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CyberAlert -- 05/06/2002 -- Pilots with Guns Scare Cokie Roberts

Pilots with Guns Scare Cokie Roberts; Chomsky "Quite Conservative" to the Washington Post; GMA Picked the Kennedys as the "Most Amazing Family"; Seymour Hersh's Tirade

1) Pilots with guns scare ABC's Cokie Roberts because "airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe." This Week co-host Sam Donaldson stood with Roberts against guns in the cockpit.

2) Noam Chomsky is a radical left-wing MIT professor who sees the United States as a greater purveyor of terrorism than Osama bin Laden. So how did the Washington Post label him in a Sunday "Style" section profile? Post reporter Michael Powell cited Chomsky's description of himself as "quite conservative."

3) Good Morning America's trip across the nation last week began and ended with tribute's to liberals. On Monday, from North Carolina, Charles Gibson celebrated the rise of Senator John Edwards, whom People calls "America's sexiest politician." From Massachusetts on Friday, GMA picked the Kennedys as the state's "most amazing family." Claire Shipman admired their "conscious" and how "they're not only politicians. They're authors, businesspeople and environmentalists."

4) In a recent address, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh described John Ashcroft as "demented," declared, "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan" and charged: "We've got a Secretary of Defense who thinks he's Woody Allen. We've got the only man -- Powell -- who has some sort of moderate instincts, and he's completely being attacked." Hersh was also upset that the rights of John Walker Lindh and Zacarius Moussaoui are being trampled.

5) As read on the Late Show by airmen at the Charleston Air Force Base, the "Top Ten Reasons I Love My Job."


1

Pilots with guns scare ABC's Cokie Roberts because "airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe." This Week co-host Sam Donaldson stood with Roberts against guns, even when pressed by George Will about whether he wished the pilots had guns on September 11th.

During the roundtable segment on the May 5 This Week with, for now, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, Donaldson raised how commercial airline pilots have signed a petition to allow them to carry guns in the cockpit.

The prospect horrified Roberts, who denounced the idea: "I don't feel safer. Airplanes is one of the few places I feel safe from guns. Having some pilot who's gone off his nut for some reason running around with a gun does not make me feel safe."
George Stephanopoulos, the future solo host of the program, pointed out: "That's always a danger. That person is always in control of the plane and could fly it into the ground if he wants to..."

George Will quipped: "It is the case, I think, that support for pilots being armed increases as people have more and more experience with so-called airport security."

Will soon asked Donaldson: "Do you or do you not wish the pilots on September 11th had been armed? Yes or no Sam."
Donaldson: "Well I wish that somebody-"
Will: "That's not a yes or a no."
Donaldson: "Well, when I asked Secretary Powell for a yes or a no question we heard two or three minutes and I and I'm happy to do it."
Will: "The prosecution rests."
Roberts interjected: "Suppose the hijackers had pulled the gun out of the pilot's hand if the pilot had a gun?"
Donaldson came to Roberts' side: "I don't know whether it would have made any difference. If it could have made a difference of course you would want it to happen. But I think, in the long run, guns in the cockpit are not a good idea. I join Cokie."

2

What ideological tag do you apply to Noam Chomsky, the radical left-wing MIT professor who sees the United States as a greater purveyor of terrorism than Osama bin Laden, a man who contends that the U.S. bombing which killed one man in Sudan was a "morally worse crime" than September 11th? If you're Washington Post reporter Michael Powell, you quote Chomsky's description of himself as "quite conservative."

That label appeared in the seventh paragraph of the story: "He is a white-hot contrarian, a distinguished linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who 'tends to be quite conservative' and is devoted to 'simple moral truisms.'"

Only nine paragraphs later did Powell tie Chomsky to the Left, and then only indirectly as Powell bemoaned the lack of publicity for Chomsky's book: "To pick up the most powerful newspapers and intellectual magazines in the United States, to tune in the 463 television political babble-athons, is to conclude that Chomsky is invisible. His book has garnered just a single review in a major newspaper. It's as though the professor inhabits Dimension Left, the alternative celebrity universe."

That was the closest Powell came in 2,600 words over 169 paragraphs to linking Chomsky to the Left.

"An Eminence With No Shades of Gray," announced the headline over the top of the May 5 Style section profile. The subhead trumpeted: "In a New Bestseller, Noam Chomsky Argues Against the War in Afghanistan."

And by what means does Chomsky's collection of his anti-U.S. rantings qualify as a "bestseller"? Powell explained: "Chomsky's new book -- a pamphletlike collection of interviews with the professor -- is titled '9-11.' The book, which argues that the war in Afghanistan is morally and legally appalling, not to mention an act of state terrorism, has sold 160,000 copies and three weeks ago ranked ninth on the Washington Post bestseller list. It's been translated into a dozen languages, from Korean to Japanese to two varieties of Portuguese."

That's right. Three weeks ago it made #9 for one week.

Powell's piece relayed Chomsky's disgust with the nation in which he lives. Chomsky wrote:
"The atrocities of Sept. 11 are quite new in world affairs, not in scale and character, but in target. The United States exterminated its indigenous population, conquered half of Mexico, and carried out depredations all over. Now, for the first time since the British burned the White House in [the War of] 1812, the guns have been directed the other way."

Powell added: "He takes pride in noting that he's always described the attacks on the World Trade Center as an atrocity, though he always adds that such attacks pale next to the West's 'deep-seated culture of terrorism.'"
"'We should recognize that in much of the world the United States is regarded as a leading terrorist state, with good reason,' Chomsky says. 'These were horrific acts on September 11, but anyone who is honest will recognize...'"

Powell also passed along how Chomsky thinks the U.S. bombing of a building in Sudan which killed one person was worse than September 11th:
"It is also Chomsky's style to express surprise that his analogies are considered provocative. His favorite, of late, is to compare the terror attacks to the American bombing of a Sudanese chemical factory in 1998. President Clinton claimed, erroneously, that this factory produced chemical weapons.
"A security guard died in that attack. The factory was Sudan's chief source of pharmaceuticals and pesticides. And Chomsky argues -- with the use of some elastic math -- that tens of thousands of Sudanese perished as a result.
"Still, you ask, isn't there a moral difference between an act of terror that directly claims 3,000 lives and a mistake that directly claims one life?
"The Sudan bombing, Chomsky replies, was worse.
"'The Americans didn't even think about the outcome of the bombing,' he says, 'because the Sudanese were so far below contempt as to be not worth thinking about.'
"His mind leaps to ants. Suppose he walks down the sidewalk in Cambridge and without, a second thought, steps on an ant.
"'That would mean that I regard the ant as beneath contempt,' he says. 'And that's morally worse than if I purposely killed that ant. So, if we're not moral hypocrites, we'd agree that Sudan was the morally worse crime than the World Trade--'"

If anyone linked to the Right in America ever made such fatuous arguments I'd bet the Washington Post would stress his or her ideology, not disguise it by letting them define themselves as "quite liberal."

To read the entire piece on Chomsky: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27441-2002May3.html

3

ABC's Good Morning America began and ended its week of shows last week from a different state each day with tributes to liberal politicians. On Monday, from North Carolina, Charles Gibson celebrated the rise of Senator John Edwards, whom, he helpfully pointed out, People magazine calls "America's sexiest politician." Gibson pressed Edwards from the left: "You have been a representative of the little guy in plaintiff suits against big companies, but you've never taken on the tobacco companies, have you? You've never represented somebody in a suit against tobacco."

On Friday from Massachusetts, the program picked the Kennedys as the state's "most amazing family." Claire Shipman marveled at their "conscious," in which a "deliberate call to service inspired this family to produce a President, three senators, three congressmen, three ambassadors, and of course, they're not only politicians. They're authors, businesspeople and environmentalists."

Oh joy.

No suggestion by Shipman that maybe many of the Kennedys of today can dabble in politics, business and environmentalism not because of any talent they have but because they can live off of the family name.

On the previous four days, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, GMA avoided politics in selecting its "most amazing family" in each state from which they broadcast. On Monday, in North Carolina, they looked at the chaplain of the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. On Tuesday, in Minnesota, the "most amazing family" was that formed by the scholarship program founded by former Vikings player and current state supreme court Justice Alan Page. On Wednesday, in Houston, it was the doctors from Memorial Hermann Hospital. And on Thursday, in California, ABC profiled a family with three generations of stunt doubles.

But on the Friday, May 3, stop on their "Great American Cross-Country Road Trip," ABC decided to honor a family of liberal busybodies, most of whom have devoted their lives to taking more money, through higher taxes, from those far poorer than themselves.

From Boston, Diane Sawyer set up the profile: "All along the way, we have been profiling amazing families, and we're here in Boston, so we thought it might be a good thing to take a look at a family with three generations of public service, three generations of survivors and take a look at them in their native habitat. We're talking, of course, about the Kennedys, at home, and our senior national correspondent Claire Shipman had a chance to talk."

Shipman began, over clips of old Kennedy home movies: "The images are almost memorialized by now, classic glimpses of uninhibited fun and unbridled ambition from a family that has long made its home in our collective consciousness. But for the Kennedys, of course, home as always been here."
Sen. Kennedy: "It's where, I think, we've all gathered our strength and where we've made our friends and where we really feel the extraordinary life of this country."
Shipman: "For many Americans, this family is what they know of Massachusetts, and it's a state -- packed with the rich history of Faneuil Hall, the politicking at Union Oyster House -- that proved fertile ground for the growth of the dynasty.
"Everywhere you turn in these parts, you find another link to the Kennedy family, including on this quiet street in Brookline. The shingled house behind me is where President Kennedy was born, on the second floor in the master bedroom.
"And while the Kennedys gather at the family's idyllic Hyannis Port house on the Cape, Boston is where the family put down political roots. Rose Kennedy was born here; Her father, an out-sized and irascible character -- his grandson can still do a pretty good imitation."
Sen. Kennedy: "He'd walk in and he'd ask for the manager to come over, and his teeth would be flapping, and he'd say, 'I want to speak to the manager please!'"
Shipman: "Honey Fitzgerald was the first son of immigrants to ever be elected mayor of Boston and he gave his grandchildren a personal lesson in street politics."
Sen. Kennedy: "I'd drop him off at eight in the morning and pick him up at nine o'clock at night, and he'd spend the whole day in the lobby of the hotel meeting people from Boston and talking with them."
Shipman: "Of course, Jack's political career began here and Ted Kennedy has served the state as senator for 40 years. Their children's generation has fanned out. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Bobby Kennedy's oldest, running for governor in Maryland."
Lt. Gov. Townsend: "My father wrote me a letter saying that he realized that I'm the oldest of all the grandchildren and that I have a special responsibility: 'serve your country and be kind to others.'"
Shipman: "You were 12."
Lt. Gov. Townsend: "I was 12."
Shipman admiringly recalled: "That conscious, deliberate call to service inspired this family to produce a President, three senators, three congressmen, three ambassadors, and of course, they're not only politicians. They're authors, businesspeople and environmentalists.
"The secret to the strength is not political, it turns out, or even geographical -- it's personal."
Sen. Kennedy: "It's family. Our parents made it very clear to all of us that nothing we do, whatever we do in our careers, whatever our careers may be, aren't going to be as important as how our children turn out, and that was a big lesson for all of us. And it was a lesson that President Kennedy understood, it's something that all of us understand and continue to understand."

I guess commitment to your wife and kids does not preclude girlfriends.

After Shipman's piece, Sawyer interviewed Maxwell Kennedy a son of Robert F. Kennedy. Her questions were hardly challenging:
-- "Alright, the Bush dynasty, the Kennedy dynasty: What's the biggest difference?"
-- "Now, you have the Urban Ecology Institute, which is really an imaginative approach to studying urban problems. Tell me about these kids and tell me what you do?"
-- "And do you feel, if you don't run for public office in your family, that you somehow let the side down?"

On Monday, April 29, GMA featured a flattering profile of Edwards. Gibson explained: "We start with our newsmaker of the morning, Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina -- some say even a possible presidential candidate to run against George Bush in the year 2004. A possible presidential candidate, and yet most people have heard very little or maybe even nothing about him.
"Fellow politicians call him 'the newcomer.' Less than four years ago, he'd never run for anything -- not city council, not state legislature, not anything. Then in 1998, soon after losing a son in a car accident, spending millions of his own money earned as a personal injury lawyer, he ran for the U.S. Senate and won. Two years later, with his feet barely wet in politics, Al Gore seriously considered Edwards as a possible vice presidential nominee, and now U.S. News, asking on its cover 'Who Can Beat Bush?' uses John Edwards's picture and People magazine, it calls him America's sexiest politician....Edwards is coy about whether he's running for President, but he's traveling to New Hampshire these days -- Iowa, too -- and what does that usually mean?"

Gibson's questions to Edwards:

-- "So U.S. News says, 'Who Can Beat Bush?' Can you? Could you?"

-- "And that's the answer you've been giving and you're somewhat coy about whether you're interested or not, but you've been traveling to Iowa, you've been traveling to New Hampshire. That's where presidential candidates go."

-- "Is George Bush beatable in 2004? You've been saying Democratic candidates ought to be more outspoken in taking him on."

-- "Can a presidential candidate from North Carolina get elected? Because of this state's interests, you have to be a supporter of tobacco."

-- "I had mentioned that you had spent your life and made your money as a plaintiffs' lawyer before you got into politics, and you say, 'I've been representing people who played by the rules and got hurt by people who didn't.' You have been a representative of the little guy in plaintiff suits against big companies, but you've never taken on the tobacco companies, have you? You've never represented somebody in a suit against tobacco."

-- "Senator, we're going cross the country in the next 50 weeks, and we're talking to people in all states, and we're talking about, I mean, it seems rather simple in nature, but we're talking about what it means to be an American and whether that's changed in any way in the last eight months and whether it doesn't entail some obligations and some responsibilities. What do you think it means now to be an American?"

Eight months after September 11th the news media are back where they were on September 10th: polishing the image and appeal of liberal politicians.

4

Attorney General John Ashcroft is "demented." The week before last, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, went on a tirade against how the Bush administration is prosecuting the war. Thanks to Steve Rhodes of Chicago Magazine, we know what Hersh sputtered during a Chicago Headline Club talk.

Amongst Hersh's comments:

-- "We have an Attorney General that is, I don't know, how would you describe him, demented? We have an Attorney General who doesn't seem to understand the law."

-- "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan; I don't care what George Bush says. I don't care that George Bush doesn't know much, but the people around him should know more who don't seem to know more. That bothers me."


In a speech in Chicago, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh denounced John Ashcroft as "demented"

-- "It's a government run by three, four, five people. We've got a Secretary of Defense who thinks he's Woody Allen. We've got the only man -- Powell -- who has some sort of moderate instincts, and he's completely being attacked, being sent off on a suicide mission."

The Chicago Magazine rundown was highlighted on Thursday by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/).

Rhodes set up the May 2-posted piece reciting Hersh's diatribe: "No reporter in America has been more penetrating, illuminating, and controversial in reporting on the war in Afghanistan -- and on the accompanying foreign policy implications -- than Seymour Hersh in the pages of The New Yorker. (His work there made him a finalist in the reporting category of the National Magazine Awards, whose winners were announced Wednesday; he lost to The Atlantic Monthly's William Langewiesche.) So it was something of a coup for the Chicago Headline Club, the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, to land Hersh, an alumnus of the famed City News Bureau, as its keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary of its annual Peter Lisagor Awards, held last week.
"Hersh, known first and foremost for his Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of the My Lai massacre, did not disappoint. Though his talk was often rambling -- he seemed to start far more sentences than he finished -- Hersh delivered a provocative analysis of the American government's response to 9/11."

Some excerpts from the Hersh quotes recited by Rhodes:

-- "I was thinking of telling you when I got here that you all missed a great story because, actually it's a fact that John Ashcroft is outside, in Chicago today. He was announcing the arrest of three jaywalkers on Michigan boulevard.
"We have an Attorney General that is, I don't know, how would you describe him, demented? We have an Attorney General who doesn't seem to understand the law. He's talking about John Walker Lindh, a young boy. John Walker Lindh has made a confession that hasn't been made public. And [Ashcroft] is using parts of the confession to attack him, in public, and that's against every code of every U.S. attorney...."

-- "So there was a hearing that you all read about. When the hearing began, he [Zacarius Moussaoui] raised his hand and the judge let him speak, and for 50 minutes he buried himself. This is what's interesting to me about it. This is a man who the federal government says cannot be allowed to communicate with anybody unfettered in any way, because he's gonna pass the message....He spoke for 50 minutes. It was live on the Internet. Hundreds of reporters were listening. The court reporter had the transcript. And not once did the government jump up and say, 'Your Honor, clear the court!' Not once did it say, 'Your Honor, let's go into chambers with this. He has a right to speak but we can't have him speak publicly because we think he's capable of doing something.'
"Which means to me, of course, it's cheating. They're just doing it because they can do it. They truly aren't worried about it, because they would have stopped him. Here he had his big chance, and for 50 minutes they let him go on.
"And did his lawyers, by the way, jump up and say, 'Your Honor, Your Honor, stop this right now. This man is burying himself.' He's talking about death to the Israelis, death to Americans. The tone was a little more subdued than you might think, but he said what he said, and it was devastating for his case. Did his lawyers get up and stop him?
"[The government] doesn't really mean what it says. They would've stopped him in a minute."

If they had stopped him, I'm sure Hersh would have been howling about Moussaoui being suppressed.

-- "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan; I don't care what George Bush says. I don't care that George Bush doesn't know much, but the people around him should know more who don't seem to know more. That bothers me. We didn't win the war in Afghanistan. Right now, we're not being told very much. We're sort of pacified, because we're all scared, too, and we don't know what's going to happen, and we don't like what happened to us."

-- "We have a man in Pakistan, Musharraf, who has seized power. We now have changed the game. We have a new Cold War. In the old days, the way it worked was, anybody, any despot, any fingernail-puller, that was against the Communists was our man. If you were against the Communists, you were our boy."

-- "I really think it's circa 1967 again, in a funny way. We were fighting a terrible war in Vietnam and everybody knew there was something wrong, and you couldn't see anybody coming out leading.
"I keep on telling the Chris Dodds of the world, 'The next guy who comes out swinging has a chance to be President.' But they all think it's political suicide. That 'I can't go after George Bush.'
"And I'm telling you right now, it's gonna get much worse. They're gonna do Iraq. It doesn't matter what the reality is. It's what he wants to do. He's the President; he's gonna get it. And they're gonna tell themselves it's gonna work. And it doesn't matter how many more terrorists we're gonna make, and it doesn't matter that the Iraqis have made it clear to us, if we ever do invade Iraq, whatever [Saddam Hussein] has left in the way of missiles....where's he gonna go, folks? He's gonna send everything he has to downtown Tel Aviv. And I don't think we're gonna be able to convince the Israelis to restrain themselves. So we have a possibility of some sort of horrible Armageddon."

One wonders how much applause these remarks earned from the journalists in the Chicago audience.

For Chicago Magazine's story in full: http://www.chicagomag.com/pressbox/pressbox_story.htm

5

From the May 2 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by ten airmen from the 315th and 437th Airlift Wings at Charleston Air Force Base, the "Top Ten Reasons I Love My Job." Late Show Web site: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

10. The frequent-flier miles really pile up
(Master Sergeant Jeff Gaines)

9. When the pilot's not looking, we throw water balloons out of the jet
(Senior Master Sergeant Barbara Greenwald)

8. Gillette's new Mach 3 Turbo works even better if you shave while going Mach 3
(Tech Sergeant Greg Fennessy)

7. Growing up, Mom always told me not to throw food. Well guess what, mom? The United States Air Force is paying me to throw food
(Chief Master sergeant Mike Michaud)

6. The cockpit is full of shiny buttons and lights
(Master Sergeant Greg Arceneaux)

5. I know he's not a refugee, but sometimes I'll drop stuff on Letterman's house just to mess with him
(First Lieutenant Molly Curland)

4. The dental plan
(Tech Sergeant Darin Elwood)

3. The sense of fulfillment after a day's work -- just kidding. The jets go, like, super fast!
(Airman First Class Tabitha Stewart)

2. Sometimes I sneak a crate of freeze-dried beans for myself
(Master Sergeant Dennis Ingold)

1. I'm at the controls of a $200 million jet -- what do you drive?
(Major Mark Bauknight)

Used up all of my quips for the day in items above. -- Brent Baker


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