CyberAlert -- 04/29/2002 -- U.S. Blamed for German School Shooting

U.S. Blamed for German School Shooting; CBS Discovered a New Threat: Global Cooling; Pay Cut for Peter Jennings?; GMA's New News Reader Raised Money for Bill Bradley

1) CNN anchor Daryn Kagan on Friday seemed to suggest a connection between the U.S. and a school shooting in Germany. She recoiled at the breaking news: "Not the kind of thing we want to export from this country."

2) Global warming? Never mind. The new danger: global cooling. Highlighting the belief of one man, reporter Randal Pinkston warned on Sunday's CBS Evening News that "he and other researchers are increasingly sounding a new alarm, a paradox, that global warming could produce an abrupt climate change and cooler temperatures, very soon."

3) As part of a cost-cutting effort, Disney is asking Peter Jennings to accept a reduction in his $10 million annual salary.

4) ABC has picked as its GMA news reader a woman who helped raise money for the most liberal presidential candidate of 2000: Bill Bradley. She emceed a $1 million-plus fundraiser in November 1999. USA Today quoted Roberts as hopefully predicting at it that Bradley would be "going from Madison Square Garden to the Rose Garden."

5) As read by soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, Letterman's "Top Ten Responses To 'How Big Is Your Army Base?'" Monday night on NBC's Tonight Show: Ari Fleischer.


U.S. to blame for the school shooting in Germany in which 17 were killed on Friday? Just after the news broke on CNN on Friday, anchor Daryn Kagan seemed to hold the people of the United States culpable: "Not the kind of thing we want to export from this country."

The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens tracked down the comment noticed by the MRC's Rich Noyes from about 10:25 EDT on Friday, April 26:

Kagan: "As that reporter was telling us, from Berlin, this isn't over. They're not sure if just the one gunman or there's other gunmen out there and so the search and the situation at the school still goes on."
Co-anchor Leon Harris: "It's incredible, incredible."
Kagan: "Not the kind of thing we want to export from this country."
Harris: "No. Exactly, exactly."

Long before there was a mass media to hype school shootings in the U.S. I think Germans managed to launch unprovoked killing of Poles without any help from the U.S.


Global warming? Never mind. Twenty-five years ago the news media were warning of how global cooling could lead to a new ice age. Then, starting in the late 1980s, reporters began to focus ominously on how global warming would spread tropical diseases to the Northern Hemisphere and cause rising sea levels to swallow up coastal cities like New York.

But on Sunday night, CBS offered a new twist: Global warming will cause global cooling. Highlighting the belief of one man, reporter Randal Pinkston warned that "he and other researchers are increasingly sounding a new alarm, a paradox, that global warming could produce an abrupt climate change and cooler temperatures, very soon."

In other words, the Earth has solved its own problem.

Pinkston began his April 28 CBS Evening News story:
"The recent collapse of an enormous, 12,000-year-old Antarctic ice shelf, coupled with the warmest winter on record, is adding fuel to the debate over global warming."
Terry Joyce, oceanographer: "We see temperatures rising. It's most evident in the oceans, which is where the heat is stored."
Pinkston: "Terry Joyce, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, studies the effects of global warming. He and other researchers are increasingly sounding a new alarm, a paradox, that global warming could produce an abrupt climate change and cooler temperatures, very soon."
Joyce: "We could end up with a change that would occur within a decade and we would be in a different climate."
Pinkston to Joyce: "A colder climate?"
Joyce confirmed: "A colder climate."
Pinkston explained the theory: "The theory behind how global warming could lead to colder temperatures begins with the build-up of greenhouse gasses that are trapping heat in the atmosphere. This heat contributes to the melting of arctic icecaps and the evaporation of ocean water. The moisture returns to Earth as precipitation, rain and snow. But the addition of huge volumes of fresh water could disrupt the Atlantic Ocean conveyor system that brings warm currents from the southern tropics to the north."

That was probably most of the story, but I missed the end because at that point Washington, DC's CBS affiliate, WUSA-TV, cut in for a weather update about a local tornado. Soon I learned about how one viewer called in to report seeing a "toaster flying."


A pay cut for Peter Jennings? On Saturday, the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes picked up on speculation that the Disney Corporation wants the ABC News anchor to take a cut in his $10 million annual salary as the company tries to reduce costs at ABC News.

An excerpt from de Moraes' April 27 column:

ABC News wants evening anchor Peter Jennings to take a salary cut.

It's unclear how much the Mouse House would like its $10 million man to forgo in his next contract, according to a source at the network; his current pact with the Disney-owned network expires this summer, but he's already in talks about a new one.

The news division's tough stance is part of an ongoing effort to bring down costs.

Last May, Disney ordered ABC News to cut 10 percent of its workforce, or about 125 positions, through attrition and job cuts....

[T]he news division has been asking some of its correspondents to take pay cuts when their contracts are being renegotiated. But that development did not receive too much coverage until speculation surfaced that Jennings had come under the knife, which played big in the press this week.

That's partly because it immediately follows ABC's disastrous run at David Letterman for the "Nightline" time slot -- which prompted the second round of press speculation that Disney isn't serious about news.

Some recent reports speculated that Jennings would prevail because ABC wouldn't want a second black eye before its first had healed -- the one it got when it tried to replace Ted Koppel with stupid pet tricks. Other reports, however, suggested the hue and cry would be nowhere so loud over the salary of a guy who makes more in a month than many do in a lifetime.

To date, the latter camp has been accurate....

And on Friday, when things were winding down and newsies at various networks had ample time to play the Jennings speculation game, several forecast the two parties would reach some honorable truce, wherein ABC News could report back to Team Disney they'd hung tough and trimmed a mil, while Jennings got concessions of his own.

Jennings is in a somewhat difficult situation.

Though morning is now considered the sexiest news day-part -- NBC's Today show is said to be the most profitable news program on any network -- the evening news anchor job is still considered to be the top of the mountain, leaving Jennings nowhere to go but down....

And while Jennings's news program is profitable for the network, it's not nearly as profitable as GMA, an insider confirmed. On the other hand, Jennings's is the most improved of the broadcast evening newscasts, rating wise, since Sept. 11 -- up nearly 1 million viewers compared to last season, though he's still trailing NBC's Tom Brokaw by about a million.

And there are questions about the future viability of the broadcast evening news programs. More than half of Jennings's audience is over the age of 55, which is also true of Brokaw's newscast and Dan Rather's at CBS.

END of Excerpt

For the article in full:

Jennings' salary is bigger than the annual budget of the MRC, which has about 40 employees.


Democratic fundraiser to network news anchor. Last week ABC News made it official, with Charles Gibson announcing on Good Morning America that Robin Roberts, a veteran of ESPN, is the new permanent news reader on the ABC morning show, replacing Antonio Mora, who left the network a few months ago.

On Sunday, November 14, 1999 Roberts was the emcee for a fundraiser for the most liberal presidential candidate of the 2000 campaign: Bill Bradley. She hosted the Bradley for President fundraiser, which featured retired basketball stars, at Madison Square Garden.

The November 15, 1999 Early Show on CBS showed a clip Roberts, as she stood in front of a huge court-side "Bradley for President" banner, promising: "None of those stuffy black-tie affairs here. No. We're gonna have some fun." USA Today quoted Roberts as predicting Bradley would be "going from Madison Square Garden to the Rose Garden."

In 1999 Robin Roberts, the new news reader for ABC's Good Morning America, emceed a Bradley for President fundraiser

That November 15, 1999 USA Today story by Tom Weir reported: "The mix of Bradley's teammates, opponents, childhood idols and a few other sports and entertainment figures was the draw that allowed his campaign to sell tickets to the 'Back in the Garden' event for anywhere from $50 to $1,000, and raise at least $1 million. Campaign officials said the final figure might reach $1.5 million, making it the biggest sports-oriented fundraiser by a political candidate."

Weir added: "The two-hour string of testimonials was held on the arena's basketball court and was hosted by ESPN sportscaster Robin Roberts. She predicted Bradley would be 'going from Madison Square Garden to the Rose Garden.' Roberts assured the audience that the event was no 'stuffy black-tie' affair. 'No. We're going to have some fun.'"

Though by the fall of 1999 she had become a fill-in co-host of GMA, Roberts was supposedly surprised by the questions her Bradley role raised. Jim Shea reported in the January/February 2000 Columbia Journalism Review:
"Robin Roberts, one of ESPN's most high-profile anchors (she also contributes to ABC News) acted as emcee at a Madison Square Garden fundraising event last November for presidential candidate Bill Bradley, an event that included many of the candidate's former New York Knicks teammates. When her appearance raised eyebrows, Roberts expressed surprise, saying if she knew what the reaction was going to be, she never would have been involved. 'Certainly the fallout has given us cause to look at the issue,' says [ESPN executive editor John A.] Walsh. 'I think Robin -- and she has stated so -- was a bit naive.'"

CyberAlert readers may recall Roberts for how she covered the opening last July of Bill Clinton's Harlem office. As recounted in the July 31, 2001 CyberAlert, Roberts maintained that there are two Bill Clintons, "the one who loves glamour, the one who wants to make the world a better place." Later, she raved: "Today, by public relations design, he becomes an honorary homeboy."

Following a clip of Clinton saying he misses the job, Roberts asserted: "This is a latest installment of the Clinton story, a chance to reemerge as the ex-President he really wants to be, but once again it is the tale of two Clintons: the one who loves glamour, the one who wants to make the world a better place."
Harlem resident: "He's an easygoing man, he's a gentleman, he seems to stand up for the people."
Roberts recalled: "This morning no one will remember his first choice for office space was posh West 57th Street, just a couple of doors away from the trendy Russian Tea Room. This morning is a new beginning. After six months of learning how to live like the rest of us, learning that when the Chappaqua basement gets flooded, the insurance doesn't cover it and learning just how to use a normal phone."
ABC viewers saw Terry McAuliffe recount his anecdote about how Clinton couldn't figure out how to operate a cell phone. But instead of using that disclosure to question just how in touch with the people he was during his tenure, Roberts continued:
"But all the real life is still in sharp contrast to that yearning for glamour: playing pool with Elizabeth Hurley, earning millions for all those speeches, jet-setting first class to the French Open. Today, by public relations design, he becomes an honorary homeboy."
John Podesta, former Chief-of-Staff: "He's a person who always is thinking about tomorrow. It was almost a cliché of the campaign, but it really, I think, sums up who he is as a person. He really does think tomorrow can be better than yesterday and that's how he leads his life."
Roberts let that hyped spin stand as she moved on: "At Wimp's Southern Style Bakery, they've whipped up five-layer vanilla cream extravaganzas for the former President. Harlem is where Clinton will have his cake and eat it too, not to mention a great bowl of grits at his favorite Cajun restaurant, The Bayou, where he's always assured of a table. Yes, The Bayou is just a short walking distance from Clinton's office, but I should note that he does have to pass a McDonald's to get there, so he might take a detour or two."

Back on live, Roberts concluded: "Now, I spent a lot of time here on Friday in Harlem, talking to the folks here, and they have mixed reaction to Clinton coming here, what his presence will truly mean. They are hopeful, though, that the former President coming here to Harlem will bring more people and more money to the most famous African-American neighborhood in the world."

For more about that morning's fawning coverage of Bill Clinton on ABC:


From the April 25 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by soldiers in the Army's Third Armor Corps standing in front of a tank at Fort Hood in Texas, the "Top Ten Responses To 'How Big Is Your Army Base?'" Late Show Web site:

10. "It's so big, you gotta pack a lunch just to get to the mess hall"
(Private Presley Watson)

9. "It's so big, every day the barbershop produces enough hair trimmings to fill the Grand Canyon"
(Sergeant First Class Juan Garcia)

8. "It's so big, we're thinking of becoming our own country"
(Specialist Kenneth McNeil)

7. "It's so big, Larry King's wives could enlist and we'd still have room"
(Second Lieutenant Dave Irwin)

6. "It's so big, it has its own army base"
(Private First Class Diana Klinker)

5. "It's so big, I often go AWOL for weeks at a time and nobody notices!"
(Private Anthony Castillo)

4. "Let's just say -- big enough"
(Sergeant First Class Alec Fry)

3. "It's so big, to get from your barracks to the PX is a half-hour ride in a blackhawk helicopter"
(Sergeant Caesar Castro)

2. "Hey -- how big is your army base?"
(Sergeant Michael Burns)

1. "It's so big, we've got plenty of room for Osama if he wants to drop by"
(Private Justen Burns)

> Tonight on NBC's Tonight Show: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. He is scheduled to be a guest on Monday night, April 29. -- Brent Baker

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