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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  September 26, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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egypt, is leading the charge. the only problem is that even though this photo ran in egent's state-supported newspaper, indeed it took up half the page, it isn't exactly true. check out the real photo. you see, mubarak was in fact trailing behind while president obama was if front. i'll say this, egypt's differen propagandists are pretty good with photo shop. stay tuned. television is a volatile business, no breaking news there. and a reminder with big shakeups at two networks. jeff zucker, the went-time hot shot producer at the "today" show, announced he'll be leaving as chief executive of nbc news universal, pushed out by the incoming bosses at comcast. and cnn's enjouken joust wa
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replaced. what does this mean for a tough time in the three is. nine years after the war in afghanistan, it remanes a dangerous place for journalism. lara logan came under hoss still fire during a reporting trip to the country. she'll tell us about it and whether the coverage is capturing the level of violence. there of a time when running for office meant running for journalist but not now. christine o'donnell is the tlieft announce on knox news that she won't talk to the noos national media in the senate race. why are these candidates ducking questions? and you may have heard that jon stewart and stephen colbert are coming to town. is this comedic fodder, street theater, or cultural criticism? dick cabot on "satire and social change." i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." network presidents are very
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much like baseball managers. job security isn't part of the package. jeff zucker told me he knew he might be shown the door when cable giant comcast agreed to buy nbc news from general electric, but that didn't make him any less emotional about being booted from the place he spent the last quarter of a century. >> jeff zucker, the ceo of nbc news universal, a former executive producer this broadcast and the "today" show, announced he'll be leaving his post pending comcast assuming control of the company with regulatory approval. he is a 24-year veteran of the company orcheas he p-- or, as ht it in a note to employees, that would be all of his entire adult life. >> from his early days as katie couric's producer, zucker kept the news division strong, managing the transitions from couric to meredith vieira. from tom brokaw to brian williams. from the late tim russert to david gregory.
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but the entertainment division one the home of "friends" and "seinfeld" slid into fourth place for six straight years. he made a blunder from moving jay leno to primetime and replacing him with conan o'brien. john cline didn't sugarcoat what happened to him at cnn. "people in this business get shot, i got shos," he told "new york" magazine. his tenure at cnn meant a doubling down on news. crossfire was out, lou dobbs was out, and seasoned journalists such as campbell brown, john king, and candy crowley were in especially for larry king. instead hired were kathleen parker, eliot spitzer and piers morgan. joining me to talk about these moves, in new york, senior reporting for broadcasting and cable manage in.
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tamp, media critic for the "st. petersburg times." here in washington, executive producer of "bbc america's" "bbc world news america." are you feeling their pain? you got sacked as producer of the news six months after couric's debut. can be a brutal business. >> i was looking at my iphone friday and thought, boy, this is not a good day to be a middle aged white media executive. i was attempted to hide under the desk. sure, nobody likes to get fire department. -- fired. i didn't and i'm sure these guys didn't. john and jeff were in the jobs probably longer than anybody should reasonably expect in this day and age. this is a volatile, tough business, and a particularly tough time in a tough business. this is not the last act for either one of them. >> zucker, as i mentioned, wasn't surprised that the axe fell because of comcast spending billions to take over nbc. it's got to be an anxious time for people at nbc news and nbc news in particular because comcast is coming in, and their
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long-time leader leaving "30 rock." >> yes. and you know, jeff was never going to survive the merger. comcast wants to come in, they want to impose their own executive culture on the company. as you pointed out in your introduction, jeff is blamed for a lot of blunders at the network. and even though comcast is getting nbc, the broadcast network is still the public face if you will of the company, the television portion of that company. so he was never going to survive this merger. >> right. although he gave indications that he thought he might. but i guess he knew he wasn't. eric, what is jeff zucker's legacy in terms of the news edition but also in terms of primetime entertainment? >> well, jeff zucker's legacy is complicated. the news division was relatively successful and enjoyed a lot of successful transitions as you pointed out. but there were a lot of missteps in the primetime and the
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entertainment side of the network. everything from failing to develop a successor to "seinfeld" and "friends," to installing ben silverman as head of entertainment for the network and seeing him fail spectacularly. and then having the jay leonardo -- jay leno debacle, and destroy conan o'brien's career as the future of late night on nbc. you had this long string, and he also alienated the creative community in los angeles by installing jay leno at 10:00 across the board and getting rid of so many 10:00 p.m. dramas that producers and writers and actors hoped to work on. he had a misstep there. >> that was in part a cost-cutting move. >> let's remember that jeff zucker, as brian williams said in the setup, he's never worked any place else. he came as an intern to the olympic division right out of school. he was the executive producer of the "today" show at the age of 26. and he reinvented morning television. he set the "today" show unfor
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this sort of in -- show up for this sort of incredible dominance that it enjoys today. at age 45, this guy has done more than most people do in 50 years of work. and he has more to come. >> you underscored that he was a news guy. it's not an accident that nightly news and the "today" show remained number one. when he went to hollywood and had the entertainment job, became the ceo of the network, a lot of people thought he was a fish out of water. >> i guess. you know -- >> it's hard picking hit sitcoms. >> it's hard, it's hard picking hit news shows, too. >> that's true. >> i think this is a remarkably talented guy. who knows what the next chapter is going to be? >> i'm sure he will be employed in some capacity. marisa guthrie, you don't think he could have survived even if nbc as a network was not in fourth place? >> no, i don't, because i think when a company comes in and are taking a trolling interest of -- controlling interest of you, they want to put their own person at the head of the company. i mean, a lot of those second tier executives will survive. certainly the news division is
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very strong, and comcast ceo brian roberts noted, you know, when the merger and pending merger was announced that nbc news is the crown jewel of the broadcast network. but they want to impose their own culture. they also -- so either they're going to put steve burke in that job or a big hire, jeffrey katzenberg -- >> steve burke a top comcast executive. i'll turn to cnn and go to you, marisa. when john kliein was dismissed, it was a surprise because he had just finished revamping the much credit sighed premtime lineup -- criticized prime time lineup with piers morgan. what do you make of the timing? >> this eliot spitzer has come with a lot of controversy because he has a certain kind of
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baggage, if you will. so dozier. >>. >> that's the understatement of the morning. he was patronizing prostitutes. >> that's a controversial hire. obviously john klein's then current bosses at cnn signed off on it or it wouldn't be premiering october 4. but i think they realized that it is risky, even though eliot spitzer does have that sort of, you know, invaluable political insight at a time when we're heading into the midterm elections. i'm sure klein made that pitch when he was -- when he wanted to hire him. but it is still seen as quite controversial. he's also trying to -- trying to take cnn away from its down the middle, just the facts, ma'am, news, you know, clarion roots. and that's going to be controversial, too. so, look, if it doesn't work, they can blame it on john klein, and he's already gone. >> that did occur to me. let me bring in eric duggins.
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the new boss at cnn weekend ken jautz, formerly running hln "headline news," and then he hired glenn beck, nancy grace, joe behar. more opinionated, some say more tablo tabloid. what could that mean for cnn? >> i think that's the concern. everyone want to know what is he going to do with cnn and what is he going to do with these shows that he didn't develop and now has to shepherd to success. i would say that i think that the -- john klein's departure is the one that's sort of unexpected and that i don't know that we know enough about. if you lost confidence in someone like john, why let them establish the shows in your primetime and then get rid of him? it seems like an odd move to happen right now. both these men, jeff zucker and john klein were men that people speculated might lose their jobs long before now because they had such troublesome tenures in. john's case, cnn has been doing
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badly in primetime for a while. people are wondering what is nguyen going cnn going to do to shake things up and then it's hiring eliot spitzer and piers morgan and people are asking questions. >> rome hartman, he's a news guy for cnn and the a.p. he said it's critical for the business of cnn worldwide that we remain nonpartisan. and i would say to marisa's point, even if you have a liberal and conservative on the show, you've seen it on "crossfire" for years, they have to go up against o'reilly and cnbc, and that's tough. >> it is. and he said on friday or saturday that he wants what cnn has in primetime to be engage, compelling, and, yeah, fun now and then. there's nothing wrong with that. and there's nothing in that. that's the imperative for all of us is to make what we do in broadcasting as engaging and interesting and valuable to the audience as possible.
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>> particularly if you're going to stick with the straight news approach. >> that's right. >> you've got to get people to watch. >> no question. >> and in cnn's early days, like the news is the star and the anchors were readings. they weren't, but now you -- you know, it's a much more competitive environment if you don't have outsize personality. >> cnn is not going to take a partisan route. cnn is not going to espouz an end to the political spectrum. there's obviously an imperative to have compelling content, programs, and personalities. nobody should apologize for that. i think that's the -- it is a balancing act, and it's probably tougher for cnn with its sort of bedrock of editorial integrity than it is for some other organizations. but it's something that i think just has to happen. the public is not more interested in -- >> howdy, briefly dozier. >> in partisan views. >> can i break in for a minute? i would say that cnn at this point reminds me a bit of msnbc back in 2003 when we saw them struggling for an identity in
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the wake of 9/11. and trying to compete against fox news, and they were trying a lot of different things that didn't necessarily seem to work out. they tried -- >> we know what happened next. they moved -- >> they tried jesse ventura. >> i remember. >> i think cnn is in that mode. will be interesting to what they try next. >> thank you very much for stopping by this morning. whnchlg we come back, cbs's lara logan just back from afghanistan with the harrowing tale of how she came under hostile fire. and later a conversation with dick cavet. ♪
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afghanistan exploded back into the news this week, not because of any military battle but because of the battle inside the white house, as revealed by bob woodward's forthcoming back. the tales of president obama debating war policy with his top lieutenants take place half a world away from the actual fighting. journalists faced the same dangers as the soldiers they covered. lara logan is just back from a harrowing trip where she and her cameraman came under hostile fire and faced some very close calls. >> the fight you weill see is brutal. the intensity unlike anything we've seen in nine years covering this war. u.s. soldiers looked in a neverending battle with an enemy
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that keeps coming. >> logan tells the tale tonight on "60 machines" at 7:00 or after football. and the cnn chief correspondent joins me now. welcome. if you had to judge the state of the war by the combat duty that you saw, would you say it's not going well? >> yes -- yeah, you'd have to say that. if you're on an operating base where the soldier can't move more than three miles in a direction because they're surrounded by taliban villages and you go to one base like that after another and you're hit everywhere you go, attacked not just on patrol in the mountains, but you're attacked in the base over and over again, that's more fighting that i've ever seen. and i haven't missed -- every year i've been there. >> and you've been in iraq. is it more than in iraq? >> it's a totally at fight. it's just as dangerous. i did a piece in 2003 in afghanistan, when everyone was only looking at iraq. the soldier at the end of that piece said i want to tell the guy coming to replace me that he can die as fast as you can in iraq. that's still true today. >> take me through the incident
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when you and your cameraman came under enemy fire. >> well, this is symbolic of what the soldiers are trying to do. they're looked in tiny, little places. they have a small amount of combat power in spite of the surge. they've got to get through taliban territory to get to the villages to try and turn them. >> to try to persuade people to turn against the taliban? >> that's right. and just getting there is the challenge? >> just getting there. these are villages that in 2001, a '02, '03, '04, '05, weiner in the ea -- we were at the pakistani border. you have fighters constantly pouring over the border. as soldier say,a fasta th-- as fast as they kill them, they come back. >> tell us what happened to you. >> in this village, they'd been invited and were hoping to build a relationship, the core of the u.s. strategy. of course, they killed 60 taliban there a few weeks before, and when they got to the
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village, it was very obvious that they were not welcome. it was a really eerie feeling. and of course as happens on the way back, they were attacked. and they were ambushed right at this moment. >> you keep saying they, you were there. >> yes. >> what did you do when the gunfire, rupted? >> well, we were on the ground because they were trying to pull that vehicle off a huge rock. we were right in what's called the kill zone. it's obvious. all the other soldier are in armored vehicles, you're on the ground, that's what they're going to hit first. they opened with 15 heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, rocket fire. it was a complex attack, so it was multiple weapons, all different kinds of weapons teamwork different mountaintops that they were firing from, and it took around 30 minutes to literally fight their way through that ambush with everything they had. >> what was going through your mind while this was happening? >> you know, i really thought -- i mean, always there's a moment when you think, oh, my god, i don't want to die. i couldn't believe how long it was going on and on and on and
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the intensity of firepower. then every second it's something else. you know, you know that you're taking heavy machine guns, you can hear the rocket-propelled grenades coming in and you hear the mortarfire, and you think, when is this going to end? >> were the soldiers doing anything extra to protect you because you were a journalist? >> you know, they always do. there's no way around it, there just is. the first person they think about, the soldier nearest you, the first person he think about is getting you to safety. >> i know you're a veteran correspondent, you've been in war zones your whole professional life. i have to ask you, why do you subject your to these risks? you now have two little children at home. >> i know. it's the worst question anyone can ask you is are you a war junkie, do you do this for adrenaline? anyone who's had babies, any mother, knows how hard it is to leave your children. >> what's your answer to that question? >> it's -- i'm absolutely, absolutely committed to this. it's my -- i see this as my responsibility, that if you're going to send soldiers to war in other people's lands, you have the responsibility for the
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people of this country and for the people around the world to know what it is that they're being subjected to. and to know how that's going. if you don't have people out there reporting on this, then anyone can say anything they like about it, and you don't know whether it's true or not. >> cbs news, "60 minutes," is debuting a new web vote called "overtime," which is -- i watched the tape you made about the subject we're talking about. and the woman asked you, was interviewing you, said that the make-up lady had told her that she had to put some make-up on your legs to cover the bruises. >> yeah. >> you got bruises on this trip? >> on this -- my hands were bleeding. it's -- surviving a firefight is not easy, even if you're untouched. there is a lot going on that you can never capture with cameras. >> do the fleeting picture that we get of this war, when it makes it on to television, when we're not doing the midterm elections or witchcraft or lindsay lohan going back to jail, the articles in newspapers, do these capture the
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level of danger and violence in afghanistan? >> i think they do. i mean, there are a number of journalists out there who are doing amazing work. the problem is that they're just -- there isn't enough of it. it feels like because we're, you know, so many years into this and because we're post-iraq, that there's -- i don't know, there's almost kind of like america's sick of the wars and -- >> people are tired this war in particular. >> yeah. >> and i think television executives are tired of this war. they have the responsibility to cover it, and as you said, many brave journali isists are cover it -- >> i have wives of soldiers e-mailing me saying can you do something, my husband is out there and i can't find anything. i search every day and can't find coverage of it. >> as we finish, what was the reaction of the soldiers to having you along since they don't get that much media attention these days? >> you know, this far into it, they know your work and know what you can do. and they know that you're a person of integrity. that counts more than anything. they're grateful to have people there who care. >> because otherwise they feel
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like they've slid off the radar screen? >> oh, no question. it's not even feel like, they know they've slid off the radar otherwise. they don't do it for that. soldier are motivated by something else. it's hard for people outside to understand. yes, they're motivated by the guy next to them and bringing them home alone. but they truly believe in defending their nation, in defending their constitution. and if they didn't believe that they were there to do the right thing, they wouldn't be there. >> lara logan, we're glad you got back safely. thanks for joining us. her piece airs tonight on cbs "60 minutes." coming up in the second part of "reliable sources," christine o'donnells she's done talking to the national media. how do we cover republican candidates that don't want to meet the press or face the nation? later, jon stewart planning a big rally. stephen colbert testifying on the hill. is there seriousness wrapped in satire?
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[ male announcer ] we understand.® you need a partner who delivers convenience. next time use fedex office. all have been running against the press since the beginning of the public. stiffarming the press has emerged for some candidate. we've talked about christine o'donnell, the surprise tea party candidate, abruptly canceling her appearance on two sunday shows. with videos on her comment on sex, evolution, and witchcraft, o'donnell says she's pulling the plug. >> governor sarah palin tweeted, and i thought she gave you
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interesting advice and i want to get your take, christine o'donnell's strategy, time's limited. connect with local voter who you'll be serving versus appeasing national media seeking your destruction. >> i'm not going to do national media because this is my focus, delaware and the local media is my focus. >> she said this in new york. how did o'donnell deal with the reporters back home who wanted to talk with her past tax problems? she answered one question and then -- >> miss o'donnell, may i ask the one question you promised to answer. >> i did answer it. >> about the rentals last year, why were you paying with campaign money? >> not happening. >> that was the one question i had. >> reporter: this is something of a pattern, nevada candidate sharon engle said, yes, on fox news, that she want the press to be her friend. >> we needed to have the press be our friend. >> reporter: and engle has also beat a hasty retreat when confronted by local reporters. same goes for california
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gubernatorial candidate end in whitman, who ducked out of her own news conference. >> thank you very much, guys. thank you very much, guys. thank you. >> so are these candidate right that they face a hostile press, and is their strategy viable? joining you, anna marie cox, washington correspondent for "gq magazine," and ramesh siku. she went on television complaining about the national media. when did taking questions from reporter become so scare? >> i think there's a two-fold strategy. one, i woornt wouldn't underh e underestimate the fact that -- >> don't they get national television shows? delaware? >> second, she want to run against the elites and the press. so this is just part of her campaign strategy. and that's true of sharon engle, as well. >> anna marie, you could make a case that if the reports had at her they would talk about
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mitchcraft, masturbation, and -- witchcraft, masturbation, and not the real issues. >> right. i think there's a case to be made for that. i have to say although my sympathies are with the democratic party generally, it's not like those candidate are really welcome in the press either. everyone wants to run against the press. i think that people are -- candidates of either stripe pick and choose where they're going to take their stand. >> they control access to the press. but to say i'm not going to talk about the -- not talk to the national media at all is a new one in terms -- >> you're right. that is new. essentially they don't just do it. >> they don't announce it. that was the -- >> that was the campaign strategy. >> the press conference -- >> right. this is the strategy, to announce that you're running again the press. i have a feeling you'll see that in a democratic candidate, too. progressives don't feel particularly loved by the media. i think you can run as a progressive candidate against the mainstream media as you run as a tea party candidate. >> as you know, bill marr had been reliesing tapes from
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christine o'donnell from his "politically incorrect" show in the '90s. they did another on friday. take a look. >> evolution -- ever solution a myth, and even darwin himself -- >> evolution is a myth. >> yeah, you know what -- >> a monkey -- >> why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans? >> look, we have a lot of fun with this, but evolution is a myth, homosexuality is an identity disorder, something else christine o'donnell said. why isn't fair journalistically speaking to ask her about these matters? >> i don't think it's unfair to ask about them. i can -- >> you are not particularly troubled if she doesn't want to talk to us? >> first of all, i don't think that it ought to be the focus, the obsessive focus of campaign coverage. it's not -- i think most of the stuff isn't directly relevant to anything she's going to be doing, particularly the witchcraft and masturbation stuff that we've been hearing. look, at the end of the day i think voters all across this country, by the end of the election season, they're going -- they are going to feel like they have seen and heard
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enough about these candidates. i'm not sure that people are not going to have enough information to make a judgment, whatever press strategies these people choose -- >> i also was going to say, i think this is something i remember talking about probably with you during the 2008 campaign. the mainstream media thinks of itself as the only way that candidates can get their message out or the only way that voters can getting in about candidates. >> that's not true. >> that used to be true. it's not true anymore. there are lot of ways for voters to get information about dhaends bypass the -- candidates that bypass the mainstream media. we should not be thinking about she's not going to talk to national media, therefore voters aren't going to getting in. but asking, are voters getting information. i would like to say that that evolution thing to me is much more troubling than the witchcraft or masturbation or -- the homosexuality thing is bad, too. but this is -- science policy's already in trouble in our country because people don't know about it. to have someone who's a serious
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candidate for national office saying stuff like that is -- >> i understand why in a republican primary the strategy makes sense. in a general election when you're trying to get independent voters, i'm not sure. these are mostly inexperienced tea party candidates, mostly insulated from the press in their careers -- although o'donnell went on a lot of talk shows. >> right. >> and they think that any aggressive questioning, which i would say that all candidates get, it gets personal. it's personal attacks. sharon engle want to go on fox news just to raise money. is that wrong? is it a misstep? >> well, i think one thing you're seeing is the tea party candidate are like republicans only -- candidates are like republicans or more so. they're taking that to a new level. >> it's all the sarah palin strategy. she said christine o'donnell should speak to the country through fox news. forget about all the other outlets. >> look, at some point, particularly if you want to be at the highest levels of american politics, you do have to have that comfort with the national press. and one of the things that's held sarah palin back was that
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she didn't perform well. >> what i think is that you have to show you can hit major league pitching. dealing with the press even when they're hostile, obnoxious, it's a test. and a test candidates are ducking. why did one moment go viral at a town hall?
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quite frankly, i'm exhausted. i'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration. defending the mantel of change
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that i voted for, and deeply disapointered where where we are right now. i need you to answer this honestly -- is this part of my new reality? >> part of what we did over the last year and a half is to make sure that billions of dollars that were going to subsidize financial services industries under the federal student loan programs are now going to be going directly to students so that millions more students are going to be able to get loans and grants and scholarships to go to college. >> velma hart of the washington veterans group questioning the president on cnbc. and why did television play that tape again and again? >> well, her question of very, you know, compellingly posed. i think that that's the number-one thing about it. and she herself sort of managed to sort of get into one question. i think a lot of the frustration that people who voted for obama felt. i can't speak to what news producers were thinking, but watching that clip now the disconnect between the passion of her question and the
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passionlessness of his answer and how he seemed to not understand at all what she was really asking, which is like, i want to be passionate about you again, i want to be able to defend you again. give me some hope, give me that passion, give me that energy that i felt when you were running, and he goes into answers that are academic. you could sense the disappointment. >> and did the way that barack obama gave a program attic answer, in which he went through all the things, did that reinforce the media portrayal of him? >> absolutely. i think this whole exchange illustrated the themes of this campaign. we have heard talk about the enthusiasm gap. republicans being more excited about voting than democrats are. this was a walking, talking illustration of the enthusiasm gap. she explained why she's exhausted, she's not enthusiastic. and do you think that that answer reignited any enthusiasm? i don't. >> yeah. >> so it's not the substance of what he said. it is this whole -- brief here, this whole question of does obama show enough passion? >> i think actually the substance of what he said also was not on target to her
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question. her question was tell me why i should be passionate about you again. >> she was asking for a personal answer. >> she was asking for a personal answer, and he gave a policy answer. it's a true answer, it's an answer to a portion of her question. but if i asked you, tell me why i should be excited about you, and you're like last year i earned -- it misses the opponent of my question. and that's the thing -- >> you always get personal answers. thanks for joining us. and up next, as jon stewart and stephen colbert focus on washington, are they getting more serious or just going for laughs? dick cavett will be here. oh. t i did pick up your dry cleaning and had your shoes shined. well, i made you a reservation at the sushi place around the corner. well, in that case, i better get back to these invoices... which i'll do right after making your favorite pancakes. you know what? i'm going to tidy up your side of the office. i can't hear you because i'm also making you a smoothie. [ male announcer ] marriott hotels & resorts knows it's better for xerox to automate their global invoice process so they can focus on serving their customers. with xerox, you're ready for real business.
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let our financial professionals help you reach your goals. personal pricing now on brakes. tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. how serious is jon stewart when he announced his washington rally, he sounded like a man fed one political loudmouths on both sides of the political divide, a man who wanted to restore sanity. >> unfortunately the conversation and process is controlled by the other 15% to 20%. you may know them as the people who believe that obama is a secret muslim planning a socialist takeover of america so he can force his radical black liberation christianity down our throats. or that george bush let 9/11 happen to help pad dick cheney's
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halliburton stock portfolio. >> then his "comedy central" colleague, stephen colbert, announced a countereraly that made the whole thing feel like schtick. >> tonight, ladies and gentlemen, to fight jon stewart's creeping reasonableness, to restore truthiness, i am announcing my rally. nation, are you ready? [ cheers ] >> good! because i am announcing it! >> both mimicking or mocking glenn beck's lincoln memorial gathering laugh month. what does stewart hope to gain from his march and will it boost or blemish his reputation as a cultural critic. joining us, dick cavett, long-time late night talk show host and writes a column for "the new york times" web site. dick cavett, jon stewart has always been sharp edged and political and loves to skewer us in the news business who need to be skewering. is it hard to take this seriously? >> i take it seriously. i think it's a swell idea
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comedically -- dreadful word -- they're my laurel and hardy and make me laugh. the only thing i would criticize about jon stewart's idea is that it's hard to recall when we had sanity. in order to restore it, it has to be there. you know, was it when wooet woe voted for al gore and got george bush? being attacked by a country and going back and vigorously attacking another one? i'm trying to reach back to sanity. if i reach back at my youth i end up at the army mccarthy hearings -- >> you're wonder figure it existed. if rally is for fun and games and makes for good clips, will it be a lotdown? >> if -- a lotdown? >> if it turns out to not be funny? >> if it's funny but not have a larger point? >> that's a good point because it leads to that congressman who was opposed to this and opposed to colbert's brilliant
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appearance before the house by saying it would -- comedy would lower the tone of the house. can you imagine -- how do you lower something that's at bottom to begin with? like saying lower the tone of "hustler" magazine or something. ridiculous. i won't say his name, but it was steve cohen of tennessee. >> you let that slip. let's go to the sound bite of stephen colbert. this of an immigration hearing in the house of representatives. he was invited to be there. not all the congress persons -- they were not amused. let's roll it. >> this is america. i don't want a tomato picked by a mexican. i want it picked by an american, then sliced by a guatemalan and served by a venezuelan in a spa where a chilean gives me a brazilian. >> some people were questioning where this was the right forum, some were offended by his talk of mexicans picking tomatoes. >> yes. yeah, there are some people who don't want to a sign in the store saying non-mexican picked tomato e-mail sure.
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i don't know if you ever noticed this because you're young, some people have no sense of humor. i don't want to break that news to you abruptly like that. >> some of them are on capitol hill, obviously? >> and maybe the lady on fox was it the other day about whom stephen said she was stunned by something, her hair almost moved. you know the one i mean. but once a year somebody will tell me if i write something for something, you can't joke about this subject. now this is not true. there's no subject you can't joke about. the joke may be bad. >> right. >> but it -- there are sthaujs humor must never touch would be news to mark twain and jonathan swift and more of the great -- who else? >> a long history of satirists. and colbert did get serious later in his testimony. look, the hearing got 1,000 times for attention than it would have had there not been stephen colbert there. you were a pretty big deal in network tv. why didn't you ever hold a march
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on washington? >> i never thought of it. and also, i figured -- how would i top woodstock, which i was a survivor of? i didn't go there, but i did a show that night with people from woodstock. i wish i could find the trousers of crosby -- crosby, stills, and nash, because he came to the show with mud on his trousers. and if you with mud on his trousers, and if you could put that mud on ebay, you wouldn't need a joke. this is a great day for satirists and comedy writers as we sit here now. because any day in which a homophobe preacher is told on by four succulent boys is a day to remember and every comedy writers will be eager to get to his typewriter on monday for that one. >> just going back to your late-night television days, you were seen often as political. and in fact, i have a little tape i want to play from the nixon white house as president richard m. nixon and his chief of staff talking about dick
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cavett. >> wow. >> he's impossible. he loads every program automatically. he'll -- >> nothing you can do about it, obviously? >> we've complained bitterly about the cavett shows. >> well, well is there any way we can screw him? that's what i mean. >> we complain bitterly about the cavett show. well, says nixon, is there any way we can screw him? your reaction? >> i'll warn you, it will give you a bit of a jolt when you say the head of the free world say about you, "how can we screw him?" he found a way to screw me, and i didn't find out until later, they came up the idea of auditing my entire staff, but i didn't find out about it until years later, when one or two people happened to spill it to each other, and it hurt some of them a lot. but the great football player from yorba linda whittier college loved illegally punishing people with the irs. and that was part of his fun.
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you know, he was a brilliant man. that's the sad thing about him. a friend of mine saw him appear before the supreme court and said that he was stunning, the power of his mind. but now we have sarah palin, so -- >> well, i've concluded that good satire often has to have a message and sometimes that message offends people. you, i presume, would agree? we're coming up on a break. >> oh, i would. do i come back after the break? >> no, this is it for you, dick. >> oh, this is it? >> we would be happy to have you back. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. i've enjoys every second of this. >> same here. still to come on this program, the bachelorette is now a launching pad for a news career. michael weir speaks out about war. our media monitor, straight ahead.
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time now for our "media monitor." here's one i found to be a bit of a joke. what's the best route to a television news job these days? journalism school, working for a wire service, starting out as a producer? well, in case of the fox station in san diego, none of the above. you go on "the bachelorette." >> i really felt that i was going to end up with him in the end and i just wanted to explore every option and make sure i was right so i could be absolutely confident at the end, and that's why i only wanted roberto to be
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there in the end, because i was so sure i had explored every other option and he was the right guy for me. >> yes. that little reality show gig landed alley fetetowski a spot on the fox 5 news team. the same station runs a feature on the weather forecasters's outfit of the day. and michael weir was one of the most familiar faces on cnn, reporting from war zones. he has now left the network and is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after having witnessed the horrors of war. this week, he says that in 2007, he witnessed and filmed an atrocity. one involving a teenage boy in an iraqi village who was carrying a weapon. one of the soldiers, weir says, shot the boy in the back of the head. the correspondent says that over the next 20 minutes, he watched the teenager die and was stunned by how inured he had become to violence, like the soldiers around him.
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and cnn decided the footage was too graphic to put on the air. television networks make those decisions all the time, but if the footage of soldiers shooting a teenager was considered too raw to broadcast, why wasn't the story aired without pictures? isn't shooting someone in the back of a head a potential war crime? did cnn have any responsibility to report these to authorities? "cnn often has to make calls about which disturbing images are necessary to tell a story and which are too graphic. these are always challenging and the subject of reasoned editorial the debate. on this occasion, we decided not to show an iraqi insurgent dying with fatal wounds." now, maybe cnn made the right call. maybe there were reasons not to report the story, even without pictures, but when a news organization won't answer questions, we have no way of knowing. this one is about distortion. now, the media have spent a lot of time quicking around christine o'donnell, in part
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over that "dabbled in witchcraft" sound bite she had on bill maher's show 11 years ago. but for some of our friends on fox news, the focus has been more on o'donnell's democratic channeler in the senate race, a county excessive named chris coons. fox has a new label for him. >> let's not talk about o'donnell, let's talk about the challenger, the democratic challenger. >> he's a alonloon. >> he's a marxist. >> he wrote about the development of his ideology in his college newspaper. the article was called, "chris coons: the making of a bearded marxist" and now some are coming out of the woodwork to support delaware's bearded marxist. >> but it turns out this bearded marxist business is bogus. back in 1985, 25 years ago, coons wrote the following for his college newspaper about spending a semester in kenya. "my friends now joke that something about kenya, maybe the strange diet or the tropical sun, change mid personality. africa


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