CBS & NBC Focus on KSM's Torture Claims, Only ABC Tags Him 'Evil'
By Media Research Center
June 6, 2008
CBS and NBC on Thursday night were as interested in highlighting the claims of torture, from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four 9/11 terrorist attack co-conspirators who were arraigned by a military commission court in Guantanamo Bay, as to informing viewers about the charges against them. ABC didn't consider the torture allegations relevant and so didn't mention the topic as Jan Crawford Greenburg uniquely described KSM as "evil." In contrast to NBC which called him a "man" and "defendant," CBS anchor Katie Couric at least described him as a "terrorist."
CBS reporter Bob Orr, who emphasized that "some legal critics called the hearing...a complete and utter farce," relayed how "the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham." With the quote on screen, Orr reported: "KSM, who the CIA admits was subjected to water-boarding, questioned the legitimacy of the military hearing. 'For five years, they torture,' he said. 'After the torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo.'" Orr proceeded to showcase how Aziz Ali charged: "This government failed to treat me as a human for five years."
On NBC, Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how KSM "called the legal proceedings 'evil'" and featured criticism from the ACLU. Miklaszewski also highlighted the "after five years of torture, they transfer us to inquisition land, Guantanamo" quote, before asserting: "Mohammed was water-boarded by the CIA. Defense attorneys had intended to challenge any of Mohammed's statements on the grounds he was tortured."
Following a soundbite of the ACLU 's Executive Director disparaging the hearing as "a complete and utter farce," Miklaszewski concluded: "Many legal experts predict these defendants may never face a trial before military commissions, delaying justice once again for those families of 9/11."
Of course, maybe they could face justice if liberals/journalists were a little less concerned about procedure and treatment and a bit more interested in meting out punishment.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
All three correspondents reported from Guantanamo Bay, but only Williams felt the need to say the Pentagon provided the transportation: "He [Miklaszewski] got there by cargo plane on a trip arranged by the Pentagon for reporters."
On ABC's World News, Jan Crawford Greenburg began her story: "His name has become notorious, synonymous in the minds of many, with evil." And she concluded it with a second "evil" description: "Journalists from around the world have come here to Guantanamo to cover today's hearing. We sat in the back of the court room watching the proceedings, and Charlie, I've got to tell you, I spent hours just staring at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sitting there like everyone else. A man that for years we've come to think of as evil."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide these transcripts of the stories on the Thursday, June 5 CBS and NBC broadcast network evening newscasts:
# CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Good evening, everyone. Nearly seven years after 9/11, the terrorist who says he planned the attacks was brought before a military tribunal today on the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was the first court appearance for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed since the CIA captured him while he was sleeping in Pakistan five years ago. He and four alleged co-conspirators heard the charges against them, charges that could get them the death penalty. Mohammed told the court he wants to die a martyr and plans to represent himself. Our justice correspondent Bob Orr is at Guantanamo. And, Bob, it was quite a scene there today.
BOB ORR: Katie, there's no doubt about it. This first military court appearance by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was both dramatic and also bizarre. Sitting next to four alleged al-Qaeda co-conspirators, the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: A dramatic scene today in an American courtroom in Cuba. The man accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks made his first public appearance in a court, a military courtroom in this case, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba -- the first time anyone charged directly with the hijackings was in court to hear the charges. Our own Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski was there. He got there by cargo plane on a trip arranged by the Pentagon for reporters. And he's with us tonight. Jim, good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Good evening, Brian. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants faced arraignment here today on charges of conspiracy, terrorism and murder for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of 9/11, appeared robust and confident with a long full salt and pepper beard -- a far cry from the confused, disheveled look when he was captured more than five years ago. But today, Mohammad was defiant, telling the military commission he's willing to die. Mohammad called the legal proceedings "evil," rejected his defense attorneys, and said he wanted to represent himself. When the judge asked if he understood he could get the death penalty, Mohammed shot back, "That is what I wish, I wish to be martyred."
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