ABC Features Arnett in Look at U.S. Conspiracy to Kill Reporters -- 04/09/2003 CyberAlert
2. CBS's Logan & CNN's Amanpour Don't Appreciate Clarke's Advice
3. "War of Aggression" Claim Too Much for NBC's David Gregory
4. Reuters: Minute Men of 1770s Just Like Hussein's Guerrillas
5. Dennis Miller on Media Tour Leading to Saturday HBO
6. "Top Ten Things Overheard at Saddam Hussein's Dinner"
In what looks to have been a tragic mistake by U.S. forces, a tank fired into the Baghdad hotel housing journalists, killing two of them. But while every network focused on the event on Tuesday, ABC's World News Tonight treated it as a seminal moment, devoting an incredible five minutes of their evening show to it and using it as an opportunity to cite Peter Arnett as an authority on Arab sensibilities and U.S. military incompetence.
Peter Jennings set up ABC's third story of the night, a look at how Arabs see a conspiracy against them: "It was said that no one intended to kill the journalists who died today, including the Baghdad correspondent of Al-Jazeera, the Middle East television network which is almost as familiar here as it is in other parts of the world. But as we've said before, millions of Americans see the war from one perspective, and millions of Arabs see it from another."
David Wright proceeded to highlight how "Peter Arnett, who until recently worked for NBC News, said he does not believe the U.S. deliberately targets journalists, but he pointed out that Al-Jazeera has been bombed before by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan." Wright concluded: "This is another setback in the U.S. campaign to win hearts and minds, leaving many in this region to believe the conspiracy theorists, that the U.S. is trying to silence its critics."
In ABC's first story of the April 8 broadcast Richard Engel, in Baghdad, asserted: "The U.S. Army says the tank fired in response to small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades coming from the hotel. I was at the hotel at the time, and I didn't hear any fire coming from the building. Neither did anyone else. The journalist from Al-Jazeera television, who was killed earlier today, died after the U.S. bombed his office on the western side of the Tigris near the Information Ministry. At the Palestine Hotel tonight, journalists held a candlelight vigil in honor of those who had died. And nearby, with the air campaign so intense, some Iraqis have taken to sleeping in mosques hoping they are safe."
Next, Jennings asked in regard to the Palestine Hotel incident and the bombing of a restaurant where Saddam Hussein was thought to be located: "So how did it come to be in the last couple of days that a hotel full of journalists was regarded as a legitimate target and there was a major air strike in the heart of a well-to-do neighborhood. ABC's Martha Raddatz is in Washington tonight. Two challenges for the military today, Martha?"
Raddatz explained, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
Raddatz went on to run a soundbite from Brigadier General Vincent Brooks in Doha about how troops received fire from the hotel's lobby, but had to concede he may have misspoken since the 15th floor was fired upon by the tank.
Jennings then got to how those at al-Jazeera see an effort to kill them, a viewpoint bolstered by Peter Arnett: "At every level of the U.S. command today, it was said that no one intended to kill the journalists who died today, including the Baghdad correspondent of Al-Jazeera, the Middle East television network which is almost as familiar here as it is in other parts of the world. But as we've said before, millions of Americans see the war from one perspective, and millions of Arabs see it from another. ABC's David Wright reports tonight from Kuwait City."
Wright reported: "Al-Jazeera broadcast footage of its wounded correspondent being carried to the hospital where he died. The banner at the bottom of the screen referred to Tareq Ayyoub as a martyr. His colleague who survived the bombing said they were hit because the Americans don't want the world to see the crimes the U.S. is committing against the Iraqi people. The network broadcast an interview with Ayyoub's family in Jordan. His mother said, 'I hope those who killed my son will lose everything that's dear to them just as they deprived me of the only thing dear to me.'"
CBS's Lara Logan and CNN's Christiane Amanpour didn't appreciate Pentagon spokesman Torie Clarke's advice that a war zone is a dangerous place.
Logan concluded her April 8 CBS Evening News story from Baghdad: "Baghdad is a dangerous location a U.S. spokesman said today. No one here needed to be told that." On CNN on Tuesday afternoon, Amanpour, in Kuwait, lectured: "I would say that most of the journalists who are there [in Baghdad] have got a lot more experience in risky situations in war than some of the spokespeople who are giving out those comments."
On Tuesday morning, Logan, who is staying at the Palestine hotel, expressed empathy with the citizens on Baghdad. She lamented on the April 8 Early Show: "The one thing I want to say about this though, it brings it home to us because we're here on the ground. But this is happening to Iraqi families right across Baghdad."
Later, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Logan asserted: "The Pentagon claims they were returning enemy fire, but none of he journalists at he hotel heard or saw anything to support that claim." She concluded: "Baghdad is a dangerous location a U.S. spokesman said today. No one here needed to be told that."
Dan Rather, anchoring from Kuwait City, balanced Logan with the military's point of view, running this clip of Major General Stanley McChrystal at the Pentagon briefing: "From the beginning, we have specifically said it would be dangerous and difficult. You put yourself in heir position, they had he inherent right of self defense. When hey are fired at they have not only the right to respond, they have the obligation to respond to protect the soldiers with them."
At about 2:30pm EDT on Tuesday, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed,
Wolf Blitzer wondered: "So what are you, you heard Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon press spokeswoman, suggest earlier -- she had 300 conversation with various news organizations saying, Look, a war is an inherently dangerous situation. We can't guarantee your safety. If you stay in various hotels, you're taking your life into your own hands because the Iraqis themselves might use you, in effect, as human shields, thinking that the U.S. military won't respond because you're there. And she says that simply is not going to wash."
Catching up with an item from over the weekend, the far-left rantings of the Editor of The Nation magazine were too much even for NBC White House reporter David Gregory. On the Chris Matthews Show, Katrina Vanden Heuvel insisted: "This was not, this was not a war of self-defense! This was a war of aggression." Gregory fired back: "I'm sorry, I think that's an irresponsible statement to say it's a war of aggression."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught the exchange which took place on the April 6 Chris Matthews Show, a half hour syndicated program carried on all NBC-owned stations as well as other affiliates in other markets.
Matthews asked: "Will this war stop terrorism?"
At that point, Geoffrey reports, Matthews cut in and moved the discussion along to a new area.
"Like Iraqis, Americans Once Used 'Irregulars'" read the headline over an April 8 Reuters story which set out to substantiate how the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington were really no different than Saddam Hussein's guerrilla fighters in Iraq.
The Concord, Massachusetts-datelined story by Greg Frost made no accommodation for the lack of equivalence between those battling for freedom and democracy versus those fighting to preserve a murderous, totalitarian regime based on fear and oppression.
Frost at least conceded that "the Americans then did not use suicide bombers or human shields, and the specter of weapons of mass destruction did not haunt the conflict," but he began his piece by portraying the Minute Men and Hussein's henchmen as employing similar tactics against a superior enemy: "One side of the conflict comprises a highly trained force that sports sharp uniforms and wields the most technically advanced weapons; the other consists of a rag-tag group of fighters who are virtually indistinguishable from the civilian populace."
Picking up after that opening sentence, an excerpt from the April 8 story which OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web": highlighted, but which the MRC's Rich Noyes had brought to my attention hours earlier:
....One side prides itself on discipline and travels in well-defined military columns; the other uses guerrilla tactics -- sniping at the enemy, harassing them with "irregulars" and disregarding certain generally accepted rules of war.
It may sound like the current war in Iraq, but it's also a description of the conflict between British troops and colonial forces who fought in the American War of Independence from 1775 to 1783.
As U.S. and British authorities accuse Iraq of not fighting fairly, some historians have noted wryly that British officers made the same complaints about American colonists in the late 18th century.
Granted, the Americans then did not use suicide bombers or human shields, and the specter of weapons of mass destruction did not haunt the conflict.
But historian Don Higginbotham of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill draws a parallel between some of the colonists' brazen tactics and those used by Iraqi irregulars -- referring to militia not part of the regularly established army -- who are defending President Saddam Hussein....
At the time of the American Revolution, Britain had one of the best-trained and most experienced armies in the world, but this meant little when its forces were outnumbered by an enemy that used guerrilla tactics.
"The British would have preferred to stare across an open field, have each side fire a couple of volleys at the other, charge with a bayonet, and then have it be over," says Mark Nichipor, a park ranger at Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts.
Named after American militia members who could be ready to fight at a minute's notice, the park preserves land west of Boston where the British redcoats suffered heavy losses on April 19, 1775, in the opening battle of the war.
It started as a simple plan: Seeking to quell simmering discontent in the countryside, 700 British soldiers were sent from Boston to Concord, Massachusetts to seize military supplies there and arrest rebel leaders.
But the American resistance was stiffer than expected, and the British were forced to retreat. As they did, American snipers fired shots from behind rocks, walls and other sources of cover before vanishing.
The attacks continued for hours, wearing down the redcoats' morale and exacting a heavy toll. By the end of the day, British casualties numbered more than 270 while the colonials suffered fewer than 100.
Nichipor notes that some of the British troops like Lt. William Sutherland later accused the Americans of cowardice for resorting to such tactics. Others, like Brig. Gen. Hugh Percy, who led the British campaign that day, decried the "cruelty and barbarity of the rebels."
Later in the war, Americans used irregular militias to wear down the British in both the North and the South, says Tim Christenson, a professor at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Washington.
"You'd never try to take on the main force of the British because they would outnumber you; they were better-armed and more experienced," Christenson says. "What you did instead is you try to nip at their heels, wear them down by taking them on a long chase and drag them through the wilderness until they run out of supplies."
Adding to the obstacles facing the British were reports of Americans pretending to surrender and then attacking when they got up close. U.S. and Britain have accused Iraqi soldiers of fake surrenders in the Iraq war....
END of Excerpt
To read the story in full, go to the Reuters site.
It's also been posted by Yahoo as a "Lifestyle" story.
Leading up to an HBO special on Saturday night, expect to see Dennis Miller, the comedian/actor with a pro-war, anti-liberal comedy routine, making a bunch of media appearances this week.
Amongst those I know about, and a California CyberAlert reader informed me of one of which I was unaware:
-- Wednesday night on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Miller's HBO show, Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed, debuts at 10pm EDT on Saturday. It was taped in Chicago and, given it's HBO, be warned that it will likely contain language and non-political subjects not used or addressed during Miller's Tonight Show appearances. See HBO's page for the special.
For all of the air times go to HBO's website.
The April 4 CyberAlert recounted Miller's last appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Another round of pro-American patriotism, pro-President Bush and anti-liberal jibes, jests and slams from actor/comedian Dennis Miller on Thursday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, including a nice zinger at Peter Arnett: "How am I supposed to trust the honesty of a reporter that has that bad of a comb-over on top of his head?...Hey guess what Pete? We know you're bald, okay? The outside of your skull is as empty as the inside." See the April 4 CyberAlert item in its entirety.
From the April 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard at Saddam Hussein's Dinner Last Night." Late Show Web page.
10. "Uday, are you going to eat that pickle?"
9. "Bunker for six, please."
8. "You have some shwarma in your mustache."
7. "A double for me and a double for my double."
6. "I know we're winning the war, but there do seem to be an awful lot of American tanks around."
5. "What was I thinking putting 5,000 dinars on Kansas?"
4. "Can we still have these weekly dinners when we're in Hell?"
3. "What do you mean Bloomberg won't let us smoke in here?"
1. "More salad, Geraldo?"
Can't beat #1.
-- Brent Baker