NBC's Brian Williams Connects FDR's 'Fireside Chats' to Obama --3/13/2009
2. Lauer Oddly Asserts NY Media Didn't Help Put Obama in Office
3. CNN Champions 'Obama-Clinton Power Duo' and 'Dynamic Duo'
4. ABC's Cuomo Prompts Dubai Kids: Obama's Middle Name a Good Thing?
5. Highlights from the MRC's TimesWatch Site: Michelle, My Belle...
6. Gupta Doesn't Correct Clinton's 'Embryos Aren't Fertilized' Gaffe
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.
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?
[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.
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.
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?
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..."
Ross Douthat is the new young face of conservatism at the Times. But how conservative is he?
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?
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 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
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 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