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CBS Re-Runs Soldier Derisively Chortling, "Morale? What's That?" --8/5/2003


1. CBS Re-Runs Soldier Derisively Chortling, "Morale? What's That?"
CBS's Byron Pitts in Baghdad, who incessantly focuses on discontent amongst U.S. soldiers, so loved a soundbite he got of a soldier derisively chortling, "Morale? What's that?", that he used it again Sunday night in a story aired six days after the first time he showcased the outburst. By Sunday, three days had passed without a U.S. soldier getting killed in Iraq, so Pitts adjusted the frequency of deaths to at least once "every three days" and argued that "if looks could kill, the death toll would be so much higher."

2. Newsweek's Alter Fears Less "Diversity of Opinion" Sans Powell
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter fears that the loss of Colin Powell as Secretary of State would mean "less diversity of opinion in the Bush administration on foreign policy and national security issues" and that would mean the loss of the "kind of range of opinion you really want and need when you're President," as if Powell's more moderate views are irreplaceable. ABC's Kate Snow relayed the denials about a Washington Post story which claimed Powell will step down after the 2004 election, but she stressed Powell's popularity and supposed disagreement with Bush policy.

3. Will Derides NY Times for Not Seeing How Imprisonment Cuts Crime
In his weekly commentary on Sunday's This Week, George Will ridiculed the habit of the New York Times to express befuddlement in news stories about how prison populations are rising while crime is falling. Will suggested the reporting showed how "the Times was mystified. Crime rates and imprisonment rates were moving in opposite directions. I suppose that is mystifying -- if you believe, as some liberals do, that punishment is ineffective at preventing crime."

4. "CNN Unfortunate Word Choice of the Night" A Bishop or A...
From Monday's Late Show with David Letterman, the "CNN Unfortunate Word Choice of the Night," taken from an actual CNN Headline News channel report. Over video of New Hampshire priest Gene Robinson, the female CNN Headline News channel anchor described how an Episcopal conference "will vote on the confirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. He would become the first openly gay Episcopal..."

5. "Top Ten Real Reasons Colin Powell is Stepping Down"
Letterman's "Top Ten Real Reasons Colin Powell is Stepping Down."


Now online, the August 4 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the quote headings: "Sons Killed as WMD Cover-Up?"; "Can't Satisfy the Press"; "Iraq Success = Vietnam Quagmire"; "Kill an American, Get on CBS"; "Bush's Buckeye Base Buckling...Or Media Credibility Crumbling?"; "Budget Deficits Are Intolerable...But Can't We Spend More?"; "Another Tough Hillary Interview" and "Helen Thomas, Nutty Old Liberal." For the text of the issue: www.mediaresearch.org
For the PDF which matches the look of the printed edition: www.mediaresearch.org

CBS Re-Runs Soldier Derisively Chortling,
"Morale? What's That?"

CBS's Byron Pitts in Baghdad, who incessantly focuses on discontent amongst U.S. soldiers, so loved a soundbite he got of a soldier derisively chortling, "Morale? What's that?", that he used it again Sunday night in a story aired six days after the first time he showcased the outburst.

As recounted in the July 29 CyberAlert, it's amazing American soldiers manage to get anything done in Iraq, judging by the gloom and doom conveyed by CBS News reporter Byron Pitts about how they're angry and have low morale and Iraqis scorn them. On Monday night, July 28, he found anger all over. "On the streets of Baghdad," he intoned, "American soldiers are angry because American soldiers are still dying as the search for Saddam Hussein grows bloodier for both sides each day." He soon contended that "children who used to run along convoys waving and smiling now throw rocks. These boys are screaming," he generously added, "'Go home, bastards.'" Pitts asked a U.S. soldier about morale. The soldier chortled: "Morale? What's that?"

Fast forward to Sunday night, August 3, and Pitts returned to the CBS Evening News with another look at low morale in Iraq as he repeated the soundbite and exploited the pain of a separated husband and wife.

Pitts began: "From foot patrols to convoys, for America's sons and daughters at war in Iraq, there is now simply no escaping the daily, almost hourly-"
Soldier on street: "Get in the [bleep] hole!"
Pitts: "-encounters with danger and death."
Pitts to Captain Todd McGowan: "I always ask guys, 'You scared at all?'"
Captain Todd McGowan, U.S. Army: "Everybody's scared. If you say that you're not scared, then you're not a real soldier."
Pitts: "Captain Todd McGowan first arrived here in April. He and thousands of other troops still struggle with their ever-evolving roles as soldiers and peacekeepers."
Pitts to a soldier in his re-run soundbite: "How is morale?"
Specialist Kyle Corrao, U.S. Army, chortling: "Morale? What's that? Oh, morale. These guys, they're scouts, they're recon. You know? They're not doing recon. They're not doing their job. They're doing a cop's job."
Pitts: "It's skepticism that's seeped all the way home."
Tracy McGowan: "I don't think anybody can possibly understand what it's, what it's like to be without your spouse for an entire year."
Pitts: "Tracy McGowan of Dallas, Texas, is married to Captain Todd McGowan."
McGowan: "You don't know what's happening on a daily basis, and they're in a danger zone. I mean, they're in a war zone. People are dying every single day."
Pitts: "But each day new arrests mean they're one day closer to Saddam Hussein, one day closer to going home."
Captain McGowan: "You want to get your mission done, and, you know, you can't, who wants to leave with unfinished business? Nobody wants to do that."
Pitts: "Captain McGowan spends what little down time he has staring at sweat-stained snapshots of the life he left behind."
Captain McGowan: "And there are days where you don't even want to get out of bed sometimes. You just lay in your cot and you're, like, 'Gosh, I'd do anything to be home with my wife.'"
Pitts: "The McGowans have talked by satellite phone a few times."
Pitts to McGowan: "If I can ask, how does it, how does the conversation usually start? How does it usually end?"
Captain McGowan: "'Tracy, it's me. I love you.'"
Tracy McGowan: "Be safe and come home in one piece."
Captain McGowan: "'I gotta go. I love you.' Sorry."
Pitts: "That's all right."
Captain McGowan: "It's hard."
Pitts concluded: "A hard job with no end in sight. Byron Pitts, CBS News, Baghdad."

By Sunday, three days had passed without a U.S. soldier getting killed in Iraq, so Pitts adjusted the frequency of deaths to at least once "every three days" and argued that "if looks could kill, the death toll would be so much higher."

On CBS's Sunday Morning, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed, Pitts intoned: "Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1st, at least one American soldier has died here every three days. KIA as the military calls it -- killed in action. And if looks could kill, the death toll would be so much higher."

Newsweek's Alter Fears Less "Diversity
of Opinion" Sans Powell

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter fears that the loss of Colin Powell as Secretary of State would mean "less diversity of opinion in the Bush administration on foreign policy and national security issues" and that would mean the loss of the "kind of range of opinion you really want and need when you're President," as if Powell's more moderate views are irreplaceable.

Prompted by a Washington Post story which claimed that Powell, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, plan to step down after the 2004 election, a story labeled as "goofy" by Powell and dismissed by both, on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning on Monday, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, Alter opined:
"I think it means a lot. It's a very significant development. His deputy, Dick Armitage, has also said that he would step down. It means there'll be less diversity of opinion in the Bush administration on foreign policy and national security issues....It doesn't give them that kind of range of opinion you really want and need when you're President."

Monday night, the CBS Evening News gave the widely-dismissed as inaccurate Post story a few words and the NBC Nightly News ignored it, but ABC considered it to be of great import. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased at the top of the August 4 World News Tonight: "Exit strategy. The storm over Secretary of State Colin Powell's future at the White House."

From the White House, Kate Snow relayed the denials, but she stressed Powell's popularity and supposed disagreement with Bush policy: "Powell is enormously popular. Nearly 80 percent in recent pols approved of how he's doing his job. But Powell's political future has been the talk of Washington for months, in part because of well-publicized disagreement with more hawkish members of the administration on everything from Mid-East engagement to seeking UN approval for the war with Iraq."

For the Washington Post story by Glenn Kessler, "State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected: Powell and Armitage Intend to Step Down," see: www.washingtonpost.com

Will Derides NY Times for Not Seeing
How Imprisonment Cuts Crime

In his weekly commentary on Sunday's This Week, George Will ridiculed the habit of the New York Times to express befuddlement in news stories about how prison populations are rising while crime is falling. Will suggested the reporting showed how "the Times was mystified. Crime rates and imprisonment rates were moving in opposite directions. I suppose that is mystifying -- if you believe, as some liberals do, that punishment is ineffective at preventing crime."

New York Times headline As the MRC's Clay Waters highlighted on our TimesWatch.org Web site last week, "a teaser on Monday's (July 28) front page sent Times Watch into nostalgic reverie: 'Prison Population Rises -- The nations' prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999. Researchers found the jump surprising, since serious crime had fallen.'
"The Times is up to its old rhetorical tricks. Ever since a September 1997 headline that read 'Crime Rates are Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling,' (as if the two trends were unrelated) the Times has been willfully naive on the connection between more criminals being in prison and a corresponding drop in the number of crimes being committed. The prime offender is crime reporter Fox Butterfield, so it's no surprise to turn to page A12 and spy Butterfield's byline. Butterfield's back with yet another story where he's unable to grasp the connection between putting criminals in prison and a fall in the crime rate. The subhead to Butterfield's story read: 'More Inmates, Despite Slight Drop in Crime.'"

For Butterfield's July 28 story: www.nytimes.com

Will picked up on that story and then recalled some past headlines from recent years. His commentary on the August 3 This Week:
"Last week, the New York Times did it again. Year after year, the same Times reporter, Fox Butterfield, writes a story with some variant of the same theme. This one in last weeks's story. Notice the secondary headline: 'More Inmates, Despite Slight Drop in Crime.'
"'Despite?' Perhaps there is a drop in crime because more criminals are in prison. Three years ago, another Times story, again the word 'despite:' 'Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction.'
"At the Times, it must be unthinkable that crime is reduced by increasing imprisonments. A 1997 Times story was headlined: 'Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.' The Times thought it was odd that when imprisonment increases, crime decreases. The Times won't consider that punishment cuts crime. In January 1998, another Times story, again, used the word 'despite:' 'Despite a decline in the crime rate over the past five years, the number of inmates in the nation's jails and prisons rose again in 1997.' Eight months later, another Times headline: 'Prison Population Growing, Although Crime Rate Drops.'
"The Times was mystified by the correlation between more criminals in jail and less crime in society. In 1999, the Times reported in amazement that, 'The number of inmates in the nation's jails and prisons rose again last year...though crime rates have dropped.' [on screen graphic of the story's lead sentence showed these words in the ellipses: "to a record 1.8 million."] Again the Times was mystified. Crime rates and imprisonment rates were moving in opposite directions.
"I suppose that is mystifying -- if you believe, as some liberals do, that punishment is ineffective at preventing crime. Is the Times consciously pushing that political point of view? No, not consciously. Unconsciously.
"The Times may be so hermetically sealed in its bubble of beliefs, it may not recognize that those beliefs are coloring its reporting. But is there no one at that paper who can burst that bubble?"

If there were, the paper wouldn't be so stridently left-wing. For the latest examples of liberal bias in the New York Times, check: www.timeswatch.org

"CNN Unfortunate Word Choice of the Night"
A Bishop or A...

From Monday's Late Show with David Letterman, the "CNN Unfortunate Word Choice of the Night," taken from an actual CNN Headline News channel report. A bishop or a bitch?

With "First Look" as the graphic over video of New Hampshire priest Gene Robinson, and with "Landmark Hearing" across the bottom of the screen, the female CNN Headline News channel anchor described how an Episcopal conference "will vote on the confirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. He would become the first openly gay Episcopal bitch [slight pause] bishop."

Now that really is an unfortunate word choice.

Letterman like that one so much he played it twice, giving me a chance to hit record on my VCR for the second airing.

"Top Ten Real Reasons Colin Powell is
Stepping Down"

From the August 4 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Real Reasons Colin Powell is Stepping Down." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com

10. Tough to get anything done when boss is on vacation six months a year

9. Whenever it's Rumsfeld's turn to pay the pizza guy, he always seems to have left his wallet at NORAD

8. Fed up after being overlooked on Secretary's Day three years in a row

7. Got a better offer from the North Korean government

6. Angered because Bush would not let him hire State Department dancers

5. According to long-term weather forecasts, 2005 will be a great year for golf

4. Doesn't want to miss a second of CBS smash hit "Cupid"

3. Wants to open his own State Department

2. Just attended a seminar about how anyone can get rich buying real estate with no money down

1. New Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie made him lose the will to do anything

-- Brent Baker