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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday June 8, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 101)

Hot Day Means Global Warming; Giggling Over Al; Las Vegas Lost

1) A couple of hot days in New York City naturally prompted CBS to worry: "Researchers warn in the next century global warming could make these dog days a lot more common." The researcher: EDF.

2) CBS's Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather agreed that Chinese spying is serious and the Cox Report is important, but in explaining why it's not a bigger issue with the public neither acknowledged how little time and priority their shows have given it.

3) NBC's Claire Shipman giggled as she admired how an "ever spontaneous" Tipper Gore surprised "jaded journalists with a racy joke about her husband's bedtime attire or lack thereof."

4) CNN and NBC previewed the Las Vegas mayoral election by showing video of casinos like Caesar's, Bellagio, New York New York and the Mirage, but they are on "the strip" which isn't in Las Vegas.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) The breakdown of the Kosovo talks led the three broadcast networks Monday night with all three running pieces on mental illness prompted by the White House event on the subject. CBS's Dan Rather announced: "The hidden human and financial toll of inadequate mental health insurance coverage was on President Clinton's agenda today." The CBS piece featured soundbites from Bill Clinton, Tipper Gore and CBS's own Mike Wallace who participated in the conference.

     The hot weather in the east and the supposed "epidemic of skin cancer" led NBC Nightly News to run In Depth stories on new government rules for SPF ratings for "sunscreens." The term "sunblock" is now improper.

     The CBS Evening News used the hot weather as an excuse to highlight dire predictions about global warming, giving credibility to a left-wing environmental activist by failing to properly identify him, passing him off as a "researcher." 
Reporter Randall Pinkston asserted:
     "In the east several cities tied or broke record highs. Cleveland 91, Harrisburg 96, Portland Maine 95 and Newark New Jersey, a sizzling 99 degrees. Right now in these cities 90 degree plus readings only happen ten to 15 times a year, but researchers warn in the next century global warming could make these dog days a lot more common."
     Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund: "New York, Washington, St. Louis could have as many as eighty 90 degree days a hundred years from now. Dallas could have 130 90 degree days."
     Not bothering to be balanced by getting a view from any of the majority of scientists who don't buy the dire global warming theories, Pinkston piled on: "Causing more problems like those today in Baltimore where un-air conditioned public schools dismissed 100,000 children early."
     Oppenheimer: "The very old, the very young, the very sick and the very poor are at great risk. In Chicago in 1995 five hundred people died in a heat wave."
     Pinkston concluded his one-sided story: "A heat wave isn't official until it happens for three straight days. Thankfully, this hot spell should end tomorrow. But with summer just weeks away, the danger is just beginning."

     There's so much material out there on the other side which Pinkston deliberately ignored that it's hard to know where to begin, but since many previous CyberAlerts have already detailed the scientific doubts I won't here again. The Science and Environmental Policy Project Web site does offer a convenient page of links to many sites with articles and studies disproving the liberal line that industry is fueling global warming. Check out: http://www.sepp.org/othersites.html


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) CBS's Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather both agreed that Chinese spying is serious and the Cox Report is important, but in explaining their view of why it's not a bigger issue with the public neither acknowledged how little time and priority their shows have given it.

     In a Saturday night interview Bob Schieffer said he takes the Cox Report "seriously," but suggested it is not a topic of public conversation because "nobody has yet figured out exactly what it is that the Chinese did." But that's what the Cox Report tried to outline.

     Monday morning Dan Rather told syndicated radio host Don Imus that China is "an extremely important story even if the findings of this most recent committee paper maybe are overstated. Still, this is very important stuff," though he went on to say Russia is a greater threat. His concerns about overstating things are matched by his show's May 27 story trying to discredit the report. (See the May 28 or June 7 CyberAlert for quotes from Eric Engberg's hit piece.)

     -- On CNN's Larry King Weekend on June 5 King asked Schieffer, in an exchange tracked down by MRC analyst Paul Smith, "Why has not the Chinese story had greater impact nationally? Why isn't every coffee shop talking about it?"
     Schieffer replied: "I think it is because nobody has yet figured out exactly what it is that the Chinese did. I mean, I have heard some people, I take this report seriously, the Cox Report and what makes me take it seriously is it was unanimous. You had the Democrats on that investigative committee agreeing with the Republicans. There is no question that our security was just awful and that it should have been improved and that people just weren't paying attention at these labs and that has to be remedied I think. But I think people are very sophisticated about this spying business. We've had the James Bond movies. We've had the Cold War, and all the novels about spying and I think people think that countries spy on each other now and that is part of the deal. It's kinda like baseball, if you can get away with stealing a sign, that's part of the game and I think in a more serious way, people are not surprised that major powers are trying to spy and find out national security information."

     So it's all part of a game and isn't so serious? Schieffer presides over Face the Nation which has devoted the least time of all the Sunday morning interview shows to the subject of Chinese espionage.

     -- On the June 7 Imus in the Morning broadcast on MSNBC Imus, MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed, ruminated: "I wonder though in stealing these nuclear secrets at, one of the things I observed about it was, I don't know if it makes any difference, is at least now we know what they have, but you know they have what we have but they don't have a way to deliver it but I mean, but and I hear you, I hear what you say about them wanting to become a superpower but to what end?"
     Rather explained: "Well, because they see China's destiny as it was in the past as being the dominant force on the planet. That's to what end they seek. Yeah, you know we talk about the Chinese stealing these nuclear secrets and it is, I still think it's still, you know, an extremely important story even if the findings of this most recent committee paper maybe are overstated. Still, this is very important stuff. Less that the Chinese, I mean, no one should be shocked that the Chinese have been trying to steal our secrets. And I don't think anybody should really be shocked that they were successful but how lax we have become about trying to protect our secrets is where the story is. But with it all, the Chinese still don't have a delivery system. You know some of their missiles would hit some of the U.S., a few of 'em maybe. But what no one is talking about is Russia still has thousands of missiles that are highly capable of hitting this country and a big nuclear stockpile. So while we've been sort of focused on this problem of the Chinese stealing our nuclear secrets, I hope somebody will begin to pay attention to what we do about a rapidly deteriorating Russia as a society and as a nation, that chaos is working not just around the edges but at the core there with the country that has thousands of nuclear tip missiles that are dependable in terms of delivery."

     So, let's check out CBS reasoning. It's a big deal that global warming may lead to a few deaths in cities from the heat, but it's not such a big deal that only a "few" Chinese nuclear missiles could hit the U.S., though they'd kill many more.

     It would be easier to believe Rather really finds the espionage "an extremely important story" if his CBS Evening News didn't put the Cox Report second the night it was released, after gun control, and hadn't ignored the story since May 27.

     Speaking of Dan Rather, the latest column by MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell details some of Rather's latest cheerleading for Clinton's team in his radio commentaries which the MRC's Tim Graham tracked down. "Rather's Radio Rah-Rahs" begins: "Why is it, I wonder, that Dan Rather is incapable of keeping his opinions to himself when reporting news? Nobody's forgotten Rather's warm wishes for Bill Clinton at a CBS affiliates meeting on May 27,1993: 'If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we'd take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we're pulling for her.'
     "Rest assured Rather's love affair with the Clintons continues. He's betrayed it twice this year on 60 Minutes II. First came his cozy post-impeachment interview with the President. Then this month, Rather repeated the favor for Hillary, gushing over her possible Senate campaign: 'Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning.'
     "Now, with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings riding their fame onto the best-seller list, Rather has arrived with Deadlines and Datelines, a compilation of his regular CBS Radio commentaries over the last few years. There's nothing in it from 1999, which is probably fortuitous. Rather's latest radio commentaries are perfect companions to his Clinton TV interviews: servile to a fault...."

     To read the rest of the column, go to:  http://www.mediaresearch.org/columns/news/col19990603.html


tipper0608.jpg (14103 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Claire Shipman: Giggling girlfriend or dispassionate reporter? Catching up with her June 1 profile of Tipper Gore for Today, the answer is giggling girlfriend as she laughed along when Mrs. Gore suggested her husband sleeps in the nude. The giggling session occurred in the middle of a lengthy and glowingly positive profile piece picked up by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.

     Shipman began, over video of Tipper Gore skiing: "Tipper Gore has never been a predictable political wife. First of all you have the sense that she's well, fun. You just know she'd rather be here or rollerblading or running a marathon than attending a staid Washington function. And in her formal role she's chosen to champion a less than obvious cause, mental illness."

     After running through Tipper's admission of depression caused by the serious injury to her son, an admission Shipman did concede some considered political, Shipman asserted that she balances Al's reserve. Shipman recalled how she once took on rock lyrics but today Republicans "grumble" that she's backed off criticizing the entertainment industry because Democrats want Hollywood money.

     Shipman continued: "Of course the role she has always played for her husband and one advisors think is critical now: loosening him up. But she refuses to admit the obvious."
     Tipper insisted All is "handsome, sexy, a little reserved."
     As Shipman and Tipper Gore sat beside each other as Tipper flipped through a photo album, Shipman relayed: "And ever spontaneous she manages to surprise even jaded journalists with a racy joke about her husband's bedtime attire or lack thereof."
     It's hard to make out, but as she points to a photo of Al, Tipper says something like: "He isn't wearing anything very long when we go to bed".

     After Tipper and Shipman giggle a bit the NBC reporter went on: "You get the sense in fact that the Tipper and Al love story will become a campaign theme. Some say a potent, if calculated defense against the moral transgressions of Bill Clinton. But while the story is becoming well worn it's hard to doubt the sentiment."
     After letting Al Gore describe how he met Tipper, Shipman asserted: "For the former Mary Elizabeth Acheson that meeting came to define her life. The two wed young as Gore was heading for a stint in Vietnam and her budding career as a photographer turned into an occasional hobby as her husband's political career took off. Tipper is clearly the emotional center of the Gore family and she has some obvious ambivalence about the demands of the next year....What kind of First Lady would she be? Conventional wisdom is a cross between the more traditional Barbara Bush and the ultra modern Hillary Clinton. Some say she'd at least be easier to understand."
     Elizabeth Drew: "Hillary Clinton is a bundle of contrasting personalities I think. Soft, hard, sentimental, tough. Tipper Gore is one person, she's one concrete person. What you see is what you get."

     After Tipper praised Hillary Clinton, Shipman concluded:
     "Right now the Gore team is very much counting on Tipper Gore's, 'What you see is what you get' brand of uniqueness, hoping that her appeal will help ease the way on the long campaign trail ahead."

     +++ Watch Tipper and Claire giggle away and try to make out what Tipper said about Al's bedtime attire. Tuesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry will post, in RealPlayer format, a clip of this June 1 Today profile. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Leaving Las Vegas. Actually, leaving out Las Vegas and portraying what isn't Las Vegas as Las Vegas. (This item has nothing to do with the usual CyberAlert tracking of liberal bias, but just a glaring bit of misreporting that I noticed having visited the Las Vegas areas earlier this year.)

     Monday night both CNN's Inside Politics and NBC Nightly News featured stories previewing the controversy over how Mob lawyer Oscar Goodman is expected to win today's mayoral election in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

     Over video of the talking statues inside Caesar's Palace casino and matching exterior shots of the casino resorts she was citing, CNN's Siobhan Darrow announced: "In the city where statues speak, where you can be in New York, Paris and Venice in a matter of minutes, understatement is one sin Las Vegans won't tolerate."

     Well, not really. Caesar's Palace, the New York New York casino and the entire "Las Vegas strip" to which Darrow was referring are not in the city of Las Vegas.

     NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw introduced NBC's story by showing a shot of the Golden Nuggett, which is in Las Vegas, followed by an aerial shot of the Excalibur and the Mirage, which are not. In the story, reporter Kelly O'Donnell walked along "the strip," with the Ballagio sign behind her, as she misleadingly announced:
     "In Las Vegas, image matters. This is the fastest growing major city in America, a place that's worked hard to give itself a makeover, to attract more families and new businesses. Oscar Goodman's critics say making him mayor puts that new image at risk. The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial page labeled Goodman a 'barrister to butchers'...."

     At least the conservative Review-Journal editorial page got some rare national media attention, but O'Donnell was factually incorrect. She was not walking in or showing viewers Las Vegas, at least not the city of Las Vegas which is what matters in a story about an election governed by political boundaries. She was in an unincorporated area of Clark County.

     As the Clark County Web page informs anyone bothering to understand that political offices are governed by municipal and county boundaries, not what the Post Office or Chamber of Commerce calls an area:
     "Clark County responds to the needs of approximately 453,809 citizens residing in the urban unincorporated area. Sahara Avenue (immediately north of the Sahara Hotel) is the municipal boundary for the City of Las Vegas. All citizens residing south of this line receive their traditional urban services from Clark County rather than from any of the County's municipalities. The entire 'Las Vegas Strip' is contained within the unincorporated area of Clark County. The services provided to this vast area include all those functions normally associated with a city, such as public works, building inspections, fire protection, street sweeping, parks and recreation, etc."

     In other words, all the famous casinos shown by CNN and NBC -- from the MGM Grand to Bellagio to Mirage to Caesar's to Mandalay Bay to Bally's -- are not in the city of Las Vegas, so the Mayor of Las Vegas has nothing to do with them.

     One wonders whether the reporters are just putting interesting video ahead of basic accuracy or do they not understand the difference between a city boundary and a Post Office place name?

     What's next, a story about the New York City mayoral race illustrated by video of Jersey City? -- Brent Baker


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