Nun Goes Left, CBS Jumps; Parting Shot at Casey; Broaddrick Audit; Pleasant Cuban Work Camps
1) NBC turned a comment on the
death penalty by George Bush on one of its cable shows into the day's top
news. ABC ignored Elian's move last week to DC, but Wednesday night ran a
story on his cost. Peter Jennings whined about "billions of dollars some
politicians still want to spend on an anti-missile defense system."
2) A few protesters at a
shareholder meeting was all it took for CBS to jump, with Dan Rather
announcing how they "are accusing ExxonMobil of a corporate dinosaur
attitude about the dangers of global warming." Jim Axelrod picked up on
the "small chorus" demanding the company realize "we need to
3) A parting shot at Bob Casey
from MSNBC's Brian Williams: "A Democrat but a devout Catholic and thus
was ultraconservative on the topic of abortion." Back in 1992 the
networks largely ignored how he was not allowed to address the Democratic
4) The IRS is auditing Juanita
Broaddrick's nursing home, an audit she thinks is in retribution for coming
forward with her rape charge against Bill Clinton, but of the networks only
5) Today not too happy about its
new neighbor, an NRA restaurant. Matt Lauer argued: "We've had a show
this morning that's been filled with a murder in Los Angeles, a murder in
Florida, five people were executed in a Wendy's restaurant....Doesn't seem
like the time you want to be promoting guns?"
6) Dismissing what Cuban-Americans
call "labor camps," CNN's Lucia Newman insisted the "school
in the countryside" instill "respect" for "hard work"
and that while students "say at first they were homesick," they soon
boast that they "are having a great time."
>>> The May
30 MagazineWatch, about the June 6 issues, is now online. Continuing the
CyberAlert focus on the Robin Williams routine at the May 24 Democratic
fundraiser, the MRC's Tim Graham noted how all three news magazines touched
on the big soft money party, but only U.S. News, in an "In Quotes"
citation of Robin Williams saying, "Whoa, there's a child in the front
row. He's learning new words," raised his vulgarity, conveying in the
attribution: "Robin Williams, in a profanity-laced comedy routine at a
fundraiser honoring President Clinton." Newsweek and Time found the
obscenity in the contributions, not the language. The other coverage analyzed
in this week's MagazineWatch:
-- U.S. News & World Report and Time both found George W. Bush has Al Gore
on the defensive over a shield against nuclear missiles, as "missile
defense seems to be an idea whose time has come."
-- Only U.S. News published a story on the latest security Clinton
administration security lapses, including the General Accounting Office sting
with fake I.D.s in "allegedly supersecure" buildings. Paul Bedard
reported on the pile of security violations earned by ambassadorial nominees.
-- U.S. News and Time covered the Arkansas recommendation that President
Clinton be disbarred with essays full of Clinton fatigue. Only Time touched
Linda Tripp's scandal wins, with the sendoff "Now pleeeze
-- In Time's back-page essay, novelist Mark Leyner declared boys should be
boys, especially our lovable lame duck: "none of us really wants our
President, Bill Clinton, to change even one iota." We want him
"noshing on marzipan as he steeps with a bevy of hot-tub hootchies in his
To read these items, go to:
Correction: The May 31 CyberAlert quoted Fox
News Sunday host Tony Snow introducing a clip: "We'll take a really
short snippet of Robin Williams and his shtick before the group." He
actually said "in front of the group."
was big news when George W. Bush said late today he's inclined to grant
a reprieve," announced Brian Williams at the top of Wednesday's NBC
Nightly News in picking up on a comment made in a taping of
MSNBC's/CNBC's Hardball, but neither ABC or CBS uttered a syllable
about what NBC pushed as "big news."
ABC led with Peter
Jennings trying to tie together, under one theme, several different
stories. Amongst them: a new report on the cost of watching over Elian,
but ABC hadn't bothered to run a story last week on his move to the
District where he's now closer to Castro's operatives.
With Tom Brokaw in
Moscow, from New York Brian Williams kicked of NBC Nightly News by turning
a comment on one of NBC's cable shows into the top news of the day:
"There are few issues more incendiary in
contemporary American life and tonight the death penalty is very much an
issue where the Republican candidate for President is concerned, part of a
growing life and death debate nationwide. New DNA science has tossed out a
lot of death penalty cases and because the state of Texas has the highest
execution rate in the nation, it was big news when George W. Bush said
late today he's inclined to grant a reprieve."
David Gregory explained
how on Hardball Bush had said he'd give a 30 day stay to a murderer who
insists he did not commit an accompanying rape, a crime which triggered
the death penalty.
Over on ABC's World
News Tonight, Jennings opened the May 31 show: "Good evening.
There's a lot of money associated with the major stories tonight. The
government thinks it can save a lot by changing the rules for telephone
service, there's another way to cheat the government by not paying taxes
on imported goods and the country imports a great deal, and there are the
billions of dollars some politicians still want to spend on an
anti-missile defense system. It makes what the government is spending to
keep tabs on Elian Gonazalez while he is here seem like peanuts."
On that last item, Ron
Claiborne provided a short report on how the federal government has spent
$1.4 million on Elian, $724,000 of that for US Marshals, including the
cost of the raid.
Despite the negative
spin displayed by Jennings, the subsequent "A Closer Look"
segment on missile defense delivered a balanced presentation of the pros
and cons from John McWethy and John Martin.
so easy to get media coverage if you're cause is a liberal one. Even
when only a few people show up for a protest it's good enough for CBS to
justify a story pegged to a nun complaining at the ExxonMobil shareholder
meeting that the company isn't doing enough to reduce global warming.
CBS Evening News anchor
Dan Rather intoned Wednesday night: "Tonight's 'Eye on America'
is a hard news look at a global corporate giant in fossil fuels.
Protesters, including some stockholders, are accusing ExxonMobil of a
corporate dinosaur attitude about the dangers of global warming that may
be linked to fuel emissions. CBS's Jim Axelrod has been sorting the
facts from the smoke on this."
Axelrod began his May 31
piece, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In Dallas this
morning, a couple of dozen protesters tried to get the ear of one of the
biggest and most powerful corporations on Earth. If there's a growing
consensus that greenhouse gases are raising global temperatures, these
people say executives at ExxonMobil are not about to embrace it."
The crowd looked closer
to a dozen than a coupled of dozen, but that didn't deter CBS from
promoting their cause. Axelrod brought on Sister Pat Daly, identified
on-screen as an "ExxonMobil shareholder and activist," asking:
"Is ExxonMobil any different on the issue of global warming than any
other of the big oil companies?"
Daly replied: "They're incredibly different.
They have absolutely isolated themselves on this."
Axelrod vouched for her credibility, as if one could
not simultaneously be an environmentalist and a shareholder: "Pat
Daly is not a tree hugger. She's a shareholder and a nun who represents
clergy-based pension funds with a $15 million stake in ExxonMobil."
Daly at the meeting: "Global warming is
Axelrod picked up: "Today she and a small chorus
of critics asked ExxonMobil to join the growing number of companies says
global warming is here, it's real, and we need to act now."
Daly to Axelrod: "They're saying that there's not
enough science. They will tell you, 'We're concerned about global
warming.' But they're not going to admit that it's actually
Lee Raymond, ExxonMobil CEO, at the meeting:
"We're gonna follow the science. We're not gonna follow what is
Axelrod expressed disappointment with ExxonMobil:
"Other oil giants like Shell and BP Amoco have pledged operate more
efficiently and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below
their 1990 levels. DuPont Chemicals has gone even further, promising a 65
percent reduction. ExxonMobil, on the other hand, has no such
Michael McElroy, of Harvard University, piped in:
"They simply leave the public with the view that 'Gee -- we don't
know enough to do anything.'"
Axelrod again felt the need to prop up the credibility
of a liberal he featured in a soundbite, this time assuming you cannot be
both an activist and a professor: "Mike McElroy isn't an activist.
He's an academic and a Harvard professor of environmental studies."
McElroy insisted: "In terms of honest assessment
of the science, yeah, this is a serious problem. Time to act. Exxon is
leaning to the side of inaction."
Frank Sprow, ExxonMobil Vice President: "This is
complicated. Don't believe statements that say it's clear that things are
warming. It's not clear."
Axelrod gave the company view a few seconds: "The
company has taken this idea to the public in a series of ads, saying views
on warming are quote, 'just as changeable as your local weather
Axelrod demanded: "Your assessment of the threat,
the credibility of the threat, has that evolved?"
ExxonMobil's Sprow: "I'd say that's
unchanged over the last several years."
Axelrod concluded by ruing: "Today's attempts to
change the company's views on global warming were turned back, leaving a
small band of critics with little to do but shout."
Let's get 12 or 14
people to protest outside the CBS shareholder meeting about the
"corporate dinosaur attitude about the dangers" of liberal media
bias espoused by CBS News. We could even recruit a nun to buy some shares
and then raise the issue inside the meeting. Think we'd get two minutes
of network air time?
the reasoning of NBC's Brian Williams, who couldn't resist applying a
loaded label in noting the death of a politician, simply opposing abortion
because you are a "devout Catholic" makes you worthy of the
"ultraconservative" tag. MRC analyst Paul Smith caught this
brief obituary item read by Williams Tuesday night, May 30, on his News
with Brian Williams on MSNBC:
"Bob Casey has died tonight, word just in to us.
The former two-term Governor of Pennsylvania, a Democrat but a devout
Catholic and thus was ultraconservative on the topic of abortion. In fact,
his name will forever be attached to a landmark Supreme Court decision on
CNN's Bruce Morton
provided a lengthier review of Casey's life, sans the loaded labeling,
on Wednesday's Inside Politics. Morton recalled how because of his
pro-life views, the then sitting Governor was denied a chance to speak to
the 1992 Democratic convention in New York City. That reminded me of how
the networks in 1992 largely ignored that snub while obsessing about how
the GOP was suppressing pro-choice Republicans. Here's a portion of the
study from the September, 1992 MediaWatch, the MRC's since discontinued
newsletter, on prime time convention coverage by ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC:
While the Democrats' decision to not allow
pro-life Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey to speak in New York garnered
only an interview on NBC and an interview and four mentions on CNN, in
Houston [site of GOP conclave] the abortion debate became a major focus of
coverage. On more than 20 occasions network analysts charged the
Republicans with trying to exclude people from their party. For example,
NBC's Tom Brokaw told [Pat] Buchanan on Tuesday night: "You gave the
impression that if you're not a white, heterosexual, Christian,
anti-abortion, anti-environment, you're somehow not welcome in the
CBS never mentioned in prime time how the
Democrats suppressed pro-life Gov. Bob Casey's attempt to speak in New
York, but in Houston Connie Chung asked Rep. Connie Morella: "Do you
think the pro-choice voice has been stifled?"
IRS is auditing Juanita Broaddrick's nursing home, and she thinks it's
in retribution for coming forward with her rape charge against President
Clinton, but of the networks only FNC cared. Tuesday night both FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume and the Fox Report ran a story by Rita Cosby
on the revelation by Judicial Watch, which is handling her lawsuit to
demand the White House release its file on her.
Times featured a story, but nothing yet on the broadcast networks and
neither CNN or MSNBC touched it Tuesday night, nor did CNN's Inside
Politics on Wednesday night.
FNC's Brit Hume set up
the May 30 Special Report piece: "Remember Juanita Broaddrick, the
Arkansas nursing home executive who said that Bill Clinton raped her in a
Little Rock hotel room back when he was Attorney General of that state?
Well, not much has been heard from her or about her since that story first
broke, but now she says she's now heard from the federal government, and
she and her lawyer don't like it one bit."
Rita Cosby explained:
"When she received this letter from the IRS last month informing her
she and her nursing home will be audited, Juanita Broaddrick said she
believed right away it was payback for her publicly accusing President
Clinton of raping her two decades earlier. She told Fox News, quote, 'I
believe it's not a coincidence. I am clearly being targeted because I came
"The conservative legal group Judicial Watch,
which currently represents Broaddrick in a civil suit against the White
House, has filed a complaint with the inspector general of the Treasury
Department calling for an investigation of the White House and the
After a soundbite from
Judicial Watch's Larry Klayman, Cosby filled in the clues to a pattern
of retribution: "In addition to Broaddrick, other women who've
accused President Clinton of sexual assault or harassment have been
audited after they spoke out, including Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and
former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen. Billy Dale was also checked out
by the IRS soon after he criticized the White House for being fired from
the travel office. Judicial Watch also says 20 conservative groups have
been audited in the past seven years, but when asked about the complaint,
a White House spokesman said, quote, 'We don't comment on meritless
allegations.' A Democratic supporter says the case is motivated by
Following a clip of
Democratic analyst John Trichter, Cosby discounted the conservative claim
of a systematic policy f harassment: "A recent study conducted by the
General Accounting Office -- before these new allegations -- concluded
that the IRS was not partisan in determining which groups or individuals
it did audit. Regarding this latest claim, the IRS basically repeated its
position and said how it audits individuals or groups is determined by
computer based on certain criteria."
Hume asked: "Is
there anything about Juanita Broaddrick's financial condition that might
have triggered an audit automatically?" Cosby responded that
Broaddrick maintains there have been no events "that normally could
possibly trigger an investigation, trigger an audit. And she also says
that there were no changes basically at all. She and Judicial Watch
believe this, her first audit, was only motivated by politics."
NRA's proposed theme restaurant in Manhattan wasn't greeted too warmly
Tuesday by its future neighbors over at Rockefeller Plaza. NBC's Today
separately brought aboard an anti-gun activist and a NRA official to
discuss the idea, but the NRA's Wayne LaPierre earned the harsher
questions from co-host Matt Lauer. His second question to LaPierre came in
the form of an argument:
"But isn't it just a case of terrible timing Mr.
LaPierre, I mean not coincidentally we've had a show this morning that's
been filled with a murder in Los Angeles, a murder in Florida, five people
were executed in a Wendy's restaurant here in New York just last week. I
mean this doesn't seem like the time you want to be promoting guns?"
Lauer set up the May 30
segment, caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, by focusing on liberal
complaints: "And now to a controversy brewing in the heart of New
York City. Theme restaurants are all the rage in Times Square. Now the
proposal for a new one is drawing some fire."
Lauer's questions to
Josh Sugarmann, "Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center, a
non-profit gun control organization."
-- "What was your first reaction when you heard
about the NRA's plans?"
-- "You obviously don't want the NRA to open a
restaurant in Times Square. Do you have any reason to believe that you
have a right to stop them?"
-- "Why do you think they're trying to get kids?
Why do think this restaurant in particular is part of an effort to target
-- "Let me just first of all point out the NRI has
said, the NRA has said they're not gonna sell guns at this restaurant.
They're not gonna sell ammunition at this restaurant. They even say they
won't have video games that show the shooting of people, so why would
anything that they are going to have there encourage children to re-enter,
as you say, the gun culture?"
-- "If you think that these people will attract
some kids to this restaurant, don't you also think that this restaurant
will become a magnet for protestors?"
Lauer then turned to NRA
Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, live from Times Square:
-- "Let me ask you first of all, I know there were
meetings held over the weekend to determine a specific site in Times
Square. Has there been any progress there?"
-- "But isn't it just a case of terrible timing
Mr. LaPierre, I mean not coincidentally we've had a show this morning
that's been filled with a murder in Los Angeles, a murder in Florida, five
people were executed in a Wendy's restaurant here in New York just last
week. I mean this doesn't seem like the time you want to be promoting
-- "It doesn't seem as if New York is actually
rolling out the red carpet or the welcome mat here Mr. LaPierre. The Mayor
himself, Rudy Giuilani, has said to a gathering of people, 'Don't worry,
this won't happen.' What's your response to that?"
-- "Do you think he has any legal grounds to keep
you out of Times Square?"
-- "If the Mayor tries to go to court, or tries to
use community standards to keep you out will you go to court to fight
-- "And what about what Mr. Sugarmann said, that
this restaurant will become a magnet for protestors, gun control
up with a story from last week, just in time for today's planned
announcement of a court ruling in the Elian case. Friday's The World
Today on CNN delivered an inviting portrait of what probably awaits Elian
very soon in Cuba, what CNN's Lucia Newman agreeably described as
"school in the countryside." Dismissing the charge from
Cuban-Americans that the weeks away from home for Cuban eighth graders to
pick crops really amount "labor camps," Newman insisted the
program instills "respect" for "hard work" and that
while students "say at first they were homesick," they soon
boast that they "are having a great time" and learning "the
importance of camaraderie."
CNN anchor Jim Moret
introduced the May 26 piece which MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth had observed:
"One of the legal arguments used by Elian's relatives in hopes of
preventing his return to Cuba is that Elian will one day be sent to
government labor camps. Most Cuban young people are required to attend the
camps, which critics say weaken the relationship between parent and
CNN Havana Bureau Chief
Lucia Newman began: "From 8 in the morning until noon and then for
two hours in the afternoon these eighth-graders work the fields, cutting
the stalks of a kind of sweet potato called 'bonato' (sp?). For most
of these 13-year-olds from Havana, this is the first time they've had to
get their hands dirty....Once a year, starting in eighth grade, every
Cuban child spends between 15 and 21 days in what's called 'school in
An adult woman asserted, through a translator:
"They learn about where the food we eat and other things we consume
come from, and they learn how hard it is for farmers to produce."
Newman then passed along
the official version of the program: "Cuba's 'school in the
countryside' is based not on Marxist philosophy, but rather on the
teachings of Cuba's nationalist hero Jose Marti. Back in the late 1800s,
he taught that young people had to not only learn to study, but also love
and respect hard work. The theory was put into practice by Cuba's
communist government 40 years ago, when students were even called on to
help with the labor-intensive sugar harvest. Not anymore. Today the work
is lighter, harvesting 'bonato', or potatoes, or picking oranges or
tobacco. Sundays are special. That's when the family comes to visit. This
is the first time most of these adolescents have been separated from their
A father maintained,
through a translator: "It's a way for them to be free of the
overprotection they get at home. They begin to learn to fend for
themselves and to face life as it is, to know that not everything is a bed
Newman dismissed any
concerns about the welfare of the kids: "Still the parents, who are
allowed to come twice a week, usually come laden with fresh clothes and
treats for their children, who say at first they were homesick, but now
are having a great time."
A girl giggled, through a translator: "We have a
discotheque. We dance. We play cards."
Newman saw one danger, but Castro had already take
action to resolve the problem: "Some parents are concerned their
children may be learning more about the birds and the bees than about
agriculture, perhaps one of the reasons why the Education Ministry has cut
back their stay from six weeks to three."
Over video of a building
followed by a shot of happy girls singing, Newman concluded: "This
sign above the kitchen reads, 'We believe in Fidel,' but what most
students tell us is that what the farm school experience does is teach
them to believe more in themselves and the importance of
What a wonderful
paradise, of weeks away from his father so that he can pick potatoes,
awaits Elian. -- Brent Baker
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