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CyberAlert -- 11/04/1999 -- CBS Pushed Gun Control Again; Gumbel Denounced Entrepreneural "Greed"

CBS Pushed Gun Control Again; Gumbel Denounced Entrepreneural "Greed"

1) Wednesday night CBS's Diana Olick lamented: "In the year of Columbine and Conyers, Georgia is there a very strong possibility that this Congress will not pass any new gun legislation?"

2) Bob Dotson on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday: "Workplace homicides are steadily declining." Tom Brokaw on Wednesday night: "It seems that no place is safe from workplace violence."

3) Millionaire Bryant Gumbel bemoaned "greed" amongst Internet entrepreneurs for whom money "doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to you and me." About one he queried: "Is he Gordon Gekko? Is he greed is good?" Seattle and Houston escape Gumbel?

4) Letterman's "Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Squander His Lead."


>>> The November 1 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC Web site thanks to Eric Pairel. Quote topics include "So Never Cut a Cent, Ever"; "Ken Starr: McCarthy or Booth?"; "Dole Folds: Blame the System"; Schieffer Warned Conservatives"; "GOP Embarrasses America"; "Ten-Foot Pole for Pro-Life Terms" and "Clinton Will Be Happy with Hugh." To read the quotes, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19991101.html <<<

Corrections: The November 2 CyberAlert quoted Mark McEwen on CBS's The Early Show asking actor Mel Gibson: "You're anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment, do you ever feel like your hollowing in a hurricane?" Like the first "you're," the second "your" should have been "you're." And "hollowing" should have been "howling" as it was correctly spelled in Gibson's reply. Later, the same CyberAlert stated "NBC Nightly News devoted over its newscast" to the EgyptAir crash. That should have read "over half..."

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cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Wednesday night, without showing how any of the proposed new rules would have prevented the latest two workplace shootings, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather used them as a hook to lament the lack of congressional action on gun control: "We've also been digging into what ever happened to even modest gun control measures in the U.S. Congress."

While CBS and NBC led with the workplace shooting in Seattle, ABC strangely did not mention it at all, at least not in the 6:30pm ET first feed of World News Tonight. Instead, ABC began with the EPA's lawsuit against utilities with coal plants for over-polluting.

It's been a quiet few nights for political news on the broadcast networks. Neither ABC or NBC had any political-related stories Wednesday night and on Tuesday night neither did CBS. ABC had a brief mention of a presidential poll. Only NBC mentioned George W. Bush's education speech, barely. David Bloom used Bush's advocacy of "character education" to look at how it has succeeded at a Miami school, but gave Bush little more than a sentence and one brief soundbite. After outlining criticism of the movement, Bloom returned to the Miami principal: "The kids can have the same choices. If we believe in them, they can believe in themselves. We may not save them all, but we can sure as hell save most of them." Bloom concluded: "And George W. Bush hopes this is the future face of public education in America."

Afer stories on the Seattle shooting, Hawaii shooting, and workplace violence trends, for its fourth story Wednesday's CBS Evening News jumped on gun control. Rather introduced the November 3 story: "We've also been digging into what ever happened to even modest gun control measures in the U.S. Congress. Apparently not much. CBS's Diana Olick has that part of the story. Diana."

Olick began with some history: "Dan, last Spring the Senate passed a juvenile justice bill that included gun control, but the House took guns out of its bill. Now, months later, lawmakers still have no final compromise bill and leaders are telling CBS News gun control is essentially dead."

Following a soundbite of Republican Henry Hyde saying neither side wants to yield and a clip of Democrat Dick Gephardt asserting that his side can't back a watered down bill full of loopholes, Olick listed recent shootings, but failed to say how any of the new proposed controls would have prevented any of them:
"There have been four mass shootings since the final bill went into conference. One at a Los Angeles day care center, one at a church in Texas, and then two in two days in Hawaii and Seattle, but Democrats say they're still waiting for a compromise while Republicans claim Democrats are too busy playing politics to listen."
Displaying seeming balance, Olick then posed a question each to Gephardt and Hyde, but she was far from balanced as each question probed why a gun control bill hasn't passed, thus assuming it's as desirable goal.

