Appearance Alert
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Bush Over Dems by 21 Points, MSNBC: "No Groundswell for Bush" --1/15/2004


1. Bush Over Dems by 21 Points, MSNBC: "No Groundswell for Bush"
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that, as Tim Russert explained on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, President George W. Bush beat every top tier Democratic presidential candidate "by anywhere from 17 to 21 points. At this point in the race it's only a snapshot, but the President's comfortably ahead." Yet this is how the MSNBC.com home page on Wednesday night headlined the finding, "Poll: No groundswell for Bush." And on the inside page, the MSNBC headline declared: "Barely half say Bush should be re-elected."

2. NBC Trumpets Robert Rubin's Success in Eliminating Deficit
Robert Rubin, media hero. On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, reporter Anne Thompson trumpeted how Clinton's Treasury Secretary "helped engineer the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, eliminating the federal deficit and stabilizing foreign markets." No mention of how the installation in 1995 of a Republican-controlled Congress might have had something to do with tempering spending. Thompson concluded her piece, plugging Rubin's new book, by gushing: "Robert Rubin still at top the top of his game, from Wall Street to Washington, and back again."

3. ABC: People Must "Downsize Their Paychecks and Their Dreams"
Dour emotion over statistical reality. On Saturday, the day after the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had fallen by two-tenths of a percent to 5.7 percent in December, a 14-month low, ABC devoted a story to how, as anchor Dan Harris put it, "behind these upbeat numbers are millions of workers who've had to downsize their paychecks and their dreams." Reporter Dean Reynolds, without citing a single source or statistic, other than "one analyst" who remained unidentified, rued as he cited a couple of anecdotes: "There's been a lot of talk on Wall Street lately about the economic recovery, but on the streets where these workers live, there is precious little sign of it."

4. Democrats More Likely Than Republicans to Watch ABC, CBS and NBC
A survey completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that the percent of the public which sees bias in campaign coverage has increased, "but Republicans continue to see more bias in campaign coverage than do Democrats. More than four-in-ten Republicans (42%) see news coverage of the campaign as biased in favor of Democrats." Pew also discovered a partisan split in what outlets Republicans and Democrats favor, with Republicans more likely to watch FNC and Democrats more likely to watch ABC, CBS or NBC: "Fully twice as many Republicans as Democrats say they get most of their election news from Fox News (29% vs. 14%). Significantly more Democrats than Republicans get most of their election news from one of the three major networks (40% vs. 24%)."

5. Human Events Publishes Highlights from the MRC's Awards Issue
This week's issue of Human Events, "the national conservative weekly," features a two-page spread with their favorite quotes from the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

6. FNC's Hume Picks Up on ABC & CBS Spiking O'Neill's Backpedaling
You read it here first. On Wednesday night, FNC's Brit Hume picked up on a CyberAlert item about how neither ABC or CBS on Tuesday night acknowledged how Bush's former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, backpedaled on that morning's Today from his reported claim that the Bush team had changed U.S. policy and were actively maneuvering to remove Saddam Hussein long before 9/11. Hume: "The Media Research Center notes that ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News, both of which had extensive coverage of O'Neill's initial assertions the night before, never mentioned that he backpedaled."

7. "Top Ten Reasons George W. Bush Wants to Put a Man on Mars"
Letterman's "Top Ten Reasons George W. Bush Wants to Put a Man on Mars."


Bush Over Dems by 21 Points, MSNBC: "No
Groundswell for Bush"

NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that, as Tim Russert explained on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, President George W. Bush beat every top tier Democratic presidential candidate "by anywhere from 17 to 21 points. At this point in the race it's only a snapshot, but the President's comfortably ahead." Yet this is how the MSNBC.com home page on Wednesday night headlined the finding, "Poll: No groundswell for Bush." And on the inside page, the MSNBC headline declared: "Barely half say Bush should be re-elected." At least the subhead acknowledged: "No Democrat runs close in new NBC/Journal poll."

Russert, from Burbank before the taping the Tonight Show on which he appeared, ran through the major findings of the poll which determined that by 51 percent to 42 percent the majority want Bush to be re-elected. He emphasized the partisan split, with Republicans wanting Bush to win by 86 percent to 10 percent while only 18 percent of Democrats wish to see Bush remain in the White House compared to 76 percent who hope he loses. But independents favored Bush by 48 percent to 39 percent.

On Iraq, by 52 percent to 40 percent, most feel the war was worth the cost, with Republicans seeing it that way by 77 percent to 16 percent, independents by 51 percent to 42 percent, but with just 26 percent of Democrats seeing it as worthwhile compared to 66 percent who do not.

Tom Brokaw then asked Russert about the fall race: "It's a little bit early for this kind of a horse race, Tim, but the President against the Democratic field. Any of them, at the moment, threatening him?"
Russert: "Tom, we did the horse race questions with George Bush against all the leading Democrats. He beats every one of them by anywhere from 17 to 21 points. At this point in the race it's only a snapshot, but the President's comfortably ahead."

NBC's on-screen graphic as Russert spoke showed a picture of Bush next to a Democratic donkey with this text below: "DEFEATS ALL DEMOCRATS BY 17 TO 21 POINTS"

Yet, anyone who went to the MSNBC.com home page on Wednesday night was greeted with this headline, "Poll: No groundswell for Bush."

Clicking on that headline brought you to a page headlined: "Barely half say Bush should be re-elected." The subhead: "No Democrat runs close in new NBC/Journal poll."

Despite the headlines, MSNBC.com reporter Alex Johnson's story stressed how poorly the top Democrats match up against Bush. An excerpt:

Barely half of Americans say President Bush deserves to be re-elected, but they are even less enthusiastic about his Democratic challengers, any one of whom he would overwhelm if the election were held today, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll found that 42 percent believe the president does not deserve to return to office, compared with 51 percent who think he does....

Half of all those questioned -- 49 percent -- said they were likely to vote for Bush in November regardless of whom the Democrats nominated, compared with only 39 percent who said they were likely to choose the Democrat.

The margins were wider across the board when Bush was put up against four leading Democrats.

The poll found that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean would just barely run the strongest against Bush, who would beat him by 54 percent to 37 percent. Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri all trailed by similar margins, losing to Bush by 18, 19 and 21 percentage points, respectively....

END of Excerpt

For MSNBC.com's story in full: www.msnbc.msn.com

NBC Trumpets Robert Rubin's Success in
Eliminating Deficit

Robert Rubin, media hero. On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, reporter Anne Thompson trumpeted how Clinton's Treasury Secretary "helped engineer the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, eliminating the federal deficit and stabilizing foreign markets." No mention of how the installation in 1995 of a Republican-controlled Congress might have had something to do with tempering spending.

Thompson concluded her piece, plugging Rubin's new book, by gushing: "Robert Rubin still at top the top of his game, from Wall Street to Washington, and back again."

NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, set up the January 10 story: "President Bush is expected to announce an ambitious space exploration program next week, targeting the moon and vowing to land a man on Mars. All of which has rekindled the debate over budget deficits and the appropriate use of tax money. NBC's Anne Thompson has talked with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who's written a book about the challenge of managing the economy and balancing public policy during his tenure in the Clinton administration."

Thompson began: "He helped engineer the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, eliminating the federal deficit and stabilizing foreign markets. But while the economy was zooming, then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, along with his deputy Larry Summers and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, worried about the raging bull market. A frequent topic at their weekly breakfast meetings."

Thompson relayed how they were supposedly "worried the gains wouldn't hold, but not sure. In his memoir, In An Uncertain World, Rubin lays out their reasons for not raising warning flags."
Thompson to Rubin: "If you had said something, did you think anybody would listen?"
Rubin: "Well, that's also a very good question. As you may remember, Chairman Greenspan used this phrase that has now become famous-"
Alan Greenspan: "Irrational exuberance."
Rubin: "And for some small portion of the day, the stock market went down, and then it went right back up again. I don't think the markets would have listened."

Thompson prompted Rubin to critique Bush policies, though she did counter with how "the President argues that it's alright to run a deficit because we're in a war," before concluding: "Robert Rubin still at top the top of his game, from Wall Street to Washington, and back again."

ABC: People Must "Downsize Their Paychecks
and Their Dreams"

Dour emotion over statistical reality. On Saturday, the day after the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had fallen by two-tenths of a percent to 5.7 percent in December, a 14-month low, ABC devoted a story to how, as anchor Dan Harris put it, "behind these upbeat numbers are millions of workers who've had to downsize their paychecks and their dreams." Reporter Dean Reynolds asserted: "There's been a lot of talk on Wall Street lately about the economic recovery, but on the streets where these workers live, there is precious little sign of it."

Last Friday's newscasts had dismissed the falling employment rate by stressing how new jobs grew at an anemic level of just 1,000 nationwide while 300,000 left the labor force. But on ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, Reynolds contended, without citing a single source or statistic, other than "one analyst" who remained unidentified, that people are being forced into lower paying jobs. Reynolds stuck to a couple of anecdotes as he insisted: "For millions of Americans, being employed means lowering expectations. While there are small signs that better-paying jobs are returning, for the most part, the new positions are on the lower end of the pay scale..."

Dan Harris introduced the January 10 story: "President Bush used his weekly radio address today to trumpet new jobless figures, which put unemployment at a 14-month low. But as ABC's Dean Reynolds reports, behind these upbeat numbers are millions of workers who've had to downsize their paychecks and their dreams."

Reynolds began: "For Cynthia Hussey, working behind the jewelry counter at JC Penney is a far cry from the cushy job she once held managing properties in Dallas. Her old job paid $70,000 a year; the new one pays her just above the minimum wage, but she feels lucky to have it."
Hussey: "The competition is very stiff. Sometimes overqualified people are getting, you know, lesser positions than that, and so you just have to take it and keep going on."
Reynolds: "For millions of Americans, being employed means lowering expectations. While there are small signs that better-paying jobs are returning, for the most part, the new positions are on the lower end of the pay scale, and with more and more American jobs being shipped overseas, that's unlikely to change for years. One analyst said it's important for the American worker to come to terms with this new reality. As he put it, there isn't going to be any miraculous job rebound, and to suggest that this economy will be able to create 250,000 jobs a month anytime soon is unfair. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Local 831 of the machinists union has erected a wall of shame, listing a thousand jobs lost in the last three years."
Dave Sacora, local union guy: "It's disappointing, depressing. You can't really compare it to anything."
Reynolds: "Dave Sacora worked at the local printing plant for 27 years, making $22 an hour. Today, he drives a delivery truck for less than half that."
Sacora: "It's the shock of your life."
Reynolds concluded: "There's been a lot of talk on Wall Street lately about the economic recovery, but on the streets where these workers live, there is precious little sign of it."

Democrats More Likely Than Republicans
to Watch ABC, CBS and NBC

A survey completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that the percent of the public which sees bias in campaign coverage has increased, "but Republicans continue to see more bias in campaign coverage than do Democrats. More than four-in-ten Republicans (42%) see news coverage of the campaign as biased in favor of Democrats."

Pew also discovered a partisan split in what outlets Republicans and Democrats favor, with Republicans more likely to watch FNC and Democrats more likely to watch ABC, CBS or NBC: "Fully twice as many Republicans as Democrats say they get most of their election news from Fox News (29% vs. 14%). Significantly more Democrats than Republicans get most of their election news from one of the three major networks (40% vs. 24%)."

To the extent FNC-bashers will point to Republican preference for FNC as evidence of the cable network's right-wing slant, the Democratic allegiance to the broadcast networks suggests they deliver news more pleasing to liberals.

A few excerpts from the Pew poll released on Sunday, January 11, titled: "Cable and Internet Loom Large in Fragmented Political News Universe; Perceptions of Partisan Bias Seen as Growing, Especially by Democrats"

....The survey also finds that the nation's deep political divisions are reflected in public views of campaign coverage. Overall, about as many Americans now say news organizations are biased in favor of one of the two parties as say there is no bias in election coverage (39% vs. 38%). This marks a major change from previous surveys taken since 1987. In 1987, 62% thought election coverage was free of partisan bias. That percentage has steadily declined to 53% in 1996, 48% in 2000, and 38% today.

Compared with 2000 a much larger number of Democrats believe that coverage of the campaign is tilted in favor of the Republicans (29% now, 19% in 2000). But Republicans continue to see more bias in campaign coverage than do Democrats. More than four-in-ten Republicans (42%) see news coverage of the campaign as biased in favor of Democrats; that compares with 37% in 2000. Among independents there also has been a significant decline in the percentage who say election news is free of bias (43% now, 51% then), though independents remain divided over whether the coverage favors Democrats or Republicans....

Since 2000, there has been sharp decline in the percentage of Republicans who say they regularly learn about the campaign from daily newspapers, as well as local and nightly network TV news. And with the rise of Fox News the political profile of the campaign news audience has become more partisan. Fully twice as many Republicans as Democrats say they get most of their election news from Fox News (29% vs. 14%). Significantly more Democrats than Republicans get most of their election news from one of the three major networks (40% vs. 24%)....

For many young people, the content of the jokes, sketches and appearances on these programs is not just a repeat of old information. Respondents who said they regularly or sometimes learned about the campaign from these programs were asked if they ever learn things that they had not heard before, and nearly half said they had learned something new. Put another way, 27% of all respondents under age 30 say they learn things about the candidates and campaigns from late night and comedy programming that they did not know previously....

END of Excerpt

For the complete rundown of the poll: people-press.org

Human Events Publishes Highlights from
the MRC's Awards Issue

This week's issue of Human Events, "the national conservative weekly," features a two-page spread with their favorite quotes from the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

The excerpt appears in the January 12 edition of Human Events, along with a prominent, half-page, listing of the judges. Online, the newspaper has posted the entire awards issue with all of the quotes: humaneventsonline.com

For a listing of and excerpts from other articles about the MRC's awards issue, including pieces in the New York Post, Denver's Rocky Mountain News, and National Review Online: www.mediaresearch.org

For the full results of the Best of NQ Awards issue, with RealPlayer clips of many of the television quotes: www.mediaresearch.org

For an Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mediaresearch.org

For the list of judges, with links to Web pages for each judge, whether his or her own page or a page about their show or work created by their employer, check: www.mediaresearch.org

FNC's Hume Picks Up on ABC & CBS Spiking
O'Neill's Backpedaling

You read it here first. On Wednesday night, FNC's Brit Hume picked up on a CyberAlert item about how neither ABC or CBS on Tuesday night acknowledged how Bush's former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, backpedaled on that morning's Today from his reported claim that the Bush team had changed U.S. policy and were actively maneuvering to remove Saddam Hussein long before 9/11. Both network evening newscasts had highlighted the charge made in a new book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill.

On the January 14 Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Grapevine" segment, Hume announced:
"When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who made headlines Monday by saying the Bush administration was planning to oust Saddam Hussein even before the 9-11 atrocities, backpedaled on those remarks and apologized -- even saying he would probably vote for President Bush -- NBC News reported it. So did CNN and this broadcast. The Media Research Center notes that ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News, both of which had extensive coverage of O'Neill's initial assertions the night before, never mentioned that he backpedaled."

The January 14 CyberAlert reported: Tuesday morning on NBC's Today, Paul O'Neill backtracked from some of his more incendiary comments as recited by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind in a new book. But while the NBC Nightly News, as well as CNN and FNC picked up on O'Neill's backpedaling, neither ABC or CBS did so on Tuesday night. CNN's King highlighted how "others in those early national security meetings took issue with suggestions Mr. Bush was predisposed to war," but ABC's Peter Jennings ignored what O'Neill said on Today and cited how an "official in the meetings," whom Jennings did not identify, "confirmed Mr. O'Neill's account" of how "getting Saddam" was a Bush priority well before 9/11. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who showcased the anti-Bush ranting of far-left columnist Paul Krugman, focused his wrath on the speed of the probe of O'Neill for possibly releasing secret documents compared to the slowness of the look into the Joe Wilson matter. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Neither ABC or CBS caught up on Wednesday night with O'Neill's backpedaling.

On the January 13 Today, O'Neill asserted: "Today the book is going to be available and this red meat frenzy that's occurred when people didn't have anything except snippets. As an example, you know people are trying to make a case that I said the President was planning war in Iraq early in the administration. Actually there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with a notion that there needed to be regime change in Iraq-"
Couric: "So you see nothing wrong with that being at the top of the President's agenda ten days after the inauguration?"
O'Neill: "One of the candidates has said this confirms his worst suspicions. I'm amazed that anyone would think that our government on a continuing basis, across a political administrations doesn't do contingency planning and look at circumstances. Saddam Hussein has been there forever. And so I was surprised, as I've said in the book, that Iraq was given such a high priority but I was not surprised that we were doing a continuation of planning that had been going on and continuing, looking at contingency options during the Clinton administration."

"Top Ten Reasons George W. Bush Wants
to Put a Man on Mars"

From the January 14 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Reasons George W. Bush Wants to Put a Man on Mars." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Dick Cheney needs a new undisclosed location

9. It's part of his "No Planet Left Behind" initiative

8. Great deal on the off-season airfare right now at Expedia.com

7. Maybe we'll find some weapons of mass destruction there

6. We've run out of places on Earth to drill for oil

5. Hoping to get Mork's autograph

4. We cannot back down until the people of Mars hold free elections

3. Dude, free Mars bars

2. Why not? It's not like we have an enormous debt or failing economy

1. Pete Rose bet him we wouldn't do it

-- Brent Baker