CyberAlert -- 08/12/2002 -- Washington Post Labeled Conservatives But Not Liberals
Washington Post Labeled Conservatives But Not Liberals; Clinton "Our Last Legally Elected President"; ABC's Anti-Bush Land Use Spin; "The War on Terrorism is Terrorism"; Anna Nicole's Insight
1) In a 3,600 word profile of the far-left Cornel West, Washington Post reporter Lynne Duke managed to avoid even once using the term "liberal" as she applied no label Al Sharpton, Bill Bradley, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader or Lawrence Summers, but was quick to tag National Review as a "conservative journal," Shelby Steele as "a black conservative scholar" and Martin Peretz as "a leading neoconservative." She dubbed West a "radical," but insisted he was "influenced" by the "conservatism of the church."
2) Bill Clinton was "our last legally elected President," Los Angeles Times reporter Brian Robin declared in an e-mail to Republican Congressman Bill Thomas, whom he denigrated as "morally bankrupt." Robin described the GOP as a "hateful, dogmatic and uncompromising group (except in the case of big business, when you become the party of Stepin Fetchit)." After the paper fired him for sending the e-mail from his latimes.com account, he kvetched: "All I did was exercise my right of free speech."
3) ABC looked at land use management from the viewpoint of liberal environmentalists. Anchor Charles Gibson plugged the story: "Threatened beauty: Saving the wilderness from an industry fighting to dig up the country's natural treasures." Judy Muller effused: "President Clinton tried to protect these public lands from encroaching development, destructive off-road vehicles, and harmful mining and drilling." But Bush might ruin it all.
5) Public affairs discourse on the E! cable channel. Lawyer: "People are going like with bombs on their bodies into Israel and they're blowing themselves up in like coffee shops and like ball rooms." Anna Nicole: "Whoa! Why would they do that? Don't they think it's kind of painful?"
In a 3,600 word profile on Sunday of Cornel West, Washington Post reporter Lynne Duke managed to avoid even once using the terms "liberal" or "left-wing" as she applied no label on Al Sharpton, Bill Bradley, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader or Lawrence Summers, but was quick to tag National Review as a "conservative journal," Shelby Steele as "a black conservative scholar" and Martin Peretz as "a leading neoconservative."
She did, however, just once apply a label to the far-left West, "radical," though she quickly added that he's influenced by "the conservatism of the [Baptist] church." At another point she cited a "progressive culture commentator" at the Village Voice.
West, a "University Professor" at Harvard's Afro-American studies department, has moved to Princeton after Harvard's new President, former Clinton Treasury Secretary Laurence Summers, dared last year to question his greater interest in non-academic political activism over teaching students.
Duke made clear where her sympathies lie in her August 11 "Style" section profile: "When word of his contretemps with Summers leaked to the press, it ignited a firestorm in the media about race, respect and whether West deserved what he'd achieved. West suddenly became a symbol of the ugly racial debates that still lurk beneath the surface of a seemingly civil society. And there were the marital problems, the divorce proceedings and, in January, the prostate surgery."
She added, in full victimology mode: "West is accustomed to being criticized. As a high-achieving black man in a racially brittle country, it goes with the territory. 'That's just America,' he says."
Examples of Duke's disparate labeling policy, with labels IN ALL CAPS:
-- Cornel West: "He may be old school in style, but not in his politics (RADICAL) or in his image (telegenic public intellectual) or his personal life (three marriages and involved again). He is influenced by a range of social spheres, from the CONSERVATISM of the church to the RADICALISM of the Black Panthers and the paradigms of European philosophy."
-- Louis Farrakhan, Bill Bradley and Al Sharpton: "He appeared with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March. He went to court to support producer and rapper Sean Combs (before the name change) during his failed prosecution on a weapons charge. Last year, he recorded a rap-like 'spoken word' CD called 'Sketches of My Culture.' He advised former Senator Bill Bradley's presidential campaign, and now he sits on a presidential exploratory committee for Al Sharpton."
-- "Progressive," not left-wing: "To some observers, West seems too media-hungry. To others, West has displayed 'glaring lapses of judgment.' That's how Thulani Davis, a PROGRESSIVE CULTURE COMMENTATOR, put it in New York's Village Voice this year. She also criticized West for an inflated ego."
-- Sharpton and Ralph Nader: "The political issues at stake are far larger than the questions of credibility and morality that swirl constantly around Sharpton, says West. And he is exploring Sharpton's bid, he says, because the Democratic Party 'is running away from' hard-core issues of the justice system, such as the disproportionate number of young black and brown men in the nation's prison population. And like Ralph Nader, another candidate West advised, Sharpton was raising issues of 'corporate mendacity and criminality' even before Enron, West says."
-- "Lawrence Summers, a Harvard-trained economist and Clinton administration treasury secretary, is himself hailed as a brilliant scholar who brought a fresh strategic vision to Harvard when he became its president last year."
-- Jesse Jackson: "The controversy over West became entangled with a related one simmering among the black faculty. There was a sense among some that Summers was ambivalent about the value of affirmative action programs. Summers faced pressure to apologize to West and to reassure the faculty on affirmative action. Predictably, Jesse Jackson flew in. And West wasn't happy about it."
-- National Review: "The whole affair exposed a virulent strain of resentment toward West among some pundits and intellectuals. In addition, it opened the door for those who still
question the credibility of African American studies as an academic discipline, who even question the intellectual competence of African American scholars.
-- Shelby Steele: "That Summers would apparently backpedal for upsetting West really annoyed Shelby Steele, for instance. Though it was unclear whether Summers felt guilty or fearful, his behavior was all about white guilt and white fear of being viewed as racist, wrote Steele, A BLACK CONSERVATIVE SCHOLAR at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Steele, who has published far less than West, questioned West's scholarly credibility and called him an example of 'black mediocrity' allowed to pass as achievement."
-- Martin Peretz: "The question is, wrote the New Republic, owned by Martin Peretz, A LEADING NEOCONSERVATIVE: 'Will West continue to do nothing at Harvard? Or head south to do nothing at Princeton?'"
Peretz is so conservative that he has supported Al Gore in every presidential race.
For Duke's piece on West in full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63771-2002Aug9.html
Los Angeles Times reporter Brian Robin wrote a highly polemical and personally vicious e-mail to Republican Congressman Bill Thomas in which Robin called Thomas "a morally bankrupt Republican Congressman" as he echoed James Carville in extolling Bill Clinton's achievements and described Clinton as "our last legally elected President."
Robin charged that the Republican Party "has turned from the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt into a hateful, dogmatic and uncompromising group (except in the case of big business, when you become the party of Stepin Fetchit)."
But after Thomas's staff alerted the newspaper to Robin's left-wing vitriol and he was fired, Robin seriously contended that the big, mean Congressman had infringed on his free speech: "I would love to be able to confront Bill Thomas and ask him why he or his staff are so thin-skinned and ask them why they did this to my career and my family. And I'd also like to ask them if they'd have contacted the Times if the e-mail had been some complimentary thing. All I did was exercise my right of free speech, and it got completely blown out of hand."
Robin is pretty far down the ladder at the LA Times. He covers high school sports for the community edition in outer-suburban Ontario, but that just shows how widespread liberal ideology is at major media outlets.
The L.A. Weekly last week published the text of Robin's mid-July e-mail prompted by comments Thomas made on CNN. Here it is in full [Warning: includes slang term for a specific sex act]:
Surely, you can't be that stupid.
I mean, even for the standards of the current Republican Party, which has turned from the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt into a hateful, dogmatic and uncompromising group (except in the case of big business, when you become the party of Stepin Fetchit), your comments on CNN are so completely out of line, they defy logic.
To blame Bill Clinton (our last legally elected president) for the current corporate shenanigans completely flies in the face of truth and logic. The president you and your ilk impeached for lying about oral sex presided over a country that lowered teen pregnancy rates 22 percent, dropped the crime rate by roughly the same amount and knocked nearly half the welfare recipients off the rolls. While those numbers were dropping, so were the numbers in divorce, teen drinking, teen suicide and abortion.
But that doesn't jibe with your partisan rantings. Everything's Clinton's fault, from your faulty perceptions about this country's moral laxity to the state of the military -- which was cut to pieces by George Bush I and his secretary of defense -- Dick Cheney.
Without a scintilla of regret or moral thought, your party has embraced corporate crooks, polluters and other moral rot. It wasn't Bill Clinton who cooked books at Enron, Global Crossing, Worldcom and who knows how many other companies.
It wasn't Bill Clinton who engaged in accounting fraud while working as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (see Cheney, Dick). It wasn't Bill Clinton who engaged in insider trading while leading yet another company into bankruptcy (see Bush, G.W.).
It was Bill Clinton who lied about a blow job. Somehow, I don't see the comparison. Then again, I'm not a morally bankrupt Republican congressman who opts for partisanship ahead of truth.
END of Reprint of e-mail
In an August 8 story highlighted by Jim Romemesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/), the L.A. Weekly portrayed Robin as the victim. An excerpt from the story by Johnny Angel headlined, "Butterfly Meets Bazooka: An L.A. Times community news reporter is fired for e-mailing a congressman."
Brian Robin likes to peruse the hilariously irreverent, progressive Web site Bartcop.com. One Sunday night in July, in the privacy of his Lancaster home, Robin came upon an item about an appearance by Congressman Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield) on CNN, where he repeated the Republican Party mantra that blames the year's corporate criminality on Bill Clinton.
Robin couldn't let Thomas, a career politician who wields great power as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, get away with it. Robin put together an e-mail....
And then, says Robin, who covered high school sports and golf for two years for the L.A. Times community edition in Ontario, "I brainfarted."
His personal e-mail server wasn't working, so he sent his critical message on his company's e-mail system. Two days later, he got a phone call from Thomas' office simply asking him to confirm that he worked at the Times. He did so. Later that day, he was summoned by Tom Johnson, lead editor of the Times' community sections, and suspended; a week later, he was terminated....
"It was a stupid thing to do," says the 37-year-old sportswriter. "I knew that sending that out on company e-mail was wrong, and I deserved a suspension. But I never dreamt that the Times would fire me over this. Maybe a slap on the wrist or a reprimand, but I have a pristine employment record over the two years I worked there."...
Robin said he couldn't find out exactly what transpired after Thomas' office got his e-mail. Did Thomas himself play a role in getting the sportswriter fired? No one is saying at the congressman's office one way or the other. "I contacted Thomas' office in Kern County, and they referred me to the D.C. office," Robin said. "I tried to call his chief of staff and left two unanswered messages and was referred back by one of the people in the office to my own congressman (Buck McKeon). My wife talked to them, and they suggested looking into the House Ethics Committee."...
For now, the father of two young children is worried about his future. "I would love to be able to confront Bill Thomas and ask him why he or his staff are so thin-skinned and ask them why they did this to my career and my family. And I'd also like to ask them if they'd have contacted the Times if the e-mail had been some complimentary thing. All I did was exercise my right of free speech, and it got completely blown out of hand."
It's not only the congressman or his underlings who blew the transgression out of proportion. You have to wonder why the Times caved in, and erred in its heavy-handed treatment of Robin.
END of Excerpt
For the piece in its entirety: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/38/news-angel.php
Thanks to Robin using his employer's e-mail address we now know what he really thinks, but there are probably many other reporters out there with the same views but who are smart enough to not express them so vitriolically when using their news media employer's domain.
Former President Clinton, friend of the big horn sheep. President Bush, friend of the evil miners who don't care that they might wipe species out for personal gain. On the August 7 World News Tonight, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, substitute anchor Charles Gibson built up a story by Judy Muller that essentially presented that assessment of the situation at Ironwood National Monument in Arizona.
Ironwood was named a national monument by President Clinton, thereby preventing an established mining company in the area from continuing its work.
Gibson ominously warned that "the national monuments...are at greater risk" because "it's not always easy to keep the miners out." During her piece, reporter Judy Muller complained that "national monuments do not enjoy the same protections as national parks where mining and logging are prohibited." Muller offered the most generous rationale for Clinton's actions without any consideration for how he may of done it to curry favor with environmentalists before elections: "President Clinton tried to protect these public lands from encroaching development, destructive off-road vehicles, and harmful mining and drilling." Unfortunately, Muller lamented, "environmental groups say the Bush administration has other ideas."
Gibson's tease and plugs delivered one-sided portraits of land under threat because of Bush. He teased at the top of the show: "And threatened beauty: Fighting to save the country's national monuments and keep out the miners from where the big horn sheep butt heads."
And before two commercial breaks:
-- "And threatened beauty: Saving the wilderness from an industry fighting to dig up the country's natural treasures."
-- "When we come back, endangered beauty, the struggle to protect or develop national monuments. Keeping the land safe for wildlife."
Gibson set up the story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Finally tonight, to save a monument. Mining and logging are prohibited in America's national parks. But the national monuments, a separate category, are at greater risk. They are sites of natural beauty designated by presidents for protection. But it's not always easy to keep the miners out. ABC's Judy Muller reports from the Ironwood National Monument in Arizona with more of our series, 'Threatened Beauty.'"
Muller began: "This desert monument is home to all sorts of flora and fauna, from big horn sheep to jack rabbits. But on the other side of these peaks, something else is afoot. The Asarco Company's open pit copper mine lies just outside the monument boundaries."
But Muller made sure that viewers of ABC saw a story from the perspective of liberal environmentalists.
"The war on terrorism is terrorism," actor Woody Harrelson contended in praising London's anti-American tabloid, the Daily Mirror, and defending George Michael's anti-Bush song.
Harrrelson, probably best-known for playing the dim-witted "Woody Boyd" on Cheers, made his comments in an interview published in Friday's Daily Mirror which was caught by James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column -- www.opinionjournal.com/best
An excerpt from the August 9 Daily Mirror story ("Jessica" is apparently the paper's celebrity columnist):
....Woody Harrelson has taken another brave step -- he's passionately defended George Michael over his anti-Bush and Blair single Shoot The Dog.
The 41-year-old star -- currently appearing in On An Average Day opposite Kyle MacLachlan at the Comedy Theatre in London -- has hit out at the backlash against the song's lyrics which criticise George Bush, Tony Blair and the war on terror since September 11.
At his play's after-show party on Wednesday night, Woody told Jessica: "I saw the Daily Mirror's front page on George Michael and I thought it was brilliant. I've always been a fan but he's right up there now. I think he's a great guy...
"He's incredibly brave to have done that song. Especially when doing something like that could be considered very dangerous in today's world."...
The former Wham! star caused outrage by using the Daily Mirror's Howdy Poodle front page, which poked fun at the special relationship between Britain and the US, on the single's cover.
"I can't believe he got so criticised in America for it. It's so unfair," said Woody. "I hear he's too scared to go over to the States now. What a joke. I'd really like to meet George.
"I want to congratulate him on standing up and speaking out.
"I totally support him and wish him all the best. It would really make my day if you could set up a meeting with me and George. I just want to shake that guy by the hand."
He also had nothing but praise for the Daily Mirror.
"I have one thing to say about the Mirror -- it's amazing," he said. "The paper's stance on the war against terrorism is just right. It's so bold. The war against terrorism is terrorism. The whole thing is just bullsh*t. What you guys have done is very brave."...
"I love it over here, man," he grinned, sipping a pint of beer.
END of Excerpt
For the story in full, and a photo of Harrelson:
Picking up on how Harrelson "loves" being in Britain, I think I speak for many when I say: Then stay over there.
Here's flavor of the newspaper which Harrelson praised. Its July 4 covered featured a photo of President Bush in front of U.S. flags with this beneath: "MOURN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY." And this text above Bush's head: "George W. Bush's policy of bomb first and find out later has killed double the number of civilians who died on Sept. 11. The USA is now the world's leading rogue state"
To see that front page:
For more about Harrelson, check out his Internet Movie Database page: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Harrelson,+Woody
The latest advantage of having cable TV: Anna Nicole's foreign policy discourse in which she worried that Palestinians who blow themselves up in terrorist attacks are doing something "painful" to themselves.
The new E! cable channel reality show about Anna Nicole, the former Playboy centerfold who married billionaire Howard Marshall shortly before he died, has received quite a bit of publicity for its insipidness. FNC's Fox Newswatch over the weekend even did a segment on its ratings success.
Each episode, which follows her in her very strange daily routine, debuts on Sunday nights, but is repeated many times during the subsequent week. Flipping channels, I happened upon this scene which I later taped during another replay so I could share it with CyberAlert readers.
We join Anna Nicole earlier this year as she is riding in a car in Los Angeles on the way to the 20th anniversary party for Guess? jeans:
Anna Nicole, seemingly first hearing about violence in Israel: "Who's killing the Jews?"
You really have to see it to get the full impact of the banality.
In the promo for the next episode viewers were treated to her dog mimicking, upon a teddy bear, the male role in sexual intercourse.
For more than you'll ever want or need to know about the show: http://www.eonline.com/On/AnnaNicole/
It's a tough call. What is more disturbing: That a cable channel would create a TV show to follow Anna Nicole's daily life or that an actor who has become a millionaire in the U.S. really thinks the U.S. is committing terrorism? -- Brent Baker