Jesus Goes Left; ABC's Liberal Showcases & Time Capsule; Naked Geraldo
1) To fill in for Sam
Donaldson, ABC's This Week picked Mike McCurry. Cokie Roberts didn't
press Laura Bush when she offered a Hillary-like endorsement of the
National Endowment for the Arts.
2) Picking up on George W.
Bush's "Jesus Christ" answer, Al Hunt charged: "If Jesus
is a political thinker, I assume he's for the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty -- 'blessed are the peacemakers.'"
3) Liberal promotion days at
ABC. Thursday and Sunday ABC showcased McCain-Bradley and their campaign
finance "reform." Friday night ABC, which refused to show a
Republican debate, gave 90 uncontested minutes to Democrats Gore and
4) On Sunday's Meet
the Press Tim Russert demanded that Al Gore defend his claim that Clinton
is "one of our greatest Presidents," and reminded Bill Bradley
that he insisted the Gulf War would be "bloody and long." NBC
Nightly News tagged the two as "moderate."
5) ABC, CBS and NBC still
haven't shown Gore being asked about Broaddrick. Over the weekend Fox
News Sunday talked about it and CNN mentioned it on Reliable Sources,
though Howard Kurtz denied any bias is behind the media's spiking.
6) GMA welcomed Bill
Clinton's wish to put into a time capsule his answer that the
"meaning of life" is "to search for God and good" as
the show also endorsed the idea of putting a gun in a time capsule in
order to stress "the destruction they cause."
7) Geraldo Rivera naked on
cable TV. He offered an NYPD Blue-type glimpse of his buttocks -- and more
-- on the Travel Channel.
Correction: A sentence in the December 16
CyberAlert asked: "Diane Sawyer once Bill Bradley's
boyfriend?" No gender-bending intended. That "boyfriend"
should have read "girlfriend."
did ABC News consider a reflective replacement for Sam Donaldson on This
Week? A former lying enabler for a Democratic President. Opening the
December 19 roundtable segment sans Sam, usual co-host Cokie Roberts
introduced his replacement:
"Mike McCurry, thank you for being here. You get to be both Sam
Donaldson and George Stephanopoulos." Right of center analysts George
Will and Bill Kristol filled out the roundtable, showing that ABC knows
that only a liberal a can replace Donaldson.
Earlier in the show,
Roberts interviewed Barbara and Laura Bush. One of Laura Bush's answers
revealed that in a Bush W. Bush White House there won't be any pressure
from her to cut spending, not even from a puny agency conservatives have
long hoped to eliminate. Roberts asked "How do you feel about funding
for the arts." Laura Bush replied with an answer Hillary Clinton
could just as easily have given:
"Well I think funding, national funding for the
arts is important. I think that it's very important, particularly for
smaller, rural areas that don't have a big funding base of their own. I
think the NEA grants were announced today or yesterday, I read them, in
Texas and a lot of that funding, of course, goes to the symphony
orchestras, the art museums and different things that need funding."
If she had taken a
conservative position in favor of cutting such spending of taxpayer money
Roberts probably would have challenged her, but in this case Roberts moved
on to another area.
is a liberal Democrat, the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt suggested in
sarcastic remarks on CNN's Capital Gang about George W. Bush's
assertion at a debate that Jesus Christ had most influenced him.
On the December 18 show
the paper's Executive Washington Editor spewed: "The question was
what political philosopher or thinker do you identify with. It was
repeated to George Bush. Now if Jesus is a political thinker, I assume
he's for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- 'blessed are the
peacemakers' -- I assume he's pro earned income tax credit --
'blessed are the poor.'"
if not legally obligated, on integrity grounds ABC News sure owes
conservatives opposed to campaign finance "reform," and all the
Republican presidential candidates, some equal time. Last Thursday night,
December 16, Nightline devoted itself to a town meeting tied to the
McCain-Bradley stunt to promote more regulation of campaign finance. And,
just two weeks and a day after FNC had to step in to carry a debate
amongst Republicans originally scheduled for ABC to show, and which ABC
refused to even play on tape in the Nightline spot, Friday night Nightline
expanded to 90 minutes in order to run a tape of an ABC News-sponsored
town meeting debate in Nashua between Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
If ABC does ever show a
Republican debate I bet a major focus will be on how the candidates are
too far to the right, as was the focus of Tom Brokaw's questioning at
the December 13 debate shown on MSNBC. See the December 14 CyberAlert for
Friday night, however,
Ted Koppel never suggested the two Democrats are liberal or are too far to
the left for many Americans. Koppel hardly touched them, spending the
evening refining questions from the audience and urging each candidate to
be more responsive. He really only posed four questions. He opened the
show by asking Bradley and Gore what kind of First Lady their wives would
make. He later asked each to explain their view of media responsibility
for youth violence and at another time, after pointing out how few blacks
excel at science, what each would do to improve education for blacks. He
ended the program by offering each time to explain what as a person
"distinguishes" them to make them a better President.
Far from pressing them
from the right, the audience kept asking what they and the government
would do to solve problems. One guy's questions might explain why
Democrats don't care much about illegal fundraising from China as he
painted missile defense as "warlike" aggression toward China:
"Senator McCain last Monday alluded to wanting an
airborne missile defense system, possibly to be defending Taiwan, and
given the fact that many of the business leaders of this country want
favorite trade status for China, isn't that a very warlike
In addition to
Thursday's Nightline, Sunday's This Week gave Bradley and McCain more
air time to promote their liberal campaign finance "reform"
ideas. Cokie Roberts handled the taped interview, but never pressed either
with any argument from the right about how the last "reform"
caused the current perceived problems, though she did argue that maybe
it's philosophical differences and not money which has blocked health
care reform. Hitting them from a Common Cause angle, she asked both about
riding on corporate jets, but also wondered if they'd consider running
together on the Reform Party ticket. She ended by raising Bush's
"Jesus" answer and inquiring if there's "too much
religion injected into this campaign?"
While on the Thursday
McCain-Bradley gimmick, on Friday the manager of the senior citizens
center where the event took place told the MRC's CNSNews.com that she
considered ABC News to be the "sponsor" of the event. Here's
an excerpt of the December 17 story by Scott Hogenson:
The manager of the senior citizens center
where presidential candidates John McCain and Bill Bradley called for
campaign finance reform December 16 said the event was sponsored by ABC
News and not the candidates.
The controversial meeting between McCain
and Bradley has come under scrutiny because no other candidates were
involved and because ABC News had exclusive broadcast rights to the event,
which the network described as a town meeting "moderated" by ABC
Nightline program host Ted Koppel.
But Sandy Osgood, who manages the Earl
Bourdon Senior Center in
Claremont, New Hampshire, the site of the
meeting, said the network did more than simply moderate the discussion
between McCain and Bradley. "ABC sponsored the event," Osgood
ABC News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy denied
that the network had sponsored any part of the McCain-Bradley event and
said she believes Osgood "is mistaken" in saying ABC did so.
"Perhaps this woman doesn't understand what 'sponsored' means,"
Murphy told CNSNews.com. "No event was sponsored by ABC. It was an
When asked if ABC had invited any other
presidential candidates to participate in the program, Murphy said she was
not certain. But officials with the campaigns of two of McCain's rivals
for the Republican presidential nomination -- publisher Steve Forbes and
Texas Governor George Bush -- said they were not invited to attend.
The questions swirling around the
McCain-Bradley meeting already have prompted lawyers for the Forbes
campaign to explore whether they will seek equal time on ABC....
Broadcasters are not required by the
Federal Communications Commission to provide equal time for political
candidates in news coverage, but lawyers for Forbes are examining the
question of whether ABC's exclusion of other presidential candidates
constitutes a de facto political endorsement of McCain and Bradley's
To read the whole story,
While ABC News
technically may not have "sponsored" the event -- only appended
themselves to an already planned event, just asking McCain and Bradley to
stick around for another 30 minutes to tape a Nightline show -- the
network owes its viewers equal time for the views of those opposed to the
McCain-Bradley concept, whether presidential candidates or not.
Ted Koppel on Friday did not challenge Gore or Bradley on policy or past
statements, but on Sunday's Meet the Press NBC's Tim Russert did not
let them off so easy. He pressed them both on not allowing the poor to
escape bad public schools, demanded that Gore defend his claim that
Clinton is "one of our greatest Presidents," and reminded
Bradley that he opposed the Gulf War as he insisted at the time that it
would be "bloody and long."
Hours later on NBC
Nightly News reporter Anne Thompson gave only a few seconds to these
questions as she asserted Bradley and Gore are "moderate
Here are Russert's
challenging questions posed during the joint appearance on Meet the Press
by Al Gore and Bill Bradley:
-- To both: "In the
District of Columbia where we sit, one out of every three students drop
out before they finish high school. A new study done: three-fourths of the
nation's school children are unable to compose an organized, coherent
essay. All across the country -- New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New
Orleans -- the Catholic school system, more than half of those students
are non-Catholic, most of them black, many of them with a single mom. They
have decided the public schools don't work for their kid, and they want
to stop the experimentation on their child. And they have chosen to send
their kid to a Catholic school, even though they're non-Catholic. And 99
percent of them go on to college. Why don't those poor, minority moms
with their kids, who could not possibly deal with the chaos of public
school, deserve a break?"
-- To Gore: "On
impeachment day, Mr. Vice President, you said that 'Bill Clinton will be
regarded in history books as one of our greatest Presidents.' Who else
do you believe should be considered our greatest President?"
Gore: "Oh. Well, we all know who are greatest
Presidents are from Washington and Jefferson to Lincoln and Franklin
Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy and all of the others."
Russert: "So you put Bill Clinton in the same
company as Washington and Lincoln?"
Gore: "Listen, I think..."
Russert, jumping in: "No, it's a very serious
Gore: "No, of course not. Of course not. But I
think that his accomplishments are going to be regarded by the history
books as far more significant than his personal mistakes. And let me just
review some of them for you. We've gone from the largest deficits to the
largest surpluses. Instead of quadrupling the debt, we've paid down the
debt and tripled the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, there's
low unemployment. And within a month, Tim, within six weeks, we're going
to have the longest and strongest economic expansion in the entire history
of the United States of America. The crime rate has gone down seven years
in a row. The welfare rolls have gone down by more than ever in history.
Wages and real incomes are up. The wage gap has narrowed. You know,
there's some people, let me just conclude..."
Russert, cutting him off: "So this makes -- you
used the word greatest. You stand by that?"
Gore: "Let me just conclude. I do. And I know that
you and some others may believe that when the historians many years from
now look back on this period that all of that will be eclipsed by the
President's personal mistake. Maybe you're right. None of us has a
crystal ball, but I doubt it."
-- To Bradley: "In
1991, the Persian Gulf War. This is what Bill Bradley said as he voted no,
not to support the war [reading from January 23, 1991 Bergen Record]:
'The Persian Gulf War is likely to become a 'bloody and long' battle
that could take up to six months and could destabilize the Middle East for
decades to come, Senator Bradley said.' The ground war, as you know,
lasted 100 hours."
Russert: "Was that a fundamental misjudgment on
Bradley: "Tim, I made the call as I saw it at the
time. I was not against the use of force. The question was whether we
should use force at that time or continue sanctions. I voted to continue
sanctions. And my sense is if they hadn't worked, there would have been
a vote before us later and I would have voted for it."
On Sunday's NBC
Nightly News Anne Thompson opened her piece on the Meet the Press session:
"The Democratic contenders, Bill Bradley and Al Gore, moderate
Democrats whose positions are almost as similar as their wardrobe choices
today, clashing on the details." (Both wore blue suits with red
soundbites of both squaring off on health care and Social Security, as
well as Gore's gimmick about ceasing campaign advertising. Thompson held
Russert's challenging questions to this one sentence which ignored the
"greatest President" exchange: "Both men had awkward
moments: Gore admitting mistakes were made in fundraising tactics for the
1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, Bradley defending his vote against the Persian
Gore's meandering reply to a question at a town meeting last Tuesday
about Juanita Broaddrick's rape charge against Bill Clinton remained
unmentioned by ABC, CBS or NBC through Sunday night. Of the Sunday talk
shows, only Fox News Sunday mentioned it, with a panelist noting the
contrast to how the media went "ballistic" over Bush's foreign
It hadn't made it onto
CNN's The World Today through Thursday night or Inside Politics through
Friday night, though Howard Kurtz briefly raised it on Reliable Sources
over the weekend. Kurtz conceded Gore's answer was
"important," but denied media bias had anything to do with why
most of the media ignored the incident.
As noted in the December
17 CyberAlert, on Wednesday only FNC played the exchange between a woman
and Gore at a live Tuesday night town meeting on WNDS-TV in Derry, New
Hampshire. A CyberAlert update Friday afternoon reported how MSNBC's The
News with Brian Williams played the four-minute exchange. Below are more
details about that, plus more on how Reliable Sources and Fox News Sunday
dealt with the event:
-- Thursday night,
December 16 on The News with Brian Williams the host of the same name
introduced the tape:
"We want to return briefly to politics and a
moment we want you to see that took place earlier this week. This moment
is now getting a second look from a lot of people. You're about to see
the Vice President on live television in an extraordinary circumstance. It
was during a town hall style forum in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. He
was hit out of no where by a question by an audience member about rape
allegations already aired against the President. However you feel about
this issue his response is fascinating to watch. Here now what may be a
telling moment for Al Gore."
suggested: "Now the editorial opinion of that moment has run the
gamut from artful to disingenuous. Viewers, of course, are free to draw
their own conclusions, but a striking moment there."
Of course, viewers who
missed this one MSNBC show or who don't see FNC never saw the lengthy
video as the broadcast networks and CNN's key news shows have yet to
show it. If you haven't seen it, you can via RealPlayer on the MRC Web
site. To view the clip shown by FNC, which was almost the identical cut
seen on MSNBC, go to:
-- Reviewing media
events of the week on CNN's Reliable Sources, which aired at 6:30pm ET
Saturday and 11:30am ET Sunday, host Howard Kurtz played a brief 24-second
clip of Gore's answer in which he maintained "there have been so
many personal allegations...enough is enough, I do not know how to
evaluate each one of these individual stories."
Kurtz then noted how
"most news organizations did not report Gore's answer, but the
Republican National Committee faxed around a transcript to the world and
it was quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News Channel, Matt Drudge
and so forth."
Reliable Sources regular
Bernard Kalb said he found the answer "newsworthy" and thought
it should have been included in larger stories about the town meeting.
Kurtz then opined:
"Republicans suggest that somehow the press was
protecting Clinton. I think, understanding the rhythms of campaign life,
this happened at an evening meeting, reporters are working on other
stories about Gore's remarks on gays in the military and the medical use
of marijuana, but still in reading the transcript and watching just there,
it struck me that this was interesting, it was important, that Juanita
Broaddrick is an allegation that has not completely faded."
Why gays in the military
and Gore's view of medical marijuana are assumed to be more newsworthy
Kurtz did not explain, but it would be nice if Kurtz would tell the
producers of CNN's Inside Politics and The World Today that he finds
Gore's comments "important."
-- In the roundtable segment of the December 19 Fox
News Sunday moderator Tony Snow told viewers what occurred and then played
a 30-second or so clip, which prompted panelist Bill Sammon, a Washington
Times reporter, to argue:
"When George W. Bush flunks the pop quiz on
foreign leaders, the press goes ballistic for two weeks. When Gore flunks
the pop quiz on Juanita Broaddrick, it really doesn't get much
morning ABC's Good Morning America showcased without comment President
Bill Clinton's wish to put into a time capsule his answer that the
"meaning of life" is "to search for God and good." GMA
aired his answer at the top of the show devoted entirely to the burying of
a time capsule outside their Times Square studio. Later, ABC took up the
suggestion of a viewer, who wants guns "abolished," to put a gun
in the time capsule to "remind" people in 100 years of "the
destruction they cause."
Just after 7am on
December 17 co-host Diane Sawyer observed:
"We thought what better way to start our special
time capsule broadcast than with a quote, an entry from the President of
the United States. Peter Jennings sat down with President Bill Clinton
yesterday and this is what he had to say":
Peter Jennings: "What's the toughest question
that you think you can ask yourself and answer that you'd like to be put
in a time capsule?"
Bill Clinton: "What is the meaning of life? To
search for God and good and love and to live by what you believe."
Diane Sawyer, back on live: "And there it is from
President Bill Clinton."
There it is, with no
connection to his reality.
As the 7am hour neared
its end, Charles Gibson highlighted some ideas with which the GMA staff
agreed: "At this time yesterday we asked you to send in some
suggestions of things that ought to go into our time capsule 2000 and we
got some great suggestions from you and we're going to include them.
Number one: Kristin from Hiram, Georgia said put in 'a gun so that in
100 years Americans will recall what a gun looks like and remind them of
the destruction they cause.'"
Gibson stopped reading
her e-mail at that point, but on-screen you could see how it continued:
"Hopefully, guns will be abolished."
The other ideas ABC
adopted: Put in "hope," the Diary of Anne Frank and Linus's
security blanket from Peanuts. Of these ideas Diane Sawyer enthused:
"These are wonderful." Gibson agreed: "These are great
Seeing guns as a
destructive force matched a taped story that MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
saw aired at another point on Friday's show. Reviewing school violence,
reporter Judy Muller matched anti-gun rhetoric by predicting that either
we'll agree to more gun control or else we'll have to have
"magnetometers in every school." Muller intoned:
"The end of the century will certainly be
remembered as a violent time for the nation's schools. From Pearl,
Mississippi, to Paducah, Kentucky. From Jonesboro, Arkansas, to
Springfield, Oregon. And worst of all, the massacre in Littleton,
Colorado, when two teenage boys, filled with rage, killed 13 people,
leaving behind a legacy of fear.... As we bury the time capsule today, we
can only wonder what Americans will make of all this a hundred years from
now. Will they be appalled that weapons were once so accessible? Will
there be stricter gun control laws? Or will it go the other way, with
every American family armed and magnetometers in every school? And
although our schools, statistically speaking, are still fairly safe places
for our children, will that still be true in the year 2100?"
Rivera's words are frightening enough each night when he's fully
clothed on CNBC. Now imagine being confronted with him defending Bill
Clinton and bashing Ken Starr while he's naked. That could happen if
anyone combines his CNBC polemics with his Travel Channel nude dips.
Sunday night at 10pm ET
and PT the Travel Channel ran the first part of "Sail to the Century
with Geraldo Rivera," a one-hour videography of his trip around the
world with a crew on a 70-foot sailboat. He plans to cross the dateline in
the Pacific as the year changes, hence the name of the show.
Part one started with
his departure from Marion, Massachusetts in early 1997 and ended in
mid-1999 with the boat off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Geraldo has
conducted the trip on intermittent weekend and longer breaks from CNBC and
NBC as his crew sometimes waited for him and sometimes sailed on to
another port to await his joining them for a leg of the trip. His
narration included repeated complaints about having to fly back to the
U.S. to cover the Lewinsky scandal.
Without warning as the
boat hit a calm spot on its way across the Atlantic to the Azores, barely,
shall we say, five minutes into the show, a long-haired and unshaven
Geraldo doffed his clothes for a swim, forcing viewers to see his buttocks
and, as he turned sideways to jump off the boat (with front side toward
the camera), a bit more than even NYPD Blue has shown. Fortunately, Travel
Channel editors put some of those blury blocks over key parts of his body.
Other highlights of the program included Geraldo leading on-deck dancing
Part two will air
sometime in January. But now you're warned. If he went naked in the
Atlantic he'll probably do it again in the Pacific. -- Brent Baker
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