COMMENTS: Jawbone Gotcha

President George Bush's peace efforts in the Middle East have been all but ignored on the network nightly newscasts. Last week only two reports were filed, by NBC's David Gregory and ABC's Martha Raddatz. Now Terry Moran (embargoed link), anchor of ABC's Nightline, has caught up with the President in Riyadh with an Exclusive. Moran's topic, however, was not regional peace but the price of oil. "What can you say to the King here to get those high oil prices down?" "I will say to him that if it is possible your Majesty, you know, consider what high prices are doing to your--one of your--largest customers." It was an answer that offered Moran the perfect gotcha. He replayed candidate Bush's soundbite from the Presidential debates of 2000 when a barrel of crude cost less than $20, one fifth of its current level: "The President of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price."

Last Thursday CBS' Richard Roth offered the caution that the audio track of the Pentagon's videotape account of USNavy warships' confrontation with five small Iranian speedboats in the Straits of Hormuz had been recorded separately and dubbed in. The words on the audio were: "I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes." Now NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reveals that the words were recorded on Channel 16, "a frequency like a CB radio that is open to everyone." Thus the Pentagon has no way of knowing whether that voice was even Iranian.


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