INS "Acted Properly"; "Star Wars" Bashed; Rosie O'Donnell Pressed on Gun Hypocrisy
1) ABC's Peter Jennings and
CBS's Bob Schieffer insisted that the judges decided the INS "acted
properly" in the Elian case, but NBC's Pete Williams pointed out how
"they personally might have given Elian an asylum hearing." CBS
featured a woman in Cuba proclaiming how the ruling means Elian has gotten
2) Bash "Star Wars"
night on CBS and NBC. Thursday evening CBS ran a piece which highlighted
attacks on the viability of the newly planned system, while NBC piled on about
its dangers, including how "it could actually ignite a whole new nuclear
3) Moral equivalence in the
extreme. Tom Brokaw asked Russian President Putin: "What's the greatest
threat to Russia: Islamic terrorism coming out of Afghanistan or NATO now
4) This year's National Spelling
Bee champion is a product of home schooling, a fact noted Thursday night by
ABC, FNC and NBC, but skipped by CBS News.
5) Today's Katie Couric grilled
Rosie O'Donnell for over five minutes about her hypocrisy in opposing gun
use by others for personal protection while having armed guards around her
kids. She also told National Review the NRA doesn't care about kids as
"the only life that is important to them is white, Republican life."
Elian decision topped the three broadcast network evening shows Thursday
night. Both ABC anchor Peter Jennings and CBS anchor Bob Schieffer
insisted that the judges decided the INS "acted properly" when
denying an asylum hearing to Elian, but on the NBC Nightly News Pete
Williams pointed out the judges found the process legal but didn't
approve of the outcome: "In a unanimous ruling, the three appeals
court judges say while they personally might have given Elian an asylum
hearing, that's not a decision for the courts, it's one for the
ABC legal analyst
Jeffrey Toobin stressed how "today's opinion was really very
conservative." ABC also squeezed in reaction from Havana, featuring a
woman proclaiming how the ruling means Elian has gotten "his
freedom." CBS's Byron Pitts used the opportunity to make a
derogatory comment about "the normally emotional and often angry
opened the June 1 World News Tonight:
"Good evening. It's been awhile, but once
again the Elian Gonzalez case has been very much at the center of the
stage today and every indication is that it's closer to being resolved
in his father's favor. In the U.S. government's favor. In President
Castro's favor. This morning a panel of three federal judges ruled that
the immigration service, the INS, acted properly when it decided not to
grant an asylum hearing for the six-year-old. And so he may go home very
shortly. His Miami relatives may appeal, politicians may interfere, but
the Attorney General Janet Reno has prevailed and so has Elian's father,
as we said."
summarized the ruling and the reaction from Juan Miguel's lawyer, Greg
Craig. From Miami, Ron Claiborne called it a "stinging setback"
for the relatives who called for calm. Over video of people in Cuba
watching TV, Claiborne relayed that in Cuba "there were no street
protests, but there was plenty of quiet support for the ruling."
Without noting the irony, he then showed a comment from a woman on the
street in Cuba, translating her words: "'I've been anxious all
day about this decision,' she says, 'I am very happy now. I feel like
it is my son who has gotten his freedom.'"
talked with ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. One of his questions:
"And so one the things that's been established here clearly from a
legal point of view is the primacy of parenthood." Toobin agreed:
"That's really true. Some people say, and I think it's true, this
is sort of a victory for Fidel Castro, but today's opinion was really
very conservative. It said you know you can put aside the lawyers, put
aside the politicians, what really matters in this country is that mothers
and fathers control the destiny of their children."
Over on the CBS
Evening News, Bob Schieffer opened the broadcast: "A federal appeals
panel in Atlanta handed down its long-awaited decision in the Elian
Gonzalez case today. The judges said that U.S. immigration officials acted
properly when they denied the Cuban boy an asylum hearing, but the court
gave Elian's great uncle in Miami two weeks to appeal the ruling and
again blocked the boy from leaving the country immediately. So the saga
handled CBS's one and only story, quoting how the judges wrote that
it's "reasoned and reasonable" to say parents speak for their
kids and "The INS's considerable discretion was not abused."
Introducing a soundbite from Marisleysis he took this shot at her
behavior: "This afternoon the normally emotional and often angry
Marisleysis Gonzalez was subdued."
was bash "Star Wars" and missile defense night on CBS and NBC
Thursday evening. Prompted by President Clinton's meeting with Russian
President Vladimir Putin, Wednesday night ABC provided a fair and balanced
set of pro and con reports about a missile defense, but Thursday night CBS
and NBC didn't bother with any such balance.
The CBS Evening
News ran a piece by David Martin which highlighted attacks on the
viability of the newly planned system -- which is aimed at shooting down a
missile fired from a rogue state, not a Cold War-era barrage from the
Soviet Union -- from two men who maintain the interceptors can be easily
fooled by balloon decoys. NBC insisted on repeatedly referring to missile
defense as "Star Wars" as Jim Miklaszewski made no effort at
balance. He outlined the idea behind the system, then spent the remainder
of his piece relaying attacks from critics, including how "critics
warn if Russia...feels threatened it could actually ignite a whole new
nuclear arms race."
this anti-missile system really work?" asked CBS Evening News anchor
Bob Schieffer in introducing an "Eye on America" segment. David
Martin explained in the June 1 story how MIT's Theodore Postol
maintained that the interceptors can be confused by easily launched
balloon decoys. Martin soon added that Richard Garwin, identified
on-screen only as a "missile expert," agreed. Martin also
highlighted how Garwin foresees a nightmare scenario of impossible to stop
bomblets filled with anthrax. Martin concluded:
"Despite the daunting hurdles of building a
missile defense, the Pentagon is trying to do it on a schedule that
compresses ten or twelve years worth of work into just eight. A high risk
program on a fast track, and one panel of experts warned that is likely to
cause delays, increased costs, even failure."
NBC's Tom Brokaw related how Putin and Germany's Prime Minister are
"strongly opposed to any kind of Star Wars missile defense. NBC News
Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski tonight has more on America's
controversial Star Wars plan, should it go forward, is it worth it?"
front asserted that "the Pentagon insists this system is not some
Cold War relic." After a clip of Lt. General Ronald Kadish,
Miklaszewski explained how "it's a scaled down version of Star
Wars" aimed only at countering a rogue attack and so 100 interceptor
missiles would be placed in Alaska. After Charles LaDue of Raytheon
compared the system to a bus driving into a wall at 1,200 mph,
Miklaszewski noted the Pentagon had a successful test last October.
Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe insisted in a soundbite that the
system can be made to work.
began to discredit the whole concept. He noted how a second test failed,
"proof, say the critics, the system will never work."
Following a clip from Stephen Young of something
called the "Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers," Miklaszewski
picked up the argument: "But there may be an even bigger risk. The
Russians claim this system would violate the existing anti-ballistic
missile treaty, which prohibits missile defense. Critics warn if Russia,
or even China, feels threatened it could actually ignite a whole new
nuclear arms race."
Frances Fitzgerald, identified on-screen only as an
"author," asserted: "This may lead to a chain reaction and
we'll end up with more nuclear weapons, which will be able to defeat our
Miklaszewski warned: "And the cost is
Senator Joseph Biden, D-Delaware: "We may be
spending $60 billion on a system that I think the American people are
going to wonder whether we need."
Miklaszewski continued: "To meet the potential
threat and put the first interceptors on alert within five years,
President Clinton must give the go ahead before the November elections.
But a recent Pentagon report warns that timetable is totally unrealistic.
And critics argue it's a rush to judgment, more about election year
politics than national defense."
Fitzgerald: "This has been a political weapon for
its entire history."
Miklaszewski concluded: "The Pentagon has another
intercept test in July. Successful or not, Star Wars is definitely back as
a possible defense but also a potential threat to U.S.-Russian
Assuming all the critics
are correct about technical problems with the planned system, the response
does not have to be to abandon the concept as all the network experts
argued, but to figure out what must be done to make it work to protect
Americans, a line of reasoning skipped by CBS and NBC.
Moral equivalence in the extreme. On the one hand terrorists, on the other
NATO. Check out this question from Tom Brokaw to Russian President
Vladimir Putin posed during the interview played on the June 1 NBC Nightly
"What's the greatest threat to Russia: Islamic
terrorism coming out of Afghanistan or NATO now expanding?"
For the record, the
question was too odd for Putin and he replied by saying "ineffective
economic policy" is the biggest threat to Russia.
This year's National Spelling Bee champion is a product of home
schooling, a fact noted Thursday night by ABC and NBC but skipped by CBS.
Anchor Bob Schieffer reported on the June 1 CBS Evening News how "a
12 year-old boy from Maryland Heights, Missouri won the National Spelling
Bee today. George Thampy won this war of words by correctly spelling
'demarche,' a kind of diplomatic maneuver." After a clip of
Thampy spelling the word, Schieffer added: "And he has been a busy
little bee. Last week he came in second in the geography bee."
ABC and NBC
viewers, as well as those watching FNC, but I don't know about CNN,
heard another relevant fact about the winner. As ABC's Peter Jennings
acknowledged: "For the third year in a row the winner of the National
Spelling Bee was a student taught at home." NBC Nightly News anchor
Brian Williams showed Thampy spelling the winning word before he alerted
viewers: "The young winner, by the way, is home schooled as are the
second and third place finishers this year."
The NRA doesn't care about kids as "the only life that is important
to them is white, Republican life," actress/daytime TV host/liberal
activist Rosie O'Donnell charged in an interview with National Review
that went online hours after she was gently grilled for over five minutes
by the Today show's Katie Couric about her hypocrisy in opposing gun use
by others for personal protection while having armed guards around her
threats from gun advocates for forcing her to employ security measures and
argued the news, about a guard at her kid's nursery school being armed,
only got out because of a politically-motivated Connecticut police
department, which "without a search warrant," searched the guard
for a gun because "it would've been a big feather in" the cap of
the gun lobby "had they found an unlicensed, unregistered gun on the
bodyguard of one of America's most vocal gun control advocates."
In quite a contrast to
the pre-Million Mom March coverage delivered by the networks, Couric
repeatedly followed-up by challenging O'Donnell about how she's
contradicting her public condemnation of guns. Couric, for instance,
reminded O'Donnell that when Charlton Heston suggested more armed guards
might have prevented the tragedy at Columbine, "your response was
quote, 'Does he want us to live in a police state where the only way that
our children in this country are safe is with armed guards at every school
in America? That is an obscure, absurd, extremist view. He's wrong, it
infuriates me.' And yet you have an armed, you're considering having an
armed bodyguard for your children?"
First, to a hunk of the
June 1 Today interview painstakingly transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens, and then we'll get to some of O'Donnell's comments to
appearance during Today's 8am hour was pegged to her hosting the Tony
Awards Sunday night on CBS. After several questions about that and her
winning a daytime Emmy, Couric switched topics:
"Now segueing into that controversial area. Let's
talk about the Million Mom March."
Couric: "You were one of the organizers. Or one of
O'Donnell: "Uh no. I was considered the
Couric: "The emcee, okay. Tell me about that. Do
you, first of all what was it like for you to participate in that march?
And do you think it really accomplished anything, or what did it
O'Donnell: "Well I think it gave birth to a
movement. Make that, people who've said, you know, we are the voice of the
majority of Americans and we have not been heard. It's time that we are
Couric: "But what will that movement do?"
O'Donnell: "We'll try to work for sensible gun
legislation, for the licensing and registering of all guns in America. And
that's what our main goal is, is not to take anyone's gun. Not to take
away Charlton Heston's gun or any other law abiding citizen's gun. We're
trying to regulate an industry that's not regulated. The Consumer Product
Safety Commission regulates every product made in the United States, it
has to adhere to safety standards. Every product except guns. So if you
make a teddy bear, it has to make sure that the eyes don't come off and
your kid doesn't choke. Well you can make a gun, it doesn't have to adhere
to any safety standard, it can drop it, it can shoot, it can have as many
clips loaded into it as they want. You know it's basically, totally an
unregulated industry because of the pressure that they've had in the
Congress and Senate."
Product Safety Commission regulates EVERY product made in the United
States"? A liberal's dream!
Couric then pressed her:
"Now given that backdrop and you're very strong feelings on this
Couric: "You have been called a hypocrite in
Couric: "Because you have hired a bodyguard or you
have had a bodyguard for you and your family."
O'Donnell: "Right, right."
Couric: "And this particular bodyguard applied for
a permit to carry a gun."
O'Donnell, her voiced changed to a pedantic clip as
she's clearly annoyed: "Yes he did. He applied on his own volition.
He works for a security firm. He does not only work for me. He's employed
by a security firm. After the Columbine incident last year when I became a
vocal gun control advocate and began my education about guns in America
there was cause for my family to be concerned about their safety. On the
advice of many safety firms and federal, federal institutions of the
United States they recommended that we get bodyguards. It was my decision
to hire one who was unarmed for my children. There are times when I walk
in public across the street where we have security guards who are off duty
New York City policemen with me when it is deemed appropriate that there
is a security threat. However, when they said that my children needed one
I said please let's have one unarmed. I could have had one armed if I
wanted to. My thought was the presence of him at a nursery school, a
private nursery school in a car would indicate to some he had a weapon.
All the teachers and all the students and all of the student's parents
knew that he was unarmed."
"So why now apply for a permit?"
O'Donnell took on the Greenwich police, a wealthy
suburban town you'd hardly think would have any kind of pro-gun police
force: "He applied for a permit, not at my request. Permits to carry
a gun are sealed. He has the right as a person whose residing in
Connecticut a lot of the times, due to his work with me, to request to
carry a gun. It wasn't done at my request. He's an individual and he works
for a security firm. What happened was the police department released to
the media a private gun application in order to call me a hypocrite. The
local newspaper then called my house and said is it true that he does not
have a gun and that he applied for one? I said yes, and if you want to
call me a hypocrite, call me a hypocrite but please do not say that the
person who is watching my children at school does not have a gun because
it might facilitate the need to get one. And that is really not my desire.
They said, well we won't list the name of the school but we have to print
it because its newsworthy. The day after they printed the story the
Greenwich police showed up on a private nursery school without a search
warrant and searched the man in his car where he had the right to be for a
gun and on his person without a search warrant."
An incredulous Couric leaned in: "So you believe
this was politically motivated?"
O'Donnell: "Yes I do. I hate to disappoint the gun
lobby but it would've been a big feather in their cap had they found an
unlicensed, unregistered gun on the bodyguard of one of America's most
vocal gun control advocates."
Couric pressed some
more: "Are you going to insist now, despite this publicity, that this
individual not carry a gun?"
O'Donnell: "I think that my family's security will
be discussed with the people who are hired to insure that they are in fact
safe, and we'll have to make a decision as a family based on that.
However, up until this point I hadn't had the need, in my opinion, because
the presence of Marcos, who is a friend of mine, who is a trained expert
in martial arts-"
Couric: "This is the bodyguard."
O'Donnell: "Indicated to many that he had a
Couric hit O'Donnell with an NRA point: "Some
people might hear this and say you know it's an increasingly violent
society, I have the right and I want to protect my family too from would
Couric: "But I'm not Rosie O'Donnell, I don't make
tons of money, I can't afford a bodyguard, so I want to be armed if need
be so I can protect myself and my family."
O'Donnell: "Well if you would like to own a gun
you are allowed to own a gun. What we who work for gun control would like
to see happen is see every gun licensed and registered in the United
States. You have to pass the test to drive a car you should be able to
have to pass a test to own a lethal weapon. A weapon that's innate design
is to kill other people. It is an industry that is totally unregulated.
Right now Americans are allowed to buy and own weapons and they will
continue to be allowed through out the rest of history and we're
Couric: "And you have said you do not want to take
that right away."
O'Donnell, with a yes but answer: "No, although I
will tell you this that the Second Amendment has been interpreted by the
Supreme Court to be regarding 'a well-regulated militia.' That the
Second Amendment refers to 'a well-regulated militia.' The Supreme
Court has continually upheld this and it never ever was interpreted that
the Second Amendment meant individual's rights to bear arms."
Couric: "Do you have a gun in your home?"
O'Donnell: "I do not."
Couric: "Would you ever have a gun in your
O'Donnell: "There are times, no, would I
personally ever own a gun?"
Couric: "What about a bodyguard in your home would
you allow that individual to have a gun?"
O'Donnell: "There have been times, yes, where
there has been, only since April 21st, when I've become a vocal gun
control advocate, there have been times when I have had armed people at my
house, not inside my house, outside my house to make sure that no one who
is not supposed to get in the house, get in the house."
O'Donnell: "Last year Charlton Heston came out with a statement
saying more armed guards might have prevented the tragedy at Columbine.
Your response was quote, 'Does he want us to live in a police state where
the only way that our children in this country are safe is with armed
guards at every school in America? That is an obscure, absurd, extremist
view. He's wrong, it infuriates me.' And yet you have an armed, you're
considering having an armed bodyguard for your children?"
O'Donnell: "I don't have Katie, I don't have an
armed, I do not have an armed guard for my children."
Couric: "You're considering it."
O'Donnell: "Well there have been since my vocal
gun control advocacy, threats made upon the safety and lives of my
children. If there was someone in Parker's school who was having threats
made against his four-year old life I would understand the parent's
concern. I think that arming America with concealed weapons in general,
we're going to become the Wild West."
Couric's next and last
query: "Do you think you'll continue to be a lightning rod in terms
of this whole controversy on this issue?"
That allowed O'Donnell to claim moral superiority and
to spout off her dubious anti-gun numbers: "Well it's really not
about me, truthfully, Katie. The fact is that up until now the only people
who have been interested in being gun control advocates have been people
whose lives have been shattered by a bullet. Carolyn McCarthy, her husband
had to be killed, before she became the most powerful voice in Congress.
And you know she became a legislator because he was, the Bradys, at the
end of a bullet they became passionate about this. But we have to do it
before we become statistics. There are 12 children killed everyday in
America. When I stand up and say cystic fibrosis, pediatric AIDS,
childhood cancers everyone says isn't she great? More kids die from
gunshot wounds than those three diseases combined every year. It is an
issue of child advocacy for me. And the NRA and the gun lobby can try as
hard as they want to scare me, to threaten me, to make me into a
hypocrite. This is what I believe and I will not be quiet about it."
+++ Watch a portion of
Couric's interview with O'Donnell. Friday morning, MRC Webmaster Andy
Szul will post a hunk of it, in RealPlayer format, on the MRC home page.
Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Director Liz Swasey alerted me to this posting on National Review's Web
page: "For his piece 'Rosie O'Donnell, Political Activist,'
published in the June 19 issue of National Review, Jay Nordlinger
interviewed Rosie O'Donnell, as well as the man she calls her idol --
Mike Douglas, the former TV-talk-show host whose show Rosie took as a
model for her own."
NR provided some
excerpts of O'Donnell's comments:
-- On Guns: "In a
perfect world, I would love it if we didn't have any handguns, but
that's not what I'm striving for politically, nor is it attainable.
That's an extremist view.
"I'm not against anyone having a gun, as long as
it's licensed, registered, and has a child-safety lock. Anyone who wants
to have one, can. I don't think that gun owners are the enemy. I don't
think they're evil. But gun deaths are an epidemic.
"The NRA cowers behind the Second Amendment.
[Chief Justice Warren] Burger said that the Second Amendment is the
biggest fraud that has ever been perpetrated on the American public. A
state militia is what it says, and when they quote it, they leave out the
first twelve words-twelve! There are twenty-seven words, and they all
-- On Whether the NRA
Cares as Much About Children as She Does: "I would say, maybe their
own kids, but not kids in general. The only life that is important to them
is white, Republican life. Regardless of skin color, it offends me when
someone is shot dead in America. [The NRA's position] is based on
financial gain, not patriotism or love of children."
-- Did she lose no
respect at all for Hillary, given her wild accusations of a "vast
right-wing conspiracy?": "I believe she believed her husband. I
don't believe for one minute that she sat on the Today show [where the
First Lady alleged the 'conspiracy'] knowing the truth of that
situation. I believe her husband lied to her, as he did to everyone else,
and that she found out only later that he'd betrayed her."
-- On the Argument that
Rudy Giuliani Has Made New York City Safer, Better: "That's what a
white conservative who's rich would say, but not someone in a poor
neighborhood, by any means."
For more quotes, go to:
For the full story as it
appears in the new National Review:
And to watch a clip of O'Donnell's
infamous May 20, 1999 argument with Tom Selleck, go to:
As for O'Donnell's
last quote above about Giuliani, tell that to all the poor minority group
members who are still alive thanks to the dramatic drop in the murder
rate. -- Brent Baker
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