2. Lauer Worries About "Collusion...All the Way to the White House"
3. Koppel Pleads with the "Sensible" Panetta to Get Into Race
4. NBC News Reporter Pushes Schwarzenegger to the Left
5. NBC: Like Reagan, Schwarzenegger Pretends to Not Hear Questions
6. Newsweek: Dean "Centrist" While Schwarzenegger "Conservative"
7. Dean Gave VT High Taxes, Yet Media Tag Him "Fiscal Conservative"
8. NBC Backtracks on Blaming Global Warming for Heat Wave
9. FNC Picks Up on PBS Affiliate's NIMBY Efforts to Avoid Laborers
10. "Top Ten Things Overheard During George W. Bush's Vacation"
Katie Couric certainly has chutzpah. On Thursday's Today, beating Democratic operatives to the punch, Couric reminded viewers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "baggage," from "smoking marijuana" to "using steroids during his body-building career" to being "the son of a Nazi Party member" to "allegations" that he's "sexually harassed women and committed infidelity."
But on Monday morning, she dared to scold Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon as she cited a newspaper report about how a Simon strategist promised to spotlight "the actor's raunchy past and liberal social views." Couric then demanded: "How dirty will you get?"
So far, not as dirty as Couric was last Thursday.
Couric's "question" in full, on the August 7 Today, to Democratic strategist Darry Sragow: "Let me ask you about his, his baggage, if you will. He's admitted smoking marijuana, using steroids during his body-building career. He's the son of a Nazi Party member. He said he was prejudiced before overcoming those feelings by working with the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles and the Dean of the Center said an investigation of Schwarzenegger's late father, conducted at the actor's request, found no evidence of war crimes. Through his publicist he's denied allegations published in Premiere magazine in March 2001, that he sexually harassed women and committed infidelity. All those things, are they gonna be front and center, Darry, if you, do you think in this campaign?"
For more on that interview session: www.mediaresearch.org
Simon assured her he would not employ any dirty tactics.
Matt Lauer on Friday morning tried to undermine the recall effort by worrying about whether there's "collusion in the Republican Party that goes all the way to the White House?" As if something would be wrong with that. Over on ABC's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer reminded Arnold Schwarzenegger about how he blames California Governor Gray Davis for the state's $38 billion deficit and then demanded: "Do you blame President Bush for the more than $450 billion deficit in the United States as a whole?"
-- Today, August 8. After a session with Schwarzenegger, Lauer turned to Art Torres, Chairman of the Democratic Party in California. Lauer's most-loaded question:
-- ABC's Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer to Schwarzenegger: "You have blamed Governor Gray Davis for the $38 billion deficit in the state, which of course is a result and a companion of some of the things you were just talking about. Do you blame President Bush for the more than $450 billion deficit in the United States as a whole?"
Schwarzenegger, as he did all morning in all of his interviews, stuck to pre-planned soundbites and avoided any real answer.
But Sawyer, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, also hit Schwarzenegger from the right: "As we heard, Rush Limbaugh coming in from the right, the Republican side, has said you're not really a California Republican, you're a liberal and there are touchstone social issues -- I know you're pro-choice -- but I want to ask about one of them since it's a state issue. What about gay marriage?"
Ted Koppel portrayed Leon Panetta as the salvation for California Democrats as the ex-Democratic Congressman and Chief-of-Staff to President Bill Clinton served as the sole guest on Thursday's Nightline.
"A lot of California Democrats were salivating at the thought that Mr. Panetta himself might jump into the Governor's race," Koppel gushed on the August 7 Nightline. Describing Panetta as a "good, strong, sensible politician," Koppel pleaded with him to get into the race: "Not to press the issue too much, but since it's gonna happen anyway, why not have a, you know, a good, strong, sensible politician like yourself to say, well, let's make the best of a bad deal and here I am and I'll try and help make it work?"
Koppel introduced his Thursday night show with a not so favorable comparison between the reality in California and the ideal we hold out for Iraq: "You have to wonder what they're thinking in Baghdad. 'So these are the people,' Iraqis must be saying to one another, 'who are going to teach us about democracy and representational government.' Even if we could explain that California is, at times, a universe unto itself, the political process that is now unfolding in our most populous state bears a greater resemblance to a train wreck than to anything we might recommend to another country."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took note of how Koppel later introduced his sole guest: "Our guest tonight is no stranger to either California or national politics. Leon Panetta served as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and was a member of Congress representing California for 16 years. A lot of California Democrats were salivating at the thought that Mr. Panetta himself might jump into the governor's race. He joins us tonight from Seaside, California. You had too much common sense, or what?"
Koppel's next question: "Not to press the issue too much, but since it's gonna happen anyway, why not have a, you know, a good, strong, sensible politician like yourself to say, well, let's make the best of a bad deal and here I am and I'll try and help make it work?"
Come to America, meet and marry a U.S. journalist and become more liberal.
A profile of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Friday's Washington Post related how a film producer claimed Schwarzenegger's "politics were to the right of Genghis Khan," but "his thinking has definitely evolved over the years" since he married NBC News reporter Maria Shriver, to the point where "I would call him a kind of Shriver Republican. His views on many issues have been tempered by Maria and her family."
Appearing on FNC's Fox and Friends the same morning, Schwarzenegger admitted that his father-in-law, liberal Democrat Sargent Shriver, "has influenced me a lot."
An excerpt from the top of an August 8 front page Washington Post story by Rene Sanchez, "Behind Fame, Actor's Policies Are a Mystery." The excerpt:
The famed bodybuilder whom film director George Butler became friends with more than two decades ago never would have had a prayer as a political figure in today's California.
"When I first got to know him, his politics were to the right of Genghis Khan," said Butler, whose 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron" launched Arnold Schwarzenegger's long, lucrative celebrity career.
That was before Schwarzenegger joined Hollywood's elite. Or married journalist Maria Shriver, a member of America's Democratic royal family, the Kennedys. Or saw Los Angeles engulfed in rioting. Or knew that his father belonged to the Nazi party during World War II.
"His thinking has definitely evolved over the years," Butler said. "I would call him a kind of Shriver Republican now. His views on many issues have been tempered by Maria and her family."...
END of Excerpt
FNC's Brian Kilmeade raised the influence of the Kennedy-Shriver clan, asking Schwarzenegger on Friday's Fox and Friends, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
NBC found a similarity between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, but not an admirable one in the view of reporter George Lewis. On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Lewis suggested that on that morning's Today Schwarzenegger had just pretended to not hear a question about releasing his tax returns, an event which "evoked memories of another movie star turned politician pretending not to hear questions."
"Then, there was this curious moment," Lewis asserted in an August 8 NBC Nightly News story on Schwarzenegger's tour of the morning shows. He then played a excerpt from Today with Schwarzenegger pleading via satellite, "Say again?" Matt Lauer repeated his question: "Are you going to make your tax returns for the past several years available to the press?" Schwarzenegger, pointing to his ear, insisted: "I didn't hear you."
Lewis asserted: "The Today show says technicians know of no audio problems."
Over old video of Reagan as President getting into car at the White House as he cupped his hand to his ear and yelled "What?", Lewis recalled: "That evoked memories of another movie star turned politician pretending not to hear questions. In the end, voters forgave Reagan for the occasional dodge and now some observers say voters may forgive Schwarzenegger."
The public will certainly be more forgiving than the news media.
The world through Newsweek's prism: Howard Dean in a "centrist" while Arnold Schwarzenegger is a "conservative."
In last week's Newsweek cover story on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, Jonathan Alter insisted that Dean had "developed a reputation as a centrist."
On Sunday, Newsweek's home page featured this as its Web poll of the day:
"Will Arnold Schwarzenegger become the next governor of California?" The options for answers:
"-- Yes, the combination of name-recognition and his conservative views will win him the election.
"-- No, voters will ultimately reject the political neophyte.
"Don't know, still too early to tell."
As of Sunday night, that was the poll at: www.msnbc.com
"The Washington Times reports that Dean's budget balancing in Vermont, much-cited by the news media, left the state with quote, 'one of the highest per capita tax burdens in the country,' end quote," FNC's Brit Hume informed his viewers on Thursday night.
Indeed, the misnomer is repeated incessantly by journalists at major outlets. Two examples from over the weekend:
-- On Inside Washington, Newsweek's Martha Brant asserted of Howard Dean: "He's also a fiscal conservative. And economically he's not as much of a wild-eyed liberal as people think he is."
-- Sunday morning on CBS's Face the Nation, USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence insisted: "He is a kind of a complicated mix of liberal and moderate positions. He's a fiscal conservative and he was in Vermont."
Last Wednesday in an online chat session, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed, proclaimed: "When the word gets out that Dean isn't liberal -- and in fact is quite conservative -- on fiscal issues, he'll pick up more McCain support." Alter asserted in answer to another question: "On fiscal issues, he's far to the right of [Ted] Kennedy."
(Alter also made clear his agreement with Dean's disdain for the Bush tax cuts: "He would repeal the Bush tax cuts which are heavily weighted toward the wealthy. That would bring us back to where the tax system was under Clinton. It hardly sapped innovation then -- and wouldn't in the future. The tax cut, to my mind, was a huge mistake economically. Whether it was a mistake politically depends on how the economy does between now and the election.")
For the August 6 online session with Alter: www.msnbc.com
Some other recent examples of reporters calling Dean a "fiscal conservative," and then an excerpt from the Washington Times story cited by Hume:
-- New York Times reporter Jodi Wilgoren and David Rosenbaum in a July 30 profile of Dean: "He remains a fiscal conservative."
-- "As Governor, Dean Was Fiscal Conservative," declared the front page headline over an August 3 Washington Post story by Michael Powell.
-- "He is a rock-ribbed budget hawk," John Cloud charged in the August 11 edition of Time magazine.
For more about the above three stories: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter insisted that in Vermont "Dean focused on fiscal responsibility."
-- In U.S. News & World Report, Roger Simon located those who "find Dean's style invigorating," including self-declared Republican Joe Mathews, who said he'll vote Dean "because he admires the fiscal conservatism Dean displayed in 11 years as Governor. 'What the rest of the country is starting to find out,' he says, 'is Dean is not particularly left wing. And as far as checkbook issues, he is to the right of George Bush, because if it isn't in the bank, Dean doesn't spend it.'"
This represents a bizarre definition of "fiscal conservatism" -- hike spending all you want to increase government meddling in people's lives, but if the budget is balanced, then you are a "fiscal conservative."
An August 7 Washington Times story by Donald Lambro, "Dean's budget-balancing act left taxpayers in red," undermined the media's clams about how Dean is any kind of a conservative on spending and taxes. An excerpt:
Vermont had one of the highest per capita tax burdens in the country when Howard Dean left the governorship in January to run for president.
Mr. Dean, a Democrat who calls himself a "fiscal conservative," says he balanced all his state budgets by cutting spending. And allies and critics alike praise his budget-balancing record.
Vermont enjoyed a budget surplus this year while most states were in the red because of the recession that began three years ago.
What the former governor doesn't say is that he raised hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes, including sales taxes, cigarette taxes, property taxes and corporate taxes, to balance the books while paying for his social welfare proposals.
After 11 years under Mr. Dean's governorship, Vermont now ranks in the top tier of high-tax states, a fiscal legacy that President Bush's campaign strategists say they intend to highlight should Mr. Dean become the Democratic presidential nominee next year. Congressional Quarterly's Governing magazine, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, ranks Vermont second highest among the 50 states in the amount of tax revenue collected as a percentage of personal income in 2001 - about 9 percent to 10 percent.
In a separate ranking that measured state tax revenue per capita in 2001, Vermont was in second place with six other high-tax states, including Massachusetts and California.
Another ranking in June by the Government Finance Officers Association put Vermont in 12th place when state and local tax burdens are combined, well ahead of more populous industrial states such as New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois.
Vermont's budget has climbed sharply, too, from $662 million in 1991 to $1.8 billion last year. Between 1997 and last year, inflation and population growth combined totaled 18.1 percent, but spending rose 51.7 percent.
Once known for its Yankee thrift, the state has become a mecca for affluent liberals from neighboring New York. Vermont's sole congressman, independent Rep. Bernard Sanders, is an avowed socialist....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.washtimes.com
That story didn't sit too well with CNN's Aaron Brown, the MRC's Ken Shepherd noticed. Previewing next day newspaper headlines, on the August 6 NewsNight, Brown held up a color fax of the Washington Times and complained: "Down at the bottom here, I found this interesting. Maybe the paper's leading with its politics a bit. 'Dean's Budget-balancing Act Left Taxpayers in the Red, Bush Campaign Braces to Slam Record.' I'm not sure that that's necessarily a great issue for the Bush campaign, but perhaps it is. Anyway, Governor Dean raised some taxes, but he had no deficit. I guess it depends on what you want."
NBC's Patricia Sabga backtracked Friday morning on her Wednesday night claim that it's a scientific certainly that global warming is the cause of high temperatures in Europe.
From London, on the August 6 NBC Nightly News, Sabga warned that "scientists attribute the extreme temperatures to what's been described as a dome of hot air hovering over Europe, a summer weather pattern that may become the norm." Sean Seabrook, identified on screen as a "meteorologist," then asserted: "Scientists appreciate now that global warming is taking place and I think these occurrences of heat waves will become more frequent, so this may be a sign of things to come." For more, see: www.mediaresearch.org
You read it here first. On Thursday, FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume ran a story about the failed NIMBY, Not in My Back Yard, efforts of Washington, DC's PBS affiliate to keep a day laborer shelter from being built near their studios.
The August 1 CyberAlert disclosed: PBS cares about the riff-raff and plight of undocumented aliens and condemning mean-spirited conservatives for not caring about them -- think of many prime time PBS specials on those being "left behind" and lectures from Bill Moyers -- but not when they actually have to see them next door. This week, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, CEO of WETA, the Washington, DC PBS station really located in Arlington County, Virginia, lashed out at the county board for voting to build a pavilion, to house day laborers waiting for work, next door to WETA's studios where the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week are taped. See: www.mediaresearch.org
On his August 7 FNC show, Hume set up a story: "It's called NIMBY, an acronym for Not In My Backyard, and it's often applied to people who support noble causes in theory, as long as the structures to support those fine causes are not built in their neighborhoods. Now that acronym appears to apply to the folks at the Public Broadcasting station near us, right here in Washington."
FNC's Brian Wilson filled in the story, explaining over video of a WETA-TV building and the park area next door to be used for the shelter: "WETA is the Washington area flagship station for the highbrow, culturally aware, Public Broadcasting System. It's home to programs like the always politically correct NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. But the folks at WETA showed little tolerance when it came to the needs of area day laborers trying to scratch out a living. Arlington County, Virginia officials proposed building a $100,000 pavilion on county owned land near WETA, a place for the day laborers to escape the elements, get a drink of water and use the bathroom. When the folks at WETA heard that, they sent out their big guns to the Arlington County board meeting to fight the proposal. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is President and CEO of WETA, and incidentally, the wife of millionaire Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller."
Remember this the next time you see anyone on PBS condemning meanspirited or uncaring conservatives.
From the August 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard During George W. Bush's Vacation." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. "This vacation is flying by -- only 33 days left"
9. "Dang, Springer's a rerun"
8. "These margaritas are weapons of mass destruction"
7. "Whoever's in charge really screwed up the economy"
6. "My God! Mars is coming right at us!"
5. "Don't worry, George. In 17 months, you'll have the longest vacation of your life"
4. "Better start making stuff up for the State of the Union Address"
3. "I'm itching to declare another war"
2. "Proceed with 'Operation Letterman.' Make it look like an accident"
1. "Sitting around doing nothing reminds me of being President"
-- Brent Baker