CyberAlert -- 06/19/2002 -- Israel "Knew," But It Didn't Help
Israel "Knew," But It Didn't Help; CNN Distanced Itself from Ted Turner; Stephanopoulos: "Analytical," Not "Ideological"; Today Covered Just One Side of Nick Controversy; NY Times vs. NY Times
1) A month ago Dan Rather regretted how President Bush and the intelligence agencies failed to share what they "knew" about terrorist threats and thus "possibly prevent the attack," but on Tuesday night he acknowledged that forewarning did Israel little good to prevent the homicide bomber who murdered 19 Israelis: "Israeli authorities knew this one was coming, but the knowledge did not help."
2) To CNN founder Ted Turner both victim and perpetrator are equally guilty. The Guardian quoted him as saying of Israel and the Palestinians: "I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism." But to CNN, it's "Ted Who?" After the network rushed to relay his statement clarifying his comments, it filled the screen with the text of CNN's statement separating itself from him: "Ted Turner's views are his own and they do not in any way reflect the views of CNN."
3) In September, George Stephanopoulos will become the sole host of This Week. In his 1999 memoir, All Too Human, he boasted of his role in thwarting an attempt to better monitor immigrants in the U.S. illegally. This week he granted an interview to the far-left TomPaine.com Web site and in it he maintained that "in my work, in the interviews, I've always worked hard to be fair, to ask challenging questions of both sides, to make sure that I was being analytical without being ideological."
4) As NBC's Matt Lauer acknowledged, the Nick News Special Edition about kids with gay or lesbian parents certainly has "been a topic of controversy for weeks." But that apparently doesn't mean to NBC News that it has any obligation to give any air time to those upset with it. Indeed, Tuesday's Today featured a softball interview with Nickelodeon show host Linda Ellerbee and a teen girl with her lesbian parents, but not a word from anyone who had criticized the half-hour special titled, "My Family is Different."
5) Alaska is melting, but stay clear of the killer glaciers. A headline in Sunday's New York Times: "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag." But a headline over a Monday New York Times story warned: "Advancing Glacier Threatens an Alaskan Fishing Village."
>>> Update on an item in the June 17 CyberAlert about Kenneth Walker, who in a 1986 appearance on the McLaughlin Group while he was with ABC News, denounced Reagan's bombing of Libya and suggested that by Reagan's rationale the Sandinistas would be "justified in attacking the CIA in Virginia." Details:
A month ago Dan Rather regretted how President Bush and the intelligence agencies failed to share what they "knew" about terrorist threats and thus "possibly prevent the attack," but on Tuesday night he acknowledged that forewarning did Israel little good to prevent the homicide bomber who murdered 19 Israelis.
At the top of the June 18 CBS Evening News, Rather summarized the terrorist attack and then related: "The attack also illustrates how difficult it is to stop suicidal terrorists. As CBS's David Hawkins reports, Israeli authorities knew this one was coming, but the knowledge did not help."
Hawkins explained how Israel knew a Palestinian killer was in Jerusalem planning an attack.
Back on the May 16 CBS Evening News Rather suggested sharing threat information could have prevented the September 11th attacks in the United States: "The Bush administration spent this day trying to explain what President Bush knew about terror threats before the September 11th attack on America, why the President never shared what he knew with the public, and why the President and U.S. intelligence could not, did not, in the phrase of the day, connect the dots and possibly prevent the attack..."
Ted Who? In an interview published on Tuesday in London's left-wing Guardian newspaper, AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman and its largest shareholder, Ted Turner, characterized Israel as terrorist, saying of Israel and the Palestinians: "I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism." So, both victim and perpetrator are equally guilty in Turner's mind.
Turner may no longer have any day-to-day control over CNN, but he certainly has some influence and when he got into trouble for his labeling of Israel as terrorist he was able to use CNN as a platform from which to "clarify" what he told the British reporter.
"CNN chief accuses Israel of terror," blared the headline over a story in the June 18 Guardian. An excerpt from the story by Oliver Burkeman in New York and Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem:
Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel today of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians, in comments that threaten to lead to a further decline in the news network's already poor relations with the Jewish state.
"Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorising each other?" says Turner, who is vice-chairman of AOL Time Warner, which owns CNN, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.
"The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis...they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."...
In his first British interview since the September 11 attacks, Mr Turner -- who broke philanthropic records in 1997 when he donated $1bn to the UN -- argues that poverty and desperation are the root cause of Palestinian suicide bombings.
But Daniel Seaman, a spokesman for the Israeli government, said: "My only advice to Ted Turner is if people assume you are stupid, it is just best to keep your mouth shut rather than open your mouth and confirm everyone in that view."....
Mr. Turner is moved to tears at one point in the interview by the "depressing" combination of conflicts like that in the Middle East and the state of the environment, which he says demands massive global attention -- "or, you know...it's goodbye."...
END of Excerpt
For the Guardian story in full: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,739466,00.html
On Tuesday's Inside Politics Judy Woodruff read aloud a statement from Turner CNN anchors had been reading since early afternoon:
With the screen filled with the matching words, Woodruff then read CNN's statement distancing itself from Turner: "Ted Turner's views are his own and they do not in any way reflect the views of CNN."
Sounds like they're a bit embarrassed.
The Guardian story also passed along a new excuse from Turner as to why earlier this year he had described the 9-11 terrorists as "brave." The Guardian relayed: "Mr Turner also admits that he was wrong to call the September 11 hijackers 'brave' in a speech in Rhode Island that sparked outrage. 'I made an unfortunate choice of words,' he says, adding that his ownership of the Atlanta Braves baseball team meant the word was never far from his mind. 'Look, I'm a very good thinker, but I sometimes grab the wrong word...I mean, I don't type my speeches, then sit up there and read them off the teleprompter, you know. I wing it.'"
On February 12 CyberAlert recounted what Turner told some Brown University students:
The Providence Journal reported that in a talk at Brown University Turner called the terrorists who attacked on September 11 "brave," claimed, despite the fact that the terrorists were well-off, "the reason that the World Trade Center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there who don't have any hope for a better life," and lamented that with "a few more votes in Florida....we could have had the best environmental President we ever had." Instead, he regretted, President Bush "is another Julius Caesar. Just what we need."
For more, as well as how Turner claimed his comments "were reported out of context," see the February 12 CyberAlert Extra:
As noted in a CyberAlert Special sent Tuesday afternoon, ABC News has made it official: In September, George Stephanopoulos will become the sole host of the ABC Sunday interview show, This Week.
Two fresh bits of information not previously reported in CyberAlert: First, as the MRC's Liz Swasey noted last week, "in his 1999 memoir, All Too Human, Stephanopoulos boasted of his role in thwarting an attempt to better monitor immigrants illegally in the U.S." Second, Stephanopoulos granted an interview to the far- left TomPaine.com Web site and in it he maintained that "in my work, in the interviews, I've always worked hard to be fair, to ask challenging questions of both sides, to make sure that I was being analytical without being ideological."
(In making the announcement on Tuesday, ABC News President David Westin praised Stephanopoulos: "As the torch at 'This Week' is passed to George Stephanopoulos, I could not have more confidence in his abilities to lead the program forward. In his more than five years at ABC News covering national and international stories, George has demonstrated a keen understanding of the issues and superb ability to communicate to
-- An excerpt from the "Media Bias Alert" sent last week by MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey:
Can ABC's Heir Apparent for This Week Cover the War On Terrorism Objectively?
George Stephanopoulos, liberal advisor to Dukakis, Gephardt and finally Clinton, who is poised for promotion from contributor to sole anchor of ABC News' second-place Sunday offering, This Week, was professionally involved in White House decision-making on the war on terrorism before it had a name. In his 1999 memoir, All Too Human, Stephanopoulos boasted of his role in thwarting an attempt to better monitor immigrants illegally in the U.S.:
In a February 5, 2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dick Morris confirmed:
END of Excerpt
For more from Stephanopoulos' book, see the June 12 Media Reality Check, "Devoted to Bringing About Liberal Change: Anticipated Host of ABC's Sunday Show Left Bill Clinton Behind But Never Set Aside Liberal Desires." The MRC's Rich Noyes and Liz Swasey perused Stephanopoulos's 1999 book, All Too Human, and took down quotes of how he:
-- Supposedly became a Democrat because he thought Reagan's tax cut was not "fair."
For the June 12 Media Reality Check:
To access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:
-- In an interview this week with John Moyers, the son of Bill, who is the editor and publisher of the far-left TomPaine.com Web site, Stephanopoulos insisted that at ABC News he has been "analytical without being ideological."
The relevant exchange:
For the entire interview: http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5814
Judge for yourself whether Stephanopoulos has been "analytical without being ideological."
The MRC's Tim Jones put together a Web section with links to all of Stephanopoulos's most egregious liberal advocacy and bashing of conservatives and conservative policies during his five years at ABC News as culled from the MRC archives: http://www.mediaresearch.org/mrcspotlight/stephanopoulos/welcome.asp
It includes sub-sections on "Jesse Helms a 'terrorist,'" "Stop the tax cuts," "Not lying 'for the most part,'" "Defends Clinton apology" and "Go Gore!" -- a section dedicated to Stephanopoulos's biased coverage of the 2000 election.
The Nick News Special Edition aired Tuesday night about kids with gay or lesbian parents certainly has, as NBC's Matt Lauer Couric noted Tuesday morning, "been a topic of controversy for weeks." But that apparently doesn't mean to NBC News that it has any obligation to give any air time to those upset with it.
Indeed, Tuesday's Today featured a softball interview by Katie Couric with Nickelodeon show host Linda Ellerbee and a teen girl with her lesbian parents as well as clips from the then-upcoming show, but not a word from anyone who had criticized the half-hour special titled, "My Family is Different."
But not really any different if you believed the point of the June 18 show aired at 9pm EDT.
Near the beginning of the program the daughter of two lesbians, not the same family showcased on Today, explained in a taped set-up piece: "My name is Sara and I am 12-years-old. My family's just like anyone else's, but I have two moms."
So the same, except for two moms, which means it isn't "just like anyone else's." Sara soon added: "It's kind of funny though, I'll be calling down the hall, 'Mom,' Mom.' And I'll hear from both ends of the hall, 'What did you say honey?' 'What'd you say Sara?' It's really funning because it gets confused."
A concern Today refused to allow any guest to address.
At the 9am hour on June 18, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Today played a clip from the Nickelodeon special and then Lauer plugged an upcoming segment: "That is 15 year-old Marina Gatto from tonight's Nickelodeon special on gay families. It's hosted and produced by Linda Ellerbee. And the show's been a topic of controversy for weeks before it's even aired. We are gonna hear more from Linda and meet Marina and her moms in just a little while."
Katie Couric set up the subsequent segment: "Tonight the children's television network, Nickelodeon, is airing a controversial Nick News Special Edition entitled: My Family is Different. The special focuses on families with at least one homosexual parent. And features children discussing their day-to-day lives with parents who are gay. It also features people who disapprove of same-sex parenting. Before it even airs the special has provoked much criticism with Nickelodeon receiving more than 100,000 e-mails and phone calls protesting the decision to air the special. Linda Ellerbee is the program's producer and host. Linda, good morning, nice to see you. Well tell me first of all, I'm just curious. Were you surprised at the outcry that this special has, has caused?"
After the clip, Couric introduced three other guests who appeared via satellite: "One of the teenagers also, Linda, featured, is in tonight's special is Marina Gatto [sp?] She and her two mothers Ramona Gatto and Arzu Arkas [sp?] are at home in San Carlos, California this morning. Good morning to all of you. Marina tell me why you thought it was so, so important to participate in this special?"
Couric next wanted to know if all had seen the light: "You know during the panel discussion, I know, that there were kids with all different kinds of opinions. Some did not agree with homosexuality or had issues with it. After all was said and done, Marina, did you feel that, that the kids who participated had come to a greater understanding about this?"
Couric turned to one of the parents: "Ramona, what are you hoping that, that children and adults will get from this special?"
Couric turned back to Ellerbee: "Linda, I know you also included people like Reverend Jerry Falwell in your special. So it's, you know, you do have a lot of different points of view."
In fact, from my cursory viewing of the program it was anything but balanced with a couple of minutes of people tossed in as the anti-tolerance side.
Indeed, here's how Ellerbee introduced comments from critics Jerry Falwell and Peter LaBarbera: "If we are saying that gay people deserve tolerance and respect, we're also saying that people are entitled to their own opinions."
Couric finally got to a semi-challenging question: "Some parents might worry or some adults, that, that children of, of gay couples grow up confused about their own sexuality."
The New York Times on Sunday: Alaska is melting, run for your lives! The New York Times on Monday: A glacier will destroy an Alaskan town, run for your lives!
Monday's "Best of the Web" column on OpinionJournal.com highlighted a bit of a headline contrast in which the New York Times seemed to be contradicting itself.
A headline on Sunday, June 16 proclaimed: "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag."
But a headline over a Monday, June 17 story warned: "Advancing Glacier Threatens an Alaskan Fishing Village."
Those registered with the New York Times can read the first story at: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/16/national/16ALAS.html
For the second: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/17/science/17GLAC.html
I guess "all the news that's fit to print" covers "all the news," even when contradictory. -- Brent Baker