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CBS's Bob Schieffer: Iraq "Sort of a Vietnam in Reverse" --1/24/2005


1. CBS's Bob Schieffer: Iraq "Sort of a Vietnam in Reverse"
Seeing the world through the prism of Vietnam. When on Sunday's Face the Nation Senator John McCain foresaw, after elections in Iraq, "a transition where American troops withdraw into enclaves and are only used in emergency kinds of situations," CBS's Bob Schieffer saw Iraq then as "sort of a Vietnam in reverse where we started out with advisers to South Vietnamese troops, then went to combat troops from America taking over. What you're talking about is Americans sort of withdrawing from the active combat and becoming advisers to the Iraqis."

2. When Conservatives Criticize Conservatives ABC Sees Their Wisdom
When conservatives criticize or mock other conservatives, the media can suddenly find wisdom in the views of the critical conservatives. Case in point, Friday's World News Tonight. Assessing President Bush's Inaugural address, John Cochran showcased how former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan "called the speech 'over the top' and urged the White House to 'ease up, calm down.'" Anchor Peter Jennings teased another story: "The two conservative Christian groups which think that Spongebob Squarepants is being used to promote homosexuality." Then he added: "Other conservatives say this sort of thing 'makes us look silly.'" The subsequent story featured a clip of Michael Medved chiding his fellow religious conservatives.

3. Dan Rather v Bill Plante on If Bush Has Asked for "Sacrifice"
Dan Rather versus CBS reporter Bill Plante. During Inaugural coverage last Thursday, Dan Rather asked: "Has there been any American President in a time of war who has asked for as little sacrifice as President Bush has done?" Rather also wanted know if in the address President Bush might "ask for some measure of sacrifice from the country as a whole that he hasn't asked for before?" But in a Friday story reviewing Bush's speech, CBS News White House reporter Bill Plante presumed that Bush has asked for "sacrifice." Plante reported: "In his address yesterday, Mr. Bush spoke of asking America's patience, perhaps preparing the nation for more sacrifice."

4. NBC's O'Donnell Wishes Bush Inaugural Was More a "McCain-Type"
Bush's Inaugural address not McCain-like enough? Appearing Friday on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, NBC News White House reporter Norah O'Donnell panned President Bush's Inaugural speech: "There was no specificity arguably, and kind of made you long for, perhaps, sort of some blunt rhetoric from a McCain-type, or something like that, about the country."

5. NBC's Shalit: Rwandan Genocide Ignored Because It "Had No Oil"
In the midst of a glowing review Friday morning of the movie Hotel Rwanda, Today's Gene Shalit delivered a left-wing line which suggested the U.S. went to war in Iraq to get oil. "While the genocidal slaughter raged, Europe and America did nothing," Shalit recalled, "they sent no help. They couldn't be bothered about this human butchery. I guess Rwanda had no oil."

6. Garofalo: "George W. Bush is Unelectable," Blames "Vote Fraud"
Acting as a parody of herself, Thursday night on MSNBC's Scarborough Country Janeane Garofalo declared that "George W. Bush is unelectable." That prompted Joe Scarborough to wonder "why does he keep winning?" Garofalo responded with ridiculous accusations followed by cluelessness: "I don't know, voter fraud? A failed mainstream media that fails to inform the electorate about what their government is doing, ignorance, apathy? I don't know."

7. "Top Ten Bush Goals for His Second Term"
Letterman's "Top Ten Bush Goals for His Second Term."


CBS's Bob Schieffer: Iraq "Sort of a
Vietnam in Reverse"

CBS's Bob Schieffer Seeing the world through the prism of Vietnam. When on Sunday's Face the Nation Senator John McCain foresaw, after elections in Iraq, "a transition where American troops withdraw into enclaves and are only used in emergency kinds of situations," CBS's Bob Schieffer saw Iraq then as "sort of a Vietnam in reverse where we started out with advisers to South Vietnamese troops, then went to combat troops from America taking over. What you're talking about is Americans sort of withdrawing from the active combat and becoming advisers to the Iraqis."

Sen. John McCain On the January 23 Face the Nation, co-host Karen Tumulty of Time magazine raised how "a lot of these candidates running in Iraq are running on a promise to immediately after the election ask the Americans to leave. What do you do?"
McCain replied: "I don't think we're going to do that and here's why. Because they will then be the first to go, because the extremists will take over, and if you see Iraq disintegrate, then they won't be part of a government. I can understand why some of them might campaign by saying that we'll get the Americans out. What I see is a transition where American troops withdraw into enclaves and are only used in emergency kinds of situations, primarily again in the Sunni triangle and-"
Schieffer jumped in: "Well, sort of a Vietnam in reverse where we started out with advisers to South Vietnamese troops, then went to combat troops from America taking over. What you're talking about is Americans sort of withdrawing from the active combat and becoming advisers to the Iraqis."
McCain ignored the analogy: "Both advisers and maybe in enclaves, camps, where they don't have to interface that much with the Iraqi people because that's obviously an irritant to many, and if there's some kind of an uprising, say a Fallujah, then they would go in and help and support Iraqi troops. That's the ideal situation."

When Conservatives Criticize Conservatives
ABC Sees Their Wisdom

Author Michael Medved When conservatives criticize or mock other conservatives, the media can suddenly find wisdom in the views of the critical conservatives. Case in point, Friday's World News Tonight. Assessing President Bush's Inaugural address, John Cochran showcased how former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan "called the speech 'over the top' and urged the White House to 'ease up, calm down.'" Anchor Peter Jennings teased another story: "The two conservative Christian groups which think that Spongebob Squarepants is being used to promote homosexuality." Then he added: "Other conservatives say this sort of thing 'makes us look silly.'" The subsequent story featured a clip of Michael Medved chiding his fellow religious conservatives.

In his January 21 World News Tonight story, John Cochran relayed how "Bush aides were trying to explain just what he meant yesterday when he pledged to spread freedom across the globe."
George W. Bush in his Inaugural address: "With the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
Former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan Cochran: "Some historians and pundits call that the most ambitious foreign agenda since Woodrow Wilson, even more ambitious than Ronald Reagan. Too ambitious, said a former Reagan speech writer, Peggy Noonan, who called the speech [matching text displayed on screen] 'over the top' and urged the White House to 'ease up, calm down.' Today, some Republicans said it is the President's critics who should calm down."
Senator Jeff Sessions, (R-AL): "He does not intend to go to war in every country that does not agree with us."
Cochran: "A senior White House official told ABC News the President is not urging repressed people everywhere to revolt, nor is he promising American military help to end tyranny..."

Jennings opened the broadcast by teasing another story which ABC framed round chastising conservatives: "The two conservative Christian groups which think that Spongebob Squarepants is being used to promote homosexuality. Other conservatives say this sort of thing makes us look silly."

Jennings set up that piece: "Well, there's hardly a day that goes by in America without some aspect of what we increasingly call the culture wars. Some of it wrenchingly serious and some of it puzzling. Today, we learned that two Christian organizations, one of which at least gets regular publicity, have launched a campaign against a child's video. It's about a cartoon program that will appear on Public Television, and the tape is being sent to about 60,000 schools. ABC's Dan Harris tonight on what it is that is so upsetting."

Harris began, as checked against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "On the surface, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything less offensive. [clip of cartoon video] The video features dozens of cartoon characters, including Spongebob Squarepants, Bob the Builder, Big Bird and Barney -- all of them preaching tolerance."
Nile Rodgers, We are Family Foundation: "The message that it sends is that it's about unity. That's the only message that it's ever been about."
Harris: "Two very media-conscious Christian conservative groups are calling this a cunning attempt to 'promote the acceptance of homosexuality.' It's not so much Spongebob Squarepants, even though he is occasionally affectionate with his sidekick, Patrick. They don't have a problem with the video itself, either. Focus on the Family and the American Family Association say what they don't like is this Web site from the group that produced the video. It features a tolerance pledge that includes people with different sexual identities."
Stephen Bennett, American Family Association: "It's not the video itself, but it's the message, the world view of the pro-homosexual stance."
Harris: "Stephen Bennett points out that the site not only has the pledge, but it also has a recommended reading list that includes Heather Has Two Mommies. He does admit, though, that these references to sexuality are only a small part of the site."
Bennett: "It's almost adding, like, a little strychnine into the water. It's enough to kill you."
Harris: "Michael Medved, the conservative radio host, says the two Christian groups are trying to cross a bridge too far."
Michael Medved, talk radio host: "I think it would probably be useful if my fellow religious conservatives would place a moratorium on any attacks on cartoon characters. It kind of makes us look silly."
Harris: "It's reminiscent, he says, of preachers attaching the gay label to the Teletubby Tinkie Winkie and Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie. Stephen Bennett says his job is to give parents all the facts. As for the leaders of the other group, they refuse to discuss the video any more. Dan Harris, ABC News, New York."

Dan Rather v Bill Plante on If Bush Has
Asked for "Sacrifice"

CBS's Bill Plante Dan Rather versus CBS reporter Bill Plante. During Inaugural coverage last Thursday, Dan Rather asked: "Has there been any American President in a time of war who has asked for as little sacrifice as President Bush has done?" Rather also wanted know if in the address President Bush might "ask for some measure of sacrifice from the country as a whole that he hasn't asked for before?" But in a Friday story reviewing Bush's speech, CBS News White House reporter Bill Plante presumed that Bush has asked for "sacrifice." Plante reported: "In his address yesterday, Mr. Bush spoke of asking America's patience, perhaps preparing the nation for more sacrifice."

At about 10:40am EST on Thursday, Rather wondered: "Having studied every American President in some detail, has there been any American President in a time of war who has asked for as little sacrifice as President Bush has done? Or is that a misreading of history?"
Professor Joseph Ellis, a CBS News analyst, a historian and an author, most recently of a new biography of George Washington, confirmed: "No, I think you're right, Dan. I think what's unusual about President Bush is that he's perhaps the only President that took us to war at the same time as he cut our taxes. And that's supposed to not be possible, and so it's an unusual situation, and perhaps we should listen today to see if he does ask us for, for some sacrifice. ..."

Rather asked his other panelist, Ed Rollins: "Would you expect President Bush to give a surprise in this inaugural address and ask for some measure of sacrifice from the country as a whole that he hasn't asked for before?"

But the next night, Plante presumed Bush has asked for sacrifice. On the January 21 CBS Evening News, Plante highlighted how "both the Vice President and the next Secretary of State have offered a rare public admission of mistakes in post-war planning. In his address yesterday, Mr. Bush spoke of asking America's patience, perhaps preparing the nation for more sacrifice."
George W. Bush in Inaugural address: "Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill and would be dishonorable to abandon."
Plante: "Members of Congress aren't the only ones who are skeptical. Americans have serious doubts about the President's ability to create democracy in Iraq, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll..."

NBC's O'Donnell Wishes Bush Inaugural
Was More a "McCain-Type"

Bush's Inaugural address not McCain-like enough? Appearing Friday on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, NBC News White House reporter Norah O'Donnell panned President Bush's Inaugural speech: "There was no specificity arguably, and kind of made you long for, perhaps, sort of some blunt rhetoric from a McCain-type, or something like that, about the country."

The MRC's Jessica Barnes caught O'Donnell's comment during her January 21 appearance by phone in the 8am EST half hour. O'Donnell offered this evaluation of Bush's address from the day before:
"I mean, it was broad, it was bold, it had the, you know, typical soaring rhetoric of an inaugural address, but it lacked, sort of, specificity, if you will. You know, I think the analysis is that it was seemingly non-controversial. I mean, who can be against liberty, freedom, unity, all of the things that the President touched on? But if you look, sort of, deeper into that speech, I mean, he was pledging a mission that is sweeping in its Wilsonian internationalism, and the question now has to be asked how does the White House plan to implement that? How far are they going to go? How far will they use military force in order to promote this democracy and freedom around the world? What's the complement of democracy and military power and might?...
"As I said, it was beautifully soaring rhetoric and lyrical, but there was no specificity arguably, and kind of made you long for, perhaps, sort of some blunt rhetoric from a McCain-type, or something like that, about the country."

Pressed by Don Imus, O'Donnell did go on to concede that Bush's "blueprint" will probably come in the upcoming State of the Union address.

