Putzhead Pounce; Pro-Lifers "Incite...Murderous Violence"; Carville's Hate
1) Putzhead Pounce. ABC, CBS,
FNC and NBC all decided to do the same story Monday: the dirty, mean and
nasty New York Senate race.
2) ABC, CBS & CNBC gave
validity to blaming conservatives for the doctor killing. "Critics
charge rhetoric from the anti-abortion movement is helping to incite this
kind of murderous violence," insisted Dan Rather. Geraldo:
"Doesn't anti-abortion rhetoric... verge on almost a back-handed
pat on the back" to killers?
3) Today's Matt Lauer gave
James Carville a virtually challenge-free platform to sell his
mean-spirited attack book on Ken Starr.
4) Keith Olbermann suggested
he thinks Starr is Jezebel, and other pro-Clinton quips from MSNBC's
5) Larry King can't tell
parody for reality, missing the whole point of Rush Limbaugh's analysis.
Correction: The October 26
CyberAlert spelled "valet" as "vale."
The Putzhead Pounce. Network newscasts aren't all that different on some
nights. Not only did all the networks lead Monday night with stories on
the murder of the abortion doctor, but four of them decided to run pieces
about the New York Senate race between incumbent Republican Alfonse
D'Amato and Democrat Chuck Schumer. The ABC, CBS, FNC and NBC reports
all offered the same spin -- how it's a dirty race. Just check these
intros to stories which all highlighted how D'Amato called Schumer a
-- Peter Jennings
on ABC's World News Tonight: "This is probably the meanest campaign
in the country."
-- Dan Rather on
the CBS Evening News: "This race is also down and dirty, negative and
-- Jane Skinner on
FNC's Fox Report: "Here in New York the mud is getting very
-- Tom Brokaw on
NBC Nightly News: "One of the closest and nastiest Senate races of
all is going on in the state of New York."
-- Even CNBC got
into the act. On Upfront Tonight Jane Welles opened her piece: "They
aren't talking issues much in this U.S. Senate race. They're too busy
throwing mud. It's nasty. It's dirty. It's ugly and it's too close
The murder of the abortion doctor in Amherst, New York topped the ABC,
CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC evening shows Monday night, October 26. CNN and NBC
refrained from blaming the "climate" created by pro-life groups,
but not ABC, CBS or CNBC's Geraldo Rivera which also portrayed those
advocating murder as part of the pro-life cause.
Dan Rather made a
direct link between the right to life movement and the murder, declaring
Dr. Barnett Slepian "the latest abortion-provider to be targeted by a
violent, sometimes murderous, section of the anti-abortion movement."
Later, CBS devoted a whole story to how "critics charge rhetoric from
the anti-abortion movement is helping to incite this kind of murderous
Jennings fed the pro-life slogan "respect life" back to them by
reciting a sign reading "Don't murder doctors." Seconds later
reporter Bill Redeker demanded a Catholic priest defend his mock cemetery.
highlighted the "Christian Gallery" Web site run by Neal Horsley
which lists the addresses and phone numbers of abortion doctors,
implicitly implying he's a legitimate part of the pro-life movement, but
only CBS showed viewers the URL and only ABC aired a soundbite from a
"Reverend" who tagged the killer "a hero." FNC anchor
Jon Scott interviewed Horsley, who said he would not be sorry if the
murderer got Slepian's address from his Web site.
Showing no more
originality in soundbite picks than the New York Senate race stories show
they made in topic selection, both ABC and CBS ran this same soundbite
from a father with two kids in his arms: "This is what he was about
right here, right here, children,. This is what he should be remembered
for. Not abortions."
raised an old canard, analogizing Jerry Falwell and pro-lifers to
Netanyahu and allies whose rhetoric inspired the assassination of Rabin.
Here's a rundown
of highlights from the Monday, October 26, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened:
"Good evening. In Amherst, New York today
near the city of Buffalo someone put up a picture of the doctor who was
killed in his home Friday night and a hand-lettered sign that said:
'Respect Life. Don't Murder Doctors.' Doctor Barnett Slepian, as
much of the country must know by now, is the latest obstetrician and
gynecologist to be attacked, murdered in his case ostensibly because he
performed abortions. There's a $100,000 reward now for information
leading to his killer. Doctor Slepian was 52. He performed abortions, said
a friend, because he believed a woman had the right to choose. But it was
helping babies come into the world, said another, that was his life."
explained what happened and played the clip of the father cited above
before putting someone who did not murder anyone on the defensive:
"The killing has also reignited the abortion
debate here. Today a Catholic priest defended this provocative mock
cemetery marking hundreds of abortions performed in New York state this
Father Jim Bastian, Catholic priest: "There
are murders that are happening each and every day. And in this case this
display represents 440 in New York state."
Next, ABC's John
Miller told viewers about the pattern of attacks around Canada's
Remembrance Day and then moved to Neal Horsley's Christian Gallery and
how he quickly crossed out Slepian's name. Miller added: "Activists
on the most radical end of the pro-life camp make no apologies for the
Rev. Donald Spitz, Pro-Life Virginia: "I
think the person that did it is a hero, I think they are a hero."
Amazing how the
Unabomer was never referred to as being on "the most radical end of
the environmental movement."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather began by
"Good evening. The FBI posted a $100,000
reward today for the killer who gunned down a doctor in his own home,
apparently because the physician performed abortions. He was just the
latest abortion-provider to be targeted by a violent, sometimes murderous,
section of the anti-abortion movement."
Kofman's overview story which included the father's soundbite, Rather
acknowledged abortion opponents do not advocate murder, but then he gave
legitimacy to pro-abortion liberals who impugn those on the other side:
"Most opponents of abortion are a
law-abiding citizens who oppose violence. Some of them were quick to
condemn this doctor's assassination, but critics charge rhetoric from
the anti-abortion movement is helping to incite this kind of murderous
Did Al Gore's
anti-business and technology rhetoric "incite" the Unabomer? I
don't think CBS ever gave that theory airtime, nor should they have. But
by giving airtime to claims of conservative culpability for nut cases CBS
is showing its anti-conservative prejudice.
In the piece
introduced by Rather reporter Richard Schlesinger began by showing Neil
Horsley's web site of providers "he calls butchers."
Schlesinger read aloud its full name, up through "killers," as
viewers could read its address on-screen: "christiangallery.com/atrocity/killers.html."
Schlesinger then allowed liberal advocates to
"The abortion battle has been at the
intersection of politics and passion since 1973 when the Supreme Court
legalized the procedure. But abortion-rights activists now believe some
leaders of the mainstream anti-abortion movement are inciting supporters
on the fringe to violence." [video of Atlanta bombing]
Kelli Conlin, abortion rights activist:
"What they've got to stop doing is saying these people are
murderers. They got to stop saying woman's health facilities are places
where murder is committed."
Schlesinger: "To what extent do you send a
signal that it's okay to take a shot at an abortion doctor?"
Kathleen Murphy: "To no extent."
Schlesinger: "Kathleen Murphy is an
Murphy: "The abortion industry tends to lump
everyone together in the pro-life movement as people that are only
interested in violence or taking away woman's rights."
Schlesinger concluded: "That charge carries
extra weight now, eight days before elections where in many races abortion
is a major issue. It might be hard for voters to remember that the vast
majority of anti-abortion protests are peaceful, so soon after a doctor
was shot to death in his own home."
-- CNN's The World Today opened with a piece by
Susan Candiotti followed by a story from Martin Savidge on how
"anti-abortion leaders say they've become victims themselves as
they are lumped by critics into the category of zealots." They must
have been watching CBS.
-- FNC's Fox Report opened with Slepian
followed by an interview with Horsley. David Shuster added a full report
on the Jones case.
-- NBC Nightly News opened with one story on
Slepian, by Rehema Ellis, who avoided the blame game.
-- CNBC's Upfront Tonight. Geraldo Rivera
topped the show by previewing his crusade to expose the evil pro-lifers:
"If abortion is murder, what is the
assassination of a doctor who performed abortions? Does the absence of
vigorous, universal public outrage fuel the notion that violence under
certain circumstances is less hideous than otherwise? My colleague Diane
Dimond is off tonight. I'm flying solo. Hi everybody and welcome to our
program, to borrow the words of Dr. Bill Bennett, debates the death of
outrage. Are ugly politics feeding a climate of hate?"
two interview segments. First, with Susan Hill of the National Women's
Health Organization in Raleigh, who is also on Horsley's list. Rivera
asked and answered his own question:
"Do you blame anyone specifically other than
the outrageous murderous dogs who do this? Do you think that there is a
climate that makes it more permissible to take on people like
Hill: "I'm sure of that. I've been
providing abortion services for 25 years. The climate has never been this
hostile and I blame the pro-life community...
Next, to Jerry
Falwell, he forwarded this liberal theory impugning conservatives in
Israel and the U.S.:
"When Yitzak Rabin was assassinated by an
extremist who was opposed to the peace talks, many commentators at the
time blamed Bibi Netanyahu who was Mr. Rabin's opponent at the time, for
his political rhetoric, saying that by saying that people who were making
peace with the Palestinians were in effect countenancing terrorism he in
effect set up Rabin. Don't you feel some of that same heat. Doesn't
anti-abortion rhetoric at some point verge on almost a back-handed pat on
the back to those people?"
