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ABC Touts 'Straight Talk' from Gates on Iraq that Matches Media --9/20/2007


1. ABC Touts 'Straight Talk' from Gates on Iraq that Matches Media
With "Straight Talk" on screen, ABC's World News led Wednesday night by touting as momentous the news that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a quote cited in the middle of a newspaper column, said "I don't know" when asked whether invading Iraq was a good idea. "Three little words," a delighted Charles Gibson announced about dissension in the ranks, "three little words that you rarely hear from the Bush administration when it comes to the war in Iraq: 'I don't know.' That's what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said when asked if the Iraq invasion was a good idea. Gates' words are in stark contrast to the surety often expressed by the President." Reporter Jonathan Karl trumpeted how "Gates' stunningly candid answer came in an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks." Repeating the "I don't know" reply, Karl urged: "Compare that to the words of President Bush, who has said consistently and forcefully the invasion was the right thing to do." Viewers then saw three Bush soundbites. Karl concluded with how Gates disagrees with Bush "on what might just be the most important question of the Bush presidency." ABC seems to apply the approving "straight talk" label to those expressing the media's consensus liberal view.

2. Rundown of Claims in Rather's Lawsuit, Refusal to Admit Error
The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflected his conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story. Rather charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable." In Thursday's New York Times, reporter Jacques Steinberg added detail to Rather's claim he was the "scapegoat" because of supposed "right-wing" pressure and to Rather's fresh attack on the integrity of Richard Thornburgh.

3. Today Anchors Push Laurie David's Global Warming for Kids Book
Environmental activist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David received a very warm welcome, from the green-friendly anchors on the Wednesday Today show, when she came on to promote her children's book, A Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming. During David's interview, NBC's Natalie Morales noted that the book's publisher, Scholastic, was trying to place the book into schools everywhere and proclaimed: "We hope to see it there." Morales even bragged that her own son was already being indoctrinated: "They're already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' You know the three 'R's." No slouch herself, when it comes to preaching about global warming, Morales' colleague Ann Curry also proudly showed off her own son's concern about climate change in a tease for the segment: "We were watching Nightly News last night, my son and I watched Anne Thompson's piece about global warming and he's just, was just riveted, I mean, by this picture of the, of the melting Greenland. So I think we should be talking to our kids about that."

4. Maher on CNN: Petaeus and Maliki 'Stooges' for President Bush
Bill Maher spent a large portion of his ten-minute session Tuesday on CNN's The Situation Room attacking, among others, General David Petraeus, Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, labeling them "stooges" for President Bush. When host Wolf Blitzer asked about the recent congressional testimony of the general and the ambassador, Maher matched his comments last Friday on his HBO show as he parroted the MoveOn.org line: "Well, it was a White House-written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So, in other words, he puts words into his stooges' mouths, and then, he quotes them."

5. Behar Suggests 'Klan Meeting' Keeps GOP Candidates from Debate
To audience applause on Wednesday's The View, Joy Behar suggested Republican presidential candidates were avoiding a debate on PBS hosted by left-winger Tavis Smiley because "they all have a Klan meeting at the same time." During a discussion of the racial strife in Jena, Louisiana, Behar interjected: "Some of these Republican candidates not going to this black university in Baltimore? What's up with that?" Behar wondered: "What are they afraid of? They think they don't have the black vote anyway, so they're not going to go? Is that what that's about?" After Rosie O'Donnell's replacement, Whoopie Goldberg, pointed out how Republican candidates also "did not show up for the Hispanic forum either," Behar quipped: "Scheduling conflict? What, did they all have a Klan meeting at the same time?"

6. Late Show's Top Ten Contest: 'Top Ten Television Shows in Iraq'
Late Show with David Letterman's "Top Ten Contest," the "Top Ten Television Shows in Iraq."


ABC Touts 'Straight Talk' from Gates
on Iraq that Matches Media

With "Straight Talk" on screen, ABC's World News led Wednesday night by touting as momentous the news that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a quote cited in the middle of a newspaper column, said "I don't know" when asked whether invading Iraq was a good idea. "Three little words," a delighted Charles Gibson announced about dissension in the ranks, "three little words that you rarely hear from the Bush administration when it comes to the war in Iraq: 'I don't know.' That's what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said when asked if the Iraq invasion was a good idea. Gates' words are in stark contrast to the surety often expressed by the President." Reporter Jonathan Karl trumpeted how "Gates' stunningly candid answer came in an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks." Repeating the "I don't know" reply, Karl urged: "Compare that to the words of President Bush, who has said consistently and forcefully the invasion was the right thing to do." Viewers then saw three Bush soundbites. Karl concluded with how Gates disagrees with Bush "on what might just be the most important question of the Bush presidency."

ABC seems to apply the approving "straight talk" label to those expressing the media's consensus liberal view. For instance, back on the April 14, 2006 World News Tonight, anchor Elizabeth Vargas set up a story on fears that John McCain was moving to the right, by recalling how "during his 2000 campaign, McCain gathered support as a straight-talking maverick by attacking some members of his party's base. Now it appears he's on a very different course." Reporter Dan Harris then reminisced about how in 2000 McCain's "straight talk included taking on powerful Christian conservatives like Jerry Falwell, whom he called an 'agent of intolerance.'" See: www.mediaresearch.org

Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News found the Gates quote inside a newspaper column so momentous and didn't utter a word about it Wednesday night.

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Karl's quotation of Gates did not match the column he cited. Karl asserted: "Secretary Gates' stunningly candid answer came in an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks. Asked if the invasion of Iraq was worth doing, Gates first rephrased the question: 'If I'd known then what I know now, would I have done the same? I think the answer is "I don't know.'"

On screen, ABC displaced this text next to a picture of Gates: "If I'd known then what I know now, would I have done the same? I think the answer is 'I don't know.'"

But in the September 19 column, "The Education of Robert Gates," Brooks included (in both online and printed editions) only this shorter quotation of Gates answering his question: "I asked him whether invading Iraq was a good idea, knowing what we know now. He looked at me for a bit and said, 'I don't know.'"

For the Brooks column: www.nytimes.com

Maybe the Times posted audio somewhere, but it's not on the page with the Brooks column.

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the September 19 lead story on ABC's World News:

CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Welcome to World News. Tonight, the U.S. Secretary of Defense says he doesn't know whether invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Do the White House and the Pentagon disagree?

...

GIBSON: Good evening. Three little words, three little words that you rarely hear from the Bush administration when it comes to the war in Iraq: "I don't know." That's what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said when asked if the Iraq invasion was a good idea. Gates' words are in stark contrast to the surety often expressed by the President, though Gates was quick to add, on the issue of troop levels needed in Iraq, the White House and Pentagon are in total agreement. Jonathan Karl is at the Pentagon tonight. John?

JONATHAN KARL: Charlie, it has been an article of faith for the Bush administration that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Now, the man in charge of running the war says he's not so sure. Secretary Gates' stunningly candid answer came in an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks. Asked if the invasion of Iraq was worth doing, Gates first rephrased the question: "If I'd known then what I know now, would I have done the same? I think the answer is 'I don't know.'" Compare that to the words of President Bush, who has said consistently and forcefully the invasion was the right thing to do.
GEORGE W. BUSH, MAY 25, 2006: I strongly believe we did and are doing the right thing.
BUSH, APRIL 6, 2006: Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing for world peace and the security of our country.
BUSH, JULY 12, 2007: It is a necessary war to secure our peace.
LEE HAMILTON, IRAQ STUDY GROUP: Well, it's just a stark contrast. You couldn't get a greater contrast.
KARL: Lee Hamilton is the co-author of the Iraq Study Group report.
HAMILTON: It's refreshing to me to see a Secretary of Defense who has an appreciation of military power, but also an appreciation of the limitations of military power.
KARL: Secretary Gates supports the President's strategy on the so-called "surge," but he has a starkly different view on what can be accomplished in Iraq. In another interview today, he told the Wall Street Journal he is focused on bringing, quote, "a long-term stabilizing presence." Absent in the interview, any talk of spreading democracy, once the centerpiece of the Bush administration's foreign policy.
BUSH, from the January 2005 Inauguration: -with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
KARL: Gates, in a speech this week, sought to scale that back.
ROBERT GATES: We must be realists and recognize that the institutions that underpin an enduring and free society can only take root over time.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: The President's, you know, vow in his second inaugural was to spread democracy around the world. Bob Gates is coming and saying, "Hey, wait a minute. This takes a long time. Let's be patient. We're not on a crusade. Let's do the best we can."
KARL: Asked to clarify Secretary Gates' comments on the war, the Pentagon referred back to his confirmation hearing in December when he said it was, quote, "too early to tell" if invading Iraq was the right decision. So, Charlie, now on two different occasions, the Secretary of Defense has passed up on an opportunity to agree with the Commander-in-Chief on what might just be the most important question of the Bush presidency.

Rundown of Claims in Rather's Lawsuit,
Refusal to Admit Error

The statements in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit, filed Wednesday against CBS for terminating him nearly two years after his discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, reflected his conspiratorial paranoia about how he sees himself as a victim of Bush White House pressure and is unable to accept responsibility for his sloppy and politically-driven story. Rather charged that he was made a "scapegoat" for the 2004 story because CBS wished to "pacify the White House." CBS management "coerced" him, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on Thursday quoted the lawsuit, "into publicly apologizing and taking personal blame for alleged journalistic errors in the broadcast." Josh Howard, the Executive Producer at the time of the weekday 60 Minutes who was forced to resign, rejected Rather's claim that he was just a passive narrator: "He did every interview. He worked the sources over the phone. He was there in the room with the so-called document experts. He argued over every line in the script. It's laughable."

In Thursday's New York Times, reporter Jacques Steinberg added detail to Rather's claim he was the "scapegoat" because of supposed "right-wing" pressure and to Rather's fresh attack on the integrity of Richard Thornburgh, co-chair with Associated Press chief executive Lou Boccardi, of the panel CBS News appointed that determined Rather's story was critically flawed:
"Rather quotes the executive who oversaw his regular segment on CBS Radio as telling Mr. Rather in November 2004 that he was losing that slot, effective immediately, because of 'pressure from "the right wing.'" Mr. Rather also continues to take vehement issue with the appointment by CBS of Richard Thornburgh, an attorney general in the administration of the elder President Bush, as one of the two outside panelists given the job of reviewing how the disputed broadcast had been prepared."

Who knew the "right wing" had such influence with CBS News?

For the September 20 New York Times article: www.nytimes.com

Kurtz elaborated on Rather's apparent retraction of his on-air apology: "Twelve days after the story aired, according to the suit, [Andrew] Heyward, then the news division chief, "instructed" Rather to read an apology on the "Evening News," despite Rather's "own personal feelings that no apology from him was warranted." In those on-air remarks, Rather called the story a "mistake" and added: "I want to say personally and directly, I'm sorry."

For Kurtz's September 20 story: www.washingtonpost.com

Wednesday night, Katie Couric read this short item on the CBS Evening News: "Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit today against CBS. He accuses the network of making him a quote, 'scapegoat' for a discredited story about President Bush's National Guard service. In a statement today, CBS said Rather's 'complaints are old news' and his 'lawsuit is without merit.'"

On ABC's World News, anchor Charles Gibson allocated about the same amount of time to the lawsuit, but Gibson gave a glimpse of Rather's paranoia, pointing out how "he accuses the network of punishing him to pacify the White House." Ron Allen included that claim in a full story on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News.

Back when he was anchoring the CBS Evening News, Rather spoke of the "growing national problem" of people who "will sue at the drop of a hat." The MRC's Tim Graham tracked down this from Rather on the March 14, 1996 CBS Evening News, "In tonight's Eye on America, a look beyond the heat to try to shed some light on a growing national problem: Americans who -- some of them -- will sue at the drop of a hat."


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The CBS story that followed by Richard Threlkeld explained "silly lawsuits" like the McDonald's hot-coffee case and a San Diego lawsuit where a man was traumatized by a local stadium suddenly offering unisex bathrooms at a concert.

Audio/video of Rather's 1996 story set-up will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But to listen in the meantime, to the MP3 audio or Real or Windows Media, go to Graham's posting on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org

The MRC's Dan Rather archive section, "The Dan Rather File," hasn't been updated in a while, but should be soon. Until then, after links to the relevant archive pages, are summaries and links for more recent Rather outbursts.

For the MRC's "The Dan Rather File" with ten sub-sections of quotes and videos: www.mrc.org

For "Dan's Downfall: Forged Documents," go to: www.mrc.org

Newer material that will soon be added to the above pages (linked videos below will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime the links will bring you to pages with the latest Rather videos):

# Rather "Absolutely" Stands by Bush Story "Truth"

Declaring he "absolutely" believes "the truth" of his discredited story based on forged memos, about President Bush's National Guard record, on the July 12, 2006 Larry King Live on CNN Dan Rather contended that "we had a lot, a lot of corroboration, of what we broadcast about President Bush's military record. It wasn't just the documents."


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Rather then attacked those who dared to expose his misdeeds: "It's a very old technique used, that when those who don't like what you're reporting believe it can be hurtful, then they look for the weakest spot and attack it, which is fair enough. It's a diversionary technique."

For more, including two videos, check the July 13, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org


# Mary Mapes: National Guard Report Still "Is a Good Story"

Mary Mapes, the producer fired from CBS News for her role in the 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service, wrote a book to explain her side of the story. On the November 9, 2005 Good Morning America, Brian Ross and Mapes got into the question of the documents and whether the responsibility was to prove the documents authentic before airing the story, or if any documents could be used until someone else proved them to be false.


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Mapes maintained that "I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen." But when Ross asked, "isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?", Mapes contended: "Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet." Ross pointed out: "Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn't that really what journalists do?" Mapes insisted: "No, I don't think that's the standard."

For more, see the November 10, 2005 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

For video, go to: www.mrc.org


# Rather: Guard Memo Story "Accurate," Never Proven Not So

In an interview with Marvin Kalb carried live by C-SPAN from the National Press Club on September 26, 2005, Dan Rather made quite clear that he believes in the accuracy of his Bush National Guard story based on what everyone else realizes were fabricated memos. Rather argued that "one supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one supporting pillar was brought into question.


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To this day no one has proven whether it was what it purported to be or not." Kalb pressed for clarification: "I believe you just said that you think the story is accurate?" Rather affirmed: "The story is accurate." Rather soon maintained that the public recognizes the "hidden hand pressure" politicians exert on media executives and so "they understood that what we reported as the central facts of the story and there were new insights into the President's, were correct and to this day, by the way have not been denied which is always the test of whether," and he moved on before finishing his sentence.

For more, check the September 27, 2005 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

# Rather: "Liberal" Epithet Used to "Intimidate" Him

In his Wednesday, March 9, 2005 prime time special reviewing his career, Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers, Rather, dismissing bias charges as a just the latest in a series of efforts to "intimidate" him, drew a line from being called "an 'N-lover'" during the civil rights movement to the Vietnam war years when critics tagged him with a "bad name: 'anti-military, anti-American, anti-war,'" and "then, when Watergate came into being was the first time I began to hear this word 'liberal' as an epithet thrown my way."


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Viewers then saw a montage of video clips and shots of Web sites with text accusing Rather and CBS of being "liberal," including the Media Research Center's logo and a headline over an MRC page on Rather. Without addressing evidence of his liberal tilt on policy, Rather charged that "people who have very strong biases of their own, they come at you with a story: 'If you won't report it the way I want it reported, then you're biased.'" On the memogate affair, the CBS special touted how the review panel found "no political agenda."

For more, go to the March 10, 2005 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Today Anchors Push Laurie David's Global
Warming for Kids Book

Environmental activist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David received a very warm welcome, from the green-friendly anchors on the Wednesday Today show, when she came on to promote her children's book, A Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming. During David's interview, NBC's Natalie Morales noted that the book's publisher, Scholastic, was trying to place the book into schools everywhere and proclaimed: "We hope to see it there." Morales even bragged that her own son was already being indoctrinated: "They're already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' You know the three 'R's."

