Bad Photo Images; Forced Abortion for a Good Reason; Tiananmen = South Lawn
1) How the Vanity Fair photos
hurt Lewinsky emphasized by all the networks as CBS, FNC and NBC added
exclusive new details on Secret Service testimony and how there's reason
to believe Lewinsky's affidavit is false. Big highway spending concerned
CBS and NBC.
2) ABC's Brian Ross documented
forced sterilizations and abortions in China, but while denying he was
doing so, Peter Jennings rationalized the policy by justifying
3) NBC's Matt Lauer defended
Clinton's planned Tiananmen Square ceremony: "It's a little bit like
the South Lawn of the White House in Washington."
>>> The MRC's Parents Television
Council (PTC) has launched a new Web site ---- www.parentstv.org ---- to
bridge the gap between families and Hollywood. The PTC is leading the
effort to mobilize national attention on the need for Hollywood to
voluntarily restore the spirit of the "Family Hour" and improve
the quality family programming.
The new site is colorful, easy-to-navigate
and packed full of useful information. The premier feature of the site is
an online version of the PTC's highly acclaimed "Family Guide to
Prime Time Television" featuring a daily grid and analysis (from a
family-values perspective) of every entertainment TV show currently
appearing on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, UPN and WB. The shows are evaluated for
sex, language and violence using an easy to follow traffic-light rating
system: red, yellow and green.
Update on the NRA Update: A liberal,
anti-NRA group had spotlighted the supposedly anti-minority quote picked
up last Friday by CBS News. On the June 5 CBS Evening News reporter Jim
Stewart highlighted how Charlton Heston's NRA ascendency "comes at a
time when the actor's own politics is under fire. Last December Heston
stunned some of his old friends with a speech filled with bitterness for
some minorities." See the June 9 CyberAlert for the full quote. Carl
Geib of Plano, Texas alerted me where to find the entire Heston speech.
Now, thanks to Dave Kopp (www.van-kopp.com) we know how Stewart most
likely found the Heston quote: It's featured on a special anti-Heston Web
page set up by the Violence Policy Center. The site (http://www.vpc.org/nrainfo/index.html)
features video and audio clips as well as text of the portions of the
speech VPC found incriminating. "Stunned some of his old
friends," claimed Stewart. More like pleased some of his enemies.
All the networks Tuesday night pointed out how the photos of Monica
Lewinsky in Vanity Fair had upset her new lawyers and hurt her image as a
victim. CBS, FNC and NBC added an exclusive angle to the Lewinsky story:
CBS that Secret Service officers have been sitting for depositions with
Starr's office, FNC that Starr's office has given Lewinsky's new lawyers a
time limit to make a deal, and NBC that two courts have secretly ruled
that Lewinsky most likely lied in her affidavit in which she denied sex
ABC led with Lewinsky and dedicated it's
"A Closer Look" to China's forced abortions, a policy Peter
Jennings tried to rationalize. (See item #2). CBS and NBC began with
Clinton's signing of the big highway bill. The new Children's Scholarship
Fund topped CNN and was featured on NBC. The brutal murder in Texas of a
black man dragged behind a pick up by two white men led FNC and generated
full stories on the other networks.
Some highlights from the Tuesday, June 9
-- Jackie Judd started the show by
explaining how Lewinsky lawyers Plato Cacheris and Jacob Stein spent
several hours at Starr's office: "On the table: discussions about
full immunity for Monica Lewinsky if she will testify in detail to what
Starr believes is the truth about her relationship with President
On the impact of the photos, Judd found:
"The notion that Lewinsky is a victim in this scandal may have been
undercut a little bit today by these provocative pictures published by
Vanity Fair magazine...Lewinsky's ex-lawyer, William Ginsburg, approved
the photo shoot and it was one reason for his removal from the case."
Judd then noted the fifth appearance before
the grand jury by Vernon Jordan.
-- CBS Evening News led with the highway
bill signed by Clinton. "Bill Plante has more about how this election
year plum filled with pork affects you," promised Dan Rather. Plante
began: "They talk a lot in Washington about fiscal responsibility.
But that didn't stop the President from signing the biggest public works
bill in history -- $216 billion over six years..."
Later, Rather plugged "exclusive new
information" on the Monica front. Scott Pelley announced:
"Tonight we know for the first time that secretly over the last
several weeks Ken Starr's prosecutors have been interviewing a large
number of Secret Service officers." About 20 have been sitting for
depositions, Pelley added, explaining: "Multiple sources tell CBS
News the officers have been telling investigators about Monica Lewinsky at
the White House. Some officers have acknowledged clearing her in through
security and escorting her through the building. The officers have drawn
the line, however, when asked about their observations of the President
and his interaction with Ms. Lewinsky and others..."
Still, Pelley noted, they have corroborated
some claims by Lewinsky. On the photos, Pelley suggested: "Fresh
evidence of Lewinsky's predicament came today in the pages of Vanity
-- CNN's The World Today at 8pm ET began
with the Children's Scholarship Fund established for 50,000 poor kids by
Ted Forstmann and John Walton. Bob Franken handled the Lewinsky front,
offering this assessment: "Many are saying that the new lawyers are
trying to undue the damage of the old one. For instance: the photo-spread
in July's Vanity Fair" which doesn't portray someone under siege.
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report was topped by
the story of the black man dragged and decapitated behind a pick up truck
in Jasper, Texas. On Lewinsky, David Shuster disclosed that Starr's office
has given her new legal team a deadline for making a deal. Moving to
Jordan's fifth and last appearance, Shuster ventured: "Jordan quoted
the Bible and said the truth will set you free, but prosecutors suspect
Jordan deliberately blinded himself last fall to why he'd been asked to
Photos are another wrinkle for the new
lawyers, Shuster contended: "Complicating any defense strategy, a
photo-spread in this month's Vanity Fair magazine. The pictures show
Lewinsky posing in the seductive style of Marilyn Monroe and leaning
against an antique U.S. flag, not the innocent image her new lawyers are
trying to project."
The new lawyers, Shuster claimed, are
trying to improve her image by demanding more modest dress and making her
take cabs instead of limos.
-- NBC Nightly News ran an In Depth segment
on Ted Forstmann and his Children's Scholarship Fund, followed by an In
Their Own Words from the top NEA union hack denouncing the idea. The show
opened with the highway bill as Tom Brokaw explained:
"Good evening. The economy is booming,
Washington has gone from deficits to a surplus, the money is pouring in so
let the spending begin. And tonight it does with the largest public works
bill ever -- $218 billion for the nation's highways, bridges, mass
transit, bike paths and more. A lot of it is desperately needed but a lot
of it is more about re-election than repair and re-construction."
Following a piece from Robert Hager on the
good it will do, Gwen Ifill handled the Fleecing of America piece on all
the pork barrel projects. For one sentence Ifill actually came at the GOP
from the right, leading into a soundbite from Michigan Republican Peter
Hoekstra she discovered: "Many Republicans feel betrayed. After all,
theirs was the party that promised to end pork barrel spending."
NBC got to Lewinsky in the next to last story of
the night. Lisa Myers began:
"Today as Lewinsky's new lawyers arrived at Starr's office to try to
hammer out a deal they had to contend with this: photographs of what the
July issue of Vanity Fair calls 'the face that launched a thousand
subpoenas.' It is hardly the image of innocence her new lawyers are trying
Following a soundbite elaborating on that
point, Myers offered some fresh information: "Even worse for Lewinsky,
NBC News has learned that in rulings still under seal not one but two
courts found there is evidence that Lewinsky may have lied in this sworn
affidavit claiming she never had a sexual relationship with the President.
The rulings allow Starr to question the lawyer who drew up the affidavit.
Other lawyers call that very significant..."
(And just how did Monica end up in Vanity
Fair. On Tuesday's Today show Krista Smith of Vanity Fair told Katie
Couric that it all came about after Lewinsky met Vanity Fair writer
Maureen Orth at a Washington party. And who is Orth? She's Mrs. Tim
Russert. It is a small media world in Washington.)
Nightline focused on forced abortions in China, but World News Tonight
also looked at the topic earlier, making it the subject for a "A
Closer Look." Intrepid investigative reporter Brian Ross delivered a
solid and devastating report, but ABC sandwiched it between
rationalizations before and after by Peter Jennings and a guest interview.
Peter Jennings called forced abortions an
"ugly example" of Chinese policy from a country whose leader,
Mao, once said there never could be too many Chinese. Jennings, however,
reported that the Chinese soon "realized" the downside of too
many people: "But the man who succeeded him, Deng Xiao Ping, realized
that too many Chinese would lower the standard of living and be an
obstacle to economic development." So, in 1979 China adopted a
Brian Ross revealed: "For years the
Chinese government has denied what this Chinese official has now come
forward to say -- that women who defy the country's one child per family
policy routinely face forced sterilizations and forced abortions,
including woman as much as nine months pregnant."
Xiao Duan Gao, through translator:
"The child can still be alive when it comes out of his mother's womb
and as soon as the child cries the doctor will give it another injection
and the child will die."
It seems China also likes partial birth
abortions. Ross went on to explain that Gao, who defected, was director of
a birth center in a town of 60,000. She brought out not only supporting
documents but video, which Ross showed, including footage of a jail cell
inside the "birth center" for uncooperative women.
To follow up Ross Jennings brought aboard
professor Susan Greenhalgh of the University of California-Irvine for a
two question interview. Is it happening everywhere in China? Greenhalgh
said there is "tremendous variation" by region and that many
official documents insist "coercion must be avoided."
Chinese see the issue the same way as Americans, asked Jennings?
Greenhalgh maintained it's really fine with them: "I think that the
majority of the people accept the policy as something that's necessary for
China at its current stage of economic development. I don't know that they
see the advantages for them as individual families, but I think if you
asked a large number of families in China they will say yes, yes this is
our policy, this is right, the state has the right to intervene and to
decide how many children a couple should have. It's very difficult to find
conflicting views on that issue."
Finally, Jennings offered "Just one
last observation about this without the slightest hint of approval,"
before delivering an explanation that arguably did just that as he
defended China's concern about population and showed the necessity of
"The Chinese point out their economic
miracle, they have had the fastest growing economy in the world, could not
have been accomplished without population control. The United Nations
estimates that China's population will grow by 24 percent in the next half
a century. By comparison, the Indian population, more than 900 million
people today, will grow by 65 percent. And Pakistan, 135 million people
today, is expected to grow by about 162 percent. In this regard family
planning makes a difference."
South Lawn, Tiananmen Square. What's the difference? Not much in Matt
Lauer's mind. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught Lauer's telling
assertion which occurred during a June 9 Today interview, about Clinton's
upcoming China trip, with Arkansas Senator Tim Hutchinson Johns and
Hopkins University professor David Lampton. When Hutchinson asserted that
Clinton agreeing to an official ceremony in Tiananmen Square "demeans
lives of those who were killed," Lauer shot back:
"Senator let's make it clear though
that is the official welcoming spot in Beijing, it's a little bit like the
South Lawn of the White House in Washington, that's where world leaders
come for state visits."
Hutchinson pointed out the obvious: that
there's never been a massacre on the South Lawn. -- Brent Baker
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