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CBS Exploits Imus to Depict Blacks as Economic Inequality Victims --4/11/2007


1. CBS Exploits Imus to Depict Blacks as Economic Inequality Victims
ABC, CBS and NBC led Tuesday night with two stories each about the Don Imus racist-insult controversy, but only the CBS Evening News exploited Imus's "nappy-headed ho's" racial insult, directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team, as an opportunity to portray all African-Americans as economic "victims" of an unfair U.S. society. Reporter Richard Schlesinger highlighted over matching graphics: "The latest Census figures show the median income for African-American households is almost $20,000 less than white households. Whites are about twice as likely than blacks to get a college degree, and the Justice Department says blacks are five times more likely than whites to go to jail." Later in his piece framed around victimology, as if African-Americans have no control over their destiny, Schlesinger showcased Susan Taylor of Essence magazine who, Schlesinger explained, contends that "to describe black women in Imus' terms...ignores generations of suffering that has been left to African-Americans today." Taylor used the Imus incident to bring up slavery: "If you think about black women being auctioned off on an auction block naked, standing before the crowds, bidding on them, all that is race memory."

2. Black Journalist Group Wants Imus Canned, But Welcomed Sharpton
Are people who applaud black ministers of hate really in the best position to demand that others be fired for racial insensitivity? The National Association of Black Journalists is one of the primary groups demanding the ouster of Don Imus for his ridiculous "nappy-headed hos" remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team. NABJ leader Bryan Monroe was present for Al Sharpton's radio show, and the group is promoting the fireworks on their site. But the NABJ can't proclaim they're a force for racial harmony and understanding when they gave Al Sharpton a platform at last year's NABJ convention. Not only that, but at the NABJ convention on August 21, 1996, the group drew headlines for welcoming Rev. Louis Farrakhan (of Judaism is a "gutter religion" fame) to denounce them as scared-to-death slaves of Whitey.

3. NBC's Gregory Hits Sharpton on Brawley, Lauer Barely Touches
On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, substitute host David Gregory repeatedly pressed civil rights activist and Reverend Al Sharpton over his double standard in condemning Don Imus's racist comments while refusing to apologize for his own role in the Tawana Brawley false rape accusations against white men, including a prosecutor. Gregory challenged him: "You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that." By contrast, during Tuesday morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer only vaguely referred to Sharpton's racist past without filling in viewers on any of the horrific details. Neither Gregory nor Lauer raised details of how Sharpton on two occasions incited anti-Semitic protests in New York City which led to stabbings, shootings and arson resulting in the murders of eight people.

4. Profiling Sharpton, NY Times Ignores His Incendiary Record
New York Times reporter Manny Fernandez attended one of the Rev. Al Sharpton's weekly "action rallies" at his Harlem headquarters ("Meetings Are Part Revival, Part Rally, but All Sharpton") for Sunday's edition -- convenient timing, given that disgraced radio host Don Imus would be appearing on Sharpton's radio show the next day to apologize for his "nappy-headed hos" comment denigrating the Rutgers University womens' basketball team. Fernandez, for whatever reason, apparently didn't interview the great man himself. Still, Sharpton was on safe territory, given that the paper has rarely if ever challenged him on his past hateful statements and actions, which include spreading the incendiary Tawana Brawley hoax. In 1987, Sharpton insisted that the black teenager was raped by a group of white men, including prosecutor Steve Pagones. The Brawley case fell apart, and Pagones eventually won a huge settlement against Sharpton for defamation. Predictably, none of that history showed up in the Metro section story.

5. For All the Fury, Imus Not Popular: Last on Cable, 20th Talker
Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the "nappy-headed hos" racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team, is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show. And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. "Putting things in perspective," Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, "despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive." Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus.

6. Sawyer to Soldier: Do You Wonder If You Can't Stand Another Day?
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer reported on the second day of her tour of Afghanistan. Unlike previous trips to Syria and Iran, the anchor had no dictator to coddle. She did, however, have time to ask somewhat bewildering questions to members of the United States military. Speaking to one soldier who just had his tour extended, Sawyer wondered if the young man ever felt like just giving up: "How do you make it through 15 months out here? I mean'€"" The unnamed soldier replied: "Well, it's just one of those things. I mean, we, we have a job to do." Sawyer persisted: "How many times a month do you say, I don't know that I can do another month of this? A day?" The soldier rejected her premise: "No, I don't, it doesn't ever occur to me that way. Pretty much everyone, we're not excited that we got extended by any means, I mean, but we realize there's a job to do."


CBS Exploits Imus to Depict Blacks as
Economic Inequality Victims

ABC, CBS and NBC led Tuesday night with two stories each about the Don Imus racist-insult controversy, but only the CBS Evening News exploited Imus's "nappy-headed hos" racial insult, directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team, as an opportunity to portray all African-Americans as economic "victims" of an unfair U.S. society. Reporter Richard Schlesinger highlighted Democratic U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Detroit: "We're always the last hired, the first fired. We're always the one, we have the highest crime, the worst schools. It's unfortunate in the richest nation in the world, but those are the facts of reality." Schlesinger elaborated, over matching graphics: "Here's part of what Congresswoman Kilpatrick is talking about. The latest Census figures show the median income for African-American households is almost $20,000 less than white households. Whites are about twice as likely than blacks to get a college degree, and the Justice Department says blacks are five times more likely than whites to go to jail."

Later in his piece framed around victimology, as if African-Americans have no control over their destiny, Schlesinger showcased Susan Taylor of Essence magazine who, Schlesinger explained, contends that "to describe black women in Imus' terms...ignores generations of suffering that has been left to African-Americans today." Taylor used the Imus incident to bring up slavery: "If you think about black women being auctioned off on an auction block naked, standing before the crowds, bidding on them, all that is race memory."

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

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the April 10 CBS Evening News story:

Anchor Katie Couric: "Don Imus is a big money maker, bringing in hundreds of millions of advertising dollars every year with his radio show. And as financially appealing as he may be, he has a history of hurling insults at people because of their ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. But he has never had to face this kind of reaction. We continue with Richard Schlesinger."

Richard Schlesinger: "The Rutgers players now find themselves part of history, but not the part they probably wanted -- not as victors but as victims of what a chorus of millions considers the latest display of racism."
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI): "We're always the last hired, the first fired. We're always the one, we have the highest crime, the worst schools. It's unfortunate in the richest nation in the world, but those are the facts of reality."
Schlesinger: "Here's part of what Congresswoman Kilpatrick is talking about. The latest Census figures show the median income for African-American households is almost $20,000 less than white households. Whites are about twice as likely than blacks to get a college degree, and the Justice Department says blacks are five times more likely than whites to go to jail."
Kilpatrick: "Are we sensitive? You bet we are. We want good schools. We want opportunities and access to cash. We want advertising to depict who we really are."
Schlesinger: "Observers, both white and black, think Imus' comment was especially stinging because of its timing, when young players should have been celebrating an extraordinary season."
Sally Jenkins, Washington Post columnist: "They were great kids, knocking down great shots all over the the court, and it just was the furthest thing from anybody's mind."
Schlesinger: "Well, not from anybody's mind."
Jenkins: "Well, not from anybody's mind, but-"
Schlesinger: "Sally Jenkins is a sports columnist for the Washington Post."
Jenkins: "You imagine in sports that the winner's circle is gender-less and colorless, and they got disabused of that notion rather abruptly."
Schlesinger: "And the insult was taken personally by more people than just the members of the basketball team."
Jenkins: "I think it was more than racist and sexist. It really, it really touched a nerve."
Schlesinger: "Susan Taylor is the editorial director of Essence magazine."
Susan Taylor, Essence magazine: "If you think about black women being auctioned off on an auction block naked, standing before the crowds, bidding on them, all that is race memory."
Schlesinger, over black and white video of hoses being used on blacks, presumably in the 1960s in the South: "And to describe black women in Imus' terms, says Taylor, ignores generations of suffering that has been left to African-Americans today."
Taylor: "There's really a lot of ignorance about our history and our culture, and certainly our feelings."
Essence Carson, Rutgers University basketball team member: "There's no more hurt than being hurt in a public eye in front of millions of viewers, listeners, and even readers."
Schlesinger: "So if Imus does meet with the Rutgers players, there could well be a curious role reversal. Young women in their teens and early 20s could hold to account a man in his 60s, and those ten students could well become teachers."

Black Journalist Group Wants Imus Canned,
But Welcomed Sharpton

Are people who applaud black ministers of hate really in the best position to demand that others be fired for racial insensitivity? The National Association of Black Journalists is one of the primary groups demanding the ouster of Don Imus for his ridiculous "nappy-headed hos" remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team. NABJ leader Bryan Monroe was present for Al Sharpton's radio show, and the group is promoting the fireworks on their site: www.nabj.org

But the NABJ can't proclaim they're a force for racial harmony and understanding when they gave Al Sharpton a platform at last year's NABJ convention. Not only that, but at the NABJ convention on August 21, 1996, the group drew headlines for welcoming Rev. Louis Farrakhan (of Judaism is a "gutter religion" fame) to denounce them as scared-to-death slaves of Whitey: nabjconvention.org

And: findarticles.com

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

Farrakhan laid into the group with a fury that he usually reserved for the Anti-Defamation League. "White folks did not hire you to really represent what black people are thinking, and you don't really tell them what you think because you are too afraid," said Farrakhan according to the Chicago Tribune. "A scared-to-death Negro is a slave, you slave writers."

Liberal columnist Clarence Page was disgusted at the standing ovation that followed: "Nobody ever went broke bashing the media and Farrakhan is no exception. After that sound thrashing, at least a few black journalists felt sufficiently intimidated or enthralled to leap to their feet in a standing ovation. If this was an audience of slaves, some of my colleagues appeared to be remarkably eager to leap from the white man's plantation to Farrakhan's."

The Baltimore Sun account of the speech added this delusional passage about his meetings with dictators between standing ovations: "U.S. officials assailed Farrakhan for meeting on his 35-day trip in January and February with anti-American Arab leaders such as Libya's Col. Muammar el Kadafi and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Farrakhan told the black journalists meeting here yesterday that the journey was 'the greatest trip ever made by any black man in the history of America, but white folk will not tell the story.'"

NBC's Gregory Hits Sharpton on Brawley,
Lauer Barely Touches

On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, substitute host David Gregory repeatedly pressed civil rights activist and Reverend Al Sharpton over his double standard in condemning Don Imus's racist comments while refusing to apologize for his own role in the Tawana Brawley false rape accusations against white men, including a prosecutor. Gregory challenged him: "You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."

By contrast, during Tuesday morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer only vaguely referred to Sharpton's racist past without filling in viewers on any of the horrific details: "You've been around a long time, and you have also, by the way, been the subject of controversy and criticism over the years from various groups. You're also a minister, and in that role you preach the teachings of the Bible. And one of the teachings in the Bible is forgiveness. How does forgiveness apply to Don Imus?" Neither Gregory nor Lauer raised details of how Sharpton on two occasions incited anti-Semitic protests in New York City which led to stabbings, shootings and arson resulting in the murders of eight people. For details, see Jeff Jacoby's 2003 rundown of Sharpton's record: www.capmag.com

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

As Gregory hosted MSNBC's April 10 Hardball, he pressed Sharpton's apparent lack of forgiveness toward Imus after the talk radio host's apology. The MSNBC host asked Sharpton about his views on redemption: "Let me ask you a question based on your standing in the community, as a politician, as a former candidate for the presidency. Do you believe in redemption?"

After Sharpton contended that he did believe in redemption and argued that he had forgiven a man who had once stabbed him, Gregory moved to point out the civil rights activist's hypocrisy, evoking agitation in Sharpton as Gregory pressed him on the subject: "But in your case, as critics would point out, you didn't go as far as Imus in a controversy that had to do with you and the Tawana Brawley case, a woman who a court-"
Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"
Gregory: "I'm sorry, if I could, sir, could I just-"
Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"
Gregory: "I just want to finish the question. You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."
Sharpton: "And I still don't apologize. This was a case, as you said, of a young lady accusing people of doing something [to] her. To compare that to a man castigating a whole race. Nobody came to him like this young lady came to me. He was not talking about did he believe in a case. The extremes people will go to compare an individual case, a civil case that, when the courts ruled-"
Gregory: "Right. I'm not, but, Reverend, I'm not comparing the cases. I just want to ask the question."
Sharpton: "Wait a minute, you wanted me to let you ask it. Let me answer it."
Gregory: "Okay."
Sharpton: "And to compare that shows how far people will reach. This man was not talking about a specific case that was information somebody gave him, whether you believe the information or not. This man was talking about a race of people and a sex of people. There is absolutely no comparison. And when the courts ruled against us, we paid that. That case happened 20 years ago. We're not talking about that. What you're talking about is maligning a race and him not having to pay for it."
Gregory: "Well, I'm not talking about that. The question has to do with redemption-"
Sharpton: "Oh, I thought you were the one talking. Maybe somebody else-"
Gregory: "No, I don't think that's fair to talk about that. I'm talking about amnesty. I'm asking a question about your belief in redemption and people whose reputations you hurt, people that you hurt, you haven't apologized for, and you have been a strong person in the middle of this debate."

Below are more of the relevant transcripts from the Tuesday, April 10 Today and Hardball shows:

From the Tuesday April 10 Today show:

Matt Lauer: "You've been around a long time, and you have also, by the way, been the subject of controversy and criticism over the years from various groups. You're also a minister, and in that role you preach the teachings of the Bible. And one of the teachings in the Bible is forgiveness. How does forgiveness apply to Don Imus?"
Al Sharpton: "I think that forgiveness is in order. I think that if he meets with those young ladies and they want to forgive him, that is their moral choice to do, and maybe the right thing to do. A man stabbed me once for leading a march that he disagreed with, a man of another race. I went to jail and met with him and said I forgave him. But I didn't say he shouldn't do time for what he did."

From the Tuesday, April 10 Hardball:

David Gregory: "Let me ask you a question based on your standing in the community, as a politician, as a former candidate for the presidency. Do you believe in redemption?"
Al Sharpton: "Oh, absolutely. I think that there has to be redemption, as I said this morning on the Today show. A man of a different race, a white man, stabbed me once for leading a nonviolent march. I not only forgave him, I went to jail and met with him and forgave him. But I didn't say he shouldn't pay for the crime. There's a difference between a redemption and amnesty. A lot of people are not talking about redemption. They're talking about amnesty."
Gregory: "But in your case, as critics would point out, you didn't go as far as Imus in a controversy that had to do with you and the Tawana Brawley case, a woman who a court-"
Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"
Gregory: "I'm sorry, if I could, sir, could I just-"
Sharpton: "Nor did I castigate a whole race of people-"
Gregory: "I just want to finish the question. You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."
Sharpton: "And I still don't apologize. This was a case, as you said, of a young lady accusing people of doing something [to] her. To compare that to a man castigating a whole race. Nobody came to him like this young lady came to me. He was not talking about did he believe in a case. The extremes people will go to compare an individual case, a civil case that, when the courts ruled-"
Gregory: "Right. I'm not, but, Reverend, I'm not comparing the cases. I just want to ask the question."
Sharpton: "Wait a minute, you wanted me to let you ask it. Let me answer it."
Gregory: "Okay."
Sharpton: "And to compare that shows how far people will reach. This man was not talking about a specific case that was information somebody gave him, whether you believe the information or not. This man was talking about a race of people and a sex of people. There is absolutely no comparison. And when the courts ruled against us, we paid that. That case happened 20 years ago. We're not talking about that. What you're talking about is maligning a race and him not having to pay for it."
Gregory: "Well, I'm not talking about that. The question has to do with redemption-"
Sharpton: "Oh, I thought you were the one talking. Maybe somebody else-"
Gregory: "No, I don't think that's fair to talk about that. I'm talking about amnesty. I'm asking a question about your belief in redemption and people whose reputations you hurt, people that you hurt, you haven't apologized for, and you have been a strong person in the middle of this debate."
Sharpton: "But if I felt, if I felt, if I believed, if I believed that young lady was telling the truth, as I do, then what am I apologizing for? And how do you compare that to a man condemning a whole race? Did I go and condemn a whole race of people? Or did we say we believe this young lady's statement about an individual. I don't know how you even compare the two."

Profiling Sharpton, NY Times Ignores
His Incendiary Record

New York Times reporter Manny Fernandez attended one of the Rev. Al Sharpton's weekly "action rallies" at his Harlem headquarters ("Meetings Are Part Revival, Part Rally, but All Sharpton") for Sunday's edition -- convenient timing, given that disgraced radio host Don Imus would be appearing on Sharpton's radio show the next day to apologize for his "nappy-headed hos" comment denigrating the Rutgers University womens' basketball team.

Fernandez, for whatever reason, apparently didn't interview the great man himself. Still, Sharpton was on safe territory, given that the paper has rarely if ever challenged him on his past hateful statements and actions, which include spreading the incendiary Tawana Brawley hoax. In 1987, Sharpton insisted that the black teenager was raped by a group of white men, including prosecutor Steve Pagones. The Brawley case fell apart, and Pagones eventually won a huge settlement against Sharpton for defamation.
A January TimesWatch look at how the New York Times ignores Sharpton's incendiary record: www.timeswatch.org

Predictably, none of that history showed up in the Metro section story.

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

An excerpt from the April 8 laudatory profile by Manny Fernandez:

Every Saturday morning, Mr. Sharpton opens the doors of his National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem for an "action rally." The meetings are something more than a rally -- part radio show, church service, comedy revue, civil rights demonstration, town hall meeting and fund-raising drive. The rallies are broadcast live on WLIB-AM, the city's first black-owned radio station....

He happened also to make national news, which sometimes happens at his rallies, too. He called for the firing of Don Imus, the syndicated radio host, after Mr. Imus referred on Wednesday to the students who play for the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's."

After the television cameras had left, Mr. Sharpton refocused on the nuts and bolts of his civil rights organization, signing up seven new members to the National Action Network. Then he taught an introductory class for new members....

Mr. Sharpton's address was at once humorous and serious, part of his strategy to infuse the rally with what he calls "information, destination, inspiration."

On Mr. Imus, Mr. Sharpton said: "Don Imus should be fired and taken off the airwaves. This is not about insensitivity, this is about the abusive, racist, sexist use of our federally regulated airwaves."

END of Excerpt

For the article in full: www.nytimes.com

A day later, Imus appeared on Al Sharpton's syndicated radio show to apologize once again (having already done so on his own show). On Tuesday, CBS radio and MSNBC (which airs a simulcast of Imus's radio show) both announced they would suspend Imus and the show for two weeks starting next Monday.

Times media reporter Bill Carter covered Imus's apology on Sharpton's radio show for the Tuesday edition, and let Sharpton get his assaults on Imus in without ever interjecting the inconvenient truth of Sharpton's inflammatory past, a past far more racially divisive than anything Imus said about a women's basketball team:
"Mr. Sharpton said intent could not be considered when actions were 'over the line.' He also said that no matter how good or decent Mr. Imus might be at heart, his actions in this case had 'set a precedent' that would invite other commentators to make similar comments.
"He promised he would push the issue with sponsors and the F.C.C. It was not known last night how advertisers, which have included Bigelow Tea, Chrysler and the New York Stock Exchange, would respond.
"The F.C.C. may not have a direct means to address the issue. It was under a mandate from Congress to act against what was deemed indecency, but there is not a similar mandate against other types of speech by a broadcaster.
"Several media executives said a bigger problem for Mr. Imus may be advertisers' response to calls for a boycott. Most such boycotts usually prove to be ineffective but Mr. Sharpton and other black leaders promised to make this one work. Mr. Sharpton also said he wanted to make sure Mr. Imus did not come out of this experience unscathed."

Thanks to the Times' amnesiac coverage, Sharpton is sure to come out of any encounter with the paper "unscathed."

For All the Fury, Imus Not Popular: Last
on Cable, 20th Talker

Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the "nappy-headed hos" racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.

And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. "Putting things in perspective," Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, "despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM]," a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.

The April 9 USA Today story: www.usatoday.com

Home page for the DCRTV.com blog about Washington, DC area radio and TV: www.dcrtv.com

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

The list of the top talkers from Talkers magazine, cumulative audience Monday-Sunday for those aged 12-plus, rounded to the nearest quarter-million:

1) Rush Limbaugh: 13.5 million

2) Sean Hannity: 12.5

3) Michael Savage: 8.25

4) Dr. Laura Schlessinger: 8

5) Laura Ingraham: 5

6) Glenn Beck Neal Boortz Mike Gallagher: 3.75

9) Jim Bohannon Clark Howard Mark Levin Bill O'Reilly: 3.25

13) Bill Bennett Jerry Doyle Dave Ramsey Ed Schultz Doug Stephan: 3

18) Michael Medved George Noory: 2.75

20) Dr. Joy Brown Don Imus Kim Komando Jim Rome: 2.25

For the full list: www.talkers.com

Sawyer to Soldier: Do You Wonder If You
Can't Stand Another Day?

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer reported on the second day of her tour of Afghanistan. Unlike previous trips to Syria and Iran, the anchor had no dictator to coddle. She did, however, have time to ask somewhat bewildering questions to members of the United States military. Speaking to one soldier who just had his tour extended, Sawyer wondered if the young man ever felt like just giving up: "How do you make it through 15 months out here? I mean'€"" The unnamed soldier replied: "Well, it's just one of those things. I mean, we, we have a job to do." Sawyer persisted: "How many times a month do you say, I don't know that I can do another month of this? A day?" The soldier rejected her premise: "No, I don't, it doesn't ever occur to me that way. Pretty much everyone, we're not excited that we got extended by any means, I mean, but we realize there's a job to do."

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

Unlike previous Middle East excursions by Sawyer, there was no tyrant, such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, to ask about iPods. See the February 13 CyberAlert, "Sawyer Paints Dictatorial Syria as a Pro-Family Welfare Paradise," online at: www.mrc.org

Plus: newsbusters.org

However, Sawyer, during the April 10-11 trip, did offer positive stories on the improving state of women and positive developments in Afghanistan, such as the advent of young people publically dating.

The GMA host's questions to military personnel mostly highlighted the negative or, at best, indicated that Afghanistan was neither improving, nor failing. During the April 10 segment, which aired at 7:02am, Sawyer asked soldiers how they saw the effort:

Sawyer: "This young man already has the three purple hearts. One from an IED, one from shrapnel, one from a suicide bomber. Do you stay scared the whole time?"
U.S. military member #4 (male): "Yeah, sometimes. It depends. Yeah. Everybody just wants to go home."
Sawyer: "You know, there's a lot of debate in the United States right now about how it's going here. What do you want to say to everybody back home? Winning? Maintaining?"
U.S. military member #5 (male) "Definitely not losing."
U.S. military member #6 (male) "Yeah, we're definitely not losing, that's for sure."
Sawyer: "Does it feel to you as if it's moving some place? Moving forward?"
U.S. military member #7 (male) "I know we're making a difference over here and you can see that."
Sawyer: "In these young men and women, a cross section of America have been working with the villagers in the slow steady work of gaining trust from building dozens of schools, and clinics. Giving smiles. While living in the barracks two by two. And dreaming, they say, of Taco Bell and family."

So, while Sawyer portrayed the service of the soldiers as noble, she continued the media tradition of assuming American servicemen are stuck in a quagmire. (Matt Lauer famously did this while interviewing servicemen and women in Iraq back in August of 2005. See the August 18, 2005 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
For video: www.mrc.org )

For the April 9 GMA, she interviewed Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai. Sawyer mostly focused her questions on the significant struggles that Afghanistan continues to face. Now, of course this is a legitimate topic for discussion, but the ABC anchor made very little mention to Karzai of the country's progress. A partial transcript of her questions:

Diane Sawyer: "And we just spoke with Hamid Karzai, the first elected President of this country to ask him about these reports that thousands of suicide bombers and insurgents are getting ready to come over the hills. And can it be stopped? Five and a half years after 9/11, we now hear that the Taliban and al Qaeda are getting ready to move back into Afghanistan. Has the U.S. failed in Afghanistan?"
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai: "Not at all. Neither has the U.S. failed, nor are the Taliban coming back. Al Qaeda is defeated."
Sawyer: "But we are hearing that they are coming back. They're talking about 6,000 insurgents ready to come down, now thousands of suicide bombers."
Karzai: "Well, suicide bomb is a sign of desperation. You kill yourself if you're very disappointed, you have no hope of life. It is a disgrace."
Sawyer: "We hear they are just young men in the madrassahs who have now been completely'€""
Karzai: "Some of them are. Some of them are, yes. But the majority of them are drug addicts desperate to help people, and those who have no hope of life. Their families are paid some money to say, this man is going to die anyway."
Sawyer: "But thousands of them can still take a lot of other lives."
Karzai: "It hurts us. It kills our people. It hurts our children. But it does not stop the progress that we are making as a nation."
Sawyer: "Do you have a rough number on the foreign fighters and the-"
Karzai: "No. We don't have that. Anybody who gives you figures would prove wrong."
Sawyer: "You are giving a very confident picture of the ability to withstand whatever incursion the Taliban makes."
Karzai: "Yes."
Sawyer: "But we asked about the experts who say that 30,000 American troops are not enough. All told, Afghanistan needs about 80,000 more American and NATO soldiers. Do you need more?"
Karzai: "And that's a good question. No, we do not have enough manpower, or enough equipment or air power to respond to certain situations, and I believe we should add that power to the fight in Afghanistan."
Sawyer: "How many more do you need?"
Karzai: "That's a military matter. That's'€" That's'€" The Minister of Defense and somebody should say, what else do they need? But, the overall picture, I can tell you we need more forces, and more ability to project force."
Sawyer: "In the tens and tens of thousands though?"
Karzai: "Not in the tens and tens of thousands, no. No, more in equipment and, and planes, and helicopters, and things like that."
Sawyer: "But, I have to ask you'€""
Karzai: "What we need here, I must add something. We need a lot of effort to train more of the Afghan forces, organize the foot soldier, the army."
Sawyer: "I want to give you a chance to address some of the criticism raised."
Karzai: "Yes."
Sawyer: "And it is a criticism of this government, as you know."
Karzai: "Yes."
Sawyer: "There are people who have said that they hoped that you would be George Washington."
Karzai: "Yes."
Sawyer: "But they say then, your government is ineffective and that you have been like a weather vain, that you are a conciliator, that sometimes it takes muscle."
Karzai: "Yes. Muscle a different issue. Muscle has to be developed. Muscles we didn't have."
Sawyer: "That takes help?"
KarzaI: "If you're talking of muscle as the ability to deliver services, as you do in America or as you do in Germany, or even as you do in Pakistan, that we don't have. Yes, we are better than what we were four years ago. Much, much better."

-- Brent Baker