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Excitement for MSNBC's Ron Reagan Jr. Speaking at Dem Convention --7/13/2004


1. Excitement for MSNBC's Ron Reagan Speaking at Dem Convention
Network reporters excitedly pounced on the news that Ron Reagan, a long-time liberal and an analyst for MSNBC scheduled to appear late night on convention nights, will be a direct participant in the Democratic convention as a speaker in support of federal funding of stem cell research and in condemnation of President Bush's opposition to it. "Rendezvous with the other side. Republican icon Ronald Reagan's son a headliner at the Democratic National Convention," Katie Couric touted in opening Monday's Today. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, saw great meaning to Reagan's appearance as ABC, CBS, CNN and FNC all highlighted the appearance. Maybe the Democrats were just following the suggestion of CNN's Jeff Greenfield. Back on the June 30 Inside Politics, Greenfield recommended that at their convention the Democrats feature Ronald Reagan Jr., in order "to draw an implicit contrast between his father and George W. Bush."

2. Matthews Goes on Rant About Iraq War as Illegal and "Bogus"
Back from a safari vacation in Africa, on Friday's Hardball MSNBC's Chris Matthews went on a rant about how, in the wake of the Senate report about how the CIA provided inaccurate reports on Iraq's WMD, Europeans were right that the war was not justified and that the U.S. may be guilty of violating international law. "Were we in violation of world law by going to war with him?" Matthews proposed: "If we were wrong, as a country and a people, on the WMD reason to go to war, were we not breaking the law ourselves? Were we not doing something bad, literally bad in the world, to go to war with a country without a justification?" Matthews predicted: "In every dictionary, in every, what I should say, every encyclopedia in the world now to be written, it'll say the United States went to war for bogus reasons. It'll say that."

3. Couric and Time Photographer Admire Kerry/Edwards Family Team
Today's Katie Couric gushed on Monday morning to Time magazine photographer Diana Walker that "it must have been cool" to be witness to John Kerry making the phone call to John Edwards to offer him the vice presidential slot. Couric enthused about how Kerry/Edwards "was pretty good from the get-go as they joined forces and became a team almost instantaneously after that phone call went out." Walker, who got behind-the-scenes access to John Kerry as he selected a VP and the Kerry and Edwards families first got together, revealed she's "an old friend" of Teresa Heinz Kerry and she demonstrated her admiration: "She's obviously intelligent, Katie. She spent her life trying to make life better for, for others. And through her work in her foundations. I think when and if she were, if she were to become First Lady I think she would go to the White House, you know, with a, she would be ready to start the moment she walked in the door."

4. USA Today Reveals Outfoxed Film Ignores FNC's Quest for Balance
Update, on the left-wing anti-Fox News Channel film on DVD, "Outfoxed." As recounted in the July 12 CyberAlert, the New York Times Magazine on Sunday asserted that "the most stinging blow that Outfoxed delivers to Fox's 'fair and balanced' claim comes in a segment of the film on the daily memos apparently sent to the entire Fox news operation by John Moody," FNC's Senior VP, which supposedly push coverage in a conservative direction. The Times cited a couple of them, but in Monday's USA Today, reporter Mark Memmott quoted some memos the film producers obtained, but did not highlight, which showed FNC executives insisting upon equal time for John Kerry's views and cautioning staffers to not overuse a Kerry critic.

5. MRC Sponsors Special "Media Issue" of National Review
The new edition of National Review is a special "Media Issue" sponsored by the Media Research Center. The July 26 edition of the magazine features about a dozen stories documenting the media's liberal bias and pointing out a few bright spots. One of the articles was penned by the MRC's Tim Graham.


Excitement for MSNBC's Ron Reagan
Speaking at Dem Convention

NBC's Katie Couric Network reporters excitedly pounced on the news that Ron Reagan, a long-time liberal and an analyst for MSNBC scheduled to appear late night on convention nights, will be a direct participant in the Democratic convention as a speaker in support of federal funding of stem cell research and in condemnation of President Bush's opposition to it. "Rendezvous with the other side. Republican icon Ronald Reagan's son a headliner at the Democratic National Convention," Katie Couric touted in opening Monday's Today. Given that the Bush administration wants to associate itself with the Reagan legacy, Couric soon asked Chris Matthews, "How big a dis is this to the Republicans?"

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, saw great meaning to Reagan's appearance: "After a week of endless Reagan, you know, testimonials about, and all this talk about how Reagan's death was going to help George W. Bush because he is the logical heir to Ronald Reagan, and suddenly his son is saying not only am I a little bit against these guys, he considers their behavior to be, in his words, 'unconscionable' on stem cell research..."

On Monday night, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News also highlighted Reagan's scheduled appearance as did CNN and FNC all day. At least ABC's Good Morning America pointed out how Republicans will have a Democrat at their convention. ABC news reader Dan Harris, the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed, reported during Monday's 8am update:
"The Kerry campaign has announced that Ron Reagan will be speaking at the Democratic national convention, which starts here in two weeks, in the city of Boston. Ron Reagan will be speaking about the importance and the potential of stem cell research, which President Bush opposes. This is obviously something of a coup for the Democrats. The Bush campaign, however, says they are not worried about this. They point out that they have their own Democrat, Georgia Senator Zell Miller who's a big backer of President Bush, who will speaking at the Republican convention."

Actually, Reagan's Democratic appearance first came to light when he revealed it during MSNBC's presentation on Sunday in Los Angeles to TV critics. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Gail Shister relayed how "Reagan, who will cover the Democratic and Republican conventions for Hardball, said he expected criticism from many Republicans for his five-to-eight-minute speech to the Democrats. 'The Republican Party now is not the Republican Party of my father, not that it would be of great concern to me, one way or the other,' he said. 'I'm not a Republican and I never have been.'"

"Should he be asked," Shister related, "Reagan said he would not attend the planned tribute to his father at the Republican convention, which is Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in New York. 'I don't think, in good conscience, I could take the chance that somebody could read that as an endorsement of this administration,' he said. 'I'll support any viable candidate who can defeat Bush.'"

Looks like he'll be bringing a different attitude to the two conventions as an analyst for MSNBC.

Indeed, on MSNBC the night of the New Hampshire primary, Reagan accused President Bush of displaying "dementia." He commented about how David Kay concluded that "Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction." Reagan then sarcastically asked: "What does George W. Bush say? 'Well, I still think they had them.' That's not just spin. That's dementia, you know."

In selecting Reagan as a speaker, maybe the Democrats were just following the suggestion of CNN's Jeff Greenfield. Back on the June 30 Inside Politics, the MRC's Ken Shepherd reminded me, Greenfield recommended that at their convention the Democrats pay tribute to former President Ronald Reagan. "And to acknowledge this tribute," Greenfield proposed, "who better than the young Ronald Reagan, not to politicize the event, heaven knows, but maybe to draw an implicit contrast between his father and George W. Bush, as he seemed to do at Reagan's funeral?"
Ron Reagan at Reagan funeral in California: "But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians, wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage."
Greenfield: "Of course, such a tribute could run the risk of angering some of the more liberal Democrats, who see Reagan as the guy who slashed social programs and favored the affluent. But in a country where there seems to be a real appetite for a less polarized slash-and-burn kind of politics, that might well be a reasonable political price to pay. Now, if it happens at the Democratic Convention, remember, you heard it here first. If it doesn't happen, forget I ever mentioned it."

Anchor Judy Woodruff promised: "But, if it does happen, we want Jeff to get the credit."

Well, the Democrats probably won't be producing any Reagan tribute, but they are following Greenfield's advice to use the late President's son "to draw an implicit contrast between his father and George W. Bush."

