Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Private Pleading: CNN's Wolf Blitzer Neuters Nader

by Sherry Eros, MD and Steven Eros

RatherGate appears to have been a joint venture of a fevered Bush hater, the Kerry campaign and CBS’s 60 Minutes featuring Dan Rather.

The end was to assist challenger Sen. John Kerry in unseating the incumbent President Bush by proving Bush to be unfit for office.

The means to that end involved utilizing forged Kinko-generated documents purporting to show that George Bush shirked his military obligations and failed to obey direct orders during his Vietnam War-era stateside military service.

RatherGate is just the tip of a bias iceberg globally positioned at the extreme tip of the southernmost pole of the mainstream media. What every TV viewer of Judge Judy’s show grasps effortlessly escaped the comprehension of the most high media lords and ladies, namely, that once a witness is caught telling one lie, he is thereby permanently impeached as a liar and nothing else in his testimony should be considered credible.

RatherGate demonstrated why Dan Rather has for so long retained the heavyweight belt for journalistic low blows.

If Rather holds the heavyweight title, then the middleweight crown surely belongs to Wolf Blitzer of CNN. Week after week, the celebrated CNN anchor pleads the case for electing Sen. John Kerry president of the United States while posing as objective.

Even when his Sunday "news" show, CNN’s "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer," occasionally makes the pretense of impartiality by inviting guests representing both political parties, Blitzer is seen lobbing political softballs at the Democrat while launching precision-guided nuclear-tipped missiles at the Republican. When the Democratic Party representative falters or even hesitates, Blitzer jumps-in suggesting rationalizations and excuses for Kerry’s flubs and contradictions, and cueing favored liberal guests when they momentarily stray from their otherwise well-honed Democratic talking points. By contrast, CNN’s journalistic weisse Engel applies an electron microscope to the task of dissecting every last word of his Republican guests.

Blitzer’s most outrageous strategem during the current election season was on display on the Sunday, October 17, 2004 edition of CNN’s "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer," in which Blitzer renounced any pretense of politically neutral news interviewing, and instead unremittingly encouraged third party candidate Ralph Nader to withdraw from the presidential contest because he is hurting the chances of the media’s chosen candidate Sen. John Kerry.

The excerpted portions of the interview below show Blitzer first encouraging Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic Party, to make an appeal to Ralph Nader to withdraw from the race, and then minutes later aggressively confronting and pressuring Nader himself; alternately needling, demanding and imploring the consumer advocate to abandon his vain quest for the presidency.

The transcript shows Blitzer first prompting TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY:

BLITZER [prompting Terry McAuliffe Chairman of the Democratic Party, to make an appeal to RALPH NADER, THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT]: Terry McAuliffe, we're about to speak to Ralph Nader, the independent party presidential candidate. Are you going to appeal to him one more time, "Drop out?"

MCAULIFFE: Yes, I would appeal to Ralph Nader, you have fought your whole life for corporate governance and you have fought your whole life on the issues, the environment and so many things that you have cared about....Ralph, I'm appealing to you: please help us. We have got to beat George Bush….


After a commercial break, WOLF BLITZER INTERVIEWS RALPH NADER:

BLITZER: Independent in party label as well as in spirit, presidential candidate Ralph Nader is in the race, although way behind. But he's tough-skinned enough, some would say stubborn enough, to stay in this race where a percentage point or two could very well determine the outcome in several key battleground states.

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. [Kerry's] basically telling the truth, that you're not going to be the president of the United States. Why stay in this race?... you just heard Terry McAuliffe say on this program that on so many of the issues that are so close to your heart, John Kerry and the Democrats are so much closer to you than George W. Bush.... Now, [on the matter of collaborating with the Democrats,] have you switched?

NADER: No, they repudiated offers to collaborate, even offers to collaborate in the spillover vote for my candidacy to help the Democrats win the House and Senate.

BLITZER: But do you still want to collaborate with him to dislodge George W. Bush?

NADER: Absolutely. I'll make this -- on your program -- I'll make this offer, after listening to Terry McAuliffe.

If any of the Democratic fat cats want to finance a one-minute national television ad, I will go on and take Bush and Cheney apart on their record without even mentioning my candidacy or asking anybody to vote for me....

BLITZER: But basically you're acknowledging, from your perspective, the country would be better off with Kerry in the White House as opposed to Bush?

NADER: Least worse off, that's right.

BLITZER: Well, can you say it, it would be better off?...You saw what Winona LaDuke said this past week. She was your running-mate on the Green Party in 2000. She said, "I'm voting my conscience on November 2nd. I'm voting for John Kerry."... [displaying a chart showing Nader drawing votes away from Kerry] I want to put these numbers up on the screen. We've looked at some of the more recent battleground state polls. Florida, you've got 3 percent. Iowa, 4 percent. Maine, 3 percent. Minnesota, 2.7 percent. New Hampshire, 1 percent. New Mexico, 1.7 percent. Look at this. In Wisconsin, you're getting 4 percent in a recent battleground poll up there as well. What -- how...

NADER: You make it sound like it's terrible. It's healthy to have more voices and choices.

BLITZER: But if you're a Democrat, and you're going to win this presidency -- it is terrible if you're a Democrat. You understand why the Democrats are so nervous about the potential 1 or 2 or 3 percent you could get and the fact that that could tilt the scales in favor of Bush? ... But given how close it could be in Pennsylvania, and how critical that is to John Kerry, who you acknowledge yourself is the least bad of the options right now, why not just forget about Pennsylvania and not get on the ballot?

NADER: Because we're pushing for a major political reform movement long after November 2. We will never turn our back on the millions of Americans who are coming into our Web site, voteNader.org, for real, important reasons about why the country needs an independent political movement and more voices and choices.

BLITZER: All right. Final question, is there any chance at all between now and November 2nd you'll drop out?

NADER: Of course not....

BLITZER: All right. Ralph Nader, we'll leave it there. Thank you very much.


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