The White House Hits NBC-MSNBC Where It Hurts

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Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 19, 2008

Setting The Record Straight:

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."

Read on . . .

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, 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."

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.


Ed Gillespie

Counselor to the President

This letter was posted at so credit where credit is due... even though they posted it for the wrong reason.

Celebrating Patriots and Exposing Traitors At with a new video on the way: George Bush's 'It's A Wonderful Country' (yes a take off on the movie.) Coming Soon! It doesn't spill the beans, but it does tell a story you don't know yet.

pulls NBC's press credentials and notes that they don't credential The National Enquirer or World Magazine either.

'Till then, yawn...
CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

how long will we have to wait before the Libs (the libs or The Libs???) spin this as a White House attempt at censorship??

omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina

This was a joke, right? We don't actually have somebody who can express himself this well and forcefully, do we?

Ed, keep writing!

Democrats: Abandoning Allies, One Country at a Time.



"First you win the argument, then you win the vote." - MARGARET THATCHER.
So let's start winning the argument.

We need a lot more of this kind of smack-down, bully pulpit politics. Screw the new tone! We'd be running rings against these marxists if the new GOP didn't stand for Gonads Optional Party!
Tim Schieferecke

McCain, if elected will be even worse than Bush. He not only will not fight back at his Demo buddies, but will excoriate Republican for telling the truth, In fact he already has.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

away from a fight. He's been fawned over by the press and the Dems for years so he really had no reason to push them back. But one the Dem attacks start in earnest, I don't see McCain sitting back and taking it. He doesn't have the "really nice guy" personality that Bush has that prevents Bush from being rude even in the face of someone who's been rude to him.

McCain on the other hand is a fighter. 15% of the time he's fighting US, but the other 85% he's going to be going after the Dems. And he knows all the legislative tricks and tactics to get a different agenda passed than the President asked for. I don't think he'll be a pushover as President.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

I have only ever seen McCain angry or "fighting mad" against conservatives.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

the MSM giving him unlimited airtime when he disagreed with Bush over anything, and ignoring him when he was on Bush's side.

in the airplane when she asked him about the alleged conversation with Sen Kerry from 2004.

Now also found at The Minority Report

Whether it comes to pass or not hinges on whether or not McCain quickly makes a smart transition from going along to get along, to what is direly needed--to shove the so-called progressive agenda back down the libs' throats.

If Bush can turn his "humble" foreign policy into what the Libs consider "cowboy" diplomacy, then I hold out hope that McCain's "bipartisan" lawmaking can somehow (Please Lord!) be transformed into "Hell NO" vetoing.

It all hinges on who he selects to govern with him. If it's not conservatives, then it's man the lifeboats time (gurgle, gurgle).

Perhaps he's realized that, with the election so close, there's nothing to be gained by reaching out to the Dems or MSM anymore. (Not that there was much to be gained beforehand---but there was always some vestige of a chance.)

Not anymore. Now, the President needs to use his bully pulpit as high ground, from which to blast the MSM.

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

I don't watch NBC or MSNBC so I am curious to know if there was any address made on this issue?
I see where you are coming from Kyle, but I truly believe when in office he will become champion of the Conservatives. We will have to hold him to it, but McCain has been running for President for a long time. He has made an incredible come back. He will want to be remembered and I think when all is said and done, he will all back on his Conservative ideologies.
I could be wrong, but you know what, this is what I have to believe to keep from going insane :)

The greatest failure of the Bush administration has been its inability for whatever reason to promote its policies and to defend them.

The MSM is so busy with their Obasms and agenda, and marginalizing news sources with supposed right-wing bent, how do we get our message out?

Last night Chris Matthews sets up a piece about a rising star politician, laughing and smiling and saying what a great piece this is. I turned to my husband and said, "What are the chances he's talking about a Republican?" He wasn't, of course. Then I see the cover of Sunday's Parade magazine with a big favorable piece about Jim Webb. How to we get our message out? It would be funny if it weren't so sad for the country.

and by no longer working on the premise the MSM is at least attempting to be objective arbiters of the truth and fair, which is a false premise this entire letter based on.

You yank their press credentials for the Democrat party hacks they are, you refer to them as liberal activists which they are and stop playing nice with them. You rail over and over and over and over with example after example after example after example of their bias on everything from from favorable Democrat coverage to pimping the global warming theory to anti-American and anti-war coverage, from the bully pulpit, loud and often.

Ironically, the administration needs to stop the appeasement strategy with their domestic enemies. They get that it doesn't work with terrorists and despot dictators internationally but for some reason think it's a great strategy for domestic enemies.

"Honor is self-esteem made visible in action." - Ayn Rand, West Point, 1974

Pres Bush FINALLY allows the Admin staff to support his positions. I know this has occurred time and time again, but has not been put out there for the average joe to read.
HOO Rah for the Staff and Pres Bush.
NBC and MSNBC have truly went over to the left, and apparently are proud to say so. Ok, let them be, no one watches them anyway.
The General Election will determine who has been listening and who understands the depth of the drift the Media has taken. Take heart, the vast Middle America knows the truth of this and is poised to act positively come November.

How does a letter to NBC hit them where it hurts? If you want to make a difference in media bias, you don't send a polite letter to the president of NBC news, you give speeches, talk about it at news conferences, get the press secretary to pound on the point. You don't send a letter and expect anything to change.

of "censorship", "repression", and "squelching dissent" in 3, 2, 1, ....

Gone 2500 years, still not PC.

What have we heard from the MSM?

Yep. Zip.

Has the Administration followed up?

Yep. Nope.

Surprise, surprise. Bush folds another winning hand.
CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

It was located on the webpage late yesterday.

In a nutshell they said,... nuts.

No airing of the correc context on NBC 'cause they have the whole interview online.

The White House fired back a response to that and it was there as well...

So far so good. But if the White House stops this, gives up, drops the ball... the sheer fact that a challenge was rebuffed and went away will mean NBC wins this one.

You need to read the NBC response. It sounded an awful like an Obama justification for negotiating with people who by their very nature don't negotiate.

Celebrating Patriots and Exposing Traitors At with a new video on the way: George Bush's 'It's A Wonderful Country' (yes a take off on the movie.) Coming Soon! It doesn't spill the beans, but it does tell a story you don't know about yet.

I'd like to see them revoke NBC's credentials, but they won't do that, of course.

Democrats: Abandoning Allies, One Country at a Time.

Proving the point there is no real difference between NBC News and MSNBC.

"Honor is self-esteem made visible in action." - Ayn Rand, West Point, 1974


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

The letter is right, but I had to search through the MSNBC website to find out what the newscast actually reported. According to them, two sentences were left out. Originally reported:

"You know, my policies haven't changed, but evidently the political calendar has ... And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you've got to take those words seriously."

The dots (not visible on TV) represent missing sentences:

"People need to read the speech. You didn't get it exactly right, either. What I said was that we need to take the words of people seriously."

And, they left off the remainder of his answer as well.

I find two big problems with NBC's responses. First, if you ask the President a question, you should print/broadcast the entire answer. If it's "too long," you must include a condensation of the part left out (and identify it as such), or at the minimum include a disclaimer to the effect that there was more to the answer which was left out for whatever reason.

Second, the idea that its OK to do what they did because they printed the whole thing on the website is ludicrous. 10 million or so people saw the edited NBC News interview. Maybe 30 million saw it in its multiple rebroadcasts. Was the unedited interview read on the website by even 1 million people? I had to search hard to find it. How many others were so motivated? It's the equivalent of printing the mistake on page one and publishing the correction on page 42D.

So far we've been given proof that it's not possible to get unadulterated news from The New York Times, CBS, and now NBC. And don't forget the exploding Chevy truck.

Democrats: Abandoning Allies, One Country at a Time.

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