Anti-Bush Ad Promoted; Catholic Church Too Conservative; Dr. Laura Lashed
1) Vague hype over basic facts on
the ILOVEYOU virus. CBS: "The virus then infiltrates the computer's
address book." No, it only infiltrates Microsoft Outlook and only on
Windows computers running MS Internet Explorer. Other operating systems
2) CBS, CNN and NBC all promoted a
Handgun Control Inc. ad denouncing an NRA official's boast about access to a
President Bush, but none raised concerns about "coordination" with
the Gore campaign as they had with a Bush ally's ad against McCain.
3) Only FNC found newsworthy
Thursday night the appearance of Charles Ruff before a House committee to talk
about White House e-mail. He offered "I don't recall" answers which,
FNC's Brian Wilson noted, matched what he said he'd say if caught in scandal.
4) NBC Nightly News took advantage
of Cardinal O'Connor's death to look at declining church attendance and how it
and the lack of enough priests is "a symptom of a church losing touch
with its American members" by not implementing an "update in
5) Dr. Laura confronted by a
hostile interviewer on MSNBC who demanded a "right to procreate" and
lashed out at her: "You have been divorced....You also posed nude for
photographs and then lied about the photographs....You fired your own
6) Chevy Chase declared that
"sometimes socialism works" to get people out of poverty and
insisted that free markets and socialism can work together "and I think
Cuba might prove that."
impact of the ILOVEYOU computer virus topped the three broadcast network
evening shows Thursday night, but while ABC and NBC at least mentioned
Microsoft Outlook, all three failed to inform viewers that the virus only did
damage to Windows computers also simultaneously running two specific Microsoft
programs. None pointed out how the virus had no impact on computers using the
UNIX, Linux or Mac operating systems, or that it only sent itself to Outlook
address book listings, not through other e-mail software, such as Lotus Notes
The CBS Evening News
delivered the vaguest and most misleading reports which did not even mention
the role of Microsoft products. Dan Rather referred to how the virus is
"clogging e-mail systems" while reporter Jim Axelrod misleadingly
implied it is activated by any e-mail program: "Those who opened it found
out the hard way that sometimes love stinks." He also asserted that
"the virus needs just one person to open it on one computer at any given
business. The virus then infiltrates the computer's address book, forwarding
itself to everyone listed."
As noted above, that's
just not true. It does not infiltrate "the computers's address
book." It infiltrates just Microsoft Outlook and then only if the
computer has Microsoft's Internet Explorer installed, something Windows 98
users can't avoid but which means many Windows 95 users were not directly
impacted by the virus.
On the May 4
World News Tonight ABC's Peter Jennings warned: "As best we can tell
there is no corner of the world, nor any segment of society, from PC user to
the military establishment, that wasn't affected." Indirectly that may be
true, but not in a direct sense. ABC's Erin Hayes at least mentioned Outlook:
"Among the damage, it can dig into a computer's graphics and music files,
in some cases deleting them. But the biggest damage comes when the worm crawls
over to Microsoft Outlook."
NBC's Pete Williams on
Nightly News came closest to saying it only effects Outlook users: "Once
opened, it quickly sends out a copy of itself to every e-mail address store on
the target computer. Experts say it's designed to search the files of the
world's most popular e-mail program, Microsoft Outlook, then it worms its way
into computer files, destroying stored pictures and music."
The abcnews.com Web
site did a much better job in reporting what software must be present:
"Anyone running Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, or both Windows 95 and
Internet Explorer 5.0 is vulnerable, Chien said. The virus needs Microsoft
Outlook to spread. Macintosh and Linux users are not vulnerable." The
piece, as of when I read it, did not identify Chien or his or her first name.
For the full story, go to:
CBS, CNN and NBC all jumped at the chance Thursday night to promote a Handgun
Control Inc. ad denouncing an NRA official's boast about having access to a
future President Bush. All three showed Al Gore picking up on the attack, but
unlike when Bush allies in Texas paid for an ad attacking John McCain, none
raised questions about "coordination" or other ties between the gun
control groups and Gore's campaign.
CBS's Jim Stewart
buttressed the fear of NRA influence: "What makes the NRA's claim more
plausible than most, however, is their intent to spend up to $15 million on
this year's elections." Similarly, NBC's David Gregory asserted:
"This year the NRA is more closely aligned with the Republican Party than
ever before." Only CNN's Candy Crowley suggested Bush's position is the
more popular one, concluding a World Today piece:
"The Bush camp believes the Governor's emphasis
on prosecution of gun crimes, instant background checks and character
education has found resonance among voters. It is early yet in the campaign,
but so far there is statistical evidence to back up the Bush campaign theory.
As recently as Monday a poll showed when asked who is best able to handle the
gun issue, Americans favored George Bush over Al Gore by six percentage
Now to the CBS and NBC
stories. Dan Rather set up the CBS Evening News piece by using the term
"promote gun safety," a liberal spin: "The stark differences
between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush over ways to
curb gun violence and promote gun safety were highlighted today in a new way.
A National Rifle Association NRA official explained in public a boast that
he'd made in private caught on video."
Jim Stewart began his
report, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "The pictures are a
bit grainy, but the enthusiasm was clear when 300 NRA faithful met privately
in California last February to hear what they can expect if George W. Bush
Kayne Robinson, NRA First Vice President in home
video: "If we win, we'll have a Supreme Court that will back us to the
hilt. If we win, we'll have a President, with at least one of the people
that's running, a President where we work out of their office. Unbelievably
Stewart continued: "The NRA has always backed
Bush, but they've never claimed a relationship this close. Now a pro-gun
control group has turned the tape into an ad against Bush and the NRA....It's
the latest turn in what has become one of the hottest issues of the campaign
-- gun control. Al Gore is for it. George W. Bush is not and made the NRA
happy by signing a law allowing Texas citizens to carry concealed weapons and
another that bars Texas cities from suing gun makers. But campaigning in
California today, Bush pointed out he's never been a member of the NRA and
sought to downplay the group's ambitions."
George W. Bush: "Well, I don't want to
disappoint the man, but I'll be setting up shop in the White House. It'll be
my office. I'll make the decisions as to what goes on in the White
Stewart: "While Gore, on the stump in Chicago,
was quick to make the connection."
Al Gore: "His agenda clearly and overwhelmingly
reflects their influence."
Stewart concluded by giving credibility to the gun
control group's basic charge: "Access often equates to power in this
town, and it's not unusual for a lobby to brag about having influence with a
candidate. What makes the NRA's claim more plausible than most, however, is
their intent to spend up to $15 million on this year's elections."
Stewart said nothing
about how much pro-gun control groups plan to spend.
On the NBC Nightly
News David Gregory opened by playing a portion of the Handgun Control ad which
showed Kayne Robinson before the narrator demanded: "The White House is
our house and it shouldn't belong to the NRA."
Gregory then went to Nina Butts of Texans Against Gun
Violence, who complained that Bush has given the NRA what it wants in Texas:
concealed handguns and a law forbidding suits by cities against the gun
industry. Gregory proceeded: "Today, Governor Bush made no apologies for
his ties to the gun lobby, but insisted he's not beholden to the NRA."
After a clip of Bush saying he makes up his own mind
on issues, Gregrory countered: "But this year the NRA is more closely
aligned with the Republican Party than ever before. The group has given the
party more than $500,000 since last year, compared to under $100,000 during
the '96 campaign. And just last week NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre served
as a Vice Chairman of the RNC gala, pledging another $250,000. And Bush
advisers are quick to point out that he supports gun control measures the NRA
opposes, like a minimum age on handgun possession and a ban on the import of
ammo clips carrying dozens of rounds. Still, today Vice President Gore was
anxious to join the attack."
Viewers heard Gore claim that under Bush gun
lobbyists will move from the lobby into the Oval Office. Gregory concluded:
"The gun debate is delicate. For Bush the danger is being too close to
the NRA. For Gore, being too extreme about gun control. Polls show what voters
want is middle ground."
The highest-ranking official yet to testify before the House Government Reform
Committee on the missing White House e-mail appeared Thursday, but only FNC
cared Thursday night about what former White House counsel Charles Ruff had to
say. Not a word was uttered about the hearing on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening
shows, nor on CNN's Inside Politics or The World Today. (Surprisingly, Friday
morning ABC's Good Morning America did run a piece by John Cochran. More on
that in the next CyberAlert.)
FNC's Special Report
with Brit Hume on May 4 led with Brian Wilson's story showing how Ruff said he
could not recall certain key facts, an "I don't remember" answer
that Wilson recalled matched what Ruff once told Bob Woodward he'd say if ever
caught up in a Watergate-like scandal. The 7pm ET Fox Report ran a one-minute
item on the hearing.
Brian Wilson began his
Special Report with Brit Hume story, as transcribed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth,
by reporting how Ruff told the committee "he is ultimately responsible
for White House legal decisions made back then."
After a matching soundbite, Wilson explained:
"Documents show he was notified in June of 1998 that a large number of
White House e-mails were not being properly saved, and he clearly understood
at the time that this computer glitch might have larger ramifications."
Committee Chairman Dan Burton: "Were you
concerned that the problem might have affected the White House's ability to
comply with outstanding subpoenas?"
Ruff: "I was, yes."
Wilson: "In order to find out if the search for
Monica Lewinsky documents had been affected by the glitch, he ordered up a
test search. Ruff seems not to know much about how that test was conducted or
even who conducted it."
Burton: "You don't remember who you asked to do
Ruff: "I do not nor whether indeed I did any
somebody to do the search."
Burton: "You don't remember, she doesn't
remember who ordered the search or how broad the search was, you know, I hope
whoever's paying attention to this realizes that we have a lot of people in
the White House that simply don't remember anything."
Wilson the re-capped
testimony from the previous day when the committee learned that reference to
how the White House knew of the problem in 1998 was deleted by Ruff's
successor from a report to Congress filed this March.
Wilson wrapped up by
recalling: "By the way, many years ago, Chuck Ruff was a young lawyer
working on the Watergate investigation of Richard Nixon. He was later
interview by Bob Woodward about his experiences and what he would do if he was
ever called before a committee and asked tough questions. He said he would
say, 'Gee, I just don't remember what happened back then, and they won't be
able to indict me for perjury. I intend to rely on that failure of memory.'
Brit, we assume that was said in jest."
Sounds more like an
Hitting them when they're mourning. ABC's World News Tonight on May 4 didn't
mention the passing of New York City's Cardinal John O'Connor and the CBS
Evening News ran a brief item featuring praise for his work from the Pope, but
the NBC Nightly News took advantage of his death to run an In Depth look at
declining church attendance and how it and the lack of enough priests is
"a symptom of a church losing touch with its American members" by
being too conservative.
Thursday night Dan
Rather noted how O'Connor had died after a battle with cancer, adding:
"O'Connor was a staunch defender of church doctrine, opposing abortion,
homosexuality, capital punishment and the ordination of women. Pope John Paul
called the Cardinal, quote, 'a deeply spiritual man and a vigorous defender of
NBC Nightly News
devoted its In Depth segments to the Catholic Church. First, Rehema Ellis
profiled O'Connor, but instead of sticking to the positive as one normally
does in remembering someone who has passed away, she ran battling soundbites
on his legacy: "In a city known for its liberal views, O'Connor was an
unwavering supporter of the Pope's conservative positions, opposing gay
rights, contraception and abortion."
William Donohue, Catholic League: "Here's a man
who gave us a moral compass, he gave us some understanding, who grounded our
religion not only in the teachings of the church but in common sense."
Ellis: "But even today, many liberal Catholics
disapprove of his leadership."
Frances Kissling, Catholics for a Free Choice:
"Those of us who work on issues related to reproduction and sexuality, he
was an archbishop who was both unaccessible and often quite cold in relation
(In a Today story
Thursday morning, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Ellis found liberal
activities of O'Connor to admire: "The soft voice and ready smile so
familiar to New Yorkers masked a tough, unyielding view, of Catholic morality
on sex, abortion and homosexuality. But the leader of New York's Catholics was
no rigid conservative. In the '80s O'Connor offered a public apology for
anti-Semitism in the Church's past. He was often publicly pro-labor and a
defender of immigrant's rights. And he preached frequently about an America
too quick to accept guns and violence.")
Setting up the second
Nighty News In Depth piece, Tom Brokaw promised "a look at the shortage
of priests and an American church in crisis." Jim Avila, just back from
Havana where he spent a month discovering the joys of "the Cuban good
life," warned: "Experts say America's priest shortage is the biggest
challenge facing this country's 60 million Catholics."
He cited numbers
showing that the numbers of priest in the U.S. has fallen from 58,000 in 1965
to 45,000, so now out of "dignified desperation" the Chicago
Archdiocese is running TV ads and buying billboard space to promote
priesthood. Avila showed the TV ad with the words on screen: "Minimize
your wardrobe" followed by "Maximize your potential" followed
by "Consider the priesthood."
After Frances George,
Archbishop of Chicago, explained their hope to create a climate where becoming
a priest is a good thing to think about, Avila countered:
"But critics say clever ads fail to address the
real problem, the lack of priests a symptom of a church losing touch with its
American members. Father Andrew Greeley, well-known liberal priest and
novelist often at odds with Rome, says clergy and their followers now
discouraged by church refusal to allow women or married priests or any update
Greeley: "There have been serious attempts made
to put the church back where it was 30 or 40 years ago."
Avila: "Still, 23 percent of Americans say they
are Catholic. But regular church going has declined, 150 fewer churches today
than five years ago, Catholic schools closing by the thousands too. Thirteen
thousand open in 1965, dropping steadily to just over 8,000 today. The one
growth area: inner city schools, Hispanics and non-Catholics avoiding bad
"Schools that turn out good students but very few priests for today's
Avila never addressed
the seeming contradiction between how the church can be facing a crisis of not
enough priests while it is simultaneously in a crisis because it's losing
church-goers, churches and schools due to a lack of enthusiasm for the
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the national radio talk show host despised by liberals
for dispensing conservative, morally-based lifestyle advice, was assaulted
Thursday afternoon on MSNBC by an angry woman host. Schlessinger appeared live
at 2:30pm ET on MSNBC's three-hour Home Page gabfest targeted at women viewers
and hosted by three women, to talk about her new book, Parenthood by Proxy:
Don't Have Them If You Won't Raise Them.
She appeared on the
Ft. Lee New Jersey-based show from NBC's studios in Manhattan, which was
fortunate given the hostility from question number one forward displayed by
Ashleigh Banfield, who handled the interview solo. In her very first inquiry
she told Dr. Laura her "solutions seem a little backward."
Then she got really
hostile. Here are the rest of her questions, in the form of lectures, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Paul Smith:
-- "I think a lot
of people are suggesting that the Ward and June Cleaver relationship is very
difficult in this day and age. I know that you advocate that you don't
necessarily need all that extra money in a dual income family, that perhaps
your standards are too high. But, honestly, I look at you and the amount of
money that you've made in your life. I read some statistics on you. I think
you make about a million dollars a year and you sold your radio rights back in
1997 for about $71 million. Not to mention the royalties from your five
bestselling books, and two children's books and your TV show that is about to
come out on September 11. Correct me if I'm wrong, and I certainly don't mean
any disrespect when I say this, aren't you living in a very big, beautiful
glass castle and the average guy out there really needs that extra money in a
dual income family?"
-- "I am going to
take you on a little personally here Dr. Laura only because I have considered
in my lifetime having a child on my own without a father in the family. I know
you are absolutely diametrically opposed to that saying that it is one of the
most selfish things that a person can do. I do have to ask you though if me,
as a single person, doesn't have a right to procreate and if I just haven't
seemed to meet my special someone else, do I therefore need to be
discriminated against by society because my friends have said that they want
to have children just because they want to have children. I feel the same
Schlessinger said you
are not entitled to use or abuse other people by putting your needs first, so
yes Banfield is being "selfish." She added that it's a "crime
to obligate a child to the loss of either a mommy or a daddy."
-- "On that same
vein Dr. Laura, is it also a crime then to put your child in the media
spotlight because the choices that you've made in your life have really put
you, catapulted you into the media spotlight. You have been the object of
glaring criticism in the media and that's got to be difficult for your son. Do
you not think that perhaps in essence you're also a bit selfish in your career
-- "I have to ask
you, because this has been such a huge media topic lately, your views on gays
and homosexuals, etcetera. You have been known to say that that behavior is
deviant and that it is biologically wrong. What would you do Dr. Laura if your
fourteen-year-old son Derek came home and told you he was gay?"
-- "How would
Derek feel knowing what you think about that behavior if he were to come home
and tell you this?"
-- "I'm going
over a shopping list of things you are against: divorce, living together,
working moms, premarital sex, lying, immoral behavior, homosexuality, family
differences and day care. Now I'm going to go over the list of some of the
rules that you've broken in your lifetime. You have been divorced. You lived
with your current husband before you married him, Lou Bishop. You also posed
nude for photographs and then lied about the photographs at first and then
claimed the rights to those photographs. You fired your own mother when she
worked for you and you have not spoken with her for fourteen years and you
also put Derek into day care when he was three years old. You're also a
working mom. I guess I just have to ask you what leg do you have to stand on
to talk about suggestions for people and the way they live?"
Schlessinger began her
retort: "Well, only a few of the things that you even mentioned are
accurate and this is not the purpose for my being here. Not to defend myself
against inaccuracies that occur in the media regularly because it's a shoot
the messenger kind of procedure where I am talking about things, it amazes me
that talking about traditional values is controversial but it seems to
No wonder so few watch
MSNBC. They create a daytime show aimed at attracting stay at home moms --
Home Page airs from 1 to 4pm ET/10am to 1pm PT -- and then have liberal
feminist women host it who are hostile to the lifestyle chosen by their target
Saturday marks two weeks since Earth Day, an Earth Day largely submerged by
the Elian Gonzalez raid that morning, but now I've come across a way to unite
Elian and Earth Day. On Earth Day actor Chevy Chase declared that
"sometimes socialism works" to get people in the Third World out of
poverty and insisted that free markets and socialism can work together
"and I think Cuba might prove that."
Marc Morano, of the
syndicated TV show American Investigator, captured Chase's comments on tape
during an interview he conducted with Chase as he caught the actor and his
wife, Jayni, just as they hopped out of their sedan behind the Earth Day rally
stage on Washington's Mall.
+++ Watch Chase argue
for the virtues of socialism. Morano has graciously provided the MRC with the
raw footage of this April 22 interview and late this morning the MRC's Eric
Pairel will post a clip of it in RealPlayer format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
For more about
Morano's show and Chase's comments, go to:
Here are some of the
highlights from his interview, taken from a transcript confirmed by MRC intern
-- Morano: "Let me give you a simple question,
then. Is capitalism and development a good way to help the developing world's
Chevy Chase: "No, not necessarily. No, not
Morano: "Why not?"
Chase: "Because sometimes socialism works."
Morano: "Socialism works to help people out of
Morano: "So countries in the developing world,
you would say capitalism is not the answer to help them bring in wealth and
Jayni Chase: "It varies."
Chevy Chase: "I would say that's a very broad
question. But I would say if you just said is capitalism the way? I would say
the is answer is no, not necessarily."
-- Morano: "How
does socialism help people out of poverty?"
Chase: "I don't want to get into that. I mean
now we got to get up to the thing. I think it's conclusive that there have
been areas where socialism has helped to keep people at least stabilized at a
certain level. There's no middle class, there's no opportunity. There are no
First Amendment rights, there certainly isn't the same as this Constitution.
But when you just say capitalism versus socialism, it's too simple, I
Morano: "Okay free markets-?"
Chase: "I think free markets are important, but
you know, you can do both and I think Cuba might prove that."
Cuba just proves
socialism doesn't work and you need a dose of capitalism to prevent people
-- Brent Baker
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