No slouch herself, when it comes to preaching about global warming, Morales' colleague Ann Curry also proudly showed off her own son's concern about climate change in a tease for the segment:

Natalie Morales: "And then explaining global warming to your kids and why it's so important. We have Laurie David, who helped produce An Inconvenient Truth. She's gonna be here to talk about that."
Ann Curry: "We were watching Nightly News last night, my son and I watched Anne Thompson's piece about global warming and he's just, was just riveted, I mean, by this picture of the, of the melting Greenland. So I think we should be talking to our kids about that."
Morales: "Absolutely."

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A little later Today weatherman Al Roker chimed in with the following tease: "Coming up next, how to explain to your kids why going green is so important, but first, this is Today on NBC."

The following is the full interview with Laurie David and her co-author Cambria Gordon as it took place in the 9:30am half-hour on the September 19 Today show:

Natalie Morales: "Earlier this year former Vice President Al Gore took home an Oscar for his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, a film which tried to educate people about climate control and specifically the effects of global warming. Well Laurie David was a producer on that film and now with co-author Cambria Gordon, they have written a book for children, it's called The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. Ladies, good morning, nice to have you here."
Laurie David: "Thanks for having us."
Cambria Gordon: "Thanks Natalie."
Morales: "Well this is a really interesting read. A great, colorful book. What age group is this geared toward?"
David: "Well it's geared for kids 8 to 16, but I say kids of all ages because you really, you can just flip through this book and you're gonna learn something. And our goal is that kids will read it with their parents and everyone will be, get educated on this issue."
Morales: "And why are you going to, why are you targeting kids now, I mean, following up on An Inconvenient Truth?"
David: "Well, you know what, studies are showing that kids are, are showing, growing anxiety about global warming. They're hearing about it in school, they're seeing it in the extreme weather around the country. They're concerned about the demise of, of their own childhood icon, the polar bear and they're losing sleep over it. So, you know Cammy and I, goal was to bring them the truth about the information and also empower them to do something because there's so much that kids can do to help stop global warming."
Morales: "Now I have to ask you because so many people in Hollywood are taking up this issue and, of course, there is that perception, you live a certain lifestyle of luxury but yet you also have to live by example, practice what you preach. Is there a lot of pressure, Laurie, to, to make sure that, that message is out there, at the same time, while modifying your own lifestyle?"
David: "I think the pressure is on everyone. I mean it's really difficult to live in this day and age and this culture that we live in and do the right thing. I mean, we haven't, we haven't been focusing on it. We haven't been conserving, that hasn't become, that hasn't been like one of our big values and it should be, so I think it's difficult for everyone. We're all guilty, we're all part of this problem. We're all causing global warming pollution so we all have to be part of the solution."
Morales: "And Cambria you said kids are interested. They're already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' You know the three 'R's. Why is there such an awareness at such a young age already?"
Gordon: "You know I think kids are hearing parents talk. They're seeing it on the news, they're frightened. And this book takes their fear away. What we're doing is we're empowering them. It's a hopeful book, we're giving them action to take and I think they've been begging for this. I've been hearing from kids all over the country, finally there's a book directed to them."
Morales: "And you do this, in a way that's actually, as I mentioned, it's colorful, it's, it's fun to read. There are some interesting facts and tidbits. Was it hard to sort of, make it, more approachable to a younger generation?"
Gordon: "You know that was by design. Laurie and I tried very, very hard to keep, to keep it not too wonky and fun. And one of my favorite parts is the section on deforestation."
Morales, holding up opened book: "Have that right here."
Gordon: "We wanted to communicate the science in a way that the kids could relate to. So we made an analogy. Deforestation is when we, we clear-cut our forests, we are taking the trees down. We are, in effect, making our forest bald. So we put a picture of the actor Will Ferrell."
Morales, pointing to the book: "And Will Ferrell."
Gordon: "And we say, 'What if Will Ferrell was deforested?' So the kid smiles but the child also realizes, 'Wow this is a serious problem.'"
Morales: "Right, I mean-"
David: "And, by the way, Will Ferrell said it was okay to use his image, so-"
Gordon: "Absolutely. He gave us permission."
Morales: "Okay? It was okay, I was gonna say, might want to check with him first. So you make it entertaining, you make it relatable and, and you say the important message here, though, is that kids also go home with this and maybe influence the actions of their parents as well, Laurie?"
David: "Exactly. Think about this. There are 74 million kids in America, under the age of 18. Can you imagine if they all took this up? You know, I'm a mom. I have two kids. I know the power of my kids when they start nagging about something and they want something done, believe me they get it done. And I think our kids are gonna become part of this movement to stop global warming and we hope this book will help them do it."
Morales: "And you're both moms. And as, and as part of that responsibility you feel it's important to make your kids equally responsible, make them aware but also to spread the message too."
Gordon: "Yeah!"
David: "Absolutely! And there's so much that they can do. So even in their own life they have a carbon footprint too. Kids are a part of this problem. So they have to become part of the solution."
Gordon: "We're hoping that kids actually nag their teachers, their principals. There's so much that can be done on the school level and at the home level."
Morales: "Right. Well this book is by, the way, you say Scholastic is helping with, put it into schools so we hope to see it there. Thank you so much. The book is The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. Nice to have you both here. Thank you."

To read more about Ann Curry's environmental bias, see the July 2 Media Reality Check: www.mrc.org

Maher on CNN: Petaeus and Maliki 'Stooges'
for President Bush

Bill Maher spent a large portion of his ten-minute session Tuesday on CNN's The Situation Room attacking, among others, General David Petraeus, Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, labeling them "stooges" for President Bush. When host Wolf Blitzer asked about the recent congressional testimony of the general and the ambassador, Maher matched his comments last Friday on his HBO show as he parroted the MoveOn.org line: "Well, it was a White House-written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So, in other words, he puts words into his stooges' mouths, and then, he quotes them."

Video (1:17): Real (2.12 MB) or Windows (1.8 MB), plus MP3 (601 KB)

[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The audio and video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Maher appeared in the 5pm EDT hour of the September 18 Situation Room. Blitzer first asked the HBO host about the congressional Democrats' lack of action on the Iraq war. "Is there more that they [the Democrats] could be doing? Should be doing?"

Maher's answer: "Yeah, I guess there is. But, you know, what can you do with a situation where there's one man who stubbornly has the power and will not relinquish it? And he's such a liar, you know? I think that -- if he would just be straight with the American people, instead of saying things like, 'The people who are attacking us in Iraq are the same people who attacked us on 9/11.' What a blatant lie. Or, 'Every day, every month, since January, we've killed over 1,500 terrorists and other extremists.' Who is a terrorist? Who are extremists? Who are the enemy? What do these terms mean? Would they even be the enemy if we weren't in their country? Not to mention all the lies..."

Blitzer then asked about General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker: "You listen closely to General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Both are career professionals. A career military officer. A career diplomat. They made the case effectively for President Bush that the U.S. should continue this strategy."
MAHER: Wait a second. He put the words in their mouth. That wasn't the Petraeus Report.
BLITZER: They say those words were their own.
MAHER: Well, it was a White House-written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So, in other words, he puts words into his stooges' mouths, and then, he quotes them.
BLITZER: But let me point out. General Petraeus, who has been a military officer for more than 30 years, the first thing he basically said out of his mouth when he testified last week, is 'I didn't show this testimony to anyone. I wrote it myself. I didn't have it vetted by the chain of command. Not by the White House. Not by anyone at the Pentagon. Not by anyone in Congress.' Don't you believe him when he says that?
MAHER: No. I'm sorry, I don't. Because that report was -- I called it the 'Enron Surge Report,' because they manipulated the statistics the same way Enron did. It didn't count. Violence didn't count if it was a car bomb. It didn't count if it was Sunni-on-Sunni violence. It didn't count if you were shot in the back of the head, instead of the front of the head. I mean, that's utter nonsense. They manipulated that report. Every independent report that came out about the surge contradicted what David Petraeus said. It said that the violence has not gone down. It just moved to different areas. It was never a case, Wolf, that we were wondering whether if we put 20,000 or 30,000 more troops in a certain area, violence would go down. Of course, violence would go down in that area. But violence in the country didn't go down. And even Baghdad residents said, 'No, violence is as bad as it ever was.' Is there a reason why 93% of the Sunnis in that country think it's okay to attack Americans and want us dead? 50% of Shiites want it.

Blitzer should be given credit for pressing Maher on the question of Petraeus. After asking about the possibility of the Democrats cutting off funding for the Iraq war, Blitzer played a soundbite of Hillary Clinton's answer from American Morning, where she was asked about the "General Betray Us" ad by MoveOn.org. Blitzer asked Maher if he agreed with Clinton's statement about General Petraeus, and pressed him again about his comments on the general.

BLITZER: So, you agree with her on that?
MAHER: Of course. I mean, look, the Republicans who attacked that ad -- it's very convenient -- it gave them something to divert from the issue, which is that the war is a total mess, and allowed them to excite their 'fake outrage' base once again. But basically, they did it on a big lie, as they usually do. Hillary, in the hearings, said the report, the Petraeus Report, required 'a willing suspension of disbelief.' She didn't attack him personally. And, of course, they turned around and said, 'How dare you attack him personally!' That's exactly the opposite of what she did. Hillary Clinton is a little too careful to attack a general personally.
BLITZER: Well, you (INAUDIBLE) that. You attacked him personally. You just did on our show. You said you don't believe him when he said he never cleared his testimony with anyone in Washington.
MAHER: Call me a cynic, Wolf. Look, I understand that he's doing an impossible job over there. And I have no doubt that he actually does more before 9 am than I do all day, or perhaps all year. Yes, I admire anybody who is in the war zone. But that doesn't mean that he is not performing a political function for the White House. Now, you can read into that what you will. But I'm sorry. Just because he's wearing a uniform, I can't not [sic] see what I see, which is that the man is doing a political job for George Bush.

In the last three minutes of the interview, Blitzer and Maher discussed if Barack Obama is ready to be president, who Maher liked amongst the Republicans (as might be expected, Maher said he supported Ron Paul), the Emmy Awards, the Larry Craig scandal, and the new criminal case against O.J. Simpson. Maher actually had some interesting things to say about Simpson.

BLITZER: What about O.J. Simpson? Do you think he could get a fair trial if this does go before a jury, given the notoriety?
MAHER: You know, that was very disappointing, Wolf. I mean, first, he kills his wife, and now, this. I beginning to think he's something of a scofflaw. But, you know, O.J. is someone who has certainly benefitted from not getting a fair trial. BLITZER: But does he have a case when he says, 'You know, I just went into that room because that was all my stuff that had been stolen from me,' including some photos and sports memorabilia. Does he have a case when he says, 'I was just trying to retrieve stuff that had been taken illegally away from me'? MAHER: I'm sure he does. But from what I hear, what I heard last night, at least, on Larry King, and now, on your show, is that he had a gun or somebody with him had a gun. You'd think a guy in his position with the baggage he brings, with the reputation he has, leave the gun at home, maybe. I mean, when you hear 'gun' and 'O.J.,' you know, the first thing you think is, 'Oh, couldn't find the knife, huh?'

Behar Suggests 'Klan Meeting' Keeps GOP
Candidates from Debate

To audience applause on Wednesday's The View, Joy Behar suggested Republican presidential candidates were avoiding a debate on PBS hosted by left-winger Tavis Smiley because "they all have a Klan meeting at the same time." During a discussion of the racial strife in Jena, Louisiana, Behar interjected: "Some of these Republican candidates not going to this black university in Baltimore? What's up with that?" Behar wondered: "What are they afraid of? They think they don't have the black vote anyway, so they're not going to go? Is that what that's about?" After Rosie O'Donnell's replacement, Whoopie Goldberg, pointed out how Republican candidates also "did not show up for the Hispanic forum either," Behar quipped: "Scheduling conflict? What, did they all have a Klan meeting at the same time?"

It was hardly the first time Behar has slimed those to the right of her. Two past CyberAlert items, both with video:

# The March 1 CyberAlert, "ABC's Joy Behar: Bush Administration 'Liars' and 'Murderers,'" recounted:

Left wing inflammatory comments continue on The View. On Wednesday [February 28], co-host Joy Behar lashed out, calling on the American people "to really wake up and understand that they [the Bush administration] are liars and they are murderers." Behar soon accosted Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the token non-liberal on the ABC daytime gabfest: "I don't understand how you can still support this administration. After the Katrina incident, after the incompetence that took place there, after the incompetence and the lying about this war." Hasselbeck tried to insert some common sense and stated that "some fringe liberals are taking this to a place to where we're losing sight on the issue here." Behar, who just called the Bush administration "murderers," adamantly denied she's a "fringe liberal" and chastised it as "name calling." See: www.mrc.org

# The December 15 CyberAlert, "Joy Behar Suggests GOP Caused Senator Tim Johnson's Illness," relayed:

On Thursday's [December 14] The View, Joy Behar seriously suggested Senator Tim Johnson was the victim of a deliberate act to cause his brain disorder that led to emergency surgery and has left him in critical condition: "Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?" An astounded Elisabeth Hasselbeck wondered: "Why is everything coming from the liberal perspective a conspiracy?" Behar contended, on the ABC daytime show, that the Republican Party is capable of such a nefarious deed: "I know what this, that party is capable of." See: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the relevant discussion on the September 19 ABC daytime show:

SHERRI SHEPHERD: But as a mother who has a black son and I am trying to raise my son with confidence and to know that he can do anything and don't let anybody hold him back, to see that there is pure racism from this Jena, Louisiana, that you cannot sit under a tree because you are black, and that you can be put in jail, these, and the parents can't afford to get their kids out, so they've told their sons everything to do, to be good citizens, good human beings, and you got a justice system that is supposed to work for you, and you are in jail looking at the rest of your life. I go, what are you saying to me?
JOY BEHAR: -some of these Republican candidates not going to this black university in Baltimore? What's up with that?
SHEPHERD: There's a debate, and none of the big Republicans are showing up, so, I done bought my plane ticket-
BEHAR: Giuliani is not, Romney is not, she's the only one going.
SHEPHERD: And Morgan State.
BEHAR: Fred Thompson is not going. What are they afraid of? They think they don't have the black vote anyway, so they're not going to go? Is that what that's about?
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: I don't know. I think that's interesting to look at. Go ahead.
WHOOPIE GOLDBERG: I was just going to say, it was interesting to find also that they did not show up for the Hispanic forum either.
BEHAR: Scheduling conflict? What, did they all have a Klan meeting at the same time?

Smiley's page for his September 27 Republican presidential forum at Morgan State in Baltimore: www.tavistalks.com

Late Show's Top Ten Contest: 'Top Ten
Television Shows in Iraq'

From the Late Show with David Letterman's "Top Ten Contest," the winning entries posted on September 15 for the "Top Ten Television Shows in Iraq." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Extremist Makeover" (Dana H, New Haven, CT)

9. "Sects And The City" (Nathan S, Lafayette, CO)

8. "So, You Want To Be A Martyr" (Alan D, Hewlett, NY)

7. "Sponge Bob Square Burka" (Mark M, Dunnellon, FL)

6. "Wives Swap" (Paul S, Garden City, MI)

5. "Sunni & Cher" (Mike A, Los Angeles, CA)

4. "Kurd Your Enthusiasm" (Jeff K, San Jose, CA)

3. "Are You Smarter Than a Goat Herder?" (Larry G, Tallahassee, FL)

2. "How I Met Your Mullah" (Mick B, Rockford, IL)

1. "Desperate Cavewives" (Jacob C, Sharon)

The Late Show's "Top Ten Contest" page: www.cbs.com

-- Brent Baker