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CyberAlert -- 10/13/1999 -- Coup Linked to CTBT Foes; Unabomber "Charming"; Clift Thanked Bush

Coup Linked to CTBT Foes; Unabomber "Charming"; Clift Thanked Bush

1) Pakistani coup linked Tuesday night to Senate rejection of the CTBT. "The Pakistanis may now feel freer to pursue their nuclear ambitions," warned ABC's John Cochran. Dan Rather stressed how "some Senators feel" rejection "would send a dangerous message."

2) NBC compared China and India population control, assessing China's "strict government approach" with forced abortions more successful and claimed only a third of Chinese are poor.

3) Katie Couric proposed that the Unabomber "comes across" as an "almost charming guy." An author featured in Time claimed that "when you sit and talk to him you really do see the human warmth."

4) ABC's Charlie Gibson labeled Bush's fundraising as "obscene" and then, picking up on Bush's attack on conservatives, asked if the GOP is "out of touch" and "too much a captive of the Right?"

5) Trying to provide support for Bush's left-wing hit on the House GOP for "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor," NBC's Tim Russert falsely equated the EITC with an income tax refund.

6) Media Liberals for Bush. Eleanor Clift: "That statement about balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is terrific." Al Hunt on denouncing the GOP House: "This was W. at his best."

7) More Media Liberals for Bush: Newsweek guessed that in the "Caring Clinton '90s," being attacked by Rush Limbaugh helps. Time claimed only "posturing rivals and professional loudmouths" objected.

8) Latest Ratherism: "Scientists scurrying to baldly go where no one has gone before."

9) Edmund Morris wrote that Reagan's lies were "whoppers if he had read them in conservative magazines."


Editor's Note: CyberAlerts have been less frequent than usual recently and will continue to be for the next few weeks because of several other pressing projects I'm involved in at the MRC. Plus, I flew to California this past weekend for a wedding and am in a wedding party this weekend. But, you can count on the fact that whenever bias breaks out, I'll break in.

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nuclear1013.jpg (11342 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Blaming America First. There would not have been a coup in Pakistan and that nation would soon have abandoned its nuclear testing -- if only the Republicans had realized Clinton's wiseness and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Knowing the Senate will not approve the treaty, ABC's John Cochran argued in a one-sided World News Tonight piece Tuesday night, "the Pakistanis may now feel freer to pursue their nuclear ambitions" and "the same is true in India." Cochran highlighted a supposed expert who complained that after the U.S. spent years urging other nations to adopt the treaty, not passing it means "other nations look and see that the President's word can't be trusted." Duh.

Presuming treaty passage is desirable, NBC honed in on who was responsible for its plight, prompting Claire Shipman to hit Clinton from the left. Dan Rather ominously intoned that the Pakistani coup has the "world on edge," but the CBS Evening News led instead with black and white video of people running in a cafeteria.

Here's how the three broadcast network evening shows on Tuesday, October 12, linked the CTBT vote and the coup in Pakistan:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Over video of the ground collapsing and convulsing during a nuclear test, John Cochran began:
"This is what the treaty was supposed to stop: more underground tests. The treaty takes effect only if the 44 nuclear-capable countries ratify it. So far, 18 have not, including Russia, North Korea, China and also Pakistan and its rival India. If the United States had ratified the treaty that might have pushed them into accepting it. Instead, the Pakistanis may now feel freer to pursue their nuclear ambitions. And, as ABC's Mark Litke found, the same is true in India."
Litke popped into the middle of Cochran's report: "Now India can take the moral high ground, saying, 'Look, if he United States can't this treaty past its own Congress, surly Americans will understand the difficulty India has getting this treaty past the many factions in its own government.'"
Cochran picked up his crusade: "Almost all of America's allies have ratified the treaty and they were counting on the United States to persuade others to follow. The treaty supporters say the Senate is not only killing the treaty, but damaging America's credibility."
Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace then asserted: "For years the U.S. was dragging other nations into this treaty, pledging that it was going to support the treaty. Now other nations look and see that the President's word can't be trusted."

If it took this for world leaders and intelligence operatives to figure that out then they really are in trouble.

Cochran then offered a throwaway line for the other side of the issue, concluding: "But Senate Republicans say it is naive to believe that the rest of the world was waiting to see what the U.S. would do and that argument is carrying the day. Without the treaty Bill Clinton's successors will have the option of testing nuclear weapons. Other countries will have the same option."

But as NBC's Andrea Mitchell noted on the NBC Nightly News, passage of the CTBT hardly would have ensured Pakistan went non-nuclear. Contrasting the coup's military leader with the Prime Minister he deposed, Mitchell observed that he's "less known to the West than [Prime Minister] Sharif who under White House pressure held a summit with his Indian arch-rival, withdrew his guerrillas from the Indian border, even talked about stopping nuclear tests -- steps widely unpopular with Pakistan's military and the public."

Applying some logic here that Cochran missed, if the U.S. approved the CTBT and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif then campaigned for his country to adopt it he would have angered the same military leaders who would have soon led a coup against him so they could continue testing.


-- CBS Evening News. A coup in a nation with nuclear capabilities in an unstable region of the world where a neighbor nation also has the bomb may be newsworthy, but CBS has its own priorities. The show led with a video from inside Columbine High School showing students running and a shooter firing to set off a smoke bomb. Then anchor Dan Rather got to the "political upheaval that has the world on edge."

Following stories on the Pakistani situation, Rather tied events to the Senate treaty vote, delivering this imbalanced summary which only relayed the argument of those in favor of the treaty:
"President Clinton and Senate Republicans are still in a deadlock over the nuclear test ban treaty. It faces certain defeat if it comes up for a vote and some Senators feel that would send a dangerous message to the world. President Clinton wants to postpone the issue, but Republican leader Trent Lott says he will go ahead with a vote tonight or tomorrow unless he has a quote 'absolute commitment' that President Clinton will not bring it up again while he's in office."


-- NBC Nightly News opened with the overview report from Andrea Mitchell cited above in the ABC rundown. Tom Brokaw then assumed that not approving the treaty is a failure, as he reflected the media attitude that words in treaties are binding, a view that ignored the likelihood that the U.S. is simply handicapping itself while other nations violate what they sign. He intoned:
"These developments in Pakistan were unfolding just as President Clinton and Congress were in a showdown in this country over a nuclear test ban treaty and Pakistan was one of the flashpoints cited by those who want the treaty signed now. However, as NBC's Claire Shipman reports tonight it appears the President started his campaign too late and this turmoil in Pakistan, I gather Claire, is not helping."

Shipman, unlike her ABC and CBS colleagues, actually ran through some arguments forwarded by treaty opponents in addition to its backers, before she came back to Brokaw's concern -- who do supporters blame for the lack of approval: "Some treaty supporters blame not only Republicans for this outcome, but also the President for what they say was a late and lackluster lobbying effort."

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cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The mainstream U.S. media assume that population growth is bad, so naturally the UN's estimation that the world's population has exceeded six billion people prompted a spate of network news stories. Sunday night, NBC Nightly News proceeded from the premise that lower population growth is better. Steve Allen of ConservativeHQ.com alerted me to this story which the MRC's Mark Drake transcribed.

In her October 10 piece reporter Kiko Itasaka compared China and India, assessing China's "strict government approach" with forced abortions more successful than India's supposed "democratic and open" path. Itasaka contended:
"China, with 1.2 billion people, the world's most populous nation. India with 1 billion, catching up fast. Combined more than one third of the world's population. Two countries grappling with huge populations, increasingly, drastically different ways of coping. In communist China, a strict government controlled approach. For the last forty years, one child per couple but justification it was necessary to help the masses. A policy sometimes brutally enforced. Mandatory abortions and sterilizations, and examples of infanticide and abandoned baby girls ending up at orphanages. The population is now leveling off and after forty years, may begin to decline.
"In India a very different strategy. After a brief attempt in the '70s to enforce sterilization of women with large families, officials decided on a more democratic and open approach adopting family planning approaches. The result: a population growing by more than 20 million every year and increasingly poor. The statistics reveal dramatic contrasts. In India half the population lives below the poverty line. In China it's just one third. In India just over half are literate. In China more than 80 percent. India, in other words, impoverished but free. Explosive growth and freedom in India. Less of both in China. Two approaches worlds apart."

Just "one third" of China is below the "poverty line"? A poverty lined defined as what exactly? I'd bet about 95 percent of the Chinese live without the comforts of and below the calorie intake level of the average American in poverty.

As to population growth being a bad thing, as ABC's John Stossel showed in his special a few weeks ago, crowded places like Hong Kong boom because of economic freedom while crowded places like India fester because of socialist policies that put bureaucrats in charge of the economy. And women have fewer children in a stable and prosperous society, as the low birth rates in the U.S. and Europe demonstrate.

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cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) NBC's Katie Couric and author Stephen Dubner uncovered the Unabomber's "human warmth." Dubner, author of a book about Ted and David Kaczynski and an article on the same subject in this week's Time magazine, appeared on Tuesday's Today.

Co-host Katie Couric, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, picked up on Dubner's warm assessment of Ted, aka the Unabomber:
"Describe his personality. He comes across as a pretty agreeable, personable, almost charming guy."

Dubner agreed: "I really wouldn't disagree with any of that. The thing that we gotta remember is that yes, he has, when you sit and talk to him you really do see the human warmth or the capacity for human warmth that David, for instance, described over the years. And you can understand why David loved his brother even though he was obviously, very, very troubled. On the other hand he'll let something drop. Talking about violence as a solution to certain problems and so on. And you realize that those, those kind of statements are dropped with a seeming casualness that make you say, 'Hey just because someone is, seems like a good guy doesn't mean that we can divorce him or her from the acts they may have committed.'"

Mighty generous of Dubner to agree that maybe Ted should remain in prison.

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cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Once again, instead of challenging John McCain from the right on his liberal, big government control, campaign finance "reform" ideas, a media outlet assumed having a large supporter base is "obscene." ABC's Charlie Gibson also didn't miss an opportunity raise George W. Bush's attacks, as Gibson wondered if the GOP is "too much a captive of the Right?"

McCain appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America. Co-host Gibson assumed that raising a lot of money is "obscene." Check out this exchange caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
Gibson: "You have been pushing campaign finance reform for quite some time."
McCain: "And we will go at it again tonight."
Gibson: "Given the fact that it is so important, what does it say about the system when one candidate raises more than $50 million. Is that obscene?"

No more obscene than the fact that ABC has a bigger budget to promote a liberal agenda than the MRC does to combat it.

Gibson later raised George W. Bush's left-wing rhetoric:
"Governor Bush said that your party was trying to, the congressional leadership was trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. You agreed with him when he said that. Is the leadership of your party in Congress out of touch with the American public and is the party too much a captive of the Right?"

I'm waiting for Gibson to ask Al Gore or Bill Bradley if the Democratic Party is "too much a captive of the left?"

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cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) On Sunday's Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert asked guests Tom DeLay and Bill Bennett about Rush Limbaugh's denunciation of George W. Bush's attacks on conservatives, but he also tried to illustrate why Bush was on target about how House Republicans wish to "balance the budget on the back of the poor." In doing so though, Russert distorted the GOP plan by falsely equating the earned income tax credit (EITC) with income tax refunds.

On the October 10 show Russert raised the idea which had caused Bush's left-wing hit, the idea of spreading out EITC payments over 12 months instead of paying recipients on one lump sum. Russert demanded of House Majority Whip DeLay:
"Mr. DeLay this is a refund. Could you imagine if you had said that you're going to pay out tax refunds for the rich on a monthly basis rather than a lump sum, there would be insurrection. And it's the government holding the money and making money off the working poor."
DeLay tried to straighten out Russert: "Well this is something that comes out of Washington. This is not a refund Tim. This is a direct payment from the American taxpayers to the working poor that was set up back under the Ford administration as an incentive to keep the poor working. It is not a refund. It is a direct check to the working poor that averages about $2,000 could go up to $3,800 a year that the working poor is receiving. We think it's important that they receive this so that they could pay their monthly bills and we don't cut a dime from any of it."

Russert pressed on, this time summarizing an image the media created: "Fairly or unfairly, however, the perception of the Republican Congress is that they want to give an $800 billion tax cut, most of it, much of it to those who earn more money because they pay more taxes, but when it comes to the earned income tax credit for the working poor they want to give it out in monthly installments rather than a lump sum."

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cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Add Eleanor Clift and Al Hunt to the list of media liberals pleased with George W. Bush's use of liberal buzz words in attacking conservatives last week.

In addition to employing a McGovernite phrase about balancing the budget "on the backs of the poor," on October 5 Bush declared:
"Too often on social issues my party has painted an image of America slouching toward Gomorrah. Too often my party has focused on the national economy to the exclusion of all else, speaking a sterile language of rates and numbers. Too often my party has confused the need of limited government with a disdain for government itself."

As noted in the October 8 CyberAlert, Geraldo Rivera considered that "a helluva speech."

-- On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend Newsweek's Eleanor Clift crowed: "George W. Bush just wrote the ad for Dick Gephardt and the Democrats for next year. I mean, that statement about balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is terrific."

On Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, gloated:
"This is about as big a misstep as Bill Clinton taking on Sister Souljah seven years ago because let me tell you something, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey are the Sister Souljahs of the Republican Party. This was W. at his best."

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cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) All three weekly news magazines found George W. Bush's calculated cracks against conservatives a fine strategy. Newsweek guessed that in the "Caring Clinton '90s," being attacked by Rush Limbaugh helps. Time suggested only "posturing rivals and professional loudmouths" objected, and demanded Bush do better than "kind words and cold policies." U.S. News owner Mort Zuckerman asserted: "George W. Bush did well to rebuke his party."

As compiled by the MRC's Tim Graham, here are some excerpts from this week's MRC MagazineWatch item about how the October 18 editions of the news magazines assessed Bush's comments:

-- Time: The headline aptly summarized the theme of Time's Eric Pooley: "George W. Bush is so deft he reminds Bill Clinton of himself. But can the GOP front runner move his party to the center -- and does he even want to try?"....

Both Time and Newsweek compared Bush's attacks on conservatives with Clinton's 1992 Sister Souljah remarks. But the black rapper had just suggested in a Washington Post interview that "If black people kill black people everyday, why not have a week and kill white people?...So if you're a gang member and you would normally be killing somebody, why not kill a white person?" How courageous was Clinton to oppose that? And how does it compare in any way to alleged conservative obsessions with the Earned Income Tax Credit or the CBO?

Pooley despaired that Bush didn't stay the bashing course, and noted one Bush camp spin, that he had only meant to attack "perceptions" of the GOP, "was not courageous -- or true. The speech had been in the works for a month, and principled slaps at the GOP had been in the earliest versions. Indeed, Bush had been saying similar things in milder terms since summer, calculating that he can chide conservatives and woo moderates without losing his right flank."

But Pooley felt Bush's critics weren't important: "Beyond the posturing rivals and professional loudmouths, many conservative leaders secretly are not that concerned about what Bush said last week. They know he has a history of offering moderate rhetoric, then coming down solidly in their camp. Two weeks ago, he opposed a GOP plan to delay tax-credit payments to low-income workers, saying his party's leaders shouldn't 'balance their budget on the backs of the poor.' But he supported the party's $800 billion tax-cut plan, which would require deep cuts in worthy programs aimed at the same people."

Pooley liked Bush's Manhattan Institute speech on education, with a proposal to bring his Texas education plan -- money from the top down, management from the bottom up -- to the other 49 states. "Now Bush is under the hot lights. He can either return to his old pattern -- kind words and cold policies -- or offer more of the innovative conservatism his new education proposal represents. Education has always been his best issue, but he needs to build on it."

-- In Newsweek, Howard Fineman explained, "Now Bush is navigating in the currents of the Caring Clinton '90s. He is a self-described conservative, but one who says he has developed a compassionate Third Way that has little in common with the coldblooded spirit of the Hill-based GOP. He isn't afraid to wield the power of government. Indeed, if the program is focused enough, Bush relishes its use. He wants to increase the power of the Department of Education, for example, not shrink it."

He concluded by arguing that conservative complaints were actually good for Bush, agreeing with Bush advisers: "Neither Forbes nor Gary Bauer can win the nomination, they contend, and McCain -- who takes center stage in the campaign-finance-reform debate this week -- is widely disliked on the right. 'Rush Limbaugh doesn't like us this week,' said one top Bush adviser, 'so what does that really mean?' If Bill Clinton's playbook is right, probably everything."

END Excerpt

Other items in this week's MagazineWatch:
-- Newsweek finally arrived on the FBI agents' testimony of Justice Department footdragging on the fundraising scandal. Well, actually, that's only briefly mentioned as the magazine highlighted FBI chief Louis Freeh's troubled ethics.
-- Time landed the right to interview the Unabomber, and wondered whether his brother was really a "moral superhero" for turning him in.
-- U.S. News reconsidered the Cold War, but Newsweek's Jonathan Alter said it's the conservatives who never learned.
-- Celebrated feminist logician Anna Quindlen debuted in her new essayist slot at Newsweek by bemoaning the benighted critics of the dung-on-the-Virgin-Mary exhibit in Brooklyn.
To read these items, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/magwatch/mag19991012.html

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cyberno8.gif (1522 bytes) Only from Dan Rather, his latest wacky Ratherism as announced on the October 5 CBS Evening News:
"When it comes to fighting baldness, the next wave could be gene therapy. So far, it works on laboratory animals but the growth potential for hair and for drug company profits has scientists scurrying to baldly go where no one has gone before. CBS's Elizabeth Kaledin has the follicle facts on file."

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cyberno9.gif (659 bytes) Edmund Morris's shot at conservative journalists. Catching up, on a plane flight over the weekend, with the October 4 Newsweek excerpt of Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, I noticed another bit of evidence that author Edmund Morris is on the left. In a paragraph about Reagan's inaccurate statements about Iran-Contra, Morris asserted:
"He was capable of white lies when he thought his mother's ghost would approve -- primarily to avoid hurting people or breaching confidences -- and whoppers if he had read them in conservative magazines, but, as both pre-brief and press conference showed, he was terrible at concealing what he knew to be true."


No wonder the networks were so anxious to give Morris air time to plug his book -- they knew he shared their disdain for conservative media outlets. -- Brent Baker

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