Now They Tell Us: Law Won't Stop Corporate Crime; Traficant an "Independent"; Couric Obsessed About Bush Vacation; Pro-Abortion = "Moderate"; Flag Pins Denounced; Donahue's False Media Critique; Bush Policy Recalled Nazism
1) Now they tell us. After weeks of portraying new laws as the answer to corporate shenanigans and worrying about how the Senate Democratic bill might be watered-down when reconciled with the "weaker" House Republican bill, ABC's Linda Douglass conceded on Wednesday night that "experts say just the threat of more jail time won't stop corporate crime."
2) U.S. Representative James Traficant (I-OH)? CNN's Aaron Brown identified the Ohio Democrat expelled from the House on Wednesday night as an "independent."
3) Katie Couric remains obsessed with President Bush's vacations. Last year she focused on his "excessive" time off and how he's "getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House." On Thursday morning this week, she asked if by taking a vacation in August, while the nation "is still at war," he is "risking a lot of criticism."
4) To the New York Times, supporting "abortion rights" and "affirmative action" makes one a "moderate" and
"nonideological." So reporter Todd Purdum contended in a Thursday story chronicling Secretary of State Colin Powell's struggles against administration "hard liners."
5) On Phil Donahue's MSNBC show, Tom Brokaw attributed the false impression of liberal bias to how journalists spend "more time on issues that seem to be liberal," such as "the problem of the downtrodden, the problem of civil rights and human rights..." Donahue applauded Brokaw: "Let me tell you what is impressive. You're not wearing a flag...I say hip-hip-hooray for that." Brokaw argued that if you wear a flag pin, "it's a suggestion somehow that you're endorsing what the administration is doing" and so "I don't think journalists ought to be wearing flags."
6) Don't trust Phil Donahue's observations about the media. Thursday night on his MSNBC
he noted a report about how U.S. bombing killed 400 civilians in Afghanistan and complained: "I don't see that leading anybody's newscast." But, in fact, it led ABC's World News Tonight.
7) Helen Thomas lamented how President Bush is "so far to the right" as she also complained to MSNBC's Phil Donahue about how "the chipping away of our civil liberties is unprecedented" and is worse than "even in World War II." She also raised a comparison to silence under Nazism.
8) Washington Post headline: "Report Calls Response at Pentagon Successful." New York Times headline: "Study Calls Rescue at Pentagon Chaotic."
9) Promoting his new album this week, Toby Keith has been firing away at ABC and Peter Jennings for "lying" about why he did not appear on ABC's prime time Independence Day special. And a Washington Post reporter denounced the song for containing the "meanest" of Keith's lyrics and for conveying "vivid, simple shades of black and white, good and evil."
Now they tell us. After weeks of portraying new laws as the answer to corporate shenanigans and worrying about how the Senate Democratic bill might be watered-down when reconciled with the "weaker" House Republican bill, ABC's Linda Douglass conceded on Wednesday night that "experts say just the threat of more jail time won't stop corporate crime."
On the July 15 World News Tonight, for instance, Douglass worried: "The Senate has moved with stunning speed to pass this very, very tough legislation....Lots of criminal penalties for such things as giving false stock tips or signing a deceptive financial report, long jail terms, and a very strong new board to oversee the accounting industry. The question now, Peter, is what will happen to this. Will it become law? The House passed a much weaker version, and the lobbyists are swarming over Capitol Hill to try to get the House to water down what the Senate has done."
But on Wednesday night of this week, July 24, after the House and Senate informally settled on a version of the bill, Douglass acknowledged longer prison terms may not stop corporate crime. After running through the longer penalties for such things as shredding documents and a 25 year prison sentence for a "scheme to defraud," Douglass realized: "Still, experts say just the threat of more jail time won't stop corporate crime."
Professor John Coffee, Columbia Law School: "It's an election year answer to crime. It sounds good, but it won't effect the sentences really imposed or what prosecutors actually do."
NBC News refuses to identify James Traficant as a Democrat and now CNN's Aaron Brown has decided that he's an "independent."
