2. CBS Evening News Skips How Public Sees Media as "Harder" on Bush
3. Wallace, But Not Stephanopoulos, Raises Damage from Leaks
4. Clift Castigates Greenspan for Giving "Green Light" to Tax Cuts
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that the unemployment rate for January fell by 0.2 percent from December, down to 4.7 percent, the lowest level since July of 2001. But viewers of ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News on Friday night heard nothing about it, though ABC had time for another full story on the "cartoon outrage" by Muslims and a full piece on an Institute for Highway Safety study on how design changes in SUVs have reduced deaths in smaller vehicles they hit. CBS managed to find time for how, as relayed by anchor Bob Schieffer, when asked about President Bush's contention that "the Constitution gives him the authority to eavesdrop without a court order on U.S. citizens suspected of having ties to the terrorists"and that "his predecessors have used that same authority," Bill Clinton "told CBS Radio that as far as he knows, all wiretapping done by his administration was done with the authority of court orders." Before getting to some downbeat stock numbers, NBC anchor Brian William at least devoted twenty seconds to how "job creation was solid last month" as the "unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 4.7, the lowest it's been since July 2001."
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth alerted me to the absence of the unemployment news and he also observed that the CBS Evening News didn't even put the new unemployment number in its "Market Watch" bumper which listed just stock market numbers. ABC's World News Tonight, anchored by Elizabeth Vargas -- and which spent much of its time on video of Bob Woodruff just before the bomb struck and on tributes to the soldiers who saved him -- didn't even have a stock market bumper.
For the AP's story, "Unemployment Rate Drops to 4 1/2-Year Low," check: news.yahoo.com
For the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics: www.bls.gov
Check here for month by month unemployment rates over past decade: data.bls.gov
Instead of telling viewers about the lowest unemployment rate in four-and-a-half years, CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer made room for this tidbit:
Introducing a Friday CBS Evening News story on the state of the media, part of a week-long "The State of..." series prompted by the annual State of the Union address, anchor Bob Schieffer pointed to how a CBS News/New York Times poll found that "most Americans have at least some confidence in the media, and more than two out of three [69 percent] believe the stories the media report are accurate." As Schieffer spoke, viewers saw a graphic titled "Confidence in the media?" with "at least some" listed at 63 percent. Left unnoted: Only 15 percent said they had a "great deal" of confidence compared to 48 percent who expressed only a "fair amount" of confidence. Schieffer and CBS skipped, however, how the survey determined that twice as many believe that "compared to other Presidents, the news media have been harder on President Bush," at 35 percent, than the 18 percent who see the media going "easier on President Bush." The plurality, 45 percent, responded that the media are "treating President Bush the same."
The poll conducted in late January didn't ask about ideological bias in the media, but a PDF posting of the results relayed how those on the left have more faith in the media than do those on the right: "Large majorities of Democrats and liberals (about seven in 10 of each) think the news media tells the truth all or most of the time. About half of Republicans and conservatives agree." Specifically, asked "how much trust and confidence do you have in the news media?", 75 percent of Democrats answered "a great deal" or a "fair amount," compared to 52 percent for Republican respondents. And 48 percent of Republicans, but just 25 percent of Democrats, have "not very much" or "no" confidence in the news media.
[This item was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]
The survey also discovered that a majority of 59 percent think the news media are truthful "always" or "most of the time," but the identical percent said the Bush administration is truthful "sometimes" or "hardly ever."
Schieffer introduced the February 3 CBS Evening News story:
Mason's story, which began with left-wing crank Helen Thomas complaining about how "everybody with a laptop thinks they're a journalist these days. That's a problem," provided no further information about CBS's poll. The online version of Mason's story: www.cbsnews.com
Michael Hayden, Deputy Director of National Intelligence, appeared on both Fox News Sunday and This Week with George Stephanopoulos, but though at a Senate hearing just three days earlier Hayden and other intelligence officials had cited the potential damage caused by the New York Times story disclosing the program to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda communication inside the U.S., only Fox's Chris Wallace raised the subject. Stephanopoulos was more interested in himself as a potential victim of big brother: "Let me try to give you a hypothetical, see if you can answer it. I went to Pakistan after 9/11. I interviewed a Taliban representative. If after that interview, that person calls me, am I captured?" Wallace asked: "You and other top officials say that disclosure of this program has harmed national security. Do you mean that just in theory, or in fact? Has publication of the New York Times story, to the best of your reckoning, actually changed the way terrorists do business? Do you feel that they're acting differently since this story broke out?" Hayden would only say that the success of American intelligence "is not immune from the disclosure of its techniques and procedures to our enemy."
[This item was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]
A February 3 CyberAlert item, "CBS Highlights CIA Chief's Rebuke of Harmful Leaks; Not ABC & NBC," recounted: ABC and NBC, on Thursday night, didn't find CIA Director Porter Goss's lambasting of leakers and the news media, for publicizing secret information, very newsworthy....CBS reporter David Martin pointed out how "the leak that dominated the hearing was the New York Times story about the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping on suspected al-Qaeda operatives inside the U.S." Roberts also highlighted how "CIA Director Goss delivered a tirade against news leaks." But ABC's World News Tonight ignored the topic completely...while NBC's Andrea Mitchell allocated a mere eleven seconds to how the intelligence officials "claim the leaks about domestic eavesdropping have already disrupted valuable operations against terrorists," compared to nearly three times more time -- 29 seconds -- to how "Democrats were outraged that the administration still won't provide more details about its domestic spying" as well as how the administration won't "say how many people are being wiretapped." For details: www.mediaresearch.org
On ABC's This Week, where Stephanopoulos had conducted his interview earlier in a conference room where Haydn works, Stephanopoulos posed a wide range of questions, but none about the damage caused by the news media. He did, however, find time to personalize the controversy around himself:
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift leveled a parting shot at retiring Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, condemning him for putting his imprimatur on President Bush's tax cuts. On this weekend's edition of the McLaughlin Group, Clift warned: "I don't think the legacy of Alan Greenspan is finished because the bill hasn't yet come due for those tax cuts at the high end that he gave the green light to and testified on Capitol Hill that we had such a big surplus, that the surplus was worrisome. That was not based on fact. That was based on fiction." She later fretted that the "tax cuts would not have gone through if Alan Greenspan had not blessed them." As for Greenspan's successor, Ben Bernanke, Clift damned him with feint praise: "He's not an outright ideologue, he's not a supply-sider. This appointment could have been a lot worse."
That's it. Nothing more to read of this item.
-- Brent Baker