2. Liasson Reveals NPR Listeners Think Braun "Says Sensible Things"
3. Media's "Falsely Bleak Picture" in Iraq "Emboldens Our Enemy"
4. ABC Points Out How Spending is Soaring Under President Bush
5. Bush Tells Hume He Avoids Media Bias By Avoiding News Media
Correction: Though the previous paragraph correctly listed the contrasts amongst the networks, at a later point the September 18 CyberAlert incorrectly substituted "ABC" for "NBC." The paragraph read: "While CBS and NBC devoted full stories to blaming Bush for having long let stand the mis-impression that Hussein was involved and characterized Bush's comment as contradicting Vice President Cheney's recent remarks, Jennings refrained from a full story, did not suggest Bush was culpable for long misleading people and portrayed the very same Cheney comments on Meet the Press, which ABC and CBS saw Bush as contradicting, as in line with Bush's new assertion." That last line should have read: "...which CBS and NBC saw Bush as contradicting, as in line with Bush's new assertion."
CNN's Judy Woodruff led Monday's Inside Politics by trumpeting "striking new evidence that President Bush may be beatable in 2004." Bill Schneider gleefully related: "Judy, President Bush is sinking! Last month the President's job approval rating was at 60 percent. Now it's dropped to 50, his lowest rating ever."
Making an illogical comparison, the CNN announcer at the top of the half hour had contrasted Bush's plight with the "huge leap forward" for Carol Moseley Braun, the last-place Democrat who had simply made her hopeless presidential campaign official: "It's enough to make the President stop in his tracks [skidding sound effect]. Mr. Bush hits a new low in our new poll even as one of his would-be rivals makes a huge leap forward." Viewers were then treated to a clip of Braun at her announcement event: "I am uniquely qualified to do the job of President."
Highlighting how the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found Clark would beat Bush by three points but that Bush would beat Dean by the identical three-point margin, Schneider discounted Bush's lead over Dean by describing it as a "statistical dead heat," a caveat he did not add when reporting Clark's lead. Schneider asserted: "Right now General Clark is running three points ahead of President Bush in a trial heat for 2004 [49 to 46 percent]. It's the best showing of any Democrat. The weakest Democrat against Bush is Howard Dean who runs three points behind. But even that is a statistical dead heat [49 to 46 percent]."
Woodruff set up the lead story on her September 22 show: "Striking new evidence that President Bush may be beatable in 2004. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is here with our just-released poll numbers. Bill, what is happening to the President?"
Schneider excitedly explained: "Judy, President Bush is sinking! Last month the President's job approval rating was at 60 percent. Now it's dropped to 50, his lowest rating ever. The President has lost the most support among men, down 17 points since August. The gender gap has simply disappeared. Men are no longer more favorable to Bush than women. Men are more sensitive than women are to the jobs issue. Nearly three million jobs have been lost since 2000, and so far those tax cuts do not seem to generate any new jobs. President Bush is paying a price for that with men."
Woodruff turned to John King at the White House: "John, are they concerned there at all, or what do they make of these numbers?"
King explained: "One thing they say the President has to do is keep about his business, which is one reason he very quickly scheduled a trip to Virginia today to assess some of the hurricane damage. They say here at the White House that this is a cycle that often affects presidents a year before they run for re-election. They say Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton suffered similar dips like this and went on to easily win second terms..."
For CNN's online rundown of the poll, "Bush down, Clark up: President virtually tied with five Democratic challengers," see: www.cnn.com
The kind of people who listen to NPR think that left-wing Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun "says sensible things." On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Monday night, NPR White House correspondent Mara Liasson inadvertently provided evidence that NPR appeals to liberals as she related how NPR listeners praise Braun. Fred Barnes suggested that the media have "invested their hopes and dreams in Wesley Clark."
During the roundtable on the September 22 FNC program, Liasson pointed out positive feedback for Braun from NPR listeners: "We get a lot of responses from listeners at NPR talking about how well she does in debates, 'she has a lovely demeanor, she says sensible things.' She definitely adds to those conversations."
A bit earlier, Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard, observed: "It's not just Democrats who have invested their hopes and dreams in Wesley Clark -- it's a lot of the media."
A Democratic Congressman from Georgia who just returned from a visit to Iraq, in a Monday op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, condemned the news media for its excessively negative portrait of the situation in that nation.
U.S. Representative Jim Marshall noted that the goal in Iraq is to "establish reasonable security and foster the creation of a secular, representative government with a stable market economy that provides broad opportunity throughout Iraqi society." But, the member of House Armed Services Committee who is a combat veteran of Vietnam, regretted how the media have become an impediment:
An excerpt from Marshall's September 22 op-ed which was highlighted on Monday by the DrudgeReport ( www.drudgereport.com ) "Falsely bleak reports reduce our chances of success in Iraq" read the headline over the piece. The excerpt:
On Sept. 14, I flew from Baghdad to Kuwait with Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg from Dearborn, Mich. He was in a body bag. He'd been ambushed and killed that afternoon. Sitting in the cargo bay of a C 130E, I found myself wondering whether the news media were somehow complicit in his death.
News media reports about our progress in Iraq have been bleak since shortly after the president's premature declaration of victory....
But there will be more Blumbergs killed in action, many more. So it is worth doing only if we have a reasonable chance of success. And we do, but I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with "the rest of the story," the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy.
During the conventional part of this conflict, embedded journalists reported the good, the bad and the ugly. Where are the embeds now that we are in the difficult part of the war, now that fair and balanced reporting is critically important to our chances of success?...
Throughout Iraq, American soldiers with their typical "can do" attitude and ingenuity are engaging in thousands upon thousands of small reconstruction projects, working with Iraqi contractors and citizens....
Zogby International recently released the results of an August poll showing hope and progress. My own unscientific surveys told me the same thing. With virtually no exceptions, hundreds of Iraqis enthusiastically waved back at me as I sat in the open door of a helicopter traveling between Babylon and Baghdad. And I received a similar reception as I worked my way alone, shaking hands through a large crowd of refinery workers just to see their reaction.
We may need a few credible Baghdad Bobs to undo the harm done by our media. I'm afraid it is killing our troops.
END of Excerpt
Marshall represents the 3rd district which comprises much of central Georgia.
The news media regularly push for more and more government spending to solve every problem, such as the ongoing demand for a prescription drug entitlement, and swoop in from the left with dire tales of desperation whenever the rate of increase in spending on a program falls slightly, normally falsely portrayed as "spending cuts." But on Sunday night, ABC offered a refreshing criticism of President Bush -- taking him on from the right for approving of massive new and higher spending.
Setting up a piece by Jake Tapper, World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Terry Moran noted that federal government spending is "growing very fast." Tapper pointed out that despite candidate Bush's promise that "big government is not the answer," under President Bush "the size of government is bigger" as "discretionary spending on transportation and other non-military items increased by 21 percent under Mr. Bush. And a taxpayer group says pork barrel spending is up 48 percent since 2001." Tapper recalled how "at about this point in his term, Ronald Reagan had vetoed 22 spending bills from Congress," but "President Bush has vetoed none."
Moran introduced the September 21 story: "Well, whoever wins the presidency of 2004 will be in charge of a government that's growing very fast. This month, for example, the Bush administration announced it is expanding the Commerce Department, adding a new assistant secretary for manufacturing, an office of industry analysis and an unfair trade practices team. And that's just one department. Is the era of big government back? Well, here's ABC's Jake Tapper."
Tapper began: "Candidate Bush had strong words on the subject of big government."
Going forward, it would be nice if we could see a few more stories on ABC about the burden on taxpayers of creating a prescription drug entitlement than pieces focusing on elderly victims who cannot afford drugs and who demand others pay for them.
President George W. Bush has discovered a way to avoid being influenced by liberal media bias: He avoids reading newspapers or watching television news. During Brit Hume's interview with Bush aired Monday night on Fox and FNC, Bush revealed how he relies on his staff for "objective" news summaries since "a lot of times there's opinions mixed in with news" from the usual media outlets. "We won't disagree with that sir," Hume quipped in response.
Hume conducted his interview Sunday at the White House and during the first hour of prime time on Monday night Fox aired the hour-long "A Conversation with the President." It re-ran on FNC Monday night at midnight EDT/11pm CDT/10pm MDT/9pm PDT.
The session ended with Hume wondering about Bush's news habits: "How do you get your news?"
I don't have the option of avoiding the news media but, in a way, CyberAlert is to CyberAlert subscribers what Andy Card and Condoleezza Rice are to Bush: The filter which cleanses the bias from the news.
-- Brent Baker