CBS News Turns Huge Bush Lead Amongst Veterans Into a Negative --6/7/2004
GMA Can Only Find WWII Veterans Opposed to War in Iraq
3. News of 248,000 Jobs Created Leads CBS to Focus on Ohio Layoffs
CyberAlert Examines Initial Coverage of Reagan's Passing
Correction: Item #2 in the June 4 CyberAlert referred to a CBS News reporter as both "David Axelrod" and "Jim Axelrod." His first name is Jim.
CBS News on Friday released another finding from its poll taken May 20-23 and though it found a huge lead for President Bush over John Kerry amongst veterans, 54 to 40 percent, a group Kerry is courting by touting his combat veteran status, CBS managed to turn the poll into a negative for Bush, not Kerry. "While a new CBS News poll finds [Bush] still enjoys their overwhelming support," reporter John Roberts in Normandy stressed how "55 percent now say the Iraq war wasn't worth the cost and some veterans, whose backing of the President is still firm, complain he needs a new plan."
That 54 to 40 Bush lead compares to a Kerry lead in the same poll of 49 to 41 percent amongst the entire population.
Only later in Friday's CBS Evening News did anchor Dan Rather note that the poll determined that "veterans in general are also more positive than Americans overall about how the Iraq war is going and unlike the general public, most vets say U.S. involvement in Iraq was not a mistake."
Roberts began his June 4 story about Bush's arrival in Italy: "Sixty years to the day it was liberated by allied troops, Rome was again a city under siege today. The protests, and the overwhelming show of force to keep it reined in, underscore how much the Iraq war has changed America's image aboard. Even Pope John Paul II had tough words for President Bush, urging a swift end to the occupation. He denounced the deplorable events at Abu Ghraib prison and advised the President to fully involve the UN in the transition to democracy...."
Roberts soon pointed out: "Even among veterans, a core constituency of the President's, there is dissent. While a new CBS News poll finds he still enjoys their overwhelming support, 55 percent now say the Iraq war wasn't worth the cost and some veterans, whose backing of the President is still firm, complain he needs a new plan."
On screen, CBS quickly displayed two poll results amongst registered voters:
Under "Veterans' choice for President," these percents below side-by-side photos:
For "Was Iraq war worth the cost?" amongst veterans, No: 55%
Walking with tombstones in background, Roberts concluded: "President Bush is banking that a heavy show of symbolism here will rally the world to his call to re-build Iraq in much the same way it did Europe 60 years ago. But 60 years ago the world was a far more united place and America's intentions unquestioned."
Later, introducing a story on extended enlistments, Rather recounted a couple of more poll findings: "As we reported earlier, a CBS News poll shows most U.S. military veterans still support President Bush. Veterans in general are also more positive than Americans overall about how the Iraq war is going and unlike the general public, most vets say U.S. involvement in Iraq was not a mistake."
On screen, "How is war going for U.S.?"
"Was U.S. involvement in Iraq a mistake?"
For CBS's rundown of its poll results amongst veterans: www.cbsnews.com
ABC's David Wright, for Friday's Good Morning America, managed to find, in Normandy, only D-Day veterans who oppose the Iraq war. Diane Sawyer elevated the relevance of the views of the vets by suggesting that "in our troubled times there are a lot of powerful lessons to be learned on the beaches of Normandy." Wright reported that those "who were proud to serve here, say they would never sign up there." Wright showcased two World War II veterans, one who declared that "I think it's going to be another Vietnam" and a second who asserted: "It's just against what I believe in. So if I had a kid, I would not advise him to volunteer for this war."
Sawyer set up the June 4 story, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "We want to turn now because it is the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Six decades ago this Sunday, the Allies, the bravest generation, launched that epic battle that's come to embody the fight between freedom and fascism, and in our troubled times there are a lot of powerful lessons to be learned on the beaches of Normandy. Here's ABC's David Wright."
Wright began from France: "Good morning. For 60 years this has been hallowed ground, the place where 10,000 Allied soldiers gave their lives in a single day. This weekend President Bush will be here to pay tribute on an anniversary that grows more poignant each year. They say old soldiers never die, but the greatest generation is fading away. Old age now claims twice as many veterans each year as landed on Normandy on D-Day. June 6, 1944, the longest day for 156,000 men, an invasion force roughly equal to all the U.S. troops now in Iraq....Also this year, for the first time ever, the German Chancellor will be here, his country an enemy no more. For France and the U.S., divided over Iraq, the anniversary will be a powerful reminder of friendship. The war in Iraq looms large this year. Eighty-one-year-old Robert Spears is here with his grandson Joshua, who just got back from Baghdad."
On Friday, the Department of Labor announced the good economic news that while the unemployment rate held even at 5.6 percent in May, 248,000 new jobs were created and earlier job growth numbers were revised upward. So how did the CBS Evening News bring this upbeat news to life for its viewers? By focusing on an Ohio company which is laying off employees. "After 103 years," reporter Jim Axelrod intoned, "work at this plant in Canton Ohio is set to stop. The Timken Company is shutting three factories and shedding 1300 jobs."
Axelrod, who stressed how a Republican cannot win the presidency without winning Ohio, showcased a local restaurant owner who voted for Bush but won't again and a Timken worker who predicted the plant closing may push voters over to Kerry: "It might not be the straw that switches the election here in Ohio, but it'll be one of them." Axelrod warned: "Overall, the manufacturing sector in Ohio is seeing some signs of life. That would be good for the President. But the 1300 jobs lost here, at a company whose chairman is one of his strongest supporters, that's bad for the President, very bad."
Meanwhile, ABC and NBC on Friday night offered conflicting takes on whether the strong employment numbers might mean the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates because the economy is "overheating."
On ABC's World News Tonight, Betsy Stark concluded: "Today's employment report gives the Federal Reserve one more reason to raise interest rates later this month. The worry is no longer pumping up the economy. The job now is to keep it from overheating."
But on the NBC Nightly News, Anne Thompson asserted: "While jobs are being created, the economy is not overheating, so economists say there is no need for the Federal Reserve to drastically hike interest rates to cool things down. The job market finally gaining momentum, but is it enough to put over eight million unemployed Americans back to work?"
Dan Rather introduced the dour June 4 CBS Evening News story: "With the U.S. economy recovering, employers have started doing some serious hiring and workers are jumping back into the job market. The government reported today that unemployment held steady in May at 5.6 percent as the economy created 248,000. So far this year the economy's added nearly 1.2 million. But while the jobs picture is improving nationally, there are still some problems locally and CBS's Jim Axelrod reports on that a presidential election could turn."
Axelrod began, over a shot of a Timken building: "After 103 years, work at this plant in Canton, Ohio is set to stop. The Timken Company is shutting three factories and shedding 1300 jobs."
Recent CyberAlert items documenting how the networks emphasize the negative on the economy:
-- May 28. On Monday night, the NBC Nightly News found the time to falsely claim gas prices hit a new "record" price and for reporter Anne Thompson to focus a full story on the "ripple effects of two dollar gas," including a Meals on Wheels official in Spokane who offered a dire warning that since volunteer drivers can't afford gas, "my fear is that seniors will go hungry." Thompson maintained that is "a growing problem for Meals on Wheels programs nationwide." But on Thursday night, after the Commerce Department revised upward the first quarter GDP growth number to 4.4 percent, from 4.2 percent, the NBC Nightly News didn't utter a syllable about the good news. ABC and CBS noted the GDP jump, but gave it short-shrift compared to Monday's gas price coverage. See: www.mediaresearch.org
-- May 10. After Friday's government announcement that 288,000 more jobs were created in April, reducing the unemployment rate by a point to 5.6 percent as job creation numbers for February and March were revised upward, Richard J. DeKaser, chief economist at the National City Corporation in Cleveland, told the New York Times: "You'd be hard-pressed to find a dark lining in this cloud." But ABC News managed to as anchor Peter Jennings asserted: "When you look at the kind of work people are getting, however, the news is a little less encouraging." ABC's downbeat story focused on service sector jobs and those who are "underemployed." www.mediaresearch.org
Reagan coverage. An unusual Sunday CyberAlert looked at Saturday coverage of the passing of Ronald Reagan. Check your in box for it if you missed it. It was sent at about 8am EDT. Here are the table of contents summaries for the first two of the three articles in the June 6 CyberAlert:
-- Virtually all of the broadcast and cable network coverage, in the hours after the late Saturday afternoon EDT announcement of President Ronald Reagan's passing, forwarded praise and admiration. There were, however, several exceptions where journalists incorporated liberal, anti-conservative spin to denounce Reagan's policies. CNN on-screen text: "BY-PRODUCT OF 'REAGANOMICS': HUGE BUDGET DEFICITS." ABC's Sam Donaldson blamed the big deficit on Reagan for "stubbornly" refusing to raise taxes; CBS's Jerry Bowen highlighted "the nagging perception" that in their post-White House years "the Reagans were cashing in on their Washington years;" MSNBC.com's obituary raised the Bitburg cemetery incident and blamed Reagan for the S&L scandal. The New York Times obituary ran through a litany of liberal spin points against Reagan: Ketchup as a vegetable, how cutting Social Security disability benefits "furthered the perception that the administration was heartless," how the October of 1987 stock market plunge meant "economists' warnings that the administration was mortgaging the country's future were finally heeded." Plus, thanks to Reagan, "more people were living below the poverty line, and homelessness became a national concern."
-- Dan Rather wrapped up his Saturday evening CBS News prime time special, on Ronald Reagan's passing, with an emotional tribute to the former President which choked up the CBS anchor: "May we share his optimism and may his steed hold steady as he completes his journey. We will think of him always when the West wind blows."
To read those June 6 CyberAlert items online: www.mediaresearch.org
# Tim Russert is scheduled to appear tonight (Monday) on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but Reagan's death may alter that.
-- Brent Baker