Pardon Hearing Skipped; Raisa as Jackie; Stossel's Rare Spin; Sam on Pot
1) ABC, CBS and NBC ignored the pardon hearing. FNC noted the FALN's victims were "insulted" by Clinton's letter defending his action while CNN just relayed his view. ABC plugged a hearing on pensions, warning that women "will have to work until they die."
3) ABC brought George Stephanopoulos onto GMA to analyze the race between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, the man he once worked to elect. Stephanopoulos abandoned his analyst role and approved of Bradley's position on gays in the military, declaring it "right."
The House Government Reform Committee convened hearings on Tuesday afternoon to examine Clinton's pardon of the Puerto Rican terrorists, but none of the broadcast networks noticed. Not a word about the topic on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening shows Tuesday night, September 21, though ABC's World News Tonight did lead with another Capitol Hill hearing -- a Senate hearing on companies changing their retirement plans from a pension system to "cash balance" plans, a development Peter Jennings called a "crisis for millions of Americans." Another ABC reporter claimed most women will have to work "until they die."
The hearing on the pardons captured half a story on CNN's Inside Politics, paired with a hearing about loans to Russia. Bob Franken's story included a brief look at the 1983 FBI video showing two of those now released making a bomb. Broadcast network evening show viewers have yet to see this video as besides Inside Politics it's only aired on FNC and NBC's Meet the Press. Later Tuesday night, CNN's 8pm ET The World Today did not show any of the hearing but allocated 25 seconds to relaying Clinton's defense of his decision. FNC's Fox Report didn't cover the hearing, but Special Report with Brit Hume went to David Shuster for a live update.
-- FNC's Special
Report with Brit Hume. David Shuster showed ranking Democrat Henry Waxman
reading a portion of Clinton's letter in which the President denied
"political considerations" played a role in his decision. After
a soundbite from committee Chairman Dan Burton about how the terrorists
never helped identify who did the actual bombings, Shuster observed:
-- CNN's The
World Today gave the whole matter a mere 25 seconds as anchor Wolf Blitzer
relayed only Clinton's defense:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight skipped the House hearing on the pardons but opened with two
pieces prompted by a Senate hearing on pension plans. ABC's first story
looked at the supposed problem of companies switching from pension plans
to cash balance plans. Then ABC identified the real victims: women.
Reporter Betsy Stark opened ABC's second story with this dire warning:
With analogies to Jackie Kennedy in Paris the networks on Tuesday night, September 20, bid adieu to Raisa Gorbachev, but at least all but CBS News acknowledged that her fashion trips to Paris made her quite unpopular at home.
ahead on tonight's CBS Evening News, the Russian woman who puzzled and
dazzled the world," oozed Dan Rather. In the subsequent report
transcribed by the MRC's Brian Boyd, David Hawkins announced from
-- On CNN's The
World Today. MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, Eileen O'Connor forwarded
the same analogy to Jackie but added that though it made her popular with
the press it did not go over well in the Soviet Union:
-- On NBC Nightly News, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Tom Brokaw gushed: "Just as Gorbachev represented a new breed of Soviet leader: younger, charismatic, more accessible, Raisa Gorbachev seemed more like an American First Lady with her stylish clothes and her very public presence....Like her husband Raisa Gorbachev was popular overseas. But just about everything the world liked about Mrs. Gorbachev irritated ordinary Russians. Many of them fighting for survival. They didn't appreciate a First Lady who attended Paris fashion shows."
-- Only ABC's
Peter Jennings avoided the Western comparisons. As MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson noted, on World News Tonight he stressed her lack of popularity
amongst her people as he reported:
Monday morning ABC News brought aboard George Stephanopoulos to provide the show's only analysis of the race between Bill Bradley and Al Gore, the man Stephanopoulos once worked to elect. Stephanopoulos could not control his personal left-wing views and at one point abandoned his independent analyst role as he approved of Bradley's position on gays in the military, declaring it "right."
Just a week and a half ago, on September 8, GMA had Stephanopoulos alone interview Bradley. As noted in the September 9 CyberAlert, Stephanopoulos used the opportunity to asked about Bush and cocaine and to hit Bradley with Gore's arguments.
Putting Stephanopoulos in this kind of position seems to contradict the spirit of ABC News President David Westin's assurance to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz back on August 23 that while ABC is turning Stephanopoulos into a regular correspondent, "we wouldn't have him be the beat reporter on the Gore campaign."
GMA co-host Diane Sawyer introduced Stephanopoulos on September 20: "Well, Campaign 2000 has begun in earnest. The candidates are beginning to stake out positions, finally, at least in the most contested race. It's Bradley versus Gore, the former Senator versus the Vice President. And ABC News political analyst George Stephanopoulos is here to tell us what the positions are."
Getting to what
Bradley said on This Week, Sawyer noted, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson: "Well, he said why should you allow gay people to
be in the Cabinet and not to be in the military. How risky is this
 Sunday's ABC special hosted by John Stossel, "Is America Number One?", provided a rare network airing of some libertarian and conservative views of economic freedom, the depressing impact of regulation and how despite the liberal mantra about income inequality the poor in America are much better off than those in other countries.
After the show aired Stossel appeared in an abcnews.com chat session for an hour during which he held his own against several hostile attacks. He suggested we have a "health care crisis" but not a "food crisis" because the government regulates health care and when asked how many of his ABC News colleagues share his view of the success of economic freedom, he replied: "Almost none of my colleagues."
In the one-hour program Stossel compared and contrasted three places: the U.S., Hong Kong and India. He explained how despite democracy India is poor because of burdensome socialistic government control while few are poor in Hong Kong because it's so easy to open a business or hire people.
First some highlights from the show and then some choice answers from Stossel's post-show chat session.
-- On Hong Kong: "You do see poor people in Hong Kong, but it's nothing like Europe or America. Some say you see less of this in Hong Kong because here it's so easy for everyone to become an entrepreneur. Even a clueless American can open a business. In a day. In my home town, New York City, it takes weeks. I'd have to go to the licensing department and get a state tax number, a federal tax number, apply to the buildings department, the zoning board, and more. Here in Hong Kong, handing in one form."
controls drive entrepreneurs to the U.S.: "One out of every five
companies here in Silicon Valley was founded by an immigrant. One out of
every three engineers, one out of every three scientists is an
-- Taking on
income inequality claptrap. He let left-wing radio talk show host Jim
Hightower claim: "We have unprecedented economic growth. More money
being generated than ever before. But it's all going to the top. Eight
out of ten Americans have seen their incomes go flat or go down."
Stossel took up Hightower's challenge and went to the South Bronx where he talked to people in a food line who admitted owning color televisions, VCRs, microwave ovens and having cable television.
Stossel then observed: "No one says some Americans aren't suffering, but poverty in America is nothing compared to the misery and hunger you see in India, and most of the world. These people in the South Bronx aren't here because they've been going without food. They come because the food's free."
+++ Watch a RealPlayer clip of this segment of Stossel's show. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post it. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
To read a transcript of the show, which is largely accurate but does include some clauses not actually aired, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/ABCNEWSSpecials/stossel990919_scriptA.html 
-- Q: "What
about health care, our miserable disparity between rich and poor,
corporate buying of our politicians and America's policy of violently
subverting policy in countries who don't agree with us?"
-- Q: "What
kind of hurdles did you have to cross to get ABC to air the story? Do you
think that this story reflects the views of most of your colleagues?"
-- Q: "What
about the 43 million Americans who don't have basic health coverage. Do
you really believe they can rely solely upon emergency care? What should
they do for preventative care, prenatal care or even dental care?"
If Forbes wins he could make Stossel his communications chief. To read a transcript of the chat session, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/DailyNews/chat_stossel990920.html 
NBC's Must See Liberal Wednesday? Wednesday night NBC debuts a drama produced by a man who wrote a liberal movie and another series returns with a liberal theme.
-- The West Wing,
about a President and his staff starring Martin Sheen as the President,
debuts at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT/MT. It was created by Aaron Sorkin who serves
as Executive Producer. His last story about the White House came from the
left -- the 1998 movie The American President starring Annette Bening and
Michael Douglas for which he penned the screenplay.
For more about the movie's plot and script, go to the May 24 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990524.html#8 
-- Speaking of gun control, Law & Order, which devoted a show last season to disparaging Ken Starr, returns for its tenth season at 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT/MT with a trendy plot about suing gun makers. Here's the show plot from the Washington Post's TV Week: "A murderer's shooting spree prompts Briscoe and Green to trace the murder weapon's origination; McCoy makes it his mission to punish the killer and the gun manufacturer."
As noted in the September 20 CyberAlert, when pressed by Bill Bradley on the September 19 This Week as to whether he'd ever smoked marijuana, Sam Donaldson replied: "I think a couple of times I've tried it. And I inhaled."
Now, from the September 20 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Stories Reported By Sam Donaldson After Smoking Pot." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Pat Buchanan: Is That Guy a Narc
With this list the best one didn't make it onto the broadcast, so from the Late Show Web site here are some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- "What Kind of Dumb-Ass Name is 'Cokie'?"
Not an experiment I'd want to try. -- Brent Baker 
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