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Networks Mischaracterize Greenspan as Opposed to Bush Tax Cuts --5/1/2003


1. Networks Mischaracterize Greenspan as Opposed to Bush Tax Cuts Though Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan backed elimination of taxes on dividends and supported President Bush's income tax cut so long as budget cuts ensure the deficit does not grow, the networks hyped how he had supposedly come out against Bush's plan. Greenspan "threw another splash of cold water on the President's tax cut plan today," declared CNN's Judy Woodruff. CBS's Dan Rather insisted that Greenspan "repeated his opposition to President Bush's plan for big tax cuts." Reuters and AP split. "Greenspan Hopeful on Economy, Ducks Taxes," read the headline over a Reuters story. But an AP report carried this definitive headline: "Greenspan Undercuts Bush Tax Cut Plan."

2. Newsweek & Time Say Gephardt Plan Requires No Bureaucracy Time and Newsweek have each put Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt's health plan in the Clinton rerun machine and suggested it's somehow possible to require every employer in America to provide health insurance for their employees, prove it, with the government providing tax credits to cover 60 percent of the expense, and yet insist that there's no bureaucracy required to oversee this massive program to be "paid for" by rescinding the already-enacted Bush tax cuts. "This plan requires no new bureaucracy, no complex regulation," gushed Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, who made the same claim bout Hillarycare in 1993.

3. NY Times' Burns Scolds Media for Not Conveying Terror in Iraq Appearing on CNN's NewsNight on Wednesday night, New York Times reporter John Burns indicted his journalistic colleagues in Baghdad for inadequately conveying how the "dominant feature" in Iraq for the last 23 years "was fear and terror."

4. NBC News Hires ABC's Richard "Peter Arnett" Engel Having learned nothing from their Peter Arnett experience, NBC News has hired Richard Engel who, while reporting for ABC News in Baghdad, had stressed U.S. culpability for civilian deaths, treated the pro-Saddam, anti-U.S. comments of Iraqis as genuine and, barely 48 hours after U.S. forces arrived in Baghdad, decided that chaos in the streets meant "time may be running out" for the Americans. "There is a growing sense of disillusionment" amongst Iraqis Engel contended. Engel showcased a man who charged: "Now we know that America came to occupy us. They came to steal our oil and our riches and then to leave."

5. CNN Caught Live With FNC Showing on Navy Carrier's TVs A bit of a humorous moment on CNN on Wednesday afternoon when Kyra Phillips, their reporter aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, realized, "I hate to say it," that the TVs in the pilots' ready-room were tuned to the Fox News Channel. Phillips quickly dismissed it as part of the Navy system in which "you've got to get a little bit of every network."


Networks Mischaracterize Greenspan as
Opposed to Bush Tax Cuts

Though Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan backed elimination of taxes on dividends and supported President Bush's income tax cut so long as budget cuts ensure the deficit does not grow, the networks on Wednesday night mischaracterized Greenspan's comments before the House Financial Services Committee, hyping how he had supposedly come out against Bush's plan.

Greenspan "threw another splash of cold water on the President's tax cut plan today," declared CNN's Judy Woodruff. CBS's Dan Rather insisted that Greenspan "repeated his opposition to President Bush's plan for big tax cuts."

ABC's Peter Jennings saw Greenspan advocating cut hikes: "Mr. Greenspan said that any tax cut, such as the one sought by the President, need to be offset by tax increases in other areas or a reduction in government spending."

NBC's Tom Brokaw refrained from saying outright that Greenspan opposed Bush's plan: "He also issued a warning that tax cut need to be matched by spending cuts or budget deficits will drive up interest rates."

Lou Dobbs, anchor of CNN's Moneyline, noted what his colleague Woodruff, as well as ABC, CBS and NBC all ignored: "The Fed Chairman also reiterated his support for the President's proposed dividend tax cut."

PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer took Greenspan's words, which Rather characterized as opposition to tax cuts, and spun then positively for the Bush plan: "Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan warned Congress again today not to let tax cuts lead to soaring deficits. At a House hearing he said he could support much of the President's tax cut plan if it's offset by spending cuts."
Greenspan: "The elimination of the double taxation of dividends and significant cuts in higher marginal rates will elevate long term productivity in the country. If, however, in the process you get significant increase in deficits which induce a rise in long term interest rates, you will be significantly undercutting the benefits that will be achieved from tax cuts."

Reuters and AP couldn't agree on what Greenspan thought about the Bush tax cut plan. "Greenspan Hopeful on Economy, Ducks Taxes," read the headline over a Reuters story by Joanne Morrison posted on Yahoo at 5:08pm EDT on Wednesday.

But an AP story a few minutes later by Mary Dalrymple, at 5:22pm EDT, carried this definitive headline: "Greenspan Undercuts Bush Tax Cut Plan." That's online at: story.news.yahoo.com

Reuters reporter Morrison recounted how Greenspan "carefully dodged politically charged questions from lawmakers over whether the [tax cut] proposals, already scaled back sharply by both the House of Representatives and Senate, would actually boost economic growth.
"The tax cut plan, the core of which is the elimination of double-taxation of corporate dividends, was initially worth $726 billion.
"'I find much to support in the President's program provided it is matched by cuts in spending,' was as far as the Fed chairman would go on the subject."

That story is online at: story.news.yahoo.com

Now, how the networks on Wednesday night, April 30, in full, described Greenspan's comments:

-- CNN. On Inside Politics, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, Judy Woodruff declared: "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan threw another splash of cold water on the President's tax cut plan today. Appearing before Congress he repeated his opposition to massive cuts that would increase the federal deficit."

"Massive" tax cuts? Who is proposing a "massive" tax cut? We wish. Bush's plan is pretty modest and getting trimmed by the day by the Senate.

-- ABC. Peter Jennings announced on World News Tonight: "On Capitol Hill today, the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, said again that large tax cuts may lead to a larger federal budget deficit and would not likely stimulate the economy. Mr. Greenspan said that any tax cut, such as the one sought by the President, need to be offset by tax increases in other areas or a reduction in government spending."

-- CBS. On the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather portrayed Greenspan as definitively against Bush's plan: "Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said today the U.S. economy is poised for a post-war rebound, though he couldn't say exactly when and he signaled the Fed will cut interest rates again if needed. Greenspan also repeated his opposition to President Bush's plan for big tax cuts and said if there are any tax cuts they would need to be offset by spending cuts to keep the already-rising deficit from soaring more."

-- NBC. Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw intoned: "The Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, was on Capitol Hill today with a cautiously optimistic economic forecast. He said the economy is now positioned to grow at a noticeably better pace than last year, although the timing and extent of the improvements still is uncertain. He also issued a warning that tax cut need to be matched by spending cuts or budget deficits will drive up interest rates."

Don't count on the networks to be as interested in cutting spending as they are in preventing any tax cut.

Newsweek & Time Say Gephardt Plan Requires
No Bureaucracy

Time and Newsweek have each put Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt's health plan in the Clinton rerun machine and suggested it's somehow possible to require every employer in America to provide health insurance for their employees, prove it, with the government providing tax credits to cover 60 percent of the expense, and yet insist that there's no bureaucracy required to oversee this massive program to be "paid for" by rescinding the already-enacted Bush tax cuts.

Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, filed this item for CyberAlert:

Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter not only found no bureaucracy, he even thought Gephardt's plan is amazingly conservative. He claimed in the May 5 Newsweek:
"Raising personal-income-tax rates for the wealthy may seem left-wing in today's politics (though it hardly hurt the economy when President Clinton did it in 1993). But what's truly amazing is how 'conservative' this liberal Democrat's proposal really is. It acknowledges that the private health-care system we've got is here to stay. Canada does not beckon. This plan requires no new bureaucracy, no complex regulation and no overhaul of the health-care delivery system, any one of which would tick off constituencies and kill the idea. At bottom, the whole thing essentially just swaps one kind of tax relief for another."

Alter's assessment was delivered in a piece headlined, "A Genuinely Healthy Debate: Even if it fails, Gephardt's revolutionary plan could change the contours of the 2004 campaign more than another flap over gays." It's online at: www.msnbc.com

In it, Alter argued that "Hillarycare was a Rube Goldberg contraption that didn't socialize medicine but surely would have bureaucratized it further." That's not what he said at the time about Hillary's plan.

In the November 15, 1993 Newsweek, Alter demanded the bureaucratic nightmare was all in the private sector, to be saved by the efficiencies of the Clinton plan: "No other industrialized country puts up with useless paper shufflers taking such a large cut of their health budgets...And she's right tactically: if health-care reform is to live, the companies backing Harry and Louise must die. If 90 percent of those 1,500 insurers don't die -- if someone lifts the DO NOT RESUSCITATE sign off them -- then the entire reform contraption will collapse."

In this week's Time, Karen Tumulty claimed Gephardt's plan "has avoided things that doomed Clinton's plan: he proposes no bureaucracy and sidesteps issues like whether to pay for abortion." That's strange, but at least Time now reports the Gephardt campaign's claim that it will cost $213 billion a year, a burden Gephardt called "affordable" for small business, but which Tumulty described as the "plan's big drawback" since it "does not exactly bolster the Democrats' case that they're the party of fiscal discipline. And the plan does little to contain the soaring cost of health care. But Gephardt has accomplished at least one thing: he has put health care back on the political map."

Like Alter, in the September 20, 1993 Time, Dan Goodgame maintained Hillary Clinton's plan would cost nothing more: "The Clinton plan is surprisingly persuasive in supporting the longtime claim of the Clintons, and their top health care strategist, Ira Magaziner, that reform can be almost entirely from savings, without broad-based new taxes and with enough left over to reduce the federal budget deficit."

Tumulty's piece in the "Notebook" section of the May 5 Time is online at: www.time.com

NY Times' Burns Scolds Media for Not
Conveying Terror in Iraq

Appearing on CNN's NewsNight on Wednesday night, New York Times reporter John Burns indicted his journalistic colleagues in Baghdad for inadequately conveying how the "dominate feature" in Iraq for the last 23 years "was fear and terror."

New York Times reporter John Burns From Baghdad, Burns told CNN anchor Aaron Brown: "I think retrospectively there could have been a little bit more forthrightness in this, I have to say that, both in the print and in the broadcast media. The dominant feature of this society for 23 years was fear and terror....I think that too much of the reporting reflected that very little."

Brown asked Burns on the April 30 NewsNight, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Were you, through the course of the time you were in Iraq, not just the war but before as well, were you able to report completely everything you knew about the regime?"
No, Burns explained: "Anybody who told you that he was able to tell everything without restraint would not be telling you the truth. All of us wanted to, to be here for the war. Nobody wants to come in, have one trip for 10 days, and never come back. On the other hand, I think the parameters of what was possible were considerably wider than some reporters chose. Some of those people from some parts of the world -- the Arab world, in particular -- I think came never really willing to tell the truth. There was a required truth for them, too. I think people who came from our world had to find their own balance. We all found it in different places. I think retrospectively there could have been a little bit more forthrightness in this, I have to say that, both in the print and in the broadcast media. The dominant feature of this society for 23 years was fear and terror. I don't think that there was any society on Earth by the spring of this year, that compared with it except possibly North Korea, about which we know very little. I think that too much of the reporting reflected that very little."

What Burns told Brown matches what he wrote in the April 20 New York Times. As recounted in the April 22 CyberAlert: In a front page piece, Baghdad reporter John Burns divulged how the Hussein regime terrorized him and shed some light on how journalism is made in a dictatorship: "Any Iraqi voicing an opinion other than those approved by the state would be vulnerable to arrest, torture and execution. But these were facts rarely mentioned by many reporters." See: www.mediaresearch.org

For his phone-ins to CBS News, the MRC named Burns the "best" Baghdad reporter in our "Grading TV's War News" Special Report. For that section: www.mediaresearch.org

For the Executive Summary: www.mediaresearch.org

To jump over the Executive Summary and to go right to the full report divided into four sections: www.mediaresearch.org

For an Adobe Acrobat PDF of the entire product in one unit which matches the look of the hard copy version: www.mediaresearch.org

NBC News Hires ABC's Richard "Peter Arnett"
Engel

Speaking of reporters who ignored terror and fear inside Iraq and treated pro-Saddam Hussein public opinion comments as genuine, having learned nothing from the experience with Peter Arnett, NBC News has hired Richard Engel, who ABC News used as its Baghdad reporter during the war.

Summaries of three CyberAlert items on Engel's greatest hits:

-- The "baby milk factory" of 2003. In 1991 Peter Arnett, then with CNN, gullibly hyped Iraqi claims that U.S. bombing had destroyed a "baby milk factory." On ABC on Saturday (March 22), ABC's freelancer, Richard Engel, obligingly highlighted video, from his official tour of bomb damage, of "a community center that had been hit by five separate rockets." To add a bit of emotion, his video included a look at empty children's swings swinging nearby. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Richard "Peter Arnett" Engel relayed on World News Tonight how "6,000 Arab and Muslim volunteer suicide bombers" have arrived in Baghdad. Arnett had a "baby milk factory," Engel has a "maternity hospital." He asserted: "Iraqis are growing increasingly enraged by the mounting damage to civilian sites -- including this maternity hospital." Engel went to the streets to gather public opinion: "I asked this man if he thinks the war is about liberating him from Saddam's brutal regime. 'Liberation?' he asked me. 'Who asked for America to liberate us?'" Peter Jennings suggested that the Iraqi claim of "almost 700 civilians killed in the country since the U.S. invaded" last month "may be low." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- ABC's Engel in Baghdad Finds Disillusion and Disgust with U.S. Barely 48 hours after U.S. forces arrived in Baghdad, ABC's Richard Engel decided that chaos in the streets meant "time may be running out" for the Americans. "There is a growing sense of disillusionment" amongst Iraqis Engel contended. Engel showcased the views of Iraqis who denounced the U.S. One woman demanded: "Did the Americans come to protect us or to kill us?" And Engel quoted a man who charged: "Now we know that America came to occupy us. They came to steal our oil and our riches and then to leave." CBS's Dan Rather, in contrast, arrived in Baghdad and found the people glad to have been liberated and appreciative of the U.S. www.mediaresearch.org

In that April 12 CyberAlert I astutely observed that "Engel may be the only non-Arab reporter in Baghdad to have managed to find both universal love for Saddam Hussein up until early this week [when Baghdad fell] and universal hatred of the U.S. since his regime fell."

An now NBC News and MSNBC viewers will be treated to his inability at basic discernment. An excerpt from an April 30 AP story by David Bauder:

NBC News has swooped in and signed Richard Engel, a former freelancer who became one of ABC's most visible war correspondents when he stayed in Baghdad while other reporters left.

Engel, 29, will begin reporting for NBC from Baghdad in early May, the network said Wednesday.

In the days before the war, ABC, NBC and CBS all pulled reporters from Baghdad, concerned about their safety, and didn't send them back until American troops reached the Iraqi capital.

Engel, a freelancer, decided to stay. Despite inexperience that occasionally manifested itself as boyish enthusiasm, Engel was used frequently on ABC News broadcasts, where his dashing good looks and bravery drew notice.

It was a career, and life, gamble that paid off. Engel signed with one of television's most prominent agents, Richard Liebner, while still in Baghdad.

Engel said he chose NBC News over ABC because "it is the No. 1 news outlet, it has cable outlets and it seems to be growing and flourishing. I thought there were quite a few opportunities for growth."...

"Richard did great work under difficult conditions and we're grateful for it," ABC News spokeswoman Cathie Levine said. "We made a very generous offer. Clearly, he got an offer that was more generous than that. We wish him well."...

END of Excerpt

For Bauder's story in full: story.news.yahoo.com

For a picture of Bauder, showing him highlighting the supposedly typical Baghdad citizens who mocked the idea that the U.S. would "liberate" Iraq, see this section of the MRC's "Grading TV's War Coverage" Special Report: www.mediaresearch.org

CNN Caught Live With FNC Showing on Navy
Carrier's TVs

A bit of a humorous moment on CNN on Wednesday afternoon when Kyra Phillips, their reporter aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, realized, "I hate to say it," that the TVs in the pilots' ready-room were tuned to the Fox News Channel. Phillips quickly dismissed it as part of the Navy system in which "you've got to get a little bit of every network."

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught this candid moment which occurred at 1:13pm EDT as Phillips relayed a question from anchor Miles O'Brien, about how the pilots watch landings, to a Navy pilot who explained that the TVs in their ready-room can show the flight deck.

Phillips pointed out the TVs hanging from the ceiling in the corners of the room, though they were too distant to really see what they were showing: "Up here on these screens, you're going to see the screens up there on the right, I hate to say it, they're showing Fox News. But, you know, that's the Navy system. You've got to get a little bit of every network..."

Just getting a little bit more of FNC.

-- Brent Baker