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Moyers Wears Flag Pin to Protest Hijacking by Ideologues -- 03/03/2003 CyberAlert


1. Moyers Wears Flag Pin to Protest Hijacking by Ideologues
Bill Moyers sported a flag lapel pin on Friday night's Now on PBS, not to proclaim his patriotism and/or pride in the U.S., but to "take" the flag "back" which has been "hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism." Citing how President Bush and Vice President Cheney wear flag lapel pins, Moyers was reminded of communism: "When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread."

2. ABC's Martin Upset Bush Gave Speech at "Conservative" Dinner
President Bush's choice of an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) dinner as the venue for his speech Wednesday night, about what he envisions for a post-war Middle East, really upset ABC News reporter Michel Martin. During the roundtable on Sunday's This Week, Martin said she was "bothered by the fact the President gave such an important speech to an interest group" because AEI is "largely conservative." She wanted to know: "Why wasn't such a speech given to a sort of more diverse audience that wasn't so strictly aligned with his own political interests?"

3. ABC Emphasizes How U.S. Will Kill Babies and Kids in Iraq
Trying to disturb Americans by showing how U.S. will cause miscarriages and kill kids? On Friday night, ABC's Dan Harris in Baghdad, after playing video of Saddam Hussein joking with his army staff, proceeded to focus on Iraqi claims about the threats to civilians caused by a U.S. attack. A nurse, in English, asserted: "For sure there'll be high percentage of miscarriages." Harris then concluded by relaying the worries of two pre-teen kids: "'They will attack us by airplanes and missiles and guns,' he says. He brother says 'a great number of people, especially children, will die.'" Plus, NBC passed along claims the U.S. is planting evidence inside Iraq.

4. Bush Marching to War "Even As" Iraq Pledges to Disarm
Katie Couric opened Friday's Today by contrasting how President Bush is still marching toward war "even as Baghdad promises to start destroying missiles," as if that late promise really changes anything.

5. Dan Rather Too Nice to Hussein Even for Bill Maher
Dan Rather was too soft on Saddam Hussein even for comedian Bill Maher, a vociferous detractor of the Bush policy toward Iraq. On Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher wondered if it is proper "to be throwing softball questions to the guy who the President says is a liar" and so why did Rather "give him a soapbox?" Earlier in the day, FNC's Greg Palkot suggested the fact that Iraqi regime played the Rather interview, "in its entirety" on Iraqi TV, "is an indication that the regime was very pleased with how the interview went, and they felt that it effectively got across the points that the government there wanted to get across."

6. Fred Thompson in Pro-War Ad, But CNN Hits Sheen from the Left
Fred Thompson versus Martin Sheen. Citizens United last week unveiled pro-Bush Iraq policy ads featuring Fred Thompson, leading to media appearances by Thompson including opposite Mike Farrell on Meet the Press. But on Saturday, CNN went to Sheen for reaction and reporter Thelma Gutierrez worried: "You have been so public about your views on this war. Have you experienced any backlash as a result of that?" Gutierrez pushed Sheen from the left: "Because people have equated being anti-war with being anti-American."


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Moyers Wears Flag Pin to Protest Hijacking
by Ideologues

Bill Moyers sported flag lapel pin on Friday night's Now on PBS, not to proclaim his patriotism and/or pride in the U.S., but to "take" the flag "back" which has been "hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism." Citing how President Bush and Vice President Cheney wear flag lapel pins, Moyers was reminded of communism: "When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread."

PBS's Bill Moyers Moyers went on to complain that "more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American."

Moyers decided to wear the flag for one night as a "modest riposte" to the "people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war."

While wearing a flag pin high up by the collar on a brown sweater, Moyers offered this commentary at the end of his February 28 show:
"I decided to put on my flag pin tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans.
"Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I'd been born in a country whose institutions sustained me, whose armed forces protected me, and whose ideals inspired me; I offered my heart's affections in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother's picture on my lapel to prove her son's love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15.
"So what's this doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. And during the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread.
"But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They're in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks even as they call for more spending on war.
"So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing -- after they first stash the cash.
"I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what Bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government. And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war -- except in self-defense -- is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomatic skill. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country."

The Web site for Now: http://www.pbs.org/now/

The above transcript differs a bit from the one on the Web site, but the one above matches what he actually said on the air.

ABC's Martin Upset Bush Gave Speech
at "Conservative" Dinner

President Bush's choice of an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) dinner as the venue for his speech Wednesday night, about what he envisions for a post-war Middle East, really upset ABC News reporter Michel Martin. During the roundtable on Sunday's This Week, Martin said she was "bothered by the fact the President gave such an important speech to an interest group" because AEI is "largely conservative." She wanted to know: "Why wasn't such a speech given to a sort of more diverse audience that wasn't so strictly aligned with his own political interests?"

Apparently, conservatives are not part of Martin's "diverse" rainbow.

