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CyberAlert -- 12/17/2001 -- Taxes Cut "As Much As Possible"

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Taxes Cut "As Much As Possible"; 41 Too Far Right; ABM Decision Means U.S. "Going Back on Its Word"; ABC Not Liberal Enough

1) Quote of the Weekend. Time magazine's Margaret Carlson on CNN's Capital Gang: "Taxes have been cut as much as is humanly, or inhumanly, possible."

2) Most Unintentionally Hilarious Exchange of the Weekend. Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes relaying the view of Senator Jim Jeffords that not only is the current President Bush too conservative, but "the elder George Bush had moved so far to the right that he couldn't win re-election."

3) When OMB Director Mitch Daniels denounced "tax and spend extremists in the Democratic Senate caucus," CNN's Wolf Blitzer was taken aback by the bizarre notion: "'Tax and spend extremists' in the Democratic Party?"

4) On weekend talk shows, journalists Eleanor Clift, Al Hunt, Margaret Carlson and Nina Totenberg all criticized President Bush's decision to pursue missile defense. But, as she denounced missile defense herself, NPR's Nina Totenberg complained about how "conservative Republicans have a total knee-jerk thing about SDI. They cannot get over it."

5) On Thursday night the NBC News team nefariously characterized President Bush's decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty. Tom Brokaw stated Bush "deliberately broke a treaty." MSNBC anchor Brian Williams claimed Bush had the U.S. "deliberately going back on its word."

6) ABC News isn't liberal enough for Carole Simpson. On a PBS show to air Tuesday night, she will bemoan how the elimination of the "American Agenda" segment on the weekday World News Tonight means "it's kind of a depressing time right now. I don't think we are fulfilling what I always thought was our historic role, which was to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted."

7) Only one week left for you to benefit from the special discount for CyberAlert subscribers for the MRC's "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of the Year." It's January 17 in Washington, DC.


1

Quote of the Weekend. Time magazine's Margaret Carlson on CNN's Saturday night Capital Gang, commenting on the retirement of House Majority Leader Dick Armey:
"Dick Armey's mandate to cut taxes, it's complete. Taxes have been cut as much as is humanly, or inhumanly, possible. So, he can go."

That's the apparently genuine belief of a member in good standing of the Washington press corps, Time's former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief who is now a columnist and reporter for the magazine.

2

Most Unintentionally Hilarious Exchange of the Weekend. Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes relaying the view of Senator Jim Jeffords that "the elder George Bush had moved so far to the right that he couldn't win re-election."

Tied to the release of his new book, My Declaration of Independence, on Sunday night CBS's 60 Minutes ran a largely laudatory profile in courage about the formerly Republican Senator who switched allegiance in May so Democrats could take control of the chamber.

Mike Wallace never described Jeffords as liberal in passing along Jeffords' complaints about how President Bush is too conservative, preferring to describe him as a "moderate," as in referring to his "fellow Republican moderates."

The segment ended with Wallace relating Jeffords' take on 41: "In his book, Jeffords wrote that not only did he feel President Bush was moving too far to the right, but it turns out George W. wasn't the first President Bush to disappoint him. The Senator told us that despite his advice, the elder George Bush had moved so far to the right that he couldn't win re-election and that two months before Bill Clinton beat him, the elder Bush forecast his own defeat to Jim Jeffords."
Jeffords: "This is George Bush Senior, and he came and he said, 'you know, I apologize to you because I did not realize that what you were telling me, the moderates, were where I should be and that if I had followed your advice I wouldn't be in the problems I'm having right now.' He says 'I know it's over now.' This is September."
Wallace: "Jeffords felt that George W. was making his father's mistake all over again -- ignoring the moderates, but with Republicans not in control of the Senate, that's gotten harder to do. And Jeffords now gives him high marks for his fight against terrorism, but the Senator has no regrets about what he did. Quite the opposite."
Jeffords: "I've never felt better about myself. I'd never felt better in my life about anything, that I had done something really to help this country."

George H.W. Bush, the man who lost much conservative support when he broke his no new taxes pledge, the man who pushed expansion of liberal environmental regulations, the man who named an NEA Director who infuriated conservatives, the man whose policies prompted a conservative challenge from Pat Buchanan, was too far to the right?

Toward the beginning of the December 16 piece, Wallace at least challenged Jeffords on why he condemned the current President Bush when Bush made his positions clear during the campaign. After running a soundbite of Jeffords saying he changed parties because he disagrees with Bush on "choice," the environment, education, taxes and missile defense, Wallace asked: "You heard the President during the campaign. Those were his positions. So why were you surprised when he followed through?"
Jeffords lamely responded: "Well, I shouldn't have been, I guess, in that sense."
Wallace: "But months after running for re-election as a Republican you left the party. Why should Vermonters who voted for you trust you?"
Jeffords: "Because they know that the parties in Vermont are very weak, that the large plurality of people are independent. That's why I picked the title of independent rather than switching to Democrat to represent Vermont."

3

Members of the media can tag conservatives as "extremists" without anyone questioning it, but on Sunday's Late Edition when OMB Director Mitch Daniels denounced "tax and spend extremists in the Democratic Senate caucus," CNN's Wolf Blitzer was flummoxed by the bizarre notion: "'Tax and spend extremists' in the Democratic Party?"

On the December 16 Late Edition, Blitzer inquired of Daniels: "You just heard the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle say he wants a deal, he wants a deal with the Republicans, with the White House this week but you have to give him, show him some flexibility on all these big tax cuts you're proposing for the huge corporations."
Daniels replied: "The President's been the only one showing flexibility right along Wolf, and has been calling for stimulus for a couple of months now and the time really is here to act. Senator Daschle's got a tough job. In order to maintain his leadership position he's got to retain the support of some tax and spend extremists in the Democratic Senate caucus, people for whom taxes can't be high enough and we can never spend too much government money, so he's in a delicate position. But now's the time to prove that he's a leader. There is majority support, first of all in the country -- the Wall Street Journal poll has two-to-one margin for the kind of balanced package the President has proposed -- and there's majority support in the Senate for that kind of package if it will be allowed to come to a vote."
Blitzer was befuddled: "'Tax and spend extremists' in the Democratic Party? Give us some names. Who are you talking about?"

Daniels, smartly, avoided the bait.

4

On weekend talk shows, journalists Eleanor Clift, Al Hunt, Margaret Carlson and Nina Totenberg all criticized President Bush's decision to have the U.S. withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in order to pursue missile defense. But, as she denounced missile defense herself, NPR's Nina Totenberg complained about how "conservative Republicans have a total knee-jerk thing about SDI. They cannot get over it."

If that's true it's just as accurate to say liberal crusaders in the guise of journalists just can't get over their knee-jerk opposition to it.

-- Newsweek contributing editor and reporter Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group: "What it does is is probably set off an arms race in China and Southern Asia of countries who will want to have nuclear capability. And second, it's not a proud thing for a superpower to walk away from a treaty. This is the first since World War II of this kind of behavior. Thirdly, where is the money? This is billions of dollars and the latest test of the booster rocket just failed this week. This is fantasy technology."

-- Al Hunt, Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor, on CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night: "The President might be right, the architecture that we had before may be antiquated. But I'm not quite sure Colin Powell is right when he says that it's not going to lead to any kind of nuclear proliferation. I mean, the Russians -- he's right about the Russians, but the Chinese clearly say that they're going to increase the number of offensive weapons. Then the Indians too, then the Pakistanis too.
"There is a question of how cost-effective it is. It's going to cost a lot of money, as Bob said. He may have to give up some of his tax cuts because of that. There was a, you know, one of the tests failed in the Pacific just this week.
"And finally: Is that the threat? I mean, I don't think a missile defense is going to help us stop a single 767 from going into a building; it's not going to stop a single anthrax from being put in the mail; or it's not going to stop the threat of a chemical weapon at the Winter Olympics. That may be the threat."

-- Time reporter and columnist Margaret Carlson, also on CNN's Capital Gang: "It may work eventually, maybe. But to, you know, Russia can swamp anything the missile defense fund, I mean, the missile defense shield can do. So of course Putin says, well, it's no threat, because it might not be. Because he can come up with more things to defeat it. And surely China is going to start building more nuclear weapons as much as it can. And then you're going to have more nuclear materials floating around at a time when you don't want rogue states to be able to get ahold of it because the threat is from rogue states and terrorism. And this does absolutely nothing to cope with what we know about since 9/11."

-- On Inside Washington, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg saw a knee-jerk reaction not from her media colleagues but from conservatives: "I don't think the problem is as much the Russians as it is maybe the world and, I'll jerk Charles's [Krauthammer] chain, a certain sense of unilateralism. But even more, I just think conservative Republicans have a total knee-jerk thing about SDI. They cannot get over it. We have other things that are much more likely bad to happen to us that we should be spending money on."

5

Instead of just accurately reporting that President Bush had decided to have the U.S. withdraw from the ABM treaty, on Thursday night the NBC News team nefariously characterized the move as one in which Bush "deliberately broke a treaty" and which had the U.S. "deliberately going back on its word."

Tom Brokaw set up a December 13 NBC Nightly News story: "Today President Bush deliberately broke a treaty with Russia, as he promised he would -- the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that bars both countries from building a missile defense system. Without a defense, both sides are vulnerable, and that's a deterrent. But President Bush says times and threats have changed."

Later, MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey noticed, Brian Williams plugged the same story on his MSNBC show, The News with Brian Williams, by announcing: "When we come back, the other big news from the White House today. President Bush makes a major announcement. Tonight, why the U.S. is deliberately going back on its word in front of the rest of the world."

By contrast, the ABC and CBS anchors managed to relay the same decision sans the derogatory spin. ABC's Peter Jennings reported: "President Bush formally notified the Soviet Union today the US will withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so the U.S. can proceed with building a missile defense system. Mr. Bush said today it was part of the war against terrorists. The Russians say it's a mistake because it disrupts long-standing arms control agreements."

Over on the December 13 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather stated: "After many signals that he intended to pull out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow, President Bush made it official today. The United States will withdraw from the treaty in six months, clearing the way for missile defense testing banned by the treaty. Russia's President Vladimir Putin called the Bush decision a mistake."

6

ABC News isn't liberal enough for World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson. In a PBS show to air Tuesday night, USA Today reported, she will bemoan how the elimination of the "American Agenda" segment on the weekday World News Tonight means "it's kind of a depressing time right now. I don't think we are fulfilling what I always thought was our historic role, which was to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted."

In a December 13 story, USA Today's Peter Johnson previewed She Says: Women in News: "ABC News anchor Carole Simpson used to like reporting 'America Agenda' segments on World News Tonight because they allowed her to talk about issues such as domestic abuse, rape and poverty.
"But 'Agenda' is no longer on ABC News' agenda, Simpson bemoans Tuesday on She Says/Women in News (PBS 9 p.m. ET/PT).
"Instead, ABC and other networks 'have gone to focus groups. We have found out that people are suffering compassion fatigue,' Simpson says. 'So it's kind of a depressing time right now. I don't think we are fulfilling what I always thought was our historic role, which was to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We don't do much of that anymore.'
"Simpson is among 10 top women in print and television who discuss the changes and hurdles they've faced in a business that was once a men's club."

Amongst the other women profiled: CNN's Judy Woodruff.

Back in 1994, on CNBC's Equal Time, Simpson boasted that the "American Agenda" segments were not neutral as she contended that viewers wanted their thinking to be nudged along: "I won't make any pretense that the American Agenda is totally neutral. We do take a position. And I think the public wants us now to take a position. If you give both sides and 'Well, on the one hand this and on the other that' -- I think people kind of really want you to help direct their thinking on some issues."

She Says: Women in News is on the PBS national schedule for Tuesday night, December 18. In the Washington, DC area, the one-hour show will air at 9pm on WETA-TV and at 10pm on Maryland Public Television.

7

Only one week left for you to benefit from the special discount for CyberAlert subscribers for the MRC's "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of the Year." Tickets are priced at $150, but as a CyberAlert subscriber you can save $15 per ticket and pay just $135.

This will be a reprise of the very fun and popular Dishonor Awards we presented in late 1999. The winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with video clips of the top nominees, at a dinner presentation at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC on Thursday, January 17 at 7pm.

Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Presenters include Steve Forbes and Kate O'Beirne. A media victim will accept each award in jest. Winning quotes will be selected by a panel of well-known media observers. Robert Novak and Sean Hannity have already returned their ballots. Award categories include: "We're All Going to Die and It's Bush's Fault Award for Doomsday Environmental Reporting" and the "Peter Arnett Award for Hopelessly Foolish Wartime Reporting." Plus: "The Gilligan Award for the Flakiest Comment of the Year."

To see what you missed in 1999, go to:
http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/projects/dishonor.html

In 1999 we sold out and had to turn people away, so order early this year to ensure you can attend. The MRC's Bonnie Langborgh set up a page about the event with links to a page where you can pay online via credit card and to a printable page you can mail or fax:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/bookstore/welcome.asp

Tables of ten are available to CyberAlert subscribers for $1300, $50 off the regular price.

Take advantage of your preferred status as a CyberAlert subscriber and order soon. The discount offer will end on December 25.

I hope to see many of you on January 17, at what is sure to again be a fun and entertaining evening mocking the most outrageous liberal and/or foolish comments of the year from members of the media. -- Brent Baker


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