NBC's Shalit: Rwandan Genocide Ignored
Because It "Had No Oil"

Today's Gene Shalit In the midst of a glowing review Friday morning of the movie Hotel Rwanda, Today's Gene Shalit delivered a left-wing line which suggested the U.S. went to war in Iraq to get oil. "While the genocidal slaughter raged, Europe and America did nothing," Shalit recalled, "they sent no help. They couldn't be bothered about this human butchery. I guess Rwanda had no oil."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed the line in Shalit's January 21 review, of the movie which stars Don Cheadle, aired during the 9:30am half hour of Today:
"Through his courage, his contacts, bribery, shrewd bluffs and nerve this hotel manager saved more than one thousand women, children and men. While the genocidal slaughter raged Europe and America did nothing. They sent no help. They couldn't be bothered about this human butchery. I guess Rwanda had no oil."

The Internet Movie Database's description of the plot for Hotel Rwanda: "Don Cheadle stars in the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda."

For more about the film: www.imdb.com

Garofalo: "George W. Bush is Unelectable,"
Blames "Vote Fraud"

Janeane Garofalo Acting as a parody of herself, Thursday night on MSNBC's Scarborough Country Janeane Garofalo declared that "George W. Bush is unelectable." That prompted Joe Scarborough to wonder "why does he keep winning?" Garofalo responded with ridiculous accusations followed by cluelessness: "I don't know, voter fraud? A failed mainstream media that fails to inform the electorate about what their government is doing, ignorance, apathy? I don't know."

Garofalo, an actress who is now Air America's nighttime talk host, appeared via satellite from New York City in the second of a two-hour Scarborough Country on Inauguration night, January 20. Also on the air at the time with Joe Scarborough: Garofalo's on-air partner, Sam Seder, along with Lawrence Kudlow, Pat Buchanan and Hillary Rosen.

A bit past 11:30pm EST, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth observed, Scarborough asked Garofalo: "Janeane, you know, for the past, well, actually, not the past four years, but since George Bush got into public life, he's been underestimated by his opponents, and I want you to take a listen to a David Letterman clip on President Bush a few nights ago."
[Clip from the Late Show of Bush stumbling over his words trying to describe his plan for savings accounts for Social Security: "A personal savings account, which can't be used to bet on the lottery or, you know, a dice game or the track. In other words, there'll be guidelines. There will be a certain, uh, uh, you won't be allowed to just take that money." Letterman: "A regular Alan Greenspan!"]
Scarborough repeated Letterman's Greenspan line and then inquired of Garofalo: "Okay, so here's the question. Is that a part of an act that this guy does to lull Democrats into underestimating him, or do Democrats just put up really, really bad candidates against this guy every four years?"
Garofalo: "Well, I don't recognize that as a valid question. First of all, George W. Bush is a bad candidate. George W. Bush is unelectable, in my opinion. And secondly-"
Scarborough jumped in: "Well, why does he keep winning?"
Garofalo: "I don't know, voter fraud? A failed mainstream media that fails to inform the electorate about what their government is doing, ignorance, apathy? I don't know. But for you to say that he is a great President, a great, you know, and the thing is, I don't think he's stupid. I know you want to go from the premise of, 'Why do people keep saying he's stupid, but he keeps succeeding?' That's the premise you're going after. First of all, I don't think he's stupid. He's not intellectually curious, and he's not articulate. Now, succeeding at what? What are his successes, Joe?"

Scarborough pointed out that he's been elected President with the largest vote ever.

The Web page for Garofalo's radio show: www.airamericaradio.com

"Top Ten Bush Goals for His Second
Term"

From the January 21 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Bush Goals for His Second Term." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Fewer idiotic remarks; more hilarious pratfalls.

9. Add mother Barbara to Mount Rushmore.

8. Combine Nebraska and Kansas into new state: Nebransas.

7. Spice up boring state dinners with tasty fish sticks!

6. Improve communication skills from poor to fair.

5. Catch up on his "Smokey and the Bandit" collection.

4. Get Ray Stevens to write some funny lyrics for "Hail To The Chief"

3. Ride every roller coaster in the country.

2. Install remote-activated button in Oval Office so he can blow stuff up right from his desk!

1. Begin vote-rigging process for Jeb's White House run in 2008.


-- Brent Baker