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ABC's Robin Roberts Tosses Softballs to Obama While Bashing Bush --8/28/2007


1. ABC's Robin Roberts Tosses Softballs to Obama While Bashing Bush
Interviewing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in New Orleans on Monday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts tossed softballs to Obama as she asserted that politicians from "both parties" would be coming to the formerly hurricane ravaged region to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers." While the ABC co-host didn't explain who was forcing the residents to live in trailers, she did offer the 2008 Democratic candidate a comfortable interview where the only tough questions came from the left. GMA guest co-host Bill Weir teased the segment by optimistically spinning Obama's "plan to bring New Orleans back." Roberts proceeded to ask the Senator about friendly topics, such as his desire to "reach out to Republicans." In fact, the only time she challenged the candidate was with a query from the left. Responding to Obama's goal of forcing insurance companies to pay into a national disaster reserve, she complained, "A lot of people are going to say, 'Senator Obama, the insurance company, they have laid many roadblocks, many people think, in this recovery role.' Is it realistic to think that they would be a part of something like this?"

2. Clift Frets Over 'Refusal to Let Government Spend Any Money'
Add Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to the list of journalists who ludicrously believe adversity to tax hikes have left the nation unable to repair infrastructure. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, she blamed crumbling infrastructure on how "now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money." Conservatives would wish. AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

3. Abrams on CNN Series: 'Shameful Advocacy Masked as Journalism'
On Monday's MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams, host and MSNBC General Manager Abrams attacked CNN's God's Warriors series for "a defense of Islamic fundamentalism and the worst type of moral relativism," and as "shameful advocacy masked as journalism," quipping that series host Christiane Amanpour "avoided getting bogged down in objectivity." Abrams further took exception with Amanpour for comparing those who support Israel's defense strategy to Muslim terrorists: "Christians and Jews, for example, who support Israel's strategy for self-defense are just as much God's warriors, according to Amanpour, as the Islamic radicals who blow themselves and others up in an effort to destroy the world as we know it."

4. CNN's Bernard Shaw Blames Racism for Illegal Immigration Debate
During an August 6 interview, posted online, with Television Week, former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw blamed racism for the debate over whether illegal immigrants should be in the country as he referred to "some people who still believe that people of color are not needed in this country." In response to a question about diversity in the newsroom, Shaw contended that "each generation fights the same battle, only it becomes more subtle, more sophisticated, but it's still a war" before tying in the illegal immigration debate. Without using the word "illegal" in referring to illegal immigrants, he seemed surprised that some would want to enforce immigration laws: "Look at the immigration battle right now. We have about 13 million people who have been living in this country for years, raising their children, educating them, and there's actually an argument about whether they should be here. They are here, and they are a vital part of the American fabric."

5. Saunders Discredits Media-Hyped Slam on Conservative Intellect
FNC's Brit Hume on Monday night picked up on a column by the San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders which discredited the media spin on an AP/Ipsos poll that found liberals read one more book a year than conservatives, a finding Pat Schroeder, President of the American Association of Publishers claimed illustrated how conservatives can't think beyond slogans. The AP and CNN's Jack Cafferty both jumped on Schroeder's slam. Hume noted that Saunders "says Ipsos told her the one book difference between liberals and conservatives is within the poll's margin of error and not statistically significant. The company also said that since the poll did not ask respondents if they read newspapers or magazines, it does not, therefore, say anything about their general level of knowledge or information."

6. AccuWeather's Bastardi: Intense Hurricanes Part of Natural Cycle
On the Tuesday, August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi poured cold water on claims that a global warming trend has been the cause of hurricanes of increased intensity as he contended that the Northern Hemisphere similarly saw periods of increased hurricane activity in past decades, going back to the 1890s: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910....And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities."

