"Blacklist" of Lindh & Arabs?; So Much for CNN's Conservative Outreach; Somalian Victims; Thomas Rebuked; ABC News Banned C-SPAN
1) CNN's Keith Olbermann: "Are we in more danger
from Americans who have fought with the Taliban...or from people who
criticize attorneys for defending them?" Plus: "In the '50s we
had a blacklist against many on the left....Are you worried that we might
be entering that kind of period of time again in the case of Walker Lindh
and...the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, even the ones in American jails of
2) So much for CNN's outreach to conservatives. After
announcing the hiring of Connie Chung on Wednesday, CNN Chairman Walter
Isaacson declared: "This puts the last, major piece of the puzzle in
3) "There were victims on both sides in what happened
there back in 1993," CNN's Aaron Brown declared of Somalia as
portrayed in Blackhawk Down. Those watching the film in Somalia, a CNN
reporter asserted, see it "as a painful re-enactment of their
4) A heartened Tom Brokaw noted: "Spurred on by the
Enron scandal, supporters of campaign finance reform legislation in the
House gathered enough signatures today to force a vote."
5) President Bush's revelation that his mother-in-law
lost money in Enron stock, "served as a convenient device for him to
distance himself from the Enron debacle and to appear more empathetic to
its investors and employees," New York Times reporter Richard Berke
6) Countering interjections from Helen Thomas at the White
House press briefing, Ari Fleischer properly accused her of arguing
"in support of terrorism."
7) Could the CyberAlert-spurred publicity for ABC News
President David Westin's reticence to comment on whether the Pentagon
was a "legitimate" target, an appearance aired on C-SPAN, be
behind the decision of ABC News to bar C-SPAN coverage of remarks by Peter
8) With C-SPAN set to air the MRC's "Dishonor
Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of
2001" (see times below), an excerpt from the Washington Times story
9) A hyperbolic ABC News promo: "How safe are your
kids on their school bus? Could what happened today happen to them?"
night C-SPAN is scheduled to air the MRC's "Dishonor Awards:
Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2001." It
should air twice on Saturday night, January 26: 8pm EST (7pm CST, 6pm MST,
5pm PST) and again at around 11pm EST (10pm CST, 9pm MST, 8pm PST). The
event, which took place on January 17 at the Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center, lasts about two hours. To check the C-SPAN
schedule for January 26 as it's adjusted, go to:
Olbermann is back in fine form at CNN, suggesting America faces a
"greater danger" from the "backlash" against lawyers
for Al Qaeda operatives than from the terrorists themselves and
analogizing the attitude toward those being held in Guantanamo Bay to the
"blacklist" against the left in the 1950s.
Olbermann, who on MSNBC in 1998 suggested Ken
Starr was acting like a "persecutor" and reminded him
"facially" of Heinrich Himmler, is filling in this week as host
of CNN's The Point aired at 8:30pm EST. Stanley Cohen, Gerry Spence and
Robert Shapiro, lawyers who have defended unpopular criminals, were
Olbermann's guests in his first segment on Thursday night, January 24.
After Cohen said he would represent John
Walker Lindh, Shapiro insisted he would not and Spence explained he only
would if he believed he could give his client his best effort, Olbermann
presented this convoluted premise to Spence:
Spence, let me bring this to the question of representation. There was a
column in what we might call a New York newspaper that today trashed the
former Attorney General Ramsey Clark for getting involved in that issue of
how the detainees in Guantanamo Bay are being treated. Are we in greater
danger from the John Walker Lindhs of this world or from the backlash
against them and towards those who would serve as their attorneys?"
Olbermann's logic bewildered Spence:
"Well, I don't understand quite the question. You're, you ought to,
could you give it a little more simple so, simpler so that both this poor
country lawyer and your audience could understand what you want me the
Olbermann tried again with the same liberal
premise about intolerance of lawyers being more dangerous than mass
murdering terrorists: "Are we in more danger from Americans who have
fought with the Taliban or allegedly have done so, or from people who
criticize attorneys for defending them?"
Next, Olbermann delivered a tribute to the
"courage" of lawyers who take on unpopular clients: "Mr.
Shapiro, based on your own experience in the controversy that surrounded
your handling of the O.J. Simpson case and your representation of Mr.
Simpson, does it take a courage above and beyond to step into a situation
like this where the client has so much stacked against him going in just
from the media and from the supposed public perception?"
Returning to his theme of high-profile lawyers
as the victims, Olbermann inquired, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "Mr. Cohen, I guess same, similar kind of question as I
just asked Mr. Shapiro, recalling your time with the Hamas leader, is it
going to be personally scary for those who represent John Walker Lindh at
this point because of the potential for public vilification of them, let
Olbermann soon served up this compact
compilation of liberal hysteria: "Mr. Shapiro, in the '50s we had a
blacklist against many on the left politically. In the '40s, we had
Americans of Japanese descent interned at race tracks in California. In
the '20s, we had the Palmer Raids. You can go all the way back to the
Alien and Sedition Act in 1800. Are you worried that we might be entering
that kind of period of time again in the case of Walker Lindh and the case
of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, even the ones in American jails of
Arab descent, at this moment?"
Yes, the United States has been a dangerous
place in which to live since 1800. Wonder if it was okay with Olbermann in
In 1999 Olbermann was a finalist in the
"I'm a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award
(for media hatred of conservatives)" category of the MRC's
"Dishonor Awards: The Decade's Most Outrageous Liberal Media
Bias," for this question to then-Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau
Chief James Warren on the August 18, 1998 Big Show with Keith Olbermann on
Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the
President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person
Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler,
including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United
States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God,
family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the
kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor
as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
To view a RealPlayer clip of that
"question," go to:
CNN's 8:30pm EST The point may soon go away
with Connie Chung taking over the entire 8pm hour, but we'll still have
to endure Olbermann. CNN has signed him to provide commentary on the 10pm
EST/PST NewsNight with Aaron Brown.
for CNN's outreach to conservatives. The New York Daily News reported on
Thursday that after announcing the hiring of Connie Chung on Wednesday,
CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson declared: "This puts the last, major
piece of the puzzle in place."
Last August Roll Call, the Capitol Hill
newspaper, had reported: "In an effort to improve his network's image
with conservative leaders, new CNN chief Walter Isaacson huddled with
House and Senate GOP leaders last week to seek advice on how to attract
more right-leaning viewers to the sagging network."
Who would have guessed that Isaacson's
strategy to attract conservatives away from FNC and back to CNN would have
meant giving prime time hours to Connie Chung and Aaron Brown before and
after Larry King while bringing aboard Keith Olbermann, a man best-known
at MSNBC for comparing Ken Starr to Heinrich Himmler (see item #1 above),
as a fill-in host and commentator?
Eight months after Isaacson's outreach to
conservatives the hope of a less liberal CNN has been dashed. CNN's late
afternoon and evening line-up is now, if anything, even more liberal.
Starting at 4pm EST, CNN delivers the liberal
Judy Woodruff anchoring Inside Politics, followed by an hour of Wolf
Blitzer, who may not be all that liberal but certainly is not right of
center. After an hour of business news with Lou Dobbs, Blitzer gets
another half hour at 7pm EST, followed by Crossfire. CNN's 8pm
programming changes by the day, but the liberal Connie Chung will soon
take over the slot once held by Clinton-defender Greta Van Susteren.
Olbermann now temporarily presides over the 8:30pm half hour. The
anti-conservative Larry King holds down the 9pm hour and then at 10pm CNN
made a definite shift left late last year with the launch of NewsNight
with Aaron Brown. Finishing off the evening, a half hour hosted by Jeff
Greenfield, one of the fairest journalists in television, but not one who
offers the kind of contrarian programming provided by many FNC shows.
For an excerpt of last August's Roll Call
story about Isaacson reaching out to Republicans and conservatives, go to:
For a rundown of the liberal reporting record
of CNN's latest acquisition, Connie Chung, go to Wednesday's
of liberalness on CNN's NewsNight, on Tuesday night the show aired a
story on how Somalis see the movie Blackhawk Down "as a painful
re-enactment of their past" since, anchor Aaron Brown opined,
"there were victims on both sides in what happened there back in
1993." Brown anticipated negative viewer reaction: "I can
imagine the e-mails now."
U.S. forces did not create any innocent
"victims" in their mission to capture a terrorist.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught the January 22
piece on Black Hawk Down being screened in Mogadishu. Brown set it up:
"The movie Black Hawk Down is playing to sellout crowds, and not just
here in the United States. Somalis in Mogadishu watched it last night, and
it was a stark reminder that there were victims on both sides in what
happened there back in 1993. In this country, an American audience might
sit in silence or look away from the screen some times pretty graphic
movie. In Mogadishu, the audience was glued, and in their bitterness,
actually found reason to applaud."
From Somalia, reporter Jeff Koinange checked
in: "In this country, where the U.S.'s military effort to catch the
powerful Somali warlord Mohamed Aidid was opposed, the audience took
delight in scenes of American defeat. Each time an American chopper goes
down, the audience cheers. Each time an American serviceman is killed, the
audience cheers some more."
Koinange concluded his piece: "While
Black Hawk Down may prove entertaining to movie audiences worldwide,
Somalis here see it as a painful re-enactment of their past, a past that
could come back to haunt them coming at a time when they're looking to the
outside world for a helping hand."
Brown added afterward: "I can imagine the
Instead of anticipating the angry e-mails from
viewers why not just not air slanted stories which will generate such
negative viewer reaction?
aboard the Enron scandal-fueled "campaign finance reform"
express. On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, without a negative word about
its restrictions on free speech and without questioning how it would have
had any impact on Enron's fall, anchor Tom Brokaw linked Enron's
financial support of legislators to how support is growing for the liberal
After a story on the first House hearing
looking into Enron, Brokaw related: "A reminder as Congress rails
against Enron, many of them took campaign contributions from the company,
its political action committee and/or its employees. On the House side,
187 members, almost half, have taken more than $603,000 from Enron since
1989. Proportionately, that number is even higher on the Senate side: 71
out of 100 got Enron contributions to the collective tune of more than
$530,000. And spurred on by the Enron scandal, supporters of campaign
finance reform legislation in the House gathered enough signatures today
to force a vote on the issue. A bill, that would among other things ban
unregulated soft money contributions, passed the Senate last year, but
then it did stall on the House side."
Bush's revelation that his mother-in-law lost money in Enron stock,
"served as a convenient device for him to distance himself from the
Enron debacle and to appear more empathetic to its investors and
employees," New York Times reporter Richard Berke asserted in a
January 24 story which the MRC's Liz Swasey saw highlighted in Hotline.
But just how calculated was it?
An excerpt from the top of Berke's story:
To listen to President Bush, it was almost as if an epiphany involving
his mother-in-law drove him to turn on the Enron Corporation, his most
generous political benefactor. In assailing Enron on a trip Tuesday to
Belle, W.Va., Mr. Bush said, "My own mother-in-law" lost all of
her investment when the company's stock collapsed.
But people close to Mr. Bush said his mother-in-law, Jenna Welch,
served as a convenient device for him to distance himself from the Enron
debacle and to appear more empathetic to its investors and employees than
to the wealthy business executives who escaped the Enron collapse with
flush bank accounts.
White House officials insisted that there was no change of emphasis --
or heart -- and noted that Mr. Bush's newly disparaging comments about
Enron, and his mother-in-law's experience, came in response to reporters'
"This was definitely not a predetermined strategy shift of any
sort," said Dan Bartlett, Mr. Bush's communications director.
"It's the same thing he's been saying in private meetings and
conversations with staff for the past month."
Yet other advisers to Mr. Bush said the president had recently
discussed with Karen P. Hughes, his counselor, and a tight circle of
aides, that he needed to move more aggressively -- and in a much more
public way -- to distance the White House from Enron and its chief
executive, Kenneth L. Lay....
END of Excerpt
Those registered with the New York Times can
access the entire article at:
On Tuesday, January 22 Bush did indeed talk
about Jenna Bush's stock loss. But he also talked about it five days
earlier with Tom Brokaw in the presidential limousine on Thursday, January
17, an interview for NBC's January 23 special, Inside the Real West
Helen Thomas in her place. At Wednesday's White House press briefing,
Washington Times "Inside Politics" columnist Greg Pierce noted,
Ari Fleischer countered Thomas's latest outburst of moral equivalence
between democratic Israel and terrorists.
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas stands accused of
arguing "in support of terrorism." Her accuser: Ari Fleischer,
White House press secretary. At yesterday's White House press briefing,
Mr. Fleischer was answering a question from CNN's Major Garrett about U.S.
efforts for peace in the Middle East. Mr. Fleischer was discussing the
recent Israeli seizure of a shipload of Palestinian terrorist weapons when
Miss Thomas interrupted to ask, "Where do the Israelis get their
Mr. Fleischer began to answer, "There is a difference, Helen, and
Miss Thomas interrupted again: "What is the difference?"
Mr. Fleischer said, "The targeting of innocents through the use of
terror, which is a common enemy, for Yasser Arafat and for the people of
Israel, as well as-"
Miss Thomas: "When people are fighting for their land "
Mr. Fleischer: "I think the killing of innocents is a category entirely different. Justifying killing of
innocents for land is an argument in
support of terrorism."
END of Excerpt from Pierce's column.
For Pierce's daily "Inside
Politics" column, go to:
the CyberAlert-spurred publicity for ABC News President David Westin's
reticence to comment on whether the Pentagon was a "legitimate"
target, an appearance aired on C-SPAN, be behind the decision of ABC News
to bar C-SPAN coverage of remarks by Peter Jennings?
As CyberAlert readers should know, I caught
Westin's remarks on C-SPAN and put them into a CyberAlert. Within a day
that led to an editorial in the New York Post denouncing Westin, big play
by the DrudgeReport.com and discussion by Rush Limbaugh -- all followed
immediately by Westin apologizing.
On Thursday, Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, online
caught this fascinating tidbit in the middle of a column by Chicago
Tribune TV reporter Allan Johnson covering several topics. An excerpt from
Johnson's January 24 column:
....C-SPAN found itself questioning the freedom of its speech a few
weeks ago when it wanted to cover an event in which ABC News' Peter
Jennings was a speaker -- only to find itself shut out of the coverage.
Jennings was part of a panel called "Irreverence in an Age of
Reverence." He was chatting with Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's
"The Daily Show" during a weekend arts event sponsored by the
New York Times. But C-SPAN, which had been invited by the Times to cover
the thing weeks in advance, was told on the day of the event that it
couldn't, reportedly at the insistence of Jennings.
A spokesman for ABC News says that wasn't the case. Apparently, the
news division had been asked for several concessions by the promoters of
the event, including local television coverage and other amenities. But
when it seemed the discussion was going to go live around the country -- a
request ABC News said it received less than 24 hours before the event was
to take place -- the news organization said it decided brakes needed to be
C-SPAN's blackout wasn't Jennings' decision, according to ABC News
spokesman Jeffrey Schneider. "We're not at all reluctant to have
Peter Jennings on television," he says. "He couldn't be more on
television, I don't think, than he already is."
Added Jennings in a release: "I'm a big fan of C-SPAN, but I had
no idea they were even considering covering" the event. City
University of New York will air the taped event in the future....
END of excerpt
The entire column is online at:
I'll buy Jennings' claim that he did not
personally bar C-SPAN. But someone high up at ABC News, maybe even Westin
himself, obviously did. And I can't help but think that their experience
with Westin, when his comments to a class at Columbia University aired by
C-SPAN blew up on them after CyberAlert transcribed some of what he said,
led them to shut out C-SPAN.
So much for openness at ABC News.
For the Westin quote and reaction to it, go
For an excerpt of Fred Barnes' Weekly
Standard piece recounting the CyberAlert discovery and reaction to it, the
article in which he dubbed me the "scourge of liberal bias," go
C-SPAN set to air the MRC's "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most
Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2001" (see times at top of
this e-mail), I thought I'd squeeze in an excerpt from a newspaper
article about the January 17 event.
From the January 21 Washington Times, a story
by Christian Toto:
....Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel and Diane Sawyer headed the list of those
taking their lumps during an evening as unabashedly partisan to the right
as its guests contend the media is to the left.
With names like the "Bring Back Bubba Award" and the "Gilligan
Award for Flakiest Comment of the Year," organizers pulled no
punches. Neither did those assembled, who threw haymaker after haymaker at
the media elite while giggling over a skein of ludicrous news clips....
Literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, the self-appointed Auntie Mame of the
"vast right-wing conspiracy," slammed White House reporter Helen
Thomas for a fawning tribute to former President Bill Clinton.
"There's such a thing as a shelf life," Mrs. Goldberg said of
the elderly reporter to merciless laughter.
At a boisterous pre-gala reception, Media Research Center President and
Founder L. Brent Bozell III said the public's perception of media bias has
grown dramatically since his organization began its work in 1987.
"You can look at all the surveys. The public believes the
information it's getting is subjective opinion, not objective truth,"
said Mr. Bozell, sipping coffee beside friends opting for harder
beverages. "They're seeing the bias. They're looking for alternative
markets, hence the growth of Fox News."
The conservative confab included master of ceremonies Cal Thomas,
William F. Buckley Jr., former Rep. Robert K. Dornan, "Capital
Gang" panelist Kate O'Beirne and the Wall Street Journal's John Fund.
Mr. Fund underscored the evening's message while announcing the
nominees for several Dishonor Awards.
"There is no vast right-wing conspiracy," he said. "But
there is a concentrated, focused and alert one, and it's in this room
Some in the audience had felt the sting of the media's left-leaning
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris could only laugh about the
times CBS anchor Dan Rather used modifiers like "as she sees it"
or "as she deems it" to explain her handling of the Florida
When she came to Washington she reported, "Even some of the
Democrat operatives came to me and said 'we're really glad you followed
Mr. Buckley, who sat at a table named for ABC News anchor Peter
Jennings, said the media's liberal bias is nothing new. What's different
today, he said, is that the imbalance is more visible to the average
Now, he said, "More people wince when they do their thing."
END of Excerpt
To read the entire story:
For the text of the story above, as well as
two other newspaper pieces about the roast, go to the Dishonor Awards page
and click on "press coverage": http://www.mrc.org/news/nq/dishonor2002/dishonor2002a.html
over-hype. Prompted by the story of a Pennsylvania school bus driver who
drove his load of students to a suburb of Washington, DC, a promo run on
Thursday's World News Tonight, over forbidding music and scattered
images of school buses:
are your kids on their school bus? Could what happened today happen to
them? What you must know before they get on board. A Good Morning America
for every parent. Tomorrow."
A great example of how the media distort risks
in order to generate ratings. --
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