CNN's New Chief Admires Hillary; Rather Upset Tax Cuts Hinder More Spending; 401(k) Losses "Could Cast a Cloud Over" Bush's SS Plan
1) Walter Isaacson, the new head of CNN, has denied there's any liberal bias, holding up Time as a model of balance. As Managing Editor of Time, Isaacson proclaimed how he "was fascinated and impressed by" Hillary Clinton. He insisted that with Bill Clinton, "historically, I don't think we'll worry about whether he was chaste or not when we were saying whether he has character." He praised Clinton for "conquering runaway deficits while still showing how government could help average citizens."
3) NBC vs. NBC. The loss in value in 401(k) retirement accounts "could cast a cloud over" Bush's plan to allow people to invest some Social Security funds in the stock market, NBC's Brian Williams warned. But Lisa Myers advised viewers that their "best hope of living well in retirement" is "to put every dollar you're allowed into your 401(k), every year, no matter how you did last year."
Walter Isaacson, named on Monday by AOL Time Warner to run CNN as CEO of the CNN News Group, recently denied there's any liberal bias, holding up on Fox News Sunday in 1997 his own Time magazine as a model of impartiality: "I think that our newsroom at Time and the people who write there are open minded and are not Democrats and liberals as the popular perception is."
As Managing Editor of Time magazine, Isaacson proclaimed that if the 1998 "Person of the Year" had been awarded to "somebody we wanted to honor, you know there are a lot of other people from Mark McGwire to Hillary Clinton." He conceded that "sentimentally, a lot of us wanted to" make her the winner as "I personally was fascinated and impressed by her."
On MSNBC one night he insisted that with Bill Clinton, "historically, I don't think we'll worry about whether he was chaste or not when we were saying whether he has character." And in the pages of the magazine he praised Clinton's policies: "One of President Clinton's accomplishments has been to restore the strength of Franklin Roosevelt's legacy by reforming welfare and conquering runaway deficits while still showing how government could help average citizens."
Isaacson also took to the pages of Time to praise FDR, especially for how "he escorted onto the century's stage a remarkable woman, his wife Eleanor" who "became an icon of feminism and social justice." But Isaacson criticized the views espoused by Winston Churchill.
Monday's New York Times broke the news of the job change for Isaacson, Editorial Director of Time, Inc. From 1996 until last November he had served as Managing Editor of Time magazine, the top editorial slot at the weekly, a position he had assumed after a long career with the magazine. In his July 9 story, New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg outlined Isaacson's new duties for the media conglomerate: "Effective today, Mr. Isaacson will take leave of Time Inc. to become chairman and chief executive of the CNN News Group, overseeing not only the CNN domestic network, but also its Web sites, radio outlets and cable spin-offs: Headline News, CNNfn, CNN/SI, CNN en Espanol and CNN International, executives said....Mr. Isaacson's appointment to CNN comes less than two weeks after its longtime chairman and chief executive, Tom Johnson, resigned suddenly."
Rutenberg claimed "Mr. Isaacson is widely regarded as a respected journalist who helped Time magazine evolve from a fading periodical of record to a livelier national chronicle with greater appeal to a younger group of readers, giving it a heightened focus on technology, science and pop culture. It is AOL Time Warner's hope that Mr. Isaacson will be able to do the same for CNN: make a well-known, but somewhat stodgy, journalism outfit more entertaining while keeping it informative and authoritative."
Rutenberg relayed: "Mr. Isaacson said in a statement that he would keep the network focused on its mission of practicing 'great journalism.' He added that by doing so, 'it also means conveying the enthusiasm and fun that comes from engaging with interesting events, ideas and personalities.'
In my absence on Monday, Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, reviewed the MRC's archives for quotes from Isaacson, a man who has maintained a fairly low media profile as he only occasionally appeared on interview shows and his byline became more infrequent as he rose through management:
-- Media Bias Eradicated. From the December, 1997 MediaWatch:
A Fox News survey asked "What do you believe is the media's worst problem?" The most popular reply, "bias" at 44 percent. After announcing the result on the Nov. 9 Fox News Sunday, host Tony Snow turned to Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson who conceded previous bias but rejected it now: "I don't think that there's a bias in the media now the way there used to be." Alerted to the many surveys documenting liberal views of reporters, Isaacson declared: "I'm not sure I really believe those polls."
Isaacson complained about how "we get blasted from both sides." A bewildered Brit Hume of Fox News replied: "Walter, do you really think the newsrooms of America are equally divided between conservatives and liberals?" Isaacson insisted: "I think that our newsroom at Time and the people who write there are open minded and are not Democrats and liberals as the popular perception is."
END Excerpt from MediaWatch
Obviously, as any observer of Time magazine
knows, that's preposterous. The counter-examples are too numerous to
cite, but at the time of Isaacson's claim the MRC's Notable Quotables
offered this as a "Reality Check," Time reporter Dick Thompson
in a February 27, 1995 story headlined "Congressional Chain-Saw
Massacre: If Speaker Newt Gingrich gets his way, the laws protecting air,
water and wildlife may be endangered":
-- We Wanted to Honor Hillary as Our Spurned
Spouse of the Year. Isaacson, as Time's Managing Editor, explaining on
the December 20, 1998 Meet the Press his magazine's Men of the Year
choice of Bill Clinton and Ken Starr,
-- Hillary's "Surreal Dignity" Had
"Impressed" Isaacson. His "To Our Readers" article,
Dec. 28, 1988/January 4, 1999 Time:
-- Forget About Impeachment. Isaacson on
MSNBC's Hockenberry, June 21, 1999:
-- Heroic Bill Clinton. Isaacson on Bill
Clinton's piece in Time about Person of the Century runner-up FDR,
"To Our Readers" article in the December 31, 1999 issue:
-- And heroic Eleanor Roosevelt. Isaacson in a
separate article on those considered but not selected as Person of the
Century, December 31, 1999 edition:
-- But Churchill is a Scourge. Isaacson in the
same issue of Time:
-- Time Should Control America's Thinking.
Isaacson, just after being named Time's Managing Editor, on the January
9, 1996 edition of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose:
-- Rationalizing Soviet Aggression. Isaacson,
then a Time Senior Writer, in the November 6, 1989 edition of the
Dan Rather is upset by how Bush's "big tax cuts" are impinging upon liberal spending plans. He opened Monday's CBS Evening News: "President Bush today mounted a big summer campaign push trying to revive his agenda in Congress. The context includes new worries that his big tax cuts, along with a shrinking budget surplus, are re-shaping the political and fiscal landscape of the country."
Bush's idea of investing Social Security money in the stock market is dangerous, but investing in the stock market is the smartest way to ensure a good retirement.
The loss in value in 401(k) retirement accounts in 2000 "could cast a cloud over" President Bush's proposal to allow people to invest some Social Security funds in the stock market, NBC's Brian Williams warned. But, less than two minutes later, NBC reporter Lisa Myers advised viewers that their "best hope of living well in retirement" is "to put every dollar you're allowed into your 401(k), every year, no matter how you did last year."
Setting up a July 9 NBC Nightly News piece, anchor Brian Williams scolded the Bush idea: "A new report that could cast a cloud over another of the President's proposals -- to put some Social Security funds in private investment accounts. The study shows popular 401(k) retirement savings plans lost money last year, dipping in value along with the stock market decline, and still showing weakness in the first six months of this year."
Lisa Myers proceeded to recount how a "new report from a top management consulting firm," Cerulli Associates, found an average 10 percent loss from 1999 to 2000 in 401(k) accounts. Myers listed some "rules" experts advise investors to follow, such as mixing stock and bond funds and have a diversity of holdings. But in direct contradiction of the fear expressed by Williams, she concluded: "Experts say the most important rule of all is to put every dollar you're allowed into your 401(k), every year, no matter how you did last year. That's your best hope of living well in retirement."
Maybe Williams should watch the stories before writing intros to them. -- Brent Baker
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