Brock Challenged by FNC; Catholics "Allayed" or "Reeling"? Fox’s Fun Over Terrorism; Kid on ABC: "I Want to Watch Letterman!"
1) What a difference the network makes. FNC’s David
Asman on Monday actually challenged David Brock’s on his broad
accusations and took on some of the specific allegations made in his book
trashing conservatives. Last week, in contrast, CNN’s Aaron Brown
assumed Brock’s claims were accurate and empathized with his plight
while on NBC’s Today Matt Lauer prompted Brock to elucidate on how
wealthy conservatives who directed the anti-Clinton conspiracy allowed him
to smear people.
2) Same subject, two Sunday spins. The Washington Post’s
headline: "For Catholics, Crisis of Trust Allayed by Faith." The
New York Times the same day: "As Scandal Keeps Growing, Church and
Its Faithful Reel."
3) Fox’s priority: Don’t let terrorism interfere with
fun. On The American Embassy: "In the weeks following the Embassy
bombing, Emma is still haunted by the terrorist attack. Will this affect
the sunny outlook she had on her new life in London?" Plus, the bomb
squad discovers "Emma’s" buzzing cylindrical object.
4) On an ABC drama Monday night a kid wailed: "It’s
too early to go to bed! I want to watch Letterman!"
>>> NQ now
online. The March 18 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC’s bi-weekly
compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the
liberal media, is now online thanks to the MRC’s Mez Djouadi and
Amongst the quote headings: "Clinton
Undermined by ‘Berserk’ 1990s ‘Conspiracy’ by the Right";
"‘Unpatriotic’ GOP ‘Extremists’ Would Have Condemned
Clinton"; "If They Hate Us, Blame Bush"; "Conservative
= ‘Anti-Everything’; PBS's Fears: Media ‘Jingoism’ ...And
Conservative Media Bias"; "Reagan's ‘Social Darwinism’ vs.
Clinton's ‘Great Ideals’"; "Jennings, Rather & Brokaw:
Fair" and "ABC News Not Liberal Enough." To read the issue:
To access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:
slogan for the Today show is "what a difference Today makes."
FNC on Monday illustrated how for the cable network it’s "what a
difference the network makes." Conservative-basher David Brock,
author of Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, was
interviewed early Monday afternoon on the Fox News Channel by Fox News
Live anchor David Asman. But it was quite a different experience for Brock
than the adoring treatment he received last week on NBC’s Today from
Matt Lauer and on CNN from Aaron Brown.
Asman actually challenged Brock’s broad
accusations and took on some of the specific allegations in the book,
demonstrating they are inaccurate.
Asman got Brock to concede he really never was
a committed conservative, just one of convenience, suggested that maybe
conservatives had "values" beyond just that Clinton "got
under their skin" which caused them to criticize him, pressed Brock
to say whether he believed the charges leveled by Juanita Broaddrick,
Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey and wondered: "Do you think we’ve
all misunderstood, David, and that Bill Clinton is a moralist?" Brock
maintained that "there’s a question about where you weigh what
Clinton did against versus what the right-wing did to destroy him and what
was a greater threat to the country and I think it was what the right-wing
did and not what Clinton did."
Raising Brock’s claims that former FBI agent
Gary Aldrich misused a baseless allegation Brock had passed along to him,
Asman asked: "We’re supposed to believe you, a person who has
admitted that you’ve lied in print as opposed to an FBI agent who was
assigned to two different administrations?" Asman, who was with the
Wall Street Journal editorial page before jumping to FNC, showed how Brock
was inaccurate in his claim about how the Journal had identified Aldrich.
Last Wednesday morning on NBC’s Today, in
contrast, Matt Lauer did not once question any Brock’s claims as he
prompted him to elucidate on how wealthy conservatives who directed the
anti-Clinton conspiracy allowed him to smear people. Lauer even cued up
Brock to endorse Hillary Clinton’s insight into the "vast
right-wing conspiracy." Setting up the segment, Lauer enthused:
specialty was character assassination and throughout the 1990s he made a
living as a right-wing hatchet man. But after years of lies and, some
would say, malicious journalism, this Washington insider wants to clear
his conscience. In his new book, Blinded by the Right, best-selling author
and ex-conservative David Brock, exposes how he says the GOP tried to
destroy the Clinton presidency through a series of well-plotted smear
For a complete rundown of the March 13
interview, refer back to the March 14 CyberAlert:
Last Thursday night on CNN’s NewsNight,
anchor Aaron Brown assumed David Brock’s charges were beyond dispute.
Brown set up the segment: "He helped trash Anita Hill, went looking
for the illegitimate children of Bill Clinton, took money from
conservative patrons, and made things up if it made Mr. Clinton look bad.
And then he says he saw the light, the errors of his ways." Baffled
by why conservatives would so distrust Clinton, Brown wondered: "What
is it about Clinton? I've asked this question on this program about five
different times to five different people." After not challenging
anything Brock charged as he outlined his claims about a conservative
conspiracy against Clinton fueled by anger at Clinton’s anti-segregation
policies, Brown inquired: "Are you ashamed of that period of your
More on the Brown interview below, following
the rundown of the FNC interview.
FNC’s Asman set up the March 18 segment
aired live at about 12:45pm EST, as taken down by the MRC’s Brad
Wilmouth: "We’re going to take you back, the book, The Real Anita
Hill, that was a book that slashed the woman who brought discussions of
pubic hair and porno films into Senate hearings for Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas. The book was used by members of the conservative movement
to defend the first black conservative appointed to the Supreme Court.
Well, the author of that book has since taken on the conservative movement
itself and his own earlier work, both of which he now claims were blinded
by arrogance and ideology."
After Brock explained he had become a
conservative in college, what he dubbed his "knee-jerk
overreaction" to politically correct criticism of an editorial he
wrote in favor of Reagan’s liberation of Grenada, Asman observed:
"So your conservative beliefs were just based on a reaction to the
left, not on solid beliefs about conservatives?"
and charged: "Originally, yes, and one of the things I write about in
the book is that my philosophical commitment to conservatism was never
really that deep, and I don’t think I’m actually unusual in that. I
think in my age cohort among the conservatives I knew in Washington, it
was pretty much the same way. It was a marketing device, it was
"Marketing device? Well, again, I don’t quite follow you. Marketing
device was just to emphasize the outrageousness of the left in order to
get more people joining your cause?"
"Well, I mean, I think as you know, ‘anti-Clintonism’ became a
very lucrative device in the 1990s for conservatives, and so I think that
was part of what was impelling it...."
"Well, why do you think they were so obsessed by this guy?"
"Well, I think a combination of things. I think one is the better
that Clinton did, the more desperate conservatives became. They were
lacking issues because Clinton took some good issues away from the
Republicans, they turned to scandal-"
"Some people would say he co-opted some good issues by Republicans,
"But let me just, David, again, just the attitude that Clinton did
nothing other than to get under their skin, I still don’t understand
what it was about his activity that got under their skin so much?"
"Well, as I said, I think it wasn’t his activity. I think that was
what the Clintons symbolized, the liberal social values that they
symbolized, the perception that Clinton played things close to the line, I
think, irritated people. And finally, I think a lot of the Clinton hatred
was actually a projection, that people saw their own flaws in the Clintons
and projected them on."
out: "So they did have values, these conservatives that were
criticizing Clinton, that they reacted against? You can’t react against
something if you don’t have anything of your own."
Asman soon pressed: "Do you believe the
things, do you believe, for example, people like Juanita Broaddrick, like
Paula Jones, like Kathleen Willey, all these people that say that Clinton
insisted: "In the Paula Jones case, I tell a story in the book where
her own lead lawyer told me, and he certainly would know more about the
case than I would, that he didn’t believe her. I looked into the Juanita
Broaddrick case myself, and I tell the story here again that the
Republicans behind that case, they didn’t believe it, either."
suggested: "But, you know, you get a woman like Juanita Broaddrick,
who we’re looking at right now, who gives a very plausible case that she
was frightened to come forward first. In fact, she contradicted herself.
At first, she said President Clinton didn’t go after her. Then she said
he did. Don’t you think she was intimidated by the fact this guy was
"She may have been, but, I mean, there’s another side of it as well
which is that there were Republican operatives in Arkansas trying to put
that story out back in 1992 and they didn’t believe it-"
wondered: "So do you think, do you think we’ve all misunderstood,
David, and that Bill Clinton is a moralist?"
back to disparage conservatives as more dangerous than Bill Clinton ever
was: "No, I don’t. I just think that there’s a question about
where you weigh what Clinton did against versus what the right-wing did to
destroy him and what was a greater threat to the country and I think it
was what the right- wing did and not what Clinton did."
Following an ad break, Asman picked up:
"David, the key here, everybody has different opinions about things.
You do, about a lot of social and political things. But was there any
lying that took place either in the work that you did or in the work that
you participated in with the American Spectator and the other journals you
were working for?"
Brock replied only that "I lied in
print" in an American Spectator book review of a book on the
Hill-Thomas matter, but that in articles he did not write there were
"reams of lies in the American Spectator."
Asman then decided to assess Brock’s
accuracy by raising Brock’s claims about an FBI agent who wrote a book
about what he saw inside the Clinton White House: "Well, the reason,
of course, why all this is important is because you are bringing, even in
this book, this newest book that you just came out with, you mentioned
people like Gary Aldrich, for example, somebody who I happen to know
because I used to work at the Journal and published him, was involved in
publishing his articles. You mention some things about him that you claim
are duplicitous at best and outright lies at worst. Are you calling him a
"Well, I think he himself even conceded that the things in his book
were not solid or credible, so-"
"Well, no, that’s not true."
mean, you can use whatever you word you want for it."
"Yeah, I gotta argue with you because I just talked to him on Friday.
He hadn’t seen this book. And I read certain passages to him. He claimed
that a lot of the stuff that you write about him and about even your
introduction to him was a fabrication, that, in fact, you say that you
called, you say that he called you. In fact, he says he called you
originally to get information from you about Bill Clinton. Is that
"No, I was put in touch with him by a friend of his on Capitol Hill
when I was doing research for my book on Hillary Clinton and undertook to
interview him, which is what I thought he was doing, and then he took some
fourth hand information that I gave him and published it as if it were
true, and, as you said, it was excerpted on the pages of the Wall Street
Journal, which continued to defend him even after it was acknowledged that
this wasn’t a credible story."
"Well, the story he claims was made more credible by insiders that he
talked to in the White House, but it all boils down to this, David:
We’re supposed to believe you, a person who has admitted that you’ve
lied in print as opposed to an FBI agent who was assigned to two different
administrations -- one Republican, one Democratic."
Asman got to a
specific allegation: "Well, let me just point out one thing in your
book that I take issue with. You talk about Gary Aldrich and say that when
his article was published in the Wall Street Journal, and again, I had a
hand in this, that Aldrich was identified only as, quote, ‘an
investigative writer.’ Do you stand by that?"
anticipating what was coming: "As far as I know, yeah."
"Well, you’re wrong. And we’ll put up the quote that appeared in
the Wall Street Journal. It described Mr. Aldrich as an ‘investigative
writer, comma, retired from the FBI in June of 1995.’ Are you willing to
admit now that that was a mistake?"
grudgingly admitted: "Well, the word ‘only’ is a mistake, yeah.
But the point is that he wasn’t an investigative writer."
"The word ‘retired from the FBI in June 1995,’ your point in the
book was the Wall Street Journal wasn’t interested in pointing out his
connection with the FBI. We did, in fact, point out his connection with
"No, that wasn’t my point. That wasn’t my point. My point was you
were falsely portraying him as an investigative writer."
"He was a retired FBI agent. He was writing a book at the time."
"He was not an investigative writer."
"He was writing a book at the time, and he was a retired FBI agent.
That was an apt description. My point again, David, is we’re forced to
note little disparages from the truth that appear even in your most recent
"Look, his whole book was discredited even by his own later
concluded: "All right. Once again, this controversy could go on a
long time. But, David Brock, we thank you very much for joining us."
Compare Asman’s suspicious approach to Brock
with how CNN’s Aaron Brown bought Brock’s premise and employed him to
try to teach Brown why conservatives so hated Bill Clinton that they would
lie about him.
Brown introduced the March 14 NewsNight
segment with Brock, which came just after a story on the defeat of the
Charles Pickering judicial nomination:
sort of partisan battle is nothing new to David Brock. As one of the
country's best known young conservative writers, he helped fuel them for a
while. He helped trash Anita Hill, went looking for the illegitimate
children of Bill Clinton, took money from conservative patrons, and made
things up if it made Mr. Clinton look bad. And then he says he saw the
light, the errors of his ways. He says he's written a book called Blinded
by the Right.
first question to Brock, who was in-studio with Brown: "Help me
understand something. When you were writing the conservative, in that
phase your life, when you were writing that stuff, when you were chasing
after the Clinton stuff and all of that, were you a believer? Or were you
just doing it for the dough?"
"It started out as belief. I think at a certain point, particularly
in the Clinton era, it became a really lucrative marketing device. And my
heart really wasn't in, you know, attacking or hating Bill Clinton in the
way that a lot of other conservatives did."
"Yeah, but they were writing you big checks and saying go get
"Yeah, basically. And as I said, you know, I came to Washington. I
was a young, ideological true believer. But over time, you know, it became
an issue of careerism to a certain extent."
wondered: "Is there something inherently wrong, somebody who has
strong conservative beliefs and a fair amount of money in his pocket, to
hand you some of the money and say, ‘Go see what you could find?’ Is
that what they were saying or were they saying go ‘find this’?"
"Well, I think what was wrong with it was they didn't care whether
what was found was true or not. And yet, they still pumped it up and they
put it on talk radio all over the country. And there was sort of a sort of
an echo chamber in the right wing that even extended to The Wall Street
Journal editorial page and other
places. And these stories were false. They were fabrications. And I think
that was wrong."
demanding a specific, Brown moved on: "Do you feel distrusted now by
both the left and the right?"
Brown soon got to his favorite topic, trying
to figure out why people don’t like Bill Clinton: "But are there
not, particularly when you deal with former President Clinton, there are
blinders out there. People have such incredibly strong feelings on both
sides, in fact, that I wonder if anyone will give you an objective view in
that regard, anyone on the political right, in this case?"
with his conspiracy theory: "Well, I don't know. I mean, I just hope
people outside of the organized political movement would. Because there's
conspiracy here that's pretty well documented. And you've seen it in the
book. It starts back in 1993 when I did the Troopergate article. And the
people behind that were talking about impeaching Bill Clinton. This is
1993, you know, five years before the name Monica Lewinsky surfaced."
challenge any of it, and remained flummoxed: "What is it about
Clinton? I've asked this question on this program about five different
times to five different people."
Clinton’s enemies were motivated by his civil rights views: "I
think it's complex. I think one is the better he was, the more desperate
and crazy the right became. And so when he triangulated and took some of
their issues away, he left them nothing but scandal. Two, I think there's
sort of a generational issue, where the Clintons were represented, certain
social values that the right disagrees with. And so, the Clintons were
larger than themselves. And so, when you get to that level, you know,
there's no truth or falsity. It's all symbolism. And I think that was part
of it. Part was in Arkansas, the people I've dealt, the Clinton haters in
Arkansas. Goes back to segregation. And it goes back to Bill Clinton's
progressive views on race."
Brown assumed Brock’s current claims are
accurate as he wound down the interview: "Let me ask you a final
question. Are you ashamed of that period of your life?"
"Yeah. I have a lot of regrets about it, sure."
empathized: "Yeah. It's difficult, isn't it?"
"It's been hard."
"How old are you now?"
"I'm 39. And so, I, you know, I wasted a good dozen years of my
sympathized some more: "It's nice to meet you. I assume this wasn't
easy to do? All of this wasn't easy to do?"
topic, same day, but the front pages of America’s most-influential
dailies on Sunday delivered contrasting spins on the status of the
Catholic Church and its members in the wake of revelations about priests
The front page headline in Sunday’s
Washington Post announced: "For
Catholics, Crisis of Trust Allayed by Faith." The subhead: "View
of Hierarchy Dimmed, But Many Back Local Clergy." The same day,
however, the MRC’s Tim Jones noticed that the headline over the New York
Times story stressed how lay Catholics were disillusioned: "As
Scandal Keeps Growing, Church and Its Faithful Reel."
The leads of the stories matched their
contrasting headlines, though both pieces covered a lot of the same
ground, emphasizing how the crisis is supposedly leading many Catholics to
question the church’s conservative hierarchy and the celibacy of
Alan Cooperman and Pamela Ferdinand began
their March 17 Washington Post article:
Monsignor Thomas Kane gave the same sermon four times at St. Patrick's
Church in Rockville last Sunday, and at each Mass the parishioners
did something he says he had never seen in his 50 years as a priest. They
stood and applauded.
