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CyberAlert -- 11/02/1999 -- Clinton's Buddy Bryant Gumbel; CBS Pushed Bush Drug Question

Clinton's Buddy Bryant Gumbel; CBS Pushed Bush Drug Question

1) In just two mornings Bryant Gumbel has already raised Bush drug charges, tossed softballs to Clinton, castigated a conservative actor for his views and bemoaned inaction on gun control.

2) No political news on the broadcast networks Monday night. On the CBS Evening News Dan Rather relayed ominous warnings about the dire consequences of global warming.

3) Last week the Washington Post cut off a quote about what happens in a partial-birth abortion and the week before, unlike ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC, FNC offered a rare, full description.


Correction: The November 1 CyberAlert inaccurately carried a volume number of three. This year is volume four for CyberAlerts.

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gumbel1102.jpg (10173 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) A new network venue in the morning, but the same old liberal Bryant Gumbel tossing in his personal views. It didn't take long for Gumbel to abandon professionalism and expose his opinions to viewers of The Early Show on CBS. On Monday's debut show he castigated the conservative views of actor Mel Gibson, complaining: "He's said some pretty outrageous things over the years and nobody seems to ever call him on it." This morning he regretted the failure of gun control. And on Monday he tossed softballs to Bill Clinton, following up only to press the President about George W. Bush and cocaine, and ending by inviting Clinton to play golf with him.

Tuesday morning, co-host Jane Clayson handled a live interview with George W. Bush and followed up on Gumbel's concern by asking Bush about cocaine charges that are "dogging" him.

-- In the 8:30 half hour of the November 1 show CBS played a taped interview by Mark McEwen with Mel Gibson on the set in South Carolina of his upcoming movie, The Patriot. MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed that McEwen told Gibson: "You live in Hollywood, work in Hollywood -- liberal town. Some of your views aren't as liberal as that town. You're anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment, do you ever feel like you're howling in a hurricane?"
Gibson replied: "Some kind of a dinosaur? No, you know you have to have these opinions about these things. I'm pretty firm on stuff like that. I don't feel like I'm howling in a hurricane. I just try to do my bit the way I think it should be done."

After the tape ended Gumbel told McEwen: "I was glad to see you ask him about it, because he's said some pretty outrageous things over the years and nobody seems to ever call him on it. They kind of think oh that's cute, he's a movie star. But some of the stuff he's said is..."
McEwen, jumping in: "Well he speaks his mind and if you ask him, he backs up everything that he's said."
Gumbel: "But didn't he say something about the homeless also one time, that was a little bit disturbing too."
McEwen: "Yeah. Sometimes you have to remember also with him, he is a very tongue firmly in cheek half the time, half the time what he's saying he means. So you have to go through and figure out which is which."

MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey used Nexis to discover what homeless quote so upset Gumbel. A "people in the news" type column in the Arizona Republic back on August 27, 1998 relayed:
"Don't depend on Mel Gibson to be politically correct. The actor was complimenting Rene Russo, his Lethal Weapon 4 co-star, in an interview, describing how she feeds and takes care of street people. When asked by Australia's New Weekly magazine what he would do for the homeless, Gibson quipped: 'I kick 'em. Spit on them, that's me!...And if I can, I try to set 'em on fire!' Advocates for the homeless aren't laughing. 'Jest or not, it's such a despicable remark under any guise,' Mary Ann Gleason, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, told TV Guide's Web site, TVgen.com. Gibson's remarks were 'all very tongue-in-cheek,' counters his publicist, Alan Neirob."

Lesson here: Gumbel doesn't like any jokes that make fun of his liberal causes.

-- Responding to Gumbel's Tuesday question about congressional failure to pass "something" in the wake of "the juvenile bloodshed we've seen over the past year," CBS reporter Diana Olick answered from Capitol Hill: "Well, believe it or not, they actually rank gun control pretty low on the scale. Americans really are much more interested in education, health care and Social Security."
Gumbel lamented: "So it's easier for them to just pass on it?"
Olick: "Yup."
Gumbel: "It's unfortunate."

-- Other than one reference to how polls show Clinton would be a liability on the campaign trail to Al Gore, in Gumbel's interview with Bill Clinton taped Sunday and shown Monday, Gumbel tossed a series of softballs and failed to follow-up when Clinton claimed credit for just about everything good in the world.

The Gumbel interview occurred just days after it was revealed that John Huang testified about how James Riady had told Clinton about raising money for him and that then-White House aide Harold Ickes had asked Huang to raise money for a Democratic congressional candidate, something that's illegal for a federal official. (See the October 29 CyberAlert for details.) And no reporter has yet asked Clinton about the late September testimony from four FBI agents that their probe of 1996 Clinton and Democratic fundraising was thwarted. Gumbel raised neither issue with Clinton.

Gumbel opened with a couple questions about the plane crash and Oslo summit, including: "Is it easier for you to feel a degree of optimism because it's Barak involved right now instead of Netanyahu?"

Here are the other questions/set up lines Gumbel offered:
> "Let's talk politics. The two people who have been closest to you for seven years are about to get out there on the campaign trail while you stay at home and deal with the issues. Is that terribly frustrating?"
> "Are you going to miss being President?"
> "President's generally get one line in the history, if they get one line. JFK was shot. Nixon had Watergate. Reagan beat communism. Clinton -- ?"
Clinton: "Turned the economy around and prepared America for a new century."
Gumbel: "You'd be satisfied if your legacy was erasing the nation's red ink?"
Clinton: "I think that's one of my legacies. But I think the real legacy is -- America is genuinely transformed from where it was seven years ago. Yes, we've got the strongest economy in history. And yes, we're paying off the debt instead of being in debt. But we also have cut our welfare rolls in half. We've got the lowest crime rate in 30 years. We've got the lowest poverty rate in 30 years. We've reversed this wage inequality. All groups are growing. A couple of million children have been moved out of poverty. The air is cleaner. The water is cleaner. We set aside more land to protect it than any other administration except those of Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt. So I think that I have been fortunate enough to serve as president at a time of dramatic transformation, when we really have -- in the metaphor I used in 1996 -- built a bridge to the future. And now the American people are going to have to decide how they want to walk over it."

No follow up to that, such as suggesting maybe some will remember him for scandals, Lewinsky or impeachment. Instead, CBS went to an ad break.

CBS resumed the tape replay in the 7:30am half hour:
> "With an eye towards those poll numbers and more, I talked politics with President Clinton Sunday afternoon. And among other things, I got his thoughts on the Gore campaign."
> "What role do you see yourself playing in their campaigns?"
> "How do you view the polls that have suggested that if you're on the campaign trail with them you may be more of a liability than a positive?"
> "Why do you think, turning to the Vice President's campaign for a second if I might, why do you think the Vice President is having such a difficult time opening up ground between himself and Bill Bradley?"
> "It would seem that at this point that whoever prevails will be going up against George W. Bush. In style and personality Governor Bush has been characterized as the GOP's version of you. Flattering? Offensive?"

Gennifer Flowers maintains that Bill Clinton used cocaine, see the August 20 CyberAlert for her recollections as made on FNC's Hannity & Colmes, but Gumbel didn't broach that. Instead he asked about George W. Bush:
> "Before I leave the subject of Governor Bush what's your take on the demarcation line he's drawing on past drug use for his personal life?"
Clinton: "I'm going to leave that to -- that's up to the public really. The people are in the driver's seat now. And the press will express their views and do what they think is right and the politicians will express their views and do what they think is right. But in the end the public has to be the judge of that."
Gumbel: "Let me rephrase. In your opinion, do you believe previous cocaine use should disqualify someone from sitting in this office?"
Clinton: "My opinion is that the public will make a decision. That if -- most people think they ought to know if there is some serious problem in someone's background, and if so, how that person has dealt with it. The American people tend to be forgiving about many things but there are some things they want to know and then there are other things they don't want to know. And they may change their minds from time to time. But I think that if I get in the middle of this debate, my opinion would only be a distraction given the way -- the kind of treatment I got from '91 forward from the Republicans and their allies. And I think I should stay out of it and let the people make the right decision."

> Gumbel ended by sharing a laugh with Clinton: "Final note. If my research is correct you sign papers next week, final papers, on the house in Chappaqua. Do you happen to know what's the closest golf course to your house in Chappaqua?"
Clinton: "I don't, no."
Gumbel: "Whippoorwill Country Club in Armonk. Do you know who is a member there?"
Clinton: "Are you?"
Gumbel, laughing: "Yes, sir."
Clinton, laughing: "I'd be happy to be your guest, any time, I'm easy about that."
Gumbel: "Mr. President. Safe travels."

+++ Watch this last exchange about cocaine and Gumbel and Clinton sharing a laugh about cocaine. Tuesday morning the MRC's Eric Pairel will post a RealPlayer clip. Go to: http://www.mrc.org

This morning, Tuesday, Jane Clayson bizarrely asked Bush, as if it's his fault: "Hasn't your ability to raise so much money shut out other candidates in the raise, other candidates with good ideas before they ever have a chance to have people hear what they have to say?"

Clayson later raised the drug issue, fulfilling her premise that it's "dogged" him during the campaign: "How do you make this question go away Governor or at least answer the question and resolve this once and for all?"

Create a media that apply the same standard to both sides.

Showing little originality, Clayson next posed to Bush the same question in reverse that Gumbel had put to Clinton: "Some people call you, Governor, the GOP's version of Bill Clinton. Is that flattering to you or offensive to you?"
Bush replied: "I wouldn't call that a great compliment."

To Gumbel's question Clinton endorsed the analogy: "It's certainly not offensive. I think he's got -- he's a very accomplished political leader and he's got good instincts for where the political center is."

Share your views about Clinton. MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey reports The Early Show Bulletin Board is running about three-to-one against Gumbel. Just click on the Bulletin Board on The Early Show Web page:
http://www.cbs.com/network/htdocs/earlyshow/index.shtml
or: http://marketing.cbs.com/earlyshow/

2

cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Monday night none of the broadcast network evening shows found any political news worth reporting other than a brief note about George W. Bush's accident while jogging. Both FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume and CNN's Inside Politics ran stories on the controversy over the revelation in Time magazine that Al Gore has been paying feminist Naomi Wolf $15,000 a month to offer him advice.

ABC, CBS and NBC all featured profiles of the late Walter Payton and all led with multiple stories on the EgyptAir plane crash. NBC Nightly News devoted over half its newscast to the topic, including an exploration of the possibility of terrorism or the involvement of Bin Laden. NBC added a full story on the launch by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines of a "mega-ship," the largest cruise ship ever built.

ABC's World News Tonight ran a piece on a proposition on the ballot in San Francisco which would bar banks from charging non-customers for using their ATM machines and in introducing a two-part "A Closer Look" segment Peter Jennings asked: "Has high school outlived its value?"

CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather delivered a one-sided and imbalanced panic piece about impending doom in the next century from global warming. Focusing on the small fishing community on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay which is growing smaller through soil erosion and rising water, Rather warned:
"Smith Island may seem an unimportant relic of the past, but in fact it offers a disturbing glimpse into the next millennium."
Stephen Leatherman: "Smith Island's a look ahead. It's a precursor of what we expect to happen to other islands in the future, to other low-lying islands."
Rather: "Coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman says the rising sea level that's engulfing the island is a direct result of global warming. Within the coming century projections call for the Earth to warm about six degrees, in turn melting polar ice caps and expanding the Earth's ocean."
Jerry Mahlman, NOAA: "We expect the possibility of as much sea level rise as three feet over the next century."
Rather, standing on a beach, intoned: "If three feet doesn't sound like a big deal, maybe this will: For every one foot the ocean rises 150 feet of the beach gets swallowed up. A three-foot ocean rise means everything to that flag pole, 450 feet of Long Island's Jones Beach, goes down the drain."

Rather proceeded to pass along the usual forecasts of more intense hurricanes, more floods and more heat waves, concluding: "If global warming seems unlikely and remote to you, it doesn't to Jennings Evans. He wonders if his will be the last of ten generations to live out their lives on Smith Island."

As usual, Rather didn't bother with less ominous views from scientists who don't believe the liberal global warming theory.

The Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels, for instance, has just finished a new book titled, Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming. Here's how it is described on the cato.org Web site:
"The popular vision of an approaching apocalypse caused by global warming has no scientific foundation, says Patrick J. Michaels. Those who warn of a catastrophic greenhouse effect -- such as Vice President Al Gore -- can justify neither their fears not their blueprints for dramatically interfering with the U.S. and world economies.
"Sound and Fury criticizes 'science by sound and bite' and congressional show trials complete with testimony that has not been peer-reviewed according to scientific standards. Among the misconceptions exposed is the claim that most scientists subscribe to the apocalyptic vision of global warming. Even Greenpeace's survey of scientists who participated in the major United Nations study of climate change found that only 13 percent of the respondents believed that failure to change our energy use would result in a runaway greenhouse effect.
"Michaels shows that the slight warming over the last century has been far less than the prophets of the apocalypse would expect -- throwing the reliabitily of their computer climate models into doubt -- that most of it happened before industry's massive carbon dioxide emissions began, and that most of the warming is at night, when it produces benign effects such as longer growing seasons. In other words, the warming that has resulted from natural climatic processes is beneficial."

That's an angle you'll never see on the CBS Evening News.

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cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Fearful of reality. Last week the New York Times was willing to run a full quote describing what happens in a partial-birth abortion, but not the Washington Post, and the week before while ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC refused to describe what happens in what they dubbed a "late-term abortion," FNC offered a rare, full description.

-- In their October 28 Washington Bulletin e-mail report for National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com), John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru observed a contrast in two October 27 newspaper stories:

PARTIAL TRUTH
The Washington Post doesn't want you to know what partial-birth abortion does to a baby. Consider how reporter Joan Biskupic quoted Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee in her article on the Seventh Circuit Court upholding Wisconsin's partial-birth abortion ban: "This makes it likely that the Supreme Court will rule...on whether Roe v. Wade covers pulling most of a living baby feet-first outside of the womb."

Here's how Jo Thomas of the New York Times transcribed the same statement: Johnson expected "that the Supreme Court will rule, perhaps next year, on whether Roe v. Wade covers pulling most of a living baby feet-first outside of the womb, puncturing her skull, and removing her brain."

Somehow the Post managed to chop off that nasty bit about skulls and brains. Are the sensibilities of its readers too delicate to handle this description, which, frankly, could have been much more graphic than it was? Or does the Post resort to partial truth when it comes to partial birth?

END Reprint of NR item

-- While the broadcast networks and CNN danced around what occurs in a partial-birth abortion, even distancing themselves from the term, FNC uniquely offered an accurate description. On the October 21 CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather announced:
"For the third time in four years the U.S. Senate tonight approved a measure to ban a type of late-term abortions. President Clinton says he will veto it, just like the others, if and when it gets to his desk. Supporters of the ban refer to these abortions as quote 'partial-births.' Opponents say it's all really aimed at reversing a woman's legal right to choose whether or not to have an abortion."

That same night, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed, FNC viewers heard this from Fox Report anchor Shepard Smith:
"Late term abortions. Have you thought about what that means exactly? Well, you're about to hear an unvarnished description of the procedure. Some call them partial-birth abortions. At any rate, here are the facts. It's a few months or a few weeks before the fetus becomes a newborn. Toes and fingers, heartbeat, organs functioning. And the doctor begins delivery feet first, and then the skull contents are drained. That's what it is. The debate is over when life begins. Are you a person when you take your first breath or some time between then and the moment of conception?"

Not the kind of disturbing details the other networks want to stress. -- Brent Baker

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