Gore’s Broken Pledge Excused; Aunt Jemina Thomas; Actress a "Huge" Hillary Fan
1) On the Microsoft breakup
ruling, ABC noted how much investors have lost, CBS focused on how Silicon
Valley competitors are "glad to see...a big bully cut down to size"
and NBC claimed "analysts say past anti-trust actions have been good for
2) ABC and CBS ran stories pegged
to how Al Gore broke his pledge on soft money ads, but both rationalized and
excused Gore. "People who are fighting for campaign finance reform say
neither Bush nor Gore has a monopoly on hypocrisy," declared ABC’s John
3) Interviewing Hillary Trap
author Laura Ingraham, Katie Couric portrayed Hillary as a victim of how
people project their views of the role of women and demanded: "Can you
really pretend to understand the complexities and dynamics of someone's
4) Time’s Jack E. White asserted
that running a cover "portrait of Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt
Jemima-style handkerchief" on his head was "the uncompromising voice
that made Emerge the nation’s best black newsmagazine for the past seven
5) Actress Christine Lahti, star
of a new Lifetime cable network feminist movie, on Hillary Clinton: "I
think she has a huge, genuine amount of compassion for people."
6) Bryant Gumbel and a transsexual
both simultaneously grasped a can of whipped cream. Who squirted first?
Microsoft breakup ruling topped the three broadcast network evening shows
with multiple stories Wednesday night. All opened with a basic rundown of
the decision and Microsoft’s reaction followed by feature pieces which
each offered a unique angle for the night on the case.
ABC stressed how much
Microsoft stockholders have lost, quoting one observer who joked about how
Janet Reno saved people $20 on Windows while costing them $20,000 in their
401k. CBS focused on how "in Silicon Valley they’re glad to see
what they consider to be a big bully cut down to size." NBC reviewed
anti-trust history and relayed how "analysts say past anti-trust
actions have been good for consumers."
NBC Nightly News falsely
claimed an exclusive with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. On-screen the word
"Exclusive" appeared above the Nightly News graphic during Katie
Couric’s interview, but Gates also appeared on the CBS Evening News and
CNN’s Moneyline during the same hour as well as later on ABC’s
Nightline. I guess it depends on what the definition of
Here are some highlights
of what distinguished ABC, CBS and NBC stories on Wednesday night, June 7:
-- ABC’s World News
Tonight. Terry Moran handled the details of the ruling before Betsy Stark
took on how the stock is down from $120 at the end of 1999 to $71 now as
"$247 billion in value disappeared." Most hurt, those in the
Seattle area and the New York State Teachers retirement fund has lost $472
million just this year. In a soundbite, Michael Murphy, Editor of
Technology Investing, passed along: "There’s a big joke around, of
course, ‘thank you Janet Reno for saving me $20 of my Microsoft Windows,
how about the $20,000 I lost in my 401k?’"
-- CBS Evening News.
Sharyl Attkisson reviewed the breakup order and reaction to it. CBS then
ran excerpts of a taped interview by Dan Rather with Bill Gates. Rather
asked for Gates to react to the judge’s charge of about monopolistic
practices, wondered why not make the two company idea work and inquired
about how big a financial hit he expected stockholders to take.
Rather then intoned:
"Microsoft is unhappy of course, but it’s a different story down in
Silicon Valley, the high-tech hotbed south of San Francisco. It is home to
many victims of what the judge concluded are Microsoft’s unfair and
illegal business tactics. CBS’s John Blackstone reports in Silicon
Valley they’re glad to see what they consider to be a big bully cut down
Blackstone attended a
"conference of Internet visionaries" in California and
discovered in the future Microsoft software won’t be used to access the
Internet, undercutting the rationale for a breakup, but Blackstone also
delivered two points not often heard in the media: How Microsoft has
suppressed innovation and how its poorly designed software has made
programs vulnerable to viruses.
Blackstone opened over
video of Sun Microsystems chief Scott McNealy joking about the breakup of
Microsoft before Blackstone explained the emergence of the more reliable
Linux, though he didn’t mention the operating system’s name: "In
the vision of the future on display here, Microsoft is no longer in the
driver’s seat. It’s a future in which everything from automobiles to
refrigerators can connect to the Internet and the Microsoft dominated
personal computer fades in importance."
A month after the May 5
CyberAlert noted how the I LOVE YOU virus, contrary to media generalities
about hitting "e-mail," only impacted Microsoft’s Outlook on
computers with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer installed, CBS News caught
up: "While Microsoft argues that its breakup will stifle innovation,
many believe its monopoly slowed technology’s advance. Jim Warren, a
Silicon Valley pioneer, refuses to use Microsoft’s popular e-mail
Warren, MicroTimes magazine: "It’s too dangerous
to use it."
Blackstone: "Microsoft weaknesses, Warren says,
allowed the rapid spread of recent e-mail viruses."
Warren: "The so-called Internet viruses that
we’ve had so much trouble with this year are not really Internet
viruses, they’re Microsoft viruses."
Blackstone concluded: "The wireless world will be
better, critics say, with a less-powerful Microsoft."
-- NBC Nightly News
opened with Pete Williams on the ruling followed by substitute anchor
Katie Couric’s non-exclusive interview with Bill Gates. She asked,
"will consumers be the ultimate winners here?" and why not go
straight to the Supreme Court. She also wondered if Gates is hoping the
appeals process drags on and the Bush administration is "more
sympathetic to Microsoft." She last asked if Gates felt the charges
had "tarnished your personal reputation?"
Mike Jensen then told
viewers the case would have minimum impact as "most analysts say it
won’t damage the economy." Michael Miller of PC Magazine predicted
more choices from more companies. Jensen asserted: "Analysts say past
anti-trust actions have been good for consumers, going all the way back to
John D. Rockefeller and the breakup of the Standard Oil Company, which
created more competition, lower prices for oil. The AT&T breakup,
setting off a wave of innovation, competition, cutting some long distance
prices in half."
and CBS on Wednesday night ran stories pegged to how Al Gore broke his
pledge not to allow the DNC to use soft money for advertising until after
the GOP did first, but both rationalized and excused Gore as they blamed
the system and insisted Bush would do something just as bad. NBC Nightly
News ignored the launch of DNC-sponsored "issue" ads promoting
"People who are
fighting for campaign finance reform say neither Bush nor Gore has a
monopoly on hypocrisy," declared ABC’s John Cochran before quoting
a liberal activist. "Faced with sagging polls," Cochran
concluded, "it was not a hard decision to use soft money."
CBS’s Bill Plante blamed the system and insisted what Bush will do is
just as bad: "Everyone agrees the system is corrupting
politics....Today it was the Democrats, but Republicans are poised to
launch their own air war."
John Cochran opened his
piece by showing clips of the DNC ad which "looks like an ad for Al
Gore," but really is an "issues" ad paid for by the DNC
thanks to soft money donations. Cochran interjected: "Wait a minute,
Gore said only a few months ago he would not use soft money."
Cochran played a clip of Gore on Good Morning America
back on March 15: "Last night I asked the Democratic committee to set
aside any soft money and don’t spend it on any issue ads unless and
until the Republican Party does."
Cochran picked up: "Today a delighted George Bush
was quick to accuse Gore of breaking his pledge not to use soft
Bush: "Doesn’t surprise me. He’s a man who
says one thing and does another. It’s consistent with how he’s run his
campaign. I’m not the least bit surprised."
Cochran reviewed Gore’s defense: "Gore says he
did not have to keep his pledge because the Republicans fired first, with
anti-Gore ads paid for with unregulated donations from Bush
ABC played an excerpt from a mock Jeopardy-type ad with
a contestant asking for the answer under "Political Hypocrites for
$200." The announcer answered: "He says he’s for campaign
finance reform but he held an illegal fundraiser at a Buddhist
Cochran then used a
liberal Democrat as his arbiter and condemned both candidates instead of
just the one who broke a promise: "People who are fighting for
campaign finance reform say neither Bush nor Gore has a monopoly on
Scott Harshbarger, former Democratic Attorney General
of Massachusetts who is now President of Common Cause, claimed: "What
you have here is once again the people seeing elected officials saying one
thing, promising one thing and doing completely the other."
Cochran concluded: "You can expect both camps to
bend the rules on money. Today it was Gore’s turn. Faced with sagging
polls, it was not a hard decision to use soft money."
For the CBS Evening
News, Phil Jones filed a "Follow the Dollar" piece. He too began
with clips from one of the ads which is part of the DNC’s $25 million ad
blitz. Plante noted how more than half the ad has either Gore’s picture
or voice. Plante reminded viewers: "Just three months ago Gore read
an e-mail challenge to George W. Bush to reject the use of soft money
issue ads if the Republicans did."
Gore in front of a Gateway computer on March 14:
"I will take the first step by requesting the Democratic National
Committee not to run any issue ads paid for by soft money."
Jones: "Bush never agreed, but still he accused
Gore of reneging."
Bush: "Al Gore breaking a pledge. Doesn’t
surprise me. He’s a man who says one thing and does another."
Plante moved on to the New Jersey Democratic Senate
primary: "But it’s not just presidential politics surrounded by
obscene amounts of money...."
After noting how New
Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine spent $33 million and outside groups are
spending $5 million in an Ohio Supreme Court race, Plante turned to an
advocate of one solution as his expert: "None of this surprises
Senator John McCain, the campaign finance reform maverick."
McCain: "I’m a student of history and we’ve
gone through periods of corruption in American politics and then reform.
We’re in the corruption period. I don’t use that term lightly."
Plante concluded: "Everyone agrees the system is
corrupting politics, but there is no chance for reform anytime soon. Today
it was the Democrats, but Republicans are poised to launch their own air
war to help Governor Bush."
Gail Sheehy, author of the pro-Hillary book, Hillary’s Choice, on the
November 29, 1999 Dateline Stone Phillips empathetically inquired:
"Of all the pain she has been through, what do you think hurt the
Wednesday morning this
week Laura Ingraham, author of The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All
the Wrong Places," got a more challenging welcome on Today from Katie
Couric who portrayed Hillary as a victim of how people project onto her
their views of the role of women. Couric also demanded: "Can you
really pretend to understand the complexities and dynamics of someone's
Couric set up the June 7
interview, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: "There
aren't many figures in American life let alone politics who provoke the
range of powerful emotions both positive and negative that Hillary Rodham
Clinton does. She's been the topic of countless talk shows, newspaper
columns and dinner table debates. Well now she's the subject of
conservative commentator and MSNBC political analyst Laura Ingraham's
first book, The Hillary Trap, Looking for Power in All the Wrong
question: "Why do you think Hillary Clinton elicits such powerful
emotions? Why is she such a polarizing figure?"
She followed-up by portraying Hillary as a victim:
"But don't you think there's an awful lot of projection that goes on
in terms of how people view her, placing their own confused states or
their role in society or how powerful should women be and it's sort of
projected upon her as an individual?"
Ingraham: "Yes absolutely. I think we look at
Hillary's life and we look at her choices. You know she stood by a husband
who by all accounts really now is a serial, serially unfaithful to her.
She was incredibly well-educated, yet she had this chance to really strike
out on her own. This chance to be her own person, stand up on her own two
feet, as feminists encourage us all to do, be powerful on our own."
Couric: "But she was a lawyer, it's not as if she
stayed home while her husband pursued his political gains."
"Most women, Katie, I'm sure you can relate to this. Most women, you
know, wouldn't want their daughter to have to stand by a man all those
years in order get some payoff down the road. Most women don't get a
Senate seat at the end of that kind of life. They are abandoned, they're
destitute. They're certainly financially impaired but Hillary, it might
actually work for her!"
Couric fired back: "But I mean can you really
pretend to understand the complexities and dynamics of someone's marriage
and certainly she's not the first woman who has stayed with an unfaithful
Couric later argued:
"Let me ask you about running for Senate. I mean you criticize her
for glomming onto her husband and getting her political power from him,
now she's running for Senate, independently, would be elected, if she is
elected by the voters. Isn't she doing what you think she should've done
this week’s Time magazine, national correspondent Jack E. White, an
occasional panelist on Inside Washington, lamented the demise of Emerge
magazine which had run a "portrait of Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt
Jemima-style handkerchief on a 1993 cover." White admired how
"it crystallized the disgust that many African Americans had begun to
feel about the ultraconservative legal philosophy of the U.S. Supreme
Court’s only black member."
From the MRC’s
MagazineWatch, here’s the item on White’s diatribe:
Don’t think Time always disparages
negative campaigning. Jack E. White lamented "A Militant Voice
Silenced" -- the demise of Emerge, a liberal black monthly being
discontinued by a partnership including BET, which bought it from Time
Inc: "No matter what George Curry accomplishes during the remainder
of his journalistic career, he will be remembered for one thing: he was
the editor who slapped a portrait of Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt
Jemima-style handkerchief on a 1993 cover of Emerge magazine. That
shocking image outraged Thomas supporters, of course, but it crystallized
the disgust that many African Americans had begun to feel about the
ultraconservative legal philosophy of the U.S. Supreme Court’s only
black member." White wrote, "That’s the uncompromising voice
that made Emerge the nation’s best black newsmagazine for the past seven
Other items in the June
6 MagazineWatch by the MRC’s Paul Smith and Tim Graham about the June 12
1. All three news magazines featured
stories highlighting George W. Bush’s handling of the death penalty in
Texas and the growing movement supporting DNA testing to prove innocence
or guilt. Newsweek had a cover-story crusade, with Jonathan Alter
concluding, "if we can't do it right, then we must ask ourselves if
it's worth doing at all."
2. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff explored how the
no-controlling-legal-authority Justice Department fought over whether to
appoint an independent counsel in the fundraising scandal: "Just how
close did Gore come to an investigation that might have hurt his
presidential chances? Perilously close, it turns out." One staffer
thought Gore’s actions presented "a classic white-collar [crime]
3. Newsweek promoted a "knowledgeable expert" who thinks the
current missile-defense system is a "fraud." But they also
promoted the fraud that Ted Postol is "not ideologically
against" the idea of missile defense.
4. U.S. News owner Mort Zuckerman diverted his usual loving gaze at Bill
Clinton and criticized his Israel policy.
To read these items, as
posted by MRC Webmaster Andy Szul, go to:
Clinton has a "huge" fan in actress Christine Lahti, star of
Lifetime’s TV adaption of feminist Wendy Wasserstein’s play, An
American Daughter, about a woman who is treated unfairly by the political
process because of her gender. In an appearance on HBO’s Dennis Miller
Live last Friday to plug the movie, Lahti, probably best known for her
role until recently as a doctor on CBS’s Chicago Hope, proclaimed of
"I really think she is genuinely concerned and
thoughtful and compassionate about all people, and I think she’s a true,
earnest public servant."
MRC intern Michael
Ferguson transcribed the relevant portion of the June 2 interview on the
11:30pm ET live HBO show with Miller, who as first expresses doubts about
Hillary but is soon impressed by Lahti’s "cogent defense" of
"Now, what about if we do [elect a woman President], I guess the
person most people think will be, or could be the first woman president is
Christine Lahti: "Yeah."
Miller: "Now, I gather from, I think I’ve heard
you -- you’re a big Hillary fan?"
Lahti: "Huge. Huge. Yeah."
Miller: "No see, I’m so, uh, I’m so amazed
because you seem like such a bright, together woman. And, I-"
Lahti: "What’s up, what’s up with this
sentence? Come on."
Miller: "Is there not any part of you, and I
don’t mean this to be, any part of you that looks at her and thinks,
‘Craven careerist. Never really led a regular life. Does not know the
pain of the regular people. Got into a bureaucratic system early on.
Probably hasn’t bought her own dinner since the Grenoble Olympics.’ I
mean, is there any part of you that sees that about her? Because I try to
keep an open mind about Hillary Clinton, but I often see her talking to
these women about, ‘I know you story,’ and I think, well, have you
read Peggy Noonan’s velvet vivisection of Hillary Clinton?"
Miller: "Well, you have to read it. Now, Peggy
Noonan, I know she’s a Reagan speech writer, she probably has an agenda,
she seems to have a bit of territorial imperative about New York state,
she doesn’t want Hillary moving there, so she seems to have a bug up her
ass, maybe it’s a little jaded. But there’s also some salient points
about how, really, has this woman experienced a regular American woman’s
pain? Do you think that?"
Lahti: "Can I, can I just say one thing about
Hillary? I think she has a huge, genuine amount of compassion for people,
all people. And, as an actress, I can say I can play someone from a
trailer park. I haven’t lived that. I haven’t played someone who is,
who is uneducated, um, who, who is, um, on the poverty level, but I can
play that if I have true compassion and empathy for people. And I believe
she does. I really do. [Starts clapping.] She has it!"
Miller: "And all the people that defend her, no, I
am saying to you I have never heard a cogent defense of her. Like, the
people always get so zealous. They get into that Paul Begala thing where I
want to slap them and go, ‘Christ, what are you following these people
over the cliff for, you lemming?’ That actually-"
Lahti: "Does that make sense to you?"
Miller: "That makes sense to me."
Lahti: "Yeah, yeah."
Miller: "If at the core you believe there’s some
empathy, I’m not quite sure I see it-"
Lahti: "I do."
Miller: "I, I see it more from Bill than her,
because I think he’s led that down and out, sulfur springs, Arkansas
sort of life where he might understand the real folk. But I wonder about
Lahti: "Well, it’s interesting because Bill has
more of an expressive personality. He is more emotionally, you know,
expressive like, conventionally a woman would be. Hillary’s style is a
little more removed, but I think the goods are there. I really think she
is genuinely concerned and thoughtful and compassionate about all people,
and I think she’s a true, earnest public servant."
Here’s how the
Lifetime Web site summarized Lahti’s movie which debuted on Monday
"The conflicts facing working women today and the
unbridled power of the media take center stage in the new Lifetime
Original Movie, An American Daughter, written by Pulitzer Prize–winning
playwright Wendy Wasserstein. Actress Christine Lahti portrays Lyssa Dent
Hughes, a prominent physician whose life takes an abrupt turn when she
tries to dodge a routine call for jury duty. Lyssa, with the help of her
devoted husband (played by Tom Skerritt), fends off the tabloid frenzy --
and rediscovers herself in the process. By turns funny, maddening and
poignant, An American Daughter presents the trials and tribulations of
being successful and female in the new millennium, and reminds us what is
most important in life."
these upcoming repeat times:
Saturday, June 10 at 6pm ET/PT
Wednesday, June 14 at 9 pm ET/PT
Saturday, June 17 at 2 pm ET/PT
Sunday, June 25 at 12 pm ET/PT
thing I forgot to mention in the June 7 CyberAlert on the National
Enquirer photos of Bryant Gumbel and Matt Lauer getting lap dances from
transsexuals at a New York City "drag queen" restaurant: In one
photo, a bare-chested Bryant Gumbel and one of the he/she dancers in a
bikini both have a hand around an aerosol-type size can of what appears to
be whipped cream.
My question: Who
squirted first and where did they squirt?
As I wrote yesterday,
the June 13 issue of The National Enquirer is definitely worth the $2.69
price just to see these photos.
-- Brent Baker