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From the April 1999 MediaWatch


Rude Rudy?

Today co-host Matt Lauer chided New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the "tone" he was setting in his potential Senate bid against Hillary Rodham Clinton in a remarkably pro-Clinton interview April 1.

After demanding Giuliani acknowledge he had "a difficult time connecting with minorities," Lauer castigated Giuliani for his connection to a Web site called HillaryNo.com. "Is this the kind of tone...She’s a carpetbagger, she’s someone who failed in her health care experience."

Giuliani pointed out these were "all very fair issues about somebody that’s never run for public office, [and] wants to win a state that they have absolutely no connection to." Lauer would have none of it, lecturing Giuliani: "Is this the tone of the campaign we might expect?"

The HillaryNo.com site is innocuous and contains only three options: signing a petition urging Giuliani to run, making a donation and reading a page explaining how to place the HillaryNo.com banner on the viewer’s web page. The site’s two paragraphs of text also contained these less than incendiary statements: "It is a website dedicated to the notion that we should expect more from someone who aspires to the U.S. Senate. That the U.S. Senate is a place for proven leaders, not a proving ground."

After a year in which Clinton’s closest advisers declared "war" on their opponents and the First Lady charged a "vast right-wing conspiracy" on Today, Lauer’s sudden disdain for negative tone is an interesting development.


Puny Protests
If the April 3 nightly newscasts are any indicator, it only takes a few liberals protesting to generate a TV news story.

The CBS Evening News gave a few seconds to a small rally in Washington, D.C. protesting police brutality, but NBC portrayed it as a major event. Reporter Rick Davis began: "They came from cities and towns across the country, holding names and photographs high, victims they say of abuse of power. One killing in New York caused them to join in grief and anger." NBC only used close-up shots so one could not determine how many protesters there actually were. The April 4 Washington Post reported "hundreds" attended. Not exactly the Million Man March.

Next up that night was the issue of rising gas prices in California. The CBS Evening News ran a story pegged to about a dozen people on a Los Angeles sidewalk complaining about California’s escalating gas prices. Reporter Vince Gonzalez opened by featuring a clip of a woman shouting, "How are you going to buy milk for your children and gas for your car to go to work on?" Gonzalez promoted the protesters’ call for a "national gas out day" and allowed a gas station owner to denounce oil company "greed," but ignored two key factors in California’s gas prices: environmental rules and high state taxes.


NRDC: All Wet
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the liberal group behind the bogus 1989 Alar-on-apples scare promoted by 60 Minutes, released a report on March 30 about how they supposedly discovered excessive bacteria and chemicals in one-third of the bottled water they tested.

ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and FNC’s Fox Report all jumped on it, airing full stories. None labeled the NRDC as liberal. ABC’s Peter Jennings underlined their credibility: "A serious environmental monitoring group has released a report about bottled water today that certainly flies in the face of the advertising."

In an April 8 Washington Times column, Michael Fumento quoted Yale professor Stephen Edberg, who sat on many of the EPA panels that regulate drinking water, saying the report was "completely fallacious...There’s absolutely no risk to the population. This is extremely alarmist and has great detrimental effect."

The International Bottled Water Association countered the NRDC: "There have been no confirmed reports in the US of illness or diseases linked to bottled water." The NRDC claimed they found evidence in the medical literature they surveyed. Fumento noted they located just two instances: one in the Mariana Islands and one in Portugal.



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