Cloning Opponents Labeled; Arab/Arafat Defiance Ignored; MSNBC's "Leftist" Producer; Jennings on Goldberg & Bias; PBS's CBS Liberal
1) NBC's Tom Brokaw characterized President Bush's position against human cloning as "hardline" while reporter David Gregory, who failed to tag supporters as liberal, decided Bush is "siding with anti-abortion conservatives who want an outright ban."
2) The media are focusing nearly all of their attention this week on Ariel Sharon's "defiance" of President Bush's request that he pull troops out of the West Bank. But, as Eric Fettmann pointed out in a New York Post column, the media are ignoring "the real defiance shown to the President this week...from Arafat himself, and the entire Arab world, to boot."
3) MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield, who claimed that "a lot of the people in the world can't help but wonder how such a strong army [Israel's] can continue such a tough operation against such a weak people like the Palestinians," conceded that her native Israeli producer, who lives in the U.S., is "somewhat leftist."
4) Peter Jennings gently scolded Bernard Goldberg for taking a "heck of a long time to make a couple of really interesting points and he didn't get it all right." On CNN's Larry King Live, Jennings conceded that the media have "been more of a liberal persuasion for many years" and it has taken "too long" to "have vigorous conservative voices heard." Asked about conservative bias, Jennings immediately thought of the Fox News Channel: "I just sense you wanting to talk about the other cable channel."
5) In selecting a new editorial cartoonist, the Washington Post chose another liberal. But at least Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz made clear the ideology of Tom Toles, who is now with the Buffalo News.
7) PBS is bringing Ray Brady out of retirement to host Wall Street Week. At CBS he was a liberal, ideologically-driven economics reporter. When the stock market fell in 1987, Brady claimed: "Wall Street's been talking about the optimistic statements issued by President Hoover during the 1929 stock crash and comparing them to President Reagan's upbeat messages this week." In 1990 he highlighted "America's hidden homeless," people living at home with their parents. "This is not the time to be cutting taxes," he declared in 1995.
If President Bush had decided against supporting a law to ban all human cloning would NBC's David Gregory have reported that he "sided with pro-abortion liberals who want it to remain completely legal"? We'll never know, but in a story on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Gregory labeled one side of the dispute as he stated that Bush is "siding with anti-abortion conservatives who want an outright ban."
Anchor Tom Brokaw set up the April 10 story by noting how "President Bush today took a hardline, saying all forms of human cloning, even for disease research, should be banned on moral grounds. But some proponents of cloning, in Congress, say that could hamper important scientific research."
Gregory provided a balanced presentation of
the views espoused by each side, including soundbites from Senators Ted
Kennedy and Sam Brownback, both of whom went unlabeled, but he couldn't
hold back assigning an ideological tag to those opposed to human cloning:
The media are focusing nearly all of their attention this week on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "defiance" in the face of President Bush's request that he pull troops out of the West Bank. But, as New York Post editorial writer Eric Fettmann pointed out in a April 10 column in that paper, the media are ignoring "the real defiance shown to the President this week -- not from Israel's Prime Minister, but from Arafat himself, and the entire Arab world, to boot."
Indeed, that perspective is getting so little air time that five words from Dan Rather last night ("Yasser Arafat isn't delivering either") stand out.
From Jerusalem, Rather concluded the April 10 CBS Evening News: "Tonight Israel says it has begun pulling troops back from three small West Bank villages, saying destruction there of the quote 'terrorist infrastructure' is complete. But this minor pullback is far short of the full-scale withdrawal President Bush has repeatedly demanded. Yasser Arafat isn't delivering either. That leaves Secretary of State Powell, who arrives here tomorrow, facing an even tougher challenge than existed before he left Washington last weekend. Powell is on a mission of peace in a place where right now neither side seems interested in helping the peacemaker."
An excerpt from Fettmann's April 10 New York Post column:
For the past week, press coverage of Israel's military strike at Yasser Arafat's terror infrastructure has stressed one thing: Ariel Sharon's continuing "defiance" of President Bush.
In fact, there are strong suggestions that, despite Washington's increasingly tough talk, Sharon has a green light to continue forceful action, at least until Secretary of State Colin Powell's arrival in Jerusalem Friday.
That certainly makes sense, if only for one reason: What Israel is doing now is completely consistent with Bush's stated doctrine on fighting terrorism -- one that focuses as much on its supporters and financiers as on its actual perpetrators....
What has been completely ignored, however, is the real defiance shown to the President this week -- not from Israel's Prime Minister, but from Arafat himself, and the entire Arab world, to boot.
In that speech, Bush spelled out in stark detail what he expected from Arafat: "An immediate ceasefire, immediate resumption of security cooperation with Israel against terrorism and an immediate order to crack down on terrorist networks."
To date, nothing.
At least Arafat can plead that he's powerless to act while his compound remains under siege by the Israelis.
Not that he's ever taken such action before. One problem with Bush's calls on the PLO leader to "do more" against terrorism is that they imply he's actually done something in the past.
But other Arab leaders have no such excuse. And Bush was equally plain-spoken about what was expected of them: "Stop terrorist activities, disrupt terrorist financing and stop inciting violence by glorifying terror in state-owned media or telling suicide bombers they are martyrs."
To date, nothing of the sort has happened.
On the contrary: The recent Islamic conference endorsed a call for Palestinians to continue their "legitimate resistance" against Israel -- "legitimate resistance being the Arab world's term for suicide bombings and other terrorist actions....
END of Excerpt
For Fettmann's column in full:
Whether in New York City or half way around the world, NBC News seems to have a consistent policy when deciding what kind of producers to hire: Go left. On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield conceded that her native Israeli producer, who lives in the U.S., is "somewhat leftist."
Her admission, caught by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, came as she was explaining how even someone of his political persuasion was appalled by Israelis who refuse to serve in the military, the subject of a story she has just shown.
After the piece by Martin Fletcher aired on
the April 9 edition of her 9pm EDT show, Region in Conflict, from Israel
Banfield informed her viewers:
A network TV news producer who has served in the military. Now that's unusual.
Maybe the leftist producer, however, wrote this question which Banfield posed the night before Noa Ben-Artzi, grandaughter of Yitzhak Rabin, as both were by a Tel Aviv beach: "We hear helicopters approaching on a beautiful sunny day, a beach in Tel Aviv, and it's military patrols. And a lot of the people in the world can't help but wonder how such a strong army can continue such a tough operation against such a weak people like the Palestinians."
ABC anchor Peter Jennings gently scolded Bernard Goldberg for taking a "heck of a long time to make a couple of really interesting points and he didn't get it all right" since he only told "half of a story to make a point." Appearing on CNN's Larry King Live on Wednesday night, Jennings assured King that "responsible journalists" like himself "leave our bias at the side of the table," but he conceded that the media have "been more of a liberal persuasion for many years" and it has taken "too long" to "have vigorous conservative voices heard."
When King asked about conservative bias, Jennings immediately thought of the Fox News Channel: "I just sense you wanting to talk about the other cable channel."
During the pre-taped interview shown on April
10, King asked about Bernard Goldberg's book. Jennings replied:
(Goldberg's book, Bias: A CBS Insider
Exposes How the Media Distort the News, included at least two recitations
of bias by Jennings, as I recall. One was about how Jennings reported a
story about the negative impact on children of day care. The other, about
how Jennings applied ideological labels to conservative Senators but not
to liberals ones during live coverage of the opening of the Clinton
impeachment trial in January of 1999. For a rundown of his tilted
labeling, see the January 8 CyberAlert:
Back to Wednesday's Larry King Live, Jennings acknowledged: "We all bring baggage to the table, depending on where we've been, who we are, what color we are, how old we are."
Asked about any bias, Jennings replied:
"Most of the time I really think responsible journalists, of which I
hope I'm counted as one, leave our bias at the side of the table. Now it
is true, historically in the media, it has been more of a liberal
persuasion for many years. It has taken us a long time, too long in my
view, to have vigorous conservative voices heard as widely in the media as
they now are. And so I think yes, on occasion there is a liberal instinct
in the media which we need to keep our eye on, if you will."
Surprise, surprise, in selecting a new editorial cartoonist to replace Herb Block, who passed away a few months ago, the Washington Post chose another liberal. But at least Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz made clear the ideology of Tom Toles, who is now with the Buffalo News.
In an April 10 story, Howard Kurtz reported: "Toles, 50, who skewers politicians and pomposity by sketching people with misshapen heads and small bodies, is syndicated in 200 newspapers and has drawn regularly for the New Republic and U.S. News & World Report."
Kurtz soon acknowledged the ideological compatibility with the Post's editorial positions. An excerpt:
Toles is a liberal, though he says that "like all other liberals," his views have "been tempered somewhat by experience." Toles has made fun of President Bush (whom he draws with pointy ears sticking up on top of his head) on such issues as his budget, his energy plan, his war policy and his ties to big corporations. But he also mocked a fat-looking President Bill Clinton, particularly during the Monica Lewinsky saga.
In one recent Toles cartoon, a lone protester with a "Conserve Now" sign prompts someone in the White House to yell: "It's an attack! Transfer power to the shadow government!" A cluster of buildings in shadow are labeled "Oil Indus.," "Coal Unlimited," Drill Co." and "Burn Inc."
Another features Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld telling reporters that the boarded-up "Office of Strategic Lying" is out of business; in the next panel, Rumsfeld tells the person behind the door, "They're gone."
Hiatt said that Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co., told him to pick the best candidate, regardless of ideology. "Luckily, the person I thought was the best cartoonist is pretty in sync with where our editorials are, although not always and not on everything," Hiatt said. Cartoonists must have independence, he added, noting that "Herblock was often more liberal than the Post editorial page."
END of Excerpt
Imagine that, the "best" cartoonist in the country just happened to be liberal.
To read the entirety of the Kurtz story:
To see cartoons by Toles, check his
syndicate's Web page for him:
Interesting exchange, on Tuesday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, between Stewart and Judy Woodruff, anchor of CNN's Inside Politics:
Woodruff: "I think there's much more
division among the Republicans than we realize."
One wonders if Stewart had asked about divisions in the Democratic Party whether Woodruff would have ruminated about battles "between the left and the more moderate and between the far left and the left."
Can't really imagine it.
Ray Brady was a consistent voice for doom and gloom during the Reagan years and a liberal, ideologically-driven economics reporter for CBS News until his retirement in 2000. So, naturally, when PBS looked around for a substitute host for Wall Street Week they decided he'd be perfect. Tomorrow night, Friday April 12, he's scheduled to host the show for the first time.
When the stock market fell in October of 1987, Brady dispassionately observed: "Wall Street's been talking about the optimistic statements issued by President Hoover during the 1929 stock crash and comparing them to President Reagan's upbeat messages this week."
In 1990 he highlighted "America's hidden homeless," people living at home with their parents. "This is not the time to be cutting taxes," he declared in 1995.
Brady always stressed the downside. When home prices were down, he focused on the sellers: "In the past, the American dream of owning your own home always had a sequel -- live in it, then sell it as a huge profit....So another dream has faded." But when home prices rose, he worried about buyers: "So they keep looking. Thousands of young couples like the Wares, looking for that first house, looking for what used to be called the American Dream."
(After canning Louis Rukeyser in mid-March, who next week will launch a show in the same time slot, 8:30pm EDT/PDT, on CNBC, Maryland Public Television, the producers of Wall Street Week, settled on Brady and Marshall Loeb as the fill-in hosts until sometime in June when they plan to re-format the show with Fortune magazine. Loeb has hosted the last two Fridays.)
Some highlights from Brady's years at CBS News gathered from the MRC archive:
-- From the October 22, 1987 CBS Evening News,
the day the stock market plunged.
-- Always looking at the downside, example #1. On the December 20, 1988 CBS Evening News: "Retailers woes may not be over: if they have a good Christmas, many stores could find themselves short of goods to sell in the New Year."
-- Always looking at the downside, example #2. As recounted in a 1990 MRC article on Brady:
Economic news is often good for some while bad for others. Brady almost always manages to emphasize the losers. On October 12, 1989, home prices were down. That's great news for the buyers, but not for the sellers, so Brady focused on the sellers: "In the past, the American dream of owning your own home always had a sequel -- live in it, then sell it as a huge profit....So another dream has faded." On March 16, 1990, home prices were rising, so the conclusion switched to the buyers: "So they keep looking. Thousands of young couples like the Wares, looking for that first house, looking for what used to be called the American Dream."
That's from a review of Brady's reporting
published in the September 1990 MediaWatch:
-- Homeless living at home. From a 1990 article in the the MRC's old MediaWatch newsletter:
When is someone who lives in a home actually homeless? When CBS News economics correspondent Ray Brady needs a suitably dire topic for an Evening News story. On October 31, Brady profiled Sally Carlson, "manager of a successful leather repair store" who has "been forced to move in with her mother" and "keep her hope chest in her mother's garage." But Sally's not alone: "Thousands of other tax paying, hard working Americans of all ages must live with family or double up, unable to afford a home of their own. They're among America's hidden homeless."
Brady reported ominously: "To older Americans, this is disturbingly reminiscent. In the depression of the 1930s, Americans lived five, six and more to a room in a land of vacant houses and empty apartments." The ludicrous comparison caught the attention of Newsweek economics columnist Robert Samuelson, who labeled it "an especially misleading report" on people "who live, often comfortably, with relatives. Having invented a new category of homeless, he then compared today's situation with the 1930s (a decade when unemployment averaged 18 percent)."
END of Reprint
-- No time is good for a tax cut. Brady on
CBS's Sunday Morning on May 2, 1995, arguing against the new Republican
House majority's push for a tax cut:
-- Brady's victims: People who have to wait an hour to be seated at restaurants. A February 7, 2000 CyberAlert item on one of Brady's last CBS News stories:
For Friday night's CBS Evening News reporter Ray Brady focused on a dire impact of America's high employment rate: How restaurants can't find enough workers, a problem which inconvenienced a whiner Brady showcased. Brady ominously opened his February 4 report:
"At America's restaurants they're feeling those low unemployment numbers. Waiters, waitresses, even chefs are hard to find. And there's an added price: consumers are feeling the shortage too. Ask Mike McConnell. He and his family waited for over an hour at TGI Friday's in St. Louis."
McConnell: "No one telling us anything, you know just telling us
'we're going to seat you, we're going to seat you, we're going to
seat you' and then-"
Brady demanded an explanation. Wallace Dooling of TGI Friday's conceded: "We were understaffed that night in the restaurant. The manager, it sounds like, was overwhelmed."
Brady: "Wallace Dooling runs TGI Friday's. His company gave McConnell three free dinner coupons, company policy when people are legitimately dissatisfied with the service."
But viewers soon inadvertently learned something else about the complainer, Mike McConnell, as Brady filled in the larger picture in an attempt to show a trend. After noting how McConnell claimed he's encountering more and more bad service at understaffed stores, Brady stated:
"McConnell, a book editor, makes sure they understand. He writes letters of complaint or even calls the heads of companies."
Brady to McConnell: "And how many businesses do you think you've
Brady went on to report that complaints to the Better Business Bureau are up, but viewers had learned that the guy is really a professional crank. And someone with enough free time so that a little waiting shouldn't matter.
END of Reprint
Brady should fit in perfectly at PBS.
Brady at 8:30pm, Bill Moyers at 9pm. I can't wait to not tune in. -- Brent Baker 
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