INS "Acted Properly"; "Star Wars" Bashed; Rosie O'Donnell Pressed on Gun Hypocrisy
1) ABC's Peter Jennings and CBS's Bob Schieffer insisted that the judges decided the INS "acted properly" in the Elian case, but NBC's Pete Williams pointed out how "they personally might have given Elian an asylum hearing." CBS featured a woman in Cuba proclaiming how the ruling means Elian has gotten "his freedom."
2) Bash "Star Wars" night on CBS and NBC. Thursday evening CBS ran a piece which highlighted attacks on the viability of the newly planned system, while NBC piled on about its dangers, including how "it could actually ignite a whole new nuclear arms race."
5) Today's Katie Couric grilled Rosie O'Donnell for over five minutes about her hypocrisy in opposing gun use by others for personal protection while having armed guards around her kids. She also told National Review the NRA doesn't care about kids as "the only life that is important to them is white, Republican life."
The Elian decision topped the three broadcast network evening shows Thursday night. Both ABC anchor Peter Jennings and CBS anchor Bob Schieffer insisted that the judges decided the INS "acted properly" when denying an asylum hearing to Elian, but on the NBC Nightly News Pete Williams pointed out the judges found the process legal but didn't approve of the outcome: "In a unanimous ruling, the three appeals court judges say while they personally might have given Elian an asylum hearing, that's not a decision for the courts, it's one for the immigration service."
ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stressed how "today's opinion was really very conservative." ABC also squeezed in reaction from Havana, featuring a woman proclaiming how the ruling means Elian has gotten "his freedom." CBS's Byron Pitts used the opportunity to make a derogatory comment about "the normally emotional and often angry Marisleysis Gonzalez."
opened the June 1 World News Tonight:
Linda Douglass summarized the ruling and the reaction from Juan Miguel's lawyer, Greg Craig. From Miami, Ron Claiborne called it a "stinging setback" for the relatives who called for calm. Over video of people in Cuba watching TV, Claiborne relayed that in Cuba "there were no street protests, but there was plenty of quiet support for the ruling." Without noting the irony, he then showed a comment from a woman on the street in Cuba, translating her words: "'I've been anxious all day about this decision,' she says, 'I am very happy now. I feel like it is my son who has gotten his freedom.'"
Jennings then talked with ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. One of his questions: "And so one the things that's been established here clearly from a legal point of view is the primacy of parenthood." Toobin agreed: "That's really true. Some people say, and I think it's true, this is sort of a victory for Fidel Castro, but today's opinion was really very conservative. It said you know you can put aside the lawyers, put aside the politicians, what really matters in this country is that mothers and fathers control the destiny of their children."
Over on the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer opened the broadcast: "A federal appeals panel in Atlanta handed down its long-awaited decision in the Elian Gonzalez case today. The judges said that U.S. immigration officials acted properly when they denied the Cuban boy an asylum hearing, but the court gave Elian's great uncle in Miami two weeks to appeal the ruling and again blocked the boy from leaving the country immediately. So the saga goes on."
Byron Pitts handled CBS's one and only story, quoting how the judges wrote that it's "reasoned and reasonable" to say parents speak for their kids and "The INS's considerable discretion was not abused." Introducing a soundbite from Marisleysis he took this shot at her behavior: "This afternoon the normally emotional and often angry Marisleysis Gonzalez was subdued."
It was bash "Star Wars" and missile defense night on CBS and NBC Thursday evening. Prompted by President Clinton's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wednesday night ABC provided a fair and balanced set of pro and con reports about a missile defense, but Thursday night CBS and NBC didn't bother with any such balance.
The CBS Evening News ran a piece by David Martin which highlighted attacks on the viability of the newly planned system -- which is aimed at shooting down a missile fired from a rogue state, not a Cold War-era barrage from the Soviet Union -- from two men who maintain the interceptors can be easily fooled by balloon decoys. NBC insisted on repeatedly referring to missile defense as "Star Wars" as Jim Miklaszewski made no effort at balance. He outlined the idea behind the system, then spent the remainder of his piece relaying attacks from critics, including how "critics warn if Russia...feels threatened it could actually ignite a whole new nuclear arms race."
this anti-missile system really work?" asked CBS Evening News anchor
Bob Schieffer in introducing an "Eye on America" segment. David
Martin explained in the June 1 story how MIT's Theodore Postol
maintained that the interceptors can be confused by easily launched
balloon decoys. Martin soon added that Richard Garwin, identified
on-screen only as a "missile expert," agreed. Martin also
highlighted how Garwin foresees a nightmare scenario of impossible to stop
bomblets filled with anthrax. Martin concluded:
From Moscow, NBC's Tom Brokaw related how Putin and Germany's Prime Minister are "strongly opposed to any kind of Star Wars missile defense. NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski tonight has more on America's controversial Star Wars plan, should it go forward, is it worth it?"
Miklaszewski up front asserted that "the Pentagon insists this system is not some Cold War relic." After a clip of Lt. General Ronald Kadish, Miklaszewski explained how "it's a scaled down version of Star Wars" aimed only at countering a rogue attack and so 100 interceptor missiles would be placed in Alaska. After Charles LaDue of Raytheon compared the system to a bus driving into a wall at 1,200 mph, Miklaszewski noted the Pentagon had a successful test last October. Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe insisted in a soundbite that the system can be made to work.
began to discredit the whole concept. He noted how a second test failed,
"proof, say the critics, the system will never work."
