CNN: Taliban Kept "Law and Order"; Public Disapproval for Media Coverage; Vietnam Analogies; Connie Chung Sang to Dan Rather
1) The Taliban aren’t all bad, CNN reporter Kamal Hyder
contended Tuesday night. On the up side, in Kandahar the Taliban kept
"a semblance of law and order."
2) The public approves of the performance of all of the
major players in the war on terrorism, except one: the "news
media." A Gallup poll released on Wednesday found 54 percent
disapproval for how the news media are "handling the war on terrorism
since September 11," compared to 43 who approve.
3) R.W. Apple in the New York Times two weeks ago:
"Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the United States
facing another stalemate on the other side of the world?"
4) Dumb question of the week, from CBS’s Jane Clayson:
"What about the Airbus itself, will we see it in the air
5) "In the rear window, you'll find sweat from the
back of my head," Dan Rather told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gail
Shister about his cab ride to the train station. Upon learning of the
plane crash while he was on a plane, Rather recalled: "My first
reaction was, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.’"
6) To the tune of "Love and Marriage," Connie
Chung, who once anchored the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in a failed
experiment, sang a song parody to him. One stanza: "Dan and
Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad that I
came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one..."
the up side, despite a lack of electricity in Kandahar as it was being
bombed, the Taliban did "succeed in certain things" as they kept
"a semblance of law and order," CNN reporter Kamal Hyder
contended Tuesday night.
Hyder, who had just arrived in Quetta,
Pakistan from Kandahar, talked to anchor Aaron Brown on CNN’s 10pm EST
NewsNight on Tuesday night, November 13. After Hyder recounted how the
Taliban were abandoning the city as he left it too, Brown asked him
whether the people would celebrate the defeat of the Taliban as they had
done in Kabul.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that Hyder
acknowledged that the Taliban enforced policies the people did not like,
but then he added a caveat. Hyder told Brown that the "dreaded vices
and virtues ministry" had banned music and harassed men for having
beards which were too short as they "unleashed a reign of terror on
the cities of Afghanistan. Obviously, therefore, when these people are
gone from Kandahar city there will be a sigh of relief as far as the
people are concerned, but at the same time, it would be unfair to say that
the Taliban did not succeed in certain things. The law and order for
example, even today as Kandahar is bombed and there is no electricity and
streets remain open and vacant, the Taliban still keep a semblance of law
Can you imagine a U.S. reporter taking a
similar approach during World War II as the Nazis retreated across Europe,
looking at the up side of how the Nazis kept "a semblance of law and
order" in France or Poland?
Even if you don’t recognize the name Kamal
Hyder, if you watch CNN you may be familiar with his work. He has a beard
and a thick accent and is apparently a native of the region, though the
CNN Web site does not have a bio for him under either CNN or CNN
International. You can see a picture of him by going to:
public approves of the performance of all of the major players in the war
on terrorism, except one: the "news media." A Gallup poll
released on Wednesday found 54 percent public disapproval for how the news
media are "handling the war on terrorism since September 11,"
compared to 43 who approve.
That compares to 89 to 8 percent approval over
disapproval for President Bush’s performance. Attorney General John
Ashcroft and the Postal Service earned 77 percent approval, as did
Congress despite media angst over the fight over federalizing baggage
screeners. A fourth of those polled have no opinion about Tom Ridge, but
his 60 percent approval still means four times as many approve as
The MRC’s Rich Noyes caught the poll result,
which is not in the Gallup Organization’s press release about the survey
conducted November 8-11 of 493 adults nationwide, but it is listed on the
PollingReport.com Web site.
The question: "Do you approve or
disapprove of the way the following people are handling the war on
terrorism since September 11th?"
You can see the results in an orderly table
Here is my rendition, with the percentages for
"approve," "disapprove" and "no opinion"
listed in that order after each name or entity:
|George W. Bush
|Secretary of State
|or the CDC
|Director Tom Ridge
|The news media
For Gallup’s rundown of the poll which posed
That summary does not mention the above
question, but the accompanying RealPlayer video of Gallup’s Frank
Newport delivering an overview of the poll does cite the negative
assessment of the news media. Newport attributed the disapproval for the
media to over-coverage of anthrax and to how the media had been bringing
bad news about the war effort in Afghanistan.
I’d suggest it might have something to do
with people wondering whether some in the media think they are above being
Americans, an excessive focus on stressing the negative and questioning
the actions of the players, of which the poll found, the public
To watch the video of Newport, go to the above
listed Gallup page. On the left you’ll see a link to the video report.
[Web Update: On November 16 Gallup posted a
polling analysis which explored the finding
about disapproval for the news media: "High Approval for Most
People/Institutions Handling War on Terrorism; But majority of Americans
disapprove of news media's performance." It relayed how "just
43% of Americans approve of the way the news media have been handling the
war, and 54% disapprove."
Gallup added these details: "Approval
ratings for the news media vary somewhat among demographic subgroups, but
even the most positive groups show no more than half who approve, far
below the approval rating of all other people and institutions mentioned
in the poll. Exactly 50% of males under the age of 50 approve of the news
media, as do 50% of Democrats and 50% of people who did not attend church
in the past seven days. By contrast, only 38% of older males, 33% of
Republicans and 33% of people who attended church in the past seven days
indicate their approval."
For more, go to: http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr011116.asp]
Apple’s Vietnam Syndrome. Speaking of negative spin in the news media,
the MRC’s Rich Noyes recently collected a series of New York Times
articles in which R.W. "Johnny" Apple, the newspaper’s former
Washington Bureau Chief, obsessed about how Afghanistan may become another
-- Apple, writing in the Week-in-Review
section, September 30: "We may
hear about an assassination here, a terror attack there, a special forces
operation that succeeds, a bombing mission that doesn’t, but it will not
be easy to tell what it all adds up to. The government will tell us, of
course, but those with long memories will recall the notoriously
unreliable government accounts of progress in Vietnam and wonder. There
the body count or the number of pacified hamlets was said to hold the
answer, but it didn’t. What will the new measure be? Bank accounts
closed? Terrorist cells smashed?"
-- October 15 "news analysis" piece
by Apple: "[President Bush] has found no way yet to involve the
American people as a whole in the campaign -- that vast majority who were
not touched by the Sept. 11 attacks or the various anthrax scares, who do
not serve in the military. The danger, over the long term, is loss of
interest....The experience of Vietnam is instructive. Lyndon B. Johnson,
sensing the minimal support for the war in Vietnam, hesitated to appeal
for sacrifice. He restricted tours of duty for the military, and he
promised the American people that they could have both guns and butter. In
the midst of ‘prosperity that has been unequaled in this nation,’ he
said defiantly in 1965, ‘I see no reason for declaring a national
emergency, and I rejected that course of action.’"
-- An October 30 "news analysis" by
Apple: "Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the United
States facing another stalemate on the other side of the world? Premature
the questions may be, three weeks after the fighting began. Unreasonable
they are not, given the scars scoured into the national psyche by defeat
in Southeast Asia. For all the differences between the two conflicts, and
there are many, echoes of Vietnam are unavoidable. Today, for example,
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld disclosed for the first time that
American military forces are operating in northern Afghanistan, providing
liaison to ‘a limited number of the various opposition
Doesn’t look now like much of a
question of the week, from CBS’s Jane Clayson. Interviewing an aviation
consultant on Tuesday’s Early Show, Clayson wondered if the American
Airlines crash Monday of an Airbus airplane would mean that model would no
In a November 13 segment on the economic
plight of the U.S. airlines, she asked Michael Boyd: "What about the
Airbus itself, will we see it in the air anymore?"
Boyd set her straight: "Oh sure, I mean,
that airplane has been in the air for almost 30 years, or that version of
the Airbus. Airbus builds a fine airplane, but remember Airbus builds a
machine and machines do break. So, I think that's probably the alpha and
the omega of it, we have a machine that broke. It isn't necessarily
something that should put a pall over every Airbus."
By Clayson’s reasoning, the Boeing 737 would
long ago have been taken out of service.
Rather paid a Philadelphia cab driver $100 to get him from the airport to
the train station in just 14 minutes so he could catch a train back to New
York City after his plane was diverted to Philadelphia because of the
crash in Queens. "In the rear window, you'll find sweat from the back
of my head," Rather told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gail Shister,
"a New York cabbie couldn't hold a candle to this fellow."
Upon learning of the crash while he was on a
plane, Rather recalled: "My first reaction was, 'Our Father, who art
Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews)
and James Taranto’s "Best of the Web" on www.OpinionJournal.com
highlighted the November 13 story by Shister recounting Rather’s
experience in the cab and on the plane before. An excerpt:
CBS's Dan Rather credits a Philadelphia cabbie with making sure he got
to New York quickly after his flight from Texas was diverted yesterday to
Rather's American Airlines Flight 1342 from Austin to New York's
LaGuardia was rerouted after the crash of American Airlines Flight 587
after takeoff from JFK yesterday morning.
Once on the ground, Rather was whisked to a cab by American Airlines
employees Jeff Plant and Jill Johnson. They had been tipped off by
Rather's ace assistant, Claire Fletcher. (She's being treated for
Rather got to 30th Street Station "in a flat 14 minutes. I made it
clear to the driver he was on the incentive system."
The incentive was $100. "In the rear window, you'll find sweat
from the back of my head," Rather says. "A New York cabbie couldn't hold a candle to this fellow."
Rather caught the 12:43 Metroliner, got to CBS by 2:15, and did his
first report at 3:55....
Rather was returning from a family event in Austin -- his first flights
since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Here's his account:
About 9:45 a.m., a flight attendant handed him a note from the captain
about the crash. (The captain had said hello to him in the terminal.)
"My first reaction was, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' My second
reaction was, 'Here we go again.' My third reaction was, 'Don't assume
At 10:40, the pilot made a "calm, low-key announcement." A
woman in the seat across the aisle from Rather "burst into tears, touched my hand, and asked if I knew any more
For his part, Rather "felt like something dropped in the pit of my
stomach. I had some concerns, but I'm fatalistic in the sense that if your
number's up, you're going to get it. If it isn't, you aren't."
At 10:55, the pilot told the passengers he had been instructed to land
in Nashville, and the plane turned around.
About five minutes later, the pilot said that the New York airports
were going to reopen and that he would land there. The plane made another
"I was figuring I'd be lucky to get to New York some time that
Next thing he heard was the pilot saying the plane was circling the
Baltimore airport, awaiting instructions.
With the situation at the New York airports "unclear" and
fuel running low, the pilot said he would land in Philly, refuel, then go
to New York....
For Shister’s account in full, go to:
tune of "Love and Marriage," at a Tuesday night event at which
Dan Rather received an award, ABC’s Connie Chung, who anchored the CBS
Evening News with him in a failed 1993-94 experiment, sang a song parody
Her first stanza, as recounted by the New York
Post: "Chung and Rather/Chung and Rather/How the gossips used to love
to blather/None of it was true, Dan/I treasured sitting next to you,
An excerpt of the November 14 New York Post
story by Michael Starr about Chung’s appearance at the dinner produced
by the New York Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts
....Chung, who co-anchored the "CBS Evening News" with Rather
from 1993-95 -- an often stormy alliance -- materialized as Rather was
inducted by Maury Povich into the Silver Circle of the New York Chapter of
the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences.
The ceremonies, hosted by Povich (Chung's husband), came to a sudden
halt as Chung walked in and sang to the tune of "Love and
Here's how it went:
"Chung and Rather/Chung and Rather/How the gossips used to love to
blather/None of it was true, Dan/I treasured sitting next to you, Dan.
"Dan and Connie/Dan and Connie/Nothing like Mark Green and
Giuliani/As I said to Maury/It's time to tell the honest story.
"I loved being your co-anchor/Right from the starting/You'd be in
Afghanistan/I'd be with Tonya Harding.
"Dan and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and
gather/Glad that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number
one/And here's your Silver Circle platter." [See below for a
corrected transcription of the end of this line.]
"This is my tribute to Dan," Chung told The Post. "Maury
came up with the idea -- and I always do everything my husband asks me to
END Excerpt of the story posted at:
On Tuesday night, the NBC-produced Access
Hollywood program played a clip of Chung singing this stanza: "Dan
and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad
that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one/And here's
your Silver Circle plaque, Daaaaan!"