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ABC Showcases Anti-Bush "Daisy" Ad, But in 2000... -- 01/17/2003 CyberAlert


1.
ABC Showcases Anti-Bush "Daisy" Ad, But in 2000...
A little over two years ago ABC's World News Tonight fretted over how an anti-Gore ad modeled after the 1964 anti-Goldwater "daisy" ad had "been seen by millions for free and without much analysis" and condemned its content, but on Thursday night with a left-wing group out with a new "daisy"-like countdown to nuclear annihilation ad against President Bush's Iraq policy, while Peter Jennings noted how "its creators are probably...hoping for a lot of free publicity," ABC proceeded to give it and use the ad to marvel at how "the anti-war movement has gone from the streets to the information highway."

2. GMA: Anti-Gore Ad "Nasty", Anti-Bush Ad: "Inspiring"
In 2000, Good Morning America news reader Antonio Mora cited the anti-Gore "daisy" ad as an example of how of how "nastiness is coming from a mysterious group that has produced a new TV ad that suggests Gore could draw the U.S. into nuclear war." But on Thursday morning, in showcasing a "daisy"-like ad which noxiously suggests that Bush's Iraq policy will lead to nuclear destruction, Diane Sawyer trumpeted how "Americans are going to see something new on television in major cities all across the country, brought to you by an anti-war movement...a TV ad campaign in 13 major cities inspired by a famous anti-war ad from the '60s."

3. ABC & CBS Champion How Public Turning Against War, But...
In championing the anti-war movement, ABC and CBS have highlighted poll numbers showing support falling for taking action against Iraq, but a new Fox News poll found support increasing, or at least holding steady. On Thursday's World News Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings told Terry Moran: "We know there's a lot of anti-war sentiment in the country and from the President's allies even."

4. Media Bias? Tax Cut Plan "Unfair," But Every Element Favored
More Americans consider President Bush's tax plan to be "unfair" than "fair," but a Fox News poll discovered that when asked for their assessment of each major element of it, a majority agreed with five of the six parts of it, by up to a massive 82 point margin, and the sixth earned solid plurality support. Could media bias explain the disparity? Those polled heard repeatedly in the news about how Bush's plan was unfair.

5. NY Times Repeats Itself on Bush Using Loaded "Quotas" Term
The New York Times repeated itself. Two separate New York Times stories on Thursday included the identical sentence about how President Bush used the term "quotas" because it's "a word that inevitably draws strong opposition in polls."

6. ABC's Shipman Rues Lewinsky Scandal Anniversary
Marking the five year anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky story breaking, on Thursday's Good Morning America Claire Shipman recalled how the revelation came when "the White House was busy building a bridge to the 21st century." She bemoaned how "the images of a husband, a father, a family struggling to cope with a personal crisis were shared with the entire country." Shipman also marveled at how though Clinton and Lewinsky "spent only ten hours together...it almost brought down a President." And she recalled how a "colleague" told her of the anniversary: "It's like a bad acid flashback, I can't take it!"

7. "Top Ten Ways Kim Jong Il Can Improve His Image"
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways Kim Jong Il Can Improve His Image."


ABC Showcases Anti-Bush "Daisy" Ad,
But in 2000...

ABC News 2000 vs. 2003, part one. A little over two years ago ABC's World News Tonight fretted over how an anti-Gore ad modeled after the 1964 anti-Goldwater "daisy" ad had "been seen by millions for free and without much analysis" and condemned its content, but on Thursday night with a left-wing group out with a new "daisy"-like countdown to nuclear annihilation ad against President Bush, while Peter Jennings noted how "its creators are probably...hoping for a lot of free publicity," ABC proceeded to give it some and use the ad to marvel at how "the anti-war movement has gone from the streets to the information highway."

Back on October 27, 2000 then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown highlighted the ad from an independent groups which used the daisy girl countdown to an atomic explosion concept to draw attention to its claims that Gore sold out national security for campaign donations from China. That didn't sit well with Brown: "It mimics a 1964 ad on whether Republican Barry Goldwater could be trusted with nuclear weapons. In '64 the ad's sponsors never intended to pay much money to place it on television. It ran only once. The news media gave it all the play, and here we go again."

Brown continued: "We've been able to confirm only four stations that have actually run the ad at a cost of about a thousand dollars. Nevertheless, the ad has received extraordinary attention. It was the subject of an article in today's New York Times. It aired in part on Good Morning America and on cable channels, and it's all part of a plan by its producer, Carey Cramer, to get attention for nothing....The Bush campaign has asked that the ad be pulled. Cramer's group, whose address is a Texas mail drop, will decide tonight. By then, the ad will have been seen by millions for free and without much analysis."

Brown the turned Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Dean of Annenberg School for Communication, to condemn the ad: "It's hoping that by getting aired without commentary about its inaccuracy and its hyperbolic nature, that the ideas will seep through in news and thus have an impact."

So, in 2000, ABC's World News Tonight waited until the ad ran before noting it and then condemned it. This year, ABC ran clips of the ad before the ad had actually run as a commercial anywhere and did not condemn an any way its implication that Bush's policy toward Iraq will lead to nuclear annihilation.

See for yourself. Here's how ABC treated the left-wing ad Thursday night, though reporter Brian Rooney innocuously described the group behind the ad, moveon.org, simply as a group "that espouses political causes over the Internet."

Peter Jennings set up the January 16 story:
"An anti-war group called 'MoveOn.org' that's organized primarily over the Internet, today started airing a television commercial opposing war against Saddam Hussein. The ad remakes one of the most notorious political attack ads ever, and it is supposedly airing in 12 cities, though its creators are probably also hoping for a lot of free publicity. Here's ABC's Brian Rooney."

Rooney's story began with a clip of the ad with a little girl pulling pedals off a daisy flower as she says "one, two."
Rooney recalled, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "For many Americans who remember the '60s, it's a familiar image. The little girl with the daisy overshadowed by war spinning out of control."
Clip of ad: "Maybe the unthinkable. Maybe that's why Americans are saying to President Bush, 'Let the inspections work.'"
Rooney: "It's a remake of that famous 1964 commercial Lyndon Johnson ran -- just once -- to say Barry Goldwater might lead the country to war. [shot of 1964 ad with Johnson's voice: "three, two, one, zero."] This new version is made by a group called 'Move On' that espouses political causes over the Internet."
Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org: "The goal is really to start a national conversation about these important issues that we're facing."
Rooney: "Like a protest in Los Angeles today in which 17 people were arrested, the anti-war movement is still relatively small but appears to be growing with a lot of help from the Internet. Organizations are posting pages and linking with each other."
Alistair Millar, Winning Without War: "We can show strength and raise money by just sitting at a computer rather than having to go out in the street."
Rooney: "Organizers say they're reaching a lot of working adults who are making connections through Web sites."
Stephen Fine, Neighbors for Peace and Justice: "It's not like the entire anti-war movement has shifted to the Internet, no. It's just become another tool, an extremely valuable tool."
Rooney concluded: "The $100,000 to air the new 'daisy ad' was raised over the Internet. The anti-war movement has gone from the streets to the information highway. Brian Rooney, ABC News, Los Angeles."

With a very accommodating traditional over the air broadcast media all to eager to help the cause.

On Wednesday night this week the CBS Evening News used the new anti-Bush ad to highlight how there's "a growing anti-war backlash that's about to get a lot more vocal." See: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030116.asp#2

MoveOn.org has placed the ad at the top of its Web page where you can see it in RealMedia and MPEG: http://www.moveon.org/

The text of the ad as I took it down:
Girl picking daisy: "One, two." (continues in background)
Announcer: "War with Iraq. Maybe it will end quickly. Maybe not. Maybe it will spread."
War scenes, male countdown voice: "Ten, nine."
Announcer, over war video, anti-U.S. protesters: "Maybe extremists will take over countries with nuclear weapons."
Countdown announcer: "Five, four, three, two, one."
Announcer, as ad zooms in on face of girl: "Maybe the unthinkable."
Countdown announcer: "Zero."
Video of explosion with mushroom cloud, announcer: "Maybe that's why Americans are saying to President Bush: Let the inspections work."

For more on the 2000 ad, see a rare Saturday CyberAlert:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001028.asp#1
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001028.asp#2

GMA: Anti-Gore Ad "Nasty", Anti-Bush
Ad: "Inspiring"


ABC News 2000 vs. 2003, part two. In 2000, Good Morning America news reader Antonio Mora cited the anti-Gore "daisy" ad as an "example" of how of how "nastiness is coming from a mysterious group that has produced a new TV ad that suggests Gore could draw the U.S. into nuclear war." But on Thursday morning this week, in showcasing a "daisy"-like ad which noxiously suggests that Bush's Iraq policy will lead to nuclear annihilation, co-host Diane Sawyer trumpeted how "Americans are going to see something new on television in major cities all across the country, brought to you by an anti-war movement...a TV ad campaign in 13 major cities inspired by a famous anti-war ad from the '60s."

When the target is Bush, ABC sees it as inspirational. When the target was Gore, it was nasty.

Dipping into the MRC archive, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson tracked down how Mora summarized some "nasty" events in the final days of the campaign. After citing phone calls in Michigan which blamed Bush for nursing home deaths in Texas, Mora intoned on the Friday October 27, 2000 GMA:
"A different example of nastiness is coming from a mysterious group that has produced a new TV ad that suggests Gore could draw the U.S. into nuclear war. The ad mimics Lyndon Johnson's infamous daisy commercial and accuses the Democrats of endangering the U.S. by giving nuclear secrets to China. At the end of the ad, a nuclear explosion is shown, followed by the words, 'Vote Republican.' It's not known who put up the money for the ad."

On Thursday morning this week, GMA brought aboard the man behind the anti-Bush ad and while Sawyer did question him about how many Americans agree with his position, she in no way condemned the noxious theme of the ad. As tough as she got was to wonder if the ad "is sensationalistic?"

Sawyer set up the January 16 segment: "Starting today, Americans are going to see something new on television in major cities all across the country, brought to you by an anti-war movement, a group claiming its membership doubled in the last month. It is a TV ad campaign in 13 major cities inspired by a famous anti-war ad from the '60s. We'll take a look at the new one, but first, the one you remember."

After brief clips of the 1964 and new ad, Sawyer noted: "Well, that new ad from Moveon.org is designed by Eli Pariser, who joins us now, and good to have you with us, Mr. Pariser."
Pariser: "Good to be here."
Sawyer: "First of all, the group you work with says that the membership is one million people and doubling every month. You can prove it's one million people? Where?"
Pariser: "Well, we have a million people on our e-mail list around the world -- it's actually over that. We're not quite doubling every month, but in the last 24 hours, we had 20,000 new people sign up on our e-mail list and that's basically the way we do organizing. We get people in and help them figure out what to do."
Sawyer: "As you know, Americans in polls have shown that they are overwhelmingly in support of a war with Iraq, and a lot of them will probably argue to you that the real danger of nuclear conflagration comes from doing nothing if Saddam Hussein doesn't disarm. If he doesn't disarm through diplomatic means, what would you do? Just let him stay there with his weapons of mass destruction?"

Sawyer wondered: "A lot of money involved in this to put these ads on the airwaves. Where is the money coming from?"

Sawyer gently suggested the ad may have gone too far: "Think this is sensationalistic? That original ad back in the '60s only ran once. It was pulled off the airwaves.."

But Sawyer gave Pariser a platform: "And members of Congress are listening to you, you say?"
Pariser: "Well, yeah. I mean, I think they have to listen to the concern of our country. Many Americans are really worried that we need to let these inspections work, that we can't rush to war."

Sawyer ended with another plug: "Alright. Again, Mr. Pariser, thank you, and as we said, you'll be seeing those ads in major cities on television starting today."

For more on 2000 coverage, see:
http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001027_extra.asp
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001028.asp#1

For the text of the new left-wing ad, see the end of item #1 above.

ABC & CBS Champion How Public
Turning Against War, But...

In championing the anti-war movement, ABC and CBS have highlighted poll numbers showing support falling for taking action against Iraq, but a new Fox News poll found support increasing, or at least holding steady.

On Thursday's World News Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings told Terry Moran: "We know there's a lot of anti-war sentiment in the country and from the President's allies even. How much affect does that have at the White House." Moran countered that the White House disputes the premise and cites polls showing overwhelming agreement with the Bush policy.

The night before, on the Wednesday CBS Evening News, Wyatt Andrews acknowledged where most of the public stands but, nonetheless, stressed increasing opposition:
"Overwhelmingly, most Americans responding to the latest CBS poll favor military action to remove Saddam Hussein, but there is some evidence that support is slipping. In that poll, those who disapprove of military action rose from 23 percent of respondents in November to 30 percent in January. Respondents in favor dropped from 70 to 64 percent. Anti-war activists planning a protest march in Washington this weekend say there's growing concern the President wants war no matter what happens with inspections."

But a new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, highlighted by Brit Hume on Thursday night, found support for ousting Hussein on the upswing. The question: "Do you support or oppose U.S. military action to Disarm Iraq and Remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein?" 67 percent said "support," up from 65 percent in mid-December.

That's within the three point margin of error, but does not show the drop off claimed by CBS.

The Fox poll, scroll down to question #21, is online at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75733,00.html

Media Bias? Tax Cut Plan "Unfair,"
But Every Element Favored

More Americans consider President Bush's tax plan to be "unfair" than "fair," but a Fox News poll discovered that when asked for their assessment of each major element of it, a majority agreed with five of the six parts of it, by up to a massive 82 point margin, and the sixth earned solid plurality support.

I'd suggest media coverage just might explain the disparity. Those polled heard repeatedly in the news about how Bush's plan was unfair and was skewed to the wealthy, but when read the specific elements of it each idea sounded pretty good to them.

The poll, conducted January 14-15 for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics, asked: "Based on what you know about the economic plan President Bush proposed last week, do you think the President's proposed tax cuts are fair or unfair to people like you?"

Results:
Fair: 38%
Unfair: 42%
Not sure: 20%

That was question #9 in the poll. Only after posing it did poll takers inform the respondents about what the plan would do, inquiring: "Do you favor or oppose each of the following economic proposals:"

To save space and confusion with too many numbers, I'm leaving out the unsure category and listing the plan as described by the poll takers and then the percent in favor and opposed after they learned what Bush proposed:

-- "Eliminating the taxes people pay on stock dividends"
Favor: 47%
Oppose: 37%

-- "Speeding up the effective date for tax cuts that had been planned for future years"
Favor: 54%
Oppose: 31%

-- "Increasing the child tax credit for parents"
Favor: 78%
Oppose: 14%

-- "Lowering some taxes on small businesses"
Favor: 88%
Oppose: 6%

-- "Eliminating the marriage tax penalty"
Favor: 74%
Oppose: 12%

-- "Eliminating the tax on estates, sometimes also called the 'death tax'"
Favor: 67%
Oppose: 21%

Looks like it's the Washington press corps and not the Bush administration which is out of touch with the majority of average Americans who may be more interested in striving for more than in living through envy.

The poll is online at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75733,00.html

NY Times Repeats Itself on Bush Using
Loaded "Quotas" Term

The New York Times repeats itself. Two separate New York Times stories on Thursday included the identical sentence about how President Bush used the term "quotas" because it's "a word that inevitably draws strong opposition in polls."

Former MRCer Clay Waters alerted me to the repetition in the January 16 edition.

A front page story by Washington bureau reporter Neil Lewis, was headlined: "President Faults Race Preferences as Admission Tool." The story had this as its sixth paragraph, whether written by Lewis or inserted by an editor:
"In a sign of the careful political calibration of his words, the President repeatedly used the term 'quotas' to describe Michigan's admissions policy, a word that inevitably draws strong opposition in polls."

The printed, hard copy version of the paper then had this in brackets: "[News Analysis, page A24]"

The Lewis story is online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/16/national/16AFFI.html

Washington bureau reporter Adam Nagourney opened his "News Analysis" piece, which carried the headline, "With His Eye on Two Prizes, the President Picks His Words Carefully":
"In announcing today that his administration would urge the Supreme Court to declare the University of Michigan's admissions program unconstitutional, President Bush was careful to present a hard-line decision to intervene in the case with soft language, as he has with great effectiveness throughout his public career."

The second paragraph:
"He denounced 'the wrong of racial prejudice' and emphasized the value to society of racial diversity. In a sign of the careful political calibration of his words, the President repeatedly used the term 'quotas,' to describe Michigan's admissions policy, a word that inevitably draws strong opposition in polls."

Nagourney's piece in online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/16/national/16ASSE.html

Other than one comma, the two sentences are identical.

ABC's Shipman Rues Lewinsky Scandal
Anniversary

Claire Shipman Marking the five year anniversary of when the Monica Lewinsky story broke, on Thursday's Good Morning America Claire Shipman recalled how the revelation interrupted great hopes as it came when "the White House was busy building a bridge to the 21st century." She portrayed Bill Clinton as the victim as she bemoaned how "the images of a husband, a father, a family struggling to cope with a personal crisis were shared with the entire country."

She suggested it all didn't mean very much: "It may be, especially in this newly-sobered world, that the Lewinsky episode, as riveting as it seemed at the time, will have little lasting impact, will be little more than a memorable footnote in our political life."

Shipman also marveled at how though Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky "spent only ten hours together," it "almost brought down a President."

By that reasoning you could lament how a ten-minute Oval Office conversation about breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee did bring down a President, but I don't recall any reporters regretting how such a brief conversation led to Nixon's downfall.

But the Washington press corps had to be dragged into the Lewinsky matter as they initially resisted the story and then spent a great deal of time trying to discredit and undermine the law enforcer, Ken Starr. Indeed, Shipman recalled how a "colleague" told her when reminded of the anniversary: "It's like a bad acid flashback, I can't take it!"

Nice to know that one of Shipman's press corps colleagues knows all about bad acid trips. That explains a lot of very discombobulated journalism.

Diane Sawyer introduced the January 16 segment caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"We're going to begin, though, with the dubious anniversary that takes place today, the intern who nearly ended a presidency. Senior National Correspondent Claire Shipman is joining us now. Claire."
Shipman: "Can you believe it's been five years, Diane? It's funny, talking with one of my colleagues the other day, looking at those pictures, he said, [gasping] 'It's like a bad acid flashback, I can't take it!' I remember just-"
Sawyer wondered: "What kind of colleagues do you have?"
Shipman, not seeming to get Diane's reaction: "I know, exactly. But you felt queasy every day going to work, and I remember when that scandal broke, I don't think any of us knew how it was going to play out.
Over clips from the Monica era: "Sex, lies and impeachment. Looking back after five years, what do you really remember? Do you know what really happened? Would you be surprised to hear that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, when all was said and done, spent only ten hours together? Yet, it almost brought down a President."
Lanny Davis: "I've been in the middle of a few frenzies, but compared to this, it was the difference between a bomb and a nuclear bomb."
Clinton: "I want you to listen to me, I'm going to say this again."
Shipman: "The public felt angry and betrayed."
Michael Beschloss: "It was an ugly year, it was a brutal year. People were vicious to one another."
Chris Vlasto, ABC News producer: "Every player involved was attacked, and I don't think anyone came out unscathed."
Shipman: "The start of 1998, an unusually calm Washington. Earlier Clinton scandals seemed under control. The White House was busy building a bridge to the 21st century. Behind the scenes, investigators were swarming. The Independent Counsel's office, looking into the Whitewater scandal, was given permission to extend its reach into another Clinton scandal: the Paula Jones case. January 17th, 1998, as the President set out that morning, he could not have known that the day's events would change forever the legacy he was busy planning."
Clip from Paula Jones deposition: "At any time, were you and Monica Lewinsky alone?"
Shipman: "A surprise question as he testified behind closed doors in the Paula Jones case, and Clinton denied that he'd had an affair with a 24-year-old former White House intern."
Vlasto: "I had the opportunity to go have dinner with the Paula Jones lawyers after Clinton's testimony. They bought bottles of champagne and were toasting, and it was then that I knew something serious had occurred inside that deposition."
Shipman: "The real opening act in the Lewinsky scandal came four days later for most of us."
Joe Lockhart: "I slept in for the first time since I'd been at the White House, and at about 9 o'clock in the morning called in and said the dumbest thing in the history of presidential politics: Is there anything goin' on?"
Clips of newscasts breaking the story
Shipman: "Our stomachs lurched as the bottom dropped out of our national political life."
Lockhart: "The media frenzy that resulted from the first day of reporting I'm not sure we'll ever see again."
Vlasto: "I remember looking at, when Ken Starr came out and there's hundreds of camera crews around him, it was exceptional. You become a bit afraid at how large it became and, you know, you wanted to make sure you were right."
Davis: "Everybody recognized what was at stake here could be the presidency itself."
ABC reporter Jackie Judd: "I have to say when I first heard the words 'resignation' and 'impeachment' uttered, so soon after the story was breaking, it set me back."
Shipman: "Over the next days, weeks and months, we all learned the intimate details of the sexual relationship between the President and Monica Lewinsky. The ties she gave him that he publicly displayed, the blue dress she wore and memorably saved, all culminated in the infamous Starr Report. The images of a husband, a father, a family struggling to cope with a personal crisis were shared with the entire country."
Beschloss: "It's really going to rest on history whether the way that unfolded was the right way for our democracy."
Shipman: "Five years is hardly enough time to judge the long-term effect of the scandal. It may be, especially in this newly-sobered world, that the Lewinsky episode, as riveting as it seemed at the time, will have little lasting impact, will be little more than a memorable footnote in our political life. We do know this much so far: the Democrats lost the White House; the Independent Counsel Act doesn't exist anymore, a move supported by Ken Starr; Monica Lewinsky has had a handbag line, an HBO special, and I almost forgot, she's now planning to go to law school."

Shipman told Sawyer: "I think Monica Lewinsky going to law school is an appropriate postscript to the story, but Diane, it's interesting because one other thing we do know, so many of the even peripheral players in this, unlike other important moments in history, they just, they don't want to talk about it anymore. They really just seem to want to move on."
Sawyer: "And don't we all, in a way. We mark this anniversary with a thank heaven it's over."
Shipman: "Indeed."
Sawyer: "Thanks to you, Claire."

"Top Ten Ways Kim Jong Il Can Improve
His Image"

From the January 10 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways Kim Jong Il Can Improve His Image." Late Show Web site: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

10. Appear with Diane Sawyer, blame everything on "exhaustion"

9. Encourage everyone to call him "Kimmy"

8. Walk around with a wise-cracking parrot on his shoulder

7. Reveal he's not really an evil dictator, he's just posing as one to fool babes on a reality show

6. Goodbye weapons of mass destruction; hello cookies of mass tastiness

5. Catch the Rappin' Kangaroo that ran off with those dudes' money

4. Figure out how to get that last bit of toothpaste out of the tube, am I right, people?

3. Puffing up his hair another couple of inches should do it

2. Offer self-help on North Korean television as "Dr. Il"

1. As long as he's torturing people, how 'bout the ref who screwed the Giants?

#2 assumes there is North Korean television. -- Brent Baker