JFK Jr. a "Sun God"; ABC Wanted to Hire Him; Tax Cutters Have Low IQ
1) Jonathan Alter tagged JFK
Jr. as a "Sun God," ABC's Cokie Roberts suggested the Kennedy
family is full of "character," Steve Roberts claimed Ted is not
liberal but "a very flexible, pragmatic person," and a JFK aide
admitted "Camelot" was really a "joke."
2) It's Jacqueline's
fault. The Washington Post relayed an author's spin that because his
mother made sure JFK Jr. was "more courteous to women" than
other Kennedys he took the fatal detour.
3) Choking back tears, Friday
night Peter Jennings suggested it's "time to move on," but ABC
News couldn't quite yet.
4) "The torch now passes
to a generation of strong women," NBC's Andrea Mitchell said in
recalling how one was "so smart" that JFK Sr. said that if she
"had been a man she'd have been President." Al Hunt: Maria
Shriver "one of the three best TV journalists."
5) Ted Kennedy doesn't go to
church, but Mike Barnicle maintained on MSNBC: "He has to be a
religious person because God is the only person, thing, symbol that can
get you through these things."
6) Clinton was caught making a
false assertion about how he afforded JFK Jr. the first visit to the White
House since 1963, but NBC's Matt Lauer blamed JFK Jr. for misleading
7) JFK Jr. as an ABC News
reporter? Barbara Walters let slip that ABC News executives "were
hoping" he'd become a TV reporter for them. The New York Post
reported that "ABC is feverishly trying to turn" George
Stephanopoulos "into a reporter or news personality."
8) "The only thing that
could explain this love of tax cuts is a lowered IQ," Time's
Margaret Carlson snapped on Saturday.
July 26 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of
the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal
media," is now up on the MRC home page thanks to Kristina Sewell and
Sean Henry. Topic headings for the quotes include: "Kennedys: Heroic
Royal Family"; "Emoting Over Kennedy Mystique";
"Vanishing Camelot!"; "Poor, Brutalized Hillary";
"The GOP Protects Evil HMOs"; "ABC Pushes Gore Left";
"Gore and Bradley: Centrists": "Katie Couric, Feminist
Killjoy" and "Glorious Sports-Bra Symbolism." To read this
issue, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990726.html
Corrections: The July 23
CyberAlert referred to "St. Thomas Moore." It's St. Thomas
More church. The same issue also quoted NBC's Bob Kur as reporting how
"The President and First Lady remember meeting John F. Kennedy Jr.
and his wife Caroline Bessette many times." Bessette's first name
Four noteworthy questions and assertions from over the weekend:
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter characterized JFK Jr. as a "Sun
God," ABC's Cokie Roberts suggested the Kennedy family is full of
"character," Cokie's husband Steve maintained that calling Ted
Kennedy liberal is just "Republican mythology" as he's really
"a very flexible, pragmatic person," and a member of the Kennedy
presidency admitted the idea of "Camelot" was really a
-- JFK Jr. a
"Sun God." In a Friday, July 23 Dateline NBC look at who in the
Kennedy family will pick up the torch, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter found
JFK Jr. irreplaceable:
"The star power has diminished. John Kennedy
Jr. was the Sun God, the most charismatic of any of the Kennedy children.
So that will lower their wattage some, but there are enough Kennedys out
there making enough contributions that they will be part of the life of
this country well into the next century."
-- Kennedy family full of character. Sunday's
This Week on ABC dedicated all but the roundtable segment to Kennedy's
death. Cokie Roberts interviewed family friend John Seigenthaler, a
founder of USA Today, followed by Bernard Cardinal Law, Jesse Jackson and
Thomas More, author of Care of the Soul.
Jackson to respond to this assessment:
"You issued a beautiful statement last
weekend quoting extensively from the book of Job and talking about
suffering breeds character. But this family's had so much suffering
don't you think they've had enough character bred at this point?"
about the Kennedys the term "character" isn't the first which
comes to mind.
-- Calling Ted Kennedy liberal is just
"Republican mythology." He's really "a very flexible,
pragmatic person" insisted former New York Times reporter Steve
Roberts who is now with U.S. News & World Report. On Sunday's Late
Edition on CNN he argued:
"Senator Kennedy has emerged, contrary to
sort of the Republican mythology of this ideological liberal, as a very
flexible, pragmatic person. Kay Bailey Hutchison pointed out how she
worked with him on health. People forget, he's a very close friend of
Orrin Hatch, very conservative Republican he's worked with. He
co-sponsored a bill with Dan Quayle of all people on job training at one
point. So he is both a patriarch but also a very effective
So, by moving
right to accommodate Orrin Hatch, if he had to at all, makes Kennedy a
non-liberal "pragmatic" guy, but Hatch, who moved left to meet
Kennedy, remains "very conservative."
-- "Camelot" transformed from "a
joke" to history accepted by the media. Meet the Press dedicated over
half the show Sunday to Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Goodwin, Pete Hamill,
Lee Rainie and Mary McGrory all fawning over the Kennedy family, led by
Tim Russert, with Alfonse D'Amato largely limiting his praise to John
adulation someone who was part of the imaginary "Camelot" was
awed at out how that Kennedy-promoting term has became accepted as fact.
Richard Goodwin, a speechwriter for President Kennedy, told Russert:
"You used the word 'Camelot.' Now, you
know, ten years ago the word would have been regarded as a joke. People
regarded the word Camelot as an effort at self-promotion by the Kennedy
family. Now it's entered into the vocabulary so you can use it without
smiling or trying to explain it away."
You can thank his
wife and the media for that.
Indeed, in a
Friday night CBS Evening News piece reporter Eric Engberg embraced
"Camelot" as a reality, opening an exploration of why the public
cares so much about JFK Jr's death:
"The Kennedy clan, with all its adventures,
intrigues and tragedies, is the family all America knows. In part that is
due to Camelot, the presidency of JFK who was glamorous and young and made
the country feel young. And his rise coincided with the lighting of
another torch called television, which created a new intimacy between the
leader and the led."
It was Jacqueline's fault because she made sure he treated with women
In a Saturday
Washington Post story about publishers re-issuing books about JFK Jr.,
reporter Linton Weeks passed along an unusual spin on what led to his
demise espoused by Wendy Leigh, author of the about to be re-released 1993
book, Prince Charming: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story. Linton wrote:
"Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis strive
to make sure that her son was more of a Bouvier than a Kennedy, Leigh
explains, to make sure that John Jr. was cautious and more courteous to
women. In the end, Leigh says, such courtesy proved fatal when Kennedy
took a flight-path detour for his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette."
If only he were a
woman-abusing lout like the rest of the Kennedy family he'd be alive
Peter Jennings suggested Friday night that it was time to move on from
mourning, but ABC just couldn't move on quite yet.
playing, during ABC's three hours of live coverage from 10am to 1pm ET
of the sidewalk outside the memorial service, a Bob Dylan song over a
video retrospective of JFK Jr.'s life, Peter Jennings ended Friday's
World News Tonight choking back tears at the completion of another video
montage: "And now as someone said, outside the church today, time to
ABC's lead story
on Friday night's 20/20: More Kennedy news. ABC's lead story on
Saturday's World News Tonight: The Lauren Bessette memorial service
followed by a look at the investigation into Kennedy's crash. (The CBS
Evening News opened Saturday with the massacre of Serbs in Kosovo, the
first time all week a broadcast network began with a non-JFK Jr. story.
WNBA overtime bumped Saturday's NBC Nightly News in the east.)
Sunday morning, as
noted in item #1 above, ABC dedicated all but a few minutes of This Week
to ruminating about JFK Jr.'s death and the Kennedy family.
Finally, on Sunday
night, both ABC and NBC led with the Yosemite murder. (Golf bumped the CBS
Evening News in the east.)
The women are the future stars of the Kennedy family, NBC's Andrea
Mitchell asserted Friday night in claiming one is "so committed, so
smart," that President Kennedy once said that if she "had been a
man she'd have been President." And, Maria Shriver is "one of
the three best TV journalists"?
For the July 23 In
Depth segment on the NBC Nightly News Mitchell insisted the "torch
now passes to a generation of strong women." Mitchell recalled how
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was told by the family to run for office from
outside of Massachusetts because the state was reserved for Joe Kennedy, a
sign of how Kennedy women have been expected to play supporting roles at
home. But now in addition to the Maryland Lieutenant Governor the Kennedys
have Kerry, a human rights activist, Rory, a filmmaker, Maria Shriver, a
TV news star, and Caroline, a lawyer and author.
wistfully reminded viewers:
"But in fact these aren't the first
activist Kennedy women. Add Eunice Shriver, campaigns for the disabled,
started the Special Olympics. So committed, so smart President Kennedy
once said if Eunice had been a man she'd have been President. And Aunt
Jean Kennedy Smith, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Why are they so
effective? Some say Kennedy woman carry fewer burdens than the men."
Laurence Leamer, author of The Kennedy Women:
"This idea of living this intrepid life, of risking yourself
physically, is a part of the male heritage of a Kennedy."
Mitchell: "But not a female tradition,
friends say, freeing the women for public service and carrying the
standard into the future."
Speaking of Eunice
Shriver as smarter than even Hillary Clinton, Wall Street Journal
Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt delivered up dollop of praise last
Thursday for her daughter. In his July 22 Journal column titled
"America's Family," which he ended by asserting how
"America is a different place because of the Kennedys -- a much
better one," Hunt contended:
"Of the next generation, the most notable
achievers, ironically, may be Joseph P. Kennedy's 12
granddaughters....Maria Shriver is a prominent television journalist;
former NBC News President Michael Gartner calls her one of the three best
TV journalists he encountered."
That kind of
judgment may explain why Gartner is now back in Iowa editing a newspaper
in the small city of Ames.
From the mind of Mike Barnicle: Ted Kennedy doesn't do anything
religious, but he "has to be."
Just before 4pm ET
last Thursday, in a rare moment when he wasn't complaining about how the
media are intruding upon the Kennedy family's privacy, as he sat in
front of their houses, disgraced Boston Globe columnist turned NBC News
analyst Mike Barnicle told MSNBC viewers:
"While many people might not think of Ted
Kennedy as being a religious person because he doesn't go to mass
everyday or perhaps does not receive communion each Sunday, he is indeed a
religious person. He has to be a religious person because God is the only
person, thing, symbol that can get you through these things."
person, thing or symbol, God is, with Ted never seen going into a church
-- outside of memorial services -- or receiving communion, it's hard to
imagine why people would assume he's not religious.
Clinton was caught making a blatantly preposterous assertion about how he
afforded JFK Jr. the first visit to the White House and the residential
floors since 1963, but instead of scolding Clinton NBC's Matt Lauer
blamed the dead guy: "It could have been just that John Kennedy Jr.
was being especially gracious to his host, President Clinton, and made him
feel as if this was a special visit."
As detailed in the
July 23 CyberAlert, last Wednesday night MSNBC reported how Clinton had
made the false claim at a press conference earlier in the day and CNBC's
Hardball showed a clip of JFK Jr. talking about visiting with the Nixons
in 1971, but Thursday's USA Today and NBC's Today fell for Clinton's
misinformation. Friday's USA Today failed to correct Thursday's story
by Susan Page, which began: "John F. Kennedy Jr. was 2 years old when
his father was assassinated, and more than three decades would pass before
he returned to the White House..."
In the 8:30am half
hour on Friday, July 23, Today failed to remind viewers of its
misreporting of the day before, but MRC analyst Mark Drake caught how the
show did correct itself by bringing aboard Chris Matthews to recount what
knew about the 1971 visit.
Co-host Matt Lauer
introduced Matthews: "John Kennedy Jr. moved out of the White House
with his mom and sister soon after his third birthday but returned several
times during his life. President Clinton this week remarked about what he
believed was Kennedy's first return since his father's
Clinton: "John Kennedy had actually not been
back to the White House since his father was killed until I became
Lauer: "It turns out that wasn't completely
correct. In fact, when John was ten years old, he and his mother and
sister were invited back to the White House for the first time, invited by
Matthews: "So a little bit of misinformation here. The visit with
President Clinton was not the first visit. So tell me what prompted the
visit back in 1971 with President Nixon?"
Matthews explained: "The peg for the meeting
was the visit was they were going to unveil the first portraits of John
and Jacqueline Kennedy in the White House, those famous portraits of the
two of them and Nixon wanted to let it be a private affair cause Jackie
didn't want to come down there. You gotta remember this was at the time of
when Bobby had been killed just a few years before that. So he gave them a
private dinner and it was an amazing dinner. He took the two Kennedy kids
over to the Oval Office to show them where John used to play with his dad
and even the Nixon daughters stayed out the room because they knew what it
meant to their dad to take those kids over there. There was a very mixed
relationship between these two families. Nixon was as much in awe of the
Kennedys as any of us."
After some talk
about the relationship between the Kennedys and Nixon and how JFK Jr.
wrote a thank you note to Nixon, Lauer returned to Clinton's inaccurate
statement, but tried to shift the blame off of Clinton:
"I want to just go back to President Clinton
and his comments about that being the very first visit. Probably not
trying to make a story bigger than it was but it could have been just that
John Kennedy Jr. was being especially gracious to his host, President
Clinton, and made him feel as if this was a special visit."
To learn what John
F. Kennedy Jr. told Matthews in 1996 about his 1971 visit and to watch a
RealPlayer clip of JFK Jr.'s recollections, go to the July 23 CyberAlert:
"...John F. Kennedy Junior, ABC News, Washington." The sign-off
ABC News executives once dreamed of? During Friday's ABC News coverage
of the sidewalk outside the New York City memorial service, ABC's
Barbara Walters disclosed that ABC News executives "were hoping"
he'd become a television reporter. ABC seems to have a policy of
recruiting Democratic Party-allied people as reporters. The New York Post
reported that "ABC is feverishly trying to turn the young and
handsome [George] Stephanopoulos into a reporter or news
-- About 12:45pm
ET on Friday, July 23, Barbara Walters remarked to Peter Jennings:
"There were people, including at our own
network I hear, who were hoping that he would be, perhaps come on
television and pursue a career in journalism and have some training, maybe
take some training for us, because he was so personable. And if George
magazine had not made it, there was some question as to whether it was
going to succeed because the advertisements were not that many, that
perhaps the next step would be to become a television journalist."
(She soon added that Robert McNamara told her JFK Jr.'s next career
would be in politics.)
viewers heard analysis from George Stephanopoulos, but not any Republican
or conservative analyst.
-- Back on July 15 the New York Post speculated
about how Stephanopoulos is being groomed for a star job at ABC News,
possibly on 20/20, Good Morning America or even Nightline. Don Kaplan
ABC News is actively grooming former White
House advisor George Stephanonopoulos for a big-time TV job.
The only question is: which job? In recent
weeks, the network has assigned a producer to work full time with
Stephanopoulos to help him brush up his on-air skills.
Stephanopoulos signed on with ABC as an
"on-air consultant" -- a fancy term for an expert the network
can use when political news breaks out -- in 1996.
But his three-year contract with the
network is expiring and ABC is feverishly trying to turn the young and
handsome Stephanopoulos into a reporter or news personality.
"They're hoping that he will develop
into a presence that you will see more of," a network source said.
"Part of that means having the ability to do taped analytical pieces
about politics and that's what they've assigned a producer to help him
Last month, Stephanopoulos turned in a
couple of unenthusiastic turns as a co-host on "Good Morning
America" when he sat-in for Charlie Gibson who was undergoing minor
Around the same time, ABC News asked
Stephanopoulos to anchor an edition of the network's overnight newscast,
"World News Now."
Within ABC, both jobs -- especially
co-hosting the two-hour live morning broadcast -- are highly prized
opportunities and assigning them is considered a huge vote of confidence
by the network. The producer, who was not identified, is expected help
Stephanopoulos beef-up his interviewing and reporting skills....
There are currently several high-profile
on-air slots that ABC is expected to fill sooner or later, including an
open Friday night anchor slot on "20/20" vacated by Hugh Downs,
who is retiring.
Also, Ted Koppel may soon end his run with
"Nightline" after nearly 20 years. And "GMA" co-hosts
Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer are eventually expected to leave their
RealPlayer video clips of Stephanopoulos co-anchoring World News Now and
co-hosting GMA in June, go to he MRC's Media Bias Videos page and scroll
down to the clips dated 6/25 and 6/16: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
Squeezing in one non-Kennedy item today, Time magazine's Margaret
Carlson compassionately asserted on Saturday that "the only thing
that could explain this love of tax cuts is a lowered IQ."
Capital Gang on CNN, with Republican Congressman Bill Thomas as the guest,
"I actually don't think it hurts President
Clinton to veto this and this vote is, reminds me of the impeachment vote
when you, you know, if you vote for impeachment you're not really voting
for impeachment because it's going over to the Senate where they'll fix it
up because they're more responsible than you guys in the House. The
vocabulary has changed so that tax cuts now look like irresponsible
spending and spending on investments and education and Medicare looks like
the responsible thing to do because if I get $100 back, I can't go fix a
school or clean a river and people are more interested in these things
than they are in the tax cut and the poll numbers, you know, don't explain
this. I mean the only thing that could explain this love of tax cuts is a
Well, it just proves that as soon as the
media's Camelot fever subsides we'll still have the same old liberal
slant on the same old issues.
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