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Stephanopoulos Pushes Racism Claim as Reason for Slow Response --9/12/2005


1. Stephanopoulos Pushes Racism Claim as Reason for Slow Response
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday gave legitimacy to the charge that racism was behind the slow rescue of hurricane victims in New Orleans. "Did government neglect turn a natural disaster into a human catastrophe and was it rooted in racism?" Stephanopoulos asked on This Week before playing a clip of Kanye West's allegation that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Stephanopoulos soon contended to Senator Barack Obama: "So many people in this country have looked at so many of the victims being African-American, the sluggish federal response and said racism has to be at play." Stephanopoulos highlighted a Pew poll that found 66 percent of blacks say white victims would have received a quicker response: "What do you say to those anguished and angry African-Americans?" After Obama complained about "passive indifference" to the plight of poor backs, Stephanopoulos wondered: "How do you explain why President Bush didn't seem to get this early on?" At no point did Stephanopoulos raise the responsibility of local leaders or failure of massive spending programs.

2. Alter Urges Bush Go Left to Fix Poverty, "Midcourse Correction"
In the cover story for this week's Newsweek, "The Other America," on how Katrina has exposed poverty in America, Jonathan Alter ridiculed President Bush's tax cut policies and then urged "a midcourse correction" for Bush to follow: "He can limit his legacy to Iraq, the war on terror and tax cuts for the rich -- or, if he seizes the moment, he could undertake a midcourse correction that might materially change the lives of millions. Katrina gives Bush an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China opportunity, if he wants it."

3. Bush "Is a Moron!...He's an Idiot...Cheney is Evil....Impeach!"
Some calm and dispassionate political analysis Saturday night on
Comedy Central's Weekends at the DL. Actress/comedian Kathy Griffin delivered not comedy but her vitriolic personal opinion as she shouted, to loud audience applause while she gesticulated with her arms: "The President is a moron! I'm saying it. I don't care. He's an idiot. Cheney is evil. I'm sick of, impeach them, get them out! I hate them! I hate them. Get them out. They got to go!" She later pleaded: "What is it going to take for you people? Get Bush out! Impeach! Out! Out! Out!" Griffin also denounced FNC's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity: "He and Hannity can suck it. I hate those two idiots! Those liars." with audio

4. Harvey and Latifah Defend Kanye West, Portray Him as a Martyr
During the Friday night (SOS) Saving OurSelves: The BET Relief Telethon, actor/comedian Steve Harvey and singer/actress Queen Latifah came to rapper Kanye West's defense. Harvey imparted: "We love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong." Latifah saw West as a martyr, chiming in with how "you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it."


Stephanopoulos Pushes Racism Claim as
Reason for Slow Response

ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday gave legitimacy to the charge that racism was behind the slow rescue of hurricane victims in New Orleans. "Did government neglect turn a natural disaster into a human catastrophe and was it rooted in racism?" Stephanopoulos asked on This Week before playing a clip of Kanye West's allegation that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Stephanopoulos soon contended to Senator Barack Obama: "So many people in this country have looked at so many of the victims being African-American, the sluggish federal response and said racism has to be at play." Stephanopoulos highlighted a Pew poll that found 66 percent of blacks say white victims would have received a quicker response: "What do you say to those anguished and angry African-Americans?" After Obama complained about "passive indifference" to the plight of poor backs, Stephanopoulos wondered: "How do you explain why President Bush didn't seem to get this early on?" At no point did Stephanopoulos raise the responsibility of local leaders.

At the very end of his Sunday show, Stephanopoulos excitedly touted as "something special" his guest this coming Sunday: "Coming up next week, something special. It's been more than five years since his last visit to our program, former President Bill Clinton will be back with his first interview. He'll pick up on the debate we saw today on how Katrina has changed our country and the future of the Democratic Party including whether his wife will lead it."

I can't wait.

At the top of the September 11 This Week, Stephanopoulos plugged an upcoming segment: "Plus, did government neglect turn a natural disaster into a human catastrophe and was it rooted in racism?"
Kanye West on NBC's Concert for Hurricane Relief: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Stephanopoulos: "We'll ask the only African-American in the Senate, Barack Obama in an exclusive interview.

Stephanopoulos began his session with Obama, who appeared from Chicago, by asking about whether FEMA's Michael Brown should be fired. He then moved on to race:
"Another issue that has been raised over the last couple of weeks is the issue of race. So many people in this country have looked at so many of the victims being African-American, the sluggish federal response and said racism has to be at play. Here's what rapper Kanye West said a couple of weeks ago."
West on the NBC fundraisers: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. We see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food and you know it's been five days because most of the people are black. [edit jump] George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Stephanopoulos: "When First Lady Laura Bush heard those comments she called them 'disgusting.' What was your reaction?"
Obama: "I think that Kanye West expressed a great deal of anger, anguish that exists in the African-American community. I think that the entire country felt shame about what had happened. Now, my general attitude has been that the incompetence by Mr. Brown, by others in the Department of Homeland Security and by this administration was color-blind, but what I do think is that whoever was in charge of planning was so detached from the realities of inner city life in a place like New Orleans that they couldn't conceive of the notion that somebody couldn't load up their SUV, put $100 worth of gas in there, put some sparkling water and drive off to a hotel and check in with a credit card. There seemed to be a sense that this other America somehow was not on people's radar screen, and that, I think, does have to do with a historic indifference on the part of government towards the plight of those who are disproportionately African-American."
Stephanopoulos: "But was it racism, I guess is the question. Some of your constituents have also spoken out on this. I want to show you what Bishop Larry Trotter of Chicago's Sweet Holy Spirit Church said in his sermon last week. He said that [text on screen]: 'It is clear that racism is alive and well all over America...Had it been NYU instead of Tulane? Had it been Yale? They would have got the folks out of there by Monday.' And polls have been taken this week, as well. There was a Pew Research poll that showed, you know, people were asked did they think there would have been a faster government response if the victims had been white. White Americans say, 17 percent say yes. Black Americans, 66 percent say yes. How do you explain that, and what do you say to those anguished and angry African-Americans?"
Obama: "Well, you know, I think that in the African-American community there's a sense that the passive indifference that's shown towards the folks in the ninth ward of New Orleans or on the west side of Chicago or in Harlem, that that passive indifference is as bad as active malice, and I think that the broader American community and white America in particular would make those distinctions and those fine lines. I think that the important thing for us now is to recognize that we have situations in America in which race continues to play a part, that class continues to play a part, that people are not availing themselves of the same opportunities of the same schools, of the same jobs, and because they're not, when disaster strikes, it tears the curtain away from the festering problems that we have beneath them, and black and white, all of us should be concerned to make sure that that's not the kind of America that's reflected on our television screens."
Stephanopoulos: "How do you explain why President Bush didn't seem to get this early on?"
Obama: "You know, it's hard to explain. I mean, it's puzzling given his immediate response during 9/11 that he did not feel a greater sense of empathy towards the folks that were experiencing this enormous disaster..."
Stephanopoulos: "One of the President's African-American supporters gave a more pointed explanation to the New York Times. It was published yesterday and let me read it to you and our viewers. It said [text on screen]: 'One prominent African-American support of Mr. Bush who is close to Karl Rove...said the President did bot go into the heart of New Orleans and meet with black victims on his first trip there, last Friday, because he knew that White House officials were 'scared to death' of the reaction. If I'm Karl, do I want the visual of black people hollering at the President as if we're living in Rwanda?' said the supporter.' What do you make of that?"
Obama: "Well, I think that that points to one of the big problems that I've seen in this administration, and that is, they have excellent responses when it comes to PR, more detachment and less effectiveness when it comes to governing. I think that's been true in Iraq. It's been true across the board, and, you know, a good example, we had a cabinet meeting this week, the Senators had eight cabinet members in, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Chertoff, what was striking was even as people were reading the statistics of all the evacuations that had taken place, were telling us all the wonderful things that had been done there was no sense of reflection. No sense that, you know, things didn't go the way they were supposed to and that we needed to take away some lessons learned. There was a terrific spin operation but not the kind of soul-searching that I think you'd want to see from any administration, Democrat or Republican."
Stephanopoulos: "Have you spoken to the President since Katrina hit?"
Obama: "I have not."
Stephanopoulos: "What would you tell him if he did call you about how he might try to heal this anger, this anguish that you see in the black community?"
Obama: "Well, I think the first step would be for him to reach out and acknowledge that-"
Stephanopoulos: "Perhaps call you."
Obama: "It doesn't need to be me. I would like to see him reach out to a broader circle of leadership in the African-American community and indicate that what he saw woke him up, that it made him realize not only that issues of government competence in the response have to be dealt with, but more broadly, that he is awakened to the fact that, in fact, our country is not doing the sort of job it should be in providing young people with opportunity, making sure that people have jobs. We've got statistics that came out this week during the hurricane showing that poverty has gone up again fourth time in a row. We now have higher poverty than we did at any time in a very long time. We've got flat income for working people all across the country, and what you want is a sense on the part of the President that, in fact, these realities matter to him. You know, there's a lot of talk about the federal deficit. One of the things I'm concerned about is an empathy deficit. A sense that these children are our children. Those old people who were in front of the convention center gasping for life, that those are our grandparents, and we've got a stake in them and if the president can project that sense that he cares about them deeply and the government has to express that concern in effective, efficient way, then I think we might be able to make some progress."
Stephanopoulos: "You know, we're talking on the eve of the John Roberts hearings, hearings for Chief Justice starting tomorrow in the Senate, and on Friday your party Chairman Howard Dean said in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it was especially important for the Senate to reject John Roberts. Here's what he said."
Dean on CNN: "His entire legal career appears to be about making sure those folks don't have the same rights everybody else does. That's probably not the right thing to do two weeks after a disaster where certain members of society clearly did not have the same protections that everybody else did because of their circumstances. Americans are fair people, and they want a sense of justice. I don't think -- I know Judge Roberts loves the law. I'm not sure he loves the American people."
Stephanopoulos: "Do you think it's appropriate to link Katrina and the John Roberts nomination in that way?"
Obama: "Well, you know, I think we're going to have these confirmation hearings. There's no doubt that Judge Roberts is a powerful intellect. His resume indicates the qualifications required to be a Supreme Court justice. I think what we do need to ask ourselves is whether he has the heart, the breadth of perspective and the recognition that historically the role of the court has been to look out for not just the powerful but the powerless..."
Stephanopoulos: "Do you think that Howard Dean, though, and I appreciate that sentiment. Do you think Howard Dean though went too far when he said he's not sure John Roberts loves America? Loves Americans."
Obama: "Well, I think that there is an underlying concern that a judicial philosophy that ignores the possibilities of racial discrimination or gender discrimination, a political philosophy that typically airs on the side of the powerful rather than the powerless, that that's a judicial philosophy that can make worse, can exacerbate some of the problems that we have in this country, but, you know, the fact of the matter is that the reason we have confirmation hearings is to allow those of us in the Senate to learn more about Judge Roberts and hopefully he'll express the kinds of views that make all of us comfortable that he'll be a compassionate and wise justice."