Olick to Gephardt: "They charge that Democrats don't want gun control because it's a good issue and they want to use it for Campaign 2000."
Gephardt: "That's just a cover up I'm afraid for their failure to get the bill done."
Olick to Hyde: "In the year of Columbine, and Conyers Georgia is there a very strong possibility that this Congress will not pass any new gun legislation?"
Hyde: "Well if we can't agree. The perfect is the enemy of the good as the old saying goes and that's true. If they're going to hold out for a perfect bill we won't have one."

Olick brooded: "And with only a week or so left in the legislative session, that may just be the case. Dan."

A more interesting topic: If gun control is the answer to preventing school and workplace shootings, how could one happen in Hawaii, an island with very tough laws? Don't count on CBS to explore evidence that their vaunted solution may not work.

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cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) NBC Nightly News versus NBC Nightly News. "Are American employees now safe at work?" Tom Brokaw ominously asked in hyping workplace violence on Wednesday night. But the night before a reporter on the same show noted that "workplace homicides are steadily declining."

Wrapping up his top of the show report on the Hawaii shooting on November 2 NBC's Bob Dotson tried to put the event in context:
"The scene seems all too familiar, but across the country workplace homicides are steadily declining. Eleven hundred five years ago [on screen: 1,080], around 700 now [on screen: 709]. Still, murder on the job is the second leading cause of death at work."

The next night, however, Brokaw flipped which half of those two pints to stress: "NBC News In Depth tonight: When violence strikes on the job. Two workplace shootings in two days. Are American employees now safe at work or are they in greater danger? What causes someone to lose it on the job?"

Introducing a story from Kelly O'Donnell, Brokaw did what he could to instill fear in viewers: "It seems that no place is safe from workplace violence, even tranquil Hawaii..."

Without citing her source, O'Donnell emphasized increasing violence, though she added a sentence that contradicted what most viewers assumed from NBC's hype about "violence," that deaths are rising:
"Across America the question: What is happening in the workplace? A survey out today shows violence at the office going up. 57 percent of companies responding say violence occurred in their workplace during the last three years, a nine percent jump over the last poll. But deadly violence remains rare, most of the trouble far less serious."

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gumbel1104b.jpg (11541 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Bryant Gumbel, who is reportedly paid $5 million a year by CBS and who got that money for a year while having nothing to do at CBS after the network canceled Public Eye last fall, Wednesday morning bemoaned how Internet entrepreneurs are motivated by "greed." On the November 3 The Early Show Gumbel asked about a Netscape founder: "Is he Gordon Gekko?" But Gumbel maintained he's just an everyday guy, asking a book author if for those who made it big in Silicon Valley money "doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to you and me?"

Earlier in the show he pushed Al Gore from the left, demanding: "What are you prepared to do for the uninsured adults and children?" But he also recalled a Gore assertion he's usually not asked about by the media: "Last December, as Vice President, on the day that Bill Clinton was impeached, you said he'd be remembered as one of this country's greatest Presidents. You're now a candidate, do you still believe that?" When Gore avoided either agreeing or disagreeing, Gumbel pressed again: "So do you still think he's going to go down as one of the country's greatest Presidents?"

Back to the "greed" interview, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed that in interviewing Michael Lewis, author of a book about Silicon Valley success stories, The New New Thing, Gumbel prompted Lewis:
"And so it is that you revolve your story around one Jim Clark. A most unusual and successful businessman, but a strange guy, yeah?"

Lewis explained how he helped launch Netscape as "he was a great starter of things." Gumbel shot back: "But underneath it all, I mean, is he Gordon Gekko? Is he greed is good?"
Lewis tried to dissuade Gumbel: "No, it's a much different kind of person."
Gumbel persisted: "But he is in love with money?"
Lewis explained: "Well he does pursue money, money is the measure, money is never just money. That's something that's really important to understand, that they never love money just for its own sake. It's money because it's a way of keeping score, it's a way of measuring yourself against other people who are doing what you are doing. It's the scoreboard, the money is the scoreboard. So they become obsessed with it."
Gumbel, who it could be argued made the scoreboard when CBS put him into the big league pay-wise, acted as if he's just like everyone else: "It doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to you and me?"
Lewis: "We tend to view it as, you know, what we need to live on, which is fine. In the case of Clark, he has a billion and he still wants to make a second billion dollars. And it's because that's the way you keep score."

Lewis went on to tell Gumbel about how Clark created the world's largest single-mast sailboat, a boat which is controlled by computer systems and which Clark sees as a model of how software could control functions in people's homes.

Gumbel concluded the interview by incredulously asking: "So you're going to sit there and tell me that the next great idea is what drives Silicon Valley and not greed, ultimately?"
Lewis: "I think that's right. I think it's the ambition to be the man of the moment. Because to have done in the Valley means nothing. The newer the money, the better."

+++ Watch this exchange. Thursday morning the MRC's Eric Pairel will post a RealPlayer clip of Gumbel's interview with Lewis. Go to: http://www.mrc.org

While on The Early Show, the MRC's Brian Boyd took down more complete transcripts of two November 2 exchanges recited only partially in the November 2 CyberAlert:

-- Jane Clayson to George W. Bush, asking why the drug question has "dogged" him as she dogged him about it:
"Let me ask you about a question that's dogged you for many weeks. This question of your alleged drug use. How do you make this issue go away, Governor, or at least answer the question and resolve this once and for all?"
-- Gumbel lamenting the failure to pass more gun control.
Diana Olick ended a story: "Gephardt blames the lack of communication on the NRA, pressuring Republicans to just kill the bill, and with little time left in the legislative session, the year that saw Columbine, will probably not see new gun control."
Gumbel: "Diana, given the amount of juvenile bloodshed we've seen over the past year, why aren't legislators feeling more pressure to at least get something down during this session?"
Olick: "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: "So it's easier for them to just pass on it?"
Olick: "Yup."
Gumbel: "It's unfortunate."

A final note about Gumbel for today: Lucky in Houston and Seattle. Monday's USA Today noted that only 75 percent of CBS affiliates are carrying the full two hours of The Early Show as the rest are still only running an hour at 8am as they did for CBS's This Morning. Amongst the holdouts, two top 20 affiliates: KHOU, channel 11, in Houston, and KIRO, channel 7, in Seattle.

A question for CyberAlert readers in Houston and Seattle: Eastern time zone affiliates have no choice, but Central, Mountain and Pacific time zone affiliates could carry either the first or second hour of the show at 8am local time. So, do the Houston and Seattle (and other non-ET affiliates carrying only one hour) run the 7am hour with all of Gumbel's big "newsmaker" interviews or the softer 8am second hour at 8am local time and thus people in those cities didn't see Gumbel's Clinton interview on Monday?

This morning Bill Bradley was on in the 7am half hour. Tomorrow I believe his wife will be interviewed in the 7am first hour. If you are in one of these cities and know, please let me know by e-mailing: cybercomment@mrc.org

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cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) From the November 3 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways George W. Bush Can Squander His Lead." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. Develop rockin' alter ego, "Chris W. Gaines"
9. Instead of speeches, off-tune renditions of that "Mambo #5" song
8. Vomiting on son of Japanese Prime Minister
7. Kiss baby at campaign stop; refuse to give it back
6. Vowing to personally rid country of cocaine one kilo at a time
5. Promising to cut spending by using leftover "From the Desk of President Bush" notepads
4. During speech to Sierra Club, slapping condor to death
3. This year's Christmas card: entire Bush family in leather catsuits
2. New campaign slogan: "It's time for a President who's only broken 7 of the 10 commandments."
1. Promising to put inflatable woman on the moon by 2002

And, from the Late Show Web site, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."

-- "Read my lips: lots and lots of new taxes"
-- Listening to Al Gore's policy proposal and saying, "Whoa -- that just about blows away anything I got."
-- Calling press conference to announce he hasn't done cocaine in nearly three days
-- During speech, looking up and saying, "Yes, Master, the humans are about to make me their ruler"
-- Admitting he wants to live in White House just to retrieve pocket knife he left there when dad was President
-- During visit with Liddy Dole to ask for her endorsement, ending up making out with her on camera
-- His new running mate -- Bill Clinton
-- Getting arrested while playing the bongos naked
-- Promising to hand country back over to the British if elected

Finally, CyberAlert HQ is moving Friday and over the weekend to a new building, so there won't be an issue Friday and I'm not sure how early next week I'll be able to produce another edition. Just a temporary break for Gumbel. -- Brent Baker

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