Dan "The Hawk" Rather; WB/TNT Terrorist Victim Fundraiser Helped Gun Control Groups; "Fox News is Not Located in Switzerland."
1) Dan "The Hawk" Rather. He pushed Colin Powell
for military action: "With 13,000 U.S. casualties, surely some time
we're going to do more than just put together coalitions and talk about
cutting their finances." On Entertainment Tonight he again offered
himself for service if President Bush asks: "If he needs me in
uniform, tell me when and where -- I'm there."
2) WB and TNT simulcast on Tuesday "an all-star
concert dedicated to New York City and its people." But instead of
just raising money for charities helping terrorist attack victims the
event collected money for liberal gun control groups. The broadcast of
"Come Together: A Night of John Lennon's Words and Music,"
pointed viewers to a Web page which provided donation links for gun
control groups, such as the Million Mom March.
3) ABC commentator George Will blasted Reuters for
"corrupting the integrity of the language" with its Orwellian
refusal to use the word "terrorist."
4) The Supreme Court barred Bill Clinton from arguing
cases before them because of his, ABC's Peter Jennings reported,
"dishonesty in the Paula Jones case." CBS's Dan Rather more
gently blamed "misleading testimony" in "the Paula Jones
sex case." NBC's Tom Brokaw offered no reason.
5) NBC's Katie Couric complained the U.S. "is the
only industrialized nation...that doesn't spend federal money promoting
6) Quote of the Week. FNC's Brit Hume, who wears a flag
lapel pin, reacting to the ABC News directive against on-air personnel
displaying them: "Our flag is not the symbol of the Bush
administration, and Fox News is not located in Switzerland."
Rather is certainly not following the left-wing anti-war mantra. On
Monday's CBS Evening News he pushed Secretary of State Colin Powell for
military action: "With 13,000 U.S. casualties, surely some time
we're going to do more than just put together coalitions and talk about
cutting their finances." On the same night's Entertainment Tonight,
as he did two weeks earlier with David Letterman, he offered himself for
service if President Bush asks: "If he needs me in uniform, tell me
when and where -- I'm there."
Rather opened the October 1 CBS Evening News
with an interview with Powell. When Powell outlined how the Taliban has
lost diplomatic relations with two of three nations and that the
"international community" is mobilizing against the al-qaeda
terrorist network, Rather retorted:
"Mr. Secretary, I know that you are acutely
aware as every American is, we have 13,000 casualties dead, missing, and
wounded if you put all of those together. And it's, if you'll forgive
me for saying so, it's fine to talk about coalitions, fine to talk about
financial pressure. But with 13,000 U.S. casualties, surely some time
we're going to do more than just put together coalitions and talk about
cutting their finances."
During an interview with Entertainment Tonight
shown Monday night, but taped the week before, Jann Carl observed:
"Still feeling the pain of the horrifying attacks, Dan says it's
time for every American to rally around the President."
Rather repeated the promise he had made two weeks
earlier on the Late Show: "I know it may sound corny, but I feel it.
If he needs me in uniform, tell me when and where -- I'm there."
Carl reminded viewers of how Rather had cried
with David Letterman. "Any regrets for crying on the Letterman
show?" she wondered. "No," replied Rather.
The September 18 CyberAlert reviewed
Rather's September 17 appearance on CBS's Late Show with David
Letterman: Dan Rather praised President Bush as "Giuliani-esque"
for saying, "Osama: Dead or alive." Later on the Late Show he
volunteered for the war effort: "George Bush is the President. He
makes the decisions and...wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me
where." An emotional Rather broke down twice as he recalled the
heroic work of the firefighters and recited a stanza from "America
For details, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010918.asp#1
from Radio City Music Hall, an all-star concert dedicated to New York City
and its people" to raise money for charities helping the victims of
the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. And, the producers did not
advertise, to raise money for liberal gun control groups.
Only a discerning viewer could tell the event
had any secondary agenda, but Tuesday night's two-hour simulcast on WB
and TNT of a special concert titled, "Come Together: A Night of John
Lennon's Words and Music," directed viewers to a Web site which, in
a page created to collect donations generated by the televised concert,
provided contribution links for three gun control groups, including the
Million Mom March.
Perusing Robert Bianco's "Critic's
Corner" box at the top of Tuesday's USA Today TV listings page, I
caught this sentence: "Cousin companies WB and TNT join for a
simulcast of Come Together: A Night of John Lennon's Words and Music
(tonight, 8 ET/PT), an all-star benefit for New York City relief efforts
and gun control organizations."
"Come Together" by uniting a nation
to fight terrorism, but subtlety use the outpouring of support to direct
money to an ideological political cause on an issue which splits the
Indeed, that is what the producers of the
concert pulled off with the assistance of AOL Time Warner, owners not only
of the two networks which carried the concert of singers performing Lennon
songs, but also of the Web site which collected donations, helping.org.
A full page ad in Tuesday's USA Today
offered no hint of any liberal gun regulation agenda. "Tonight --
Live from Radio City Music Hall" the ad proclaimed, "An All-Star
Concert Dedicated to New York City and Its People."
At the top of the show, however, host Kevin
Spacey, who wore a flag lapel pin, exposed the original agenda for the
program: "'Come Together.' That was the name for this night when
it was first planned over a year ago. This was to have been not only a
chance to honor the words and music of John Lennon, but also to give the
good fight for gun control, non-violence and to help give peace a
In an October 2 story, USA Today's Elysa
Gardner explained: "Earlier this year, when [Lennon widow] Ono and
producer Ken Ehrlich began putting together a concert saluting her late
husband, John Lennon, they were motivated in part by concern about youth
violence. Ono wanted Lennon's songs and legacy to help 'teach children
that the violent way isn't the right way.' But on Sept. 11, nine days
before the show's scheduled date, a terrorist attack on the city that
Lennon considered his adopted home -- and where he was murdered nearly 21
years ago -- forced the postponement of the Lennon tribute, even as it
reinforced its purpose."
Gardner, however, failed to note how the show
would still financially boost gun control groups as she listed only
victims groups as beneficiaries: "Come Together will benefit various
relief organizations, among them the American Red Cross, the Salvation
Army, the September 11th Fund and the Twin Towers Fund."
The liberal political agenda may not have been
promoted by the producers, but TNT did acknowledge it on its Web site. See
the end of this excerpt from the TNT Web site's summary of the special:
"Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey will host
the spectacular event, which will feature some of today's best musical
talents -- Dave Matthews, Moby, Stone Temple Pilots, Nelly Furtado, Shelby
Lynne, Alanis Morissette, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed, Marc Anthony, Yolanda
Adams, Billy Preston, Craig David, Natalie Merchant, Rufus Wainwright,
Sean Lennon and more -- in unique performances of Lennon's most beloved
songs. Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Julia
Stiles, Steve Buscemi and Tim Roth will be special segment presenters...
"Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit New
York City relief organizations including the American Red Cross, September
11th Fund, International Association of Fire Fighters, New York Fraternal
Order of Police WTC Fund, The National Organization for Victim Assistance,
and The Twin Towers Fund in addition to the Violence Policy Center, The
Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March.
For donations and more information, go to www.helping.org."
To view this page online, go to: http://www.tnt.tv/Title/Display/0,5918,341134,00.html
Other than Spacey's opening comment, the
show did avoid any promotion of the gun control agenda. Before each
commercial break viewers saw an 800 number and the www.helping.org Web
address for donations. At three breaks video vignettes promoted specific
charities, all related to the attacks: the September 11th Fund, New York
State World Trade Center Relief Fund and the New York Firefighters 9-11
Disaster Relief Fund.
But those who went to helping.org during the
two-hour broadcast/cable simulcast saw "Donate Now" links for
three gun control groups. The top of the right side of the helping.org
home page featured a link to the Come Together page as it urged surfers to
tune in at 8 ET/PT. Those who clicked this page, for which text is
reprinted below in full. (I've added > to highlight the two section
An All-Star Concert of John Lennon's Music Dedicated to NYC
John Lennon's music inspired a generation and continues to influence
the world. COME TOGETHER: A NIGHT FOR JOHN LENNON'S WORDS & MUSIC is a
special musical event of prayer and healing for New York City and its
people. In light of the terrorists attacks that devastated New York city
on September 11, 2001, the event spotlights charities working to help
victims and their families and the city of New York rebuild. The event
also focuses attention to charities working to stop gun violence.
Donations are desperately needed by the charities providing financial
and emotional assistance as well as special recovery services. You can
help by making a donation to any of the charities below.
> Disaster Relief Charities Working in New York
American Red Cross
September 11th Fund
New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund
Twin Towers Fund
The New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund
WTC School Fund
Suffolk County SPCA
> Gun Violence Charities
Violence Policy Center
The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence
Million Mom March
END reprint of text of Web page
To view this page, go to: http://www.helping.org/cometogether/
Clicking on the three groups brought you to
these descriptions of them below a mailing address:
-- Violence Policy Center
Since 1960, more than a million Americans have died in firearm suicides,
homicides, and unintentional shootings. In 1998 alone, more than 30,000
Americans died by gunfire. Today guns are outpaced only by motor vehicles
as a cause of fatal injury stemming from a consumer product.
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) is at the forefront of those working
to stem the tide of firearms violence. The VPC is a national 501(c)(3)
educational organization working to move beyond the popular but narrow
perception of firearms violence as solely a crime issue to place it in its
proper perspective: a widespread public health problem of which crime is
merely the most recognized aspect.
To see this page, go to: http://www.helping.org/cometogether/charities.adp?id=521571442
-- The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence
As the largest national, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the
fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center are
dedicated to creating an America free from gun violence, where all
Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in their communities.
The Brady Campaign and the Brady Center believe that a safer America can
be achieved without banning all guns.
The Brady Campaign works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws,
regulations and public policies through grassroots activism, electing
pro-gun control public officials and increasing public awareness of gun
The Brady Center works to reform the gun industry and educate the
public about gun violence through litigation and grassroots mobilization,
and works to enact and enforce sensible regulations to reduce gun violence
including regulations governing the gun industry.
For this page: http://www.helping.org/cometogether/charities.adp?id=521285097
-- Million Mom March
The Million Mom March, a protest to promote the reduction of gun violence,
was created in 2000. More than a million mothers participated nationwide
demanding safer gun laws, including 750,000 on the National Mall in
In 2001, the Million Mom March visited legislators in 33 State
Capitols, staged a cybermarch, and conducted a letter-writing campaign to
ask the mothers and wives of President Bush and congressional leaders to
impress on their sons and husbands the importance of safer gun laws.
For this page: http://www.helping.org/cometogether/charities.adp?id=943326481
And who pays for helping.org, the site making
all these contributions so easy: AOL Time Warner. From the "About
"Helping.org is an easy-to-use, one-stop
online resource designed to help people find volunteer and giving
opportunities in their own communities and beyond. With customizable
services and comprehensive information, it's never been easier -- or more
secure -- to donate your time, services, or financial support.
"'.org' means we are nonprofit. 100% of
all transaction and administrative costs are covered by the AOL Time
Warner Foundation. We take 0% cut or commission from online
The evening concert was not free of politics
since many of Lennon's lyrics expressed views and the show featured
video clips of Lennon's "give peach a chance"-type comments.
Presenter Ben Stiller even joked about the Beatles and Lennon's leftist
viewpoint: "Lest we forget, they were also revolutionary wits.
Somehow they combined the rock 'n roll cool of Elvis Presley with the
comedic genius of the Marx brothers -- though with John around you always
wondered if, perhaps, Zeppo Marx had been replaced by Karl Marx."
Ha ha. While mourning the loss of thousands to
mass murdering terrorists, actor Ben Stiller joked about the honoree's
political congruence with the man behind the formation of communism, a
political ideology responsible in the last century for the murder of more
civilians than any other form of government.
Sunday ABC commentator George Will took Reuters to task for
"corrupting the integrity of the language" by refusing to use
the word "terrorist," and for how one of the wire services
executives defended the policy by arguing that "one man's terrorist
is another man's freedom fighter."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson retrieved, from
the September 30 This Week, Will's reprimand for the Orwellian decision
"It's often been said that in war the first
casualty is truth, and one of the ways you attack the truth is by
corrupting the integrity of language, which I suggest Reuters News Service
has done by saying that they will not now use the word 'terrorist.' This
is what they've said: 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom
fighter. We abstain from judgment and believe that the word
"terrorist" is a loaded term, preferring to use a more specific
word such as gunman, bomber, etc.'
"Well, let's look at this for a minute.
'Loaded term'? Certainly 'terrorist' has a pejorative connotation -- so
does rapist, fascist, assassin, murderer. So what? Now, Reuters says,
'We're going to use a more specific word.' Well, 'terrorist' is a noun
that denotes something very specific: someone who inflicts violence,
someone who inflicts violence randomly and randomly against civilians.
Now, are there questionable cases as to whether terrorist applies here or
there? Of course. There are questionable cases as to what counts as a
cookie, but we don't ban the word 'cookie.'
"Now, clearly, if we're going to use the
word 'terrorist' at all, we can probably agree that it fits someone who
flies a commercial airliner into a skyscraper. I think it's time, perhaps,
that we took a warning from this man. This is George Orwell, who in 1946,
in an essay called, 'Politics and the English Language,' said, 'if thought
corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.' I suggest that
Reuters has been corrupting our language by saying 'terrorist' is somehow
uniquely judgmental, and I have a suggestion: throughout this crisis, when
you see a story on the crisis by Reuters, skip the story."
For more on the Reuters policy first disclosed
by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010925.asp#1
Clinton was removed from the bar of the Supreme Court on Monday for,
ABC's Peter Jennings reported, "dishonesty in the Paula Jones
case." CBS's Dan Rather more gently blamed "misleading
testimony" as he adopted language most favorable to the former
President by tagging the Paula Jones lawsuit as a "sex case."
NBC's Tom Brokaw offered no reason.
On Monday night the three broadcast networks
delivered short items on how the Supreme Court, following up on Bill
Clinton's plea bargain with the independent counsel in which his license
to practice law in Arkansas has been suspended for five years. All three
items were accurate, but they provide a compact illustration of how slight
word variations lead to varying impressions of the significance of the
offense by the party involved.
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down the
October 1 items:
-- ABC's Peter Jennings on World News
Tonight in the midst of a brief rundown of court activity on the first day
of its new term: "The Court also said that former President cannot
argue cases before the Supreme Court even if he wished to. He can appeal,
but his legal license has already been suspended in Arkansas for
dishonesty in the Paula Jones case."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News:
"The justices gave former President Clinton 40 days to say why he
should not be barred from practicing law before the high court. This stems
from the suspension of his Arkansas law license for giving misleading
testimony in the Paula Jones sex case."
-- Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News:
"In Washington today, the first Monday in October, the justices of
the U.S. Supreme Court opened a new term on schedule, and they suspended
former President Bill Clinton from practicing law before their court.
It's a standard practice now that Mr. Clinton has been disbarred in
Arkansas. He does have 40 days to ask that the suspension be lifted."
first sign the morning shows may soon return to their old ways: NBC's
Katie Couric on Monday morning found another unfulfilled role for the
federal government. She complained that the U.S. "is the only
industrialized nation...that doesn't spend federal money promoting
During an October 1 Today interview segment
with six Governors and the Mayor of Washington, DC about their efforts to
spark tourism and travel, Couric ruminated: "You know the U.S. is the
only industrialized nation, I didn't know this until today, that doesn't
spend federal money promoting tourism. Do you think it should?"
The liberal Governor of Maryland, Parris
Glendening, responded to Couric and not even he, MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens noticed, saw any necessity for federal invovement.
the Week. Brit Hume, Washington Managing Editor of the Fox News Channel,
reacting to the ABC News directive against on-air personnel displaying
American flag lapel pins. USA Today's Peter Johnson quoted Hume:
"'Our flag is not the symbol of the Bush administration, and Fox
News is not located in Switzerland,' fumes Hume, who has been sporting a
lapel pin since the Sept. 11 attacks."
Johnson's October 1 "Inside TV"
item continued: "If an anchor or correspondent chooses to show the
flag, 'their duties as a journalist remain the same: to be fair-minded,
thoughtful and skeptical as ever,' Hume says."
If only most were doing that before September
> A reminder: Tonight, Wednesday October 3,
at 9pm EDT/PDT, 8pm CDT/MDT, NBC will air a new episode of The West Wing
in which the characters will react to a terrorist attack on Washington,
DC. -- Brent Baker
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