CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Friday June 30, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 111) |
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"F***ing Idiot" Outburst by Gumbel; Donaldson Also Dissed a Conservative

1) A CBS camera on Thursday seemed to have caught a disgusted Bryant Gumbel blurting out "What a fucking idiot" just after wrapping up a hostile interview with Robert Knight of the Family Research Council about how the Boy Scouts exclude gays.

2) Robert Knight had a bad day Thursday. ABC News dropped him from Sam Donaldson's noontime Webcast show because a liberal refused to appear with him.

3) "Hollywood celebrities are not pleased with the American Investigator newsmagazine show called Amazon Rainforest: Clear-cutting the Myths." Watch it tonight on a station near you.

4) A rundown of the table of contents for the June 30 CyberAlert sent earlier today, but which may have not been seen by AOLers.

Corrections for the June 30 CyberAlert, distributed earlier today: -- It contained an error in an item pointing out a New York Times mistake, MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey noticed. The CyberAlert stated: "The New York Times created a 27th Amendment, referring to the GOP preference to talk about partial-birth abortion instead of 'suggesting overturning the Constitutional amendment allowing abortion.'" While there is no amendment allowing abortion, there is a 27th Amendment. Originally proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992, it states: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened." I had relied on a pre-1992 college textbook.
-- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's first name was twice misspelled with two Ls.
-- Item #4 dropped the last name of actor Andy Garcia.


[WARNING. This item contains a vulgarity. To avoid it, skip to today's item #2.]

     A CBS camera seems to have caught a disgusted Bryant Gumbel blurting out "What a fucking idiot" just after wrapping up a hostile interview with Robert Knight of the Family Research Council (FRC). The incident occurred at about 7:15am ET Thursday, June 29 following Knight's appearance to defend the Boy Scout policy of excluding gays from being leaders, a policy the Supreme Court had re-affirmed the day before.

     Gumbel's hostile reception for Knight had followed a much kinder approach to a representative of Planned Parenthood who had come aboard to support the Court's ruling overturning a law which banned partial-birth abortions.

     Here's the how and when on Gumbel's vulgar insult, or at least what looked like one. Immediately after the interview, Gumbel threw the show to weather guy Mark McEwen outside. McEwen joked about his Survivor prediction: "A week ago, Bryant, remember Bryant I told you Dirk was going to get thrown off the island. I was a week late, one week late."

     CBS then switched back to Gumbel inside, probably for his reaction to McEwen's quip, but instead viewers got about two seconds of Gumbel leaning forward to get up and out of his chair as he uttered: "What a fucking idiot." The first two words are audible and clear, the second two are inaudible but you can read his lips.

     CBS quickly cut back to McEwen with the weather.

     +++ Check it out for yourself, or at least as well as you can in the small RealPlayer screen. The MRC's Eric Pairel and Brandon Rytting now have a clip, of the end of the Gumbel/Knight interview, up on the MRC home page. Go to:

     To follow news about FRC's demand for an explanation from CBS, check out the MRC's

     Here's a more complete rundown of the interview, courtesy of MRC analyst Brian Boyd:

     Only Gumbel's first two questions were not hostile: "Your organization filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the Scouts, why are you applauding this decision?"
     And: "Does the ruling allow Scouts to ban only gay Scout leaders or any would-be Scout who happens to be gay?"

     Knight answered: "Well it's about behavior, Bryant. When you say who is gay and who isn't, it's how it manifests itself. It basically says there's no place in the Boy Scouts for homosexuality. You know if you look at the big picture we have a critical shortage in America of boys who are growing up to be mature husbands and fathers. The Scouts play a crucial role in molding boys into manhood. You can't have homosexuality in the Boy Scouts because it steers their sexuality into completely non-productive and actually dangerous direction."
     At this point Gumbel's personal view became clear: "Dangerous directions?"

     Knight: "Homosexuality takes years off men's lives. The International Journal of Epidemiology said that a homosexual man at age 20 is likely to lose seven to 20 years off his life-span."
     Gumbel talked over Knight: "Mr. Knight, scouting is supposed to be. "Wait, wait, wait, scouting is supposed to be about values. It's supposed to be about truth and honesty. Why does one's sexuality have to play a part in this?"
     Knight: "Because sex has everything to do with morality. You can't have sexual activities without making moral decisions. It's not like race, skin color, ethnicity, whether you're white or black has no moral implications. What you do sexually says a lot about your moral character. That's why we have marital vows, that's why we channel sex into marriage, it's very important because-"
     Gumbel cut him off: "But James Dale, the young man who was at the heart of this, was an exemplary Scout leader for many years. One who brought honor to the institution of Scouting, exemplified its ideals. What did he do to merit exclusion?"
     Knight: "Well, he came out as a gay activist. He marched in a parade and once he did that he crossed the line. He said I don't agree with-"
     Gumbel jumped in: "Did he become immoral?"
     Knight: "No, he was exemplary. Because of the Scouts ban on homosexuality-"
     Gumbel demanded: "Did he become immoral?"
     Knight: "Pardon?"
     Gumbel: "Did he become immoral?"
     Knight: "I believe he acted immorally by saying, 'I'm going to impose my vision of sexuality on the Scouts and use the power of law to do so.' That's not a friendly act."
     Gumbel sarcastically asked: "Mr. Knight, is scouting any safer or purer today by the decision to exclude gays?"
     Knight: "Oh, I think it's a little safer, but I do worry that the Scouts now will be under fierce attack by people who think homosexuality is OK for boys to engage in. And they'll be pushing the Scouts out of public buildings and the public ought to be defending the Scouts fiercely. They have a right to treat this issue that seriously."
    Gumbel ended the interview: "Robert Knight, got to let that stop there. Thank you."

     And at this point CBS went to Mark McEwen with the weather and what is described above occurred with Gumbel seeming to say: "What a fucking idiot."

     Now, forgetting even Gumbel's parting shot, compare the tone of his interview with Knight to how he treated Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt. Here are all of his inquiries, some of which were prompts for her to enlarge on her agenda:

     -- "This ruling is being hailed as the most important abortion decision in the last eight years, why is it so crucial?"
     -- "These D&X and D&E procedures are controversial, they are in the minds of many especially brutal. They are also banned in, there are laws relating to them in 29 other states. What does this decision say about those other laws in those other states?"
     -- "Congress has three times in the past five years tried to pass a federal ban on these D&X these D&E procedures, are you at all concerned this victory may prove a temporary one?"
     -- "Quick note, in another abortion related decision the Court gave states greater leeway to restrict anti-abortion demonstrations outside of health clinics. Dealt a double defeat by the court how do you now expect the opponents of abortion to regroup and try to regain the footing they lost yesterday?"
     -- "Just a quick note, George W. Bush was in favor of banning those so-called partial-birth abortions, Al Gore was not."


Robert Knight had a bad day Thursday. After being insulted by Bryant Gumbel, ABC News dropped him from Sam Donaldson's noontime Webcast show because a liberal gay activist group refused to appear with him.

     Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis at the MRC, learned of ABC's cancellation and quizzed Sam Donaldson about it. He put what he learned into a Media Reality Check fax report distributed this afternoon. Here's an excerpt of the report, "Conservative Expert Robert Knight Gets Dissed by CBS, Cancelled by," picking up after Tim described the Gumbel incident:

But CBS isn't the only network that had a problem with Knight. producers asked for Knight to appear on yesterday's edition of the daily Sam Donaldson Internet program. FRC publicist Kristin Hansen was told Knight would appear with a representative of the gay left group Lambda Legal Defense Fund.

Hansen said she told ABC producers, "I just want to warn you that when Lambda finds out they're going to debate the Family Research Council, they'll demand that you drop us." The next morning, with the show slated for an 11:20 taping, and the ABC-ordered limousine idling on the street, ABC called to cancel. "It was like a half-hour before the show, and I get the call that 'Lambda won't go on with you. And in fact, we found James Dale [the gay man who sued the Boy Scouts with Lambda]'. I said I can't believe you're allowing your show to be dictated by your guests. You're completely stacking the deck."

When we called ABC for comment, Sam Donaldson called back, and he confirmed that they granted Lambda's last-minute demand. "This was about James Dale and his case. And we booked James Dale and the Lambda attorney. I can't do the show on James Dale without James Dale."

When asked if the FRC would be invited on next week to take the other side of the case, Donaldson said "No. Our show had three clips from an executive of the Boy Scouts we had interviewed." He added, "I don't know much about the Family Council [sic], I have my staff helping me here. I cannot control the way Lambda feels."

When Donaldson was asked if it would serve viewers to inform them of Lambda's dump-FRC demands, since he told viewers the Boy Scouts declined to appear, Donaldson said that might be warranted if Lambda had refused to appear with any opponent. "They did not say that. They said they wouldn't appear with this particular group. They said a Boy Scout attorney would be fine."

Since his case drew national attention in 1998, Dale has made six network morning show appearances, and only one of them featured an adversary (Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas on January 3, 1999). This is part of a pattern. Of the morning show segments on gay rights in 1993, the largest year for TV news stories on homosexuality (756 network morning, evening, and magazine show stories), the networks invited 69 gay-rights advocates to only 23 opponents. In 1995, the ratio was 13 to 3.

FRC's Hansen explained that Knight appeared on CBS because of a booking pinch: James Dale had been booked by The Early Show, but he backed out for higher ratings at ABC's Good Morning America.

END Excerpt


Tonight on independent TV stations across America:

"Amazon Rainforest: Clear-cutting the Myths," produced by Marc Morano of the American Investigator newsmagazine show. Morano's the one to whom actor Chevy Chase insisted socialism and free markets work together "and I think Cuba might prove that." To see a clip of that interview via RealPlayer, go to:

     Here's an item about tonight's show as lifted from Greg Pierce's "Inside Politics" column in the June 28 Washington Times:

Hollywood celebrities are not pleased with the American Investigator newsmagazine show called "Amazon Rainforest: Clear-cutting the Myths."

The syndicated television program, which is due to air at 10 p.m. Friday, says the Amazon rain forest is one of the most intact and least endangered forests on the planet, and suggests that Hollywood celebrities such as Robin Williams, Diana Ross, Elton John, and Sting are duping the public with their benefit concerts and other fundraisers.

"We interview the tribal leaders who have contempt for environmental activists and celebrities because they feel exploited by them," says Marc Morano, a reporter for the program. The Amazon special airs on WTMW Channel 14 on most Washington-area cable outlets. More information is available at

     END Excerpt

     WTMW-TV is on channel 14 out of Arlington, Virginia and it will air at 10pm local time tonight, June 30. For a list of stations across the country carrying the show at 10pm ET tonight, go to:

     For those running it at 9pm ET tonight, go to:


The articles in the June 30 CyberAlert from earlier today. Because I miscalculated its length, AOL and CompuServe turned today's CyberAlert into an attached file which I fear some may have been fearful of opening. The two services convert any e-mail over 30k and today's CyberAlert came in at 30.3k. It's perfectly safe to open, but you can also now read the items online now thanks the MRC's Eric Pairel if you did not open the attached file:

1) "They are exercising for the first time in seven months the opportunity to live really in freedom as a family," a Castro deputy claimed in comments highlighted by NBC's Jim Avila who then blamed the U.S. for making life "difficult" for Cubans.
Go to:

2) Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen took advantage of her guest spot on CNBC's Rivera Live to scold NBC's Jim Avila for his "incredibly nauseating" pro-Castro propaganda in the guise of news reporting.
Go to:

3) Dateline NBC painted a glowing picture of what awaits Elian. Keith Morrison insisted: "Elian is more likely to become a healthy adult in Cuba than in any other Third World country." Elian will enjoy Cuba's "universal free education" and the Pioneers are "very much like the Cub Scouts, camping trips and all."
Go to:

4) The New York Times created a 28th Amendment, referring to the GOP preference to talk about partial-birth abortion instead of "suggesting overturning the Constitutional amendment allowing abortion."
Go to:

A busier than usual pre-holiday Friday. We are a little short-handed today, so didn't get up the video of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen taking on NBC's Jim Avila. Will try to get that up next week. -- Brent Baker



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