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Network Anchors Supply Warm Welcome for Candidate Hillary Clinton --1/23/2007


1. Network Anchors Supply Warm Welcome for Candidate Hillary Clinton
Senator Hillary Clinton sat for interviews aired Monday night on all three broadcast network evening newscasts to promote her presidential candidacy, though only ABC's World News got her live. CBS's Katie Couric first pushed her from the left: "You're against sending additional troops to Iraq, and according to our latest poll, 66 percent of Americans agree with you. So why not vote to cut off funding so the President can't carry out this policy?" The "Couric & Co." blog features a picture of Senator Clinton and Katie Couric, both smiling, posing together shoulder-to-shoulder. NBC anchor Brian Williams treated her as a victim of the "burden" of celebrity: "Is it any kind of a burden for you, Senator, that so many opinions are pre-formed? Americans know Hillary Rodham Clinton." And, in a question not aired, but posted in an online transcript, Williams fretted: "Because you've been a public figure, is it a burden for you to go back and amend or explain issues like health care, the vote for the war, things like that?" ABC's Charles Gibson pressed her from the right ("Would you take a pledge not to sign a bill that raised taxes?") and then the left ("Can we finance this war without raising taxes?") before echoing Couric: "Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?"

2. HBO Filmmaker Liked Haggard; Not Usual 'Holy Roller Jesus Freak'
Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has directed a new film that takes a look at the evangelical movement in America. Appearing on Monday's Good Morning America to plug the Thursday night airing on HBO of Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, she discussed the now disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard who served as a guide for her film crew's tour of Red State America. Pelosi told host Diane Sawyer that most people think of evangelical Christians as "holy roller Jesus freaks," and seemed surprised that Haggard didn't fall into that category. During the discussion, both Sawyer and the filmmaker appeared to be trying to treat evangelicals with respect. However, each succumbed to the occasional condescending sounding slip-up. Sawyer asked Pelosi whether the trip to conservative parts of America left her feeling as though "you had to get a visa to a foreign country." And later, Pelosi described the journey "as sort of a sociological field trip." It was the "Jesus freak" comment, however, that appeared too much for even Diane Sawyer.

3. Sit-Com's Peek in Brian Williams' Office: 'Katie Couric Sucks'
NBC's Thursday night comedy 30 Rock took some good-natured potshots at NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks." In a scene on last Thursday's show, "Jack Donaghy," a fictional NBC executive played by Alec Baldwin, finds "Kenneth," an NBC intern played by Jack McBrayer, cleaning an office with Brian Williams's name plate outside the door. Looking at the mess, which also includes a sock filled with bird seed, Jack is astonished: "Good God, what does that man do in here?" Mild-mannered Kenneth answers: "I don't know. I've never met Brian Williams, but his dressing room has to be cleaned up every morning between 11:00 and 11:30. That way, when Mr. Williams gets back from the liquor store, it's nice and tidy."


Network Anchors Supply Warm Welcome for
Candidate Hillary Clinton

Senator Hillary Clinton sat for interviews aired Monday night on all three broadcast network evening newscasts to promote her presidential candidacy, though only ABC's World News got her live. CBS's Katie Couric first pushed her from the left: "You're against sending additional troops to Iraq, and according to our latest poll, 66 percent of Americans agree with you. So why not vote to cut off funding so the President can't carry out this policy?" Couric did note that "some" call her health care policy management in the Clinton administration "a disaster" before worrying: "Even those who approve of you as a candidate have questions about your electability, some of those people. What would you say to them?" The "Couric & Co." blog features a picture of Senator Clinton and Katie Couric, both smiling, posing together shoulder-to-shoulder: www.cbsnews.com

NBC anchor Brian Williams treated her as a victim of the "burden" of celebrity: "Is it any kind of a burden for you, Senator, that so many opinions are pre-formed? Americans know Hillary Rodham Clinton." And, in a question not aired, but posted in an online transcript, Williams fretted: "Because you've been a public figure, is it a burden for you to go back and amend or explain issues like health care, the vote for the war, things like that?" ABC's Charles Gibson dared to raise a unique point: "You are a strong, credible, female candidate for President of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?" Gibson pressed her from the right ("Would you take a pledge not to sign a bill that raised taxes?") and then the left ("Can we finance this war without raising taxes?") before echoing Couric: "Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?"

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

Hillary Clinton will make the rounds of the mornings shows and cable channels on Tuesday, including MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann just before President Bush's State of the Union address.

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth collected the questions posed to Senator Clinton on CBS and ABC and I got the questions on NBC, all on the January 22 evening newscasts:

# Katie Couric interviewed Senator Clinton in the afternoon and highlights ran on the CBS Evening News:

-- "Senator Clinton, you're against sending additional troops to Iraq, and according to our latest poll, 66 percent of Americans agree with you. So why not vote to cut off funding so the President can't carry out this policy?"

-- "Let's talk about your candidacy. There are some people who say another Clinton administration, even if it's a different Clinton, will feel eerily like Groundhog Day. What would you say to them?"

-- Couric, referring to Clinton's promise to get back to "bold but practical changes, like universal health care" that were not possible during the Clinton administration: "In fact, some might say, Senator, that was a disaster when you headed that very committee."

-- "Senator Clinton, even those who approve of you as a candidate have questions about your electability, some of those people. What would you say to them?"

-- "And what would you say to those who feel Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air after nearly 20 years of Clintons and Bushes?"


# Brian Williams in a pre-taped and edited interview conducted on the NBC News set aired on the NBC Nightly News:

-- "This is not exactly how or when you planned to announce this. How else are you going to have to adjust to counter the presence of this Obama campaign, which is a surprise?"

-- "So you had always planned to announce before the President's State of the Union address?"

Clinton: "That was our plan, yes."

Williams: "What does the 'Obama factor' do to the Clinton campaign?"

-- "Is it any kind of a burden for you, Senator, that so many opinions are pre-formed? Americans know Hillary Rodham Clinton."

-- "Well, you're one of the few alive who has seen exactly the journey that is ahead of you. I don't know if that helps or hurts."

Questions not aired, but posted in MSNBC.com's transcript: www.msnbc.msn.com

-- "Because you've been a public figure, is it a burden for you to go back and amend or explain issues like health care, the vote for the war, things like that?"

-- "Are you troubled at all? I noticed in the weekend's New York Times, they're already out interviewing voters on the street who are starting to say, 'You know, we like her plenty as a Senator. She's been a great Senator.' You'd like to be more than that. Does that, 'She's been a great Senator' movement concern you?"


# On ABC's World News, Charles Gibson interviewed Senator Clinton live via satellite. His questions:

-- "As we said, a well-known name was added to the list of White House hopefuls this weekend, New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Her announcement immediately shifted the race for President into higher gear. Senator Clinton joins us now from Washington. Good to have you with us, Senator. I'd like to get your mission statement if I could, in 20 or 30 seconds, as to why you think you should be the person elected President."

-- "A lot of people think you've been running for President for years, but you said you were undecided, we took you at your word, can you tell me was there a moment that tipped the scales and you said okay, this is it, I'm going to run and this is why?"

-- "You are a strong, credible, female candidate for President of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?"

-- "Let me get to some of those. I'm constrained by time because you wanted to do this interview in an unedited fashion, and so I'd like to lay down some benchmarks on issues that I hope we'll talk about more in the coming year, and I've tried to frame these as close as I can to yes and no questions. Would you take a pledge not to sign a bill that raised taxes?"

-- "Can we finance this war without raising taxes?"

-- "Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?"

-- "Is Barack Obama qualified to be President?"

-- "Yeah, but that's something of a dodge. In your mind, is he qualified to be President?"

HBO Filmmaker Liked Haggard; Not Usual
'Holy Roller Jesus Freak'

Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has directed a new film that takes a look at the evangelical movement in America. Appearing on Monday's Good Morning America to plug the Thursday night airing on HBO of Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, she discussed the now disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard who served as a guide for her film crew's tour of Red State America. Pelosi told host Diane Sawyer that most people think of evangelical Christians as "holy roller Jesus freaks," and seemed surprised that Haggard didn't fall into that category. During the discussion, both Sawyer and the filmmaker appeared to be trying to treat evangelicals with respect. However, each succumbed to the occasional condescending sounding slip-up. Sawyer asked Pelosi whether the trip to conservative parts of America left her feeling as though "you had to get a visa to a foreign country." And later, Pelosi described the journey "as sort of a sociological field trip." It was the "Jesus freak" comment, however, that appeared too much for even Diane Sawyer.

Alexandra Pelosi, referring to the Ted Haggard scandal, propounded: "I was heartbroken. Because pastor Ted was my tour guide. And he was so good to me. He took me under his wing and said, 'Let me explain the red states to you.' And it was hard for me to understand, most people think of evangelicals as being these holy roller Jesus freaks, and Ted wasn't like that. And so, it was interesting for me to understand and say, these are good people. He was reasonable. He was reasonable. He was a normal, every day man. And so, it was hard to stomach, what had happened."
Sawyer: "Yes, and I'm going to have everybody write you who wants to write about 'holy roller Jesus freaks,' okay?"

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

Earlier in the segment, which aired at 7:42am on January 22, Pelosi discussed her "sociological field trip."

Diane Sawyer: And now, a look inside the great divide. And that is the religious divide, a lot of people perceive in this country. It is a new film from HBO called 'Friends of God.' It is the work of filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, yes, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a blue stater, who spent the better part of a year among her red state countrymen. And she joins us now with some of the things she learned. And it's nice to have you here."
Alexandra Pelosi: "Thank you for having me."
Sawyer: "You know, it's got to strike a lot of people who live in middle America, church going people, as very quaint that you have to come visit them to learn about them. Where did this begin? Did you feel you had to get a visa to a foreign country?"
Pelosi, laughing: "Well, I had made two political documentaries and I was trying to get away from politics. And growing up, they always said the two things you're not supposed to talk about in polite conversation is politics and religion. So, since I'd done politics, I thought it was a chance to go and explore religion."
Sawyer: "And you found, I gather, that when you encountered all those people, even those who recognized your name, they were less weary of your politics, than they wanted to know about your religion."
Pelosi: "Yeah, well, when you're in the Bible Belt, they refer to Home Box Office as Hell's Box Office, so it was hard to walk in the front door and say, 'Hi. I'm from New York and I work for HBO and I'm here to talk to you. I always felt like I was sort of on a sociological field trip. Because they were studying me and I was studying them and we were trying to bridge the gap."

Despite her clumsy language, Pelosi actually stated she now understands the importance of religion and even suggested that if she had to make a choice in the culture wars, the daughter of liberal Speaker of the House would go with the conservatives:

Sawyer: "Well, one of the things that happened was your tour guide was the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals. And that's Ted Haggard, as we know, who got trapped in a alleged scandal involving drugs and a male prostitute. But when you were there, you engaged with him in some amazing conversations. Here's our first clip."
[Clip of Friends of God]
Sawyer: "When you heard about the scandal?"
Pelosi: "I was heartbroken. Because pastor Ted was my tour guide. And he was so good to me. He took me under his wing and said, 'Let me explain the red states to you.' And it was hard for me to understand, most people think of evangelicals as being these holy roller Jesus freaks, and Ted wasn't like that. And so, it was interesting for me to understand and say, these are good people. He was reasonable. He was reasonable. He was a normal, every day man. And so, it was hard to stomach, what had happened."
Sawyer: "Yes, and I'm going to have everybody write you, who wants to write about 'holy roller Jesus freaks,' okay? On that phrase. Jerry Falwell. Another of the things you encountered. Giant churches, as we know, some of them stadium sized churches. And he sat down and talked to you about the organization, and how ferocious, how ferociously disciplined it is, and you said you came away with a new found respect."
Jerry Falwell clip: "Evangelicals are the largest majority block in America. It's not a majority, but I don't think you can win without them. I think if you unified, you'll lose if they go against you. John Kerry learned that. Al Gore learned that, and Hillary will learn it in 2008."
Sawyer: "Came away with respect?"
Pelosi: "I came away with so much respect for the evangelical movement because they are so organized. They go to church on Sunday, and then after the service, they meet to -- Colorado marriage amendment, the Florida marriage amendment. They say, this is what we care about and this is what we are going to do. They were so mobilized and so organized, and that is something everybody can learn something from."
Sawyer: "You even said, 'I believe in the culture war and, you know what, if have to take a side I'll take their side. Because if you give me the choice of Paris Hilton or Jesus, I'll take Jesus."
Pelosi: "Well, there's a lot of secular television that provides bad role models for our teenagers. And the church offers a strong foundation of values, which I think is really important for young people."
Sawyer: "So, this is a shift for you. You have a two week old son and you're going to make sure he goes to church?"
Pelosi: "Well, yeah. Yes. It's important for me now. On a personal note, something I took away from this: It is important to expose your children to religion, any religion, whatever is important to you. Because otherwise they'll be called unchurched, and those are the ones who may later in life fall into more extreme religions."
Sawyer: "So you came away a changed person in some ways."
Pelosi: "Nothing like a road trip."
Sawyer: "Nothing like a road trip. And actually meeting the people that you're talking about all the time. Alexandra Pelosi. Again it is called 'Friends of God.' It airs on HBO. And you've done it again."

Okay, so her comments were uttered in the context of keeping children away from more "extreme religions," but perhaps this should be considered progress for the liberal filmmaker.

HBO's page for the film sey to debut Thursday night at 9pm EST/PST: www.hbo.com

Sit-Com's Peek in Brian Williams' Office:
'Katie Couric Sucks'

NBC's Thursday night comedy 30 Rock took some good-natured potshots at NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks."

In a scene on last Thursday's show, "Jack Donaghy," a fictional NBC executive played by Alec Baldwin, finds "Kenneth," an NBC intern played by Jack McBrayer, cleaning an office with Brian Williams's name plate outside the door.

Looking at the mess, which also includes a sock filled with bird seed, Jack is astonished: "Good God, what does that man do in here?"
Mild-mannered Kenneth answers: "I don't know. I've never met Brian Williams, but his dressing room has to be cleaned up every morning between 11:00 and 11:30. That way, when Mr. Williams gets back from the liquor store, it's nice and tidy."

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org, with a screen shot of the "Katie Couric Sucks": newsbusters.org ]

NBC's page for 30 Rock: www.nbc.com

Monday's Broadcasting and Cable got a reaction from Williams, and apparently he wasn't happy about the joke that implied a rivalry with Couric, who left NBC in May. An excerpt:

Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor, may be the most impeccably dressed newsman in the business. But in the alternate NBC universe depicted in the network's comedy 30 Rock, Williams is a consummate slob....

At one point, Kenneth is shown scrubbing the office wall where Williams has apparently scrawled a message to his CBS rival: "Katie Couric Sucks."

When we caught up with Williams last Friday, he told us that 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey, an old pal, had showed him the script weeks ago'€"without the Couric gag.

"It was a heart-stopper to see that on the wall," he said. "I hope my old friend Katie knows that's not really what I do with my free time."

Williams called the send-up "brilliant and hilarious," and noted, for the record, that he's a teetotaler in real life.

Unfortunately, he had to take another call before we could confirm whether or not he's a "Junk in the Trunk" subscriber.

END of Excerpt

The B&C posting in full: www.broadcastingcable.com

-- Brent Baker