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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Tuesday March 21, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 48) |

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Rather Raved for McCain; Clinton's Nuclear "Healing"; NRA Blamed for Killing

1) "The Straight Talk Express is still rolling," a pleased Dan Rather claimed in using the CBS Evening News to plug an interview with John McCain. Rather's news: McCain will back Bush whether he adopts "McCain's way of thinking about reducing the corruptive influence of money in presidential politics or not."

2) Mary Tyler Moore had hoped McCain would do well on Super Tuesday. Newsweek's Evan Thomas fantasized about him going independent: "If he could ever get Colin Powell to run with him..."

3) Tom Brokaw equated the Pope and Clinton: "Two of the most powerful men in the world on separate missions of peace and reconciliation." CBS's John Roberts described Clinton's goal: "To set in motion a critical healing process between long-time foes."

4) In India Peter Jennings allowed the locals to smear orange stuff of his face and then, donning shades, he danced with them.

5) On Today Maria Shriver whined "we can't get anywhere" on gun control because "the NRA keeps stopping anything that would give us any progress." She blamed the NRA for preventing compromise, without which "people will continue to be killed."

6) Time's Jack White suggested the Pope's apology "could be a role model" for others to face their "historical crimes," such as the U.S. government for slavery.

7) FNC's newsletter cited the MRC's op-ed to show how FNC, unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, is staying on top of the LaBella memo. FNC's Brit Hume picked up on a McCain item noted in Friday's CyberAlert.

     >>> Notable Quotables now online. The latest issue 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 Web site thanks to Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul. Amongst the quote headings in the March 20 edition: "Welcome to Campaign 2000: Bush Nastiness v. Gore Outreach"; "Accusatory Bush v. Crafty Gore"; "Imus Zinged Brokaw"; "Jeb Bush = Selma Racist Thugs"; "Bush Sold His Soul to Hard Right"; "Far-Right Bush vs. Moderate Al" and "Larry King's Kiss and Tell." For this issue, go to:
    For earlier issues from this year, go to:
    And for the archive of issues going back to 1988, go to:
http://archive.mrc.org/notablequotablesq/archives.html <<<

    >>> Help the MRC's Web team keep up with our burgeoning documentation of liberal media bias. The MRC has an opening for a paid Web site development assistant. Position provides 10-15 hours per week to work and pay starts at $7.50 an hour. Qualified candidates will have opportunities to work on various HTML coding projects, as well as editing of existing HTML documents. Individuals should possess experience with Web site development software. Knowledge of some Javascript language is preferred, but not necessary. This opportunity is perfect for a student looking to make some extra money while gaining valuable computer experience. Pleas check our Montgomery Internship Program page<<<


Dan Rather remains enthralled with John McCain. Teasing Monday's CBS Evening News before the show opening music, he enthused: "John McCain says he backs the Bush candidacy completely. An exclusive interview with the Arizona Senator shows the Straight Talk Express is still rolling."

    Though it revealed nothing new, Rather then began the March 20 show by making his taped interview the top story of the day. As transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, he breathlessly announced:
    "Good evening. John McCain told CBS News today he supports the Bush for President ticket but has absolutely no interest in being on it. McCain talked about this and what's next for him in a one on one exclusive sit down interview for tomorrow night's 60 Minutes II. We'll give you some excerpts tonight. It was McCain's first such interview since he suspended his campaign. I spoke with him in Washington as he returned to the U.S. Senate today."

    Going to his taped piece, Rather continued: "McCain was upbeat on his arrival back to Capitol Hill, back with his agenda, and back with thoughts on the Republican ticket."
    McCain: "I think that we will have discussions, and I think there's no doubt that I would support the nominee of the party. Exactly how that happens and under what circumstances and my degree of enthusiasm obviously are questions that are yet to be resolved."
    Rather: "Senator, you have said to me, as well as others, on a number of occasions that you're not interested in the vice presidential nomination."
    McCain: "I will say that again, yes indeed. I think I can serve the country far better in the United States Senate than I can as the Vice President of the United States. It would be a great honor obviously, but I think I have to assess where I can best serve the country, and I think that's in the United States Senate."
    Rather offered up this probing inquiry: "What do you want the person sitting in the living room to think where things are going?"
    McCain: "I'll always be grateful for the opportunity. I will never ever forget the wonderful people that supported me, and I will never forget the obligation and contract I entered into with them, and that is to pursue this reform agenda, and that will be my highest priority.

    "Back at the anchor desk Rather adopted McCain's language as his own about campaign money as corruptive: "McCain repeatedly said he is backing Bush with no strings attached and no demands, whether Bush, as he hopes, comes around to McCain's way of thinking about reducing the corruptive influence of money in presidential politics or not."

    Quite the news breaking interview, and those were the highlights.

    Next, the CBS Evening News, which has yet to air a story on the LaBella memo, dedicated a whole piece to another scandal as Rather asked about a possible "Nixonian coverup at the FDA." Over a graphic announcing "FDA-gate," Rather introduced a two-minute report by Sharyl Attkisson about a FDA doctor who claims his agency intimidated doctors who raised questions about Rezulin, an anti-diabetes drug.


Speaking of enthusiasm for John McCain, he won over Mary Tyler Moore and Newsweek's Evan Thomas dreamed about what would happen if he went independent with Colin Powell as his running mate.

    -- On Saturday night C-SPAN played a tape of a panel discussion under the heading of "Women's Achievement and Role in Society." The March 6 event, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America, was moderated by NBC's Katie Couric with panelists Gloria Steinem, Christie Todd Whitman, Mary Tyler Moore and Donna Shalala.

    Since the event at the Kennedy Center took place the night before Super Tuesday, Couric asked if they'd like to see McCain do well the next day. Mary Tyler Moore responded affirmatively:
    "I would like to see that happen. I would like to see McCain come forward and be our next President."

    -- With McCain now out of the GOP race, on Inside Washington over the weekend Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas could only long for an independent run.

    Thomas ruminated: "I wonder if McCain is sitting on some desert island wondering about a third party or an independent run. It's not-"
    NPR's Nina Totenberg cut in: "I don't think so. I think he's going to prove his Republican credentials in this election, and I think he, after all, he's the only person in the United States Senate on the Republican side who has a national constituency. And if I were Trent Lott, I'd be a little worried."
    Thomas yearned: "I don't think this is likely but if he could ever get Colin Powell to run with him, they'd win in a lay-down."


ABC and NBC, unlike CBS, led Monday night with what actually occurred during the day with both shows starting with President Clinton's visit to Bangladesh and previews of his planned stops this week in the new nuclear powers of India and Pakistan. Each followed with a report on the Pope's visit to Jordan as part of a Middle East sojourn.

    ABC's Peter Jennings anchored from New Delhi, India, while NBC's Tom Brokaw as well as CBS's Dan Rather stayed in New York, though both promised to be in Israel for the Pope for Tuesday night's broadcast.

    Brokaw combined the travel of the two world leaders into his show opening in which he equated their causes: "In South Asia and in the Middle East tonight two of the most powerful men in the world on separate missions of peace and reconciliation." On ABC's World News Tonight Peter Jennings warned that "this is surely the most controversial visit that Pope John Paul has ever made anywhere."

    From India, CBS's John Roberts portrayed Clinton, not the Pope, as the healer: "Mr. Clinton came to this region with a self-appointed goal: to set in motion a critical healing process between long-time foes India and Pakistan."

    That's what will convince a nation to disarm, Clinton's charms as a healer.

    Back again to ABC, from a place called Thiruvananthapuram in the state of Kerala, Lynn Sherr praised the Indian region's successful population control efforts which she credited to having literate women and HillaryCare: "Here, even the poorest, enjoy a wide range of free medical services. Kerala spends 15 percent of its budget on health. The federal government spends under two percent."


Ever feel like smearing some crap on Peter Jennings' face and then embarrassing him by making him dance? Well, some Indians did it for you on Monday in New Delhi. And ABC even showed it.

    Wrapping up the March 20 World News Tonight, Jennings told viewers how Indians celebrate the arrival of Spring by smearing orange and green-colored powders on their faces and dancing. He then showed himself with some top India officials as all got their faces smeared. Jennings even showed a bit of video of himself sporting shades as he danced with the crowd, clapping his hands above his head.

    Back on camera in a suit and sans the colored powder on his face, Jennings assured viewers the powder is removable, "though for several days, we are told, millions of us will have that slight magenta glow."

    ++ See an orange Jennings dance. Tuesday morning the MRC's Andy Szul and Kristina Sewell will post a RealPlayer clip of what ABC showed of Jennings getting his face painted and of him dancing. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


The NRA has certainly succeeded in getting itself back into the media's sights. Monday morning on Today substitute co-host Maria Shriver pounded away at NRA President Charlton Heston for his TV ads and the comments from Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre critical of Bill Clinton. Though Clinton rejected a compromise gun control bill last year, Shriver complained about how many think "we can't get anywhere here...because the NRA keeps stopping anything that would give us any progress."

    She put the burden entirely on the NRA:
    "Words do hurt people because they prevent compromise. And people have said unless we get compromise on this issue nothing will get done and people will continue to be killed on a daily basis."

    In other words, Shriver accused the NRA of allowing killings in order to advance its political interests, just the charge she spent the interview condemning the NRA for making about Clinton.

    To show the one-sided nature of Shriver's interview, here are all of her questions/statements to Heston in order, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:

    -- "You know that Mr. LaPierre's comments raised a firestorm and you yourself even called them extreme. Do you agree with them?"
    -- Heston, put up sign, Shriver read it: "'Other countries have a lower gun death rate...because they don't have an NRA in their country.' But regardless whether he said that or not do you agree with Mr. LaPierre's comments?"
    -- "Well Mr. Heston it's not just the media that's beaten up on Mr. LaPierre, even Governor Bush said that he thought it was over the line, too extreme and he thinks there's a way to have this debate without it being so personal. Isn't there a way to have this debate that furthers the debate without it being about individuals."
    -- "You think the media owes Mr. LaPierre an apology?"
    -- "And you think that his comments were accurate in the way he described President Clinton were above board?"
    -- "You, yourself have just taped some ads and let's, I want to just put one up on the, because we unfortunately don't have the ad. But in the ad you ask, 'So does Bill Clinton tolerate a level of gun deaths to further his political agenda? You decide.' You ask the American people. What do you, yourself think Mr. Heston?"
    -- "But Mr. Heston, in due respect, getting back to the ads. When you ask to the American people to decide whether they think that about President Clinton what do you personally think is the answer to that question, since you're posing that question?"
    -- "Well in fact the White House says prosecution is up at least 16 percent. And many of the cases are state prosecution matters."
    -- "What's inexplicable to some people is the hard line that the NRA takes in fact that I have heard and read and I would like you to address whether this increased rhetoric by the NRA has in fact increased membership, increased funds to the organization. Is that correct?"
    -- "Well words do hurt people because they prevent compromise. And people have said unless we get compromise on this issue nothing will get done and people will continue to be killed on a daily basis. Even Gerald Ford weighed in on this debate recently, saying that the hard-line of the NRA is a complete loser. Where do you find compromise? Where is the end going to come here Mr. Heston?"
    -- "But the President wants 72 hours....Well he said that because in fact they need two days, two extra days from the 24 hours to complete these background checks. And what's the difference if the extra two days in fact save lives. Why not go along with that?"
    -- "But what's the difference in agreeing to the 72 hour background check if in fact it will save lives? What is the problem with that? Why can't you meet halfway there?"
    -- "Well you keep talking about prosecution and many people believe that the fact that we can't get anywhere here is because the NRA keeps stopping anything that would give us any progress."
    -- "We should reiterate once again that the White House maintains that prosecutions are up. Charlton Heston thank you so much for joining us this morning."


Time's Jack White, an Al Sharpton Democrat. When the Inside Washington panel over the past weekend decided to assess the Pope's apology for what Catholics have done over the centuries, Time magazine national correspondent Jack White decided to use the forum to bemoan how the U.S. government has never apologized for slavery.

    Here's how the exchange went on the program, carried by PBS stations around the country and by the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC where it's taped, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:

    White: "I believe it could be a role model for other institutions like the United States government to start facing up to some of the historical crimes that have been committed in its name. Number one being slavery."
    Moderator Gordon Peterson: "John Conyers year after year has-"
    White: "There's been a bill up there that never gets seriously, seriously considered. It's never going anywhere."
    Newsweek's Evan Thomas: "Was this the reparations bill? It's one thing to apologize, it's another to pay."
    White: "Well, we haven't had an apology yet either."
    Columnist Charles Krauthammer: "The Civil War was a pretty good apology."
    Thomas: "Jack, that's just not true. The civic society constantly apologizes for slavery in the schools."
    White: "Where was that?"
    Thomas: "Any school kid today is going to get a pretty strong lesson about the evils of slavery."
    White: "OK, but I still haven't heard the apology."

    Everyone who was a slave or owned one is now dead, so there's no one to issue an apology and no to apologize to. But Bill Clinton could still come through for White.


You read it here first. FNC's newsletter cited my Wall Street Journal op-ed for how FNC, unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, is staying on top of the LaBella memo and Monday night FNC's Brit Hume picked up on an item detailed in Friday's CyberAlert.

    -- Here's the text of the March 17 edition of The Balance Sheet, the Fox News viewer newsletter distributed via e-mail each Friday:

The story the networks won't talk about

As reported by media watchdog Brent H. Baker in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC all completely ignored leaks of the now infamous "LaBella memo" on Friday, and have given the story short shrift since. The scandal revolves around a memo, long held secret by the Justice Department, that was prepared by Former campaign-finance investigator Charles LaBella. In it he concludes that Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Harold Ickes all received special treatment from Justice.

FNC has been on top of this story from the moment the memo came to light. In fact, Hannity & Colmes interviewed Mr. LaBella himself in August of '99, after he quit the Justice Department because his findings about campaign-finance abuses were being ignored.

Mr. LaBella felt that a special prosecutor should be named to investigate the abuses: "The very low threshold in the (now defunct) Independent Counsel Act had been met, and I know that the director of the FBI came to the same conclusion."

The Attorney General continues to ignore a congressional subpoena which calls for her to release LaBella's findings. Congressman

Asa Hutchinson, speaking Wednesday night on The Edge with Paula Zahn, called Reno's actions a flagrant abuse of her position: "We're trying not to cast judgements in advance, but without the information, it's very difficult not to do so."

Is all this a sign of Justice Department corruption? Fox News Channel was out front on this story. We'll pursue it until we get the truth.

    END Reprint

    Until Friday you can see this entire issue, in full color, online at: http://www.foxnews.com/channel/foxfan/newsletter.sml

    To read the March 15 Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The LaBella Memo: Not Ready For Prime Time?", go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/oped/news/wsj20000315.html <<<

    -- Just after 6:30pm ET on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume the anchor of the same name passed on this tidbit:
    "Remember the millions of new voters John McCain was said to have brought into the Republican primaries? Well an analysis of the exit polls by the ABC News election unit concludes that about one voter in five in the GOP contest was new and with McCain getting about 55 percent of them, he would have brought in about one and a half million new voters through Super Tuesday."

    CyberAlert readers will recall that the March 17 CyberAlert conveyed the highlight's of ABC News polling director Gary Langer's analysis, which was posted March 14 on abcnews.com. As CyberAlert noted then, and remains true, ABC News has yet to mention Langer's analysis on World News Tonight or GMA. It looks like FNC beat ABC News to its own guy's discovery. -- Brent Baker


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