ABC Conveys Worries Obama-Clinton Battle Will Hurt Party in Fall --3/27/2008
2. Flashback: Stephanopoulos Scolded Critic of Bonior and McDermott
3. No Critique for HRC's Mortgage Bailout, McCain Plan 'Like Hoover'
4. CBS's Smith on Media: 'We're Not Exactly Watchdogs Here'
5. Smith Boasts His Global Warming Expertise Makes Him 'Al Gore Jr.'
6. Just Two Weeks Until MRC's 'DisHonors Awards,' Get Tickets Now
The broadcast networks rarely highlight poll numbers other than their own, but on Wednesday night ABC's World News pegged a story to a Gallup survey which confirmed the ongoing Democratic presidential battle will harm the party's chances in November. With "HURTING THE PARTY?" on screen beneath pictures of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Charles Gibson warned: "Many Democrats have been worried that the protracted fight, between Senators Clinton and Obama, might start alienating voters and hurt the party's chances against John McCain in the fall. Well, now there is evidence that may, indeed, be the case."
Reporter Jake Tapper outlined the evidence: "The notion that the current tough tone could hurt the party against Republican Senator John McCain is a real concern among top Democrats. A new poll indicates that 28 percent of Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain over Obama should she not get the nomination. 19 percent of Obama supporters say they'd go for McCain over Clinton."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
NBC Nightly News delivered a similar number Wednesday evening, but didn't have a story revolve around it. Reciting findings from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Tim Russert noted how in the past two weeks Clinton's positive number is down 8 points while Obama's has fallen by two points and 20 percent of both Obama and Clinton supporters "say they would be open to voting for John McCain in the general election, an indication of how bitter this fight has gotten."
The Wednesday, March 26 story on ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON: Presidential politics, next. Many Democrats have been worried that the protracted fight, between Senators Clinton and Obama, might start alienating voters and hurt the party's chances against John McCain in the fall. Well, now there is evidence that may, indeed, be the case. ABC's Jake Tapper is in Washington tonight.
JAKE TAPPER: Back from a brief vacation, Barack Obama in North Carolina this afternoon, reflected wearily on how he's been running for President since February 2007.
When two of those Congressmen, Democrats Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan, appeared from Baghdad on the September 29, 2002 This Week on ABC, George Stephanopoulos -- the MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me -- chastised a critic, not McDermott and Bonior, for daring to condemn the loaded charges against the U.S propagated by the two left-wingers. After McDermott blasted U.S. foreign policy from Baghdad, a shocked George Will remarked, "Why Saddam Hussein doesn't pay commercial time for that advertisement for his policy, I do not know." Turns out, he did.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org
A reprint of the item from the Monday, September 30, 2002 CyberAlert:
George Stephanopoulos showed on Sunday that he's more upset by anyone daring to criticize liberal Democrats than he is by what those liberals said in the first place, no matter how outrageous. He scolded Republican Senator Don Nickles for a "pretty harsh charge" against a liberal Democrat who said President Bush would "lie" to justify a war and charged that Bush himself had "basically" accused Democrats "of treason."
On This Week, after Congressmen David Bonior (D-Mich.) in Baghdad claimed past U.S. bombing in Iraq had caused kids to get leukemia, "a horrendous, barbaric, horrific thing that's happened," and Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) confirmed that he thought President Bush would lie in order to justify going to war, Republican Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma told Stephanopoulos: "I'm really troubled by what I just heard. Congressman McDermott said, well I think the President would mislead the American people and basically he's taking Saddam Hussein's lines, they both sound somewhat likes spokespersons for the Iraqi government."
Stephanopoulos, who had not rebuked the Congressmen, retorted: "That's a pretty harsh charge."
Minutes later on the September 29 program, Stephanopoulos recalled how Bush had said "the Senate is not interested in the security of the American people." Stephanopoulos acted appalled, telling Nickles: "That's basically accusing them of treason."
Bonior and McDermott appeared at the top of This Week from Baghdad in a pre-taped interview that displayed obvious editing by ABC. Every question from Stephanopoulos challenged their premises about Iraqi cooperation and how inspections had worked in the past and would in the future.
At one point, as viewers watched sweat spots grow by the second on his orange shirt, Bonior delivered this anti-U.S. diatribe: "The only nuclear piece that we've been able to detect here -- and we're not looking as inspectors because we don't know how to do that, that's not our job -- but what we have seen is an incredible, unconscionable is leukemias and lymphomas for children who have been affected by this uranium that has been part of our weapon system that was dropped here during the last war. And that is a real tragedy. It needs to be addressed and we ought to take that issue up on its own because we've seen it not only here in Iraq, these weapons coated with uranium that atomize and cause these serious health problems, but we've also seen this happen in Kosovo and in Serbia and we need to look at that as a country to see if want to be using these types of weapons that cause these kinds of serious cancers. In Basra, when women have children they used to ask is it a boy or a girl after the birth, now they ask is it normal or is it abnormal. This is horrendous, barbaric, horrific thing that's happened and the country needs to know about that. The world community needs to know about that."
Without any reaction to that, Stephanopoulos turned to McDermott: "Finally, Mr. McDermott, before you left for Baghdad, you said 'the President of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.' Do you really believe that?"
McDermott confirmed: "I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation. Lyndon Johnson did it in the Vietnam War. Both David and I were in that war and there was no Gulf of Tonkin incident. The President lied to Congress about how many people he was going to put into Vietnam or whether in Laos or whether in Cambodia. It would not surprise me if they came with some information that is not provable and they shifted. First they said it was al-Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they're going back and saying it's al-Qaeda again. When will that stop? Why don't they let the inspectors come so that we can disarm Saddam Hussein. Both David and I want to disarm him. That's gotta be very clear. He's not a very good guy."
Stephanopoulos pressed: "But do you have any evidence the President has lied?"
McDermott repeated: "I think the President would mislead the American people."
With that, Stephanopoulos thanked the two for appearing and switched to Senator Don Nickles in studio. Stephanopoulos began by asking him about the view of the liberal duo that the U.S. should wait for a report from UN inspectors who want to spend a couple of months doing inspections inside Iraq.
Instead, Nickles jumped on the two members of the United States House of Representatives for aiding the enemy while inside enemy territory: "I'm really troubled by what I just heard. Congressman McDermott said, well I think the President would mislead the American people and basically he's taking Saddam Hussein's lines, they both sound somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government."
Stephanopoulos scolded: "That's a pretty harsh charge."
Nickles defended himself: "Well, what they just said is pretty harsh..."
A bit later, without ever suggesting that Democrats had taken Bush's comments out of context, Stephanopoulos asked Nickles to defend Bush's charge that "'the Senate is not interested in the security of the American people.' That's basically accusing them of treason."
Later, during the roundtable segment, George Will reacted with outrage to what hadn't inflamed Stephanopoulos: "Let's note, that in what I consider the most disgraceful performance abroad by an American official in my lifetime -- something not exampled since Jane Fonda sat on the anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi to be photographed -- Mr. McDermott said in effect, not in effect, he said it, we should take Saddam Hussein at his word and not take the President at his word. He said the United States is simply trying to provoke. I mean, why Saddam Hussein doesn't pay commercial time for that advertisement for his policy, I do not know."
END of Reprint of Previous CyberAlert
That was originally posted at: www.mrc.org
The New York Times clearly favors Hillary's expensive mortgage bailout plan over McCain's more hands-off approach. After pretty much ignoring the John McCain presidential campaign (except when he makes a "gaffe" like saying Iran was training Al Qaeda in Iraq), the Times off-led Wednesday with McCain's striking hands-off approach to the current U.S. mortgage "crisis." Larry Rohter and Edmund Andrews' story "Unlike Rivals, McCain Rejects Broad U.S. Aid on Mortgages," also featured negative comments from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and a Democratic-linked economist. No one was interviewed in support of McCain's approach.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton's speech on the same topic, in which she called for a wide bailout, was treated less cynically and more favorably in yesterday's edition, in a story featuring no opposition from Republicans or economists: www.nytimes.com
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
From the middle of Wednesday's front-page story:
Mr. McCain appeared to be trying to confront questions about his dexterity in dealing with the economy, a subject that he has admitted is not his strongest suit. But his remarks drew a quick, pointed rebuke from Mrs. Clinton, who criticized Mr. McCain's hands-off, market-oriented approach, saying it would lead to "a downward spiral that would cause tremendous economic pain and loss" for Americans.
"It sounds remarkably like Herbert Hoover, and I don't think that's good economic policy," Mrs. Clinton told reporters in Greensburg, Pa. "The government has a number of tools at its disposal. I think that inaction has contributed to the problems we face today, and I believe further inaction would exacerbate those problems."
In addition to urging $30 billion in federal aid to states to help homeowners, Mrs. Clinton on Monday also endorsed federal legislation to expand the government's ability to guarantee restructured mortgages, which she believes would lead more banks and other private entities to buy and resell mortgages.
Mr. Obama's plan emphasizes making it easier to convert subprime loans to fixed-rate, 30-year loans, while requiring that borrowers have access to better data on loan costs and requiring greater scrutiny of lenders. On Tuesday, he said, "It's deeply troubling that John McCain is suggesting that the best way to address the housing crisis is to sit back and watch it happen."...
Overall, the approach Mr. McCain suggested is even more cautious about federal intervention than that of President Bush. The Bush administration is looking to lower down payment requirements, at least temporarily. Mr. McCain said that he opposed reducing the down payment required for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, a step meant to revitalize slumping housing sales.
The Times is clearly in favor of the Democratic plans for vast government intervention and wide mortgage bailouts, strongly hinting in a December 2007 news story that Bush's government intervention didn't go far enough. See: www.timeswatch.org
Back to the Wednesday story in which the Times made sure to get an opposing view from a Democratic economist:
His approach drew a rebuke from economic policy experts aligned with Democrats.
