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NBC and CBS Use Cheney and Obama Speeches to Jab at Cheney --5/22/2009


1. NBC and CBS Use Cheney and Obama Speeches to Jab at Cheney
Thursday's NBC Nightly News featured Andrea Mitchell chastising and correcting former Vice President Dick Cheney for his speech on fighting terrorism, but the network saw no need to correct anything asserted by President Obama in his address on the same topic while anchor Brian Williams asked if Republicans are "happy" to have Cheney as "their messenger?" CBS delivered contrasting conclusions in their two stories: With Obama, stressing his rebuke of his critics; with Cheney, emphasizing his unpopularity. Chip Reid ended his report on Obama by relaying Obama's charge that "opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear," but, moments later, Bill Plante concluded his look at former VP Cheney's address on fighting terrorism by highlighting "Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn't helping their party."

2. O'Donnell on MSNBC: Cheney Speech 'Sleazy,' and 'An Abomination'
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a Vice President as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination." Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O'Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq."

3. NY Times Scolds Californians for Voting Against Tax Hikes
Jennifer Steinhauer keeps insulting California voters who refuse to vote for high taxes: "Direct democracy has once again upended California....The only ballot measure to succeed was one that prevented lawmakers and constitutional officers from getting raises in times of fiscal distress, a sort of chin-out electoral scowl by voters, who will now probably see their health care systems, schools and other services erode." The New York Times is still having difficulty dealing with democracy in California -- namely the state's unique ballot initiatives, which sometimes produces results inconvenient to a liberal agenda. First it was last year's surprise passage of Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage that threw the Times for a loop. This week it was the rejection of five fiscal measures in a special statewide referendum on Tuesday, notably Proposition 1A, pushed by supporters and the Times as a necessary measure of fiscal solvency that would have raised or extended a variety of taxes in return for a vague spending cap.

4. ABC Touts George Soros as a Superhero; Ted Turner is Superman?
George Soros is a superhero along the lines of Batman and Superman? That's the comparison correspondent John Berman made on Thursday's Good Morning America. The ABC journalist was reporting on a closed door meeting of billionaires that included liberals such as Soros, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss charitable giving, leading ABC to feature a graphic with Turner as Superman and Winfrey as Wonder Woman. And while well known arch-liberal Soros, financier of groups such as Moveon.org, wasn't featured in the silly illustration, he was discussed in the piece, with no mention of his hard-left positions. Berman even linked the meeting to the '70s/early 80s cartoon series "The Super Friends." He gushed: "Behind closed doors on this New York campus, a secret gathering of some of the world's most powerful people. Gates, Buffett, Bloomberg, Winfrey. It was like- well, it was like, 'The Super Friends.'" With no mention of the liberal agenda of some of the participants, most specifically Soros, Berman concluded, "The new super-men and wonder woman. The super-rich friends. Not fighting bad guys, but fighting for good, nonetheless."

5. Brokaw Calls for 'Economic Justice,' 'Earth Taken Turn for Worse'
During his Saturday, May 16, commencement speech at Fordham University, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw fretted that the "vital signs" of "Mother Earth" have "taken a turn for the worse," as he cited global warming as a problem this year's graduating class would need to help solve. He also used the term "economic justice," a term commonly invoked by the Left, as he called on graduates to "restore economic justice." Brokaw: "We need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."

6. New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location for CyberAlerts
The MRC is launching a new Web site today, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video. Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." By sometime next week, I hope, the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.


NBC and CBS Use Cheney and Obama Speeches
to Jab at Cheney

Thursday's NBC Nightly News featured Andrea Mitchell chastising and correcting former Vice President Dick Cheney for his speech on fighting terrorism, but the network saw no need to correct anything asserted by President Obama in his address on the same topic while anchor Brian Williams asked if Republicans are "happy" to have Cheney as "their messenger?"

CBS delivered contrasting conclusions in their two stories: With Obama, stressing his rebuke of his critics; with Cheney, emphasizing his unpopularity. Chip Reid ended his report on Obama by relaying Obama's charge that "opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear," but, moments later, Bill Plante concluded his look at former VP Cheney's address on fighting terrorism by highlighting "Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn't helping their party." The two conclusions on the May 21 CBS Evening News:

Chip Reid: "The President said opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear and he promised it will be closed."

Bill Plante: "The former Vice President has made it clear that he intends to continue speaking out, ignoring Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn't helping their party."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On the NBC Nightly News, Williams set up Andrea Mitchell to recount Cheney's supposed hypocrisy and errors before he raised Cheney's detractors:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Andrea, you and I spoke earlier today. You concentrated on the Vice President's speech and, specifically, I heard you say some patterns in the way he delivered it.
MITCHELL: Well, for one thing, the Vice President cast himself as the chief defender of the CIA, which is an irony because all during the Bush years, he was a great attacker inside fighting all the time with the CIA. He did say that water-boarding was only used as a last choice when there was no other alternative. That was not the case with Abu Zubayda. He was water-boarded 83 times, producing no actionable intelligence. He did manage, though, to elevate himself into the chief sparring partner with the President of the United States. That's quite a political achievement. And as Chuck [Todd] was pointing out, the President failed to put out this firestorm [on closing Guantanamo] because his allies on the Hill still say he has not given them the details that they want.
WILLIAMS: And to David Gregory. David, it was clear today, we heard from the President, we're going to hear these talking points over and over. The mistake isn't closing it, it was opening it in the first place, we're cleaning up a mess here. But on the other side, do the Republicans think they have found an issue, and is everybody happy with their messenger here?
DAVID GREGORY: Not everybody's happy with the messenger, but it is interesting. A lot of Republicans I spoke to today said there was a rallying cry from Dick Cheney, a message to conservatives and to Republicans. This is the issue that we can win politically and we can win substantively, that this administration doesn't have its head on right with regard to the national security of the country. There's also legacy building here, and Dick Cheney is the one at the moment, not former President Bush, to begin the argument. And that is there was not a follow-on attack after 9/11 on the United States. That's where the Bush/Cheney team would like the legacy to be built.

O'Donnell on MSNBC: Cheney Speech 'Sleazy,'
and 'An Abomination'

Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a Vice President as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."

Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O'Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq."

After O'Donnell denounced Cheney's sleaziness, he went on this diatribe: "He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Matthews later turned to another hard left voice, former CIA agent Jack Rice, who attempted to match O'Donnell's vitriol: "He [Cheney] beat the CIA like a pinata for year after year until all of a sudden he's going to be their champion. Look, this is a guy that I'm watching today who wraps himself in the flag with the Constitution in tatters at his feet...We look at where we're going and what it means, he apparently doesn't care as long as he looks good doing it."

Moments later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell chimed in, claiming that Cheney: "...sets up what I think is a false choice when he says that you can only draw two conclusions. That either the vigilance and the strategy that they employed worked because America was never attacked since 9/11, or that 9/11 was a one-time event and won't happen again and that you don't have to use those techniques. There is -- there are other choices...you don't have to use those techniques, the techniques of the Bush/Cheney administration, in order to keep America safe."

Matthews next referenced Cheney's criticism of the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the possibility of American taxpayer dollars being used to support terrorists in American prisons. Pat Buchanan, the only voice from the right, argued: "They get lawyers paid -- yeah, if they're in the United States, they'll get lawyers paid for by the American people, they'll get various privilege in defenses and stuff like that paid for by the country." O'Donnell lashed out again: "Now Chris, you've pointed out another very clear Dick Cheney lie. It is just a lie. Who is paying for the daily existence of the terrorists in Gitmo now? Who is paying for that? The American taxpayer. This is the kind of sleazy arguing that this guy does in these speeches. It is just ridiculous. It is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who's listening to him."

Mitchell made one final point: "There was one clever thing, also, that he did do, was to challenge the President to declassify those memos, which he claims prove that he's correct, that the techniques worked and kept us safer." O'Donnell angrily ranted: "But after objecting to the release of top-secret information. The Vice President objects to the release of top-secret information. In the next sentence, he advocates it." Buchanan summed up the cause of O'Donnell's rage: "Lawrence's reaction tells you that Cheney's speech worked."

NY Times Scolds Californians for Voting
Against Tax Hikes

Jennifer Steinhauer keeps insulting California voters who refuse to vote for high taxes: "Direct democracy has once again upended California....The only ballot measure to succeed was one that prevented lawmakers and constitutional officers from getting raises in times of fiscal distress, a sort of chin-out electoral scowl by voters, who will now probably see their health care systems, schools and other services erode."

The New York Times is still having difficulty dealing with democracy in California -- namely the state's unique ballot initiatives, which sometimes produces results inconvenient to a liberal agenda. First it was last year's surprise passage of Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage that threw the Times for a loop. This week it was the rejection of five fiscal measures in a special statewide referendum on Tuesday, notably Proposition 1A, pushed by supporters and the Times as a necessary measure of fiscal solvency that would have raised or extended a variety of taxes in return for a vague spending cap.

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

Thursday's front-page story by Jennifer Steinhauer, "In California, Democracy Doesn't Pay the Bills," came on the heels of her equally insulting Wednesday piece, "Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent." (The online headline to Thursday's story was milder: "California, a Broke State, Reels as Voters Rebuff Leaders.")

Even a photo caption showing a glum, bored poll worker echoed the theme that it was California voters who had irresponsibly doomed their state to bankruptcy, not the lawmakers who had made the mess in the first place: "Larry Vida, a poll worker, waited for voters on Tuesday, when Californians rejected measures intended to keep the state solvent."

Steinhauer aimed her first sneer at California's "direct democracy":

Direct democracy has once again upended California -- enough so that the state may finally consider another way by overhauling its Constitution for the first time in 130 years.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned home from a White House visit on Wednesday to find the state dangerously broke, his constituents defiant after a special election on Tuesday and calls for a constitutional convention -- six months ago little more than a wonkish whisper -- a cacophony.

As the notion of California as ungovernable grows stronger than ever, Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has expressed support for a convention to address such things as the state's arcane budget requirements and its process for proliferate ballot initiatives, both of which necessitated Tuesday's statewide vote on budget matters approved months ago by state lawmakers.

SUSPEND Excerpt

Steinhauer characterized the one ballot measure that passed -- halting pay hikes for lawmakers -- as a temper tantrum that voters would soon come to regret:

The only ballot measure to succeed was one that prevented lawmakers and constitutional officers from getting raises in times of fiscal distress, a sort of chin-out electoral scowl by voters, who will now probably see their health care systems, schools and other services erode. On Friday, the state controller, John Chiang, and the treasurer, Bill Lockyer, are expected to appear before lawmakers and warn them that the state is nearly unable to pay its bills.

END of Excerpt

The May 21 article in full: www.nytimes.com

Steinhauer's assumption that insufficient taxation is the problem ignores the spending side, although as George Will wrote in a May 3 column, it's spending that is the real problem, not tax rates: "In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent." See: www.washingtonpost.com

ABC Touts George Soros as a Superhero;
Ted Turner is Superman?

George Soros is a superhero along the lines of Batman and Superman? That's the comparison correspondent John Berman made on Thursday's Good Morning America. The ABC journalist was reporting on a closed door meeting of billionaires that included liberals such as Soros, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss charitable giving, leading ABC to feature a graphic with Turner as Superman and Winfrey as Wonder Woman.

And while well known arch-liberal Soros, financier of groups such as Moveon.org, wasn't featured in the silly illustration, he was discussed in the piece, with no mention of his hard-left positions. See Human Events: www.humanevents.com

(Billionaire/Mayor Michael Bloomberg was relegated to being portrayed as a lesser hero, Aquaman.) Soros, who once compared the Bush administration to Nazis, was simply referred to this way: "Together with others in the meeting, including George Soros, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, they're worth more than $125 billion."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Berman even linked the meeting to the '70s/early 80s cartoon series "The Super Friends." He gushed: "Behind closed doors on this New York campus, a secret gathering of some of the world's most powerful people. Gates, Buffett, Bloomberg, Winfrey. It was like- well, it was like, 'The Super Friends.'"

With no mention of the liberal agenda of some of the participants, most specifically Soros, Berman concluded, "The new super-men and wonder woman. The super-rich friends. Not fighting bad guys, but fighting for good, nonetheless."

A transcript of the May 21 segment, which aired at 7:36am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: We're going to tell you now about what happened with a club so exclusive, that just a handful of Americans need apply. Where the price of admission is $1 billion and a philanthropic heart. And that meets the pricey requirements recently held in a secret meeting, a private meeting in New York City. ABC's John Berman has the scoop on who was there and what was going on.
ABC GRAPHIC: Secret Billionaires' Club: The World's Richest In Big Meeting
JOHN BERMAN: Behind closed doors on this New York campus, a secret gathering of some of the world's most powerful people. Gates, Buffett, Bloomberg, Winfrey. It was like- well, it was like, "The Super Friends."
[Clip from "The Super Friends."]
ANNOUNCER: In the great hall of the Justice League, there are assembled some of the world's greatest heroes.
BERMAN: Together with others in the meeting, including George Soros, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, they're worth more than $125 billion.
MATTHEW MILLER (Senior editor, Forbes magazine): To have been in the room and see this meeting of the minds really would have been a fascinating thing.
BERMAN: That much money. That much power around one table. It begs the question, what were they doing? What were they scheming? Total world domination? This group, together for six hours, was talking about charity, education, emergency relief, global health.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (Mayor, NYC): All my friends are philanthropic or they probably wouldn't be my friends.
BERMAN: An official at the Gates foundation told ABCNews.com, "The overwhelming reason for the meeting was need. That was the issue that galvanized everyone to participate." Together, they had given away $70 billion since 1996. And with the sagging economy, their help could be just what struggling charities need.
MILLER: Charities are hurting. And somebody has to speak for all these charities. And if they want philanthropy to be robust in the future in the United States, these are the people you want to be talking about it.
[Video onscreen of various billionaires super imposed as Superheroes, such as Batman, Superman. Etc.]
BERMAN: The new super-men and wonder woman. The super-rich friends. Not fighting bad guys, but fighting for good, nonetheless. For "Good Morning America," John Berman, ABC News, New York.
SAWYER: Yes. Apparently one of the things they discussed is what each of them knows about what really works and what doesn't work. So, they concentrate their resources.

Brokaw Calls for 'Economic Justice,'
'Earth Taken Turn for Worse'

During his Saturday, May 16, commencement speech at Fordham University, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw fretted that the "vital signs" of "Mother Earth" have "taken a turn for the worse," as he cited global warming as a problem this year's graduating class would need to help solve. He also used the term "economic justice," a term commonly invoked by the Left, as he called on graduates to "restore economic justice." Brokaw: "We need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."

Early in his speech, Brokaw referred to the current economic problems that largely originated in the financial sector as he argued that "the economic model that has defined your lives was, in too many ways, a house of cards," and referred to "greed and avarice" in that sector, before he more optimistically praised America as a relatively more prosperous place than the rest of the world: "America remains a land of unparalleled economic opportunities with a standard of living that even in these constricted circumstances is well beyond the hope of hundreds of millions in less developed countries."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After referring to national security threats such as nuclear proliferation, he moved to environmental and population growth concerns:
"The vital signs of your mother -- Mother Earth -- have taken a turn for the worse and the prescribed treatment is complex and controversial. How we fuel our vast appetite for energy -- for consumer, industrial and technological electrical power, for vehicular power -- without exacerbating global climate change is an urgent question for your time. In short, how we live on a smaller planet with many more people is a reality that will define your generation for the rest of your lives."

After pointing out that technology and the Internet will be useful tools for today's young people to work on the world's problems, he mentioned global warming again and made a brief reference to "making society more justice," similar to the liberal term of "social justice" or "economic justice." Brokaw: "You'll not solve global warming by hitting the delete button; you'll not eliminate reckless avarice by hitting backspace; you'll not make society more just by cutting and pasting."

As the former NBC News anchor neared the end of his speech, he called on the class to work toward "economic justice": "Most of all, remember this -- you cannot get through this world alone. You need each other -- and we need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."

The complete text of Brokaw's May 16 speech at Fordham University can be found here: www.fordham.edu

New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location
for CyberAlerts

The MRC is launching a new Web site today, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video.

Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." By sometime next week, I hope, the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.

The HTML version of the "new" CyberAlert will feature all the content previously available only online: Pictures/screen shots, images which will link you directly to online video playback, and embedded links. Don't worry, we will continue to have a plain text version sans anything but the text. Whichever version you now receive is the one you will continue to receive.

To read online any of the items in today's CyberAlert, go to the "BiasAlert" page on our new site which is already populated with the latest posts: www.mrc.org

Oh, and to check out the new Media Research Center Web site: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker