Rather Rhymes; Arnett "Heavily Involved;" Geraldo Sings His Anti-Starr Zing
1) Alan Shepard's death
turned Dan Rather to rhyme. CBS blamed GOP for rejecting first black Air
Force Secretary nominee, but FNC tells why. FNC discovered Sidney
Blumenthal's behind attack on Starr.
2) Peter Arnett was
"heavily involved" and "participated fully," FNC and
AP report in relaying the contentions of CNN's fired producers.
3) FNC examined global
warming, and unlike ABC and NBC, acknowledged there are actually
scientists who don't buy Gore's line.
4) Geraldo Rivera sings his
zing of Starr: "Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr, now we see how crude
you are...now we see how wrong you are when you drag the agents in, when
you bully moms and kin."
>>> "Networks Continue
to Ignore Legions of Experts Who Question Drastic Climate Change: Only
Scientists Who Agree With Us Matter," the latest MRC Media Reality
Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page, thanks to MRC Web Manager
Sean Henry. The report begins: "It happened again. Vice President Al
Gore held a press conference on July 14 to hype his favorite topic --
global warming -- and ABC and NBC snapped to attention. Both networks'
evening news shows highlighted Gore's opinions without giving any time at
all to Gore's critics." To read the rest of the report in which the
MRC's Tim Lamer has collected some counter-evidence, go to the MRC home
page at http://www.mrc.org <<<
AMPLIFICATION. Well, not
really. The July 22 CyberAlert recited a question Peter Jennings posed
about Catholic hospitals and noted that it was probably the second of two
questions, but I couldn't be sure because the signal went out briefly.
Well, it appears Jennings did pose two questions, but the transcript on
the abcnews.com site isn't very illuminating as to what he said or the
correct spelling of the name of the expert he was interviewing. Here's
exactly what they have:
"PETER JENNINGS: In fact, it's a
dilemma in several ways, and this afternoon, we talked about it with Dr
Arthur Caplan (ph). (audio gap) ... along with what the Catholic Church is
getting involved in (audio gap).
DR ARTHUR CAPLAN: Our system very much lets
the marketplace drive the values and drive selection of services. So
there's nothing inherently wrong with a Catholic organization taking a
particular position and stance and running its system the way it sees
Not a word about the Starr investigation on ABC or CBS Wednesday night,
while CNN and FNC ran full stories from the courthouse which included a
mention of how Energy Secretary nominee Bill Richardson was asked by
Senators about the job offer he gave to Lewinsky. FNC's David Shuster
uniquely linked the move against Starr to Sidney Blumenthal and pointed
out the contrast in how Blumenthal denounced Starr for wanting to know who
Blumenthal talked to in the media, but now Blumenthal is demanding those
who talked to Matt Drudge be exposed.
Franken reported that grand jury questioning of Currie focused on December
28, 1997, the last time Lewinsky was at the White House and when Starr
suspects she gave Currie the gifts given her by Clinton. Garrick Utley
then suggested why 63 percent of the public says they don't care about
the investigation: it's part of a larger shift from respect for the
government to distrust to now a period of indifference.
NBC Nightly News allocated nine seconds to noting
Betty Currie's appearance before the grand jury, but since the show
didn't mention on Tuesday night the controversy over leaks by Starr, the
program has yet to highlight the matter. NBC's Today on Wednesday
morning, however, ran a story by Lisa Myers about the charges that Starr
leaked, MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed.
ABC, CBS, FNC and NBC led Wednesday night, July
22 with the passing of astronaut Alan Shepard and CNN also ran a full
piece. ABC and FNC followed with full stories on the death of Robert
Young, but CBS, CNN and NBC allocated a just a few seconds to the actor.
Shepard's passing prompted Dan Rather to become lyrical, offering these
rhyming lines: "The right stuff and more. America's first man in
space dies at 74." And: "A pioneer, a brave heart of the final
frontier." Tom Brokaw declared that Shepard "had a toothy grin
and a daredevil soul."
Every network ran
a full story about a mice cloning breakthrough announced by scientists at
the University of Hawaii. Catching up with ABC's Tuesday story, for the
CBS Evening News Eye on America Rita segment Rita Braver highlighted how
families are suing nursing homes which abuse their parents as
"critics charge that the fast growing nursing home industry is
putting profit ahead of care."
noteworthy items: the Air Force nominee and Sidney Blumenthal:
-- CBS and FNC
delivered contrasting spins on the defeat of Clinton's nominee for
Secretary of the Air Force. In full, here's what Dan Rather told
"President Clinton's nomination of Daryl
Jones to be Air Force Secretary effectively died today in a deadlocked
Senate committee. Jones, a former fighter pilot, would have been the first
African-American to head the U.S. Air Force. But he was dogged by
Republican-led questions about his military record and business
Another victim of
mean-spirited, partisan Republicans? Viewers of FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report
got some details CBS left out as Carl Cameron relayed the views of both
his supporters and detractors. Cameron explained that the nomination of
Air Force reservist and former fighter pilot Jones "stalled amid
allegations that he was grounded for in-flight mishaps, lied about it and
accepted pilot salary that he was not entitled to. He denied the
allegations, but still faced bi-partisan opposition."
Cameron showed clips from Republican Senator Dirk
Kempthorne and Democrat Chuck Robb questioning his qualifications, though
Cameron also allowed time for Democrats Carl Levin to defend him and for
John Glenn to raise the issue of racism.
-- FNC's David
Shuster provided this unique angle on the Starr leaks allegations:
"The request that Starr be held in contempt
for allegedly violating grand jury rules of secrecy was prompted by a
motion from President Clinton's lawyers and White House aide Sidney
Blumenthal. Blumenthal, a former journalist, has admitted spreading
speculation about prosecutors to the press. In February, when he was
summoned to the grand jury to explain it all, Blumenthal accused Starr of
trampling on the Constitution."
Blumenthal, February 26: "I never imagined
that in America I would be hauled before a federal grand jury to answer
questions about my conversations with members of the media."
Shuster: "Now, however, Blumenthal doesn't
seem to mind the tactics at all. In a separate case the Clinton adviser is
suing Matt Drudge for an erroneous story on his Internet Drudge Report
about Blumenthal and his wife. Drudge now has a show on Fox News. As part
of an effort to reveal Drudge's Internet sources, Blumenthal has issued
a variety of subpoenas. He's asking a conservative women's
organization to turn over information on any of its contacts with Drudge
and its contacts with other reporters as well. Tucker Carlson of the
Weekly Standard, David Brock of the American Spectator, John Fund of the
Wall Street Journal. They've all been told to expect subpoenas as
Peter Arnett was "heavily involved" in the CNN NewsStand story
he narrated, FNC's Gary Matsumoto relayed in picking up the comments
from fired producers Jack Smith and April Oliver. At a panel discussion
held by the Freedom Forum in New York City, Matsumoto noted on FNC's Fox
Report, the two producers of the piece on Operation Tailwind released a 77
page rebuttal defending the accuracy of the story retracted by CNN in
early July and denounced by the Pentagon on Tuesday. No other network
mentioned Oliver and Smith Wednesday night.
Matsumoto asserted: "And while CNN
correspondent Peter Arnett said he did not contribute but a comma to the
story, Oliver says Arnett was heavily involved."
Oliver on stage at the Freedom Forum: "He
would not have participated on this show unless he believed in it 100
Audience member (in a clip I don't quite
understand): "But he says you should have blown the whistle on
Oliver: "I cannot explain Peter's quote on
that one. Peter participated fully. He took time off in April and May just
to be available to us for this program."
concluded: "The Oliver and Smith rebuttal complains that CNN managers
asked for proof beyond reasonable doubt only after the broadcast. Many of
those in the audience said afterwards that should have been the standard
in the first place."
