CyberAlert -- 04/23/1999 -- Gun as Deterrent Derided; "Fatheads" Urge Prayer; Fired by Energy
Gun as Deterrent Derided; "Fatheads" Urge Prayer; Fired by Energy
>>> Newsweek Links to MRC. The "Digital Digs" page in Newsweek online's Cyberscope section for Friday, April 23, links to the MRC recitation of Gore gaffes. The item reads in part: "Al Gore can't quite claim to have invented the Internet, but he was an early sponsor. Now the Web is biting the hand that fed it, with a growing number of sites carrying Al Gore jokes. And while many feature old standbys ("How can you spot Al Gore in a bunch of Secret Service agents? He's the stiff one."), the best Gore jokes are springing, Dan Quayle-like, from the veep's own mouth. At the Media Research Center, for instance, you'll find the VP's gaffe, 'They will be the education team that Missouri needs,' which he said while stumping for Democratic candidates -- in Minnesota."
Newsweek later highlighted a quip from the man who alerted me to this item: "Steven Allen, VP for communications at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a Washington-based digital-policy think tank, said it best: 'For Al Gore, the Internet has turned out to be the most ungrateful creation since Lizzy Borden.'" To read the whole article by Ed Perratore, go to this direct address: http://www.newsweek.com/nw-srv/tnw/today/cs/cs01th_1.htm
The link in the article jumps you to the March 25 Media Reality Check fax report, which features a link to the MRC's Gore Gaffes videos page. For the fax report collection of Gore gaffes, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990325.html <<<
>>> Joyce Milton delayed. As the April 21 CyberAlert suggested might happen, the Today's show's non-stop focus on the Colorado shooting bumped Hillary Clinton biographer Joyce Milton from her scheduled April 21 appearance. No word yet on when she may appear, but on Friday morning Today will feature Monica Lewinsky who was bumped on Thursday. <<<
The lack of adequate gun control is the problem, argued ABC News and CNN in analyzing what led to Tuesday's shooting at a high school in Jefferson County, Colorado.
ABC couldn't go more than two nights before presenting a slanted look at gun control prompted by the shooting. As the April 21 CyberAlert noted, only the NBC Nightly News picked up the liberal cause on Tuesday, the night of the shooting. CBS refrained then and on Wednesday night, but ABC broke down on Thursday after anchor Peter Jennings announced this short item on Wednesday night: "It is no surprise that this became a big international story, and in the other nations' headlines, not for the first time, America is seen as a country which cannot control violence committed with guns. In Japan today the headline was 'How sick is the gun society?'"
Thursday night, the CBS Evening News broached the topic with this one line from reporter Bill Whitaker, but avoided the kind of sanctimonious story delivered by ABC: "CBS News has learned that the pistol and the rifle used in the assault have been traced to two local, licensed dealers."
Below are details of how ABC and CNN exploited the murder of teenagers to advance a political cause: gun control. ABC's World News Tonight derided a perfectly reasonable point made by Charlton Heston and CNN anchor Judy Woodruff pressed both a gun control advocate and opponent with the same question from the left about "gun availability."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight, April 22. Back in New York City after one night of anchoring
from Colorado, Peter Jennings noted that the NRA, which has its annual
convention scheduled for Denver next week, had decided to limit its
activities. Using loaded language, he warned: "The gun lobby scaled
its plans down, but it may not have been enough."
Piling on, Jennings assumed Heston had something to apologize for: "There has been no public comment from Charlton Heston since he made those remarks, but the Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura, says today he regrets a comment he made yesterday that lives may have been saved if someone at the school had been carrying a concealed weapon."
Reality Check: Heston may have spoken without bothering to learn the basic fact that a county sheriff's department deputy is assigned to the school and was present, but that hardly contradicts his point. It's a big school and maybe if he had been in the right place he could have done more. I believe ABC took the Cornell quote out of context, as in saying "they" he was referring to the school officer plus others who arrived on scene, but how do we know that the "running gun battle" didn't save lives by driving the killers into a room so they couldn't wander the halls shooting dozens more? Cornell complained the officer was outgunned firepower-wise which is not an argument for disarming the officer but for better equipping him.
-- Challenging the opposition and promoting your side. That's what politicians do, so when reporters help out you know where they stand. On Thursday's (April 22) Inside Politics on CNN co-anchor Judy Woodruff demanded a gun control opponent, Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado, respond to Senator Dianne Feinstein's points about how the shooting shows the need for more controls, but instead of challenging Feinstein with his arguments she tossed up Feinstein's own talking points.
Here are her
questions to Allard:
didn't face such tough questions. In fact, the first one was the same
and only the last challenged her at all, but not on the core issue:
All the networks have noted the last couple of nights how the killers enjoyed violent computer games like Doom, but none advocated curtailing them. Maybe that's because reporters care more about defending the First Amendment than the Second Amendment.
The morning shows have largely stuck to emotional recounting of the shooting, with each show sending a host to Jefferson County, and avoided gun control advocacy. But there have been exceptions. (Today found one segment so compelling that producers failed to make Katie Couric break for the usual 7:25am local affiliate time. Thursday morning at about 5:15am local time she interviewed the father of a student who was killed and a student whose sister was killed. NBC stuck with the segment, with the camera zooming in on Katie holding the man's hand and his tears, right through to 7:30am, blowing off all the ad breaks in the first half hour.) Wednesday morning both Today and CBS's This Morning brought aboard gun control advocate Suzann Wilson, mother of a student killed last year in Jonesboro.
-- ABC's Good
Morning America. On Wednesday Diane Sawyer prompted two guests to address
gun control, as noticed by MRC analyst Mark Drake. To Attorney General
Janet Reno: "But we keep hearing over and over again that even
troubled kids could get access to help without this sort of incident if
they didn't have access to guns first. Is there a gun control measure that
you think would actually help prevent a situation like this?"
-- NBC's Today.
Thursday morning Matt Lauer interviewed two authors of books about
aggressive boys, Raising Cain and Lost Boys, and pressed both about the
role of guns:
April 21, Katie Couric interviewed Colorado Governor Bill Owens. MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this interesting exchange:
Now there's an angle left unpursued by the networks: If the killers violated several gun laws what good will a few more restrictions, which criminals will ignore, do?
Scattered items from the evening shows: Peter Jennings actually praised talk radio, CBS's Wyatt Andrews blamed the "failure of adult supervision," NBC's Jim Avila discovered court officers had praised the killers as "likely to succeed" and "should do well in life," and Dan Rather, the only broadcast anchor still in Colorado on Thursday night, parsed his words in calling it "the worst high school massacre in U.S. history."
"Appreciate talk radio." Peter Jennings offered some rare kind
words from a network star about talk radio, observing on the April 21
World News Tonight:
of adult supervision" is the common element in all the shooting
cases, CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews proposed in an April 22 Evening News
piece. He logically asked:
"Bright" and "should do well in life," or why never to
trust a juvenile probation officer. On Thursday's NBC Nightly News Jim
Avila looked at the court records for the killers, disclosing:
It's all in how you define success and potential.
-- After the Drudge Report revealed how the incident was not the most deadly at a school in U.S. history, Dan Rather chose his words carefully Thursday night: "The enormity here of the worst high school massacre in U.S. history hits home in sharp, crystal clarity, when you see it one victim at a time..."
school" massacre, but not the worst school incident. "The
country's worst school massacre, in Littleton, Colo." claimed Reuters
and "The worst school massacre in U.S. history" declared UPI in
headlines cited by Matt Drudge, who explained:
"Some fathead" will suggest praying. Liberal syndicated columnist Mary McGrory took a disparaging shot at those who think prayer is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like the Colorado school shooting. Several people e-mailed me the column, so I know it has been circulating on the Internet.
people won't face the failure of the NATO bombing or how guns are the
culprit in school shootings, McGrory wrote in her column carried in the
April 22 Washington Post (the quote in the second paragraph refers to
security preparations for the NATO summit in Washington, DC):
(She did not elaborate, moving on to charge that the NATO "bombing campaign has so far been a fiasco.")
As for her "fathead" insult, I doubt that most who pray believe prayer is "the solution" to avoiding future incidents but instead believe they are giving strength to those involved so they can make it through. If a conservative columnist issued such a derogatory label he or she would be denounced by McGrory and her ilk as "mean-spirited," "intolerant" and "divisive."
And McGrory isn't just a liberal columnist. She's the officially sanctioned columnist at the Post, the only one to have her column showcased on page A3 of the news section every Tuesday and Thursday and on the front page of Sunday's "Outlook" section.
To read her whole column, you can go to :http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-04/22/158l-042299-idx.html (The excerpt above is of the 13th and 14th paragraphs.)
Attention: Assignment Desk. The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes suggested
an interesting angle for his media colleagues to explore. On the April 21
Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC he recommended:
"In their first public damage assessment of Chinese spying, U.S. intelligence officials told Senators that Beijing stole information on several U.S. warheads, not just the two that were previously revealed." That one sentence, caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, as read by ABC's Juju Chang during the 8:30am news update on Thursday's Good Morning America, represents the totality of broadcast network coverage for the fresh CIA report.
Though the assessment appeared on the front page of the April 21 New York Times, the day the Senators were to be briefed, the Colorado shooting gave the networks an excuse to ignore it. Not even CNN touched it the last two says in the shortened editions of Inside Politics or the few minutes of The World Today not dedicated to the shooting, MRC analyst Paul Smith informed me. Only FNC managed to simultaneously cover the Colorado shooting, Kosovo AND Chinese espionage. FNC's Carl Cameron also uniquely disclosed that the Energy Dept. has fired a security officer who criticized lax security.
New York Times
reporters James Risen and Jeff Gerth opened their April 21 front page
"The intelligence report is expected to be presented to the Clinton administration and Congress on Wednesday. Previously, the White House, citing other intelligence reports, had said that the evidence of Chinese atomic espionage is less conclusive...."
To read the whole story, go to this address which also features a helpful set of links to all of the paper's recent pieces on Chinese spying: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/042199china-nuke.html (You will have to be or become a registered user of NYT to access this page)
FNC gave the CIA
report 15 seconds Wednesday night on the Fox Report, but an hour earlier
on the 6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume the anchor of the same name
introduced a full story:
Editor's Note: As you can see, this CyberAlert is getting long so I don't have room for the promised look at ABC's "Swing Vote" movie. I'll make sure that gets in next time. -- Brent Baker
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