CBS Conceded Tax Cut Support, But; Same Show, Two Stories on Gore's Confused Voters; "More and More" Questioning Tax Cut
1) Thirteen days after skipping its own poll showing support for Bush's tax cut, the CBS Evening News did report on a new CBS poll showing tax cuts are the public's top priority. John Roberts emphasized how more think Bush's cut "benefits the rich" than is "fair to all," but he failed to note how more believe Bush's plan than the Democratic one "would be fairest to people like them." Viewers also didn't hear how 71 percent oppose the estate tax.
2) CBS's Wyatt Andrews acknowledged the free market could be better at protecting health than government regulators: "Most U.S. ranchers...fear losing McDonald's business more than they fear the U.S. government."
3) On Monday, for the second straight night, ABC's World News Tonight highlighted the Florida newspaper guess about those who voted for two presidential candidates. Peter Jennings: "Gore might have received more than enough votes to win the state if the ballots had been clearer and the voters had been more careful."
5) Most Americans do not have a gun in their house, the New York Post pointed out in countering a claim made on Sunday's This Week by Cokie Roberts to which George Stephanopoulos had quipped: "Unfortunately, yeah."
6) Charlton Heston appeared on NBC's Today to plug the release on DVD of Ben Hur, but Katie Couric took advantage of the opportunity to pound away at him on gun control, pressing him with stats and arguments from Handgun Control, Inc.
Instead, Roberts asserted that on Bush's effort to sell his tax cuts, "a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds he has finally made it America's top priority" as 18 percent listed it as the number one problem they want addressed. But, the CBS News poll taken after Bush's February 27 address to Congress found that tax cuts were the public's top priority over spending on education and Social Security as well as paying down the national debt. That survey discovered 38 percent of those who watched the speech listed Bush's tax cut as the proposal they most preferred and it came out first overall too since "thirty percent of those who did not watch or listen to the speech chose tax cut."
But, as noted above, the CBS Evening News
didn't mention those findings. For a reminder of how instead the show
focused on two women in Omaha opposed Bush's tax cut and the next night
John Roberts stressed that "new polls...show voters leaning slightly
in favor of the Democratic plan," go to:
Back to Tuesday night, March 13, Roberts emphasized how by 56 to 38 percent more think Bush's tax cut "benefits the rich" than is "fair to all," but he failed to note how when asked which tax plan "would be fairest to people like them," 44 percent chose Bush's proposal while 43 percent picked the Democratic plan. In addition, an overwhelming 71 percent said they oppose a tax on estates worth over $675,000.
Roberts began his CBS Evening News piece, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "For more than a year -- first as candidate, then as President -- George Bush has been beating the drum on tax cuts. Now, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds he has finally made it America's top priority, eclipsing traditional concerns about education, the economy, Social Security, and health care."
An on screen graphic showed taxes at 18 percent, education at 10 percent, economy at 9 percent, Social Security/Medicare at 8 percent and health care at 8 percent.
Roberts continued: "The poll also finds
that by a margin of eight points [49 to 41 percent], Americans prefer Mr.
Bush's ambitious plans for the surplus over more conservative Democratic
Amongst the interesting findings outlined in the CBSNews.com story on the poll but not mentioned by Roberts in his admittedly limited time:
-- "The public is divided as to which tax plan would be fairest to people like them: 44 percent say Bush's would be fairer to them, and 43 percent say the Democrats' would be."
-- "There is strong public support for
one aspect of Bush's proposed tax bill, and that is eliminating the estate
or 'death' tax. Seventy-one percent of Americans oppose placing a tax
on assets someone leaves when they die if the assets are worth more than
$675,000 today. And, this issue is not impacted by partisanship -- similar
percentages of both Democrats and Republicans oppose the estate tax.
-- "A majority agrees with the argument offered by the Republican President in defense of his tax cuts, that it is necessary to cut taxes in order to keep Congress from spending the surplus: 56 percent agree this is the case, and 35 percent disagree."
To read the full poll results, go to:
Some inadvertent credit to how the free market can be more powerful in protecting public health than a huge government regulatory bureaucracy?
Check out how Wyatt Andrews concluded a
Tuesday CBS Evening News story on how McDonald's had decided that to
protect against Mad Cow disease it will demand proof no animal materials
are in cattle feed given to any cows processed into meats it buys:
ABC News felt the Palm Beach Post story, on how if the intent of voters who voted for two candidates could be divined Al Gore would have gained over 6,000 votes in Palm Beach County, was so important they reported it two nights in a row.
As noted in the March 12 CyberAlert, ABC's
World News Tonight/Sunday reported the story published that morning. And
then on Monday's World News Tonight Peter Jennings highlighted the topic
again, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
Terry Moran then relayed: "As President
Bush arrived in Florida, memories of the bitter battle that won him the
state and thereby the White House seemed far away, but local Democrats
were not going to allow Mr. Bush to forget the election contest, running
an ad in a few markets that targeted both the President and his brother,
Despite ABC's evening show obsession with the flaky Palm Beach Post story, it should be noted that overall the story generated less network air time than did the late February Miami Herald analysis of Miami-Dade County ballots in which voters only chose one presidential candidate but the machine did not record a vote. That review found that even counting "dimpled chads" gave Gore only a net pick up of 49 votes. All three morning shows ran short items on that story as did the ABC and CBS evening shows. With this week's Palm Beach Post story, though the NBC Nightly News picked up on it while having ignored the Miami Herald review, the CBS Evening News skipped it Monday night (NCAA basketball pool show bumped the show on Sunday night). Neither ABC's Good Morning America or CBS's The Early Show mentioned it Monday morning. It came up on Monday's Today in a question to David Von Drehlee, author of a book about the Florida election mess.
ABC and NBC jumped Monday night on how the "bi-partisan" Concord Coalition announced its opposition to Bush's tax cut plan.
Picking up with Terry Moran's March 12 World
News Tonight story where we left off in item #3 above, Moran warned:
Over on Monday's NBC Nightly News, after the lead story on the plunging stock market, Tom Brokaw warned: "All of this comes as President Bush steps up his campaign for that massive tax cut, a tax cut that more and more people are questioning. Is the President too optimistic about the prospects for continuing record surpluses?"
David Gregory began: "Tom, the President
has repeatedly argued that the government can easily afford his tax cut,
given the projected budget surpluses are likely to grow larger still. But
critics warning now that it's days like this on Wall Street that should
make the White House think twice. With the President in Florida today for
the first time since last fall's recount battle, more pressure back in
Washington to compromise. The bi-partisan Concord Coalition claiming today
that forecast budget surpluses are overstated and that the $1.6 trillion
Bush tax cut risks a return of the quote, 'spend and borrow vicious
cycle.' Instead, the group which includes Bill Clinton's Treasury
Secretary Robert Rubin and former Republican Senator Warren Rudman,
advocates a rolling tax cut."
Gregory: "In Florida, where some took to
the streets to dispute the president's victory in the state last November,
Democrats have launched a TV ad campaign linking the tax cut debate to the
Those scary gun owners who vote the wrong way are not so prevalent as ABC's Cokie Roberts and George Stephanopoulos worried on Sunday, the New York Post's "MediaWatch" column pointed out on Tuesday.
The March 13 "MediaWatch" column
recounted the Monday CyberAlert item about how on Sunday's This Week
Stephanopoulos remarked: "There's no question [that] the single best
predictor of how someone was going to vote in the last election was did
you have a gun in the house -- by 40 points they went for Bush."
The New York Post countered in its March 13
"MediaWatch" column: "No, most Americans do not have a gun
in the house.
Charlton Heston agreed to an appearance on NBC's Today to plug the release on DVD of Ben Hur, but after just a little bit of time on that Katie Couric pounded away at the NRA President on gun control, pressing him with stats and arguments from Handgun Control, Inc.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down her arguments in the form of questions on the March 13 show:
-- "Obviously because of your role in the
National Rifle Association I want to get a couple of quick comments if I
could Mr. Heston from you on this recent shooting. Particularly at, in
Santana High School outside of San Diego. When you heard about that, I
mean what was your reaction?"
The benefits of being a liberal held to no standards. National Review's Washington Bulletin on Tuesday, picking up on an item about how Larry King lifted part of his USA Today column from fun facts circulating on the Internet, contrasted the non-condemnation of King with how the Boston Globe suspended the conservative Jeff Jacoby for non-attribution of some anecdotes.
Here's a reprint of the March 13 item by John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru:
Why won't Larry King credit his sources?
The Boston Globe suspended columnist Jeff Jacoby for four months without pay last summer for doing what Larry King did yesterday in his USA Today column. As Alex Gordon of Hockey Digest pointed out on Jim Romenesko's media website, King "appears to have fallen prey to the sin of cutting and pasting from one of those oft-forwarded 'little known facts' e-mails" right into his piece. Gordon says a quick web search turned up a dozen sites containing the material King tossed into his column. They are, of course, not credited. "The laziest column writer in the world just set a new standard for laziness," writes Gordon.
King wrote: "Dreamt is the only English word that ends in the letters 'mt.'... Almonds are a member of the peach family.... Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.... All clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction are stuck on 4:20.... Two-thirds of the world's eggplants are grown in New Jersey.... (Is this fascinating or what?) The longest one-syllable word in the English language is screeched.... A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes...There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.... All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial.... Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable..... Los Angeles' full name is 'El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.'"
NR noted that the whole column may be read at: http://www.usatoday.com/life/columns/lking.htm 
And, the results of a Google search looking
for this material may be read at:
Whatever the case, Jacoby's punishment was far too harsh. But that doesn't mean King should be totally off the hook. It will be interesting to see whether USA Today makes him go back and list his sources.
NR's daily Washington Bulletin is online at: http://www.nationalreview.com 
I think it's safe to say that this is the first time National Review or CyberAlert have relied upon a Hockey Digest reporter to identify news media bias.
--Brent Baker 
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