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Net Seize on Republican Hagel's Comparison of Iraq to Vietnam --8/23/2005


1. Net Seize on Republican Hagel's Comparison of Iraq to Vietnam
Like feeding raw meat to a lion, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on Sunday gave television journalists what they wanted and couldn't resist: A soundbite comparing Iraq to Vietnam when he said on ABC's This Week that "we are locked into a bogged-down problem, not dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam." CNN's Aaron Brown trumpeted at the top of Monday's NewsNight how "the anti-war voices are not just liberal groups camped out with Cindy Sheehan in Texas, but at least one senior Republican Senator, who has always had questions about the war, but now compares it to a war he fought a generation ago." On the CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts played up Hagel's influence: "What's the White House making of what would seem to be some pretty harsh criticism from a guy who's supposed to be on the President's team?" NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams listed a litany of setbacks for Bush on Iraq, ending with how "it doesn't help that a prominent Senator, in his own party, is comparing it to Vietnam." In the morning on Today, Ann Curry stressed how "a prominent Republican Senator compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam" and Don Teague touted how Bush is "even facing fire from within his own party."

2. GMA Features Sheehan Ally, Pleads: "Can Anti-War Moms Stop Bush?"
With "CAN ANTI-WAR MOMS STOP BUSH?" on screen throughout the interview session, ABC on Monday morning didn't let Cindy Sheehan's departure from Crawford deter them from promoting her cause as they brought aboard Celeste Zappala of Sheehan's group, Gold Star Families for Peace. Co-host Charles Gibson gave her a lot of credit, asking about President's Bush upcoming speech in Salt Lake City, from where Zappala appeared: "Do you think, Ms. Zappala, that he would be making these speeches were it not for your group's protest?" In the midst of giving her publicity, Gibson fretted: "You are but a small group there that is perched on the approach to the President's ranch. One hundred, two hundred people. Do you really think you've got people talking about the war?" Gibson also did something unusual, raising how Sheehan called the U.S. "morally repugnant" and he pressed Zappala about whether she worries that her protests "might dishonor" her son who died in Iraq?

3. ABC's Gibson Scolds Americans for Excessive Per Person Oil Use
ABC's Charles Gibson on Monday night tried to make World New Tonight viewers feel guilty about all the oil Americans consume as he compared per person U.S. daily consumption unfavorably with less consumption in Japan and Britain. Left unmentioned by Gibson: How the U.S. as larger geographically must use more fuel for shipping, transportation and travel, as well as all the energy consumption required in the U.S. for products we export, such as in agriculture.

4. HBO Show Ends with Shot at Haliburton and "Corporate War-Mongers"
One last shot at Iraq as a "corporate war." On Sunday's series finale of the HBO show Six Feet Under, a drama about a family which runs a Los Angeles funeral home, twenty-something daughter "Claire" decided to move to New York City. Saying good-bye to her boyfriend, she asked that he "promise that if the corporate war-mongers decide that we have to invade Iran, and they reinstate the draft, that you will move to Canada....promise me that you won't get your head blown off so Haliburton and Bechtel can get richer."


Net Seize on Republican Hagel's Comparison
of Iraq to Vietnam

Like feeding raw meat to a lion, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on Sunday gave television journalists what they wanted and couldn't resist: A soundbite comparing Iraq to Vietnam when he said on ABC's This Week that "we are locked into a bogged-down problem, not dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam." CNN's Aaron Brown trumpeted at the top of Monday's NewsNight how "the anti-war voices are not just liberal groups camped out with Cindy Sheehan in Texas, but at least one senior Republican Senator, who has always had questions about the war, but now compares it to a war he fought a generation ago." On the CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts played up Hagel's influence: "What's the White House making of what would seem to be some pretty harsh criticism from a guy who's supposed to be on the President's team?" NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams listed a litany of setbacks for Bush on Iraq, ending with how "it doesn't help that a prominent Senator, in his own party, is comparing it to Vietnam." In the morning on Today, Ann Curry stressed how "a prominent Republican Senator compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam" and Don Teague touted how Bush is "even facing fire from within his own party."


# CNN's NewsNight, August 22. Aaron Brown stressed how "the President's approval rating is at an all-time low. So is his support for handling the war. And the anti-war voices are not just liberal groups camped out with Cindy Sheehan in Texas, but at least one senior Republican Senator, who has always had questions about the war, but now compares it to a war he fought a generation ago."
Senator Chuck Hagel on ABC's This Week: "I don't think more troops are the answer now. We're past that stage now, because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem, not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."



# CBS Evening News on Monday night. Bill Plante, in a story on President Bush's address in Salt lake City to the VFW: "An anti-war rally several blocks away, led by the Mayor of Salt Lake City, drew a crowd estimated at almost 500. And the President is increasingly feeling the heat from his own party. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, a possible presidential candidate, is openly critical of war planning."
Chuck Hagel on This Week: "Any measurement, any standard you apply to this, we're not winning. We are locked into a bogged-down problem, not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."
Plante: "The more the public believes that, says political scientist Allan Lichtman, the harder it will be for the President."
Lichtman: "Once, in a democratic society, support for a war crumbles, it is very difficult, as we learned in Vietnam, to put that support back together again, and certainly this President has not come up with a strategy."
Plante, at the White House: "What the White House is trying to do is to raise the volume of support for the President's policy. In the next few weeks, supporters, members of the administration, the himself, will deliver this message: That even with the increasing loss of life, the war is essential to the nation's security. John."
Anchor John Roberts asked: "Bill, Senator Hagel also said yesterday that 'stay the course,' which was the big message today, is not a strategy for winning the war in Iraq. What's the White House making of what would seem to be some pretty harsh criticism from a guy who's supposed to be on the President's team?"
Plante: "What they'll say privately is that this guy is running for President, and they'll dismiss it with that. They don't like it. But they don't have an answer for what the end game is and that's the real big problem."


# NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams opened his newscast with a litany of problems for Bush: "Good evening. With increasing numbers of Americans telling pollsters they've turned against the war, with the attention one woman received for camping out near the entrance to the President's Texas ranch, and with the daily reports of the loss of life here on the news each night, and that includes two more Americans killed in Iraq today, the President is stepping up his defense of the U.S. effort. It doesn't help that a prominent Senator, in his own party, is comparing it to Vietnam. So on this day, when Iraq crept closer to a draft constitution, the President went before the VFW to make his case yet again."

Reporter David Gregory soon asserted: "Yet for all the President's talk about progress in Iraq, an ongoing political process and the training of Iraqi security forces, at home opposition to the war is growing."
Hagel on This Week: "I don't think more troops are the answer. We're past that stage. Now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."
Gregory: "Other red state Republicans say their constituents are expressing doubts."
Trent Lott on Meet the Press: "They still believe very strongly in president bush. But they have a right to ask their elected officials, 'what is the plan?'"


# CBS's Early Show on Monday, as tracked by the MRC's Ken Shepherd. Harry Smith: "Iraq negotiators face a new deadline tonight to finish writing a constitution. As talks continue today, so does the violence. One Republican Senator is now publicly comparing the U.S. role in Iraq to Vietnam."
Senator Chuck Hagel on This Week: "By any standard, when you analyze two-and-a-half years in Iraq where we have put in over a third of a trillion dollars, where we have lost almost 1900 Americans, there are 14,000 wounded. Electricity production down, oil production down, any measurement, any standard applied to this, we're not winning."
Smith: "President Bush speaks today in Salt Lake City where the mayor is calling for protests."


# From the top of Monday's Today on NBC: "I'm Ann Curry in for Katie this morning. Good morning everybody. Well, the President might be thinking 'with friends like these' because on Sunday a prominent Republican Senator compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam."

In the subsequent story, Don Teague asserted: "The President may have an uphill battle to turn sinking poll numbers around, even facing fire from within his own party. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a veteran of Vietnam."
Hagel on This Week: "Now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam."

GMA Features Sheehan Ally, Pleads: "Can
Anti-War Moms Stop Bush?"

With "CAN ANTI-WAR MOMS STOP BUSH?" on screen throughout the interview session, ABC on Monday morning didn't let Cindy Sheehan's departure from Crawford deter them from promoting her cause as they brought aboard Celeste Zappala of Sheehan's group, Gold Star Families for Peace. Co-host Charles Gibson gave her a lot of credit, asking about President's Bush upcoming speech in Salt Lake City, from where Zappala appeared: "Do you think, Ms. Zappala, that he would be making these speeches were it not for your group's protest?" In the midst of giving her publicity, Gibson fretted: "You are but a small group there that is perched on the approach to the President's ranch. One hundred, two hundred people. Do you really think you've got people talking about the war?" Gibson also did something unusual, raising how Sheehan called the U.S. "morally repugnant" and he pressed Zappala about whether she worries that her protests "might dishonor" her son who died in Iraq?

At the top of the August 22 Good Morning America, Charles Gibson offered this plug: "This morning, the war of words as President Bush launches a new PR campaign for the war in Iraq today protesters will be outside. You'll meet one mom in the middle of it."

Gibson set up the session with Zappala: "More now on President Bush and the anti-war movement. As we mentioned, the President expected to face an anti-war protest in Salt Lake City this morning. The anti-war movement has been getting a lot of attention because of Cindy Sheehan who launched a protest at President Bush's Texas ranch. But we're going to turn this morning to Celeste Zappala who, along with Cindy Sheehan, founded the group Gold Star Families for Peace."

On screen: "CAN ANTI-WAR MOMS STOP BUSH?"

The MRC's Brian Boyd took down Gibson's questions to Zappala, who appeared from street-side in Salt Lake City:

-- "The President makes two speeches this week on the war: In Salt Lake City, later this week in Idaho. Do you think, Ms. Zappala, that he would be making these speeches were it not for your group's protest?"
Zappala: Probably wouldn't. Helped raise conversation about war, America talking to each other.

-- Gibson: "Do you really think you've got a dialogue going in this country? You are but a small group there that is perched on the approach to the President's ranch. One hundred, two hundred people. Do you really think you've got people talking about the war?"
Zappala: "I do..."

-- Gibson: "There is a lot of attention that is focused on Cindy Sheehan. She gave a speech in April which has now come to light. I want to play just a brief cut from it."
Cindy Sheehan, April home video of speech: "If I would have known that before mason was killed, I would have taken him to Canada. I would never have let him go and try and defend this morally repugnant system we have. The people are good. The system is morally repugnant."
Gibson: "She said that had she known what was going on in Iraq she would have taken Casey to Canada. And then, called this country 'a morally repugnant system.' Do you feel that that does any good?"
Zappala: I'm sometimes overly emotional, doesn't change fact our kids are dead.

-- Gibson: "Let me ask you, Ms. Zappala, the tough question. And that is, you mentioned Sherwood, and you lost a son, Sergeant Sherwood Baker, is what you're doing in anyway, do you worry that it might dishonor him or in anyway diminish his death?"
Zappala: "No. I hold his service in honor. I hold his courage in honor. He was a noble person. And I feel his nobility was betrayed. And sometimes I think about what would he expect from me in -- doing this and I think he would expect no less of me. My son was a patriot. That's the way I feel about what I'm doing."

ABC's Gibson Scolds Americans for Excessive
Per Person Oil Use

ABC's Charles Gibson on Monday night tried to make World New Tonight viewers feel guilty about all the oil Americans consume as he compared per person U.S. daily consumption unfavorably with less consumption in Japan and Britain. Left unmentioned by Gibson: How the U.S. as larger geographically must use more fuels for shipping, transportation and travel, as well as all the energy consumption required in the U.S. for products we export, such as in agriculture.

With a graphic on-screen of rows of barrels or oil behind flags of the U.S., Japan and Britain, Gibson followed up an "Over a Barrel" series story on what people are doing about high cost of gas, including a man who no longer drives his SUV, by delivering this scolding:
"And one more note about consumption that illustrates how much oil Americans are using. The United States consumes about 7.5 billion barrels of oil every year. That's 25 barrels per person in a year. Compare that to Japan, where it's 17 barrels per person, per year. Or Great Britain, where it is ten barrels per person. Tomorrow, for our series, what the government can do about the price of gas. And what the impact might be."

HBO Show Ends with Shot at Haliburton
and "Corporate War-Mongers"

One last shot at Iraq as a "corporate war." On Sunday's series finale of the HBO show Six Feet Under, a drama about a family which runs a Los Angeles funeral home, twenty-something daughter "Claire" decided to move to New York City. Saying good-bye to her boyfriend, she asked that he "promise that if the corporate war-mongers decide that we have to invade Iran, and they re-instate the draft, that you will move to Canada....promise me that you won't get your head blown off so Haliburton and Bechtel can get richer."

Earlier in the show she was appalled to learn that her boyfriend, Ted, a lawyer who in an earlier episode defended the Iraq war, listens to Christian rock music.

In the scene on the August 21 finale of the series which ran for five years, "Claire," played by Lauren Ambrose, and "Ted" sat at table in his apartment.

"Claire," who is about to drive to Manhattan to start a new life after the death of her brother, makes a request: "I want you to promise that if the corporate war-mongers decide that we have to invade Iran, and they reinstate the draft, that you will move to Canada."
Ted: "That's not going to happen."
Claire: "Probably not. But if they do, promise me that you won't get your head blown off so Haliburton and Bechtel can get richer."
Ted: "I promise."

Earlier CyberAlert coverage of the "Claire" character's political outbursts:

August 19 CyberAlert. Going out with another rant against the Iraq war. On the penultimate episode aired August 14 of the drama, centered around a Los Angeles funeral home, a "Support Our Troops" sticker on a SUV set off an angry rant from "Claire," a twenty-something major character. She yelled that "the whole world hates us for going in there in the first place! And terrorists are still going to be blowing s*** up in this country for the next hundred years! And the best thing she can think to do about it is put a sticker on that enormous s*** box!" Claire also contended: "You know they still bring the wounded soldiers back at night so the press can't even film it and nobody sees?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

Two weeks earlier, as detailed in the August 5 CyberAlert, the same character launched into a rant about the "stupid, evil war" in Iraq and how "we didn't go to war to protect Iraqi civil liberties. That's just a lame justification." The "Claire" character was soon yelling about the Abu Graib abuse and how "those orders came down from the top, the top! And there's memos to prove it!" The show's writers allowed her boyfriend, a minor character in the program, to disagree with, prompting her to spew: "Oh God, what are you? Like some red-neck blogger pig?"

On the July 31 episode of the weekly HBO drama, "Claire Fisher" (played by Lauren Ambrose), a struggling artist just out of college who is the sister of two brothers who run a Los Angeles funeral home after the passing of their father, goes on a date with a lawyer at a law firm where she is temping. See: www.mrc.org

HBO's page for Six Feet Under: www.hbo.com

The show was created by Alan Ball of American Beauty movie fame. For a list of the producers and writers: www.hbo.com

The page on the "Claire Fisher" character: www.hbo.com

HBO's bio for actress Lauren Ambrose: www.hbo.com

The series finale will air several more times on various HBO channels over the next few weeks, and look for repeats of the show to run for years.

-- Brent Baker