2. ABC News Consultant Slams Media Over Video of Va. Tech Killer
3. For Second Night, Nets Fret About Setback to 'Abortion Rights'
4. PBS Helps Moyers and Rather Denounce Right's 'Slime Machine'
ABC anchor Charles Gibson concluded Thursday's World News by showing, as viewers heard Amazing Grace, photos of all 32 of those murdered Monday at Virginia Tech. When the photo array ended, Gibson simply and powerfully observed: "Those are the faces to remember."
Gibson had teased his April 19 broadcast by asking, "Tonight, the words of the Virginia Tech killer trigger fierce new debate: Did the media go too far in airing the killer's hate?" He then opened: "There is new outrage tonight over the tragedy at Virginia Tech and it is directed at the media. The words of the Virginia Tech killer were plastered across newspapers and Web sites today after they started airing on television last night. Raising questions: Do we learn anything seeing the hate of Seung-Hui Cho? Or do we simply play into his sick fantasies? There has been intense reaction on the Virginia Tech campus, among victims' families, indeed reaction all across the country."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant and a forensic psychiatrist, appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to slam the media for gratuitously airing videos sent by deceased mass killer Seung-Hui Cho. Welner even referenced the network frenzy over fired radio host Don Imus by saying, "Just listen, if you can take Imus off the air, you can certainly keep [Cho] from having his own morning show." Later in the day, Welner, a professor at New York University, appeared on a number of cable shows, including FNC's The O'Reilly Factor and Larry King Live. On GMA, Welner delivered an impassioned plea for the networks to stop airing the killer's footage: "If anybody cares about the victims in Blacksburg and if anybody cares about their children, stop showing this video now. Take it off the internet. Let it be relegated to YouTube. This is a social catastrophe. Showing the video is a social catastrophe. I promise you the disaffected will watch him the way they watched 'Natural Born Killers.' I know. I examine these people. I've examined mass shooters who have told me they've watched 'Natural Born Killers' 20 times. You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message."
[This item is adapted from a posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]
GMA co-host Robin Roberts began the April 19 segment by playing the footage of Cho yet again. She then introduced Welner who, through the course of the segment, repeatedly made the argument that nothing is to be gained from showing the video and that media outlets should show restraint:
Roberts: "Haunting sights and sounds in these senseless ramblings. So, what does it all mean and what does it tell us about the mind of this killer? Joining us now is forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner. I even saw you as you were watching this disturbing video. All accounts from people that he knew, he was a quiet kid, sunglasses, hat pulled down. That's not what we see in the video."
According to Welner, his professional opinion is that little can be drawn from the tapes and the media is only validating Cho's desires. He added, "I've read disturbing plays. You get to page two, you see that it's delusional and irrational and you put it away. There's nothing to learn from this except it gives it validation."
Shortly thereafter, the ABC consultant attacked the airing of the Cho tape again and then referenced the tragedy that NBC suffered in the 1994 murder of Theron Montgomery, a network employee outside the stage of the Today show. According to Welner, in light of this, NBC should have shown more restraint with the Virginia Tech massacre:
Co-host Roberts appeared defensive at times. In response to Welner's point that the widely circulated video portrays Cho as he wanted to be see, not as he was, she started to state that everyone is airing the video. Welner simply gut her off and stated, "It's not an issue of blame, Robin. It's an appeal. Please stop now."
The GMA anchor also seemed cognizant of the backlash over the airing of the video. She closed the interview by repeating the media's constant refrain of how agonizing the decision was for the network. Welner, however, wasn't through. He compared Cho's posthumous attention to that of the acclaim given to Palestinian suicide bombers who have "articles written about themselves in the New York Times":
Roberts: "Well, we've had a heated debate in our own newsroom, into what to show and own newsroom as to what to show and what not to show and what is newsworthy and how much can we learn. How much'€" In what your saying in showing this'€" And our message board has lit up saying-"
Matching the spin delivered Wednesday night, CBS and NBC on Thursday night again framed the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Act through the prism of those on the losing side -- painting it as a loss of "abortion rights," the imposition of "restrictions," instead of as an expansion of protections for the unborn, all while distancing themselves from the "partial-birth" term.
Wyatt Andrews framed his CBS Evening News story around the upset of those in favor of partial-birth abortions, starting his piece: "To abortion rights supporters, the Supreme Court ruling was a legal and medical disaster for women." Andrews also warned: "Both sides in the abortion debate agree that yesterday's ruling will unleash new state restrictions on abortion."
NBC's Dawn Fratangelo cited state bills to regulate abortion, calling it action which "pro-abortion rights groups worry chips away at the right to choose." Fratangelo zeroed in on how "abortion rights advocates are worried about" the language in the decision that "seems to put the debate back years. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy describes the surgical procedure in detail and suggests some women may not be aware of what happens to the fetus, writing: 'The knowledge it conveys will be to encourage some women to carry the infant to full term.' This led Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to write for the minority: 'This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution.' Lesley Rotenberg, a clinic director, finds it paternalistic..."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The April 19 CyberAlert item, "Nets Frame Partial-Birth Ruling Around Loss of 'Abortion Rights,'" detailed the Wednesday night coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC of the SCOTUS ruling: www.mediaresearch.org
# CBS Evening News. Katie Couric: "The battle over abortion is heating up again tonight after the Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on a procedure opponents call 'partial-birth abortion.' Here's Wyatt Andrews."
Wyatt Andrews: "To abortion rights supporters, the Supreme Court ruling was a legal and medical disaster for women. Their argument is, if women cannot have the so-called 'partial-birth abortion,' where the fetus is removed mostly intact, the result will be thousands more abortions requiring the dismemberment of the fetus inside the womb."
Dawn Fratangelo: "The high court ruling is already creating waves, upsetting women's groups, emboldening those who oppose abortion who've been successful in getting some states to restrict it. The most recent, just Wednesday in Missouri, lawmakers approved more restrictions on clinics."
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is winding up for another series of left-wing propaganda broadcasts on our taxpayer-supported PBS stations. On April 25, we're subjected to the film "Buying the War," which quite typically argues that the liberal media weren't liberal enough, that they were weak-kneed pawns for the Bush war machine. Moyers gave an interview to Eric Bates of Rolling Stone magazine, which posted some audio on its "Rock and Roll Daily" blog explaining how Moyers "gets ill talking about how the Big Red Hype Machine, i.e. Fox News and its conservative bedfellows, makes headlines by criticizing unbiased news reporters."
Moyers declared that one special presence in the new film is disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather. He reported the program begins with footage of Rather crying on the David Letterman show a week after 9/11 proclaiming he would go "wherever the President tells me to line up." But in this film, Rather and Moyers denounce a right-wing "slime machine." That's a rich characterization coming from someone who tried to use bogus National Guard documents to ruin President Bush's reputation. For a look at Rather's Letterman appearance: www.mediaresearch.org
Here's how Moyers promised he would denounce conservatives from coast to coast:
For the first time in our history, we had this wall-to-wall ideological right-wing press that not only -- the Fox News, the talk radio, the Weekly Standard -- that not only mongered for war along with the administration, not only embraced the administration's policies because they were quote, "conservative" including going to war, but also mounted a slime machine to discredit any journalist who dared to stand against the official view of reality. Rather himself says on my show, "They have a slime machine and we know it."
So that's a new phenomenon that people don't fully understand. How, if a journalist tried to tell the truth about the intelligence, the Hannitys and the O'Reillys and the Limbaughs and the Mike Savages would come down on them, slander them, discredit them, so good reporting lost its power to break through because of this avalanche of opposition and venom directed at them. What's happening to the media, it's all over the place, I mean, Bill O'Reilly's in the media, Eric Bates [of Rolling Stone] is in the media, so am I. There are more media sources today than there ever was, as a result we're losing our ability to, we're losing the common knowledge that helps us act a society in response to certain crises.
END of Excerpt
The Rolling Stone posting: www.rollingstone.com
-- Brent Baker