Rather's Warming Mantra; Hillary Quiz Scandal; A&E's 224 Year Old Bias
1) Global warming "is real and it is underway" Dan Rather announced for the third time this week on Thursday night as John Roberts featured a liberal activist who warned we all might die if we don't follow Clinton's policy to reduce greenhouse emissions.
2) Jeffrey Toobin denigrated Linda Tripp as "very odious," but Today's Matt Lauer relayed how in his book he wrote that Clinton's friends said they believe Clinton "would never have admitted his relationship with Lewinsky had [Monica] not kept genetic proof."
3) Did Hillary have help answering Letterman's quiz? Her aide says yes, then no. FNC says yes. On Letterman, Hillary declared: "If I can make it here I can make it anywhere." CBS's Diana Olick agreed: "And that was the real truth."
4) A debate bias test. Last Saturday Democrats got set-up questions and were never pressed from the right. This Saturday the same sponsors and moderator will host a Republican debate. Will they be as easy and will they avoid pushing from the left?
>>> Now online on the MRC's Web site: The MagazineWatch
reviewing this week's news weeklies. The items in the issue put together by
the MRC's Paul Smith:
Corrections: The January 13 CyberAlert  cited how Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank "explained in her January 12-datelined dispatch." In fact, Milbank is a he. The same issue also detailed an ABC story about schools in France which give out "morning after bills." That should have read "pills."
For the third time this week, on Thursday night the CBS Evening News ran a story on the fresh "news" that global warming "is real and underway." Thursday's story gave a seven word clause in one sentence to noting that there are doubters -- just before running a soundbite from a liberal activist who warned that warming may cause some societies on the planet to die off.
Let's review how CBS anchor Dan Rather stretched the same "news" into three days of news by reciting his CBS Evening News story introductions:
Monday, January 10: "U.S. government climate
experts tell CBS News that they now believe global warming is real and
For this latest effort to legitimize the political
position of Al Gore, CBS Reporter John Roberts began:
Roberts cited no "evidence" before putting on
White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who insisted: "This is one of
the biggest challenges the country and the world face over the course of the
Roberts continued: "And America, the world's
biggest polluter, is stuck on what to do about it. An international treaty,
which would cut greenhouse gas emissions to pre-1990 levels, has not been
ratified by Congress. Industry groups have lobbied that the only way to
achieve those targets is to cut energy use; a move they say would strangle the
Indeed, the Kyoto treaty has not been ratified because
the Clinton administration has yet to submit it to the Senate. After that
distortion, Roberts bore in on Republicans:
Over on Thursday's NBC Nightly News reporter Robert
Hager also raised global warming. After reporting on how Boston finally got
snow after a record snow-less 303 days while Southern California is having a
drought and the Northwest has more snow than normal, Hager asserted: "All
this against a general backdrop of global warming, which some say upsets
normal weather even more."
ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who maintains in his new book that Hillary Clinton was "more right than wrong" about the vast right-wing conspiracy, told Today's Matt Lauer how if it weren't for Linda Tripp's prescient advice to Monica Lewinsky to save the dress, Clinton would never have conceded he and Lewinsky had any type of sexual activity.
As noted in the January 13 CyberAlert, Toobin's
January 12 Good Morning America appearance concentrated on his disgust for
conservatives and how impeachment was overkill. To see a video clip of this
discussion, go to:
Thursday's Today appearance covered that material as well, but Matt Lauer also raised some material in Toobin's book, A Vast Conspiracy, which shows how Linda Tripp really is the hero of the whole scandal, though Toobin denigrated her as "odious."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed this illuminating
Wrapping up the interview, Lauer picked up a more scary
anecdote in the book: "You drop another bomb in the book. Just quickly as
we leave. Hillary Clinton, if she wins the Senate seat in New York, you say
she's running for President."
Did she or didn't she? Did Hillary Clinton get help beforehand with the quiz answers she went five for five in answering from David Letterman Wednesday night? It seems to be a evolving story with her spokesman telling a different story to different reporters while Letterman's staff coyly avoids providing a definitive answer. Meanwhile, Hillary earned rave reviews from the media for her performance.
Below, in order of occurrence, are the varying answers I saw as to whether Hillary got a preview ahead of time of the quiz questions about the New York state bird, state tree, highest mountain range, Great Lakes which border the state and number of counties.
-- Adam Nagourney's news story in the January 13 New
-- Wolfson appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America
in the 7am half hour, allowing Diane Sawyer to pick up on that concession, but
Wolfson changed his story, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth observed.
If only we had some "genetic" evidence.
-- Rick Leventhal in a story on FNC's 6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume: "But it turns out Hillary had a little extra help. She was told about the quiz in advance. Letterman's producers explained they'd never ambush a guest because it's an entertainment show."
Seemingly alluding to this controversy, on Thursday's Late Show Letterman repeatedly referred to Executive Producer Rob Burnett as "H.R. 'Bob' Haldeman."
No matter what the deal on the quiz, she certainly had help with the Top Ten list she read, "Top Ten Reasons I, Hillary Clinton, Finally Decided to Appear on the Late Show." Kimberly Izzo of the Late Show told Scripps Howard News Service reporter Thomas Hargrove: "The 'Top Ten' list was a collaboration between her people and some of our writers."
Hillary's appearance earned the approval of CBS's
Diana Olick, who gushed on Thursday's The Early Show: "Yes, the very
serious candidate for the New York Senate was funny."
Back from the taped piece, co-host Jane Clayson asked:
"Does a stunt like this change your image?"
A viewer's guide for Saturday's Republican presidential debate in Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public TV. As recounted in previous CyberAlerts, as moderators of recent GOP debates NBC's Tim Russert and Brian Williams have demanded the candidates answer hostile questions from the left, but since neither man has moderated a Democratic debate it's not been possible to see whether they would have treated Democrats any differently.
Saturday's Iowa debate presents an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast two identical events sponsored by the same two entities. Last Saturday, Des Moines Register Editor Dennis Ryerson moderated a Democratic debate. On Saturday he takes on the Republicans.
So below, thanks to some help from MRC intern Ken Shepherd, are all the questions Democrats were asked on January 8 which you can compare to the types of questions posed to Republicans. As you'll notice, most are set-up questions, without an agenda, just prompting the candidates to address an issue. No controversies were raised, such as the Gore and Bradley statements days earlier about gays in the military and Gore was not asked about his past fundraising efforts. Keep that in mind if McCain or Bush are pressed about fundraising and/or McCain's FCC letters.
The Democrats were explicitly pressed from the left twice. An audience member asked about human services versus military spending and, reading a letter, the moderator asked about the supposed gender gap in pay. But neither candidate got a question from the right. Therefore, if the debate hosts follow the same standard, Republicans will not be asked any question from the left side of their party and should be pressed twice from the right.
Here are all the questions posed to the two Democrats last Saturday:
-- Ryerson: "One of the questions we received is from Margaret Rooney (sp?) of Des Moines. And here's what she wrote to me: 'My entire Social Security check, $702 a month, goes for health care expenses. $470 is spent on supplementary insurance -- I'm sorry, on prescription drugs; $182 is spent on supplemental insurance; and the last $50 is owed to an ambulance company which charged me $378 for a five-mile trip to the emergency room. Now, Medicare refused my claim, in spite of my doctor's writing two letters stating that my injury was a medical emergency. What are you prepared to do to help me?'"
-- Ryerson: "Here's an agriculture question from David Schoenbaum (sp?), who lives in Iowa City. He writes: 'Candidates from both parties have told The Des Moines Register that they support genetic engineering, something Iowa agriculture is heavily invested in. We're also heavily dependent on exports, as both of you know. But, genetically engineered products meet heavy resistance in European countries and in Japan. Now a century ago, we could deploy our ships and threaten to shoot if other nations didn't open up their markets. What can we do today?'"
-- Ryerson: "Let's go to another question from a reader now. This one's from Roger Sitterly (sp?) from Des Moines. And he wants to know, 'Under what circumstances should U.S. armed forces be used for international peacekeeping, and under whose command?'"
-- Question from a female community college students in the audience: "I'm studying for a position in the human services field, and this is one of the first areas to be cut when money gets tight. If we beef up the military, as many candidates are suggesting, where will we get money for human services and other important areas?"
-- Ryerson: "Here's a question from Ken Shy (ph). He's a retired school superintendent from Nevada, Iowa. 'If elected President, what would you do that would result in improved learning for all students in public school classrooms?'"
-- Male college student: "What would you intend to do about the increase in school violence, particularly the lack of guidance at home for children regarding what they see and hear?"
-- Ryerson: "Here's another question from a reader, Liz Gilbert (sp?) of Iowa Falls, and here's what she wrote to me. 'Regardless of who is President, monied corporate special interests still will lobby for and receive special favors where the so-called little guy is ignored. Why should the average American care what happens in this election?'"
-- Ryerson: "Here's one more question from a reader, and we won't have time for a rebuttal on this one. As you know, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported that, for every dollar a man makes a woman makes something like 73 cents. Kathy Neale (sp?) of Ankanee (sp?) is president of the Business and Professional Women of Iowa. And she asks: 'As President, what would you do to ensure that working families do not suffer as a result of the gender wage gap?'"
Saturday's GOP debate in Iowa is at 1pm CT, 2pm ET, and will be carried live by CNN, C-SPAN, FNC and PBS.
Ever imagine how the Revolutionary War might have been portrayed each night  by Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News? Well, a new A&E movie run Monday night and set to repeat Saturday night, offers a troubling projection.
Bottom line: Hired Hessian soldiers were no different in what they were fighting for than George Washington and the Continental Army's soldiers. But that spin is no surprise when you learn that the screenplay was written by a communist. Really. A man who regularly wrote for the Daily Worker and once penned a book titled, Being Red.
Before we get to the bias in question, a little history
to catch everyone up. Here's how the A&E Web site describes their two
hour movie starring Jeff Daniels as George Washington, which first ran Monday
A CyberAlert reader alerted me to an incredible scene which I confirmed actually was shown in the movie. In the battle the Hessian commander, Colonel Rall, is shot. Continental Army General Nathaniel Greene is sent to tell Washington he should see Rall before he dies.
As the two sit on horseback beside each other, viewers hear this exchange between actor David Ferry as General Greene and Jeff Daniels as Washington:
Greene: "General Washington, Colonel Rall is dying.
General Mercer says you cannot let him die without speaking to him. It's a
courtesy of war."
That's right, a rag-tag army fighting for freedom from
onerous British taxation is really seeking "profit" on par with
those hired to travel the world to fight wars. Who sees American history this
way? Check out the bio on A&E's Web site for the movie's screenwriter,
For the complete bio, go to:
The two hour movie, The Crossing, will run twice on
Saturday night, January 15, at:
+++ Friday afternoon the MRC's Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of the above movie exchange between Washington and Greene. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
while on politics in entertainment, check out this plot synopsis for
tonight's (January 14) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as listed in
the Washington Post's TV Week:
Hmmm. Not "ripped from today's headlines" I hope.
Law & Order: SVU is a weekly drama on NBC focused on New York City police detectives who deal with sex crimes. It airs Friday's at 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT/MT. -- Brent Baker 
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