Oxygen Breathed Liberal for Gore; Death Penalty Errors Tied to Bush; Willey's Letters
1) Ex-Clinton operative Cheryl
Mills hosted Oxygen's forum with Al Gore. She promised that the women
questioning Gore represented "a cross-section of...political
ideology." In fact, 14 questions came from the left, two from the right.
Also in the audience: Million Mom March's Donna Dees-Thomases.
2) The networks all jumped on a
study which claimed the death penalty system is fraught with error. ABC and
CBS tied it directly to George Bush, with CBS insisting Bush's run "has
put the Texas death penalty system under a microscope."
3) "Governor George W. Bush
has presided over 131 executions and says he's confident that every one of
those who went to their deaths was guilty, but an investigation published in
the Chicago Tribune claims" otherwise, GMA highlighted as did NBC's
4) Bryant Gumbel bemoaned to John
McCain on campaign finance: "Doesn't the political system basically
suggest that we will not see any kind of a measure before the elections in
5) FNC's David Shuster disclosed
that the White House released Kathleen Willey's letters because "they
wanted public sentiment to restrict Kenneth Starr's investigation."
6) "The NBC cameraman who was
in the house when Elian Gonzalez was seized by INS agents has now publicly
denounced their account of the incident as a pack of lies," FNC's Brit
Hume informed viewers.
7) The Weekly Standard's Matt
Labash checked in with Al Gore's renters for the inside story on who they
are and how Gore has treated them.
8) A victim's grandson assumed
the killer had been executed, "until back in '93 when Dateline NBC done a
story on it."
>>> Now online, the June 12 edition of
Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the quote headings:
"The Food Will Kill You, Too"; "Clinton's 'So-Called'
Lies"; "'Ultraconservative' Bob Casey?"; "Communism
vs. Commercialism"; | "Elian, Learn Ballet on the Farm!";
"Even Liberals See Pro-Gore Bias"; "We Want Clinton to Stay
Kinky"; "Rushing to Hush Rush" and "Rosie: NRA Doesn't
Love Kids." To read this issue, go to:
Click on the PDF icon to see the issue, as the printed
version really appears, via Adobe Acrobat Reader. <<<
Gore had a friendly host for his Monday night "Women's Forum"
on the Oxygen cable network simulcast on C-SPAN2 and played back later on
C-SPAN: Cheryl Mills. The former Deputy White House counsel is now Senior
Vice President of Oxygen, the women-oriented network partially-owned by
Oprah Winfrey. She came out at the top of the show and promised that the
women about to question Gore represented "a cross-section of race,
age, privilege and political ideology."
In fact, 14 of the
questions posed came from the left with just two queries from the right, a
7-to-1 ratio. Another four did not have a clear ideological angle.
When we last heard from
Mills she was making a preposterous argument at an early May House
Government Reform Committee hearing about missing White House e-mail. She
scolded the committee members: "Nothing you discover today will feed
one person, give shelter to someone who is homeless, educate one child,
provide health care for one family, or justice to an African-American or
It's not clear how the
Oxygen Women's Forum furthered any of those goals.
At the top of the
90-minute June 12 event, live from Trenton, New Jersey, which started a
few minutes past 9pm ET, Mills came out and asserted that in the last two
presidential elections women constituted 53 percent of those who voted and
that a poll found a woman's interest in politics is shaped by her
mother. Mills then delivered this rather convoluted message: "If our
children are our messengers to the future, Oxygen wants all of our
daughters to hear our questions tonight so that together we shape the
world they will inherit tomorrow."
She added: "Our
studio audience of 150 women from the Trenton community will be asking the
questions of the Vice President. These women, all of whom are registered
voters, are a cross-section of race, age, privilege and political
Al Gore ran out to the
center ring surrounded by seats and gushed that it's "great to hear
Cheryl give that beautiful statement at the beginning. I worked with
Cheryl when she was in the White House counsel's office. I thought that
was beautifully worded."
Farai Chideya, a face you may recall from her liberal advocacy on CNN a
few years ago, May Lee and Kent Manahan took questions from the supposedly
diverse audience. Amongst questions from the left, Gore was asked about
prescription coverage for Medicare, health coverage for the uninsured,
what programs he would enact to help the disabled, how he would aid public
schools, whether he would listen to those opposed to "government
sanctioned killing" -- death penalty, not abortion. Chideya
followed-up by pointing out the racial imbalance of capital punishment and
asking if he would support "racial justice" legislation.
To audience applause, a
woman demanded of Gore: "What steps will you take during your four
years of office to assure the Supreme Court maintains a woman's right to
Another woman wanted to
know what programs Gore would promote to "make college available to
everyone and not a select few?" After telling Gore "you're a
lot more handsomer in person," a woman complained that while 94
percent of black women vote Democratic, white women advance more through
affirmative action. So, she sniffed, what would he do "to even the
playing ground" for blacks and bring the wayward six percent over to
the Democratic side?
Sense any diversity
here? And I'm not done with the liberal whining. Gore was also pressed
about what he would do about the impact of environmental toxins on how
young people develop and AIDS in Africa. An 18-year-old hoped he supports
more federal aid to fire departments (he does!). And an online questioner
wanted to know why he backs trade with China but not Cuba.
Near the end of the show
viewers learned of a surprise guest in the audience. A woman who
participated in the Million Mom March wanted to know if Gore would back
national gun licensing. Gore immediately pointed out how march organizer
Donna Dees-Thomases was in the audience.
Recall how Mills
promised the studio audience is made up "of 150 women from the
Trenton community." Dees-Thomases lives in Short Hills, at least 30
miles from Trenton. Next door maybe if you live in Wyoming, but literally
across the state by New Jersey geographical standards.
The two conservative
questions which snuck through: An inquiry about how Bush's Social
Security plan is any more risky than Gore's and May Lee challenged Gore
about how China is going backward on human rights. The non-ideological
queries dealt with issues such as reaching out to disaffected young people
and balancing the government's need for online information with the
public's right to privacy.
Mills popped out again
at the end to ask Gore how politics in DC could be made "more
collaborative" and less divisive. My answer to Mills would have been:
When called before a House committee, answer the questions you're asked
and don't go off on a racist rant about how the questions won't bring
"justice to an African-American or Hispanic juvenile."
+++ On Tuesday, MRC
Webmaster Andy Szul will post, on the MRC
home page, a RealPlayer clip of Mills introducing the Oxygen forum
bashing angle exploited. Monday morning and evening the networks all
jumped on the Columbia University study titled, "A Broken
System," which claimed the fact that two-thirds of death penalty
sentences are overturned on appeal proves capital punishment is fraught
with error. ABC led with the report Monday night and like CBS followed up
with a story on how under Governor Bush Texas leads the nation in
executions and that there is supposedly concern an innocent man may be put
to death next week. Bush's "run for the White House has put the
Texas death penalty system under a microscope," declared CBS's Bob
On the June 12 NBC
Nightly News Lisa Myers summarized the report and refrained from
implicating the Bush campaign, though she wasn't so reticent on Today.
See item #3 for more on the morning shows.
ABC's World News
Tonight led with Jami Floyd's story on the study. After her piece,
anchor Peter Jennings intoned:
"Of all the capital cases in the United States,
five percent end in execution and seven states that permit the death
penalty [map showing New Mexico, Kansas, South Dakota, New York, New
Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire] have had no executions since 1973.
At the other end of the scale, Texas has killed more than 200 people and
is the only state to have done that to so many. There have been 131
executions since George W. Bush became the Governor. There are several
more on the schedule, one tonight, a couple more this week. And in ten
days from now a man is scheduled to die. Critics in this case say his case
is a classic example of a system that is flawed."
Mike von Fremd picked up
the case of Gary Graham, the media cause of the day. Based on a single
eyewitness account, he was sentenced to death for a 1981 killing in front
of a Houston Safeway. A Northwestern University professor and six men
wrongly sentenced to death, but now free, traveled to Houston to plead his
case, von Fremd related. He showed a clip of Jennifer Thompson, a woman
who wrongly identified her rapist, in tears, crying "I'm
Von Fremd conceded: "Even Graham's attorneys
believe he belongs in jail. He pleaded guilty to ten robberies in which he
shot two people."
Since Governor Ann Richards already granted Graham a
stay seven years ago, Bush can't offer another stay, von Fremd explained
in concluding his piece. But that raises the question of how much Bush can
be held accountable for a process he cannot control.
Over on the June 12 CBS
Evening News, Dan Rather summarized the Columbia study and then asserted:
"Of 28 capital punishments states, Texas has carried out the most
executions, 218. And as CBS's Bob McNamara reports, that number's
about to rise."
intoned: "Tonight, as another man is scheduled to go to his death,
the system that made Texas the capital of capital punishment is under a
thickening cloud of questions. In Houston today, six men innocently sent
to death row and later freed, campaigned for the life of Gary
Without bothering to
mention Graham's record of shooting people, as had ABC's von Fremd,
McNamara relayed how Graham claimed innocence, how he was convicted by
just one witness, and how his lawyer offered virtually no defense.
McNamara lamented, "Texas Governor Bush says the system is
Bush: "I believe they've had full access to the
courts and full access to have a fair trial, not only in the state system,
but in the federal system."
viewers that Bush recently gave Ricky McGinn a 30-day stay for DNA tests,
"but the Governor's run for the White House has put the Texas death
penalty system under a microscope. Numerous investigations have found that
some convictions were based on the testimony of jail house snitches, that
some defense attorneys were found incompetent or they offered little
defense for their client at all."
McNamara continued his
effort to discredit Bush on capital punishment, raising the example of Pam
Perillo, a woman on death row who came within two days of death before her
sentence was overturned because of inadequate defense. Of course, that
doesn't make her innocent.
Columbia University professor James Liebman, author of
he study, insisted the system causes more errors than success before
McNamara regretfully concluded: "While some anti-death penalty
advocates believe the latest reports on flaws in the system are another
nail in the coffin of capital punishment, in Texas support for the death
penalty remains strong at 80 percent."
anti-death penalty crusade started Monday morning with ABC's Good
Morning America and CBS's The Early Show running interview segments
prompted by the Columbia University study and a Chicago Tribune story
about executions during George Bush's tenure. NBC's Today featured a
taped story which highlighted how Texas is "under special scrutiny
these days" as a Tribune review of the "131 inmates executed by
Governor George W. Bush" found "dozens of cases in which inmates
were executed despite serious questions about the competence of their
defense and the reliability of key testimony."
GMA devoted the entire
7am half hour after the news update to questions about the death penalty,
observed MRC intern Joyce Garczynski. First, co-host Charles Gibson
interviewed Columbia's James Liebman. Second, Clinton White House
overnight guest and GMA fill-in co-host Nancy Snyderman took on Bush's
"Texas executes more convicted killers then any
other state. Governor George W. Bush has presided over 131 executions and
says he's confident that every one of those who went to their deaths was
guilty, but an investigation published in the Chicago Tribune claims that
incompetent defense attorneys and dubious testimony has in fact cast great
doubt over many of those executions. In a moment we'll look at the case of
a man on death row in Texas who says he's innocent but he still faces
execution in ten days."
to Chicago Tribune reporter Ken Armstrong:
-- "131 cases of people who were executed in
Texas. Some glaring, troubling, examples: 43 cases represented by an
attorney who was later disbarred or suspended or had some kind of
sanction, 29 cases where in fact a psychiatrist gave testimony about
perhaps future violence and yet hadn't even examined the people they'd
seen. Do you have examples that go with those statistics because on the
surface they look quite startling?"
-- "How is it that in Texas someone would be
unlucky enough to get two attorneys who would do less then an admirable
-- After playing a soundbite of Bush's reaction,
Snyderman pressed ahead: "Do you think innocent people have been put
to death in Texas?"
She then turned to Gary
Graham's attorney, Richard Burr: "One more troubling statistic from
the Chicago Tribune, 40 cases of those who were executed in Texas involve
defense attorneys who presented no evidence or only one witness during the
sentencing phase. Ten days from now Governor Bush will have to decide
whether to grant a reprieve to a man whose defense lawyer is under
scrutiny. Gary Graham has been on death row now for 19 years, sentenced
with no physical evidence no testimony other then one single eyewitness
his lawyer even challenged to fail her."
Snyderman at least
challenged him a bit: "Your client has had over 30 separate court
proceedings. None of these proceedings has found any reason to get him off
of death row. Why are you so convinced they have the wrong guy?"
And: "Your client was certainly not a model
citizen during this time, he was on his own crime spree at that time. A 22
caliber gun was found on him. A 22 caliber gun was used in committing this
murder. Proof that they in fact weren't the same weapon?"
Today co-host Matt Lauer
set up the NBC show's June 12 piece, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens: "On Close Up this morning the death penalty. A new
study out this morning says the nation's capital punishment system is
seriously flawed. It's sure to add to the growing debate in this country
about the death penalty."
Lisa Myers reviewed the
major points in the Columbia University Law School study: "Amid
growing concern about the fairness of the death penalty system the first
comprehensive study of capital punishment ever. And the verdict is
devastating. Titled, 'A Broken System,' the Columbia University study
covers almost 4,500 cases over 23 years. And finds a system collapsing
under the weight of its own mistakes. As a result only five percent of
death sentences are ever carried out."
Myers soon tied it to
Bush and Texas: "Under special scrutiny these days, Texas, which
leads the nation in executions. Another report by the Chicago Tribune
reviews 131 inmates executed by Governor George W. Bush. It finds dozens
of cases in which inmates were executed despite serious questions about
the competence of their defense and the reliability of key testimony: 43
included defense lawyers publicly sanctioned for misconduct, 23 relied on
testimony from jailhouse informants, among the least credible of
witnesses, 40 involved trials in which almost no defense was even
Following a clip of the
Tribune's Ken Armstrong, Myers continued: "Yet only once did
Governor Bush have enough doubt about an inmate's guilt to commute a death
sentence to life in prison. He recently stayed another execution to allow
time for DNA testing. And even after this report Bush still insists the
Texas system is fair."
Myers brought up the
Graham case: "This issue may dog Bush the entire campaign. In ten
days another Texas death row inmate is set to be executed. This man's
lawyer did almost no investigation of his case. Failed to call a single
defense witness and has repeatedly been reprimanded for professional
misconduct. Now the inmate claims he's innocent and he's asking Bush for
The media will make sure
the topic dogs Bush until November.
warm network reception for John McCain. He appeared in New York sitting
beside Bryant Gumbel on Monday's Early Show on CBS. Gumbel assumed he
was on the good side of campaign finance regulation and so failed to
challenge him about the appropriateness of the new restrictions he backs.
MRC analyst Brian Boyd
took down Gumbel's words from the June 12 show, beginning with
Gumbel's disappointment over a defeat for a McCain pet bill:
"After seven years of inaction the Senate last
week voted to tighten campaign finance disclosure laws. A move offset by
the fact that the House defeated a similar measure less than 24 hours
later. The Senate legislation was co-sponsored by John McCain. Senator,
-- "How disheartened are you by the House
-- "Doesn't the political system basically suggest
that we will not see any kind of a measure before the elections in
-- "All right, so if it doesn't happen before the
election, is it realistic to think there would be any impetus, any
motivation for it after November? I mean, it's been sitting for so many
-- "The measure that was passed last weekend would
have controlled 527s and made their disclosure necessary and their filing
of taxes necessary. How much of a difference do you think it would have
-- "Ironically, on the day of the Senate vote the
DNC started running a new $25 million ad on behalf of Al Gore in thirteen
different states. Anger you, disappoint you, surprise you?"
McCain: "Doesn't surprise, doesn't anger. The Vice
President said he wouldn't be first so he contradicted himself."
Gumbel quickly came to Gore's defense: "In
fairness to him, he said the Republicans had already started running
their's. He said he wouldn't if they didn't, and he says they started in
McCain: "The following day the Republicans began.
So now you're seeing $25, $50, a $100 million in these so-called soft
Gumbel: "Are they just as wrong?"
Gumbel moved on to
McCain's role at the Republican convention and speculation about
Bush's VP pick.
White House released Kathleen Willey's letters in order to turn the
public against her so Ken Starr would not pursue her charges as part of
his investigation, viewers of FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume
uniquely learned Monday night.
David Shuster explained
what was revealed in interrogatories, obtained by and then released by
"Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsey testified that he
and other White House lawyers were trying to contain the ongoing criminal
investigation focused on the Lewinsky scandal....Lindsey admitted
consulting with the President about the release of these letters, but
these documents are the first to state definitively that the White House
was as interested in containing Starr's criminal investigation as
actually stabilizing the President's political support in
Hume tried to get to the
point: "What do we know today now that we didn't really know
Shuster replied: "Now we know exactly why the
White House wanted to release these letters. We know for sure that it
wasn't so much that they really wanted to damage Kathleen Willey,
although that was part of it, what they wanted was, they wanted public
sentiment to restrict Kenneth Starr's investigation."
his Monday night, June 12, FNC show Brit Hume also uniquely relayed an
update about the NBC cameraman inside the Elian Gonzalez house at the time
of the raid:
"The NBC cameraman, who was in the house when
Elian Gonzalez was seized by INS agents, has now publicly denounced their
account of the incident as a pack of lies. The agents said last week that
they neither cursed or struck anyone in conducting the Miami raid. But
Tony Zumbado, a free-lance cameraman on the story for NBC, told the Ft.
Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel he was knocked to the floor, kicked in the back
and that the agents quote 'said every bad word in the book.'"
Naturally, there's not
been a word on NBC News about this development.
To read the June 9 story
which Hume cited, go to:
This link should work
for another few days.
For an update from the
June 12 edition of the newspaper, about how Zumbado will meet with the
INS, go to:
networks and major national papers didn't bother to send anyone to
Carthage to check out what really happened between Al Gore and his
tenants, but The Weekly Standard did. The magazine's Matt Labash learned
that the Mayberry family make out their rent check directly to "Al
Gore" and he discovered some less than flattering traits of the
family, including how the mother first married at age 13 and while the
father is on disability for heart failure he chain smokes. It's a pretty
entertaining article about life in place where a front yard packed with
old cars is the norm.
Slumlord" announced the headline over the cover story for the June 19
issue. The subhead: "Al Gore's treatment of his Tennessee tenants
gives new meaning to 'compassionate liberalism'." In italics, the
Weekly Standard set off this 1998 lecture from Gore: "There is a
difference between talking about compassion and actually putting your
highest ideals into practice."
A brief excerpt from
Not that Gore was meddlesome. Though Tracy
makes her checks out directly to "Al Gore," and while the
Mayberrys' house sits only 150 yards or so from that of Carthage's
Washington, D.C.-bred native son, Gore has been extremely hands off. So
hands off, in fact, that when Tracy complained to Gore's property managers
that the plaster was coming off the walls, the linoleum was peeling off
the kitchen floor, the basin of the bathroom sink was a constipated sludge
puddle, the guts of one toilet tank had to be held together with Sunbeam
bread bag twisties, and both bathroom toilets overflowed -- when they
flushed at all -- (making the whole house smell, in Charles's formulation,
"like sheee-it"), the managers managed not to fix anything at
To read the entirety of
Labash's account, including how he aided in the pursuit of a cockroach
inside the house, go to:
If you spend the $3.95
for a hard copy of the magazine you'll also get color photos of the
family and the house.
thought you were already dead! Interviewing the grandson of the man Gary
Graham was convicted of murdering, CBS's Bryant Gumbel gained an
embarrassing confession: Grandson Bobby Hanners believed Graham had been
put to death years ago.
Here's the exchange
caught by MRC analyst Brian Boyd from the June 12 Early Show:
Gumbel: "You were
only nine when your grandfather was killed. How much have you really
studied this case over the past 19 years?"
Bobby Hanners, from Richmond, Kentucky: "For the
longest time I thought he had already been executed, until back in '93
when Dateline NBC done a story on it. And I just gather information from
Justice for All, Diane Clements, she keeps me informed and my
useful came from a Dateline story. -- Brent Baker
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