ABC Scolded Pro-Israel Policy; Terrorists as "Freedom Fighters"; Today Promoted Slavery Reparations; MSNBC Pursuing Phil Donahue?
1) From Friday through Monday ABC railed against Bush's
Middle East policy. On Friday night Peter Jennings warned that the French
were upset that the Bush administration did not do enough to restrain
Israel. On Sunday Terry Moran worried that by leaning in favor of Israel
Bush had put in jeopardy the "honest broker" role for the U.S.
which reached its "apex" under Bill Clinton and on Monday
morning Charles Gibson casually relayed how a Palestinian he talked to
labeled Bush's policy "criminal."
2) MSNBC and CNN on Friday night were willing to pass
along how terrorists consider themselves to be "freedom
fighters." An MSNBC promo equated Arafat and Sharon: "To their
people, they're freedom fighters." CNN's Connie Chung set up an
interview with a Hamas representative by saying it's "an
organization seen by most as a terrorist group," but that her guest
"would probably prefer the term freedom fighter."
3) NBC's Today gave a promotional forum on Monday
morning to three people pushing a slavery reparations lawsuit against
three corporations. Lauer posed eight softball questions to the plaintiff
and her lawyers before posing just one mildly challenging question while
an opponent only got time for one comment. At one point, Lauer helpfully
chimed in with the widespread benefits of reparations: "This is gonna
go to community programs, education, health care."
4) Demagogic attacks on Republicans for somehow
endangering Social Security, scare tactics liberals have trotted out for
decades, are just fine with ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos who
disagreed with Cokie Roberts' characterization of the strategy as
5) MSNBC sees ratings salvation in going left. The New
York Daily News reported that MSNBC is pursuing Phil Donahue for a prime
time slot opposite FNC's Bill O'Reilly. Reporter Stephen Battaglio
also disclosed that MSNBC is interested in Bill Maher, Sam Donaldson and
6) Letterman's "Top Ten April Fool's Pranks in
by day from Friday through Monday ABC railed against President Bush's
policy which showed sympathy for the victims of terrorism over its
On Friday night, Peter Jennings assumed the
Israeli attack on Arafat's headquarters was worthy of condemnation as he
asserted that "almost everywhere you turn this weekend...you hear
people criticizing the Bush administration for not doing more to end the
violence," specifically quoting the French foreign ministry, as he
asked Terry Moran: "Did the White House know about" the Israeli
attack "and try to stop it?"
Sunday morning on This Week, Moran worried
that by leaning in favor of Israel Bush had put in jeopardy the
"honest broker" role for the U.S. which reached its
"apex" under Bill Clinton: "Bush's positive comments
about the Israeli President's personal endorsement of Prime Minister
Sharon's tough tactics raises a question if the United States can continue
to play its traditional role of honest broker in this conflict, a role
that reached its apex under President Clinton."
The next morning, on Monday's Good Morning
America, Charles Gibson relayed from Israel how a Palestinian told him
"that they felt it was 'criminal' -- criminal was the word used
-- that the White House and President Bush have not involved themselves
more to try to defuse what is such a high-tension situation here."
Now, fuller quotations of those three stories:
-- On Friday's World News Tonight, Peter
Jennings announced: "Almost everywhere you turn this weekend, inside
the Middle East and out, you hear people criticizing the Bush
administration for not doing more to end the violence. In the Middle East,
the Egyptians, many Israelis, the Arab League. Outside, the European
Union, the French, to cite some. The French foreign ministry spokesman
said today, 'We continue to plead for the Americans to commit themselves
further.' ABC's Terry Moran is at the White House tonight. Terry, on the
attack on Arafat's headquarters today, did the White House know about it
and try to stop it or could not stop it?"
-- ABC's This Week on Sunday, March 31. In
an up front piece reviewing the situation in the Middle East, Moran
accurately reviewed how the Bush administration had put out contradictory
statements, but then he went further in claiming Bush had damaged the U.S.
role as an independent broker, as if that were more important than
consistently battling terrorists:
Bush is spending his Easter Sunday morning at his ranch in Crawford,
Texas. His administration's response to this latest upsurge in violence
has been hesitant, confused and contradictory. Mr. Bush himself this week
has remained mostly aloof from day-to-day management of the crisis,
unwilling to risk his personal political capital in such an uncertain
endeavor, but yesterday he did step up his public and private efforts. He
called the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and
the United Nations, and in what were mostly short, perfunctory phone
calls, assured them that the United States's efforts to achieve a
ceasefire in the region would continue through its envoy General Anthony
Zinni. But then, in unscheduled and unexpected remarks to reporters, the
President may have undermined General Zinni's mission by coming down
four-square on the side of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
essentially endorsing his tough tactics, saying he understands Israel's
need to defend herself in this manner and he spoke of Yasser Arafat, the
besieged Palestinian leader, with scorn, essentially saying that he is to
blame for the violence and calling on him once again to do more to stop
Bush's comments took some of his foreign policy advisors by surprise, they
dismayed Arab leaders and they, in many ways, directly contradicted a vote
the United States had cast in the U.N. Security Council in the wee hours
of Saturday morning in favor of a resolution that was seen as very tough
on Israel, calling on Israel to withdraw its troops. The administration is
now engaged in feverish diplomacy to get a hold of this situation, but its
mixed messages and the President's personal endorsement of Prime Minister
Sharon's tough tactics raises a question if the United States can continue
to play its traditional role of honest broker in this conflict, a role
that reached its apex under President Clinton and that observers say there
is no one else in the world who can assume it."
-- ABC's Good Morning America on Monday,
April 1. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that during the 8am half
hour Moran delivered basically the same spin as he had the day before, but
afterward anchor Charles Gibson, from Israel, added his own shot at Bush
policy by giving credibility to the claim that the policy is
"criminal." Moran reported:
White House, there is mounting pressure from officials at home, and
especially leaders overseas, on President Bush to get more personally
involved in trying to halt the violence. So far, he has chosen to remain
mostly aloof. He made a few phone calls into the region last week -- they
were mostly short and perfunctory. He made a couple of comments, but he
has chosen instead to leave the heavy lifting to diplomats on the ground
and to Secretary of State Powell, and the question in the minds of many
around the world is why, why is President Bush choosing this course of
action? The answer, according to some officials here, is a kind of
diplomatic fear. They are afraid that if President Bush commits himself
personally in a high-profile way to try to make peace and fails, he will
have staked his personal political prestige on something and won't be able
to get it back, and then there will be a dead end. Others say that that is
one of the risks of statesmanship, but Charlie, there is no evidence that
President Bush is willing, at this point, to run it."
"And Terry Moran at the White House there. And indeed Terry's, what
Terry talked about is echoed here in the Middle East, one Palestinian
telling me this morning that they felt it was criminal -- criminal was the
word used -- that the White House and President Bush have not involved
themselves more to try to defuse what is such a high-tension situation
it's good enough for terrorists it's good enough for us. MSNBC and CNN
on Friday night were willing to pass along how terrorists consider
themselves to be "freedom fighters" even if most everyone else
considers them to be terrorists.
-- An MSNBC promo which ran on Friday conveyed
a certain moral equivalence between Yasser Arafat and the elected leader
of a democracy:
at 9 on MSNBC: To their people, they're freedom fighters. To their
enemies, terrorists. Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon. Two leaders. Opposing
dreams. See what shaped their lives and what brought them to the center of
an ancient conflict that's changing our world. MSNBC Investigates: Holy
War, Holy Land. Tonight at 9 on MSNBC."
-- On CNN's NewsNight at 10pm EST Friday
night, fill-in anchor Connie Chung, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, set
up an interview with a representative from Hamas by noting that the guest
"would probably prefer the term freedom fighter." Chung asserted
on the March 29 show:
really quite unusual to speak to our next guest. His organization, Hamas,
takes credit for the killing in Netanya. He told CNN shortly after the
attack just that, and even defended it promising more to come. He's the
spokesperson for an organization seen by most as a terrorist group, even
though he would probably prefer the term freedom fighter. We're joined by
Hamas spokesman Usama Hamdan. Thank you so much for being with us,
At least she pointed out that most consider
Hamas to be a terrorist group.
Today gave a promotional forum on Monday morning to three people pushing a
slavery reparations lawsuit against three corporations. NBC hardly made
any effort at balance, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, as
interviewer Matt Lauer posed eight softball questions to the plaintiff and
her lawyers before posing just one mildly challenging question. Lauer
began the segment by asking the plaintiff to outline how she became
involved. Noting that the suit says "these companies are still
profiting from the slave trade of 150 years ago," Lauer prompted the
lawyers to "explain" the "basic economic model" on
which the suit is based. When the lawyers explained how a commission would
decide how much is owed, Lauer helpfully chimed in with the widespread
benefits: "This is gonna go to community programs, education, health
Today did bring aboard a lawyer who thought
the lawsuit is legally unsound, but Lauer gave him time for just one
comment during the segment.
Last Tuesday, March 26, the CBS Evening News
promoted the legitimacy of the suit demanding reparations for slavery.
Substitute anchor Ed Bradley imparted great meaning to the effort pushed
by radical race-mongers, calling it "landmark" and stressing how
it supposedly has "major legal and financial implications today and
for the future." For details:
Lauer set up the 7:30am half hour segment on
the April 1 broadcast of Today:
140 years after slavery was abolished an historic showdown is shaping up
in federal court. Three class action lawsuits were filed last week on
behalf of 35 million American descendants of African slaves. And more will
be filed this week. In one of the cases, the first of its kind against
private corporations, recent law school graduate Deadria Farmer-Paellmann
whose great, great grandparents were slaves is suing Aetna Insurance
Company, Fleet Boston Financial and railroad giant CSX Transportation.
Private corporations that she says profited from slavery. Deadria Farmer
Paellmann is here along with two lead attorneys on the case, Ed Fagan and
Roger Wareham. Good morning to all of you, nice to see you."
-- "Ms. Farmer-Paellmann how did you get
involved in filing this lawsuit?"
-- "When you say the government case,
what you mean is filing suit against the federal government had shown to
be a dead end in the past."
-- "When we talk about the corporations
that are targeted at this point, Aetna Insurance, CSX Transportation,
Fleet Boston are you alleging that these companies are still profiting
from the slave trade of 150 years ago?" [Paellmann: "Absolutely
-- Lauer: "It is unusual, not unheard of
Mr. Fagan to target private corporations in a suit. Against slavery, no,
but in other situations you have experience. You say it's based on a basic
economic model. Explain that."
-- After Fagan likened it to the Holocaust
cases tried at Nuremberg, Lauer jumped in: "Let me stop you for a
second. Profit off illegal activities. Were any of the actions these
companies took 140 years ago illegal or were they immoral?" [Fagan:
-- "Mr. Wareham, what kind of money are
we talking about? If we start to file suits against all the companies that
were in existence and may have participated, even in a fringe way in the
slave trade 140 years ago, what kind of money are we talking about?"
-- After Wareham maintained they do not have a
total dollar amount, Lauer helpfully explained the widespread anticipated
benefits: "This is gonna go to community programs, education, health
-- Lauer finally got to the other side:
"Let me, let me read a couple of quick statements from two of these
corporations. CSX Transportation: Quote, 'Slavery was a tragic chapter in
our nation's history. It's a history shared by every American and its
impacts cannot be attributed to any single company or industry.' Aetna
Insurance: Quote, 'We do not believe that a court would permit a lawsuit
over events, which however regrettable, occurred hundreds of years ago.
These issues in no way reflect Aetna today. Let me bring in another guest
who is joining us this morning. This is Owen Pell. And Mr. Pell I know
you've been involved in lawsuits and negotiations over settlements like
this in the past. Why do you not think that the courtroom is the proper
place to handle this?"
Pell, identified on screen as an
"attorney who is critical of lawsuit," got time for one answer.
He outlined how the lawsuits have two problems: First, no plaintiff has
any connection to the defendants and second, they call for retroactive law
when at Nuremberg the allies showed the actions were illegal when they
-- Lauer then cued up a retort: "Deadria,
you're the one filing the lawsuit. Why don't you respond to that."
-- Lauer then finally offered a mild
challenge: "You, you are going to, if, if the money that we're
talking about in the trillions, billions can irreparably damage certain
companies that would have to pay this money. Many of these companies
employ thousands of African-Americans today. In some ways are you worried
you may hurt the people you are trying to help?" [Paellmann
maintained they are not trying to damage the companies, just "share
some of the wealth they acquired through stealing people, through raping,
torturing, stealing labor."]
Lauer then wrapped up: "We're gonna be
hearing a lot more about this issue over the months to come."
If so, maybe Today could get around some
morning to giving equal time to the other side.
attacks on Republicans for somehow endangering Social Security, scare
tactics liberals have trotted out for decades, are just fine with ABC News
reporter George Stephanopoulos who disagreed with Cokie Roberts'
characterization of the strategy as "pathetic."
