In Lott Case, Networks Find Conservative Scolding Newsworthy
3. Media Hypocrisy: Skip Clinton Praising a Segregationist
Sawyer Blames Market Fall on Bush Selecting Snow
NBC's Today Gushes Over Carter Getting Nobel
Michael Kelly Documents How Liberal Outlets Have Biggest Audience
>>> Now online, a Media Reality Check fax report by the MRC's Rich Noyes. "Liberal Media Prepare for Future Tax Wars: Anti-Tax Cut O'Neill Praised as 'Truth Teller' While Jennings Is Horrified Snow Might Favor More Cuts." To see the December 10 report, which features some quotes from Washington Post reporter David Broder on Sunday's Meet the Press which have not been in CyberAlert, go to where the MRC's Mez Djouadi has posted it: http://www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2002/fax20021210.asp
Correction: The December 10 CyberAlert cited how NBC's David Gregory relayed an anecdote about a family in "Seamy Valley, California." A pretty obvious error that got past me. That's Simi Valley and the Ventura County community, which is home to the Reagan Presidential Museum and Archives, is amongst the least seamy areas of metropolitan Los Angeles.
In the subsequent World News Tonight story Betsy Stark offered only this highly subjective negative take on the selection: "And there were questions today about whether a man associated with the old boys network and a former Wall Street insider could ever become a true reformer."
Jennings teased the December 10 broadcast: "On World News Tonight, the President names a new man to guard against corporate crime. A controversial choice."
Jennings soon elaborated: "The Bush administration today named a new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission which is charged with preventing the corporate fraud and corruption and other skulduggery that has been dragging the economy down. ABC's Betsy Stark is here tonight. His name is Bill Donaldson, he's a Wall Street insider and a fairly controversial appointment."
Stark discovered a "a mixed reaction today" before recounting his "impressive resume" and noting how Wall Street "applauded" the choice of one of their own. But, she warned in leading into a soundbite from a woman with something called RestoreTheTrust.com: "And there were questions today about whether a man associated with the old boys network and a former Wall Street insider could ever become a true reformer."
Suddenly conservatives are wise sages worth citing. With significant conservative opinion leaders scolding Republican Senate leader Trent Lott for his suggestion at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party last Thursday that the country "wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond had won his 1948 segregationist presidential bid, the networks decided that what conservatives think was worthy of highlighting.
ABC's World News Tonight showcased the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online and ran a soundbite from New York Post columnist/editorial writer Robert George who also was invited onto CNN's NewsNight for an interview with Aaron Brown and onto ABC's Nightline. The NBC Nightly News quoted Rush Limbaugh.
Both ABC and NBC reporters failed to label the NAACP as liberal but described those on the conservative side as "conservative." CBS's Dan Rather imputed great credibility to the NAACP by describing it as "the oldest civil rights group in the United States," instead of as a liberal pressure group which regularly denigrates conservatives.
Obviously, the media hypocrisy in jumping on Lott's comments is great given how they ignored former Klansman and Democratic Senator Robert Byrd's use of the "N" word last year and have long given Democratic politicians a pass even though the Democratic Party was the party of one-party racist/segregationist rule for over a century, a legacy that Louisiana has yet to overcome in having not elected a Republican Senator since federal troops pulled out and thus allowed the segregationists Democrats to take control.
Plus there's Bill Clinton's praising of the racist, segregationist former Senator William Fulbright, for whom he once worked, a record highlighted by National Review Online on Tuesday in a story that did not interest the rest of the media. More on that in item #3 below.
And while every story rand a soundbite from NAACP chief Kweisi Mfume demanding that Lott step down, back in 2000 none of the evening shows ever told viewers about a vicious NAACP ad suggesting that George W. Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill means he'd "killed" James Byrd "all over again."
But, as some prominent conservatives have observed, Democratic wrongs do not excuse wrong-headed notions from Republicans, especially espousing views which falsely malign all conservatives by giving ammunition to the enemy to portray conservatives as racists, though there are other conservatives, such as Bob Novak and Sean Hannity, who contend that Lott is being unfairly persecuted for a gaffe when all he was doing was effusively pouring on the praise at a birthday party.
All the stories on Tuesday night played this clip of Lott referring to his home state of Mississippi: "When Strom Thurmond ran for President, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Peter Jennings set up the December 10 World News Tonight piece: "The Republican Senator who's going to be majority leader is under attack again today for comments he made at a birthday party last week. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi has apologized but there are still widespread accusations that the Republican leader revealed some racist sentiments."
Linda Douglass noted how "today the NAACP demanded Lott resign as Majority Leader, calling his remarks 'blatant bigotry." Following soundbites from Mfume and incoming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denouncing Lott's "sentiments," Douglass asserted:
Over on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Dan Rather intoned: "The oldest civil rights group in the United States, the NAACP, called today on Republican Trent Lott to resign his leadership position in the U.S. Senate because of comments the group branded as quote, 'hateful bigotry.' Many Republicans say they're also disappointed in the remarks."
Bob Schieffer concluded his story: "Whatever Lott meant, Democrats believe they've found an issue. So expect to hear more on his one."
And the networks are sure to make sure the Democrats get their message out.
NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw announced: "Now to a growing controversy over remarks made last night by, last week by the incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. It happened at Strom Thurmond's Capitol Hill birthday party when Lott openly embraced Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign which was based on racial segregation."
Norah O'Donnell reported how "today criticism came from not only African-American groups," and after a clip of Mfume O'Donnell finished her sentence, "but also from fellow conservatives, like radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who called Lott's comments 'indefensible and stupid.'"
O'Donnell concluded: "Today the NAACP said the President has an obligation to publicly repudiate Lott's comments or else African-Americans will continue to be distrustful of the Republican Party."
Now, some of what the conservatives, whom the media suddenly found so wise, said on Tuesday.
The RushLimbaugh.com Web site featured this quote from his show: "What Lott said is utterly indefensible and stupid. I don't even want to attempt to explain or defend it. Yes, there's a double standard on this stuff, but you have to take this into account before you open your stupid mouth."
National Review Online posted a piece by Byron York, "The Growing Fire Around Trent Lott: His latest apology does little to stop a spreading controversy." It's online at: http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york121002b.asp
Naturally, the networks, other than FNC, have yet to pick up on York's story about the vote fraud in South Dakota which allowed incumbent Democratic senator Tim Johnson to hold onto his seat.
"Vacant Lott: The GOP and the Ghosts of Mississippi," read the headline over a National Review Online piece by Robert George adapted from that day's New York Post. George asked: "Can George W. Bush and the Republican party really afford to have Trent Lott (R., Miss.) be its face in the United States Senate?" To read it: http://www.nationalreview.com/george/george121002.asp
In a Weekly Standard posting, Stephen Hayes ran Lott's quote and then asked:
Hayes also worried: "Every two years, Democrats and their friends spend millions of dollars to convince black voters that Republicans are little more than unreconstructed segregationists. Al Gore says Republicans use 'colorblind' as hunters use a 'duck blind.' The DNC tells blacks that a vote for a Republican is a vote for 'church-burnings.' State Democratic parties evoke images of rabid dogs and Bull Connor. Jesse Jackson warns that the GOP will 'take us back to 1896' -- the year the Supreme Court endorsed segregation. The NAACP hints that Republicans favor lynchings. And on and on it goes.
For the Hayes piece, creatively titled "Thanks a Lott," go to:
As noted above in item #2 today, the media are hypocritical in focusing on Trent Lott's racially-polarizing comments while for years they rarely cared about current Democratic ties to the party's recent segregationist one-party rule in the South. Yet that does not excuse Lott or make his comments not newsworthy.
But in a piece for National Review Online on Tuesday, Mark Levin provided an excellent case in point of the media's hypocrisy in how they have ignored Bill Clinton's praising of a racist, segregationist former Senator. In a moment eerily similar to Lott with Thurmond, at a 1993 birthday party for Fulbright, Clinton gushed: "The American political system produced this remarkable man, and my state did, and I'm real proud of it."
An excerpt from Levin's December 10 piece, "Selective Moral Outrage: Looking beyond Trent Lott's gaffe." The excerpt:
On Tuesday, October 22, 2002, Bill Clinton traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to honor the life of the late Arkansas senator, J. William Fulbright by dedicating a seven-foot-tall bronze statue of the man....
Among other things, Clinton said, "If [Fulbright] were here today, I'm sure he would caution us not to be too utopian in our expectations, but rather utopian in our values and vision."
And back on May 5, 1993, in what the Washington Post characterized as a "...moving 88th birthday ceremony for former senator William Fulbright, President Clinton last night bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the man he described as a visionary humanitarian, a steadfast supporter of the values of education, and 'my mentor.'" Clinton added, "It doesn't take long to live a life. He made the best of his, and helped us to have a better chance to make the best of ours...The American political system produced this remarkable man, and my state did, and I'm real proud of it."
Of course, the man Clinton was praising, who he called his "mentor," who supposedly embraced utopian values and made the world a better place for everyone, was also a rabid segregationist.
In 1956, Fulbright was one of 19 senators who issued a statement entitled the "Southern Manifesto." This document condemned the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Its signers stated, among other things, that "We commend the motives of those States which have declared the intention to resist forced integration by any lawful means."...
Fulbright later voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He voted against the 1965 Voting Rights Act. And he did so because he believed in separating the races -- in schools and other public places. He was a segregationist, heart and soul.
Now, given the turmoil surrounding Trent Lott's foolish statement last week about Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign, you'd think there would have been at least some outcry when Bill Clinton lionized Fulbright a mere six weeks ago, or when he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. But there was nothing in the Washington Post admonishing Clinton, which today published a scathing editorial against Lott. There was no criticism in the New York Times, which today is running a vicious column by Paul Krugman implying that Lott is an overt racist.
And while I'm on the subject, I don't remember some of the conservatives now voicing outrage at Lott holding Clinton to the same standard either in 1993 or October of this year.
But I'm not making excuses for Trent Lott. He should have apologized for his insensitive comments, and he did. Nor am I making excuses for Strom Thurmond's past. I'm questioning the hypocrisy of selective moral outrage by the Left.
END of Excerpt
For Levin's piece in full: http://www.nationalreview.com/levin/levin121002b.asp
(I have no idea what the broadcast network morning shows did this morning with the Lott matter since none of the Washington, DC affiliates carried any of the programs so they could instead offer non-stop video of reporters standing in the rain talking about icing.)
Diane Sawyer blamed Monday's market downturn on President Bush's nomination of John Snow for Treasury Secretary, suggesting a pattern: "It's not the first time when the President has made some economic proclamation that the market has taken a dive." When CNN's Lou Dobbs disagreed with her premise, Sawyer gleefully pointed out how "the CNN Web site...says quote, 'Bush pick falls flat with investors.'" That prompted Dobbs to say his network's Web site was "utterly wrong."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught the exchange on the December 10 Good Morning America:
Sawyer: "Well, how did Wall Street react to the President's new economic team? Well, if you take the first glance, the Dow Jones average plummeted 172 points by the end of the day yesterday, and when we want to know what the Street is really thinking, we go to our friend, CNN Moneyline anchor, Lou Dobbs, who joins us this morning. You were laughing when I said that, but the market down 172 points -- it's not the first time when the President has made some economic proclamation that the market has taken a dive. Is it a commentary, is it a commentary on John Snow, soon-to-be, presumably, Treasury Secretary?"
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down in sequence the admiring remarks aired on the December 1O Today:
-- At the top of the show Couric trumpeted: "President Carter's crowning achievement, of course, the Camp David Accords, designed to forge peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately that seems like a distant memory but it's so nice to see former President Jimmy Carter honored this way."
Ann Curry set up a news story: "Even as the U.S. prepares for a possible war with Iraq today former President Jimmy Carter accepts the top prize for peace, the Nobel Peace Prize."
-- Later, at the time Carter was receiving his award in Norway, Couric enthused: "We also want to tell you what's going on right now. A ceremony is being held to bestow the Nobel Peace Prize on former President Jimmy Carter, that is in Oslo, Norway. It's a terrific honor for him for all the work while he did while he was President and of course he is considered by many as one of the finest former presidents this country has ever seen. Once again we send our heartfelt congratulations to President Jimmy Carter."
-- A bit after the ceremony, Today ran a soundbite from it and then Matt Lauer applauded: "What a nice moment. Surrounded by his family including his children and grandchildren Jimmy Carter accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo this morning. He was honored for his peace movement that began almost three decades ago."
Curry delivered another critical-free story: "As Matt mentioned, former President Jimmy Carter received one of the world's great honors today. The Nobel Peace Prize. The million dollar prize was awarded to Carter in Oslo, Norway this morning for his decades of work for peace, human rights and democracy. In accepting the prize Carter said the world must work through the U.N. to achieve any lasting peace. And he called on Saddam Hussein to disarm....Carter also said quote, 'War may sometimes be a necessary evil.' But he added, 'We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.'"
> The October 14 CyberAlert recounted: Anchors and reporters hailed former President Jimmy Carter for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, without a negative syllable about his activities. Katie Couric heralded Carter as a "man of peace" before she giggled about how "it's so wonderful" that he won. Peter Jennings trumpeted Carter's award "for two decades of service to the world" and passed along the view that Carter is "the only man who has ever used the presidency as a stepping stone to greatness." CNBC's Brian Williams wondered: "Is it fair to call him the best former President in, at minimum, modern American history, and perhaps, well, I guess, the last 200 years?" For all of that plus a brief look at Carter's misguided and often American-bashing efforts:
You've read the point here many times, sometimes with numbers, but syndicated columnist Michael Kelly has provided a comprehensive set of rating levels. In his latest column, Kelly gives the audience numbers to show that the mainstream, dominant liberal media outlets have a far greater audience than the media outlets liberals consider so conservative and influential.
Kelly was reacting to the recent claims by Al Gore, Time's Jack White, in a quote first cited by the MRC, and last week's column by former New York Times and Washington Post reporter E.J Dionne who asserted that the media are now dominated by conservative voices: "It took conservatives a lot of hard and steady work to push the media rightward. It dishonors that work to continue to presume that -- except for a few liberal columnists -- there is any such thing as the big liberal media. The media world now includes (1) talk radio, (2) cable television and (3) the traditional news sources (newspapers, newsmagazines and the old broadcast networks). Two of these three major institutions tilt well to the right, and the third is under constant pressure to avoid even the pale hint of liberalism."
To read Dionne's column in full, which cited the intimidation success of the "ever-alert conservative Media Research Center": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16431-2002Dec5.html
For my take on how Dionne exaggerated the influence of talk radio and FNC and underplayed the influence of the much more watched broadcast networks, see the December 9 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021209.asp#5
In his column published in today's, December 11, Washington Post, Kelly, who was until recently the Editor of The Atlantic magazine, ran through the claims by Gore and others that they lost the election because of the rise of conservative media outlets which follow the direction of the Republican Party. Then he documented how "Gore's 'major institutional voices' are in fact minor (although frequently loud) voices in a very large symphony." An excerpt:
In its search for What Went Wrong, liberalism has decided to admit that it has a problem. Surprisingly, the problem is us -- the news media. We went wrong, or rather, right. We went and became conservative....
What Gore believes, it has become clear, is a new liberal group wisdom: The liberal media are no more; the national press, wittingly or not, now presents the news with a conservative slant....
"Sooner or later, I think we're all going to have to acknowledge that the myth of the liberal bias in the press is just that, it's a myth," affirms liberal Time magazine columnist Jack White.
The true "new bias" of the media, reports liberal Washington Post columnist E.J Dionne Jr., "adds up to [a] media heavily biased toward conservative politics and conservative politicians."...
"Al Gore said the obvious," writes the liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who now commonly refers to "the liberal media" with sarcastic quotation marks.
Let's begin by considering the "major institutional voices" that Gore named as driving the entire national media rightward, ho.
There are precisely three, all openly conservative: Fox News Channel, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the Washington Times.
Fox News has surpassed CNN as the news leader on cable, with, as of last week, 800,000 viewers to CNN's 600,000. The evening broadcasts of NBC, ABC, CBS and PBS were viewed last week by, respectively, 11.4 million, 10.5 million, 8.8 million and 2.7 million people. In addition, there are the tens of millions who weekly watch the networks' morning shows and news magazine shows.
The Washington Times has a daily circulation of 109,000. The top 10 newspapers in America -- USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the (New York) Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post and Newsday -- reach roughly 9.8 million people daily. The second 10 largest newspapers reach another 4.3 million readers a day.
Rush Limbaugh's radio show reaches upward of 14.5 million listeners a week. (Fellow right-wing talker Sean Hannity reaches upward of 10 million.) The news magazine programs of National Public Radio draw a combined total of almost 17.2 million people a week....
The news organizations listed above make up the heart of the national news media, to which could be added the Associated Press, with 6,700 subscribing news organizations in America, the weekly newsmagazines, with their combined circulation of 9.3 million, and the "serious" and "thought-leader" magazines, with a few more million subscribers....
END of Excerpt
Kelly goes on to cite poll numbers to show the liberal views of mainstream journalists.
For more about what Time's Jack White opined on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, see the November 18 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021118.asp#5
To read Kelly's column in full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37709-2002Dec10.html
Kelly ended by promising that in his column next week he'll look at whether "a (still) largely liberal news media (still) exhibit a largely liberal bias? Or not?"
If he doesn't know the answer yet, all Kelly has to do is review CyberAlerts. -- Brent Baker