Martin was too far out of it for even host George Stephanopoulos who pointed out the obvious, that since ABC, CBS and NBC carried it, the speech was heard well beyond the AEI audience.

On the March 2 This Week, Martin realized the vacuousness of her point, but made it anyway: "This may be a trivial point, and if it is, you know, just tell me. But was anyone else bothered by the fact the President gave such an important speech to an interest group? It strikes me that he was laying out -- this was the American Enterprise Institute, it's a think tank, largely conservative -- I mean such an important speech, it was meant to be seen around the world. Why wasn't such a speech given to a sort of more diverse audience that wasn't so strictly aligned with his own political interests?"
Stephanopoulos countered: "It turned out to be. I mean, it turned out, I think the White House was quite skillful of this. They managed, without asking, convince all the networks to cover this live and I think that was important because in the end it was an important speech that did talk about the post-war principles."

Presidents regularly deliver speeches to groups which have little or nothing to do with the policy area being discussed. In this case, they wanted to give a speech in DC and looked around to see who had a dinner already planned at a hotel.

ABC Emphasizes How U.S. Will Kill Babies
and Kids in Iraq

Trying to disturb Americans by showing how a war will cause miscarriages and kill children? On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Dan Harris in Baghdad, after playing video of Saddam Hussein joking with his army staff, proceeded to focus on Iraqi claims about the threats to civilians caused by a U.S. attack. A nurse, in English, asserted: "For sure there'll be high percentage of miscarriages." Harris then concluded by relaying the worries of two pre-teen kids: "'They will attack us by airplanes and missiles and guns,' he says. He brother says 'a great number of people, especially children, will die.'"

The same night, over on the NBC Nightly News, Ron Allen concluded his story from Baghdad by passing along the Iraqi claim that the U.S. is planting evidence of weapons of mass destruction: "Tonight Iraq has lodged a new complaint at the UN, a letter claiming American helicopters are flying secret missions inside Iraqi territory. Officials here say they're concerned the United States is trying to plant evidence of illegal weapons."

Harris began his February 28 story by showing how, on the surface, things are normal in Iraq. Viewers saw video of a couple getting married and of crowded streets with people out shopping. "Even from Saddam Hussein there's a measure of public levity," Harris gloated over matching video, "On Iraqi TV recently one of his soldiers told him a joke, something about a married couple. 'That's a good one,' said the President."

Harris warned, however, that "while on the surface life here goes on with some semblance of normalcy, there is, nonetheless, no shortage of anxiety. The government has given people six months worth of food rations, people are digging wells in their backyards and hospitals, including this maternity hospital, are bracing for war." [video of a hospital room with one lantern in the room]
Nurse, in English: "For sure there'll be premature labors and for sure there'll be high percentage of miscarriages, for sure it will be like that."
Harris: "None of this is lost on Iraq's youngest citizens as Doctor Magna Rahndollin (sp phonetic), a Norwegian child psychologist, found recently when he conducted random home visits."
The Norwegian to a bunch of kids: "If there was an attack, what would that mean?"
Harris, relaying a kid's answer: "'They will attack us by airplanes and missiles and guns,' he says. He brother says 'a great number of people, especially children, will die.' Dan Harris, ABC News, Baghdad."

Bush Marching to War "Even As" Iraq
Pledges to Disarm

Katie Couric opened Friday's Today by contrasting how President Bush is still marching toward war "even as Baghdad promises to start destroying missiles," as if that late promise really changes anything.

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that Couric announced at the top of the February 28 Today: "Good morning. 'We will disarm them now.' Those words from President Bush indicating that a war with Iraq may be imminent even as Baghdad promises to start destroying missiles today, Friday February the 28th, 2003."

Later, reporter Andrea Mitchell more reasonably suggested the pledge to destroy the Al Samoud missiles will provide fodder for opponents of the U.S. policy: "Iraq's last minute promise to destroy it's Al Samoud missiles will likely undercut the U.S. argument for war which was already in trouble in a sharply divided Security Council."

Couric seems to be in tune with France.

Dan Rather Too Nice to Hussein Even for
Bill Maher

Dan Rather was too soft of Saddam Hussein even for comedian Bill Maher, a vociferous detractor of the Bush policy toward Iraq as one motivated by blood for oil. On Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher wondered if it is proper "to be throwing softball questions to the guy who the President says is a liar" and so why did Rather "give him a soapbox?"

Earlier in the day, on Fox & Friends, MRC analyst Patrick Gregory observed, FNC's Greg Palkot suggested the fact that Iraqi regime played the Rather interview, "in its entirety" on Iraqi TV, "is an indication that the regime was very pleased with how the interview went, and they felt that it effectively got across the points that the government there wanted to get across."

Opening the panel segment on his February 28 HBO show, Maher contended: "I watched Dan Rather's interview with Saddam Hussein and I had a few questions about what the right thing to do for an American was, and is it to be throwing softball questions to the guy who the President says is a liar and everything he says comes out of his a mouth, so why does Dan Rather, Mr. Patriot American, give him a soapbox?"

No one on the panel had a good answer.

During the February 21 debut of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher said he didn't understand the argument that the UN is being "ineffectual" when "they are stopping the rush to war." Maher posited: "Isn't the UN's job to slow a march to war? Isn't that what they're there for, a peace organization?" Maher also came to France's defense as he demanded: "No more whining about the French. At least they're standing up to the Bush administration, which is more than I can say for the Democrats!"

HBO's Web site for Maher's 11:30pm EST Friday night show, with a big picture of him: http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/

Fred Thompson in Pro-War Ad, But CNN
Hits Sheen from the Left

Fred Thompson versus Martin Sheen. Citizens United last week unveiled pro-Bush Iraq policy ads featuring Fred Thompson, who has a supporting role on NBC's Law & Order at 10pm EST/PST on Wednesdays, ads which came a week after a left-wing group produced anti-war ads featuring Martin Sheen, star of NBC's West Wing which airs just before Law & Order.

Last week CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports discussed the new ads with former Senator Thompson and on Sunday Meet the Press had Thompson on along with actor Mike Farrell, co-chairman of the group behind the Sheen ad, Artists United to Win Without War.

But on CNN Saturday, CNN went to Sheen for reaction and reporter Thelma Gutierrez worried: "You know, you have been so public about your views on this war. Have you experienced any backlash as a result of that?" Gutierrez pushed Sheen with a bogeyman forwarded by the left: "Because people have equated being anti-war with being anti-American." After Sheen denounced Bush for dismissing the relevance of protesters, Gutierrez tossed him this softball: "Should the administration listen to all the people who come forward?"

After Sheen's ad got so much free air play, all three shows played the Thompson ad in which viewers see him talking in front of a waving flag graphic:
"With all the criticism of our President's policy on Iraq lately, Americans might ask what should we do with the inevitable prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a murderous and aggressive enemy? Can we afford to appease Saddam, kick the can down the road? Thank goodness we have a President with the courage to protect our country. And when people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask what had the 9-11 hijackers done to us before 9-11?"

Just before 7pm EST on Saturday, CNN ran an exchange between Sheen and Gutierrez as both stood outside by some big bushes.

Gutierrez asked Sheen: "Former Senator Fred Thompson, who is now an actor on Law & Order, has come out with an ad of his own in favor of the President to counter the celebrity left, as he calls it. Your thoughts on that?"
Sheen: "I haven't seen the ad. I admire Senator Thompson and I respect him. He's entitled to do whatever he feels his conscience directs him to do, which is what I'm doing. But I have no interest in trying to combat that. I'm just trying to tell people to raise their voices with their hearts in prayer. I don't know what else to do."
Gutierrez: "You know, you have been so public about your views on this war. Have you experienced any backlash as a result of that?"
Sheen: "Yes, tons of it."
Gutierrez: "Because people have equated being anti-war with being anti-American."
Sheen: "Yeah, which is bullsh-- [CNN killed sound on part of second syllable] frankly, you know. I love my country, enough to risk its wrath by bringing attention to the dark spots, the things that will really hurt us. When we don't have vision, we're blind."

Gutierrez proceeded to raise Thompson's joking idea of having his character run against Sheen's character, but Sheen pointed out that his character has already won re-election to a second term and so cannot run again.

Gutierrez moved on to Bush's dismissal of protests in which Sheen took part: "The day after the big protests a couple of weeks ago, the president came out and said, I can't make a decision based on the turn out of protesters because that's like make a decision on foreign policy based on a focus group."
Sheen: "You don't think he does that? You don't think that there's a focus group that put him where he is and keeps him where he is? And supports him as long as he fosters a certain point of view?"
Gutierrez tossed a slow pitch: "Should the administration listen to all the people who come forward?"
Sheen maintained: "It won't be there long if it doesn't. It can't survive. You know, you can't lead this way. You can't lead by fear and intimidation. You've got to lead with vision and confidence, and humanity. You got to lead all the people. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love my country. I love it enough to risk its wrath by pointing out the things that will destroy it, harm it very deeply. And that's costly patriotism."

To see a video, in any one of four formats, of the Martin Sheen ad promoting a "virtual march on Washington," go to:
http://www.winwithoutwarus.org/html/action.ads.html

The home page for Artists United to Win Without War:
http://www.artistsunitedwww.org/

The home page for the group behind the Thompson ad, Citizens United: http://www.citizensunited.org/

To view the Thompson ad via RealPlayer:
http://www.citizensunited.org/hollywood.html

> Less than a month to go until the MRC's March 27 "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." Get your ticket while we still have some left. See the link at the top of this message to learn how to order and to take advantage of the $25 discount for CyberAlert subscribers. -- Brent Baker