Malaria, Drought & Drowning; No Estate Tax, No Food for Poor; New Clinton Whopper Omitted; FNC Noticed Media Interest in Homeless
1) The end is near. Dan Rather led Monday's CBS Evening News by
hyping a UN report on the dire impact of global warming, "the forecast
from Hell" of droughts, drowning and malaria. Peter Jennings focused on
fear "there will be potentially enormous loss of life, greater risk of
disease and the extinction of entire species."
2) No estate tax, no food for the poor. CBS highlighted a soup
kitchen, "exactly the kind of faith-based service President Bush sees
reducing government's role as a safety net. But Father Bill says while the
President is asking charities to do more, he's proposing they do it with less
by eliminating the estate tax."
3) ABC's Good Morning America dedicated a segment Friday
morning to giving time to William Gates Sr. to make the case for why the estate
tax should not be repealed.
4) The CBS and NBC evening shows let Bill Clinton get away with
the whopper in his New York Times op-ed about how three Republican lawyers
"reviewed and advocated" the Marc Rich pardon.
5) Larry King, who appears in the frequently-played video
showing Denise Rich handing a saxophone to Bill Clinton, explained he was just
hosting a charity event for cancer research.
6) When Bill Clinton wanted to vent to a member of the media
last week he naturally chose Geraldo Rivera who dedicated his CNBC show to
relaying Clinton's anger. Rivera seriously maintained: "The only lie he
told was to his wife and to us about it."
7) CBS changed Bill Clinton's statement by correcting his
grammar. Clinton stated "any suggestion...are false." Reporter Phil
Jones's correction still allowed Clinton to avoid the word "is."
8) Two Fox News Channel shows picked up on how the MRC pointed
out the media's sudden re-discovery of homelessness since a Republican
re-entered the White House.
9) Jack Quinn suggested raising the dead to lobby Clinton. From
an e-mail by a lawyer working to get Clinton to pardon Marc Rich: "Having
Leah Rabin call is not a bad idea. The problem is how do we contact her? She
died last November."
>>> Polling bias. New RealPlayer video up on the MRC home page,
thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul. It's of Fox News chief Roger Ailes joking,
during the February 14 House hearing into election night coverage, about how
the reaction of Republicans and Democrats to exit and regular pollsters
differs: "When Republicans come out of polls and if you ask them a
question they tend to think it's none of your business and Democrats want to
share their feelings, so you may get some bias there that's inadvertent just
because it's a cultural thing and unless you send the Republicans to
sensitivity training you're not going to get them to do that." To view the
exchange with committee chairman Billy Tauzin, go to: http://www.mrc.org
move on. Let's continue to enjoy Bill Clinton's troubles while we are still
alive. After all, if you believe Dan Rather and the United Nations, we'll all
be dead soon anyway from wild fires, floods, thirst, drowning or malaria caused
by global warming. Rather led Monday's CBS Evening News with "the forecast
from Hell," a UN report which offered "dire predictions...about the
future of our planet." ABC's Peter Jennings also highlighted the fear
"there will be potentially enormous loss of life, greater risk of disease
and the extinction of entire species." Despite the supposed impending
misery for homo sapiens, NBC Nightly News didn't consider the report worth
hyping -- at least not yet.
Neither CBS or ABC provided a second of any second
opinion from any of the many scientists who don't buy the scare-mongering. As
always happens after these scary UN reports on global warming, a few days later
several major groups will release reports discrediting the fear-mongering.
Monday's USA Today, in a story with the calm headline, "UN Study: Global
Warming is Evident Now," at least ended with a note of caution: "'No
one say we can predict the weather next year,' says Roger Pielke Sr., an
atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University. 'So why do we think we have
better skills for 50 years in the future?'"
A good question for Rather and Jennings.
Rather ominously teased at the top of the February
19 CBS Evening News: "The forecast from Hell: Why America may see more
killer tornadoes and floods, hurricanes and wild fires in the years
He opened the semi-holiday night broadcast: "Good
evening. There are new and dire predictions tonight about the future of our
planet. Around the world glaciers are in full retreat. Some, like the ancient
ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, could be gone in a decade or two. It's a
dramatic symptom of the warming of the Earth detailed in a new thousand-page
United Nations report, Climate Change 2001. It predicts the new century will
bring, and I quote, 'Large scale, and possibly irreversible, changes affecting
every last person on Earth.'"
Reporter Byron Pitts began with dire warnings:
"Imagine a Texas-type heat wave in Toledo Ohio, wild fires year-round in
California, that 500-year flood that devastated Grand Forks North Dakota
occurring every five years. It is doomsday scenario detailed in a report
sponsored by the United Nations and researched by 700 of the world's leading
experts on global warming."
After soundbites from UN report co-author James
McCarthy and global warming promoter Rafe Pomerance, identified on screen as a
"climate expert," Pitts intoned: "This is punishment, say
scientists, for sins of the past. The end result of years of pollution."
Pitts relayed the vague prediction that temperature
will increase 2 to 10 degrees during the next century and spelled out the
"In the Southeast, severe coastal flooding,
water-borne illnesses like malaria, wild fires in the everglades. Similar
problems out West along with a massive influx refugees from Mexico and Latin
America. In the Midwest, deadly heat waves and severe droughts. And in the
Northeast, what is now precious waterside property could one day be under
water. Scientists say it's no longer a matter of if, but when."
On the up side, maybe the sea rise will put
Manhattan under water and submerge Bryant Gumbel and The Early Show as well as
ABC's World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News
led Monday night with the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt, but before
the first ad break ABC anchor Peter Jennings warned:
"The United Nations has issued a very tough
report on global warming today and because it's a sensitive issue government
representatives went over it line by line before saying the following: Man-made
climate change will lead to more freak weather changes, including cyclones,
drought and floods; massive displacement of populations, the poorest countries
will suffer the most; there will be potentially enormous loss of life, greater
risk of disease and the extinction of entire species. Scientists have been
warning about this for years. The UN says today that the economic loss alone
has gone from $4 billion a year in the 1950s to $40 billion a year in 1999 and
usually so slow in picking up on the latest liberal crusade, but Monday night
it finally ran its first story presenting the case against ending the estate
tax. (ABC and NBC ran pieces last week relaying the viewpoint of opponents.)
The CBS Evening News highlighted an Episcopal Father who is practicing what
President Bush wants -- helping the poor -- but is afraid people will help less
without the incentive of reducing their estate tax.
Reporter Jim Axelrod focused on a minister who
matches President Bush's wishes, starting his February 19 story: "Father
Bill Greenlaw does the Lord's work and sets the President's example."
Episcopal Father Bill Greenlaw: "Anyone who is
hungry is welcome here."
Axelrod explained: "His soup kitchen at New
York's Holy Apostle Church serves 250,000 meals a year, exactly the kind of
faith-based service President Bush sees reducing government's role as a safety
net. But Father Bill says while the President is asking charities to do more,
he's proposing they do it with less by eliminating the estate tax."
Greenlaw: "This is crazy in my judgment, to think
about eliminating that so that the most wealthy in our society can become still
Axelrod outlined how the IRS estimates it collects
$14 to $16 billion a year from taxpayers trying to avoid the tax of up to half
their estates. After a philanthropist argued the high tax encourages the rich
to make charitable donations, Axelrod allowed Republican Congresswoman Jennifer
Dunn to contend that she thinks without the tax the rich will have more money
and will therefore have more to give. Greenlaw complained that dropping the tax
will make it harder to raise money.
Viewers then heard from Dunn again: "I think
you should tell him not to be fearful, that just because things have been done
in that way for years, that doesn't mean the dollars won't come from people who
care about what he's doing."
Axelrod concluded with Greenlaw's fear: "Father
Bill will pray she's right, but on the soup lines and on the front lines he
won't take it as an article of faith."
opponents of eliminating the estate tax a trifecta of promotion Thursday night
and Friday morning as Friday's Good Morning America featured segment dedicated
to the effort by a few of the super-wealthy to keep it. Thursday's World News
Tonight focused a story on their arguments followed by an entire Nightline.
ABC's Antonio Mora hardly challenged Bill Gates's
father in giving the senior Gates a forum for his crusade, MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson noticed. Jack Ford set up the February 16 taped segment:
"This week President Bush finds himself doing
battle with some of the nation's richest people who are, perhaps surprisingly,
fighting part of his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan. They want to stop Bush's
proposal to end the inheritance tax, which they argue would cost the government
$236 billion over the next 10 years and benefit just 48,000 of the nation's
wealthiest people each year. One of those battling Bush's proposed cut, the
father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Antonio Mora talked with Gates's father
Mora began: "This is the ad that will run next
Sunday, a manifesto from 120 of the richest people in America -- George Soros,
a couple of Rockefellers and William Gates Senior, father of the richest man in
the world, Bill Gates -- billionaires whose combined bank accounts dwarf the
GNPs of many Third World countries. Their message: We may be rich, but we want
to pay our estate taxes."
Mora asked Gates: "Supporting the estate tax
would be something that would seem to be against your self-interest. Not only
are you supporting that it stay, you are actually, have been quoted as saying
that you're angry about the attempts to repeal it. Why?"
Mora then outlined the tax provisions and gave a
clause to a reason to repeal it without raising its impact on small businesses:
"Anything you inherit is subject to Uncle Sam's estate tax. The IRS won't
touch the first $675,000, but above that you're automatically taxed 37 percent;
above $3 million and you pay 55 percent. President Bush calls this a death tax
that hurts middle class Americans the most. He'd like to eliminate it by the
year 2009. Bill Gates Senior says don't repeal the estate tax, just reform it.
Gates then heard this tough question: "What
exactly do you propose?"
Gates replied: "I think that, certainly, that the
amount exempt from estate taxation could be increased without great harm to the
program. You know, if the exemption level were to be increased to, you know,
two, three million dollars per person, I wouldn't see any problem with that at
Mora: "A lot of people disagree and point out
that all this is easy for Gates Senior to say because even a small percentage
of his son's $43 billion will be enough to keep the grandchildren in style.
Mora to Gates: "What do you think your
grandchildren should inherit?"
Gates: "What do I think my grandchildren should
Mora: "If you'll pardon the personal question,
but in the context of what you're saying, that the wealth should not be
inherited, what do you think they should inherit?"
Gates: "I think, I think the notion of their
inheriting a modest amount is fine. I'm for that and that's why we have
exemptions in the estate tax scheme."
Mora: "But what would a modest amount be?"
Gates: "Haven't thought about that."
Mora: "Bill Gates Senior, our thanks for joining
us and talking about this important issue."
Gates: "You bet, Antonio. Thank you."
Ford, back on live: "I suspect President Bush
would be thinking these are not the opponents he thought he'd have when he
says, 'I'm going to cut taxes for all you folks.'
Diane Sawyer: "Yeah, unlikely, really got
Flattering attention the networks chose to give
them even before their paid media ads ever appeared.
broadcast network evening shows largely let Bill Clinton get away with the
whopper in his Sunday New York Times op-ed about how three Republican lawyers
"reviewed and advocated" a pardon for Marc Rich when all three have
denied doing so during their time representing the fugitive.
On Sunday morning, John Podesta on NBC's Meet the
Press and Joe Lockhart on ABC's This Week, were asked about the denials by
William Bradford Reynolds, Leonard Garment and Lewis Libby. CNN and FNC focused
Sunday and Monday on the Clinton misstatement, but Clinton's holiday timing
significantly reduced broadcast network coverage, with only ABC's evening news
show touching the topic. (Because of the holiday I don't know how the subject
was addressed on the morning shows on Monday.)
During a piece on ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday,
reporter Bill Redeker raised the controversy: "In fact, Clinton writes,
'the applications' for the pardons 'were reviewed and advocated by three
distinguished Republican attorneys.' But last night and this morning all three
flatly denied that. William Bradford Reynolds told ABC News: 'I was not
involved in the pardon and I think it's improper to suggest that I was.'"
But Sunday night Clinton's false justification
didn't make it onto CBS or NBC and neither bothered with it Monday night. Golf
reduced the Sunday CBS Evening news to a five-minute show in the ET and CT
zones which dealt only with the submarine accident. No NBC Nightly News aired
anywhere because NBC carried a NBA double-header. Monday night, neither ABC or
CBS even mentioned the pardon and while NBC ran a full story, it didn't touch
the misstatement. Andrea Mitchell explored Clinton's claim that Israel
pressured him to pardon Rich. While she asserted several high-level Israelis
did favor the pardon, she pointed out that Clinton never consulted his foreign
policy team about the idea and that leaders of U.S. Jewish groups believe
Israel is be being made the "fall guy."
As for the part-time news network MSNBC, it sent
everyone home for the holiday weekend to allow for repeated showings of the
Headliners & Legends episodes on Tom Cruise and about Heather Locklear's
dynamic career, from T.J. Hooker to Spin City, and so didn't even air a News
with Brian Williams on Monday night. But that means MSNBC has a chance to fill
in its viewers on Tuesday.
explained why he's in the frequently-played video showing Denise Rich, next to
a podium, handing a saxophone to Bill Clinton as Hillary looks on. Last week
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume showed a longer than usual clip of the
event to illustrate how the CNN host was the emcee and embraced and kissed
In his Monday USA Today column King assured readers
that it was not a political event but a dinner to raise money for cancer
"I know you've seen my picture with the Clintons
and Denise Rich just about everywhere by now. My duty that night last November
was serving as emcee at Rich's annual Angel Ball, which raised more than $1
million for cancer research. I have no knowledge of anything else in this
Clinton wanted to vent to a member of the media last week he naturally first
thought of NBC's Geraldo Rivera who dedicated his CNBC show on Thursday night
to relaying the former President's anger. Rivera agreed with Clinton that
"90 percent of his problems come from partisan hacks who have hated him
from the day he was born."
Rivera also insisted there is no liberal bias,
complained "too many people" have "been silent" about lies
told about Clinton and dumbfounded guest John Fund by asserting: "The only
lie he told was to his wife and to us about it."
Rivera opened the February 15 show, as transcribed
by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: "Bill Clinton, speaking to me during his
commute from Chappaqua up in Westchester County down to Manhattan, was
indignant over the entire controversy. Quote, 'I was blindsided by this. I have
no infrastructure to deal with this, no press person. I just wanted to go out
there and do what past Presidents have done but the Republicans had other ideas
for me.' The former President seemed particularly disturbed by what apparently
he believes is the hypocritical nature of much of the criticism he's receiving.
Quote, 'It's terrible! I mean, he [Marc Rich] had three big time Republican
lawyers, including Dick Cheney's chief of staff.' He's referring to I. Lewis
'Scooter' Libby, whose Chief of Staff now for the Vice President. Marc Rich
himself, the President went on to say, is a Republican. And Mr. Clinton
confirmed what some have been reporting that part of his motivation for the
pardon is the information he received from Israeli sources, including outgoing
Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Quote, 'Now I'll tell you what did influence me,'
the President told me, 'Israel did influence me profoundly.'"
Rivera soon argued to Republican Congressman David
Dreier: "But he [Clinton] believes that is the source of this, really
Congressman, with all due respect. He thinks that 90 percent of his problems
come from partisan hacks who have hated him from the day he was born."
Rivera added this shot: "I think that people
who pretend the media has a liberal bias aren't really listening or
Later, Rivera took on Wall Street Journal editorial
page writer John Fund, seemingly becoming flustered as he suggested Reagan
lives in Japan: "Did you, did you do a story about Ronald Reagan's $2.5
million home in Japan or the $2 million he got in Japan for those speeches? Did
you do stories about that?! He [Clinton] does, he does the same thing these
other guys do and he doesn't even do it as well as the Republicans or as big
time and you cut him down as if he was giving cancer to children. It is, it is,
it is so essentially unfair! And, and you know the problem has been that all
throughout Whitewater too many people like me have been silent! And too
Fund: "You were silent?!" [Laughs]
Rivera: "Silent enough, no, silent. In this, in
this sense Congressman Dreier, no, before you laugh at me. Here you have a
situation where The New York Times is running with a Whitewater story every
other day. It turns out what was Whitewater? Whitewater was a bunch of baloney,
had nothing to do with Bill Clinton or his wife the Senator from New
Fund: "Twenty Clinton associates were convicted,
Rivera: "He was convicted of nothing!"
Rivera soon insisted: "The only lie he told
was to his wife and to us about it."
Fund: "The only one? Oh please."
Rivera: "What's the other one?"
Fund: "Let's get started. Campaign
Rivera: "What? What? What about, what lie did he
tell about Chinese? That was the, that was Al Gore at the Buddhist Temple, that
wasn't Bill Clinton."
Fund: "Go on and on."
Rivera: "Alright, on and on. See if you say on
and on that doesn't mean. I want to build up particulars. Tell me his lies
other than, 'I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.'
Unfortunately that sticks in our craw and it sticks in our heads."
changed Bill Clinton's February 15 statement defending his pardon of Marc Rich
so it became grammatically accurate. The February 16 CyberAlert pointed out
how, on Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC's Hume noted that Bill
Clinton's statement said "any suggestion...are false." Hume jokingly
raised the possibility that Clinton was trying to avoid the word
On Friday, MRC analyst Brian Boyd alerted me to the
fact that on the CBS Evening News the night before Phil Jones made Clinton
grammatically correct without resorting to employing the word "is."
Jones simply decided to pluralize the word "suggestion" as he read
this statement with matching words on screen: "Any suggestions that
improper factors including fundraising for the DNC or my library had anything
to do with the decision are absolutely false."
Two Fox News
Channel shows, one on Friday night and another on Saturday night, picked up on
how the MRC pointed out the media's sudden interest in homelessness since a
Republican re-entered the White House.
Friday night on Special Report with Brit Hume,
anchor Tony Snow read this "Grapevine" item: "Back in October,
Mark Helperin predicted in The Wall Street Journal that the so-called
mainstream press would greet a Bush presidency by reviving an issue that went
relatively un-remarked during the Clinton era: Homelessness. He was right. In
recent days, ABC News, The New York Times and now, The Washington Post, have
rediscovered the homeless. During the first Bush administration, the major
networks aired an average of 53 homeless stories per year, compared with 23 per
year during the Clinton presidency even though homelessness fell in the Bush
years and rose during the age of Clinton."
On Saturday's Fox News Watch host Eric Burns set up
a segment: "Last Sunday ABC's World News Tonight reported that
homelessness is up and the Media Research Center, a conservative media
monitoring group, was not happy about the report. Why? The MRC charges that ABC
ran the report to make a Republican President look bad. And it provided some
numbers about past reporting on this subject. During the four years that George
Bush the elder was President, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN did an average total of 53
pieces per year on homelessness. During the eight years of the Bill Clinton
administration the average total was 16 and a half."
The February 12 CyberAlert first detailed the
February 11 ABC story. For more on it, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010212.asp
Picking up on ABC's rediscovery of the homeless,
last week MRC analyst Jessica Anderson updated the MRC's 1999 Media Reality
Check about the number of homeless stories -- on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning
and evening shows as well as CNN's prime time newscast -- and the MRC's Rich
Noyes provided the numbers to FNC's Burns.
That 1999 Media Reality Check reminded readers of a
ludicrous prediction from CBS's Charles Osgood on This Morning, back in 1989
when the networks were still using homelessness as an excuse to push for more
spending: "It is estimated that by the year 2000, 19 million Americans
will be homeless unless something is done, and done now."
little humor from "Hearsay: The Lawyer's Column" in the Business
section of Monday's Washington Post. In the February 19 column Post reporter
James Grimaldi recounted excerpts from the subpoenaed e-mails amongst lawyer
Jack Quinn and others around Marc Rich working for his pardon.
The players, in the excerpts below, in addition to
Quinn: Washington lawyer Robert Fink and Avner Azuley, Executive Director of
the Rich Foundation in Israel. Plus, "DR" -- Denise Rich. Of course,
HRC is the then-Senator-elect from New York and POTUS is the then-President of
the United States.
First, an entry from Dec. 30, 12:41 [am or pm not
listed]: "From Quinn to Fink. Re: Mrs. Rabin. 'Wonder if you can inquire
whether there is a possibility of persuading Mrs. Rabin to make a call to POTUS.
He had a deep affection for her husband. P.S. I continue to think it most
likely HRC would be at least informed before anything positive happens, given
the possibility of a Giuliani/NY press reaction. Wish we had a way of solving
the Rudy problem. I wasn't able to connect with Eric [Holder] yesterday. Will
try again on Tuesday.'"
Second, the entry from 3:47pm later the same day:
"From Fink to Azulay. 'Jack asks if you could get Leah Rabin to call the
president; Jack said he was a real big supporter of her husband. He also thinks
HRC will hear about this anyway and still wants to contact her. I will call him
today in Colorado and go over what DR said.'"
Third, from 2:29am the next morning: "From
Azulay to Fink. 'Bob, having Leah Rabin call is not a bad idea. The problem is
how do we contact her? She died last November -- on the 5th anniversary of her
Oops. And people pay Quinn $500 plus an hour?