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The 2,719th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
6:05am EDT, Thursday August 28, 2008 (Vol. Thirteen; No. 164)

 
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1. Nightline Awards Democrats 'Straight A's' for 'Perfect' Third Night
"Professor George Stephanopoulos," on Wednesday's Nightline, awarded the Democrats "straight A's" for the third day of their convention, with an A for "Filling in the Blanks," an A for "Heartstrings," an A for "Red Meat" and an A for "Body Language." The former Bill Clinton campaign operative and White House aide glowed over "a night of perfect political choreography" from his former boss and other Democrats as he marveled "the only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it's a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?" Anchor Terry Moran echoed: "An extraordinary series of speeches." Nightline has used Stephanopoulos all week to assign grades. Not counting his F on Monday night for the "garish stage," of eleven grades over three nights Stephanopoulos has presented eight A's, two grades of B+ and one C.

2. Williams Channels Fret Kerry Waited to Answer 'Swiftboating'
Hailing 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's Wednesday night address to the Democratic convention "the toughest speech" by "perhaps the most forceful speaker so far," one in which Kerry denounced the "Swiftboating" of Barack Obama, NBC anchor Brian Williams channeled the liberal view, which he described merely as that of "people watching tonight," that Kerry lost in 2004 because he didn't take on the presumed unfair "Swiftboating" attacks against him four years ago. The first question from Williams to Kerry during NBC's 10 PM EDT prime time hour of coverage: "I don't need to tell you, people watching tonight were, you can answer this before I do, saying, "Sure, now, he took on 'Swiftboating' in his speech tonight, but not when he ran for President." Kerry vociferously rejected the premise, then agreed with it, before he rejected it again as he credited newspapers with writing "the truth" about how he was smeared.

3. Matthews Bored By Possible Pawlenty VP Pick, Ridge 'Spectacular'
Chris Matthews liked the pick of longtime Senator Joe Biden for Barack Obama but the prospect of John McCain picking a veep, of similar voltage on the Republican side, like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, caused Matthews to yawn: "not interesting." Of a potential Pawlenty pick, the Hardball host, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night, described it this way: "It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news." Matthews, however, trumpeted Tom Ridge as "a spectacular choice," but regretted: "Pat [Buchanan] is probably right knowing the Republican Party. You would have the, the Tony Perkins of world and the Focus on the Family people and he knows the rich list of those people who would immediately rebel. It would be like the Dixiecrats walking out."

4. CBS Declares McCain's Anti-Obama Ad 'a Stretch'
CBS reporter Dean Reynolds on Wednesday night described the attacks on the other candidate by Barack Obama and John McCain, but only felt McCain's required a correction. After conveying how Obama is painting McCain as "out of touch and asleep at the switch are two...Obama favorites," Reynolds cited a new McCain "ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran." Viewers saw a clip of the ad: "Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat.' Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President." Reynolds pounced: "But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy."

5. Morning Shows Gush: Hillary 'Aced It' with 'Perfect' Speech
All three broadcast morning shows on Wednesday hailed Hillary Clinton's convention speech the night before, as ABC's Diane Sawyer saw Clinton "bringing down the house," while George Stephanopoulos declared that "she aced it. I think she's gone farther than any losing candidate has ever gone in a convention like this." Sawyer gushed: "If her candidacy put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, her speech probably punched a hole in it." Over on NBC, Andrea Mitchell fawned that Clinton's "words were perfect. I don't see how she could have found a better way of expressing herself and coming out strongly for Barack Obama." On CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith was also enthusiastic: "Hillary Clinton stands and delivers....What a speech last night....If you appreciate stagecraft at any level you had to say she did a good job with that." Producers at all three morning shows seemed to have been smitten by Clinton's jab at John McCain: "No way, no how, no McCain," including the shot in their opening teases and again in their packaged reports.

6. Williams Again Wonders 'If Not Hillary, Who? If Not Now, When?'
On two separate occasions during the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live on Wednesday, host Brian Williams continued to wonder, as he did repeatedly the night before, if there will ever be a female President, pleading: "If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when?" He recited the line during discussions with Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd.

7. NBC's Luke Russert Touts Hillary's 'Pretty Damn Good' Speech
Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, appeared as a correspondent on Wednesday's Today show to tout the technological superiority of the Barack Obama campaign and its "online political revolution." Co-host Meredith Vieira pronounced the 23-year-old's reporting "terrific," but really the segment was just another puff piece on liberals such as Obama and Bill Clinton. Regarding the latter, Russert recounted meeting the ex-president at the Denver Democratic convention and being asked by Clinton how his Senator wife's speech went. Russert replied, "Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good." The bulk of the segment featured Russert interviewing Jayron Finan, a new supporter of the Illinois Senator and a Democratic delegate. Russert explained: "Inspired by Obama's stand against the war and his less confrontational political style, she visited his website and got involved." Continuing to repeat talking points and cliches, he added: "As she heads to the convention hall, Jayron believes that bringing new blood to the political process is the best way to bring about change."

8. NBC Gushes Over Common Man Joe Biden, the 'Amtrak Senator'
On Wednesday's Today, frequent MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle filed a fawning, credulous report on "Amtrak Senator" Joe Biden and his daily habit of taking the train home from Washington D.C. after completing his duties in the U.S. Senate. Barnicle, who accompanied Biden during one of these trips back to Delaware, seemed to be repeating talking points when he touted how the journey keeps the politician grounded: "The train ride also had another benefit: Keeping him in touch with real people and his working class Irish Catholic roots." After listing what political pundits think are Biden's strengths, the journalist cooed, "But for the Amtrak Senator, it's about working people he feels a part of." As though he were narrating one of the promotional videos that have been used to introduce speakers at the Democratic convention, Barnicle pivoted off a comment by Biden that one doesn't need a focus group for most political issues. The MSNBC personality extolled, "All you need, says the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, is a seat on a train that takes you home every night."

9. ABC's GMA Suggests Viewing Obama 'A Religious Experience'
On the Obama Messiah watch, in the last half-hour of ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed photographer Pete Souza who has a new book of Obama photographs. In addition to cooing over photos of the Obama daughters and Obama with the Kennedys, Cuomo highlighted photos of women looking adoringly at Obama: "And now, of course, the insight you're able to capture out on the trail. You say, it's so much like a religious experience for people as they meet him. Let's see the view that you get. Look at them with their hands clasped."

10. CNN, Not FNC, Punts on Pelosi's Catholic Abortion Teaching Gaffe
CNN placed a total news blackout on Nancy Pelosi's misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and history on abortion on Sunday's Meet the Press and the subsequent reaction from several prominent Catholic bishops and from pro-life politicians. The news network did not mention the story at all between Sunday morning, when Pelosi made her remarks, and early Wednesday evening. This contrasts with major media outlets such as AP, Reuters, the Washington Post, and Fox News picking up on the controversy, not to mention the conservative blogosphere and talk radio.

11. On MSNBC, Actor Richard Dreyfuss Rails Against 'Corrupt' GOP
Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon to promote his new movie, America Betrayed, a left-wing screed produced by a former CNBC anchor that purports to be a "documentary" about the evils of the American government during the past seven years, actor Richard Dreyfuss slammed the Republican Party as "corrupt through and through," "adept at thievery," and that "the rest of the country" abandoned New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Dreyfuss drew loud cheers from the liberal audience gathered around MSNBC's outdoor spot as he nonsensically declared: "I am tired of being called a traitor because I like my flag and I like -- and I support the troops."

12. 'Top Ten Things Overheard at the Democratic National Convention'
Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard at the Democratic National Convention."


 

Nightline Awards Democrats 'Straight A's'
for 'Perfect' Third Night

     "Professor George Stephanopoulos," on Wednesday's Nightline, awarded the Democrats "straight A's" for the third day of their convention, with an A for "Filling in the Blanks," an A for "Heartstrings," an A for "Red Meat" and an A for "Body Language." The former Bill Clinton campaign operative and White House aide glowed over "a night of perfect political choreography" from his former boss and other Democrats as he marveled "the only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it's a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?" Anchor Terry Moran echoed: "An extraordinary series of speeches."

     Nightline has used Stephanopoulos all week to assign grades. Not counting his F on Monday night for the "garish stage," of eleven grades over three nights Stephanopoulos has presented eight A's, two grades of B+ and one C.

     Giving his A on Wednesday for "Filling in the Blanks," which he described as "defining who Barack Obama is," Stephanopoulos was enamored with Bill Clinton and his credibility: "The question that has not been answered in this convention is: Is Barack Obama ready? It's a question on a lot of American people's minds, you saw Bill Clinton there. He's been a commander in chief. He said from what I've learned from being there, Barack Obama is ready. It was a big speech, it was a generous speech. It was an essential speech."

     Moran chimed in: "Classy speech, and there aren't many people who can make that endorsement."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted early Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The "Nightline Report Cards" assessed by Stephanopoulos so far this week:

Monday:

Heartstrings: A (Kennedy)

Filling in the Blanks: B+

Bells and Whistles: F (garish stage)

Clinton Psychodrama: incomplete

Tuesday:

The Speech: A (Hillary's)

Red Meat: A (more attacks on Bush-McCain by Hillary)

Filling in the Blanks: C

Body Language: B+

Heartstrings: A (Chelsea Clinton)

Wednesday:

Filling in the Blanks: A

Heartstrings: A

Red Meat: A

Body Language: A


     Will Stephanopoulos be so generous and easily impressed next week in St. Paul?

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the explanations for the Wednesday, August 27 grades on the show broadcast from inside the Pepsi Center in Denver:

     TERRY MORAN: Well, now, it's time once again for the "Nightline Report Card." And once again, Professor George Stephanopoulos joins us. All right. Let's grade them. Let's grade them. First, that big question, first subject. Filling in the blanks, defining who Barack Obama is.
     GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: A. And that's the first time in this convention. The question that has not been answered in this convention is: Is Barack Obama ready? It's a question on a lot of American people's minds, you saw Bill Clinton there. He's been a commander in chief. He said from what I've learned from being there, Barack Obama is ready. It was a big speech, it was a generous speech. It was an essential speech.
     MORAN: Classy speech, and there aren't many people who can make that endorsement.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely. Not a lot of people thought that Bill Clinton couldn't make that endorsement, or wouldn't make that endorsement; tonight he did.
     MORAN: Okay, all the way. Heart strings. This has been an emotional roller coaster for Democrats this convention. And tonight, Joe Biden coming forward with an emotional life story, having faced a lot of hardship in his life.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Another A. And he has faced a lot of hardship in his life. When he was elected to the Senate in 1972 at the age of 29, one month after he was elected, his wife and daughter got killed in a car crash. His son Beau was in the car. Tonight, he came out and introduced his dad.
     BEAU BIDEN, SON OF JOSEPH BIDEN: He decided not to take the oath of office. He said then, "Delaware can get another Senator, but my boys can't get another father."
     MORAN: A very powerful moment. Joe Biden himself did not really talk much about that.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Just one line, but also pulled on the heart strings. He turned up to his mom, his 91-year-old mom, and reminded people that she told him then that God does not give us burdens we cannot bear.
     MORAN: A very powerful moment. Okay, red meat. Let's get into politics. Red meat, how are the Democrats doing attacking the Republicans?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Another A. And this was Joe Biden, and what he did tonight was lay out the case the Democrats have to make in the fall on both the economy, the necessity for change and foreign policy. For Democrats, they want to be arguing the question is not experience, but judgment. Here he was.
     JOSEPH BIDEN: Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the people who actually attacked us on 9/11, they've regrouped in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they are plotting new attacks. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has echoed Barack's call for more troops. John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama was right.
     MORAN: Joe Biden there making the case for Barack Obama by going after the Republicans. And finally, this subject, body language. This is the first look this convention and the country have had at Barack Obama as the nominee.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely. He came out at the end of the night and gave the perfect grace note at the end of the night. What you've seen over the last two days, the theme has been unity. Hillary Clinton going out of her way to say that Barack Obama is the candidate. Bill Clinton going out of his way. Tonight, Barack Obama came to the hall and returned the favor.
     BARACK OBAMA: If I'm not mistaken, Hillary Clinton rocked the house last night.
     MORAN: So straight A's tonight from-
     STEPHANOPOULOS: A night of perfect political choreography. The only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it's a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?
     MORAN: An extraordinary series of speeches. Maybe some grade inflation?
     STEPHANOPOULOS, LAUGHING: A little bit. No, it was a good night, though.
     MORAN: It was a good night for the Democrats. George Stephanopoulos, thank you very much for that, our "Nightline Report Card."

 

Williams Channels Fret Kerry Waited to
Answer 'Swiftboating'

     Hailing 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's Wednesday night address to the Democratic convention "the toughest speech" by "perhaps the most forceful speaker so far," one in which Kerry denounced the "Swiftboating" of Barack Obama, NBC anchor Brian Williams channeled the liberal view, which he described merely as that of "people watching tonight," that Kerry lost in 2004 because he didn't take on the presumed unfair "Swiftboating" attacks against him four years ago. The first question from Williams to Kerry during NBC's 10 PM EDT prime time hour of coverage: "I don't need to tell you, people watching tonight were, you can answer this before I do, saying, "Sure, now, he took on 'Swiftboating' in his speech tonight, but not when he ran for President."

     Kerry vociferously rejected the premise, then agreed with it, before he rejected it again as he credited newspapers with writing "the truth" about how he was smeared:
     "But we did actually. That's not true. We took it on. The problem we made was a miscalculation about the truth being out there. We thought enough had been done. And the mistake we made was not spending enough money to answer the lies. We should have done that. I accept responsibility for that. But believe me, we answered it. Countless newspapers wrote the truth."

     Williams didn't pose any tough questions to Kerry, cuing him up a few minutes later: "Where do you rank the folks that surround Senator Obama, this organization compared to all those you've seen in politics?"

     (In contrast, in the previous hour on FNC, Sean Hannity pressed 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis to identify some achievements by Barack Obama: "What are his major, specific accomplishments?")

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     From about 12 minutes into the 10 PM EDT hour of NBC on Wednesday, August 27, as provided to me by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

     BRIAN WILLIAMS: Senator Kerry, thank you for being with us. I don't need to tell you, people watching tonight were, you can answer this before I do, saying, "Sure, now, he took on 'Swiftboating' in his speech tonight, but not when he ran for President."
     JOHN KERRY: But we did actually. That's not true. We took it on. The problem we made was a miscalculation about the truth being out there. We thought enough had been done. And the mistake we made was not spending enough money to answer the lies. We should have done that. I accept responsibility for that. But believe me, we answered it. Countless newspapers wrote the truth. Countless members of my crew went out and spoke the truth. And we answered it.
     WILLIAMS: Tonight, you went forcefully after your colleague in the Senate, who happens to be the standard bearer for the Republican Party, John McCain. Is that going to be tough for you when you have to sit down and do Senate business?
     [KERRY]
     WILLIAMS: What's your indicator that Obama-Biden will have better luck than Kerry-Edwards in what was obviously a tough election for you?
     KERRY: Part of the luck was the appearance of Osama bin Laden the Friday before the election...
     WILLIAMS: Where do you rank the folks that surround Senator Obama, this organization compared to all those you've seen in politics?

 

Matthews Bored By Possible Pawlenty VP
Pick, Ridge 'Spectacular'

     Chris Matthews liked the pick of longtime Senator Joe Biden for Barack Obama but the prospect of John McCain picking a veep, of similar voltage on the Republican side, like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, caused Matthews to yawn: "not interesting."

     Of a potential Pawlenty pick, the Hardball host, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic Convention on Wednesday night, described it this way: "It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news." Matthews, however, trumpeted Tom Ridge as "a spectacular choice," but regretted: "Pat [Buchanan] is probably right knowing the Republican Party. You would have the, the Tony Perkins of world and the Focus on the Family people and he knows the rich list of those people who would immediately rebel. It would be like the Dixiecrats walking out."

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

     The following conversation between Matthews and Keith Olbermann occurred at 12:36am [EDT] on the August 27 (through Thursday morning) of MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention:

     KEITH OLBERMANN: Listen well we're talking about the Republican vice presidential choice and the prospect of it being leaked out to sort of blunt the Obama acceptance speech tomorrow. Chris and I were sitting here talking about this and I thought you made an excellent point. It's great to leak that out if it's going to be a wow, a wow moment! That would be news.
     CHRIS MATTHEWS: News! Yeah, Joe, Joe Lieberman.
     OLBERMANN: Joe Lieberman or-
     MATTHEWS: The Democrat who's pro-choice who agrees with you on the war in Iraq but disagrees with you on other things. But to pick a Tim Pawlenty? It's like two little puddles of water coming together. There is no splash. There is no news. Tim Pawlenty? The name itself suggests, "not interesting."
     OLBERMANN: It sounds like something you order on the side with a dinner.
     MATTHEWS: No it's, it's like, it's like, remember Mario Cuomo used to talk about polenta?
     OLBERMANN: Exactly!
     MATTHEWS: You know it's some sort of basic food that's somewhat substantive but has no bit to it. I really think the news would be obviously Kay Bailey Hutchison. That would be-
     OLBERMANN: Out of nowhere, yeah.
     MATTHEWS: -a woman who many believe and I think she's a really impressive public figure could be easily the next governor of Texas. But not necessarily pro-life in a very dramatic way. A little bit murky there. I think that's the way she wants it in fact. If you pick Joe Lieberman it would be the first time since, what, Andrew Johnson when you'd have a split ticket. Where you'd have someone from the other party, Johnson was a Democrat, a pro-Northern Democrat.
     OLBERMANN: Correct.
     MATTHEWS: But to pick someone because you couldn't pick anyone else, because no one else came to mind, in a state you will not carry, Minnesota. Is this to help defeat Al Franken? Is this the goal? We're putting everything we can into defeating Al Franken.
     OLBERMANN: Because, right into Tim Pawlenty, because, because Tom Ridge was too edgy.
     MATTHEWS: Yeah I know. Ridge again, another, a spectacular choice if you want spectacle. But again Pat [Buchanan] is probably right knowing the Republican Party. You would have the, the Tony Perkins of world and the Focus on the Family people and he knows the rich list of those people who would immediately rebel. It would be like the Dixiecrats walking out. To make an unfortunate reference.
     OLBERMANN: So there are a lot of Democrats having had a big night are saying, "Pick Lieberman, Pick Ridge!"
     MATTHEWS: But I think if it's Mitt Romney or it's Pawlenty it's not interesting.

 

CBS Declares McCain's Anti-Obama Ad 'a
Stretch'

     CBS reporter Dean Reynolds on Wednesday night described the attacks on the other candidate by Barack Obama and John McCain, but only felt McCain's required a correction. After conveying how Obama is painting McCain as "out of touch and asleep at the switch are two...Obama favorites," Reynolds cited a new McCain "ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran." Viewers saw a clip of the ad: "Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat.' Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President." Reynolds pounced: "But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy."

     CBS then played a clip of Obama on May 18, part of the statement the McCain campaign cited to support its ad: "Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Sounds like he said what the ad quotes him as having said. I've yet to hear Reynolds describe any of Obama's anti-McCain ads as "a stretch."

     McCain's page about the ad: www.johnmccain.com

     From the start of the Reynolds story aired on 6:30 PM EDT edition, which was mostly live coverage of the roll call at the Democratic convention, of the CBS Evening News:

     DEAN REYNOLDS: Barack Obama tried to build a bridge to a key voting block today, telling an audience of veterans in Montana that this election provides a stark choice.
     BARACK OBAMA AT CAMPAIGN EVENT: Do we have a President who gets that people are struggling everyday? Who gets that veterans are struggling everyday? Or do we have somebody who doesn't get it?
     REYNOLDS: It was the latest in a series of similar descriptions of McCain: Out of touch and asleep at the switch are two other Obama favorites. But the McCain campaign has been hard at work trying to undo those efforts. First, with an ad attacking what it said was Obama's position on Iran.
     McCAIN AD: Iran. Radical Islamic government, known sponsors of terrorism. Obama says Iran is a "tiny" country, "doesn't pose a serious threat." Obama, dangerously unprepared to be President.
     REYNOLDS: But the ad is a stretch because this is what Obama really said last May in Pendleton, Oregon, on the need for diplomacy.
     OBAMA, MAY 18: Strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. I mean, think about it, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.
     REYNOLDS: But painting Obama as a dangerous risk is a Republican mantra. Giuliani led the way in Denver just hours before Obama arrived...

 

Morning Shows Gush: Hillary 'Aced It'
with 'Perfect' Speech

     All three broadcast morning shows on Wednesday hailed Hillary Clinton's convention speech the night before, as ABC's Diane Sawyer saw Clinton "bringing down the house," while George Stephanopoulos declared that "she aced it. I think she's gone farther than any losing candidate has ever gone in a convention like this."

     Sawyer gushed: "If her candidacy put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, her speech probably punched a hole in it."

     Over on NBC, Andrea Mitchell fawned that Clinton's "words were perfect. I don't see how she could have found a better way of expressing herself and coming out strongly for Barack Obama." On CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith was also enthusiastic: "Hillary Clinton stands and delivers....What a speech last night....If you appreciate stagecraft at any level you had to say she did a good job with that."

     Producers at all three morning shows seemed to have been smitten by Clinton's jab at John McCain: "No way, no how, no McCain," including the shot in their opening teases and again in their packaged reports.

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     On ABC, however, Sawyer and Stephanopoulos spent some time considering the idea that Clinton had actually sidestepped any kind of personal endorsement of Obama. Sawyer noted: "She did not use one adjective about Obama himself nor did she reverse the skepticism she'd expressed about him as commander in chief."

     Stephanopoulos tried to rationalize the omission: "Perhaps the calculation in the Clinton camp was that would have seemed inauthentic in some way and too calculated, too political."

     CBS's Early Show minimized such thoughts during their 7am coverage, but at 7:40 brought aboard a former FBI agent to analyze Clinton's body language. Joe Navarro told co-host Maggie Rodriguez that Clinton's physical demeanor failed to reinforce her declarations of support for Obama. "The gestures, the non-verbals, that give us the emotion really weren't there," Navarro, a former FBI agent, explained. "This was not an impassioned speech."

     On NBC, Mitchell and NBC political director Chuck Todd also voice sympathy for Clinton, suggesting she's been unfairly rushed to make her peace with Obama. "She took some time to grieve," Mitchell argued. "But she got over it and she was more of a professional than the other one," an obvious reference to Bill Clinton.

     Todd added: "It took Ted Kennedy years to get over losing to Jimmy Carter. It took John McCain about seven years to get over losing to George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton is actually doing this at a faster pace than most primary losers."

     Now, some details from the Wednesday morning shows, all of which led with Clinton and ignored the keynote address of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner in their wrap-up pieces.

