1. Tax Cut Plan Cut in Half, But Dan Rather Still Calls it "Big"
How much must a tax cut package be reduced in size before Dan
Rather stops calling it "big"? House and Senate conferees settled
Wednesday on a $350 billion tax cut over ten years, less than half
the size of President Bush's original proposal, but CBS's Dan
Rather still insisted upon describing it as "President Bush's big
tax cut plan."
2. CBS Chases Phone Call Scandal, "Coverup as High as...Tom DeLay"
On Wednesday night, the CBS Evening News aired its third full
story in eight days on the situation in Texas in which state House
Democrats used extra-legal means to shut down the legislature and elude arrest. But CBS's target was not the Democrats, but a
single phone call to the Department of Homeland Security
supposedly made by a Republican. Dan Rather charged that the "the
controversy has now escalated to accusations of coverup and
destruction of evidence." Reporter Bob McNamara soon tried to turn
it into a Washington scandal: "One Texan even suggested a possible
coverup as high as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."
3. ABC Obsesses Over Bush's Claim that "Al-Qaeda's on the Run"
President Bush has repeatedly said the war on terror is far
from over, and even if al Qaeda pulls off a domestic terrorist
attack that does not mean their capabilities have not been
significantly diminished, but every day this week ABC's Good
Morning America has played this clip of Bush as if the bombings in
Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and threats to the U.S., prove him
wrong: "Al-Qaeda's on the run. That group of terrorists who
attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated."
4. Barone: Hedges' Anti-American Views "Qualify" Him for NYT Job
Given the "anti-American" rant against the U.S. war against
Saddam Hussein delivered by New York Times reporter Chris Hedges
during a Rockford College commencement address in Illinois on
Saturday, Fortune magazine's Jeff Birnbaum suggested on Brit
Hume's FNC show on Wednesday night that Hedges can write
editorials, but "he should not be allowed anywhere near a war to
cover it for the news pages." To which Micheal Barone of U.S. News
retorted that with "the current management" at the Times those
anti-American views "qualify him for that job."
5. CNN Admits Legal "Assault Weapon" Fired Into Ground, Not Target
Update on CNN's very distorted comparison of the firepower of a
legal versus an illegal "assault weapon." In a Wednesday Miami
Herald story, a CNN spokesman conceded that a sheriff's deputy
fired the illegal weapon into cinder blocks, thus showing the
firepower as chunks blew away, but when demonstrating a legal
model, while CNN's camera showed the same cinder blocks being
unscathed, the deputy really fired into the ground, thus
suggesting a difference in firepower when none existed.
6. Jennings Lashes Out at MRC for Giving His War Coverage an "F"
In a pretty clear shot at the MRC's report card on network
coverage of the war, ABC's Peter Jennings, the Sacramento Bee
reported on Wednesday, charged: "There are a number of militant
conservatives or activist conservatives or whatever you want to
call them, who decided that our coverage was liberal and Fox's was
accurate." Talking to the Bee reporter at a San Francisco bar,
Jennings expressed befuddlement: "I don't quite understand it,
because I don't see it in the coverage."
7. "Top Ten Signs Ari Fleischer Doesn't Care Anymore"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Ari Fleischer Doesn't Care Anymore."
8. "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jayson Blair's Autobiography"
Letterman's "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jayson Blair's
Tax Cut Plan Cut in Half, But Dan Rather
Still Calls it "Big"
How much must a tax cut package be reduced in size before Dan Rather stops calling it "big"? House and Senate conferees settled Wednesday on a $350 billion tax cut over ten years, less than half the size of President Bush's original proposal, but CBS's Dan Rather still insisted upon describing it as "President Bush's big tax cut plan."
$350 billion, in static analysis, would represent barely a 1 percent reduction in expected tax revenue to the federal government over the next ten years.
Rather introduced a story on the May 21 CBS Evening News: "In the U.S. Congress, House and Senate leaders today reached the outlines of what's called a compromise deal on President Bush's big tax cut plan."
CBS Chases Phone Call Scandal, "Coverup
as High as...Tom DeLay"
CBS has discovered a true political scandal in America's heartland, one they are taking the lead in pursuing, unlike the many scandal developments during the Clinton era they had to be dragged into covering long after alternative media outlets had covered them for weeks or months.
On Wednesday night, the CBS Evening News aired its third full story in eight days on the situation in Texas in which state House Democrats left the state in order to prevent a quorum and thus kill a redistricting plan Republicans had proposed to replace the Democratic gerrymander which resulted in Democrats winning a majority of U.S. House seats though Republican candidates earned 57 percent of the congressional vote statewide.
But CBS's target was not the Democrats who used extra-legal means to shut down the legislative process and
elude arrest. No, CBS devoted nearly two-and-a-half minutes to how someone made a phone call to federal authorities asking for help in locating a plane suspected of harboring fugitive Democrats. It wasn't, and even if the phone call were improper, it's hard to see how the supposed "coverup" itself justifies a second full story on a national network news broadcast.
Rather intoned on the May 21 CBS Evening News, after a previous story ended with the prediction that the size of the tax cut could "balloon" in the future: "Also ballooning today is the national political fallout over who asked U.S. government Homeland Security to get involved in searching for Texas Democrats boycotting a congressional redistricting vote backed by Republicans in the Texas state legislature. CBS's Bob McNamara reports the controversy has now escalated to accusations of coverup and destruction of evidence."
Reporter Bob McNamara soon tried to turn it into a Washington scandal: "One Texan even suggested a possible coverup as high as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."
McNamara began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"It was an e-mail the Texas Department of Public Safety addressed to its captains: 'Any notes, correspondence, photos, etc., that were obtained pursuant to the absconded House of Representatives members shall be destroyed immediately. No copies are to be kept.' The reference was to the rebel Texas House Democrats who fled Texas last week for Oklahoma, effectively killing a GOP redistricting bill. But the question now is whether Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick and the Department of Public Safety are trying to erase possible evidence they misused a federal agency for political purposes."
State Rep. Kevin Bailey (D-TX): "Why are they so in such a hurry to get rid of this evidence? What is there that someone wants to hide?"
McNamara: "When the Democrats went missing, this U.S. Customs control center in California was asked by Texas police to aid in the search for a plane belonging to the leader of the boycotting Democrats, a request that left the impression the plane was in trouble. The Texas House Speaker claims he knew nothing of that."
State Rep. Tom Craddick, Texas House Speaker: "I don't know the procedures of the DPS. I don't know what they can do, can't do, should do, shouldn't do."
McNamara: "A Department of Public Safety Statement issued today said the records were destroyed because 'we are prohibited under the code of federal regulations from keeping intelligence information that is not related to criminal conduct or activity.'"
Tom Melsheimer, Former U.S. Attorney: "I think any time it looks like law enforcement is being manipulated, it's more than just a small problem."
McNamara: "One Texan even suggested a possible coverup as high as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), on the House floor: "It is time for Mr. DeLay to join us in getting immediate disclosure and end the stonewalling."
McNamara concluded: "Though DeLay was an architect of the failed Texas redistricting plan, his office denied any role in helping find the missing Democrats. Still, in the Texas House, Democrats want a full investigation into why an agency whose job is tracking terrorists was used to hunt them. Bob McNamara, CBS News, Dallas."
Neither CBS or McNamara have yet corrected this misstatement from McNamara on the May 13 CBS Evening News: "Democrats say House Majority Leader DeLay's redistricting Texas power play is designed to add as many as seven more GOP seats to a state congressional delegation Republicans already control."
In fact, Democrats hold the majority, 17 of 32 seats.
Two nights later, on May 15 in CBS's second full story on the topic, CBS portrayed U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as the ogre in the tale as Rather intoned: "Some Democrats say that a powerful Republican in Congress got Homeland Security personnel involved in a politicized search that had nothing to do with homeland security. It appears they were used to track down some Texas Democratic legislators who left the state to prevent a vote that could help elect more Republicans to Congress." See: www.mediaresearch.org
And from the May 19 CyberAlert: Democrats in Texas used extra- legal means to shut down the legislature and prevent the vote on a redistricting plan, but the networks are still more interested in demonizing conservatives in Washington and treating the Democrats as heroes. ABC's Terry Moran lectured Ari Fleischer about how "members of his own political party, at a time of war" had "the gall to use federal resources designed to protect the country against terrorists in order to pursue partisan political objectives." NBC's Tom Brokaw focused on the same supposed misuse of the Department of Homeland Security. And CNN's Bill Schneider awarded the Texas Democrats the "Political Play of the Week," as he marveled at how the "renegade representatives ended up looking like heroes." For details: www.mediaresearch.org
ABC Obsesses Over Bush's Claim that
President Bush has repeatedly said the war on terror is far from over, and even if al Qaeda pulls off a domestic terrorist attack that does not mean their capabilities have not been significantly diminished, but every day this week ABC's Good Morning America has played this clip of Bush as if the bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and threats to the U.S., prove him wrong: "Al-Qaeda's on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed the pattern and passed along these quotes:
-- Monday, May 19. Brian Ross intoned in a story on the weekend bombings in Morocco and Saudi Arabia: "And it's clear now the al-Qaeda attacks are a huge embarrassment for President Bush, who just last week seemed to be claiming victory in the war on terror."
Bush: "I figure we've destroyed about one-half of al-Qaeda."
Magnus Ranstorp, St. Andrews University: "Al-Qaeda, despite claims by the Bush administration and despite claims by the FBI, is very much alive and kicking."
-- Tuesday, May 20. Charles Gibson to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: "I want to go back to some of the situations in the world I mentioned a moment ago. On May 5, the President something interesting about al-Qaeda. I want to play that."
Bush: "Al-Qaeda's on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated."
Gibson: "In the days since he said that, we've had the attacks in Morocco, we've had the attacks in Saudi Arabia, and we just mentioned in the news there's a lot of chatter now, which may indicate that there's further al-Qaeda activity. You take it back? Does the President take it back?"
Fleischer pointed out: "Well, you, you could also show the clip of what the President said on the Abraham Lincoln when he warned the American people that, in his words, al-Qaeda is diminished but not destroyed. They are on the run. They no longer have the havens they once had from which they could do their planning, but they are a determined group, and they are trying to regroup. They are diminished, but they are dangerous, and that's why this is an ongoing war against terror, as the President has put it."
-- Wednesday, May 21. Diane Sawyer to FBI Director Mueller during a live, two-hour broadcast from the FBI training academy at Quantico: "Critics have now begun to talk a lot, and I want to address two things if I can. First of all, President Bush said some things to the American public, which I think reassured a lot of people. I want to play them -- they were said within five days of each other in early May, and I'll play them now."
Bush: "Al-Qaeda's on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated."
Bush: "We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide."
Sawyer: "So the President has said that al-Qaeda is now 'on the run' and 'slowly, but surely they will be decimated.' Are they being decimated and is that the right headline, that they're 'on the run'?"
Mueller: "Well, I think yes, they are on the run. I mean, we have taken away their sanctuary in Afghanistan. We have detained and arrested, with the help of our counterparts overseas, a number of their important leaders....That does not mean that we have all the leaders -- we do not -- and consequently, the war goes on. Every time we say we're making progress, and we have made progress, we also in the same sentence say that the war is not over, so there's still a great deal of work to do."
If a terrorist attack does come to the U.S., maybe it will have less to do with President Bush's words than how ABC News tied up a lot of the FBI so ABC could have a May sweeps gimmick of Charlie Gibson at the FBI firing range and Diane Sawyer on the FBI's driving track.
Barone: Hedges' Anti-American Views "Qualify"
Him for NYT Job
Given the "anti-American" rant against the U.S. war against Saddam Hussein delivered by New York Times reporter Chris Hedges during a Rockford College commencement address in Illinois on Saturday, Fortune magazine's Jeff Birnbaum suggested on Brit Hume's FNC show on Wednesday night that Hedges can write editorials, but "he should not be allowed anywhere near a war to cover it for the news pages." To which Micheal Barone of U.S. News retorted that with "the current management" of the Times those anti-American views "qualify him for that job."
In his May 17 remarks dedicated solely to denouncing U.S. foreign policy, Hedges charged, as recounted on the MRC's TimesWatch.org site: "We have forfeited the good will, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11, we have folded in on ourselves. We have severely weakened the delicate international coalitions and alliances that are vital in maintaining and promoting peace."
Plus: "This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war now of liberation of Iraqis from American occupation."
And: "We are far less secure today than we were before we bumbled into Iraq. We will pay for this, but what saddens me most is that those who will by and large pay the highest price are poor kids from Mississippi or Alabama or Texas who could not get a decent job or health insurance and joined the army because it was all we offered them."
During the panel segment on the May 21 Special Report with Brit Hume, Barone observed: "When you read the remarks, they're genuinely anti-American. He sets up the United States as the evil
force in the world."
Jeff Birnbaum, Washington Bureau Chief for Fortune agreed, and added: "The New York Times is one of the great newspapers in America. I spent many years competing against it....And there's a problem allowing someone like Chris Hedges, who has the views, I think you well-described them, to allow him to continue to write news stories is a very bad mistake. That's a misjudgment if they allow him to do that. He should not be allowed anywhere near a war to cover it for the news pages. If he wants to write editorials, that's perfectly fine, but not otherwise. There should be an important distinction and a paper as good as the New York Times should make that distinction."
Barone then quipped: "I think in the current management, makes the decision that those views qualify him for that job."
For a picture of Birnbaum: www.fortune.com
For a picture of Barone: www.usnews.com
A CyberAlert Special on Wednesday afternoon featured a full rundown of Hedges' remarks as provided in a TimesWatch.org article by Clay Waters which included links to the Rockford Register Star stories, an mp3 audio file of Hedges' address and some other left- wing comments made this year by Hedges in other venues. The TimesWatch material is online at: www.timeswatch.org
The text of the May 21 CyberAlert Special:
New York Times Reporter Chris Hedges’ Pompous Pacifism
From the MRC's TimesWatch.org Web site, dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times, an article today by Clay Waters about how Times reporter Chris Hedges was booed off the stage during a college commencement in Illinois on Saturday.
Clay's summary of his article: Times reporter Chris Hedges thought “progressive” Rockford College would be a safe place to indulge his pompous pacifism: “I want to speak to you today about war and empire....We are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security.” The graduates thought differently.
Before he realized that the Rockford Register Star had published the text of the remarks by Hedges, Clay transcribed much of it himself from an audio file the paper posted on Tuesday, a posting highlighted by the
A reprint of the TimesWatch.org article:
Reporter Chris Hedges’ Pompous Pacifism
Rockford College is a liberal arts school in Illinois, alma mater to Jane Addams, the founder of Chicago’s Hull House and the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. So, when Times reporter Chris Hedges agreed to make a commencement speech there, he must have thought pompous pacifism would be a safe subject.
He thought wrong. Carrie Watters of the Rockford Register Star reports “Times reporter Chris Hedges was booed off the stage Saturday at Rockford College’s graduation because he gave an antiwar speech.”
[For the May 20 Rockford Register Star story:
In a follow-up story today, Watters writes “Hedges’ oration was trimmed to 18 minutes as the ceremony threatened to become out of control. The 20-year war correspondent said Tuesday he was disturbed by the emotional response to his speech. 'I didn’t expect that. How can you expect to have anyone climb on stage and turn your mike off,’ Hedges said Tuesday during a telephone interview. 'Watching it in my own country is heartbreaking.’” Watters quotes Hedges: “I find it always frightening when that happens in war time.”
[For the May 21 Rockford Register Star story:
Here’s the opening of Chris Hedges’ address Saturday to Rockford College graduates, as transcribed by Times Watch from an audio feed provided by the Rockford Register Star newspaper:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs [Editorial note: I think Watters misheard “pariahs” as “piranhas” in her initial story], tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. Isolation always impairs judgment, and we are very isolated now. We have forfeited the good will, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11, we have folded in on ourselves. We have severely weakened the delicate international coalitions and alliances that are vital in maintaining and promoting peace, and we are part now of a dubious troika in the war against terror with Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon, two leaders who do not shrink in Palestine or Chechnya from carrying out acts of gratuitous and senseless violence.”
Not exactly “follow your dreams” stuff, is it? Hedges seems to be droning in a world of his own, oblivious to context or nuance or even where he was, not acknowledging the hostile audience, who were understandably wondering what became of their graduation ceremony.
“The real injustices, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, the brutal and corrupt dictatorships we fund in the Middle East will mean that we will not rid the extremists who hate us with bombs.”
[For the Rockford Register Star posting of an mp3 audio file, complete with very evident taunts from the audience and the President of the college scolding the attendees:
(Tom Gross wrote on Hedges’ anti-Israel animus for National Review Online in March: “[Hedges] wrote (Harper's magazine, October 2001) that he has seen children shot in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Sarajevo, and mothers with infants lined up and massacred in Algeria, but that until going to Gaza he had 'never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.’”)
[For the National Review Online article:
Hedges’ graduation speech continued:
"The curfews, the armed clashes with angry crowds that leave scores of Iraqi dead. The military governor, the Christian evangelical groups who are being allowed to follow on the heels of our occupying troops, to try and teach Muslims about Jesus. The occupation of the oil fields, the notion that the Kurds and the Shiites will listen to the demands of the centralized government in Baghdad....This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war now of liberation of Iraqis from American occupation, and if you watch closely what is happening in Iraq, if you can see it through the abysmal coverage, you can see it in the lashing out of the terrorist death squads and the murder of Shiite leaders in mosques, the assassination of our young soldiers in the streets.”
Rockford College should have known what it was getting into when it invited Hedges. In an October interview with the Bill Moyers’ funded left-wing web site TomPaine.com to promote his book, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” Hedges said, “Wartime always begins with the destruction of your own culture.” America’s “defeat” in Vietnam is seen as a good thing: “The defeat in Vietnam made us a better nation and a better people. We were forced to step outside our own borders and see how other people saw us. We were forced to accept very unpleasant truths about ourselves -- our own capacity for evil. I think that that process, especially during the Reagan years, or at least that state, began to disintegrate. War once again became fun: Grenada; Panama, culminating in the Persian Gulf War.”
[For his interview with
TomPaine.com: www.tompaine.com ]
Notice Bosnia and Somalia aren’t included on Hedges’ list, perhaps because those were Bill Clinton interventions. It’s an odd omission, considering Hedges was the Times Balkans bureau chief from 1995 to 1998, after Clinton ordered the bombing of Belgrade in April 1999. If you’re going to be pacifist, at least be knee-jerk!
In March, Hedges appeared on the public television show NOW with Bill Moyers (see a Moyers trend here?) to plug his book and again wax indignant. Moyers asked: “When you hear the general describe an attack of 3,000 missiles on Iraq, what comes through your mind?”
Hedges replied: “Well, not images of shock and awe. Images of large numbers of civilian dead. Destroyed buildings. Panic in the corridors of hospitals. Families that can't reach parts of a city that have been devastated and are desperate for news of their loved ones. All of the images of war that I've seen for most of the past two decades come to mind.” Later he warns: “Our whole civil society is being torn apart. Once again, as is true in every war, the media parrots back the cliches and jingos of the state.”
Hedges, a war correspondent who went to war zones in El Salvador in the 1980s despite death threats, bragged to Moyers: “I believe that it was better to live for one intense and overpowering moment, even if it meant my own death, rather than go back to the routine of life.” Yet today the brave war correspondent wrings his hands over his hostile Rockford reception, telling the Rockford newspaper that the response to his strident anti-war commencement speech “frightened” him. Times Watch doesn’t believe either statement—both smack of melodrama.
[For Now's transcript:
A few days ago the Times saw fit to run a captioned photograph of graduates walking out in protest of Republican Sen. Rick Santorum’s commencement address at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s University. Will the Times consider Hedges’ hostile reception equally newsworthy?
END Reprint of TimesWatch article
For the Rockford Register Star's text of Hedges's address:
For the latest on the New York Times, check:
CNN Admits Legal "Assault Weapon" Fired
Into Ground, Not Target
Update on CNN's very distorted comparison of the firepower of a legal versus an illegal "assault weapon." In a Wednesday Miami Herald story, a CNN spokesman conceded that a sheriff's deputy fired the illegal weapon into cinder blocks, thus showing the firepower as chunks blew away, but when demonstrating a legal model, while CNN's camera showed the same cinder blocks being unscathed, the deputy was really firing into the ground, thus suggesting a difference in firepower when none existed.
First, some background. An excerpt from the May 20 CyberAlert:
Reeling from NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre charging CNN with fabricating and "deliberately faking" a story last Thursday to demonstrate how a banned "assault weapon" has much more dangerous firepower than a legal model, on Monday's Wolf Blitzer Reports, substitute anchor Miles O'Brien didn't go so far as to offer a retraction, but he did concede CNN's demonstration needed further amplification....
-- Thursday, May 15 Wolf Blitzer Reports, anchored by Kyra Phillips. John Zarrella traveled to the Broward County, Florida Sheriff's Office's outdoor shooting range where Sheriff Ken Jenne narrated what viewers were seeing as a deputy fired two "assault weapons."
Jenne explained why he favors keeping the ban in place: "Because I think guns are the tools of hunters, but these weapons are really the tools to kill people and there's a major, major difference."
First, a deputy fired what Jenne described as "a AK-47, the Chinese version," which is "currently banned."
Viewers saw bullets fired into a pile of cinder blocks and chunks of the cinder block flying off, leaving a big hole in one block. Then, the deputy fired into a bullet-proof vest. Zarrella observed that the bullets "clearly fired right through" the vest.
Second, Jenne set up the next model to be tested: "This is an AK-47 also, but a civilian model. It has some differences and right now this only has a clip of 10 in the magazine -- or 10 rounds in the magazine. So this is a big difference than the 30 rounds in the previous magazine."
Viewers then saw the deputy fire four shots toward the cinder blocks, but nothing happened, not even a speck of the cinder block flew off, never mind any hole being created.
The very clear implication: The illegal model punches right through cinder block with devastating and deadly force, but the legal model can't even cause a speck to fall off.
Upon looking at the MRC videotape frame by frame, with the first rifle you could see a puff of smoke coming out of the end of the barrel as the deputy fired. But with the second gun, you could not see anything, as if no bullet were being fired. And if one was, the deputy either missed the target cinder blocks, or had good enough aim to be firing into the hole created by the first rifle.
Sheriff Jenne, Zarrella didn't bother to note, is a Democrat. From Jenne's bio on the Sheriff's office Web site: "Sheriff Jenne was elected to the Florida Senate in 1978 and retained that position for 18 of the next 20 years. He held all of the top committee chairmanships and was Senate Democratic Leader when Governor Chiles chose him to become Sheriff of Broward County in January 1998, replacing the late Ron Cochran." See: www.sheriff.org
END Excerpt from May 20 CyberAlert
For LaPierre's reaction and more on CNN's semi-clarification: www.mediaresearch.org
++ Video: Thanks to the MRC's Mez Djouadi and Rich Noyes, we've added, to the May 20 CyberAlert, a RealPlayer video clip of CNN's very misleading demonstration.
"NRA says Jenne way off target," read the headline over a May 21 Miami Herald story brought to my attention by the MRC's Liz Swasey. The subhead: "Gun lobby rips sheriff, CNN." An excerpt of the story by Daniel de Vise:
Gun-rights advocates are miffed at Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne and CNN over a recent TV segment that National Rifle Association officials characterize as a virtual political ad for extending a federal ban on some semi-automatic weapons.
Officials of both CNN and the sheriff's office contend they never intended to mislead viewers and say any flaws in the broadcast were accidental....
BSO [Broward Sheriff's Office] and CNN stepped into the fray Thursday with footage of an on-air demonstration purportedly designed to show the difference between banned weapons and their legal counterparts.
When a BSO employee fired a banned weapon, the camera showed bullets ripping through a cinderblock target. When a legal semi-automatic weapon was fired, the camera showed another cinderblock seemingly unharmed.
In fact, the bullets from the legal gun never hit the cinderblock. CNN spokesman Matthew Furman said the camera operator didn't realize the sheriff's employee had switched targets and was firing into the ground.
"When we learned that the demonstration was less than clear, we told our viewers that," Furman said.
The comparison seemed to imply the banned weapon packed more punch than its legal counterpart. In fact, the two are the same in terms of firepower.
NRA officials also protested the use of a fully automatic AK-47 in the piece and the reporter's claim that it was among the targets of the 1994 ban. Fully automatic weapons have been regulated since 1934 and aren't mentioned in the 1994 law.
Sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal said Jenne favors extending the 1994 ban but never meant to misinform the CNN audience by participating in the Thursday segment.
"There was never any intent to mislead," Leljedal said. "They wanted to talk about it, so we did, and on very short notice we got some guns out and we did some demonstrations for them."
Three years ago, Jenne backed an unsuccessful bill that would have made it a felony to own an assault weapon in Broward County. Hundreds of gun owners bearing American flags packed into a Broward legislative delegation hearing to oppose it....
END of Excerpt
For the story in its entirety: www.miami.com
Jennings Lashes Out at MRC for Giving
His War Coverage an "F"
In a pretty clear shot at the MRC's report card on network coverage of the war, ABC's Peter Jennings, the Sacramento Bee reported on Wednesday, charged: "There are a number of militant conservatives or activist conservatives or whatever you want to call them, who decided that our coverage was liberal and Fox's was accurate." Talking to the Bee reporter at a San Francisco bar, Jennings expressed befuddlement: "I don't quite understand it, because I don't see it in the coverage."
In "Grading TV's War News: Fox News Channel and Embedded Reporters Excelled, While Peter Jennings and Peter Arnett Flunked," a late April Special Report by Rich Noyes and myself, we gave FNC a "B" grade, explaining: "FNC aided viewers by rejecting the standard liberal idea that objective war news requires an indifference to whether America succeeds or fails."
As for Jennings' network: "ABC received a near-failing grade (D-) for knee-jerk negativism that played up Iraqi claims of civilian suffering, hyped American military difficulties and indulged anti-war protesters with free air time." And for Jennings himself: "All of the network anchors received high grades except for the highly tendentious Peter Jennings, who played up any defeatist angle he could find."
+ For the above-quoted Executive Summary online: www.mediaresearch.org
+ To jump over the Executive Summary and to go right to the full report divided into four sections: www.mediaresearch.org
+ For an Adobe Acrobat PDF of the entire product in one unit which matches the look of the hard copy version: www.mediaresearch.org
+ For a Media Reality Check one-page summary of it: www.mediaresearch.org
Romenesko ( www.poynter.org ) highlighted the May 21 Sacramento Bee story on Jennings in which reporter J. Freedom du Lac, what a name, traveled to San Francisco to observe Jennings interacting with people at a bar. Jennings broadcast World News Tonight from San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday and did it from Sacramento on Wednesday night before participating in a town meeting on ABC affiliate KXTV.
An excerpt from du Lac's story, generously headlined, "Jennings brings quest for knowledge to California."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Peter Jennings sweeps into the lavish lobby bar at the Four Seasons Hotel, a bit past deadline but with a perfectly acceptable excuse:
He was busy hunting for history, which he is now holding in the form of a complete LP recording of the speeches made at the 1963 March on Washington and an old, out-of-print book about blacks in America.
They are especially important, says Jennings, because he is working on a project about Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech....
"Gee whiz, my favorite guy," gushes a child psychiatrist from Florida, by way of Montreal. "May I say hello?"
Jennings begs the man to sit down, and then proceeds to engage him about the flight of Jews from Montreal.
Did they leave because of separatism or anti-Semitism? Separatism. That's what I thought....
Yes, Peter Jennings knows more than a little about the world. And what he doesn't know, he's desperate to find out....
He dropped out [of high school] before completing his sophomore year. (Never mind that he's since become more scholarly than most of the estimated 10 million viewers who tune in to "World News Tonight," making it the second-most-watched newscast in the country behind "NBC Nightly News.")...
Suave, steady, sophisticated and impossibly handsome, Jennings, who is two months shy of 65, sometimes comes across as the James Bond of American broadcast news.
He is the anchor you'd most want to invite to your yacht party, not the folksy Tom Brokaw or nutty Dan Rather.
Of course, he'd have to find a rare moment of free time first.
Jennings is in his 20th consecutive year as ABC's main news anchor after a previous, failed stint on the anchor desk in the mid-1960s. He also works as a senior editor for the network. The hours are long, so Jennings sees the world a lot less than he did during his high-flying days as a foreign correspondent.
But he still gets out when and where he can -- even if it's just a quick cross-country trip....
Though Jennings has a documentary deal that allows him to produce occasional in-depth specials for the network, he still looks longingly at the 24-hour cable news channels every now and then.
"I do sometimes look up at the cables, which are on all the time in our office, and I say: 'Oh, God, I wish I had more time for this story,' " he says. "And the other 50 percent of the time, I say: 'Thank God I don't have to fill all that time.' "
It almost happened, as ABC and CNN executives last year discussed joining their two news operations. The marriage never materialized -- which is too bad, Jennings says.
"Would I like it if ABC had a cable network? Absolutely," he says. "I actually was one of those in the news division who thought it was workable."
And conservatives likely would have loved the merger, if for no other reason than it would have offered them their biggest media target yet.
CNN and ABC were hammered hard for their coverage of the war in Iraq, and Jennings himself was singled out by his former ABC colleague, Bill O'Reilly, who is now the chief commentator for the conservative, flag-waving Fox News Channel.
In an interview that aired last month on CNBC, O'Reilly opined that of all the national news operations, "ABC was the most skeptical; Peter Jennings was the most skeptical of the war."
Jennings shrugs at the suggestion.
"O'Reilly is not the only person to have decided that," he says. "There are a number of militant conservatives or activist conservatives or whatever you want to call them, who decided that our coverage was liberal and Fox's was accurate."
"I don't quite understand it, because I don't see it in the coverage. I'm not much of a participant in throwing slogans and accusations around, except that I'm very keen to hear precisely what people have in mind when they think we've been one thing or the other.
"But I think we were not cheerleaders for the war effort. And I don't think anybody at my news organization thinks of being a cheerleader as being part of our job or mandate. If that is what is implied by the criticism from the right -- is that we should be cheerleaders for the war effort -- then I think we're all very happy with where we were."
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.sacticket.com
"Top Ten Signs Ari Fleischer Doesn't
From the May 20 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Ari Fleischer Doesn't Care Anymore." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. Will only take questions from "Kung Fu" magazine
9. Qualifies each statement with, "...but that might be the gin talking"
8. Gives monosyllabic answers to press questions, then goes back to his Gameboy
7. Doesn't try to hide the fact that he's accepted a position with Al-Qaeda
6. Last few briefings have been from the V.I.P. room of D.C. area gentlemen's club
5. Spends entire press conference arguing why "Ruben should beat Clay"
4. Discloses Cheney's location -- a KFC in Baltimore
3. Challenges Rumsfeld to a Texas steel cage rasslin' match
2. Keeps hitting on Helen Thomas
1. Refers to Bush as "President Bonehead"
"Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jayson Blair's
And a second timely Top Ten list. From the May 21 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Jayson Blair's Autobiography." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. "My Journey From Writing 'The New York Times' To Delivering 'The New York Times'"
9. "Quoting Dead People: My Word Against Theirs"
8. "How Morpheus Trained Me To Fight The Matrix"
7. "I Nailed Jennifer Lopez"
6. "All The Tools A Reporter Needs -- A Copy Of 'The Washington Post' And A Pair of Scissors"
5. "'New York Times,' You've Been Punk'd"
4. "The 'Y' In 'Jayson'? I Made That Up, Too"
3. "How The Modern Reporter Can Be In Two Places At The Same Time"
2. Chapter 6: "Chapters 1 Through 5 Were A Load Of Crap"
1. "At Least I'm Not Geraldo"
Speaking of Geraldo, he's scheduled to appear Thursday night on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
++ With the holiday weekend approaching, probably no CyberAlert again until Tuesday, but on Friday e-mail subscribers will receive the latest Bozell column.
-- Brent Baker
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