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Amanpour: "War in Iraq Has Basically Turned Out to Be a Disaster" --1/31/2006


1. Amanpour: "War in Iraq Has Basically Turned Out to Be a Disaster"
"The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster," Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, declared from London live on Monday's Larry King Live. In the segment in which journalists discussed the serious injury from a bomb in Iraq to ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, she lamented how "journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that." She added: "For some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize, no, this is not acceptable, what's going on there. And it's a terrible situation." King replied: "Well said." Later, in a segment on kidnaped journalist Jill Carroll, Amanpour asserted that "by any indicator Iraq is a black hole" and a "spiraling security disaster."

2. CBS: "Don't Forget that Other Washington Scandal: CIA Leak"
CBS decided that the night before President Bush's State of the Union address would be a good time to launch its "State of the..." series with a look at the "State of the Scandals," a judgment which allowed the CBS Evening News to revive the Plame case. Gloria Borger insisted that "on the eve of the President's State of the Union speech, official Washington is distracted, not by policy debates or the war, but by scandal." She started with Jack Abramoff. Borger then urged viewers: "Don't forget that other Washington scandal that still haunts the White House: the CIA leak investigation. Federal prosecutors want to know who, if anyone, inside the White House knowingly leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to Washington journalists." Though the commonality of such knowledge is in play, she then declared as fact: "That's a crime. And lying about it is a crime too. That's what Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, has been charged with." She asked: "Will Dick Cheney testify?" Borger jumped to how "top presidential advisor Karl Rove is still under investigation for his role in the leaks."

3. CNN's Cafferty Frustrated Dems Not Capitalizing on GOP Troubles
CNN's Jack Cafferty expressed frustration Monday over the fact that Democrats are not capitalizing over the unpopularity of Republicans and the scandals besetting the GOP. After citing Bush's low approval, on The Situation Room Cafferty expounded on "all the other stuff swirling around the Republicans: Tom DeLay under indictment; the Abramoff stuff; the Katrina scandal; spying on Americans without a warrant; the CIA leak investigation; the war in Iraq; the deficits; and on and on and on." He then marveled at the "mind-boggling" fact that a poll found higher approval for congressional Republicans than Democrats. Cafferty was befuddled: "More people have a disagreeable view of the Democrats, in spite of all that stuff I just talked about, than have a disagreeable view of the Republicans. When opportunity knocks, the Democrats can't even find the door, let alone answer it."

4. Rather Frets Reporters Need "Spine," Then Avoids Memogate Topic
During an appearance last Thursday in Los Angeles, Dan Rather complained that journalists need to ask tougher questions: "American journalism needs a spine transplant and we need it quickly." FNC's Brit Hume noted Monday night, however, that "those remarks came during a Q&A session in which all the questions were pre-selected by the group's organizers and members of Rather's entourage. The LA Times reports that Rather was not asked about the discredited story on President Bush's National Guard Service that aired on 60 Minutes."


Amanpour: "War in Iraq Has Basically
Turned Out to Be a Disaster"

"The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster," Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, declared from London live on Monday's Larry King Live. In the segment in which journalists discussed the serious injury from a bomb in Iraq to ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, she lamented how "journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that."


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She added: "For some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize, no, this is not acceptable, what's going on there. And it's a terrible situation." King replied: "Well said." Later, in a segment on kidnaped journalist Jill Carroll, Amanpour asserted that "by any indicator Iraq is a black hole" and a "spiraling security disaster."

A DrudgeReport.com posting alerted me to Amanpour's remarks.

[This item was posted Monday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your views, or to watch the video in either RealPlayer or Windows Media format, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Amanpour appeared from London, on the January 30 Larry King Live, along with in-studio guests Bob Schieffer and Lara Logan of CBS, Peter Arnett and, from Baghdad, CNN's Michael Holmes. A transcript of the 9:16pm EST exchange (based on my correction of the closed-captioning against what aired), between King and Amanpour:

Larry King: "Christiane, have you been in that kind of vehicle that these two men were in?"
Christiane Amanpour: "Well, I have been with the Iraqi army. I'm trying to visualize the kind of vehicle that they were in on Sunday. I've been with the Iraqi army in a completely unarmored vehicle that looks more like a basic truck. And it's really tough when you go out and do that. And for sure, every time I go out with either the U.S. or the Iraqi army, I am very conscious that this is a potentially life-threatening exercise. And, you know, you basically pray from the minute you go out to the minute you come back. And you thank God when you've come back. And I cannot tell you how awful I feel for Bob and Doug and for their families, their wives, their children, who have to put up with them going away and waiting for them just like our families do when we come back.
"But as Peter Arnett said, and I think that the others have said, that number one it's our responsibility. Number two, if we don't do it, who does it? We have had so -- we have to have an independent eye on these conflicts. The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster. And journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that. And so have many, many other people who have been there. And I think that's terribly, terribly difficult for us. And unfortunately, for some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize, no, this is not acceptable, what's going on there. And it's a terrible situation."
King: "Well said."

Later, in a look at the plight of kidnaped journalist Jill Carrol, Amanpour used Carroll's situation as an opportunity to expound on her opinions about where Iraq stands:
"So hopefully, hopefully, hopefully, she will be released. I mean, you know, what else can we hope for? And certainly her family are hoping for that as well. But I just think it's so sad. I mean, by any indicator Iraq is a black hole. Yes, they've had elections. What kind of a government are they going to come up with. Will it be a national unity government? Or will it be the one that sows the seeds of civil war? Yes, the U.S. has promised reconstruction, but the United States inspector general for reconstruction is about to come out with a report that is saying that it is just not going apace and that it's difficult to see, according to this report, how they're ever going to get what they promised done.
"Which means, according to a new poll that is coming out today, that most of the Iraqi people are now losing hope that the promised reconstruction is going to happen and that the quality of their lives is going to increase. This is a big drama because hope is the only thing they have in the middle of this spiraling security disaster. And by any indication whether you take the number of journalists killed or wounded, whether you take the number of American soldiers killed or wounded, whether you take the number of Iraqi soldiers killed and wounded, contractors, people working there, it just gets worse and worse."

CBS: "Don't Forget that Other Washington
Scandal: CIA Leak"

CBS decided that the night before President Bush's State of the Union address would be a good time to launch its "State of the..." series with a look at the "State of the Scandals," a judgment which allowed the CBS Evening News to revive the Plame case. Gloria Borger insisted that "on the eve of the President's State of the Union speech, official Washington is distracted, not by policy debates or the war, but by scandal." She started with Jack Abramoff and how his links to Tom DeLay and Bob Ney have set back their congressional roles. She moved on to point out how President Bush "won't reveal the pictures taken of him with the lobbyist at White House functions."

Borger then urged viewers: "Don't forget that other Washington scandal that still haunts the White House: the CIA leak investigation. Federal prosecutors want to know who, if anyone, inside the White House knowingly leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to Washington journalists." Though the commonality of such knowledge is in play, she then declared as fact: "That's a crime. And lying about it is a crime too. That's what Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, has been charged with." She asked: "Will Dick Cheney testify?" Borger jumped to how "top presidential advisor Karl Rove is still under investigation for his role in the leaks."

Borger did, however, note that "while Democrats haven't received any money from Abramoff's own checkbook, they did receive one-and-a-half million he directed to them through his clients." And she gave rare, yet brief, air time to how "Democrat Bill Jefferson was the target in an FBI sting in which cash was found in his freezer."

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Bob Schieffer, anchoring from DC with Capitol dome in background, set up the January 30 CBS Evening News story:
"As the President reports on the State of the Union, so will we in a special series all this week. We'll begin right here in Washington, which has been rocked by new questions about the ethics of some of the people who worked back there at the Capitol. Gloria Borger now with the 'State of the Scandals.'"

Borger: "On the eve of the President's State of the Union speech, official Washington is distracted, not by policy debates or the war, but by scandal. Start with this man: Jack Abramoff. Once a well-connected Republican lobbyist, now singing to federal prosecutors in a congressional bribery scandal. His friend, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, forced to give up his leadership post after being indicted in Texas for money laundering. Ohio Republican Bob Ney, forced to give up his committee chairmanship after prosecutors tied him to Abramoff. And while Democrats haven't received any money from Abramoff's own checkbook, they did receive one-and-a-half million he directed to them through his clients. So when a hundred members rushed to return Abramoff-tainted money to charity, it was a bipartisan stampede. Even the President joined in, sending $6,000 in Abramoff donations to charity. What the President won't reveal: The pictures taken of him with the lobbyist at White House functions. And although Abramoff was a top Bush money man, the President says he doesn't know him."
Bush at last week's press conference: "I can't say I didn't ever meet him, but I meet a lot of people."
Borger: "Don't forget that other Washington scandal that still haunts the White House: the CIA leak investigation. Federal prosecutors want to know who, if anyone, inside the White House knowingly leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to Washington journalists. That's a crime. And lying about it is a crime too. That's what Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, has been charged with. He pled not guilty. The question: Will Dick Cheney testify? Expect this case to drag on. Top presidential advisor Karl Rove is still under investigation for his role in the leaks. Prosecutors have been mum about whether an indictment is forthcoming. Rove remains the President's political point man. And there's more."
Ex-Congressman Duke Cunningham, November 2: "I broke the law."
Borger: "Republican Duke Cunningham resigned after admitting he took bribes."
Congressman Bill Jefferson, January 13: "I've never required, demanded or accepted-"
Borger: "Democrat Bill Jefferson was the target in an FBI sting in which cash was found in his freezer. He says he's innocent. The President is likely to support lobbying reform in his State of the Union speech. No doubt, everyone will applaud [audio of applause]. Gloria Borger, CBS News, Washington."

CNN's Cafferty Frustrated Dems Not Capitalizing
on GOP Troubles

CNN's Jack Cafferty expressed frustration Monday over the fact that Democrats are not capitalizing over the unpopularity of Republicans and the scandals besetting the GOP. After citing Bush's low approval, on The Situation Room Cafferty expounded on "all the other stuff swirling around the Republicans: Tom DeLay under indictment; the Abramoff stuff; the Katrina scandal; spying on Americans without a warrant; the CIA leak investigation; the war in Iraq; the deficits; and on and on and on." He then marveled at the "mind-boggling" fact that a poll found higher approval for congressional Republicans than Democrats. Cafferty was befuddled: "More people have a disagreeable view of the Democrats, in spite of all that stuff I just talked about, than have a disagreeable view of the Republicans. When opportunity knocks, the Democrats can't even find the door, let alone answer it. Last week, their big idea was to call for a filibuster of the Alito nomination to the Supreme Court. That's just, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, and it ain't going to work. Here's the question: Why can't Democrats capitalize on all the Republican troubles?"

The MRC's Megan McCormack caught Cafferty's 4:15pm EST set up of his "Cafferty File" question of the hour on the January 30 Situation Room:
"The Republicans keep trying to give it to them. The Democrats don't want to take it. Going into his sixth year in office, President Bush's approval ratings are hovering at their lowest point of his presidency, down in the low 40's. President Clinton's approval rating was 68 percent entering his sixth year. President Reagan's was 65 percent. And it's not just President Bush. Look at all the other stuff swirling around the Republicans: Tom DeLay under indictment; the Abramoff stuff; the Katrina scandal; spying on Americans without a warrant; the CIA leak investigation; the war in Iraq; the deficits; and on and on and on.
"So where are the Democrats? Where are the Democrats? Look at these numbers. This is just mind-boggling. According to a poll taken by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg last week, only 36 percent of Americans have a favorable view of congressional Democrats. That's fewer than the 38 percent who say they have a favorable view of congressional Republicans. More people have a disagreeable view of the Democrats, in spite of all that stuff I just talked about, than have a disagreeable view of the Republicans. When opportunity knocks, the Democrats can't even find the door, let alone answer it. Last week, their big idea was to call for a filibuster of the Alito nomination to the Supreme Court. That's just, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, and it ain't going to work.
"Here's the question: Why can't Democrats capitalize on all the Republican troubles? You can e-mail us your thoughts, and, and I, I'm looking forward to reading some of this, CaffertyFile@CNN.com, or you go to CNN.com, slash Cafferty File. It's like getting in a fight on the schoolyard, and the guy you're going to fight comes out for the thing with his hands tied behind his back and his leg in a cast, and, and, and you say, well, I'm going to surrender to this guy, cause I just, I just don't think I can handle it."

Rather Frets Reporters Need "Spine,"
Then Avoids Memogate Topic

During an appearance last Thursday in Los Angeles, Dan Rather complained that journalists need to ask tougher questions: "American journalism needs a spine transplant and we need it quickly." FNC's Brit Hume noted Monday night, however, that "those remarks came during a Q&A session in which all the questions were pre-selected by the group's organizers and members of Rather's entourage. The LA Times reports that Rather was not asked about the discredited story on President Bush's National Guard Service that aired on 60 Minutes."

Hume's January 30 "Grapevine" item in full: "Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather argues that today's reporters are suffering from a lack of backbone, saying quote, 'American journalism needs a spine transplant and we need it quickly.' Rather added that the public should make its voice heard by asking leaders and publishers' tough questions. Those remarks came during a Q&A session in which all the questions were pre-selected by the group's organizers and members of Rather's entourage. The LA Times reports that Rather was not asked about the discredited story on President Bush's National Guard Service that aired on 60 Minutes."

An excerpt from the January 28 Los Angeles Times story, "Dan Rather reports...on himself: Fielding preselected audience questions, the former anchor analyzes today's news. Memogate emerges only obliquely," by Lynn Smith:

If there were any hard questions for Dan Rather, the former anchor and managing editor for CBS Evening News, they would have to wait.

In the golden glare of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Thursday night, a genial Rather outlined his views on what ails journalism and answered screened questions from a largely admiring audience at the Music Center Speaker Series' first lecture of its second season. He was scheduled to speak again Friday night.

What journalism needs, Rather told the audience, is more: more backbone in questioning powerful leaders, more facts (and less speculation), more money and time from publishers, and more international coverage. Journalists, he said, must recognize that they have a duty and reconnect with their role in a system of checks and balances. "American journalism needs a spine transplant and we need it quickly," he said.

Rather cited the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck," observing that CBS news legend Edward R. Murrow was fearless but "couldn't have done it without help from the top. Great journalism begins with a publisher who has guts."...

But he sidestepped the topic of Memogate....

He appeared pleased when, in a question-and-answer period, members of the audience, who like CBS viewers in general tended to skew older, told him how much they had admired him during his 44-year career at CBS. A speaker series producer and a member of Rather's entourage chose the questions from written submissions before the event began, said Dan Savage, managing director of SR Productions, which booked the event.

Obliquely referring to Rather's troubles, one member asked what role bloggers had played in his career. "Their influence was less than perceived," he said, equally obliquely. Some bloggers, he said, have found blogging to be "a good way to further a particular political agenda. It's not a crime," he said. But the public should recognize "there's a new opportunity here to manipulate public opinion."

Some in the audience wanted his opinion of Bush, to which he repeatedly responded that the president still has three more years to "turn around."...

END of Excerpt

For the LA Times article in full: www.calendarlive.com

-- Brent Baker