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Couric Cites Daughter to Rice: 'Who Made Us the Boss of Them?' --9/25/2006


1. Couric Cites Daughter to Rice: 'Who Made Us the Boss of Them?'
In a profile of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which led Sunday's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric explained how Rice "rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world." CBS then ran a soundbite from Rice as she sat a few feet in front of Couric: "What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?" To which, Couric retorted by inserting one of her kids into the story: "To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'" (Couric has two daughters, one a teen and the other a tween, I believe.) Couric followed up: "You have said that your goal was, quote, 'To leave the world not just safer but better.' Right now Iraq doesn't seem safer, Iran and North Korea have not fallen into line. Do you honestly believe that the world is safer now?" Earlier in the segment, Rice asserted about the Iraq war that "the idea that somehow because the intelligence was wrong, we were misleading the American people, I really resent that." Rice's lack of guilt seemingly astonished Couric: "Really? Because that's what so many people think." At least "so many" in Couric's Manhattan news media orbit.

2. Olbermann Invites Clinton to Attack Bush, Hits Fox's Wallace
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann featured an interview with former President Clinton, during which he invited Clinton to attack President Bush, while not challenging the former President. Olbermann again brought up Bush's awkwardly worded statement that it was "unacceptable to think" that the actions of America are similar to those of terrorists, a statement which Olbermann had previously made the subject of two "Special Comment" anti-Bush attacks on his show. Clinton came to Olbermann's defense admitting "I'm more close to where you are," contending that "it's wrong for you to be portrayed as not patriotic." Olbermann also wondered if the "demonizing" of dissent was causing America to "get closer to what the terrorists want for us to change anyway." Olbermann ended on an anti-Fox News note, attacking the network for the "reprehensible sandbagging" of Clinton in an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace: "And our compliments to President Clinton for having today staved off a reprehensible sandbagging by Chris Wallace of what is jokingly referred to as Fox News."

3. McLaughlin: 'Should the Pope Abdicate?'; Clift Criticizes Pope
On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, host John McLaughlin, a former Catholic priest, set up a segment on how the Pope's supposedly "incendiary words" had "flamed across the Muslim firmament." He then cued up his panelists with this inflammatory proposition: "Should the Pope abdicate?" Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley retorted: "No, that's the most ridiculous thing I've heard..." When Mort Zuckerman, owner of U.S. News and the New York Daily News, didn't answer the question, McLaughlin demanded: "Would you address my point: Should he resign?" Zuckerman replied "absolutely not" as Pat Buchanan mocked the premise: "Oh, don't be absurd!" In between Blankley and Zuckerman, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift denounced the Pope: "This was needlessly provocative when the former Pope did so much for peace and justice in the world."

4. Couric's Look at N.J. Senate Race Ignores Menendez Scandal
What's politically toxic in Campaign 2006? On the CBS Evening News Friday night, Katie Couric covered the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, and the danger was apparently a Republican standing anywhere near Team Bush. Couric pressed Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr. about President Bush: "Would you like him to come?" The second time she asked, she giggled. She compared the Kean family to the fictional mob family in HBO's The Sopranos, which is set in New Jersey. Couric only ever-so-barely revealed "scandal has wracked the Democratic Party here," but gave no specifics. Newly appointed Sen. Bob Menendez is facing a federal probe for renting out his property to a community group, and then securing millions in federal grants for that community group.

5. Matt Miffed with McCain Deal: 'Why Didn't You Guys Take a Stand?'
Now that John McCain and his fellow "moderate" Republican Senators have made a deal with the White House allowing the CIA and U.S. military to go about the job of protecting America from terrorists, NBC's Matt Lauer is distressed that the group didn't "stand up" to the White House and insist on even softer treatment. In an interview on Friday morning's Today, Lauer confronted McCain: "Why didn't you guys stand up and take a stand on specifics? Why didn't you say look, OK, there've been reports, for example, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the secret CIA centers that he was waterboarded, we will not let that stand, Mr. President?" And Lauer held up Colin Powell as the arbiter of whether this was a good deal, asking McCain: "Do you think now that this moves in the direction where he'll be satisfied?"

6. NPR's Totenberg: U.S. Made Hugo Chavez Into a Global Spectacle
There still is a Blame America First lobby. On Friday's edition of Inside Washington on Washington, DC's PBS affiliate WETA (later replayed on DC's ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV where it was produced), National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg couldn't simply deplore Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez's remarks that President Bush was "the devil." She had to put the blame on the United States government for paying excessive attention to him. After Colbert King of the Washington Post dismissed Chavez as a "class clown," Totenberg went into her spin cycle: "I want to see -- say one thing about him. He is the class clown, but we have made him. We should have ignored him long ago. We were demonizing him at the beginning, trying to get him overthrown."

7. Maher and Whitford: Thanks to Bush, Criticism of U.S. 'Justified'
Assessing the anti-U.S. rants at the UN from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher and actor Bradley Whitford contended President Bush's policies have legitimized the criticism of an arrogant U.S. abusing its power. Maher proposed: "Even though these guys are bad in a lot of ways, it is also true that the substance of what they said -- that the U.S. is a bully, that we want to rule the world with threats and bombs, that we're imperialistic -- what I thought was, you know, this is a speech I've heard over the years many times by tin horn dictators at the UN against the U.S. It's just that now it strikes a lot of people as true." Whitford, formerly part of the cast of The West Wing, and now a star on NBC's new Monday night drama, Studio 60: On the Sunset Strip, charged that "lie after lie after lie" from the administration has caused "an inappropriate over-reaction" to terrorism "so that these idiots, these crackpots seem to be justified" in their criticisms. Whitford also rejected the notion Republicans are better for national security than Democrats, as he simultaneously railed against tax cuts.


Couric Cites Daughter to Rice: 'Who Made
Us the Boss of Them?'

In a profile of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which led Sunday's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric explained how Rice "rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world." CBS then ran a soundbite from Rice as she sat a few feet in front of Couric: "What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?" To which, Couric retorted by inserting one of her kids into the story: "To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'" (Couric has two daughters, one a teen and the other a tween, I believe.) Couric followed up: "You have said that your goal was, quote, 'To leave the world not just safer but better.' Right now Iraq doesn't seem safer, Iran and North Korea have not fallen into line. Do you honestly believe that the world is safer now?"

Earlier in the segment, Rice asserted about the Iraq war that "the idea that somehow because the intelligence was wrong, we were misleading the American people, I really resent that." Rice's lack of guilt seemingly astonished Couric: "Really? Because that's what so many people think." At least "so many" in Couric's Manhattan news media orbit.

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

Two excerpts from the September 24 60 Minutes:

# Katie Couric lectured Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "You used your credibility to rally the American people behind this. Now it turns out there were no weapons of mass destruction. Do you regret using that?"
Rice: "I don't regret at all overthrowing Saddam Hussein."
Couric: "But that's not the question."
Rice: "Do I wish the intelligence had been better? Absolutely. I've wished every day since we learned. The idea that somehow because the intelligence was wrong, we were misleading the American people, I really resent that."
Couric, seemingly surprised: "Really? Because that's what so many people think."
Rice: "No, I resent it, because the administration was using the best available intelligence. And so everybody thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He'd used them, for goodness sakes."

# Couric: "But these days she's consumed by waging war and promoting democracy. And when she defends her position, this former Stanford professor can at times sound like she's lecturing a class."
Rice: "I'm a true believer in the process of democratization as a way to overcome old wounds. And I believe that if we don't do that, then people who've had their differences, people who've resolved their differences by violence or by repression, are never going to find a way to live peacefully together."
Couric to Rice: "Is it really priority number one in terms of philosophically and pragmatically for the United States to be spreading democracy around the world?"
Rice: "Well, first of all, the United States is not spreading democracy. The United States is standing with those who want a democratic future."
Couric: "And the future is what she focuses on. A passionate student of history, Condi Rice believes turmoil


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More See & Hear the Bias

often precedes periods of peace and stability. And she rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world."
Rice: "What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?"
Couric: "To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'"
Rice: "Well, it's not the matter of being the boss of them. It's speaking for people who are voiceless."
Couric: "You have said that your goal was, quote, 'To leave the world not just safer but better.' Right now Iraq doesn't seem safer, Iran and North Korea have not fallen into line. Do you honestly believe that the world is safer now?"
Rice got the last word of the story: "The world is safer because we're finally confronting these terrorists. We're finally confronting this challenge. And so I think we are safer. We're not yet safe. And I know that I'm not going to see the final outcome of the Middle East that we described as democratic and prosperous and, in that way, truly stable. But all that I can do on my watch is to try to lay a foundation so that that will become the Middle East of the future. And I think we've done a great deal to begin to lay that foundation."

The online version, with video, on CBSNews.com's page for 60 Minutes: www.cbsnews.com

Olbermann Invites Clinton to Attack Bush,
Hits Fox's Wallace

On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann featured an interview with former President Clinton, during which he invited Clinton to attack President Bush, while not challenging the former President. Olbermann again brought up Bush's awkwardly worded statement that it was "unacceptable to think" that the actions of America are similar to those of terrorists, a statement which Olbermann had previously made the subject of two "Special Comment" anti-Bush attacks on his show. Clinton came to Olbermann's defense admitting "I'm more close to where you are," contending that "it's wrong for you to be portrayed as not patriotic." Olbermann also wondered if the "demonizing" of dissent was causing America to "get closer to what the terrorists want for us to change anyway." Olbermann ended on an anti-Fox News note, attacking the network for the "reprehensible sandbagging" of Clinton in an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace: "And our compliments to President Clinton for having today staved off a reprehensible sandbagging by Chris Wallace of what is jokingly referred to as Fox News."

