Conservative vs. Conservative; Better Healthcare in Dominica; Loose Security at Los Alamos & Warned on E-Mail
1) Peter Jennings worried if
rising gas prices "could put seats in peril and even Vice President
2) How to get on TV if you're
conservative or Republican: criticize another of your own kind. The networks
played up conservative criticism of the death penalty and of Senator Gordon
Smith condemning his colleagues for opposing the hate crimes bill. NBC: He
appealed to fellow "Christians to put down their stones."
3) Schedule surgery in Dominica?
World News Tonight promoted a WHO study which put the U.S. in 37th place and
claimed Dominica, Costa Rica and Oman, among others, provide a better health
4) Two FNC exclusives: Los Alamos
officials countermanded a panel's recommendation and loosened security for
nuclear information and a White House computer specialist contradicted Gore
and contended the "White House was arrogant and incompetent" in
ignoring repeated warnings about how e-mail could be lost.
5) Barbara Walters, the singing
newswoman. On Tuesday's The View, Walters sang the closing number from her
late father's New York City nightclub, The Latin Quarter.
6) Fill in the blank on the
reasoning expressed by a Hollywood star: "I'd certainly rather have a
[blank] than a bullet in the head." Think Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky
and a kneepad.
Cartoons online. Chuck Asay, an editorial cartoonist based at the Colorado
Springs Gazette-Telegraph whose work the MRC's MediaWatch newsletter
often printed because he frequently highlighted liberal media bias, has
joined the MRC's CNSNews.com line-up of cartoonists. The editorial
cartoons from Asay and five others can be seen at: http://www.cnsnews.com/cartoon/welcome.asp
For Asay's cartoons, go to: http://www.cnsnews.com/cartoon/Asayarchive/archive.asp
Scroll down to the cartoons dated June 14 and June 1 to
see his take on media bias on Bush and the death penalty as well as on the
Million Mom March. <<<
serious now. ABC and CBS led Tuesday night with high gas prices and who is
to blame. After the World News Tonight story by Jackie Judd, ABC anchor
Peter Jennings asked Cokie Roberts: "Do senior Democrats actually
think that these prices could put seats in peril and even Vice President
Gore's candidacy?" Her ominous answer: "Yes."
No wonder the networks
are so concerned about it.
one sure way for extremist conservatives to suddenly be considered
insightful and expert assessors of policies: Bash other conservatives or
Republicans who are pursuing policies with which the media disagree.
Tuesday's broadcast network newscasts delivered examples of this
phenomenon in two issue areas: George W. Bush's support for the death
penalty and conservative opposition to the hate crimes bill passed by the
Senate. When did you last see R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Pat Robertson and the
writer of a National Review cover story all in one network news story
about something other than a vast right-wing conspiracy?
ABC's Dean Reynolds
insisted on June 20 that "Bush's unwavering confidence that
everyone on death row in Texas has been fairly tried" is
"generating considerable controversy." He then trumpeted how
"in the nation's leading conservative publications there is now a
suggestion that opposing the death penalty is consistent with conservative
suspicion of big government."
CBS's Bob Schieffer
and NBC's Lisa Myers both highlighted Republican Senator Gordon
Smith's condemnation of his fellow Republicans for opposing the hate
crimes bill. "A conservative Republican," Myers hailed,
"appeals to fellow Republicans and Christians to put down their
-- Keeping up ABC's
drumbeat on behalf of Texas death row prisoner Gary Graham, Tuesday night
ABC's World News Tonight ran yet another piece from Dean Reynolds on how
Bush is out of step in not backing off his support for capital punishment.
Reynolds noted that Bush
canceled a news conference, and then explained why: "Bush was heckled
by death penalty opponents yesterday and exposing him to reporters'
questions this morning was certain to keep the death penalty front and
In fact, as ABC's
story proved, the media didn't need an excuse to continue harping on the
Reynolds portrayed Bush
as the one out of tune: "But it is Bush's unwavering confidence
that everyone on death row in Texas has been fairly tried and considered
that is generating considerable controversy. And that is due in many ways
to a very clear shift on the issue among some conservative leaders and
opinion shapers who otherwise support Bush. When Governor George Ryan of
Illinois, a Republican, stopped all executions in his state he was hailed
as courageous. When conservative commentator Pat Robertson called for a
nationwide moratorium it added pressure from a powerful Republican
Robertson: "People are taking a second look at the
death penalty. I don't think the conservatives are opposed to capital
punishment, but they don't want innocent people to be executed."
Reynolds: "And in the nation's leading
conservative publications there is now a suggestion that opposing the
death penalty is consistent with conservative suspicion of big
Carl Cannon, National Journal: "True conservatives
don't even trust the government to pick up the garbage. The dilemma for
them is how can you trust government to do this most basic thing, life and
death over its citizens, some of whom may be innocent?"
(Reynolds failed to note
why producers picked Cannon for a soundbite: He wrote a recent National
Review article presenting the conservative case against capital
"And others say conservatives are joining a trend."
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Editor of The American
Spectator, got a rare network opportunity: "I think there is a kind
of growing disrelish with the death penalty, not just amongst American
conservatives but I think amongst all Americans."
Reynolds concluded: "Indeed, while polls show that
Bush is still in the majority of Americans who embrace capital punishment,
those same polls show something else -- that support for the death penalty
is gradually but steadily declining."
Thanks in part, no
doubt, to misleading reporting about innocent people being put to death.
The Texas system may have some procedural shortcomings on safeguards which
some conservatives would like to correct, but the current media crusade is
fueled by liberal political activists using Bush's candidacy as a
publicity hook for their cause.
-- Bob Schieffer
provided the so-called "Real Deal" on the CBS Evening News, this
time about the Senate passage of a hate crimes bill.
Following a soundbite
from Trent Lott arguing current state laws are adequate, Schieffer
celebrated a Republican defector:
"But one of a handful of Republicans who supported
the bill from the beginning, Oregon's Gordon Smith, said there was
another reason for the opposition."
Smith at a press briefing: "Now, I want to be
honest with you. If the word sexual orientation were not a part of this
bill we wouldn't even be having this debate."
Schieffer helpfully explained: "Because Smith says
many social conservatives believe any legislation favorably to gays
threatens the traditional family and this legislation would allow the
federal government to intervene in cases were victims are killed or
injured because of race, gender or sexual orientation, cases such as the
Wyoming beating death of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student, and
that of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death behind a truck in
Schieffer ended his
piece by running a soundbite from Ted Kennedy proclaiming the bill would
ensure "equal protection of the law."
In opening the NBC
Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw provided a hint of balance in introducing a
much less balanced story:
"Crimes motivated by hate. The murder of someone
simply because they're black or homosexual or worship a certain faith.
Are those crimes the responsibility of the federal government or do they
belong in state and local courts? This is an emotional issue before
Congress tonight with President Clinton and Senator Ted Kennedy pushing
hard to make it easier for federal prosecutors to try those crimes."
Lisa Myers began the
subsequent story with pro-bill spin:
"The symbols are etched in our memory. The fence
on which Matthew Shepard was left to die, the chain used to drag James
Byrd to death. One black, the other gay, both victims of hate. Today after
some 60,000 hate crimes over the last decade the Senate says enough."
Viewers then saw a clip
of Ted Kennedy declaring hate crimes are rooted in bigotry which must be
eliminated. Myers noted how the bill to allow federal prosecution of
crimes motivated by race, gender or sexual orientation passed 57 to 42.
After a soundbite from Trent Lott, Myers went on:
"And social conservatives say gays and others
should not get special protection."
Janet Parshall, Family Research Council: "I
can't for the life of me figure out why someone would say this man's
death is more egregious than that man's death."
Myers then spent the
rest of the story relaying the other side as she tagged Gordon Smith as
"conservative" after having not labeled Ted Kennedy:
"Others argue that hate crimes are worse because they're meant to
terrorize an entire group. A conservative Republican says the real
stumbling block is that many in his party don't want to appear to
endorse homosexuality. Quoting the Bible, he appeals to fellow Republicans
and Christians to put down their stones."
Gordon Smith on Senate floor: "It's time to say
to the gay community, I don't agree with you on everything, but I can
help you on many things and particularly when it comes to violence."
Myers: "Today's vote is a personal victory for
Matthew Shepard's parents who spent more than a year lobbying Congress,
beginning with this tearful plea last March."
After that clip Myers
concluded by noting how proponents have asked Bill Clinton to put his
influence behind the bill as it goes to the House.
time you are ill, or if you ever are the victim of a serious disease, head
to Oman, Dominica or Costa Rica. They all have better health care systems
according to a study ABC publicized Tuesday night which put equal
distribution of health services ahead of the quality of those health
France finished first
and Italy second in the World Health Organization (WHO) survey of health
care systems heralded on the June 20 World News Tonight. WHO put the
United States in 37th place. John McKenzie began his report by
acknowledging that the U.S. spends the most on health care at $4,000 per
person and has the best equipment and scientific research, but was still
ranked behind Spain at 7, Oman at 8, Ireland at 19, Dominica at 35 and
Costa Rica at 36.
Why? WHO Dr. Christopher
Murray said health care must reach all a nation's citizens. McKenzie
explained: "And in the U.S. that includes serving Native Americans
living on reservations, African-Americans in rural parts of the
Mississippi Delta, the poor of the inner-cities."
Murray: "If millions of Americans are suffering
from health conditions that are characteristic of sub-Saharan Africa
that's a clear limitation of the performance of the U.S. health care
McKenzie: "Where health conditions are good in the
United States the report found that the financial burden is often much
higher than in many other countries."
Murray: "Too many Americans are forced to pay a
large fraction of their income in a year to pay their medical bills
because they don't have insurance."
McKenzie: "Most of the countries that did well in
this report are more aggressive than the United States in preventing
illness. For example:"
Professor Gerald Anderson, Johns Hopkins School of
Public Health: "They will have greater immunizations which will mean
less infectious disease."
McKenzie concluded: "This report finds that while
the U.S. health care system excels at treating the seriously ill it does
not do nearly as well on programs to keep people healthy, that overall
Americans are not getting good value for their money."
Bottom line, where do
you think the WHO doctors want to have their surgery: in Dominica, Oman,
Costa Rica or the U.S.?
Alamos lab officials countermanded a panel's recommendation and loosened
security for nuclear information and a White House computer specialist
contended the "White House was arrogant and incompetent" in
ignoring repeated warnings about how e-mail could be lost. His comments,
FNC's Rita Cosby noted, "contradict what the Vice President and his
staff have said."
Those revelations came
in two exclusive stories on the Fox News Channel Tuesday night, June 20.
Each ran on both the 6pm ET/9pm PT Special Report with Brit Hume and, in
reverse order, on the 7pm ET Fox Report.
Taking them in the
sequence presented on Hume's show, Brian Wilson recalled how in 1995
Bill Clinton signed an executive order to reduce secrecy, a move, Wilson
noted, some say led to a lax attitude at the Los Alamos lab.
Wilson outlined what FNC
discovered: "1997, in response to the President's directive, then
Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary appointed a panel to recommend ways
the DOE could declassify some of its information, much of it dating back
to the Nevada nuclear tests of the 1940s. But in a final report the panel
surprised many with what became known as the 'high fences passage,' a
suggestion that 'strict and perhaps higher levels of security be
maintained around the more sensitive material.' In forceful language the
panel agreed a suggestion to increase security around what is known as
Sigma 14 and 15 nuclear information 'is valid and in fact should be
treated as an imperative.' Ultimately the panel recommended
'reclassifying this sensitive information to Top Secret.'
"But Fox News has discovered that official at the
Los Alamos lab did just the opposite. In June of 1997 the chief of the
lab's counter-intelligence unit issued a directive stating:
'Classified matter containing Sigma 15 information may now be removed
from formal accountability.' In other words, employees at the lab were
no longer required to sign out, track and keep tabs of Sigma 15
information. And the hard drives were classified at level Sigma 15."
Next, Rita Cosby picked
up on information divulged by Judicial Watch and followed-up by talking to
Howard Sparks, who has been a White House employee since 1987. In a live
stand-up she relayed what he told her:
"He's a computer specialist and he told me that
since 1993 he has told his bosses, some of whom work directly for Vice
President Al Gore, that for legal reasons a back up system had to be put
in place or valuable e-mails would be wiped out. He said quote, 'The
White House was arrogant and incompetent and ignored obvious warning signs
that these e-mails could be lost.'"
Cosby pointed out how
"Sparks's comments contradict what the Vice President and his staff
have said. Recently the Vice President's office said it lost e-mails
from 1997 and 1998 that were ordered to be turned over in a subpoena. Some
of those e-mails discussed Monica Lewinsky and campaign finance issues and
some Republicans allege that the Vice President's office intentionally
deleted them. Now in recent weeks the Vice President and also his staff
have said that they were not aware of any problems with the e-mail system
nor were they aware of any back up systems that could have been placed to
One more example of how
the Fox News Channel really does deliver a different kind of news product.
Walters, the singing newswoman. Tuesday on ABC's daytime talk show, The
View, Walters reminisced with former Latin Quarter singers and dancers
about the New York City nightclub her late father, Lou Walters, ran in the
1940s and 1950s. Then, after a couple of dance routines by retired club
performers, accompanied on piano by the club's former music director,
Walters sang The Latin Quarter's traditional closing number.
You have to hear it to
appreciate it, so MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a clip, in RealPlayer
format, on Wednesday as soon as I can get the tape to him. The show is not
on the MRC's regular taping schedule, but I got a tape in at the
CyberAlert overnight newsroom (aka my home) in time to catch the
performance from Walters when Washington's ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV, which
delays The View until 2:05am the next morning, played the show. Late
morning Wednesday ET, go to the MRC home page and the video should be up: http://www.mrc.org
An hour-long show, The
View runs on most ABC stations in the late morning and is hosted by former
CBS 60 Minutes reporter Meredith Viera and former NBC News reporter Star
Jones as well as another woman whose name I now cannot recall. Walters
pops in two or three times a week to gab, as she did Tuesday to plug her
Friday 20/20 interview with Al and Tipper Gore and to talk about the
cookie recipes submitted to the Ladies Home Journal by Laura Bush and
it's hard to decipher the reasoning of a Hollywood actor, or even what
he is talking about. [Those uncomfortable with vulgar or slang terminology
for an oral sex act should read no further.]
Those intrigued, stay
with me. This quote combines a favorable view of oral sex with a disgust
for those who are against gun control. I think. I'm solid on the former,
a bit unsure on the latter.
MRC news analyst Paul
Smith came across the following quote, listed without any headline or
topic, in the June 14 edition of the "CyberTalk" column in
"EW Daily" on the Entertainment Weekly magazine's Web site:
"Americans seem to be more comfortable with a gun
in their hands than their genitals, and that's something that really just
blows my mind. I'd certainly rather have a blow job than a bullet in the
head. And you can quote me on that!"
attribution for the insight: "Emilio Estevez, who plays a porn
peddler in Showtime's Rated X."
I'd be more
comfortable if the Hollywood Left ceased analyzing politics through the
same activity that got their hero, Bill Clinton, into a bit of trouble.
-- Brent Baker
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