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CyberAlert -- 06/18/2001 -- Media's Green Agenda Conceded

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Media's Green Agenda Conceded; ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos; Missile Defense "Extreme"; Abortion Ship Lionized

1) ABC's This Week with Cokie Roberts and George Stephanopoulos? On Sunday the Clintonista served as co-host of the program and betrayed his personal agenda in favor of the more liberal so-called patients' bill of rights.

2) "We launder our views through quote 'objective critics,'" conceded Newsweek's Evan Thomas as he acknowledged: "The rank and file press is pretty green and they're going to use the Europeans to take the Bush's to task."

3) It was the AP's Ron Fournier who at an EU press conference pointed out to Bush: "Not a single European Union nation has ratified the Kyoto treaty...yet you've been criticized by these same leaders for rejecting it."

4) Highlighting how comedians portray Bush as "kind of dumb," on CNN's Late Edition Steve Roberts recalled: "There was one great Leno line this week about, 'well George Bush said that he was against the Kyoto Accord; he preferred the Kyoto Camry.'" But Jay Leno didn't tell that joke.

5) Missile defense an "extreme" idea to New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman who on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning complained about how Bush has "some really ideological advisers with some pretty extreme ideas, I believe, on issues like missile defense."

6) ABC and CBS celebrated the arrival in Ireland of, in Terry Moran's words, a "pioneering" ship with the "unique crusade" of providing abortions, but both shows suggested the organizers were just producing "a publicity stunt," one the two networks made a success. Bryant Gumbel lamented the lack of commitment: "If you're not prepared to go to jail, and if you don't have a license, and you can't perform procedures, and you can't give out pills, why isn't this...anything more than just a publicity stunt?"

7) The Washington Post applied the "conservative" label six times to the GOP candidate for Governor of Virginia the day after he was picked, but after Democrats selected their ticket the Post avoided any liberal tags and instead admired how "Democrats crafted a racially diverse ticket that party activists hope will project a more dynamic image than the three conservative Republicans nominated earlier this month."

8) Letterman's "Top Ten Pieces of Fatherly Advice from George W. Bush."


1

ABC's This Week with Cokie Roberts and George Stephanopoulos? For the past few years when either Cokie Roberts or Sam Donaldson has been out the other handled the This Week hosting duty alone. But on Sunday, ABC gave Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton enabler and dissembler, another milestone in his journey to full-fledged reporter status at ABC News as he co-hosted the show with Roberts.

In his first assignment be betrayed where his sympathies lie, in an interview Republican Senator with Bill Frist and Democratic Senator John Edwards, about the competing so-called patients bills of rights.

His first question went to Frist: "Has President Bush given you any indication of what kind of changes he would need in Senator Edwards' bill to get a bill he can sign?"

After Frist replied the Kennedy-McCain bill has three problems -- it allows employers to be sued, "lines the pockets" of trial lawyer with unlimited economic and punitive damages and drives up health insurance costs so people can't afford it -- Stephanopoulos prompted Edwards: "That's a triple-barreled criticism. You better get in here."

Stephanopoulos soon urged Edwards to undercut one of the conservative arguments: "But what about this criticism about trial lawyers, lining the pockets of trial lawyers? You made a good living, before you came to the Senate, as a trial lawyer. Is any of that criticism legitimate?"

Turning to Frist, Stephanopoulos asserted: "How about that Senator Frist? Where it's been tried, there haven't been a lot of lawsuits so far." In fact, Frist countered, states like Texas have damages caps and don't allow the suing of employers.

Stephanopoulos pressed ahead from the left: "But why shouldn't the managed care industry be subject to punitive damages the way any other industry would? There's no punitive damages in your bill."

2

"The rank and file press is pretty green and they're going to use the Europeans to take the Bush's to task," admitted Newsweek's Evan Thomas on CNN's Reliable Sources. Newsweek colleague Eleanor Clift and Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus demonstrated that media tilt in comments about global warming on the McLaughlin Group.

On CNN's Reliable Sources on Saturday night, Thomas, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor, acknowledged that the predominant bias of reporters makes them hostile to President Bush on the environment as they used Europeans to express their own views:
"We launder our views through quote 'objective critics.' And certainly the press is pretty green, the press is pretty pro-environment and I don't think there's any question that they, as a body, feel that Bush is wrong on the environment, with varying degrees willingness to give him credit and I'm excluding the conservative press -- the Weekly Standard and so forth. But generally the rank and file press is pretty green and they're going to use the Europeans to take the Bushies to task."

A look back at CyberAlerts from the past ten days documenting the distortion by the networks of the National Academy of Sciences report on global warming would confirm Thomas's concession.

Over the weekend on the McLaughlin Group his Newsweek colleague Eleanor Clift reflected the media mindset on global warming as she declared: "Frankly, this notion that there isn't enough science, I mean that's right up there with does smoking cause lung cancer? You know, conundrum of our time."

Doyle McManus of the Los Angles Times emphasized that "the positive side" of the global warming debate is how President Bush has acknowledged the basic liberal tenets: "What most people have missed is what Bush said this week on the positive side of this issue. He said there is such a thing as global warming, he believes that report says the atmosphere is getting warmer, that human activity plays an important part. It may not be the only part, that is where the argument is. And he said, as you saw in that clip, that he wants to do something about it. So he has in effect ended most of the debate over whether there is any problem here."

But there never was any debate in the news media.

3

The credit goes to the AP's Ron Fournier. After seeing him pose question at Saturday's press conference in Slovenia, I identified him as the reporter who during last Thursday's European Union (EU) press conference raised the issue of how no EU nation had yet ratified the Kyoto treaty on global warming.

During the June 14 event, Fournier queried Bush and the head of the EU: "Not a single European Union nation has ratified the Kyoto treaty which was signed when many of your counterparts were in office, yet you've been criticized by these same leaders for rejecting it. Why do you suppose their actions have not been as forceful as their rhetoric? And President Prodi, why haven't any EU nations ratified the treaty?"

As outlined in the June 15 CyberAlert, on Thursday night only FNC reported the question and Prodi's weak defense: "There is no, no one single country who has declared not to ratify it." NBC gave a clause to noting how no European nation had ratified Kyoto, but zilch appeared on ABC, CBS or CNN. For details: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010615.asp#1

4

Memo to Steve Roberts: When making fun of how George Bush is seen as "kind of dumb," get your basic facts straight.

On Sunday's Late Edition on CNN, former New York Times reporter Steve Roberts, now with U.S. News & World Report, announced during the roundtable segment: "This country and the world is littered with people who've underestimated George Bush. But I've noticed that the late night comedians have really started ratcheting up the criticism of him and this notion of him being kind of dumb and unready is taking hold. There was one great Leno line this week about, 'well George Bush said that he was against the Kyoto Accord; he preferred the Kyoto Camry.'"

The panel laughed. But that wasn't a Leno joke. It was told by David Letterman, which suggests Roberts mis-remembered a Hotline item and really isn't watching the late night shows to know if any such notion "is taking hold."

No big deal, just a minor error. But Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer proceeded to make a big deal about two minor Bush errors, playing video of Bush referring to Africa as "a nation" and arguing he's for a "Europe" with "more countries" when he meant the "European Union."

5

Missile defense is an "extreme" idea to New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, formerly a reporter for the newspaper. On MSNBC's Imus in the Morning last Thursday, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, Friedman lamented President Bush's lack of interest or experience in foreign affairs because that means "there's no personal counterweight that he brings to the discussion and I find that very troubling, especially when you have some really ideological advisers with some pretty extreme ideas, I believe, on issues like missile defense."

The complete exchange on the June 14 edition of the radio show simulcast on MSNBC:

Don Imus: "Senator John Kerry, if we can dismiss the politics probably, or at least factor in the politics and then ask the question, he yesterday, Senator Kerry questioned President Bush's knowledge of foreign affairs. Factoring in what I just said, does he have any point there?"
Friedman: "I think so, I mean I guess I think that what still concerns me about Bush is two things, you know, that John Kerry is raising. And one is that, the man evinced so little curiosity about the world when you consider where he grew up, the family he was in, the fact that he basically has never traveled anywhere, you know, I find that unnerving. And why is that important? It's important because you know, he's surrounded by all these advisers with very strong opinions you know, on foreign policy and what not, and they have some ideas that I find very extreme, to be frank. But what concerns me is he has no experience with the real world to measure it off, to balance it against, you know. It's not like he can go into a meeting and say you know, I remember Europe at this time, I've been to London, I've been to France, I've been to Russia. There's no personal counterweight that he brings to the discussion and I find that very troubling, especially when you have some really ideological advisers with some pretty extreme ideas, I believe, on issues like missile defense."

An "extreme" idea which a March CBS News/New York Times poll determined 75 percent of the American public favors developing.

6

Friday morning ABC and CBS celebrated the arrival in Ireland of a ship to provide abortions, but both shows soon suggested the ship's sponsors were just producing "a publicity stunt," a publicity stunt the two networks ensured succeeded.

Fill-in Good Morning America co-host Terry Moran announced: "A unique ship is docked in Ireland on the first stop on a pioneering and bitterly controversial worldwide crusade to bring birth control and counseling and abortion to women in countries where it's illegal or hard to come by. We'll speak to the woman who's behind that unique crusade."

CBS's Bryant Gumbel bemoaned the group's lack of commitment, wrapping up his interview with a Women on Waves member: "But if you're not prepared to go to jail, and if you don't have a license, and you can't perform procedures, and you can't give out pills, why isn't this any more, anything more than just a publicity stunt?"

> ABC's Good Morning America, June 15. After the above-quoted introduction from Terry Moran, Diane Sawyer sympathetically set up a story: "There are about 20 million abortions performed every year around the world and about 70,000 women die, often due to unsafe or illegal procedures. But Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, who's a Dutch gynecologist, has decided to try to do something about it. She has just arrived outside Dublin, Ireland, aboard a boat, a ship called the 'Sea of Change.' It is the world's first floating abortion clinic. The idea, she says, is to let Irish women come 12 miles out into international waters where they can have an abortion with the abortion pill, RU-486. Needless to say, a lot of people in Ireland are up in arms over it."

Following a report from ABC's Bob Woodruff, whose piece also aired the night before on World News Tonight, Sawyer interviewed Gomperts after she admired the popularity of the ship:
"And you should know, just this morning, when we went live to the scene, the boat was so overwhelmed by women seeking services that the floating clinic had to put its plans on hold for the moment and figure out what to do. And just minutes ago, I talked with Dr. Gomperts about the stir she's created."

MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that Sawyer posed a few challenging questions before suggesting it's all a publicity stunt:

-- "Dr. Gomperts, as you know, some members of the Irish government have said, basically, 'How dare you, how dare you come 12 miles off our shore and challenge the laws of this country.'"
-- "Now, you can't do surgical abortions on board the ship -- you don't do them. You administer RU-486, but it also can have complications. There are people who say that your ship also is dangerous."
-- "But the Dutch government has said that you face four years in prison because you don't have a permit."
-- "I know you've talked now about going to Poland, Malta, Africa, South America, and there are people who say this is just a cheap publicity stunt, as we heard."
-- "There is talk that one pro-life group is considering sending out its own ship and having priests and counselors on board....Do you welcome them?"

> CBS's The Early Show. Up front reporter Kimberly Dozier suggested the publicity stunt angle as she was fulfilling the plan. She told Bryant Gumbel:
"The Women on Waves intend to spend the next two weeks in this largely Roman Catholic country campaigning for a woman's right to choose abortion. Abortion is illegal here, as you mentioned, the question is whether they are actually going to perform the procedure or whether this is, as the critics are calling it, a massive publicity stunt. This refurbished fishing boat has as surgical theatre set up in a shipping container on deck, it also has security systems and bullet proof vests to protect patients and crew. But under Irish law the two doctors on board can not perform abortions while docked here and they can't perform them in international waters until they get the proper license from the Dutch government...."

Dozier added: "The idea is eventually to sail to developing countries and offer women safe abortions, they say, 12 miles offshore in international waters. What this is doing is raising the profile of this issue here. And there is intended to be a referendum on the abortion issue in Ireland later this year. That's why opponents say they are staying away, they don't won't to give this any more publicity."

CBS News wasn't so reluctant.

Gumbel then interviewed Women on Waves spokeswoman Yoka Van Kampe. His questions reflected his seeming disappointment with the obstacles facing the abortionists and his dissatisfaction with their level of commitment to breaking the law:

-- "As you see it, exactly what are you trying to do there in Ireland?"
-- "Will you be conducting abortions or willing to conduct abortions onboard the ship?"
-- "But the Dutch government says your ship is not licensed and so you are not allowed to practice any procedures onboard the ship, that you would be in violation of the law."
-- "So in the absence of a license you really can't do anything?"
-- "Is it realistic to think that any Irish woman in need of your services would brave the protesters and the press in order to get to you?"
-- "But will you even be allowed to hand out any pills of any kind, wouldn't that too be a violation of the law?"
-- "Are you and your people willing to go to jail to hand out literature, to hand out pills, to perform procedures, if that's what it takes?"
-- "But if you're not prepared to go to jail, and if you don't have a license, and you can't perform procedures, and you can't give out pills, why isn't this any more, anything more than just a publicity stunt?"

It worked -- at least in the United States.

7

The morning after Virginia Republicans at a convention selected their gubernatorial candidate the Washington Post applied the "conservative" label six times, including a reference to "the GOP ticket's conservative tang." But the morning after Virginia Democrats in a primary chose Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor candidates, one of whom was endorsed by Handgun Control Inc. and both of whom want a moratorium on the death penalty, the Post avoided any liberal tag.

Instead, reporter R. H. Melton admired how "Democrats crafted a racially diverse ticket that party activists hope will project a more dynamic image than the three conservative Republicans nominated earlier this month."

For a rundown of Post reporter Melton's liberal use of the "conservative" label back on June 3, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010607.asp#5

Now to the Democrats last week. The June 13 front page story was headlined: "Va. Democrats Complete Diverse Ticket." The subhead: "First Black Candidate for Attorney General Joins Warner in Race." Melton opened his news story:
"Virginia Democrats nominated two Richmonders yesterday to round out the Nov. 6 ticket headed by Mark R. Warner, selecting Mayor Timothy M. Kaine for lieutenant governor and Del. A. Donald McEachin as the party's first African American candidate for attorney general.
"In choosing Kaine, 43, and McEachin, 39, to join gubernatorial hopeful Warner, 46, Democrats crafted a racially diverse ticket that party activists hope will project a more dynamic image than the three conservative Republicans nominated earlier this month at the GOP's statewide convention.
"Mark L. Earley, 46, who recently stepped down as attorney general, will face Warner, while state Del. Jay Katzen, 64, of Fauquier County, will run against Kaine for the lieutenant governorship. Jerry W. Kilgore, 39, a former state secretary of public safety whose roots are in Southwest Virginia, is running for attorney general against McEachin...."

To read the entire story, in which the word "liberal" never appears, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58049-2001Jun12.html

No wonder a June 17 Washington Post story, by a different Post reporter, carried the headline: "Republicans Eager to Pin Liberal Label on Warner."

The Post certainly won't do it for them on its own.

8

From the June 15 Late Show, the "Top Ten Pieces of Fatherly Advice from George W. Bush." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. "You're coming to me for advice? Okay, that's mistake number one"
9. "Do as I saying, not as I doing did"
8. "At school, sit next to one of Dick Cheney's kids and copy off them"
7. "You can't go through life getting arrested and making as ass out of yourself...just kidding"
6. "Watch what you eat or you'll bloat up like Al Gore"
5. "If you ever get in a jam, call my dad -- it's always worked for me"
4. "Your mother is tired of your idiotic behavior and says you're a disgrace to this family...no, wait, that's what she said about me"
3. "Remember the motto of my predecessor: it's only a crime if you get caught"
2. "Never use a fake ID to buy hooch -- that's what Secret Service guys are for"
1. "Keep up the good work, girls -- at this rate you'll be President some day"

-- Brent Baker


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