CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Thursday May 18, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 86) |
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Bill & Hillary: "Together... Emotionally"; Elian Photo Spiked; Helen’s Liberal Legacy

1) EPA regulation night. All the networks either led with or ran stories on the EPA’s plan to reduce diesel-fuel pollution because it causes cancer and a warning that Dioxin is more dangerous than thought, but none questioned the accuracy of the EPA’s science.

2) "Together again, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the picture of harmony" Tom Brokaw trumpeted over video of Hillary accepting the Senate nomination in Albany. Andrea Mitchell compliantly relayed how they have "banded together...politically and emotionally."

3) Last week all the networks showcased photos of a happy Elian playing with friends and his father, but on Wednesday only FNC showed viewers a new picture of Elian, at Wye, decked out in the garb of the Pioneers, Cuba’s communist youth indoctrination group.

4) Helen Thomas "was always fair and never intimidated," insisted Tom Brokaw. She actually left a legacy of liberalism, once arguing: "I don't know what a liberal bias is. Do you mean do we care about the poor, the sick, and the maimed?"

5) An MSNBC segment on a Tennessee focus group’s assessment of Al Gore included a man’s blast at "liberal media bias."

6) Letterman’s "Top Ten Hillary Clinton Campaign Slogans."

7) Fox News Channel now viewable in the CyberAlert overnight newsroom...and in your home too if you live in Fairfax County.

Correction: Missing quote marks. Item #5 in the May 17 CyberAlert began: "On the PBS public-affairs show To the Contrary over the weekend, host Bonnie Erbe told panelist Linda Chavez that a woman of her age doesn't need to worry about being raped. So National Review’s John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru revealed in their Washington Bulletin e-mail on Monday." The first sentence should have been in quote marks.


EPA night on the networks on Wednesday evening. The agency’s announcement of a proposal to reduce pollution from diesel-fueled trucks topped ABC’s World News Tonight and earned full stories on CNN’s The World Today, MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams and the NBC Nightly News. All focused almost exclusively on the EPA’s points, allowing only a token soundbite from the refinery industry about increased costs, but never airing any soundbite from an expert questioning the science behind the plan.

    ABC followed up with a second story dedicated entirely to dire warnings from the NRDC, though reporter Brian Rooney acknowledged: "In truth, no one has drawn a direct link between diesel fumes and the health of any one patient."

    CBS ran a brief item on the diesel fuel as well as a full story on another EPA report claiming Dioxin is a "human carcinogen" which poses ten times the health threat than thought. Dioxin also got full stories, without any doubters, on CNN and NBC.

    On another subject, Bob Schieffer delivered a "Real Deal" report on the CBS Evening News about the China trade deal: "Politics always makes strange bedfellows, but the China trade bill has created a whole dormitory of unlikely roommates." After noting how George Bush and Bill Clinton favor the deal but House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt opposes it, Schieffer rued: "Which leaves the President’s arch-enemy, Republican Tom DeLay, who is for it, as the President’s key ally."

    Back to the EPA stories, the May 17 World News Tonight led with the EPA’s plan to cut sulfur in diesel fuel by 2006 and reduce tailpipe emissions by 95 percent in order to eliminate particles which "may be linked to cancer and asthma." ABC’s Lisa Stark concluded: "It’s still open for public comment, but by year-end the EPA will issue new stringent standards for vehicles that some say have long been given a free ride."

    Up next, reporter Brian Rooney highlighted how California grocery chains are warning neighbors near their warehouses that diesel exhaust causes cancer. Focusing on a Natural Resources Defense Council study, Rooney ran multiple soundbites from the NRDC’s Gail Ruderman Feuer, who claimed: "In this region of Southern California a local agency found that more than 70 percent of the risk of cancer in our air comes just from diesel exhaust."
    Rooney then concluded by undercutting the entire premise of his story: "In truth, no one has drawn a direct link between diesel fumes and the health of any one patient. But the state believes that the dangers of diesel fumes have generally been established and the people who live near distributions centers like this deserve a warning."

    The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News led with the indictments in Birmingham, Alabama of two men for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. CBS followed up with a piece from Cynthia Bowers on how the Chicago city council passed a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to give reparations to descendants of slaves. On Dioxin, Dan Rather tagged it "a ticking toxic time bomb in the U.S. food chain, a cancer risk, especially for children."

    NBC’s Robert Hager handled the diesel fuel story, concluding: "Costly, but if it works, finally ridding the air of those noxious odors and ugly black clouds that plague streets and highways." Dan Lothian provided a full story on the EPA’s claims about the risk of cancer from Dioxin. His expert in soundbites: Lois Gibbs, author of a book titled Dying from Dioxin.


Forget hard-edged media skepticism. Bill and Hillary smile at each other and wave -- and NBC News swoons. "Together again, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the picture of harmony," heralded Tom Brokaw Wednesday evening over video of the two as she accepted New York’s Democratic Party Senate nomination Tuesday night in Albany.

    Andrea Mitchell, without irony, asserted that Hillary accepted the nomination with "her loyal husband at her side." Mitchell soon compliantly passed along how "friends say he is his wife’s best advisor." She also relayed how friends say "that this couple has banded together once again, politically and emotionally. It’s her turn, the President believes, and he’s helping with every decision...knowing if she wins, it could be one of the most historic parts of his legacy." Oh joy.

    After Mitchell’s piece aired on MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams, the host of the same wondered if Hillary’s race will "truly resonate across the United States?"

    Brokaw set up the May 17 story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "NBC News ‘In Depth’ tonight. Together again, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the picture of harmony last night as the First Lady was officially nominated to run for the U.S. Senate from New York. Bill and Hillary first met back in their law school days at Yale. They were married in 1975. That marriage appeared to be close to coming apart after the Lewinsky scandal, but last night, as Hillary took center stage, the President was there as well. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on the re-invention, once again, of the Clintons, In Depth."
    Mitchell celebrated: "Hillary Clinton nominated by acclimation at the top of her game, her loyal husband at her side."
    Hillary Clinton, at the podium: "I am delighted that the President is here this evening, and I am so grateful, I am so grateful for his support. I would not be standing here tonight were it not for Bill, and were it not for all he has done for me."
    Mitchell: "The same Bill Clinton who was impeached after scandalizing the nation and his wife? How did they go from this [two walking side-by-side sternly], less than two year ago, to this? [two on stage in Albany smiling]"

    Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin supplied the answer: "It does suggest that she sees him as a great resource now, and I suspect we’ll see a lot more of him during this campaign for her."
    Mitchell passed along amazement from sycophants: "Even long-time political associates concede it is an amazing story of political re-invention. The ultimate power couple. The first First Lady to run for office and the President who cancels two Washington fundraisers at the last minute to be with her."
    Bill Clinton, on the podium in Albany: "I said I’ve been with you folks a long time. If you’ll let me go hear my wife give a speech, I’ll do any event you want anywhere in America at any time forever in the future."
    Mitchell gushed: "In fact, the President jokes in this White House video about Hillary’s career taking off while he’s left behind [clip of spoof video of Bill Clinton, bag lunch in hand, chasing after Hillary’s car, saying she forgot her lunch]. But behind the scenes, friends say he is his wife’s best advisor."
    Dee Dee Myers: "Not only is he great as the candidate, he is a great political strategist. He understands the dynamics of a race."
    Mitchell: "Still associates say the Clintons debated until the last moment whether he should show up for her nomination worrying he would overshadow her...And when people ask where is the outrage over the Clinton revival?"
    Sally Quinn, Washington Post: "People are saying, they’re looking at Bill Clinton, they’re saying he’s gone, he’s history, stick a fork in him, he’s done. It doesn’t matter anymore. Nobody cares."

    Quinn certainly reflects the attitude of political reporters.

