Dance Around "Partial-Birth"; Fret About "End of Legal Abortion" --2/22/2006
2. CNN's Cafferty Highlights Calls for Bush's Impeachment Over Ports
3. ABC's Weir Asks Bill Clinton to Condemn Cheney's Secrecy
4. Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's Annual "DisHonors Awards"
All three broadcast network evening newscast anchors separated themselves from the "partial-birth" abortion term, some more awkwardly than others, as all ran full stories Tuesday on the decision by the Supreme Court to take up, in the fall, the constitutionality of a federal ban on the abortion procedure -- of whatever name -- which lacks a "health of the mother" exception. After CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews touted how former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had "protected" the women's health exception, anchor Bob Schieffer saw not the potential now of new "protections" for the unborn, but instead worried about new "restrictions" that may be "imposed" on abortion. Schieffer channeled left-wing fears as he asked Jan Crawford Greenburg of the Chicago Tribune: "So does that mean this is going to be the beginning of the end of legal abortion in this country?" Greenburg, who at another point described Justice Alito "as much more conservative" than the pre-Alito/Roberts court, set him straight: "No, there's still five justices on the court who would vote to uphold Roe versus Wade, which guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion."
Schieffer introduced the CBS Evening News coverage, with a "Late-Term Abortion" graphic over his shoulder: "The court agreed today to consider the constitutionality of the ban that Congress imposed on a kind of late-term abortion that critics call partial-birth abortion." In his top of the broadcast tease from Torino, NBC anchor Brian Williams asked: "Can the federal government outlaw late-term abortions?" He soon awkwardly offered this description: "A late term abortion procedure that opponents of it call 'partial-birth abortion.'" Reporter Pete Williams cited "what opponents call partial-birth abortion." Over on ABC, anchor Elizabeth Vargas wasn't so awkward as she stuck to the simpler "so-called partial-birth abortion" verbiage. ABC reporter Jake Tapper at least folded in a description as he delineated what occurs: "The law in question is President Bush's ban on certain procedures where the fetus is at least partially removed from the womb before its aborted."
[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The CBS and NBC reporters also offered brief overviews of the procedure. CBS's Wyatt Andrews reported how "three years ago, Congress, hoping for this very day, passed a law it called the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, making it a crime for a physician to deliver, quote, 'a living fetus,' and then essentially kill it." Is that like being "essentially" pregnant? NBC's Pete Williams related how "opponents," of abortion, "emphasized that a fetus is partially delivered, its skull then collapsed."
While CBS displayed a "Late-Term Abortion" graphic, ABC and NBC went with more neutral graphic boxes over the shoulders of their anchors. ABC's World News Tonight used "Abortion Battle" and NBC displayed "Abortion Debate."
CBS's Andrews should get credit for uniquely letting views know why there is no mother's health exception, explaining how that "was on purpose, says the bill's co-sponsor, Congressman Chris Smith, because abortion opponents believe the health exception guts the law." Smith contended: "Because health means everything -- mental health, emotional health -- it's seen as abortion on demand, that there is no prohibition at all."
Brian Williams, in northern Italy, teased the February 21 NBC Nightly News: "The abortion wars. The new Supreme Court agrees to take the high-stakes question: Can the federal government outlaw late-term abortions?"
Williams set up the subsequent story: "At the U.S. Supreme Court today, this was Justice Samuel Alito's first day on the bench and the court agreed to decide whether Congress went too far when it banned a late term abortion procedure that opponents of it call 'partial birth abortion.' It is a deeply divisive issue, one the court has faced before. But this time, the lineup of justices could produce a very different result. Here is NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a full rundown of the February 21 CBS Evening News coverage:
Bob Schieffer, with "Late-Term Abortion" graphic over his shoulder: "The Supreme Court is stepping into the abortion debate again. It's an old debate, but this time it will be argued before a court with a new chief justice, a new associate justice, and very possibly a new balance of power. The court agreed today to consider the constitutionality of the ban that Congress imposed on a kind of late-term abortion that critics call partial-birth abortion. Here is Wyatt Andrews."
Wyatt Andrews: "Just the announcement the Supreme Court will rule on the late-term abortion ban was heartening to abortion opponents who hope Justice Samuel Alito will become the new swing vote against abortion rights. Three years ago, Congress, hoping for this very day, passed a law it called the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, making it a crime for a physician to deliver, quote, 'a living fetus,' and then essentially kill it. The law does not have an exception for the health of the woman involved. And that was on purpose, says the bill's co-sponsor, Congressman Chris Smith, because abortion opponents believe the health exception guts the law."
Politicians across the political spectrum are raising their voices against the arrangement which would allow a United Arab Emirates company to manage six U.S. seaports, and on Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty acted as a rabble-rousing activist as he encouraged his viewers to rise up against any politician who doesn't act to block the deal and he highlighted two viewer e-mails which advocated the impeachment of President Bush over the matter. Cafferty excoriated: "If our elected representatives don't do everything in their power to stop this thing, each of us should vow to work tirelessly to see that they are removed from public office....Here's the question. What should be done to stop a deal that would allow an Arab company with ties to terrorism to run U.S. ports?" Cafferty soon read from one e-mailer who argued that "this deal is nothing short of collusion with a foreign power of unknown intent during wartime. The President should be impeached." And another: "Putting George Bush in charge of our country was a huge mistake, and my fellow citizens finally realize that it was a disaster. Time to impeach this President."
The MRC's Megan McCormack caught the "Cafferty File" about 16 minutes into the 4pm EST hour of the February 21 Situation Room:
At 4:58pm EST Cafferty returned with the feedback he got as he read some selected viewer e-mails with the text displayed on screen:
One of the more astounding spectacles of the Cheney hunting-accident brouhaha was the media's all-too-typical tolerance of tremendous Clinton chutzpah: that is, Hillary's claim, as CyberAlert noted last week, that Dick Cheney is way too secretive. ABC had aired a clip of an angry-looking Senator Hillary Clinton arguing, "The refusal of this administration to level with the American people on matters large and small is very disturbing." The Clintons? Arguing that someone else isn't forthcoming? After the seven months of sticking with "I did not have sexual relations" with "Miss Lewinsky"? And the "vast right-wing conspiracy" trying to smear Clinton with the baseless accusation of intern nookie?
ABC not only allowed, but encouraged, this bizarre attack line against Cheney when President Clinton consented to an interview with Bill Weir on Sunday's Good Morning America.
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
They started by talking about AIDS in the Third World, but Weir really wanted to push the Cheney thing, too:
Weir: "Before I let you go and I want to get your comment on the big story of the week, the Dick Cheney hunting accident. Your wife came out and said it was another example of this administration's cloud of secrecy. Your friends Paul Begala and James Carville want more investigation. Do you agree?"
From there, Clinton went on to repeat: "But I feel terrible that this happened because I know what its like. I have been in -- I grew up in that culture. And I know people get hurt in hunting accidents."
ABC posted a fuller, unedited transcript of its Clinton interview on the ABCNews.com Web site, and this was Clinton's next sentence: "And I know the Vice President feels terrible about it, and I am sure Mr. Whittington wants to get well and get on with his life." That sentence didn't air on ABC Sunday morning. It ended up on the proverbial cutting-room floor, to use an antique metaphor.
For the online transcript: blogs.abcnews.com
Tickets are now on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.
To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."
Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott inS Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.
After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz, check: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker