2. Nets Spike Independent Counsel's Report on Clintonite Obstruction
3. New York Times: Less Communism = Bad News for Chinese People
4. Daughter of MRC Friend a Miss America Contestant: Saturday on CMT
Now here we are, four days away from hearings starting in Washington into the wiretapping of America's telephones without bothering to get a court order or a warrant, and up pops another tape from Osama bin Laden. Coincidence? Who knows." One viewer endorsed Cafferty's conspiracy theory: "It seems suspicious. Every time the Republicans get into trouble, bin Laden sends a tape. Is it possible bin Laden's working out of the White House?" Earlier, Cafferty took a shot at President Bush's decision to invade Iraq: "The thought of this mutant hanging out in a cave somewhere and sending taped threats to the American people makes me angry. Why wasn't this guy taken care of before we went wandering off into Iraq?"
[This item was posted, with video, Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your views, or to watch the video clip in either RealPlayer or Windows Media format, go to: newsbusters.org  ]
At 4:08pm EST on the January 19 The Situation Room, the MRC's Megan McCormack noticed, by remote from CNN's Manhattan facility Cafferty set up his "Cafferty File" question of the hour:
At 4:55pm EST, Cafferty returned with the e-mailed replies from the audience, the text of which were displayed on screen, ending with a woman who endorsed his conspiracy theory:
In his report released Thursday on Henry Cisneros, Clinton's HUD Secretary for several years who had pled guilty in 1999 to some charges, Independent Counsel David Barrett asserted that his probe was hindered by Clinton administration officials, even after they left office. But the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, which had time for some hardly hot news stories, such as a popular restaurant in New Orleans, didn't utter a word about Barrett's complaint. ABC's World News Tonight allocated 35 seconds to Barrett and Cisneros. Anchor Bob Woodruff pointed out how "Barrett accused Clinton officials of using their power to quote, 'blunt any effort to bring about a full and independent examination.'" Woodruff added: "Critics called Barrett's investigation 'incompetent,' 'wasteful' and 'without merit.'"
Barrett maintained in his report: "Beginning in the summer of 1997, the OIC developed, to the extent it could, evidence concerning efforts by officials of DOJ and the IRS to contain and limit the investigation of Cisneros's actions." Barrett specifically cited Janet Reno and rued: "In the end enough high-ranking officials with enough power were able to blunt any effort to bring about a full and independent examination of Cisneros' possible tax offenses in the face of what seemed to many to be obvious grounds for such an inquiry."
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org  ]
Instead of covering Barrett, the January 19 CBS Evening News aired stories on the argument over who should have access to data in "black boxes"in cars and how "Mother's" restaurant in New Orleans is providing residents with "food locals associate with home." The NBC Nightly News ran full pieces on the Justice Department of subpoena of Google for a random week's data of what users are searching so DOJ can enforce a law on online pornography, how few residents are returning to New Orleans, "the silent threat of a stroke" and NASA's mission to Pluto.
The networks have never been all that interested in the Cisneros case. The MRC's Tim Graham reminded me of a couple of past CyberAlert items on the lack of coverage.
The January 12, 1998 CyberAlert reported:
The January 16, 1998 CyberAlert recounted:
And a December 23, 1997 Media Reality Check by Tim Graham explained:
Back to this week, from San Francisco, World News Tonight anchor Bob Woodruff announced:
In a Thursday AP story, "Longtime Cisneros Probe Comes to Close," Pete Yost explained that "when Barrett went to the Department of Justice seeking to broaden the probe, Attorney General Janet Reno allowed the prosecutor to look into only a single tax year, the report maintains." See: news.yahoo.com 
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has posted a PDF of Barrett's report: www.cadc.uscourts.gov 
Apparently, not even the communists are socialistic enough for the New York Times. The front-page of Saturday's Times featured a large photo of an ill Chinese man with the headline "Wealth Grows, but Health Care Withers in China." The sub-headline explained: "Rural Areas Lag With Fall of Socialized Medicine."
For the January 14 New York Times story: www.nytimes.com 
As for the purported health benefits of Mao's version of communism, estimates of the number of deaths vary widely, but most are in the tens of millions. Check: users.erols.com 
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments: newsbusters.org  ]
But while admitting that more economic freedom has brought prosperity to many in China, French highlighted the victims. At one point, he even suggested that health of the world was being put in jeopardy: "The near total absence of adequate health care in much of the countryside has sown deep resentment among the peasantry while helping to spread infectious diseases like hepatitis and tuberculosis and making the country '€" and the world '€" more vulnerable to epidemics like severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and possibly bird flu."
An excerpt from French's January 14 article:
China's economic reforms have turned an almost uniformly poor nation into an increasingly prosperous one in the space of a mere generation. But the collapse of socialized medicine and staggering cost increases have opened a yawning gap between health care in the cities and the rural areas, where the former system of free clinics has disintegrated....
That China finds itself in this situation today is as remarkable as the country's economic takeoff and, paradoxically, is inseparably related to it. Until the beginning of the reform period in the early 1980's, China's socialized medical system, with "barefoot doctors" at its core, worked public health wonders.
From 1952 to 1982 infant mortality fell from 200 per 1,000 live births to 34, and life expectancy increased from about 35 years to 68, according to a recent study published by The New England Journal of Medicine.
Since then, in one of the great policy reversals of modern times, China has dissolved its rural communes, privatized vast swaths of the economy and shifted public health resources away from rural areas and toward the cities. Public hospitals were urged to charge commercial rates for new drugs and most procedures, and today the salaries of health care workers are typically linked to the amount of income they generate for their hospitals.
More than half of urban residents, by comparison, enjoy some kind of coverage, which is supplied by their employers.
The recent emphasis on profit, meanwhile, has led doctors and other well-trained health care workers to abandon the countryside, with a result that peasants are left at the mercy of unqualified caregivers and outright charlatans who peddle expensive, improperly prescribed drugs and counterfeit medicines.
"From the liberation to the Cultural Revolution, conditions in the rural areas were fairly good," Dr. Wang Weizhong, a physician and member of the National People's Congress from Jilin Province in the northeast, said of the period from 1949 to the 1970's. "There were township clinics in every area, and there was no problem getting at least small illnesses treated everywhere."
Dr. Wang insisted that the government was working hard with its recent health care reforms to address the problems, but agreed that the old public health system that once protected peasants "had dissolved."
END of Excerpt
If you plan to watch the Miss America pageant on Saturday night, consider rooting for Octavia Marie Reese, Miss Michigan, who is the daughter of Marie Kaigler, a friend of the MRC. For over a decade, Kaigler has been a reliable and enthusiastic judge for our annual year-end "Best Notable Quotables: The Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
The Miss America pageant will air live 8 to 10pm EST (5 to 7pm PST) Saturday night, from the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, on Country Music Television (CMT). It will repeat at 11pm EST/8pm PST. CMT's page for its Miss America show: www.cmt.com 
For the Miss America Web site's picture and bio for Reese: missamerica.org 
The CMT Web site provides a more extensive look at the contestants than does the Miss America site. They are java script pop ups, so I can't provide a better address than the CMT link above. Here's the text of CMT's bio:
Octavia Marie Reese is the 23-year-old daughter of Marie and the late James Reese. She is a recent graduate of Hope College in Holland, Mich., where she double majored in classical studies and French and minored in music. Octavia is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and recommendation to assistant-teach English in France, an honor she had to regretfully turn down to accept the fulltime duties of Miss Michigan. Octavia's platform is Building Bridges through International Experiences, which was inspired by her life of cultural immersion.
She began French when she was 3 years old in kindergarten and practiced it at home with her Creole grandmother and namesake, Octavia Boutte Kaigler. Soon, after changing schools, Octavia began studying Spanish, then Japanese in fourth grade with an after-school Japanese club. Throughout the years, she has developed a love for languages. In junior high and high school, Octavia continued French and was able to put it into practice during her first time to Europe in 1998 with a small touring ensemble. Octavia traveled to Europe many times after that, being a part of three international youth ensembles, including Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp's International Youth Symphony Orchestra and Hope College's Symphonette. With the orchestras, Octavia learned the importance of music, the world's only international language.
Proving the success of challenging unique talents, Octavia's cello has taken her across the world. She began playing when she was 3 years old. Since then, she has continued to take private lessons with teachers Richard Piippo of Hope College and Annick Reneze of Le Conservatoire Nationale de la Region de Rennes, perform solo and with chamber ensembles and orchestras such as Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and Dearborn Festival Orchestra.
At the end of her senior year of high school, Octavia was blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad with a missions group and during her first year of college with Hope Vienna Summer School. After her second year at Hope, she toured England and Wales with Hope College Symphonette, and during her junior year, she studied in Rennes, France, for five months. Whether it was music, missions or school, Octavia has traveled to over 15 countries around the world and can communicate in four languages. She has studied modern languages French, Spanish, German and Japanese and dead languages Greek, Latin and Coptic.
Octavia feels that one of our nation's greatest needs is to repair international significance and reputation. Having already spent the past seven years as a student ambassador, she is ready and eager as Miss Michigan to create cultural appreciation around the community. She has experienced life from many points of view, which gives her the advantage of being able to reach out to any area. Regarding her platform, she can relate to Americans who are looking for more cross-cultural involvement and even new Americans whose first language may not be English. Octavia wants to encourage individuals to step away from their normal crowd and create unity across the diverse communities in the United States.
In her spare time, Octavia loves to draw, paint, and dance. She loves to read about ancient mythologies, translate archaic texts, solve logic puzzles and keep illustrated and collaged travel logs. There is never a dull moment whether she is playing with her poodle, Kobe, at her home in Detroit or singing along to oldies on long car rides. On those long drives, she loves to stop along the way and play badminton. She always keeps her racquets and birdies in the car.
END of Excerpt
She's got a lot going on.
I'm not normally a Miss America-watcher, but tomorrow night I think I'll tune in. The MRC staff will be pulling for her.
-- Brent Baker