Jennings: Hezbollah Not Terrorist; CBS & CNN Wrong on Energy Claims; Tax Cuts Hurt Elderly; Leno: Clinton Had "Good Record"
1) If the leader of Hezbollah denies he's a terrorist
that's good enough for Peter Jennings. While "the Bush
administration says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization," Jennings
relayed how Hezbollah's leader assured him that "we are not
terrorists." Jennings cast no doubt on the claim as he proceeded to
recount, without mentioning the role of Hezbollah, how "a man"
blew up the U.S. embassy in Beirut and how 241 U.S. Marines had died in
2) Contradicting the theme espoused Tuesday morning on CBS
and Tuesday night on both CBS and CNN about how the Energy Department only
consulted industry representatives in formulating energy policy, the
Washington Times revealed that a group featured as a victim in the network
stories, the NRDC, did have its views solicited early on in the process.
Neither CBS or CNN has run any clarification despite CBS's Wyatt Andrews
having claimed there were "zero meetings with environmental
3) In U.S. News & World Report David Gergen blamed
problems with Medicare on greed: "How can we look at ourselves in the
mirror if we keep shoving tax cuts into our pockets while letting poor,
elderly people go without doctors and medicine?"
4) ABC's Diane Sawyer was a part of a small group lunch
on Wednesday with Bill Clinton and Ann Richards. Robin Williams also
attended and, when he appeared on the Late Show, David Letterman showed a
big color photo of the lunchmates.
5) Jay Leno expressed bewilderment to Janet Reno about why
former Clinton aides who are running for office aren't embracing his
policies, asserting: "He had a pretty good record." Leno also
justified Reno's Elian raid, insisting: "Legally you really had no
other call did you?" She agreed.
6) An advantage of learning about media bias via
CyberAlert instead of by getting Notable Quotables in the mail:
CyberAlerts are timely and are not "dropped in the toilet and dried
in an oven" as is mail delivered weeks late to Capitol Hill.
you are a terrorist is good enough for Peter Jennings. Hezbollah is either
a group of "terrorists" or "freedom fighters," MSNBC
anchor Lester Holt suggested as he introduced a story on them, but after
noting how the group was responsible for the bombing which killed 241
Marines, reporter Jim Maceda acknowledged one term is more accurate than
the other as he concluded that Hezbollah spreads "terror."
On ABC, however, Jennings stressed how
Hezbollah "gets credit for liberating Lebanon from the long Israeli
occupation." He refused to draw the same conclusion as did Maceda as
he treated the characterization of Hezbollah as terrorist as some kind of
charge for which the Bush administration is out on a limb: "The Bush
administration says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization." Airing a
piece of an interview with Hezbollah's leader, Jennings relayed how he
had assured him that "we are not terrorists." Jennings cast no
doubt on the claim as he proceeded to recount, without mentioning the role
of Hezbollah, how "a man simply drove his truck to the front
door" of the U.S. embassy "and blew himself up. Sixty-three
people died. Later that year, the Marine barracks here were destroyed in
much the same way, 241 Marines died."
Just after 5pm EST on Thursday MSNBC anchor
Lester Holt plugged an upcoming segment: "Also this hour, a story
that we promise is like nothing you've ever seen. Inside an organization
some call terrorist, others call freedom fighters. We're taking about
Hezbollah. It's a story Hezbollah does not want anyone to see."
Later setting up the story, Holt asked: "So are they terrorists of
freedom fighters? You be the judge."
Holt noted that Hezbollah seized NBC's tapes
but that reporter Jim Maceda managed to get some video out. Maceda
recounted how the group is popular in Lebanon because it provides services
for its impoverished supporters, such as a hospital, but Maceda also
stated that Hezbollah blew up the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks. He
then concluded: "Admiration for Hezbollah growing at home and
throughout the Arab world, making, sources say, any U.S.-led offensive
against the group unlikely, even as Hezbollah spreads its brand of terror
in God's name."
The night before, from Beirut, Jennings
wrapped up the March 27 World News Tonight with a fond look at life in the
city where he lived for five years in the 1970s, "a great place to
live until Lebanon tore itself apart in ugly civil war."
Jennings provided his version of the history
of Lebanon: "When Lebanon came apart at the seams from 1975 to 1990
it was like the dark ages. Christians and Muslims did extraordinary
violence to one another. In the middle of it, the Israelis invaded and
were not forced out until 2000. It is Hezbollah, which means the party of
God, that gets credit for liberating Lebanon from the long Israeli
occupation. Yesterday, I went to see its 38-year-old leader, Hassan
Nasrallah. He is a popular member of the political establishment. The Bush
administration says Hezbollah is a terrorist organization."
interpreting for Nasrallah: "'Hezbollah was proud to resist the
Israeli occupation,' he says. 'We gave our lives. We are not terrorists.'
By way of contrast I wandered across the campus of the American University
of Beirut founded in 1846. Talking to a couple of faculty, they remind us
that in the wake of September the 11th, this school is a place where
Americans can have a positive effect on another generation of Arabs and
Recalling how he used to live along the sea
where fishermen assured a catch by throwing "a stick of dynamite in
the water," Jennings pointed out: "A few hundred yards farther
on was the American Embassy. Today it is an empty lot. This is where the
U.S. experienced the first suicide bomber. In 1983 a man simply drove his
truck to the front door and blew himself up. Sixty-three people died.
Later that year, the Marine barracks here were destroyed in much the same
way, 241 Marines died."
Jennings jumped to the present day and
proclaimed how he likes the city: "Today the Lebanese prefer not to
focus on the past. At the best of times, Beirut has always been a place to
have a good time. The Lebanese love their restaurants and their night
clubs. The food is fabulous, the entertainment is world class. Real estate
on the edge of the sea is astonishingly expensive. You can go to the beach
in the morning and be skiing in the nearby mountains in the afternoon. In
so many ways it is such a compelling place."
the theme espoused Tuesday morning on CBS and Tuesday night on both CBS
and CNN about how the Energy Department only consulted energy industry
representatives last year in formulating the Bush administration's
energy policy, the Washington Times revealed on Thursday that a group
featured as a victim in the network stories, the Natural Resources Defense
Council (NRDC), did have its views solicited early on in the process. The
CBS and CNN shows have yet to run any clarification.
Washington Times reporter Patrice Hill
disclosed in a March 28 story: "The NRDC yesterday conceded that the
department obtained its recommendations and weighed them in drafting its
energy plan. And the NRDC revealed it had three more previously
undisclosed meetings with top energy task-force officials last year while
the energy plan was being drafted. Two of those meetings were early in the
drafting process, throwing into question the latest charge by
environmentalists that they were left out until the very end."
As detailed in the March 27 CyberAlert, on
Tuesday night's CBS Evening News Wyatt Andrews charged that "at
least 36 times Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham met representatives of the
energy industry to discuss the policy, compared to zero meetings with
environmental groups." Noting how many of the documents were
"censored," Andrews relayed that "environmentalists call
this a coverup" and then tried to suggest some kind of illegal
behavior as he asked an NRDC official: "Do you think the amount of
blackout breaks the law?"
On CNN's NewsNight, after reporter Kelly
Wallace featured the NRDC's complaints about being shut out, Connie
Chung interviewed Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank. Her first
question: "Tell me, do these documents confirm the worse suspicions
of influence peddling?" Milbank discussed how environmental groups
were consulted, but not until late in the process when shutting them out
had become controversial, the thrust of his story in the paper the next
day. "Energy Task Force Belatedly Consulted Environmentalists,"
read the headline over his March 27 story. The subhead: "Documents
Show Administration Sought Input Only After Protests." To read it:
The March 28 Washington Times, however, cast
that claim in doubt. An excerpt from the story by Patrice Hill:
Leading environmentalists yesterday backed off charges that the Bush
administration did not consult them in drafting its energy plan, but
continued to press their case for full disclosure of executive
The Natural Resources Defense Council, the lead environmental group
suing the administration for disclosure of its energy task-force contacts,
abandoned its year-long complaint against the administration amid evidence
released this week that the Energy Department reached out for advice from
environmentalist groups -- and in some cases got snubbed.
The NRDC yesterday conceded that the department obtained its
recommendations and weighed them in drafting its energy plan. And the NRDC
revealed it had three more previously undisclosed meetings with top energy
task-force officials last year while the energy plan was being drafted.
Two of those meetings were early in the drafting process, throwing into
question the latest charge by environmentalists that they were left out
until the very end. The NRDC and other environmental groups previously
complained that they didn't meet with task force director Andrew Lundquist
until April 4, well after the administration consulted with industry executives.
But yesterday the NRDC said its senior scientist Dan Lashoff met with
Mr. Lundquist much earlier, on March 7, when they discussed
alternative-fuel technologies along with representatives from the Ford
Motor Co., Environmental Defense and Union of Concerned Scientists. Mr.
Lashoff met with Mr. Lundquist again on May 11 to discuss energy
Also "early last year," the NRDC's energy expert, Patricio
Silva, met with Karen Knudson, Mr. Lundquist's deputy, to discuss
air-conditioning efficiency standards and energy-budget priorities, the
environmental group disclosed. These
contacts show not only that the group participated in the energy
deliberations earlier, but more frequently than previously admitted. The
NRDC contends the May 11 meeting was too late to affect the task-force
report, which was released on May 17....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: http://www.washtimes.com/business/20020328-13910220.htm
So far, nor clarification from CBS or CNN's
NewsNight: Zilch on Thursday's NewsNight. Not a word about it on CBS's
Early Show on Thursday morning nor Thursday night on the CBS Evening News
which featured a story from Bill Plante, the reporter who did the energy
story on Tuesday's Early Show, about how "the President's tough
talk has upset many of America's friends and allies."
For more on the March 26 CBS and CNN stories:
And no one in the media has yet to explain why
who the Bush administration consulted on energy policy is such a
controversy when journalists were never outraged by how the Clinton
administration did not consult conservative groups when formulating its
and Social Security spending keep spiraling ever upward, but instead of
seeing the current programs as unsustainable for the increasing burden
they are placing on ever fewer workers, U.S. News & World Report
Editor-at-Large David Gergen blamed problems with Medicare on greed:
"How can we look at ourselves in the mirror if we keep shoving tax
cuts into our pockets while letting poor, elderly people go without
doctors and medicine?"
"It is scandalous," he lectured,
"to think we are indulging ourselves at the expense of the
Please speak for yourself. The elderly are the
age group with the most wealth.
Gergen's screed in the April 1 issue was
prompted by a New York Times story from several weeks ago about how
"for the first time, significant numbers of doctors are refusing to
take new Medicare patients, saying the
government now pays them too little to cover the costs of caring for the
Gergen asserted: "As of this January, the
government's projected Medicare payments for physicians' services started
a steep decline -- down 5.4 percent this year and 17 percent by 2005. No
wonder docs are turning away new patients."
Instead of considering the possibility that a
government-run program is more of the problem than the solution, Gergen
scolded the public's stinginess. An excerpt:
....[W]e have become remarkably stingy with our public finances. A year
ago, the Congressional Budget Office projected a cumulative surplus in the
federal budget over the next 10 years of $5.6 trillion. Then we seemed to
have plenty of money to pay for the rising costs of Medicare, Social
Security, and the like. Yet as of this January, most of the gravy had
The common assumption was that the war on terrorism chewed up the
surplus. That's flat wrong. Everyone agrees that defense and homeland
security must come first. But as CBO Director Dan Crippen has testified,
increased spending accounts for only one fifth of the disappearing
surplus. Lowered economic forecasts account for some two fifths. The
biggest cause of all is tax cuts, which account for 41 percent of the
loss. And that was before the president asked for additional tax cuts of
some $600 billion over the next 10 years....
As much as all of us love tax cuts, it is scandalous to think we are
indulging ourselves at the expense of the elderly. But if Medicare
patients are already being turned away by doctors because Washington has
cut benefits, that conclusion is unavoidable. And unless we alter
direction, it will only get worse. Medical costs are zooming up again,
malpractice costs are ballooning, and baby boomers will begin to retire in
Testifying on behalf of the Concord Coalition, an organization that
promotes Medicare and Social Security solvency, former Sen. Bob Kerrey
recently told the Senate Finance Committee that given the current state of
public finances, it would be irresponsible for Congress to enact a major
entitlement expansion such as prescription drug payments under Medicare.
If we insist on keeping our current course, he is right. The point is that
we ought to change course.
How can we look at ourselves in the mirror if we keep shoving tax cuts
into our pockets while letting poor, elderly people go without doctors and
Last week, our leaders in Washington proved that it is possible to run
a war and chew gum at the same time. The Senate finally passed campaign
finance reform, and the president proposed increasing foreign aid by 50
percent, both extremely welcome and responsible moves. But America has
many other promises to keep, none more urgent than the vows we have made
to older citizens.
END of Excerpt
Written like someone just a few years away
from expecting taxpayers to pick up his medical bills.
If prescription coverage is ever added to
Medicare how much do you want to bet that no matter how much is budgeted
it will never be enough to satisfy the likes of Gergen?
For Gergen's polemic in full:
Sawyer took part in a group lunch on Wednesday with former Texas Governor
Ann Richards and Bill Clinton, along with actor Robin Williams and his
wife, at a Manhattan restaurant. The Washington Post's The Reliable
Sources column noted the Sawyer-Clinton lunch in an item about how both
George Stephanopoulos, who hadn't talked with his old boss in five
years, and Lucianne Goldberg both separately encountered Bill Clinton at
During an appearance by Williams on
Thursday's Late Show, David Letterman showed a big color photo of the
lunchmates, with Sawyer standing next to Williams who was beside Bill
Clinton, but Williams did not explain the reason why the group had lunch
together, and neither did the Washington Post.
The March 28 The Reliable Source column,
compiled by Lloyd Grove with Barbara Martinez, reported: "We hear
that Stephanopoulos -- who wrote in his memoirs that Clinton 'humiliated
himself, dishonored his presidency, and deserved to be punished' -- was
lunching with journalists Michael Wolff and James Atlas as Clinton dined
with Robin Williams, Billy Crystal,
Diane Sawyer, Ann Richards and our fellow gossip Liz Smith. Stephanopoulos
decided to break the ice. We hear that Clinton -- who is said to believe
his former aide was disloyal -- rose slightly out of his chair as
Stephanopoulos said, 'Great to see you.' Clinton responded in
For what Lucianne Goldberg told the Post about
her encounter with Clinton, access the rest of the item: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28114-2002Mar27.html
Viewers of Thursday's Late Show saw
Letterman hold up a color photo of the lunchmates standing behind a table.
Williams ran down the guest list, from left to right: Janet Crystal and
her husband Billy Crystal, Ann Richards, gossip columnist Liz Smith, Joe
Armstrong, Robin Williams' wife, Bill Clinton, Robin Williams and,
adjusting her hair, ABC's Diane Sawyer.
Asked by Letterman what prompted the
gathering, Williams only joked: "Now that they've banned all that
soft money you can't buy a politician. You can only timeshare him."
No word on whether Sawyer had pepperoni pizza
and a banana milkshake for lunch. Or beforehand. On July 10 last year,
after a GMA story about a study which claimed that Republicans have three times as many nightmares while they
sleep as do Democrats, Sawyer
volunteered: "After pepperoni pizza and banana milkshakes once, I
dreamed about Bill Clinton."
The quote was a runner-up for the "Good
Morning Morons Award" in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2001:
The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting. To view it
See the photo of Sawyer and Clinton. The
MRC's Mez Djouadi will include it in the posted version of this
CyberAlert. After noon EST, check:
would fit right into the average American newsroom. Interviewing Janet
Reno on Tuesday's Tonight Show, he expressed bewilderment at why former
Clinton aides who are running for office aren't embracing his policies,
asserting: "He had a pretty good record. I mean, it doesn't seem,
with the exception of the personal problems, the record itself seemed
pretty good." Leno also justified Reno's Elian raid, insisting:
"Legally you really had no other call did you?"
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down
portions of the March 26 appearance by Reno, now a Democratic candidate
for Governor of Florida.
Leno: "You know it seems to me all the
people that run for office now, the Democrats that worked with Clinton
seemed to be distancing themselves from him. Gore was pretty evident in
that. I mean he had a pretty good record. I mean, it doesn't seem, with
the exception of the personal problems, the record itself seemed pretty
good. Why, why, why a lot of the candidates doing that?"
"Well I'm not."
"You're not. Okay."
made a mistake. But what he did in terms of the economy, in terms of
bringing crime down eight years in a row to a 26 year low, in terms of
giving America a sense of hope and purpose I think it was a great eight
"How about your thoughts on Hillary? Were you two friends?"
"She was the first Clinton I met. She came to the office while she
was campaigning and we all sat there and thought she'd be a great
"Yeah, yeah, well it could happen, could happen. Let me ask you
something else. You're running in, in Florida. I know last year you had,
or maybe it was two years ago you had to make a very difficult decision.
Because the Elian Gonzalez case I know especially in Miami, the residents
in Miami pretty adamant that they wanted the boy to stay. But legally you
really had no other call did you?"
"Legally and from a public policy point of view I thought the little
boy should be with his daddy."
"And that was the basis of my decision. And I understand it upset
people. But every now and then you have to call it like you see it."
"And that's what I try to do all the time in government. And I did
it and I know I was gonna have trouble coming home. But for the most part
people have been pretty understanding.
"Has it been good? I mean when, when you campaign in Miami do you
sense some resistance?"
"Sometimes people say mean things. Shortly after I got home we had a
public protest on my street corner and they said the meanest things that
anybody could say. And I felt almost triumphant because that's the
reason these people had come to this country. To have free speech. And for
them to have free speech on my street corner, saying bad things about me,
made me proud."
Free speech, something Elian doesn't have
the ability to witness where Reno sent him.
advantage of learning about media bias via CyberAlert instead of by
getting Notable Quotables in the mail: CyberAlerts are timely and are not
"dropped in the toilet and dried in an oven" as is mail
delivered weeks late to the U.S. House and Senate.
To explain, an excerpt from John McCaslin's
"Inside the Beltway" column in the March 28 Washington Times:
A senior congressional aide says that news reports that biologically
decontaminated mail being delivered to offices in the U.S. Capitol is only
"two weeks" behind schedule is a "crock of anthrax."
"Let's go over today's mail that I have received," says the
aide, who requested anonymity.
-- An invitation from the Society of American Florists postmarked
January 30 for its annual reception held two weeks ago.
-- A Cato Institute invitation postmarked January 22 to a February 5
book forum on global trade.
-- A Heritage Foundation position paper on India and Pakistan
postmarked Jan 25.
-- The February 4 "Notable Quotables" from the Media Research
"The mail we get looks like it's really been through the
ringer," adds the aide. "You've read reports of how bad it is --
brittle, singed, etc. But you can't imagine it until you see it. Our mail
looks like it's been dropped in the toilet and dried in an oven."...
END of Excerpt
For McCaslin's daily column: http://www.washtimes.com/national/inbeltway.htm
> Coming on Monday, the April Fools edition
of Notable Quotables. Capitol Hill staffers should expect to receive it by
snail mail in mid-May. --
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