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NBC's Today Treats Sen. Clinton as Victim in Fundraising Trial --5/11/2005


1. NBC's Today Treats Sen. Clinton as Victim in Fundraising Trial
NBC's Today on Tuesday focused on the start of the federal trial of David Rosen, the chief fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's 2000 New York Senate campaign, who is charged with falsifying the cost of a fundraising event so that Mrs. Clinton's campaign could pocket an additional $800,000. But instead of scrutinizing the Democratic presidential frontrunner's integrity, NBC treated her as the victim of attacks. Their on-screen tag: "Campaign Against Hillary." Reporter Campbell Brown fretted that despite how "the Justice Department says Senator Clinton was never a target of the investigation, longtime Clinton foes like the conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, still want to see the Senator in the hot seat." Brown warned viewers not to think the former First Lady had done anything wrong. "We should say right up front that Hillary Clinton is not a part of the trial. She was never a target of the investigation," Brown told co-host Matt Lauer. Brown ended her report by repeating her exoneration of Mrs. Clinton: "It's pretty clear the trial itself is about David Rosen and she's not gonna get sucked into that."

2. PBS's David Brancaccio Cues Up Garofalo, Hits Barr from the Left
Though on Friday's PBS show Now, new solo host David Brancaccio promised that the program would feature "two outspoken voices that span the political spectrum," the episode illustrated that the leftist tilt delivered by previous host Bill Moyers continues. Brancaccio repeatedly cued up Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo to spout her left wing points, even making some for her, but when his conservative guest, former Congressman Bob Barr -- who was brought aboard to express, unimpeded, his anti-Bush administration views on the Patriot Act -- defended Bush's judicial nominations whom Senate Democrats are blocking, Brancaccio pounced on him. Brancaccio suggested: "What about this crazy scenario? The Bush administration says: 'Okay let's end this stuff by proposing some more moderate names'?" When Barr assured him none of the nominees are "kooks," Brancaccio countered: "That's sort of a debate right there, there's plenty of Democrats who do think there are a few in the kook category." Brancaccio also challenged Barr from the left on same-sex marriage and being tougher on Clinton than DeLay. With Garofalo, Brancaccio helped her make her points about how conservatives distort reality: "Whatever you do, do not say -- do not say drilling for oil, you're supposed to say, 'responsible energy exploration.'"

3. FNC's Hume Picks Up on MRC's Labeling Study and CyberAlert Item
You read it here first. On Tuesday night, FNC's Brit Hume combined two MRC reports, a CyberAlert article about how the networks portrayed the source of "controversy" during President Bush's trip to Eastern Europe, and a Media Reality Check study on how in the last six months the networks have applied many more conservative than liberal labels, into one "Grapevine" item.


NBC's Today Treats Sen. Clinton as Victim
in Fundraising Trial

NBC's Today on Tuesday focused on the start of the federal trial of David Rosen, the chief fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's 2000 New York Senate campaign, who is charged with falsifying the cost of a fundraising event so that Mrs. Clinton's campaign could pocket an additional $800,000. But instead of scrutinizing the Democratic presidential frontrunner's integrity, NBC treated her as the victim of attacks. Their on-screen tag: "Campaign Against Hillary." Reporter Campbell Brown fretted that despite how "the Justice Department says Senator Clinton was never a target of the investigation, longtime Clinton foes like the conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, still want to see the Senator in the hot seat." Brown warned viewers not to think the former First Lady had done anything wrong. "We should say right up front that Hillary Clinton is not a part of the trial. She was never a target of the investigation," Brown told co-host Matt Lauer. Brown ended her report by repeating her exoneration of Mrs. Clinton: "It's pretty clear the trial itself is about David Rosen and she's not gonna get sucked into that."

[Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Research, submitted this item for CyberAlert.]

For their part, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's The Early Show skipped the start of Rosen's trial.

