ABC Suggests White House Trying to Suppress Pope's Envoy -- 03/06/2003 CyberAlert
2. Jennings Stresses How Anti-War Marchers Back Homeland Security
3. Ex-CBS Reporter Vieira Wants Anti-War Marches "Every
4. ABC and CBS Treat Pro-Saddam March in Baghdad as Newsworthy
5. Helen Thomas: Why Does Bush Want to "Bomb Iraqi People?"
6. Jennings Notes Anniversary of Stalin's Death
7. Rooney: Bush Team Hopes Some Journalists "Will Get Killed"
8. ABC's Diane Sawyer Worries About "Massive Tax Cuts"
Correction: The March 5 CyberAlert stated that the Nightline Town Meeting, "Why Now," was aired live. It was not. It was more like "live to tape" earlier in the evening with some editing before the broadcast.
>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
ABC's Terry Moran complained Wednesday night that the Pope's envoy, Cardinal Pio Laghi, was "prevented...from speaking at the White House" after he met with President Bush to urge that Bush do all he can to prevent war, but FNC's Jim Angle managed to find Laghi saying something which ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC all skipped over: Angle pointed out that Laghi "made clear that the Vatican doesn't have much faith in Saddam Hussein."
On CNN's NewsNight, reporter Chris Burns noted only that "the envoy brought a letter from Pope John Paul II who calls a war 'morally unjustified.'"
Dan Rather avoided any anti-Bush spin similar to what ABC delivered as he announced on the March 5 CBS Evening News: "This is Ash Wednesday -- for Christians, the start of Lent, leading to Easter. And Pope John Paul declared it a day of prayer for peace. The Pope urged religious and political leaders around the world to help prevent a U.S.-led war with Iraq. And the Pope sent an envoy to the White House to ask President Bush to do all he can to avoid war."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw conveyed the Bush view that his policy will fulfill the Pope's wish for a more peaceful world: "President Bush met for nearly an hour today with an envoy from the Vatican who communicated the Pope's message that war would produce immeasurable suffering and destabilize the Middle East. The President responded by saying that removing Saddam Hussein will make the world a more peaceful place."
ABC's Terry Moran, on World News Tonight, uniquely suggested the White House was trying to suppress Laghi. After recounting Bush's meeting with General Tommy Franks, Moran continued: "Then came the Pope's envoy, Pio Cardinal Laghi, an old friend of the Bush family, met with the President for 40 minutes in the Oval Office bringing with him a letter from the Pope, who strongly opposes any war. Later, Cardinal Laghi said U.S. officials prevented him from speaking at the White House, and he warned that the consequences of a war in Iraq could include:"
FNC's Jim Angle highlighted how at that same press conference Laghi also criticized Saddam Hussein. On Special Report with Brit Hume, Angle reported how Laghi brought a letter from the Pope in which he "prayed to the Lord to inspire the President in his search for a stable peace, but he [Laghi] also made clear that the Vatican doesn't have much faith in Saddam Hussein."
Peter Jennings went out of his way on Wednesday night to make anti-war demonstrators appear more well-rounded and reasonable. Highlighting some protests on college campuses, Jennings stressed on World News Tonight that "while the students oppose war," they made "a point of saying they support homeland security but believe the government should be focusing on jobs, security and health care, as well."
In contrast, Dan Rather simply noted on the CBS Evening News, over video of maybe 100 students: "This was billed as books not bombs day. An anti-war walkout of students from hundreds of high schools and college campuses around the country. Crowd sizes varied from place to place. This turnout at Penn State was fairly typical and peaceful."
Jennings announced, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In many parts of the world today and in cities across this country, high school and college students engaged in coordinated demonstrations against war in Iraq. The event was organized through the Internet. Planners said more than 200 colleges and high schools in the U.S. took part. While the students oppose war, they made, many of them, a point of saying they support homeland security but believe the government should be focusing on jobs, security and health care, as well."
Former CBS News correspondent Meredith Vieira proclaimed on Wednesday's ABC daytime show on which she is the leading quad-host, The View, that anti-war protests "should be consistent and repeated every day, I believe."
On the March 5 edition of The View, a show created by Barbara Walters, ex-actress Linda Carter filled in for Walters and this exchange took place in the midst of a discussion about the inevitability of war:
From 1989 to 1991, Vieira was a 60 Minutes correspondent after a few years in other CBS News positions. In addition to working on The View, Vieira is now the host of the syndicated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
For a photo and bio of Vieira:
ABC and CBS on Wednesday morning treated an officially organized march in Baghdad by employees of the Hussein regime, police officers and firefighters, as a newsworthy "show of support for Saddam Hussein" and a display of how Iraqis will "fight to the death" any American invaders.
An impressed Dan Harris reported on Good Morning America how "they marched with guns, they rode on motorcycles, in cruisers, on horses, and on the backs of pickup trucks. There were firefighters, too, and men wearing masks, a sign that they're willing to die for President Saddam Hussein."
CBS's Lara Logan contended that the parade was part of an effort by the Iraqi regime to "reassure" a public apprehensive about an invasion.
During GMA's 7am news update, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, news reader Liz Cho announced over matching video: "We begin with a huge protest in Baghdad. Thousands of armed Iraqi police officers and firefighters marched in a show of support for Saddam Hussein. Many say they're willing to fight to the death against a U.S. invasion and vowed to become martyrs in suicide attacks."
During the 8:30am newscast Cho repeated the item: "Thousands of armed Iraqi police officers and firefighters marched this morning in a show of support for Saddam Hussein. Many said they were willing to fight to the death against a U.S. invasion and vowed to become martyrs in suicide attacks."
In between, Dan Harris in Baghdad handled the story during the 8am update: "In Baghdad, more preparations for war: A parade of police officers, pledging to repel any invaders. They marched with guns, they rode on motorcycles, in cruisers, on horses, and on the backs of pickup trucks. There were firefighters, too, and men wearing masks, a sign that they're willing to die for President Saddam Hussein."
Harris added: "There's been a very noticeable increase in the police presence on the streets of Baghdad in recent days. The officers seem to have two goals: One, to say that they're ready to fight the Americans and, two, to say to the people of Baghdad that if anybody's thinking about using this crisis as an opportunity to challenge the government, it won't be easy."
Over on CBS's The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd observed, Hannah Storm highlighted: "In Baghdad, thousands of police officers and firefighters have been marching in support of Saddam Hussein."
From Baghdad, newly arrived CBS reported Lara Logan explained: "This is the Iraqi government's message to its people and the outside world: Our state is strong and standing firm behind President Saddam Hussein. The police parade every year, this time is different. Many Iraqis believe they're about to be invaded by the United States and Britain. So the authorities are trying to reassure them. This is the pride of Baghdad's police force on display. These men were are told are ready to fight if the city is attacked by America."
The day before a presidential press conference, which will occur tonight at 8pm EST, Hearst's Helen Thomas demanded of White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: "Since we have no direct access to the President, would you state for the record, for the historical record, why he wants to bomb Iraqi people?" When Fleischer suggested Bush which to eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Thomas fired back: "There is no imminent threat!"
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught the exchange during the March 5 noontime briefing carried by the cable news channels:
Helen Thomas, Heart newspapers columnist: "Ari, since there is an atmosphere of the imminence of war in this White House, and since we have no direct access to the President, would you state for the record, for the historical record, why he wants to bomb Iraqi people?
One hopes that President Bush does not call upon Thomas tonight, unless he mischievously wishes to make the White House press corps look bad, in which case she's guaranteed to fulfill his wish.
After relaying how a 14-year-old boy claimed that though "Stalin had many sins," they "were justified," Jennings powerfully concluded: "There are still no memorials to the people Stalin had killed."
Jennings concluded the March 5 World News Tonight: "Finally, this evening, a lesson about remembering. As the Bush administration contemplates trying to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who President Bush has always referred to as a brutal dictator, we take note of an anniversary. It is 50 years ago today that one of the world's most brutal dictators died: Josef Stalin."
Over video of a crowd in Moscow, Jennings elaborated: "More than 3,000 people met today at the Soviet dictator's grave adjacent to Red Square. Many of them said Russia could use a leader like Stalin again. They mean that Russia needs discipline. But it is remarkable that people still think this way about a man who murdered millions of his own people during his rule from the 1930s until the end of World War II. In a poll done for the anniversary, more than half of Russians say Stalin had a positive role in history. They seem to remember the man who defeated the Germans on the eastern front in World War II. There has been intrigue about the way Stalin died for half a century. In a book to be published this month ['Stalin's Last Crime'], two scholars -- one American, one Russian -- support the theory that Stalin was murdered by the chief of the secret police Lavrente Berrier (sp?), poisoned because the inner circle thought Stalin was on the verge of starting a disastrous war with the United States.
Andy Rooney doesn't think much of embedding journalists with military units since it will give the military control over them and, he suggested, "I think maybe they're trying to stick it to the correspondents, they hope some of them will get killed."
Though he agrees with the French on Iraq, he told FNC's Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday night in remarks that matched one of his 60 Minutes commentaries a few weeks ago, that the French have not "earned the right to be objectors to our position."
MRC analyst Patrick Gregory picked up on the more interesting exchanges on the March 4 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
-- Rooney: "We have the most secretive government in all history, and for some reason they don't want us to have anything to do with covering a war like this."
-- Rooney: "What the French do better than anybody in the world is live. They are get great livers of life. They eat better than anybody else in the world, they have a good time with their lives, but they have not really been great contributors to our civilization in the last fifty years. I mean they lost World War II in about twenty minutes to the Germans, and we had to go in and bail them out as we had in World War I, and I just don't think they've earned the right to be objectors to our position, even though I agree with them."
-- Rooney: "I wish you wouldn't pick up that government use of that word 'embedded.' That's their word."
If they wanted them to be killed they wouldn't have provided all the military survival training. A lot more likely scenario will be that some soldiers will be killed saving a journalist from harm.
In interviews on all three broadcast network morning shows on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary John Snow was pressed, given the growing federal deficit, about abandoning any further tax cuts. But while ABC's Diane Sawyer, CBS's Hannah Storm and NBC's Ann Curry all pushed Snow from the left on tax cuts, all failed to hit him from the right by asking about plans by both parties for a massive spending increase to create yet another entitlement program -- prescription coverage in Medicare.
Sawyer put an emphasis on the word "massive" as she punctuated the word and said it louder when referring to how "these are MASSIVE" tax cuts being talked about..."
The morning hosts also raised the state of the economy in general and rising gas prices. Here are the tax questions posed on the March 5 morning shows:
-- ABC's Good Morning America. Sawyer, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noted, argued: "As you know, these are MASSIVE tax cuts being talked about at a time that there's also a cost of a war, the President is talking about prescription drug aid, and indeed this morning, the news is out that the deficit is rising even faster than predicted, that it could be up now in $400 billion of deficit. Aren't Americans going to pay a price for that?"
-- CBS's The Early Show. The MRC's Brian Boyd caught this question to Snow from quad-host Hannah Storm: "Mr. Secretary, the big headlines this morning, the budget deficit growing much faster than projected. More than 15 percent above projections just five weeks ago. They've added about $30 billion now to the budget deficit and that's not even factoring in the cost of a war. What's your reaction, why cut taxes now?"
-- NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, ran taped clips during the 7am and 9am news updates of an interview of Snow conducted by Ann Curry before the show. During her 9am news update, she related before a soundbite from Snow:
> The MRC's "Dishonor Awards" dinner event is just three weeks from tonight. See link at top of this CyberAlert for how to order your tickets. If you use the order form, CyberAlert subscribers can cross out $175 per ticket and pay just $150. If you order by phone, be sure to tell us you are a CyberAlert subscriber. -- Brent Baker