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CyberAlert -- 07/15/2002 -- Stephanopoulos vs. Snow on Anti-Business

Stephanopoulos vs. Snow on Anti-Business; Corporate Misdeeds Occurred in Clinton Years; Learn from Clinton & Inundate; A Fresh "Gorbasm"; Phil Donahue Not Liberal?

1) New York Times headline: "Lieberman's Pro-Business Views May Haunt Him." To ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week that demonstrated how Lieberman has "questions to answer about...close ties to corporate America," but to Tony Snow on Fox News Sunday it suggested an "anti-business" media bias.

2) The corporate misdeeds, which liberals and the news media are blaming on the Bush administration, occurred during the Clinton years, Brit Hume pointed out on Fox News Sunday: "How could that possibly be in all of this coverage, in all of this criticism from Capitol Hill by Democrats? How is it that they fail to notice who was the President during all this period?" But Juan Williams held Newt Gingrich culpable.

3) Learn from Clinton and inundate. The advice from Newsweek's Evan Thomas to the Bush team on how to overcome the news media's obsession with old news about Bush stock dealings? "Learn from Clinton" and "dump all the documents out" so it will be "confusing" and "journalists won't be able to figure it out."

4) More on Judicial Watch going from "conservative" during the Clinton years to a non-ideological "watchdog group" as soon as it sued Vice President Cheney: On the ABCNews.com Web site "The Note" linked to the CyberAlert documentation of the changing labeling, CBS on Sunday described Judicial Watch as "a public interest group," and Fox News Sunday showed video clips to illustrate the contrasting descriptions offered by ABC, CNN and NBC.

5) A "Gorbasm" from Oonagh Blackman, deputy political editor of London's Daily Mirror newspaper: "Mr. Gorbachev earned worldwide admiration for ushering in the era of glasnost and perestroika in Russia. He worked relentlessly to force the U.S. and others to join his campaign to cut weapons of mass destruction and improve world security."

6) MSNBC's new all-liberal prime time line-up debuts tonight, at least if you consider Phil Donahue to be liberal. Amazingly, Alex Jones, a former New York Times reporter, insisted that Donahue is not "a true liberal" because he's not as left-wing as Noam Chomsky. Also, Gerry Nachman, the host of a new pre-prime time MSNBC show, once wrote about how most journalists are liberals.

7) Letterman's "Top Ten Perks Of Being Saddam Hussein's Stepson."


Correction: The July 11 CyberAlert mis-dated when Peter Jennings offered this description: "A legal activist group called Judicial Watch..." He said that on the July 10 World News Tonight, the date of all the other new Judicial Watch citations in that CyberAlert, not on July 11.

1

The same headline which demonstrated to ABC's George Stephanopoulos that Senator Joseph Lieberman has "questions to answer about...close ties to corporate America," suggested media bias to Fox's Tony Snow. Both Sunday interview show hosts raised this July 14 New York Times headline with guests: "Lieberman's Pro-Business Views May Haunt Him."

On ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos saw the headline as warning of something Lieberman should be concerned about. Stephanopoulos demanded of Lieberman:
"Senator, there are also many who say that you have questions to answer about your close ties to corporate America. In fact, in this morning's New York Times there's a headline that says 'Lieberman's Pro-Business Views May Haunt Him.' You've gotten very strong support from the securities, accounting and high-tech industries. In the 1990s you led the fight in Congress against this issue of expensing stock options. Looking back now and seeing how those options have been abused by corporate executives, do you think that leading that fight was a mistake?"

Lieberman answered no and noted that without business there are no jobs.

Over on Fox News Sunday, Tony Snow pointed out the same headline to Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, but painted it as evidence of media bias: "I want to show you a headline in today's New York Times. It reads, it says: 'Lieberman's Pro-Business Views May Haunt Him.' Do you think the press is anti-business right now?"

Evans naturally demurred from saying anything negative about the news media.

2

The corporate misdeeds, which liberals and the news media are blaming on the Bush administration, occurred during the Clinton years, Brit Hume observed on Fox News Sunday. But Juan Williams held Newt Gingrich culpable to the consternation of Fred Barnes.

