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The 1,203rd CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Thursday January 3, 2002 (Vol. Seven; No. 2)

Printer Friendly Version

FNC Hires Another Starr-Basher; Rosie for Reno; Pro-Life Murderer on NBC; Two Weeks Until Dishonor Awards; 4th and 5th Runners-Up

1) In snagging Greta Van Susteren from CNN, FNC has added another cable news defender of Bill Clinton who also denigrated Ken Starr. Van Susteren used her CNN perch in 1998 to urge President Clinton to defy Starr's subpoena, impugned Starr by asserting it's "improper for a prosecutor to set a perjury trap," and maintained that Clinton would win any "he said, she said" spat since Monica Lewinsky "has absolutely no credibility."

2) Proclaiming "I'll do whatever she wants, right up until Election Day," daytime TV show host Rosie O'Donnell on Sunday headlined a fundraiser for Janet Reno.

3) A pro-lifer who murders abortion doctors is the plot of this Sunday's Law & Order: Criminal Intent on NBC.

4) Just two weeks until the MRC's Thursday, January 17 "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of the Year." Don't miss out on a fun-filled evening laughing at the media. The special discount offer for CyberAlert readers has been extended.

5) The fourth and fifth runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."


In snagging Greta Van Susteren from CNN less than two months after Geraldo Rivera came aboard from CNBC, the Fox News Channel has added a second high-profile cable news defender of Bill Clinton who also denigrated Ken Starr's law enforcement efforts. While Rivera has yet to get a prime time hour, the Associated Press reported that Susteren will be awarded one: 10pm EST, replacing Paula Zahn who left FNC for CNN last fall.

     During the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, Van Susteren used her CNN perch to urge President Clinton to defy independent counsel Starr's subpoena, impugning Starr by asserting it's "improper for a prosecutor to set a perjury trap." Still believing Clinton's denial of Monica Lewinsky's account of Oval Office shenanigans, she maintained that he'd win any "he said, she said" spat since "she has absolutely no credibility."

     She also tried to discredit Starr by relaying how he's a "man who already has given many people the impression he's on a mission. That may have a lot to do with Starr's religious and Republican roots." But a newspaper profile revealed that Van Susteren herself may be motivated by some pretty unorthodox religious views. The same profile also reported that her husband is a big Democratic donor.

     Don't expect Van Susteren to change her liberal attitude to fit in at FNC. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz quoted her in a January 3 story: "I can't change my tone. I'm going to be whatever I am."

     On the July 27, 1998 The World Today on CNN, Van Susteren took a Geraldo Rivera-type stance, as she argued: "I simply do not understand why the President would agree to testify...I would push it to a constitutional showdown for the simple reason: these are unchartered waters. The Supreme Court has never spoken, as to whether a sitting President can be compelled to testify before a federal grand jury. So rather than leave us in sort of a legal limb, why not take it through the court system, let the Supreme Court review all the facts, all the evidence and make a determination whether or not the separation of powers doctrine bars a sitting President from having to answer to the subpoena?"

     For more, refer to the July 28, 1998 CyberAlert:

     The next night, Van Susteren offered more of her defense attorney advice to Clinton, declaring that since it's "improper for a prosecutor to set a perjury trap" as Starr had supposedly done, Clinton should not voluntarily testify. Instead, she urged him to make a fight over the constitutional issue of whether he can be subpoenaed. One of co-anchor Jim Moret's questions: "Greta, deal with this now as an attorney, not dealing with the political aspects. Wolf Blitzer suggests it could come down to a he said, she said conflict. In your view isn't that good given the fact that Monica Lewinsky has, in effect, admitted she's lied in the past?" Van Susteren agreed: "She has absolutely no credibility."

     For more, go to the July 29, 1998 CyberAlert:

     Earlier in 1998, during a February 5 CNN special, Van Susteren highlighted "specific and serious" charges that Ken Starr abused his power and witnesses. She suggested a reason behind his excess, asserting Starr "already has given many people the impression he's on a mission. That may have a lot to do with Starr's religious and Republican roots."

     But what kind of religious mission motivates Van Susteren? St. Petersburg Times reporter Mary Jacoby discovered that Van Susteren belongs to Scientology, "a religion that teaches of Xenu, evil head of the Galactic Confederation" who "flew people to Teegeeack (Earth) 75-million years ago in space ships, chained them to volcanos and blew them up with hydrogen bombs, releasing exploded 'thetas' that are now the source of most human suffering."

     Amongst the revelations about Van Susteren exposed by reporter Mary Jacoby in her December 13, 1998 St. Petersburg Times story:
     -- "Van Susteren is frequently in touch with White House officials. And in her on-air questioning, she often seems to repeat the official line."
     -- "Van Susteren's pro-Clinton voice hasn't gone unrewarded. In May, she sat with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at a state dinner..."
     -- Her husband is representing Julie Hiatt Steele in her lawsuit against Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and "in 1998 he gave $20,000 to various Democratic Party arms, including the Democratic National Committee and Vice President Al Gore's political action committee."
     -- She's claimed on air that Starr's ties to tobacco companies being attacked by Clinton is a conflict, but the article reveals that her husband is one of the lawyers suing the tobacco industry.

     For an extensive excerpt from the St. Petersburg Times profile, refer back to the December 16, 1998 CyberAlert: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19981216.asp#2

     Amazingly, the original article is still accessible online:

     For more about CNN's slanted February 5, 1998 special hosted by Van Susteren, "Investigating the Investigator," go to:

     The Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com) first revealed Van Susteren's plan to change networks. An excerpt from the story filed later Wednesday by the AP's David Bauder:

Van Susteren would not comment on reports that she accepted less money to go to Fox. A Fox executive said she'll be making a little under $1 million a year.

"It wasn't about the money," she said. "I'm looking for a new challenge. I think I'll get that new challenge at Fox. It's time. I've been at CNN for 10 years."

While Van Susteren said she "loved every minute of the 10 years I worked at CNN," she picked up the phone to call Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes last fall, aware that her contract gave her an escape clause.

Van Susteren had been overshadowed in CNN's frequent promotion of Zahn and Aaron Brown. Her show was pushed back to 8:30 p.m. in recent weeks to make way for a live report from Afghanistan....

Van Susteren noted that she had joined CNN when it was a "mom-and-pop operation run by Ted Turner." Now that CNN is part of AOL Time Warner, Turner has no role with the network he started. She said she likes knowing Ailes is the boss.

Ailes was particularly angry with CNN for poaching Zahn, who has gone on to successfully revive a morning news show. He retaliated by signing CNN foreign correspondent Steve Harrigan but Van Susteren is a bigger coup....

     END of Excerpt

     For the entire AP story, go to:

     Remember how last summer, when word leaked out about how CNN Chief Walter Isaacson was meeting with Republican leaders to find out why they found CNN biased to the left, some journalists expressed alarm about the improper influence on CNN's journalism? What are the chances these same people will speak out now about concerns that FNC may be endangering its "fair and balanced" and "we report, you decide" promises?


Daytime TV talk show host, sometime actress and anti-gun activist Rosie O'Donnell hosted a $250 per person fundraiser on Sunday in Miami on behalf of Janet Reno's run for the Florida Democratic gubernatorial nomination. O'Donnell boasted: "I'll do whatever she wants, right up until Election Day."

     An excerpt from a December 31 South Florida Sun-Sentinel story, by Sean Cavanaugh, featured on the Yahoo! News page:

Only steps from Madonna's old pad, amid high hedges, valet parking and bayside vistas, Janet Reno reached for celebrity power on Sunday -- and her Democratic supporters reached for their checkbooks.

Talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell joined the former U.S. attorney general and candidate for governor at a $250-a-person fund-raiser, held in the swank, tree-lined Brickell Avenue neighborhood south of downtown.

O'Donnell declared her support for the Democratic candidate's challenge of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, saying Reno's interest in improving Florida's youth and foster-care programs impressed her.

"When I heard she was running, I called up her office and said I would do everything and anything I can," O'Donnell said. "I'll do whatever she wants, right up until Election Day."...

On Sunday, Reno's backers pulled up to the home of Adrienne Arsht, chairwoman of TotalBank in Miami, gathering on lawns and terraces rolling away to the bank of Biscayne Bay. The house next door had been owned by pop icon Madonna, until she sold it a few years ago. Sylvester Stallone, who once lived down the street, also moved away....

     END of Excerpt

     If Reno wins, a lot more people may be moving away.

     To read the whole article, go to: http://sunsentinel.com/news/yahoo/sfl-sinjury


A pro-lifer who murders abortion doctors is the plot of this Sunday's Law & Order: Criminal Intent on NBC. The 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST show revolves round New York City police detectives -- with the added twist of letting viewers see crimes unfold from the perspective of the perpetrators.

     The plot summary for the January 6 episode, as outlined on the NBC Web page:
     "When a pro-life loner (guest star Robert Stanton) stalks and shoots a doctor, Detectives Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) begin tracking him through his contacts and when they find a second gun, they reach a chilling conclusion -- their suspect has not acquired his final target. But while prosecuting attorney Carver (Courtney B. Vance) worries about turning a murder case into a litmus test on abortion before a jury, Goren tries to find out the real reason for the gunman's rage."

     The Web page for NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent:


Just two weeks until the MRC's Thursday, January 17 "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of the Year." It will take place at 7pm at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC. For all the details: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/bookstore/cyberdishonors.html

     There is still time for CyberAlert readers to obtain tickets at a special discounted price of $135 per seat, $15 off the regular $150 price. And CyberAlert readers can qualify to buy a table of ten seats for $1,300, $50 off the regular price. Previous CyberAlerts stated these offers would expire on December 25, but because of the holidays we hadn't taken down the Web page with the offer, so I asked that it stay up through this weekend. But that's it. As of Monday, the discount opportunity will end.

     The event will be a repeat of the very popular Dishonor Awards we presented in late 1999. The winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with video clips of the top nominees.

     It is sure to be a fun-filled evening as we laugh at the media.

     Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Presenters and/or acceptors include William F. Buckley Jr., Steve Forbes, Kate O'Beirne and Katherine Harris. A media victim will accept each award in jest.

     Winning quotes have been selected by a panel of keen media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Lucianne Goldberg, Robert Novak, Sean Hannity, Ben Stein and Michael Reagan.

     Award categories include: "Keep Hope Alive Award for Endless Clinton Fawning" and "The Sore Losers Award for Refusing to Concede Bush's Victory in Florida."

     In 1999 we sold out and had to turn people away. In fact, if we were holding this year's event in the same hotel as last time, we'd already be sold out. This year we selected a larger venue in order to accommodate more people. Avoid being disappointed. Order now while seats are still available.

     To order tickets online via credit card, go to:

     For a printable order form you can fax or mail to us, go to:

     Actually, don't mail it. At this point, fax it. Or, to order over the phone via credit card, call the MRC's offices at (703) 683-9733 and ask for Sue Engle at extension 163.

     Take advantage of your preferred status as a CyberAlert reader and order soon at the discounted prices.

     And if you call, please mention that you are a CyberAlert reader so that I can show support from the CyberAlert readership.


The fourth and fifth runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2001 -- actually December 2000 through November 2001.

     The December 27 CyberAlert featured the winning quotes, the December 28 edition listed the first runners-up, the December 31 issue carried the second runners-up and the January 2 CyberAlert conveyed the third runners-up. To view all of the award winners and the top runners-up, as well as RealPlayer video clips for many of the broadcast quotes, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/best2001/bestofnq2001.html

     To view the special year-end 8-page issue as snail mail recipients saw it, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/best2001/pdf/BestofNQ2001.pdf

     To determine this year's winners, a panel of 41 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of six to nine quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote.

     A list of the judges appeared in the December 27 and December 31 CyberAlerts. Or, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/best2001/bestofnq2001f.html

     Now, the fourth and fifth runners-up quotes, in the five categories which had at least a fourth runner-up listed, as presented in the December 24 edition of Notable Quotables:

Poisoning the Planet Award for Portraying Bush as Destroyer of the Earth

President Bush: "I think the message is getting out. There are some issues, like the environment, some accuse me of not being environmentally sensitive, which is ridiculous."
Matt Lauer: "So you can look me in the eye and say that you are a President committed to cleaning up the environment?"
-- Exchange on NBC's Today, April 25. [27 points]

Picking the Lockbox Award for Denouncing Bush's Tax Cut

"The Bushes held their first state dinner. POTUS served buffalo meat, wore cowboy boots and welcomed Clint Eastwood. Meanwhile, the rest of America priced horse meat."
-- Summary of previous week's events according to Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" in the magazine's September 17 issue. [29]

"That's what's pernicious here, is seizing on this as a way to get a tax cut...he could create something self-fulfilling, talk down the economy because he wants to use that as a tool to get a tax cut that we don't really need and is a bad idea."
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, December 23, 2000. [26]

Good Morning Morons Award

"After pepperoni pizza and banana milkshakes once, I dreamed about Bill Clinton."
-- Diane Sawyer talking with her Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson about a study which claimed that Republicans have three times as many nightmares while they sleep as do Democrats, July 10. [27]

"The American Civil Liberties Union is very concerned about your resolution. They are saying basically that those young people who choose not to participate are targeted for harassment. And the New York City school system has a lot of people, a lot of students and perhaps even teachers who are not American citizens, isn't that correct?"
"But part of the thinking behind some of the criticism is that perhaps maybe an addendum to a renewing of, of a symbol of patriotism that perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance?"
-- Questions from NBC's Ann Curry to school board head Ninfa Segarra, about having the Pledge of Allegiance recited in New York City public schools, Oct. 19 Today. [24]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

"It seems to me that the modern Republican Party and its moderate wing are in a sort of, to use the psychobabble of the era, in an abusive relationship...and the moderates are the enablers and the conservatives are the abusers and they just got used to doing it that way and suddenly one member said, 'I'm not going to take it anymore.'"
-- NPR's Nina Totenberg on the defection of Senator Jim Jeffords, May 26 Inside Washington. [33]

"Liberals are going to miss him, he was so wonderfully odious. Remember that old Time magazine that had him on the cover with the dark shadows under the eyes and he's this dark and menacing figure? And it was very comforting to the East Coast media establishment to know that there was an evil guy out there that you could really fear."
-- Newsweek's Evan Thomas discussing Senator Jesse Helms's retirement, August 25 Inside Washington. [27]

Blame America First Award

"The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word 'cowardly' is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards."
-- Novelist and playwright Susan Sontag writing for the "Talk of the Town" section of the Sept. 24 New Yorker. [28]

Plus, under the heading of "Too Late for the Ballot, But Year End 'Best of NQ' Worthy," two quotes:

Persecuting Clinton Allowed 9/11
"It was a huge national distraction, going after a guy who lied about getting oral sex from a woman he wasn't married to, and I think I know a million guys who get oral sex from a woman they weren't married to....All of us have a shared guilt right now, and the shared guilt is for the last ten years we have been horribly distracted. I would bet you that I can find you 4,000, 5,000 FBI agents who wish to God they weren't assigned to Whitewater, Monicagate, Bill Clinton - that instead they were on the trail of Osama bin Laden and the people who were plotting mass murder against us."
-- Geraldo Rivera on the Nov. 15 O'Reilly Factor on FNC.

Homegrown Few = Al Qaeda
"Since September 11, the word 'terrorist' has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign. But many believe we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion crusaders."
-- Reporter Jami Floyd on ABC's 20/20, November 28.

     END Reprint of the fourth and fifth runners-up quotes in the MRC's awards for the year's worst reporting.

     That's all of the "Best of NQ" awards quotes until another round at the end of 2002.  -- Brent Baker

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