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CyberAlert -- 02/20/2002 -- Bush "Too Militaristic"

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Bush "Too Militaristic"; South Korean Support Skipped; Moore: Bush Should Resign; Banfield Boasts She's Not American; CNN: Lost Time

1) The networks put the burden on Bush and not North Korea for the lack of peace on the peninsula. NBC's Campbell Brown concluded from Seoul that "many" fear "that Bush has damaged progress and renewed old animosity." ABC's Terry Moran stressed that "former Clinton administration officials...say Mr. Bush's approach is far too militaristic." Only CBS's John Roberts acknowledged: "Bush is getting full support from opposition lawmakers who argue the North needs to be seen for what it is."

2) Without noting any support for it amongst South Koreans, David Gregory asserted on Today that Bush's inclusion of North Korea in his "axis of evil" had earned "an angry reaction in Seoul where they were seen as a blow to President Kim Dae Jung's years-long efforts to reconcile with the North."

3) Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore thinks that President Bush should resign because of his connections to Enron, telling CNN's Aaron Brown that the "phony" company "bought" the administration. Amongst the "good information" in Moore's new book: That American Eagle pilots start at $15,000 and use food stamps.

4) The secret weapon MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield uses when in Pakistan or Iran: She's "very quick to point out" that she's not a U.S. citizen but is Canadian. With that known, "I tend to get a warmer reception," she boasted to David Letterman. Plus, she gushed about Yasser Arafat's his stamina, marveling at how he supposedly works until 3am as he "sleeps about two or three hours a night." And Arafat is "frankly" trying to control terrorism in the face of the "hardest line hawk," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

5) CNN's Headline News channel offered advice on how to best subvert U.S. law in order to travel to Cuba, the Miami Herald's TV critic reported on Tuesday.

6) "Global warming could slow Earth spin, lengthen days," an ominous headline warned over a CNN.com story last week citing "a new scientific report." Slow by....11 microseconds every ten years.

7) Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Make Curling More Exciting."


>>> Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, is scheduled to appear for an hour or so this morning at 11am EST in a C-SPAN broadcast of a Close-Up Foundation discussion with high school students. It should be re-run at some point later in the day. <<<

1

It's like the U.S. versus the Soviet Union all over again, with Western reporters most concerned about hurting the feelings of communists as they emphasize protests by leftist students. North Korea is controlled by a belligerent regime which starves its people, who are blocked from leaving, while building weapons and it has failed to follow through on agreements to open up to South Korea, but to U.S. network reporters it is President Bush who is threatening peace on the peninsula.

"Axis of evil. The President in South Korea where his harsh words for the north are causing concern," warned NBC's Tom Brokaw before Campbell Brown concluded from Seoul that "the fear among many here" is "that Bush has damaged progress and renewed old animosity." As if the North Korean regime was friendly until a month ago.

Tuesday night ABC anchor Peter Jennings acknowledged that "Mr. Bush believes the North is not only repressive but dangerous," but cautioned: "The President's belief is causing some anxiety in the South." Terry Moran admonished: "Former Clinton administration officials who negotiated a successful deal to stop North Korea's development of nuclear material, say Mr. Bush's approach is far too militaristic."

From Seoul, CBS's John Roberts stressed: "In fact, say leaders here, President Bush has unnecessarily heightened tensions on the peninsula," but unlike ABC or NBC, CBS's Roberts at least conceded: "Bush is getting full support from opposition lawmakers who argue the North needs to be seen for what it is."

In a piece for CNN's Inside Politics, John King observed the same thing: "Some Korean war veterans, strongly anti-communist in their views, took to the streets here in advance of Mr. Bush's visit to praise the American President and his tough talk about the communist north."

Viewers of FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Tuesday night learned from Jim Angle in Seoul that South Korea leader Kim Dae Jung's "sunshine" policy is a one-way street since, for instance, while the south has built a railroad to the border the north hasn't even started construction. Guest Doug Paal of the Asia-Pacific Policy Center told Hume that Kim's popularity in South Korea has plummeted to just 20 percent.

Tom Brokaw, in Utah, teased the February 19 NBC Nightly News: "Axis of evil. The President in South Korea where his harsh words for the north are causing concern."

From Seoul, Campbell Brown found "tensions here high, with anti-American protests today over the President's view of North Korea as part of an 'axis of evil' that cozies up to terrorists and threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction. That view at direct odds with South Korea's President Kim Dae Jung. Kim won the Nobel Peace Prize for his so-called 'sunshine policy' of engaging the communist north and trying to reunite the countries, but the fear among many here, that Bush has damaged progress and renewed old animosity."
Selig Harrison, Center for International Policy: "From the North Korea point of view you can't trust an opening to South Korea if the U.S. is hostile to it because the U.S. and South Korea are allies."

Without any balancing perspective, Brown moved on to how at the DMZ Bush planned to assure Koreans he shares Kim's ultimate goal of no more separation between the nations. Brown then concluded with the spin of those who believe in negotiation above all else: "The President has said he is open to talks with the North even though many in the region now believe his rhetoric has made that all but impossible. To ease some of the tension, advisers say that here at least the President won't publicly mention an axis of evil."

Over on ABC, Peter Jennings opened World News Tonight:
"Good evening, everyone. We're going to begin with the President this evening. Mr. Bush has begun a challenging and controversial visit to South Korea, which has lived in a state of tension with North Korea ever since the Korean War from 1950-53. The U.S. was crucial to winning that war. Today South Korea is a very strong American ally. And all these years later, Mr. Bush believes the North is not only repressive but dangerous. ABC's Terry Moran is with the President. And the President's belief is causing some anxiety in the South, Terry."

Moran confirmed, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"It sure is, Peter. In a few hours, President Bush will travel to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea and try to soothe concerns here by talking about reconciliation on the peninsula. But he will also repeat the same kind of tough rhetoric that has made people here so nervous. A South Korean border honor greeted Mr. Bush as he arrived in Seoul, a sign of the staunch alliance between the U.S. and this nation of 47 million people. But the President has put that alliance under strain. Mr. Bush's description of North Korea as part of the 'axis of evil' has been met with scattered protests here but also by a widespread sense of unease."
Prof. Jung-Hoon Lee, Yonsei University: "In Korea there is some misunderstanding, and there is some anti-American sentiments because it seems that he is really pushing the Korean Peninsula on the verge of some sort of a war."
Moran, over a shot of the DMZ: "This is why the anxiety is so intense. At a razor's edge at the Demilitarized Zone, hundreds of thousands of troops, including 37,000 Americans, face each other on constant alert. South Korean President Kim Dae Jung has tried to reduce tensions by engaging the North Koreans in his so-called 'Sunshine Policy.' But the President, as he made clear in his speech to the Japanese parliament Tuesday, wants to keep up the pressure on the North."
George W. Bush in Japan: "We stand more committed than ever to a forward presence in this region. We will deter aggression against the Republic of Korea."
Moran countered: "Former Clinton administration officials who negotiated a successful deal to stop North Korea's development of nuclear material, say Mr. Bush's approach is far too militaristic."
Wendy Sherman, Former Counselor to State Department: "We know that with North Korea we can come to a verifiable agreement, and I think it's important that we continue to try to do so."
Moran concluded: "The President's job here is an extremely delicate one: Calm the waters he has so troubled in South Korea while, Peter, making sure at all costs that North Korea and the rest of the world does not come to the conclusion that his tough talk is just a bluff."

Dan Rather introduced the February 19 CBS Evening News story:
"Midway through his tour of Asia, President Bush is now in South Korea where his inclusion of North Korea in what he called the 'axis of evil' set off a fierce political debate. Along with meeting South Korean leaders, CBS's John Roberts reports, President Bush will stand at the Korean Demilitarized Zone and issue a challenge to the North."
Roberts checked in from Seoul: "At the razor wire dividing line between South and North Korea, within sight of his 'axis of evil,' President Bush will challenge North Korean leader Kim Jung Il to change his dangerous ways. But the man who could become South Korea's next President says Mr. Bush may have already failed."
Hahn Hwa-Kap, ruling Democratic Party: "I think President Bush's remark on 'axis of evil' not so good for bringing North Korea out to the dialogue table."
Roberts elaborated on the point before noting what ABC and NBC ignored, that many South Koreans approve of Bush's approach: "In fact, say leaders here, President Bush has unnecessarily heightened tensions on the peninsula where 37,000 American troops help keep the North at bay. Demonstrators angrily protested the President's arrival in Seoul Tuesday. The State Department has warned Americans here to be on high alert during the visit. But Mr. Bush is getting full support from opposition lawmakers who argue the North needs to be seen for what it is."
Park Wonhong, South Korean opposition party member: "It's about time to give North Korean regime that kind of clear, stern message."
Roberts: "President Bush has branded North Korea a rogue state, using its development of weapons of mass destruction as the centerpiece to sell his missile defense shield, urging the world to join him to reign in the threat."
George W. Bush: "We seek a peaceful region where no power or coalition of powers endangers the security or freedom of other nations."
Roberts concluded with a warning: "But tough talk about the North is a sensitive issue here. Monday tempers boiled over and a shouting match broke out when a member of South Korea's ruling party said it was President Bush who was evil incarnate. In his speech at the border, President Bush is expected to dial back on the provocative rhetoric, not using the 'axis of evil' comment. For his part, North Korea's leader has become even more bellicose, accusing what he calls 'U.S. imperialists' of trying to provoke a second Korean war."

2

Today show viewers on Tuesday morning heard a similar storyline from David Gregory, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed. On the February 19 Today, without noting any support for it amongst South Koreans, Gregory asserted that Bush's inclusion of North Korea in his "axis of evil" has earned "an angry reaction in Seoul where they were seen as a blow to President Kim Dae Jung's years long efforts to reconcile with the North."

Gregory began: "There was more than a welcome mat waiting for the President when he arrived at a secure U.S. military base in South Korea today. Days of anti-American protest over Bush's hard-line toward the North threaten to overshadow this carefully scripted visit, the President's first since taking office. The trouble, Bush's blunt declaration that Communist North Korea is part of an 'axis of evil' whose nuclear weapons program threatens America. The remarks have received an angry reaction in Seoul where they were seen as a blow to President Kim Dae Jung's years long efforts to reconcile with the North. But Bush in a speech earlier in the day to the Japanese parliament remained defiant, saying the North Koreans, with their heavy firepower on the border with the South. are a threat that must be confronted."
George W. Bush: "We seek a region in which demilitarized zones and missile batteries no longer separate people with a common heritage and a common future."
Gregory concluded: "Tomorrow Bush will follow up those words with a flexing of his muscles, a visit to some of the 37,000 US troops now deployed along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. But aides say the President has a larger goal here, to shore up South Korea's support for the war on terror. One way he'll do that is by reaching out to the North again offering to talk and avoiding a repeat of his 'axis of evil' remark. David Gregory, NBC News, with the President, in Seoul."

3

Left-wing activist/filmmaker Michael Moore thinks that President Bush should resign because of his connections to Enron, telling CNN's Aaron Brown that the "phony" company "bought" the administration. "I don't think we're going to go through another impeachment," Moore reassured, "but I just hope he has the good graces to say, 'you know what, this wasn't right and I'm sorry and I'm going to leave now.'"

Moore has just started a tour to promote his new book, Stupid White Men. On Tuesday night he appeared on both FNC's O'Reilly Factor, where his views were challenged, and on CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown, where they were not.

Playing word association with Brown on the February 19 show, when prompted with President Bush's name, Moore blurted out: "Waiting for him to resign."

Moore elaborated: "Enron bought this administration, you know, Ken Lay and what he had to do there in terms of picking the regulatory people that were supposed to oversee Enron, the Arthur Anderson attorney who became head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Enron VP that's Secretary of the Army, the Enron lawyer that's the White House counsel."

Moore wasn't finished: "This was a bought administration, and bought by, essentially now what we understand, a phony company with phony stock prices and frankly, when this all comes out, I think that, I don't think we're going to go through another impeachment, but I just hope he has the good graces to say, 'you know what, this wasn't right and I'm sorry and I'm going to leave now.'"

Asked what his book is about, Moore explained: "It's about lots of things, like, you know, I was sitting next to a guy at an airport, he's an American Eagle pilot, and he says to me 'you know how much our first-year pilots make?' And I said no. He says, 'like $15, $16,000.' I said 'you gotta be kidding me.' And I'm thinking 'oh my God.' And he says, 'yeah, one of our guys just applied for food stamps.' I'm on a plane with a guy who's flying me up in the air and he's making less than a kid at Taco Bell? I mean I just think, what is going on here? So the book is full of a lot of good information like that."

I always thought that liberals were upset that minimum wage jobs at places like Taco Bell left you well below the poverty line and, therefore, short of $16,000 a year based on a 40-hour week.

Moore's book provides a lot of "good information" which is obviously preposterous if this is his best anecdote. Commercial pilots are professionals who require a lot of training time and college courses before they can ever get hired and so are able to command relatively high starting salaries. And American Eagle is a unionized company, so to think that its pilots are paid anywhere near that low a salary is absurd.

Change "Men" to "Man" in the title of his book, Stupid White Men, and he's got the perfect title for his autobiography.

Moore has long held an irrational hatred of the U.S. and President Bush. In message posted on his Web site back on September 14, Moore screeched: "Am I angry? You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have taken my money to fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price with their lives.
"Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be 'on duty' in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that miserable war. And now you are asking for 'unity' so you can start another one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
"Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon today, on this national day of mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and the children of this sad and ugly world."

4

The secret weapon MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield uses when in Pakistan or Iran: She's "very quick to point out" that she's not a U.S. citizen but is Canadian. With that known, "I tend to get a warmer reception," she proudly informed David Letterman on Tuesday night.

On the February 19 Late Show, Banfield, host of MSNBC's 9pm EST hour in which she broadcasts from places like Pakistan and Iran, recalled her recent experience interviewing Yasser Arafat, relating an all-too-fond series of recollections which I have not had time yet to transcribe. [See Web Update below]

After a commercial break, Letterman only had time for a short second segment with her. So he crammed all his questions into one up front:
"We're desperately short on time. But I want to know what your life is like when you're at work over there, how you're regarded as an American citizen, as a news person, as a woman? How is that, how does that manifest itself? Do you get a feeling for that?"
Banfield, referring to CBS Orchestra leader Paul Shaffer of Thunder Bay, Ontario, revealed how she uses her Canadian citizenship to her advantage in separating herself from the United States: "Sure, you bet. I mean, people right away assume that all of us are American because we work for an American TV crew, but I am Canadian, just like Paul, and so I'm very quick to point that out and I tend to get a warmer reception by some."
Letterman: "Is that right?"
Banfield: "Yeah, definitely, I notice that."

If being Canadian is such a great advantage, why doesn't she stay there and work for a Canadian network?

[Web Update: In the first segment of her Letterman appearance, MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield recounted her recent experience interviewing Yasser Arafat. She gushed about his stamina, marveling at how he supposedly works until 3am as he "sleeps about two or three hours a night." Asked whether Arafat is controlling terrorism, Banfield portrayed him as some sort of victim of terrorist actions he has nothing to do with inspiring for decades, proclaiming: "He answered me frankly. He said, 'I'm doing the best I can.'" After all, Banfield rationalized, "he's facing down Ariel Sharon right now, who's the hardest line hawk that they've had in a long time."

MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down the two additional exchanges from the February 19 Late Show:

-- Arafat the 22 Hours-a-Day 72-Year-Old Workaholic.
Banfield: "Usually these interviews take place at two, three in the morning, too, because the Chairman, President works until that hour."
Letterman: "Really?"
Banfield: "Yeah. Yeah, we had to be on stand-by from seven in the morning in the West Bank right through to 3am."
Letterman: "So he's up working like at, before dawn and stays up til half way through the night?"
Banfield: "He sleeps about two or three hours a night and that's it. And he works up until about 3am, usually if he's going to grant any interviews they are often around one or two in the morning. And they were very kind to us to give us the interview just before midnight because they knew we were on the air at four in the morning."

-- Arafat "frankly" trying to control terrorism in the face of the "hardest line hawk," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Banfield maintained: "When I asked him, 'you say you have a commitment to controlling people,' but do you have control of your people?, he answered me frankly. He said, 'I'm doing the best I can, I'm doing the best job I can.' He's not going to tell me no I don't. He's caught between a rock and a hard place. He's facing down Ariel Sharon right now, who's the hardest line hawk that they've had in a long time in that government and now he's facing a lot of dissent from his own people as well and his chairmanship and presidency is sort of up in question among his own people, so he' playing a diplomatic role on both sides."]

5

CNN's Headline News offered advice on how to subvert U.S. law in order to travel to Cuba, the Miami Herald's TV critic reported on Tuesday in a story highlighted by FNC's Brit Hume that night.

The Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin failed to give a date for what he caught, as he recounted what he characterized as CNN's "bold bid for the all-important Felons Aged 21-55 ratings demographic." Garvin disclosed: "Early-morning anchor Robin Meade and Atlanta travel consultant Chris McGinnis, who regularly contributes travel pieces to the network, offered the advice."

An excerpt from Garvin's February 19 piece:

Explaining how to celebrate "a romantic getaway to Cuba," McGinnis noted: "There are ways you could go legally, some ways you can go illegally Now, of course, we need to tell you that you probably should try to go legally first."

But that, he admitted, isn't easy, since the U.S. government generally approves trips only for government officials, journalists, athletes competing in a specific event or those with close family members living in Cuba.

"If you want to kind of go around the legal way to go, you have to travel to a third country," McGinnis told the ever-smiling Meade. "So you have to go to either Nassau in the Bahamas, a few cities in Mexico, Toronto in Canada, or via Montego Bay." A slide prepared by CNN's art department popped onto the screen to diagram the routes helpfully.

McGinnis followed that with information on hotels and currency exchange rates, and then warned viewers not to pay for anything with credit cards lest the fed snoops find out. "What you're doing down there is trading with, supposedly, the enemy, and it's illegal," he said....

Plenty of news organizations have done stories on U.S. tourists illegally visiting Cuba; that's a legitimate story. (And, certainly, from those stories, a reader or viewer could figure out how to do it.) But helping them to break American law crosses a line into something that's not journalism. I've been watching television for more than 40 years, but this was the first time I've ever seen a network provide a detailed blueprint on how to violate the law....

END of Excerpt

To read the entire column: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/2697043.htm

6

Speaking of wacky stuff from CNN which favors a liberal political agenda, a MRC Web-visitor, whom I forgot to ask permission to credit by name, alerted us to a CNN.com story from last week which carried the dramatic headline: "Global warming could slow Earth spin, lengthen days." Citing "a new scientific report" from "Belgian researchers," CNN's Richard Stenger trumpeted how "the carbon gas spike could add 11 extra microseconds every ten years."

Eleven-millionths of a second over ten years! How will we survive?!?! How will we ever notice?

An excerpt from the CNN article posted on February 13:

By steadily releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, humans could inadvertently slow down the rotation of the Earth, according to a new scientific report.

A team of Belgian researchers came to that conclusion after using climate models to simulate a 1 percent increase in the primary greenhouse gas each year, a rise they said coincides with current trends.

While slight, the shift in the planet's spin could be measured over the course of decades, providing an ideal method to check the effects of civilization-induced warming of the world, the scientists said....

In the short term, natural variations in such weather systems would muddle the task of determining how much the gas influx slows the planet.

But over decades or longer, the human effect could become quite pronounced, at least in relation to precise measurements of celestial mechanics.

The carbon gas spike could add 11 extra microseconds every ten years, unless changes in wind speed and atmospheric pressure somehow cancel each other out, the Belgian Royal Observatory scientists calculated. A microsecond is 1 millionth of a second....

END of Excerpt

For the entirety of the CNN.com article:
http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/space/02/13/earth.gas/index.html

7

In the spirit of the Olympics, from the February 18 Late Show with David Letterman (http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/), the "Top Ten Ways to Make Curling More Exciting." Copyright 2002 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. How about calling it anything but "curling"?
9. Instead of weird lookin' Norwegian dudes in sweaters -- babes in lingerie
8. Only allow French judges
7. Sweep the stone toward the hog line and then...okay, I don't know crap about curling
6. Is it too much to ask for one curler to bite another curler?
5. Throw in one of them miniature-golf windmills
4. Instead of a granite stone, use the frozen head of Walt Disney
3. 40% of final score comes from the swimsuit competition
2. You don't think curling is exciting? What are you, insane?
1. First place gets gold medal, the rest are sent to Camp X-Ray

All you have to know to dislike curling is that Peter Jennings, a native of Canada like Ashleigh Banfield, is a fan of it, as he noted before a Tuesday night story about the "sport." -- Brent Baker


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