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Nets Frame Partial-Birth Ruling Around Loss of 'Abortion Rights' --4/19/2007


1. Nets Frame Partial-Birth Ruling Around Loss of 'Abortion Rights'
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night all ran full stories on the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, but while each included arguments from justices in the majority, featured a soundbite from pro-life lawyer Jay Sekulow and offered at least a brief description of the procedure, they all framed the stories in ways favorable to those on the losing side. All led into competing soundbites by putting abortion supporters on the side of "rights" -- describing "abortion rights supporters" versus "abortion opponents" -- characterized the ruling as imposing a further "restriction" on abortion instead of as expanding protection for the unborn, and creatively distanced themselves from the "partial-birth" abortion term. NBC's Chip Reid related that "abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights." With "5-4 ruling upholds federal ban on so-called 'partial-birth abortion'" on screen, ABC anchor Charles Gibson brought in ideology as he announced that "the court's new conservative majority today upheld a nationwide ban on a controversial procedure, one that critics call 'partial-birth abortion.'"

2. GMA's Champion Scolds Viewers for Contributing to Global Warming
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Sam Champion, ABC's weatherman and liberal environmentalist, escalated his campaign to encourage Americans to fight global warming. In addition to lecturing viewers about their contribution to climate change, he, once again, engaged in identification bias. Champion's segment featured a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a liberal environmental group. The organization's ideology, not surprisingly, went completely unmentioned. However, the weatherman began the piece by standing in front of a bank of televisions and scolding viewers for their energy output: "Did you know that even with the flip of a switch, we all contribute to global warming? Well, I know it sounds a little intense. But there are some small things you can do to change that, like paying attention to your carbon footprint...If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem."

3. Walters 'Sad' O'Donnell Concedes Gun Control Cause is 'Futile'
ABC News correspondent Barbara Walters, on Wednesday's The View, revealed she's "sad" that Rosie O'Donnell has given up on passing tougher gun control laws. Praising O'Donnell for how "you're passionate, you care," Walters, who was not on Tuesday's show, fretted that "for me to hear you yesterday...numb, saying we're never going to get a gun control law, kind of giving up made me sad. I don't want to see you do that." On Tuesday, O'Donnell had regretted how despite the outrage over Columbine and the subsequent Million Mom March, "sensible gun legislation" didn't pass and so, in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, "I'm numb about it." She complained: "I think there will never be gun control in America. And I think having tried to fight it for five years of my life it was a futile attempt." Joy Behar wondered: "You throw up your hands hun?" O'Donnell: "I sort of do." On Wednesday's show, O'Donnell also took on FNC, charging it is "slanted and right biased" and delivers "right wing propaganda." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive


Nets Frame Partial-Birth Ruling Around
Loss of 'Abortion Rights'

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night all ran full stories on the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, but while each included arguments from justices in the majority, featured a soundbite from pro-life lawyer Jay Sekulow and offered at least a brief description of the procedure, they all framed the stories in ways favorable to those on the losing side. All led into competing soundbites by putting abortion supporters on the side of "rights" -- describing "abortion rights supporters" versus "abortion opponents" -- characterized the ruling as imposing a further "restriction" on abortion instead of as expanding protection for the unborn, and creatively distanced themselves from the "partial-birth" abortion term.

ABC's Charles Gibson saw "a long-sought victory for abortion opponents" before Jan Crawford Greenburg fretted that "abortion rights activists were devastated." CBS's Wyatt Andrews highlighted how "abortion rights supporters bitterly protested" since "the ban is now the first abortion restriction ever approved with no exception for the health of the mother." NBC's Chip Reid related that "abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights."

"So-called" partial-birth hot potato: With "5-4 ruling upholds federal ban on so-called 'partial-birth abortion'" on screen, ABC anchor Gibson brought in ideology as he announced that "the court's new conservative majority today upheld a nationwide ban on a controversial procedure, one that critics call 'partial-birth abortion.'" Jan Crawford Greenburg cited how "the court said the government could ban a specific type of abortion procedure." Over on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric referred to "a controversial late-term abortion procedure" and Wyatt Andrews reported on "what Congress called 'partial-birth abortions.'" NBC's Chip Reid asserted that the court "upheld a federal law banning a late-term abortion procedure that opponents call 'partial-birth abortion.'"

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The ABC and CBS stories were the least balanced since, after giving about equal time to quotes from justices on both sides and advocates on each side, the two networks added another pro-partial-birth abortion perspective. ABC's Greenburg featured the view of an "abortion provider" and CBS's Andrews showcased a woman, whose baby would have suffered and died after birth, who had a partial-birth abortion and, in tears, declared: "It's wrong for this law to exist at all. Nobody could agonize over the decision more than my husband and I did."

Transcripts of the three April 18 stories for which I made partial transcripts that Brad Wilmouth completed: .

# ABC's World News. Charles Gibson, in opening teaser: "Abortion ban: The Supreme Court upholds a ban on the procedure known as 'partial-birth abortion,' its most sweeping decision since Roe v. Wade."

With "5-4 ruling upholds federal ban on so-called 'partial-birth abortion'" on screen, Gibson set up the subsequent story: "Now to the Supreme Court and a very important decision on abortion. In a 5-4 landmark decision, the court's new conservative majority today upheld a nationwide ban on a controversial procedure, one that critics call 'partial-birth abortion.' It was a long-sought victory for abortion opponents. And it sets the stage for even more legal battles to come. ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg joins us from the court tonight. Jan?"

Jan Crawford Greenburg: "Charlie, today's decision represents a seismic shift. For the first time since Roe versus Wade, the court said the government could ban a specific type of abortion procedure. And for the first time, it upheld an abortion law that did not contain an exception for a woman's health. Scores of women gathered at the Supreme Court to protest. Abortion rights activists were devastated."
Nancy Northrup, Center for Reproductive Rights: "The Supreme Court basically guts 30 years of protection for women's health in the regulation of abortion."
Greenburg: "At issue, a bipartisan federal law that banned one type of abortion performed in the second trimester. The law is called the 'Partial-Birth Abortion Act' because the fetus is partially delivered from the womb before it is killed. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said Congress found the procedure 'gruesome' and 'never medically necessary.' Kennedy said the government has the right to pass laws that 'show its profound respect for the life within the woman.' In court today, an angry Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the unusual step of reading parts of her dissent aloud. She said the decision was 'alarming' and could jeopardize women's health. She said it 'cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away' at the right to an abortion. Conservatives agreed. They said the decision is a significant change that will lead to more restrictions on abortion."
Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice: "Doctors don't get to do everything they want to do all the time, especially when there's a life involved in it, and here I think the court said, 'You know what? I think when it comes to infanticide, when it comes to this procedure, we're saying no.'"
Greenburg: "But abortion doctors like LeRoy Carhart say some women need the procedure."
Dr. LeRoy Carhart, abortion provider: "Abortion for women will become more risky."
Greenburg to Carhart: "Why?"
Carhart: "Because we won't be able to do what I feel is the safest."
Greenburg: "Today's decision also shows the differences that elections and Supreme Court nominations can make. Just seven years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a similar state law when Sandra Day O'Connor was on the court. Neither John Roberts or Sam Alito had yet to be nominated."


# CBS Evening News. Katie Couric, in opening teaser: "A major ruling from the Supreme Court on abortion. The court upholds the federal ban on a controversial late-term abortion procedure."

Couric introduced the story: "Now to another big story tonight, a Supreme Court ruling on abortion. The justices, sharply divided, today upheld the new federal ban on a controversial late-term abortion procedure, a procedure opponents and the law itself refer to as 'partial-birth abortion.' In the 5-4 decision, Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy all voted to uphold the ban. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that opponents of the ban 'have not demonstrated that the act imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion.' We'll begin our coverage of this ruling with Wyatt Andrews."

Wyatt Andrews: "It's the first federal ban on any kind of abortion since the court established the right to an abortion in Roe vs. Wade. For abortion opponents, it's the biggest legal victory in 34 years."
Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice: "The court said the states have a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn child's life."
Andrews, over "Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling" on-screen: "The ban on what Congress called 'partial-birth abortions' applies to any abortion where a fetus is delivered mostly intact. The law, in part, says 'past the navel' when the doctor then kills the 'partially delivered living fetus.' In a 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said Congress was justified in finding this 'similar to the killing of a newborn infant.'"
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "An overwhelming case was made that this procedure was not necessary and it was a barbaric procedure."
Andrews: "The ruling is huge because the ban is now the first abortion restriction ever approved with no exception for the health of the mother."
Clip of protesters: "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!"
Andrews: "Abortion rights supporters bitterly protested even though the number of the banned abortions is small and mostly confined to the third trimester. The protesters say this law can now apply to thousands of second-trimester abortions even when the woman's doctor thinks partial delivery is the safest course."
Eve Gartner, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: "So now, politicians, not doctors, are making medical decisions that are going to put women at risk of hemorrhage, loss of future fertility, and other very serious medical harms."
Andrews: "Opponents of the ban also argue the law could apply to women like Mary Vargas, whose late-term fetus suffered kidney failure in the womb."
Mary Vargas: "Our son had no chance at life."
Andrews: "Her choice, she says, was between birth, where the child would suffer and die, or the kind of mostly intact abortion that's now illegal."
Vargas: "It's wrong for this law to exist at all. Nobody could agonize over the decision more than my husband and I did."
Andrews: "In a stinging dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the ruling 'alarming' and 'irrational' and blasted the all-male majority for not respecting women's choices. 'This way of thinking,' she wrote, 'reflects ancient notions of women's place in the family.' This is one of those rulings that will have a long-term impact. The very definition of a safe and legal abortion has just changed with abortion opponents saying it's about time. Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, at the Supreme Court."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams: "But first to Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices today issued what may be the most important abortion ruling since Roe versus Wade decades ago. Chip Reid is at the court for us tonight. Chip, good evening."

Chip Reid: "Well, good evening, Brian. For the first time in the 34 years since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court today upheld a ban of a specific abortion procedure. Activists on both sides are calling the decision monumental. At the Supreme Court today, a stunning defeat for supporters of abortion rights."
Eve Gartner, Planned Parenthood: "Today's ruling is a seismic shift in the way that the court has handled protections for a woman's health."
Reid: "The court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld a federal law banning a late-term abortion procedure that opponents call 'partial-birth abortion.' Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that the law does not impose an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion. Abortion opponents call it a major victory, stopping abortions that partially deliver a fetus, then collapse its skull."
Jay Sekulow, pro-life attorney: "I think it's going to be a huge momentum shift for the pro-life movement. The opinion is very, very significant."
Reid: "Nearly 90 percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and are not affected by the ruling, but writing for the court's four dissenting justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the decision 'alarming,' arguing that for the first time since the court established a right to abortion, in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, it has approved an abortion restriction without making an exception for a woman's health. Abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights."
Eleanor Smeal, pro-choice activist: "This decision is an invitation to legislators both at the national and state level to further restrict abortion, and the Supreme Court will let it happen."
Reid: "Supreme Court experts say one key to today's decision is the replacement of moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with conservative Samuel Alito. This decision, they say, could be a sign the court is heading in a new direction on abortion."
Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court attorney: "Today the Supreme Court opened the door to a possible overruling of Roe v. Wade. They didn't give any strong indications whether they would walk through the door."
Reid: "Now, doctors who violate the ban could get as much as two years in jail, but there is no penalty for women who undergo the banned procedure."

GMA's Champion Scolds Viewers for Contributing
to Global Warming

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Sam Champion, ABC's weatherman and liberal environmentalist, escalated his campaign to encourage Americans to fight global warming. In addition to lecturing viewers about their contribution to climate change, he, once again, engaged in identification bias. Champion's segment featured a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a liberal environmental group. The organization's ideology, not surprisingly, went completely unmentioned. However, the weatherman began the piece by standing in front of a bank of televisions and scolding viewers for their energy output: "Did you know that even with the flip of a switch, we all contribute to global warming? Well, I know it sounds a little intense. But there are some small things you can do to change that, like paying attention to your carbon footprint...If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem."

Champion didn't mention how much energy the television screens behind him were contributing to global warming. After introducing the piece, which aired at 8:35am on April 18, the ABC host segued into a discussion of carbon footprints, which is the sum total of an individual's energy output, and how one family, the Flanagans, have decided to reduce it. Allen Hershkowitz, a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) dropped by their house to instruct the Flanagan family on how to accomplish such a goal.

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Champion made no mention of the group's extreme liberal agenda. (For instance, they have advocated arms control (see: www.nrdc.org ) and harshly complained that the Bush administration hasn't adopted left-wing solutions to global warming: http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/bushinx.asp )

Champion: "The average American household produces over 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Added together, that's 20 percent of the greenhouse gases our entire country produces. Kristen and Kevin Flanagan wanted to reduce their part of those greenhouse gases. So they set out to calculate their family's carbon footprint. With six kids, it was a daunting task."
Kristen Flanagan: "We're a large family, so I figured we'd probably have a pretty large footprint."
Champion: "The EPA Web site showed them how."
Kristen Flanagan, looking over family energy records: "That's gas."
Champion: "First, they got their heating and electric bills. Then, added up how much gas they used and their mileage. That's your carbon footprint. With three cars, the Flanagans used over 1,100 gallons of gas and drove over 20,000 miles last year. That created 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Next, annual electricity. Nearly 16,000 kilowatt hours. That produced 25,000 pounds of carbon. And heating fuel, about $2500 for the year, producing about 20,000 pounds of carbon. Now, give yourself some credits for recycling. Their carbon footprint totaled 60,000 pounds, considerably higher than the national average. So, how do you get that number down? Enter Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He says, the car is the biggest problem."

