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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Drive-by Media At It Again...

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Interview With Richard Engel of NBC News

The following is a letter from Counselor to the President Ed Gillespie to NBC News President Steve Capus:

Steve Capus
President, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

Mr. Capus:

This e-mail is to formally request that NBC Nightly News and The Today Show air for their viewers President Bush's actual answer to correspondent Richard Engel's question about Iran policy and "appeasement," rather than the deceptively edited version of the President's answer that was aired last night on the Nightly News and this morning on The Today Show.

In the interview, Engel asked the President: "You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless, and then you went further. You said that it was appeasement. Were you referring to Senator Barack Obama?"

The President responded: "You know, my policies haven't changed, but evidently the political calendar has. People need to read the speech. You didn't get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you've got to take those words seriously. And if you don't take them seriously, then it harkens back to a day when we didn't take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolf Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset. But I also talked about the need to defend Israel, the need to not negotiate with the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. And the need to make sure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon."

This answer makes clear: (1). The President's remarks before the Knesset were not different from past policy statements, but are now being looked at through a political prism, (2). Corrects the inaccurate premise of Engel's question by putting the "appeasement" line in the proper context of taking the words of leaders seriously, not "negotiating with Iran," (3). Restates the U.S.'s long-standing policy positions against negotiating with al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas, and not allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Engel's immediate follow-up question was, "Repeatedly you've talked about Iran and that you don't want to see Iran develop a nuclear weapon. How far away do you think Iran is from developing a nuclear capability?"

The President replied, "You know, Richard, I don't want to speculate – and there's a lot of speculation. But one thing is for certain – we need to prevent them from learning how to enrich uranium. And I have made it clear to the Iranians that there is a seat at the table for them if they would verifiably suspend their enrichment. And if not, we'll continue to rally the world to isolate them."

This response reiterates another long-standing policy, which is that if Iran verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment program the U.S. government would engage in talks with the Iranian government.

NBC's selective editing of the President's response is clearly intended to give viewers the impression that he agreed with Engel's characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it. Furthermore, omitted the references to al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas and ignored the clarifying point in the President's follow-up response that U.S. policy is to require Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program before coming to the table, not that "negotiating with Iran is pointless" and amounts to "appeasement."

This deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible and I hereby request in the interest of fairness and accuracy that the network air the President's responses to both initial questions in full on the two programs that used the excerpts.

As long as I am making this formal request, please allow me to take this opportunity to ask if your network has reconsidered its position that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, especially in light of the fact that the unity government in Baghdad recently rooted out illegal, extremist groups in Basra and reclaimed the port there for the people of Iraq, among other significant signs of progress.

On November 27, 2006, NBC News made a decision to no longer just cover the news in Iraq, but to make an analytical and editorial judgment that Iraq was in a civil war. As you know, both the United States government and the Government of Iraq disputed your account at that time. As Matt Lauer said that morning on The Today Show: "We should mention, we didn't just wake up on a Monday morning and say, 'Let's call this a civil war.' This took careful deliberation.'"

I noticed that around September of 2007, your network quietly stopped referring to conditions in Iraq as a "civil war." Is it still NBC News's carefully deliberated opinion that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war? If not, will the network publicly declare that the civil war has ended, or that it was wrong to declare it in the first place?

Lastly, when the Commerce Department on April 30 released the GDP numbers for the first quarter of 2007, Brian Williams reported it this way: "If you go by the government number, the figure that came out today stops just short of the official declaration of a recession."

The GDP estimate was a positive 0.6% for the first quarter. Slow growth, but growth nonetheless. This followed a slow but growing fourth quarter in 2007. Consequently, even if the first quarter GDP estimate had been negative, it still would not have signaled a recession – neither by the unofficial rule-of-thumb of two consecutive quarters of negative growth, nor the more robust definition by the National Bureau of Economic Research (the group that officially marks the beginnings and ends of business cycles).

Furthermore, never in our nation's history have we characterized economic conditions as a "recession" with unemployment so low – in fact, when this rate of unemployment was eventually reached in the 1990s, it was hailed as the sign of a strong economy. This rate of unemployment is lower than the average of the past three decades.

Are there numbers besides the "government number" to go by? Is there reason to believe "the government number" is suspect? How does the release of positive economic growth for two consecutive quarters, albeit limited, stop "just short of the official declaration of a recession"?

Mr. Capus, I'm sure you don't want people to conclude that there is really no distinction between the "news" as reported on NBC and the "opinion" as reported on MSNBC, despite the increasing blurring of those lines. I welcome your response to this letter, and hope it is one that reassures your broadcast network's viewers that blatantly partisan talk show hosts like Christopher Matthews and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC don't hold editorial sway over the NBC network news division.

Sincerely,
Ed Gillespie
Counselor to the President

To View The Edited Version Of NBC News' Interview, Click Here
To View The Full Interview Of The President, Click Here

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:34 PM
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I hope we get to see the answer to Gillespie's letter.

Charter member of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and proud of it.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 08:55 PM
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Interesting fight to pick by Gillespie. The edits were not the best but they certainly didn't significantly effect the context of the President's statements like Gillespie suggests. I watched the report, then the entire body, read the letter, watched the report again and still don't see the glaring gaps. What I see is a poor reporter, a President who responds to questions with weasel answers and a editor that had a hard time pulling anything together that made sense for a three minute report.

On the other hand, Richard Engel's interview [the entire interview] questions pretty much sucked. He certainly seemed ill prepared to ask questions and on several occasions loaded up the questions with editorial pretext.

What was good about the interview was that the questions were not softballs. It is about time the US Media starts asking hard questions and followups to our leaders like the rest of the world's media does. It would have just been better if the reporter had been better at his job.

Now, as for the Bushie responses. I lost count of the lies and misdirection. Let's just look at Basra. A success i believe he said. Apparently no one told either the Iraqi Army, the Mahdi Army or the good folks who are in Duck and Cover mode in the city.

Overall, I would give ALL the participants a C-.

As an ironic aside to the Basra success story, Basra gets its 3 hours a days worth of electricity from Iran. Iran starts supplying electricity to Basra

McBear,
Kentucky

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bottomline1 View Post
I hope we get to see the answer to Gillespie's letter.
I do too. Here's the original link: Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Interview With Richard Engel of NBC News

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 08:38 AM
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Oh, and about that "the Surge is working and troops are starting to come home" line...
New Troops in Iraq Will Keep Number at 140,000

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 20, 2008; Page A08

Seven active-duty Army brigades have been scheduled to deploy to Iraq later this year, the Defense Department announced yesterday, a plan that would allow U.S. commanders to keep troop levels at about 140,000 through the end of the Bush administration and into the next president's term.

The deployments will be part of the regular rotation of troops into Iraq and will come on the heels of the "surge" of troops, which is expected to end this summer. The increased U.S. presence in Iraq -- which topped out at about 170,000 troops -- is expected to go down to 140,000 by the end of July. U.S. officials plan to keep 15 combat brigades in Iraq through the end of the year, though ongoing assessments could allow commanders to change those numbers.

The brigades that will deploy come from the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii and Alaska, the 4th Infantry Division in Colorado, the 1st Infantry Division in Kansas, the 82nd Airborne Division in North Carolina, the 173rd Infantry Brigade in Germany, and the 1st Cavalry Division in Texas. All have prior experience in Iraq, some with multiple tours. About 25,000 troops will take part in the deployment, which will be limited to 12 months under current Pentagon policy.

Although the troop increase has been widely credited with improving security in Iraq, it is unclear what a reduction will mean over the coming months. U.S. officials plan to watch the situation closely amid calls from Congress for force reductions.

The next deployments will come this fall, meaning commanders will have at least seven combat brigades in Iraq through the end of 2009; more deployment announcements could come soon.

"These deployments all represent replacement forces for those already there in Iraq," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. "It does not add to the level of effort, nor does it decrease the level of effort."

The Defense Department also announced yesterday that four Army National Guard brigades will deploy to Iraq in spring 2009 to take part in security missions, such as base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait. The four brigades -- from Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Tennessee -- include about 14,000 soldiers.

Pentagon officials also notified 3,100 soldiers with the Vermont Army National Guard that they will deploy to Afghanistan in 2010 to train Afghan National Army soldiers. They will replace a unit from Georgia that has yet to arrive there.
washingtonpost.com

Maybe Gillespie should just be happy NBC didn't CGI a Pinocchio nose on Bushie every time he "misspoke".

McBear,
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 09:41 AM
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The stuff you post is usually so demonstrably false it is hilarious, but this time, it takes the cake. Let's look at this paragraph:

"... noticed that around September of 2007, your network quietly stopped referring to conditions in Iraq as a "civil war." Is it still NBC News's carefully deliberated opinion that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war? If not, will the network publicly declare that the civil war has ended, or that it was wrong to declare it in the first place? "

Then let's look at today's news:

Iraq troops move into Shiite stronghold - Conflict in Iraq - MSNBC.com

Simple viewing of the news shows the President's flack is delusional in his statement above, in fact, if you were to ask the average American if there was a civil war going on in Iraq, unless the poll taker happened to run into you, they would say "yes". If they are delusional on this, shouting this hallicination thinking they are descrediting NBC, what makes any of the rest of your drivel believable.

I also find the phrase "Drive by Media" hilarious, as your right wing Swiftboat Machine tries every drive-by tactic in the book on Obama. Tea pot, meet kettle, aka Limbaugh and his personal rep on BWOT, Jayhawk.

This is the reason every poll shows the President and the GOP in the toilet - they are not just on the wrong side of the issues, they are delusional. They have been believing fairy tales since the days Iranian Spy Chalibi told his rubes Bush and Cheney that they would be "greeted as liberators" in a WMD encrusted Iraq. Delusional since the days of "Democracy in the Middle East", on and on, hell you idiots even think teen-age blow jobs are something you can control in the delusion called "abstinence". Now you feed us delusions about the economy every day. Time for you guys to go into the dustbin of history.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

Last edited by FeelTheLove; 05-20-2008 at 09:47 AM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FeelTheLove View Post
The stuff you post is usually so demonstrably false it is hilarious, but this time, it takes the cake. .........
Hey! Quit picking on ol' bear!!

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