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CyberAlert -- 09/27/2001 -- Reagan Killed "Lots" of Kids

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Reagan Killed "Lots" of Kids; Flag Stands for "Xenophobia"; Cancel Tax Cut "For the Rich"; A Reporter's Bizarre Line of Questioning

1) Phil Donahue argued that "the memory" of those killed in the terrorist attacks would not be "honored by going out and killing other civilians." He charged that back in 1986 President Reagan killed "lots" of children by bombing Tripoli.

2) Many who display the U.S. flag are doing so "for xenophobia, for revenge, for violence," actor Paul Provenza declared on ABC's Politically Incorrect before host Bill Maher delivered more conventional liberalism as he advocated repealing the tax cut: "Don't we need to be collecting money rather than giving more money back to rich people?" And ABC's Washington, DC affiliate has again dropped the show.

3) NBC Chairman Bob Wright was behind NBC's creation of a network "bug," the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen, with the peacock feathers in a red, white and blue flag motif, USA today revealed on Tuesday. But the President of NBC News opposes the wearing of flag lapel pins.

4) Why the public usually has so little respect for journalists covering a calamity or personal tragedy. During a press briefing by Rudy Giuliani a reporter pursued a line of questioning I think most would find bizarre -- or at least irrelevant to anything that matters at this time in the crisis.

5) Best line of the day, from Fred Barnes on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, on having the federal government take over airport security: "I don't think we want to do to airport security what we've done to mail delivery in this country. We want a FedEx running airport security."

6) Letterman's "Top Ten Messages Left on Miss America's Answering Machine."


1

Phil Donahue can't be repressed. He popped up Tuesday night on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor to argue that "the memory" of those killed in the terrorist attacks would not be "honored by going out and killing other civilians." Donahue charged that back in 1986 President Reagan killed "lots" of children by bombing Tripoli.

MRC analyst Patrick Gregory caught this sermon from Donahue as delivered on the September 25 O'Reilly Factor:
"I do not believe the memory of the seven thousand plus people who were killed in this most horrendous acts of terrorism are honored by going out and killing other civilians. We went alone, we went alone when we bombed Tripoli at night, a crowded city where old people and children were sleeping. 1986, Reagan. We killed Qaddafi's kid, and lots of other children. One person said, well several people, 'well, he's adopted' they said of the kid. And we got Pan Am 103, Lockerbie. Tell those loved ones, it was December 21, my birthday."

As lucid as always.

2

Many who display the American flag are doing so "for xenophobia, for revenge, for violence against other people who will suffer in a war," a little-known actor alleged on Tuesday night's Politically Incorrect. Actor Paul Provenza asserted he won't fly the U.S. flag because many who do "are driving trucks with flags off their antennas and pulling brown-skinned people with foreign accents out of their cars and beating them up."

Later on the ABC show its host, Bill Maher, delivered more conventional liberalism as he advocated repealing the tax cut: "Don't we need to be collecting money rather than giving more money back to rich people?"

The two sets of comments aired on the show's second night back on the air on the biggest affiliate which had dropped the show last week, Washington, DC's WJLA-TV. The station didn't run the program last Thursday or Friday after on the Monday, September 17 show, Maher had insisted: "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from 2000 miles away, that's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, not cowardly." For more about the WJLA-TV decision last week and how Maher later tried to clarify his remarks, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010924.asp#7

For a full transcript showing the context of Maher's "cowards" comment, refer back to http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010919.asp#3

But Maher's return to the airwaves in the nation's capital was short-lived. On Wednesday night his show did not air on WJLA-TV, which instead moved up by 30 minutes a re-run of Oprah. Following a one-hour Nightline and the syndicated Extra! program, Oprah ran at 1:08am, the time slot when PI was scheduled to appear. And WJLA didn't run it later as the usual MAD TV re-run aired followed by ABC's World News Now at just past 3am.

Back to Tuesday night's show, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down a couple of noteworthy comments. Actor Paul Provenza, who may be best-known for playing the doctor on the last season of Northern Exposure, explained why he avoids the U.S. flag:
"I know a lot of people who refuse to fly flags right now, not because they're un-American, not because they're not patriotic, and for many, many people they're showing the flag in a show of unity, in a show of strength, in a show of faith in American values and what America stands for. But the problem is if I were to show that flag now for those reasons, it can easily be confused with the flag that's shown by people who show the flag for xenophobia, for revenge, for violence against other people who will suffer in a war."

Provenza added: "Were it all to mean unity, respect for life, our way of life and our Constitution and freedom, and that were it all it stood for, I would be flying 'em from every pole I have."
Jerry Nachman, the former Editor of the New York Post who was recently PI's Executive Producer, asked: "So you think it's wrong to fly a flag for revenge."
Provenza: "Yes, I do."
Nachman: "You do?"
Provenza: "Yes, I do. America is not about revenge. America is about compassion."
Eric Braeden, actor: "But don't you think that most people feel that way who have a flag?"
Provenza charged: "Not the ones who are, not the ones who are driving trucks with flags off their antennas and pulling brown-skinned people with foreign accents out of their cars and beating them up. That's the problem. That's not the flag I want to fly."

Not familiar with Provenza? Well, according to the Internet Movie Database Web site, in 1999 he played "Steve Onorato, aide to the Senate Majority Leader" in some episodes of The West Wing. In a 1996 movie called The Shot he played the "transvestite apartment manager." Sorry I missed that film. The Internet Movie Database does not have a photo of him, but for more about his career, go to: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Provenza,+Paul

In the next segment host Bill Maher returned to his conventional liberal political advocacy: "Alright, let's talk a little bit about economics. The stock market finally had a good day today, but they're talking about a tax cut now. Isn't this a time when we need to be collecting money? They talked about $180 billion just as a start, and usually those first estimates are low. Don't we need to be collecting money rather than giving more money back to rich people?"

Maher elaborated on the show taped on Monday but not shown until Tuesday night: "We just passed this enormous tax cut, which is mostly going to go back, in the years to come, to the rich people. Maybe we should think twice about that and say, 'You know what? Actually folks, we were going to give you back that money when we were at peace. Now we actually need the money to defend ourselves.'...But I mean that money, the $38 billion that we gave back in the little $300 and $600 checks, that was just the beginning. In the years to come, most of that big, big $1.6 -- which is really about two or three -- trillion dollars goes back to the richest two percent -- we heard this in the campaign, okay, but it does. Can those people really just kind of get together now and say, 'You know what? I understand there's a war on. Forget it.'"

3

NBC Chairman Bob Wright was behind NBC's creation of a network "bug," the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen, with the peacock feathers in a red, white and blue flag motif, USA today revealed on Tuesday. The September 25 CyberAlert had noted how ABC News had banned its staff from displaying American flag lapel pins while NBC had incorporated a flag into its on-screen logo.

In his "Inside TV" column on Tuesday, USA Today's Peter Johnson reported that the new NBC logo design was "an idea fathered by NBC Chairman Bob Wright and NBC President Andy Lack."

Johnson added: "ABC, CBS and Fox said Monday they have no plans to follow suit and NBC spokeswoman Cassie Kanter said that it's unclear how long NBC will air the bug. 'This is an extraordinary time in our history, and we're proud at a time like this to show the flag.'"

But NBC News does not approve of flag lapel pins: "NBC News President Neal Shapiro said reporters wearing flag lapel pins on air runs the risk 'of calling attention to what they're wearing and not their story.'"

4

Why the public usually has so little respect for journalists covering a calamity or personal tragedy. During New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's 10am press briefing on Tuesday, a male reporter, whom I could not identify since he was not shown on screen by the cable networks carrying the event live and whose voice I did not recognize, pursued a line of questioning I think most would find bizarre -- or at least totally irrelevant to anything that matters now.

Judge for yourself. I won't prejudice your view by summarizing the exchange up front. Read what Giuliani had to say as he wrapped up his opening statement and then the line of questioning pursued by the reporter who got the first question.

Rudy Giuliani: "New York City was before this happened the safest large city in America. New York City may be one of the safest cities in the whole world right now. The crime rate for the second week in a row has made a dramatic plunge. Last week, the crime in New York City was the lowest that it's been in about 40 years. This week we have an 18 percent reduction over last year at this time, and last year was one of the safest years this city had in 35 years. And this year we're 18 percent below last year.
"Or, another way to look at it is, last week we had four homicides for the entire week. Last year we had 10 in that same week. Seven or eight years ago we would have 4 homicides in a day, sometimes six and seven in a day. So we had four for the week. Of course, it's four too many, it always is, but that, I'm putting these numbers out and the police department will put them out in more detail on the police department Web site, but the reduction in crime in the city is dramatic, over and above and already very much decreased base. And, as you would expect, the decline in Manhattan is the most significant of all. So from the point of view of people being afraid, this is -- remains not only the safest large city in America, it's become significantly safer, and people should feel every confidence in moving about, going about, that they have about as much safety as you are capable of in life.
"I'll take a few questions, and then we'll have detailed questions at 3:00 when we have the full briefing."

Unidentified male reporter: "Mayor, isn't the 6,600 dead and missing, though, in itself some sort of crime that will have to show up statistically as we-"
Giuliani: "I don't know how you describe it. As an act of war, or you describe it as a crime, or -- I don't know."
Same reporter: "How would you, how do you suggest that the police department handle that?"
Giuliani: "I have no idea. I haven't really thought about that it. It really seems, it seems like one of the more insignificant questions, in terms of statistics, how you describe it. It's the worst attack on an urban population in the history of the United States, that's the way I would describe it."
Same reporter, undaunted: "But you did talk about it in terms of safety, that people should feel safe, and yet many people don't feel safe specifically because of this attack."
Giuliani: "Well, we're trying to get them to, so I would really hope that you would cooperate in that. We're trying to get people to feel safe. What's the point of not feeling safe, you can't do anything about it, except to terrorize people, or to let -- or to sort aide and abet and assist in the effort of the terrorists to frighten people?..."

"One of the more insignificant questions," but of the highest priority to one reporter who really earned disdain for his profession.

5

Best line of the day, from Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, on having the federal government take over airport security: "I don't think we want to do to airport security what we've done to mail delivery in this country. We want a FedEx running airport security."

The quip from Barnes came during the panel segment on the September 26 show after NPR's Mara Liasson observed that the terrorists used box cutters which were allowed onto planes under FAA rules. That prompted Brit Hume to point out: "Which means that the people whose regulations permitted this are the ones over to whom people are talking about turning over the whole security."

6

From the September 26 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Messages Left on Miss America's Answering Machine." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. "I think I dialed the wrong number. I was calling for Miss Armenia."
9. "I really admire what you said about adult literacy. Let's get it on."
8. "It's your next door neighbor -- long story short, my dog swallowed your tiara."
7. "This is Miss Canada. Miss Mexico and Miss France are coming over for poker, are you interested?"
6. "Your boss at the Gap checking in. We'll see you back in about a year."
5. "This is Carl America. You're not Doris America's daughter, are you?"
4. "Russell Crowe here. When you get married I'd love to start dating you."
3. "Wow, I didn't think you'd be listed under Miss America."
2. "Hi...if Donald Trump is there, can you have him call his secretary?"
1. "If you're ever in Chappaqua, feel free to drop by..."

A Bill Clinton sex joke. A sure sign things are returning to normal. -- Brent Baker


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