Alter Urges Bush Go Left to Fix Poverty,
"Midcourse Correction"

In the cover story for this week's Newsweek, "The Other America," on how Katrina has exposed poverty in America, Jonathan Alter ridiculed President Bush's tax cut policies and then urged "a midcourse correction" for Bush to follow: "He can limit his legacy to Iraq, the war on terror and tax cuts for the rich -- or, if he seizes the moment, he could undertake a midcourse correction that might materially change the lives of millions. Katrina gives Bush an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China opportunity, if he wants it."

Alter offered this tautology which left out the role of job-creating small business and presumed government mandates are the solution: "The primary economic problem is not unemployment but low wages for workers of all races. With unions weakened and a minimum-wage increase not on the GOP agenda, wages have not kept pace with the cost of living, except at the top."

Later, Alter provided his prescription to alleviate poverty: eliminate tax cuts for the very rich so the government has even more to spend. Alter argued: "Beyond the thousands of individual efforts necessary to save New Orleans and ease poverty lie some big political choices. Until Katrina intervened, the top priority for the GOP when Congress reconvened was permanent repeal of the estate tax, which applies to far less than 1 percent of taxpayers. (IRS figures show that only 1,607 wealthy people in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi even pay the tax, out of more than 4 million taxpayers -- one twenty-fifth of 1 percent.) Repeal would cost the government $24 billion a year. Meanwhile, House GOP leaders are set to slash food stamps by billions in order to protect subsidies to wealthy farmers. But Katrina could change the climate. The aftermath was not a good omen for the Grover Norquists of the world, who want to slash taxes more and shrink government to the size where it can be 'strangled in the bathtub.'
"What kind of president does George W. Bush want to be? He can limit his legacy to Iraq, the war on terror and tax cuts for the rich -- or, if he seizes the moment, he could undertake a midcourse correction that might materially change the lives of millions. Katrina gives Bush an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China opportunity, if he wants it."

I'd bet there is no plan to "slash" food stamps, just a modest proposal to slightly reduce the soaring annual increase in spending on the program.

For the September 19 Newsweek cover story: www.msnbc.msn.com

Bush "Is a Moron!...He's an Idiot...Cheney
is Evil....Impeach!"

Some calm and dispassionate political analysis Saturday night on Comedy Central's Weekends at the DL. Actress/comedian Kathy Griffin delivered not comedy but her vitriolic personal opinion as she shouted, to loud audience applause while she gesticulated with her arms: "The President is a moron! I'm saying it. I don't care. He's an idiot. Cheney is evil. I'm sick of, impeach them, get them out! I hate them! I hate them. Get them out. They got to go!"


Listen to MP3 audio clip
Text of clip + audio archive

She later pleaded: "What is it going to take for you people? Get Bush out! Impeach! Out! Out! Out!" Griffin also denounced FNC's Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity: "He and Hannity can suck it. I hate those two idiots! Those liars."

[This item was posted Sunday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org, exposing and combating liberal media bias.]

Griffin is the star of the reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the d-List on NBC-Universal's Bravo cable channel, a regular on the E! channel's "red carpet" coverage before awards ceremonies, has had roles in several movies, as well as appearing on such TV shows as NBC's Suddenly Susan sit-com and currently on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The half-hour Weekends at the DL airs Friday and Saturday nights in the Daily Show slot, at 11pm EDT/PDT. D.L. Hughley was the star of the 1998-2002 ABC sit-com The Hughleys and his left-wing politics came through when he tried out last fall to succeed Craig Kilborn as host of CBS's Late Late Show.

Griffin sat on a sofa with comedian Laura Hayes and actress Diane Farr, who appears on CBS's Numbers and FX's Rescue Me.

A couple of the exchanges which featured Griffin:

# Hughley: "We were talking yesterday and there were, you know, of course a lot of the talk is about the hurricane, the unfortunate hurricane and now there's an extreme religious group. It's called Repent America that is saying the people of New Orleans had this coming for all the partying and sins. There are actually people who said that. And my response was that, you know, God don't need -- he don't need to put hits on us. I mean that's what he's got Pat Robertson for. I just, I just never understood if God is telling people all this [bleep], why don't he tell somebody the lottery numbers and then, you know, I don't get how they know what God is telling them."

Griffin, over repeated applause: "Because that's typical, it's typical from this moronic administration that I'm sick of. The President is a moron! I'm saying it. I don't care. He's an idiot. Cheney is evil. I'm sick of, impeach them, get them out! I hate them! I hate them. Get them out. They got to go!"


# A couple of minutes later:

Hughley: "Now, Howard Dean is saying that race played a major factor in the death toll. You know what's funny, I was watching O'Reilly because I do that to see a-"

Griffin: "Why do you watch O'Reilly for? He's a moron. He's a fool. O'Reilly's an idiot. He and Hannity can suck it. I hate those two idiots! [applause] Those liars."


# And a bit later:

Hughley, referring to Exxon: "A $102 million dollars a day. That's more than any company has ever made in a quarter."

Griffin, waving her arms: "It's disgusting! What is it going to take for you people? Get Bush out! Impeach. Out! Out! Out! [cheers and applause] It's over! It's over! Never has an administration been so hell bent on keeping us from conserving energy. Everybody should have a hybrid. They're cheaper, you save money on gas and all these rich bastards want to do is keep you buying oil. I'm sick of it. Halliburton got a $500 million contract to clean up New Orleans. That's disgusting. Who is on the board of directors of Halliburton? Dick Cheney. Out! They got to go! Out! [more applause]"


Comedy Central's page for Weekends at the DL: www.comedycentral.com

Bravo's page for Kathy Griffin: My Life on the d-List: www.bravotv.com

For the Internet Movie Database's (IMDb) page on Hughley: www.imdb.com

For IMDB's page on Griffin: www.imdb.com

To post your comments and to view a RealPlayer or Windows Media video clip, go to the node for this item on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog: newsbusters.org

Harvey and Latifah Defend Kanye West,
Portray Him as a Martyr

During the Friday night (SOS) Saving OurSelves: The BET Relief Telethon, actor/comedian Steve Harvey and singer/actress Queen Latifah came to rapper Kanye West's defense. Harvey imparted: "We love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong." Latifah saw West as a martyr, chiming in with how "you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it."

On Friday, September 2, on NBC's Concert for Hurricane Relief, West ludicrously contended that "we already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us." He later added this slam: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

[This item was posted Friday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org, exposing and combating liberal media bias.]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the exchange, from about 9:18pm EDT, during which Harvey, the star of the WB sitcom The Steve Harvey Show (1996-2002) and now host of a WB sketch show called Big Time, and Latifah, a star in the movie Chicago whose birth name was Dana Owens, were standing in front of a phone bank. Their comments followed a brief taped message from West in which he didn't say much and didn't repeat any of his earlier comments. He twice said the situation in New Orleans is "messed up, [blanked] up" (BET killed the sound briefly), and he defended himself by saying that "I say what I really feel."

BET then switched to Harvey and Latifah live:

Harvey: "Hey, you know, on a personal note to a young brother like Kanye West, who is being ridiculed for statements, you know, I just wanted to say on his behalf, sometimes, out of hurt and frustration, we say a lot of things, but we love you, brother. And do keep your head up, and we understand what you were trying to say, and you have a lot of people's support in spite of all the ridicule that you're receiving, man. Do stay strong. This is America, it is a free country, and freedom of speech happens to be one of those things."
Queen Latifah: "And freedom ain't free, so, you know."
Harvey: "No, and we have paid dearly for it."
Queen Latifah: "That's right. And you always going to pay to speak what's on your mind and what's on your heart. But that don't mean you shouldn't say it, so, that's what's up."

BET's page on the telethon: www.bet.com

IMDb's page on Steve Harvey: www.imdb.com

IMDb's page on Queen Latifah: www.imdb.com

To comment on this item and to watch a RealPlayer or Windows Media video clip, go to the node for it on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker