CBS & NBC Focus on KSM's Torture Claims, Only ABC Tags Him 'Evil' --6/6/2008
2. ABC's Claire Shipman Lovingly Compares Obama to Robert Kennedy
3. On CBS, Washington Post's Quinn Says Hillary 'a Tortured Person'
4. New York Times' Favorite, Obama, Clinches Democratic Nomination
5. Pew: Many Recognize Media's Pro-Obama Bias, Democrats Prefer CNN
6. Networks That Hyped Haditha 'Massacre' Now Ignore Acquittal
7. 'Top Ten Questions on the Barack Obama Running Mate Application'
CBS and NBC on Thursday night were as interested in highlighting the claims of torture, from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four 9/11 terrorist attack co-conspirators who were arraigned by a military commission court in Guantanamo Bay, as to informing viewers about the charges against them. ABC didn't consider the torture allegations relevant and so didn't mention the topic as Jan Crawford Greenburg uniquely described KSM as "evil." In contrast to NBC which called him a "man" and "defendant," CBS anchor Katie Couric at least described him as a "terrorist."
CBS reporter Bob Orr, who emphasized that "some legal critics called the hearing...a complete and utter farce," relayed how "the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham." With the quote on screen, Orr reported: "KSM, who the CIA admits was subjected to water-boarding, questioned the legitimacy of the military hearing. 'For five years, they torture,' he said. 'After the torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo.'" Orr proceeded to showcase how Aziz Ali charged: "This government failed to treat me as a human for five years."
On NBC, Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how KSM "called the legal proceedings 'evil'" and featured criticism from the ACLU. Miklaszewski also highlighted the "after five years of torture, they transfer us to inquisition land, Guantanamo" quote, before asserting: "Mohammed was water-boarded by the CIA. Defense attorneys had intended to challenge any of Mohammed's statements on the grounds he was tortured."
Following a soundbite of the ACLU 's Executive Director disparaging the hearing as "a complete and utter farce," Miklaszewski concluded: "Many legal experts predict these defendants may never face a trial before military commissions, delaying justice once again for those families of 9/11."
Of course, maybe they could face justice if liberals/journalists were a little less concerned about procedure and treatment and a bit more interested in meting out punishment.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
All three correspondents reported from Guantanamo Bay, but only Williams felt the need to say the Pentagon provided the transportation: "He [Miklaszewski] got there by cargo plane on a trip arranged by the Pentagon for reporters."
On ABC's World News, Jan Crawford Greenburg began her story: "His name has become notorious, synonymous in the minds of many, with evil." And she concluded it with a second "evil" description: "Journalists from around the world have come here to Guantanamo to cover today's hearing. We sat in the back of the court room watching the proceedings, and Charlie, I've got to tell you, I spent hours just staring at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sitting there like everyone else. A man that for years we've come to think of as evil."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide these transcripts of the stories on the Thursday, June 5 CBS and NBC broadcast network evening newscasts:
# CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Good evening, everyone. Nearly seven years after 9/11, the terrorist who says he planned the attacks was brought before a military tribunal today on the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was the first court appearance for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed since the CIA captured him while he was sleeping in Pakistan five years ago. He and four alleged co-conspirators heard the charges against them, charges that could get them the death penalty. Mohammed told the court he wants to die a martyr and plans to represent himself. Our justice correspondent Bob Orr is at Guantanamo. And, Bob, it was quite a scene there today.
BOB ORR: Katie, there's no doubt about it. This first military court appearance by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was both dramatic and also bizarre. Sitting next to four alleged al-Qaeda co-conspirators, the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: A dramatic scene today in an American courtroom in Cuba. The man accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks made his first public appearance in a court, a military courtroom in this case, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba -- the first time anyone charged directly with the hijackings was in court to hear the charges. Our own Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski was there. He got there by cargo plane on a trip arranged by the Pentagon for reporters. And he's with us tonight. Jim, good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Good evening, Brian. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants faced arraignment here today on charges of conspiracy, terrorism and murder for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of 9/11, appeared robust and confident with a long full salt and pepper beard -- a far cry from the confused, disheveled look when he was captured more than five years ago. But today, Mohammad was defiant, telling the military commission he's willing to die. Mohammad called the legal proceedings "evil," rejected his defense attorneys, and said he wanted to represent himself. When the judge asked if he understood he could get the death penalty, Mohammed shot back, "That is what I wish, I wish to be martyred."
To mark the 40th anniversary of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's death, Good Morning America's Claire Shipman filed a fawning report on Thursday in which she compared Barack Obama to RFK. Splicing together footage of Kennedy and Obama, Shipman noted the "similarities" and nostalgically declared: "The search to shift that mantle, futile of course. But also a quintessentially American desire for, if not a happy ending, some sense of completion."
GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo, son of former Governor Mario Cuomo and himself a member of a famous Democratic family, lauded RFK's daughter Kerry Kennedy (who was featured in the piece) as a "beautiful representative" of a "special and beautiful family." Of course, Cuomo failed to mention that he formally was the brother-in-law of Kerry Kennedy. (The ABC anchor's brother and current Democratic Attorney General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, married and then divorced her in 2003.)
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At the top of the segment, Shipman cooed: "Even 40 years later, most Democrats can't utter the name 'Bobby' without a wistful, 'what if' sort of reverence." A true enough statement, but considering that the rest of the piece was all about Kennedy's greatness, what does that say about the people who produced the segment? An ABC graphic cheered, "The Vision of RFK: Honoring an American Legend." Shipman then proceeded to make her comparison clear:
SHIPMAN: Landmark crowds, striking charisma, a focus on healing the divide. [Video of Obama and RFK cut together.]
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:33am on June 5:
CHRIS CUOMO: This week marks a somber anniversary. Robert F. Kennedy was murdered 40 years ago by an assassin's bullet. Now, decades later, RFK is remembered, above all, for his message of hope, a message that still resonates for many people today and GMA senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has more on the story for us. Good morning, Claire.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn about what Hillary Clinton's legacy will be after leaving the presidential race on Saturday and Quinn declared: "I think that this is a tortured person who has run and run and run and gone for it and gone for it, and it's power, and it's this and it's that, and 'I've got to be there.' There's never a moment where you see her relaxing, where you see her really stopping to smell the roses."
Smith began the segment by asking: "What are we to take away? What did we see? What did we really witness?" Quinn responded: "Hillary doesn't know what she wants. And she doesn't know who she really is...Remember when she first came into the White House and she had a different hairdo and a different outfit? She looked completely different. And people kept saying, 'Who is she?'...And even during the campaign this time...she was the strong one and the weak one. And, during this campaign, she -- she allowed him [Bill Clinton] to, on some levels, sabotage her. She was feisty at some point and even shrill, and then she would cry."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Quinn then suggested that Hillary needed some time off: "And I think that that -- what she needs to do now -- and I know this sounds really strange, but -- if I were Hillary Clinton, I would go off to a retreat somewhere...I would take a sabbatical and stay there for three months, and not talk, and meditate, and think, and try to figure out who I really was and what I really wanted."
At the end of the segment Quinn even gave Hillary some relationship advice: "Maybe what she really needs is a wonderful, loving relationship with somebody instead of just going after power and being this ambitious person that I think she thinks she oughta be."
When Quinn appeared on the show on March 26, she told Smith she was upset to see "the press lie down" when it came to asking Chelsea Clinton challenging questions on the campaign trail. See the March 27 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Here is the full transcript of the June 5 segment:
HARRY SMITH: And joining us from Washington is Sally Quinn, columnist for the Washington Post. Sally good morning, good to see you.
Senator Barack Obama is now the Democratic presidential nominee, to the approval of no doubt much of the Times' news team, which has lifted the Illinois Senator throughout the campaign, while nudging Sen. Hillary Clinton towards stage right, even as she continued to win primaries.
TimesWatch's rough count of Times news stories since Thanksgiving 2007 shows a nearly 3-1 ratio of positive-to-negative stories for Obama, compared to a 2-3 positive-to-negative ratio for Clinton. Positive stories for Obama (not including accounts of his primary victories, which would have an understandably pro-Obama tone) included this February 14 Valentine to his wife, "Michelle Obama Thrives in Campaign Trenches," and this April 1 headline, "Moving to Down-to-Earth Oratory for Working People." Lucky them.
Meanwhile, Clinton dealt with this front-page headline on May 5: "Seeing Grit and Ruthlessness in Clinton's Love of the Fight." As Clinton irritated many in the media by continuing to win late primaries, the Times began dropping not-so-subtle hints that her supporters were merely anti-Obama voters in disguise, motivated more by racism than any embrace of Hillary Clinton herself.
[This item, by the Clay Waters, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
The over-sensitivity to opposition to Obama continued in Wednesday's front page "news analysis" by Adam Nagourney: "Next on Agenda Is Clinton's Role." It managed to sneak in the idea, cleverly couched in objective terminology, that while Obama should win fair and square on "substantive" issues like the war and the economy, other values like "race, patriotism and class" might plant doubts in voters' minds. (As if patriotism isn't a substantive issue.) The Times has long hinted that when Republicans criticize Obama for preening over his lack of a flag pin and his ties to radical leftists, they are actually attacking Obama's patriotism. See: timeswatch.org
An excerpt from the June 4 Nagourney piece:
Much of the cautious optimism in the Obama campaign is based on the expectation that this is a turn-the-page election, that deep anger with President Bush, along with discontent over the war in Iraq and the economy will be channeled into a Democratic victory in November. But it is not yet clear that those substantive issues will fully trump cultural issues and values -- like race, patriotism and class -- or the question of whether voters will judge Mr. Obama, just a few years out of the Illinois legislature, to have the experience necessary to sit in the Oval Office.
For the entire article: www.nytimes.com
Check TimesWatch for the latest liberal bias in the New York Times: timeswatch.org
"Far more Americans believe that the press coverage has favored Barack Obama than think it has favored Hillary Clinton," a just-released survey, from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, discovered in determining 37 percent recognize a bias in favor of Obama. Even 35 percent of Democrats "see a pro-Obama bias" compared to 45 percent of Republicans and 40 percnt of independents.
The poll, of about 1,000 Americans taken in late May, found about the same percentage of Republicans and Democrats rely on MSNBC for campaign news, but: "Far more Republicans (24%) than Democrats (10%) get most of their campaign news from Fox [News Channel], while the opposite is true for CNN: 24% of Democrats look to CNN compared with just 13% of Republicans."
Reliance on the Internet for campaign news has jumped 12 points since 2004 while those primarily reading newspapers or watching TV news has fallen. Specifically, those who "say they get most of their news about the election from television" fell 10 points since 2004 as those relying on newspapers dropped 12 points, but "as many people now cite the Internet as cite newspapers as their main source of campaign news (29%); just 17% cited the Internet in September 2004."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(On the bias question, Pew didn't ask about coverage of John McCain, but given the media's adulation for Obama, it's hard to imagine a future poll comparing coverage of the two party nominees won't confirm an even greater percent of the public see media advocacy for Obama, especially if McCain strongly pushes any conservative policies.)
Some brief excerpts from "Many Say Coverage is Biased in Favor of Obama; Primary Wrapup: Even As Obama Controversies Widely Registered," posted June 5:
Nearly four-in-ten (37%) say that in covering the Democratic race, news organizations have been biased toward Obama while just 8% say they have been biased toward Clinton; 40% say news organizations have shown no bias in their coverage. Substantial minorities of Republicans (45%) and independents (40%) say the press has been biased toward Obama; somewhat fewer Democrats (35%) see a pro-Obama bias.
Among TV news outlets, the major cable networks are the dominant source for campaign news. Nearly half of the public rely on CNN (22%), the Fox News Channel (16%), or MSNBC (9%) for most of their campaign news. Fewer than three-in-ten (28%) rely on one of the three major broadcast networks and ever fewer (16%) rely on local TV news.
Roughly equal proportions of Republicans and Democrats say they rely on Network TV, local TV or MSNBC Cable News for campaign coverage. For Fox and CNN, however, there are significant partisan differences. Far more Republicans (24%) than Democrats (10%) get most of their campaign news from Fox, while the opposite is true for CNN: 24% of Democrats look to CNN compared with just 13% of Republicans.
Seven-in-ten Americans say they get most of their news about the election from television, which is about the same as in December (71%) but down 10 points since September 2004. About three-in-ten cite newspapers (29%), which is largely unchanged from December and a decline of 12 points since September 2004. As many people now cite the internet as cite newspapers as their main source of campaign news (29%); just 17% cited the internet in September 2004.
Pew's rundown: people-press.org
PDF with all the questions and survey details: people-press.org
For dozens polls of journalists, check the MRC's "Media Bias Basics" section: www.mediaresearch.org
For a bunch of previous surveys on how the public recognizes the liberal tilt of reporters, see the "How the Public Views the Media" subsection: www.mediaresearch.org
The same network newscasts that hyped the 2005 "alleged massacre" by U.S. soldiers in Haditha are so far ignoring the acquittal on all charges of Lieutenant Andrew Grayson on Thursday. Grayson was accused of attempting to cover up details of the events surrounding a raid that led to the death of 15 Iraqis. However, Grayson's acquittal was skipped by ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today show. (CNN's American Morning covered the story only as a news brief.)
In contrast, the morning shows seemed much more interested in the subject back when dark allegations were made about the actions of U.S. solders in Haditha. On Memorial Day 2006, then-GMA host Charles Gibson intoned: "America honors its fallen war heroes, but troubling new information about Marine misconduct in Iraq. A new eyewitness on what could be a mass murder of civilians. Was there a cover-up?" See the June 13, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
On the March 20, 2006, Nightly News, host Brian Williams touted the "disturbing new allegations" made by Congressman John Murtha about Haditha. See the May 18, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
(It should be noted that, so far, five of the eight originally charged with murder or cover-up have been acquitted.) On May 25, 2006, referencing the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in 1968, Nightline host Terry Moran speculated: "Will Haditha be the My Lai of the Middle East?" On June 7 of that year, reporter Andrea Mitchell opined on Today that Haditha was a "black eye for American policy." See the MRC's June 12, 2006 Media Reality Check: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(For a look at contrasting New York Times coverage, see "Times Virtually Ignores Haditha Acquittal: The Times was all over the Haditha 'massacre.' Yet now that the prosecution has suffered yet another failure, you can hardly locate the story with a microscope," on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org )
A 2006 MRC study of how CNN, MSNBC and Fox News covered Iraq found that CNN and MSNBC were much more likely to focus on the negative, such as incidents like Haditha:
CNN and MSNBC's coverage took on the characteristics of a feeding frenzy, with the U.S. troops presumed guilty. CNN anchor Tony Harris echoed Murtha's inflammatory charges during a May 30 report: "Men, women and children, gunned down in cold blood. That's the allegation....U.S. Marines are suspected of killing two dozen unarmed civilians, accusations of a cover-up also a part of the mix. Democratic Congressman John Murtha has been briefed on what happened....Murtha calls the alleged atrocity as bad as the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, if not worse."
Three days later, CNN's John Vause extended the indictment to all U.S. troops, not just the few being investigated regarding Haditha: "There is a perception that U.S. forces are brutal and are, at times, trigger happy."
See "The Iraq War on Cable TV" study: www.mrc.org
From the June 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions on the Barack Obama Running Mate Application." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "How much experience do you have doing nothing?"
9. "Do you have any crazy clergymen we should know about?"
8. "Will you help your oil company buddies achieve record profits by screwing consumers?"
7. "How many friends do you have on Facebook?"
6. "Can your charisma and vitality match the high standard set by Dick Cheney?"
5. "Why the hell was Billy Crystal on Letterman talking about 'Soap the Complete Series' now available on DVD?"
4. "Do you think the Yankees should move Joba back to bullpen?"
3. "Any idea what happened on the season finale of 'Lost'?"
2. "Ever slept with Barbara Walters?"
1. "By any chance do you know where Osama bin Laden is?"
-- Brent Baker