Furniture Removal Barely Noted; Bush Rebuked for Hyping Bad News; Reagan’s Legacy: Crack; Maher "Proud" of Harris Murder Joke
1) CBS gave 19 seconds Wednesday night to how the Clintons have
decided to return furniture donated to the White House, not them personally.
NBC aired a full story earlier this week, but ABC’s World News Tonight and
CBS’s The Early Show have yet to touch it.
2) ABC, NBC and the cable networks, but not CBS, picked up on
questions about Clinton’s pardon of Glenn Braswell, a man presently being
investigated for fresh crimes.
3) ABC’s Betsy Stark rebuked President Bush for using
"every new piece of bad news to promote his big tax cut" while in
reality "not all the news is bad."
4) Katie Couric pressed Interior Secretary Gale Norton from the
left. She wondered: "Why would you want to have a job that would force you
to enforce laws you really don't believe in?" Couric also raised a liberal
distortion meant to imply she’s a racist: "You likened your struggle to
preserve states rights to the cause of the Confederacy..."
5) On his 90th birthday the networks treated Ronald Reagan with
respect they never displayed during his time in office. NBC’s Jim
Miklaszewski acknowledged: "Today, 12 years after leaving the White House,
the Reagan legacy is still going strong."
6) ABC’s Bill Maher declared that "the Cold War was so
much more won by Harry Truman at the beginning and Gorbachev at the end than
Ronald Reagan." Michael Moore claimed: "He gave weapons to the
Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the Contras, which then helped
bring a crack epidemic into the United States."
7) Bill Maher boasted that he is "proud" that his
joke, about how "America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered
Katherine Harris," had hurt her personally.
8) Letterman’s "Top Ten" focused on a revelation
skipped Wednesday night by ABC and NBC: "Top Ten Things Overheard During
the Gore/Clinton Fight."
Correction: The February 7 CyberAlert Special quoted the lyrics to a song
about emptying a litter box sung by Ted Koppel on Monday’s Tonight Show. I
noted I wasn’t sure about the last two words in the third line and several
readers have e-mailed with a more accurate sounding transcription for the third
line: "Doin’ it all with style and elan."
gave 19 seconds on Wednesday night to the decision by the Clintons to return
furniture donated not to them personally, but to the White House. That’s 19
seconds more though than allocated by ABC. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian
Williams also briefly mentioned the development, but NBC, unlike CBS and ABC,
had run a full story on Monday night about the situation, a story which also
ran on MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams. (For details about the improper
removal and coverage of it, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010206.asp#4)
ABC doesn’t have much of an excuse for its ongoing
spiking of the story first revealed in Monday’s Washington Post. On Wednesday
night, despite multiple stories prompted by the White House shooting, World
News Tonight found time for a "Medicine on the Cutting Edge" story
about a new relaxation technique to ease the stress on the heart and a full
report on how cold water is killing manatees off the Florida coast.
In the morning, the Clinton reallocation of furniture
earned a sentence on Tuesday’s Good Morning America on ABC and a full story
on NBC’s Today that morning. Through Wednesday morning, MRC analyst Brian
Boyd observed, not a word about it had appeared on CBS’s Early Show.
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News Dan Rather read this
19-second item: "Former President Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton
today returned $28,000 worth of furnishings they took when they left the White
House last month. They say they thought the sofas, rugs and other items were
meant as personal gifts but decided to return them after questions were raised
about whether some were actually meant for the White House collection."
pardon silenced in the morning and by CBS in the morning and at night. On
Tuesday night ABC and NBC, as well as the three cable news channels, all aired
full stories about another questionable pardon issued by Bill Clinton which was
first exposed in this week’s U.S. News & World Report. Neither the ABC or
NBC story appeared the next morning on GMA or Today.
ABC’s Jackie Judd on the February 6 World News Tonight
and Pete Williams on the NBC Nightly News outlined the facts of the strange
pardon by President Clinton on January 20 of Glenn Braswell, operator of a
company which sold fraudulent herbal remedies to correct hair loss. In 1983 he
was convicted of mail fraud, perjury and tax evasion and is currently under
investigation for money laundering and tax evasion. The White House failed to
give the Justice Department enough time to review the case so they were not
able to warn of the present probe. While there are no known ties between
Braswell and Clinton, his lawyer is Kendell Coffey of Gore Florida fame. Pete
Williams concluded: "Tonight, government officials say the Clinton White
House sent so few documents the Justice Department doesn’t even have an
address for where to send the pardon."
Stark rebuked President Bush for using "every new piece of bad news to
promote his big tax cut" while in reality "not all the news is
bad" and the owner of a store which he used as a venue to promote his tax
cut has seen "no signs of a slowdown."
ABC anchor Peter Jennings set up the February 6 World
News Tonight story caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "There was bad
news for what was a dot com success story not long ago. Etoys says it will run
out of cash in six weeks and Cisco Systems, the world's number one maker of
computer networking equipment, is reporting slipping sales. Betsy Stark is with
us today. It's the kind of news that gets the President's attention, is it
Stark bemoaned: "That's right, Peter, because he
seems to like to use every new piece of bad news to promote his big tax cut.
The important thing to know, however, is that not all the news is bad. The
President's message today at a Washington area toy store is that businesses and
consumers need a tax cut right away. He has said it repeatedly....But today the
owner of that toy store told ABC News she sees no signs of a slowdown in her
mainly pressed Interior Secretary Gale Norton from the left during a Tuesday
morning interview on NBC’s Today. Couric wondered: "Why would you want
to have a job that would force you to enforce laws you really don't believe
in?" Couric also raised a liberal distortion meant to imply she’s a
racist: "You likened your struggle to preserve states rights to the cause
of the Confederacy saying....Do you wish now that perhaps you hadn't used the
example of slavery in your defense of states rights or do you think that speech
was blown out of proportion."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Couric’s
February 6 questions:
-- "You describe yourself as a compassionate
conservationist. What exactly does that mean?"
-- "But on the other hand you also believe in economics
and, and sort of providing land owners and industry with, with some degree of
protection as well, correct?"
-- "You know one of the first projects or your first
projects will be to present President Bush with a plan to explore and drill for
oil in the arctic national wildlife refuge. That's a place that could hold as
much as 16 billion barrels according to government estimates. Needless to say
environmentalists vigorously oppose this plan saying it will spoil a pristine
region on the Beaufort Sea. What is your response or how do you react to the
concern by these environmentalists that this is absolutely going to spoil that
-- "But if it threatens the environment in any way
Secretary Norton will you resist drilling?"
-- "In his final weeks in office, as you well know,
President Clinton made huge tracts of federal land further protected from
mining and other use by making them national monuments. Do you have any plans
to roll back any of these protections and if so why?"
-- "In fact you were slightly chagrined were you not
that President Clinton did not consult with, with local residents before making
-- "During your confirmation hearings or during the
process those who opposed you said you were too pro-industry and criticized the
fact that you did once favor a change in federal law that would allow polluters
to avoid legal trouble if they in fact came forward themselves and cleaned up
the mess. Some would argue that puts, simply puts too much trust in industry.
That they would have the courage to come forward and say, 'hey we're polluting
we'd like to take care of the problem ourselves.'"
-- "It's my understanding though that the EPA
overturned that law is that no correct?"
-- "During your confirmation hearing you said you felt
comfortable enforcing environmental laws as they are written, even though you
disagreed with some of those laws in the past. Why would you want to have a job
that would force you to enforce laws you really don't believe in?"
-- "You know another thing that you came under fire for
during the confirmation process was a speech that you made to a conservative
group. You likened your struggle to preserve states rights to the cause of the
Confederacy saying quote, 'We lost too much when the South was defeated in the
civil war.' Do you wish now that perhaps you hadn't used the example of slavery
in your defense of states rights or do you think that speech was blown out of
On his 90th
birthday the networks treated Ronald Reagan with respect they never displayed
during his time in office. On Tuesday night ABC’s World News Tonight aired an
upbeat story about Reagan’s 50-year pen-pan letter writing with a woman in
Philadelphia and on Monday and Tuesday night NBC Nightly News featured excerpts
of an interview by Tom Brokaw with Nancy Reagan about her husband’s condition
and impact on America.
Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News also carried a admirable
piece by Jim Miklaszewski on how Reagan’s legacy is alive and still having an
impact. Miklaszewski suggested:
"Today, 12 years after leaving the White House, the
Reagan legacy is still going strong. In fact, even today, here at the new Bush
White House you can still hear the distinct political battle cries of the
Reagan revolution. George W. Bush campaigned on some of the very issues Reagan
first pushed twenty years ago."
Miklaszewski proceeded to list tax cuts, strong defense
and missile defense as well as privatizing Social Security.
Maher showed no such respect for Ronald Reagan during Tuesday’s Politically
Incorrect taped at Howard University in Washington, DC. Maher declared that
"the Cold War was so much more won by Harry Truman at the beginning and
Gorbachev at the end than Ronald Reagan." Reagan talked while Clinton took
action Maher claimed, asserting "it was Bill Clinton who actually
did" eliminate deficits and welfare.
On the same show attended by several MRC staffers,
including Jessica Anderson who compiled these quotes, left-wing gadfly Michael
Moore, a man who has hosted prime time shows on NBC, Fox and Bravo, spewed:
"He gave weapons to the Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the
Contras, which then helped bring a crack epidemic into the United States.
That’s what Ronald Reagan did and that’s his legacy!"
Setting up the segment on Reagan’s legacy prompted by
his 90th birthday, Politically Incorrect host Maher contended:
"Let’s talk about Ronald Reagan. It is his 90th
birthday today and this is a big event for Washington DC. And of course, the
ex-President did some good things, but you know, to me, a lot of Republicans
have two blind spots: their hatred of Bill Clinton and their deification of
Ronald Reagan. You know, when it comes to Ronald Reagan, they’re like the
doting parents of an eight-year-old -- everything he does is remarkable. He
singlehandedly won the Cold War, which is, that’s the one that gets me the
most. The Cold War was so much more won by Harry Truman at the beginning and
Gorbachev at the end than Ronald Reagan."
Moore jumped in: "Personally, the problem with
Reagan, as I see it, is that he was the beginning of the depleting of the
political gene pool, when Americans settled for somebody who really wasn’t
and shouldn’t have been in that office, wasn’t quite there all the time.
And once you settle for a Ronald Reagan, then it’s easy to settle for a
George Bush, and once you settle for a George Bush, and once you settle for
Bush I, then it’s real easy to settle for Bush II. You know, this should
evolution, instead it’s de-evolution. What’s next?...Here’s what Reagan
did: He gave weapons to the Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the
Contras, which then helped bring a crack epidemic into the United States.
That’s what Ronald Reagan did and that’s his legacy! That’s his
Maher soon returned to his original theme: "You
know, usually we wait until someone is long gone, so history can make a
judgment, before they want to put him on Mount Rushmore, on a coin, on a
license plate. In other words, Ronald Reagan should jump ahead of George
Washington and Abraham Lincoln onto the license plate....But you know what, as
I said, I mean, to give credit to Reagan for ending the Cold War because he was
there at the end, when it was really the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the
Cuban Missile Crisis, and Gorbachev....But when it came to things he just
talked about, like eliminating the deficits and eliminating welfare, it was
Bill Clinton who actually did those things."
Pride in a
murder joke. Bill Maher is "proud" that his joke, about how
"America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine
Harris," had hurt her personally. His boast came during a February 2
interview on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports noticed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth.
The joke in question occurred on the November 30
Politically Incorrect on ABC. Maher’s line in full: "Now earlier today,
a rental truck carried a half a million ballots from Palm Beach to the Florida
Supreme Court there in Tallahassee. CNN had live helicopter coverage from the
truck making its way up the Florida highway, and for a few brief moments,
America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris."
To view a RealPlayer clip of Maher telling it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2000/Fax20001201qt.html
During a January 11 Prime Time Thursday interview,
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris told ABC’s Diane Sawyer:
"Perhaps the most difficult moment was when one person said they were
disappointed the Ryder truck, that everyone was watching on TV, that O.J.
Simpson hadn’t murdered me, or something like that." Sawyer then played
a partial clip of Maher’s joke: "And for a few brief moments, America
held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris." Harris
commented: "That was not pleasant."
Now to CNN last Friday night. Wolf Blitzer asked Maher:
"Is it ever, do you ever go too far in your jokes on Politically Incorrect
and you say to yourself: 'Well, maybe I pushed the envelop a little bit too
Maher replied: "Yes. But, you know, that's what being
on the edge means. Unless you fall off a little once in a while, how do you
know where the edge is? I don't know if you're referring to, I saw Katherine
Harris on some, I think it was an ABC show a couple of weeks ago, complaining
that what hurt her most about the whole ordeal that she went through, never
mind that most of it was self-inflicted, was a joke that we did here. And I
must say I was proud."
Blitzer: "What was that joke?"
Maher: "Well, it was something to do with when that
Ryder truck, remember, was going up the highway to Tallahassee, and it was like
the slow speed chase that we watched a few years ago with you-know-who."
Blitzer: "With O.J."
Maher: "Yeah. And it was something along the lines of
hoping O.J. was gonna kill her."
Blitzer: "Oh, well, that sounds pretty rough."
Maher: "Well, Wolf, if you'd like me to come over there
and hold your hand, I can. You'll get over it."
It’s more like Maher can’t get over Bush’s victory.
Earlier, Maher admitted voting for Ralph Nader. Blitzer
queried: "You know, for those of us who watch your program regularly, you
obviously come across with sort of a tendency towards being a liberal. I don't
know if you voted for Ralph Nader or didn't vote for Ralph Nader, but-"
Maher: "I did".
Blitzer: "But the word is that you did, obviously. Was
that a mistake now that you've seen of the people who are going to be in the
Cabinet? I'm sure that Ralph Nader is not happy that Gale Norton is going to be
the Interior Secretary, John Ashcroft the Attorney General."
Maher: "Yeah, well, that's the party line. First of
all, you know, I would object to being called a liberal. I'm a Libertarian.
That's a little different. And I know Ralph Nader isn't. The point was to vote
for someone who didn't make me cringe. And I felt like I accomplished that. Is
the Bush Cabinet environmentally unsound? Yes."
"Top Ten Things Overheard During the Gore/Clinton Fight." (Neither
ABC or CBS on Wednesday night touched a Washington Post story which recounted
how in mid-December Al Gore and Bill Clinton had an argument over who was to
blame for Gore’s loss. CNN, FNC and MSNBC all ran pieces and the NBC Nightly
News aired a story on it by Lisa Myers who outlined the case made by each side:
Gore blaming Clinton’s lying; Clinton blaming Gore for not touting
Clinton’s achievements and for poor performances during the debates.)
Now, from the February 7 Late Show with David Letterman,
the "Top Ten Things Overheard During the Gore/Clinton Fight."
Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "What's on your mind, loser -- I mean, Al?"
9. "You cannot tell by the emotionless tone of my voice, but I am very,
very ticked off"
8. "You lost to a guy dumber than my brother"
7. "Is that all you got? Hell, Hillary hits harder than that"
6. "If there were an unstained place on the carpet, I'd wrestle you
5. "Is your face red because you're angry or are you wearing that debate
4."I won't stay long -- I know you're very, very busy pardoning fugitive
3. "Don't throw the chair -- I'm planning to steal it for my new
2. "So, basically I'm not President because of some fat girl"
1. "Al, take it from someone who knows -- you really, really need to get
From the Late Show Web site, some of the "also
ran" extra entries which didn’t make the final cut:
-- "Would you please ask her to stop doing that while I'm talking to
-- "I pretended to be sorry, Al -- isn't that enough?"
-- "You want a definition for 'is'? My foot 'is" gonna be up your
-- "If you could've gotten all the women you slept with to vote, I
would've won in a landslide"
I especially like the last "extra" one as well
as #6 and #3.