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Castigating GOP for Politics "Even Before Wellstone is Buried" -- 10/29/2002 CyberAlert


1.
Castigating GOP for Politics "Even Before Wellstone is Buried"
Minnesota Democrats applied political calculation in deciding upon the well-known Walter Mondale to replace the late Paul Wellstone, but when Republicans dared to do some polling and comment on Mondale's record Democrats howled with outrage matched only by CNN's Judy Woodruff. On Monday's Inside Politics she plugged an interview with Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid: "Up next, I will ask the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, if some Republicans in Minnesota are going on the attack even before Paul Wellstone is buried."

2. Like NBC, Time Magazine Links Bush to Sniper's Gun
"Even in the wake of the sniper slayings, Democrats are shying away from gun control," lamented a headline in Time magazine which bemoaned how Kathleen Townsend missed a chance presented by CNN to advocate gun control. Matching NBC's Tom Brokaw, Time also maintained "closeness" between gun-rights advocates and the White House "was underscored by the fact that the military-style gun used in the sniper attacks...was manufactured by a company owned by Richard Dyke, a Bush fundraiser."

3. Marveling at How Media Skip Sniper's Islamic Ties
The panel on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC marveled at how the media have refused to pursue John Muhammad's connections to the Nation of Islam and Muslim terrorism. "I'm just amazed at the way the media has avoided the whole issue of his Islamic connections and how deep they were," Morton Kondracke rued before Bill Sammon wondered: "Can you imagine if this guy had been a white male evangelical Christian who was some sort of a pro-life nut or something like that? They would have made his political connections the centerpiece of the story."

4. Nets Tag Another Shooter as "Gulf War Veteran"
Another shooting, another chance to blame military service. The networks and major newspapers preferred to identify John Muhammad as a "Gulf War veteran" than as a member of the Nation of Islam. And on Monday night CBS's Dan Rather and CNBC's Brian Williams described a shooter at the University of Arizona as "a Gulf War veteran."

5. Couric Pushes for Death Penalty
Like a conservative being a liberal who was mugged last night, the sniper case has created some sudden fans of applying the death penalty, even to a minor. NBC's Katie Couric expressed concerns about impediments in Maryland to applying the death penalty in general and how the 17-year-old John Lee Malvo should be tried in Virginia which allows the death penalty for minors.

6. Republican Ahead of Democrat on Race Astounds Stahl
Republicans are all racists and Democrats are all civil rights champions, aren't they? During a 60 Minutes piece on Strom Thurmond's legacy, when informed of how the Republican Thurmond hired a black person before any other South Carolina Democrat, Lesley Stahl was astounded: "No Democrat did it before he did?" When her interviewee confirmed, her mouth fell open in amazement.

7. Sarandon's Anti-War Rant
Actress Susan Sarandon was in full rant on Saturday at an anti-Bush/Iraq war rally organized by a bunch or far-left groups. She equated al-Qaeda with U.S. businesses: "Cloaked in patriotism and our doctrine of spreading democracy throughout the world, our fundamentalism is business." She claimed the war is "distracting American attention from Enron and Haliburton" and that Bush's "oil men" are "more interested in a financial bottom line than a moral bottom line."


Castigating GOP for Politics
"Even Before Wellstone is Buried"


Minnesota Democrats applied political calculation in deciding upon the well-known Walter Mondale as their best hope to hold that state's Senate seat after the death on Friday of incumbent Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, but when Republicans dared to do some polling and comment on Mondale's record national Democrats howled with outrage matched only by CNN's Judy Woodruff. On Monday's Inside Politics she plugged an interview with Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid: "Up next, I will ask the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, if some Republicans in Minnesota are going on the attack even before Paul Wellstone is buried."

CNN's on-screen graphic during the Reid interview: "GOPers Already Polling Coleman v. Mondale."

Woodruff did mildly challenge Reid with some questions, such as about how Republicans say "they're simply pointing out Walter Mondale's policy positions," but she never suggested any political motive by the Democrats in the first place in selecting Mondale as Reid repeatedly impugned Republicans with questions like: "Couldn't they wait until he's buried before they do their campaigning?" And: "Couldn't they wait til Paul is in the ground and his wife and his daughter?"
CNN's Judy Woodruff interviewing Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid

Woodruff also failed to press Reid about Democratic rumblings, before Wellstone is even buried, to have absentee votes for the Republican candidate not count since Wellstone votes won't be counted.

Woodruff anchored the October 28 Inside Politics from Minnesota and preceded the Reid interview with a session with Republican Senate candidate Norm Coleman. She prompted him to criticize Mondale: "By necessity, this election is a week away. So I mean, your campaign was having to shoot new television ads over the weekend, you've got the leaders of the state Republican Party already out there drawing contrast between you and Walter Mondale. They're saying you're younger, he's the past, you're the future."

When Coleman demurred from attacking Mondale, Woodruff pushed again: "Right now, other people are drawing those contrasts with Walter Mondale. Are you going to be drawing them after Tuesday night's memorial service?"

Woodruff asked about debates before recalling how Coleman was in high school when Mondale "was first appointed to the United States Senate" in 1964. Woodruff's last question: "Can you beat Walter Mondale?" Coleman replied: "I want to stay away from it right now, but do I want to win? Yes....It's just an election. We've got to deal with the loss of lives now. Let us do that. Let us do that. But in the end, will there be a vigorous debate? Will I work as hard as I can? Yes, I will..."

When the taped interview ended, back live Woodruff scolded Republicans: "Up next, I will ask the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, if some Republicans in Minnesota are going on the attack even before Paul Wellstone is buried."

With "GOPers Already Polling Coleman v. Mondale" on screen during most of the interview, CNN found Reid in Las Vegas. Woodruff introduced the Nevada Senator:
"Well as Democrats and others in the Senate think about replacing Paul Wellstone, and they know also that they not only have to deal with his loss, they also have to come up with another candidate to take his place on the ballot. With me now, someone that knew Wellstone very well, has been thinking about this. He is the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, the Senate Majority Whip from Nevada, Harry Reid. Senator Reid, I don't know if you were able to hear the interview I just did with Norm Coleman, but he essentially deplores any negative tone. He said his druthers would be that nobody would be saying anything critical, nobody would be drawing any contrast right now. And yet, some Democrats seem to be upset. What's the truth here?"

Reid insisted: "Judy, Mr. Coleman is campaigning and that's why he's on your program. And he may not be launching his usual missiles against we Democrats, but he had, of course, Newt Gingrich was on Meet the Press over the weekend, badmouthing Vice President Mondale. All the surrogates have been out recognizing that because of the death of Paul Wellstone there may be an opening there. I'm very disappointed in what's happened since Paul's death. Not only because of the loss of a wonderful human being, but couldn't they wait until he's buried before they do their campaigning? Couldn't they have kept Newt Gingrich off television bashing Vice President Mondale until after the funeral?"

Blame Tim Russert for that one. He invited on Gingrich and James Carville and asked them about the Minnesota Senate race.

Woodruff gently pointed out: "Well, the Republicans say, Senator Reid, that all they're doing id that they're simply pointing out Walter Mondale's policy positions. That he chaired this commission last year that came out with a report recommending the privatization of Social Security."
Reid complained: "But my point is couldn't they wait til Paul is in the ground and his wife and his daughter?..."

Woodruff's last question: "Republicans are also pointing to this polling that they've done over the weekend showing Mondale and Coleman virtually even, Mr. Mondale up just two points. I mean, they're saying Fritz Mondale is not a shoo-in here."
Reid impugned his opponents: "I don't think anyone says that he's a shoo-in. I think the people of Minnesota will decide that and not the National Republican Party who are conducting polls while they're gathering the bodies out of the woods in Minnesota. This is really about as much as I have ever seen before, Judy. I mean, couldn't they keep their polls quiet until after the man is buried? I just think this is so -- this is classless....I mean, let's let the memory of Paul Wellstone be with us until he's buried in the ground, not have polls as to who is strong in this area and not so strong in this area. The people of Minnesota are going to have to decide who they want to represent them in the United States Senate, whether they want someone who has the legacy of a Hubert Humphrey and a Paul Wellstone or whether they want somebody that is conducting polls while somebody is taken out of the woods, having been killed in a plane crash."

Like NBC, Time Magazine Links Bush
to Sniper's Gun


What CyberAlert identified as instances of liberal media last week, this week's Time magazine cited as a missed opportunity for a liberal Democrat and a biased angle to be endorsed.

Thursday's CyberAlert detailed how CNN's Judy Woodruff empathized with Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the wake of the sniper shootings: "Everyone is aware of your family background, the fact that your father was assassinated by someone using a gun. What does it mean to you personally, this issue of guns and the availability?" And: "How important is this to you, I mean, to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend the person, not the public figure?" For more: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021024.asp#1

Friday's CyberAlert noted how on the October 24 NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw linked the sniper murders to George W. Bush: "The President of Bushmaster Firearms was the source of some controversy in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election. Richard Dyke was finance chairman for the state of Maine for George W. Bush's campaign back in 1999. He resigned after reporters pressed him on his company's use of loopholes to sidestep the 1994 federal ban on assault rifles. And in his words, 'because he didn't want the anti-gun people making an issue out of it all.'" That's online at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021025.asp#4

The MRC's Rich Noyes noticed both subjects were featured in an article in the November 4 Time which hit Democrats from the left for not being more aggressive on gun control, a story headlined: "Even in the wake of the sniper slayings, Democrats are shying away from gun control."

Washington, DC-based correspondents Karen Tumulty and Viveca Novak lamented Kennedy Townsend's missed opportunity presented by CNN as they began their polemic in the guise of a news story:
"If there was ever to be a convergence of moment and messenger for tough gun control, it might have come on the day last week when the sniper killed his final victim. It was then that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, whose family has twice been devastated by guns and who is locked in a tight race to govern the state where six of the 10 sniper murders took place, was invited by CNN to say something on the subject. The lieutenant governor of Maryland chose her words carefully, never once uttering 'gun control,' but referring instead to her support for 'commonsense gun laws.' Townsend's only new firearm proposal has been an incremental one, extending Maryland's handgun ballistics-fingerprinting system to assault weapons and semiautomatic rifles."

Later, Tumulty and Novak claimed the "closeness" between gun-rights advocates and the White House "was underscored by the fact that the military-style gun used in the sniper attacks... was manufactured by a company owned by Richard Dyke, a Bush fund raiser."

The Time paragraph in full: "Meanwhile, gun-rights advocates have been emboldened by an Administration that is sympathetic to their cause. The closeness was underscored by the fact that the military-style gun used in the sniper attacks -- named, unfortunately for the White House, Bushmaster XM15 -- was manufactured by a company owned by Richard Dyke, a Bush fund raiser. Dyke, who briefly headed George W. Bush's 2000 fund-raising operation in Maine, had to give up that job when a controversy erupted over the fact that his firm makes assault weapons; Dyke said he wanted to avoid attracting bad publicity to the candidate."

The Time story is online at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,384812,00.html

I'm waiting for the first national media outlet to connect liberal Democrats to the sniper murders, which they should given the reasoning of NBC News and Time magazine in linking Bush through a fundraiser who owns a gun manufacturer. The connection for liberals: UAW members made the Chevrolet Caprice used by the snipers and the UAW is a big contributor to Democrats.

Marveling at How Media Skip Sniper's
Islamic Ties


FNC's panel on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume marveled at how the news media have refused to pursue John Muhammad's connections to the Nation of Islam and Muslim terrorism. "I'm just amazed at the way the media has avoided the whole issue of his Islamic connections and how deep they were," Morton Kondracke lamented before Bill Sammon wondered: "Can you imagine if this guy had been a white male evangelical Christian who was some sort of a pro-life nut or something like that? They would have made his political connections the centerpiece of the story."

MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down the discussion on the October 28 Special Report with Brit Hume:

Morton Kondracke of Roll Call: "It's what we don't know that's the most interesting. I mean, there have been reports out of Bellingham, Washington, that various people thought, the head of a homeless shelter where he stayed saw him flying around the country and actually raised questions with the FBI as to whether he wasn't a terrorist or not, which the Bellingham paper has reported. I'm just amazed at the way the media has avoided the whole issue of his Islamic connections and how deep they were and all that. You'd think that everybody would be all over this story...."

The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes suggested hints of a terrorist lifestyle: "He was using the named John Paul Muhammad before that but then officially did change his name [in April of 2001]. The reports from, in various newspapers in the Pacific Northwest say his friends were all Muslims, those were the people, he was very devout. They also, some people say he talked about terrorism a lot, and committing terrorist acts. There was a young woman, a singer, who said, you know, one of the things he also did, every now and then he'd flash large amounts of money that he had, and she thought he was a dangerous figure. And there are many, many other sides. How could he fly around the country? You know, that man at the homeless shelter was amazed a travel agent would call up with his-"
Hume: "He was living at a homeless shelter and-"
Barnes: "Was calling up with his itinerary for flying around the country, and that's expensive."
Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon: "And yet despite all these things, the media tiptoes around these issues."
Barnes: "Very much so."
Sammon proposed: "Can you imagine if this guy had been a white male evangelical Christian who was some sort of a pro-life nut or something like that. They would have made his political connections the centerpiece of the story. But because this guy is an African-American Muslim, everybody sort of tiptoes around that. I think it shows a clear double standard in the press. In fact, let me read something real quick here, this is Society of Professional Journalists issued this after September 11th: 'When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacists, radical anti-abortionists, and other groups with a history of such activity. But avoid using word combinations such as 'Islamic terrorists' or 'Muslim extremists' that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity.' I think that sums up, that's the Society of Professional Journalists."

Indeed, the October 29, 2001 CyberAlert, hey that's a year ago today, looked at the then new SPJ guidelines: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011029.asp#4

The page detailing the "Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling" is online at: http://www.spj.org/diversity_profiling.asp

Sometime in the last year it appears that SPJ modified them and removed the white supremacist suggestion quoted by Sammon.

Nets Tag Another Shooter as
"Gulf War Veteran"


Another shooting, another chance to blame military service. As exhaustively detailed in the past two CyberAlerts, the networks and major newspapers preferred to identify arrested sniper John Muhammad as a "Gulf War veteran" than as a member of the Nation of Islam. And on Monday night, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed, both CBS and CNBC described another multi-murderer as "a Gulf War veteran."

The case: A man in Arizona who shot three nursing professors at the University of Arizona. On the October 28 CBS evening News, Dan Rather asserted: "The gunman had worked for the Veteran's Administration health program and was himself a veteran of the Gulf War."

Reporter Sandra Hughes soon added: "The gunman was identified by university officials as 40-year-old Robert Stewart Flores, a divorced father of two and Gulf War veteran."

Over on CNBC's The News with Brian Williams the anchor of the same name announced: "The gunman was identified as a Gulf War veteran who was enrolled in the school and apparently flunking out of the nursing program there."

Couric Pushes for Death Penalty


In the vein of the old joke that a conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night, the sniper case has created some sudden fans of applying the death penalty to murderers, even to a minor.

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed Today co-host Katie Couric's concerns about impediments in Maryland to applying the death penalty in general and how the 17-year-old John Lee Malvo should be tried in Virginia which, unlike Maryland, allows the death penalty for minors.

Some of Couric's questions on the October 28 Today to Montgomery County, Maryland state's attorney Douglas Gansler:

-- "I guess the big question is Mr. Gansler, is you're seeking the death penalty but there are several obstacles in the state of Maryland. For example under state law Lee John or John Lee Malvo, Lee John Malvo would not be eligible for the death penalty because he's just 17-years-old. That's not the case in the state of Virginia. So why not acquiesce to Virginia officials and let them try him there?"

-- "Let me ask you though about a couple of other obstacles that exist. The state of Maryland right now has a moratorium on executions so even if they are convicted and sentenced to death isn't it possible that, that a death penalty would never be carried out in your state?"

-- "And one of the things that you must prove in the state of Maryland, apparently, is that the defendants committed quote, 'more than one first degree murder arising out of the same incident. In other words there were multiple murders in a single incident. Considering the fact that these murders were committed and several different locations not exactly at the same time how problematic will that be?"

Republican Ahead of Democrat on
Race Astounds Stahl


Republicans are all racists and Democrats are all civil rights champions, aren't they? When Senator Strom Thurmond switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party in 1964, Southern Democrats were virtually all segregationists, yet the fact that Thurmond was the first Senator or House member from South Carolina to hire a black staffer astounded CBS's Lesley Stahl.

During a 60 Minutes piece on Thurmond's legacy and the effort by Republican Lindsay Graham and Democrat Alex Sanders to succeed him, when informed of how the Republican Thurmond hired a black person before any Democrat did, Stahl acted shocked: "No Democrat did it before he did?" When her interviewee confirmed, Stahl's mouth fell open in astonishment.

During the October 27 60 Minutes piece Stahl recalled how he foreshadowed a new racial split: "Thurmond did more than merely outlive his peers; he showed Southern politicians how to survive. For his first 60 years he was a Democrat. But as his party began to champion civil rights he jumped ship in 1964."

Stahl elaborated: "He was the one who started the South's shift from solidly Democratic to reliably Republican. But as segregation broke down, Thurmond moderated his positions on race just enough to win."
South Carolina Democratic veteran operative Don Fowler: "Well, when it became clear that segregation was going to be illegal it became clear that the society was going to change. And he was the first member of the South Carolina delegation to hire a black person to his staff. The first."
Stahl, shaking her head: "No Democrat did it before he did?"
Fowler: "No, he did it before the Democrats. [When Fowler confirmed, Stahl's mouth fell open in astonishment as her head reared back] "He could sense things like that and he would get out in front of them."

Of course, given the editing of back and forth shots of Stahl and Fowler and how CBS probably only had one camera, Stahl's amazement may have been more acting than reality -- or it could have been her re-creating how she really had reacted to Fowler's revelation.

Sarandon's Anti-War Rant


Actress Susan Sarandon was in full rant on Saturday as the opening speaker at an anti-Bush/Iraq war rally organized by a bunch or far-left and pro-communist groups, some of whose names, like the Nicaragua Network, haven't been heard since the 1980s.

Sarandon equated al-Qaeda with U.S. businesses: "Let us find a way to resist fundamentalism that leads to violence. Fundamentalism of all kinds, in al-Qaeda and within our government. And what is our fundamentalism? Cloaked in patriotism and our doctrine of spreading democracy throughout the world, our fundamentalism is business."

She called the war a big distraction: "This is about business, the business of distracting American attention from Enron and Haliburton, the financial scandals that directly connect this administration to the heart of what is now wrong with the American economy."

And she castigated the "oil men" who are setting policy: "Oil men more interested in a financial bottom line than a moral bottom line. Oil men ready to expand their influence with new contracts on the soil our bombers have plowed."

Oh, and she also urged: "Let us resist this war and our impending oil war in Colombia."

The October 26 protest rally on Washington, DC's Mall near the Capitol, which C-SPAN broadcast, was organized by VoteNoWar.org, "a project of International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), a national network of tens of thousands of individuals and groups who believe that money should be spent on jobs, health care, schools, child care and human needs and not on war."

The VoteNoWar.org Web site lists amongst A.N.S.W.E.R.'s national steering committee some very far-out outfits: Free Palestine Alliance, International Action Center, Korea Truth Commission, Mexico Solidarity Network and the Nicaragua Network. Some of the equally far-left groups and persons which endorsed the march: The National Lawyers Guild, Ramsey Clark, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Global Exchange, convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, Black Voices for Peace and Greens/Green Party USA.

You can see both lists in full at: http://www.votenowar.org/

MRC analyst Patrick Gregory transcribed all of Sarandon's speech:
"I am here today as a mother. A mother who is frightened for my children, who is frightened for your children, and who is frightened for the children of Iraq. A mother who knows that violence escalates violence, that terrorism has never successfully been fought this way, and in fact we have just now been told by George Tenet, Director of the CIA, that despite this very violent campaign in Afghanistan, that we are now, the risk of terror attack inside the United States is as grave as the summer before the 11th.
"I am here to ask questions that have not been answered. How will the bombing of Baghdad, a city of five million, accomplish a regime change? How much will that bombing cost in lives, and in money? And change to what? To who? How much will it cost us to maintain stability in that region, and for how long? And what about our relationship with our allies, our allies who are not with us? What about our relationship with the UN?
"I am here because I am tired of being frightened to speak out. We have been told that 'you are either with us or against us,' that to ask a question is anti-American, divisive. Mr. Bush you have hijacked our pain, our loss, our fear, and you have convinced many that to fight preemptively is the only way to protect our democracy. I say to you Mr. Bush, this is what democracy looks like.
"Let us find a way to resist fundamentalism that leads to violence. Fundamentalism of all kinds, in al Qaeda and within our government. And what is our fundamentalism? Cloaked in patriotism and our doctrine of spreading democracy throughout the world, our fundamentalism is business, the unfettered spread of our economic interests throughout the globe. Our resistance to this war should be our resistance to profit at the cost of human life. Because that is what these drums over Iraq are really about. This is about business, the business of distracting American attention from Enron and Haliburton, the financial scandals that directly connect this administration to the heart of what is now wrong with the American economy. These scandals have disappeared from the front pages of our newspapers as we argue about this war.
"In the name of fear and fighting terror we are giving the reigns of power to oil men looking for distraction from their disastrous economic performance. Oil men more interested in a financial bottom line than a moral bottom line. Oil men ready to expand their influence with new contracts on the soil our bombers have plowed. New contracts forged with governments that do not allow democracy on their soil for fear of losing control over the oil that governs their lives, that governs our lives. The majority in America knows this. A dormant majority in America waits with anticipation for the politician that will stand in front of the American people in defiance of the oil companies, and advocate alternative energy as a way to extricate ourselves from this culture of violence that threatens our future.
"Let us resist this war and our impending oil war in Colombia. Let us resist fundamentalism in all its guises. Let us hate war in all its forms whether its weapon is a US missile or its weapon is a domestic airplane. Dialogue, dialogue is the opposite of war. Dialogue makes peace possible. We are here today in dialogue, to ask for a solution that comes from a place that values human life, that respects the rights of people everywhere. We are here to encourage non-partisan courage. We are here to take democracy back!"

"Bi-partisan courage!" How inspiring.

For Sarandon's movie roles and a picture of her, check her Internet Movie Database page: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Sarandon,+Susan -- Brent Baker


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