ABC Exposes 'Secret War' to Avert Iran's Imminent Nuclear Threat --4/4/2007
2. GMA: HRC Fundraising 'Historic,' Demands Source of Romney Money
3. ABC Highlights Safer Baghdad: People 'Having Fun,' Life 'Normal'
4. Today Show Warns Car Emissions Hurt Puppies, Help Criminals
5. In Rosie v O'Reilly Story, GMA Ignores Her 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
6. MRC 20th Anniversary Gala/'DisHonors Awards' Video Now Online
A night after leading with an "exclusive" about the more imminent than thought horrific threat posed by Iran's nuclear weapons capability, ABC's World News began Tuesday with another Brian Ross "exclusive" in which he exposed a clandestine "secret war" inside Iran, a revelation that seemingly could undermine U.S. efforts to prevent Iran's extremist leaders from using those weapons of mass destruction. "Tonight," anchor Charles Gibson announced at the top of Monday's World News, "an alarming acceleration of Iran's nuclear program. Iran could have material for a bomb in two years. A Brian Ross exclusive." Ross soon explained how "in the last three months Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium -- meaning, according to weapons experts, that it could have enough material for a nuclear bomb within two years..."
Jump ahead 24 hours, and Gibson teased Tuesday's World News: "Tonight, a secret war going on inside Iran. Deadly stealth attacks in Iran, being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. government. Brian Ross investigates." Ross outlined how "U.S. and Pakistani sources tell ABC News that the U.S. has been secretly advising and encouraging a militant group that has carried out a series of guerrilla raids inside Iran, raids that have led to the deaths or capture of Iranian soldiers and officials. The group operates out of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, just across the border from Iran." Naturally, ABC managed to make a connection to Dick Cheney as Ross relayed: "Pakistani sources say the secret campaign against Iran was on the agenda when Vice President Cheney met with Pakistani President Musharaff in February."
[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Gibson led the April 3 World News: "Good evening. We have an exclusive report tonight on efforts to undermine the government of Iran. Efforts undertaken with the knowledge of the U.S. government. Our chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, has uncovered a U.S. intelligence connection to a militant group in Pakistan that is conducting raids across that country's border with Iran, raids that in some cases, have been deadly. The purpose of those attacks, to destabilize Iran. Brian is here, tonight, with details. Brian?"
Ross elaborated: "Charlie, U.S. and Pakistani sources tell ABC News that the U.S. has been secretly advising and encouraging a militant group that has carried out a series of guerrilla raids inside Iran, raids that have led to the deaths or capture of Iranian soldiers and officials. The group operates out of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, just across the border from Iran. The group, made up of Baluchi tribesmen, has produced its own videos showing Iranian soldiers and border guards it says it has captured and brought back to Pakistan. U.S. government sources say the U.S. provides no direct funding of the group. But since 2005, has maintained ties to its youthful leader, this man, Abd el Malik Regi, who claims to have personally executed some of the Iranian captives."
The April 2 posting of the Ross story on ABC News' "The Blotter" blog, "Exclusive: Iran Nuclear Bomb Could Be Possible by 2009," by Brian Ross and Christopher Isham: blogs.abcnews.com
When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced on Monday she had taken in $26 million in campaign donations during the first quarter of 2007, ABC's Good Morning America focused on the "historic," "staggering," and record shattering nature of the total. But on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received only suspicion over his equally impressive announcement of a $23 million fundraising total in the first quarter.
GMA host Robin Roberts repeatedly asked Romney questions such as "where is the money coming from, Governor?" Roberts also wondered how the candidate's Mormon faith factored into his fundraising: "Many speculate that it has something to do, of course, with your being a Mormon. Does your, does your religion factor in at all in your campaign and in your fundraising?" She even challenged the Republican hopeful to take a page from John Kennedy and address his faith: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
[This item is adapted from a Tuesday posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In contrast, on Monday, ABC reporter Kate Snow filed a report on Hillary Clinton's fundraising and while Clinton's total did break records, Snow only briefly mentioned the sources of the New York Senator's money (such as Hollywood liberals). Diane Sawyer introduced Snow's April 2 piece: "We turn now to the presidential race for 2008 and staggering dollar signs. In fact, Senator Hillary Clinton has taken in a record $26 million in the first three months of the year, she has announced. And ABC's weekend anchor Kate Snow is here with the rest of it. Kate?"
Kate Snow: "Well, Diane, big numbers are seen as is a sign of strength. Small numbers can mean the end for a candidate. And while we still don't know this morning how the leading Republicans stack up, we have heard from several Democrats and we sure know who is on top. What does Barbra Streisand have in common with rapper Timbaland? They both chipped in to help Hillary Clinton make history. Shattering the record held by Al Gore when he ran for president, Senator Clinton raised $26 million over 10 weeks."
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos went on to describe Clinton's fundraising total as a "shock and awe announcement," but there was no further mention of the Senator's Hollywood connection.
On April 3, however, GMA co-host Robin Roberts termed Romney's total "staggering," but quickly moved past that and began grilling him about Mormonism and its connection to his surprising fundraising total: "Well, Claire, now we're going to talk to the man of the morning, former Governor Mitt Romney. We spoke from Watertown, Massachusetts to discuss those staggering fundraising totals that are the talk of the town. Governor Romney, we certainly do appreciate your time this morning. Third in the Republican polls, but you have everybody's attention this morning. So, where is the money coming from, Governor?"
So, while GMA focused its Clinton report entirely on the impressive nature of her financial totals, Romney had to deal with questions about from where his money came.
It's also worth remembering that on March 26, GMA hosted Clinton for a 30 minute, multi-segment "town hall" meeting. The event featured softball questions and no mention of the fact that Hillary Clinton has taken millions of dollars from liberal Hollywood celebrities. See: www.mrc.org
Although GMA has promised that the town hall event will be a series with several political candidates, a second edition has yet to be announced. When ending the April 3 segment with Romney, Roberts only vaguely promised, "I know that we will be talking to you in the, in the days and weeks and months ahead in the campaign trail."
Tuesday's World News with Charles Gibson highlighted signs of improvement in parts of Baghdad in the aftermath of the U.S. troop surge. ABC's Gibson introduced the story relaying that correspondent Terry McCarthy, after traveling to several Baghdad neighborhoods, "has found definite improvement." Among other developments, McCarthy reported on families feeling safe enough to take their children to the city's largest amusement park. As he rode a merry-go-round, McCarthy related how "people feel safe to bring their kids here and have fun on a Friday afternoon. For us, it's really great to see people in Baghdad having fun."
McCarthy introduced his story by recounting that although there are still daily bombings in Baghdad, "a small area of relative calm is starting to grow," relaying his visit to several neighborhoods where residents reported that "life is slowly coming back to normal."
Among other areas, McCarthy discussed the once-infamous Haifa Street that is no longer as dangerous as it once was, where men at a tea shop asked McCarthy's crew to film them "to show things are getting better." After mentioning positive developments in other neighborhoods, the ABC correspondent pointed out the increased number of families visiting the amusement park in the Zawra area: "People feel safe to bring their kids here and have fun on a Friday afternoon. For us, it's really great to see people in Baghdad having fun." After wondering if the relative safety would continue, he concluded: "For the time being, though, people here are happy to enjoy a life that looks almost normal."
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday April 3 World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson: "Meanwhile, Iraq's government announced today that the security situation in Baghdad has improved in recent weeks -- enough that the city's curfew can be relaxed. Until now, the curfew has been 8 PM till 5 AM. Now, Baghdad residents will be allowed on the street until 10 PM. ABC's Terry McCarthy has been checking out conditions in some of the city's neighborhoods, and has found definite improvement."
Terry McCarthy: "Children have come out to play again. Shoppers are back in markets. A few devout souls even venture past the barbed wire to pray. Baghdad is still rocked by car bombs every day. But right in the center of the city, a small area of relative calm is starting to grow, thanks to stepped up U.S. patrols and increased Iraqi checkpoints. Nowhere is safe for westerners to linger, but over the past week we visited five different neighborhoods where the locals told us life is slowly coming back to normal.
NBC's Martin Savidge took the prize for unexpected environmental advocacy on Tuesday's Today show. In a global warming story, disguised as a health report, Savidge went over-the-top as he blamed car exhaust for seemingly every problem under the Sun. In what was initially teased as an allergy report, Savidge blamed fossil fuel emissions for an increase in the pollen count that is not only leading to exacerbated allergic reactions in humans and their pets, but also getting in the way of police officers trying to collect fingerprints.
In the 7am half hour, Today co-host Matt Lauer introduced Savidge's global warming, masquerading as health story, segment this way: "Are you sniffling and sneezing right now? Are your eyes so watery you can barely see the TV? Well it could be your allergies. And guess what? We may only have ourselves to blame. That story now from NBC's Martin Savidge."
First up, Savidge relayed the high pollen count from a scientist in Atlanta followed by a soundbite from an environmentalist citing fossil fuels as the cause. Then after noting how "doctors offices are flooded with patients," Savidge brought a puppy up to his face and warned: "Sure you think you got it bad. The itching, the sneezing, the watery eyes, but it isn't just you. There's another big group of sufferers out there, they just happen to be a little smaller."
(In a posting Tuesday on the "Daily Nightly" blog, Savidge revealed the dog is his own pet: "Girlfriend is the name of our year-old, long-haired Chihuahua, who we adopted after she was rescued from a puppy mill. She joins our other pets, two cats named Bubby and Bella, both from animal shelters. But girlfriend is the only one who ventures outdoors, and this spring we noticed she had problems -- wheezing and watery eyes. The verdict? She's got allergies. And she's not alone. As I learned for tonight's Nightly News story, it's not just humans suffering through record high pollen counts this spring." See: dailynightly.msnbc.com )
Not satisfied with pulling on audience heart strings with the puppy shot, Savidge played the fear card as he observed climate change is helping criminals get away: "It's also bad for crime fighters. In some parts of Georgia the heavy pollen coating cars and porch furniture is making it hard for police to collect fingerprints though experts don't have advice for the police."
Savidge then concluded the piece on this ominous note: "Unfortunately, some scientists predict that climate change could soon mean year-round misery. In fact they say you can count on it. For Today, Martin Savidge, NBC News, Atlanta."
[This item is adapted from a posting Tuesday, by Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following is the full segment as it aired in the 7am half hour of the April 3rd Today show:
Matt Lauer: "Are you sniffling and sneezing right now? Are your eyes so watery you can barely see the TV? Well it could be your allergies. And guess what? We may only have ourselves to blame. That story now from NBC's Martin Savidge."
Martin Savidge: "Marie McFalls has been doing this for years but even she is surprised at what her microscope reveals."
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, the ABC program featured a segment on the feud between View co-host Rosie O'Donnell and FNC anchor Bill O'Reilly. Although reporter Taina Hernandez did highlight some of O'Donnell's more extreme statements, the segment mostly portrayed the back-and-forth as simply a celebrity squabble as GMA left out any reference to O'Donnell's on-air touting last week of 9/11 conspiracy theories: "I do believe the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel. I do believe that it defies physics for the World Trade Center Tower Seven, building seven, which collapsed in on itself, it is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved."
[This item is adapted from a posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Co-host Robin Roberts previewed the segment with a tease that offered moral equivalence between the FNC host and the woman who recently suggested that the kidnapping of British Marines was a modern day Gulf of Tonkin incident. Roberts wondered, "Has Rosie gone too far this time?" But she quickly covered herself by asking, "Maybe O'Reilly's crossed the line? We'll let you be the judge and weigh in on that."
Roberts set up the April 3 segment: "Move over, Donald Trump because Rosie is in the ring with someone new. We're talking about Rosie O'Donnell and Bill O'Reilly. Now, neither one is exactly shy, let's just put it like that. But the Fox News host is using his show to take on Rosie, saying she went too far last week on The View when she talked about the British hostages in Iran. Keeping a close eye on this is ABC News Taina Hernandez."
Hernandez: "Hey. Good morning, Robin. Well, The View promises what? Just that. Strong viewpoints. But its newest co-host is becoming best known for sparking strong views from personalities outside the show. First it was a celebrity face-off. Rosie versus The Donald."
Hernandez closed the segment with two clips from a crisis management consultant who attempted to help Rosie out of her predicament. He mentioned the need for Rosie to make clear that she's not criticizing the troops and Hernandez didn't wonder if that was her intention.
Fraser Seitel, crisis management consultant: "In this case, she's got an extra push from O'Reilly and she has got to be very, very careful moving forward."
Hernandez and GMA should be given some credit for at least playing some of O'Donnell's more extreme statements. However, what the ABC reporter left out of her segment was any mention of O'Donnell's attraction to 9/11 conspiracy theories, including this March 29 discussion:
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Do you believe that the government had anything to do with the attack of 9/11? Do you believe in a conspiracy in terms of the attack of 9/11?"
For more, check the April 3 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Thirty-five audio/video clips of the MRC's 20th Anniversary Gala, featuring the "DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2006" and Rush Limbaugh accepting the MRC's first annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," are now online. You'll see the fun-filled evening with awards presented by Neal Boortz, Herman Cain and Mary Matalin; and accepted, in jest, by Michael Steele, G. Gordon Liddy, Pat Sajak, Ward Connerly as well as "Osama bin Laden." Plus, check out the "funny clips" from 2006 enjoyed by the more than 1,000 who attended the March 29 event emceed by Cal Thomas, a highlight reel of past galas and the audience picking the "Quote of the Year," which went to New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.
Plus, below are news stories on the event: FNC's "Grapevine" segment, Washington Times story on the gala, "Right salutes 'El Rushbo,'" and Washingtonian's "MSNBC's Olbermann Loses Big at 'Liberal Media' Dishonor Awards."
For all the videos, go to this gala/awards event front page and scroll through several pages of segments from the event: www.mrc.org
(The MRC's Michelle Humphrey and Kristine Looney rendered the video into MP3 audio, Windows Media and RealPlayer files. The clips were posted by the MRC's Michael Gibbons, who put together the section of our site devoted to the gala/awards.)
Some of the media coverage of the MRC's gala/DisHonors Awards:
# FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. On Friday's program, anchor Jim Angle led the Grapevine segment with a rundown of the winning quotes:
Right-thinking radio commentator Rush Limbaugh credits his long reign to groundwork laid by conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr.
So, when the Media Research Center decided to found an annual award for media excellence named in honor of the National Review magazine founder, the man known to fans as "El Rushbo" proved the irresistible choice to receive it.
The group's 20th-anniversary gala honored the talk-show host while once again pointing out how unfairly the liberal media treats conservatives.
The MRC monitors liberal bias wherever it appears, as fans who visit its Web site (www.newsbusters.org) on a daily basis surely will attest.
Previous DisHonors Awards dinners have been modest affairs, but Thursday's event swelled in size and scope, even if Ann Coulter and a few other conservative stalwarts were no-shows. The guests may take unfair coverage in the mainstream media seriously, but they were too busy laughing about the opposition to complain at the Grand Hyatt Thursday night.
Mr. Limbaugh, tan and imposing in a dark suit and brilliant gold tie, attacked the enemy with relish. "They lie. They take things out of context," he said, adding that the MRC tells the public "exactly what [the perpetrators] said and the context in which it was said."
He doesn't mind having so many enemies on the left, he noted, so long as he has friends like those present at his side.
Said friends ate up every syllable.
The night featured five secondary awards with snarky titles such as the God, I Hate America Award and the Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis.
No one was shocked that the winners, including CBS News' Katie Couric and CNN's Jack Cafferty, were not there to accept.
A flurry of right-minded thinkers attended, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Mary Matalin, Richard Viguerie, Pat Sajak, Herman Cain and Neal Boortz.
Mr. Boortz praised groups like MRC for giving him the ammunition to fight liberal ideology. "I've been doing talk radio for 37 years," the syndicated Cox Radio host deadpanned, "and I've never had an original thought."
The gala wasn't all about blasting liberal bias. The program included a half dozen video clips featuring political humor and televised gags. Guests even were treated to a YouTube favorite from 2006: ABC News correspondent Connie Chung warbling "Thanks for the Memories" hopelessly out of tune.
The MRC's Quote of the Year winner? Who else but New York Times Chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. for a commencement address in which he blasted modern America while informing students he felt their pain.
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele drew a hearty ovation after promising to run for office again following his Senate defeat last year.
During pre-dinner cocktails, radio talker G. Gordon Liddy said the MRC may have less material in the future, but he feels confident the lull won't last.
"The mainstream press is complicit in the highly irresponsible agenda the Democrats would have us pursue regarding the war on terror and Iraq," Mr. Liddy said. "That will come back to bite them hard, and that will make them change -- temporarily."
END of Washington Times article
MSNBC's Olbermann Loses Big at 'Liberal Media' Dishonor Awards
As the proudly self-proclaimed 'vast right-wing conspiracy' gathered to celebrate the Media Research Center's 20th anniversary, the crowd hooted, hollered, and booed what it sees as the liberal media.
What: The Media Research Center's 20th Anniversary Gala
Where: Grand Hyatt
When: Thursday, March 29, 2007, 6 p.m. until late
Who: A thousand-plus conservative activists, funders, staff from various right-wing organizations, and a number of bloggers -- all in a mish-mash of attire for the annual black tie optional gathering. While three of the night's big names, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Joe Scarborough couldn't make it, the room held most of the well-known conservative talk show hosts, who all paid tribute to Center's founder, Brent Bozell, over the course of the evening.
Food: Spinach and frisee salad, grilled beef tenderloin and salmon roulade, and a flourless chocolate cake.
Drink: Many bottles of Columbia Crest wine.
Scene: When James Carville asked where his wife was going last night, Mary Matalin explained, she whispered "vast right-wing conspiracy" and such was the scene at the DisHonors Awards ceremony for the "most outrageously biased liberal reporting of the year."
The evening's tone was set when emcee Cal Thomas, who was introduced as the most syndicated columnist "in the nation, hemisphere, world, solar system, and the universe," explained that the evening was "carbon neutral" because everyone in the room arrived in vehicles powered by the "chicken droppings Al Gore's been peddling in recent days." He joked that the evening's sponsors included the Guantanamo Bay Gift Shop and Chevrolet, "the car Saudi Arabian women would drive if they could drive."
Video montages showed clips of the evening's award nominees, none of whom, unsurprisingly, were in the audience to accept the awards in person. In fact, as one presenter joked, no one has ever accepted an award in person in the event's history.
The first award of the night, the "God I Hate America Award" went to New York Times Publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, Jr., for a speech he gave last year at SUNY-New Paltz's commencement. Neal Boortz presented the award and after butchering the pronunciation of Pinch's name, he looked up at the crowd, "If I'm mispronouncing his name, ask me later if I really care."
Former Maryland senate candidate Michael Steele accepted the award for Pinch to a standing ovation and then presented an impromptu lecture on why the GOP lost in November: The party had lost the nation's honor and trust. "When we walk away from that, America responds," he said, explaining that he was confident the party would get the keys to the Kingdom back again soon and that Steele himself was looking forward to running again.
CBS's Katie Couric won the "Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis" for her interview with Condi Rice last fall where she asked the secretary of state, "To quote my daughter, 'who made us the boss of them?'" G. Gordon Liddy accepted the award for her, saying, "You are honored by the enemies you have. I can safely say that one of my enemies is perky Katie Couric."
Rosie O'Donnell beat out Bill Maher and "has-been entertainer" Harry Belafonte for the "The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV" Award. In accepting a large pointy award for Rosie O'Donnell, the Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak explained, "I don't know if she has room for this, but I'd be happy to take it over to her and show her where to put it."
CNN's Jack Cafferty won the "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" and the award was "accepted" via video by Osama bin Laden, whose dubbed video played on the room's four big screens. Speaking through a bad Punjabi translator, "bin Laden" explained that he calls CNN the "Cave News Network" because "their audience is so small it could fit in my cave."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was perhaps the biggest loser last night: Nominated in three of the five categories, he failed to win a single award. Neal Boortz relished going after Olbermann, calling him "MSNBC's answer to a relief tube," a "void surrounded by a sphincter muscle," and said, "You know you've done something right when that footstool attacks you on national TV."
Boortz on Bryant Gumbel: An "arrogant little jock-sniffer" and an "obtuse mindless person."
Boortz received much applause for this line on Bill Clinton's administration: "Don't we all still wonder what Sandy Berger stole from the National Archives?"
As the opening joke by Thomas set the stage, Al Gore was also the butt of many jokes. From Mary Matalin on Gore: "Pluto wasn't large enough to be a planet but Al Gore is." From Pat Sajak on Gore: "When he gets his shoes shined he has to take the guy's word for it."
Bold Face Names: 3 (out of 5) Swankiness: 4 (out of 5) Food/Drink: 3 (out of 5) Exclusivity: 3 (out of 5)
Total Score: 13 (out of 20)
END of Reprint of Washingtonian posting
-- Brent Baker