CyberAlert -- 06/25/1999 -- Whistleblower's Punished; Rather Not Biased; Co-host Stephanopoulos
Whistleblower's Punished; Rather Not Biased; Co-host Stephanopoulos
1) A DOD analyst said he was forced to delete a warning about a transfer to China, but only FNC cared. CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't cite gun control in noting how "Congress has been busy with symbolic things." He named the Ten Commandments and flag burning.
3) George Stephanopoulos again co-hosted Good Morning America this week and conducted political interviews, but generated no indignant media outrage. Two years when CBS hired Susan Molinari reporters called it an "insult to journalism" and "disturbing."
Clarification: The June 23 CyberAlert referred to how Dan Rather brought a "Horned Toed Frog" onto NBC's The Tonight Show. As more than one reader pointed out, that's a "Horned Toad" and it's really a lizard.
A House committee heard testimony Thursday from five Energy and Defense Department employees about how their efforts to limit China's acquisition of dangerous technology was thwarted and they were victims of retribution for their efforts. Fox News Channel ran a full story on Special Report with Brit Hume and a briefer summary of the Fox Report but all the other networks ignored the session -- even CNN which didn't have a word about it on either Inside Politics or The World Today.
Broadcast network viewers instead saw stories on an auction of Eric Clapton guitars, a barbecue competition in Des Moines and a two-year-old who tests computer software for toddlers. CBS's Bob Schieffer was pleased that now that Congress is done with "symbolic things, voting to post the Ten Commandments in schools last week, voting on the flag today," they can get on to important matters. Of course, he did not consider gun control bills to be "symbolic."
The June 24
Special Report with Brit Hume aired at 6pm ET and 9pm PT, actually
anchored by Tony Snow, opened with a piece from Julie Kirtz. She began:
After Fox recounted his experience, Kirtz went on to review the case of senior Defense analyst Peter Leitner who said he's been harassed, before she aired competing clips of Congressmen Dan Burton and Henry Waxman on the relevance of the testimony.
The next hour Fox Report anchor Paula Zahn ran a 35-second item on the whistle-blowers and played a soundbite from Edward McCallum of the Energy Department.
What were the other networks finding more newsworthy? ABC's World News Tonight led with the hunt for serial killer Ramirez and ran full stories on how hunger is supposedly increasing, a Closer Look at children and anxiety and ended with a look at how Eric Clapton raised $5 million to fight alcohol and drugs by auctioning off many of his guitars.
The CBS Evening News also began with Ramirez and ended with a piece on a barbecue competition in Des Moines. CBS featured a full report on how the CPSC has recalled dive sticks, even though they've been around for 20 years. Nothing in the report about how many actual injuries they have caused, just that they lead to "rectal impalements." Now that should cause anxiety among children.
CBS's David Martin provided the toughest wording of the night about how a CIA analyst's warning was ignored during the war: "From almost the moment it happened administration officials have portrayed the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade as a stupid but honest mistake. However, a still secret report by the CIA suggests the bombing was a result of carelessness if not outright negligence..."
Schieffer checked in on how the House passed a flag desecration amendment
for the Constitution, but the votes are not there in the Senate. So,
They were also busy with "symbolic" gun control measures, but liberals and Schieffer don't dismiss bills in that area so quickly.
NBC Nightly News was topped by the U.S. reward for Milosevic and other war criminals. NBC combined its In Depth and Fleecing of America features into one unit for a couple of stories on a FTC report about deceptive claims on Web medical advice pages. The show ended with a look at a two-year-old whom a computer software company hired to react to its software games for toddlers.
Thursday night on CNN's Crossfire Dan Rather maintained that conservatives see him a the epitome of liberal media bias only because he has "remained an independent reporter who would not report the news the way they wanted it." After Rather asserted: "I believe in clean water, strong defense and tight money, whatever that makes me, that's what I am," the supposedly "on the right" co-host, Mike Murphy, said he is "coming around" to the view that CBS is not liberal as "I thought the CBS coverage was very even-handed on the Lewinsky scandal."
So much for a conservative side opposite the liberal Bill Press.
Bill Press raised the bias issue on the pre-taped June 24 show: "Dan,
I make no bones about it, I'm a liberal, unreconstructed, you know,
old-fashioned, proud of it liberal. Are you?"
That convinced fill-in co-host Mike Murphy, a campaign consultant to Republicans, including Bob Dole in 1996: "I got to confess: in the '80s I had one of those 'Rather Biased' stickers but I thought the CBS coverage was very even-handed on the Lewinsky scandal, when a lot of it wasn't, so it's back in the drawer and I'm coming around."
Press and Murphy
returned to the bias subject in their end of show comments. Press
remarked: "Mike, I am glad we had a chance to talk to Dan Rather.
First of all, for the insights that are in the book. But secondly, just to
destroy once and for all this myth of the liberal media. I mean, you want
to see the liberal media in this country, you're looking at him, me. It's
not Dan Rather, it's nobody else. This is baloney."
So, hard news equals non-biased news and fluff equals liberal bias?
"Look at the editorial pages. There's no liberal media. But let me
just tell you something: In this book, he calls Ken Starr 'a dangerous
man.' I like it. From the left, I am Bill Press. Good night from
Yeah, "sitting in" but not being on the right. Wouldn't calling Ken Starr a "dangerous man" put Dan Rather on the left and wouldn't such matching reporting, which did occur, reflect a liberal bias? Oh, I forgot, that would be a "hard news" subject area so it disproves any liberal bias.
