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The 2,436th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
8:40am EDT, Wednesday June 27, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 109)

 
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1. Nets Tout 'Respected' Lugar as 'Tipping Point' & 'Turning Point'
The network anchors have found their new favorite Republican: Senator Richard Lugar, whose call for a change in policy direction on Iraq led the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday. Referring to Lugar's remarks Monday night on the Senate floor which were later echoed by Republican Senator George Voinovich, ABC anchor Charles Gibson engaged in some hyperbole as he teased: "Tonight, a Republican rebellion over the war: More Senators say the mission in Iraq is no longer in America's best interest." With "Tipping Point?" on screen, Gibson bucked up Lugar's credibility: "There is no more respected Republican Senator in the area of foreign policy than Indiana's Richard Lugar. Senator Lugar took the floor of the U.S. Senate last night to say for the first time that he feels the U.S. Iraq policy is not working and U.S. troops should start coming home." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams matched Gibson's esteem for Lugar as Williams maintained that "tonight many are wondering if we're witnessing the beginning of some kind of turning point?" NBC, however, has a poor record of picking Iraq war "turning points." In 2005 the network hailed Cindy Sheehan's protest near Bush's ranch as a "turning point" and last October Williams heralded comments from Senator John Warner as he asked: "Is this a new turning point?"

2. Roberts: Bush 'Said We Respect Human Rights. Do You Buy That?'
Just over 12 hours after Monday's NBC Nightly News found newsworthy that 50 out of 141 high school seniors visiting the White House presented President Bush with a handwritten letter asking him to "stop the violations of the human rights of...all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," CNN's American Morning had three of the 50 students on for an interview. Co-host John Roberts asked the students to recount their experiences writing the letter, obtaining signatures, and handing it to the President, and asked one student, "[I]n response, the President said, 'we respect human rights,' do you buy that?" Roberts emphasized the apparent intelligence of the three. "And you want to talk about brain power, the collective group that you're seeing there. Mari and Leah going to Yale next year, Colin accepted to MIT." Roberts mentioned that the mother of one of the students was a Presidential Scholar as well, who visited the White House during Lyndon Johnson's presidency in 1968, and supposedly "always regretted not saying something to him about the Vietnam war."

3. ABC: Cheney Playing Into Perception He's 'Shadowy Super Villain'
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter David Wright narrated a sarcastic segment about Vice President Dick Cheney and his refusal to hand over classified documents to the National Archives. In order to amplify the portrayal of Cheney as dark and scary, Wright featured clips from liberals such as Jon Stewart, left-wing blogger Ana Marie Cox and the Comedy Central program Lil' Bush. The GMA reporter helpfully added that "the Vice President's noncompliance plays right into the perception that he's some sort of shadowy super villain." Whatever one thinks of Cheney's contention, wouldn't it make sense to have some sort of balanced discussion about the issue? Instead, Wright chose to highlight silly and childish attacks on Cheney from Comedy Central programming: "On Comedy Central's Lil' Bush, Lil' Cheney is the spawn of Darth Vader. Jon Stewart casts him simply as Batman's nemesis, the Penguin." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

4. ABC Again Compares Bush Admin Actions to Illegal CIA of the Past
Two days after ABC correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than illegal CIA activities from decades ago, on Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC's Terry Moran made his own comparison between the past when the CIA was "running amuck" and modern times: "But many experts say they [documents] also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists."

5. NBC Features Woman Blaming Wildfires on Environmental Regulations
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, while reporting from Lake Tahoe, correspondent George Lewis relayed one homeowner's complaint that environmental regulations had contributed to the danger of wildfires in the area. She further contended that the only reason her home survived was because she had cleared away brush near her home in violation of the law. Lewis: "She blames environmentalists and bureaucrats for creating rules that, in her opinion, increased the fire hazard. Says she had to break the law to clear brush off adjacent federal land."

6. Letterman's 'Top Ten Surprising Facts About Dick Cheney'
Letterman's "Top Ten Surprising Facts About Dick Cheney."


 

Nets Tout 'Respected' Lugar as 'Tipping
Point' & 'Turning Point'

     The network anchors have found their new favorite Republican: Senator Richard Lugar, whose call for a change in policy direction on Iraq led the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday. Referring to Lugar's remarks Monday night on the Senate floor which were later echoed by Republican Senator George Voinovich, ABC anchor Charles Gibson engaged in some hyperbole as he teased: "Tonight, a Republican rebellion over the war: More Senators say the mission in Iraq is no longer in America's best interest." With "Tipping Point?" on screen, Gibson bucked up Lugar's credibility: "There is no more respected Republican Senator in the area of foreign policy than Indiana's Richard Lugar. Senator Lugar took the floor of the U.S. Senate last night to say for the first time that he feels the U.S. Iraq policy is not working and U.S. troops should start coming home."

     NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams matched Gibson's esteem for Lugar: "He's been around a long time, he doesn't speak out often, and so when he does, people listen up. Last night, in the U.S. Senate chamber, Senator Lugar gave a speech in which the respected Republican broke with the President on the Iraq war. Today, another Republican Senator did the same, and so tonight many are wondering if we're witnessing the beginning of some kind of turning point?" Williams earlier teased the newscast with the same formulation: "Is this a turning point in the war?" NBC, however, has a poor record of picking Iraq war "turning points." In 2005 the network hailed Cindy Sheehan's protest near Bush's ranch as a "turning point" and last October Williams heralded comments from Senator John Warner as he asked: "Is this a new turning point?"

     For Lugar's remarks: lugar.senate.gov

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

     On the August 25, 2005 NBC Nightly News, reporter Carl Quintanilla asserted:
     "Sheehan, say some historians, may be evolving as an icon in the war's turning point, if this is one. For three weeks, she's dominated headlines, mobilized protesters-"
     Man: "She's taking a stand."
     Quintanilla: "-both with and without relatives in Iraq."
     Cindy Sheehan: "They don't have what I like to call skin in the game, but we are all affected."
     Quintanilla: "Making it safe, her supporters say, to voice doubts about the war, just as Walter Cronkite did on the Evening News in 1968."
     For the entire story check the 2005 CyberAlert posting which noted how on MSNBC's Countdown that night, fill-in host Amy Robach framed Quintanilla's story around how "there are those who wonder if attitudes toward the war could be reaching a tipping point and whether the Gold Star mom could be the driving force." See: www.mrc.org

     A little over a year later, on the October 6, 2006 NBC Nightly News, Williams highlighted Republican Senator John Warner's warning that Iraq is drifting "side-wise," a comment trumpeted by Williams in his tease: "When a key Republican Senator comes home from Iraq and says the U.S. has to re-think its strategy, is this a new turning point?"

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down how the anchors led the June 26 evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC:

     # Charles Gibson on ABC's World News (see first paragraph above for his tease): "Good evening. When it comes to the war in Iraq, President Bush needs reinforcements. There is no more respected Republican Senator in the area of foreign policy than Indiana's Richard Lugar. Senator Lugar took the floor of the U.S. Senate last night to say for the first time that he feels the U.S. Iraq policy is not working and U.S. troops should start coming home. Then, today, Ohio Republican George Voinovich expressed similar sentiments. And there are signs other Republicans might soon follow suit. Our Jake Tapper is joining us tonight from Capitol Hill. Jake?"


     # Fill-in anchor Harry Smith teased the CBS Evening News: "Tonight, pressure on the President from his own party. Two respected Republican Senators tell the President flat out it's time to start leaving Iraq."

     Smith then opened: "Good evening. Katie is off. Tonight, President Bush finds himself increasingly isolated on the Iraq war. In the past 24 hours, two more Republican senators have told the President in blunt language they believe the troop surge is not working, and they want American troops to start coming home. More now on this major development from our chief White House correspondent, Jim Axelrod."


     # Brian Williams teased the NBC Nightly News: "Tonight, the President loses two key Republican allies on Iraq. Is this a turning point in the war?"

     Williams led: "Good evening. In this current media age of nonstop sound and fury and videotape, where sometimes it seems like everybody in Washington steps in front of a camera every day to make their opinions known, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana is decidedly old school. He's been around a long time, he doesn't speak out often, and so when he does, people listen up. Last night, in the U.S. Senate chamber, Senator Lugar gave a speech in which the respected Republican broke with the President on the Iraq war. Today, another Republican Senator did the same, and so tonight many are wondering if we're witnessing the beginning of some kind of turning point. We begin our coverage here tonight with NBC's Chip Reid on Capitol Hill."

 

Roberts: Bush 'Said We Respect Human
Rights. Do You Buy That?'

     Just over 12 hours after Monday's NBC Nightly News found newsworthy that 50 out of 141 high school seniors visiting the White House presented President Bush with a handwritten letter asking him to "stop the violations of the human rights of...all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," CNN's American Morning had 3 of the 50 students on for an interview. Co-host John Roberts asked the students to recount their experiences writing the letter, obtaining signatures, and handing it to the President, and asked one student, "[I]n response, the President said, 'we respect human rights,' do you buy that?"

     The three featured Tuesday -- Mari Oye, Leah Anthony Libresco, and Colin McSwiggen -- all recently-graduated high school students, were among the one-third of the Presidential Scholars who signed a letter asking President Bush, among other things, "to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants." Roberts emphasized the apparent intelligence of the three. "And you want to talk about brain power, the collective group that you're seeing there. Mari and Leah going to Yale next year, Colin accepted to MIT." None from the remaining two-thirds who didn't sign the letter made an appearance on American Morning.

     Roberts mentioned that Oye's mother was a Presidential Scholar as well, who visited the White House during Lyndon Johnson's presidency in 1968, and supposedly "always regretted not saying something to him about the Vietnam war." In response, Oye commented: "That's something that weighed heavy on my mind, and I wanted to think about how we would feel 40 years from now if we had the opportunity to speak, and also the privilege to speak to the President of the United States, and to not use that privilege in order to make a difference."

     Roberts directed his "in response, the President said, 'we respect human rights,' do you buy that?" question to Oye, who replied: "We brought up some very specific points in the letter about the treatment of detainees, even those designated as enemy combatants, and we strongly believe that all of these detainees should be treated, according to the principles of the Geneva Convention. So, this was a very specific point. We asked him to remove -- I asked him to remove the signing statement attached to the anti-torture bill, which would have allowed presidential power to make exemptions to the ban on torture. I really feel strongly about this issue, and also about the treatment of some Arab and Muslim-Americans after September 11th. My own grandparents were interred during World War II, simply for being Japanese-American. And I think that my background really affected the way that I feel and the compassion that I have for other people who are in a similar situation."

     The June 26 CyberAlert recounted how on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams highlighted a "surprise" letter presented to President Bush by high school students visiting the White House who wanted the President to "stop the practice of torture." Williams: "When they got there, 50 of them [out of 141] presented him with a handwritten letter that they had signed demanding that the United States stop the practice of torture." See: www.mrc.org

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

     The full transcript of the interview from the June 26 American Morning on CNN:

     JOHN ROBERTS: The White House has heard criticism of its policies for detaining suspected terrorists before, but yesterday it came from an unexpected source. President Bush was meeting this year's high school presidential scholars, when one of them slipped him a handwritten letter, signed by several dozen of the teens. It read in part, 'We have been told we represent the best and brightest of our nation. Therefore, we believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions. We do not want America to represent torture.' Some of the students behind the letter are with us this morning from Washington. They are Mari from Massachusetts, Leah Anthony Libresco from New York, and Colin from Ohio. So, whose idea was this? Speak up.
     LEAH ANTHONY LIBRESCO, PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR: Well, I think what happened was we were all talking about the opportunity to meet the president, someone who answers to us, the American people. And we didn't know what we should do or what w should say, but everyone wanted to seize the opportunity, and when we talked, we really wanted to talk about the issue of torture, because human rights and human dignity is a non-partisan issue, and it was something we all really felt strongly about, and wanted to take the opportunity to be heard.
     ROBERTS: Right. So, when did you decide to write this, Mari?
     MARI OYE, PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR: Well, originally we put it together over the course of a day, but it's something that was really envisioned by a lot of us ahead of time, not together, but as something that we felt was really, really important to work on together.
     ROBERTS: Well, let me point out -- your mother was a presidential scholar who met Lyndon Johnson back in 1968, I believe and said that she always regretted not saying something to him about the Vietnam war.
     OYE: Absolutely. And that's something that weighed heavy on my mind, and I wanted to think about how we would feel 40 years from now if we had the opportunity to speak, and also the privilege to speak to the President of the United States, and to not use that privilege in order to make a difference.
     ROBERTS: So Colin, what happened when you gave the President the letter?"
     COLIN MCSWIGGEN, PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR: Well, the one who originally handed the letter to the president was, of course, Mari. She -- we were lined up for a photo-op, and he came right before the photo and started speaking to us. We had a very casual discussion. He said that it's important to treat others as you wish to be treated, and he said that we really need to think about the choices that we make in our lives. And as he lined up to take the photo with us, Mari handed him the note, and said, €˜Mr. President, some of us have made a choice, and we want you to have this.' He said all right, I've have it. After the photo, he asked if he should read the note, and Mari said well, that's up to you. But he read it right there, and we had a very casual discussion with him about it, right there front of the White House lawn.
     ROBERTS: Wow.
     MCSWIGGEN: And his response was, "We agree. Americans do not use torture."
     ROBERTS: So, Leah, I mean, that's a pretty bold stroke to hand the president a letter, particularly one with that sort of controversial subject matter. It was signed by 50 students. Did you have any problem getting those 50 students to sign it?
     LIBRESCO :We actually didn't. Though, these are 50 students individually, however, who made an individual choice, not speaking for the program. But the thing is we all feel so strongly. I don't think this is a controversial issue. I don't think human dignity and human rights is a controversial issue, so once we started talking to people about the idea of speaking up, people kept coming forward and saying yes, this is important. And that is what is so inspiring about the whole process, especially the presidential scholars, more than even the lectures we've had, or even meeting the president, meeting all of these people who are so smart, and so committed, and so invested in what's happening in our country. I mean, we're all so thrilled to have had this opportunity. We hope a lot of other kids get this opportunity, too.
     ROBERTS: Mari, in response to the president said, 'we respect human rights,' do you buy that?
     OYE: What he actually said -- We brought up some very specific points in the letter about the treatment of detainees, even those designated as enemy combatants, and we strongly believe that all of these detainees should be treated, according to the principles of the Geneva Convention. So, this was a very specific point. We asked him to remove -- I asked him to remove the signing statement attached to the anti-torture bill, which would have allowed presidential power to make exemptions to the ban on torture. I really feel strongly about this issue ,and also about the treatment of some Arab and Muslim-Americans after September 11th. My own grandparents were interred during World War II, simply for being Japanese-American. And I think that my background really affected the way that I feel and the compassion that I have for other people who are in a similar situation.
     ROBERTS: Well, obviously, you weren't shy about sharing your opinions, which is what the great thing about this democracy is. And you want to talk about brain power, the collective group that you're seeing there. Mari and Leah going to Yale next year, Colin accepted to MIT. We wish you a lot of luck in your collegiate studies and thanks very much for being with us this morning.
     LIBRESCO, OYE, AND MCSWIGGEN: Thank you.

 

ABC: Cheney Playing Into Perception He's
'Shadowy Super Villain'

     On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter David Wright narrated a sarcastic segment about Vice President Dick Cheney and his refusal to hand over classified documents to the National Archives. In order to amplify the portrayal of Cheney as dark and scary, Wright featured clips from liberals such as Jon Stewart, left-wing blogger Ana Marie Cox and the Comedy Central program Lil' Bush. The GMA reporter helpfully added that "the Vice President's noncompliance plays right into the perception that he's some sort of shadowy super villain."


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

     Of course, Wright never identified the liberal, anti-Cheney leanings of the above individuals. Instead, he framed the Vice President's refusal to hand over the documents as indicative of an out of control politician who won't listen to anyone: "Quick civics quiz for you: Is the Vice President part of the executive branch of government? You might think the answer is obvious, but apparently not to the Vice President. The man who is a heartbeat away from the Oval Office thinks that some of the rules that apply to everyone else who works here do not apply to him."

     Whatever one thinks of the contention that the VP is not part of the executive branch, wouldn't it make sense to have some sort of balanced discussion about the issue? Instead, Wright chose to highlight silly and childish attacks on Cheney from Comedy Central programming: "On Comedy Central's Lil' Bush, Lil' Cheney is the spawn of Darth Vader. Jon Stewart casts him simply-"
     Jon Stewart: "Don't you know I'm exempt? Waaa! Waaa! Waaa!"
     Wright: "-as Batman's nemesis, the Penguin."

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

     This isn't the first time that GMA has touted Lil' Bush. On June 14, reporter Dan Harris previewed the show's Move-On style characterizations of conservatives: "That's Lil' George, the leader of the gang. There's also Lil' Rummy, Lil' Cheney, who barely talks and chews the head off chickens, and Lil' Condi, who has an unrequited crush on George."

     Clearly, this is a program that piqued the interest of those inside ABC.

     Finally, Wright's segment looked at legislation being crafted by Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel that would cut funding to Vice President Cheney's office. The ABC reporter treated the bill seriously and failed to note that it has zero chance of becoming law. It wasn't until the next segment, with political correspondent George Stephanopoulos, that this salient point was mentioned:

     Juju Chang: "Let's start with the bottom line. Is this just political theater, a political stunt, or will it really have an impact on the Vice President's power?"
     George Stephanopoulos: "Oh, he's not going to lose funding for his office. Even if this passes the House, it wouldn't get through the Senate. The President would never sign it into a law."

     In 1993, then First Lady Hillary Clinton had some executive branch issues. The major networks certainly didn't resort to citing cartoons to portray her as a power mad politician.

     A transcript of the David Wright segment, which aired at 7:12am on June 26:

     Juju Chang: "We turn now to Vice President Dick Cheney, who is under fire in a high-stakes showdown with the Democratic Congress. One powerful Democrat is proposing a drastic and unprecedented measure, pulling the plug on the Vice President's budget, cutting his allowance of taxpayer money to zero. ABC's David Wright is at the White House with more. Good morning, David."

     ABC Graphic: "Dems Move to Close Cheney's Office: Battle Over Funding This Week"

     David Wright: "Good morning, Juju. Quick civics quiz for you: Is the Vice President part of the executive branch of government? You might think the answer is obvious, but apparently not to the Vice President. The man who is a heartbeat away from the Oval Office thinks that some of the rules that apply to everyone else who works here do not apply to him. So almighty and elusive is this Vice President, the New Yorker once ran a cartoon in which theologians debated the existence of Cheney. Now, the White House is having its own bizarre version of the same debate."
     Martha Raddatz: "Does the President believe he's part of the executive branch?"
     Dana Perino, White House Deputy Press Secretary: "Look, I think that that is an interesting constitutional question and I think that lots of people can debate it."
     Wright: "At issue, Cheney's refusal to comply with a request from the National Archives to hand over certain classified documents. The Vice President insists that, unlike every other employee of the executive branch, the rule does not include him or his staff."
     Ana Marie Cox, Washington Editor of Time magazine's Web site: "Perhaps next he'll just say he's not subject to the laws of gravity either. He'll just float away to his undisclosed locations."
     Wright: "The Vice President's noncompliance plays right into the perception that he's some sort of shadowy super villain. On Comedy Central's Lil' Bush, Lil' Cheney is the spawn of Darth Vader. Jon Stewart casts him simply-"
     Jon Stewart: "Don't you know I'm exempt? Waaa! Waaa! Waaa!"
     Wright: "-as Batman's nemesis, the Penguin."
     [Brief "Batman" clip.]
     Wright: "Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill-"
     "Robin" from Batman: "Holy Merlin's magician!"
     Wright: "One of Cheney's archenemies is now crafting legislation that would cut the funding for the Vice President's office."
     Rep. Rahm Emanuel, (D-IL) Democratic Caucus Chair: "He's acting as if he's unaccountable, the wholly fourth branch of the government unto himself. And so, my view is, if you're not in the executive branch, we shouldn't fund you in the executive branch."
     Wright: "Now, the Vice President's spokeswoman accuses Congressman Emanuel of playing politics. But when I asked her how many people might be affected if that bill were to become law, she wouldn't say because the size of the Vice President's staff is apparently classified. Juju?"
     Chang: "Interesting answer. David Wright reporting live from the White House. Thank you."

 

ABC Again Compares Bush Admin Actions
to Illegal CIA of the Past

     Two days after ABC correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than illegal CIA activities from decades ago, on Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC's Terry Moran made his own comparison between the past when the CIA was "running amuck" and modern times: "But many experts say they [documents] also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists."

     The June 25 CyberAlert conveyed: On ABC's World News Sunday, during a story about the release of classified information regarding the CIA's "cloak and dagger" past in the 1960s and 1970s, correspondent Liz Marlantes suggested that the Bush administration engages in abuses that are worse than the illegal activities detailed in the documents: "But this all comes when the CIA is under fire for an alleged array of current abuses, including the use of secret prisons and torture. Some say the activities of the past may look mild by comparison." See: www.mrc.org

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

     Below is a complete transcript of Moran's report from the Tuesday, June 26 World News with Charles Gibson:

     CHARLES GIBSON: Well, the nation's spy agency, the CIA, revealed many of its older secrets today, releasing documents known within the CIA as the "family jewels." Much of what is outlined in the documents has been known for some time, but it's still sobering to see confirmation that the nation's spy agency was breaking the law in the 1960s and '70s, plotting assassinations and spying on Americans. Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran is here with the story.

     TERRY MORAN: On page after page, some of the darkest chapters of the CIA's history are described in chilling detail -- the efforts to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders, extensive spying on civil rights leaders and Vietnam War protesters in the U.S., surveillance of journalists, opening mail, wiretapping, break-ins, all in violation of the law.
     THOMAS BLANTON, National Security Archive: These documents suggest the CIA basically had no limits.
     MORAN: Certainly there were few limits in the effort to kill Castro. The documents released today show that in August 1960, top CIA officials decided to launch "a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action." The mission target was Fidel Castro. The agency recruited top mafia bosses, one of whom suggested "if he could be furnished some type of potent pill, that could be placed in Castro's food or drink, it would be a much more effective operation." Mafia contacts in Cuba then tried and failed to poison Castro. In a bizarre twist, the whole plot nearly came to light when a CIA technician was caught in Las Vegas trying to wiretap comedian Dan Rowan because one of the mafia bosses thought Rowan was getting too friendly with his girlfriend. Castro wasn't the only foreign leader the CIA targeted for assassination. Others included Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and Diem of South Vietnam.
     BLANTON: The documents suggest that people at the very highest levels wanted to get rid of some pesky foreign leaders, CIA was happy to come up with some poison or some guns or some mob figures to go whack these guys.
     MORAN: The documents also show just how extensively the CIA spied on Americans. Nearly 10,000 files were amassed on Vietnam War protesters. And the agency helped police in Washington, D.C., to spy on protest marches. Several journalists who broke stories containing classified information were special targets of CIA surveillance.
     MICHAEL GETLER, Former Washington Post Reporter: They actually took pictures through the picture window of our home in the suburbs.
     TERRY MORAN: All in all, these documents open a window on another era, a time when the nation's top spies were essentially running amuck. But many experts say they also shed light on this era, on the question of what the agency should and shouldn't be doing at a time when the CIA is running secret prisons, using coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding and expanding its role in the war against al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

 

NBC Features Woman Blaming Wildfires
on Environmental Regulations

     On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, while reporting from Lake Tahoe, correspondent George Lewis relayed one homeowner's complaint that environmental regulations had contributed to the danger of wildfires in the area. She further contended that the only reason her home survived was because she had cleared away brush near her home in violation of the law. Lewis: "She blames environmentalists and bureaucrats for creating rules that, in her opinion, increased the fire hazard. Says she had to break the law to clear brush off adjacent federal land."

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

     Below is a complete transcript of the report by George Lewis, withe the unusual recognition of a downside to regulations, from the Tuesday, June 26 NBC Nightly News:

     GEORGE LEWIS: As the fire has jumped those lines, additional evacuations of people who live here are under way. This, as people who live in the previously burned areas were trying to get back home. This morning, after she pleaded, argued and reasoned with the authorities, Sue Abrams was granted permission to return to her home, still standing in one of the burned out areas.
     SUE ABRAMS: The fence is gone, most of my landscaping is gone, but we have our home. My neighbor Jason's over there right now. He doesn't have a home. It's gone.
     LEWIS: She blames environmentalists and bureaucrats for creating rules that, in her opinion, increased the fire hazard. Says she had to break the law to clear brush off adjacent federal land.
     ABRAMS: I took the chance and said, "Okay, come arrest me."
     LEWIS: She says that's what saved her house, creating a space around it that wouldn't burn. Fire experts say that people who live in wooded areas like this one are taking a big chance that they won't be wiped out by forest fires, but the new residents keep coming. Since 1982, 8.6 million new homes have been constructed in the West within 30 miles of national forest land.
     REX NORMAN, U.S. Forest Service: Here in the Tahoe basin, we have one of the highest percentages of urban development of any national forest area in the United States.
     LEWIS: Environmentalist Autumn Bernstein, with the Sierra Nevada Alliance, forced from her home by the fire, says man has turned the Sierra into a tinderbox.
     AUTUMN BERNSTEIN, Sierra Nevada Alliance: We're still doing penance for 100 years of bad forest management in the Sierra. We have lots and lots of forests that are just choked full of dead brush and small trees.
     LEWIS: A situation further complicated by a population boom here as people gamble that this won't happen to them.

 

Letterman's 'Top Ten Surprising Facts
About Dick Cheney'

     From the June 26 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprising Facts About Dick Cheney." Late Show home page:
http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

10. Every morning eats a case of Slim Jims

9. Shares three heart attack anniversaries with Larry King

8. Sent Paris cigarettes and nylons while she was in stir

7. Went bald at age 12

6. In 1983, he accidentally shot himself in the nuts

5. Wrote pilot for ABC: "Let's Torture Mick Jagger" show

4. Is the only member of the Bush administration to have seen Ford and Nixon naked

3. Banned from D.C. area IHOPs

2. Spends bulk of his time yelling at White House visitors to "get off the lawn"

1. Made half a dozen adult films under the name "Chain Dickey"

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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