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The 2,511th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
6:45am EDT, Wednesday October 17, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 184)
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1. NBC First to Praise Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy
The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night became the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, announced last week, to Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005. "His story is already the stuff of legend," anchor Brian Williams related before Jim Miklaszewski recounted Murphy's heroism: How during a battle with Taliban fighters "Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help." A survivor recalled that Murphy "took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again." Standing by a memorial in Brookhaven, New York, Miklaszewski explained that in addition to the memorial, "they've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man." Miklaszewski got out of the way and allowed his story to end with two moving tributes from Murphy's parents. Dan, Michael's father, got the last word, a desire for appreciation: "While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it."

2. ABC's Charles Gibson Presses Economist to Agree Recession Ahead
ABC anchor Charles Gibson twice pushed reluctant guest expert Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's, to agree that high oil prices and the housing "crisis" will soon lead to a recession. On Tuesday's World News, Gibson outlined: "So, the housing crisis, the Treasury Secretary says it's a significant risk to the economy, the Fed Chairman says it's a significant drag on the economy, we have oil prices over $80 a barrel. Sam, isn't that a classic formula for a recession?" Stovall replied that "what I think is encouraging investors is the pro-activeness of the Fed and government officials by making sure that they get ahead of the curve and fend off the recession." But Gibson was undeterred from his pessimistic assumptions and pressed again about whether the economy is "really broad-based enough to endure this kind of oil price hike and this kind of housing crisis and not have a recession?" Stovall maintained that oil and housing have impacted the economy, yet "our feeling is we'll probably...get away unscathed."

3. Donaldson and Roberts Laud Gore, Applaud His Use of Propaganda
ABC contributor Cokie Roberts apparently approves of propaganda, as long as she agrees with it. The veteran journalist appeared with George Will and Sam Donaldson on Sunday's This Week and in response to a claim by Will that Al Gore grossly exaggerates the threat of global warming, Roberts positively assessed: "The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular." Using a strained comparison, Roberts continued to justify Gore's misinformation by arguing that the former Vice President popularizes the work of climate change scientists: "Go back to the revolution....You had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate." Veteran ABC journalist Sam Donaldson also lauded Gore for doing "very important" work and derided skeptics as being in denial. Addressing Will, he hyperbolically lectured: "Now, if you and Senator [James] Inhofe want to continue to stick your heads in the sand -- I'm going to make it out. I'm old enough that I probably will get out of here before the Earth collapses, but I have grandchildren, George." A bewildered Will could only wonder: "How does the Earth collapse?"

4. CBS's Smith: 'Rock Star' Obama 'Too Cool,' Needs More 'Audacity'
On Monday's Early Show on CBS, co-host Harry Smith teased an interview with Barack Obama at the beginning of show and spoke of how the Democratic presidential candidate is often "greeted as a Rock Star" by voters. The toughest question asked by Smith were why Obama is behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, something Smith attributed to the fact that "there are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign." Smith continued to wonder about the futility of Obama's campaign against Hillary, assuming her nomination as a forgone conclusion: "A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected." French terminology aside, Smith tried to urge Obama on, wondering if the Illinois Senator was putting his full energy into the campaign: "Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?"

5. Hillary's Pledge to End 'Cowboy Diplomacy' Delights View Crew
Hillary Clinton arrived for another soft-soap interview with the women of The View on ABC Monday, delighting the cast with a pledge that if she's elected, "the era of cowboy diplomacy is over." She told Elisabeth Hasselbeck her policy on interrogations is: "We do not condone or conduct torture....Because that gives us a lot of moral authority, which we have lost, unfortunately." The cast was also touched by her standard campaign boilerplate that women in their 90s want to see her be President, and parents point to her and tell their daughters that they can be anything. When Hillary declared an end to "cowboy diplomacy," an old liberal phrase often deployed against Ronald Reagan, the View crew was delighted, as if they'd never heard that before.

6. 'Top Ten Questions President Bush Asked the Dalai Lama'
Letterman's "Top Ten Questions President Bush Asked the Dalai Lama."


 

NBC First to Praise Medal of Honor Recipient
Lt. Michael Murphy

     The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night became the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, announced last week, to Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005. "His story is already the stuff of legend," anchor Brian Williams related before Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski recounted Murphy's heroism: How during a battle with Taliban fighters "Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help." A survivor recalled that Murphy "took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again." Standing by a memorial in Brookhaven, New York, Miklaszewski explained that in addition to the memorial, "they've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man."

