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Only ABC Focuses on Wright's Inanity, All Showcase Shot at Cheney --4/29/2008


1. Only ABC Focuses on Wright's Inanity, All Showcase Shot at Cheney
At his National Press Club appearance on Monday, Reverend Jeremiah Wright re-affirmed several of his past incendiary allegations -- and added at least one new one equating U.S. troops to the Roman legions who killed Jesus -- but only ABC's World News noted that as the network journalists preferred to paint Barack Obama as a "victim" of Wright and all three evening newscasts highlighted Wright's attack on Dick Cheney for not serving in the military. CBS's Dean Reynolds, who spent more time on Wright's attack on Cheney than on anything crazy Wright said Monday, explained that "as for questions about his patriotism, Wright pointed to his Marine service compared to Vice President Cheney's five deferments from duty." Wright: "I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?" NBC anchor Brian Williams set up the story from Andrea Mitchell by stressing how "one veteran politico today" dismissed Wright's comments as "a 'circus' and a 'sideshow.'" Mitchell soon repeated how "Obama supporters described the whole thing as a media circus." Viewers then heard from former Senator Bill Bradley followed by Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart who lamented how "the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama's campaign."

2. Gergen on CNN: Media Need to 'Move On' From Rev. Wright Issue
During a segment on CNN's Newsroom between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's speech at the National Press Club, Gergen recommended that "it's time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow." Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright: "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."

3. Barbara Walters Pesters Howard Dean to End Democratic Race
On a day when Senator Barack Obama's controversial pastor would be speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, Good Morning America guest host Barbara Walters chose to question DNC Chairman Howard exclusively on how soon the Democratic presidential contest can be ended. At one point during Monday's segment, she even hectored Dean about his responsibility to bring unity to the Democrats: "But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?"

4. CNN's Sanchez Asks Leading Questions of Young Muslims Voters
CNN's Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN's series titled "The League of First Time Voters," featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on American Morning and CNN's Newsroom programs on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked: "When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?" Later, he inquired: "You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?" After his "War on Terror" question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez queried: "Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?"

5. Wherever in World Matt, He's Worrying About His Carbon Footprint
NBC's Matt Lauer appeared live Monday from Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of the latest installment of the Today show's "Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?" ratings gimmick and he went out of his way to assuage viewers that NBC News was doing their part to stay "green" in his travels. Prompted by an e-mailer's question, read by co-host Meredith Vieira, Lauer assured the Today audience that they were going to purchase "carbon off-sets," as he dutifully noted: "We are taking great note of a green side of this trip, as much as humanly possible."

6. 20/20 Disputes Charge America Hijacked by Rush's 'Lunatic Fringe'
Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations and how Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly are "the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America." When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight."

7. 'Top Ten Things Saddam Hussein Would Say If He Were Alive Today'
Letterman's "Top Ten Things Saddam Hussein Would Say If He Were Alive Today."


Only ABC Focuses on Wright's Inanity,
All Showcase Shot at Cheney

At his National Press Club appearance on Monday, Reverend Jeremiah Wright re-affirmed several of his past incendiary allegations -- and added at least one new one equating U.S. troops to the Roman legions who killed Jesus -- but only ABC's World News noted that as the network journalists preferred to paint Barack Obama as a "victim" of Wright and all three evening newscasts highlighted Wright's attack on Dick Cheney for not serving in the military.

CBS's Dean Reynolds, who spent more time on Wright's attack on Cheney than on anything crazy Wright said Monday, explained that "as for questions about his patriotism, Wright pointed to his Marine service compared to Vice President Cheney's five deferments from duty." Wright: "I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?"

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up the story from Andrea Mitchell by stressing how "one veteran politico today" dismissed Wright's comments as "a 'circus' and a 'sideshow.'" Mitchell soon repeated how "Obama supporters described the whole thing as a media circus." Viewers then heard from former Senator Bill Bradley followed by Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, the man who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as "a very important gift the Senator has given the country." Monday night Capehart lamented how "the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama's campaign."

Fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos described Wright as "the controversy that Barack Obama just can't seem to shake." Reporter David Wright, however, uniquely informed viewers of how Wright on Monday "compared U.S. troops to the Roman legions who killed Christ." Jeremiah Wright asserted: "Yes, I can compare that. We have troops stationed all over the world, just like Rome had troops stationed all over the world, because we run the world."

David Wright also pointed out how "Wright expressed admiration for the controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan." NBC also aired this clip from Jeremiah Wright, but without any set up as to its meaning: "When Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen."

NBC's Mitchell relayed that Reverend Wright insisted "that when he said after 9/11 that America's chickens were coming home to roost, he was quoting a former American ambassador." But in his "Grapevine" segment, Brit Hume pointed out on FNC: "Problem is, Ambassador [Edward] Peck never said 'America's chickens are coming home to roost' -- nor did he suggest America engages in terrorism."

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

None of the broadcast network reports touched on Wright's refusal to back down from his charge that the U.S. government "lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." As William Branigin reported in a Monday afternoon WashingtonPost.com posting:

Nor would Wright back down when asked if he really believes, as he once preached, that the U.S. government started the AIDS epidemic as a means of genocide against non-whites.

"Based on the Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything," he said. The Tuskegee experiment was a 40-year study conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972 on nearly 400 black men who were afflicted with syphilis but were never told they had the disease.

Wright went on to accuse the United States of having sold to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein "those biological weapons that he was using against his own people." He concluded: "So any time a government can put together biological warfare to kill people and then get angry when those people use what we sold them, yes, I believe we are capable."

END of Excerpt

For the Washington Post article in full: www.washingtonpost.com

The April 25 CyberAlert item, "Nets Stress Wright's Claim His Remarks Distorted, Not How Obama Agrees with Him," recounted:

Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, suggested in an interview with Bill Moyers that Obama agreed with his comments which stirred a furor in March, but instead of framing their stories around evidence Obama may be in sync with Wright's paranoid and America-hating rants, the network evening newscasts on Thursday stressed Wright's claim his sermons were unfairly distorted.

CBS's Jim Axelrod relayed how Wright asserted "parts of his sermons were publicized by Obama's opponents to damage Obama, but that they fundamentally misrepresented Wright's ministry and Wright himself." NBC anchor Brian Williams related how "Wright says he does not think he's been treated fairly," before reporter Andrea Mitchell began with Wright's insistence "his sermons were taken out of context to hurt Barack Obama." Leading into a soundbite from Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as "a very important gift the Senator has given the country," Mitchell asserted "some analysts agree that Wright was taken out of context."

None of the stories aired any of Jeremiah Wright's infamous allegations. ABC's David Wright came the closest in recalling that "Wright does not disavow controversial remarks he has made in his church, some of which are sharply critical of the U.S., its history and its policies."...

For the complete rundown: www.mediaresearch.org

Transcripts of the Monday, April 28 broadcast network evening newscasts stories, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, starting with part of the CBS Evening News story, picking up after Dean Reynolds reported Wright's contention the attacks on him were an assault on the African-American church and how his "inflammatory rhetoric" has been all over the Internet:

DEAN REYNOLDS: ....Today Wright took written questions from members of the National Press Club.
QUESTION: In light of your widely quoted comments damning America, do you think you owe the American people an apology?
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: God damns some practices and there is no excuse for the things that the government -- not the American people -- have done. That doesn't make me not like America or unpatriotic.
REYNOLDS: As for questions about his patriotism, Wright pointed to his Marine service compared to Vice President Cheney's five deferments from duty.
WRIGHT: I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?
REYNOLDS: Obama felt compelled to give a major speech on race last month after the whole issue erupted. Today, Wright implied the speech was politically motivated.
WRIGHT: We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected.
REYNOLDS: Of course, getting elected is the whole point. Senator Obama said today that Reverend Wright is free to speak his mind but it doesn't represent Obama's views nor is it what his campaign is all about. Katie?


# NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now we turn to politics and the pastor. He is officially a retired minister now. His name is Jeremiah Wright. He's on a publicity tour right now. He's Barack Obama's former minister. And Reverend Wright's speaking engagements these days are a problem for the Obama campaign. One veteran politico today called it a "circus" and a "sideshow." Our report tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell in Washington. Andrea, good evening.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good evening, Brian. Reverend Wright's appearances were an unwelcome distraction for Barack Obama just as he was trying to reach out to blue collar voters. With supporters packing the audience, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright went to the National Press Club, what he considers the "belly of the beast," to accuse his critics of trying to undermine the black church.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: This most recent attack on the black church, this is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. It is an attack on the black church.
MITCHELL: In North Carolina today, Barack Obama immediately distanced himself again from his former pastor.
BARACK OBAMA: He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign. And so, you know, he may make statements in the future that don't reflect my values or concerns.
MITCHELL: But Wright was defiant and hard to avoid, appearing on PBS and in three cities over the last four days, insisting that when he said after 9/11 that America's chickens were coming home to roost, he was quoting a former American ambassador.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles.
MITCHELL: Wright's re-emergence comes just as Obama is trying to connect with white working class voters -- Sunday in Indiana, today in North Carolina.
OBAMA: And they've been trying to say, well, you know, we don't know him that well, we don't know what he believes, we don't know about his values, despite the fact I wrote two books.
MITCHELL: Now competing with his message, his former pastor who also said he is working on a book.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: When Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen.
MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton wouldn't comment on Wright today, but after saying he wouldn't dwell on the subject, John McCain talked about it again.
JOHN MCCAIN: But I also understand why millions of Americans may, as Senator Obama said yesterday, view this as a political issue. That's what Senator Obama said. I take Senator Obama at his word that he doesn't share those views.
MITCHELL: Obama supporters described the whole thing as a media circus.
FORMER SENATOR BILL BRADLEY (D-NJ): Obviously, Barack Obama has no control whatsoever over Reverend Wright. So the legitimate question should be asking is: Why did Reverend Wright do this at this time?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think he's just decided that he's got to do what he's got to do, just as Senator Obama has to do what he has to do. And, unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama's campaign.
MITCHELL: Obama did have some good news today '€" an endorsement from a superdelegate, New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. But with North Carolina voting next week, Clinton is expecting a better prize tomorrow -- the endorsement of North Carolina's Governor Mike Easley, also a superdelegate. And both Clinton and Obama are still wooing Elizabeth and John Edwards, who have told friends they may not endorse anyone before North Carolina votes.


# ABC's World News:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to the presidential race and the controversy that Barack Obama just can't seem to shake. His former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, was speaking out again today, this time at the National Press Club in Washington. Wright didn't back down from any of his controversial remarks, as Obama made clear one more time that his former pastor does not speak for him. David Wright's in Washington tonight.

DAVID WRIGHT: If Obama's former pastor were seeking to put to rest lingering questions about his patriotism, his appearance today at the National Press Club didn't exactly help.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?
DAVID WRIGHT: Today, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright compared U.S. troops to the Roman legions who killed Christ.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: Yes, I can compare that. We have troops stationed all over the world, just like Rome had troops stationed all over the world, because we run the world.
DAVID WRIGHT: Wright expressed admiration for the controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: When Louis Farrakhan speaks, it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen.
DAVID WRIGHT: And he implied that the rift between him and Obama is just for political show. As for Obama's race speech in Philadelphia-
BARACK OBAMA: Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong, but divisive.
DAVID WRIGHT: Wright suggested Obama didn't know what he was talking about.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like most of you, never having heard the sermon.
DAVID WRIGHT: Wright even joked about becoming Obama's running mate.
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I am not running for office. I am open to being Vice President.
DAVID WRIGHT: That offer is not likely to be forthcoming. In fact, the Obama campaign would just as soon Wright take a good long vacation. Today, Obama said Wright doesn't speak for him or his campaign. Out on the campaign trail today, Hillary Clinton pulled her punches.
HILLARY CLINTON: I would not have stayed in that church under those circumstances. But I regret the efforts by the Republicans to politicize this matter.
DAVID WRIGHT: Today John McCain took the high road.
JOHN MCCAIN: Senator Obama does not reflect the extremist statements that Reverend Wright has given.
DAVID WRIGHT: But clearly the pastor won't make it easy for the politician to put this controversy behind him. David Wright, ABC News, Washington.

Gergen on CNN: Media Need to 'Move On'
From Rev. Wright Issue

During a segment on CNN's Newsroom between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's speech at the National Press Club, Gergen recommended that "it's time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow."

Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright: "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."

Gergen, of U.S. News, then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.

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

From the 10 AM EDT hour on Monday, April 28:

GERGEN: And it takes attention away -- we have huge, huge problems facing this country. The candidates are increasingly coming down on opposite sides. We're having no discussion of that. Instead, we're off on this sideshow, which is -- and I think that, you know, this good preacher, I'm sure he's a fine man, and if he had taken Bill Moyers on a walking tour of his parish, and shown people the good works that church was doing, you know, how it is helping the hungry, how it is looking after young kids, and the many other good things that church does -- that would have been totally appropriate. But to be on this publicity blitz, when we have to listen to his varied views, you know, I think it's time for him to get off the stage and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on.

Martin voiced his agreement with Gergen, which prompted a one-liner from former presidential advisor, and even agreement from the host himself.

ROLAND MARTIN: You know, David, when he spoke at the National Press Club today, he actually did that. He talked about all these ministries the church is involved in. I mean, I thought his opening statement -- he gave a theological, a sound opening statement. But again, the focus will not be on any of that. The focus will not be on the war, will not be on their HIV/AIDS ministry, will not be [on] any of that. It's going to be his answer to the AIDS question, it's going to be his answer towards -- talking about Dick Cheney. That's the problem with that.
GERGEN: If this man cares one wit about electing an African-American to the highest office in the land, he should get off the national stage. You know that.
HARRIS: Point-blank.
MARTIN: I know. I agree. I agree. It just -- it did not help at all, and frankly, it's going to invite more questions, and so now the question is, Reverend Wright -- where does he go next? Does he continue? Does he keep talking, because absolutely, people are going to perceive-
GERGEN: He should just go away, go back to the pulpit.
MARTIN: Well, I tell my radio listeners that every day.

Harris then asked his two guests, "what does Barack Obama do now in the face of this?" After an extended pause, the two give their advice. Martin thought that Obama needs to drive the point home that he is his own man. Gergen suggested that Obama "sit down in a round-table discussion with the voters from that area, with working people and talk about his hopes and plans, and let them fire away questions for what he's going to do."

Barbara Walters Pesters Howard Dean to
End Democratic Race

On a day when Senator Barack Obama's controversial pastor would be speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, Good Morning America guest host Barbara Walters chose to question DNC Chairman Howard exclusively on how soon the Democratic presidential contest can be ended. At one point during Monday's segment, she even hectored Dean about his responsibility to bring unity to the Democrats: "But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?"

To get an idea of the overriding subject that appeared to be occupying the ABC journalist's mind, here is a sampling of her worried questions to the Democratic National Committee chairman:

BARBARA WALTERS: Well, you have said that the super delegates should make their choice known by the end of June. How is that going to happen?

WALTERS: And if [super delegates] already know pretty much who they're for, why wait till the end of June? Why keep this going on and on and on?

WALTERS: Can you make sure that the super delegates are indeed going to choose their candidate? Do you have that kind of muscle?

WALTERS: If Hillary Clinton loses in Indiana, give me your opinion. Should she get out of the race?

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

Clearly, Democratic unity is paramount to Walters, who was filling in for GMA co-host Diane Sawyer. But, shouldn't issues such as the return of Jeremiah Wright to the public scene warrant at least a single question? Granted, ABC correspondent Jake Tapper mentioned Wright in a previous segment, but Walters, who regularly co-hosts "The View," was talking to the head of the DNC. It would seem like an opportune time to discuss the subject.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:10am on Monday, April 28:

