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The 2,801st CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
7:10am EST, Monday January 12, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 7)
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1. Stephanopoulos to Obama: Drop Tax Cuts, Prosecute Bush's Crimes
Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama for Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on criticism of including tax cuts in the "stimulus bill" and repeatedly pressed Obama about naming a special prosecutor, a 9/11-like commission or at least getting "your Justice Department to investigate" what an e-mail Stephanopoulos showcased on screen described as "the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping." On taxes, Stephanopoulos demanded: "Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?" He soon yearned: "But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?" As Obama expressed reticence about naming a special prosecutor, Stephanopoulos pushed for alternatives to drag national security officials into the legal process: "So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?" Not giving up, he offered another way to go: "So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?"

2. NBC's Mitchell: Obama Story 'Turns Her On,' Bashes Talk Radio
NBC's Andrea Mitchell appeared on PBS's Charlie Rose show on Wednesday night, and discussed what aroused her political zones. Rose clumsily asked which story "turns you on," and naturally, Mitchell said "this young President" with a globe-traveling upbringing and his team of "meritocracy," an "extraordinary group of very large figures," who face today's crises. Mitchell decried the idea that new media would trouble the President's first days: "I guess my passion is for something to happen to fix these problems and for dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from the, you know....the blogosphere. I just wish that we could find something in the center that would be bipartisan and would be productive and constructive."

3. MSNBC's David Shuster Slams Palin as 'Clearly Unqualified'
During a contentious interview with filmmaker John Ziegler Friday morning on MSNBC, host David Shuster attacked former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "clearly unqualified" and asserted that the Alaska Governor "wasn't prepared to run for Vice President." An incredulous Ziegler, who was appearing to promote his new documentary on the liberal media's role in the election of Barack Obama, quickly retorted: "So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?" Shuster caught himself as he seemed on the verge of suggesting everyone believed Palin to be unqualified: "John, it's every, John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people." Ziegler also derided Shuster as a "joke" and publicly called out MSNBC as "clearly the pet network of Barack Obama." At one point, when the bias got too much for the filmmaker, he quipped: "I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and your O.J. Simpson here."

4. 'Media Owe a Mea Culpa' for Not Warning of Bush's 'Misdeeds'
In his weekly Friday column confusingly titled "Media should offer Bush a mea culpa," USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended "many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform" him and the public "of the possible consequences" of Bush's "major misdeeds." We've lacked enough critiques of Bush policies? Bush, Neuharth condescendingly opined, "simply did not understand much of what he did as the self-proclaimed 'decider'" and "he listened too much to his two worst advisers, Vice President Cheney and the forgotten former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld." He scolded journalists for having "failed to warn" of the Iraq "mistake" and for how "most journalists (including me) failed to warn adequately what the credit card craze and home buying binge might lead to. Bush couldn't comprehend it." Thus, "many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform of the possible consequences of those major misdeeds."

5. Nets Use Pro-9/11 MD, Charges Israel w/ 'War Against Civilians'
Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who has long been a pro-Palestinian activist and critic of Israel, and who, according to an article released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), once expressed agreement with the 9/11 attacks which he considered to be a justified attack on civilians, has been seen numerous times in the last couple of weeks on broadcast network news shows " primarily on CBS and NBC. Without mentioning his extreme views, anchors and correspondents have treated him as a trustworthy source, as if he were a neutral foreign observer, regarding civilian casualties arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza amid the Israeli campaign against Hamas. But, according to CAMERA: "When asked by Dagbladet (a Norwegian publication) if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied: 'Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned.'"

6. CNN Omits Democratic Affiliation of Indicted Baltimore Mayor
During a breaking news update Friday afternoon, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips failed to identify the party affiliation of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, a Democrat, who earlier in the day had been indicted on 12 counts related to a corruption probe by Maryland state officials. She did identify Dixon as "the first woman to serve as the city's mayor" and "the first African-American female to serve as that city's mayor."

7. Sign Up to Receive the MRC's Notable Quotables Via E-Mail
As the year begins, the MRC is launching a new e-mail product with the content of our every-other-week Notable Quotables, a "compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media." It delivers 16-18 of the most biased quotes from journalists uttered during the preceding weeks. The new e-mail service is available in two formats: You can receive it as plain text, or in HTML which will feature graphics, images and click-and-play links to video clips.


 

Stephanopoulos to Obama: Drop Tax Cuts,
Prosecute Bush's Crimes

     Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama for Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on criticism of including tax cuts in the "stimulus bill" and repeatedly pressed Obama about naming a special prosecutor, a 9/11-like commission or at least getting "your Justice Department to investigate" what an e-mail Stephanopoulos showcased on screen described as "the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping." On taxes, Stephanopoulos demanded: "Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?" He soon yearned: "But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?"

     Stephanopoulos put this e-mailed question up on the screen from "Bob Fertik of New York City," failing to note he's a left-wing activist with "Prosecute Bush & Cheney!" at the top of his Web site: "Will you appoint a special prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.?" As Obama expressed reticence, Stephanopoulos pushed for alternatives to drag national security officials into the legal process: "So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?" Not giving up, he offered another way to go: "So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?"

     Fertik's blog now features how Stephanopoulos posed his question: "Let me thank Stephanopoulos for raising the issue of accountability for the crimes of the Bush Administration -- a topic that is taboo in the Washington Establishment." See: www.democrats.com

     In between those two topics, Stephanopoulos delivered an unintentionally preposterous exchange in which he assumed Obama can do everything but walk on water:

     STEPHANOPOULOS: At the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of a grand bargain? That you have tax reform, health care reform, entitlement reform, including Social Security and Medicare where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?
     OBAMA: Yes.

     The messiah has arrived. Or Republicans will have to play dead.

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

     Stephanopoulos at least hit Obama with Vice President Dick Cheney's admonition: "Before you start to implement your campaign rhetoric you need to sit down and find out precisely what it is we did and how we did it" to keep the nation safe.

     Highlights from the pre-taped interview session aired on the Sunday, January 11 This Week:

     GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It's been pretty well-received in the Congress. But you're getting some pushback as well, especially from Senate Democrats on the tax cut portions. Senator Tom Harkin said this is trickle down economics all over again. They're focused especially on the business taxes. Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs? Or did you put them in so you could get Republican votes?
     [OBAMA]
     STEPHANOPOULOS: But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?

....

     STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me press down on this, at the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of a grand bargain? That you have tax reform, health care reform, entitlement reform, including Social Security and Medicare, where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?
     BARACK OBAMA: Yes.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: And when will that get done?
     OBAMA: Well, the -- right now I'm focused on a pretty heavy lift, which is making sure that we get that reinvestment and recovery package in place. But what you describe is exactly what we're going to have to do. What we have to do is to take a look at our structural deficit, how are we paying for government, what are we getting for it, and how do we make the system more efficient?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: And eventually sacrifice from everyone.
     OBAMA: Everybody's going to have to give, everybody's going to have to have some skin in the game.

....

     AUDIO OF DICK CHENEY: Before you start to implement your campaign rhetoric you need to sit down and find out precisely what it is we did and how we did it. Because it is going to be vital to keeping the nation safe and secure in the years ahead and it would be a tragedy if they threw over those policies simply because they've campaigned against them.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you going to take it?

....

     STEPHANOPOULOS: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov, it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, "Will you appoint a special prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest [Stephanopoulos says "greatest"] crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"
     OBAMA: We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we're going to be looking at past practices and I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?
     OBAMA: We have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward.
     STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?
     OBAMA: What I -- I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he's the people's lawyer. Eric Holder's been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, he's going to be making some calls, but my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed looking at what we got wrong in the past.

     ABCNews.com transcript and some video clips: abcnews.go.com

 

NBC's Mitchell: Obama Story 'Turns Her
On,' Bashes Talk Radio

     NBC's Andrea Mitchell appeared on PBS's Charlie Rose show on Wednesday night, and discussed what aroused her political zones. Rose clumsily asked which story "turns you on," and naturally, Mitchell said "this young President" with a globe-traveling upbringing and his team of "meritocracy," an "extraordinary group of very large figures," who face today's crises.

     Mitchell decried the idea that new media would trouble the President's first days: "I guess my passion is for something to happen to fix these problems and for dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from the, you know....the blogosphere. I just wish that we could find something in the center that would be bipartisan and would be productive and constructive."

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

     Rose and Mitchell discussed the Gaza fighting before turning back to the domestic front:

     ROSE: You have covered the Congress well. You have covered the White House well. You have covered foreign policy well. You are a part of the Washington community, saying -- rather than Washington establishment. Tell where your passion is these days? What is the story that turns you on the most?
     MITCHELL: Well, I think with a lot of people, it is to see this new President. These are historic times in Washington, and you don't have to be a supporter or a critic to be fascinated, just as someone who is a journalist and a student of history, by what will this young President, African-American, with experience around the world, with a different set of experiences, and his team, and it is a meritocracy -- you're seeing an extraordinary group of very large figures coming into play here -- what are they going to do with all the challenges that they face? We have never in my lifetime faced economic crises such as these, and opportunities.

     Rose then asked if Obama would get a honeymoon from critics, and Mitchell said that while reporters would hold Obama accountable, critics should smell the coffee of his "extraordinary poll numbers" and steer clear of unproductive criticism:

     ROSE: And do you feel a sense of giving him the benefit of the doubt, or at least a period of a kind of honeymoon, which is a bad word, but an opportunity to show his best and see what he can do and a willingness to sort of hold your fire for a while?
     MITCHELL: I think that there is a willingness on both sides of the aisle, certainly. I mean, journalists still have our responsibility to hold them to account.
     ROSE: I don't mean by journalists. Obviously, I'm talking about Republicans.
     MITCHELL: Yes, I think that the quote, 'loyal opposition', is partly looking at his extraordinary poll numbers. He is the most popular president coming in that we have seen in a generation. They're going to hold their fire for political reasons, and they`re going to hold their fire because something needs to be done, and the only way that this country can pull out of this mess is to have bipartisan action.
     And he is sending signals as well. He is talking about the kinds of tax cuts, business tax cuts that Republicans want to hear. So you heard some favorable things from Mitch McConnell.
     I think they realize that America wants to see results, and they don't want gridlock. So I think this is an extraordinary moment. I guess my passion is for something to happen to fix these problems, and for dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from, you know, the-
     ROSE: From left to right.
     MITCHELL: -the blogosphere. I just wish that we could find something in the center that would be bipartisan and would be productive and constructive.

     Mitchell repeatedly touted the extraordinary talent and brainpower of Team Obama:

     MITCHELL: And the talent, the brain power in this Cabinet is extraordinary, if they figure out how to work among themselves and with the Hill and to reach out beyond Washington, which is important....
     ROSE It's hard to find anybody who didn't have that experience who has achieved a certain level of proficiency and statecraft or in government.
     ANDREA MITCHELL: Exactly. But most of them have also done things in academia, on Wall Street, elsewhere, and have checked other boxes so that you see a real talent pool here, which is pretty extraordinary.
     And what I'm also interested in seeing is, what about average Americans? How can he do what George Bush did not do after 9/11, tap into the desire of Americans around the country.
     ROSE: Sacrifice.
     ANDREA MITCHELL: To come to Washington or somehow participate, whether it's an adult Peace Corps or Vista or some other way of service, how can other people become engaged, and young people and old.

     The Peace Corps isn't for adults? She must mean a domestic version of the Peace Corps. Mitchell's appreciation of the "enormously talented" Team Obama even extended to the alleged sharp citizens who failed to pass the test of making it to a Senate confirmation hearing:

     ROSE: What happened to Bill Richardson?
     ANDREA MITCHELL: Bill Richardson wasn't vetted by either himself or by the vetters. And he is such an engaging personality. You know, Charlie, I've traveled around the world with him, and we've gone to North Korea, to Afghanistan, to Pakistan with him. We've seen him in Sudan. He is an enormously talented figure, but he has an active grand jury investigation on his case. He's not a target of it that we know of, but he has hired a criminal lawyer. But it's a situation where the FBI couldn't clear him for confirmation. And if you can't have a confirmation hearing, you can't be part of the Cabinet. The FBI has to do its own clearance before those papers go up to the Hill. And so they couldn't schedule a hearing, and the delay was going to put him outside the political window where it was viable, and he had to be persuaded, really, to take a step back.

     It makes you wonder, since Mitchell's traveled with Richardson so extensively and been enthralled with his talents, whether she helped Obama persuade him to wait for the scandal clouds to clear up.

 

MSNBC's David Shuster Slams Palin as
'Clearly Unqualified'

     During a contentious interview with filmmaker John Ziegler Friday morning on MSNBC, host David Shuster attacked former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "clearly unqualified" and asserted that the Alaska Governor "wasn't prepared to run for Vice President." An incredulous Ziegler, who was appearing to promote his new documentary on the liberal media's role in the election of Barack Obama, quickly retorted: "So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?"

     Shuster caught himself as he seemed on the verge of suggesting everyone believed Palin to be unqualified: "John, it's every, John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people." Ziegler also derided Shuster as a "joke" and publicly called out MSNBC as "clearly the pet network of Barack Obama." At one point, when the bias got too much for the filmmaker, he quipped: "I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and your O.J. Simpson here."

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

     Towards the end of the segment, Ziegler hit the cable network yet again. On the issue of Palin coverage, he derided: "But, you've clearly seeing this through the prejudiced eye of MSNBC which has had an agenda since the beginning of this campaign, pro-Obama against Palin." "You're a joke," the "Media Malpractice" director added one last time.

     Site for Ziegler's in the works documentary: www.howobamagotelected.com

     A transcript of the January 9 segment, which aired at 11:48am:

     DAVID SHUSTER: Call it Palin unplugged. The Alaska governor is ripping into the media in a new conservative documentary. She said the accusations about her during the campaign were downright scary.
     SARAH PALIN: So, you know, I have the same question that perhaps you do, and others who would participate in this documentary even, trying to figure out, is it political? Is it sexism? What is it that drives someone to believe the worst and to perpetuate the worst in terms of gossip, lies?
     SHUSTER: Well, that's not the only thing that got Palin upset. Just last night, her office released a statement, accusing the media of unfair treatment once again. She says her comments in this new film are being taken out of context. John Ziegler is the filmmaker who interviewed Sarah Palin. And, John, Palin says your decision to post excerpts on YouTube led to misleading reports. Your take?
     JOHN ZIEGLER (filmmaker): I'm sorry that she feels that way. I don't believe that's the case. I think that what is currently posted on YouTube is fully in context and makes the governor- puts the governor in her exactly accurate light. I don't think there's any remotely accurate accusation that anything was taken out of condition text here. And I think that will be very clear when we make the entire interview available, which will happen when we release the film "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and How Palin Was Smeared" in late February.
     SHUSTER: Let's get to some of those clips. The Katie Couric interview, in many ways, started her decline in support. In your documentary, she watches as the ladies of "The View" react to the Couric interview. Let's take a listen.
     [Documentary clip]
     KATIE COURIC: Even in the post-election interviews, Dave, that she's done, nobody's really asked her, why didn't you answer that question?
     PALIN: Because, Katie, you're not the center of everyone's universe. Maybe that's why they didn't think to ask that question with so many other things to be asked.
     [Clip ends]
     SHUSTER: Of course, that was a question about whether she read. You have been quoted as saying that Palin was assassinated by the media.
     ZIEGLER: Well, I think that is accurate. Although, I think if anything been taken out of context, you just took that clip out of context.
     SHUSTER: Wait a second, you think it's accurate to use the word- Wait a second. Wait a second. You think it's accurate to use the word assassinate in what the- Regardless of the heavy criticism, doesn't it diminish real assassinations when you throw up the word assassinate because Sarah Palin didn't like some of the questions she got in an interview?
     ZIEGLER: No, I believe that her character was assassinated, David, and I think this network played an enormous role in the process and you just took the clip of Katie Couric answer- the Katie Couric answer out of context which, is rather ironic since you just read the statement from Governor Palin about being concerned about this interview being taken out of context. But MSNBC is clearly the pet network of Barack Obama and I understand that.
     SHUSTER: But, John, even in your documentary she still can't answer- Well, John, even in your documentary, at least the clips that you've released, she still can't answer, at least it takes her several opportunities, she still really can't explain what she reads. I mean isn't it- does Sarah Palin take responsibility?
     ZIEGLER: David, you didn't-- that's ridiculous! You didn't watch the clip apparently. She clearly states what it is that she reads! SHUSTER: I did watch the clip! She talked about news articles that are widely circulated in Alaska.
     ZIEGLER: You're a joke!
     SHUSTER: John-
     ZIEGLER: You are a joke! You- Did you not watch the clip? Did you not watch the clip?
     SHUSTER: The joke is the fact that you and Sarah Palin, you and Sarah Palin, can't take can't take any responsibility-
     ZIEGLER: This is clearly an agenda by MSNBC, which you started a year ago.
     SHUSTER: -John, you and Sarah Palin can't take any responsibility for the fact that she wasn't prepared to run for vice president. Does she ever acknowledge in any of your interviews that maybe she has some of the responsibility for things not working out?
     ZIEGLER: Oh- Really? So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?
     SHUSTER: No, I'm asking you. I'm asking you-
     ZIEGLER: As an alleged news person is that she was unprepared to be vice president of the United States?
     SHUSTER: Sarah Palin hasn't granted us a news interview. So, I'm asking you. I'm asking you -
     ZIEGLER: Is that your opinion that she was unprepared to be vice president of the United States? Gee, that sounds very objective, David.
     SHUSTER: John, it's every - John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people.
     ZIEGLER: It's everybody's opinion? Oh, now it's not just your opinion it's everybody's opinion? Give me more.
     SHUSTER: Well, it's everybody's opinion who's had an opportunity to interview her, except for you. And my question is, when you interviewed her did she ever express any responsibility for her own shortcomings? Any?
     ZIEGLER: I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and your O.J. Simpson here.
     SHUSTER: No, it's a yes or no answer. Did she express any responsibility for her own shortcomings?
     ZIEGLER: Yes! Yes! She did!
     SHUSTER: Okay and what did she say?
     ZIEGLER: And if you watched the YouTube clip that we released, you would have already realized that. But, you've clearly seeing this through the prejudiced eye of MSNBC which has had an agenda since the beginning of this campaign, pro-Obama against Palin. It continues to this day. You're a joke.
     SHUSTER: As opposed to the agenda for people like you to boost Sarah Palin who is clearly unqualified. Most Americans, 65 percent, say she's clearly unqualified.
     ZIEGLER: Oh, she's clearly unqualified? Oh, I see.
     SHUSTER: And yet you and your colleagues are trying to circle back and get her ready for 2012. Well, I hope it's successful, because we all love Sarah Palin.
     ZIEGLER: Oh, I see. I'm going to be part of her campaign in 2012. All I care about is-
     SHUSTER: Well, based on the clips, you've already started. In any case, John Ziegler -
     ZIEGLER: I see. Clearly no agenda on your part. Clearly no agenda. Have fun. Congratulations on the election, David. Good job.
     SHUSTER: Right. And no agenda on yours whatsoever. But, John, you know what? I love arguing with you. And you're always welcome to come back.
     ZIEGLER: Thank you, David.
     SHUSTER: All right, john Ziegler has an interesting documentary whether you like it or not.

 

'Media Owe a Mea Culpa' for Not Warning
of Bush's 'Misdeeds'

     In his weekly Friday column confusingly titled "Media should offer Bush a mea culpa," USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended "many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform" him and the public "of the possible consequences" of Bush's "major misdeeds." We've lacked enough critiques of Bush policies? Bush, Neuharth condescendingly opined, "simply did not understand much of what he did as the self-proclaimed 'decider'" and "he listened too much to his two worst advisers, Vice President Cheney and the forgotten former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld."

     He scolded journalists for having "failed to warn" of the Iraq "mistake" and for how "most journalists (including me) failed to warn adequately what the credit card craze and home buying binge might lead to. Bush couldn't comprehend it." Thus, "many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform of the possible consequences of those major misdeeds."

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

     In the "Other views on Bush legacy" below Neuharth's column, former New York Times reporter Alex Jones, nor Director of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, maintained: "The press owes a mea culpa, but not to Bush, who disparaged and ignored news he didn't like. It is owed to the public."

     An excerpt from Neuharth's January 9 "Plain Talk" column:

....Bush's departure will have widely varying thoughts from his admirers (there are still some), his critics (there are many) and his sympathizers (a growing number).

Count me among the latter two. Here's why:

- He simply did not understand much of what he did as the self-proclaimed "decider."

- He listened too much to his two worst advisers, Vice President Cheney and the forgotten former secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

- He didn't listen enough to his dad, the former president who understood it better.

I voted for "W" the first time he ran for president, as did 50,456,002of us. But I wised up before he ran for re-election.

Iraq was the main reason....

Most journalists failed to warn of that mistake....

Likewise, domestically most journalists (including me) failed to warn adequately what the credit card craze and home buying binge might lead to. Bush couldn't comprehend it and others in the government ignored or encouraged it.

Many of us in the media owe a mea culpa to Bush -- and to you -- for failing to properly inform of the possible consequences of those major misdeeds.

     END of Excerpt

     For the column in full: blogs.usatoday.com

 

Nets Use Pro-9/11 MD, Charges Israel
w/ 'War Against Civilians'

     Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who has long been a pro-Palestinian activist and critic of Israel, and who, according to an article released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), once expressed agreement with the 9/11 attacks which he considered to be a justified attack on civilians, has been seen numerous times in the last couple of weeks on broadcast network news shows " primarily on CBS and NBC. Without mentioning his extreme views, anchors and correspondents have treated him as a trustworthy source, as if he were a neutral foreign observer, regarding civilian casualties arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza amid the Israeli campaign against Hamas. But, according to CAMERA: "When asked by Dagbladet (a Norwegian publication) if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied: 'Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned' (Sept. 30, 2001)." See: www.dagbladet.no

     The article "Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists?" by Ricki Hollander, can be found here: www.camera.org

     On the January 5 The Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips cited Gilbert's charges that Israel was conducting an "all-out war against civilians" as "compelling evidence" contradicting "repeated claims by Israelis that civilians are not being targeted." Phillips: "Despite repeated claims by the Israelis that civilians are not being targeted and that they are even being warned by leaflets and phone calls to stay away from target sites, the dead and injured continue to be brought into Gaza's overrun hospitals. And the evidence provided by foreign doctors in Gaza is compelling." Then came a clip of Gilbert: "So anybody who tries to portray this as sort of a clean war against another army are lying. This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza, and we can prove that with the numbers."

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

     On the January 7 The Early Show, anchor Harry Smith interviewed the Norwegian doctor live by phone, treating him as if he were as credible as if he were one of the network's correspondents filing a report on the scene. Smith began the interview: "Just how dire the situation is can be described this morning by Dr. Mads Gilbert, a doctor treating the wounded at Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Let me just get this clear because you just said all of the casualties that you have seen in that hospital are civilian casualties."

     Gilbert claimed that he had seen no more than three non-civilian casualties at the hospital: "And I can count the number of fighters that I've seen on my left hand. Three, two, maybe two or three. Of course, there are fighters in a war, but in this hospital, we are receiving civilian casualties and I've been treating a large number, unfortunately, of children and women. Yesterday, we had children, large amount, very severe injuries, and I had children dying between my hands."

     The Norwegian doctor has also been seen on the CBS Evening News. On January 5, correspondent Richard Roth showed a clip of Gilbert complaining about shortages of supplies at the hospital, and on January 7, Mark Phillips showed a soundbite of him talking about injured children at the hospital.

     On the January 6 NBC Nightly News, correspondent Martin Fletcher devoted an entire story to Gilbert's role volunteering at Shifa Hospital. After soundbites of Gilbert complaining about shortages at the hospital, Fletcher relayed Gilbert's claim that he had "counted more than 800 children this week dead and wounded."

     MARTIN FLETCHER: The worst part for him is the children.
     DR. MADS GILBERT: We've had more children maimed, killed, died, amputated.
     FLETCHER: Dr. Gilbert's counted more than 800 children this week dead and wounded. He's been visiting Gaza for 25 years helping the Palestinians. Still:
     GILBERT: I have been to many wars, but this is the worst I have seen.

     Fletcher concluded: "Shifa Hospital. 'Shifa' means healing. Dr. Gilbert can't do much of that. When we spoke to him by phone tonight, he broke down and cried. Martin Fletcher, NBC News, Tel Aviv."

     Gilbert has also appeared in two reports by NBC's Richard Engel. On the January 5 NBC Nightly News, Engel recounted claims by "medical officials" that on one day, "at least 35 [were] killed, 20 of them children." Then came a clip of Gilbert, who was presumably one of the sources, complaining about the lights going out and shortages of equipment. And on the January 4 NBC Nightly News, Gilbert was visible in a scene purported to be of him and another doctor trying to resuscitate a deceased boy -- a scene which some critics have charged appears staged for the camera. A similar story featuring the same clip that included Gilbert was shown on CNN: newsbusters.org

     Gilbert has been seen on ABC as well, appearing briefly in a soundbite on the January 6 World News with Charles Gibson complaining that more doctors from the West have not joined him in Gaza: "We are two doctors from the West. Where are the others?"

 

CNN Omits Democratic Affiliation of Indicted
Baltimore Mayor

     During a breaking news update Friday afternoon, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips failed to identify the party affiliation of Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, a Democrat, who earlier in the day had been indicted on 12 counts related to a corruption probe by Maryland state officials. She did identify Dixon as "the first woman to serve as the city's mayor" and "the first African-American female to serve as that city's mayor."

     Phillips began the brief with a lament over corruption in politics in general: "Oh, as if we don't have enough public corruption within our politics to report, we've got another piece of news that [is] just developing right now." She then reported that the Baltimore mayor had been "indicted on public corruption...12 counts, I'm told -- perjury, theft, misconduct in office." After describing some of the circumstances into the multi-year investigation, she continued her lament by focusing on the prestige of Dixon: "It's a shame -- Mrs. Dixon was the first woman to serve as the city's mayor -- also the -- you know, the first African-American female to serve as that city's mayor." The mayor's Democratic affiliation was neither mentioned by Phillips during her brief, nor by CNN's on-screen graphics.

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

     The Baltimore Sun filed a breaking news report by Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz on their website on Friday which identified the mayor as a Democrat in the fourth paragraph. The report also gave additional details into the indictment:

....Dixon was charged with perjury, theft, fraudulent misappropriation and misconduct, stemming in part from gifts she received from former boyfriend and developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, who was also charged earlier this week.

Dixon, a Democrat, has been the target of a nearly three-year probe by State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh into corruption at City Hall, an investigation that has centered on allegations that Dixon has used her office to award lucrative contracts to various people including her sister, her then-boyfriend and her former campaign chairman....
     Some of the charges center on gift cards that Dixon received from two real estate developers. According to the indictment, Dixon told one of the developers that the gift cards were going to be distributed to needy families in Baltimore. Prosecutors say that in December 2005, when Dixon was City Council president, she used 19 of 20 Best Buy gift cards for herself, purchasing personal items, including a digital camcorder, a PlayStation 2 and other electronics.

Prosecutors say that in December 2006, she used Old Navy, Best Buy and other gift cards intended for needy families for an Xbox 360, a PlayStation Portable, clothes and other items for her own use....

     END Excerpt

     For more on Dixon's indictment, see Linskey and Bykowicz's January 9 story, "Mayor Sheila Dixon indicted," at: www.baltimoresun.com
    
     The full transcript of Phillips' brief, which aired 25 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour of Friday's Newsroom program:

     CNN CAPTION: "Baltimore Mayor Indicted: Sheila Dixon indicted on 12 counts, including perjury and theft"
     KYRA PHILLIPS: Oh, as if we don't have enough public corruption within our politics to report, we've got another piece of news that [is] just developing right now. This out of Baltimore -- the Baltimore mayor indicted on public corruption. It happened today -- 12 counts, I'm told -- perjury, theft, misconduct in office. What had happened back in 2008 -- we had reported a two-year state investigation that had been going on into her spending practices there in Baltimore, and then a raid had happened in her home. We're talking about Mayor Sheila Dixon, and apparently it was one of the most aggressive moves when that investigation was taking place. That's when we knew something was about to happen, and it was going to get much bigger than folks had expected. They had taken just boxes and boxes of papers out of her home. It's a shame -- Mrs. Dixon was the first woman to serve as the city's mayor -- also the -- you know, the first African-American female to serve as that city's mayor. And now, today she was indicted on perjury, theft, and misconduct in office.

 

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Quotables Via E-Mail

     As the year begins, the MRC is launching a new e-mail product with the content of our every-other-week Notable Quotables, a "compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media." It delivers 16-18 of the most biased quotes from journalists uttered during the preceding weeks. The new e-mail service is available in two formats: You can receive it as plain text, or in HTML which will feature graphics, images and click-and-play links to video clips.

     To subscribe to either format: www.mrc.org

     The first edition will be e-mailed later today (Monday.)

     Note: As a CyberAlert subscriber you will continue to receive Notable Quotables text every other week as a "CyberAlert Special."

     The new HTML version of the Notable Quotables e-mail, however, features an eye-pleasing colorful layout with photos, video images and the ability to click to play video clips.

     Suggest to any of your friends, relatives or work colleagues -- who might be overwhelmed by daily CyberAlerts but are interested in evidence of the media's left-wing agenda and wildest claims -- that they sign up for the Notable Quotables e-mail so they get a cache of fresh ammunition every other week.

     Again, to subscribe to either format: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker

 


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