     Miklaszewski got out of the way and allowed his story to end with two moving tributes from Murphy's parents. Maureen, his mother, revealed: "I miss him. I'm glad that he got the medal because other people will know what a great guy that he was." Dan, Michael's father, got the last word, a desire for appreciation: "While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it." To that, Williams certainly spoke for many viewers: "Here, here."

     [This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Navy Times reported that President Bush "will present the Medal of Honor to Murphy's parents, Daniel and Maureen, and his brother, John, on Oct. 22 at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony in the White House."

     That certainly should generate more media coverage for the American hero. A 2006 MRC study, "Touting Military Misdeeds, Hiding Heroes," determined that the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows gave little attention since 9/11 to those who have earned the military's highest honors -- the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Medal of Honor -- but the one Medal of Honor winner, the late Army Sergeant Paul Smith, got the most attention.

     An excerpt from the June 12, 2006 Media Reality Check report by the MRC's Rich Noyes:

....Since the war on terror began, the military has awarded top medals to 20 individuals, four of whom died on the battlefield in either Afghanistan or Iraq. The highest award, the Medal of Honor, was given to the family of Army Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, who lost his life while protecting more than 100 fellow soldiers during the battle for Baghdad's airport in April 2003. Nineteen servicemen received the second highest honors, all for "extraordinary heroism" in combat. The list includes two fallen members of the Air Force who were awarded the Air Force Cross; three soldiers who merited the Distinguished Service Cross; and three sailors and 11 Marines who received the Navy Cross, one posthumously.

Most of these men have never been recognized by ABC, CBS or NBC. None have been given more than a fraction of the attention that the latest allegations against the military have received. And while the networks have told of acts of heroism by others in the military " with Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester of the Kentucky National Guard getting the most coverage among those honored with a Silver Star " none of those other positive stories have interested the networks as much as news of possible military misconduct.

CBS presented more than twice as much coverage (28½ minutes) of these 20 heroes as either ABC or NBC (each at about 11 minutes, 45 seconds). The CBS Evening News has since 2004 regularly spotlighted short biographical features of "Fallen Heroes" and, later, "American Heroes." And only the CBS Evening News noted when Vice President Cheney gave the Distinguished Service Cross to Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Donald Hollenbaugh on June 10, 2005, although they did not recount the story of how Hollenbaugh saved the group of Marines he was with when they were overrun in Fallujah in April 2004.

The most heavily-covered hero was Medal of Honor winner Paul Smith, who received 41 minutes of coverage during a 24-month period, 79 percent of the heroes' total. CBS's Jim Axelrod had Smith's story on April 9, 2003, just five days after he was killed in action. ABC's Bill Blakemore featured Smith on World News Tonight two weeks later. Blakemore ran a soundbite from First Sergeant Tim Campbell: "He's the epitome of what I look for in a soldier. He was, a good man. When you think in terms of how many soldiers he saved, and he died doing it, it's just phenomenal to me." All three networks offered full reports on their morning and evening news shows when President Bush presented the Medal of Honor to Smith's widow and two children on April 4, 2005, the second anniversary of his death.

ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to mention the heroism of Marine Captain Brian Chontosh, who led his men out of an ambush during the drive to Baghdad in March 2003. "I never wanted a medal. I just wanted to save my Marines," Chontosh told the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle in 2004. Nor have they reported on Marine Sergeant Scott Montoya, who ran into a hail of gunfire to save five wounded Marines. Later, Montoya told the Orange County Register that all he could think of was the Bible verse: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

These stories aren't military secrets. Nearly every surviving medal recipient has told their story publicly, and many are recounted in Home of the Brave, the last book by former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, just published. There's no question the media must not hide bad news from the public. But can't they balance the portrait with true stories of America's newest heroes?

     END of Excerpt

     For the Media Reality Check in full: www.mediaresearch.org

     List of those who, as of early 2006, had earned the highest military honors: www.mrc.org

     For much more on Murphy, check the October 15 Navy Times story, "First Navy MoH since Vietnam to go to SEAL." See: www.navytimes.com

     Or, the October 12 Newsday article, "Slain Patchogue SEAL receives highest honor." An excerpt from that article:

Slain Patchogue SEAL receives highest honor

BY MARTIN C. EVANS

WASHINGTON. Two years after his death in Afghanistan, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who grew up in Patchogue and joined the elite Navy SEALs after college, has been awarded the nation's highest battlefield award, the Medal of Honor, for a valiant attempt to save the lives of comrades that cost him his own.

"This tells the country what we already know about Michael -- that he was a hero," his father, Daniel Murphy, said after receiving the news Thursday that the White House had made the announcement of the award shortly after noon Thursday.

The president will present the medal -- a star-shaped bronze emblem suspended from a sky-blue ribbon -- to Murphy's family on Oct. 22 at a ceremony in the White House's historic Blue Room.

Murphy, 29 at the time of his death, becomes the first Medal of Honor winner for combat service in Afghanistan, and the first sailor recipient since the Vietnam War. He is the 18th Long Islander to win the award. Four U.S. Army soldiers from Long Island won the honor for service in Vietnam, where Daniel Murphy served and was awarded the Purple Heart for battlefield wounds.

Daniel Murphy, a law clerk in State Supreme Court in Riverhead, said he learned of the president's decision on Aug. 27, but had agreed to keep silent until an announcement was officially made.

"The family is absolutely thrilled by the president's announcement," Murphy said. "I think it is a public recognition of what we knew about Michael, of his intensity, his focus, his devout loyalty to home and family, his country and especially to his SEAL teammates and the SEAL community."

Murphy is credited with putting his life in danger in an effort to save the lives of three of his subordinates during a fierce firefight in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in June 2005.

That month, Murphy and three other SEALs -- Petty Officer Matt Axelson, 29, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz, 25 -- were inserted by helicopter onto a remote mountaintop near the border. They were four men on a secret mission to track a high-ranking Taliban warlord, Newsday reported last May. But they were discovered first by an Afghan goat herder who stumbled upon their hiding place in a mountainside forest. Not long after, the four SEALs were surrounded by dozens of armed insurgents, and a fierce battle ensued.

The lone survivor of the incident, Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, 29, of Texas, has called Murphy, the team's leader, "an iron-souled warrior of colossal, almost unbelievable courage." According to Luttrell's account, as told to Navy superiors and in a recently published book, Murphy displayed "an extreme act of valor" when he ran into the open -- and suffered a bullet wound when he did -- in a last-ditch attempt to call for help and save his fellow SEALs.

That call brought tragedy instead, when a rescue helicopter sent to save them was shot down, killing all 16 U.S. troops aboard, including eight Navy SEALs...

     END of Excerpt

     For the Newsday story in full: www.newsday.com

     The full transcript of the final story on the October 16 NBC Nightly News:

     BRIAN WILLIAMS: The recipients of Congressional Medal of Honor live forever in American history as examples of valor, courage, sacrifice and patriotism, even if many of the recipients don't live to see the honor themselves. The newest recipient, a Navy SEAL from New York who died in combat in Afghanistan. And as Jim Miklaszewski reports tonight, his story is already the stuff of legend.

     JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: June 2005, at 10,000 feet in the Hindu-Kush mountains of Afghanistan, a four-man team of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant Michael Murphy, fought one of the fiercest battles in SEAL history. Petty Officer Marcus Lutrell was on SEAL team ten.
     PETTY OFFICER MARCUS LUTTELL: I've been in some tight spots, but I've never been in one like that.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: They were on a reconnaissance mission when they came across three goat herders. The SEALs could release the Afghans and risk they'd run to the Taliban, or kill them. Murphy ordered them released, no surprise to Murphy's parents.
     DAN MURPHY, FATHER: Michael's moral compass was one hundred percent on. Wouldn't even cross his mind to injure a non-combatant.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: But as feared, within hours, up to 200 Taliban attacked the SEALs.
     LUTTRELL: It got rough real fast. It got bad.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: This Taliban video of the attack shows the intensity of the battle. Lieutenant Murphy was wounded. What happened next earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Murphy stepped out into the line of fire to make a satellite call for help.
     LUTTRELL: He took two rounds to the back and dropped down on that rock and sat back up, picked the phone back up and started talking again.
     MAUREEN MURPHY, MOTHER: That was Mike. He's brave and a heck of a fighter. He put his all into anything he ever did.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: As the battle raged on, Murphy was killed along with Petty Officers Danny Dietz and Matt Axelson.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: This is one of the many memorials to Michael Murphy here on Long Island. They've named a park and post office after him. Monuments not only to what he did as a Navy SEAL, but to who he was as a man.
     MAUREEN MURPHY: And I miss him. I'm glad that he got the medal because other people will know what a great guy that he was.
     DAN MURPHY: While I'm crying inside and my heart's breaking, my chest is puffed out and I'm saying, my son, this is what he did and I hope the country appreciates it and realizes it.
     MIKLASZEWSKI: Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, Waiting River, New York.
     WILLIAMS: Here, here.

     MSNBC.com's page for NBC Nightly News has Flash video of Miklaszewski's piece: www.msnbc.msn.com

     Wednesday night the video will move to this page: www.msnbc.msn.com

     Since July 9, the "Daily Nightly" blog has been running profiles of a Medal of Honor recipients: "Every weekday for 110 straight days we will feature a different living recipient of the Medal of Honor. These are the men who have received their nation's highest military honor. Brian is a board member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. The words and photos are courtesy of Artisan Books, publishers of Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty by Peter Collier with photographs by Nick Del Calzo." For the brief profiles: dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com

 

ABC's Charles Gibson Presses Economist
to Agree Recession Ahead

     ABC anchor Charles Gibson twice pushed reluctant guest expert Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's, to agree that high oil prices and the housing "crisis" will soon lead to a recession. On Tuesday's World News, Gibson outlined: "So, the housing crisis, the Treasury Secretary says it's a significant risk to the economy, the Fed Chairman says it's a significant drag on the economy, we have oil prices over $80 a barrel. Sam, isn't that a classic formula for a recession?" Stovall replied that "what I think is encouraging investors is the pro-activeness of the Fed and government officials by making sure that they get ahead of the curve and fend off the recession." But Gibson was undeterred from his pessimistic assumptions and pressed again about whether the economy is "really broad-based enough to endure this kind of oil price hike and this kind of housing crisis and not have a recession?" Stovall maintained that oil and housing have impacted the economy, yet "our feeling is we'll probably...get away unscathed."

     [This item was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The October 16 World News on ABC led with a story from Dan Harris on the "housing crisis." Then Gibson had this discussion with Stovall:

     CHARLES GIBSON: So, the housing crisis, the Treasury Secretary says it's a significant risk to the economy, the Fed Chairman says it's a significant drag on the economy, we have oil prices over $80 a barrel. Sam, isn't that a classic formula for a recession?
     SAM STOVALL: Well I think certainly Charlie that those are elements that people have to worry about. Going back to 1970, every recession has been accompanied by a year over year decline in residential construction. Plus, when we take a look at the forecast for housing prices, S&P forecasts a decline from peak to trough of eleven percent and we're only half way there. But what I think is encouraging investors is the pro-activeness of the Fed and government officials by making sure that they get ahead of the curve and fend off the recession.
     GIBSON: So you say housing prices have another five percent, perhaps, to go down, the oil prices are high. Now in Dan's [Harris] piece, someone said there, well we're a very broad-based economy. Are we really broad-based enough to endure this kind of oil price hike and this kind of housing crisis and not have a recession?
     STOVALL: Well, certainly we forecast that we're expecting to see about a two percent increase in the growth of the U.S. economy this year, about one percentage point of that was declined because of the housing woes and also with oil prices. We anticipate that about for every ten dollar increase in the price of oil it takes away one-quarter of one percent of economic growth. It does not leave us a lot of wiggle room, but since the economy is fairly broad, and consumers end up using less oil than they did twenty years ago, that our feeling is we'll probably will get away unscathed.
     GIBSON: A remarkably resilient economy then we have.

     Resilient enough to resist a downbeat media.

 

Donaldson and Roberts Laud Gore, Applaud
His Use of Propaganda

     ABC contributor Cokie Roberts apparently approves of propaganda, as long as she agrees with it. The veteran journalist appeared with George Will and Sam Donaldson on Sunday's This Week and in response to a claim by Will that Al Gore grossly exaggerates the threat of global warming, Roberts positively assessed: "The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular."

     Using a strained comparison, Roberts continued to justify Gore's misinformation by arguing that the former Vice President popularizes the work of climate change scientists: "Go back to the revolution....You had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate."

     If there was any confusion about what Roberts thought of the useful nature of propaganda, she cleared it up by gushing: "But good for Al Gore. He worked hard on this. He got this prize." A few minutes earlier, host George Stephanopoulos allowed Will a few minutes to offer some token denunciations of Gore. Veteran ABC journalist Sam Donaldson apparently could only take so much. Like Roberts, he also lauded Gore for doing "very important" work and derided skeptics as being in denial. Addressing Will, he hyperbolically lectured: "Now, if you and Senator [James] Inhofe want to continue to stick your heads in the sand -- I'm going to make it out. I'm old enough that I probably will get out of here before the Earth collapses, but I have grandchildren, George." A bewildered Will could only wonder: "How does the Earth collapse?"

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

     Stephanopoulos also interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier in the program. He closed the segment with some comments that seemed to be aimed at portraying the liberal Pelosi as a moderate. (Her lifetime score from the American Conservative Union, by the way, is three.) Stephanopoulos commented that the House Speaker has been facing "disaffection in the Democratic base, anti-war activists." After playing a clip of protester Cindy Sheehan attacking Pelosi, he marveled: "But how strange that is that for you, though? You know, your entire career you get attacked as a San Francisco liberal and now your most vociferous opponents are on your own side." The Congresswoman quickly retorted: "Well, I'm one of the most vociferous opponents of the war."

     For a comprehensive look at Stephanopoulos's history of bias, check out the anchor's section in the MRC's Profiles in Bias: www.mediaresearch.org

     Partial transcripts of the two October 14 segments:


     GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're just about out of time. You know, the Congressional approval ratings have taken a hit this year. A lot of that, as you know, is because of disaffection in the Democratic base, anti-war activists -
     SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI: Right.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Cindy Sheehan's running against you.
     CINDY SHEEHAN [Speech clip]: And not only am I going to run against her, but I will beat her in California.
     PELOSI: I respect the dissatisfaction with the war and myself would not give Congress high marks on ending the war. We don't have the veto -- the pen to sign or not to veto. But we are doing all we can to change the debate. But I do think that many of the things we have done again that I mentioned and I won't go over again, about the safety and security of our country and the strengthening our families and protecting our environment are very important to our base and to the country. And for that reason, we are double-digit in every issue -- practically every issue you can name would you vote for Democrat or Republican in relationship to health, education, and the economy, the environment, et cetera. So I'm not sad about our Democratic numbers. They're excellent. Turning Congress -- the opinion of Congress around is a big task and we're working on it. And you're right, most of the -- much of the dissatisfaction is from the Democratic base.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: But how strange that is that for you, though? You know, your entire career you get attacked as a San Francisco liberal and now your most vociferous opponents are on your own side.
     PELOSI: Well, I'm one of the most vociferous opponents of the war. And so that is more ironic. But again, I was an advocate myself. By their nature, they are dissatisfied, persistent, and just keep fighting. And I respect that. It's an important part of our democracy. And I, you know, wish this war would end as well. And we will continue to pass legislation to make that point. We happen to be blocked by 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, but the public doesn't care about that. They just want us to end the war.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Barney Frank says this is a moment of truth for liberals. Is he right?
     PELOSI: It is. It's a dynamic. I don't know if it's a moment but it is a dynamic. And it is -- and any issue you can name, we want it more for SCHIP, that's for sure. We want more -- we want to end the war faster. Almost every category you can name, we would have rather had a higher minimum wage and done it even -- well, almost every category you want to do more. And the legislative process is you do what you can pass, but you don't settle for anything that isn't bold enough, that isn't bold enough. And so I'm very proud of our caucus, the consensus we have on a bold agenda to take us in a new direction. And again, sometimes our base is not happy with that. But I think in the long run, we will prevail in next year's election with even a stronger majority and a Democrat in the White House. And I look forward to that.

     In the roundtable segment:

     STEPHANOPOULOS: But I do want to begin, though, and I have to do this for George with the Al Gore Nobel Peace Prize because, George, when I heard this on Friday morning I said, this is designed to drive you, George Will, crazy. You don't like the Nobel Peace committee. You don't like Al Gore. You don't think global warming is a crisis.
     GEORGE WILL: Right on all three counts. The New York Times, in one of those headlines that I'm sure it really believes is without editorial content said "Gore Vindicated." I suppose in that sense Yasser Arafat, world's foremost terrorist was vindicated by getting the Nobel Peace Prize. It actually was two prizes. They say he's sharing the price with the Intergovernmental Panel on-
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Climate Change.
     WILL: -climate change, but they're doing two different things. The panel does the science. He does the hyperbole that gets people to pay attention to the science. And there are all kinds of scientists who are quite candid about this. The panel says over the next century we might anticipate a one-foot increase in the sea levels, approximately what we've had since 1860 without a planetary crisis. Mr. Gore says 20 feet, hence the scene in his movie where Ground Zero is inundated.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah.
     WILL: Because he assumes all of the ice in Greenland melts, which scientists say could happen in a thousand years or more.
     DONALDSON: Whoa, whoa. There are now studies which suggest that within 30 years the polar ice cap may melt.
     Will: It's not polar. We're talking about Greenland. Go ahead.
     DONALDSON: Well it's near enough for government work. Did Al Gore deserve the prize? I think he's pointed out something and he's been the leading exponent publicly of something that's very important. Now, if you and Senator Inhofe want to continue to stick your heads in the sand -- I'm going to make it out. I'm old enough that I probably will get out of here before the Earth collapses, but I have grandchildren, George.
     WILL: How does the Earth collapse?
     DONALDSON: Well, the Earth collapses-
     COKIE ROBERTS: Well there have always -- The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular. Go back to the revolution. You know, oh, you had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate. But good for Al Gore. He worked hard on this. He got this prize. The question now is what does it mean politically?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: The immediate question.
     ROBERTS: That's right.
     DONALDSON: Nothing.

