CyberAlert -- 05/14/1996 -- ABC's Skewed Ear

ABC's Skewed Ear

One item today:

ABC finds a conservative America, but Peter Jennings impugns those who believe in requiring immigrants to conduct business in English.

For the next two weeks ABC's World News Tonight will air a series titled "Listening to America." ABC sent ten reporters across the country to learn what people are thinking. On Monday (May 13) they ran a preview/overview piece narrated by Peter Jennings. Remember that last week on Larry King Live Jennings denied ABC has a liberal bias.

Monday night Peter Jennings reported: "We found bigotry and resentment. And we listened to some Americans who felt threatened by other people because they were different."
The supporting soundbite for that assertion? A middle-aged white man in a cowboy shirt sitting beside a woman, presumably his wife, with a field behind them. Immediately following Jennings' statement above, the man said: "If you want to come here and be an American and be in America, learn the language, get a job, get a Social Security number and get the better way of life." Now that's one threatened and bigoted guy.

Otherwise, however, it appears ABC has discovered a conservative country. Here are three quotes from Jennings:
-- "When we listened to people we found that not very many of them trusted the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. This owner of a small lumber mill in Maine was fairly representative."
[Lumber mill owner: "They seem to get down to Washington, get in all these meeting rooms, in their ivory towers and seem to kind of forget about us back home trying to make a dollar."]

-- "We were struck by the enormous emphasis people placed on family life. Everywhere we went we heard time and again about the value of the family. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, our John Donvan found it to be a yardstick for success."

-- "You will hear, in the next two weeks, how concerned people are with what they call the moral decline in the nation. In parts of the South, Erin Hayes found profound concern about how difficult it can be today for our kids."

Those last three assertions are quite startling discoveries. I think Dan Quayle said the same things four years ago.

-- Brent Baker