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CyberAlert -- 08/01/2001 -- Geraldo Thrilled by Clinton's "Hero's Welcome"

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"Negative" Assessment of Bush?; Geraldo Thrilled by Clinton's "Hero's Welcome"; Amusement Parks Need More Regulation

1) Today's Matt Lauer highlighted a poll that "has President Bush with his first negative numbers of his presidency," while Bill Clinton "made a big splash" in opening his Harlem office. David Gregory relayed that Zogby found 51 percent have a "negative" view of Bush's job performance, but FNC's Brit Hume noticed that the "negative" category included those who thought Bush has done a "fair" job.

2) Geraldo Rivera also highlighted the "negative" assessment of Bush by most in the Zogby poll. He contrasted that with how Bill Clinton "soaked up the sunshine and love" while opening his Harlem office. Geraldo exclaimed that he "couldn't be happier" about the "hero's welcome" for Clinton in Harlem.

3) Dan Rather led Tuesday's CBS Evening News by trumpeting "new hope tonight that Congress and the White House can strike a deal on a Patients' Bill of Rights." Only one pesky man is standing in the way but, Rather reassured viewers, "the deal is being done to bypass President's Bush's veto threats."

4) Only more regulation can save summertime fun. ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas demanded to know: "More trouble at the nation's amusement parks. Two dozen people injured. Why won't Congress let the government regulate these parks?"

5) For the second straight night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams protected NBC's partner in MSNBC, Microsoft, from being tied to the "Code Red" worm which targets only Microsoft software. He misleadingly generalized: "It targets the servers that connect office computers."

6) When Al D'Amato suggested hypocrisy on the part of liberal feminists, who demanded Bob Packwood resign after charges of unwanted sexual advances, but who now are not calling for Gary Condit (D-CA) to quit, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift argued all that matters is that Condit's sex with Levy was consensual.


1
"A new poll out has President Bush with his first negative numbers of his presidency," Matt Lauer declared at the top of Tuesday's Today as he contrasted a Zogby poll on Bush with how former President Clinton "made a big splash" in opening his new Harlem office. NBC reporter David Gregory soon elaborated on the Zogby finding about how 51 percent have a "negative" assessment of Bush's job performance, but Tuesday night FNC's Brit Hume pointed out that the "negative" category included those who thought Bush has done a "fair" job.

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught how Lauer previewed the July 31 show by announcing: "And then the tale of two Presidents. A new poll out has President Bush with his first negative numbers of his presidency. According to Zogby America, 51 percent of Americans gave Bush a negative job rating; 47 percent gave him a positive job rating. Meanwhile in New York, former President Clinton, whose kept a pretty low profile since leaving office, made a big splash moving into his new office space in Harlem."

During the 7am news update Ann Curry introduced a full report, though she fumbled a bit: "For the first time since the November election the President, there is a new poll with a negative job rating for President Bush. NBC's David Gregory is at the White House this morning with more on this. David, what more can you tell us about this new poll?"
Gregory explained: "Well Ann it is a reversal of fortunes for the President in just one month. The Zogby America poll, as you say, giving the President a negative rating in the area of job performance for the first time since taking office. Looking at his job performance from June to July. You see the negative rating up to 51 percent from 48 percent a month ago."

As Gregory relayed the numbers, on screen viewers saw a graphic titled "Bush's Job Performance." Under it, NBC listed percentages for the July and June Zogby polls:
Positive -- July: 47 percent, June: 51 percent
Negative -- July: 51 percent, June: 48 percent

Gregory added: "This poll also tracking reaction to the question, 'Is the country headed in the right direction?' Less than half, just 48 percent, saying yes it is, Ann."
Curry wondered: "So David what is the White House saying about this? What's the reaction there?"
Gregory informed her: "Dismissive. They've been dismissive of this poll saying, 'Look there's at least a half a dozen other polls that show the President's job approval rating comfortably in either the low to high fifties, better than Bill Clinton at a comparable period.' And they point out, 'Look this is still a President that came into office winning this by a very close margin. And didn't win the popular vote.'"

A few hours later, however, during the panel segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Tuesday night, Hume pointed out that the "positive" and "negative" ratings were determined from a poll which offered respondents four options: Excellent, good, fair or poor with excellent and good totaled as "positive" and fair and poor combined as "negative." An FNC graphic offered these more detailed numbers for Zogby's poll on Bush's job performance:
Excellent: 17 percent
Good: 30 percent [17 + 30 = 47 percent positive]
Fair: 34 percent
Poor: 17 percent [34 + 17 = 51 percent negative]

Hume asked his colleagues: "Is 'fair' really negative?"

And with a 3.2 percent margin of error, the panelists noted, the June to July trend is within it.

Surprisingly, neither on Monday or Tuesday did the NBC Nightly News mention the Zogby numbers.

2

Like Matt Lauer and David Gregory on Tuesday's Today show, on Monday night Geraldo Rivera offered a distorted summary of how the Zogby poll numbers show most have a "negative" view of President Bush's job performance (see item #1 above for details), as he contrasted that with how Bill Clinton "soaked up the sunshine and love" earlier in the day while opening his Harlem office.

On the July 30 Rivera Live on CNBC, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Geraldo exclaimed that he "couldn't be happier" about the "hero's welcome" for Bill Clinton in Harlem. Rivera hailed how Clinton is "looking like indeed he is the comeback kid." After all, Rivera contended, "he was basically a good man who was hounded out of office."

Rivera teased an upcoming segment: "And Bill Clinton makes this heroic re-emergence into the public, at least the domestic public spotlight."

He set up the discussion with Congressman Charles Rangel and conservative commentator Ann Coulter: "Now the return of the Prodigal Son. The, you know, the man who left office disgraced, burdened down by at least three major scandals that I can think of, got a hero's welcome today. [covers his mouth with hand to hide giddiness] And I couldn't be happier."

Rivera elaborated: "After impeachment, after Pardongate, after the fake stories about their pilfering of the White House Bill Clinton's appearance today in Harlem must have been the feel good event of the season for the former President and he soaked up the sunshine and love. He looked like he was running for something. Maybe he's running for the office of honored ex-President, after all. And while the ex-prez was singing, Clinton's successor George W. Bush, got some bad news today. Receiving the first negative job performance rating of his presidency. In a brand new poll only 47 percent of those asked gave a thumbs up to Mr. Bush's performance in office. That's down from 51 percent last month. And on the negative side of the ledger 51 percent are unhappy with the way President Bush is carrying out his duties compared to just 48 percent last month. So while the 43rd President seems on a kind of slow slide. I mean he'll come up and down. In some ways I like him, in some ways I think he's kind of boring. But he'll have ups and downs. But the 42nd President, though, is looking like, indeed he is the comeback kid."

This exchange soon ensued between Rivera and Coulter: "Ann Coulter, why isn't this a big step toward the rehabilitation of the image of the 42nd President?"
Coulter: "Well I do think this huge spectacle of his moving back to New York City will allow us to see if Giuliani's boast is true. He's cleaned up the city and gotten the hookers off the street. So at least we'll get that out of it."
Rivera: "What, what do you mean by that?"
Coulter: "What do you think I mean by that?"
Rivera: "I don't know, I don't know."
Coulter: "Clinton's in town!"
Rivera: "Oh, oh. So get the hookers off the streets because, now isn't that why people think the people who hate Clinton are extremists? Kinds of jabs like that?"
Coulter: "No I think you should keep running pictures of him. I think you and, and Charlie Rangel may be the only ones who think that's a good face for the Democratic Party."
Rivera: "I don't, I'm not a Democrat at all. I just think he's a good face because he was basically a good man who was hounded out of office by people who, who seized on his personal weaknesses to make him look like he didn't care about running the country."

Not a Democrat. Well to the left of the Democratic Party.

3

Dan Rather salivated Tuesday night at the increasingly likelihood of more government control of health care as he led the CBS Evening News by trumpeting "new hope tonight that Congress and the White House can strike a deal on a Patients' Bill of Rights." Only the pesky George Bush is standing in the way but, Rather reassured viewers, "the deal is being done to bypass President's Bush's veto threats."

Rather's tease at the top of the July 31 CBS Evening News: "Back from the dead, the Patients' Bill of Rights. New hope tonight that Congress and the White House can strike a deal. But at whose expense?"

Rather then opened the broadcast: "Good evening. Prospects for congressional passage of the long-stalled Patients' Bill of Rights have just taken a turn for the better and it appears likely the legislation will include a right to sue your HMO. CBS's Bob Schieffer on Capitol Hill reports how close they are to a deal and how the deal is being done to bypass President Bush's veto threats."

Schieffer explained how there is scrambling behind scenes to come up with a version Bush can sign since there is "overwhelming public support" for the right to sue HMOs. One compromise: Large companies which provide their own health coverage would be exempt from suits filed in state courts. Schieffer never did explain what Rather meant when he asked about "at whose expense?"

4

Oh government regulators, please save us from being stuck this summer on an unregulated roller coaster. ABC used a Michigan amusement park accident, in which no one was seriously injured, as a justification to argue for federal regulation of amusement parks. (NBC's Robert Hager also picked up on the Michigan accident to look at amusement park safety, but while he noted that regulation varies widely by state, instead of portraying federal regulation as a solution he passed along safety tips for riders.)

World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas demanded in teasing upcoming stories at the top of the July 31 ABC newscast: "More trouble at the nation's amusement parks. Two dozen people injured. Why won't Congress let the government regulate these parks?" Later, just before an ad break, Vargas plugged the story again: "When we come back, yet another accident at an amusement park. Should the government step in?"

In the eventual piece, Lisa Stark reported how at a Michigan amusement park dozens were injured when the "Chaos" ride got stuck. She reminded viewers of how a few weeks ago 30 were trapped on a Texas roller coaster and a California woman died this year while riding a roller coaster. In total, Vargas relayed, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported six died in 1999 from amusement park accidents.

Vargas then lamented: "There is no federal oversight of the industry; it's left to the states. But six states with amusement parks [on screen map highlighted Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama] have no regulation or inspections. The industry argues the rides are safe and that parks would be out of business if they weren't."
Bret Lovejoy, International Association of Amusement Parks: "With 320 million visitors to parks a year and three billion rides given you can expect to have a few accidents."
Stark countered: "But critics say with rides becoming faster and more death-defying, it's past time for federal regulation."
U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA): "It's really the only significant consumer product that is allowed to escape that kind of oversight and protection of the public."
Stark concluded by stressing the perspective of those who want more regulation: "Representative Markey has a bill that would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission oversight over amusement parks, authority the commission had until the industry successfully lobbied against it twenty years ago. But that bill is stalled. For now it remains up to the states and the industry to ensure that rides are safe."

I'd note that two of the states Stark listed as lacking any oversight of amusement parks -- Arizona and South Dakota -- are the homes of two of the media's favorites: John McCain and Tom Daschle.

Putting your roller coaster death risk in perspective, in Hager's piece on the NBC Nightly News amusement parks spokesman Bret Lovejoy pointed out that more die each year from bicycle and pool accidents than at amusement parks.

5

For the second straight night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams protected NBC's partner in MSNBC, Microsoft, from being tied to the "Code Red" worm which infects only particular types of Microsoft software. With this generalization Williams pretended all servers are vulnerable: "It targets the servers that connect office computers."

Williams announced on the July 31 NBC Nightly News: "Internet security experts from the Pentagon to small businesses around the world are bracing for the second strike of the Code Red computer worm as it's known. They say it could hit tonight and that if it does many people will feel the affects by tomorrow morning. Unlike other computer bugs, Code Red does not seem to infect home computers. Instead it targets the servers that connect office computers."

Over on ABC's World News Tonight, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas didn't utter the name Microsoft, though she let viewers know the worm only targets certain versions of Windows, a Microsoft product: "The Internet worm is expected to hit again tonight. Experts don't think it will hurt home computers, but businesses running Windows NT and 2000 are advised to get free software patch to protect their systems."

6

When former GOP Senator Al D'Amato suggested hypocrisy on the part of liberal feminists, who demanded former Republican Senator Bob Packwood resign after charges of unwanted sexual advances, but who now are not calling for Congressman Gary Condit (D-CA) to resign over his obfuscation in the Chandra Levy case, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift lectured: "You know the difference between consensual sex between adults and sex that is not consensual, and that was the difficulty with Senator Packwood."

MRC analyst Brad Wlmouth caught this exchange which took place at about 11:30am EDT Tuesday on FNC between D'Amato and Clift:

D'Amato: "If this was Bob Packwood, and I go back some years ago, I remember you and your whole clique going wild over somebody who was accused of kissing some women. Here you have somebody who's admitted after he lied that he had sex with an intern, who's obfuscated the facts, who's asked people to perjure themselves, and I don't hear you raising your voice as you did when Packwood had problems where there was no missing person, there was no one who might have been killed, nothing like that, and yet you were there howling for him to step down, and you were. You were. But this man, oh no, let the people vote."
Clift: "Sir, I think you're a grownup and you know the difference between consensual sex between adults and sex that is not consensual, and that was the difficulty with Senator Packwood."
D'Amato: "I think you know the distinction between subornation of perjury and a missing person as opposed to your drumbeat to throw Packwood out of the Congress."
Clift: "Second point, the feminist community was very slow in calling for Packwood's resignation, and I think some members of Congress were upset about that."

Assuming that's true, it's only because media liberals and feminists were so pleased with his pro-abortion efforts and anti-budget cutting work, shields missing from the resume of Clarence Thomas. As Clift's ideological soul mate Margaret Carlson bemoaned in the May 29, 1995 Time magazine:
"There should be an effort to reconcile the two Packwoods: the lout -- who purportedly pounced on unsuspecting women, sticking his tongue in one's mouth, running his hands up the legs of another, 18 reprehensible acts over 21 years -- with the Senator who was a lonely champion of women's rights, and who is proving himself to be a voice of honesty and probity among the budget slashers in his own party."

Sounds like a preview version of Bill Clinton. -- Brent Baker


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