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that in handling the "CNN News Alert" just before 8pm EDT on Wednesday night, July 24, Brown stated: "The House of Representatives is debating whether to postpone until the fourth of September the expulsion hearing for Congressman James Traficant. The Ohio independent appealing his recent conviction on ten counts including racketeering, taking bribes, and filing false tax returns."
As noted in the July 19 CyberAlert, in a story lasting over two minutes, the NBC Nightly News managed to avoid even once listing the Democratic Party affiliation of
Upon Traficant's convictions in federal court in April, neither the NBC Nightly News or MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams mentioned his party affiliation. For details:
Katie Couric's obsession with President Bush's vacation schedule. Last year, before 9/11, she focused on his "excessive" time off and how he's "getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House." On Thursday morning this week, she asked if by taking a vacation in August, while the nation "is still at war," he is "risking a lot of criticism."
Couric wrapped up a July 24 Today show interview with Tim Russert, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, by inquiring:
"And real quickly Tim I know that he's gonna be taking a month off in August. Given the fact that the country is still at war, the economic situation is, is pretty dicey right now is he risking a lot of criticism doing this?"
Russert: "They're very sensitive to that criticism. They're gonna have enormous amount of travel out of Crawford, Texas and also hold an economic summit at the ranch in Crawford, Texas."
But Bush's vacation schedule bothered Couric before the war.
The August 8, 2001 Today dedicated a whole interview with Newsweek's Howard Fineman to the subject. Couric set up the segment: "President Bush is on Day Four of his month long working vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. But along with the 100 degree weather he's also getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House."
Couric soon proposed: "Howard, I know by the time President Bush returns to the White House he'll have spent 54 days at his ranch. This is since his inauguration. Four days in Kennebunkport, 38 full or partial days at Camp David. According to the Washington Post that's 42 percent of his presidency. Either at vacation spots or en route. Does that sound excessive compared to other Presidents in the past or not?"
For more about the interview, see the August 9, 2001 CyberAlert, which noted that at the time Tom Brokaw was beginning the seventh week of his vacation:
Supporting "abortion rights" and "affirmative action" makes one a "moderate" and "nonideological" in the lexicon of the New York Times.
In a front page story on Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday, reporter Todd Purdum penned this paragraph:
"Mr. Powell's approach to almost all issues -- foreign or domestic -- is pragmatic and nonideological. He is internationalist, multilateralist and moderate. He has supported abortion rights and affirmative action and is a Republican, many supporters say, in no small measure because Republican officials mentored and promoted him for years."
That paragraph appeared in a July 25 story about Powell's struggles against "hard line" administration officials, a story headlined: "Embattled, Scrutinized, Powell Soldiers On."
The two paragraphs leading into the one quoted above:
"But almost from the beginning, he has found himself at odds with many of his more hard-line colleagues and the president himself on the handling of foreign policy, whether over Mr. Bush's
rejection of the Kyoto treaty on global warming, the president's lumping of Iran, Iraq and North Korea into a global 'axis of evil,' or the president's declaration last month that progress toward Middle East peace depended on Yasir Arafat's replacement as Palestinian leader.
"In each case, Secretary Powell has embraced the president's position as his own, doing his best to justify the administration's view to often-critical allies around the world. Even when he has initially embraced a position at variance with the administration's ultimate policy -- regarding the international family planning issue, for example -- Secretary Powell's sense of discipline, loyalty and discretion means that he never shows his true feelings publicly, according to aides and close friends."
"Never shows his true feeling publicly" -- that's more than you can say about Purdum, who is married to former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers.
To read the Purdum story in its entirety:
NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw recently discussed liberal media bias with Andy Rooney, he related Thursday night on Phil Donahue's MSNBC show. Brokaw attributed what he considered to be the false impression of liberal bias to how journalists spend "more time on issues that seem to be liberal to some people. The problem of the downtrodden, the problem of civil rights and human rights, the problem of those people who don't have a place at the table with the powerful."
Donahue applauded Brokaw for not wearing a flag pin: "Let me tell you what is impressive. You're not wearing a flag...I say hip-hip-hooray for that." Brokaw argued that if you wear a flag, "it's a suggestion somehow that you're endorsing what the administration is doing" and so "I don't think journalists ought to be wearing flags."
There goes any job opportunities at NBC News for Brit Hume.
As for why it took so long for Congress to "crack down" on corporations, Brokaw mimicked John McCain: "I think it goes right to the issue of campaign finance."
During the live July 25 interview to promote Brokaw's Sunday night special about corporate abuses, Take the Money and Run, Donahue cited the far-left group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting to disprove any liberal bias:
"You and your colleagues take hits because you're liberal. You're liberal! The L-word. Now, you don't believe that, I'm sure. You don't believe media is liberal. I'd like to just show you some statistics here that prove that it isn't. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is, I believe, a very responsible oversight, people who bite at us, and we should probably have more of them. After all, media makes a big impact on our country. Here's some of the things they told us. In 2001, 75 percent of sources found on the evening news, all three big networks, were Republican. 75 percent. 85 percent were male and 92 percent were white."
So, being white or male makes you conservative? Of course, a lot more Democrats were featured when they were in power.
Brokaw replied by pointing out the obvious, that the media cover the people in power who are elected. But Brokaw also soon revealed that he plays the diversity game as he recounted how he advised his staff that "not all accountants are white males."
Brokaw then got to bias, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "As to the liberal bias, I think what happened -- Andy Rooney and I were talking about this the other night -- I don't think it's a liberal agenda. It happens that journalism will always be spending more time on issues that seem to be liberal to some people. The problem of the downtrodden, the problem of civil rights and human rights, the problem of those people who don't have a place at the table with the powerful."
Brokaw's conversation with Rooney was probably prompted by Rooney's comments on the June 5 Larry King Live when he conceded that Bernard Goldberg is on target about liberal media bias. "I thought he made some very good points," Rooney told CNN's King. Rooney added that he considers Dan Rather to be "transparently liberal." For details:
Donahue moved on to another subject as he praised Brokaw for not wearing a flag pin: "Let me tell you what is impressive. You're not wearing a flag. Well, I don't want to damn you with my praise, but I say hip-hip-hooray for that, and I think you gave the right answer when you spoke at Northwestern University. You remember what you said? Did somebody ask you, say why don't you wear a flag?"
Brokaw confirmed: "Right. I said, you know, I wear a flag in my heart, but I think if you wear a flag, it's a suggestion somehow that you're endorsing what the administration is doing at the time. And I don't think journalists ought to be wearing flags."
Donahue applauded: "And I say hear, hear, hear."
Brokaw showed he supports limiting the free speech rights of those outside the media as he attributed corporate abuses to how they fund campaigns. A phone caller asked: "Why do you think that it has taken so long for the government to crack down on these corporate CEOs who are stealing from the average people who work very hard every day?"
Brokaw replied like a McCainiac: "I think it goes right to the issue of campaign finance. I think corporations are the people who go to Congress and fund their campaigns. They have the most effective lobbyists. They invest the most in Washington to protect what they perceive to be their interests."
Brokaw failed to consider that if government weren't so onerous and intrusive, businesses would have far less need to lobby to try to control regulations.
And demonstrating how Brokaw's personal views become the agenda of his newscast, check out a story on that very day's NBC Nightly News. Brokaw set up a July 25 piece: "For all the tough new rules in this bill, a good deal was left out. Why? NBC's Lisa Myers has two examples of how, even during the big push for reform, it's as business as usual for Congress and corporations. Part of our ongoing series, Take the Money and Run."
Myers began: "Lest you think Congress has turned its back on corporate America, consider this: Conspicuously absent from today's reform bill, what many consider the most pro-investor reform of all, requiring companies to count stock options given executives and workers as expenses. Why was that left out?"
Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity: "Powerful corporate interests made sure that didn't happen."
Myers: "In fact, when Senator John McCain tried to bring up the issue, Democratic leader Tom Daschle, with the full support of Republican Trent Lott, blocked even having a vote."
MSNBC's Phil Donahue is not a very astute media observer. On Thursday night he noted a report about how U.S. bombing killed 400 civilians in Afghanistan and complained: "I don't see that leading anybody's newscast." But in fact, it led ABC's World News Tonight.
During his July 25 interview with Tom Brokaw, Donahue propounded about civilian deaths in Afghanistan: "The New York Times did a front page piece the other day -- 400 civilians killed, civilians killed by American bombs. That is huge. I don't see that leading anybody's newscast."
Rewind to Sunday, July 21. Here's how Carole Simpson teased ABC's evening newscast: "On World News Tonight this Sunday, getting a clearer picture of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Two new reports say hundreds have been killed."
Simpson then opened the broadcast: "Throughout the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, we've heard about civilians killed during attacks. The Pentagon says it doesn't track civilian deaths. Tonight two reports may give us a better idea of just how many people have died. ABC's John Yang reports from Washington."
Yang started his story by explaining: "The human rights group Global Exchange says the American bombing campaign in Afghanistan killed at least 812 civilians in the first three months alone. A separate New York Times review estimates that at least 400 died in 11 incidents over the last ten months...."
So much for trusting Donahue's media analysis.
Helen Thomas lamented how President Bush is "so far to the right" as she also complained to MSNBC's Phil Donahue about how "the chipping away of our civil liberties is unprecedented" and is worse than "even in World War II" as she raised a comparison to fear under Nazism.
Two exchanges on the July 22 Donahue between Donahue and Thomas, the former UPI White House reporter who is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers:
Donahue: "Is George W. different from, than his father?"
Helen Thomas: "Very."
Donahue: "You think so? The son is different from the-"
Thomas: "He's so far to the right. His father was a moderate, and the Christian right never, the ultra-right never really believed he was a moderate, so I think they were always suspicious that he was not quite in their camp."
Donahue: "But the right, the religious right today knows they've got the President."
Thomas: "Very much so. You don't have, I mean, it's unprecedented to have a religious office in the White House. It really breaks down the wall of separation of church and state."
Donahue: "Yes. Not too many folks are making that observation, Ms. Thomas."
Thomas: "I am."
Donahue later cued up Thomas: "You were saying you have a lot of concern about the erosion of civil liberties or the surrendering of them."
Donahue: "Tell me."
Thomas: "I think the chipping away of our civil liberties is unprecedented. Even in World War II, I never saw anything like that in Washington or any of the wars. I think that people are standing mute, and I remember the rabbi in the March on Washington program. He said that the greatest sin of all in the Nazi era was silence. He had been in a concentration camp for many years. People have got to, they must speak up now or forever hold their peace."
Donahue: "How are you grading your colleagues? How's, has the press been-?"
Thomas: "Too quiet. I think they too, the going along and acquiescing to things that they wouldn't ordinarily, I believe. Not if you want to fight for the rights that we all should have, and I don't see any reason to take these rights away."
An "unprecedented chipping away of our civil liberties"? Arabs are still free as the President urges tolerance. In 1942 FDR had Japanese people in the U.S. rounded up and put into camps.
A headline and story content contrast. "Report Calls Response at Pentagon Successful," announced the July 24 Washington Post headline over a story about a private report assessing how Arlington County, Virginia responded to the terrorist attack in its jurisdiction. But in a contrast brought to my attention by a CyberAlert reader, a New York Times headline the same day declared: "Study Calls Rescue at Pentagon Chaotic."
Reporter Patricia Davis began her Washington Post story:
Firefighters had trouble communicating and too many rescue workers flooded the Pentagon with no supervision, but Arlington fire officials led a successful operation after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, according to an independent federal report released yesterday.
County fire officials took control of the chaotic situation less than four minutes after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed
into the west side of the building at 9:38 a.m., and many of their actions during their 10 days at the helm should be a model for the nation, the report said.
"The response to the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon was successful by any measure," Grant C. Peterson, the lead consultant, said at a news conference yesterday. "Although the tragic loss of life from this horrific event could not be avoided, it was minimized....Damage, although severe, was constrained in area, and the fire was brought quickly under control. The fact that the response force did not suffer a single fatality or serious injury is testimony to the training, professionalism and leadership of Arlington County and the response community."...
END of Excerpt
For the entire story:
The unbylined New York Times story, which I could not find in the Washington edition of the paper, but which did appear on the NYTimes.com Web site, began:
The rescue response to the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon was plagued by communication lapses and poor organization among local rescue workers, a study has concluded.
The study, commissioned by Arlington County, Va., where the Pentagon is, and paid for by the Justice Department, found that unsolicited help only made the situation more complicated and
dangerous for dispatched rescuers.
There were numerous communications problems, too, because phone signals were jammed, and as a result, patients were transported to hospitals in an unorganized manner.
There was also a lack of supplies to deal with such a large attack, the report found, and not enough emergency medical equipment like batteries and breathing apparatus....
END of Excerpt
The story is online at:
To judge for yourself, the report is online at:
Promoting his new album this week,
Unleashed, which features the song, Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, Toby Keith has been firing away at ABC and Peter Jennings for "lying" about why he did not appear on ABC's Independence Day special.
And a Washington Post reporter denounced the song for
containing the "meanest" lyrics, complaining: "The song
traffics in vivid, simple shades of black and white, good and
For all the background on this subject, the lyrics to the song which led Jennings to boot Keith from his show and a RealPlayer clip of Keith singing the song for CNN's Wolf
Out promoting his
new album, Toby Keith has been denouncing ABC and Peter
Jennings for "lying" about why he wasn't on ABC's
July 4th special
For how poorly
the Jennings special did in the ratings: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020723.asp#5
On Wednesday's Fox & Friends on FNC, Keith recounted: "They said Jennings had come in and didn't like the song and said it was too angry and that content was not going to be on the show. I didn't really care about that, but the next, couple days later, they came back out and said that I wasn't confirmed for the show and tried to make it look like a publicity stunt."
FNC's Steve Doocy: "Which is a lie according to you."
Keith: "One hundred percent lie."
Doocy pressed Keith: "So you were told that it was Peter Jennings himself who said I don't want that guy on my show?"
Keith: "The producer called my manager and said that Jennings, we've got the cart before the horse, Jennings doesn't think the song should be on the show."
Earlier in the day, on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Keith complained, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "A couple days later I read the USA Today and it said that they didn't know what I was talking about, that I wasn't even confirmed on the show and started slamming me around about, saying that the logistics never worked out and we were one of a hundred that they looked at and I said, 'No, he censored the song. He came in and said that this song wasn't going to be on the show.' My label had already agreed to pay for the jet and everything and the confirmation. I said, 'Tell him to just say that he censored this song and be done with it, quit lying and saying it was some publicity stunt by me.' Then he comes out on radio and said that this was a publicity stunt by my camp and he just kept lying, man."
Keith's lyrics really upset Washington Post reporter David Segal, who scolded Keith in a July 25 "Style" section piece for what Keith dubs his "attitude songs":
"The meanest, by far, is 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,' which unabashedly glorifies the bombing of Afghanistan. The song traffics in vivid, simple shades of black and white, good and evil."
How awful. Almost as upsetting as Ronald Reagan calling
the Soviet Union an "evil empire."
The simplistic public loves it as the single went to number 1 two weeks ago on Billboard's "Top Country" singles chart.
Keith is scheduled to appear this afternoon on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports at 5pm EDT.
Country Music Television has two additional re-broadcasts scheduled of Keith's 90-minute July 21 live concert on the cable channel: Tonight, Friday, July 26 at 8pm ET/PT and Saturday, July 27 at 1 pm ET/PT.
There are several places where you can hear a clip of this portion of the song:
"And the Statue of Liberty
Started shakin' her fist
And the eagle will fly
Man, it's gonna be hell When you hear Mother Freedom
Start ringin' her bell
And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you Courtesy of the Red White and Blue."
-- To watch the 30 second RealPlayer video clip of the music video for the song, scroll down to "Heavy Rotation," look for "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" and click on the song title at:
-- To play a 30 second audio clip, via either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player:
> Co-hosting CBS's The Early Show next week: Former CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith. I'll have a rundown in Monday's CyberAlert about his liberal advocacy on CBS's morning show back in the 1989-1995 range. --
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