Hershkowitz has been a strong proponent of using Hollywood to encourage Americans to adopt liberal environmental policies. Unsurprisingly, this is the same strategy that Sam Champion adopted: newsbusters.org

The GMA weatherman closed the report by having Hershkowitz tour the Flanagan household and instruct them on how to fight global warming:

Allen Hershkowitz: "Automobiles contribute more carbon emissions than everything else in your home combined."
Champion: "Combine trips, he advises, and keep your tires inflated. Oh, yeah. And driving a hybrid would help. Next, heading into the house. And first stop, the basement."
Hershkowitz: "So, the number one cause of carbon emissions from your house is your boiler and your air-conditioner. They give off 65 percent of all the carbon coming out of your household."
Champion: "Maintaining the boiler and reducing AC use helps cut the carbon. Up next, the kitchen."
Hershkowitz: How old is this refrigerator?"
Kristen Flanagan: "2003."
Hershkowitz: "2003. So, this causes about 15 percent of the carbon emissions in your household. If it were older, it would be a lot worse."
Champion: "Any refrigerator over 10 years old should be replaced, he says. Your new one will pay for itself in efficiency in just a few years."
Hershkowitz: "The next big cause of emissions in your house is your lighting. You have some spots here. Replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint by 60 to 70 percent when it comes to your lighting."
Kristen Flanagan: "You know, you realize that every little thing you do makes a difference."
Champion: "And that's the point, little things. So, if you don't know how much power you are using, there's a cool way to know that, these little things called kilowatts. If you plug something into it and, you can see right there on it, it said zero. As soon as you turn on the power, then you can see how much power you're using. It just gives you an idea that power isn't something that's abstract. It's something that actually can be measured."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts: "That's right. Every little thing you do."

Viewers shouldn't expect any break in the climate change advocacy. On Friday, April 20, GMA will use Earth Day to lobby for the cause of global warming fearmongering.

Walters 'Sad' O'Donnell Concedes Gun
Control Cause is 'Futile'

ABC News correspondent Barbara Walters, on Wednesday's The View, revealed she's "sad" that Rosie O'Donnell has given up on passing tougher gun control laws. Praising O'Donnell for how "you're passionate, you care," Walters, who was not on Tuesday's show, fretted that "for me to hear you yesterday...numb, saying we're never going to get a gun control law, kind of giving up made me sad. I don't want to see you do that." On Tuesday, O'Donnell had regretted how despite the outrage over Columbine and the subsequent Million Mom March, "sensible gun legislation" didn't pass and so, in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, "I'm numb about it." She complained: "I think there will never be gun control in America. And I think having tried to fight it for five years of my life it was a futile attempt." Joy Behar wondered: "You throw up your hands hun?" O'Donnell: "I sort of do."

On Wednesday's show, O'Donnell also took on FNC. After Barbara Walters displayed the front page of the New York Post with a photo of Larry Birkhead and his son displayed above the Virginia Tech story, O'Donnell ranted about how Fox News and the New York Post are part of an agenda to distract the American people from what is really happening: "They have an agenda to make you not really interested in the real things in this country, but rather Dannielynn." Having no sense of irony that all four co-hosts on Wednesday's edition of The View were liberals, O'Donnell screamed that FNC is "slanted and right biased" and delivers "right wing propaganda." She even claimed FNC is "lying" when they say they're fair and balanced.

[A video clip of O'Donnell on Tuesday, April 17, regretting the futility of her battle for gun control will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to view the Real or Windows Media video or to listen to the MP3 audio, check a NewsBusters postings by Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]
The exchange on the April 17 The View:

Rosie O'Donnell: "Well, and you know, since 1999, Columbine, what happened? All the mothers got together in America, we formed the Million Mom March. We marched on Washington, estimates of almost two million mothers there. We protested. We picketed against the NRA, and for the government to make sensible gun legislation. And what has happened since then? Nothing. Nothing. I'm shocked that I'm numb about it. I'm


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More See & Hear the Bias

shocked that, you know, Columbine, which took me out at the knees, literally where I thought I would never recover and went on anti-depressants, I thought, I don't know how, I had a child like you do, I was your age with a baby, and the concept of sending them away to school from the nest of the dangers that lurk out there. But somehow this one, I'm almost numb to it. I think well, here we go again."
Joy Behar: "Do you feel that it's worthless, it's useless to protest or to make, raise your voice against gun control, for gun control?"
O'Donnell: "I think there will never be gun control in America. And I think having tried to fight it for five years of my life it was a futile attempt."
Behar: "You throw up your hands hun?"
O'Donnell: "I sort of do."

fullrosie0525.jpg (10445 bytes) The former solo daytime host has been a long-time opponent of gun-rights, famously losing her reputation as the "Queen of Nice" after blowing up at actor Tom Selleck in 1999 over his support of the National Rifle Association. For a RealPlayer clip of that, check the May 21, 1999 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

The material below is based upon a second NewsBusters posting by Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org

On Wednesday's (April 18) show, Walters, who was not part of Tuesday's program, rued O'Donnell's disillusionment:
"When I'm not on, I watch the program. And, I mean this tragedy that has happened is so terrible, but you Rosie are always so passionate. Right or wrong, you're passionate. You care. And you're one of the people who talked about gun control. And for me to hear you yesterday, because we haven't talked too much about it, numb, saying we're never going to get a gun control law, kind of giving up made me sad. I don't want to see you do that."
O'Donnell reiterated her points from the day before: "I know. It made me sad, too, but it was really hard, you know, the Million Mom March after the 1999 Columbine, I mean, everyone thought that would work. What else would it take besides pulling high school kids bloody out of a second floor window. What else would it take to get sensible gun legislation? No one want to take away hunter's rights to hunt. We just want to sort of have sensible gun laws. You know, a teddy bear, has more regulations on it than a gun in terms of safety. Right, but I do feel defeated. I have to tell you. When that happened yesterday, it felt like, well here we go again. You know, it's like The Truman Show or Groundhog Day. We just wake up, and it just continues, and continues."

Token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck was off for the day. Instead of a right-of-center substitute, guest co-host Aisha Tyler, clearly in the liberal camp, started swinging strong for gun control: "What's amazing to me is that the gun lobby is talking about, well, it's not legal guns that kill people, it's when people get guns illegally. But this is someone who bought a gun legally. It took them five minutes to run a background check. He had been committed to a mental hospital for two days for observation and that didn't pop up on his record. He was clearly to everyone around him mentally disturbed. And, it's not about, like you said, it's not about keeping guns out of the hands of hunters. But when a kid this upset, this out of it, can walk into and buy two guns and 50 rounds of bullets and nobody asks a question."

Walters briefly mentioned the argument that if other students had guns, perhaps they could have defended themselves from harm. That argument was snidely dismissed by the panel.

Walters: "And now some of them are saying, if the students only had guns they could have defended-"
Tyler: "Oh yes. That's absolutely-"
Behar: "That's crazy."
Tyler: "You know, like the shoot up scene in Heat. That's a great idea."

Walters expressed hope that 2008 presidential candidates would fight for stronger gun control measures: "But maybe, maybe this will make a difference in, in, with the candidates. Maybe it will be part of what is their, their program along with healthcare, that platform.

After Walters displayed the front page of the New York Post with a photo of Larry Birkhead and his son, Rosie ranted about how Fox News and the New York Post, both owned by Rupert Murdoch, are part of an agenda to distract the American people from what is really happening. Walters defended Fox News, noting they have done "around the clock" coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. Having no sense of irony that all four co-hosts were liberal, Rosie interrupted screaming that FNC is "slanted and right biased" and "right wing propaganda." She even claimed Fox is "lying" when they say they're fair and balanced.

Walters actually acknowledged that The View is "slanted in another way."

O'Donnell: "Right, but let's just say this: The New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Fox News channel. So, if you want to be distracted by what's really happening in Washington, pick up the Post or watch Fox News because they have an agenda to make you not really interested in the real things in this country, but rather Dannielynn."
Walters: "But Fox News, but Fox News has done all around the clock -- I have listened to that too and they have done stories all around the clock on this-"
O'Donnell: "They are slanted and right biased in my opinion."
Walters: "Well other programs are slanted too, in their own way. We are slanted in another way. But I just think for this I mean-"
O'Donnell: "We're not, we're not a news show though, Barbara. This is a news network. You turn on Fox News and you hear right wing propaganda. That is not news. There's no way that, that's news."
Behar: "They say they're fair and balanced."
O'Donnell: "Well they're lying, if you ask me." [audience applause]

-- Brent Baker