Saturday, November 19, 2005

Brison attacks Harper as anti-Charter, anti-gay


COLIN PERKEL
CANADIAN PRESS

In a harbinger of the mudslinging that could shape this winter's expected federal election, a senior Liberal cabinet minister today attacked Conservative Leader Stephen Harper as a socially conservative dinosaur opposed to gay and charter rights.

After a speech to the Rotary Club in which he signalled some of the broad themes of a Liberal campaign, Public Works Minister Scott Brison warned that Harper would turn Canada's social clock back in time.

Harper has consistently found himself at odds with such core Canadian values as multiculturalism, bilingualism, publicly funded health care and the Charter of Rights and Freedom, Brison said.

"During the great debates around those issues. . .people like Stephen Harper consistently stood four-square against the types of policies that built the Canada we love," said Brison.

"As head of the National Citizens Coalition, Mr. Harper (and) his organization, held positions that were contrary to publicly funded health care, that were contrary to bilingualism and the charter, and to multiculturalism."

In past elections, Harper's social values have been his Achilles' heel, especially in riding-rich Ontario and Quebec, where the Liberals played to voter fears by portraying him and his party as intolerant.

Harper was not immediately available to comment.

A full-blown election campaign could come within weeks.

The Opposition parties have said they would try to bring down the minority Liberals at the first opportunity, even if that would spark an election campaign that would run through the holidays.

Brison told his audience that Liberals understand the importance of the charter and other policies that "have shaped one of the most progressive societies in the world."

The Conservatives, he argued, would undo the progress if elected.

Brison, who characterizes himself as a politician who happens to be gay, said it was the charter and its equality rights that had made his political career possible.

Brison took special aim at Harper's views of same-sex marriage, a key hot-button issue in the last election, saying the Conservative leader has stated he would be open to repealing the law that recognizes gay marriages.

"That would be the first time in Canada that we would see the repealing of a charter right," Brison said.

"Mr. Harper has left himself open to that possibility."

Conservative industry critic James Rajotte said Brison’s assertions are "completely wrong."

Harper has always told his caucus there will be free votes on contentious matters, Rajotte said.

"Whether it’s marriage, whether it’s euthanasia, whether it’s abortion, he ... will not impose any position on his members of Parliament," Rajotte said.

"The party actually explicitly said it would not change any of the abortion legislation at its March convention, so (Brison) is just basically saying things which are absolutely not true."

During his speech, Brison made references to the Gomery commission on the sponsorship scandal, emphasizing the finding that most civil servants are honest and that Canada's democratic institutions work.

Afterward, he was presented with a bottle of sparkling wine from Gomerie in France.

"Finally, something to celebrate out of Gomery," he joked.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Needs to be said over and over. President George W. Bush

Ominous Warnings Redux from Investors Business Daily


By popular demand, we are rerunning a list of quotes that first appeared in our Sept. 29, 2003, issue, showing that President Bush was not alone among U.S. leaders in being alarmed about the threat Saddam Hussein posed.

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.

"Iraq is a long way from (here), but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." Madeline Albright, Clinton secretary of state, Feb 18, 1998.

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983." Sandy Berger, Clinton national security adviser, Feb, 18, 1998.

"(W)e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspected Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." Letter to Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry and others, Oct. 9, 1998.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Dec. 16, 1998.

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." Albright, Nov. 10, 1999.

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." Letter to President Bush, signed by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and others, Dec, 5, 2001.

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." Levin, Sept. 19, 2002.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Sept. 27, 2002.

"The last U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons." Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Oct. 3, 2002.

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Kerry, Oct. 9, 2002.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Oct. 10, 2002.

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant U.N. resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do." Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Oct. 10, 2002.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Oct 10, 2002.

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." Graham, Dec. 8, 2002.

"(W)ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." Kerry, Jan. 23. 2003.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Top Editors Don't Want to Explain Their Free Pass to Democrats for Closed Senate Session
Posted by Mark Tapscott on November 3, 2005 - 09:16.

Closing meetings of public bodies is and should be anathema to journalists and all others who care about the public's right to know and the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press, but journalists hardly uttered a peep when Democrats closed the Senate this week.

Normally, journalists are out front in battles to force politicians and bureaucrats at the local and state levels to open their meetings to reporters and members of the public.

So why the silence among the nation's journalists about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, forcing the U.S. Senate to kick reporters and spectators out, bolt the doors and dim the lights for a closed session Nov. 1 on prosecuting government officials for leaking information about war and peace to ... journalists?

Actually, silence is not quite accurate. Two professional journalist organizations took strong stands condemning the closed session. The first of those stands came within hours after the Senate's closed session when Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, condemned Senate Democrats, observing that "the best way to combat secrecy and obfuscation is not more secrecy."

You can read Dalglish's full statement here.

After reading the RCFP statement, I asked the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors and Radio and Television News Directors Association if they planned to say anything about the closed session.

Christine Tatum, President-Elect of SPJ, left no doubt about her reaction, condemning Senate Democrats and saying:

"Senate Democrats clearly want more information about government intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. The best way to get it is by conducting inquiry and debate out in the open so that the public can make observations, demand answers and hold government officials accountable for their actions. It makes no sense to criticize or combat secrecy with more secrecy."

Tatum, who covers business for The Denver Post, added that the issue would be discussed today in SPJ's email newsletter: "We're essentially going to make clear that we believe the hearing shouldn't have been closed, and we'll remind our members that SPJ welcomes their help in its fight for open public meetings and the freedom of information."

Barbara Cochran, President of RTNDA, said she "certainly agrees the public's business should be conducted in public," but noted that her organization had not issued a statement about the closed session. She speculated that the issue "may come up" during a telephone meeting of RTNDA leadership later this week.

The responses from RCFP and SPJ contrasted vividly with those from ASNE and IRE (Full disclosure here: I am a long-time IRE member, unabashedly encourage fellow journalists to join IRE and use a textbook written by Brant Houston, IRE's Executive Director, in The Heritage Foundation's Database 101/201 Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting Boot Camps at the National Press Club).

An email to ASNE president Rick Rodriquez, Executive Editor of The Sacremento Bee generated an "out-of-office" reply that said he would not be reviewing his email while travelling.

So I emailed the other four ASNE officers, including: David Zeeck, ASNE Vice President and Executive Editor of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington; Gilbert Bailon, ASNE Secretary and Executive Editor of The Dallas Morning News; Charlotte Hall, ASNE Treasurer and Editor of the Orlando Sentinel, and Marty Kaiser, ASNE Treasurer-Designate and Editor of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

As of this posting, none of Rodriquez' colleagues in the ASNE's top leadership has responded to my request for a comment on the closed Senate session.

As for IRE, I posted an invitation for comment on the IRE list serv that is read religiously by hundreds of newsroom CARR practicioners and other journalists. Only two responses were received, but both are well worth mentioning.

First, Lex Alexander, a CARR journalist and blogger extraordinaire at The Greensboro (NC) News & Record, offered this observation:

"In general, closed meetings are a bad idea, and I've fought them as hard as anyone. But with specific respect to Tuesday's closed Senate meeting, there were so many issues at play - substantive, political, procedural - that I doubt there's any one-size-fits-all argument, pro OR con, to be found."

Andee Engleman, former Executive Director of the Nevada Press Association, was anything but non-committal, noting:

"Most people think Democrats are the open government party. I've found it's a mixed bunch and tends to be an individual belief. But Sen. Reid always told me he supported open government. This is not the first time he's closed a meeting to the press.
"I understand closing the meeting was legal. That doesn't make it right. The Senate should never be closed to the public."
As for the reporting of the closed session, a Lexis-Nexis search for quotes from the RCFP statement turned up nothing, while a search using the term "closed session" found only 86 entries for the period 11/1-4.

The main wire report that did show up in the search was written by AP's Liz Sidoti but she quoted no professional journalist organization official or public meetings law expert, and included no coverage on the propriety of the closed session.

So what do we make of all this?

With the notable and commendable exceptions of Dalglish and Tatum, the cream of American journalism's leadership apparently has no qualms about Senate Democrats forcing the first closed session of the Senate since 1999 to hijack for intensely partisan political purposes the extremely controversial prosecution of a senior government official for talking to journalists.

It is easy to imagine the double standard that would have instantly been evident in the newsrooms if a Republican had forced the Senate closing. The outraged protests would have exploded from the front pages, the end of the free press would be predicted at every turn and we would hear incessant demands for the resignation of the offending GOP senators.

Shouldn't journalists be the first to decry the prosecution of an official for leaking something to the media? Shouldn't journalists be the first to condemn closing the Senate to debate that prosecution and what it may or may not reveal about the reasons for America's Iraq War? Are there any issues more demanding of a public debate than war and peace?

I ask these questions as one who has spent the better part of his career as a journalist. And I continue to marvel that so many mainstream journalists can't understand why their giving Democrats a free pass on an issue so crucial to good reporting so damages journalism's credibility.
To ABC's Surprise, Katrina Victims Praise Bush and Blame Nagin
Posted by Brent Baker on September 15, 2005 - 17:50.

ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts. Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?" Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel: "Very little skepticism here.”

Reynolds pressed another woman: “Did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?" She affirmed: "Yes, he was." Reynolds soon wondered who they held culpable for the levee breaks. Unlike the national media, London did not blame supposed Bush-mandated budget cuts: "They've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do."

Full transcript follows. Video excerpt: RealPlayer or Windows Media. Plus MP3

The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to the reactions ABC broadcast.

Immediately after Bush finished his speech from Jackson Square in New Orleans, at about 8:26pm local CDT, Ted Koppel, anchor of ABC's hour-long coverage, went to Dean Reynolds who was outside in a parking lot with a group of black people from New Orleans who are living at the Reliant Center next to the Astrodome.

(No names were provided on-screen for those interviewed, so I only have first names for two, and no name for one, of the six.)

Reynolds elicited reaction from the group sitting in chairs: “I'd like to get the reaction of Connie London who spent several horrible hours at the Superdome. You heard the President say retpeaedly that you are not alone, that the country stands beside you. Do you believe him?”

Connie London: “Yeah, I believe him, because here in Texas, they have truly been good to us. I mean-”

Reynolds: “Did you get a sense of hope that you could return to your home one day in New Orleans?”

London: “Yes, I did. I did.”

Reynolds: “Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?”

London: “No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in. They should have been on their jobs.”

Reynolds: “And they weren't?”

London: “No, no, no, no. Lord, they wasn't. I mean, they had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people.”

Reynolds: “Now, Mary, you were rescued from your house which was basically submerged in your neighborhood. Did you hear something in the President's words that you could glean some hope from?”

Mary: “Yes. He said we're coming back, and I believe we're coming back. He's going to build the city up. I believe that.”

Reynolds: “You believe you'll be able to return to your home?”

Mary: “Yes, I do.”

Reynolds: “Why?”

Mary: “Because I really believe what he said. I believe. I got faith.”

Reynolds: “Back here in the corner, we've got Brenda Marshall, right?”

Brenda Marshall: “Yes.”

Reynolds: “Now, Brenda, you were, spent, what, several days at the Superdome, correct?”

Marshall: “Yes, I did.”

Reynolds: “What did you think of what the President told you tonight?”

Marshall: “Well, I think -- I think the speech was wonderful, you know, him specifying that we will return back and that we will have like mobile homes, you know, rent or whatever. I was listening to that pretty good. But I think it was a well fine speech.”

Reynolds: “Was there any particular part of it that stood out in your mind? I mean, I saw you all nod when he said the Crescent City is going to come back one day.”

Marshall: “Well, I think I was more excited about what he said. That's probably why I nodded.”

Reynolds: “Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?”

Marshall: “No, I didn't.”

Reynolds: “Good. Well, very little skepticism here. Frederick Gould, did you hear something that you could hang on to tonight from the President?”

Frederick Gould: “Well, I just know, you know, he said good things to me, you know, what he said, you know. I was just trying to listen to everything they were saying, you know.”

Reynolds: “And Cecilia, did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?”

Cecilia: “Yes, he was.”

Reynolds: “Do you think this is a little too late, or do you think he's got a handle on the situation?”

Cecilia: “To me it was a little too late. It was too late, but he should have did something more about it.”

Reynolds: “Now do you all believe that you will one day return to your homes?”
Voices: “Yes” and “I do.”

Reynolds: “I mean, do you all want to return to your homes? We're hearing some people don't even want to go back.”

Mary: “I want to go back.”

Reynolds: “You want to go back.”

Mary: “I want to go back. That's my home. That's all I know.”

Reynolds: “Is it your home for your whole life?”

Mary: “Right. That's my home.”

Reynolds: “And do you expect to go back to the house or a brand new dwelling or what?”

Mary: “I expect to go back to something. I know it ain't my house, because it's gone.”

Reynolds: “What is the one mistake that could have been prevented that would have made your lives much better? Is it simply getting all of you out much sooner or what was it?”

Mary: “I'm going to tell you the truth. I had the opportunity to get out, but I didn't believe it. So I stayed there till it was too late.”

Reynolds: “Did you all have the same feeling? I mean, did you all have the opportunity to get out, but you were skeptical that this was the really bad one?”

Unnamed woman: “No, I got out when they said evacuate. I got out that Sunday and I left before the storm came. But I know they could have did better than what they did because like they said, buses were just sitting there, and they could have came through there and got people out, because they were saying immediate evacuation. Some people didn't believe it. But they should have brung the force of the army through to help these people and make them understand it really was coming.”

London: “And really it wasn't Hurricane Katrina that really tore up the city. It was when they opened the floodgates. It was not the hurricane itself. It was the floodgates, when they opened the floodgates, that's where all the water came.”

Reynolds: “Do you blame anybody for this?”

London: “Yes. I mean, they've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do.”

Reynolds: “All right. Well, thank you all very much. I wish you all the best of luck. I hope you don't have to spend too much more time here in the Reliant Center and you can get back to New Orleans as the President said. Ted, that is the word from the Houston Astrodome. And as I said, when the President said that the Crescent City will rise again, there were nods all around this parking lot.”

UPDATE: On Friday’s Good Morning America, Jessica Yellin avoided the pro-Bush consensus of those shown on ABC the night before and characterized the reaction of evacuees as “mixed,” a description she managed to support by running a clip from a woman in a different location.

On the September 16 GMA, Yellin reported: "Evacuees watching the speech from Baton Rouge and Houston had mixed reviews."

Woman outside at Astrodome, in clip from ABC’s Thursday night coverage: "He said we're coming back, and I believe we're coming back. He's going to build the city up. I believe that.”

Woman inside in Baton Rouge: "All they can do is tell you what they're going to do. We need something done now. Yesterday."

SECOND UPDATE: At the start of the roundtable on Sunday’s This Week, with Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will, host George Stephanopoulos observed: “I was watching on ABC on Thursday night. Some of the victims we collected in Houston loved it. They loved every single word.”
Aaron Brown Goes Out Channeling Joe Wilson; Plus Lowlights from Brown's CNN Years
Posted by Brent Baker on November 3, 2005 - 02:02.

The last moments on CNN for the network's most liberal anchor, Aaron Brown, were spent channeling Joe Wilson's talking points. (As noted by Noel Sheppard, CNN on Wednesday announced the departure of Brown and the end of NewsNight. The two-hour block starting at 10pm EST will now carry the Anderson Cooper 360 title while The Situation Room gets the 7pm EST hour.) Brown was last on CNN on Friday night wrapping up headlines at 11:01pm EDT before an airing of CNN Presents narrated by David Ensor, "Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown." Just before that, at 10:54pm EDT, Brown conducted his last interview on CNN, a brief live session with Ensor, in which he pushed the spin of the radical anti-war left. He told Ensor that “people who are opposed to the war say that it wasn't just that the intelligence was wrong. It's that the intelligence was cooked." Ensor inconveniently admitted that “I also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” before Brown followed up: “At some level, this is about Joe Wilson saying -- I'm not, I'm not saying he's right about this, I'm just saying what he said -- is that they took the country to war, when they knew the evidence was at least ambiguous and they never framed it in an ambiguous way."

Below are a few examples of Brown's bias from his CNN years -- he left ABC News in 2001 -- which the MRC's Rich Noyes and I quickly collected from NewsBusters and the MRC's archive. These quotes, some with video, include how Brown, after Katrina, pressed a black Congresswoman to agree that race was behind the delayed response in New Orleans; how Brown one night trumpeted a Republican who turned against the war and wondered if the administration has been “honest”; how he ridiculed the contention that John Kerry didn't earn his Purple Heart; how he insisted that while some “will see willful deception on the part of CBS” in the Memogate scandal, “smarter and more reasoned heads know better”; how he declared the “record unambiguous” that “John Kerry was a war hero”; how, without uttering a syllable about questions about Kerry's Vietnam record, on Memorial Day 2004 Brown delivered a panegyrical, event-by-event tribute to Kerry's heroic Vietnam service; how he boasted of “a permanent smirk” spurred by Rush Limbaugh's drug troubles; how he proposed that the White House “twisted or ignored” global warming science; and how Brown swooned over Jimmy Carter: “In many places, dusty and difficult places, James Earl Carter has brought hope and dispelled, as well as anyone alive these days, the vision of the ugly American."

# Brown, who since Katrina had been put into a co-anchor situation with Anderson Cooper, solo-anchored his last NewsNight on Friday, October 28, which he opened at 10pm EDT: "Good evening again, everyone. It began with 16 words uttered by the President about Iraq and nuclear weapons, only 16 words in a very long speech. It became a battle and a scandal, and now, perhaps, a crime."

About 54 minutes later, Brown introduced his last interview on CNN: "We learned today that a Marine from Ohio was killed in Iraq on Thursday. Lance Corporal Robert Eckfield Jr. was 23 years old. As the war continues, so, of course, do the questions. Today, the special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was asked if the indictment was a vindication that the Bush administration took the country to war on a false premise. This is how he answered."

Peter Fitzgerald at press conference: "This indictment is not about the war. This indictment's not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel."

Brown: "I don't think there was a more interesting person today, by the way, than Mr. Fitzgerald. Democrats disagree with him. They believe the indictment has everything to do with the war, how we got to war, partisan, yes, but it is part of the national debate. Our national security correspondent, David Ensor, has been doing an incredible amount of work, and good work, on the intelligence that led up to the war and how it came to be. And David joins us now. David, I think the, people's perspective on this is, you know, of people who are opposed to the war, say that it wasn't just that the intelligence was wrong. It's that the intelligence was cooked. Do we know? Can we answer that for them?"

David Ensor, from Washington, DC: "Um, cooked is probably a little too strong a word. You know, people in the intelligence community -- and let's be honest, I also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They had used them on their own -- Saddam had used them on the people, he'd used them against Iran. There were chemical weapons that were unaccounted for after the war. So, there was lots of good, logical reason to think there were weapons of mass destruction there. The amazing thing is, there were not. And, you know, I have tried to find out why, how this could go so badly wrong, which is part of what, I guess, we're going to be showing people in the next hour, this, this look at how this could go so badly wrong. But I was also today at the press conference that you just mentioned, Mr. Fitzgerald's press conference. And there were -- what was so striking there was, there were lots of questions about, well, isn't this really about Iraq? Isn't this really about theWMD? And he, of course, it is in his interests to be as narrow as possible, to say, no, it is just about lying. That's about all it is about. I don't want to go there. But, for most of the people in the country, whether they're for or against the war, that's what this is really about, in political terms."

Brown: "At some level, this is about Joe Wilson saying -- I'm not, I'm not saying he's right about this, I'm just saying what he said -- is that they took the country to war, when they knew the evidence was at least ambiguous and they never framed it in an ambiguous way."

Ensor: "Right. But they did believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And, as I say, a lot of people did, myself included. Now, that turned out to be wrong. And that may not have been the real main motivation for going to Iraq in the first place, which is yet another question."

Brown: "David, as you mentioned, we'll take a deeper look at this in the hour ahead. We appreciate your spending a few minutes with us in anticipation of that to sort of set the stage."

Indeed, after a commercial break, Brown spent his last minute at CNN reading some headlines before, at 11:01pm EDT, CNN replaced the second hour of NewsNight with a CNN Presents narrated by Ensor, "Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown."


# Days into Katrina, on the September 2 NewsNight as recited in this NewsBusters item, Brown prodded black Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones to blame racism for delays in rescuing hurricane victims in New Orleans: “What I'm wondering is, do you think black America's sitting there thinking, if these were middle class white people, there would be cruise ships in New Orleans?” When she wouldn’t take the bait, Brown lectured: “Now, look, here's the question, okay? And then we'll end this. Do you think the reason that they're not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren't there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, isn't there, is a matter of race and/or class?”

Just under two weeks later, Brown invited MRC President Brent Bozell aboard NewsNight to discuss that interview. See this September 14 NewsBusters item, “CNN's Brown Confronts MRC's Bozell on Criticism of Injecting Race into Coverage,” which features a couple of video clips.


# A June 21, 2005 CyberAlert item, “CNN's NewsNight: Downing Memo, Tribute to Jones & Bush Dishonest,” recounted: CNN's NewsNight on Friday (June 17), under Aaron Brown's guidance, delivered a trio of liberal agenda stories on Iraq. First, Brown suggested that "support for the war seems to be ebbing more so in the wake of a once-secret British government memo that was recently leaked and seems to have had a delayed reaction." John King then provided an overview on liberal claims about the so-called "Downing Street memo." Second, Brown set up an empathetic profile of Congressman Walter Jones as he stressed a potential wider trend: "What might make the White House and the war supporters the most nervous are the stirrings of a few voices, a few, on the Republican side. They're not big names, not House or Senate leaders, they're back benchers, but sometimes that's where rebellion starts." Third, Brown brought aboard liberal Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, whom he described as part of what "used to be called the moderate wing of the Republican Party." Brown ludicrously claimed that "he may now be the entire moderate wing of the Republican Party." Brown asked him "sort of the elephant in the room question," whether "since it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, do you think the administration's been honest with the American people?"


# Brown won the “GI John Award (for Saluting John Kerry's Vietnam Record)” in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, for this from Brown on the November 10, 2004 NewsNight as he displayed a front-page photo of a line of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving their medals:

"Okay, time to do morning papers....Stars and Stripes starts it off: ‘U.S. Troops Control Most of Fallujah,' the headline. 'U.S. Officials Believe Most Insurgents Have Fled the City.' Look at this picture here, if you can. 'Troops' Bravery Honored in Iraq.' These are all Purple Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for President and someone will say they didn't earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America."

For the page of the awards with a RealPlayer video of that from Brown. Direct link to the RealPlayer video clip.


# Brown, in a commentary about the CBS forged documents scandal, at the start of NewsNight, September 20, 2004:

"There is not an honest reporter in the country today, not an honest news organization that hasn't in the last few days, when looking at the story of how the now CBS discredited documents on the President's National Guard service, said ‘there but for the grace of God go I,' excepting that some partisans will see it otherwise, will see willful deception on the part of CBS. Smarter and more reasoned heads know better."


# Brown on the August 23, 2004 NewsNight, just after the controversy broke over the ads by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth:

"What are the facts here? Not necessarily the whole gospel truth -- given that memories fade and records don't tell an entire story -- but the facts as best we know them, and nothing more. Here are a few facts that seem to matter most. The available official record is unambiguous: John Kerry was a war hero. The citation that accompanies his Bronze Star speaks of his, quote, ‘professionalism, great personal courage under fire, complete dedication to duty.' If you go by some of the witnesses to those events, like the young Special Forces soldier Kerry pulled from the river, there is no argument."


# A June 2, 2004 MRC CyberAlert item, “CNN Features Glowing Tribute to Kerry’s Heroic Vietnam Exploits,” recounted: CNN on Monday night aired a four-minute info-mercial for John Kerry, but the Kerry campaign didn’t have to pay a cent for it since it was aired in the guise of a news story by Aaron Brown, tied to Memorial Day, on NewsNight. Without uttering a syllable about questions raised about whether Kerry had really earned the first of three Purple Hearts, which allowed him to leave Vietnam early, or how his Swift boat commanders and colleagues have questioned his fitness to lead and motivations in Vietnam, Brown delivered a panegyrical, event-by-event tribute to Kerry’s heroic Vietnam service.


# Brown was a runner-up for the “Al Franken Cheap Shot Award (for Lambasting Rush Limbaugh)” in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, for this shot at Limbaugh as he introduced his guests on the October 10, 2003 NewsNight, after Limbaugh announced he was seeking treatment for an addiction to prescription pain medicine:

"Rush Limbaugh has been more than a bit unkind to me more than once. He's also been unkind to Al Franken, who in turn has been unkind to him. He's taken shots at Michael Wolff, New York magazine's media critic and Michael is hardly the retiring sort. So, here we all are, Al, Michael, and me, and the subject is Rush -- made worse, no doubt, by the permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face."


# Brown was also a runner-up for the “Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis” in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, for global warming panic and confusion, on the June 19, 2003 NewsNight, about Galileo, who was actually punished by the Catholic Church for saying the Earth revolves around the sun:

"Once upon a time, a scientist named Galileo said the Earth was round, and the political leaders of the time said, 'No, no, Galileo it's flat,' and Galileo got life under house arrest for his little theory. Today, the vast majority of scientists will tell you the Earth is getting warmer and most would agree that industry is at least in part to blame. So far nobody's gone to jail for saying that, which doesn't mean the idea isn't squarely at the center of a political dust up -- and not an insignificant one at that because, if the charges leveled against the White House are true, an important environmental question is being twisted or ignored for the sake of politics."


# Brown on the October 11, 2002 NewsNight after Jimmy Carter won the Nobel peace prize:

"There is hardly a troubled place in the world he hasn't visited, worked in, in a quest to bring peace and spread democratic values....Jimmy Carter told Larry King today he is slowing down some, cutting back. Age makes globe-trotting especially hard. But in many places, dusty and difficult places, James Earl Carter has brought hope and dispelled, as well as anyone alive these days, the vision of the ugly American."

That's but a drive-by of Brown's political advocacy in the guise of reporting, but a representative sample.