CyberAlert -- 04/21/2000 -- McCain Applauded
McCain Applauded; DiCaprio's ABC Frog Pond; SUV Dumped for Hybrid; "Oh, Mr. President!"
1) ABC's Peter Jennings insisted Columbine "shattered the nation a year ago today," but other than a story tying "rampage" killers to the availability of "high-powered guns," the networks resisted pushing gun control. CBS and NBC led with Juan Miguel's comments.
4) CBS and NBC welcomed John McCain's switch on the Confederate flag. Tom Brokaw prompted him to "set the record straight" and applauded him for how he did "something highly unusual for a politician today, he admitted that he compromised his principles."
5) To add "news weight" to its Saturday Earth Day special ABC made Elizabeth Vargas the anchor. Her assessment of Leonardo DiCaprio's role: "This is an important cause for him" and "gosh, if we get another million teenagers...tuning in to see" him "that's great."
6) ABC and CBS dramas this week promoted liberal environmental scaremongering. On ABC a teen warned: "Chicago's going to be a desert." On CBS a teen daughter complained about how "the Earth is burning up" and her mother traded-in her SUV for a hybrid.
Broadcast network coverage Thursday night of the one-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting did not include calls for gun control. Only an ABC story linking "rampage killings" to the availability of "high-powered guns" even mentioned the role of guns. While ABC's World News Tonight led with Columbine, CBS and NBC went first with the plea from Juan Miguel Gonzalez for custody of his son.
Peter Jennings opened the April 20 World News Tonight by proclaiming that Columbine had "shattered the nation." He asserted: "There is something magnetic about the anniversary of tragedy, a time to review, to assess, to see in the case of Littleton Colorado how well the community has survived the school shooting which so shattered the nation a year ago today."
After a piece on the day's memorial activities, reporter Kevin Newman summarized a New York Times study of "rampage killings" which found that while only one-tenth of a percent of all murders fit the category they became more common in the 1990s. "This criminologist says there's a reason: High-powered guns," Newman declared in leading into a soundbite from Professor Alfred Blumstein of the Heinz School of Public Policy.
CBS and NBC each delivered three Columbine-related stories, but led with Juan Miguel Gonzalez. On the CBS Evening News Byron Pitts told Dan Rather: "Dan, for months now we have heard and seen the passions of Cuban-Americans here in Miami. Today, we heard a father's pain."
CBS also explored surprise at the appeals court ruling that a child as young as Elian could "make such a life altering decision." Maureen Maher asserted: "Critics from both the legal and medical field argue it's not only impossible for a six-year-old to understand the implications, it's inappropriate to expect them to be able to." After two soundbites offering matching opinions Maher did show a clip of Walter Polovchak, the guy who at age 12 back in the early 1980s won the right to stay in the U.S. and not return to the Ukraine, suggesting Elian can see the difference between life in the U.S. and Cuba.
The mainstream media rarely pick up on stories broken by conservative outlets as they complain about Drudge Report stories getting into the news cycle. But Thursday morning, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, NBC's Matt Lauer highlighted a charge promoted by a communist regime's propaganda machinery.
Wrapping up an April 20 interview with Jose Garcia-Pedrosa,
a lawyer for Elian's relatives in Miami, Today co-host Matt Lauer queried:
Wednesday night MSNBC caught up with its NBC parent and featured a look at the "mansion" awaiting not Elian's re-indoctrination but for his smooth transition back into Cuban life.
As reported in the April 19 CyberAlert, on the night of Tuesday, April 18 Castro's propaganda operation hit a home when CNN and NBC, in full stories featuring attractive Cuban TV video of the house in which Castro plans to place Elian, characterized the purpose of the placement as making time for a proper "transition" so Elian can "readjust" to life on the island. Neither network broached any more sinister reason behind the decision to not allow Elian to return to his hometown of Cardenes. Only FNC's Orlando Salinas relayed predictions from Miami Cubans that Elian "will be re-trained as a young communist commando."
That night MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams did
not run the story by Jim Avila which aired on NBC Nightly News with nice shots
of the "mansion" with its pool and playroom. But the show caught up
the next night, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed. On the April 19 program anchor
Brian Williams asked Jim Avila:
From Havana, over Cuban TV video of the house, Avila explained: "Yes they have and they have been preparing thinking that it might actually happen soon. What they've done is they've taken a, what can be considered a mansion here in Cuba of some eight bedrooms, a four car garage, two story house with a pool in the back, a playroom, some slides seen in the backyard and are preparing that freshly painted and refurbished for Elian Gonzalez, for his family, for doctors and psychiatrists and for twelve schoolmates to be brought here from Cardenas, a country town where Elian is from, some sixty miles away all to live together from anywhere from a few days to several months according to the Cuban psychiatrist who is in charge of his, of Elian being brought back here to the Cuban country."
To see the house of which CNN's Martin Savidge
declared: "Even by American standards it's luxurious. By Cuban
standards, almost unimaginable," go to the April 19 CyberAlert to watch a
RealPlayer clip of CNN's story:
Senator John McCain proved again Wednesday he's the media's favorite Republican as his admission that he lied during the campaign brought not condemnation from CBS and NBC, but understanding. CBS's Dan Rather didn't even suggest that McCain had misled voters and NBC's Tom Brokaw actually praised McCain for how he did "something highly unusual for a politician today, he admitted that he compromised his principles."
Of course, it helped that McCain had switched from the position condemned by the media to the consensus viewpoint. The subject: South Carolina's Confederate flag.
April 19 CBS Evening News viewers heard his 13-second item from Dan Rather: "In South Carolina today Senator John McCain said he believes the Confederate flag should be taken down from the State Capitol dome. McCain also said he's sorry he didn't take that stand when he was still a presidential candidate in the Republican primary there."
ABC's World News Tonight simply ignored McCain's
statement, but NBC Nightly News featured a taped interview in which Tom Brokaw
failed to castigate McCain. Brokaw set up his interview clip:
Viewers saw this soundbite from McCain's South Carolina appearance: "I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary so I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth."
NBC then played excerpts of an interview. Brokaw asked:
"Senator, when did you decide that you had to set the record straight on
the matter of the Confederate flag in South Carolina?"
Isn't that nice, we're one happy team.
Imagine the reaction of Rather and Brokaw if McCain had moved to the right on an issue. For instance, if McCain had announced that he was wrong about his tax cut stand and decided Bush's bigger one would be better policy, do you think Brokaw's first question would have been "when did you decide that you had to set the record straight"?
Forget any hope that ABC News would deliver a balanced presentation about the debate over the extent, impact and solutions for global warming. Peter Johnson reported in the April 19 USA Today that ABC News, "stung by the furor over having actor Leonardo DiCaprio interview President Clinton for Saturday's Earth Day special, has added Elizabeth Vargas as anchor of the program. Executives say Vargas, a 20/20 correspondent and substitute Good Morning America anchor, was brought aboard to give the 8pm ET/PT special added news weight."
But far from adding "news weight," she boasted on Thursday's Entertainment Tonight about how DiCaprio's role in promoting his "cause" on the ABC show is justified because "gosh, if we get another million teenagers...tuning in to see Leonardo DiCaprio, that's great." On Friday's Good Morning America correspondent Chris Cuomo, who was originally scheduled to anchor the show, plugged the special by saying he would report on how global warming has meant "hunters dying" in Alaska by falling through the ice since temperatures have supposedly risen five degrees.
Portions of DiCaprio's interview with Bill Clinton will air and an earlier USA Today story reported that he helped "edit" the special.
On the April 20 Entertainment Tonight Bob Goen related what ABC viewers will see Saturday night in the "news" special: "Leo sits by a pond, close to where he grew up in Los Angeles, to talk about how global warming affects our environment."
Elizabeth Vargas conceded DiCaprio suggested the show: "He had come to ABC a while back saying he was interested in doing a program on this cause because it is important to him."
Goen noted: "Vargas told us Leo's fame will help
to draw in more younger viewers."
In another clip from the ABC special, on a rock at the side of the pond, DiCaprio asserted: "We're going to challenge ourselves to find out about what we can do right now to look beyond just our limited time on this planet."
Amongst the celebrities joining DiCaprio on stage at the Earth Day "festival" on Washington's Mall, according to ET: Melanie Griffith, Ted Danson, Edward James Olmos.
Back on April 11 USA Today's Jeannie Williams reported:
Leonardo DiCaprio is in Tokyo, promoting The Beach, far from the flap over ABC's Earth Day special, due next week. But he'll be back this week and will be involved in the editing of the show, as agreed from his signing on, says his spokesman, Ken Sunshine.
DiCaprio "is shocked that there is any controversy regarding this," Sunshine says. "All he wants to do is allow millions of people who don't normally watch network TV specials to learn something about the terrible problems of global warming."...
"He doesn't take his role as chairman of Earth Day 2000 lightly. That's the only reason he did this. He has done everything ABC asked him to do," and then some. Now there's a mess, "but he's game to hang in there. He wants to make a difference." DiCaprio did parts of the show beyond the Clinton chat.
Earth Day is April 22. ABC hasn't set an airdate, and a spokeswoman said that although DiCaprio will see it in advance and may make comments, the network has final cut....
Today, Friday April 21, at 3:30pm abcnews.com will hold
a chat session with ABC News reporter Chris Cuomo about the 8pm ET/PT, 7pm
CT/MT Saturday special, Planet Earth 2000. Go to:
Earth Day in prime time. By incorporating liberal environmental scaremongering into subplots on one prime time drama each, ABC, CBS and NBC all have effectively given an in-kind contribution to the political agenda behind Earth Day. This past Monday the ABC and CBS 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT/MT dramas had teenage children characters administer a "transportation audit" to their parents, a device which allowed for some SUV-bashing.
On CBS's Family Law the daughter complained about how
"the Earth is burning up" and the mother was so upset by her
"D" grade that she traded-in her SUV for a Toyota Prius, a
gasoline-electric vehicle not even for sale yet in the United States. ABC's
Once and Again featured this exchange between 14-year-old and nine-year-old
sisters (after the older had earlier warned "Chicago's going to be a
According to the Environmental News Network, last Friday NBC's Providence also incorporated an Earth Day theme, but I didn't get a chance to check out that show.
-- CBS's Family Law. The show's description, as listed on the cbs.com Web site: "Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13) stars in a drama about an unlikely group of lawyers who band together to form a new firm after one woman's husband leaves her and takes their practice with him. Lynn Holt (Quinlan) may have lost her husband and her law firm within 24 hours, but she hasn't lost the guts that got her this far -- or her sense of humor. She also hasn't lost Dani Lipton (Julie Warner), one of her best lawyers, who's decided not to defect."
Here's some of the dialogue from the April 17 episode, as transcribed by the MRC's Brian Boyd:
Teen daughter "Cassie": "Do you know
where the camera is?"
Later, at the law office, Holt is upset that her husband earned a "C" while she got a "D," leading her to declare: "Tomorrow Cassie's coming here after school, and I want to see car pooling."
In another scene, Julie Warner as lawyer "Dani
Lipton," walks in on Holt as she's reading a brochure on which you can
see the word "Toyota."
Holt soon complains about her life choices: "I just
grew up and I got an SUV that gets like eight miles to the gallon. But when I
look at Cassie, she still feels that everything that she does matters and I
never want her to lose that feeling."
Jumping to near the end of
the show, Holt picks her daughter up after school. As the scene opens you see
Holt pulling her newly purchased small Toyota Prius around a bunch of big SUVs.
She pulls in an yells: "Cassie, sweetie."
Quite nice product placement for Toyota and its new
vehicle which really isn't available yet. Toyota plans to start selling it
via the Internet in June with delivery later in the summer. You can see
Toyota's promotional info for the $20,500 vehicle at:
Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, tracked down a Car and Driver magazine review of the hybrid. The "verdict" as assessed by the magazine: "A fascinating, and costly, way to save cheap gas."
No wonder why liberals want higher gas prices. It's
the only way to make electric cars popular. To read the February 1999 review,
-- ABC's Once and Again stars Sela Ward (the woman with the mussed hair in the new Sprint TV ads) as separated mother "Lily Manning." The show revolves around the relationships amongst Lily and her ex, Jeffrey Nordling as "Jake Manning," her boyfriend, who is also separated, and the two family's kids.
Here is the Earth Day-related dialogue from the April 17 episode, as transcribed by the MRC's Jessica Anderson.
Sela Ward as "Lily" while at work at an
Internet company: "I don't understand why I have to do this
Grace and her nine-year-old sister "Zoe" stay
over one night with their father, "Jake," manager of a restaurant:
Later, the two girls talk again as you can see a poster
titled: "Climatic Effects of Global Warming."
-- CNN and TBS get into the act this weekend, as
detailed last week in an article the MRC's Rich Noyes caught on the
Environmental News Network site:
People Count will air April 22 on CNN at 10pm ET and on
TBS at 7:30am ET. Not mentioned by ENN:
Jane Fonda will host the show. To read the entire story about television shows
dealing with Earth Day, go to:
Commander-in-Chief in action: "Guffaws and shrieks of 'Oh, Mr. President!' caromed from the kitchenette" where Clinton "regaled the flight attendants."
In an April 19 Washington Post story on how seven years
into his presidency Bill Clinton "seems as animated as a jumpy
third-grader, traveling almost constantly, getting by on a few hours sleep
night after night, and never tiring of talking," reporter Charles
Babington related last weekend's activities on Air Force One:
Quite a skilled President, never too tired to hit on the babes and able to combine that quest with "church experiences." At least the reporter realized in this case Bill Clinton was telling "tales." -- Brent Baker
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