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NBC's Couric Champions "Clarion Call" of "Moderates Are Coming!" --5/26/2005


1. NBC's Couric Champions "Clarion Call" of "Moderates Are Coming!"
The NBC Today crew was giddy Wednesday morning about the success of "moderates" in obstructing conservatives by getting a deal to avoid eliminating the filibuster option for liberals and to expand stem cell research. Katie Couric bubbled: "A lot of people are wondering is there new, a new clarion call on Capitol Hill? 'The moderates are coming, the moderates are coming!' Right?" Matt Lauer agreed: "That's right. Is it hip to be moderate in Washington these days? Some people Say the vote in the Senate on Monday night over judicial nominees and the vote in the House last night over stem cell research signals a sea change in power." Lauer soon proposed to a smiling Tim Russert: "I'm reading words like 'sea change of power,' 'new era,' 'Woodstock,' 'kumbaya,' all those things. Is this for real? Can this last?" Russert joined the celebration, noting how "they're calling themselves 'The Mod Squad.' 14 members, seven Democrats, seven Republicans," before dissuading Lauer of his dream, describing it as "more of a truce than a permanent peace."

2. CBS Skips Poll on Opposition to Expanding Number of Stem Lines
CBS on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning touted how a CBS News poll found growing majority support for embryonic stem cell research, but the Evening News and Early Show ignored how the same poll found, that on the question in play in the House, only a static 37 percent, according to the Web-posting of the poll, "support extending federal funding for stem cell research to a larger number of lines." Anchor Bob Schieffer asserted: "For sure, the public wants more research. A new CBS poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed approve using embryonic stem cells in medical research. That's up from 50 percent since just last summer." On Wednesday's Early Show, from the White House lawn, Thalia Assuras highlighted how "a new CBS News poll shows that most Americans, 58 percent, approve of using embryonic stem cells in medical research, an increase from last year. Even among Republicans, there was a jump in support from 37 percent approval last year to 50 percent today."

3. ABC Highlights Amnesty International's Attack on the U.S.
On Wednesday's World News Tonight, ABC anchor Charles Gibson gave credibility to Amnesty International's attack on the U.S. by trumpeting how their "report takes aim at the United States for its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Quote, 'When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at human rights,' Amnesty said, 'it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity.'"

4. ABC's Gibson "Surprised" to Learn Iraqis Wish Zarqawi Dead
Is Charles Gibson watching ABC News too much? On Wednesday's World News Tonight, after Brian Ross noted that "some Arabs" on a "popular Web site said they hoped the news was true" about the serious injury to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, with messages such as, "Let this criminal Zarqawi go to Hell," Gibson turned to reporter Nick Watt in Baghdad and expressed shock, "I'm surprised by something in Brian's piece: The vehemence of the comments on Arab Web sites in opposition to Zarqawi, because we keep hearing that he has considerable support." Watt confirmed that "many" Iraqis "will be very glad if he does die."

5. CNN's Hemmer & O'Brien Endorse E-Mails Mocking "Culture of Life"
CNN American Morning hosts Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien endorsed the liberal views of e-mail writers who mocked the "culture of life" perspective, read Wednesday by Jack Cafferty, on whether embryonic stem cell research should be a priority for Congress. The comments included, "It might be a good idea if they are so concerned about protecting the sanctity of life that they focus on ending the mounting loss of life in Iraq," "This government only deals with the not yet living, like embryos, or the already dead, like Terry Schiavo" and "As the mother of a juvenile diabetic, I would love to see Congress approve embryonic stem cell research funding. However, it will not help my daughter, who has no medical insurance....Apparently the culture of life applies only to embryos." Hemmer piped in: "Excellent thoughts across-the-board." O'Brien expounded: "Yeah, a sad note from that mom. I mean, it's -- you know, and she makes a great point. All these kids, no medical insurance. That should be something else the Congress takes up."

6. Law & Order: CI Tags DeLay as Hero to White Supremacist Murderer
The season finale of NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which aired Wednesday night, portrayed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as a hero to white supremacist gun nuts suspected of murdering two judges, one of them black, and who had expressed the view that the white woman judge who was murdered was a "race traitor" who raised her family in the "Zionist enclave of Riverdale." When the ballistics on the bullet which killed the black judge showed it was fired by the same rifle which was used to kill the white judge, New York City Police Department "Detective Alexandra Eames" suggested to her fellow detectives and an Assistant District Attorney: "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt." Another detective then presented evidence the shooter came from the West, prompting Eames to point out: "Home of a lot of white supremacist groups."
with audio and video


NBC's Couric Champions "Clarion Call"
of "Moderates Are Coming!"

NBC Today The NBC Today crew was giddy Wednesday morning about the success of "moderates" in obstructing conservatives by getting a deal to avoid eliminating the filibuster option for liberals and to expand stem cell research. Katie Couric bubbled: "A lot of people are wondering is there new, a new clarion call on Capitol Hill? 'The moderates are coming, the moderates are coming!' Right?" Matt Lauer agreed: "That's right. Is it hip to be moderate in Washington these days? Some people Say the vote in the Senate on Monday night over judicial nominees and the vote in the House last night over stem cell research signals a sea change in power." Lauer soon proposed to a smiling Tim Russert: "I'm reading words like 'sea change of power,' 'new era,' 'Woodstock,' 'kumbaya,' all those things. Is this for real? Can this last?" Russert joined the celebration, noting how "they're calling themselves 'The Mod Squad.' 14 members, seven Democrats, seven Republicans," before dissuading Lauer of his dream, describing it as "more of a truce than a permanent peace."

At the top of the May 25 Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens observed, Lauer previewed the program as he sat beside Couric at the desk: "Presidential veto. Two words we could be hearing in the not too distant future."
Couric hoped: "A lot of people are wondering is there new, a new clarion call on Capitol Hill? 'The moderates are coming, the moderates are coming!' Right?"
Lauer agreed: "That's right. Is it hip to be moderate in Washington these days? Some people say the vote in the Senate on Monday night over judicial nominees and the vote in the House last night over stem cell research signals a sea change in power. Other people say it's like the weather. Wait long enough it's going to change especially when storm clouds gather over things like the Supreme Court and Social Security. Tim Russert's gonna stop by and talk about that."
Couric: "Not to mention the upcoming presidential election."
Lauer: "Exactly right."

Russert soon came aboard from Washington, DC, and in setting him up Lauer could hardly contain his excitement over the victories for moderates: "On Close Up this morning, are moderates ruling the day on Capitol Hill? Some are wondering if this week's stem cell and judicial deals are the sign of a new era of bipartisanship. Tim Russert is NBC's Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press. Hey, Tim, good morning to you."
Russert: "Good morning, Matt."
Lauer: "I'm reading words like 'sea change of power,' 'new era,' 'Woodstock,' 'kumbaya,' all those things. Is this for real? Can this last?"
Russert: "They're calling themselves 'The Mod Squad.' 14 members, seven Democrats, seven Republicans. Matt it's more of a truce than a permanent peace. It clearly worked on these handful of judicial nominations. What will happen when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee and can it be transferred into dealing with Social Security, energy or the nomination of John Bolton to the UN. All unknown."
Lauer remained hopeful: "Alright you got ahead of me though. Let's take these things one at a time. For example if we are talking about The Mod Squad what happens when a Supreme Court nominee comes out of the White House? Can this group stick together?"
Russert: "That's the great question. Now what was in this document, this consensus, this agreement, Matt, were two words: 'Advice and consent.' Both the Republicans and the Democrats were basically pleading with the White House to consult with them before the White House sent a nominee for the Supreme Court to the Senate so that they could give a feel for it. They could give some advice as to whether or not it could pass muster, whether it would be filibustered."
Lauer: "So, so right now, you know Ronald Reagan's expression, 'Trust but verify.' Is that what we're seeing among this group and among the fringe group that surrounds them?"
Russert: "Perfect. That's exactly what it is. It's all based on trust. It is so fragile. It could collapse tomorrow. The President could send up a local district court judge and they could decide, 'Well we're gonna filibuster this because we think it's too extreme.' And the Republicans will say, 'Wait a minute. These are not extraordinary circumstances. Deal's off, we're invoking the nuclear option.'"
Lauer: "Alright let's, let's talk about what happened Tuesday night. The House voted to lift the ban or to increase funding for stem cell research though the vote fell short of the majority or the amount that would be need to override a presidential veto. This now goes to the Senate. It's expected because of some Republican support there that it will pass. This sets up a presidential veto. How historic would it be and what would the fallout be?"
Russert: "Well there, this will be President Bush's first veto and it is interesting that it's on this particular issue. The significance of this, Matt, is this. About 25 percent of the Republicans in the House voted for this change in stem cell, embryonic stem cell research policy. They are up in 2006, the entire House of Representatives. Many of these Republicans represent suburban areas. More moderate areas if you will. This has become an issue that is one embraced by evangelical Christians as dogma that cannot be violated. But to many other Republicans, Democrats and moderates across the country it's a much different kind of issue. And I think it's a real sleeper issue in the future of American politics."...

CBS Skips Poll on Opposition to Expanding
Number of Stem Lines

CBS News CBS on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning touted how a CBS News poll found growing majority support for embryonic stem cell research, but the Evening News and Early Show ignored how the same poll found, that on the question in play in the House, only a static 37 percent, according to the Web-posting of the poll, "support extending federal funding for stem cell research to a larger number of lines." Anchor Bob Schieffer asserted: "For sure, the public wants more research. A new CBS poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed approve using embryonic stem cells in medical research. That's up from 50 percent since just last summer." On Wednesday's Early Show, from the White House lawn, Thalia Assuras highlighted how "a new CBS News poll shows that most Americans, 58 percent, approve of using embryonic stem cells in medical research, an increase from last year. Even among Republicans, there was a jump in support from 37 percent approval last year to 50 percent today."

Both the May 24 CBS Evening News and May 25 Early Show displayed a graphic with the 50 percent number from August of 2004 jumping to 58 percent now favoring "embryonic stem cell research."

While that was one finding in the survey, the online posting of the poll, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed after seeing the Assuras statement caught by the MRC's Ken Shepherd, also relayed a more on point finding directly related to the topic being decided in the House:
"Less than two in five Americans [37 percent] support extending federal funding for stem cell research to a larger number of lines; this has not changed since last year. 37% think the number of stem cell lines covered by government funds should be extended; 17% think the current level is sufficient. Those percentages are nearly identical to views last August."

For the online posting of the poll results: www.cbsnews.com

On Wednesday night, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noted, Schieffer offered more numbers from the poll, but about Bush's low approval level:
"While the President and Congress have been concentrating on judicial nominations and stem cells, that is not apparently what the public has been most concerned about. According to a new CBS News poll, the war in Iraq, the economy and jobs were rated the most important problems on the public's mind. The poll was not exactly good news for the White House -- 46 percent said they approve of the President's job performance, 48 percent disapprove. Only 34 percent of those polled said the President shares their priorities for the country, 61 percent said he does not."

ABC Highlights Amnesty International's
Attack on the U.S.

Peter Jennings On Wednesday's World News Tonight, ABC anchor Charles Gibson gave credibility to Amnesty International's attack on the U.S. by trumpeting how their "report takes aim at the United States for its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Quote, 'When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at human rights,' Amnesty said, 'it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity.'"

Gibson's full item on the report which, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, he made some time for on the May 25 World News Tonight:
"Amnesty International today released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world. The group accuses the government in Sudan of generating a human rights catastrophe in Darfur. Amnesty condemns Russia because soldiers reportedly tortured, raped and sexually abused the women of Chechnya. And the report takes aim at the United States for its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Quote, 'When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at human rights,' Amnesty said, 'it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity.' The White House called the allegations 'ridiculous' and 'unsupported by the facts.'"

ABC's Gibson "Surprised" to Learn Iraqis
Wish Zarqawi Dead

Is Charles Gibson watching ABC News too much? On Wednesday's World News Tonight, after Brian Ross noted that "some Arabs" on a "popular Web site said they hoped the news was true" about the serious injury to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, with messages such as, "Let this criminal Zarqawi go to Hell," Gibson turned to reporter Nick Watt in Baghdad and expressed shock, "I'm surprised by something in Brian's piece: The vehemence of the comments on Arab Web sites in opposition to Zarqawi, because we keep hearing that he has considerable support." Watt confirmed that "many" Iraqis "will be very glad if he does die."

In the lead story on the may 25 World News Tonight, Brian Ross reported, over video of a computer screen: "Some Arabs on this popular Web site said they hoped the news was true. 'Let this criminal Zarqawi go to Hell,' wrote one. 'God curse him alive or dead to Hell,' wrote another.'"
Professor Fawaz Gerges, Sarah Lawrence College: "Most of those who are killed in Iraq are basically Iraqis. And it seems to me both the Iraqi public and some major insurgence groups in Iraq basically do not really care for Zarqawi."

Following Ross, Gibson went to Nick Watt in Baghdad: "Nick, I'm surprised by something in Brian's piece. The vehemence of the comments on Arab Web sites in opposition to Zarqawi because we keep hearing that he has considerable support."
Watt: "Well, Charlie, these men who come to Iraq to fight and die, they do represent the real extreme end of Islamic thinking. They represent a very small portion of the Muslim population. And they come here seeking martyrdom. They come, they say, to fight the infidel, to fight the U.S. Army, which they say is occupying an Islamic country."
Gibson: "But then, if there's such a small number of supporters for him and there's a $25 million bounty on his head, it seems surprising someone hasn't turned him in."
Watt: "Well, Charlie, it is a lot of money, but most Iraqis are petrified to give up any information about the insurgents, scared they'll be killed. Also, Zarqawi's network is based to the north and the west of Baghdad, where the insurgency is its most powerful and also its most popular. But, Charlie, Iraqis might not have turned him in, but many of them will be very glad if he does die."

CNN's Hemmer & O'Brien Endorse E-Mails
Mocking "Culture of Life"

CNN CNN American Morning hosts Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien endorsed the liberal views of e-mail writers who mocked the "culture of life" perspective, read Wednesday by Jack Cafferty, on whether embryonic stem cell research should be a priority for Congress. The comments included, "It might be a good idea if they are so concerned about protecting the sanctity of life that they focus on ending the mounting loss of life in Iraq," "This government only deals with the not yet living, like embryos, or the already dead, like Terry Schiavo" and "As the mother of a juvenile diabetic, I would love to see Congress approve embryonic stem cell research funding. However, it will not help my daughter, who has no medical insurance....Apparently the culture of life applies only to embryos." Hemmer piped in: "Excellent thoughts across-the-board." O'Brien expounded: "Yeah, a sad note from that mom. I mean, it's -- you know, and she makes a great point. All these kids, no medical insurance. That should be something else the Congress takes up."

Hemmer then added: "There was an excellent report on another network, on another network, that talked about the leading scientist in the U.S., from San Francisco, leaving this country in 2001 to go do his research in Cambridge, in England, because he felt that he could get much more done there than he could here."

That other network would be CBS which, the May 25 CyberAlert recounted, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News went to Elizabeth Kaledin for a piece on how the U.S. is falling behind the world. Kaledin relayed: "Roger Pedersen is what's known as a 'stem cell refugee,' one of hundreds of top American scientists who have left this country to work overseas where embryonic stem cell research is advancing free of politics." Without government funding, Kaledin contented, scientists "admit" that "the race for cures will be hard to win." When Schieffer dared to ask "why can't you use private funding?", Kaledin lamented that "if a private company makes a big breakthrough" they "can charge the public whatever amount of money they want for those health benefits." She insisted that "it's much better to have these breakthroughs in the public domain, and then the government can assure that all Americans will have access to them." For more, and to hear an MP3 audio clip of Kaledin: www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's Ken Shepherd caught the reactions to the e-mails which Jack Cafferty read aloud, with excerpts on screen, during an 8:20am EDT on May 25 "Cafferty File" segment, which Cafferty set up:
"The House of Representatives voted to expand federal funding for stem cell research using human embryos. The bill now goes to the Senate. The President says he'll veto it. The potential benefits from all of this are huge, but harvesting human embryos is a tricky moral issue for some. With all the other problems we face as a nation -- porous borders, record deficits, 50 million of us with no health insurance, the question this morning is whether embryonic stem cell research should be a priority for the Congress?

Cafferty read some e-mails: "Rick in New York writes: '€˜The politicians should leave science to the scientists. It might be a good idea if they are so concerned about protecting the sanctity of life that they focus on ending the mounting loss of life in Iraq.'
"Cathy in Tennessee writes: 'Yes, of course. Let's focus on something that increases population growth and keeps people alive forever while we don't deal with how to provide health care and Social Security to those of us who are already here.'
"Terry in North Carolina: 'This government only deals with the not yet living, like embryos, or the already dead, like Terry Schiavo. Us living, breathing humans have to fend for ourselves by supporting grassroots organizations like the Minutemen.'
"And a woman who signed her letter Sick-At-Heart-Mom in Pennsylvania: 'As the mother of a juvenile diabetic, I would love to see Congress approve embryonic stem cell research funding. However, it will not help my daughter, who has no medical insurance. So, yes, I'm conflicted on this issue. I don't see why Congress can't do both. Apparently the culture of life applies only to embryos.'"
Hemmer was impressed: "Excellent thoughts across-the-board."
O'Brien endorsed the idea it's up to the U.S. government to provide health care to more people: "Yeah, a sad note from that mom. I mean, it's -- you know, and she makes a great point. All these kids, no medical insurance. That should be something else the Congress takes up."
Hemmer: "There was an excellent report on another network, on another network, that talked about the leading scientist in the U.S., from San Francisco, leaving this country in 2001 to go do his research in Cambridge, in England, because he felt that he could get much more done there than he could here. Which means-"
Cafferty jumped in to point out he did the same topic on his weekend show: "We did a segment on the brain drain out of this country on In the Money a couple of weeks ago. We did a whole five minute segment on the fact that we're losing a lot of the kinds of people you're talking about to foreign countries.
Hemmer: "Sure."
Cafferty: "Because there's more opportunity there."
Hemmer: "We talked about money, too, and there is big bucks in this, too."
Cafferty: "Yeah."

Law & Order: CI Tags DeLay as Hero to
White Supremacist Murderer

The season finale of NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which aired Wednesday night, portrayed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as a hero to white supremacist gun nuts suspected of murdering two judges, one of them black, and who had expressed the view that the white woman judge who was murdered was a "race traitor" who raised her family in the "Zionist enclave of Riverdale."
Video: Real | Windows
Listen to MP3 audio clip
Text of clip + audio archive

When the ballistics on the bullet which killed the black judge showed it was fired by the same rifle which was used to kill the white judge, New York City Police Department "Detective Alexandra Eames" suggested to her fellow detectives and an Assistant District Attorney: "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt." Another detective then presented evidence the shooter came from the West, prompting Eames to point out: "Home of a lot of white supremacist groups."

In the end, it turned out that the detectives of the "Major Case Squad" of the NYPD portrayed in the NBC drama, which usually airs on Sunday night, were off-base. They determined that the murderer was really not any white supremacist with a big gun collection, but a man angry at the judges over child custody rulings.

As the show, aired at 10pm EDT/PDT, 9pm CDT/MDT, opened a white supremacist (played by the same actor who was the commanding Marine General on this season's JAG) threatened a judge during a court hearing on illegal possession of guns charges against him and soon after "Judge Barton" and her son are murdered in their home. The detectives go to talk to the man and he denounces Barton as a "race traitor" who raised her family in the "Zionist enclave of Riverdale."

Soon, a black judge, "Thibodeaux," is shot dead while paying handball at an outdoor park and "Detective Robert Goren," played by Vincent D'Onofrio, notices some numbers by the shooter's location which tell how to adjust the rifle's aim to compensate for wind conditions.

Then, jumping to the next scene in the police station, about 20 minutes into the episode, Assistant District Attorney "Ron Carver" walks down a hallway talking to Police "Captain James Deakins" and they meet up with Goren and Eames by their desks:
ADA Carver: "An African-American judge, an appellate court judge, no less."
Captain Deakins: "Chief of Ds is setting up a task force. People are talking about multiple assassination teams."
Detective Alexandra Eames, as she walks to her desk and sits down in front of a notebook computer: "Looks like the same shooters. CSU found the slug in a post, matched it to the one that killed Judge Barton. Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."
Detective Goren, looking at a book: "Quaking Aspens. That's what they call Trembling Aspens in the Rocky Mountain states. Quakie for short. 'Q,' in the windage instructions. Two clicks right of the quake. Our shooter's from out West."
Eames: "Home of a lot of white supremacist groups."
ADA Carver: "They chose the wrong target. Judge Thibodeaux was one of the most conservative jurists in the state. Pro-life, pro-school prayer."
Captain Deakins: "Anti-busing back in the day. See what cases he was handling lately."

The plot for the episode, as summarized on NBC's Web site:
JUDGES TARGETED BY VENGEFUL FATHER IN SEASON FINALE - In the season finale, Detectives Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) suspect an imprisoned white supremacist is behind the shootings of a judge's family, but their investigation widens when an appellate judge is later murdered -- and other recent jurist slayings out West are tied to an embittered man who seeks revenge for controversial judicial decisions. Working with a few faint clues, the detectives' search for a vagabond father with child custody issues -- and a good rifle aim -- who might be using his teenaged son to help him carry out his crimes. Jamey Sheridan and Courtney B. Vance also star. TV-14."

NBC's page for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, created and produced by Dick Wolf: www.nbc.com

NBC's list of bios for the show surprisingly does not offer anything on co-star Kathryn Erbe or her "Alexandra Eames" character, but the link above does show a picture of her. For her Internet Movie Database page, which lacks a photo, go to: www.imdb.com

The posted version of this CyberAlert item will include a still shot of Erbe/Eames from the moment on Wednesday's show when she took her shot at Tom DeLay. Plus, as part of our new "Hear the Bias" feature, we'll be posting a downloadable MP3 audio clip of the remark.


# For a collection of several recent noteworthy biased outbursts captured as MP3s by the MRC's Michael Chapman and posted by our Eric Pairel, check: www.mrc.org


# NBC's Matt Lauer is scheduled to appear Thursday night on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

[Web Update, 5/27: On Thursday, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sent a
letter to NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker. DeLay
complained: "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the
sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for
the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to
public discourse."

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly responded: "The script line
involved an exasperated detective, bedeviled by a lack of clues, making
a sarcastic comment about the futility of looking for a suspect when no
specific description existed. This isolated piece of gritty cop talk was
neither a political comment, nor an accusation."

Not a "political comment"?

Dick Wolf, creator of all of the Law & Order shows, took a swipe at
DeLay over ethics charges against him: "Up until today, it was my
impression that all of our viewers understood that these shows are works
of fiction, as is stated in each episode. But I do congratulate
Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to
an episode of a TV show."

Of course, no one's attention would be on the name in the show if Wolf's
writers hadn't put it into the script themselves. And when "fiction"
employs the names of real-world figures how can the fiction writers
expect to avoid real-world scrutiny, especially when they hold that real
person up as a hero to racist murderers?

For a May 26 Reuters story on the statements issued by all the parties:

For a May 27 Washington Post story by Lisa de Moraes:
]

-- Brent Baker