Furniture Removal Barely Noted; Bush Rebuked for Hyping Bad News; Reagan's Legacy: Crack; Maher "Proud" of Harris Murder Joke
1) CBS gave 19 seconds Wednesday night to how the Clintons have decided to return furniture donated to the White House, not them personally. NBC aired a full story earlier this week, but ABC's World News Tonight and CBS's The Early Show have yet to touch it.
4) Katie Couric pressed Interior Secretary Gale Norton from the left. She wondered: "Why would you want to have a job that would force you to enforce laws you really don't believe in?" Couric also raised a liberal distortion meant to imply she's a racist: "You likened your struggle to preserve states rights to the cause of the Confederacy..."
5) On his 90th birthday the networks treated Ronald Reagan with respect they never displayed during his time in office. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski acknowledged: "Today, 12 years after leaving the White House, the Reagan legacy is still going strong."
6) ABC's Bill Maher declared that "the Cold War was so much more won by Harry Truman at the beginning and Gorbachev at the end than Ronald Reagan." Michael Moore claimed: "He gave weapons to the Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the Contras, which then helped bring a crack epidemic into the United States."
Correction: The February 7 CyberAlert Special quoted the lyrics to a song about emptying a litter box sung by Ted Koppel on Monday's Tonight Show. I noted I wasn't sure about the last two words in the third line and several readers have e-mailed with a more accurate sounding transcription for the third line: "Doin' it all with style and elan."
Dan Rather gave 19 seconds on Wednesday night to the decision by the Clintons to return furniture donated not to them personally, but to the White House. That's 19 seconds more though than allocated by ABC. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams also briefly mentioned the development, but NBC, unlike CBS and ABC, had run a full story on Monday night about the situation, a story which also ran on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams. (For details about the improper removal and coverage of it, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010206.asp#4 )
ABC doesn't have much of an excuse for its ongoing spiking of the story first revealed in Monday's Washington Post. On Wednesday night, despite multiple stories prompted by the White House shooting, World News Tonight found time for a "Medicine on the Cutting Edge" story about a new relaxation technique to ease the stress on the heart and a full report on how cold water is killing manatees off the Florida coast.
In the morning, the Clinton reallocation of furniture earned a sentence on Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC and a full story on NBC's Today that morning. Through Wednesday morning, MRC analyst Brian Boyd observed, not a word about it had appeared on CBS's Early Show.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News Dan Rather read this 19-second item: "Former President Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton today returned $28,000 worth of furnishings they took when they left the White House last month. They say they thought the sofas, rugs and other items were meant as personal gifts but decided to return them after questions were raised about whether some were actually meant for the White House collection."
Another pardon silenced in the morning and by CBS in the morning and at night. On Tuesday night ABC and NBC, as well as the three cable news channels, all aired full stories about another questionable pardon issued by Bill Clinton which was first exposed in this week's U.S. News & World Report. Neither the ABC or NBC story appeared the next morning on GMA or Today.
ABC's Jackie Judd on the February 6 World News Tonight and Pete Williams on the NBC Nightly News outlined the facts of the strange pardon by President Clinton on January 20 of Glenn Braswell, operator of a company which sold fraudulent herbal remedies to correct hair loss. In 1983 he was convicted of mail fraud, perjury and tax evasion and is currently under investigation for money laundering and tax evasion. The White House failed to give the Justice Department enough time to review the case so they were not able to warn of the present probe. While there are no known ties between Braswell and Clinton, his lawyer is Kendell Coffey of Gore Florida fame. Pete Williams concluded: "Tonight, government officials say the Clinton White House sent so few documents the Justice Department doesn't even have an address for where to send the pardon."
ABC's Betsy Stark rebuked President Bush for using "every new piece of bad news to promote his big tax cut" while in reality "not all the news is bad" and the owner of a store which he used as a venue to promote his tax cut has seen "no signs of a slowdown."
ABC anchor Peter Jennings set up the February 6 World News Tonight story caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "There was bad news for what was a dot com success story not long ago. Etoys says it will run out of cash in six weeks and Cisco Systems, the world's number one maker of computer networking equipment, is reporting slipping sales. Betsy Stark is with us today. It's the kind of news that gets the President's attention, is it not?"
Stark bemoaned: "That's right, Peter, because he seems to like to use every new piece of bad news to promote his big tax cut. The important thing to know, however, is that not all the news is bad. The President's message today at a Washington area toy store is that businesses and consumers need a tax cut right away. He has said it repeatedly....But today the owner of that toy store told ABC News she sees no signs of a slowdown in her business."
Katie Couric mainly pressed Interior Secretary Gale Norton from the left during a Tuesday morning interview on NBC's Today. Couric wondered: "Why would you want to have a job that would force you to enforce laws you really don't believe in?" Couric also raised a liberal distortion meant to imply she's a racist: "You likened your struggle to preserve states rights to the cause of the Confederacy saying....Do you wish now that perhaps you hadn't used the example of slavery in your defense of states rights or do you think that speech was blown out of proportion."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Couric's February 6 questions:
-- "You describe yourself as a compassionate
conservationist. What exactly does that mean?"
On his 90th birthday the networks treated Ronald Reagan with respect they never displayed during his time in office. On Tuesday night ABC's World News Tonight aired an upbeat story about Reagan's 50-year pen-pan letter writing with a woman in Philadelphia and on Monday and Tuesday night NBC Nightly News featured excerpts of an interview by Tom Brokaw with Nancy Reagan about her husband's condition and impact on America.
Tuesday's NBC Nightly News also carried a admirable
piece by Jim Miklaszewski on how Reagan's legacy is alive and still having an
impact. Miklaszewski suggested:
Miklaszewski proceeded to list tax cuts, strong defense and missile defense as well as privatizing Social Security.
ABC's Bill Maher showed no such respect for Ronald Reagan during Tuesday's Politically Incorrect taped at Howard University in Washington, DC. Maher declared that "the Cold War was so much more won by Harry Truman at the beginning and Gorbachev at the end than Ronald Reagan." Reagan talked while Clinton took action Maher claimed, asserting "it was Bill Clinton who actually did" eliminate deficits and welfare.
On the same show attended by several MRC staffers, including Jessica Anderson who compiled these quotes, left-wing gadfly Michael Moore, a man who has hosted prime time shows on NBC, Fox and Bravo, spewed: "He gave weapons to the Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the Contras, which then helped bring a crack epidemic into the United States. That's what Ronald Reagan did and that's his legacy!"
Setting up the segment on Reagan's legacy prompted by
his 90th birthday, Politically Incorrect host Maher contended:
Moore jumped in: "Personally, the problem with Reagan, as I see it, is that he was the beginning of the depleting of the political gene pool, when Americans settled for somebody who really wasn't and shouldn't have been in that office, wasn't quite there all the time. And once you settle for a Ronald Reagan, then it's easy to settle for a George Bush, and once you settle for a George Bush, and once you settle for Bush I, then it's real easy to settle for Bush II. You know, this should evolution, instead it's de-evolution. What's next?...Here's what Reagan did: He gave weapons to the Ayatollah, so that he could raise money for the Contras, which then helped bring a crack epidemic into the United States. That's what Ronald Reagan did and that's his legacy! That's his legacy!"
Maher soon returned to his original theme: "You know, usually we wait until someone is long gone, so history can make a judgment, before they want to put him on Mount Rushmore, on a coin, on a license plate. In other words, Ronald Reagan should jump ahead of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln onto the license plate....But you know what, as I said, I mean, to give credit to Reagan for ending the Cold War because he was there at the end, when it was really the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Gorbachev....But when it came to things he just talked about, like eliminating the deficits and eliminating welfare, it was Bill Clinton who actually did those things."
Pride in a murder joke. Bill Maher is "proud" that his joke, about how "America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris," had hurt her personally. His boast came during a February 2 interview on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports noticed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth.
The joke in question occurred on the November 30 Politically Incorrect on ABC. Maher's line in full: "Now earlier today, a rental truck carried a half a million ballots from Palm Beach to the Florida Supreme Court there in Tallahassee. CNN had live helicopter coverage from the truck making its way up the Florida highway, and for a few brief moments, America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris."
To view a RealPlayer clip of Maher telling it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2000/Fax20001201qt.html 
During a January 11 Prime Time Thursday interview, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris told ABC's Diane Sawyer: "Perhaps the most difficult moment was when one person said they were disappointed the Ryder truck, that everyone was watching on TV, that O.J. Simpson hadn't murdered me, or something like that." Sawyer then played a partial clip of Maher's joke: "And for a few brief moments, America held the hope that O.J. Simpson had murdered Katherine Harris." Harris commented: "That was not pleasant."
Now to CNN last Friday night. Wolf Blitzer asked Maher:
"Is it ever, do you ever go too far in your jokes on Politically Incorrect
and you say to yourself: 'Well, maybe I pushed the envelop a little bit too
It's more like Maher can't get over Bush's victory.
Earlier, Maher admitted voting for Ralph Nader. Blitzer
queried: "You know, for those of us who watch your program regularly, you
obviously come across with sort of a tendency towards being a liberal. I don't
know if you voted for Ralph Nader or didn't vote for Ralph Nader, but-"
Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard During the Gore/Clinton Fight." (Neither ABC or CBS on Wednesday night touched a Washington Post story which recounted how in mid-December Al Gore and Bill Clinton had an argument over who was to blame for Gore's loss. CNN, FNC and MSNBC all ran pieces and the NBC Nightly News aired a story on it by Lisa Myers who outlined the case made by each side: Gore blaming Clinton's lying; Clinton blaming Gore for not touting Clinton's achievements and for poor performances during the debates.)
Now, from the February 7 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard During the Gore/Clinton Fight." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "What's on your mind, loser -- I mean, Al?"
From the Late Show Web site, some of the "also ran" extra entries which didn't make the final cut:
-- "Would you please ask her to stop doing that while I'm talking to
I especially like the last "extra" one as well as #6 and #3. -- Brent Baker 
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