As More Think 'Surge' Working, CBS's Interest in Its Poll Falls --9/11/2007
2. ABC's Wright: 100 Percent of Anbar Iraqis Oppose Troop Surge
3. NY Times Worries Over Giuliani's 'Political Exploitation' of 9/11
4. Roker Praises Liberal Actress Susan Sarandon as 'Good Role Model'
On the day of the long-anticipated report from General David Petraeus on the "surge," the CBS Evening News ignored how its latest poll discovered the third straight month of an increase in the percent of Americans who believe the surge has "made things better" in Iraq. As the percentage has gone up, CBS's interest in the result has gone down. In July, anchor Katie Couric led with how only 19 percent thought the surge was "making things better" and a month later, in August, when that number jumped to 29 percent, CBS and Couric gave it just 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast..
While Monday's CBS Evening News skipped how the share crediting the surge for "making things better" rose to 35 percent in the survey conducted through Saturday, the newscast found time to highlight three other findings that stressed public opposition to the war and distrust of President Bush. Jim Axelrod relayed how "in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, just four percent think Iraq will become a stable democracy in the next year or two. More than half [53%] say it'll never happen. [On screen: Yes, but it will take longer: 42%] And just five percent think the Bush administration best able to make the right calls on the war. [Congress: 21%; U.S. military commanders: 68%]." A bumper before the first ad break showcased how on "U.S. troop levels in Iraq," 30 percent said they "should increase/keep the same," while 65 percent responded they "should decrease/remove all."
PDF of the results of the poll conducted September 4-8: www.cbsnews.com
The August 14 CyberAlert revealed:
When a CBS News poll in July found 73 percent believed the surge of troops in Iraq was making the situation "worse" or having "no impact," the CBS Evening News led with that number. But on Monday, when a new CBS poll discovered that percent had fallen 12 points to 61 percent, as the percent who think the surge is making the situation "better" jumped ten points from 19 to 29 percent, CBS gave it 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast. "Major attacks decline in Iraq: Military credits troop increase, civilian tipsters," declared the headline at the top of Monday's USA Today front page. Katie Couric, however, ignored that report and, after briefly relaying the new poll number, couldn't resist highlighting "one thing that hasn't changed, two-thirds say that, overall, things are still going badly in Iraq."
Couric had led the July 18 CBS Evening News: "In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse." On Monday [August 13], she acknowledged: "Americans are starting to come around on that troop surge in Iraq. In our CBS News poll out tonight, 29 percent say the surge is making things better. That's a ten point increase since July." It's doubtful the ten percent who have come around are consumers of CBS or other mainstream media outlets which concentrate on the negative.
The July 19 CyberAlert item recounted how Couric led that night's CBS Evening News:
"Hello, everyone. Senate Democrats failed today in their latest attempt to bring American troops home from Iraq. After a rare, all-night debate, they couldn't come up with the votes today to bring the latest troop withdrawal measure to the floor. And that is in spite of pressure from the voters themselves. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse. And nearly two out of three want the President to bring some or all U.S. forces home."
For the August 14 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
For the July 19 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
On Monday's Good Morning America, correspondent David Wright highlighted an ABC poll which claimed a "stunning" 100 percent of Iraqis in Anbar Province view the troop surge negatively. Wright offered this rather amazing statistic during a dour preview of the Iraq progress report that General Petraeus gave Congress later in the day. In October of 2002, the veteran journalist highlighted another nearly unanimous poll. He observed on World News Tonight that in a 1995 Iraqi election, "Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that's a true measure of the Iraqi people's feelings." See the October 17, 2002 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
While discussing the ABC survey of Iraqi households, Wright didn't question the fact that not one person could be found who viewed the troop surge positively. After comparing Petraeus's testimony to that of General William Westmoreland at the height of the Vietnam War, Wright went on to discuss how the poll indicates that Iraqis believe the prospects for the future are "grim at best." He then closed the report by stating the obvious: Unlike ABC, General Petraeus will actually mention signs of progress, in addition to discussing the struggles. "And no doubt we're going to be hearing a starkly different assessment today from this chair by General Petraeus," he concluded.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:03am on September 10:
Robin Roberts: "But we begin with the report on Iraq. As we said, General Petraeus begins his testimony on the hill later today. He is expected to recommend any decisions on troop withdrawal, any major decisions, be put off for six months. ABC's David Wright is in the hearing room where General Petraeus will testify later today. Good morning, David."
David Wright: "Good morning, Robin. The headline here this morning is that General Petraeus is expected to ask for a delay until next March or April before even considering any major reductions in the main body of U.S. forces in Iraq. However, he's likely to recommend the pullback of at least one brigade, about 4,000 men, by year's end, sort of a token reduction, and the possibility of another 4,000 troops at the beginning of next year. But he says any major cuts have to be determined by the situation on the ground in Iraq. The question is, will that enough to convince the skeptics here in Congress that really want to see the troops come home? Pleading for more time in Iraq, the White House has pinned its hopes on the general. Not since the height of the Vietnam War, when the Johnson administration summoned General William Westmoreland-"
The New York Times seems determined to limit any political gains Republican Rudy Giuliani gets for 9-11: Marc Santora's Monday "Political Memo" titled, "In Campaign Year, Invoking 9/11 Raises New Debates," suggested Giuliani is misleading voters by breaking some kind of promise not to talk about his leadership as mayor of New York City after the September 11 terrorist attacks: "[T]here have been renewed questions about the fuzzy line between somber remembrance and political exploitation...." But did the Times show similar concern when John Kerry exploited his Vietnam service during 2004?
[This item is adapted from a posting, by Clay Waters, on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
An excerpt from the Monday article:
During a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, Rudolph W. Giuliani asserted, "The reality is that I'm not running on what I did on Sept. 11."
Two days later, a crowd of nearly 1,000 filed into a ballroom here for a 9/11 Remembrance Luncheon. Graphic images of the exploding towers, dust-covered survivors and even a series of photos that showed someone leaping from a tower were flashed on two giant screens flanking the stage where Mr. Giuliani was about to speak.
"America must never forget the lessons of Sept. 11," Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, later told the crowd.
As the anniversary of the attacks nears, Mr. Giuliani has been talking in more personal detail than usual about that day. In so doing, there have been renewed questions about the fuzzy line between somber remembrance and political exploitation, this time amplified by his presidential candidacy.
END of Excerpt
For the September 10 piece by Marc Santora: www.nytimes.com
But where were these complaints about "exploitation" when Democrat John Kerry milked his three months in Vietnam for all it was worth -- a period far less relevant to the electorate than Giuliani's 9-11 leadership?
(Back in 2002, future candidate Kerry told Times columnist and future Times Executive Editor Bill Keller that he had "no intention" of using film footage he'd taken of himself in Vietnam for campaign purposes. Kerry did, of course. Not only did the Times not call the candidate on this, the paper seemed to find it distasteful when TimesWatch brought it up. See: www.timeswatch.org )
More from Santora on Monday:
By contrast, the Times didn't suggest Kerry's Vietnam boasting had "boomeranged" when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth started poking holes in his medal citations. Instead, the Times constantly blasted the allegations from the Swift Boat Veterans as "unsubstantiated," while never questioning Kerry's war record or medals. See: www.timeswatch.org
Of course, the Times is quite comfortable questioning Giuliani's 9-11 leadership. See the August 17 TimesWatch posting, "Times Questions Giuliani's 9-11 Presence -- Yet Never Challenged Kerry's Vietnam Stories," online at: www.timeswatch.org
NBC's Today show co-host and weatherman Al Roker invited on Susan Sarandon to promote her latest movie, Mr. Woodcock, but couldn't get through the full interview Monday without praising her liberal activism, as he called her a "good role model," and celebrated her "great job" of combining acting and protesting. For her part, Sarandon actually took a dig at NBC News on its own airwaves as she wistfully recalled the good old days when "news programs" showed "what was going on, not like now."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following is the relevant out-take from the Sarandon interview as it took place on the September 10 Today show:
Al Roker: "Well you know, you've had this great career, you do these great films and yet you also, you're able to combine that with, with, with activism. Is that just as important to you as, as a good script?"
To read more about Sarandon's latest movie: www.imdb.com
-- Brent Baker