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The 2,864th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
8:40am EDT, Friday April 10, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 70)

 
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1. Couric Presses Holder from Left on Guns and Probing Bush Crimes
After pounding away at Attorney General Eric Holder over enacting more gun control, as Katie Couric fretted that "Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA," Couric raised "the issue of the treatment of some of the detainees" at Guantanamo and prompted Holder to denounce former Vice President Dick Cheney. In the taped interview aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Couric cited "alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's been reported that he was water-boarded. You have come out publicly and said water-boarding is torture. So how would that stand up in civilian court?" She also highlighted how "Holder addressed recent criticism" by Cheney, "who said the Obama administration was making choices that will raise the risk of another terrorist attack." Couric pressed: "Are you implicitly saying that Dick Cheney was inappropriate and off base?" An un-aired query: "Senator Patrick Lahey has suggested a special commission to investigate whether federal crimes were committed when it comes to things like water-boarding. Do you think that's a good idea?"

2. ABC Wonders If You Care About Obama Bow; White House: 'A Lean'
In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's Nightline, ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated: "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?" He then recited: "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered: "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed: "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!"

3. Gun Special on ABC to Dismiss Using Guns for Self Defense?
Will the Friday night ABC 20/20 special, "If I Only Had a Gun," dismiss and deride the concept of using firearms to defend oneself and stop a potential massacre? An ad that aired during Wednesday's Good Morning America seemed to suggest yes. As ominous music played in the background, an announcer intoned: "Friday night on ABC, when it comes to protecting yourself, you may think, 'If I only had a gun.'" Video then played of an experiment in which a female college student attempted to pull out what looked like a pellet gun to stop a faux Virginia Tech-style massacre. The ad's announcer quizzed: "But if you had a gun, could you defend yourself in a crisis?" After an unidentified voice asked the young woman where she would be if this had been real, she responded: "Probably on the floor. Hopefully in an ambulance." More video showed young children pointing real guns at each other and themselves. The announcer solemnly wondered: "What about the irresistible pull of guns on kids and how easy can you get them? Diane Sawyer investigates with David Muir. 'If I Only Had a Gun.' One stunning hour."


 

Couric Presses Holder from Left on Guns
and Probing Bush Crimes

     After pounding away at Attorney General Eric Holder over enacting more gun control, as Katie Couric fretted that "Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA," Couric raised "the issue of the treatment of some of the detainees" at Guantanamo and prompted Holder to denounce former Vice President Dick Cheney. In the taped interview aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Couric cited "alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's been reported that he was water-boarded. You have come out publicly and said water-boarding is torture. So how would that stand up in civilian court?" She also highlighted how "Holder addressed recent criticism" by Cheney, "who said the Obama administration was making choices that will raise the risk of another terrorist attack." Couric pressed: "Are you implicitly saying that Dick Cheney was inappropriate and off base?"

     Couric was most-obsessed with guns, hitting Holder repeatedly from the left:

     - "What about reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole? Do you think that would stop the flow of weapons into Mexico from the U.S.?"

     - "While the Attorney General said he supported reinstating the assault weapons ban during his confirmation hearing, he's been silent on the subject since." Couric became conspiratorial: "Did someone tell you to back off?"

     - "It's been reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA and receiving more campaign contributions from that organization than in previous years, and nobody wants to get the NRA riled up..."

     - "What about gun shows? In over 30 states, people can simply walk into gun shows and buy a gun, sometimes from unlicensed dealers, without a background check. Would you support closing the gun show loophole?"

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

     CBSNews.com video and transcript of the entire interview, including questions about the Stevens trial which aired on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, as well as portions that didn't air either night: www.cbsnews.com

     Two of Couric's queries from the left which didn't make it onto the newscasts:

- Senator Patrick Lahey has suggested a special commission to investigate whether federal crimes were committed when it comes to things like water-boarding. Do you think that's a good idea?

- The state secrets doctrine, developed by Bush administration allows the executive branch to refuse to disclose certain things in court because it could threaten national security. During a recent case in San Francisco involving five people who were part of the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program, the Obama administration, as you know, used the same argument. Which came as a surprise, frankly, to the judge. Meanwhile, the head of the ACLU said, quote, "Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets. But his Justice Department has disappointedly reneged on that important civil liberties issue." Why?

     Couric's tease: "Also tonight, a CBS News exclusive. The Attorney General on the Mexican drug war, closing the gun show loophole, and attacks by the former Vice President. Are you implicitly saying that Dick Cheney was inappropriate and off base?"

     The interview excerpts, as aired on the Wednesday, April 8 CBS Evening News, with the closed-captioning corrected against the video by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

     COURIC: Attorney General Eric Holder had a warning today for federal prosecutors in the wake of the Ted Stevens case. He said their job is not to convict people or to win cases but to do justice. Holder is trying to clean up the tarnished image of the Justice Department he inherited. And in a wide-ranging and exclusive interview, I asked this country's chief law enforcement officer about the many challenges he faces.
     He may be the first African-American Attorney General, but he's no stranger to the Justice Department. His first job out of Columbia Law School was in the public integrity division as a trial lawyer, and he later became deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration. He left government in 2001 to go into private practice before being tapped for the top job this past January. The 58-year-old father of three is married to a Washington OBGYN and has been a close friend of the President's since Barack Obama was elected to the Senate, sharing a love of the law and basketball. He recently returned from Mexico where violence between a handful of warring drug cartels fighting over control and supply routes is increasingly threatening this country. So far, 230 U.S. cities have been infiltrated by Mexican drug gangs. Following his visit, he pledged greater U.S. cooperation with Mexican authorities.
     COURIC TO HOLDER: How concerned are you, Attorney General Holder, about corruption within the ranks of law enforcement in Mexico?
     HOLDER: Oh, that's clearly a problem, and the Attorney General of Mexico will tell you that. When you have that amount of money that's flowing through any country, it has an impact or has a potential to have an impact on society generally, and law enforcement is no different.
     COURIC: But that does make cooperation pretty challenging.
     HOLDER: Well, it makes it challenging but not impossible, and we've come up with ways in which we are able to share intelligence with those who are with us in these battles against these narco-traffickers.
     COURIC: What about reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole? Do you think that would stop the flow of weapons into Mexico from the U.S.?
     HOLDER: Well, I think the thing that we need to do is come up with those things that we can do right away. And we're going to be moving 100 ATF agents to the border, about 26 DEA agents to the border, and that will happen over the course of the next 30 days or so. And I think that will have a pretty dramatic impact on reducing the flow of weapons into Mexico.
     COURIC: But another major issue is guns being purchased and used in this country given a recent series of mass shootings €" from southern Alabama to upstate New York €" have killed 57 people. While the Attorney General said he supported reinstating the assault weapons ban during his confirmation hearing, he's been silent on the subject since.
     COURIC TO HOLDER: Did someone tell you to back off?
     HOLDER: No. No one's told me to back off. I understand the Second Amendment, I respect the Second Amendment. I think we need to use common sense tools to keep the American people safe.
     COURIC: It's been reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA and receiving more campaign contributions from that organization than in previous years, and nobody wants to get the NRA riled up. So has this become political at all?
     HOLDER: No, I don't think it has. In fact, I look forward to working with the NRA to come up with ways in which we can use common sense approaches to reduce the level of violence that we see in our streets and make the American people as safe as they possibly can be.
     COURIC: What about gun shows? In over 30 states, people can simply walk into gun shows and buy a gun, sometimes from unlicensed dealers, without a background check. Would you support closing the gun show loophole?
     HOLDER: Well, again, these are issues that we'll have to discuss. The President will be the one who will ultimately set policy, things that are politically salable and things that will ultimately be affected.
     COURIC: Does closing the gun show loophole fall into those categories?
     HOLDER: That will be one of the things I'll talk about with the President.
     COURIC: Another thorny issue on the AG's plate, where to put the approximately 250 detainees currently being held in Guantanamo. Among them, five who have been charged as co-conspirators in planning 9/11.
     COURIC TO HOLDER: Is there any chance that some of the high-value detainees -- I believe there are 14 of them currently in custody -- will be transferred to U.S. prisons?
     HOLDER: It's hard to say. At this point, we are, again, making these individualized determinations, and it's not clear where any of the detainees will ultimately end up. But what we will make sure we do is that the American people will be safe with regard to whatever decisions that we make.
     COURIC: Many of the cases are complicated by the fact they involve classified information that could compromise national security if discussed in open court. Despite that, for the first time, Holder said Article III or federal courts will likely handle a number of high-profile, politically sensitive trials.
     HOLDER: We will bring, I think, a substantial number of those people who we decide to charge in Article III courts. Others might be taken to military courts, others perhaps to these military tribunals with some enhanced measures.
     COURIC: There is also the issue of the treatment of some of the detainees. For example, alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's been reported that he was water-boarded. You have come out publicly and said water-boarding is torture. So how would that stand up in civilian court?
     HOLDER: Well, that's one of the issues that we have to deal with, to try to figure out exactly what we can do with detainees who have been subjected to these enhanced interrogation techniques and whether that poses a problem in bringing tryable cases.
     COURIC: Attorney General Holder also addressed recent criticism by former Vice President Cheney, who said the Obama administration was making choices that will raise the risk of another terrorist attack.
     HOLDER: Well, I think that's totally false. It's inconsistent with the facts. If you look at what the President is doing, what this administration is doing in Afghanistan, what we're doing with regard to Guantanamo, I think the former Vice President's remarks are way off the mark.
     COURIC: What do you think of him making those remarks to begin with?
     HOLDER: Well, I would just say that I respect former President Bush and former Secretary of State Rice who indicated that for at least some period of time, a period of silence and letting this administration try to determine what steps it's going to take is appropriate.
     COURIC: Are you implicitly saying that Dick Cheney was inappropriate and off base making those comments?
     HOLDER: I'll let other people decide that.
     COURIC: Since Holder and the President are such good friends, I asked the Attorney General how he'll maintain his independence. He told me he's a hard-headed lawyer, and he expects to clash with the President at times. But, Holder said, the President understands how important it is for the Justice Department to operate without White House interference.

 

ABC Wonders If You Care About Obama Bow;
White House: 'A Lean'

     In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's Nightline, ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated: "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?"

     He then recited: "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered: "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed: "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!" See Terry Moran's Twitter page: twitter.com

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

     ABC should be given credit for actually showing the video, but the question is, was Moran attempting to dismiss the situation as frivolous and not important or actually investigate its relevance?

     A transcript of the brief April 9 segment:

     TERRY MORAN: ["Closing Arguments" logo comes up]: That means it's time for tonight's closing argument. President Barack Obama standing among fellow leaders at the G-20. [Video of the incident.] He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waste. But was it a bow? A breach of presidential protocol when greeting royalty. The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President. So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care? Tell us on the Nightline page at ABCNews.com, the "Nightline" Twitter page or at my Twitter page.

 

Gun Special on ABC to Dismiss Using Guns
for Self Defense?

     Will the Friday night ABC 20/20 special, "If I Only Had a Gun," dismiss and deride the concept of using firearms to defend oneself and stop a potential massacre? An ad that aired during Wednesday's Good Morning America seemed to suggest yes. As ominous music played in the background, an announcer intoned: "Friday night on ABC, when it comes to protecting yourself, you may think, 'If I only had a gun.'" Video then played of an experiment in which a female college student attempted to pull out what looked like a pellet gun to stop a faux Virginia Tech-style massacre.

     The ad's announcer quizzed: "But if you had a gun, could you defend yourself in a crisis?" After an unidentified voice asked the young woman where she would be if this had been real, she responded: "Probably on the floor. Hopefully in an ambulance." More video showed young children pointing real guns at each other and themselves. The announcer solemnly wondered: "What about the irresistible pull of guns on kids and how easy can you get them? Diane Sawyer investigates with David Muir. 'If I Only Had a Gun.' One stunning hour."

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

     Good Morning America has been promoting the special all week. On Monday, reporter David Muir filed a segment on the tragic shootings last week in Pittsburgh and New York. He featured a clip from the very anti-Second Amendment group, The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. But, no identification of their political affiliation was made on the show. See an April 7 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

     The special will air at 10pm EDT/PDT, 9pm CDT/MDT on Friday, April 10. Viewers probably shouldn't be surprised if the hour long program gives little attention to the Second Amendment side of the argument. A 2000 study by the Media Research Center found that ABC provided some of the worst coverage on the issue of gun control. See the MRC's "Outgunned: How the Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun Control Debate," at: www.mediaresearch.org

     A transcript of the ad, which aired at 7:42am on April 8, during a commercial break from Good Morning America:

     ANNOUNCER: Friday night on ABC, when it comes to protecting yourself, you may think, "If I only had a gun." But if you had a gun, could you defend yourself in a crisis? [Video of a faux school shooting where a young woman tries to shoot a 'gunman' with a pellet gun.]
     UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you think you'd be right now?
     FEMALE COLLEGE STUDENT: Probably on the floor. Hopefully in an ambulance.
     ANNOUNCER: [Video of young children and teens pointing guns at each other and themselves] What about the irresistible pull of guns on kids and how easy can you get them? Diane Sawyer investigates with David Muir. "If I Only Had a Gun." One stunning hour. Friday at 10/9 central on ABC.

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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