September 30th, 2009
05:40 PM ET

Media coverage of fallen troops' returning caskets has all but disappeared?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been almost six months since the Obama administration lifted the ban on media coverage of the returning caskets of war dead... and the press mostly seems to have lost interest.

"The Examiner" reports how back in April, media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman... 35 members of the press were at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

For the next returning casket - 17 media outlets showed up... that soon dropped to a dozen. The numbers kept shrinking until this month when only one news outlet was on hand to document the return of a casket bearing the body of a fallen Marine. That was the Associated Press.

In fact, the A-P has made it a point to be there at every arrival of a military casket where the family has granted permission - which is more than half of the time. The AP says it's their responsibility to cover these returns:

"It's our belief that this is important, that surely somewhere there is a paper, an audience, a readership, a family and a community for whom this homecoming is indeed news."

But where are the rest of the media outlets who protested President Bush's continued ban on showing flag-draped coffins returning to the U.S.?

This is especially troubling in light of what's going on in Afghanistan. Nearly eight years into that war, 2009 will record the highest death toll.

Conventional wisdom suggests if the American people aren't seeing the returning war dead - it's difficult to comprehend the real cost of war.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean when media coverage of fallen troops' returning caskets has all but disappeared?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: U.S. Army
September 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Are Obama critics creating a hateful, dangerous environment?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tom Friedman writes a scary and sobering column in today's New York Times called "Where did 'we' go?" In it - he compares the political climate today in the U.S. to Israel in 1995... right before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Friedman describes the "ugly mood" in Israel at the time... where right-wingers were trying to de-legitimize Rabin. They questioned his authority and shouted death threats at rallies.

Friedman says the parallels to America today turn his stomach:

"I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening."

Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into de-legitimizing his presidency.

He's right. You don't have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed.

Friedman says even if you're not worried about violence against Mr. Obama - you should be worried about what's happening to American politics.

He talks about the "cocktail of political and technological trends" that make it possible for "idiots of all political stripes" to take advantage of the system... things like excess of money in politics, the 24/7 cable news cycle, the blogosphere and a permanent presidential campaign.

Meanwhile - Republicans are pushing back against claims that conservative rhetoric is creating a dangerous environment for the president.

Party Chairman Michael Steele says of people like Friedman, "Where do these nut jobs come from?" Which to me sort of proves Friedman's whole point.

Here’s my question to you: Are critics of Pres. Obama crossing the line in creating a hateful and dangerous environment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


September 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Some in Hollywood think Polanski shouldn't be punished

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the case of director Roman Polanski, many of our so-called Hollywood celebrities seem out-of-touch. Once again. Polanski was arrested on his way to a film festival in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant dating back to a 1977 child sex charge.

He had pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, served 42 days in prison - but fled the U.S. for France before he could be sentenced.

The award-winning director of movies like "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" now sits in a Swiss prison cell - which is exactly where he belongs.

But Polanski's lawyers are fighting his extradition to the U.S. - as are more than 100 Hollywood types who've signed a petition against the arrest; people like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

Actress Debra Winger says it's "a three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities." Yeah, one technicality being he fled the country to avoid sentencing after officials said he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.

Whoopi Goldberg says Polanski didn't commit "rape-rape," whatever the hell that means. And Harvey Weinstein says Polanski was the victim of a "miscarriage of justice." Hey, Harvey: He pled guilty.

California officials have kept the pressure on for all this time and insist they won't bow to pressure from Hollywood.

How would you feel if it had been your 13-year-old daughter?

Here’s my question to you: What message does it send when some in Hollywood don't think director Roman Polanski should be punished for a 1977 child sex charge?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage