Media Reality Check

On Wednesday night's Inside Politics , Bernard Shaw asked Wolf Blitzer to explain the format of their Late Edition "town meeting" with Hillary Clinton at 10 PM ET at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Blitzer replied: "The format is open ended. I'll start off with a few questions of my own, some hopefully news-worthy kinds of questions, then we're opening it up. There will be about 300, almost 400 people here and they'll ask whatever is on their mind, whether it's issues involving New York state, national issues, or international issues. Remember, a Senator from New York... continue reading
A long time ago in another Washington, reporters sought to scrutinize the executive branch. Today they seek to justify it. Just hours after the Saturday raid to seize Elian Gonzalez, at 9:03 a.m., CBS reporter Jim Stewart mourned Janet Reno would be remembered for the Waco raid and this raid: "It is appalling from her perspective because of the true compassion she has for children. If you've ever seen her around children, you know how much she truly cares for them, and this has got to be tearing at her." Throughout the morning, Dan Rather felt compassion for Reno, Fidel... continue reading
Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day. The '70s environmentalists running this year's multi-national greenfest have chosen global climate change as their marquee issue - and anyone who doubts this "crisis" warrants further government intervention in the economy risks ridicule by the Hollywood and media elites. "After decades of rancorous debate, only a handful of the most doctrinaire die-hards still dispute the idea that human activity is heating up the planet," declared Time's Michael Lemonick in a special Earth Day issue. "What will it take for us to get serious about saving our environment?" asked his colleague, Eugene Linden. "When will... continue reading
Usually, the national media are scolds of inequality, quick to denounce the "haves" for living above the "have-nots." Newsweek described America in the 1980s with this summary: "Greedy yuppies screwed homeless. Big party on deck of Titanic." But in a public-relations twist, some national reporters are now suggesting Elian Gonzalez shouldn't fear life in Cuba, since he'll get all the privileges of the Communist Party elite. So much for the Marxist ideal of equality of misery. Newsweek. Brook Larmer and John Leland argued this week: "In some ways, young Elian might expect a nurturing life in Cuba, sheltered from the... continue reading
ABC News President David Westin fired 21-year veteran Bob Zelnick because of the "appearance problem" caused by Zelnick writing a biography of Al Gore for Regnery, a conservative publisher. Last year, Westin strongly objected to the hiring of "reckless" Internet star Matt Drudge as an ABC Radio host. So Westin looks a little funny trying to deny ABC intended President Clinton to be interviewed by 25-year-old movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, now promoting a big liberal Earth Day rally in Washington. Does DiCaprio have the gravitas to be White House correspondent for a day? In the March 1995 issue of Details... continue reading
President Clinton's post-impeachment press conferences sound more like friendly bull sessions in the faculty lounge than the dodge-the-beanball approach of the Reagan years. Yesterday, not a single reporter asked Clinton about former Justice Department investigator Charles LaBella's long memo arguing the President and Vice President received preferential treatment in the DNC fundraising scandal. But it's just a small part of a continuing scandal blackout among the broadcast networks and news magazines: E-mail Hide and Seek. One reporter asked yesterday if the White House had a computer disk with Monica Lewinsky's e-mails. But what about the growing scandal surrounding 100,000 e-mails... continue reading
On the March 2 Today , in an effort to advance his gun control legislation on Capitol Hill, Bill Clinton blamed the NRA for gun-related deaths. "All I can tell you is we have a higher percentage of people in jail than all the other advanced countries, and they have a lower gun death rate. Why is that? That's because they don't have an NRA in their country and they take sensible steps to protect children and society as a whole from people having guns who shouldn't havethem, doing things they shouldn't do with them. You've got to keep guns... continue reading
Charles Gibson warned on Wednesday's World News Tonight : "The national debate over gun control became even more vicious today. The head of the National Rifle Association accused President Clinton of having quote, 'blood on his hands.'" Gibson referred to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who declared on ABC on Sunday that President Clinton is "willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda." As ABC's John Cochran explained, yesterday LaPierre used a specific example: in the death of former college basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong, the killer illegally tried to obtain a gun at a... continue reading
The Los Angeles Times published a big scoop on Friday: pieces of an internal Justice Department memo by former special counsel Charles LaBella. LaBella charged Attorney General Janet Reno with employing an "intellectually dishonest" double standards to prevent investigation of 1996 campaign fundraising by Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Al Gore and aide Harold Ickes. But the Big Three networks filled their Friday night newscasts with anything else: ABC's World News Tonight led with what anchor Charles Gibson warned was the "most dramatic evidence yet" of how humans alter the environment, a study in Science magazine on how... continue reading
The Bush campaign was often described by TV evening news shows as tilting toward the "far right," but when John McCain made that charge, he wasn't described as "liberal" or going "to the left." MRC news analysts surveyed evening news shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, FNC's Fox Report , and CNN's The World Today (and WorldView on weekends) for coverage of George W. Bush in the days after the South Carolina primary (February 20 to 28), and stories on John McCain in the days after his attack on religious right leaders (February 28 to March 6). In the Bush coverage,... continue reading