CyberAlert -- 06/13/2001 -- Looking to Government for Help
Looking to Government for Help; Bush's "Controversial" & "Gaffe" Prone Trip; Wallace Voted for Nader & Bush Stole the Election
1) NBC's Campbell Brown did not mention how no NATO nation had ratified it as she focused on Bush's "controversial" decision "to throw out the Kyoto protocol." Bush's "gaffe" of mispronouncing a name "only bolstered" concern "about Bush's lack of foreign policy experience." CBS's John Roberts repeated the canard about how "top scientists" decided global warming "was real and growing worse" as environmentalists "dismissed the need for more studies."
2) "We start tonight with a court decision that could be a great advance in women's rights," ABC anchor Charles Gibson celebrated. CBS and NBC also ran full stories on a ruling about making a health insurance plan cover prescription contraceptives for women. Instead of noting how such a requirement could hike insurance costs, CBS and NBC painted it as a savings for women.
3) Is there anything the networks won't portray as the province of the federal government? CBS looked to FEMA for training money to teach local fire departments about flood water rescues; NBC rued how gridlock may hinder Washington from controlling prescription drug prices.
4) Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes voted for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, TV Guide revealed. Wallace's admission came just four days after Don Hewitt, the Executive Producer of the show, charged that George W. Bush "may have stolen the election," but he didn't mind until Bush governed as a conservative.
5) Former CBS News Political Director Martin Plissner urged President Bush to adopt Nixon's health care plan which matches "liberal heaven." Plissner argued: "Bush does not have to turn to obscure gurus for lessons in compassionate conservatism. His own party laid it all out for him three decades ago."
Correction: The June 12 CyberAlert quoted Bernard Goldberg as saying about reaction by top CBS Evening News producers to a biased 1996 story: "It didn't phase anybody." As more than one reader has pointed out, "phase" should have read "faze."
The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night caught up with CBS from the night before and stressed, without bothering to mention how most are left of center, how President Bush is out of step with European leaders. In the morning, CBS had followed up with another one-sided piece from John Roberts.
NBC's Campbell Brown did not mention how no NATO nation had ratified Kyoto as she focused on how Bush's "controversial" decision "to throw out the Kyoto protocol" put him "on the defensive." Like ABC's Peter Jennings the night before, she tried to draw a larger meaning from the "President's gaffe" of mispronouncing the Spanish Prime Minister's name, which she argued "only bolstered" European "concern...about Bush's lack of foreign policy experience."
On CBS's The Early Show on Tuesday morning John Roberts relayed the view of one expert who claimed Bush is "seen as basically an ignoramus" by Europeans. Roberts repeated the canard about how on global warming Bush's own "top scientists last week announced it was real and growing worse." Without offering any contrary view, Roberts passed along how environmentalists "dismissed the need for more studies." On missile defense, Roberts complained that "the lack of specifics from the administration has done nothing to allay" fears of a new arms race.
More details about those two stories:
-- NBC Nightly News, June 12. Tom Brokaw introduced his show's story: "And overseas tonight, where President Bush is getting a rough reception on his first trip to Europe, even as he was telling allies that there is more that unites us than divides us. He was getting a strong challenge on a wide range of issues. NBC's Campbell Brown is traveling with the President."
Brown began, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "In Madrid, two very different welcomes for the new
American President. A warm embrace from the king and queen of Spain, a
relaxed meeting at the Spanish prime minister's ranch, but outside the
U.S. embassy, hundreds of protesters denounced Bush for supporting the
death penalty, waving signs that read, 'Bush Killer,' while across
Europe newspaper headlines and editorials accuse Bush, who promised a
humble foreign policy, of arrogance, and disregard for the concerns of
After a two second clip of Bush apparently
mispronouncing the name, Brown offered faint praise: "And while
Europe has been quick to praise Bush's surrogates, especially Secretary
of State Colin Powell, here it's the President who's still a question
-- CBS's The Early Show, June 12. From
Madrid, John Roberts checked in as taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
"We start tonight with a court decision that could be a great advance in women's rights," ABC anchor Charles Gibson celebrated at the top of Tuesday's World News Tonight. All three broadcast network evening shows decided a federal judge's ruling, in one state about how one company must have its health insurance cover prescription contraceptives for women, justified full stories.
But in trumpeting the victory for a Seattle-area pharmacist who sued her employer, Bartell Drug, a retail chain, none of the three networks raised the issue of what business it is of a federal court to decide the content of a health care plan no one is required to join. And, unlike CNN in a piece on CNN Tonight a few hours later, none made the point that prescription drugs for contraception can reasonably be viewed as not a remedy to a disease or unhealthy condition.
After ABC's Lisa Stark finished trumpeting the decision, Gibson did ask about how the ruling could increase health insurance costs for all, but CBS's Sandra Hughes didn't even consider that downside after Dan Rather portrayed it as a cost cut. NBC's Tom Brokaw similarly hailed how the decision "could mean big savings for women in the workplace." Pete Williams then insisted that "adding contraceptive coverage actually winds up costing very little."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Betsy Stark announced: "Today's decision requires just one company to cover the cost of prescription contraceptives in its employee health plan, but a lawyer for Planned Parenthood called it an historic step forward for working women....Women's groups hailed the decision as important and long overdue."
Only after Stark's taped piece did Gibson ask her about how it "could cost business." Stark acknowledged the potential downside: "Businesses don't like decisions like this. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called this a case of judicial activism. And already today they're saying if you force us to cover prescription contraceptives it's going to add so much to our costs we may not be able to cover other health care benefits."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather set up the CBS story: "Many women may soon have to pay less out of their own pockets for birth control prescriptions. As CBS's Sandra Hughes reports, it's a federal first: A court ruling today about health insurance coverage for female contraception."
-- NBC Nightly News placed the news in its second story slot as Tom Brokaw proclaimed: "A federal court ruling that could mean big savings for women in the workplace. A drug company was ordered to include the cost of birth control for women in health care benefits."
Pete Williams ran through the basics of the story about "a big victory today for a Seattle pharmacist" based on a federal law outlawing discrimination based on pregnancy. Williams did allow Ann Reesman of the Equal Employment Advisory Council to contend that the judge went beyond the law by "trying to create social policy," but he dismissed the concern as he concluded: "Even so, many business lawyers acknowledge that adding contraceptive coverage actually winds up costing very little and, if today's ruling stands, may head off lawsuits."
Is there anything the networks won't portray as the responsibility of the federal government to resolve for helpless citizens? CBS and NBC aired stories Tuesday night on two very different issues -- fire department personnel undertrained in rapid/high water rescues during floods and how prescription drug prices rose faster than inflation last year -- but in both cases the reporter lamented how the federal government won't do anything about the problems.
The news that FEMA will not fund local rescue training is "a disturbing thought" to one firefighter, CBS's Jim Axelrod rued. "So what is Washington going to do about all this?" demanded NBC's Lisa Myers about rising drug prices. Nothing, she regretted as partisan differences may result in "gridlock."
On the June 12 CBS Evening News Jim Axelrod
looked at how many die needlessly each year because fire departments are
untrained for rapid water rescues they are called upon to perform during
flooding when people are swept into the water or trapped inside vehicles
in rising water. "Many of the inland high water rescues are made by
volunteers, undertrained and underfunded," Axelrod bemoaned before
asking George Lewis, a trainer with the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire
Department: "The volunteer fire departments around this country. Are
Tuesday's NBC Nightly News led with a story by Lisa Myers about a report from the left-wing activist group Families USA about how the prices for 50 popular prescription drugs rose 6.1 percent last year, which Myers labeled only by relaying how the "pro-consumer group sponsoring the study calls the increases unjustified."
After pointing out how the prices of some specific ones were up over 20 percent, Myers concluded by looking to the federal government to intervene: "So what is Washington going to do about all this? Both Republicans and Democrats promised to pass plans this year to help seniors pay for prescription drugs, but their approaches are so different the end result could still be gridlock."
For the sake of taxpayers, let's hope so.
60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace voted for the most left-wing candidate on the ballot nationally for President last year, Ralph Nader, TV Guide revealed this week.
Wallace's admission came just four days after the Executive Producer of the show charged that George W. Bush "may have stolen the election," but he didn't mind until Bush governed as a conservative. Don Hewitt disclosed his fundamental lack of basic knowledge about conservative ideology as he complained to National Public Radio talk show host Diane Rehm: "I don't understand why conservatives are against conservation."
Washington State CyberAlert reader Scott Peterson first alerted me to the Wallace news as highlighted in Sunday's New York Post in its Page Six column. Since the sidebar item in "The Robins Report" column by Max Robins is not included in the online version of TV Guide, I tracked down the June 16-22 issue and learned Robins reported that Wallace's comment came during a "Future of Journalism" forum, sponsored by Mediachannel.org, held May 25 at New York's First Amendment Center.
I typed in Robins' recounting of an exchange
between Wallace and Rutgers University professor Benjamin Barber:
Another example of how to journalists "independent" is really just a code word for liberal.
A few weeks ago Tim Graham, the White House
correspondent for World magazine (http://www.worldmag.com),
alerted me to Hewitt's comments during a May 21 appearance on the Diane
Rehm Show to plug his new book, Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years and 60
Minutes in Television. Rehm's morning radio talk show is produced at
Washington, DC's WAMU-FM and is carried by many NPR affiliates around
MRC intern Lindsay Welter took down the
relevant portion, starting with Hewitt's assertion that "I didn't
learn very much about Al Gore or George Bush" during the
debates." He warned: "And if you thought you learned something
about George Bush during the campaign, oh are you in for a shock."
"I don't hold in disdain the people I disagree with." Except the NRA.
As for not understanding "why conservatives are against conservation," maybe it's that they want to "conserve" individual property rights against the power of the state to control what they can do.
To listen to Hewitt yourself via RealAudio, go to: http://www.wamu.org/dr/shows/drarc_010521.html
To hear the portion quoted above, fast forward your RealPlayer to 23:50 into the show.
While on a roll about the liberal political views of CBS News personnel, another example brought to my attention by former MRCer Tim Graham. In a slate.com "Chatterbox" piece last week Martin Plissner, the CBS News Political Director for about two decades ending a couple of years ago, recalled how President Nixon had proposed a "comprehensive" health care plan 30 years ago which matches anything Senators Clinton and Kennedy could achieve in "liberal heaven." Plissner urged Bush to adopt the ideas: "George W. Bush does not have to turn to obscure gurus for lessons in compassionate conservatism. His own party laid it all out for him three decades ago."
An excerpt from Plissner's June 5 Slate essay:
If Sens. Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy ascended to liberal heaven and Saint Peter told them they could write up any health-care bill that they wanted, what would they ask for? Well, they might require businesses to pay three-quarters of the cost of health insurance for their workers. They might require the policies to cover not only doctor and hospital bills but lab work, mental health treatment, birth control, nursing home care -- pretty much you name it. The federal government could fund the same health-care benefits to those not covered by employers or Medicare. Medicare recipients could get a prescription drug benefit, just as Congress is trying to provide today -- and so could everybody else....
Best of all, the two senators wouldn't have to draft this fantasy bill themselves! That's because the plan I just described was already drafted and sent to Capitol Hill by a Republican administration whose members included someone named Dick Cheney, someone named Donald Rumsfeld, and someone named Paul O'Neill; and the Republican Party chairman was someone named George Bush. Not recently, of course: The bill was submitted to Congress a quarter-century ago, during the waning days of the Nixon administration....In transmitting the proposal to Congress, Nixon, arguably the most liberal Republican president since Theodore Roosevelt, declared, "Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has come in America."
It came fairly close. There were at least six health insurance plans in the hopper that year....On an unofficial show of hands at Ways and Means in the spring of 1974, Nixon's Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan of 1974 (CHIP) actually prevailed. Before the deal could be sealed, though, the political careers of both Nixon and [Ways and Means Chairman] Mills collapsed in political scandal....
Four Republican administrations have now succeeded the one which declared comprehensive health insurance an idea whose time has come, and still it has not. Aside from prescription drugs for the elderly, no part of CHIP appears to be even at the bottom of the current administration's list of priorities. This past week, to be sure, the Bush administration did authorize New York Gov. George Pataki, to whom Dubya is more than a little beholden, to extend the state's Medicaid program to the working poor. How much of a breakthrough this represents remains to be seen. What's already clear is that, on this particular issue, George W. Bush does not have to turn to obscure gurus for lessons in compassionate conservatism. His own party laid it all out for him three decades ago.
To read Plissner's polemic in its entirety, go to: http://slate.msn.com/code/chatterbox/chatterbox.asp?Show=6/5/2001&idMessage=7796
From the June 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear From Your Weather Forecaster." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "It looks like there's about a 70% chance of rain and about a
100% chance I'm going to get blind, stinkin' drunk tonight"
9. "It's going to be a hot one today, so use this as an
opportunity to make fun of a fat guy in a tank top"
8. "I hope the heavy rains don't uncover the bodies I buried"
7. "Today I am feeling unseasonably sexy"
6. "Rain, sun, snow, sleet -- what's the difference? We're all
gonna die someday"
5. "I have no idea what any of this means, I should probably take
a class or something"
4. "There's a light trickle going on right now, which reminds me
-- Sheila, would you get an appointment with Dr. Fisch for me"
3. "Enough with the weather, let's take a look at my recent oral
2. "After all this talk about rain, I gotta take a wicked
1. "Die, you millions of tiny, pathetic people, die!"
My favorite: #8. -- Brent Baker
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