While the NBC morning team went to great pains to make sure their audience did not walk away with the impression that Hillary Clinton might have an ethical problem, they have shown no such concern for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who has been neither charged nor convicted of any wrongdoing. Back on the April 18 Today, MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed at the time, reporter Chip Reid seemed to presume DeLay's guilt:
"DeLay is under scrutiny for his political fundraising, for his overseas trips and for his connections to lobbyists under federal investigation. All that comes on top of three admonishments by the House Ethics committee last year."
Reid then played a clip of Congressman Barney Frank scolding DeLay: "We're not talking about peccadilloes here. We're talking about a serious corruption of the public policy process."
Reid added: "Some political analysts say DeLay's troubles could hurt the whole party."
Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute: "DeLay's ethics problems are dangerously close to moving over to affect the Republican Party. One more incident and I think it's really gonna be close to the end."
Finally, Reid added a bit of balance: "But for now most of his Republican colleagues are firmly behind him."
Representative David Dreier: "Tom DeLay has not been found in violation of a single rule, law, regulation or statute."

Compare that approach, where the only defense of DeLay came from a Republican colleague, with the way Campbell Brown on Tuesday repeatedly insisted that any tarnishing of Hillary for the possible criminal conduct of her fundraiser was unfair. Matt Lauer introduced the segment, which aired about 7:08am EDT:
"On Close Up this morning, Hillary Clinton's former chief fundraiser under fire. He goes on trial today over questionable fundraising practices and it could have a major impact on Senator Clinton's potential run for the White House. NBC's Campbell Brown has more on that and she joins us this morning. Hey, Campbell."

With the words "Campaign Against Hillary" on screen, Brown began by assuring viewers that even though "her enemies" would focus on the fundraiser's trial, Hillary herself is blameless: "Good morning, Matt. And we should say right up front that Hillary Clinton is not a part of the trial. She was never a target of the investigation but the trial is giving a new stage to her enemies turning up the heat as more people speculate she could be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008."

Brown went on to discuss the background of the case: "But the story begins in Los Angeles during Hillary Clinton's campaign for Senate, August 2000. A star-studded Hollywood fundraiser cost more than a million dollars to throw. The Clinton campaign fundraiser, David Rosen, reported the cost at only about $400,000. The Justice Department claims Rosen intentionally under-reported the cost so the campaign could have extra funds to spend elsewhere. David Rosen denies the charge and a spokesman for Senator Clinton said in a statement her campaign quote, 'has fully cooperated with the investigation and we trust that when all the facts are in, Mr. Rosen will be cleared.'"

Sounding like a '90s soundtrack, Brown suggested that those who wanted an investigation of Hillary Clinton's role were motivated by mindless hate: "While the Justice Department says Senator Clinton was never a target of the investigation, longtime Clinton foes like the conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, still want to see the Senator in the hot seat."
Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch: "The money was given to her. She didn't report it. We want to know why. And if she didn't report it she needs to be held accountable."
Brown: "Judicial Watch is calling for a Senate Ethics committee investigation, arguing the Justice Department gave Senator Clinton a pass because she is such a powerful political figure. So just how much of this is about her status and future plans with more political observers now pegging her as the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008."
Newsweek's Howard Fineman: "It's a calling card, it's a wake-up call, it's a shot across the bow. Use any cliché you want the enemies of Hillary Clinton are saying, 'Look this is what your life and your campaign is gonna be like for the next few years."
Brown wrapped up: "Because of her time in the White House during the Bill Clinton years Senator Clinton certainly has had a lot of experience waging legal war. It's pretty clear that she and her staff were expecting this fight and frankly Matt many more to come."
Lauer inquired: "Let me just ask you, this, this conservative group is calling for an ethics investigation in the Senate. Any chance the Senate takes that up?"
Brown admitted she didn't know, but predicted that the trial would not involve Mrs. Clinton: "You know it's a little too early to say. It's pretty clear the trial itself is about David Rosen and she's not gonna get sucked into that. But the political sideshow, which could involve the Senate getting involved, we'll have to wait and see."
Lauer: "As we get closer to midterm elections and the 2008 election."

While Brown saw little connection to Hillary Clinton, New York Post columnist Dick Morris, the guru of Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election bid, argued in a Tuesday column, the case could wind up having a lot to do with Mrs. Clinton. Part of the evidence against Rosen is a conversation he had with Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law Raymond Reggie, which Reggie surreptitiously taped for the government. Morris noted that "on the tape, Rosen says he spoke to then-President Bill Clinton regularly -- at least once a week -- about the campaign fund-raising. What could the president have told him that the federal prosecutors would find interesting? We may find out."

An excerpt of Morris' May 10 column, headlined "Steak Dinner Could Cook Hill":

The Justice Department case against David Rosen, national finance chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate race, is getting stronger, increasing the odds the aide will start cooperating with the government -- which could be disastrous for the senator's ambitions.

Rosen has been indicted for deliberately reporting that the cost of an August 2000 Hollywood fund-raising gala was only $400,000 when the actual tab was $1.2 million -- a step that let Mrs. Clinton spend $800,000 more in "hard money" for her campaign. (After Hillary and opponent Rick Lazio agreed to ban soft money, both camps were scrambling to maximize their hard money on hand).

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has reported on a transcript of a Sept. 4, 2002, audiotape of a dinner between Rosen and Ted Kennedy in-law Raymond Reggie, who was wearing a wire. Most news accounts have left out the fact that Rosen implicated himself with each bite of steak.

On tape, the paper reported, Rosen "acknowledges that the gala probably cost far more to produce than he reported on federal campaign forms." Rosen says of the fund-raiser, "We woulda never done it if the guy [Peter Paul] said he spent $2 million. So now he's [Paul] saying he spent $2 million on an event that raised $1.4." Rosen goes on to agree that "he may have" spent the $2 million.

Reggie, whose sister is Ted Kennedy's wife, will get no more than five years in prison on bank-fraud convictions in return for cooperation and testimony at Rosen's trial....

The Times-Picayune reports that the feds have "lined up several other witnesses who will testify that Rosen was aware the event cost far more than his reports indicated."

The federal brief says that Rosen "became increasingly panicked as the costs began to spiral out of control. On some occasions, when news of yet another cost was revealed to him, the defendant literally threw up his hands and announced that 'I did not just hear that,' 'Don't tell me that again' and that he did not want the subject discussed around him again."

The feds also say Rosen directed one witness to "take thousands of dollars of line items" off a campaign report about the event's costs and told a "confidante" that there was "no way" he could accurately report the cost of the fund-raiser."...

On the tape, Rosen says he spoke to then-President Bill Clinton regularly -- at least once a week -- about the campaign fund-raising. What could the president have told him that the federal prosecutors would find interesting? We may find out.

END of Excerpt

To read the New York Post column in full, go to: www.nypost.com

PBS's David Brancaccio Cues Up Garofalo,
Hits Barr from the Left

PBS Now Though on Friday's PBS show Now, new solo host David Brancaccio promised that the program would feature "two outspoken voices that span the political spectrum," the episode illustrated that the leftist tilt delivered by previous host Bill Moyers continues. Brancaccio repeatedly cued up Air America radio host Janeane Garofalo to spout her left wing points, even making some for her, but when his conservative guest, former Congressman Bob Barr -- who was brought aboard to express, unimpeded, his anti-Bush administration views on the Patriot Act -- defended Bush's judicial nominations whom Senate Democrats are blocking, Brancaccio pounced on him. Brancaccio suggested: "What about this crazy scenario? The Bush administration says: 'Okay let's end this stuff by proposing some more moderate names'?" When Barr assured him none of the nominees are "kooks," Brancaccio countered: "That's sort of a debate right there, there's plenty of Democrats who do think there are a few in the kook category."

Brancaccio challenged Barr from the left: "You are a serious libertarian. And libertarians believe that the government shouldn't intrude into the things people do in their private lives. Why shouldn't that extend to a gay or lesbian's couple's ability to get hitched if they wanna be joined until death do they part?" He followed up: "Well you are a serious states' rights person. So if there is a state that would condone gay marriage, you're okay with that?"

Brancaccio didn't reprimand Garofalo for any hypocrisy, but with Barr he recalled how he was "the attack dog among them, during the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair," but with Tom DeLay's he's been a "pussycat."

With Garofalo, Brancaccio helped her make her points about how conservatives distort reality: "You're not supposed to say taking prisoners and sending them to countries that torture, you're supposed to say 'rendition'" and "whatever you do, do not say -- do not say drilling for oil, you're supposed to say, 'responsible energy exploration.'" When Garofalo swerved off point, he brought her back: "There's the label 'activist judges. That's really perhaps, it could be considered another one of these."

Janeane Garafalo Meanwhile, Garofalo showed she still can't accept last November's victory by George W. Bush. She charged: "There's no way that the right wing of any country represents the majority because inherently policies of a right wing body -- a powerful body, no matter what the nation or what the era, never has the majority in mind." That was too much even for Brancaccio, who gently reminded her that "the Republicans won the last election." Garofalo countered: "Maybe. I have no idea. There's a, you know, and that's not tin foil hat time by the way. In other countries when we read about election fraud, we accept it unquestioningly. We accept it. Uzbekistan there's fraud? In Togo there's fraud? In, you know in Robert Mugabe rigged the elections? Whatever it is."

Brancaccio helped her along: "In Zimbabwe, yeah." Garofalo elaborated on her fantasies about what took place in Ohio: "In Zimbabwe, we accept it. If somebody says I want you to examine the possibility of the Bush administration riggin' the elections as they did in 2000 with Katherine Harris and the voter roll scrubbing. And the recount was stopped. You know, the recount was stopped here too in Ohio. And there was complaint after complaint in district after district of voter anomalies, problems with the voting machines."

At the MRC's 2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Reporters of 2004, Garofalo won "The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award" for this exchange on MSNBC's Scarborough Country the night of Bush's second inauguration, January 20, 2005:
Joe Scarborough: "Since George Bush got into public life, he's been underestimated by his opponents....Is that a part of an act that this guy does to lull Democrats into underestimating him, or do Democrats just put up really, really bad candidates against this guy every four years?"
Comic/liberal radio host Janeane Garofalo: "Well, I don't recognize that as a valid question. First of all, George W. Bush is a bad candidate. George W. Bush is unelectable, in my opinion. And secondly-"
Scarborough: "Well, why does he keep winning?"
Garofalo: "I don't know, voter fraud? A failed mainstream media that fails to inform the electorate about what their government is doing? Ignorance? Apathy? I don't know."

To watch a RealPLayer clip of that: www.mediaresearch.org

Back to the May 6 Now, which with Brancaccio as host since January is a half-hour show, down from an hour when hosted by Moyers. A look at Brancaccio's questions shows that he was much friendlier with Garofalo's liberal claims and Barr's conservative ones, though he spent most of the Barr session eliciting Barr's opposition to the Patriot Act. Both interviews were taped on Now's low-lit set with a green background.

Brancaccio's first question to Garofalo: "So I just spent a total of about 12 hours on trains in the past day and a half, running around, and I was overhearing conversations, and virtually all of them seemed to be about Paula Abdul and was there or was there not nookie involving an American Idol contestant. I'm not hearing things like more crucial things to our democracy like maybe judicial nominations. What accounts for that?"
Garofalo: "Well, I would say that there's a incredibly flawed media -- news media, if you're gonna talk about what's called mainstream news media, but it's not mainstream, cause-"
Brancaccio: "What? We talk about the wrong things?"
Garofalo: "It's absolutely, and that's deliberate. You have less and less quality coverage. You have less and less analysis, historical context, and actual news. And so you have an electorate having their time wasted by pop culture stuff like Paula Abdul, the runaway bride, Robert Blake, whatever it is. And it's a way to not have to spend money and actually do good news gathering and investigative journalism. It's a way to keep the electorate sort of misinformed and dumbed down. It's laziness, and it's a misunderstanding of the society. People saying, you know, we're losing viewers left, right and center, they're going to blogs and alternative media, and or they're not watching."
"Well the reason is is because it's crap. They know what they're watching. It's not because they're not interested. If you did news based on truth. If you actually dealt with the facts, it's fascinating. It is far more interesting than watching stories about Paula Abdul or a CNN poll on 'is Britney Spears pregnant.' Now Fox News isn't really even worth talking about a lot of times, because that it's like talking about the National Enquirer. It's really basically the same thing."
Brancaccio: "You're not just saying this because you disagree with them politically?"

Garofalo: "No. Absolutely not. That is a myth. Now the -- right wing noise machine in the last 40 years has spent an enormous amount of money and time convincing the people that the truth is a liberal bias. They have -- on their continuing war on the English language, they have taken the word 'liberal' and turned it into a pejorative term."
Brancaccio: "Janeane, you need to be de-programmed, here. I mean, you're using the word 'liberal.' You're not saying 'progressive.' But I think more seriously, let's work through a couple of these things."
Garofalo: "Sure."
Brancaccio: "OK. You're not supposed to say taking prisoners and sending them to countries that torture, you're supposed to say 'rendition.'"
Garofalo: "Extraordinary rendition."
Brancaccio: "And whatever you do, do not say -- do not say drilling for oil, you're supposed to say, 'responsible energy exploration.'"
Garofalo: "Right."
Brancaccio: "I mean, the list goes on, actually."
Garofalo: "It's Orwellian. Okay."
Brancaccio: "But you gotta get with the program. I mean, you're not using the right words."
Garofalo: "Right. Well, I will not get with the program, and it's unfortunate when so many people in the news, 'news' -- news-tainment, get with the program. Now there's no such thing, as another example, there's no such thing as partial-birth abortion. It does not exist. You know, we have a law against partial-birth abortion, so we've got a law on the books that's against something that doesn't exist. It's a fiction. There's a process called dilation and extraction that is used on women very rarely and usually if the woman's life is in danger. It would be like calling an appendectomy an 'organ ripper.' You know what I mean? Like, that's what the right wing does. The right wing and all of their think tanks and periodicals and their news and their right-wing radio is all about disinformation and re, redefining words to -- sort of get the public to vote against their best interests."
Brancaccio: "But you have to hand it, I mean, essentially, you are handing it to the conservative movement, they're very, very good at it. I mean, even now over something as obtuse and complicated and sometimes boring, it would seem, as, as the judicial nominees, there's the label 'activist judges.' That's really perhaps it could be considered another one of these."
Garofalo: "Right. Activist judges. That's another -- that's exactly right. Now there's what is an activist judge? An activist judge, according to the right wing, basically is the judge that adheres to the law. That basically, you know, they would probably label Brown versus the Board of Education, activist judges, right? They would say that Roe v. Wade was an activist decision. Now, really what this is all about is, from the right wing, an activist judge is someone that doesn't agree with them. Now, if you're gonna talk about the war on the judiciary that is going on right now via the Republican Party, they are trying to nominate extreme judges."
Brancaccio: "Can you blame, them, though? Isn't it just not a function of the fact that they have power? I mean, FDR, tried to, quote, 'pack the court.'"
Garofalo: "Right, and look what happened."
Garofalo: "They still talk about it."
Brancaccio: "Yeah, they still-"
Garofalo: "They still bring it up. The right wing is incapable of dealing with the here and now. They must -- if they can blame the Clintons for anything that is the go-to thing-"
Brancaccio: "So how do we dig ourselves out of this mess? How do we go forward to make a society that you would feel more comfortable in if, you know, they're doing their thing off to the right. You're doing your thing off to the progressive side."
Garofalo: "It's not about me feeling more comfortable. It's not about me at all. It's also society is moving forward without them. I mean it always does. If the conservatives, traditionalists, the Bible thumpers had their way, this entire society would be very different. And, I wouldn't be voting and I wouldn't -- you wouldn't have seatbelts in your car and you and your wife wouldn't use birth control. You know I mean, all those kinds of things.
"Progress happens without them. It's gonna happen. But they continually try and obstruct progress. It just always will happen. Society is not reflected by today's conservative movement. They are a very small yet vocal and powerful group. Now they're tryin' to make it seem like they represent the majority. That's just absurd. There's no way that the right wing of any country represents the majority because inherently policies of a right wing body -- a powerful body, no matter what the nation or what the era, never has the majority in mind."
Brancaccio: "Well, depending on how you define right wing. But, the Republicans won the last election."
Garofalo: "Maybe. I have no idea. There's a, you know, and that's not tin foil hat time by the way. In other countries when we read about election fraud, we accept it unquestioningly. We accept it. Uzbekistan there's fraud? In Togo there's fraud? In, you know in Robert Mugabe rigged the elections? Whatever it is."
Brancaccio: "In Zimbabwe, yeah."
Garofalo: "In Zimbabwe, we accept it. If somebody says I want you to examine the possibility of the Bush administration riggin' the elections as they did in 2000 with Katherine Harris and the voter roll scrubbing. And the recount was stopped. You know, the recount was stopped here too in Ohio. And there was complaint after complaint in district after district of voter anomalies, problems with the voting machines."
Brancaccio: "You do have to sort of admit that even if it was closer than you thought or would have gone the other way, in Ohio that-"
Garofalo: "It's not just Ohio."
Brancaccio: "But there's still like about four million more people that voted for Bush than voted for the other guy."
Garofalo: "Actually it's not. It's not four million. I think it if we are to believe what the mainstream media tells us is around three million I think. He won with the slimmest mandate of any incumbent second slimmest mandate. I mean-"
Brancaccio: "Well exactly. And so I sort of come up with a vision of America that's fairly divided. It's not that there are it's not that they that nobody's conservative in America. There seems to be a decent number of people who support the Republican party perhaps enough to tip an election, seems like that was the case."
Garofalo: "Yeah, they fooled enough people enough of the time. Now, like I said, if the truth were told about what the Republican Party is doing and has been doing since 2000 there'd be very little support. But the military industrial newstainment complex, make sure that the electorate is largely uninformed. That's, you know, that's just the way it works. If you were to really go voter by voter and say, do you realize this has been done by the Bush adminis-, you realize they rolled by the Freedom of Information Act? Do you realize they reinstalled the global gag order? Do you realize that they lied about intelligence on Iraq? Do you realize that wire tapping and surveillance has gone through the roof?"
Brancaccio: "All these things that you get to say though on air American and that people who are so inclined can find on the Web, there's great Web sites about these very progressive take on the world. But still-"
Garofalo: "It's not a take on the world, David."
Brancaccio: "You're about to say it's truth."
Garofalo: "It's the truth. And, I'm not saying I personally am a truth teller all of the time. I'm not talkin' about me or Air America radio. It's not a progressive take on the world. It's historical fact. If you give facts to people about governments, even democratic governments, whatever, they don't like they're not gonna like what they see. And it doesn't represent their interest. You know all these kinds of things.
"It's just very simple. How, you know, I'm an idiot. How do I know these things? And I'm not making 'em up. You know what I mean? And it's not a liberal bias. It's called, go to the library. Read it. It's these things the mainstream media has now given fact and spin equal weight in a he said, she said."
Brancaccio: "Do you feel beaten up for taking a position as a public liberal? They say, 'Oh, Hollywood actress. Why is she weighing in on these political issues? What does she know?'"
Garofalo: "Before the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I was asked onto a Sunday night news program on Fox. And it was me to discuss the impending invasion of Iraq versus Ruth Wedgewood, who is a senior fellow of, you know, this institute and that, and she's a-"
Brancaccio: "And a conservative?"
Garofalo: "So you have on the anti-war side, this actor that it's easy to hate. On the pro-war side, this senior fellow at this institute. Now if we had flipped that and during the buildup to the Iraq invasion, if you had had on the left a senior fellow of some astute -- a Pentagon official, a FBI person -- there was many voices anti-war in those areas. On the pro-war side, Kurt Russell. You know what I mean? If we had done that, the public perception of this would've been very, very different.
"So what it turned out to be a lot of times, is people just supported Bush in the war, 'cause they'll be damned if they're gonna support Susan Sarandon. Do you know what I mean? Like that's deliberate. That's deliberate. Now, in their Rolodex, they don't have to call me. They could easily call Ray McGovern or some former ambassador -- some something. And they don't do that-"
Brancaccio: "And you eventually woke up and saw the light, and you're not being used that way?"
Garofalo: "Well, I never wanted to do it, in the first place. I'm not good at it. I don't wanna do it. The thing is, though, if I don't go, and other people don't go when called, who's gonna go out there and say it? Who's gonna -- who's gonna go out there and say George Bush is a liar?"
Brancaccio: "Let me e get back to something which is, at some point you have to move on from just kvetching about the state of the world and there has to be a road map to making it better so that you-"
Garofalo: "Well who's kvetching? Your implication is that I am somehow stuck in just complaining. That's not true at all. It's not kvetching to say that we are being lied to by our current leader, who was installed in 2000 by Antonin Scalia. Who, he and a couple of the other judges that installed George Bush should have recused themselves, because of conflicts of interest regarding-"
Brancaccio: "I'm not saying, I'm not saying complaining incorrectly or something. But there's a tendency, maybe it's this point in history, for progressives feeling marginalized by the fact that they're out of power. And complaining about the state of the world. Some of it very legitimate. But how do you take action? And not just talk about it?"
Garofalo: "They do all the time. Progressives take action all the time. It was, it's unbelievable what I saw during the build up to the elections. Unbelievable grassroots organizing. Unbelievable -- activism. It's not just kvetching. It's, in fact, it's not kvetching at all. There's no problem with pointing out these dangerous policies that are not good for us. That's not kvetching. Speaking truth to power is the only way is a society that votes are raised. You know what I mean? That we move towards justice, and we move towards enlightenment, and we move forward. What the right always hates is when somebody speaks truth to power."
Brancaccio: "Well, Janeane, thank you very much."

Brancaccio then set up Barr: "Now, a former Republican Congressman from that red state of Georgia, Bob Barr. Fellow conservative, William Safire calls him 'Mr Privacy.'"

Brancaccio's first question: "We could talk about the Georgia bride-to-be who bailed from her wedding. But this is Now. So we need to pick up on a thread from our previous conversation and talk about something more at the center of public policy, which is judicial nominations."
Barr: "It's certainly an issue that is important to conservatives as it is to liberals. These nominees are very, very important for a Federal Appeals Court and certainly for the US Supreme Court, and these are lifetime nominees. These people might be there 20, 30, 40 years. So they take on added significance. They are very, very important and I understand why both sides view it as in some sense a life or death issue. But for heaven's sake, let's make a decision and move on with the business of the Senate."
Brancaccio: "What about this crazy scenario? The Bush administration says: 'Okay let's end this stuff by proposing some more moderate names.'"
Barr: "I'm not sure that that is really whether it's a more moderate name or perceived as a more moderate name. I think it really has to do with the fundamental judicial philosophy. And of course when you -- when you really get down to it and you look at the philosophy of most of these judges, they're pretty mainstream. They're not kooks."
Brancaccio: "That's sort of a debate right there, there's plenty of Democrats who do think there are a few in the kook category."
Barr: "It's a tremendous issue to debate, you're right."

Brancaccio's other questions:

-- "The Attorney General of the United States was on Capitol Hill a couple of weeks ago. And he was testifying about an issue near and dear to your heart, which is The Patriot Act. And he said any attempt to dismantle the Patriot Act, some of the provisions with sunset would go away without Congressional action, any attempt to dismantle it would be tantamount to, I think his words were, 'unilateral disarmament,' in the war on terror. Do you worry that your efforts in this area is essentially handing one to the terrorists?"
Barr: "No, not at all..."

-- "Give me a taste of what would make you happy on The Patriot Act. What needs to go away in your view?"

-- "Does it bug you that it's a Republican administration that's trying to push for the extension of The Patriot Act?"

-- "What do you think, Bob? Is privacy an issue that's starting to gel with wide stretches of the American public?"

-- "I don't mean to be a wiseacre here, but isn't the solution to some of this protecting our private data -- bigger government?"

-- "As we speak, the House and Senate are moving toward a system which will demand that states check to be sure that you're in this country legally before giving you a driver's license. Now I know that you're pretty strict on issues like immigration. Do you support that?"

-- "It's funny, you'd think Bob Barr would be just happier, the Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate. Now's the time. This is the moment for the conservative movement and you don't seem to be fully happy."

-- "You are a serious libertarian. And libertarians believe that the government shouldn't intrude into the things people do in their private lives. Why shouldn't that extend to a gay or lesbian's couple's ability to get hitched if they wanna be joined until death do they part?"

-- "Well you are a serious states' rights person. So if there is a state that would condone gay marriage, you're okay with that."

-- "Let me ask you about something else that's been in the news recently. You were the attack dog among them, during the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky affair. You're very tough when-"
Barr: "No, I'm just a pussycat."
Brancaccio: "-you're just a little pussycat now. Maybe that explains this. When it comes to Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader who appears to be in hot water, you seem more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt than you did with Mr. Clinton those years ago. Is that fair to say?"
Barr: "It's fair to say. But there's a very good reason for it also. In the case of Mr. Clinton, we had very clear evidence basically irrefutable evidence. You had the tapes. You had videotapes of him lying under oath. In the case of Tom DeLay, it's not nearly in that same category...."

For Now's posting of the full transcript of the May 6 show: www.pbs.org

FNC's Hume Picks Up on MRC's Labeling
Study and CyberAlert Item

Brit Hume You read it here first. On Tuesday night, FNC's Brit Hume combined two MRC reports, a CyberAlert article about how the networks portrayed the source of "controversy" during President Bush's trip to Eastern Europe, and a Media Reality Check study on how in the last six months the networks have applied many more conservative than liberal labels, into one "Grapevine" item.

Hume relayed on the May 10 Special Report with Brit Hume: "A word search of morning and evening network news shows by the conservative Media Research Center found that the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' have been used a total of 454 times to describe politicians or political groups in broadcasts since last November. The breakdown is as follows: 'conservative' used 395 times; 'liberal,' 59 times. As for coverage of the President's trip to Eastern Europe, the group noted that after President Bush criticized Soviet occupation of the Baltic States after World War II, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson called it a, quote, poke...in the eye' and a, quote, 'slap in the face' to Russia. ABC reporter Terry Moran said the Latvian President was the, quote, 'main instigator' of that controversy. And over on NBC, Katie Couric said President Bush was, quote, 'irritating his [Russian] host' by his planned visit to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia."

As Hume spoke, viewers saw graphics beside his head with the labeling numbers followed by a picture of Bush in front of a map of the Baltics and Russia, with revolving media quotes placed below Bush's face.
A May 9 CyberAlert Special distributed the text of the MRC's Media Reality Check study by Rich Noyes, "Extreme Conservatives vs. Unlabeled Liberals; MRC Study: Six Times More 'Conservative' than 'Liberal' Labels on Network News Since Election Day." To read it, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

The May 10 CyberAlert recounted: Continuing ABC's theme from the weekend when Terry Moran framed Latvia's President as the "main instigator" of the "controversy" over whether the Soviet Union was the "liberator" or "occupier" after World War II of the Baltic nations, on Monday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson treated President Bush as the one out of line for daring to contradict Vladimir Putin's version of history. Gibson complained about how "Mr. Bush has been getting the Russians a bit riled up, even provoked an official letter of protest from their Foreign Minister." Gibson demanded of White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett: "I'm curious why the President...would feel it necessary to poke them in the eye verbally and criticize them for the occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans?" Gibson contended: "Isn't it a slap in the face for the Russians on the eve of an occasion that's so important to them, the celebration of the end of World War II?" Katie Couric opened Monday's Today with a similar complaint about how "President Bush is irritating his host with a trip to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker