CyberAlert -- 01/19/2000 -- Frigid Weather: Blame Global Warming
Frigid Weather: Blame Global Warming; Hyping Liberal Class Warfare
3) Dan Rather attributed Bill Clinton's plan for more money for gun law enforcement to pressure from the "ammunition maker's lobby." Peter Jennings won't say "partial-birth abortion" but he will use the term "Star Wars."
6) The MRC's Free Market Project has re-launched MediaNomics as on online publication. In the first edition, the media's bias in favor of global warming and against tax cuts. Plus, a kudos to Today for admiring two capitalist pioneers of the century.
>>> MagazineWatch, about the January 24 editions, is now
online thanks to the MRC's Andy Szul. The topics explored in the issue put
together by MRC analyst Mark Drake:
Behind unusually warm temperatures in early January Dan Rather saw global warming. With temperature plummeting to record lows in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Monday and Tuesday, guess what Dan Rather blamed? That's right, global warming.
Back on the January 10 CBS Evening News Rather intoned: "U.S. government climate experts tell CBS News that they now believe global warming is real and underway."
Tuesday night, January 18, he blamed the same thing for cold weather, opening the Evening News with this announcement: "Good evening. A sudden severe and spreading cold blast in the Northeast could be a foretaste of what's coming a lot of places in this unusual winter, namely, more frequent, more extreme rapid-fire weather shifts up and down. U.S. climate experts say global warming and a sustained La Nina may be generating all this."
ABC and NBC jumped Tuesday night to publicize a press release jointly issued by two liberal groups about a supposed growing income gap between rich and poor. Neither network bothered to inform viewers of the ideological drive behind the "study" as ABC's Peter Jennings referred to them as simply "two public policy think tanks," and neither aired any soundbites from a conservative expert who could have pointed out major flaws in the liberal reasoning, such as how the numbers didn't count non-cash aid to the poor, like Medicaid, or account for taxes taken from the wealthy.
On ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings introduced the story: "According to a new report from two public policy think tanks today, the rising economic tide has not lifted all boats." The two unlabeled think tanks: The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
As transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, reporter
Betsy Stark began her one-sided advocacy piece: "Today's study reveals
that during the economic boom of the 1990s, the rich got a lot richer, and the
middle class and poor stayed pretty much where they were."
Stark concluded without any contrasting points of view:
Over on the NBC Nightly News Mike Jensen gave the
liberal press release less time, but just as uncritical coverage. Jensen set
out to show contrasts in how people are faring in the economy. He began by
outlining how reports have shown that Christmas spending was way up while
credit cards are being paid off sooner as bankruptcies are way down, all signs
many are doing well. Then he turned dour:
The EPI/CBPP numbers are just regurgitated Census Bureau numbers which have serious flaws as detailed last September by Robert Rector and Rea Hederman in a Heritage Foundation report carrying the dynamic title, "Income Inequality: How Census Data Misrepresent Income Distribution."
In the analysis of the most recent Census numbers, Rector and Hederman explained:
....The Census analysis appears lucid and straightforward. However, the Census data are marred by four problems that lead to an overstatement of the level of economic inequality. These problems are:
-- The conventional Census income figures are incomplete and omit many
types of cash and non-cash income.
Comparison of the Top and Bottom Quintiles. These adjustments make a great difference in the measure of apparent income inequality. For example, under conventional Census figures, the top "quintile" accounts for some $2.5 trillion in income in 1997, while the bottom quintile has only $181 billion. Thus, the top quintile is shown as receiving $13.86 in income for every $1.00 in the bottom. However, once incomes are more completely counted and taxes are considered, the ratio drops considerably -- to $8.05 for every $1.00 of income.
But even this lower ratio continues to reflect the fact that the Census data's top "quintile" is seriously overpopulated, while the bottom is underpopulated. Once the quintiles are adjusted to contain equal numbers of persons, the ratio of incomes of the top to the bottom quintile drops to $4.23 to $1.00.
Moreover, even this difference is due in large part to the fact that working age adults in the top quintile work twice as many hours as those in the bottom. If such adults worked the same number of hours, the income ratio would fall to around $3.07 to $1.00....
To read the full report, which is full of charts and
tables, go to:
On other fronts Tuesday night, ABC led with President Clinton's plan to propose more money for gun law enforcement, an idea CBS's Dan Rather weirdly attributed to his caving in to the heretofore under-appreciated "ammunition maker's lobby." ABC's Peter Jennings and Cokie Roberts refuse to employ the term "partial birth abortion," but Tuesday night Jennings had no reluctance using the derogatory liberal term for missile defense, "Star Wars."
-- Clinton's gun enforcement plan. Jennings opened the January 18 World News Tonight by noting: "Today President Clinton took a significant step in the direction of his most persistent critics, including his nemesis, the National Rifle Association."
But over on the CBS Evening News Dan Rather saw evil
forces behind the policy shift:
-- Using terms. Introducing a Tuesday night piece, Peter Jennings declared: "The Pentagon is going to conduct a very expensive test of a national missile defense system tonight. The plan is to launch a missile, without a warhead, over the Pacific Ocean and try to shoot it down. Tonight's test will cost about a hundred million dollars and overall system $13 billion, which means an old debate -- you remember Star Wars -- is coming back."
As noted in the January 18 CyberAlert, Jennings refused to use the term "partial-birth abortion" last Friday. Instead, he said: "The justices are going to decide on the constitutionality of a Nebraska law banning a controversial procedure involved in late term abortions."
Monday night ABC's Cokie Roberts almost messed up and
uttered the term before warning viewers it's a phrase employed by abortion
opponents. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noted her near-slip up from in a
January 17 Nightline look at the Brown-Black debate. After George
Stephanopoulos asserted that abortion is a question "that's bedeviled the
Republican candidates in their debate" so "the Democrats can't wait
to bring that up in the general election even though they might be more
vulnerable on these other issues," Roberts piped in:
much for the media treating a "compassionate conservative" any
better than they do the previous incarnation. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught
this question from MSNBC's Greg Jarrett to Philadelphia's Democratic Mayor
John Street as Jarret filled in as anchor Monday night on The News with Brian
More Bush-bashing from the left. Tuesday morning NBC's Today featured a story from reporter Jim Cummins on how a political scientist "believes the high rate of executions in Texas could eventually become a problem for Bush on the presidential trail." Cummins tried to fuel outrage at the policy by focusing on one condemned man who is mentally ill.
In the piece, observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens,
Cummins set up the premise:
After a soundbite from Bush, Cummins warned: "But
political scientist Richard Murray believes the high rate of executions in
Texas could eventually become a problem for Bush on the presidential
Cummins soon moved an to a more famous case: "Karla Faye Tucker, the born again Christian ax-murderer who was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War. Bush refused to stay her execution despite appeals from all over the world including the Pope. Later in a magazine interview Bush is quoted ridiculing Tucker. The author writes that Bush imitates Tucker in an interview saying, "Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'" Murray says that kind of swagger could backfire on the Texas Governor in the general election."
Cummins ran soundbites from Murray and Bush before concluding: "In the meantime another of the many executions scheduled in Texas will be carried out tonight."
I'm sure we'll hear about all of them.
MediaNomics is back. The MRC's new Director of the Free Market Project (FMP), Rich Noyes, has just completed the first edition of a new online edition of FMP's formerly printed newsletter, MediaNomics. Rich intends to have new editions posted every other week, or more often whenever rabid bias against free enterprise breaks out.
MRC Web workers Andy Szul and Eric Pairel set up the new page designs for the section of the MRC Web site which will relay "what the media tell Americans about free enterprise."
Here are summaries of the three articles posted in the January 17 edition:
-- CBS Rings Alarm Bells on Global Warming. It's always interesting when one of the three broadcast evening news programs parts company with its competitors and champions a story that the others ignore. Among other things, this raises the nettlesome question of exactly whose news judgment is out of kilter. One case in point: even as ABC's World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News were taking a pass, the CBS Evening News broadcast four reports last week about what anchor Dan Rather hyped as "the strongest evidence yet that the Earth is in an accelerated phase of warming."
-- There They Go Again -- Media's Bias Against Tax Cuts Was Much In Evidence In 1999. Throughout Campaign 2000, TV's talking heads will pass judgment on the presidential candidates' economic programs, including their positions on tax cuts. But if last year's coverage is predictive of this year's spin, journalists will once again portray tax cuts as little more than vote-getting schemes that risk renewed budget deficits and threaten the long term solvency of expensive government programs.
-- Kudos to NBC's Today. In recollecting the nearly-departed 20th Century, NBC's Today show last month featured "a series of profiles, celebrating figures we believe made a special contribution during the course of the century," according to anchor Katie Couric's introduction on December 3. Joining the likes of polio-buster Dr. Jonas Salk, tennis superstar Arthur Ashe and entertainment legend Julie Andrews were a couple of capitalists: Henry Ford and Fred Smith.
To read these items in full, go to:
Congratulations to Des Moines Register Editor Dennis Ryerson for treating Republican presidential candidates during Saturday's debate almost the same way he treated the Democrats the week before.
The January 14 CyberAlert noted how with one exception he posed only issue set-up questions, which lacked an explicit hostile agenda, to the Democrats at the Des Moines Register-sponsored debate on January 8. He avoided controversies harmful to either Democrat and allowed two questions from the left which suggested they were too conservative: An audience members pressed the candidates about too much defense spending and Ryerson asked them about the gender gap in pay.
A week later, at his paper's January 15 Republican debate carried live nationally at 2pm ET by CNN, C-SPAN, FNC and PBS, Ryerson turned in an almost identical performance.
Matching the student who hit the Democrats from the left, Republicans got this question from the right (implying they might be too liberal) from a college student in the audience: "I've been watching the debates. And I've been hearing some candidates talking about increasing the federal role in state-funded education. And I'm very concerned about the government over-stepping it's constitutional bounds. And I was wondering how much power do you think the federal government should have over state education, within the frame of the Constitution, of course?"
And, while moderator Ryserson didn't hit the Republicans at all from the right, he posed just two relatively mild liberal agenda questions to the candidates: "How do you post the Ten Commandments in schools without telling children who are not in the Judeo-Christian heritage that their form of religious expression is invalid?" And, relaying a question from a reader, he asked: "Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment?"
Not perfectly balanced, but for what we normally get on network TV he deserves at least a B for near-balance.
+++ See actor Richard Belzer, in NBC's Law &
Order: Special Victims Unit, bash Newt Gingrich in the episode, detailed in
the January 18 CyberAlert, about conservative bigotry and advocacy of
gay left themes. MRC Webmaster Any Szul has posted a video clip in RealPlayer
format. To watch it, go to:
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