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Asked by Larry King Wednesday night live on CNN whether she had a personal agenda against President George W. Bush, Mary Mapes, the CBS News producer fired in January for her role in the forged National Guard memos and representations she made to her colleagues, shot back: "Oh my God no, no of course not.” She insisted that “Dan Rather and I did stories on Hillary Clinton, we did stories on the Clinton administration and terrorism...you question whoever is in your cross-hairs." Hillary Clinton, however, was hardly in her “cross-hairs” when she produced for Rather a 24-minute tribute to her that aired on the May 24, 1999 60 Minutes II and included such tough statements from Rather as, "once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning" and: “The agenda she lays out seems downright old-fashioned. She sees her work as focusing on children and families..." (See more below.)

Back to CNN Wednesday night, King fretted: “Who got you? The bloggers?” Mapes said she knew of the Drudge Report, but “I really wasn't aware of these really political blogs” and so when “the next day at about 11 o'clock this stuff, this drumbeat started saying the documents were false and I was just incredulous because the White House hadn't raised it, they hadn't indicated this in any way, we didn't have any evidence of that and they went nuts." As she did on Wednesday's Good Morning America, as recounted in this NewsBusters item by Brian Boyd, Mapes maintained her stance that no one has disproved the authenticity of the memos: “Their criticisms last year really didn't reach the bar of proof at all."

Video excerpt: Real or Windows Media. (Complete transcript, of above-quoted exchange, follows.)



Eight years ago, when a Democrat was President and Republicans won the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave the results a piddling 12 seconds, didn't even utter the names of the winners and made clear that local issues -- “the high cost of automobile insurance and a tax on car ownership” -- were “the key issues.” But on Wednesday night, the same newscast gave a minute and thirty seconds to the election results which included names as anchor Bob Schieffer inserted an ideological label into his description of Virginia: “In New Jersey, Democrat Jon Corzine won one of the nastiest races ever. He'll be the next Governor there. And in conservative country, Virginia, another Democrat, Tim Kaine, won the Governor's race there.” Gloria Borger then declared that “this was not a great night for President Bush, particularly in the state of Virginia.” She cited how “he went in and he campaigned for the Republican candidate for Governor who lost, and, Bob, this was a state the President himself won by eight points in the last election." Borger ignored a basic fact which undermines her analysis: The Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia won in 2001 when Bush's approval rating, just two months after 9/11, was over 80 percent.

NBC's even more flagrant bias contrast, ABC's crediting of Clinton's good economy for the GOP wins and Morton Kondracke's prediction on FNC that “if I were Howard Dean and I looked at these results, I'd be really disappointed” because, despite Bush's plunging popularity, Democrats did no better this year than four years ago in the same races, follows



On tonight’s “CBS Evening News,” Gloria Borger said yesterday’s election “Was not a great night for President Bush.” Moreover, in the aftermath, Republicans are now “worried about losing the House, and maybe the Senate.”

In addition, she claimed Republicans want the president to establish an agenda. Failing that, “just get out of our way for the 2006 election.”

Similar to other mainstream media reports today, there was no mention of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s re-election victory in New York City.

What follows is a full transcript of this report and a video link.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but two days ago there were 28 Republican governors (a majority), and today after the "huge win" by Democrats there are still 28 Republican governors (still a majority.) So what explains headlines like this?*

The GOP Takes a Beating Yahoo!
In the Suburbs, Backlash Against Republicans Hits Hard Wash Post
Democrats celebrate as voters pile woe upon woe for Bush Times Online
More Bad News for Bush Newsweek
Elections raise GOP worries about Bush, values, exurbs San Diego Union Trib
As Democrats celebrate wins, more trouble for Bush Reuters
Democrat victories give Bush black eye SMH
Blow for Bush in regional polls Guardian Unlimited
GOP sought a light at the end of the tunnel, found none Minn Star Trib
Poll washout means grim news for Republicans Indian Express
US poll results rejuvenate Democrats Aljazerra.net

That's a lot of beatings, blows and black eyes for a party that stayed exactly where they were a week ago. I have to say, I was quite surprised, I didn't even know George Bush was running for governor in all those states.

* That was a rhetorical question. Of course I know this was due to bias, unfound hopefulness and irrational exuberance.



At a Tuesday meeting with CBS News staff, new CBS News President Sean McManus asserted that the people of CBS News “do a darned good job at” shutting out their political opinions and so “I don't see” any liberal bias in CBS News coverage. Vaughn Ververs recounted in a Tuesday evening posting for the “Public Eye” blog on CBSNews,com: “Asked if he feels the need to address perceptions that CBS has a left-wing bias, McManus said no, adding, 'it’s very difficult for any reporter or producer to completely and totally shut out his political opinions, but what I’ve seen at CBS News, people do a darned good job at doing that. I guess if I saw that creeping into our coverage I would have to address it, but I don’t see that in our coverage, I think we have been falsely accused of that at times.'”

McManus, who is maintaining his job as President of CBS Sports, has succeeded Andrew Heyward who considered liberal bias a fantasy of “extremists of the right.” (Heyward's 2000 remarks follow, as well as a fawning question McManus' father once posed to Fidel Castro.)



Democrats won yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, both offices they held going into Tuesday’s voting, and Democrats lost the Virginia lieutenant governor’s race, a switch in favor of the GOP. That’s hardly an impressive show of electoral strength.


The media storyline from yesterday's election results has been, for the most part, that Democrats picked up big victories, and that it was all bad news for the Republicans. And that President Bush, bogged down in incompetence (Hurricane Katrina) and malice ("he lied - people died!"), pandering to the right-wing (Alito) and heading an out-of-control criminal White House (Libby and Rove) is acting as an anchor, dragging down the Republican Party, leading to these spectacular Democratic wins. We see it in the New York Times:
After months of sagging poll ratings, scandal and general political unrest, the Republicans badly needed some good news in Tuesday's elections for governor. What they got instead was a clear-cut loss in a red state, and an expected but still painful defeat in a blue one. The Republican loss in Virginia, which President Bush carried with 54 percent just a year ago, came after an 11th-hour campaign stop by Mr. Bush and the kind of all-out Republican effort to mobilize the vote that reaped rich rewards last year.


Julie Chen in the 8:00 a.m. EST half hour of The Early Show hyped "sky-high" gas prices which led to "record profits" for oil companies in a brief anchor-mention on the Senate Commerce hearings today on oil and gas prices, illustrating that a myth debunked in a Free Market Project (FMP) study released last Thursday is still being promoted by CBS News [parts in bold are my emphasis]:



On Monday's Hardball, Chris Matthews asked former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle if he "share(d) the public view that Dick Cheney knew what his guy was up to, Scooter Libby?"

This was not the first time Matthews referenced a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that indicated more than half the respondents thought Vice President Dick Cheney was aware of Lewis Libby's actions in leaking the name of a CIA employee.



Liberal activist Nan Aron graces the front page of the Style section in today's Washington Post in a glowing profile, "Her Idea of Justice: Absolutely Not Alito."

Staff writer Marcia Davis is glowing from the start, excusing an episode of depraved indifference to marine life to liberal Alliance for Justice chief Nan Aron's dogged but failed pursuit of derailing Chief Justice John Roberts's nomination earlier this year:



No, I don't mean the Bush Administration, whose unwillingness to apologize for itself drives mainstream media into perpetual indignation.

Michelle Malkin got a response from a reporter--not the Washington Post's--after she asked about issuing some kind of correction following reports about war atrocity claims by Jimmy Massey, which have since been debunked by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris. The reply, from USA Today's Rick Hampson, is a depressing example of indifference to the truth. Malkin quotes him:



New from the Business & Media Institute


A Simple Plan?
The president's tax panel delivered a complicated proposal that would merely shift the tax code's winners and losers. Still, the media bought into the idea that it was simplifying, focusing on deductions scrapped and, like the panel, avoiding the issue of real reform.



To preserve a country where the rule of law guards private property rights, judges must focus on enforcing the laws that are written not on creating new policies.


Media buy into panels simplification of tax code, focusing on deductions scrapped and, like the panel, avoiding real reform.


Mary Mapes, the producer fired from CBS News for her role in the 60 Minutes story about President Bush’s National Guard service, has written a book to explain her side of the story. On today’s Good Morning America she talked to ABC’s Brian Ross about that book and the forged documents used in the Bush story.

A minute or so into the interview Ross and Mapes got into the question of the documents and whether the responsibility was to prove the documents authentic before airing the story, or if any documents could be used until someone else proved them to be false.

Mapes: "I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen."

Ross: "But isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?"

Mapes: "Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet."

Ross: "Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn't that really what journalists do?"

Mapes: "No, I don't think that's the standard."

Video available: RealPlayer or Windows Media