Jennings: Iraq Allowing Inspectors “Without Conditions”; NBC Focuses on Anti-U.S. Iraqi Opinion; Tying Constitution’s Birthday to Iraq Vote; NBC Condemns Campaign Finance “Broken Promise”; More Attention for “John Walker’s Blues”; Fresh Shots at Liberals by James Woods
1) Iraq put conditions on the access of weapons inspectors, but despite that ABC’s Peter Jennings declared that Iraq had decided “to allow the weapons inspectors in without conditions.” Both NBC and FNC noted the inaccuracy of that claim while all three broadcast evening shows recalled Iraq’s duplicity in frustrating weapons inspectors in the past.
2) Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News featured a story from Ron Allen in Baghdad about Iraqi public opinion, as if people in an oppressive dictatorial society have the option of disagreeing with the official line. Allen relayed: “Many Iraqis believe America's true motive is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, install a puppet government and seize Iraq's vast oil wealth.”
3) Peter Jennings celebrated the 215th birthday of the Constitution by highlighting how some history professors complained that the failure of Congress to vote on whether to declare war on Iraq “has left the President solely in control of war powers to the detriment of democracy and in clear violation of the Constitution.” NBC’s Katie Couric raised the same issue on Today with Second Lady Lynne Cheney.
4) Assuming John McCain’s campaign finance regulatory scheme is beyond questioning, NBC’s Tom Brokaw hailed how “supporters of campaign finance reform” had “finally passed a bill into law this year.” But now, he lamented, “implementing the law Congress passed is turning even more into a big broken promise.” Noting a liberal advocate’s complaint that Congress is failing to fix the misguided FEC rules which are gutting the bill, Lisa Myers scolded: “Congress’ claim to have finally fixed the system could be another in the long litany of Washington’s broken promises.”
5) Another network showcase for Steve Earle, singer of “John Walker’s Blues,” a song defending the Taliban soldier. On Monday’s Nightline Up Close, Chris Bury described Earle as a singer “who is now taking heat because he is standing up for an unpopular figure.” Bury heralded how Earle is “speaking out for everyone's civil liberties, even if it's John Walker Lindh." In August, NBC’s Today devoted a segment to Earle and his pro-Walker song.
6) Fresh shots at liberals from one of Hollywood’s few non-liberals, actor James Woods. On Access Hollywood, Woods criticized Senator Clinton for not attending 9-11 funerals and defended Rudy Giuliani’s decision to separate from his wife. Woods complained about how “there's a few liberal feminists still left, God knows why,” who blame Giuliani for the separation.
7) “Shannon O'Brien could become first woman governor,” announced a headline over a CNN Web site story about the Democratic primary in Massachusetts, but the third paragraph of the story contradicted that premise: “The incumbent, Republican acting Gov. Jane Swift, is not running.”
Iraq put conditions on the access of weapons inspectors, but ABC’s Peter Jennings, nonetheless, declared that Iraq had decided “to allow the weapons inspectors in without conditions,” a development, Jennings warned, which has “complicated matters for the Bush administration.”
CBS and NBC refrained from the “without conditions” claim. Dan Rather opened Tuesday’s CBS Evening News by stating that “Saddam Hussein has allowed UN inspectors to return to Iraq to hunt for weapons of mass destruction.” Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw referred to how Hussein had decided to “let arms inspectors back into Iraq.”
NBC, however, unlike ABC or CBS, explicitly noted how Iraq is not providing full access. Andrea Mitchell explained: “The administration says inspectors were blocked from going to suspect locations in the past and that Iraq's letter does not promise complete access to non-military sites, such as hospitals where germ weapons can be hidden, presidential palaces, mosques.”
As Jim Angle pointed out on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, the problem arises in this paragraph of the letter to the UN Security Council from Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr. Naji Sabri: “[T]he Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all member states of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and Article II of the Charter of the United Nations.”
The New York Times posted the entire letter:
All three broadcast network evening shows on Tuesday night, September 17, aired stories about Iraqi duplicity the last time inspectors tried to examine potential weapons sites.
ABC reporter Martha Raddatz explained, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: “There is good reason to worry. The first day inspectors arrived in Iraq 11 years ago with a promise of free access, they faced difficulty. The Iraqis repeatedly deemed some sites off limits, sometimes getting physical with the inspectors. To uncover nuclear-related equipment, inspectors tracking a caravan of suspect trucks climbed a water tower.”
