowardice" and argued: "After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts -- that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton's. Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly. As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy. Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon." Olbermann concluded his 10-minute plus diatribe: "Mr. Bush: Are yours the actions of a true American?"

     [This item was posted Monday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or MP3 audio, of Olbermann going off the deep end, go to: newsbusters.org ]

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth appended the following to my initial post:

     Olbermann opened the segment contending that Clinton had been "sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster," and charged that the Bush administration's "assault" on freedoms "can do as much damage as al-Qaeda." Olbermann preemptively rationalized his "crazed" rant by arguing that "our tone should be crazed." He also compared Fox News to the "propaganda" of Tokyo Rose:
     "The headlines about it are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back. It is not important that the current President's portable public chorus has described his predecessor's tone as 'crazed.' Our tone should be crazed. The nation's freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al-Qaeda. The nation's marketplace of ideas is being poisoned by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would've quit."

     Notably, about half an hour earlier on Olbermann's show, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, a liberal journalist who was appearing as a guest, had actually defended Wallace's decision to question Clinton about how he handled bin Laden. Alter: "I don't think there was any pre-ground rules breaking or anything like that, and I don't actually fault Chris Wallace at all. Look, when go into an interview like this, you want to ask good provocative questions. That's what we're paid to do....I don't think [Clinton] was right that somehow, you know, Fox was out to get him on this. As Wallace said, he was posing a question that a lot of Fox's admittedly very conservative viewers wanted to know."

     And just a few minutes after Olbermann's show concluded, on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, liberal political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell similarly defended Wallace's interview as "perfectly sensible." O'Donnell: "Chris Wallace, by the way, I don't think did do a right-wing hit job. I think the interview was a perfectly sensible interview."

     Returning to Olbermann's Countdown show, the MSNBC host praised Clinton's supposedly "courageous" truth-telling: "Thus in his supposed emeritus years has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by any one, in these last five long years."

     After implying that President Bush is not a "grown-up," Olbermann went on to accuse Bush of attempting, without "conscience" or "shame," to "re-write history," as he labeled Bush's administration the "worst presidency since James Buchanan."

     Olbermann: "But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now. Except for this: After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts, that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility entirely Mr. Clinton's. Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly. As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him by proxy."

     Ever the conspiracy theorist with a substantial history of accusing the Bush administration of politically timing terror alerts to distract from embarrassing news, Olbermann moved on to make a similar charge of timing, as he compared the Bush Administration to "authoritarians" being helped by "hyenas" at Fox News, and contended that Clinton was "brave" to take the Bush Administration to task for "criminal negligence." See: newsbusters.org

     Olbermann: "Consider the timing: the very same weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is, not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it. The kind of proof of incompetence for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion in a scapegoat. It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired but a propagandist promoted: Promise to talk of charity and generosity, but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless. And don't even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself, blame your audience for e-mailing you the question. Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen. He told the great truth untold about this administration's negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about bin Laden. Mr. Clinton was brave."

     Olbermann, who has fallaciously complained that the Bush administration has accused critics like him of not being patriotic, concluded his "Special Comment" accusing President Bush of not being a "true American."

     Olbermann: "The free pass has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush. You did not act to prevent 9/11. We do not know what you have done to prevent another 9/11. You have failed us, then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11. You have failed us anew in Afghanistan. And you have now tried to hide your failures by blaming your predecessor. And now you exploit your failure to rationalize brazen torture which doesn't work anyway, which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding, which only humiliates our country further in the world, and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate. And there it is, sir: Are yours the actions of a true American? I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."

     Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's "Special Comment" from the September 25 Countdown show:

     "Finally tonight, a 'Special Comment' about President Clinton's interview. The headlines about it are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back. It is not important that the current President's portable public chorus has described his predecessor's tone as 'crazed.' Our tone should be crazed. The nation's freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al-Qaeda. The nation's marketplace of ideas is being poisoned by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would've quit.
     "Nonetheless, the headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11 and the current presidential administration. 'At least I tried,' he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. 'That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.' Thus in his supposed emeritus years has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by any one, in these last five long years.
     "The Bush administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden before 9/11. The Bush administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors. The Bush administration did not understand the daily briefing entitled 'Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.' The Bush administration did not try. Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest pass for incompetence and malfeasance in American history.
     "President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs, some of them 17 years old, before Pearl Harbor. President Hoover was correctly blamed for, if not the Great Depression itself, then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash. Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War, though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.
     "But not this President. To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been President on September 11, 2001, or the nearly eight months that preceded it. That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the executive. But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.
     "Except for this: After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts, that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility entirely Mr. Clinton's. Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly. As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him by proxy. Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon.
     "Consider the timing: the very same weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is, not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it. The kind of proof of incompetence for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion in a scapegoat. It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired but a propagandist promoted: Promise to talk of charity and generosity, but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless. And don't even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself, blame your audience for e-mailing you the question.
     "Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen. He told the great truth untold about this administration's negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about bin Laden. Mr. Clinton was brave. Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist, and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.
     "The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon. Disney was the first to sell out its corporate reputation, with The Path to 9/11. Of that company's crimes against truth, one needs to say little. Simply put, someone there enabled an authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush's new and improved history. The basic plot line was this: Because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.
     "The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of that slapdash theory is that the right-wingers who have advocated it, who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews, have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw. Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for bin Laden in 1998 because of the Lewinsky nonsense, why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20 of that year? For mentioning bin Laden by name as he did so? That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie Wag the Dog. Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton's judgement. Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri, the future Attorney General, echoed Coats. Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.
     "And, of course, were it true Clinton had been distracted by the Lewinsky witch hunt, who on Earth conducted the Lewinsky witch hunt? Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years? Who corrupted the political media? Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air the counterterrorism analysts, like Dr. Richard Haass and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of the cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us here? Who preempted them in order to strangle us with the trivia that was 'All Monica All The Time'? Who distracted whom?
     "This is, of course, where, as is inevitable, Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are. The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four. But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it's all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you. The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton, but by the same people who got you elected President.
     "Thus, instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it, we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently read the Orwell playbook too quickly. Thus, instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us safe ever since, a statement that might range anywhere from zero to 100 percent true. We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything. And, of course, the one time you ever have given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush, you got the name of the supposedly targeted tower in Los Angeles wrong.
     "Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt, what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack: You did not try. You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor. You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people. Then, you blamed your predecessor. That would be a textbook definition, sir, of cowardice.
     "To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past. That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair, writing as George Orwell, gave us in the novel 1984. The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.
     "'The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.' 'Power is not a means; it is an end.' 'One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. 'The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.'
     "Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln's State of the Union address from 1862: 'We must disenthrall ourselves.' Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln's sentence. He might well have. 'We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.' And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date, to save our country.
     "The free pass has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush. You did not act to prevent 9/11. We do not know what you have done to prevent another 9/11. You have failed us, then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11. You have failed us anew in Afghanistan. And you have now tried to hide your failures by blaming your predecessor. And now you exploit your failure to rationalize brazen torture which doesn't work anyway, which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding, which only humiliates our country further in the world, and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate. And there it is, sir: Are yours the actions of a true American? I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."

 

Nets Ignore Clinton's Claims, See Strategy
to Motivate Democrats

     Instead of exploring the accuracy or inaccuracy of former President Clinton's claims during his temper tantrum directed at Chris Wallace in an interview aired on Fox News Sunday, the ABC and NBC evening newscasts on Monday suggested a larger strategy to motivate Democrats. ABC anchor Charles Gibson framed the event: "When asked about efforts he made to get Osama bin Laden, the former President got angry. Was he really mad or was he using anger to make a larger point?" Reporter Dan Harris proposed: "Unlike Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry, who many believe failed to effectively combat efforts to distort their image, the Clintons believe Democrats have to push back hard."

