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November 30, 2005
CLIPS: Radio host Smerconish: Educating women means "they're not going to be around to instill these lessons in their kids"
On the November 23 edition of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, guest host Michael Smerconish interviewed Soo Kim Abboud, author of Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers -- and How You Can Too (Penguin, 2005). Smerconish asserted that "if everyone follows Dr. Abboud's prescription ... you're going to have women who will leave the home and now get a great-paying job, because you will have gotten them well educated." He continued, "But then they're not going to be around to instill these lessons in their kids. In other words, it occurs to me that perhaps you've provided a prescription to bring this great success to an end."
From the November 23 edition of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
SMERCONISH: By the way, this is Dr. Soo Kim Abboud, and the book is called Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers -- and How You Can Too. One final question: It occurs to me that if everyone follows Dr. Abboud's prescription, right, would we all crank out these high achievers? You're going to have women who will leave the home and now get a great-paying job because you will have gotten them well educated --
SMERCONISH: But then they're not going to be around to instill these lessons in their kids. In other words, it occurs to me that perhaps you've provided a prescription to bring this great success to an end.
The November 28 edition of Scarborough Country presented a skewed panel to discuss the media leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and the recent revelation of the CIA's alleged secret prisons in Eastern Europe. The group consisted of host and former Republican Rep. Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, and Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III, each of whom made false or misleading claims.
Writing in a November 28 post on the weblog TPMCafe, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson reported that he had been "contacted by an MSNBC booker" to appear on that evening's edition of Scarborough Country, but was ultimately not invited to appear on the program. In recent weeks, Johnson has written about and discussed those topics and would presumably have addressed the numerous dubious claims made by Scarborough and his guests.
For example, Scarborough twice claimed that it was "a liberal who hates this war" who "leaked the existence" of the secret prisons. No one offered a contrary view. But in his TPMCafe post, written before Scarborough Country aired, Johnson wrote: "[T]he leak to [Washington Post staff writer] Dana Priest came in part from CIA officers who were concerned that the effort by the Vice President and [CIA] Director [Porter] Goss to allow a torture loophole would discredit and destroy the CIA's future effectiveness." On November 2, Priest first broke the story of the secret prisons.
Similarly, Johnson would have likely challenged Carlson on his claim that "the CIA in fact did an internal assessment of the damage done" by outing Plame and "found not very much at all." Appearing on the October 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Johnson told host Wolf Blitzer that while the CIA has "not delivered any written report to Congress," he had heard that the CIA's "postmortem" determined that "serious damage did occur":
BLITZER: I think what everyone wants to know is, was there serious damage done to U.S. national security? And I have been trying to find out if the CIA actually did a postmortem, a damage assessment. You have been looking into that as well.
JOHNSON: Now, CIA did a postmortem. There's no way that they could not have. They have not delivered any written report to Congress, to the House or Senate Intelligence Committees. But what they had done with this report, they had to do it internally.
BLITZER: Do you know whether or not they concluded that serious damage did occur?
JOHNSON: I have heard that serious damage did occur.
BLITZER: In terms of lives lost, agents, foreign agents, U.S. allies?
JOHNSON: To that extent, I don't know. But what I do know for certain is, we're not just talking about Valerie Plame. We're talking about an intelligence resource, a United States national security resource that was destroyed by these White House officials that went out and started talking to the press about this. Reckless. And they have -- they have harmed the security of this country. They're trying to pretend no harm, no foul, and find lots of excuses.
When Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, on the October 27 edition of CNN's Larry King Live, made the same claim as Carlson -- that a CIA internal investigation had concluded that little or no damage resulted from the disclosure of Plame's identity -- Media Matters for America noted that his assertion was contradicted by an October 29 Post report that the CIA had not performed a formal damage assessment, which the Post reported is not typically done until the conclusion of legal proceedings. In addition, according to a report by CNN national security correspondent David Ensor on the October 25 edition of The Situation Room, the CIA has in fact conducted an initial examination of the leak and determined that it had damaged intelligence operations:
BLITZER: I know you've been looking into this question. The CIA -- does the CIA believe that there was damage done to U.S. national security as a result of Valerie Plame Wilson's name being leaked?
ENSOR: I'm told that in the day when it was leaked, there was a quick look done, as there routinely would be, at whether there was damage. Officials simply won't go into the details. But I did speak to one official who said, yes, there was damage. This woman had a long career. And she was posing as someone else. And all those people who saw her now know she wasn't the person they thought they were dealing with. So there was damage, yes.
For his part, Bozell contradicted himself on whether the secret prisons leak was significant. After stating that the leak about the prisons wasn't a real "story" because we already knew "since the beginning of this war" that "these places existed," Bozell argued that the leak was "far more serious" than the Plame leak, and bemoaned the "deafening silence" of the media for not sufficiently covering the prison story.
Next, Bozell chastised former President Jimmy Carter for suggesting that the revelation about the secret prisons was "a story detailing the corruption and the torture of the CIA, when none of that was reported at all in the story." In fact, Priest wrote in her November 2 Post article that CIA interrogators in such overseas prison facilities are legally permitted to use interrogation techniques that would otherwise violate international statutes on torture:
Host countries have signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as has the United States. Yet CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning.
As the Scarborough Country segment was coming to a close, Bozell issued one more oft-repeated conservative talking point: that a since-retracted Newsweek article in May (which alleged that U.S. interrogators had flushed a Quran down a toilet at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba) had caused widespread violence in the Arab world. But as Media Matters for America has noted, that claim was disputed by Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said that the violence in question was "not at all tied to the article in the magazine," and by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who said that the violent demonstrations were "not related to the Newsweek story."
From the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
SCARBOROUGH: [F]irst, Brent, we have been bombarded, bombarded for months, for years, regarding the CIA leak investigation on a desk jockey in Langley [CIA headquarters]. And, yet, when you have somebody, a liberal, I'm sure, that hates this anti-terror program in Eastern Europe, what kind of response do we get from the media?
BOZELL: It's just remarkable. You know, the Valerie Plame story broke when it was revealed that the CIA had referred the matter over to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation. That was, what, a couple weeks after Bob Novak's story, whenever it was. Then everything exploded. And since September of '03, it has been Valerie Plame all day long, as far as the media were concerned, because they thought it was such a egregious act and such a violation of a CIA operative's covert identity.
Now you have got this case where The Washington Post runs another leak story about prisons around the world. And, by the way, let me stop for just a second. Since when was that a story? Haven't we heard since the beginning of this war that Al Qaeda and even Saddam Hussein himself were being held in undisclosed locations outside of Iraq? We know these places existed. But, anyway, the story comes out, OK, there are prisons around the world, CIA prisons around the world. That's not the point. The point is, it was another leak. Now the CIA turns around and refers this again to the Justice Department for another criminal investigation, because this one is far more serious. The head of the Senate, the speaker of the House, [J. Dennis] Hastert [R-IL], the majority leader of the Senate, also called for their various -- their two houses to conduct investigations into this. And you know what? There is just deafening silence from the press.
CARLSON: Look, I think both leaks are defensible. I like leaks. I want to know what my government is doing. I don't necessarily trust my government. I'm helping to pay for it. I think I have a right to know. So, I'm not against leaks. And the reporter who wrote this piece, Dana Priest, is a terrific journalist. And I'm glad I got to read the story. The point is one of logic and standards. And if you're going to make all this noise about the Valerie Plame leak being damaging to national security -- and, incidentally, there is evidence that it wasn't -- the CIA in fact did an internal assessment of the damage done and found not very much at all.
BOZELL: But even this story didn't talk about anything wrong. The only person who didn't understand that was, by the way, Jimmy Carter, who referred to this when it broke as a story detailing the corruption and the torture of the CIA, when none of that was reported at all in the story.
SCARBOROUGH: Here, you have now the head of the EU [European Union] talking about punishing countries that stuck their neck out on the line to support the United States in our war against terror. They are now going to be punished because some liberal -- and it is a liberal who hates this war, I'm sure -- some liberal leaked the existence of this program. And because they help us, they are now going to be punished. Doesn't that send a chilling, chilling message to other allies: Don't step out and don't stick your neck out for the United States of America, because it's going to get chopped off by a leak?
BOZELL: [T]he second point that needs to be made -- and no one is talking about this one -- where is the responsibility of The Washington Post? You know, when Newsweek ran a story about flushing Qurans down the toilet, and it turned out to be false, look at the mayhem and the death -- the death -- that story caused.
CLIPS: O'Reilly: "We will expose those media which pass along the vicious personal attacks" of "far-left smear sites"
During the November 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly decried what he described as the abandonment of the phrase "Merry Christmas" and called for "a coalition of the willing to fight against this secular movement." He accused financiers George Soros and Peter Lewis of being "the money men behind the secular curtain," because they "have financed a number of websites which routinely attack those with whom they disagree in the most vile ways." O'Reilly then threatened to "expose those media which pass along the vicious personal attacks." He predicted that "[t]he defamation pipeline that has been cleverly devised will collapse," and then stated, "This is what the culture war is all about."
O'Reilly made a similar threat in the wake of Media Matters for America's exposure of his remarks regarding the city of San Francisco. In discussing a resolution San Francisco voters passed on November 8 to discourage military recruitment on campuses of public schools and colleges, O'Reilly said: "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead." In response to the firestorm of protest against these comments, O'Reilly blamed "far-left smear websites" and "Internet guttersnipes" for reporting his statements. He stated: "[H]ere's what I'm going to do, ladies and gentlemen, every minion that does that, every one is going to be exposed on The Radio Factor, the television Factor, and on our website, BillOReilly.com. Every one who carries their water, I'm going to put their face up there, their name up there, and tell you exactly what they're doing. So you know in your town who's doing it."
Following up on his threat, O'Reilly has posted on his website a list of "media operations [that] have regularly helped distribute defamation and false information supplied by far left websites."
From the November 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: It is now time to draw the line, ladies and gentlemen. We must decide whether we value our heritage or not. Make no mistake about this. Merry Christmas is an emotional, but small, issue. The drastic change the secular progressive movement wants in this country is the big issue.
Those people want an America free from spirituality and judgments about personal behavior. And they may get it.
So "Talking Points" is putting together a coalition of the willing to fight against this secular movement. George Soros and Peter Lewis, the money men behind the secular curtain, have financed a number of websites which routinely attack those with whom they disagree in the most vile ways.
Most mainstream media avoid the far-left smear sites, but some help them. In the coming weeks, we will expose those media which pass along the vicious personal attacks.
We've already listed some of them on billoreilly.com. And we hope you steer clear of those organizations.
If traditional America rises up and punishes the mainstream media, which furthers the cause of Soros and the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], they will lose. The defamation pipeline that has been cleverly devised will collapse. If Christmas in America can be marginalized, any tradition can be, including marriage and the way you raise your kids. This is what the culture war is all about.
Over the course of a November 28 ABC World News Tonight segment on Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-CA) November 28 resignation from Congress after he pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from defense contractors, neither ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross nor anchor Elizabeth Vargas mentioned that Cunningham was a Republican. The only party identification ABC offered during the nearly three-minute report was four seconds of on-screen text that included "(R) California" underneath Cunningham's name. Because the Cunningham scandal is the latest in a series of ethics investigations concerning Republican political figures, his party affiliation is particularly relevant.
Throughout the otherwise hard-hitting World News Tonight report, Ross and Vargas described Cunningham merely as a "congressman from California" and "a powerful figure in Washington" (Cunningham held a position on the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee for defense and was the chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism and human intelligence.) During a video clip of Cunningham's statement to the press, ABC's on-screen text identified him as a Republican:
Cunningham's guilty plea follows an admission in an unrelated case by lobbyist Michael Scanlon, who pleaded guilty on November 21 to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials. Scanlon is a former aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who stepped down from his leadership post after being indicted for money-laundering and conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance law. According to a November 22 New York Times article, the federal investigation into the alleged defrauding of Indian casinos by Scanlon and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff may expand to members of Congress, such as House Administration Committee chairman Bob Ney (R-OH), who was reportedly identified (though not by name) in court papers regarding the case. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements in the investigation into the alleged outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is also under investigation by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission for initiating the sale of stock in HCA Inc., a hospital chain founded by his family, shortly before a weak earnings report caused the company's share price to plummet.
During the November 28 "Talking Points Memo" segment of his Fox News show, The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly decried those who avoid using the holiday greeting "Merry Christmas": "Anyone offended by the words 'Merry Christmas' has problems not even St. Nicholas could solve." He further asserted: "Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born."
From the November 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: What's happened is frightening. A legal assault by the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] combined with the media that blatantly promotes secularism has succeeded in convincing some Americans that the words 'Merry Christmas' are inappropriate while celebrating the national holiday of Christmas.
This, of course, is nuts. Anyone offended by the words 'Merry Christmas' has problems not even St. Nicholas could solve.
Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable; more than enough reason for businesses to be screaming Merry Christmas.
On the November 27 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asked Sen. John Warner (R-VA) if he "believe[d], in all honesty, that the administration took the very best spin they could get in order to help buttress or support the case for war." Citing the Bush family's "integrity and public service," Warner responded: "Our president would not intentionally take any facts and try to mislead the American public, in my judgment." But rather than challenge Warner's non-answer by pointing to mounting evidence indicating the Bush administration did intentionally withhold or distort intelligence, Russert instead grilled Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE) on his vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq.
From the November 27 Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: Senator Warner, take the aluminum tubes that the administration talked about in terms of --
RUSSERT: -- being used for nuclear weapon development. The State Department was very, very clear about that; the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Department of Energy. And in the National Intelligence Estimate, there was a caveat which said, "We don't believe these tubes could be used for anything like that." Do you believe, in all honesty, that the administration took the very best spin on intelligence they could get in order to help buttress or support the case for war?
WARNER: You know, I've known the president quite well. I knew his father well. I actually knew his grandfather, met him. You remember, he served on the --
BIDEN: I only know the father and the --
WARNER: Well, anyway, the grandfather served on the Armed Services Committee as a senator. That's a family that's been known for its integrity and public service for generations. Our president would not intentionally take any facts and try and mislead the American public, in my judgment. What was before all leaders of the world at that time were facts that gave rise to the -- Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and some potential for nuclear weapons. When we went in, in '91, we underestimated how far he had proceeded in his programs. Now, we recognize he didn't have them, but he certainly had the infrastructure to which he was going to direct moneys, if he ever got it, to go back into the business of weapons of mass destruction, had not this invasion taken place.
Russert, however, failed to press Warner on the aluminum tube issue, in spite of evidence indicating President Bush may have intentionally distorted or withheld intelligence. The Senate Intelligence Committee and the Iraq Survey Group both concluded that aluminum tubes sought by Saddam Hussein were likely intended for use in a conventional rocket program and not in uranium centrifuges, as Bush and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed in 2003. Specifically, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that "the information available to the Intelligence Community indicated that these tubes were intended to be used for an Iraqi conventional rocket program and not a nuclear program." In his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush touted Saddam's pursuit of aluminum tubes, along with since-discredited reports of Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger, as evidence of an emerging Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
Also, in a November 22 National Journal article, journalist Murray Waas revealed that 10 days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Bush "was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda." A recently declassified 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document, released by the office of Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), indicates that the White House and the National Security Council were likely aware that DIA questioned the reliability of claims made by Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi -- an Al Qaeda operative captured in November 2001 -- that Al Qaeda had received chemical and biological weapons training from Iraq. In 2003, Bush and Powell touted al-Libi's claims as evidence of a supposed link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Bush often asserted a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda as justification for the invasion of Iraq, reportedly referencing al-Libi's claims in making that connection.
Russert might also have noted other evidence that Bush administration officials may have deliberately twisted or withheld intelligence and might also have asked Warner to comment on whether he believed Bush had access to the intelligence his subordinates were touting. Vice President Dick Cheney often referred to a supposed meeting between 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague, Czech Republic, as evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, even though, as The New York Times reported on October 21, 2002, Czech president Vaclav Havel "quietly told the White House he has concluded that there is no evidence to confirm earlier reports that Mohamed Atta, the leader in the Sept. 11 attacks, met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague." The 9-11 Commission concluded in 2004 that the Prague meeting never occurred. According to an October 3, 2004, New York Times article, experts at the Energy Department believed the disputed aluminum tubes "were likely intended for small artillery rockets." They had conveyed their assessment to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice almost a year before she appeared on CNN's Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer and said the tubes were ''only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." Also, the administration's declassified version of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate omitted a number of crucial dissenting views and caveats that undercut the certainty with which administration officials were presenting disputed pieces of intelligence.
Biden responded to Warner's answer by explaining how the administration may have "misled" regarding the aluminum tubes and referred specifically to Rice's CNN appearance:
BIDEN: Tim, I'm not talking about the president. Let's get that straight. We're talking about Cheney when I said they lied. Let's -- let --
RUSSERT: You said the president misled.
BIDEN: Yeah, misled. Now, here, let me be precise. Aluminum tubes -- remember that whole issue? Casey [sic: Cheney] said the tubes were "irrefutable evidence" of their nuclear policy. Rice said they were "really only suited for nuclear weapons programs." And Bush said there was "no doubt" about this. In fact, the Energy Department expert said, as you pointed out, the tube -- they were not for nuclear. The Intelligence Research Bureau agreed and said, "no compelling case that Iraq's currently pursuing an integrated, comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons." This is in 10/02. Now, this is evidence they had at the time. Yet they used words like "The weapons program is irrefutable."
Instead of pressing Warner using the mounting evidence, or even asking Warner to respond to Biden's explanation of how the administration may have taken "the very best spin" on the aluminum tubes to further the cause for war, Russert shifted his focus to Biden, whom he pressured to explain why he voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq:
RUSSERT: But, Senator, when you read the National Intelligence Estimate, at least the summary of it, it had a caveat in there from the State Department and the Department of Energy saying they did not believe the --
BIDEN: After the fact, Tim. Look, look --
RUSSERT: This was made available to senators before the vote. Only six read it.
BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no, no. That's true, that was before the vote.
RUSSERT: But you saw --
BIDEN: That was before the vote.
RUSSERT: You saw that information and you still voted for the war.
BIDEN: But remember -- no, remember what I voted for was for the president to be able to go to war, if, if -- I've got the resolution here -- if, in fact, it was to enforce the existing breaches that existed in the U.N. [United Nations] resolution, and if he could show there were weapons of mass destruction.
RUSSERT: Do you believe the Democrats and you were diligent enough in reading that National Intelligence Estimate and all the caveats and calling the president to task as to whether or not he was being candid about the intelligence and his interpretation?
BIDEN: Yes. And if I -- I'll leave with you because there's no time here all the statements I made at the time laying out my doubts about their assertions. But remember what the resolution said, Tim, it didn't say "go to war." It said, "Mr. President, if you can show these things, then you can use force."
NY Times article suggested that many pro-choice Democratic politicians are "afraid to be seen in church"
In a November 27 New York Times article, reporter Timothy Egan claimed: "In the Rocky Mountain West, where Democrats made their only real gains in last year's general election, the governors favor abortion rights, but are not afraid to be seen in church."
In fact, many Democratic politicians who "favor abortion rights" but do not represent Western states are also "not afraid to be seen" in houses of worship. Some examples include former President Bill Clinton (here and here), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Virginia Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD).
First O'Donnell, now Matthews: "Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs"
On the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews said: "Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left," adding, "I mean, like him personally." In fact, polling data reveals that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of President Bush, and his overall approval ratings hover from the high 30-percent range to the low 40s.
From the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
MATTHEWS: I like him. Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left -- I mean -- like him personally.
As Media Matters for America previously reported, MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell made a similarly unsupported statement on the November 27 broadcast of MSNBC's The Chris Matthews Show, claiming that Bush has retained his "authenticity" with the public.
One day after Ann Coulter wrote a column examining Rep. John P. Murtha's (D-PA) proposal to end military engagement in Iraq, she appeared on the November 25 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to comment on it. In her November 24 syndicated column, she claimed, "There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats' behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle." She also falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein sought "enriched uranium from Niger."
Coulter concluded the November 24 column with the following analysis of "Democrats' behavior":
The Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy for no purpose other than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats' behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle.
They fill the airwaves with treason, but when called to vote on withdrawing troops, disavow their own public statements. These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors.
In her Lou Dobbs Tonight appearance (which was guest-hosted by correspondent Christine Romans), Coulter said: "I'm not only tired of the Democrats, I'm tired of anyone to the left of [Rep.] Jean Schmidt [R-OH] at this point." In a November 18 speech in the floor of the House on a Republican resolution to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- a resolution that followed a withdrawal plan proposed by Murtha -- Schmidt stated that an Ohio politician wanted "to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do." That politician, Danny Bubp, now denies ever saying that.
Coulter has in the past expressed similar controversial views: In August 2005, she stated her belief that New Yorkers "would immediately surrender" if terrorists invaded their city; in February 2005, she accused the Democratic Party of "support[ing] killing, lying, adultery, thievery, envy"; in January 2005, she labeled Bill Clinton "a very good rapist"; and in November 2004, she reminded Canada that it is "lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
Coulter's claim that Hussein solicited uranium from Niger has already been widely discredited. The Senate Intelligence Committee 2004's "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq" indicated that there was no uranium deal in the works between Iraq and Niger and that Iraqi inquiries about a possible uranium purchase remain speculative. As Media Matters for America has reported, even national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley [The New York Times, 7/23/03] and former CIA chief George Tenet (in a public statement) have conceded that the now-infamous "16 words" ("the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") should have been removed from President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.
Media Matters has also debunked, on several different occasions, a series of Coulter's claims on a wide range of topics: in October 2005, when she falsely accused Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) co-author and University of Chicago professor Steven Levitt of "defending" Roe v. Wade; in September 2005, when she peddled numerous falsehoods about Hurricane Katrina, and falsely suggested that an Arizona daily newspaper dropped her column to "keep conservatives out"; in August 2005, when she erroneously stated that a "majority of Hispanics" voted for California's Proposition 187; and in March 2005, when she falsely accused The New York Times of outing certain children of notable conservatives.
Coulter's particular brand of right-wing vitriol has led numerous other media outlets to dissociate themselves from her. MSNBC fired Coulter in 1997 after she insulted a Vietnam veteran while both were on the air. National Review dropped her column in 2001 after she suggested, in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, that the United States "invade their [terrorists'] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." USA Today did the same in 2004 after hiring her to provide conservative commentary from the Democratic National Convention, which she labeled the "Spawn of Satan Convention."
Nonetheless, CNN continues to invite Coulter to appear on its various programs. Since 2004, she has appeared on the network on 10 occasions, including the November 25 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight.
Fox News, MSNBC devoted scant coverage to initial aftermath of Rep. Cunningham's guilty pleas, resignation
In the hours after Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and tax evasion and subsequently announced his resignation from the House of Representatives, Fox News and MSNBC devoted scant coverage to the unfolding story. A Media Matters for America review of the first four hours of the three cable news networks' coverage following Cunningham's pleas and resignation revealed that Fox News was the last to cover the story, mentioned it the fewest times, and devoted the least time to the story. MSNBC also offered limited coverage, reporting on the resignation only twice.
Cunningham entered his plea early in the afternoon and announced his resignation at a press conference held during the 2 p.m. hour. From 1 to 5 p.m. ET, CNN reported on the story five times, at least once per hour (1:49 p.m., 2:25 p.m., 3:31 p.m., 4:15 p.m., and 4:35 p.m.) for a total of 17 minutes of coverage. MSNBC reported on the story twice (at 2:32 p.m. and 3:16 p.m.) for a total of four minutes. Fox News covered the story only once (at 3:38 p.m.) for a total of three minutes.
Prior to his resignation, Cunningham sat on the House Appropriations Committee, occupying a position on the committee's Defense subcommittee. He pleaded guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for helping defense contractor MZM Inc. secure Department of Defense contracts.
While appearing as a panelist on Fox News' Fox News Watch, political analyst and Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton falsely claimed that former CBS producer Mary Mapes worked for Sen. John F. Kerry's (D-MA) 2004 presidential campaign. Mapes was fired from CBS over her role in the controversial 60 Minutes Wednesday report that presented unauthenticated documents as evidence that President Bush received preferential treatment during his tenure with the Texas Air National Guard. Pinkerton awarded his Fox News Watch "Turkey Award," in which panelists "name the biggest turkeys in the media," to Mapes, stating, "This year, she's written a book in which she makes her case [that the 60 Minutes National Guard story was accurate] once again, forgetting the fact that she'd worked for the Kerry campaign -- leaving that part out." In fact, there is no record of Mapes ever having worked for the Kerry campaign.
Mapes joined CBS in 1989 and worked there until January 20, 2005. From 1999 until her termination, she was Dan Rather's producer for 60 Minutes Wednesday (also known as 60 Minutes II). Mapes has since authored a book titled Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power (St. Martin's Press, November 2005) about her time with CBS. Media Matters for America found no evidence that she was ever employed by the Kerry campaign.
On September 8, 2004, CBS's 60 Minutes Wednesday aired an investigative report -- for which Mapes was the producer -- into whether President Bush received preferential treatment while serving in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Among other sources, the report relied on disputed documents purportedly written by Bush's squadron commander, Col. Jerry Killian, which raised questions into Bush's fulfillment of his military duties at the time. The documents alleged that Bush violated a direct order from his superior by failing to report to an ordered physical exam and that Killian was facing pressure from his superiors to "sugar coat" Bush's records. The documents came under immediate fire from conservatives who alleged they were forged. An independent investigation into the story, which resulted in Mapes's firing after its release, found that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece; the report noted evidence challenging the documents' authenticity, but offered no conclusion about whether the documents were forgeries.
While there is no evidence that Mapes ever worked for the Kerry campaign, she reportedly arranged a phone call between Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign senior adviser Joe Lockhart and former National Guardsman Bill Burkett, who reportedly provided CBS with the disputed National Guard memos; Mapes said she arranged the call as a way to "gain favor" with Burkett. The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign claimed that the phone call showed "coordination" between the Kerry-Edwards campaign and 60 Minutes. Both Lockhart and Burkett have denied discussing the documents during their phone call, claiming they discussed strategy in responding to attacks on Kerry's military service by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
From the November 26 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch, hosted by Eric Burns:
ANNOUNCER: Now that you've finished your Thanksgiving bird, it's time to name the biggest turkeys in the media. The Fox News Watch Turkey Awards are next.
BURNS: And now, in honor of both the holiday just passed and the lapses of journalists at all times, Fox News Watch proudly -- I wonder if "proudly" should be there; well, let's see -- proudly presents the Fox News Watch Turkey Awards. Jim Pinkerton presents the first one.
PINKERTON: Well, my -- my turkey is Mary Mapes, who was responsible for the disastrous and wrong CBS special last year. This year --
BURNS: About Memogate.
PINKERTON: About Memogate.
BURNS: She was the producer.
PINKERTON: This year, she's written a book in which she makes her case once again, forgetting the fact that she'd worked for the Kerry campaign -- leaving that part out. Don't take my word for it. Redstate.org compared her to the Symbionese Liberation Army in terms of her craziness. The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, the American Journalism Review have all slammed her big time. But the most compelling proof that she's a turkey of turkeys is in her own book. She reveals an acronym that I had never heard: FEA. And it stands for F-apostrophe-E-M All. F'em all. That's what she thinks -- and that's what she and Rather would say to each other just before a show. That's what they really think about us out there in journalism viewerland. And that makes her not only a turkey, but a bad person.
BURNS: She's trying to get fired up to go on the air. Did she really do that? That's a -- wow. Obviously my ignorance. I haven't read the book.
On the November 27 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, Washington Post national political correspondent David S. Broder and Post associate editor and opinion columnist Eugene Robinson said that Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward's conduct in the Valerie Plame controversy has caused "[c]onsternation" at the Post. Woodward waited until October 2005 to disclose to Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. that a senior Bush administration official had told Woodward in June 2003 that Plame, the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, worked at the CIA. In discussing the "consternation" Woodward had caused at the Post, Broder also mentioned media appearances in which Woodward repeatedly criticized special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald and his inquiry into the Plame case, without disclosing his own involvement in the case.
On November 14, Woodward testified under oath that an administration official divulged Plame's identity to him in a conversation a month before syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak reported in his July 14, 2003, column that she was a CIA operative.
From the November 27 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press:
TIM RUSSERT (host): Let me turn to the CIA leak investigation. Time magazine reports that Viveca Novak of Time magazine has now been subpoenaed to testify. David Broder, Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, as you know, has testified before the, before Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel. What's going on at the Post, in light of that?
BRODER: Consternation, to be honest with you. I think none of us can really understand Bob's silence for two years about his own role in the case. He's explained it by saying he did not want to become involved and did not want to face a subpoena, but he left his editor, our editor, blindsided for two years, and he went out and talked disparagingly about the significance of the investigation without disclosing his role in it. Those are hard things to reconcile.
RUSSERT: Gene Robinson?
ROBINSON: I agree with David. Consternation, a certain amount of embarrassment. And, and, you know, the fact that we can't understand why Bob did what he did. You know, I think that's a very interesting question in this whole incident about confidential sources, about access, about the tradeoffs that we all make for access in granting anonymity to sources. And, you know, I think that's going to continue. I think people are looking at us skeptically.
NY Times repeated false claim that Hastert "simultaneously" praised Murtha while criticizing his proposal for Iraq withdrawal
A November 28 New York Times article by reporter Carl Hulse cited a false claim by a spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL): that Hastert "expressed his strong respect" for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) "while simultaneously differing" with Murtha's call for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. In fact, the two events were not simultaneous. Hastert initially responded to Murtha's proposal on November 17 by accusing Murtha of "prefer[ring] that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans." It was only a week later, on November 23, that Hastert praised Murtha as "a good man" while maintaining that he "disagreed" with Murtha's proposal.
The article marked at least the second time in less than a week that the Times mischaracterized -- or outright ignored -- a prominent Republican's dramatic change in tone toward Murtha, from initial attacks to praise.
Reporting that Hastert objected to Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) claim that Hastert had labeled Murtha a "coward," Hulse noted that Hastert had issued a written statement that "said that America 'must not cower' in fighting the war on terror and that Mr. Murtha and other Democrats 'want us to wave the white flag of surrender.' " Hulse then quoted Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean's claim that Hastert "expressed his strong respect for the Democratic lawmaker while simultaneously differing on Iraq policy" and noted that Hastert "wrote last week" that Murtha is "a good man."
But by uncritically reporting Bonjean's false assertion that Hastert's praise of Murtha and criticism of Murtha's resolution calling for withdrawal from Iraq were "simultaneous," Hulse ignored Hastert's abrupt shift in tone in discussing Murtha. In fact, Hastert initially responded to Murtha's resolution with an attack-laden November 17 statement, which was posted by Bonjean to the Speaker of the House's weblog:
I am saddened by the comments made today by Rep. Murtha. It is clear that as Nancy Pelosi's top lieutenant on armed services, Rep. Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the President is on foreign soil.
Rep. Murtha and other Democrats want us to retreat. They want us to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world. It is unfortunate that this is all politics all the time. We need to have a strong consistent policy that will protect our men and women who are fighting to protect us overseas. We must not cower like European nations who are now fighting terrorists on their soil. This is the highest insult to the brave men and women serving overseas.
I have known John Murtha to be a long-term veteran of this institution. He has stood up for our troops and has helped to provide them with the right equipment to do their job. We all saw the same pained faces among Americans when terrorists slammed into the Twin Towers. Did he see the faces the rest of America saw when terrorists plowed into the Pentagon or when the plane that was headed for a Washington target went down in Pennsylvania? I saw the faces that day, and, Mr. Murtha, that was no illusion.
A week later, in a November 23 statement, Hastert softened his rhetoric towards Murtha, emphasizing that he "has the utmost respect" for Murtha even though he "disagreed with the pull out plan he [Murtha] announced last week":
As you know, last week, we rejected a resolution to withdraw troops from Iraq immediately. It was the right thing to do. I have said all along that I think we need to win in Iraq. We are winning. Progress is being made. The Iraqis now have a constitution and they are about to elect a government with participation by voters from all factions. We've got to stay on the offensive against these terrorists. None of us wants to see this fight occur here on U.S. soil.
But that said, I need everyone to understand that I have known Congressman (John) Murtha a long time. He's a good man. I have the utmost respect for him. In fact, I'm pretty sure he knows that. I disagreed with the pull out plan he announced last week.
Hastert's about-face from his previous attacks on Murtha recall a similar move by the White House, which the Times also ignored. As Media Matters for America has noted, a November 22 Times article quoted Vice President Dick Cheney commending Murtha as "a good man, a marine, a patriot" but omitted any reference to the Bush administration's initial assessment that Murtha was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."
From the November 28 Times article titled "Hastert Disputes Comments Kerry Made During Political Appeal":
"Dennis Hastert -- the speaker of the House who never served -- accused Jack Murtha of being a coward," Mr. Kerry said as he listed Republican attacks on Mr. Murtha.
[Kerry spokeswoman Jenny] Backus said that comment was based on news reports and the general tone of an initial statement released by the office of Mr. Hastert, Republican of Illinois. It said that America "must not cower" in fighting the war on terror and that Mr. Murtha and other Democrats "want us to wave the white flag of surrender."
But Mr. Bonjean noted that Mr. Hastert did not use the term directly about Mr. Murtha and expressed his strong respect for the Democratic lawmaker while simultaneously differing on Iraq policy. In his blog, Mr. Hastert wrote last week: "I need everyone to understand that I have known Congressman Murtha a long time. He's a good man."
On the November 27 broadcast of NBC's syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, nearly half of the Matthews Meter -- a group of 12 journalists and commentators host Chris Matthews polls weekly on current political questions -- declared the 2008 presidential election decided, three years before any votes have been cast. Five of the 12 journalists and pundits polled said that if Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wins the Republican Party nomination, he will "inevitably" win the election, regardless of whom the Democrats nominate. The show did not disclose the identities of those who declared McCain unbeatable.
Matthews posed the following question to his panel of regular guests: "If McCain wins the nomination, will he inevitably win the general election, no matter who the Democrats run against him?" Despite the fact that Matthews found the five "yes" replies "surprising," he did not say, or indicate in the accompanying Meter graphic, which of the 12 members stated that McCain would prove unbeatable in 2008.
Two members of the Meter who voted in the poll -- MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell and BBC News host Katty Kay -- were also guests on the November 27 broadcast during which Matthews revealed the Meter poll's results. After revealing the results, Matthews initiated a discussion of possible nominees for the 2008 elections with O'Donnell and Kay. He did not indicate which way either voted, and did not ask for their opinion on the poll itself. However, later during the broadcast, Matthews asked his four guests, "Who's the most likely nominee in the Republican Party next time?" Three out of four -- including Kay, Time magazine Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy, and Washington Post columnist Terry M. Neal -- said McCain would be the nominee; O'Donnell picked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."
The 12 Matthews Meter members are:
Gloria Borger, CBS News contributor and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor
Campbell Brown, NBC News correspondent
Tucker Carlson, MSNBC host
Sam Donaldson, former ABC News anchor
Howard Fineman, Newsweek chief political correspondent
Paul Gigot, Wall Street Journal opinion page editor
David Gregory, NBC News chief White House correspondent
Katty Kay, BBC News host
Joe Klein, Time magazine columnist
Norah O'Donnell, MSNBC chief White House correspondent
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune columnist
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic and commentator
From the November 27 broadcast of NBC's The Chris Matthews Show:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. The great male hope: John McCain wants to be president in 2008. Will it happen? Let's go to the Matthews Meter. Again we asked 12 of our regulars: If McCain wins the nomination, will he inevitably win the general election, no matter who the Democrats run against him? Seven say no, he's beatable. But a surprising five of our regulars say no matter who he opposes in the general election, McCain wins the White House. Question: but can he get the nomination?
MATTHEWS: Who's the most likely nominee in the Republican Party next time?
O'DONNELL: Condi Rice.
Bill O'Reilly's Enemies List is out, and it contains three meager entries. No explanation of why they are enemies, either, which makes it less an Enemies List than an Enemies Bazooka Joe Wrapper.
Bill says -- and this is the sum total of Bill's Enemies List, so far:
The following media operations have regularly helped distribute defamation and false information supplied by far left websites:
Of course, Atrios' commenters point out that the New York Daily News is one of the papers that carries Bill's column. So, you know, don't patronize them, but still read the column. He's not a fanatic about this or anything. [UPDATE - JakeC notes that his column was dropped by the DN and is now carried by the NY Post. Maybe that's a giant clue, eh?]
But Bill is honestly very, very upset. The indespensible George Soros-funded communist plot called Crooks and Liars has some audio from his show today, which they title Bill O'Reilly goes Nuts, and which I would have titled "The Voices Inside Bill O'Reilly's Head Any Damn Day of the Week". Note that in the audio clip, though, he's talking about smiting the enemies of the President, not of Bill O'Reilly, so somebody might have been been faxing talking points to the wrong offices.
Anyway... Honestly, Bill, if it takes you this much research to produce an Enemies List, I think you're doing it wrong. Enemies can't be analyzed, they just "are".
Look, I've got lots and lots of mortal enemies, myself. I can rattle them off without hesitation:
Federalist X finds a WaPo story that defines the difference between true military people like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace and amoral jerks like Donald Rumsfeld. From the WaPo story:
The nation's top military man, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, said American troops in Iraq have a duty to intercede and stop abuse of prisoners by Iraqi security personnel.
. . . When UPI's Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld replied that "obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility" other than to voice disapproval.
But Pace had a different view. "It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it," the general said.
Rumsfeld interjected: "I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it."
But Pace meant what he said. "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it," he said, firmly.
Why do I think highly of our military? Pace demonstrates one of the reasons. Why do I despise BushCo? Rumsfeld also demonstrates one of the reasons.
I'm about to go to bed after Jerome, our editor Safir, and I spent 20 marathon hours trying to finish up the editing of our book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. Alas, we failed. We still have to finish the acknowledgments. And we ran out of steam with a few pages left on the final chapter.
Regardless, it's safe to say it's just about there. And we're actually quite proud with the outcome. Surprisingly, it's not half bad!
I'll be talking about the book more in the coming weeks and months, so it'll be clearer what the book is about. There will be a pre-sale period, and those books will ship out in late February. Otherwise, the book will hit stores in mid-March.
Harry Reid responds:
Just two weeks ago, a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate registered a vote of no confidence in the president's current policy in Iraq. Democrats and Republicans called on the president to change course and release a strategy for success in Iraq with specific benchmarks by which the progress could be measured. Today, President Bush failed to meet this call. Instead, he recycled his tired rhetoric of `stay the course' and once again missed an opportunity to lay out a real strategy for success in Iraq that will bring our troops safely home.
After nearly 1,000 days of war in Iraq, our troops, their families, and the American people deserve more than just a Bush-Cheney public relations campaign. They deserve a clear strategy with military, economic and political measures to be met in order to successfully complete our mission. The president's continued refusal to provide that plan does nothing to support our troops or their families. Simply staying the course is no longer an option, we must change the course. We can do better.
You can look at the little of substance from Bush's speech and demolish it. But I thought it was just more of the same.
Shorter Bush: Stay the Course, into the ditch:
After two-and-a-half years and 2,110 U.S. fatalities, the Bush administration finally released a "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (NSVI). The problem is, it's not a new strategy for success in Iraq, it's a public relations document. The strategy describes what has transpired in Iraq to date as a resounding success and stubbornly refuses to establish any standards for accountability. It dismisses serious problems such as the dramatic increase in bombings as "metrics that the terrorists and insurgents want the world to use." Americans understand it's time for a new course in Iraq. Unfortunately, this document is little more than an extended justification for a President "determined to stay his course."
Mission BEING Accomplished. Delusion. Or worse.
On May 2, 2003, President George W. Bush was flown onto an aircraft carrier which was moved further out to sea to make for better pictures and said:
[M]y fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. . . . And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for General Franks and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done.
. . . With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.
. . . We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.
. . . The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America. By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world.
They have failed.
America and our coalition will finish what we have begun.
From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down Al Qaida killers.
Nineteen months ago I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight nearly one half of Al Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed.
The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding.
And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.
In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
Our war against terror is proceeding according to the principles that I have made clear to all.
Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country and a target of American justice.
Any person, organization or government that supports, protects or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world and will be confronted.
. . . The use of force has been and remains our last resort. Yet all can know, friend and foe alike, that our nation has a mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace.
Our mission continues. Al Qaida is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger.
Count the falsehoods. 31 months later, 160,000 American soldiers remain in Iraq and President Bush today will unveil a "victory strategy" for a "mission accomplished."
I'll consider the "victory strategy" on the flip.Update [2005-11-30 9:4:17 by Armando]: Via Steve Clemons, the "Victory Strategy" itself.
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