ABC Decried Giuliani on Homeless; Stahl: Hillary "Knocked My Socks Off"
1) Homelessness. CBS blamed
"the booming economy." ABC blamed Rudy Giuliani, crusading
against his crackdown with a one-sided story tilted four-to-one soundbite-wise
against protecting citizens.
2) CBS's Lesley Stahl on
Hillary: "She's so smart. Virtually every time I've seen her perform,
she has knocked my socks off." Plus, Stahl claimed Hillary showed
"dignity and grace" during Lewinsky.
3) ABC and CBS stuck to
Clinton's foreign policy comments at his press conference. Of the
broadcast evening shows only NBC's David Bloom showed Clinton again
disparaging others: "The mistake I made was self-inflicted and the
misconduct of others was not."
4) Fidel's media friends.
Bryant Gumbel accused anti-Castro Floridians of making the boy who escaped
Cuba a "political pawn" while Geraldo Rivera said not returning
him is "unconscionable."
5) Once again, no broadcast
network evening show coverage for a presidential debate. Two CNN analysts
clashed on whether Bush was "more thoughtful, more substantive"
or "shallow, unserious."
6) Dan Rather used the
Oklahoma school shooting to lobby for gun control: "So what...does
this latest school shooting mean for prospects of getting even modest new
gun control measures?"
7) NBC repeated the West Wing
in which the President told members of the Religious Right: "You can
all get your fat asses out of my White House."
>>> What was the most biased
reporting in 1999? You make the call. Cast your vote by using our
just-posted "Special Web User Ballot" for the "Best Notable
Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst
Reporting." At the end of every year since the late '80s a panel of
about 50 leading media observers have served as judges to select the
MRC's year-end awards. Again this year they are voting in 14 categories,
but now you too can participate thanks to MRC Web manager Andy Szul.
Web voting is open until 9am ET on Thursday, December
16. The next day we'll post both the winners and top runners-up as
picked by Web-voters as well as our judging panel. To make your picks, go
Corrections: Although the subsequent item
was correct, the table of contents list in the December 6 CyberAlert
referred to how Andy Pargh "was arrested Saturday for buying 250
ounces of cocaine." It should have read 250 "grams." The
same CyberAlert quoted Rich Lowry of National Review as saying Bush's
tax plan would take "six million off the roles...." That should
have read "rolls."
soundbites by four-to-one opposed to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's
crackdown on homelessness, Wednesday night ABC's World News Tonight
crusaded against Giuliani's effort to improve the city. Reporter Kevin
Newman stressed how "most New Yorkers are finding the crackdown a
little harsh" as he featured soundbites from Rosie O'Donnell and a
woman who was pleased a court has blocked Giuliani's plan "to take
children from the arms of their mothers."
Over on the CBS Evening
News anchor Dan Rather also snidely took a shot at Giuliani as he
summarized a HUD study of homelessness: "Overall, this study found
that programs to help the homeless do work even as New York City has begun
arresting some of the homeless."
But instead of blaming
Giuliani CBS blamed capitalism. Reporter John Blackstone focused on how
booming cities have led to higher rents and the demolition of low-income
housing. He began: "Even with a booming economy and low unemployment,
the homeless remain as prominent as ever on America's city streets. But
the booming economy may be part of the trouble."
Of course, he didn't
explore the role of rent control in reducing the housing stock.
Back to ABC, anchor
Peter Jennings introduced the December 8 Kevin Newman piece by
highlighting how the HUD study found that three-fourths supposedly leave
shelters when offered help. Newman started by reporting that since
Giuliani ordered the crackdown, 2,400 have been told to move along under
threat of arrest.
After allowing a
homeless man to claim Giuliani is "trying to do away with homeless
people," Giuliani got a clip to explain how only those committing
crimes are arrested. But that was the last viewers heard of Giuliani's
side as you can see from this transcript of the rest of the story:
Newman: "Public opinion polls say most New Yorkers
are finding the crackdown a little harsh."
Woman: "Giuliani needs to hear from people who are
so outraged at his treatment of the homeless."
Rosie O'Donnell, on her TV show: "He is out of
control, this guy. He cleaned up New York. He made it better, he thinks he
like runs the world. News flash Rudy: It's not good to arrest the
Newman: "The mayor says the crackdown is also
getting the homeless the help they need. Police say they've escorted 86
people to hospitals in the last two weeks, 500 to city shelters. Advocates
for the homeless dispute those numbers and point out that as of next
Monday city shelters will refuse to help parents who won't participate
in the city's work for welfare program."
Father Bill Greenlaw, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen:
"We're in the midst of a massive contradiction. On the one hand
we're saying you cannot have city shelter if you refuse to work and if
they are on the streets we now say that we're going to arrest
Newman: "And the mayor had also planned to allow
the city to send children to foster homes if their families were expelled
from shelters. But late this afternoon a court ordered a one month delay
in that policy."
Mary Brosnahan, Coalition for the Homeless:
"Essentially what the court is saying is that it is in no one's
interest to take children from the arms of their mothers."
Newman: "That court decision may provide some
comfort to the hundreds of people living outside in New York tonight as
the temperatures dip near freezing."
The mayor's crackdown
probably already has provided "some comfort" to law-abiding New
Yorkers afraid of out of control homeless people, such as the homeless man
who prompted Giuliani's action by seriously injured a woman a few weeks
ago when he threw a brick at her head. But ABC didn't bother mentioning
media may not have much respect for Giuliani, but one top network star
sure likes his potential Senate race opponent. Under the Wednesday
headline "CBS's Lesley Stahl finds Hillary fascinating, blunders and
all," Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister relayed how,
"when it comes to Hillary Clinton, CBS's Lesley Stahl makes no
pretense of objectivity."
Indeed, the 60 Minutes
correspondent and former White House reporter told Shister: "I'm
endlessly fascinated by her...She's so smart. Virtually every time I've
seen her perform, she has knocked my socks off."
Below is an excerpt from
the rest of Shister's December 8 story in which Stahl expressed
admiration for Hillary's action during the Lewinsky scandal and boasted
of her sexist bias in favor of women candidates. Comments from me appear
throughout the excerpt indented [in brackets]. (Intra-paragraph ellipses
are as they appeared in the Inquirer.)
"She's deeply complex and hard to
predict, hard to understand.... She defies packaging. Every time you think
you've figured her out, you learn something that takes you in a completely
Those directions haven't always been
positive, says Stahl, a 27-year CBS survivor who turns 58 (58!) on Dec.
As a politician, the First Lady has made
several blunders in her presumed Senate campaign in New York. (Ditto,
Stahl adds, for Clinton's presumed Republican opponent, New York City
Mayor Rudy Giuliani.)
[Nice of Stahl to add
that dig in defense of Hillary.]
Clinton "has been overestimated as a
politician. We're watching what's clearly a novice make those early
mistakes," such as being photographed kissing Yasir Arafat's wife or
donning a Yankees cap. (She's a lifelong Cubs fan.)
The gaffes have surprised Stahl and others
"because we've been told so often this is the woman with the
exquisite political instincts who has been helping her husband all these
years. And she's not showing that to us."
[And agreeably gullible
media figures like Stahl misled the public for years about Hillary's
What Clinton did show was extraordinary
"dignity and grace" when President Clinton's extracurricular
sexcapades hit the fan last year.
As a woman, and, like Hillary Clinton, the
mother of an only daughter, Stahl had "enormous sympathy" for
the First Lady.
"What do you do when you know your
only daughter's happiness is tied up in the fact that you and your husband
have stayed together all those years? The impetus to keep that family unit
a threesome is enormous."
Stahl also respects the way Clinton
"never lost sight of the fact she was First Lady. She had a public
responsibility to the country to be dignified and to continue carrying out
the role he [Bill Clinton] gave her.
"She didn't want to embarrass the
office of the President, either. I feel that poor woman was under
unbelievable emotional pressure, and that she walked through an impossible
time with grace."
[Note no concern for how
Hillary lied to the media and has covered up for her husband for decades,
putting her personal power ahead of the nation's interests. Stahl puts
personal politics ahead of being a journalist.]
Before you start invoking the Equal Time
rule, Stahl says she knows and respects Giuliani, too, and that he's been
a good mayor.
revealed my true liberal feelings so I better pretend to say something
nice about the Republican before those media-bashers cite my views. Too
In fact, Stahl says she hasn't decided for
whom she'll vote, if indeed it becomes a Clinton-Giuliani dogfight.
"I've never been a straight party-line voter in any election. I'm a
person who goes for the person."
[Okay, stop laughing
about her claim that she's undecided.]
Personally, Stahl goes for female
candidates. It's a woman thing.
"I've often felt that no matter what
the politics of the woman candidate, there's some part of me that's
rooting for her. I want her to do well. I don't want her to look sloppy or
ill-prepared or make silly mistakes.
[Imagine the reaction if
a male network star said he only votes for men. I guess anti-male sexism
is to be admired.]
"I felt the same way about Liddy Dole.
Women want women to do well, even if you disagree with every single thing
that comes out of their mouth.
[Note how "even if
you disagree with every single thing" comes in the sentence after the
"You don't want to see another woman
fall on her face. You fear it's a statement about all women. That the
country at large will say, 'See, women can't do it.'
"So every time a woman pops up on the
national screen, I think most women say, 'OK, let's show the guys we can
When the pedal hits the metal in November,
Stahl predicts a Clinton victory.
"I think it will have a lot to do with
national politics. I think it's the year of the Democrats. I think people
in New York will be conflicted, but in the end, a lot of voters who aren't
sure about her will say, 'New York should have a Democratic
[Let's be honest and
make that "Lesley Stahl and her CBS colleagues think New York should
have a Democratic Senator."]
night ABC and CBS led with Clinton's press conference announcing
progress on Middle East peace while NBC Nightly News went first with the
controversy over the Cuban boy. Only NBC's David Bloom, however, touched
on a scandal question raised during the 2:30pm ET press conference.
ABC's John Cochran stuck to Clinton's comments on the Middle East,
Chechnya, and Elian, the Cuban six-year-old. CBS's John Roberts covered
those topics plus Clinton's plans for a lawsuit against gun-makers.
NBC's David Bloom
didn't show FNC's Wendell Goler posing the question, but he did note
on Nightly News how Clinton talked about "his own infidelity and
impeachment." Bloom introduced a Clinton soundbite in which Clinton
took another shot at his opponents: "On his affair with Monica
Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment trial."
Clinton: "Most of life's greatest wounds, for
individuals and for countries, are self inflicted. The mistake I made was
self-inflicted and the misconduct of others was not."
media friends. Bryant Gumbel and Geraldo Rivera this week took up the
Cuban regime's cause of having Elian Gonzales, the six-year-old who
survived a boat trip to Florida during which his mother drowned, returned
to Cuba. Gumbel accused anti-Castro Floridians of making the boy a
"political pawn" while Rivera claimed the U.S.
"snatched" the kid.
-- Wednesday night from
Havana reporter Byron Pitts delivered an unusual media angle on the CBS
Evening News, pressing a Cuban about how life in the U.S. might be better.
"In Havana's central park most believe he is better off in his
homeland with his father," Pitts asserted before asking a man in the
park: "But what if he can get, he can live a better life in the
United States?" The man answered: "I think that the children in
the U.S. cannot have lives similar to the one in Cuba because we have seen
on television, for example, there have been many shootings in schools
even. So I think the education here in Cuba is good."
School shooting hyped on
TV? All the Cuban government has to do is show CBS News.
-- Tuesday night,
December 7, ABC's World News Tonight ran back-to-back pieces on the kid.
Morton Dean traveled to Cuba and dutifully relayed their claims:
"Free Elian the headline says. The people in the streets and Cuba's
most influential politicians today were making the same argument, that the
U.S. position is morally and legally absurd."
Gee, maybe the
government had some role in organizing those protests.
Next, Deborah Amos
looked at the law and argued that under a 1996 treaty with Cuba the boy
should be returned as he would have been if he were from any other
country. Amos then treated as some kind of exclusive the obvious point
that the State Department is always on the left: "ABC News has
learned that the State Department is furious with immigration officials.
They say that pressure from the anti-Castro Miami Cubans is the only
reason this young boy remains separated from his only living
News flash for Amos: His
father is not his "only living relative." As virtually every
print story has noted, he has a cousin and a great uncle in Florida, never
mind other relatives beside his father in Cuba.
-- Making Fidel's case
to an anti-Castro leader. Tuesday morning Ninoska Perez of the Cuban
American National Foundation got grilled by an argumentative Bryant Gumbel
on CBS's The Early Show.
Gumbel insisted on the
December 7 program: "As you know, under normal circumstances, a
child's biological father is granted custody. Why to your mind in this
instance should that be secondary to politics?"
Perez: "No, no, it is not secondary to
Gumbel: "Well, of course it is."
Perez: "In any other case this would be decided in
a court and we would have to see the father fix the right conditions for
the child to be returned. This is what's going to be happening in a
Gumbel: "But Miss Perez you know as well as I do
there are no conditions that are necessary in this case. Child custody is
normally granted to the closest biological relative."
After Perez suggested
the father just read a Castro-prepared script and that it's bad to grow
up without freedom, Gumbel conceded her point, but quickly offered moral
equivalence: "Eleana's being used as a political pawn in Havana.
Will you allow that he's also being used as one here in Florida?"
-- The Elian Gonzalez
case really upset Geraldo Rivera on the December 6 Upfront Tonight on
CNBC, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens noticed:
"I tell you. You can hate Castro and hate his
government but if this father was not abusive and all four grandparents
say they want the child back, then every time you have an unpopular
government that we object to, children can be snatched from that country
and we'll defend it on patriotic grounds. It's just unconscionable. As
an attorney it just, it's not law, it's politics, it stinks."
Republican presidential debate? If you watched the CBS Evening News Monday
and Tuesday night, at least the East Coast versions, you would not have
heard a word about it. Ditto for The Early Show Tuesday morning, the day
after the 8pm ET debate aired live from Phoenix on CNN.
As noted in the December
6 CyberAlert, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows ignored the December 2
debate, the first to feature George W. Bush, the next night. This time,
the same thing occurred without any debate stories on the December 7 ABC,
CBS or NBC evening shows. The night of the debate, December 6, ABC's
World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News did feature stories on the rise of
John McCain and mentioned the upcoming debate.
The morning after the
debate, CBS, as noted above, ignored it -- preferring to focus in the
first half hour on the Oklahoma shooting and the Cuban kid. ABC's Good
Morning America and NBC's Today, MRC analysts Jessica Anderson and
Geoffrey Dickens reported, got to the debate only after segments on
Oklahoma. GMA featured only analysis from former Clintonista George
Stephanopoulos while Today went to Tim Russert.
MRC analyst Paul Smith
noticed quite a contrast in how two CNN analysts assessed Bush's Monday
night performance and how well he answered a question about the price of
On CNN's The World
Today at 10:15pm ET after the debate Bill Schneider asserted:
"I think the impact of last week's debate was to
raise concern among the Republican elders about Bush. Does he have gravita,
substance, the authority to be President? You could hear the fear melding,
my God, we're the establishment. What have we wrought? I think tonight's
debate did something to allay those concerns.
"Bush tonight was more serious, more thoughtful,
more substantive, more in command of the answers, in part because he got
lucky. Forbes asked him a question about energy policy, how to hold down
oil prices. He knows that subject. John McCain asked him about his
differences with the Clinton administration on education policy. He was
able to elaborate that very skillfully. And I think you can hear a great
sigh of relief around the country going right through the Republican
establishment, thank God, it's not as bad as we feared."
But in an analysis
posted Tuesday morning on CNN's AllPolitics Web site, Tucker Carlson of
The Weekly Standard and a regular on CNN's Inside Politics, was much
"His performance at the Republican primary debate
in Arizona last night was particularly uncomfortable. At times, Bush
seemed intent on confirming all the worst stereotypes about him -- that he
is shallow, unserious, and out of his depth on questions of policy.
"Consider the colloquy between Bush and Steve
Forbes. During the second half of the debate, Forbes asked Bush a wonky
but fairly clever question: How would you, as President, reduce the
domestic price of oil? Bush's initial answer -- 'more exploration' --
was convincing enough (and, as important, non-threatening to his many
supporters in the oil industry). But when Forbes pushed him to explain
how, precisely, his administration would respond to rising oil costs, Bush
fell apart. His answer: 'We'd keep plans in place to say to our
drillers, 'Keep on exploring.'
"Read that sentence again. Try to figure out what
"Stumped? That's because the sentence doesn't mean
on the Monday shooting at an Oklahoma school, ABC and NBC managed to
restrain their calls for gun control as the solution. But not CBS, MRC
analyst Brian Boyd observed.
Just after the December
6 lead story on the shooting, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather
interviewed Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, demanding: "Governor,
it's my understanding you are unalterably opposed to any kind of
additional gun control, including handgun control. Is that correct?"
Next, Rather announced:
"So what if anything does this latest school
shooting mean for prospects of getting even modest new gun control
measures through Congress? CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob
Schieffer's been working this part of the story on Capitol Hill. Bob,
after Columbine it looked for a while like Congress might do something
about new gun control efforts. What happened?"
Schieffer identified the culprit: The Senate passed a
bill, "but then the National Rifle Association really stepped up the
pressure on Congress. The House passed a much weaker bill."
On MSNBC's The News
with Brian Williams the same night Williams took an approach to Keating
similar to Rather's. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught this question:
"Of course, people watching may be saying to themselves, 'Well, you
can affect one thing. You can make hand guns less available.' Do you buy
night at 9pm ET/PT NBC repeated the season premiere of West Wing, a drama
about the White House staff in which Martin Sheen plays a Democratic
President. As outlined in the September 29 CyberAlert, the plot exposed
how the Hollywood Left views conservatives as the show concocted a
preposterous plot and series of scenes which portrayed leaders of the
Religious Right as anti-Semitic buffoons. The show culminated with an
angry "President Josiah Bartlet," played by Sheen, indignantly
telling ministers: "You can all get your fat asses out of my White
For more details and to watch a RealPlayer
clip of the scene in question, go to the September 29 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990929.html#5. --
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