Accuracy in Media

CNN APES AL-JAZEERA

CNN seems to be competing with Al-Jazeera for the award of most anti-American “news” channel.

On October 18, on the program “360 With Anderson Cooper,” CNN led off with a report by an Australian reporter for CNN, Michael Ware. They showed a terrorist video tape of snipers shooting and killing American soldiers in Iraq. The tape was made by the Islamic Army of Iraq, described by CNN as just an “insurgent” group.

The network said it was titled, “Latest Sniper Operations in Baghdad,” as if this was the work of some Baghdad movie producer. In addition, there was translated voice-over designed to show that these insurgents didn’t want to kill any innocent civilians. “People are around them,” says the spotter for the sniper, who may also have been the cameraman. “Want me to find another place?”

These terrorists were just targeting American soldiers, as if this made it all right to air the video and somehow justified what they were doing.

Al-Jazeera followed CNN with similar film footage. Usually it’s the other way around?terrorist videos show up on Al-Jazeera before going to CNN and other American networks. This was a smart public relations move on the part of the terrorists. They know that the key to winning the war is demoralizing the American people. CNN is the perfect vehicle.

The CNN tape included 10 incidents altogether. As Ware reported, “there’s no way to confirm precisely when or where the attacks took place, or which U.S. units were involved, or what happened to the targeted soldiers.” When the shots are fired, we hear the sound of the shot, but CNN fades to black, not wanting to show the actual gruesome deaths.

In response to criticism, CNN said: “The decision to air the insurgents’ videotape was a difficult one, but for a news organization, the right one. Our responsibility is to report the news. As an organization, we stand by our decision and respect the rights of others to disagree with it.”

The Right Thing To Do

We not only disagree, we have an obligation to point out that CNN has a long history of making “news” judgments that have demonstrated an anti-American and anti-military bias.

During the first Gulf War, CNN’s Peter Arnett depicted a war target in Baghdad as a “baby-milk factory,” simply because the regime had installed a poorly-made sign to that effect in front of the building. U.S. officials said that it was a chemical weapons manufacturing facility.

In its coverage of Operation Tailwind, CNN aired claims that the U.S. military used poison gas to kill American defectors during the Vietnam War. AIM led the effort to expose that anti-American propaganda ploy, and heads rolled at CNN when the channel admitted it had gotten the facts all wrong. 

More recently, then-CNN president Eason Jordan wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times, admitting that CNN had refrained from telling stories of Saddam’s brutality, in order to maintain access to the regime and a Baghdad bureau. Jordan was later forced to resign when he charged, without evidence, that U.S. troops in Iraq were targeting American journalists.

The Terrorist Video

Invited on CNN to discuss the controversy over the network airing the sniper footage, Rep. Duncan Hunter wondered if CNN would air a film during World War II sent in by Hitler’s regime “showing Americans going down under .50 caliber bullets on the..beaches of Normandy?” He wondered if CNN would air video provided by the Imperial Government of Japan of U.S. Marines being killed at Iwo Jima.

Blitzer didn’t answer Hunter’s questions. 

Another guest, CNN’s military analyst, retired U.S. Army General David Grange, said that “?my concern is the power of information warfare, and how they use it.” He said the enemy is “winning the information warfare front” and that “the media in the United States supports that somewhat.”

Hunter asked Blitzer: “I think the question I asked when I saw this, Wolf, is, does CNN want America to win this thing?”

Not getting an answer, Hunter added, “And, if I was a platoon leader there, as I once was, and I had a?and I had a news organization which had shown, had?had taken film from the enemy, showing them killing one of my soldiers, and they asked if they could be embedded in my platoon, my answer would be no.

“I go back to the?to the?the days of guys like Joe Rosenthal, who filmed the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, and Ernie Pyle, who was a soldier’s reporter, the guys who were on our side?even though they reported the rough and the tough of the war, they were on our side.

“You can’t be on both sides. And I would say, if I was that platoon leader, I would say, absolutely not. Take CNN out of there. You can’t be on both sides.”

Cheney Grills Blitzer

Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Cheney, made a subsequent appearance on CNN with Blitzer to talk about her new children’s book. But when the subject of the terrorist video came up, Cheney asked Blitzer why he hadn’t answered the question from Hunter about whether he supported the U.S. in Iraq or not.

This time, Blitzer responded, “The answer of course is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about that.”

But CNN has a strange way of showing it.

To compound the problem, the U.S. State Department has had a policy of putting U.S. officials on Al-Jazeera, the vicious anti-American propaganda vehicle. Then we learned that one of those officials, Alberto Fernandez, went on the channel and declared in Arabic that U.S. Iraq policy was arrogant and stupid. At first, he denied saying those things. Then he admitted making those statements and apologized. This is a serious scandal that demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the “public diplomacy” effort being waged by the State Department, supposedly on America’s behalf. Such diplomatic buffoonery imperils the prospect of victory in Iraq.

Incredibly, some so-called “experts” on the Arab media have defended Fernandez, saying that attacks on U.S. foreign policy are necessary to establish credibility with an Arab audience. Taken to its logical extreme, this view holds that U.S. foreign policy is to blame for our problems in the Middle East and the solution is to withdraw from Iraq (and much of the rest of the world). That is what the enemy wants.

Ironically, just a few weeks before Fernandez lied about his comments, disgraced himself and embarrassed America, Newsweek had run a sympathetic portrayal of the official, calling him “sassy” and compassionate.

Marc Lynch, a professor at Williams College and author of “Voices of the New Arab Public,” a book about Al-Jazeera, was quoted as saying that “Alberto is good at going into heated, lively discussions, thinking on his feet. He’s not afraid to get emotional, he’ll even lose his temper a bit, which is good on these types of programs.”

Let’s hope Lynch is not in any position where he can influence official U.S. policy.

Another Gaffe

The story, by Zvika Krieger, noted that Fernandez did run into some criticism when he referred to “revivalist” Sunni Muslim scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi as “a respected scholar and religious leader worthy of the deepest respect.” Qaradawi, a regular fixture on Al-Jazeera, supports terrorism and was in the forefront of those criticizing the Pope for his comments about Islam’s record of violence.

“Fernandez gets praise from practically every other quarter,” the piece said.

This piece was almost as embarrassing as Fernandez’s performance. It’s beyond belief that Fernandez still has a job. No wonder a military victory in Iraq is in jeopardy.

 

THE SAUDI PRINCE AND FOX NEWS

At the annual meeting of News Corporation, parent of Fox News, chairman Rupert Murdoch confirmed that a call from a Saudi Prince had resulted in a change in how the Fox News Channel covered the Muslim riots in France in 2005. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a significant investor in News Corp., told Murdoch he objected to highlighting the Muslim role in the riots. Murdoch told Cliff Kincaid of AIM at the annual meeting that he did receive the call and that a change was made after it was determined that Algerian Catholics had also participated in the riots. “It was not a pure Muslim riot, as such,” he said.

But AIM has never seen any evidence of a Catholic role in the riots.

In an Oct. 25, 2006, editorial, “Europe’s Muslims,” which looked back on the riots, the Washington Post noted that “A year ago this week, riots erupted in mostly Muslim suburbs of Paris and other French cities?” (emphasis added).

Molly Moore of the Post, in a November 5, 2005, story, noted that “Much of the rioting has occurred in areas heavily populated by poor African Muslim immigrants and their French-born children?” (emphasis added).

Phony Inquiry?

Murdoch told AIM that the call from the Saudi Prince resulted in an inquiry into the facts. At the time, however, Claire Cozens of the Guardian reported that Alwaleed had claimed that the coverage was changed quickly. 

“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch and said that I was speaking not as a shareholder, but as a viewer of Fox. I said that these are not Muslim riots, they are riots,” the prince reportedly said. “He [Murdoch] investigated the matter and called Fox and within half an hour it was changed from ‘Muslim riots’ to ‘civil riots.’”

The problem has gotten worse, not better.

Again, to quote from the October 25, 2006, Post editorial: “French police are facing what some call a ‘permanent intifada’ in Muslim neighborhoods, with nearly 2,500 incidents of violence against officers recorded in the first six months of the year. Some of these now take the form of planned ambushes: On Sunday a gang of youths emptied a bus of its passengers, set it on fire, and then stoned the firefighters who responded.” (emphasis added).

It looks like the Muslim riots in France are continuing. Will Fox News cover them accurately?

 

ANOTHER LIBERAL CONFIRMS MEDIA BIAS
By Roger Aronoff

Some smart liberals in the media are figuring out that it’s no longer tenable to deny they are biased. They’re admitting it up front, in the hope that conservatives might start coming back to some of the old media and prevent a further decline in their listening or viewing audiences. One such admission has now been made by Mark Halperin of ABC News.

Some history is in order. Surveys demonstrating a liberal or pro-Democratic Party bias by the national press corps go back 40 years. One of the most interesting, a 1996 survey from the Freedom Forum, showed that 89 percent of the reporters in Washington said they had voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, while only seven percent said they voted for George Bush.

Some say that journalists are trained to keep their bias out of their stories, but that assumes they practice objective news reporting. In fact, reporters have been taught interpretive reporting for decades. That opens the door to bias influencing not only the selection of news items, but how the news is presented. And since most of those entering the journalism field are liberals, that creates a perceptible liberal bias. 

The best evidence of bias comes from some of those reporters and editors who openly acknowledge it, sometimes when they are caught off guard, other times when they know full well that they are breaking ranks, and telling us things that their brethren wish they hadn’t said.

Case Studies

We have documented many of those instances:

  • When ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran told radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt that there is “a deep anti-military bias in the media.” Added Moran, “One that begins from the premise that the military must be lying, and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong. I think that that is a hangover from Vietnam, and I think it’s very dangerous”;

  • When Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said that media bias was worth five to 15 percentage points, meaning anywhere between five and 20 million votes for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in the 2004 election;

  • Bernard Goldberg’s book “Bias,” exposing the liberal environment at CBS and other networks, and the importance of holding the “correct” worldview.

  • Daniel Okrent, the former Public Editor of the New York Times, who wrote “if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them [social issues], you’ve been reading the paper with your eyes closed.” As for its editorial page, Okrent wrote that it is “so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right.” 

  • Thomas Edsall, former top political reporter for the Washington Post, told radio host Hewitt that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the press corps by a factor of 15 or 25 to 1.

Mark Halperin, ABC News political director and blogger of The Note on the ABC website, now gets added to this list.

In a piece before the November 7 elections, he wrote about the (liberal) Old Media in an article called “Six Days of November Surprises,” describing what to expect in terms of media favorable to the Democrats and hostile to Republicans

Expected Bias 

These included:

– “Glowingly profile Speaker-Inevitable Nancy Pelosi, with loving mentions of her grandmotherly steel..” (Something like this actually occurred on the October 22 CBS 60 Minutes program).

– “fail to describe her [Pelosi] as ‘ultra liberal’ or ‘an extreme liberal,’ which would mirror the way Gingrich was painted twelve years ago”;

– “Look at every attempt by the President to define the race on his terms as deluded and desperate”;

– “… increasingly quote Republican strategists saying that the President is hurting the party whenever he enters the fray,” and

–  “Paint groups that run ads or do turn out for Republican candidates as shadowy, extreme, corrupt, and illegitimate; describe their analogues on the left as valiant underdogs, part of a People’s Army.” 

As if to rub it in, Halperin went on “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel and said “We’ve got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we’re going to try to do better, but these organizations [the Washington Post, New York Times, CBS, ABC, etc.] still have incredible sway and these conservatives are certain that we’re going to be out to get them. We’ve got to fix that.”

O’Reilly said, “So you’re admitting you tilt left?” Halperin, who with the Washington Post’s John Harris has written a book called The Way to Win in 2008, told O’Reilly that “over the years there are a lot of examples: what CBS News did in the 2004 election with the President’s 2004 National Guard record. Lots of examples. If I were conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We’ve got to make sure we do better so conservatives don’t have to be concerned about that. It’s not fair.”

“There are no strategy calls,” he said. “We’re not on the phone with Howard Dean and George Soros getting our marching orders. But the mindset at ABC?is just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans’ chances than perhaps is warranted. Singling out, you’re seeing here a 60 Minutes piece about Nancy Pelosi. I don’t remember Newt Gingrich getting a piece that favorable in 1994.”

Finishing up on the topic, Halperin said, “I think everybody in the old media better be watching pieces like that, reading profiles of Nancy Pelosi and saying, are we being fair to everybody involved in the American political process. Even if you don’t believe the argument that we make in The Way to Win there are some examples over the years that are pretty significant of showing why conservatives are aggrieved. Even if you’re a liberal and don’t believe that, believe that half the country feels that way. And it’s an economic model. If you want to thrive like Fox News Channel, you want to have a future, you better make sure conservatives find your product appealing. If you’re going to do the right thing, you’ve got to do it.”

Clean Up ABC News

Halperin may be trying to appear fair and impartial in order to sell his book to conservatives. But there is no reason to doubt his characterization of the press corps. It comports with the known evidence and the facts. He understands his colleagues and their mentality.

Thanks, Mr. Halperin, for confirming what we already know. However, if your admission is not just motivated by a desire to sell a book, you can demonstrate your sincerity by eliminating the liberal bias where you work on a daily basis. You have a lot of work to do, beginning at ABC News. Please get to it.

What You Can Do

Send the enclosed cards or cards and letters of your own choosing to the DISH network and Mark Halperin of ABC News. Also, you can receive a copy of our new publication identifying and listing the personnel of Al-Jazeera International by sending the other card to AIM.




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