CyberAlert -- 05/30/2002 -- "Testy" Bush Had a "Hissy Fit"?
"Testy" Bush Had a "Hissy Fit"?; Woodruff's Softballs to Tom and Linda Daschle; Name "Jesus" Bleeped by ABC; More of Brian Williams' Liberal Slant
1) Some leading journalists claimed President Bush had a "hissy fit" and a "testy" reaction to NBC reporter David Gregory's decision to switch to French to ask a question of the French President. In fact, a chuckling Bush quipped: "The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!" Bush then laughed as the press corps also erupted in laughter. For a real example of a President lashing out in anger at a reporter, recall how Bill Clinton lectured Brit Hume in 1993.
2) CNN's Judy Woodruff tossed a bunch of softballs to Tom and Linda Daschle. She drew out Linda Daschle who condemned mean-spirited partisan attacks on her husband. Woodruff rued: "Do you feel, Senator, as if they are trying to demonize you literally?" Woodruff raised Linda Daschle being an airline lobbyist, but only to learn his feelings about being questioned about the conflict: "Does that bother you when those articles are written?"
3) Mentioning Jesus verboten at ABC? On Tuesday's The View, Joy Behar recalled how on a show the week before, she had exclaimed about her diet plan coming to an end: "Yes, and thank you, thank you, Jesus, is all I have to say! Goodbye to that damn scale and this whole diet. I'm sick of it!" But for the West Coast feed of that show, ABC bleeped out the name "Jesus."
4) CyberAlert Bonus: Material that didn't fit into Wednesday's Media Reality Check on Brian Williams, including his predilection for characterizing conservatives as "far right" extremists, his praise for how a CPSC staffer is making toys safe for kids and how a 1995 budget cut meant "humans didn't fare that well" in the House GOP's budget. In addition, a contrast in how Williams treated Janet Reno versus Ken Starr in interviews on his MSNBC show. And, how in 2000 he acknowledged the media's anti-Bush tilt.
A "testy" outburst from President George W. Bush who had a "hissy fit" while responding with a voice "dripping with sarcasm"?
That's the way some leading journalists characterized how President Bush reacted to NBC News reporter David Gregory, at a press conference on Sunday in France, briefly switching to French to ask President Chirac to also respond to the question he had just posed to Bush about why "there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you" and why "there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world?"
"Que bueno" is "how wonderful" in Spanish.
Bush did not display any outward sign of anger, yet on Wednesday's Good Morning America Claire Shipman asserted that Bush got "testy at a colleague of mine." In Tuesday's New York Times, reporter David Sanger contended that Gregory "appeared to raise Mr. Bush's ire" as Bush responded in a "voice dripping with sarcasm." Wednesday in the New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd castigated Bush for having "a hissy fit" and "a petit fit."
After CNN's Judy Woodruff referred on Tuesday's Inside Politics to how "President Bush showed a little testiness this week" at the press conference in France, Jeff Greenfield treated it as the latest example of a President lashing out in anger at the media. Greenfield used it as a launching pad to recall what truly were angry responses from previous Presidents, such as 41 with Dan Rather, Nixon with Rather and Clinton lecturing Brit Hume.
David Gregory thought Bush reacted with humor. Gregory told Don Imus on Tuesday morning: "He was very funny. He's very quick with the one-liner. I just thought it was so funny given that he speaks Spanish so often that he would go after me for that."
"He wasn't as hacked off as I had heard from, had read about in the newspapers," Fred Barnes observed on Tuesday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC after seeing the actual exchange for the first time. Barnes thought, however, that Bush "seemed a little irritated. He's obviously tired..."
In a "Reporter's Notebook" article in the May 28 New York Times, David Sanger advised: "A lesson for correspondents covering Mr. Bush: When abroad, stick to English in the President's presence." An excerpt from Sanger's piece:
Offenders might otherwise find themselves in the situation David Gregory, an NBC News White House correspondent, who appeared to raise Mr. Bush's ire Sunday afternoon at Elysee Palace when he asked a rather in-your-face question to a tired President, then broke into French to seek Mr. Chirac's opinion....
Perhaps Mr. Bush thought the French question was directed at him, or perhaps he thought Mr. Gregory was showing off. Whatever the case, Mr. Bush, his voice dripping with sarcasm, said 'Very good, the guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he's intercontinental.'...
END of Excerpt
To read the entire article:
In a May 29 New York Times column, Maureen Dowd chastised Bush. An excerpt:
...After NBC's David Gregory asked Mr. Chirac, who speaks English, in French if he would like to comment on a question he'd asked Mr. Bush about Europe's view of America as imperious, Mr. Bush had a petit fit.
"Very good, the guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he's intercontinental," he said sarcastically as a bemused Mr. Chirac looked on. "I'm impressed. Que bueno. Now I'm literate in two languages." Mr. Bush did not care that foreign reporters usually ask him questions in English, or that he often sprinkles Spanish
He felt he was being mocked or tricked in some way, even though the question wasn't even directed at him. He was tired and he let his famously thin skin show too easily.
There is something bizarre about watching an Andover-, Yale- and Harvard-educated President, the grandson of an elegant Connecticut Senator and the son of a gracious internationalist President, have a hissy fit because a reporter asks a legitimate question about European angst and talks to a Frenchman in French....
END of Excerpt
For Dowd's column in full: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/29/opinion/29DOWD.html
Wednesday morning on GMA, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, Claire Shipman recounted her European tour covering Bush's trip: "Well, one thing we [reporters] were all watching, Diane, it was a lot of fun, presidential jet lag. As you know, these trips are exhausting for anybody, but for President Bush, who really likes his schedule, likes to go to bed early, it was especially tough."
After noting how Russian President Putin kept Bush up past midnight and how Bush had complained about jet lag, Shipman argued: "Now, that might have been one of the reasons he also got so testy at a colleague of mine at that very same press conference, David Gregory of NBC, who asked why Europeans are so frustrated with the United States, and then he turned to President Chirac and asked the same question in French. Look at Bush's reaction."
Shipman added her own quip: "Now, I'm sure David Gregory has never been accused of being intercontinental before."
Judge Bush's demeanor for yourself. By late morning EDT on Thursday, the MRC's Mez Djouadi will have posted a RealPlayer clip of the May 26 exchange. Check the online version of this item: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020530.asp#1
Here's the text of what you'll see and hear from MSNBC's live broadcast from France at about 11:30am EDT on Sunday, May 26 (Be advised, the audio dropped out a couple of times during MSNBC's live broadcast):
David Gregory: "You said in reaction to demonstrations against you and your administration during this trip to Europe that it's simply a healthy democracy exercising its will and the disputes are positive. But I wonder why it is you think there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and against this administration, why particularly there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to the Middle East and where the war on terrorism goes next?"
As Gregory spoke in French, Bush stepped back a bit and held his hands to his side, palms forward, in wonderment, or maybe confusion as to whom the question in French to "Mr. President" was directed.
But chuckling as he spoke when Gregory finished, Bush quipped: "Wait a minute. That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!"
As Bush continued to laugh the press corps erupted in laughter, during which you could hear Gregory suggesting: "I could go on."
After six seconds of laughing, Bush added: "I'm impressed. Que bueno. Now I'm literate in two languages."
Finally, after he chuckled for a couple of more seconds, Bush responded to Gregory's liberal question.
On Tuesday, both Brit Hume on FNC and Jeff Greenfield on CNN played an example of a President really being angry at a reporter's question: President Clinton's blistering retort to Brit Hume back in 1993.
At the Rose Garden announcement of Clinton's nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court, a candidate Clinton decided on after a lengthy search process, Hume, then with ABC News, inquired: "The withdrawal of the Guinier nomination, sir, and your apparent focus on Judge Breyer, and your turn -- late, it seems -- to Judge Ginsburg, may have created an impression, perhaps unfair, of a certain zigzag quality in the decision-making process here. I wonder, sir, if you could kind of walk us through it and perhaps disabuse us of any notion we might have along those lines? Thank you."
A glaring Clinton icily fired back: "I have long since given up the thought that I could disabuse some of you of turning any substantive decision into anything but political process. How you could ask a question like that after the statement she just made is beyond me."
Clinton then turned and walked back into the White House, thus prematurely ending the press conference.
Now that was a "testy" President with his "ire" raised in the midst of a "hissy fit."
Enthralled with Mr. and Mrs. Daschle. In an interview on CNN's Inside Politics on Wednesday by Judy Woodruff of Tom and Linda Daschle, Woodruff tossed a bunch of softballs. She asked both to predict Democratic prospects in the fall, drew out Linda Daschle who condemned mean-spirited partisan attacks on her husband: "Is there something different about the nature of what you're seeing in South Dakota this year?" Woodruff rued: "Do you feel, Senator, as if they are trying to demonize you literally, I mean, is that what's going on here?"
Woodruff raised the controversy over Linda Daschle being an airline lobbyist while her husband controls legislation with impact on her clients, but only to learn his feelings about being questioned about the topic: "Does that bother you when those articles are written and those questions asked?"
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught the pre-taped May 29 Inside Politics segment shot at the Daschle home. Throughout the interview the two Daschle's held hands.
Woodruff explained the rationale for the interview: "This is one of a series of conversations we're having with couples thinking about running for President the next time around. Senator, I want to begin with you, you've said repeatedly that your first and primary goal right now is to make sure the Senate remains in Democratic hands. As of now, what do you think?"
Woodruff's other questions:
-- "Mrs. Daschle, in your role not only as the wife of the Senate Majority Leader but also as a lobbyist for the airline industry, for airline interests, what's your sense of how it's shaking out this year in terms of Republicans and Democrats?"
-- After Linda Daschle complained about attacks on her husband, Woodruff drew her out: "Is there something different though about it this time, I mean, your husband's been in politics ever since you met him? Is there something different about the nature of what you're seeing in South Dakota this year?"
-- "Do you feel, Senator, as if they are trying to demonize you literally, I mean, is that what's going on here?"
-- "Senator, let's talking about, your thinking ahead is something we touched on a moment ago, but I saw you quoted recently as saying, you're looking at three options. One is running for President, one of them is running, staying in the Senate and just running for re-election, and the other one is retiring altogether. Is that an accurate way to characterize what you're looking at.?"
-- After Tom Daschle said yes, Woodruff wondered: "Do you think there are, as you think about this, you've been quoted not so long ago as saying this is something you were not so thrilled about, Mrs. Daschle. What's your thinking, do you still feel that way?"
-- "Speaking of your career, Senator, there's been some notice given to the fact that your wife is a lobbyist for the airline industry, some press about that, questions about how can she do what she does without there not being a conflict of interest, given your prominent position in the Senate. Does that bother you when those articles are written and those questions asked?"
Tom Daschle said "it bothers me a lot" and claimed it's "a cheap shot."
-- "Final question, Senator: fire in the belly. It's been said as long as I can remember about modern American politics that you shouldn't run for President unless you've got that fire in the belly. Do you have it?"
Tom Daschle demurred, saying only his has fire in the belly to continue his current work.
If a conservative were to challenge President Bush one wonders if he or she would get such kind treatment from Woodruff.
Mentioning Jesus verboten at ABC? On Tuesday's The View, Joy Behar recalled how on a show the week before, she had exclaimed about her diet plan coming to an end: "Yes, and thank you, thank you, Jesus, is all I have to say! Goodbye to that damn scale and this whole diet. I'm sick of it!" But for the West Coast feed of that show, ABC bleeped out the name "Jesus."
Though it was created by and on some days features Barbara Walters, The View is not an ABC News program but one produced by ABC's entertainment division. The day time talk show, produced fresh each day in New York City so it can address topical issues, is hosted by Meredith Vieira with Joy Behar, Star Jones and Lisa Ling.
Fast forward to the May 28 show. Behar complained: "You know, the other day, as a point of order here, the other day when we were on last week, I used the phrase 'thank you Jesus' because my diet was over and we got, I was, it was bumped out of the, what do you call it?"
But the name of a religious figure apparently instills fear with some at ABC.
The View's Web page: http://abc.abcnews.go.com/theview/main.html
For pictures of the cast: http://abc.abcnews.go.com/theview/hosts/hosts.html
For a bio of Joy Behar: http://abc.abcnews.go.com/theview/hosts/behar.html
[Web Update: The above CyberAlert item prompted coverage of ABC's judgment. On the May 31
Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Friday anchor Jim Angle cited it in the "Grapevine" segment:
The "Inside Politics" column in the Washington Times picked up on it on June 3 and Jerry Falwell penned a piece about it for WorldNetDaily.com which led to his appearance to discuss it on the June 3 Hannity & Colmes on FNC.
The Associated Press distributed a story on June 6. An excerpt from the story by AP television writer David Bauder:
ABC says it edited the word "Jesus" out of a recent broadcast so viewers wouldn't be offended. For many, it had the opposite effect.
The bleeped Jesus on "The View" has drawn the ire of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, some conservative media watchdogs and even the women whose on-air conversation was altered.
"It is political correctness run amok," said Elizabeth Swasey, spokeswoman for the Media Research Center.
On the May 23 edition of "The View," Meredith Vieira noted that the daily weigh-ins of her dieting co-host, Joy Behar, had ended.
"Yes, and thank you, thank you, Jesus, is all I have to say," Behar replied.
Her words were aired live in much of the country, but when ABC broadcast a taped version of the show on the West Coast, "Jesus" was edited out.
ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover said the use ran afoul of a pretty clear standard. The network has no problem with Jesus Christ's name if it is used in a "prayerful and respectful manner," she said....
But ABC does not allow Jesus' name to be used in an exclamation.
"Under the circumstances, we were concerned it would be offensive to our audience," Hoover said....
Falwell, in a newspaper column, said he believed ABC's action was wrong. What makes it worse, he said, is that many cable television networks are habitually blasphemous.
"Conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians are expected to accept this double standard and keep our mouths shut," he said.
END of Excerpt
To read the entire AP story:
CyberAlert Bonus: Brian Williams material that didn't fit into Wednesday's Media Reality Check titled, "New Anchorman, Same Old Liberal Song: Tom Brokaw's Heir Claimed Neither Gore Nor Bradley Liberal, Jesse Jackson Indispensable."
To read the May 29 Media Reality Check with over a dozen examples of Williams' liberal world view, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2002/fax20020529.asp
To view it as an Adobe Acrobat PDF: http://www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2002/pdf/fax0529.pdf
On Wednesday, NBC announced that Brian Williams, who anchored the NBC Nightly News on Saturday in the mid-1990s, now hosts The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC and is currently the primary substitute for Tom Brokaw on the weekday NBC Nightly News, will replace Brokaw as NBC Nightly News anchor the day after the 2004 election. In the meantime, this summer his MSNBC show will be dropped from the cable network and will only be seen on CNBC.
Now, additional material collected by the MRC's Rich Noyes which could not fit into the faxed Media Reality Check, including: Williams' predilection for characterizing conservatives as "far right" extremists, his tagging the late Pennsylvania Governor, Bob Casey, as "ultraconservative on the topic of abortion," his praise for how a CPSC staffer is making toys safe for kids and how a 1995 budget cut for the National Endowment for the Arts means "humans didn't fare that well" in the House GOP's budget.
In addition, a contrast in how Williams treated Janet Reno versus Ken Starr in interviews on his MSNBC show. Williams delivered a lovefest with Janet Reno in May of 2001. He didn't pose a challenging question as he instead elicited responses about how she likes to kayak and "walk in the grass in my bare feet" as he empathized about how much she was criticized by Orrin Hatch who "said some terrible things about you." He wondered: "How would you like to leave this Earth?"
But interviewing Starr 18 months earlier, in November 1999, Williams demanded that Starr identify "a moment of zealotry, two moments of zealotry" in his "hunt" for the President. Williams also wondered if Starr realized that his case was perceived as being "about a middle aged man telling kind of run of the mill lies to protect a non-intercourse sexual affair"?
Plus, a case of Williams acknowledging liberal bias in coverage of Bush versus Gore in 2000.
Now, the rundown of the above-cited examples of Williams' skew:
-- "Far Right" labeling
Williams to Laura Ingraham on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, February 22, 2000: "What do you do to convince, if you are John McCain, to convince the far right, 'No, really, you have to listen to my point of electability'?"
-- "Ultraconservative" Bob Casey?
-- Another Christmas Saved by the Heroic Federal Toy Regulators
-- A Budget Cut Bad News for Humans
Ah, the good old days.
Setting up the interview taped earlier in the day, Williams painted Reno as Clinton's enemy as he asserted that "on more than one occasion Janet Reno was the President's adversary." Williams did not pose a single challenging question. Asking her "what do your days consist of these days" elicited the response that she likes to kayak and "walk in the grass in my bare feet." Now there's an image.
Williams empathized with how Reno was the target of criticism: "Did any of it make you want to scream?" When she insisted that if Orrin Hatch walked into the room she'd give him a "big hug," Williams was astonished: "But he said some terrible things about you on those Sunday talk shows." Williams wondered if "the words 'opportunity wasted' occur to you when thinking of the Clinton administration?" Reno credited Clinton with lower crime and asserted: "I think we gave children a new and positive opportunity for the future that many of them did not have."...
Can you imagine such a fawning approach with Ed Meese in early 1989 in which Iran-Contra is never mentioned?
END of Excerpt
For a full rundown of all of the questions posed by Williams, as well as a RealPlayer clip from the interview: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010509.asp#2
-- Compare that approach to how he had treated Ken Starr 18 months earlier. A reprint of an item in the November 22, 1999 CyberAlert:
Will Ken Starr ever get any respect? Certainly not, it seems, from even members of the media who acknowledge he was a victim of a White House smear campaign which "demonized" him. But instead of trying to show how wrong that was, last Wednesday night MSNBC's Brian Williams demanded that Starr identify "a moment of zealotry, two moments of zealotry" in his "hunt" for the President. In a live November 17 interview on The News with Brian Williams the host of the same name also wondered if Starr realized that his case was perceived as being "about a middle aged man telling kind of run of the mill lies to protect a non-intercourse sexual affair"?
Williams began by telling Starr: "Judge, I wanted to give you an independent opening opportunity here and the question is this: when you are alone with your thoughts and memories and you look back, can you identify in all truthfulness a moment of zealotry, two moments of zealotry? Can you identify a moment where perhaps you snapped yourself out of it but for a short time this became a hunt?"
After asking him about a New Yorker article which argued that if he had agreed to give Lewinsky immunity early on he would have prevented the White House from having months to attack him, Williams demanded: "Do you understand now, did you understand at the time, looking at the coverage of yourself, perhaps you saw some of it, that the perception widely held, not among everyone, was that you were going after a case, that was at the end of the day, about a middle aged man telling kind of run of the mill lies to protect a non-intercourse sexual affair?"
Williams then returned to the New Yorker thesis, agreeing that the White House had "demonized" him and letting Starr note how improper such attacks on him were. Williams ended, however, by putting the burden back on Starr: "Could you make a case that you were too closely identified with Republican politics and it wasn't fair, in a way, to put you in the job?"
END reprint of CyberAlert article.
That is online at:
-- Williams Admits the Obvious. Williams opened the September 21, 2000 News with Brian Williams:
He also challenged Helen Thomas on the July 11, 2000 News with Brian Williams.
So much for any hope the next generation of network news anchors will steer them from their liberal path. -- Brent Baker