GMA Showcases Moore's Mocking of Bush's 7 Minutes in Classroom --6/23/2004
2. Clinton Book Matches "Harry Potter Mania," 3rd Clinton Term?
3. CNN's Zahn Forwards Notion Impeachment Hurt Hunt for bin Laden
4. CNN Viewers and NPR Listeners Overwhelmingly Favor John Kerry
5. MRC Job Opening: Director of Communications
ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday spent about seven minutes showcasing how Michael Moore's Bush-bashing movie, Fahrenheit 9-11, highlights how after President Bush was informed a second plane had hit the World Trade Center, he stayed in front of elementary school kids for another seven minutes. "Was valuable time wasted?" asked Charlie Gibson at the top of the June 22 show. Diane Sawyer imparted great meaning to the time passage: "It was seven minutes in the life of a President, seven minutes in the history of the nation, it's seven minutes a lot of people are using as a kind of Rorschach test."
Following a taped piece by Jake Tapper on the seven minutes showcased by Moore, complete with a clock on screen over video of Bush in the classroom, George Stephanopoulos told Sawyer that Moore's use of the incident to denigrate and mock Bush was "not fair," but he maintained that "those seven minutes are painful to watch."
Plugging the upcoming segment, at the start of the show Gibson announced: "You have seen the picture from 9/11 as President Bush got the news that America was under attack that day. He stayed for seven minutes reading children a story. Was valuable time wasted? We'll get into that this morning."
At the beginning of the 7:30am half hour, over video of Bush in the classroom on 9-11, Sawyer set up the look at the derogatory attack on Bush made in Moore's movie: "Everyone who has seen it [Moore's film] says that at the center of it is a moment, a moment on September 11th when President Bush was told America is under attack as a second plane hit the World Trade Center. And what happened next is he stayed and read to the children with the children. It was seven minutes in the life of a President, seven minutes in the history of the nation, it's seven minutes a lot of people are using as a kind of Rorschach test."
Reporter Jake Tapper explained that Democrats hope it will make people uncomfortable with Bush. With "9:07" on screen, Tapper showed the video of Andy Card telling Bush of the second attack, but Bush continued reading the book, My Pet Goat. Tapper drove home Moore's take: "In New York City, chaos. The towers are engulfed in flames. Back in Sarasota [9:10 on screen], the President remains in the classroom."
Tapper relayed how Bush told the 9/11 Commission that he wanted to "project strength and calm" but, Tapper continued, "in his new movie, filmmaker Michael Moore shows many of these crucial minutes, which he says has the opposite effect."
Tapper allowed Card to dispute that contention as Card insisted Bush just experienced a "moment of shock." Tapper conceded that "FDR, JFK, past Presidents had time to absorb bad news before projecting strength to the country. But clearly the new media age changes things."
Following a soundbite from Michael Beschloss about how modern Presidents must consider how their actions look to the camera, Tapper concluded: "Republicans argue President Bush's leadership on 9-11 is one of the best reasons to vote for him. But Democrats hope voters see these seven minutes and question that."
Back on live, Sawyer asked Stephanopoulos if Moore's focus is "fair?" Stephanopoulos responded: "I don't think it is fair....He is in front of a classroom full of kids, you don't want to panic at that moment. Also-"
Stephanopoulos recalled telling President Clinton about how Marines were killed in Somalia, prompting an angry reaction, and informing Clinton of the Oklahoma City bombing, "but behind closed doors, not in front of the whole nation."
Sawyer returned to an earlier point: "So you're saying that Andrew Card should have said, 'Mr. President, step away with me.'"
In a Saturday Washington Post story about the seven minutes in Bush's life ridiculed by Michael Moore, "On 9/11, a Telling Seven-Minute Silence: Interpreting the President's Image in Crisis," reporter Joel Achenbach recalled how previous Presidents heard about crises in private and had time to put on a brave public face. President Kennedy was even allowed a long sleep before being told of missiles in Cuba. An excerpt from the June 19 story:
Presidents of an earlier era did not have to contend with so many cameras and microphones and the endless appetite for material to put on 24-hour cable news channels. [Princeton University professor emeritus Fred] Greenstein said that there are anecdotal reports that, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR held his head in his hands and despaired of the future of his presidency. But that is not the image Americans retain of Roosevelt's reaction.
Instead we think of his powerful address to Congress the next day -- his "date which will live in infamy" speech.
Nor do we have tape of John F. Kennedy learning that the Soviets had placed missiles in Cuba. Sally Bedell Smith, author of a new book on the Kennedy White House, says that his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, didn't even pass the portentous news to Kennedy for about 12 hours. Kennedy had returned from an exhausting campaign trip. Bundy decided that "a quiet evening and a night of sleep were the best preparation" for the critical days ahead. As the crisis unfolded, Kennedy slept.
Americans did not see Lyndon Johnson's immediate reaction to the assassination of JFK. But Johnson, who had been in the same motorcade, made a quick image-conscious decision: Although he automatically became president upon Kennedy's death, he arranged to be sworn in on Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy at his side. The photograph of that moment became iconic, not so much because of the somber Johnson as for the shocked widow with blood on her dress....
END of Excerpt
For the Post article in full: www.washingtonpost.com
"This morning people are already standing in long lines to buy former President Bill Clinton's new book. One bookseller has likened the public's response to Harry Potter mania," NBC's Ann Curry trumpeted on Tuesday's Today. Over on CBS's Early Show Jim Axelrod employed the same reference: "Harry Potter, move over. There's a new name drawing a line at bookstores this morning." Touting a book party at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Axelrod hyped how "it looked more like a Hollywood premier than a book party." That museum party brought out a long list of current and past journalists, including former NBC News reporter Star Jones who gushed to USA Today: "I'm a big supporter of President Clinton. And if there wasn't such a thing as the Constitution, I'd vote for him a third time."
Jones, now a quad-host on ABC's daytime The View created by Barbara Walters, served as a reporter for NBC News in the early 1990s. Her pledge of support for Clinton was quoted in a June 22 "Life" section story by Donna Freydkin. For the USA Today article: www.usatoday.com
For a picture and bio of Jones: abc.go.com
NBC's Ann Curry, MRC analyst Geoff Dickens noticed, hyped the hype. On the June 22 Today she announced: "This morning people are already standing in long lines to buy former President Bill Clinton's new book. One bookseller has likened the public's response to Harry Potter mania. NBC's Rehema Ellis is outside a bookstore in New York City this morning. Rehema, good morning."
Over footage of Andy Rooney, Barbara Walters, Lauren Bacall, Larry King and Al Franken arriving at the museum party, Ellis explained how the "book party at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art had a thousand guests on the list. Many with celebrity names." (Video I saw elsewhere showed CNN's Paula Zahn arriving.)
On CBS's Early Show, the MRC's Brian Boyd observed, Jim Axelrod trumpeted: "Harry Potter, move over. There's a new name drawing a line at bookstores this morning. Quite a line it is. Look behind me. Bill Clinton is responsible for this line here. He's going to be signing books here later today. After a double barrel publicity run-up, his 957 page memoir goes on sale today."
Recalling the Monday night party, Axelrod asserted: "It looked more like a Hollywood premier than a book party and the event at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was the final piece of the PR blitz for Mr. Clinton's book before the public could actually start buying it, which it could a few hours later. At midnight, bookstores started selling the book and some readers were not about to wait until morning."
That's quite a bit of praise, "sort of finally being honest."
Axelrod soon boasted: "With a first printing of 1.5 million books and pre-orders exceeding 2 million, it's expected to be the publishing success story of the year."
(On Saturday's CBS Evening News, as noted in the June 22 CyberAlert, reporter Randall Pinkston forwarded the same Harry Potter comparison: "With a book tour beginning next week, news magazine and talk show appearances and audio clips on the Web, the hoopla over Mr. Clinton's memoir is being compared to Harry Potter.")
Impeachment process to blame for 9-11? Interviewing impeachment manager Bob Barr, CNN's Paula Zahn on Monday night advanced the notion that "analysts...are suggesting that this impeachment was a great distraction to the country and might have slowed down any kind of progress that was being made on the hunt for Osama bin Laden." In contrast, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, appearing on Imus in the Morning, held Bill Clinton culpable for doing a "big nothing" in response to a series of terrorist attacks on his watch. Fineman pointed out how Clinton said he was worried about how "it would look like he was pursuing a wag-the-dog strategy," but Fineman contended that was his own fault "for having sacrificed his own ability to, to defend the nation because of what he did in the Oval Office."
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught Zahn's question posed during a June 21 Paula Zahn Now session, on conservative reaction to Bill Clinton's book, with American Spectator Publisher Al Regnery, formerly of Regnery Publishing, and former Congressman Bob Barr, an impeachment manager.
Zahn cued up Regnery: "Al, what he does in the book is give some specific examples of what he describes the vast right-wing conspiracy, a concerted effort to take him down long before he was, even became President."
The next morning, Tuesday, Newsweek's Howard Fineman held Clinton accountable for causing his own problems and ridiculed the self-absorption in his book.
MRC analyst Megan McCormack took down some of the conversation between Fineman, who appeared by phone, and Don Imus on MSNBC's June 22 simulcast of the Imus in the Morning radio show:
Fineman: "To me the bottom line of this whole thing is, that what we're all looking at this book now through the post-9/11 lens. And one of the things we're looking back at the Clinton administration for, fairly I think, is, you know what they did after the World Trade Center bombing in '93, after the Khobar Towers in '96, after Kenya and Tanzania, after the USS Cole, and it all adds up to, for the most part a big nothing, and Clinton himself in his book talks about how there was discussion after '98 of some kind of major retaliation of strikes involving al-Qaeda and so forth, which they were just beginning to realize was so powerful. But Clinton was told he couldn't dare do that politically, because it would look like he was pursuing a wag-the-dog strategy and he was trying to take attention away from his own problems, and that to me is the biggest reason yet, why we should, we should, why he goes down the list in history, for having sacrificed his own ability to, to defend the nation because of what he did in the Oval Office."
Fineman soon elaborated: "I haven't read the whole book, but I've read a good bit of it and when Clinton gets to controversial stuff like the draft or like Monica Lewinsky, its in such a jumbled style, and its so, its not laid out clearly, that Russert would take all of it, he would clearly kind of unscramble the assertions that Clinton's making, and the evasions that he goes through he, and would try to get the historical record straight using this document to do it, and Clinton's not about to assist anybody in doing that."
Fineman took on Clinton's hypocrisy and, in a rarity for a member of the media, noted how Clinton destroyed the reputations of others in order to protect himself: "He as he was forced to do, he admits the Gennifer Flowers thing, and basically says that Gennifer Flowers should kill her lawsuits against James Carville and George Stephanopoulos and he says that she should leave them alone. And I think there's an example of Clinton being hypocritical, where he says that his whole aim in life after he survived this alcoholic stepfather was to not want to hurt anybody. That he was always, he always wanted to make peace, he never wanted to hurt anybody. But they destroyed a lot of reputations in his, in Clinton's defense..."
Yet many of Fineman's colleagues are enthusiastically promoting it.
If the fact than conservatives are drawn to FNC proves the network has a conservative tilt, then CNN and NPR are at least as liberal as FNC is conservative judging by a Rasmussen survey which discovered, that by more than two-to-one, CNN viewers (63 to 26 percent) and NPR listeners (68 to 27 percent) favor John Kerry over George Bush -- about the same margin by which FNC viewers prefer Bush over Kerry (65 to 28 percent).
Rasmussen didn't bother with trying to locate MSNBC viewers and found that 85 percent of listeners to Rush Limbaugh support President Bush, with 11 percent backing Kerry.
An excerpt of a June 17 Rasmussen Reports press release which the Cable Newser Web site ( www.cablenewser.com ) highlighted on Monday:
Among fans of the Fox News Channel, George W. Bush is winning by a landslide -- 65% to 28%. Those who prefer CNN also prefer Kerry by an almost identical margin (63% to 26%).
The latest Rasmussen Reports survey documents a similar split on the radio dial. Those who listen to National Public Radio prefer Kerry by a 68% to 27% margin. However, those who listen to Christian radio stations on a regular basis prefer Bush, 71% to 23%....
The gaps go deeper than simply the presidential election. In the race for Congress, Fox fans will vote for GOP candidates by a 56% to 25% margin. The CNN audience will vote Democratic by a 54% to 27% margin....
CNBC, while hosting a smaller audience, also has more bi-partisan appeal -- 47% of their audience will vote for Bush while another 47% express a preference for Kerry.
Rush Limbaugh, however, has an entirely different audience -- 85% say they'll vote for Bush and 11% for Kerry.
The national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports June 15-16, 2004. Margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
END of Excerpt
For the posted press release: www.rasmussenreports.com
MRC job opening: Director of Communications.
The MRC has posted the following position:
The Media Research Center (MRC), a conservative media watchdog organization in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia is seeking candidates for the position of Director of Communications for its News Analysis Division (NAD). This position responsible for packaging and outreach of research and findings in order to maximize the impact of MRC's efforts to identify, expose and neutralize liberal media bias. The Director of Communications reports to the VP for Research and Publications and works closely with NAD staff, senior management and a PR firm to coordinate, promote and track MRC earned media. The Director is also responsible for networking with conservative public policy organizations in the Washington, D.C. area as well as keeping Capitol Hill informed of MRC publications and Special Reports. Additionally, the Director serves as the Web Editor for NAD content on www.MRC.org and as Editor of the MRC's monthly membership newsletter, Flash. Also serves as spokesperson for MRC with the media.
Qualifications: Candidates must have 3-5 years minimum of journalism and/or public relations experience with excellent knowledge and understanding of the media and conservative public policy issues. Excellent writing and editing skills are mandatory with good verbal communications abilities and experience.
Compensation is commensurate with experience plus competitive employee benefits including health and dental insurance, 403(b) retirement plan and free parking.
Qualified candidates should submit cover letter, resume and writing samples to:
If you get the job, you'll be able to decide which CyberAlert item to highlight on the MRC's home page.
-- Brent Baker