That Frist is White and Senate Has No Blacks Stuns CNN Anchor
3. Woodruff Suggests Frist Just as Bad as Lott on Civil Rights
MSNBC Sees "Code Words" in Reagan Speech
Now CBS Highlights Racist Remarks by Democrats
Broder Contrasts GOP Favorably with How Dems Treated Clinton
Schieffer Slept Through Lott's Remarks
ABC Hypes "Historic" Homelessness Made Up of Working Moms
Letterman's "Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Jumping Out of a Helicopter."
George Stephanopoulos, conduit for Hillary Clinton's unsubstantiated claim that the Republican Party practices racist politics. Stephanopoulos raised the allegation both on Friday's World News Tonight and Sunday's This Week. On Friday, he tied in Senator Frist specifically as he added, without citing any evidence, how Democrats have asked the "Justice Department to investigate the 2002 elections. They say Republicans tried to keep blacks from voting. Bill Frist was the man leading that election charge." On Sunday, he asked Orrin Hatch: "Does your party still have some cleansing to do on the race issue?"
Peter Jennings asked Stephanopoulos on the December 20 World News Tonight: "George, you listened to the Democrats today and they're trying to not make it about Trent Lott or even Senator Frist, but about policy."
Two days later, on Sunday's This Week, Stephanopoulos began a segment with Senators Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy by confronting Hatch: "I want to begin by playing short statement about the controversy made by Senator Clinton on Friday. Here's what she had to say:"
To be fair to Stephanopoulos, this is the Christmas season after all, on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume played the same Hillary Clinton soundbite for Senator Mitch McConnell.
The fact that Senator Bill Frist, the expected new Senate Majority Leader, is white disturbed CNN afternoon anchor Kyra Phillips on Friday as she seemed to not realize the Senate has no black members of either party. "It's sort of ironic," she decided just past 2pm EST, "because the possible replacements, once again: white males." Informed of the Senate's lack of diversity, Phillips was appalled and, sounding like a Valley Girl, expressed her disappointment: "Diversity in the Senate, it's not there. That is a problem. Why is there no diversity in the Senate? And that's got to change, plain and simple."
The comments from Phillips, brought to my attention by former MRCer Tim Graham, occurred during a segment on the December 20 Live From in which Jeff Greenfield and Judy Woodruff were the guests.
Phillips queried Greenfield: "And, Jeff, you've brought up the issue of race relations, you know, coming to the forefront here. Big issue at hand. And yet it's sort of ironic because the possible replacements, once again: white males. So is someone like Frist, okay, coming up against an even bigger battle here?"
Greenfield explained: "I think the issue is a little larger than even you indicated because I don't care who's in power in the Senate, there's going to be a white person in charge because there are no blacks in the U.S. Senate. In fact, since Reconstruction, there have been a grand total of two: Ed Brooke, the Republican from Massachusetts; and Carole Moseley-Braun, the Democrat from Illinois...."
Phillips turned to Woodruff and delivered a mini-lecture: "And, Judy, definitely we want to look at that issue. Diversity in the Senate, it's not there. That is a problem. Why is there no diversity in the Senate? And that's got to change, plain and simple."
For a picture and bio of Phillips: http://www.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/cnn/phillips.kyra.html
Later on Friday, CNN's Judy Woodruff suggested that Bill Frist isn't any better than Trent Lott because both voted the same way on civil rights, as defined by liberals, as if opposing quotas and being against including sexual orientation in hate crimes makes one a racist.
Woodruff warned Inside Politics viewers that on civil rights "the record shows that several" of Frist's "key votes mirrored those of Lott. Both the Senator from Mississippi and the Senator from Tennessee voted 'yes' on banning affirmative action. That vote was in 1995. And both voted 'no' two years ago on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation."
Moments later Woodruff demanded of Senator John Warner: "Some of the Democrats are saying, look, you're replacing him with a new face, a fresh face, but the voting record of these two gentlemen, particularly on civil rights issues, issues of interest to the minority communities, are exactly the same. How is Bill Frist going to be different from Trent Lott?" Woodruff proceeded to cite how Bill Clinton claimed "the whole Republican apparatus supported campaigns in Georgia and South Carolina on the Confederate flag."
Woodruff asked near the top of her December 20 show: "Where does Bill Frist stand on civil rights, the issue that brought down Trent Lott? Well, the record shows that several of his key votes mirrored those of Lott. Both the Senator from Mississippi and the Senator from Tennessee voted 'yes' on banning affirmative action. That vote was in 1995. And both voted 'no' two years ago on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. The Trent Lott controversy has opened the door for some Democrats to question the Republican Party's overall record on race issues. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said today, quote, 'The new Republican leader in the Senate must do more now than merely disavow Senator Lott's words. He or she must confront the Republican Party's record on race and embrace policies that promote genuine healing and greater opportunity for all Americans.' In the House, incoming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi echoed a similar theme."
A bit later Woodruff pressed Warner: "Senator, what about the broader questions here? Some of the Democrats are saying, look, you're replacing him with a new face, a fresh face, but the voting record of these two gentlemen, particularly on civil rights issues, issues of interest to the minority communities, are exactly the same. How is Bill Frist going to be different from Trent Lott?"
Interviewing South Carolina Governor-elect Mark Sanford, Woodruff maintained her mantra: "If you look at the civil rights voting records of both Trent Lott and Bill Frist, they're really not that different. How, so how is Bill Frist going to be any better for the Republican Party in terms of its image when it comes to civil rights issues?"
Shuster suggested Ronald Reagan employed "code words" in a 1980 speech in Mississippi. He then ran this clip of Reagan from the event: "What we will really do and what we'll have to do is to bring back to this country what is so evident here. Bring back the recognition that the people of this country can solve the problems. That we don't have anything to be afraid of as long as we have the people of America."
Which words are the "code words"? Shuster did not say before preposterously claiming that "in 1988 George Bush won the South with help from Willie Horton." Bush won big enough so some ad by an outside group which got little play beyond news reports could hardly have had any significant impact.
Shuster opened his December 19 polemic, as taken down by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
Clinton is certainly in tune with the news media.
Indeed, as Brit Hume observed on Fox News Sunday: "The media are interested in this story and they rather believe and agree with the argument that...in general that the Republican Party has sort of a racist past and perhaps even to this day a racist core."
Previous CyberAlert items on the media's skill at seeing any Republican racial maneuver at a thousand yards while not being able see the history of the Democratic Party as the party of segregation and a party which is currently using racial fear mongering:
-- The media's hypocrisy. They've pounced on Trent Lott, but on National Review Online Marc Levin noted how they didn't care when just six weeks ago Bill Clinton praised J. William Fulbright, a racist, segregationist Senator, for urging Americans to be "utopian in our values and vision." In 1993, Clinton awarded Fulbright a Presidential Medal of Freedom and gushed: "The American political system produced this remarkable man, and my state did, and I'm real proud of it." See: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021211.asp#3
-- Both parties have used race at times to attract votes, but this week's Time and Newsweek magazines smeared only Republicans, and especially conservatives, as the ones exploiting white resentments against blacks. Newsweek declared: "Trent Lott and the GOP grew up together in the South. They both have a painful secret." Time argued: "When the Democratic Party embrace the civil rights movement, many alienated Southerners turned to the Republicans. The effects are still being felt today." It only took 40 years. Time even portrayed the Contract with America as racist. http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021219.asp#1
-- Republicans and conservatives as race exploiters, part 2. "Grand Old Segregationists" announced the headline over an online-only piece by Newsweek's Eleanor Clift who contended: "With one stupid and thoughtless attempt at humor, Lott stripped away the carefully constructed facade the Bush team erected at the GOP convention in 2000 and revealed the party's true colors." Jack White charged in an online posting for Time that Ronald Reagan "set a standard for exploiting white anger and resentment rarely seen since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door." http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021219.asp#2
Now they tell their viewers. On Friday night, after Trent Lott had stepped down, the CBS Evening News ran a piece which highlighted a couple of instances of racists remarks from Democrats, comments CBS had not cited in previous Lott stories.
Dan Rather noted on his December 20 broadcast: "The controversy Lott started is not over. Playing the race card in American politics didn't start or end with him. And politicians are scrambling to understand how the stakes and the times are changing. CBS News correspondent Bob Orr has this part of the story."
Democrats punted when presented with a moral crisis, but Republicans came through, Washington Post reporter/columnist David Broder opined on Sunday's Meet the Press in a rare rebuke from a member of the media of how liberals handled the Lewinsky mess.
Asked by moderator Tim Russert to say who came out losers in the Lott case, Broder first cited soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle because it will be hard for him to paint Republicans as scary when they are led by Senator Bill Frist. Broder then added: "The other reason I think the Democrats are losers is that when they had a moral issue in front of them with President Clinton they denounced them but they never acted against him. Indeed, they rallied around him and I think that contrast is one that people will remember."
Quite the rigorous work standard at the CBS News Washington bureau.
Schieffer used his usual end of show commentary on December 22 to explain why he was so slow to pick up on the Lott remarks:
Just in time for the holidays, a fresh dose of exaggeration about homelessness, complete with the usual lack of any facts to back up the hype of an ever-worsening crisis.
The latest purveyor of the liberal dread: ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday. On the December 21 program, anchor Elizabeth Vargas ominously intoned: "The ranks of the homeless across the nation are growing sharply. The problem has reached historic levels in some big cities and the suburbs aren't far behind. In Minneapolis, funds earmarked to help the homeless are expected to shrink by 40 percent. As ABC's Barbara Pinto reports, it is a system already bursting at the seams."
Checking in from Minneapolis, Pinto did not cite any evidence beyond the anecdotal claims of homeless advocates and she did not utter a syllable about any surge in homelessless in any suburb.
Pinto did, naturally, try to paint the homeless as sympathetically as possible so viewers would empathize with the victims: "Advocates say most of the new homeless are women with children, many of them work full time."
Pinto soon concluded over video of a homeless man walking down a sidewalk as it snowed: "With shelters underfunded and overflowing it will be a long cold winter for many."
Forgive my lack of sympathy, but this is the same old tale about "historic" levels of homelessless which afflicts working mothers with children the most that we heard all the time during the 1980s. It was exaggerated then for political gain and I'd bet this story reflects the same phenomenon.
From the December 20 Late Show with David Letterman, as announced by ten paratroopers from the Army's Special Operation Command and 18th Airborne Corps from Fort Bragg, North Carolina as they stood in the doorway of a helicopter, the "Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Jumping Out of a Helicopter." Late Show Web page: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/
10. "Do I have a fear of spiders or a fear of heights?"
9. "Am I feeling aerodynamic?"
8. "Wouldn't it be easier to get out after we land?"
7. "What the hell am I doing?"
6. "Am I supposed to tip the pilot?"
5. "I hope my rental car is ready?"
4. "What's the deal with Michael Jackson?"
3. "Am I really in that much of a hurry to get to the ground?"
2. "Everybody's jumping, right?"
1. "Were burritos the best thing to eat for lunch?"
Have a Merry Christmas, or if not of the Christian faith, a few happy days off from work. -- Brent Baker