Newsweek's Bush "Wimp" Cover a "Mistake" & "Juvenile"
3. Young People Pro-Bush, So Are They "Optimistic or Ill-Informed?"
4. Olbermann Publicizes Left-Wing Hit on NRA, Calls MRC "Wacko"
5. Tina Brown Discounts the Right's "Predictable Flap" Over Reagans
As huge fires continued to sweep their destructive paths through Southern California, it meant one thing to CBS News reporter Sandra Hughes: Time to raise taxes. Narrating video of Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, she yearned for a tax hike as she asserted that "the question was asked: Could this be the major disaster Arnold Schwarzenegger, the candidate, said was the only way he'd raise taxes?"
Hughes, from Simi Valley, began her Wednesday CBS Evening News story on the financial implications of the big fires: "What does California need most right now? Money. With his state ablaze California's Governor-elect was in Washington today asking for federal relief and the question was asked: Could this be the major disaster Arnold Schwarzenegger, the candidate, said was the only way he'd raise taxes?"
Hughes moved on to other matters.
Better very late than never? Sixteen years after the infamous Newsweek cover with a "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor'" headline next to a picture of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush driving his boat, the magazine's chief political reporter, Howard Fineman, conceded to Don Imus on Wednesday morning that the cover "was a colossal mistake," "a bad mistake" and "an error in judgment" as the photo of "George Bush looking like an idiot, standing there in a yellow slicker aboard his powerboat," was "juvenile."
Appearing on the October 29 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, Fineman, a regular on MSNBC's Hardball, condemned the news judgment as he admitted that Newsweek had simply echoed a liberal campaign line: "Merely because something is an attack line of an opponent in a campaign doesn't mean that it should be elevated to the cover of the magazine."
The cover of the October 19, 1987 Newsweek, which we retrieved from the MRC's library of back issues, featured a squinting Vice President Bush wearing a yellow rain coat with one hand on his boat's steering wheel and the other on the throttle. To the left, in white letters over the blue sky background, Newsweek ran this headline beneath an underlined "George Bush":
"Fighting the 'Wimp Factor'"
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught how Don Imus quizzed Fineman about the old cover when Fineman appeared by phone on Wednesday morning:
Imus: "Anyway, did you want to apologize for calling President Bush, 41, a wimp, you and your liberal weenie communists there at Newsweek?"
Maybe in another 16 years he'll apologize for his story too.
The kids aren't alright: They like President Bush! A new poll showing 18 to 29-year olds strongly favor President Bush's overall job performance and approve of his handling of post-war Iraq meant to CNN's Paula Zahn that today's college students and twenty-somethings are either naively optimistic or ignorant as she Zahn offered only these two options: "Are these potential voters optimistic or ill-informed?".
On Tuesday's Paula Zahn Now, anchor Paula Zahn interviewed Crossfire co-hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson about the political leanings of young voters and their potential impact on the 2004 presidential race. Zahn started off by citing a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showing that 62 percent of 18 to 29 year old respondents polled approve of President Bush's overall job performance while 53 percent approve of his handling of post-war Iraq. (66 percent have a "favorable opinion" of Bush.)
[MRC analyst Ken Shepherd wrote up a draft of this item for CyberAlert.]
Zahn prompted Carlson's reaction, "Tucker, does any of this surprise you?"
Zahn then prompted Begala for his spin: "Alright, let me ask you this, Paul: Are these potential voters optimistic or ill-informed?"
After finishing the interview, Zahn plugged an upcoming town hall forum which will subjecting the Democratic presidential candidates to questions from young voters: "And be sure to join Anderson Cooper next Tuesday for a 'Rock the Vote' special beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern. We will be following it up here with analysis at 8:30 where we will be standing by live in the spin room and I will have the opportunity to talk with most of the major Democratic candidates."
One doubts that Zahn will question if the predictably partisan audience eating up anti-Bush one liners is "ill-informed" on the economy or the war in Iraq.
For CNN's rundown of the poll findings: www.cnn.com
Helping to promote a left-wing group's publicity and fundraising gimmick, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night devoted a whole segment of his Countdown show on the top news of the day to a subject with no fresh new news hook, an anti-NRA Web site, "StoptheNRA.com," which is getting help from the media to publicize how the NRA supposedly has an "enemies list."
Olbermann took the silly liberal anti-NRA publicity gimmick quite seriously as he ominously raised comparisons to the Salem Witch Trials in intoning about the NRA's posted list of those who have attacked the NRA or supported efforts to infringe upon 2nd amendment rights: "Few terms in the American language bring with them as much shuddering as does the word 'blacklist.' Since its first recorded use in 1692, defined as 'a list of persons who have incurred suspicion,' right through the McCarthy era it has always induced shudders."
Liberal groups also have lists of their opponents, but that hasn't yet bothered Olbermann.
But the MRC's CyberAlert really seems to bother him as he seemed to impugn the MRC's Web site, and by implication CyberAlert, as "wacko." MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed that Olbermann complained: "When the blacklist was revealed, one of the many widely written but not particularly widely read wacko Web sites suggested that I personally should be added to it because I had mentioned the story of the list just here on television on the show."
Indeed, he could be referring to us since an October 21 CyberAlert on how FNC's John Gibson had given air time to the liberal silliness, recalled a Today show piece from the week before and then added (an excerpt):
The night before the Today show story, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann made fun of the NRA list as he showed he agrees with those opposed to the NRA. On the October 14 Countdown, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed, Olbermann opined: "First, what is tonight an easy transition to the sleazy and the journalistically unjustifiable, the segment we call Keeping Tabs. Britney Spears, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore, and baseball's Kansas City Royals, they're all together in one place. Where? The enemies list of the National Rifle Association, so reports MSNBC.com's Jeannette Walls, who offers no explanation as to what the Royals are doing on the list which is on the NRA Web site. The list goes on for 19 pages. Well, a lot of folks out there actually understand the context of which the Second Amendment was written and what the word militia meant in the 18th century. And people like that sure are enemies."
Add Olbermann to the list!
END of Excerpt from October 21 CyberAlert
Apparently Olbermann doesn't have much of a sense of humor.
Leading into that portion of the CyberAlert, the item had recounted:
Like his former employer, NBC News, did last week, FNC's John Gibson on Monday afternoon gave credence to silly left-wing complaints about how a page on the NRA's Web site listing the names of people, groups and institutions opposed to gun rights really is an insidious "enemies list." During his 5pm EDT show, the Big Story, Gibson brought aboard the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and asked him up front: "Wayne, are you shooting yourself in the foot with an enemies list? I mean, even Nixon figured out that's a bad idea."....
In focusing on the NRA's list as somehow a uniquely underhanded way to impugn critics, Gibson, like NBC last week, ignored how liberal groups also have lists which could be tagged as an "enemies list." People for the American Way, for instance, has a "Right Wing Watch" list of 30 conservative groups and even created a special list in October of those supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger. On that list: Gibson's very own Fox News Channel.
The October 16 CyberAlert recounted: Aiding the fundraising efforts of an anti-NRA group, Wednesday's NBC Today featured a hyperbolic and mocking look at an "enemies list" published on the National Rifle Association's Web site. Fred Francis relayed the political polemics of the NRA's opponents -- "too many people continue to be killed because a powerful NRA is constantly confronting Congress to ease gun laws" -- without offering any counterpoint about how many die because gun laws don't allow people to defend themselves. Nor did Francis alert viewers to how the Brady Campaign was using the very "enemies list," which Francis so helpfully publicized, to raise money.
For that CyberAlert item, with links to the original MSNBC.com gossip item, left-wing pages using the NRA list as a fundraising gimmick and to the actual NRA list, see: www.mediaresearch.org
For the October 21 item with links to the People for the American Way's "enemies list' or "blacklist" which does not concern Olbermann: www.mediaresearch.org
Now, back to the October 29 Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Olbermann set up the segment, the second one he's done on the same subject: "Few terms in the American language bring with them as much shuddering as does the word 'blacklist.' Since its first recorded use in 1692, defined as 'a list of persons who have incurred suspicion,' right through the McCarthy era it has always induced shudders. But in our number two story on tonight's Countdown, you'll meet blacklist volunteers. It's the NRA's not-so-secret-anymore blacklist found deep in the bowels of its Web site two weeks ago by anti-gun activists. The list, including such luminaries as Geraldo, identified only by that one name, 'Geraldo,' TV performer, could be some other Geraldo, I guess. Madonna, Matt Damon, Jerry Seinfeld, Britney Spears. By way of full disclosure, NBC is on the list -- I'm not. The sports franchises -- the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams -- are for some reason or another. The NRA's efforts appear to be, what else, backfiring. Celebrities are actually campaigning now to get on this list.
"Undermine their careers"! Talk about wackos, Olbermann is embarrassing himself with such overwrought worry about the free exchange of information. And wasn't this whole segment devoted to undermining the NRA?
Aborn answered with a polemical lecture in which he tried and convicted the NRA: "You know, they probably dared to say at one point that they actually supported sensible gun control laws designed to save the lives of Americans. That will get you right to the top of the list. The NRA is sort of a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoner organization. If you utter a word in support of any gun control law, they will blacklist you immediately. And there, as you've read before, there are many, many people on that list. And you need to understand what their agenda is. They want to pass a bill that would immunize from civil lawsuits gun manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in this country. And who are those folks? People like Bull's Eye in Washington that supplied the Bush Master rifle that used in the DC sniper already. They had 238 guns missing. Somehow they didn't know about it. One of those guns was the Bush Master. They had nine violations of federal law. They were in the top two percent, top two percent of gun dealers with missing guns, and the top one percent of gun dealers selling crime guns. That's the kind of group that the NRA wants to protect against civil lawsuits, and we have got to stop this legislation."
Isn't impugning someone as "wacko" a form of the very same evil "blacklisting" which so upsets Olbermann when applied to liberals?
MSNBC's Web page for Olbermann, with a picture of him that you can print and add to your blacklist folder or bulletin board: www.msnbc.com
Oh, and speaking of "wacko," it was Olbermann who in 1998 expressed the view that "the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler" and wondered that if Starr continued to pursue President Clinton, "would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
Hmmm. Sounds like Olbermann had Starr on his "blacklist."
As host of the Big Show with Keith Olbermann in the very same time slot and channel as his current program, on August 18, 1998, Olbermann "asked" then-Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren shortly after President Clinton's non-apology apology speech:
That won the "I'm a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award (for media hatred of conservatives)" in the MRC's very first DisHonors Awards. To enjoy a RealPlayer clip of it: www.mrc.org
CNBC's Tina Brown, during an interview with CBS President Leslie Moonves aired Wednesday night, dismissed concerns about CBS's upcoming The Reagans mini-series as a "predictable flap" from "right-wing pundits." Moonves called any criticism "rather odd" since it isn't finished and "nobody's seen the film," though that's because CBS won't let anyone see it, but he conceded that at this late date, barely two weeks from its scheduled airing, CBS is still reviewing it, a sure sign they are reacting to the controversy over it.
Moonves told Brown: "There are things we like about the movie, there are things we don't like about the movie. There are things we think go too far, so there are some edits being made trying to present a more fair picture of the Reagans."
Meanwhile, a Wednesday AP story, "Critics Blast CBS' Reagan Miniseries," highlighted the MRC: "On Tuesday, the watchdog Media Research Center decided to take action, calling on 100 major companies to review the script and consider avoiding buying ad time on the miniseries."
From the October 29 Topic A with Tina Brown on CNBC, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, the portion of the interview in which Brown raised the mini-series set to air on Sunday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 18:
Brown: "Was it your idea to cast James Brolin as Reagan?"
An excerpt from "Critics Blast CBS' Reagan Miniseries," an article by Los Angeles-based Lynn Elber which moved late Wednesday afternoon on the AP wire:
LOS ANGELES - The angry buzz over "The Reagans" has grown louder and more pointed. "Advertisers will bail on CBS' anti-Reagan movie," commentator Pat Buchanan predicted on The McLaughlin Group Sunday. Two days later, a conservative media watchdog group announced a boycott call-to-arms. But CBS isn't showing signs of regretting its excursion into political drama. Based on experience, observers say, it probably doesn't need to.
"The bottom line is, the more attention it (the miniseries) gets, the more people are going to watch it," said television analyst Marc Berman of Media Week Online. That spells opportunity for sponsors and ad dollars for CBS, he said....
CBS is serving up a new version of the Ronald Reagan story, just before Thanksgiving," host Robert Novak said last week on Crossfire. "That's appropriate. With all the Hollywood liberals involved, it could be a real turkey."
On Tuesday, the watchdog Media Research Center decided to take action, calling on 100 major companies to review the script and consider avoiding buying ad time on the miniseries.
'"The Reagans' appears to be a blatantly unfair assault on the legacy of one of America's greatest leaders," center President L. Brent Bozell III wrote in a letter Tuesday to potential sponsors.
"Reagan is being portrayed as a hateful, half-nut homophobe," he said in an interview. "It's not that the historical record is being distorted. It's that the makers of the movie are deliberately defaming him and lying about him."
He and others are largely basing their assessment on a brief CBS clip reel or a description published in an Oct. 20 article in The New York Times. The miniseries, from producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan ("Martin and Lewis," "The Music Man") is in post-production.
Especially troublesome, critics say, is how the script portrays Reagan's handling of the dawning AIDS crisis in the 1980s. He is depicted as uncaring and judgmental toward those with the disease, according to the Times.
"They that live in sin shall die in sin," he tells his wife in the script as she begs him to help AIDS victims. The author of the screenplay's final version, Elizabeth Egloff, told the Times there was no evidence such a conversation took place.
But "we know he ducked the issue over and over again, and we know she was the one who got him to deal with that," she said, a contention denied by Reagan White House insiders.
"I never saw an ounce of intolerance," said Ken Khachigian, a senior adviser in the Reagan administration.
Former Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson, author of "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life," said he's seen excerpts of the script: "It looks ridiculous."
Reagan's son Michael, a radio host, has railed publicly against the project and accused CBS of plunging a "dagger" into his father's heart....
Bozell said the fact that CBS isn't disputing the Times account "makes me think it's true."
In a statement, the network said its job was to create programming that "stirs meaningful discourse about the events of our time in a responsible and truthful manner."...
END of Excerpt
For the text of the letter sent to potential advertisers: www.mediaresearch.org
CyberAlert items, from oldest to newest, about the CBS version of the Reagans:
-- October 22 CyberAlert: CBS's upcoming The Reagans mini-series starring James Brolin, aka Mr. Barbra Streisand, as Ronald Reagan, looks to be so slanted against Reagan from the left that even the New York Times has taken notice. In an October 21 story, Times reporter Jim Rutenberg revealed: "As snippets about the television movie circulate in Washington and Los Angeles, friends and relatives of the ailing Mr. Reagan are expressing growing concern that this deconstruction of his presidency is shot through a liberal lens, exaggerating his foibles and giving short shrift to his accomplishments."
For more on that as well as the liberal political orientation of the producers and screenwriter, see: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker