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Jennings Unaware of McDermott Calling Bush a Liar -- 10/02/2002 CyberAlert

Jennings Unaware of McDermott Calling Bush a Liar; David Bonior, "R-Michigan"?; CNN Spotlights McCain Castigating McDermott & Bonior; Cronkite Signs Anti-War Ad; Matthews: Donahue Could "Bring Down" MSNBC; Stephanopoulos's Liberal Reading; Dreyfuss Praises Streisand & Gore; Streisand Update; West Wing's Liberal Donations

1) Remarkably, Peter Jennings was ignorant of how Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott said President Bush would "lie" in order to justify a war against Iraq, a charge he re-confirmed Sunday on ABC's This Week. Asked about it on Tuesday by radio host Sean Hannity, Jennings maintained: "I didn't hear that, to be honest."

2) David Bonior, R-Michigan? When CBS's The Early Show on Monday ran a clip from ABC's This Week of liberal Democratic Congressman David Bonior ranting against U.S. policy, the on-screen graphic read: "Rep. DAVID BONIOR R-MICHIGAN."

3) With "maverick" Senator John McCain agreeing with President Bush on Iraq the networks have found him less newsworthy, but CNN deserves credit for asking McCain about the anti-U.S. rants of liberal Democrats Bonior and McDermott and then showing how he castigated them: "These are members of Congress. These are supposed to be grown mature individuals. I do not understand it."

4) Walter Cronkite has made common cause with those on the left, including Mario Cuomo, who are using the stalling tactic of demanding the Bush administration answer "questions," in order to prevent a war with Iraq. Cronkite signed his name to a full page ad in Tuesday's New York Times taken out by Common Cause.

5) Phil Donahue's focus on "what's wrong with America" is "the wrong face for MSNBC," U.S. News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" column quoted MSNBC's Chris Matthews as saying, relating how he "predicted that if Donahue stays on the air, he could bring down the network."

6) George Stephanopoulos was kicked out of a bookstore in Washington, DC when a dog he brought into the store started barking, the Washington Post reported. But what magazine was he disrupted from reading? A left-wing one.

7) Add actor Richard Dreyfuss to the list of celebrities opposed to Bush's Iraq policy. He declared on FNC's Fox & Friends: "I think that the lack of clarity in this country about why we're going to send young men to die and kill people is enormous." He praised Barbra Streisand and Al Gore for speaking out, criticized conservatives for giving Bush "power that simply doesn't exist in the Constitution," and yearned for European reasoning.

8) Streisand Update. Matt Drudge disclosed that Shakespeare never penned the words quoted by Barbra Streisand to rally opposition to Bush's Iraq policy and FNC's Brit Hume played a clip of Streisand singing her modified lyrics: "As long as Democrats were the majority/I could sleep nights/Not weep nights."

9) "Cast members of the television drama West Wing have together given thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates this cycle," the Washington Post reported.


1

One person who doesn't watch the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos: ABC News anchor Peter Jennings. What other conclusion can one draw from Jennings's admission that "I didn't hear that, to be honest," when radio host Sean Hannity on Tuesday asked Jennings about Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott's charge that President Bush would "mislead" and "lie" in order to get the U.S. into a war with Iraq, a charge Stephanopoulos raised with McDermott, who appeared from Iraq, on Sunday's This Week?

Beyond Stephanopoulos's show, it's remarkable that Jennings would be unaware of McDermott's charge given the ruckus it has generated, especially after it was raised again by Stephanopoulos and McDermott wouldn't back down from it. But maybe it wasn't that remarkable in the social world inhabited by Jennings in New York City. (Tuesday's New York Post, which Jennings could easily see, carried George Will's column about it.)

Standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol McDermott alleged, in a soundbite shown on the September 19 NBC Nightly News that night: "The President of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war."

On Sunday's This Week, Stephanopoulos asked McDermott, who was in Baghdad: "Do you really believe that?" McDermott confirmed: "I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation. Lyndon Johnson did it in the Vietnam War. Both David and I were in that war and there was no Gulf of Tonkin incident. The President lied to Congress about how many people he was going to put into Vietnam or whether in Laos or whether in Cambodia. It would not surprise me if they came with some information that is not provable and they shifted. First they said it was al-Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they're going back and saying it's al-Qaeda again. When will that stop? Why don't they let the inspectors come so that we can disarm Saddam Hussein. Both David and I want to disarm him. That's gotta be very clear. He's not a very good guy."
Stephanopoulos pressed: "But do you have any evidence the President has lied?"
McDermott repeated: "I think the President would mislead the American people."