NBC's Today provided James Carville with a platform to push his book
disparaging Ken Starr. On Monday's show, MRC news analyst Geoffrey
Dickens observed, co-host Matt Lauer opened the interview by wondering why
anyone would read a book so obvious in its content and he ended with a
challenging question about how White House operatives were "not fully
informed," but in between he read some of Carville's diatribe and
prompted Carville to sound off. At no point did he challenge any of the
assertions in the book.
Here are all the
questions Lauer posed on the October 26 Today:
Carville, one of the President's most unwavering and excitable defenders
is out with a new book today called, And the Horse He Rode In On: The
People vs. Kenneth Starr. It sets out point by point why the independent
counsel's investigation is in Carville's words, 'A fanatical plan to bring
down the President.' James Carville good morning, good to see you. Let me
read you something you write in the first two pages of the book. Quote, 'I
don't like Ken Starr. I think he's an abusive, privacy invading, sex
obsessed, right-wing, constitutionally insensitive, boring, obsequious,
and miserable little man who's risen further in his life by his
willingness to suck up to power than his meager talents and pitiful
judgement would have ever gotten him.' Strong letter to follow."
-- "But in the first two pages when you
write that why does the reader even have to go further? I mean that's
basically the book right there isn't it?"
-- "So to use a James Carville type
expression this is a case of my dog's meaner than you're dog."
-- "Remember when the First Lady was here
back in January and she talked about the vast right-wing conspiracy. You
agree with a lot of what she had to say. If there is a hierarchy in that
conspiracy, like a military hierarchy, where does Ken Starr fall? Is he a
private, is he a general, what is he?"
(Carville replied that Starr is
"interconnected" to all the players and claimed: "I don't
think anyone disputes there's a right-wing conspiracy.")
-- "The one moment you remember from that
interview, 'Great human being.' You tell a story in this book about the
first time you ever kind of met Ken Starr. In an airport, he came up to
you, what did he say?"
-- "When did you realize it was Ken
-- "You remembered that guy from the
-- "You point a sharp stick in the eye of
the press in this book. You said in the first few days of the Lewinsky
story there were inaccuracies. I think you say that, quote, 'In other
words one out of every five journalists had no idea what they were talking
about. Two out of every five journalists were making it up as they went
-- "What would the figures have been though,
James, for the people who were put forth by the White House. The
administrative people, the advisers, the cabinet members who were not
-- "And the Horse He Rode In On: The People
vs. Kenneth Starr. It's always good to have you here."
Ken Starr is Jezebel? Yes, suggested Keith Olbermann last week on
MSNBC's The Big Show with Keith Olbermann. That's amongst the liberal
pontificating from Olbermann collected from last week's shows by MRC
news analyst Mark Drake:
-- October 19:
"Remember how silly it sounded when the
President said he'd forgotten days and dates when Monica stopped by?
Newsweek: Ken Starr forgot he talked to Paula Jones' attorney."
the former White House intern, Newsweek magazine reporting this week, that
despite their cozy immunity deal, Lewinsky and the Independent Counsel,
Mr. Starr have never met face to face. The reason: a source telling
Newsweek 'you don't want to schedule an appointment between Jezebel
and the Pope.' Wait, I'm confused. In this reference, Jezebel is
-- October 20:
To Democrat Robert Wexler: "Congressman, I
got a letter from a viewer a couple months ago which I thought stated it
almost as simply and eloquently as you did there, which is, 'Bill
Clinton did not hurt me,' is what she wrote, 'Bill Clinton hurt
"When we come
back: so far nearly two hundred newspapers around the nation have called
for the President to resign. Were those calls premature?"
-- October 21:
To John Dean: "She [Hillary Clinton]
obviously was one of the investigating team and one of that group of
lawyers, young lawyers that were recruited to, to staff the staff of the
investigation team from the judiciary in '74. This time it's David
Schippers and what we could call the modern version of the Chicago
Untouchables. He's got people in here who've investigated mobsters,
and prosecuted street gangs with ties to Libyans and friends of Sam
Giancana. Is this heavy handed or this the appropriate kind of
investigative, prosecutorial team that you'd want looking into the
How dense can you get? From CNN host Larry King's collection of
ramblings in Monday's USA Today:
"Shouldn't someone tell President Clinton
that one of his archenemies, Rush Limbaugh, actually said the following
last week, speaking in defense of Bill Gates and Microsoft? 'It's OK to
lie, everybody lies in business, especially in a civil case.' Apparently
to Rush, lying is OK about business but not about sex."
Houston to Larry:
Since many liberals don't care that Clinton lied but want Gates pursued,
Limbaugh decided to parody the liberal position. He wasn't being
serious. It's hard to imagine how clueless you must be to miss the
mocking of your own position. -- Brent Baker
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