CyberAlert -- 12/20/2001 -- More About U.S. Abusing Walker
More About U.S. Abusing Walker; Castigating Only Bush as Partisan; No Bias at ABC? You're "Delusional"; Goldberg Book a Best-Seller
1) Helen Thomas on John Walker: "Are we so primitive that we would ship this man in a box, deny him legal rights, deny him the right to see a lawyer, deny him the right to see his parents? I mean, is that America?"
2) Referring to President Bush's announcement of a bi-partisan compromise stimulus bill which Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle opposes, ABC's Terry Moran castigated Bush for his "'in-your-face, Tom Daschle' move" and asked why shouldn't people "see this as a return to...partisan wrangling?"
3) Former ABC News Political Director Hal Bruno insisted Wednesday on CNN: "I know from the very top all the way on down at ABC, not only was there not a bias, but we constantly were on the alert to make sure that no bias creeped [sic] into our coverage." Ex-CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg, author of a new book, Bias, dubbed Bruno as "delusional, he's absolutely delusional."
4) Bernard Goldberg's book will debut at #13 this Sunday on the New York Times best-seller list. Last week the Wall Street Journal said the book is a "must-read" for "any aspiring journalist. His case is airtight." Even the New York Times lauded his effort.
second straight day at the White House press briefing session, Helen
Thomas of Hearst Newspapers and Terry Moran of ABC News grilled Press
Secretary Ari Fleischer on Wednesday about the rights of John Walker, the
American found with the Taliban. On Tuesday, Moran took the lead, as
detailed in the December 19 CyberAlert:
On Wednesday, Thomas took the lead role. She bizarrely suggested that because the U.S. government had not given Walker access to a lawyer he would be confined to a box: "Are we so primitive that we would ship this man in a box, deny him legal rights, deny him the right to see a lawyer, deny him the right to see his parents? I mean, is that America?"
Which part of the Constitution guarantees a right to see your parents when you are caught with enemy troops?
The discussion about Walker occurred near the end of the December 19 briefing. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth checked the WhiteHouse.gov transcript against the MRC's tape of CNN coverage to correct any errors.
After Fleischer told a reporter that Walker
"is considered, under the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment
of prisoners of war, a battlefield detainee," Thomas demanded:
"My question falls in line with that. Are we so primitive that we
would ship this man in a box, deny him legal rights, deny him the right to
see a lawyer, deny him the right to see his parents? I mean, is that
If he really wanted to see his parents would he have decided to live in Afghanistan with terrorists?
Whether you see the roadblock to a stimulus bill as being caused by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle refusing to sign onto a compromise bill favored by President Bush, Republicans and a few Democrats, or being caused by President Bush and the Republicans refusing to accommodate the goals set forth by Daschle, an even-handed reporter would not denounce just one party in the dispute for bringing back partisan politics.
But that's just what ABC News White House
reporter Terry Moran did on Wednesday as he blamed Bush. Referring to
Bush's announcement of a bi-partisan compromise, at the December 19
White House press briefing, Moran pounced: "After weeks of working,
essentially quietly behind the scenes, with meetings on the Hill at night
or the breakfasts here with the leaders, this is really an
'in-your-face, Tom Daschle' move, isn't it?"
Bernard Goldberg hit a wall of denial of any liberal bias Wednesday afternoon during an appearance on CNN's Talk Back Live with Hal Bruno, Political Director at ABC News for nearly 20 years ending in 1997. Bruno insisted: "I know from the very top all the way on down at ABC, not only was there not a bias, but we constantly were on the alert to make sure that no bias creeped [sic] into our coverage."
Goldberg, a former CBS News correspondent, penned the new book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News. See the December 3, 5, 7 and 13 CyberAlerts for previous items about the book:
When Goldberg recalled how at the start of the January 1999 Senate impeachment trial Peter Jennings "identified every conservative who went up to sign that oath book as a conservative" while not labeling the liberal Senators, Bruno dismissed the claim: "Well, I don't think it is an example of liberal bias. And I do not recall such a thing happening." Goldberg retorted: "Well, it happened." Indeed it did, as documented at the time in a CyberAlert.
Later, Bruno maintained that the fact that the vast majority of ABC News staffers are pro-choice on abortion has no impact on coverage. Goldberg fired back: "He's delusional. He's absolutely delusional." That led Bruno to dismiss Goldberg as "an ideologue," as if anyone who perceives liberal bias must by a right-wing ideologue.
On the December 19 CNN show hosted by Tucker Carlson, Goldberg outlined his thesis: "The evidence is the way they see the world. They see conservatives very clearly; they don't see liberals. They identify conservatives as right-wing Republicans, as right-wing Christians, as right-wing radio talk show hosts, right-wing Miami Cubans. But the only time you ever hear the term 'left-wing' out of these peoples' mouths is if they're talking about a part of an airplane. It's how they see the big issues of our time, whether it's feminism, whether it's gay rights, whether it's race, whether it's even homelessness. That's where the liberal bias comes in."
Carlson wondered: "Now, Hal Bruno, in Mr.
Goldberg's book he makes an interesting point. Study after study after
study shows that the majority of the news media -- particularly at the
networks -- vote Democratic. Mr. Goldberg says, look, if the majority of
the media were Midwestern Republicans, would it affect the coverage? Maybe
on the margins it would. Yes, it probably would. Is that, I mean-"
Indeed, Goldberg's recollection is correct, though the January 7, 1999 event happened after Bruno left ABC News. An excerpt from the January 8, 1999 CyberAlert:
....Peter Jennings told viewers the names of some of the Senators they
were watching. After pointing out but not labeling liberal Democrats John
Kerry, Herbert Kohl, Ted Kennedy, and Carl Levin, Jennings found two worth
tagging and then a liberal he didn't find label-worthy:
Seconds later: "Senator Rick Santorum, one of the younger members of the Senate, Republican, very determined conservative member of the Senate. That's Senator Daschle there in the left-hand side of your picture. Behind him Senator Byrd. Senator Sarbanes of Maryland, a long time Democratic Senator just walking across the picture...."
Just after not labeling Democrat Charles Schumer, Jennings warned viewers: "Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, also another very, very conservative Republican intending to run for the presidency..." Finally, he ended by running through the names of the last five Senators, three of whom are amongst the most far-left in the Senate: "Senator Torricelli of New Jersey that was. Senator Voinovich, Senator John Warner of Virginia, and the next one up Senator Wellstone from Minnesota and the last W, having all 100 Senators, in the brown suit there, Senator Wyden of Oregon."
END of Excerpt
For the entire item, with my always insightful
quips, go to:
Back to CNN's Talk Back Live on Wednesday,
after an ad break Carlson posited: "Hal Bruno, let ask me you this.
And honestly, what percentage of the news media, the network news media,
how about just ABC News, is pro-choice? It's got to be above 80, don't you
That's the ultimate cop-out, though to be fair to Bruno, of all the prominent figures at a broadcast network over the last few decades, he was amongst the fairest. Too bad he won't hold his colleagues to his own standards.
++ See a bit of the Goldberg/Bruno showdown. Late Thursday morning the MRC's Mez Djouadi will post a RealPlayer clip of a portion of the above-quoted exchange. Go to the posted version of this CyberAlert article: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalert/2001/cyb20011220.asp#3
Bernard Goldberg's book will debut at an impressive #13 this Sunday on the New York Times best-seller list, the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday.
While Goldberg's television interviews have been confined to FNC and now two daytime CNN shows, with a blackout so far by the broadcast network morning shows and MSNBC (though MSNBC had him on in June), last week his book earned positive reviews from not only the Wall Street Journal but even the New York Times.
An excerpt from the December 18 New York Daily News story by Paul Colford, headlined: "Book That Blasts Media, Blasts the Charts." It was highlighted by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/). The excerpt:
A new book that accuses CBS News of liberal bias has become an instant best-seller.
Written by former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News" will debut Sunday to No. 13 on The New York Times best-seller list.
That's no small feat considering that four photo collections tied to the Sept. 11 terror attacks have taken root on the list, making it harder for new nonfiction to break through.
At the same time, the success of "Bias," like the strong sales of opinionated books by commentators Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, reflects the appetite among many readers for criticism of how the media operate.
"For a book to become a New York Times best-seller based on a first week of sales, when it reached only about 15% to 20% distribution, just shows there was a huge demand," said Regnery Publishing president Alfred Regnery....
A prominent report on Goldberg's allegations ran in The Washington Post on Dec. 3. The author later spent an hour Limbaugh's radio show and earned a respectful review last Thursday in The Times (Goldberg "asks questions that are worth asking").
"Bias" was unavailable at several Manhattan bookstores over the weekend. It ranked No. 8 in sales yesterday at the online retailer Amazon.com.
Regnery, a Washington publisher that specializes in conservative titles, started with 80,000 copies, but now has about 200,000 in print....
END of Excerpt
For the entire story, go to:
An excerpt from the December 13 review in the Wall Street Journal by Russ Smith, editor-in-chief of the New York Press:
....This insider's account of Mr. Goldberg's career at CBS is filled with so many stories of repulsive elitism and prejudice on the part of his peers that it elevates "Bias" to must-read status for any aspiring journalist. His case is airtight.
On the network news, Robert Bork is the "conservative" judge; Laurence Tribe, merely a Harvard professor. Mr. Goldberg notes that the major networks, in a fit of political correctness, reported during the 1980s that AIDS was a menace to everyone -- even heterosexuals who engaged in no-risk sex -- despite facts that proved otherwise. Of another favorite social-activist cause, Mr. Goldberg comments dryly: "I could be wrong, but I think homelessness ended the day Bill Clinton was sworn in as president. Which is one of those incredible coincidences, since it pretty much began the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president."...
Mr. Goldberg can be charitable, allowing that his well-paid colleagues are probably so insulated in their cultural bubble -- socializing and working with people who share their prejudices -- that they don't even recognize the bias they display. Mr. Rather told Mr. Goldberg that he considers the New York Times's editorial page to be "middle of the road."
But mostly Mr. Goldberg is disgusted by the men and women he once considered friends. He notes: "They love affirmative action, as long as their own kids get into Ivy League schools. They love handing out jobs based on racial preferences, as long as they get to keep theirs. It's a great deal: it's always somebody else who has to make the sacrifice -- sometimes Asian-American kids, sometimes other white students who don't get into places like Harvard and Yale and Princeton -- while the white liberal elites get to claim credit for being so decent, the saviors of black people in America."...
END of Excerpt
For the review in full, go to:
The same day the New York Times featured a review by Janet Maslin. A brief excerpt:
....Mr. Goldberg has written "Bias," a book larded with specific examples to support his point of view. Although he refers to "the two or three conservative friends I have," he may pick up a lot more of them on the strength of this assault. He examines television's coverage of such issues as race, AIDS and homelessness to eyebrow-raising effect. All this, he says, supports the idea that most of those who shape these stories tilt to the left.
Even among those who reject that premise, or some of the ad hominem bitterness on display here, "Bias" should be taken seriously. Unlike Bill O'Reilly, whose best-sellers (like "The No-Spin Zone") trumpet a bullying brand of conservatism as they recycle transcripts of television interviews, Mr. Goldberg has done real homework and has written a real book. Whatever his conclusions, however shaky his suppositions, he asks questions that are worth asking.
"Whenever you hear an anchorman or reporter use the word 'controversial,' it is usually a signal that the idea that follows is one the media elites do not agree with," he maintains. And whenever you hear the word "conservative" on one end of the political spectrum, he adds, you won't often hear "liberal" on the other. That, he says, is because network heavyweights regard their own opinions as middle-of-the-road and simply assume that the wider world agrees with them....
END of Excerpt
To read the entire review, which also takes on
some of Goldberg's premises, those registered with the New York Times
can go to:
> This is probably the last CyberAlert until after Christmas, so a Merry Christmas to all, at least to those who are celebrating it.
And don't forget, Peter Jennings is scheduled to appear Friday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. -- Brent Baker