ABC Spikes President Bush's Retort to Clarke's Charges --3/24/2004
2. Stephanopoulos Forgets Role in Discrediting Anti-Clinton Book
3. Lack of Interest in Kerry's 'Voted for & Against' $87B Gaffe
4. NPR Ousts Leftist Bob Edwards from Its Morning Show
5. "DisHonors" Videos Up: Limbaugh, Donaldson & Award Presentations
6. "Top Ten Surprises in John Kerry's FBI File"
ABC's World News Tonight led on Saturday and Sunday night with Dick Clarke's charges against President Bush leveled in his new book, and ran two stories on Monday night about the charges and the White House counter-attack, but on Tuesday night ABC didn't air a word of President Bush's first comments on Clarke or anything from Clarke's resignation letter, which the White House released Tuesday, in which he praised President Bush. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Tuesday night with how both the Clinton and Bush administrations came in for criticism during the 9/11 commission hearings, but both the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News managed to also air a soundbite from Bush's retort to Clarke as well as a quote from Clarke's praise for Bush.
As on Monday, Charles Gibson anchored Tuesday's World News Tonight.
CBS anchor John Roberts introduced a story by oddly describing how Bush "grappled with the controversy himself in his own way." Roberts set up the story: "For days now, top members of President Bush's inner circle have forcefully tried to deflect criticism that the President bungled the war on terror. The critic is former White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke. And today, as Bill Plante reports, the President grappled with the controversy himself in his own way."
Plante began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Brushing aside a direct question about Clarke's accusations, the President carefully remained above the battle."
Plante moved on to Clarke's January 2003 resignation letter: "But the President's staff continued an aggressive campaign to undermine Clarke's credibility, asking why he hadn't raised his concerns until now. The White House released Clarke's resignation letter from early 2003, in which he tells the President, 'I will always remember the courage, determination, calm and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th.'"
Over on the March 23 NBC Nightly News, David Gregory played this slightly longer clip from Bush: "Had my administration had any information that terrorists were going to attack New York City on September the 11th, we would have acted. We have been chasing down al-Qaeda ever since they attacked us."
Gregory also highlighted the Clarke letter, quoting this line from it, "'It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months,'" before adding: "While the letter appears typically courteous, officials here are using it to argue that nowhere does Clarke air the criticism of the President over the war or terror or the Iraq policy that is at the center of his book."
George Stephanopoulos was asked on Tuesday's Good Morning America, in reference to Dick Clarke's book, if he'd "ever seen an administration put on a sort of full-court press against one individual as they did yesterday?" Stephanopoulos insisted: "On a book? No, never, it's never happened before." Hmmm. Wasn't Stephanopoulos in the Clinton White House in 1996 when the public relations apparatus under Stephanopoulos went full bore to discredit FBI agent Gary Aldrich's account in his book, Unlimited Access, about what he saw as an agent assigned to the White House?
A few months after the mid-year 1996 release of Aldrich's book, Stephanopoulos jumped from the Clinton staff to ABC News.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this exchange on the March 23 GMA:
Gibson: "This issue, Elizabeth [Vargas], of the 9/11 Commission and Richard Clarke's charges against the administration obviously have a big political impact. ABC's George Stephanopoulos is here to put it in perspective....George, have you ever seen an administration put on a sort of full-court press against one individual as they did yesterday?"
Media Reality Check "Quick Take" distributed by fax on Tuesday. "KERRY GAFFES IN FRONT OF THE PRESS, BUT THEY DON'T NOTICE? ONLY FNC COVERED KERRY'S $87 BILLION FLUB THE DAY HE SAID IT."
Below is the text of the March 23 report researched and written by Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Research:
Over the weekend, pundits agreed that Democratic candidate John Kerry had hurt his campaign with embarrassing goofball statements. "John Kerry had a bad week," Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times opined on NBC's Meet the Press. "He said a few things he probably wished he hadn't."
"It was a brutal week for John Kerry," MSNBC's Chris Matthews seconded on his syndicated Chris Matthews Show.
"[Howard] Dean is no longer here to put his foot in his mouth, and so he has transferred his foot to John Kerry's mouth," former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson told Matthews.
But the comment that pundits found so "ludicrous" (Matthews' label) was initially deemed not worth mentioning by the liberal media. On March 16, Kerry was trying to condemn a new Bush-Cheney campaign commercial that took him to task for voting against a defense bill designed to aid U.S. troops in Iraq. "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," Kerry lamely argued. The Bush campaign quickly incorporated Kerry's laughable defense into a new version of the same ad.
