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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
 Wednesday December 30, 1998 (Vol. Three; No. 206) 


Ted Turner a Friend of Larry Flynt?; Stahl Gushes Over Hillary

1) A Larry Flynt-Ted Turner connection? A Boston Globe story revealed Flynt sought advice from his "friend" when he wanted to buy the Cincinnati Reds. And Flynt proclaimed: "I love Clinton."

2) Hillary Clinton named one of the Ladies Home Journal's Ten Most Fascinating Women of 1998. Lesley Stahl gushed over the "the dignity with which she has comported herself."

3) NBC's Ann Curry proclaimed: "I'm hoping...that I never have to say the name Monica Lewinsky again in the New Year!"

4) The first runner-up quotes in 14 categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Two noteworthy paragraphs from a December 29 Boston Globe profile of Larry Flynt by media reporter Mark Jurkowitz: Flynt says "I love Clinton" and the publisher of Hustler, who is planning to "out" the embarrassing sexual histories of several more Republican Congressmen, considers CNN founder and chief Ted Turner to be a friend.

     -- Flynt on Clinton: "Flynt makes no secret of his political loyalties. 'I love Clinton,' he says. 'I voted for him in '92. I voted for him in '96. Sure the guy had an affair and he lied about it....But how much punishment should he receive?' Of Lewinsky, he says dismissively, 'she's a snitch,' not bothering to ponder the irony of the snitches who've responded to his reward."

     -- Who Cincinnati-native Flynt asked for help: "In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Flynt recently asked Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott if she would sell him the ball club. 'I was as serious as a heart attack,' says Flynt. The way he tells it, Flynt asked his friend, Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner, to sound out baseball commissioner Bud Selig on that possibility. 'No way you'd be approved,' was the answer. Still Flynt continues to insist that 'I could have put the deal together.'"

     (See the quote below under the Politics of Meaninglessness Award for a bit of Turner's wacky political reasoning in equating Kent State with Tiananmen Square.)


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Standing by a philandering husband makes you a great woman, worthy of admiration, according to a CBS special aired Monday night. Amongst the Ladies Home Journal Most Fascinating Women of '98, hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart: Hillary Clinton. And participating in a cover-up of the biggest scandal in his presidency as you falsely malign others and never acknowledge his wrongdoing, earns you praise from a top CBS News correspondent.

     Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes handled the portion of the 10pm ET/PT show devoted to Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. On Clinton, she delivered only acclaim in this piece of the show transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
     "And then there was Mrs. Clinton, who first defended her man, then disappeared, then emerged almost energized by the scandal. She swept into the frenzy of the political season like a woman on a mission, tireless and traveling from state to state, fundraising, and drawing huge crowds. She, not her husband, was the powerful one on the campaign trail. It was showtime, and she rose to the occasion.
     "Why were we so riveted by her performance? Was it that we expected to see her crumble, cry, agonize? And how do we explain her spike in popularity in the face of her husband's scandal? Part of it was surely sympathy, maybe even pity, and she became more human, more vulnerable. There's also something appealing about her loyalty, her standing by her man, and the dignity with which she has comported herself. We are all grateful for grace in the midst of disgrace....
     "And Mrs. Clinton stated from the beginning of her husband's presidency that she had no intention of being a traditional First Lady. Well, she's not."

     Yeah, the "dignity" with which she went on Today and lied about how the allegations about Lewinsky were false and then maligned conservatives as being part of a conspiracy, a charge she has never had the "grace" to withdraw.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) The annual AP poll of newspaper editors placed the Monica Lewinsky scandal as the biggest story of 1998, but not all members of the media want to report on the most newsworthy event.

     Appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night, Today news reader Ann Curry hoped the Lewinsky scandal would go away. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson grabbed this exchange from the December 28 show:

     Letterman: "What a year, what a year for a newsperson this has been, huh? Has it been crazy?"
     Curry, voice rising: "It has been so crazy, and in fact, I'm hoping, as I think about my New Year's resolutions, that I NEVER have to say the name Monica Lewinsky again, in the New Year!"

     Quite a credo for a journalist.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Here are the first runner-up quotes in 14 award categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." (The December 28 CyberAlert ran the winning quotes.) To pick the winners and runners-up the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed after each quote. For the list of judges, see the December 28 CyberAlert or go to the end of the issue posted at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html

     To read all the quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean Henry, go to the same address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html

To check which quotes visitors to the MRC Web page picked and to see the entire ballot, go to: http://www.mrc.org/bestofnq1998.html and click on "Special Web-Visitor-Judged-Edition."

     Below is the first runner-up in the "Quote of the Year," followed by the second place quotes in the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award" with the "Wired Wicked Witch Award (for Loathing Linda Tripp)" and the "Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis)" amongst those in between.

Quote of the Year -- First runner-up

"Mr. President, we love you. I want to hug you, I want to hug you, please do the right thing. This is nothing, this is nothing. Thomas Jefferson did not have this in mind, I swear to God....I would give Ken Starr the Nobel Peace Prize were he to be man enough not to refer a sex lie to the House for impeachment."
-- Geraldo Rivera urging Clinton not to cooperate, August 6 edition of Rivera Live on CNBC. [66 points]

Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression) -- First runner-up

"Well, he's been elected twice with people knowing he has had affairs. Now is the fact that this woman is 21. I mean, she's still of age, I suppose. You know, I think that the distaste that people may feel for this will also be because of the fact that the probing into this person's private life has occurred. I think past Presidents, Lyndon Johnson for one, certainly Jack Kennedy, these things went on, you know, libido and leadership is often linked."
-- Eleanor Clift reacting to charges the President had sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, live MSNBC coverage at about 5pm ET, January 21, the day the story broke. [50 points]

Wired Wicked Witch Award (for Loathing Linda Tripp) -- First runner-up

"Tripp lost membership in the family of man when day after day she looked into Monica Lewinsky's eyes as a friend and at night hit the 'on' button on her Radio Shack tape recorder. No, there's enough about Tripp to criticize without getting to the heart of her darkness. While we are trying to make up our minds about the other characters in the drama, she can safely be cast as a villain -- the Mark Fuhrman of the Starr investigation -- because of her perfect rendition of the friend from hell."
-- Time's Margaret Carlson responding to Jonah Goldberg in a Slate "dialogue" about Linda Tripp, June 30. [72 points]

Hallucinating Hillary Award (for Promoting the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy) -- First runner-up

"Hillary Clinton attacked her husband's attackers, saying a lot of the criticism comes down to an anti-Arkansas bias. Well, chief among his critics, it can fairly be said, is Kenneth Starr. And the Starr Wars, it can also fairly be said, targeted Arkansas, home of the Whitewater affair and the investigation that now, four years later, seems to be winding up with the Lewinsky affair. From the beginning, Mr. Starr's tactics and motives have come under fire, especially the way he went after low level targets..."
-- Morley Safer introducing a re-run of a story on Ken Starr's tactics, August 16 60 Minutes. [52 points]

Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr) -- First runner-up

"Scott, as you and I both know, a popular move these days is to make a titillating charge and then have the media create the frenzy. Given Kenneth Starr's track record, should we suspect that he's trying to do with innuendo that which he has been unable to do with evidence?"
-- Bryant Gumbel to CBS News reporter Scott Pelley, January 21 Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel. [53 points]

Steve Brill Media Masochism Award (for Bemoaning Monicagate's Impact on Clinton) -- First runner-up

"We know from just answering the phone around here that the amount of attention we are giving this story is, at the very least, debatable. We in the news, as you can see [video of TV broadcasts], are devoting major time and resources to these events, but have we been carried away, are we doing too much and are we not being fair?"
-- Peter Jennings on the January 23 World News Tonight, two days after the Lewinsky story broke. [47 points]

Media McCarthyism Award (for Tying Conservatives to Murder) -- First runner-up

"When Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by the 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?"
-- Geraldo Rivera to Jerry Falwell after the shooting of an abortion doctor, October 26 Upfront Tonight on CNBC. [51 points]

The Everybody But Us Shut Up Award (for Promoting Campaign Finance Reform) -- First runner-up

"Republicans kill the bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising. The business of dirty campaign money will stay business as usual....Good evening. Legislation to reform shady big money campaign fundraising is dead in Congress. Republican opponents in the Senate killed it today. It was the latest in a long-running attempt to toughen loose laws that shield hidden donors with loose wallets and deep pockets. As CBS's Bob Schieffer reports, when it came to the crunch today on campaign finance reform, it was all talk and no action."
-- Dan Rather, February 26 CBS Evening News. [71 points]

Starr Behind Bars Award -- First runner-up

"What Starr is doing is trying to construct the truth according to Ken Starr, and according to Miss Lewinsky's lawyer he's reneging on his offer of immunity, because she's not saying what he wants and what he's doing is trying to get people to say what he wants. He's the one who is suborning perjury here in my view. He has gone way beyond the pale in term of his treatment of witnesses."
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, Feb. 7 McLaughlin Group. [52 points]

Good Morning Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning) -- First runner-up:

Katie Couric: "Getting back to kids and guns, if you will indulge me for a moment. You cannot think of any other position the NRA could take in terms of trying to decrease the number of school shootings? You feel like this is not your bailiwick, this is not your problem?"
Charlton Heston: "Not at all. As I told you the NRA spends more money, more time..."
Couric, cutting him off: "Other than education."
Heston: "Well what would you suppose? What would you suggest?"
Couric: "I don't know, perhaps greater restrictions."
-- Exchange on the June 8 Today. [47 points]

Move Over Buddy Award (for Geraldo Rivera's Pro-Clinton Lapdoggery) -- First runner-up

"How much of his vital attention is being consumed by Ken Starr's endless probe, by the Monica Lewinsky saga, by the fears that his trusted Secret Service agents will be forced to rat out the maybe gory details of his private life....And finally, and most importantly, how can our bridge to the 21st century feel about the slanderous charge amounting almost to treason, that for Johnny Chung's bribe of 100,000 lousy dollars he sold America's missile secrets to the Chinese, who now aim their deadly devices at America's children?....I watch him and I wonder how he does it. I watch him and wonder how much is too much for any man."
-- Rivera on Clinton's plight, May 19 Rivera Live on CNBC. [47 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award -- First runner-up

"I've got to know, Pat, why is this John Edwards/Lauch Faircloth race so important to the Republicans, other than the obvious that Senator Faircloth is considered to be one of the junior Grand Wizards of the vast right-wing conspiracy?"
-- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell, October 26 The Big Show. [49 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis) -- First runner-up

"We are often judgmental about people that are different from us...and we don't even understand what their problems are...A lot of students got killed at Tiananmen Square, but I remember several students got killed at Kent State. And, remember, they have a lot more students than we do. We shot down our own students."
-- Ted Turner promoting the new 24-part CNN documentary series Cold War, September 24 Washington Post. [49 points]

Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award -- First runner-up

"The White House looks at this with such great irony. As the impeachment hearings grind on could you have a situation where next year the President cannot go to the Judiciary Committee on a particular day because he's receiving the Nobel Peace Prize? That's the kind of irony the White House looks at as they look at the success of President Clinton on this day."
-- NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert to Sara James on the October 23 Today hours before the signing in the White House of the Israel-PLO peace deal. [53 points]

Thursday's CyberAlert will feature the second runner-up quotes. --Brent Baker


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