To the Washington Post a Liberal is a "Centrist"
3. CNN's Morton: Bush Not Conservative But Howard Dean Is
4. CNN Condemns FNC's Ailes, But CNN's Kaplan Was an FOB
ABC News assumes Islam is a religion of peace, suggesting anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and that President Bush should have long ago condemned those who dare to criticize the religion. On Monday's World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings passed along what he suggested were alarming new poll numbers, about the public seeing Islam as encouraging violence and lacking respect for other religions, before turning to Dan Harris for a rundown of anti-Islam comments from evangelical leaders, for none of which Harris bothered to explain how they were wrong.
Harris then blamed President Bush: "Critics suggest the administration waited so long to condemn the statements from leading evangelicals because they didn't want to alienate a key constituency before the midterm elections."
Unaddressed in ABC's screed against the Christian activists and President Bush: Why it is quite rational, given how it was Muslims who declared war on the U.S. and that Muslims have declared a jihad to murder all Jews in Israel, for Americans to see Islam as something less than a peaceful and tolerant religion. Maybe it is, I don't know, but ABC was more interested in bashing President Bush and conservatives than in enlightening its audience.
Peter Jennings set up the November 18 story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "We're going to take a closer look tonight at Islam and public opinion. A recent ABC News poll finds that the number of people who have an unfavorable opinion of Islam is up 9 points from 10 months ago to, as you can see there, 33 percent. The number of people who say mainstream Islam encourages violence is also up 9 points. And the number of people who say they think Islam fails to teach respect for other religions has increased by 13 points in the same period. Right after the events of September 11th, President Bush spoke pointedly about the need to respect Islam. Lately, some other people have been speaking out with different voices. Here's ABC's Dan Harris."
Harris began: "The nation's leading evangelicals have been thundering against Islam."
Reporter Spencer Hsu led a November 15 national news section story: "House Democrats unanimously elected Rep. Steny H. Hoyer to the number two post of minority whip yesterday, making him the leadership's most visible centrist and Maryland's highest-ranking member of Congress ever...." That story is online at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57172-2002Nov14.html
Jump ahead to November 18 and a story by reporter Jim VandeHei
Now, let's compare the ideology of the two whips. Hoyer, the "centrist," has earned a lifetime rating of 8 percent from the American Conservative Union (ACU), negligibly different than the 6 percent assessed to Senator Barbara Mikulski, a woman it would be hard to imagine even the Post not seeing as quite liberal. See: http://www.acuratings.com/acu_doc.cgi?ACT=3&STATE=MD&YEAR=2001
Missourian Roy Blunt has received a rating of 92 percent over his career from the ACU. See: http://www.acuratings.com/acu_doc.cgi?ACT=3&STATE=MO&YEAR=2001
From the left, the ADA gave Blunt 7 percent approval over his first years in Congress. See: http://adaction.org/ho00027.htm
For 2001 Blunt got 5 percent from the ADA while Hoyer got just opposite score: 95 percent. See: http://adaction.org/Hse2001vr.pdf
Over his lifetime, Hoyer has earned a slightly lower, but still respectfully liberal, 83 percent from the ADA. See: http://adaction.org/ho00022.htm
This kind of mislabeling fits a pattern at the Post:
-- Washington Post labeling bias, part one: In offering short bios of 13 Republicans Senators slated to become committee chairmen, the Post applied ideological labels to 11, with nine of the 11 getting tagged with a conservative label. But 17 months earlier, when the Jeffords defection put Democrats in control, the paper's page of profiles of the newly elevated Democratic chairmen not only labeled just one Democrat as a liberal, it managed to apply conservative tags to two outgoing Republican chairmen. Conservative to the Post: Pete Domenici and John Warner. Not liberal: Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin and Patrick Leahy. See: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021112.asp#1
-- Washington Post labeling bias, part two: Though he earned solidly liberal vote ratings during his years in Congress, the Post preposterously described Maine's new Democratic Governor, John E. Baldacci, as "a centrist back-bencher in Congress" who "is known as something of a conservative within the Democratic Party." http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021112.asp#2
CNN's Bruce Morton ridiculously dismissed the relevance of incoming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's liberalism, arguing that since governors must balance budgets and Presidents do not that makes liberal governors, like Vermont's Howard Dean, the true conservatives.
I'm not kidding. Here is Morton's logic as presented in his "The Last Word" commentary on Sunday's Late Edition: "What is a liberal these days, anyway? Howard Dean, the Democratic Governor of Vermont and a presidential candidate, likes to say that he, not the Republicans, is a fiscal conservative, because he's had to balance his state's budget, and no Republican President has balanced a federal budget in more than 30 years, which in fact is true."
By that logic liberals in states that require parental consent for abortions are really conservatives. All Dean and other governors are doing is following state law in one area while still pursuing liberal goals in other areas, including raising taxes so they can spend more while keeping the budgets balanced.
Morton began his November 17 piece, which was brought to my attention by the MRC's Rich Noyes:
Morton may be onto something in saying both parties love spending, a sure issue with big spender Ted Stevens taking over the Senate Appropriations Committee, but that doesn't make a liberal governor like Howard Dean a conservative or make Nancy Pelosi any less liberal.
Displaying an amazing level of hypocrisy, all day on Thursday CNN anchors and shows focused on the revelation that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes sent a memo to Bush adviser Karl Rove just after the terrorist attacks with advice on how the public would perceive Bush's actions.
Treating this as newsworthy: CNN, a network run until two years ago by Rick Kaplan, who while serving as President of CNN from 1997 through 2000, played golf with President Clinton, stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom and participated in a mock debate session with Al Gore -- all after, while an ABC News executive, advising presidential candidate Clinton on how to handle the Gennifer Flowers situation and blocking anti-Clinton stories from getting onto World News Tonight.
Below: What Bob Woodward reported about the Ailes memo to Karl Rove, how CNN distorted it, especially Jack Cafferty, and then Kaplan's record of political activism while running CNN.
> What Woodward reported/Ailes reaction. A November 16 Washington Post story by Mike Allen summarizing Bob Woodward's new book, Bush at War, included this paragraph in which Allen applied an ideological label to FNC:
Pretty conventional advice at a time when all Americans were "standing shoulder-to-shoulder" with the President, as Nancy Pelosi might say.
Timothy Noah's "Chatterbox" column on Slate provided a full recitation of what is on page 207 of Woodward's book:
That's online at: http://slate.msn.com/?id=2074115
Ailes issued this statement on Monday: "Bob Woodward's characterization of my memo is incorrect. In the days following 9/11, our country came together in nonpartisan support of the president. During that time, I wrote a personal note to a White House staff member as a concerned American expressing my outrage about the attacks on our country. I did not give up my American citizenship to take this job."
This is online at: http://slate.msn.com/?id=2074145
Just before 8:30am EST on November 18 Cafferty complained: "Listen Paula, I have a story that may interest you here, a story that might be good for what ails you. That's as in 'Roger Ailes,' the guy who runs Fox News, that low-budget operation down the street with the red letters. The Washington Post is reporting over the weekend about something that is in Woodward's soon to be released book called Bush at War. Woodward reports that the Fox News chief, Roger Ailes, has been secretly sending advice to President Bush and the senior aide, a guy named Karl Rove. Woodward writes that Ailes sent a confidential memo to Rove who then took it to the President. The Ailes memo reportedly said that the American public would be patient about Iraq, but only as long as they were convinced Bush was using the harshest measures possible. Ailes is also said to have warned that support would weaken if the public did not see Bush acting harshly. Roger Ailes was a media coach for President Bush's father and he's had a number of other assignments as well. Any comments?"
Later in the day, CNN's Talkback Live devoted a segment to the subject, as did Crossfire which had the Chicago Tribune's James Warren criticizing Ailes, and on Wolf Blitzer Reports Blitzer highlighted the Woodward item about Ailes.
Talkback Live featured two liberals, Norman Soloman and Douglas Brinkley, up against the conservative Armstrong Williams who reminded host Arthel Neville that "your former President of CNN, Rick Kaplan, was a golfing buddy of the President, spent many nights in the Lincoln Bedroom, was a close confidant of the President. And if you're going to hold Roger Ailes to that standard, then you should hold your former boss to the same standard."
Neville countered: "Sure. Let me just bring this up on that note. Of course, folks who say there's a difference in seeking access to the administration, as opposed to giving unsolicited political advice."
Huh? Kaplan spent one-on-one time with President Clinton and was awarded the privilege of two overnight stays. That's far closer to the President than sending a memo to an aide. So, are we to believe CNN wouldn't have mentioned Ailes if Woodward had revealed that Ailes stayed overnight at the White House a few months ago?
> CNN President Rick Kaplan's close ties to President Bill Clinton, connections which failed to generate the media firestorm which has erupted over Ailes this week:
-- From the April 11, 2000 CyberAlert:
In his "Inside TV" column for April 10, USA Today's Peter Johnson revealed:
CNN president Rick Kaplan, who took some heat when he worked at ABC News for staying overnight at the White House during President Clinton's first term, spent another night there Thursday -- after Clinton roasted ABC News over "Leogate."
"No, I do not feel embarrassed, ashamed or compromised in any way, shape or form," Kaplan said Friday, after sleeping in the Queen's Room while daughter Alexis, 21, slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Generally speaking, it's an ethical no-no for journalists to get too cozy with people they cover. But Kaplan, a former Nightline, PrimeTime Live and World News Tonight producer, said Clinton's gesture won't affect CNN's coverage of him.
"Everyone has relationships," Kaplan said. "We met each other before either of us knew we'd amount to anything. He doesn't expect anything from me, and I don't expect anything from him."
Kaplan, a Clinton friend for 30 years, said the president gave Alexis an "amazing" 2 '-hour White House tour. "It was extremely nice of him to do it. In the waning months of his presidency, I felt, 'What the heck?'"
END of Excerpt and of April 11, 2001 CyberAlert item
(Back in 1994 Knight-Ridder's Marc Gunther noted in a profile story that ran in the February 8, 1994 Detroit News: "Kaplan and Clinton have know each other since the late 1970s, and last year the ABC producer played golf with the President and spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom....")
-- From the December 5, 2000 CyberAlert, a couple of months after Kaplan left CNN:
In early September Kaplan was let go by CNN, but back in March he was still President of CNN/USA. Keep that in mind as you read this paragraph from Newsweek's massive "The Inside Story" treatise on the campaign. This appeared about 30 pages into the series of articles which listed Eleanor Clift as the reporter with Gore, on page 65 in "Spring Fever" section:
END of December 5, 2000 CyberAlert item
Were Kaplan and Clift advising or observing? We'll probably never know because journalists didn't and don't care about a journalist advising a liberal candidate or President.
-- See the June 14, 1999 CyberAlert for how during a commencement address Kaplan delivered while President of CNN, he complained that Ken Starr is "putting obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation" while Bill Clinton has had "extraordinary" achievements. For a lengthy excerpt of his speech: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1999/cyb19990614.asp#4
For a RealPLayer clip of it: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000831.asp#2
Imagine the media howls if Ailes ever gave a public speech trashing Bush's critics and praising his achievements.
-- From the October 9, 1997 CyberAlert, how Kaplan's personal views directly impacted CNN content:
I wondered: "Can you do a two-hour show on Clinton's 1996 fundraising and not use the word 'scandal'?" A rhetoric question, or so I thought. But incredibly enough the answer is -- yes!
The October 7 show titled "Democracy for Sale" wandered well beyond Clinton to examine Republicans and to argue for campaign finance reform, but summarizing charges against Clinton took up a significant portion of the show. Nonetheless, the phrase "Clinton scandal" was never uttered.... Details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1997/cyb19971009.asp#4
-- Kaplan's activities on behalf of Clinton while at ABC News:
# For details on how in February 1992, while at ABC News, he advised Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers story: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1997/cyb19970806.asp#1
# For extensive and illuminating excerpts from a January 1998 Vanity Fair profile which detailed how Kaplan once hired Hillary Clinton; how he not only advised Clinton about how to counter Gennifer Flowers, but had earlier counseled Clinton on how to recover from his too-long 1988 convention speech; how he had been a political operative for a liberal presidential candidate before jumping to journalism; how he made calls to console Hillary Clinton after Vince Foster's death and to Web Hubbell after he resigned; how he killed a Whitewater piece from ABC's World News Tonight, discouraged reporters and producers from pursuing the topic and only ran an in-depth look one night in 1994 because Nightline was about to grab it; and how he slurred conservative media critics who see liberal bias, specifically Reed Irvine and MRC Chairman Brent Bozell, as "liars." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19980114.asp
Google, I tracked down pictures of Kaplan and Ailes:
Bottom line: Media ethicists may properly question the appropriateness of the Ailes communication to the White House, but the media hypocrisy on this issue is overwhelming.
Kaplan hasn't been the only media executive with ties to liberals. David Burke was Chief-of-Staff to Senator Ted Kennedy before becoming Executive VP of ABC News and President of CBS News. Jeff Gralnick worked for George McGovern before becoming an ABC News executive and Executive Producer of the NBC Nightly News. During their network tenures did they ever offer advice to their old employers? We don't know because mainstream journalists so upset now with Ailes never pursued the possibility with those with an affinity for liberals -- just as members of the media who now so easily discern conservative bias at FNC have been unable to ever see any liberal bias on ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC.
-- Brent Baker