2. Nets Channel Democratic Angst About Nader, Push Him to Get Out
3. Andy Rooney's Insult via God: "Mel [Gibson] Is a Real Nut Case"
4. Newsweek Denigrates as a "Rant" a Book About Liberal TV Women
Doing a liberal group's bidding. Monday's World News Tonight featured a friendly story about a "recusal motion" filed by the Sierra Club, described by Peter Jennings simply as an "environmental group," over how Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney and thus should recuse himself from a case over access to records of the Energy Task Force headed by Cheney. ABC's story, however, failed to convey how the Sierra Club's own press release, which wasn't even dated until the next day, touted its effort as based not on any solid foundation but upon how "dozens of editorials and editorial cartoons calling for Justice Scalia's withdrawal from the case," as well as jokes in "Jay Leno's monologue," prove that Scalia's "impartiality is being reasonably questioned."
The Leno standard? If Jay Leno jokes about it, then a justice's impartiality is in doubt?
Jennings introduced the February 23 World News Tonight story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In Washington late today, the Sierra Club has filed a very unusual motion asking a Supreme Court Justice to recuse himself from a very high profile case. The environmental group argues that Justice Antonin Scalia cannot be impartial in matters involving the Vice President. It's because, most recently, of a duck-hunting trip. Here's ABC's Terry Moran."
Moran began: "Last month, Vice President Cheney took some close friends duck hunting in rural Louisiana, wowing the locals."
It's a good thing that the decision remains in Scalia's hands given the Sierra Club's case is based on cartoons and jokes. "Sierra Club Moves for Scalia Recusal in Cheney Case," announced the headline over the press release dated February 24, the day after the ABC story. An excerpt:
The Sierra Club today formally requested the recusal of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from its case against Vice President Cheney and the secret Energy Task Force. Citing the intense public attention drawn to the January duck hunting trip taken by Cheney and Scalia, the Sierra Club reluctantly concluded that recusal is necessary to "redress an appearance of impropriety and to restore public confidence in the integrity of our nation's highest court."
"Unfortunately, the Cheney-Scalia vacation mirrors the secrecy with which the Bush Administration often conducts business," said David Bookbinder, Sierra Club's Washington Legal Director. "The public is continually shut out."
The recusal motion filed today cites the dozens of editorials and editorial cartoons calling for Justice Scalia's withdrawal from the case as evidence that his impartiality is being reasonably questioned--the federal test for recusal. From the editorials and cartoons in papers across the country, to Jay Leno's monologue on the Tonight show, opinion leaders are questioning this trip and how it reflects on the Supreme Court....
END of Excerpt
For the press release in full: www.sierraclub.org
All the network stories on Sunday and Monday, about Ralph Nader's decision to make an independent presidential run, stressed Democratic angst about his threat to a Democratic victory in November and assumed as fact that Nader's bid in 2000 cost Al Gore the presidency, but on Monday morning the ABC and NBC hosts who interviewed him acted as Democratic political operatives as they practically begged him to get out of the race.
"Realistically," ABC's Charles Gibson lectured him, "you don't have a chance of winning and realistically you can keep the Democratic candidate from winning. Is that okay with you?" Gibson told him: "The simple fact is four years ago you did cost Al Gore the presidency, didn't you?" Gibson soon added: "Even your friends, Mr. Nader, are asking that you not run."
Like Gibson, NBC's Matt Lauer avoided policy issues as he demanded that Nader react to how everyone from Howard Dean to Al Sharpton to a New York Times editorial were urging Democrats to not vote for him.
Gibson introduced Nader on the February 23 Good Morning America, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
Gibson's subsequent questions:
-- "Well, let me follow up to the Florida question. It's certainly true that there were a number of third-party candidates in the race, but you got more votes than any of them, with the exception of Pat Buchanan. The simple fact is if you hadn't been there, Al Gore would have won the state of Florida, the 537 votes wouldn't have been an issue."
-- "Even your friends, Mr. Nader, are asking that you not run. You're very familiar, I know, with the RalphDontRun Web site. I just want to play a little bit of the ad that's on that Web site right now."
-- "If on November 1st the polls said Bush 49, Kerry 48, Nader 3, would you drop out?"
On NBC's Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Lauer took a similar approach: "On Close Up this morning Decision 2004. Ralph Nader has once again joined the race for the White House against the wishes of many Democrats. Ralph Nader, good morning to you."
-- "Here's what the New York Times, here's what the New York Times says in an editorial this morning. They're talking about the people who voted for you back in 2000, saying they may have voted for you under the impression that sending a message was more important than picking the next President and that quote, 'We doubt very much they will make that same mistake twice,' end quote. What's your reaction?"
-- "But even, but Mr. Nader even some of the people in the Democratic party who agree with you on some of those issues are now saying, for example, Howard Dean who dropped out of the race recently said he will actively campaign against you and urge his supporters not to vote for you. Al Sharpton says he will go on a nationwide campaign to make sure people don't vote for you. This is from Scott Maddox, the chairman of the Democratic party in Florida. 'I think that Ralph Nader is proving the only master he serves is his enormous ego.'"
-- "We talk a lot about electability as an issue in the primaries so far. And people say, 'is John Kerry electable, is John Edwards electable?' Why is Ralph Nader electable?"
-- "But you only got three percent of the vote in 2000?"
-- "How, how realistic is it that you can get on the ballot in all 50 states? I mean it's an enormous task. You need something like 700,000 names on petitions."
Andy Rooney lashed out Sunday night, using his 60 Minutes platform to do some name-calling, in the name of God, against Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson. Claiming to be relaying what God wanted him to say after Rooney had a conversation with him, Rooney passed along how God delivered insults as he said that "I wish you'd tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that's one of your current words. They're crazy as bedbugs" and "Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him?"
Returning to his own voice, Rooney demanded: "My question to Mel Gibson is: How many million dollars does it look as if you're going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?"
Now that's harsh. I thought the liberal argument was that gay marriage doesn't in any way hurt a heterosexual marriage, so there's no reason to oppose same-sex marriages? So how does Pat Robertson proclaiming his belief that Bush will win big, or Mel Gibson making a movie conveying his interpretation of a religious event profound to him which he thinks many others will want to experience, in any way impact Rooney? Why is he so bothered? Plenty of Hollywood moguls have made money off less worthy exploitations and I don't recall Rooney condemning them? And Gibson hasn't yet made any money. He put his own money at risk and may or may not make it back.
The DrudgeReport.com on Monday linked to a CBS News.com posting of the text of Rooney's commentary, but my version above differs a bit since it matches what actually aired on 60 Minutes after I checked it against the tape. CBS's posted version: www.cbsnews.com
A new book exposing liberal bias in women's magazines and among female TV stars, by a former editor of Ladies' Home Journal, was denigrated in the latest Newsweek as a "political rant," full of "sneers" about the expensive tastes of Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer. The magazine added the gossip that the author has betrayed friends in a desperate bid to become a "right-wing pundit," a "sad" swan song for "someone over 60," even "an act of arson."
[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]
Newsweek General Editor Peg Tyre described the book -- "Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America," by Myrna Blyth -- as part-rant and part-dish, full of wild conspiracy theories: "Equal parts political rant and industry tell-all, the book offers an acid portrait of what Blyth calls a liberal female media cabal. In Blyth's world, Katie, Diane, Barbara and a dozen or so women's-magazine editors are conspiring to rob millions of otherwise intelligent women of their self-confidence and good sense."
Tyre's short piece in the March 1 issue overlooked Blyth's focus on how the networks run scare stories which paint women as victims of nefarious elements beyond their control, from supposedly bad products in need of regulation to the lack of research into health threats, a theme for which Blyth obtained examples from the MRC.
Tyre reported that Blyth found that Katie Couric "has a $7,500-a-week personal trainer and spends $550 on a cut and color...Diane Sawyer, Blyth sneers, portrays herself as an intellectual who's uninterested in fashion when all the while she's married to a famous movie director and wears Armani."
Tyre ended by suggesting that Blyth is personally sleazy for turning on friends to get a new career started: "The book has set off a firestorm among Blyth's targets, many of whom have considered her a friend for years. Couric and Sawyer wouldn't comment, but Good Housekeeping editor Ellen Levine calls the book 'sad.' 'Blyth had all the power at Ladies' Home Journal,' says Levine. 'If she knew how to produce a better magazine, she could have done it.' Glamour editor Cindi Leive dismisses the book as an 'an act of arson.' Others say it's Blyth's bid to return to the media spotlight, this time as a right-wing pundit. 'This is someone over 60,' says Cosmo editor Kate White, 'who wants to create a big-enough stir to get on TV.' Bookers, take note."
Amazon.com provides a fuller take on the content of the Blyth book:
Blowing the whistle on a job she herself did for over ten years at Ladies Home Journal as editor-in-chief, Blyth reveals the almost institutionalized selling of a liberal/do-gooders message to women through
characterizing women themselves as victims. Playing on women's compassion and ability to be hooked into 'uplifting' stories with a moral or happy ending, American media has convinced the most well-educated, rich and healthy audience in history that they are miserable. She dissects why:
END Excerpt from Amazon.com
Amazon's page on Blyth's book: www.amazon.com
-- "There were 115 positive portrayals of government activism and/or calls for more. There were only 18 negative portrayals and/or calls for less. Twenty-three stories went beyond promoting bigger government -- they also asked readers to lobby government officials on behalf of expanded government programs."
-- "In 56 articles or mentions of science and risk issues, 35 were one-sided and did not acknowledge a skeptical view that the risks depicted were minor and the alarmist views presented go against mainstream science."
For the March 1 Newsweek article: msnbc.msn.com
# Speaking of liberal women on network TV, Barbara Walters is scheduled to appear on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC and Diane Sawyer Wednesday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.
-- Brent Baker