Poor Better Off in Havana; Mother's Fault; Award for Schieffer's Liberal Analysis
1) Quotes of the Weekend: Most Bizarre Quote (better to be poor in Havana than in Miami), Best Exchange (Clinton's lawbreaking "common ground" with Bill Gates), and Best Insult (Reno not "the brightest bulb on the circuit."). Plus, an honest headline.
2) NBC's Jim Avila blamed Elian's mother: "An extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to start a new life in a new country." She just didn't appreciate the Cuban "good life" and her "prestigious job" as a hotel maid.
4) "We should try that," FNC showed Bill Clinton saying to a woman beside him after comedian Darrell Hammond joked that Clinton is so charismatic that he could get away with telling a woman: "If you'd only...let me see you naked, there would be no more racism."
5) MediaNomics: "TV Reporters Aghast at Stock Slide, but Not At Government Prosecution of Microsoft," "Media Mavens Are Mum on Potential IRA Changes" and "Kudos to CNN's Brooks Jackson" for noting how the rich are paying a "greater share" of taxes.
>>> Attention New England readers, check out Jeff Jacoby's
column in today's (Monday) Boston Globe: "Whitewashing Castro's
Crimes." Jacoby picked up on bias detailed in CyberAlert last week
and gave the MRC's Web site a nice plug. Highlighting a story by NBC's
Jim Avila, Jacoby relayed some of Avila's reporting from Havana:
"'Elian's future here is likely to be the Cuban good life lived by
Communist Party elite,' Avila gushed, 'with perks like five free
gallons of gasoline a month for the family, and a Cuban tradition called
'La Jaba' -- the bag -- which includes extra rice, beans, cooking oil,
and sundries like deodorant, shampoo, razors, and shaving cream; about $15
a month worth of basics.'...
Quotes of the Weekend: Most Bizarre Quote, Best Exchange and Best Insult.
-- Most Bizarre Quote of the Weekend. From
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group, a claim we couldn't
have dreamed up even for our April Fools edition:
Fellow panelist Michael Barone's reaction: "Oh Eleanor, for God's sake, please!"
-- Best Exchange of the Weekend. From CNN's April 8 Capital Gang, after host Mark Shields opened the discussion of the judge's ruling that Microsoft violated the Sherman Anti-trust Act by showing video of Bill Gates sitting next to Bill Clinton at a White House conference on the economy.
Shields: "Kate, why does the President of the
United States sit down with a lawbreaker like Bill Gates?"
-- Best Insult of the
Weekend. Brit Hume, Washington Managing Editor of Fox News, during the
roundtable segment on the April 9 Fox News Sunday:
-- Most Honest Headline. From the Metro section of the April 7 Washington Post: "Million Mom March Hopes for 100,000."
NBC's Jim Avila didn't blame the split in Elian's family on Fidel Castro for maintaining a prison-like island country people are not allowed to leave by safe transport and so must resort to dangerous boats if they wish to escape to freedom. Instead, he placed the blame for the family's troubles on his mother for not appreciating the Cuban "good life" and her "prestigious job" as a hotel maid where she could earn "dollar tips." Indeed, he concluded an April 8 NBC Nightly News story by declaring: "An extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to start a new life in a new country."
Going back won't be so bad, Avila contended, as Elian's life in Cuba was "relatively easy by Cuban standards."
Avila's Saturday piece aired just four days after his April 4 story from Havana, cited above in the item on Jeff Jacoby's column, promising that if Elian returns to Cuba he and his family will become part of the "Cuban good life," with five gallons of gas a month, a monthly bag full of beans and deodorant, plus tickets to discos. (See the April 5 CyberAlert for details.)
For his April 8 piece from Havana, Avila relayed concerns from those working with Juan Miguel Gonzalez's lawyer that Elian may now be alienated from his father so the Gonzalez team wants the grandfather and Elian's Cardenes classmates to be present at the turnover. Avila added that the Miguel Gonzalez team thinks Elian will have to be removed by force from the Miami home.
Avila used that as a cue to review what brought
Elian to his present situation: "A frightening ending predicted for
the journey that began here on Cuban soil [video of beach] in the dark of
night. A 30-year-old mother, Elizabeth Groton [sp?, picture of her holding
Elian], who after seven miscarriages carried her only son, Elian, to a
boat off the rocky shores ten miles from her lifelong home. Why did she do
it? What was she escaping? By all accounts this quiet, serious young
woman, who loved to dance the Salsa, was living the good life, as good as
it gets for a citizen in Cuba."
Maybe she hoped to give her son a better life where being a maid isn't considered a "prestigious" top job but a step on an upward ladder to a better life where you don't have to live in fear.
As you can see from my above transcript, I'm
challenged by how to spell Spanish words and names. But in watching
FNC's Fox News Watch over the weekend I realized that it's not always
easy to know how to pronounce the names of reporters cited in CyberAlert.
Jeff Cohen of the far-left Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting corrected
conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton's pronunciation of
"Avila." As a public service, so no more conservatives must be
corrected by a liberal, and since I bet I'll be quoting Avila quite a
bit more, here's how you pronounce his name:
Liberal advocacy awarded by a journalistic group. At last Thursday's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner, CBS's Bob Schieffer won the group's annual Joan Shorenstein Barone Award "for excellence in Washington-based national affairs reporting." A review of the work which earned him the honor shows how the media group rewarded using a network perch to promote liberal political views.
In announcing the winner at the April 6 dinner, Dan Rather explained how a panel of three members of the group "selected a journalist who every week delivers commentaries at the end of his broadcast with style and wit that contribute to the viewers understanding of issues great and small. This from the judge's themselves, who believe that Bob Schieffer's weekly end pieces on Face the Nation stand very much in the tradition of excellence the Barone Award seeks to recognize. The judges said they were impressed with the quote, 'grace of writing and depth of insight that marked the pieces' by my good friend and CBS News colleague Bob, 'pieces that offered solid information on a variety of issues on the national agenda with perspective that provokes further thought from the viewer.'"
The three judges, as listed by Rather live on C-SPAN: CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, NBC News producer Carol Ann Mears (sp?), and Fox News Channel Capitol Hill producer Jim Mills.
So, just what kind of analysis is believed to provide "solid information...with perspective that provokes further thought from the viewer"? Check of some of Schieffer's 1999 end-pieces cited in CyberAlert last year:
-- January 17. Protect the Constitution, don't
vote to remove Clinton from office:
-- April 25. Quayle's wrong, Columbine should be an excuse for gun
-- July 11. Schieffer's dream: Hillary as Senator,
Republicans all for campaign finance "reform" and Bill Clinton
as a Sheriff using a limo to pull over speeders:
-- October 10. Schieffer warned Senate conservatives
not to vote down the nuclear test ban treaty:
-- November 21. Congress wasn't liberal enough
Comedian Darrell Hammond joked that Bill Clinton is so charismatic that he could get away with telling a woman: "If you'd only...let me see you naked, there would be no more racism." As uniquely shown by the Fox News Channel, after howling in laughter Clinton turned to a black woman sitting next to him and suggested: "We should try that."
The incident took place at Thursday's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. While C-SPAN's cameras were focused on the speaker with cutaway shots of the audience, FNC had a hand-held camera up front aimed at Clinton to get his reactions to jokes told by Darrel Hammond, the Saturday Night Live star who impersonates Clinton.
Tony Snow, anchor of Friday's Special Report with
Brit Hume, ended the program by showing viewers what they caught, playing
video of this joke from Hammond:
Clinton immediately started howling and clapping his hands before making a comment to the woman sitting beside him that you could not hear, followed by her saying something to him.
Snow explained: "Now, if you can read lips, you saw the President said, 'We should try that.' The woman next to him, Linda Scott of PBS's NewsHour, said, 'I don't think so.'"
++ Indeed, you can make out how that's just what each said. See for yourself. Monday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of what FNC showed. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
The April 7 MediaNomics, from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now online. The articles written and researched by FMP Director Rich Noyes:
-- TV Reporters Aghast at Stock Slide, but Not At
Government Prosecution of Microsoft.
-- Media Mavens Are Mum on Potential IRA Changes.
-- Kudos...to CNN's Brooks Jackson.
To read these articles, go to where they've been
posted by Webmaster Andy Szul:
For e-mail notification of the latest Free Market Project articles and special reports, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Can't think of any humorous last line, so that's all for today's CyberAlert. -- Brent Baker 
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