CyberAlert -- 11/11/1999 -- Gumbel: Conservatives Ruin "National Prestige"; FNC Showed What ABC Spiked
Gumbel: Conservatives Ruin "National Prestige"; FNC Showed What ABC Spiked
1) Gumbel put himself to the left of Jesse Jackson, seeing race as paramount in the Decatur expulsions. On UN dues, he demanded of a GOP House leader if he was "comfortable" with "our national prestige being held hostage by the most conservative wing?"
2) CBS: Decatur fight video "hurts the school board case"; ABC: It "clearly undermined Jackson's argument that the punishment was too tough." CBS's Eric Engberg: "What does the U.S. have in common with" Moldova? The UN's "deadbeat club." Blame Chris Smith.
4) "While they bicker about it in Washington, some cities in the country have already raised the minimum wage," Peter Jennings noted in introducing a look at the "living wage" idea. CBS also relayed anecdotes about the hapless poor in pushing a hike.
5) FNC showed the part of ABC's Clinton interview the network spiked in which Clinton claimed he was a victim of a "partisan onslaught" and that "people were persecuted because they wouldn't commit perjury against me."
Site Update. Due to problems associated with the move of our offices, we
are unable to post any new videos, but between solving computer network
problems the MRC's Eric Pairel is managing to post text documents. On
Wednesday he posted the latest MagazineWatch compiled by Tim Graham and
Mark Drake. Topics covered:
To read these
items about the November 15 issues, go to:
Jesse Jackson and House Republicans are too conservative for Bryant Gumbel. On Tuesday's The Early Show Gumbel hit Jackson from the left for not realizing that a decision made by white school committee members to expel some black students is an issue of race not discipline and on Wednesday's edition of the CBS show he asked J.C. Watts if he was "comfortable" with "our national prestige being held hostage by the most conservative wing of your party?"
-- From Decatur, Illinois, on November 9 Jackson and Superintendent of Schools Ken Arndt appeared live to discuss Jackson's protest efforts over the school board in that city expelling seven high school students for two years for instigating a brawl at a football game.
As noticed by MRC
analyst Brian Boyd, Gumbel zoomed in on the race issue, demanding of
Arndt: "Has the board's zero tolerance policy regarding violence yet
been used to punish any white students in Decatur?"
-- Wednesday morning, November 10, Gumbel conducted back-to-back interviews with White House Chief-of-Staff John Podesta and House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts. He opened with Podesta by actually challenging him on his position on education spending: "The White House wants $1.4 billion to reduce classroom size. Republicans want $1.2 billion given to and distributed by local school boards. What's wrong with that? That sounds reasonable."
education with Watts, an incredulous Gumbel inquired: "Speaking of
doing the right thing, let's move to the UN issue. Republicans are tying
release of back funds to anti-abortion language. To your mind is that
issue worth losing the U.S. presence at the UN?"
Decatur captured network attention Tuesday and Wednesday night as did the UN dues on Wednesday. Tuesday night CBS's Dan Rather relayed how Jackson told him video of the fight in the stands "hurts the school board case." The next night ABC viewers were told that the video "clearly undermined Jackson's argument that the punishment was too tough." The same night, CBS's Eric Engberg identified the troublemaker denying the UN money: "The hang up isn't global diplomacy, it's abortion politics and UN backers say the man to blame is Christopher Smith of New Jersey."
-- Decatur. On the Tuesday night CBS Evening News reporter Cynthia Bowers played video of the fight at the high school football game: "With this fight, captured on videotape obtained by CBS News and seen for the first time tonight, in slow motion you can see the melee move across the stadium bleachers as frightened bystanders flee..." NBC Nightly News played the same video sans the false claim of exclusivity.
After the piece from Bowers Rather announced: "The Reverend Jackson had not seen the video of the incident until CBS News showed it to him this afternoon. He then told me a short time ago that in his view the tape hurts the school board case."
November 10, on ABC's World News Tonight Dean Reynolds concluded the
opposite in a report on how Jackson and the school were moving toward an
agreement that would allow the seven students to attend an alternative
-- CBS pounced
Wednesday night on the demand by conservatives that the UN stop funding
abortions if it wishes to receive dues money from the U.S. Eric Engberg
opened his CBS Evening News "Reality Check" check piece by
Finding the downside to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tuesday night the three broadcast networks all ran pieces marking the tenth anniversary of the 1989 demolition of the Berlin Wall. While NBC's Tom Brokaw found some losers as he stressed success stories among those now freed by the wall's demise, ABC and CBS focused on the negative. ABC looked at those who are "nostalgic" for the wall and "miss it" while CBS's Dan Rather suggested that though "the most famous symbol of division is gone, another kind of wall is very much intact." Before running their taped stories, all featured a brief clip of the anniversary celebration in Berlin.
On ABC's World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings asserted: "It is probably hard for most Americans to imagine anyone feeling nostalgic about living behind the wall. It may also be hard to imagine that anyone in the Western part of Germany would miss the wall either. But miss it, some people do."
ABC's Jim Wooten recalled "the irrepressible joy of it" when the wall came down but, he cautioned, "it's not that simple." He went on to outline how there's still a wall in people's minds as Easterners see themselves as second class citizens while Westerners don't think Easterners appreciate all the money spent on them.
Over on the November 9 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather intoned: "Despite tonight's festivities, the reunited Germany still has some growing pains. Tom Fenton found while the most famous symbol of division is gone, another kind of wall is very much intact."
Tom Fenton's story
didn't quite match Rather's dour summary. Fenton shared the recollections
of a U.S. soldier and the former U.S. Ambassador about the euphoric mood
at time and how dangerous things were as they were afraid Russian forces
would move into Berlin. Getting to Rather's theme, Fenton continued:
Referring to the
wall as "the cold, gray slab that imprisoned millions," on the
NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw worried: "While Germany is now one again
it is not yet whole. The decade since the fall of the Berlin Wall has been
difficult, especially for those who lived in the East for so long."
A name the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed was never uttered in any of the three stories: Ronald Reagan.
Maximum network interest in raising the minimum wage. Tuesday night ABC and CBS ran slanted pieces pushing a minimum wage hike. While both stories delivered quick lines about how it would hurt small businesses, both stories ignored all other arguments against such a hike and focused on anecdotes about those who would supposedly be helped. ABC's Linda Douglass highlighted the "living wage" idea pushed in Santa Monica, approvingly noting how "local governments will not wait for Washington. At least 40 more communities may adopt a living wage next year." CBS's Byron Pitts concluded his piece by lamenting how low-end workers "call this debate over minimum wage a mirage" since they "still need at least two jobs to make ends meet."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight, November 9. Peter Jennings used the Republican approval of a
hike as a jumping off point:
"They call this the 'People's Republic of Santa Monica,' a community
that showers social services on the homeless, where renters have more
power than landlords. These days city officials are focused on the
widening gap between the people who live well here and those who serve
them. Political leaders want to impose a living wage of nearly $11 an
hour, plus benefits. The Reverend Sandie Richards says Santa Monica's
bustling tourist industry has failed to share its bounty with its
-- November 9 CBS
Evening News Byron Pitts opened his story:
analysis, Pitts insisted: "More than 11 million people in America
would benefit from a minimum wage increase. That's approximately ten
percent of the nation's work force. Most of them are under 25 and work
part-time. The average blue-collar worker is in the same boat with Tim
Many. He does a bit better than minimum wage, but a government increase
could mean more money in his pocket."
No exploration in either story of how many will lose jobs when business can afford fewer employees or fold, nor of the right of a government to impose a rule that interferes with a private company's ability to pay what it wishes.
But last Friday
night, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, CNN's Brooks Jackson delivered a
balanced story with arguments which contradicted the ABC and CBS
anecdotes. On the November 5 The World Today, Jackson wondered:
Jackson elaborated: "In fact, teenagers make up 28 percent of those who would gain, and only 23 percent of the gainers are the main earners in their families. Opponents say there's still good reason to raise the wage."
Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute argue a hike would
benefit the poor, Jackson countered the claim but concluded by portraying
an increase as harmless:
Carole Simpson's egomania squeezed out Clinton's angry claim that the charges against him in he impeachment process were "totally false and bogus, made up," and that "people were persecuted because they wouldn't commit perjury against me."
As detailed in the
November 9 CyberAlert, Sunday's World News Tonight featured a taped
interview segment with Bill Clinton in which ABC anchor Carole Simpson
made the story about herself, asking Clinton: "I am an
African-American woman, grew up working class on the south side of
Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to
you. How does it feel talking to me?" For more on what ABC showed, go
Tuesday's Washington Post revealed that ABC didn't air a portion of the interview in which an angry Clinton lashed out and avoided any personal responsibility. ABC has now posted on its Web site this part of the interview which it has not shown it on the television network, but FNC did play it Tuesday night on Special Report with Brit Hume.
Hume explained: "President Clinton, it turns out, has been talking again, and in strong terms, about his impeachment and its effect on his place in history. The reason you may not have heard this is that he said it to ABC News, which decided not to air those comments."
Jim Angle elaborated: "President Clinton now argues that his affair with Monica Lewinsky and his impeachment trial will not tarnish historians' judgment of his presidency. In an interview with ABC News, Mr. Clinton calls the accusations that led to his impeachment 'the most severe, bitter, partisan onslaught.'"
Angle showed how
the interview "was primarily about encouraging investment in poor
areas," adding: "But ABC did not air the President's response
when he was asked if he has any regrets about his presidency. After The
Washington Post printed those remarks, however, ABC put them on its Web
Angle offered an explanation of Clinton's charge: "Clinton friends, such as Susan McDougal and Web Hubbell, were pressured by Ken Starr's office out of the suspicion that they, like the President, had lied. But they never testified against him. As the President now remembers his darkest hours, he skips over some key facts: that he complicated the investigation by lying about it for eight months and that the Senate voted 100 to nothing to proceed with an impeachment trial because even Democrats had serious questions about whether the President lied or obstructed justice."
In ABC's decision not to run Clinton's comments in Simpson's piece the White House saw evidence it wasn't newsworthy as Joe Lockhart asserted: "I don't see anything he said in that interview, I think, as evidenced by the play that remark got on television, as anything new or that adds anything to the subject."
Angle concluded: "In fact, the President has been busy subtracting things from the account of his darkest days. He admits a serious personal mistake, but puts most of the blame on his opponents, forgetting, it seems, that even Democrats signed a letter of censure saying Mr. Clinton brought shame and dishonor on the presidency, and that a federal judge fined the President for lying to the court and subverting the process of justice."
To see via
RealPlayer ABC's posting of the portions of the interview not shown on the
November 7 World News Tonight, go to:
Later, Hume opened the roundtable portion of his show by playing a clip of the part of the interview which ABC showed where Simpson decided her life story was most important:
Carole Simpson to
Clinton: "I have to bask in this moment, for a moment, because I am
here talking to the most powerful man on the planet, who was a poor boy
Morton Kondracke's reaction: "I'm embarrassed." So should ABC News. -- Brent Baker
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