Jennings’ Anti-Israel Skew; Thomas’s Pro-Palestinian Push; Bush Illegitimate to CNN’s New Host; West Wing’s Latest Liberal Rants
1) Peter Jennings opened World News Tonight by lamenting
how "at least a dozen people died...all Palestinians," as
"the Israeli campaign in the occupied territories became more
aggressive." But in conflict with Jennings’ intended implication,
they weren’t all caused by the Israeli army. As CBS’s Dan Rather
noted, one was a Palestinian bomber who blew himself up.
2) Peter Jennings stressed how out of the step the U.S.
has become, asserting: "It is more or less alone in its support of
Israel." He cited protests in nations which have been friendly to
Israel. ABC’s Martha Raddatz confirmed for him that the U.S. is alone in
its defense of Israel as she emphasized how there were anti-Israel
protests "all over Europe."
3) Helen Thomas’s anti-Israeli views came through loud
and clear at Monday’s White House press briefing: "Does the
President think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of
brutal military occupation and suppression?"
4) In recent dispatches Reuters has insisted upon using
quotes to describe Israel’s efforts to counter a "campaign of
terror" and on behalf "rooting out terrorists," but has
passed along without quotes how the Palestinians are rising up against
"occupation" in "their struggle for independence."
5) CNN’s new co-host of Crossfire, Paul Begala, is
unable to let go of his partisan grudges, even in a time of war. He
demanded to know: "When is the Congress going to stand up to these
authoritarian acts from a right-wing unelected President?"
6) Tonight’s West Wing will feature another showcasing
of a liberal cause, the dangers of shipping nuclear power plant fuel rods
across the country. Last week, the program railed against drilling in the
Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) as characters recited a litany of
talking points espoused by real-life liberal environmental groups.
7) Letterman’s "Top Ten Responsibilities of the
Jennings opened Tuesday’s World News Tonight by lamenting how "at
least a dozen people died...all Palestinians," as "the Israeli
campaign in the occupied territories became more aggressive." But in
conflict with Jennings’ intended implication, they weren’t all caused
by the Israeli army. As CBS’s Dan Rather noted, one was a Palestinian
bomber who blew himself up.
Jennings, back in New York City after being in
the region last week, opened the April 2 broadcast: "Good
evening everyone. As far as we can tell, and it is not easy, at least a
dozen people died in the Middle East today as the Israeli campaign in the
occupied territories becomes more aggressive. The deaths, we believe, were
all Palestinians. Israel has now taken the city of Bethlehem and made it a
closed military zone."
But as Dan Rather pointed out from Jerusalem
on the CBS Evening News, one at least was hardly a victim of Israel:
"...And tonight, yet another Palestinian suicide bomber, the seventh
in seven days, blew himself up at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank.
This time the bomber killed only himself."
Jennings on Tuesday night made sure his viewers realized how out of the
step the U.S. has become, asserting: "It is more or less alone in its
support of Israel." He ran through protests against Israel around the
world, emphasizing protests in nations which have been friendly to Israel.
ABC reporter Martha Raddatz confirmed for him that the U.S. is alone in
its defense of Israel as she stressed how there were anti-Israel protests
"all over Europe."
ABC gave far more time on Tuesday night to
protests than did either CBS or NBC. Jennings asserted on the April 2
World News Tonight, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In the
Arab world today there were demonstrations again against the Israeli
campaign. In next door Jordan, which is largely Palestinian, thousands of
people demanded that the Jordanian government cut its ties with Israel. In
Egypt, which has also signed a peace treaty with Israel, a couple of
thousand people demonstrated near the Israeli embassy, and the police used
tear gas and water cannon to break it up. There were also anti-Israeli
demonstrations in Bangladesh and in Turkey, which is quite friendly to
Israel. This conflict in the Middle East has now put the United States in
a difficult position. It is more or less alone in its support of Israel.
ABC's Martha Raddatz is at the State Department. What other country,
Martha, besides the United States, is in this position?"
replied: "Well, Peter, I can't name a single country that is really
supporting Israel in this fight, saying they should pull out those tanks
from Ramallah. They're certainly not condoning the suicide bombings, but
very strong language about pulling those tanks out of Ramallah and other
areas. There were protests not only in Arab states but all over Europe as
anti-Israel world view of UPI veteran Helen Thomas, who is now with Hearst
Newspapers, came through loud and clear at Monday’s White House press
briefing. Thomas demanded: "Does the President think that the
Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal military occupation
Former MRCer Clay Waters alerted me to the
agenda pursued by Thomas at the top of the April 1 briefing with Ari
Thomas posed the first question of the day:
"Ari, does the President think that the Palestinians have a right to
resist 35 years of brutal military occupation and suppression?" Fleischer:
"Helen, the President believes that a result of a process that has
got to focus on peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The President
was the first to go to the United Nations and call for a Palestinian
state. That remains the President's hope. That remains the President's
vision. And, obviously, events in the Middle East have grown very violent.
But that is the vision that the President continues to hold out for."
wouldn’t let go: "But he does think they have a legitimate right to
fight for their land?"
"Helen, I do not accept the description of the premise of your
question, and the manner that you asked it."
picked up by the microphone, muttered: "Occupation, 35 years."
As Glenn Reynolds suggested on the Instapundit
Web site, "Helen Thomas is now reporting for Al Jazeera, or at least
that's what her opening ‘question’ at today's White House press
conference suggests." The Instapundit Web page of comments:
recent dispatches Reuters, which refuses to characterize the September
11th attacks as "terrorist," has insisted upon using quote marks
to describe Israel’s efforts to counter a "campaign of terror"
and on behalf "rooting out terrorists," but has passed along
without quote marks how the Palestinians are rising up against
"occupation" in "their struggle for independence."
In his "Best of the Web" column for
James Taranto highlighted how Reuters accepts the Palestinian spin as fact
while showing skepticism for the Israeli view by putting it in quote
In his Monday column, Taranto cited this graph
in a Reuters story: "Israel pledged to leave no stone unturned to
halt a ‘campaign of terror’ against it after a suspected suicide
bomber killed at least 12 people in the port city of Haifa Sunday."
Taranto asked: "Why the scare quotes
around ‘campaign of terror?’ It's Reuters being evenhanded again. But
can anyone really claim the Palestinian Arabs aren't waging a campaign of
terror against Israel? Here's a roundup of the attacks since Friday
afternoon: "-- A
bomb at an Arab-managed restaurant killed 14 in Haifa yesterday.
Palestinian terrorist blew up a coffee shop in Tel Aviv Saturday night,
member of Arafat's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade shot and killed an Israeli
border guard in Baka al-Garbiyeh Saturday.
"-- A suicide bomber in the West Bank city
of Efrat blew himself up outside an emergency room yesterday, injuring
four. David Bedein notes that this attack ‘was directed against the
medical services that Arabs receive from private Jewish funds.’
Palestinian sniper in Bethlehem killed an Israeli in Jerusalem this
"-- A car
bomb hit Jerusalem this evening; details are still sketchy."
Taranto then noted how the Reuters story
blast occurred as the Israeli army battled Palestinian President Yasser
Arafat's security forces outside his West Bank offices and was part of a
major surge in violence since a Palestinian uprising against occupation
began 18 months ago."
Taranto wondered: "Why no quotation marks
around Palestinian uprising against occupation? Reuters, it seems, is
evenhanded only when it is at the expense of the Jews."
To read the un-bylined Reuters story cited by
On Tuesday, Taranto cited another Reuters
story: "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said the military
campaign is aimed at ‘rooting out terrorists.’ Palestinians say Israel
wants to destroy their struggle for independence."
Taranto observed: "Sharon's
characterization gets scare quotes; the Palestinians', which is surely no
less tendentious, doesn't. If evenhandedness were really Reuters' goal, it
wouldn't be so blatant about expressing its bias."
For that April 2 story, from Reuters reporter
Said Ayyad in Bethlehem, go to:
Begala, CNN’s new co-host of Crossfire, George W. Bush isn’t the
legitimate President. Even in a time of war Begala is unable to let go of
his partisan grudges, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, as Begala
demanded to know: "When is the Congress going to stand up to these
authoritarian acts from a right-wing unelected President?"
