Lying Expert Franken Distorts Schwarzenegger's Hitler Comment --10/7/2003
2. Morning Shows Obsess Over Sexual Assault Charges Against Arnold
3. CBS Points Out Hypocrisy of Women's Groups on Clinton vs. Arnold
4. Hume Notes Fallacious Idea Bush Cited Iraq's "Imminent Threat"
5. CBS Showcases Broadside Against Limbaugh as Hitlerian Racist
6. Katie Couric Jokes About Limbaugh's Addiction to Pain Killers
Monday night on NBC's Tonight Show, Al Franken, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, distorted what Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the 1970s about Adolph Hitler. Franken falsely claimed that Schwarzenegger not only said "that he liked the way Hitler spoke and presented himself," but also that "he said he liked what he did with it."
Despite initial false reports by ABC News and the New York Times that quoted Schwarzenegger as saying of Hitler, "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it," the New York Times last Friday corrected their misreporting of Schwarzenegger's comments during the filming of the Pumping Iron documentary. In fact, according to a transcript of a portion of the 1970s documentary which did not make it into the final movie, but which was part of the director of the film's book proposal, Schwarzenegger actually explicitly said he DID NOT admire Hitler for what he did with his speaking ability: "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I don't admire him for what he did with it."
Nonetheless, shortly after declaring of Rush Limbaugh's comment about sports media coverage of a black NFL quarterback, "It was a racist opinion," Franken turned to Schwarzenegger: "I was a little upset about what he said about, you know, Hitler. And I don't mean to be judgmental, but he said in an interview that he liked the way Hitler spoke and presented himself, which is, you know, he was a charismatic speaker, but he also liked, which I can understand, he said he liked what he did with it, which I disagree with."
I'd consider Franken's misrepresentation of Schwarzenegger's words in the quest to deliver a humourous line to be a simple mistake from a man who may be unfamiliar with how the news media messed up in its initial reports, especially ABC News which has yet to clearly correct the record, but Franken always accuses conservatives who make errors of any kind of being insidious liars, so I guess the same should apply to him.
As outlined in the September 26 CyberAlert, Franken went on a rant against FNC's Brit Hume, applying the most malicious interpretation of what may have led to an off-base statistical comparison: Left-wing ranter Al Franken, on Thursday's The View on ABC, maintained that in contrast to how "I love our troops," he charged that FNC's Brit Hume is "trivializing the danger that our soldiers are under" in Iraq and claimed of a news item Hume read in late August: "It's obscene and it's offensive to those troops and their families." Franken's allegation, based on misquoting, distorting and misrepresenting what Hume actually said and meant, came as he defended his mean-spirited, vulgar tirade against Hume and FNC which he leveled during a Howard Dean fundraising event last Saturday. For details: www.mediaresearch.org
For a time line on the evolution of the Schwarzenegger quote about Hitler, and how the New York Times quickly corrected its error while ABC News has yet to specifically note its misquote which it displayed on screen last Thursday night, see the October 6 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
NBC Today co-host Katie Couric, the guest in the slot before Franken on Monday's Tonight Show, sat beside Franken during his segment but made no effort to point out Franken's misquote.
ABC and NBC morning show viewers started the week on Monday with network anchors Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger's sudden scandal problems in taped interviews with the embattled candidate. ABC's Brian Rooney mysteriously described Governor Gray Davis as leading a "mild-mannered campaign" while George Stephanopoulos asserted that Maria Shriver's defense of her husband was "very similar to what Hillary Clinton did back in Bill Clinton's campaign."
NBC's morning team kept repeating that "15 women" now accuse Schwarzenegger, as if the number of accusers were more important than the truth of the accusations, while Tom Brokaw, who didn't find Juanita Broaddrick's rape charge against Bill Clinton to be newsworthy, lectured Schwarzenegger about how "in many states what you did would be criminal, it would be a sexual assault of some kind."
At least CBS asked Governor Gray Davis about a real policy issue: the tripled car tax.
Here, as compiled by the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, Tim Graham, is a rundown of how the three networks kicked off the last day before the recall vote (Monday, October 6), with quotes transcribed by MRC analysts Jessica Anderson, Geoffrey Dickens and Brian Boyd:
-- ABC's Good Morning America: In a repeat of footage seen Sunday on This Week and later Monday on World News Tonight, Peter Jennings asked Arnold in an interview taped Saturday aboard Schwarzenegger's campaign bus: "It cannot be easy to spend the last few days of this campaign having to deal constantly with being called a serial groper or a serial abuser of women and being compared, in some way, your admiration for Hitler. Is that tough?"
What Arnold didn't know before answering is that a Nexis search didn't find the words "serial groper" or "serial abuser of women" in the archive of ABC News transcripts at any time during the Clinton years. That would include the occasions on which Jennings interviewed Bill Clinton. Perhaps at that time the thought occurred to him that bringing up the allegations isn't what the accused "serial groper" wants to discuss.
When the actor called it a "sleaze campaign," Jennings replied: "Does this mean none of it's true?" When he maintained that it's "dirty campaigning," Jennings countered: "But why is it dirty campaigning?"
Schwarzenegger said not all of it is true, and went on to decry the mangled-Hitler-quote story. But Jennings wasn't about to sound sympathetic: "But you had to know that this was all going to come out in a campaign. It is, after all, your past -- it isn't made up, is it?" In fact, ABC's Hitler quotations were touched by a little bit of editing make-believe. (See the October 6 CyberAlert for how ABC distorted the Hitler quote: www.mediaresearch.org)
Can anyone imagine Peter Jennings asking Bill Clinton these questions?
The pounding continued. When Arnold said he offered a general apology for the offended, Jennings demanded: "You think that's enough?" Schwarzenegger pleaded for common sense: "Now all of a sudden, isn't it odd that three days and four days before the campaign, all of a sudden all those women want to have an apology? Isn't it odd? I mean, you have common sense, Peter -- you can figure it out for yourself. Come on, now." Jennings interjected over Schwarzenegger: "Are you blaming the women?" and then played dumb: "No, you figure it out for me." The actor explained: "No, but I'm just trying to tell you that you know it and I know it."
In his campaign update, reporter Brian Rooney highlighted that Schwarzenegger had "a very tough weekend defending himself from accusations by at least 15 women that he has a tendency to make unwelcome advances. Making an effort to shake just about every hand in the state, Arnold Schwarzenegger could not shake off growing accusations about his behavior toward women. The increasing number of women includes a Canadian who said that back in the 1980s she was groped in the parking lot of a Santa Monica gym." Rooney also featured a soundbite from a woman who "said Arnold grabbed her and forcibly kissed her on a movie set."
In his roundup, Rooney also mentioned "women's groups, including the National Organization for Women, have been protesting," but did not note how very slow NOW was in responding to Bill Clinton's serial groping/abuse charges from women.
As for Gray Davis, who spent the weekend underlining the fondling/Hitler-loving stories, Rooney mysteriously declared: "Governor Gray Davis has continued his mostly mild-mannered campaign, while taking every opportunity to say the alternative to him is a man of questionable character."
How is that mild-mannered?
A serial-groper scandal wouldn't be complete without analysis from ABC host George Stephanopoulos, who handled more than a few "bimbo eruptions" for the permanent Clinton campaign. But spurred by Diane Sawyer, he offered some correction to Rooney's report: "Gray Davis's campaign says they have nothing to do with these women coming forward. The Los Angeles Times says that the campaign had nothing to do with these women coming forward. But there's no question that ever since this story broke, the Davis campaign has been doing everything they can to exploit it. They're releasing an ad today with Dianne Feinstein, Senator Dianne Feinstein saying, you know, these are serious allegations that have to be addressed, and look at what Gray Davis did last night. Brian Rooney said that Gray Davis has been pretty mild mannered, but last night on Larry King he said there should be a criminal investigation of Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Sawyer noted: "You were there, got to point out, in the middle of the Clinton, dealing with allegations like this. Now, how is Arnold Schwarzenegger handling it and what happens? What's the natural progression, as you remember?" He explained how the Arnold camp's answers have evolved:
Sawyer pointed out a speech from Maria Shriver -- Mrs. Schwarzenegger -- defending her husband as an "A-plus human being. Stephanopoulos called that "probably the most powerful thing we saw in the campaign...what does that sound like? Stand by your man? That's almost word for word, very similar to what Hillary Clinton did back in Bill Clinton's campaign. It's probably his best defense right now."
-- NBC's Today kept repeating that "15 women" now accuse Schwarzenegger, as if the number of accusers were more important than the truth of the accusations. Substitute co-host Lester Holt began the numerical fun in the first minute: "Katie, I'm sure the buzz is growing louder out there. Four more women accused Schwarzenegger this weekend of groping them. That brings the total number to 15."
Then it was over to the news desk, where Ann Curry piled on: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is dismissing the latest allegations from four more women accusing him of sexual harassment. He says that many of the allegations are quote, 'made up stories.' A total of 15 women are making the allegations and Governor Gray Davis is on the attack saying the voters deserve a full explanation."
At 8am, Curry repeated: "The California recall election now just a day away and Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing more allegations that he mistreated women bringing the total of women who've come forward to 15." She repeated the number at 9am.
Co-host Katie Couric interviewed liberal political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe in that last hour with the note: "Governor Gray Davis is warning voters against voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger saying the Terminator may have committed a crime if the sexual harassment charges leveled by 15 women are in fact true."
But the most egregious bias occurred with Tom Brokaw's interview taped Sunday aboard the bus. Just after the first newscast, Couric introduced it by highlighting, of course, a certain double-digit number: "On Close Up this morning one day until the California recall election. As we've been reporting now, at least 15 women claim Arnold Schwarzenegger groped or sexually harassed them and the polls, meanwhile, are tightening. NBC's Tom Brokaw spent time with the candidate aboard a campaign bus where Schwarzenegger responded to questions about his treatment of women."
Brokaw, playing by the NBC program, dropped a number into his question: "Governor Davis is saying today that you have an obligation to answer specifically the charges that have been made against you by 15 women now. Either have to call those women and their families liars or give specific responses to the charges that they have made. Are you prepared to do that?"
Moments earlier, Brokaw had lectured: "A lot of these women have made very specific accusations about grabbing them sexually and making lewd suggestions. You described it as playful and rowdy. And the kind of mischief that you engaged in when you were a younger man. But based on their descriptions, in many states, what you did would be criminal, it would be a sexual assault of some kind."
This exchange marks a glaring and dramatic political bias, since in 1999, far from any election day, Brokaw refused to run a story on NBC Nightly News about Juanita Broaddrick. President Clinton was never required to provide any specific answers about those allegations. The only bone Brokaw would throw was a brief, very euphemistic plug of the emotional interview Broaddrick gave Lisa Myers for Dateline. What Brokaw said, in its entirety, at the very end of the February 24 NBC Nightly News:
And no follow-up story the next day or since.
For more on Brokaw's hypocrisy, see the October 3 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
For the original CyberAlert on how Brokaw avoided Broaddrick: www.mrc.org
On the Democratic side of the ledger, Monday Today viewers saw NBC reporter Campbell Brown offer a dramatically different interview with Gray Davis, with just four, mostly slow-pitch questions:
-- CBS's The Early Show: By contrast, CBS was more mild-mannered and balanced. In her interview with Gray Davis, reporter Hattie Kauffman -- who also showed fairness in being the only Big Three reporter to press Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante about his associations with the strange Latino-left group MEChA -- asked about the tripled car tax.
Kauffman: "Voters are very angry and continue to be angry about the tripling of the car tax."
She did also oddly highlight Davis's dull side: "I can't let you go though without asking about the bland, wooden, emotionless, passionless labels that have been put on you." Davis replied, accurately: "If I have to be a little on the boring and dull side in this environment, that may not be all bad."
Since CBS didn't have tape of an anchorman pounding on Schwarzenegger, co-host Harry Smith asked campaign spokeswoman Karen Hanretty: "Yesterday, I heard Arnold say in a couple of different interviews that these allegations about sexual misconduct are made up stories. That the allegations are not true. Are these women lying, is the LA Times printing lies?"
Hanretty explained that "the LA Times did fail to investigate a lot of these women. There's an intern from CNN that-." Smith interrupted: "That's a pretty serious allegation." She continued: "Look, CNN can't confirm that one of the women making allegations against Arnold was ever an intern. The LA Times failed to note that one of the women who's been lodging a lot of attacks against Arnold Schwarzenegger is in fact a campaign contributor to Arianna Huffington, has worked directly with Gray Davis and Bob Mulholland who's the California Democratic party's gadfly in politics."
Smith concluded: "So their story should be discredited. Let me say this, Oakland Tribune originally endorsed Arnold but now is withdrawing its endorsement based on these charges over the last couple of days. Is your campaign losing momentum?"
That's certainly the impression the network coverage appeared designed to create.
CBS on Monday night highlighted the hypocrisy of liberal groups which defended Bill Clinton from complaints about his sexual improprieties but now are campaigning against Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It wasn't so long ago that boorish sexual behavior nearly brought down Bill Clinton's presidency, but things are topsy turvy this time," Bill Whitaker pointed out on the CBS Evening News, since "feminist groups that rallied around President Clinton" are now rallying against Schwarzenegger.
Whitaker's piece aired after CBS reporter Jerry Bowen relayed another woman's claim: "Another alleged victim emerged just today, claiming in 1991, on the set of Terminator II, that over her protests she was groped and more."
Miller made her comments while at a press conference with feminist agitator Gloria Allred, who sported all lime.
Rather set up the next story on the October 6 CBS Evening News: "This, of course, is not the first time a politician has had to defend himself against allegations about his sexual mistreatment of women, but some women say this case with Arnold Schwarzenegger is different. CBS's Bill Whitaker has been sampling opinion on both sides."
Whitaker began by recounting how, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, "every day, more allegations that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped and humiliated women. Hoping to keep the usual GOP gender gap from widening into a chasm, Schwarzenegger says he's not talking about it anymore. But lots of women are. [video of protesting women] Have a familiar ring? It wasn't so long ago that boorish sexual behavior nearly brought down Bill Clinton's presidency, but things are topsy turvy this time. Feminist groups that rallied around President Clinton, now with Arnold:"
Eminently wrong on imminent threat. FNC's Brit Hume pointed out Monday night how, despite frequent media claims that President Bush cited the "imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein's Iraq as justification for going to war, "in fact, President Bush has publicly said just the opposite."
On the October 6 Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Grapevine" segment, Hume observed:
CBS on Sunday gave air time to a broadside against Rush Limbaugh which impugned him as a racist afraid of anyone who is non-white doing well and suggested that Limbaugh's "edgy" attitude is Hitlerian.
On CBS's Sunday Morning show Nancy Giles, identified as a "contributor" to the program, charged that Limbaugh lives in "a world where when anyone other than conservative, white men attempts to do anything or enter any profession, be it business, politics, art or sports, the only reason they're allowed entry or incredibly attain excellence is because the standard was lowered. Be they liberals, people of color, women, the poor or anyone with an accent." Giles snidely contended on the program hosted by Charles Osgood: "So as Rush's world has steadily crumbled it's no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription painkillers."
Like any good liberal out to smear a conservative, Giles soon brought up Hitler: "Edgy, controversial, brilliant. What a way to shake up intelligent sports commentary. Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
But Giles could not get her basic facts straight, such as how a pre-game show airs before, not after, a game. Limbaugh made his comment in question, about media coverage of quarterback Donovan McNabb, during his then-regular gig on ESPN's NFL Sunday Countdown carried at 11am EDT. Nonetheless, Giles tried to suggest how stupid Limbaugh was in doubting McNabb's ability after he had just won a game: "Last Sunday he said this about Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb, who had just led his team to a 23-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills, quote..."
Of course, Limbaugh's remarks came before the game. At the time Limbaugh spoke, the Eagles had yet to win a game all season, having lost 17-0 and 31-10 before winning for the first time in their third game played a few hours after Limbaugh spoke. See this page for the Eagles' record: philadelphiaeagles.com
MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught the October 5 commentary from Giles in which CBS showed a head shot of her against a plain background as she talked, intermixed with same video and still shots to match her angry words.
Giles began: "What must it be like to live in Rush Limbaugh's world? A world where when anyone other than conservative, white men attempts to do anything or enter any profession, be it business, politics, art or sports, the only reason they're allowed entry or incredibly attain excellence is because the standard was lowered. Be they liberals, people of color, women, the poor or anyone with an accent.
Giles obviously has no sense of humor since Limbaugh's marathon quip was clearly a spoof.
The Nancy Giles of CBS News may be the same some-time actress who has had small roles in movies and TV shows over the years (she looks similar to me), but via a Google search I was unable to find a picture of her. If it is the same woman, check her Internet Movie Database page for a rundown of her credits: www.imdb.com
That Nancy Giles had a small role as a secretary in the Working Woman movie and played a nurse on the China Beach TV series on ABC in the 1980s.
As noted in the October 2 CyberAlert, the quotes she used to prove him a racist are a decade-plus old, are taken from a left-wing book which offers no context for them and many of them have no dates and thus are suspect.
Recent CyberAlert items on media hostility toward Limbaugh:
-- The media on Wednesday turned Rush Limbaugh's comments Sunday, on an ESPN pre-game NFL show, about media coverage of a black quarterback, into a media frenzy. ABC and CBS impugned Limbaugh as a racist by likening his comment to broad generalizations about the entire Negro race uttered by Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis. ABC's Peter Jennings rued how "we've been down this road before." Dan Rather offered these options: "Were or were not Rush Limbaugh's comments about an NFL player racist, a ratings grab or both?" Using a far-left columnist as her source, NBC's Katie Couric recited a litany of supposedly racist remarks Limbaugh has made on his radio show over the years, but failed to put them into the context of parody. See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- ABC's Ted Koppel on Thursday night described Rush Limbaugh as "frequently offensive" and rejected the notion that he's "a good and decent man," saying that calling Limbaugh "hateful" may be "going a little too far," but that "he says and does things on the radio that are so disparaging of homosexuals, African-Americans, the homeless....it's not gentlemanly, it's not kind." Earlier, on World News Tonight, in a story which like Nightline looked at how Limbaugh has supposedly said worse things on radio than he did on ESPN, Dean Reynolds cited the far-left, but naturally unlabeled, Al Franken as an expert on Limbaugh and, to suggest Limbaugh is a racist, Reynolds dug out an undated ten-year-old plus quote which one far-left group got from an anti-Limbaugh book. See: www.mediaresearch.org
Katie Couric joked about Rush Limbaugh's reported addiction to pain killers. On Monday's Tonight Show, the co-host of NBC's Today offered this spiel:
Tonight on the Tonight Show liberals will be the target of a guest as Dennis Miller is scheduled to make an appearance.
-- Brent Baker