CBS Challenges Marine Recruit's Linking of 9/11 to Battle in Iraq --10/11/2005
2. MSNBC's Matthews Presumes Wilson the Victim, Rove the Wrongdoer
3. Hollywood Delusion: NY Times Could Endorse GOP Presidential Nod
4. "Top Ten Things Columbus Would Say About America If Alive Today"
After Monday's CBS Evening News showed a clip of a Marine recruit at Parris Island explaining that he volunteered because "I want to be fighting the evils that did what they did to us on September 11th," reporter Sharyn Alfonsi related how "all three of the recruits we sat down with say they enlisted because of September 11th." Alfonsi, however, couldn't let such an apparent link between 9/11 and the war in Iraq go unchallenged and so she quickly admonished the naive recruits as she stressed how "politicians will argue whether the war and 9/11 are related" -- though she added that "clearly here, to these recruits, the two are inseparable."
Alfonsi's clarification about 9/11 connections came in an otherwise very positive story about three Marine recruits and their disappointment that more Americans are not closely following the war. Her piece was the first of a new series, "CBS News Road Tour: The Home Front," which will take Alfonsi and her mini-van to Ft. Benning in Georgia on Tuesday.
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog: NewsBusters.org, Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias. To add your comments to the 15 posted so far, or to see a still shot of Laurello, go to: newsbusters.org ]
For the series, CBSNews.com has set up a "Daily Road Log" for Alfonsi in which readers learn that ten years ago Alfonsi visited Parris Island to see her Marine recruit brother. See: www.cbsnews.com
Sharyn Alfonsi, over the base sign and video of an obstacle course: "This is where Marines are made. First stop: The dreaded obstacle course. It's supposed to build strength, but it also tests character, often in inches and agony. It's where we met Michael Laurello, a scrappy 19-year-old who enlisted right out of high school."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews led Monday's Hardball by framing the Valerie Plame case around her husband Joe Wilson's spin on the case, despite inconsistencies in his claims and how a much more innocent explanation is equally plausible -- that White House officials just wanted to explain why such a publicity-seeking critic, who claimed he was on a mission for the Vice President, would have been sent to Niger to check out whether Iraq sought uranium. "If you don't think this leak case matters," Matthews intoned, "ask yourself what was the most frightening case you heard for going to war with Iraq? Probably it was that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium yellow cake in Africa to build nuclear weapons." Matthews insisted that "the Vice President repeated with military precision, almost like a Gatling gun. Saddam Hussein, nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein, nuclear weapons." Matthews declared: "But it wasn't true. There's no evidence even now that Saddam tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa." The British, however, maintain there is such evidence.
Matthews proceeded to provide the most nefarious interpretation of conversations between White House officials and journalists: "Did they try and kill the messenger? Did they use the enormous media power of the White House to discredit the ambassador, his mission and his wife at the CIA who suggested him for the mission? And in doing so, did they abuse the office and the power to which the President was elected? Did they break the law? Did they conspire to punish a critic of the war?"
That theme continued through a subsequent set-up story from David Shuster and the discussion Matthews then conducted with three guests: Newsweek's Howard Fineman, James Moore, co-author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential and Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff.
[This item was posted this morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comment, go to: newsbusters.org ]
As for Matthews' declarative conclusion that "there's no evidence even now that Saddam tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa," in fact, as the Washington Post's Walter Pincus reported on July 15, 2004, about Britain's Butler report: "Based on what was known in 2002, the Butler panel concluded that references in Britain's September 2002 dossier that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium in Africa and its repetition in Bush's State of the Union address in January 2003 were 'well founded.'" Pincus added: "David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, said in an interview that his group had discovered a memo in Iraq from Congolese officials offering to sell the Saddam Hussein government items including uranium."
Matthews mimicked the talking points of Wilson, though, as the Weekly Standard pointed out in July, "the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence thoroughly shredded [Joseph] Wilson's credibility," and the magazine contended that "almost every public pronouncement of Joe Wilson's from the spring of 2003 forward is either an exaggeration or a falsehood or both."
An excerpt from the July 25 Weekly Standard "Scrapbook" item:
....The essence of his tale was that he had selflessly gone to Niger and personally debunked reports that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium there to reconstitute its nuclear program. But his account didn't bear up under close scrutiny.
I. Wilson denied that his Feb. 2002 mission to Niger to investigate reports of an Iraqi uranium deal was suggested by his wife, who worked in the CIA's counterproliferation division. In fact, according to the bipartisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wilson's wife "offered up his name" at a staff meeting, then wrote a memo to her division's deputy chief saying her husband was the best man for the job.
II. Wilson insisted both that he had debunked reports of Iraqi interest in Niger's uranium and that Vice President Cheney, whose interest in the subject reputedly prompted Wilson's trip, had to have been informed of this. The Intelligence Committee found otherwise when it questioned Wilson under oath:
On at least two occasions [Wilson] admitted that he had no direct knowledge to support some of his claims....For example, when asked how he "knew" that the Intelligence Community had rejected the possibility of a Niger-Iraq uranium deal, as he wrote in his book, [Wilson] told Committee staff that his assertion may have involved "a little literary flair."
III. In the spring of 2003, after a purported "memorandum of agreement" between Iraq and Niger was shown to be a forgery, Wilson began to tell reporters, on background, that he'd known the documents were forgeries all along. But the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA (and Wilson) had been unaware of the documents until eight months after his trip. Moreover, it found that "no one believed" Wilson's trip "added a great deal of new information to the Iraq-Niger uranium story." It found that "for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger-Iraq uranium deal."
IV. Wilson's confidence that Cheney knew about his trip served as the basis for his accusation, passed along uncritically by the New Republic, that it "was a flat-out lie" for President Bush to have accused Saddam Hussein of trying to obtain uranium in Niger. He told Meet the Press interviewer Andrea Mitchell, "The office of the vice president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there."
The Intel Committee's findings: "Because CIA analysts did not believe that [Wilson's] report added any new information to clarify the issue...CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue."
As Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts concluded in the "Additional Views" section of his report: "The former ambassador, either by design or through ignorance, gave the American people and, for that matter, the world a version of events that was inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and misleading."...
END of Excerpt
That's posted in full at: www.weeklystandard.com
Only on fantasy television would anyone predict the New York Times would endorse a Republican presidential candidate, but that's what occurred on Sunday's episode of NBC's drama, The West Wing. On the October 9 show, the GOP nominee, California Senator "Arnie Vinick" (played by Alan Alda), lays out a series of proposals on immigration (such as doubling the border patrol), aimed to put his Hispanic Democratic opponent, Congressman "Matt Santos" (played by Jimmy Smits), in a box. In one scene, "Vinick" campaign advisor "Bruno Gianelli" (played by Ron Silver), a former campaign adviser to Democrats including the show's "President Bartlet," walks into a meeting and declares: "The New York Times loves your guest worker program. Think we might have a shot at an endorsement." At least another campaign staffer points out the naivete of the Democratic operative who has switched sides: "Kiss of death for a conservative." But another adds: "New York has 31 electoral votes."
Liberal commentator Lawrence O'Donnell serves as Executive Producer of the series and Sunday's episode also featured "Vinick," who is Hollywood's dream of a Republican who is "pro-choice," pro-minimum wage, environmentalist and anti-religious right, going on a rant against the head of the "American Christian Assembly." Vinick asserts: "Tell that lying little creep the United States Senate gets to advise and consent on judges, not the clergy."
[This item was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. To post a comment or to see a still shot of the Gianelli character: newsbusters.org ]
Sunday's show had the head of the "American Christian Assembly" telling Drudge that Vinick promised to appoint only pro-life judges, a pledge "Vinick" had made. Explaining it to his upset staff, "Vinick" admits: "I lied to a liar. Miserable little," Vinick's voice trails off as he slams a folder down and stands up: "He's what's wrong with this party. He's the problem, not me! Tell that lying little creep the United States Senate gets to advise and consent on judges, not the clergy. If his gang wants to have a say in picking judges, tell him to run for the Senate."
Then again, that attitude would excite the New York Times.
A Friday NewsBusters/Monday CyberAlert item, "Chris Matthews Attacks Republican from Left on NBC's 'West Wing' Too," recounted a small role for Matthews on Sunday's episode and featured an excerpt from an April 6 MRC CyberAlert article which detailed the liberal framework for the two presidential candidates on the show:
For that April 6 CyberAlert article in full: www.mrc.org
For the October 10 CyberAlert item on Sunday's episode: www.mediaresearch.org
From the October 10 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Columbus Would Say About America If He Were Alive Today." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "I discovered the New World, but who discovered these delicious Cinnabons?"
9. "Hey, my fo'shizzle thing finally caught on"
8. "Flu outbreaks, political chaos, vermin -- this place hasn't changed a bit"
7. "It's humbling to realize that because of me Americans are getting 20% off on a mattress"
6. "How did you come to choose the leader you call 'Oprah'?"
5. "It's nice to see Cher is still around"
4. "As a fellow man of sea, I join you in mourning the death of 'Gilligan'"
3. "The finest chefs in Italy can't compare to Olive Garden"
2. "I discovered the continent and the only thing named after me is a city in Ohio?"
1. "Those 'Desperate Housewives' babes are sluttier than Queen Isabella"
Howard Dean is scheduled to appear on Wednesday's Late Show and CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night.
-- Brent Baker