From Baghdad, CBS reporter Mark Phillips recalled: “When inspectors were last in Iraq they were repeatedly denied access to locations and documents showing the extent of Saddam's illicit weapons programs.” He concluded his piece by warning: “The last time UN inspectors were based here the result was a seven-and-a-half-year-long Iraqi shell game. Whenever the inspectors manage to get back here, this crisis won't end. It will likely just take a familiar form.”
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw set up a piece from Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon: “Why does the Bush administration refuse to take Iraq at its word? Bitter experience. Baghdad is expert at hiding the evidence and staying one step ahead of the law.”
Like ABC, CBS and NBC stressed how Iraq’s promise to let in inspectors had complicated matters for the Bush administration.
Rather opened the CBS Evening News: “Russia now is key. Saddam Hussein has allowed UN inspectors to return to Iraq to hunt for weapons of mass destruction. This has undercut efforts in the UN Security Council for what President Bush wants: a strong new resolution demanding Iraqi disarmament as promised at the end of the Gulf War.”
NBC’s Brokaw stressed how “the Saddam offer put the U.S. back on the defensive,” before Mitchell asserted: “Tonight the U.S. is scrambling at the UN after Saddam Hussein trumped American diplomacy by welcoming back the UN inspectors.”
Jennings announced on World News Tonight: “Now to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. President Bush said today the United Nations must not be fooled by Saddam Hussein’s offer to allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq. Other countries are treating the Iraqi officer -- the Iraqi offer -- as a sign that the immediate crisis is over. Iraq’s offer to allow the weapons inspectors in without conditions has complicated matters for the Bush administration. And ABC’s Terry Moran joins us. The day before yesterday the administration seemed to have the edge. It seems to shift slightly.”
NBC News as mouthpiece for the enemy? Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News featured a story from Ron Allen in Baghdad about Iraqi public opinion toward the U.S. and President Bush, as if people in an oppressive dictatorial society have the option of disagreeing with the official line or have enough accurate information to form their own independent opinion.
In an especially egregious portion of his September 17 story, Allen relayed: “Many Iraqis believe America's true motive is to remove Saddam Hussein from power, install a puppet government and seize Iraq's vast oil wealth. On the streets, many see Hussein's offer to allow the inspectors back as a wise, brave decision showing strength.”
As a man on the street spoke, Allen translated his words: “'This will stop America's intent to hurt the Iraqi people and our country,’ he says.”
Sounds like Iraqis watch Phil Donahue on MSNBC.
If you’re Peter Jennings what better way to celebrate the 215th birthday of the Constitution than by highlighting how some history professors complained that the failure of Congress to vote on whether to declare war on Iraq “has left the President solely in control of war powers to the detriment of democracy and in clear violation of the Constitution.” NBC’s Katie Couric raised the same issue on Today with Second Lady Lynne Cheney.
To focus on the disgruntled professors, Jennings ignored a White House ceremony with President Bush and David McCullough to announce an effort to improve knowledge of the Constitution.
On Tuesday’s World News Tonight, immediately after stories on Iraq, Jennings announced over video of a few people near an outdoor microphone:
“Today -- and there is a connection -- it is 215 years ago that the Constitution was signed. And on Capitol Hill today historians delivered a petition to Congress saying Congress must vote on whether or not to declare war against Iraq, not just authorize military action. The petition, signed by more than 1200 historians, says by not acting Congress has left the President solely in control of war powers to the detriment of democracy and in clear violation of the Constitution.”
Congress didn’t vote to go to war with North Korea or Vietnam, or in any other case since World War II, so the present situation is hardly novel.
As for who these 1200 historians are, I have no idea since I couldn’t find a word about their petitions or Capitol Hill press event. I checked AP and Reuters via Yahoo and even did a search on Nexis. Came up with zilch.
Tuesday morning on NBC’s Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Katie Couric pressed Lynne Cheney: "As you well know Mrs. Cheney, you know the Constitution is a living document constantly applied to present day situations. And right now it's been invoked a lot by people who feel the Bush administration is constitutionally obligated not just to consult with Congress but to leave in Congress' hands the question of whether or not to declare war. As you know, I'm sure, Section VIII, Clause XI reads: 'Congress shall have the power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal and make rules concerning captures on land and water.' As a historian do you feel the signers' original intent on this matter has really been respected?"
Don’t blame Bush. Nothing is stopping Congress from taking a vote if it wants to.
Instead of portraying the FEC as champions of civil rights battling to protect free speech against onerous government regulations, Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News came at the issue of campaign finance from the left, as usual, painting a picture of failure because FEC rules implementing Senator John McCain’s bill are not strict enough to satisfy the Senator.
Anchor Tom Brokaw titled the “In Depth” segment “Broken Promises.” He hailed how “supporters of campaign finance reform,” which he generously described as “curbing the influence of big unregulated donations known as soft money,” had “finally passed a bill into law this year.” But now, he lamented in language which assumed the regulatory scheme is desirable, “implementing the law Congress passed is turning even more into a big broken promise.”
Reporter Lisa Myers trumpeted: “Six months ago, celebration. Congress finally cleaned up the system, outlawing huge unlimited contributions from business, labor unions and the wealthy.” Noting a liberal advocate’s complaint that Congress is failing to fix the misguided rules which are gutting the bill, Myers concluded by scolding: “Congress’ claim to have finally fixed the system could be another in the long litany of Washington’s broken promises.”
Brokaw introduced the September 17 segment, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
“NBC News In Depth tonight: Broken Promises. After seven years of failures, supporters of campaign finance reform -- curbing the influence of big unregulated donations known as soft money -- finally passed a bill into law this year. But instead of a new era, things seem to be getting worse. For this election cycle, the last where it’s allowed, the political parties have raised record amounts of soft money. The Republicans alone, more than $100 million. Democrats more than $68 million. And now implementing the law Congress passed is turning even more into a big broken promise. Here’s NBC’s Lisa Myers.”
Myers began her crusading story: “Six months ago, celebration. Congress finally cleaned up the system, outlawing huge unlimited contributions from business, labor unions and the wealthy, known as soft money.”
Tom Daschle, Senate Majority Leader: “Now is the time to fix this system once and for all.”
Myers: “But today those who wrote the law charge that an obscure agency 12 blocks from the Capitol -- the Federal Election Commission -- is gutting the law.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ): “They are basically writing regulations which will allow the soft money to flow, and it is absolutely outrageous and despicable behavior on their part.”
Myers cited how the law bars politicians from asking for soft money donations, but the FEC’s rules allow them to “suggest” them. Myers proposed: “So essentially Presidents and Senators can continue to do what they’re doing as long as they use different language.”
Fred Wertheimer, of the liberal regulatory expansion advocacy group Democracy 21, confirmed: “That’s what the Federal Election Commission regulation says. It basically tells you the words to use in order to cheat.”
Myers: “Example number two: These 105 words basically say that nothing the political parties do before November 6th to set up new groups to solicit soft money can be used against them. Translation:”
Wertheimer: “If you do your cheating and your illegal activity before November 5th, we’ll shut our eyes and make believe it didn’t happen.”
Myers then briefly noted how the FEC Chairman “vigorously denies giving a green light to cheating,” but then she gave even more time to the two regulatory advocates: “John McCain and other reformers now want Congress to overturn the FEC rules. However, congressional leaders -- even those who fought for the law -- have been strikingly silent.”
Wertheimer: “The bottom line message from Congress to the FEC is, 'We don’t object to what you’re doing.’”
Myers concluded: “Which means that Congress’ claim to have finally fixed the system could be another in the long litany of Washington’s broken promises.”
Just like NBC’s broken promise to provide balanced reporting?
Another network showcase for Steve Earle, singer and writer of “John Walker’s Blues,” a song defending the Taliban soldier. On Monday’s Nightline Up Close, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, anchor Chris Bury set up a re-run of an earlier profile of Earle by describing him as “a singer and songwriter who has hit rock bottom and come back to do some of his best work, and who is now taking heat because he is standing up for an unpopular figure.”
Bury heralded how Earle “thinks art is inherently political and in this case, he's speaking out for everyone's civil liberties, even if it's John Walker
Back on August 19, NBC’s Today, which like Nightline never showcased Toby Keith and his much more popular post-9/11 song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” featured a segment with Earle, giving him time to sing his song. A July 21 New York Post story outlined the song’s lyrics:
“American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh is glorified and called Jesus-like in a country-rock song to be released soon by maverick singer-songwriter Steve Earle.
“The controversial ballad called 'John Walker's Blues’ is backed by the chanting of Arabic prayers and praises Allah.
“Earle's lyrics describe the United States as 'the land of the infidel.’ Those fighting Osama bin Laden's declared jihad against the United States and Jews are said to have hearts 'pure and strong.’ The song says when Lindh dies, he will 'rise up to the sky like Jesus.’"
For Matt Lauer’s softball questions to Earle, the complete lyrics to the song and a picture of Earle, refer back to the August 20
Chris Bury opened Monday night’s Nightline Up Close on ABC:
"Up close tonight, a singer and songwriter who has hit rock bottom and come back to do some of his best work, and who is now taking heat because he is standing up for an unpopular figure. Steve Earle is about to release a new album that includes a song entitled 'John Walker's Blues.' Earle puts himself in the shoes of John Walker Lindh, the 21-year-old American who pleaded guilty to fighting along with the Afghan Taliban. Earle says he has major problems with what Walker did, but even bigger problems with the stampede to vilify him.
“As you'll see, Steve Earle is no stranger to controversy. This burly, tattooed man has been divorced six times, done his time in prison and in the mid-'90s nearly killed himself with drugs and booze. But he came back from all that stronger and more committed to stand up for his beliefs. He thinks art is inherently political and in this case, he's speaking out for everyone's civil liberties, even if it's John Walker
ABC then replayed an old Nightline profile piece by Dave Marash in which Earle recounted his days in Nashville’s drug culture and railed against the death penalty.
Some fresh shots at liberals from one of Hollywood’s few non-liberals, actor James Woods. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Woods criticized Senator Clinton for not attending 9/11 funerals and defended Rudy Giuliani’s decision to separate from his wife, suggesting that her participation in the Vagina Monologues made the reason for the break-up obvious, though “there's a few liberal feminists still left, God knows why,...who actually would think that, you know, that makes sense, but the rest of us think it's as ridiculous as it was.”
Woods made his remarks, aired on the September 16 Access Hollywood, as he played golf for an ESPN show called Off Course. For an upcoming TV movie, Woods will play Rudy
Woods asserted: “If you want to measure people, know that Rudy Giuliani went to something like 150 funerals, you know, Senator Hillary Clinton went to zero, okay. That's the measure of a man.”
Access Hollywood co-host Pat O'Brien interjected: “Actually that's not true. She did attend several funerals. You thought Hillary was one thing, how about his thoughts on Giuliani's former wife, actress/news personality Donna Hanover? Their bitter split, according to Woods, is part of the movie.”
Woods maintained: “You know, one of the things I took exception to is when they were discussing the divorce and so on and I thought well, you know, I don't care what the liberals think. Any reasonable person would look at a situation where you're the Mayor of New York City and your wife is performing at The Vagina Monologues. I mean, you know, I mean it's blatantly obvious to the casual observer what the problem is there as far as I'm concerned, you know. There's a few liberal feminists still left, God knows why, you know, who actually would think that, you know, that makes sense, but the rest of us think it's as ridiculous as it was.”
Last October on NBC’s Tonight Show, Woods praised George W. Bush for handling terrorism in a “very deliberate, very careful” manner. Woods fondly recalled the way the U.S. responded to Moammar Gadhafi which ended his terrorism by killing “his whole family, blew the crap out of them, never heard from him again.”
For fuller quotes and a RealPlayer clip:
A few days earlier, on Entertainment Tonight, Woods had urged massive retaliation: “Simple logic tells you that if somebody wants you dead you have one course of action: To get them deader sooner.” He approvingly proposed that “if this had happened to the Russians, about three major cities in the Middle East would have been parking lots in twenty minutes.” For more:
For a biography of Woods, go to the Internet Movie Database’s page on him:
Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift not a woman? James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com’s “Best of the Web” highlighted how CNN’s Web site, in an article headlined “Massachusetts Dems eye gov's office,” ran this subhead: “Shannon O'Brien could become first woman governor.”
The first three paragraphs of the piece posted Tuesday morning, in which the third paragraph contradicted the subhead:
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Democrats dominate politics in Massachusetts, holding all 12 congressional seats and huge majorities in the House and Senate, but it's been 12 years since they held the state's top political prize: the governor's office.
Four Democratic candidates for governor face off on Tuesday for the right to take on Republican Mitt Romney, the Salt Lake Olympic chief, in the November general election.
The incumbent, Republican acting Gov. Jane Swift, is not running.
END of Excerpt
The headline appears to have been written by CNN and not AP. CNN posted the story at 10:12am EDT and as of 9pm EDT it had yet to be corrected.
For the headline, CLICK
What CNN meant to say is that O’Brien, who did win the Democratic primary, could become the first woman elected as Governor. Swift was elected as Lieutenant Governor and became Governor when Governor Paul Celluci moved to Ottawa as U.S. Ambassador to Canada.
-- Brent Baker
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