Pothead Sam; Video of Pardoned FALNers Making Bomb; Delete 2nd Amendment
1) Sam Donaldson admitted
marijuana use; George Stephanopoulos filed his first pre-taped evening
news story; and the entire Fox News Sunday team squeezed onto the set with
a former Miss America.
2) FNC immediately played an
FBI surveillance video from 1983 showing two pardoned Puerto Ricans making
a bomb, but ABC, CNN and NBC avoided it in the evening though Meet the
Press did show it.
3) FNC's panel took on
Rivera's political advocacy for the pardons: "This guy is a total
shill for Bill Clinton."
4) "It's Time to Gun Down
the 2nd Amendment," argued USA Today's Walter Shapiro in a Friday
column advocating the amendment be deleted so we don't cringe
"every time we hear a car backfire."
Notes from the Sunday news and interview shows: Sam hesitantly admitted
smoking marijuana, George Stephanopoulos filed his first pre-taped evening
news political story and the entire Fox News Sunday team squeezed onto the
set with a former Miss America.
-- Turning the
tables on Sam Donaldson on This Week. After the ABC News star asked Bill
Bradley if he ever smoked marijuana, Bradley conceded he had and then
asked Donaldson: "Have you?" Donaldson replied: "I think a
couple of times I've tried it. And I inhaled."
Stephanopoulos, ABC News, Washington." The weekend of the Republican
straw vote in Iowa in August Clinton enabler/ABC News political analyst
George Stephanopoulos delivered an on-scene live report for World News
Tonight/Saturday. He's provided stories for Good Morning America and a
week and a half ago the show allowed him to go solo in interviewing Bill
Bradley. Now on Sunday night, September 19, Stephanopoulos took another
step in his grooming by the network to be a news correspondent: He
narrated a pre-taped news story. The subject: Pat Buchanan flirting with
running for the Reform Party's presidential nomination.
-- Getting up
close to Miss America. Usually Fox News Sunday has one or two or sometimes
three panelists interview a guest with the make-up of the panel changing
in each guest segment. Yesterday's show opened with interviews with
Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch
about the FALN pardons. Host Tony Snow and panelist Mara Liasson of NPR
handled the interviewing duties.
Next, Snow alone handled an interview with Dan
Then, to discuss the controversy over the Miss America pageant proposing
that those once married or who have had abortions should be qualified, the
show brought aboard 1997 Miss America Tara Holland-Christensen. Suddenly,
the set grew unusually crowded with the entire FNS team squeezing onto the
riser: Holland, plus Snow, Liasson, Brit Hume and Juan Williams.
I guess she's a bit more appealing to be near
than a Congressman or Senator.
The FBI made available to the media a blurry, black and white surveillance
videotape from August 3, 1983 showing two of the Puerto Rican terrorists,
released by President Clinton, making a bomb, thus contradicting the claim
that none pardoned were directly tied to violence. FNC's Carl Cameron
appeared briefly on last Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume and
Fox Report to show it as Fox affiliate WFLD in Chicago was the first news
outlet to obtain it. Both programs showed it again on Friday and Fox News
Sunday played it too.
Though Tim Russert
showed it Sunday during a Meet the Press interview with Congressman Dan
Burton, Nightly News skipped it in a pardon-related story aired Friday
night and did not play in on Saturday or Sunday night. ABC's This Week
featured an interview segment with Congressmen Charles Rangel and Vito
Fossella about the clemency and while Fossella and George Will mentioned
the video, ABC did not let viewers see it then or on World News Tonight.
CNN did not show it on Inside Politics on Thursday or Friday night. (The
MRC will post it. See the end of this item.)
Clinton's claim of executive privilege to deny congressional committees
access to documents related to the pardon decision was showcased on the
front pages of Friday's Washington Post and New York Times, but none of
the broadcast networks mentioned it Thursday night. ABC and CBS skipped it
again Friday night when NBC did run a full story on the controversy.
NBC's Lisa Myers
began: "While eleven Puerto Rican terrorists celebrate their first
days of freedom, the President now confronts a firestorm in Congress for
refusing to turn over potentially embarrassing documents on how and why he
freed them. Today, House Chairman Dan Burton prepares a subpoena, this
time for Justice Department officials and documents. So far, the President
has given Congress only letters to him urging the terrorists' release,
claiming all else is covered by executive privilege."
from Burton and Hatch, Myers observed: "Constitutional experts say
that legally the President is on solid ground, but that claiming executive
privilege on this issue is the political equivalent of taking the Fifth.
They say it looks bad. Today, a White House spokesman dismisses it all as
politics, saying Republicans prefer investigating the President to solving
the nation's problems."
But after a clip
of Joe Lockhart, Myers pointed out: "But this time, it's not just
Republicans. Democrats are outraged, too. Even faithful allies say Clinton
should turn over documents." Viewers then heard Democratic Senator
Robert Torricelli demand: "I hope the committee will learn more about
his motivation and the process so that it's never repeated."
Myers noted how
"an NBC News poll finds 74 percent disapprove of the President's
decision and another poll shows most believe he did it to help his wife's
Senate campaign," before concluding: "That makes this one of the
few issues that hurts both Clintons and helps Republicans, which means it
won't end anytime soon."
The same night,
FNC's Jim Angle showed the FBI video in his piece. Special Report with
Brit Hume host Tony Snow set up his story by reporting that
"Congressman Dan Burton plans to use the tape next week at a hearing
about President Clinton's decision to offer clemency to the two alleged
bomb builders and 14 other members of the FALN." Snow added:
"Despite that damaging video, the White House insists that building a
bomb isn't the same as using one."
surveillance video Angle explained: "The FBI shot this hidden video
of two Puerto Rican nationalists making bombs in a Chicago safe house 16
years ago, and now that grainy footage has become ammunition in a battle
between the White House and Congress over the President's grant of
clemency to these two and nine other Puerto Rican nationalists."
After a soundbite from Congressman Howard Coble
Angle noted how the White House maintains those who "got clemency
don't have blood on their hands." Joe Lockhart asserted: "In
this case, they were convicted of very serious crimes, not of maiming or
killing, but of serious weapons offenses."
Angle continued: "The two people in this
video, Edwin Cortes and Alejandrina Torres, were convicted of conspiracy
to make destructive devices and possession of explosives, among other
things. But the President apparently believes that the people who made
bombs are different from those who set them off."
Clinton on September 9: "Because I did not
believe they should be held in incarceration, in effect, by guilt by
+++ See a still
shot of the FBI video and a RealPlayer clip of Angle's story. Monday
morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post a portion of
the Friday FNC story. But don't count on seeing much. On a 26 inch TV
you can barely tell it's two people at a table handling items on it,
never mind on a mini RealPlayer size frame. After 10am ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org
Geraldo Rivera's defense of Clinton's pardon decision, in which he
lashed out at "sanctimonious" Senators, disturbed NPR's Mara
Liasson and Roll Call's Morton Kondracke, who realized the obvious:
"This guy is a total shill for Bill Clinton."
Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC Hume set up a video clip
of Rivera at a dinner: "There is someone here who is backing the
President on this, and he is a colleague of ours from NBC. And he spoke at
a Hispanic gathering here in Washington, and let's listen to what he had
Rivera: "In an America where so-called
conservative politicians can support clemency, or at least more lenient
treatment, for anti-abortion violence, or for the IRA, or for Israeli
spies, 311 members of Congress voted to condemn the president for doing
what we begged him to do....Ninety-three members of the United States
Senate, without a single vote in opposition, voted like those members of
the House did before them to condemn our president for releasing the
Puerto Rican radicals. Where were those same sanctimonious Senate voices
when our government treated as royalty such prominent former terrorists as
Menachem Begin and Yassir Arafat? Where was their outrage when we reopened
relations with Vietnam, a land where the blood of 50,00 of our fellow
citizens, many of them from Puerto Rico, still stains the soil?"
Senators voted against the resolution.
Hume turned to the
FNC panel for reaction. Kondracke exclaimed: "Wow. You know, this guy
is a total shill for Bill Clinton, and will attack any enemy of Bill
Clinton's, no matter what, no matter how transparently flimsy the grounds.
I mean, it makes me speechless."
Liasson jumped in:
"There's another issue. I mean, he's an anchorperson, supposedly a
journalist, and there he is, a pretty partisan Puerto Rican there giving a
speech. I mean, that was what was stunning to me. I mean, I don't know if,
that was more impressive than the fact that he's supporting President
Kondracke: "No, this was an anti-, this was
an anti-Clinton-critic diatribe, and in defense of Clinton."
countered some of Rivera's claims: "I don't know where, Mort, maybe
you remember him, I don't know conservatives who are out there saying you
have to give a pardon to Jonathan Pollard, or ones who are even out there
saying that anti-abortion activists who have committed violent acts should
be given clemency. I don't know, maybe there are some conservatives who
have been involved in either of those things. I don't know of any."
Kondracke: "You know, and also you -- if a
country elects a Menachem Begin or a Yitzhak Shamir as their president,
you got to deal with them, right? It's not as though you -- you approve of
what terrorist acts they may have committed way back in the distant
Barnes: "See, I don't remember Geraldo
getting all worked up when they, when either of those people came over
Hume wrapped up the September 16 segment: "I
don't recall Geraldo as a big, as a big supporter of the Vietnam War
either, but anyway, he's a sweet guy personally."
Maybe, but it's
nice to see some fellow journalists taking on the political activism of
CNN's Judy Woodruff suggested George W. Bush's reaction to the Ft.
Worth shooting was invalidated by the news that the shooter was mentally
ill and USA Today's featured news section columnist used his space
Friday to say it's time to "gun down" the Second Amendment.
-- On Friday's
Inside Politics Judy Woodruff asked Charles Zewe live in Ft. Worth:
"Given the statements that have been made about the possible mental
instability on the part of the perpetrator here, is Governor Bush still
talking in terms of a wave of evil across the country, or has his office
said anything more?"
-- Under the
headline "It's Time to Gun Down the 2nd Amendment," in his
September 17 column across page 14A of the news section of USA Today,
Walter Shapiro argued that failing to delete gun rights from the
Constitution "condemns all of us to spend our lives cringing in
terror every time we hear a car backfire." The former Time magazine
writer and speechwriter for President Carter wrote:
....At a time when the House has failed to
pass even a paltry measure for child-safety locks and background checks at
gun shows, it is tempting to join the chorus demonizing the National Rifle
Association. But the real problem transcends the legislative machinations
of the NRA. With more than 200 million guns in American homes (that's more
than two lethal weapons for every presidential voter in 1996),
well-intentioned laws attempting to regulate the domestic arms trade are
Stymied on Capitol Hill, a grass-roots
movement to pressure Congress is gaining momentum. Organizers of a
"Million Mom March" hope to send that many women to Washington
next Mother's Day to lobby for handgun registration and more zealous
background checks for weapons purchases. But if these crusaders want to
move beyond feel-good nostrums, they should wave banners that declare,
"Repeal the Second Amendment." What? You can't mess with the
Bill of Rights. Weren't the first 10 amendments to our sacred Constitution
handed down by the Founding Fathers from Mount Sinai?
Let's face facts. America will continue to
have its own versions of the killing fields as long as there are millions
of handguns floating around waiting for another psychopath with a grudge.
As Bradley said in a thoughtful speech on gun violence in June,
"There is no doubt in my mind that the Second Amendment confers
rights on individuals to own guns."....
That's the dilemma facing the anti-gun
forces. As long as the Second Amendment is enshrined in the Constitution,
anti-gun efforts will be limited to the margins. Even though 46% of the
public favors banning the sale of handguns in a poll by the Pew Research
Center for the People & the Press, such a sweeping measure wouldn't
pass constitutional muster....
But those of us sickened by the
never-ending stories of gun massacres have no choice but to bite the
bullet on amending the Constitution. Otherwise, every token effort to
strengthen gun laws will face the persuasive argument that violence will
not really be curbed.
Ever since the demise of the Equal Rights
Amendment, liberals have been panicked at the thought of amending the
Constitution. Conservatives are the ones who force the biennial
congressional votes on outlawing flag-burning and mandating a balanced
budget in the Constitution. Repealing the Second Amendment is no cause for
the faint-hearted, but it remains the only way for liberals to trigger an
honest debate on the future of our bullet-plagued society.
So what if anti-gun advocates have to
devote the next 15 or 20 years to the struggle? The cause is worth the
political pain. Failing to take bold action condemns all of us to spend
our lives cringing in terror every time we hear a car backfire.
To read the entire
column, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/elect/ew/ew355.htm
I bet Shapiro doesn't advocate killing the
First Amendment in order to eliminate the constitutional defenses for
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