What a difference the political affiliation makes. CBS hiring Susan Molinari symbolized the breakdown of the wall between partisan politics and journalism, but have you heard or seen a peep of protest over ABC News making George Stephanopoulos a news anchor and co-host of Good Morning America?
Two years ago leading journalism figures indignantly denounced CBS's decision to hire Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari to co-host a new Saturday morning show which would have little if any political content. "It's kind of an insult to journalism," huffed Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. "I think it's disturbing," declared NPR's Mara Liasson's while Nina Totenberg of NPR and ABC raged: "This really makes me want to puke." The New York Times headlined an editorial: "The GOP News from CBS."
Molinari was off the show within a year, but if her presence was so upsetting why aren't the same journalism purists concerned about Stephanopoulos? Molinari's Saturday CBS show avoided politics, so she spent most mornings talking about movies and toys and vacation ideas. Thursday morning Stephanopoulos, who co-hosted GMA one day a few weeks ago and co-anchored World News Now for three days last week, conducted a very political interview with two pollsters about the 2000 presidential election. He also co-hosted for a third day this morning, Friday, June 25.
On Thursday, June
24, Stephanopoulos handled the first big interview segment of the 7am half
hour, a discussion with Republicans pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic
pollster Celinda Lake about their joint poll on the 2000 election. He
began by asking why with a good economy 51 percent think the country is
going the wrong way. Goeas cited declining moral values, which
Stephanopoulos acknowledged was bad news for Democrats and Lake agreed
they must shift attention to their issues, like health care and education.
Stephanopoulos then asked:
Of course a couple of years ago he was in that war room.
+++ Watch Stephanopoulos co-host GMA. Friday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of this interview. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
The current media silence about Stephanopoulos is quite a contrast to what greeted Molinari in May, 1997. Back then CNN's Inside Politics ran a story, Crossfire devoted a show to the outrage and it was a topic on both Capital Gang and Late Edition. MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams conducted an interview segment. Kurtz wrote a big piece in the Washington Post, the New York Times delivered an angry editorial and both Fox News Sunday and Inside Washington devoted a segment to the subject. None of that has happened with the elevation of Clinton's former aide from analyst/commentator to anchor/co-host of news shows even though he's now reporting on his former boss who is still in power.
Imagine the reaction even now if ABC were to give similar roles to Bill Kristol who worked in the Bush years for Dan Quayle who is a current candidate.
The June 6, 1997 CyberAlert ran through much of the reaction to Molinari's hiring:
-- "The GOP News from CBS," read the headline over a May 29 New York Times editorial which argued: "With the hiring of Representative Susan Molinari to move directly from Congress to the anchor desk, CBS has reduced the wall [between news and politics] to dust. In fact, having already hired Laura Ingraham, CBS News now employs more famous Republican women than the Republican National Committee does."
-- Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz reported on June 2 that "Many CBS staffers are riled about Molinari's hiring, noting that she's married to New York Rep. Bill Paxon, a member of the GOP leadership. 'How many stories is she going to have to recuse herself from?' one correspondent said."
-- Kurtz on the May 31 Inside Washington: "Well, it really just obliterates the line that used to separate the two professions. And it's kind of an insult to journalism, Gordon [Peterson], because, you know, according to this star-maker mentality, what matters is not reporting experience -- standing in the rain, as you put it -- or experience or fairness, but celebrity, and to take a partisan member of Congress and just magically transform him, or her, with the wave of a wand, into an anchor who can sit behind that CBS logo with a statue of Dan Rather, just is not what I consider journalism."
-- On the June 1 Fox News Sunday National Public Radio's Mara Liasson complained: "Well, I think it's disturbing. I mean, she's is not going to be a commentator or a part of a show where she's clearly identified with her partisan point of view -- she's going to be an anchor. And I think it means, it sends the message that there's no such thing as journalism anymore. It's all just about celebrity-hood and name recognition and I think it's, I think it's disturbing."
-- Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister found NBC's Brian Williams less than pleased with Molinari's jump. She reported June 2: "'The first rule for a journalist should be smarts, an awareness of the world,' Williams says. 'We all kind of cringe when this happens. You want to say, Then why am I up till 2am reading everything I have to read every night of my life? Why am I honing journalistic skills when that's not required?'"
To read this complete CyberAlert item, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1997/cyb19970606.html#2
A June, 1997
MediaWatch Revolving Door article detailed how "many more liberals
than conservatives revolve between media and political slots. The MRC's
Revolving Door count now stands at 323 liberals/Democrats versus just 83
To read this story in full, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1997/mw19970601rvd.html
You can also check out a June 4, 1997 op-ed piece I co-wrote for the Wall Street Journal in reaction to the Molinari controversy: "Media 'Revolving Door' Spins Faster for Liberals." Go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/oped/news/wsj19970604.html
Giuliani may murder Hillary Clinton? A party at Diane Sawyer's house to celebrate the launch of a magazine with Hillary on the cover?
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson picked up on two interesting comments made on ABC News shows Wednesday night and Thursday morning about Hillary Clinton's Senate run from New York.
-- An exchange on
the June 23 Nightline.
-- June 24 Good
Morning America. Interviewing Talk magazine Editor Tina Brown about the
city's cancellation of her party to honor the magazine's launch and
Hillary Clinton at the Navy Yard property in Brooklyn, a decision
supposedly made by Giuliani, Diane Sawyer asked: "So where are you
going to have the party now?"
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