1) The April 15
CyberAlert noted that the NBC Nightly News failed to air a story Monday
night about the revelations in a pile of Clinton fundraising documents
released that day. On ABC's World News Tonight Peter Jennings did a brief
item on how the documents show party officials asked for jobs for 1992
fundraisers and how many donors got to ride on Air Force One. Jennings
ended by promising: "Just got those documents today, more analysis of
them to come."
I then wrote:
"We'll see. In the past the networks have quickly dropped Clinton
scandals stories and failed to follow-up on revelations."
should be calling me soon with a job offer from the Psychic Friends
Network. Tuesday night neither ABC or NBC uttered a word about any aspect
of any Clinton scandal, meaning NBC Nightly News viewers have no idea any
documents were released. On the CBS Evening News Dan Rather did recite a
brief item on how White House Chief-of-Staff Erskine Bowles testified
before Whitewater grand jury in Little Rock about help given to Web
2) The April 21
edition of Time magazine features its list of the "25 Most
Influential" people of 1997. A look at pages 50 and 51 offers a
glimpse at how Time sees the world.
On page 50 Time
lists Richard Scaife whom the magazine tags as "Conservative
Agitator" in the subhead description. The bio begins:
conservative thinkers like Bill Bennett and Paul Weyrich are the
brainpower behind the resurgent American right, the horsepower comes from
Richard Mellon Scaife. For close to four decades, the 64-year-old
Pennsylvanian has used his millions to back anti-liberal ideas and their
Later, Time adds:
"He controls the Sarah Scaife Foundation and the Carthage Foundation,
which help subsidize rabidly anti-Clinton magazines as well as
conservative social policy projects."
On the facing
page Time features George Soros. If Scaife is a "conservative
agitator," then a fair and balanced magazine would label Soros a
"liberal agitator." But this is Time, so Soros carries the
subhead of "Philanthropist."
activities of Soros become clear in the copy, but Time refrains from ever
calling him liberal. Readers learn that he's been "directing his
dollars to an array of hot-button political causes tied to his personal
ideal of an 'open society' and by writing an iconoclastic critique of
projects pushed by this unlabeled "philanthropist" according to
Time: "$1 million to help pass initiatives in California and Arizona
last year that legalized the medicinal use of marijuana" and
"$50 million for a fund to help legal immigrants." Lest the
latter item sound too non-political, it's clear Soros put his money up to
counter the immigration reform plan. In a November 21, 1996 NBC Nightly
News profile of Soros, Tom Brokaw announced over video of the Statue of
symbol of hope for those seeking a better life, the words given to us by
poet Emma Lazarus. So, when the welfare reform bill was passed by Congress
this year, a bill that slashed aid to legal immigrants, deep cuts, some
$22 billion dollars, philanthropist George Soros reacted immediately,
creating a $50 million fund and he named it after Emma Lazarus."
Brokaw later noted the political intent of Soros's money: "His swift
and deeply personal response to the welfare reform bill comes at a time
when many are asking whether private giving can compensate for government
cuts in social services."
Time also relayed
this view of capitalism from the "philanthropist":
lengthy essay in the Atlantic Monthly earlier this year, Soros wrote that
laissez-faire capitalism has got so out of hand that the 'main enemy of
the open society is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.' He
contends that the 'cult of success has replaced a belief in principles'
and that 'society has lost its anchor.'"
3) On Tuesday's
(April 15) CBS Evening News Dan Rather told viewers: "The United
States Senate dealt swiftly today with a case of possible discrimination
against the disabled right on Capitol Hill. An unidentified Senator's
complaint, apparently kept this blind congressional aide, Moira Shea from
entering the Senate chamber yesterday because of her guide dog. Well today
she and her dog, Beau, were officially invited in for a brief visit."
Memo to the crack
CBS News research department: The AP reported Monday that "the
objection was filed by Senator Robert Byrd."
NBC Nightly News
produced a full story on the incident. Reporter Lisa Myers explained that
the woman worked for Senator Ron Wyden, "but another Senator, Robert
Byrd, a zealous guardian of Senate rules, objected."
Jennings explained that the Senate voted Tuesday to allow guide dogs on
the Senate floor, but that on Monday Shea was barred because "Senator
Harry Reid did relay an objection from Senator Robert Byrd, well known as
a stickler for Senate privilege and procedure."
One word not
heard in any of the three stories: "Democrat." All three
Senators involved (Wyden, Reid and Byrd) are Democrats. Somehow I bet that
if a right-wing Republican had objected and caused this kind of violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act his party affiliation would have
been a prominent part of the story.
4) This item is
rated TV-MA. The April 7 CyberAlert noted that in their glowing tributes
to poet Allen Ginsberg none mentioned his hateful tone toward
conservatives such as his 1994 statement to The Progressive magazine:
"I have no doubt that if Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan or Ollie North
ever got real power, there would be concentration camps and mass
For an article in
the April MediaWatch, MRC news analyst Clay Waters transcribed some of the
tributes and then compared them to the reality he dug up from some Web
surfing and other research to document Ginsberg's poetry and view of
pedophilia. Here's an excerpt from Clay's article:
Ginsberg died April 5, network liberals came out of the closet praising
the "Beat Generation's Poet Laureate," noting his seminal place
as founder of the Beat movement, while whitewashing the more sordid parts
of Ginsberg's cultural legacy.
actually led off the NBC Nightly News that night. Anchor Brian Williams
began with a fulsome tribute: "The man who died in a New York
hospital room this morning didn't just watch times change in the '60s as
much as he helped change our times." Reporter Rick Davis called
Ginsberg a "guru with a showman's grace."
The next day on
CBS Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood raised Ginsberg to Biblical
status: "It is with the righteous wrath of an Old Testament prophet
that Allen Ginsberg denounced the greed and grasping and the
superficiality and the complacency that he believed he saw all around him
in this country in 1956....if we are suspicious now of the material world,
and sometimes our souls burn a little for the ancient connection to the
'starry dynamo in the machinery of the night,' we have Allen Ginsberg,
angry on the page but mild and thoughtful otherwise, to thank for
On ABC's World
News Tonight, anchor Aaron Brown enthused on April 5: "Two often
overused words seem to describe Ginsberg best to us: Genius and
controversial....His sexuality -- he was gay -- was often the center of
both his art and his politics. And if his causes weren't yours, and his
poetry sometimes left you confused, then you could still appreciate his
candor, and his courage, and his energy."
Yet the networks
ignored the darker aspects of that sexual milieu, ignoring Ginsberg's
membership in the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), which
supports the repeal of age of consent laws and advocates
"consensual" sexual relations between men and young boys.
Ginsberg defended his affiliation: "I'm in NAMBLA because I love boys
too -- everybody does, who has a little humanity."
reporters found Ginsberg's art and sexuality honest and courageous, they
weren't courageous enough to quote the most revealing examples, like this
excerpt from Ginsberg's "Come All Ye Brave Boys:" "Come
heroic half naked young studs, that drive automobiles through vaginal
blood/Turn over spread your strong legs like a lass, I'll show you the
thrill to be jived up the ass,/Come sweet delicate strong minded men, I'll
take you through graveyards and kiss you again."
Or this, from an
interview in Seconds magazine: "If you just take a walk through the
Vatican, you could say everybody loves the slightly erotic emanation of
nude prepubescent bodies."
5) Last week
Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested to those who advocate National Endowment
for the Arts funding: "If the people who come to lobby us who are
famous and rich would simply dedicate one percent of their gross income to
an 'American Endowment for the Arts,' they would fund a bigger system than
the National Endowment for the Arts."
On Friday, actor
Alec Baldwin, who heads the Creative Coalition, shot back. Mark Honig,
Executive Director of the MRC's Parents Television Council, caught
Baldwin's comment as run in the April 12 Los Angeles Times:
government does not ask defense contractors to give a certain percentage
of their profits to the Defense Department. I find it odd that the Speaker
singles out one group in regard to federal funding."
As a reminder,
here's what Baldwin said of Gingrich in an interview published in the
February US magazine:
US: "What do
you predict the next four years are going to be like for President
believe that the people who run the Republican Party in this country are
really rotten, nasty, horrible human beings and they want to hurt him.
They want to bash him; they're pissed. The forces of darkness are going to
try to give it to him bad."
Shadow speaks? Who are these evil men?"
"Newt Gingrich, who calls [Clinton] a lying scumbag every chance he
gets, and Al D'Amato, the paragon of senatorial virtue."
Maybe we could
just tack a hate speech tax on Baldwin.