2. Poll: Most Think Media Portraying Iraq as Worse Than Reality
3. Cronkite: Liberals "Humane," Conservatives "Less Sensitive"
4. Fox Replaces Snow with Wallace, an ABCer with a Liberal Record
5. MRC Study: "Censoring the Partial-Birth Abortion Basics"
Corrections: An October 27 CyberAlert article about how, in a Washington Post story, the "moderate" Democratic candidate in a local race was described as being for good government, "low crime, excellent schools" while the "conservative" Republican was just the opposite and so, seemingly, for bad government management, higher crime and bad schools, stated that the story appeared on the front page of the "Metro" section. In fact, it ran on the front page of the Sunday newspaper.
Sunday's Washington Post story on the latest "anti-war" protest organized by some very far-left groups ignored the more incendiary comments from the officially-sanctioned speakers on the stage and tried to portray an image of a group of average people next door coming together along with concerned relatives of those deployed in Iraq, as opposed to a bunch of hateful political activists.
Coverage on C-SPAN of Saturday's protest on the Washington Monument grounds showed, for instance, a rapper who [WARNING: Accurate quoting of an obscenity throughout rest of this item] included "Fuck George Bush!" in his lyrics, an ending line which led the crowd to enthusiastically start chanting: "Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush!..." The emcee, Reverend Graylan Haglar of something called Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice, hardly condemned the sentiment: "Now there's a chant I can't repeat! Amen, alright!"
Nonetheless, in two stories on Sunday the Post managed to ignore what was said from the podium -- by all but Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton and one sentence from the father of a soldier in Iraq that was quite reasonable compared to the "fuck Bush" line -- which included speakers praising Fidel Castro, as the paper focused on painting attendees in the most sympathetic light possible.
"In D.C., a Diverse Mix Rouses War Protest," read the headline over a page A-8 story by reporter Manny Fernandez who asserted:
Fernandez focused not on the expressions of hatred toward Bush but on the credibility of a relative of a deployed soldier and on a Vietnam veteran in attendance: "Organizers said a large number of veterans and military families with loved ones in Iraq participated. Around her neck, Nanci Mansfield of Burnsville, N.C., wore a heart-shaped sign with a picture of her son in military uniform and the words: 'Love my soldier. Hate this war.' Some of the biggest applause at the rally, which filled a corner of the monument grounds at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, came when Fernando Suarez del Solar of Escondido, Calif., whose Marine son was killed March 27 in Iraq, addressed the crowd. 'We need to make Mr. Bush understand: He's not the owner of the lives of our children,' he said.
For the October 26 Post story in full: www.washingtonpost.com
They were near the front of the antiwar march downtown yesterday, dozens of parents, siblings and spouses of soldiers, sailors and Marines occupying Iraq. They drew energy from each other, from the exciting discovery that there were so many in the same situation. They traded stories of extended deployments and shaky morale. They carried poster-size pictures of their loved ones standing proudly in dress uniforms, and they raised a banner that said: "Bush Says Bring 'Em On, We Say Bring 'Em Home Now!"
It wasn't always so communal for this unique wing of the antiwar movement. In the beginning, during those months leading up to the invasion, its message seemed almost too tricky to express: Support the troops -- of course, their family members were the troops -- but oppose the war.
So, many, like Fred and Marianne D'Amato -- parents of Christopher, 23, a reservist who drives an Army truck in Iraq -- held their tongues and crossed their fingers. They thought they were alone and maybe a little strange, a military family against the war.
Then in September, when it looked like Christopher might be deployed for more than a year, his father got fed up and painted a sign for his yard in Mount Pocono, Pa.: "Support Our Troops, Impeach Bush Admin."
There. He said it. And a town official promptly threatened to fine him for violating a sign ordinance. D'Amato fought it, got some media attention and kept his sign up.
The D'Amatos discovered they were not alone. They joined a group called Military Families Speak Out, which claims about 1,000 families nationwide. Yesterday the D'Amatos were marching in their first demonstration ever, with pictures of Christopher and a version of the yard sign.
"They can't speak up because they're in the military, but we can," said Marianne D'Amato, 54, a purchasing manager for the City University of New York....
END of Excerpt
For the second Post story in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Back to Saturday's protest rally as carried live by C-SPAN, a rapper whose name sounded something like "Osam Salam" delivered a rap with the refrain: "Plantation politics a capital gain." Another line: "It's my 40 acres, my reparations. Country was built on blacksploitation."
Salem opened his presentation: "I'm going to start this off like, fuck George Bush!" He ended it with: "And I'm going to end it just like I started it: Fuck George Bush!"
That prompted the crowd to start chanting: "Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush! Fuck George Bush!"
The clearly pleased emcee, Reverend Graylan Haglar, whom C-SPAN's on-screen graphic identified as with Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice, re-took the microphone: "Now there's a chant I can't repeat! Amen, alright!"
Web sites for the two far-left groups behind the protest:
For United for Peace and Justice: unitedforpeace.org
For International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a coalition which literally includes pro-communist groups: www.internationalanswer.org
International A.N.S.W.E.R. was so pleased with Fernandez's Washington Post story that they posted it on their site: www.internationalanswer.org
More than twice as many American think the media are portraying too bleak a picture of the situation in Iraq as believe the media are painting the situation as "better than it really is," a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll released last week discovered. In fact, across a series of categories of people (party affiliation and news source, for instance), while in some areas a plurality see the media as getting it about right, in all the sub-groups more see the media as portraying Iraq as worse than it than those who think the media are showing it as better than reality.
Surprisingly, even amongst those against going to war, 26 percent see coverage as overly negative compared to 22 percent who think it's too upbeat.
Pew's Web page summarized its findings: "The latest Pew Research Center national survey, conducted Oct. 15-19 among 1,515 adults, finds that nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) believe the news media is painting too bleak a picture of the situation in Iraq, while 36% say media reports are fairly accurate and 14% say news organizations are showing the situation there to be better than it really is."
Specifically, to the question, "News reports are making the situation in Iraq seem...better/worse than it really is," the results:
By sub group, with the percent for worse compared to better and then the "about right" percent:
-- Party affiliation:
-- News source:
-- View of war:
For the complete poll results: people-press.org
Cronkite's world: Liberals are "humane," conservatives are "less sensitive." Asked if he thinks most members of the media are liberal, former CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite told Time magazine that "they're on the humane side, and that would appear to many to be on the liberal side." He argued that "the meaner side of life is made visible to most young reporters" and so that "affects their sentimental feeling toward their fellow man," an impact that Cronkite contended, "is interpreted by some less-sensitive people as being liberal."
Cronkite made claims during a "10 Questions" session in the November 3 edition conducted by Richard Zoglin in which he also denounced President Bush's foreign policy. An excerpt:
Question: You have basically come out and said you're a liberal. How do you respond when critics say, "Aha, I knew reporters were liberal, and this is why the media is biased"?
Question: Was there ever a time when you were anchoring that it was difficult for you to hold in your feelings?
Question: Do you believe most reporters are liberal?
Question: How do you rate George W. Bush as president?
Question: For good or ill?
END of Excerpt
For Time magazine's one page interview in full: www.time.com
-- September 11 CyberAlert: Walter Cronkite, appearing on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN, declared that he thinks "we were misled" by the Bush administration about the Iraqi threat and contended "it's a question seriously of whether that was deliberately done." The performance at the Tuesday night debate of the field of left-wing presidential candidates pleased Cronkite: "I was impressed with the field. It was perhaps better than some people thought it might be." But he thinks Bush can be beaten since "no matter how the trickle-down theory works with the tax cut finally reaching the people in the lower levels," it's "not going to be enough to wipe out the memories of this long period of unemployment among so many people. And not just unemployment, but a depression." See: www.mediaresearch.org
The day Fox News announced that they had nudged out Tony Snow as moderator of Fox News Sunday and replaced him with Chris Wallace, a veteran of NBC and ABC News, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz insisted Wallace is "an aggressive journalist with no obvious political leanings," whose hiring "would be a coup for the 'fair and balanced' network, which is widely viewed as catering to a conservative audience."
Though it's been nearly a decade since Wallace, now a correspondent on ABC's Prime Time Thursday, has done much political reporting for ABC News, a check of the MRC archive found that back in the 1994-95 range as a substitute anchor of Nightline, he delivered a pretty conventional liberal media take on such issues as welfare reform and the environment.
Wallace framed a 1994 Nightline: "Does the Republican plan for welfare go too far?" He called welfare form "radical," cited as authoritative some warnings of ominous consequences claimed by a left-wing group and made a conservative guest respond to a half-dozen questions about how the GOP bill would force more kids into orphanages, wondering: "Isn't that like something out of Charles Dickens?" After a particularly biased 1995 Nightline piece slamming the new Republican Congress' plans for environmental policy, Wallace posed this as his first question to Senator Ted Stevens: "Now it seems that the GOP is going after everything but Bambi. How come?"
Following up on his Monday story about the impending hiring of Wallace, Kurtz on Tuesday quoted Wallace, who Kurtz noted "will also play a key role in Fox's presidential campaign coverage," as holding the conventional, condescending liberal view of the Fox News Channel: "'I had the same conception a lot of people did about Fox News, that they have a right-wing agenda,' he said yesterday after being named the host of Fox News Sunday. 'I'm a straight-newsman -- I plead guilty.'"
Kurtz added, however, that Wallace maintained "he became convinced after months of watching Fox News Channel that the network gets 'an unfair rap. Its reporting is serious, thoughtful and evenhanded....If they wanted someone to push a political agenda, they wouldn't have hired me.'"
Amongst the four broadcast network Sunday morning shows, under Tony Snow Fox News Sunday was the only one to earn growth in viewership over the past year, though it remains well behind the third place This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. Kurtz relayed in his Monday story: "With an average of 1.6 million viewers, Fox News Sunday is the only Sunday broadcast show whose viewership is up this year, from 1.3 million in the same period last year. But it still trails Meet the Press (4.2 million), CBS's Face the Nation (2.7 million) and ABC's This Week (2.5 million). Fox executives say they hope a new anchor will generate greater support from affiliate stations that do little or no news and offer church programming as a Sunday lead-in."
Kurtz noted that "Fox News executives believed Tony Snow did a solid job in his seven years as a Sunday morning host, but that it was time for a change." Snow will continue doing some work for FNC and start a radio show on Fox's new radio network. "The radio idea," Kurtz suggested, "was also a way of easing Snow out at a time when Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes believes that the program needs a jump-start, network sources say."
My guess as to why Fox News would make such a major change to a show that is gaining audience: First, as Kurtz observed, Ailes wanted to put a "star" in that slot who would help get more Fox affiliates to run the show in a preferred time slot. Second, Ailes hopes the move will simultaneously validate Fox News as credible and not as right wing as its image by showing that a mainstream journalist from a real network considers Fox News to be a genuine news operation. In a sense, Ailes is following the CNN formula of trying to gain notice and audience by picking up well-known media players from broadcast networks, such as Aaron Brown, Connie Chung, Soledad O'Brien, Anderson Cooper and, via FNC, CBS's Paula Zahn.
Indeed, Ailes boasted to Kurtz, in the Tuesday article, that "the hiring of Wallace 'makes it more difficult for our critics' who say the network tilts to the right. 'They want to pigeonhole us into something that their imagination tells them,' Ailes said."
For Kurtz's Monday, October 27 story: www.washingtonpost.com
-- A "Newsbite" in the December 1994 MediaWatch:
Nervous Nightline. When the media clamor for "change," it's the kind of change exemplified by the Clintons' vision of reform, not the Republicans. While the media heralded Clinton's promise to "end welfare as we know it," ABC's November 23 Nightline asked the question: "Does the Republican plan for welfare go too far?" Host Chris Wallace noted "the number one thing they [voters] want to change is welfare." But he cautioned: "House Republicans have come out with a plan that can only be called radical." He quoted a study by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which "talks about the human cost. It predicts two and a half million families and at least five million children would stop getting benefits, causing increases in homelessness and hunger."
Wallace then focused on a single provision in the GOP bill, asking Rep. James Talent (R-Mo.), "the plan anticipates...orphanages. Isn't that like something out of Charles Dickens?" Ignoring Talent's assertion that states given block grants will make their own arrangements, Wallace devoted five more questions to orphanages.
-- From Notable Quotables, two of substitute host Chris Wallace's six liberal questions to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala on the July 31, 1996 Nightline:
# "Secretary, you find yourself now in the position of being praised by Newt Gingrich, at the same time that Senator Pat Moynihan calls this the most brutal piece of social policy since the Reconstruction. Doesn't that make you the slightest bit nervous?"
-- A "Newsbite" in the December 1995 MediaWatch:
Aim for Bambi. In July, an ABC promo promised "a series of reports about our environment which will tell you precisely what the new Congress has in mind: the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years." That theme continued with a November 20 Nightline. ABC inaccurately suggested Republicans were not out to trim excessive regulations that cost billions for little environmental benefit: they were out to clear the books of pollution laws. Reporter Ned Potter described the grand Republican deception: "It's worth remembering that the word environment never appeared in the Contract with America, no mention of air or water...There was a lot in the contract, though, about stripping away any government regulation...Their elimination became nothing less than an ideological crusade...So, almost from the outset, the new Republican majority set out to reverse 25 years of environmental lawmaking." Potter charged: "It became clear that the legislative assault was not just coming from loggers and ranchers. It was, in fact, one of the best- organized corporate lobbying efforts in years." Potter even tossed in a Republican saying this "isn't what we voted for."
Potter concluded: "The Republicans have handed their opponents a weapon for the '96 campaign." Host Chris Wallace's first question to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska): "Now it seems that the GOP is going after everything but Bambi. How come?"
-- On the up side: 1988 Conventions Coverage. While Wallace, then with NBC News, echoed the Dukakis campaign theme by asking Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato at the GOP convention: "When George Bush talks about Michael Dukakis' inexperience in foreign policy, isn't it fair game for Dukakis to talk about Bush's experience in Panama, his experience in selling arms to the Ayatollah," he stood apart for posing Republican agenda questions to Democrats. At the Democratic convention, Wallace asked Democratic Senator Al Gore: "You campaigned against Dukakis and your other opponents saying that they were soft of defense. Aren't Republicans this fall going to be able to use that same argument?" In an unusual twist, Wallace even followed up with specifics: "The fact is that Dukakis is still against the MX, still against the Midgetman; he is still for a ban on flight testing of vehicles."
Let's hope we get the contrarian Wallace, not the liberal Wallace, on Fox News Sunday.
Wallace maintains he can be impartial, as quoted in Kurtz's Tuesday story: "'Do I have political opinions? Absolutely,' Wallace said. 'But I vote for the person, and I've voted for Republicans and Democrats and independents over the course of my life. I feel very strongly that you try not to let that affect the way you report the news. I'm taking Fox up on its slogan,' which is 'fair and balanced.'"
"After 'some grumbling,'" FNC's Hume predicted to Kurtz, "'I think he'll be accepted by our audience.'"
Well, I've done my grumbling. In a few weeks I'll see if I can accept him and I bet that I won't be alone in considering as key whether Fox News keeps the same or similar make-up to those in the panel segment.
"Censoring the Partial-Birth Abortion Basics. MRC Study: ABC and NBC Haven't Described the Outlawed Horror-Movie Procedure On Air Since 1998." On Monday, the MRC distributed a Media Reality Check fax with a look by the MRC's Tim Graham and Rich Noyes at partial-birth coverage, over the past eight years, on the three broadcast networks. It found:
For the report in full: www.mediaresearch.org
For an Adobe Acrobat PDF of the faxed version: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker