Brock Challenged by FNC; Catholics "Allayed" or "Reeling"? Fox's Fun Over Terrorism; Kid on ABC: "I Want to Watch Letterman!"
1) What a difference the network makes. FNC's David Asman on Monday actually challenged David Brock's on his broad accusations and took on some of the specific allegations made in his book trashing conservatives. Last week, in contrast, CNN's Aaron Brown assumed Brock's claims were accurate and empathized with his plight while on NBC's Today Matt Lauer prompted Brock to elucidate on how wealthy conservatives who directed the anti-Clinton conspiracy allowed him to smear people.
2) Same subject, two Sunday spins. The Washington Post's headline: "For Catholics, Crisis of Trust Allayed by Faith." The New York Times the same day: "As Scandal Keeps Growing, Church and Its Faithful Reel."
3) Fox's priority: Don't let terrorism interfere with fun. On The American Embassy: "In the weeks following the Embassy bombing, Emma is still haunted by the terrorist attack. Will this affect the sunny outlook she had on her new life in London?" Plus, the bomb squad discovers "Emma's" buzzing cylindrical object.
>>> NQ now
online. The March 18 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly
compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the
liberal media, is now online thanks to the MRC's Mez Djouadi and
NBC's slogan for the Today show is "what a difference Today makes." FNC on Monday illustrated how for the cable network it's "what a difference the network makes." Conservative-basher David Brock, author of Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, was interviewed early Monday afternoon on the Fox News Channel by Fox News Live anchor David Asman. But it was quite a different experience for Brock than the adoring treatment he received last week on NBC's Today from Matt Lauer and on CNN from Aaron Brown.
Asman actually challenged Brock's broad accusations and took on some of the specific allegations in the book, demonstrating they are inaccurate.
Asman got Brock to concede he really never was a committed conservative, just one of convenience, suggested that maybe conservatives had "values" beyond just that Clinton "got under their skin" which caused them to criticize him, pressed Brock to say whether he believed the charges leveled by Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey and wondered: "Do you think we've all misunderstood, David, and that Bill Clinton is a moralist?" Brock maintained that "there's a question about where you weigh what Clinton did against versus what the right-wing did to destroy him and what was a greater threat to the country and I think it was what the right-wing did and not what Clinton did."
Raising Brock's claims that former FBI agent Gary Aldrich misused a baseless allegation Brock had passed along to him, Asman asked: "We're supposed to believe you, a person who has admitted that you've lied in print as opposed to an FBI agent who was assigned to two different administrations?" Asman, who was with the Wall Street Journal editorial page before jumping to FNC, showed how Brock was inaccurate in his claim about how the Journal had identified Aldrich.
Last Wednesday morning on NBC's Today, in
contrast, Matt Lauer did not once question any Brock's claims as he
prompted him to elucidate on how wealthy conservatives who directed the
anti-Clinton conspiracy allowed him to smear people. Lauer even cued up
Brock to endorse Hillary Clinton's insight into the "vast
right-wing conspiracy." Setting up the segment, Lauer enthused:
For a complete rundown of the March 13
interview, refer back to the March 14 CyberAlert:
Last Thursday night on CNN's NewsNight, anchor Aaron Brown assumed David Brock's charges were beyond dispute. Brown set up the segment: "He helped trash Anita Hill, went looking for the illegitimate children of Bill Clinton, took money from conservative patrons, and made things up if it made Mr. Clinton look bad. And then he says he saw the light, the errors of his ways." Baffled by why conservatives would so distrust Clinton, Brown wondered: "What is it about Clinton? I've asked this question on this program about five different times to five different people." After not challenging anything Brock charged as he outlined his claims about a conservative conspiracy against Clinton fueled by anger at Clinton's anti-segregation policies, Brown inquired: "Are you ashamed of that period of your life?"
More on the Brown interview below, following the rundown of the FNC interview.
FNC's Asman set up the March 18 segment aired live at about 12:45pm EST, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "We're going to take you back, the book, The Real Anita Hill, that was a book that slashed the woman who brought discussions of pubic hair and porno films into Senate hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The book was used by members of the conservative movement to defend the first black conservative appointed to the Supreme Court. Well, the author of that book has since taken on the conservative movement itself and his own earlier work, both of which he now claims were blinded by arrogance and ideology."
After Brock explained he had become a
conservative in college, what he dubbed his "knee-jerk
overreaction" to politically correct criticism of an editorial he
wrote in favor of Reagan's liberation of Grenada, Asman observed:
"So your conservative beliefs were just based on a reaction to the
left, not on solid beliefs about conservatives?"
Asman soon pressed: "Do you believe the
things, do you believe, for example, people like Juanita Broaddrick, like
Paula Jones, like Kathleen Willey, all these people that say that Clinton
Following an ad break, Asman picked up: "David, the key here, everybody has different opinions about things. You do, about a lot of social and political things. But was there any lying that took place either in the work that you did or in the work that you participated in with the American Spectator and the other journals you were working for?"
Brock replied only that "I lied in print" in an American Spectator book review of a book on the Hill-Thomas matter, but that in articles he did not write there were "reams of lies in the American Spectator."
Asman then decided to assess Brock's
accuracy by raising Brock's claims about an FBI agent who wrote a book
about what he saw inside the Clinton White House: "Well, the reason,
of course, why all this is important is because you are bringing, even in
this book, this newest book that you just came out with, you mentioned
people like Gary Aldrich, for example, somebody who I happen to know
because I used to work at the Journal and published him, was involved in
publishing his articles. You mention some things about him that you claim
are duplicitous at best and outright lies at worst. Are you calling him a
Asman got to a
specific allegation: "Well, let me just point out one thing in your
book that I take issue with. You talk about Gary Aldrich and say that when
his article was published in the Wall Street Journal, and again, I had a
hand in this, that Aldrich was identified only as, quote, 'an
investigative writer.' Do you stand by that?"
Compare Asman's suspicious approach to Brock with how CNN's Aaron Brown bought Brock's premise and employed him to try to teach Brown why conservatives so hated Bill Clinton that they would lie about him.
Brown introduced the March 14 NewsNight
segment with Brock, which came just after a story on the defeat of the
Charles Pickering judicial nomination:
Brown soon got to his favorite topic, trying
to figure out why people don't like Bill Clinton: "But are there
not, particularly when you deal with former President Clinton, there are
blinders out there. People have such incredibly strong feelings on both
sides, in fact, that I wonder if anyone will give you an objective view in
that regard, anyone on the political right, in this case?"
Brown assumed Brock's current claims are
accurate as he wound down the interview: "Let me ask you a final
question. Are you ashamed of that period of your life?"
Same topic, same day, but the front pages of America's most-influential dailies on Sunday delivered contrasting spins on the status of the Catholic Church and its members in the wake of revelations about priests abusing children.
The front page headline in Sunday's Washington Post announced: "For Catholics, Crisis of Trust Allayed by Faith." The subhead: "View of Hierarchy Dimmed, But Many Back Local Clergy." The same day, however, the MRC's Tim Jones noticed that the headline over the New York Times story stressed how lay Catholics were disillusioned: "As Scandal Keeps Growing, Church and Its Faithful Reel."
The leads of the stories matched their contrasting headlines, though both pieces covered a lot of the same ground, emphasizing how the crisis is supposedly leading many Catholics to question the church's conservative hierarchy and the celibacy of priests.
Alan Cooperman and Pamela Ferdinand began their March 17 Washington Post article:
Monsignor Thomas Kane gave the same sermon four times at St. Patrick's Church in Rockville last Sunday, and at each Mass the parishioners did something he says he had never seen in his 50 years as a priest. They stood and applauded.
Kane's message was that despite a sexual abuse scandal that has spread across the country, the Roman Catholic priesthood as a whole is still worthy of admiration....
The standing ovation was not just for Kane's homily, but for him personally, parishioner Joan Liegey said later. "He has taken this whole thing very hard....I think he needed a little reassurance that we were with him," she explained.
Throughout the country, Catholics are responding in sometimes paradoxical ways to a crisis of trust in the church. They are reaching out to support the clergymen they know and admire, while expressing an excruciating feeling of betrayal by the church's more distant and opaque leadership....
END of Excerpt
For the entire Post story:
In the March 17 New York Times, Laurie Goodstein and Alessandra Stanley led their piece:
By Tuesday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Me., has promised to turn over to local prosecutors a file containing all accusations of sexual misconduct involving its priests. The district attorney wants to see every accusation ever made against a living priest.
"Even if it was triple hearsay, let me decide," said Stephanie Anderson, the district attorney of Cumberland County, who said she would follow their transfers from parish to parish in search of victims new and old. She wants to track the history of every priest accused of sexual misconduct....
Already, the scandal has traumatized the church's faithful, demoralized the clergy and threatened the hard-won moral authority of its bishops. It has brought down a bishop, removed dozens of priests and tarnished the nation's pre-eminent prelate, Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston. But the real extent of the impact on the church's life, status and future is only now becoming clear.
From schools of theology to dining room tables, a growing number of Catholics are questioning the bedrock on which the church is built -- the all-male, celibate priesthood. Parishioners are calling for open dialogue and debate about a tenet that Pope John Paul II has said is closed for discussion....
END of Excerpt
For the New York Times article in full:
Think Celebrity Wrestling with Paula Jones versus Tonya Harding was a low moment for Fox? In fact, even their new drama, The American Embassy, goes for the cheap sexual stunt while making sure terrorism doesn't deflect from having a fun time.
The American Embassy is a Monday night show about "Emma Brody," played by Arija Bareikis, as a blonde twenty-something consular affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in London. As the premiere ended last week, the embassy is bombed, killing at least an innocent U.S. citizen who had earlier walked into the embassy and taken off all his clothes -- the first "situation" for Emma to handle in her new job. But a little terrorism won't impede Brody from having a fun adventure in London. Check out the plot summary for last night's episode, as posted on the Fox Web site: "In the weeks following the Embassy bombing, Emma is still haunted by the terrorist attack. Will this affect the sunny outlook she had on her new life in London?"
Apparently not when she's alone.
Let me explain.
As the March 18 episode opens, Emma is called downstairs to a secure outdoor area where the bomb squad is using a remote robot device to examine a package addressed to Emma which contains something inside which is buzzing. A hint here: Think of synonyms for buzz which begin with the letter "v." Anyway, via the remote camera she recognizes the address as being written by her sister and she okays having the bomb squad open the package. An officer, fully decked out in bomb protection equipment, sees what was causing the buzzing, picks it up and holds it up above his head so all standing far away can see. And the camera zooms in on what he is holding: a silver cylindrical object.
In the world of Fox, this is a quality program.
The Fox Web site for the show which is airing for six weeks at 9pm EST/PST, 8pm CST/MST: http://www.fox.com/embassy/ 
Oops? Or a sign of how the ABC entertainment division team was hoping to be able to soon call David Letterman a colleague?
On Monday's Once and Again, ABC's 10pm EST/PST, 9pm CST/MST drama about divorced 40-somethings and their kids, a pre-teen kid (looked to be playing about an 11-year-old) wailed to his father: "It's too early to go to bed! I want to watch Letterman!"
You'd assume that the scene was taped months ago and at some point was reviewed by ABC personnel well before it aired. Guess they didn't mind that particular plug for a competing network.
I was flipping channels and just happened to catch the scene involving the father, "Sam Blue" played by Steven Weber, the guy who played the free-spirited brother on the sit-com Wings. In Once and Again Weber plays the new boyfriend of "Judy," the sister of "Lily" who is played by Sela Ward.
I know far too much about this show, especially since it already re-plays on Lifetime, "television for women."
ABC's Web page for the show:
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