2. Clift: Bush Policies Are "Frauds," He "Rarely Uses His Brain"
3. Mock Purple Hearts, Miller's "Bookends of Hatred" Infuriate Hunt
4. Unlike Stephanopoulos, Wallace Explores Kerry's Cold War Record
5. FNC and Fox News Sunday Pick Up on Convention Bias MRC Documents
The unemployment rate fell a tenth to 5.4 percent in August as 144,000 jobs were created during the month and the job creation number for July was revised upward by more than double, from 32,000 to 73,000 new jobs, but all the networks on Friday night managed to turn the Labor Department numbers, released that morning, into a negative. Neither ABC or CNN even mentioned the lower unemployment rate or upward revision for July as CBS also skipped the upward revision. ABC's Peter Jennings emphasized how the 144,000 new jobs "fell short of the 200,000 jobs per month that most economists consider the minimum for strong employment growth."
CBS's John Roberts ran a soundbite of President Bush touting the 5.4 percent rate, but then he undermined the good news: "What the President didn't say was that the employment numbers in August again fell short of expectations, and it is now certain he will end his first term as the first President since the Great Depression to lose jobs on his watch." Roberts grew even more dire as he stressed how "the situation is worse than it seems. While the President touts the results of his economic recovery plan, job creation hasn't kept up with population growth."
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams made a vague note about how "the numbers for June and July were revised upward," though he at least reported how "the unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a point to 5.4 percent." David Gregory relayed how "Mr. Bush argued his tax cuts have led to the creation of 1.7 million jobs since last summer," but Gregory countered "that's far shy of the 2.6 million jobs the administration promised this year alone."
Later, on CNN's NewsNight, John King offered only a brief mention of the subject in a larger campaign story: "The President sought a silver lining in new economic data that Democrats suggest is a major Bush weakness, a modest addition of just 200,000 jobs the past two months." Joe Johns highlighted a charge made by Kerry: "My friends, at the rate that this administration is creating jobs, you're not going to have a net-plus one job in the state of Ohio until the year 2011!"
The anemic 32,000 job growth number for July led the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday, August 6. The better August number didn't get such prominent play, but it had to compete with Hurricane Frances, the terrorist shoot-out on Russia and news that Bill Clinton had entered a hospital to have surgery -- all of which came before unemployment on the September 3 evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN.
A rundown of how the unemployment/jobs creation numbers were treated on the September 3 evening newscasts:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings announced: "The government said today that the economy added 144,000 jobs in August. That was better than the previous two months, when job growth essentially stalled. But it fell short of the 200,000 jobs per month that most economists consider the minimum for strong employment growth. President Bush and Senator Kerry hit the campaign trail right after the Republican convention ended last night. They stumped in four battleground states today, where the loss of jobs has been an issue. And they both seized on the latest job numbers to make very different arguments about the economy. Our White House correspondent Terry Moran is with Mr. Bush in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Terry, what was the Bush take on jobs today?"
Moran answered: "Peter, for the Bush camp, these numbers, even though they are below expectations, even though there's still a net job loss under President Bush, are proof, they say, that the economy's back. They argue that it's because of Mr. Bush's policies. In short, they were taking these number, whatever they were, and running with them."
Jennings: "The Republicans are still filing out of their convention when senator Kerry unleashed a fierce counterattack. Democrats had been urging the Senator to be more aggressive. And he was, at a midnight rally in the battleground state of Ohio. And at another Ohio rally this afternoon, he called the new jobs report part of the President's record of failure. With Mr. Kerry, ABC's Jake Tapper."
Tapper's piece however, on Kerry's new attacks on Bush and Cheney, didn't mention the unemployment/jobs creation numbers.
Roberts went on to re-cap Bush's convention speech from the night before.
In the next story, Byron Pitts checked in the Kerry campaign: "Ravaged by TV ads attacking his service in Vietnam and questioned by fellow Democrats for his slow response, today Kerry slammed the President's record on jobs."
Gregory began: "Off and running. The President today looking for a post-convention bounce and a reversal of fortunes in Pennsylvania, a key battleground he lost four years ago."
President Bush's convention address delivered presentations of his Iraq, prescription drug and education policies, "which are all frauds," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift charged on McLaughlin Group over the weekend. She also claimed that Bush operates on instinct, "as opposed to facts," and "rarely uses his brain," which, I guess, means that she acknowledged that he has a brain.
Clift's assessment of Bush's convention speech: "He did a good job, but it has no relationship to reality in either his presentation of Iraq or his presentation of a Medicare prescription drug program or an education program -- which are all frauds."
She later contrasted Bush and Kerry: "If you want a President who operates on his gut and who operates on instinct and belief, as opposed to facts, and who rarely uses his brain and boasts about not reading anything, and once he makes a decision never varies, then vote for George Bush. Life is more complicated than that. So's foreign policy."
Zell Miller and those at the Republican convention who mocked John Kerry by wearing small bandages with a purple heart printed on them, continue to infuriate Al Hunt. On CNN's Capital Gang over the weekend, Hunt denounced Miller's "bookends of hatred: His start as a racist in the '60s and that vicious, mean spirited speech." Hunt indicted the bandages as "another saga in a despicable Republican-led effort which, as Senator John McCain says, smears the medals, ribbons and service of all those who fought in that tragic war."
Due to Hurricane Frances, the apparently pre-taped Capital Gang was bumped from its usual Saturday at 7pm EDT time slot to 11pm EDT on Sunday night.
Asked to name his "big loser" of the convention, Hunt, the Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, castigated Miller: "The big loser was Bob's winner, Zell Miller, whose substantive achievements as Governor in education and the like will be forever overshadowed by the bookends of hatred. His start as a racist in the '60s and that vicious, mean spirited speech. What's he so angry about? This is a man who's really got some trouble. Chris Dodd and his Senate colleagues said, you know, 'I expected after hearing him for a couple minutes, I thought he'd bring out an axe.'"
The "axe' would be a Lester Maddox reference.
(Last Wednesday, during a mini-Capital Gang segment, done from the convention floor a bit past 3:20pm EDT on Inside Politics, Hunt offered his low opinion of Miller: "Zigzag Zell. He was passionate when he was a racist 30 years ago, passionate when he was a populist Democrat. He was passionate when he was a new Democrat and now he's passionate as a Republican.")
For his "Outrage of the Week," Hunt offered up, over video of two men at the convention wearing the purple heart bandages, including a man who was in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne, though Hunt did not note that:
One of the two men CNN showed was the same man who ABC's George Stephanopoulos featured on ABC News Now on Monday night of the convention, a man who wore a 101st Airborne hat and told Stephanopoulos that he was with the unit in Vietnam. For still shots of him, see the first and third photos in this CyberAlert item: www.mrc.org
While ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday's This Week raised the usual canard about Republican "hypocrisy" since John Kerry's votes against weapons systems matched the systems opposed by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in the early 1990s, Chris Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, delved into the broader issue of Kerry's long-time hostility to weapons systems. Wallace confronted Dick Gephardt with how in a 1984 Senate campaign press release Kerry "said he wants to cancel the MX missile, he wants to cancel the B-1 bomber, he wants to cancel Star Wars. Now, we have a lot more perspective now than we did then, but it turned out those were precisely the weapons that helped defeat the Soviet Union and led to the end of the Cold War. At a critical point in the 1980s, John Kerry, wasn't he wrong on national security and what the central issue was at the time?"
During a September 5 This Week segment with Joe Lockhart of the Kerry campaign and Ken Mehlman of the Bush campaign, Stephanopoulos pressed Mehlman about Zell Miller's claims: "In the heart of his critique is that John Kerry is wobbly on defense issues and he went through this litany of programs that he said Kerry opposed -- the F14, the B-2, the Apache helicopter. Yet Democrats have pointed out that at the very same time Vice President Cheney was the Defense Secretary, then was calling for cuts in the exactly the same programs. Let me show you some Senate testimony."
Over on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace offered a rare look at Kerry's defense record beyond the often mimicked by the media Democratic talking point equating it with Cheney's views. Wallace asked Dick Gephardt: "You said what the Kerry camp has said all week which is that the Republican convention distorted his record. Let's look at that record. Vice President Cheney says Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan's military build-up in the 1980s. What's wrong with that?"
Wallace then put up on screen cut outs from a John Kerry for Senate 1984 press release with this heading: "MAJOR NUCLEAR PROGRAMS." Beneath it:
Wallace explained it: "Let's look, for instance, at the 1980s and the Reagan build-up, because I have a copy here of a press release that John Kerry's Senate campaign in 1984 put out in which he said he wants to cancel the MX missile, he wants to cancel the B-1 bomber, he wants to cancel Star Wars. Now, we have a lot more perspective now than we did then, but it turned out those were precisely the weapons that helped defeat the Soviet Union and led to the end of the Cold War. At a critical point in the 1980s, John Kerry, wasn't he wrong on national security and what the central issue was at the time?"
You read it here, or on the MRC's TimesWatch.org site, first. On FNC's Fox Newswatch on Saturday night, panelists Cal Thomas and Jim Pinkerton highlighted the contrast between how during the Republican convention the networks condemned Zell Miller and reminded viewers of his segregationist past versus how he was portrayed when he bashed Bush years ago. And on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace pointed out how the New York Times, which ran a front page "fact check" on President Bush's convention address, didn't think that John Kerry's convention speech needed any fact checking.
On the September 4 Fox Newswatch on FNC, Cal Thomas recalled: "In '92, when Zell Miler was the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention bashing Bush, then one of the networks called him, 'this was in the historic tradition of political campaigns.' But this time, it was 'harsh' and 'vindictive' and 'mean-spirited.' And you got a lot of that from all of the networks."
See these supportive CyberAlert items:
-- Now it's harsh and ugly; then it was a "time-honored tradition." ABC's Good Morning America may have been horrified by Zell Miller's GOP convention speech, but twelve years ago, the morning after Miller at the Democratic convention in New York City delivered a very negative speech attacking then-President George H.W. Bush as "a timid man" who "just doesn't get it," ABC's Mike Schneider saluted it as an instance of Democrats "engaged in the time-honored tradition of attacking the opposition." See: www.mrc.org
-- On Thursday morning's Good Morning America, ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos seemed the most offended by the Wednesday night convention speeches delivered by Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Senator Zell Miller. Gibson complained that "the Vice President and Senator Miller pounded and pounded and pounded. It may have been very effective politics; it was not subtle." Stephanopoulos characterized Miller as out of control: "The Vice President was very, very tough, but Zell Miller was on a tirade. I mean, he was red faced, red meat for the red states." www.mrc.org
-- Zell Miller's speech reminded ABC and CNN reporters of Pat Buchanan's 1992 address -- and they didn't mean it as a compliment. ABC's George Stephanopoulos related how "as he was talking I was getting e-mails saying, you know, this reminds me of Houston, 1992 -- Pat Buchanan." CNN's Bill Schneider saw Miller as symbolic of a "very angry convention" and contended that "I've never heard such an angry speech." Aaron Brown inquired: "Do you think this was angrier than the Buchanan speech?" Schneider answered: "In a way, yes, I do." Joe Klein of Time magazine declared on CNN: "I don't think I've seen anything as angry or as ugly as Miller's speech." Brown also quipped: "There was enough red meat in Madison Square Garden to make the Atkins dieters happy for a year." On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell didn't raise Buchanan, but she argued Miller went beyond "red meat" to "raw meat." Tom Brokaw suggested: "I think there is a question about whether Zell Miller went too far here tonight. The language was just too harsh?" Even FNC got into the act. See: www.mrc.org
Back to Fox Newswatch, Jim Pinkerton backed up Thomas' point: "Just to punctuate it more, in '92 they neglected Zell Miller's segregationist past which was 12 years more recent then than it is now. Now, they are were ready to say 'Lester Maddox,' 'Lester Maddox' and all these other racist type statements."
Indeed, see these CyberAlert items:
-- It took a few years, but on Wednesday Al Hunt on CNN, and Chris Matthews on MSNBC, fulfilled a prediction made in the July 5, 2001 CyberAlert: That if Democratic Georgia Senator Zell Miller "becomes a Republican the national media will then suddenly find it newsworthy to highlight what they have so far skipped over -- his segregationist history." Miller never became a Republican, but by delivering the keynote address at the Republican convention, he came close enough for Hunt and Matthews. See: www.mrc.org
-- Add David Gergen of U.S. News to the list of media figures who, now that Democratic Senator Zell Miller has aligned himself with Republicans, has decided Miller's link to a segregationist is relevant. To some ardent retorts from fellow panelist Laura Ingraham, on MSNBC Thursday night Gergen charged: "Zell Miller's speech was a speech of hate, it was a speech of venom. This is a man who started his political career with Lester Maddox and last night he imitated Lester Maddox." Gergen, a darling of the media, contended that Miller "came very close to saying the Democrats were a treasonous party." See: www.mrc.org
In the "Stories you won't get on any other Sunday show" segment on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted: "The New York Times did a comprehensive fact check story on Friday that compared the President's acceptance speech to the record. But when we checked out if the Times did the same kind of story after Senator Kerry's acceptance speech in Boston, we couldn't find one."
Wallace just had to check in with the MRC's TimesWatch.org page which on Friday reported: "While John Kerry's speech didn't receive any morning-after spin, the Times felt compelled to 'fact-check' Bush's -- with help from the Kerry campaign." See: www.timeswatch.org
-- Brent Baker