Gun as Deterrent Derided; "Fatheads" Urge Prayer; Fired by Energy
1) ABC's World News Tonight
derided Charlton Heston's point about the benefit of an armed officer in
a school. CNN's Judy Woodruff demanded a Senator admit the problem is
2) GMA and Today prompted
guests to tell how tougher gun control would help, but a Today guest
uniquely noted how the killers broke several existing gun laws.
3) Peter Jennings actually
praised talk radio; CBS blamed the "failure of adult
supervision;" and NBC discovered court officers had praised the
killers as "likely to succeed" in life.
4) A tolerant liberal
columnist showcased by the Washington Post complained that in
"preventing violence in our schoolyards, some fathead is bound to say
that prayer is the solution."
5) "Look into
Satanism," Fred Barnes urged journalists since recent student killers
have "been worshipers of the devil."
6) The CIA confirmed Chinese
spying and found it more extensive than thought, but only FNC ran a full
story. Carl Cameron revealed that Energy fired a security officer who
criticized lax policies.
>>> Newsweek Links to MRC.
The "Digital Digs" page in Newsweek online's Cyberscope
section for Friday, April 23, links to the MRC recitation of Gore gaffes.
The item reads in part: "Al Gore can't quite claim to have invented
the Internet, but he was an early sponsor. Now the Web is biting the hand
that fed it, with a growing number of sites carrying Al Gore jokes. And
while many feature old standbys ("How can you spot Al Gore in a bunch
of Secret Service agents? He's the stiff one."), the best Gore jokes
are springing, Dan Quayle-like, from the veep's own mouth. At the Media
Research Center, for instance, you'll find the VP's gaffe, 'They will be
the education team that Missouri needs,' which he said while stumping
for Democratic candidates -- in Minnesota."
Newsweek later highlighted a quip from the
man who alerted me to this item: "Steven Allen, VP for communications
at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a Washington-based
digital-policy think tank, said it best: 'For Al Gore, the Internet has
turned out to be the most ungrateful creation since Lizzy Borden.'"
To read the whole article by Ed Perratore, go to this direct address: http://www.newsweek.com/nw-srv/tnw/today/cs/cs01th_1.htm
The link in the article jumps you to the
March 25 Media Reality Check fax report, which features a link to the
MRC's Gore Gaffes videos page. For the fax report collection of Gore
gaffes, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990325.html
>>> Joyce Milton delayed.
As the April 21 CyberAlert suggested might happen, the Today's show's
non-stop focus on the Colorado shooting bumped Hillary Clinton biographer
Joyce Milton from her scheduled April 21 appearance. No word yet on when
she may appear, but on Friday morning Today will feature Monica Lewinsky
who was bumped on Thursday. <<<
The lack of adequate gun control is the problem, argued ABC News and CNN
in analyzing what led to Tuesday's shooting at a high school in
Jefferson County, Colorado.
ABC couldn't go
more than two nights before presenting a slanted look at gun control
prompted by the shooting. As the April 21 CyberAlert noted, only the NBC
Nightly News picked up the liberal cause on Tuesday, the night of the
shooting. CBS refrained then and on Wednesday night, but ABC broke down on
Thursday after anchor Peter Jennings announced this short item on
Wednesday night: "It is no surprise that this became a big
international story, and in the other nations' headlines, not for the
first time, America is seen as a country which cannot control violence
committed with guns. In Japan today the headline was 'How sick is the gun
the CBS Evening News broached the topic with this one line from reporter
Bill Whitaker, but avoided the kind of sanctimonious story delivered by
ABC: "CBS News has learned that the pistol and the rifle used in the
assault have been traced to two local, licensed dealers."
Below are details
of how ABC and CNN exploited the murder of teenagers to advance a
political cause: gun control. ABC's World News Tonight derided a
perfectly reasonable point made by Charlton Heston and CNN anchor Judy
Woodruff pressed both a gun control advocate and opponent with the same
question from the left about "gun availability."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight, April 22. Back in New York City after one night of anchoring
from Colorado, Peter Jennings noted that the NRA, which has its annual
convention scheduled for Denver next week, had decided to limit its
activities. Using loaded language, he warned: "The gun lobby scaled
its plans down, but it may not have been enough."
Aaron Brown provided a full report, starting with
a soundbite from Denver Mayor Wellington Webb urging that the convention
be canceled. Brown explained how three bills in the legislature to expand
gun rights that would have passed have now been dropped. State
representative Doug Dean suggested it would have been a "slap in the
face to those families to debate any kind of gun legislation."
Brown picked up: "And the gun lobby's
leader drew criticism for what he said to a TV interviewer
Charlton Heston, President of the NRA, on KABC-TV:
"If there had been even one armed guard in that school he could have
saved a lot of lives, and perhaps ended the whole thing instantly."
Brown: "In fact there was an armed officer
in the school on Tuesday trying to do exactly that."
Howard Cornell, Jefferson County Schools Security
Director: "They engaged the two shooters in a running gun battle. He
was armed, as most deputies are armed, with a handgun."
Bob Walker, Handgun Control: "I think this
puts the NRA in a very difficult position. The NRA is out there promoting
the notion that more guns in our society will make us safer. Try telling
that to the people of Littleton."
Brown concluded: "A pro-gun legislator, the
House Majority Leader, said the same thing to us today: that the fear of
the victim's families testifying, re-living the tragedy, he said, will
keep legislators from even considering loosening gun laws for many years
Jennings assumed Heston had something to apologize for: "There has
been no public comment from Charlton Heston since he made those remarks,
but the Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura, says today he regrets a comment
he made yesterday that lives may have been saved if someone at the school
had been carrying a concealed weapon."
Heston may have spoken without bothering to learn the basic fact that a
county sheriff's department deputy is assigned to the school and was
present, but that hardly contradicts his point. It's a big school and
maybe if he had been in the right place he could have done more. I believe
ABC took the Cornell quote out of context, as in saying "they"
he was referring to the school officer plus others who arrived on scene,
but how do we know that the "running gun battle" didn't save
lives by driving the killers into a room so they couldn't wander the
halls shooting dozens more? Cornell complained the officer was outgunned
firepower-wise which is not an argument for disarming the officer but for
better equipping him.
-- Challenging the
opposition and promoting your side. That's what politicians do, so when
reporters help out you know where they stand. On Thursday's (April 22)
Inside Politics on CNN co-anchor Judy Woodruff demanded a gun control
opponent, Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado, respond to Senator Dianne
Feinstein's points about how the shooting shows the need for more
controls, but instead of challenging Feinstein with his arguments she
tossed up Feinstein's own talking points.
Here are her
questions to Allard:
"And let me just begin by asking you to what
extent do you think the easy availability of guns was one of the main
causes of what happened."
"You say much of the damage was caused by
bombs, and we know there were other bombs found. But the deaths were
caused by guns and the injuries were caused by guns, were they not?"
"Senator, you don't believe that any -- or
do you believe, let me ask you, that any tightening of gun restrictions in
this country is appropriate?"
"Well, specifically, for example, Senator
Feinstein, whom I interviewed just a couple of hours ago, is talking about
requiring trigger locks on guns. What would be wrong with that?"
"And what about expanding the Brady law to
say that minors could not possess handguns?"
"You voted in the last session of Congress
to repeal the assault weapons ban. Do you stand by that vote?"
"Do you believe that the National Rifle
Association should go ahead and hold a conference -- albeit a scaled-down
conference -- in Denver next week?"
"The mayor is now, as we understand it,
saying that convention should not be held."
didn't face such tough questions. In fact, the first one was the same
and only the last challenged her at all, but not on the core issue:
"Well as I mentioned I did talk earlier with
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and I also began by
asking her if the availability of guns was one of the main causes for what
happened in Colorado?"
"And what should be done about it?"
"Senator, if they [new regulations] are so
common sense, then how easy will it be to get them through the
"And Senator, you mentioned the bombs. It's
now apparently the case that we're learning from authorities in Colorado
that these students had put in some very powerful bombs in the school,
that they planned to blow the school up. Gun regulations wouldn't really
address that part of the problem?"
All the networks
have noted the last couple of nights how the killers enjoyed violent
computer games like Doom, but none advocated curtailing them. Maybe
that's because reporters care more about defending the First Amendment
than the Second Amendment.
The morning shows have largely stuck to emotional recounting of the
shooting, with each show sending a host to Jefferson County, and avoided
gun control advocacy. But there have been exceptions. (Today found one
segment so compelling that producers failed to make Katie Couric break for
the usual 7:25am local affiliate time. Thursday morning at about 5:15am
local time she interviewed the father of a student who was killed and a
student whose sister was killed. NBC stuck with the segment, with the
camera zooming in on Katie holding the man's hand and his tears, right
through to 7:30am, blowing off all the ad breaks in the first half hour.)
Wednesday morning both Today and CBS's This Morning brought aboard gun
control advocate Suzann Wilson, mother of a student killed last year in
-- ABC's Good
Morning America. On Wednesday Diane Sawyer prompted two guests to address
gun control, as noticed by MRC analyst Mark Drake. To Attorney General
Janet Reno: "But we keep hearing over and over again that even
troubled kids could get access to help without this sort of incident if
they didn't have access to guns first. Is there a gun control measure that
you think would actually help prevent a situation like this?"
And to psychologist Michael Jepsen: "Would
gun control, the prevention of ordinary access to guns, change this or
would they find them somehow anyway?"
-- NBC's Today.
Thursday morning Matt Lauer interviewed two authors of books about
aggressive boys, Raising Cain and Lost Boys, and pressed both about the
role of guns:
"How much of this can we attach to one word
and that's guns. I mean when I was a kid I was brought up with guns. I had
the GI Joe gun, I had the Man from U.N.C.L.E gun. We don't raise girls in
this country by giving them guns."
"But if we were to raise young girls and
give them access to guns. Toy guns, any guns do you think you would see an
upswing in the amount of violent crimes committed by girls?"
April 21, Katie Couric interviewed Colorado Governor Bill Owens. MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this interesting exchange:
Couric: "A lot of people are asking about
the accessibility of guns. Have you wondered about that yourself?"
Owens: "Well certainly. And these killers
broke so many laws. Both our current tough gun laws in Colorado as well as
laws against murder and mayhem."
Couric: "What tough gun laws are you
Owens: "Well they weren't allowed to take
guns into that school. They weren't allowed to conceal those guns. They
weren't allowed to carry those guns. Children aren't allowed to have guns
in Colorado in the respect that they did."
Now there's an
angle left unpursued by the networks: If the killers violated several gun
laws what good will a few more restrictions, which criminals will ignore,
Scattered items from the evening shows: Peter Jennings actually praised
talk radio, CBS's Wyatt Andrews blamed the "failure of adult
supervision," NBC's Jim Avila discovered court officers had praised
the killers as "likely to succeed" and "should do well in
life," and Dan Rather, the only broadcast anchor still in Colorado on
Thursday night, parsed his words in calling it "the worst high school
massacre in U.S. history."
"Appreciate talk radio." Peter Jennings offered some rare kind
words from a network star about talk radio, observing on the April 21
World News Tonight:
"On a day like this, any community must
surely appreciate talk radio. From the moment the disaster struck, through
the night, if the talk show host was a good facilitator, it was an
effective way for people to communicate their pain, their anxiety, their
anger and their disappointment."
of adult supervision" is the common element in all the shooting
cases, CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews proposed in an April 22 Evening News
piece. He logically asked:
"Where were the parents? These were students
who dressed in trench coats, were in a group that admired Hitler, set up
Web sites with death threats, gathered an arsenal and manufactured some 30
home-made bombs apparently undetected, or unchallenged, by their
"Bright" and "should do well in life," or why never to
trust a juvenile probation officer. On Thursday's NBC Nightly News Jim
Avila looked at the court records for the killers, disclosing:
"Court records obtained by NBC News show
they finished juvenile probation for last year's breaking an entering
incident six weeks early and their supervisors were impressed, noting
Harris enjoyed completing the anger management part of the program [on
screen: "He did enjoy completing Anger Mgmt."]and is called a
very 'bright young man' who is 'likely to succeed.' Dylan is also
called 'bright' in the court records and self-motivated and 'should
do well in life.' [on-screen: "Dylan is a bright young man who has
a great deal of potential"]"
It's all in how
you define success and potential.
-- After the
Drudge Report revealed how the incident was not the most deadly at a
school in U.S. history, Dan Rather chose his words carefully Thursday
night: "The enormity here of the worst high school massacre in U.S.
history hits home in sharp, crystal clarity, when you see it one victim at
school" massacre, but not the worst school incident. "The
country's worst school massacre, in Littleton, Colo." claimed Reuters
and "The worst school massacre in U.S. history" declared UPI in
headlines cited by Matt Drudge, who explained:
"A massive error is circulating in the media
about Tuesday's Colorado school tragedy: It was not, repeat, not the worst
attack on a school in United States history. On May 18, 1927, 45 people
were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite
explosions at the Bath Michigan School.
"After detonating explosives he planted
under the school, 'maniac bomber' Andrew Kehoe, a school board member
and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and
the Bath School superintendent...."
"Some fathead" will suggest praying. Liberal syndicated
columnist Mary McGrory took a disparaging shot at those who think prayer
is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like the Colorado school shooting.
Several people e-mailed me the column, so I know it has been circulating
on the Internet.
people won't face the failure of the NATO bombing or how guns are the
culprit in school shootings, McGrory wrote in her column carried in the
April 22 Washington Post (the quote in the second paragraph refers to
security preparations for the NATO summit in Washington, DC):
"Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we
say better metal detectors and more psychiatrists could end the horror of
schoolyard shootings? The main reason, of course, is Congress, which takes
campaign contributions from the NRA and cowers before it.
"We know just what to do, we think, when
international big shots are in danger. 'Thousands of law enforcement
officers will cover the streets, escorting and protecting the heads of
state.... aggressively guarding against potential problems.' But when it
comes to preventing violence in our schoolyards, some fathead is bound to
say that prayer is the solution."
(She did not
elaborate, moving on to charge that the NATO "bombing campaign has so
far been a fiasco.")
As for her
"fathead" insult, I doubt that most who pray believe prayer is
"the solution" to avoiding future incidents but instead believe
they are giving strength to those involved so they can make it through. If
a conservative columnist issued such a derogatory label he or she would be
denounced by McGrory and her ilk as "mean-spirited,"
"intolerant" and "divisive."
isn't just a liberal columnist. She's the officially sanctioned
columnist at the Post, the only one to have her column showcased on page
A3 of the news section every Tuesday and Thursday and on the front page of
Sunday's "Outlook" section.
To read her whole
column, you can go to :http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-04/22/158l-042299-idx.html
(The excerpt above is of the 13th and 14th paragraphs.)
Attention: Assignment Desk. The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes suggested
an interesting angle for his media colleagues to explore. On the April 21
Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC he recommended:
"Maybe it's something for journalists to
do, and that is to look into Satanism in the United States. You know
it's cropped up in a number of these incidents where students who have
shot other kids, they've been worshipers of the devil. Now most of us
think that's crazy, how could any kids be doing that, and yet it's
obviously having some impact on them. These kids were worshipers of
Hitler, they were obsessed with death, they wore black, that's the only
thing they wore. There's darkness and there's light. They were
darkness, they were followers of Satan."
"In their first public damage assessment of Chinese spying, U.S.
intelligence officials told Senators that Beijing stole information on
several U.S. warheads, not just the two that were previously
revealed." That one sentence, caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson,
as read by ABC's Juju Chang during the 8:30am news update on
Thursday's Good Morning America, represents the totality of broadcast
network coverage for the fresh CIA report.
assessment appeared on the front page of the April 21 New York Times, the
day the Senators were to be briefed, the Colorado shooting gave the
networks an excuse to ignore it. Not even CNN touched it the last two says
in the shortened editions of Inside Politics or the few minutes of The
World Today not dedicated to the shooting, MRC analyst Paul Smith informed
me. Only FNC managed to simultaneously cover the Colorado shooting, Kosovo
AND Chinese espionage. FNC's Carl Cameron also uniquely disclosed that
the Energy Dept. has fired a security officer who criticized lax security.
New York Times
reporters James Risen and Jeff Gerth opened their April 21 front page
"A comprehensive new analysis by U.S.
intelligence officials has concluded that China stole design information
related to the United States' most advanced nuclear warhead from a
government nuclear weapons laboratory, government officials said.
intelligence report is expected to be presented to the Clinton
administration and Congress on Wednesday. Previously, the White House,
citing other intelligence reports, had said that the evidence of Chinese
atomic espionage is less conclusive...."
To read the whole
story, go to this address which also features a helpful set of links to
all of the paper's recent pieces on Chinese spying: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/042199china-nuke.html
(You will have to be or become a registered user of NYT to access this
FNC gave the CIA
report 15 seconds Wednesday night on the Fox Report, but an hour earlier
on the 6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume the anchor of the same name
introduced a full story:
"Chinese nuclear espionage is no longer
merely alleged. The CIA, Defense Department, Department of Energy and
other federal agencies have now unanimously agreed that it occurred and
told Congress so in a newly released report."
Carl Cameron explained how the CIA briefed Senate
Intelligence Committee members about how within three to seven years China
will be able to deploy nuclear weapons which incorporate U.S. designs.
Cameron noted that all the departments cited by Hume agreed that espionage
did indeed occur and that China obtained technology for six or so weapons,
more than previously thought. Picking up on a hearing the other networks
skipped about how security violations continued through the '90s,
Cameron played a soundbite from GAO official Victor Rezendes who, at a
hearing on Tuesday, asserted: "Los Alamos had 45 major security
violation in 1998."
After allowing Energy Secretary Bill Richardson
to insist the security problem has been addressed, Cameron intriguingly
"Richardson quietly fired one of the Energy
Department's chief security officers this week for allegedly disclosing
secrets unrelated to the Chinese espionage. Because that employee is known
to be one of the loudest internal critics of lax Energy Department
security, a number of people have suggested his termination may be
retribution. And now there are a number in Congress, including Democrats,
who say they want his firing investigated."
As you can see, this CyberAlert is getting long so I don't have room for
the promised look at ABC's "Swing Vote" movie. I'll make
sure that gets in next time. --
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