    Mitchell finally, sort of, broached in one clause a negative, but still failed to suggest the possibility it’s all a big act, that Bill and Hillary are just acting the way polls show the public wants them to be. Mitchell concluded:
    "Critics may call it a power trip, but the bottom line, friends say, is that this couple has banded together once again, politically and emotionally. It’s her turn, the President believes, and he’s helping with every decision -- message, polling, campaign events. Showing up if it helps, knowing if she wins, it could be one of the most historic parts of his legacy."

    While probably still under the spell of Mitchell’s piece, after it ran on his MSNBC show anchor Brian Williams wondered: "Will Hillary Rodham Clinton’s race truly resonate across the United States?"
    Doris Kearns Goodwin answered: "I’m not so sure. I mean I think that it will, mainly because the newspapers and the television will make it resonate...."

    NBC sure is trying. And that’s about the first sensible thing Goodwin has said in any of her frequent NBC/MSNBC appearances.


Happy, playful Elian with his father showcased by the networks, but Elian decked out in communist garb not considered newsworthy by any network but FNC.

    Last Wednesday, May 10, all the network evening programs showed new photos of Elian playing catch, carousing with his playmates and laughing with his father. Exactly a week later the Miami Herald showcased a photo of Elian, at the Wye River Plantation, decked out in the uniform of the Pioneers, the communist youth indoctrination group in Cuba. In the photo, displayed alongside the Web-posted Herald story plugged by the Drudge Report, Elian is wearing a blue neckerchief with a white shirt which is emblazoned with the image of Jose Marti.

    But not a word about how Elian was wearing communist garb while still in the United States aired, nor was the photo shown, on the ABC, CBS or NBC Wednesday morning shows. Wednesday night ABC, CBS and NBC still refused to show viewers the photo, as did CNN and MSNBC. ABC actually ran an item about Miami asking the federal government for compensation for Elian costs, but still didn’t put up the photo. CBS, MSNBC and NBC did have time for stories on the unveiling in Chicago of "Sue," a full-size dinosaur skeleton. MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams devoted two segments to replaying a Dateline story about the dangers of unregulated roller coasters.

[Web update: Thursday morning, May 18, ABC's Good Morning America briefly showed the new Elian photo. NBC's Today and CBS's The Early Show did not.]

    Only FNC’s May 17 Special Report with Brit Hume let non-Miami Herald readers see the photo. Hume explained over the color picture:
    "Elian Gonzalez’s Miami relatives think there is now evidence that the brainwashing that they feared awaited the six-year-old back in Cuba has already begun. They’re upset about this new photo showing Elian wearing the blue kerchief, emblem of the so-called Pioneers, which is Cuba’s youth communist league. Miami Cubans told the Miami Herald the league is an instrument of Castro’s indoctrination and that parents who do not enroll their children are ostracized and denied promotions."

    +++ See the network-suppressed photo as shown by FNC. Thursday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a shot of it as taken from Hume’s story.

    Later, in the roundtable, Fred Barnes suggested: "If there were a comparable thing that, if there were some Cuban-American thing or anti-Castro thing that his relatives in Miami had put around him and that he was wearing, the American press corps would have been in high dudgeon."

    To be fair to the other networks, I should note that not even FNC’s own general interest news show, the 7pm ET Fox Report, which began ten minutes after Barnes made his comment, showed the Elian photo.

    ABC worried about what Elian cost Miami. On World News Tonight Peter Jennings announced: "In Florida today, Miami-Dade County and the Miami police department have asked the federal government for $5 million to make up money they spent putting extra police on the street while Elian Gonzalez was staying with his Miami relatives. They also want the government to pay for street cleaning. They’re not likely to get it."

    For more on the photo, one of five newly released pictures, and reaction to them, here’s an excerpt from the May 17 Miami Herald story by Marika Lynch and Frances Robles:

The latest pictures of Elian Gonzalez showed the boy studying at the Wye Plantation and playing an instrument typical in Caribbean bands. But what angered Cuban Americans on Tuesday was the neckerchief the boy wore -- the uniform for the Pioneers, the youth communist league.

Modeled after groups in the former Soviet Union, the Pioneers instill communist ideals through songs, schedule weekend trips to help with harvests in the countryside, and instruct children to repeat the group allegiance ‘Pioneers for communism, we will be like Che [Guevara].’

Membership is expected for Cuban children, who join in the first grade and wear the Pioneers uniform to school. Parents of students who refuse to enroll are ostracized, labeled counterrevolutionaries and denied promotions at work, said Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. Pioneer members also are instructed to tell on their parents if they make statements against the revolution.

The pictures, released in the Cuban daily Granma, confirmed the worst fears of many Cuban exiles, who believed the boy will be brainwashed by the Cuban government as long as he is with his father.

"Is Elian in Cuba?" a confused Gladys Chong asked, when her husband, Ramon, burst through the door of their Southwest Miami-Dade home with the news of the images.

"No," Ramon Chong, a security guard who came to the United States four years ago, told her. "It seems communism has penetrated the United States."....

The images also troubled Dr. Marta Molina, a psychologist who in her 20-year career in Cuba said she treated 500 children with problems she said stemmed from communist indoctrination. "The oppression has already started," Molina said.

The Pioneer uniform is part of a strategy to ensure the boy's return, she said, by convincing Elian that he wants to return to Cuba so he will tell the courts as much....

The pictures, five in all, did not have captions explaining when they were taken. One showed an indoor classroom scene, with Elian sitting in the front row, wearing the blue Pioneer scarf and a white T-shirt with a picture of Cuban patriot Jose Marti. Wearing the same outfit, he was seen reading at a desk and being supervised by a woman, who presumably was his teacher, Agueda Fleitas. In another close-up, Elian was apparently in a music class playing claves, hardwood sticks that provide a beat for Caribbean music....

    END Excerpt

    To read the entire story, go to:


"Helen was always fair and never intimidated," declared Tom Brokaw in a May 16 NBC Nightly News tribute to UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas. But as the MRC’s Tim Graham demonstrated in browsing through the MRC’s quote archive, she left of legacy of liberalism. (Thomas quit this week after decades at the White House because News World Communications, affiliated with the Unification Church, bought UPI.)

    For instance, on C-SPAN’s Journalists’ Roundtable back on December 31, 1993, she argued reporters are liberal because they care: "A liberal bias? I don't know what a liberal bias is. Do you mean do we care about the poor, the sick, and the maimed? Do we care whether people are being shot every day on the streets of America? If that's liberal, so be it. I think it's everything that's good in life, that we do care. And also for the solutions, we seek solutions and we do think that we are all responsible for what happens in this country."

    Here’s the text of the rest of the May 17 Media Reality Check fax report compiled by Tim, titled, "Helen Thomas, Legendary Liberal: Long-Time UPI White House Correspondent Quits Rather Than Work for Conservative Owners."

Long-time UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas quit yesterday, a day after the wire service was sold to News World Communications, the owners of the Washington Times, affiliated with the Unification Church. Thomas didn’t say she was looking for a new gig because UPI was now owned by conservatives.

But UPI International Editor Lee Michael Katz also resigned, telling The New York Times "I cannot work for the new owners." He was not surprised Thomas joined him: "Look at the timing of this, and Helen’s devotion." A look at a few quotes shows Thomas’s devotion to liberalism. At a Milwaukee lunch in March, she announced George W. Bush and John McCain "are about as far right as you could get without dropping off the edge."

-- Ronald Reagan. On December 30, 1988 Thomas recalled the Reagan era on the CBS show Nightwatch: "I think there’s a question mark on the domestic policy: I think he left an uncaring society...a government that was not as concerned."

In the July 1993 Good Housekeeping, Thomas elaborated: "All of us who covered the Reagans agreed that President Reagan was personable and charming. But I'm not so certain he was nice. It's hard for me to think of anyone as nice when I hear him say ‘The homeless are homeless because they want to be homeless.' To my mind, a President should care about all people, and he didn't, which is why I will always feel Reagan lacked soul."

-- Jimmy Carter. In the same interview, Thomas stated: "In Plains, I saw Jimmy Carter as he really is — a nice, decent terms of compassionate contribution to society, he certainly has proven to be our best past President."

-- The Kennedys. Thomas discussed the death of JFK Jr. on CNN’s Reliable Sources last July 18: "Everything that happened to the First Family, they added a certain glamour everybody could tie into in some way. And I think that's what happened. We think of the family. We think of all of the tragedies and the glamour and the mischief and so forth all wrapped up into one, but mostly hope."

-- Bill Clinton. Tom Brokaw declared, "Helen was always fair and never intimidated." But Thomas avoided asking about Juanita Broaddrick’s rape charges in a press briefing the day The Wall Street Journal broke the story on February 19, 1999. Instead she asked Clinton what was learned "from your 13 month ordeal?"

She did pose a vague Broaddrick question days later. Then on March 5, 1999, she asked about Kosovo, and hit Clinton from the left: "My other question is how can you justify chipping away at the ABM treaty which helped keep the peace during the Cold War and pour billions and billions into a Star Wars defense against the possibility that starving North Korea may fire a missile at us?"

On October 14, 1999, she rued the defeat of a nuclear test-ban treaty: "Mr. President, hasn't the treaty rejection really wiped out our moral authority to ask other nations around the world to stop testing? And was there -- do you think there was a personal element in the Republican [vote], a personal vendetta against you?"

    END Reprint


Sign this guy up as the CyberAlert Tennessee correspondent. The May 16 News with Brian Williams on MSNBC featured a lengthy segment showing Republican pollster Frank Luntz questioning a focus group in Tennessee about their views of Al and Tipper Gore.

    Somehow MSNBC failed to edit out this comment, from a man named Tom, which MRC analyst Paul Smith caught: "I hear the criticism all the time that George Bush is not from Texas. Well, George Bush is a lot more from Texas than Al Gore ever thought about being from Tennessee. And that’s when this liberal media bias seems to come in and they’ll harp on something like that with a Republican and they never bring it up, or these exaggerations. Had Dan Quayle said the same things that Al Gore has said, like inventing the Internet, you would have never heard the end of it and he would have been tarred and feathered every night day in and day out."

    Couldn’t have said it better.


From the May 17 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Hillary Clinton Campaign Slogans." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. "Because No Clinton Has Ever Disgraced The Office Of Senator"
9. "I'll Try Not To Misplace Or Shred Important Legislation"
8. "Endorsed By The CBS Jesus"
7. "If You Slept With My Husband, The Least You Can Do Is Vote For Me"
6. "I've Loved Every One Of The 17 Days I've Spent Here In New York"
5. "Of The Two Insane Power-Hungry Candidates, I'm Better At Pretending To Be Nice"
4. "Vote For Me Or I'll Have Bill Poison Your Water Supply"
3. "Never Indicted...Knock On Wood!"
2. "I Can Run New York -- Hell, I Ran The Whole Country"
1. "Wait'll You See The Scandals I'm Planning!"

    And from the Late Show Web page, some of the "also rans" that didn’t make the final cut because Letterman’s writers produce "more brilliant jokes than can fit in a Top Ten List."

-- "I Can Deal With Political Weasels -- Hell, I Married One"
-- "Let's Nuke Jersey!"
-- "As You Can See By My Marriage, I'll Let You Do Whatever The Hell You Want"
-- "Fighting For Jobs, Education, and Whatever Else You Need To Pretend To Care About These Days"
-- "Indictment-Free Since '93"


Since a disproportionate share of CyberAlert readers live in the Washington, DC area I thought I’d alert readers to a significant addition to the Fox News Channel distribution: The 275,000 customers of Cox Communications cable in Fairfax County, Virginia, the overnight home base of the CyberAlert newsroom. FNC is now on channel 28, but will move to channel 6 on June 1, a lot lower position than MSNBC, which is way up on channel 104. -- Brent Baker



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