Kane's message was that despite a sexual abuse scandal that has spread
across the country, the Roman Catholic priesthood as a whole is still
worthy of admiration....
The standing ovation was not just for Kane's homily, but for him
personally, parishioner Joan Liegey said later. "He has taken this
whole thing very hard....I think he needed a little reassurance that we
were with him," she explained.
Throughout the country, Catholics are responding in sometimes
paradoxical ways to a crisis of trust in the church. They are reaching out
to support the clergymen they know and admire, while expressing an
excruciating feeling of betrayal by the church's more distant and opaque
END of Excerpt
For the entire Post story:
In the March 17 New York Times, Laurie
Goodstein and Alessandra Stanley led their piece:
By Tuesday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Me., has
promised to turn over to local prosecutors a file containing all
accusations of sexual misconduct involving its priests. The district
attorney wants to see every accusation ever made against a living priest.
"Even if it was triple hearsay, let me decide," said
Stephanie Anderson, the district attorney of Cumberland County, who said
she would follow their transfers from parish to parish in search of
victims new and old. She wants to track the history of every priest
accused of sexual misconduct....
Already, the scandal has traumatized the church's faithful, demoralized
the clergy and threatened the hard-won moral authority of its bishops. It
has brought down a bishop, removed dozens of priests and tarnished the
nation's pre-eminent prelate, Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston. But the
real extent of the impact on the church's life, status and future is only
now becoming clear.
From schools of theology to dining room tables, a growing number of
Catholics are questioning the bedrock on which the church is built -- the
all-male, celibate priesthood. Parishioners are calling for open dialogue
and debate about a tenet that Pope John Paul II has said is closed for
END of Excerpt
For the New York Times article in full:
Celebrity Wrestling with Paula Jones versus Tonya Harding was a low moment
for Fox? In fact, even their new drama, The American Embassy, goes for the
cheap sexual stunt while making sure terrorism doesn’t deflect from
having a fun time.
The American Embassy is a Monday night show
about "Emma Brody," played by Arija Bareikis, as a blonde
twenty-something consular affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in London.
As the premiere ended last week, the embassy is bombed, killing at least
an innocent U.S. citizen who had earlier walked into the embassy and taken
off all his clothes -- the first "situation" for Emma to handle
in her new job. But a little terrorism won’t impede Brody from having a
fun adventure in London. Check out the plot summary for last night’s
episode, as posted on the Fox Web site: "In the weeks following the
Embassy bombing, Emma is still haunted by the terrorist attack. Will this
affect the sunny outlook she had on her new life in London?"
Apparently not when she’s alone.
Let me explain.
As the March 18 episode opens, Emma is called
downstairs to a secure outdoor area where the bomb squad is using a remote
robot device to examine a package addressed to Emma which contains
something inside which is buzzing. A hint here: Think of synonyms for buzz
which begin with the letter "v." Anyway, via the remote camera
she recognizes the address as being written by her sister and she okays
having the bomb squad open the package. An officer, fully decked out in
bomb protection equipment, sees what was causing the buzzing, picks it up
and holds it up above his head so all standing far away can see. And the
camera zooms in on what he is holding: a silver cylindrical object.
In the world of Fox, this is a quality
The Fox Web site for the show which is airing
for six weeks at 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST: http://www.fox.com/embassy/
a sign of how the ABC entertainment division team was hoping to be able to
soon call David Letterman a colleague?
On Monday’s Once and Again, ABC’s 10pm
EST/PST, 9pm CST/MST drama about divorced 40-somethings and their kids, a
pre-teen kid (looked to be playing about an 11-year-old) wailed to his
father: "It’s too early to go to bed! I want to watch
You’d assume that the scene was taped months
ago and at some point was reviewed by ABC personnel well before it aired.
Guess they didn’t mind that particular plug for a competing network.
I was flipping channels and just happened to
catch the scene involving the father, "Sam Blue" played by
Steven Weber, the guy who played the free-spirited brother on the sit-com
Wings. In Once and Again Weber plays the new boyfriend of
"Judy," the sister of "Lily" who is played by Sela
I know far too much about this show,
especially since it already re-plays on Lifetime, "television for
ABC’s Web page for the show:
> I’m still
getting comments on sending CyberAlerts in HTML versus plain text formats.
I’ll quote more of the comments in an upcoming CyberAlert.