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The 2,705th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
6:45am EDT, Friday August 8, 2008 (Vol. Thirteen; No. 150)
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1. Kilpatrick Leads Democratic Group, Yet Nets Refuse to Name Party
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: "Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics..." Making that same "rising star" point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation: "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions..." Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate.

2. New York Times Fails to Name That (Racist, Anti-Semitic) Party
New York Times reporter Adam Nossiter filed a disturbing story about racism and anti-Semitism in a Democratic primary in Memphis -- but left out the "Democrat" part. On Thursday, Southern-based reporter Nossiter relayed a disturbing story about racism and anti-Semitism in a House primary in Memphis, "Race Takes Central Role in a Memphis Primary." But which party's primary? That's the one thing missing from Nossiter's story -- the word "Democrat."

3. Barnicle: Suskind Book Charges Bush & Cheney with '4,000 Murders'
Ron Suskind's charge, that the Bush administration forged a letter to falsely link al-Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, landed the journalist/author not only a spot on Thursday night's Hardball, but also the following recommendation for his book, The Way of the World, from guest host Mike Barnicle: "And in reading the book, I have to tell you, in reading all your stuff, I admire all your stuff. But in reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can't help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4,000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book."

4. CBS's Rodriguez: McCain Ad 'Started This Negative Tide'
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Republican strategist Ed Rollins about the recent exchange of ads between the McCain and Obama campaigns and started the discussion by declaring: "Let's begin with the one that started this negative tide, John McCain's ad last week comparing Barack Obama to celebrities Paris Hilton and Britney Spears." Rodriguez went on to admit the media's distaste for the ad as she asked Rollins: "So even though he was being criticized, do you think this was an effective ad because it got people talking about McCain again?" Later in the Early Show segment, Rodriguez introduced a clip of the Obama campaign's response ad in a positive fashion: "Barack Obama says that he -- John McCain is taking the low road. He's supposed to be a straight talker who doesn't resort to this sort of thing, but he has. And he said as much in this ad, let's take a look at it." When Rodriguez asked Rollins what he thought of the ad, he observed: "Well he's responding to McCain. The truth of the matter is you want to run your own campaign, you don't want to respond in the opposition. That's the basic rule." Rodriguez seemed surprised by the critique: "You don't think that Barack Obama pointing out John McCain's weaknesses, in his view, is a good strategy?"

5. GMA Tosses Softballs About 'Obama Family Vacation Traditions'
ABC's Robin Roberts treated Michelle Obama to a thoroughly positive (and at times gushing) interview on Thursday's Good Morning America, sympathizing with Mrs. Obama about negative ads against her husband and The New Yorker cover which cast her as a black militant. Roberts also touted how Michelle Obama "has turned her attention to...improving the lives of military families," and asked about "Obama family vacation traditions," such as heated games of Scrabble. Throughout the nearly 6 minute session, Roberts posed no questions about the controversies that have dogged Mrs. Obama on the campaign trail, such as her statement that this year -- as her husband runs for President -- is the first time she has been proud of this country. Roberts allowed Obama a lengthy monologue about the need to stay focused "on the real issues that matter to most families, and it's better gas prices, decent jobs, health care that makes sense and doesn't leave people, you know, out of the system" without ever asking the potential First Lady about how her husband plans to accomplish any of those things.

6. 63% Plus of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC Viewers Back Obama
By percentages ranging from 63 to 71 percent, viewers of CNN, MSNBC and the three broadcast network evening newscasts plan to vote for liberal Democrat Barack Obama, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Wednesday discovered. The biggest surprise: MSNBC viewers came in at the low end of that range in their intention to cast a ballot for Obama -- but maybe some are just too lazy to vote since, of the three cable news networks, MSNBC had the highest percent (72) with a favorable view of Obama and the lowest percent (38) with a favorable opinion of John McCain. (In contrast, FNC is the opposite on favorability while "87 percent of Fox News viewers say they are likely to vote for John McCain" with only nine percent of FNC watchers backing Obama.) The poll found 65 percent of those who watch CNN "plan to vote for the Democratic candidate versus 26 percent who intend to go for the Republican. Similarly, MSNBC watchers plan to vote for Obama over McCain 63 percent to 30 percent." For the evening newscasts: "Seventy percent (70%) of those who watch CBS's Katie Couric every day plan to vote for Obama, as do 71 percent of the daily viewers of ABC's Charles Gibson and 67 percent of those watching NBC's Brian Williams."

7. Olbermann: Hamdan 'Victim' of Bush 'Urinating' on Constitution
On Thursday's Countdown, one night after accusing President Bush of not doing enough to protect America from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization before the September 11th attacks, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed sympathetic to the plight of Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Hamdan. Following Hamdan's sentencing in a military court during which the judge expressed an apology to the bin Laden aide as he handed down a sentence that would make Hamdan eligible for release in six months, the American military indicated Hamdan may still be kept prisoner at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely in spite of the ruling, prompting Olbermann to accuse the Bush administration of "urinating" on the Constitution, and making Hamdan one of the "victims" of its "medieval" justice system: "So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, 'justice,' unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out."

8. CNN Seeks Capitol's 'Jail' in Look at Libs' Desire to Arrest Rove
Now that Congress has recessed, and since the conventions aren't for a couple of weeks, Thursday's The Situation Room turned back to the "hot" issue of what many liberals are calling on congressional Democrats to do: arrest and lock-up Karl Rove for his failure to testify on the issue of the firing of U.S. attorneys in late 2006. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, as part of a report on this possible move by the Democrats, conducted a search for the supposed jail inside the U.S. Capitol. He also addressed the little-used power of the legislature to arrest and try government officials for contempt of Congress. Acosta began by describing the liberals' fantasy: "Just think, some on the Left say: Karl Rove and the Capitol slammer." Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie brought Acosta to the bottom level of the Capitol to a tomb chamber originally built to hold the body of George Washington. He told of how "[a] lot of people who have seen it assumed, well, this must be the Capitol jail," due to the metal bars protecting the entrance of the chamber.


 

Kilpatrick Leads Democratic Group, Yet
Nets Refuse to Name Party

     Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: "Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics..."
     Making that same "rising star" point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation: "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions..."

     Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate. Filling in on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle avoided Kilpatrick's party in a brief item on news of his jailing while on CNN's The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer did not note Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in several updates and plugs and, in a full story in the 5PM EDT hour, the MRC's Matthew Balan noticed, Mary Snow failed to verbally name Kilpatrick's party in her piece. The only hint came in this chyron at the bottom of the screen for barely three seconds: "MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D) DETROIT."

     FNC was the cable world exception as Bret Baier, filling in as host of Special Report, set up a story: "Detroit's Democratic Mayor will be spending the night in jail. A judge today told Kwame Kilpatrick he was going to be treated just like any other person who had broken the law. Correspondent Todd Conner has the story...."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The image of Kilpatrick on the "leadership" page for National Conference of Democratic Mayors: www.democraticmayors.org

     The short, label-free, item read by ABC anchor Charles Gibson on World News: "The Mayor of Detroit is in jail. Kwame Kilpatrick is facing trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Terms of his bail prevented travel. But he went to Canada anyway. So the judge today sent him to jail. Kilpatrick is appealing, but from a cell."

     The March 25 CyberAlert item, "ABC, CBS and NBC All Fail to ID Indicted Mayor as a Democrat," recounted:

Two weeks since the ABC and NBC evening shows took multiple days before getting around to informing viewers that disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer belonged to the Democratic Party -- after every ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news program last year immediately highlighted the party of Republican Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig -- Monday's broadcast network evening newscasts all failed to note, verbally or on-screen, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced on World News: "Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged today with felonies that could cost him his job and 15 years in prison." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams relayed how "Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick...was indicted on perjury and other charges in the wake of a sex scandal there." (NBC also refused to tag Kilpatrick in a full story aired Friday night.) Over on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith introduced a full story: "In Detroit, a sex scandal led to criminal charges today against the Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, a married father of three."...

     For the full rundown: www.mediaresearch.org

     The March 24 CyberAlert, "Here We Go Again: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (?)," reported:

The week after it took the NBC Nightly News until the fourth day of coverage to inform viewers that disgraced then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is a Democrat, Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a full story on the scandalous behavior surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, but never identified his political party. Naturally, given the lack of a party identification by the mainstream media journalists, he's a Democrat. Anchor Brian Williams set up the story: "The city of Detroit is in a crisis over government and leadership. The current Mayor is just the latest Detroit Mayor elected on a promise to clean up and revitalize the city. Now he's been caught in a sex scandal, a trail of electronic messages reportedly provides the evidence, it threatens his career and then some."

Reporter Kevin Tibbles, also sans any mention of a party affiliation, outlined: "The Detroit city council votes overwhelmingly to ask the Mayor to resign. 37-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick, in his second term of the Mayor of the Motor City, is mired in financial, political, and personal scandal, but refuses to budge."

     That's online at: www.mrc.org

     Transcripts of the stories on the Thursday, August 7 NBC and CBS evening newscasts:

     # NBC Nightly News:

     BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now we turn our focus to Detroit, Michigan, where Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions. Already under indictment, a judge sent him to jail for violating the conditions of his bond. As you might imagine, this is a big story in Detroit and reporter Karen Drew of our NBC station WDIV-TV in Detroit has the story.

     KWAME KILPATRICK, IN COURT: Firstly, I apologize immensely.

     KAREN DREW: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on his way to jail today apologized for what he said was a trip to Canada on city business without the court's permission.
     KILPATRICK, IN COURT: I've been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny for seven months.
     DREW: But district court judge Ronald Giles said said the two-term Mayor should be treated like any other citizen for violating the terms of his bond.
     JUDGE RONALD GILES: What matters to me though is how the court, overall, is perceived. If it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat, if it was John Six Pack sitting in that seat-
     DREW: Kilpatrick, and his ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty, were indicted in March for perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, both accused of lying about their alleged personal relationship and their roles in the firing of two Detroit police officers who'd been investigating city corruption. Both have denied the charges.
     LOCAL TV NEWS ANCHOR: But in this case, Detroit's number one citizen is going to be going to jail.
     DREW: While local newscasts reported the latest on the city's embattled Mayor, officials and residents reacted.
     SHEILA COCKREL, DETROIT CITY COUNCIL: The most important message here for everyone to take away is that no one's above the law.
     WOMAN ON STREET: It's good for the comedians, but I think by now the Mayor is going to have to resign.
     DREW: Kilpatrick's attorneys will be in court tomorrow morning appealing that incarceration. Meantime also tomorrow, the state attorney general will be announcing felony charges against the mayor for allegedly assaulting a sheriff's deputy who was trying to deliver a subpoena. More trouble for the mayor, Brian.


