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Studds Had to Die to Get NBC to Recall His Sex with a Teen Page --10/16/2006


1. Studds Had to Die to Get NBC to Recall His Sex with a Teen Page
Gerry Studds had to die for NBC Nightly News to inform viewers of how the former Democratic Congressman had a sexual relationship with 17-year-old male congressional page, misconduct for which the House in 1983 censured him, but did not prompt Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill and other leaders to force his resignation -- nor raise calls for O'Neill's resignation. Despite the Democratic hypocrisy given their current calls for Speaker Hastert's resignation and investigations of who knew what and when about Mark Foley, Saturday night -- two weeks into the media-fueled scandal -- was the first time, according to Nexis, any NBC News program mentioned Studds' name. Anchor John Seigenthaler, who called Studds "Gary," relayed how "from Massachusetts comes word of the death of former Democratic Congressman Gary Studds, the first openly gay Member of Congress." Seigenthaler then gave the gentlest of descriptions as he avoided the word "sexual" in his one sentence on the matter: "In 1983 the House of Representatives censured Studds for his relationship with a teenage page."

2. Rooney: US Should've Attacked North Korea, Now UN Must Handle It
At the end of Sunday's 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney expressed bafflement over why anyone would worry about a nuclear weapon in the hands of a communist tyrant: "I don't understand why we think it's okay for us to have a nuclear weapon, but it isn't okay for some other countries to have any." And he went on to assert a very naive and dangerous view: "I don't think any country should have nuclear weapons. And that includes ours." Rooney rued that "we're a little late getting exercised about this. North Korea has always been more of a threat to world peace than Iraq ever was and if we were going to attack someone three years ago to make the world safer, we should have attacked North Korea, not Iraq." Rooney acknowledged that the UN has "been an ineffectual organization," but contended that's why "we've got to give it more power and the way to give it more power is to give it more responsibility," so though a minute earlier he suggested the U.S. should have attacked North Korea instead of Iraq, he argued "the UN should take the bomb away from North Korea; we should not."

3. Brokaw Touts Daily-Kos Democrat Over Montana Sen. Burns on NBC
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw returned to the Nightly News set on Thursday night to forecast big trouble in Big Sky country for Montana's Republican Senator, Conrad Burns: "This campaign sums up a lot of the Republican problems nationwide." Brokaw theorized that the country's just tired of less-than-honest GOP majority rule: "For Burns and other GOP candidates across the country, their toughest opponent may be their own party, after six years of White House and congressional rule." He touted Montana's Democrat Governor, Brian Schweitzer, as popular, and projected a Democrat win: Schweitzer "could help pull independents and Republicans across the line for Jon Tester on Election Day and that in effect would change Montana from a red to a blue state. It would be a big change." Brokaw's two local pundits on the race both blasted Bush and the GOP for misleading the country into war in Iraq. Brokaw ignored how Tester's getting major support from far-left outlets like the Daily Kos website and is calling for the outright repeal of the Patriot Act, which is currently the buzz in Montana.

4. Gregory Impersonates Bush's Rejoinder to Him for Speaking French
As a guest on Friday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory, to illustrate how he's observed that during press conferences President George W. Bush "particularly likes to kind of pop your bubble or tweak you a little bit," impersonated Bush as he recalled the President's reaction to him -- "as if I'd committed a war crime" -- switching to French to pose a question to French President Chirac. At the Sunday, May 26, 2002 joint press conference in Paris, Gregory had asked Chirac to also respond to the question he had just posed to Bush about why "there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you" and why "there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world?" Chuckling, Bush quipped: "That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!" On the Tonight Show, interspersing his best impression of Bush -- which was pretty good -- Gregory spent about two minutes describing the event and how Bush, to the bafflement of Chirac and others, kidded him about it long afterward. AUDIO&VIDEO

5. Liberals Attack Zucker's Spoof, But Here's Albright in N. Korea
FNC's The Big Story and Special Report with Brit Hume on Thursday evening noted how YouTube users had ganged up to flag as "inappropriate" a humorous 90-second video by director David Zucker that mocked the Democrats for their approach to international bad guys like Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong-Il. In real life, NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell accompanied Madeliene Albright on her trip to North Korea: "As Albright and Kim say goodbye at a farewell dinner, she tells him to call anytime; he asks her for her e-mail address. And her gift to this reclusive leader? An autographed Michael Jordan basketball. Clearly, say U.S. officials, Kim, an avid basketball fan is a lot less isolated than his people. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Pyongyang, North Korea."

6. You Read It Here First and Gabler Suggests MRC Should Seek Osama
On this past weekend's Fox News Watch on FNC, liberal panelist Neal Gabler, rejecting the Media Research Center's contention of liberal bias in coverage of North Korea's nuclear test, damned the MRC with faint praise in ridiculing the MRC's mission: "MRC can find a needle in a hay stack. We ought to sic them to find Osama bin Laden because they always find what they're looking for, and liberal bias is what they're looking for." Host Eric Burns had set up the lead segment: "The Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, charges that some American news organizations are, to an extent, defending the action [atomic test] because North Korea is worried about an attack from the United States and hopes the bomb tests will be a deterrent." Conservative panelist Cal Thomas pointed out how "ABC's Mark Litke made this point on World News Tonight." Indeed, an October 10 MRC CyberAlert article, posted the night before as a NewsBusters item, "ABC: North Korea Has Rational 'Historic Fear' of U.S. Worsened by Bush's 'Axis of Evil,'" detailed Litke's October 9 story.


Studds Had to Die to Get NBC to Recall
His Sex with a Teen Page

Gerry Studds had to die for NBC Nightly News to inform viewers of how the former Democratic Congressman had a sexual relationship with 17-year-old male congressional page, misconduct for which the House in 1983 censured him, but did not prompt Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill and other leaders to force his resignation -- nor raise calls for O'Neill's resignation. Despite the Democratic hypocrisy given their current calls for Speaker Hastert's resignation and investigations of who knew what and when about Mark Foley, Saturday night -- two weeks into the media-fueled scandal -- was the first time, according to Nexis, any NBC News program mentioned Studds' name.

Anchor John Seigenthaler, who called Studds "Gary," relayed how "from Massachusetts comes word of the death of former Democratic Congressman Gary Studds, the first openly gay Member of Congress." Seigenthaler then gave the gentlest of descriptions as he avoided the word "sexual" in his one sentence on the matter: "In 1983 the House of Representatives censured Studds for his relationship with a teenage page." [A CyberAlert reader I trust has advised: "'Gary' Studds is correct. Like the long-ago pol for whom he was named, Elbridge Gerry, the name is pronounced with a hard 'g.'"]

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

ABC does not produce an evening newscast on Saturdays during college football season and college football bumps the CBS Evening News on Saturdays in the Eastern and Central time zones.

As I recall, early in the week of October 2, the ABC and CBS evening newscasts made very brief mentions of the 1983 cases of Democrat Studds, who went on to repeatedly win re-election, and Republican Dan Crane, who also had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old congressional page -- but a girl -- and lost in his next primary. CNN's Jeff Greenfield put together a full story on Studds, Crane and the history of sexual scandals on Capitol Hill.

For how ABC News, which broke the Foley story, treated Studds back in 1983, check the October 6 CyberAlert item, "ABC on Studds: Only 'A Strong Sense of Loyalty' from Voters," online at: www.mrc.org

The brief item on the October 14 NBC Nightly News, as announced by anchor John Seigenthaler:
"From Massachusetts comes word of the death of former Democratic Congressman Gary Studds, the first openly gay Member of Congress. In 1983 the House of Representatives censured Studds for his relationship with a teenage page. Still, he won re-election until his retirement in 1997. Studds collapsed last week and was recovering in Boston at a hospital when doctors say he succumbed to a blood clot. Gary Studds was 69."

The Boston Globe's obituary for Studds, on Sunday's front page, noted: "As the Foley scandal unfolded and he abruptly resigned from the House, Republicans in Washington accused Democrats of hypocrisy, saying they had not spoken out in 1983 when Studds was censured. At the time, he called it 'a serious error,' but refused to resign."

For that Boston Globe obituary: www.boston.com

[Oh, and on the Harry Reid scandal, zilch again Friday on the three broadcast network evening newscasts: CBS gave 15 seconds to the report of an investigation about a 1996 camping trip in which Congressman Jim Kolbe accompanied some former congressional pages and ABC, which allocated nearly two minutes to the guilty plea from former Congressman Bob Ney, spent about 15 seconds on Congressman John Shimkus appearing before the ethics committee. NBC gave about 25 seconds to Ney, but nothing to any Foley-related matter.]

Rooney: US Should've Attacked North Korea,
Now UN Must Handle It

At the end of Sunday's 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney expressed bafflement over why anyone would worry about a nuclear weapon in the hands of a communist tyrant: "I don't understand why we think it's okay for us to have a nuclear weapon, but it isn't okay for some other countries to have any." And he went on to assert a very naive and dangerous view: "I don't think any country should have nuclear weapons. And that includes ours." Noting how many "are in a tizzy" over North Korea's nuclear weapon test, Rooney rued that "we're a little late getting exercised about this. North Korea has always been more of a threat to world peace than Iraq ever was and if we were going to attack someone three years ago to make the world safer, we should have attacked North Korea, not Iraq."

He then rationalized how "it's not hard to understand why North Korea wants the bomb. If we Americans lived in North Korea instead of here, do you think we'd be in favor of our little country having it? You're darn right we would." Rooney acknowledged that the UN has "been an ineffectual organization," but contended that's why "we've got to give it more power and the way to give it more power is to give it more responsibility," so though a minute earlier he suggested the U.S. should have attacked North Korea instead of Iraq, he argued "the UN should take the bomb away from North Korea; we should not."

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

Rooney's commentary at the end of the October 15 60 Minutes, based on the text posted on CBSNews.com: (www.cbsnews.com ), but corrected to match what he actually said on the program:

"I served in the United States Army for four years during World War II, so I never feel I have to worry about sounding unpatriotic when I'm critical of something my country does. Right now, I don't understand why we think it's okay for us to have a nuclear weapon, but it isn't okay for some other countries to have any. I don't think any country should have nuclear weapons. And that includes ours.
"Seven countries admit having them. They are the United States, Great Britain, Russia, France, China, India and Pakistan. Israel may have them, but hasn't said so. North Korea has recently set off a nuclear bomb of some kind, and the leaders of the countries with the bomb -- that includes us -- are in a tizzy about that.
"We're a little late getting exercised about this. North Korea has always been more of a threat to world peace than Iraq ever was and if we were going to attack someone three years ago to make the world safer, we should have attacked North Korea, not Iraq.
"We're not so much afraid that North Korea will use the bomb against us as we are that they'll sell their nuclear technology to some little country or group of individuals who will use it on us. It could happen. It's not hard to understand why North Korea wants the bomb. If we Americans lived in North Korea instead of here, do you think we'd be in favor of our little country having it? You're darn right we would.
"President Bush did the right thing when he presented the United Nations with our complaint against North Korea instead of declaring war on them. I'm not a big fan of the UN. It's been an ineffectual organization, but we've got to give it more power and the way to give it more power is to give it more responsibility. The UN should take the bomb away from North Korea; we should not.
"I've said it, and I'm glad."

Brokaw Touts Daily-Kos Democrat Over
Montana Sen. Burns on NBC

Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw returned to the Nightly News set on Thursday night to forecast big trouble in Big Sky country for Montana's Republican Senator, Conrad Burns: "This campaign sums up a lot of the Republican problems nationwide." Brokaw theorized that the country's just tired of less-than-honest GOP majority rule: "For Burns and other GOP candidates across the country, their toughest opponent may be their own party, after six years of White House and congressional rule."

He touted Montana's Democrat Governor, Brian Schweitzer, as popular, and projected a Democrat win: Schweitzer "could help pull independents and Republicans across the line for Jon Tester on Election Day and that in effect would change Montana from a red to a blue state. It would be a big change." Brokaw's two local pundits on the race both blasted Bush and the GOP for misleading the country into war in Iraq. Brokaw ignored how Tester's getting major support from far-left outlets like the Daily Kos website and is calling for the outright repeal of the Patriot Act, which is currently the buzz in Montana.
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Several factoids were left out of this Montana story. First, as CyberAlert recounted last year, Brokaw has property in Montana, including a dude ranch purchased with former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. He also owns a ranch just south of Big Timber, Montana, near Billings. See: www.mrc.org

Second, in early 2005, Capitol Hill newspapers buzzed about Brokaw the Montanan as a possible Democratic opponent for Sen. Burns. The Hill newspaper reported:
"Among the Democrats who could challenge Burns -- or [potential nominee Rep. Dennis] Rehberg -- are former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who owns a ranch in Montana; Phil Jackson, former coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, who also lives in Montana; state Auditor John Morrison; state Senate President John Tester; and former state House Speaker Dan Kemmis." See: www.hillnews.com

Perhaps out of deference to the new anchorman, there was no promotion of Brokaw's story at the October 12 show's opening, and he arrived on set about ten minutes in. Brian Williams:
"And now to the mid-term elections just over one month away. Political pros are watching a handful of very tight, important races across this country. One of them is the senate race in montana it involves a veteran incumbent whose name has come up in the Abramoff Washington lobbying scandal and we around here figured who better to cover politics in montana than Tom Brokaw who was just back from there. Tom, welcome."
Brokaw: "Thanks, Brian. Brian, Montana's Republican Senator, Conrad Burns, is running for his fourth term at a time when the state seems to be having growing doubts about the Bush administration. Fully half of Montanans polled in a recent survey said they thought the nation was headed in the wrong direction. Only a third thought it was on the right course. So this campaign sums up a lot of the Republican problems nationwide."

This is a classic tactic that the networks also used in 2004. Pollsters routinely found that more people thought the country was moving in the wrong direction in 2004. (In early October, Newsweek's poll was 40 percent right direction, 55 percent wrong; AP found 40 percent right, 56 percent wrong; NBC's own poll of registered voters in mid-October 2004 found 39 percent right direction, 48 percent wrong.) But that didn't mean John Kerry was elected. The numbers are presently bleaker than 2004's, but conservatives can say the country's going downhill and still vote Republican. Brokaw began in Bozeman:
"Homecoming at Montana State University and Senator Conrad Burns has a hard ride in rough weather in his re-election campaign. Charges of Republican Party corruption, growing doubts about Iraq, and a general feeling Washington is dysfunctional, have given Democrat Jon Tester, a farmer and state legislator, a seven-point lead in the latest poll. Montana is no longer a solid red-for-Republican state. President Bush carried the state of montana twice by a wide margin, but these days, Montanans are not giving his administration any parades. Billings [Gazette] newspaper columnist Jim Gransberry."
Gransberry: "I think there's a sense, not just in Montana, but elsewhere in the country too, that people in Washington, DC have not been playing straight when it comes to the war in Iraq, or the war against terrorism."
Brokaw: "Burns supports the President's policy on Iraq. Tester wants to find a formula to get out. Yet, even though this is yellow-ribbon country, Iraq is not the number one topic. [To Burns] Senator, what's going to be the defining issue in this race between you and Jon Tester?
Burns: "I think the way we look at taxation and taxes, especially here in Montana, and I think the way we use our natural resources, and this type of thing."
Tester: "Kitchen-table issues like energy and health care are huge issues. I think honesty and integrity is a baseline issue."Brokaw: That's Tester's big theme. After Burns was identified as the number one recipient of campaign funds from the disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff-"
Montana Democratic Party ad: "Burns is delivering all right, but not for Montana."
Brokaw: "-Burns insists he's weathered the worst of the attacks."
Burns: "The issues -- we're on the right side of the issues, we're on the right side for Montana."
Brokaw: "The GOP has struck back by sending in party all-stars to campaign with burns and he's raised $7 million -- more than $100 for every voter in the state. At one point, Republicans accused Tester of having a conservative haircut but liberal values."
End of GOP ad: "Didn't leave much of a tip, either."
Brokaw didn't ask if Tester if he's liberal: "If you get elected, are you going change your haircut?"
Tester: "No, absolutely not."

If the network anchors want to say they're all about substance and style, why couldn't Brokaw get beyond the buzz-cut? Brokaw ignored how Tester's getting major support from far-left outlets like the Daily Kos website and is calling for the outright repeal of the Patriot Act, which is currently the buzz in Billings, where Brokaw's story was based. At the top of Friday's "reader favorites" at BillingsGazette.com is reporter Mike Dennison's analysis of the latest GOP ad script:
Narrator: "Who supports Jon Tester? Tester is backed by extremists who share his cut-and-run position in Iraq. (He) took nearly $100,000 from a group that mocked American deaths. Tester is backed by radicals that want to close bases like Malmstrom...and environmental extremists who want to stop logging and tear down dams. And Tester votes 92 percent with radicals who would cripple energy production in Montana. That's who supports Jon Tester."

The most interesting part of Dennison's analysis, which mostly lays out the Burns facts, and then allows Tester's liberal allies to rebut, is this paragraph on Kos:
"The group said to have 'mocked American deaths' is actually one person: Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, a Gulf War Army veteran and attorney who runs one of the nation's most prominent political Web logs, the Daily Kos. Moulitsas has contributed $725 to Tester's campaign, and the blog and related groups have helped raise an additional $120,000 for Tester by using the Internet to tell sympathetic individuals to contribute to his campaign. In April 2004, Moultisas posted a comment on the Daily Kos that said he 'feels nothing' for the deaths of four American security contractors killed that week in Fallujah, Iraq. 'They aren't in Iraq because of orders or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place,' he wrote. 'They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.' Moulitsas told the Gazette State Bureau that he wasn't mocking the deaths, but rather that he was angry that the media that day had publicized the deaths of the civilian 'mercenaries' while ignoring the deaths of five Marines. 'My No. 1 priority is our men and women in uniform, not mercenaries who make life difficult for them in Iraq,' he said.

See: www.billingsgazette.net

Tester also recently declared in a debate that he wants the Patriot Act repealed. Gwen Florio reported in The Great Falls Tribune on September 24:
"Burns said he also supported programs monitoring international telephone calls against those suspected of terrorism. 'He wants to weaken the Patriot Act,' he said of Tester.
"Tester sought to clarify: 'I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act, I want to repeal it. What it does, it takes away your freedom ...and when you take away our freedoms, the terrorists have won," Tester said.
"He came back to the subject near the end of the debate, when Burns tried to link him to New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is, Burns said, pro-gun-control. 'With things like the Patriot Act,' Tester said, 'We'd damn well better keep our guns.'"

See: www.greatfallstribune.com

Brokaw tried to insist the real issue in the race was disgust with a dishonest GOP:
"But in the end, this race may not be settled by haircuts or the debates or the ads. For Burns and other GOP candidates across the country, their toughest opponent may be their own party, after six years of White House and Congressional rule. Sven Maaland [sp?], a lifelong Republican, was sheriff of Sweet Grass County, Montana, for 30 years and he's disappointed in the President.
Maaland: "They showed him there were no weapons of mass destruction, he still insists they're there, basically. I mean, when you can't admit you're wrong, something's wrong."
Brokaw: "And you're an old Republican."
Maaland: "I am an old Republican. And I'll probably vote a lot of Republican. But I'm not, I'm going to change some votes this year."
Brokaw: "A tough road ahead for the Republican incumbent in Big Sky country."

Notice Brokaw did not ask Maaland if he was voting against Burns. It's merely implied. Brokaw did not explain how he didn't have much of a commute for this interview. Brokaw's ranch is just south of Big Timber, the county seat of Sweet Grass County, so this would have been his local sheriff.

Brokaw concluded cheerfully, back on the set: "Brian, while the Bush administration is getting very mixed reviews in Montana, the state's Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer, is getting high marks at the same time. Of course, that could help pull independents and Republicans across the line for Jon Tester on Election Day and that in effect would change Montana from a red to a blue state. It would be a big change."

Gregory Impersonates Bush's Rejoinder
to Him for Speaking French

As a guest on Friday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory, to illustrate how he's observed that during press conferences President George W. Bush "particularly likes to kind of pop your bubble or tweak you a little bit," impersonated Bush as he recalled the President's reaction to him -- "as if I'd committed a war crime" -- switching to French to pose a question to French President Chirac. At the


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More See & Hear the Bias

Sunday, May 26, 2002 joint press conference in Paris, Gregory had asked Chirac to also respond to the question he had just posed to Bush about why "there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you" and why "there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world?" Chuckling, Bush quipped: "That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!" On the Tonight Show, interspersing his best impression of Bush -- which was pretty good -- Gregory spent about two minutes describing the event and how Bush, to the bafflement of Chirac and others, kidded him about it long afterward.

This item was posted, with video, Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The video of Gregory will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert item, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video -- or MP3 audio -- go to: newsbusters.org

David Gregory Back in 2002, an MRC CyberAlert addressed media reaction to the incident (condemnatory of Bush's attitude) and included video from MSNBC of the exchange between Gregory and Bush. The 52 second video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, go to the May 30, 2002 CyberAlert to see a fairly low-quality (45 kbps) streaming Real clip: www.mrc.org

An excerpt from the Thursday, May 30, 2002 CyberAlert posting:

A "testy" outburst from President George W. Bush who had a "hissy fit" while responding with a voice "dripping with sarcasm"?

That's the way some leading journalists characterized how President Bush reacted to NBC News reporter David Gregory, at a press conference on Sunday in France, briefly switching to French to ask President Chirac to also respond to the question he had just posed to Bush about why "there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you" and why "there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world?"

In fact, a review of the tape shows that while Bush may have been a bit surprised by Gregory's first time display of multi-lingualism, "testiness" or "hissy fit" are not accurate descriptions of his reaction. Chuckling, Bush quipped: "That's very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental!" Bush laughed as the press corps in attendance also erupted in laughter. After six seconds of laughter from both the reporters and Bush, the President cracked: "I'm impressed. Que bueno. Now I'm literate in two languages."

"Que bueno" is "how wonderful" in Spanish.

Bush did not display any outward sign of anger, yet on Wednesday's Good Morning America Claire Shipman asserted that Bush got "testy at a colleague of mine." In Tuesday's New York Times, reporter David Sanger contended that Gregory "appeared to raise Mr. Bush's ire" as Bush responded in a "voice dripping with sarcasm." Wednesday in the New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd castigated Bush for having "a hissy fit" and "a petit fit."

After CNN's Judy Woodruff referred on Tuesday's Inside Politics to how "President Bush showed a little testiness this week" at the press conference in France, Jeff Greenfield treated it as the latest example of a President lashing out in anger at the media. Greenfield used it as a launching pad to recall what truly were angry responses from previous Presidents, such as 41 with Dan Rather, Nixon with Rather and Clinton lecturing Brit Hume.

David Gregory thought Bush reacted with humor. Gregory told Don Imus on Tuesday morning: "He was very funny. He's very quick with the one-liner. I just thought it was so funny given that he speaks Spanish so often that he would go after me for that."

"He wasn't as hacked off as I had heard from, had read about in the newspapers," Fred Barnes observed on Tuesday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC after seeing the actual exchange for the first time. Barnes thought, however, that Bush "seemed a little irritated. He's obviously tired..."

END of Excerpt

Liberals Attack Zucker's Spoof, But Here's
Albright in N. Korea

FNC's The Big Story and Special Report with Brit Hume on Thursday evening noted how YouTube users had ganged up to flag as "inappropriate" a humorous 90-second video by director David Zucker that mocked the Democrats for their approach to international bad guys like Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong-Il.

Zucker's video began with a shot of an actress playing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. The announcer gravely intoned: "In the year 2000, in an effort to stop the North Koreans from building nuclear weapons, President Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il a basketball signed by Michael Jordan." After "Albright" hands "Kim" a basketball, the two share a champagne toast. An on-screen graphic informs: "We're Not Making This Up."

Another scene showed the fake Kim gleefully slam dunking the basketball, as the announcer got to the point: "In a post 9/11 world, making nice to our enemies will not make them nice to us. On the contrary, to them it is a sign of weakness....The security of the United States is not a game. Can we afford a party that treats it like one?"

To show how pathetic the Democrats have become, Zucker's video showed "Albright" mowing the lawn outside a North Korean nuclear plant, shaking a pair of pom-poms as Kim plays basketball, and singing Kumbayah with a couple of Middle-Eastern looking men while a bunch of guys with suicide bomb vests sneak out of a backdoor.

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For the video on YouTube: www.youtube.com

As Hume explained on Thursday's "Grapevine" segment of his Special Report:
"Hollywood filmmaker David Zucker has produced a satirical political ad that depicts former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright giving a basketball to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and cheering for him in a game, mowing the grass outside a North Korean nuclear facility, painting a cave for Osama bin Laden -- there you, there you see the grass -- and changing a tire for a terrorist. Republicans decided not to use it, but someone posted it on the video-sharing site YouTube."
"But soon YouTube flagged it, meaning that viewers first saw an advisory telling them the video was inappropriate for some users, a warning usually reserved for profane or sexually explicit material. YouTube is catching heat for this and has since removed the advisory. A spokeswoman couldn't say why the video was originally flagged."

FNC's The Big Story also explored the YouTube censorship issue, with host John Gibson interviewing David Zucker.

The cave-painting and lawn-mowing is just a joke, but what about that basketball? In real life, NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell accompanied Albright on her trip to North Korea. Here's how she ended her report on the October 24, 2000 edition of MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams (remember that?):
"As Albright and Kim say goodbye at a farewell dinner, she tells him to call anytime; he asks her for her e-mail address. And her gift to this reclusive leader? An autographed Michael Jordan basketball. Clearly, say U.S. officials, Kim, an avid basketball fan is a lot less isolated than his people. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Pyongyang, North Korea."

The final pictures of Mitchell's news story showed Albright, Kim and their aides sharing a champagne toast, everyone smiling broadly.

In the Zucker spoof, "Albright" wore a bright blue suit; in real life, the Secretary wore a black suit with a gold pin. But the smiles and the champagne were a match.

All that was missing were the pom-poms.

You Read It Here First and Gabler Suggests
MRC Should Seek Osama

On this past weekend's Fox News Watch on FNC, liberal panelist Neal Gabler, rejecting the Media Research Center's contention of liberal bias in coverage of North Korea's nuclear test, damned the MRC with faint praise in ridiculing the MRC's mission: "MRC can find a needle in a hay stack. We ought to sic them to find Osama bin Laden because they always find what they're looking for, and liberal bias is what they're looking for."

Host Eric Burns had set up the lead segment: "The Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, charges that some American news organizations are, to an extent, defending the action [atomic test] because North Korea is worried about an attack from the United States and hopes the bomb tests will be a deterrent." Conservative panelist Cal Thomas pointed out how "ABC's Mark Litke made this point on World News Tonight." Indeed, an October 10 MRC CyberAlert article, posted the night before as a NewsBusters item, "ABC: North Korea Has Rational 'Historic Fear' of U.S. Worsened by Bush's 'Axis of Evil,'" detailed Litke's October 9 story.

Panelist Jim Pinkerton, a columnist for Newsday, also cited the Washington Post news analysis, "Bush's 'Axis of Evil' Comes Back to Haunt United States," which the October 12 CyberAlert recounted: www.mrc.org

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

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down the references to the MRC, and Gabler's retort, at the top of FNC's Fox News Watch first aired at 6:30pm EDT Saturday, October 14:

Eric Burns set up the segment: "North Korea claims that it set off a nuclear bomb last weekend, and its President, Kim Jong Il, says that more are coming. The Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, charges that some American news organizations are, to an extent, defending the action because North Korea is worried about an attack from the United States and hopes the bomb tests will be a deterrent. Let me be more blunt about it, Cal. Some conservatives in the press think some liberals in the press are justifying the Korean bomb because Bush is a warmonger and they have to do what they can to keep Bush out of their country."

Cal Thomas confirmed: "Well, this is nothing new, and doesn't relate only to Bush. I mean, ABC's Mark Litke made this point on World News Tonight, Andrea Mitchell got close to it on NBC. This isn't something that is unique to Bush and the current situation. There is a presumption in much of the media that what America does affects what others do or that if we, people are denied certain things, and if we just give them what they want, they'll leave us alone. The Neville Chamberlain going to Munich ought to be a good enough example of that, but you get this in the media, that somehow the reason people hate us is that we're not giving them what they want. And I think that is a false diagnosis."

But Neal Gabler countered: "I look at it very, very differently. First of all, MRC can find a needle in a hay stack. We ought to sic them to find Osama bin Laden because they always find what they're looking for, and liberal bias is what they're looking for."

The October 10 CyberAlert posting began:
"ABC's Mark Litke, checking in from Seoul on Monday's World News, seemed to rationalize North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's pursuit of a nuclear weapon as he treated as credible the contention the regime has had, for decades, a reasonable fear of U.S. invasion, a fear exacerbated by President George W. Bush. Litke proposed: 'It's difficult to imagine Kim Jong Il as a clever and calculating leader who knows exactly what he wants, but, in fact, he may be much smarter than most people realize.' Litke soon outlined, leading into a soundbite from Clinton administration UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, how 'Kim has justified his missile tests and nuclear program as a deterrent to what he sees as an eventual U.S. invasion. It's a longstanding fear dating back to the Korean War when Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, feared the U.S. would use nuclear weapons against his country. That historic fear was reinforced 50 years later when the U.S. labeled North Korea part of an Axis of Evil with Iran and Iraq. Kim Jong Il feared he would always be next after Iraq.'"

For the rest of the October 10 CyberAlert article: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker