Liberal Rhetoric Not Blamed for Eco-Terrorism; "Kneepad" Nina Is Back
1) Some real media diversity: No uniformity in what the network evening shows led with this week. CBS acknowledged that NASA "inadvertently added fuel to the argument that Glenn's presence on the mission has little real scientific purpose."
4) Nina Burleigh is back. The Time reporter who wanted to do what Lewinsky did is out with a book on a mistress to President Kennedy and the "allure" of "these powerful men." After all, "on the other side we've got 12 years of theocracy behind us."
>>> "It's Not Sex! It's Clinton Policy, Handing Over Technology to the Chinese Military! But Networks Yawn: No DNA, No Cigars, No Berets, No Story." The latest MRC Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page. In the report the MRC's Tim Graham documents how the networks ignored Monday's New York Times story on how Clinton's elimination of export controls, at the request of high-tech companies which contributed to the DNC, allowed China's military to obtain U.S. technology.
Correction: The announcement in the October 20 CyberAlert between the >> referred to the availability on the MRC home page of the October 19 CyberAlert. That should have read the October 19 Notable Quotables -- which is indeed up.
There's been a lot of interesting network bias in a week I thought would be quieter given the lack of activity on the impeachment/Lewinsky front. So I'll try to give a quick rundown of the top stories since the last CyberAlert on October 20 and then instead of going day by day as usual, to make things less confusing, I've put patterns of noteworthy coverage and bias into two categories: the eco-terrorism and picking up on reports from liberal activist groups. (In the next CyberAlert I'll have more on coverage this week of Microsoft and the budget deal, but I'm pressed for time now.)
Up front, who went first with what. As on Monday night, for the rest of the week two networks rarely went with the same lead story the same night. On Thursday, October 22, ABC's World News Tonight led with the stock market rebound through seven straight sessions, the CBS Evening News and CNN's The World Today began with the status of the Israel-PLO peace talks, FNC went first with the eco-terrorism in Colorado and NBC opened with the latest on the floods in Texas.
Wednesday night, October 21, ABC and CNN led with the peace talks, FNC with the meeting between the White House and Judiciary Committee (CNN and CBS also ran stories on this planning meeting, but not ABC or NBC), NBC with the pork in the budget deal and CBS with the mystery over why John Glenn was been disqualified from an aging study back in August, a decision just now revealed. Sharyl Attkisson concluded her story: "Whatever Glenn's medical problem is NASA insists he is still fit to fly, but by keeping quiet on his removal from one experiment the space agency has inadvertently added fuel to the argument that Glenn's presence on the mission has little real scientific purpose."
Tuesday night, October 20, a peace talks update topped CBS and CNN while FNC went first with the Paula Jones appeal and NBC led with the flooding in Texas.
When the Oklahoma City building was bombed some in the media tied it to anti-government rhetoric from conservative talk radio and Newt Gingrich. Last week, as detailed in CyberAlerts, more than one media figure linked the murder of a gay man in Wyoming to anti-gay rhetoric from conservatives. But in Thursday night stories on the environmental terrorists who burned down several building atop a ski mountain in Vail, Colorado, the networks failed to blame the incendiary rhetoric of environmentalists and instead actually allowed environmentalists to defend the act or explain why some were naturally driven to such an action.
All the networks ran full reports Thursday night, October 22:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. After explaining how the Environmental Liberation Front,
which claimed responsibility, wants to save the lynx and is upset by the
expansion of the ski resort, ABC's Tom Foreman allowed an eco-terrorist
expert to declare the group dangerous, but then gave equal-time to the
Now imagine post-Oklahoma City or Matthew Shepard murder a reporter allowing someone labeled "mainstream" to defend those actions. (CNN and FNC also ran full stories Thursday night. FNC refrained from the rationalization in its piece, but did then interview in-studio a member of Earth First! CNN's report included a soundbite from Fedor.)
Liberal activist groups speak, CBS and NBC jump. Three examples from the last two nights.
-- Killer soda. Wednesday night CBS anchor Bob Schieffer introduced a story: "The same diet researchers who blew the whistle on high calorie takeout foods and movie theater popcorn came out today with a new health alert today. This time it is soft drinks." Elizabeth Kaledin proceeded to outline the demand from the left-wing Center for Science in the Public Interest that high schools remove soda machines.
Soda may not be good for teens or anyone (apologies to the Soft Drink Manufacturers Association), but CSPI hardly "blew the whistle" on Chinese food and popcorn: They made ludicrous assertions that were later discredited.
-- The same night NBC Robert Hager picked up on a PIRG report about how the level of severe weather and its costs are rising. "Why? Many scientists believe it's partly because global temperatures are warming which loads the atmosphere with moisture and causes more storms to develop. But the high cost is also the result of more people living along the coast...."
-- CBS became a
repeat customer for liberals Thursday night. Jim Stewart delivered a full
story on a report from the Sentencing Project and Amnesty International on
how "13 percent of black males have lost their right to the ballot
box" because they are now in jail, prison or live in a state which
bars voting by convicted felons. Stewart concluded by relaying the ominous
spin of the study authors:
My solution: Instead of allowing felons to vote, figure out how to have fewer black men committing crimes.
Remember Nina Burleigh? She's back. She's on a book tour promoting her book called A Very Private Woman, about Mary Meyer, one of John Kennedy's mistresses. (Warning: This item features slang terminology for oral sex.) To remind you, she's the former Time reporter who wrote a piece for Mirabella magazine recalling how she ogled Bill Clinton while on an assignment for Time magazine and traveling with him on Air Force One. Called about the article, she told The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: "I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs."
For more on what she said at the time in Mirabella and to Kurtz, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19980707.asp#
And, to see her recollections of the events and what she told Kurtz on the phone, plus a comment about the MRC, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19980716.asp#3
Now, for the latest. Steve Allen, VP for communications at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, alerted me to Burleigh's appearance on CNBC's Hardball last week. MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens went back and transcribed some of her comments as host Chris Matthews asked her on the October 15 show about her kneepad needs:
"I've got to ask you about this amazing quote of your's which I
have been savoring and waiting for. Everybody who watches this program and
can remember way back when there was a certain reporter, Nina Burleigh,
who said that she would give the President the kind of sex that he got
from Monica Lewinsky, according to all the documents because he is so good
on the abortion rights issue. That was you Nina."
raised the issue again by asking Burleigh about Clinton's affect on
women, which led into a quiz about the hearts card game she had recalled
It may be sad, but it didn't stop Nina from offering to drop to her knees.
(To see what Burleigh looks like, go to the MRC home page where MRC Webmaster Sean Henry has posted a video clip from Hardball. After the next CyberAlert is distributed the photo will move with this CyberAlert to the CyberAlert archive.)
From the October 21 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Arafat and Netanyahu Are Warming Up To Each Other." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc. (Spellings as presented on CBS.)
10. Over the weekend, the two created a
"Dawson's Creek" web site
And, from the Late Show Web page, some of the "extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- The two exchanged heart-shaped car
I'll be back next week with, I hope, more frequent and timely CyberAlerts. -- Brent Baker
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