Terrorist Killer Tripp; Stale Hit on Starr; Couric Ties Right to Harming Gays
1) At ABC News it's Slobodan
Milosevic, Osama bin Ladin, Saddam Hussein and.......Linda Tripp. All in
the same category.
2) On the budget deal, ABC
emphasized how both sides took credit; CNN how scandal hurt Clinton; NBC
how Republicans were rolled.
3) FNC uniquely pointed out
that media speculation about Starr abusing his office in quizzing Larry
Cockell was wrong. CNN furthered White House spin in highlighting another
4) Geraldo accepted pat on the
back from Starr but denounced him anyway. Rivera also suggested
Republicans "can't find any well-regarded legal scholar" to
say that sex lies are impeachable.
5) Katie Couric: "Some
gay rights activists have said that some conservative political
organizations...are contributing to this anti-homosexual atmosphere"
so people will "try to harm them."
>>> Don't want your kids
to hear swearing or condom jokes in the family hour? Well, stop arguing
with your spouse and telling dirty jokes in front of them. Actually, I
meant on TV. The Parents Television Council, the Hollywood project of the
Media Research Center, has just put the finishing touches on the new
Family Guide to Prime Time Television which will alert you to which shows
to avoid. To access the Family Guide and the other helpful tools the PTC
provides for parents, just visit PTC's new Web site: http://www.parentstv.org.
Or, hit the PTC button on the bottom of the MRC home page.
Unlike the inconsistent and misleading current
on-screen TV ratings system, the Family Guide ratings provide an accurate
assessment of all prime time sitcoms and dramas using a traffic-light
rating system (red, yellow, and green) to make it easy to find
family-friendly programming and individual ratings for sex, language,
violence, and overall content.
Parentstv.org features a night-by-night grid of
the TV schedule designed by MRC Webmaster Sean Henry. Click on a show and
you'll get an analysis and traffic-light ratings for it and a space to
share your comments with other parents. Listen to Book of Virtues author
Bill Bennett: "The Family Guide is an excellent resource: objective,
accurate, easy to use. It is particularly useful for parents who want to
know what's good, and what's not, on television."
Corrections: The October
13 CyberAlert quoted ABC's Mike von Fremd as reporting that Bill Clinton
"blasted the Republican-controlled Congress for failing to pass his
budget and education package to repair old schools and higher more
teachers." Some teachers may be high, but von Fremd was saying
Clinton wants to "hire" more. The October 15 CyberAlert
incorrectly stated that a budget deal was reached at 11pm ET Wednesday
night. The deal did not come until Thursday afternoon.
The low-down, cheap shot of the day. On Thursday the MRC's Tim Graham
came across this "What do you think?" question of the day on the
abcnews.com home page: "If there were an Ig-Nobel Peace Prize, who
would win it?"
-- Slobodan Milosevic
-- Osama bin Ladin
-- Saddam Hussein
-- Linda Tripp
Very nice. The
media love to denounce "Clinton-haters" and how they are
lowering the level of political discourse. How helpful is it to equate a
government whistle-blower with terrorists and mass murderers? (As of early
this morning, Tripp was winning the voting.)
The Federal Reserve's interest rate cut, which led the stock market to
soar, topped the Thursday ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC evening shows. FNC led
with the FAA request that flammable insulation be removed from passenger
jets. The other four also ran stories on the FAA decision and all but NBC
ran full reports on the Netanyahu/Arafat summit at the White House which
traveled to Wye, Maryland.
ABC and CBS
featured full stories on a report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute,
which Peter Jennings assured viewers is "a respected research
institute," that the popularity of Depo-Provera, aka "the
shot" injected once every three months, has led to a big drop in teen
pregnancy. On CBS John Roberts noted that teens can get it without
parental permission, but Republicans want the law changed after a teacher
brought student a student in for shots so he could have sex with her.
On the budget
deal, all ran full stories but CBS. Anchoring from the Johnson Space
Center in Houston where he interviewed John Glenn, Rather just gave a few
seconds to announcing the deal. NBC and CNN highlighted how conservatives
are upset with the excessive spending. A quick take on the spins:
ABC's Linda Douglass: "In the end both
Republicans and Democrats tried to take credit for the deal..."
CNN's John King: "But beneath the
celebration is plenty of evidence of how scandal left the President too
weak to" make Republicans accept his agenda.
NBC's David Bloom: "Republican leaders
insisted both sides deserved credit....But Democrats were less
Showing that great
media minds think alike, ABC and NBC showcased how the use of school
uniforms has reduced school violence. To illustrate, ABC went to Long
Beach, California. To illustrate, NBC went to Long Beach, California.
from the Thursday, October 15 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. On the budget deal, Linda Douglass began: "In the end
both Republicans and Democrats tried to take credit for the deal to spend
roughly half a trillion dollars to fund ten government agencies."
After soundbites from Trent Lott and Tom Daschle
and a list of some things agreed to, Douglass cautioned: "But there
were also emergency items that might not seem so urgent: For example, $1
billion to begin building a missile defense system. And then there is $2
billion for a mystery item labeled 'intelligence.'"
Douglass concluded: "And where did those
emergency funds come from? Why, the budget surplus, the one the Democrats
wanted to save only for Social Security and Republicans tried to dip into
for a tax cut. Never mind that now, the biggest emergency here is to wrap
this deal up quickly so member can get home to campaign."
-- CNN's The World Today ran three budget deal
stories. First, Jonathan Karl summarized the main features of the deal
including how Republicans got $9 billion more for defense, before
highlighting a conservative detractor. Leading into a soundbite from
Representative David McIntosh of Indiana, Karl relayed: "Even before
the deal was announced conservative Republicans complained their leaders
caved into the White House, citing nearly $20 billion in so-called
emergency spending not covered by last year's balanced budget
Second, John King
announced: "The President had every reason to celebrate. He spent the
last week talking about education, not impeachment. And the budget deal
clearly bears his imprint, including a major commitment to hire 100,000
After a clip of Clinton, however, King noted:
"But beneath the celebration is plenty of evidence of how scandal
left the President too weak to force the Republican Congress to embrace
the ambitious agenda he laid out in his January State of the Union
King recalled how those goals for Medicaid
expansion, HMO reform, more child care spending, school construction and
raising minimum wage went unfulfilled. King added that republicans failed
to get the tax cut they wanted.
Michigan, Ed Garston explained how 100,000 new teachers will help reduce
-- FNC's Fox Report. After Julie Kirtz looked
at the budget deal, reporter Grant Rampy showed crowded Chicago schools,
explaining that Clinton's 100,000 teachers should bring the
student-teacher ratio down to 18-to-1. Rampy played a soundbite of
Clinton: "This is the educational equivalent of what we did when we
put 100,000 police on the street."
Rampy uniquely raised a conservative point:
"Has the President really kept his first pledge? By his own count
75,000 officers have been hired, but critics argue even that number is
inflated. Some of the money apparently paid for computers, not
-- NBC Nightly News. Following stories on
"Cheering from Wall Street," Tom Brokaw observed:
"Well all of this was welcome news at the
White House which has been counting on a strong economy to help President
Clinton through his impeachment difficulties. And today's news on
interest rates came just as the White House was claiming other victories
David Bloom relayed how the White House is
"euphoric" over budget deal and "triumphant Democrats were
not shy about proclaiming victory."
Clinton: "This is a very, very good day for
Bloom: "Republican leaders insisted both
sides deserved credit."
Trent Lott: "I think it's not a question
of who won and who lost."
Bloom: "But Democrats were less magnanimous,
pointing to the $1.1 billion dollars for 100,000 new teachers."
Tom Daschle: "We won."
Bloom: "$18 billion for the International
Daschle: "We won."
Bloom: "$6 billion in emergency farm
Daschle: "And we won."
Bloom: "The White House boasted that
Republicans had turned quote, 'Democrats for a day' and conservatives
David McIntosh: "It's a Great Society bill
and it's not something that I as a conservative Republican am prepared
Bloom added that Republicans did get more for
defense and anti-drug efforts. Bloom then noted the summit, concluding:.
"Between those peace talks and today's
budget deal, talk of upcoming impeachment hearings has, for now, receded
at the White House. And that, for President Clinton, is the best news of
Other than those Brokaw and Bloom mentions of impeachment, Thursday night
the broadcast networks avoided the whole Lewinsky scandal. But not the
cable networks. On FNC's Fox Report David Shuster explained how the
grand jury transcripts and subpoena records show that Starr's
prosecutor's didn't know Secret Service agent Larry Cockell was
Clinton's top protector. They only called him in his role as a
supervisor to explain Secret Service organization and who reports to who.
Contrary to White House-fueled media speculation, Shuster learned,
prosecutors never asked him about what he heard on the way back from the
CNN's The World
Today picked up and ran with the latest hit on Starr, even though as even
Geraldo Rivera acknowledged, it's very old and well known news. (See
item #4 today for Rivera's take.)
began: "President Clinton's supporters may have some new ammunition
to use against Ken Starr. Former Paula Jones attorney Gil Davis says in
1994, a month before Starr was appointed independent counsel, Davis and
Starr had a half-dozen conversations on whether a sitting President could
be sued for private conduct."
After a clip of Davis saying Starr had no
position on the case, just offered his assessment of whether a sitting
President could be sued, Randall nonetheless presented the White House
case: "Following charges of Starr office leaks, contacts with known
anti-Clinton activists, and the issue of Linda Tripp working at the same
time with both Jones' lawyers and Starr's prosecutors, the White House
sees a new political opening."
James Kennedy of the White House denounced Starr
and Randall agreed he had done wrong: "In fact, legal scholars say
Starr should have revealed his Jones team contacts to Attorney General
Janet Reno when he requested authorization to investigate the Monica
Stephen Salzburg, George Washington University:
"I believe that the Attorney General would not have granted him the
jurisdiction over the Lewinsky matter had she been fully aware of the
extent of the contacts, and number of contacts that he'd had with the
Paula Jones lawyers."
Randall allowed time for Starr's retort, but
then retorted the retort: "Starr's office says, quote: 'This office
did not mislead the Department of Justice regarding relevant facts
relating to its jurisdiction or any expansion thereof.' Further, it
says, Starr's communications with the Jones camp were 'long known and
reported.' The White House, though, will cite words like these from a
former federal prosecutor."
Larry Barcela, former U.S. Attorney: "When
there is a conflict, or a potential for conflict, a lawyer has an
obligation, at a minimum, to make disclosures to all the parties involved
in that particular matter."
Randall concluded: "Sources say the Justice
Department will review the issue. Consider the new questions about Ken
Starr, a kind of preview. When the House Judiciary Committee opens its
presidential impeachment hearings, Democrats can be expected to forcefully
argue the need to investigate the investigator."
CNN is obviously
willing to do what it can to impugn Starr.
While on the hit on Starr, here's how Geraldo Rivera treated it on
Thursday's Upfront Tonight as he highlighted how Starr's office
credited Rivera's other CNBC show for reporting the latest allegation
"Now let's go to our series investigating the investigator. Ken
Starr has been rocked recently by revelations that he may have played fast
and loose with the facts and the circumstances of just how and when he got
involved with the sex scandal that now threatens the Clinton presidency.
You know he must be worried when he gives me credit. Starr said in a
statement today that the story about his early consultations with lawyers
for Paula Jones was old news. He said he heard it last January on Rivera
Live and you know what, this time the guy is right."
Just as he says
"and you know what," he turned his back to co-anchor Diane
Dimond so she could pat him on the back.
Rivera then played
a clip of Gil Davis on Rivera Live two days after the story broke, January
23, saying Starr advised him a President is not immune. Rivera declared:
"Whether it was old news or not, virtually
every expert in legal ethics agrees that Ken Starr should have disclosed
this possible conflict of interest to Janet Reno."
Rivera then jumped
to denouncing House Republicans: "Now what may be more troubling than
Starr's secrets, at least to me, is the fact that the hearings that were
to guide Congress on whether the sins of the President constitute an
impeachable offense, those hearings have been indefinitely postponed.
House Democrats say it's because the Republicans can't find any
well-regarded legal scholar to say that sex lies are what the
Constitution's framers had in mind when they drafted the clause on
More ascribing of blame by Katie Couric to conservatives for making others
"harm" homosexuals. The October 15 CyberAlert relayed how Couric
opened the October 13 Today: "The tragic beating of the college
student in Wyoming has some activists in this country saying there is a
climate of anti-gay hate that's been fostered by a provocative advertising
campaign by the political right in this country."
Catching up on the
holiday weekend news, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens discovered Couric began
giving credence to left-wing smears of conservatives on Columbus Day. Here
are her October 12 questions to Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer. Note how
she builds a case that culminates in her last query:
Marv Johnson, who is the Executive Director of the Wyoming ACLU has said
that Wyoming is not gay friendly. Do you agree with that assessment?"
-- "Wyoming, as you well know Governor, is
one of ten states that does not have any kind of hate crime law and three
times the Wyoming legislature has apparently crushed bills to enact such a
law. Why hasn't that measure been successful in your state?" --
"Would you like to see a hate crime law enacted? Will you go back to
the legislature and try to do that?"
-- "What do you think about a federal
measure that would be a hate crime law at the federal level? President
Clinton yesterday called for a tougher law which would include sexual
orientation. Would you support that at the federal level Governor?"
-- "And finally Governor some gay rights
activists have said that some conservative political organizations like
the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and Focus on Family
are contributing to this anti-homosexual atmosphere by having an ad
campaign saying if you are a homosexual you can change your orientation.
That prompts people to say if I meet someone who's homosexual I'm going to
take action and try to convince them or try to harm them. Do you believe
that such groups are contributing to this climate?"
Some in the far-right militia movement think
there's big conspiracy involving black helicopters sent by the UN with
Clinton's authorization to take over the U.S., but I don't see network
stars treating that thinking as credible enough to ask a guest about. -- Brent Baker
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