During the second roundtable segment on
Sunday's This Week, viewers witnessed this exchange:
Stephanopoulos: "One of the things that
Democrats take comfort in is is that the President's popularity in the war
doesn't bleed over into other issues. The problem for them is they can't
figure out what issues to use. There's not going to be a recession right
now. They had a big strategy meeting two weeks ago where they said Social
Security is going to be the issue."
"Which is pretty pathetic, when you think about it. I mean, this
cutting her off in order the back the tactic's potential: "Oh, I
don't know. It's worked before."
"Well, that's the whole point. That's all that they've got is this
tired old Social Security issue."
Not "tired" to liberal demagogues, a
group which apparently still counts Stephanopoulos among its membership.
Of course, it's also worked thanks to
acquiescence from journalists. Maybe Stephanopoulos has reason to believe
they'll go along again.
sees ratings salvation in going left. The New York Daily News on Monday
reported that the cable network is pursuing Phil Donahue for a prime time
slot opposite FNC's Bill O'Reilly. Reporter Stephen Battaglio also
disclosed that MSNBC is interested in Bill Maher, Sam Donaldson and Dennis
Miller. Miller has some contrarian views which stray from the liberal
line, but the other three range from far-left to standard liberalism.
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/)
highlighted the April 1 New York Daily News story. An excerpt:
MSNBC is close to signing a big name for its struggling prime-time
lineup, with the white-haired godfather of daytime talk, Phil Donahue,
topping the list.
Donahue, whose last regular television job was co-host of a nightly
talk program on CNBC, is the most likely prospect being considered to take
over an hour of MSNBC's prime-time schedule, which could be getting a
makeover as soon as this week.
Others under consideration include Bill Maher, host of ABC's
"Politically Incorrect," ABC News' "This Week"
co-anchor Sam Donaldson and topical comic Dennis Miller, who recently lost
his spot in the "Monday Night Football" booth....
MSNBC and NBC News executives have remained behind closed doors in
recent days, looking to come up with a bold move to lift the cable news
channel's sagging ratings. MSNBC has fallen into a distant third in
audience behind Fox News Channel and CNN despite having the editorial
resources and promotional clout of NBC News behind it.
The channel plans to move "The News With Brian Williams" from
8 p.m. to 7 p.m. to make way for a new talk program in prime time....
Donahue also spent several years during the 1990s as co-host of a
nightly CNBC talk program with Russian television commentator Vladimir
If Donahue joins the cable news fray, he would be one of the few
unabashed liberal voices with their own nightly platform. During the last
presidential election campaign, Donahue appeared on numerous talk shows to
support Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
END of Excerpt
"One the few unabashed liberal
voices" other than most of the prominent faces on ABC, CBS and NBC
For the Daily News story in full:
In prime time television the networks imitate
successful program concepts, so you would think that if FNC has become
successful by appealing to conservatives who feel slighted by the liberal
tilt of the other networks, that MSNBC would try to copy FNC, not do the
Maybe they feel they already tried that with
Alan Keyes who, the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes noted in an April 2
report, is pulling in a paltry 241,000 viewers since his late January
debut compared to 887,000 for FNC's On the Record with Greta Van
Susteren and 825,000 for CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown.
Then again, MSNBC's liberals don't do very
well either. At 8pm EST, The News with Brian Williams attracted only
375,000 viewers during the first quarter this year, de Moraes reported,
compared to 2 million for FNC's The O'Reilly Factor and even 700,000
for CNN's never-consistent variety programming of Live from someplace
and The Point with somebody different every day.
I'd advise MSNBC that they'll have better
luck if they try to find a conservative more compelling than Keyes than by
trotting out a stale old liberal who will annoy the kind of people who go
to cable news for an alternative to broadcast network news.
April 1 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten April Fool's
Pranks in Afghanistan."
10. Short-sheeted burqas
9. A fake beard over your real beard
8. Saying you're wife #4, when you're really wife #2
7. Offering someone a can of peanut brittle and a goat jumps out
6. Painting giant bull's-eye on roof of friend's cave
5. Rocket launchers that shoot out little flag that reads "Bang"
4. Replacing secret stockpiles of weaponized Anthrax with Folger's
3. Writing "Wash me" on Osama's camel
2. Saying you support the Hamid Karzai government, but secretly supporting
a warlord who has secretly begun to support the Taliban again, but then
betraying the warlord, but then betraying the Karzai government and really
supporting the warlord again
1. Writing "Wash me" on Osama
Not sure #2 is all that far from reality. --
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to firstname.lastname@example.org."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: email@example.com.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe