CNN devoted extensive air time to Snow's briefing on Kerry's "botched joke," but cut away when talk turned to Bush's Iraq policy
CNN's Your World Today devoted 16 minutes to live coverage of a press briefing by Tony Snow, which focused on the controversy over Sen. John Kerry's recent remark about Iraq. When questions turned to President Bush's Iraq policy, however, CNN cut away from live coverage after two minutes.
On November 1, CNN's Your World Today devoted 16 minutes to live coverage of White House press secretary Tony Snow's press briefing, the bulk of which was devoted to questions about Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) October 30 remarks that Republicans and media commentators have misrepresented  by asserting that Kerry denigrated U.S. soldiers in Iraq. When questions turned to President Bush's Iraq policy, however, CNN cut away from live coverage after two minutes. When CNN broke away, a reporter was asking Snow to address the substance of Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) proposal  for partitioning Iraq into three autonomous regions with a central national government.
In addition, immediately after breaking away from the press briefing, anchor Hala Gorani uncritically reported that during the press conference, Snow said "he believes John Kerry should apologize for remarks he made yesterday [sic] about U.S. troops, that John Kerry says were meant for the president," without noting Kerry's comments that morning on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning. As Media Matters for America noted , host Don Imus asked Kerry during a phone interview, "Well, why not apologize for the misunderstanding?" Kerry responded: "I did. I said it was a botched joke. Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke."
From the November 1 edition of CNN's Your World Today:
REPORTER: First, you say that you want to see Democrats offer -- engage in a more substantive way in Iraq, and yet when Democrats do that, their ideas are either rejected out of hand, as was the case with [Sen. Joe] Biden's [D-DE] idea of partitioning Iraq, or in the case of [Rep. John P.] Murtha [D-PA], he had Republican members of Congress effectively accuse him of being a coward and say that the idea doesn't reflect reality. So when you have substantive proposals -- redeploying troops is a substantive proposal, and partitioning the country is substantive --
SNOW: Well, let me put it this --
REPORTER: -- why not engage? Why dismiss it out of hand?
SNOW: No, we didn't dismiss it out of hand. When it came to Jack Murtha, we talked about what they call phased redeployment. We made the point that if you leave in Iraq without reference to conditions on the ground, that's the same as walking away from the fight and leaving a vacuum that could be very dangerous. That's a serious argument. And when he said that his phased redeployment would be to Okinawa, we pointed out that that put ships at a very great distance away from the action. So the point here is that we did take them seriously. When it came to Senator Biden talking about partitioning, I gave you the reasons for that. This was not dismissed out of hand.
REPORTER: -- non-starter. How is that engagement in the debate?
SNOW: Were you here when I also talked about the reasons why it would be a non-starter? OK, so that was a substantive response. And look, Joe Biden is a guy that I consider a serious guy. So the answer is we haven't dismissed them out of hand. But that to me also does not seem to answer the question. And here's the thing, I've been pretty precise about it. What's your strategy for winning? What's your strategy for victory? And neither of those are addressed by the proposals you just mentioned.
REPORTER: Arguably, partitioning Iraq --
GORANI: All right, we're gonna leave that news conference there. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, answering reporters' questions, among other things, saying that he believes John Kerry should apologize for remarks he made yesterday about U.S. troops, that John Kerry says were meant for the president. We're going to be speaking to Tim Walz, a Democratic congressional candidate from Minnesota, who will not be using John Kerry's help on this campaign, just a few days before these crucial midterm elections. We'll ask him why. Stay with us. A lot more ahead. You're with Your World Today.
From the November 1 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:
IMUS: I was talking to Charles last night about this, and it was my inclination to try to defend you in this. And I said, "I think I know what he meant." I mean, it's clear what he meant. But I had to acknowledge in my conversation with Charles that that's not what you said. So --
KERRY: No, of course it isn't what I said, Don.
IMUS: Well, why don't you --
KERRY: I left out one word -- I left out the word "us." They got "us" stuck. Instead of that, I said, "they got stuck." And they're taking advantage of it. And here's what's wrong --
IMUS: Well, why not apologize for the misunderstanding?
KERRY: Well, I did. I said it was a botched joke. Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes? I mean, you know, it's pretty stupid.