BARBARA WALTERS: So where does it end? Well, earlier this morning, I spoke with the man at the center of the Democratic Party, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Good morning, Dr. Dean. Nice to have you with us.
DNC CHAIRMAN HOWARD DEAN: Good morning, Barbara. Thanks for having me on.
WALTERS: Pleasure. Well, you have said that the super delegates should make their choice known by the end of June. How is that going to happen?
DEAN: Well, as you know, there are about 800 unpledged delegates and about 4,000 or so pledged delegates. The pledged delegates are selected through the primaries and the primaries are over on June 3rd. We really can't have a divided convention. If we do it's going to be very hard to heal the party afterwards. We'll know who the nominee is and that will give us an extra two and a half months to get our party together, heal the wounds of having a very closely divided race and take on Senator McCain.
WALTERS: Yes, but how are you going to get the super delegates necessarily to do that? And if they already know pretty much who they're for, why wait till the end of June? Why keep this going on and on and on?
DEAN: Well, I think they need time to make up their mind and many have made up their minds. I think we've had 50 or 60 make up their mind in the last, in the last few weeks. The only thing that can beat us is not being unified. That's the only reason the Democrats would lose in this election and I have got to make sure that doesn't happen.
WALTERS: Okay. Can you make sure that the super delegates are indeed going to choose their candidate? Do you have that kind of muscle?
DEAN: No. Nobody has the power to do that. The rules say they can make up their mind in August if they want to. But there are a lot of Democrats, myself included, Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi and many, many others who understand that we want the voters to have their say, that's over on June 3rd and then the unpledged delegates really have got to make up their mind. None of the he so-called party elders that I talked to thought this should go to the convention and I agree with that.
WALTERS: Okay. You said that the most important person is the loser, whichever one that is, and you said that when you lost to John Kerry in 2004, you lobbied for three months to get your supporters to rally around Kerry. So you know both of these candidates and they're very strong-minded. Do you really think that one of them is going to say, that's okay, shake hand. Let's be friends?
DEAN: I had to do it and I consider myself to be pretty strong-minded. Look, this is not about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This is about our country.
WALTERS: Yeah, but right now it is about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
DEAN: Well, in the long run, though, it isn't. The long run, it's about a better course for our country. We've had eight really, pretty awful years with huge deficits, wars, government misconduct. We don't need another four years of that. We've got to move on and win the presidency. That is the job that every American and including these two very important Americans has for our country.
WALTERS: But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?
DEAN: Yeah, I don't think I'll have to say it. I think they'll know it. I knew it. I didn't have to have anybody tell me that. I knew what was right for the country. And I think these two folks are wonderful people in my view and I think they know what's right for the country.
WALTERS: One week from tomorrow voters in Indiana and North Carolina will have their say. If Hillary Clinton loses in Indiana, give me your opinion. Should she get out of the race?
DEAN: No, that is not my call. I ran for president four years ago. Believe me, this is a deeply personal race where you run incredibly hard. Either of these candidates, if it's time for them to go, they'll know it and they will go. They don't need pushing from people like me or anybody else, the newspapers or anybody else. You know when to get in and you know when to get out. That's just part of the deal.
WALTERS: Well, I know when to get out of an interview too so thank you, Dr. Dean. We appreciate you being with us.
DEAN: Barbara thanks an awful lot for having me on.
WALTERS: Okay. So I got out. As for should there be a debate? He says that's not my department.
ROBERTS: He has enough to worry about.

CNN's Sanchez Asks Leading Questions
of Young Muslims Voters

CNN's Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN's series titled "The League of First Time Voters," featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on American Morning and CNN's Newsroom programs on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked: "When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?" Later, he inquired: "You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?"

After his "War on Terror" question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez queried: "Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?" Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his "bin Laden" question. After woman responded affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, "We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?" Two others answered his question as well.

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

When one woman started talking about why she wanted to vote for Barack Obama, that he's "open to dialogue" and "a man of action and serious about peace," Sanchez wondered: "Would you say that's the most impressive thing about his platform?" After she and two others answered his question, Sanchez did a quick poll of the young Muslims as to who they were voting for. All but one raised their hands for Obama, the remaining man raised his hands for Hillary Clinton, and none raised their hands for John McCain.

None of young Muslims that spoke in the segment -- four women and two men -- were identified, either on-screen or in the transcript that was posted on CNN.com. This is also the case with the previous "League of First Time Voters" segments that have aired.

The full transcript of the "League of First Time Voters" segment, which first aired during the 7 am hour of Thursday's American Morning:

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: Many Muslims are confused about this war. Is it a war against terrorism or is it a war against Muslims and Islam?
SANCHEZ: Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: There is mis-communication about weapons of mass destruction, there's mis-communication about what terrorism really is. There have been groups in Iraq that have been oppressed for decades.
SANCHEZ: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2: And those groups are fighting against those oppressors. And we are getting the wrong image and connecting the wrong people in thinking that terrorism from the 9/11 attacks is linked to Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1: I think if the U.S. was really concerned about fostering a stable democracy in Iraq, it would look to the kind of indigenous forces that are really in favor of democracy. I don't think that's fair to assume that all Iraqis oppose democracy. But when it's framed as something that's like a foreign imposition and some people see it as almost like neo-imperialism or something like that, then I think it's just really counter-productive at achieving that.
SANCHEZ: You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: Yes.
SANCHEZ: We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #3: It gives him more people to sympathize with his cause.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3: The reason we have the image we have overseas is because of this idea that we can bulldoze and not be aware of cultural differences, not be aware of sensitivities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: A key point that makes me want to vote for Obama is he's open to dialogue. He's a man of action and serious about peace.
SANCHEZ: Would you say that's the most impressive thing about his platform?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: I think so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #4: I would say, like, that he's really open and he's really accepting of others and he'd be willing to at least compromise if it's possible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: I think he's a leader who will take this country to the next century, you know, as a global superpower.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: We're looking for a new leadership with a new direction. We need a leadership that will work to enhance and restore the American image abroad, especially in the Muslim world.

SANCHEZ: Raise your hand if you're planning to vote for Barack Obama. Raise your hand if you're planning to vote right now for Hillary Clinton. Two in the back. Raise your hand if you're planning to vote for John McCain. Nobody voting for John McCain.

Wherever in World Matt, He's Worrying
About His Carbon Footprint

NBC's Matt Lauer appeared live Monday from Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of the latest installment of the Today show's "Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?" ratings gimmick and he went out of his way to assuage viewers that NBC News was doing their part to stay "green" in his travels. Prompted by an e-mailer's question, read by co-host Meredith Vieira, Lauer assured the Today audience that they were going to purchase "carbon off-sets," as he dutifully noted: "We are taking great note of a green side of this trip, as much as humanly possible."

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

The following exchange occurred on the Monday, April 28, Today:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Listen I've got some e-mail questions that have been coming. And first off is Shaun from Jersey City, New Jersey, and he, who asks, "I have not heard any mention on how Matt Lauer plans to offset his carbon footprint from his upcoming trip around the world. I'm surprised that you have not incorporated a 'green' perspective into this year's trip?" What do you have to say, Matt?
MATT LAUER: Well you know what, that's very good. Now it's a very interesting point. We are actually very concentrated on that. We are calculating all of our air travel. Not just my air travel but every NBC employee who is flying as a part of this trip. We're calculating that air travel and the we are purchasing carbon off-sets. We're gonna take that money and we're gonna contribute to causes that help promote cleaner forms of energy all around the world. So yes we are, we are taking great note of a green side of this trip, as much as humanly possible, Meredith.

20/20 Disputes Charge America Hijacked
by Rush's 'Lunatic Fringe'

Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations and how Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly are "the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America." When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight."

After describing Huffington's left-leaning Web site, the Huffington Post, and the recent case of Larry David authoring a column charging that Hillary Clinton should "put on a sarong and some sunblock and get away from things for awhile," the ABC host moved to challenge some of Huffington's liberal views. When she complained that welfare reform has failed because "a lot of people have been left without the kind of job training, and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives," Stossel countered: "Since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls. And the incomes of low-income families are higher. And unemployment is down."

Stossel also argued that government deserves less credit in reducing workplace accidents through OSHA than it might try to claim since workplace deaths were already decreasing before the agency was formed: "Your faith in OSHA is like a religious belief. Look at this chart. This shows workplace injuries since OSHA was passed. Yes, going down. But look at it before OSHA. Things were getting better anyway. It's like government gets in front of the parade and pretends it's leading the parade."

The ABC host then challeged her on the global warming issue:

STOSSEL: Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. However, you live in a $7 million house. You're burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World.
HUFFINGTON: There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight.

The piece then moved to Huffington's complaint that a John McCain presidency would be a "disaster for America," and her charge that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly have "hijacked America by hijacking public policy."

HUFFINGTON: It's now the right of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly.
STOSSEL: This is the "lunatic fringe that's hijacked America"?
HUFFINGTON: Exactly, the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America.
STOSSEL: How have they hijacked America?
HUFFINGTON: They've hijacked America by hijacking public policy.
STOSSEL, WITH SARCASM: This makes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly very powerful if they can do this.
HUFFINGTON: They are very powerful, but they will not be as powerful after we finish dealing with them. [LAUGHS]

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

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of ABC's 20/20 from Friday, April 25:

JOHN STOSSEL: The posts on her site lean left, and Huffington's newest book, out just this week, is called Right is Wrong. These days I get labeled a right-winger because I no longer believe government programs are the best way to solve problems. So some of her bloggers attack me. John Stossel's a "pathological liar," I'm "spewing myths, lies and downright stupidity." Somebody else calls me "stupid," "contrarian," "blowhard."
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: You're definitely not stupid.
STOSSEL: So let's argue about a few things. Huffington says government must give more to the poor.
HUFFINGTON: What we need is serious government policies to address poverty.
STOSSEL: And they work?
HUFFINGTON: They don't work as well as they should be working, but there's a lot more we can do.
STOSSEL: Huffington's sincere about wanting to help others. For a decade, she's volunteered at this after-school mentoring program. But this is a private charity. Today she says she wants more government involvement. Welfare was a good thing? That didn't make the lives of the poor worse?
HUFFINGTON: No, it has not. Welfare reform, in the end, was not a success.
STOSSEL: Welfare reform wasn't better than welfare?
HUFFINGTON: A lot of people have been left without the kind of job training, and therefore without the ability to really lead productive lives.
STOSSEL: Wait a moment. Since welfare reform, eight million people left the welfare rolls. And the incomes of low-income families are higher. And unemployment is down. But Huffington joins her favorite candidate in saying, for the poor, life's getting worse.
BARACK OBAMA: One in every eight Americans now lives in poverty.
STOSSEL: So I pulled out a chart that showed the income of the poorest Americans. In general, it's been going up. It's not a disaster.
HUFFINGTON: In general, in general. But, you know, we have over 30 million Americans living below the poverty line.
STOSSEL: But we used to have more people living below the poverty line.
HUFFINGTON: The fact that we used to live in caves is not a justification for the state of affairs right now.
STOSSEL: She says to protect workers, America needs a stronger OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Your faith in OSHA is like a religious belief. Look at this chart. This shows workplace injuries since OSHA was passed. Yes, going down. But look at it before OSHA. Things were getting better anyway. It's like government gets in front of the parade and pretends it's leading the parade.
HUFFINGTON: You know what? If you were the husband of one of the women who died recently because OSHA regulations were not sufficiently implemented, you would not be so cavalier about the speed at which things get better.
STOSSEL: Huffington has also joined the war on global warming. However, you live in a $7 million house. You're burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World.
HUFFINGTON: There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight.
STOSSEL: One of her biggest fears, she says, is that John McCain might become President. If McCain is elected, it'll be a disaster for America?
HUFFINGTON: If McCain is elected, it will be a disaster for America because he did not believe he could get elected without that lunatic fringe that has become the base of the Republican Party.
STOSSEL: "Lunatic fringe" is part of the subtitle of her book.
HUFFINGTON: It's now the right of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly.
STOSSEL: This is the "lunatic fringe that's hijacked America"?
HUFFINGTON: Exactly, the lunatic fringe that's hijacked America.
STOSSEL: How have they hijacked America?
HUFFINGTON: They've hijacked America by hijacking public policy.
STOSSEL: This makes Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly very powerful if they can do this.
HUFFINGTON: They are very powerful, but they will not be as powerful after we finish dealing with them. [LAUGHS]
STOSSEL: As you might imagine, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly have a few comments about that. You can see what they have to say and more on our Web site at ABCNews.com.

'Top Ten Things Saddam Hussein Would
Say If He Were Alive Today'

Pegged to what would have been Saddam Hussein's 71st birthday, from the April 28 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Saddam Hussein Would Say If He Were Alive Today." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Let me guess -- Bush still hasn't caught Osama"

9. "Have I missed any big developments in beret technology?"

8. "I'm not sure I want to live in a world where Star Jones is getting divorced"

7. "It's nice to see a stable Iraq"

6. "Free Wesley Snipes!"

5. "Please tell me Meredith and McDreamy finally got together"

4. No Number 4 -- writer hiding in spiderhole -- still a reference, people

3. "Damn these rope burns -- anyone got a turtleneck?"

2. "I may have been a brutal dictator, but I kept gas prices under two dollars"

1. "Compared to Fallujah, Hell ain't too bad"

-- Brent Baker