Logo

White House Blasts NBC Broadcasts

May 19, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The White House is blasting NBC News for what it contends is “deceitful editing” of correspondent Richard Engel’s interview of President Bush that aired last night on “NBC Nightly News” and this morning on “Today.” It also is questioning the network’s objectivity on other news stories.
In an e-mail today to NBC News President Steve Capus, Counselor to the President Ed Gillespie asserted that the edited interview misrepresented President Bush’s response to Mr. Engel’s questions about whether the president’s use of the term “appeasement” in remarks to Israel’s Knesset was targeted at Sen. Barack Obama.
“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 … in full on the two programs that used the excerpts,” the letter said.
“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.”
Democrats have been quick to criticize the president’s Knesset speech, suggesting President Bush used “appeasement” to take an unfair political swipe at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Obama on foreign soil. The White House says the president did nothing of the sort.
The letter suggests that, as edited, the interview fed into the Democratic storyline, when in fact the full questions and answers disputed that storyline.
The letter quoted Mr. Engel’s question as being, “You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless, and then you went further. You said that it was appeasement. Were you referring to Sen. Barack Obama?”
The president, the letter said, 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 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.”
In a statement, NBC said: “Richard Engel’s interview with President Bush has been available, unedited, in its entirety, for the past day, on our Web site. Our reporting accurately reflects the interview. Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions.”
Mr. Gillespie accused NBC of “selective editing.”
“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, [it] 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.’”
Mr. Gillespie contended the full answers make clear that the president’s remarks echoed past policy statements that are now being looked at through a political prism; corrects the inaccurate premise of the question asked by putting “appeasement” in the proper context of taking the words of leaders seriously, not “negotiating with Iran”; and re-states longstanding U.S. policy positions against negotiating with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas and allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Gillespie’s letter also takes NBC to task on two other issues. It questions whether NBC has formally abandoned its November 2006 decision to describe the Iraq war as a “civil war” without announcing the change.
“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’ 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?”
The letter also questioned NBC anchor Brian Williams’ April 30 report that the government economic numbers coming out suggested the country was “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. Furthermore, never in our nation’s history have we characterized economic conditions as a ‘recession’ with unemployment so low….
“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’?”
(Editor: Gilbert)
7:12 p.m.: Updated with statement from NBC

64 Comments

  1. They definitely need a job. A

  2. apparently the president hasn’t consulted the fcc — according to an inquiry/complaint by me, i was informed by the fcc that the networks have no obligation to tell the truth, about anything.
    bush just needs to suck it up like the rest of us.

  3. The edited version says something completely different from the unedited version. And MSNBC wonders why their network ratings are declining…

  4. WOW! I went back and watched the interview. How NBC can possibly say the aired version was an accurate representation is beyond me. I work in the broadcasting industry and edit news stories on a daily basis. Engel made the same basic mistakes that freshmen in a college journalism course would make. At best, sloppy journalism. At worst, an agenda driven piece edited to fit NBC’s view of the administration. Either way, it is obvious that the producers and editors at NBC News have no intention of correcting a glaring error in judgment.
    Maybe they should hire Dan Rather. He would fit right in with their news team.

  5. When the Bush Administration Press Channel (Fox) cuts and shapes in all kinds of ways to spin the Bush doctrine, the present White House staff are totally happy to let that happen.
    But when another network presents a true “fair and balanced” report, they scream.
    You NEED to edit what Bush says – his answers are long, confused, disjointed, self-contradictory and vague. More often than not, they appear to have little evidence of intelligent reasoning, unless someone else has pre-written a response for him to repeat verbatim.
    The day the NBC or MSNBC sinks to the levels of distortion for which Fox is famous and scorned, then and only then do we need to accept the “editing” charges.

  6. Washington, including broadcasters are fighting to keep the Fairness Doctrine on the shelf. If the government had not dumped the Fairness Doctrine, much of the disgust aimed at pundits would not be apparent. The Fairness Doctrine was effective since it required broadcasters to present BOTH sides of the story – accurately.

  7. Hypocracy…the Administration squeals about any entity that points out the many flaws, misdeeds and outright lies behind all the damage they have inflicted on our nation over the past seven plus years.
    Our children and our chidren’s children, will be decades trying to undo the wreckage of this Administration.
    We all better be praying for God to bless America, to stand beside her and guide her.
    Let our Constitution stand unaltered and let our press be forever free.
    Peter Bright

  8. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  9. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  10. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  11. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  12. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  13. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  14. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  15. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.cheap shirt wholesale

  16. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  17. Found you on google. Great article. Keep up the good work.

  18. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  19. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  20. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  21. High quality info here! Keep up the great work. I love the feelings being expressed.

  22. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  23. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  24. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  25. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  26. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  27. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  28. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  29. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  30. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  31. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  32. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  33. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  34. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  35. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  36. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  37. I just want to emphasize the good work on this blog, has excellent views and a clear vision of what you are looking for.

  38. I really appreciate this amazing post that you have provided here. I am certain this would be valuable for many of your visitors and frequent visitors.

  39. That article is so interesting and makes a very nice image in my mind. That is very much helpful in nominating the board of directors.

  40. Hi, I just wanted to let you all know that there is a project being conducted at Harvard trying to compile the most effective arguments for and against Wikileaks. I think it’s a brilliant idea and would be an interesting read for many of you. http://www.voteonwikileaks.com

  41. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  42. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  43. Thank you for the great content. I am glad I have taken the time to see this.

  44. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  45. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  46. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  47. Kudos for the great article. I am glad I have taken the time to learn this.

  48. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  49. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  50. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  51. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  52. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  53. I d isagree with 75% of your opinions. And who appointed you judges?

  54. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  55. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  56. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  57. Twitter had a tweet on Starrett Dial Digital Calipers that lead me hear for some reason. Not sure what this has to do with what I was looking for.

  58. Fantastic publish. I’d like to echo the above sentiments. Th is is an exceptional write-up and a must-read.

  59. These 3M 8210Plus Particulate masks may well seem like they are particular BIRD FLU masks but really theyre just ordinary 3M Particulate Respirator 8210 N95 masks you could get at the hardware store or elsewere on Amazon for less.

  60. I agree, ty for posting th is..

  61. Very nice blog.I like this and will come back very soon.

  62. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  63. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)