CyberAlert -- 07/06/2000 -- Disbarment Barred
Disbarment Barred; Supreme Court: "Far-Right" to "Moderate"; ABC Hit Both Parties from Left
5) On NBC's Tonight Show Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect, praised Bill Clinton for "the way he stood up to that impeachment nonsense, I think he changed this country. And I think someday they will name high schools after him."
"Bryant Gumbel and the Christian Bashing System," the latest
column by MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell III, is now online. The column,
prompted by Gumbel's June 29 accidentally caught on tape "What a
f***ing idiot" reference to Robert Knight of the Family Research
Council, recites some of Gumbel's past blasts at conservative religious
figures. It also includes this denial from CBS News about the June 29
incident: "During a weather segment on Thursday morning's 'Early
Show,' a brief camera shot with no audio of Bryant getting up from his
chair accidentally appeared on air. He was making a casual remark of some
sort, but it is unclear what the comment was and in any case, it bears no
relevance to the content of The Early Show." To read the column, go
The official move to disbar Clinton didn't much interest the networks in their pre-holiday weekend Friday newscasts dominated by stories about holiday travel and gas prices. Of the broadcast network evening shows on June 30, only NBC Nightly News ran a full story on how the committee appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court had officially filed a lawsuit against Clinton, the first step in the disbarment process.
CBS Evening News anchor
John Roberts gave it 14 seconds while ABC's Kevin Newman consumed a mere
nine seconds in cluing in World News Tonight viewers:
NPR's Nina Totenberg defended the Supreme Court's decision to overturn, on a 5-4 vote, Nebraska's law banning something. Totenberg insisted "partial-birth abortion" is a deliberately misleading term and that the procedure does not occur late in pregnancy.
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught the debate between Totenberg and columnist Charles Krauthammer on the July 1 edition of Inside Washington shown by many PBS stations and produced by Washington, DC's Gannett-owned CBS affiliate, WUSA-TV.
Nina Totenberg: "You know, there's a very interesting thing about so-called 'partial birth abortion,' and that's not a medical term, that's a political term, as all the courts have said, and that is that both the pro-life and pro-choice forces have conspired in an odd sort of way to make the public totally misunderstand what this is all about. These are not late-term abortions. Those are banned in every state. Third-trimester abortions are banned in every state except to save the life and the health of the mother. These are by and large second trimester abortions, and the important thing here that Justice O'Connor said is if a doctor thinks a procedure is necessary to, for the life of the mother, he or she can use that procedure, and any law that interferes with that is gonna be unconstitutional."
suggested: "I would guess that if this issue becomes important in the
election, it will help the right more than the left. I think it will
really energize the anti-abortion people because they are truly driven
wild by this particular procedure, which is an awful and gruesome
procedure, and I might add, I looked at the medical literature, totally
unnecessary, there are other procedures-"
But certainly not for Totenberg.
There are no liberals on the Supreme Court according to Reuters Washington DC-based reporter James Vicini in a June 30 dispatch featured on the Yahoo! news page and brought to my attention by a CyberAlert reader. Those relaying on Reuters learned from Vicini that the court is made up of three "far-right" justices, two "more moderate conservatives" and four "moderates."
Here's an excerpt of the story, headlined: "High Court Ends Watershed, Election-Year Term," in which Vicini issued his labeling after allowing an ACLU lawyer to denounce the court's session for being too conservative:
....Vice President Al Gore, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said earlier this week the next President's selection of justices could determine whether women keep the legal right to an abortion.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the expected Republican presidential nominee, has criticized the court's abortion rulings. Bush has cited Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the court's two staunchest conservatives, as models for his appointees....
On its last day, the court by a 5-4 vote struck down a Nebraska law that banned the surgical procedure called "partial birth" abortion, ruling it placed an undue burden on a woman's right to an abortion.
Other rulings during the term upheld federal aid to parochial schools, supported the rights of the Boy Scouts to exclude gays, struck down student-led prayers at football games and reaffirmed the famous Miranda ruling that the police must tell suspects of their right to remain silent.
"In pursuit of what remains a largely conservative agenda, this has become one of the most activist courts in American history," said Steven Shapiro, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
He said the court's constitutional decision making has been motivated not by a concern for individual rights, but to preserve the proper balance of power between Congress and the judiciary, and between states and the federal government.
"A majority of the court was appointed by Presidents who claimed to be looking for judges who would enforce law, not make law," Shapiro said.
"Yet this court has shown a greater willingness to strike down acts of Congress than any court since the early days of the New Deal," he said, referring to programs from the 1930s.
The far-right wing of the court includes Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and Thomas, who was named by President George Bush in 1991.
They often are joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was named to the court by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and who was elevated to his current post by Reagan in 1986.
The more moderate conservatives are Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, both appointed by Reagan.
The moderates consist of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both appointees of President Clinton; Justice David Souter, a Bush nominee; and Justice John Paul Stevens, named by Republican President Gerald Ford in 1975....
By comparison, the
placement of the justices on an ideological scale by Washington Post
reporter Edward Walsh on MSNBC last week seems quite reasonable, despite
how he only found the conservatives to be "hard core." MRC
analyst Paul Smith picked up on Walsh's assessment as uttered on the
June 28 News with Brian Williams:
At least Walsh acknowledged how there really are liberals sitting on the Supreme Court.
You can never have the government spend or regulate enough to satisfy the network news divisions. The latest example: Last Thursday ABC hit both the Republican and Democratic Medicare prescription plans from the left for not spending enough money in the latest creation of an entitlement program.
World News Tonight anchor Kevin Newman plugged the upcoming story: "Also ahead, 'A Closer Look' at the two big plans in Washington to pay for prescription drugs: Will either one be enough?"
Introducing the subsequent June 29 story Newman complained: "Neither plan will provide all the help many senior citizens need."
Reporter Linda Douglass,
naturally, had no time for the burden put on taxpayers and instead used an
anecdotal victim of a lack of giveaways to make her case: "It is time
for Frieda Hurlong's shot of insulin, one of five drugs she takes
everyday. Her HMO picks up a little of her drug bill. She has to figure
out how to pay for the rest."
Douglass proceeded to list the basic features of each and then pronounced them both inadequate: "Under either plan roughly a quarter of seniors could still face high drug bills. So if Washington does anything this year, it probably will not be enough."
Hitting both parties from the left is probably considered by ABC News to be a demonstration of balance.
Just five days after bashing George Bush and praising Bill Clinton for fending off conservatives, in a performance at a Democratic fundraiser reported in the June 28 CyberAlert, Bill Maher took his act to a wider audience on NBC's Tonight Show. Asked by Jay Leno about why he performed at the fundraiser, the host of ABC's Politically Incorrect replied: "I did it because it was the last time I was going to be able to pay tribute to Clinton."
Maher added a bit of info not included in the Reuters story about the fundraiser which the June 28 CyberAlert quoted: It took place at a place called The Garden of Eden, which Maher described as "a sleazy disco."
How appropriate for Clinton.
Here are some of Maher's other comments on the June 28 Tonight Show, as taken down by MRC intern Michael Ferguson:
-- "I gave him a very glowing introduction because I think this guy, when history looks back, will -- and I don't agree with him always politically, but the way he stood up to that impeachment nonsense, I think he changed this country. And I think someday they will name high schools after him and kids will proudly play for the Bill Clinton Fighting Cocks, Jay, and I mean that."
-- "I truly believe
he changed the country with that, just the way, you know, Betty Ford put a
face on breast cancer or Kitty Dukakis on, I don't know, alcoholism or
whatever, and I think Dan Quayle on mental retardation, also. I think he
made it that this country will look at adultery differently."
-- Leno, referring to
Bill Clinton: "Do you think he could get reelected?"
-- "You never know who's going to come out a good kid. Kids grow up in rotten homes and come out good, and they come up in good homes and come out bad. Families are like that. You could take two people, I mean George W. Bush and Drew Barrymore were both happy kids. They grew up happy kids. No, they did. Their lives came out okay. They're from legendary American families. They couldn't be more dissimilar, except for the booze and the coke. I'm not saying they have nothing in common."
For more on his comments
at the June 23 Democratic fundraiser where, Reuters reported, he issued
"below the belt attacks" on George W. Bush and claimed
Clinton's opponents are "jealous" of him and he "'had
the strength to fight the battles that this country needed to have
fought' with one hand while he 'beat off the harpies who hated him
succeeding with the other,'" go to:
The June 30 edition of MediaNomics, from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now online. The articles written by FMP Director Rich Noyes:
-- Networks Let
Government Slide Off the Hook in Gas Price Run-Up.
-- TV's Fed Coverage
Omits Pro-Growth Views.
-- Kudos... to NBC's Tim
To read these pieces, go
reported in the June 30 CyberAlert, last week Congresswoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen took advantage of her guest spot on CNBC's Rivera Live to
scold NBC's Jim Avila for his "incredibly nauseating"
pro-Castro propaganda in the guise of news reporting. In the Gumbel rush
on Friday video of this exchange did not make it up onto the MRC Web site,
but Webmaster Andy Szul now has it posted in RealPlayer format. To see the
June 28 exchange, go to:
From the July 4 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Punchlines to Founding Father Dirty Jokes." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Give me liberty, or give me
And, from the Late Show Web page, because "those over-achieving writers keep producing more brilliant jokes than can fit in a Top Ten List," here are some of the "also-rans."
-- "It may have been 1776, but it felt
more like 1769"
That last one's not a bad line to try. This is actually a fresh list as Letterman is doing new shows during this holiday week.
Back to my vacation now that I've caught up with most of the leftovers from last week, plus a few new things, so don't expect another CyberAlert until next week. -- Brent Baker, in New Hampshire
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