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ABC News on Hamas: "A Political and Social Welfare Organization" --8/22/2003


1. ABC News on Hamas: "A Political and Social Welfare Organization"
ABC News reporter Mike Lee on Thursday night described Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the bus bombing in Jerusalem which killed 20 earlier this week, including six children, as "a political and social welfare organization with a military wing that has launched terror attacks against Israel."

2. NBC's Today Gives Platform to Albright to Denounce Bush Policy
NBC's Today on Thursday morning provided a platform for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to promote a new article she wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine denouncing Bush administration policy and claiming Al Gore would have done a better job of battling terrorism. Instead of challenging her, Matt Lauer asked her to react to an op-ed which blamed the Bush administration for creating terrorism in Iraq and read to her quotes out of her own article, describing one as "tough stuff."

3. Olbermann Highlights Dead Woman's "Whistle Ass" Blast at Bush
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday night found it newsworthy to highlight a story dug out of a newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin about a woman who passed away who wanted her obituary to include how she thought President Bush was a "liar" and a "whistle ass." The obit stated: "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush."

4. Schwarzenegger Too Conservative for Some Fellow Celebrities
Some celebrities sure aren't enamored by the candidacy of their fellow actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as they either see him as too conservative or are more interested in keeping Gray Davis in office. Carrie Fisher suggested on Wednesday's Inside Edition that because of the recall race she'd "rather live in England." Actress Cybill Shepherd blasted Schwarzenegger for caring only about the rich, "he doesn't care about the poor." On CNBC, Alec Baldwin blamed Enron from Davis' troubles and he saw a "pattern of this kind of electoral nullification" by Republicans, "it's the same thing you see in the Clinton impeachment and in the Florida election in 2000..."


ABC News on Hamas: "A Political and Social
Welfare Organization"

ABC News reporter Mike Lee on Thursday night described Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the bus bombing in Jerusalem which killed 20 earlier this week, including six children, as "a political and social welfare organization with a military wing that has launched terror attacks against Israel."

Isn't that like describing al-Qaeda as "an international political and social welfare organization with a military wing that once launched a terror attack against the U.S."?

Reporting on Israel's retaliatory attack using missiles fired from a helicopter to kill a Hamas leader, on the August 21 World News Tonight Lee asserted from Israel:
"Abu Shanab was a senior member of Hamas, a political and social welfare organization with a military wing that has launched terror attacks against Israel. Shanab was not a declared military operative and had a reputation as a political moderate, but Israel said today that all Hamas leaders are responsible for terrorism."

Just a "moderate" terrorist.

For a picture of Lee: abcnews.go.com

Lee was just following the lead of ABC anchor Peter Jennings (still on vacation this week, Elizabeth Vargas anchored) who in the past has whitewashed Hamas and Hezbollah.

-- From the December 5, 2001 CyberAlert: Hamas is a "terrorist" group to everyone but Peter Jennings. In reporting on President Bush's decision Tuesday to freeze the assets of a Texas group, charging that it funnels money to Hamas, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC directly or indirectly described Hamas as a terrorist operation. But not ABC's Peter Jennings.
Jennings announced on the December 4 World News Tonight: "Today the Bush administration froze the financial assets and closed the offices of a major Muslim charity. The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation is accused of financing the militant Islamic group Hamas which claimed responsibility for last week's suicide attacks against Israelis. Federal agents raided several Holy Land offices around the country today." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- From the December 4, 2001 CyberAlert: Peter Jennings, Palestinian sympathizer first, journalist second? Israel was the victim of a murderous terrorist attack by a terrorist group, Hamas, which claimed credit. But on Monday night Jennings wanted to know if the Bush administration wished to "restrain the Israelis?" Jennings also tried to absolve Yasser Arafat of responsibility as he referred to Hamas simply as an "organization." He asserted: "There's some question as to whether Mr. Arafat can really control organizations like Hamas." See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- From the March 29, 2002 CyberAlert: Jennings stressed how Hezbollah "gets credit for liberating Lebanon from the long Israeli occupation." He treated the characterization of Hezbollah as terrorist as some kind of charge for which the Bush administration is out on a limb: "The Bush administration says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization." Airing a piece of an interview with Hezbollah's leader, Jennings relayed how he had assured him that "we are not terrorists." Jennings cast no doubt on the claim as he proceeded to recount, without mentioning the role of Hezbollah, how "a man simply drove his truck to the front door" of the U.S. embassy "and blew himself up. Sixty-three people died. Later that year, the Marine barracks here were destroyed in much the same way, 241 Marines died." See: www.mediaresearch.org

As for the "social welfare" aspect of Hamas, the State Department's report last year, Patterns of Global Terrorism, mentions such a role only in how Hamas recruits its murderers.

Here's how State's report described Hamas: "Formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Various HAMAS elements have used both political and violent means, including terrorism, to pursue the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. Loosely structured, with some elements working clandestinely and others working openly through mosques and social service institutions to recruit members, raise money, organize activities, and distribute propaganda. HAMAS's strength is concentrated in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Also has engaged in peaceful political activity, such as running candidates in West Bank Chamber of Commerce elections."
That's online at: library.nps.navy.mil

Amongst the goals in the Hamas, aka Islamic Resistance Movement, charter:

-- "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

-- "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

That's online at: www.mideastweb.org

But in between murdering innocent civilians, they have a great Meals on Oxen program.

NBC's Today Gives Platform to Albright
to Denounce Bush Policy

NBC's Today on Thursday morning provided a platform for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to promote a new article she wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine denouncing Bush administration policy and claiming Al Gore would have done a better job of battling terrorism.

Instead of challenging her, Matt Lauer, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, asked her to react to an op-ed which blamed the Bush administration for creating terrorism in Iraq and read to her quotes out of her own article, describing one as "tough stuff."

Lauer cued her up: "You know that this is gonna get a lot of attention Secretary Albright. You write in that same article, quote, 'I remain convinced that had Al Gore been elected President and had the attacks of September 11th still happened the United States and NATO would have gone to war in Afghanistan together then deployed forces all around that country and stayed to rebuild it. Democrats, after all, confess support for nation building, and also believe in finishing the jobs we start,' end quote."

Lauer set up the August 21 segment: "On 'Close Up' this morning, the U.S. mission in Iraq. In the wake of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad this week that killed at least 23 people there is new scrutiny of U.S. policy there. Madeleine Albright served as Secretary of State during the Clinton administration. Secretary Albright, good morning to you."

Lauer's questions:

-- "Let's start by talking about the United Nations. There was a time when if you put up the blue and white flag of the United Nations it was a symbol of peace, it was a shield from violence. And this week we saw it as a target of violence. How does it change the playing field for the UN in Iraq?"

-- "However if U.S. forces now have to have a more active presence and a more active participation in protecting the UN forces there won't it be seen by some Iraqis as the U.S. and UN working together?"

-- "Which brings me to the, the next question because the Bush administration is preparing a resolution for the Security Council that would call for more help from other countries in terms of military support while trying to retain control and power. How do you feel about that?"

-- "Let me read you something from the New York Times in an op-ed yesterday. Jessica Stern wrote the following, quote, 'Yesterday's bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad was the latest evidence that America has taken a country that was not a terrorist threat and turned it into one.' What's your reaction to that?"

-- "Well let me read you what you say in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Quote, 'It was after all a war of choice not necessity and it was initiated by Washington in a show of dominance.'"

-- "You know that this is gonna get a lot of attention Secretary Albright. You write in that same article, quote, 'I remain convinced that had Al Gore been elected President and had the attacks of September 11th still happened the United States and NATO would have gone to war in Afghanistan together then deployed forces all around that country and stayed to rebuild it. Democrats, after all, confess support for nation building, and also believe in finishing the jobs we start,' end quote. That's, I mean that's tough stuff. You're, are you accusing the Bush administration of failing in Afghanistan?"

As opposed to Albright and Clinton who did so much to fight terrorism.

Olbermann Highlights Dead Woman's "Whistle
Ass" Blast at Bush

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Thursday night found it newsworthy to highlight a story dug out of a newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin about a woman who passed away who wanted her obituary to include how she thought President Bush was a "liar" and a "whistle ass." The obit stated: "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush."

MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught this gratuitous item from Olbermann on the August 21 Countdown:
"We report the story tonight of Sally Barron and her death, and why her family mentioned President Bush in her obituary. We do so on the premise that his fellow Republican Theodore Roosevelt was right when he wrote, 'To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but it is also morally treasonable to the American public.'
"Sally Barron was a cook, the mother of six kids, and the widow of an iron miner turned small town mayor in Wisconsin. When she died there Monday at age 71, her children put the following message in her obituary: 'Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush.' Ms. Barron's daughter told the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, quote, 'She thought he was a liar. She'd always watch CNN, C-SPAN, and, you know, she'd just swear at the TV and say, 'Oh, Bush, he's such a whistle ass,'" unquote. Services for Mrs. Barron will be conducted tomorrow in Stoughton, Wisconsin."

To believe that it's not unpatriotic to criticize the President does not mean you must highlight every tacky attack on him by cranks.

The August 21 Capital Times carried the story, about the obituary, which Olbermann picked up, "Obituary backs 'removal of Bush'; Woman 'thought he was a liar.'" See: www.madison.com

Schwarzenegger Too Conservative for Some
Fellow Celebrities

Some celebrities sure aren't enamored by the candidacy of their fellow actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as they either see him as too conservative or are more interested in keeping California Governor Gray Davis in office.

Carrie Fisher, "Princess Leia" in the Star Wars movies, suggested on Wednesday's Inside Edition that because of the recall race she'd "rather live in England." Actress Cybill Shepherd, who at age 16 made out with a twenty-something Davis whom she now recalls was "a great kisser," blasted Schwarzenegger for caring only about the rich, "he doesn't care about the poor." She also declared she was "pretty damn sure" he won't protect California's coastline.

Alec Baldwin came aboard Wednesday's News with Brian Williams on CNBC and defended Davis. Baldwin favorably quoted from a "wonderful" New York Times column by Paul Krugman about how "this is about manipulation of the market by energy companies. What did, what did Gray Davis have to do with that? What did Gray Davis have to do with Enron and other energy providers manipulating the energy market in California?"

Baldwin saw a pattern of Republicans trying to steal elections: "There is a pattern of this kind of electoral nullification for people who are opponents of elected officials, typically Democratic officials now. I believe that this is, though not part of some orchestrated conspiracy, it's the same thing you see in the Clinton impeachment and in the Florida election in 2000..."

The August 20 Inside Edition played a couple of clips of celebrities, at a fashion show fundraiser for the St. Judes Children's Hospital, commenting on the Schwarzenegger campaign.

As mother and daughter Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher stood side-by-side, they commented:
Reynolds: "I think we have to use our brains and let's hear what everybody has to say."
Fisher: "I would rather live in England."

That was it. No explanation as what exactly would drive Fisher to flee to England.

The Inside Edition reporter relayed how Cybill Shepherd, who played Martha Stewart in the NBC movie a few months ago, characterized Gray Davis as a "a great kisser" back when the two got together in Hawaii when she was 16 and he had just finished law school. Shepherd leveled this blast at Schwarzenegger: "Schwarzenegger, he only cares about the rich. He doesn't care about the poor. [Edit jump] He's not going to protect the last undeveloped piece of coastline north of Santa Barbara, I'm pretty damn sure."

For more about those actresses, check their Internet Movie Database pages. For Debbie Reynolds, with a very old photo: www.imdb.com

For a more current photo of her in a poster for the movie Mother in which she co-starred: www.imdb.com

For Carrie Fisher: www.imdb.com

For Cybill Shepherd: www.imdb.com

Wednesday night on CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth observed, fill-in anchor Forrest Sawyer interviewed Alec Baldwin, a big liberal donor and Clinton supporter, about the California recall race.

Sawyer introduced the August 20 session:
"Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger certainly has enlisted some help from his famous friends. You heard about two of them: Warren Buffett and George Shultz. There's also Rob Lowe and Tom Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis, all of them in his campaign. But in a town famous for its political activism, there has not been a similar show of support from Hollywood celebrity Democrats for Governor Gray Davis or for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. So how come? Here to help us sort it out is actor Alec Baldwin, who has long been active in Democratic politics, joining us now from New York."

Baldwin explained why he's opposed to the recall: "Well, I believe that there's two, there's two things that come to mind: One is yes, there is a pattern of this kind of electoral nullification for people who are opponents of elected officials, typically Democratic officials now. I believe that this is, though not part of some orchestrated conspiracy, it's the same thing you see in the Clinton impeachment and in the Florida election in 2000 and 2002, where the reforms that were promised after the 2000 election were not put in place by the, the state of Florida, the Texas redistricting as well and now this recall."
Sawyer: "Well, on the other hand, there's a whole passel of Democrats who are running, not least of them the Lieutenant Governor himself, Cruz Bustamante."
Baldwin: "Well, I appreciate that idea, although I think it's disingenuous to think that everyone is going to put their faith and that the voters are going to go to the polls and they're not going to vote for somebody. Davis may be recalled, and wrongly so, I believe, because to pin the budgetary woes of the state of California on Davis is wrongheaded, I think."
Sawyer: "Well, he is the Governor of a state that has a $38 billion deficit. And the closest state to that is New York with nine. This is a mess."
Baldwin: "Yes, it is a mess, but I think, Paul Krugman of the New York Times had a wonderful article yesterday about, you know, this is about manipulation of the market by energy companies. What did, what did Gray Davis have to do with that? What did Gray Davis have to do with Enron and other energy providers manipulating the energy market in California?"
That was too much for even Sawyer: "But, but truly, Alec, I mean, the $38 billion don't all wind up on the doorstep of Enron. It's a lot of problems."
Baldwin: "Well, no there's, well, there's also problems that Californians are voting for a recall with little or no understanding of the real weight of their, their state is governed. California is a state that with all these initiatives and referendums and so forth, there's very little wiggle room not only for the governor, whether he be Democrat or Republican, but for the state legislator to manipulate the tax base of the state. I believe that 40 percent of the state's budget is mandated to go to education, another 40 percent is tied up in entitlements involving pensions and medical care, and in terms of raising taxes, you have a ceiling by initiatives on how much you can raise the property taxes in that state because of Prop 13. So any governor, Republican or Democrat, and any state legislature, regardless of the party, is going to struggle with how to bring these budgetary problems, you know, under control if they can't raise taxes outright."
Sawyer: "Well, you know that many in the Hollywood community are liberal and have feelings that are similar to yours, and yet there is this deafening silence. How come that is?"
Baldwin: "Well, I think that for them maybe they're busy with other things. I mean, this is not what they do."
Sawyer: "Oh, now, see, that's disingenuous."
Baldwin: "Well, no, no. Well, that's your opinion, but I mean, I think that one of the things that I find most interesting about this is that if you look at ultra-conservatives in this country, pundits and Web sites, and so forth, they've always been very, very hard on celebrities and entertainment. I can definitely vouch for that from my own experience. Until they come up with one of their own, now they think that this guy is perfect. Schwarzenegger is a great guy. He's a, he's a great businessman and figure in the entertainment world, everybody who's worked with him in my business loves him and thinks he's a really great guy, but he is not qualified to be the Governor of the state of California."

And how is Baldwin qualified to pontificate about politics?

For a picture and bio of Baldwin: www.imdb.com

-- Brent Baker