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CBS Wails: "With Only $400 Billion to Spend"; NBC Rues Tax Cut --6/25/2003


1. CBS Wails: "With Only $400 Billion to Spend"; NBC Rues Tax Cut
"With only $400 billion to spend." Not even $400 billion is enough spending for CBS and NBC which on Monday and Tuesday night ran stories lamenting the inadequate level of spending proposed to create a prescription drug entitlement. Dan Rather warned: "The plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for." Joie Chen found a victim of "the donut hole. That's the point at which there's no coverage." And why the donut hole? "Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it..." NBC's Norah O'Donnell focused on how "the AARP argues the plan...will short-change seniors." She targeted the tax cut as the culprit: "Some Democrats charge the recent tax cuts killed off any hope of closing the benefit gap."

2. Woodruff Hits Kennedy and Santorum from Left on Drug Coverage
CNN's Judy Woodruff, a case study in the media's liberal, pro-government spending/government can solve any problem bias. Last Wednesday, she took on Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from the left suggesting to him that his prescription coverage giveaway program in Medicare doesn't go far enough: "I began by asking him about his signing off on a plan that would leave some seniors with less drug coverage than they need and whether he undercut those seniors." This week she interviewed Republican Senator Rick Santorum and worried about how with Democratic and Republican plans in conflict a new program might not pass: "I started by asking him if the whole Medicare reform effort could unravel over this kind of disagreement."

3. Limbaugh and "Best of the Web" Pick Up on CyberAlert Item
You read it here first. Rush Limbaugh and OpinionJournal.com on Friday jumped on the June 19 CyberAlert item about CBS and ABC, two years apart, showcasing the same old woman as the poster victim of high prescription drug costs, though they couldn't agree on her ailment.

4. Ann Coulter's Defense of McCarthy Appalls ABC's Diane Sawyer
Appalled by Ann Coulter's suggestion in a new book that Senator Joseph McCarthy was largely correct about the infiltration of the U.S. government by those sympathetic to communist tyranny, on Tuesday's Good Morning America Diane Sawyer suggested that Coulter's historic perspective means that she'd want anyone opposed to war in Iraq to lose their job since, to Sawyer, McCarthy promoted the idea of "thought crime." Sawyer demanded: "Do you think there should be hearings on Capitol Hill for the people who were critical of the war in Iraq? Do you think that they should be hauled up and then banned from their jobs if they're proven to have been deeply critical of the war with Iraq?"

5. You're Either a "Civil Rights Supporter" or a "Conservative"
Conservatives who desire a color-blind society in which advantages aren't handed out for belonging to a favored race aren't for "civil rights"? Displaying the standard liberal view about the definition of "civil rights," Monday morning on ABC John Cochran recalled how President Bush's opposition to the University of Michigan's racial quota system "angered many civil rights supporters around the country and it pleased very much a lot of conservatives."

6. Reporters Tag Howard Dean as "Centrist," "Fiscal Conservative"
Is Howard Dean a "centrist" or a "conservative"? Instead of exploring how far to the left he'd move the country, some journalists are baffled by how to label him and wonder if he's really liberal at all. Monday night on MSNBC, James Warren, the Chicago Tribune's Deputy Managing Editor and former Washington Bureau Chief, described Dean, who created a state-funded health payment system, as a "fiscal conservative." On CBS's Early Show that day, Hannah Storm tagged Dean as a "centrist Governor."

7. "Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Howard Dean"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean."

8. Leno Mocks Gore on No Liberal Media, Grammer Zings Jennings
Two good jokes from the late night shows last week: Jay Leno mocked Al Gore's view that liberals don't have any outlets in the media and Kelsey Grammer, as guest host of the Late Show, launched a zinger at the "effete" Peter Jennings.


CBS Wails: "With Only $400 Billion to
Spend"; NBC Rues Tax Cut

"With only $400 billion to spend." Not even $400 billion is enough spending for CBS and NBC which on Monday and Tuesday night ran stories from the left lamenting the inadequate level of spending proposed to create a huge new entitlement program, prescription drug coverage in Medicare.

In fact, economists Andrew Rettenmmaier and Thomas Saving of Texas A&M and the National Center for Policy Analysis, reported in a June 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed that the cost will be a lot more: "The new benefits will create an unfunded liability of $7.5 trillion, or almost twice the current debt held by the public." For an explanation: www.ncpa.org

But the deficit implications of such massive new spending does not concern the network reporters who were so worried about by how much the tax cut would increase the deficit.

Dan Rather warned on Tuesday's CBS Evening News of inadequate spending: "The plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for." Joie Chen proceeded to find a victim of "the donut hole. That's the point at which there's no coverage." And why the so-called "donut hole"? Because of a lack of spending: "Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it, at least not without cutting into some other part of the plan."

The night before, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, Norah O'Donnell similarly focused on how "the AARP argues the plan in Congress, backed by President Bush, will short-change seniors." She too found of victim who would actually have to pay for some of her own expenses before targeting the tax cut as the culprit: "Some Democrats charge the recent tax cuts killed off any hope of closing the benefit gap."

It's all a sure sign that no matter what is passed it will never be enough for liberals back-stopped by their allies, the pro-big government media.

A full rundown of the CBS and NBC stories, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:

-- CBS Evening News, June 24. Dan Rather intoned: "On another big pocketbook issue, millions of seniors are now expecting President Bush and Congress to deliver on promises of some prescription drug coverage under Medicare. Lawmakers are still working out details, but as CBS's Joie Chen reports, the plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for."

Chen began: "You'd think lawmakers would know better than to upset America's toughest lobby, but as Congress moves toward passage of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, seniors are looking more closely at what's being offered and finding things they don't like. Both House and Senate versions involved an annual deductible plus monthly fees. But when you start to look at coverage levels, you'll see what's referred to as the 'donut hole.' That's the point at which there's no coverage. Participants would have to pay the entire cost of their prescriptions before they reach the level of catastrophic expense when the plan would pay for most of the drug costs. The donut hole is bigger in the House bill, nearly $3,000 worth of prescription costs before the plan starts paying the full drug cost. AARP activist Claire Krulik falls into the donut hole under both bills. But she doubts the proposed drug benefit will do her much good."
Claire Krulik, New Jersey senior citizen: "It's that donut, that hole in the middle, that's gonna, that's gonna eat up your money. It's the same thing as not having any insurance at all."
Chen: "But as it turns out, Krulik would be better off. A rough calculation based on Claire Krulik's current expenses shows that under the Senate plan, her expenses would be just over $3,000, and under the House plan, she'd still save about $1,000. So why is there a donut hole at all? Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it, at least not without cutting into some other part of the plan, so you can expect that it will remain in place as these bills move through Congress this summer."

I'm going to nominate "with only $400 billion to spend," as the Clause of the Year.

-- NBC Nightly News, June 23. Anchor Brian Williams announced: "Now to the family tonight, one of the big political issues in play right now, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The bill backed by President Bush circulating on Capitol Hill is being looked at very carefully now, and while seniors are grateful to be getting help, they're not happy with everything they're seeing. Here is NBC's Norah O'Donnell."

O'Donnell began: "It's the nerve center for the AARP, a political powerhouse, 35 million members strong. They've been battling for years to get Congress to help with the high cost of prescription drugs. Yet now on the verge of victory, the AARP argues the plan in Congress, backed by President Bush, will short-change seniors."
John Rother, AARP Policy Director: "People are disappointed that there isn't more of a benefit here. And sometimes they're mad. Sometimes they think, well, at least it's a first start. But everyone is disappointed."
O'Donnell found a victim: "Like 77-year-old Pat Roussos of Connecticut, who suffers from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. Her out-of-pocket drug costs now, as much as $6,500 a year."
Pat Roussos: "It's only a start, and I'm not convinced it's going to go very far."
O'Donnell: "That's because the government will only pay for half of drug costs up to $4500, and then there's a huge gap: no coverage until drug costs exceed $5800."
Roussos: "I can't imagine that working because those are the people who actually need to have the help."
O'Donnell: "Why such a big gap in coverage? Because the $400 billion Congress budgeted only goes so far."
Marilyn Moon, Medicare Policy expert: "Essentially, the gap comes in because there's not enough money to provide benefits everywhere."
O'Donnell zeroed in on the tax cut: "Some Democrats charge the recent tax cuts killed off any hope of closing the benefit gap, but even liberals like Senator Ted Kennedy argue this plan is a start and worth supporting. The AARP says it won't stand in the way."
Rother: "This year something in prescription drugs is better than nothing."
O'Donnell concluded: "A plan the AARP would like to strengthen, the one that many now agree at least begins to help some seniors with the exploding cost of prescription drugs. Norah O'Donnell, NBC News, New York."

And further exacerbates the exploding cost of government and the ever-burgeoning welfare state.

Woodruff Hits Kennedy and Santorum from
Left on Drug Coverage

CNN's Judy Woodruff, a case study in the media's liberal, pro-government spending/government can solve any problem bias. Last Wednesday, she took on Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from the left suggesting to him on the June 18 Inside Politics that his prescription coverage giveaway program in Medicare doesn't go far enough: "I began by asking him about his signing off on a plan that would leave some seniors with less drug coverage than they need and whether he undercut those seniors."

Six days later, on Tuesday's Inside Politics (June 24), she interviewed Republican Senator Rick Santorum about the same subject and a fair and balanced journalist would have hit him from the right by pressing him to justify not following conservatives who oppose the massive new entitlement in any form. Instead, she saw the conservatives as an impediment, the ones creating the "final obstacle to the Medicare prescription drug bill." She began with Santorum by worrying about how with Democrats wanting a government-only programs and Republicans preferring a plan to subsidize private insurers, the new program might not pass: "I started by asking him if the whole Medicare reform effort could unravel over this kind of disagreement."

Woodruff did, at least, note to Santorum how President Bush wanted to give "an incentive to beneficiaries to switch to private plans," but that provision was dropped, "so my question to you is, did the President give in a little too soon on this?"

Last week, in addition to suggesting to Kennedy that the plan he backs would "undercut" seniors, Woodruff worried that the Senate version "is going to have to be compromised in the direction of the House version, which is much friendlier to the insurance industry," and how, "at a time when the Democrats are trying mightily to carve out distinct positions for themselves against a very popular Republican President," she scolded Kennedy, "what you have done is helped a Republican President take a very controversial issue off the table." For details: www.mediaresearch.org

Now compare that to her approach with Santorum on the June 24 Inside Politics. She did not similarly scold Santorum about Republicans selling out to liberal Democrats, though she did ask if Bush gave in "a little too soon?"

Before getting to Santorum, however, Woodruff rued the impediments put up by conservatives: "Back here in Washington, there are reports that Senators are nearing agreement on a final obstacle to the Medicare prescription drug bill. But over in the House, some conservatives apparently are up in arms."

Jonathan Karl relayed the concerns of Congressman Jeff Flake from Arizona and how "Congressman John Shadegg, who is an influential member of the 90-member conservative Republican Study Group, said that it is indefensible for Republicans to talk about adding such a big new benefit to Medicare without first restraining the program's costs. He made the case in an op-ed piece in the Arizona Republic yesterday that's gotten a lot of attention up here today. In the piece, Shadegg wrote, quote, "'Sadly, Congress is putting politics ahead of policy. In its rush to pass something, anything, it is on the verge of imposing a staggering financial burden on our children and on our grandchildren.'"

Woodruff then told Karl: "Still much to be determined. Interesting, two Arizona Republicans weighing in. It would be interesting to know what the retirement community in Arizona has to say about all this." Karl agreed: "Excellent point."

Later in the program, Woodruff set up Santorum: "As we reported earlier, Congress is continuing its debate today over the addition of a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Big differences remain between Republicans, who want to subsidize some private insurance plans, and Democrats, who want to see parity between private plans and the benefits offered by the government. A little while ago, I spoke with Republican Senator Rick Santorum. And I started by asking him if the whole Medicare reform effort could unravel over this kind of disagreement."

Woodruff's second question: "The President essentially agreed to the Senate plan without it having an important provision, at least a provision important to him. And that is giving an incentive to beneficiaries to switch to private plans. So my question to you is, did the President give in a little too soon on this?"
Santorum: "....I am going to be offering an amendment to try to do that, to try to get the President's idea in place. I'm not too sure we're going to be successful, but we hope to be successful in conference."
Woodruff: "So, essentially, you're saying Senate Republicans gave up on this too soon, that they cut a deal too soon with Senator Kennedy?"
Santorum: "Well, Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus worked together in the Finance Committee to try to build a bill that would come out of committee in a bipartisan way...."
Woodruff: "So you're saying change this deal that came out of committee."

Limbaugh and "Best of the Web" Pick Up
on CyberAlert Item

You read it here first. Rush Limbaugh and OpinionJournal.com on Friday jumped on the June 19 CyberAlert item about CBS and ABC, two years apart, showcasing the same old woman as the poster victim of high prescription drug costs, though they couldn't agree on her ailment.

-- Rush Limbaugh, in the second hour of his June 20 show, as transcribed by the MRC's Liz Swasey:
"The Media Research Center has come up with a gem. What a coincidence this is. 'Two years apart CBS News and ABC News featured the same elderly woman, in news stories about the need for a new prescription drug program in Medicare and the shortcomings of Republican alternatives. CBS and ABC News two years apart featured the same old woman as the poster victim of high drug costs.
"'Tim Graham of the Media Research Center noticed, while working on the Media Reality Check excerpted in an item above,' the list that I have here, 'noticed the exploitation of the very same woman, Eva Baer-Schenkein, by the two networks.' She actually looks like the Ed Grimley from Saturday Night Live, a Martin Short character.
"'CBS and ABC did not agree on her ailment. CBS's Diana Olick complained in 2001: 'President Bush backs a plan that would target only the poorest and that leaves out middle income patients like Eva Baer-Schenkein.' Baer-Schenkein asserted: 'So now I'm not taking anything at all for my osteoporosis.'
"'Two years later, ABC's Linda Douglass worried about how '71-year old Eva Baer-Schenkein suffers from hypertension and other problems. She cannot afford the cost of her prescription drugs and is tired of waiting for Congress to help her.'"
"Well wait a minute, how did she stay alive for the past two years without any medicine? And in the CBS story she's got a problem with osteoporosis and in the ABC story her problem's high blood pressure. The same woman, my friends. And in the first story, of course osteoporosis she couldn't get her drugs for two years yet she lived long enough to be a poster-child by ABC...."

-- James Taranto related in his June 20 "Best of the Web" column for OpinionJournal.com:
"'Two years apart CBS News and ABC News featured the same elderly woman, in news stories about the need for a new prescription drug coverage program in Medicare and the shortcomings of Republican-pushed alternatives, as the poster victim of high prescription costs,' reports the conservative Media Research Center. On July 1, 2001, the CBS Evening News reported that Eva Baer-Schenkein couldn't afford to buy drugs for her osteoperosis. Then last Wednesday, ABC's World News Tonight repeated the story -- only this time she was suffering from 'hypertension and other health problems.'
"Even more curious, a September 2000 listserv announcement says Baer-Schenkein's poetry was featured in a New York Public Library exhibit that month called 'Healing Through Creativity.' If she's healing through creativity, what does she need prescriptions for?"

For that listserv item highlighted by Taranto: palimpsest.stanford.edu

For this "Best of the Web" edition: www.opinionjournal.com

For the June 19 CyberAlert item, with pictures of Baer-Schenkein as shown by ABC and CBS: www.mediaresearch.org

Ann Coulter's Defense of McCarthy Appalls
ABC's Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer & Ann Coulter Appalled by Ann Coulter's suggestion in a new book that Senator Joseph McCarthy was largely correct about the infiltration of the U.S. government by those sympathetic to communist tyranny and some who spied for the Soviet Union, on Tuesday's Good Morning America Diane Sawyer suggested that Coulter's historic perspective means that she'd want anyone opposed to war in Iraq to lose their job since, to Sawyer, McCarthy promoted the idea of "thought crime."

Sawyer argued to Coulter: "Extrapolating to today, do you think there should be hearings on Capitol Hill for the people who were critical of the war in Iraq? Do you think that they should be hauled up and then banned from their jobs if they're proven to have been deeply critical of the war with Iraq?"

Sawyer was also visibly appalled when, after she asked Coulter whether her book could out-sell Hillary Clinton's book, the petite Coulter replied: "Well, I think she has a three-to-one pound advantage over me." Sawyer expressed disillusionment: "Three-to-one pound? Did you say what I think you said?"

The June 24 Good Morning America brought Coulter aboard during its last half hour, just past 8:30am, matching NBC's Today which did not air its interview with Coulter about her previous book, Slander, until its last half hour, after 9:30am.

The June 25, 2002 CyberAlert related: Katie Couric argued Wednesday morning with author Ann Coulter who accurately quoted Couric as having opened Today in 1999 by trumpeting: "The Gipper was an airhead. That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan..." Couric took umbrage: "I'm just curious why you took it so out of context?" But Couric didn't interview the author, Edmund Morris, until two days later. Couric insisted that Today opened with the "airhead" insult just once. In fact, they did it two days in a row. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Fast forward to Tuesday morning of this week, and Sawyer set up Coulter, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "Ann Coulter, such a familiar figure, such a strong voice, such a flame thrower she is, and of course, so successful. You'll remember that she recently had a book that made it to the top of The New York Times best-seller list and it was called 'Slander.' Well, she is back now with another new book about what she calls liberal lies against the American right. It's a book called 'Treason,' it takes it up a notch, accusing liberals of siding with America's enemies for 50 years. It is called, as we said, 'Treason.' Ann, treason! Treason, punishable by death? Treason?!"
Coulter: "Yeah, you switched the subtitles of my last book and this book. This one's about treachery, the last one was about lies...."

Coulter proceeded to explain how decrypted Soviet cables released in 1995 showed how there were communist agents inside the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.

Sawyer pounced: "Let me go to a couple of things, though. One of your big arguments is that McCarthy basically was right, and that in fact, he helped defend the country in a major way. Do you think, extrapolating to today, do you think there should be hearings on Capitol Hill for the people who were critical of the war in Iraq? Do you think that they should be hauled up and then banned from their jobs if they're proven to have been deeply critical of the war with Iraq?"
Coulter: "That misunderstands what McCarthy did and that is going to be probably the most shocking part of the book. I really just have to ask people to hit the delete button on everything you think you know about McCarthy because it is a huge liberal myth. It was created to hide the left's collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis. McCarthy's scope was far more limited than most people think. He was trying to get security risks, loyalty risks out of the government. As we now know, hundreds of spies for Joseph Stalin were working for the administrations of Roosevelt and Truman. That is a fact."
Sawyer: "Spies are one thing. There was also, in the McCarthy era, the issue of thought crime."
Coulter: "Not from Joe McCarthy. That's part of the myth about McCarthy."
Sawyer: "But it was the Republicans who censured him. His own party censured him."
Coulter: "And that same United States Senate did not censure Ken Starr. I wouldn't go too much by that. Did not censure Bill Clinton, excuse me."

Sawyer then played the famous clip from a McCarthy hearing in which Army lawyer Joseph Welsh demanded: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Sawyer pressed Coulter: "Decency. Was it a violation of decency?"

Coulter suggested the public has a skewed view of McCarthy since most have only seen examples of people attacking him and not the evidence which supported his allegations.

Wrapping up, Sawyer inquired: "A final word to you. You're going to be out on The New York Times best-seller list slugging it out against Hillary Clinton."
Coulter: "I hope so."
Sawyer: "Who's going to win?"
Coulter: "Well, I think she has a three-to-one pound advantage over me, but we'll see."
A shocked Sawyer, after a brief pause: "Three-to-one pound? Did you say what I think you said?"
Coulter: "You said slugging it out with Hillary."
Sawyer: "So you're just talking about arm wrestling."
Coulter: "Yes, that's your phraseology."
Sawyer: "Alright, Ann Coulter. As we said, if you want your veins to be bulging, your pulse to be pounding and you really want to read something provocative, it is her book and it is 'Treason.' It is out today."

ABC News has posted an excerpt from Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, published by Random House's Crown division: abcnews.go.com

For Coulter's own Web page: www.anncoulter.com

You're Either a "Civil Rights Supporter"
or a "Conservative"

Conservatives who desire a color-blind society in which advantages aren't handed out for belonging to a favored class aren't for "civil rights"? Displaying the standard liberal view about the definition of "civil rights," Monday morning on ABC John Cochran recalled how President Bush's opposition to the University of Michigan's racial quota system "angered many civil rights supporters around the country and it pleased very much a lot of conservatives."

During live coverage late Monday morning EDT of the two Supreme Court rulings on racial preferences, Cochran relayed from the White House:
"Just minutes ago, I asked the President's Press Secretary Ari Fleischer why the President opposed the University of Michigan on this. He said the President feels that in the Michigan case, they were using racial quotas and the President was against racial quotas. Th University of Michigan says it is not using racial quotas. You know, Peter, this was a fight the President did not have to get into. He did back in January, in a dramatic prime time news conference announcing that he was going to go on the side of the white plaintiffs in this case. That angered many civil rights supporters around the country and it pleased very much a lot of conservatives. However, when the administration actually filed its brief, it was much narrower than conservatives have wanted. The President is not calling for a complete overturning of affirmative action; he's only saying he wants a narrow ruling in this case -- he's not getting it in the case of the law school. A lot of people said the President's position is like saying 'I'm against abortion, but you don't have to overturn Roe v. Wade,' Peter."

Cochran came through with a good point at the end about the Bush administration's duplicity on this subject.

Reporters Tag Howard Dean as "Centrist,"
"Fiscal Conservative"

Is Howard Dean a "centrist" or a "conservative"? Instead of exploring how far to the left he'd move the country, some journalists are baffled by how to label him and wonder if he's really liberal at all.

Monday night on MSNBC, James Warren, the Chicago Tribune's Deputy Managing Editor and former Washington Bureau Chief, described Dean, who created a state-funded health payment system, as a "fiscal conservative." On CBS's Early Show that day, Hannah Storm tagged Dean as a "centrist Governor."

-- MSNBC's Hardball, June 23. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took this down from Warren during a discussion about Dean's announcement of his candidacy earlier in the day:
"I think also the tone one saw today is, is important and is, in and of itself, tricky. Here is a guy who wants to come off as no holds barred truth telling renegade, but at the same time he wants to not be victimized by a portrayal from the likes of Tony as yet another weirdo liberal Democratic protest candidate, a la Jerry Brown. It, it's tricky. He's got to fashion himself the outsider bashing Bush, as I think one can legitimately bash him on issues like his antagonism toward multilateral organizations, towards some of our own allies, but at the same time remind folks in the mainstream that if you look closely at that record, particularly as a, as a fiscal conservative from Vermont, he comes off pretty well."

-- CBS's The Early Show. MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught this question from Hannah Storm to Dean: "Governor, I think some people are unsure how to characterize you at this point. You certainly have gained quite a liberal following, you have opposed the war with Iraq, you oppose the President's tax cut package, and yet you were a centrist Governor. So where does your constituency fall on the political spectrum?"

I don't know much about Dean's years as Governor of Vermont, but I certainly don't trust judgments by journalists that he was some kind of "centrist" or "fiscal conservative." Maybe some Vermont readers could pass along any analysis or stats that would shed some light on the matter. E-mail: cybercomment@mrc.org

"Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Howard
Dean"

From the June 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs You're in Love with Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com

10. You've actually heard of him

9. Whenever he discusses plans to revitalize economy, you get goosebumps

8. Named your cats "Howard," "Dean" and "Six-Term Governor Howard Dean"

7. You'll only watch movies featuring Ron Howard or Harry Dean Stanton

6. When you hear a report on the radio about a highway accident, you murmur, "Please, god, don't let Howard Dean be involved"

5. Constantly complain rival candidate Dennis Kucinich isn't "Howardly" enough

4. Changed outfit four times before watching appearance on "Meet the Press"

3. You stand by him despite the fact his infidelities embarrassed you in front of the entire...oh wait, wrong Democrat

2. When he announced his candidacy, you didn't laugh your ass off

1. You're actually considering wasting a vote on him

Leno Mocks Gore on No Liberal Media,
Grammer Zings Jennings

Two good jokes from the late night shows last week: Jay Leno mocked Al Gore's view that liberals don't have any outlets in the media and Kelsey Grammer, filling in for David Letterman, took a shot at the "effete" Peter Jennings.

-- Friday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC and Fox News Sunday both played this Jay Leno joke from the June 19 Tonight Show on NBC:
"And former Vice President Al Gore says he's looking to develop a liberal cable TV and radio network to counteract Fox and all the conservative shows. Gore says there's no outlet in this country for the liberal viewpoint. You know except ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Bravo, BET, Showtime, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, National Public Radio and IFC. Other than that, there's nothing!"

-- Guest-hosting the June 20 Late Show Friday night on CBS, actor Kelsey Grammer, who holds the record for playing the longest-running ever sit-com character ("Frasier Crane" on both Cheers and Frasier), delivered this joke during his opening monologue:
"So it seems I've been playing the same effete, pompous character on television for 20 years, and I know what you're thinking: 'Wow, Peter Jennings looks terrible!'"

That one earned the audience's laughter and applause -- and mine too.

For a picture of Grammer, see the Internet Movie Database's page on him: us.imdb.com

* Tonight, Wednesday, on the Late Show: Avigayil Wardein, the six-year-old arrested for selling lemonade without a permit, a true victim of oppressive government regulation.

-- Brent Baker