INS Psychiatrist Without Rebuttal; Cuba Not Communist; Judge Judged Reno; DiCaprio/Clinton
1) To bolster the drive to add another entitlement, Families USA released a study on soaring drug prices. ABC cited how "the White House released a study today," but NBC's Lisa Myers referred to the "liberal advocacy group" and told viewers the other side.
2) Sans rebuttal CBS's Byron Pitts relayed the INS psychiatrist's analysis of Elian, how he "was not traumatized during Saturday's raid." ABC's Linda Douglass remarked how Elian "likes to cuddle" with his father, but at least noted a retort from Cuban-Americans. NBC's Jim Avila promoted Cuba's "honor" and need for more visas.
4) She ripped him from his house at gunpoint and won't let him see those who cared for him for five months, but Today's Katie Couric told INS Commissioner Doris Meissner she's gone "to extraordinary lengths" to make Elian "comfortable."
6) Former judge Andrew Napolitano in the WSJ: "A review of the affidavit on which the warrant was based shows that the raid was constitutionally flawed, unlawful and repugnant to the...spirit of the then three-day-old decision" of an appeals court.
ABC and NBC led Wednesday night with the White House release of a study from the left-wing group Families USA bolstering the Democratic effort to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs, but only NBC's Lisa Myers referred to the source of the numbers as "a liberal advocacy group." ABC just cited how "the White House released a study today" and "today's survey shows." Unlike ABC's John Martin, she also provided viewers with an explanation for why drugs cost more in the U.S. than in Canada.
Peter Jennings opened the
April 26 World News Tonight:
John Martin began:
"This is America's newest political battleground. Today's survey
shows that of 39 drugs used by seniors, 22 rose at twice the rate of
inflation, six rose five times he rate of inflation."
NBC Nightly News also
promoted the liberal group's agenda, but at least acknowledged the
ideological tilt. Lisa Myers asserted:
Myers ran through some
examples of prices of specific drugs before turning to Tom Daschle: "You
almost have to take a nitroglycerine tablet just to read this report. Some of
the numbers are truly shocking."
Political heat fueled by a media excited about highlighting victims more government spending can save.
The media have not had any independent verification of Elian's well-being since he was seized Saturday morning, but instead of demanding access the networks simply pass along the spin delivered by his government captors.
On Wednesday, April 26, the INS released the assessment for a psychiatrist and CBS's Byron Pitts simply relayed her analysis of how "peace and quiet...is what this family needs most" and that Elian has "warm" feelings for his step mother. Pushing the claim of an interested party, Pitts gave credibility to how INS Commissioner Doris Meissner is sure "Elian was not traumatized during Saturday's raid."
A group of Cuban-American psychologists and pediatricians denounced the government assessment and demanded access to Elian, but Pitts ignored them. ABC's Linda Douglass at least mentioned their retort after relating how the government psychiatrist "found that he treats his father with admiration and pride and likes to cuddle with him," but she also dismissed Marisleysis's mother role: "The psychiatrist found that his feelings toward her seemed more like a crush a small boy would have on a teacher."
From Havana, NBC's Jim Avila highlighted Fidel Castro's complaint about not getting more visas and in explaining what is keeping Elian in the U.S. gave credit to the Cuban regime: "The Cubans say honor is involved, too."
-- CBS Evening News. Over
video from a helicopter looking down at Juan Miguel and Elian, Byron Pitts
After a clip of Meissner claiming her agents met resistance outside the house, Pitts noted how Miami Cubans traveled to Washington, DC for a protest and showed Marisleysis thanking them for "supporting the most precious thing I have which is Elian." Pitts warned: "For now, the psychiatrist says, that reunion should not take place. The one that will be is between Elian and his cousin and a teacher from Cuba who traveled to the United States today."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Linda Douglass reported how Juan Miguel Gonzalez has requested that the court allow him to make decision's in Elian's asylum claim. His Greg Craig-prepared brief took on Lazaro: "His treatment of Elian, particularly during the final weeks, was shocking and abusive."
Noting how Elian and his
father are in seclusion at the Wye River Plantation compound, Douglass
announced: "Yesterday the boy was seen by a psychiatrist retained by the
government, who found that he treats his father with admiration and pride and
likes to cuddle with him. The psychiatrist reported that Elian calls his step
mother 'momma' and advised that he should not see his Miami relatives
right now because they are too angry. Psychologists and psychiatrists
representing the Miami relatives came to Capitol Hill to lash out at those
-- NBC Nightly News skipped
the psychiatrist's report in favor of passing along Castro's concerns and
assurances. From Havana, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, Jim
Following a long soundbite
from Steve Saltzburg of George Washington University Law School, Avila pumped
up Castro's integrity: "Next, what keeps Elian from leaving the United
States now? Two reasons: The Atlanta federal court order demanding he stay
until the appeals process is over and paperwork Juan Miguel the father signed
before the INS turned him over. The Cubans say honor is involved, too."
at least Elian will not be returning to a communist country, just a
"nationalistic one." So maintained Jim Avila in an appearance by
phone on Wednesday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast by MSNBC. MRC
analyst Paul Smith caught Avila's evaluation of Cuba in which Avila
seemingly contradicted himself by stressing how Elian comes from a family of
"true believers... true communists" while insisting Cuba is
"not primarily a communist country." Avila argued on the April 26
Avila explained how Juan Miguel will return to resume his "fulfilling" life: "Juan Miguel says he will come back and I believe he will come back because he is Cuban. He believes you know that the life he lives in a small village eighty miles outside of Havana is fulfilling life. He has, because he works with dollars in a tourist area. He has enough to get along and he has a sense of community there that, it is going to be hard to dissuade him. Somebody has already offered him millions of dollars there in the United States. He has turned it down. I don't think that money in the culture that these folks have grown up in is, means the same thing that it does to many Americans. Remember there is that other baseball pitcher who's here who turned down 50 million dollars to come play baseball, do something he loves and turned it down in order to be the community hero here in Cuba."
Forget about demanding access to Elian for the media or any non INS or Cuban government operatives. Never mind denouncing the INS for keeping Elian secluded from those who took care of him for five months. Wednesday morning NBC's Katie Couric praised INS Commissioner Doris Meissner for going to "extraordinary lengths" to make sure Elian is "comfortable."
Couric's last question to
Meissner on the April 26 Today:
Just how "comfortable" did Meissner make him when one of her agents had an automatic weapon inches from his head?
Geraldo Rivera is thrilled by the seizure of Elian, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens found in watching his two CNBC shows from Tuesday night, his first broadcasts since the event. Wednesday night he did actually bring aboard Alan Dershowitz, who denounced Janet Reno's legal reasoning. (See the April 26 CyberAlert for Dershowitz's take.)
Here are some of his
comments uttered on the April 25 Rivera Live on which both Senator Bob Smith
and fisherman Donato Darymple appeared as guests:
"Reno's Raid Was Based on a Tissue of Lies" declared the headline over an April 26 Wall Street Journal op-ed by former New Jersey Superior Court judge Andrew P. Napolitano, the FNC legal analyst who took on Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder live on the cable channel Saturday morning.
The April 23 CyberAlert
quoted the exchange and featured a RealPlayer clip of it. To read or watch, go
In his Journal piece Napolitano, who teaches constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School, further detailed the deceitful methods he believes Reno and the INS employed to justify the raid and obtain a warrant. Here's an excerpt:
....The agents who assaulted Lazaro Gonzalez's house early Saturday morning did have a search warrant. But a review of the affidavit on which the warrant was based shows that the raid was constitutionally flawed, unlawful and repugnant to the language and spirit of the then three-day-old decision of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that ordered Ms. Reno to keep Elian in the U.S. and denied her request for an injunction requiring Mr. Gonzalez to turn the boy over.
True to form, the administration lied to the American people. The first effort to hide the truth was the application for a search warrant. The Immigration and Naturalization Service didn't present it to Judge Michael Moore, the federal district judge in Miami handling the case. Rather, the INS waited until after 7 p.m. on Good Friday, when a federal duty magistrate, not familiar with the case and notoriously pro-government in his rulings, was available to hear warrant applications.
The affidavit presented to the magistrate was signed by Special Agent Mary Rodriguez of the INS. Ms. Rodriguez told the magistrate that Elian was being "concealed" at Lazaro's home, that the boy was "unlawfully restrained" there, and that INS Deputy Director of Investigations James T. Spearman Jr. had already ordered the arrest of Elian because the boy was "an illegal alien." In response, the magistrate issued a search warrant.
Thus the power that the government invoked to invade the house was that conferred by Congress when contraband or evidence of a crime is being hidden. That was hardly the case with Elian, who was often present, for all the world to see, in Mr. Gonzalez's front yard....
What the affidavit omits is as revealing as what it says. Ms. Reno justified her agents' use of tear gas, guns and violence by claiming a fear of weapons in Lazaro's house. Ms. Rodriguez's affidavit says nothing of the kind. Ms. Reno claims she seized the child for his own best interests. There is no allegation in Ms. Rodriguez's affidavit of mistreatment or likely harm to Elian by his Miami relatives. Ms. Rodriguez also didn't tell the magistrate that Aaron Podhurst, a well-respected Miami lawyer and a longtime friend of Ms. Reno, was feverishly mediating negotiations between lawyers for the government, Elian's father and Lazaro Gonzalez even as the affidavit was being filed....
Wall Street Journal online
subscribers can read the whole piece by going to:
Saturday night at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT/MT ABC aired its Planet Earth 2000 special featuring Leonardo DiCaprio's interview with President Clinton which ABC News President David Westin spent a week denying was really an interview. Westin initially maintained: "We did not send him to interview the President. No one is that stupid."
Westin also insisted in the e-mail to upset staff that "all roles of journalists must be played by journalists (duh!)," but DiCaprio had an even greater journalistic role in the one-sided special than anticipated. He opened the show, introduced each segment and then concluded the program with a call to action matching the liberal agenda of the Earth Day 2000 celebration on Washington's Mall which he chaired.
On the bright side, the show was little watched, but a New York Times story, brought to my attention by MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey, reported ABC will soon foist the liberal advocacy upon school kids. In an April 24 story, Jim Rutenberg related how ABC News spokeswoman Su-Lin Nichols "said the program would have a broader reach in May, when it would be distributed to 12,000 high schools and middle schools." On Saturday night it drew 3.9 million viewers according to Nielsen numbers in the April 26 USA Today, fewer than CBS's Early Edition, Fox's Cops or NBC's Pretender. For the week, it finished 92nd out of 93 shows on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, though well ahead of most UPN and WB shows.
ABC employed MTV-like production techniques, with angled shots, frequent jumps and music, in hopes of holding onto teens tuning in to see DiCaprio. But a piddling 168,000 teens tuned in, The Washington Post's Lisa deMoraes noted Wednesday.
And what did those who watched see and what will school kids soon have to endure? An hour of advocacy topped off with about two minutes of DiCaprio's interview with Bill Clinton. Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, watched the whole hour featuring anecdotal tales, told by ABC correspondents Chris Cuomo and Elizabeth Vargas, about global warming's impact on Alaska and coral reefs and how cars are warming Atlanta. Noyes counted a grand total of 41 seconds casting doubt on ABC's dire scenarios. All 41 seconds came from two soundbites from Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute.
Now to the Clinton segment, including what didn't air. Bill Clinton told DiCaprio how "we started a project here at the White House called the greening of the White House. Just by changing the lighting in this whole building, we lowered our electric bills by $100,000 a year." DiCaprio's response: "Wow."
DiCaprio's first question as shown: "Mr. President, I want to thank you very much for your time, and as you know, I'm neither a politician nor a journalist, but being given the opportunity to sit down with you here and talk about an issue like global warming, was an opportunity as a concerned citizen that I couldn't pass up."
His second: "Why do you think this issue is so constantly overlooked and why do you think people don't take it seriously enough, and for you, is it as important as something like health care or education?"
DiCaprio also inquired: "What do you think the best course for American citizens is, within the next 20 years, as far as helping the environment is concerned?" And finally: "Do you think we can eventually become a role model?"
+++ Watch the portion of Leonardo DiCaprio's interview with President Clinton shown by ABC News. It's introduced by ABC's Elizabeth Vargas. Thursday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post it in RealPlayer format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
The full transcript of the
30 minute interview, conducted at 1:15pm ET on March 31, is available on
salon.com's site. Go to:
From there I gleaned these
two insightful questions ABC decided not to air:
Yes, in his mind Louisiana is a "city."
Planet Earth 2000 concluded
with this message from DiCaprio as butterflies flew around him while he sat in
the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History:
Nothing to lose but freedom from more government regulation. -- Brent Baker 
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