That night, the CBS Evening News and CNN's Inside Politics covered that Kerry event but chose soundbites that made the Democrat seem less of a parser; ABC and NBC skipped the whole story. Only FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume showed the quote that night, as reporter Carl Cameron charitably commented that "the Senator lapsed into apparent double speak."
ABC's World News Tonight finally mentioned the quote the next night, March 17, only after Vice President Dick Cheney cited it in a speech tweaking Kerry's record. The CBS Evening News has yet to put the gaffe on the air.
How can a quote be so bad that it ruins the Democratic candidate's week, yet fail to catch any of the liberal networks' attention? Maybe their reporters are only on the lookout for stories that punish conservatives.
END Reprint of March 23 Media Reality Check "Quick Take"
One leftist down at NPR, several dozen to go. NPR announced on Tuesday that Bob Edwards, host of Morning Edition since its 1979 inception, will leave the show at the end of April. CyberAlert doesn't track NPR content -- just too much bias to keep up with and it's a lost cause -- but Edwards went so far last year that a couple of CyberAlert items recounted how he came at the news from the left, the very far left, in which he went into rants about President Bush's terrible foreign policy, how tax cuts should be eliminated, how embedded journalists during the war delivered "propaganda" and how the White House press corps goes far too easy on Bush.
News accounts made clear that the 56-year-old is being forced out. The AP's David Bauder reported: "He said he was given no specific reasons for his ouster. 'It's the old 'move the program in a new direction.' There was no Janet Jackson incident,' he said."
In a Wednesday front page story, the Washington Post's Fred Barbash relayed how NPR spokesman
Laura "Gross said that Edwards has agreed to contribute to Morning Edition as well as All Things Considered, NPR's afternoon and evening news program. Edwards, who has hosted Morning Edition since it began in 1979, said, however, that today's news release from NPR was a bit 'premature. We haven't settled up on what I'm going to do and what I'm going to be paid for it.'
-- From the April 23, 2003 CyberAlert: In a recent speech NPR anchor Bob Edwards showcased how NPR sees the world through a left-wing prism where the greatest threats during war are radio stations which play patriotic music and reporters who pose softball questions to the President. Edwards went into a tear about how present events remind him of "blacklisting" and the "Red scare." Edwards adopted the anti-war complaint about how "many Americans feel they're getting propaganda from the so-called embedded journalists in Iraq." He complained about how reporters at President Bush's press conference went way too easy on him. "The press didn't wait until the intern scandal to ask tough questions of Bill Clinton," Edwards insisted, "so why is the incumbent getting a pass?" He listed the questions he would have posed, virtually all from the far-left.
For a lengthy excerpt from his diatribe: www.mediaresearch.org
-- From the October 20, 2003 CyberAlert: On Morning Edition, NPR anchor Bob Edwards, who in a speech last April denounced Bush policies from the left and decried the media for being too soft on Bush, put his personal views into NPR news coverage as he delivered this loaded set-up: "Increasingly it seems the Bush administration's foreign policy is running into trouble. The post-war picture in Iraq and Afghanistan is highly unstable. The road map to peace in the Middle East is in tatters. There's growing unease over the possibility that North Korea and Iran are pursuing nuclear weapons. Friends of the United States are not supportive. Overall, the policies of the United States are still very unpopular around the world. The Bush Doctrine, a preference for unilateral military action and a disdain for multinational diplomacy, is under scrutiny more than ever." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Fresh video up to watch and laugh along with. The MRC Web page for our "DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporting of 2003," which was held last Thursday, now features RealPlayer videos not only of Rush Limbaugh's surprise visit, but also of Sam Donaldson's surprise mock rant against our criticism of the media, as well as of all the award presentations by Joe Scarborough, Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg and the acceptances of the awards, in jest, by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Bill Donohue, Al Regnery, Richard Viguerie and Laura Ingraham.
Plus, videos of the always pithy comments by Cal Thomas, the Master of Ceremonies.
And, the MRC's Mez Djouadi also has posted video clips of each award nominee.
It's all online at: www.mediaresearch.org
For a complete rundown of the evening's events: www.mediaresearch.org
From the March 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in John Kerry's FBI File." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Once when he was 30, he smiled.
9. Has experimented with drugs, alcohol and Botox.
8. Had he decided not to go into politics, it would have been the Captain, Tennille and Kerry.
7. Belonged to an exclusive secret society called the Columbia Record and Tape Club.
6. He used to be Joan Kerry.
5. Favorite Jackson: Tito.
4. There's a separate FBI file for his hair.
3. Never missed an episode of "Sanford and Son."
2. Even as a young man he looked like a horse.
1. In spring of 1972, killed a hitchhiker.
#2 is pretty harsh.
-- Brent Baker