Pro-Lifers Put Money Before Babies; Kneepad Nina Backs Hillary
1) CBS looked at how Bush is trying to appeal to the religious
right, but Bill Whitaker relayed an attack on pro-lifers from a McCain backer
who claimed they're more interested in raising money "than saving
babies." ABC reviewed McCain's legislative record.
2) Two Columbine students were shot dead at a fast-food place,
prompting CBS's Sandra Hughes to remind viewers that gun control bills in
Colorado were "defeated last week under heavy pressure by the National
3) NBC's Andrea Mitchell highlighted how Hillary Clinton
"blasted" Rudy Giuliani for accusing her of "hostility towards
America's religious traditions." But on CNN Kate O'Beirne pointed out
how her litmus test for judges discriminates against those traditions.
4) More of NBC's analysis of China: "The future of the
Communist Party may be in doubt if it can't ease the pain felt by the once
pampered work force."
5) "Kneepad Nina" Burleigh is back. She recalled
that in 1992 it "was hard...to stay objective and not become enchanted by
the promise of Hillary." She declared Hillary has her vote so that
"Trent Lott doesn't get another foot soldier for his holy war."
more concerned with making money than saving lives. Monday night CBS focused
on how George W. Bush is trying to appeal to South Carolina's religious
right by attacking John McCain's abortion stand, but CBS News reporter Bill
Whitaker highlighted a McCain backer who "says the anti-abortion
establishment, grown powerful from all the soft money it raises, is more
concerned about McCain's campaign finance reforms than saving babies."
On ABC's World News Tonight John Cochran reviewed
McCain's legislative record, concluding both supporters and critics are
correct: "McCain's critics say he is not very good at playing the
Washington game. His supporters say the same thing and are proud of it."
Over on NBC Nightly News David Bloom checked in with a
story about how Bush is drawing bigger crowds as a Los Angles Times poll found
that in South Carolina Bush is up 2-to-1 among Republicans while McCain leads
2-to-1 among independents. Bloom added: "Today Bush, trying to rile up
Republicans, claims Democrats here are siding with McCain only to hurt the
Next, Tom Brokaw talked with Tim Russert who said
winning South Carolina was "key" to both men and he agreed
independents are the "key" vote. Picking up on a development
uncovered by columnist Bob Novak, but without citing him, Russert noted that
there are "talks tonight" about how McCain is open to accepting the
Reform Party nomination if he wins the GOP nod.
Here are some more details about the February 14 CBS and
ABC evening show coverage:
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer told viewers how
polls show a "dead heat" in South Carolina as the race is now
"meaner than ever too." He illustrated: "When Bush claimed that
McCain had an inconsistent voting record in the Senate, McCain said a Senator
had to make compromises to get things done and shot back with this."
McCain: "This kind
of savagery is not necessary in American political campaigns."
Bush: "It's not
savagery, it's what we call full exposure, full disclosure."
Wow. That's "mean."
Up next, Bill Whitaker explained: "With
independents and Democrats leaning toward John McCain in this open primary,
Bush believes his salvation depends on the Christian Right, a third or more of
Republican voters here."
After recalling how Bush was criticized for his
"pilgrimage to Bob Jones University" where interracial dating is
banned, Whitaker noted:
conservative leader and group in the state has endorsed him. McCain said today
he's not concerned, but his aides are, especially about the religious
right's main issue -- abortion -- and these commercials by Bush's
anti-abortion backers airing all over the state."
Viewers then heard the
audio of a Bush radio ad.
"Then don't vote for John McCain."
Woman again: "I
won't. I'm voting for George Bush."
Whitaker countered: "Barbara Leonard, chair of the
Republican National Coalition for Life here, is bucking the trend and voting
for McCain because of his anti-abortion record. She says the anti-abortion
establishment, grown powerful from all the soft money it raises, is more
concerned about McCain's campaign finance reforms than saving babies."
do know that they are upset about campaign finance reform. This pro-life
business has become a money-making business. It keeps the money in the
pro-life movement circulated."
Without giving any time for a pro-life spokesperson to
give their viewpoint and explain how limitations on their free speech could
lead to fewer babies being saved, Whitaker concluded:
"With the race so
tight the key is motivating supporters to get to the polls. Now in past
elections firing up the religious right has made the difference and George W.
Bush for one is hoping they'll do it again."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight did not air a full report from the campaign trail and instead
turned to John Cochran for an assessment of how McCain fared on Capitol Hill.
As transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, he opened:
"John McCain tells
crowds he is the one with the experience to make reforms and cut spending,
even military spending so popular with South Carolina voters."
After a clip of McCain, he continued: "Actually,
McCain has had little impact on cutting government spending. His biggest
success was a ten-year fight to pass the line item veto, giving Presidents the
power to kill specific spending projects. But later the Supreme Court ruled it
was unconstitutional. McCain failed again last fall to kill $13 billion in
what he called wasteful spending, in part because he attacked a ship building
project proposed by his own party's leader, Trent Lott."
Viewers heard Senator Robert Bennett note that
McCain's not a team player before Cochran moved on, picking up on an
incident that showed him as a man with great insight: "McCain has been
trouble for his party from his first days as a Congressman when he stunned
Republicans by urging President Ronald Reagan to withdraw Marines from
Lebanon. Reagan kept them there and 241 Americans were killed in a terrorist
Cochran continued: "McCain's confrontational style
has resulted in a mixed record as a legislator. He helped to pass laws
preventing Senators from accepting expensive gifts, putting new restrictions
on Washington lobbyists and giving Native Americans more power to govern
themselves. McCain also helped pressure the TV networks into accepting ratings
for violent and sexually explicit programs, but McCain has also had failures,
especially his attempts to pass a big tobacco tax and campaign finance reform.
All McCain succeeded in doing was to infuriate fellow Republicans."
Cochran concluded: "McCain's critics say he is not
very good at playing the Washington game. His supporters say the same thing
and are proud of it."
A nice way to turn a negative into a positive. And not a
word from any critics of how he used his committee chairmanship position to
play with business lobbyists.
too soon after a tragedy for CBS to tie it into gun control. At the end of a
Monday night CBS Evening News story on how two Columbine High School students
were found shot dead inside a Subway sandwich shop in Jefferson County,
Colorado, reporter Sandra Hughes helpfully pointed out:
Colorado legislature has considered several gun control measures, spawned by
the Columbine massacre, some voted on today, the toughest measure which would
have required background checks on gun sales at gun shows was defeated last
week under heavy pressure by the National Rifle Association. It would have
closed a loophole in a law that allowed the Columbine killers to get at least
one of their weapons."
Hillary Clinton's first week as a Senate candidate Saturday night, NBC's
Andrea Mitchell pointed out, without refutation, how she "blasted"
Rudy Giuliani for a fundraising letter which accused Clinton of
"hostility towards America's religious traditions." But less than an
hour later on CNN's Capital Gang, Kate O'Beirne pointed out how her
pro-abortion litmus test for judges "rules out anyone with traditional
Mitchell began her February 12 NBC Nightly News piece,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake: "Hillary Clinton working the
crowd at an upstate diner between Rochester and Buffalo, a Republican area
where resentment against anything connected to New York City runs so deep even
a Democrat named Clinton has a shot against New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani."
Mitchell picked up on a damaging story about Mrs.
Clinton, but treated her as a victim: "But even here the neophyte
politician is subjected to extraordinary scrutiny. The First Lady orders
breakfast and is tagged for not leaving a tip for a waitress who is a single
mom with no benefits, exactly the kind of voter Clinton is trying to win
Later, Mitchell asserted: "But the most noticeable
thing about this Senate race is how quickly it has gone negative, both
candidates armed with sophisticated rapid response teams ready to spring into
action." But she only relayed an example from one side: "So when
Giuliani, in a fundraising letter, accused Clinton of 'hostility towards
America's religious traditions,' the First Lady blasted him."
"You know I am outraged that he would inject religion into this campaign
in any form whatsoever."
Mitchell moved on, but less than an hour later east
coast viewers heard a counterpoint from National Review Washington Editor Kate
O'Beirne on CNN's 7pm ET Capital Gang. For her "Outrage of the
Week," she picked Hillary, noting that earlier in the week Mrs. Clinton
declared "her refusal to vote in the Senate for any Supreme Court nominee
who opposes abortion. Hillary's intent to black-ball any anti-abortion
candidates, regardless of their judicial views, rules out anyone with
traditional religious beliefs, an outrageous discriminatory litmus test that
even Al Gore rejects."
14 CyberAlert highlighted this sentence from a Sunday NBC Nightly News story
on unemployment in China: "In the good old days, the Communist Party
found a job for everyone. Now young people have to fend for themselves."
The story from Chris Billing in Beijing ran at the end
of the February 13 show and my VCR at home cut off just before his last
sentence which, it turns out, was another noteworthy sentence which MRC
analyst Mark Drake observed: "The future of the Communist Party may be in
doubt if it can't ease the pain felt by the once pampered work force."
"The once pampered work force?" Ah, the joys
of working in a communist paradise back in "the good old days."
Nina" Burleigh is back! This time with her thoughts about her
disappointment in how Hillary Clinton has changed over the years. In a
February 14 New York Observer opinion piece, which the MRC's Tim Graham
alerted me to last week, and from which Rush Limbaugh quoted on Monday, she
recalled that while with People magazine in the summer of 1992 it "was
hard...for a young woman to stay objective and not become enchanted by the
promise of Hillary," especially compared to the "dark age of
After expressing regrets for ever questioning Hillary
about Whitewater, Burleigh declared: "I'll be voting for her just to
make sure Trent Lott doesn't get another foot soldier for his holy
As a reminder, Nina Burleigh is the reporter who after
years as a Time magazine reporter and while still a contributor to it, wrote a
piece in 1998 for Mirabella magazine recounting her joy at playing cards with
Bill Clinton on Air Force One and how she'd like to be "ravished"
by him. Asked about this by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, she told him
what she'd really like to do for Clinton, an answer she recounted in the
July 20, 1998 New York Observer:
"When he [Kurtz]
called back, I decided my only defense would be to give him a quote that would
knock his socks off. I also wanted to test the Post's new
'sizzle' -- the paper's post-'We Broke the Lewinsky Story'
advertising hook. So when Howard asked whether I could still objectively cover
the President, having found him so attractive, I replied, 'I would be happy
to give him a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think
American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show
their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.' I recognized
Howard's visceral response to my words by his sudden intake of breath and
the spurt of pounding fingers of keyboard. I'd never been on that side of a
good quote before. It was better than sex!"
That quote inspired and won the MRC's
"Presidential Kneepad Award for the Best Journalistic Lewinsky" in
our "Dishonor Awards for the Decade's Most Outrageous Liberal Media
Bias." For a rundown of all the winners and video highlights of the
December 1999 awards banquet, check out our newly updated Dishonor awards page
where you can find a picture of Burleigh. Go to:
Now to some excerpts from Nina Burleigh's latest New
York Observer diatribe:
You've Changed, Hill. How Much Have We?
Did anyone else cringe watching Hillary announce for the Senate? The moment
that made me want to click the channel changer in embarrassment was, I think,
meant to be a joke. Acknowledging the hard road ahead, she ducked her head and
did a Hillary version of a New York accent: "Buddaaay, this is New Yawk!"
As a fellow Illinois native who's finally almost comfortable in my New
York disguise, I've been watching uneasily as Hillary progresses into a
metropolitan woman. Where Mandy Grunwald and Harold Ickes see the candidate
they can mold into a reasonable facsimile of a New Yorker (black pantsuit, and
weren't those Prada boots in The New York Times?), I see the apparition of
an H.R.C. I met on a few occasions back in the beginning, when the reflexive
Midwestern niceness was still apparent and there was still a Park Ridge nasal
twang audible behind the practiced Arkansas drawl....
In the summer of 1992, I was assigned by the Midwest bureau of People
magazine to follow Hillary around and get some color for a nice, friendly
piece on the feminist phenom who had "first woman to (fill in the
blank)" all over her résumé and who was still talking about her
husband's candidacy as a 2-for-1 deal. When I later interviewed her, two
things stayed with me: that she seemed very personable and warm and that her
accent was exactly that of the girls I had gone to high school with in a
suburb not far from Park Ridge.
It was hard in the summer of 1992 for a young woman to stay objective and
not become enchanted by the promise of Hillary. I had spent my formative
professional years undercover in the dark age of Reagan-Bush. Those were the
days when women were not allowed to wear pants in the White House. Anita Hill
had just been whomped. Anti-abortion judges were packing the Supreme Court.
And here was a woman who had kept her own name!
That afternoon, I ran into her in the bathroom. An aide was combing out her
hair (long, with the headband, remember?) and Hillary asked where I'd bought
my shoes. She was, I knew then, just a nice girl with guts, out doing battle
Later, I was assigned to go along on a White House interview she'd
consented to, following some early Whitewater crisis. I twitchily asked all my
scripted questions about lost billing records and cattle-future windfalls, and
she answered deftly, without giving up a thing. By this time, I was a junior
member of the National Hunt Club, and she was big game. I thought her stuffed
carcass in a pastel pantsuit would look pretty cool on the fireplace mantel of
my rented D.C. town house.
Not long after, I found myself buying steak, wine and an expensive cigar on
Time Warner for a guy named Dave Bossi, who had quit his job as a Maryland
fireman to scour backwoods courthouses in Arkansas for Clintonian abuses. Mr.
Bossi was motivated by his concern for the nation's embryos and a visceral
hatred for Hillary.
I followed him to his lair in a South Carolina senator's office
(marveling at how this thug breezed into the Capitol at midnight), where he
plied me with documents and showed me a closet piled to the ceiling with
cartons of Salem Lights and Kools -- the South Carolina delegation's version
of an official souvenir.
The last time I spoke to Hillary was in a rope line at one of the White
House press Christmas parties. It was early in the second Administration,
pre-Monica. She shook my hand and smiled automatically, but her eyeballs were
ice cubes. Did she know about my transformation, my betrayal? Or was I just
investing meaning into this small encounter with an impossibly famous person
who had forgotten all about me?
My participation in the big-game hunt ended when I moved to New York in
1997. I missed the final blooding and the kill. And when I heard rumors
Hillary was considering a run for the Senate, I assumed she was heading back
to Illinois and was happy for that.
Instead she's here. And when she can finally unleash her sarcasm on
voters who might appreciate it, she murmurs that half-assed little "Buddaaay,
this is New Yawk." Timidly, with an embarrassed duck of the chin.
Hillary might win (I'll be voting for her just to make sure Trent Lott
doesn't get another foot soldier for his holy war), but it's going to be
sad to watch her try. Aside from recalling the epic tragedy of her personal
life, I will have to bear witness to the final eradication of whatever it was
in her that seemed so endearing that summer day back in 1992.
Even worse, we'll all have to be reminded of how far women have not come,
baby (isn't that what's really bothering New York women about her?). Her
disastrously retro marital history, her vaunted "firsts," her
portrayal as the feminazi of feminazis, her ongoing transformation and
fundamental insecurity and her feeble lashings at right-wing conspirators --
all remind us of where women are now: just eight years and one President away
from the day when a woman keeping her own name was national news. I can't
speak for the rest of New York's female residents, but I'd rather not be
reminded of that particular truth.
For a couple of more days you should be able to access
this opinion piece at:
And I think David Bossi's last name is really spelled
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