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CBS Tags the Liberal Mary Landrieu as "a Moderate" -- 12/04/2002 CyberAlert


1.
CBS Tags the Liberal Mary Landrieu as "a Moderate"
Previewing Saturday's Senate election in Louisiana, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News reporter Mark Strassmann described Landrieu as "a moderate Democrat," though her voting record has been quite liberal. Before tagging Landrieu, Strassmann gratuitously added the phrase preferred by liberals, "a woman's right to choose."

2. Bill Schneider Praises Kerry's "Intelligence" But He Failed Test
Contrasting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry with President Bush, CNN's Bill Schneider assessed on Monday's Inside Politics that "intelligence" is "one other Kerry strength." Schneider specifically recalled how during debates in 1996 "Kerry showed himself to be deeply knowledgeable on the issues, a quality for which Bush is not well known." When confronted by a Boston TV reporter in 1999 George W. Bush was unable to name the leaders of three of four countries, but Kerry went zero for four with the same reporter back in 1984 when he first ran for the Senate.

3. Former CNN Reporter Joins Kerry Presidential Effort
Three months before CNN's Bill Schneider praised Senator John Kerry's "intelligence," CNN political reporter Chris Black joined the effort to elect Kerry President by becoming Communications Director for the Heinz Foundation headed by Kerry's wife, Teresa. Black was hired to "rein in Teresa" after an embarrassing, very un-First Lady-like media interview, the New York Daily News suggested.

4. NBC Describes Federal Pay Hike as a "Cut"
Though federal workers will receive a pay hike which is more than twice the rate of inflation, NBC Today news reader Don Teague claimed that thanks to President Bush they are "about to feel" a "financial crunch" as Bush makes "cuts" to save money.

5. CBS Discovers Another SUV Danger: Backing Up
CBS has found another way in which SUVs are killers: It's difficult to see behind them when you're going in reverse: "Why backing up can spell tragedy." (Plus, Dennis Miller on tonight's Tonight Show.)


Correction: The December 3 CyberAlert listed the first name of the Executive Editor of the New York Times as both Howard and Howell. Either way I had the first syllable correct. It's Howell Raines.

CBS Tags the Liberal Mary Landrieu as
"a Moderate"

Senator Mary Landrieu, the "moderate." Previewing Saturday's Senate election in Louisiana between Republican Suzanne Terrell and Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News reporter Mark Strassmann described Landrieu as "a moderate Democrat," though her voting record has been quite liberal, only getting a bit less liberal as election day approached and she found it politically advantageous to align herself with President Bush.

Strassmann refrained from labeling Republican Terrell.

Mark Strassmann In getting to his tagging of Landrieu, Strassmann gratuitously added the phrase preferred by liberals, "a woman's right to choose," to the end of a sentence which didn't even need the phrase since he already had referred to "the abortion issue." Strassmann asserted: "These two women candidates have fought most bitterly over the abortion issue, a woman's right to choose."
Mary Landrieu: "They've attacked my faith, my family and it's really gone over the line."
Strassmann tagged her: "A moderate Democrat, Landrieu often votes with the President and her courting of his supporters has been risky."

But as Stephen Hayes noted in a story in the December 9 Weekly Standard, "The Battle of New Orleans," Landrieu is no moderate:
"Terrell insists that her opponent is out of touch with those values -- voting with Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Daschle more than 80 percent of the time....[I]t certainly contrasts with Landrieu's attempt to portray her voting record as moderate Democrat, which it is not. (Her record has won her high marks from liberal groups like Americans for Democratic Action. That group said Landrieu voted with its agenda 95 percent of the time in 1999, 80 percent in 2000, and 85 percent in 2001; her scores for those same years from the American Conservative Union were 4, 16, and 28.)"

To read the Hayes piece in full:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/971epvqa.asp

Indeed, Landrieu earned a mere 14 percent vote rating from the American Conservative Union over her first five years as a Senator compared to a career rating of 47 percent for her Louisiana colleague, Democratic Senator John Breaux. Now that's moderate.

For the ACU ratings of Landrieu and Breaux: http://www.acuratings.com/acu_doc.cgi?ACT=3&STATE=LA&YEAR=2001

Bill Schneider Praises Kerry's "Intelligence"
But He Failed Test

Contrasting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry with President Bush, CNN's Bill Schneider assessed on Monday's Inside Politics that "intelligence" is "one other Kerry strength." Schneider specifically recalled how during debates in 1996 "Kerry showed himself to be deeply knowledgeable on the issues, a quality for which Bush is not well known."

Indeed, thanks to national media coverage of it, we all know all about how when confronted by a Boston TV reporter in November of 1999 George W. Bush was unable to name the leaders of three of four countries he was asked about. But as the MRC's Rich Noyes recalled, Kerry went zero for four with the same reporter back in 1984 when he first ran for the Senate, an election he won.

Schneider began his December 2 evaluation of the Kerry candidacy: "A presidential candidate needs a grabber issue, something that makes this candidate different from the others, and the right person for the times. John Kerry's grabber issue is national security. If there's any lesson Democrats should take away from the 2002 midterm it's that they cannot take national security off the agenda. They have to offer a tough, credible alternative to President Bush.
"That's why 2004 could be Kerry's year. He claims credibility on national security going all the way back to the Vietnam War. Unlike most other candidates of his generation, John Kerry served honorably and heroically in combat. In fact, he has rare credibility on both sides of the most divisive issue of his generation. Kerry was a decorated combat veteran, and an anti-war activist.
"Kerry has been a leading Democratic spokesman on Vietnam, Central America, the Balkans and the Middle East. He has challenged President Bush not just on Iraq, but even on Afghanistan.
"What about Kerry's vote against the Gulf War in 1991? That won't hurt him with Democrats. Most Democrats voted against the war. And he's been tough on Iraq in the nearly 12 years since.
"One other Kerry strength -- intelligence. Remember the seven debates between Kerry and Governor Bill Weld in the 1996 Massachusetts Senate campaign? Kerry showed himself to be deeply knowledgeable on the issues, a quality for which Bush is not well known."

(Schneider was willing to label Kerry as a liberal: "Kerry is by any definition a liberal. Even worse, a Massachusetts liberal. Even worse, he was Michael Dukakis' Lieutenant Governor for two years.")

Back in November of 1999 the media were excited about Bush's inability to name some world leaders. ABC's Peter Jennings introduced a November 5, 1999 World News Tonight piece by Aaron Brown, who is now with CNN:
"In political circles throughout the country, and among quite a number of normal people, too, the Republican candidate for President George W. Bush was getting something of a roasting. Yesterday Mr. Bush found himself in one of those interviews with a reporter that turned out to be more than he counted on. He was asked to name the leaders of four places which have been pretty consistently in the news: Taiwan, Chechnya, Pakistan and India. He got one out of four." For more: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1999/cyb19991109.asp#5

A couple of weeks later the networks were still at it. As recounted in the November 22, 1999 CyberAlert:
CBS News reporter Bill Whitaker asserted: "With Republican foreign policy heavyweights for support, this clearly was to establish the Texas Governor as a serious player on the international stage and to counter the impression he's a lightweight that has dogged him ever since he failed a reporters' foreign policy pop quiz recently."
Whitaker showed video of Bush being unable to answer WHDH TV's Andy Hiller's question about who is the Prime Minister of India before Whitaker allowed Bush adviser Condleezza Rice to claim he has "all the right instincts." Whitaker concluded:
"Yet with his shaky foreign affairs record he'll have hard work to convince voters his grasp of the issue is more than one speech deep."
NBC's David Bloom set up his Nightly News piece: "From the typically subdued Bush, it was a surprisingly energetic speech meant to convey that he's serious about foreign policy despite a series of foreign policy gaffes."
After a few soundbite of Bush, Bloom declared: "But, having burst on the scene as the Republican frontrunner, it is Bush who has been ridiculed of late, confusing Slovakia with Slovenia, unable to name various world leaders."
Bloom showed the same Hiller/India clip before adding that Bush is now "the butt of many a late night joke." Viewers then heard this from Jay Leno: "Yesterday he went into a think tank, almost drowned."

For more: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1999/cyb19991122.asp#3

It all seems so dated now.

But, as the MRC's Rich Noyes recalled, Bush did no worse than then Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor John Kerry did in 1984, the man CNN's Schneider hailed for his "intelligence." An excerpt from an April 4, 1984 AP story we tracked down in Nexis:

First two of Massachusetts' candidates for the U.S. Senate couldn't name Israel's prime minister, and on the second night of a television news quiz, all seven hopefuls flunked questions on U.S. defense policy.

None of the seven candidates for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Paul Tsongas came up Tuesday night with the correct answers during the quiz on Boston station WBZ. Reporter Andy Hiller asked if they knew the amount of the U.S. defense budget and the countries in which cruise missiles were being deployed....

The quiz, which was given to all seven candidates on the station's 6 p.m. newscasts Monday and Tuesday, was designed, according to WBZ, to get "just the facts."

Two of the questions asked which side the United States supports in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

[Former Massachusetts House Speaker David] Bartley and William Hebert, former executive director of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, didn't know the answers.

Bartley also could not come up with the name of Syria's President since 1970, Hafez Assad. After a long pause, Markey named him.

The final score? Bartley missed all four questions, Herbert missed two, and [Congressman Ed] Markey missed one. The other candidates, Secretary of State Michael J. Connolly, Lt. Gov. John Kerry, former Hampden County Registrar of Deeds John Pierce Lynch and U.S. Congressman James Shannon, missed them all.

END of Excerpt

Former CNN Reporter Joins Kerry
Presidential Effort

Three months before CNN political analyst Bill Schneider praised Senator John Kerry's "intelligence," Washington-based CNN political reporter Chris Black joined the effort to elect Kerry President by becoming Communications Director for the Heinz Foundation headed by Kerry's wife, Teresa, the widow of the late Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz.

Black was hired to "rein in Teresa" after an embarrassing, very un-First Lady-like interview with the Washington Post, the New York Daily News reported in August. (This item has been in my pending file for awhile and today I finally found a hook for it.)

George Rush and Joanna Molloy reported in the August 22 New York Daily News:
"Teresa Heinz, the multimillionaire wife of Sen. John Kerry, is getting a top media handler to help with her image, sources confirmed yesterday.
"The condiment heiress caused her husband to fidget and sigh during a June interview with The Washington Post in which she raged against Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and mimicked Kerry having a Vietnam nightmare.
"That may be why the Heinz Foundation has just hired former CNN White House correspondent Chris Black. According to one source, Black had been wooed for months to help 'rein in Teresa,' in anticipation of Kerry's expected run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004...."

Following many years as a Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe, Black jumped to CNN in late 1999 and remained at CNN through the end of the Clinton presidency in January of 2001.

To refresh your memory of who she is, you can see a picture of her on this old CNN Web page that I tracked down through Google: http://www.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/27/black.debrief/

NBC Describes Federal Pay Hike as a "Cut"


If currently you are paid an annual salary of $50,000 and next year your annual salary will increase to by more than twice the inflation rate to $51,550 would you think you were "about to feel" a "financial crunch" as your employer made salary "cuts?" Of course not, but you don't work for NBC News where that is how they portrayed President Bush's decision to give federal workers a 3.1 percent pay hike but withhold additional "locality pay" designed to let federal work pay match private sector pay for the same type of job, as if they are equivalent.

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught how on Saturday's NBC Today news reader Don Teague described the federal pay hike:
"Some federal workers are about to feel the financial crunch. President Bush is freezing part of a scheduled pay raise for most civilian federal workers, citing the national emergency since the September 11th attacks as his reason for taking the action. The President says the cuts will save the country about $13 billion."

That's a "crunch" and "cut" most without guaranteed jobs in the private sector would envy.

CBS Discovers Another SUV Danger:
Backing Up

CBS has found another way in which SUVs are killers: It's difficult to see behind them when you're going in reverse: "Why backing up can spell tragedy."

Check out this local news hype-like promo read by a male announcer during Tuesday's CBS Evening News:
"SUVs: There you sit -- high, wide and handsome with a terrific view of the road ahead. But when you want to back up the view changes. Tomorrow: Dangerous rear view blind spots. Why SUVs may have them. [over video of SUV backing into a kids bicycle] The often tragic consequences and what's being done about it. On the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather."

Later, the show ran a briefer but no less fear-mongering version: "SUV blind spots. Why backing up can spell tragedy. Tomorrow."

> Scheduled to appear tonight, Wednesday December 4, on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Comedian/actor Dennis Miller. He last appeared on November 6 and, as recounted in the November 8 CyberAlert, "praised Bush's anti-terrorism efforts, favored attacking Iraq and juxtaposed the "wocka-wocka porno guitar of the Clinton administration" with how Bush "makes me proud to be an American again. He's just a decent guy." For a full rundown: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021108.asp#7

Miller is a lot more sensible than most Hollywood celebrities as he's realized the world has changed since 9/11. -- Brent Baker


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