 

CBS's Smith: 'Rock Star' Obama 'Too Cool,'
Needs More 'Audacity'

     On Monday's Early Show on CBS, co-host Harry Smith teased an interview with Barack Obama at the beginning of show and spoke of how the Democratic presidential candidate is often "greeted as a Rock Star" by voters. The toughest question asked by Smith were why Obama is behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, something Smith attributed to the fact that "there are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign." Smith continued to wonder about the futility of Obama's campaign against Hillary, assuming her nomination as a forgone conclusion: "A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected." French terminology aside, Smith tried to urge Obama on, wondering if the Illinois Senator was putting his full energy into the campaign: "Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?"

     See the October 15 CyberAlert for more on Smith's infatuation with Gore: www.mrc.org

     Smith did show some sympathy for Obama at the end of the interview when he observed that "Obama knows his race gives his candidacy a particular place in history." And then asked: "Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for President. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, not in my lifetime not in this United States?" Just days prior, Smith proved the existence of a racism epidemic in America on the October 11 broadcast as he exclaimed, "...the ugly news about nooses. Why this symbol of bigotry is suddenly back."

     [This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Monday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Here is the full transcript of the October 15 segment:

     HARRY SMITH's TEASE: This weekend I spent some time in Iowa, on the campaign trail with Barack Obama, who has been going door-to-door for votes out there. He's often greeted as a rock star. You will not find him very much any more in his hometown of Chicago. He has spent a lot of time in Iowa, determined to take Iowa from Hillary Clinton, and we will talk with him about that in this hour.

     7:41AM SEGMENT, SMITH: The Iowa caucuses are less than three months away, and Campaign 2008's front-loaded primary schedule makes them more important than ever, especially for Democrats. That's why Iowa is becoming very familiar territory for Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
     BARACK OBAMA: Are you fired up? Ready to go? Fired up! Ready to go! Let's go change the world. Thank you, everybody, thank you.
     SMITH: Friday was Barack Obama's 48th day campaigning in Iowa, his 48th day of shaking hands and posing for pictures.
     OBAMA: We feel good about what's happening here.
     SMITH: We joined him on the campaign trail in Indianola. Iowa poles show just a few percentage points separate the three frontrunners. There are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign.
     OBAMA: Well, everybody's got to have a little patience, you know. The American people don't start paying attention until right about now. Now's the time when, you know, the battle is going. Now's the time when people start making up their minds, and I think there are very clear distinctions, you know, between myself and Senator Clinton. You know, I believe in not only bringing this war to a close, but changing our mind set when it comes to foreign policy.
     SMITH: She came after you a couple months ago. You said I will talk to so and so, and Hugo Chavez etcetera, etcetera-
     OBAMA: Exactly, without preconditions.
     SMITH: Right.
     OBAMA: Now suddenly, she said well I'd talk to Iran without preconditions. So now we're confused as to where she stands on it, but-
     SMITH: A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected.
     OBAMA: Well, listen, if I believed in polls, then five years ago, I would have backed the war in Iraq like she did, because you know, George Bush was very popular, and the war in Iraq was perceived as the smart political plan.
     SMITH: Do you think that's why she did it?
     OBAMA: What I'm saying is that she authorized the war, and what I'm saying is that if I had been only listening to the polls, that's what the smart money and the pundits would have said that was the smart political play, but that's not what I did.
     SMITH: Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?
     OBAMA: Well, you know, it's interesting. I burst onto the national scene primarily as a consequence of that convention speech in 2004. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. And I think that in some ways, people set this expectation that every time I speak I'm going to make you cry. As you start getting into the final months of the campaign, then you really are trying to grab them a little more in the heart and not just the head. And that's something I know how to do, but you know, you don't want to peak too early.
     SMITH: Obama knows his race gives his candidacy a particular place in history. Several years ago, I sat in Colin Powell's living room, and he talked about running for president. And one of the things that concerned him was his own safety. Do you think about that at all in terms of, there are people in this country who might look at you and say, not in my lifetime not in this United States?
     OBAMA: Yeah. You know, it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. What I spend most of my time thinking about is people who are at much greater risk than me right now. For example, those troops in Iraq, the likelihood of them getting killed is a lot higher than mine. And, you know, my job is to try to figure out how to create a better foreign policy so that we can start bringing them home.
     SMITH: On the campaign trail with Barack Obama in Iowa. We'll have much more campaign coverage to come here on the Early Show. Another Democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden, will be here tomorrow.

 

Hillary's Pledge to End 'Cowboy Diplomacy'
Delights View Crew

     Hillary Clinton arrived for another soft-soap interview with the women of The View on ABC Monday, delighting the cast with a pledge that if she's elected, "the era of cowboy diplomacy is over." She told Elisabeth Hasselbeck her policy on interrogations is: "We do not condone or conduct torture....Because that gives us a lot of moral authority, which we have lost, unfortunately." The cast was also touched by her standard campaign boilerplate that women in their 90s want to see her be President, and parents point to her and tell their daughters that they can be anything.

     When Hillary declared an end to "cowboy diplomacy," an old liberal phrase often deployed against Ronald Reagan, the View crew was delighted, as if they'd never heard that before:

     WHOOPI GOLDBERG: So what are the first three things for you that you see most important?
     HILLARY CLINTON: First is that I will begin to withdraw our troops from Iraq as carefully and responsibly as I can. And, you know, do it in as expeditious a manner but it has to be done carefully. I will also ask Americans of both parties, distinguished Americans, to travel around the world with a very clear message -- the era of cowboy diplomacy is over. We're going to start working with people, listening to people again. And then I have a whole-
     JOY BEHAR: Cowboy diplomacy is funny.
     CLINTON: Well, it's true.
     BEHAR: It's an oxymoron, actually.
     CLINTON: But it's what we've lived with.
     WALTERS: Bill Clinton could be one of those people. [To travel the world repairing America's image.]
     CLINTON: Absolutely, so could a lot of people, I want Republicans and Democrats.

     [This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     When Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested she would like to ask Sen. Clinton about national security as they went into a commercial, it sounded like Barbara Walters might not want her to get a question in:

     HASSELBECK: When we come back, I have a question just on safety, because I think a lot of Americans.
     WALTERS: We have so many questions. But we also want to ask what everybody 's talking about now, and which is a little confusing, is Iran. So, you know, we'll get to all of that. We'll come back with Senator Hillary Clinton.

     But Hasselbeck did get her question in, although it was clumsily put. Did Hillary believe in using "extreme forces" to get information? It would have been nice to try to pin down Mrs. Clinton on what is torture? Sleep deprivation? Cold temperatures? Loud rock music? (The office joke was "How about lip-biting?")

     HASSELBECK: We mentioned security on "The View." You know, I think it's on a lot of people's minds in terms of national security and in terms of how, if you were the president, how you'd handle, you know if there was an imminent threat. Would you use extreme forces to get information? What's your theory now? Because I know, obviously, I know times change and opinions change.
     CLINTON: You know, Elisabeth, I think it is really important for the United States to make it absolutely clear that as a matter of policy we do not condone or conduct torture. I think that has to be our value. Because that gives us a lot of moral authority, which we have lost, unfortunately. We also have to be smarter about how we interrogate. There's a lot of evidence that you don't get accurate, good information from extreme measures. In fact, you get it by developing some kind of system that can really, you know, get people to feel that they need to give you that information. That's what we did during World War II, that's what we have done in previous times. So, I think for both the moral and values reason and because of the lack of effectiveness that a lot of these so-called techniques have, we need to be very clear that we do not conduct torture.

     The interview began as you might expect, with sympathetic questions asking Hillary about how much tougher it was to run for president as a female, and despairing over how people make more of an issue about your appearance. She was also asked about whether she was polarizing:

     WALTERS: You know, we were talking about some of the things that are different when you're a woman. And, even though you are running with men and, you know, if you win, you'll be the first woman president, there must be differences in the way you run as a woman and the way the men do.
     CLINTON: I think there are.
     WALTERS: What are they?
     CLINTON: Well, look how much longer it takes me to get ready.
     WALTERS: I'll give you that.
     BEHAR: But it's worth it, look how good you look.
     CLINTON: Well, thank you Joy, but I really, takes a-
     WALTERS: Remember how they always asked about your hair?
     CLINTON: Oh yes.
     WALTERS: They still are.
     CLINTON: Oh yes. The hair, the clothes, the laugh.
     WALTERS: Do you mind that?
     CLINTON: No. I really don't.
     WALTERS: This is when you should laugh.
     CLINTON: My attitude is that you just get up every day and do the best you can. And some days are better than other days.
     WALTERS: Are there other differences?
     CLINTON: Well, I do think that there still is, you know, probably a tougher standard for women, especially running for president. I mean, we've all been through it in some way or another where you go and try to break a barrier, you try to do the best you can, and people are saying, well, I don't like her clothes or I don't like her hair or whatever. But I think that we're getting beyond that. And one of the exciting parts of my campaign is how many people are so personally invested in this. You know, everywhere I go around the country, there are two groups of people that I'm particularly touched by. All these women in their 90's come to my events and they come and they wait, sometimes they're in walkers, sometimes they're in wheelchairs, like a daughter or granddaughter will bring them. And then when I'm going around shaking hands, they'll say something like I'm 95 years old and I was born before women vote and I want to live long enough to see a woman in the White House.
     BEHAR: Oh that's nice.
     CLINTON: It is, it's very touching. And then the other group are parents who bring their children, particularly their daughters. And so after I make a speech and I go out and shake hands with everybody, I'll hear a father or mother lean over and say to a little girl, see honey, you can be anything you want to be. And I get that sort of welled-up feeling because my parents told me that. Not that it was really true back then. But you know, we've broken a lot of barriers to get to where we all are today.
     BEHAR: When you're on the road like that, What about the white males? How do they respond to you?
     CLINTON: You know it's been wonderful. I have lots of people who come and they are very interested, they ask tough questions, but, you know, they come in greater and greater numbers now. And I've been very excited about that."
     WALTERS: What about the criticism which we hear all the time, and we were talking about Michelle Obama, and we have to ask you if it's tougher to answer back the wife. But you're polarizing, you're polarizing, you know, yeah she'll get the nomination, but she's not going to win the election, she's polarizing.
     CLINTON: Well, you know my attitude is that's what a campaign is for, to get people a chance to see you for who you are and make their own judgments. You're never going to have a hundred percent of the people to support you.
     WALTERS: Do you think you're polarizing?
     CLINTON: I think that I have strong feelings about what should be done in the country and I think a lot of people disagree with that and I respect that. That's the way America is. You can be for or against anybody based on anything. But I just want people to make an accurate decision about who I am and what I stand for and what I would do as president. And that's happening. So, I'm very happy about that.

     Some of the questions, softly put, were the kind of questions Hillary will face everywhere. Sherri Shepherd asked what she was going to do with her husband, which drew the "roving global ambassador of good will" answer. Whoopi Goldberg asked her whether countries that don't respect women will agree to meet with her, which Hillary answered by saying it's never been a problem:
     CLINTON: I have been to 82 countries and I have met with the leaders of a lot of countries that are not exactly in the forefront of giving women their rights, and I've never found that to be a problem. I actually think, assuming I'm so fortunate as to be elected, that sends a very strong message to those countries and to those leaders. You cannot expect to have a successful society if you keep half your population in servitude and deny them their rights and keep them out of education and health care and important positions and don't give them the respect, even in the home, that they deserve for the hard work that they do. So I actually believe that it may take a little adjustment, but it's time the world adjusted. Women deserve to be given rights and responsibilities.

 

'Top Ten Questions President Bush Asked
the Dalai Lama'

     From the October 16 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions President Bush Asked the Dalai Lama." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "What is that, some kind of Halloween get up?"

9. "Is there a peaceful way for me to bomb Iran back to the stone age?"

8. "I got one for you -- why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?"

7. "Where's Mrs. Lama?"

6. "Are you that Japanese guy my dad threw up on?"

5. "Is it true yoga is the new oil?"

4. "What the hell is happening on 'Lost'?"

3. "How's business in Dollywood?"

2. "Have you ever met Dr. Phil?"

1. "I know your cousin Barack O'Lama"

-- Brent Baker

 


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