CBS Hypes "A Growing Anti-War Backlash"
NBC's Economist a Democratic Donor Too
ABC's Gibson Thinks Lieberman Should Be More Bitter About 2000
Comedy Central Channels CyberAlert
6. "Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Approval Rating"
"Top Ten Ways the Army is Different in 2003"
Correction and Clarification: The January 15 CyberAlert quoted Jessica Lange as praising Jimmy Carter for "untireringly focusing on injustice and suffering." While she said "untireringly," that should have been spelled "untiringly."
Conservatives would define "affirmative action" as giving the nod to a minority if all else was equal or recruiting candidate from majority minority high schools who might not otherwise consider your college.
Both CBS and NBC stressed how "conservatives" argued for opposing the Michigan scheme while "others" in the White House and elsewhere defended it. CBS's Bill Plante asserted: "The President's conservative base strongly opposes racial preferences, but others in the Republican Party fear that position hurts efforts to reach out to middle class black and Hispanic voters."
ABC's Peter Jennings suggested "this is being taken tonight at least, by both liberals and conservatives, as more a political gesture than an attempt to change the law." Terry Moran agreed as ABC made more clear than CBS or NBC that Bush was "punting" on the basic issue of racial preference by only opposing this one particular system.
Only NBC's David Gregory raised the possibility that President Bush does not practice what he now preaches: "One potential inconsistency, the President's own hiring practices at the White House. While the issue of whether the President supports using race at all in college admissions remains unclear tonight, Mr. Bush's personnel director said two years ago race was a factor in White House appointments." But does he award extra points just for being black?
Tom Brokaw decided it was relevant to point out how, "coincidentally, the President's statement came on the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior."
Overall, however, viewers heard the views of both sides of the debate as CBS gave the least time and NBC, with two whole stories, the most time to the subject.
Peter Jennings opened the January 15 World News Tonight:
On the CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts announced: "President Bush weighed in today on another deeply divisive issue in this country: affirmative action. The issue is going to the United States Supreme Court. Bill Plante tonight reports on the President's stand and its impact -- legal and political."
Plante began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Stepping into the minefield of racial politics, President Bush took the side of white students challenging the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies in a major Supreme Court case, calling them unconstitutional."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Tom Brokaw led his broadcast: "Good evening. President Bush tonight took on a high profile and highly controversial affirmative action case and his strong words are expected to have a major effect on the political and legal debate over the place of race in higher education. The case here involves the University of Michigan plan which will be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Tonight the President proclaimed it unconstitutional."
Pete Williams outlined the case and policies in question and ran soundbites from Bush, the former President of the university and a NAACP representative and, leading into a soundbite from a supporter of Bush's position, noted the view that it is "wrong to assume racial diversity means diversity of ideas."
In a second story, David Gregory contended: "Today the President tried to walk a fine line through a political minefield. On one hand, the President opposed the Michigan's affirmative action policy, but he refused to take a stand on whether race could ever be a factor in college admissions."
Gregory proceeded to argue that Bush was torn between Solicitor General Ted Olson "and other conservatives" and White House legal counsel Gonzales, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes "who advocated a more moderate position which would not alienate black and Latino voters, groups the Republican Party is actively trying to court."
Following a soundbite of Democratic Congressman Harold Ford labeling Bush's policies on racial matters "inconsistent," Gregory suggested: "One potential inconsistency, the President's own hiring practices at the White House. While the issue of whether the President supports using race at all in college admissions remains unclear tonight, Mr. Bush's personnel director said two years ago race was a factor in White House appointments. Clay Johnson told the Washington Post quote: 'The President is very committed to diversity of thought, of professional background or geography, ethnicity and gender...It's a constant challenge.'"
Whether Bush is being inconsistent depends on what his personnel people are doing. If they are simply trying to reach out to find qualified black candidates to fill jobs that is not being inconsistent, but if they are putting being black ahead of other considerations, then they are being inconsistent.
Gregory then concluded: "In the end, the President apparently tried to steer a safe political course. But for now he's only opened himself up to more criticism from many African-Americans and left unanswered some critical questions about the future of affirmative action."
Immediately following Gregory's piece, Brokaw for some reason decided it was relevant to add this observation: "Coincidentally, the President's statement came on the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, who was born 74 years ago today."
Just as disgustingly as the 1964 ads which slimily suggested that electing Barry Goldwater would lead to nuclear annihilation, the new ads imply Bush's foreign policy will lead to nuclear war. Yet Andrews did not offer a syllable of condemnation for such a deleterious attack.
Grasping at slight poll movements, Andrews insisted "there is some evidence that support" for opposing Iraq militarily "is slipping."
The CBS story came three days after ABC anchor Carole Simpson contended that "protests against the war have been lightly attended, but that may change soon."
It's almost as if ABC and CBS are trying to create their own reality so they can report on it.
In that January 12 World News Tonight story, ABC's Judy Muller argued that "more and more, these crowds are filled with middle-class Americans who have never demonstrated before." Muller hoped: "As more and more troops head overseas, more and more Americans may head for the streets." For more on that ABC story: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030115.asp#1
John Roberts set up the January 15 CBS Evening News report: "The Bush administration and Saddam Hussein are not the only ones cranking up the talk about war. So are American opponents of war with Iraq. Wyatt Andrews reports on the new anti-war movement."
Andrews asserted: "Behind the growing buildup to war, there's also a growing anti-war backlash that's about to get a lot more vocal."
Over fleeting glimpses of a new TV ad from MoveOn.org with a little girl plucking pedals from a daisy as she says "one, two," Andrews maintained: "This anti-war TV ad, modeled after the 1964 'daisy ad' run by then-President Johnson, is set to air Thursday in 13 cities."
As viewers saw side-by-side shots of the old and new ads, Andrews dispassionately explained: "And like before, it raises fears of nuclear escalation." As the sound came up on the new ad, CBS viewers could hear an announcer, over video of the girl, counting down, "two, one, zero" and then a big explosion.
Andrews moved on from moveon.org's ad: "Overwhelmingly, most Americans responding to the latest CBS poll favor military action to remove Saddam Hussein, but there is some evidence that support is slipping. In that poll, those who disapprove of military action rose from 23 percent of respondents in November to 30 percent in January. Respondents in favor dropped from 70 to 64 percent. Anti-war activists planning a protest march in Washington this weekend say there's growing concern the President wants war no matter what happens with inspections."
You can certainly count on plenty of network coverage of Saturday's protest march in Washington, DC.
As disclosed in the January 8 CyberAlert, a CBS Evening News story supported the liberal premise that Bush's tax cut helps the rich while abandoning the poor by featuring expert comment from a CPA who declared that "when you go to the lower brackets, there is no savings," and: "If you went to summarize this tax proposal as we see it today, the winners are the wealthy." But that accountant, Avery Neumark, has a personal political agenda of his own which CBS failed to note. The MRC's Rich Noyes went to OpenSecrets.org and discovered that Neumark has made large contributions to the Democratic National Committee and liberal Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler. For details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030108.asp#4
The January 10 CyberAlert revealed how Mellody Hobson, the personal finance expert for ABC's Good Morning America who offered a critical assessment of Bush's tax cut plan, including how "critics of the President's plan say it favors the rich" and how "even wealthy investors like Bill Bartholomay, Chairman of the Atlanta Braves, are uneasy," has contributed over $40,000 to Democrats in recent years, but a piddling $1,250 to Republicans. Amongst those she has supported: Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Tom Harkin, Bill Bradley and the DNC. For details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030110.asp#3
Now to NBC's Democratic supporter. As recounted in the January 15 CyberAlert, in a January 13 NBC Nightly News piece Lisa Myers looked at on how Bush's claim, that "92 million Americans will keep an average of $1,083 more of their own money" under his plan, "is true, experts say, but misleading."
Her story featured this soundbite from Brookings Institute economist Peter Orszag: "The reality is that 72 percent of income tax payers would get less than the tax cut the administration is touting. And most of those would get less than $500."
That sent the MRC's Rich Noyes to opensecrets.org, the Web site of the Center for Responsive Politics which organizes FEC data, and he discovered that one "Orszag, Peter" of Washington, DC, who listed his occupation as "Brookings Institute/economist," donated $250 in September of 2002 to Dan Wofford, an unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania's 6th district seat.
Don't network producers know any accountants or economists who are not active Democratic supporters?
ABC's Charlie Gibson seemed more upset by the Gore/Lieberman loss than Lieberman himself. In a Wednesday interview on Good Morning America with the latest 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Gibson demanded: "Do you think the campaign was stolen from you by the Supreme Court?" And when Lieberman said he wasn't bitter despite getting more votes, Gibson revealed he still holds a grudge as he expressed befuddlement: "But when you win by 500,000 votes in the popular vote, how can you not be a little bitter?"
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed how Lieberman demurred from agreeing with Gibson, but he pressed on anyway with his personal agenda about how Lieberman ought to feel resentful.
Gibson's questions to Lieberman, on the January 15 Good Morning America, about the 2000 campaign:
-- "Some quick questions about the 2000 election. You think you won it?"
Fast forward to Wednesday's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. Stewart observed on his January 15 program:
Same point, just put in a more humorous way. That's why he gets the big bucks.
For more on the Huffington ads and media coverage of them: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2003/cyb20030109.asp#6
From the January 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Approval Rating." Late Show Web site: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/
10) End controversial "tax cuts for jerks" program
9) Build a giant Saddam Hussein doll, take it out to the White House lawn and beat it up
8) Make film about his wild days hosting "The Gong Show"
7) Presidential pardon for Diana Ross
6) Use more adorable mispronunciations like "aminal" and "pasghetti"
5) Pressure the FDA to make salty snack chips the main food group
4) Develop catch phrase, like "What you talkin' about, Kim Jong Il?"
3) Find Osama bin Laden
2) Let America know White House has the loosest slots in town
1) Find Dick Cheney
10. "Commanding officers may now be addressed as 'Sir' or 'Dude'"
9. "Protective vests now made with Kevlar and Old Navy performance fleece"
8. "Helmets with built-in Rogaine dispensers for soldiers with male-pattern baldness"
7. "Every armored personnel carrier is equipped with a salad bar"
6. "One of us is secretly a humble $19,000 a year construction worker"
5. "We now possess a high-performance, technologically advanced triple-blade shaving system"
4. "We're bringing back catapults"
3. "Night-vision goggles come in eight new exciting colors"
2. "I have a robot that makes my bed"
1. "A year ago, I thought Bagram was a tasty Indian chicken casserole"
-- Brent Baker