"Environment...the Big Loser"; More Crusading by Sawyer; Anti-FNC Rant from CNN's Aaron Brown; James Garner No Conservative
1) ABC's Diane Sawyer continued her advocacy journalism
on Friday morning as she boasted about how nine former Florida legislators
who had supported the law which bars adoptions by homosexuals, now say,
"We now realize that we were wrong. This discriminatory law prevents
children from being adopted into loving, supportive homes -- and we hope
it will be overturned.'"
2) MSNBC's Brian Williams referred to how the Senate's
decision to not impose higher fuel efficiency standards means
"there's concern tonight the environment could be the big
loser." Williams also asked a guest to assess the view that the
murder verdict for Andrea Yates was off-base since it "shows perhaps
a regional tough mind set on the part of the jurors and it might just show
an ignorance of mental health issues."
3) CNN's Aaron Brown opened NewsNight with a
self-indulgent rant about how on "the program that competes directly
with us on that almost news channel," FNC's On the Record with
Greta Van Susteren, "they booked Tonya Harding to talk about the big
fight and yes, little NewsNight got its backside kicked in the
4) Actor James Garner plays a conservative Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court on CBS's First Monday, yet he's "anything
but" a conservative. On ABC's The View he explained how he refused
to read a book by the real Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, "because
I don't like the man."
5) On tonight's Crossing Jordan on NBC, a Marine
"abandons her post in Afghanistan and ends up dead in a Boston
alley." Plus, Rudy Giuliani on the Tonight Show; John McCain on the
6) CyberAlert subscriber survey results, to HTML or to not
Sawyer continued her advocacy journalism on Friday morning as she boasted
about how "nine former members of the statehouse" who had
supported the Florida law which bars adoptions by homosexuals, have now
said, "We now realize that we were wrong. This discriminatory law
prevents children from being adopted into loving, supportive homes -- and
we hope it will be overturned.'"
Sawyer's comments on the March 15 Good
Morning America followed her two-hour prime time special from the night
before that promoted the personal political agenda of Rosie O'Donnell,
"Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children." It had featured
a sympathetic look at two gay men who had become foster parents to
HIV-positive kids but now cannot adopt them.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this
update from Sawyer on Friday morning: "What will happen in the case
before the courts, Steven Lofton and Roger Crousteau, who took in all
those HIV-positive babies and nurtured them into healthy kids? Now
Florida's anti-gay adoption law threatens to tear their family apart. No
comment yet from Governor Jeb Bush, who received thousands of e-mails
yesterday calling for the repeal of the law and adoption on a case-by-case
basis. And nine former members of the statehouse, who had supported the
law long ago, have said, 'We now realize that we were wrong. This
discriminatory law prevents children from being adopted into loving,
supportive homes -- and we hope it will be overturned.
"And the written statements were signed by
former Senate President Harry Johnston, former House Speaker Tom
Gustafson, former House members Elaine Bloom, Tony Frontana, Barry Kutun
and former Senators Cheryl Peete-Skinner [sp?], Paul Steinberg, Sam Bell
and Sherman Wynn -- saying that was a long time ago and they have
up with a couple of items from MSNBC's Brian Williams from last week
caught by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: On Wednesday night Williams referred
to how "gas-guzzling SUVs and light trucks were big winners on
Capitol Hill" when the Senate decided to impose higher fuel
efficiency standards, "but there's concern tonight the environment
could be the big loser here."
The night before Williams asked a guest to
assess the view that the murder verdict for Andrea Yates was off-base
since it "shows perhaps a regional tough mind set on the part of the
jurors and it might just show an ignorance of mental health issues."
Introducing a story on the March 13 The News
with Brian Williams, Williams announced: "Gas-guzzling SUVs and light
trucks were big winners on Capitol Hill today, but there's concern tonight
the environment could be the big loser here. The Senate rejected a tough
new proposal to force the auto industry to make the popular vehicles more
The night before, he asked former Denver DA
Norm Early: "You're the prosecutor here. I spoke to someone this
evening by telephone after the verdict who offered their opinion saying
this shows perhaps a regional tough mind set on the part of the jurors and
it might just show an ignorance of mental health issues. What do you
Aaron Brown opened Thursday's NewsNight, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd
noticed, with a self-indulgent rant about how on "the program that
competes directly with us on that almost news channel," FNC's On
the Record with Greta Van Susteren, until recently a CNNer, "they
booked Tonya Harding to talk about the big fight and yes, little NewsNight
got its backside kicked in the ratings."
Even CNN's producers described Brown's
whining as a rant. At the bottom of the screen, as Brown rambled on,
viewers saw: "Uh, oh. Aaron seems to be ranting again."
Brown launched the March 14 program by
complaining about how his former CNN colleague took advantage of Fox's
low-brow Celebrity Boxing match between Tonya Harding and Paula Jones:
evening again, I'm Aaron Brown. I think we can fairly say tonight that
everything is alright again. New normal, old normal, call it what you
want, everything is just fine. How can I be so sure, you ask? Well, I
looked at the ratings and they are the best gauge there is of the American
state of mind. Last night on the Fox television network, not to be
confused with that sort of news channel with the similar name -- the
program Celebrity Boxing drew an astonishing 15 and a half million
viewers. And yes, I'm sure they're in the perfect demographic group as
well. Think about that for a second, 15 million of your fellow countrymen
feel so good about the state of things these days that last night they set
aside an hour to watch Tonya Harding and Paula Jones duke it out. Okay, I
am a cynic, I admit that. I am not surprised by these numbers. Why just
the night before, on the program that competes directly with us on that
almost news channel, that serious talk program they run, they booked Tonya
Harding to talk about the big fight and yes, little NewsNight got its
backside kicked in the ratings. Doesn't happen often, but with a booking
like that, a serious discussion with Tonya Harding, frankly, what chance
did we have?
thinking maybe we have to do things a little bit differently on the
program from now on. Next week it begins, a debate on Middle East policy.
The Israeli side will be argued by Jackie Mason, he's Jewish, and the Arab
side by Omar Sharif. And the next time we tackle sexual abuse by priests,
why not book Sally Field, she was so good as the flying nun? And perhaps
we can get Jack Nicholson to give us his thoughts on the Yates case, after
all, he starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Just some programming
thoughts based on what it takes to win these days and you know these days,
winning is everything."
Maybe Brown's show would do a little better
in the ratings if it featured less liberal pontificating from Brown and
less of his whining shtick in general.
imbue actor James Garner with the conservative political views espoused by
the Chief Justice character he plays on CBS's Friday night drama about
the Supreme Court, First Monday. On Friday's The View on ABC, Garner
said he's "anything but" conservative and asserted that he
refused to read a book by the real Chief Justice, William Rehnquist,
"because I don't like the man."
On the March 15 edition of the ABC day time
show, Meredith Viera raised with Garner the character he plays on First
Monday: "You play the Chief Justice in this series -- and you do a
great job. He's Mr. Conservative and you are not, so how did you prepare
for this role?"
explained: "I didn't prepare for it. They do all this research and
all that stuff. They sent me a book on Judge Rehnquist, Supreme Court
Justice, and I knew I wouldn't read it because I don't like the man.
But all I had to do is read the script, you know, and say what's written
in it, you know, and that makes me a conservative on the screen, but I'm
anything but off the screen."
tonight, a prime time plot involving a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan who ends
up dead in Boston and politicians on Leno and Letterman:
-- The plot for Monday's Crossing Jordan as
described on the NBC show's Web page: "When a young corporal
abandons her post in Afghanistan and ends up dead in a Boston alley,
Jordan (Jill Hennessy) reluctantly teams up with Marine Detective George
Davis (guest star Carlos Gomez), to investigate the death of this alleged
Crossing Jordan is about a Massachusetts
coroner, played by Jill Hennessy, who solves murders. Sort of Quincy with
Crossing Jordan airs at 10pm EST/PST, 9pm
CST/MST. NBC's Web page for the show:
-- Scheduled Monday night on NBC's Tonight
Show with Jay Leno: Rudy Giuliani. On the Late Show with David Letterman:
reader survey results: 66 percent want the CyberAlert to be distributed in
HTML format, 34 percent want it to stay as it is now. A total of 268
people responded through Saturday according to the MRC's Kristina
Sewell, who tabulated the results.
Yes, go to HTML: 178.
change and keep it in plain text format: 90.
That still leaves about 10,200 subscribers
unheard, but the 268 does represent a greater percentage of the subscriber
list than do national polls which sample the American population, so
I'll consider the results scientifically accurate, with a margin of
error of 3.5 percent.
A representative sampling of the comments
received, sans any identification so, I hope, those quoted don't mind my
> No, don't go to HTML:
-- "I like to read it on my blackberry
and do not believe I'd be able to in HTML format. Your updates entertain
me through many long meetings."
-- "If you have AOL users...You are
asking for problems. Many do not have HTML enabled still."
-- "Not just no but 'Hell no' fits
this one. Computer security is my business. In its current incarnation,
HTML E-mail is entirely too easy to exploit, virus software or not. The
problem centers on HTML mail-reading programs being a good deal too
accommodating. More specifically, Microsoft mail reading systems such as
Outlook Express have become vulnerable, because of 'DirectX' (THANK
YOU, MR. GATES!!!), to E-mails that actually can cause problems simply by
being read by your bare eyeballs. You do not have to open any attachments.
Simply opening the E-mail for reading is enough...."
-- "I will be upgrading by the end of the
summer. If you change I will just miss out until then. I read it all
through anyway, so would never have to use a link to jump down to a
-- "While I would like to get HTML
version, I would hate to have other readers locked out because of lower
-- "Please don't make it too graphically
intense, though. I, like many other folks, I think, cannot stand long
download times for email messages."
-- "Please only do HTML if there are no
graphics at all. It is very annoying to have my computer sit and wait to
organize a complicated web page through email."
-- "If HTML, please keep it simple. HTML
opens up a potential Pandora's box; I beg of you, NO pop-ups and minimal
-- "HTML is fine, but keep the design,
graphics, etc. simple. I hate waiting for fancy graphics to download when
all I want is simply the message."
-- "I can't imagine too many people not
having html email. And you should weigh the advantages to the many against
the problems of a few. Maybe this will be their incentive to get into the
> Looking at the survey results, there is
interest in going to HTML by the majority, though they want graphics kept
minimal, but a significant minority do not want the CyberAlert switched to
So, I'll be examining the options we have.
There is the possibility of using software which takes one e-mail message
and determines the best format for each recipient (text, AOL or HTML) and
delivers only that version to the recipient, but I'm not sure what other
problems that creates -- and I'm sure it has some negative unintended
consequences. Or, we could just maintain separate plain text and an HTML
list and all subscribers would have to choose the list they prefer. And I
have to look further into the special challenge AOL presents since about
15 percent of CyberAlert subscribers use it.
Nothing will change immediately, but I do hope
to figure out a way fairly soon to deliver a graphically-light HTML
version (mainly so it can provide links from the table of contents down to
the specific articles) to those who want it, while making sure those who
don't want or can't read HTML can continue to receive the CyberAlert
in a plain text version just the way this e-mail is being sent today.
Your comments, thoughts, tips and ideas
continue to be welcomed. Please use this address: firstname.lastname@example.org --
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