     # ABC's Good Morning America, as transcribed by MRC's Justin McCarthy:

     Opening tease at 7:00am EDT:

     DIANE SAWYER: This morning, bringing down the house. Hillary Clinton gets cheers and tears as she gives a battle cry for her supporters....

     ROBIN ROBERTS: Good morning to you, Diane. I'm here in Times Square, of course, on this Wednesday, August 27th. And, yes, the night belonged to Hillary Clinton greeted with a standing ovation that just wouldn't stop. Diane, it just kept going and going and going. It was something else.
     DIANE SAWYER: And if her candidacy put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, her speech probably punched a hole in it.

     In Sawyer's piece re-capping Tuesday night's speech:

     SAWYER: But McCain forces have already noticed. She did not use one adjective about Obama himself nor did she reverse the skepticism she'd expressed about him as commander in chief. The strongest she said about him on foreign policy-
     HILLARY CLINTON: That President Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly, bring our troops home and begin to repair our alliances around the world.

     Reviewing the speech with George Stephanopoulos:

     DIANE SAWYER: And now for "The Bottom Line" this morning, once again our chief Washington correspondent, host of "This Week," George Stephanopoulos. What did you think, George?
     GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: This is the toughest speech at a convention to give, the runner-up's speech, and I think she aced it. I think she's gone farther than any losing candidate has ever gone in a convention like this.
     SAWYER: And yet did she close the vulnerability that in some senses she helped raise when she was critical of him about the commander in chief issue during the, the primaries?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: You pointed it out in your piece. No, that was the one omission in the speech, a direct line where she says Barack Obama is ready to lead. Now, perhaps the calculation in the Clinton camp was that would have seemed inauthentic in some way and too calculated, too political. The other thing that was a little bit surprising that you pointed this out as well. You know, in her speech she called Joe Biden pragmatic, tough and wise. There was no personal adjective to describe the man she spent so many months on the campaign trail with.
     SAWYER: That's true. The McCain camp, of course, jumped right on it.


     # CBS's Early Show, as transcribed by the MRC's Kyle Drennen:

     Opening tease at 7am:

     HARRY SMITH: Hillary Clinton stands and delivers....What a speech last night....If you appreciate stagecraft at any level you had to say she did a good job with that. We'll have much more on that in just a little bit, Mags.
     MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: I agree, Harry. She was as invigorated as I have ever seen her.

     Beginning of convention re-cap story by Bill Plante:

     BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Harry. Well, there was a question, a big question, and a huge cloud of doubt. Would Hillary Clinton, after fighting so long and hard for the nomination, wholeheartedly support Barack Obama? Well, last night in this arena you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief as the Senator from New York stepped up and let it rip.

     During analysis with Democrat Joe Trippi and Republican Dan Bartlett:

     HARRY SMITH: There you go. First things first. There really is this threshold that Hillary Clinton had to get over last night, in terms of being able to satisfy not only the Obama supporters, but especially those people who have been so loyal to her. From your perspective, did she get the job done?
     JOE TRIPPI: Absolutely. I mean, I was -- I don't know what the Obama campaign could have hoped to be better than what she did last night. She brought them -- you know, the party to unity last night. And I also think she started to do the real contrast between Obama and McCain. Do those two -- those two jobs and leave everybody else, Biden and the rest of the -- and Obama himself to do the rest of the work.
     SMITH: Yeah. From your perspective, sitting here watching this, it's been -- it's kind of interesting to see a convention unfold from the other side. We're hearing all of these people. We talked to somebody yesterday, a Democrat, first-time delegate, who actually is appearing in a John McCain ad. Do you, from your perspective, do you see a fissure in the granite here?
     BARTLETT: Well, first of all, I think if you're a Republican watching this, and a lot of people were probably -- there was a lot of trepidation coming into this, thinking this could be such a great galvanizing moment for Barack Obama. And so far it's really been the Bill and Hillary show. And while last night she did a very effective job and it was electric in here for her. And I think the real question here is whether that will translate to him. In many respects, this election is a referendum on Barack Obama. And I think some people observe that it really wasn't a specific authoritative endorsement of Barack Obama as much as it was an endorsement of the Democratic agenda. And-
     SMITH: Because she certainly reached down into her Democratic roots and said, 'I've got to be who I am and you have to join me on this.' You may -- I -- Dan may have a point here.


     # NBC's Today, as transcribed by the MRC's Scott Whitlock:

     Opening the show:

     MEREDITH VIEIRA: Hey, Matt. You have to wonder how Hillary Clinton is feeling this morning. She had hoped to take center stage as the Democratic Party's nominee tomorrow night. Instead, she had to settle for speaking last night trying to persuade her supporters to back Barack Obama.
     LAUER: Yeah, you know, she had a big smile on her face last night, Meredith, but it had to be a bittersweet moment for Senator Clinton to defer her dreams of going back to the White House, at least for now.

     Story by David Gregory:

     DAVID GREGORY: Good morning, Matt. In a rousing speech, Senator Clinton sought to unite the party behind Barack Obama, even as she took pains to preserve her own political future. She showed up and brought the house down. In the final chapter of her own historic race for the White House, Senator Clinton said the words Barack Obama needed to hear.
     CLINTON: And whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.
     GREGORY: During the campaign, she complained about sexism. But at the convention, she was more playful in speaking to her staunchest supporters.
     CLINTON: To my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

     Analyzing the speech with NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd

     MATT LAUER: This is going to be nitpicked. This speech is going to be analyzed and hyper-analyzed all day long. So, let's break it down to her words and her tone. How did she do with words?
     MITCHELL: I think the words were perfect. I don't see how she could have found a better way of expressing herself and coming out strongly for Barack Obama....

     LAUER: People asking why didn't Hillary Clinton make this definitive statement earlier? Was perhaps the reason she understands political theater better than anyone and she realized this was going to be a big night and the impact would be far greater than doing it on a Tuesday night after a primary months ago?
     MITCHELL: Well, she did make that big statement at the building museum. They went to Unity, New Hampshire.
     LAUER: A lot of people didn't buy it, though.
     MITCHELL: Well- and she took some time to grieve. That really is what happened. She was bitter. She was unhappy. She really felt that they had blown it, blamed herself, blamed other people. There was a lot of tension. But she got over it and she was more of a professional than the other one.
     TODD: Matt, it took Ted Kennedy years to get over losing to Jimmy Carter.
     MITCHELL: Yeah.
     TODD: It took John McCain about seven years to get over losing to George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton is actually doing this at a faster pace than most primary losers.

 

Williams Again Wonders 'If Not Hillary,
Who? If Not Now, When?'

     On two separate occasions during the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live on Wednesday, host Brian Williams continued to wonder, as he did repeatedly the night before, if there will ever be a female President, pleading: "If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when?" He recited the line during discussions with Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. Williams first raised the topic during the second segment of the hour.

     After asking Rep. Lowey about her thoughts on Senator Hillary Clinton's Democratic National Convention speech, Williams wondered: "Congresswoman, we have talked about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. As I said to Tom Brokaw on the air last night, the people who came to gladly vote for Senator Clinton, came with hammers in their hands to break that glass ceiling. They didn't cast their vote lightly. And here's the conundrum. If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when? Because, after all, it's been a generation since Geraldine Ferraro, another member of the New York congressional delegation, was on a national ticket."

     After Lowey gave the typical response that Hillary Clinton ran an historic campaign and women cannot afford to elect Senator John McCain President, Williams rephrased the question and made it more personal: "I'll put it differently, Congresswoman. When Nita Lowey's grandchildren look up and ask when there's going to be a woman President of the United States, when you look at the bench of this party at this convention, the Republican Party next week in St. Paul do you tell them?"

     Just before 1:30 p.m. EDT, Williams again brought up the subject of a female president during his discussion with NBC political director Chuck Todd. After Todd talked about the difference between Hillary's supporters throughout the Democratic primary deciding to support Obama and the Clintons' "entourage" of people who have gotten VIP treatment at Democratic Party functions for the past 16 years supporting Obama, Williams added: "[B]ut the other issue, especially for all those of us with daughters, party aside, you, last night when you raised the fact that it's been an American generation since Geraldine Ferraro and then you look at if not now, when, that becomes such an interesting question. As we look at the bench on both the Republican side and the Democratic side."

     [This item, by MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     As the August 27 CyberAlert noted noted, Brian Williams also brought up this same question of "if not Hillary, who, and if not now, when" on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News and then twice more during NBC's Tuesday prime time coverage: [www.mrc.org

     The relevant August 27 transcripts follow:

     # 1:06 p.m. EDT:

     BRIAN WILLIAMS, host: We have another member of Congress on deck who's been waiting patiently to talk to us. Representative Nita Lowey in the state New York. An early and strong supporter of Senator Clinton, who, like a lot of other Democrats who came out for Senator Clinton, is getting in line behind this ticket. And congresswomen, first of all, thank you for being with us from our train station location and we'll hope we don't have an engine coming through, as it has all week long, at about this hour. First of all, tell me about what you thought of Senator Clinton's speech last night.
     REP. NITA LOWEY: Brian, it's a pleasure for me to be with you. And she gave an extraordinary speech. If I would use the usual lingo, I would say she hit it out of the ballpark, and she really delivered. It was a home run. And she made the case for Barack Obama. She made it clear we have to take this country in a new direction. And I know that whether there were delegates enthusiastically applauding or supporting Hillary Clinton or those who already supporting Barack Obama, we are all united after that great speech and ensuring that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.
     WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, we have talked about the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. As I said to Tom Brokaw on the air last night, the people who came to gladly vote for Senator Clinton, came with hammers in their hands to break that glass ceiling. They didn't cast their vote lightly. And here's the conundrum. If not Senator Clinton, who? And if not now, when? Because, after all, it's been a generation since Geraldine Ferraro, another member of the New York congressional delegation, was on a national ticket.
     LOWEY: Brian, this is a historic celebration of the nomination of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton made it very clear that we cannot afford four more years of Bush/McCain policies. And when you think ahead and when you think about the Bush/McCain plans to denying women equality, to compromise the right to choose, you think about those judges that McCain, if he were elected, would appoint to the Supreme Court, there is no question that Hillary Clinton made the case for women, for men, for all people in this country to support Barack Obama as the next president.
     WILLIAMS: I'll put it differently, Congresswoman. When Nita Lowey's grandchildren look up and ask when there's going to be a woman President of the United States, when you look at the bench of this party at this convention, the Republican Party next week in St. Paul, what do you tell them?
     LOWEY: Hillary Clinton ran an extraordinary campaign, she has made history. And when her name is put in nomination, and when Barack Obama's name is put in nomination all the people there and around the country will understand that the United States is moving in the right direction. Those 18 chips in the glass ceiling that Hillary made, there will be a woman as president. But we need to elect Barack Obama now. Hillary Clinton made it clear we must take the country in a new direction. Whether it's education or healthcare or women's rights or housing or war or bringing our troops responsibly home, we cannot afford four more years. We cannot support McCain. And I think everyone who attended last night, no matter who they supported before, understands the persuasive case that Hillary Clinton presented.
     WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us. Congresswoman Nita Lowey from New York.
     # 1:23 p.m. EDT
     WILLIAMS: This is one of those "were you watching" moments from last night. Senator Clinton had taken the stage. Her husband, the president, entered the hall a few minutes before her speech. And he's mouthing over and over again the words "I love you." Bill Clinton, who also it has to be pointed out for context, all of us who are hyper familiar with the public persona of Bill Clinton, is about as camera aware as anyone to ever hold public office. Which all brings us, and I can't wait to hear his reaction to this, to our political director Chuck Todd. Fresh from anchoring an hour of our coverage himself. Chuck, you and I were there for all of that last night. But we now have the perspective of a night's rest. And looking at some of the journalists who have been writing about it. Roger Simon in "Politico" writes, "There's a winner and there's a loser. Barack Obama won. Hillary Clinton lost. And Clinton supporters need to get their heads, if not their hearts, around that." And listen to this, "there's a point when a demand for respect turns into an aura of entitlement and some have been acting as if it were preordained that Clinton would win the Democratic nomination." Where do you think this whole matter is this morning as we get ready to hear from President Clinton tonight?
     CHUCK TODD: Well, I think we're, we have the Denver bubble, as you and I talked about earlier this week, where we knew that there are a whole bunch of big-time fund-raisers in Clinton world, who, for 16 years, Brian, they got to the front of the line. They got the best reservations in town at whatever convention restaurant there was. They had the best credentials, they could dole them out. And suddenly, it was coming to an end. This was the first time they, for a lot of them, that they'd attended a convention where they weren't a big deal or they were less of a big deal. And I think that contributed to the atmosphere we saw here. But I think when you saw, when you saw Andrea Mitchell and Savannah Guthrie finding these delegates, the ones that were with Hillary as much for her positions as for her gender, who were sitting there and saying to themselves, I have seen a whole generation of women grow up since the last time there was a woman on the national ticket, and they seem to come to grips with the fact, with what Roger wrote this morning, which is Hillary lost, Obama won. They still love Hillary. They'll end up being for Obama. And I think the supporters of Senator Clinton are there. It's the, it's the, the entourage of the Clintons, to use, I guess, that term, a Hollywood term, is who is still not there yet, Brian.
     WILLIAMS: Well, I think you so correctly point out the dual issues. Perhaps the party passing of the baton, control of the party from Clinton to Obama, but the other issue, especially for all those of us with daughters, party aside, you, last night when you raised the fact that it's been an American generation, since Geraldine Ferraro and then you look at if not now, when, that becomes such an interesting question. As we look at the bench on both the Republican side and the Democratic side.
     TODD: Well, it's, you know, frankly, look, I remember in 1996, you know, right after that convention, you'd hear, there is just no way the year 2000 will come and go without at least one woman on one of the tickets. In 2000, and this was the chatter right after the '96 convention, you know, I think everybody and their brother was predicting that, you know, it would be Dianne Feinstein or it would be a Kay Bailey Hutchinson or a Christie Whitman or Kathleen Brown when people thought she was a shoo-in at the time, back in '94, to be California governor. And none of that ever happened. And now we are over a generation. We're going to be at 28 years, unless John McCain surprises him and we've got a good, live, TV moment here, Brian. My apologies for that. But we do have this whole generation that is now sitting here going, who's next? Maybe it's the governors, Kathleen Sebelius. Maybe it will end up being a Meg Whitman, who herself isn't ready now, but is going to probably run for governor and wants to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. And we all know, once you're governor of California, everybody thinks you're ready to be president.
     WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd from the train station. Chuck, tell your intern to refrain from giving you on-air instructions while we're on air and maybe the commercial breaks are the best time for that kinda thing.
     TODD: It's the only way I can hear these days: megaphones.
     WILLIAMS: Train stations turned into an interesting, shall we say, location for live television. Chuck, I'll see you several times today and, of course, next on "Nightly News" later tonight from Denver.

 

NBC's Luke Russert Touts Hillary's 'Pretty
Damn Good' Speech

     Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, appeared as a correspondent on Wednesday's Today show to tout the technological superiority of the Barack Obama campaign and its "online political revolution." Co-host Meredith Vieira pronounced the 23-year-old's reporting "terrific," but really the segment was just another puff piece on liberals such as Obama and Bill Clinton. Regarding the latter, Russert recounted meeting the ex-president at the Denver Democratic convention and being asked by Clinton how his Senator wife's speech went. Russert replied, "Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good."

     The bulk of the segment featured Russert interviewing Jayron Finan, a new supporter of the Illinois Senator and a Democratic delegate. Russert explained: "Inspired by Obama's stand against the war and his less confrontational political style, she visited his website and got involved." Continuing to repeat talking points and cliches, he added: "As she heads to the convention hall, Jayron believes that bringing new blood to the political process is the best way to bring about change."

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

     NBC co-host Matt Lauer appeared awed at the tech savvy Obama campaign. He marveled: "It's amazing. Barack Obama really does seem to have embraced technology and the internet even when you talk about text messaging, the announcement that Joe Biden would be his running mate." Of course, that text message actually came at 3am on the morning of August 23, a few hours after it had leaked to the media.

     Additionally, in a lone voice of dissent, political analyst and Republican campaign veteran Mike Murphy was featured in a clip. He observed, "Well, this was President Howard Dean's plan, too. You know, the magic of the Internet is going to swamp regular politics and it didn't happen."

     At the end of the segment, the young Russert described his encounter with President Clinton: "I was in the hallway, managed to avoid the Secret Service. I got underneath the Secret Service hand line there and I talked to him. And he goes, 'How did my girl do? How did my girl do?'" It was at this point Russert said he replied, "'Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good.' And he says to me, 'She knocked it out of the park. Home run. Home run. I'm so proud of her.' So, you could obviously see a very jubilant ex-president walking the halls here in Denver."

     A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:43am on August 27:

     7:01am tease
     MATT LAUER: We're going to have to have much more on that coming up, and we'll also hear what former president Bill Clinton had to say to the newest member of the NBC News political team, Tim Russert's son, Luke, Meredith. We look forward to hearing from him.
     MEREDITH VIEIRA: Yeah, I've been watching some of his coverage. It's been terrific.

     7:43am
     LAUER: And welcome back to Denver and the home of the Democratic National Convention. According to a recent study, six and a half million people between the ages of 18 and 29 actually voted during the 2008 primary season. That is nearly double the number of young voters who participated back in 2000. Following in his father's footsteps, NBCs Luke Russert is covering Decision 2008 with us and he found out that the Obama campaign has harnessed the power of the internet in ways that could change the face of politics.
     LUKE RUSSERT: On a quiet street in North Seattle, there's an outpost of Barack Obama's online political revolution. 30-year-old kindergarten teacher Jayron Finan is one of more than one million members of My.BarackObama.com. How politically active were you before this campaign?
     FINAN: Oh, gosh. It's funny. Four years ago, I was watching the Democratic convention. I had know idea who those people were standing by the state signs. I had no idea what a delegate was.
     RUSSERT: And now she's one of them. Packing her bags with her husband, Danny, who is an Iraq war veteran, and coming to Denver. Inspired by Obama's stand against the war and his less confrontational political style, she visited his website and got involved.
     FINAN: And I saw that you could create a profile. You could find meetings. You could even make phone calls throughs the website.
     RUSSERT: Facebook has 70 million members and Chris Hughes, one of the developers, was hired by the Obama campaign to bring the power of social networking to My.BarackObama.com.
     CHRIS HUGHES (Facebook): You know, people can come online and they can search for an event that's happening near them. You just put in your zip code. You find events with a couple clicks and then you go out and show up on Saturday morning to a real-life event.
     RUSSERT: And that's the key. Turning online interest into meeting that created volunteers and precinct captains in those critical early caucuses. It has also raised more than $20 million for the campaign.
     HUGHES: The goal was never numbers driven. And it's still not numbers driven. It was much more about providing to the excited people out there on the ground the tools to get organized in their own communities.
     RUSSERT: What's at stake? A recent NBC News poll found that Obama holds nearly a 20-point lead over McCain with voters 18 through 34. But among all voters older than that, McCain has a one-point lead. And more older voters vote. So, every young voter, like Jayron, counts.
     MIKE MURPHY (NBC News political analyst): Well, this was President Howard Dean's plan, too. You know, the magic of the internet is going to swamp regular politics and it didn't happen.
     RUSSERT: As she heads to the convention hall, Jayron believes that bringing new blood to the political process is the best way to bring about change.
     FINAN: If we want to win, if we want to take our country back, it has to be, like, people like me who have never done anything like this before.
     LAUER: And Luke Russert, good morning. Good to have you here.
     RUSSERT: Thanks for having me, Matt.
     LAUER: It's amazing. Barack Obama really does seem to have embraced technology and the internet even when you talk about text messaging, the announcement that Joe Biden would be his running mate. What are you seeing and what are young people seeing from the McCain side of things? Have they embraced it equally?
     RUSSERT: No, they haven't. And it's something that's really shocked me. John McCain was popular amongst young people, is popular amongst young people. If you look at old articles from the primary season, a lot of kids said I'll support either Barack Obama or John McCain because they're both authentic. There's a niche for him to tap into. In 2000, he was one of the first candidates to use the internet to fund raise. They have a thing called McCain Space, but it has not nearly the traffic that My.BarackObama.com has.
     LAUER: Is it to late? In the next two months can they improve that to the point it where at least it does draw some attention?
     RUSSERT: I think you can always get bet better.
     LAUER: Let me ask you about your experience here. First time on this side of the camera or in this role. What's it been like for you?
     RUSSERT: Oh, it's been unbelievable. It's been a lot of hard work. We're putting in 12-13 hour days. But it's such a great job because no single day is the same. You're always out in the field covering new, important stories. You always get producers in your ear telling you have to wake up at 3:45 in the morning to be here on the "Today" show and you're happy to do it. Yeah, getting used to it.
     LAUER: Which you can get used to that. You had one of those moments after Senator Clinton addressed the convention. You actually ran into former President bill Clinton. What was the encounter like? What did he say to you?
     RUSSERT: I did. I was in the hallway, managed to avoid the Secret Service. I got underneath the Secret Service hand line there and I talked to him. And he goes, 'How did my girl do? How did my girl do?' And I said, 'Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good.' And he says to me, 'She knocked it out of the park. Home run. Home run. I'm so proud of her.' So, you could obviously see a very jubilant ex-president walking the halls here in Denver.
     LAUER: And you'll probably get a lot of attention this morning when you say you got underneath he Secret Service web. I'm sure they'll be talking to you about that. You know the expression, you gotta take the good with the bad? The good for me is that you're here. The bad is that it reminds me that your dad is not. But I'll take the good in this case.
     RUSSERT: Well, thank you- You're very kind and I just want to say that Jayron, the lovely girl that was on that piece is expecting and we're announcing that on the "Today" show to her friends and family that she's expecting a child in March. So-
     LAUER: Breaking news already.
     RUSSERT: Congratulations to her.

 

NBC Gushes Over Common Man Joe Biden,
the 'Amtrak Senator'

     On Wednesday's Today, frequent MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle filed a fawning, credulous report on "Amtrak Senator" Joe Biden and his daily habit of taking the train home from Washington D.C. after completing his duties in the U.S. Senate. Barnicle, who accompanied Biden during one of these trips back to Delaware, seemed to be repeating talking points when he touted how the journey keeps the politician grounded: "The train ride also had another benefit: Keeping him in touch with real people and his working class Irish Catholic roots."

     After listing what political pundits think are Biden's strengths, the journalist cooed, "But for the Amtrak Senator, it's about working people he feels a part of." As though he were narrating one of the promotional videos that have been used to introduce speakers at the Democratic convention, Barnicle pivoted off a comment by Biden that one doesn't need a focus group for most political issues. The MSNBC personality extolled, "All you need, says the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, is a seat on a train that takes you home every night."

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

     Today co-host Matt Lauer actually teased the NBC piece by asserting, "The Democrats like to say the senator's got the common touch." Clearly, it's not just Democrats who will be promoting that particular angle. The graphic for the Barnicle segment unquestioningly announced, "All Aboard: Riding the Rails With Joe Biden."

     In a previous piece, reporter Andrea Mitchell and NBC political analyst Chuck Todd preemptively praised Biden's vice presidential speech, set for Wednesday night. Mitchell claimed she saw Biden practicing the address in the Denver convention hall. "And he is going to be ready. This guy knows how to give a speech," she enthused. Todd agreed: "Biden is good speech theater. Ask labor guys. This guy knows how to give fire and brimstone. It will be- People will be surprised by what they see tonight."

     And while Today found time to rhapsodize about Biden's everyman appeal and his toughness, unsurprisingly there was no labeling of the senator, a committed ideological liberal, in either segment. Biden's lifetime score from the American Conservative Union is 13: www.acuratings.org

     A transcript of the August 27 segment, which aired at 8:24am:

     MATT LAUER: Well, Senator Joe Biden, it's his big night tonight. He's the man that Barack Obama picked as his running mate. The Democrats like to say the senator's got the common touch. It may be in part because he likes to take the train to and from work every day. It's because, actually, he needed to be with his kids when they were young and dealing with tragedy. So, we're going to go along for the ride.

....

     MATT LAUER: Welcome back to Denver where Senator Joe Biden will accept his party's vice presidential nomination tonight. You know, he likes to say that he's not a typical Washington politician because, in part, he takes the train to and from his Delaware train every single day. Before he got the nod to become Barack Obama's running mate, Senator Biden took a ride on that train with MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle.
     NBC GRAPHIC: All Aboard: Riding the Rails With Joe Biden
     SENATOR JOE BIDEN: I take this train- literally, I've taken it, over 7,400 times since I've gotten into the Senate.
     MIKE BARNICLE: Mr. Biden's neighborhood?
     BIDEN: Yeah, well, it kind of is my neighborhood. Never planned on doing that. I thought I was going to live in Washington when I got elected, like everybody else.
     BARNICLE: Elected to the Senate in 1972 at 29, Joe Biden endured a huge loss before he was even sworn in. An automobile accident claimed his wife and daughter.
     BIDEN: A guy driving a tractor trailer broadsided my wife. Killed my wife, killed my daughter and my two sons were really badly injured.
     BARNICLE: He nearly gave up his Senate seat, but party leaders persuaded him to stay. But he decided to go home to his sons every night.
     BIDEN: A kid can hold an important thought for 12 hours, If you miss it, man, it's gone. So, I just made sure every morning when I got up, when they got up, I was there. Because that's when they wanted to talk.
     BARNICLE: Five years after the accident, Joe Biden married a Delaware schoolteacher. They had a baby girl and he kept taking the 250 mile round trip every day. The train ride also had another benefit: Keeping him in touch with real people and his working class Irish Catholic roots.
     BIDEN: I'm an Irish Catholic kid from a town we're going to pass we're going to pass in a few minutes called Claymont, Delaware. You know, the guys I went to school with, they became, you know, joined the union, were firefighters, cops or priests. In Washington, you get down there, you think you're pretty important. It sort of sneaks up on you. But when you come home every day, I do like everybody else does. I stop, pick up the milk on the way home or if I forgot the bread I go back out. You know, and people see me every day.
     BARNICLE: Pundits talk about Biden's foreign policy experience, his ability to attack Republicans and the strength he brings in a key battleground state like Pennsylvania. But for the Amtrak Senator, it's about working people he feels a part of.
     BIDEN: Look, they're worrying about putting food on the table. They're worry about getting the kids to school. They're wondering whether their mother has a prescription. They're worrying about holding their marriage together. They're worried about their kid in Iraq and whether he's coming home.
     BARNICLE: You don't need a focus group for this stuff.
     BIDEN: No, you don't. I don't think you do.
     BARNICLE: All you need, says the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, is a seat on a train that takes you home every night.

 

ABC's GMA Suggests Viewing Obama 'A Religious
Experience'

     On the Obama Messiah watch, in the last half-hour of ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed photographer Pete Souza who has a new book of Obama photographs. In addition to cooing over photos of the Obama daughters and Obama with the Kennedys, Cuomo highlighted photos of women looking adoringly at Obama: "And now, of course, the insight you're able to capture out on the trail. You say, it's so much like a religious experience for people as they meet him. Let's see the view that you get. Look at them with their hands clasped." Hallowed be thy name, Barack?

     Souza described his images: "This is early on and you can just see the people are curious about him. This was in Springfield the day that he announced he was running for president. This was in South Carolina, a lot of curiosity early on, I think."

     Before that, Cuomo saw "a continuum of leadership" from Abe Lincoln to Martin Luther King to Obama. Souza highlighted a rather pedestrian photo of Obama reading a magazine in his office, strangely touting his ability to relax. (Like so few Americans can?)

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

     From the last half-hour of the Wednesday, August 27 GMA:

     CUOMO: Now, you have a picture of Obama in his office that you believe is revealing beyond what we can just see. Let's take a look at that photo. Is he asleep there? What's going on?
     SOUZA: No, he's reading a magazine but the context of the photo is important in that you see what he has on the wall behind him, a portrait of Thurgood Marshall, Abraham Lincoln on the left and on the far left from the march in Washington in 1963, so I like the context of the photo in his surroundings.
     CUOMO: A continuum of leadership.
     SOUZA: And shows you how relaxed a man he can be.
     CUOMO: Right, that's what they're saying about him. He has a very calm demeanor.

     Then came the Kennedys, and Cuomo (whose brother Andrew married and divorced Kerry Kennedy, one of Robert and Ethel Kennedy's daughters) chatted like a family insider:

     CUOMO: Now here at the convention, the Kennedy family, the senator, the lion of the Senate, has had a big impact here. You have a photo with Obama and Ethel Kennedy, who is of course Robert Kennedy's widow. Let's take a look at that, nice warm embrace. Ethel is a very warm loving person.
     SOUZA: He was asked to give a keynote address at the RFK memorial on Capitol Hill and Ted Kennedy was standing beside me and said to Barack, "thanks so much for agreeing to do this speech." And Senator Obama replied "when Ethel calls, how can you say no?" And that's when she went over and gave him that hug.
     CUOMO: She is tenacious, but so warm and loving.

     It felt like a very warm Democratic family gathering at ABC, the supposedly nonpartisan news outlet. For the record, Souza has photographed leaders on both sides of the aisle: from 1983 to 1989, he was an official White House photographer for Ronald Reagan: www.digitaljournalist.org

 

CNN, Not FNC, Punts on Pelosi's Catholic
Abortion Teaching Gaffe

10) CNN placed a total news blackout on Nancy Pelosi's misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and history on abortion on Sunday's Meet the Press and the subsequent reaction from several prominent Catholic bishops and from pro-life politicians. The news network did not mention the story at all between Sunday morning, when Pelosi made her remarks, and early Wednesday evening. This contrasts with major media outlets such as AP, Reuters, the Washington Post, and Fox News picking up on the controversy, not to mention the conservative blogosphere and talk radio.

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

     For the August 26 report by AP's Eric Gorski, "Pelosi stands by abortion comments," see: www.washingtonpost.com

     For the August 27 report by Ed Stoddard of Reuters, "Pelosi's abortion comments provoke Catholic criticism," check: blogs.reuters.com

     For the August 27 Washington Post article by Jacqueline L. Salmon, "Archbishop Disputes Pelosi's Statements," go to: www.washingtonpost.com

     This past Sunday, Meet the Press host Tom Brokaw asked Pelosi about Barack Obama's now-infamous "above my pay grade" answer to a question about when human life begins and how she would respond to a similar question. She cited that as an "ardent, practicing Catholic," she had researched the Church's stance on the matter over the centuries, referenced how St. Augustine apparently helped her make take the pro-abortion position, and that the Church's current position that human life begins at conception has only been around "maybe 50 years or something like that."

     Several Catholic bishops began to issue statements correcting Pelosi's public misrepresentation of Church teaching on Monday afternoon. As a result, mainstream media outlets began to pick up on the story by Monday evening/Tuesday morning (Thomas Peters of American Papist blog gives an excellent timeline of the controversy so far, as well as a list of some of the media outlets that have picked up on it). Check: www.americanpapist.com

     Despite the coverage from their media peers, there was only one oblique reference to Pelosi's pro-abortion stance on CNN, which came from a liberal talking head, and not from any of the network's anchors or correspondents. During CNN's Tuesday evening coverage of the Democratic convention, Hilary Rosen, political director for the Huffington Post, mentioned Pelosi's attendance at a reception earlier that day hosted by the Emily's List, whose stated mission is to help elect "pro-choice Democratic women to office." Rosen failed the mention the "pro-choice" component to their mission in her remark, which came 48 minutes into the 7 pm Eastern hour of CNN's coverage: "...I have a report from backstage at the Emily's List event. Emily's List, you know, is that organization -- that great organization that elects Democratic women. Today was their big gala event. They had Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama all sharing the stage together, and Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama had a chance to meet backstage prior to that gala."

     Outside of the CNN blackout, the story did get some notice by the television news media. MRC's Brad Wilmouth highlighted that Brit Hume on his evening Special Report program on Fox News Channel devoted an entire segment on Tuesday to the Pelosi/abortion issue.

     For the August 26 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth, "FNC: Catholic Leaders Respond to Pelosi's Abortion Claims," go to: newsbusters.org

 

On MSNBC, Actor Richard Dreyfuss Rails
Against 'Corrupt' GOP

Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon to promote his new movie, America Betrayed, a left-wing screed produced by a former CNBC anchor that purports to be a "documentary" about the evils of the American government during the past seven years, actor Richard Dreyfuss slammed the Republican Party as "corrupt through and through," "adept at thievery," and that "the rest of the country" abandoned New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

     Dreyfuss drew loud cheers from the liberal audience gathered around MSNBC's outdoor spot as he nonsensically declared: "I am tired of being called a traitor because I like my flag and I like -- and I support the troops."

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted, with video, Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     His claim that New Orleans was "abandoned" is absolutely vapid: The Coast Guard responded rapidly, saving thousands from the rapidly rising flood waters. Millions of Americans donated money to help the victims. The federal government has pumped billions of dollars into reconstruction.

     Even a clip from the film Dreyfuss narrated acknowledged billions of dollars in federal aid to Katrina victims, since he bemoaned "$2 billion of recovery money for Katrina was squandered due to waste, fraud, and abuse."

     And as for America Betrayed, a July 24 article in Variety included a quote from the movie's producer, Leslie Carde calling her film "a long, hard look at how this country handles disaster, which ones they indirectly cause and how corporate America and their friends in the White House profit from those disasters in the long run."

     Variety also gave some background on the producer: "Carde, a network TV journo and CNBC anchor, has made numerous visits to Iraq since 2003, including a trip for this doc." For the Variety story: www.variety.com

     In Wednesday's interview, O'Donnell herself seemed to buy into the loopy left-wing hype, at one point describing the hurricane as "a man-made disaster." She quickly added a clarification: "Because of the government's response, some say."

     Dreyfuss played to the obviously left-wing crowd outside of MSNBC's broadcast area, milking the applause and receiving cheers each time he bashed the Bush administration as corrupt or incompetent.

     Here's the exchange from about 3:25pm EDT on August 27:

     NORAH O'DONNELL: And with the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina quickly approaching, a new documentary is shining a spotlight on our government's role in the worst man-made disaster in American history -- because of the government's response, some people say. Academy-award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss narrates €˜America Betrayed,' a film that not only mentions Katrina but [drowned out by loud cheering of crowd outside MSNBC's booth]....

     CLIP FROM AMERICA BETRAYED
     DREYFUSS NARRATING: In August of 2007, a government audit of the $30 billion congressionally-approved budget for reconstruction in Iraq, now shows that $8 billion is unaccounted for. And according to the Government Accountability Office nearly $2 billion of recovery money for Katrina was squandered due to waste, fraud, and abuse.
     SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, AT HEARING: I've asked many times whether the no-bid contracts that were handed out in the wake of the hurricane have been terminated, and unfortunately I still have not received a clear answer.
     END CLIP

     O'DONNELL: And joining us now, Richard Dreyfuss, who narrates this new documentary [more loud cheering. Dreyfuss stands and begs with his arms for the crowd to keep cheering.] Don't you get enough praise and adoration? You're here. You're obviously famous. A lot of people know you, of course, even from the €˜Jaws' movies. But you are narrating this documentary and bringing attention to Hurricane Katrina. Why?
     RICHARD DREYFUSS: Well, Katrina was a natural disaster and the first time in history that the rest of the country abandoned a city or a state that had been the victim of a national -- of a natural disaster. And watching that happen was awe-inspiring. In Europe -- I was in Europe at the time, and they have 6,000 years on us on how to oppress the poor -- but they were struck dumb by how awful our coverage was.
     O'DONNELL: You told me something very interesting that FEMA meeting the night before Hurricane Katrina struck. That was seen on television here in the United States, very few times. And yet in Europe, how many?
     DREYFUSS: It was shown all the time, five, six times a day for three months.
     O'DONNELL: And so what do you think that makes Europeans think about American competence and our government?
     DREYFUSS: I don't think Europeans have any confidence in our government. I think that the last eight years has destroyed 200 years of respect and [loud cheers], and dedication. And I think that we have been the point of meaning and admiration in the world for very specific reasons, and George Bush trashed it.
     O'DONNELL: So, you don't think that John McCain would be able to manage this government well, would have a different response than George Bush to a Hurricane Katrina?
     DREYFUSS: I think the Republican party is corrupt through and through [cheers] and even the Republicans, like, like Buckley before he died, said we should lose this election, go into the wilderness and get cleansed. And I believe that's true. I think that they have been in office too long. I think that they're too adept at thievery, at moving the Constitution into places it never meant to go. I think that they have an extraordinary ability to divide rather than unite. And I think that I am tired of being called a traitor because I like my flag and I like -- and I support the troops. [cheers from crowd outside MSNBC's booth]
     O'DONNELL: All right. Richard Dreyfuss. Great to have you on.

 

'Top Ten Things Overheard at the Democratic
National Convention'

12) From the August 26 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard at the Democratic National Convention." Late Show home page: lateshow.cbs.com

10. "Check it out -- Bill Clinton and John Edwards are hitting on the same woman"

9. "The decorations are made from 'John Kerry 2004' bumper stickers"

8. "I think the Chinese delegates are underage"

7. "No, Mr. President, you belong at the Republican convention"

6. "Senator Biden, do you think you'll shoot an old guy in the face?"

5) Shut up! I'm trying to listen to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle"

4. No number 4 -- writer at screening of "The House Bunny"

3. "Coming up next, a look at Democratic candidates' greatest concession speeches"

2. "Yes, at midnight they're going to tase Andy Dick"

1. "Hey, it's a giant Al Gore balloon! Oh, wait. That's Al Gore"

-- -- Brent Baker, with the night team: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth and Matthew Balan, plus Michelle Humphrey and Karen Hanna on the DVRs

 


 


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