2. Reporters Donate to Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean
3. John Kerry Popular with Listeners to National Public Radio
4. Most Pundits on TV Over Weekend Predict a Dean Victory in Iowa
ABC's inconsistency on recess judicial appointments. On Friday night, the anchor of World News Tonight, Peter Jennings, asserted that "President Bush has unilaterally appointed a controversial judge to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals" and, without uttering a syllable about how Senate Democrats have used unprecedented tactics to block Bush judicial nominees or conveying anything positive about Pickering's qualifications, highlighted how "Democrats accuse Pickering of opposing civil rights and bringing a conservative agenda to the bench. Senator Kennedy said for the Democrats today, 'the President's appointment serves only to emphasize again this administration's shameful opposition to civil rights.'"
But back in December of 2000 when President Clinton made a recess judicial appointment, the anchor on World News Tonight, Aaron Brown, treated Clinton as the one fully justified in his actions in the face of unreasonable Senate Republicans. Without reciting a word about Republican outrage or criticisms of Clinton's action, Brown trumpeted how Roger Gregory "will be the first African-American on the court. The President has nominated four African-Americans to the 4th Circuit but Republicans in Congress would not hold confirmation hearings."
Jennings, in Des Moines, provided this take, on the January 16 World News Tonight, about Bush's recess appointment to a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans:
A little more than three years ago, however, then-World News Tonight anchor Aaron Brown, now with CNN, portrayed Clinton as justified in the face of race-based GOP obstructionism. On December 27, 2000 Brown intoned:
Several reporters for national media outlets have contributed money to Democrats and liberal political candidates over the past few years, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz revealed in a Sunday story. Amongst them, ABC News correspondent Jami Floyd, who covered the Florida recount, "gave $500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2000," CBS News reporter Troy Roberts, who covered the Clinton-Dole presidential contest in 1996, "donated $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign, as did Emily Senay, medical correspondent of CBS's Early Show." NBC chief executive Robert Wright, Kurtz found, has contributed $3,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Kurtz noted that "newspapers are well represented in the FEC records" with non-political reporters for the Washington Post and New York Times donating to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, and "at USA Today, Richard Willing, who covers terrorism, legal issues and the Supreme Court, has given $500 to Howard Dean's presidential campaign."
The ABCNews.com bio for Floyd recalls that "in 1993, she joined the Office of the San Francisco Public Defender, where she continued her work as a trial attorney. In late 1993, she moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as a White House fellow, assigned first to the office of First Lady Hillary Clinton, and later to the office of Vice President Al Gore."
As recounted in the December 4, 2000 CyberAlert, Floyd, who is now with 20/20, handled an ABC story dedicated to charges that though voting by blacks in Florida was up 65 percent in Florida from 1996, blacks were more likely to be disenfranchised than whites through clerical errors, which left them off voting rolls, or more insidious problems. Without citing any evidence, Floyd claimed "some cite intimidation by police."
An excerpt from a December 3, 2000 CyberAlert item:
ABC anchor Carole Simpson introduced a Sunday, December 3, World News Tonight story: "Tonight the Justice Department is gathering information about alleged voting irregularities in Florida. Last month African-American voters turned out in record numbers at Florida's polls, but tonight there is growing evidence that their ballots were far more likely to be discounted than those of white voters."
Reporter Jami Floyd opened with some clips from Jesse Jackson in Florida, including one in which Jackson argued: "Mostly in black precincts you will find people in long lines and the polls close on them."
Floyd explained that affidavits are being collected from minorities who were denied the ability to vote. Floyd highlighted a victim: "Voters like Janice Kelly, a former Army Sergeant, who was turned away from three different polling places because a local board of elections did not tell her where to vote."
Kelly: "When we got there it was one person inside voting in the church and we were advised that it was too late, that they had already shut the machines off so we couldn't vote there either. We were basically out of luck."
Maybe she should have taken the personal responsibility to figure it out in advance.
Floyd noted how there was a 65 percent increase in black voting this year over 1996 in Florida, with 90 percent voting for Gore, before she continued with her anecdotes: "A number of African-Americans say they were turned away at the polls, their names were not found on the voting rolls and some cite intimidation by police. In addition, a report in today's Washington Post finds that African-American neighborhoods in Florida lost many more presidential votes than other areas because of outmoded voting machines, and rampant confusion about ballots. But according to the report, as many as one in three ballots in black sections of Jacksonville did not count in the election."
She allowed a local canvassing member to insist all voters were treated equally before she raised the great civil rights struggle: "It was not that long ago that the right to vote was a galvanizing issue for blacks in the civil rights movement protesting poll taxes and literacy tests. Congressman John Lewis was a part of that movement."
Viewers heard from Lewis as well as Shelby Steele, who maintained there's no evidence of a pattern of racial discrimination. Floyd concluded by countering Steele: "But under the law it's not intent but a discriminatory effect that matters and many black voters are saying it's clear that disproportionate number of black Floridians were not able to vote."
END of Excerpt from CyberAlert
For ABC's bio of Floyd and a picture of her: abcnews.go.com
Roberts is now with 48 Hours doing non-political stories, but back in 1996 he saw Bill Clinton as a model of moderation compared to Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich. A check of the MRC archive found:
-- Troy Roberts on the October 21, 1996 CBS This Morning, speculating about who Dole and Clinton might appoint to the Supreme Court. But his supporting soundbite didn't match his labeling:
-- Roberts on the November 6, 1996 CBS This Morning, the day after the election: "Often abrasive, Gingrich never mastered the fine art of compromise. Less than a year after he rode into Washington in triumph, he was on the defensive. His gambit to shut down the government over the budget backfired. Seizing the moment, President Clinton quickly became the voice of centrist reason."
For a picture of Roberts and a bio for him: www.cbsnews.com
More than 100 journalists and executives at major media companies, from NBC's top executive to a Fox News anchor to reporters or editors for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, CBS and ABC, have made political contributions in recent years.
Some of these donations, detailed in Federal Election Commission records, violate the companies' own policies. But these policies vary widely; some media firms allow donations, others bar them for newsroom employees but not business staffers, and still others restrict only those covering politics.
NBC chief executive Robert Wright has contributed $8,000 since 1999, including $3,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $1,000 to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Andrew Lack, a former NBC News chief, gave $1,000 to Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) while NBC president, and Wright contributed $1,500 -- after the House committee Tauzin chairs held hearings on the networks' election night failures....
Fox anchor Neil Cavuto, the network's managing editor for business, gave $1,000 to a fundraising dinner for President Bush in 2002....
At the Post, business reporter Albert Crenshaw gave $500 to Maryland Democratic House candidate Ira Shapiro in 2001. Crenshaw said his wife made the donation before he told her that he could not participate in such contributions. Sportswriter Mark Asher gave $500 to Illinois Democratic House candidate Pete Dagher in 2002. He said his wife had worked with Dagher in the Clinton White House....
For this story, the Post reviewed federal election records for the last five years in which donors identified themselves as working for one of 12 prominent news organizations. While no one who directly covers campaigns was listed in the records, some donors report on political issues occasionally or indirectly, or have in the past.
At ABC, "20/20" correspondent Jami Floyd, who covered the Florida recount in the last presidential election, gave $500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2000. Clark Bentson, a producer now heading for Baghdad, gave $250 to New Jersey Democratic House candidate Tim Carden. But ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said all donations are barred "to maintain our professional reputation for fairness and impartiality." He said that "we've already communicated" with those who donated "and everyone in the division understands the importance of rules like this."
Troy Roberts, a correspondent for CBS's "48 Hours" who once did a feature on the daughters of Bush and Al Gore, donated $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign, as did Emily Senay, medical correspondent of CBS's "Early Show." CBS News does not restrict contributions. "There is a vast system of checks and balances before anything gets on the air," said spokeswoman Sandy Genelius.
At NBC, then-producer Ann Kemp gave $1,000 to Bill Bradley's presidential campaign in 1999. Spokeswoman Gollust says editorial employees can make donations only with advance approval, but could not say whether Kemp had received that approval. Gollust said Maria Shriver of "Dateline" was given permission to donate $2,000 to her brother, House candidate Mark Shriver....
Newspapers are well represented in the FEC records. At USA Today, Richard Willing, who covers terrorism, legal issues and the Supreme Court, has given $500 to Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Willing has written about court cases involving Vice President's Cheney's energy task force and the administration's policy of holding detainees in a military prison in Cuba.
"Howard is one of my oldest and dearest friends," said Willing, who said his editors know that he met Dean in college and has contributed to his state races in Vermont. Asked if the presidential donation could raise questions about his coverage, Willing said: "I wouldn't have done it if I thought it did."
USA Today consumer reporter Jayne O'Donnell gave Dean $250 and food writer Jerry Shriver donated $1,000 to John Kerry's presidential effort....
The New York Times banned donations by newsroom employees last year because of "a great risk of feeding a false impression that the paper is taking sides," said spokeswoman Catherine Mathis. Before the ban took effect, magazine staff writer Barry Bearak gave $250 to a Green Party Senate candidate and travel writer Betsy Wade gave $383 to a Democratic House candidate. Business reporter Karen Arenson said her husband's $1,000 donation to Hillary Clinton was mistakenly reported in her name. Music critic John Rockwell, a former arts editor, gave $2,000 to Clinton in 2000.
Rockwell, noting that he doesn't cover politics, said he was unaware of the rules change when he gave Dean $250 about nine months ago. "If there's a Times policy against any kind of contribution, I will observe it henceforth," he said.
Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walter Mossberg got a waiver to contribute $3,000 to Democrat Shapiro, "my best friend of 35 years," and reporter Laura Landro gave $1,000 to Bradley....
Los Angeles Times food writer Charles Perry, who has given the Republican Party $2,550, said, "I cover a non-political area." Janet Kaye, a part-time member of the paper's polling unit, gave $450 to Dean. On the corporate side, former Times Mirror general counsel William Niese put more than $10,000 in Republican Party coffers....
Time publishing reporter Andrea Sachs gave $1,000 to a Democratic House candidate. At Newsweek, then-Moscow bureau chief William Powell Jr. gave $1,000 to McCain, and then-publisher Carolyn Wall donated $1,000 to Bradley....
END of Excerpt
For Kurtz's article in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Public Radio Listeners for Kerry. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has been most successful at getting donations from Zip codes a demographic analysis firm dubs the "Young Digerati," where residents "listen to National Public Radio, drive Saabs, live in condos on the edge of cities," the Washington Post's Thomas Edsall and Sarah Cohen reported on Saturday.
In their January 17 story, "How Donations Depict Donors: Dean's Backers Differ the Most From Bush's, Model Shows," the Post's reporting duo explained: "The Washington Post compiled a list of the Zip codes providing the most campaign contributions to each presidential candidate. Claritas then put the Zip codes into its classification system, providing a window into the type of donors drawn to President Bush, Dean, Kerry, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.)."
Claritas defined just one group by where they get their news and they like Kerry. Edsall and Cohen outlined how Kerry has "successfully mined two other similar constituencies: what Claritas has called 'Young Digerati' -- listen to National Public Radio, drive Saabs, live in condos on the edge of cities -- and 'Money and Brains' -- support arts charities, shop at Nordstrom, married with few if any children, many with postgraduate degrees."
For the Post's rundown in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Polls may show John Kerry and John Edwards now "surging" in Iowa before today's caucuses, with Kerry now on top, but most of the pundits who made predictions on television over the weekend are sticking with Howard Dean, if with some doubts, though several did predict a Kerry victory. No one forecast a win for anyone other than Dean or Kerry.
Reviewing predictions for Iowa made on the McLaughlin Group, CNN's Capital Gang, Fox News Sunday and FNC's 9pm EST special Sunday night previewing the caucus, all the shows on which I saw any forecasts made, I've come up with this scorecard to match up against tonight's reality.
-- Predicting Dean will prevail. On the McLaughlin Group, Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Mort Zuckerman and Clarence Page. (Actually, the question was which two Democrats will emerge after Iowa and New Hampshire. Buchanan, Clift, Zuckerman and Page said "Dean and Clark," John McLaughlin predicted "Dean and Kerry.")
On the Capital Gang: Kate O'Beirne and Mark Shields.
On Fox News Sunday: Brit Hume, Mara Liasson and Juan Williams. (Later, on FNC's 9pm EST special, Liasson hedged her bets: "Dean or Kerry.")
On FNC's Sunday night Iowa caucus preview special: Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke.
-- Predicting Kerry will win:
On the Capital Gang: Al Hunt and Bob Novak.
On Fox News Sunday: Bill Kristol.
# Some of the comments made by those doing the predicting:
On the Capital Gang:
Kate O'Beirne: "If you make me pick, I'd say Howard Dean."
Bob Novak: "I'll say John Kerry in a huge upset. It would be an upset if he wins."
Mark Shields: "I'm predicting that Howard Dean will win in Iowa on Monday night, and it will be a victory that takes him to New Hampshire."
On Fox News Sunday:
Mara Liasson: "Yes, that's totally a wild guess, and I would guess the same....I don't know who's going to win. I mean, if you want me to make a wild guess, I'll make a wild guess, which I would put no money on, for Howard Dean."
Bill Kristol: "I think John Kerry could win a comfortable victory tomorrow night, and I think Howard Dean could run third or fourth."
Juan Williams: "I think they're going to have a record number of people turn out tomorrow night, Monday night. And I think that Howard Dean will prevail. But I must say, it's because you have all these newcomers, all this energy and excitement."
The exchange on FNC's Sunday night special, as taken down by MRC analyst Amanda Monson:
I fearlessly predict that some of the predictions will be wrong.
-- Brent Baker