Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Networks Continue To Show Bias

Many attendees at the Republican National Convention are wearing small band-aids adorned with a tiny heart, colored purple. Obviously , this is in reference to questions raised about John Kerry's Purple Hearts from Vietnam, one of which was so serious it required, according to his doctor, a band-aid to cover it.

Well, the networks don't like anyone poking any fun at THEIR candidate. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and Candy Crowley of CNN were unable to hide their bias. This courtesy of the Media Research Center...

CNN reporters, and George Stephanopoulos on the limited distribution ABC News Now network, acted aghast Monday night over how some delegates wore band-aids displaying a heart shape in the color purple, meant to make light of John Kerry earning purple hearts in Vietnam for superficial wounds. Just before 9pm EDT, CNN's Candy Crowley confronted one woman: "This is a man who went and served his country. Do you feel as though you're making fun of him?" She reminded the delegate of those serving in Iraq and asked: "Is this defaming of them?" A couple of hours later, Dan Lothian identified the culprit who created the band-aids, Virginian Morton Blackwell who, he emphasized, "is not a veteran." In between, Stephanopoulos lectured a veteran about how John McCain has called the attacks on Kerry 'dishonest and dishonorable.' Why do you think it's okay to wear a bandage like that?" Stephanopoulos couldn't believe anyone would doubt Kerry: "Do you really believe he didn't earn his medals or his purple hearts?" Peter Jennings turned to Newt Gingrich: "Did you squirm a little when you saw the guy wearing the purple heart?" Gingrich: "No. I think it's funny."

-- CNN. Back from an ad break at 8:55pm EDT, Wolf Blitzer went right to Candy Crowley on the floor with delegate. As she held up the woman's arm to show the purple heart on a band-aid, Crowley explained: "This is Donna Cain, she's a delegate from Oregon wearing a, as you can see, a band-aid with a purple heart on it which begs the question, we know this is about John Kerry. Any hesitation about putting this on?"

Cain said "none at all," leading Crowley to demand: "And where did you get it?" Cain simply said they were being handed out. Crowley wondered: "Well, what are they symbolic of to you? I mean is this, this is a man who went and served his country. Do you feel as though you're making fun of him." Cain rejected the idea, noting how Kerry made the Vietnam war more important than his own record.

Crowley next asked: "One of the things that the criticism of this is, that there are, you know, kids over in Iraq right now, some of them getting purple hearts. Is this defaming of them?"
Cain: "No it is not in any way defaming them, because I know people who have received purple hearts and I know that they're not boasting about their war record, they're proud of their serving their country and I mean I just met a woman who lost her husband yesterday in Iraq, and that's a whole entirely different mood."

Blitzer went to John King, asking: "Is this something you sense is authorized by the Bush-Cheney campaign?" King explained that Bush-Cheney campaign officials deny they had anything to do with it.

Jeff Greenfield soon observed that Republicans will contend the gimmick was just "lighthearted," but Greenfield warned: "I'm wondering whether the Bush campaign would just assume that these things disappear because they raise the specter of are you making fun of somebody who went to Vietnam and at some point was involved in some kind of very serious combat."

Several hours later, during an 11:30pm EDT half hour NewsNight, Dan Lothian checked in: "This is the band-aid, it was put out by Morton Blackwell who is a member of the Virginia delegation. He is not a veteran but he said he distributed some 300 band-aids with a purple heart in the middle to make a point against Senator Kerry. It was very controversial, denounced by the Democratic Party and also Republican officials. Ed Gillespie tonight, we are getting word now, has had a conversation with him, has told him that he should stop distributing these Band-Aids. He's agreed to stop distributing the band-aids and even has removed the one that he was wearing."

-- ABC News Now, the all news service from ABC News available via the Internet or through cable systems which carry the secondary channel from the HDTV frequency assignment for many ABC affiliates.

Around 9:50pm EDT, Peter Jennings set up Stephanopoulos, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "There's something going on about purple hearts. You want to explain that to people and talk about it a little bit?"

Stephanopoulos, on the floor with a delegate wearing a 101st Airborne hat, with a band-aid on his face which ABC zoomed in on: "Well, I'm gonna have Tucker Watkins explain it. He's a delegate from Virginia, and you're wearing this band-aid on your cheek with a little purple heart on it. Tell us what that's about."

A playful Watkins responded: "I woke up this morning and I shaved myself and I cut myself accidentally, and I decided since I had that little accident, I needed a purple heart. So I wrote up a certification and awarded it to myself."

Stephanopoulos was not amused: "Now, you're making fun of John Kerry there, though."
Watkins continued his act: "No, I just, that happened today. I wouldn't make fun of John Kerry."

Stephanopoulos turned serious: "Let me tell you something. John McCain has talked about these ads raising allegations about John Kerry's military service. He's called it dishonest and dishonorable. Why do you think it's okay to wear a bandage like that?"

Stephanopoulos sensed a scandal: "Now, we've seen a few of them out on this floor. Where did you get them?" Watkins said he got them from another Virginia delegate, leading Stephanopoulos to seek assurance of no wider distribution: "So it's all in Virginia? It's not being brought in from the central party or anything like that?"

Stephanopoulos kept quizzing Watkins: "So what is it about John Kerry? He's got a lot of his boatmates who support him, but he's obviously angered a lot of other Vietnam veterans. Explain it in your own words." Stephanopoulos wrapped up: "One quick final question: Do you really believe he didn't earn his medals or his Purple Heart?"

Back in the booth, Jennings repeated McCain's admonition and then relayed: "I have to tell you that Terry McAuliffe, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has heard about the purple hearts this evening, and both parties are very quick to get out statements. Mr. McAuliffe says in terms of the purple hearts you've just seen, ‘It is inexcusable to mock service and sacrifice. Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line every day. If they are wounded in the line of fighting, it is because they are fighting on the front line for freedom.'"

Jennings turned to Newt Gingrich: "Did you squirm a little when you saw the guy wearing the purple heart." Gingrich wasn't so appalled: "No. I think it's funny..."