     # CBS Evening News:

     Three teases and plugs from anchor Russ Mitchell:

The indicted Mayor of Detroit is sent to jail after violating terms of his bond.

There is much more CBS News ahead, including Detroit's Mayor. He's in jail tonight.

Up next, Detroit's Mayor has a day in court and spends the night in jail.

     The eventual story:

     RUSS MITCHELL: The Mayor of Detroit is in jail tonight. A judge sent him there. Just the latest legal problem for Kwame Kilpatrick. Here's Dean Reynolds.

     DEAN REYNOLDS: These are not the best of times for Kwame Kilpatrick, or his city. Awaiting trial on multiple felonies, he violated his bond agreement not to leave the country when he went on city business next door to Windsor, Canada. That landed him in front of a judge today.
     KWAME KILPATRICK, IN COURT: I don't believe that there's a person that has ever been through this process that respects it more than I do.
     REYNOLDS: Kilpatrick faces charges of lying under oath to cover up an affair with a city employee, firing the deputy police chief for personal reasons, and misleading the city council to keep hidden incriminating text messages. If convicted, he could get 15 years.
     KILPATRICK, IN COURT: I've been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny for seven months during this time period.
     REYNOLDS: He also stands accused of shoving a police investigator. So for the judge, the latest infraction was open and shut.
     JUDGE RONALD GILES, 36th DISTRICT COURT OF MICHIGAN: If it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat. If it was John Six Pack sitting in that seat, what would I do?
     REYNOLDS: Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics, Kilpatrick was subdued in court.
     KILPATRICK, IN COURT: I apologize to you. I policy to this court. I have respect if for this court. I have respect for the judges in this court and I have respect for you.
     REYNOLDS: The judge played it by the book.
     JUDGE GILES The court is going to order that you -- that all travel be suspended. And, two, that you be remanded to the Wayne County jail for processing.
     REYNOLDS: And with that, the Mayor of the nation's 11th largest city behind went behind bars, awaiting a hearing tomorrow to see just how long he'll stay there. Dean Reynolds, CBS News, Chicago.

 

New York Times Fails to Name That (Racist,
Anti-Semitic) Party

     New York Times reporter Adam Nossiter filed a disturbing story about racism and anti-Semitism in a Democratic primary in Memphis -- but left out the "Democrat" part. On Thursday, Southern-based reporter Nossiter relayed a disturbing story about racism and anti-Semitism in a House primary in Memphis, "Race Takes Central Role in a Memphis Primary." But which party's primary? That's the one thing missing from Nossiter's story -- the word "Democrat."

     [This item is adapted from a Thursday post by Clay Waters on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

     (Even MSNBC left-winger Keith Olbermann, in naming the candidate at the center of the New York Times story his "Worst Person in the World" on Wednesday night, identified her party: "Our winner: Would be Democratic Congresswoman Nikki Tinker, who's challenging the incumbent Democrat in the 9th district from Tennessee. There's already one Tinker ad questioning why the incumbent Congressman had voted against re-naming a municipal park that honors one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan, thus tying the incumbent's name to the KKK. Now, on the eve of the primary, another Tinker ad includes this voice over, quote: 'While he's in our churches clapping his hands and tapping his feet, he's the only Senator who thought our kids shouldn't be allowed to pray in school.' Still wondering what the problem is with this rough politics? Well the incumbent against whom Miss Tinker is running is Congressman Steve Cohen. He is Jewish. Thus the phrase, 'while he's in our churches' can be interpreted, intended or otherwise, as having a very disturbing meaning...It is shameful...")

     An excerpt from the August 7 New York Times story:

In the culmination of a racially fraught Congressional campaign in Memphis, a black candidate is linking her liberal-leaning white primary opponent in Thursday's contest, Representative Steve Cohen, to the Ku Klux Klan in a television advertisement.

Mr. Cohen's campaign said it was an unusually direct effort to inject race into the contest.

The advertisement for the challenger, Nikki Tinker, juxtaposes Mr. Cohen's picture with that of a hooded Klansman, and criticizes Mr. Cohen for voting against renaming a park in Memphis currently named for the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Ku Klux Klan founder...

     END of Excerpt

     For the article in full: www.nytimes.com

     Credit Nossiter -- who is hypersensitive to signs of racism among Southern Republicans -- for covering this disturbing story. (One flier circulated in Memphis read: "Why do Steve Cohen and the Jews Hate Jesus?"). Earlier TimesWatch look at Nossiter: www.timeswatch.org

     But to which political party do Tinker and Cohen belong? Robert Stacy McCain noticed the word Democrat is nowhere to be found, although you can infer it from Nossiter calling Cohen a "media-friendly liberal," and other clues. Still, why no (D)? It's a pretty basic piece of information, and Nossister has never hesitated to point the finger at Republicans when he thinks they're playing the race card.

     McCain's blog post: rsmccain.blogspot.com

     For the latest details on liberal bias in the New York Times, check in with TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org

 

Barnicle: Suskind Book Charges Bush &
Cheney with '4,000 Murders'

     Ron Suskind's charge, that the Bush administration forged a letter to falsely link al-Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, landed the journalist/author not only a spot on Thursday night's Hardball, but also the following recommendation for his book, The Way of the World, from guest host Mike Barnicle: "And in reading the book, I have to tell you, in reading all your stuff, I admire all your stuff. But in reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can't help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4,000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book."