7. Letterman's 'Top Ten Reasons Alberto Gonzales Resigned'
Letterman's "Top Ten Reasons Alberto Gonzales Resigned."


ABC's Robin Roberts Tosses Softballs
to Obama While Bashing Bush

Interviewing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in New Orleans on Monday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts tossed softballs to Obama as she asserted that politicians from "both parties" would be coming to the formerly hurricane ravaged region to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers." While the ABC co-host didn't explain who was forcing the residents to live in trailers, she did offer the 2008 Democratic candidate a comfortable interview where the only tough questions came from the left. GMA guest co-host Bill Weir teased the segment by optimistically spinning Obama's "plan to bring New Orleans back." Roberts proceeded to ask the Senator about friendly topics, such as his desire to "reach out to Republicans." In fact, the only time she challenged the candidate was with a query from the left. Responding to Obama's goal of forcing insurance companies to pay into a national disaster reserve, she complained, "A lot of people are going to say, 'Senator Obama, the insurance company, they have laid many roadblocks, many people think, in this recovery role.' Is it realistic to think that they would be a part of something like this?"

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Roberts also failed to ask the Senator about his wife's now-very much disputed comment that "if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House." (The Obama camp has vociferously denied this to be an attack on Hillary Clinton.) Wouldn't the subject at least warrant a mention though? Finally, it must also be noted that co-host Weir asserted that New Orleans has only received $6 billion in federal aide to rebuild. (However, the federal government has actually allocated $114 billion for the entire area effected by Katrina. See: www.foxnews.com )

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:08am on August 27:

Bill Weir teased: "And as the second anniversary of Katrina approaches, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is speaking out on his plan to bring New Orleans back. Robin Roberts talks to him in an exclusive interview."

Bill Weir: "Turning now to the politics of Hurricane Katrina. This week's two year anniversary has made New Orleans a political magnet for so many presidential candidates and many of them will make a campaign stop in the Crescent City there this week and here is what they'll find two years in: $6 billion in federal aid has gone to clean-up and rebuilding. 256 miles of that city's flood wall system is now working, but they have another 100 miles to rebuild. And only about seven percent of the residents in the devastated lower ninth ward have come home, less than a 1000 people in that neighborhood. Robin Roberts is in the Crescent City this morning for an exclusive interview with one of those presidential hopefuls, Senator Barack Obama. Robin, good morning."
Robin Roberts: "I'm here in New Orleans, Bill, a prime stop for presidential candidates from both parties, bringing promises of a better future for those still struggling two years after Katrina. They're here in an attempt to connect with voters but also to point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers. I sat down with Barack Obama in one of the few homes rebuilt in this neighborhood and he told me about his own plan to rebuild the Gulf Coast."
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) "We've got to get the levees and the pumping stations working. But we also have to rebuild the wetlands and the marshes around the coast. We've got to rebuild our infrastructure and, so, I want the federal government to focus on building police forces here. President Bill Clinton had a cops program that put 100,000 new police on the streets. We think we should at least have a focused program right here in New Orleans. We want to make sure that we've got additional monies to attract doctors and nurses. And the same goes for our education system. We want to make sure we're providing more money to attract teachers to come into this region. And then, finally, just fixing the FEMA bureaucracy, making sure that applications take no more than two months to actually be processed and get an answer back to homeowners."
Roberts: "How do you go about doing that?"
Obama: "Some of it is just a function of who is in charge. And one of the things that we proposed is that the FEMA director should be independent, should have a six-year term like the FBI director, not subject to politics, reporting directly to the president on this reconstruction process."
Roberts: "Does that really change anything? Is it better, perhaps, just to start from scratch where FEMA is concerned?"
Obama: "What we know is FEMA has worked in the past. Because it was independent, because it was managed by somebody who actually understood emergency management. And part of what I think the next president is going to have to do is to re-inspire a new generation of civil servants who want to get into the federal government. And so we're going to have to do some restoration and rebuilding that agency, in part because there is no reason to assume that this is the last controversy or catastrophe that we're going to be dealing with in the years to come."
Roberts: "Also part of your plan, calling on the insurance companies to play a part when there is a catastrophe of some sort."
Obama: "Homeowners can't get health, home insurance that is affordable. So what we've proposed is to have a catastrophic insurance component, a national catastrophic insurance reserve that is paid for in part by fees charged to the insurance companies that caps the kind of exposure that any single homeowner can have."
Roberts: "This fund, in essence, a goodwill fund. A lot of people are going to say, 'Senator Obama, the insurance company, they have laid many roadblocks, many people think, in this recovery role.' Is it realistic to think that they would be a part of something like this?"
Obama: "I think it's fair, given the extraordinary profits that the insurance companies have been mounting over the years, to say you've got to be a part of this, this process of solving this problem. Insurance can't just be a profit making machine where they don't have to pay and when you finally have to pay, they walk away."
Roberts: "But that's how it's been. How can you change that?"
Obama: "Well, I think you change it by having a President and a Congress that takes this problem seriously, that sits down with the insurance companies and says, 'We believe in you making a profit and we believe in the market and we believe in insurance, but what we're not going to allow you to do is to simply cherry-pick those profitable lines of business and not get involved when people desperately need insurance.'"
Roberts: "Late last week, Senator Clinton made a remark that raised a lot of eyebrows."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "If certain things happen between now an the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. And so I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that."
Roberts: "How do you feel about what she said?"
Obama: "Everybody in America is committed to preventing terrorism from happening. That's not a partisan issue. And I don't think that there's room in this campaign or any campaign to use terrorism as a club to beat opponents over the head with. You know, Karl Rove and this administration perfected that politics of fear and I think that part of what we want to see is a, is a change from that approach to one that says we're unified in making sure that America is secure. And that's how I'm going to approach this campaign."
Roberts: "And you recently said you're going to reach out to Republicans, that there are some key Republicans that you would bring in and want to work with."
Obama: "Absolutely. Well, there are people like Chuck Hagel from Nebraska, Dick Lugar from Indiana, John Warner from Virginia, who are very capable, smart people. I don't agree with them on every issue. But they do come out of a tradition that has been lost, and that is that foreign policy, you know, is one of those areas that shouldn't be subject to partisan politics, that our differences should end at the water's edge."
Roberts: "And this week, there will be no fewer than five presidential candidates traveling to this region. We will continue our reports throughout the week. And on Wednesday, we'll be on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to see where things stand two years later. Bill?"
Weir: "Robin, thanks very much. And indulge us while we brag on you a little bit. We all know that Pass Christian, Mississippi, is Robin's hometown. And he's been helping rebuild that place ever since Katrina hit the Gulf two years ago and on Sunday, she was honored for that work. Pass Christian threw a party to thank all the people who have chipped in to help get the town back on the its feet there. The mayor even declared August 25 Robin Roberts day. Every day is Robin Roberts day around here. But it's well-deserved down in her home there. And you can check our website at ABCNews.com for coverage of Katrina's anniversary and the rebuilding effort there."

Clift Frets Over 'Refusal to Let Government
Spend Any Money'

Add Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to the list of journalists who ludicrously believe adversity to tax hikes have left the nation unable to repair infrastructure. On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, she blamed crumbling infrastructure on how "now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money." Conservatives would wish.


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More See & Hear the Bias

In fact, as the Heritage Foundation's Brian Reidl outlined in a March report, "in 2006, inflation-adjusted federal spending topped $23,000 per household for the first time since World War II" as "federal spending has increased by 42% (23% after inflation) since 2001" and "defense and homeland security are responsible for just above one-third of all new spending since 2001." So it's hardly as if the federal government, with an annual budget of $2.6 trillion, is starved for money. It's just being spent on adding a prescription entitlement to Medicare ($822 billion over ten years) instead of highways ($286 billion over six years). PDF of Reidl's report: www.heritage.org

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

In a discussion prompted by the early August bridge collapse in Minnesota, Clift whined on the McLaughlin Group aired over the August 24-27 weekend, but probably taped a week or two earlier to provide a vacation for John McLaughlin:
"It takes leadership. After World War II, we maintained the infrastructure we had and we built an incredible network of highways and leaders in both parties agreed that these were priorities. Now we have this tax-averse society, rallied by the Republicans, tax-averse where everything becomes sort of a right-wing, libertarian refusal to let government spend any money or raise any money."