     NBC anchor Brian Williams turned to David Gergen who rationalized the tantrum: "He'd just come off a terrific week as ex-President and raised over $7 billion for worthy causes, walked into an interview with Fox with Chris Wallace that he thought was going to be at least half about his initiative. And then he thought he got sandbagged by this question...which echoes the conservative criticisms." Gergen predicted: "It's going to be a rallying cry for Democrats because Bill Clinton has sent a very clear message to Democrats. If you get bullied, if they try to roll over you, you've got to punch back and punch back hard. That's the way to win."

     [This item was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     During the interview, Clinton contended: "Anybody who wants to say I didn't do enough: You read Richard Clarke's book." But as Jim Angle pointed out on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume, Jim Angle:
     "To back up his version of events, the former President repeatedly invoked the accounts of Richard Clarke, his counter-terrorism advisor. But Clark himself told the 9/11 Commission he vigorously recommended the Clinton administration strike bin Laden after the attack on the U.S.S Cole."
     Richard Clarke, at March 24, 2004 hearing: "On several occasions, including after the attack on the Cole, I suggested that we bomb all of the Taliban and al Qaeda infrastructure, whether or not it would succeed in killing bin Laden."
     Angle: "After the embassy bombings in Africa in 1998, Clarke proposed an ongoing bombing of al Qaeda training facilities in Afghanistan to stop what he called the conveyor belt of terrorists emerging from them."
     Bryan Cunningham, former national security official: "That document by Richard Clarke's own account was rejected by all of the principles in the Clinton administration. So from 1998 to 2001, when they left office, they didn't take any action on that plan."

     Transcripts of the September 25 stories, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

     # ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:

     Charles Gibson: "The issue of terrorism helped provoke an extraordinary outburst over the weekend from former President Bill Clinton, who was being interviewed by Chris Wallace on the Fox News Channel. When asked about efforts he made to get Osama bin Laden, the former President got angry. Was he really mad or was he using anger to make a larger point? Here's ABC's Dan Harris."

     Bill Clinton, in interview taped Friday for Fox News Sunday: "-right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try."
     Dan Harris: "Bill Clinton was visibly irate, leaning forward in his chair."
     Clinton: "You did Fox's bidding on this show."
     Harris: "Interrupting."
     Clinton: "Tell the truth, Chris. Tell the truth, Chris."
     Harris: "Even taunting the interviewer who asked whether he'd done enough as President to get Osama bin Laden."
     Clinton: "And you've got that little smirk on your face, and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try."
     Harris: "The 9/11 Commission report says Clinton never made clear to the CIA that he wanted bin Laden dead, but the report does not blame Clinton for 9/11. In this interview, however, Clinton's advisors say he was doing more than just defending his legacy. He was also, they say, sending a message to fellow Democrats."
     Jay Carson, Clinton spokesman: "We cannot continue to allow the Republicans to use their tactics of smear and fear to win in this next election. President Clinton's not going to allow that to happen, and he thinks Democrats shouldn't, either."
     Harris, over video of Dukakis in the tank and of an ad using Kerry on a sailboard to illustrate his flip-flopping on Iraq: "Unlike Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry, who many believe failed to effectively combat efforts to distort their image, the Clintons believe Democrats have to push back hard. Bill Clinton is quoted in a forthcoming book, coauthored by ABC News political director Mark Halperin, as saying, 'All of this is a head game. Our candidates have to get to a point where they don't allow other people to define them.'"
     Mark Halperin, author of The Way to Win: "For the Clintons, this is Politics 101. Someone hits you in the nose, you don't just say, 'Please, sir, may I have another?' You hit them back.'"
     Harris: "But Clinton's interview runs the risk of firing up more Republicans than Democrats. It's drawn ridicule today from the White House, the Republican Party and conservative talk radio."
     Rush Limbaugh on his radio show: "I mean, he absorbs the criticism he has gotten, and he files it away, and it gnaws at him."
     Chris Wallace to Clinton: "I didn't think this was going to set you off on such a tangent."
     Harris: "Maybe he lost his temper, maybe he was deliberately trying to jolt his party into action, or maybe it was both. Dan Harris, ABC News, New York."


     # NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:

     Brian Williams, over "Speaking Out" graphic with Bill Clinton's picture: "This new NIE story is not the only story that broke this past weekend and is getting a lot more attention today. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, with host Chris Wallace, former President Bill Clinton ended up in a combative exchange after being asked why he didn't do more about Osama bin Laden."

     Chris Wallace, Fox News: "Why didn't you do more, connect the dots and put him out of business?"
     Bill Clinton: "Okay, let's talk about it. Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises. I'm being asked this on the Fox Network."
     Wallace, after tape edit: "Do you think you did enough, sir?"
     Clinton: "No, because I didn't get him."
     Wallace: "Right."
     Clinton: "But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers that are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried."
     Clinton, after tape edit: "So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me."
     Clinton, after tape edit: "But I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of."
     Clinton, after tape edit: "I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody's gotten since. And if I were still President, we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him."
     Clinton, after tape edit: "But, you know, we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq."
     Clinton, after tape edit: "And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try."

     Williams: "For a little perspective on what you just saw, we are joined tonight by a former advisor to President Clinton and, for that matter, Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. David Gergen is with us from Texas tonight. David, you worked in the Clinton White House. I covered the Clinton White House. On the Clinton temper scale, this is only a four or a five out of 10. We both know that, but having said that, what do you think sparked it? What's behind it?"
     David Gergen, former White House advisor: "Well, it wasn't a 10. He never got beet red. I'll tell you what I think sparked it. He'd just come off a terrific week as ex-President and raised over $7 billion for worthy causes, walked into an interview with Fox with Chris Wallace that he thought was going to be at least half about his initiative. And then he thought he got sandbagged by this question that was, the question, from Chris's point of view, I'm sure, was legitimate, but from Clinton's point of view was, 'You're trying to sandbag me with a question which echoes the conservative criticisms that you're trying to set me up as the guy who failed to get bin Laden, my administration failed, and that therefore I'm responsible for 9/11.' President Clinton completely rejects that. He's angry that that's out there, and he's willing to, if somebody's going to punch him with that, he's a fellow who's going to punch back."
     Williams: "Now, do you think this makes for a distraction, another target for the Republicans, or do you think Democrats among themselves will use this to say here's how we ought to be talking?"
     Gergen: "Well, of course there are some Republicans salivating over that clip because you don't usually see a President that angry, even a former one. But I tell you what, President Clinton's office today was flooded with calls, congratulatory calls. I think this is going to have a symbolism that goes beyond the interview. It's going to be a rallying cry for Democrats because Bill Clinton has sent a very clear message to Democrats. If you get bullied, if they try to roll over you, you've got to punch back and punch back hard. That's the way to win, that's the way I won. Remember we had that Sister Souljah moment before he got elected in '92. This is another symbolic moment."

 

Flashback: Clinton Wagged Finger at Jennings:
'Don't Go There!'

     Bill Clinton's diatribe against FNC's Chris Wallace, who dared to question the ex-President about his failed efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, reminded some of the last time Clinton exhibited such vitriol. Back on November 18, 2004, in the midst of a quite positive ABC News prime-time special, "Bill Clinton: A Place in History," about the dedication of the Clinton presidential library, Bill Clinton angrily wagged his finger at Peter


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

Jennings, accusing ABC of conspiring with Ken Starr to "repeat every little sleazy thing he leaked" during the investigation into Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice.

     The late Peter Jennings, who was never accused of being a conservative, had committed the grave offense of asking Clinton about a survey of historian that had ranked him 41 of 42 presidents on "moral authority." As recounted by the MRC's Brent Baker in a CyberAlert published the next morning, that set Clinton off on a self-indulgent discussion of how he and his supporters were supposedly victimized by Ken Starr -- and the news media. For the November 19, 2004 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     [This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video, rendered from the MRC's archive by Michelle Humphrey, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

     As Baker noted at the time, "In fact, a review of 1998 coverage would show ABC's hostility to Starr. Instead of defending his coverage, however, Jennings moved on: 'I think somewhere you say that it was Nelson Mandela who taught you about forgiveness?' Jennings soon deplored how Clinton had to leave office after eight years: 'You're 58 years old, and you had two terms. And like a world class athlete, you're suddenly yanked off the mound. Somebody compared it to pulling Sandy Koufax out of a baseball game.'"

     But the similarity with Clinton's eruption with Chris Wallace over terrorism is striking, particularly how he blamed the media for letting coverage of his scandals mar his moments of glory: "When I got a standing ovation at the United Nations from the whole world, the American networks were showing my grand jury testimony. Those were decisions you made, not me."

     Here is a transcript of the 2004 exchange, which took place at the Clinton library and presidential center in Little Rock, Arkansas:

     Peter Jennings: "Fifty-eight historians, as I think you may know, did this for C-SPAN. And they were all across the political spectrum. And they came out, in general terms, that you were 21st. And on public persuasion and economic management, they gave you a fifth. Pretty good."
     Former President Bill Clinton: "Pretty good."
     Jennings: "They gave you a 41st on moral authority."
     Clinton: "They're wrong about that."
     Jennings: "After Nixon."
     Clinton: "They're wrong about that. You know why they're wrong about it? They're wrong about it."
     Jennings: "Why, sir?"
     Clinton: "Because we had $100 million spent against us and all these inspections. One person in my administration was convicted of doing something that violated his job responsibilities while we were in the White House, 29 in the Reagan/Bush years. I bet those historians didn't even know that. They have no idea what I was subject to and what a lot of people supported.
     "No other President ever had to endure someone like Ken Starr indicting innocent people because they wouldn't lie, in a systematic way. No one ever had to try to save people from ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and the people in Haiti from a military dictator who was murdering them and all the other problems I dealt with, while every day, an entire apparatus was devoted to destroying him. And still, not any example of where I ever disgraced this country publicly.
     "I made a terrible public, personal mistake, but I paid for it many times over. And in spite of it all, you don't have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job, where I ever let the American people down. And I had more support from the world and the world leaders and people around the world when I quit than when I started. And I will go to my grave being at peace about it. And I don't really care what they think."
     Jennings: "Oh, yes, you do, sir."
     Clinton: "They have no-"
     Jennings: "No, excuse me, Mr. President. You care, I can feel it across the room."
     Clinton: "No, no, I care-"
     Jennings: "You feel it very deeply."
     Clinton, raised his arm and menacingly pointed at Jennings: "You don't want to go there, Peter. You don't want to go there. Not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr. The way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked. No one has any idea what that's like. That's where I failed.
     "You want to know where I failed? I really let it, it hurt me. I thought I believed in a, I thought I lived in a country where people believe in the Constitution and the rule of law, freedom of speech. You never had to live in a time when people you knew and cared about were being indicted, carted off to jail, bankrupted, ruined because they were Democrats and because they would not lie.
     "So I think we showed a lot of moral fiber to stand up to that, to stand up to these constant investigations, to this constant bodyguard of lies, this avalanche that was thrown at all of us. And, yes, I failed once. And I sure paid for it. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry for the American people, and I'm sorry for the embarrassment they performed. But they ought to think about the way the rest of the world reacted to it.
     "When I, when I got a standing ovation at the United Nations from the whole world, the American networks were showing my grand jury testimony. Those were decisions you made, not me. I personally believe that the standing ovation I got from the whole world at the United Nations, which was unprecedented for an American President, showed not only support for me, but opposition to the madness that had taken hold of American politics."

 

CBS Analyst Blames Clinton for Failure
to Kill bin Laden

     Despite Bill Clinton's angry protestations, the bulk of the blame for America's failure to catch or kill Osama bin Laden lies squarely on the Clinton administration, at least according to former CIA officer turned CBS News analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer's words, delivered on Monday's edition of CBS's Early Show, must have come as a shock for co-host Harry Smith since the liberal media's usual refrain on bin Laden is to blame Bush for the failure to kill him back in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign.


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More See & Hear the Bias

     That just isn't the case, Scheuer argued, implicitly criticizing the press: "The former President seems to be able to deny facts with impunity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him," he said.

     Back in 2004, the mainstream media embraced Scheur, author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, as they focused on his criticism of Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq.

     [This item, adopted from a posting by Mike Rule, was posted Monday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

     Early Show co-host Harry Smith talked with Scheuer about the war in Iraq and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Smith was shocked when Scheuer laid the blame at the feet of the Clinton administration, and attempted to put the focus back on failures of the Bush administration. Smith highlighted President Clinton's defense of his administration:
     "Let's talk about what President Clinton had to say on Fox yesterday. He basically laid blame at the feet of the CIA and the FBI for not being able to certify or verify that Osama bin Laden was responsible for a number of different attacks. Does that ring true to you?"

     Scheuer refuted Smith's portrayal of Clinton: "No, sir, I don't think so. The President seems to be able, the former President seems to be able to deny facts with impunity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men and women who risk their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden."

     Smith couldn't let those facts tarnish the Clinton legacy, so he attempted to change the subject back to the Bush administration: "All right, is the Bush administration any less responsible for not finishing the job in Tora Bora?"

     Scheuer acknowledged that there is plenty of blame to go around for not getting bin Laden, but asserted that Clinton bears most of it: "Oh, I think there's plenty of blame to go around, sir, but the fact of the matter is that the Bush administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton administration had eight to ten chances that they refused to try..."

     Scheuer continued his response and accused President Clinton of lying to the American people: "...But it's just, it's an incredible kind of situation for the American people over the weekend to hear their former President mislead them."

     Scheuer's points may have hit at Clinton too hard for Smith, as Smith used his final word to assert that President Bush is responsible too: "And, and, and with this also further revelation that, in fact, the war in Iraq has only exacerbated the terrorist situation."

     Scheuer's facts about the failures of the Clinton administration in catching bin Laden are largely ignored by the media, but keep them in mind the next time a reporter starts hammering the Bush administration because Osama bin Laden is still at large.

     Transcript of the relevant portion of the September 25 interview:

     Harry Smith: "Elizabeth Palmer live in Pakistan this morning, thank you. I'm going to go back now to Michael Scheuer once again. Let's talk about what President Clinton had to say on Fox yesterday. He basically laid blame at the feet of the CIA and the FBI for not being able to certify or verify that Osama bin Laden was responsible for a number of different attacks. Does that ring true to you?"
     Michael Scheuer: "No, sir, I don't think so. The president seems to be able, the former president seems to be able to deny facts with impunity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men and women who risk their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden."
     Harry Smith: "Alright, is the Bush administration any less responsible for not finishing the job in Tora Bora?"
     Michael Scheuer: "Oh, I think there's plenty of blame to go around, sir, but the fact of the matter is that the Bush Administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton Administration had eight to ten chances that they refused to try. At least at Tora Bora our forces were on the ground. We didn't push the point. But it's just, it's an incredible kind of situation for the American people over the weekend to hear their former president mislead them."
     Harry Smith: "And, and, and with this also further revelation that, in fact, the war in Iraq has only exacerbated the terrorist situation. Michael Scheuer, we thank you so much for your time this morning."

 

Newsweek Editor Calls Gore 2000 Winner;
Doubts Bush's Legitimacy

     The incoming top editor of Newsweek magazine, Jon Meacham, cast aspersions on the legitimacy of President Bush when he appeared by phone on Monday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC. Meacham conjured up memories of the 2000 election, asserting that "Al Gore was elected by the American people, but not allowed to serve." Additionally, Meacham gave credence to the left wing blogosphere and claimed that not since 1988 has a candidate for President won a clear majority of the popular vote without "any questions about the count in a presidential election. It's been 20 years since we've had a president who has clearly been a majority choice."

     President Bush won almost 51 percent (50.73 percent, greater than 2 percentage points more than John Kerry) of the vote in 2004, a clear majority: www.uselectionatlas.org

     Meacham, Newsweek's Managing Editor who next week will assume the top job as Editor, then proceeded to declare Al Gore the real winner of the 2000 election: "You know there's Al Gore, who by all accounts, you know he certainly won the popular vote and his whole life had been directed toward that. So he was elected by the American people but not allowed to serve because of various things."

     [This item, by Michael Rule, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Meacham seemed to be attempting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of President Bush. But what would motivate him to do such a thing? Meacham's own words may very well answer this question:
     "Unfortunately, he (Bill Clinton), his appetites intersected with that Republican obsession, and it was that, a Republican obsession to bring him down because they never thought he had really been a legitimate President from '92 forward."

     So the Republicans were "obsessed" with bringing down Clinton? Aren't the Democrats obsessed about bringing down President Bush? Don Imus inquired as to why the Republicans didn't view President Clinton as a legitimate leader, to which Meacham replied: "Because he didn't win a majority. They felt that Ross Perot had beaten Bush Senior. Uh, he only got, I think, 43 percent in '92."

     A transcript of the relevant exchange between Meacham and Imus on the September 25 Imus in the Morning:

     Don Imus: "If uh, if Clinton hadn't been wagging the fat girl, or whatever it was they were doing, he probably would have pursued that, wouldn't he?"
     Jon Meacham: "I remember very clearly how we all reacted to that. It was, you know, as you say wagging the dog, it was the great Barry Levinson movie. And, actually, in the, when Lewinsky, when that story first broke, I called Barry Levinson who made the movie and asked him to write a little piece, just so I could put the headline in the magazine, 'Hey We Were Just Kidding.' So, it was a case where the world was a lot like art, and again, there you have Clinton, incredibly talented politician, greatest, you know, Democratic politician since Johnson, could have been a great, great man who was brought down by his appetites and his personal vices were in some ways his political virtues because he was charming; he was seductive; he was a larger than life figure. Unfortunately, he, his appetites intersected with that Republican obsession, and it was that, a Republican obsession to bring him down because they never thought he had really been a legitimate President from €˜92 forward."
     Don Imus: "Uh, why?"
     Jon Meacham: "Because he didn't win a majority. They felt that Ross Perot had beaten Bush Senior. Uh, he only got, I think, 43% in '92, and he never got, actually, one of my favorite trivia facts of the moment, we have not had a fully majority president without any questions about the count in a presidential election since Bush 41 in 1988. It's been 20 years since we've had a president who has clearly been a majority choice."
     Don Imus: "It must bother Clinton too, the whole, because he knows why he couldn't do what he, you know-"
     Jon Meacham: "Oh I absolutely, or, I mean, he is a master of denial. So, whatever's going on in there, in that head, is a fascinating drama. I wonder sometimes, the two people I really do think about sometimes, and when they wake up in the middle of the night, you know there's Al Gore, who by all accounts, you know he certainly won the popular vote and his whole life had been directed toward that. So he was elected by the American people but not allowed to serve because of various things. And Bill Clinton who, I just wonder, does he connect his personal behavior to his political record. I have a feeling he probably doesn't because I just don't think he's that self reflective, though he's very self involved."

 

Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Osama Bin
Laden Isn't Really Dead"

     From the September 25 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Osama Bin Laden Isn't Really Dead." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. He's appearing in Atlantic City this weekend with Tony Danza

9. He's been updating his MySpace page all week

8. Called Mike and the Mad Dog this afternoon to complain about the Giants

7. He's captain of the Muslim team on the all new "Survivor"

6. New issue of "People" has photos of him canoodling with Nicole Richie

5. Empty case of Yoo-Hoo was recently discovered in lawless border region of Afghanistan

4. Spotted at Al-Qaeda's annual "Lunatic Father-Son Cookout"

3. During Fashion Week, he unveiled his fall line of turbans

2. Why do you think Whitney and Bobby split?

1. New tape featuring Osama declaring Jihad on tainted spinach

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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