CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Wednesday June 21, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 105) |
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Conservative vs. Conservative; Better Healthcare in Dominica; Loose Security at Los Alamos & Warned on E-Mail

1) Peter Jennings worried if rising gas prices "could put seats in peril and even Vice President Gore’s candidacy?"

2) How to get on TV if you’re conservative or Republican: criticize another of your own kind. The networks played up conservative criticism of the death penalty and of Senator Gordon Smith condemning his colleagues for opposing the hate crimes bill. NBC: He appealed to fellow "Christians to put down their stones."

3) Schedule surgery in Dominica? World News Tonight promoted a WHO study which put the U.S. in 37th place and claimed Dominica, Costa Rica and Oman, among others, provide a better health care system.

4) Two FNC exclusives: Los Alamos officials countermanded a panel’s recommendation and loosened security for nuclear information and a White House computer specialist contradicted Gore and contended the "White House was arrogant and incompetent" in ignoring repeated warnings about how e-mail could be lost.

5) Barbara Walters, the singing newswoman. On Tuesday’s The View, Walters sang the closing number from her late father’s New York City nightclub, The Latin Quarter.

6) Fill in the blank on the reasoning expressed by a Hollywood star: "I'd certainly rather have a [blank] than a bullet in the head." Think Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and a kneepad.

     >>> Cartoons online. Chuck Asay, an editorial cartoonist based at the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph whose work the MRC’s MediaWatch newsletter often printed because he frequently highlighted liberal media bias, has joined the MRC’s line-up of cartoonists. The editorial cartoons from Asay and five others can be seen at:
    For Asay’s cartoons, go to:
    Scroll down to the cartoons dated June 14 and June 1 to see his take on media bias on Bush and the death penalty as well as on the Million Mom March. <<<


It’s serious now. ABC and CBS led Tuesday night with high gas prices and who is to blame. After the World News Tonight story by Jackie Judd, ABC anchor Peter Jennings asked Cokie Roberts: "Do senior Democrats actually think that these prices could put seats in peril and even Vice President Gore’s candidacy?" Her ominous answer: "Yes."

    No wonder the networks are so concerned about it.


There’s one sure way for extremist conservatives to suddenly be considered insightful and expert assessors of policies: Bash other conservatives or Republicans who are pursuing policies with which the media disagree. Tuesday’s broadcast network newscasts delivered examples of this phenomenon in two issue areas: George W. Bush’s support for the death penalty and conservative opposition to the hate crimes bill passed by the Senate. When did you last see R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Pat Robertson and the writer of a National Review cover story all in one network news story about something other than a vast right-wing conspiracy?

    ABC’s Dean Reynolds insisted on June 20 that "Bush’s unwavering confidence that everyone on death row in Texas has been fairly tried" is "generating considerable controversy." He then trumpeted how "in the nation’s leading conservative publications there is now a suggestion that opposing the death penalty is consistent with conservative suspicion of big government."

    CBS’s Bob Schieffer and NBC’s Lisa Myers both highlighted Republican Senator Gordon Smith’s condemnation of his fellow Republicans for opposing the hate crimes bill. "A conservative Republican," Myers hailed, "appeals to fellow Republicans and Christians to put down their stones."

    -- Keeping up ABC’s drumbeat on behalf of Texas death row prisoner Gary Graham, Tuesday night ABC’s World News Tonight ran yet another piece from Dean Reynolds on how Bush is out of step in not backing off his support for capital punishment.

    Reynolds noted that Bush canceled a news conference, and then explained why: "Bush was heckled by death penalty opponents yesterday and exposing him to reporters’ questions this morning was certain to keep the death penalty front and center."

    In fact, as ABC’s story proved, the media didn’t need an excuse to continue harping on the story.

    Reynolds portrayed Bush as the one out of tune: "But it is Bush’s unwavering confidence that everyone on death row in Texas has been fairly tried and considered that is generating considerable controversy. And that is due in many ways to a very clear shift on the issue among some conservative leaders and opinion shapers who otherwise support Bush. When Governor George Ryan of Illinois, a Republican, stopped all executions in his state he was hailed as courageous. When conservative commentator Pat Robertson called for a nationwide moratorium it added pressure from a powerful Republican constituency."
    Robertson: "People are taking a second look at the death penalty. I don’t think the conservatives are opposed to capital punishment, but they don’t want innocent people to be executed."
    Reynolds: "And in the nation’s leading conservative publications there is now a suggestion that opposing the death penalty is consistent with conservative suspicion of big government."
    Carl Cannon, National Journal: "True conservatives don’t even trust the government to pick up the garbage. The dilemma for them is how can you trust government to do this most basic thing, life and death over its citizens, some of whom may be innocent?"

    (Reynolds failed to note why producers picked Cannon for a soundbite: He wrote a recent National Review article presenting the conservative case against capital punishment.)

    Reynolds continued: "And others say conservatives are joining a trend."
    R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Editor of The American Spectator, got a rare network opportunity: "I think there is a kind of growing disrelish with the death penalty, not just amongst American conservatives but I think amongst all Americans."
    Reynolds concluded: "Indeed, while polls show that Bush is still in the majority of Americans who embrace capital punishment, those same polls show something else -- that support for the death penalty is gradually but steadily declining."

    Thanks in part, no doubt, to misleading reporting about innocent people being put to death. The Texas system may have some procedural shortcomings on safeguards which some conservatives would like to correct, but the current media crusade is fueled by liberal political activists using Bush’s candidacy as a publicity hook for their cause.

    -- Bob Schieffer provided the so-called "Real Deal" on the CBS Evening News, this time about the Senate passage of a hate crimes bill.

    Following a soundbite from Trent Lott arguing current state laws are adequate, Schieffer celebrated a Republican defector:
    "But one of a handful of Republicans who supported the bill from the beginning, Oregon’s Gordon Smith, said there was another reason for the opposition."
    Smith at a press briefing: "Now, I want to be honest with you. If the word sexual orientation were not a part of this bill we wouldn’t even be having this debate."
    Schieffer helpfully explained: "Because Smith says many social conservatives believe any legislation favorably to gays threatens the traditional family and this legislation would allow the federal government to intervene in cases were victims are killed or injured because of race, gender or sexual orientation, cases such as the Wyoming beating death of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay student, and that of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death behind a truck in Texas."

    Schieffer ended his piece by running a soundbite from Ted Kennedy proclaiming the bill would ensure "equal protection of the law."

    In opening the NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw provided a hint of balance in introducing a much less balanced story:
    "Crimes motivated by hate. The murder of someone simply because they’re black or homosexual or worship a certain faith. Are those crimes the responsibility of the federal government or do they belong in state and local courts? This is an emotional issue before Congress tonight with President Clinton and Senator Ted Kennedy pushing hard to make it easier for federal prosecutors to try those crimes."

    Lisa Myers began the subsequent story with pro-bill spin:
    "The symbols are etched in our memory. The fence on which Matthew Shepard was left to die, the chain used to drag James Byrd to death. One black, the other gay, both victims of hate. Today after some 60,000 hate crimes over the last decade the Senate says enough."

    Viewers then saw a clip of Ted Kennedy declaring hate crimes are rooted in bigotry which must be eliminated. Myers noted how the bill to allow federal prosecution of crimes motivated by race, gender or sexual orientation passed 57 to 42. After a soundbite from Trent Lott, Myers went on:
    "And social conservatives say gays and others should not get special protection."
    Janet Parshall, Family Research Council: "I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would say this man’s death is more egregious than that man’s death."

    Myers then spent the rest of the story relaying the other side as she tagged Gordon Smith as "conservative" after having not labeled Ted Kennedy: "Others argue that hate crimes are worse because they’re meant to terrorize an entire group. A conservative Republican says the real stumbling block is that many in his party don’t want to appear to endorse homosexuality. Quoting the Bible, he appeals to fellow Republicans and Christians to put down their stones."
    Gordon Smith on Senate floor: "It’s time to say to the gay community, I don’t agree with you on everything, but I can help you on many things and particularly when it comes to violence."
    Myers: "Today’s vote is a personal victory for Matthew Shepard’s parents who spent more than a year lobbying Congress, beginning with this tearful plea last March."

    After that clip Myers concluded by noting how proponents have asked Bill Clinton to put his influence behind the bill as it goes to the House.


Next time you are ill, or if you ever are the victim of a serious disease, head to Oman, Dominica or Costa Rica. They all have better health care systems according to a study ABC publicized Tuesday night which put equal distribution of health services ahead of the quality of those health services.

    France finished first and Italy second in the World Health Organization (WHO) survey of health care systems heralded on the June 20 World News Tonight. WHO put the United States in 37th place. John McKenzie began his report by acknowledging that the U.S. spends the most on health care at $4,000 per person and has the best equipment and scientific research, but was still ranked behind Spain at 7, Oman at 8, Ireland at 19, Dominica at 35 and Costa Rica at 36.

    Why? WHO Dr. Christopher Murray said health care must reach all a nation’s citizens. McKenzie explained: "And in the U.S. that includes serving Native Americans living on reservations, African-Americans in rural parts of the Mississippi Delta, the poor of the inner-cities."
    Murray: "If millions of Americans are suffering from health conditions that are characteristic of sub-Saharan Africa that’s a clear limitation of the performance of the U.S. health care system."
    McKenzie: "Where health conditions are good in the United States the report found that the financial burden is often much higher than in many other countries."
    Murray: "Too many Americans are forced to pay a large fraction of their income in a year to pay their medical bills because they don’t have insurance."
    McKenzie: "Most of the countries that did well in this report are more aggressive than the United States in preventing illness. For example:"
    Professor Gerald Anderson, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: "They will have greater immunizations which will mean less infectious disease."
    McKenzie concluded: "This report finds that while the U.S. health care system excels at treating the seriously ill it does not do nearly as well on programs to keep people healthy, that overall Americans are not getting good value for their money."

    Bottom line, where do you think the WHO doctors want to have their surgery: in Dominica, Oman, Costa Rica or the U.S.?


Los Alamos lab officials countermanded a panel’s recommendation and loosened security for nuclear information and a White House computer specialist contended the "White House was arrogant and incompetent" in ignoring repeated warnings about how e-mail could be lost. His comments, FNC’s Rita Cosby noted, "contradict what the Vice President and his staff have said."

    Those revelations came in two exclusive stories on the Fox News Channel Tuesday night, June 20. Each ran on both the 6pm ET/9pm PT Special Report with Brit Hume and, in reverse order, on the 7pm ET Fox Report.

    Taking them in the sequence presented on Hume’s show, Brian Wilson recalled how in 1995 Bill Clinton signed an executive order to reduce secrecy, a move, Wilson noted, some say led to a lax attitude at the Los Alamos lab.

    Wilson outlined what FNC discovered: "1997, in response to the President’s directive, then Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary appointed a panel to recommend ways the DOE could declassify some of its information, much of it dating back to the Nevada nuclear tests of the 1940s. But in a final report the panel surprised many with what became known as the ‘high fences passage,’ a suggestion that ‘strict and perhaps higher levels of security be maintained around the more sensitive material.’ In forceful language the panel agreed a suggestion to increase security around what is known as Sigma 14 and 15 nuclear information ‘is valid and in fact should be treated as an imperative.’ Ultimately the panel recommended ‘reclassifying this sensitive information to Top Secret.’
    "But Fox News has discovered that official at the Los Alamos lab did just the opposite. In June of 1997 the chief of the lab’s counter-intelligence unit issued a directive stating: ‘Classified matter containing Sigma 15 information may now be removed from formal accountability.’ In other words, employees at the lab were no longer required to sign out, track and keep tabs of Sigma 15 information. And the hard drives were classified at level Sigma 15."

    Next, Rita Cosby picked up on information divulged by Judicial Watch and followed-up by talking to Howard Sparks, who has been a White House employee since 1987. In a live stand-up she relayed what he told her:
    "He’s a computer specialist and he told me that since 1993 he has told his bosses, some of whom work directly for Vice President Al Gore, that for legal reasons a back up system had to be put in place or valuable e-mails would be wiped out. He said quote, ‘The White House was arrogant and incompetent and ignored obvious warning signs that these e-mails could be lost.’"

    Cosby pointed out how "Sparks’s comments contradict what the Vice President and his staff have said. Recently the Vice President’s office said it lost e-mails from 1997 and 1998 that were ordered to be turned over in a subpoena. Some of those e-mails discussed Monica Lewinsky and campaign finance issues and some Republicans allege that the Vice President’s office intentionally deleted them. Now in recent weeks the Vice President and also his staff have said that they were not aware of any problems with the e-mail system nor were they aware of any back up systems that could have been placed to save them."

    One more example of how the Fox News Channel really does deliver a different kind of news product.


Barbara Walters, the singing newswoman. Tuesday on ABC’s daytime talk show, The View, Walters reminisced with former Latin Quarter singers and dancers about the New York City nightclub her late father, Lou Walters, ran in the 1940s and 1950s. Then, after a couple of dance routines by retired club performers, accompanied on piano by the club’s former music director, Walters sang The Latin Quarter’s traditional closing number.

    You have to hear it to appreciate it, so MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a clip, in RealPlayer format, on Wednesday as soon as I can get the tape to him. The show is not on the MRC’s regular taping schedule, but I got a tape in at the CyberAlert overnight newsroom (aka my home) in time to catch the performance from Walters when Washington’s ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV, which delays The View until 2:05am the next morning, played the show. Late morning Wednesday ET, go to the MRC home page and the video should be up:

    An hour-long show, The View runs on most ABC stations in the late morning and is hosted by former CBS 60 Minutes reporter Meredith Viera and former NBC News reporter Star Jones as well as another woman whose name I now cannot recall. Walters pops in two or three times a week to gab, as she did Tuesday to plug her Friday 20/20 interview with Al and Tipper Gore and to talk about the cookie recipes submitted to the Ladies Home Journal by Laura Bush and Tipper Gore.


Sometimes it’s hard to decipher the reasoning of a Hollywood actor, or even what he is talking about. [Those uncomfortable with vulgar or slang terminology for an oral sex act should read no further.]

    Those intrigued, stay with me. This quote combines a favorable view of oral sex with a disgust for those who are against gun control. I think. I’m solid on the former, a bit unsure on the latter.

    MRC news analyst Paul Smith came across the following quote, listed without any headline or topic, in the June 14 edition of the "CyberTalk" column in "EW Daily" on the Entertainment Weekly magazine’s Web site:
    "Americans seem to be more comfortable with a gun in their hands than their genitals, and that's something that really just blows my mind. I'd certainly rather have a blow job than a bullet in the head. And you can quote me on that!"

    Entertainment Weekly’s attribution for the insight: "Emilio Estevez, who plays a porn peddler in Showtime's Rated X."

    I’d be more comfortable if the Hollywood Left ceased analyzing politics through the same activity that got their hero, Bill Clinton, into a bit of trouble. -- Brent Baker



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