"Threats to Social Security"; "Conservatives" Block "Miracle Cures"; Nightline's Tribute to Daschle; ABC's Maher Defends Condit
1) Baseless scare-mongering on Wednesday night from Dan
Rather as he referred to the "showdown" between the President
and Congress over "who's to blame" for "threats to Social
Security and Medicare."
2) Embryonic stem cell research "could provide
miracle cures for everything from Parkinson's Disease to diabetes,"
CBS's Bob Schieffer declared Wednesday night in adopting the exaggerated
language of proponents but, Schieffer warned, "the problem is, many
religious conservatives oppose such research."
3) Diane Sawyer failed to ask Senator Ted Kennedy even one
challenging question when he appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning
America. Sawyer wondered if is it "time for George Bush to pack up
his honeymoon clothes for good?" She pushed him from the left to
agree with her on embryonic stem cell research: "Has the President
simply not gone far enough?"
4) Tom Brokaw argued that Bush is being damaged with
Hispanics because of GOP support for California's Proposition 187
"designed to crack down hard on illegal immigration." But a new
poll discovered that Hispanics are evenly split on Bush's plan to give
amnesty to illegal Mexicans and more than twice as many said they would be
less likely than more likely to vote for Bush if he extended amnesty.
5) CNN's Wolf Blitzer repeated his ludicrous labeling of
Congressman Harold Ford as "another so-called conservative Blue Dog
6) Nightline's Chris Bury oozed about Tom Daschle's
visit home: "There are no aides, no driver, no press pack; just a
rented red Pontiac and a map of the open road." Even Republicans love
him, as Bury observed: "Daschle's skill at reaching beyond partisan
lines could clearly come in handy should his aspirations run to a higher
office." And who is allowed to say "bullshit" on Nightline?
7) Bill Maher opened Tuesday night's Politically
Incorrect with a lecture about how Gary Condit is being treated unfairly
by a public which really cares more about prying into his sex life than
finding who really killed Chandra Levy. Maher gratuitously added that Jeb
Bush is amongst those who have "the inevitable loser brother with a
8) Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Irritate Barbara
Correction: Due to a transcribing error, the September 5 CyberAlert
quoted Tom Brokaw as recalling how over the summer he "went back to
the Missouri River of my childhood, which still conjures up images of
Louis and Clark..." Louis should have been spelled "Lewis."
Rather delivered more baseless scare-mongering on Wednesday night as he
referred to the "showdown" between the President and Congress
over "who's to blame" for "threats to Social Security and
Medicare." Of course, any use of the so-called Social Security
surplus has nothing to do with current payments and no matter what policy
is followed none of that surplus would be spent in any way on Social
Security. As for Medicare, it costs more than it takes in.
Rather opened the September 5 CBS Evening
News: "Good evening. Now comes the hard part. In the showdown between
President Bush and his Democratic opposition in Congress over budget
priorities, who blew the surplus and who's to blame for the sluggish
economy and threats to Social Security and Medicare. The two sides drew
sharper lines today for their fall offensive. It's a multi-front battle
over spending on everything from education to defense to prescription drug
coverage for seniors. And that's just for starters."
John Roberts began: "Not satisfied with
their summer-long attack on George Bush for squandering the surplus,
Democrats returned to Washington today and turned it up a notch, blaming
the whole economic downturn on President Bush's budget and the tax
After a clip from Dick Gephardt, however,
Roberts noted that Republicans are "pointing out the economy began to
turn South on Bill Clinton's watch."
stem cell research "could provide miracle cures for everything from
Parkinson's Disease to diabetes," CBS's Bob Schieffer declared
Wednesday night in adopting the exaggerated language of proponents but,
Schieffer warned in viewing the issue from the viewpoint of advocates,
"the problem is, many religious conservatives oppose such
research." For Schieffer, the question is whether the President's
decision, to limit federally-backed research only to cells already
created, will "be enough?" Who'd he go to for his answer? Ted
Schieffer began his crusading September 5
piece on the CBS Evening News, in which the soundbites ran three-to-one
from the left against Bush's position, by noting how a Senate committee
"waded" into science. Schieffer explained:
"At issue is what to do about stem cell
research, the tiny cells that scientists say could provide miracle cures
for everything from Parkinson's Disease to diabetes. The problem is,
many religious conservatives oppose such research, so the President
limited federally-backed research only to cells already created in
previous experiments. But will that be enough?"
Senator Edward Kennedy: "President Bush has
opened the door to government funding for this important area of health
research. The question before the Congress is whether the door is open
Schieffer: "No, said a Rhode Island
Congressman who believes the cells may be used some day to repair the kind
of spinal injury that left him a quadriplegic."
U.S. Representative Jim Langevin, (D-RI): "I
am frustrated with the discovery of just how little room it leaves for
Schieffer: "The administration point man
admitted there won't be as many cells available for research as the
White House first said, but argued there are plenty to get started."
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson: "We need to
move beyond the back and forth over the numbers and get to actual work
doing the basic research on the science."
Schieffer tried to show bi-partisan opposition to
Bush's view: "This controversy does not break on party lines. The
President's main critic is a leading Republican who says the
President's plan simply does not make enough cell lines available."
Senator Arlen Specter: "It has become
apparent that many of the lines sighted are not really viable or robust or
Schieffer concluded: "Specter and the
scientific community want a much bigger and more aggressive research
program, but with the White House and some Republicans so sensitive to
criticism from the conservative right, it's not clear yet where Congress
will come down on any of this."
While Schieffer misleadingly referred only to
"stem cell research," which no one opposes, in the set up Dan
Rather did make clear the dispute was over embryonic stem cells.
Ted Kennedy did not hear one challenging question when he appeared on
Wednesday's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed.
Diane Sawyer simply asked him whether, with the battle over the budget and
stem cell research, it is "time for George Bush to pack up his
honeymoon clothes for good?", for a "thumbs up" or a
"thumbs down" on Bush's record so far, and on the issue
Kennedy was brought aboard to discuss because of the hearing later that
day he was set to chair, she pushed him from the left to agree: "Has
the President simply not gone far enough?"
Setting up her September 5 interview with
Kennedy, Sawyer observed: "Well, if you love politics, fasten your
seatbelts this morning because up on Capitol Hill, the war games are about
to begin, starting today with the vital issue of stem cell research to
find cures for diseases. As you'll remember, this summer we heard
President Bush announce limited approval for federal funding for research
only on a few stem cell lines."
President Bush in early August: "As a result
of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines
Sawyer cautioned: "But that's in dispute,
and now the most powerful, one of the most powerful Democratic senators on
the Hill is going to launch hearings on that issue, starting today....We
pick up the papers this morning [holds up The New York Times] and we see
Democrats and Republicans getting ready to square off on all kinds of
issues from stem cell research, Social Security, education, other things.
Is it time for George Bush to pack up his honeymoon clothes for
Kennedy replied: "I don't think so. I think,
first of all, on education, we have differences in the House and Senate
bill. We made good progress over the August recess...."
Sawyer then wondered: "So are you saying
you think President Bush has done a good job? What is it: thumbs up,
Kennedy began: "Well, let me just say I
don't think we're really, have had the full opportunity. The overarching
issue is our economy...."
Sawyer moved on to her original topic:
"Okay, stem cell research: As we just heard, the President limited
federal funding to some 60 stem cell lines and yet, a number of scientists
are saying 34 of those lines may not be good enough for research and
another two-thirds of them are under foreign control. Has the President
simply not gone far enough?"
Kennedy: "Well, I think, as you mentioned
the outset, we have to understand what this issue is really all about and
that is the extraordinary opportunity that is out there for major
breakthroughs on these dreaded diseases that affect about every family in
America in one way or the other...."
Brokaw ended Wednesday's NBC Nightly News with a sermon about the
challenge facing President Bush on attracting Hispanic voters because of
how certain Republicans backed California's Proposition 187
"designed to crack down hard on illegal immigration." Brokaw
contended "the GOP has not been able to completely shake it off and
now President Bush is caught in another illegal immigration squeeze
But, as National Review's Washington
Bulletin e-mail pointed out on Tuesday, a new poll discovered that
Hispanics are evenly split on Bush's current proposal to give amnesty to
illegal Mexicans and more than twice as many said they would be less
likely than more likely to vote for Bush if he extended amnesty.
Brokaw concluded his September 5 broadcast by
commenting on how immigration poses political challenges for Mexican
President Vicente Fox and for Bush. Picking him up after talking about
Fox, Brokaw contended:
"As for President Bush, consider these
numbers: In the last election, the Hispanic vote went against him almost
two-to-one. Voter turnout amongst Hispanics was low, only about 25
percent, but they represented an estimated two million new voters. And
most of them were in the big electoral states: California, Texas, Florida.
Republicans have been trying for years to win the Hispanic vote, but they
suffered a major setback in 1994 when Republican Governor Pete Wilson of
California was the major champion of Proposition 187 designed to crackdown
hard on illegal immigration. In the opening passages, it said: 'The
people of California find...they have suffered...personal injury and
damage caused by the criminal conduct of illegal aliens in this state.'
Proposition 187 failed, but the GOP has not been able to completely shake
it off and now President Bush is caught in another illegal immigration
squeeze play with significant political consequences."
But those consequences could be bad for Bush
if he moves left and too far from the Wilson policy. As John J. Miller
& Ramesh Ponnuru reported in the September 4 "Washington
Bulletin" e-mail from National Review:
"The chief attraction of President Bush
proposing an amnesty of illegal aliens -- at least from a GOP perspective
-- is that Republicans might win political support from Hispanics for
doing it. The best-case scenario has Bush becoming a hero to voters who
have close relatives living and working in this country against its laws
as the GOP begins to undo the damage of Proposition 187. It all assumes,
of course, that Hispanics actually support an amnesty of illegal aliens.
What if they don't?
"Today, the Center for Immigration Studies
released a new poll by Zogby International on the question. It turns out
Hispanic opinion is evenly split -- 51 percent think amnesty is a bad idea
and 49 percent think it's a good one. More interesting, though, is a
further finding. Although 15 percent of Hispanics said they would be more
likely to vote for Bush in 2004 if he supported an amnesty, 36 percent
said they would be less likely. That doesn't sound like a formula for
winning the Hispanic vote."
But it is a formula which would please Brokaw.
For the entire NR story, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com/daily/nr090401.shtml
Wolf Blitzer may be wrong, but never doubt he's consistent, just
consistently wrong. Two days after he ludicrously claimed on Late Edition,
as quoted in the September 5 CyberAlert, that Congressman Harold Ford of
Tennessee is a "conservative Democrat," he repeated the claim on
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed that during
a September 4 discussion with First Evening News anchor Bill Hemmer about
Gary Condit's future, Blitzer asserted on the 7pm EDT show: "Harold
Ford, another so-called conservative Blue Dog Democrat from Tennessee,
only this past Sunday expressing his very, very sincere disappointment in
As the September 5 CyberAlert pointed out,
Ford's career rating from the American Conservative Union: a piddling 13
percent. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) have approved
of 84 percent of his votes through 2000. That puts him one point to the
left of Dick Gephardt, who has earned a lifetime 83 percent from the ADA.
aired a fawning tribute to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as Chris
Bury on Tuesday night narrated a travelogue video of Daschle's August
visit to his home state, South Dakota.
Bury oozed: "For Tom Daschle, driving
these long, lonely stretches of South Dakota is more than a way to touch
base with his home state. It's also an escape from the stuffy rituals of
Washington and the relentless pressures of his new role." In South
Dakota, Bury marveled, "there are no aides, no driver, no press pack;
just a rented red Pontiac and a map of the open road." Even
Republicans love him, as Bury observed at one meeting: "These
Republicans give Democrat Daschle a standing ovation." Looking ahead
to a presidential run, Bury argued that "Daschle's skill at reaching
beyond partisan lines could clearly come in handy should his aspirations
run to a higher office."
Some highlights from the September 4
Nightline. Bury announced at the top of the broadcast:
"Everybody knows where George Bush spent his
summer vacation. Even in the dog days of August, the President made enough
news to put Crawford, Texas, on the map. But chances are you have never
heard of Mobridge, South Dakota, not to mention Selby or Eureka. Those are
some of the places where the second most powerful man in Washington spent
his August. Senator Tom Daschle has been a Washington player for nearly
three decades, but his elevation to Senate Majority Leader has catapulted
the South Dakotan to national prominence. He's already seen as a possible
Democratic presidential contender in 2004.
"The Tom Daschle you usually see on
television looks like a creature of the capital, partial to fancy English
shirts and French cuffs. As Majority Leader, Daschle is awarded all the
trappings of power, from a chauffeur driven car to one of the finest and
biggest offices in all of Washington, where today he prepared for the
start of the Senate session and a meeting with President Bush....
"Every August the Senator takes a road trip
across South Dakota....For Tom Daschle, driving these long, lonely
stretches of South Dakota is more than a way to touch base with his home
state. It's also an escape from the stuffy rituals of Washington and the
relentless pressures of his new role....
"On this trip, Senator Daschle has not only
shed his jacket and tie, but also the entourage that serves as a second
skin to someone like the Senate Majority Leader in Washington. Here there
are no aides, no driver, no press pack; just a rented red Pontiac and a
map of the open road. His plan is to visit all 66 counties in South
"In his annual pilgrimage back to South
Dakota, Senator Daschle returns to a place that, in many respects, is an
unlikely base for the most visible leader of the national Democrats.
Indeed, South Dakota is predominantly white, rural, and Republican.
Meeting with farmers in the back room of a livestock auction barn, Daschle
sounds like a Prairie Populist, blaming big oil for ratcheting up the
price of gasoline."
Daschle: "I think that people worry about
big government. They ought to be a lot more worried about big corporations
and the dominance that they have in our lives today."
Bury: "But many farmers here also believe
that President Bush's energy plan, pushing more exploration for oil, would
help lower their costs, and at the state fair one of them angrily scolds
Senator Daschle for leading the opposition to drilling in the Arctic....In
this socially conservative state where Republicans have carried the last
nine presidential elections, Daschle's record as a strong supporter of
abortion rights is also a perennial sore spot....So for Tom Daschle, seen
as a liberal to moderate Democrat, driving these roads is part of a
balancing act that keeps him in office. And now that he's the national
face of the Democratic opposition, tending to the fences back home, he
acknowledged to me, is more important than ever to his political
Bury highlighted Republican admirers: "In
an airplane hangar outside Mobridge, South Dakota, in plain view in a herd
of buffalo, Tom Daschle makes a rare scheduled stop on this road trip. An
old friend knew he'd be in the area, so he put together a barbecue and
invited close to 100 guests. The odd thing is, nearly everyone of them is
a registered Republican, including the host of the party, grocery store
owner Benjamin Stoick.
To Stoick: "You are a rock-ribbed
Stoick: "Baptized Republican."
Bury: "Yet you support Tom Daschle?"
Bury: "Not always, though."
Stoick: "Not always. Years ago I even
campaigned against him and did a television commercial for a friend of
mine who was a Republican running against him. You know, this is too small
a state not to really be aware of who the competition is. And once you get
around Tom Daschle, you stay close to him, you learn more about him, and
he's real, he's decent, he's all the things that Republicans said he
Bury a bit later: "Indeed, these
Republicans give Democrat Daschle a standing ovation....Politics, as
practiced here, may be far more civil than in Washington, but Senator
Daschle's skill at reaching beyond partisan lines could clearly come in
handy should his aspirations run to a higher office, and wherever this
road trip took him, the topic came up again and again."
At one point, Bury's piece did allow one
woman to spout off against Daschle, though her language was bleeped:
"So Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the highest ranking Democrat in the
land, just shows up unannounced, at farms, banks, and of course, the South
Dakota state fair. Here, most people he meets seem pleasantly surprised
and genuinely proud, but they are not overly impressed by his title. One
woman gives him hell for his position on a local dam project."
Daschle: "Uh huh."
Woman: "Don't 'uh huh' me. I'm tired of the
lies and the bull[bleep] the politicians are giving us."
Bury: "Love him or hate him, South Dakotans
call Senator Daschle by his first name
Apparently, while it's not okay for citizens
to swear on Nightline, Ted Koppel can with impunity and without being
bleeped. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson recalled two instances when
Nightline viewers heard Koppel use the term "bullshit" without
and masking sound effects, even in pre-taped interviews:
-- On the March 22 Nightline this year, when
U.S. Customs Field Operations Director Rudy Camacho hemmed and hawed to
Koppel's inquiry about whether U.S. officials have been bought off by
Mexican drug cartels, Koppel charged: "That's a bullshit answer. You
haven't given me an answer, Rudy."
-- The June 15, 1999 Nightline. Koppel to an
interpreter for a Serbian man during a report on the Serb troops'
withdrawal from Kosovo: "Look, tell him that I know when I get a
direct answer and I know when I get bullshit and this is bullshit. I've
asked him a direct question: What will he say when they come to him and
they tell him about the atrocities that have happened in this country over
the last three months? Will he say it never happened?"
defender on ABC. Bill Maher opened Tuesday night's Politically Incorrect
with a lecture about how Gary Condit is being treated unfairly by a public
which really cares more about prying into his sex life than finding who
really killed Chandra Levy. Maher charged: "The country is protecting
a more likely predator at the expense of this girl because the other
story, the Condit story, is just more fun."
Maher gratuitously added that many have
"the inevitable loser brother with a criminal record," noting
that "Bill Clinton has one, Jimmy Carter has one, Jeb Bush has
Maher launched the September 4/5 show, as
observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Reports from the capital say that Gary
Condit is getting the cold shoulder from his fellow legislators. Now,
hating Gary Condit is, of course, not only fun, it's easy. But make no
mistake, keeping the focus on Condit is not only not going to solve the
crime, it's probably helping the more likely, although less interesting,
agent of Chandra Levy's disappearance. We want Gary Condit to be the
criminal because it's a better story, and watching a politician lie and
squirm is fun. But he's not the only liar in this.
"We, the American people, pretend that what
we care about is the girl and that's why we have to know if they were
having sex. That's why Connie Chung asked that question for 28 of her 30
minutes with him because the more we know about them having sex, the more
it will help find her. That's what we're hanging this on, folks
[applause]. That's what we're hanging this on, just so we know that.
Why else would a reporter prepared 20 different ways of saying, 'Yes,
but were you doing her?' We dress up gossip mongers saying, 'Details,
details, I want details,' as journalism to allow us to convince
ourselves that knowing the details will provide the connection to helping
the person we care about.
"Ms. Chung, perfectly capturing the voice of
the country, said to Condit, 'You're protecting your privacy at the
expense of a girl who's missing.' Perhaps, but I would add the country
is protecting a more likely predator at the expense of this girl because
the other story, the Condit story is just more fun. Three other girls in
the last year from the same neighborhood -- same age, same hair color --
abducted, but that's not a better story; it's just a better clue. But
how can it compete with one of the lecherous old farts in Congress who's
been married, as he said, 34 years and so has 34 years of sleazy in his
closet: stewardesses he banged, pictures of him in leather chaps, this
story writes itself for years. At these prices, we can't afford not to
believe it. Neckties that are tied in knots, watch boxes discarded in the
park, the inevitable loser brother with a criminal record, although
everybody has one of those -- Bill Clinton has one, Jimmy Carter has one,
Jeb Bush has one [audience laughs, applauds].
"Yeah, Gary Condit is an interesting guy,
that's true -- a guilty pleasure, you might say. As long we all know
that's what it is: a guilty pleasure."
As for three other women with the same hair
color being abducted, I believe that would be news to the DC police as
only one other woman has been abducted from the area recently.
by Barbara Walters losing out to Connie Chung for the Gary Condit
"get" and the fresh news that singer Mariah Carey has delayed
her scheduled sit-down with Walters, from the September 5 Late Show with
David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways to Irritate Barbara Walters."
Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Tease her about being married to that deadbeat James Brolin
9. Wear giant sombrero and keep saying, "Senor Pepe no
8. Threaten to release steamy photos of her and Hugh Downs from Christmas
7. When you don't have an answer, meow like a kitty
6. Hog the covers (trust me, she hates that)
5. Call her "Alex," phrase all answers in the form of a question
4. Tell her she was your favorite Golden Girl
3. To camera say, "Whoa, Barbara, easy on the gin"
2. Only rule: Ask a question, remove a piece of clothing
1. If she's wearing a skirt, compliment her on "The View"
"The View" would a reference to her
daytime ABC show.
-- Brent Baker
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