BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CONSERVATIVES ARE NOTING CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O'S FADING POLL NUMBERS.
BUT BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS HIS NASCAR APPEARANCE IS THE FIRST STEP ON THE ROAD TO HIS COMEBACK, "I'LL DO SOME SHOPPING CENTER APPEARANCES, SOME CAR SHOWS, MAYBE A WEEK OF CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD AND I AM BACK BABY! BESIDES THEY SAY A LITTLE SHRINKAGE IS NORMAL AFTER YOU'VE BEEN SWIMMING."
WE DIDN'T HAVE THE HEART TO CORRECT HIM.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Sinan Saleheddin (AP) notes yesterday's Baghdad bombings resulted in the deaths of "at least 101 people and wounded more than 500." A death toll like that -- even half that -- would generally result in some reporting on your TV screens. That wasn't the case. Commercial broadcast networks? NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, of all the commercial network evening news shows, stood alone in offering a report on the bombings.
Lester Holt: This is one of the bloodiest days in a long time in Iraq. It's certainly the most violent since US forces withdrew from Iraqi cities in June. Multiple bombings killed at least 95 people in Baghdad and wounded more than 500. A major test for Iraq's security forces and for US policy. We get more now from our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski. Mick, good evening.
Jim Miklaszewski: Good evening, Lester. US officials are already blaming al Qaeda for today's bombings in an effort to stir up sectarian violence but whos ever responsible, today's bloody and blatant bombings raise serious questions about Iraq's ability to take over its own defense. Six powerful bombs rocked Baghdad within minutes in one of the deadliest days of the entire Iraq War. One blast shook up a meeting of tribal leaders. As smoke filled the room, the speaker called it terrorism. The carnage began with a suicide car bombing at Iraq's Finance Ministry at about eleven this morning. Only three minutes later, a massive truck bomb exploded outside the Foreign Ministry. Then over the next ten minutes four separate bombs tore through Baghdad in a highly coordinated attack. The Foreign Ministry took the most devastating hit -- two tons of explosives shredded the front of the building, killing at least 59 Iraqis. The wounded flocked to Baghdad hospitals. This man said one explosion threw his car into the air. The attacks come less than two months after American combat forces withdrew from Baghdad in an agreement with Iraq's government. Iraqi forces were supposed to take over security operations, but after today's bombings, NBC News producer Ghazi Balkiz says the Iraqis admit they failed in their mission.
Ghazi Balkiz: In a surprising statement tonight, the Iraqi Defense Ministry admitted that the attacks were the result of Iraqi forces negligence and said that they should take most of the blame for the security breach.
Jim Miklaszewski: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could ask the US forces to return to the cities but that would be political suicide and it's unlikely American combat forces would step back into the middle of an Iraqi sectarian war.
Ret General Barry McCaffrey : The last time we went in to take Baghdad, we had several thousand killed and wounded. We won't do it again. We shouldn't do it again.
Jim Miklaszewski: And despite today's attacks and a recent spike in overall violence, US military and Pentagon officials say they still intend to withdraw all US combat forces on schedule. According to one senior official, it's time for the Iraqis to step up and take over ready or not. Lester.
Lester Holt: Jim Miklaszewski, tonight at the Pentagon, thank you.
One of the deadliest days of the entire Iraq War and instead of covering that, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric spent nine minutes on the passing of CBS News' Don Hewitt. 'Once upon' a noted passing at a network resulted in the final thirty seconds with a title card showing the date of birth and date of death. Last night, CBS short changed the news and wallowed in an attempt to turn a private tragedy into world news. On non-commercial broadcast TV, PBS, The NewsHour spoke with Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) about the bombings in Baghdad (link has text, audio and video option).
RAY SUAREZ: Jane Arraf, welcome to the program. You were in the part of Baghdad targeted by these attacks. Tell us what you saw.
JANE ARRAF: Well, it was mostly what I heard, first of all. I was going to the U.N., which was commemorating the sixth anniversary of the bombing of U.N. headquarters, when there was a huge explosion, which turned out to be a mortar, landing fairly close to the U.N. building. And then the blast, this huge blast that was part of a wave of explosions that rocked Baghdad in what really is the biggest security challenge, perhaps, to the Iraqi government in some time, and certainly a challenge to Iraqi security forces' ability to secure the city. Now, the biggest one was outside the Foreign Ministry, where a truck packed with an estimated ton of explosives detonated. There was another bomb shortly after near the Finance Ministry that collapsed part of an overpass. Now, these are some of the most heavily defended buildings in Baghdad. Iraqi authorities say that they confiscated a third truck packed with explosives and showed that on television, big, red plastic barrels filled with explosive material. All in all, it's seen as a test, and a test that Iraqi security forces have failed today.
RAY SUAREZ: Who is the Iraqi government blaming for this explosion? Who would have an interest in committing this kind of crime?
JANE ARRAF: Well, that's the problem in Iraq. Pretty much everyone has an interest, but this specifically, the Iraqi government is saying it's Sunni insurgents and former Saddam loyalists, a strange sort of mix. But it does have the hallmarks of al-Qaida. I went to the site later this afternoon to see what the wreckage looked like and talked to some of the survivors, and it was a huge bomb that actually did look quite a bit like -- the remnants did look like that bombing six years ago.It was a truck that managed to get close enough and packed with enough explosives that it did tremendous damage. The big ones are normally thought to be al-Qaida, the big suicide bombs, sophisticated attacks, coordinated attacks, and that's who's being blamed for this one today, being blamed, as well, on the streets. A lot of Iraqis think this is either al-Qaida or ex-Baathists, although some of them persist in believing it's the Americans.
If the US just had two broadcast networks, it would have been a pretty good night for US news thanks to NBC and PBS. CBS tossed online Sheila MacVicar's report features CBS News' Mohammed Khalil stating, "Just like the days of the war. You could see dead people in cars still burning. Very awful." At one minute and 23 seconds, more time was spent on 'memories' of Don Hewitt than on reporting deadly violence. On 'memories'. That's not counting the lengthy opening report. That' just trotting out Andy Rooney and others to offer their thoughts on Don's passing. Anyone with half a brain knows you do not make the death of one of your own behind the camera people -- natural causes death -- the LEAD story on your evening broadcast. Anyone with half a brain knows that in 22 minutes newscast, you do not spend 9 minutes on the death of one of your own. 1 minute and 23 seconds is how long Sheila MacVicar's report is. They couldn't spare more time because they devoted 9 minutes to Don Hewitt and, please note, the first person to scream the loudest over that would have been Don Hewitt.
***ADDED: The above has been altered at a friend (at CBS's request). A friend at CBS News states Sheila MacVicar's report did air on the East and Central time zone's CBS Evening News. If so, one minute and 23 seconds were spent on Iraq and over nine minutes on Don. Almost everyone I know is on vacation so I'm going by one person and only one person stating the report aired. It is not on the Evening News I Tivo-ed. I don't do corrections in snapshots, the policy is the next day. I'm doing this because "I'm swearing to you, we had that report" is what I was told. Normally, I would want more than one person stating that. It also doesn't explain why one person at CBS gave me the time Sheila MacVicar's report was dumped online but I can't get ahold of him right now. Because "I'm swearing," I'll take the word of one and change the above. **********
101 deaths and over 570 injured from violence versus the natural causes death of one name not known outside the news industry? Which was news? If you picked "B," you're an embarrassment and may have a bright future in TV news -- at least on CBS and ABC.
Ernesto Londono and Greg Jaffe (Washington Post) report a despondent, 54-year-old man sat outside the Foreign Ministry, eyeing, wondering about his two sons whom he couldn't be reach by phone and who "worked at the ministry," his two sons of whom he says, "They've disappeared." That is a story. That is news. News is Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspaper) quoting Um Khatab asking, "Where are the police? I lost a brother, and they are sitting in their cars with air conditioning?" News is Adam Ashton informing, "Her cries of mourning reverberated in the street while teams of police officers sifted through the site, making their way past burnt-out cars and scorched pavement." Jane Arraf (Global Post) reports, "After the active nightmare of the bombing, by evening the street had the feel of a bad dream -- amid the groups of curious young men, a ministry employee wlaked with blood seeping through the bandage on his head. An anguished mother stumbling over her shoes asked everyoen if they'd seen her missing daughter." It shouldn't be difficult to grasp the heartache and loss of over 100 unexpected deaths due to violence. It shouldn't be but apparently at the once upon a time Tiffany network, it is.
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