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CyberAlert -- 02/05/2001 -- "Huge" Tax Cut for Rich Denounced

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"Huge" Tax Cut for Rich Denounced; Gumbel: Clinton a Victim; CBS Stressed Bush's Attack on "Women's Reproductive Health Rights"

1) Previewing media reaction this week to Bush's tax cut proposal, on CNN's Capital Gang Al Hunt declared: "The worst thing we can do now is give huge tax cuts to people who least need it." Margaret Carlson complained "the huge preponderance of this goes to wealthy people" and urged it be skewed toward "the working class."

2) NBC's David Gregory claimed that President Bush described his own tax cut plan as "massive." Gregory relayed how "some Democrats wonder who is the real George Bush: A Republican more conservative than he seems, who nominates the very conservative John Ashcroft ...or a true centrist."

3) Friday night ABC led with Clinton's promise to pay for half his office lease while Brian Ross found Marc Rich still hiding in Switzerland.

4) Bryant Gumbel portrayed Bill Clinton as a victim of cheap Republican attack politics as he denigrated concern about the high cost of Bill Clinton's office space as "predictable Republican fire for his spending habits."

5) "President George W. Bush has wasted no time coming out against women's reproductive health rights with both fists swinging," declared a CBS e-mail previewing Friday's The Early Show. As promised, Jane Clayson set up the one-sided segment: "We're not here to debate the right and wrong of abortion, just different generations' commitment to reproductive rights."

6) In stark contrast to CBS's approach, on Sunday's Meet the Press NBC's Tim Russert actually pressed new RNC Chairman Jim Gilmore from the right on abortion. He asked whether the party and the Bush administration will work "as promised" to ban abortion, to "keep your word on your platform?"

7) When Tim Russert asked Terry McAuliffe to promise $1 million to a charity if Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2004, McAuliffe quickly backed off his "guaranteed" assurance she would not run. "Wow," he gulped after a long pause. "Wow."

8) Letterman's "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Rudy Giuliani's Memoirs."


1
In a probable preview of media reaction this week to Bush's tax cut proposal, on CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night Al Hunt and Margaret Carlson employed standard liberal demagoguery which assessed the cut by raw dollar amount instead of by the percentage cut for the middle class versus the rich. "The worst thing we can do now is give huge tax cuts to people who least need it," Hunt declared. Carlson complained "the huge preponderance of this goes to wealthy people" and she was baffled by how "they put it somewhere, wherever wealthy people put their money."

(Monday morning ABC's Charles Gibson, CBS's Jane Clayson and NBC's Matt Lauer pounded away at Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey about the size of the cut and how it supposedly favors the rich.)

From the February 3 Capital Gang:

-- Al Hunt, Washington Executive Editor of the Wall Street Journal: "I think in fact Alan Greenspan and the '93 budget deficit reduction act with tax increases are primarily responsible for the best economy we've had in our lifetime and I would just say I still think there's a better than even chance, at least an even chance, you can avoid a recession. The worst thing we can do now is give huge tax cuts to people who least need it."

-- Margaret Carlson, Washington bureau columnist and reporter for Time magazine: "Now that Saint Alan has blessed the tax cut there will be a tax cut. But remember even Al Gore was proposing some tax cut. Now the tax cut we're talking about, if it's for the recession now, which Bush is pushing, it has to be different than the one Bush has put out there because when wealthy people get a tax cut -- and the huge preponderance of this goes to wealthy people -- they put it somewhere, wherever wealthy people put their money. If you want people to buy a Chevy or a refrigerator you've got to reduce the FICA or tilt that tax cut back towards the middle class, the working class."

Yes, the wealthy put all their money into their mattresses and don't buy or invest in anything. Sounds like Carlson is even less qualified to teach economics than Al Gore is to teach journalism.

2

Friday night NBC Nightly News focused on how Bush, in Tom Brokaw's words, is using slowdown to push for a "big tax cut." Reporter David Gregory claimed: "Preparing for a week-long campaign style promotion of his tax cut plan, today the President declares that massive tax relief would provide this slowing economy with a quote 'second wind.'"

I doubt Bush ever used the term "massive" for his tax cut.

Reviewing Bush's first two weeks in office, Gregory looked at him from the point of view of liberal Democrats: "Privately some Democrats wonder who is the real George Bush: A Republican more conservative than he seems, who nominates the very conservative John Ashcroft, today showing up for work at the Justice Department, or a true centrist who courts the Congressional Black Caucus this week and leading liberal Ted Kennedy, inviting him and other family members to the White House to watch 13 Days, a film based on the Cuban missile crisis."
Senator Max Baucus, (D-Montana): "We're still in the courtship. Fairly soon now we'll get into the proposal, that is he will give us a tax bill and a budget and that's where the rubber meets the road."

3

Former President Clinton's and Senator Clinton's promise to pay for half the year-end gifts, given in a manner to circumvent the Senate gift plan, topped the broadcast network evening shows on Saturday night. On Friday night, only ABC's World News Tonight led with Bill Clinton's announcement that he would have his foundation pay for about half the lease on his office in a Manhattan skyscraper.

Friday's CBS Evening News carried a short item by Dan Rather followed by a soundbite from Clinton defending his pardon for Marc Rich while the NBC Nightly News ran an uncontested "In Their Own Words" segment featuring Clinton's sidewalk comments about the lease and Rich. Clinton falsely claimed that taxpayers would now only have to pay "per square foot about what President Reagan pays."

Peter Jennings opened the February 2 World News Tonight by stressing how Clinton "is being dogged" by what he did in office:
"We're going to begin this evening with former President Clinton. Two weeks as a private citizen, still making news, still being dogged by what he did in the final hours. Today here in New York Mr. Clinton defended his decision to pardon the billionaire fugitive Marc Rich wanted for tax evasion and racketeering, whose former wife was a big contributor to the Clintons."

After a report from Aaron Brown, ABC aired a preview of a then upcoming Friday night 20/20 piece by Brian Ross, who tracked down Rich living the good life in a Swiss village. Rich wouldn't talk to Ross, so viewers only saw video of him in the back of a car. Ross suggested he hasn't returned to the U.S. because of his tax liability for the past 17 years and Ross reported that Rich does not consider himself to be a U.S. citizen anymore.

4

Bryant Gumbel portrayed Bill Clinton as a victim of cheap Republican attack politics on Friday morning as he dismissed concern about the high cost of Bill Clinton's office space as "predictable Republican fire for his spending habits," MRC analyst Brian Boyd observed. When reporter Bill Plante suggested Clinton could have decided to work out of his new home in Washington, DC, Gumbel whined: "And I'm sure they'd cause a ruckus about that, too."

Gumbel introduced the February 2 Early Show piece by Plante:
"We now have five living ex-U.S. Presidents, a record number, and American taxpayers are currently paying retirement benefits for all of them. But as Bill Plante reports, the newest member of the Presidents club is drawing predictable Republican fire for his spending habits."

Plante explained: "No doubt about it, Carnegie Hall Tower on West 57th Street in Manhattan is a great location, but space like this doesn't come cheap. And that has the former President's critics seething....The price tag for the entire 56th floor with a great view of Central Park is about $650,000 a year. All former presidents are entitled to office space, but Mr. Clinton's digs would cost more than those of the other four ex-Presidents combined. Congressman Ernest Istook says that he's asking the federal agency which oversees this to take another look before they sign the lease."

After a matching soundbite, Plante suggested: "The rent dispute is only the latest flap since Mr. Clinton left office trailing controversy over the pardons he granted and the gifts he took. He's been laying low at home in Chappaqua outside New York City but is now beginning to speak and grant interviews, this one to Israeli TV. Of course Mr. Clinton could have made his home base here in this house which the Clinton's bought just off Embassy Row in Washington, DC. But there's a little problem, it's only about a mile and a half from the White House and people would be sure to get the wrong idea, Bryant."

Gumbel sarcastically remarked: "And I'm sure they'd cause a ruckus about that, too. Bill, do you actually see Congress getting involved in this thing."
Plante answered: "It's possible but not very likely. Congressman Istook did have one idea, he said maybe Mr. Clinton could use the money that Congress appropriated about $228,000 and then make up the difference himself. Now he is starting to speak, he gets $100,000 a speech. Maybe he will get something from the Bush tax cut."
Gumbel rationalized the price of the Manhattan space: "And hey, this is the most expensive city in America."

Thanks to liberals like Gumbel who live there and vote for higher taxes.

5

CBS promised a one-sided look at an issue from the left and it delivered a one-sided look at an issue from the left. The issue: abortion. Or in CBS's vernacular: "women's reproductive health rights" which "President George W. Bush has wasted no time coming out against" with "both fists swinging." Friday's The Early Show featured a whole segment with two left-wing guests discussing how women should best fight back against President Bush's threat to their rights.

The segment matched the loaded language used in CBS's daily e-mail plugging upcoming programming, "Inside Scoop@CBSNews.com." The MRC's Rich Noyes caught this in the February 1 preview of the February 2 Early Show:
"President George W. Bush has wasted no time coming out against women's reproductive health rights with both fists swinging. Abortion activists warn that a Bush presidency will mean a roll-back in women's rights and curtailing of reproductive freedoms. But how do the women who fought for these freedoms feel about the current generation's attitude? Faye Wattleton, President of the Center for Gender Equality and former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, joins us in our studio to discuss this issue. Debbie Stoller, Editorial Director of 'Bust' magazine, also stops by to give us her perspective."

During Friday's promised segment, co-host Jane Clayson conceded: "We're not here to debate the right and wrong of abortion, just different generations' commitment to reproductive rights."

And CyberAlert is not here to debate the balance or imbalance of CBS News, just its commitment to the liberal agenda.

In the interview session Clayson worried: "Is there a gradual erosion of a woman's right to choose and are women not noticing it?" And she rued: "The 20 and 30-something generation though never had to fight for these rights like you did, like your generation did."

Clayson set up the 7:30am segment, as taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd: "During the campaign President Bush barely mentioned the word abortion, but pro-choice advocates fear Thursday's confirmation of John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General marked the beginning of this administration's attempt to chip away at a woman's right to choose. Activists also fear that today's young women are not prepared to go to battle to protect their reproductive rights."

Clayson then made clear her agenda: "First off, we should say we're not here to debate the right and wrong of abortion, just different generations' commitment to reproductive rights. So having said that, Faye, let me start with you. Do you believe that Roe v. Wade is really in danger of being overturned?"

Faye Wattleton, President of the Center for Gender Equality, responded: "Well, Roe v. Wade as it was handed down by the Supreme Court no longer exists. It has been restricted and many of the basic principles of Roe v. Wade have been undermined so that it really is already a significantly restricted right."
Clayson followed up: "Do you think most women think that, do you think most women believe that?"

After Wattleton claimed that only the poor get hurt when abortion is restricted since the rich can circumvent the rules, Clayson turned to her other guest: "Debbie, is there a gradual erosion of a woman's right to choose and are women not noticing it?"
Debbie Stoller, Editorial Director of something called Bust magazine, suggested Ashcroft is an alarm to women that a right they assumed safe may be in danger.
Clayson set up Wattleton: "The 20 and 30-something generation though never had to fight for these rights like you did, like your generation did."
Wattleton recalled how she can remember when women died because of illegal abortions.

The segment soon broke down into a gabfest between Wattleton and Stoller without intervention from Clayson as both guests discussed how to best fight back and bemoaned how despite their efforts people like Clarence Thomas got confirmed.

Clayson eventually jumped back in: "In our last 30 seconds let me ask you where you see, in the next four years, abortion rights going."
Stoller saw a continued "attack on women's sexuality" while Wattleton warned of an "incremental chipping away" at rights.

6

On the Bright Side. In stark contrast to CBS's Friday morning approach, in a very unusual angle for a major media figure, on Sunday's Meet the Press NBC's Tim Russert actually approached a Republican guest from the right on abortion. Russert pressed new RNC Chairman Jim Gilmore about whether the party and the Bush administration will work "as promised" to ban abortion, to "keep your word on your platform?"

Gilmore appeared along side new DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. At one point during the February 4 show, Tim Russert put text on screen from the GOP platform as he inquired of Virginia Governor Gilmore:
"Let me show you the Republican Party platform on the very sensitive issue of abortion. 'The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' [text between single quote marks is what was shown on screen, Russert condensed it in reading it aloud] Harry Truman said a party's contract, platform is its contract with the people. Will the Republican Party -- you now have the Senate, the House and the White House -- work to enact a Constitutional amendment to ban all abortion as promised in your platform?"
Gilmore answered: "I think the Republican Party is going to be able to find common ground on some of these areas. For example, the issue of partial birth abortion, the issue of full information to a woman so she has the best ability to make those decisions. I think we will be able to find some common ground on that in the Republican Party, but the Republican Party is a very diverse party. We have a lot of people in it with a lot of different points of view."
Russert followed up: "But you won't keep your word on your platform?"

Now that's a network first: A reporter actually pursuing a Republican official not to repudiate the party's pro-life position but to defend failure to enact it.

7

Tim Russert also nailed new DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, asking him to put his money behind his "guaranteed" assurance that Hillary Clinton will not run for President in 2004. McAuliffe declined.

In the midst of McAuliffe insisting Al Gore will soon be the party's frontrunner for 2004 when everyone realizes he really won Florida, Russert interjected: "You haven't mentioned Hillary Rodham Clinton running for President in 2004."
McAuliffe: "I feel pretty safe saying, making a Shermanesque statement that Hillary Rodham Clinton will not run for President in 2004."
Russert: "Absolutely guaranteed?"
McAuliffe: "Guaranteed."
Russert: "If she does, will you contribute a million dollars to the Boys and Girls Club of America?"
McAuliffe, after a stunned pause: "Wow. [laughed nervously] wow."
Russert: "How sure are you? You said Shermanesque. The Boys and Girls Clubs will get $1 million from Terry McAuliffe if Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2004."
McAuliffe: "Tim, in fairness I would like to check with my lovely wife Dorothy before I make such statement."

Now that's an approach reporters should have tried with President Clinton. How many of his answers would have changed if he had to put money behind them? Probably depends on your definition of money.

8

From the February 1 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Chapter Titles in Rudy Giuliani's Memoirs." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. "New York On 41 Bullets A Day"
9. "Yankee Stadium, Central Park, The Statue Of Liberty's Head: All The Places I've Had Sex"
8. "My Secret Life As A Las Vegas Show Girl 'Judy Riuliani'"
7. "Lethal Injection: The Only Way To Deal With Jaywalkers"
6. "Derek Jeter -- Great Player, But What About That Ridiculous Full Head Of Non-Combed-Over Hair?"
5. "The Day I Murdered A Hot Dog Guy With My Bare Hands"
4. "Work With Him Long Enough And You'll Realize The Truth: Governor Pataki Is All Hands"
3. "After All I Did For You People, You Elect Hillary Clinton?!"
2. "Closing Down Strip Clubs: What The Hell Was I Thinking?"
1. "How To Cut New York Crime In Half -- Move Puffy To N.J."

But he'll be replaced by the Bill Clinton crime wave. -- Brent Baker


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