     [This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Thursday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The following is an excerpt of the interview as it occurred on the August 7 Hardball:

     MIKE BARNICLE: You never asked the DCI, the Director of Central Intelligence Agency, point blank, "George [Tenet] did you transport a cream-colored piece of paper to Langley after your meeting at the White House?"
     RON SUSKIND: For a lot of reasons I went to really reliable sources and to be frank about it, at this point, George [Tenet], as reporters in town know, is not the person you call for anything in terms of memory, even a short time ago, much less five years ago. He doesn't remember wide swaths of almost anything. In this case we dealt with people handling the situation who remember, with great vividness, what George says, what they did, the moment of passage, and down the chain. And that's why the book has such strength is because you can see clearly-
     BARNICLE: Oh it does!
     SUSKIND: -that this was an operation and people are quoted fully, based on their personal knowledge.
     BARNICLE: It, it, it does, there's no doubt it. And in reading the book, I have to tell you, in reading all your stuff, I admire all your stuff. But in reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can't help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4,000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book.
     SUSKIND: Well the, the book lays out the evidence step by step, all the way to that point in early January 2003, mind you this is important, weeks before the President's State of the Union address and a month before Colin Powell goes to the UN, that we are meeting with the Iraqi intelligence chief in a secret location, a back-channel. He tells us, "Hey there are no WMD and also here's the mind of Saddam Hussein. Here's why he's not worried, he's worried about the Iranians and being shown he's a toothless tiger." All this is clear later, demonstrable to the world. We know it, well before the war. The head of British intelligence, again on the record, says, you know the U.S. was moving forward like a runaway train. This was the British version of, "Let's stop this thing." We don't stop it, we ignore the intelligence chief. We then, of course, have a real problem. We put him into hiding, Mike. We pay him $5 million, from the U.S. government. We've hidden him for five years. Of course he still remains the "Jack of Diamonds," in Bush's deck of "Most Wanted Men." There's a $1 million reward for this fellow Habbush. And it has really been the smoking gun, best kept secret of the United States government. And it's one that shows clearly a lack of faith in the basic principles of democracy, in terms of transparency and especially accountability on this most August issue of war. And that's why, of course, everyone is buying it and reading it, and everybody is, congressional investigators are lining up to say, "This is indisputable. The evidence is here. Let's get people under oath with subpoenas and let's finish this." The book is actually very hopeful. It says we need to embrace truth before this era ends, if we're gonna move forward cleanly and with vigor with a kind of moral energy that has been bled away. You talk about 4000 deaths, well the fact is, what the book is about, is how over these years America has lost its moral authority and how people are struggling to get it back, now in this year of consent.
     BARNICLE: Ron Suskind, thanks very much. The book is The Way of the World. It reads like a novel.

 

CBS's Rodriguez: McCain Ad 'Started This
Negative Tide'

     On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to Republican strategist Ed Rollins about the recent exchange of ads between the McCain and Obama campaigns and started the discussion by declaring: "Let's begin with the one that started this negative tide, John McCain's ad last week comparing Barack Obama to celebrities Paris Hilton and Britney Spears." Rodriguez went on to admit the media's distaste for the ad as she asked Rollins: "So even though he was being criticized, do you think this was an effective ad because it got people talking about McCain again?"

     (On Wednesday's CBS Evening News correspondent Dean Reynolds said of the McCain ad: "Some Republicans wonder about the new approach. McCain's own mother said using Paris Hilton in this controversial ad to insult Obama was, quote, 'kind of stupid.'" See the August 7 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org )

     Later in the Early Show segment, Rodriguez introduced a clip of the Obama campaign's response ad in a positive fashion: "Barack Obama says that he -- John McCain is taking the low road. He's supposed to be a straight talker who doesn't resort to this sort of thing, but he has. And he said as much in this ad, let's take a look at it." When Rodriguez asked Rollins what he thought of the ad, he observed: "Well he's responding to McCain. The truth of the matter is you want to run your own campaign, you don't want to respond in the opposition. That's the basic rule." Rodriguez seemed surprised by the critique: "You don't think that Barack Obama pointing out John McCain's weaknesses, in his view, is a good strategy?"

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

     At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith teased the segment by declaring: "McCain launches another attack on Obama. Is it having an effect on the latest polls?" Rodriguez offered a similar preview: "Up next, McCain versus Obama. Yet another new negative ad is out. You will see it." This new "attack on Obama" referred to a new McCain ad that again referred to Obama as a "celebrity": "Is the biggest celebrity in the world, ready to help your family? The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending. So, fewer jobs."
     Rodriguez described the latest ad as "a part two" to McCain's original celebrity ad, but seemed to suggest that it wasn't quite as negative: "So still a jab about the celebrity but much more on message...And also when they say things like 'he's going to raise your taxes,' which they focused on much more in this ad than the first one." In reality, both 32-second ads spent only about 7-8 seconds referring to Obama's celebrity status.

     Following up on Smith's question: "Is it having an effect on the latest polls?" Rodriguez quoted new poll numbers: "A new CBS News poll on the presidential race is out this morning and it shows Barack Obama leads John McCain 45% to 39%, the same lead that he had a month ago." Prior to proclaiming that McCain started a "negative tide," Rodriguez observed: "With such a tight race, the gloves are off as more and more campaign ads take negative turns." Apparently only McCain campaign ads, according to CBS.

 

GMA Tosses Softballs About 'Obama Family
Vacation Traditions'

     ABC's Robin Roberts treated Michelle Obama to a thoroughly positive (and at times gushing) interview on Thursday's Good Morning America, sympathizing with Mrs. Obama about negative ads against her husband and The New Yorker cover which cast her as a black militant. Roberts also touted how Michelle Obama "has turned her attention to...improving the lives of military families," and asked about "Obama family vacation traditions," such as heated games of Scrabble.

     Throughout the nearly 6 minute session, Roberts posed no questions about the controversies that have dogged Mrs. Obama on the campaign trail, such as her statement that this year -- as her husband runs for President -- is the first time she has been proud of this country.

     Roberts allowed Obama a lengthy monologue about the need to stay focused "on the real issues that matter to most families, and it's better gas prices, decent jobs, health care that makes sense and doesn't leave people, you know, out of the system" without ever asking the potential First Lady about how her husband plans to accomplish any of those things.

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes and intern Peter Sasso, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     A transcript of the interview that aired at 7:04 AM on the August 7 GMA:

     ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to our exclusive interview with Michelle Obama. I spent a jam-packed day with her in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was also spending a lot of time meeting with military families. We talked about a host of issues from the campaign trail including those controversial political ads. The Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad, I mean, both sides have commented on that, good and bad and it seems that Senator McCain has gotten a little momentum following that Paris Hilton ad.
     NARRATOR OF A MCCAIN AD: He's the biggest celebrity in the world.
     ROBERTS: What was your reaction when you saw it.
     MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, frankly, I didn't see the ad. I rarely look at these ads so I don't know, you know, firsthand the content, I've heard people talk about it but first reaction is, you know, it's funny to have anybody characterize Barack as an elitist. You know, this was the kid who was raised a by a single mother who didn't have access to many resources, who, you know , has walked away his entire life from lucrative careers to work in the community. You know, we have to stay focused on the real issues that matter to most families, and it's better gas prices, decent jobs, health care that makes sense and doesn't leave people, you know, out of the system. Those are the kind of issues that Barack will continue to bring these conversations back to, and it's really all that the American people really care about.
     ROBERTS: But the controversial New Yorker cover where you're portrayed as being militant, Barack Obama is being defined as a Muslim with the turban and that, as you know, caused quite a stir on both sides in this country.
     OBAMA: Yeah, well, you know, again, I didn't focus too much attention on it.
     ROBERTS: What did you think when you picked it up and you saw it?
     OBAMA: You know, you think, well this is tacky, but then, you know, you move on. Then I pick up this great article about me in Ebony, you know, so there's up and down, good and bad, um, you know, I just don't emotionally go to those high highs or those low lows.
     ROBERTS: What she has turned her attention to is improving the lives of military families, she is traveling around the country listening to their stories of struggle.
     UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There's little assistance to help those who are affected by the downturn in the markets. Right now, many families are facing foreclosure.
     ROBERTS: You said that you'll go back and you'll talk to Barack. That you are really here to listen?
     OBAMA: That's right.
     ROBERTS: What will you tell your husband?
     OBAMA: You know, I'll tell him what I've told him in the past. That he -- I think he's on the right track with a number of the proposals that he's laid out but I'd also tell him that spouses are struggling and that you know, I want to remind him that when we send our troops to war, the families go with them and that we have to keep the funding in line to make sure that we're making sure that these families are whole and healthy and that they're not just surviving but they're thriving.
     ROBERTS: You know, there are some people that look at this and say, you know what, it's a photo opportunity. That the reason you're here is purely political. What do you say to those people?
     OBAMA: I've been doing this for awhile and, you know, for me this is real. This is personal because, you know, when you think about the quality of support that you would want for families, the assumption would be that the military families are getting that, right?
     ROBERTS: Sure.
     OBAMA: But then to find out that they're still struggling means that we have to get them on track, even before we can make sure that those same benefits and resources are available to all families throughout this country. So, you know, I hope to continue to do this no matter what the outcome of the election is in November.
     ROBERTS: But one thing is for certain: the public's and media's appetite for the Obamas. The couple still feeling their way on how much is too much when it comes to their two young daughters.
     OBAMA: I think we're all figuring this out and I've had an opportunity to talk to people who have done this before. Had a great conversation with Hillary Clinton, also talked to Tipper Gore. Lots of folks who have had great advice on how do you make sure that your kids are whole and grounded and part of it is keeping them -- keeping their worlds very much their own so we're learning and growing and figuring it out and making some decisions and changing our minds and moving forward so.
     ROBERTS: Do you remember the advice Hillary Clinton gave you, because Chelsea has never really -- few of us have even heard her voice.
     OBAMA: I think you see her advice in her actions and I think she's done an outstanding job at modeling, you know, how to keep the kids out of it. And she's a strong advocate of that and I respect that. She's been just amazingly gracious in her advice and sharing her wisdom and I've been truly grateful to her.
     ROBERTS: And how is this potential First Lady handling the pressure of her impending convention debut?
     OBAMA: I'm not in the anticipatory mode yet because, quite frankly, we're going on vacation.
     ROBERTS: That's what you're thinking of before the convention is vacation.
     OBAMA: Yeah, one step at a time.
     ROBERTS: Going to Hawaii.
     OBAMA: To visit, um, Barack's grandma.
     ROBERTS: Is there any kind of Obama family vacation traditions or-
     OBAMA: There can be mean games of Scrabble. He and his sister Maya, oh, they are deadly. In fact, sometimes we all just walk away and let them, you know, compete into the night.
     ROBERTS: But despite the whirlwind days of the campaign and the media frenzy that ensues, she still remains grounded.
     OBAMA: I am Michelle Obama. I live in Chicago. I'm married to this guy Barack. That's about it. That's about how I see myself.
     ROBERTS: And her day was not finished after that. She headlined a fund-raiser last night with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who, of course, who of course is said to be on her husband's list for VP though she wouldn't indicate one way or another how that is playing out. And you'll see more of the day with Michelle on Nightline tonight, and look forward also to the opportunity to spend a day like this with Cindy Mccain out on the campaign trail very soon.
     DIANE SAWYER: I'm imagining smack down over a triple word score in Scrabble.
     ROBERTS: Could be.
     SAWYER: On those vacations.

 

63% Plus of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC
Viewers Back Obama

     By percentages ranging from 63 to 71 percent, viewers of CNN, MSNBC and the three broadcast network evening newscasts plan to vote for liberal Democrat Barack Obama, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Wednesday discovered. The biggest surprise: MSNBC viewers came in at the low end of that range in their intention to cast a ballot for Obama -- but maybe some are just too lazy to vote since, of the three cable news networks, MSNBC had the highest percent (72) with a favorable view of Obama and the lowest percent (38) with a favorable opinion of John McCain. (In contrast, FNC is the opposite on favorability while "87 percent of Fox News viewers say they are likely to vote for John McCain" with only nine percent of FNC watchers backing Obama.)

     The poll found 65 percent of those who watch CNN "plan to vote for the Democratic candidate versus 26 percent who intend to go for the Republican. Similarly, MSNBC watchers plan to vote for Obama over McCain 63 percent to 30 percent." For the evening newscasts: "Seventy percent (70%) of those who watch CBS's Katie Couric every day plan to vote for Obama, as do 71 percent of the daily viewers of ABC's Charles Gibson and 67 percent of those watching NBC's Brian Williams."

     More from the poll:

     # Favorable vs. Unfavorable Ratings: "While McCain is regarded favorably by 88% of Fox News viewers, only 43% of CNN viewers and 38% of those who watch MSNBC agree. But just 14% of Fox viewers have a favorable opinion of Obama, as opposed to 70% of CNN watchers and 72% of those watching MSNBC."

     # CNN and MSNBC Viewers Care Less About National Security: "How voters rate the importance of issues is also reflected in the cable news programming they prefer. For 36% of Fox viewers, national security is the most important issue in the campaign, followed by 32% who say economic issues are number one. By contrast, those who watch CNN rate economic issues over national security 56% to 13%, and MSNBC viewers agree 50% to 12%."

     # Talk Radio Is McCain Territory: "More than 60% of those who listen at least several times a week plan to vote for the Republican versus less than a third who say they will vote for Obama. National security also polls as a much stronger concern among those who listen regularly to talk radio than it does to voters overall."

     For Rasmussen's August 6 summary of the poll, "News You Watch Says a Lot About How You'll Vote," go to: www.rasmussenreports.com

     "More than three times as many Americans see a media tilt in favor of Democrat Barack Obama than toward Republican John McCain," the July 22 CyberAlert recounted in citing an earlier Rasmussen survey:

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Monday, of 1,000 likely voters, "found that 49 percent of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44 percent a month ago," compared to a piddling 14 percent who "believe most reporters will try to help John McCain win" while "just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage."

     For more: www.mediaresearch.org

 

Olbermann: Hamdan 'Victim' of Bush 'Urinating'
on Constitution

     On Thursday's Countdown, one night after accusing President Bush of not doing enough to protect America from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization before the September 11th attacks, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed sympathetic to the plight of Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Hamdan. Following Hamdan's sentencing in a military court during which the judge expressed an apology to the bin Laden aide as he handed down a sentence that would make Hamdan eligible for release in six months, the American military indicated Hamdan may still be kept prisoner at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely in spite of the ruling, prompting Olbermann to accuse the Bush administration of "urinating" on the Constitution, and making Hamdan one of the "victims" of its "medieval" justice system: "So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, 'justice,' unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out."

     Ironically, just the day before on Wednesday's show, the Countdown host marked the seventh anniversary of a presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001, which has previously been hyped by the media as having been a warning that the 9/11 attacks were about to happen. During Wednesday's "Bushed" segment which purports to update viewers on what the Countdown host sees as Bush administration scandals, Olbermann claimed that the President was given a report "which he either did not read, did not understand or did not believe." And, although the report's reference to surveillance of buildings in New York City was later found to be just the tourist activities of a group of Yemenis, Olbermann deceptively quoted a portion of the PDB which referred to "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."

     Claiming that the PDB contained "all the information you could have wanted," Olbermann charged that President Bush "slept": "The President's daily briefing seven years ago today, August 6th, 2001, entitled ‘Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.' mentions bringing the fighting to America, retaliating in Washington, wanting to hijack a U.S. aircraft, preparations for hijackings, surveillance done in New York, groups of supporters in the U.S. planning attacks -- all the information you could have wanted. All of it in George Bush`s hands, seven years ago today, with 36 days left to interrupt or alter 9/11. So when you rhetorically ask, as Mr. Posner did in his exceptional book, 'Why America Slept,' the answer is actually a correction. America did not sleep, George Bush slept."

     But, as recounted in the April 12, 2004, CyberAlert, former Republican Governor James Thompson of Illinois, a member of the September 11th Commission, dismissed the PDB's relevance to the 9/11 attacks in an interview on the April 10, 2004, CNN Saturday Night with anchor Carol Lin. Thompson contended that much of what was in the report "relates to things that were three years old," and pointed out that the "suspicious activity in New York with people surveilling federal buildings" turned out to be tourists from Yemen. Thompson saw the report as not having "anything to do with September 11." See: www.mrc.org

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday and Thursday, August 6 and August 7, Countdown shows from MSNBC, followed by a transcript from the April 10, 2004, CNN Saturday Night:

     # From the Thursday, August 7, 2008, Countdown:

     KEITH OLBERMANN: And number one, Gitmo-gate. Yesterday, we had the first conviction from the infamous military commission system, devised by Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain. Salim Hamdan, who admitted to being a driver for Osama bin Laden, convicted of being a driver for Osama bin Laden. Sentencing was today. The government demanded 30 years. The military commission judges said five and a half, with five years off for time already served. An apologetic chief judge, Captain Keith Allred, told Hamdan, quote, "I hope the day comes when you return to your wife and your daughters and your country." Then he added, "Inshallah," Arabic for "Godwilling."
     Ah, but not so fast. The Pentagon says even after Hamdan's sentence is over, he will still be a prisoner, still branded an enemy combatant, to be released only if a military administration review board says so. So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, "justice," unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out.

     # From the Wednesday, August 6, 2008, Countdown:

     KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: Speaking of bin Laden, "Bushed." Anybody remember what happened seven years ago today? Hint: 36 days before 9/11. It mentioned the World Trade Center, hijackings, attacks in Washington, groups of bin Laden supporters " and the President ignored it.

     ...

     OLBERMANN, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: "Bushed": An anniversary bigger perhaps than 9/11. The day the President not only didn't connect the dots, but threw the dots away.

     ...

     And number one: Legacy-gate. As the struggle goes on to build the Bush presidential "liberry," here's a reminder of the true legacy of the 43rd President of the United States. Take a look at the calendar, August 6th. Does that date ring a bell? Seven August 6ths ago, Mr. Bush was on his monthlong vacation at Crawford, Texas, when he was given a report which he either did not read, did not understand or did not believe.
     Its first paragraph mentioned, "His followers would follow the example of the World Trade Center bomber," about "bring the fighting to America." Its second paragraph referred to the individual profiled in the report as wanting, quote, "to retaliate in Washington." Its 10th paragraph detailed sensational but uncorroborated threat reporting, including that the individual wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft.
     Its 11th notes "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." And its 12th and final paragraph mentions, "A call to our embassy in the UAE in May, saying that a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives."
     The President's daily briefing seven years ago today, August 6th, 2001, entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." mentions bringing the fighting to America, retaliating in Washington, wanting to hijack a U.S. aircraft, preparations for hijackings, surveillance done in New York, groups of supporters in the U.S. planning attacks" -- all the information you could have wanted. All of it in George Bush`s hands, seven years ago today, with 36 days left to interrupt or alter 9/11. So when you rhetorically ask, as Mr. Posner did in his exceptional book, "Why America Slept," the answer is actually a correction. America did not sleep, George Bush slept.

     # From the Saturday, April 10, 2004, CNN Saturday Night:

     CAROL LIN: "A two-page report on the threat al-Qaeda posed to America. The President got it just one month before the 9/11 attacks. Now at first, it reads like a laundry list of red flags. Al-Qaeda, recruiting and plotting attacks in the United States. The White House declassified that document tonight."
     AFTER SEPTEMBER 11 COMMISSION MEMBER JAMES THOMPSON ARGUED THERE WASN'T MUCH TO THE MEMO, LIN COUNTERED: Even though the evidence seems circumstantial that Osama bin Laden specifically says that he wants to attack in the United States, that young Muslims were being recruited in New York, that bin Laden specifically mentioned Washington, D.C., that the FBI had 70 separate investigations on al-Qaeda related activities here in the United States, that did not add up to what you witnessed on 9/11, as we all did?
     JAMES THOMPSON: No, because the first four of those possibilities were three years old. And the fact that the FBI was conducting 70 full field investigations by al-Qaeda activities would have reassured me, not startled me or frightened me, if I were the President of the United States. I would have assumed that things were going forward, but all the other things in the PDB released tonight relate to things that were three years old. And even some of the things in the PDB we learned subsequently didn't pan out.
     For example, the PDB talks about suspicious activity in New York with people surveilling federal buildings. Well, the FBI found those people. They happened to be two Yemeni citizens. They were tourists. And the FBI questioned and released them. And they had nothing to do with September 11. In fact, nothing in the PDB report tonight has anything to do with September 11.

     ...

     THOMPSON LATER CONTINUED: So I think out of all the PDBs that we have, and we have many more than this one, and of the 2.5 million pages of pages of documents that we have, and the thousand witnesses that we've heard, with more to come, this is not something that would have triggered anything in anybody's mind from the president of the United States on down, about the possibility of September 11.
     LIN: Then Governor, given the outcome, I mean when you see the memo, and you in hindsight you know what happened, what went wrong then? I mean, these were all red flags that did ultimately, whether they were true at the time or not added up.
     THOMPSON: Nothing in the PDB is a red flag, but we know from other evidence that there were reports at FBI field offices about suspicions of people taking flight training, for example. And there's no doubt that mistakes were made in not transmitting information that FBI field offices had up to the head of the FBI...

 

CNN Seeks Capitol's 'Jail' in Look at
Libs' Desire to Arrest Rove

     Now that Congress has recessed, and since the conventions aren't for a couple of weeks, Thursday's The Situation Room turned back to the "hot" issue of what many liberals are calling on congressional Democrats to do: arrest and lock-up Karl Rove for his failure to testify on the issue of the firing of U.S. attorneys in late 2006.

     CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, as part of a report on this possible move by the Democrats, conducted a search for the supposed jail inside the U.S. Capitol. He also addressed the little-used power of the legislature to arrest and try government officials for contempt of Congress.

     Acosta began by describing the liberals' fantasy: "Just think, some on the Left say: Karl Rove and the Capitol slammer." During the segment, he interviewed George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley (who links to Daily Kos and ProgressiveDem.com on his personal website and is lead counsel for convicted terror financier Sami al-Arian) and Associate Senate Historian Don Ritchie for the segment. When asked about contempt of Congress charges, Turley quipped: "The defendant is brought forth by the Sergeant-of-Arms, and in the case of Mr. Rove, it shouldn't be difficult. He's a consultant of Fox News a block away from the House floor." Turley's Web site: jonathanturley.org

     (In fact, the Fox News bureau is couple of blocks from the Senate, but several more the House office buildings where hearings are held.)

     [This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Ritchie brought Acosta to the bottom level of the Capitol to a tomb chamber originally built to hold the body of George Washington. He told of how "[a] lot of people who have seen it assumed, well, this must be the Capitol jail," due to the metal bars protecting the entrance of the chamber. The historian also told Acosta about the last time a member of a President's administration was arrested for contempt of Congress, which was in 1934, when a former member of the Hoover administration was arrested and detained temporarily in Washington's famous Willard Hotel. There isn't actually a jail inside the Capitol building, but as Acosta reported, "Congress has a holding cell over at the Capitol police department" nearby.

     The full transcript of Acosta's report, which began 48 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of Thursday's The Situation Room:

     WOLF BLITZER: A reluctant witness and a Congress that wants answers. We're talking about Karl Rove and questions about the firing of those federal prosecutors. Some say he should go to the Capitol jail if he doesn't talk. Is there really such a thing? Our Jim Acosta has been looking into this. Jim?
     JIM ACOSTA: Wolf, with the President refusing to allow certain members of his administration to testify on Capitol Hill, some in Congress have threatened to turn back the clock and bring back the legislative branch's arrest powers. Just think, some on the Left say: Karl Rove and the Capitol slammer.
     ACOSTA (voice-over): When Karl Rove refused to testify before a House committee last month, Democrats in Congress started thinking creatively.
     UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSWOMAN: The claim of executive privilege is really not a valid one.
     UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR FROM MSNBC: Congressman, I just want to clarify, there is a jail in the U.S. Capitol. You want Karl Rove in that jail?
     ACOSTA: A jail in the U.S. Capitol? Has the Congress ever done that?
     JONATHAN TURLEY: It would actually arrest people, try them, and even jail them in the Capitol.
     ACOSTA: Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley says the House has the little-known authority to put administration officials on trial when they fail to testify. The charge? Contempt of Congress.
     TURLY: The defendant is brought forth by the Sergeant-of-Arms, and in the case of Mr. Rove, it shouldn't be difficult. He's a consultant of Fox News a block away from the House floor.
     ACOSTA: As for that jail-
     DON RITCHIE, ASSOCIATE SENATE HISTORIAN: The great of majority people who tour the Capitol building never see this area.
     ACOSTA: We went deep into the bowels of the Capitol with Senate historian Don Ritchie. The closest thing to a jail -- Washington's tomb, an area once considered and then rejected as a final resting spot for the first President.
     RITCHIE: A lot of people who have seen it assumed, well, this must be the Capitol jail.
     ACOSTA: But it's not the Capitol jail?
     RITCHIE: No, it's never been used as the Capitol jail.
     ACOSTA: The last time Congress detained an administration official -- 1934, when a member of the Hoover administration was temporarily held in the Willard Hotel.
     RITCHIE: When he refused to cooperate then, he was turned over to the District courts. He was convicted of contempt of Congress and he was sentenced to ten days in a real prison.
     ACOSTA: He was convicted?
     RITCHIE: Yes.
     ACOSTA: Technically, Congress has a holding cell over at the Capitol police department. Jonathan Turley wonders whether it will ever get that far.

     TURLY: What you have is a game of constitutional chicken.
     ACOSTA (on-camera): With Congress off on its August recess, there's still time for both sides to end to their showdown, but if that doesn't happen, don't be surprised if some Democrats don't start calling for high noon -- Capitol Hill style. Wolf?
     BLITZER: All right, Jim. Thank you. Interesting stuff.

-- Brent Baker

 


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