Moyers Wears Flag Pin to Protest Hijacking by Ideologues -- 03/03/2003 CyberAlert
2. ABC's Martin Upset Bush Gave Speech at "Conservative" Dinner
3. ABC Emphasizes How U.S. Will Kill Babies and Kids in Iraq
4. Bush Marching to War "Even As" Iraq Pledges to Disarm
5. Dan Rather Too Nice to Hussein Even for Bill Maher
6. Fred Thompson in Pro-War Ad, But CNN Hits Sheen from the Left
>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
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."
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:
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.
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?"
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.
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]
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 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 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:
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?"
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."
To see a video, in any one of four formats, of the Martin Sheen ad promoting a "virtual march on Washington," go to:
The home page for Artists United to Win Without War:
The home page for the group behind the Thompson ad, Citizens United: http://www.citizensunited.org/
To view the Thompson ad via RealPlayer:
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