A Wednesday AP
dispatch by David Bauder matches Matsumoto's observation: "Smith
and Oliver also contradicted Peter Arnett, who was reprimanded but kept
his job after convincing CNN management he had little to do with reporting
the story. Arnett read all the documentation and 'participated fully'
in the program, they said. 'He was behind us 100 percent,' Oliver
Not exactly what
Arnett told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz after CNN decided to not
fire him. In the July 9 Post Kurtz quoted Arnett: "I'm primarily an
action reporter. I was never informed that my face on the air gave me
responsibility for a major story. In the field, I have to answer for
everything I say and do. To many, it's shocking that I could be so
detached. But this was a team effort. I'm a company guy. You want me to
read a script, I'll read it."
face on screen didn't give him any responsibility.
An excellent demonstration Wednesday night of how FNC provides a contrast
to all the other networks, as the Fox Report featured four stories
delivering contrasting or unique information about a big political story.
Three have already been recited above. The fourth: a "Fox Files"
story on global warming. FNC's unique contribution: the reporter
actually presented the views of both those who see it as a threat and
those who don't buy Al Gore's ominous warnings.
Harrison began: "Raging fires, devastating floods, deadly heat,
killer storms. The administration blames a single cause."
Al Gore: "How much more proof do we need
that global warming is real?"
Harrison: "But critics say both the
President and Vice President have lost sight of science in the pursuit of
politics and that they are trying to bolster their argument by sending out
scientists on the White House payroll to spread the word."
Steven Milloy, science policy analyst: "The
Vice President and President have already decided that global warming is
real and we're going to say and do anything we can to convince the
American people that's true."
to note that while all agree the globe is experiencing a warming trend,
the debate is over the cause. He explained how the Clinton administration
blames greenhouse gasses from cars and factories and is pushing the Kyoto
treaty to reduce those emissions. FNC played this soundbite from James
Baker, Undersecretary of Commerce: "All of our data show if you add
enough carbon dioxide you're going to change the climate, the only
question is how much and how soon."
Harrison continued to give time to both sides:
"But it's hardly that clear cut" as even pro-administration
scientists concede the greenhouse effect "has not been proven
conclusively," but "they contend it's better to play it safe
and cut emissions while they continue gathering evidence." In
contrast, Harrison pointed out, critics say the treaty would hurt the
economy and raise prices for gas, elaborating:
"Critics say there's hardly any evidence
that global warming is causing severe weather of any kind. And in fact
there is evidence that the Earth cools and warms in a regular natural
pattern over time."
Now compare that
effort at a presentation of conflicting views with the one-sided crusading
delivered last week by ABC and NBC. On the July 14 World News Tonight
ABC's Ned Potter declared:
"Many scientists, and some politicians as
well, say something larger is happening. They say we are seeing early
signs of global warming -- the trapping of heat in the atmosphere caused,
in part, by pollution from cars and industry."
The same night on
NBC Robert Hager insisted: "Worldwide it's been the hottest first
half of a year ever recorded, hottest in the 120 years they've kept
track....The government says it's all an indication that global warming
is real...Vice President Gore with a warning."
Al Gore: "The future holds significantly
higher temperatures still unless we do something about it."
had the integrity to present another point of view or contrasting
evidence. See the July 14 CyberAlert for more on these stories and the
July 23 Media Reality Check, cited at the top of this CyberAlert, for more
on contrary evidence.
It's a pretty
sad state of affairs when a network stands out just for presenting both
sides of a policy debate.
Geraldo literally sang his disgust with Ken Starr. Republican Congressman
Mike Pappas of New Jersey got himself widespread TV coverage Tuesday for
using his one-minute speech from the House floor to sing a birthday
tribute to Ken Starr. He delivered new lyrics for "Twinkle, Twinkle
Tuesday night on
CNBC's Rivera Live the host played video of Pappas singing his tune.
Then Geraldo Rivera offered his suggested lyrics, singing:
"Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr, now
we see how crude you are
"Up above your jury high, like the judge up in the sky
"Twinkle, twinkle little Starr, now we see how wrong you are
"When you drag the agents in, when you bully moms and kin
"Then you kiss the treacherous Tripp, twinkle, twinkle DC drip
"Twinkle, twinkle little Starr, now we see how small you are."
Remember, this guy
is now a member of the NBC News staff, not just a talk show host on CNBC. -- Brent Baker
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