Assuming all the critics are correct about technical problems with the planned system, the response does not have to be to abandon the concept as all the network experts argued, but to figure out what must be done to make it work to protect Americans, a line of reasoning skipped by CBS and NBC.
Moral equivalence in the extreme. On the one hand terrorists, on the other
NATO. Check out this question from Tom Brokaw to Russian President
Vladimir Putin posed during the interview played on the June 1 NBC Nightly
For the record, the question was too odd for Putin and he replied by saying "ineffective economic policy" is the biggest threat to Russia.
This year's National Spelling Bee champion is a product of home schooling, a fact noted Thursday night by ABC and NBC but skipped by CBS. Anchor Bob Schieffer reported on the June 1 CBS Evening News how "a 12 year-old boy from Maryland Heights, Missouri won the National Spelling Bee today. George Thampy won this war of words by correctly spelling 'demarche,' a kind of diplomatic maneuver." After a clip of Thampy spelling the word, Schieffer added: "And he has been a busy little bee. Last week he came in second in the geography bee."
ABC and NBC viewers, as well as those watching FNC, but I don't know about CNN, heard another relevant fact about the winner. As ABC's Peter Jennings acknowledged: "For the third year in a row the winner of the National Spelling Bee was a student taught at home." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams showed Thampy spelling the winning word before he alerted viewers: "The young winner, by the way, is home schooled as are the second and third place finishers this year."
The NRA doesn't care about kids as "the only life that is important to them is white, Republican life," actress/daytime TV host/liberal activist Rosie O'Donnell charged in an interview with National Review that went online hours after she was gently grilled for over five minutes by the Today show's Katie Couric about her hypocrisy in opposing gun use by others for personal protection while having armed guards around her kids.
O'Donnell blamed threats from gun advocates for forcing her to employ security measures and argued the news, about a guard at her kid's nursery school being armed, only got out because of a politically-motivated Connecticut police department, which "without a search warrant," searched the guard for a gun because "it would've been a big feather in" the cap of the gun lobby "had they found an unlicensed, unregistered gun on the bodyguard of one of America's most vocal gun control advocates."
In quite a contrast to the pre-Million Mom March coverage delivered by the networks, Couric repeatedly followed-up by challenging O'Donnell about how she's contradicting her public condemnation of guns. Couric, for instance, reminded O'Donnell that when Charlton Heston suggested more armed guards might have prevented the tragedy at Columbine, "your response was quote, 'Does he want us to live in a police state where the only way that our children in this country are safe is with armed guards at every school in America? That is an obscure, absurd, extremist view. He's wrong, it infuriates me.' And yet you have an armed, you're considering having an armed bodyguard for your children?"
First, to a hunk of the June 1 Today interview painstakingly transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, and then we'll get to some of O'Donnell's comments to National Review.
appearance during Today's 8am hour was pegged to her hosting the Tony
Awards Sunday night on CBS. After several questions about that and her
winning a daytime Emmy, Couric switched topics:
"The Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates EVERY product made in the United States"? A liberal's dream!
Couric then pressed her:
"Now given that backdrop and you're very strong feelings on this
"So why now apply for a permit?"
Couric pressed some
more: "Are you going to insist now, despite this publicity, that this
individual not carry a gun?"
O'Donnell: "Last year Charlton Heston came out with a statement
saying more armed guards might have prevented the tragedy at Columbine.
Your response was quote, 'Does he want us to live in a police state where
the only way that our children in this country are safe is with armed
guards at every school in America? That is an obscure, absurd, extremist
view. He's wrong, it infuriates me.' And yet you have an armed, you're
considering having an armed bodyguard for your children?"
Couric's next and last
query: "Do you think you'll continue to be a lightning rod in terms
of this whole controversy on this issue?"
+++ Watch a portion of Couric's interview with O'Donnell. Friday morning, MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a hunk of it, in RealPlayer format, on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey alerted me to this posting on National Review's Web page: "For his piece 'Rosie O'Donnell, Political Activist,' published in the June 19 issue of National Review, Jay Nordlinger interviewed Rosie O'Donnell, as well as the man she calls her idol -- Mike Douglas, the former TV-talk-show host whose show Rosie took as a model for her own."
NR provided some excerpts of O'Donnell's comments:
-- On Guns: "In a
perfect world, I would love it if we didn't have any handguns, but
that's not what I'm striving for politically, nor is it attainable.
That's an extremist view.
-- On Whether the NRA Cares as Much About Children as She Does: "I would say, maybe their own kids, but not kids in general. The only life that is important to them is white, Republican life. Regardless of skin color, it offends me when someone is shot dead in America. [The NRA's position] is based on financial gain, not patriotism or love of children."
-- Did she lose no respect at all for Hillary, given her wild accusations of a "vast right-wing conspiracy?": "I believe she believed her husband. I don't believe for one minute that she sat on the Today show [where the First Lady alleged the 'conspiracy'] knowing the truth of that situation. I believe her husband lied to her, as he did to everyone else, and that she found out only later that he'd betrayed her."
-- On the Argument that Rudy Giuliani Has Made New York City Safer, Better: "That's what a white conservative who's rich would say, but not someone in a poor neighborhood, by any means."
For more quotes, go to:
For the full story as it
appears in the new National Review:
And to watch a clip of O'Donnell's
infamous May 20, 1999 argument with Tom Selleck, go to:
As for O'Donnell's last quote above about Giuliani, tell that to all the poor minority group members who are still alive thanks to the dramatic drop in the murder rate. -- Brent Baker 
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