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

After Olbermann brought up the question about Bush saying it was "unacceptable to think" certain thoughts, as the Countdown host wondered if he and other administration critics were "overreacting" or if they were "nuts," Clinton agreed with Olbermann:

Keith Olbermann: "Here in this country, at the moment, there seem to be a lot of us who think that there are, we are having trouble getting people involved in defending essential ingredients of our country and our heritage. We've heard a lot about anyone who disagrees with the current administration's policy in Iraq or on the war on terror or even disputes their facts or questions them would be suffering from moral or intellectual confusion. We heard the President talk about how in the world you could disagree with him, it's 'unacceptable to think' that we could be ever doing anything in any interrogation process that might be similar to what the terrorists do. When those of us worry about the future of the country and the past of the country, worry about our heritage, what we stand for, are we overreacting? Are we nuts? Are we exaggerating? Or do you feel the same threat?"
Clinton began: "No, no, let me say, first of all, is, you know, on a lot of these issues, I'm more close to where you are."

Clinton later continued: "I think it's wrong for you to be portrayed as not patriotic."

Olbermann's next question accused the Bush administration of taking America "closer to what the terrorists want."
"The Voltaire quote about, essentially translated as 'I will disagree with your writing, your politics, your thought, but I will defend to the death your right to say them.' ... I mean, is this not what we're supposed to be about? And when we talk about rewriting the Geneva Conventions or when we talk about demonizing dissent or even putting just a bad face on dissent in this country, are we not getting closer to what the terrorists want us to change anyway?"

After asking Clinton what advice he would give Bush if asked, Olbermann ended the show attacking Fox News for the "reprehensible sandbagging" of Clinton, referring to an interview which was briefly excerpted on Friday's Special Report with Brit Hume, which showed a clip of Clinton replying to Chris Wallace's question about critics accusing the former President of not having done enough to get Osama bin Laden as President.

Jim Angle: "Meantime, Osama bin Laden, enemy number one in the war on terror, is on the mind of former President Bill Clinton, who is speaking out angrily about criticism that his administration did not catch or kill the al-Qaeda leader. He said the same people who accuse him now of doing too little once accused him of focusing too much on bin Laden. He spoke with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, who asked Mr. Clinton if he'd done enough to get bin Laden."
Bill Clinton, with anger: "At least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying, they had eight months to try, they did not try. I tried. So I tried and failed."

The MSNBC host took the cheap shot at FNC as he introduced the upcoming episode of MSNBC Investigates titled The Ultimate Betrayal, which Olbermann lamely clarified "it's not about Fox News." Olbermann: "And our compliments to President Clinton for having today staved off a reprehensible sandbagging by Chris Wallace of what is jokingly referred to as Fox [pause] News. That's Countdown for this the 1,238th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. Also, this reminder to join us again at Midnight Eastern tonight, 11 p.m. Central, 9 Pacific for the late edition of Countdown. Until then, a special presentation of MSNBC Investigates, The Ultimate Betrayal is up next. And it's not about Fox News. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of Olbermann's interview with Clinton, conducted in a hotel room earlier in the day, from the September 22 Countdown show:

