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CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday May 31, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 93) |
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Vulgarity Unveiled; Disbarment Too Tough; Innocent Elian Move; Limbaugh = Rocker

1) The New York Daily News, Washington Post and Fox News Sunday all picked up on the vulgarity employed by Robin Williams during his comedy routine at the big Democratic fundraiser.

2) Disbarment would be too tough a punishment for Bill Clinton, argued Eleanor Clift, since his lie "was irrelevant to a case that was eventually thrown out."

3) The networks displayed no skepticism about why Elian was moved to Washington, DC, where he is more accessible to Cuban operatives. ABC, CBS and NBC cited convenience for his father’s lawyer and his father’s "boredom" at Wye River.

4) "If Al Michaels gets Rush Limbaugh, maybe, someday, Jon Miller could be lucky enough to team up with John Rocker," a Washington Post columnist remarked about the Monday Night Football analyst slot. A colleague suggested Limbaugh is a racist worth boycotting.

5) Latest edition of Notable Quotables, including "Million Mom Media March" and "Lazio: Already Being Scolded."


1

The vulgarity of comedian Robin Williams at last Wednesday’s big Democratic fundraiser featuring Bill Clinton and Al Gore, quoted at length in the May 26 CyberAlert, was noticed on Friday in New York Daily News and Washington Post gossip columns, as well as during the roundtable segment on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, and two days later by Fox News Sunday.

    -- "Lewd Robin" announced the headline over a May 26 Daily News item in the Rush & Molloy column:
    "Robin Williams had White House aides doing damage control after his deep-blue routine at Wednesday night's Democratic Party fundraiser in D.C.
    "Clinton spinmeisters assured the event's straighter fat cats that the Prez had no advance knowledge that the comic would ape masturbation and let fly with enough expletives to cover all the bathroom walls in Washington's MCI Center.
    "All the same, jeans-clad President Clinton and Vice President Gore roared with laughter."

    -- Lloyd Grove picked up on complaints in his Washington Post "Reliable Source" column:
    "Not everyone appreciated Robin Williams's humor at Wednesday night's $26.5 million Democratic National Committee fundraiser in honor of President Clinton. Some folks were offended by the comic's repeated use of dirty words -- none of which we can print here -- and his off-color jokes on such topics as drug use, masturbation and bodily noises. Williams did own up to his potty-mouth ways. ‘Whoa, there's a child in the front row. He's learning new words,’ he joked during his act before 12,000 at MCI Center. But the bad words kept coming.
    "‘As a tribute to the President, it just looked appalling,’ said Bill Irvin, a 46-year-old marketing rep from Woodbridge who caught Williams on C-SPAN and was so dismayed that he called us. Irvin, who voted for Clinton in 1992 but not in '96, added: ‘I like Robin Williams, but I thought this was grotesque. The Democrats have got to be embarrassed by this. I'm just your boring regular average Joe. I'm not Pat Robertson, but this seemed to be overboard.’"
    "Meanwhile, Republican National Committee press secretary Mike Collins told us yesterday: ‘It's no surprise that a 9-year-old kid who goes to see Al Gore and Bill Clinton would be exposed to that kind of language. What we need is a President with the kind of dignity that no entertainer would use that talk in his presence.’"

    -- Of the broadcast network Sunday interview shows, only Fox News Sunday raised the language used by Williams. In the roundtable segment, host Tony Snow brought it up: "Let me raise one other issue. A lot of what goes on in fundraising behind the scenes people don’t see. Well, one of the things a lot people haven’t seen is some of the entertainment from this week’s fundraiser. We’ll take a really short snippet of Robin Williams and his shtick in front of the group. Let’s take a really quick look."

    Viewers then saw about 15 seconds of clips from Williams, with all the key words bleeped out. Panelist Fred Barnes followed up: "I don’t think that enhances the Democratic Party’s image unless it wants to be known as the permissive party."

    For an unedited and unbleeped text excerpt of what Williams said Wednesday, see the May 26 CyberAlert:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000526.asp#1

    +++ Get a flavor of Williams for yourself. Late Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post, on the MRC home page, a RealPlayer clip of the sanitized Williams as briefly shown on Fox News Sunday.

2

Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, no surprise, thinks disbarment would be overkill for Bill Clinton’s harmless offense. In a discussion, on the McLaughlin Group aired over the Memorial Day weekend, about the Arkansas Supreme Court committee’s recommendation that Clinton be disbarred, host John McLaughlin asked panelists to assess if the "punishment fits the crime" on a "scale of zero to ten, zero meaning disbarment does not fit Clinton at all, too tough, ten meaning it fits perfectly, how fitting is disbarment for Clinton’s offense?"

    After economist Lawrence Kudlow maintained it earned a "ten," Clift argued: "It’s a 1.5 and this was a so-called lie that didn’t harm anybody, that was irrelevant to a case that was eventually thrown out and does not go to his responsibility as a lawyer."

3

The networks displayed an utter lack of skepticism late last week about the motives behind Elian's move from the Wye River Plantation to a house in the District of Columbia near the Cuban Interest Section.

    At Wye River Elian was outside the 25 mile travel zone to which Cuban operatives are limited without obtaining special permission from the State Department, but in Washington’s Cleveland Park neighborhood Cuban officials can drop by anytime. But the thought of anything nefarious escaped ABC, CBS and NBC on Friday morning.

    -- ABC's Good Morning America, as observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson. News reader Antonio Mora passed along: "In Washington, Elian and his family are settling into their new home. They moved there from a Maryland estate late yesterday. The lawyer for Elian's father says the move will make it easier for him to consult with the family."

    -- CBS’s The Early Show. News reader Julie Chen relayed: "Elian and his family have moved to a new home in Washington DC. The family arrived at their new house Thursday. It's located not far from Vice President Al Gore's residence. The family moved from their quarters in Maryland so that Elian's father can be closer to his lawyers."

    -- NBC’s Today, as noted by MRC analyst Paul Smith. NBC News reporter Campbell Brown in a full story on the move: "Those close to the family say the reason for the move, boredom. Their new home is within walking distance of movies, shops, and restaurants and just a few blocks from the home of Greg Craig, Elian's father's attorney."

    Who is more of a threat to Elian’s freedom: Greg Craig or Cuban "diplomats"? Close call.

4

The potential naming of Rush Limbaugh as a studio analyst for ABC's Monday Night Football is not sitting well with the sports writers at the liberal Washington Post, who have resorted to some mean-spirited name-association and name-calling to discredit him, the MRC’s Tim Graham observed. A white columnist compared him with John Rocker and a black columnist ominously warned: "His views on people like me are well documented and I would find it insulting and hypocritical to watch him do the broadcast."

    In a Wednesday, May 24 piece, columnist Thomas Boswell, who is widely syndicated, lamented the Limbaugh tryout by comparing Limbaugh to racially-tinged, trash-talking pitcher John Rocker:
    "This week, our trend toward the celebrity-as-universal-expert may have reached a comic peak. ABC thinks maybe Rush Limbaugh can become the next Howard Cosell. The nation's most listened-to radio talk show host has auditioned to be color commentator on Monday Night Football. Maybe ABC heard Rush was a ‘shock jock,’ a kind of right-wing Howard Stern, and mistook that for a sports term.
    "Granted, Limbaugh is obnoxious and never forgets that promoting himself is the real subject of discussion. Shades of the late Howard? Rush even appeals to the right demographic: divorced, couch-potato, gun-worshiping, angry white guys. Sorry, I mean patriotic American males ages 25 to 34. But Limbaugh has never broadcast a game at any level.
    "If Limbaugh doesn't quite work out, ABC could always look in-house at another Disney owned-network: ESPN. Could baseball's game of the week use another voice in the booth? If Al Michaels gets Rush Limbaugh, maybe, someday, Jon Miller could be lucky enough to team up with John Rocker."

    Then in Friday's weekly washingtonpost.com chat session with sports writers Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, a question arose from Bowie, Maryland: "What do you guys think of Rush Limbaugh being in the MNF booth? Could he pull this off? Or would he be a distraction from the game?"

    Kornheiser, who also hosts a daily ESPN Radio talk show, replied: "I think Rush is a terrific broadcaster and I suspect he could be terrific on Monday Night Football. He certainly knows sports. I don't share his politics even slightly and there may be many people in the country who would be offended by his presence in the booth. I am told, for example, by both Wilbon and David DuPree of USA Today, who are both black, that Limbaugh is anathema to blacks and that black people would not watch him. I suspect you'd want to talk to Wilbon about that and hear his views...but he's in traffic. I don't have the same visceral reaction to Limbaugh, but I respect my friends who do."

    Wilbon, who is black, a fact which you need to know to understand his attack on Limbaugh, then logged on. He called Limbaugh a racist and suggested a boycott would be appropriate if Limbaugh were picked: "I have attended or watched all but about 5 or 6 MNF games in 30 years. If Rush Limbaugh is put in that booth, I will NOT listen to the broadcast. His views on people like me are well documented and I would find it insulting and hypocritical to watch him do the broadcast. And I'm sure, absolutely certain, there are tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands who feel the same way I do."

    Wilbon did not list any examples of Rush's racist remarks, Tim Graham noted. Tim also passed along the link for the full transcript of the chat session:
http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/zforum/00/tkwilbon052600.htm

5

Until I catch-up from the holiday weekend, I thought I’d offer the benefit of an e-mailed version of the entire text of the latest edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC’s bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.

    Thanks to the MRC’s Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul, you can also read the May 29 edition online. Go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2000/nq20000529.html
    Click on the PDF icon to see the two-page newsletter as it appears in hard copy. You’ll need to have Adobe’s "Acrobat Reader," which you download via a link on the side of the NQ page, installed on your computer. If you print out the PDF version on light blue paper, you’ll actually have a better than real copy this time since our commercial printing company inexplicably decided to use the wrong font in printing this issue.

    All but one of these quotes has already appeared in previous CyberAlerts, but NQ does present a nice package of all the worst bias of two weeks compacted into two newsletter pages.

    Here’s the May 29 NQ, in full:

Lazio: Already Being Scolded

"Have we seen the tenor of what this campaign is going to be, because he [Rick Lazio] came out with all barrels firing yesterday when he accused her, he said she’s no more a New Democrat than she is a New Yorker. Is this what this campaign’s going to be about?"
-- Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer to New York Governor George Pataki, May 21.

"The Daily News today has a quotation from one of yours, here it is, a fundraising letter of yours: ‘We cannot allow Hillary Clinton and her friends to destroy everything we worked so hard for.’ Is this going to be a nasty campaign against Hillary Clinton?"
-- ABC’s Cokie Roberts to Pataki, May 21 This Week.

"Mr. Lazio presents himself as a moderate, and he has that reputation chiefly because he’s pro-choice, but he voted with the Gingrich Congress to shut down the government. He voted, I believe, to abolish the Department of Education. So she could tie him to the Republicans in Washington in a way that she couldn’t tie Rudy Giuliani."
-- Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, May 20.

If They Can Fake It, We’ll Sell It

Tom Brokaw: "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..."
Andrea Mitchell: "....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....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."
-- May 17 NBC Nightly News.

More Reporters, More Bias

"Handgun Control. There are 200 million guns in this country and common sense leads you down to the path irrevocably of deciding that more guns, more violence."
-- Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren answering the question "Which side has the more defensible position on guns, the NRA or Handgun Control Inc.?" on the May 20 McLaughlin Group.

Million Mom Media March

"I’ve got here a pile of all the gun legislation that’s been proposed in the past year since we were here before. None of it has passed. By my count, we have more states rejecting new gun control legislation than have passed it. We have 15 states that have passed prohibitions on cities suing gun manufacturers. That hardly seems like progress."
-- ABC’s Charles Gibson to President Clinton during a May 12 Good Morning America town meeting promoting the Million Mom March.

"Why are you only focusing on licensing and registration? Why aren’t you going for more than that? Why aren’t you going, for example, for a total ban?"
-- CBS’s Bryant Gumbel to march organizer Gail Powers of California, May 12 The Early Show.

"Following the tragedy in your country, you were able to get a total ban on all handguns. How’d you do it?"
-- Gumbel to a woman whose daughter was killed in the Dunblane, Scotland shooting, May 12 The Early Show.

"The Million Mom Marcher’s platform is admittedly moderate. Do you think it’s too moderate, that it doesn’t go far enough? They will be the first to say we don’t want to come into your home and remove your guns, we want sensible gun laws."
-- NBC’s Soledad O’Brien to Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, May 14 MSNBC coverage of the march.

"Who are we? We are the mothers of America. We are the people who ate protein during our pregnancies....Don’t dare tell us that we don’t have the right to keep those children safe. We are the people who put latches on the kitchen cabinets, baby gates on the stairs, car seats in the back of a minivan....Don’t dare tell us that we don’t have the right to keep our children safe. But that is exactly what we’ve been told every time common sense gun legislation has been defeated by the Congress of the United States."
-- Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen speaking from the podium at the march shown by C-SPAN, May 14.

"Yesterday’s turnout was impressive by any standard and we may look back on this one as one of those demonstrations that led to real change. The crowd was estimated between half and three quarters of a million people, far beyond anyone’s expectations."
-- Bob Schieffer, May 15 CBS Evening News.

Nice Spin of the Wheelchair

Dan Rather: "On the face of it, it might not seem very fair, a mismatch to say the least: a man who made a name for himself pretending to punch out opponents taking on the disabled...."
Bob Schieffer: "Well, Dan, you had to wonder why rich, popular movie star Clint Eastwood would be at the Capitol today taking sides against people in wheelchairs. But there he was, in a hearing room crowded with the disabled."
-- Start of May 18 CBS Evening News story on the hotel-owning actor testifying about lawyer-induced harassment lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Less Sex, More Liberal Uplift

Matt Lauer to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin: "You talk about the loss of opportunity which frustrates Bill Clinton and also must frustrate the American people. So will the lesson that will be learned out of all this, Doris, be that maybe we go back to a time where we give less scrutiny to a President’s personal life, back to the Kennedy and Eisenhower and Roosevelt years?"
Goodwin: "....I hope that the media does go back to that earlier standard. I don’t want to talk about this. None of us do. Think about how much more exciting it would be if we were talking about civil rights, education, health care..."
Lauer: "Yeah, but I hope you’re right. I hope that the American people would find it more exciting to talk about health care and Social Security and not about these personal peccadilloes."
-- May 23 Today.

CBS’s Anecdotal Advocacy

CBS reporter John Roberts: "Rita Butler is just the sort of person a new study shows gets hit most often by the high cost of prescription drugs: older women above the poverty level who pay more for drugs than any other group."
Butler: "America is the only country that is mean to their senior citizens where medicine is concerned."
Roberts: "But for Rita and 15 million other seniors without prescription drug coverage, relief may finally be on the way."
Bill Clinton: "There is absolutely no reason that we should force seniors to make a choice between their health, their food, or their daily existence."
Roberts: "The Democratic bill, introduced in the Senate today, puts in motion the first attempt to add prescription benefits to Medicare. Republicans recently announced that they too would pursue a drug plan for seniors."
-- CBS Evening News, May 10.

Blessed with Ridiculous Enemies

"There is luck, there is good luck, and there is the luck of the Clintons. And we know they are lucky because no first couple in history has been as blessed by their enemies as the Clintons have. President Clinton went through an agonizing period of scandal and impeachment in which the public was forced to choose between him, Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, and the House prosecutors. No wonder Clinton's popularity soared."
-- U.S. News political reporter Roger Simon on Giuliani’s infidelity, May 22 issue.

Jamie’s 11-Minute Valentine

"Ask almost anyone in Washington who’d they call if they needed a lawyer who was smart, politically connected and discreet and you’d get one name: Greg Craig....Craig is also known for his passion. Friends describe him as an idealist who wears his heart on his sleeve....Craig’s professionalism has also earned him the respect of his fiercest opponents....And in the Elian case Craig is credited with an amazing political balancing act: Working the Justice Department, working the legal system, even working Fidel Castro. Craig has also showed remarkable media savvy when within hours of these photos appearing [raid pictures including gun pointed at Elian] he released these photos [snapshots of Elian and father]. All of which, in this town, earns you the reputation of Washington Super Lawyer. If you need the impossible, call Greg Craig."
-- NBC reporter Jamie Gangel, May 10 Today.

If PBS Doesn’t Do It, Who Will?

Linda Chavez, Center for Equal Opportunity: "If you’re someone like me, who lives out in a rural area – if someone breaks into my house and wants to murder or rape me or steal all of my property, it’ll take half an hour for a policeman to get to me....Thousands of lives are saved by people being able to protect themselves."
Bonnie Erbe, host and former NBC Radio/Mutual reporter: "And if you look at the statistics, I would bet that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning, Linda, than living where you live, and at your age, being raped. Sorry."
-- PBS’s To the Contrary, May 13.

"I know and accept your insecurities. And I expect insecure people and especially conservatives to lie and play games....I suggest you get into therapy, otherwise you’re going to continue to be miserable and in denial the rest of your life."
-- E-mail from Erbe to Chavez after Chavez quit the show, as reported in the May 23 Washington Post by Howard Kurtz (ellipses in Post).

NQ Staff:
Publisher: L. Brent Bozell
Editors: Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Geoffrey Dickens, Ted King, Paul Smith, Brad Wilmouth
Research Associate: Kristina Sewell
Communications Director: Liz Swasey
Circulation Manager: Kelly Dwyer
Intern: Ken Shepherd, Michael Ferguson

    END Notable Quotables reprint

    For past issues of NQ from this year, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2000/archive00 --
Brent Baker


 

 


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