USA Today and AP uncritically reported GOP claims that terrorists will "follow us home" after Iraq withdrawal
In a May 3 article, USA Today asserted that just days after President Bush's veto of the $124 billion war funding bill, "Republicans argued that Iraq is an important front in the fight against al-Qaeda militants that began with the Sept. 11, 2001" terrorist attacks. The article then uncritically quoted House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) asking: "Who doesn't believe that if we don't deal with terrorists in Iraq, we will be dealing with them on the streets of America?" Similarly, in a May 1 article on the standoff between Bush and Congress over funding for the Iraq war, the Associated Press uncritically reported the assertion by Matt David, Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) presidential campaign spokesman, that U.S. troop withdrawals from Haiti in 2000 and Somalia in 1994 cannot be compared to the current situation in Iraq because "Haitians and Somalians [sic] do not want to follow us home and attack us on American soil." However, both the USA Today and AP articles did not report, as several news outlets recently have, that security and terrorism experts have challenged the view that terrorists in Iraq will attack Americans inside the United States once U.S. military forces exit Iraq.
USA Today reported that the House failed to override Bush's war funding bill veto but that "Democrats vowed to continue their efforts to end the Iraq war." The article then quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Boehner:
Congressional leaders from both parties predicted quick approval of emergency funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on Wednesday, after the House fell 62 votes short of overriding President Bush's veto of a bill setting a deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Democrats vowed to continue their efforts to end the Iraq war.
"The Congress will not support a permanent commitment to a war without end," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Republicans argued that Iraq is an important front in the fight against al-Qaeda militants that began with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Who doesn't believe that if we don't deal with terrorists in Iraq, we will be dealing with them on the streets of America?" asked House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The May 1 AP article contrasted Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) effort in 1993 to bring U.S. troops home from Somalia with his claim that setting a date certain for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is "like sending a 'memo to our enemies to let them know when they can operate again'":
In 1993, Sen. John McCain led an effort to cut off funds immediately for military operations in Somalia after a firefight in Mogadishu killed 18 U.S. troops. The former prisoner of war in Vietnam brought a hush to the chamber floor when he asked what would happen if Congress failed to act and more Americans died.
"On whose hands rest the blood of American troops? Ask yourself this question," said McCain, R-Ariz.
Congress ultimately agreed to back President Clinton's request to give him until March 1994 to get troops out, with funding denied after that date. In 1999, Congress passed similar legislation prohibiting money spent to keep U.S. troops in Haiti after May 2000.
"When Americans are imperiled, ultimately the president has to bear that responsibility," Clinton said at the time of the Somalia vote.
Now, McCain -- a GOP presidential contender for 2008 -- says setting a date certain on the war in Iraq is like sending a "memo to our enemies to let them know when they can operate again."
The article then uncritically quoted McCain campaign spokesman Matt David claiming that comparing the two conflicts is "intellectually dishonest" because Somalis (whom David labeled "Somalians") were not going to follow U.S. troops home to fight Americans on U.S. soil:
Matt David, McCain's campaign spokesman, said it is "intellectually dishonest" to compare Iraq to Haiti and Somalia because of the volatility now in the Middle East and terrorist threat.
"Haitians and Somalians do not want to follow us home and attack us on American soil," David said in a statement.
Yet, as Media Matters for America has noted, according to an April 6 McClatchy Newspapers article, "[m]ilitary and diplomatic analysts" say that a similar claim Bush has repeatedly made about the Iraq war -- that "this is a war in which, if we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here" -- "exaggerate[s] the threat that the enemy forces in Iraq pose to the U.S. mainland." The article continued: "U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic experts in Bush's own government say the violence in Iraq is primarily a struggle for power between Shiite and Sunni Muslim Iraqis seeking to dominate their society, not a crusade by radical Sunni jihadists bent on carrying the battle to the United States." Moreover, according to a March 18 Washington Post article, "U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts" have said that Al Qaeda in Iraq "poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland," as Media Matters also noted.
In addition, like the McClatchy article, a recent report from National Public Radio's All Things Considered explored Bush's oft-used defense of his Iraq war policy -- "If we do not defeat the terrorists and extremists in Iraq, they won't leave us alone. They will follow us to the United States of America." NPR correspondent David Welna noted that "Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison repeated the president's claim, saying if terrorists are not defeated in Iraq, they will follow U.S. troops home." He added that "Utah Republican Orrin Hatch said the same. So did Arizona Republican John McCain."
Welna then cited experts challenging that claim. He reported that retired Brig. Gen. John H. Johns considers that warning "propaganda" and that, according to Johns, "[i]t's actually leaving American forces in Iraq ... that increases the chances of a terrorist attack on the U.S." Welna also reported that retired Army Lt. Col. James Carafano, a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, "calls asserting that terrorists will follow U.S. troops home naive and poor rhetoric." Welna then featured a clip of Carafano saying: "There's no national security analyst that's really credible who thinks that people are going to come from Iraq and attack the United States -- that that's a credible scenario."
Welna also included a clip of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) arguing that "[w]e've got them pinned down" in Iraq and that the "United States military presence is there, and so, that's kind of where the fight is. And they are where the fight is." Welna then stated that, according to former CIA official Paul Pillar, "that's true," adding: "But only if you assume there's a fixed number of terrorists out there to bedevil the U.S." Pillar was then heard saying:
PILLAR: We are either engaging them or killing them in Iraq, or they're doing something else where we don't have a fixed number, of course. And the longer that we stay engaged in what has become in the eyes of the Islamist jihadists the biggest and foremost jihad, namely Iraq, the more likelihood we will breed even more terrorists.
Welna also reported that, according to Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "the president and his allies are not likely to stop repeating that terrorists will follow us out of Iraq. That's because, for some, it's politically persuasive." Sanderson then said:
SANDERSON: I do think it has the effect of galvanizing support among a percentage of our population, but I think a lot of people won't buy it in the first place. Or number two: assume that we're already in that pipeline of attacks that the terrorists are planning.
From the April 30 edition of NPR's All Things Considered:
MELISSA BLOCK (co-host): During the recent debate over funding the war in Iraq, some of those opposed to a timetable for a troop pullout repeated something President Bush is fond of saying.
BUSH [audio clip]: If we do not defeat the terrorists and extremists in Iraq, they won't leave us alone. They will follow us to the United States of America.
BLOCK: That was the president a couple of weeks ago at the White House. Among experts, however, there's widespread skepticism about that assertion, as NPR's David Welna reports.
[begin audio clip]
WELNA: Shortly before final passage last week of the war spending bill President Bush says he'll veto, West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd [D-WV] rose on the Senate floor. Byrd chided the president for trying, in Byrd's words, to scare the pants off the public by suggesting the bill could lead to death and destruction in America.
BYRD: What utter nonsense. What hogwash.
WELNA: And yet, right after Byrd spoke, Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison repeated the president's claim, saying if terrorists are not defeated in Iraq, they will follow U.S. troops home. Utah Republican Orrin Hatch said the same. So did Arizona Republican John McCain, but in South Carolina, where he'd skipped the vote to campaign for president.
McCAIN: If we withdraw from Iraq, there will be chaos, there will be genocide. They will follow us home and it will be one of the worst challenges America has ever faced as a nation, and we need to see this thing through.
WELNA: Just as McCain fought in Vietnam, so did retired Brigadier General John Johns, a national security expert who helped develop counterinsurgency doctrine there. But Johns considers that "they'll follow us home" warning propaganda. It's actually leaving American forces in Iraq, he says, that increases the chances of a terrorist attack on the U.S.
JOHNS: The longer we stay there, the more we're going to create people who will volunteer to come here.
WELNA: That same point was made in the National Intelligence Estimate released last fall, says Senate Intelligence Committee member and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden.
WYDEN: So, if the administration feels that the real concern here is the prospect of terrorists coming to the United States or anywhere else, you ought to think about the fact that the National Intelligence Estimate is reporting that their policies are the ones creating more terrorists.
WELNA: But it's not only liberals like Wyden who questioned whether a U.S. troop pullout from Iraq would be the trigger of a terrorist attack on the American mainland.
CARAFANO: There's no national security analyst that's really credible who thinks that people are going to come from Iraq and attack the United States -- that that's a credible scenario.
WELNA: That's retired Army Lieutenant Colonel James Carafano, a specialist in international security threats at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Carafano calls asserting that terrorists will follow U.S. troops home naive and poor rhetoric.
CARAFANO: It's not that if the United States leaves Iraq that terrorists are going to come to the United States. The problem is if the United States leaves Iraq, the problems aren't going to go away. The problems then are going to go and fester.
WELNA: Still the president's allies in Congress, such as South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune, insists the Iraq war has kept terrorists at bay.
THUNE: We've got them pinned down. I mean, right now they are -- the United States military presence is there, and so, that's kind of where the fight is. And they are where the fight is.
WELNA: That's true, says Paul Pillar, a former deputy CIA counterterrorism chief who now teaches at Georgetown University. But only if you assume there's a fixed number of terrorists out there to bedevil the U.S.
PILLAR: We are either engaging them or killing them in Iraq, or they're doing something else where we don't have a fixed number, of course. And the longer that we stay engaged in what has become in the eyes of the Islamist jihadists the biggest and foremost jihad, namely Iraq, the more likelihood we will breed even more terrorists.
WELNA: Other experts question whether it's even possible to defeat terrorists in Iraq no matter how long U.S. forces are deployed there. Harvard's Jessica Stern thinks terrorists based there may well pose a threat to the U.S., but she says that's because the invasion of that country beefed up Al Qaeda's mobilization strategy.
JESSICA STERN (lecturer in public policy at Harvard University): I think that we really have created a very dangerous situation, and it will probably get more dangerous for civilians around the globe when U.S. troops leave Iraq -- but that will happen whenever we leave Iraq.
WELNA: Still, the president and his allies are not likely to stop repeating that terrorists will follow us out of Iraq. That's because, for some, it's politically persuasive, says Thomas Sanderson of the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.
SANDERSON: I do think it has the effect of galvanizing support among a percentage of our population, but I think a lot of people won't buy it in the first place. Or number two: assume that we're already in that pipeline of attacks that the terrorists are planning.
WELNA: One thing all the experts agree on is it's not a question of if such attacks will occur, but when.
David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.
A May 3 Washington Post article, which reported that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), when speaking to black audiences, "decr[ies] 'anti-intellectualism' in the black community, including black children telling peers who get good grades that they are 'acting white,' " suggested that Obama claims the concept of "acting white" is a sufficient explanation for the achievement gap between black and white students. Staff writer Perry Bacon Jr. -- using wording that suggested Obama had said that the "acting white" schoolyard smear explains the achievement gap -- wrote: "But some scholars assert that even if black kids do say that other black students who excel in school are 'acting white,' it is hardly a sufficient explanation for the achievement gap between black and white students, which remains vast." In fact, in discussing the achievement gap, Obama has emphasized the inequities in school funding in tandem with what he identifies as a need for greater emphasis on educational achievement.
From Obama's March 4 speech in Selma, Alabama:
OBAMA: I'm fighting to make sure that our schools are adequately funded all across the country. With the inequities of relying on property taxes and people who are born in wealthy districts getting better schools than folks born in poor districts and that's now how it's supposed to be. That's not the American way. But I'll tell you what -- even as I fight on behalf of more education funding, more equity, I have to also say that, if parents don't turn off the television set when the child comes home from school and make sure they sit down and do their homework and go talk to the teachers and find out how they're doing, and if we don't start instilling a sense in our young children that there is nothing to be ashamed about in educational achievement, I don't know who taught them that reading and writing and conjugating your verbs was something white.
From Bacon's article in the Post:
The concept of "acting white" and worries that African Americans are not pushing their children enough to focus on education have been long-standing concerns of Obama's -- he has mentioned them in several recent speeches -- and issues that many prominent members of the community, mostly notably comedian Bill Cosby, have focused on in recent years.
But some scholars assert that even if black kids do say that other black students who excel in school are "acting white," it is hardly a sufficient explanation for the achievement gap between black and white students, which remains vast. The gap is "not because black 7-year-olds are holding back other black 7-year-olds," said Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell, a professor of African American studies at Princeton University. "This black pathology argument is appealing, but I think he's wrong empirically."
Additionally, the Post article claimed that as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "campaigns for black votes," she "is more likely to assail the Bush administration over its response to Hurricane Katrina -- a particular frustration of many African Americans because that disaster struck majority-black New Orleans." In fact -- putting aside the question of whether there is anything wrong with political figures' addressing issues of particular interest to their audience -- Clinton has consistently addressed the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina throughout her presidential campaign. In addition to criticizing the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in her speeches in Selma, Alabama, and at the annual convention of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Clinton addressed the issue in front of the following audiences:
- In a January 22 live webcast, the first of three live webcasts in which Clinton answered questions from online participants, she said, in response to a question about her plan for recovery in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast: "I don't believe that this president and our government have responded as I would want them to. They have not put in the effort, the money, the attention, and focus that the people in New Orleans and in the surrounding parishes and along the Gulf Coast deserve. ... You know, it's really unimaginable that our country would turn its back on the people who suffered so much. These are our fellow Americans. Many of them don't feel they can even go back home, and I meet people all the time who they themselves and their families are still dislocated. It's tragic that we had such a poorly organized, half-hearted response continue to this day to fail the people in the Gulf Coast area."
- According to a January 26 New York Sun article, in a January 25 speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting, Clinton "decr[ied] the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina" and "said the Federal Emergency Management Agency 'worked in the 1990s but has failed in the last six years.' "
- In a February 2 speech at the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting, Clinton cited "the shame of 26,000 victims of Katrina still living in trailers."
- According to a February 12 Newsday article, during a February 11 New Hampshire campaign stop, Clinton was "questioned ... about the president's handling of Hurricane Katrina. She sharply responded, 'I don't see how we could have had a worse response than we've had. We took a national disaster and turned it into a national disgrace. The level of incompetence and corruption is chilling.' "
- At the March 14 International Association of Fire Fighters Bipartisan 2008 Presidential Forum, Clinton called Hurricane Katrina "[a] crisis that really, once again, put firefighters in the forefront." She added: "Just think about what's happening where your brothers and sisters are trying to operate out of trailers, and they're still using ruined equipment that we still haven't replaced. What was a natural disaster was turned into a national disgrace, and we need to get the funds directly where they are needed."
- According to a March 29 New York Sun article on the AFL-CIO's Building & Construction Trades Department's legislative forum held on March 28, "Clinton lambasted the Bush administration for suspending the Davis-Bacon Act in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and vowed to protect and expand the law if elected president. The bill was first enacted in the midst of the Great Depression in 1931, and labor unions have fought to keep it on the books over criticism that it is too expensive to taxpayers and overly regulatory. ... Citing the administration's action days after Katrina, Mrs. Clinton said President Bush 'just doesn't get it' when it comes to Davis-Bacon, a critique that was echoed by several candidates, including a chief Clinton rival, Senator [Barack] Obama of Illinois."
- An April 14 New York Times article reported that in "her first major policy speech on the campaign trail," presented to "a capacity crowd of about 250 students and faculty members at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College" on April 13, Clinton "attacked the Bush administration for its handling of Hurricane Katrina, the controversy over the replacement of United States attorneys and fraud involving government contractors in Iraq." The Times added, "Mrs. Clinton characterized the current White House as having ''a stunning record of cronyism and corruption, incompetence and deception."
On the May 2 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked Mike DuHaime, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani: "Who would win a street fight ... Rudy Giuliani or [Iranian] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who would win that fight?" Matthews said that the fight would take place "over in Queens somewhere ... a dark night, it's about 2 in the morning. Two guys are out behind the building, right?" DuHaime responded, "I am putting my money on Rudy on that one." Matthews added, "If [Giuliani] wins that notion, he is the next president."
Although this assertion was conditional upon Giuliani "win[ing] that notion," Matthews has previously touted the viability of Giuliani's candidacy without equivocation. On the July 18, 2006, edition of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Matthews predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani."
Throughout the interview, Matthews left unchallenged various claims by DuHaime that Giuliani has a "tremendous record" as "somebody who will keep us free from terrorism and safe from terrorism." DuHaime said, in an apparent reference to the September 11, 2001, attacks, that Giuliani "is somebody who has been tested in times of great crisis and obviously come through with flying colors." He also said that Giuliani "has certainly demonstrated an ability to do the job ... in times of terrible crisis."
However, as Media Matters for America has noted, in the book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 (HarperCollins, 2006) Village Voice senior editor Wayne Barrett and CBSNews.com senior producer Dan Collins cited several of what they presented as Giuliani's terrorism-related failures before, during, and after September 11. Barrett and Collins wrote that when Giuliani heard about the disaster on 9-11, his "original destination" was the "much-ballyhooed command center he had built in the shadow of the Twin Towers," in the 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC) building (Page 6). However, when Giuliani arrived, then-New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik "decided it was too dangerous to bring the mayor up to the command center he had so carefully and expensively built" (Page 340). In settling on the downtown location, Giuliani "overruled" warnings from Howard Safir, a previous police commissioner, and Lou Anemone, chief operating officer of the New York police department, not to put the command center at 7 WTC and rejected "an already secure, technologically advanced city facility across the Brooklyn Bridge" (Page 41). Later on 9-11, the 7 WTC building collapsed.
Although Matthews did not ask about these failures, he is familiar with criticism of Giuliani's role before 9-11 and in response to the attacks. The day before DuHaime's appearance, HBO host Bill Maher told Matthews that "the reason why [Giuliani] was on the streets that day is because his office was blown up," and said, "All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center." Maher added: "He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed the one time he had an opportunity, just like [President] Bush."
Matthews is scheduled to host the Republican primary debate on MSNBC on May 3.
From the 7 p.m. ET May 2 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
DUHAIME: He is a tremendous leader, somebody with a tremendous record both as an economic conservative and somebody who will keep us free from terrorism and safe from terrorism. And I think how the debate goes, you will be in more control of that than I will.
MATTHEWS: You're -- well, I don't think I'm in control, because I really do think I can interview the candidates as a group and see whether they go to battle with each other. I'll tell you one thing without getting into specifics, because I want to keep some of this under wraps, but clearly, your guy's the frontrunner, and it must not be a surprise to you that he's taking some incoming these days.
DUHAIME: Well, I think, you know, this is a long campaign, and the American people and Republican primary voters are going to get to see all of the candidates over time. And I'm confident that when they see Mayor Giuliani and his record, they are going to be -- he is going to be a Republican that they are going to be proud to support.
This is somebody who has cut taxes, cut spending, been a true supply-sider as mayor of New York, took one of the -- took a city that many called ungovernable and did a great job cutting crime, getting people off of welfare. And obviously this is somebody who has been tested in times of great crisis and obviously come through with flying colors.
MATTHEWS: Is he going to like it if the other candidates take a shot at him tomorrow night, here?
MATTHEWS: Is he meaner and tougher than the other candidates?
DUHAIME: I do not know about -- you know, I don't want to necessarily compare him to the other candidates, but this is somebody who has certainly demonstrated an ability to do the job and not shrink away in times that are very tough and situations that are tough in places that -- problems that many people see as ungovernable, and certainly in times where his -- certainly in times of terrible crisis. This is somebody who is certainly tough enough to get the job done. I am certain of that.
MATTHEWS: Who would win a street fight? Rudy Giuliani -- just think of a street fight now over in Queens somewhere. It's a dark night, it's about 2 in the morning. Two guys are out behind the building, right? On a vacant lot. Rudy Giuliani or President Ahmadinejad, who would win that fight?
MATTHEWS: If he wins that notion, he's the next president. That's one to look for. Who is tougher than Ahmadinejad? Because he is our biggest worry right now.
During a discussion with former CIA director George Tenet about his recently released book, At the Center of the Storm (HarperCollins), on the May 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that at the beginning of the war in Iraq, "everybody in the country [was] behind it, except the kooks." However, 23 senators and 133 members of the House of Representatives -- including a majority of House Democrats -- voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Media Matters for America has provided a list of these "kooks" below. Additionally, in a speech at the Commonwealth Club of California on September 23, 2002 -- six months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- former Vice President Al Gore denounced President Bush's Iraq policy, saying, "I am deeply concerned that the policy we are presently following with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century."
Tenet responded to O'Reilly's assertion that only the "kooks" were against the war by saying: "I don't know about kooks, Bill."
Also, O'Reilly again claimed: "I saw, the night the statue went down, Iraqis looting the armories with nobody stopping that. And I went, 'Whoa! What's that all about?' And it doesn't seem that there was any kind of plan to secure the country after you got him." In fact, as Media Matters noted, on the April 9, 2003, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, on the night U.S. Marines assisted in tearing down a statue of Saddam in central Baghdad, O'Reilly made no mention of looting or the difficulty of reconstructing Iraq, though he did ask a guest to comment on plans to "stabilize Baghdad." Rather, during his April 9, 2003, show, O'Reilly hosted several segments listing the "winners" and "losers" of the Iraq war and praised President Bush for "prov[ing] he is a disciplined leader who does what he says he will do" and for "rid[ding] the world of an evil dictator." O'Reilly attacked many opponents of the invasion, such as "Saddam enablers" Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac, and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, plus "newspapers who wrongly predicted doom" and "the hysterical Hollywood celebrities who voiced strident protest, [and] obviously, have lost much credibility."
Nay votes in the Senate (21 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 Independent):
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Bob Graham (D-FL)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
James Jeffords (I-VT)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Paul Wellstone (D-MN)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Nay votes in the House of Representatives (126 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 1 Independent):
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
Thomas Allen (D-ME)
Joe Baca (D-CA)
Brian Baird (D-WA)
John Baldacci (D-ME)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Gresham Barrett (R-SC)
Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
David Bonior (D-MI)
Robert Brady (D-PA)
Corinne Brown (D-FL)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Julia Carson (D-IN)
William Clay Jr. (D-MO)
Eva Clayton (D-NC)
James Clyburn (D-SC)
Gary Condit (D-CA)
John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
Jerry Costello (D-IL)
William Coyne (D-PA)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Susan Davis (D-CA)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Bill Delahunt (D-MA)
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
John Dingell (D-MI)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Lane Evans (D-IL)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Earl Hilliard (D-AL)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Darlene Hooley (D-OR)
John Hostettler (R-IN)
Amo Houghton (R-NY)
Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Dale Kildee (D-MI)
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI)
Jerry Kleczka (D-WI)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
John LaFalce (D-NY)
James Langevin (D-RI)
Rick Larsen (D-WA)
John Larson (D-CT)
Jim Leach (R-IA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Sandy Levin (D-MI)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Bill Lipinski (D-IL)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
James Maloney (D-CT)
Robert Matsui (D-CA)
Karen McCarthy (D-MO)
Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
Carrie Meek (D-FL)
Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Connie Morella (R-MD)*
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Richard Neal (D-MA)
Jim Oberstar (D-MN)
David Obey (D-WI)
John Olver (D-MA)
Major Owens (D-NY)
Frank Pallone Jr.(D-NJ)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Ron Paul (R-TX)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
David Price (D-NC)
Nick Rahall (D-WV)
Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Lynn Rivers (D-MI)
Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN)
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Thomas Sawyer (D-OH)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Bobby Scott (D-Virginia)
Jose Serrano (D-NY)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Vic Snyder (D-AR)
Hilda Solis (D-CA)
Pete Stark (D-CA)
Ted Strickland (D-OH)
Burt Stupak (D-MI)
Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Nydia Velaquez (D-NY)
Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Melvin Watt (D-NC)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
David Wu (D-OR)
From the May 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: In our final segment tonight with former CIA director George Tenet, we take a look at the mess in Iraq.
I still believe it was a noble effort to try to bring the Iraqis freedom. I still believe the U.S. military has performed magnificently. But, like you, I just don't understand why things were not better planned out. George Tenet explains some of this in his book, At the Center of the Storm, but not enough. So I called him on it.
[begin video clip]
O'REILLY: We go in, all right, everybody in the country is behind it, except the kooks.
TENET: I don't know about kooks, Bill.
O'REILLY: Believe me, at that point, it was running 80-85 percent --
TENET: OK. Anyway --
O'REILLY: -- in the polls.
TENET: Go ahead.
O'REILLY: OK. Now, we overthrow him. The military campaign goes well -- you didn't run the military campaign, the Pentagon did -- and he's done. And he's out. But you know what I saw? I saw, the night the statue went down, Iraqis looting the armories with nobody stopping that. And I went, "Whoa! What's that all about?" And it doesn't seem that there was any kind of plan to secure the country after you got him.
Blitzer did not challenge Snow's false claim that Bush "never argued" that Saddam was involved in 9-11
On the May 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge White House press secretary Tony Snow's claim that President Bush "never argued" that "somehow Saddam [Hussein] was involved in September 11th," nor his assertion that "[w]e've never made that argument." Blitzer also did not challenge Snow's suggestion that Al Qaeda had a "relationship" with Saddam and that the fact that "Abu Musab Al Zarqawi [was] on Iraqi soil" was evidence of such a connection. Yet as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted (here here, here, and here), President Bush and other administration officials have frequently claimed a connection between Saddam and the September 11, 2001, attacks, including the specific assertion of such a link in a letter to Congress at the start of the war. Moreover, neither the 9-11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee, nor, more recently, a report from the Inspector General of the Defense Department found any evidence that Saddam ever had an "operational relationship" or cooperated with either Al Qaeda or Zarqawi.
Media Matters for America noted that on April 30, Snow made a similar claim that went unchallenged by Good Morning America co-anchor Chris Cuomo. Snow asserted that "there's been no attempt to try to link Saddam Hussein to September 11."
During the interview on The Situation Room, Blitzer noted that former CIA director George Tenet said in his new book At the Center of the Storm (HarperCollins) that "there was never any real serious evidence that Saddam Hussein was an ally of Al Qaeda." Snow responded by suggesting that Zarqawi's presence on "Iraqi soil" demonstrated a relationship with the Iraqi government. Snow then claimed that neither Bush, nor his administration, ever linked Saddam to the attacks on September 11:
BLITZER: All right. In recent days, George Tenet in his new book says there was never any real serious evidence that Saddam Hussein was an ally of Al Qaeda, and now we all know they've never found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, two basic points justifying the war that clearly did not materialize.
SNOW: Well, let's take a look at both of them. Number one, it's interesting, people have done a number of things to try to parse Al Qaeda and the relationship with Saddam Hussein. You did have Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Iraqi soil. And apparently [Abu Ayyub] Al Masri, the man that everybody is trying to get right now as the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was there also, at least in 2002.
But having said that, one of the things the president never argued -- a lot of people have attributed to him -- is that somehow Saddam was involved in September 11th. He wasn't. We've never made that argument.
However, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have frequently tried to link September 11 to Saddam's regime:
- Bush linked Iraq to September 11 in a March 21, 2003, letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and president pro tempore of the Senate, as Media Matters previously noted. In the letter, Bush stated that "the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
- In an October 7, 2002, speech, Bush stated:
BUSH: We know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some Al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior Al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
- On the December 9, 2001, edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asked Cheney if he "still believe[s] there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?" The vice president responded that it was "pretty well confirmed" that an Iraqi intelligence officer met with September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta shortly before the attacks. On the September 14, 2003, edition of Meet the Press, Cheney repeated his claim that Iraq and 9-11 are linked, saying: "If we're successful in Iraq ... we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9-11."
Additionally, the 9-11 Commission found "no evidence" that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda "developed into a collaborative operational relationship," and a September 8 Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates." Also, on April 5, the inspector general of the Defense Department declassified a report that reviewed the pre-Iraq war intelligence gathering activities of the department's Office of Special Plans, run by then undersecretary of Defense for policy Douglas J. Feith. While the report states that the actions of Feith's office were "inappropriate," it also reports that "[t]he Intelligence Community discounted conclusions about the high degree of cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaida," adding that it is "noteworthy" that the post-war debriefs of Saddam Hussein and other former high ranking Iraqi government officials "as well as document exploitation by [the Defense Intelligence Agency] all confirmed that the Intelligence Community was correct: Iraq and al-Qaida did not cooperate in all categories" before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as The Washington Post reported.
From the May 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: All right. In recent days, George Tenet, in his new book, says there was never any real serious evidence that Saddam Hussein was an ally of Al Qaeda, and now we all know they've never found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, two basic points justifying the war that clearly did not materialize.
SNOW: Well, let's take a look at both of them. Number one, it's interesting, people have done a number of things to try to parse Al Qaeda and the relationship with Saddam Hussein. You did have Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Iraqi soil. And apparently al-Masri, the man that everybody is trying to get right now as the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was there also, at least in 2002.
But having said that, one of the things the president never argued -- a lot of people have attributed to him -- is that somehow Saddam was involved in September 11th. He wasn't. We've never made that argument.
But let's face it. Saddam was part of the terror network. He was paying bounties to people who were killing Israelis. He was somebody who made it absolutely clear that he was going to try to do what he could to contribute to the terror network. That part remains unquestioned.
The second thing is, as far as weapons of mass destruction, one thing George Tenet does not argue is that intelligence at that time didn't show that there were weapons of mass destruction. Everybody agreed. Democrats went to the floor of the Senate and said, "There are weapons of mass destruction. We must not wait for the threat to be imminent. We must strike."
We had Democrats in the House of Representatives do it. We had members of both parties. So what's happening now is that people somehow are trying to attribute bad motives to an intelligence community, which worldwide had come to the conclusion that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't, and that's one of the reasons why we've reformed the intelligence community.
BLITZER: The State Department, in its annual report yesterday, said that terrorism worldwide is up 25 percent this year as opposed to the previous year. It looks like the situation is not going in the right direction.
CNN host channeled Beck on global warming: "[T]he cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate"
On the May 3 edition of CNN's American Morning, during a discussion about CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck's May 2 hour-long special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," co-host Kiran Chetry stated that there is "no denying" global warming is happening, but added, "I think the cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) share the consensus view that, as stated in a June 2006 NAS report, "[H]uman activities are responsible for much of the [planet's] recent warming."
In February, the IPCC released its fourth assessment report, which found:
Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-produced] greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR's [Third Assessment Report] conclusion that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations". Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns. [The report defines "very likely" as a greater than 90 percent probability of occurrence.]
Later in the interview, Beck repeated a false attack frequently made by conservatives that in his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006), former Vice President Al Gore greatly exaggerated worst-case projections of sea level increases. Beck told Chetry, "It is important to have ... a reasonable conversation on this without the, you know, shock waves of 20 feet of sea level rise." As Media Matters noted, this characterization of Gore as an alarmist is based on the false claim that the IPCC's assessment of a likely rise of 23 inches contradicts Gore's claim. But the IPCC projection involved rising sea levels as they are affected before 2100 due to "[c]ontinued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates" -- not the melting or breakup of the West Antarctic ice shelf or the Greenland ice dome at an indeterminate point in the future, which is what Gore was discussing in the film.
Beck's appearance on CNN was his second in two days to discuss his special. As Media Matters noted, Beck appeared on the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom and told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because "the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea," adding: "I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics."
Chetry ended the interview by announcing, "I guess I just made a programming decision that we're going to run [Beck's special] again at some point."
From the May 3 edition of CNN's American Morning:
CHETRY: A recent poll showed about 60 percent of Americans think that global warming has started, and --
CHETRY: -- there's a very small amount who think it's never going to happen. Is the debate about the -- I mean, we have gone up, point -- what is it? -- .7 degrees?
BECK: Yeah, about .7 degrees Celsius. Look, there is no --
CHETRY: So there is no denying it's happened. But I think the cause and how we can help is something that is up for debate.
BECK: Yeah. There are three -- there are three questions -- really, kind of four. There's -- has the globe gotten warmer? Yes, it has. That's undeniable. Is this a lasting effect or is this just a cycle? That's still up for debate. The next one is: Is man causing it?
And the fourth one is: If man is causing it and the other three are true, then are we able to stop it? Even there, some scientists say it's already too late. There's a lot of debate.
CHETRY: Right. But we're pretty smart people, and if we can figure out ways to not destroy our planet, shouldn't we at least try?
BECK: Oh, of course we should. Nobody -- I mean -- I want clean air. I want water. I mean, I think this is -- it's obscene to say that people who are on the other side of the debate don't want a clean planet.
I have children, and I think about -- I think about all of the issues that we're facing today as a generational issue. I mean, I don't want to leave our planet in a worse shape for our children. It's not about us. As we get older and have children, it becomes less and less about us and more and more about our children. We should do the right thing. But when you can --
CHETRY: What are people going to get when they watch your special?
BECK: Well, the special was last night. I hope they just got a look at the other side, enough to where they say, "Wait a minute. Let's use reason here. Let's not silence dissent." It is important to have a conversation and important to have a reasonable conversation on this without the, you know, shock waves of 20 feet of sea level rise.
CHETRY: And I guess I just made a programming decision that we're going to run it again at some point.
BECK: Oh, good. Go for it.
CHETRY: Glenn Beck, always great to talk to you. Thanks a lot.
BECK: Great to talk to you. Bye-bye.
On the May 3 edition of MSNBC Live, host Lester Holt referred to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as "[a] senator with a maverick reputation." Media Matters for America has noted numerous instances in which media figures have uncritically called McCain a "maverick" or cited McCain's "maverick reputation" without noting the numerous instances in which McCain has fallen in line with the Bush administration or the Republican Party establishment on issues large and small, as Media Matters has documented.
From the May 3 edition of MSNBC Live:
HOLT: Pete Wilson, we are out of time. But, Governor, thank you so much for spending time with us. It was good talking with you.
FORMER GOV. PETE WILSON (R-CA): Pleasure, Lester.
HOLT: A senator with a maverick reputation whose support of the war in Iraq may hurt him, but new polls say John McCain has taken the lead in some key states. What's at stake for Senator McCain? What does he need to say tonight? We're going to talk to his wife, Cindy, in just a moment.
Front-page Wash. Times article touted Pelosi's popularity in Syria with purported person-on-the-street interviews
A May 2 front-page Washington Times article headlined "Syrians bolstered by visit of 'good American' Pelosi" asserted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who recently visited Syria to meet with President Bashar Al-Assad, may have become "[t]he second most popular politician in Syria." The article noted that the "White House criticized her visit," but did not mention that a Republican -- Rep. David Hobson (OH) -- was part of Pelosi's delegation, as Media Matters for America noted. Nor did the article report that a Republican-led delegation met with Assad three days before Pelosi's visit and that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) met with him a day after. As evidence that Pelosi's visit had "warmed Syrian hearts with her trip last month to Damascus," the Times quoted a "Damascus laborer," a Damascus resident "who spoke on the condition of anonymity," and "an Iraqi woman who has emigrated to Syria," all of whom were unnamed in the article.
The Times article was the latest in a series of Times stories making baseless accusations against Pelosi, making Republican claims without challenge, or echoing Republican talking points, as Media Matters has documented.
The Washington Times article was discussed on the May 2 edition of MSNBC's Tucker when host Tucker Carlson, after reading a comment from an anonymous Syrian quoted in the Times story, said: "Wow! Nancy Pelosi. Trips have consequences, don't they? At least according to this person." In response, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, asserted that the delegation "was a mutually beneficial trip for Mr. Assad and Mrs. Pelosi." Neither Carlson nor Stoddard noted the Republicans who recently traveled to Syria.
From the May 2 Washington Times article:
The second most popular politician in Syria these days may be an American: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The California Democrat warmed Syrian hearts with her trip last month to Damascus, an event that people still share with visiting Americans as conversational currency.
"Nancy Pelosi is good, yes?" asked a Damascus laborer who found himself sitting next to an American at a greasy gyro stand this week. "Nancy Pelosi, good American."
Pictures of Mrs. Pelosi and Syrian President Bashar Assad -- officially Syria's most popular citizen -- still turn up on the local news channels, especially during coverage of the dispute between President Bush and Congress over the Iraq war spending bill.
Mrs. Pelosi's two-day visit to Damascus was a major news event here. Camera crews trailed her as she bought sweets in the ancient Hamadieh souk, made the sign of the cross at what is thought to be the tomb of John the Baptist and donned a black abaya to visit the historic Omayyad Mosque.
Mrs. Pelosi, 67, is praised as "a friend of Syria," and that makes her more influential than Oprah Winfrey and more appealing than the old Hollywood movies shown on satellite television.
Many Damascus residents say her private visit with Mr. Assad and senior ministers shattered Washington's attempt to isolate the regime.
"She was enormously popular here, a hero," said one such resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "This is the best thing that has happened here, if it proves [Mr. Assad] was right not to give concessions."
Along with recent visits by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and officials from the European Union, the resident added, Mrs. Pelosi's trip "bolsters the regime with the Syrian people, and it shows that isolating Syria won't work."
More than burnishing the regime's image in Syria, Mrs. Pelosi is seen as the well-dressed woman who stood up to President Bush, possibly the most unpopular figure in the Arab world after former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The White House criticized her visit, both on the constitutional grounds that she was usurping executive powers and on policy grounds that she was undermining months of diplomatic efforts.
Mrs. Pelosi said she raised substantive issues with Syrian leaders, urging them to stop insurgents from entering Iraq, help win the release of Israeli soldiers thought to be held captive by Lebanese and Palestinian militias, and end Syria's support for terrorist groups.
But nobody talks about that now.
"I love her," said an Iraqi woman who has emigrated to Syria. "She's a grandmother, so handsome, so cute. I see myself, my old self, in her."
Despite the lingering personal affection, few expect U.S. policy to change as a result of Mrs. Pelosi's visit.
"She is a different face of America, but she does not have ideas, any solutions," the Iraqi woman said. "I watch TV all day, and I know that only the faces change."
From the May 2 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: Washington Times today, A.B., has a piece how Nancy Pelosi, one of the most popular people in Syria -- the number-two most popular person in Syria. Let's put the quote up here. This is from an average Syrian on the street. Quote: "She was enormously popular here, a hero [...] This is the best thing that has happened here, if it proves [Mr. Assad] was right not to give concessions. [Pelosi's trip] bolsters the regime with the Syrian people, and it shows that isolating Syria won't work."
Wow! Nancy Pelosi. Trips have consequences, don't they? At least according to this person.
STODDARD: I mean, I think this was a mutually beneficial trip for Mr. Assad and Ms. Pelosi. She's big in Demascus, and that's big for her. And she knew exactly what was going to happen on this trip. She wasn't going to change policy, she was going to get criticized by Republicans and by the White House, and she was going to show President Bush that she can start a big -- you know, make waves, get the debate going, and get a lot of attention, and that's what she did. And it doesn't surprise me in the least that they're calling her a hero there.
CARLSON: Right, I'm not surprised at all.
In preview of special, CNN host allowed Beck to repeat comparison of global warming consensus to Hitler eugenics
On the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom, while previewing his May 2 special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because "the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea," adding: "I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics." Those comments recall remarks Beck made on the April 30 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, in which he likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. On that program, Beck stated: "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government."
Beck continued: "You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N.'s enemy: global warming." He added: "Then you get the scientists -- eugenics. You get the scientists -- global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, 'That's not right.' And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did."
Later in the interview, Beck addressed Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who called Beck "CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate." In response, Beck said: "[P]eople who question global warming, they're called Nazis. They're put right up next to Holocaust deniers." However, Lemon did not note Beck's own invocation of Hitler to describe Gore's global warming campaign. In addition to his April 30 comments, as Media Matters for America noted, on the March 22 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck likened Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels for Gore's statement, during his testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, that he would initiate a "mass persuasion campaign" to urge Congress to act on climate change.
Further, on the June 7, 2006, broadcast of his radio program, Beck compared Gore's documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006), to Nazi propaganda. Beck dismissed many of the conclusions drawn from the documentary, stating, "[W]hen you take a little bit of truth and then you mix it with untruth, or your theory, that's where you get people to believe. ... It's like Hitler. Hitler said a little bit of truth, and then he mixed in 'and it's the Jews' fault.' That's where things get a little troublesome, and that's exactly what's happening" in An Inconvenient Truth.
From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom:
LEMON: Glenn Beck -- boy, are you asking for it. He joins me now from New York. Listen, I got to start right out. If the scientific consensus says, Glenn, that global warming is a reality and we need to move past the debate into action, why even do this hour-long special? Why are you asking for it?
BECK: There's a couple of reasons: First of all, the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea. I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics. The global consensus is fractured in several different areas. Some people believe that global warming is happening. It's pretty easy to tell, you know, all you have to do is check the thermometer. Then there are those who say, yes, but man caused it; others say man didn't. Those who say either way, yes on that one, then you have to say, how do we solve it? And it is fractured all across, and we're talking trillions of dollars.
I am doing this special mainly because it frightens me that we that live in a world where I'm called by RFK Jr. a fascist, and when The Washington Post asked him, "Why did you call Glenn Beck a fascist?" he said because I heard him question global warming a couple of weeks ago.
LEMON: But Glenn, do you think that that is a general consensus, that one person said it, not everyone is saying or calling you a fascist in all of this.
BECK: No, no, no. You could -- has RFK Jr. called you a fascist? There are people that call global warming deniers -- that's an interesting quote, because I don't even deny global warming is happening -- but people who question global warming, they're called Nazis. They're put right up next to Holocaust deniers.
LEMON: And then -- but there are people, Glenn, who are going to say you're not denying that global warming is happening. There is not one consensus about why it's happening -- some people say it's greenhouse gases and all the pollutants we're putting in the air -- but Glenn, wouldn't you agree that it takes people a lot to change?
LEMON: Don't we have to scare people a little bit that maybe you shouldn't drive, you know, your SUV so much? Maybe you should take the train or take public transportation --
BECK: No, I think we should --
LEMON: -- or use a hairspray so much? Don't you think that we need to scare people a little bit so that we do get back on track with the earth?
BECK: You know what? I got to tell you something: The world is a scary enough place with just the truth. I think we should start telling people the truth. You know, I'm perfectly willing -- I watched the Al Gore movie, and I looked at it and I said, "You know what? If these things are true, then we do need to change. I'll drive a Prius gladly. I just want to know what the truth is. And that's all we're looking for.
You know what? This is a bookend to the Al Gore movie. On the website at cnn.com, where it talks about the special, we've provided the link to the Al Gore movie. You should watch both sides. When have we said, ever in America, ever in the world, that we should only have one side of an argument? We should listen to all of them.
LEMON: So, you believe folks should watch that, but you're not saying it's necessarily they should take that as whole. They should look at the other side, correct?
BECK: It's one side.
LEMON: And just -- you know you mentioned the Al Gore movie. Did you hear about the removal of Bibles from this one hotel?
BECK: I think this is the most appropriate thing --
LEMON: What do you think of that? They're putting Al Gore's book over the Bible?
BECK: Science has become religion for some people, and it is amazing -- many politicians -- Al Gore is one of them, the U.N. is another -- we should just have them get out of the suits and put a collar on -- a priest's collar on -- because I think we are entering the Dark Ages where these new priests are saying, "Science cannot question -- no one can question what the current belief is today."
LEMON: Yeah, and I think some people would say -- and I think there is a general consensus on this, that we've gone too far when we think that science is bad, because science actually has made major influences and has helped diseases and cured all kinds of things.
BECK: There's -- science is great.
BECK: We just have to keep in perspective they're the butter is bad, butter is good people.
LEMON: Yes. Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with preservatives, sometimes. It helps you keep the -- all right. Glenn Beck, always a pleasure to have you.
BECK: Thank you, sir.
In the May 2 edition of ABC News' political newsletter, The Note, writing about the standoff between Congress and President Bush over funding the Iraq war, ABC News senior political reporter Rick Klein said that "Democrats will still need to move toward the Republican position, unless they want to shut down war funding" -- suggesting that unless Democrats compromise and send Bush a bill he finds acceptable, they -- not Bush -- will be responsible for "shut[ting] down war funding." Klein then quoted Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who reportedly told the Associated Press that he thinks "the Democrats are in a box." Klein's suggestion that the burden lies on Democrats to compromise and that they will be responsible if funding is "shut down" recalls a widespread pattern, identified by Media Matters for America, of the media suggesting that Congress would be cutting off funding to the troops if it were to send Bush a bill that funds the troops but also includes provisions he objects to (which it did), rather than Bush doing the cutting off if he vetoes such a bill (which he also did).
When the posturing ends, though, Republicans are in a position to drive the debate. The simple reason: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid know they're nowhere close to being able to override a veto on the war. They may draw closer if, as Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) wants, the president has to come back for more money every few months. But the Democrats will still need to move toward the Republican position, unless they want to shut down war funding. "I think the Democrats are in a box," Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA, told the Associated Press' Charles Babington.
Klein suggested that if Congress were to pass another spending bill that includes provisions Bush finds unacceptable, Congress would be responsible for "shut[ting] down war funding."
In the same edition of The Note, titled "Veto Day: The Fallout," Klein also claimed that the standoff between Bush and Congress over war funding symbolized a "polarized country" with each party's political base driving Congress and the White House further apart:
It took nearly four months, but the White House and congressional Democrats finally got the showdown they wanted -- and have ended up just where they started. House Democrats will try and fail to override President Bush's veto of the war funding bill this morning, and congressional leaders will meet with the president at the White House at 2:25 pm ET to discuss the next step.
Behind the standoff is the political reality of a polarized country -- and the parties' bases are pushing the executive and legislative branches in opposite directions. That's why both the president and Democratic leaders were so eager to grab photo-ops yesterday, conveying very different messages. Don't expect an agreement out of today's meeting; both sides know there's no constituency for compromise.
But contrary to Klein's suggestion, it is not just the Democratic base that is pushing for a timeline to withdraw from Iraq. In fact, recent polling indicates that a majority of the country, not just the Democrats' "base," favors withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. An April 20-24 New York Times/CBS News poll found that 64 percent of respondents said that the United States should "set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sometime in 2008," while 32 percent said it should not. The same poll also found that 57 percent said Congress "should have the final say about troop levels in Iraq," while 35 percent said the president should.
An April 20-23 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 56 percent of those polled agreed with "Democrats in Congress, who say we should set a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq." Thirty-seven percent agreed with "President Bush, who says we should NOT set a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq." Moreover, in an April 12-15 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 51 percent of respondents said that the United States should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, while 48 percent said it should not set a deadline. The same poll found that 51 percent of respondents said they supported "legislation that would continue funding for the war, but also set a deadline of no later than August 2008, for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq"; 46 percent opposed it.
Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert recently wrote that Mark Halperin asked to leave his position as ABC News political director and author of The Note to become an ABC News analyst. After several weeks, The Note has debuted its new format, without Halperin in charge.
On the May 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly disputed Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers' statement that the immigration bill sponsored by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) in 2006 contained several provisions aimed at improving border security. Powers recalled: "I sat on this show and read a list to you of the bill of all the different things he [Kennedy] wanted to do." O'Reilly responded: "You're crazy."
Powers was right: On the May 8, 2006, edition of the program, after O'Reilly asked Powers if she still supported the Kennedy-McCain bill, "[e]ven with no securing of the border" provision, Powers noted that in fact the bill included several provisions addressing border security: "They have tons of security on the border stuff. I can read it to you right now ... double border patrol, adds 12,000 more agents ... adds new technology ... construction of fences, provides additional border."
On March 27, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an immigration bill based on Kennedy and McCain's proposed legislation, "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act." In addition to providing a guest worker program and a path to citizenship, the Kennedy-McCain bill, according to a fact sheet provided by Kennedy, would have:
- Double interior enforcement by adding "1,000 investigators per year for next 5 years"
- Create a "[n]ew [s]ecurity [p]erimeter" by "add[ing] new technology at the border to create [a] 'virtual fence' "
- "Tighten [c]ontrols" by "expand[ing] exit-entry security system at all land borders and airports"
- Call for the "[c]onstruction of [b]arriers" by "mandat[ing] new roads and vehicle barriers at borders"
- Call for the "[c]onstruction of [f]ences" by "provid[ing] additional border fences at specific vulnerable sectors"
- "[A]uthorize new permanent highway checkpoints near border"
- Demand a "[c]omprehensive [s]urveillance [p]lan" that would "mandate new land and water surveillance plan[s]"
- "Create new crime for construction, financing, and use of unlawful tunnels."
From the May 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
POWERS: I don't think that that's where the disagreement is. I think the Democrats do want to secure the border, and I think that they've been very critical about the way --
O'REILLY: You think -- whoa, whoa. You think the Democrats want to secure the border?
POWERS: -- that they want to secure the border. I think where the real disagreement was, was on the [inaudible] on the path to citizenship.
O'REILLY: You think Ted Kennedy wants this? No, wait. You got to answer these questions, Kirsten. This isn't a school class. You think Ted Kennedy, who's sponsoring the bills --
POWERS: It doesn't -- you're just picking out Ted Kennedy as one person. She just went through --
O'REILLY: He's the sponsor of the bills.
POWERS: -- a whole list of people, Blue Dog --
O'REILLY: You think he wants to secure the border?
POWERS: No, she just went through a list of Blue Dog Democrats. There are Democrats who support --
O'REILLY: They don't sponsor the bill. Kennedy does.
POWERS: And in the bill that he --
O'REILLY: It's his leadership.
POWERS: And for that matter, in the bill that he sponsored, you're saying -- you're trying to tell me there was nothing in there about securing the border?
O'REILLY: Wait a minute, hold it. You think --
POWERS: There was all sorts of stuff in that bill about securing the border.
O'REILLY: I got to get this from you. I got to get this from you. You think Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid -- the three most powerful Democrats on the hill right now -- want to secure the border?
POWERS: Yes. They do want to secure the border.
O'REILLY: You do?
POWERS: They absolutely do want to secure the border.
O'REILLY: And you're pointing to what to back that up?
POWERS: And if you look at the Kennedy bill, there was a long list of things that he wanted to do, including increasing the number of --
O'REILLY: There was one thing: add more border patrol agents.
POWERS: Adding more border -- no, and adding other security measures.
O'REILLY: Like what?
POWERS: There was different -- I can't remember the specifics right now, but there was --
O'REILLY: You can't remember? There wasn't anything.
POWERS: Yes, there was, Bill.
O'REILLY: No, there was some little -- put more water --
POWERS: I sat on this show and read a list to you.
O'REILLY: -- fountains out there.
POWERS: That's not true. I sat on this show and read a list to you of the bill of all the different things he wanted to do.
O'REILLY: You're crazy.
POWERS: I am --
O'REILLY: You're crazy.
POWERS: OK, that's good. Now you're doing the name-calling.
O'REILLY: You're so crazy.
POWERS: Yeah. OK.
O'REILLY: All right. I'm just amazed that you think Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to secure the border. I am just amazed.
From the May 8, 2006, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
POWERS: Well, I don't think -- the way Michelle just couched it is not accurate, at least in terms of what the Democrats have put forward -- what Kennedy supports. It's -- they would be put at the back of the line. Nobody's getting in front of the line in front of anybody, so it's not --
MALKIN: Good God!
POWERS: -- double border patrol, adds 12,000 new agents. You know, adds new technology, create a virtual --
MALKIN: Are you kidding?
All right, ladies, thanks very much. As always, we appreciate it.
On the April 30 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, in response to host Wolf Blitzer's statement that "the three Democratic front-runners raised a lot more money than the top three Republican presidential candidates" in quarterly earnings for the 2008 presidential election, Sen. Mel Martinez (FL) -- who is also the chairman of the Republican National Committee -- asserted: "Well, here's what I'll tell you, is the Republican Party raised more money than the Democratic Party." Blitzer did not challenge Martinez's assertion. In fact, while the RNC raised more money than the Democratic National Committee in the first quarter of 2007, the Democratic Party raised more funds than the Republican Party during that period overall, counting contributions to the parties' House and Senate campaign committees.
According to an April 20 report in The Washington Post: "For the first time since the passage of campaign finance reform in 2002, national Democrats have outpaced their Republican rivals in the race for campaign cash in the first three months of an election cycle." The Democrats raised a total of $47.7 million through the DNC, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. By contrast, the Republicans raised $47.4 million among their three committees. The Post reported that the RNC "was the lone saving grace for Republicans' financial hopes" in the first quarter of the 2008 presidential election cycle.
From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the April 30 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: In terms of politics, it looks like the top three Democratic presidential candidates, the three Democratic front-runners, raised a lot more money than the top three Republican presidential candidates. What does that say to you? Put on your political hat for us.
MARTINEZ: Right. Well, here's what I'll tell you, is the Republican Party raised more money than the Democratic Party. So I think that there's still -- we have more candidates on the field and we have a little bit of a process of winning -- winnowing out. I think that there's been a lot of excitement about someone like [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL]. I know him in the Senate. I served with him. And I think that that all has generated an awful lot of excitement.
But I will tell you that I think we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to candidates with experience, with the kind of seasoning that it takes to be president. I think we'll be fine in that regard. I really, frankly, like our field. I think we're going to be fine and I think the support will be there.
I was with the president on Saturday. We did a little money raising in addition to speaking to a bunch of people who had just gotten a college degree. And some of that seems to be going rather well, frankly, and I appreciate the fact that the president continues to help the party by raising money.
BLITZER: A lot of Republicans are still saying right now they're not totally satisfied with the field of Republican presidential candidates. They'd like a [Former Sen.] Fred Thompson [TN], perhaps, to jump in, a [Former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich [GA], maybe some other Republicans. Are you among those Republicans who would like to see other candidates jump into this contest?
Discussing former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's performance on September 11, 2001, during the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, HBO host Bill Maher told host Chris Matthews that "the reason why [Giuliani] was on the streets that day is because his office was blown up" and said, "All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center." Maher added: "He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed at the one time he had an opportunity, just like Bush." In response, Matthews asked, "So, why do people think he did serve well and perform well, as the leader of New York, during that crisis? Why do people think that?" In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, Matthews himself has repeatedly contributed to the perception that Giuliani performed admirably on 9-11. Matthews has presented Giuliani as a "hero," "gutsy," "tough," and having "street cred":
- On the March 1 edition of Hardball, Matthews touted Giuliani as a "hero," saying that Southerners "can't spell his name necessarily, but they know Rudy was a hero." Matthews also praised Giuliani as "the one tough cop who was standing on the beat when we got hit last time and stood up and took it."
- On the February 7 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Matthews heaped praise on Giuliani, calling him "the kind of gutsy, street-corner politician we all grew up with" who "stood on the corner during the fire and told us what was going on."
- On the February 5 edition of MSNBC Live, Matthews declared that Giuliani "has street cred" on the issue of "protect[ing] this country against the bad guys," citing "the image [Giuliani] conveys," and asserted, "voters like this guy because during 9-11, he was the one guy there on the street corner, answering questions, not hiding like all the other pols did."
- On the July 18, 2006, edition of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Matthews predicted that "the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani." Matthews also suggested that Giuliani is someone who is "really good on the streets, who's very good on giving the information as they get it, just like in The Godfather."
- On the July 16, 2006, broadcast of NBC's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Matthews compared Giuliani to President John F. Kennedy. Matthews suggested that both Kennedy and Giuliani "prove[d] themselves in moments that matter" -- Giuliani in responding to September 11, and "Kennedy before the Cuban missile crisis."
- On the June 14, 2006, edition of Hardball, discussing President Bush's performance at a press conference, Matthews asserted, "I think he spoke a lot like the best of Churchill today, in the beginning of that press conference: facts, bad information, complete information. Giuliani at his best at 9-11: facts on the ground immediately as it came in. I thought he was very effective in briefing us this morning in that press conference, which convinces me again that Giuliani is the guy -- with all his problems -- who may well be the perfect candidate to replace this guy."
Additionally, as Media Matters has documented, Matthews continues to tout then-Mayor Giuliani's purported elimination of the urine smell in New York City subways.
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MAHER: Well, he put the -- the Trade Center was attacked in 1993. All of the experts told him to move the command-and-control center out of the World Trade Center. He put it in the World Trade Center.
That's where his -- the reason why he was on the streets that day --
MAHER: --- is because his office was blown up, Chris. He's not a terrorism fighter. He has no credentials in this. In fact, he failed at the one time he had an opportunity, just like Bush.
MAHER: Well, he was a good rallier of what happened after the buildings fell down, yes. I'm not saying he's an incompetent. But he made a terrible decision. And just like Bush, he ignored terrorism when he should have been paying attention to it.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of his style as a New Yorker? I mean, this is classic big-city style, maybe New York uniquely, when he told Yasser Arafat of the PLO he couldn't go to Lincoln Center one night? He told that Saudi prince that he didn't want his $10 million.
Is that ethnic politics? Is that street-corner tough guy? Or is that smart diplomacy? What would you call it?
MAHER: I was a fan of both those moves. So, you know, that's the kind of Rudy Giuliani stuff I like.
He also busted up the mob pretty good before he got to be mayor, when he was the prosecutor. So, he can be a good, tough guy in certain situations. But, you know, he also is in a number of pictures wearing a dress.
On the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck the winner of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for, as Media Matters for America documented, comparing former Vice President Al Gore to Adolf Hitler during the April 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show. Olbermann quoted Beck:
BECK: Al Gore is not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That's the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all the Jews and have one global government. You have to have an enemy to fight, and when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N. enemy: global warming.
As Media Matters has documented (here, here and here), Beck frequently appears in Olbermann's "Worst Person" segment and was recently named "Worst Person" for calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "the stereotypical bitch."
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: Now who could top that ["Worst Person" runner-up and CNN host Lou Dobbs, who referenced Nazi official Hermann Goering]? CNN's Glenn Beck, our winner. He'll see your Goering reference, Lou, and raise you one Hitler reference. Quoting from his radio show: "Al Gore is not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That's the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all the Jews and have one global government. You have to have an enemy to fight, and when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N. enemy: global warming."
So Al Gore is the Hitler of global warming, trying for world domination by lowering carbon in car exhaust? I think Glenny has been inhaling those car exhausts again. Glenn Beck, today's Worst Person in the World.
In a May 1 weblog post, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel speculated that a Canton, Michigan, resident who had allegedly suffered "extensive" injuries to his hand when a homemade "cherry bomb" he and his friends created accidentally exploded might be Pakistani. Asserting that "[s]ince Muslim terrorists are generally more clandestine -- and occasionally more clever," Schlussel said that the alleged cherry bomb maker and his friends in fact "might not be Muslim." The only basis she cited for her speculation that they might be Pakistani was that, according to her, there is a "large Muslim Paki, er ... Pakistani population" in Canton. As Media Matters for America noted when Schlussel used the term in an April 16 blog post, "Paki" is a disparaging term for a person of Pakistani descent. Schlussel used the term "Paki" twice in the May 1 post, and said in her second use of the term: "I would be remiss in not pointing out the large Muslim Paki, er ... Pakistani population in Canton. After all, I wouldn't want to disappoint my friends from the deceptively-named, Nazi-funded Media Matters for America."
In describing Media Matters as "Nazi-funded," Schlussel linked to an April 18 blog post in which she falsely claimed that Media Matters was funded by philanthropist George Soros and smeared Soros as "a fake Holocaust survivor, who -- instead of 'surviving' the Holocuast [sic] -- helped the Nazis perpetrate it." The only source Schlussel provided for these claims was David Horowitz and Richard Poe's thoroughly discredited book The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party (Nelson Current, 2006). As Media Matters has noted, several conservative media figures have distorted Soros' experience as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-controlled Hungary to suggest that he collaborated with the Nazis.
On April 17, Media Matters for America noted Schlussel's April 16 weblog post (since removed) in which Schlussel "speculat[ed]" that the Virginia Tech shooter, who at that point had been identified as a man of Asian descent, might be a "Paki" Muslim and part of "a coordinated terrorist attack." The Virginia Tech shooter was later identified as Cho Seung-Hui, a Korean immigrant. Schlussel replaced the original post with a note referencing "Nazi-infested Media Matters for America cretins."
Schlussel's commentary extends beyond her weblog posts. The bio on her website describes her as also a columnist and a radio talk show host, and as Media Matters for America has documented, she has also appeared as a commentator on MSNBC.
Tucker, Hannity & Colmes guest called on Obama to repudiate pastor's 9-11 claims, but he already has
On the April 30 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson called Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, "a full-blown hater," citing statements by Wright in which he, according to Carlson, "attack[ed] Israel as a racist state" and claimed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were "payback for white racism." Carlson asked MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio host Bill Press, "Should Obama distance himself from Dr. Wright, and if so, can he effectively do that?" Carlson later added: "I want Barack Obama to be as reasonable as he seems. I really do. I have nothing against Barack Obama at all. I like him. And I just want him to distance himself from this stuff." Syndicated columnist Bill Press told Tucker, "I'm sure if he were sitting here and you read those quotes to Barack Obama, he would say -- he would denounce every one of them as he has many things that Reverend Wright has said," but at no point did Carlson or his guests note that The New York Times reported on April 30 that Obama had, in fact, stated that he specifically disagreed with Wright's 9-11 claims, saying: "The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification."
On the April 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Virginia Republican Party chairwoman Kate Griffin also brought up Wright's remarks about 9-11. She claimed, "Reverend Wright has said some shocking things, saying that 9-11 is the result of America's violent policies," adding: "Obviously, there's a very close relationship. And what the American people are going to want to hear is where Barack Obama stands on some of these more flagrant anti-white comments." Griffin dismissed Obama's statements quoted in the April 30 New York Times article, saying: "He has been asked many times, and what he does is he avoids the question. He says, 'Oh, I wasn't at church when he said that about 9-11,' or, 'That's between my pastor and me.' Or the best was when he said, 'He's a child of the '60s. He uses the language of concern.' That is not distancing himself from these extremely radical statements." In claiming that Obama "avoids the question," however, Griffin ignored Obama's comments, quoted in the Times article, in which he specifically disagreed with Wright's 9-11 statements. Hosts Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes and Democratic strategist Laura Schwartz, appearing alongside Griffin, also made no mention of Obama's 9-11 comments in the Times, though Colmes did note that Obama "says they don't agree on everything."
Attacks on Obama for his religion or church membership are nothing new on either Tucker or Hannity & Colmes, as Media Matters for America has documented. On the February 9 edition of Tucker, Carlson said Trinity's Black Value System "sounds separatist to me" and "contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity," a subject Carlson said he was "actually qualified to discuss." He also claimed that Trinity's theology is "racially exclusive" and "wrong," adding that "it's hard to call that Christianity." On the February 19 edition of Tucker, Carlson claimed that Obama's faith has become "suddenly conspicuous" -- suggesting that Obama has only recently begun addressing his religious background as part of "a very calculated plan on the part of the Democratic Party to win" religious voters in the 2008 presidential race. On the March 20 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity also called Trinity "separatist," while on the March 1 edition of the show, guest Erik Rush, a columnist for the conservative website WorldNetDaily said that the church's "scary doctrine" is "something that you'd see in more like a cult or an Aryan Brethren Church or something like that."
The Times reported on April 30:
At the same time, Mr. Obama's ties to Trinity have become more complicated than those simply of proud congregation and favorite son. Since Mr. Obama announced his candidacy, the church has received threatening phone calls. On blogs and cable news shows, conservative critics have called it separatist and antiwhite.
Congregants respond by saying critics are misreading the church's tenets, that it is a warm and accepting community and is not hostile to whites. But Mr. Wright's political statements may be more controversial than his theological ones. He has said that Zionism has an element of ''white racism.'' (For its part, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.)
On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that ''people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.''
Such statements involve ''a certain deeply embedded anti-Americanism,'' said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative group that studies religious issues and public policy. ''A lot of people are going to say to Mr. Obama, are these your views?''
Mr. Obama says they are not.
''The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification,'' he said in a recent interview. He was not at Trinity the day Mr. Wright delivered his remarks shortly after the attacks, Mr. Obama said, but ''it sounds like he was trying to be provocative.''
''Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,'' Mr. Obama said. ''He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.''
The Times article was not mentioned, however, on the April 30 edition of Tucker:
CARLSON: But Jeremiah Wright is at least a mixed bag politically. His work to improve conditions in impoverished black neighborhoods may be laudable, but his rhetoric includes attacks against white people and against Israel. Should Obama distance himself from Dr. Wright, and if so, can he effectively do that?
We welcome back to discuss that MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Now, I have kind of liked Barack Obama from the very beginning. He seems moderate in tone. I spent all morning reading Jeremiah Wright online. All the church newsletters are available. The guy is a full-blown hater, actually. This is just pulled at random.
Here is his attack on Natalee Holloway as a slut. "Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months." In other words, she is a slut.
Nine-eleven, he says: "White America got their wake-up call after 9-11. White America and the Western world came to realize people of color had not gone away, faded in the woodwork, or just disappeared as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns." So 9-11 was payback for white racism. I mean, it goes on, and I will read more. But your first thoughts on this, Bill.
PRESS: My first thought is --
CARLSON: It's not mainstream, is it?
PRESS: I think it's curious that not so long ago we were -- people were criticizing Barack Obama for being too radical a Muslim. And now he seems to be maybe being criticized for being too radical a Christian, number one. And my second thought is --
CARLSON: There is nothing Christian about this stuff.
PRESS: -- that -- but he is a Christian, I'm saying. But second thought is, Jeremiah Wright is not running for president. Barack Obama is. I'm sure if he were sitting here and you read those quotes to Barack Obama, he would say -- he would denounce every one of them as he has many things that Reverend Wright has said.
CARLSON: Here is the Israeli thing, we were talking about this at the commercial break. This is quoting now the Reverend Wright: "The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism."
He compares Israel to South Africa repeatedly. He attacks Israel as a racist state.
BUCHANAN: This is the Jimmy Carter -- that Israel is Apartheid, and the disinvestment is this whole idea that is going around the campuses to cut off any university investments in Israel. I think Barack Obama is going to have to explain that.
PRESS: I was just going to say, let's be clear that that is Reverend Wright talking, not Barack Obama.
CARLSON: Absolutely. None of this is Barack Obama. Though he has defended this guy. I criticized him on the air a couple of months ago. Got all this hate mail calling me a racist for criticizing this guy. And Barack Obama defended him. I don't see how he can defend this guy.
PRESS: I think you raise a legitimate question about his relationship and what part of this guy he agrees with and what part he doesn't agree with. And that's for Barack Obama to answer. But I wouldn't automatically say that any piece of hate that you find spewing out of Jeremiah Wright's mouth is necessarily the point of view of Barack Obama. He has to explain it.
BUCHANAN: As a former candidate, they take these guys, they say, here is Buchanan, here is his friend, and here is what his friend said. And then you have got to spend the rest of the day or the week trying to explain it or defend it or renounce it.
CARLSON: That's right. I want Barack Obama to be as reasonable as he seems. I really do. I have nothing against Barack Obama at all. I like him. And I just want him to distance himself from this stuff because it is so --
BUCHANAN: It's going to be tough to distance himself from somebody.
PRESS: And you also said, very quickly, that this preacher has done a lot of good in Chicago for a lot of --
CARLSON: I don't know that he has. I'm just being nice. He sounds like a total hater to me.
The Times report was mentioned on the April 30 Hannity & Colmes, but not Obama's specific disagreement with Wright's 9-11 comments:
COLMES: Now, Kate, I get a sense that certain conservatives would love it if Wright's views got in the way of Barack Obama's chances or somehow infringed on his ability to be a good candidate, so let me get this straight. If you're a member of a congregation, you have to agree with everything your pastor says or rabbi says, for example, or you're besmirched if you don't go along and dovetail with everything that leader of the congregation believes in?
GRIFFIN: Alan, Reverend Wright has said some shocking things, saying that 9-11 is the result of America's violent policies --
COLMES: What does that have to do with Barack Obama?
GRIFFIN: -- comparing -- it has a lot to do with him. This is not a minister who's just talking about vague differences in theology. This is a man who calls America the United States of white America, the Great White West.
COLMES: And is that what Barack Obama believes?
GRIFFIN: You know what? Barack Obama credits his conversion to Christianity to this man. He studied his speeches while he was at Harvard. He is a student of his pastor.
COLMES: You want to smear Barack Obama with whatever this man says that you don't agree with.
GRIFFIN: Obviously, there's a very close relationship. And what the American people are going to want to hear is where Barack Obama stands on some of these more flagrant anti-white comments.
COLMES: Well, why don't ask you him or find out before you choose to smear Barack Obama with things that he may not agree with that his pastor says?
GRIFFIN: I believe he has been asked. He has been asked many times, and what he does is he avoids the question. He says, "Oh, I wasn't at church when he said that about 9-11," or, "That's between my pastor and me." Or the best was when he said, "He's a child of the '60s. He uses the language of concern." That is not distancing himself from these extremely radical statements.
COLMES: Laura Schwartz, this smear piece on Barack Obama, trying to smear him because of controversial positions his pastor may have.
GRIFFIN: From The New York Times.
COLMES: Yes, the Times reporting the story. Laura Schwartz, he says he respects Wright's work for the poor, the fight against injustice. He says they don't agree on everything, is what Barack said, and they never had a thorough conversation on all aspects of politics. I don't know why Barack's detractors can't accept that.
SCHWARTZ: You know, the church does a lot of great things in the community here in Chicago. I know many of its members and those that just attend on a regular basis, because I believe your faith is just that. It's your faith. It's not your church leader's. And we don't practice everything that we're preached to about.
HANNITY: Laura, we don't have a lot of time. I want to get into something here.
SCHWARTZ: And I think he's made that distinction. Sure.
HANNITY: First of all, Barack says that this pastor, this minister was the inspiration for his book, The Audacity of Hope. That's number one. Barack made the decision to disinvite him when he announced that he was running for president here.
This is hardly, you know, a smear, unless Alan is claiming The New York Times is smearing Barack Obama. But after the 9-11 attacks, the Sunday after the terrorist attacks, he blamed America. He blamed our country. And, you know, for you to say that there's not a connection here is a little bit absurd to me. You don't think there's any connection?
SCHWARTZ: Well, you know, to your two points. First, "Audacity of Hope," which was a sermon, I believe, he gave in 1988 that Barack Obama credits to a great part of his conversion and to the book that he wrote, The Audacity of Hope, that was a beautiful sermon. That was invigorating. It was spiritual. It opened his eyes to many things.
HANNITY: He blames the United States for the attacks on 9-11.
SCHWARTZ: I'm talking about the 1988 sermon called "The Audacity of Hope." It's wonderful. I encourage people to read it.
HANNITY: I understand that.
SCHWARTZ: Now, to your second point, on the invocation, Obama did the right thing by not having him give that, because you know what? That puts on a national stage, and it puts your connection with things that have come up since that sermon.
HANNITY: What does it say -- if there was a Republican candidate, Laura, who had as their church premise on their website "commitment to the white community, commitment to the white family, adherence to the white work ethic, pledge to make all the fruits of developing acquired skills available to the white community," wouldn't that be deemed as racist? And wouldn't that --
SCHWARTZ: And offensive.
HANNITY: -- candidate have to disavow themselves from that church?
SCHWARTZ: I think so, to a certain extent, whereas, in our country, when we talk about racial differences, the African-American essence has a different place in the community from what they've come up through than the white Americans.
HANNITY: Does it sound racist to you?
SCHWARTZ: To talk about the black community? No, because he preaches what the essence of the African-American experience that --
GRIFFIN: It's anti-white and anti-American.
COLMES: We've got to run. Kate, we're just out of time. We thank you both very much.
During the May 2 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck will air an hour-long "special report" titled "Exposed: Climate of Fear" that, according to an April 30 CNN press release, will "deflate what Beck perceives as the media hype surrounding global warming" and "question the accuracy of Al Gore's claims in the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth of 20-foot sea level rises and the disastrous effects of increased carbon dioxide levels." As Media Matters for America has noted, Beck has repeatedly advanced falsehoods related to global climate change, cited debunked scientists to support his doubts that "we're causing" global warming and developed a pattern of attacking Gore.
Most recently, on the April 30 edition of nationally syndicated radio show, Beck falsely claimed that "even the U.N. says" Gore is wrong in suggesting sea levels could rise by 20 feet. He went on to liken Gore's climate change awareness campaign to the tactics Hitler used in "rounding up the Jews and exterminating them."
Climate change is a frequent topic on Beck's CNN Headline News show, but a Media Matters search* has found that since the show's inception, Beck has apparently hosted guests who appear to accept the consensus among the scientific community relating to global warming on just two occasions -- compared with at least 17 appearances by guests who have challenged to various degrees the scientific consensus on global warming.
Gore and rising sea levels
Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented criticism of the claim in Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth (Rodale Books, May 2006), that if the West Antarctic ice shelf "melted or slipped off its island mooring into the sea, it would raise sea levels worldwide by 20 feet ... Interestingly, the West Antarctic ice shelf is virtually identical in size and mass to the Greenland ice dome, which also would raise sea levels worldwide by 20 feet if it melted or broke up and slipped into the sea." Gore made the same claim in his documentary:
GORE: If [the West Antarctic ice shelf] were to go, sea level worldwide would go up 20 feet. They've measured disturbing changes on the underside of the ice sheet. It's considered relatively more stable, however, than another big body of ice that's roughly the same size -- Greenland would also raise sea level almost 20 feet if it went.
On the April 30 edition of his radio program, Beck denounced Gore's sea level claim, falsely stating that "even the U.N. says that's not true":
BECK: I mean, they are they were telling us things in Al Gore's global warming special that are not true. That the seas will rise 20 feet -- even the U.N. says that's not true. So you got to have the fear, we're all going to die.
Criticism of Gore's assertion about rising sea levels was highlighted by a March 13 New York Times article in which science writer William J. Broad set up a false comparison, suggesting that the 2007 report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which "estimated that the world's seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches," contradicted Gore's claim, "citing no particular time frame," that seas could rise "up to 20 feet." But the IPCC projection to which Broad was referring involved rising sea levels as they are affected before 2100 by "[c]ontinued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates" -- not the melting or breakup of the West Antarctic ice shelf or the Greenland ice dome at an indeterminate point in the future.
A chart projecting the rise of sea levels in six different scenarios showed that "the best estimate for the high scenario," which defined the "likely range" of temperature increases over the next century to be from "2.4°C to 6.4°C," resulting in an increase in sea levels between 0.26 meters and 0.59 meters, which converts to a range of 10.24 to 23.23 inches. But the IPCC further stated that "[c]ontraction of the Greenland ice sheet is projected to continue to contribute to sea level rise after 2100" and that "[i]f a negative surface mass balance were sustained for millennia, that would lead to virtually complete elimination of the Greenland ice sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about 7 m," which is equivalent to approximately 23 feet. Broad's apples-to-oranges comparison on sea levels was noted by Bob Somerby on his weblog, The Daily Howler.
In addition, Media Matters noted that University of Arizona professor Jonathan Overpeck's 2006 study, which predates the IPCC report, concluded that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are "on track" to melt at a quicker rate than previously expected, which, according to Overpeck, could lead to a sea level rise of 13 to 20 feet in the future. From a March 23, 2006, University of Arizona News article on Overpeck's findings:
The Earth's warming temperatures are on track to melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets sooner than previously thought and ultimately lead to a global sea level rise of at least 20 feet, according to new research.
If the current warming trends continue, by 2100 the Earth will likely be at least 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than present, with the Arctic at least as warm as it was nearly 130,000 years ago. At that time, significant portions of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets melted, resulting in a sea level about 20 feet (six meters) higher than present day.
Although ice sheet disintegration and the subsequent sea level rise lags behind rising temperatures, the process will become irreversible sometime in the second half of the 21st century, Overpeck said, "unless something is done to dramatically reduce human emissions of greenhouse gas pollution.
"We need to start serious measures to reduce greenhouse gases within the next decade. If we don't do something soon, we're committed to four-to-six meters (13 to 20 feet) of sea level rise in the future."
Beck's global warming panelists
In promoting his special, Beck has repeatedly claimed, as he did during the April 26 edition of Glenn Beck, that "there are two sides to every debate, and you're not getting the other side on the story." Beck stated that his special would look at "the flip side of global warming," presumably focusing on those skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change. Yet, a Media Matters for America review* has found that it is Beck who is not showing his viewers "the other side" of the debate -- that of the mainstream scientific community. Since his TV show began in May 2006, Beck has hosted guests that challenge various aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming at least 17 different times. By comparison, a Media Matters search of Beck's television show has found that he apparently has hosted -- on only two occasions -- guests who appear to accept the consensus among the scientific community relating to global warming. For instance:
Martin Durkin, director of the documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle that aired in March on the UK's Channel 4 and, according to Beck, is "very similar" to his own "Exposed: Climate of Fear." The documentary's website states that Durkin's film "brings together the arguments of leading scientists who disagree with the prevailing consensus that carbon dioxide released by human industrial activity is the cause of rising global temperatures today." An April 25 article in the UK's Scotsman reported that the film is "under fire" for claiming "that the world was hotter during the 'Medieval Warm Period' based on a graph that ended in 1975, and that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans. According to one study, volcanoes produce about 2 per cent of the emissions from human use of fossil fuels." A 2000 article from The Guardian noted that Durkin made a film in 1999 which argued that silicone implants reduce the incidence of breast cancer, as well as a 1997 Channel 4 series called "Against Nature" that, according to The Guardian, "compared environmentalists ... to Nazis, conspiring against the world's poor" and caused the UK's Independent Television Commission to:
hand down one of the most damning verdicts it has ever reached: the programme makers "distorted by selective editing" the views of the interviewees and "misled" them about the "content and purpose of the programmes when they agreed to take part". Channel 4 was forced to make a humiliating prime time apology.
Durkin appeared on the April 30 edition of Beck's program to discuss his documentary and the criticism it has received in the UK. During his appearance, the filmmaker proclaimed, "Oh, the recycling thing has just gone crazy. There's a kind of -- I suppose once you've got the end of the world hovering over the horizon, it's an excuse for doing almost everything." Beck later asked Durkin: "We're doing our special on global warming this week. How much trouble are we in, do you suppose? What should I expect after airing a documentary very similar to yours?" Durkin replied: "Oh, welcome to Hell."
- Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR), an anti-environmental group that has reportedly joined the "Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change," an organization that calls itself "a response to the many biased and alarmist claims about human-induced climate change, which are being used to justify calls for urgent action by governments." Johnson appeared on the May 1 edition of Glenn Beck to repeat the TCPR's misleading and unsubstantiated claim that in 2006 Al Gore's Nashville mansion consumed nearly than 221,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, which Johnson says is "about 20 times more energy than the average American." The TCPR first made its allegation against Gore in a February 2007 press release that, as Media Matters repeatedly documented, omitted steps that Gore has reportedly taken to reduce the effect of his home energy usage. Moreover, a February 27 Associated Press article questioned TCPR's assertion that the Gores used more than 220,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006. The AP reported that "according to bills [it] reviewed," "[t]he Gores used about 191,000 kilowatt hours in 2006," while TCPR "said that Gore used nearly 221,000 kilowatt hours." The AP reported that Johnson "said his group got its figures from Nashville Electric Service. But company spokeswoman Laurie Parker said the utility never received a request from the policy center and never gave it any information."
- Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): Beck has hosted Inhofe, who, as Media Matters has documented, once falsely stated "[i]t was warmer in the '30s than it is today" and, in 2003, called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Most recently, on the March 22 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck allowed Inhofe to distort Gore's response to a challenge Inhofe made of him during his March 21 appearance before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe noted that he asked Gore at the Senate hearing to sign a pledge requiring that his Tennessee residence consume no more energy than the average U.S. household. Inhofe's pledge stems from allegations that the Gores used more than 220,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006. Inhofe told Beck: "I said, 'Are you ready to change the way you live, 'cause you're consuming 20 times the amount of energy?' and he would not respond to it. I asked him three times if you go back and review the tape." In fact, as Media Matters for America repeatedly noted, Gore did not explicitly answer with a yes or no to Inhofe's question. Gore said that he and his family "purchase wind energy and other green energy that does not produce carbon dioxide," but Inhofe interrupted him six times.
- Chris Horner: Horner, counsel for the energy industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and author of the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) (Regnery, February 2007), has appeared on Beck on at least three separate occasions to attack the "hysterical movement" of environmental activists warning of the threats of global warming (April 23, April 5, and March 21). For instance, during the April 5 edition of Beck's television program, Horner declared Gore's film to be "pure science fiction," and, among other things, pushed the misleading claim that that "it'll be almost 10 years since we've experienced any warming," and that "it hasn't warmed since 1998." In fact, as Media Matters has noted, according to NASA, 1998 was a particularly warm year because "a strong El Nino, a warm water event in the eastern Pacific Ocean, added warmth to global temperatures." Despite the temperature spike that occurred in 1998, the Climatic Research Unit's Global Temperature Record and a surface temperature analysis of 2006 by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) show a general warming trend since 1970. Moreover, a February 2007 NASA Earth Observatory news release states, "By the early 1980s, temperatures surpassed those of the 1940s and, despite ups and downs from year to year, they continued rising beyond the year 2000."
- Bjorn Lomborg: Beck has also hosted Bjorn Lomborg on at least two occasions (January 17 and September 21, 2006). As Media Matters has noted, Lomborg is a "political scientist" at the Copenhagen Business School who purported to conduct a "non-partisan analysis" of environmental data in the hope of offering the public and policymakers a guide for "clear-headed prioritization of resources to tackle real, not imagined, problems." His conclusion was that the concerns of scientists regarding the world's environmental problems -- including global warming -- were overblown. But in January 2002, Scientific American ran a series of articles from four well-known environmental specialists that lambasted Lomborg's book for "egregious distortions," "elementary blunders of quantitative manipulation and presentation that no self-respecting statistician ought to commit," and sections that were "poorly researched and ... rife with careless mistakes." Lomborg has repeatedly attacked Gore's documentary and, as Media Matters documented used a false comparison to suggest that the IPCC "fundamentally rejects" Gore's claim that the world's sea-level could rise 20 feet as a result of warming.
- Mike Huckabee: A Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor, Huckabee was a guest on the April 25 edition of Glenn Beck. In response to Beck's question about whether "global warming" was "real" or "not," Huckabee replied that as "a Christian" he "think[s] we ought to take good care of the Earth. ... But as far as blaming human beings for enjoying the environment, that's a little bit extreme."
- Darrell Ankarlo: Beck hosted Ankarlo, a Phoenix radio host, to discuss global warming, among other things, on the April 23 edition of his television show. Ankarlo accused Gore of "creating these myths surrounding, you know, our global problem" and claimed Gore was "using" global warming "to gear up for an elections process in '08." Ankarlo did not specify what "myths" Gore was "creating" about global warming.
- Don Easterbrook: On the March 13 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck had on geology professor Easterbrook to argue that carbon dioxide is not "the cause of global warming." As Media Matters has documented, Easterbrook has predicted global cooling between 2065 and 2100 and denies that human-produced carbon dioxide has contributed to global warming over the past century.
- Patrick Michaels: On the same program as Easterbrook's appearance, Beck hosted Michaels, a Cato Institute senior fellow, to cast doubt on global warming. For his part, Michaels advanced the misleading claim that Gore "exaggerated" claims about rising sea levels due to global warming and claimed the U.N. "specifically [said] that there is no basis in the scientific literature existing at this time for these claims of massive sea level rise."
- James Spann: Spann, a meteorologist who does not believe that human activity is contributing significantly to global warming, was a guest on the January 22 edition of Glenn Beck. During his appearance, Spann claimed "the earth's climate has changed since the day God put it here. We have had these cyclical changes, and I believe that most of this is purely natural. ... So in our (meteorologists) opinion, a large part of this is not manmade. It's natural."
- Richard Lindzen: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, Lindzen has falsely claimed that "there is no agreement that the warming we've seen is due to man." Lindzen has also understated the extent of warming that has occurred and the level of scientific certainty that man has contributed to that warming. In a July 2, 2006 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Lindzen accused Gore of "shrill alarmism." During his May 26, 2006, appearance on Glenn Beck, he agreed with Beck's false claim that in the last century "temperatures here in America" are "pretty much flat," responding: "Well, yes, as far as we can tell."
By contrast, Beck appears to have hosted only two individuals, each of whom appeared once, who discussed global warming and appeared to agree with the scientific consensus. Most recently, on March 8, Beck hosted Matt Prescott of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); while not explicitly supporting or denying global warming in a discussion of a PETA letter that called on Gore to "act as a role model in the fight against global warming and becoming personally a vegetarian," Prescott stated that activists would do more good for the environment by becoming vegetarian and that it is a "pretty big problem" that Gore does not "suggest to people the fact the going vegetarian, simply just cutting the meat out of your diet, is the best way to help your environment." Prescott argued that becoming a vegetarian is "the most accessible way and the most effective way to help curtail global warming." In addition, on the March 2 edition of his television show, Beck hosted Tom Arnold, chief environmental officer for TerraPass, who discussed the merits of purchasing carbon offsets to reduce one's "carbon footprint."
Previous attacks on Gore
- On the March 22 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck likened Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels for Gore's statement, during his testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, that he would initiate a "mass persuasion campaign" to urge Congress to act on climate change.
- On the June 7, 2006, broadcast of his radio program, Beck compared An Inconvenient Truth to Nazi propaganda. Beck dismissed many of the conclusions drawn from the documentary, stating, "[W]hen you take a little bit of truth and then you mix it with untruth, or your theory, that's where you get people to believe. ... It's like Hitler. Hitler said a little bit of truth, and then he mixed in 'and it's the Jews' fault.' That's where things get a little troublesome, and that's exactly what's happening" in An Inconvenient Truth.
- On the July 12, 2006, edition of Glenn Beck, Beck cited recent violence in the Middle East and India as evidence that "we've got World War III to fight," while also warning of "the impending apocalypse." Beck added that President Bush is facing the threat "by himself," while Gore is more concerned with the fact that "[t]he ice is starting to melt in Greenland."
- On the February 27 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck asserted that Gore "has a huge carbon footprint" and said that "the Gores paid almost $30,000 in gas and electric in 2006." Beck did not report any of Gore's reported efforts, which according to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, include the Gores' use of "renewable sources" from the "Green Power Switch" program "actually costs more for the Gores."
- On the June 15, 2006, edition of his radio show, after airing a clip from An Inconvenient Truth in which Gore describes that global warming could cause many highly populated coastal areas to be submerged by seawater -- including the entire city of Shanghai -- Beck responded: "This is what would happen to Shanghai. Does anybody really care? I mean, come on. Shanghai is under water. Oh, no! Who's gonna make those little umbrellas for those tropical drinks?"
ABC's Raddatz baselessly claimed that national security seems "a bit of a foreign language" for Democrats
On the April 29 edition of ABC's This Week, during a roundtable discussion about the April 26 Democratic presidential candidates debate, ABC News chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz asserted: "I think when you listen to [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] on national security and when you listen to some other Democrats, as well, it does seem a bit of a foreign language. There is a learning curve there that they all have to get used to." Raddatz echoed the myth, frequently repeated by the media, that Democrats are weaker and less experienced on issues pertaining to national security and foreign policy than Republicans, despite polling showing that the public does not share that view.
During the lead-up to the 2006 midterm elections, media figures often uncritically reported on the Democrats' "image as soft on national defense" or "the idea that the Democrats are weak on national security." Even after the Democrats' victory in the midterms, the media persist in repeating this talking point, now in the context of the 2008 presidential election. For instance, on the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, asserted that the Democrats "need to prove themselves on national security." Additionally, on the April 6 edition of NBC's Today, NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert asserted without evidence that "Democrats have always had a difficulty being competitive with the Republicans in the public voters' mind on national security and foreign policy issues."
In fact, several polls conducted over the past year have shown Democrats with an advantage on national security and foreign policy issues:
- In a March 21-22 poll, Rasmussen Reports found that "[f]orty-six percent ... of voters trust the Democrats more on National Security while 44% prefer Republicans."
- In a March 7-11 New York Times poll, 45 percent of respondents thought that the Democratic Party was "more likely to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq," while 32 percent said the Republican Party was more likely.
- A February 22-25 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 52 percent of respondents "trust[ed]" congressional Democrats "to do a better job handling ... [t]he U.S. campaign against terrorism" while 39 percent of respondents favored President Bush.
- An Associated Press poll conducted August 15-17, 2006, found that -- including "leaners" -- 47 percent of respondents preferred Democrats when asked, "Who do you trust to do a better job of protecting the country?" By contrast, 40 percent chose Republicans. Without "leaners," 37 percent of respondents chose Democrats and 32 percent favored Republicans.
- In a February 22-23, 2006, poll, Rasmussen Reports found that respondents had "a slight preference for Democrats in Congress over the President on national security issues. Forty-three percent ... say they trust the Democrats more on this issue today while 41% prefer the President."
From the April 29 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
[begin video clip]
FORMER GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM): If two of our cities were attacked, what would I do? I would respond militarily, aggressively.
OBAMA: The first thing we'd have to do is make sure that we've got an effective emergency response.
FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): The first thing I would do is be certain I knew who was responsible and I would act swiftly and strongly to hold them responsible for that.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY): I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.
[end video clip]
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (host): The post-debate spin has been dominated by that series of exchanges in the Democrats' first presidential debate on Thursday night. Here to deconstruct that buzz -- as always -- [Washington Post columnist] George Will, [Newsweek International editor and ABC News analyst] Fareed Zakaria, and Martha Raddatz.
And, George, let me start out with that series of exchanges. There was probably no big news, no game-changer over the course of the debate, but Senator Clinton's team and the other candidates have been making a lot of the fact that when Senator Obama was asked, "What would you do if Al Qaeda attacked two U.S. cities?" in his first response, he didn't say the U.S. would respond militarily. He fixed it later, but that was not his instinct. They say that was very telling.
WILL: Well, whether it's telling or not and whether it's salient or not, it goes to his problem, if he has a problem, and that is, he's young. He was a state legislator three or four years ago and the question then is: Is he comfortable with the hard decisions necessary of a president wielding military force and killing people and the question -- the Democrats presumably have a lingering problem with national security questions, although probably less so now than the Republicans have, but I think it's making a molehill out of less than a molehill.
ZAKARIA: Yeah, I think some of this is kind of the question of have you done these debates long enough and know the sound bites and the buttons you're meant to press. And after all, Obama gave a speech in which he said the United States should act militarily, unilaterally, if necessary --
STEPHANOPOULOS: And raise the defense budget.
ZAKARIA: -- and raise the defense budget. So, it doesn't seem to me that there is more here than the fact that Obama didn't do exactly what you're supposed to do in these situations, and clearly at the debate, he -- this is not his format. I think that Obama does much better in speeches. His eloquence comes through; his personality comes through; and this kind of particularly circus, you know -- there's a format where there are so many people -- it doesn't play to his strength.
RADDATZ: But he's going to have to do well in this format because he will -- may well have this format in the future. I think what you had here is a dressed rehearsal for the next debates. In the next debates, they'll all know what mistakes they made -- and there weren't a whole lot of mistakes made, that's for sure -- and how they will come back in the next debate.
I think Obama really does -- I think when you listen to him on national security and when you listen to some other Democrats as well, it does seem a bit of a foreign language. There is a learning curve there that they all have to get used to.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I think you're exactly right. And I think that's how all the candidates treated it, as kind of a dress rehearsal, and they did try to take away a lot of lessons. George Will, I wonder if one of the lessons for the front-runners is going to have to be: Do they try to find a way to get out of these debates? And I know there's two schools of thoughts. On the one hand, you could say, "OK, they're the big dominant front-runners. They go in there, make no huge mistakes. They win." On the other hand, when they're up on a stage with six other candidates --
WILL: There's Mike Gravel.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but setting aside Mike Gravel -- who provided the comic relief -- everyone else seemed credible, seemed intelligent, seemed like they knew what they were talking about. That has to bring the front-runners down a bit.
Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) on the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson asked columnist Bruce Bartlett: "If both of them had absolute power ... who would kill more?" Tucker's question came after Bartlett asserted, "I think Giuliani seems like he has an authoritarian personality." Tucker then asked: "And Hillary Clinton doesn't? You're saying he has a more authoritarian personality than Hillary Clinton?"
Bartlett, an official in the George H.W. Bush administration, had written a May 1 column stating that "politically sophisticated conservatives will have to recognize that no Republican can win in 2008 and that their only choice is to support the most conservative Democrat for the nomination. Call me crazy, but I think that person is Hillary Clinton."
From the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: Would you personally vote for her?
BARTLETT: I would vote for her against some people, I don't know --
CARLSON: Like who?
BARTLETT: Well, I'm just not very happy about any of the Republicans running. I think Giuliani has -- seems like an -- has an authoritarian personality. [Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney seems --
CARLSON: And Hillary Clint -- wait, wait. And Hillary Clinton doesn't? You're saying he has a more authoritarian personality than Hillary Clinton?
BARTLETT: Well, that --
CARLSON: If both of them had absolute power -- let's just say, a mind experiment -- if they had absolute power, if they were stuck, who would kill more?
BARTLETT: Gee, that's a tough question. I think Giuliani would kill more. I think he's a tougher guy, and I don't mean that in a positive way, really.
An April 30 New York Times article on national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley's quest to fill the newly created "war czar" position, a job that oversees the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, reported that Hadley "is interviewing candidates, including military generals," for the "new high-profile job," but not that several retired generals have reportedly turned the administration down. At least three retired four-star generals have reportedly declined to be considered for the position, and, according to an April 11 Washington Post article, one of the generals, Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, declined because those in the Bush administration currently in charge of the Iraq war's conduct "don't know where the hell they're going." Sheehan later wrote in an op-ed that appeared in the Post that he withdrew himself from consideration for the job because the "current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically."
The Times article, written by staff writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg, focused on Hadley and his role in trying to fill the "war czar" position:
Stephen J. Hadley would be the first to tell you he does not have star power. But Mr. Hadley, the bespectacled, gray-haired, exceedingly precise Washington lawyer who is President Bush's national security adviser, is in the market for someone who does -- with the hope of saving Iraq.
Mr. Hadley is interviewing candidates, including military generals, for a new high-profile job that people in Washington are calling the war czar. The official (Mr. Hadley, ever cautious, prefers "implementation and execution manager") would brief Mr. Bush every morning on Iraq and Afghanistan, then prod cabinet secretaries into carrying out White House orders.
Yet nowhere in the article did Stolberg mention reports that retired generals have "declined to be considered for the position," as Media Matters for America has noted. While CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported on April 12 that "at least five retired generals have turned down the 'war czar' job," The Washington Post identified three such retired generals: Sheehan, Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, and retired Army Gen. Jack Keane. According to the Post article, Sheehan was the only one to give a detailed account of why he did not want the job, and the article quoted Sheehan saying that he "never agreed on the basis of the [Iraq] war" and asserting that those currently in charge of the conflict "don't know where the hell they're going":
In an interview yesterday, Sheehan said that Hadley contacted him and they discussed the job for two weeks but that he was dubious from the start. "I've never agreed on the basis of the war, and I'm still skeptical," Sheehan said. "Not only did we not plan properly for the war, we grossly underestimated the effect of sanctions and Saddam Hussein on the Iraqi people."
"There's the residue of the [Vice President Dick] Cheney view -- 'We're going to win, al-Qaeda's there' -- that justifies anything we did," he said. "And then there's the pragmatist view -- how the hell do we get out of Dodge and survive? Unfortunately, the people with the former view are still in the positions of most influence." Sheehan said he wrote a note March 27 declining interest.
The Post also quoted Sheehan saying: "The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going. ... So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks.' " The Post added that Sheehan "said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq."
The article further reported that each of the generals who turned down the job has strong ties to the Bush administration: Ralston is a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was named by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a "special envoy for countering the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a group designated a terrorist organization by the United States"; Keane was one of the chief architects of the troop increase adopted by Bush in January 2007; and Sheehan "served on the Defense Policy Board advising the Pentagon early in the Bush administration." According to the article, unlike Sheehan, Ralston declined to comment on his decision not to take the job, and Keane offered only a brief statement.
From Sheehan's April 16 Washington Post op-ed:
It would have been a great honor to serve this nation again. But after thoughtful discussions with people both in and outside of this administration, I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically. We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan -- and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.