The first week of the new "Free Speech" segment on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric included appearances by Rudy Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh echoing GOP rhetoric on national security. But the program has offered no time to Democratic or progressive commentators to offer their views on the subject.
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The "Free Speech" segment of the September 11 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric featured former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani hyping the Bush administration's terrorism policies, claiming: "What was different about the attacks of five years ago is that September 11 marks the day that our nation broke the pattern of being only on defense. After September 11, we went on offense against the terrorists. We must remain on offense." Giuliani's appearance followed that of nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, who, during the September 7 "Free Speech" segment, attacked unnamed critics who he said are "not interested in victory" over what he termed "Islamofascism" and who do not conform to his definition of "patriotism." But while CBS, in its first week of "Free Speech" segments, gave time to the nation's most widely heard conservative pundit and a presumptive 2008 Republican presidential candidate to echo Republican rhetoric on national security, it offered no time to Democratic or progressive commentators to offer their views on the subject. In fact, Limbaugh has claimed he insisted as a condition of his appearing on CBS that no one would be allowed to rebut his opinions.
Other than Limbaugh and Giuliani, the following people appeared on the CBS Evening News' "Free Speech":
- September 5: Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, commenting on the lack of "real, civil discourse" in the United States.
- September 6: Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario, addressing "the plight of hundreds of thousands of mothers now in the U.S. and the children they felt forced to leave behind in Central America."
- September 8: Comedy writer Jim Twohie, commenting on the length of congressional vacations.
From the September 11 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
GIULIANI: Over the past five years, not a single day has gone by without a vivid memory of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
I still feel all the things I felt on that day: Anger at the terrorists. Sadness for those who lost loved ones. Awe at the courage shown by both emergency workers and ordinary citizens. It may be tempting to allow these memories to fade. That's a natural response. But the attacks of five years ago cannot be consigned to history.
Remember, terrorism did not begin on September 11, 2001. The killing of innocent civilians by Islamic fanatics has been going on for more than 30 years. What was different about the attacks of five years ago is that September 11 marks the day that our nation broke the pattern of being only on defense. After September 11, we went on offense against the terrorists. We must remain on offense.
The people who consider democracy their enemy have not stopped fighting. They've launched attacks in Bali, Madrid, Beslan, and London.
These attacks are about a radical form of Islam that views our very existence as a grave threat. This is a war with people who seek to eliminate our most precious freedoms. It's a fight over the preservation of the modern world. If we remain steadfast, if we do not surrender to frustration and remain committed to overcoming terrorism, then those who died on September 11 will not have died in vain.
What we learned is that free people have much greater strength than they realize. Ultimately, free people prevail over oppression.