"He's not only far behind what either Clinton or Obama have proposed, he's six months behind what the administration has already been doing," said Andrew Jakabovics, associate director for the Economic Mobility Program at the Center for American Progress, a Democrat-leaning research group in Washington. Mr. Jakabovics was an early champion of programs like those now being discussed by Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, to have the government either buy up or refinance millions of troubled loans.
END of Excerpt
For the March 26 article in full: www.nytimes.com
[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Prior to talking to Quinn, Smith interviewed the Butler University college student, Evan Strange, who asked Chelsea the question at a campaign forum on campus. Strange, as it turns out, is a Clinton supporter: "I mean, I'm surprisingly, I'm a supporter of Hillary. I'm a Hillary -- I love Hillary, and I mean, when I talk to my friends and I tell them that, one of their constant, you know, questions to me is, you know, what makes her such a strong leader, and they always bring up, you know, that scandal, and it's not something that, you know, I asked to cause trouble. It was to show those people, you know, what makes Hillary so strong, and it was basically an opportunity for Chelsea, you know, to show all the doubters, you know, how strong Hillary is. And look at her record and not-"
Smith also talked to student Brock Benefiel, editor of the college newspaper, who defended Chelsea: "Well, I think the mood of the room was that everyone was shocked. It kind of was very interesting her response and the question itself. As far as the appropriateness of the question, it's not something I would have asked. I don't know, you know it's -- I guess it's up to Chelsea whether it's really appropriate or not, but the question definitely, I thought, kind of strayed from the issues that were being discussed earlier in the forum."
Smith began his discussion with Quinn by wondering: "Should Chelsea Clinton be off limits?" Quinn responded with a definite no: "As to whether she should be off limits, she's an adult, and she's campaigning for her parents, so she should not be off limits, and I think that anyone has the right to ask someone who's campaigning anything. You don't have to answer it, but you certainly should be prepared to -- to be asked these questions."
Smith concluded by wondering if this was a "distraction" from other issues and Quinn replied by criticizing Chelsea's handling of the situation: "...frankly, if I had been Chelsea Clinton, I think that she had a certain edge to her voice yesterday. I might well have said, 'you know, I really don't talk about that, and I'm sorry, but I just don't want to discuss that,' rather than say 'it's none of your business,' because, ultimately, if somebody's running for President-" Smith interjected: "It's everybody's business." Quinn continued: "It ends up being -- it's everybody's business."
Smith then went to Dave Price for a check of weather, but even Price had some media criticism: "It's interesting, also I think in the case of Chelsea Clinton, there's a little bit of a freeze frame here. People remember Chelsea Clinton as this 12-year-old in the White House, and, you know, the press corps maybe hasn't evolved to the point where they say this is a 30-year-old woman on the campaign trail, and let's press her on it."
At the beginning of the 8:30AM half hour of CBS's Early Show on Wednesday, weatherman Dave Price did a brief story highlighting a melting ice shelf in Antarctica as an example of climate change and co-host Harry Smith used the opportunity to show off his global warming knowledge: "And they also talk about because as this disappears, this reflects light, alright? That's another huge issue because that ice reflects the light. It turns to water, which absorbs the light. That could be another exacerbating factor in global warming." Smith followed up by pointing to himself and declaring: "Al Gore Jr." Both Price and co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied "you are."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Given Smith's known obsession with Al Gore, including trying to pin a "Gore '08" campaign button on the former Vice President during a interview in May of last year, this self-description was quite interesting. Price went on to joke: "You know, you spent a lot of time with him...The 'Inconvenient Anchor,' Harry's new book coming out." For Smith's giddy exchange with Gore: www.mrc.org
As for that melting ice shelf, Price noted that no tidal wave was coming any time soon, but still offered an ominous warning: "If this happens, will it make, again, the water levels go up? Not so with this piece because it was already floating, but in the event that land-based glaciers begin to really melt, you could be talking about a rise in water levels which could be catastrophic..."
Here is the full transcript of the March 26 segment:
DAVE PRICE: In the meantime, who wants to see something really interesting? You know, we're coming up on Earth Day as we head into the middle of April, and for anyone who says, you know, what affect does climate have on the Earth?
Just two weeks until the MRC's 2008 "DisHonors Awards" and seats are running out. We only have a few dozen left. The MRC's annual video awards with the "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year presented to Tony Snow, will take place in Washington, DC on Thursday evening, April 10. Confirmed participants: Ann Coulter, Larry Kudlow, Mark Levin, Cal Thomas and many more since surprise conservative guests will accept the awards in jest. Get your tickets now.
"It was a terrific show...It was a great, great, great assemblage of people... Everybody just had a blast!" -- Rush Limbaugh, 2007 recipient of the William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence.
Make your reservation today. Every year our gala sells out, so don't delay.
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-- Brent Baker