As part of his tour to promote his new book, In Search of America, Jennings appeared Tuesday afternoon live on Hannity's nationally syndicated radio show produced at the WABC Radio studio in Manhattan. MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey caught this exchange during the 3pm EDT half hour of the program:
Hannity: "What did you make of Bonior and McDermott? Here we are, pretty much on the eve of war, and there they are, they go over to Iraq, and beyond which I don't mind an honest disagreement about the timing, about inspections, we saw some news being made today about an agreement with the UN and inspectors in Iraq, and I don't disagreement about that, and I don't even mind those that think we shouldn't be involved there militarily, I think we should be strong enough as a country to have an open, honest debate, but to go over there and accuse the President of the United States of being a liar-"
That was news to Jennings: "I didn't hear that, to be honest."
Hannity: "-as Mr. McDermott did. Do we have that cut in there? We have it in there somewhere. He says basically he doesn't think he would tell the American people the truth so that he could get his agenda of going to war."
That prompted Jennings to reminisce: "I did the last interview with Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War broke out. I had the only little airplane left on the airport and thought I might stay there a long time, so I know how much tension there was in the air. But I am reminded that it was Bob Dole of course who went to see Saddam Hussein just before, just before the Gulf War and of course David Bonior is not running for office again so he has somewhat more-"
Hannity interjected: "He called the President a liar."
Jennings re-confirmed his ignorance: "I haven't heard that."
Hannity: "We got the cut. Play it for Mr. Jennings."

Listeners then heard a clip of McDermott, on ABC's This Week, saying he would take the assurances of Iraqi on inspections at face value and that "I think the President would mislead the American people."

Hannity wondered: "Does that basically say he thinks the American people, lie to the American people?"
Jennings demurred, saying he couldn't hear the audio, and then went off on a tangent: "I apologize I didn't hear it. Listen, I think there's a bigger debate going on about Iraq at the moment than we recognize..."

Jennings proceeded to argue that the American people are more against a war with Iraq than polls reflect.

He somehow knows that but is unaware of a U.S. Congressman, in enemy territory, denouncing the President of the United States. Amazing.

(See item #3 below for how CNN anchor Aaron Brown was aware of the controversy fueled by McDermott on ABC's This Week.)

2

David Bonior, R-Michigan? Speaking of the journey of liberal Democrats Jim McDermott and David Bonior to Baghdad Iraq, when CBS's The Early Show on Monday ran a clip from ABC's This Week of Bonior ranting against U.S. policy, the on-screen graphic read:
"Rep. DAVID BONIOR
R-MICHIGAN"

MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught this gem of a mistake, which occurred during the 8am news update by Susan McGinnis on the September 30 broadcast.

Rep. David Bonior The false party identifier appeared on screen as viewers heard Bonior in Baghdad rail against President Bush's policy: "We can do all that blame game we want, but we're going to repeat all of that unless we clearly understand that we've got to move forward in a way that's fair and impartial. That means not having the United State or the Iraqis dictate the rules for these inspections."

It's not as if Bonior is a little-know Congressman. Until stepping down from the position less than a year ago to launch an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan, Bonior was the House Minority Whip, the number two position for House Democrats.

See CBS's goof for yourself. The MRC's Mez Djouadi will add a still shot of the CBS screen to the posted version of this CyberAlert. A couple hours after this CyberAlert is sent, check: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021002.asp#2

3

With "maverick" Senator John McCain agreeing with President Bush on Iraq the networks have found him less newsworthy and wise than when they could showcase him criticizing Bush. But CNN deserves credit for asking McCain about the anti-U.S. rants of liberal Democratic Congressmen David Bonior and Jim McDermott and then showing how he scolded them.

McCain blasted the liberal duo when asked about them by CNN's Jonathan Karl for his "subway series" of interview for Inside Politics which he conducts aboard the mini-subway which runs between a couple of the Senate office buildings and the U.S. Capitol. A lengthy version aired on Monday's Inside Politics and the MRC's Ken Shepherd observed that for CNN's NewsNight later that day anchor Aaron Brown re-played the part about Bonior and McDermott.

Brown set up the September 30 excerpt: "More on the politics now of Iraq and the bitter fight about those Congressmen on their way home tonight from Baghdad. While they were there they had a lot of criticisms for how the White House is approaching the possibility of war, including the veracity of the President. Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, had his own harsh criticism of them in an interview with Jonathan Karl."
McCain: "If Congressman McDermott and Congressman Bonior want to go to the floor of the House and question the President's credibility, go right ahead and do it. Don't go to Baghdad and do it. You are, you are helping the Iraqi government sell to the Iraqi people their hatred of the United States of America, and it's wrong and I honestly do not understand it."
Karl: "You know George Will actually suggested that this was worse than when Jane Fonda went over to Hanoi back during the Vietnam War."
Sen. McCain: "Well, it's not as bad as what Jane Fonda did, because she got into a gun emplacement and said she would like to shoot down an American air pilot. But it's worse in the respect she was a young troubled actress. I mean, let's face what she was. These are members of Congress. These are supposed to be grown mature individuals. I do not understand it."

And Peter Jennings never heard of it. (See item #1 above)

For what Will said on Sunday's This Week: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020930.asp#1

4

Walter Cronkite has made common cause with those on the left, including Mario Cuomo, who are using the stalling tactic of demanding the Bush administration answer "questions," in order to prevent a war with Iraq which they really oppose because they see the U.S. as force for making the world worse. As George Will concluded a column this week: "Conservative isolationism -- America is too good for the world -- is long dead. Liberal isolationism -- the world is too good for America -- is flourishing."

Along with Cuomo, the former CBS Evening News anchor signed his name to a full page ad in Tuesday's New York Times taken out by the liberal group Common Cause. It was headlined: "The questions that should be asked about the President's Iraq policy are on this page. What's needed is the courage to ask them."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer invited Cuomo onto his 5pm EDT show on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how misguided Bush is on Iraq.

An excerpt of some of the text in the October 1 ad:

....What are the consequences of the new "Bush Doctrine"? Congress should ask whether it is prudent to give the US President unlimited powers to use force to bring peace and security to Iraq. What is the extent of this undertaking? Senior Administration officials have talked of bringing about regime change in Iraq. How will this be done? And what comes next? The recently published "Bush doctrine" on national security seeks to extend "the benefits of freedom, democracy, prosperity and the rule of law" across the globe. That is a fine ambition. But does the Administration now intend to engage the US in establishing democracy and the rule of law across the Middle East? Such an ambitious agenda can only be achieved at great expense and with sustained international cooperation. Is unilateral military action the best way to begin?

What are the real risks?
War, as generals know and politicians sometimes forget, is hell: Soldiers and civilians get killed, wounded, disfigured. It is also dangerously unpredictable. A war against Iraq could destabilize more than just Saddam Hussein. Iraq's neighbors could easily be affected and even drawn in: Turkey has already announced that it will not stand by if an independent Kurdish state is established in northern Iraq following Saddam's overthrow. The Bush doctrine speaks of undertaking "pre-emptive actions" where these serve US interests. Unilateral pre-emptive action in Iraq might well have the opposite effect.

Congress should fulfill its historic duty.

In its present mood, the Bush Administration is reluctant to accept international dissent, even from our closest allies. It is thus incumbent upon domestic critics to make their voices heard. In the current environment it takes courage for members of Congress to oppose the President's Iraq policy, for fear of seeming "unpatriotic." But it is the obligation and the privilege of elected representatives to raise hard questions and risk unpopularity in the broader national interest. It is the duty of concerned citizens to demand that they do so. If President Bush proposes to engage this nation in a war overseas then Congress must oblige him to tell us why and to what end, and it must insist the US act according to international law. We urge the Congress to fulfill this historic duty.

END of Excerpt

For Common Cause's anti Iraq war Web page: http://www.commoncause.org/iraq/

For an Adobe Acrobat PDF of the ad: http://www.commoncause.org/iraq/img/CC_Iraq_Ad.pdf

5

Phil Donahue's focus on "what's wrong with America" is "the wrong face for MSNBC," U.S. News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" column quoted MSNBC's Chris Matthews as saying, relating how he "predicted that if Donahue stays on the air, he could bring down the network."

An item in the "Washington Whispers" column by Paul Bedard in the October 7 edition:
"Chris Matthews, the tart-tongued host of MSNBC's Hardball, doesn't throw softballs when it comes to critiquing colleague Phil Donahue. Feasting at Washington's La Colline last week with other newsmakers and mentor Art Linkletter, spokesman for United Seniors, Matthews let loose on old Phil. A lunch partner says Matthews complained that Donahue focuses too much on what's wrong with America. 'That,' he's quoted saying, 'is the wrong face for MSNBC.' Matthews predicted that if Donahue stays on the air, he could bring down the network."

Sounds like Matthews is a little upset by how Donahue's poor lead-in is helping keep Hardball behind FNC and CNN at 9pm EDT.

The column quoted above is online at: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/021007/whispers/7whisplead.htm

The Washington Whispers Web page with daily updates: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/whisphome.htm

6

George Stephanopoulos was kicked out of a bookstore in Washington, DC when a dog he brought into the store started barking, the Washington Post reported, but what magazine was he disrupted from browsing? The left-wing Harper's which features an anti-Bush Iraq policy article.

Tuesday's The Reliable Source column in the Washington Post, normally compiled by Lloyd Grove but without a byline because of a byline strike by Post staffers, recounted how after Sunday's This Week Stephanopoulos was kicked out of the Barnes & Noble in the Georgetown area of the District. An excerpt:

...When the family dachshund, Gilbert, started barking and refused to stop, Stephanopoulos was summarily ejected from the bookstore. "He had a baby carriage, and two little yapping dogs," a Barnes & Noble patron e-mailed us. "He was looking at the magazines, and these dogs kept yapping, really loud! I figure you have to have some kind of an ego or be a foreigner to think it is okay to bring your dogs into a store. The security guard told G.S. he had to leave. He wheeled the baby carriage towards the door with the two yapping dogs on their leash."

Yesterday, Stephanopoulos told us: "They're great dogs -- a dachshund, Gilbert, and a Lakeland terrier named Charlie . But let's be fair to Charlie. He wasn't the one who was barking. That was Gilbert. And neither of them was 'yapping.' " Tongue in cheek, Stephanopoulos continued: "I was in the periodical section reading Lewis Lapham in Harper's, and Gilbert wanted to go over to check out the bestsellers. It was all over in a minute and a half. I was asked to leave and I left."...

END of Excerpt

For the October 1 item in full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24906-2002Sep30.html

It's noteworthy in itself that Stephanopoulos chose to publicize his reading of a left-wing magazine, but a check of the Harper's Web site reveals Lapham contributed an anti-Iraq war screed to the latest issue. From the table of contents posted online for the October issue, the title of the piece by Lewis H. Lapham, "THE ROAD TO BABYLON: Searching for targets in Iraq." That's listed at: http://www.harpers.org/newsstand/preview.php3

The story itself is not online and I haven't seen the latest issue on the newsstand yet, but last Friday on FNC's Fox & Friends Richard Dreyfuss offered another strong hint about the direction of the article as he related how Lapham's Harper's story "said if you have to have a Senate hearing to find out why you're going to war, you don't understand what going to war is all about."

7

Add actor Richard Dreyfuss to the list of celebrities opposed to a war against Iraq, though on Friday's Fox & Friends on FNC he restrained from the vitriol of Ed Asner, Barbra Streisand and Tim Robbins, and stuck to the liberal mantra about how questions must be asked and answered.

Dreyfuss declared: "I think that the lack of clarity in this country about why we're going to send young men to die and kill people is enormous."

For more about celebrities denouncing any move against Saddam Hussein, see Tuesday's special celebrity edition of CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021001.asp

There was too much to fit in one issue, so Dreyfuss got bumped to today.

MRC analyst Patrick Gregory took down some of what Dreyfuss said on the September 27 Fox & Friends.

-- On Barbra Streisand's memo asking Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle to "go on the offensive" against Bush on Iraq: "More power to her. More power to her. You don't go to war without knowing why you're going. What's his name, Louie Lapham, wrote a piece in Harper's Bazaar today, yesterday, that said if you have to have a Senate hearing to find out why you're going to war, you don't understand what going to war is all about."

-- Criticizing conservatives: "I don't understand why everyone is so interested, especially people who are conservatives who say they want to conserve, have conservative values, why they're willing to give the executive such power that simply doesn't exist in the Constitution. I mean the Constitution says very clearly Congress has to declare war."

-- On Gore criticizing Bush's Iraq policy: "I think the first most important question is what did he say and how important is that? It is very good that someone actually spoke up and actually questioned the President's behavior and policies. That's very important, it should have been done by the Democrats two months ago."
FNC tri-host Steve Doocy wondered: "Why haven't they?"
Dreyfuss: "Because they were caught up in the patriotism of 9/11. Because it never even occurred to them not to line up behind the President. I think in a certain-"
Doocy: "So do you fault, do you fault the Democrats for not making some noise earlier?"
Dreyfuss: "Yes, I fault them and I also fault the posture that grew over the last year that if you do want to criticize, there's something wrong with you."

-- Yearning for European reasoning: "Why can't we hear, for instance, the nature of the argument being made in Europe and Canada and all over the world that seems to be lining up pretty much against the United States, and what does that mean? And when questions, and shouldn't be questions asked like 'what's the American responsibility other than military, post war, post Saddam, how much are we willing to stay? How much are we willing to spend. Who are we calling Democrats over there? What kind of elections are we establishing?."

For a picture an bio of Dreyfuss: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Dreyfuss,+Richard

Dreyfuss appeared in order to promote the National Constitution Center, of which he is a trustee, that will open in Philadelphia on July 4, 2003: http://www.constitutioncenter.org

8

Update on Streisand. Tuesday's CyberAlert recounted how, at a Sunday fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, she harangued Republicans and conservatives and sang a song modified to deliver anti-Republican, pro-Democratic lyrics: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021001.asp#1

Since then, Matt Drudge disclosed that the words of Shakespeare that she quoted as part of her commentary on stage during the fundraiser, which she cited in order to rally opposition to Bush's Iraq policy, were an Internet hoax she fell for, and FNC's Brit Hume played a clip of Streisand singing her modified lyrics.

Picking up on Drudge's revelation, the Washington Post's Lloyd Grove filed an item posted Tuesday afternoon. An excerpt:

Barbra Streisand
FNC showed Barbra Streisand singing: "As long as Democrats were the majority, I could sleep nights, Not weep nights"

...Cybergossip Matt Drudge reported this morning that Streisand -- relying on a script -- cited the Bard of Avon and then quoted a passage cribbed from the Internet but from no known work of Shakespeare. This afternoon, Streisand acknowledged her mistake and her publicist, Dick Guttman, said she planned to correct the error in a "truth alert" on her Web site, barbrastreisand.com....

At the fundraising concert, Streisand told the crowd at the Kodak Theater: "You know, really good artists have a way of being relevant in their time -- but great artists are relevant at any time. So, in the words of William Shakespeare, 'Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.'"

Drudge wrote: "Streisand has been caught up in a Shakespeare internet hoax!...The passage may have fit the scene and storyline, but no record of this quote has been found prior to its appearance on the internet [in e-mails] last year, an investigation reveals!"...

END of Excerpt

A slightly modified version of this item appears in today's Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27905-2002Oct1.html

For Drudge's take: http://www.drudgereport.com/strei4.htm

CBS's The Early Show on Tuesday showed a brief clip of Streisand singing and Brit Hume ended his FNC show Tuesday night with a lengthier clip: "Finally tonight, you probably heard or read that at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Los Angeles over the weekend, Barbra Streisand performed a re-worked version of her famous hit song "Memories" from the movie The Way We Were. You may have heard that it was called "Miseries" and was about life under this Republican administration. You may not have believed that this actually happened. Well:"

FNC viewers were then treated to Streisand singing these two stanzas:
"Scattered pictures
Of the House we left behind.
Lovely Democratic mem'ries
Of the way we were"

"Unprecedented growth in the economy.
The Dow was up, the deficit was down.
As long as Democrats were the majority,
I could sleep nights,
Not weep nights."

Hume, unable to control his laughter, barely managed to get through his standard closing line: "And that's Special Report for this time. Please come again next time, and in the meantime stay tuned for news: fair, balanced and unafraid."

Check the MRC home page for a RealPlayer clip of this which the MRC's Mez Djouadi has posted. If it's no longer on the home page, go to the posted version of this item: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021002.asp#8

9

Finally, just enough space to squeeze in a little bit about the political donations to liberals made by the stars of NBC's The West Wing.

In the September 27 Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin reported:
"Cast members of the television drama West Wing have together given thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates this cycle, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a group that tracks campaign contributions. Martin Sheen, who portrays a Democratic President on the show, gave $1,000 to Tennessee congressional hopeful Adam Cox (who lost in the primary). Rob Lowe, who plays the deputy communications director, gave $500 to unsuccessful Maryland congressional candidate Mark Shriver.
"But the most generous cast member, Bradley Whitford -- who plays the deputy chief of staff -- has ponied up, thus far, more than $10,000 for Democratic causes. Recipients include the party's House and Senate campaign committees, EMILY's List, Sens. Paul D. Wellstone (Minn.), Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.)."

For more about the three actors: http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/bios/index.html

Another episode of The West Wing, the second of the season, airs tonight at 9pm EDT/PDT, 8pm CDT/MDT on NBC. -- Brent Baker


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