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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Wednesday April 21, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 70)

Shooting Prompted Gun Control Talk; ABC Hyped Hillary & French Day Care

1) NBC didn't hesitate to promote a Jonesboro mother's view that the Colorado school shooting shows the need for gun control. MSNBC's Brian Williams argued that "if we stopped giving guns as Christmas gifts...this wouldn't be as pervasive a problem." CNN's Wolf Blitzer contended school shootings are an "epidemic."

2) CBS viewers were told Tuesday night that Milosevic is "slowly losing his war against NATO" while NBC viewers heard that "Milosevic and his regime...remain firmly in power."

3) Today featured Geraldo Rivera's recounting of his travels with the KLA, which he thinks NATO should aid, lamenting: "They have a checkered past, but so many of us do."

4) Senator Hillary and the French day care system, that's how to solve America's day care "crisis," two actresses claimed on GMA in promoting their Lifetime show. Charles Gibson asserted Hillary's Senate bid "fascinates everyone." No, just liberals/the media.

5) Arnett axed. It's now official: Peter Arnett is no longer employed by CNN.

6) A new biography of Hillary Clinton reveals that she banned Barbra Streisand from overnight stays, arranged for John Huang to get his Commerce position and that Vince Foster had "a romantic attachment." Amazingly, the author is scheduled for today's Today.

>>> Now online, the latest Media Reality Check fax report by the MRC's Tim Graham which was distributed on Monday. "TV's Great Stonewall of China Continues: Energy Department Misleads Congress, Delays Release of Report to the Public, But Where Are the Nets?" To read the report posted by the MRC's Eric Pairel, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990419.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) ABC and CBS managed to avoid preaching gun control on Tuesday night in reporting on the tragic shooting at a Colorado high school. But not NBC Nightly News which featured a piece by Anne Thompson about Suzann Wilson, the mother of a girl killed 13 months ago at a school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas who is now a gun control crusader. Thompson asserted:
    "Suzann has used her hurt and anger to campaign for laws to hold gun owners responsible when children use those weapons to hurt others, taking on gun rights advocates on the front steps of the Arkansas capitol."
    Wilson, yelling: "This is not about the Second Amendment. This is about parents burying children."
    Thompson: "Accepting the President's praise at this year's State of the Union address."
    Clinton during State of the Union address: "I'd like to thank her for her courage and for her commitment."

    MSNBC brought Wilson aboard for some live advocacy, but she didn't have to say anything as the network's anchor was already on her team. At about 7:33pm ET/5:33pm MT Brian Williams opined:
    "I know you happen to believe that if we got the guns out of schools and out of the hands of younger Americans, say nothing of their parents and older Americans, if we stopped giving guns as Christmas gifts in some families in some parts of the country then perhaps this wouldn't be as pervasive a problem."

    Minutes later, just after President Clinton finished his 7:45pm ET/5:45pm MT remarks from the White House press room, Wolf Blitzer put hype before reality in proposing to him: "There seems to be an epidemic of these kinds of incidents now. There was Paducah Kentucky, Jonesboro Arkansas, Springfield Oregon and several others. Would you characterize this as an epidemic affecting the nation's schools systems?"
    (CNN's Larry King Live gave a guest spot to Sarah Brady of Handgun Control, Inc. but did not give time to anyone with a pro-gun rights viewpoint.)

    Reality Check. "Pervasive problem" and an "epidemic"? Not at all. I'm sure that statistically an American high schooler has a better chance of dying on the way to school in a school bus accident than in getting killed at school. In a NBC Nightly News story run just before Thompson's piece with Wilson, Pete Williams looked at how there are fewer deaths at schools the last few years than six or seven years ago. Viewers saw this unsourced table on-screen:
1992-93:  45
1996-97:  24
1997-98:  34
1998-99:   9

    Add 13 or 15 from Tuesday and this school year's total is still well under the number killed at schools in 1992-93.

    You can count on this shooting generating more gun control advocacy. That's certainly what happened after the March, 1998 shooting in Jonesboro as documented in an April 6, 1998 MediaWatch article, "Jonesboro Ambush: Who's To Blame? Media Blame Southern Gun Culture, Push for Gun Control." To read the piece, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1998/mw19980406p1.html


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) On the Kosovo front, CBS viewers were told that Milosevic is "slowly losing his war against NATO" while NBC viewers heard that "Milosevic and his regime...remain firmly in power."

    Tuesday night, April 20, ABC and CBS devoted a whole story, and NBC part of one, to the Pentagon and British presentation of evidence that Yugoslav forces have committed atrocities, including shooting groups of men and using men as human shields around tanks. CBS's Tom Fenton provided a piece on how human rights workers cannot locate 100,000 refugees seen in Kosovo just a few days ago.
    As for appraising the war effort, the CBS and NBC Pentagon reporters delivered contrasting assessments. On the CBS Evening News David Martin concluded:
    "As the war enters its second month NATO troops are already in Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia. NATO hopes to complete the encirclement of Yugoslavia by basing planes in Hungary and using Romanian and Bulgarian air space to attack from every direction. Milosevic would seem to be in a no win position and while he is slowly losing his war against NATO, he is rapidly winning his war against the people of Kosovo."

    Over on the NBC Nightly News Jim Miklaszewski offered a more downbeat judgment:
    "There's no sign tonight that Milosevic himself is about to crack. The latest U.S. intelligence says that Milosevic and his regime, despite NATO bombing, remain firmly in power."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Geraldo Rivera made the jump Tuesday morning from CNBC host to reporter on Today, the reason why CyberAlert tracks his cable comments. He may be a liberal crusader on CNBC, but he remains part of the NBC News team.

    Rivera spent a few days traveling with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and during the 7:30am half hour on Tuesday checked in live from Tirana, Albania with a summary of his experience. He showed video of Serb shelling that almost hit him, and delivered the requisite dramatically staged video of himself whispering to the camera as he lay on his back behind a bush as shells fell nearby. Rivera complained about the Serb-KLA armament mismatch and lamented the lack of NATO bombing on behalf of the KLA in the battle area.
    Katie Couric asked why the West isn't helping the KLA, prompting this answer from Rivera noticed by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens: "I just don't think we're going to support the KLA. I don't think we can have a Kosovo without KLA involved in a coalition government. But for reasons that I've described, and I think a lot of it has to do with just this bad experience we had in Afghanistan [with Muslims who later turned anti-West terrorists], I don't think we're going to be very eager to help the KLA. They have a checkered past, but so many of us do."

    Only Rivera could personalize the situation in such a way.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) If only Hillary would run things, guests given an unchallenged platform on Good Morning America suggested, we could solve the supposed child care problem by modeling a new U.S. system after the French, who know best how to take care of kids.
    One guest, an actress, hoped "Hillary's gonna make her bid in this area" for Senate since "I think that we should vote for people who are, obviously, going to do something about this issue."

    Promoting "Confronting the Crisis: Childcare in America," a Lifetime cable TV special set to air at 10pm ET Tuesday night, on the April 20 Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson gabbed with its director, actress Lee Grant, and the host, actress Kyra Sedgwick. (I recognize Sedgwick, but couldn't tell you what she's starred in to help identify her.)

    As picked up and transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, Gibson relayed without question the liberal premise about how there is a crisis that must be solved:

    "We're going to talk in this half-hour about a dilemma that most families face everyday, and it's the question of who's going to care for the kids while mom and dad are at work. Nearly two-thirds of mothers with children under age six work outside the home. We talk about it all the time, but it's a startling statistic, and it makes child care an unrelenting worry that is pushing many parents to the brink, emotionally and financially. In this morning's American Family, a look at what some parents have to say in a new documentary on the subject, which airs tonight on Lifetime Television."

    Sedgwick elaborated: "I think what surprised me was how difficult it is to make ends meet for most people, how they have to work extra hours to make the money to send their kids to day care, so that they can spend less time with them before they go to school, and less time with them after. But that's what they have to do in order to make ends meet, and I, I felt so terribly sad that we in America, we're constantly talking about how children are our future, and our -- when we talk about the future, we're only talking about children. And yet we don't put them first, and it's not a priority and there's no help in this area for most parents."

    Gibson soon asked "What's the solution to all this? Is there any country that's found a way out of this?" Grant advocated a government-run system modeled after socialist France:
    "Well, you know that we went to France, Charlie, and we studied their system. And it's really kind of painful when you go there and you see how their children are taken care of from the age of two and a half to three. They are given the kind of care and education and they're taken care of for whole time that their parents are at work. And the corporations and the government pay higher taxes for this, but their philosophy is that a well-educated child is a civilized adult, and they feel safe with their neighbors. And this is the way I think we have to approach it."
    Gibson helped her clarify the wondrous French system: "You said from the ages of two and a half to three, you mean starting at two and a half to three, all the way up, they get that kind of care."
    Grant: "Yeah, starting at two and a half to three, all the way up, and before that, they have an infant program where parents can put their child in on a sliding scale. The couple that we met had to pay about eight dollars a day."
    Gibson then recalled: "I remember when I was looking day care 25 years ago when my first daughter was very young, and I didn't have two dimes to rub together, and we couldn't find day care that we could afford. And I kept thinking if a politician would just run on the issue of day care, and maybe throw in education, a politician could win, if they could come up with a solution. The problem is, what's the solution?"
    Sedgwick, nodding her head: "Right."
    Gibson: "So, what is it? What do you think? What do we do?"
    Sedgwick: "I think that, I think that we should vote for people who are, obviously, going to do something about this issue. I mean, hopefully, Hillary's gonna make her bid in this area."
    Gibson, laughing: "Little plug, little plug from a New York resident who's looking for a Senate candidate. I see."
    Sedgwick: "Right, exactly, absolutely, I'm going to do my part in voting, that's the only thing I really can do. And I also think that, I think to let your voices be heard, I think to somehow write to your constituents I think to, to talk with your neighbors, to get angry, to get loud is always really helpful in these situations."

    Not a word, of course, about how government regulations are making whatever problem exists worse by raising the costs and hassles that neighbors, churches and synagogues must overcome before they can take care of any kids.

    In praising Hillary the two liberal guests had a sympathetic ear in Gibson. In the first half hour on Tuesday's program, Jessica noticed, GMA dedicated a whole segment to Hillary Clinton's day in New York. Afterward, Gibson remarked: "Will she run, won't she run? It is the political soap opera question that fascinates everyone. We'll take a break and be right back."

    No, it doe not fascinate "everyone." It animates liberals. The fact that GMA finds her every utterance and appearance in New York worth tracking shows where the GMA staff falls on the ideological spectrum.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Arnett Axed. The April 19 CyberAlert noted how USA Today and the Washington Post reported that CNN would not renew Peter Arnett's contract. Now it's official.

    The AP reported: "CNN and Arnett issued a terse statement Monday saying Arnett was leaving after 18 years effective immediately. 'We are grateful for Peter's contributions to CNN and we wish him the very best in the future,' said Cable News Network chairman Tom Johnson, declining further comment.
    "Arnett said that 'I've had a long and wonderful relationship with CNN and have been proud to be part of this great news organization.'"

    Speculation about his departure centered around his work on the discredited Tailwind story. See the April 19 CyberAlert for more.


cyberno6.jpg (1848 bytes) An author of a new biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals that the First Lady banned Barbra Streisand from overnight stays at the White House because the singer had sex of some sort with Bill Clinton, that Hillary Clinton arranged for John Huang to get the job at the Commerce Department where he had access to secret information, and that Vince Foster, who had "a romantic attachment to the First Lady," never got an FBI background check or permanent pass.

    Amazingly, the author, Joyce Milton, is scheduled to appear Wednesday morning, April 21, on Today.

    A front page piece in Tuesday's Washington Times summarized the book's revelations. Here's an excerpt of the April 20 story by reporter Jennifer Harper:

Biographies have followed Hillary Rodham Clinton around for years. There are 25 of them out there, ranging from crabby political tomes to prim accounts for young ladies. Now comes one more. "The First Partner: Hillary Rodham Clinton" by historian Joyce Milton will be in bookstores tomorrow.

It has arresting moments. Miss Milton contends that the First Lady hired detectives to tail her husband as early as the 1980s and later banned Barbra Streisand from overnight White House stays upon hearing that the chanteuse had dallied with the President.

The author names a dozen other presidential paramours and calls Mrs. Clinton a "connection" for various questionable campaign donations. "I was surprised the entire time I was writing this book," Miss Milton said from her Brooklyn home yesterday. "Whenever something surfaced which I thought was merely some canard set forth by the Clintons' enemies, it turned out to be true."

The book sets the pace for Hillary bios to come. Neither gush nor bash, it approaches the First Lady as a canny media entity who gained insight even through the death of Princess Diana.

It "crystallized Hillary's appreciation of the power of celebrity. It was Diana's face on the cover of a thousand magazines, not her resume, that had been the source of her power."....

Miss Milton is already in the fast lane. Tomorrow, she'll be on NBC's "Today" show. William Morrow, her publisher, said they were "swamped" with interview requests.

The book itself is a complex and scrupulously documented odyssey, with 13 pages of footnotes. Campaign finance gets a thorough going over. The author calls longtime Clinton ally John Huang "a spy" for either the Riady family or China; says his job at the Department of Commerce was courtesy of Mrs. Clinton herself.

The book offers detailed connections between Mrs. Clinton and Mark Jimenez, a campaign contributor now under indictment, the Riady family, Johnny Chung and government officials in Guam, among other places....

All is not negative, though. There is young Hillary Rodham courting Bill in his purple Gremlin; later she is an anguished daughter, tending her father, Hugh, on his deathbed.

Miss Milton offers some blasts out of the past. "The established facts were shocking enough," she wrote of White House aide and longtime friend Vincent W. Foster Jr., who committed suicide in 1993. "A presidential counselor, one who apparently had a romantic attachment to the First Lady, had worked in the White House for six months without an FBI background check or a permanent pass."....

    END Excerpt

    Given the television fascination with school shootings I expect all the morning shows to broadcast live from Colorado and go wall-to-wall with the shooting, so I suspect there's a fairly good chance Today's interview with Milton will be bumped. But whenever it airs it will be interesting to see how hostile Katie Couric or Matt Lauer is toward Milton.

     Final Note: I had planned to update readers about ABC's Monday night movie, Swing Vote, which the April 19 CyberAlert predicted would deliver a pro-abortion rights message. But space today only permits a sentence or two: It actually was pretty balanced for the first hour and 45 minutes, but then went left with a ruling restoring unfettered access to abortion for the first 20 weeks of pregnancy as the court -- in a twist only Hollywood could dream up -- decided every state must provide day care to every child that is not aborted. So, a liberal's dream: Abortion rights and Hillary-like day care. More in the next CyberAlert. -- Brent Baker


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