Anchor to Clinton: "How Does It Feel Talking to Me?"; Focusing on Bush Quiz, Not Gore or Wolf
2) Usually reporters credit Mikhail Gorbachev with bringing down the Berlin Wall. CNN's Christiane Amanpour blamed him, citing how "the unbridled capitalism that followed communism has unleashed misery on citizens who had all their social needs taken care of."
4) It's all about me. Look at me! ABC anchor Carole Simpson put herself front and center, equating her professional success with President Clinton's rise, asking him: "How does it feel talking to me? That I made it, too, when people said I wouldn't be able to?"
5) Last Friday night ABC's World News Tonight jumped on how George W. Bush could not identify some obscure world leaders, but the show has yet to utter a word about Naomi Wolf and never noted Gore's missed answers to a farm quiz on 20/20 back in June.
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Monday night the three broadcast network evening shows, as well as CNN's The World Today, led with the announcement by the second largest HMO, United HealthCare, that reviewing decisions costs more money than they saved so they are switching decision-making to doctors. NBC Nightly News unveiled new a new opening sequence, graphics and desk for Tom Brokaw, but the show still played the same music.
The ABC, CBS and NBC shows all ran pieces on the Microsoft monopoly ruling, but not about its soundness. Instead, all followed how the stock performed during the day. CBS's Anthony Mason stressed how a breakup of the company could even help investors as they'd get stock in both halves of any new entities. NBC's Mike Jensen pointed out how well investors have done with the stock as $100 of Microsoft stock bought 1989 would now be worth $65,000. NBC added two "In Depth" reports. First, a look at arguments about whether Microsoft's dominance has helped or hurt consumers and then a piece on how many in Microsoft's home base in the Seattle area are worried while those in Silicon Valley who compete with Microsoft are happy about the ruling.
ABC's World News Tonight
delivered another panic story, as they did in August, about how
"global warming" is causing an outbreak of malaria in North
America. Citing recent cases in New York, California, Texas, Michigan and
New Jersey, reporter Deborah Amos asserted:
Though she conceded only
"some scientists" believe this, she didn't bother with conveying
the majority view. Instead, she only relayed the claim of Harvard
University's Dr. Paul Epstein, who said: "In order for there to be
local transmission of malaria, one needs a lot of mosquitos and enough
warmth to increase the transmission."
Marking the tenth anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, CNN's The World Today on Monday featured an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev. Christiane Amanpour followed the usual media pattern of crediting Gorbachev with bringing down the wall, but she also blamed him for it.
After opening her November 8 piece by asserting that some say Gorbachev should get a statue in every eastern European capital, she asked him: "How did you feel yourself watching that wall come down?"
Later, after Gorbachev praised
socialism and noted how Western Europe is led by social Democrats,
Amanpour replied by raising the dark side of the end of communism:
Amazing. Hitting a communist from the left.
Two best lines of the weekend on the interview and talk shows: Fox's Brit Hume didn't pretend Microsoft is some heroic, benign company as he questioned the legal mind of federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer put into perspective George W. Bush's inability to name the leaders of three places.
-- Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday: "Microsoft is a big, rough, mean, ruthless company. And it has dealt ruthlessly in many instances with its competitors. Does that translate into violations of the law? That is the question. And I think that it is a big leap and the judge made it completely, almost, it seems to me, suggesting that he is not the sharpest knife in the legal drawer here."
-- Charles Krauthammer on Inside Washington: "That was ridiculous. Chechnya, India and Pakistan. The people who live in those countries have no idea who their leader is."
 Forget about focusing on your news subject and not yourself. In an interview of President Clinton shown on Sunday's World News Tonight ABC anchor Carole Simpson put herself front and center, recalling how she "grew up working class on the south side of Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to you." Incredibly, she then asked: "How does it feel talking to me? That I made it, too, when people said I wouldn't be able to?" Even Clinton seemed surprised by her hubris.
Earlier, Simpson, who is black, had told Clinton: "You're the first black President. How does that make you feel?" And, she worried: "Aren't you going to suffer great post-partum depression after you leave office?"
Simpson's November 7 piece was pegged to Clinton's visits to poor areas. Simpson explained: "For millions of Americans the booming economy and bull market have been all but meaningless, because they've had no share in the prosperity. This past week President Clinton called attention to this gap in his second New Markets tour."
Simpson explained his proposal and allowed Clinton to promote it before showing excerpts from her interview aboard Air Force One. Simpson complained: "The poverty issue is, of course, tied somewhat to race. And blacks are still disproportionately poorer, Latinos are. Today we were in Newark, and we saw Latinos in Hartford. Your race commission was to come out with a report. Where is it?"
Clinton answered: "Of all the issues that I deal with, this is one that I have perhaps the strongest feelings about, and the longest years of experience with, and the, and the clearest ideas about the future of our country and the future of our world."
To that, Simpson responded:
"You want to do it right. You joke about it, so I don't see why I
can't joke about it: You're the first black President. How does that make
Simpson's piece then moved to a
new venue and the sucking up moved up a notch. "Later, in an Arkansas
tomato factory, I chatted with President Clinton about his future."
She told him: "I've watched you the past few days and how the crowd
responds to you, and how you respond to them." And: "You've got
the big plane, you've got the big house, you've got the cars, the
protection. Aren't you going to suffer great post-partum depression after
you leave office?"
Now we get to the hard to
believe part. But this is all accurate. Simpson then showed video of her
standing in front of Clinton as she proclaimed: "I have to bask in
this moment, for a moment, because I am here talking to the most powerful
man on the planet, who was a poor boy from Arkansas..."
That ended the taped story and viewers then saw Simpson back in the anchor chair saying: "President Clinton said that when he leaves office, he will divide his time between homes in New York and Little Rock."
This self-centered "reporting" is really hard to believe until you see it, but unfortunately we can't let you see it for at least a few more days. Because of our office move our computer equipment and computer phone lines are not yet all up and running, so we can't post new video clips on our Web page. But as soon as we can, we will post this exchange between Simpson and Clinton.
Last Friday night ABC's World News Tonight jumped on how George W. Bush could not identify the leaders of Chechnya, India or Pakistan when quizzed by a reporter for NBC's affiliate in Boston, but the show has yet to utter a word about Al Gore trying to hide the hiring of controversial feminist author Naomi Wolf -- despite the fact Gore was asked about it on ABC's own This Week on October 31 and the show brought Wolf aboard a week later. And, back in June, when Gore could not answer some farm questions posed by Diane Sawyer on 20/20, World News Tonight failed to note it.
Picking up on the Wednesday
WHDH-TV interview highlighted on the front page of the Friday, November 5,
Washington Post, that morning ABC's Good Morning America dedicated an
entire segment with George Stephanopoulos to assessing the damage from the
quiz, but in all of last week the Wolf hiring earned only this joking
exchange on Wednesday's show:
This past weekend all the interview and debate shows featured this type of joking about Wolf's assessment that Gore is the beta male to Clinton the alpha male, with panelists asking each other if they are alpha or beta males. All the shows also looked at the Bush quiz. But only the Bush story last week earned a broadcast network evening show story.
On Friday's World News Tonight ABC anchor Peter Jennings intoned: "In political circles throughout the country, and among quite a number of normal people, too, the Republican candidate for President George W. Bush was getting something of a roasting. Yesterday Mr. Bush found himself in one of those interviews with a reporter that turned out to be more than he counted on. He was asked to name the leaders of four places which have been pretty consistently in the news: Taiwan, Chechnya, Pakistan and India. He got one out of four."
Aaron Brown opened with Bush
defending himself in a taped interview with Sam Donaldson to be shown two
days later on This Week. Brown then played an excerpt from the exchange
with WHDH-TV's Andy Hiller, emphasizing how "he also showed a flash
of temper and defensiveness" and how "there were questions of
policy, too, as Bush seemed to suggest he supports the military coup in
Certainly if the media want them to.
As the Washington Post's Mike
Allen noted on Sunday, on Friday morning "Bill Bradley, perhaps the
nation's most famous scholar-athlete, refused to take a quiz on world
leaders like the one that flummoxed another presidential candidate, Texas
Gov. George W. Bush. During a long-scheduled interview, Andy Hiller,
political reporter for WHDH-TV, the NBC station in Boston, asked, 'Can you
identify the leader of North Korea?'
The MRC's Tim Graham reminded me of how back on June 16 Diane Sawyer tested Al Gore's knowledge of farm issues, since Gore claimed to have been raised on a farm. GMA showed his responses in a preview of the upcoming 20/20 interview, but did not focus on his inability to answer two questions. World News Tonight, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson confirmed, did not choose to inform its viewers of Gore's missed answers -- and nor did any other major network show.
Sawyer: "All right. My
cousins are all tobacco farmers and cattle farmers. So I have a test for
you. Ready for a pop quiz?"
Not a bad escape of media scrutiny for Gore in this instance.
Catching up on an item from last week that I do not believe got any wider attention, a November 3 Washington Post story revealed that while in Oslo President Clinton zoomed in on a Monica Lewinsky look-alike, shaking her hand so long, according to the local media, that she "blushed brighter than ever before in her life."
Here's an excerpt from the Washington Post story by T.R. Reid, headlined: "Norwegian News Media Are Smitten by Clinton."
OSLO, Nov. 2--Presidents, prime ministers and dignitaries from a dozen countries gathered in Oslo this week, but to judge from the Norwegian media, you'd think there was only one man in town: Bill Clinton.
Newspapers and TV networks here have focused almost totally on the
President since Air Force One touched down here early Monday -- with the arrival covered live on every channel. Since then, the media have provided inordinately detailed coverage of the first visit by a U.S. President in Norway's history.
The papers have reported what Clinton wore (three different ties in one day!); what he drank (Diet Coke); what he read (Sue Grafton's "'O' Is for Outlaw," spotted on his lap in the limousine); and how long he shook the hand of fourth-grade teacher Ingeborg Heldal (so long that she "blushed brighter than ever before in her life," according to the tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang)....
To a degree, this kind of response is standard operating procedure for any U.S. President in almost any country. People everywhere are fixated on the military, political and cultural might of the only remaining superpower. And Norway may be even more smitten than other places, because virtually every Norwegian family has relatives in the United States.
But the intense response to Clinton's visit also says something about this particular President. Clinton's impeachment and his history of sex scandals makes him an object of fascination wherever he travels.
Thus, it was probably inevitable that the Norwegian media would come upon something during this week's visit to remind them of last year's White House turmoil. Sure enough, they found it Monday when the President shook hands for a second or two outside the royal palace with Heldal, the 26-year-old teacher -- a woman whom Verdens Gang described as a "Monica Lewinsky look-alike."
"A pretty, dark-haired girl in the crowd catches the President's eye and extends a hand to him," the newspaper said. "Haven't we seen something like this before?"
END of Excerpt
If Hillary moves to Chappaqua maybe Clinton can move to Oslo and move in on the teacher. It sounds like that in Norway he may have an even more worshipful media than in the U.S., though it's hard to beat Carole Simpson who both worships herself and Bill Clinton. -- Brent Baker 
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