2. CBS's Schieffer Twice Touts How Greenspan Predicts Tax Hikes
3. Clift: "Nuclear Option Equivalent of FDR's Trying to Pack Court"
4. Washington Times Runs Article on MRC's "DisHonors Awards" Gala
Reacting to Bush White House counselor Karl Rove's contention that the Washington press corps is "less liberal than it is oppositional," Wall Street Journal political editor John Harwood, on Inside Washington over the weekend, conceded that ideology is what really drives how journalists see politicians: "I believe it is true that a significant chunk of the press believes that Democrats are incompetent but good-hearted, and Republicans are very efficient but evil."
Inside Washington, the successor to the old Agronsky & Company, is a weekend public affairs show which used to be carried by many PBS stations but is now just aired in Washington, DC at 11:30am Sunday mornings on the ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV, and the night before, at 7pm, on NewsChannel 8, an all-news cable channel owned by the same company as WJLA-TV, Albritton Communications.
On the same program last July, when it was produced at Washington's CBS affiliate and still carried by a few PBS stations, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas acknowledged how "the media want Kerry to win" and predicted the media would be worth 15 points to Kerry:
For more about that appearance, see the July 12 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
John Harwood explained: "He gave a speech in the name of my father, Richard Harwood, who was the greatest media critic of his age. And he made the point that the press is oppositional in nature to a degree that is debilitating not just for Republican Presidents but Democratic Presidents. As for myself, I think that's a valid point. I would think the ideological point, which he downplayed in the speech, may be the more important one judging from the way the audience reactions are so segmented according to which media outlet they're looking at."
After comments from other panelists pleased with how Rove let them off the hook on bias, Harwood countered: "We can't lose sight of the ideological issue. I believe it is true that a significant chunk of the press believes that Democrats are incompetent but good-hearted, and Republicans are very efficient but evil."
For a picture and bio of John Harwood, who pens the weekly Capital Journal column for the Wall Street Journal, in addition to reporting for the paper and appearing regularly on MSNBC and PBS's Washington Week, go to: www.pbs.org
Home page for Inside Washington: www.wjla.com
Home page for Washington College: www.washcoll.edu
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank jumped on Rove's downplaying of liberal bias. An excerpt from news story, "Rove's Reading: Not So Liberal as Leery," published on April 20:
....What lured Bush's most trusted adviser to this locale was an irresistible invitation: a chance to play media critic. For more than an hour, he lectured about everything that is wrong with journalism, and his conclusion may surprise conservatives such as Tom DeLay, who has been complaining in recent days about a "liberal media" smear campaign.
"I'm not sure I've talked about the liberal media," Rove said when a student inquired -- a decision he said he made "consciously." The press is generally liberal, he argued, but "I think it's less liberal than it is oppositional."
The argument -- similar to the one that former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer made in his recent book -- is nuanced, nonpartisan and, to the ears of many journalists, right on target. "Reporters now see their role less as discovering facts and fair-mindedly reporting the truth and more as being put on the earth to afflict the comfortable, to be a constant thorn of those in power, whether they are Republican or Democrat," Rove said.
His indictment of the media -- delivered as part of Washington College's Harwood Lecture Series, named for the late Washington Post editor and writer Richard Harwood -- had four parts: that there's been an explosion in the number of media outlets; that these outlets have an insatiable demand for content; that these changes create enormous competitive pressure; and that journalists have increasingly adopted an antagonistic attitude toward public officials. Beyond that, Rove argued that the press pays too much attention to polls and "horse-race" politics, and covers governing as if it were a campaign....
END of Excerpt
CBS's Bob Schieffer, who suggested last year that the next President would have to "stop" Bush's tax cuts, and who just two months ago predicted that President Bush "will raise taxes" since tax hikes are necessary to cut the deficit, twice over the weekend trumpeted supposed affirmation for his position by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. On Friday's CBS Evening News, Schieffer brought up how Greenspan "said he now expects that in order to bring the deficit into line the government may have to raise taxes." In his Face the Nation commentary on Sunday, Schieffer fretted about how in the rush of weekday news, as opposed to slow news weekends, "important developments are all but ignored," such as one revelation "buried in the back pages of the Washington Post, a story in which Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the runaway federal deficit was getting so bad, he expected taxes would have to be raised to bring it into line." The Post had "buried" the story, "Greenspan Says He Expects Tax Increases," by running it across the top of Friday's "Business" section.
On the April 22 CBS Evening News, after Anthony Mason finished a story about the volatility of the stock market during the week, anchor Schieffer asked him:
Schieffer concluded the April 24 Face the Nation with this commentary: "Finally today, when journalism students ask me to define what news is, I always say it depends on the day it happens and what else is happening. I learned that during the 23 years that I anchored the weekend news. The minor disaster that is the Saturday news lead story may warrant only brief mention during the week when it has to compete for space with a lot more things that are making news. I remember one long ago Sunday when it was so quiet, I could think of no better way to start the newscast than by saying, 'The largest grass fire in the history of Orange County swept through Southern California today.'
Schieffer has long-advocated blocking tax cuts and/or raising taxes. Two examples:
-- From the February 2, 2004 CyberAlert: Late last week the White House conceded its prescription drug entitlement plan would cost 33 percent more than promised, but on Sunday CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't see that permanent program as an impediment to deficit reduction. Instead, he cued up guest John Edwards to agree that the tax cuts, which will be phased out over the next six years, must be stopped. Schieffer prompted Edwards: "Aren't you going to at least have to stop some of these tax cuts or in effect raise taxes?" See: www.mediaresearch.org
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday, for the first time explicitly, that he expects tax increases to be part of any eventual agreement to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Greenspan, appearing before the Senate Budget Committee, also acknowledged that his support for tax cuts in early 2001 unintentionally led to policies that helped swing the federal budget from surplus to deficits. In pointed comments, Greenspan addressed recent Democratic critics who have sought to blame him for the return to deficits.
Greenspan reminded lawmakers that government economists at the time predicted budget surpluses "as far as the eye can see." Yet Greenspan had warned then in congressional testimony that the forecasts might be wrong, and he recommended some "trigger" mechanism that would limit the tax cuts if certain budget targets were not met.
Greenspan said he thinks "it's frankly unfair" for critics to blame him now for the fact that Congress chose to "read half [his] testimony and discard the rest."...
The deficit hit a record $412 billion last year and is projected to expand dramatically as the huge baby boom generation starts retiring and collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits.
"The federal budget deficit is on an unsustainable path, in which large deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest payments that augment deficits in future years," Greenspan said in his prepared testimony yesterday.
The economy is "expanding at a reasonably good pace," Greenspan said, without commenting on the recent slowdown in spending and hiring or the outlook for inflation and interest rates.
But, he said, the economy's "positive" short-term prospects contrast with longer-run concerns that unrestrained growth in the budget deficit will eventually "cause the economy to stagnate or worse."
The Fed chief called for "major deficit-reducing actions" and proposed several procedural steps Congress could implement to restrain the deficit's growth.
Greenspan has frequently said he would prefer the deficit be shrunk as much as possible through spending cuts -- including reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits -- before taxes are increased. He said yesterday that he believes raising taxes restrains economic growth and that there is "no way you can raise tax rates enough" to cover future spending commitments.
But he also implied that reaching a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit will require some compromises, saying, "We can raise taxes, and I don't deny we probably at the end of the day will do them [tax increases] in order to get an ultimate resolution of this."...
Greenspan has endorsed extending the recent tax cuts. But he has always done so while urging Congress to restore budget controls requiring lost tax revenue to be offset by similarly sized spending reductions, so there is no net growth in the deficit....
END of Excerpt
For the Washington Post story in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Hyperbolic claim of the weekend. In a discussion on the McLaughlin Group about how Senate Republicans are considering the so-called "nuclear option" of a vote to require a simple majority to confirm judges, and thus restore the Senate to its long tradition interrupted by current Democratic filibuster threats, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift declared: "The nuclear option is the equivalent of FDR's trying to pack the court."
That's so off-base it's hard to know what to say. FDR tried to expand the number of judges on the Supreme Court so he could fill those additional slots with justices friendly to his expansionist government ideas. Republicans presently are just trying to allow a majority vote to confirm justices for openings in already-existing appeals court seats and it is the Democrats who have changed the system by requiring a 60-vote super-majority to confirm any judge the minority party does not like.
"Hoots and jabs at liberal bias" read the headline over a Monday Washington Times "Party Lines" story on the MRC's "2005 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004," which was held Thursday night. Reporter Christian Toto asserted that "nailing ideologues left and far left is the Center's specialty" and, after recounting some of the wining quotes, suggested: "The MRC couldn't have written this stuff themselves."
The online version does not include the picture or pictures which likely accompany the article (I haven't seen the actual newspaper yet), so to see those you'll need to pick up a hard copy of the April 25 Washington Times, where the article should appear on the back page of the Metropolitan section.
For the online version: www.washingtontimes.com
A reprint of the story by Christian Toto:
L. Brent Bozell III's Media Research Center was confounding liberal media types well before any bloggers hooked up their modems.
Nailing ideologues left and far left is the Center's specialty, especially at its annual Media DisHonors Awards gala, which took place Thursday at the J.W. Marriott.
Good thing some journalists still haven't gotten the memo about liberal bias.
Conservative talk titans Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz and recent Time cover girl Ann Coulter were all there to stick it to scribes who can't help letting their guard down -- and biases show.
CBS' Dan Rather, who left his anchor chair last month after airing a story based on fraudulent National Guard documents about President Bush, took the heaviest fire.
The tough-talking Texan walked away with Quote of the Year honors for the embarrassing fiasco, although many guests admitted between guffaws that they will miss their favorite liberal target.
A 950-plus strong band of MRC supporters, which included GOP strategist Mary Matalin, former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore and radio host G. Gordon Liddy, roared at the assembled clips and commentary.
"They did it again. They knew we needed material to dishonor tonight," returning emcee Cal Thomas quipped as he kicked off the program. "They'll be in denial until they turn off the last light."
Among the nominees were radio host Janeane Garofalo, who declared the president "unelectable" after his re-election; and Walter Cronkite, who suggested GOP adviser Karl Rove somehow got Osama bin Laden to make a video denouncing President Bush before the election.
"What a Rolodex -- Osama on speed dial," joked the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Colin McNickle, who was on hand to accept the award "on Mr. Cronkite's behalf."
Other highlights included a clip of "60 Minutes" mainstay Morley Safer saying history wouldn't have any reason to be kind to President Ronald Reagan, and PBS' Bill Moyers equating terrorist insurgents beheading innocents to Iraqi civilians accidentally killed by U.S. smart bombs.
The MRC couldn't have written this stuff themselves.
The news watchdogs also feted the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, led by Vietnam veteran John O'Neill, with its Conservative of the Year award for their broadsides against presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry last year.
Mr. Hannity (who was all smiles at a pre-gala reception despite the fact that Miss Coulter drew a thicker throng) said no matter how hard the MRC toils, mainstream media types aren't likely to change -- even if their professional hides are at stake. "They're going to go down being arrogant," he said.
END of Reprint
For the CyberAlert rundown of the event: www.mediaresearch.org
For the MRC's Web site page on the awards ceremony, with RealPlayer videos of all of the nominated quotes, and clips of the presentations and acceptances in jest, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker