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CBS, NBC Showcase Protests in India, Skip Indians' Pro-U.S. Views --3/2/2006


1. CBS, NBC Showcase Protests in India, Skip Indians' Pro-U.S. Views
CBS reporter Jim Axelrod on Wednesday night described how "this is what awaited Mr. Bush upon his highly-publicized arrival in India: Tens of thousands turned out to protest America's presence in the Islamic world." Also from New Delhi, NBC's David Gregory relayed how, over video of crowds and a few men around a burning effigy of Bush, "Mr. Bush has already been met by large anti-U.S., anti-war protests." But while ABC's Martha Raddatz noted how Bush's "warm reception in Afghanistan stood in stark contrast to the scene when the President arrived later in India," where "tens of thousands of demonstrators, mostly Muslim, lined the streets," she pointed out what Axelrod and Gregory skipped: "Despite the demonstrations, the President has a strong approval rating here in India, roughly 70 percent." Actually, the "2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey," posted again Tuesday, "found that about seven-in-ten Indians (71%) have a favorable view of the United States," not Bush. As for Bush personally, the Pew poll discovered that he's "widely admired" in India where "just over half (54%)...say they have a lot or some confidence" in him.

2. Going Back to 2004, Nets Repeatedly Predict "Civil War" in Iraq
Wednesday's Early Show on CBS carried a segment on Iraq emblazoned with the headline "Iraq Civil War" on screen. The worry that Iraq is about to tip over into an all-out fight between the Sunnis and the Shiites has been thick in the media since terrorists bombed an important Shiite mosque a week ago. As CBS anchor Bob Schieffer announced that night (February 22): "One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it's Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war." But while there's been a definite uptick in violence and death in the week since the mosque bombing, the "civil war" scenario has failed to materialize. If Iraq's future matches the current prognostications from the liberal media, it's purely a matter of coincidence. Pessimistic media mavens have been fretting about a "civil war" since early 2004.

3. Scandal! CBS Cites How Alito Sent Thank You to Abortion Opponent
Wednesday's CBS Evening News devoted about 20 seconds to anchor Russ Mitchell highlighting how "it was revealed today" -- as if it were some kind of cover-up being exposed -- "that the [Supreme] Court's newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sent a personal thank you note to a conservative Christian leader who supported his nomination." Mitchell then identified that recipient as James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, and stressed how he "is a leading opponent of abortion." What did Alito write that CBS considered so newsworthy? Mitchell relayed: "Dobson read the note in his radio program today, quoting Alito as saying he appreciated those who prayed for him and he'll remember the 'trust' that's been placed in him." But a reading of the actual letter suggests Dobson just got a form letter Alito sent to all of those who congratulated him on his confirmation, not a coded commitment to Dobson's agenda on abortion.

4. Helen Thomas: Press Corps Has "Played Dead," Rumsfeld's "Baloney"
Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas gave an interview to Campus Progress, the campus project of the liberal Center for American Progress. Her theme, unsurprisingly, was that the Washington press corps is a bulk pack of weenies. She insisted that "I think that if you have a chance to ask a question of a President, you shouldn't blow it -- you should really nail him in some way." But that wasn't her practice with President Clinton.

5. Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's Annual "DisHonors Awards"
Tickets are on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.


CBS, NBC Showcase Protests in India,
Skip Indians' Pro-U.S. Views

CBS reporter Jim Axelrod on Wednesday night described how "this is what awaited Mr. Bush upon his highly-publicized arrival in India: Tens of thousands turned out to protest America's presence in the Islamic world." Also from New Delhi, NBC's David Gregory relayed how, over video of crowds and a few men around a burning effigy of Bush, "Mr. Bush has already been met by large anti-U.S., anti-war protests." But while ABC's Martha Raddatz noted how Bush's "warm reception in Afghanistan stood in stark contrast to the scene when the President arrived later in India," where "tens of thousands of demonstrators, mostly Muslim, lined the streets," she pointed out what Axelrod and Gregory skipped: "Despite the demonstrations, the President has a strong approval rating here in India, roughly 70 percent."

Actually, the "2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey," posted again Tuesday, "found that about seven-in-ten Indians (71%) have a favorable view of the United States," not Bush, and that "while U.S. favorability ratings have plunged in many countries, Indians are significantly more positive about the United States now than they were in the summer of 2002." As for Bush personally, the Pew poll discovered that he's "widely admired" in India where "just over half (54%)...say they have a lot or some confidence that Bush will generally do the right thing in world affairs, a significantly higher percentage than in any other country except his own."

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show Wednesday, pointed out how the "drive-by media" were focusing on protesters while ignoring the pro-U.S. attitudes of most Indians. He read from a Tuesday posting on the "SiliconIndia" Web site, "U.S. a land of opportunity for Indians," which recounted the Pew survey: www.siliconindia.com

All three March 1 broadcast network evening newscasts squeezed President George W. Bush's arrival in New Delhi, and the protests which greeted him, into the end of stories on his surprise visit to Afghanistan where he met with President Hamid Karzai and addressed U.S. troops. The portion of each story which raised the protests in India, all of which featured brief video of the crowds:

# CBS Evening News. Jim Axelrod: "After his secret side trip, this is what awaited Mr. Bush upon his highly-publicized arrival in India: Tens of thousands turned out to protest America's presence in the Islamic world, while Mr. Bush was welcomed to New Delhi. Peaceful so far, police expect larger protests tomorrow."

# NBC Nightly News. David Gregory: "Tonight, another first: The President arrived in New Delhi, just the fifth visit of a U.S. President to India. Mr. Bush comes to India at a delicate moment in the relationship between the U.S. and this, the second most populous country in the world. The Indian market is a rich prize for American business, but at the same time the Bush administration is interested in containing India's development of nuclear weapons. Mr. Bush has already been met by large anti-U.S., anti-war protests as he tries to strengthen ties to a growing power in a vital part of the world. David Gregory, NBC News, New Delhi."

# ABC's World News Tonight. Martha Raddatz: "The warm reception in Afghanistan stood in stark contrast to the scene when the President arrived later in India. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, mostly Muslim, lined the streets of New Delhi. Despite the demonstrations, the President has a strong approval rating here in India, roughly 70 percent."

On Tuesday, the Pew Global Attitudes Project, a division of the respected Pew Research Center, posted a summary of its 2005 survey, released in June, of people in 16 nations with a large Muslim population. The title over the February 28 posting, "India: Pro-America, Pro-Bush; Bucking the Global Trend, U.S. Popularity Soared among Indians in '05." An excerpt:

....The 2005 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that about seven-in-ten Indians (71%) have a favorable view of the United States. Of the 16 countries polled in the survey, only Americans themselves hold a more favorable view of their country. And while U.S. favorability ratings have plunged in many countries, Indians are significantly more positive about the United States now than they were in the summer of 2002, when 54% gave the U.S. favorable marks.

In the world's largest democracy, moreover, President Bush, who is unpopular in many countries around the globe, is also widely admired. Just over half (54%) of Indians say they have a lot or some confidence that Bush will generally do the right thing in world affairs, a significantly higher percentage than in any other country except his own....

Indians also have a strongly positive impression of the American people -- 71% have a favorable opinion of Americans, up from 58% in 2002. Moreover, Indians tend to associate Americans with positive character traits, and generally do not associate Americans with negative characteristics. Eight-in-ten (81%) Indians consider Americans hardworking, and 86% -- the highest percentage of any country surveyed, including the U.S. itself -- say Americans are inventive. Fewer (58%) regard Americans as honest, but even among U.S. respondents, Americans receive mediocre marks for truthfulness (63%). Meanwhile, Indians are among the least likely to associate Americans with negative traits such as greed, violence, rudeness, and immorality....

END of Excerpt

For the rundown, in full, posted February 28: pewglobal.org

Going Back to 2004, Nets Repeatedly Predict
"Civil War" in Iraq

Wednesday's Early Show on CBS carried a segment on Iraq emblazoned with the headline "Iraq Civil War" on screen. The worry that Iraq is about to tip over into an all-out fight between the Sunnis and the Shiites has been thick in the media since terrorists bombed an important Shiite mosque a week ago. As CBS anchor Bob Schieffer announced that night (February 22): "One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it's Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war." See: www.mrc.org

But while there's been a definite uptick in violence and death in the week since the mosque bombing, the "civil war" scenario has failed to materialize. On FNC's Your World with Neil Cavuto on Wednesday afternoon, a panel discussed whether notions of an imminent Iraq "civil war" are a grim reality, or a media myth. Former CBS and NBC reporter Marvin Kalb spoke for the rest of the liberal establishment: "What is going on in Iraq now is deadly, serious stuff. People are dying there....This is not a myth. This is what is happening and the American people deserve to know the truth."

Well, if Iraq's future matches the current prognostications from the liberal media, it's purely a matter of coincidence. Pessimistic media mavens have been fretting about a "civil war" since early 2004.

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To add your thoughts, go to: newsbusters.org ]

A brief review:

# "Senator McCain, are you concerned that if the transfer of power does take place on June 30th that a huge vacuum will be created and it will be an invitation to civil war? Because no matter how deplorable Saddam Hussein was considered, he was the ultimate referee who kept the Sunnis and the Shiites apart from killing each other." -- NBC's Katie Couric to John McCain on Today, April 5, 2004.

# Moderator Bob Schieffer: "So what you're saying is that we may be looking at something like a Yugoslavia there, which wasn't really a country, but Tito held it together with the iron fist, and once he went, it really came apart."
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman: "What we're gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war." -- CBS's Face the Nation, October 3, 2004.

# Moderator Tim Russert: "Tipping point, could it tip back into a potential civil war if the Sunnis continue to stay out of the government?"
The ubiquitous Tom Friedman: "Absolutely. Right now in Iraq the big question, Tim, is can the Shiites, who will dominate the next government basically, will they reach out and share power?" -- NBC's Meet the Press, February 27, 2005.

# "I'm Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?" -- Schieffer beginning the May 19, 2005 CBS Evening News.

# "Whenever violence breaks out, many go looking for old enemies to blame. US commanders have privately noted every time a bomb goes off in a Shiite neighborhood, something bad seems to happen in a Sunni area. And that simply adds the specter of civil war to the overall mayhem, which is probably just what the insurgents had in mind." -- CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier on the July 18, 2005 Evening News.

# Senator John Thune: "I think we're making, what I believe is progress in that direction."
Host George Stephanopoulos: "But you say it's progress. But there have been an awful lot of signs that it's not. We know that they presented, for example, the constitution to the assembly but have not called a vote on it. We hear this opposition from the Sunnis, from Muqtada al Sadr. Aren't you at all concerned that this constitution may in fact be a prelude to civil war? That it may be deepening the divisions?" -- ABC's This Week, August 28, 2005.

# The January 3, 2006 CyberAlert recounted: Interviewing General Peter Pace, from Iraq, on Sunday's (Jan. 1) This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran pressed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "One of the concerns that people have right now, post-election, is that it's one thing in a democracy to learn how to vote, it's another to learn how to lose. Are you concerned at all, and is the United States prepared, for the potential of a civil war?" Pace assured Moran that is unlikely. Later in the day, on the CBS Evening News, after Kelly Cobiella reported from Iraq on Sunni dissatisfaction with the election results, anchor John Roberts put "civil war" into play: "Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?" See: www.mrc.org

Maybe this time the networks will be right in predicting doom for the mission in Iraq. But their track record thus far suggests reasons for optimism.

Scandal! CBS Cites How Alito Sent Thank
You to Abortion Opponent

Wednesday's CBS Evening News devoted about 20 seconds to anchor Russ Mitchell highlighting how "it was revealed today" -- as if it were some kind of cover-up being exposed -- "that the [Supreme] Court's newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sent a personal thank you note to a conservative Christian leader who supported his nomination." Mitchell then identified that recipient as James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, and stressed how he "is a leading opponent of abortion." What did Alito write that CBS considered so newsworthy? Mitchell relayed: "Dobson read the note in his radio program today, quoting Alito as saying he appreciated those who prayed for him and he'll remember the 'trust' that's been placed in him." But a reading of the actual letter suggests Dobson just got a form letter Alito sent to all of those who congratulated him on his confirmation, not a coded commitment to Dobson's agenda on abortion.

Neither ABC or NBC mentioned the matter on their Wednesday night newscasts, but that could just be due to the AP not distributing a dispatch on it until late in the day. The AP's Colleen Slevin allowed a Supreme Court spokesman to explain how the same language appeared, in Slevin's words, "in many replies he wrote to congratulatory letters." Slevin, however, felt compelled to consider potential improprieties, turning to a professor who "said Alito's letter did not appear to violate ethical standards," before she related how "Americans United for Separation of Church and State called the letter 'grossly inappropriate.'"

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your views, go to: newsbusters.org ]

About 15 minutes into the March 1 CBS Evening News, following a short item on the Supreme Court taking up the Texas redistricting case, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell, the regular co-host of The Early Show on Saturdays, announced:
"It was revealed today that the [Supreme] Court's newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sent a personal thank you note to a conservative Christian leader who supported his nomination. James Dobson, the founder of the group Focus on the Family is a leading opponent of abortion. Dobson read the note in his radio program today quoting Alito as saying he appreciated those who prayed for him and he'll remember the trust that's been placed in him."

Home page for Focus on the Family: www.family.org

Late Wednesday, the AP distributed a story on the matter (Yahoo's current posting times the story to 7:15pm EST, but I believe it replaced an earlier posting), "Dobson Says Alito Sent Thank-You Note." Denver-based reporter Colleen Slevin at least relayed how Dobson was hardly a unique recipient: "Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Alito's note was in response to a letter Dobson sent congratulating him on his confirmation. She said his pledge to 'keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me' was included in many replies he wrote to congratulatory letters."

Slevin, however, felt compelled to consider potential improprieties: "David Yalof, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut and the author of a book on Supreme Court vacancies, said Alito's letter did not appear to violate ethical standards. 'I think it's a very carefully worded letter, and I don't think any of it crosses the line,' he said. 'As long as Alito didn't (say) there is any obligation or debt owed, I don't think it is a violation of judicial canon.'"

So why the news story?

Slevin proceeded to give space to how "Americans United for Separation of Church and State called the letter 'grossly inappropriate.' 'This note strongly suggests that Alito is carrying out a right-wing agenda instead of being a justice for all,' said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of the group."

Slevin ended her article by bringing up Dobson's political agenda:
"Focus on the Family declined to release a copy of the letter but confirmed the wording read by Dobson.
"Dobson had urged his listeners to support the nominations of Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. On Wednesday, he said that support had 'affected history' by helping put both men on the court in time to hear a pending case on an abortion procedure that opponents call 'partial-birth abortion.'
"Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian ministry based in Colorado Springs, says Dobson's show, its other broadcasts and its publications reach more than 200 million people worldwide."

For the AP dispatch: news.yahoo.com

The Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, in a March 1 Web story headlined "Alito thank-you note to Dobson at center of controversy," posted the scandalous text of the letter:

Dear Dr. Dobson:

This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period.

As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.

As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.

I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future.

In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.

Sincerely yours,

Samuel Alito

END Reprint of letter

That's posted at: www.gazette.com

Helen Thomas: Press Corps Has "Played
Dead," Rumsfeld's "Baloney"

Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas gave an interview to Campus Progress, the campus project of the liberal Center for American Progress. Her theme, unsurprisingly, was that the Washington press corps is a bulk pack of weenies. She insisted that "I think that if you have a chance to ask a question of a President, you shouldn't blow it -- you should really nail him in some way." But that wasn't her practice with President Clinton.

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

An excerpt from the "Five Minutes With" interview posted February 28:

....Thomas: Starting after 9/11, they rolled over and played dead'€"they were so afraid of being called unpatriotic and un-American and they thought the American people were watching on television. They lost their guts and they did a lousy job. It was so clear, for two years, that President Bush wanted to go to war. Every day on the podium in the press room, we heard Ari Fleischer and then Scott McClellan say in one breath, "9/11'€"Saddam Hussein --9/11 -- Saddam Hussein'€"9/11-." So later on when they said, no, Saddam Hussein had no links with them it was a little late in the game.

Q: Can you compare the media coverage of the march to war in Iraq and the subsequent events there to other wars that have occurred during your time in the press room?

Thomas: This one is totally controlled. I think that embedding reporters was good to save lives but they certainly have not done the story. You never really saw the war. You didn't see the invasion of Baghdad really. You didn't see the bombs. You didn't see the victims or anything else. I've asked all the people on the networks -- "oh," they said, "that was too gruesome, we couldn't do that." Well, that's war. The Pentagon and the White House had total control of the news. In Vietnam, a reporter could hop on a helicopter, get some help from the military and go anywhere they wanted -- they wrote the story and they also wrote how futile it was becoming. And now we have a system where the Pentagon is planting favorable stories in Iraq and, well, God knows where else.

Q: You think that might be happening in the American media as well?

Thomas: I think every time Rumsfeld briefs, it's baloney! Here's a man who signed off on torture, and then when he finally saw the photographs, he had a little bit of conscience....We've killed people in torture. That's not us -- is it? Where is the outrage?...

END of Excerpt

For the interview in full, which certainly took longer than five minutes: campusprogress.org

Thomas also declared the White House press conference is "absolutely indispensable for a democracy. There is no other institution in our society, no other forum where a president can be questioned...So I think that if you have a chance to ask a question of a president, you shouldn't blow it -- you should really nail him in some way."

Your rebuttal is here, in a Notable Quotable we headlined "Priss Conference":
"What lessons have you learned from your thirteen-month ordeal? Do you think the office of the presidency has been harmed? And what advice do you give future Presidents?" -- UPI's Helen Thomas in one of three questions from U.S. reporters to President Clinton the day the Juanita Broaddrick story broke in the Wall Street Journal, February 19, 1999.

Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's
Annual "DisHonors Awards"

Tickets are on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.

To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

(Just enter a multiple of $250.00 for how many tickets you want; ie: if you want three seats, enter $750.00. You will receive an e-mail from us confirming your order. Tickets will not be mailed, but will be held at the event registration table for you.)

That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.

At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."

Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.

But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.

This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award

If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:

Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.

DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.

Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.

In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.

After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.

END Reprint of Summary of last year's event

To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz, check: www.mediaresearch.org

To read about and watch video from all of the past DisHonors Awards galas, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

For the page on this year's upcoming gala, with an option to buy tickets: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker