CyberAlert -- 06/22/1999 -- Implant Dangers Deflated; Brokaw Praised Quindlen; Unwelcome Bipartisanship

Implant Dangers Deflated; Brokaw Praised Quindlen; Unwelcome Bipartisanship

1) NBC noted a panel's conclusion that breast implants are not dangerous "shows how the courtroom is often not the best place to decide complex scientific issues." Neither is the newsroom.

2) Last week ABC and NBC ignored the Rudman Report. CNN previewed how "an unprecedented joint hearing representing more than half the U.S. Senate" will examine the report's recommendations.

3) Tom Brokaw's reaction to Newsweek bringing aboard liberal columnist Anna Quindlen who just endorsed Bill Bradley: "I think it's a great idea. I love hearing her voice again."

4) Last Thursday the CBS Evening News dismissed the House vote in favor of allowing schools to display the Ten Commandments as a delaying tactic to put off votes on "fairly mild gun control."

5) "After months in which the mainstream press bemoaned the excessive partisanship in Washington," the Weekly Standard noted the bipartisan defeat of gun control "went utterly unappreciated."

6) Dozens of celebrities, as well as Walter Cronkite and Geraldo, endorsed a Handgun Control ad advocating more gun control.

>>> Wolf Blitzer with Clinton on the Yankees and Gore on inventing the Internet. A clip of Sunday's Late Edition interview of Bill Clinton by Blitzer, in which the CNN star avoided Chinese espionage but found time to ask when Hillary became a Yankees fan and what Clinton will do when he leaves office, remains up on the MRC home page. Or, go directly to the video posted at:
Also still viewable: Blitzer not batting an eye when Al Gore told him: "I took the initiative in creating the Internet." That portion of Blitzer's March 9 Late Edition/Prime Time interview showing how the claim didn't faze Blitzer, who just kept tossing softball questions, is Gaffe #4 on the MRC's Gore Gaffes page:
All videos are in RealPlayer format and can be easily accessed by hitting the Media Bias Videos icon in the upper right corner of the MRC's home page: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) ABC and NBC led Monday night with a panel's report on how silicon breast implants did not cause the diseases claimed by trial lawyers and much media reporting over the years while CBS and CNN went first with Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, suspected of spree of murders near railroad tracks, being added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.

The CNN and FNC political shows earlier in the evening previewed, as CNN's Jonathan Karl put it, how on Tuesday "an unprecedented joint hearing representing more than half the U.S. Senate looks at the latest report on ways to prevent espionage at the nation's nuclear labs." CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave 17 seconds to noting how lab scientists will soon have to submit to lie detector tests. (See item #2 for details.)

On the June 21 NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams opened with the findings from the National Academy of Science panel which found no link between the silicon breast implants and the immune diseases and other major illnesses blamed on them. Williams recalled that "we were all led to believe some years ago" that the implants "amounted to time bombs in the body causing immune system problems, cancer, a whole long list of dangerous ailments..."

Reporter Robert Bazell concluded his piece: "Today's scientific conclusion cannot change the decisions already made in the courts, but experts say it should assure all the woman who still have silicon implants that they do not face a great danger. And it shows how the courtroom is often not the best place to decide complex scientific issues."

And neither is the newsroom since for years the networks falsely trumpeted the dangers of the implants, usually illustrated with an emotional look at the plight of a dying or ill woman who blamed her implants. But this is all too late for Dow Corning to recover its lost billions in emotion over fact lawsuits.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The decision to make government scientists take lie detector tests generated a few seconds on the CBS Evening News as well as on NBC's Today and both CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume included the development in larger stories about fallout over the Rudman Report from the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Warren Rudman and Bill Richardson are scheduled to testify this week in special Senate hearings on Rudman's report starting Tuesday morning. Will the hearings generate some network interest? A reminder: Last week when Rudman's report was released ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News ignored it. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today gave it 23 seconds each. Of the broadcast networks, only the CBS Evening News and CBS's This Morning provided full stories. NBC Nightly News has not mentioned Chinese espionage since May 25, the day the Cox Report was released, and ABC's World News Tonight has not touched it since May 26.

Now back to Monday, June 21. CBS Evening News viewers heard this 17-second item from Dan Rather: "The U.S. Energy Department plans to give lie detector tests, starting later this summer, to as many as five thousand scientists at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. This comes in the wake of disclosures that stolen U.S. nuclear weapons secrets leaked out of the labs to China for twenty years."
Monday morning, MRC analyst Mark Drake observed, Today news reader Sara James announced short items at 7 and 8am. At 7am she told viewers: "There is more fallout from alleged Chinese spying at U.S. nuclear weapons labs. According to the Washington Post, the Department of Energy has begun giving lie detector tests to some 5,000 workers who handle classified nuclear secrets."

On Monday's Inside Politics CNN's Jonathan Karl reported:
"Concern about America's nuclear secrets takes center stage on Capitol Hill Tuesday. An unprecedented joint hearing representing more than half the U.S. Senate looks at the latest report on ways to prevent espionage at the nation's nuclear labs."
After going over how Energy Secretary Bill Richardson opposes Rudman's idea of setting up an autonomous agency to run the labs, Karl observed: "Creating a potential showdown, both Rudman and Richardson will testify. The hearing will bring together the Intelligence Committee, chaired by Richard Shelby; Government Reform, chaired by Fred Thompson; Armed Services, chaired by John Warner; and Energy, chaired by Frank Murkowski."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Tom Brokaw praised Newsweek's pick of liberal columnist Anna Quindlen, who recently endorsed Bill Bradley for President by citing his "moral authority," to replace the late Meg Greenfield as the every-other-week columnist alternating with George Will. Appearing on the Imus in the Morning radio show on June 17 the NBC anchor remarked:
"Well I think it's a great idea. I love hearing her voice again. I miss Meg personally and professionally. I knew her quite well and she was a strong voice and I can't think of a better successor to her than Anna Quindlen. And it's time that we heard from her again in that kind of a forum. I think it's a wonderful idea."

Quindlen, a former New York Times columnist who quit in the mid-'90s to write novels, earned effusive praise from Newsweek's Editor for her "passionate voice." A June 16 press release relayed: "'It's not every day that you can coax a legend out of retirement,' said Editor Mark Whitaker....'In the years since Anna gave up her column, America has sorely missed her wise and passionate voice on everything from politics to the issues of work, family and education that are so crucial to our future. We couldn't be more thrilled to have her back as a columnist, and that Newsweek's back page will be her forum.'"

So, what kind of "voice" are Newsweek and Brokaw so pleased about? In his June 21 Media Notes column the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz noted that "Quindlen endorsed Bill Bradley for President, praising the Democrat for his 'moral authority' at a political breakfast." Indeed, in a June 4 story distributed by the Newhouse News Service John Hassell reported:
"Bradley also basked in the endorsement of Quindlen, who has become an influential voice of modern feminism through her novels and Pulitzer Prize-winning columns. She argued that in the wake of the Clinton impeachment saga, the character of presidential aspirants is more critical than ever.
"'I don't want to follow someone who I'm not sure is leading,' she said to sustained applause from the 600 women in attendance. 'I don't want to settle anymore. I want someone whose moral authority is as stellar as his message.'"

A May 1992 Newsbite in MediaWatch on how NBC's Katie Couric praised Quindlen, the MRC's Tim Graham reminded me, cited some profound "Quindlenisms" such as, on January 24, 1991: "Sunday, the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa and so, inevitably, my thoughts turn to abortion." Or, on November 2, 1991: "This is what it is like to be a New Yorker, to have to stop and constantly acknowledge pain." And from April 8, 1992, "Ronald Reagan needed TV to abet a fantasy. Mr. Clinton needs it to communicate his reality."

That's the "voice" Tom Brokaw missed and wants to hear again.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Catching up with some bias from last Thursday, the CBS Evening News dismissed the House vote in favor of allowing schools to display the Ten Commandments as a delaying tactic to put off votes on "fairly mild gun control measures." As detailed in the June 21 CyberAlert, CBS on Friday night June 18 failed to mention how Democrat John Dingell, joined by 44 other Democrats, led the fight for the one day waiting period denounced by Clinton. On Thursday night CBS didn't bother to mention how 45 Democrats backed the Ten Commandments amendment.

Instead, CBS focused on how the amendment was a distraction from what really mattered. Dan Rather opened the June 17 Evening News:
"Good evening. A rapid fire switch on Capitol Hill today in legislation to reduce youth violence. The make or break House debate on even limited measures to keep guns out of schools suddenly turned into a vote to put copies of the Ten Commandments in the schools."
Bob Schieffer began: "This really isn't about the Ten Commandments at all. It's about gun control and background checks at gun shows. Members of the House of Representatives know that they're eventually going to have to vote on those fairly mild gun control measures passed by the Senate. But with the gun lobby breathing down their neck hard now they've been putting it off by talking about a lot of other things for as long as they possibly could. During debate on reducing school violence they managed to consider everything but tightening the gun laws and this was the latest idea."

Schieffer added: "Advocate said posting the commandments in schools would reduce violence by reminding students of values. Opponents saw it as yet another tactic to delay the vote on guns..."

Just like CBS News.

After emphasizing how the idea has no chance of surviving the Senate and the courts, Schieffer concluded: "But in the meantime, and clearly by design, the votes that really count on those gun laws probably won't come until late tonight when most Americans are sleeping."

So the results wouldn't be reported? Obviously they were, becoming big news on Friday.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Whatever happened to the media's appreciation of bipartisanship? House Republicans and Democrats joined together in rejecting the most onerous liberal gun regulations but instead of praising the bipartisanship the networks castigated the NRA. A "Scrapbook" item in the June 28 Weekly Standard magazine, which Washington Times Inside Politics columnist Greg Pierce picked up on June 22, noted the lack of appreciation amongst the Washington media elite for this kind of bipartisanship.

The Weekly Standard observed:

After months in which the mainstream press bemoaned the excessive partisanship in Washington, there were a couple of strikingly bipartisan votes in the House last week. Funny thing, though: this new spirit of bipartisanship went utterly unappreciated.

In one instance, Michigan's John D. Dingell, the senior Democrat in the House, made common cause with supposed uber-partisan Republican Tom DeLay of Texas to pass a gun control measure that was less strict than the Senate's and, hence, deeply disappointing to the White House, not to mention all the gun controllers in the media. Dingell brought along with him a substantial contingent of 45 Democrats who joined with 173 Republicans in passing the bill -- which is about as bipartisan as it gets these days.

A second instance: 45 Democrats also joined 203 Republicans to pass the Ten Commandments Defense Act, which restores to the states the freedom to post the Ten Commandments in government buildings, including schools....
But again there was negligible praise for the spirit of comity that saw so many Democrats crossing the aisle.

All of this is something to bear in mind the next time you hear a lament about the 'death of bipartisanship.' Apparently 'real' bipartisanship is when House Republicans join the 'Democratic' side, not when Democrats cross over.

END Excerpt


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Indeed, the cultural and media elite all favor more gun control as demonstrated by a who's who list of celebrities and media stars who signed a June 9 full page ad in USA Today from Handgun Control, Inc. This is an item I've been meaning to run for days but it kept getting bumped as I ran out of room.

Amongst the signers of the "Open Letter to the National Rifle Association" were Walter Cronkite, Geraldo Rivera and Time-Warner Chairman Gerald Levin. Time-Warner owns Time magazine and CNN. Plus, Mike Nichols, husband of Diane Sawyer.

MRC intern Joyce Garczynski helpfully typed in the text of the ad which appeared on page 5D. The top third of the ad read:

"We are not 'gun haters.' But we hate what guns are doing to our communities, our schools, our families and, most especially, our children. Guns do not bleed. Children do. Everyday lose 13 children to gun violence in this country. A classroom every other day.
"This debate is not about guns. It's about children. Whatever you may think about the 2nd Amendment, our children do not have a 'right to keep and bear arms.' In fact, it's not about anyone's right to own a firearm. It's about everyone's right to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' It's about the responsibility that we all have for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, children and other prohibited purchasers. It's about the simple things that gun owners and non-gun owners alike can do to prevent children and other prohibited purchasers from getting guns.
"We stand for these basic principles:
-- No child should have unsupervised access to a firearm.
-- No handgun should be sold without a child safety lock
-- No gun should be sold without a background check. No exceptions.
-- There should be a minimum waiting period of 72 hours on all handgun purchases to provide for a 'cooling off' period and to give police time to complete a thorough background check.
-- No one should be able to buy more than one handgun per month. The only people who need to buy more than twelve handguns per year are the professional gun traffickers who make a living reselling guns to children and criminals.
-- No more semi-automatic assault weapons. No more ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds. We don't need more killing power on our streets.

"If we do all these things, not a single law-abiding adult would be denied a firearm for self defense, for recreation or any other legitimate purpose. Not a single one. But we might just save the life of a child and spare some family a lifetime of sorrow. Is that too much to ask?"

Amongst the hundreds of names listed below that text, here are some of the more recognizable celebrities with news media figures highlighted with an *

Kevin Bacon
Alec Baldwin
William Baldwin
Bob Barker
Drew Barrymore
Carol Bayer Sager
Richard Belzer
Tony Bennett
Candice Bergen
Peter Bogdanovich
Jon Bon Jovi
Benjamin Bratt
Beau Bridges
Christie Brinkley
James Brolin
Albert Brooks
Bonnie Bruckheimer
Betty Buckley
Kate Capshaw
Stockard Channing
Terri Clark
Jill Clayburgh
Rosemary Clooney
Judy Collins
Jennifer Connolly
Kevin Costner
*Walter Cronkite
Sheryl Crow
Matt Damon
Ellen Degeneres
Rebecca DeMornay
Phil Donahue
Fran Drescher
Richard Dryfus
David Duchovny
Sandy Duncan
Nora Ephron
Gloria Estefan
Melissa Etheridge
Mia Farrow
Sally Field
Carrie Fisher
Andy Garcia
Richard Gere
Estelle Getty
Kathie Lee Gifford
Paul Glaser
Deidre Hall
Anne Heche
Marilu Henner
Whitney Houston
Helen Hunt
Norman Jewison
Diane Keaton
David E. Kelley
Kevin Kline
Lisa Kudrow
Christine Lahti
Ricki Lake
Spike Lee
John Leguizamo
*Gerald Levin
Rob Lowe
Kyle MacLachlan
Howie Mandel
Camryn Manheim
Barry Manilow
Marla Maples
Penny Marshall
Ed McMahon
Natalie Merchant
Bette Midler
Mary Tyler Moore
Mike Myers
Mike Nichols
Jack Nicholson
Rosie O'Donnell
Julia Ormond
Sarah Jessica Parker
Michelle Pfeiffer
Sydney Pollack
Dennis Quaid
Aidan Quinn
Colin Quinn
Elizabeth Bracco Quinn
Bonnie Rait
Paul Reiser
Debbie Reynolds
Natasha Richardson
Tim Robbins
Julia Roberts
Fred Rogers
Renee Russo
Meg Ryan
Susan Sarandon
Kyra Sedgwick
Jerry Seinfeld
Mira Sorvino
Britany Spears
Bruce Springsteen
Harry Dean Stanton
Patrick Stewart
Sharon Stone
Meryl Streep
Barbra Streisand
Marlo Thomas
Uma Thurman
Steve Tisch
Shania Twain
Dick Van Dyke
Sigourney Weaver
Victor Webster
Harvey Weinstein
Jann Wenner
Vanessa Williams
Rita Wilson
Henry Winkler
Peter Yarrow
And, the Zappa quintet:
Ahmet Zappa
Diva Zappa
Dweezil Zappa
Gail Zappa
Moon Zappa

In a June 18 ad in response in USA Today the NRA noted that the "'13 children lost to gun violence every day' cited in their ad are in fact neither children nor accidents, but 85% are suicides or murders committed by gangbangers aged 15 to 19."

The NRA urged the celebrities to support its Eddie Eagle gun accident prevention program for kids.

Don't count on it. While I'm sure many of these celebrities would maintain that the Handgun Control ad only advocated mild measures to "protect kids," they would refuse to help the NRA to further a non-political safety program because they are so violently opposed to the NRA. So they are putting politics ahead of kids. -- Brent Baker


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