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NBC's Williams Seemingly Endorses Racism Explanation for Delay --9/9/2005


1. NBC's Williams Seemingly Endorses Racism Explanation for Delay
After insisting that "I don't do opinions," on Thursday's Daily Show on Comedy Central, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams seemed to come dangerously close to endorsing the view that racism was behind the slow rescue of residents in New Orleans as he approvingly relayed how, a "refrain" he heard from "everyone watching the coverage all week," was "had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have-" At that point, applause caused him to cut off his sentence as he gestured toward the audience to cite affirmation of his point.

2. CBS Turns Liberal Claims on Disaster Response Into Poll Questions
Though neither The Early Show or CBS Evening News on Thursday cited the questions, the new CBS News poll included inquiries about three liberal claims the news media have frequently treated as credible: "Was reduced federal spending on levees a factor in flooding?", "Did having troops in Iraq delay hurricane response?" and "Did the race and class of those stranded affect speed of the response?" Two of three received affirmative responses from those surveyed.

3. Moran Relays Urge to Rescind Tax Cuts & "Even" Drug Entitlement
In a story on how America can "afford" to pay for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ABC's Terry Moran, on Thursday's World News Tonight, relayed how "Democrats" are "demanding that Mr. Bush curtail his tax cuts." Viewers then heard from a left-wing activist. But in an unusual take for the mainstream media, Moran also raised the suggestion of delaying some additional spending, though after not using the liberal term for those who want to rescind tax cuts, he attributed the idea to "conservatives" and inserted an "even" before the proposal to delay implementation of the prescription drug entitlement -- as if the concept is extreme. Moran asserted: "Conservatives are worried about the costs, too, with some House Republicans even suggesting a one-year delay in the new prescription drug benefit program."

4. U.S. News Delivers Contrasting Ideological Labels for Senators
In this week's U.S. News & World Report, Terence Samuel's profile of "fascinating" Arlen Specter, the "inscrutable" moderate chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is accompanied by a box of mini-biographies titled "Other Players in the Drama" with noticeable contrasts in ideological descriptions for Republican versus Democrat profiles.


NBC's Williams Seemingly Endorses Racism
Explanation for Delay

After insisting that "I don't do opinions," on Thursday's Daily Show on Comedy Central, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams seemed to come dangerously close to endorsing the view that racism was behind the slow rescue of residents in New Orleans as he approvingly relayed how, a "refrain" he heard from "everyone watching the coverage all week," was "had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have-" At that point, applause caused him to cut off his sentence as he gestured toward the audience to cite affirmation of his point.

Hard to imagine that if Williams heard the refrain, which is out there, that the hurricane's destruction of abortion clinics in New Orleans shows it was meant as God's punishment of sinful behavior in the city, Williams would have so willingly passed along that line of reasoning.

[This item was posted early this morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org, exposing and combating liberal media bias.]

Williams made his comments after host Jon Stewart had charged that "this administration continues to get us, it seems like, into situations that are untenable, and then once into those situations, when people attempt to bring up that maybe some of the decision-making might have been wrong-headed, the conversation always becomes, 'look, we're in a tough jam right now, this is no time to talk.'"

From the end of Williams' appearance on the September 8 Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Stewart: "Local authorities, state authorities, federal authorities all bear some responsibility. Is there a sense that the federal government is taking too much of the hit now, the state and locals are starting to walk away? What's been your sense?"
Williams: "I'm going to let that one go because I'm going to leave it to, I don't do opinions. And I'm going to-"
Stewart: "Okay, I do."
Williams: "-leave it to other people."
Stewart: "I got one. Here's the only thing that I will say, and comment on it if you will: This administration continues to get us, it seems like, into situations that are untenable, and then once into those situations, when people attempt to bring up that maybe some of the decision-making might have been wrong-headed, the conversation always becomes, 'look, we're in a tough jam right now, this is no time to talk.' You know, it reminds me of like when your dad was lost. And you'd be in the back like, 'we're lost.' '[sounding like a dad] This is no time to get a map! We're lost.' You know, is that, this seems to be a pattern of some sort."
Williams: "I will say, it was awfully hard. You know, I've been to some pretty lousy places in my life. And Iraq over the past 12 months and Banda Aceh, open graves and bodies. These were Americans, and everyone watching the coverage all week, that kind of reached its peak last weekend, kept saying the same refrain: 'How is this happening in the United States?' And the other refrain was, had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have-" [stops when audience applause drowns him out and he looks to audience and gestures to indicate how their approval matches his point.]

(Not sure Chicago was such a good contrast since a lot of poor black people live there.)

Stewart: "We appreciate the work you have been doing, it's really been extraordinary and thank you so much for coming, I'm glad you got home safe."

To share your thoughts about this item or topic, or to watch RealPlayer or Windows Media video as posted by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey, go to the node for it on NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org

CBS Turns Liberal Claims on Disaster
Response Into Poll Questions

Though neither The Early Show or CBS Evening News on Thursday cited the questions, the new CBS News poll included inquiries about three liberal claims the news media have frequently treated as credible: "Was reduced federal spending on levees a factor in flooding?", "Did having troops in Iraq delay hurricane response?" and "Did the race and class of those stranded affect speed of the response?" Two of three received affirmative responses from those surveyed.

Reporting on the poll on Thursday's CBS Evening News, Gloria Borger cited two results: "A new CBS poll shows that two out of three Americans [65 percent] think the President himself responded too slowly. His leadership rating, usually his strong suit, is the lowest of his presidency [48 vs 83 percent], a full 35 points less than it was after 9/11."

An excerpt from the CBSNews.com posting of the poll results:

WAS REDUCED FEDERAL SPENDING ON LEVEES A FACTOR IN FLOODING?

Yes, major factor: 45%

Yes, minor factor: 24%

No: 21%


And when asked, most Americans say that having National Guard materials and manpower in Iraq was at least a minor factor affecting the response and rescue efforts in the Gulf. But few call that a major factor.

DID HAVING TROOPS IN IRAQ DELAY HURRICANE RESPONSE?

Yes, major factor: 23%

Yes, minor factor: 34%

No: 41%


However, half say the race and class of those in need did not play a role in the speed of the response: 50 percent say the fact that most of those left stranded were African-American did not impact how quickly authorities responded, and that had most of those left behind been white, the response would have been the same. 48 percent say it was at least a minor factor.

DID THE RACE AND CLASS OF THOSE STRANDED AFFECT SPEED OF THE RESPONSE?

Yes, major factor: 29%

Yes, minor factor: 19%

No, not a factor: 50%


For this portion of the poll results: www.cbsnews.com

Moran Relays Urge to Rescind Tax Cuts
& "Even" Drug Entitlement

In a story on how America can "afford" to pay for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ABC's Terry Moran, on Thursday's World News Tonight, relayed how "Democrats" are "demanding that Mr. Bush curtail his tax cuts." Viewers then heard from a left-wing activist. But in an unusual take for the mainstream media, Moran also raised the suggestion of delaying some additional spending, though after not using the liberal term for those who want to rescind tax cuts, he attributed the idea to "conservatives" and inserted an "even" before the proposal to delay implementation of the prescription drug entitlement -- as if the concept is extreme. Moran asserted: "Conservatives are worried about the costs, too, with some House Republicans even suggesting a one-year delay in the new prescription drug benefit program."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the September 8 story against the closed-captioning:

Co-anchor Bob Woodruff in New Orleans: "There was one more staggering figure that we saw today. The acting director of the government relief agency says there are now about 450,000 people who are going to need long-term shelter. He did not define what he meant by 'long-term,' but it's another one of those things that's leading to these very high estimates of the total cost of the relief and recovery here. And as that begins to set in, people are asking all across the country and in Washington, can this country really afford it? ABC's Terry Moran is at the White House tonight. Terry?"

Moran began: "Bob, no one knows exactly how much all this is going to cost. The numbers that you hear out there right now are essentially sheer speculation. But one thing is certain: There's going to be a huge political fight over how to pay for it. Emergency relief and support for more than a million victims scattered across the country, cleanup of 90,000 square miles of devastation, and the rebuilding of a major American city -- the costs of recovery after Katrina are unprecedented, in the hundreds of billions of dollars."
Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader: "There's going to be lots more money. I think a minimum of $150 billion or maybe even more than that."
Moran: "$51.8 billion more requested by Mr. Bush is now rushing through Congress, and all of this money is simply to meet immediate needs. This afternoon, the treasury secretary said the growing U.S. economy can handle it."
John Snow, Treasury Secretary: "The fact that the underlying fundamentals are so solid gives us a much better ability to deal with the disaster."
Moran: "Many Democrats are mindful that the country is spending $5 billion per month in Iraq, and are demanding that Mr. Bush curtail his tax cuts."
Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "We have to respond to Katrina. Is there no other place we can tighten our belt? And cannot the people making more than a million dollars a year make the sacrifice?"
Moran: "Conservatives are worried about the costs, too, with some House Republicans even suggesting a one-year delay in the new prescription drug benefit program."
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): "When, next month, Congress is asked to put together a package of spending that will be the long-term reconstruction of the Gulf Coast region, we have to find a way to pay for that."
Moran: "The administration says the country can simply borrow the money since the costs of Katrina, while huge, are one-time expenses."
Scott McClellan: "It will have an impact on the budget, at least in the short-term. But these are one-time costs we're talking about."
Moran concluded by putting the numbers in proper perspective: "However Katrina's dealt with, the really dangerous fiscal problem before the country remains the gigantic cost of the retirement of the baby-boomers, stretching out over decades. Those debts, Bob, will make Katrina look like small change."

U.S. News Delivers Contrasting Ideological
Labels for Senators

In this week's U.S. News & World Report, Terence Samuel's profile of "fascinating" Arlen Specter, the "inscrutable" moderate chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is accompanied by a box of mini-biographies titled "Other Players in the Drama" with noticeable contrasts in ideological descriptions for Republican versus Democrat profiles.

[The MRC's Tim Graham posted this item Thursday morning on the NewsBusters.org blog.]

# Orrin Hatch is "solidly conservative with a masterful grasp of the process." A label, and a compliment. But Patrick Leahy is not "solidly liberal." He is merely "the panel's top Democrat, he has attacked Roberts as too rigid, and too politically far right for the court." He's not labeled, but he's allowed to cast others as extreme. Hmm.

# Sam Brownback is a "staunchly anti-abortion conservative who has clashed" with Specter. But Ted Kennedy is not a "staunchly pro-abortion liberal." He is hailed as "the Senate's most reliable liberal." Kennedy is "insisting [Roberts'] politics would cloud his objectivity." This also would preclude U.S. News reporters from being considered, apparently.

# Lindsey Graham is a "conservative with some moderate outbreaks," but he also "went after Clinton big-time during impeachment." That's interesting shorthand for "House impeachment manager." But Charles Schumer doesn't go after people, he crusades: "A liberal crusader who relishes the spotlight." That's the closest thing to a negative comment on Democrats in the box.

# Also unlabeled were John Cornyn, "partisan and tough" Republican, but Joe Biden merely carried "presidential ambitions."

By the way, Samuel is not only a U.S. News reporter, but a weekly columnist for the online version of the liberal American Prospect magazine.

For the U.S. News rundown: www.usnews.com

To share your comments, go to the NewsBusters.org node for this article: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker