Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

ABC's GMA Gives Forum to Moore to Denounce U.S. Health System --6/13/2007


1. ABC's GMA Gives Forum to Moore to Denounce U.S. Health System
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo conducted part one of a mostly softball interview with Sicko filmmaker Michael Moore. (Another segment aired Wednesday focused on Moore's attacks on the media for enabling the Iraq war.) But despite a flowery introduction where the GMA anchor asserted "[Moore's] critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble," Cuomo still found himself backpedaling after labeling the liberal filmmaker's Cuba trip a stunt. The ABC host, son of Mario Cuomo, quickly exclaimed, "Look, I like your stunt." Robin Roberts set the tone: "Michael Moore sinks his teeth into America's health care industry, asking, 'Are alleged terrorists getting better health care than you are?'...Can't wait to see that." Cuomo contended that "his critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble."

2. Chris Matthews Admits 'I Don't Want to be the Conservative'
File this one under the "no duh" department. On Tuesday's Hardball, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Chris Matthews attempted to outline his stance on illegal immigration but prefaced it by declaring: "I don't want to be the conservative here. I'm not comfortable playing that role."

3. Helen Thomas Praises the Clintons, Smears Reagan and Bush
Tim Russert invited longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas onto his CNBC show over the weekend to promote her new book, but Thomas used the hour to praise the Clintons and smear Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The former UPI correspondent slammed Reagan as "a social Darwinist," declaring: "I think that the poor did not prosper under him at all," and charged the press was too soft on George W. Bush, demanding that they should've asked the hard question: "How can you justify killing thousands of people to get one man? Who are we to depose anyone?" But when it came to the Clinton administration, Thomas thought the press was too hard on the Clintons, saying Whitewater amounted to "nothing," and pouted: "The Clintons suffered a lot."

4. Rather: Bush 'Dismantling Civil Rights Division of Justice Dept'
Appearing on Tuesday's Your World With Neil Cavuto on FNC, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather talked to guest host David Asman and defended his "tarting it up" comment about his successor, Katie Couric, as he dismissed the "insulting" assertions by CBS President Les Moonves that his comments were "sexist." Rather lamented how CBS used to be "the champions of hard news." Now, he added, "They know about entertainment, but they don't know about news." Rather, who left CBS after famously using forged documents to smear President Bush's National Guard record, had the gall to advocate for the continuance of "quality news with integrity." He also snuck in a very odd slam at the Bush administration for supposedly "dismantling of the civil rights division of the Justice Department." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

5. ABC Confuses Ex-DC Mayor Barry with Man Suing Cleaner Over Pants
Do all balding black guys look the same to ABC News? As anchor Charles Gibson teased a Tuesday World News story, about DC administrative law judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against a Korean family's Washington, DC dry cleaning establishment over losing a pair of his pants, viewers saw video of what clearly appeared to be ex-DC Mayor Marion Barry. Gibson announced, over video of Barry in front of the DC courthouse, "Pant Suit: Ever lost anything at the dry cleaners? This man did, and claims he deserves $54 million dollars and he's not pulling your leg." Barry is now a member of the District's City Council, but he has been in some legal trouble of late over charges of driving under the influence, and thus has recently visited the local courthouse. AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive


ABC's GMA Gives Forum to Moore to Denounce
U.S. Health System

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo conducted part one of a mostly softball interview with Sicko filmmaker Michael Moore. (Another segment aired Wednesday focused on Moore's attacks on the media for enabling the Iraq war.) But despite a flowery introduction where the GMA anchor asserted "[Moore's] critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble," Cuomo still found himself backpedaling after labeling the liberal filmmaker's Cuba trip a stunt. The ABC host, son of Mario Cuomo, quickly exclaimed, "Look, I like your stunt." Robin Roberts set the tone: "Michael Moore sinks his teeth into America's health care industry, asking, 'Are alleged terrorists getting better health care than you are?'...Can't wait to see that." Cuomo contended that "his critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble."

The stunt in question, Moore's escorting of 9/11 Ground Zero workers to Cuba for treatment, resulted in this retort from the director: "Well, I'm making a point. I'm using satire to make a larger point, politically and socially, and you want to call it a stunt. It's certainly no different than what you would do on Good Morning America on any given day, except you wouldn't actually confront the government in the way that I would do it."

This led to a back and forth that culminated with Cuomo announcing, "Look, I like the stunt. I think it raises the provocative question. But that's not journalism. This film is not journalism."

Cuomo, who is also the brother of New York's Democratic Attorney General, opened the segment by helpfully stating that Moore isn't "just taking a shot, he's got a solution.":
"But first, we have Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore this morning. He's back and this time he has health care in his sights. The film is Sicko. It opens June 29. And it's interesting to note, his critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble. But Mr. Moore says he's not just taking a shot, he's got a solution, one he found by comparing our system of health care to countries around the world."

To be fair, the ABC anchor did offer a few tough questions. Early on in the segment, he inquired as to whether Moore was creating too rosy a picture of the health care systems in other nations: "I mean, they have huge tax burdens. Do you think you pay too little attention to that in your film?"
Moore: "No. I think that the news media in this country has done a very good job of pointing out all the flaws."

However, he followed that up by showing a clip of the filmmaker's documentary. Cuomo introduced the snippet by gushing over how "powerful" some of Moore's examples were.

[This item is adapted from a posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The most contentious moment came when, as previously mentioned, the GMA anchor mildly questioned whether or not the Cuba trip was a stunt. After Moore sniffed that his boat trip was something that Good Morning America would never try, this exchange followed:

Cuomo: "In a boat, with a megaphone? No, I wouldn't do that."
Moore: "I think you should be going down into Guantanamo Bay and asking those questions. Why is it that the al Qaeda detainees get better health care than the people who tried to rescue people on 9/11? Is that a legitimate question to ask?"
Cuomo: "Absolutely a legitimate question to ask."
Moore: "And where should we ask that question?"
Cuomo: "You would try to get to the highest level of authority in charge of that decision as you could. What you did was a stunt."

Now, at the same time that Cuomo criticized Moore for not being a journalist, he also lauded the movie's stunt. Compare this to the GMA host's attack on immigration hawk Tom Tancredo. Cuomo slammed the conservative for using "scary" words and spreading "anti immigrant sentiment." Certainly, the ABC anchor conducted a much tougher interview. See the June 11 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Cuomo even closed the piece with an attack from the left. He asked Moore, "But why aren't the voters to blame, the people to blame for the situation to the extent they don't like it?"

A transcript of the June 12 segment:

7am tease. Robin Roberts: "And, bitter pill. Michael Moore sinks his teeth into America's health care industry, asking, 'Are alleged terrorists getting better health care than you are?' He says his new film is a call to action. We'll hear why this morning. [To Chris Cuomo] Can't wait to see that."

7:20 tease. Chris Cuomo: "Coming up after the break, Sicko. Michael Moore. That's the name of his film. It's controversial. It's about health care. We'll be talking to him and get a sense of its fact or fiction."

7:31am. Chris Cuomo: "But first, we have Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore this morning. He's back and this time he has health care in his sights. The film is Sicko. It opens June 29. And its interesting to note, his critics are struggling to fight his basic premise that America's health care system is in trouble. But Mr. Moore says he's not just taking a shot, he's got a solution, one he found by comparing our system of health care to countries around the world. What is the state of health care in America as you see it?"

ABC Graphic: "Taking on Healthcare in America Is Moore's Sicko For Real?"

Michael Moore: "It's a system that essentially is run by greed. Insurance, by and large is a racket because it's based on playing the numbers. The only way the insurance companies can make huge profits is to not pay out claims to people who get sick. It's not so much about the number of people or how much money is spent. It's that in these other countries, they have a basic core belief that, if you get sick, you have a human right to see a doctor and not have to worry about paying for it. They wouldn't even question that. It doesn't matter in those countries if you're liberal or conservative or whatever. It doesn't know any political boundary."
Cuomo: "But to be fair, those systems aren't utopian either, right?"
Moore: "Sure."
Cuomo: "I mean, they have huge tax burdens. Do you think you pay too little attention to that in your film?"
Moore: "No. I think that the news media in this country has done a very good job of pointing out all the flaws."
Cuomo: "Some of the examples you use in here are very powerful. You also have something you rarely see, an insider. Let's take a look at that."
Clip from Sicko. Linda Peeno, The CARE Foundation: "I am here primarily today to make a public confession. In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I denied a man a necessary operation that would have saved his life and thus caused his death. No person and no group has held me accountable for this. Because, in fact, what I did was I saved a company a half a million dollars for this."
Cuomo: "How shocked were you to hear what that doctor said?"
Moore: "Well, I was really shocked. I mean, I think when I first saw this footage, I was very moved by it, that a doctor working at an insurance company, who was told that she would get essentially a Christmas bonus if she denied enough claims, and at some point, she couldn't live with it any longer."
Cuomo: "The showpiece of the film, at least in the media portrayal so far, has been your trip to Cuba. You took some 9/11 heroes down there to get health care. Why did you decide to bring people to Cuba?"
Moore: "I didn't. I decided to bring them to our naval base at Guantanamo Bay, because I found out that the al Qaeda detainees in Guantanamo have completely free medical, dental, eye care. They have nutrition counseling. They have teeth cleanings. They have all this free universal health care and here we have these 9/11 rescue workers in New York City who have these incredible, now, respiratory diseases as a result of working at Ground Zero for months and, and many of them with no health care, nobody helping them."
Cuomo: "Did you think they were going to let you in with a boatful of people and a megaphone?"
Moore: "Yes, I did. I honestly, I thought they'd call my bluff and help these 9/11 rescue workers."
Cuomo: "Fair criticism to say that's a stunt? Michael Moore is doing a stunt."
Moore: "Well, I'm making a point. I'm using satire to make a larger point, politically and socially, and you want to call it a stunt. It's certainly no different than what you would do on '€˜Good Morning America' on any given day, except you wouldn't actually confront the government in the way that I would do it."
Cuomo: "In a boat, with a megaphone? No, I wouldn't do that."
Moore: "I think you should be going down into Guantanamo Bay and asking those questions. Why is it that the al Qaeda detainees get better health care than the people who tried to rescue people on 9/11? Is that a legitimate question to ask?"
Cuomo: "Absolutely a legitimate question to ask."
Moore: "And where should we ask that question?"
Cuomo: "You would try to get to the highest level of authority in charge of that decision as you could. What you did was a stunt."
Moore: "And if they won't talk to you?"
Cuomo: " Look, I like the stunt. I think it raises the provocative question. But that's not journalism. This film is not journalism."
Moore: "I think it is journalism."
Cuomo: "But you expose yourself to the criticism. You do."
Moore: "To what criticism?"
Cuomo: "People saying this is one-sided. He doesn't even have the insurance companies in there."
Moore: "Well, I didn't want anybody to think the problem was one insurance company. If I knocked on the door of Aetna or went and knocked on the door of Pfizer, it would take you away from the larger point I'm trying to make, which is the actual system itself that has to be upended."
Cuomo: "When you went down to Guantanamo Bay, you come back, the government finds out about it. Where are we with all of that right now?"
Moore: "They're investigating me for bringing these 9/11 rescue workers down there for, to get some help. A serious concern for the last couple weeks has been are they going to attempt to confiscate the negative of this film because essentially, in their words, it violates the trade embargo."
Cuomo: "True that you hid a master of the movie?"
Moore: "Yes. We, we took a master copy of the movie out of the country, immediately, the day that we were informed of this investigation."
Cuomo: "Obviously, you blame the companies. They're all about greed. You don't like what they do. But why aren't the voters to blame, the people to blame for the situation to the extent they don't like it?"
Moore: "Well, that is what's different with this film from my other films, is that instead of Mike going up to the chairman of General Motors or Mike going to Capitol Hill to, you know, confront a Congressman or the President of the United States. In this film I'm essentially asking the audience to do it."
Cuomo: "And he's also upping his own personal responsibility. Michael says he's going to get in shape to help lower his own health care cost for the rest of us. We're going to have much more with him tomorrow on GMA, including his controversial views on the war an the media's coverage of it. Sicko opens on Friday, June 29. And that's all we have on that for right now."

Chris Matthews Admits 'I Don't Want to
be the Conservative'

File this one under the "no duh" department. On Tuesday's Hardball, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Chris Matthews attempted to outline his stance on illegal immigration but prefaced it by declaring: "I don't want to be the conservative here. I'm not comfortable playing that role."

Matthews uttered what has to be the Understatement of the Week, during an exchange with Ron Reagan Jr. and former John McCain spokesman Todd Harris, on the June 12th edition of MSNBC's Hardball: "But let me ask you guys, I don't want to be the conservative here. I'm not comfortable playing that role. I'm just not comfortable playing it. But I would like to see a liberal policy of immigration, a liberal policy of letting people come into work but dammit, enforce the law and stop the B.S.! Stop the undocumented workers and the clever language used. All the time, anything but enforcing the law."

Helen Thomas Praises the Clintons, Smears
Reagan and Bush

Tim Russert invited longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas onto his CNBC show over the weekend to promote her new book, but Thomas used the hour to praise the Clintons and smear Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The former UPI correspondent slammed Reagan as "a social Darwinist," declaring: "I think that the poor did not prosper under him at all," and charged the press was too soft on George W. Bush, demanding that they should've asked the hard question: "How can you justify killing thousands of people to get one man? Who are we to depose anyone?" But when it came to the Clinton administration, Thomas thought the press was too hard on the Clintons, saying Whitewater amounted to "nothing," and pouted: "The Clintons suffered a lot."

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The interview was wide-ranging as Russert asked Thomas to comment on all the presidents she's covered dating back to John F. Kennedy. Below are just some of the low-lights as they occurred on the June 9 edition of the CNBC Tim Russert show:

# On whether her personal biases affected her reporting:

Tim Russert: "You started with a, as, as a reporter with United Press International, UPI, a wire service reporter."
Helen Thomas: "Right."
Russert: "Is it really who, what, when, where, why?"
Thomas: "Always. And we really wrote straight news. Nobody believes I could, but I did. And later, I became a columnist for Hearst newspapers, and where I could slant the story, bias, express myself and so forth. And it was a tough transition, even though I, I you know, everybody said I had an opinion on everything that's ever, ever moved. I still found it difficult after disciplining myself to really write straight fact news, factual news, and but I did it."
Russert: "In fact, those who know you say, quote, 'I was born with an opinion,' says Helen Thomas."
Thomas: "Something like that. I think so. Mostly, mostly opinion against injustice and discrimination against gender, color and so forth."
Russert: "How were you able to keep the opinion that you held very deeply out of the copy that you wrote for UPI?"
Thomas: "Well, when my boss first, when I, oh, for UPI, it was easy because I knew what the ground rules were and I knew that my opinion didn't matter, that what mattered was for people to get a straight story. And I still think that's the best way they get it. Even though I write an opinion column, I believe that it's better if they get the factual news on the front page."
Russert: "And then, in your opinion column now, you let it rip."
Thomas: "Yes"
Russert: "Well, let's go back to your-"
Thomas: "And it's meaningless."


# On Ronald Reagan:

Russert: "Tell me, tell me about Ronald Reagan. What was it like to cover Ronald Reagan?"
Thomas: "Well, it was interesting. I mean, he was very, very likable and yet it was very impersonal. He definitely had an agenda, and was a social Darwinist. 'If you can't make it, tough.' Was, you know, survival of the fittest, this is the whole approach. He appointed people at the head of his, of departments and agencies who were against the premise of the agency. With Gorsuch of the APA, Watts of, to Interior, who wanted to sell all of the Western lands to privatize and so forth. So the whole thing is that he really did think that government was the problem and not the solution, which he said to the very end. At the same time, he, I think, he obviously was well liked, and I think that the poor did not prosper under him at all.
"And I remember, I think Nancy Reagan had a lot to do with turning him around in terms of going to Moscow, meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, going to the summits. She urged him to go after Maggie Thatcher said you can do business with Gorbachev. And when we got there, President Reagan noticed that the Russians laughed and they cried and they were human, they were not bears who walked like men, I mean the whole idea, had never been to Russia before and so forth. There, so I said to him when we came back, I said, 'Mr. President, do you think maybe if you had gone to Moscow 10 years ago, 20 years ago, you might have found out the Russians are very human, they laugh, they cry, they,' he said, 'Nope, they've changed.' So see."


# On the Clintons:

Russert: "And we're back. A walk through history with Helen Thomas, the dean of White House reporters. Her book is now in paperback, Watchdogs of Democracy? Bill Clinton came into town, 1992, with Hillary Clinton, the First Lady, Al Gore the Vice President. What was the demeanor, the, the time, the feel of the White House press corps in January of '93?"
Thomas: "Well, I think there was a lot of excitement. But I think the Clintons had suffered a lot on the campaign trail and they had a lot of chips on their shoulders about the press. So I think there was a lot of excitement, but I think that the President and Mrs. Clinton didn't feel that the press was exactly with them."
...
Russert: "Hillary Clinton was the First Lady of the United States for eight years. Now she's a presidential candidate. What was she like as First Lady?"
Thomas: "Well, I think that she was, thought, I don't think she really got a total handle on the job of the power that she could have as First Lady. I think she had higher ambitions. I think she makes a much better senator, she's a terrific senator, and, and a candidate for, for the presidency."
Russert: "You are not surprised that she's running for President?"
Thomas: "No. I think that's been her ambition for a long time. And I think [the] time is right for a woman."
Russert: "Tell me about the press coverage of the Clinton administration, of Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky. Looking back now, what's your, what are your reflections?"
Thomas: "My impression is this man, President Clinton, did know, did not know one second and I didn't say a minute in the White House when he was not being investigated by the right wing. And he should have had street smarts to know that he was on target. And that was so incredible that he didn't realize, you know, you don't play into their hands. So everything was under investigation constantly. They never, I don't know how they stood it. The resilience of that family."
Russert: "Do you think the press corps did a good job in, in as part of those investigations in covering that story?"
Thomas: "No, I think we should have been much more intuitive of what was behind and so forth. Whitewater turned out to be really nothing in terms of a special, according to special prosecutor and so forth. No, I think, well, you never do a good job, really, because you're not a prosecutor, you can't get all the facts. There's so much secrecy and so forth. But I think that the Clintons suffered a lot."


# On George W. Bush:

Russert: "And we're back talking to Helen Thomas. Why did you say that President Bush is the worst president in history?"
Thomas: "Well, at that time, I could see that we were going into a war, an unprovoked war, a pre-emptive war with Iraq, and I was very upset with that because I thought it was the wrong move. And just all of, you know, the lack of understanding about what was really going on in the Middle East and everywhere else. I just, I probably should have said there's still room for improvement and so forth, and I, and I didn't realize I was being reported. But I know it's tough to be President. It's the worst, probably toughest job in the world. But at the same time, it's the top of the mark. And when you get there, you should only do the right thing."
Russert: "How about when you said that you would kill yourself if Cheney ever became president?"
Thomas: "Again, that was an off-the, a remark in the, in the, in the press room, you never expect your colleagues to report it. I mean, you, there are certain understandings, you thought. Well, I think that he's not been a good influence on our country."
Russert: "You wrote the president a letter of apology."
Thomas: "Yes. I really do feel that I should have, I was off limits [on] a lot of things. I should be careful."
Russert: "In your book, in the hardcover, you were critical of the press in terms of the lead up to the war. But in the paperback edition you have a new afterward where you say that you think the press, the White House press corps has found, has regained its footing and its aggressiveness."
Thomas: "Yeah, I think they've come out of their coma. I think they were asleep at the wheel. The run-up to the war, it was so clear that the President was going to war and no one was asking him why. They accepted it. They wanted to be, you know, gung ho and be great foreign correspondents. It was supposed to be a cake walk, four days. They didn't, and they didn't have the Vietnam experience or whatever. History could tell you that this is, is still wrong."
Russert: "Dana Milbank, who was a White House correspondent for the Post, wrote a review of your book and he said, 'Helen, we asked the tough questions leading up to the war.'"
Thomas: "No, they didn't. You look at the transcripts, they were not tough. You should, the big question was, 'Why? How can you justify killing thousands of people to get one man?' Who are we to depose anyone? Really. I mean, we ought to take care of our own country. I mean, we do have a United Nations. I do believe in collective security. I do think the UN has a role in Darfur, and all the areas that are erupting. But it should be through collective security."
Russert: "What about the notion of pre-emptive war?"
Thomas: "That's wrong."
Russert: "You've also challenged the president on his policy in the Middle East. Do you believe that your background as Lebanese, or your parents from the Middle East, has influenced your thinking?"
Thomas: "Of course. I mean, how would I now know as much as I do know about the Middle East, and how would by that interested? But that doesn't mean I'm unfair. I do think it's wrong to take somebody else's land and displace them."
Russert: "What happens when you ask these kinds of questions? Do you, do you feel any kind of pressure from your colleagues, or do they encourage you?"
Thomas: "Oh, they don't encourage me. Far from it. They, I, according to some of my detractors, my e-mail, they raise their eyebrows or shake their heads or whatever. I don't know. It doesn't matter. As long as I have the privilege to ask the question, I try to do it as, you know, two, straight line between two points and let the chips fall."
Russert: "But as a columnist, you feel that you can, in fact, include opinion in your question?"
Thomas: "No. It isn't the course, I don't think, I don't ask questions any differently now than I asked before. I really have always tried to put a tough question to a president. You have one chance in the barrel and you should try to make it good. And I think that though, that the American people depend on us. We're the only institution in our society that can ask the president a question on a regular basis, and hold him accountable."

Rather: Bush 'Dismantling Civil Rights
Division of Justice Dept'

Appearing on Tuesday's Your World With Neil Cavuto on FNC, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather talked to guest host David Asman and defended his "tarting it up" comment about his successor, Katie Couric, as he dismissed the "insulting" assertions by CBS President Les Moonves that his comments were "sexist." Rather lamented how CBS used to be "the champions of hard news." Now, he added, "They know


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about entertainment, but they don't know about news." Rather, who left CBS after famously using forged documents to smear President Bush's National Guard record, had the gall to advocate for the continuance of "quality news with integrity."

He also snuck in a very odd slam at the Bush administration for supposedly "dismantling of the civil rights division of the Justice Department." Minimizing the Couric controversy, he mentioned all the more important topics that should be discussed: "We're talking about something infinitesimally small here. We've got the war. We've got a presidential election underway. We have the dismantling of the civil rights division of the Justice Department. These are important things."

[This item is adapted from a Tuesday night posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]

For the MRC's compilation of articles and videos related to Rather's National Guard stories and defense of it, go to: www.mrc.org

Rather appeared on FNC Tuesday to respond to reaction to his comments on Monday's Morning Joe show on MSNBC when he criticized how CBS had changed the CBS Evening News in bringing abaord Katie Couric: "The mistake was to try to bring the Today show ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience." For a full rundown, see Scott Whitlock's NewsBusters post: newsbusters.org

AP dispatch on Moonves calling Rather's comments "sexist," see: www.breitbart.com
A partial transcript of the June 12 segment, which aired at 4:30pm EDT on Your World with Neil Cavuto, but anchored by David Asman:

David Asman: "Well, CBS news chief, CBS chief actually, Les Moonves blasting comments by Dan Rather about his successor, Katie Couric, today. Rather described the network's changes to the Evening News as, quote, 'dumbing it down and tarting it up' in a bid to attract a younger audience. Today, Moonves calls those segments, comments sexist. So what does Dan Rather say? Let's ask him. 'Dumbing it down, tarting it up,' referring to Katie Couric. It's tough talk."
Dan Rather: "Well, it's tough talk about the news. Look, this isn't about Katie Couric. It's nothing to do about her gender. Anybody who reads what I wrote and what I said knows that that is true."
Asman: "But I think Les Moonves was dealing with that tarted, tarted up comment. Do you regret having said that?"
Rather: "No. I was asked my opinion. I didn't bring it up. I was asked my opinion and I said what, what I genuinely feel, but it does not have to do with gender. What he is trying to do is change the subject. And I find it insulting and I find it disappointing, that's a better word, disappointing, that Les Moonves, who knows a lot about entertainment would try to mask the real point with that line of attack."

....

Rather: "At one time, places like CBS, they were the champions of hard news. These days, they don't know what hard news is, the top corporate leadership. They know about entertainment, but they don't know about news."
Asman: "When did that change?"
Rather: "Well, I'm not quite sure that you can set an exact date with it. But certainly in the late 1990s and going into the early 2000s, that changed. Now, with CBS and the other networks being under such great pressure, it's some excuse, but they don't see news as a public service anymore, which has, in our great American system, opened up venues for others to take that mantle of news and integrity, hard news, understanding what it's about and serving it. Where I work now, HDNet being one, it's not the only place and the program we put on plays to a smaller audience. But as things evolve. I think that we will continue to have quality news with integrity, but the networks have given up that mantle."

....

Rather: "We're talking about something infinitesimally small here. We've got the war. We've got a presidential election underway. We have the dismantling of the civil rights division of the Justice Department. These are important things."

ABC Confuses Ex-DC Mayor Barry with Man
Suing Cleaner Over Pants

Do all balding black guys look the same to ABC News? As anchor Charles Gibson teased a Tuesday World News story, about DC administrative law judge Roy Pearson's $54 million lawsuit against a Korean family's Washington, DC dry cleaning establishment over losing a pair of his pants, viewers saw video of what clearly appeared to be ex-DC Mayor Marion Barry. Gibson announced, over video of Barry in front of the DC courthouse,


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"Pant Suit: Ever lost anything at the dry cleaners? This man did, and claims he deserves $54 million dollars and he's not pulling your leg." Barry is now a member of the District's City Council, but he has been in some legal trouble of late over charges of driving under the influence, and thus has recently visited the local courthouse. Barry's council page: www.dccouncil.us


[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog with a video clip from the 6:3pm EDT feed, of Gibson teasing the story about the suit against the dry cleaner, with video of Barry. The clip will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but to watch it in the meantime: newsbusters.org ]

The story from Jim Avila, which aired as the last report on the June 12 World News, included video of another man identified as Pearson and was, presumably, of the real Pearson. That subsequent video matches the man identified by Pearson in a story on ABC's Washington, DC affiliate WJLA-TV. This page displays a screen shot of Pearson along with video of WJLA's story: www.wjla.com

ABC corrected the video for later editions. The tease at the top of World News as aired at 9pm EDT on NewsChannel 8, a DC-area cable news channel owned by the local ABC affiliate, replaced the video of Barry with video of Pearson. Gibson's audio was not changed.

The civil trial opened Tuesday and Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher has written a summary of the antics in the first day: www.washingtonpost.com

For a picture of the husband and wife being sued, check this page on Emil Steiner's Washington Post "OFF/beat" blog: blog.washingtonpost.com

The ABCNews.com version of Avila's story: abcnews.go.com

-- Brent Baker