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CyberAlert -- 01/23/2002 -- Connie Chung's Record of Liberal Advocacy at NBC, CBS and ABC. And Now CNN?

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Connie Chung's Record of Liberal Advocacy at NBC, CBS and ABC. And Now CNN?; Chung & Newt's Mom; How Rather Backstabbed Chung -- Back to today's CyberAlert

1) By leaving ABC for CNN, Connie Chung will be bringing her liberalism to the fourth network in her hop-scotching career. Last year she called Jesse Jackson "the charismatic national symbol of human rights." In 1995 she distorted GOP plans to reduce the rate of growth as "deep cuts in Medicare." Twice she's used interviews to campaign for abortion, once scolding a pro-abortion GOP Governor for not trying hard enough. At NBC in 1989 she mocked the concept behind a capital gains tax cut.

2) Text and video of Chung's 1995 "just whisper it to me" coaxing of Newt Gingrich's mother. Plus, how two years earlier when interviewing Bill Clinton's mother and brother she avoided asking anything negative about him and, instead, elicited stories from them showing Clinton in a positive light.

3) When Connie Chung beat Dan Rather to Oklahoma City following the bombing, Rather was so miffed, Bernard Goldberg disclosed in his new book, that he "spent hours and hours on the phone with TV writers, blasting Connie Chung as a second-rate journalist."

4) Last fall, to the tune of "Love and Marriage," Connie Chung sang a song parody to Dan Rather: "Dan and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one..."


Correction: The January 23 CyberAlert distributed earlier today quoted CNN's Wolf Blitzer as declaring: "There's been an international human cry and it continues over the condition of Afghan war detainees being held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba." CyberAlert reader Tom Johnson suggested to me that Blitzer probably said "hue and cry," not "human cry." Upon re-watching the video, I agree. My original transcription, however, was no worse than CNN's inaccurate version currently posted on its Web page: "There's been an international U.N. cry..."

1

Numerous media stories yesterday and today report that Connie Chung will leave ABC News, where she has seldom appeared in recent years, for CNN where she will anchor a new 8pm EST hour-long newscast.

Her arrival at CNN should only bolster conservative concerns about the slant of CNN's political coverage. While she has focused much of her on-air time on non-political subjects such as Tonya Harding, a review of the MRC's archives reveals that her reporting on politics over the years, in various anchoring and hosting slots at ABC News, CBS News and NBC News, has been skewed through a liberal political prism.

Last year she described Jesse Jackson as "the charismatic national symbol of human rights" and, during her August 23 interview with Congressman Gary Condit, she called him "a little-known six-term conservative Democrat." For the ratings numbers showing he's no "conservative," go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010824.asp#1

As co-anchor of the CBS Evening News during the 1995 budget fight, she mis-characterized GOP plans to reduce the rate of increase as "deep cuts in Medicare and other programs." She dubbed Congressman Bob Dornan as "far right," but a couple of years earlier as host of a CBS magazine show she salivated at the suggestion of cloning Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Mmm, yeah."

Twice she's used interviews to campaign for abortion. During the 1992 Republican convention, for instance, she scolded a pro-abortion Governor who had failed in his attempt to eliminate the party's pro-life plank: "Many people think you weren't organized, you didn't have your ducks in line....Good heavens, all you needed was six state delegations to try and bring it on the floor, then obviously two-thirds of the delegation, but I don't think you were organized, sir."

Anchoring the NBC Nightly News back in 1989 she mocked the idea of a capital gains tax cut, noting that "if you lower the tax rates for investors, everyone will prosper, or at least that's the philosophy that President Bush and a lot of wealthy people espouse." But, "everyone would prosper," she chided, only "if it weren't for the fact that a lot of people believe it won't work."

Now, more details, in roughly reverse chronological order:

-- Portraying Jesse Jackson as "the charismatic national symbol of human rights." From the August 20, 2001 CyberAlert:

When you hear the name Jesse Jackson, what pops into your mind? If it's "liberal political activist" or "race-baiting demagogue," forget a job with ABC News. But if "charismatic national symbol of human rights" came to mind, then you're perfectly qualified to write copy for ABC's 20/20, at least when Connie Chung fills in as host, since that's how she described Jackson in setting up her interview with Jackson's mistress who bore him a daughter, Karin Stanford.
On Friday's Good Morning America, after the then-upcoming Friday night 20/20 interview was previewed, Chung praised Jackson for taking responsibility for the child. Chung eagerly relayed how "he acknowledged it, he didn't deny it" and Stanford "says 'good for him,' because he was born out of wedlock and understood, you know, the pain that it causes."
Chung introduced the lead story on the August 17 edition of 20/20: "When you first heard that Jesse Jackson admitted he'd fathered an out of wedlock child, what did you think? Jackson, the charismatic national symbol of human rights, the married father of five grown children. Who was that so-called 'other woman'? What were your preconceptions about her? Tonight, we bring you an exclusive interview with Karin Stanford, the mother of Jesse Jackson's baby. A private affair goes public."

The CyberAlert also noted: Earlier on GMA, Chung praised Jackson for supporting the child financially and taking responsibility for her: "He acknowledged it, he didn't deny it." For the details, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010820.asp#4

-- Campaigning for abortion, part one. As fill-in co-host of the October 16, 1998 Good Morning America, Chung's questions about a woman who wanted an abortion at Louisiana State University's medical center because she needs a heart transplant. The National Abortion Federation paid for her to get an abortion in Houston:
"Why can't the hospital approve an abortion?...
"Is the hospital willing to let her die? If she's caught in this Catch-22 in which she can't get an abortion by the hospital and she also can't get a transplant?...
"Maureen Britell [of the National Abortion Federation], why can't your organization get her an abortion elsewhere?...
"But if you're trying to help save her life and solve her problem, why can't you get her an abortion elsewhere?...
"Does she have to come in physically herself and ask for these records...Alright, can it be done today?...Can those records be done, transferred today?"

-- Campaigning for abortion, part two. From a September 1992 MediaWatch item about GOP convention coverage:
Pro-abortion Republicans just didn't do enough to satisfy CBS's Connie Chung. During convention coverage on August 17, Chung began complaining with her first question to Maine Gov. John McKernan: "You are such a strong supporter of abortion rights but you gave up, you succumbed to the pressure." Her second question: "Many people think you weren't organized, you didn't have your ducks in line, you didn't have the delegates."
After McKernan explained that they had only four of the six states required to force a floor fight, an exasperated Chung responded: "You know it seems like such a small number. Good heavens, all you needed was six state delegations to try and bring it on the floor, then obviously two-thirds of the delegation, but I don't think you were organized, sir."

-- Following the liberal spin of describing budget hikes as budget cuts, anchoring the May 11, 1995 CBS Evening News, Chung announced. "Senate Republicans on a key committee geared up to approve one version of a plan to balance the budget. House Republicans voted their version out of committee earlier today. Both call for deep cuts in Medicare and other programs."

-- "Far right" labeling. Chung on the April 13, 1995 CBS Evening News: "Congressman Bob Dornan is the latest to seek the Republican presidential nomination. He claims he's the right man for the job, as in far right. Linda Douglass looks at Bob Dornan and the GOP's heavy thunder on the right."

-- Let's clone Hillary. Chung discussing cloning on CBS's Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, October 28, 1993: "If each person is unique, do we really want to make copies? And whom would we make copies of? It's horrifying to think of anyone having that kind of power. But since we're on the subject, here goes. Howard Stern? We think one is more than enough. Paul Newman? He's clone-able. Ross Perot? He seems to be everywhere as it is. Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mmm, yeah."

-- "Free" health care for only $1,000 a year. Chung posing a question on the CBS polling program America on the Line after the State of the Union address, January 28, 1992: "Would you be willing to pay more taxes, up to $1,000 a year, if the federal government paid for free health care for everyone?"

-- Mocking the philosophy of a capital gains tax cut. Chung anchoring the NBC Nightly News on February 18, 1989: "If you lower the tax rates for investors, everyone will prosper, or at least that's the philosophy that President Bush, and a lot of wealthy people espouse. This would be achieved in the form of lower capital gains taxes, and everyone would prosper, if it weren't for the fact that a lot of people believe it won't work."

So much for CNN chief Walter Isaacson's promise to address the concerns of conservatives about CNN's liberal tilt.

2

Chung's 1995 "just whisper it to me, just between you and me," coaxing of Newt Gingrich's mother -- text and the video. Plus, how two years earlier when interviewing Bill Clinton's mother and brother she avoided asking anything negative about him and, instead, elicited stories from them showing Clinton in a positive light: how Bill Clinton protected them from his abusive stepfather, how he served as a father figure to his brother.

In her infamous Eye to Eye with Connie Chung interview which aired on the January 5, 1995 edition of the show, just as Newt Gingrich was assuming the speakership, Chung sat across a table from Newt Gingrich's parents, Kathleen and Bob:

Chung: "These are some of the things that are said about your son: 'a very dangerous man.'"
Kathleen Gingrich: "Never."
Chung: "'Visionary.'"
Kathleen: "Yeah."
Chung: "'Bomb-throwing guerilla warrior.'"
Kathleen: "No."
Chung: "'Abrasive.'"
Kathleen: "That could be."
Bob: "Especially if you don't like him, then he becomes very abrasive."
Kathleen: "Yeah, but who doesn't like him?"
Bob: "Yeah, right."
Chung: "Which brings us back to the battlefield. It's shaking up as the political heavyweight title fight. And it's expected to run two bruising years."
Chung to parents: "Do you think that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich can ever become friends?"
Bob: "I don't think so."
Chung: "Mrs. Gingrich?"
Kathleen: "I don't think so either."
Chung: "What does Newt tell you about President Clinton?"
Bob: "The only thing he ever told me was that he's smart, that he's an intelligent man. That he's not very practical, but he is intelligent. That's all he's ever told me."
Chung: "Mrs. Gingrich, what has Newt told you about President Clinton?"
Kathleen: "Nothing. And I can't tell you what he said about Hillary."
Chung: "You can't?"
Kathleen: "I can't."
Chung, leaning forward: "Why don't you just whisper it to me. Just between you and me."
Kathleen, leaning in and whispering: "'She's a bitch.'"
Chung: "Really? That's the only thing he ever said about her."
Kathleen: "That's the only thing he ever said about her. I think they had some meeting, she takes over."
Chung: "She does?"
Kathleen: "Oh Yeah, yeah. But when Newtie's there, she can't."

To view a RealPlayer clip of this exchange, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010821.asp#4

At the time of that interview, the MRC's MediaWatch newsletter recalled how Chung was far nicer in 1993 to Bill Clinton's mother. An excerpt from an article in the January 1995 MediaWatch:

....Chung coaxed Kathleen Gingrich into telling what Newt thought of Hillary Clinton. Posing the now infamous "Why don't you just whisper it to me, just between you and me," Mrs. Gingrich whispered "She's a bitch."

CBS was engulfed in criticism for using a statement which many thought Chung made clear was "off the record." CBS News President Eric Ober bizarrely complained to The Washington Post: "It's a legitimate, very good interview that has unfortunately been reduced to one five-letter summary." Chung introduced the actual piece on the January 5 Eye to Eye by saying, "You may have heard one small portion of this interview. Now you will see it in context." It seems both forgot it was CBS which promoted the excerpt and showed it on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and Up to the Minute.

Even in context, Chung's interview was very different than one she did with Bill Clinton's mom in 1993. She questioned the motives for the Gingrich family interview: "Newt knows you're talking to us, right?... Some people out there would say he just wants the two of you to talk to us, and talk to the American people, because he wants everybody to know that he's just a homespun kind of guy." Chung dished some dirt: "According to a friend at the time, Newt said he was divorcing [then-wife] Jackie because she wasn't young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President and besides she has cancer." She also ran down a list for the Gingriches: "These are some of the things said about your son -- a very dangerous man...visionary... bomb-throwing guerrilla warrior...abrasive."

A very different Chung interviewed President Clinton's brother Roger and mother Virginia Kelley for the debut of Eye to Eye on June 17, 1993. She elicited stories from them showing the President in a positive light: how Bill Clinton protected them from his abusive stepfather, how he served as a father figure to his brother.

She never asked about any negative traits of Bill Clinton's. In a previously unaired portion of the interview on January 6, 1994, after Kelley's death, Chung asked: "It seems that both of your boys have this desire to be famous, and to be loved, and to be stars." She never read a list of adjectives, three-fourths negative, to Kelley about Clinton. The closest she came was "You always see the good and not the bad anyway, don't you?"

END Excerpt

3

A month before Connie Chung was dropped as co-anchor of the CBS Evening News, she arrived in Oklahoma City before Rather got there following the bombing. That so miffed Rather, Bernard Goldberg reported in his new book, that Rather "spent hours and hours on the phone with TV writers, blasting Connie Chung as a second-rate journalist."

An excerpt from page 38 of Goldberg's book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, as typed in by former MRC intern Donald Goodman:

When Dan wanted to get rid of his evening news co-anchor, Connie Chung, because he felt she was getting uppity by demanding more airtime, he and his friends ripped her to shreds in the press -- but you rarely saw his name attached to the story.

When the CBS Evening News sent Connie to Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 -- before they sent Dan in, who was on vacation -- to anchor one of the biggest stories of our time, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the death of 168 innocent people, Dan was so incensed that Connie was on the air first and getting all the airtime that when he finally arrived in Oklahoma City, he spent hours and hours on the phone with TV writers, blasting Connie Chung as a second-rate journalist.

Several CBS news people heard him do it. "Dan was behind a curtain [in the makeshift CBS newsroom at the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City] ripping her," one of them told me. "He was on the phone for hours blasting her." Of course, he wasn't speaking "on the record," so you couldn't find his name in any of the stories. Just one month later, when Connie was dumped from CBS News, Dan did go on the record and was quoted by name, in the Boston Globe Magazine, saying of his former co-anchor: "I'm a friend of hers. I was yesterday, I am today, and I will be tomorrow" means "I'm glad they finally fired her so I can have more airtime for myself."

This is the ugly, take-no-prisoners side of Dan that comes out when he feels threatened. It's as if he doesn't understand how big and important he has become over the years, how far he's traveled from the small-town, blue-collar, Depression-era Texas of his childhood. It's as if he doesn't know that he can afford to be generous.

One hundred sixty-eight human beings, including nineteen children, are blown to smithereens and Dan -- anonymously -- is miffed because Connie Chung is getting more airtime than he is! But Dan left no fingerprints.

END of Excerpt

The dark side of Dan Rather. Makes you feel a little sorry for Chung.

4

Chung doesn't hold a grudge. As reported in the November 15, 2001 CyberAlert:

To the tune of "Love and Marriage," at a Tuesday night (November 13, 2001) event at which Ran Rather received an award, ABC's Connie Chung, who anchored the CBS Evening News with him in a failed 1993-94 experiment, sang a song parody to him.

Her first stanza, as recounted by the New York Post: "Chung and Rather/Chung and Rather/How the gossips used to love to blather/None of it was true, Dan/I treasured sitting next to you, Dan."

An excerpt from the November 14 New York Post story by Michael Starr about Chung's appearance at the dinner produced by the New York Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences:

....Chung, who co-anchored the CBS Evening News with Rather from 1993-95 -- an often stormy alliance -- materialized as Rather was inducted by Maury Povich into the Silver Circle of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences.

The ceremonies, hosted by Povich (Chung's husband), came to a sudden halt as Chung walked in and sang to the tune of Love and Marriage.

Here's how it went:

"Chung and Rather/Chung and Rather/How the gossips used to love to blather/None of it was true, Dan/I treasured sitting next to you, Dan.

"Dan and Connie/Dan and Connie/Nothing like Mark Green and Giuliani/As I said to Maury/It's time to tell the honest story.

"I loved being your co-anchor/Right from the starting/You'd be in Afghanistan/I'd be with Tonya Harding.

"Dan and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one/And here's your Silver Circle platter." [See below for a corrected transcription of the end of this line.]

"This is my tribute to Dan," Chung told The Post. "Maury came up with the idea -- and I always do everything my husband asks me to do."

END Excerpt of the New York Post story:

On November 14, the NBC-produced Access Hollywood program played a clip of Chung singing this stanza: "Dan and Connie/Chung and Rather/Time to put aside the past and gather/Glad that I came back, Dan/What's done is done/You're number one/And here's your Silver Circle plaque, Daaaaan!"

To watch a RealPlayer video clip of Chung singing that stanza on Access Hollywood, go to:
http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011115.asp#6 -- Brent Baker


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