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ABC Frets Over Saddam Trial Procedures, He Lacks "Legal Counsel" --12/13/2004


1. ABC Frets Over Saddam Trial Procedures, He Lacks "Legal Counsel"
Saddam Hussein the victim of lack of legal counsel. ABC led Sunday's World News Tonight with a look, one year after the capture of Saddam Hussein, at delays in his trial. Reporter Jim Sciutto highlighted how "critics point to several failures, that Saddam has not yet been allowed to meet with a lawyer, that the trial will permit testimony obtained under torture" and that evidence has not been "properly preserved or recorded." Sciutto stressed how "both the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have expressed doubts the trial will meet international standards." Sciutto concluded by returning to Hussein's plight without a lawyer: "Iraqi officials now say the trial will begin, at the very earliest, after the scheduled January elections, as Saddam waits in his cell, without charge or legal counsel."

2. NBC Delivers Upbeat Portrait of Americans Moving to Canada
NBC on Friday night delivered a positive portrayal of U.S. citizens so upset by President Bush's re-election that they've moved to Canada. Reporter George Lewis highlighted how one woman "says Canada is more in tune with her liberal views than the USA." She then touted how Canada has "gun control and universal health care and no death penalty." Lewis trumpeted: "She's not alone. In Bellingham, Washington, Charles Key, a Vietnam veteran, is planning his move to Canada." Key claimed that America no longer stands "for freedom and diversity and tolerance." Without any regard for how the "pursuit of happiness" was declared in the Declaration of Independence for the USA, not Canada, Lewis relayed how the woman insisted that "all of us are entitled to the pursuit of happiness." She declared "I found my dreams in Canada" before Lewis jovially concluded: "And as she spots a bald eagle, she jokes that even America's national bird is taking a serious look at Canada."

3. ABC's Tapper Says Rumsfeld Question "May Have Been Planted"
"May have been planted"? Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts boasted, in an e-mail to his colleagues back home, how at an event in Kuwait he had set up a soldier with whom he was embedded to ask Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the lack of armor on Humvees, but on Friday's Good Morning America ABC reporter Jake Tapper stated that "many conservatives" were upset at "the soldier's question, which they charge may have been planted by a reporter."

4. Jennings and Schieffer Pay Tribute to the Late David Brudnoy
ABC's Peter Jennings and CBS's Bob Schieffer paid tribute over the weekend to the late David Brudnoy, the Boston talk show host who served as a judge every year since 1992 for the MRC's annual "Best of Notable Quotables" awards issues. "In a medium that has so many shouters, Brudnoy, who described himself as a libertarian, was a thoughtful voice, interested in ideas rather than name-calling," Jennings observed on Friday's World News Tonight. Jennings called him "irreverent, and brainy, and polite." Schieffer devoted his Face the Nation commentary on Sunday to remembering Brudnoy: "David's beliefs came from contemplation, from study and of his life experiences. I found him liberal in his willingness to have an open mind, conservative in his respect for America's core values, but mostly just intellectually curious, witty and always civil."


ABC Frets Over Saddam Trial Procedures,
He Lacks "Legal Counsel"

ABC's Terry Moran Saddam Hussein the victim of lack of legal counsel. ABC led Sunday's World News Tonight with a look, one year after the capture of Saddam Hussein, at delays in his trial. Reporter Jim Sciutto highlighted how "critics point to several failures, that Saddam has not yet been allowed to meet with a lawyer, that the trial will permit testimony obtained under torture" and that evidence has not been "properly preserved or recorded." Sciutto stressed how "both the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have expressed doubts the trial will meet international standards." Sciutto concluded by returning to Hussein's plight without a lawyer: "Iraqi officials now say the trial will begin, at the very earliest, after the scheduled January elections, as Saddam waits in his cell, without charge or legal counsel."

Anchor Terry Moran led his December 12 newscast, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Jessica Anderson:
Saddam Hussein "The thirst for justice in Iraq is not easy to quench. Tomorrow marks one year since U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole. But today his trial for genocide and war crimes has not yet begun and the violent insurgency he still inspires rages on. Since Saddam was captured, the rate of U.S. casualties has actually increased -- 827 U.S. troops have been killed in the past year, including two this weekend. ABC's Jim Sciutto reports for us tonight on the problems in the case of Iraq versus Saddam Hussein."

Sciutto began: "One year after his capture, Saddam Hussein's trial for war crimes, considered the most important since Nuremburg, has yet to hear a single world of testimony. American lawyers who are training the Iraqi judges say they need time."
Professor Michael Scharf, Case Western Reserve law school: "They haven't been just sitting on their hands. They've been out getting evidence. They've been making sure that the judges are trained."
Sciutto, over video of dead bodies: "They are building a case for genocide and mass murder, including the gassing of 5,000 Kurds in 1988. But critics point to several failures, [on screen over video of Hussein at his court appearance earlier this year: "Saddam Yet to Meet with Lawyer"] that Saddam has not yet been allowed to meet with a lawyer, that the trial will permit testimony obtained under torture, and that much of the evidence from mass grave sites was not properly preserved or recorded. Both the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have expressed doubts the trial will meet international standards."
Richard Dicker, Human Rights Watch: "It needs to be done in a way that is consistent with basic standards of fairness, regardless of how ugly and horrific the crimes of which he is accused may be."
Sciutto, in London: "The Iraqi judges taking part in the tribunal were taken here to London for training. Their trip included a stop at London's Old Bailey, its criminal court, to observe trials in action. A British judge who worked with them found serious shortcomings in their ability to prosecute Saddam."
Judge Geoffrey Robertson: "They've had no kind of experience in dealing with the issues that arise in international law crimes, like genocide and mass murder."
Sciutto concluded: "Iraqi officials now say the trial will begin, at the very earliest, after the scheduled January elections, as Saddam waits in his cell, without charge or legal counsel."

But still a lot better of than a lot of Iraqis under his rule.

NBC Delivers Upbeat Portrait of Americans
Moving to Canada

NBC on Friday night delivered a positive portrayal of U.S. citizens so upset by President Bush's re-election that they've moved to Canada. Reporter George Lewis highlighted how one woman "says Canada is more in tune with her liberal views than the USA." She then touted how Canada has "gun control and universal health care and no death penalty." Lewis trumpeted: "She's not alone. In Bellingham, Washington, Charles Key, a Vietnam veteran, is planning his move to Canada." Key claimed that America no longer stands "for freedom and diversity and tolerance." Without any regard for how the "pursuit of happiness" was declared in the Declaration of Independence for the USA, not Canada, Lewis relayed how the woman insisted that "all of us are entitled to the pursuit of happiness." She declared "I found my dreams in Canada" before Lewis jovially concluded: "And as she spots a bald eagle, she jokes that even America's national bird is taking a serious look at Canada."

NBC's Brian Williams Anchor Brian Williams set up the December 10 NBC Nightly News report: "NBC News 'In Depth' tonight. After the hard-fought election this nation has now been through, after the victory for President Bush and the red states, a lot of those on the losing end, the bluest of the blue, find life so unbearable they've made the ultimate decision: To leave. While neighbors wish them good riddance, they say they're going to a place they're welcome. NBC News 'In Depth' tonight: Here is George Lewis."

Lorraine Wright Lewis began, as checked against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Lorraine Wright, originally from California, has pulled up anchor and headed to Canada. Do you think you'll spend the rest of your years here?"
Lorraine Wright, at a marina: "Absolutely."
Lewis: "As a Canadian citizen?"
Wright: "Absolutely."
Lewis: "Wright, who runs a hotel and tour company on Quadra Island, British Columbia, says Canada is more in tune with her liberal views than the USA."
Wright: "You know, they have gun control and universal health care and no death penalty."
Lewis: "She's not alone. In Bellingham, Washington, Charles Key, a Vietnam veteran, is planning his move to Canada."
Charles Key: "America no longer reflects my political and social values."
Lewis: "Spoken by a man whose ancestor, Francis Scott Key, wrote this:"
Clip of artist singing: "-the land of the free-"
Key: "'The land of the free and the home of the brave' to me always meant that America was supposed to stand for freedom and diversity and tolerance. And I don't think that it does anymore."
Lewis, at a border crossing: "So far Canadian officials say they haven't seen any huge exodus of Americans moving to Canada, but they do note that since the U.S. election thousands of Americans have been checking out the Canadian official immigration Web site. And in the last week, more than 300 people in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco paid $25 apiece to attend seminars hosted by Canadian immigration lawyer Rudolph Kischer."
Rudolph Kischer, immigration lawyer: "Bush has been great for business."
Unidentified man: "Good riddance."
Lewis: "On a show televised in Canada, Charles Key noted there are plenty of Americans who think the idea of moving North is plain stupid."
Key on the TV show in Canada: "And it's reflected in words like 'good riddance' and 'don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.'"
Lewis: "Lorraine Wright says some may think of expats like her as traitors, but says all of us are entitled to the pursuit of happiness."
Wright: "I found my dreams in Canada."
Lewis concluded: "And as she spots a bald eagle, she jokes that even America's national bird is taking a serious look at Canada. George Lewis, NBC News, Quadra Island, British Columbia."

ABC's Tapper Says Rumsfeld Question "May
Have Been Planted"

"May have been planted"? Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts boasted, in an e-mail to his colleagues back home, how at an event in Kuwait he had set up a soldier with whom he was embedded to ask Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the lack of armor on Humvees, but on Friday's Good Morning America ABC reporter Jake Tapper stated that "many conservatives" were upset at "the soldier's question, which they charge may have been planted by a reporter."

The MRC's Jessica Anderson caught how Tapper concluded his December 10 story: "Many conservatives today seem less upset about Secretary Rumsfeld's answer than they are about the soldier's question, which they charge may have been planted by a reporter. The soldiers who cheered the question about Humvee armor, however, probably are more concerned with the answer."

But Edward Lee Pitts clearly took responsibility for it in his Wednesday e-mail:
"I just had one of my best days as a journalist today. As luck would have it, our journey North was delayed just long enough see I could attend a visit today here by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. Before hand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have. While waiting for the VIP, I went and found the Sgt. in charge of the microphone for the question and answer session and made sure he knew to get my guys out of the crowd.
"So during the Q&A session, one of my guys was the second person called on. When he asked Rumsfeld why after two years here soldiers are still having to dig through trash bins to find rusted scrap metal and cracked ballistic windows for their Humvees, the place erupted in cheers so loud that Rumsfeld had to ask the guy to repeat his question...."

For more on Thursday night coverage, see the December 10 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Jennings and Schieffer Pay Tribute to
the Late David Brudnoy

David Brudnoy ABC's Peter Jennings and CBS's Bob Schieffer paid tribute over the weekend to the late David Brudnoy, the Boston talk show host who served as a judge every year since 1992 for the MRC's annual "Best of Notable Quotables" awards issues. "In a medium that has so many shouters, Brudnoy, who described himself as a libertarian, was a thoughtful voice, interested in ideas rather than name-calling," Jennings observed on Friday's World News Tonight. Jennings called him "irreverent, and brainy, and polite." Schieffer devoted his Face the Nation commentary on Sunday to remembering Brudnoy: "David's beliefs came from contemplation, from study and of his life experiences. I found him liberal in his willingness to have an open mind, conservative in his respect for America's core values, but mostly just intellectually curious, witty and always civil."

For the MRC's remembrance of Brudnoy, with excerpts from other tributes and links to obituaries for him, see Friday's CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org


David Brudnoy -- ABC's World News Tonight, December 10. Peter Jennings imparted: "In other news today, the most popular talk show host in Boston has died. His name was David Brudnoy. He was 64. He worked at the ABC affiliate WBZ [though owned by Viacom/CBS, WBZ Radio had been an ABC affiliate while WBZ-TV is a CBS station]. And we think his story will be interesting to others in the country.
"In a medium that has so many shouters, Brudnoy, who described himself as a libertarian [picture of Brudnoy holding up bumper sticker: "Enough Is Enough. Vote Libertarian"], was a thoughtful voice, interested in ideas rather than name-calling."
Brudnoy hosting his show: "Fair enough, sir, I'm going to move on, thank you for the call."
Jennings: "A decade ago, he got so sick on the air that his announcer had to intervene."
Audio of Brudnoy: "We'll be joined in a few minutes here by James Bovard- [coughing]"
Jennings: "He was away from his program for two and a half months. When he returned, his lead story stunned the city."
Brudnoy on radio in 1995: "And I feel no shame in being ill. I feel sorry that I'm ill with HIV. It's no picnic. But I wanted to keep that part of my life for myself."
Jennings: "But that was hard because now the audience knew that Brudnoy was gay and dying of AIDS."
Brudnoy: "But yet the organizers didn't want their parade to become political."
Jennings: "The audience, his fellow conservatives, and Massachusetts' liberals, embraced him. Brudnoy has been on and off the air, in and out of the hospital, for ten years. And then last week, with death nearby, he was out of the studio for good. Though he was determined to have one last shot at it from his hospital bed."
Audio of Brudnoy from day before he died: "This is a fast-moving, merciless, and ultimately the fix is in. There's a time to combat and a time to accept. And now is the time to accept."
Jennings concluded: "Brudnoy sent a final message to the Mayor and Governor that he missed their Christmas parties this year. He also suggested the Governor upgrade his food. He was, as I said, 64, irreverent, and brainy, and polite."


-- CBS's Face the Nation, December 12. Bob Schieffer's closing commentary:
"Finally today, if you live in New England, you know by now that David Brudnoy died Thursday. As the Boston Globe reported, for two decades on his radio show, he helped New Englanders to understand the world beyond their doorstep. Whenever I went to Boston to cover politics or talk about a book I had written, I'd always drop by his show in the beginning, frankly, because it was one of the best places in America to sell books. In more recent times because I just enjoyed talking with him.
"He called himself a libertarian and he had a conservative perspective but he was so different from so many of the professional partisans, those who declare themselves conservatives or liberals and then must look up the issues to find out which one they are supposed to promote or rail against. David's beliefs came from contemplation, from study and of his life experiences. I found him liberal in his willingness to have an open mind, conservative in his respect for America's core values, but mostly just intellectually curious, witty and always civil. I admired him most for his honesty and courage to take a different view, to reveal his homosexuality when he came down with AIDS because he thought that might help others, to fight valiantly against his cancer, and then when there was nothing left to do, to accept death with a simple declaration, 'I am ready.'
"David spent a lifetime seeking the truth, and in so doing, he helped others to find it, but the larger lesson of his life is that he also lived the truth. He saw no need to impugn or degrade those who disagreed with him. To him, that would have been intellectually dishonest and he was above all an honest man. For the honest, even death comes a little easier."


-- Brent Baker