Abrams on CNN Series: 'Shameful Advocacy
Masked as Journalism'

On Monday's MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams, host and MSNBC General Manager Abrams attacked CNN's God's Warriors series for "a defense of Islamic fundamentalism and the worst type of moral relativism," and as "shameful advocacy masked as journalism," quipping that series host Christiane Amanpour "avoided getting bogged down in objectivity." Abrams further took exception with Amanpour for comparing those who support Israel's defense strategy to Muslim terrorists: "Christians and Jews, for example, who support Israel's strategy for self-defense are just as much God's warriors, according to Amanpour, as the Islamic radicals who blow themselves and others up in an effort to destroy the world as we know it."

After contending that Amanpour attempted to "understand" violent Muslim fundamentalists without trying to "understand" evangelical Christians and Israelis, Abrams played a clip of Amanpour in which she "blames the warrior Jews" for the anger of radical Muslims. Amanpour: "Muslims, like people everywhere, abhor terrorism. The small minority who resorts to violence is symptomatic of something many of us have failed to understand: the impact of God's Jewish warriors goes far beyond these rocky hills. The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Muslim world."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Abrams soon brought aboard Muslim author Asma Hasan, Air America host Reverend Wilton Gaddy, and terrorism analyst Steve Emerson for a discussion of the topic, during which Emerson labeled the CNN series as "the most unfair series" and "the most dishonest series on television that I've seen in my 20 years of reporting or covering terrorism." Emerson further criticized Amanpour for not showing examples of violent Muslim extremists in Europe such as the Madrid and London bombings, and for portraying Jews and Christians as "demons." Emerson: "I thought that, in part, the actual dogma of this series actually focused mainly on Jews and Christians as being the demons, and in fact, one could accuse her of actually engaging in anti-Christian and anti-Semitic behavior by the selection of facts she chose to choose."

Abrams showed a clip of Amanpour speaking to Christian youth leader Ron Luce of Teen Mania Ministries during which she contended that campus rules prohibiting female students from wearing short skirts and prohibiting male students from using the Internet without supervision reminded her of "totalitarian regimes," and compared the female dress code to what the Taliban did. Amanpour: "But that's what the Taliban said. They kept women in their house because men couldn't be trusted around them."

(For more on the six-hour series aired last week and again over the weekend, see the August 27 CyberAlert item, "CNN's 'God's Warriors' Reflects MSM's Bias Against 'Big 3' Faiths," online at: www.mrc.org )

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, August 27 MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams:

DAN ABRAMS: For the past week, CNN has been proudly promoting and then celebrating its series called God's Warriors, presumably a look at radicals of different religions willing to fight for their cause. My take: I think it's fair to say it was not what it claimed or promised to be.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ON CNN: So we're not here lobbying for or advocating for or drawing conclusions, either political, religious or ideological-
ABRAMS: Oh, yes they did. CNN should have called it what it was: a defense of Islamic fundamentalism and the worst type of moral relativism. For each of three nights, CNN devoted two hours to the, quote, "warriors" of each religion: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. But rather than distinguish between Islamic terrorists who utilize fierce violence to achieve warped goals, and the merely fiercely religious or even just those who fiercely believe in the state of Israel, Christiane Amanpour avoided getting bogged down in objectivity. Christians and Jews, for example, who support Israel's strategy for self-defense are just as much God's warriors, according to Amanpour, as the Islamic radicals who blow themselves and others up in an effort to destroy the world as we know it. A handful of the most radical of the Jews and Christians who can almost all be identified by name are highlighted. The violent Islamic fundamentalists are, quote, "understood," with no comparable effort to "understand" the evangelical Christians or Israelis. Amanpour even offers an explanation for the angry radical Islamists. She blames the warrior Jews.
AMANPOUR, ON CNN: Muslims, like people everywhere, abhor terrorism. The small minority who resorts to violence is symptomatic of something many of us have failed to understand: the impact of God's Jewish warriors goes far beyond these rocky hills. The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Muslim world.
ABRAMS: She takes Jewish and Christian political movements, even Jewish lobbyists in Congress, and lumps them in with God's warriors, thereby equating them with the radical Muslim warriors, the quote, "much feared and little understood." Maybe most troubling, much of the warrior Muslim program highlights not the warriors themselves, but claims of discrimination against Muslims.
AMANPOUR, ON CNN: Geneive Abdo is the author of Mecca and Main Street. She says that since 9/11, the majority of American Muslims feel they're singled out for suspicion and surveillance by the government and by ordinary people. Imam Fawaz Jneid, leader of a mosque in the Hague, believes Muslims are under attack, victims of religious discrimination.
ABRAMS: What does that have to do with the warriors? She portrays Muslims as victims, while accusing evangelical Christians of playing the victim.
AMANPOUR, ON CNN: The religious right would have you believe that there's no mention of God anywhere in our public sphere. It's on the currency.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN Legal Analyst: It's on the currency, and they say because it's on the currency, there's nothing wrong with it being in the schools, or in the courthouses, or in the Capitol.
AMANPOUR: But they also play the victim somewhat.
ABRAMS: This series was well-produced and successful, but also shameful advocacy masked as journalism. We have opinionated hosts here on MSNBC who offer opinions on a wide range of topics, including me, but I admit it when I'm advocating. In the end, this was exactly what she said it wasn't: lobbying, advocacy, and an effort, intentional or not, to have people draw particular conclusions.

...

Before we talk about some of this other stuff, Asma, what do you think about the comments that I just made?
[ASMA HASAN, Author of Why I Am a Muslim]
ABRAMS: A little history lesson for you. I covered the Oklahoma City bombing trial, and you talk to any of the prosecutors who prosecuted the case. In the end, they don't believe that it was part of some militia effort. So that's just fiction, and that's the problem here. The facts are so important.
HASAN: But didn't Timothy McVeigh say in writings from prison that he didn't like how the government was treating Christians, how they were restricting Christians?
ABRAMS: Yeah, he didn't. He didn't. That's right. That's right. That's the beauty of this. Steve Emerson, the beauty of this is they highlight throughout the CNN piece, they highlight identifiable people, Christians and Jews, who've been arrested and convicted of various crimes. And they lump it in, and they claim this is all one big religious fundamentalism.
STEVE EMERSON, Terrorism Analyst: Right. It's so contrived, I thought that I was watching Al-Jazeera. The treatment of radical Islamic fundamentalists were given kid-glove treatment. They explain the Muslim Brotherhood as a peaceful movement. They explain jihad as a peaceful internal struggle. I mean, this was inverting reality on its head. And when they described terrorism, they could only explain it in terms of Muslims being the victims, not being the perpetrators. I felt that, I was really, I felt that the viewer here was really dishonestly treated here. And as far as the treatment of Jews and Christians, when Christian lawyers went to law school, they were called, demonized as "God's warriors." And when Jewish supporters of Israel lobbied for Israel, they were demonized as somehow causing riots throughout the Middle East. This was the most unfair series and, I think, the most dishonest series on television that I've seen in my 20 years of reporting or covering terrorism.

...

ABRAMS: Reverend Gaddy, let me ask you this. Let me play this piece of sound for you where, again, Christiane Amanpour compares some of the fundamentalist Christians to the Taliban. And I want to ask you if you think this is a fair comparison.
AMANPOUR: On campus, students must follow a strict set of rules. When I, you know, read that women have to wear skirts of a certain length and guys aren't allowed to, you know, go on the Internet unsupervised, I mean, I think, you know, totalitarian regimes.
RON LUCE, Christian youth leader: No, it's about learning to have disciplines that communicate purity, you know. The skirts' length are to keep guys from, you know, any man on the planet could be distracted, and we don't want to unintentionally create distraction.
AMANPOUR: But, Ron, that's what the Taliban said. They kept women in their house because men couldn't be trusted around them.
ABRAMS: Fair comparison, Reverend Gaddy, between a dress code and the Taliban?
[Reverend WILTON GADDY, The Interfaith Counsel]
ABRAMS: And they back it up, again, we're not just talking about individuals who we can name, but there is a large and significant movement of fundamentalist Islam, which I think ends up being minimized by equating this all. I'm sorry, Asma, I interrupted you before.
[HASAN talks about international criticism of Jewish settlement expansion]
ABRAMS: Okay, but that's fine. That's fine. But that doesn't address, look, I'm not going to have debates about the settlements here. I'm debating the bias, the overt bias of this CNN series.

...

ABRAMS: Steve Emerson, I want to play you this piece of sound. It's a final one. ... And this is again suggesting, let's listen, and then we'll talk about it.
AMANPOUR: Across Europe, Islam is the fastest growing religion, the number of Muslims tripling in the last 30 years. This increased Muslim presence and violence like the Van Gogh murder play into the hands of right-wing politicians, like Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament.
ABRAMS: All right, Steve Emerson, again, "play into the hands," the Muslims as the victims, again, throughout this whole piece.
EMERSON: Exactly. She didn't mention the Madrid bombings, she didn't mention the two London series of bombings, she didn't mention the number of attacks in Europe, throughout Europe. She didn't mention the vast amount of Wahabist radical Islamic influence and supporters in the United States. She omitted all of that in an attempt to bring the perpetrators who she claimed were right-wingers or Christians or Jews. I thought that, in part, the actual dogma of this series actually focused mainly on Jews and Christians as being the demons, and in fact, one could accuse her of actually engaging in anti-Christian and anti-Semitic behavior by the selection of facts she chose to choose.
ABRAMS: Reverend Gaddy, go ahead.
[GADDY]
ABRAMS: Well, I can tell you this, CNN is listening to this segment, so maybe they will hear you loud and clear on that and make up for what I think was really well done but ultimately shoddy journalism.

CNN's Bernard Shaw Blames Racism for
Illegal Immigration Debate

During an August 6 interview, posted online, with Television Week, former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw blamed racism for the debate over whether illegal immigrants should be in the country as he referred to "some people who still believe that people of color are not needed in this country." In response to a question about diversity in the newsroom, Shaw contended that "each generation fights the same battle, only it becomes more subtle, more sophisticated, but it's still a war" before tying in the illegal immigration debate.

Without using the word "illegal" in referring to illegal immigrants, he seemed surprised that some would want to enforce immigration laws: "Look at the immigration battle right now. We have about 13 million people who have been living in this country for years, raising their children, educating them, and there's actually an argument about whether they should be here. They are here, and they are a vital part of the American fabric."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of Television Week's interview with Shaw, as posted on their Web site, from August 6:

TELEVISION WEEK question: "What is the state of diversity in the newsroom today?"
BERNARD SHAW: "Proponents of diversity should never be pleased with the level of staffing, be it African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans... proponents should never be pleased. There is an ingrained resistance in the minds of people who control to people who are different. That is natural because of the way this country evolved historically.
"The battle is never won. We taught our children, our son and daughter, that the battle is never won. Each generation fights the same battle, only it becomes more subtle, more sophisticated, but it's still a war. The battle is to help this great nation achieve the promise, that's all.
"Look at the immigration battle right now. We have about 13 million people who have been living in this country for years, raising their children, educating them, and there's actually an argument about whether they should be here. They are here, and they are a vital part of the American fabric.
"The battle is never won. There are some people who still believe that people of color are not needed in this country. And yet people of color have been the essence of this country since its beginning. So there's a great education requirement, and all of us are educators and we're going to make this country work."

For the interview in full: www.tvweek.com

Saunders Discredits Media-Hyped Slam
on Conservative Intellect

FNC's Brit Hume on Monday night picked up on a column by the San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders which discredited the media spin on an AP/Ipsos poll that found liberals read one more book a year than conservatives, a finding Pat Schroeder, President of the American Association of Publishers claimed illustrated how conservatives can't think beyond slogans. The AP and CNN's Jack Cafferty both jumped on Schroeder's slam. Hume noted that Saunders "says Ipsos told her the one book difference between liberals and conservatives is within the poll's margin of error and not statistically significant. The company also said that since the poll did not ask respondents if they read newspapers or magazines, it does not, therefore, say anything about their general level of knowledge or information."

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

Last Tuesday, the AP distributed a story with Schroeder's comments, "Book Chief: Conservatives Want Slogans." Al Fram's dispatch began:

Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why -- and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress' most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives....

END of Excerpt

For the AP article in full, as posted by Breitbart: www.breitbart.com

Or on Yahoo: news.yahoo.com

CNN's Jack Cafferty couldn't resist highlighting how the poll found liberals read more books than conservatives, though only by one book -- nine to eight books with moderates reading only five in the past year. His "Cafferty File" question, during the 4pm EDT hour of the August 22 Situation Room, presumed the relevance of the poll finding: "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?" Cafferty had outlined Schroeder's spin:
"The head of a book publishing industry trade group offers this explanation. Pat Schroeder says, 'The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a few slogans. Things like no new taxes.' No surprise here. Pat Schroeder was a formerly liberal member -- a former member of Congress who is a liberal. She says liberals can't say anything is less than a whole paragraph. Mary Matalin, who is a Republican strategist, says that conservatives don't read less. They just get their information from different places, such as magazines or the Internet."

For the August 23 CyberAlert article: www.mrc.org

Hume's "Grapevine" item in full on the August 27 Special Report with Brit Hume:
"Last week we told you about a poll by the Associated Press and Ipsos Research Company that indicated liberals read slightly more books than conservatives each year. Association of American Publishers President Pat Schroeder -- a former liberal Congresswoman from Colorado -- said that what she called 'the Karl Roves of the world' had built a generation of conservatives who wanted only simple slogans such as 'no new taxes.' But columnist Debra Saunders of Creators.com says Ipsos told her the one book difference between liberals and conservatives is within the poll's margin of error and not statistically significant. The company also said that since the poll did not ask respondents if they read newspapers or magazines, it does not, therefore, say anything about their general level of knowledge or information."

An excerpt from the August 26 San Francisco Chronicle column by Debra Saunders, "Bookless versus clueless," which the DrudgeReport.com had showcased on Sunday:

WHEN a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll found, as reported by the Associated Press, that "liberals read more books than conservatives," the president of the American Association of Publishers promptly shoved her foot in her mouth.

Pat Schroeder, the former Democratic congresswoman from Colorado, proclaimed, "The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple of slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes.' It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes,' on every page."

She also told AP that liberals "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."

Maybe you shouldn't pay any attention to me. According to Schroeder, as a conservative, I've got a bumper sticker for brains. Silly me, I looked into the poll -- which liberals have hailed as proof of their intellectual superiority -- and there's not a lot there in "the whole picture." The poll found that among people polled who read at least one book in the last year, liberals read nine books and conservatives read eight.

When I called Michael Gross, associate vice president of Ipsos public affairs, to find out more about the Ipsos poll, he told me the one-book difference "is within the margin of error, it's not a statistically significant difference."

The poll also found that moderates who said they read at least one book a year, on average, read five books a year. By Schroeder's lights, moderates must be really simple-minded sloganeers.

As a conservative, I am not proud to read that 34 percent of conservatives -- as opposed to 22 percent of liberals and moderates -- said they had read a book within the last year.

Then again, because the poll did not ask people if they read newspapers or magazines, Gross noted, "I don't think it says anything about people's general level of information."

Then there's the quality issue. A person could read nine romance novels in a year and qualify as Aristotelian by Schroeder's logic....

While she berated conservatives for buying into slogans, she flaunted her prejudices. Her idea of thinking in paragraphs: Not letting facts get in the way.

END of Excerpt

For the Saunders column in full: www.sfgate.com

AccuWeather's Bastardi: Intense Hurricanes
Part of Natural Cycle

On the Tuesday, August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi poured cold water on claims that a global warming trend has been the cause of hurricanes of increased intensity as he contended that the Northern Hemisphere similarly saw periods of increased hurricane activity in past decades, going back to the 1890s: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910....And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities."

After getting his guest to give a summary of the latest on Hurricane Dean, FNC host Bill O'Reilly turned the discussion to global warming: "Of course, environmentalists are going to say this is global warming. And is the fact that the waters are warmer, is that going to make it a tougher fall for hurricanes for the USA?"

In his response, Bastardi brought up harsh hurricane seasons from earlier in the century: "We've seen this before. And I coined this term 'time of climatic hardship' because we are back in the 30's, 40's and 50's as far as the overall climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. You see, we've seen this before. The problem is a lot of people don't go back and look at those type of things."

He soon noted the hurricane that hit New York City in 1938 as he predicted history will likely repeat itself somewhat soon: "You, as a Long Island boy, must have heard tales from your father about the '38 hurricane on Long Island. And that's what we're looking at, and the potential for that type of thing down the road. But if it happens, if it happens again, and I do think it is going to happen within our lifetime, and probably sooner rather than later, some kind of big storm like that, people will go out of their minds. Yet it was there before."

Bastardi concluded with his contention that similar cycles occurred in the later 19th to early 20th century, and that in modern times scientists are more able to measure the changes: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. But we couldn't measure it then. So we're measuring it now with all these great instruments. And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A transcript of relevant portions from the Tuesday, August 21 The O'Reilly Factor:

BILL O'REILLY: Now, I understand the water temperatures surrounding the East Coast of the USA are four to five degrees warmer than usual.
JOE BASTARDI, AccuWeather: Right.
O'REILLY: And, of course, environmentalists are going to say this is global warming. And is the fact that the waters are warmer, is that going to make it a tougher fall for hurricanes for the USA?
BASTARDI: Well, it always means that there's more potential because, for stronger storms. But we've seen this before. And I coined this term "time of climatic hardship" because we are back in the 30's, 40's and 50's as far as the overall climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. You see, we've seen this before. The problem is a lot of people don't go back and look at those type of things.
O'REILLY: So you don't see it as anything out of the ordinary as far as nature in its cycle is concerned?
BASTARDI: No, no.
O'REILLY: There's no more heightened danger in 2007 than there was in 1937?
BASTARDI: Well, it's funny you bring that year up. You, as a Long Island boy, must have heard tales from your father about the '38 hurricane on Long Island.
O'REILLY: Yeah.
BASTARDI: And that's what we're looking at, and the potential for that type of thing down the road. But if it happens, if it happens again, and I do think it is going to happen within our lifetime, and probably sooner rather than later, some kind of big storm like that, people will go out of their minds. Yet it was there before.
Now, let me show you this graphic I had. In the '60s through the '80s, we were what we call in the cold cycle of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation warm cycle, the Pacific oscillation, which meant the Pacific waters were warmer than normal in the equatorial areas. You were cooler than normal up north, cooler than normal in the North Atlantic, more typhoons, more Pacific hurricanes, less Atlantic action. By the way, you know, it doesn't take a genius to say, well, if we got cool water up here and cool water up here, the continents in between are going to be cooler because, after all, they're surrounded by cooler water.
Now where are we now? Well, we're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910. But we couldn't measure it then. So we're measuring it now with all these great instruments. And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities.

Bio page for Bastardi at the State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather: www.accuweather.com

Letterman's 'Top Ten Reasons Alberto
Gonzales Resigned'

From the August 27 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Reasons Alberto Gonzales Resigned." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Felt he wasn't incompetent enough for the Bush administration

9. Secretly ordered himself to fire himself

8. Was offered the John Travolta role in the touring production of "Hairspray"

7. Trying his hand at failing miserably in the private sector

6. Didn't want to be around for transition to the Kucinich administration

5. Instead of terrorism, trying to keep Lindsay and Paris off the streets

4. Got a sweet new job at Kinko's

3. Letterman has a guy making a sand sculpture of Biff Henderson

2. Ran out of laws to circumvent

1. Why not go out on top?



Thursday night on the Late Show: Hillary Rodham Clinton

-- Brent Baker