1) On Sunday's
This Week on ABC the panelists discussed the dangers of the Internet in
the wake of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide, but it's not only new
technology that confounds Cokie Roberts. She's upset by radio, a form of
media begun 25 years before she was born.
In the roundtable
segment George Will noted that many Americans buy into wild ideas,
illustrating his point by citing the success of Oliver Stone movies.
Stone, he explained, "taps into, in a movie like JFK, a quite
pathetic but also dangerous will to believe, will to believe astonishing,
unbelievable things. Now, it can be big business"
At that point,
Robert interjected: "But that's actually happening more and more. If
you listen to conservative talk radio, there are more conspiracies a week
than I've ever heard of. I mean, the huge Chinese conspiracy as far as the
talk radio shows are concerned."
They then moved
on to another topic, so we never learned exactly what conspiracy Roberts
had heard discussed. If she actually does tune in "conservative talk
radio," Washington, DC has no local conservative host, so she must be
referring to a national host carried by a DC station. That list: Rush
Limbaugh, Mary Matalin, Oliver North, Janet Parshall and G. Gordon Liddy.
And if she's up between 2 and 5am, Michael Reagan.
2) The March 28
CyberAlert noted that NBC Nightly News and Today never reported the March
23 New York Times story on how the White House kept careful track of how
much each coffee raised. Neither show mentioned the news on Friday.
Clinton fundraising developments have gone unnoticed by networks focused
on Heaven's Gate:
*** 1) The March
27 Boston Globe reported that Roger Tamraz, the Lebanese businessman for
whom DNC Chairman Don Fowler used the CIA to help get into a White House
event, "received support from Clinton for the general concept of his
oil pipeline proposal in October 1995." Tamraz contributed $180,000.
The Globe noted that until this story "it has not been reported that
Clinton announced support for a position sought by Tamraz after the
businessman made his contributions."
*** 2) On the
same day, a front page New York Times headline declared: "Democratic
Party Unable to Pay Debts from Last Year's Elections." The story
noted that the party is $14 million in debt, not counting $4 million in
legal bills and the $1.5 million it promised to return.
None of the
broadcast networks found time for either disclosure, but....
(March 27) World News Tonight found time to show video of Al Gore in China
telling a joke about his stiffness.
-- On Friday
(March 28) NBC Nightly News devoted almost the entire newscast to Heaven's
Gate, but found time for a full story on what Tom Brokaw dubbed
"Chelsea's Excellent Adventure" in Africa. Gwen Ifill reported
that the First Daughter was speaking out, before sympathetically
explaining her political role:
Clintons have a minor dilemma when it come to their only daughter Chelsea.
They are proud of her and they don't want to exploit her, yet she's the
best example of many of the things they want to promote. Hillary Clinton
said that Chelsea Clinton at her side sends all the right messages to
women in developing countries."
"Now all of a sudden you may have, you know, some women, somewhere
say well, I'm going to send my daughter to school."
3) Every few
years another TV reporter goes to Cuba and discovers the joys of good
stuff for free in the sunny communist land. MRC news analyst Steve
Kaminski caught the latest example. On the March 24 CBS This Morning Jane
Robelot recounted her visit with four Cuban women: three pro-Castro and
one dissident. Near the top of her story Robelot noted that food is
Cuba's communist form of government, a Cuban family's basic necessities,
housing, education, health care, and transportation, are provided by the
state for free or at very little cost."
4) The Reporter
Has a Got a Gun. The March 21 Dateline NBC ran a profile of Patty Hearst,
who Stone Phillips called a "bank robbing revolutionary," the
"newspaper heiress" who was kidnapped by the Symbionese
Liberation Army and later participated in a bank robbery with her captors.
She maintained that she was brainwashed, but she was convicted and served
a few years before being pardoned by President Carter.
MRC news analyst
Geoffrey Dickens alerted me to this illuminating exchange from the profile
by NBC's Dennis Murphy:
"Before O.J. Simpson's, Patty Hearst's was the Trial of the Century.
She too was defended by none other than F. Lee Bailey. And as in the case
of O.J. reporters from all over the world came to California to cover her
"I had absolutely become a fantasy figure. I have had more people
come up and um, especially, shockingly enough journalists who grew up in
the '60s who felt that they had not fulfilled part of their political
obligations. That they hadn't been active enough on campus. That they kind
of wish they'd done this sort of thing themselves. And they wanted to hear
me say how cool it all was. And they were incredibly disappointed to find
Murphy jumped in:
"That 'Right on Patty' was not 'Right on Patty?'"
"Yeah. Just none of this had happened the way they thought it
In other words,
the journalists were let down when Hearst told them she really wasn't an
urban guerrilla with radical political goals.
Times Managing Editor Josette Shiner and NBC Radio/Westwood One reporter
Bonnie Erbe write a weekly point-counterpoint syndicated column. In the
edition printed in the March 29 Washington Times they debated
Erbe, who hosts
To the Contrary on PBS, charged that "the right wing has lied
repeatedly in an effort to move public opinion on this issue." Erbe
then spelled out the four supposed big lies. Here's the first:
"Lie No. 1:
Conservatives care about life. The renowned quipmeister, Rep. Barney
Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, once said, 'Conservatives' interest in life
begins at conception and ends at birth.' Truer words were never spoken. If
they did care about taking care of babies and protecting the helpless,
they would not be so driven to cut government programs that help the poor,
nor so concerned about paying a few dollars less of their own money in
Crockery of the Day. Today's quote is another identified by MRC intern
Brian Schmisek in reading through Cronkite's book, A Reporter's Life. On
page 228 Cronkite argues that the "right wing" has been a
"problem" for every Republican President but one. We join
Cronkite as he recalls President Eisenhower's reaction to Senator Joseph
had sullied his reputation by failing to stand up to McCarthy even when
the Senator dared to attack Ike's mentor and sponsor, the nearly
impeccable General George Marshall. It can only be assumed that
Eisenhower, who was most comfortable with the liberal Republicans of the
party's so-called Eastern Establishment, yielded in this case, as he had
in others, to pressures from the party's conservative right wing -- a
problem that has plagued every Republican administration since Hoover's,
excepting only Reagan's, which was almost entirely right wing
Sort of like how
liberals have plagued the media, except at CBS which was almost entirely
left wing anyway.