On The Chris Matthews Show, Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman said he doesn't see "a serious answer from the Democrats of how to better make us safe in the world from terrorism," while Bloomberg reporter Janine Zacharia added that "[t]he Democrats have no alternative." In fact, the Democrats have released a comprehensive security plan.
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On the June 11 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman said he doesn't see "a serious answer from the Democrats of how to better make us safe in the world from terrorism." During a panel discussion with Fineman, Bloomberg reporter Janine Zacharia, Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of The Atlanta Jounal-Constitution, and Time assistant managing editor Michael Duffy, host Chris Matthews noted that 10 of 12 of his regular panelists think it's too late for President Bush to rebuild lagging public support for the war in Iraq despite the recent killing of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He then asked Fineman: "What makes you think [Bush] has the stuff to get us back into this full-barrel?" Fineman replied "I'm not sure that the Democrats have an alternative answer. ... [Y]ou can't beat something with nothing." Fineman continued, "I don't see, except for the 'let's get out now' crowd, a serious answer from the Democrats of how to better make us safe in the world from terrorism." Zacharia then agreed that "[t]he Democrats have no alternative."
In fact, the Democrats have released a comprehensive security plan, which includes screening 100 percent of containers and cargo entering the United States, boosting the size of the U.S. Special Forces and National Guard, ensuring that troops have better body armor, providing more resources to first responders, and allotting greater funding for veterans benefits. On the Iraq war, the Democratic plan stated that 2006 would be "a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty," allowing for "the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces."
None of the panelists mentioned the Democrats' plan, apparently dismissing it as not "serious" without any indication to viewers that the Democrats had even issued a proposal.
Media Matters for America has documented other media outlets that have ignored the Democrats' national security strategy. For example, after repeatedly reporting that the Democrats lacked a plan, CNN barely covered the Democratic press conference announcing the initiative, instead devoting an hour and a half of uninterrupted coverage to a speech by President Bush on Iraq, his third in two weeks. Moreover, when CNN finally reported on the Democrats' national security plan, it omitted any details about the proposals put forth by the congressional leaders. Just days after the announcement, CNN host Wolf Blitzer and NBC host Matt Lauer simply ignored the release and allowed -- and even encouraged -- Republican guests to suggest the Democrats have no "agenda."
From the June 10 edition of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show:
MATTHEWS: Let's take a look at our "Matthews Meter." We asked 12 of our regular panelists: "Is it too late for President Bush to rebuild support for this war, starting with Zarqawi's death?" This was not even close, however. With the death of Zarqawi, even with that, 10 say, "Yes, it's too damn late." Howard, I've gotta go to you. I'm pulled back to you on this because I know your view is "It ain't too late."
FINEMAN: It's not quite too late if he redefines it successfully, if he's able to convince people that patience there is required for us to make the world safer.
MATTHEWS: What makes you think he has that stuff to get us back into this full-barrel?
FINEMAN: Because I'm not sure that the Democrats have an alternative answer. The reason I answer this way is you can't beat something with nothing, and I don't see, except for the "let's get out now" crowd, a serious answer from the Democrats of how to better make us safe in the world from terrorism.
ZACHARIA: I was just going to -- I was going to agree with Howard. I mean, that's the key factor here. The Democrats have no alternative, and Americans aren't protesting in the street. There was another key two-thirds poll last week which said that two-thirds think, even in spite of Haditha, that American soldiers are trying to do the right thing there, that this is an exception to the rule. So until you have either a Democratic alternative or some other convulsing event to make them get out, we're going to stay there [unintelligible].