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NBC's Brian Williams Connects FDR's 'Fireside Chats' to Obama --3/13/2009


1. NBC's Brian Williams Connects FDR's 'Fireside Chats' to Obama
Brian Williams certainly has an affinity for FDR. Four months after suggesting the nation could "use a little FDR right about now," though Rooselvelt's policies failed to end the Depression, on Thursday night he connected the obscure 76th anniversary of Roosevelt's first "fireside chat" in 1933 to President Barack Obama's efforts to fix the economy: "76 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt summoned radio news microphones to a desk next to a fireplace in the Oval Room of the White House, and the fireside chat was born. He wanted to talk to the nation about the economy and the banks. And here we are 76 years later, in the midst of another deep and wide economic crisis. For President Obama, it remains job one in this different era."

2. Lauer Oddly Asserts NY Media Didn't Help Put Obama in Office
Acting as if he's been living in alternate media reality for the past year, NBC's Matt Lauer, interviewing Newsweek's Howard Fineman on Thursday's Today show, made the very odd assertion that the "establishment" of "Washington insiders" and the "New York-based media" didn't help put Barack Obama "in the Oval Office."

3. CNN Champions 'Obama-Clinton Power Duo' and 'Dynamic Duo'
CNN correspondent Randi Kaye gushed over the "dynamic duo" of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom she heralded as "a powerful duo -- a duo women want on their side." The two first ladies had made a joint appearance at President Obama's announcement of the new White House Council for Women and Girls, and Kaye's report, which aired on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360, made it seem like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Kaye saved her most laudatory language for the two at the conclusion of her report: "Today was a good day to be a woman." Host Anderson Cooper introduced Kaye's segment by labeling the two first ladies as "two of the most visible champions, perhaps, of women's rights in the country." A graphic accompanying Cooper on-screen proclaimed the "dynamic duo" of Obama and Clinton. During the rest of the report, another graphic applauded the "Obama-Clinton power duo."

4. ABC's Cuomo Prompts Dubai Kids: Obama's Middle Name a Good Thing?
Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday conducted a leading interview with children at a school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. While he discussed a large number of topics, he also seemed interested in eliciting praise from the students about Barack Obama's middle name. Cuomo speculated, "Does it matter to you that the President's name is Barack Hussein Obama? Does that make him more familiar to you?" After one little girl deemed the name Hussein to be "good," Cuomo followed up by cooing, "Does that make you trust him more?" Cuomo, who had traveled to the region earlier in the week (the segment was taped) for GMA's sweeps series on "big" locations, also asserted that the children "see promise in Barack Obama." He then prompted, "Is Barack Obama a good president? Do we like him?" Of course, it should be pointed out that members of the media were quite upset during the 2008 campaign when anyone would dare use Obama's middle name.

5. Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch Site: Michelle, My Belle...
Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch site this week: "Michelle, My Belle," "Times Announces New 'Conservative' Columnist, Underlines He's a Moderate," "Hillary's Replacement Still Too Conservative for Liberal Times Reporters," "Cable News Partisanship: Good on Leftist MSNBC, Not on Anti-Obama CNBC" and "Neil Lewis's Reporting on Court Packed With Bias."

6. Gupta Doesn't Correct Clinton's 'Embryos Aren't Fertilized' Gaffe
CNN's Sanjay Gupta filled in as host on Larry King Live on Wednesday, six days after ending his bid to be Obama's surgeon general. Despite his medical training, he did not see fit to correct former President Bill Clinton after he repeatedly referred to human embryos as not being fertilized. During his initial question, Gupta referred to Clinton as "someone who studied this," but after he made his erroneous assertion the first time, Gupta only asked if the former president had "any reservations" to stem cell research that would destroy human embryos. Clinton would go on to make this false characterization five more times in his answer to Gupta's lone follow-up.


NBC's Brian Williams Connects FDR's 'Fireside
Chats' to Obama

Brian Williams certainly has an affinity for FDR. Four months after suggesting the nation could "use a little FDR right about now," though Rooselvelt's policies failed to end the Depression, on Thursday night he connected the obscure 76th anniversary of Roosevelt's first "fireside chat" in 1933 to President Barack Obama's efforts to fix the economy: "76 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt summoned radio news microphones to a desk next to a fireplace in the Oval Room of the White House, and the fireside chat was born. He wanted to talk to the nation about the economy and the banks. And here we are 76 years later, in the midst of another deep and wide economic crisis. For President Obama, it remains job one in this different era."

Reporter Savannah Guthrie at the White House touted how before a Business Roundtable gathering Obama "really sought to engage them" as he assured the attendees: "I'm a serious free enterpriser and we'll return the markets to free enterprise once this is over." Guthrie highlighted what she saw as a "a really interesting moment today where the Chairman of CitiGroup... asked the President, 'hey, you're confidence builder in chief, can you give us some confidence?' Well the President did that..."

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

The December 1 CyberAlert, "Brian Williams: 'Could We Use a Little FDR Right About Now?'" recounted:

Working on the day after Thanksgiving, Brian Williams used Friday's NBC Nightly News to promote a new book from FDR's grandson, providing Williams with an opportunity to propose: "In your estimation, could we use a little FDR right about now?" Though Franklin Delano Roosevelt's policies failed to end the Depression, Williams hailed him as "the man who led this nation out of financial disaster." Conceding "we can no longer talk to him," as if we'd benefit from doing so, Williams trumpeted how "tonight we think we have about the next best thing" in FDR's grandson, Curtis, who "lives in the south of France after a career with the UN."

Williams cued up Roosevelt, "I know you've been asked for comment along these lines lately: In your estimation, could we use a little FDR right about now?" Roosevelt naturally agreed as he recalled "FDR is credited with a fantastic list of legislative achievements," but "to me, his achievement in conveying confidence and hope to the American people was far more important" and so "I hope Obama picks it up" and will "convey to the American public that they have to join him in coping with this recession."

Full rundown: www.mrc.org

From the Thursday, March 12 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: 76 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt summoned radio news microphones to a desk next to a fireplace in the Oval Room of the White House, and the fireside chat was born. He wanted to talk to the nation about the economy and the banks. And here we are 76 years later, in the midst of another deep and wide economic crisis. For President Obama, it remains job one in this different era. Late today he had to sell it to a tough audience. Savannah Guthrie with us tonight from the White House. Savannah, good evening.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Hey, Brian. Well, the President spoke to CEOs at a business roundtable today. He's looking to engage the business community, who let's face it is a little bit skeptical of some of his proposals, particularly on tax increases, his plans to cap carbon emissions. And so he really sought to engage them, doing a q and a, and telling them, "Look, this is an extraordinary crisis that we're going through, it requires serious government intervention." But he wanted to tell them, "I'm a serious free enterpriser and we'll return the markets to free enterprise once this is over." And there was a really interesting moment today where the Chairman of CitiGroup, which has gotten three government bailouts by the way, asked the President, "hey, you're confidence builder in chief, can you give us some confidence?" Well the President did that and then tried to put all of this in perspective.
BARACK OBAMA: A smidgen of good news and suddenly everything's doing great. A little bit of bad news, oh we're down in the dumps. And I am obviously an object of this constantly varying assessment. I'm the object in chief of this varying assessment.
GUTHRIE: Well, the President has been making a concerted effort to set a more reassuring tone and get members of his economic team out there talking to Wall Street and the American community. We've seen a lot of Treasury Secretary Geithner this week. And tomorrow, the chief economic adviser here, Lawrence Summers, will give his first public speech since inauguration, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Savannah Guthrie at the White House for us tonight, Savannah, thanks.

Lauer Oddly Asserts NY Media Didn't Help
Put Obama in Office

Acting as if he's been living in alternate media reality for the past year, NBC's Matt Lauer, interviewing Newsweek's Howard Fineman on Thursday's Today show, made the very odd assertion that the "establishment" of "Washington insiders" and the "New York-based media" didn't help put Barack Obama "in the Oval Office." Lauer made the head-scratching point after reading a portion of Fineman's most recent column to the Newsweek editor:

MATT LAUER: Let, let me read something. You wrote a column for Newsweek.com this week, and you said, that although President Obama still enjoys that high approval rating, he's starting to lose, what you call, the establishment, Washington insiders, the New York-based media and corporate America. When it comes down to it, those people didn't put him in the Oval Office. Doesn't he in some ways benefit by not catering to those people?
HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, not only did they not put him in the Oval Office, they're largely responsible for the mess we're in now. So, I think that's one reason why he remains very, very popular with the American public. But as I said, everybody's looking to take his measure, and he's got to not only be a popular president, but a powerful one and make his will fact in Washington. He really hasn't done that in the details yet.

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

The following is the full transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 12 Today show:

MATT LAUER: Alright, Meredith, thank you very much. Want to turn to politics right now. He called it imperfect, the spending bill, $410 billion spending bill that the President signed yesterday, because it's filled with earmarks, but he signed it anyway. Let's bring in NBC News analyst Howard Fineman, who's also Newsweek's senior Washington correspondent. Howard, good morning to you.
[On screen headline: "Change Comes To Washington, Obama Vs. The 'Establishment'?"]
HOWARD FINEMAN: Good morning, Matt.
LAUER: Let me go back to what then candidate Obama said during the presidential debate, Oxford, Mississippi, last December he said, "We need earmark reforming. When I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely." Fast forward to yesterday, he signs this bill. Is it just reality?
FINEMAN: Well he was faced with the situation that he said he couldn't change, but of course that's what his campaign is about. The important thing politically in Washington, Matt, is everybody's trying to take their measure of Barack Obama, all the power players in Washington, and frankly, they think they can roll him based on the evidence of this thing.
LAUER: Well, well John McCain and some other critics stood up and said this was a missed opportunity. This is when you could have held Congress' feet to the fire and demanded earmark reform. Does, does this erode Barack Obama's credibility on the subject of the economy and change?
FINEMAN: Well, so far, he's holding up with the American people, but inside the Beltway, which counts right now, because that's where the decisions are being made, it looks like, actually, the Congress, not the President, is in charge. When Rahm Emanuel came over from Congress to become chief of staff we thought he'd use his skill to empower the President to tell the Congress what to do. Instead, it seems to be the other way around, whether it was the original stimulus bill or now this.
LAUER: Let, let me read something. You wrote a column for Newsweek.com this week, and you said, that although President Obama still enjoys that high approval rating, he's starting to lose, what you call, the establishment, Washington insiders, the New York-based media and corporate America. When it comes down to it, those people didn't put him in the Oval Office. Doesn't he in some ways benefit by not catering to those people?
FINEMAN: Well, not only did they not put him in the Oval Office, they're largely responsible for the mess we're in now. So, I think that's one reason why he remains very, very popular with the American public. But as I said, everybody's looking to take his measure, and he's got to not only be a popular president, but a powerful one and make his will fact in Washington. He really hasn't done that in the details yet.
LAUER: You also write that, that in some ways, the establishment, as you put it, they're looking for a, a blunt-speaking coach type of person, and we all know that, that's not exactly Barack Obama. They can't be asking for him to change his stripes at this point of the game, can they?
FINEMAN: Well, I think they may not be asking, but that's probably what's required. He's a great explainer, hasn't always explained everything. He's a detail guy, hasn't always focused on it. He's an interesting combination of energy and patience and a little bit of passivity here. He's allowed the Congress to dictate terms on the stimulus package, allowed them to dictate terms on this new funding bill, and he's probably gonna let them dictate the terms on health care. He seems satisfied to be a bottom-line guy, not the out-front guy.
LAUER: If you're saying that we, that, they, it may require more of a blunt-spoken coach, an in-your-face guy, there is one of those guys in the administration in Joe Biden. Should he turn some of this over to Joe Biden, the Vice President?
FINEMAN: Well, it's interesting you ask. I think basically they've decided to say that anything Joe Biden says, he and he alone is responsible for. He is like the gabby uncle that you don't want to pay that much attention to. So no, he's not the guy. He's not the guy. It has to be Obama himself.
LAUER: And another guy who is not what you'd call an in your face guy is the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. How much is that hurting Barack Obama right now?
FINEMAN: I think it's hurt him a lot Matt with the insiders, with the technocrats, with people who actually read the legislation and follow what's happening at Treasury. Geithner has virtually no aides. He came in with not a lot of credibility. He should be a front man. He should be a guy out there as that blunt spoken coach, if it's not gonna be the president. It hasn't been. Neither has it been Larry Summers, who used to be Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton who is a blunt spoken guy, but he's behind the scenes inside the White House.
LAUER: When, when, when the media asks and when we ask anybody in the administration, does Tim Geithner still have the confidence of the President they are quick to say, "Yes." At this stage of the game do you think they're saying one thing and, and perhaps the other is a reality?
FINEMAN: Well the reality is that Larry Summers really runs things behind the scenes. And it's Larry Summers who should be out front talking if they're gonna have a unified message. But right now Geithner is busy trying to hire aides, trying to figure out the banking situation and explain it to the American people. Nobody has done enough explaining and for an explaining type guy it hasn't worked so far.
LAUER: Howard Fineman, always good to have you hear Howard. Thanks very much.
FINEMAN: Thank you Matt.

CNN Champions 'Obama-Clinton Power Duo'
and 'Dynamic Duo'

CNN correspondent Randi Kaye gushed over the "dynamic duo" of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom she heralded as "a powerful duo -- a duo women want on their side." The two first ladies had made a joint appearance at President Obama's announcement of the new White House Council for Women and Girls, and Kaye's report, which aired on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360, made it seem like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Kaye saved her most laudatory language for the two at the conclusion of her report: "Today was a good day to be a woman."

Host Anderson Cooper introduced Kaye's segment by labeling the two first ladies as "two of the most visible champions, perhaps, of women's rights in the country." A graphic accompanying Cooper on-screen proclaimed the "dynamic duo" of Obama and Clinton. During the rest of the report, another graphic applauded the "Obama-Clinton power duo."

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

(Hours earlier, NBC delivered a similar theme. The March 12 CyberAlert item, "NBC Nightly News Champions Obama's 'Power Duo' Women," recounted:

President George W. Bush had a female First Lady and a woman as Secretary of State, but NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night hailed, as the fulfillment of President Barack Obama's promise of "change," how he has a "power duo" in a woman First Lady and a female Secretary of State. Williams cooed, with "Women of Distinction" as the on-screen heading: "President Obama won the presidency promising change. There was more evidence of that in Washington today. His wife, now First Lady, Michelle Obama, and his former rival, now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, a former First Lady herself, joining arms, joining forces. A study in style, substance and power, really." Pegging her story to Michelle Obama's visit to the State Department, reporter Andrea Mitchell touted "two strong women coming together of after a tough campaign" and how "two of the world's most powerful women" are now "both role models." See: www.mediaresearch.org )

Kaye's report consisted largely of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton soundbites, and the correspondent's gooey voice-overs. After playing the initial clips from the first ladies, Kaye underscored the apparent qualifications of the two to speak on behalf of women: "Both grew up working class. Both carved out successful law careers and raised children. But it wasn't always easy. They know the challenges women face, which made this event so fitting. Together, they honored women from around the globe for their courage and their strength."

In addition to soundbites from Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, Kaye played two clips from Faye Wattleton, current president of the Center for the Advancement for Women and former president of Planned Parenthood. During the first bite, Wattleton gushed that "the coming together of these two women creates a very powerful image that's going to be positive for women all over the globe."

Later in the report, the correspondent highlighted Mrs. Clinton's record on several issues: "She has long worked to improve health care, education, and equality for women. She's fought against sex trafficking and for more comprehensive sex education." Kaye's inclusion of "comprehensive sex education" in this list of issues makes it clear that she is lauding Clinton (and Mrs. Obama, for that matter) for her liberal viewpoints. She also gushed over President Obama's move to start the White House Council: "And it's not just Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama looking to better women's lives. This afternoon, the president announced the newly-formed White House Council for Women and Girls. Mr. Obama promises that all federal agencies, when drafting policies, will take into account the needs of women and girls."

The full transcript of the segment, which began 42 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360:

ANDERSON COOPER: Raised by a single mom, President Obama today reflected on his own childhood as he pledged to provide others with opportunities his mom never dreamed of. Listen.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That's why so many of us are here today, because of the women who came before us, who were determined to see us sit in the high seats -- women who reached for the ballot, and raised families and traveled long, lonely roads to be the first in the boardroom, or in the courtroom, or on the battlefield, or on the factory floor. Women who cracked and shattered those glass ceilings so that my daughters, and all of our sons and daughters, could dream a little bigger and reach a little higher.
COOPER: With that, the president signed an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. The mission: to help women of all ages face challenges at home, work, and to improve their economic security and status. Now, two of the most visible champions, perhaps, of women's rights in the country are, of course, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Today, they were talking together about their roles and their reach. '€˜Up Close' tonight, here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE (voice-over): They are a powerful duo -- a duo women want on their side.
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: I am so proud to be a woman today and every single day.
KAYE: First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON: The status of women and girls is a key indicator of whether or not progress is possible.
KAYE: Both grew up working class. Both carved out successful law careers and raised children. But it wasn't always easy. They know the challenges women face, which made this event so fitting. Together, they honored women from around the globe for their courage and their strength.
FAYE WATTLETON, CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Just simply, the coming together of these two women creates a very powerful image that's going to be positive for women all over the globe.
KAYE: The first lady's focus has been on working mothers and military wives.
M. OBAMA: The president and I share the belief that communities are only as strong as the health of their women.
KAYE: Mrs. Clinton's focus is a bit more global, especially with her new role as secretary of state.
CLINTON: The rights of women -- really of all people -- are at the core of these challenges, and human rights will always be central to our foreign policy.
CLINTON (from 1995 speech at the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women): It is time to break the silence.
KAYE: She has long worked to improve health care, education, and equality for women. She's fought against sex trafficking and for more comprehensive sex education.
KAYE (on-camera) And it's not just Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama looking to better women's lives. This afternoon, the president announced the newly-formed White House Council for Women and Girls. Mr. Obama promises that all federal agencies, when drafting policies, will take into account the needs of women and girls.
B. OBAMA: Women still earn just 78 cents for every dollar men make. Women are more than half of our population, but just 17 percent of our Congress.
KAYE (voice-over): In making that announcement, Obama recalled how his mother put herself through school while she struggled to raise him and his sister. He spoke of his grandmother, too.
B. OBAMA: ...One of the first women bank vice presidents in the state of Hawaii, but I also saw how she hit a glass ceiling.
WATTLETON: Recently, it has been assumed that women in this country have it made, but today is a very symbolic message that the work in this country is not done.
KAYE: Today was a good day to be a woman. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

ABC's Cuomo Prompts Dubai Kids: Obama's
Middle Name a Good Thing?

Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday conducted a leading interview with children at a school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. While he discussed a large number of topics, he also seemed interested in eliciting praise from the students about Barack Obama's middle name. Cuomo speculated, "Does it matter to you that the President's name is Barack Hussein Obama? Does that make him more familiar to you?"

After one little girl deemed the name Hussein to be "good," Cuomo followed up by cooing, "Does that make you trust him more?" Cuomo, who had traveled to the region earlier in the week (the segment was taped) for GMA's sweeps series on "big" locations, also asserted that the children "see promise in Barack Obama." He then prompted, "Is Barack Obama a good president? Do we like him?" Of course, it should be pointed out that members of the media were quite upset during the 2008 campaign when anyone would dare use Obama's middle name.

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

Earlier in the piece, the news anchor asked the nine and ten-year-olds if they liked America. A boy named Mohammed said he appreciated that "there's lots of people from many places" in the U.S. The girl sitting next to him retorted, "What do you hate about it?" Cuomo asked her that same question. "Every second, there's a robbery," she replied. "Who told you that," the host queried. When the young child explained that her dad informed her of this, Cuomo simply laughed.

On January 21, GMA featured a similar segment, American children offering their messages to the new President. One such boy sputtered, "Stop the wars. And- because more people die. And it's just- they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die." See the January 22 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the March 12 segment, which aired at 8:35am, follows:

CHRIS CUOMO: Every morning here we look forward to talking to the world's movers and shakers. We get insight. We get news. We get headlines. But very often, when you're on location, talking to that city's future, talking to their children can often be the most impressive thing you do. We went to the Al Muwakeb [ph] school in Dubai. We asked these kids, somewhere between nine and ten years of age, what do you think about America? What do you think about us as a people? What do you think about the President? What's your hope for our world? You'll be very impressed by what they have to say, I think. Take a look at the Dubai kiddie cabinet. If you could talk to kids in the United States, what would you like to know from them?
BOY #1: What's their life?
CUOMO: What's their life. Do you think that their life is different than yours?
BOY #1: No, not a lot.
...
CUOMO: Have any of you been to the U.S.?
MOHAMMED: Yeah.
CUOMO: Mohammed, you like it?
MOHAMMED: A lot.
CUOMO: What did you like about it?
MOHAMMED: I like that there's lots of people from many places.
GIRL #1: And what did you hate about it?
CUOMO: What do you hate about it?
GIRL #1: Every second, there's a robbery.
CUOMO: There's a robbery every second in the United States? Who told you that? [Laughs]
GIRL #1: My dad.
[Cuomo laughs.]
...
CUOMO: They see promise in Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA: -At this defining moment-
CUOMO: Is Barack Obama a good president? Do we like him?
MANY CHILDREN: Yes.
CUOMO: Why do we like him?
BOY #1: He can do a lot of things in the world.
CUOMO: Does it matter to you that the President's name is Barack Hussein Obama? Does that make him more familiar to you?
GIRL #2: The name is Muslim.
CUOMO: Right. And is that good?
GIRL #2: Yes. That's good. The name.
CUOMO: Does that make you trust him more?
ALL: Yes.
CUOMO: And a truth, something bigger than politics. What's the biggest thing in life?
GIRL #1: Family.
GIRL #2: Even if you lose, you get to have your family still.
CUOMO: Beautiful, no? Nine-years old. Ten-years old. They know about finance. They know about the future. And they know about our president. Amazing, isn't it?

Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch
Site: Michelle, My Belle...

Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch site this week: "Michelle, My Belle," "Times Announces New 'Conservative' Columnist, Underlines He's a Moderate," "Hillary's Replacement Still Too Conservative for Liberal Times Reporters," "Cable News Partisanship: Good on Leftist MSNBC, Not on Anti-Obama CNBC" and "Neil Lewis's Reporting on Court Packed With Bias."

# Michelle, My Belle

Reporter Rachel Swarns has pumped out four flattering pieces on the first lady in a month: "Michelle Obama, who has juggled news conferences and parent-teacher conferences..."


# Times Announces New "Conservative" Columnist, Underlines He's a Moderate

Ross Douthat is the new young face of conservatism at the Times. But how conservative is he?


# Hillary's Replacement Still Too Conservative for Liberal Times Reporters

Another day, another analysis of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's former "white and rural district" and her "100 percent rating" from the NRA. Did the Times care about Hillary Clinton's 100 percent rating from pro-abortion NARAL?


# Cable News Partisanship: Good on Leftist MSNBC, Not on Anti-Obama CNBC

After celebrating MSNBC's move to the left and resulting ratings surge, the Times frets that CNBC is "making the line between reporter and commentator almost indistinguishable at times" as it criticizes Obama's spending.


# Neil Lewis's Reporting on Court Packed With Bias

Neil Lewis's latest slanted story on "conservative" judges vs. Obama's non-ideological ones: Conservatives want to "roll back affirmative action" and are "restrictive of abortion rights" and "less accommodating to criminal defendants."

To read those items, and many more, go to: www.timeswatch.org

Gupta Doesn't Correct Clinton's 'Embryos
Aren't Fertilized' Gaffe

CNN's Sanjay Gupta filled in as host on Larry King Live on Wednesday, six days after ending his bid to be Obama's surgeon general. Despite his medical training, he did not see fit to correct former President Bill Clinton after he repeatedly referred to human embryos as not being fertilized.

During his initial question, Gupta referred to Clinton as "someone who studied this," but after he made his erroneous assertion the first time, Gupta only asked if the former president had "any reservations" to stem cell research that would destroy human embryos. Clinton would go on to make this false characterization five more times in his answer to Gupta's lone follow-up.

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

Gupta's interview with the former president was devoted mainly to health care reform. The brain surgeon brought up the issue of embryonic stem cell research after he observed that Clinton's finger sometimes shook when he pointed it. When Clinton clarified that he had consulted with a doctor, who told him in wasn't Parkinson's Disease, Gupta asked the former president about President Obama's decision to remove the limitations on federal funding for the embryo-killing research: "There was a federal -- an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation, or are people going to come around?"

Clinton emphasized the hype over embryonic stem cell research in his answer, and even used the Obama administration's talking point about the issue of embryonic stem cell research being "too politicized:"

BILL CLINTON: I think -- the answer is I think that we'll work it through. When it's -- if it -- particularly, if it's done right. If it's obvious that we're not taking embryos that can -- that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it's obvious that we're not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this. I think they'll support it because we want to solve type 1 diabetes. We want to solve -- we want to find out about whether Parkinson's and Alzheimer's can be reversed. We want a whole range of other things. And I think at some point, you know -- maybe it's -- decades down the way -- if somebody severs an arm and you try to sew it back on, and you're missing some component things, if you can figure out how to fill in the blanks, I think people would like that. So I think we'll just have to debate it as we go along. I think -- I was anxious for the president to do this and get this research going again-
GUPTA: Any reservations?
CLINTON: Well, my only -- I don't know that I have any reservations, but I was -- he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos would not be -- are basically going to be discarded, because they're not going to be fertilized. I think the American people believe it's a pro-life decision to use an embryo that's frozen -- it's never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research, especially since now, notwithstanding some promising developments, most of the scientists in this field and the doctors will tell you they don't know of any other source that's as good as embryonic stem cells for all the various things that need to be researched. But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are plenty -- there are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. That -- the research ought to be confined to those, and I think the committees will surely do that. But that I think is the only area of debate that I sort of saw.
I appreciated the fact that the president wants to send a strong signal that scientific research on everything from climate change to the genome to the embryonic stem cells was too politicized in the previous eight years, and he wants to put it back to science. I agree with that. But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research, and that is the one thing that --- I think these committees need to make it clear that they're not going to fool with any embryos where there's any possibility, even if it's somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.

Gupta decided to end the interview with this extended answer from Clinton, and even went so far to say "some health seminar" in a complimentary fashion as they said their goodbyes, treating him as a true expert on the subject of health care. However, if he had truly "studied this," as Gupta put it, Clinton would know that an embryo is a human in his or her first stage of development after fertilization.

It should be noted that Gupta had been named a "featured attendee" at the former president's Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in 2006. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Gupta would be so passive to Clinton's repeated error.

For more on Gupta and other CNN personalities participating in the Clinton Global Initiative annual meetings, see the September 28, 2007 CyberAlert item, "CNN's Anderson Cooper Joins Clinton Summit 'Featured Attendees,'" at: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker