2. Nets Notice (Sort of) 'Liberals' Will Gain Power in New Congress
3. CNN's Schneider to GOP: Learn Lesson of Mid-terms and Move Left
4. Geraldo Rivera 'Delighted' Republicans Got 'Their Butts Kicked!'
5. MSNBC: The Official Election Night Network for Democrats?
6. Rather Still Fiercely 'Independent,' Bias Against Caving to Power
7. O'Donnell: 'Don't Fear Terrorists, They're Mothers and Fathers'
8. Letterman's "Top Ten Signs George W. Bush Is Depressed"
On Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, Bill O'Reilly raised, with former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg and Fox Newswatch panelist Jane Hall, "all the softball interviews of Nancy Pelosi" which aired Wednesday night. O'Reilly cautioned that "I'm not saying you should go after her throat, but surely when you have the person second in line for the presidency and she's the most liberal Speaker of the House in the history of the country, surely you might want to get into a little bit about how she formed her point of view -- or am I crazy?" Goldberg assured O'Reilly, "no, you're not crazy," and proposed: "Do you think Newt Gingrich would have gotten the same treatment as Nancy Pelosi got? Look, I mean, the bias is never blatant, but they like Nancy Pelosi, they like the fact the Democrats won and she's a woman, the first woman who's going to be Speaker of the House, so they treat her with a certain respect, which they should, that they wouldn't treat a conservative Republican."
Indeed, as the MRC documented back in 1994, the mainstream media greeted Gingrich's victory with hostility. Days before the election, CBS's Eric Engberg treated as newsworthy how the "bombastic and ruthless" Gingrich "was attacked for McCarthyism" and has "a record filled with contradictions: the family values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank..." Time magazine snidely declared: "His ideas, which don't often come to grips with the particulars of policymaking, may be less important than his signature mood of righteous belligerence." ABC's Sam Donaldson confronted Gingrich: "A lot of people are afraid of you, they think you're a bomb thrower. Worse, you're an intolerant bigot."
To put it mildly, that isn't the tone with which the mainstream media have greeted Pelosi's victory. A Thursday CyberAlert item, "Nets Champion Pelosi for 'Making History' as First Female Speaker," recounted how NBC anchor Brian Williams gushed to Pelosi about how "I know history was riding along with you as you watched the results last night" and a glowing Katie Couric wondered: "A lot has been made of the fact that you, if elected, and it appears that you will be, that you will be the first woman Speaker of the House and the highest ranking woman in the United States government. What does that mean to you?" For the full rundown: www.mrc.org
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
To illustrate the media's hostility to Gingrich, two articles from the MRC's old monthly MediaWatch newsletter:
From the November 1994 MediaWatch, online at: www.mrc.org
Newt Gingrich, "Radical Geek" The New House Speaker's Journalistic Welcome Wagon
The dramatic Republican takeover of both houses of Congress delivered to Washington a brand new Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Before the deluge, reporters shuddered at the very thought of it.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs found that in political stories on the networks between Labor Day and October 20, Gingrich drew 100 percent negative evaluations from reporters and talking heads.
CBS Evening News reporter Eric Engberg stayed negative on November 2: "From the start, modesty was not his style. Rejecting the House's gentlemanly ways, he waged such constant guerrilla war against the Democrats he was attacked for McCarthyism."
Engberg sounded like a negative ad: "It's a record filled with contradictions: the family values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank, and runs a big-dollar political action committee that won't disclose its contributors." Engberg concluded: "Gingrich himself, bombastic and ruthless, would be the most dramatic change imaginable, a change the administration can only dread."
[For a complete transcript of Engberg's story, see the May 10 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org ]
On the Nov. 4 World News Tonight ABC's Jim Wooten said the Georgian's "slash-and-burn rhetoric against Democrats has made him the poster boy for political resentment and rage, and he's proud of it."
Time's November 7 cover story argued: "Gingrich has been perfecting his ability to disrupt the majority and move the opposition into an increasingly radical position on the right." Richard Lacayo found Gingrich less intellectual than obnoxious: "His ideas, which don't often come to grips with the particulars of policymaking, may be less important than his signature mood of righteous belligerence."
Newsweek took the attack to another level with an article on Gingrich's personal life titled "How 'Normal' Is Newt?" Reporter Mark Hosenball explained: "The answer is just as normal as many Americans -- at least the ones who see their marriages fail, change their views and don't always practice their professed beliefs." Hosenball unearthed such scoops as his student protests at Tulane in favor of "obscene" pictures. Newsweek captioned an old photo: "RADICAL GEEK." NPR's Sunni Khalid remarked on C-SPAN's Journalists Roundtable Oct. 14 that Gingrich was "looking at a more scientific, a more civil way of lynching people."
After all this, NBC's Tom Brokaw and CNN's Bernard Shaw asked on election night if Gingrich would "moderate" his tone. The next morning between 5:30 and 10, CNN employed the words "partisan bomb-thrower" three times, "combative" three times, and "fierce partisan" once.
END of Reprint from MediaWatch
An article in the December 1994 MediaWatch, online at: www.mediaresearch.org
Reporters have pounced on every "controversial" utterance from House Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich, instead of providing a sober look at the substance of his policies.
On the November 13 This Week with David Brinkley, Sam Donaldson claimed: "A lot of people are afraid of you, they think you're a bomb thrower. Worse, you're an intolerant bigot. Speak to them." Donaldson identified Newt's problem: "It's the way you talk. You talk about the Clintons as members of the counterculture, the elitists, the left-wingers, how can you have an accommodation with the President when you read him out of 'the Americans,' as you put it?" Donaldson charged: "When you talk about people, you don't talk about it just in terms of the differences, and arguments over policy, or theology, or philosophy, but you talk about it in terms of the American way, your way, and their way, which you suggest isn't American."
On that night's CBS Evening News, Joe Klein noted "like [basketball star] Charles Barkley, Gingrich also has a tendency to get carried away, to throw elbows." Citing Gingrich's comments that the Great Society was a "disaster," Klein contended: "political insiders were wondering...would Newt's new responsibilities make him more statesmanlike, more responsible, less flagrant? Naah!"
Tom Brokaw got personal in the first network magazine profile of Gingrich, on the November 15 Dateline NBC, focusing on the "archconservative" Speaker's "controversial" statements, personal life, and ethics. For refusing to discuss his divorce, Brokaw found hypocrisy: "Gingrich, who makes so much of family values, is touchy on this issue." Brokaw delved into Gingrich's religious life: "He was more combative, perfecting his trademark scorched-earth tactics. That change caused a split between Gingrich and his Baptist minister." Brokaw called Gingrich's criticism of FDA Commissioner David Kessler as "very ominous."
Ignoring the Republicans' prior status as the minority party, Brokaw maintained that "Gingrich has distinguished himself, not for his legislative record, but for carrying the conservative torch and burning Democratic initiatives." Brokaw failed to consider that "burning Democratic initiatives" may have been the legislative record voters preferred.
END of Reprint of MediaWatch article
After ignoring for months how Democratic control of the House and Senate would put left-wingers in charge of key committees, on Thursday night the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts acknowledged that reality as they sprinkled the "liberal" label in their stories. On Wednesday night, the three newscasts featured interviews with likely House Speaker Nancy Pelolsi (NewsBusters post), but only ABC applied an ideological tag, with Charles Gibson describing her as a "liberal Democrat." Prompted by Senator George Allen's concession, thus meaning a Democratic takeover of the Senate as well as of the House, the networks looked at the new make-up of Capitol Hill. None, however, mentioned the far-left John Conyers, who has advocated impeaching President Bush, assuming the Chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee.
CBS's Sharyl Attkisson noted how "the agenda will be largely set by the powerful congressional committees with some of the longest serving liberals in charge" and she cited how "Republican Tom Davis on Government Reform will be replaced by liberal Democrat Henry Waxman, who's known for tough oversight of corporations and government." On screen, by a picture of Waxman, CBS put a laudatory-sounding quest: "Corporate oversight?"ABC's Jake Tapper stuck only to the Senate as he referred to the "liberal lion, Senator Ted Kennedy" at Health Education and Labor and concluded with how "complicating the Senate math for the President is the fact that seven Democratic Senators are harboring serious presidential ambitions for 2008 -- meaning many of them are going to try to appeal to the party's liberal base." NBC's Chip Reid only managed one liberal label -- "Vermont liberal Pat Leahy" -- as he recited a litany of new House and Senate committee chairmen.
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Slightly more about those three November 9 stories:
# CBS Evening News. Sharyl Attkisson recited likely Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage, passing 9/11 Commission recommendations and allowing the government to "negotiate cheaper group drug prices with pharmaceutical companies," and then observed: "The agenda will be largely set by the powerful congressional committees with some of the longest serving liberals in charge" citing Charles Rangel on Ways and Means and then how "Republican Tom Davis on Government Reform will be replaced by liberal Democrat Henry Waxman, who's known for tough oversight of corporations and government."
# ABC's World News. Jake Tapper referred to how the "liberal lion, Senator Ted Kennedy" will take charge at the Health Education and Labor Committee. He concluded: "Complicating the Senate math for the President is the fact that seven Democratic Senators are harboring serious presidential ambitions for 2008 -- meaning many of them are going to try to appeal to the party's liberal base. That's a real potential headache for the President."
# NBC Nightly News. Chip Reid only managed one liberal label as he recited a litany of new committee chairman. For instance, he avoided tagging Waxman: "Congressman Henry Waxman is one of the Democrats' most-aggressive investigators, targeting Iraq contractors, especially Halliburton. And as Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee he'll have vast new resources and the power to subpoena witnesses."
Reid's label: "Other familiar Democratic faces will return to chair major Senate committees, including Vermont liberal Pat Leahy, whose Judiciary will confirm or reject any nominees to the Supreme Court."
Though conservatives blame Republican mid-term losses on the GOP Congress failing to adhere to conservative principles, on Thursday's Situation Room CNN analyst Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans were too conservative and must move left in order to recover: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived." Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that's what Schneider meant.
Schneider also provided examples of new Democratic "moderates," without considering how the success of those with pro-life and pro-Second Amendment views suggests Democrats had to go right of center to win. Among those he cited were Joe Lieberman, Heath Shuler, Bob Casey, and Jon Tester: "The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate include a lot of newly elected moderates like Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a former Washington Redskins quarterback who was courted by the Republicans, and Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana County sheriff who signed a pledge not to raise taxes. In the Senate, there is Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Jon Tester of Montana and Jim Webb of Virginia, who used to be a Republican and was President Reagan's Navy Secretary. And Joe Lieberman will still be around."
[This item was adopted from a Thursday posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 4:37pm EST on November 9:
Wolf Blitzer: "So how will the new equation work? And can Democrats work with President Bush? Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. Bill?"
Schneider: "Wolf, there are two ways of looking at what the voters have created. You could say they voted for divided government or government of national unity. President Bush seems to want a government of national unity to succeed".
Schneider: "Can it happen? There is reason for hope. The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate include a lot of newly elected moderates like Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a former Washington Redskins quarterback who was courted by the Republicans, and Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana County sheriff who signed a pledge not to raise taxes. In the Senate, there is Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Jon Tester of Montana and Jim Webb of Virginia, who used to be a Republican and was President Reagan's navy secretary. And Joe Lieberman will still be around. How accommodating will Republicans be? Moderate Republicans have diminished in number. Representatives Jim Leach of Iowa and Nancy Johnson Connecticut were defeated. So were two moderate Republican Senators Lincoln Chafee and Mike DeWine of Ohio. Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."
Fox's Geraldo Rivera on Wednesday cheered the Democrats' victory as he railed against the "anti-immigration" GOP, called Rush Limbaugh "snot-nosed," and campaigned for a minimum wage increase. On the syndicated Geraldo At Large, Rivera said of Republicans who opposed illegal immigration, "I am delighted to say that they got their butts kicked!" Rivera then mocked Limbaugh as he declared Claire McCaskill "was propelled to victory when snot-nosed Rush Limbaugh made fun of Parkinson patient Michael J. Fox's symptoms." Rivera also implored the Democrats to raise the minimum wage: "The incoming 110th Congress must also work in a bipartisan way finally to raise the national minimum wage. It has been a pathetic $5.15 an hour for almost 10 years."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Rivera took his first shots at the GOP in this tease: "They told all those immigrants whose blood, sweat and tears helped keep our nation running to go home. They fought against raising the minimum wage for citizens. They stunk up the place with corruption and made a mess of the war but times they are a changing. I'm Geraldo Rivera and I approve this message."
Rivera closed the November 8 show with the following commentary:
It looks like MSNBC and Chris Matthews hit their target "demographic" of liberal Democrats on Election Night. On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews revealed his friend at the Democratic Party headquarters told him MSNBC was "on all night there." Matthews then proudly exclaimed: "That is great news in terms of us reaching the important demographics, of course." NBC News producer Mike Viquiera, who was at the party, said they rotated "between two of the three cable networks and I'm not gonna tell you which of the third networks that they didn't rotate to." To which Matthews asserted: "I think we're probably the one in the middle...politically."
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following exchange occurred on the November 8 edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "NBC News congressional producer Mike Viqueira watched the election results come in last night from the Democratic Party's election headquarters. Mike, was it you that was controlling the TV last night? Because I thought it was so great. I talked to a friend of mine Smith Bagley today he said he was over there, Elizabeth Bagley his wife, they're contributors and supporters of the Democratic Party, they told me that we were on all night there. That is great news in terms of us reaching the important demographics, of course."
As the alleged titans of HDNet get ready to debut disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's new show next week, Rather told the Denver alternative weekly Westword that he and HDNet mogul Mark Cuban are great compadres without any distinguishing ideological characteristics: "Rather...has much the same attitude. 'I don't know what Mark's politics are, and I don't care -- and he doesn't care what mine are as far as I have them,' he says. 'My only bias is to do reporting that doesn't cave in to people in powerful positions. When I refuse to report the news the way somebody wants it reported, increasingly those people will say, "We'll hang a sign around you and use every means at our disposal to make people see you in a negative way," he continues. 'But professionally, I am what my record is. And what my record shows is that I'm independent -- fiercely so, when I think it's necessary. And what's encouraging to me is, the audience gets it.'"
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Does he really want to go on a publicity tour with the message "I am what my record is"? Ouch. Rather's record is a record of being fiercely negative to Republicans (especially Bushes) and fiercely protective of Democrats (especially Clintons.) Anyone who buys the notion that Dan is fiercely independent needs to go back and see him interviewing Hillary the "political superstar....Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning." That's fiercely something, but it's not fiercely independent. It obviously qualifies as caving into power in a most gelatinous way. See: www.mrc.org
(For the MRC's collection of Rather's worst bias: www.mrc.org )
While Westword made oblique reference to Rather's, ahem, problem with using phony memos in an attempt to discredit President Bush, we are told Rather was a hot commodity:
Cuban stresses that Rather was very much in demand after leaving CBS earlier this year. "He was swamped with offers from other networks, in particular on cable," he maintains. "He chose the network that was most differentiated from the way things are always done: HDNet."
The fact that a single individual was in charge was attractive to Rather as well. "I was looking for what Bill Paley was in the 1930s, or what Ted Turner was in the late '70s -- someone who owned their own entity and had a passion for news," he recalls. A mutual acquaintance suggested that he meet with Cuban, whom Rather knew mainly from the Mavs. ("I'm a basketball nut," he says.) But when they got together in February, the men found further common ground in their admiration for CBS legend Edward R. Murrow, the subject of Good Night, and Good Luck, a George Clooney-directed movie that Cuban executive-produced. When Rather revealed that he wanted to model his next program on Murrow's classic See It Now series, "Mark said, 'I can do that,' which took me aback. But things moved very quickly after that. He told me he wanted me to have complete, total and absolute creative control, and he's been better than his word in every category. I don't know if I've found a 21st-century version of Bill Paley or Ted Turner, but if I haven't, I've found someone as close as I reckon I'm going to get."
With a staff of only around twenty, Rather says he feels like he's working "without a net" on Reports -- but in some ways, he prefers knowing there isn't one to thinking there is and discovering otherwise. "I don't spend time thinking about CBS News, and I don't think they spend time thinking about me. It's in my rearview mirror," he says. "But in a large corporate setting, it's increasingly difficult to know who makes the decisions about whether you get backup. And Mark is no stranger to controversy. He knows how to handle heat, heavy heat, and I appreciate that."
As for Cuban, he can afford to shrug off the gripes of conservatives and anyone else who has a problem with Dan Rather Reports. As he puts it, "I think media critics take sides and attack whoever they think is on the other side. It's a shame, but true. Which is why we don't pay attention to the way things have always been done."
END of Excerpt
For the WestWord article: www.westword.com
The liberal O'Donnell then went on to tell conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck to not be afraid of terrorists: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country-" Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe-" O'Donnell countered: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They're mothers and fathers."
[This item, by Megan McCormack, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Joining the ladies as a guest co-host was Barbara Walters' best friend, retired opera singer Beverly Sills. Sills seemed to fit in well with the majority liberal View panel, as she deplored what she saw as a lack of vocal opposition to the war before it began, leading to O'Donnell's rant equating today's environment to the "McCarthy era":
Beverly Sills: "And the weapons of mass destruction, I don't remember everybody, now you can't find anybody who was in favor of it ever. I mean, where was the great, great screaming and yelling?"
Hasselbeck pointed out that before the Iraq war, Senator Hillary Clinton had made this statement during a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate: "It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
O'Donnell used Clinton's words to defend the United Nations and slammed Britain for being "on our side and in our pocket":
Hasselbeck: "These are quotes of, of people like Hillary Clinton, who were, 'if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological warfare-"
Sills then rejoined the conversation, seemingly arguing for negotiating with the enemy:
Sills went on a nonsensical rant, where she made it sound as if the government had placed the blame for September 11th on one person:
It's not exactly clear to whom Sills was referring, but most people recognize that those responsible for the 9/11 tragedy either died in the terror attacks, been killed or captured, or are being pursued in the war on terror.
Towards the end of the segment, O'Donnell berated Hasselbeck for "fearing" terrorists:
O'Donnell: "Well, you have two choices in life, Elisabeth. Faith or fear. Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country-"
If the phrase "faith and fear" sounds familiar, it should. O'Donnell, as the September 13 CyberAlert reported, used that line before, arguing that "the government should lead by faith, never by fear," in the same program where she declared, "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." Fore more, and video, go to: www.mrc.org
From the November 9 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs George W. Bush Is Depressed." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Speaks wistfully of the days when his approval rating was 33%
9. Barely musters a smile when catching Cheney torture detainees
8. Smug, arrogant smirk replaced by smug, arrogant frown
7. Barely laughs anymore during "Happy Days" reruns
6. Falls asleep during intelligence briefings...actually, he always did that
5. No longer pretends he quit drinking
4. Sits in the Oval Office listening to Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" over and over
3. When Rumsfeld left yesterday, Bush pleaded, "Take me with you"
2. At lunch with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, he hardly touched his fish sticks
1. Asked Bubba if he still had the big chick's phone number
-- Brent Baker