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ABC Trumpets HRC's Call for Rumsfeld to Quit as 'Dramatic Sign' --8/4/2006


1. ABC Trumpets HRC's Call for Rumsfeld to Quit as 'Dramatic Sign'
Like the CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Thursday, ABC led with how at a Senate hearing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and General John Abizaid acceded to the "possibility" that Iraq "could" fall into civil war -- what substitute ABC anchor Diane Sawyer heralded as a "stunning admission" -- but ABC also hyped as important how after the hearing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called for President Bush to accept the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Sawyer touted "breaking political news tonight" and brought aboard George Stephanopoulos from Washington, DC who trumpeted how "for the first time, she has called on President Bush to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation." Stephanopoulos asserted that the New York Senator "has resisted that for the last three years" and propounded that though the "chances of President Bush accepting that advice are about zero," it is, ABC's Chief Washington correspondent insisted, "a dramatic sign of how much the support for this war effort is slipping on Capitol Hill."

2. HDNet Puts Up Help Wanted Ads for Dan Rather's Program
If Mary Mapes is looking for a way to fill her days, HDNet's upcoming "Dan Rather Reports" seems to have plenty of job openings left to fill. According to Dan Rather's new employer, the debut of "Dan Rather Reports" is scheduled for just two months from now, in October. Yet according to HDNet's Web site, the program is currently (as of August 3) seeking multiple producers, associate producers and editors -- basically, all of the off-camera reporters and production staffers who make a big TV news show work.

3. ABC's Betsy Stark vs ABC's Jake Tapper on Raising Minimum Wage
ABC's Betsy Stark versus ABC's Jake Tapper on the minimum wage. On Wednesday's World News, Betsy Stark crusaded for the proposed hike, presuming those making the minimum wage never leave it as she maintained that "for the nearly two million Americans who work for the minimum wage, the 10-year status quo has been painful. While their wages have stood still, rents have gone up 34 percent, the cost of seeing a doctor is up 30 percent; a gallon of milk is 29 percent more..." She discredited those against the increase: "Opponents still say jobs will be lost if employers are forced to pay wages they can't afford. But economists we talked to doubt that will happen." The next morning, however, on Thursday's Good Morning America, Jake Tapper asked if raising the minimum wage is "truly the smartest way to help the working poor? Or could that just hurt job creation?" Tapper found economists with an assessment Stark dismissed: "Some economists say a minimum wage increase would eliminate up to 1.6 million jobs for youth." June O'Neill of the National Bureau of Economic Research asserted: "Most economists agree that the minimum wage is not a useful way to help people."


ABC Trumpets HRC's Call for Rumsfeld
to Quit as 'Dramatic Sign'

Like the CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Thursday, ABC led with how at a Senate hearing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace and General John Abizaid acceded to the "possibility" that Iraq "could" fall into civil war -- what substitute ABC anchor Diane Sawyer heralded as a "stunning admission" -- but ABC also hyped as important how after the hearing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called for President Bush to accept the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Sawyer touted "breaking political news tonight" and brought aboard George Stephanopoulos from Washington, DC who trumpeted how "for the first time, she has called on President Bush to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation." Stephanopoulos asserted that the New York Senator "has resisted that for the last three years" and propounded that though the "chances of President Bush accepting that advice are about zero," it is, ABC's Chief Washington correspondent insisted, "a dramatic sign of how much the support for this war effort is slipping on Capitol Hill."

[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sawyer teased the August 3 World News with Charles Gibson: "Tonight, a stunning change of tone about Iraq. The American Generals in charge warn of the brink of civil war."

Sawyer opened the newscast by inserting her assessments of the mood of the military leaders who appeared, along with Rumsfeld, before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
"We do begin with that stunning admission today from the American Generals running the war in Iraq. They told Congress and the nation the fighting among Iraqis is worse than ever. And the next stop could be all-out civil war. You could see the strain in their faces, hear it in their words. And no one was talking about American troop withdrawals anymore."

Following a full report from Martha Raddatz on the hearing and Senator Clinton's lecture of Rumsfeld, and Sawyer getting an assessment of the situation in Iraq from retired General Jack Keane, Sawyer went to Stephanopoulos:
Diane Sawyer: "I want to turn now to ABC Chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos. We have some breaking political news tonight, George?"
George Stephanopoulos: "That's right Diane. You saw Senator Clinton in a hearing earlier today. Now, for the first time, she has called on President Bush to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation. She has resisted that for the last three years. She's calling for it now. The chances of President Bush accepting that advice are about zero. But it's a dramatic sign of how much the support for this war effort is slipping on Capitol Hill."
Sawyer: "Well, that's what I was going to ask you. How long will it hold if it slides toward civil war?"
Stephanopoulos: "Diane, I talked to Democratic and Republican Senators all day today, and the consensus is clear: If this becomes civil war: They believe the United States has no business being there. The support for this mission would disappear."

On the NBC Nightly News, Jim Miklaszewski gave just this brief mention to Clinton's demand: "After today's hearing, Senator Clinton called on Secretary Rumsfeld to resign and on President Bush to accept the resignation. Asked tonight for a response, a Pentagon spokesman said, 'we don't do politics.'"

HDNet Puts Up Help Wanted Ads for Dan
Rather's Program

If Mary Mapes is looking for a way to fill her days, HDNet's upcoming "Dan Rather Reports" seems to have plenty of job openings left to fill. According to Dan Rather's new employer, the debut of "Dan Rather Reports" is scheduled for just two months from now, in October. Yet according to HDNet's Web site, the program is currently (as of August 3) seeking multiple producers, associate producers and editors -- basically, all of the off-camera reporters and production staffers who make a big TV news show work.

For the job listings page: www.hd.net

[This item by Rich Noyes was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Besides the disgraced ex-CBS Evening News anchor, HDNet has announced just one hire for "Dan Rather Reports," tapping a longtime CBS veteran producer, Wayne Nelson, who will be the Executive Producer for new "investigative news" program. (Wasn't "investigative news" what got Rather into trouble in the first place?) Nelson's career highlights include stints at CBS's Dallas bureau, the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes. Press release on Nelson: www.hd.net

The online classified ad for producers -- responsible for "developing, writing and producing quality television news stories" as well as "extensive investigative reporting" -- seeks candidates with "at least 5 years experience with television piece production, excellent writing skills and good story telling ability." Associate producers need just 3-5 years experience.

And they promise good benefits. Just don't send your resume using Microsoft Word -- HDNet specifically forbids this. Use plain text or a PDF instead.

ABC's Betsy Stark vs ABC's Jake Tapper
on Raising Minimum Wage

ABC's Betsy Stark versus ABC's Jake Tapper on the minimum wage. On Wednesday's World News, Betsy Stark crusaded for the proposed hike, presuming those making the minimum wage never leave it as she maintained that "for the nearly two million Americans who work for the minimum wage, the 10-year status quo has been painful. While their wages have stood still, rents have gone up 34 percent, the cost of seeing a doctor is up 30 percent; a gallon of milk is 29 percent more..." She discredited those against the increase: "Opponents still say jobs will be lost if employers are forced to pay wages they can't afford. But economists we talked to doubt that will happen."

The next morning, however, on Thursday's Good Morning America, Jake Tapper asked if raising the minimum wage is "truly the smartest way to help the working poor? Or could that just hurt job creation?" Tapper found economists with an assessment Stark dismissed: "Some economists say a minimum wage increase would eliminate up to 1.6 million jobs for youth. And they argue a better way to help the working poor is by giving them tax credits." June O'Neill of the National Bureau of Economic Research asserted: "Most economists agree that the minimum wage is not a useful way to help people."

The only commonality between the two stories: Diane Sawyer anchored both programs and framed the stories from the left, around how "it is a political war about jobs and justice" and that Oprah Winfrey is pushing for the increase.

Sawyer set up the August 2 World News with Charles Gibson story, closed-captioning corrected against the video by the MRC's Brad Wlmouth:
"And now, we're going to take 'A Closer Look' at the issue being fiercely debated in Congress about raising the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over the next three years. It is a political war about jobs and justice, not to mention the Oprah factor. ABC's Betsy Stark takes our 'Closer Look.'"

Betsy Stark: "The minimum wage and the debate over raising it both seem to be trapped in time."
Unidentified Congressman in 1996: "People who work a 40-hour work week ought to earn a minimum wage that's worth living on."
Jack Faris, National Federation of Independent Businesses, in 1996: "The unintended consequences of this action today will hurt the very people it's supposed to help."
Stark: "For the nearly two million Americans who work for the minimum wage, the 10-year status quo has been painful. While their wages have stood still, rents have gone up 34 percent, the cost of seeing a doctor is up 30 percent; a gallon of milk is 29 percent more; a gallon of gas has more than doubled."
Beth Shulman, Fairness Initiative of Low-Wage Work: "It takes a minimum wage worker working 11 hours merely to fill their own tank of gas."
Stark: "Never in the history of the minimum wage has Congress gone this long without raising it. So why consider it now? Polls show 80 percent of Americans favor it, it's an election year, and Congress has voted itself ten raises while giving workers nothing. Today Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also speculated on the power of one."
Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader: "And I say this seriously. Oprah, millions of people watch that show."
Stark: "On the day the House voted to increase the minimum wage, Oprah was talking about the tragedy of living on $5.15 an hour."
Oprah Winfrey, on her show: "Why wouldn't this be a priority in government if you've got 30 million potential voters who are living on minimum wage?"
Stark: "Opponents still say jobs will be lost if employers are forced to pay wages they can't afford. But economists we talked to doubt that will happen."
Bill Cheney, John Hancock chief economist: "If you go back in time to the earlier occasions when we raised minimum wages, it's clear that you can't find in the data any clear evidence of significant job losses."
Stark: "And here's something else to consider: 18 states have not waited for the federal government to pass a higher minimum wage. They've done it themselves. And in those states, employers are hiring at about the same rate as states that have not raised the minimum wage."
Sawyer: "Okay, a reality check, Betsy. What are the odds and how soon will it go to a Senate vote?"
Stark: "Doesn't look like it's going to, there's no votes scheduled in the Senate, Diane. And the odds of this passing this year, still pretty dim. This measure is linked to another controversial bill, so this thing is still very hot politically."
Sawyer: "Yeah, and about to hit the skids of the campaign this fall."



The next day, on the August 3 Good Morning America, the MRC's Megan McCormack caught how Sawyer introduced Tapper's 7am half hour piece: "Well, coming up on Capitol Hill this morning, big debate about jobs and justice, and what Oprah Winfrey has been doing on her show. The issue is the minimum wage in America. And ABC's Jake Tapper is at the Capitol this morning to tell us more. Jake?"

Jake Tapper checked in with the Capitol in the background: "Good morning, Diane. Well, the federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. That's about $41 a day, not even enough to get yourself a tank of gas. Congress is now debating whether or not to increase the minimum wage. But is that truly the smartest way to help the working poor? Or could that just hurt job creation? After ten years without any increase, the mighty Oprah took action."
Oprah Winfrey, on her show: "Today we're giving a voice to the millions of Americans who work full-time, yet are still living far below the poverty level."
Unidentified woman on Oprah: "I feel like I can't give my kids enough, and that bothers me."
Tapper: "Hours after that program ran last week, one hundred days before the mid-term elections, the House voted to raise the wage."
Representative Deborah Price (R) on he House floor: "The bill before us tonight will raise the minimum wage more than two dollars, to $7.25 an hour, a 41 percent increase."
Tapper: "But is this really the best way to help the working poor? Or does it destroy the very jobs they are in? In Chicago, the city council recently demanded that Wal-Mart and other big retailers pay workers above minimum wage, $10 an hour. Wal-Mart and the business community argue that will mean fewer stores and fewer jobs in needy areas. So who really won here?"
Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute: "Maybe right now the grocery store in your hometown has a person out front helping you load your bags into your car and maybe they decide that that's a service that they can't really afford to offer anymore if the minimum wage goes up another couple of dollars."
Tapper: "Some economists say a minimum wage increase would eliminate up to 1.6 million jobs for youth. And they argue a better way to help the working poor is by giving them tax credits."
June O'Neill, National Bureau of Economic Research: "Most economists agree that the minimum wage is not a useful way to help people."
Tapper: "The reason economists support tax credits is because that money for the working poor comes from the federal government, whereas increasing the minimum wage comes from employers. But that could be a difficult argument to make politically when you consider how little $41 a day is to live on, and when you consider the fact that in the ten years since Congressmen last passed the minimum wage, they have voted to give themselves pay raises eight times, at a total of about $30,000 a Congressman. Diane?"


For more on the negative impact of raising the minimum wage, check a Thursday posting by Ken Shepherd of the MRC's Business and Media Institute: www.businessandmedia.org

-- Brent Baker