Poor Better Off in Havana; Mother's Fault; Award for Schieffer's Liberal Analysis
1) Quotes of the Weekend: Most Bizarre Quote (better to be
poor in Havana than in Miami), Best Exchange (Clinton's lawbreaking
"common ground" with Bill Gates), and Best Insult (Reno not
"the brightest bulb on the circuit."). Plus, an honest headline.
2) NBC's Jim Avila blamed Elian's mother: "An
extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to start a new life in a
new country." She just didn't appreciate the Cuban "good
life" and her "prestigious job" as a hotel maid.
3) An association of journalists awarded Bob Schieffer's
often liberal Face the Nation commentaries for delivering "solid
information...with perspective that provokes further thought."
4) "We should try that," FNC showed Bill Clinton
saying to a woman beside him after comedian Darrell Hammond joked that Clinton
is so charismatic that he could get away with telling a woman: "If you'd
only...let me see you naked, there would be no more racism."
5) MediaNomics: "TV Reporters Aghast at Stock Slide, but
Not At Government Prosecution of Microsoft," "Media Mavens Are Mum
on Potential IRA Changes" and "Kudos to CNN's Brooks Jackson"
for noting how the rich are paying a "greater share" of taxes.
>>> Attention New England readers, check out Jeff Jacoby's
column in today's (Monday) Boston Globe: "Whitewashing Castro's
Crimes." Jacoby picked up on bias detailed in CyberAlert last week
and gave the MRC's Web site a nice plug. Highlighting a story by NBC's
Jim Avila, Jacoby relayed some of Avila's reporting from Havana:
"'Elian's future here is likely to be the Cuban good life lived by
Communist Party elite,' Avila gushed, 'with perks like five free
gallons of gasoline a month for the family, and a Cuban tradition called
'La Jaba' -- the bag -- which includes extra rice, beans, cooking oil,
and sundries like deodorant, shampoo, razors, and shaving cream; about $15
a month worth of basics.'...
Baker of the Media Research Center -- whose treasure-trove of a Web site,
www.mrc.org, transcribed much of Avila's report -- acidly comments:
'Wow. How could anyone resist the promise of $15 worth of shampoo,
deodorant, and rice in a bag?'" [For the latest from Avila, see
item #2 below.]
Jacoby dug back
over a decade to show the long-time network pattern of admiring Castro:
"In 1988, Kathleen Sullivan of CBS spent two days broadcasting from
Cuba. The lack of freedom or democracy on the island she mentioned only in
passing; her reports were filled instead with upbeat paeans to Fidel
Castro's supposed achievements. 'This is a clinic,' she enthused in
one segment. 'It is the heart of a health care system which has been
called a 'revolution within a revolution.' Of all the promises made by
Fidel Castro in 1959, perhaps the boldest was to provide quality health
care free for every citizen.'"
is distributed by the New York Times syndicate, so this column will run in
paper's around the country this week. To read Jacoby's column online,
of the Weekend: Most Bizarre Quote, Best Exchange and Best Insult.
-- Most Bizarre Quote of the Weekend. From
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group, a claim we couldn't
have dreamed up even for our April Fools edition:
"To be a poor
child in Cuba may in many instances be better than being a poor child in
Miami and I'm not going to condemn their lifestyle so
Fellow panelist Michael Barone's reaction:
"Oh Eleanor, for God's sake, please!"
-- Best Exchange of the
Weekend. From CNN's April 8 Capital Gang, after host Mark Shields opened
the discussion of the judge's ruling that Microsoft violated the Sherman
Anti-trust Act by showing video of Bill Gates sitting next to Bill Clinton
at a White House conference on the economy.
Shields: "Kate, why does the President of the
United States sit down with a lawbreaker like Bill Gates?"
Washington Editor Kate O'Beirne: "Maybe he feels there's some
common ground there, Mark."
-- Best Insult of the
Weekend. Brit Hume, Washington Managing Editor of Fox News, during the
roundtable segment on the April 9 Fox News Sunday:
"This is an
Attorney General who believes, I think, that sort of stubbornness is the
same thing as integrity. I hate to say this about her but I don't think
she's the brightest bulb on the circuit. I don't think that she's
sitting in the room with Juan Miguel Gonzalez, has the wit about her to
make a sensible judgment. She seems blind to the peculiarities of his
behavior, she's had no commerce whatever with the people taking care of
this boy even though they're American citizens. And my sense is she
either made up her mind or had it made up for her by the White House early
on in his that we were going to ship this boy back to Cuba and her idea
for the right thing for an Attorney General to do is to execute the
-- Most Honest
Headline. From the Metro section of the April 7 Washington Post:
"Million Mom March Hopes for 100,000."
Jim Avila didn't blame the split in Elian's family on Fidel Castro for
maintaining a prison-like island country people are not allowed to leave
by safe transport and so must resort to dangerous boats if they wish to
escape to freedom. Instead, he placed the blame for the family's
troubles on his mother for not appreciating the Cuban "good
life" and her "prestigious job" as a hotel maid where she
could earn "dollar tips." Indeed, he concluded an April 8 NBC
Nightly News story by declaring: "An extended family destroyed by a
mother's decision to start a new life in a new country."
Going back won't be so bad, Avila contended, as
Elian's life in Cuba was "relatively easy by Cuban standards."
Avila's Saturday piece aired just four days after
his April 4 story from Havana, cited above in the item on Jeff Jacoby's
column, promising that if Elian returns to Cuba he and his family will
become part of the "Cuban good life," with five gallons of gas a
month, a monthly bag full of beans and deodorant, plus tickets to discos.
(See the April 5 CyberAlert for details.)
For his April 8 piece from Havana, Avila relayed
concerns from those working with Juan Miguel Gonzalez's lawyer that
Elian may now be alienated from his father so the Gonzalez team wants the
grandfather and Elian's Cardenes classmates to be present at the
turnover. Avila added that the Miguel Gonzalez team thinks Elian will have
to be removed by force from the Miami home.
Avila used that as a cue to review what brought
Elian to his present situation: "A frightening ending predicted for
the journey that began here on Cuban soil [video of beach] in the dark of
night. A 30-year-old mother, Elizabeth Groton [sp?, picture of her holding
Elian], who after seven miscarriages carried her only son, Elian, to a
boat off the rocky shores ten miles from her lifelong home. Why did she do
it? What was she escaping? By all accounts this quiet, serious young
woman, who loved to dance the Salsa, was living the good life, as good as
it gets for a citizen in Cuba."
"I didn't know that Elisa [that's what she called her] was
"Lizbeth Garcia, maid at the Hotel Paradiso [sp?], in Cuba's
specially built foreign tourist haven, Baradaro [sp?], where Elian's
mother worked with her side-by-side. In today's Cuba a maid, where
dollar tips are to be had, is a prestigious job. Elian's life relatively
easy by Cuban standards, living with mom and maternal grandparents half of
the week [video of older man and woman pointing to a picture on top of a
TV], in dad's well-furnished home the rest of the time. Both mom and dad
friendly to each other and caring towards their only child [home video of
mom and dad with Elian]."
Lizbeth: "As a
mother she was exceptional. Her life was Elian, she didn't have anything
else in mind but her son. She was a wonderful person."
Avila, over home
video of a clown walking with Elian in front of a group of children,
concluded: "An extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to
start a new life in a new country, a decision that now leaves a little boy
estranged from his father [home video on mom and dad walking with Elian]
and forever separated from her."
Maybe she hoped to give her son a better life where
being a maid isn't considered a "prestigious" top job but a
step on an upward ladder to a better life where you don't have to live
As you can see from my above transcript, I'm
challenged by how to spell Spanish words and names. But in watching
FNC's Fox News Watch over the weekend I realized that it's not always
easy to know how to pronounce the names of reporters cited in CyberAlert.
Jeff Cohen of the far-left Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting corrected
conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton's pronunciation of
"Avila." As a public service, so no more conservatives must be
corrected by a liberal, and since I bet I'll be quoting Avila quite a
bit more, here's how you pronounce his name:
in the first syllable of avenue; "i" as in ih, then
"la." Put it all together and you have Av-ih-la, Avila.
advocacy awarded by a journalistic group. At last Thursday's Radio and
Television Correspondents' Association dinner, CBS's Bob Schieffer won
the group's annual Joan Shorenstein Barone Award "for excellence in
Washington-based national affairs reporting." A review of the work
which earned him the honor shows how the media group rewarded using a
network perch to promote liberal political views.
In announcing the winner at the April 6 dinner, Dan
Rather explained how a panel of three members of the group "selected
a journalist who every week delivers commentaries at the end of his
broadcast with style and wit that contribute to the viewers understanding
of issues great and small. This from the judge's themselves, who believe
that Bob Schieffer's weekly end pieces on Face the Nation stand very
much in the tradition of excellence the Barone Award seeks to recognize.
The judges said they were impressed with the quote, 'grace of writing
and depth of insight that marked the pieces' by my good friend and CBS
News colleague Bob, 'pieces that offered solid information on a variety
of issues on the national agenda with perspective that provokes further
thought from the viewer.'"
The three judges, as listed by Rather live on
C-SPAN: CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, NBC News producer
Carol Ann Mears (sp?), and Fox News Channel Capitol Hill producer Jim
So, just what kind of analysis is believed to
provide "solid information...with perspective that provokes further
thought from the viewer"? Check of some of Schieffer's 1999
end-pieces cited in CyberAlert last year:
-- January 17. Protect the Constitution, don't
vote to remove Clinton from office:
week the House prosecutors laid out the case for removing the President.
They made a compelling argument. Still, their argument did not quite do it
for me. As despicable as the President's behavior was, I am not yet
convinced it poses a threat to the Constitution and to me that is the only
reason we should even consider overturning the results of an election.
Clinton set a bad example and will answer to history for it. But it is not
his survival as President that matters the most. It is the survival of the
-- April 25. Quayle's wrong, Columbine should be an excuse for gun
are always different [after shootings], but one thing remains constant:
People who had no business with guns somehow found them. The gun lobby
assures us that stricter gun laws would not have prevented them and maybe
they're right. But I know one thing. If the kids who walked into that
high school had been armed with baseball bats or even knives, instead of
guns, most of the children who died last week would still be alive. The
bodies had not yet been removed when presidential candidate Dan Quayle,
among others, told Chris Matthews, 'I hope we won't use this as an
excuse to go and take away guns.' No offense, Mr. Quayle, but this ought
to be an excuse, an excuse to get to the bottom of things like this and
see that they never happen again."
-- July 11. Schieffer's dream: Hillary as Senator,
Republicans all for campaign finance "reform" and Bill Clinton
as a Sheriff using a limo to pull over speeders:
political season has started so early I've begun to dream about
politics. Like the other night I dreamed Mrs. Clinton had already won the
New York Senate race. Or I guess she had. Mayor Giuliani had replaced Ed
Koch as the judge on that TV courtroom show. Anyway, after Mrs. Clinton
won the Senate race she ran for President in my dream but she must of lost
that one because in the next part of the dream she was trading her Yankee
baseball cap for a Chicago Cubs cap, like she was trying to run for
something out there. I never did figure out that part of it. But that
dream was full of crazy stuff. There was one part where a group of
Republican candidates came out for campaign finance reform. They said it
was the only way they could compete with George Bush.
weirdest part was about President Clinton. As the rumormongers had
predicted, in my dream he did go back to Arkansas and run for the Senate.
He lost the race but he kept his cool, bided his time and was eventually
elected sheriff of Little Rock. Since there was a room over the jail he
got to keep living in public housing and he became the first American
sheriff with lifetime Secret Service protection. I woke up during the part
where he was using his big Secret Service limo to track down a speeder.
Well, it all left me a little shaky until I realized it was just a dream
and nothing more. After all, things like that couldn't happen in real
life, could they?"
-- October 10. Schieffer warned Senate conservatives
not to vote down the nuclear test ban treaty:
"If you allow
this treaty to come to a vote and it dies, as it surely will, a terrible
and dangerous message will go out to the rest of the world, that America
no longer cares about arms control. That could be a green light to restart
the arms race, and that's why France, Great Britain and all of America's
allies are urging you not to kill this treaty. If you think the treaty is
flawed, fine, postpone the vote and rethink it all later.
beating the President at his own game would be fun for you, but some
things are just too serious for partisan victories. Besides, no one will
remember the Democrats maneuvered you into all of this. They'll just
remember Republicans killed a treaty that, according to the polls, most
Americans wanted. And that's exactly the box Democrats were trying to put
you in in the first place."
-- November 21. Congress wasn't liberal enough
after issue, from gun control to overhauling campaign finance law to
reforming HMOs and giving seniors access to prescription drugs, polls
showed the public wanted action. But Congress, feeling the hot breath of
the lobby, couldn't find a way to act....This one will go into the
history books as the Congress that killed a nuclear test ban treaty most
of the world wanted, but couldn't figure out how to do much else."
Darrell Hammond joked that Bill Clinton is so charismatic that he could
get away with telling a woman: "If you'd only...let me see you naked,
there would be no more racism." As uniquely shown by the Fox News
Channel, after howling in laughter Clinton turned to a black woman sitting
next to him and suggested: "We
should try that."
The incident took place at Thursday's Radio and
Television Correspondents' Association dinner. While C-SPAN's cameras
were focused on the speaker with cutaway shots of the audience, FNC had a
hand-held camera up front aimed at Clinton to get his reactions to jokes
told by Darrel Hammond, the Saturday Night Live star who impersonates
Tony Snow, anchor of Friday's Special Report with
Brit Hume, ended the program by showing viewers what they caught, playing
video of this joke from Hammond:
talks about Clinton's charisma, and I believe it's a true thing. I just
can't stop thinking about the possibilities of having that sort of
charisma where you could actually say to a woman, if you wanted, and get
away with it, [impersonating Clinton's voice] 'You know, if you'd only
take your clothes off and let me see you naked, there would be no more
Clinton immediately started howling and clapping his
hands before making a comment to the woman sitting beside him that you
could not hear, followed by her saying something to him.
Snow explained: "Now, if you can read lips, you
saw the President said, 'We should try that.' The woman next to him,
Linda Scott of PBS's NewsHour, said, 'I don't think so.'"
++ Indeed, you can make out how that's just what
each said. See for yourself. Monday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will
post a RealPlayer clip of what FNC showed. Go to: http://archive.mrc.org
April 7 MediaNomics, from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now
online. The articles written and researched by FMP Director Rich Noyes:
-- TV Reporters Aghast at Stock Slide, but Not At
Government Prosecution of Microsoft.
market turmoil, the network evening newscasts tried to explain the
frenzied selling by pointing to the usual suspects: inflated stock values,
margin calls, uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's next action. Only
one correspondent -- CNBC's Ron Insana -- pointed to the government's
pursuit of Microsoft as a cause for the plunge in prices, even though the
selling had obviously accelerated after negotiations between the company
and government lawyers failed over the weekend.
-- Media Mavens Are Mum on Potential IRA Changes.
If you listen to
the media, it's a "national calamity" that Americans don't
save enough of their income for their retirement years. Last month, a
bipartisan group of congressmen proposed boosting the amount individuals
can set aside in tax-deductible retirement accounts -- but, in spite of
their professed worry about national savings rates, the media have
generally failed to report the story.
-- Kudos...to CNN's Brooks Jackson.
Among the media's
most enduring myths is the one about how Ronald Reagan's 1981
across-the-board tax cuts shifted more of the burden of paying federal
income taxes to the middle class. CNN's Brooks Jackson showed that the
rich pay a far greater share of the nation's taxes now than they were
when Reagan took office, even though the top tax rates are far lower than
they were 20 years ago.
To read these articles, go to where they've been
posted by Webmaster Andy Szul:
For e-mail notification of the latest Free Market
Project articles and special reports, send an email to: email@example.com.
Can't think of any
humorous last line, so that's all for today's CyberAlert. --
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
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