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Nets Again Champion Cause of Marches on Behalf of Illegals --5/2/2006


1. Nets Again Champion Cause of Marches on Behalf of Illegals
All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Monday night with multiple favorable stories about the day of protests to promote the cause of illegal aliens. Bob Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by trumpeting: "From coast to coast, from north to south, they wanted us to know what America would be like without them and so millions of immigrants missed work, skipped school and marched in the streets. They want America to find a place for those who came here illegally..." ABC's Elizabeth Vargas touted how "altogether, close to a million people took to the streets in more than 30 cities. And that number could still rise. It was the newest wave of protests against legislation that would increase the penalties for being in the U.S. illegally. Tonight, we have reports from around the country," including a piece on a "man in San Antonio, Texas, who broke decades of tradition" -- for 29 years never missing a day of work -- "to make his own statement." Over on the
NBC Nightly News, which put six reporters on the story, Brian Williams heralded how "we've been covering a major story unfolding all day," showcasing video of "solid people for blocks."

2. CBS Highlights Bush Approval Plummet Since "Mission Accomplished"
CBS and NBC on Monday night couldn't resist reminding their viewers of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer announced: "Today marks the third anniversary of what many thought at the time was one of the cleverest photo-ops ever, even opponents of the Iraq invasion were impressed when the President flew on to an aircraft carrier decked out in a dashing flight suit and then spoke beneath a banner that said 'Mission Accomplished.' But it turned out not to be." Citing another CBS News poll which surveyed significantly more Democrats than Republicans, Schieffer proposed to Jim Axelrod: "With the President's approval down to another new low, 33 percent, I take it this is one anniversary the White House did not want to talk about today." Axelrod highlighted how "three years ago when the President appeared on the deck of the USS Lincoln, 74 percent of those polled approved of the way the President was handling Iraq. But contrast that to the latest CBS News poll, just 30 percent now approve of the way the President is handling Iraq. That's 44 percent, Bob, in three years."

3. ABC's GMA Demands to Know: "Is Limbaugh Getting Off Too Easy?"
ABC seems to love the story of Rush Limbaugh's "drug deal." The same story that led the Friday edition of ABC's World News Tonight was also mentioned at the top of this Monday's Good Morning America, even though there was nothing new to say. So instead of news, ABC just suggested Limbaugh belongs in jail. Co-host Charlie Gibson teased: "Rush to judgment? Rush Limbaugh is set to sign a deal with prosecutors today after three years of prescription drug fraud investigations. But, did he get off easy? The controversy ahead." Then at the end of the 7am EDT half-hour, Gibson again suggested Rush deserved harsher punishment: "Coming up on Good Morning America, a rush to judgment? He's made a deal with prosecutors. Did Rush Limbaugh get off easy?" Finally, at 7:32am, Gibson demanded: "Is Limbaugh getting off too easy?"

4. ABC Notices Reality: Gas Cheaper Now Than It Was 25 Years Ago
Finally, some rationality when it comes to incessantly repeated false reports about "record high" oil and/or gas prices. On Monday's World News Tonight, reporter Barbara Pinto let slip the reality on gas prices at least, that despite public whining egged on by the media, they are far from any record high price: "Gasoline is still cheaper than when prices soared in the early '80s. Adjusted for inflation, prices then would be nearly 50 cents a gallon higher than they are now. Economists say it will take steeper price hikes to really change drivers' behavior."


Nets Again Champion Cause of Marches
on Behalf of Illegals

All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Monday night with multiple favorable stories about the day of protests to promote the cause of illegal aliens. Bob Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by trumpeting: "From coast to coast, from north to south, they wanted us to know what America would be like without them and so millions of immigrants missed work, skipped school and marched in the streets. They want America to find a place for those who came here illegally and it's too soon to know if they changed any minds in Congress. But what we do know is that construction sites shut down, hundreds of restaurants and many small businesses closed across the country..."

ABC's Elizabeth Vargas touted how "altogether, close to a million people took to the streets in more than 30 cities. And that number could still rise. It was the newest wave of protests against legislation that would increase the penalties for being in the U.S. illegally. Tonight, we have reports from around the country," including a piece on a "man in San Antonio, Texas, who broke decades of tradition" -- for 29 years never missing a day of work -- "to make his own statement." Over on the
NBC Nightly News, which put six reporters on the story, Brian Williams heralded how "we've been covering a major story unfolding all day," showcasing video of "solid people for blocks." Williams concluded that "the protests worked in many cases. Stores closed as workers headed out the door, and live television covered it all, all day long. We have comprehensive coverage tonight from coast to coast..."
[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Three weeks ago, the April 11 CyberAlert, "Networks Champion Cause of 'Americans' Marching for 'Immigration Reform,'" recounted:
The three broadcast networks led Monday night with multiple stories which celebrated the protest marches held by illegal immigrants and their supporters, with all three featuring sympathetic anecdotes about the plight of those here illegally. "Tonight," ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas touted in forwarding the red herring that conservatives are against "immigration" as opposed to illegal entry, "hundreds of thousands of people marching in streets across America, trying to convince the country that it needs immigrants." CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, who never uttered the word "illegal" in his lengthy introduction, teased: "They are not American citizens yet, but they want to be. And from every corner of America, immigrants took to the streets today to ask for new immigration laws." Schieffer trumpeted: "Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it. From the Canadian border to Texas, from California to the east coast, thousands upon thousands of immigrants in at least a hundred American cities took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations." NBC's Lester Holt heralded: "From border states like here in Arizona to unlikely places like South Bend, Indiana, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, illegal immigrants alongside their supporters stepped from the shadows. Marching under the American flag, they demanded a place at the American table." See: www.mediaresearch.org

How ABC, CBS and NBC opened their May 1 evening newscasts, leads which reflect the nearly all positive coverage which followed:

# CBS Evening News. The tease: "I'm Bob Schieffer. They left their jobs and took to the streets to show us what America would be like without millions of immigrant workers. So we'll start in the streets tonight..."

Schieffer began: "Good evening. From coast to coast, from north to south, they wanted us to know what America would be like without them and so millions of immigrants missed work, skipped school and marched in the streets. They want America to find a place for those who came here illegally and it's too soon to know if they changed any minds in Congress. But what we do know is that construction sites shut down, hundreds of restaurants and many small businesses closed across the country. We start tonight with national correspondent Byron Pitts in Chicago..."

Schieffer later blamed the protests, in part, for President Bush's low popularity: "These demonstrations were just more bad news for an administration that does not seem to get much good news any more. A CBS News poll out tonight shows that 71 percent of those polled now believe America is heading in the wrong direction. That is the highest number since CBS News first asked that question nearly 25 years ago. The President gets low marks on handling immigration and especially on rising gas prices. Only 17 percent approve of his handling of that one."

See item #2 below for more on the poll.


# ABC's World News Tonight. The tease: "I'm Elizabeth Vargas. Tonight, the nation's illegal immigrants try to show America how essential they are by filling the streets instead of going to work. We'll measure the impact."

Vargas opened: "Good evening. We begin with an economic show of force by America's illegal immigrants. Today, hundred of thousand demonstrated around the country, instead of going to work. In some areas, they also boycotted businesses. They wanted to show America how much the country and the economy depend on undocumented workers. Altogether, close to a million people took to the streets in more than 30 cities. And that number could still rise. It was the newest wave of protests against legislation that would increase the penalties for being in the U.S. illegally. Tonight, we have reports from around the country. We begin with ABC's Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles...."


#
NBC Nightly News. The tease from Brian Williams: "Whose America? Tonight, from coast to coast, the marches. Immigrants and their allies take to the streets. Mass rallies on what they call a day without immigrants. The goal: To show how much the nation relies on them. And the impact : What would happen if America's immigrants didn't come to work?"

Williams led: "Good evening. We've been covering a major story unfolding all day. Organizers of a national protest called this a day without immigrants. They called on people to walk off their jobs and walk into the streets today in a massive national demonstration to call attention to a red-hot issue. There were large protests planned in upwards of 75 cities across this country. This was the scene [helicopter video] at the height of it all in San Francisco: Solid people for blocks. The day was sparked by legislation that's tied up in Congress currently and demands by immigrant groups that they be allowed to work legally and become citizens in this country. The protests worked in many cases. Stores closed as workers headed out the door, and live television covered it all, all day long. We have comprehensive coverage tonight from coast to coast. We begin tonight by setting the scene in cities across this country where today protesters filled the streets. NBC's Kevin Tibbles starts us off in Chicago, tonight..."

CBS Highlights Bush Approval Plummet
Since "Mission Accomplished"

CBS and NBC on Monday night couldn't resist reminding their viewers of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer announced: "Today marks the third anniversary of what many thought at the time was one of the cleverest photo-ops ever, even opponents of the Iraq invasion were impressed when the President flew on to an aircraft carrier decked out in a dashing flight suit and then spoke beneath a banner that said 'Mission Accomplished.' But it turned out not to be." Citing another CBS News poll which surveyed significantly more Democrats than Republicans, Schieffer proposed to Jim Axelrod: "With the President's approval down to another new low, 33 percent, I take it this is one anniversary the White House did not want to talk about today." Axelrod highlighted how "three years ago when the President appeared on the deck of the USS Lincoln, 74 percent of those polled approved of the way the President was handling Iraq. But contrast that to the latest CBS News poll, just 30 percent now approve of the way the President is handling Iraq. That's 44 percent, Bob, in three years."

"Today marks the third anniversary of President Bush's so-called 'Mission Accomplished' speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln," NBC anchor Brian Williams intoned. "On that day he declared, 'the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.' Today the message was less upbeat." Williams gratuitously added: "By the way, the U.S. death toll in the war is nearing 2,400."

ABC didn't raise the subject on Monday night, but Saturday's World News Tonight pegged a story to the third anniversary.

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A check of the party affiliation of those surveyed in the new CBS News poll released Monday night, as listed at the very bottom of the PDF with the results, determined that CBS's poll-takers talked to 249 Democrats compared to 204 Republicans. CBS News then "weighted" the sample to increase the disparity to 254 Democrats to just 197 Republicans. For the PDF with poll results: www.cbsnews.com

The March 14 CyberAlert posting, "CBS Drowns Bush Iraq Speech with Negative Poll Numbers, Skip How Third Fault Media," reported: "But CBS News weighted the respondents to count 328 Republicans versus 388 Democrats." See: www.mediaresearch.org

The November 4 CyberAlert item, "CBS Again Cites Negative Bush Numbers in Poll Which Under-Represented Republicans," detailed how the network polled a lot more Democrats than Republicans: www.mediaresearch.org

On the May 1 CBS Evening News, Schieffer announced: "Today marks the third anniversary of what many thought at the time was one of the cleverest photo-ops ever, even opponents of the Iraq invasion were impressed when the President flew on to an aircraft carrier [matching video] decked out in a dashing flight suit and then spoke beneath a banner that said 'Mission Accomplished.' But it turned out not to be, and today after meeting with his secretaries State and Defense, the best the President could say was things are finally looking up."
President Bush, outside at the White House: "We believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens and it's a new chapter in our partnership."
Schieffer: "Allen Pizzey is in Baghdad tonight. Our White House correspondent Jim Axelrod is at his post in Washington. Jim, with the President's approval down to another new low, 33 percent, I take it this is one anniversary the White House did not want to talk about today."
Axelrod, at the White House: "Bob, the story really is in the numbers. Three years ago when the President appeared on the deck of the USS Lincoln, 74 percent of those polled approved of the way the President was handling Iraq. But contrast that to the latest CBS News poll, just 30 percent now approve of the way the President is handling Iraq. That's 44 percent, Bob, in three years."
Schieffer: "Well Allen, the President did say today he did think they had turned a corner in Iraq. Do the people there believe a corner has been turned?"
Pizzey: "They may well think a corner has been turned Bob, but not quite the corner the President is talking about. People here are very much looking to protect themselves, they're not thinking in terms of nation right now, Bob."...


NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams read this relatively short item, in part over "Mission Accomplished" video:
"Today marks the third anniversary of President Bush's so-called 'Mission Accomplished' speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. On that day he declared, 'the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.' Today the message was less upbeat, with the President pronouncing Iraq's new unity government quote, 'more determined than ever to succeed.' The remarks came after a meeting with Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who traveled to Baghdad last week. The President acknowledged there will be more tough days ahead. By the way, the U.S. death toll in the war is nearing 2,400."

ABC's GMA Demands to Know: "Is Limbaugh
Getting Off Too Easy?"

ABC seems to love the story of Rush Limbaugh's "drug deal." The same story that led the Friday edition of ABC's World News Tonight was also mentioned at the top of this Monday's Good Morning America, even though there was nothing new to say. So instead of news, ABC just suggested Limbaugh belongs in jail. Co-host Charlie Gibson teased: "Rush to judgment? Rush Limbaugh is set to sign a deal with prosecutors today after three years of prescription drug fraud investigations. But, did he get off easy? The controversy ahead."


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Then at the end of the 7am EDT half-hour, Gibson again suggested Rush deserved harsher punishment: "Coming up on Good Morning America, a rush to judgment? He's made a deal with prosecutors. Did Rush Limbaugh get off easy?"

Finally, at 7:32am, Gibson explained: "We're going to start the half hour with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host. He's expected to sign a deal with prosecutors later today. This after more than three years of a prescription drug fraud investigation. But now there are new questions, is Limbaugh getting off too easy?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brian Boyd and Rich Noyes, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

ABC then aired a re-run of the same Jeffrey Kofman story shown on Saturday's World News Tonight, where Kofman charges that "Limbaugh himself has not been so tolerant of other people's problems with drug addiction." For the rest of Kofman's hard-line take on Rush, check the May 1 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

After that, Gibson chewed over the Limbaugh case with reporter Chris Cuomo. Gibson voiced amazement at how Limbaugh had achieved "complete vindication," telling Cuomo:
"Chris, he's booked on a single charge, he pleads not guilty and in the end he's going to have no criminal record. If that's not complete vindication for Limbaugh, I don't know what would be."
Chris Cuomo: "And add to what also makes this unusual is, he fights it for two-and-a-half years and reportedly had over 10,000 pills, which speaks to something other than use. Not that there was any proof of intent to distribute here. But what usually you have to give to get to get into a program like this, you're a first time offender, you're an admitted addict, which Rush Limbaugh is, so they cut you a break because they believe treatment helps you better than punishment. He thwarted that a little bit here and he still got it."
Gibson: "But the prosecutor a year ago was talking about multiple felonies and money laundering and making a big deal out of this. Limbaugh always said, 'I never did anything wrong.' And, indeed, looks like it comes out that way."
Cuomo: "Well, first of all, he certainly admitted to his addiction, not that that's a crime but obviously he had to have the means to have it. You don't know that the prosecutor's case was as strong as first suggested. The main witness against here went to the Enquirer and got a big payout and so that hurts their credibility. However, this is not the every man deal. We heard it from legal experts all weekend long and it's something to be thought about. But there is a winner here in an absolute sense, that's the public. Prescription drug use is a very big problem. People don't know it, they're not aware of it. Perhaps when they see someone like Rush Limbaugh go down because of it, they will start to take it more seriously. Of course, if he is guilty of anything it maybe hypocrisy here.
Gibson: "Because he's been very tough on drug offenders on his radio program."
Cuomo: "He has been. If they do they crime, they should do the time, doesn't matter if it's drugs. Interestingly, Roy Black said a dangerous thing, his attorney, who got an amazing deal here. He said he shouldn't be seen like other addicts because he had pain and he was trying to manage it. That's dangerous. Addiction is addiction, Charlie. And what you want people to understand is how dangerous it can be. Rush should be pushing that message more than anyone."

ABC Notices Reality: Gas Cheaper Now
Than It Was 25 Years Ago

Finally, some rationality when it comes to incessantly repeated false reports about "record high" oil and/or gas prices. On Monday's World News Tonight, reporter Barbara Pinto let slip the reality on gas prices at least, that despite public whining egged on by the media, they are far from any record high price: "Gasoline is still cheaper than when prices soared in the early '80s. Adjusted for inflation, prices then would be nearly 50 cents a gallon higher than they are now. Economists say it will take steeper price hikes to really change drivers' behavior."

Pinto's observation came in the middle of a May 1 story on how higher gas prices really aren't changing behavior with people still using their cars just as much as always.

-- Brent Baker