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CBS Hypes Bush at "All-Time Low"; Public Rejects Cheney Obsession --2/28/2006


1. CBS Hypes Bush at "All-Time Low"; Public Rejects Cheney Obsession
Though President Bush's approval rating, in a new CBS News poll released Monday night, was just one point lower than where it stood in October -- and thus well within the poll's three-point margin of error, Bob Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News by declaring: "There is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low" of 34 percent. It stood at 35 percent in CBS's October 2005 survey. Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS "weighted" the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On "media coverage of Cheney hunting accident," for instance, the public overwhelmingly repudiated -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted "too much time" compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the "right amount of time."

2. Newsweek on Abortion: "Hard Right" vs. "Pro-Abortion Rights"
The most transparently obvious way of displaying liberal bias is to take an issue like an abortion, and suggest the conservative side is extreme, while describing the liberal, abortion-on-demand side without a label, as reasonable, almost non-ideological. Newsweek's that obvious in this week's issue, carrying the headline: "Reality Check for 'Roe'; With the hard right hoping for reversal, the black-and-white war over abortion finds itself immersed in shades of gray." But where is the "hard left" that's so extreme they would abort a baby that was mistakenly born alive?

3. ABC Laments Apathy, Lack of Anti-Iraq War Activity at Kent State
ABC devoted a story Sunday night to lamenting the apathy at Kent State, a hotbed of anti-Vietnam war protests, toward the war in Iraq. Reporter Geoff Morrell passed along an all too common smear of war supporters as he contended that "many are reluctant to speak out against it for fear of being called unpatriotic." In his World News Tonight piece, Morrell fretted that the "indifference" toward the war "is surprising at this school, a hotbed of anti-war protests during Vietnam, and still popular with liberals." Comments from left-wing students dominated Morrell's piece, such as one who charged: "It's an act of modern day imperialism, where America is going to other countries and moving, trying to expand its borders to take over other countries and use them for economic resources." Morrell even found a vet, who "fought in Iraq and Afghanistan," who became "totally disillusioned." The vet-turned-student declared: "I think it's an unjust war." Morrell touted how "the 25 year-old enrolled at Kent State, hoping he could reinvigorate its anti-war movement," but he disappointingly found only apathy.

4. Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's Annual "DisHonors Awards"
Tickets are on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.


CBS Hypes Bush at "All-Time Low"; Public
Rejects Cheney Obsession

Though President Bush's approval rating, in a new CBS News poll released Monday night at 6:30pm EST, was just one point lower than where it stood in October -- and thus well within the poll's three-point margin of error, Bob Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News by declaring: "There is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low" of 34 percent. It stood at 35 percent in CBS's October 2005 survey. In the subsequent story, Jim Axelrod cited public disapproval of the port deal, declining approval for Bush's conduct of the war on terror and how only 37 percent say things in Iraq are going "well," -- "down nine points" from the fall, but only down one point from 2004. After Axelrod, Schieffer, in New Orleans to mark the six-month anniversary of Katrina, proceeded to recite some Katrina poll numbers.

Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS "weighted" the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On "media coverage of Cheney hunting accident," for instance, the public overwhelmingly repudiated -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted "too much time" compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the "right amount of time." Another nine percent, most likely a lot of journalists and the "angry left," believed it got "too little time." Also, by 51 to 47 percent, most "approve of Bush authorizing wiretaps to fight terrorism."

For the CBSNews.com posting of a PDF of the poll findings: www.cbsnews.com

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To add your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Those surveyed were spilt 46-46 percent on whether "Cheney's explanation for delay in reporting the accident was" either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory."
This poll was not conducted, as CBS News polls often are, with the New York Times.

A transcript, from the February 27 CBS Evening News, which I created by correcting the closed-captioning against the video of what aired:

From Jackson Square in New Orleans, Bob Schieffer teased: "Good evening, I'm Bob Schieffer in New Orleans where the brave people of this city are managing to celebrate the first Mardi Gras since the hurricane that dealt them such a devastating blow. All this on a day when there is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low."

Schieffer led his newscast by piling on the bad news and employing the "domestic spying" spin terminology: "It has been nearly six months since President Bush stood in this square and made a promise to rebuild this city which had been torn apart by the worst hurricane in American history. But so much has happened since that day. The war in Iraq turned worse, there was a dispute over domestic spying, a dubious deal to allow an Arab company to operate key American ports and somehow, the effort to rebuild New Orleans, has become more than anything an example of government bumbling.
"The result is that a CBS News poll out tonight shows the President's job approval rating has fallen seven points since the hurricane to an all-time low of 34 percent [59 percent disapprove]. More than half of Americans [51 percent] now say they have little or no confidence in the government's ability to handle a national disaster. And that is only part of it. We begin tonight with Jim Axelrod at the White House. Jim?"

Axelrod, with poll numbers on screen: "Well, Bob, according to that latest CBS News poll, 70 percent of Americans disapprove of a deal that would allow Dubai Ports World to operate ports in half a dozen American cities. And that was before the latest revolution, that is that the Coast Guard had had questions about the deal. An undated Coast Guard intelligence assessment was made public today that said 'there were too many intelligence gaps' to fully assess any threat the deal might pose. This latest news is no doubt troubling to a President who assured Americans there was no security risk from the deal. On the bigger picture, the approval rating for Mr. Bush's handling of the war on terror, his signature issue since the 9/11 attacks, has gone down nine points in tonight's CBS News poll [43 percent from 52 percent in January] with both Americans in general and within the Republican Party [to 78 percent from 87 percent amongst Republicans]. And the fall-off in support from Republicans is driving his all-time low approval rating. Support from his own party has dropped eleven points in the last month [to 72 percent from 83 percent in January amongst Republicans].
"And if that wasn't enough, married to all this, growing disapproval on Iraq. Right after the elections there, 45 percent thought things were going well in Iraq. But with the recent violence, that number is down nine points [from 45 to 36 percent]. Again, Republican support has also dropped [from 76 to 65 percent]. Tonight the Department of Homeland Security has been in touch with CBS News and says that memo was accurate, but reflected earlier concerns. And as of now the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard are both satisfied. Bob?"
Schieffer: "Thank you, Jim. As bad as those numbers are for the President, the numbers he gets are even worse for his handling of Katrina. Only 32 percent in our poll approve of his response to the needs of the victims. Only 31 percent say they are pleased or satisfied with the pace of rebuilding, 59 percent say they are dissatisfied or downright angry. And it is not just the President who is taking heat over Katrina. Some in Congress are just as upset about the response by one of America's largest relief agencies. From Capitol Hill now, here is Sharyl Attkisson...."

Newsweek on Abortion: "Hard Right"
vs. "Pro-Abortion Rights"

The most transparently obvious way of displaying liberal bias is to take an issue like an abortion, and suggest the conservative side is extreme, while describing the liberal, abortion-on-demand side without a label, as reasonable, almost non-ideological. Newsweek's that obvious in this week's issue, carrying the headline: "Reality Check for 'Roe'; With the hard right hoping for reversal, the black-and-white war over abortion finds itself immersed in shades of gray." But where is the "hard left" that's so extreme they would abort a baby that was mistakenly born alive?

For the article in the March 6 edition of Newsweek: www.msnbc.msn.com

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Even as they claim the abortion debate is more ambiguous than either side would like, reporters Evan Thomas and Martha Brant still displayed their labeling imbalance (labels in ALL CAPS):
"The HARD-LINE ANTI-ABORTION CRUSADERS may be disappointed by the legal realities, at least in the short term. At the same time, the PRO-ABORTION-RIGHTS INTEREST GROUPS are just beginning to grapple with an uncomfortable truth: that many of the million-odd women who have abortions every year are deeply troubled, if not guilt-ridden."

There's more labeling imbalance, as "conservative legal strategists" suggest South Dakota's new anti-abortion law won't win over the Supreme Court, while:
"...the PRO-ABORTION-RIGHTS GROUPS are still partly in denial. Last month William Saletan of Slate, the online magazine, wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times that has set off a buzz of controversy. 'It's bad to kill a fetus,' wrote Saletan. 'You can't eliminate the moral question by ignoring it.' But Nancy Keenan, the new president of NARAL, throws up her hands at Saletan's characterization of abortion as 'bad,' and exclaims, 'There it is again! Judgment!'"

Even at the story's end, as a "liberal" label surfaces, it's not directed at the abortion advocates, who are merely "old-line" (not "hard-line") believers:
"This week [Frances] Kissling and the Center for American Progress, a LIBERAL think tank, are hosting an unusual summit meeting in Washington between OLD-LINE TRUE BELIEVERS and middle-of-the-roaders."

It may be that leftist media-watch groups will complain about this article, too, especially the first line:
"At first glance, it appeared that the forces of the PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT were on the march last week. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS..."

You can just imagine the outrage over an "objective" publication like Newsweek using the word "pro-life" and using "partial-birth abortion" without the perennial dismissive modifiers, or even quotation marks. (In fact, that may have spurred the headline writers to go for the "hard right" label.) But it's rather clear as you read through the piece that the writers are rooting for the liberal side, although I'm guessing they felt that this was a pretty tough piece for the "pro-choice" side (they use that old label, too).

You might not want to read the way the abortion clinics try to persuade their clients they're not bad people as they consent to their child's destruction:
"A growing number of clinics are coming up with coping strategies. At her Pittsburgh clinic, Claire Keyes encourages patients to write their feelings on a paper heart that she later tacks to the waiting-room wall. 'I love you even though I know in my heart I can't keep you,' reads one of about a thousand hearts, which have now overflowed into binders. Keyes gives each patient a polished semiprecious stone to imbue with whatever meaning she wants. The two clinics that permit late-term abortions let their patients hold the fetus in a blanket."

Brent Bozell wrote that up a while back when it was celebrated in Glamour magazine: www.mrc.org

Newsweek is that same magazine which carried this bizarre quote that earned the magazine a prominent place in our review of the first ten years of the MRC in 1997:
"Sadly, many home remedies could damage a fetus instead of kill it." -- Newsweek Senior Editor Melinda Beck on self-performed abortions, July 17, 1989 issue. See: www.mrc.org

ABC Laments Apathy, Lack of Anti-Iraq
War Activity at Kent State

ABC devoted a story Sunday night to lamenting the apathy at Kent State, a hotbed of anti-Vietnam war protests, toward the war in Iraq. Reporter Geoff Morrell passed along an all too common smear of war supporters as he contended that "many are reluctant to speak out against it for fear of being called unpatriotic." In his World News Tonight piece, Morrell fretted that the "indifference" toward the war "is surprising at this school, a hotbed of anti-war protests during Vietnam, and still popular with liberals."


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Comments from left-wing students dominated Morrell's piece, such as one who charged: "It's an act of modern day imperialism, where America is going to other countries and moving, trying to expand its borders to take over other countries and use them for economic resources." Morrell even found a vet, who "fought in Iraq and Afghanistan," who became "totally disillusioned." The vet-turned-student declared: "I think it's an unjust war." Morrell touted how "the 25 year-old enrolled at Kent State, hoping he could reinvigorate its anti-war movement," but he disappointingly found only apathy.

Anchor Dan Harris, over on-screen numbers from an ABC News/Washington Post poll, set up the February 26 World News Tonight piece:
"In the 'Spotlight' tonight, the students of Kent State. It has now been more than 30 years since that school in Ohio became an enduring symbol of the Vietnam anti-war movement. Four protestors were killed there. Today, more than half of Americans say the Iraq war was not worth fighting [55 percent] and most do not approve of how the President is handling it [60 percent]. Many students at Kent State agree. But as ABC's Geoff Morrell reports, they no longer believe that their voices could help stop a war."

Geoff Morrell began, over scenes of the Northeastern Ohio campus: "Bitterly cold and covered in snow, Kent State seems a world away from Baghdad. Most students here, and on campuses across the country, are too busy studying, socializing -- even sleeping, to worry much about the war in Iraq."
Woman student: "I'm just trying to get through school right now, honestly."
Morrell: "But such indifference is surprising at this school, a hotbed of anti-war protests during Vietnam, and still popular with liberals."
Damareo Cooper, Kent State student: "It's an act of modern day imperialism, where America is going to other countries and moving, trying to expand its borders to take over other countries and use them for economic resources."
Morrell: "Indeed, most students we spoke with oppose the war, but believe they are powerless to stop it."
Meredith Jones, Kent State student: "Yeah, we have a voice. But really we're not going to change America. So, you have got to get a whole country to do that. And that's really hard to do, starting in little Kent, Ohio."
Morrell: "President Bush narrowly won Ohio in 2004, giving him a second term. But supporters here are hard to find."
Matthew White, Kent State College Republicans: "There's probably a large number of silent, non-active conservatives and Republicans on campus, who are indeed in favor of the war and of our President."
Morrell: "Freshman David Airhart would seem to be among them. He joined the Marine Corps out of high school, fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he left the military last year, totally disillusioned."
David Airhart, Kent State student: "I think it's an unjust war. And I think we shouldn't be over there. Not only because it's unjust, but because we're the ones fighting and dying. And we don't even really know why."
Morrell: "The 25 year-old enrolled at Kent State, hoping he could reinvigorate its anti-war movement."
Morrell to: Airhart: "How's it going so far?"
Airhart: "Ah, not well. I would say. There are, the majority of the campus is either indifferent or not passionate enough to get involved."
Morrell, over historic still shots of the violence in the early 1970s: "There have been a few small student demonstrations. But nothing like what happened here May 4th, 1970. On that day, the National Guard opened fire on students protesting Vietnam, killing four. There is one glaring difference between now and when this campus exploded in violence 35 years ago. Students today have no fear of being drafted. They have far less personally at stake in this conflict. And many are reluctant to speak out against it for fear of being called unpatriotic. Yet the Vietnam parallel persists."
Kevin Clark, Kent State student: "I feel that this is our generation's Vietnam, like we don't want this to go on. We want it to end. We want it to stop."
Morrell concluded: "While the Vietnam war was especially unpopular on college campuses, polls show no generation gap today. A majority of college students, like the rest of Americans, believe the Iraq war is not worth fighting. Geoff Morrell, ABC News, Kent, Ohio."

Tickets Now on Sale Online to the MRC's
Annual "DisHonors Awards"

Tickets are on sale online for the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards." This year they will be held Thursday, March 30 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Seats are $250.00 each. Last year we ended up oversold, and though we've moved to a bigger venue this year to accommodate a larger crowd, it would be wise to buy soon.

To place a credit card order via either PayPal or the MRC's own credit card processing system, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

(Just enter a multiple of $250.00 for how many tickets you want; ie: if you want three seats, enter $750.00. You will receive an e-mail from us confirming your order. Tickets will not be mailed, but will be held at the event registration table for you.)

That page also has a order for you can print out and then mail in, as well as the name, phone number and e-mail address for questions.

At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest. Cal Thomas will again generously serve as Master of Ceremonies and this year we will feature a "Tribute to the American Military."

Past award galas have featured a who's who of conservative opinion leaders, from Ann Coulter to Laura Ingraham to Sean Hannity. This year we'll have Lawrence Kudlow, Tony Blankley and Mark Levin serving as award presenters. But we always have surprise participants, such as those who accept the awards. Two years ago Rush Limbaugh popped in. The year before, attendees were treated to the Charlie Daniels Band.

But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.

This year's award categories: Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award Slam Uncle Sam Award Aaron Brown Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award

If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:

Cal Thomas, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Neal Boortz, Zell Miller and T. Boone Pickens highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which were presented on Thursday night, April 21, before an audience of more than 950 -- the MRC's largest crowd ever -- packed into the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at the Best of the Worst of Dan Rather and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, we presented a 12-minute video tribute to the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. MRC President L. Brent Bozell then honored a founder of the group, John O'Neill, with the MRC's Conservative of the Year Award.

DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 16 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, who served as judges.

Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Sean Hannity, co-host of FNC's Hannity & Colmes and a national radio talk show host, was the first presenter of nominee videos and announcement of the winner, followed by author Ann Coulter and then Atlanta-based nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Neal Boortz.

In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Colin McNickle of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the target of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" remark; renowned businessman T. Boone Pickens; national radio talk show host Janet Parshall; Midge Decter, author and conservative intellectual; and former U.S. Senator Zell Miller.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon and the Pledge of Allegiance led by MRC Trustee Dick Eckburg.

After the second award category, we paid tribute to Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media who passed away last year, and then Ann Coulter narrated a video review of Dan Rather's worst bias. Later, Cal Thomas urged the audience to put Peter Jennings in their prayers. To introduce acceptor Colin McNickle, attendees watched videos of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" attack of him and, leading into Zell Miller, attendees were treated to video of the Miller/Chris Matthews "duel" exchange from MSNBC's Republican convention coverage.

END Reprint of Summary of last year's event

To watch RealPlayer video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations by Hannity, Coulter and Boortz, check: www.mediaresearch.org

To read about and watch video from all of the past DisHonors Awards galas, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

For the page on this year's upcoming gala, with an option to buy tickets: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker