Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

CBS Cites Liberal Historians to Call Bush 'Worst President' Ever --1/13/2009


1. CBS Cites Liberal Historians to Call Bush 'Worst President' Ever
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Thalia Assuras examined President Bush's historical legacy and relied on two historians in her lengthy piece, both of whom labeled Bush one of the nation's worst Presidents. Douglas Brinkley declared: "I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American Presidents...As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment." Joseph Ellis contended: "I think that George Bush might very well be the worst President in American history...He's unusual. Most two-term Presidents have a mixed record...Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing." Following these Bush-bashing historical assessments, Assuras exclaimed: "And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history." The only positive assessments of Bush's legacy came from former Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and David Frum, not any historians who viewed Bush more positively.

2. CNN Highlights Pepsi and Ikea's Obama-Inspired Ad Campaigns
CNN correspondent Alina Cho devoted an entire report on Monday's American Morning program to how the Obama presidential run has served as an inspiration for ad campaigns by big corporations. Cho zeroed in on how the Pepsi logo and the Obama campaign logo were "strikingly similar," both using "swirls of red, white, and blue," despite the fact that Pepsi has used the color scheme since World War II. Cho introduced her report by heralding how "[c]hange is coming to Madison Avenue" and explained how Obama might be a model for advertising agencies: "Think about it -- Obama is a winning product and he won on the promise of hope. So now companies like Pepsi want to use the same message in their campaigns, but will it work?"

3. Washington, DC TV Anchors to Host an Obama Inaugural Ball
The night before the inauguration, Dave Hughes reported Saturday on his DCRTV.com blog, "Virginia's Inaugural Black Tie and Blue Dominion Ball" will be emceed by two anchors at Washington, DC's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate (WUSA-TV channel 9, which is running ads to sell tickets) while Del Waters, a veteran reporter/anchor until a few years ago for the local ABC affiliate (WJLA-TV channel 7), will produce the event. Amongst those scheduled to join "9 News Now" anchors JC Hayward and Lesli Foster at the National Air And Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport: Virginia Democratic Governor Tim Kaine as well as Democratic Congressman Jim Moran. As for whether Obama will make the trek out to the Virginia suburbs for the January 19 gala, Waters hoped: "Like all of Washington and Northern Virginia, we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will celebrate along with the 1.95 million Virginians who turned this once red state blue." The ball's home page shouts: "A Celebration of a Dream Fulfilled!"


CBS Cites Liberal Historians to Call
Bush 'Worst President' Ever

On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Thalia Assuras examined President Bush's historical legacy and relied on two historians in her lengthy piece, both of whom labeled Bush one of the nation's worst Presidents. Douglas Brinkley declared: "I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American Presidents...As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment." Joseph Ellis contended: "I think that George Bush might very well be the worst President in American history...He's unusual. Most two-term Presidents have a mixed record...Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing."

Following these Bush-bashing historical assessments, Assuras exclaimed: "And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history."

The only positive assessments of Bush's legacy in the January 11 report came from former Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and David Frum. No historians who viewed Bush positively were featured.

Near the end of the segment, Assuras wondered: "So is President Bush's current low rating among historians just liberal bias?" She quickly countered: "Douglas Brinkley doesn't think so." Brinkley explained: "When I'm sitting here telling you that Ronald Reagan and, you know, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were outstanding presidents, these are Republicans. I'm telling you, Ronald Reagan was one of the five greatest Presidents in American history. I'm not saying that because I'm a liberal. I'm just saying it because it's a fact. But you have to then accept when I'm telling you George Bush is one of the five worst presidents in American history, it's not because I want to stick it to him. He simply failed on the big questions of his day."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

In contrast to his opinion of Bush, Brinkley managed to find positive words for Jimmy Carter in his 2006 biography of the former President, entitled The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House. In the first chapter, Brinkley described Carter this way: "In fact, although his critics saw him as self-righteous, Carter was the most principled American President since Harry Truman -- and nowhere was his morality on clearer display than in his insistence that human rights be a cardinal principle of global governance." During the Sunday Morning story, Brinkley attacked Bush on the same issues: "I think President Bush was a good man so infuriated and angered by 9/11 that he put on his ideological blinders and forgot that we have other things we represent -- civil liberties here at home, a Constitution, global human rights. That he started disliking the world community, alienated allies for no reason."

While some may point to Bush preventing another terrorist attack after September 11th, in a 2006 New York Times editorial, Ellis saw the 9/11 attacks as a mere footnote in American history: "...it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency." In the CBS story, Ellis argued: "John Adams, the second president, said that there's one unforgivable sin that no president will ever be forgiven, and that is to put the country into an unnecessary war. I think that Iraq has proven to be an unnecessary war, and will appear to be more unnecessary as time goes on."

For Ellis's 2006 New York Times op-ed: www.mtholyoke.edu

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

9:01AM TEASE:
CHARLES OSGOOD: Although George W. Bush still has nine days to go as president, historians are already assessing the Bush legacy, comparing him to his predecessors. As Thalia Assuras will show us this morning, there is some disagreement about that.
THALIA ASSURAS: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt -- all are considered among America's greatest presidents. After eight years, how will George W. Bush fit in?
DAN BARTLETT: This was a man who met his moment, in many respects, as a leader.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American presidents. ASSURAS: Later on Sunday Morning, how the Bush presidency might look through the long lens of history.

9:32AM SEGMENT:
CHARLES OSGOOD: Just nine days to go now until Inauguration Day, and the transition of power. The Bush Administration will be history. How will history assess the Bush legacy? Thalia Assuras starts by looking back to his first inaugural eight years ago.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear-
WILLIAM REHNQUIST: That I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.
BUSH: That I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.
REHNQUIST: And will to the best of my ability-
BUSH: And will to the best of my ability.
THALIA ASSURAS: As always, it was a day for new beginnings.
BUSH: Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
REHNQUIST: So help me God.
BUSH: So help me God.
ASSURAS: On January 20th, 2001, George Walker Bush took the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States. His presidency and the future, a blank slate. That was before this.
[FOOTAGE OF 9/11]
BUSH: Terrorists attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.
ASSURAS: Before the Iraq war. Before Katrina swept ashore. Before the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In nine days, after eight turbulent years, George Bush will leave here and leave behind a radically different country and a changed world. And the wrangling will officially begin over the Bush legacy, how this presidency will be viewed through the long lens of history.
DAN BARTLETT [FORMER BUSH ADVISOR]: I think he'll be able to look himself in the mirror when he is done and say, 'I gave it my best. I made decisions based on principle.'
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY [HISTORIAN]: As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment.
DAVID FRUM [FORMER BUSH SPEECH WRITER]: In foreign policy, where he has taken so much criticism, I think the assessment of history will be surprisingly positive.
JOSEPH ELLIS [HISTORIAN]: I think that George Bush might very well be the worst president in American history.
ASSURAS: Because today's historians, including Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph Ellis, get to write the first draft, the Bush legacy seems to be in for a bumpy start.
ELLIS: He's unusual. Most two-term presidents have a mixed record. And -- Lyndon Johnson, one of the greatest achievements in 20th century was the civil rights legislation. On the other hand, the extraordinary tragedy of Vietnam. Even Richard Nixon opened the door to China, has foreign policy credentials. Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing.
ASSURAS: And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history.
ELLIS: John Adams, the second president, said that there's one unforgivable sin that no president will ever be forgiven, and that is to put the country into an unnecessary war. I think that Iraq has proven to be an unnecessary war, and will appear to be more unnecessary as time goes on.
ASSURAS: Is the Iraq war the defining component of his presidency?
BOB WOODWARD [WASHINGTON POST REPORTER]: Well, the Iraq war is the defining variable because it was his decision. No one has the illusion that a president is commander in chief of the economy. He is not. He is commander in chief of the military. And in the end, you wind up getting judged and held accountable for what you're in charge of.
ASSURAS: Reporter Bob Woodward has written four books on the Bush presidency.
WOODWARD: I've interviewed him for close to 11 hours. One of the questions I asked him was about how history would look at his Iraq war. And he rightly says we won't know, we'll all be dead. It may look very different in 50 years. Is there democracy, more stability? If that's the case, it's quite possible historians who are measuring that legacy will look back on it and say he did fine.
FRUM: When we look around the world, we see all sorts of quiet successes for the United States over the past eight years.
ASSURAS: David Frum is a former Bush speech writer, now with the American Enterprise Institute. Regardless of how Iraq turns out, he says, it's not the only issue on the table.
FRUM: We have this rising power of China, that has shown a lot of aggression. The Bush Administration has managed to avoid confrontation with China, to open the way to a peaceful and normal future for China. And where there have been new governments, from Japan, to South Korea, to Germany, to France, each change of power has brought to power a more friendly government to the United States.
BUSH: One size does not fit all when it comes to educating the children in America.
ASSURAS: On the domestic side, President Bush claims credit for the No Child Left Behind Act, the prescription drug benefit, and putting a conservative stamp on the federal courts. He's recognized for progress fighting AIDS in Africa. And just last week he set aside a huge tract of the Pacific as a protected wildlife area. Opinions vary on the impact of these and other programs, but the consensus is Bush's legacy will largely rest on one event: 9/11 and his response to the attacks.
BARTLETT: At the eye of the storm, he was a very calm person making very methodical decisions. This was a man who met his moment, in many respects, as a leader.
ASSURAS: Dan Bartlett, now a CBS News consultant, was President Bush's communications director and was with him during the attacks.
BUSH: Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud.
ASSURAS: Mr. Bush's greatest legacy, he believes, is that there have been no more attacks on US soil since 9/11.
BARTLETT: Which, at the time, was not something that was considered to be possible. Many people thought it was only inevitable that the terrorists who want to do harm to our country would be successful.
BRINKLEY: I think President Bush was a good man so infuriated and angered by 9/11 that he put on his ideological blinders and forgot that we have other things we represent -- civil liberties here at home, a Constitution, global human rights. That he started disliking the world community, alienated allies for no reason.
ASSURAS: Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, also a CBS consultant, sees 9/11 as a different kind of turning point.
BRINKLEY: But he put all the chips on Iraq, Took the entire agenda of a new century and pushed it all on -- played it on one number.
BUSH: My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended, in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
BRINKLEY: The presidents that operate with certainty can be great presidents. But you better be right. To be certain and be wrong is a disaster.
ASSURAS: There is a handful of presidents usually included in the top tier of historical rankings, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt. So where will George Bush fit in? Dan Bartlett believes the debate is still too tinged with partisan politics for any objective measure.
BARTLETT: And I think the politics of the moment -- and they've gotten very acrimonious -- will slowly fade, and then you can have a more dispassionate view of what did this person achieve. What did -- was he trying to do, and was that actually right? My sense is it's going to be a more favorable picture.
ASSURAS: So is President Bush's current low rating among historians just liberal bias? Rice University's Douglas Brinkley doesn't think so.
BRINKLEY: When I'm sitting here telling you that Ronald Reagan and, you know, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were outstanding presidents, these are Republicans. I'm telling you, Ronald Reagan was one of the five greatest presidents in American history. I'm not saying that because I'm a liberal. I'm just saying it because it's a fact. But you have to then accept when I'm telling you George Bush is one of the five worst presidents in American history, it's not because I want to stick it to him. He simply failed on the big questions of his day.
BUSH: I'm not going to be around to see the final history written on my administration. The truth is that history's verdict takes time to reveal itself.
WOODWARD: In his mind, he sees himself a little bit like Harry Truman or Abraham Lincoln. Misunderstood in their time. And, you know, we're going to have to go to another time to get a really solid historical judgment of that. And he's right when he says we'll all be dead. We won't know.

CNN Highlights Pepsi and Ikea's Obama-Inspired
Ad Campaigns

CNN correspondent Alina Cho devoted an entire report on Monday's American Morning program to how the Obama presidential run has served as an inspiration for ad campaigns by big corporations. Cho zeroed in on how the Pepsi logo and the Obama campaign logo were "strikingly similar," both using "swirls of red, white, and blue," despite the fact that Pepsi has used the color scheme since World War II.

Cho introduced her report by heralding how "[c]hange is coming to Madison Avenue" and explained how Obama might be a model for advertising agencies: "Think about it -- Obama is a winning product and he won on the promise of hope. So now companies like Pepsi want to use the same message in their campaigns, but will it work?"

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Monday afternoon with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The correspondent played a clip from an ad for the soft drink giant's new "Optimism Project," and asked, "Commercial or campaign message? It's all about optimism, with a logo that's all too familiar. But this has nothing to do with Barack Obama -- it's an ad for Pepsi." She also played clips from two advertising experts who highlighted the apparent sensibility of using hope as a tool to sell products.

At the end of the report, Cho predicted that this kind of pitch would have a short life span: "...[I]f you're dreading the thought of four more years of ads about hope and change blanketing the air waves, don't worry. It's not going to last. Branding experts say we as consumers have a very short attention span -- something else will come along, and, well, advertisers will start parroting that." Co-host John Roberts responded skeptically to Cho's observation about the Obama and Pepsi logos: "That Pepsi commercial -- were they really trying to copy the [Obama] logo?" The correspondent then admitted the obvious: "...[S]ure, they are both red, white and blue, but Pepsi's logo has always been red, white and blue."

The full transcript of Cho's report, which began 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Monday's American Morning:

JOHN ROBERTS: Everybody looking for a piece of the action right now -- more and more companies are thinking, yes, we can make a buck off of President-elect Barack Obama.
(CNN CAPTION: "Obama Bandwagon: Companies model ads after Obama's campaign")
KIRAN CHETRY: Yeah, from campaign logos to slogans, it appears nothing is off limits. CNN's Alina Cho is following this story for us this morning -- change that the advertisers can believe in, right?
ALINA CHO: That's right. Change is coming, guys. Good morning, everybody. Change is coming to Madison Avenue. Good morning, everybody. You know, we should be clear that we're not talking about those t-shirts, mugs, and pens -- products that showcase the likeness of Barack Obama. We're talking about subliminal advertising, or maybe it's not so subliminal. Think about it -- Obama is a winning product and he won on the promise of hope. So now companies like Pepsi want to use the same message in their campaigns, but will it work?
CHO (voice-over): Commercial or campaign message? It's all about optimism, with a logo that's all too familiar. But this has nothing to do with Barack Obama -- it's an ad for Pepsi.
LINDA KAPLAN THALER, CEO, THE KAPLAN THALER GROUP: I think it's different because there's such enormous hope and optimism in this country now for Obama, and I think people can't help but trying to sell their product in the same voice.
CHO: It's called the 'Pepsi Optimism Project,' or POP. And just like Obama's campaign, change is the message from Ikea. Starting Monday, it's showcasing a replica of the Oval Office, using Ikea furniture. Both Pepsi and Ikea tell CNN there's nothing political about their ads, but the Pepsi and Obama logos are strikingly similar. Both use swirls of red, white, and blue. So can you sell a product in the same way you sell a presidential candidate?
BARBARA LIPPERT, AD CRITIC, "ADWEEK": You wouldn't buy anything unless you had some hope, and they're not going to show a guy saying, 'my car is underwater, and my house, you know, mortgage is falling apart, but I want to have a Pepsi.' Unfortunately, a soda can really can't change your life or give you hope.
CHO: One area where Madison Avenue has learned from Pennsylvania Avenue is how to target an audience.
THALER: Obama's campaign did something absolutely brilliant and almost impossible. He captured the youth market. He went to the people who don't vote.
CHO (on-camera): And you say that goes against everything that advertising is about.
THALER:It goes against advertising 101.
CHO (voice-over): Like trying to sell a cookie to a person who's never tried one, it's just not done. But maybe change is coming.
CHO (on-camera): If we're talking about a country that is half Democrat and half Republican --
THALER: Oh, you know what? We're all behind the president, and on the day of the inauguration, everybody in this country is going to be rooting for this man.
CHO (on-camera): You know, if you're dreading the thought of four more years of ads about hope and change blanketing the air waves, don't worry. It's not going to last. Branding experts say we as consumers have a very short attention span -- something else will come along, and, well, advertisers will start parroting that. Also, remember, it's not such a stretch to advertise on the message of hope. I think you think about it, if you are buying a product guys, you are hopeful it will change your life in one way, shape, or form, and that Pepsi commercial -- that jingles -- makes you feel good, you know? It's catchy.
CHETRY: See that!
ROBERTS: That Pepsi commercial -- were they really trying to copy the logo?
CHO: Well, you know, it depends on who you ask really. I mean, to be truthful, those ad campaigns don't happen overnight, and some people say -- yeah sure, they are both red, white and blue, but Pepsi's logo has always been red, white and blue. Other people point out, well, the Pepsi logo looks a little like the Korean Air logo, too --
ROBERTS: Yeah, that's true -- different color blue though.
CHO: Which it is true. So, you know, it depends on who you like. The branding experts say, listen -- and the main thing is that advertisers need to have fun with it. They can't take themselves too seriously because they're clearly not selling the same message, like Ikea with the pop-up Oval Office. It's kind of fun -- $100 desk, just like the one in the Oval Office.
CHETRY: Exactly. Alina, thanks.
CHO: You bet.

Washington, DC TV Anchors to Host an
Obama Inaugural Ball

The night before the inauguration, Dave Hughes reported Saturday on his DCRTV.com blog, "Virginia's Inaugural Black Tie and Blue Dominion Ball" will be emceed by two anchors at Washington, DC's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate (WUSA-TV channel 9 which is airing ads to sell tickets) while Del Waters, a veteran reporter/anchor until a few years ago for the local ABC affiliate (WJLA-TV channel 7), will produce the event. Amongst those scheduled to join "9 News Now" anchors JC Hayward and Lesli Foster at the National Air And Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport: Virginia Democratic Governor Tim Kaine as well as Democratic Congressman Jim Moran.

The Commodores will provide musical entertainment and the Web site for the affair lists actress Jenna Elfman and astronaut Buzz Aldrin as among the "celebrity hosts." As for whether Obama will make the trek out to the Virginia suburbs for the January 19 gala, Waters hoped: "Like all of Washington and Northern Virginia, we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will celebrate along with the 1.95 million Virginians who turned this once red state blue."

The ball's home page shouts: "A Celebration of a Dream Fulfilled!" See: www.virginiainauguralball.com

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

The January 10 DCRTV.com item:

9's Hayward & Foster To MC Obama Ball - 1/10 - DCRTV hears that Channel 9/WUSA news anchors JC Hayward and Lesli Foster will be emceeing Virginia's Inaugural Black Tie And Blue Dominion Ball at the National Air And Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. The event will feature many of Virginia's Democratic politicos, including Governor Tim Kaine, former Governor Doug Wilder, and Representative Jim Moran, plus soul band the Commodores. No official word if Barack Obama will appear, says former Channel 7/WJLA news anchor Del Walters, who is executive producing the affair. "Like all of Washington and Northern Virginia, we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will celebrate along with the 1.95 million Virginians who turned this once red state blue," Walters adds. Channel 9 will be running promos for the ball. Tickets range from $150 to $1,000. More at virginiainauguralball.com.....

DCRTV: www.dcrtv.com

Foster's bio page: www.wusa9.com

Hayward's bio page: www.wusa9.com

-- Brent Baker