In the few seconds it took Iraqi journalist Muntather Zaidi to wing a pair of shoes at President George Bush, the Middle East got its own version of Joe the Plumber.
During Tuesday evening’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, Washington Post national political correspondent and CNN contributor Dana Milbank implied, perhaps inadvertently, that the incoming Obama adminstration was like the North Vietnamese advancing on Saigon in 1975. Host Campbell Brown asked Milbank about the “backlog of at least 2,000 pardon applications” to the Bush administration before the president leaves office early next year, and he replied, “Yeah -- it sort of has the feeling of the last helicopter off the embassy roof in Saigon.” [audio available here]
Milibank made the remark during his regular “Political Daily Briefing” feature, which aired at the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Earlier in the segment, the Post correspondent, as well as Brown, commented on Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman keeping his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Brown stated that “despite supporting John McCain, despite saying some pretty nasty things about Barack Obama on the campaign trail, Senator Joe Lieberman is going to keep his coveted chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.” Milbank agreed with this labeling of some of Lieberman’s past statements about Obama in his reply: “It’s amazing -- looks like a full amnesty for Joe Lieberman. He said some awful things about President-Elect Obama, and now he gets -- I don’t think you could even really call it a slap on the wrist there...”
"Controversial." "Onerous." "Ideologically offensive." These are the words used by Washington Post reporters Ceci Connolly and R. Jeffrey Smith to describe the pro-life policies of President George W. Bush. The liberal slam came in an article about some of the early actions President-elect Obama will take when he is inaugurated next year.
"Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions" was carried in the November 9 edition of the Post. The story revealed that Obama is "now consulting with liberal advocacy groups" in order to create a hit list of "the most onerous or ideologically offensive" regulatory and policy initiatives of the Bush administration. Two of the top three initiatives singled out in the Post's story are pro-life: embryonic stem cell research and abortion funding. The other is global warming.
CNN anchor Kiran Chetry referred to John McCain’s warning of Democratic Party rule in both the White House and the Congress if Barack Obama is elected president as "scare tactics" during a preview of a report on Thursday’s American Morning: "Five more days -- the scare tactics continue. Should you be afraid of one party rule?" A clip of McCain naming Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a possible "dangerous threesome" played after Chetry’s line.
During the actual report, correspondent Jim Acosta highlighted such "scare tactics" from both presidential candidates. First, he described how McCain "is telling voters to be afraid, very afraid of Democratic dominance in Washington." He later stated how Obama "has his own boogieman, as in the man who has controlled the White House for the last eight years," meaning President Bush. Note that while Acosta gave examples of both candidates playing the so-called fear card, Chetry’s preview only referred specifically to McCain.
CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman’s report detailing the abortion stances of the four major presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program gave a fairly neutral portrayal of how "Biden and Obama both favor abortion rights" and how "Palin and McCain are both anti-abortion," despite Tuchman describing how Palin is "considered fervently anti-abortion." However, host Anderson Cooper, in his introduction to Tuchman’s report, gave no reaction or labeling as he mentioned South Carolina Democratic Chairwoman Carol Fowler’s slam against Palin, that John McCain picked her because she "hadn’t had an abortion," other than stating, "Just the mention of that word [abortion] stirs up intense emotions for a lot of voters."
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin echoed Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on the subject of "diversity" in the Republican Party during CNN’s Tuesday evening coverage of the Republican convention: "I'd just like to make an observation about sort of the night as a whole. Fred Thompson, George Bush, Joe Lieberman -- the Republican Party, are they the party of old, white guys? I mean, this is who the Republican Party put forward first, and the only other people there were wives.... It is not a diverse party. It is not a party where women have had great success" [audio available here].
During an August 15 interview with NPR, Dean made the following remark about the apparent success of minorities and women in the Democratic Party: "If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic Party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in the Republican Party." Three years earlier in 2005, he called the GOP a "white Christian party."
CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, reporting on Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin on Thursday’s “The Situation Room,” expressed her shock that the European crowd didn’t seem to have the same mania for the Democrat that the media has: “I did ask some people as they were leaving what they thought. Everybody said good, good. But I was surprised that there wasn't this sort of euphoria afterwards, given how many people had come to listen and how much it had been anticipated.” She later stated in the segment that one unnamed political analyst talked about how “people [in Europe] want a political redeemer -- I mean, that's very specific language, and he said it's not really based on facts, the -- what they think about Obama, because they don't really know. It's based on expectations.”
During the segment, which began just after the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, host Wolf Blitzer asked Amanpour, “why do they apparently like him so much, not only in Germany, but throughout Western Europe?” She gave the standard media talking point about Obama in general: “They like him, some people say, because he is something new, he is a new generation, he's promising change, and people here are desperate for change.” Amanpour then reported on how Europeans apparently like Obama because “he is not President Bush, and they're slightly traumatized still from the last seven years of this ‘go-it-alone’ policy, which has seen so much war and has created so much division.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer made little effort to hide his liberal viewpoint during an interview of Scott McClellan on Friday’s "The Situation Room." After asking the former White House Press Secretary about his "revival" of the question of whether President Bush used cocaine as a young man, the CNN host followed-up by asking, "I guess the question is, is the President -- this is a blunt question -- in your opinion, a serial liar?"
Earlier in the interview, which began 12 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer addressed the issue of supposed "war crimes" related to the Iraq war. First, Blitzer played a video question from a viewer who asked McClellan, "Would you now consider testifying about your colleagues at a war crimes trial?" After listening to McClellan’s answer, Blitzer replied, "Knowing what you know now, do you believe war crimes, as this I-reporter suggests, were in fact committed?"
Prior to the airing of the video question, the on-screen graphic hinted at what was going to be asked: "‘Propaganda’ on Iraq: Were Crimes Committed?"
CNN’s John Roberts wasted no time to herald Scott McClellan’s "revelation" on how the Bush administration supposedly used "propaganda" to push the Iraq war. After reading an excerpt from McClellan’s book on the issue, Roberts responded, "He finally articulates what we all came to believe... and further goes on to say that this war was unnecessary."
Roberts, who, during McClellan’s time as White House Press Secretary, was the White House Correspondent for CBS, made the comment during an interview of the Politico’s Mike Allen, who broke the McClellan story on Tuesday. Allen, like Roberts, was a White House correspondent during McClellan’s time as Press Secretary, first for the Washington Post, and then for Time magazine.
Allen, in reaction to Roberts’s commentary on McClellan, replied, "Well, John, I think that's right, that these aren't particularly novel observations." He continued that McClellan "has put on a new hat. He's put on a historian's hat. He's not an administration flack anymore...."
"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism. It's been the most unpopular and controversial war." When the former mayor challenged this statement as her opinion, Phillips became rather defensive. "Oh, I’m not saying that. No, no, no, I'm not voicing my opinion.... I'm voicing what's out there. I’m voicing the realities" [audio available here].
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during a discussion of President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East on Monday’s "American Morning," cited her discussion with unnamed "analysts and experts," and concluded " it's hard to discern any evidence of any success on this trip whatsoever." "American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips, following-up to Amanpour’s analysis, remarked, "Well, critics have come forward and said, okay, whether it's his policies in Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he's failed everywhere."
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."