2003: CBS Wrong to Cave Into Conservative Pressure - November 7, 2003 - TimesWatch.org

Times Watch for November 7, 2003

2003: CBS Wrong to Cave Into Conservative Pressure 2002: CBS Wrong NOT to Cave Into Liberal Pressure

An editorial in Wednesday's Times stridently accused conservative groups of creating a "Soviet-style chill," by successfully pressuring CBS to cancel its biased miniseries "The Reagans." But when a feminist group pressured CBS over last years Master's golf tournament, the Times trumpeted the liberal "pull the plug" cause.

From the recent Times editorial page on CBS caving in to conservative pressure regarding "The Reagans": "CBS was wrong to yield to conservative pressure and yank it.[Reagan's] supporters credit him with forcing down the Iron Curtain, so it is odd that some of them have helped create the Soviet-style chill embedded in the idea that we, as a nation, will not allow critical portrayals of one of our own recent leaders." - Times editorial, November 5, 2003

And from last year, here's the editorial page on CBS NOT caving in to liberal political pressure regarding Augusta National Golf Club: "In the face of pressure from the National Council of Women's Organizations, the club's leaders have banned advertising from television coverage of the tournament to ensure that consumers do not pressure advertisers who might then boycott the event. The decision will cost CBS millions of dollars in commercials. CBS nevertheless plans to go on with the show, simply for the prestige of broadcasting the Masters. Some prestige. If women are marching around wearing burkas the same color as the Masters' green jackets, CBS Sports will have to break into the golf for CBS News spots about the demonstrations. It's a wonder that Sumner Redstone, the pragmatic C.E.O. of CBS's parent company, Viacom, hasn't pulled the plug on this enterprise. CBS stockholders should ask how the network can afford to devote so much broadcast time to an event that produces no revenue." - Times editorial, November 26, 2002

Augusta National | CBS | Editorial | Television | 'The Reagans' | Viacom

Praise for US Military Prowess? Perish the Thought

Oh, no, not a paean to American military prowess! Alessandra Stanley reviews for Friday two TV docudramas based on the real-life ordeals of kidnapped Utah girl Elizabeth Smart and POW Jessica Lynch. Stanley finds at least one thing to like about "Saving Jessica Lynch"-there's not too much pro-military stuff: "By making (Iraqi lawyer and Lynch-rescuer Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief) the story's hero, the filmmakers avoid having to make up details about Private Lynch's ordeal or delivering too jingoistic a paean to American military prowess. Troops in the field are shown to be brave and true, but their bosses back home are not. The Bush administration's efforts to capitalize on the rescue operation are invoked obliquely."

For the rest of Stanley's review of the docudramas, click here.

Iraq War | Jessica Lynch | Military | Alessandra Stanley | Television

Ignorant Mississippians for Bush

"Flags Versus Dollars," Paul Krugman's Friday column, is a defense of Howard Dean's controversial comments regarding Dean's quoted desire "to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

Krugman, clearly thinking he's being brave, defends Dean and instead accuses Republicans of fighting Social Security and Medicare (?) with racial appeals: "But the right opened an increasingly effective counterattack, with a strategy that included using racially charged symbolism to get Southern whites to vote against their own economic interests. All Mr. Dean was saying was that Democrats need to understand and counter this strategy. I know these are fighting words. But the reliance of modern Republican political strategy on coded appeals to racism is no secret."

After using statistics from a liberal group to allegedly prove Bush's tax cut was unfair, Krugman then goes into a long rant against Mississippi (Times Watch's home state, incidentally) for the temerity of supporting Bush: "Or consider the 2003 tax cut. It was also heavily tilted toward the affluent, and therefore toward rich states. According to Citizens for Tax Justice estimates, the typical New Jersey family got a $409 tax cut. In Mississippi, the number was only $165. So did Mississippi voters support the Republicans, even though they get very little direct benefit from Bush-style tax cuts, because they-unlike New Jersey's voters-understand the magic of supply-side economics? If you believe that, I've got an overpass on the Garden State Parkway you may be interested in buying. Now maybe New Jersey voted Democratic because of irrational Bush hatred. But I think it's a lot more likely that white Mississippi voters, unlike their counterparts up north, are still responding to Republican flag-waving-and it's not just the American flag that's being waved."

So let's recap. By supporting Bush's tax cuts, Mississippi voters are stupidly voting against their economic interests. And they can't be supporting Bush's tax cuts on principle, because they can't possibly understand "the magic of supply-side economics." Which means Mississippians support Bush's tax cuts because they're a bunch of racists. Got that?

Krugman then tells us about his personal life: "Mr. Dean wasn't suggesting that his party adopt the G.O.P. strategy of coded racial signals, and by and large African-Americans-my wife included-understand that. What he meant by his flag remark was that Democrats must make the case to working Americans of all colors that the right's elitist agenda isn't in their interest. And he's right."

For the rest of Krugman's defense of Howard Dean, click here.

George W. Bush | Confederacy | Howard Dean | Paul Krugman | Racism | Tax Cuts