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NPR's Liasson & Williams Back Gore on Right-Wing Media Control -- 12/02/2002 CyberAlert


1.
NPR's Liasson & Williams Back Gore on Right-Wing Media Control
There's "some truth" to Al Gore's conspiracy theory about media outlets getting their marching orders from Republican Party Chairman Marc Racicot, Juan Williams argued on Fox News Sunday. Mara Liasson agreed, explaining that what Gore was simply "expressing is deep frustration on the part of Democrats who are now truly out of power in Washington and they don't have the kind of editorial voice representing them in the media...they feel that they can't get their message out." This from two staffers for National Public Radio, the leading broadcast media voice of liberal aspirations. Charles Krauthammer suggested Gore's theory rests on "the edge of looniness." Only "on the edge"?

2. Jennings Relays Depiction of Kissinger as War Criminal
ABC's Peter Jennings gave air time to the critique of Henry Kissinger by the left, but made no mention of any conservative concerns, in reporting President Bush's selection of him to chair an investigation of 9-11. Jennings intoned: "He is a controversial choice for some. He is a winner of a Nobel Peace Prize. But he has more recently been pursued by some of his critics, who say he's guilty of war crimes."

3. Headlines Conflict Over Bush Approach to Saudi Arabia
No media consensus on the Bush administration approach to Saudi Arabia. New York Times headline: "Bush Officials Praise Saudis for Aiding Terror Fight." The Washington Post the same day: "Bush Aides: Saudis Can Do More to Halt Terror Funds."

4. Washington Post Rues Business Donation Tilt to GOP
Washington Post reporter Thomas Edsall rued in a front page story how Democrats are being hurt by GOP gains in donations from industry: "Democrats increasingly find themselves frozen out by deep-pocket industries and political action committees, making them more dependent than ever on a relatively small number of sources: organized labor, trial lawyers, the entertainment industry, environmentalists, educators and the high-tech industry." That's a "relatively small number of sources"? But only by reading to the very end of the story, and doing some calculations, would a reader learn that Democrats had a $96 million advantage in donations from lawyers and organized labor.

5. Hunt Bashes "Huge Tax Cuts for the Very Wealthy"
Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt used President Bush's slight reduction in a federal pay hike as an excuse to let loose against the tax cut. On CNN's Capital Gang he whined: "But if Mr. Bush asked Customs inspectors, Border Patrol, or CIA and FBI agents and the jobless to sacrifice, he needs to ask the same of wealthy executives and coupon-clippers, who can afford the most to sacrifice and cut back on those huge tax cuts for the very wealthy."

6. NYT/CBS Poll Bad News for Gore, But Stories Stress Dislike of GOP
A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week found that Al Gore has a favorable rating amongst a mere 19 percent compared to the more than twice as great 43 percent with an unfavorable opinion of him, yet the New York Times led its story with how most oppose GOP policies. But at least the Times cited the poor Gore numbers. A lengthy story on the CBS News Web site, headlined, "Poll: No Groundswell For GOP Agenda," did not include one syllable about the public rejection of Gore.

7. Ted Turner Almost "Cried" Over Election Results
Ted Turner, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, admitted that "he almost 'laid down and cried' over" the election results.

8. "Top Ten Things Every American Should Be Thankful For."
As presented by ten Navy sailors, Letterman's "Top Ten Things Every American Should Be Thankful For."


NPR's Liasson & Williams Back Gore on
Right-Wing Media Control

Mara Liasson There's "some truth" to Al Gore's conspiracy theory about media outlets getting their marching orders from Republican Party Chairman Marc Racicot, Juan Williams argued on Fox News Sunday. Mara Liasson agreed, explaining that what Gore was simply "expressing is deep frustration on the part of Democrats who are now truly out of power in Washington and they don't have the kind of editorial voice representing them in the media...they can't get their events covered, they feel that they can't get their message out."

This from Williams and Liasson, an analyst and a reporter respectively for National Public Radio, the leading broadcast media voice of liberal aspirations.

After suggesting Gore's theory rests on "the edge of looniness," columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out the obvious: "Liberals have had a monopoly for about 30 years and all of a sudden one or two opposition forces arise -- Washington Times, Fox News, Weekly Standard -- and all of a sudden it's a great conspiracy. This is absurd."

Near the end of the panel segment on the December 1 Fox News Sunday, host Tony Snow read aloud some of what Gore told the New York Observer in an interview published earlier in the week.

Gore claimed: "Fox News Network, the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh -- there's a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media."

Plus: "Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers which play this game, the Washington Times and others."

(For Gore's interview with the New York Observer's Josh Benson: http://www2.observer.com/observer/pages/frontpage1.asp)

Snow went first to NPR White House reporter Mara Liasson and she tried to justify Gore's latest lashing out: "I think that what Al Gore is expressing is deep frustration on the part of Democrats who are now truly out of power in Washington and they don't have the kind of editorial voice representing them in the media. There's no doubt that the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Times or the New York Post or the commentary on Fox, is conservative and I think that they're extremely frustrated, they can't get their events covered, they feel that they can't get their message out -- now having a message in the first place is another question -- but I think that's a real kind of cry of frustration from Al Gore and other Democratic leaders have said the same thing."

Charles Krauthammer countered: "A 'cry for help?' I'm a psychiatrist, I don't usually practice on camera, but this is the edge of looniness. This idea that there's a vast conspiracy. It sits in a building, it emanates, it has these tentacles, is really at the edge. He could use a little help."

Juan Williams Juan Williams, who until recently hosted a talk show for NPR, nonetheless agreed with Gore's theory: "Well it seems to me that there's some truth to it. It seems to me that there's some truth to the idea, I know conservatives say 'oh you know look at the New York Times is this liberal organ especially under Howell Raines the new editor, they're going after the Masters and all the rest,' but you know what, it seems to me that there is more of a direct and sort of out there statement coming from Rush Limbaugh, and the Washington Times, and people who are willing to say look, we are outright proud to be conservative and here's what we stand for and we don't think there's any need to make an apology."

Krauthammer snickered: "Liberals have had a monopoly for about 30 years and all of a sudden one or two opposition forces arise -- Washington Times, Fox News, Weekly Standard -- and all of a sudden it's a great conspiracy. This is absurd."

But Liasson stood by Gore's basic complaint about a media biased to the right: "I don't think it's a great conspiracy, but the fact is I think Juan is right. There are more voices of opinion in terms of talk radio shows, editorial pages and they're not liberal."

Fred Barnes got in the last word as time ran out: "They're such a minority though. I'd like to think that conservatives had a bigger voice, but they're such a small minority compared to this vast media we have out there, mostly liberal, mostly friendly to liberals and the Democratic Party, that Al Gore is just wrong."

Bottom line: How many liberals would trade the liberal slant of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News and PBS, as well as the New York Times and Washington Post, for one cable news network, a Washington, DC newspaper out-sold seven-to-one in its home market and one national radio personality?

Jennings Relays Depiction of Kissinger as
War Criminal

Conservatives view Henry Kissinger as an establishment figure more interested in "realpolitik" diplomatic maneuvering than in bringing freedom to oppressed people, citing his detente efforts during the 1970s, while some of those on the left see him as a war criminal for how he directed bombing campaigns of Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Guess which perspective ABC's Peter Jennings found worthy of network air time.

Jennings read this short item on the Thanksgiving Eve World News Tonight of November 27:
"In other news today, President Bush signed a bill that will, after all, create a special commission to investigate why the September 11th plot was not uncovered before the country was attacked. The White House was under a lot of pressure from many of the victims' families. Mr. Bush has asked the former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, to lead the commission. He is a controversial choice for some. He is a winner of a Nobel Peace Prize. But he has more recently been pursued by some of his critics, who say he's guilty of war crimes."

No mention by Jennings of how former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will serve as Vice-Chairman or of any concerns about his past activities.

Headlines Conflict Over Bush Approach to
Saudi Arabia

Bush administration officials, including White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, last Tuesday talked to reporters about administration reaction to the revelation that some men who aided the 9/11 terrorists received money which originated with the wife of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States. But from the largely conflicting stories filed, it was difficult to figure out the thrust of the Bush team's comments.

Check out these November 27 headlines:

-- New York Times:
"Bush Officials Praise Saudis for Aiding Terror Fight"

-- Washington Post:
"Bush Aides: Saudis Can Do More to Halt Terror Funds"

-- USA Today:
"U.S. Presses Saudis to be Harder on Terrorism"

-- Washington Times:
"Bush Gives Partial Backing to Saudis in Anti-Terror War"

Just like the Saudis. Having it all ways all the time.

And an illustrative example of why you should always be wary of any one outlet's take on an issue and always consult more than one media source.

Washington Post Rues Business Donation
Tilt to GOP

The Washington Post last week treated as a front page concern how Democrats are losing funding as Republicans are receiving greater contributions from various business sectors. "Trend May Put Squeeze On Democrats' Finances" read the subhead over the November 27 story by Thomas Edsall.

Edsall lamented: "Democrats increasingly find themselves frozen out by deep-pocket industries and political action committees, making them more dependent than ever on a relatively small number of sources: organized labor, trial lawyers, the entertainment industry, environmentalists, educators and the high-tech industry."

Those are some pretty big "relatively small number of sources."

Edsall reported that Republicans this year enjoyed a $98 million advantage in contributions from industry sectors. But only by reading the 25th and 26th paragraphs of the 26-paragraph story, and doing some calculations themselves, would the reader learn that separate from that funding category Democrats had a $96 million advantage in donations just from lawyers and organized labor -- just two of Edsall's "relatively small number of sources."

An excerpt from the November 27 front page story headlined, "Big Business's Funding Shift Boosts GOP," by Thomas Edsall:

Major industries such as accounting, aerospace, commercial banking, defense, HMOs and pharmaceuticals have abandoned their tradition of bipartisan campaign contributions in favor of a commitment to the GOP, a trend that could deepen the problems of a Democratic Party rocked by this month's elections.

An analysis of political donations by industry groups shows that over the past decade, 19 major sectors have shifted from a roughly 50-50 split between the two main parties -- or in some cases, a slightly pro-Democratic tilt -- to a solid alignment with the Republican Party, which now enjoys advantages exceeding 5 to 1 in some of these sectors. The shift has produced at least $78 million in additional GOP support from these groups over 10 years, while donations to Democrats have declined slightly.

The realignment is no accident. Republican leaders for years have been pressing corporate and trade groups to hire more GOP lobbyists and to support more GOP candidates. They have emphasized the Republican issues that favor the corporate world, such as regulatory relief, business tax cuts and liability limits in civil cases (sometimes called tort reform).

Their success could have far-reaching implications for U.S. politics and elections. Democrats increasingly find themselves frozen out by deep-pocket industries and political action committees, making them more dependent than ever on a relatively small number of sources: organized labor, trial lawyers, the entertainment industry, environmentalists, educators and the high-tech industry. A recent change in campaign finance laws will exacerbate the Democrats' problems, denying them the big checks they once received from loyalists in Hollywood and elsewhere, while Republicans use their corporate ties to collect hundreds of thousands of smaller checks from management employees and association members who now play a huge role in federal elections....

The significance of the K Street shift can be seen in comparisons of the total giving by 19 industry sectors in 1992 and in 2002, based on data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. These sectors include beer, wine and liquor distributors, defense contractors, commercial bankers, health professionals and others.

Ten years ago, these groups gave nearly as much money to Democrats and Democratic Party committees as they did to the Republican counterparts: about $128 million to $135 million.

In 2002, with the end-of-the-cycle reports still to be filed, the flow of cash to Democrats has fallen slightly to $121 million, while contributions to Republicans have ballooned to nearly $213 million. In other words, a modest $7 million GOP edge 10 years ago has grown to a $98 million advantage this year.

The shift is especially striking in some cases. In 1992, accounting companies gave most of their political donations to the Democratic Party and to Democratic candidates: $3.4 million, or 54 percent of their total. By 2002, the Democratic share fell to 27 percent, or $2.1 million, while backing for the GOP grew from $2.9 million to $5.7 million over the same period.

Similarly, in 1992, the pharmaceutical industry split its contributions almost evenly: $2.5 million for Republican campaigns, $2.3 million for Democrats. In the current election cycle, the industry tilted to the GOP by 3 to 1: $10.8 million to $3.4 million.

In addition to the shift toward the GOP in these 19 industrial sectors, there are industries that were committed to the Republican Party a decade ago and remain so. These longer-term allies include auto manufacturers and dealers, the construction and homebuilding industry, agribusiness, chemical producers and lumber.

For Democrats, crucial sources of contributions remain lawyers, especially trial lawyers, and organized labor. From 1992 to 2002, the legal community has favored the Democratic Party and its candidates with 70-plus percent of its contributions. Heavy givers in presidential election years, lawyers contributed nearly $80 million to Democrats and $34 million to Republicans in 2000.

Organized labor, in turn, has consistently favored Democrats by ratios exceeding 9 to 1 over the years. In 2002, labor gave $54 million to Democrats and less than $5 million to Republicans.

END of Excerpt

For the article in its entirety:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43694-2002Nov26.html

Hunt Bashes "Huge Tax Cuts for the
Very Wealthy"

Using any excuse to advocate class warfare and bash the Bush tax cut for supposedly favoring the wealthy, even though they pay virtually all the taxes, Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt used President Bush's slight reduction in a federal pay hike as justification for letting loose on CNN's Capital Gang.

All federal workers will receive a 3.1 percent pay hike, which is about twice the rate of inflation this year, but President Bush decided to withhold the additional locality pay raise workers get in high-cost urban areas.

Hunt incorporated that into his "Outrage of the Week" on the November 30 Capital Gang:
"President Bush cut back on the pay raises scheduled for federal employees, saying we couldn't afford it in a time of terrorist threats. He also opposed the expanding unemployment benefits. But if Mr. Bush asked Customs inspectors, Border Patrol, or CIA and FBI agents and the jobless to sacrifice, he needs to ask the same of wealthy executives and coupon-clippers, who can afford the most to sacrifice and cut back on those huge tax cuts for the very wealthy."

Maybe if their tax cuts are rescinded or delayed those "coupon-clippers," as Hunt derisively dubbed them, will make up for higher tax payments by canceling delivery of the Wall Street Journal, at least on Thursdays when Hunt's column runs.

(One bright spot over the weekend: I noticed that after prompting Senator John Kerry to agree that the Bush tax cuts should not be rolled out any further, on NBC's Meet the Press Tim Russert actually pressed Kerry a bit from the right over the value of tax cuts as espoused by the last sitting U.S. Senator to become President -- a man with the same initials as John Forbes Kerry.)

NYT/CBS Poll Bad News for Gore, But
Stories Stress Dislike of GOP

A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week found that Al Gore, the leading Democratic candidate for President, has a favorable rating amongst a mere 19 percent of those surveyed, compared to the more than twice as great 43 percent with an unfavorable opinion of him, yet the New York Times led its story with how most oppose GOP policies.

But at least the Times cited the poor Gore numbers. A lengthy story on the CBS News Web site, headlined, "Poll: No Groundswell For GOP Agenda," did not feature one syllable about the public rejection of Gore. The CBS Evening News did not report anything about the poll released on November 25.

"Positive Ratings for the G.O.P., if Not Its Policy," announced the front page headline in the November 26 New York Times. Reporters Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder began:
"Three weeks after Republicans captured control of the government, Americans hold favorable views of the party and President Bush, but they are less enthusiastic about some of the policies Republicans are promoting, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
"They are ambivalent about tax cuts, concerned about Republican plans for Social Security and strongly opposed to the administration's environmental policies..."

While Nagourney and Elder then cited poor ratings for Democrats, it wasn't until the 25th paragraph of the 28-paragraph story that the reporting duo relayed the specifics about Gore:
"The poll was taken just as Mr. Gore was riding a wave of nationwide publicity as part of his book promotion tour. Even Mr. Gore's potential rivals predicted that the exposure would improve his standing among the American people.
"So far, that appears not to be the case. Just 19 percent said they held a favorable view of the former vice president, compared with 43 percent who had an unfavorable view. The unfavorable rating is among his worst since The New York Times/CBS News poll began asking the question about him in 1987. Men are more likely than woman to dislike Mr. Gore.
"The unfavorable perception of Mr. Gore crossed party lines: about one-third of Democrats viewed him favorably, compared with about one-fifth who viewed him unfavorably. Of potentially more concern to Mr. Gore, just 17 percent of independent voters said they had a favorable opinion of him, compared with 36 percent who described their view as unfavorable."

For the New York Times story in full: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/26/politics/26POLL.html

As noted above, the CBSNews.com story didn't bother with Gore's problems and stuck to the supposed unpopularity of conservative policies. The online rundown began:

The Republican victories in the midterm election appear to be a personal victory for President Bush, but not an affirmation of single party control, or even of many aspects of the president's own agenda, a CBS News/New York Times poll finds. Americans also have very limited expectations on what the incoming Republican Congress will accomplish.

Public opinion is at odds with some of President Bush's key objectives. His high job approval rating of 65% garners him little additional currency for some of the items on his agenda; there is little change in opinion when his name is directly associated with the policy.

ELEMENTS OF THE BUSH AGENDA
Make tax cuts permanent
Favor 45%
Oppose 44

Drilling in ANWR
Favor 39%
Oppose 55

Faster judicial confirmations
Favor 26%
Oppose 70

There is only lukewarm support for making the Bush tax cuts enacted last year permanent, and few people see much benefit of the administration's tax cuts to themselves or to the economy. The public is squarely in favor of government regulation of the environment, and opposed to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Few Americans want the Congress to rubber stamp approval of Bush's judicial appointments.

Even when it comes to the Republican Party's major issue of tax cuts, Americans are skeptical -- more expect taxes to go up than to go down under Republican control....

END of Excerpt

That's posted in full online at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/25/opinion/polls/main530804.shtml

Ted Turner Almost "Cried" Over Election Results


CNN founder and current AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman Ted Turner, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, admitted that "he almost 'laid down and cried' over" the election results. "My Governor in Georgia was a great environmentalist but he got beat," Turner lamented at a November 22 Environmental Defense event in New York City.

Jim Romenesko's MediaNews page, online at: http://www.poynter.org/medianews/, highlighted the November 23 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story by Shelley Emling about Turner's November 22 remarks. An excerpt:

Ted Turner was in true Ted Turner form on Friday, playfully musing like a stand-up comic about everything from ex-wife Jane Fonda to Georgia politics.

During a keynote speech at the Environmental Defense 11th Annual Symposium, he spoke off the cuff about his marital history, remarking that he's made a habit of hooking up with older women.

"But then as I got older so did they," he joked.

But he was quick to point out that age was not a factor in his divorce from Fonda....

Turning to the Nov. 5 election, he said he almost "laid down and cried" over the results.

"My Governor in Georgia was a great environmentalist but he got beat," he said. "And my poor Senator...he's a war hero."

He asked the crowd of mostly environmentalists whether anyone favored war with Iraq. When no one raised their hand he said laughingly "why didn't any of you vote?"...

Due to the 70 percent decline in value of AOL Time Warner stock since January 2000 -- stock that forms a huge chunk of Turner's assets -- the Turner Foundation has reduced its contributions to environmental groups and is not taking on any new projects.

Turner, along with his children, established the foundation to give money to environmental and population-control projects.

"We had to cut back," said Turner, vice chairman of AOL Time Warner. "I got crushed in AOL Time Warner stock."...

END of Excerpt

For the story in full:
http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/news/1102/23turner.html

Turner can't give any more money to liberal environmental efforts: An upside to the stock market downturn.

"Top Ten Things Every American Should
Be Thankful For."

From the November 28 Late Show with David Letterman, as presented by ten sailors from the Navy mine hunters USS Falcon and USS Osprey, the "Top Ten Things Every American Should Be Thankful For."

10. "226 years and the United States of America has never suffered a gravy shortage"
(Lieutenant David Gunn)

9. "The Harry Potter sequel has twice the magic and twice the adventure"
(Mineman Third Class Jason Slee)

8. "Paper towels are far more absorbent than those in our great-grandparents' day"
(Mineman Second Class Steve Stafford)

7. "Despite the drop in his net worth, Bill Gates is once again giving every American a gingerbread cookie"
(Lieutenant Anthony Morelli)

6. "At some point, every American will get to marry Jennifer Lopez"
(Engineman Second Class Brian Cooper)

5. "If you can hold on until after Christmas, most department stores have great linen sales"
(Ensign Anthony Kyle)

4. "Your stock portfolio may be down, but it's still fun to say 'portfolio'"
(Ensign Santico Valenzuela)

3. "Liza Minelli has finally found true love"
(Chief Electrician's Mate Michael Scott)

2. "United States scientists have virtually eliminated static cling"
(Boatswain's Mate Second Class Juan Mendez)

1. "America's favorite talk show host -- Regis Philbin"
(Sonar Technician Second Class Scott Seevers)

I'll be traveling on Monday, so there may not be another CyberAlert until Wednesday. -- Brent Baker


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