2. A Governor CBS Can Admire: Alabama's Tax-Raising Bob Riley
3. Brown Champions Public Campaign Funding, "Let's Use Tax Dollars"
4. Boston Globe Decides it Should Be "Free of Any Political Agenda"
5. Ann Coulter Sends ABC's The View Crew Into a Tizzy
6. "Top Ten Things the Iraqi Information Minister Has Admitted..."
Lester Maddox (?-GA Gov.). The media had no reticence last year about making sure their readers and viewers understood that the Trent Lott who belonged to a racially-discriminatory fraternity was part of the Southern rise of the Republican Party, but in announcing the Wednesday passing away of former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, the racist, segregationist who led the state in the late 1960s, the networks refused to inform their viewers that he was a Democrat.
The morning AP dispatch didn't get to his party affiliation until the 19th paragraph, but ABC, CBS and NBC picked up on AP reporter Dick Pettys' characterization of Maddox's "relative moderation on race" in office: "Fears of racial strife during his 1967-71 governorship proved unfounded when Maddox pursued a policy of relative moderation on race."
ABC and CNBC even ran full stories which consumed more than two minutes each, yet neither ABC's Peter Jennings or CNBC's Don Teague found Maddox's party affiliation worth mentioning even though both noted how in 1966, as Jennings recalled, "no candidate had a majority, and the state legislature chose Maddox." In fact, the Republican candidate got more votes, but the Democratic-controlled legislature made Maddox the Governor.
As the AP's Pettys reported: "He won the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1966 but trailed Republican Howard H. 'Bo' Callaway in the general election. Write-in votes for other candidates prevented Callaway from receiving a majority, and the question was thrown to the Democrat-dominated Legislature, which picked Maddox." For the AP story: story.news.yahoo.com
-- ABC's Good Morning America, June 25, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson. Robin Roberts at 8am: "A symbol of segregationist defiance, former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox died this morning at the age of 87. Maddox gained national notoriety in 1964 when he closed and sold his Atlanta restaurant rather than be forced to serve blacks. He became Governor in 1967 and was a moderate on race during his term."
-- CNN's American Morning. Daryn Kagan announced, as transcribed by the MRC's Ken Shepherd: "And former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox died this morning at an Atlanta hospice where he was recovering from a fall. Maddox had become known as a segregationist in the 1960s when he refused to let blacks eat at his restaurant. He was elected Governor in 1966, many feared the state would become even more racially polarized. Instead, Maddox pursued a moderate policy on race. Lester Maddox was 87 years old. A piece of Georgia and Southern U.S. history."
-- FNC's Lauren Green at 9:30am EDT: "Former Georgia segregationist Governor Lester Maddox has died. He was 87. Maddox gained notoriety in 1964 by defying the civil rights act and later closed his Atlanta restaurant rather than serve blacks. He was chosen Governor by the legislature when no candidate got a majority of votes cast in the 1966 election."
-- NBC's Today. News reader Natalie Morales at 7am, as caught by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens: "And former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox died this morning at the age of 87. He became a symbol of segregation during the 1960s."
And in the afternoon/evening:
-- CNN at 4pm EDT, Judy Woodruff just before Inside Politics: "Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox has died of pneumonia. Maddox was elected in 1966, one of the last segregationist Governors in the South. He rose to prominence while battling to keep African-Americans out of his Atlanta restaurant and he later closed the business rather than serve black customers. Lester Maddox dead at the age of 87."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather intoned: "Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox died today at the age of 87. Maddox first made national headlines in 1964 as a hardline segregationist. He closed and sold his restaurant rather than obey federal civil rights laws and serve black customers. After becoming Governor in 1976, Maddox named some African-Americans to some state jobs."
-- CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, anchored by John Seigenthaler, devoted 2:30 to Maddox yet never managed to identify his party. Don Teague didn't do so despite its relevance to this sequence which Teague summarized: "Maddox ran for Governor of Georgia and won in a fluke election, appointed by the general assembly when no candidate received a majority of the popular vote."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams asserted: "Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox died today. He was a defiant segregationist. His refusal to allow blacks into his Atlanta chicken restaurant in the wake of the civil rights act of 1964 propelled him into the Governorship in 1966. While in office Maddox pursued a policy of relative moderation on race, but he did refuse to close the Capitol for the funeral of the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior, which drew thousands of mourners to Atlanta's streets. Lester Maddox was 87 years old."
-- ABC's World News Tonight ended with a full story narrated by Peter Jennings, complete with vintage black and white video of Jennings reporting on Maddox, but Jennings refused to mention Maddox's affiliation with the political party which imposed and enforced segregation for a century. Jennings began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
He's the last Democrat until Al Gore to hate the news media.
CBS has found a Republican it can admire: One who wants to raise taxes and spend more.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dan Rather tied fiscal problems in states to Bush's tax cut as he stated that "now that President Bush's big federal tax cut plan has become law, there's renewed focus on the growing fiscal crisis for states. Some analysts say that it's a trickle down from the federal budget cuts, but whatever the reason, many states are now so strapped by record budget deficits, it's making for some strange politics and tough choices, especially for Republican governors."
"The federal budget cuts"? Where, when?
Mark Strassmann proceeded to deliver a glowing look at Alabama's Republican Governor, Bob Riley. Strassmann trumpeted the mixing of politics and religion: "His plan is heresy to many conservatives. He wants the poor to pay less and the rich to pay more as a matter of Christian conscience."
Strassmann began his June 25 piece, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: "Alabama voters thought they knew Governor Bob Riley as a disciple of Republican gospel."
For a report from the Alabama Policy Institute detailing the tax hike plan, in PDF format: www.alabamapolicyinstitute.org
CNN's Aaron Brown brought Arianna Huffington aboard Tuesday's NewsNight so the two could fret about the evils of campaign fundraising and how it's all a "shakedown." At one point, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, Brown proposed a far-left, government control solution to the perceived problem: "Here's an easy solution to all of this. I so rarely come up with a solution to anything. Let's just publicly fund the campaigns. Let's use tax dollars."
Huffington giddily agreed: "I'm all in favor of that. There's a great group called Public Campaign that is working on this issue, there's growing support for this issue."
I think there's too much irresponsible cable news. Here's an easy solution: Let's just use taxpayer dollars to have a government agency review and edit all news copy before it airs.
An excerpt from Brown's June 24 gripe session with Huffington spurred by the Bush-Cheney series of fundraising dinners this week:
Brown: "Is it inherently a shakedown? I mean, it's a kind of subtle shakedown, and some cases, by the way, not so subtle. But do you see it as a shakedown, that these corporations know if they don't give money, they will not get from whoever has power?"
Brown: "Why don't you think -- why is it, do you think, that Americans -- and you may disagree with the premise here -- that Americans aren't all that concerned about it? There's nothing new about this. Big money has been driving campaigns for a long time. We spend years talking about campaign finance reform, which may or may not survive court challenge. But very few people believe that it is a voting issue, if you will, for people."
Brown: "Here's an easy solution to all of this. I so rarely come up with a solution to anything. Let's just publicly fund the campaigns. Let's use tax dollars."
Brown: "And just in literally 10 seconds or less, do you think, in the next four years, anything will change?"
My question: Does anyone think Brown's use of his CNN platform for liberal advocacy will change in the next few years?
The second major newspaper in a month has acknowledged that political bias is a problem in its news pages which needs to be addressed. In her weekly column on Monday, Boston Globe Ombudsman Christine Chinlund recounted how, in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times, the Globe will soon distribute an ethics guide and it will advise reporters that news stories should be "free of any political or ideological agenda."
You'd think that would be a given.
The revelation about the concern of Globe management comes about a month after Los Angeles Times Editor John Carroll chided his news staff for liberal bias. In a late May internal memo, he accused his paper of publishing a story, on an abortion bill in Texas, that demonstrated the "occasional reality" that the LA Times is a "liberal, 'politically correct' newspaper." Carroll chastised his staff: "The apparent bias of the writer and/or the desk reveals itself in the third paragraph, which characterizes such bills in Texas and elsewhere as requiring 'so-called counseling of patients.' I don't think people on the anti-abortion side would consider it 'so-called,' a phrase that is loaded with derision." Carroll insisted: "We are not going to push a liberal agenda in the news pages of the Times."
For more on Carroll's May 22 memo: www.mediaresearch.org
...."The journalistic sins committed by Jayson Blair at The New York Times and previously at The Boston Globe raise unsettling questions about whether news organizations have done everything they should to protect themselves against ethical and reportorial lapses," wrote Globe editor Martin Baron in his memo to the staff introducing the proposed guidelines....
Some of the items pertain strictly to in-house matters, such as checking the background of job applicants or creating a new system to track which reporters make the most errors. But most address what readers see in the paper, and thus are worth sharing, at least in pared-down summary form:
-- Quoting anonymous sources is allowed, but must be done "with caution." Sources must have personal knowledge of the information they provide and may not use the cover of anonymity to deliver a personal attack or speculation. They should also be identified in general but relevant terms (such as "a lawyer involved in the case" or "a business associate") so that readers can judge the value of the source's information....
-- Quotes gathered from other publications or outlets, such as wire services, should be clearly identified as such.
-- Relying on observations made by others is strongly discouraged. When it is unavoidable -- say, relying on a fire fighter to describe the course of a blaze -- the story must identify who provided the information and must not leave the impression the reporter witnessed something he or she did not.
-- A story's dateline must reflect where a substantial amount of the reporting took place. A story can not be datelined, say, Framingham just because the reporter went there the previous weekend....
-- Subjects of a story should be given sufficient time to respond to any allegations against them -- although that time may be abbreviated on late-breaking news stories. If a subject can't be reached, or is phoned late, the story should say so....
-- Overall, news reporting should be "thorough, careful, and honest, informed by a sincere effort to gather all relevant facts and to interview all relevant individuals," according to the guidelines. In addition, it should be "free of any political or ideological agenda."
Those are the standards that, barring last-minute changes, will guide the Globe newsroom. They are the rules by which readers can judge the paper in the post-Blair era.
END of Excerpt
For Chinlund's column in full: www.boston.com
Well, not so good.
On the very day of Chinlund's column, in a front page profile of Democratic candidate Howard Dean, Globe reporter Sarah Schweitzer described a Dean supporter as a "Republican loyalist," when her support makes that inaccurate on its face, and described a former Republican Senator as a "hard-core conservative," but insisted that "Dean's record isn't radically left-leaning" because "he advocates a balanced federal budget" and "received top ratings from the National Rifle Association and supports the death penalty in some cases." Plus, "on the campaign trail, Dean consistently distances himself from the far-left. 'This is not some liberal idea that makes me unelectable,' he said of his health care proposal last week in Manchester."
So, if he says his plan is not liberal it's not?
An excerpt from the June 23 Globe story:
HOLLIS, N.H. -- Howard Dean is standing in the company of a convert. Jane Charlesworth is a good-causes volunteer and a Republican loyalist who last fall hosted in her home the hard-core conservative former U.S. Senator Bob Smith but blows cold for her party's leader, President Bush.
On this June evening, at a house gathering in this southern border town, she is fingering a bumper sticker with Dean's name, pledging her support to this man from Vermont best known for opposing the war in Iraq and staking out territory as a Democrat's Democrat.
"My Republican friends are going to disown me!" Charlesworth said.
"No, they won't," Dean answered in the same clipped, blunt manner that impressed Charlesworth in his earlier address to the crowd sketching his ideas. Charlesworth, however, hadn't seen blunt yet. "New England Republicans are not the same as the right-wing wackos in Washington."
Such is the Dean lexicon. Unorthodox, sharp-edged, and appealing enough to have earned him a corps of fervent supporters....
Dean also seems self-consciously aware of the leftist-progressive image that precedes him. He is, after all, from Vermont, home of the country's sole socialist-leaning representative, Bernard Sanders. Dean presided over the creation of civil unions for gays and lesbians. And he is the darling of some high-profile liberals, including filmmaker Rob Reiner.
It all makes for a memorable backdrop, though a difficult one to parlay in the long run, particularly this election cycle when primaries in conservative states come fast on the heels of New Hampshire's, leaving less time for the traditional tilt to the middle.
Dean's record isn't radically left-leaning. He advocates a balanced federal budget. He is an abortion-rights advocate and opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet he received top ratings from the National Rifle Association and supports the death penalty in some cases, like terrorism or the killing of police officers or young children.
On the campaign trail, Dean consistently distances himself from the far-left. "This is not some liberal idea that makes me unelectable," he said of his health care proposal last week in Manchester....
END of Excerpt
You wouldn't know it from the Globe's description, but Smith was not consistently a "hard-core conservative." Like Dean supporting gun owners in Vermont, to appeal to a segment of Granite State voters Smith took very liberal stands on the environment.
For the story in full: www.boston.com
Ann Coulter's guest-hosting slot on ABC's daytime show The View on Wednesday sent the regular tri-hosts into a tizzy as they denounced Coulter's criticisms of liberals. To Coulter's assertion in her new book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, that liberals hate America, former CBS News correspondent Meredith Vieira shot back: "Well, it's stupid."
Former NBC News reporter Star Jones was so adamant about defending liberals that she boasted: "I'm a card-carrying Democrat."
Later, Jones suggested Coulter was just mad at Hillary Clinton because of how many books Clinton has sold and Jones sing-songed to Coulter: "Hater. Hater."
During a discussion of a study that claims women are as sexually aroused by pornography featuring two women or a man and a woman, to the dismay of the View crew, Coulter quipped that "the last time" she saw "two women get it on" was "the Katie Couric interview with Hillary Clinton."
The MRC's Jessica Anderson took down a hunk of the gabfest at the beginning of the June 25 The View, ABC's daytime show created by Barbara Walters, for whom Coulter was filling in.
Meredith Vieira explained: "In your last book you said liberals have been wrong about everything in last half century. You ticked us off over that one, alright. And now in this new bok you say that liberals hate freedom...I want to talk about your politics because in Treason you say, yes, that liberals hate America."
During a discussion of a study that claims women are as sexually aroused by pornography featuring two women or a man and a woman:
Finally, at the very end of the show, Jones related how she and Coulter were arguing during the just-ended ad break: "She was just taking another dig at Hillary Clinton. Mad because she sold 600,000 books." Jones then started sing-songing to Coulter, with the syllables stretched out: "Hater. Hater."
Or, it could have been "hate her, hate her," but it sounded more like "hate-err," so "hater."
For The View's Web page with pictures of all the co-hosts: abc.abcnews.go.com
For Ann Coulter's Web page: www.anncoulter.com
From the June 25 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things the Iraqi Information Minister Has Admitted Since Being Captured." Late Show Web site: www.cbs.com
10. "Okay, Iraq didn't win the war. It was a tie"
9. "Iraq's weapons scientists were secretly developing our own Hulk"
8. "Tariq Aziz had Botox"
7. "Saddam Hussein's not the innocent angel everyone thinks he is"
6. "Dr. Germ looks really hot when she's synthesizing VX gas"
5. "You picked the right guy for the 'Queen of Clubs,' if you know what I mean"
4. "Howard Dean will win the 2004 election"
3. "Uday Hussein's birth name -- Gary"
2. "I've been offered a job as editor of 'The New York Times'"
1. "The rumors are true -- I'm dating Ashton Kutcher"
Nice to see the New York Times continues to work as a target of derision.
-- Brent Baker