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The 1,303rd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Thursday June 27, 2002 (Vol. Seven; No. 102) |
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“Unorthodox” or “ Liberal” Court?; Sawyer Ahead of Her Time? She Dropped “Endowed by Their Creator”; Navratilova Bashed U.S.; Send a Boot to Jennings; Bye-Bye to PI

1) “Unorthodox” or “liberal”? ABC’s Jackie Judd noted that the federal circuit court, which ruled the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional because of the “under God” phrase, “has a reputation for unorthodox opinions.” But on CBS, John Blackstone and John Roberts were less obtuse as they simply stated that the court is “liberal.”

2) “It is the kind of story Roger Ailes dreams of,” CNN NewsNight anchor Anderson Cooper quipped. Some other interesting facts: Which states are covered by the circuit court, the text of the pledge and which Presidents appointed the judges involved.

3) ABC’s Diane Sawyer and NBC’s Ann Curry ahead of their time? On July 4th last year Sawyer dropped “endowed by their Creator” when she recited the Declaration of Independence. And reacting to the decision by the New York City schools last October to reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance, on Today Curry suggested that instead of forcing students to say the pledge, “perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance.”

4) Martina Navratilova, who made millions in the U.S. after she left Czechoslovakia, has complained: “Decisions in America are based solely on the question of 'how much money will come out of it' and not on the questions of how much health, morals or the environment suffer as a result.” She also equated the U.S. under President Bush with Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination. But not all Czech athletes who fled to the U.S. are as ungrateful. NHL hockey star Jaromir Jagr carried a photo of Ronald Reagan in a school book and years later scored a goal for him.

5) Some country music radio stations are encouraging listeners to send boots to Peter Jennings to protest his decision to pull Toby Keith from ABC’s 4th of July special because Jennings objected to Keith’s song, “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue,” which includes the lyrics: “And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass, 'it's the American way.”

6) ABC’s Politically Incorrect will air for the last time on Friday night. In November of 2000 host Bill Maher joked about how “for a few brief moments America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris."

7) FNC’s Brit Hume highlighted the new MRC study, “Burying the Liberal Label on Network News; MRC Study: On Evening News Broadcasts, Conservative Tag Used Four Times More than Liberal Label.”


  1

“Unorthodox” or “liberal”?

     ABC’s Jackie Judd noted on Wednesday’s World News Tonight that the federal circuit court which ruled the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional because of the “under God” phrase, “has a reputation for unorthodox opinions.” But on the CBS Evening News, John Blackstone and John Roberts were less obtuse as they simply stated that the court is “liberal.”

     Judd asserted: “The 9th Circuit has a reputation for unorthodox opinions. It is reversed more often than any other circuit.”

     Over on the June 26 CBS Evening News, John Blackstone concluded his piece from San Francisco: “The court that has revived the issue, the 9th Circuit based here in San Francisco, is known for its liberal opinions and those opinions have frequently been overturned by the Supreme Court, which is undoubtedly where this case is headed.”

     Talking with CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen, CBS anchor John Roberts inquired: "The 9th Circuit is the most liberal court in the land. It's also the most overturned court in the land by the Supreme Court."

2

At the top of CNN’s NewsNight on Wednesday night, substitute anchor Anderson Cooper quipped: “It is the kind of story Roger Ailes dreams of.” Ailes is the Chairman of Fox News.

     Some other facts about the pledge and the case which may be of interest:

     -- The 9th Circuit covers these states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

     -- So, in those states, the Pledge of Allegiance is now illegal. If you live there, read this next paragraph at your own legal risk. The Pledge of Allegiance as it stands in the other 41 states and even in the District of Columbia: 
     "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

     -- For those in the nine Western states in the 9th Circuit, here’s the version of the pledge you can legally use:
     "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

     -- The American Legion’s page on the history of the pledge: http://www.legion.org/our_flag/of_pledgehist_flag.htm

     -- Which Presidents nominated the three judges who heard the case, a factoid I didn’t see reported in any TV newscast story Wednesday night. As reported by Associated Press reporter David Kravets: The opinion was written by Alfred Goodwin, who was appointed by President Nixon, and joined by Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee. “In a dissent, Circuit Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez, appointed by the first President Bush, warned that under his colleagues' theory of the Constitution, 'we will soon find ourselves prohibited from using our album of patriotic songs in many public settings.’”

     First Nixon gave us liberal Supreme Court Justice Blackmun. And now this guy.

3

ABC’s Diane Sawyer and NBC’s Ann Curry ahead of their time? In an ABC News July 4th special last year Sawyer dropped “endowed by their Creator” when she recited the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. And reacting to the decision by the New York City schools last October to reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance, complete with the “under God” phrase, on Today Curry highlighted how the ACLU worried that those “who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment.” Curry also suggested that instead of forcing students to say the pledge, “perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance.”

     New Yorkers may still have to recite the intolerant pledge, but it looks like Curry is getting her wish in nine Western states.

     -- Diane Sawyer’s Creator-less Declaration of Independence. As recounted in the July 11, 2001 CyberAlert:

     During ABC’s hour-long “Independence Day 2001" special from Philadelphia’s July 4 celebration, Sawyer read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Well, most of it.

     She announced: “You know, it’s hard to imagine now that it was such a shocking idea at the time, these words: ‘We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable Rights, among these Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.’”

     Here’s the preamble in full, with the “endowed by their Creator” portion which Sawyer skipped: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

     To watch a RealPlayer video clip of Sawyer reciting her version live on ABC a year ago: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010711.asp#5

     -- NBC’s Ann Curry on the Pledge of Allegiance. As reported in the October 24, 2001 CyberAlert:
     Having school kids say the Pledge of Allegiance is offensive and intolerant to the hosts of NBC’s Today which demonstrated how, to at least some in the media, not “offending” anyone in the U.S. who is not a citizen is more important than affirming loyalty. On October 19 NBC brought aboard Ninfa Segarra, the President of the New York City School Board, to defend its resolution to require that the Pledge of Allegiance be said each morning by school kids.

     NBC’s Ann Curry, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, went to the concerns of the ACLU which claims “that those young people who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment.” After her colleague Matt Lauer worried about how some kids will be ostracized, Curry suggested that in addition to “renewing...a symbol of patriotism,” that “perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance.”

     That’s right, the kids in schools in Southern Manhattan who saw the World Trade Center explode are the ones who need a lesson in tolerance.

     Curry began the interview segment late in the 19 show by letting Segarra outline why the schools had decided to reinstate the long-ago discontinued practice of having kids say the Pledge. Curry then pounced: “You know the Supreme Court decision way back in the ‘40s limits, basically prevents you from requiring, forcing students to say the Pledge. But you know the American Civil Liberties Union is very concerned about your resolution. They are saying basically that those young people who choose not to participate could be targeted for harassment. And The New York City school system has a lot of people, a lot of students and perhaps even teachers who are not American citizens, isn't that correct?”

     If they don’t believe in pledging allegiance to the nation giving them a free education, then why should anyone care about offending them? They are the ones acting offensively.

     When Segarra noted that no one will be forced to take the Pledge, Lauer remained troubled: "But how would you do that? I mean if you are in a classroom of 30 students and five sit in a corner and don't stand and put their hands on their hearts as the Pledge is recited aren't the other kids going to ostracize them a little bit?"

     Curry soon elaborated on Lauer’s concern: "But part of the thinking behind some of the criticism is that perhaps maybe an addendum to a renewing of, of a symbol of patriotism that perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance. Now is the school district, you are focusing on that in a new way?”

     Segarra assured Curry that remains a concern.

4

Martina Navratilova, the tennis star who made millions in the U.S. after she left Czechoslovakia, has denounced the values of her adopted country. In an article in a German magazine reported by Reuters and picked up Wednesday night by FNC’s Brit Hume, she complained: “Decisions in America are based solely on the question of 'how much money will come out of it' and not on the questions of how much health, morals or the environment suffer as a result.”

     She also equated the U.S. under President Bush with Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination: “The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another."

     The unbylined Reuters dispatch from Berlin noted that she “singled out President Bush's Republican party for unusually harsh criticism. 'The Republicans in the United States manipulate public opinion and sweep any controversial issues under the table,’ said Navratilova.”

     For the Reuters story in full about what Navratilova wrote in the weekly Die Zeit magazine:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020626/od_nm/navratilova_dc_1

     Not all Czech athletes who fled to the U.S. are as ungrateful as Navratilova or as incapable of realizing the difference between communist oppression and a free nation where no one has ever denied her the right to say anything.

     In the 1980s, current NHL hockey star Jaromir Jagr who wears number “68" to remember the 1968 Soviet invasion of his country, at great personal risk, carried a photo of Ronald Reagan in a school book. As Sports Illustrated recounted in 1992: “Jagr admired Reagan because he was somebody who stood up to the Communists, who had identified the Soviet Union as the 'evil empire’ that Jagr's family knew it to be.”

     An excerpt from a profile of Jagr in the October 12, 1992 Sports Illustrated, “The Kid From Kladno: By achieving NHL stardom, the Penguins' Jaromir Jagr has realized the dream he had as a youth in Czechoslovakia,” by E.M. Swift:

When Jaromir Jagr was 12 years-old -- long before he was a shaggy-maned, spotlight-nabbing heartthrob of the Pittsburgh Penguins; before he had signed a three-year, $3.8 million contract or been invited with his Stanley Cup-winning teammates to the White House; heck, before he had ever left Kladno, Czechoslovakia -- he kept a certain photograph in his grade book at school. Jagr had cut it out of a magazine and hidden it there, sneaking peeks at the picture, knowing there would be hell to pay if the teacher caught him with it.

One day, sure enough, the teacher picked up Jagr's grade book to write down the score he had made on a test and found the photograph. Are you crazy, Jaromir? Take it out, she told him. So he did. But as soon as class was over, Jagr put the photograph of Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, back into his grade book. Jagr admired Reagan because he was somebody who stood up to the Communists, who had identified the Soviet Union as the "evil empire" that Jagr's family knew it to be. Month after month the teacher continued to find that photo of Reagan in Jagr's grade book, continued to admonish him, but she never confiscated it. And every time, when class was over, Jagr would slip it back into its place. "In school we were always taught the Soviet doctrine," Jagr says. "The U.S.A. was bad and wanted war. Russia was our friend and was preventing the United States from bombing us. Even my father didn't tell me the truth, because he was afraid I'd say something in school that would get us into trouble. But my grandmother, she told me the truth."

Jagr's grandmother Jarmila told the boy about the first Jaromir Jagr, his grandfather and her husband. He was a farmer. When the Communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, the grandmother said, they appropriated all the privately owned farms. They collectivized his grandfather's fields and three quarters of his livestock. They left him with the house, barn and yard that the family still lives in today -- Jagr, his grandmother, his parents and his uncle. (Jagr's sister, Jitka, is now married and lives 10 minutes away.) Then the authorities told Jagr's grandfather that he had to labor in the cooperative farm for free. His grandfather refused to work for those people who had stolen his farm. So he was thrown into jail, and he remained there for more than two years.

Jaromir Jagr, the hockey player, never knew Jaromir Jagr, the farmer. The grandson was born in 1972. The grandfather died in 1968, by coincidence during the glorious days of the Czechoslovakian freedom movement known as the Prague Spring. "He never knew that the Russians came back," Jagr says. But, of course, they did come back, and Jagr's grandmother made sure that he knew how, on Aug. 20-21, 1968, the troops rolled through Czechoslovakia to squash that fledgling movement in less than 48 hours.

Jagr never forgot. That is why he admired Reagan. Why he has an American flag in his bedroom and two decals of Old Glory on the windshield of his car in Kladno. And why the young Penguin star, the flamboyant and seemingly carefree spirit, handsome, athletic and rich, wears number 68, after the Prague Spring of 1968, the spring that his grandfather died....

     END of Excerpt

     That reminiscing prompted a phone call from Ronald Reagan, which Sports Illustrated recounted in its November 16, 1992 issue:
     “In a profile by E.M. Swift in the Oct. 12 SI, Pittsburgh Penguin forward Jaromir Jagr recounted that as a lad in Czechoslovakia, he had kept a photo of his hero, Ronald Reagan, pressed in one of his schoolbooks. Last week Jagr received a phone call from Reagan, who said he had read the story and wanted to say hello. Jagr said that the conversation was disjointed, partly because his own English is not perfect but also because Reagan had alluded to the Gipper, a reference Jagr did not fully understand. 
     “'He must be old,’ Jagr said of Reagan. "He started talking about something and then forgot what he was saying.’ But, added Jagr, 'it was my best day. I never talked to a guy like him before.’"

     An honor which would have eluded Navratilova.

     “Jaromir Jagr scored one for the Gipper,” The AP’s Alan Robinson reported on November 6, 1992. An excerpt:

....Jagr ended a four-game scoreless streak after promising former President Ronald Reagan he would score a goal for him, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins continue the best start in their history with an 8-4 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues....

Reagan arranged the conversation after reading in a magazine that Jagr carried the president's picture in his school books while growing up in Czechoslovakia, dreaming he would someday come to America. "I told him, 'I will score a goal for you,"' Jagr said. "I've never talked to anyone like him before. It was my best day ever."...

Jagr was noticeably absent from the Penguins' blitzkrieg offense for several games, but he got all the inspiration he needed from Reagan's phone call.

After St. Louis had tied it at 2 in the second period with a pair of power-play goals by Jeff Brown and Craig Janney, Rick Tocchet and Jagr touched off a run of five straight Penguins' goals by scoring on the power play.

Mr. President, Jagr's goal was for you.

"I asked him if he liked hockey and he said he was a big football fan," Jagr said. "He told me, 'Thank you for saying what you said about me and the U.S.' I asked him, 'Why do they call you the Gipper, what does that mean?"'

Jagr was told how Reagan's best-known acting role was his portrayal of former Notre Dame football star George Gipp....

     END of Excerpt

     Jagr is now with the Washington Capitals and has yet to complain about the oppression of earning $7 million a year. For a photo of him:
http://www.washingtoncaps.com/team/caps_plyrpage.cfm?section=main&player_id=7333

     And what position does he play? Right wing.

5

Some country radio stations are encouraging listeners to send boots to Peter Jennings to protest his decision to pull Toby Keith from ABC’s 4th of July special because Jennings objected to Keith’s song, “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue,” which includes the lyrics:
“This big dog will fight/
“When you rattle his cage/
“And you'll be sorry that you messed with/
“The U.S. of A./
“'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass/
“It's the American way.”

     For more about the hit song and Keith’s version of why he was dropped from ABC’s special, as well as for a RealPlayer video clip of him singing the song on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020614.asp#3

     The MRC’s Liz Swasey alerted me to a New York Post story about the boot-shipping effort. An excerpt from the June 26 story by Adam Buckman:

Fans of country singer Toby Keith are about to give Peter Jennings the boot.

Actually, make that boots -- hundreds of pairs of them which are scheduled to be shipped from about a half-dozen country radio stations next week to Jennings' office at ABC News headquarters here in New York.

The Send Your Old Boots to Peter Jennings Campaign began after Keith blamed the anchorman for getting him booted off of ABC's July Fourth TV special because he planned to sing his new song about Sept. 11, "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)".

Keith was dropped earlier this month because producers of the special didn't think the song was upbeat enough to open their show. Among the song's lyrics are: "You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. 'cause we'll put a boot in your ass - it's the American way."

It was that lyric that inspired the boot campaign, which was the brainchild of a radio personality named Crash, who co-hosts a morning show on country station KTST-FM ("The Twister") in Oklahoma City....

And UPS in Oklahoma City has volunteered to ship the foot wear for free this Friday for delivery as early as next Tuesday.

Crash says word of the boot campaign has spread through the country music grapevine to stations in San Antonio, Dallas, Wichita, Kansas City and other cities. The grand total of boots headed to Jennings' office could not be determined yesterday, but clearly, country music fans are up in arms.

In addition to the boot campaign, country radio disc jockeys have collected thousands of signatures on petitions to reinstate Keith on the ABC lineup....

ABC News denies that Jennings took part in the banning of Keith's song. A spokeswoman for Jennings labeled the boot campaign a "publicity stunt," and added, "Knowing Peter Jennings, when the boots arrive, they will be given to the homeless."...

     END of Excerpt

     For the entire story: http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/51191.htm

     The KTST-FM Web page features a graphic of Jennings’ head on a donkey with a boot pointing at the donkey’s ass: http://www.thetwister.com/main.html

     That page also has a link to the “Support Toby Keith and The Angry American Song” petition cited above: http://www.petitiononline.com/tkaa/petition.html

6

Friday night will be the last broadcast for ABC’s Politically Incorrect, though those in the Washington, DC area haven’t seen the program since ABC affiliate WJLA-TV stopped showing it last October.

     Starting on Monday, July 8, ABC will replace it with a second half hour of Nightline with personality profiles, called Nightline: Close Up. Then in January, that will be replaced by Jimmy Kimmel’s Man Show now on Comedy Central.

     So, today a reminder of the kind of mean-spirited humor the liberal host of Politically Incorrect, Bill Maher, used his show to promulgate. One of his jokes told on the November 30, 2000 show before the audience at CBS Television City, which ABC breaks up and runs excerpts from after ad breaks to lead into another segment with his four guests:
     "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 watch that via RealPlayer clip: http://www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2000/20001201.asp

7

In the “Grapevine” segment of Wednesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Hume highlighted the MRC study released this week about media labeling:
     “American conservatives have complained for years that the news media and, in particular, the broadcast TV networks consistently label conservative public figures as such but rarely do so with liberals. Now, the conservative Media Research Center has run some numbers to make that case. Here’s what the Center says it found after reviewing the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts from 1997 through 2001: Conservatives were so labeled 997 times, but the liberal label was applied only 247 times. That’s an 80 percent to 20 percent differential, with the biggest gap between national political candidates who the Center says were labeled liberal only four times to conservatives who were so identified 96 times.”

     To read the study, “Burying the Liberal Label on Network News; MRC Study: On Evening News Broadcasts, Conservative Tag Used Four Times More than Liberal Label,” go to: http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/2002/fax20020625.asp

     For the Adobe Acrobat PDF version: http://www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2002/pdf/fax0625.pdf

     For “How MRC Conducted Its Labeling Study,” in which Rich Noyes explains how he conducted the study and how he eliminated irrelevant uses of the search terms in order to only count ideological labels applied by reporters or anchors: http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/2002/method20020625.asp

     For a rundown of past MRC studies documenting the media predilection to label conservatives more often than liberals:  http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/2002/stud20020625.asp

     > This may well be the last posted CyberAlert until after the 4th of July week, unless some significantly biased news occurs over the next few days, so have a fun and, yet still, meaningful week.

     CyberAlert e-mail subscribers, however, will receive at least a couple of CyberAlert Specials with the text of the latest Notable Quotables and columns by Brent Bozell, the MRC’s President. -- Brent Baker


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