More detail on the July 12 Today show and Imus in the Morning coverage:

-- Today opened with a clip from Ron Reagan: "It's just unconscionable that there are some people in Washington who are standing in the way of this."
Couric chimed in: "Good morning. Rendezvous with the other side. Republican icon Ronald Reagan's son a headliner at the Democratic National Convention."

Co-host Lester Holt soon explained: "The Democratic National Convention starts two weeks from today in Boston."
Couric: "That's right Lester and it's hard to believe but a Reagan, yes Ron Reagan will be one of the speakers. He'll push for advances in embryonic stem cell research, an issue especially important to the Reagans given the late president's long battle with Alzheimer's disease. We're gonna hear much more from Ron Reagan in just a few minutes."

Couric began her subsequent session with MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews: "On Close Up this morning, Ron Reagan. In an unusual twist the former President's son will speak at the Democratic National Convention later this month. Chris Matthews, host of Hardball and the Chris Matthews Show spoke with Reagan last night."

Couric first asked a couple of questions about the presidential campaign before getting back to the really important news: "Alright let's talk about Ron Reagan speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. I know that he's going to be speaking about the need for embryonic stem cell research and in an interview with you last night, Chris, he talked about how important this research is. Let's listen to that."
Reagan in clip from interview set to air on Monday night: "Well, I've been asked to speak about embryonic stem cell research, and so I'm going to try and explain to people who don't already know, how important a medical breakthrough this could be. This could, this could be bigger than antibiotics, bigger than germ theory or open heart surgery. This could, this could save so many people's lives in the, in the relatively near future, that it's just unconscionable that there are some people in Washington who are standing in the way of this."
Couric: "How significant is his presence or will his presence in be in Boston, Chris, given the week long tribute when President Reagan died. The fact that the Bush administration and, and their efforts to associate that administration with the Reagan legacy. How big a dis is this to the Republicans?"
Matthews endorsed Reagan's position: "Well, I think some of the more partisan Republicans will take it very much as a rebuke to them politically. But, you know, Katie, you and I know how many millions of people who are out there right now who are caregivers of Alzheimer's victims. I mean, most people who get Alzheimer's live about ten years, and their caregiver's lives are hell most of that time. They've lost the love of their life. They're taking care of a person who doesn't know who they are. I think there's going to be a lot of sympathy for him if he sticks to this subject of stem cell research, if it doesn't become a partisan swipe..."

Couric hoped: "Do you think there's gonna be any movement at all on the part of the Bush administration in terms of more flexibility?"

Matthews disappointed her.

-- MSNBC's Imus in the Morning. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter told Don Imus: "The Ron Reagan stuff is to me the most interesting thing that's happening."
Imus: "Tell me about that."
Alter argued, as taken down by the MRC's Jessica Anderson: "Well he's going to speak at the Democratic Convention. I mean, after, after a week of endless Reagan you know testimonials about, and all this talk about how Reagan's death was going to help George W. Bush because he is the logical heir to Ronald Reagan, and suddenly his son is saying not only am I a little bit against these guys, he considers their behavior to be, in his words, unconscionable on stem cell research, which is a great sleeper -- I thought actually for many months that it was a great sleeper issue because everybody's got somebody in their family who's got diabetes or Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, or they know somebody who does, and the idea that we wouldn't move forward as quickly as we can to get cures for these diseases because of some narrow interest group, I always thought was a good, unexploited campaign issue for the Democrats. So now maybe it will, it'll come to the fore a little -- it used to be they said a conservative was a liberal who'd been mugged. I think on medical issues a liberal is a conservative who's had health problem in their family, and they don't, they don't want to just kow-tow to the right wing instead of moving forward to get some cures."

Matthews Goes on Rant About Iraq War
as Illegal and "Bogus"

Back from a safari vacation in Africa, on Friday's Hardball MSNBC's Chris Matthews went on a rant about how, in the wake of the Senate report about how the CIA provided inaccurate reports on Iraq's WMD, Europeans were right that the war was not justified and that the U.S. may be guilty of violating international law. "Were we in violation of world law by going to war with him?" Matthews proposed: "If we were wrong, as a country and a people, on the WMD reason to go to war, were we not breaking the law ourselves? Were we not doing something bad, literally bad in the world, to go to war with a country without a justification?"

Matthews predicted: "In every dictionary, in every, what I should say, every encyclopedia in the world now to be written, it'll say the United States went to war for bogus reasons. It'll say that."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens collected some highlights from Matthews' rants on the July 9 Hardball:

-- Matthews: "Let's talk about diplomacy in the world. I mean hard diplomacy in the world, whether we're going to have friends if we have another 9/11. Is anybody going to help us find the bad guys? And the question is, if there were no WMD, and apparently, this report is very clear on that subject, I haven't read every word of it, I just read the wire reports today. But apparently, it says there were no WMD. There was no nuclear program in the works. Therefore, what was our, what was our legal international justification for going to war, if it wasn't for WMD?"
Robin Wright, the Washington Post: "Well, Saddam Hussein was in violation of a series of U.N. resolutions, ironically, all on weapons of mass destruction."
Matthews: "But if he wasn't in violation, were we in violation of world law by going to war with him?"
Wright: "Well, he was in violation of failing to turn over the evidence of what happened to a lot of the equipment that was acquired to make those weapons of mass destruction. The chemical-"
Matthews: "And that's a justification for war?"
Wright: "No, I'm telling you that's-"
Matthews: "Yes."
Wright: "That's what the argument will be."
Matthews: "I'm getting, what I'm getting to the heart of here is the central question. If we were wrong, as a country and a people, on the WMD reason to go to war, were we not breaking the law ourselves? Were we not doing something bad, literally bad in the world, to go to war with a country without a justification?"

-- Matthews: "We're back with Robin Wright, diplomatic correspondent with the Washington Post. And I've been covering your stuff for years. You do know the world really well. You know, a lot of the country, this country that's very patriotic, was talking about 'freedom fries' and we were making fun of French fries and all kinds of things, were very much anti-the French because they didn't go along with us. But if you listened to the debate we fought, we didn't say we're going to go get Saddam because he's a bad guy. We said to the French and the Germans and the Russians, who didn't go along with us, we're going to get this guy because he has weapons he can use against the world. They were right, maybe for the wrong reasons. Maybe they're bad people, and we're good people. But the facts that we're putting out on table today in a bipartisan fashion from the Senate Intelligence Committee is they were right and we're wrong."

-- "Remember Richard Nixon once said, I gave them the sword and they thrust it in with relish. We have given Villepin, the former foreign minister of France, we have given Jacques Chirac, the President of France, we've given Schroeder, who doesn't like us much, certainly doesn't act like it, we've given them sword now. They can say in their local political realities over there, you can tell the press, We were right, they were wrong."

-- Matthews: "In every dictionary, in every, what I should say, every encyclopedia in the world now to be written, it'll say the United States went to war for bogus reasons. It'll say that."

Couric and Time Photographer Admire Kerry/Edwards Family Team

Today's Katie Couric gushed on Monday morning to Time magazine photographer Diana Walker that "it must have been cool" to be witness to John Kerry making the phone call to John Edwards to offer him the vice presidential slot. Couric enthused about how Kerry/Edwards "was pretty good from the get-go as they joined forces and became a team almost instantaneously after that phone call went out."

Walker, who got behind-the-scenes access to John Kerry as he selected a VP and the Kerry and Edwards families first got together, revealed she's "an old friend" of Teresa Heinz Kerry and she demonstrated her admiration: "She's obviously intelligent, Katie. She spent her life trying to make life better for, for others. And through her work in her foundations. I think when and if she were, if she were to become First Lady I think she would go to the White House, you know, with a, she would be ready to start the moment she walked in the door."

CNN's NewsNight on Monday night featured Walker narrating descriptions of her photos which appear in this week's Time magazine.

Couric set up the July 12 Today session, as observed by the MRC's Geoff Dickens: "Diana Walker has been snapping photos for Time magazine for 25 years. Among her many assignments Diana served as one of the magazine's White House photographers during the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. These days she's been given exclusive behind the scenes access to the Kerry/Edwards campaign."

Couric began: "So tell me about, this was really unprecedented. The amount of access you got. How did it come about?"
Walker, Time magazine: "Well Time asked the Kerry campaign for access for their photographer to be behind the scenes the week that the Vice President, vice presidential choice was made. And so they called me and said go."
Couric: "And usually when you are given access to behind the scenes political campaign it's not really complete access. It's usually fairly well-orchestrated, it's a planned event and you're there for, you know, a set period of time. But this was quite different."
Walker: "It was different, Katie, because I'm an old friend of Teresa's and that helped me a great deal when I got there."
Couric: "And did it help the, the Kerrys and the Edwards with their comfort level given your relationship with her?"
Walker: "I hope so. My job has always been to try and show you, who pick up the magazine, what I see. I get to be there, you don't. And looking at them and their humanity is what I've been doing for 25 years for Time. And in this case nobody told me when to walk in and walk out. No one told me what I can do and what I couldn't do."
Couric: "So you really were a fly-on-the-wall, weren't you?"
Walker: "I was truly, for the first time, a real fly-on-the-wall."
Couric: "Well we want to find out what this fly found out during the whole process. You were there witnessing the historic call that, that John Kerry made to John Edwards that morning. And tell me what that was like. Was that kind of? It must have been cool. What did he say?"
Walker: "Well Katie I see, I don't hear and that's true. You know, I'm, I'm a terrible reporter because all I do is report what I see with the camera not what I hear."
Couric: "Well tell me a little bit about, sort of, the, the atmosphere, even visually."
Walker: "Well it was exciting because I knew what was happening obviously. And he walked in the room and he picked up the phone and I thought. Wow, Diana, you know this is, this is history all over again and you're here. And I was there from the time Senator Kerry had his breakfast to the time he made the call and I, to the time that the Edwards walked in the door for the first time. I mean I had to kind of pinch myself. But I would leave when I thought it was appropriate and you know photographers have to know when to come in but they also have to know when to leave."
Couric: "You know we have some pictures and we'll get to those in a moment of the Kerrys and the Edwards sort of you know with the 'getting to know you phase' as Teresa Heinz-Kerry described it last night on 60 Minutes."
Walker: "Yes."
Couric: "But tell us a little bit about her because I think Americans are just learning about what makes her tick and the kind of person she is and the kind of First Lady she might be. Since you all are such good friends what, what is your sort of opinion of her?"
Walker: "Well it's wonderful to have, to, to, to talk about someone you care about a lot. And I think she is a very, she's obviously intelligent, Katie. She spent her life trying to make life better for, for others. And through her work in her foundations. I think when and if she were, if she were to become First Lady I think she would go to the White House, you know, with a, she would be ready to start the moment she walked in the door."
Couric: "Tell us a little bit about their partnership. The partnership between the, I think there's a nice picture of Senator Kerry, sort of, taking, catching some z's, leaning against Teresa Heinz-Kerry, I guess on the campaign trail. I know we have that photo somewhere, so hopefully. There we go. They, they had it up before. But tell me a little bit about their relationship."
Walker: "Their relationship is one of tremendous mutual respect and I would say humor. Teresa has a great, has a great gift to bring a lightness to a serious man. And he, they share so much of the same interests that it's, it's a lovely relationship. From my point of view."
Couric: "Let's talk about the, the Kerry and the Edwards. It seems like the chemistry was, was pretty good from the get-go as they joined forces and became a team almost instantaneously after that phone call went out. Tell me a little bit about their relationship, the one that you saw emerging as you were there first hand."
Walker: "Well it was funny because I, I had never met the Edwards before and never seen them. And they walked in the door and it, it just, it just kinda looked right. It sort of felt right. And they both, both of these men, who obviously know each other well, have, have, have been up, you know competed with one another for the nomination. They seem to understand and get along very well. But it was the wives that I was so impressed by because they both are extremely intelligent, caring people and they kind of, just, I said, wow look at this, this couple. This, this is a good marriage all the way around."

USA Today Reveals Outfoxed Film Ignores
FNC's Quest for Balance

Update, on the left-wing anti-Fox News Channel film on DVD, "Outfoxed." As recounted in the July 12 CyberAlert, the New York Times Magazine on Sunday asserted that "the most stinging blow that Outfoxed delivers to Fox's 'fair and balanced' claim comes in a segment of the film on the daily memos apparently sent to the entire Fox news operation by John Moody," FNC's Senior VP, which supposedly push coverage in a conservative direction. The Times cited a couple of them, but in Monday's USA Today, reporter Mark Memmott quoted some memos the film producers obtained, but did not highlight, which showed FNC executives insisting upon equal time for John Kerry's views and cautioning staffers to not overuse a Kerry critic.

An excerpt from Memmott's July 12 story:

....Fox News, which says it is the "fair and balanced" network, has long been accused by Democrats and liberals of having a conservative bias. Outfoxed adds to that debate through interviews with former Fox correspondents and producers, as well as memos written by Fox executives.

The memos, for example, portray Fox executives urging correspondents to remind viewers the United States "is in Iraq to help a country brutalized for 30 years protect the gains made by Operation Iraqi Freedom" -- an argument for the war that is similar to the Bush administration's.

However, Outfoxed does not mention other memos its researchers obtained from Fox News staffers.

Those memos, shown to USA TODAY, remind correspondents to give equal emphasis to speeches by President Bush and his opponent, Sen. John Kerry.

Another memo says, "Let's not overdo the appearances by Kerry swift boat mate John O'Neill," a man who raised questions about the senator's wartime record. "He represents one side of the 30-year recollections of what Kerry did, or didn't do, in uniform. Other people have different recollections," the memo says....

Outfoxed will not be in theaters right away, unlike director Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which is setting box office records for documentaries. Outfoxed will be shown July 18 at more than 2,000 "house parties" organized by MoveOn. The organization and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on advertisements aimed at defeating Bush in November....

END of Excerpt

For the USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com

The Web site for the left-wing film: www.outfoxed.org

The July 12 CyberAlert recounted: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and the New York Times jumped to promote a new left-wing film, "Outfoxed," which bashes the Fox News Channel and it owner, Rupert Murdoch. Olbermann brought aboard his Friday show the filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, and Olbermann proceeded to highlight how a dying British playwright once suggested his last wish would be to kill Murdoch and then Olbermann, who has been fired within a few months or years by every TV employer he's ever had, complained that Murdoch fired him from Fox Sports because he had reported something Murdoch didn't want disclosed. Greenwald insisted people are "afraid" to cross Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes since "Roger Ailes is Tony Soprano." Then on Sunday, the New York Times Magazine featured a laudatory lead story on Greenwald's effort, though the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz found the film packed with distortions. See: www.mediaresearch.org

MRC Sponsors Special "Media Issue" of
National Review

The new edition of National Review is a special "Media Issue" sponsored by the Media Research Center. The July 26 edition of the magazine features about a dozen stories documenting the media's liberal bias and pointing out a few bright spots. One of the articles was penned by the MRC's Tim Graham.

National Review's Web site is highlighting some of the articles each day. See: www.nationalreview.com

But to read the stories in full, you'll need to look at the hard copy you get in the mail, start a subscription, buy the magazine at the newsstand or become a "National Review Digital" subscriber.

-- Brent Baker