During the panel segment of the July 14 Fox News Sunday, Hume asserted: "Nearly all of this stuff we're talking about happened when? Between 1993 and 2001, I think it's reasonably fair to say. Presided over by a Democratic President, whose name is very rarely mentioned in all of this. Isn't that remarkable? How could that possibly be in all of this coverage, in all of this criticism from Capitol Hill by Democrats? How is it that they fail to notice who was the President during all this period?"
Former Washington Post reporter Juan Williams, who is now with NPR, countered: "Well, how is it that you fail to notice that Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution were talking about doing away with regulation and making sure that when Harvey Pitt comes in, 'we're going to have a kinder and gentler SEC.'"
Hume mocked Williams, exclaiming: "Ah, Newt Gingrich at last! Newt Gingrich did this."
Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard jumped in: "Let me respond to that. Newt Gingrich couldn't do that. That is the charge by Richard Gephardt, the House Democratic leader, that House Republicans actually because they talked so much about deregulation and did a couple of things, that they caused this corporate fraud. I mean that is nonsense. You would think that Gephardt would want to be taken as a serious person, but he's not with an accusation like that."

(Williams has never been fond, to put it mildly, of Gingrich's Contract with America. Back in 1995, in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 1995: The Eighth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," he won "The Contract's Not Done Until Every Child Is Dead Award" for this mean-spirted comment on the March 25 Capital Gang on CNN:
"When you look at the reality of cutting people off, of saying you can't have more benefits if you have children while you are on welfare, you're talking about putting children on the street who are hungry and naked, and that's a sin.")

As Hume suggested, the news media are not looking back at Clinton. Every little tidbit about Bush or Cheney is considered the most important news of the day over any substantive policy matters. Check out how ABC and CBS led their newscasts on Saturday and Sunday nights:

-- Anchor Bob Woodruff at the top of the July 13 World News Tonight/Saturday: "On World News Tonight this Saturday, new trouble for the White House. The President's top corporate crime fighter served on the board of a company accused of securities fraud. It has been a tough week for Mr. Bush."

-- CBS Evening News anchor Thalia Assuras the same night: "Credibility gap: The President's top gun on corporate cheating faces questions about his own business past....President Bush, who last week proposed plans to get tough on corporate wrongdoing, has been dogged by criticism for not being tough enough on the business community to which he has strong ties. Well matters got even worse today. The man he appointed to direct the new task force on corporate crime and responsibility is facing credibility questions of his own."

Those two stories were about Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.

-- Anchor Carole Simpson opening the July 14 World News Tonight/Sunday: "On World News Tonight this Sunday: More questions about President Bush's controversial stock sale and calls from Democrats and Republicans for the White House to release related records."

-- CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts teased the show the same night: "New questions: Did the President and Vice President know more about the business dealings of their companies than they've admitted? Under fire: The head of the SEC says he won't step down."

3

Learn from Clinton: Inundate. The advice from Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas to the Bush team on how to overcome the news media's obsession with old news about Bush stock dealings? "Learn from Clinton" and "dump all the documents out" so it will be "confusing" and "journalists won't be able to figure it out."

On Inside Washington over the weekend, Thomas recommended:
"The way to handle this actually, to take a Clinton example, is to learn from Clinton. Clinton initially stonewalled and got [unintelligible]. Then he would dump all the documents out. The lesson is dump out all the documents now. It will be confusing, it will be complex, the journalists won't be able to figure it out, it will be mushy, they'll be a lot of shades of gray. Then it will go away."

That may have worked for Clinton, but I suspect that with a more conservative President journalists would take the time and effort to figure out the meaning of every document.

4

More on Judicial Watch going from "conservative," when it was rarely mentioned by the networks during the Clinton years, to a non-ideological "watchdog group" as soon as it sued Vice President Cheney last week in a filing which ABC, CBS and NBC all highlighted:
On the ABCNews.com Web site "The Note" linked to the CyberAlert documentation of the changing labeling of Judicial Watch, CBS News on Sunday described Judicial Watch as "a public interest group," and Fox News Sunday picked up on the CyberAlert item and showed video clips to illustrate the changing descriptions offered by ABC, CNN and NBC.

As reported in the July 11 CyberAlert, when it was suing Clinton officials to disclose information Judicial Watch was always tagged as "conservative." But when it sued Vice President Cheney on Wednesday, the networks changed their tune as all described it as a non-ideological "watchdog group," "legal group," "legal activist group" or "legal advocacy group." A full rundown of contrasts for ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts
/2002/cyb20020711.asp#1

Fox News Sunday highlighted how Judicial Watch went from "conservative" to "watchdog" on ABC, CNN and NBC when it sued VP Cheney

-- From the July 12 "The Note" by the ABC News political unit, as posted daily on the ABCNews.com Web site, an item which linked to the July 11 CyberAlert article. Friday's edition was written by Elizabeth Wilner & Marc Ambinder and included this plug brought to my attention by MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey:
"The Media Research Center points our attention to a linguistic difference that adds to the collection of evidence we have for what's now termed the Goldbergian thesis: major networks (ABC included) referred to Judicial Watch as a 'conservative watch dog' during the Clinton Administration.
"Suddenly, when Republicans are the target of its watchful eyes, the media refer to the roup as merely a 'watchdog' or a 'Washington watchdog.'"

For the latest "The Note": http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/TheNote.html

The archive:
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/note_archives.html

-- A fresh label delivered by reporter Gretchen Carlson on the July 14 CBS Evening News: "Nor has the Vice President been forthcoming over questions about what he knew of questionable accounting practices at Halliburton, an oil services company he ran for five years. He was sued this week by Judicial Watch, a public interest group, which accuses Halliburton of cheating investors by overstating company income."

-- As part of its "Below the Fold" segment, the July 14 Fox News Sunday featured video clips provided by the MRC illustrating how ABC, CNN and NBC changed their take on Judicial Watch chief Larry Klayman. As host Tony Snow explained in setting up the video excerpts: "Larry Klayman, the litigious leader of Judicial Watch, was scorned by the establishment press when he was suing Bill Clinton. But now that he has filed suit against Vice President Dick Cheney, Klayman finds himself the recipient of strange new respect."

Fox News Sunday viewers then saw these contrasts:

# CNN's Judy Woodruff, March 3, 1998: "Lawyers for THE CONSERVATIVE GROUP, JUDICIAL WATCH, today questioned Clinton adviser, Paul Begala, about the FBI files flap."

versus:

Woodruff, July 10, 2002: "The WATCHDOG GROUP said that it was suing Vice President Dick Cheney."

# ABC's Brian Ross, October 24, 1996: "Larry Klayman, a CONSERVATIVE LAWYER who filed the lawsuit."

versus:

Peter Jennings, July 10, 2002: "A LEGAL ACTIVIST GROUP CALLED JUDICIAL WATCH filed a lawsuit today against the Vice President and Halliburton, the energy company he used to run."

# NBC's Tom Brokaw, December 19, 2000: "The news media, and at least one CONSERVATIVE ADVOCACY GROUP, have restarted the recount."

Anchor Brian Williams, July 10, 2002: "A WATCHDOG GROUP that tormented the Clinton administration filed suit against Vice President Cheney..."

As Snow then quipped as he snapped his fingers, "from hack to watchdog just like that."

Again, for CyberAlert's complete rundown, including fuller quotes of what Fox News Sunday played as well as a CBS News contrast, refer back to the July 11 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020711.asp#1

When this CyberAlert is posted by the MRC's Mez Djouadi, it will include a RealPlayer clip of Fox News Sunday playing the contrasting examples.

5

It's been a while since I've seen a good "Gorbasm," but the MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to one he found in a story highlighted late last week by www.DrudgeReport.com. At least it was a foreign reporter who had this "Gorbasm," as Rush Limbaugh long ago dubbed fawning media tributes to the former communist dictator.

In the midst of a July 11 story in London's Daily Mirror newspaper, deputy political editor Oonagh Blackman, gushed:
"Mr. Gorbachev earned worldwide admiration for ushering in the era of glasnost and perestroika in Russia.
"He worked relentlessly to force the U.S. and others to join his campaign to cut weapons of mass destruction and improve world security.
"But yesterday he was despairing of the aggressive agenda coming from the White House, supported by Downing Street, on Iraq and the Middle East."

Yes, he had to "force" the militaristic U.S. to reduce weapons.

Headlined, "Gorbachev: I Fear Bush and Blair War Plan," Blackman began the story:
"Mikhail Gorbachev last night branded George W Bush and Tony Blair a threat to world peace.
"The former Russian President said U.S. and British plans to attack Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein would wreck the international coalition against terrorism.
"And he singled out Bush's go-it-alone policy in the face of concern from world leaders as the key component to putting global security at risk."

To read the story in full:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12024147&method=
full&siteid=50143

6

MSNBC's new all-liberal prime time line-up debuts tonight, at least if you consider Phil Donahue to be liberal. Amazingly, Alex Jones, a former New York Times reporter who now runs Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, maintained that Donahue is not a liberal because he's not as left-wing as Noam Chomsky. I'm not kidding.

Plus, Gerry Nachman, the host of a new pre-prime time MSNBC show, believes most journalists are liberals. In a New York Times op-ed he wrote from Los Angeles just before the 2000 Democratic convention, Nachman suggested: "Most of the media coming to L.A. should wear delegate badges rather than press passes."

Today at 2pm EDT MSNBC debuts a new two hour Buchanan and Press show hosted by Pat Buchanan and Bill Press, both formerly of CNN's Crossfire. The prime time line-up, which will air from 8 to 11pm EDT and be re-run 11pm to 2am EDT, so it will air 8-11pm PDT: Phil Donahue at 8pm EDT/PDT, Hardball with Chris Matthews at 9pm EDT/PDT and On Location with Ashleigh Banfield at 10pm EDT/PDT.

Not a non-liberal amongst them.

(Also starting today, The News with Brian Williams will run at 7pm, 10pm and 1am EDT on CNBC, only the first one being a new air time, but it will no longer run on MSNBC. The 7pm EDT airing means it will be going head-to-head with the NBC Nightly News in some Eastern, Central and Mountain time zone markets. Hardball will no longer air on CNBC where is will be replaced on Mondays by After Hours with Maria Bartiromo. Capital Report will run Tuesday through Thursday at 9pm EDT, repeated at 12am EDT/9pm PDT.)

-- A piece in the July 10 USA Today by Peter Johnson demonstrated the liberal agenda Donahue has for his show:
"Topics for Monday's debut are still in the works, but guests on a test show indicate a liberal agenda: a man who wants to close all nuclear power plants; a man and woman who both lost brothers in the World Trade Center attacks but who don't approve of U.S. bombing in retaliation; and videotape of an anti-war protest at the United Nations by parents of Israeli and Palestinian kids killed, which the media largely ignored.
"Asked about the liberal tilt of this first show and Donahue launches into a short diatribe. 'You have all these conservative talking heads on cable but you put one liberal on MSNBC and it's ...what is it about us that makes us so controversial? We've hardly had a chance to say anything.'"

For the story in its entirety: http://www.usatoday.com/life/2002/2002-07-10-donahue.htm

But Donahue, known for years of liberal crusading and a man who campaigned in 2000 for Ralph Nader, is not "a true liberal" in the judgment of a former New York Times reporter.

An excerpt from a profile of Donahue in the July 10 Los Angeles Times by reporter Elizabeth Jensen:

Although many conservatives have been quick to decry a liberal bias in network news and the media in general, there are almost no true liberals hosting TV talk shows, said Alex Jones, director of Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and he's waiting to see what Donahue has to say before putting him in that camp.

"Conservatives have been very successful at defining 'liberal' as anything that is not conservative; they have redefined the center," said Jones, defining a true liberal as someone like Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky, who considers the New York Times "a really reactionary tool of the government....I don't think Donahue is anything like Chomsky."

Donahue is quick to agree that the left has moved toward the center. "[Former President] Bill Clinton is 12 noon!" he exclaimed, adding that he himself is "left of Bill Clinton." He rattles off his stance on various issues to prove it, expressing support for single-payer health plans, public financing of campaigns, enhancing the opportunity to form unions. "I don't think one company should own 1,200 radio stations," he said, in a reference to Clear Channel Communications, "[and] I don't think we should execute retarded people." He then veers off into a commentary on a recent Supreme Court ruling, proclaiming that the Nader camp is "too well raised to say, 'I told you so,'" barreling on to explain why the drug war isn't working....

END of Excerpt

For the piece in full: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-jensen10jul10002039.story

By the standard set by Jones that only someone on the America-hating nutty far-left like Chomsky is a liberal, and I should acknowledge the possibility -- which I hope is true -- that the LA Times misconstrued his beliefs, there are no liberals in Congress. Not Barbara Boxer, not Maxine Waters.

If the LA Times quote is accurate, that says quite a lot about the world skew of the people hired as reporters by the New York Times. As his bio on the Harvard Web site notes of its Director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy: "He covered the press for The New York Times from 1983-1992 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his articles on the collapse of the Bingham family's newspaper empire." For the bio:
http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/degreeprog/courses.nsf/aba163361f7adf
748525676600686c40/eccff047e81aa69985256949007596bf?OpenDocument

Media reports late last week listed Jones as a finalist for Dean of the Columbia School Journalism.

-- There is some hope for a little non-liberal talk in the evening on MSNBC, but just not in prime time. Gerry Nachman, brought aboard in May as Editor-in-Chief, the number two slot at the third place news network, will host a 7pm EDT show. It will probably repeat at 2am EDT.

In a New York Times piece on August 13, 2000, the day before the Democratic convention opened in Los Angeles, Nachman, then Executive Producer of ABC's Politically Incorrect, expounded on his belief that most journalists are liberals. An excerpt from the piece by the former editor of the New York Post and news chief at both WCBS-TV and WNBC-TV in New York:

My phone is pulsating like a blender. The calls are from my press buddies. They're all coming, you know, to cover the Democrats. Years ago we'd be talking pegs, angles. Who's gonna defect in some platform fight? What caucus will Reagan try to charm to steal the nomination from Ford? Will Jesse apologize tomorrow night for the Hymietown thing? Dukakis definitely won't pick Bentsen; I got it nailed.

This week the calls are about whether I can get them into the Playboy Mansion soiree and, hey, you're in TV, what about that Streisand thing? Are you, like, going? I'm relieved. Better they're talking parties than politics.

When they talk politics I get irritated. Because most of the media coming to L.A. should wear delegate badges rather than press passes. What's not new is that most newspeople are Democrats, even liberals. One accepted study reported that 91 percent of journalists polled voted for Bill Clinton in 1992; 43 percent of their fellow Americans did so that year.

What is new is that newsies no longer try to keep their politics personal. There was a time when journalists held their political cards very close to the vest. But now they share.

I remember returning to WCBS-TV in New York in the fall of 1994 to run the news department. Election Day arrived, and a Republican was elected governor. The next day the newsroom was in emotional shambles. Remember, most of them are kids. New York governors had been Cuomo or Carey for all the memory they had. Rockefeller was the name of a skating rink.

The kids were keening. I thought I had walked into some large, collective shiva call. The staff was bereft. Those Republican guys, they explained with bewilderment and fear, had, like, taken over the Senate and the House, too. I think I heard a chorus of "Kumbaya" somewhere near the water cooler; I'm all but certain someone shouted "Oh, the humanity!" over by the assignment desk.

The staff shuffled into my office to be consoled. Many of them believed me to be avuncular, another misperception I would have to work on. "Children," I began, "it is true that a Republican is the governor-elect of New York." Someone sniffled. I flipped a box of tissues in his direction. "But you must remember that so are the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut and New Jersey and California." I pointed out that Republicans had occupied the White House for 28 of the prior 42 years.

There was a collective gasp: they had no idea aliens had landed in so many places....

END of Excerpt

For Nachman's MSNBC page with a picture of him: http://www.msnbc.com/news/778618.asp

7

From the July 12 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Perks of Being Saddam Hussein's Stepson." The Late Show Web page: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

10. For your birthday, you get the head of an infidel

9. People never refer to you as "The crazy one in the family"

8. On weekends, you get to bring home weapons of mass destruction

7. Don't want to clean your room? Threaten to tell the United States dad's exact location

6. Play your cards right and in 10 years you'll be torturing the Iraqi people

5. Unique chance to observe a tyrannical madman up close

4. Big inheritance when U.S. troops finally kill your stepfather

3. Father-son bonding over 3am prank calls to U.N. weapons inspectors

2. You can get first pick of the police auction's seized and repossessed camels

1. Get to call Bin Laden "Uncle Osama"

> Can't think of a good ending quip, so I'll skip ahead a couple of days and alert you to how George Stephanopoulos is scheduled to appear Wednesday night on NBC's Tonight Show. -- Brent Baker


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