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The 2,369th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
10:45am EST, Wednesday March 7, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 42)

 
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1. Libby Framed Around Vile Scheming, Skip Armitage, Tie in Reagan
The broadcast network evening newscast coverage Tuesday night, of the guilty verdicts for perjury and lying found against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, painted the case through the prism of administration opponents who presumed a nefarious scheme led by Vice President Cheney against the heroic Joe Wilson. Though the legal status of Valerie Plame remains in dispute, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and CBS's Gloria Borger described her as an "undercover" CIA agent. And while ABC's Pierre Thomas noted how Plame "had been outed as a CIA operative in a column by Robert Novak," neither Thomas, nor reporters on CBS or NBC, ever pointed out how Novak learned of Plame's identity from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a war opponent outside the Cheney/Karl Rove circle. CBS and NBC managed to connect Libby to the Reagan years. "Guilty," Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, "the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell echoed: "What happened here today makes Lewis 'Scooter' Libby the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Reagan era and the Iran-Contra scandal."

2. Newsweek's Fineman Greenlights Democratic Attack Ads on 'Lying'
During live coverage of the Lewis Libby verdict on MSNBC, Newsweek's Howard Fineman greenlit this potential line of attack for the Democrats: "If you're the Democrats you go up immediately with ads. You talk about lying. You use the word, 'lying' with reference to this administration and you can do it because there is a conviction in a court of law." Fineman also tied the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital to the Libby verdict as he claimed: "The war in Iraq has now been bracketed on both sides politically. The Walter Reed story is about the human consequences of the war, the Scooter Libby trial was about how we got into the war and whether somebody was lying..."

3. Media Comparison: Gore Aide's 2000 Conviction Barely Reported
As the network TV onslaught on the Scooter Libby conviction continues, remember that on March 2, 2000, an aide to the Vice President was convicted of illegal funneling foreign money to Democrats, crimes that benefited the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. Her name was Maria Hsia (pronounced like Shaw). Vice President Gore at that time was the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for President. Coverage was minimal. ABC gave it 19 seconds and CBS gave it 23 seconds. On NBC, Tom Brokaw skipped it.

4. Cafferty: Bush Sees Constitution as Inconvenience to His Agenda
During Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty used the conviction of a former aide to Vice President Cheney as a springboard for wild attacks against George W. Bush. According to the CNN correspondent, a decision by the President to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby would be symptomatic of "an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation's laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

5. GMA Cites 'Vicious' Coulter, Not Maher's Musings on Dead Cheney
Has Ann Coulter gone too far? Good Morning America reporter Jake Tapper posed that question on Tuesday's program. Commenting on Coulter's use of the anti-gay "faggot" slur at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in an attempted joke about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, he used the words "vicious" and "mean spirited" to describe the author. An ABC graphic described the speech as "nasty." Yet the ABC program has not aired a single story on prominent liberal HBO personality Bill Maher (he calls himself libertarian) and his March 2 comment regarding the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney. On his Real Time program last Friday, Maher remarked: "I'm just saying, if he did die, other people, more people would live. That's a fact." In comparison, NBC's Today did manage at least a brief mention of the HBO host's statement.

6. On NBC Carpenter Sings 'Solidarity' Song Devoted to Dixie Chicks
On Tuesday's Today show, NBC correspondent Dawn Fratangelo visited country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at her home in Virginia to promote her latest album that Today host Meredith Vieira declared was her "most personal and political so far." Fratangelo even let Carpenter serenade her with one of its tracks that Fratangelo described as "a song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks." As Chapin strummed along on the guitar, Today viewers were treated to the following anti-Bush lyrics: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow...this isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong." When Carpenter put down the guitar Fratangelo prompted her to spout-off on Bush, as she asked: "How has this administration affected your song-writing?" Carpenter responded: "It's made me more angry. I feel despair when I turn on the news or I read the newspaper. I feel despair that we're, we're never going to be able to regain the respect of the countries of this world. That we're, we're putting our children in danger of not having a future."

7. Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th Anniversary Gala
Just over three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala -- and tickets are now on sale.


 

Libby Framed Around Vile Scheming, Skip
Armitage, Tie in Reagan

     The broadcast network evening newscast coverage Tuesday night, of the guilty verdicts for perjury and lying found against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, painted the case through the prism of administration opponents who presumed a nefarious scheme led by Vice President Cheney against the heroic Joe Wilson. Though the legal status of Valerie Plame remains in dispute, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and CBS's Gloria Borger described her as an "undercover" CIA agent. And while ABC's Pierre Thomas noted how Plame "had been outed as a CIA operative in a column by Robert Novak," neither Thomas, nor reporters on CBS or NBC, ever pointed out how Novak learned of Plame's identity from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a war opponent outside the Cheney/Karl Rove circle.

     CBS and NBC managed to connect Libby to the Reagan years. "Guilty," Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, "the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell echoed: "What happened here today makes Lewis 'Scooter' Libby the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Reagan era and the Iran-Contra scandal."

     CBS's Gloria Borger ominously concluded: "The prosecutor said there was a cloud over the Vice President's office. And today he said it's still there. Only now, Katie, it may be darker." Bob Schieffer soon piled on: "I think it's going to hurt the administration because it's going to raise new questions about their credibility when they already have more problems on their plate than they can really handle right now." On ABC, Vargas picked up on how "Joe Wilson...said today he wants Karl Rove fired from the White House. Do you think that might happen?" George Stephanopoulos rationally retorted: "No. It ain't going to happen."

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

     With Brian Williams in Iraq, the NBC Nightly News led with Libby but spent less time on the verdict than did ABC and CBS, though NBC provided time to Tim Russert, a witness for the prosecution, to express how "I take no joy in this, Brian. It was not our doing. We didn't ask to be involved. But when you are asked to testify under oath, you tell the truth."

     NBC's Kelly O'Donnell began her report: "Brian, to give this some perspective, what happened here today makes Lewis 'Scooter' Libby the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Reagan era and the Iran-Contra scandal. Today aides say President Bush stopped to watch TV as the guilty verdicts were read. Once the ultimate White House insider, today Scooter Libby walked out of court a convicted felon."

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the video against the closed-captioning to provide transcripts of the March 6 ABC and CBS evening newscast coverage:

     # ABC's World News with Charles Gibson. Tease from substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas: "Welcome to World News. Tonight, a high-ranking White House official found guilty of lying in the investigation of who leaked a CIA agent's name, a case that leads to the highest levels of government."

     Vargas led the newscast: "Good evening. A man who was once in the Bush administration's circle of most-trusted advisors is tonight a convicted felon. A jury found Vice President Cheney's former Chief-of-Staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, guilty of four counts of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury. It happened during the investigation into who leaked the name of an undercover CIA officer, whose husband was an outspoken critic of the President's case for war in Iraq. The trial has shed new light on how the administration dealt with tough questions about the war when it became apparent Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. ABC's Pierre Thomas was in the courtroom today."

     Pierre Thomas: "Scooter Libby was stone-faced as the verdict was read. But his wife was visibly shaken, fighting back tears as each guilty count was announced."
     Ted Wells, attorney of Lewis Libby: "We are very disappointed in the verdict of the jurors. He is totally innocent, totally innocent."
     Thomas: "Vice President Cheney released a statement saying he was 'very disappointed with the verdict' and that he was 'saddened for Scooter and his family.' But the jury believed the prosecution's argument that Libby lied to cover up a campaign by the Vice President's office to discredit a critic of the administration's Iraq war policy."
     Patrick Fitzgerald, special prosecutor: "It's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official, a person who worked in the office of Vice President, obstructed justice and lied under oath."
     Thomas: "At its heart, the prosecution said, the Libby trial was about a Vice President and his staff obsessed with pushing back against critics. Back in 2003, Vice President Cheney was apparently furious about an opinion article written by Ambassador Joe Wilson that challenged the case for war. The Vice President was concerned enough to cut the Wilson article out of the newspaper and make notes on it. Within eight days of the article's publication, Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, had been outed as a CIA operative in a column by Robert Novak. The prosecution said Libby lied to impede their investigation into who leaked Plame's identity. Today at least one of the jurors said Libby was not the only one involved."
     Denis Collins, Libby trial juror: "He was the fall guy. He was tasked by the Vice President to go and talk to reporters."
     Thomas: "Throughout the trial, prosecutor Fitzgerald used Libby's recorded grand jury testimony to detail the Vice President's fixation with Wilson's charge. Mr. Cheney even micro-managed the media response to Wilson."
     Lewis Libby, former Cheney Chief-of-Staff, in audio of testimony: "Vice President dictated to me what he wanted me to say to the press."
     Thomas: "Mr. Cheney also asked President Bush to release the details of a highly classified national intelligence estimate, or NIE, to select reporters without informing the Defense Secretary, CIA Director, or the National Security Advisor. Ultimately, no one was ever charged with leaking Miss Plame's identity, something not lost on at least one of the jurors today."

     Collins: "There was a tremendous amount of sympathy for Mr. Libby on the jury. It was said a number of times, 'What are we doing with this guy here?' Where's Rove? Where's, you know, where are these other guys?"
     Thomas: "Libby's defense attorneys say any false statements were due to a bad memory. They plan to appeal. But if this conviction stands, Libby faces up to 25 years in prison. Elizabeth?"
     Vargas: "All right. Pierre Thomas, thank you. And our chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos joins us. The Vice President, as Pierre reported, said he was disappointed in the verdict today. We had a different statement from the President."
     Stephanopoulos: "Oh, definitely. The President's staff came out and said he respected the jury's verdict even though he was saddened by it. And it is really unusual, Elizabeth, for someone like the Vice President to actually criticize a jury's verdict. But a senior White House official told me they recognize the Vice President was very close to Scooter Libby, and he felt strongly about it."
     Vargas: "There's already debate, meantime, about whether there will be a presidential pardon of Scooter Libby. What are the chances of that? Democrats are today calling on the President to promise not to pardon him."
     Stephanopoulos: "They're calling on him to pledge not to pardon him. But Scooter Libby's allies are already saying the President should pardon him and should do it fast. The White House is just not going to talk about this, Elizabeth. They're not going to touch it. But they're not going to rule out a pardon down the road."
     Vargas: "In the meantime, Democrats are also calling on the President to, quote, 'do something' in light of today's guilty verdict. Ambassador Joe Wilson, who wrote the editorial that started this whole thing, said today he wants Karl Rove fired from the White House. Do you think that might happen?"
     Stephanopoulos: "No. It ain't going to happen. The White House is going to try to hold the line. They're going to try to hold the line on not commenting about this at all, but the Democrats will keep up the pressure. Meantime, though, they know they can't do much about it. So they're going to also continue to use their oversight power on the scandal at Walter Reed and the problems with wounded vets throughout the veteran system."
     Vargas: "But is the verdict and the reactions today another sign of the schism between the President and the Vice President?"
     Stephanopoulos: "It sure is. It does show a little daylight between them. But a White House official told me there are absolutely no plans, no plans at all for the Vice President to leave."


     # CBS Evening News. Katie Couric, in opening teaser: "I'm Katie Couric. Guilty: Scooter Libby is convicted in the CIA leak case, the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal."

     Couric led: "Hello, everyone. After ten days of deliberations, a federal jury in Washington convicted Vice President Cheney's former Chief-of-Staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, of four criminal charges in the CIA leak case. Libby is the highest ranking White House official convicted of a felony in two decades ..."

     Gloria Borger: "It was a verdict that shook the White House, and ground zero was Dick Cheney's office."
     Patrick Fitzgerald: "The results are actually sad. It's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official, a person who worked in the office of Vice President, obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that had not happened, but it did."
     Borger: "The jury found that Lewis 'Scooter' Libby lied about his conversations with reporters regarding the identity of an undercover CIA agent. The Vice President's former chief of staff, who sat motionless when the verdict was read, said he simply forgot the conversations because he was so busy with national security matters. The jury didn't buy it."
     Denis Collins, Libby trial juror: "How he could remember it on a Tuesday, and then forget it on a Thursday, and then remember it two days later-"
     Borger: "His lawyer will ask for a new trial, and if that fails, Libby will appeal."
     Ted Wells, attorney of Lewis Libby: "We have every confidence that ultimately Mr. Libby will be vindicated."
     Borger: "Like most things in Washington, the heart of this case involves a political dispute. Libby was at the center of the White House's case for war in Iraq. His boss, the Vice President, was rattled by this, an article in July 2003 attacking the administration's rationale for war, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It was written by Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was sent to Africa by the CIA to look into whether Saddam was buying ingredients there to make a nuclear weapon. Wilson said he was not. Cheney wanted Wilson discredited. He knew that his wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA. On a clipping of Wilson's column, he wrote, 'Did his wife send him on a junket?' To undermine the importance of the mission, Cheney wanted to spread the word that Wilson's wife sent him, and he asked Libby to do it. Today Wilson said he still wants answers."
     Joseph Wilson, former U.S. Ambassador: "Well, I think the President and the Vice President both owe the American people a full explanation of what they know about this matter."
     Borger: "Libby, who is 63, now faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. He's not likely to get the full sentence."
     Andrew Cohen, CBS News legal analyst: "I think the judge will want to make an example of him, so it wouldn't surprise me if he gets a sentence of a year and a half or two or even three years."
     Borger: "During the trial, the jury never heard from Cheney, but the prosecutor said there was a cloud over the Vice President's office. And today he said it's still there. Only now, Katie, it may be darker."
     Couric: "And, Gloria, why didn't the Vice President end up testifying?"
     Borger: "Because it could have backfired, Katie. He was a witness for the defense. There was a always the chance that if he took the stand, he could have been ripped apart by the prosecution. And that could have made Libby really look even worse."

     After asking Jim Axelrod about the possibility of a pardon, Couric turned to Bob Schieffer: "And, Bob, Scooter Libby was the Vice President's right-hand man. How badly does this reflect on Mr. Cheney, in your view?"
     Bob Schieffer: "Well, I think very badly, and it's hard to conclude otherwise. I mean, the prosecutor did not prove any underlying crime here, but he convinced this jury that Scooter Libby lied. Well, you have to ask, 'Why would he lie?' Clearly, because he did not want what was going on in his office and in the Vice President's office, where he worked, to come out. He was talking to the Vice President. He was getting memos from the Vice President. He was saying this and that and trying to work with the Vice President, so there are a lot of fingers pointing tonight at Dick Cheney, and I think this is not only going to hurt the Vice President, Katie, I think it's going to hurt the administration because it's going to raise new questions about their credibility when they already have more problems on their plate than they can really handle right now."

 

Newsweek's Fineman Greenlights Democratic
Attack Ads on 'Lying'

     During live coverage of the Lewis Libby verdict on MSNBC, Newsweek's Howard Fineman greenlit this potential line of attack for the Democrats: "If you're the Democrats you go up immediately with ads. You talk about lying. You use the word, 'lying' with reference to this administration and you can do it because there is a conviction in a court of law." Fineman also tied the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital to the Libby verdict as he claimed: "The war in Iraq has now been bracketed on both sides politically. The Walter Reed story is about the human consequences of the war, the Scooter Libby trial was about how we got into the war and whether somebody was lying..."

     [This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The following exchange occurred at 12:31pm EST Tuesday on MSNBC, just minutes after the verdict was announced:

     Chris Jansing: "And it's always a complicated case in a situation like this because there are legal implications here. There are legal considerations but also very important political considerations that are going into all of what happens next. Howard Fineman with Newsweek is back on the phone with us. I want to get your reaction, Howard, and what would you expect to hear at the White House briefing, which was supposed to start a couple of minutes ago."
     Howard Fineman: "Well they, they have got some 'splaining to do here. I think this is a stunning verdict and politically potent because as I was saying before the verdict was rendered, the war in Iraq has now been bracketed on both sides politically. The Walter Reed story is about the human consequences of the war, the Scooter Libby trial was about how we got into the war and whether somebody was lying not only in talking to the authorities but also about the evidence that got us to the war to begin with. And as Chris Matthews was saying earlier the heat, politically, now is really on Vice President Dick Cheney. He was the master salesman of the war and Scooter Libby was his field representative, his man in the field selling it in the media. Why was Dick Cheney so vehement, so frantic about questions being raised on the Niger issue. The question of how those 16 famous words got into President Bush's State of the Union speech. If you're the Democrats you go up immediately with ads. You talk about lying. You use the word, 'lying' with reference to this administration and you can do it because there is a conviction in a court of law. I think it's enormously powerful politically, as I say, to bracket the war both its beginning and its end and that's where, where the conversation is gonna head now."

 

Media Comparison: Gore Aide's 2000 Conviction
Barely Reported

     As the network TV onslaught on the Scooter Libby conviction continues, remember that on March 2, 2000, an aide to the Vice President was convicted of illegal funneling foreign money to Democrats, crimes that benefited the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. Her name was Maria Hsia (pronounced like Shaw). Vice President Gore at that time was the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for President. Coverage was minimal. ABC gave it 19 seconds and CBS gave it 23 seconds. On NBC, Tom Brokaw skipped it. See the March 13, 2000 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     A few days later on the Imus in the Morning show, Brokaw had this telling exchange on Gore:
     Imus: "He acted like he barely knew that this Maria Hsia, didn't he? Like he was ready to drag her up out of a park someplace." Brokaw agreed: "Oh, I know, yeah, it was: 'Did I miss that?' It was as if he were saying, 'Did she get convicted?' He said, 'It's still in the courts.' It's no longer in the courts! The jury has ruled! Guilty! Five counts! Imus shot back: "Well, if he's watching NBC News he missed it." Brokaw conceded: "Yeah, well that's true." Imus: "And he only saw 19 seconds of it with Dan [Rather]." Brokaw: "Yeah, I know."

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

     Brokaw did eventually raise it briefly with Gore in a Dateline NBC special on March 7, but only in terms that Gore was "vulnerable" to criticism since he and Clinton were "every bit as guilty in the soft money area" as Republicans. Earlier that day, Brent Bozell's column summed it up:

In a shocking victory for lackadaisical Justice Department prosecutors, Democratic fundraiser, Gore associate, and communist Chinese agent Maria Hsia was convicted on March 2 of illegally funneling $100,000 to Democratic candidates, including the Clinton-Gore campaign, in 1996.

In a much less shocking development, the major so-called "news" networks and so-called "news" magazines promptly ran and hid under rocks.

Okay, U.S. News mentioned it briefly, and ABC and CBS gave it a sentence or two before the throwing the story in the trash. But these acts of criminal wrongdoing are clearly much less exciting to the average reporter than groundbreaking political events, like, say, the quality of candidates' performances on late-night comedy shows. And apparently, they're far less newsworthy than who was nominated for what at the Oscars.

Newsweek devoted a whole story to how the Republicans want to capitalize on the Buddhist temple event, and even reported that new Secret Service documents show the temple fundraiser was listed as a "fund-raising luncheon" -- yet somehow managed to leave out even a mention of Hsia!

In between sobs over the disintegrating McCain campaign, the magazine's Jonathan Alter groused: "As they chow down on soft money, neither Gore nor Bush will pay more than lip service to confronting the dangers of money in politics." How Newsweek can pontificate on such matters while simultaneously refusing to cover the lawbreaking exploits of the Clinton/Democratic machine is simply amazing.

This marks a new low for America's so-called mainstream press. Up until now, they've refused to investigate criminal wrongoding. Now they're refusing to report the convictions. Conservatives across the country were perplexed. How can they ignore this? Can you imagine a Reagan fundraiser facing the possibility of 25 years in jail and the press staying quiet? The media continue to play the DNC fundraising scandal by Lanny Davis rules. Despite that troublesome conviction thing, their attitude is dismissive, that this is "old news."

Think of the fundraising scandal as a rolling snowball of ignorance with its own momentum. When you haven't explained to people anything about John Huang, or Johnny Chung, or Charlie Trie, who's going to care about Maria Hsia? Who can even pronounce it? It's precisely what the DNC is banking on.

What really ought to anger the public about this media blackout is the media's very politicized approach to the topic of hypocrisy. When Dan Quayle supported the Vietnam War, but served in the National Guard, the media were a 76-piece brass band noisily blasting away at the hypocrisy. When a TV preacher is caught in an extramarital affair, the media can't get enough of the word hypocrite. But when Democrats support campaign finance "reform" while breaking present campaign finance laws, the networks are nowhere to be found, hypocritically AWOL on the story.

Speaking of hypocrisy, where is Common Cause, Public Campaign, the Center for Public Integrity, or the Center for Responsive Politics? They, too are silent, and with their silence, these "reform" groups are embarrassing themselves the way the feminists embarrassed themselves over Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. If you can't comment on Chinese agents buying influence in a presidential election, it speaks volumes about your real "reform" agenda on campaign finance.

Those liberals who are commenting are playing the "everybody does it" game. On PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," Mark Shields commented: "In a week...where Maria Hsia, principal fund-raiser and friend of Vice President Al Gore, is convicted of violation of election laws, George Bush, disables himself to use this issue by coming out for unlimited soft money expenditures." By this logic, you have no right to condemn Hsia's crimes unless you buy the entire the socialist mindset against money in politics.

With all this organized inaction, forget any breakthrough on the Hsia story -- unless a major candidate or political party speaks out. Bill Bradley's had every chance, but he has no guts. John McCain only has courage to tear the entrails out of the Republicans, not the Democrats. Did anyone hear McCain jump on the Hsia story at the Thursday night debate in Los Angeles? He'll "beat Al Gore like a drum" on campaign finance. Blah, blah, blah.

But the Republican National Committee has shown some resolve in taking on the blackout. RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson is pointing out the absurdity of the major media spending more time on Jennifer Lopez's Grammy getup than on Hsia's criminal actions. This is the only way this story gets traction. And if it does, expect these networks to whine about the horrendous "negativity" of it, all the way to Election Day.

 

Cafferty: Bush Sees Constitution as Inconvenience to His Agenda

     During Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty used the conviction of a former aide to Vice President Cheney as a springboard for wild attacks against George W. Bush. According to the CNN correspondent, a decision by the President to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby would be symptomatic of "an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation's laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda."


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

     Cafferty, who once giddily joked about Karl Rove being indicted in the CIA leak case, also furiously speculated about just who Lewis Libby is "protecting":

     Jack Cafferty: "Remember this?"
     George W. Bush, in file footage: "America wants somebody to restore honor and dignity to the White House. That's what America is looking for."
     Cafferty: "That's an interesting clip in light of today's conviction of Vice President Cheney's former top advisor Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. He was found guilty on four of five counts against him and they all had to do with lying and obstructing justice when it came to details about Valerie Plame's identity. Why would he lie? Who was he protecting? We'll probably never know the answer to that."

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

     The October 18, 2005 CyberAlert recounted:

CNN's Jack Cafferty, on The Situation Room, took a cheap shot at Karl Rove's weight and expressed delight in the possibility Rove will be indicted. Just past 3pm EDT, Cafferty announced his question of the hour: "What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?" Cafferty then answered his own question: "He might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one."

Wolf Blitzer pointed out: "He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me."

     For more, including video, go to: www.mrc.org

     A complete transcript of the March 6 "Cafferty File" segment, which aired at 5:09pm EST:

     Jack Cafferty: "Remember this?"
     George W. Bush: "America wants somebody to restore honor and dignity to the White House. That's what America is looking for."
     Cafferty: "That's an interesting clip in light of today's conviction of Vice President Cheney's former top advisor Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. He was found guilty on four of five counts against him and they all had to do with lying and obstructing justice when it came to details about Valerie Plame's identity. Why would he lie? Who was he protecting? We'll probably never know the answer to that. But the fact that Libby lied to investigators and to a grand jury speaks volumes. This was the nation's top advisor to the Vice President, one of a handful of people who had unfettered access to the highest levels of power in this country. And yet he couldn't tell the truth? Why not? What's he hiding? The most interesting part of this story will be whether or not President Bush pardons Libby on his way out the door a year and a half or so down the road. Somehow, it would be the perfect parting gesture for an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation's laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda. So, here's the question: €˜How will the conviction of Scooter Libby impact the Bush White House? E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com. or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile."

 

GMA Cites 'Vicious' Coulter, Not Maher's
Musings on Dead Cheney

     Has Ann Coulter gone too far? Good Morning America reporter Jake Tapper posed that question on Tuesday's program. Commenting on Coulter's use of the anti-gay "faggot" slur at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in an attempted joke about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, he used the words "vicious" and "mean spirited" to describe the author. An ABC graphic described the speech as "nasty." Yet the ABC program has not aired a single story on prominent liberal HBO personality Bill Maher (he calls himself libertarian) and his March 2 comment regarding the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney. On his Real Time program last Friday, Maher remarked: "I'm just saying, if he did die, other people, more people would live. That's a fact." In comparison, NBC's Today did manage at least a brief mention of the HBO host's statement.

     Tapper began the March 6 piece by insinuating that conservatives are drawn to Coulter because of her "vicious" disposition, and not because of an attraction to the conservative views the author expresses.

     [This item is adopted from a Tuesday posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     ABC Graphic: "Conservatives Run From Coulter: Her Nasty Speech Causes Outrage."

     Robin Roberts: "Diane, we're going to turn now to the controversy over conservative firebrand Ann Coulter. Shocking people is her stock and trade. But has she now gone so far over the line that her conservative allies are deserting her? ABC's senior political correspondent Jake Tapper has more in Washington. Good morning, Jake."

     Jake Tapper: "Good morning, Robin. Well, Ann Coulter has always prided herself on her vicious, often mean-spirited attacks on liberals, and conservatives have rewarded her handsomely for it. But, speaking at a conference along side a number of Republican presidential hopefuls, Coulter may have finally gone too far and that's according to many conservatives. She has been the queen of the conservative movement. From making a splash on the cover of Time magazine as Ms. Right, to hobnobbing with Bill O'Reilly. But on Hannity and Colmes last night, Ann Coulter was in the hot seat."
     Alan Colmes: "Where do you draw the line?"
     Ann Coulter: "It isn't offensive to gays, it has nothing to do with the gays. It's a school yard taunt meaning wuss. And unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."
     Colmes: "You're tap dancing around my question. I asked you a very simple question."
     Coulter: "No, I'm not."
     Tapper: "So what's behind this latest Ann Coulter brough-haha? Feeding this convention of red meat conservatives, Coulter used an offensive slur for gays, as seen on C-SPAN."
     Coulter: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. But it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word [bleeped]. So- So, I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."
     Tapper: "John Edwards denounced her."
     John Edwards: "I think it's important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention."

     Saying that conservatives only appreciate Coulter for her meanness is a bit like asserting that millions of Americans watch CSI simply for the gore. Tapper closed the piece, which aired at 7:15am on March 6, by noting that "even Governor Mitt Romney," who has made a concerted appeal to conservatives, denounced the author:

     Tapper: "But Republicans now say they're getting sick of her, too. After last year, when she called Arabs rag head and attacked the 9/11 widows, and even more so now. Republican presidential hopefuls are now running from her as fast as they can."
     Rudy Giuliani: "My reaction was that the comment was inappropriate, unnecessary, rude."
     Tapper: "Senator John McCain called the comments wildly inappropriate. Even Governor Mitt Romney, who said this at the conference-"
     Mitt Romney: "I'm happy to learn also that after you hear from me, you're going to hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh, yeah."
     Tapper: "-called her comment offensive. Has Ann Coulter finally gone too far? And now a group of conservative bloggers calling Coulter's remarks 'reckless, intolerable and vicious' are demanding of the organizers of the conference that Coulter not be invited back to speak next year. They say she hurts the cause of conservatives by making them all appear bigoted and mean. Robin?"

     In comparison, CBS's Early Show only briefly covered the story during Monday's program and made no mention of the Bill Maher's statements. NBC's Today, however, followed a path similar to ABC. Co-host Meredith Vieira termed Coulter's comment as "radioactive." However, at least NBC managed to mention the Maher comment about Vice President Cheney:

     Meredith Vieira: "Coming up in this half hour foot-in-mouth disease. Political activist Ann Coulter is only the latest public figure to utter a slur that can be radioactive. Remember what happened to Seinfeld star Michael Richards? We are gonna take a look at what happens when celebrities trip over their own tongues."

     Lester Holt soon set up the March 5 story: "Open foot, insert, open mouth, insert foot. I just did it. We've all done it but when celebrities say the wrong thing there's no place to run and no place to hide. Now political commentator Ann Coulter is the latest to feel the heat. Here's NBC's John Larson."

     [On screen headline: "Foot In Mouth Disease, Celebrity Slips of the Tongue"] Ann Coulter: "Hillary Clinton is to, fill in blank."
     John Larson: "You can tell in the first moment after Ann Coulter used the 'f' word, the slur against gay people that her Republican audience was a bit stunned."
     Coulter: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word [bleep]. So-"
     Larson: "But then applause. Her comment comes after actor Isaiah Washington used the same anti-gay slur."
     Isaiah Washington: "No I did not call T.R. a faggot."
     Larson: "And really did check in to rehab."
     Neil Giuliano, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: "We appreciate that so many people in the political world really in many walks of life are stepping forward now and saying that this kind of defamation is not to be tolerated."
     Larson: "But when it comes to crossing the line, like basketball's Tim Hardaway did in his radio rant." Tim Hardaway: "I hate gay people." Larson: "Where exactly is the line?"
     Prof. Robert Thompson: "Well if we're looking for a simple rule about what is the line of where you can say and when you can say it forget about it. It is not simple."
     Larson: "Attacks on individuals like Bill Maher's comments, seemingly suggesting the country would be better off if Vice President Cheney had died in Afghanistan-"
     Bill Maher, on the March 2 Real Time: "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow."
     Larson: "-are outrageous but attract less outrage than Michael Richards using the 'n' word."
     Michael Richards: "There's a [bleep] He's a [bleep]."
     Thompson: "If someone says something bad about some individual then they're only insulting that individual. If, however, you insult an individual by calling them a nasty term for an entire body of individuals you are insulting all the other people who find that word offensive."
     Larson: "And the rules about crossing the line change fast. Ask the Dixie Chicks. Blacklisted because they insulted the President, now Grammy-winning heroes. As for Coulter's comment? John Edwards is using it to raise money for his campaign, hoping to prove that crossing the line comes at a price. For Today, John Larson, NBC News, Los Angeles." [Video shown of Coulter clip on Edward's Web site and a highlighted line reading: "Can you help us raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash.'"]

     So, while reporter John Larson included the liberal Dixie Chicks in the "foot-in-mouth" category, notice how he made sure to mention that they are now "heroes."

     Regardless of what one thinks of conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter's comments, shouldn't Bill Maher, who is a well known liberal author and pundit, receive similar scrutiny for his "mean spirited" comments about a failed assassination attempt on the Vice President?

 

On NBC Carpenter Sings 'Solidarity' Song
Devoted to Dixie Chicks

     On Tuesday's Today show, NBC correspondent Dawn Fratangelo visited country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at her home in Virginia to promote her latest album that Today host Meredith Vieira declared was her "most personal and political so far." Fratangelo even let Carpenter serenade her with one of its tracks that Fratangelo described as "a song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks." As Chapin strummed along on the guitar, Today viewers were treated to the following anti-Bush lyrics: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow...this isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."

     When Carpenter put down the guitar Fratangelo prompted her to spout-off on Bush, as she asked: "How has this administration affected your song-writing?" Carpenter responded: "It's made me more angry. I feel despair when I turn on the news or I read the newspaper. I feel despair that we're, we're never going to be able to regain the respect of the countries of this world. That we're, we're putting our children in danger of not having a future."

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

     The following is the full segment as it was aired on the March 6th Today show:

     Meredith Vieira: "Mary Chapin Carpenter is a singer-songwriter who got her start performing in open mic sessions in Washington D.C. more than 20 years ago. This week the multiple Grammy winner is releasing her latest album, The Calling, which some say is the most personal and political of the work so far. NBC's Dawn Fratangelo recently spent some time with Carpenter and her longtime musical partner John Jennings at her home in Virginia."
     [On screen headline: "Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Politics of Music."]
     Dawn Fratangelo: "It is fitting Mary Chapin Carpenter sings about a sense of home."
     [Carpenter singing: "Waiting for the busses, waiting on some providence."
     Fratangelo: "She has found it but can't help thinking of those who've lost it."
     Carpenter: "...we get to Houston maybe they'll just wash away. Go on Mississippi, goodbye Crescent City."
     Fratangelo: "Her new song, Houston, is an ode to the thousands who were forced to leave New Orleans for Houston."
     Carpenter: "I was trying to imagine what it would be like if I lost my home. If I had to get on a bus and not know where I was going."
     Fratangelo: "During much of the 1990s Mary Chapin spent her life on a bus, touring with her band. They were following a map of success, one hit after another, picking up five Grammys along the way. Yet with all the commercial success Mary Chapin is still humble."
     Mary Chapin Carpenter: "Even back then when we had these hits I still felt, are they sure? Is it true? Can this really be happening?"
     Fratangelo: "Her songs have appeal to many audiences, especially country. She's often asked where she's been. One album, she says, takes her about three years to write with what she calls a little light in-between."
     Carpenter: "If you're not like plastered on the front page people think you've gone somewhere. So I've been here all along."
     Fratangelo: "Front page news has inspired much of the work on her new album, especially this cut, 'On With the Song.'"
     [Carpenter singing: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow."]
     Fratangelo: "It's a song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks and the controversy that erupted when they criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq."
     [Carpenter singing: "This isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."]
     Fratangelo: "How has this administration affected your song-writing?"
     Carpenter: "It's made me more angry. I feel despair when I turn on the news or I read the newspaper. I feel despair that we're, we're never going to be able to regain the respect of the countries of this world. That we're, we're putting our children in danger of not having a future."
     Fratangelo: "When Mary Chapin looked to her own future she never envisioned this, an inviting farm house set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Long content with her dogs, all five of them, she wasn't looking for marriage. You married a carpenter, right?"
     Carpenter: "Well he is a carpenter."
     Fratangelo: "Actually he's Tim Smith who builds beautiful barns. They married five years ago in a nearby field."
     Carpenter: "Lived on my own all these years and so it was a big change for me, and a welcome one but definitely a change."
     [Carpenter singing: "Now that it's twilight."]
     Fratangelo: "These days Mary Chapin Carpenter has found what she didn't long for, a sense of home. Are you happy?"
     Carpenter: "Very, very happy."
     Fratangelo: "Would you call this the happiest time in your life?"
     Carpenter: "Yes, without a doubt."
     Fratangelo: "And what makes it so?"
     Carpenter: "More things than I could have time to tell you but primarily a sense of I found my spot."
     Fratangelo: "For Today, Dawn Fratangelo, NBC News, South Central Virginia."
     Vieira: "Lovely lady, very talented and very humble."
     Lester Holt: "And if you want to hear more of Mary Chapin Carpenter's music go to our newly designed Web site with an easier address to remember, todayshow.com."

     Incidentally this was the second time the Dixie Chicks received props on this Tuesday's Today show as earlier in the program John Larson called them "heroes." And just last month, when the Chicks won big at the Grammy's, Matt Lauer crowed: "Chicks Rule!" Clearly the Bush-hating band has a big following on the Today show set.

 

Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th
Anniversary Gala

     Just over three weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala: www.mediaresearch.org

     Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies and we'll have several conservative stars presenting and accepting the awards, including Ambassador John Bolton, radio talk show host Neal Boortz, columnist/author/provocateur Ann Coulter, FNC and radio host Sean Hannity, political strategist Mary Matalin, game show host Pat Sajak and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele. Plus, we'll have some big-name surprise guests.

     Date: Thursday, March 29 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Reception at 6pm, dinner and gala at 7pm. (Black-tie optional.)

     Seats are $250.00 each, limited to two per individual unless you are an Associate or Trustee of the MRC. (Contribute $1,000 annually to earn Associate status; $5,000 annually to earn Trustee privileges.)

     Every year we end up oversold, so if you want to ensure a seat, order ASAP.

     Seats can only be purchased via phone. If you would like to reserve your seat, want more information on how to become an MRC Associate or Trustee, or information on purchasing a table for the evening, please contact Sara Bell at (800) 672-1423 between 9am and 6pm EST Monday through Friday. Or, e-mail her at: sbell@mediaresearch.org

     The MRC accepts all major credit cards.

     At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest.

     But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.

     This year's award categories:

# Puppy Love Award

# Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis

# God, I Hate America Award

# Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories

# The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award

     If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:

Cal Thomas, Larry Kudlow, Tony Blankley Mark Levin, Jack Singlaub, Stan Evans, Linda Chavez, Ken Cribb and Ron Robinson highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2006 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2005," which were presented on Thursday night, March 30, before an audience of more than 900 packed into the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at several unintentionally humorous clips from network newscasts and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, those in attendance watched a "Tribute to the American Military" video. It was preceded by a "Toast to the Fallen Comrade" and followed by remarks from Herman Cain, the former President of Godfather's Pizza and National Chairman of the MRC's Free Market Project.

DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 17 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Robert Novak and Mary Matalin, who served as judges.

Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and panelist on FNC's Fox Newswatch, served as Master of Ceremonies. Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company and National Review Online's economics editor, was the first presenter of nominated video clips, followed by Washington Times Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin.

In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Major General Jack Singlaub (Retired), radio talk show host and conservative commentator Linda Chavez, Ron Robinson, President of the Young America's Foundation, Ken Cribb, President of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and a former Reagan administration official, and author Stan Evans, the founder of the National Journalism Center, who delivered an especially hilarious routine.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Colonel Robert Rust (Retired).

     END Reprint of Summary of last year's event

     To watch video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations, check: www.mediaresearch.org

     To read about and watch video from all of the past DisHonors Awards galas, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

     Again, for the Web section on this year's upcoming gala: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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