20 Most Humorous Items from the First Nine Years of CyberAlert
2. NBC's Tim Russert Reacts to the MRC: "Holy ****"
3. John McLaughlin Asks If Bill Clinton Is "a Fighting Cock"
4. CNBC's Geraldo Rivera Shows Himself Naked on the Travel Channel
5. Recalling Time's Effusive Praise of a Communist Party Boss
6. CBS Host Asks Is It "Legal" for Business to Raise Prices
7. CNN Media Critic: Fundraiser Won't Alter Dan Rather's Objectivity
8. Matt Lauer "Sexed Up" by Lion at Siegfried and Roy's House
9. Dan Rather Confesses: "I Made Up the Last Three Stories"
10. After Banana Milkshake, ABC's Sawyer "Dreamed About Bill Clinton"
11. Reporter Asks Rumsfeld to Tell Taliban Where We Will Bomb From 2001: During a Pentagon briefing a reporter actually suggested to Donald Rumsfeld that, in order to minimize civilian casualties, the U.S. drop "leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, 'This could become a military target.'" A dumbfounded Rumsfeld stared speechless for several seconds as he formulated a reply.
12. Connie Chung Sings to Dan Rather: "You're Number One"
13. While Wife Cooked Duck, Ted Koppel's Baby Hit Floor With a Thud
14. CNN: "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead Or Alive"
15. Feet from Murder, Geraldo Autographs Shorts of Hooters Girls
16. James Carville Shares with CNN Audience How He's Poorly Endowed
17. Oceans Advocate Ted Danson Admits Relieving Himself in Ocean
18. Peter Jennings: "My Dad Wrote 'Smoke Pot' in Cloves" on a Ham
19. Cicadas Are People Too: Letters to the Editor Upset by Abuse
20. CBS Reporter Sells "Never Used!" CBS News Standards at Yard Sale
Editor's Note: Since April 7, 1996, MRC's near-daily CyberAlert e-mail, edited by MRC Vice President Brent Baker (photo on the right), has had a tremendous impact by carefully and comprehensively documenting the latest examples of liberal media bias. But over the years the CyberAlert has also entertained readers with a number of items showcasing the wackier aspects of the media elite. Here, to commemorate the 2,000th CyberAlert, are 20 of the more humorous items we've published in the previous 1,999 editions, as compiled by the MRC's Rich Noyes.
Our look back begins with an item from the 249th CyberAlert, as originally published Tuesday, August 12, 1997:
MRC news analyst Clay Waters has displayed signs of sod phobia, such as picking shredded lettuce out of his sandwiches, since seeing this story on CNN. On the August 3 World Today anchor Linden Soles warned:
"Could your lawnmower kill you? Perhaps. In fact, a new study finds that you could be risking your life every time you cut the grass. In our News from Medicine report, CNN's Ed Garsten tells us that matching you with the right mower may mean the difference between life and death."
All the more reason to stay inside and read your always informative but never dangerous CyberAlert.
From the 385th CyberAlert, published Tuesday, April 21, 1998:
"Watchdog With a Sense of Humor" announced the Boston Globe headline over an April 16 story on Tim Russert's reaction to a quote credited to him cited in the MRC's Notable Quotables. The Globe's Mark Jurkowitz reported: "Those guys at the Media Research Center, the conservative media watchdog group, have quite a sense of humor. Their April 1 Notable Quotables newsletter printed an explosive Today show interview in which NBC's Tim Russert complained that devastating revelations about Bill Clinton lying in depositions weren't making his network's newscasts."
Jurkowitz ran only part of the quote, but here it is in its entirety:
"Katie, this latest testimony made public by Jones's lawyers about how Clinton really did have sex in the back of a limo with a former, a one-time Miss America is devastating. This is serious. It directly contradicts his deposition. This is obstruction of justice at the highest levels of our government, and Katie it really does, it really raises the possibility reluctant Republicans will have to proceed with impeachment hearings. But of course, like every other bit of evidence about White House illegalities that I declare serious, it wasn't mentioned on our own Nightly News last night and won't be tonight. I'm only the VP and Washington Bureau Chief."
After the quote excerpt the Globe printed, Jurkowitz observed: "Incendiary stuff, until you realize it was the April Fools' issue of Notable Quotables. 'I said, 'Holy [expletive],' responded a mildly amused Russert when contacted for comment. 'When did I say this?'"
From the 680th CyberAlert, published Monday, September 13, 1999:
Most questionable terminology selection of the weekend. Here's how, on the version of the McLaughlin Group with ad breaks carried by commercial TV stations, John McLaughlin plugged an upcoming segment:
Geraldo's Rivera's words are frightening enough each night when he's fully clothed on CNBC. Now imagine being confronted with him defending Bill Clinton and bashing Ken Starr while he's naked. That could happen if anyone combines his CNBC polemics with his Travel Channel nude dips.
Sunday night at 10pm ET and PT the Travel Channel ran the first part of "Sail to the Century with Geraldo Rivera," a one-hour videography of his trip around the world with a crew on a 70-foot sailboat. He plans to cross the dateline in the Pacific as the year changes, hence the name of the show.
Part one started with his departure from Marion, Massachusetts in early 1997 and ended in mid-1999 with the boat off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Geraldo has conducted the trip on intermittent weekend and longer breaks from CNBC and NBC as his crew sometimes waited for him and sometimes sailed on to another port to await his joining them for a leg of the trip. His narration included repeated complaints about having to fly back to the U.S. to cover the Lewinsky scandal.
Without warning as the boat hit a calm spot on its way across the Atlantic to the Azores, barely, shall we say, five minutes into the show, a long-haired and unshaven Geraldo doffed his clothes for a swim, forcing viewers to see his buttocks and, as he turned sideways to jump off the boat (with front side toward the camera), a bit more than even NYPD Blue has shown. Fortunately, Travel Channel editors put some of those blurry blocks over key parts of his body. Other highlights of the program included Geraldo leading on-deck dancing and exercising.
Part two will air sometime in January. But now you're warned. If he went naked in the Atlantic he'll probably do it again in the Pacific.
For a picture and RealPLayer video: www.mediaresearch.org
From the 923rd CyberAlert, published Tuesday, October 17, 2000:
"Who Doesn't Love Grandpa Gus Hall?" The former leader of the Communist Party USA passed away Monday at age 90. The MRC's Tim Graham recalled a gem of a tribute from Time magazine.
In the September 9, 1991 issue reporter Michael Riley gushed:
One more reminder the West won the Cold War despite the Western media's too frequent affection for communism. Can you imagine any such oozing in Time about someone like Newt Gingrich?
From the 1,000th CyberAlert, published Thursday, January 4, 2001:
Bizarre question of the day, is it "legal" for a company to raise the price for a product it makes?
Tuesday night, as if by coincidence, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows all ran stories on the nefarious plot by food manufacturers to charge the same price for a package of a product, but with a smaller quantity. Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, figured out all the stories were prompted by a press release from the Consumer Federation of America, though none offered a source. All three stories showcased the same examples of Doritos, Cracker Jack and how Pampers has gone from 44 to 38 diapers in a package. Rich will be writing a thorough analysis for MediaNomics next week, but in the meantime, check out this question on Wednesday's The Early Show from CBS's Julie Chen to Carol Foreman Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America:
Three days into the new year and we already have a winner for our 2001 "Good Morning Morons Award."
From the 1,057th CyberAlert, published Monday, April 9, 2001:
Bernard Kalb, co-host of CNN's Reliable Sources and a long-time CBS News reporter, on Dan Rather's appearance at a fundraiser for the local Democratic Party committee in Travis County, Texas:
I guess the fundraiser was just a little detour.
Lauer "sexed up" by a lion who made him his "bitch." Today co-host Matt Lauer recounted a very strange story on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Tuesday night. Strange by itself, but made more so by Lauer's odd fixation with a lion's penis and how after the lion took a certain action Lauer said he felt "sexed up."
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down Lauer's description on the May 1 NBC late night program of an incident which occurred last weekend when he and his wife visited the Las Vegas-area home of magicians Siegfried & Roy. Lauer was in Nevada to play in a celebrity golf tournament which raised money for prostate cancer research.
Lauer began: "So we're walking through the back yard, and this is almost disgusting." He described how the yard had cages with tigers and lions and he motioned to O'Brien how he was sitting as far from a lion as O'Brien was from him -- just a couple of feet.
Lauer continued, with ellipses where O'Brien made quips: "The lions were, two of the lions were in a bit of a horny mood. One of the lions was sort of not leaving the other lion alone, and he's [imitates horny lion growl], and she's like, get away from me, and, you know, he's rubbing on her...and of course, you know, instead of just turning around and giving them privacy, you become fascinated by this, so I was like, you know, staring at this lion, and suddenly he gets up from bugging the woman lion, and he comes and he looks right at me for like 15, 20 seconds, and we're standing there, and then it becomes uncomfortable, you know, you're staring for too long, and you're thinking, you know, is this thing, is he going to come after me...and he's just staring at me. And he gives one of these like 'Mmmm' [makes lion growl again], and I thought okay, that's it, it's over.
Another day in the wild life of Matt Lauer. You couldn't make something like this up. Now we've had an insight into Lauer's peculiar habits and interests.
From the 1,092nd CyberAlert, published Monday, June 11, 2001:
Appearing on CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on Friday night, Dan Rather read aloud some suggested "Ratherisms" and uttered another wacky one himself before Kilborn got him to announce a possible new sign-off about making up stories.
Rather read aloud these Ratherisms proposed by Kilborn:
-- "This election is tighter than Al Roker's cummerbund."
Kilborn wondered: "Which one would you use?"
Kilborn soon reminded Rather how he once signed off with the word "courage." Rather updated Kilborn, explaining he now ends the CBS Evening News: "And that's part of our world tonight."
Off of a card, Rather then enunciated this recommended sign-off: "I'm Dan Rather. And I made up the last three stories."
On some nights that's not far off.
From the 1,106th CyberAlert, published Wednesday, July 11, 2001:
Tuesday morning Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson mocked his colleague Diane Sawyer for highlighting a "study" about how Republicans have more nightmares than Democrats, but Tuesday night World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings treated it as a serious item worthy of air time. Sawyer also revealed that "after pepperoni pizza and banana milkshakes once, I dreamed about Bill Clinton."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that near the end of the July 10 GMA Diane Sawyer intoned: "So, there's a study out which shows that even though ideology by day separates Democrats and Republicans a lot, it separates it even more by night. The new study shows that members of the GOP have nearly three times more nightmares than any Democrats do. So, unless they're all named Bill Clinton, what can it mean?"
Gibson's mocking of the story didn't dissuade Peter Jennings. A few hours later on World News Tonight he relayed: "There's one other item in the medical file we couldn't resist. A study being presented at the University of California-Santa Cruz finds that Republicans are nearly three times more likely than Democrats to have nightmares. Researchers speculate that Republicans are very attuned to dangers in the world."
Maybe conservatives get scared by network news stars who dream about Bill Clinton after eating pepperoni pizza with a banana milkshake.
From the 1,168th CyberAlert, published Wednesday, October 31, 2001:
Leave the military work to the military, please. During the Pentagon briefing on Tuesday afternoon, a reporter suggested to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that, in order to minimize civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the U.S. drop "leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, '€˜This could become a military target.'" A stunned Rumsfeld stared forward for several seconds speechless as he formulated a reply.
The question during the October 30 briefing came from a male reporter whose voice I could not identify, so not anyone such as CNN's Jamie McIntyre, CBS's David Martin, ABC's John McWethy or NBC's Jim Miklaszewski.
Whoever he was, he inquired: "You said that the air strikes are deliberately designed not to hit residential centers, but you also say that the Taliban is hiding weapons, stockpiling weapons in residential areas. Have you ruled out the possibility of dropping leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, 'This could become a military target'? Is that something, without discussing future operations, could you see that possibly coming to fruition?"
Rumsfeld was dumbfounded. After a few seconds of silence, he repeated the recommendation: "We drop leaflets?" He then explained what's wrong with the idea: "The likelihood, of dropping those kinds of leaflets, of course, would tell the innocent people that they should stay out of mosques, but it would also tell the other people they should stay out of mosques. It is not quite clear to me how we would advantage ourselves."
To the tune of "Love and Marriage," at a Tuesday night event at which Dan Rather received an award, ABC's Connie Chung, who anchored the CBS Evening News with him in a failed 1993-94 experiment, sang a song parody to him.
Her first stanza, as recounted by the New York Post: "Chung and Rather/Chung and Rather/How the gossips used to love to blather/None of it was true, Dan/I treasured sitting next to you, Dan."
On Tuesday night, the NBC-produced Access Hollywood program played a clip of Chung singing this stanza: "Dan and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one/And here's your Silver Circle plaque, Daaaaan!"
From the 1328th CyberAlert, published Monday, August 19, 2002:
Ted Koppel revealed during Thursday's Nightline with Julia Child that he dropped daughter Andrea, now CNN's State Department correspondent, on the floor because he got distracted while reaching for a diaper as his wife was trying to follow a Child recipe for "Duck a l'Orange." You can't make this stuff up.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this on Thursday's Nightline marking Child's 90th birthday. Koppel recalled on the August 15 show:
I'm assuming the "successful television correspondent" is Andrea Koppel. CNN's bio page for her, complete with a photo: www.cnn.com
From the 1,335th CyberAlert, published Wednesday, September 4, 2002:
Which way is it on Osama bin Laden being dead or alive? To CNN, it's both. CNN featured this text in an on-screen graphic on Tuesday afternoon: "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead Or Alive." The insight appeared during a story from Pentagon reporter Barbara Starr about the hunt for bin Laden, whether he is dead or alive and how al Qaeda can operate with or without him.
MRC President Brent Bozell noticed the graphic during the story on Live From at about 2:05pm EDT. "Hunt for Bin Laden" read the large subject heading on screen. In smaller type below, "Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead Or Alive."
After exactly two minutes, when a CNN staffer probably noticed the odd statement, the subhead changed to: "Al Qaeda Leader Out Of Sight For Months."
From the 1,363rd CyberAlert, published Thursday, October 17, 2002:
Geraldo Rivera, class act. Rivera parachuted in to Spotsylvania County, Virginia last Friday to cover the latest sniper shooting for FNC and when he had a break between on air appearances he walked over to the neighboring Hooters where, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported, he was seen "autographing the seats of Fredericksburg Hooters waitresses' skimpy orange shorts -- while the women were in them."
The Washington Post's Lloyd Grove followed up with the revelation "that Geraldo and his younger brother each used a felt-tip pen to scrawl their names, left and right, on each cheek of the Hooters shorts."
But FNC maintained the brotherly antics with Craig, his producer, were not inappropriate since the butt signing across the street from the murder scene occurred only because Geraldo was "honoring" requests from his fans.
An excerpt of the October 15 Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star story headlined, "Geraldo signs backsides yards from sniper site," by reporter Michael Zitz:
Geraldo Rivera has a knack for getting to the bottom of a story.
The larger-than-life Fox News reporter swooped into Fredericksburg and spent the weekend to file reports following Friday's sniper shooting at the Four-Mile Fork Exxon.
He arrived at the scene at midday Friday, strutting around in a black leather jacket and blue jeans.
By 6 p.m. on the day of the shooting, Rivera was autographing the seats of Fredericksburg Hooters waitresses' skimpy orange shorts -- while the women were in them.
The Hooters restaurant is located only about 50 yards away from the crime scene.
"He was posing for pictures with the Hooters Girls and signing their [rear ends]," said Geoff Leach, a Caroline County resident who was at the restaurant late Friday afternoon.
"I thought it was pretty tasteless, considering the timing and the proximity to the scene of the killing," Leach said. "It was a circus atmosphere."
A spokesman for Fox News Channel in New York said the Hooters autograph session was only part of a wider Rivera autograph spree.
"He was all over the place," said FNC spokesman Robert Zimmerman. "He was giving autographs at the Waffle House next to the gas station, he was giving autographs to Spotsylvania sheriff's deputies, he was giving autographs to truck drivers."
Zimmerman made it clear that neither he nor Fox was defending Rivera's actions.
Rivera declined to talk directly to a reporter, but relayed a comment through Zimmerman.
"He said he was honoring the requests of his adoring fans," Zimmerman said....
END of Excerpt
Just proves that Geraldo is more of a celebrity than a journalist.
From the 1,529th CyberAlert, published Tuesday, July 1, 2003:
James Carville must not think much of the right to privacy so vaunted in recent days by liberals. On Friday's Crossfire on CNN, he shared how he's poorly endowed.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught how during a June 27 segment on the new full body scanners that the TSA wants to use at airports, which leave little to the imagination, the liberal co-host of Crossfire quipped: "That thing would have to be very sensitive to pick up any of my privates, let me tell you, it would take about an electron microscope for that thing to show up."
No wonder Carville was so jealous of Bill Clinton. And now you know something only Mary Matalin knew before.
File this under TMI: Too Much Information.
From the 1,597th CyberAlert, published Wednesday, October 15, 2003:
Do as I preach not as I do. Actor Ted Danson, a founder of the American Oceans Campaign, a group which since merged with Oceana, an advocacy organization on whose Board of Directors he sits and which has a campaign devoted to stopping cruise ships from discharging sewage into the ocean, admitted to Craig Kilborn that he has relieved himself in the ocean.
During the "5 Questions" segment on Monday's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on CBS, Kilborn prefaced question #4 by asking Danson, who is best-known for playing "Sam Malone" on Cheers and who now stars in the sit-com Becker on CBS, to affirm: "You're an advocate for cleaner oceans." Danson agreed. Kilborn then queried, "True or false: You have never relieved yourself in the ocean?" Danson, after a long delay, answered "false" as he bowed his head in shame.
From the 1,621st CyberAlert, published Monday, November 24, 2003:
A second television news star has recalled a memory of an oddity committed by a parent. A few weeks ago, Katie Couric conceded that her mother, when she learned of AIDS, bought stock in companies that made condoms. Now, in a remembrance of his childhood Canadian Thanksgivings, Peter Jennings noted how one year "my dad wrote 'smoke pot' in cloves on the very large ham."
Jennings penned the cover story for this past weekend's USA Weekend, the newspaper supplement published by Gannett, "My First Thanksgiving as an American."
In it, the Canadian-born Jennings who became a U.S. citizen this year, recalled his Canadian childhood:
From the 1,725th CyberAlert, published Monday, May 24, 2004:
File under, "Cicadas are people too." Without further comment, two letters in the Washington Post's regular Saturday page of letters, a section called "Free for All," under the heading of "Bugged by Cicada Abuse." The letters:
Even with the daily news about Iraqi prisoners and Middle East bombings, I still find myself disgusted by the stream of stories in your paper about children pulling the legs off cicadas [Metro, May 7], and throwing them under cars and using them as hockey pucks [Style, May 19]. None of these stories mention the reactions of parents or teachers, but I hope they are using this marvelous phenomenon of living creatures to teach these children that even small bugs are not inanimate objects to be wantonly killed for "playtime."
-- Dena R. Bauman Washington
I am hardly an insect hugger and confess burgeoning panic at the prospect of cicadas roosting in my rather big hair. But even I found Linton Weeks's reference to children in Bethesda tossing cicadas under moving cars and beating them with sticks absolutely horrifying and reminiscent of those ant-stompers I never liked in grade school. Let's not promote cicada abuse. These creatures have waited 17 years to mate. Give them a break.
-- Elizabeth Shea Alexandria
Cicadas, for those outside the cicada zone, who haven't watched any TV news in the past few weeks, are insects which emerge from underground every 17 years to fly into trees and to mate. They last appeared in 1987 and we won't see them again, assuming the millions of them survive the attacks by the kids, until 2021.
Holding his own yard sale for a 60 Minutes/Wednesday piece on yard sales, Steve Hartman put out "some boring personnel manuals," including a "CBS News Standards" booklet, which he assured a potential buyer, was a book that's "never been used." The camera zoomed in on handwriting on a post-it note slapped on it: "Never used!" and below that, "$.50."
Hartman, provides short, light-hearted stories at the end of the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes. For the April 27 program, he went to an unidentified suburban neighborhood of homes and showed himself browsing through the junk at some yard sales. He bought a golf club and an olive oil bottle.
No word from Hartman on whether he sold the CBS News Standards manual to someone who might actually read it.
-- Brent Baker