Reagan Killed "Lots" of Kids; Flag Stands for "Xenophobia"; Cancel Tax Cut "For the Rich"; A Reporter's Bizarre Line of Questioning
1) Phil Donahue argued that "the memory" of
those killed in the terrorist attacks would not be "honored by going
out and killing other civilians." He charged that back in 1986
President Reagan killed "lots" of children by bombing Tripoli.
2) Many who display the U.S. flag are doing so "for
xenophobia, for revenge, for violence," actor Paul Provenza declared
on ABC's Politically Incorrect before host Bill Maher delivered more
conventional liberalism as he advocated repealing the tax cut:
"Don't we need to be collecting money rather than giving more money
back to rich people?" And ABC's Washington, DC affiliate has again
dropped the show.
3) NBC Chairman Bob Wright was behind NBC's creation of
a network "bug," the logo in the bottom right corner of the
screen, with the peacock feathers in a red, white and blue flag motif, USA
today revealed on Tuesday. But the President of NBC News opposes the
wearing of flag lapel pins.
4) Why the public usually has so little respect for
journalists covering a calamity or personal tragedy. During a press
briefing by Rudy Giuliani a reporter pursued a line of questioning I think
most would find bizarre -- or at least irrelevant to anything that matters
at this time in the crisis.
5) Best line of the day, from Fred Barnes on FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume, on having the federal government take over
airport security: "I don't think we want to do to airport security
what we've done to mail delivery in this country. We want a FedEx
running airport security."
6) Letterman's "Top Ten Messages Left on Miss
America's Answering Machine."
Donahue can't be repressed. He popped up Tuesday night on FNC's The
O'Reilly Factor to argue that "the memory" of those killed in
the terrorist attacks would not be "honored by going out and killing
other civilians." Donahue charged that back in 1986 President Reagan
killed "lots" of children by bombing Tripoli.
MRC analyst Patrick Gregory caught this sermon
from Donahue as delivered on the September 25 O'Reilly Factor:
"I do not believe the memory of the seven
thousand plus people who were killed in this most horrendous acts of
terrorism are honored by going out and killing other civilians. We went
alone, we went alone when we bombed Tripoli at night, a crowded city where
old people and children were sleeping. 1986, Reagan. We killed Qaddafi's
kid, and lots of other children. One person said, well several people,
'well, he's adopted' they said of the kid. And we got Pan Am 103,
Lockerbie. Tell those loved ones, it was December 21, my birthday."
As lucid as always.
display the American flag are doing so "for xenophobia, for revenge,
for violence against other people who will suffer in a war," a
little-known actor alleged on Tuesday night's Politically Incorrect.
Actor Paul Provenza asserted he won't fly the U.S. flag because many who
do "are driving trucks with flags off their antennas and pulling
brown-skinned people with foreign accents out of their cars and beating
Later on the ABC show its host, Bill Maher,
delivered more conventional liberalism as he advocated repealing the tax
cut: "Don't we need to be collecting money rather than giving more
money back to rich people?"
The two sets of comments aired on the show's
second night back on the air on the biggest affiliate which had dropped
the show last week, Washington, DC's WJLA-TV. The station didn't run
the program last Thursday or Friday after on the Monday, September 17
show, Maher had insisted: "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise
missiles from 2000 miles away, that's cowardly. Staying in the airplane
when it hits the building, say what you want about it, not cowardly."
For more about the WJLA-TV decision last week and how Maher later tried to
clarify his remarks, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010924.asp#7
For a full transcript showing the context of
Maher's "cowards" comment, refer back to http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010919.asp#3
But Maher's return to the airwaves in the
nation's capital was short-lived. On Wednesday night his show did not
air on WJLA-TV, which instead moved up by 30 minutes a re-run of Oprah.
Following a one-hour Nightline and the syndicated Extra! program, Oprah
ran at 1:08am, the time slot when PI was scheduled to appear. And WJLA
didn't run it later as the usual MAD TV re-run aired followed by ABC's
World News Now at just past 3am.
Back to Tuesday night's show, MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson took down a couple of noteworthy comments. Actor Paul
Provenza, who may be best-known for playing the doctor on the last season
of Northern Exposure, explained why he avoids the U.S. flag:
"I know a lot of people who refuse to fly
flags right now, not because they're un-American, not because they're
not patriotic, and for many, many people they're showing the flag in a
show of unity, in a show of strength, in a show of faith in American
values and what America stands for. But the problem is if I were to show
that flag now for those reasons, it can easily be confused with the flag
that's shown by people who show the flag for xenophobia, for revenge,
for violence against other people who will suffer in a war."
Provenza added: "Were it all to mean
unity, respect for life, our way of life and our Constitution and freedom,
and that were it all it stood for, I would be flying 'em from every pole
Jerry Nachman, the former Editor of the New York
Post who was recently PI's Executive Producer, asked: "So you think
it's wrong to fly a flag for revenge."
Provenza: "Yes, I do."
Nachman: "You do?"
Provenza: "Yes, I do. America is not about
revenge. America is about compassion."
Eric Braeden, actor: "But don't you think
that most people feel that way who have a flag?"
Provenza charged: "Not the ones who are, not
the ones who are driving trucks with flags off their antennas and pulling
brown-skinned people with foreign accents out of their cars and beating
them up. That's the problem. That's not the flag I want to fly."
Not familiar with Provenza? Well, according to
the Internet Movie Database Web site, in 1999 he played "Steve
Onorato, aide to the Senate Majority Leader" in some episodes of The
West Wing. In a 1996 movie called The Shot he played the
"transvestite apartment manager." Sorry I missed that film. The
Internet Movie Database does not have a photo of him, but for more about
his career, go to: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Provenza,+Paul
In the next segment host Bill Maher returned
to his conventional liberal political advocacy: "Alright, let's
talk a little bit about economics. The stock market finally had a good day
today, but they're talking about a tax cut now. Isn't this a time when
we need to be collecting money? They talked about $180 billion just as a
start, and usually those first estimates are low. Don't we need to be
collecting money rather than giving more money back to rich people?"
Maher elaborated on the show taped on Monday
but not shown until Tuesday night: "We just passed this enormous tax
cut, which is mostly going to go back, in the years to come, to the rich
people. Maybe we should think twice about that and say, 'You know what?
Actually folks, we were going to give you back that money when we were at
peace. Now we actually need the money to defend ourselves.'...But I mean
that money, the $38 billion that we gave back in the little $300 and $600
checks, that was just the beginning. In the years to come, most of that
big, big $1.6 -- which is really about two or three -- trillion dollars
goes back to the richest two percent -- we heard this in the campaign,
okay, but it does. Can those people really just kind of get together now
and say, 'You know what? I understand there's a war on. Forget
Chairman Bob Wright was behind NBC's creation of a network
"bug," the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen, with
the peacock feathers in a red, white and blue flag motif, USA today
revealed on Tuesday. The September 25 CyberAlert had noted how ABC News
had banned its staff from displaying American flag lapel pins while NBC
had incorporated a flag into its on-screen logo.
In his "Inside TV" column on
Tuesday, USA Today's Peter Johnson reported that the new NBC logo design
was "an idea fathered by NBC Chairman Bob Wright and NBC President
Johnson added: "ABC, CBS and Fox said
Monday they have no plans to follow suit and NBC spokeswoman Cassie Kanter
said that it's unclear how long NBC will air the bug. 'This is an
extraordinary time in our history, and we're proud at a time like this to
show the flag.'"
But NBC News does not approve of flag lapel
pins: "NBC News President Neal Shapiro said reporters wearing flag
lapel pins on air runs the risk 'of calling attention to what they're
wearing and not their story.'"
public usually has so little respect for journalists covering a calamity
or personal tragedy. During New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's 10am
press briefing on Tuesday, a male reporter, whom I could not identify
since he was not shown on screen by the cable networks carrying the event
live and whose voice I did not recognize, pursued a line of questioning I
think most would find bizarre -- or at least totally irrelevant to
anything that matters now.
Judge for yourself. I won't prejudice your
view by summarizing the exchange up front. Read what Giuliani had to say
as he wrapped up his opening statement and then the line of questioning
pursued by the reporter who got the first question.
Rudy Giuliani: "New York City was before
this happened the safest large city in America. New York City may be one
of the safest cities in the whole world right now. The crime rate for the
second week in a row has made a dramatic plunge. Last week, the crime in
New York City was the lowest that it's been in about 40 years. This week
we have an 18 percent reduction over last year at this time, and last year
was one of the safest years this city had in 35 years. And this year we're
18 percent below last year.
"Or, another way to look at it is, last week
we had four homicides for the entire week. Last year we had 10 in that
same week. Seven or eight years ago we would have 4 homicides in a day,
sometimes six and seven in a day. So we had four for the week. Of course,
it's four too many, it always is, but that, I'm putting these numbers out
and the police department will put them out in more detail on the police
department Web site, but the reduction in crime in the city is dramatic,
over and above and already very much decreased base. And, as you would
expect, the decline in Manhattan is the most significant of all. So from
the point of view of people being afraid, this is -- remains not only the
safest large city in America, it's become significantly safer, and people
should feel every confidence in moving about, going about, that they have
about as much safety as you are capable of in life.
"I'll take a few questions, and then we'll
have detailed questions at 3:00 when we have the full briefing."
Unidentified male reporter: "Mayor, isn't
the 6,600 dead and missing, though, in itself some sort of crime that will
have to show up statistically as we-"
Giuliani: "I don't know how you describe it.
As an act of war, or you describe it as a crime, or -- I don't know."
Same reporter: "How would you, how do you
suggest that the police department handle that?"
Giuliani: "I have no idea. I haven't really
thought about that it. It really seems, it seems like one of the more
insignificant questions, in terms of statistics, how you describe it. It's
the worst attack on an urban population in the history of the United
States, that's the way I would describe it."
Same reporter, undaunted: "But you did talk
about it in terms of safety, that people should feel safe, and yet many
people don't feel safe specifically because of this attack."
Giuliani: "Well, we're trying to get them
to, so I would really hope that you would cooperate in that. We're trying
to get people to feel safe. What's the point of not feeling safe, you
can't do anything about it, except to terrorize people, or to let -- or to
sort aide and abet and assist in the effort of the terrorists to frighten
"One of the more insignificant
questions," but of the highest priority to one reporter who really
earned disdain for his profession.
line of the day, from Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes on
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, on having the federal government
take over airport security: "I don't think we want to do to airport
security what we've done to mail delivery in this country. We want a
FedEx running airport security."
The quip from Barnes came during the panel
segment on the September 26 show after NPR's Mara Liasson observed that
the terrorists used box cutters which were allowed onto planes under FAA
rules. That prompted Brit Hume to point out: "Which means that the
people whose regulations permitted this are the ones over to whom people
are talking about turning over the whole security."
September 26 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Messages
Left on Miss America's Answering Machine." Copyright 2001 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "I think I dialed the wrong number. I was calling for Miss
9. "I really admire what you said about adult literacy. Let's get
8. "It's your next door neighbor -- long story short, my dog
swallowed your tiara."
7. "This is Miss Canada. Miss Mexico and Miss France are coming over
for poker, are you interested?"
6. "Your boss at the Gap checking in. We'll see you back in about a
5. "This is Carl America. You're not Doris America's daughter,
4. "Russell Crowe here. When you get married I'd love to start
3. "Wow, I didn't think you'd be listed under Miss America."
2. "Hi...if Donald Trump is there, can you have him call his
1. "If you're ever in Chappaqua, feel free to drop by..."
A Bill Clinton sex joke. A sure sign things
are returning to normal. -- Brent Baker
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