Keith Olbermann: "Here in this country, at the moment, there seem to be a lot of us who think that there are, we are having trouble getting people involved in defending essential ingredients of our country and our heritage. We've heard a lot about anyone who disagrees with the current administration's policy in Iraq or on the war on terror or even disputes their facts or questions them would be suffering from moral or intellectual confusion. We heard the President talk about how in the world you could disagree with him, it's 'unacceptable to think' that we could be ever doing anything in any interrogation process that might be similar to what the terrorists do. When those of us worry about the future of the country and the past of the country, worry about our heritage, what we stand for, are we overreacting? Are we nuts? Are we exaggerating? Or do you feel the same threat?"
Bill Clinton: "No, no, let me say, first of all, is, you know, on a lot of these issues, I'm more close to where you are. I think what's, the great disservice, though, that's been done here in the last few years is not that, let's say, the administration disagrees with you or me on whether there should be an Abu Ghraib or a Guantanamo or whether, or what the economic or social policies of America should be. The great disservice is the creation of the idea that if you disagree with the people that are in, you're somehow, you don't love your country and you can't be trusted to defend it. What we have to do is to get back to a point to thinking in America and in promoting honest debate and honest differences so that, like if you asked, and I would urge you to do this, if you interviewed somebody in the administration no matter how much you disagree with them, don't be snide, give them a straight up chance to see how they disagree with you. I think that, one of the things I've tried to do with this global initiative is not only define common ground for desperate people, but also to have people calm down enough to actually air their differences of opinion, like you take this, this interrogation deal. We might all say the same thing if, let's say Osama bin Laden's number three guy were captured and we knew a big bomb was going off in America in three days, turns out right now there's an exception for those kind of circumstances in an immediate emergency that's proven in the military recs. But that's not the same thing as saying we want to abolish the Geneva Convention and practice torture as a matter of course. All it does is make our soldiers vulnerable to torture, make us more likely to get bad, not good information-"
Olbermann: "Right."
Clinton: "-and every time we get some minor victory out of it, we'll make a hundred more enemies. So I think these things, I really think we need to think through all this and debate more, so, no, I think it's wrong for you to be portrayed as not patriotic. I think that's wrong. But I think that those of us who are on account of the progressive side of the ledger, we ought to try to find a way to say what our differences are in a way that even our adversaries can hear. I've gotten a lot of big crowds this year of people who are unusually quiet because they just want to think. They're tired of this labeling and name-calling and we're not patriotic and all that thing, that's all a bunch of bull, and they just want to think it through. That's why I think the CGI was so phenomenally successful this year. People say, 'Okay, here's something I can do that is profoundly good and positive. No one's going to question my motives, and I'll either succeed or fail based on the results.'"

...

Olbermann: "The Voltaire quote about, essentially translated as 'I will disagree with your writing, your politics, your thought, but I will defend to the death your right to say them.'"
Clinton: "Yes."
Olbermann: "An essence of education in this country. True?"
Clinton: "Absolutely."
Olbermann: "I mean, is this not what we're supposed to be about? And when we talk about rewriting the Geneva Conventions or when we talk about demonizing dissent or even putting just a bad face on dissent in this country, are we not getting closer to what the terrorists want us to change anyway?"
Clinton: "Well, I think, let me at least fit it in positive terms."
Olbermann: "Please."
Clinton: "I think that the terrorists have an ideology, right? With an ideology, you know the answer anyway, all right? You have a dictated result. Therefore, evidence, argument, old fashioned standards of fact all available. You know where you want to go. And if somebody disagrees with you, they're less human than you are, and they deserve to be a terrorist target. Now, the way we play the game, at our best moments, is that we don't have an ideology with a predetermined outcome. We have philosophers, dominant, we have a conservative philosophy and a progressive philosophy and it sort of tells where we're kind of likely to be, but we're all interested in evidence and argument and learning. And the great test of America has always been, 'Does it work? Are people better off if we do it or not?' And we just keep growing and learning in that climate, always with one dominated by the conservative extreme, one dominated by progressive, and the debate and the tension and the learning's been great for us. So what we don't want to do is no matter how scared we get, and it's okay to be frightened by the prospect of horrible things happening, we don't want to respond to this terror threat in a way that fundamentally alters the character of our country or compromises the future of our children because that's what makes it great being an American. And the evidence is that a democratic society that is constantly relentlessly learning and searching is the best antidote to the terrorist model. These guys are real good at tearing down. They're not particularly good at building up. And there's no reason we should help them by making the case for them by something we do."

...

Olbermann: "Presidents often offer their successors advice, usually indirectly. Successors, especially successors of different political parties, usually ignore it. 'Beware the military industrial complex,' said President Eisenhower in his farewell address before the Kennedy inaugural. 'America cannot and must not disentangle itself from the world,' Bill Clinton argued in the week George W. Bush prepared to move into the White House. 'If we want the world to embody our shared values, then we must assume a shared responsibility.' Our number two story in the Countdown, more from Mr. Clinton for Mr. Bush to ponder, or not."
Olbermann: "Let me throw the craziest, unrealistic political hypothetical to you, in our current environment. The phone rings tomorrow, and it's the current President, and he says, 'Things aren't going as well as they might, either for me or the country. I need a piece of advice, and I'm asking you sincerely for it, for one thing that I can do tomorrow that will improve things. You're the genie now in the political realm again, as you were in this building these last three days. What would you say to him if that request came through?"

...

Olbermann, delivered with a pause between the words "Fox" and "News" and emphasizing the word "News": "And our compliments to President Clinton for having today staved off a reprehensible sandbagging by Chris Wallace of what is jokingly referred to as Fox [pause] News. That's Countdown for this the 1,238th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. Also, this reminder to join us again at Midnight Eastern tonight, 11 p.m. Central, 9 Pacific for the late edition of Countdown. Until then, a special presentation of MSNBC Investigates, The Ultimate Betrayal is up next. And it's not about Fox News. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck."

McLaughlin: 'Should the Pope Abdicate?';
Clift Criticizes Pope

On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, host John McLaughlin, a former Catholic priest, set up a segment on how the Pope's supposedly "incendiary words" had "flamed across the Muslim firmament." He then cued up his panelists with this inflammatory proposition: "Should the Pope abdicate?" Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley retorted: "No, that's the most ridiculous thing I've heard..." When Mort Zuckerman, owner of U.S. News and the New York Daily News, didn't answer the question, McLaughlin demanded: "Would you address my point: Should he resign?" Zuckerman replied "absolutely not" as Pat Buchanan mocked the premise: "Oh, don't be absurd!"

In between Blankley and Zuckerman, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift denounced the Pope's perspective in which he had quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor on how Mohammad brought "things only evil and inhuman." Clift argued: "If he's going to go back and quote somebody from 500 years ago, let's get the rest of the context. He's talking about violent religions -- Christendom has some violence in its past as well." She soon charged: "This was needlessly provocative when the former Pope did so much for peace and justice in the world."

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

Setting up the segment, McLaughlin displayed the quotes from 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel Paleologos II: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." After asserting that when cited by the Pope "these incendiary words flamed across the Muslim firmament" and showing scenes of the violence, McLaughlin noted how the Pope issued a statement about how he's "deeply sorry for the reactions." McLaughlin then asked:

"Question: Should the Pope abdicate?"
Tony Blankley, over even laughter from Eleanor Clift: "No, that's the most ridiculous thing I've heard..."

Following more from Blankley and Pat Buchanan defending the Pope, Clift chimed in:
"First of all, the thrust of his speech is that Christianity is in danger of being wiped out in Europe by secularism and by the rising tide of Islam. And if he's going to go back and quote somebody from 500 years ago, let's get the rest of the context. He's talking about violent religions -- Christendom has some violence in its past as well."
Blankley: "That wasn't his point."
Clift: "This was needlessly-"
Blankley: "He was talking about today."
Clift: "Excuse me! This was needlessly provocative when the former Pope did so much for peace and justice in the world."
Blankley: "It was necessarily provocative."
Clift: "No, unnecessarily."
McLaughlin: "Mort, let's go."
Mort Zuckerman: "I do not agree that it was necessarily provocative. After all, he is still a world figure and has to be very careful in the words that he uses, especially in these times, and I think he could have made his point without, in fact, using those particular quotes. But his point is a valid point, it's the one that Pat made."
McLaughlin: "Would you address my point: Should he resign?"
Zuckerman: "Absolutely not. Absolutely not."
McLaughlin: "Why not?"
Pat Buchanan: "Oh, don't be absurd!"
Zuckerman: "That is absurd."
McLaughlin: "There are a billion Muslims out there."
Buchanan: "So what?"
McLaughlin: "Have you found a Muslim who's forgiving toward the Pope in this regard?"
Zuckerman: "The Muslims have not been exactly been forgiving toward their own sins..."

Couric's Look at N.J. Senate Race Ignores
Menendez Scandal

What's politically toxic in Campaign 2006? On the CBS Evening News Friday night, Katie Couric covered the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, and the danger was apparently a Republican standing anywhere near Team Bush. Couric pressed Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr. about President Bush: "Would you like him to come?" The second time she asked, she giggled. She compared the Kean family to the fictional mob family in HBO's The Sopranos, which is set in New Jersey.

Couric only ever-so-barely revealed "scandal has wracked the Democratic Party here," but gave no specifics. Newly appointed Sen. Bob Menendez is facing a federal probe for renting out his property to a community group, and then securing millions in federal grants for that community group. (CNSNews.com story: www.cnsnews.com )

At the very least, liberal groups the networks often use as expert sources, like Public Citizen and the Center for Public Integrity, say Menendez is guilty of a conflict of interest. See: www.nj.com

But CBS viewers would have no idea. They just heard Menendez say it's "smear tactics to hide a right-wing agenda."

[This item is adopted from a Saturday posting, by Tim Graham, on NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Couric made the whole story about the Republican challenger with a household name in New Jersey -- not a bad thing in itself, but unlikely without the scandal. (Menendez is a rare Latino in the Senate, as are freshman Sens. Ken Salazar and Mel Martinez.) Over pictures of fathers changing into photos of their sons, Couric began:
"Here comes the son. This election year a number of famous sons of political fathers running for the U.S. Senate. Former President Jimmy Carter's son Jack is running in Nevada. In Pennsylvania it's former Governor Bob Casey's son, Bob Jr. In Tennessee, former Congressman Harold Ford Sr.'s son, Harold Jr. And tonight we take you to New Jersey, where former Governor Tom Kean's son, 38-year-old Tom Jr., has also thrown his hat into the ring. The son also rises, or will he? Here's tonight's 'Eye on Politics.'"

Why not the other Juniors? None of them are a commute away from the New York studios.

Couric began the taped piece, over scenes from HBO's The Sopranos, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
"New Jersey's first family of crime on prime time. Their world is a tough one, but some say not near as tough as real-life New Jersey politics, especially this year's Senate race. Take it from Christie Todd Whitman, a former governor."
Former Governor Christie Todd Whitman (R-NJ): "Politics in New Jersey is not for the faint of heart."
"Some say" that mob life, organized racketeering and murder, is "not near as tough" as New Jersey politics? It would be nice for CBS to challenge that "someone" to go on camera and say that like they believed it. (Especially as CBS showed footage of Tony Soprano shooting a guy in the heart.) Couric did not explain why Menendez was appointed: Sen. Jon Corzine won election as Governor after Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned in 2004, saying he was resigning because he was a "gay American." He also faced a bevy of corruption problems.

Couric: "Bob Menendez knows that, a long-time Congressman who was appointed to the Senate, he was supposed to be a shoo-in to keep the seat. But then along came Republican State Senator Tom Kean Jr, and this song by New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen could have been written for him."
Audio of Bruce Springsteen singing: "Baby, we were born to run."
State Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ): "I grew up in a household that valued public service and firmly believed that one person could make a difference."

Couric: "If the Sopranos are New Jersey's fictional first family of crime, New Jersey's first family of politics is definitely the Keans. [Katie, who has a definite affinity for the Kennedy family, would never touch this kind of comparison for them. See her recent online reflection celebrating what would have been Jack and Jackie's 53rd wedding anniversary: www.cbsnews.com ] The family has been in the game since the American Revolution. Junior's father, Tom Kean Sr., was elected governor of New Jersey twice and could have been elected again and again if not for term limits. New Jersey voters loved Tom Kean the father. They're not sure about the son just yet."
Former Governor Tom Kean Sr. (R-NJ): "He and I don't agree on every issue. I didn't agree with my father on every issue. I don't agree with my wife on every issue."
Couric: "New Jersey voters haven't elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 34 years, when Tom Kean Jr. was four. But scandal has wracked the Democratic Party here."
Kean Jr.: "The people of the state are crying out for change. They're crying out for reform."
Couric: "Menendez says his opponent is just using smear tactics to hide a right wing agenda."
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ): "He supports the war. He supports privatizing Social Security, something I oppose. He opposed increasing the minimum wage in New Jersey."
Couric: "But the latest polls have Kean ahead. The Republican Party smells blood, and is helping him raise money. But when Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney hosted fund-raisers for Kean, Junior didn't show. Why? Because in blue New Jersey, this President isn't popular. And Menendez knows it."
Clip of Democratic ad: "Tom Kean Jr. follows George Bush on Iraq."
Couric to Kean: "You say you're planning to have your father campaign for you. What about President Bush?"
Kean Jr.: "The President's got an open invitation to come to this state."
Couric: "Would you like him to come?"
Kean Jr.: "He's got an open invitation."
Couric, giggling: "Would you like him to come?"
Kean Jr.: "Of course, of course."
Couric, holding up hand to ear to mimic a phone call: "So if he called you today and said, 'Tom, I'm coming up tomorrow to campaign for you,' you would say?"
Kean Jr.: "I'd say, 'Of course.'"
Couric, on the CBS News set: "The fact is, Tom Kean Jr. knows he needs his father's name more than he needs a photo op with the President of the United States to win this race."

See the CBSNews.com version (with video). Couric's intro and last line are not included: www.cbsnews.com

Matt Miffed with McCain Deal: 'Why Didn't
You Guys Take a Stand?'

Now that John McCain and his fellow "moderate" Republican Senators have made a deal with the White House allowing the CIA and U.S. military to go about the job of protecting America from terrorists, NBC's Matt Lauer is distressed that the group didn't "stand up" to the White House and insist on even softer treatment.

In an interview on Friday morning's Today, Lauer confronted McCain: "Why didn't you guys stand up and take a stand on specifics? Why didn't you say look, OK, there've been reports, for example, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the secret CIA centers that he was waterboarded, we will not let that stand, Mr. President?"

And Lauer held up Colin Powell as the arbiter of whether this was a good deal, asking McCain: "Do you think now that this moves in the direction where he'll be satisfied?"

Lauer repeatedly suggested the agreement between McCain's group and the White House was an election-year gimmick. "Was it a move against torture, or just political theater?" he asked during the opening tease. A few minutes later, he observed to co-host Meredith Vieira: "Some are saying this was all for show, and that nothing has really changed."

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Lauer then proposed to McCain that "some cynics" were suggesting "this was really all about political theater." Today never identified who the "some cynics" might be, but over on ABC's Good Morning America, MRC's Megan McCormack noticed how chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos told co-host Robin Roberts that Democrats were upset by the Bush-McCain deal.

Discussing the deal, Roberts reminded Stephanopoulos: "The Democrats pretty much sat this one out, let the Republicans duke it out. But where do the Democrats now stand on this?" Stephanopoulos suggested they were going to be forced to go along with McCain's deal: "They took a pass. I mean, you're exactly right. They were cut out of the negotiations. They were happy to have Senator McCain leading the criticism. Now that he's joined ranks with the President, they're not real happy, they're grumbling about it, but they can't really fight it either."

Lauer has taken his gripes about the treatment of terrorist prisoners straight to the President, complaining in an interview for the September 11 Today, as MRC's Geoff Dickens noted at the time. Lauer demanded to know of Bush: "Are you comfortable that the United States did not break the law in conducting that kind of interrogations in those secret sites?" Later in the program, Lauer worried: "Are you at all concerned that at some point, even if you get results, there is a blurring the lines of, between ourselves and the people we're trying to protect us against?" See the September 12 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Apparently, not even the media's normal affection for John McCain can shield him from their wrath when he sides with the Bush administration's odious anti-terror policies.

Now, more from Friday's Today, as transcribed by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, beginning with Lauer's opening tease for his interview with McCain:
"Done deal. The Bush administration finally reaches an agreement with some breakaway Republican Senators on how to interrogate and prosecute the world's most notorious terror suspects. Was it a move against torture or just political theater?"

A few minutes later, Lauer told Meredith Vieira about his upcoming interview: "After a big showdown over whether to redefine a part of the Geneva Conventions, a deal has now been reached between the White House and some powerful Republican Senators. But some are saying this was all for show, and that nothing has really changed. We're going to talk to a key player in all of this, Senator John McCain, in a live interview."

In a report preceding Lauer's interview, NBC White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell framed the issue in terms of midterm election politics, not necessary wartime policies: "This is one of those Washington stories where everyone gets to come out claiming victory. The President gets to talk about the war on terror, while the focus is off the war in Iraq for a bit. And Republicans get to appear united just weeks before the midterm election."

Then Lauer introduced McCain, and exclusively questioned him from the perspective of those questioning whether he and his group of renegade Republicans gave away too much to the White House, never once suggesting that McCain's public criticisms have hurt America's reputation or that his proposed policies will impair the CIA's ability to extract useful information that could save American lives in the future.

Lauer's questions to McCain:

# "Arizona Republican, and former POW, Senator John McCain was a key player in the give and take on this bill. Senator McCain, always good to see you good morning....The President said this preserves what is essential, and that is that CIA interrogation programs. So, does that mean that you and your Republican colleagues in the Senate feel that the CIA has done nothing, or is now doing nothing, that goes against the Geneva Conventions?"

# "But why didn't the Senate, why didn't you guys stand up and take a stand on specifics? Why didn't you say look, OK, there have been reports, for example, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the secret CIA centers that he was waterboarded. 'We will not let that stand, Mr. President?'"
To that, McCain replied, "We said exactly that. There will be no such thing as waterboarding. We outlined the grave breaches of conduct, and you will never see that again, and we've stood up and said that cannot be done. Most importantly, we said we will not change the Geneva Conventions. We're very proud of what we did. The ACLU and others don't want the President to be able to question these people. We think that the program is a is legitimate."

# "So when you say you did not, that the Article Three of the Geneva Conventions is intact, you feel when you said last week American lives could be placed at risk by what was happening, you now feel that with the action that you and your fellow Republicans have taken that you put an end to that risk?" McCain said, "Of course."

# "The, you know, there are some cynics here, and there are a lots of cynics in Washington as you know, Senator McCain, who say that the Senators stood up a couple of weeks ago and they took the moral high ground and they said we're willing to risk party unity to stand up for the Pres- to stand up to the President and say torture will not stand. But in the end, the President got pretty much everything he wanted and this was really all about political theater. How do you respond to that?"

# "Much was made about a letter that was written to you, Senator, by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that because of the way this debate was moving, he thought the world was beginning to quote 'doubt the moral basis of the war on terror.'"
McCain interjected: "I agree with him. I agree with him."
Lauer: "First of all, have you spoken to Secretary Powell since this agreement, and do you think now that this moves in the direction where he'll be satisfied?"
McCain replied, "I'm confident he will be satisfied. I'm confident all the other admirals and generals who wrote. But I'm not confident that the ACLU, and other more liberal organizations will be satisfied, because they didn't want this program. So, we have a difference. But I think you'll see progress. I think you can be proud of what we've done but, more importantly, we've preserved the Geneva Conventions. We will still allow these terrible terrorists to be questioned and we will, you will see them go on trial. That was our goal, and that's what we've achieved."

NPR's Totenberg: U.S. Made Hugo Chavez
Into a Global Spectacle

There still is a Blame America First lobby. On Friday's edition of Inside Washington on Washington, DC's PBS affiliate WETA (later replayed on DC's ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV where it was produced), National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg couldn't simply deplore Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez's remarks that President Bush was "the devil." She had to put the blame on the United States government for paying excessive attention to him. After Colbert King of the Washington Post dismissed Chavez as a "class clown," Totenberg went into her spin cycle: "I want to see -- say one thing about him. He is the class clown, but we have made him. We should have ignored him long ago. We were demonizing him at the beginning, trying to get him overthrown."

King then demanded: "Where is the evident that we tried to overthrow him? He claimed that."
Totenberg: "I am not saying we did that, we would have loved -- we openly -- openly endorsed his removal. We should have been doing all along what we did this week. Just ignoring him. We made it into something. He even denies his party visas to the UN. He went to Cuba and said I will swim there if I have to."

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

Maher and Whitford: Thanks to Bush, Criticism
of U.S. 'Justified'

Assessing the anti-U.S. rants at the UN from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher and actor Bradley Whitford contended President Bush's policies have legitimized the criticism of an arrogant U.S. abusing its power. Maher proposed: "Even though these guys are bad in a lot of ways, it is also true that the substance of what they said -- that the U.S. is a bully, that we want to rule the world with threats and bombs, that we're imperialistic -- what I thought was, you know, this is a speech I've heard over the years many times by tin horn dictators at the UN against the U.S. It's just that now it strikes a lot of people as true." Whitford, formerly part of the cast of The West Wing, and now a star on NBC's new Monday night drama, Studio 60: On the Sunset Strip, charged that "lie after lie after lie" from the administration has caused "an inappropriate over-reaction" to terrorism "so that these idiots, these crackpots seem to be justified" in their criticisms.

Whitford also rejected the notion Republicans are better for national security than Democrats, as he simultaneously railed against tax cuts: "To say that, you know, the Democrats are pussies and, you know, we'll do the hard work of protecting this country. Bullshit! The things they have to do, is they have to follow the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. For $10 billion they could check every ship that comes into this country. Instead their priority is to give this year $60 billion worth of tax cuts to millionaires like us. They're not serious about protecting the country."

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

On the panel with Whitford: The left-wing Reza Aslan, author of No God But God, and a Middle East analyst for CBS News, and the conservative Sandy Rios of the Culture Campaign.

Whitford was last on with Maher back on May 5 and a CyberAlert item, with video, "West Wing's Bradley Whitford: Bush Has 'Desecrated' American Flag," recounted what he spouted: www.mediaresearch.org

IMDb's page for Whitford: www.imdb.com

NBC's page for Studio 60: On the Sunset Strip: www.nbc.com

Brief transcripts of a few remarks made on the September 22 edition of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, produced live at 11pm EDT at CBS Television City in Los Angeles:

Bill Maher: "Even though these guys are bad in a lot of ways, it is also true that the substance of what they said -- that the U.S. is a bully, that we want to rule the world with threats and bombs, that we're imperialistic -- what I thought was, you know, this is a speech I've heard over the years many times by tin horn dictators at the UN against the U.S. It's just that now it strikes a lot of people as true."
Bradley Whitford: "What is the purpose of terror? The purpose of terror is to provoke an inappropriate over-reaction. And this country, this President, this administration, lie after lie after lie has done that so that these idiots, these crackpots seem to be justified. We have legitimized -- Hezbollah's now part of the government, you know, Hamas is now part of the government."

And a few minutes later, Whitford reacted to the sole conservative panelist, Sandy Rios:
"It's a bogus politicization -- I agree with what you said before -- to say that, you know, the Democrats are pussies and, you know, we'll do the hard work of protecting this country. Bullshit! The things they have to do, is they have to follow the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. For $10 billion they could check every ship that comes into this country. Instead their priority is to give this year $60 billion worth of tax cuts to millionaires like us. They're not serious about protecting the country."

HBO's page for Real Time with Bill Maher: www.hbo.com

-- Brent Baker