Hurt Reporters Pentagon's Fault?; Vidal: U.S. Got Its Comeuppance; Burka & Bikini Equally Oppressive?; Dershowitz's Anti-FNC Rant
1) Sam Donaldson: "Mexican nationals, young, are not being rounded up." On This Week Donaldson didn't seem to understand why Middle Eastern men have been targeted by the FBI any more than young Mexican nationals.
2) Oddball question of the weekend: On CNN's Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz asked a producer for National Geographic TV, who was wounded in Afghanistan, whether he harbored "any resentment toward the Pentagon" for not allowing front line access to U.S. troops by journalists and "thereby prompting people like you to take these kind of risks in order to get into Afghanistan?"
3) Novelist Gore Vidal thinks the U.S. got what it deserved on September 11. Vidal told Reuters last week: "I've listed in this little book about four hundred strikes that the government has made on other countries....generally with the excuse that they were harboring communists. You keep attacking people for such a long time, one of them is going to get you back."
4) Women in the U.S. are just as oppressed by the bikini as Afghan women are by the burka, two women argued in an op-ed in the Boston Globe. They contended women must be "liberated from cultural confines....The burka and the bikini represent opposite ends of the political spectrum but each can exert a noose-like grip on the psyche and physical health of girls and women."
5) FNC viewers are safe from Alan Dershowitz, who told the Boston Herald: "I have a policy never under any circumstances to go on any Fox talk show. I regard (Bill) O'Reilly and (Sean) Hannity as blatant racists!"
>>> "Nobody likes you." See
what Tony Snow was talking about. Now up on the MRC home page, a clip of a
man outside the Dallas Cowboys game telling ABC's Peter Jennings:
"Nobody likes you." On both FNC's Special Report with Brit
Hume last Tuesday, and in his "Below the Fold" segment on Fox
News Sunday, Snow cited the exchange which was highlighted in the November
20 CyberAlert. To watch the excerpt from the November 19 World News
Tonight, as well as for a transcript of how Jennings set it up and
explained it, go to where the MRC's Mez Djouadi has posted it in
While on Jennings, the same CyberAlert item
relayed how the Dallas Morning News recounted that while moderating a TV
panel program on the local ABC affiliate Jennings was hit with complaints
about his September 11 remarks about President Bush. A CyberAlert reader
has passed along a link to a RealPlayer file of the entire November 18
WFAA-TV special, "Covering Terrorism: Critiquing the Media." To
play the RealPlayer video, go to: http://www.wfaa.com/watchvideo/index.jsp?SID=1929859 
On Sunday's This Week Sam Donaldson refused to accept George Will's insistence that not all young Middle Eastern men are being "rounded up." Donaldson also didn't seem to understand why Middle Eastern men have been targeted any more than young Mexican nationals in this country.
During the roundtable segment of the November
25 show, Donaldson noted how President Bush and Attorney General John
Ashcroft have countenanced the "round up" of young Middle
Eastern men. That prompted this exchange:
But Mexican nationals didn't commit mass murder in a terrorist attack carried out inside the United States.
Oddball question of the weekend: On CNN's Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz asked a producer for National Geographic TV, who was wounded in Afghanistan, whether he harbored "any resentment toward the Pentagon" for not allowing front line access to U.S. troops and "thereby prompting people like you to take these kind of risks in order to get into Afghanistan?"
Kurtz's question came during an interview with Gary Scurka, a producer for National Geographic TV, who was injured the week before in Afghanistan after a Taliban shell landed nearby. Kurtz wanted to know, on the CNN show which aired Saturday night at 6:3pm EST and again Sunday morning at 9:30am EST, if Scurka had "any resentment toward the Pentagon for not allowing American journalists and photographers more front line access to U.S. troops, thereby prompting people like you to take these kind of risks in order to get into Afghanistan?"
Scurka shot down Kurtz's premise: "No, no resentment. In fact, in a lot of ways I can understand the need for the secrecy and so forth. No resentment, but we sure wish we had that kind of access. But I don't resent them. They're doing their jobs too."
File Kurtz's question under "journalists first, second, third..."
Add novelist Gore Vidal to the list of anti-American leftists who think the U.S. got what it deserved on September 11. Promoting his new book, the cover of which depicts the head of the Statue of Liberty with its mouth gagged by a U.S. flag, Vidal told Reuters last week: "I've listed in this little book about four hundred strikes that the government has made on other countries. War, undeclared. Generally with the excuse that they were harboring communists. You keep attacking people for such a long time, one of them is going to get you back."
Reuters reported that Vidal is having "trouble" finding an outlet for his views in the U.S. and had to go to Italy to locate a publisher for his new screed.
It's reassuring that U.S. publishers have some standard they won't go beneath.
An excerpt from the November 23 Reuters story by reporter Stephanie Holmes in Rome:
Outspoken U.S. writer Gore Vidal has denounced Washington for waging what he called "a perpetual war for perpetual peace" and said American aggression was only nurturing fresh hatreds....
Vidal, one of contemporary America's harshest critics, has had trouble finding an audience for his views back home and is publishing his latest collection of essays in his adoptive country, Italy.
"Anyone can describe what happened but you have to think to realize why Osama bin Laden did what he did. This is hard work and it will make you very unpopular," he said in an interview late on Thursday....
"Bin Laden strikes at America at the moment we are entering a world depression...it is the most fragile moment in the West. For someone who does not wish us well that was brilliantly timed," Vidal said....
The front cover of his new book "The End of Liberty -- Toward a New Totalitarianism" shows a picture of the head of the Statue of Liberty with its mouth gagged by a U.S. flag.
One of the essays details a series of U.S. attacks on various countries since the end of World War Two. The piece was originally commissioned by an American magazine following the September 11 attacks but refused to publish it because of its uncompromising criticism.
"I've listed in this little book about four hundred strikes that the government has made on other countries. War, undeclared. Generally with the excuse that they were harboring communists. You keep attacking people for such a long time, one of them is going to get you back," Vidal said.
The U.S.-led strikes on Afghanistan were not the right response, he added.
"What Osama did is not a war. It can't be a war because Osama is not a nation. He is a gang. It is like being hit by the Mafia. You don't declare war on Sicily because the Mafia happen to live in Sicily. You don't bomb Palermo. You get the international police and you track him down.
"And if you are a really great nation you buy him. That's the way every empire from Julius Caesar on has done it," he said, adding that he believed President Bush, had ulterior motives for promising a long war.
"Bush is enjoying 90 percent popularity, his 15 minutes of fame," he said, condemning the President's reaction to the attacks on New York and Washington as "suicidal."
"It is not only wrong but it has repercussions that he hasn't thought about. He likes to stand tall. The taller you stand the more likely you are to get hit by a kamikaze pilot," Vidal said.
END of Excerpt
For the Reuters story in full, go to:
In the dispatch from Rome, Reuters reporter Stephanie Holmes followed the British wire service's policy of not describing the September 11 events as "terrorism." She wrote: "Accusing bin Laden of masterminding the September 11 suicide attacks on New York and Washington, the United States has launched an offensive against Afghanistan where the Saudi-born dissident lives."
While on the America-bashing theme, Friday's Boston Globe carried an op-ed by two women who argued that women in the U.S. are just as oppressed by the bikini as Afghan women were by the burka imposed by the Taliban.
Joan Jacobs Brumberg, identified as "a
historian at Cornell University and author of The Body Project: An
Intimate History Of American Girls," and Jacquelyn Jackson, "a
women's health advocate in Washington," concluded their November 23
An excerpt from the piece, titled "The burka and the bikini." It began:
The female body -- covered in a burka or uncovered in a bikini -- is a subtle subtext in the war against terrorism. The United States did not engage in this war to avenge women's rights in Afghanistan. However, our war against the Taliban, a regime that does not allow a woman to go to school, walk alone on a city street, or show her face in public, highlights the need to more fully understand the ways in which our own cultural "uncovering" of the female body impacts the lives of girls and women everywhere.
Taliban rule has dictated that women be fully covered whenever they enter the public realm, while a recent US television commercial for Temptation Island 2 features near naked women. Although we seem to be winning the war against the Taliban, it is important to gain a better understanding of the Taliban's hatred of American culture and how women's behavior in our society is a particular locus of this hatred. The irony is that the images of sleek, bare women in our popular media that offend the Taliban also represent a major offensive against the health of American women and girls....
The unrealistic body images that we see and admire every day in the media are literally eating away at the female backbone of our nation. A cursory look at women's magazines, popular movies and television programs reveal a wide range of images modeling behaviors that directly assault the human skeleton. The ultra-thin woman pictured in a magazine sipping a martini or smoking a cigarette is a prime candidate for osteoporosis later in life.
In fact, many behaviors made attractive by the popular media, including eating disorders, teen smoking, drinking, and the depression and anxiety disorders that can occur when one does not measure up are taking a major toll on female health and well-being....
Now that the Taliban's horrific treatment of women is common knowledge, dieting and working out to wear a string bikini might seem to be a patriotic act. The war on terrorism has certainly raised our awareness of the ways in which women's bodies are controlled by a repressive regime in a far away land, but what about the constraints on women's bodies here at home, right here in America?...
Covered or uncovered, the homefront choice is not about morality but the physical and emotional health of future generations.
Whether it's the dark, sad eyes of a woman in purdah or the anxious darkly circled eyes of a girl with anorexia nervosa, the woman trapped inside needs to be liberated from cultural confines in whatever form they take. The burka and the bikini represent opposite ends of the political spectrum but each can exert a noose-like grip on the psyche and physical health of girls and women.
END of Excerpt
To read the entirety of the op-ed piece, go
Alan Dershowitz, a favorite guest of Geraldo Rivera's on CNBC, won't be following Rivera to the Fox News Channel, at least judging by an anti-FNC outburst last week from the Harvard law professor. Alarmed that a "Fox News" sign on the building housing a Boston area TV studio meant that he was about to appear on FNC, an enraged Dershowitz told the Boston Herald: "I have a policy never under any circumstances to go on any Fox talk show. I regard (Bill) O'Reilly and (Sean) Hannity as blatant racists!"
Dershowitz wanted to make sure he "wasn't walking into a Fox sewer."
The November 21 "Inside Track" column in the Boston Herald by Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa recounted Dershowitz's aversion to FNC. An excerpt:
Then there's Harvard Law Prof Alan Dershowitz, who never met a TV camera he didn't like -- unless it was from the Fox News Channel!
Seems the ubiquitous talking head was over at Videolink in Watertown the other day to shoot one of his many TV appearances -- this one for CNN -- when he noticed new signs on the building. The signs said Fox News Channel, which is sharing space with the TV satellite service.
"I raised the question, 'What's going on here? I didn't come over to do Fox,'" Dershowitz told the Track. "I have a policy never under any circumstances to go on any Fox talk show. I regard (Bill) O'Reilly and (Sean) Hannity as blatant racists!"
A Videolink voice of reason informed the left-leaning law prof that the right-of-center Fox was just a tenant in the building and escorted him upstairs for his closeup.
"I just wanted to make sure I wasn't walking into a Fox sewer," Dershowitz said. "If I ran into O'Reilly or Hannity there, I would have had to shower three or four times before I could come home."...
END of Excerpt
To read this item online, go to:
For the Boston Herald's "Inside
Track" daily, go to:
Whenever you see someone on television from "Boston," apparently except on FNC, they are really in Watertown at Videolink, a studio facility which provides guest facilities with changeable backgrounds for appearances on different networks so viewers don't realize the guest hasn't moved, just the background.
Last Tuesday night George Stephanopoulos got married in New York City to Alexandra Wentworth.
The November 21 New York Post carried a short story about the festivities. An excerpt from the piece by reporter Joe Cunningham:
Former Clinton White House stud George Stephanopoulos tied the knot yesterday with Alexandra Wentworth in a star-filled ceremony on the Upper East Side.
The beaming bride -- an actress and comedian who is a regular on "The Tonight Show" -- walked down the aisle at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral on East 74th Street as celebs like Marisa Tomei and "West Wing's" Bradley Whitford looked on.
The media elite also turned out for the wedding of the one-time White House wunderkind-turned-ABC-TV-talking-head.
The movers and shakers who later moved and shook at a reception in the cathedral included Peter Jennings, Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer and Mike Wallace.
Fellow Clinton alum Dee Dee Myers was there, as was Democratic operative James Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, Vice President Dick Cheney's adviser....
END of Excerpt
For a picture and RealPlayer video of Wentworth, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010726.asp#4 
From the November 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways to Get Osama Out of His Cave." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Disconnect his cable
As you can see by the distribution of this CyberAlert, and the items based on what I picked up in Boston, I survived my brief sojourn to the Bay State by flying between two airports at which September 11 hijackings occurred.
A couple of CyberAlert readers requested that I relay my post- September 11 flying experience, my first flights since the terrorist attacks, so here goes:
If only the airline, which shall remain unnamed, was as competent as Argenbright Security. I made it from the Dulles parking lot to the gate in under 30 minutes, and that included time to check a suitcase. The airline personnel in that process were quite efficient. For the first time I was asked for both a photo ID and the credit card which I used to purchase the ticket online. Argenbright personnel were more thorough than usual, but with increased personnel on duty it took less time than I've experienced in the past. And at least two of the six, yes six assigned to one screening line, spoke English.
The airline, however, decided to cancel my flight, probably because there were only about 40 people waiting for it, and moved the passengers to one scheduled to leave two hours later. But that flight was delayed for more than an hour by an investigation of a "loud noise" the inbound pilots heard upon landing in Boston. Following an hour delay boarding was begun, but then was soon aborted, and those on board had to leave the plane, when it was learned the airline had yet to declare the plane airworthy. Boarding the 767 about 15 minutes later it was a bit disconcerting to hear maintenance men in the rear banging metal against metal. But nothing fell off during flight, at least that I noticed, and I and my luggage arrived very late, yet in one piece.
On the return trip the airline got its 100 percent loaded plane off on schedule, though the security firm for the airline in Boston, not Argenbright, didn't seem as sure-footed. But Logan Airport did have the National Guard personnel do something useful: check for photo IDs as people approached the baggage screening area.
On both legs of my trip I arrived more than 90 minutes before flight time, but I didn't have to. On what should have been two busy travel days, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, though both planes I flew were full, most gates were empty and unused. It seems the airlines are flying many fewer flights, but are trying to maximize the load on each.
If you are wary about flying again you shouldn't be. Just be prepared for potentially long lines at security, have your laptop out to send through the scanner separately from your carrying case and keep your photo ID accessible: You'll be asked for it at the start of the baggage screening line and again as you board the airplane. And they really seemed to check that the photo matched the face and the name matched the name on the ticket.
Also, this didn't happen to me, but don't bring suitcases as carry-ons: First, the airline I flew was strictly enforcing the size restrictions and only allowed one carry-on and, second, as passengers were boarding Argenbright in Boston had people at the gate opening up and going through every suitcase-type carry-on.
The most disconcerting event of the whole trip: On the Boston to Dulles flight I had a "dead-heading" flight attendant sit next to me. His choice of reading material......Better Homes & Gardens magazine. -- Brent Baker