U.S. Food Drops Just Propaganda; Tough Words from James Woods; Tax Cuts Ruin Bi-Partisanship; ABC's Anti-Missile and Israel Comments
1) ABC's Peter Jennings chose on Monday night to highlight how the food and medicine drops into Afghanistan are "not popular with everyone" as one group "described it today as military propaganda designed to justify the bombing."
2) Dan Rather ended the Monday CBS Evening News with a patriotic message about accepting the deaths of U.S. servicemen in "a war forced upon us." As for fears of another terrorist attack, he maintained: "This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
3) Actor James Woods urged massive retaliation: "Simple logic tells you that if somebody wants you dead you have one course of action: To get them deader sooner." He approvingly proposed that "if this had happened to the Russians, about three major cities in the Middle East would have been parking lots in twenty minutes."
4) Since "many in the Pentagon consider a nuclear missile attack by a rogue nation...to be among the least likely threats facing our country," while bio-terrorism "is near the top of that list," Ted Koppel concluded Friday's Nightline: "Maybe we should talk a little about those billions of dollars and how they should be spent -- against the most or the least likely threat?"
5) Some Israel-blaming from ABC's Terry Moran as he referred to "Israeli policies of occupation, settlement, and reprisal" and demanded at Friday's White House press briefing: "But in understanding the phenomenon of terrorism in order to combat it, are Israel's policies part of the problem?"
6) Conservative policies ruin bi-partisanship. A Los Angeles Times reporter on PBS: "Is there a possibility that President Bush's new proposal for another $60 billion in tax cuts, is that in a sense moving us away from" bi-partisanship? A Washington Post headline: "GOP Call for Tax Cuts Renews Party Divide."
7) Was Dr. Al-Hazmi, the San Antonio doctor held for questioning, treated professionally and fairly while in FBI custody, as he told ABC's Nightline, or was he, as Newsweek reported, "a target for physical abuse" who was "routinely kicked...in the small of his back" by FBI agents?
8) In describing the work of editorial cartoonist "Herblock," who passed away, neither Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw employed the word liberal. Jennings admired his coining of "McCarthyism," calling it one of "his many contributions to the political dialogue in the country."
Correction. The October 5 CyberAlert quoted Bryant Gumbel as complaining to a guest: "You're soft peddling your words this morning." That should have read "soft-pedaling."
The food and medicine drops are "not popular with everyone," ABC's Peter Jennings claimed Monday night as he decided to highlight how a group "described it today as military propaganda designed to justify the bombing."
After the lead story on Monday's World News
Tonight about the U.S. bombing and food drop operation, Jennings gratuitously
added something else he considered newsworthy:
In contrast to the U.S. as the bad guys theme broached by Jennings, CBS's Dan Rather realized Monday night that the war was "forced upon us" as he delivered a patriotic message about accepting the deaths of members of the armed forces and remaining "the home of the brave" only so long as we "remain the land of the free."
At the end of Monday's hour-long CBS Evening
News, Rather exhorted:
Some tough talk from one Hollywood star. In an interview shown on Monday's Entertainment Tonight, actor James Woods, who conceded "I'm sort of not your average liberal Hollywood bear," asserted that "simple logic tells you that if somebody wants you dead you have one course of action: To get them deader sooner." Woods approvingly suggested that "if this had happened to the Russians, about three major cities in the Middle East would have been parking lots in twenty minutes" and "and they wouldn't have worried about the consequences because there would not have been any because the remaining terrorist states would have said 'we get the message.'"
Woods took the terrorist attacks quite personally since before they occurred he was on an American Airlines Boston to Los Angeles flight on which he thought several Middle Eastern men were acting suspiciously. Before September 11 he had reported to the FBI what he saw occur with his fellow first class passengers and is now convinced his flight was a test run for their operation.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight's Jann
Carl completed before the U.S. response on Sunday, Woods urged on any U.S.
Woods also argued: "If this had happened to the Russians, about three major cities in the Middle East would have been parking lots in twenty minutes. They would have been molten green glass, not a single thing would have lived there for 250,000 years and they wouldn't have worried about the consequences because there would not have been any because the remaining terrorist states would have said 'we get the message.'"
If the name James Woods does not conjure a visual image, go to the Internet Movie Database's page on him for a photo and listing of his many movie roles: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Woods,+James 
Ted Koppel closed his Friday night Nightline "Town Meeting" on the threat of bio-terrorism with a lecture about how money is being misspent on missile defense. Koppel maintained that "many in the Pentagon consider a nuclear missile attack by a rogue nation...to be among the least likely threats facing our country," while bio-terrorism "is near the top of that list." So, he asserted, "maybe we should talk a little about those billions of dollars and how they should be spent -- against the most or the least likely threat?"
The 90-minute Nightline on October 5 emanated from
the Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC. After the discussion on the
threat of biological and chemical terrorism, Koppel wrapped up:
Why does spending on external threats have to be zero sum? The terrorist attacks showed that our enemies will stop at nothing and so will use nuclear missiles as soon as they are able. Koppel is correct, however, in pointing out the need for more defense against other types of threats. But why not think outside the box and instead of reallocating missile defense money, how about some new thinking about all the other billions the government spends on many programs which are not so nearly important as homeland defense?
Some Israel-blaming from ABC News White House reporter Terry Moran as he referred to "Israeli policies of occupation, settlement, and reprisal and U.S. support for those policies" and demanded at Friday's White House press briefing: "But in understanding the phenomenon of terrorism in order to combat it, are Israel's policies part of the problem?"
Osama Bin Laden and his Jewish-hating cohorts list
Israel as among their grievances, but Israel is the only democracy in the
region and any change in U.S. policy would only reward Bin Laden and
Palestinian terrorists for their attack on the U.S. Nonetheless, Moran pressed
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, as taken down by MRC analyst Ken
Moran followed up: "But in understanding the phenomenon of terrorism in order to combat it, are Israel's policies part of the problem?"
I thought Israel's tough line on Palestinian terrorism was now a model the U.S. was adopting?
Moran even tried a third time to get Fleischer to say what he wanted: "Have the events of September 11th brought more urgency or changed the U.S., the administration's approach to the peace process in the Middle East?"
The spirit of bi-partisanship was broken by President Bush when he proposed a tax cut, a Los Angeles Times reporter and a Washington Post news story suggested over the weekend as another Washington Post story carried the headline, "Bush's Jobless Aid Plan Assailed: Critics Call Funding Inadequate and Cite Impact on Children."
Following the Democratic definition of what
policies are not allowed in a bi-partisan atmosphere, on Friday's Washington
Week on PBS Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times,
put the burden on Bush for breaking the code of cooperation. After Washington
Post reporter Juliet Eilperin marveled at the spirit of bipartisanship on
Capitol Hill, McManus lamented:
"Everyone knows there have to be more tax cuts." Except her own newspaper.
The next morning, the Saturday Washington Post ran this headline across the top of page A9: "GOP Call for Tax Cuts Renews Party Divide." The subhead: "Bush and Democrats at Odds on Ingredients of Economic Stimulus Package."
On the facing page, A8, October 6 Washington Post
readers were greeted with this headline: "Bush's Jobless Aid Plan
Assailed." The subhead: "Critics Call Funding Inadequate and Cite
Impact on Children." Edward Walsh and Ceci Connolly began their story:
In addition to failing to specifically tag Families
USA as liberal, the Post reporting duo didn't even offer a euphemistic
description of another liberal group:
Amazing how only President Bush's conservative proposals ruin bi-partisanship while liberal Democratic rejection of them and advocacy of liberal policies does not. The U.S. retaliatory military action on Sunday came just in time as the media were beginning to revert to their old ways.
Was Dr. Al-Hazmi treated professionally and fairly while in FBI custody, as he told ABC's Nightline, or was he, as Newsweek reported, "a target for physical abuse" who was "routinely kicked...in the small of his back" by FBI agents?
The two news outlets, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed, delivered quite contrasting assessments of how the FBI treated the San Antonio doctor who shares the same name as one of the terrorists and so was held for questioning for about a week and a half following the September 11 attacks.
On the September 28 Nightline, Chris Bury reported: "Here in this country the new normal also means the FBI has rounded up hundreds of people and detained them, including a Saudi Arabian doctor living in San Antonio, released just Monday. He had been handcuffed and hauled to jail for nearly two weeks primarily because he shares a name with two of the hijackers, a name he says is as common in his country as Smith is here."
Bury asked: "Tell us a little bit about what
the interrogation was like. You spent nearly two weeks in detention. What was
like, what was that like over a period of days?"
The end of the story until an October 3 Newsweek
"Web exclusive" by Ellise Pierce. She maintained: "Al-Hazmi was
put under 'administrative arrest' and taken to the FBI office in San
Antonio. There, agents questioned him about the whereabouts of his five
brothers and three sisters. Around 4pm that day, he was allowed to call a
lawyer, and he telephoned his wife to let her know that he was all right. It
was the last time that he would speak to her for 11 days.
For the entire Newsweek story, go to: http://www.msnbc.com/news/637609.asp 
Herbert Block, the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post since the Hoover presidency, passed away on Sunday at age 91. But in describing his work and legacy, neither Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw on Monday night employed the word "liberal" for his almost-always anti-conservative drawings. Jennings called his coining of the term "McCarthyism" one of "his many contributions to the political dialogue in the country" while Tom Brokaw gushed: "He was a great champion of civil liberties." (The CBS Evening News did not note his passing.)
Similarly, the Washington Post obituary avoided the word liberal in delivering a rosy assessment of his politics: "He took the side of the have-nots of the world against the haves. He favored civil rights and candor in government. He distrusted all efforts to curb constitutional rights. He believed in the values underlying democracy: freedom, justice, equality."
Peter Jennings announced on the October 8 World News Tonight: "The political cartoonist Herbert Block has died. 'Herblock' as he signed his drawings. They were an essential feature of the Washington Post for more than 50 years. He coined the term 'McCarthyism' in the 1950s. It was among his many contributions to the political dialogue in the country. He started working just before the Great Depression and he never retired. Herblock was 91."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw stated: "For more that fifty years he set the standard for American political cartoonists with a tough, right to the point style that exposed the political and personal flaws of the powerful, whatever their party. He was a great champion of civil liberties and, in the newsroom, everyone's favorite surrogate uncle."
In a front page story in the October 8 Washington
Post, J.Y. Smith offered this review of Herblock's politics:
For a look at Herblock's career and a sampling of his cartoons over the decades, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/herblock/index.html 
On whimsical note, and as a sign of comedy-writer creativity in trying to find something to make fun of when usual targets are off-limits, from the October 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Your Dog Is Possessed By the Ghost of Abraham Lincoln." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Only chases cars with Illinois license plates
For non-Northeasterners, The Wiz is a chain of TV/Video/Audio stores.
-- Brent Baker