Bill Moyers: GOP Imposing "Radical Ideology" -- 11/11/2002 CyberAlert
ABC's Martin Rails Against Death Penalty for Juvenile Sniper
3. CNBC's Murray Chastises Tax Cut Plans
4. ABC Tags Harold Ford as "More Conservative"
5. WashPost Headlines Betray Upset That Tax Hike Defeated
New Prime Time Show About Liberal Senator, "The Left Chamber"?
Fresh from election victory Republicans are about to use "the power of the state" to enforce "their radical ideology"? That's the fear in PBS land. Bill Moyers concluded Now, his left-wing weekly Friday night show, by warning that "the entire federal government...is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate." That agenda, Moyers claimed, "includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives," transferring "wealth from working people to the rich" and "giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment."
If only it were true conservatives would be thrilled, but I don't recall any promise or effort by President Bush to do anything new to limit abortion, cut taxes any further for those who pay them or eliminate the EPA. Bush is working on the margins of a political world which, to use and overused analogy, is being played between the 45 yard lines. Hardly anything "radical."
And how can wealth be transferred "from working people to the rich" if, one assumes that in Moyers' world, "working people" don't have any money?
Oh, and Moyers also ominously warned that "if you like God in government, get ready for the rapture."
All very reasoned analysis from Moyers, but it probably didn't seem like anything misguided to PBS viewers.
That was the end of his hour. So, three days after the election, on what did Moyers focus his show: The evils of U.S. "imperialism" and the Bush-led "oligarchy."
The November 8 Now opened with Moyers interviewing Samantha Power, a Harvard University professor and author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, a book about how the U.S. did nothing to stop genocides during the past century, and Simon Schama, a British historian who is an expert on the fall of empires.
Power worried: "One of the really deeply troubling aspects I think of the election results is that it confirms for people abroad that the President has support for an imperialistic agenda, that is, that it isn't contested at home, that all Americans are the same, that we're for it."
Then, following nearly 30 minutes on the supposed scandal of how Wal-Mart doesn't pay its sales clerks for overtime, Moyers brought aboard another icon of the far-left: Lewis Lapham, Editor of Harpers.
Moyers wondered: "Who do you think won on Tuesday night?" Lapham replied: "Well, I think the Republicans won and I think the oligarchy won." Lapham explained that by "oligarchy" he means "the rule of the privileged few." By Lapham's reasoning, Republicans won in the elections because "Bush appealed to the country's weakness and fear not to its courage and strength."
(If only Bush and Republicans had the "courage and strength" to eliminate funding for PBS.)
After all of that, PBS viewers were treated to an end of show commentary from Moyers, the self-anointed high-priest of morality, equality and justice. Here it is in full, all two minutes of it:
(I'm guessing "the new House Majority Leader" is a reference to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, who has not yet been elected Majority Leader.)
At least the donors and the public which voted had the liberty to choose whom to support and for whom to vote -- as opposed to PBS, which through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, extracts federal tax dollars from all taypayers in part to fund this kind of left-wing drivel from Moyers.
The Web site for Now with Bill Moyers: http://www.pbs.org/now
Early in the week they normally post transcripts of the latest edition, so you can learn more about the evils of U.S. imperialism, but be aware that the posted version of the Moyers commentary does not normally initially match what he actually said on the show since it's an approximation posted ahead of time of what he intends to say. What I have above is accurate as to what really aired since I took it down myself from the videotape.
Minutes after ABC's Michel Martin assured This Week with George Stephanopoulos viewers that "I'm a journalist, I'm not carrying a brief for anybody," she carried a brief for those upset that Attorney General John Ashcroft had the temerity to have accused sniper John Malvo, a juvenile, tried in a jurisdiction which executes juveniles.
CNN's Aaron Brown was also upset by Ashcroft's venue move, complaining last Thursday night: "This all strikes us as the New York Times put it, like the justice of Alice in Wonderland: Sentence first, the Queen says, verdict afterwards." [See Web Update below]
After uttering a falsity ("all of the jurisdictions available here all have the death penalty available for adults"), during the roundtable on Sunday's This Week, Nightline reporter Martin claimed that "every other nation in the world has joined the international agreements prohibiting the execution of juvenile offenders," asking, "So what does it say about the United States that it is virtually alone?" Since 1990, she complained, "juvenile offenders are only known to have been executed in the Congo, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and the United States. The United States outstrips them by far. Is that the company the United States wants to keep?"
During the roundtable on the November 10 program, Martin argued that on the Iraq war, "there's a vast middle ground that Democrats could represent," between those for it and against it, but she prefaced her remarks by insisting: "I'm a journalist, I'm not carrying a brief for anybody."
Minutes later, host George Stephanopoulos played a clip of Ashcroft explaining his decision to have John Muhammad tried in Prince Williams County and John Malvo tried in Fairfax County, both in Virginia: "It is imperative that ultimate sanction be available for those who have committed these crimes."
Martin railed against Ashcroft's decision-making: "What the Attorney General was saying is that he was venue shopping. He was venue shopping for a place that would execute the juvenile. Because all of the jurisdictions available here all have the death penalty available for adults. So what he's really saying is they're looking for a place that you can execute a juvenile. And I just simply feel a responsibility to point out that the public discussion here bears no resemblance to the consensus on the death penalty, even for adults, because there is not one in American life. When life without parole is available as a penalty Americans are split right down the middle.
Personally, I'd rather be with the Congo than with France.
But George Will offered a better retort: "The question is not whether we're alone but whether we're right..."
As for how "all of the jurisdictions available here all have the death penalty available for adults," that's just not accurate. One of the sniper murders took place in the District of Columbia and the District does not have the death penalty. And while Maryland has the death penalty, the current Governor imposed a moratorium on it, it has hardly ever applied to anyone, and even if the new Republican Governor lifts the moratorium it is doubtful many executions will ever occur because the state's Supreme Court is hostile to it.
I'd also note that Martin failed to credit Ashcroft for his spirit of bi-partisanship: The Commonwealth Attorneys, what Virginia calls its county prosecutors, in both Prince William County and Fairfax County are Democrats.
For a photo and bio of Martin: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/Nightline/nl_martin_bio.html
On Thursday night, November 7, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that CNN NewsNight anchor Aaron Brown began with a "Page Two" commentary against having the snipers tried in a jurisdiction where the death penalty is not a novel concept:
Doing a search on the New York Times Web site, I could not find any story or editorial referring to "Alice in Wonderland" and I came up empty in scanning through editorials from the previous few days, so I don't know from where Brown really got his analogy.
[Web Update/Clarification, 5pm EST November 12: An angry Aaron Brown called the MRC this afternoon to demand an apology, which he told MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey he did not expect, and a home page correction to this item because a New York Times editorial had indeed featured the "Alice in Wonderland" analogy. But an editorial which ran more than a week before the news event on which he was commenting.
I'll meet Brown's expectations: No apology or correction, but I'll provide a clarification.
Brown did not address the substance of the item, his liberal bias in assuming trying someone where the death penalty is an option somehow taints the prosecution even though the punishment won't be chosen until the end of a trial, nor why it is he takes his news judgment from the liberal editorials of the New York Times.
The November 11 CyberAlert item concluded with an aside that had nothing to do with the substance of Brown's argument: "Doing a search on the New York Times Web site, I could not find any story or editorial referring to 'Alice in Wonderland' and I came up empty is scanning through editorials from the previous few days, so I don't know from where Brown really got his analogy."
I was not suggesting, nor do I think any reasonable person would have assumed, that Brown was making up his analogy or lying about it. All I was suggesting was that maybe he saw it somewhere else, like in a syndicated column or in another liberal newspaper, such as the New York Daily News.
I did not find it because I searched back one week (as far back as the New York Times Web site provides full text for free and not an excerpt with an option to buy the story). The New York Times made the "Alice in Wonderland" analogy in an editorial which appeared on Wednesday, October 30, eight days before Ashcroft picked Virginia counties as the venue, Thursday, November 7, the night Brown delivered his commentary.
That editorial, "Competing for the Sniper Trial," included this paragraph:
This update/clarification has now consumed more space than the original CyberAlert item about Brown. -- Brent Baker]
[Web Update, 4pm EST November 13: In an e-mail to the MRC and phone call to Brent Baker after seeing the above "update/clarification," Aaron Brown maintained he was not "angry," but "disappointed" the MRC was not more "stand up" in acknowledging its error, though he repeated his lack of interest in addressing "the substance" of the journalism on NewsNight:
Update, 10am EST November 14: Brown also noted in his November 13 e-mail:
But if they are to cut taxes, they better do something for the poor because of the gap between the rich and the poor, Murray argued in treating John McCain as an unassailable authority: "John McCain had said you can't, the gap between rich and poor has gotten too big, you can't just cut taxes for the wealthy, you really have to do something for people who are hard hit."
Murray was the Wall Street Journal's Washington Bureau Chief until taking over as anchor of CNBC's 9pm EST Monday through Thursday show, Capital Report. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth took down this exchange from the November 8 Washington Week on PBS:
Host Gwen Ifill: "So what next? What is, what is it that the President wants most, other than the short-term, to get through this lame duck session without bad things happening? Or what do members of Congress want? What can the American public expect to see as real fallout, the real result of these elections?"
On the November 8 CBS Evening News, reporter Bob Orr profiled Pelosi: "Pelosi is more liberal than Gephardt and is expected to be more confrontational with the Bush administration. Over eight terms, the San Francisco Congresswoman has earned a near perfect liberal voting record. She supports abortion rights and gun control. She voted against the Bush tax cuts and against the Iraq war resolution. Pelosi claimed victory after her strongest challenger, Texas moderate Martin Frost, withdrew."
(While Orr called Pelosi a "liberal," CBS limits its extremist tags to Republicans. Phil Jones branded Jesse Helms an "ultra-conservative" on January 27, 1998 and in 2000 Dan Rather referred to Dick Cheney's "hard-line conservative congressional voting record." For more on labeling, see the MRC's June 25 Media Reality Check, "MRC Study: On Evening News Broadcasts, Conservative Tag Used Four Times More than Liberal Label." Go to: http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/2002/fax20020625.asp)
As noted in the November 7 CyberAlert, Frost is not all that much less liberal than Pelosi and is far from a moderate. The American Conservative Union (ACU) assigned him a 16 percent lifetime rating and he's earned 74 percent approval over his career in Congress from the liberal American with Democratic Action (ADA).
For more on those ratings: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021107.asp#4
And for another instance of Frost being mislabeled: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021108.asp#4
On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Linda Douglass noted how "Pelosi has spent her 15 years in the House crusading for liberal causes: abortion rights, AIDS funding, the environment. Behind the scenes she led the fight against the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq."
Douglass added: "A more conservative Democrat, Harold Ford, Congressman Harold Ford, says he will challenge, but he's not thought to have very much of a chance at all, Peter."
Harold Ford a "more conservative Democrat." Technically true, but not the best way to describe him since he's plenty liberal. His lifetime ACU rating: a piddling 12 percent. See: http://www.acuratings.com/acu_doc.cgi?ACT=3&STATE=TN&YEAR=2001
The ADA rating over the career of the Tennessean: A solidly liberal 84 percent. See: http://adaction.org/ho00045.htm
The Republican equivalent of describing Ford as "a more conservative Democrat" compared to Pelosi would have been describing Dennis Hastert, during the Republican House leadership change, as "a more liberal Republican" compared to Newt Gingrich or Bob Livingston. That, I can assure you, is something ABC News never did.
The Washington Post's "Metro" editors aren't hiding their disdain for the rejection by voters in four Northern Virginia counties and five cities of a half-cent sales tax hike ostensibly to pay for transportation projects. Though voters in two cities (Alexandria and Falls Church) and one county (Arlington) backed it, it lost overall by 55 to 45 percent thanks to voters in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties as well as the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Fairfax City.
The "Metro" section headline on Wednesday, November 6, the day after the balloting: "Vote Puts N. Va. in a Bind, Officials Say." The subhead: "Lawmakers See Challenge in Finding Funds for Dulles Corridor, Other Projects."
"Businesses Worry About Impact" declared a big headline in the "Metro" section on Thursday, November 7, over two stories. First: "Rail Operators Left Scrambling for New Funding." Second: "Traffic Congestion is Called Threat to Growth in Region."
NBC has a prime time drama about the White House titled The West Wing, though it's affectionately dubbed "The Left Wing" because of its liberal crusading. Will we soon be referring to a new prime time drama about a U.S. Senator and his staff as "The Left Hill" or "The Left Chamber"?
Quite possibly yes, judging by a glimpse at the upcoming show offered by CNN's Bill Schneider on Friday's Inside Politics in which the actor playing the Senator told him Paul Wellstone is the model for his character and the actress playing his Press Secretary cited Nancy Pelosi as her inspiration. Plus, the show is being produced by former Democratic Finance Committee staffer and West Wing writer Lawrence O'Donnell, who was expounding liberal positions this past weekend on the McLaughlin Group.
Schneider didn't provide any clue as to which network will carry it, and I couldn't find anything about it online, so it may be that O'Donnell was taping a pilot episode to shop around -- but Schneider did say it should hit the airwaves in January, which suggests a network has already bought it.
Schneider began his November 8 piece taped around shots of actors and actresses being filmed on Capitol Hill: "They'll be a lot of new faces in Washington come January. This will be one of them. Mr. Sterling. The newly appointed Senator from California. Appointed? Who died? Nobody. It's a new TV series. Mister Sterling, premiering in January, created by Lawrence O'Donnell, who used to be a writer on The West Wing."
Standing outside the Capitol, Schneider asked the woman who plays the Press Secretary: "Anyone in the press in your head as you play this role? Or in Congress or -- do you have any models?"
Talking to the actor who plays the Senator, who looked familiar but I could not identify, Schneider wondered: "And Senator Sterling's model?" He asked: "When you play this role, do you have any politicians or political figures at all in mind?"
West Wing viewers may recall that in addition to writing and contributing script ideas during the first two seasons of The West Wing, in the episode with flashbacks to President Bartlet's" youth (Martin Sheen plays Bartlet), O'Donnell played the part of Bartlet's strict, mean and distant father who was headmaster of the school attended by Bartlet. For a picture of O'Donnell: http://www.politicalpredictions.org/odonnell.htm
> Once again, I've run out of room for the comparison of election predictions to who really won. So, I will either put out a second CyberAlert today with that rundown or will do it tomorrow, fresh bias be damned. I promise. Really.
> Tim Russert is scheduled to appear Monday night on NBC's Tonight Show. -- Brent Baker