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Networks Express Concern About Where Roberts Stands on Roe v Wade --7/21/2005


1. Networks Express Concern About Where Roberts Stands on Roe v Wade
Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' position on Roe v Wade most concerns the network news media, as expressed in Wednesday night stories. ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: "What does President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court really think about key issues like abortion rights?" Kate Snow relayed how "those trying to define Roberts' views on abortion rights are zeroing in on two pieces of his record" and she brought up his religion: "It's hard to know where he'll come down on abortion cases as a justice, though he is a practicing Catholic." CBS's Gloria Borger recited his comments on Roe v Wade before she tried to make him appear insensitive: "Roberts has often argued for big corporations in cases involving disabilities and patients' rights." CBS anchor John Roberts wanted to know of his namesake: "Has President Bush attempted to move the court further to the right with this pick?" NBC's Pete Williams warned that Roberts' wife is "a former board member of Feminists for Life." Chip Reid highlighted how one liberal activist "says he worries that Roberts might be a stealth candidate, moderate on the outside but as conservative as Justices Scalia and Thomas on the inside."

2. NBC's Today Frets About Roberts' Threat to Abortion "Rights"
NBC's Today obsessed on Wednesday morning over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts potential threat to abortion "rights." Katie Couric declared to former Senator Fred Thompson, who will shepherd Roberts: "The real question is his position on abortion." She wanted to know: "Do you think he would support the overturning of Roe v. Wade?" Later in the show, Ann Curry asked law professor Jonathan Turley: "What effect do you think that this person, John Roberts, will have on abortion rights in America?" Curry fretted about whether Roberts will "be part of the movement to increase the restrictions on abortion rights which we've already started to see happening?"

3. ABC and CNN Raise Possible Influence of Roberts' Catholic Faith
The Catholicism of Judge John Roberts concerned ABC's Barbara Walters and CNN's Miles O'Brien. On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Walters asked a friend of Roberts whether Roberts being a Roman Catholic "might affect him as a Supreme Court Justice?" Over on CNN's American Morning, O'Brien pointed out that Roberts is "a Roman Catholic who adheres to the tenets of that faith," and so asked former Senator Fred Thompson: "Do you suspect that he will advocate, when the opportunity comes up, reversing some of the key aspects of Roe vs. Wade, which provide abortion rights in this country?"

4. "Very, Very, Very Conservative" or "Very, Very Conservative"?
There's no doubt in NPR reporter Nina Totenberg's mind that Judge John Roberts is "very conservative," it's just a matter of how "very." On NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday night, she prefaced "conservative" with three verys, describing him as "a very, very, very conservative man." But in a taped soundbite on the next day's Good Morning America on ABC, she cut back to two modifiers, dubbing him merely "a very, very conservative man."

5. Assessing Economy, CBS Prefers Dire Anecdotes to Factual Stats
Assessing the state of the economy, CBS News on Wednesday night preferred dire anecdotes and uninformed speculation by people on the street over upbeat economic statistics. Prompted by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's evaluation that "our baseline outlook for the U.S. economy is one of sustained economic growth," on the CBS Evening News reporter Trish Regan went to the streets of Manhattan "where reality trumps forecasts." CBS featured a woman who declared: "The economy's not doing good if they're laying off so many people, so it's not good at all." Regan asserted: "In June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost, making it the worst stretch of job losses in nearly a year and a half." Regan ignored job growth and declining unemployment. A July 8 AP dispatch led: "Hiring around the country picked up in June with employers adding 146,000 jobs -- helping to push the unemployment rate down to 5 percent, the lowest in nearly four years."


Networks Express Concern About Where
Roberts Stands on Roe v Wade

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' position on Roe v Wade most concerns the network news media, as expressed in Wednesday night stories. ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: "What does President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court really think about key issues like abortion rights?" Kate Snow relayed how "those trying to define Roberts' views on abortion rights are zeroing in on two pieces of his record" and she brought up his religion: "It's hard to know where he'll come down on abortion cases as a justice, though he is a practicing Catholic." CBS's Gloria Borger recited his comments on Roe v Wade before she tried to make him appear insensitive: "Roberts has often argued for big corporations in cases involving disabilities and patients' rights." CBS anchor John Roberts wanted to know of his namesake: "Has President Bush attempted to move the court further to the right with this pick?" NBC's Pete Williams warned that Roberts' wife is "a former board member of Feminists for Life." Chip Reid highlighted how one liberal activist "says he worries that Roberts might be a stealth candidate, moderate on the outside but as conservative as Justices Scalia and Thomas on the inside."

Both ABC and CBS, but not NBC, noted conservative concerns about how conservative Roberts really is, recalling the case of David Souter.

Highlights from Wednesday night, July 20 coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC, as tracked by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# ABC's World News Tonight. Charles Gibson teased: "On World News Tonight, the critical debate begins. What does President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court really think about key issues like abortion rights? Democrats promise John Roberts will not get a free pass."

After a piece from Linda Douglass on the reaction from Capitol Hill, Gibson insisted: "The critical question, of course, do Senators know exactly where Roberts stands on crucial issues like abortion, civil rights, states rights? He is generally seen as quite conservative, but even some conservatives today were cautious in their praise. He's relatively new to the federal bench, but he has an extensive legal background. ABC's Kate Snow reports there are a number of important issues which he has ruled on and argued for."

ABC's Kate Snow Snow began with abortion: "Those trying to define Roberts' views on abortion rights are zeroing in on two pieces of his record. In a legal brief Roberts approved when he worked as a government lawyer under the first President Bush, he argued Roe versus Wade was 'wrongly decided and should be overruled.' But in confirmation hearings in 2003, Judge Roberts was asked to clarify. Roe versus Wade, he replied, 'is the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent.'"
Professor David Yalof, author of 'Pursuit of Justices': "In 1991, John Roberts was working in the solicitor general's office advocating a position on behalf of the President he worked for. In 2003, he was a court of appeals nominee expressing the caution you'd expect of somebody in that role."
Snow asserted: "Bottom line, it's hard to know where he'll come down on abortion cases as a justice, though he is a practicing Catholic. Other fragments from Judge Roberts' record: For more than a decade, Roberts was the go-to lawyer for corporations arguing before the Supreme Court, from mining companies [logos on screen] to Fox Television, Chrysler and Toyota. Pro-business conservatives like that past. Conservatives also support rulings he's made as a federal judge involving the war on terror, states' rights and the environment, and search and seizure laws. Publicly conservatives were praising Roberts today, but privately, some social conservatives worry."
Professor John Yoo, University of California Berkeley School of Law: "He's someone who is not going to be a revolutionary on the Supreme Court, and that's probably something social conservatives might not like. They might want someone who would overturn Roe versus Wade. I don't think Judge Roberts is going to be overturning any great precedents."
Snow, over video of Souter and 41: "The unstated fear, what many call the 'Souter factor.' Conservatives were stunned when they supported the President's father's choice of David Souter, who later voted to support abortion rights and now regularly sides with the court's most liberal members. Kate Snow, ABC News, Washington."


# CBS Evening News. Anchor John Roberts opened: "Judge John Roberts, Supreme Court nominee, began making the rounds today on Capitol Hill, meeting and greeting key senators that he is courting for confirmation votes. But already in the halls of Congress and in the court of public opinion, the arguments for and against the President's nominee are being aired in full. National political correspondent Gloria Borger begins our coverage."

Borger asserted: "It was the face-to-face interview that convinced the President that John Roberts was the right pick for the high court."
George W. Bush: "He's the kind of person that will bring great dignity to the court."
Borger: "Mr. Bush liked Roberts' even temperament, a top White House aide told us. He's a man of principle, yet someone not always spoiling for a fight. But that's what he may be headed for on Capitol Hill. Today, in courtesy calls to key Senators, the one thing both parties agreed on, the hearings will be extensive. No one disputes Roberts' impressive resume. At age 50, he's already an old Washington political insider -- a conservative attorney in two previous Republican administrations, this president appointed him to the D.C. Court of Appeals. He knows the Supreme Court, first as a clerk for Justice Rehnquist, then as an attorney arguing cases before it. Roberts' credentials are not in question. It's his personal views that Democrats want to know more about. On abortion [text on screen]: In 1991, as an attorney in the first Bush administration, Roberts signed a brief challenging Roe versus Wade as 'wrongly decided,' adding 'it should be overruled.' Yet at his 2003 Senate hearings, Roberts said he was representing the government as its lawyer, and called Roe versus Wade 'the settled law of the land.' Separately, he said, a judge is bound by the law."
John Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court nominee, at 2003 hearing: "Personal views, personal ideology, those have no role to play whatever."
Borger: "In the war on terror, Roberts ruled last week that the Bush administration could conduct war crimes trials in Guantanamo, a controversial issue likely to come before the Supreme Court. Then there's big business. Roberts has often argued for big corporations in cases involving disabilities and patients' rights. The key to Roberts' confirmation lies with moderate Democrats. One says the President took their advice in selecting a nominee."
Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT): "Mr. President, we know you'll send us a conservative. Send us one who's close to the mainstream, and it appears at first look that Judge Roberts is that."
Borger: "Roberts did pick up one key endorsement today from retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. 'He's good in every way,' she said, 'except he's not a woman.' John?"
Roberts asked: "I'm surprised we didn't hear more about that today. Gloria, let's talk more about Judge Roberts, and let's also bring in our legal consultant, Professor Andrew Cohen, who's in Denver. Andrew, conservative groups are singing Judge Roberts' praises, but can they be guaranteed that he's going to rule as a conservative from the bench?"
Andrew Cohen, CBS News legal analyst: "No, they really can't, John. There's no guarantees when it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court, especially with a nominee like John Roberts, who literally grew up professionally inside the building -- first as a clerk for Justice Rehnquist, and then arguing in front of the court over and over again. He's the sort of guy -- he said it last night -- who gets choked up walking up the marble steps. That means he's a candidate to be institutionalized that way at the U.S. Supreme Court, to be pulled along by the centrifugal force that moves people toward the middle. And, of course, there's precedence for that in the recent history of the court -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice David Souter, Justice Anthony Kennedy -- all were Republican appointees, and they all have moved toward the center and disappointed a lot of the backers who supported them when they were nominated."
Roberts: "Gloria, we heard what Senator Lieberman had to say, and most Democrats in Congress have been pretty measured in their response. Are they just keeping their powder dry for the moment, or do they not know enough about Judge Roberts to come out with stronger statements?"
Borger: "I think at this point, John, it's a little bit of both. I'm told there are some closed-door conversations going on with all of these interest groups, particularly on the left, who are planning to spend millions and millions of dollars to oppose Judge Roberts. Some Democrats are going to them and saying, look, keep your powder dry, save your money for the next nominee, this may not be the man to make the fight on."
Roberts: "And also, I mean, we're not going to hear much about this in terms of the confirmation process for the month of August, so may they be waiting until September, as well, to unload?"
Borger: "They could be waiting until September. I think we're going to have to wait and see what the paper trail shows, John. That's very important. The committee will be going over his record with a fine tooth comb, and you just have to wait and see what these lawyers come up with."
Roberts: "Andrew Cohen, any doubt in your mind that Judge Roberts will be confirmed?"
Cohen: "Very little, John. I don't think there is a paper trail. I think that's part of the reason why the President picked him. I think he's going to be portrayed as inside the mainstream, and I think it's going to stick. I don't see anything in what I've read or looked at in his record that suggests that he's outside of the mainstream or that there's going to be any momentum to Bork him, if you will. I think he's going to get past, and fairly easily."
Roberts worried: "And Gloria, what's your sense of this? Has President Bush attempted to move the court further to the right with this pick?"
Borger: "I think it's very clear that he has, John. President Bush is a conservative. He is pro-abortion rights, he is pro-big business, I think he picked someone in his own mold, and he also picked someone whom he really likes. He did like his judicial temperament."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams opened his newscast: "Good evening. Last night, the President of the United States introduced Judge John Roberts to the American people. Today, the campaign began to make him Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court. The reviews of the youthful 50-year-old father of two who flew through Harvard in just three years were mostly positive today, but the pride being felt at the White House was countered by the fear among some interest groups that the court is in for a change in direction. We have the story covered from the White House to the court to the Hill tonight, and we begin with NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory."

Following Gregory's story, Pete Williams provided a profile of Roberts: "He met his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, on a blind date. She's a Washington lawyer and a former board member of Feminists for Life, a group that counsels against abortion and pushes for legal rights of mothers. But it's Roberts' own views on abortion that Democrats will pursue. As a lawyer in the first Bush administration, this is the Supreme Court brief Roberts helped file in the 1990 abortion case. It said Roe V. Wade 'was wrongly decided and should be overruled.' But at his confirmation hearing two years ago for a federal appeals court judgeship, he said he was representing his client, the government, and that he saw it otherwise."
John Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court nominee, at 2003 hearing: "Roe V. Wade is the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."
Pete Williams referred to "women's groups" not liberal groups: "But women's groups want Senators to press him further."
Karen Pearl, Planned Parenthood President: "And if he cannot answer those questions in a way that demonstrates that he, in fact, does support women and women's health and safety, then we will need to oppose him down the road."
Pete Williams: "Answering questions is a Roberts specialty, having argued 39 cases in the Supreme Court. Before each one, he touched the court's huge statue of former Chief Justice John Marshall for luck. And if that luck holds for Roberts, a former William Rehnquist clerk, he'll become the first justice on this bench to serve with someone he once worked for. Pete Williams, NBC News, at the Supreme Court."

Brian Williams set up a third story: "And now, over to Capitol Hill. That's where the votes are, of course, that will be needed to confirm the President's nominee. It is a process that means a federal judge must make those House calls, visiting the senators who will vote him up or down. And the interest groups that apply the pressure today turned up the volume. From Capitol Hill, here is NBC's Chip Reid."

Reid: "The hearings may be weeks away, but liberal activists today were already in full swing. In the first Supreme Court battle of the Internet era, emails by the millions were fired off by the liberal group MoveOn.org, declaring, 'We've got to stop Roberts.' And while the liberal Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has yet to take a position, Executive Director Wade Henderson says he worries that Roberts might be a stealth candidate, moderate on the outside but as conservative as Justices Scalia and Thomas on the inside."
Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: "And we are deeply troubled that his nomination will go forward without the kind of rigorous review called for under the Constitution."
Reid: "Conservative activists are also wasting no time, today unveiling an advertisement supporting the nominee."
Clip of ad: "Shouldn't a fair judge be treated fairly?"
Reid: "The first shot in what the group Progress for America says will be a multimillion dollar campaign."
Brian McCabe, Progress for America President: "Our role is to promote and defend the nominee against, you know, attacks and a smear campaign."
Reid: "But in the Senate today, where Roberts paid courtesy calls to key members of both parties, the tone was downright polite. Even the Senate's liberal firebrands are holding their fire for now."
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY): "I can tell you in my own head, I have no idea how I'm going to vote."
Reid: "Roberts' fate could lie in the hands of 14 moderate senators, seven from each party, who recently signed an agreement on judicial nominations. The so-called Gang of 14's seven Democrats agreed not to filibuster judges except under extraordinary circumstances. Today, a Republican leader of the group said the deal means Democrats can't filibuster Roberts."
Senator John McCain (R-AZ): "By no means, by any stretch of the imagination, would Justice Roberts meet the extraordinary circumstances criteria."
Reid: "A Supreme Court nomination that may or may not become a partisan showdown. Chip Reid, NBC News, the Capitol."

NBC's Today Frets About Roberts' Threat
to Abortion "Rights"

NBC's Katie Couric NBC's Today obsessed on Wednesday morning over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts potential threat to abortion "rights." Katie Couric declared to former Senator Fred Thompson, who will shepherd Roberts: "The real question is his position on abortion." She wanted to know: "Do you think he would support the overturning of Roe v. Wade?" Later in the show, Ann Curry asked law professor Jonathan Turley: "What effect do you think that this person, John Roberts, will have on abortion rights in America?" Curry fretted about whether Roberts will "be part of the movement to increase the restrictions on abortion rights which we've already started to see happening?"

Couric inquired of Thompson in the 7am half hour of the July 20 Today: "Senator Thompson, as you know some liberal groups have already raised some concerns about his record on the environment, civil rights, and civil liberties. But of course the real question is his position on abortion and we've heard two really, almost conflicting, statements about his position on Roe v. Wade. At one point back in 1999 he, he wrote a brief that said the right to an abortion, quote, 'finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution,' but later he did say it was the settled law of the land. Do you think he would support the overturning of Roe v. Wade?"

Thompson, from Washington, DC, replied that Roberts will have to address that, but when confirmed for his current appeals court seat he explained that in arguing against Roe v Wade he was representing his client, the Bush administration.

Two hours later, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Ann Curry quizzed George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley about Roberts' threat to abortion "rights."

Curry set up the session with Turley, who appeared from Washington, DC: "He's being called the 'Cautious Conservative,' so what will it mean to women if President Bush's 50-year-old nominee, Judge John Roberts, is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court? Here with some answers is NBC's legal analyst, NBC News legal analyst and George Washington University constitutional expert Jonathan Turley. Jonathan, good morning."

Curry's questions:

-- "Pleasure to have you. Many people expected that the President would nominate a woman. In fact let's take a listen to what the First Lady had to say about this topic when I spoke to her last week."
Curry: "Do you want your husband to name another woman?"
Laura Bush: "Sure I would really like for him to name another woman."
Curry to Turley: "So what do you think happened here? Do you think that he was seriously looking at women and also minority candidates Jonathan or do you think that, that this simply was the best candidate he could come across?"

-- Curry: "Well let's talk about some of that because in fact you've written that he is a blank slate but Roberts has said that he supports Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in a Senate hearing in 2003 but on the other hand he signed off on a brief that stated that the same law was wrongly decided and should be overruled. So what effect do you think that this person, John Roberts, will have on abortion rights in America?"
Turley: "Well yeah, when I said he was a blank slate candidate weeks ago I said he was the most likely person to be nominated of those that have little record on the court. He's only been on the court for a short time but he does have a record as someone involved intensely in litigation. And when it comes to women's issues this is an area, I think, that he'll move the Court decidedly to the right. I've been amazed when people talking about, you know, maybe he's not quite as conservative as other candidates. This guy is very, very, conservative. I don't see anything in his past that really contradicts that. I think on issues like Roe v. Wade I would expect him to be not supportive of Roe issues. When he said that Roe v. Wade was the settled law of the land he was stating a fact. As a lower court judge he had to apply that precedent. If he said no, he would've been given a bum's rush out of the Senate hearing room. The question is what will he do when he can create the law of the land?"

NBC's Ann Curry -- Curry: "Well so that's, I guess the other issue there. There's the issue of whether or not he would be a part of the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade but also there's the other question which is will he be part of the movement to increase the restrictions on abortion rights which we've already started to see happening, happen here in this country. I mean what, what can you tell women who are listening now who, who are interested in this particular issue in terms of how he will decide?"
Turley: "I have to tell you for pro-choice women I think that Roberts will be a problem for them. I would not be surprised if Roberts first and foremost would vote differently on the partial birth abortion issue...."

ABC and CNN Raise Possible Influence
of Roberts' Catholic Faith

CNN's Miles O'Brien The Catholicism of Judge John Roberts concerned ABC's Barbara Walters and CNN's Miles O'Brien. On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Walters asked a friend of Roberts whether Roberts being a Roman Catholic "might affect him as a Supreme Court Justice?" Over on CNN's American Morning, O'Brien pointed out that Roberts is "a Roman Catholic who adheres to the tenets of that faith," and so asked former Senator Fred Thompson: "Do you suspect that he will advocate, when the opportunity comes up, reversing some of the key aspects of Roe vs. Wade, which provide abortion rights in this country?"

As noted in item #1 above, on Wednesday's World News Tonight, ABC's Kate Snow remarked that "it's hard to know where he'll come down on abortion cases as a justice, though he is a practicing Catholic."

From Highlands, North Carolina, Dean Colson, best man at Roberts' wedding, came aboard to discuss his friend. Amongst the questions from substitute co-host Barbara Walters: "John Roberts is a Roman Catholic. How important to him is his religion? Do you think it might affect him as a Supreme Court Justice?"

Colson assured Walters that Roberts will have no trouble separating his personal views from what is in law books.

The MRC's Megan McCormack caught how, on CNN's American Morning, co-host Miles O'Brien saw Roberts' religion as a legitimate topic. After asking Fred Thompson about the nominee's views on abortion, O'Brien countered Thompson's assurance Roberts will follow the law:
"But we all bring our world view to any decision, and our philosophy-"
Thompson, via satellite from Washington, DC: "No question about it. The question is, can you set those aside and-"
O'Brien, in CNN's street-side Manhattan studio: "Well, it's difficult. But that's difficult, we're all human beings."
Thompson: "Of course it's difficult."
O'Brien: "He's, by all accounts, a Roman Catholic who adheres to the tenets of that faith. Do you suspect that he will advocate, when the opportunity comes up, reversing some of the key aspects of Roe vs. Wade, which provide abortion rights in this country?"

Thompson reminded O'Brien of how we've had counsel for the ACLU get confirmed to Supreme Court based on the assumption they would be objective.

"Very, Very, Very Conservative" or "Very,
Very Conservative"?

NPR reporter Nina Totenberg There's no doubt in NPR reporter Nina Totenberg's mind that Judge John Roberts is "very conservative," it's just a matter of how "very." On NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday night, she prefaced "conservative" with three verys, describing him as "a very, very, very conservative man." But in a taped soundbite on the next day's Good Morning America on ABC, she cut back to two modifiers, dubbing him merely "a very, very conservative man."

(As recounted in the July 20 CyberAlert, on Tuesday night ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Ted Koppel described Roberts as not just conservative, but as "very conservative." See: www.mediaresearch.org )

A CyberAlert reader who thinks George McGovern would still make a great President, but is able to recognize liberal bias, alerted us to Totenberg's description of Roberts on NPR. The MRC's Rich Noyes tracked down the comment from All Things Considered just before 8pm EDT on July 19, minutes after the decision to pick Roberts was revealed:
"He's 50 years old. He is widely viewed as perhaps the most brilliant young conservative available to this President, and the one with -- although he has a track record in conservative administrations, they were always as that administration's lawyer, and it is widely felt that you don't credit an individual with the views that he's representing in court, and he has not ruled as a court of appeals judge on any of the 'social questions' that are such hot button issues. He is much beloved by the business world because he's represented business interests in his job as a lawyer....He has a demeanor that is incredibly, I don't know how to put this other than to say, nice. He's a nice man. I've never heard anybody say a harsh personal word about John Roberts, but people who practice law with him who are liberal Democrats say they are under no illusions, he is a very, very, very conservative person."

A Kate Snow story on Wednesday's GMA, the MRC's Brian Boyd observed, included this taped assessment from Totenberg: "Talking with people who know him and have had arguments with him, debates with him, and who love him; they tell you this is a very, very conservative man."

Well, if liberals say so it must be true.

Assessing Economy, CBS Prefers Dire Anecdotes
to Factual Stats

CBS's Trish Regan Assessing the state of the economy, CBS News on Wednesday night preferred dire anecdotes and uninformed speculation by people on the street over upbeat economic statistics. Prompted by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's evaluation that "our baseline outlook for the U.S. economy is one of sustained economic growth," on the CBS Evening News reporter Trish Regan went to the streets of Manhattan "where reality trumps forecasts." CBS featured a woman who declared: "The economy's not doing good if they're laying off so many people, so it's not good at all." Regan asserted: "In June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost, making it the worst stretch of job losses in nearly a year and a half." Regan ignored job growth and declining unemployment. A July 8 AP dispatch led: "Hiring around the country picked up in June with employers adding 146,000 jobs -- helping to push the unemployment rate down to 5 percent, the lowest in nearly four years."

Anchor John Roberts introduced the July 20 story: "Now, on to the U.S. economy. Is it in good shape or not? What you think can depend a lot on who you are, which experts you're listening to, and especially whether you know someone who's out of work. Here's Trish Regan with more on that."

Regan: "Alan Greenspan came to Congress today with a rosy forecast."
Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman: "Our baseline outlook for the U.S. economy is one of sustained economic growth."
Regan: "Translation? He thinks the economy's in pretty good shape. But his sunny forecast isn't being felt on the factory floor -- Kodak cutting up to 10,000, Hewlett-Packard 14,500 layoffs -- or on the streets, where reality trumps forecasts."
Regan to a woman on a Manhattan sidewalk: "Alan Greenspan says the economy is doing fine, we're seeing a lot of growth. What do you think of that statement?"
Woman: "I disagree with that."
Regan: "Why do you disagree?"
Woman: "Because the economy's not doing good if they're laying off so many people, so it's not good at all."
Regan contended: "In June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost, making it the worst stretch of job losses in nearly a year and a half."
Man on the street: "It's very tenuous. It could fall apart at any moment. One bad piece of news, one additional perhaps terrorist attack, one negative corporate earnings, and it goes right down again."
John Challenger, Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc.: "There's been a heavy spate of major layoffs. It suggests we may be hitting a tipping point in the economy."
Regan: "And that's bad news for a lot of old-line household names, including General Motors and Winn-Dixie."
Mark Zandi, Economy.com: "Companies that have the right technology today quickly don't have the right technology tomorrow."
Regan: "The problem with economic forecasting is it's a little like the weather: not easily predicted and often local. Still, as companies face unique challenges and they change and try to adapt, workers are often the first to feel the squeeze, and that's a problem because at the end of the day, it's the consumer that keeps this economy going. John?"
Roberts: "So jobs are one potential threat to this economic growth, what else is out there?"
Regan, in-studio with Roberts: "Well, there's definitely energy costs. That's a big concern. Greenspan mentioned it today. We're looking at oil that's upwards of $57 a barrel, so that is definitely a concern as companies try and deal with that. The other unknown out there is the housing market -- everybody's getting these low-interest loans. If that bubble bursts, there could be a lot of trouble ahead."

"June Hiring Up, Unemployment Rate Falls," read the headline over a July 8 AP dispatch about reality, not CBS's dour fantasy. See: news.yahoo.com

-- Brent Baker