The MRC@25: The Worst Media Bias of 2005
The MRC is showcasing the most egregious bias we have uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala next week.
Click here for articles recounting the worst of 1988 through 2004. Today, the worst bias of 2005: NBC’s Brian Williams equates America’s Founding Fathers with the zealots running Iran; ex-New York Times editor Howell Raines goes on a post-Katrina rant about the human carnage caused by the Bush administration’s “churchgoing populism,” and Ted Turner tries to defend North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.
Andrea Mitchell: “It is an iconic picture: American hostages, hands bound and blindfolded, being paraded outside the U.S. embassy in Tehran by their captors. But has one of those student radicals now become Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?...Tonight, U.S. intelligence officials say that they will continue to study this, but may never have definitive proof of what the role was of Iran’s new president, Brian.”
Brian Williams: “Andrea, what would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today the first several U.S. Presidents were certainly revolutionaries and might have been called terrorists at the time by the British Crown, after all.”
Mitchell: “Indeed, Brian.”
— NBC Nightly News, June 30, 2005.
“I just want to say: Who are we? We are people who have always been for inspections of prisons, for some degree of human rights, and now we’re defending neither.... We have now violated everything that we stand for. It is the first time in my life I have been ashamed of my country.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg, commenting on a front-page Washington Post report that captured terrorists are being held at undisclosed sites, Inside Washington, November 4, 2005.
“The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude....The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The churchgoing cultural populism of George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about the House of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts.”
— Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, September 1, 2005.
Ted Turner: “I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat [on nukes]....I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. You know, just because somebody’s done something wrong in the past doesn’t mean they can’t do right in the future or the present. That happens all the, all the time.”
Wolf Blitzer: “But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim Jong-Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn’t that a fair assessment?”
Turner: “Well, I didn’t get to meet him, but he didn’t look — in the pictures that I’ve seen of him on CNN, he didn’t look too much different than most other people.”
Blitzer: “But, look at the way, look at the way he’s, look at the way he’s treating his own people.”
Turner: “Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but-”
Blitzer: “A lot of those people are starving.”
Turner: “I didn’t see any, I didn’t see any brutality....”
— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, September 19, 2005.
Check back each morning for more classic bias quotes, or visit our “25th Anniversary” section for the entire collection.