2. Network Vet: "Dukakis Was No Liberal and Neither Was Mondale"
3. "Conservative" Rohrabacher Endorsing Schwarzenegger Worries
4. GMA Frets About Bush's Vacation, "Shouldn't He Be Hard at Work?"
5. Job Opening at MRC: Assistant Archivist for Media Conversion
When reporters describe a policy or person as "controversial" you know they must be referring to a policy or person which upsets liberals. CBS's Dan Rather employed the term once and ABC's Charles Gibson used the term three times on Monday night in reporting on President Bush's decision to nominate Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to succeed former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman as EPA Administrator.
Rather, on the August 11 CBS Evening News, claimed the entire agency had become "controversial" under Bush: "President Bush today nominated Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to head his controversial Environmental Protection Agency. Leavitt has already been criticized by environmentalists for his land-use policies. If confirmed, Leavitt will succeed Christie Whitman who resigned in May."
Over on ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Charles Gibson asserted: "President Bush has announced his new nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency and it may be controversial. The President's choice is Utah Governor Mike Leavitt."
After a soundbite from President Bush, Gibson turned to Kate Snow with Bush in Denver to explain why Bush picked Leavitt. Gibson wanted to know: "He is picked to succeed former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman. Hers was a controversial stewardship at the EPA. Will this be any less controversial?"
Snow reported mixed reaction from environmentalists with the Sierra Club "disappointed" but the Wilderness Society willing to work with him.
Wonder how reporters, as cited in recent CyberAlerts, can describe Howard Dean as a "fiscal conservative," a "centrist" and even claim "there's a lot in his record that looks...not only moderate, but even conservative"? Well, they probably see the world through the same very liberal prism as former NBC and CNN political reporter Ken Bode who, on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, seriously maintained that neither Walter Mondale nor Michael Dukakis were liberals.
I'm not kidding.
Bode generously conceded that George McGovern "was a liberal," but then insisted: "Dukakis was no liberal and neither was Mondale. Both of them had several people to the left in those primaries. It was what the Republicans did to them once they got the nomination that made them seem to be liberals in both cases."
By that reasoning, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and George W. Bush cannot be considered conservative since they had people to their right in their primaries. But you'll never hear Bode or any other journalist suggest any such thing though, compared to Alan Keyes, George W. Bush is not conservative.
Bode is very experienced political reporting veteran whose way of seeing the world probably matches much of the Washington press corps. Before joining NBC News in the 1980s, Bode worked for the 1976 presidential campaign of the liberal Morris Udall, though he'd probably claim Udall was a just a misunderstood moderate. By the early 1990s he'd jumped to CNN and then he put in a stint as moderator of PBS's Washington Week in Review. Until fairly recently, he served as Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is now a Distinguished Professor of Journalism at DePauw University in Indiana.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Bode's ideological assessment as expressed on the August 10 Chris Matthews Show, a weekend program carried by NBC-owned stations and otherwise syndicated in cities without an NBC O&O.
Matthews set up Bode in a discussion of the Dean campaign: "Let me go to Ken. You say, Ken, you know the McGovern campaign, an upstart from out West, but a man of the left. Certainly Jimmy Carter, a man of the, a bit of the right or center. He beat the pack and then Gary Hart, another outsider. What's this guy look like? He's an outsider, is he gonna win?"
DePauw's announcement, about Bode joining their faculty, includes a photo of him: www.depauw.edu
The MRC's 1996 booklet, "Team Clinton: The Starting Line-Up of the Pro-Clinton Press Corps," featured a page on Bode. See: www.mediaresearch.org
Back in 1988, during NBC's prime time coverage of the Republican Convention, this was what most concerned Bode about then-Vice President Bush's pick of Dan Quayle for a running mate:
In their Arnold Schwarzenegger cover stories this week, Time and Newsweek each painted the movie star candidate as a political mystery, but described his social stands as either "liberal" in quote marks or "libertarian." Newsweek also suggested his potential marital infidelity was not a mark of an inferior moral record, at least when compared to Ronald Reagan: "It won't change the fact that he's stayed married to his first wife -- a record of marital success the last Hollywood actor to be elected governor of California could not have claimed to match."
Time's Richard Lacayo found Schwarzenegger liberal on several issues but brooded about the import of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, "one of the most conservative members of the California congressional delegation," endorsing the actor. Lacayo worried: "Is that just further evidence of Arnold's gift for befriending people of all kinds, or does Rohrabacher know something the rest of us don't?"
The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert:
In their lead article in the August 18 edition, Newsweek writers Jonathan Alter and Karen Breslau touted Arnold's moderation: "Beyond his peculiar charm, Schwarzenegger's biggest asset is that he's not 'Conan the Barbarian' politically but a moderate Republican whose views are in sync with those of most Californians. He's pro abortion rights, pro gay adoption, pro environment (despite the Hummer) and a confessed 'liberal' on other social issues."
For that article in full: Alter and Breslau: www.msnbc.com
In a more personal profile by Breslau, Jerry Adler, and Jennifer Ordonez, Newsweek raised the infidelity issue, but suggested his moral record was better than Ronald Reagan's: "A magazine story in 2001 -- denounced by Schwarzenegger as a tissue of lies -- depicted him as a serial groper of attractive women who cross his path, and he does possess, as one friend delicately puts it, "a ribald sense of humor 20 years out of date." If there are any more serious transgressions out there, presumably they will emerge in the next two months, but it won't change the fact that he's stayed married to his first wife -- a record of marital success the last Hollywood actor to be elected governor of California could not have claimed to match."
For the Breslau, Adler and Ordonez piece in its entirety: www.msnbc.com
In Time's lead story, reporters Karen Tumulty and Terry McCarthy suggested Schwarzenegger was a political mystery, which would hurt the Gray Davis game plan: "Davis was sharpening his knives again for conservative Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who had spent $2.96 million to get the recall (and himself) on the ballot. But soon after Schwarzenegger got in the race, Issa bowed out, leaving Davis with an opponent who not only has star power but also will be far more difficult to paint as a tool of the right wing. In fact, it could be difficult to attach any labels at all to Schwarzenegger. What do you call an advocate of fiscal discipline who sponsored a successful 2002 ballot measure that requires spending more than $400 million on after-school programs?"
Davis was never described as a liberal or a "tool of the left wing."
For the August 18 Time cover story: www.time.com
In the second, more personal profile, Time's Richard Lacayo tried to explain Schwarzenegger's social liberalism: "Friends describe him as a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative but libertarian on most social issues. They also say he's a true conservative, a man who keeps a bust of Ronald Reagan in his office. What that means exactly is still something of a mystery. Whatever kind of Republican Schwarzenegger may be, it's probably not the kind to give much comfort to a cultural conservative like Pat Robertson. The actor has said he's pro-choice, though how he feels about things like parental notification and partial-birth abortion is unknown. He's loud and clear about his support for gay rights, including adoption rights. He once told Cosmopolitan magazine, 'I have no sexual standards in my head that say this is good or this is bad. Homosexual -- that only means to me that he enjoys sex with a man and I enjoy sex with a woman. It's all legitimate to me.'"
Lacayo reported Arnold also favors gun control and describes himself as an environmentalist, despite his affinity for Hummer SUVs. But some supporters gave Lacayo heartburn: "One of the first members of Congress to endorse Schwarzenegger's candidacy was Dana Rohrabacher, a longtime friend who is one of the most conservative members of the California congressional delegation. Is that just further evidence of Arnold's gift for befriending people of all kinds, or does Rohrabacher know something the rest of us don't?" But he concluded: "Friends say the Kennedy-Shriver clan has softened the edges of Schwarzenegger's politics from the time he came into their orbit in the late 1970s. 'Arnold was quite right wing when I first met him in 1972,' says [movie producer George] Butler. 'Maria has moderated that quite a lot.'"
For Lacayo's piece: www.time.com
Earlier CyberAlert items on coverage of the California recall:
-- Katie Couric certainly has chutzpah. On Thursday's Today, beating Democratic operatives to the punch, Couric reminded viewers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "baggage," from "smoking marijuana" to being "the son of a Nazi Party member" to "allegations" that he's "sexually harassed women and committed infidelity." But on Monday morning, she dared to scold Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon as she cited a newspaper report about how a Simon strategist promised to spotlight "the actor's raunchy past and liberal social views." Couric then demanded: "How dirty will you get?" See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Sounding eerily like Hillary Clinton's claim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas blamed "a determined group of well-financed conservatives ready to exploit" the "weaknesses" of a recall law and unpopular Governor for the circus of California's gubernatorial race featuring "former child actor Gary Coleman" and "Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt," though modern conservatives had nothing to do with the century-old law which made it so easy to get on the ballot. See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- From the MRC's TimesWatch.org: The Times story on California's recall vote noted Senator Dianne Feinstein is out, while action-hero Arnold and "populist" Arianna are in, and offered its readers snob appeal: "Instead of talking about issues like nuclear proliferation and appropriations, as Ms. Feinstein did, Mr. Schwarzenegger made light of his decision to run..." And is Arianna Huffington really a populist independent or just another left-winger? See: www.mediaresearch.org
A few hours before President Bush traveled to Arizona and to Denver, where he announced his pick to run the EPA, Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, on his first day back from vacation, demanded at the top of Monday's ABC broadcast: "President Bush enjoys another month-long vacation. Shouldn't he be hard at work in the White House?"
For the past two summers, NBC's Katie Couric on Today has been the biggest complainer about Bush's vacations, but this year GMA beat her to it just days after ABC's Ted Koppel returned last week following more than a month off.
Yet maybe ABC's reporters need a vacation since they messed up basic facts in their presentation, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed. Diane Sawyer proclaimed: "President Bush has now spent a full 30 straight days away from Washington." I assume she meant to say that he WILL spend 30 straight days away from Washington.
And in trying to show how Bush gets a better deal than others after the same time in a new job, reporter Kate Snow lost a year of the Bush presidency: "After one year on the job, regular Americans average a measly eight days of vacation. The President's four-week vacation comes closer to what Australians and Europeans are used to."
In fact, President Bush has been in office for more than two-and-a-half years.
Now the full rundown of the story in the 7am half hour of the August 11 GMA, starting with Gibson's up top tease: "President Bush enjoys another month-long vacation. Shouldn't he be hard at work in the White House?" Then, immediately after the camera went to Gibson at the anchor desk, he added: "I don't see anything wrong with vacations -- I just took one. Good morning, America, I'm Charles Gibson."
Diane Sawyer set up the subsequent piece which was based on the premise that President Bush's vacation is too long, but Kate Snow did include comments knocking down that notion:
GMA's concern about Bush's vacation reminded me of how NBC's Katie Couric fretted about it in 2001 and 2002. An excerpt from an item in the July 26, 2002 CyberAlert:
Katie Couric's obsession with President Bush's vacation schedule. Last year, before 9/11, she focused on his "excessive" time off and how he's "getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House." On Thursday morning this week, she asked if by taking a vacation in August, while the nation "is still at war," he is "risking a lot of criticism."
Couric wrapped up a July 24 Today show interview with Tim Russert, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, by inquiring: "And real quickly Tim I know that he's gonna be taking a month off in August. Given the fact that the country is still at war, the economic situation is, is pretty dicey right now is he risking a lot of criticism doing this?"
Russert: "They're very sensitive to that criticism. They're gonna have enormous amount of travel out of Crawford, Texas and also hold an economic summit at the ranch in Crawford, Texas."
But Bush's vacation schedule bothered Couric before the war. The August 8, 2001 Today dedicated a whole interview with Newsweek's Howard Fineman to the subject. Couric set up the segment: "President Bush is on Day Four of his month long working vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. But along with the 100 degree weather he's also getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House."
Couric soon proposed: "Howard, I know by the time President Bush returns to the White House he'll have spent 54 days at his ranch. This is since his inauguration. Four days in Kennebunkport, 38 full or partial days at Camp David. According to the Washington Post that's 42 percent of his presidency. Either at vacation spots or en route. Does that sound excessive compared to other Presidents in the past or not?"
For more about the interview, see the August 9, 2001 CyberAlert, which noted that at the time Tom Brokaw was beginning the seventh week of his vacation: www.mediaresearch.org
Job opening at the MRC for the position of Assistant Archivist for Media Conversion. The job notice:
The Media Research Center (MRC), a non-profit foundation in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, and the nation's leading conservative media watchdog, has an opening for an Assistant Archivist. As a part of the MRC's News Analysis Division, the Assistant Archivist will help facilitate the conversion of the foundation's extensive video archive to DVDs. This involves reviewing the tape library, database entry, and burning, reviewing, and labeling the DVDs.
The media archive is the basis for all the Media Research Center's research and publications. Therefore, candidates must have an exacting eye for detail, be organized, able to maintain meticulous logs, and keep dependable hours. Familiarity with the news media a plus. This project is cutting-edge, so experience with computers is a must and an interest in technology is preferred.
Candidates must work at the MRC's Alexandria, Virginia, offices eight blocks from the King Street Metro stop on the Yellow and Blue lines. This is an entry-level position. Approved flex hours are possible with a weekend day included. Salary: Low to mid $20s.
To apply, fax resume to the attention of Kristina Sewell, the MRC's Research Associate: (703) 683-9736. Or, e-mail your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
END Reprint of Job Description
If you missed a lot of the 1990s, the position offers a good way to catch up.
-- Brent Baker