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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Wednesday May 5, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 76)

War Incompetence; "Great Women" Judged by ABC: Hill, Fonda & Clinton

1) Not a word Monday or Tuesday on the broadcast networks about Sunday's New York Times revelation about Chinese espionage.

2) A retiring NATO General denounced the incompetence of the war effort, but only ABC found his critical analysis newsworthy.

3) ABC's Diane Sawyer gave tribute to Jesse Jackson, describing him as a "maverick without portfolio" who is "pushing for the rights of the poor and working class."

4) Barbara Walters' special on "Great Women" focused on liberals, featuring Anita Hill and Jane Fonda. She praised Margaret Sanger without mentioning her racist views and portrayed Hillary Clinton as a victim who "got in trouble for speaking her mind."

5) A New Republic writer observed: "Sony and Time-Warner eagerly market explicit depictions of women being raped, sexually assaulted, and sexually murdered, while the mainstream porn industry would never dream of doing so."

>>> Bryant's Coming Back. On Tuesday CBS News announced that this fall Bryant Gumbel will co-host This Morning from a street-side studio in the GM building Manhattan. CBS plans to return the show to a regular two-hour format. Marking his departure from Today as of January 3, 1997 the MRC produced a special edition of Notable Quotables featuring his most biased comments from his years with NBC. To remind yourself of the kind of analysis we'll soon hear each morning on CBS, read what he said from 1989 to 1996 in "Bye-Bye Bryant: Gumbel's Years of Liberal Advocacy." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1996/nq19961230.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) None of the network morning or evening shows aired anything Monday or Tuesday about Sunday's New York Times bombshell on how the Clinton administration was informed in late 1998 about Chinese espionage efforts and how they were ongoing well into his term, thus contradicting Clinton's public position that it all happened before he took office. That means the 40-second item read on Sunday's World News Tonight on ABC, detailed in the May 3 CyberAlert, stands as the totality of coverage offered by the broadcast networks.

     -- Monday night, May 3, all the networks led with the POW release and the visit to Clinton by the Russian Foreign Minister, but all found time for some less than pressing stories. The May 3 World News Tonight ran two pieces of how technology is leading to "information overload," though apparently not when it comes to delivering news about Chinese espionage. Dan Rather reported from Belgrade and the CBS Evening News delivered a full story about the mystery of who made it first to the peak of Mt. Everest. NBC Nightly News devoted its "In Depth" segment to the tourist boat sinking in Arkansas and later ran a full story on the discovery of the underwater location of the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule.

     -- Tuesday's morning and evening shows focused obsessively on the Oklahoma tornadoes. Other than one story on Kosovo, that's all NBC Nightly News covered. With all the networks moving their equipment southeast to Oklahoma the Columbine shooting suddenly fell off the news agenda. For the first time since the April 20 event neither ABC's World News Tonight or NBC Nightly News mentioned it. CBS ran a short item and a full story about how parents don't really know much about their children's lives.

     -- The cable networks haven't shown any more interest in the Sunday New York Times disclosure. As noted in the May 3 CyberAlert, CNN's The World Today skipped it Sunday night, though CNN did run two Chinese espionage pieces on Friday night. CNN didn't catch up on the Times story Monday or Tuesday night, MRC analyst Paul Smith informed me. FNC didn't mention the story Monday or Tuesday night on the Fox Report.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) A soon-to-retire NATO General dared to criticize the war effort, but only ABC found it newsworthy. The May 4 evening shows on CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC all skipped his candid assessment.

     On Tuesday's World News Tonight Peter Jennings noted: "Klaus Naumann, a German who is retiring this week, made some remarkably critical comments about the way the war is being conducted."
     Reporter John McWethy then explained: "General Naumann bared his frustrations at trying to wage a military campaign while being held back by what he called 'coalition warfare' in the sensitivities of NATO's 19 nations."
     Klaus Naumann, Chairman, NATO military command: "There are two principles of military operations and that is surprise and overwhelming power. That of course is not possible as far as I can see under the conditions of coalition warfare."
     McWethy: "The General was especially scathing on Europe's contribution of lack of one to the air campaign. He said many countries are not buying first-rate electronics for their combat planes. In an air war like this, he said, that means their planes cannot be used for fear of being shot down....The way to fix these problems, he said, is not another position paper or big meeting."
     Naumann: "For something like this you don't need a European summit. You need something like the will to decide."
     McWethy concluded: "U.S. military officials say Naumann is not alone in his frustration with NATO but say only those who are retiring dare to talk about it in public."

     But one did talk about it in public and yet CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC ignored it, so if others were saying the same thing isn't there a good chance we would not learn about it on television news?


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Jesse Jackson, a hero to Good Morning America. Monday morning co-host Diane Sawyer delivered a tribute to the liberal political activist after his trip to Yugoslavia gave Slobodan Milosevic a chance for a PR coup when he agreed to free the three U.S. POWs. She failed to include any criticism of him for butting into the U.S. foreign policy set by our elected leaders, instead praising his efforts and worthiness of his left-wing activism back home. She described him as a "maverick without portfolio" who is "pushing for the rights of the poor and working class" by going "straight where the money is, trying to persuade Wall Street and big corporations that to free people from the prison of poverty serves everyone, everyone."

     Interspersed with glowing soundbites from Congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr. and John Lewis, as well as illustrative clips from Jackson himself, she provided a totally positive look at his causes. As transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, here's what viewers heard in the 8:30am half hour feature called "In Private," an occasional GMA profile of a newsmaker:

     Diane Sawyer: "Well, the release of the three U.S. soldiers held prisoner by Serbia was a happy surprise this weekend, but it shouldn't have come as a complete shock given the record of the man who was leading the religious delegation to Belgrade, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has done this before. In fact, as you'll see in our In Private, he's made a career of using personality, publicity and a little moral suasion to forge unlikely alliances. His specialties: the bold gesture, the blizzard of words, confusing natural enemies by engaging them in public....
     "[His] technique has won victories for prisoners before. In 1984, a personal appeal from Jackson prompted Syria to release U.S. Navy pilot Robert Goodman Jr., shot down over Lebanon a year before. In Cuba six months later, he persuaded Fidel Castro to grant freedom to four dozen prison inmates, including more than 20 Americans. And Jackson's visit to Iraq during the buildup to the Gulf War, widely criticized as a publicity stunt, nevertheless led Saddam Hussein to free 500 foreigners Hussein had said he was keeping as human shields....
     "Jackson learned the power of words from a master. The protege of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Jackson worked during the 1960s to improve economic conditions in poor black neighborhoods. Ordained a Baptist minister in 1968, Jackson remained an activist first, founding Operation PUSH, People United to Serve Humanity, a few years later. He was raised in poverty in South Carolina, and Jackson has said that the point of PUSH is to give political and economic empowerment to the poor. His first attempt at international diplomacy came in 1979, setting a pattern, stirring controversy at home, but widening the stage for his activism, and just in time for the next presidential primaries. Running as an outsider in 1984 and 1988, Jackson attacked both Democrats and Republicans for ignoring the poor and dispossessed. With his Rainbow Coalition behind him, Jackson won a full one-third of the Democratic party delegates....
     "Today the maverick without portfolio is still pushing for the rights of the poor and working class, but the techniques are more sophisticated....Today he goes straight where the money is, trying to persuade Wall Street and big corporations that to free people from the prison of poverty serves everyone, everyone."

     Sawyer loves to praise liberals. Her last "In Private" subject: Hillary Clinton on March 12. She referred to her "political mastery, every bit as dazzling as his" and how "her friends say she has really earned this campaign, this moment...by standing, not by her man, but by herself." To read more, go to the March 16 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990316.html#4


hillary0505.jpg (8301 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) A century of liberal women. Last Friday ABC allocated 90 minutes of prime time to a special hosted by Barbara Walters, "A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women." Based upon a list compiled by the Ladies Home Journal, the April 30 special focused on the triumphs of liberal women without mentioning any facts which might detract from their glory. Among the women praised: Jane Fonda, Margaret Sanger, Marian Wright Edelman, Hillary Clinton and Anita Hill. Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, served as the show's most popular experts throughout.

     Here's the complete list of names under the heading of "Activists and Politicians," with just one domestic conservative, Phyllis Schlafly: Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frances Perkins, Madeleine Albright, Mary McLeod Bethune, Emma Goldman, Carrie Chapman Catt, Jane Addams, Eva Peron, Alice Paul, Marian Wright Edelman, Rosa Parks, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Jiang Qing, Rigoberta Menchu, Dolores Huerta, Maggie Kuhn, Indira Gandhi, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anita Hill, Mother Teresa, Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Schlafly, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

     Jane Fonda is on the "artists" list. To see the entire list, go to: http://lhj.com/sfeatures/100women/

     Here are some clips from the show as culled from the ABC News transcript and corrected for accuracy by the MRC's Jessica Anderson. Walters praised Margaret Sanger without mentioning her racist views, applauded Jane Fonda for having it all, "the sex kitten, to the activist, and fitness...and now, the wife," and portrayed Hillary Clinton as a victim who "got in trouble for speaking her mind."

     -- Margaret Sanger. Barbara Walters: "To make a mark in this world in the early 1900s, women needed to be not only smart, but fearless. Margaret Sanger, an outspoken activist who, when told to be quiet, staged this not so subtle protest. [Photo of Sanger with her mouth gagged.] Perhaps the century's first photo op."
     Jane Fonda: "Margaret Sanger would be way at the top if I had to choose the most important women of the twentieth century."]
     Walters: "She was the mother of contraception. In 1916, Sanger opened the nation's first birth control clinic. But after nine days and 500 patients, the clinic was shut down and Sanger arrested."
     Margaret Sanger: "Many people are horrified at the idea of birth control. Why, to me, it is simply the keynote of a new moral program."
     Fonda: "Women were having 10, 12 children, one right after the other, and to great detriment to their health and well-being. And she was the one that said women have a right to have a say-so over their families and how those children are going to be born."

     Reality Check: As Steve Mosher pointed out in a May 5, 1997 Wall Street Journal op-ed:
     "Sanger had little but contempt for the 'Asiatic races,' as she and her eugenicist friends called them. During her lifetime, she proposed that their numbers be drastically reduced. But Sanger's preferences went beyond race. In her 1922 book Pivot of Civilization she unabashedly called for the extirpation of 'weeds....overrunning the human garden'; for the segregation of 'morons, misfits, and the maladjusted'; and for the sterilization of 'genetically inferior races.'...
     "She often opined that 'the most merciful thing that the large family does to one its infant members is to kill it,' and that 'all our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class.'....
     "Sanger's own racist views were scarcely less opprobrious. In 1939 she and Clarence Gamble made an infamous proposal called Birth Control and the Negro, which asserted that 'the poorer areas, particularly in the South...are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations.'"

     Those views may have been popular then and weren't discredited until Hitler picked up on them, but can you imagine a network not mentioning this kind of hateful racism if a conservative magazine praised another historic figure of the time? To read Mosher's piece, go to: http://www.prolife.org/ultimate/fact9.html

     -- Marian Wright Edelman. Walters: "What [Rosa Parks] sparked in Marian Wright Edelman was a passion. 'If you don't like the way the world is,' she once said, 'you change it.' And in 1963, there was plenty to change. The segregated South was a battleground when Edelman first arrived in Mississippi. The young law student had gone to register black voters, a peaceful goal in a time of violence."
     Marian Wright Edelman: "I was scared all the time. But it was a sense that when you believe in something so deeply, you're ready to die for that."
     Walters: "She became the first African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi bar. In 1973, she founded the Children's Defense Fund."
     Edelman, speaking at the Stand for Children rally: "What will it take for us to stand up and stop the killing of children in America?"

     -- Anita Hill. Walters: "...a woman on the list who brought a taboo subject out in the open. Anita Hill -- she brought the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace into our living rooms....In 1991, she went public with accusations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas."

     -- Jane Fonda. Walters: "But one woman on the list does seem to have it all, Jane Fonda. She has the career, the children and marriage, though she's had more than one. [To Fonda] Jane Fonda does represent so many of the changes in this society. It's almost full circle, though, from the Barbarella."
     Fonda, in movie clip: "Armed, like a naked savage."
     Walters: "The sex kitten, to the activist, and fitness, right? And now, the wife."
     Fonda: "You know what I've discovered is that, yes, there's been lots of changes. And they've become very noticeable depending on who I'm married to. But there's a leitmotif through it all. And it's a leitmotif of strength. I've gone from strength to strength."
     Walters: "Fonda won her first Oscar in 1972, playing a prostitute who is being stalked."
     Jane Fonda: "When the killer confronts me, and I hear the tape recording he's made of the voice of my friend who he killed, I had prepared in the scene to play scared. And instead, I wept."
     Walters: "You're weeping now, Jane."
     Fonda: "Well, it moves me so much. I, the incredible brutality, physical brutality against women and girls."]
     Walters: "In the '90s, Fonda stopped acting and now spends much of her time on her favorite cause, preventing teenage pregnancy."
     Fonda, in a speech: "Over the past years, we've learned that adolescent pregnancy is not so much a cause, but rather a symptom. [To Walters] I've divided my life into three acts. I'm in my third act. Very important, you know enough about books and movies and plays. The third act has to pull it all together."

     No mention of Fonda's anti-American, pro-communist activities during the Vietnam War, including a trip to North Vietnam to denounce U.S. soldiers.

     -- Hillary Clinton. Walters: "And what of today's First Lady? Hillary Rodham Clinton. From the start, she has been more of a politician than a political wife."
     President Clinton: "My slogan might well be, 'Buy one, get one free.'"
     Walters: "But early on, as we remember, she got in trouble for speaking her mind."
     Hillary Clinton: "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas."
     Graham: "She should say what she thinks, and if it means anything, she should be taken seriously. But I don't think that she should act as co-President."
     Hillary Clinton: "And to deal with the problems that are affecting this country."
     Ann Landers: "She's a real person, and it comes across. She could be President."
     Walters: "Perhaps, but there are those that felt that even as First Lady, she expressed herself too often. I talked with Mrs. Clinton about this in 1996. [To Hillary] Do you think the American people are ready yet to have a First Lady who has strong opinions and an agenda?"
     Hillary Clinton: "I think so. I think some are and some aren't. And I believe that this has been a learning experience for me, coming here and not really understanding all the expectations that people sort of put on this role."
     Walters: "No First Lady has been more investigated or scrutinized. But perhaps because of her handling of her husband's troubles, Hillary Clinton has found her own approval ratings soaring. [To Steinem] Now, there might have been a time, Gloria, when you would have criticized Hillary Clinton for standing by her man no matter what he did. How do you rationalize that?"
     Steinem: "I don't. I mean, I think Hillary Clinton is not a victim. She is very smart. She is a full partner. If you see them together, you realize... it seems to me that they really like each other. It's her choice. I respect her choice."
     Walters: "Simple as that?"
     Steinem: "Simple as that. I hope she's having a sex life of her own."

     +++ Watch Walters' tribute to Hillary Clinton. This clip has been posted on the MRC home page in RealPlayer format, by MRC Webmaster Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org

     To read the entire transcript of the ABC special, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/abcnewsspecials/transcripts/sp990430_100women_trans1.html


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) In the wake of the school shooting the left blamed guns and the right blamed the entertainment industry, but in a piece for usually-liberal New Republic a writer argued the movie industry is most guilty and interestingly suggested that the porno-video industry actually acts more responsibly and respectfully than do mainstream studios.

     In a May 17 piece titled "Yes, the media do make us more violent," Senior Writer Gregg Easterbrook detailed the amount of violence in movies and then made a common point made by both liberals and conservatives which puts image ahead of reality:
     "One reason Hollywood keeps reaching for ever-more-obscene levels of killing is that it must compete with television, which today routinely airs the kind of violence once considered shocking in theaters. According to studies conducted at Temple University, prime-time network (non-news) shows now average up to five violent acts per hour."
     My comment: Eraser was a movie on one night. Violence is way down in network prime time from where it was in the '70s. Several studies by the MRC have documented how profanity and sex are far more prevalent in prime time than violence. Just compare the near non-existence of violence in today's police dramas, and focus on its impact on victims, -- NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Homicide, etc. -- to the level of violence in '70s shows like Starsky & Hutch, The Rookies, Mannix etc with their non-stop car chases and shootouts. Even today's violent shows, such as Walker, Texas Ranger and Martial Law, have characters battle it out with karate chops, not bullets.

     Later, Easterbrook provocatively suggested how the movie industry could practice "restraint without sacrificing profitability." Easterbrook explained:

In this regard, the big Hollywood studios, including Disney, look craven and exploitative compared to, of all things, the porn-video industry. Repulsive material occurs in underground porn, but, in the products sold by the mainstream triple-X distributors such as Vivid Video (the MGM of the erotica business), violence is never, ever, ever depicted -- because that would be irresponsible. Women and men perform every conceivable explicit act in today's mainstream porn, but what is shown is always consensual and almost sunnily friendly. Scenes of rape or sexual menace never occur, and scenes of sexual murder are an absolute taboo.

It is beyond irony that today Sony and Time-Warner eagerly market explicit depictions of women being raped, sexually assaulted, and sexually murdered, while the mainstream porn industry would never dream of doing so. But, if money is all that matters, the point here is that mainstream porn is violence-free and yet risque and highly profitable. Surely this shows that Hollywood could voluntarily step back from the abyss of glorifying violence and still retain its edge and its income.

     END Excerpt

     To read Easterbrook's entire piece, go to TNR's Web site: http://www.thenewrepublic.com. The direct address for this piece: http://www.thenewrepublic.com/magazines/tnr/current/easterbrook051799.html

     Final Note: Wednesday's NBC Nightly News will feature an interview of President Clinton conducted on Air Force One by Tom Brokaw as the anchor accompanied Clinton on his European trip. I bet there's not one question about China. -- Brent Baker


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