Bush Not Vindicated By Rate Cut; Hillary the "Most Admired"; CBS's Hit on Ashcroft as Racist; Gumbel: Reagan "The Worst" ex-President
1) Two weeks ago the networks stressed how Gene Sperling blamed Bush for creating a recession through downbeat talk. But on Wednesday, after the Fed rate cut, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to call it vindication. CBS's John Roberts highlighted "the fundamental difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."
2) NBC's Andrea Mitchell gushed: "From the health care fiasco to the Monica humiliation to the campaign many said she would never win, Hillary Clinton is now the most admired woman in America, beating Oprah by a landslide in the latest Gallup poll."
3) CBS's Jim Stewart delivered a one-sided look at how "black leaders have vowed revenge" against John Ashcroft "for what they consider a racially biased vote." Stewart didn't bother to point out, as did FNC, that Ashcroft voted to "confirm 23 of the 26 African-American federal court nominees. As Missouri Governor he appointed eight African-American judges."
4) GMA's Charles Gibson falsely stated that "Bill Clinton won a majority" while he complained that "Bush did not win a majority of the popular vote and this is hardly a fusion Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats." Margaret Carlson rued "a very conservative cabinet, not one that represents a broad spectrum."
5) Margaret Carlson complained how the Attorney General "post should be the secretary of uniting, not dividing" and she claimed: "Ashcroft is way to the right....we have a history in this country of appointing moderates to that job."
6) Bryant Gumbel complained about how Bush has not met his promise for a "bi-partisan, coalition cabinet" and described Jimmy Carter as exemplifying "the model of best behavior for a former President" as he asked a guest to confirm that Ronald Reagan is "the model for the worst."
7) Great mind in the morning. Frito-Lay now puts fewer Doritos in the bag, a nefarious move which prompted CBS's Julie Chen to demand: "I'm getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for them to do this?"
8) FNC's Brit Hume highlighted how the political views of Helen Thomas "are no less visible than they've ever been." She took a shot at Bush's spokesman: "He said he got 42,000 resumes. He could count them but he can't count the ballots?"
CBS's John Roberts used the Fed action to undercut Bush's push for a tax cut: "The measure highlights the fundamental difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."
As usual, the broadcast network reporters who never seem to call any spending program "big" or "huge," all described Bush's tax cut as either "big" or "huge." I've put these terms in CAPS in the quotes below so they stand out.
On ABC's World News Tonight, Terry Moran only noted how "the President-elect actually joined the participants in his economic forum in raising a toast to Alan Greenspan" as "Mr. Bush made clear he will now push even harder for his BIG tax cut."
Anchor Brian Williams, on the January 3 NBC Nightly News, acknowledged: "Bush has warned of a recession on the way and still wants to see his BIG tax cut enacted." From Bush's economic summit David Gregory noted how they "toasted" the interest rate cut, adding: "Bush and his corporate allies, eager to see his HUGE tax cut enacted, argued strenuously today that much more is needed to save the economy from a free fall."
Over on the CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason concluded the lead story: "So why now and not at a regular meeting? Well, new retail sales numbers come out tomorrow, unemployment numbers Friday. Many analysts suspect that the Fed has already seen those statistics and that they show the economy is in even worse shape than we thought."
Dan Rather then noted how Bush "believes the Fed just gave him some new ammunition for his battle to get a BIG tax cut through Congress."
John Roberts began his story on Bush's reaction:
"The interest rate cut was like a New Year's gift to the incoming
President who is aggressively seeking to avoid a recession on his
broadcast networks on Wednesday night all featured stories on Hillary
Clinton being sworn in as a Senator, but Andrea Mitchell gushed the most
on the NBC Nightly News:
CBS delivered a one-sided hit piece Wednesday night on John Ashcroft as Jim Stewart simply repeated the race-mongering charges made against him over his opposition to the Ronnie White nomination without bothering to point out, as Steve Centanni did on the Fox News Channel, that Ashcroft voted to "confirm 23 of the 26 African-American federal court nominees. As Missouri Governor he appointed eight African-American judges, including the first black appeals court judge."
CBS's Stewart snidely commented that though White opposed the death penalty in one case, "he had upheld 70 percent of all the other death sentences he reviewed, a fact that Ashcroft chose to overlook." Stewart highlighted a professor's assumption that Ashcroft only opposed White because "he needed an issue to appeal to mainstream conservative rural Missouri voters."
Did people in rural Missouri really think Ashcroft was not conservative enough?
Dan Rather set up the January 3 CBS Evening News
story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Bush's nominee
for Attorney General appears headed now for a tough confirmation battle in
the Senate. CBS's Jim Stewart tonight looks at one reason he's opposed
by so many African-Americans."
Fox News Channel viewers Wednesday night, however,
received a more complete picture. On Special Report with Brit Hume,
reporter Steve Centanni pointed out: "Ashcroft's record in the
Senate shows that he voted to confirm 23 of the 26 African-American
federal court nominees. As Missouri Governor he appointed eight
African-American judges, including the first black appeals court judge. He
also named Jerry Hunter to be Secretary of Labor. Hunter says Ashcroft is
anything but a racist."
Journalists continue to complain about how Bush did not name enough liberals to his too conservative cabinet. Wednesday morning on ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Charles Gibson complained "this is hardly a Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats" as he falsely stated that "Bill Clinton won a majority" while "George Bush did not win a majority of the popular vote and this is hardly a fusion Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats."
In fact, in both 1992 and 1996 Clinton won the plurality of votes cast but never a majority. This year both Bush and Gore garnered more votes than Clinton ever received.
Guest Margaret Carlson of Time magazine echoed Gibson's regret: "Nobody thought there'd be a fusion cabinet, but it seems to be a very Bush cabinet, a very conservative cabinet, not one that represents a broad spectrum of opinion."
Gibson set up the January 3 complaint session,
caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, by listing the offensive positions
of Bush's conservative cabinet picks:
Gibson asserted: "But a pro-choice candidate in the Interior Department may not mean much on that issue, but this is hardly a Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats. I mean, you mentioned Bill Clinton trying to attract a Republican, but Bill Clinton won a majority. George Bush did not win a majority of the popular vote and this is hardly a fusion Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats."
Gibson turned to Margaret Carlson: "Let me ask
you, it is not atypical that the opposition party will go after one target
of opportunity, in effect, during the confirmation hearings. Is this going
to be Ashcroft at Justice? Will it be Norton or will it be Chavez?"
Where was Carlson in 1992 when Clinton was a appointing a "very Clinton cabinet, a very liberal cabinet"?
Margaret Carlson has had a busy week bashing Ashcroft. On Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN she complained how the Attorney General "post should be the secretary of uniting, not dividing." Carlson claimed: "Ashcroft is way to the right. He's not in the middle. And we have a history in this country of appointing moderates to that job."
On the December 30 Capital Gang Time's Carlson
A few minutes later Bob Novak brought some rationality to Carlson's historic revisionism: "Margaret, I don't think Ed Meese was middle of the road. He was Attorney General. I don't think Ramsey Clark, the Democrat, was in the middle of the road. He was Attorney General. That's a lot of nonsense that only, you know, moderates should be Attorney General."
Gumbelisms. In about a half hour on Wednesday morning, Bryant Gumbel managed to complain about how Bush has not met his promise for a "bi-partisan, coalition cabinet," suggested "we're looking at a Cheney co-presidency" and described Jimmy Carter as exemplifying "the model of best behavior for a former President" as he asked a guest to confirm how Ronald Reagan is "the model for the worst."
During the 7am half hour interview with Leon Panetta and David Gergen on the January 3 The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd observed, Gumbel asked Panetta: "Bush promised a bipartisan, coalition cabinet, is the make-up of this anything even close to that?"
Turning to Gergen, he suggested: "Does the make-up of this cabinet suggest that we're looking at a Cheney co-presidency?"
At the top of the 7:30am half hour he acknowledged Bill Clinton may have received some favors on his house purchase, asking William Green of Money magazine: "Because he's President, he got some sweet deals on his homes, in terms of how much he had to put down, in terms of the points he had to pay, in terms of the interest rates. How much do you figure he wound up saving because he's President and is that a pattern he's going to be able to carry through?"
Gumbel then turned to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, picking up on Reagan's big money for speeches in Japan: "If Jimmy Carter was the model of best behavior for a former President in terms of finances, is Ronald Reagan the model for the worst?" Gumbel followed up by expressing empathy for Clinton's plight: "But have any ex-Presidents left the office facing the kind of legal debts that the Clintons face?"
Better question: Have any ex-Presidents left office with the same record of serial misbehavior for which lawyers were needed?
Bizarre question of the day, is it "legal" for a company to raise the price for a product it makes?
Tuesday night, as if by coincidence, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows
all ran stories on the nefarious plot by food manufacturers to charge the
same price for a package of a product, but with a smaller quantity. Rich
Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, figured out all the
stories were prompted by a press release from the Consumer Federation of
America, though none offered a source. All three stories showcased the
same examples of Doritos, Cracker Jack and how Pampers has gone from 44 to
38 diapers in a package. Rich will be writing a thorough analysis for
MediaNomics next week, but in the meantime, check out this question on
Wednesday's The Early Show from CBS's Julie Chen to Carol Foreman
Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America:
Three days into the new year and we already have a winner for our 2001 "Good Morning Morons Award."
Helen Thomas quit UPI, but she hasn't gone away. She's now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and she's still looking at the world from the left.
Tuesday night on his FNC show Brit Hume suggested "her political views are no less visible than they've ever been." As evidence he then played a clip of her taking a shot at the Bush team during the January 2 White House news briefing. Referring to how many resumes Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said, at an earlier briefing, the Bush transition office has received, Thomas told White House Pres Secretary Jake Siewart: "He said he got 42,000 resumes. He could count them but he can't count the ballots?"
Editor's note: Some sort of very painful knee injury, which I hope to have diagnosed and resolved in the next few days, has hobbled me, so don't count on daily CyberAlerts for a while, though I'll try to break in if major bias breaks out.
-- Brent Baker
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