Olbermann Lashes Out at Editorial that Cited CyberAlert Quote --8/5/2004
2. CBS Fumbles Iowa's Population and Number of Electoral Votes
3. NPR Tags Knights of Columbus, But Not a Far-Left Group
4. FNC Asks Franks to Expound on How "Combat Over" Was His Idea
On a day when both the New York Times and NBC News reported fresh intelligence about active al-Qaeda moves inside the U.S., MSNBC's Keith Olbermann lashed out at an editorial "in a thing called the Investor's Business Daily," which had picked up on a CyberAlert quotation of Olbermann, to denounce it for supposedly doubting his patriotism when he questioned if politics were behind Sunday's terror warning: "I got ripped. Anybody who said anything other than, 'Yes, sir, Homeland Security, thank you for the information, we'll do what you say,' was viewed as unpatriotic and inspiring lack of confidence and aiding the terrorists, good Lord, there's everything but accused us of keeping, you know, a phone line open to bin Laden."
Investor's Business Daily did not call Olbermann "unpatriotic," though Olbermann had done a bit more than just raise the possibility of political influence; he had brought up the name Joe McCarthy.
The August 3 CyberAlert had recounted how Olbermann devoted an entire segment Monday night on his 8pm EDT Countdown show to speculation that Bush re-election politics were really behind Sunday's threat warning. Olbermann argued: "History tells us Presidents have exaggerated threats to the public safety to gain political advantage or simplify complex needs of strategy. Ask Lyndon Johnson. Ask William McKinley. Do we need to ask George W. Bush?" Olbermann soon threw in Joe McCarthy in the pantheon President Bush is supposedly following, "from Joe McCarthy to Lyndon Johnson's manipulation of the Gulf of Tonkin, our politics have been filled with politicians who have created a kind of evil twin to FDR's famous phrase, 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' All of that seems particularly relevant when the Secretary of Homeland Security changes the threat level three days after his boss' challenger accepts the nomination of the rival party."
For a full rundown of Olbermann's Monday remarks, which came before Tuesday newspaper stories about how the al-Qaeda surveillance occurred before 9/11, stories which were superceded by Wednesday stories about al-Qaeda activities which occurred this year, see: www.mediaresearch.org
Investor's Business Daily cited Howard Dean and then honed in on a couple of journalists: "The media also took a whack at Bush for the terror warning. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann basically called him a liar.
IBD's Web site (previous editorials not available online, however, without a subscription): www.investors.com
The August 2 CyberAlert had relayed Dahler's spin: Politically-inspired terror warning? Barely four hours after Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced specific terrorist targets in New York City and Washington, DC, on Sunday night ABC anchor Don Dahler recalled how "the last press conference that Secretary Ridge made happened to fall right after Senator Edwards was announced as a vice presidential candidate" and "there are those who are already saying that the timing smacks of politics." Richard Clarke, now an ABC consultant, rejected the notion, but nonetheless rebuked Ridge for how Ridge went "out of his way to praise President Bush's programs today in the press conference and I thought that was inappropriate." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Olbermann then proceeded to interview former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb. Olbermann soon complained: "I guess, big picture here, you mentioned what the, Governor Dean said, and what some other critics of the way the White House and the way Homeland Security have handled this and the big picture since 9/11 have said. There was an editorial, I guess, in a thing called the Investor's Business Daily, or something, today. Governor Dean was ripped, I got ripped. Anybody who said anything other than, 'Yes, sir, Homeland Security, thank you for the information, we'll do what you say,' was viewed as unpatriotic and inspiring lack of confidence and aiding the terrorists, good Lord, there's everything but accused us of keeping, you know, a phone line open to bin Laden. As a professional in this field, are you alarmed at the way this is being treated and, secondarily, alarmed at the way the criticism of it is being treated?"
Indeed, as Olbermann dismissively alluded to before he complained about anyone daring to criticize him for suggesting politics were behind Sunday's warning, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News led with fresh, scary information. Anchor Campbell Brown announced:
In a story not re-played on Olbermann's Countdown, Pete Williams explained on Nightly News: "U.S. officials tonight say several intelligence sources corroborated the evidence found on a computer in Pakistan revealing interest in attacking five U.S. financial buildings. For one, signs that the highly-detailed computer data was recently accessed, showing a potential interest in using it. And detainees recently interrogated gave information, not yet verified, that the plan was about to be put into action. Intelligence officials continue going over material on that computer and questioning the man arrested with it. Federal agents are checking out indications that he contacted people in the U.S. Within the past few months. If confirmed, that could prove that al-Qaeda operatives were here that recently."
"New Qaeda Activity Is Said to Be Major Factor in Alert," declared a Wednesday front page New York Times story to which Olbermann referred. For the August 4 Times article: www.nytimes.com
As Investor's Business Daily concluded: "In the current, highly charged political atmosphere, if the White House didn't warn us of an impending attack and one happened, there would be political hell to pay."
That would surely include a condemnatory lecture from the cocksure Keith Olbermann.
CBS News reporter Cynthia Bowers fumbled the facts from Iowa Wednesday morning, claiming Iowa had not "many more" than 100,000 people and that it only has "five electoral votes." In fact, 2.9 million people live in Iowa and the state has seven electoral votes.
[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]
In the 7am half hour of the August 4 Early Show, Bowers, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, reported on how both presidential contenders would campaign in Davenport, Iowa on Wednesday: "Amazing when you consider Davenport is home to only one hundred thousand. Iowa, itself, home to not that many more, but it is home to the country's first caucuses which propelled Kerry's presidential bid." She then asked Davenport Mayor Charlie Brooke: "Mr. Mayor, you have to admit this is a lot of hoopla for a state that has five electoral votes."
The mayor did not correct Bowers, but the U.S. Census Bureau determined in 2000 that the population of Iowa is 2,926,324, 29 times 100,000. And, since Iowa has five districts in the House of Representatives and two Senators, that adds up to seven electoral votes. Why the "hoopla"? Perhaps because Al Gore won Iowa by 0.3 percent, and the final electoral college margin was five electoral votes: 271 to 266.
For the Census Bureau's facts on Iowa: quickfacts.census.gov
On Tuesday and Wednesday morning's Morning Edition on National Public Radio, anchors and reporters highlighted how President Bush addressed the convention of the Knights of Columbus, a social service group of Catholic men. NPR insisted upon describing the group as "a conservative Catholic group" and as "much more conservative" than Catholics as a whole, but last week NPR didn't manage to apply an ideological label International ANSWER, the radical left-wing anti-war group.
On Tuesday, before Bush's speech, NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep previewed it with Tom Roberts, editor of the liberal newspaper the National Catholic Reporter. (NPR didn't care to label the liberal guest, even as he distinguished between "social justice issues" and abortion.) Inskeep began by noting: "President Bush gives a speech today to the Knights of Columbus in Dallas. It's a conservative Catholic group. It has 1.6 million members."
Yet last week, Morning Edition couldn't find an ideological description for International ANSWER, the radical America-haters. Reporter David Welna referred to the far-left protest outfit Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER) only as a "national group." For more on NPR's imbalanced labeling last week, see the July 29 PM edition of CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
Tom Johnson, the MRC's man on NPR, noted that on Wednesday morning, Don Gonyea concluded by stressing: "Despite the ovations the Knights of Columbus convention gave the President...the group is not representative of American Catholics as a whole, but is much more conservative."
For the audio of that Wednesday story: www.npr.org
For audio of the Tuesday exchange: www.npr.org
Update: On FNC's Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning, retired General Tommy Franks was asked to expound on how it was his idea to have President Bush announce that major combat operations were complete in Iraq.
The August 4 CyberAlert had reported: ABC's Ted Koppel plowed right through Franks' admission that President Bush's May 2003 announcement that major combat was over was his idea, motivated by a desire to bring "closure" to troops and to convince nations which promised troop support as soon as combat was complete to provide those troops. But instead of exploring those rationale, Koppel fired at Franks with snooty statements about President Bush, such as, "you didn't suggest he put on a flight suit and sit backseat on a plane landing on an aircraft carrier, did you?" and "I assume, you didn't paint the banner that said 'mission accomplished,' either?" See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker