CyberAlert -- 02/19/1997 -- CBS's Prime Time Sermon

CBS's Prime Time Sermon; Brokaw's Butt

1) All the networks speculate on the meaning of Starr's decision to leave, but NBC's Today has yet to discuss the China connection.

2) CBS gives a platform to a left-wing diatribe on Chicago Hope: "Health care is a right, just as education is, just as equal justice under law. The market place may be efficient but it is amoral."

3) People in Tom Brokaw's home town want to drive over his ass.

4) Larry King plays a liberal journalist in an ABC sit-com. What a stretch.


Independent Counsel Kenneth's Starr's announcement that he will leave his position this summer dominated Tuesday morning's political news as reporters speculated on what it means for the Clintons.

On Tuesday (February 18) morning's Good Morning America co-host Charlie Gibson led a discussion on Starr among Cokie Roberts, Bill Kristol and George Stephanopoulos. They also delved into whether an independent counsel should or will be appointed to investigate Democratic fundraising in the wake of the China connection revelation -- the first discussion of the China angle on GMA.
On Today, Katie Couric conducted a brief interview with Stuart Taylor of the American Lawyer. But she never raised the China issue. In fact, the weekday Today has yet to mention the China connection in a discussion/interview segment.

Tuesday night the three broadcast network evening shows all aired full stories on Starr's move and what it might mean. On ABC's World News Tonight Jackie Judd did a Starr piece and then ABC went to John Donvan traveling with the President in New York. Donvan noted that Clinton was in New York City to raise soft money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a type of event he says there should be rules against. Leading into a soundbite from Ann McBride of Common Cause, Donvan wondered: "Hypocrisy? It looks that way to some people who follow campaign finance closely." Donvan concluded with the new media spin that finance reform is the answer:
"And while Democratic money keeps getting all the attention, the Republicans only this weekend will be having a get together in Florida with their top office holders and their biggest soft money contributors. So much for either side kicking the habit."

The February 11 CyberAlert noted that a February 7 Wall Street Journal article showed how two large Democratic contributors were rewarded with an exclusive HUD contract for their energy company. A week and a half later: Still waiting for the first network story.


CBS gave Senator Ted Kennedy and actor/liberal activist Ron Silver a very unusual, and for an entertainment shows a very lengthy, platform to spew their virulent liberal views on Monday night (February 17). Kennedy made an appearance as himself on Chicago Hope, a 10pm ET/PT drama set in a Chicago hospital. In the show the character played by Ron Silver, Doctor Tommy Wilmette, travels to Washington, DC to testify before a subcommittee chaired by Kennedy. You already know it's Hollywood fantasy since Kennedy hasn't chaired a committee since Democrats lost control in 1992. But actors can dream.

Here's the entire scene, as transcribed by MRC entertainment analyst Alice Lynn O'Steen. This in long, but well worth your time to hear the kind of liberal sermon CBS finds perfectly acceptable in an entertainment show.

Senator Ted Kennedy: "Today is our second day of hearings on children's health care. We have ten million children in the United States that have no health care coverage whatsoever. These are the sons and daughters of working families. Men and women who work forty hours a week, fifty two weeks of the year. And the critical issue that is before this committee -- Do we have the political will to provide a health insurance to cover those ten million Americans? That is the issue. These are children that rarely see a primary health care doctor. Sons and daughters of working families that have asthma and rarely see a primary care doctor. That have ear infections and rarely see a doctor. Where the emergency room is their family doctor. I believe and I believe deeply that this country can afford a healthy start for every child in this country. And the issue before us, in this committee, is do we have the will to do so? We welcome our first witness Mr. Wilmette, Chicago Hope Hospital. Mr. Wilmette."

Dr. Tommy Wilmette, played by Ron Silver, with exaggerated passion from the witness table:
"Thank you Senator, I'm delighted to be here. I'd like to thank the committee for granting me the opportunity to appear before you. But you certainly don't need me feeding you statistics you're more familiar with than I. Health care isn't a Republican or Democratic issue it's an American problem that needs a solution. If you have health care you're buried under paper work and you probably don't have enough coverage and probably won't realize it 'til you need it. And if you do not have it you will be unable to afford care.

"American medical arrangements are out of control. Cost control through private competition is not working. Restructuring is required. And I am here to tell you that we need to disconnect profit from care. There should be no profit from the pain and misfortune of others. No profit from sick children. No profit from the dying. Health care is a right, just as education is, just as equal justice under law. The market place may be efficient but it is amoral. There is no other value. The system is sick and it is killing us. And believe me I know this from personal experience. And God help me I would not want to be in your shoes. But rest assured I will spend every waking hour of the day that God allows me to walk closely behind you, right on your heels. Cajoling, persuading and if necessary mobilizing pressure that will be so overwhelming that you will wind up having the courage of your convictions. I will be here to make sure that you do not fail.
Thank you Senator."

There you have it: an actor as America's moral conscious, or if you follow the script, the Senators should be cowering in fear of some doctor who just flew in from Chicago.

After the show, the Washington CBS affiliate's WUSA Eyewitness News at 11 ran a story on the show being filmed a few weeks earlier in DC. Reporter Beverly Burke explained: "Senator Kennedy wrote his own speech on the nation's health care system, specifically for tonight's episode of Chicago Hope. He agreed to this cameo appearance after co-star Ron Silver asked him at last month's presidential inauguration."
Silver then had high praise for the "courage" of CBS management: "The producers and the network have taken a rather courageous step in allowing the argument, the larger argument about health care reform and insurance to be made in this episode."

In the show Silver's character will leave Chicago to live in DC. Sounds like they'll have plenty of opportunities for more liberal bombast.


The citizens of Yankton, South Dakota are naturally proud that a native son -- Tom Brokaw -- made it big, but a member of the city council doesn't appreciate Brokaw's liberal outlook.

Appearing on the February 17 Late Show with David Letterman Monday night Brokaw explained that the Yankton City Council voted 6 to 2 to name a street after him: "Tom Brokaw Boulevard." But, Brokaw told Letterman, "One of the people voting against it, or least was opposed to it, said he loved the idea of having a street named after Brokaw. He'd like to drive up and down over his liberal, well he named a part of my anatomy."


A media star played his naturally liberal self in an appearance on an ABC sit-com Tuesday night. In Spin City (9:30pm ET/PT) Michael J. Fox stars as the top aide to the Mayor of New York City. The February 18 episode revolved around the 50th birthday party for the mayor. Various celebrities provided video tributes to the fictional mayor. Here's the one from Larry King:
"Happy birthday Mayor Winston. Since I know you're watching, how do you respond to the criticism that your administration is gutting social programs?"

I doubt that took much of an acting effort by King.

-- Brent Baker