CNN on Monday night debuted its new hour-long
version of Crossfire, broadcast live at 7pm EST each night from George
Washington University, with Paul Begala and James Carville alternating in
the chair on the left and Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak alternately holding
down the chair on the right. On Monday night, all four appeared on the
With Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as the
guest, Begala went on this rant on the April 1 show: "The problem is
not whether Daschle has been too obstructionist, the problem has been the
way Bush has run roughshod over the executive branch. He, for example, I'm
told, refused to brief you and other leaders from both parties on Capitol
Hill about his shadow government. He has refused to allow the Government
Accounting Office, a nonpartisan agency, to review the records of the
Cheney Energy Task Force. He has refused to allow our Homeland Security
Director, whose salary we pay, to come and testify before the Congress
that pays his salary on behalf of the American people." Carlson:
"Is there a question here, somewhere?"
"The question is this, when is the Congress going to stand up to
these authoritarian acts from a right-wing unelected President? [audience
cheers and applauds] That's the question. You asked [for] a question,
Tucker, that was a question."
"That was a soliloquy!"
chuckling: "Paul, that's a very good question."
episode of NBC’s The West Wing airs tonight at 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST,
and will feature another showcasing of a liberal cause, the dangers of
shipping nuclear power plant fuel rods across the country. Last week, the
program railed against drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR)
as characters recited a litany of talking points espoused by real-life
liberal environmental groups.
Martin Sheen, as "President Josiah
Bartlet," insisted drilling "will forever damage natural
treasures like ANWR." After a staffer expresses skepticism about the
damage drilling will cause, the Press Secretary lectures him: "It
hurts flesh and blood subsistence hunters in the area, changes migratory
patterns in ways we don’t even understand, increases freezing depths of
rivers and lakes....It will cause pollutant haze and acid raid and all
this in exchange for?" The skeptical staffer is now convinced and so
responds with the liberal party line: "Not a lot of oil to begin
That The West Wing advances the liberal cause,
to an audience far larger than which watches all of cable news channels
combined or any one broadcast network news program, is not lost on liberal
activists. Last week, Boston Globe reporter Mark Jurkowitz observed: "Bartlet
-- played by Martin Sheen -- may command the nation's bully pulpit for
only one hour a week. But in his third year (or season) as president, the
words and deeds that emanate from his Oval Office carry genuine political
clout, according to activists who work on the issues that fill West Wing
thing, the show pushes the hot buttons -- from RU_486 to gun control, from
global warming to the estate tax. As a committed -- if flinty -- liberal,
Bartlet provides an outlet for positions that don't get traction in the
real White House these days. And as the ninth-highest-rated show, The West
Wing attracts the hearts and minds of an impressive 18 million viewers per
don't know anyone who doesn't watch it,’ says Scott Stoermer, spokesman
for the League of Conservation Voters, who has a ‘Jed Bartlet is my
president’ bumper sticker in his office. An episode about the
environment gets people thinking about the subject, he says, ‘and to be
able to pique someone's curiosity about these issues is an extraordinarily
To read Jurkowitz’s March 27 story in full:
The March 27 West Wing opened with President
Bartlet in the Oval Office conducting TV interviews with local affiliates
about his upcoming press conference announcement of an energy plan. He
tells one local anchor: "Thursday night we’re going to talk about
energy dependence versus independence, and cleaner burning fuels that get
up to 80 miles per gallon versus oil-based fuels that pump billions of
gallons of pollution into our air."
After "Communications Director Toby
Ziegler," played by Richard Schiff, points out that there is a
"12 point kick with ANWR between ‘exploring’ and
‘drilling,’" Bartlet tells another satellite interviewer:
"Exploring is what Magellan did and Balboa and Jacques Cousteau. What
you’re talking about is drilling, which is the only way you know if
there’s oil there and which will forever damage natural treasures like
Later, the President’s personal aide,
"Charlie Young," played by Dule Hill, expresses doubt about the
White House position. He and "Press Secretary C.J. Cregg,"
played by Allison Janney, have this exchange: Charlie:
"If we want to be energy independent, if we’ve been relying for too
long on foreign oil, what’s wrong with drilling in Alaska?"
will do huge and lasting damage to the environment and will not in the
long run reap that much oil."
"It will have zero impact on the environment. And how do you know how
much oil is down there until you explore?"
"You mean drill?"
"That’s how you get where the oil’s at."
C.J. asks an aide to put together a briefing
packet for Charlie and soon after the two meet up again in a hallway and
Charlie reveals he has seen the light:
C.J.: "So as a matter of cold fact,
chipper, you’ll see that it’s the porcupine caribou and ANWR is their
calving ground and you can’t put a price on that, but that’s hardly
the point." Charlie,
reading from the folder: "36 species of fish, 36 land mammals, 160
different bird species. I admit, this is a lot of wildlife."
"Forget the wildlife. It hurts flesh and blood subsistence hunters in
the area, changes migratory patterns in ways we don’t even understand,
increases freezing depths of rivers and lakes."
"And the emissions from drilling."
"Welcome home. It will cause pollutant haze and acid raid and all
this in exchange for?"
"Not a lot of oil to begin with."
Those liberal claims seem to be lifted
straight from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Web site. Check
these two pages with the arguments against exploring ANWR:
In the past when I’ve written items about
The West Wing I’ve received feedback about how the show is irrelevant
since it’s not a news program. Keep in mind that three times more people
watch The West Wing than tune into the Today show and The West Wing’s
liberal advocacy is seen by about 20 to 30 times as many people as are
watching a cable news channel on average and about nine times more than
watch the highest-rated cable news show, FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor.
In another subplot on the March 27 episode,
President Bartlet took a shot at West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin’s
stand-in for George W. Bush: "Governor Robert Ritchie" of
Florida, the Republican presidential candidate. After the interview with
the fictional Philadelphia station ends, but while still live with the
anchor, President Bartlet is asked about Ritchie’s book in which he
advocates drilling in ANWR. Bartlet replied: "I think we might be
talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 caliber world."
Tonight, The West Wing takes up another
liberal cause, the danger posed by the Bush administration’s plan to
transport used nuclear power plant fuel rods to a storage site in a Nevada
mountain. The description on NBC’s Web site for the April 3 episode:
"The President's staff reacts to the crash of a heavy rig bearing
uranium fuel rods in a remote Idaho tunnel that could pose an
environmental -- or terrorist -- crisis...."
Also, an "unwitting Veep ponders how to
keep a favorite bill intact that would provide Internet access for the
NBC’s page for The West Wing:
Despite all his political advocacy, a little
over a month ago in an interview with the New Yorker, West Wing writer
Aaron Sorkin preposterously maintained: "We're a completely
fictional, nonpolitical show."
For more about that and his criticism of
President Bush, as well as a complete rundown of the show’s most
obnoxious left-wing preaching over the years:
March 28 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by members of the
National Guard, the "Top Ten Responsibilities of the National
Guard." The Late Show Web page: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/
10. Deploy to wherever American forces are needed, preferably somewhere
(Staff Sergeant Catherine Knoebel)
9. Organizing peacekeeping efforts at all Clinton family gatherings
(Staff Sergeant Justin Rubin)
8. When all you lazy people return un-rewound Blockbuster videos, who
do you think rewinds them?
(Specialist Raymond Ramirez)
7. We make sure your state doesn't get pushed around by the other
(Senior Airmen Jennifer Rolon)
6. Keeping a close eye on that CBS talking baby
(Specialist Jennifer Durkin)
5. Reading lame comedy lists on second-rate late-night talk shows
(Specialist David Lee)
4. 24-hour perimeter security around Derek Jeter's locker
(Senior Airmen Laurie Santangelo)
3. We guard the nation...You know, as in "The National Guard"
(Tech Sergeant Todd Lobraico)
2. Looking damn good in uniform
(Specialist Godfrey Leigh)
1. Protecting our greatest national treasure, Oprah
(Sergeant Keith Meyers)
Scheduled to be a guest next Tuesday on the
Late Show: Attorney General John Ashcroft.
-- Brent Baker
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