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Katie Couric Pushes Joe Lieberman to Atone for Attacking Obama --11/20/2008


1. Katie Couric Pushes Joe Lieberman to Atone for Attacking Obama
With "Any Regrets?" as the on-screen heading, Katie Couric pressed "independent Democratic" Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to atone for campaigning with unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain and criticizing eventual winner Barack Obama. Couric's first question in the interview excerpt aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News: "Do you feel as if you owe President-elect Obama one?" Couric next pushed Lieberman to take back an attack: "You said, on whether Senator Obama is a Marxist, you said quote: 'It's a good question to ask.' Are you sorry you said that?" Couric proceeded to relay another Democratic complaint/aspersion against Lieberman: "What really irritated -- even enraged -- some Democrats was your speech at the Republican National Convention. Did you understand at the time how nervy that might seem to some Democrats? How inappropriate?"

2. Alter: Don't Let Bill Clinton's 'Very Positive' Work Deny Hillary
On Tuesday's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter couldn't imagine why anyone would see conflict-of-interest troubles if Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State while her husband the ex-President has a sprawling international foundation with its mitts in a long list of countries. Alter insisted all of Clinton's work is "very, very positive. It's been for great causes around the world."

3. CBS: Obama Inauguration Tickets 'Almost Impossible to Get'
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "...it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get." The 2008 April Fool's edition of the Media Research Center's Media Reality Check featured a fictional quote from Early Show co-host Harry Smith: "CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: 'Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried.'" Chen later introduced a report on the Obama inauguration by proclaiming: "Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in." However, in the report, correspondent Thalia Assuras talked to Howard Gantman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Inauguration, who predicted a much smaller turnout: "We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more."

4. Not the 'Hot Seat;' ABC Tosses Softballs to Liberal Sam Champion
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion went on the "hot seat," a week-long segment on the show designed to force the hosts to answer supposedly tough questions sent from viewer e-mail. However, he ended up fielding softballs such as "Sam, are you really a morning person?" Co-host Diane Sawyer did read one challenging question: "We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?" After denying being an eco-elitist and asserting, "There's no perfect," Champion admitted: "My biggest offense?...I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me." Of course, considering that the segment was designed as a "secrets revealed" piece, there were a number of tough questions that Sam Champion could have been asked, but wasn't. For instance, on January 31, 2007, the liberal meteorologist hyperventilated about global warming next to a graphic that screamed: "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger." Maybe someone could have suggested that was a slight exaggeration?


Katie Couric Pushes Joe Lieberman to
Atone for Attacking Obama

With "Any Regrets?" as the on-screen heading, Katie Couric pressed "independent Democratic" Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to atone for campaigning with unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate John McCain and criticizing eventual winner Barack Obama. Couric's first question in the interview excerpt aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News: "Do you feel as if you owe President-elect Obama one?" Couric next pushed Lieberman to take back an attack: "You said, on whether Senator Obama is a Marxist, you said quote: 'It's a good question to ask.' Are you sorry you said that?"

Couric proceeded to relay another Democratic complaint/aspersion against Lieberman: "What really irritated -- even enraged -- some Democrats was your speech at the Republican National Convention. Did you understand at the time how nervy that might seem to some Democrats? How inappropriate?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Couric's questions, and some of Lieberman's responses, in the "CBS Evening News exclusive" aired on the Wednesday, November 19 CBS Evening News, a session taped at Lieberman's Capitol "hideaway" office:

KATIE COURIC: Do you feel as if you owe President-elect Obama one?
[LIEBERMAN]
COURIC: I know you want to look forward Senator Lieberman, but I feel I would remiss if I didn't mention a couple things that enraged Democrats.
LIEBERMAN: Why did I know you were going to do that?
COURIC: You said, on whether Senator Obama is a Marxist, you said quote: "It's a good question to ask." Are you sorry you said that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, that's one of those things I wish I'd said more clearly. I mean, obviously Barack Obama is not a Marxist.
COURIC: Well you said it's a good question to ask.
LIEBERMAN: Well, yeah, but then I answered it and said, "no he's not Marxist." I said at the time that he's somewhat to the left of me on some issues.
COURIC: What really irritated -- even enraged -- some Democrats was your speech at the Republican National Convention. Did you understand at the time how nervy that might seem to some Democrats? How inappropriate?
[LIEBERMAN]
COURIC: It was no secret, Senator Lieberman, that in his heart of hearts, John McCain really wanted you.
[LIEBERMAN]
COURIC: Senator Clinton is a key contender, it seems, for Secretary of State. What do you think of that?
[LIEBERMAN]
COURIC: I have covered a lot of elections in my career, and it seems to me, Senator, that every time a new President comes into office we hear the same thing. "We're going to work together. We're going to work for the American people. There's going to be a new spirit of bipartisanship." And quite frankly, it dissolves pretty quickly into bitter partisanship and the same-old-same old.

CBSNews.com's transcript of what aired on the CBS Evening News, along with matching video: www.cbsnews.com

Alter: Don't Let Bill Clinton's 'Very
Positive' Work Deny Hillary

On Tuesday's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter couldn't imagine why anyone would see conflict-of-interest troubles if Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State while her husband the ex-President has a sprawling international foundation with its mitts in a long list of countries. Alter insisted all of Clinton's work is "very, very positive. It's been for great causes around the world." Alison Stewart guest-hosted for Maddow, and pushed the button that started Alter's Bill-burnishing remarks:

STEWART: Is Bill Clinton a stumbling block for Hillary Clinton getting the Secretary of State gig?
ALTER: You know, I don't think he really is, unless, for some reason, they just refuse to disclose as much as the Obama people want them to. There's nothing that's all that terrible here. Most of the money that Clinton has raised, in fact, it's very, very positive. It's been for great causes around the world. Fighting poverty. Fighting AIDS.
But he's got to disclose it because Obama's made it very clear he wants a transparent administration and if, you know, the big dog thinks that the rules don't apply to him, then this nomination could get held up. Or it may be as Politico reports, she decides that is she'd rather stay in the senate. So we don't want to get ahead of ourselves on how this will play out, but I do think it's pretty likely that this thing will be fairly smooth sailing for Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State.

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

You can tell the administrations have shifted when MSNBC anchors start mocking people who are leaking information that the Obama team was keeping a lid on. Alter did admit the Obama folks are "control freaks when it comes to information." Not that it really bothers the team players at Newsweek:

STEWART: Another day, another leak out of the Obama camp. What do you think the purpose of today's leak was? I'm assuming it has a purpose somewhere, that eric holder has been tapped for attorney general?
ALTER: There are different motivations for leaks. Sometimes people just get their jollies by saying they leaked it in the press and they don't necessarily have any real reason to do it. But it is, I'm sure it's something that's aggravating for the Obama people because they wanted to release these on their own time, and they're learning the lesson that every president learns.
Remember when Ronald Reagan said "I've had it up to my keister with these leaks," going all the way back to, presidents have really pulled their hair out over this, not all of them have responded like Nixon and get a "plumbers" unit to spy on the leakers, but it's something that the Obama people had to figure was going to start happening before long. But they are control freaks when it comes to information and I'm sure they're not happy at all that this was not done on their schedule.
STEWART: I got to tell you, if you get your jollies through leaks you need to get out more often. That's all I'm saying.
ALTER: You're in Washington, Allison. You know, there are people there who they'll really do. They love opening the paper the next day '€" "Ooh, I leaked that," and it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

As if journalists don't feel all warm and fuzzy inside for finding the leakers and spreading the insider word all around. Speaking of feeling warm and fuzzy inside, Stewart seemed to be aiming for warming up Alter in her introduction:

STEWART: Joining us now is Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter. He's of course an NBC news analyst and author of the new book The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, which is flying off the shelves after Barack Obama mentioned it on his interview on 60 Minutes as the book that he's currently reading about FDR's Hundred Days.

"New?" Even the paperback edition of Alter's book came out in May of 2007. When asked, Obama said he was referring to Alter's book, but also an FDR book by Jean Edward Smith. Touting the books of liberal journalists, padding their book royalties? Isn't that an ideological earmark of some kind? Obama touted a "new" book, no author attached, on CBS:

KROFT: Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?
OBAMA: You know, I have actually. There's a new book out about FDR's first 100 days and what you see in FDR that I hope my team can -- emulate, is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence, and a willingness to try things. And experiment in order to get people working again.

For Alter's May 2007 paperback edition of his book, "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope," see: www.amazon.com

For the transcript and video of Obama's November 16 interview on CBS's 60 Minutes, see "Obama On Economic Crisis, Transition," at: www.cbsnews.com

CBS: Obama Inauguration Tickets 'Almost
Impossible to Get'

At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "...it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get." The 2008 April Fool's edition of the Media Research Center's Media Reality Check featured a fictional quote from Early Show co-host Harry Smith: "CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: 'Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried.'"

Chen later introduced a report on the Obama inauguration by proclaiming: "Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in." However, in the report, correspondent Thalia Assuras talked to Howard Gantman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Inauguration, who predicted a much smaller turnout: "We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more."

The 2008 April Fool's Media Reality Check: www.mediaresearch.org

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Assuras began her report: "It's the moment when the president-elect becomes President of the United States, an historical moment that's quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town." She went on to describe people's excitement: "From the west coast...to the east coast, thousands of callers are flooding congressional offices with an unprecedented number of requests for free tickets to the swearing-in ceremony." In conclusion, Assuras observed the inauguration was: "...promising to be a great experience for those lucky enough to get a chance to see history in the making."

Here is the full transcript of the November 19 segment:

7:01AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: Also coming up this morning, well it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get.

7:11AM SEGMENT:
JULIE CHEN: Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in. CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras is at the White House with the story. Thalia, good morning.
THALIA ASSURAS: Good morning, Julie. You know, the tickets have been printed but they haven't been handed out yet and demand is so high that some members of Congress are thinking of holding lotteries.
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: I, Franklin Delano Roosevelt-
JOHN KENNEDY: -do solemnly swear-
RONALD REAGAN: -that I will faithfully execute the office-
GEORGE W. BUSH: -of President of the United States.
ASSURAS: It's the moment when the president-elect becomes President of the United States, an historical moment that's quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Office of Congresswoman Laura Sanchez, how may I help you?
ASSURAS: From the west coast-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We'll be providing tickets through a lottery system.
ASSURAS: -to the east coast, thousands of callers are flooding congressional offices with an unprecedented number of requests for free tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.
BOB ETHERIDGE: It's quite obvious that if people are getting as many requests as we are, D.C. is just going to be wall-to-wall people.
ASSURAS: We tried the D.C. representative only to find out that after thousands of requests, calls aren't being taken anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: So many calls, they were flooding the office and blocking any not inauguration-related calls from getting through.
ASSURAS: And no luck on the website either. No surprise, some congressional offices claim upwards of 50,000 requests. But with only a couple hundred tickets allotted to each member of Congress, more and more offices are saying, 'sorry, can't help you.'
HOWARD GANTMAN: We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more.
ASSURAS: If you're among the 100,000 people closest to the inauguration, this is where you'll be. If you have ticket number 240,001, this is where you'll be. And if you didn't get a ticket this, is where you'll be. Millions may descend on D.C., so hotel rooms during the festivities are getting rarer and more expensive by the minute. Prices range from $15,000 a night, to $400. So some of the locals-
RAKELLE SUTTON: I have over 600 square feet.
ASSURAS: -are willing to leave their digs and rent to out-of-towners for a pretty penny. How much do you think you can rent this out for? What are you asking?
SUTTON: I'm asking for $800 per night. You know, but I'm hoping that maybe the price will go up a little higher as time goes on.
ASSURAS: And promising to be a great experience for those lucky enough to get a chance to see history in the making. Now, officials are warning, do not buy tickets on-line. The tickets have not been released. So anyone claiming to have some for sale is not telling the truth, Julie.
CHEN: Thalia Assuras outside of the White House, thanks, Thalia.

Not the 'Hot Seat;' ABC Tosses Softballs
to Liberal Sam Champion

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion went on the "hot seat," a week-long segment on the show designed to force the hosts to answer supposedly tough questions sent from viewer e-mail. However, he ended up fielding softballs such as "Sam, are you really a morning person?" Co-host Diane Sawyer did read one challenging question: "We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?"

After denying being an eco-elitist and asserting, "There's no perfect," Champion admitted: "My biggest offense?...I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me." Of course, considering that the segment was designed as a "secrets revealed" piece, there were a number of tough questions that Sam Champion could have been asked, but wasn't. For instance, on January 31, 2007, the liberal meteorologist hyperventilated about global warming next to a graphic that screamed: "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger." Maybe someone could have suggested that was a slight exaggeration? See the February 1, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Instead of mercilessly grilling the weatherman with hardballs such as "Of all the wonderful places you've traveled, what's your absolute favorite," maybe Sawyer could have suggested it was bizarre to promote an extremist environmentalist who shuns toilet paper. Champion did this twice in 2007 and touted the "serious experiment" of activist Colin Beavan on May 10, 2007. See a May 11, 2007 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

And a June 26, 2007 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org

The ABC hosts might have queried their meteorologist about this quote from April 18, 2007: "For example, did you know that even with the flip of a switch, we all contribute to global warming? Well, I know it sounds a little intense. But there are some small things you can do to change that, like paying attention to your carbon footprint...If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem." See an April 19, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

News anchor Chris Cuomo, who also participated in the "hot seat" segment, could have brought this up and wondered if it was hypocritical for Champion to have asked such a question while standing in front of a huge bank of energy-sucking televisions. Additionally, he might have noted that watching "Good Morning America" increases the energy use of Americans. Would Champion suggest that viewers stop?

Such questions would have provided more revealing answers then the e-mails that the show's hosts chose to read, queries that included this groan-inducing example: "If you were an animal, would you rather live on the ocean or on land?" It's impossible to believe that the network received no authentic tough questions.

A transcript of the one tough question, as well as some of the softballs from the November 19 segment:

8:11am
DIANE SAWYER: I love this one because you makes us feel so guilty all the time.
SAM CHAMPION: What?
SAWYER: We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?
CHAMPION: Okay, first of all, Anita, I'm not. I would tell you that, what we like to do is just kind of talk about "just one thing," so you can kind of work it into your life. There's no perfect. The world's not set up to be perfect.
CUOMO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What do you do?
CHAMPION: My biggest offense? It's the water bottle. I still can't get off - I'm trying to- I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me. Okay. There it is. Bad.
ROBERTS: Bad. Bad.

Other e-mail questions from the piece:

- "Of all the wonderful places you've traveled, what's your absolute favorite?"

- "Why do you call Chicago Chicago Land?"

- "Whom do you trust most to keep a very serious secret?"

- "If you were an animal, would you rather live on the ocean or on land?"

- "Have you always been a weather forecaster?"

- "Sam, are you really a morning person? You are always so chipper."

-- Brent Baker