GOP "Attacks" Hillary Over Palestine; Only Conservatives are "Haters"
1) Scandal news skipped by ABC
and NBC. Only CBS mentioned questions about the authenticity of Currie's
name on visitor logs. But in the wake of Hillary Clinton's call for a
Palestinian state, Dan Rather portrayed her as a victim of Republican
2) Catching up with FNC, NBC's
Today reported Starr's denial of a leak, but in the evening neither ABC or
NBC updated their hit on Starr.
3) House Republicans are
immoral because they failed to pass campaign finance reform. So spouted
4) "Clinton haters"
are all around, the news magazines and major newspapers convey. But they
don't see any "Starr haters" and missed all the "Reagan
haters" a new MRC Study documented.
Grammatical Decision: I've learned there
are more disagreements among conservatives over grammar than bias. I've
received about ten conflicting rules on the use of "effect" and
"affect." So, in the future I'll stick to bias and correcting
factual errors but cease any comments on grammar. But, before I leave this
subject, reader Steve Turner passed along this illuminating analysis from
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary that hopefully will effectively
clear up one matter: "Only the irrationally large amount of critical
fire drawn by sense 2 of *hopefully*
[: it is hoped] requires its particular recognition in a dictionary.
Similar use of other adverbs (as *interestingly*, *frankly*, *clearly*) as
sentence modifiers is so commonplace as to excite no notice whatever.
While it still arouses occasional objection, *hopefully* as a sentence
modifier has been in use at least since 1932 and is well established as
night ABC and NBC did not run any Clinton scandal-related news, FNC and
CNN offered brief items on the appearance before the grand jury of Betty
Currie and a steward. Only CBS mentioned how Starr is looking into the
possibility that Currie was not at work on some days when the logs show
Monica Lewinsky visiting her. The walkout by Democrats in New Hampshire
during an address from Newt Gingrich generated a full story on CNN by John
King, but nothing on any other network.
All the networks at least mentioned Hillary
Clinton's call for a Palestinian state, a position contrary to
long-standing U.S. policy. But instead of portraying it as an
embarrassment for the Clinton Administration, CBS Evening News anchor Dan
Rather characterized Hillary Clinton as the victim, the victim of
ABC's World News Tonight and CNN's The
World Today led with the FAA's safety check inspection order for 737s to
look at wiring around fuel tanks. The decision to remove remains of a
Vietnam War veteran from the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery in order to establish his identity topped the CBS Evening News
and FNC's Fox Report. NBC Nightly News went first with the implications of
the Daimler-Chrysler merger.
Other highlights from the Thursday, May 7
-- Hillary/Palestinian state. ABC's Sam
Donaldson filed a full story on fallout from her liberal advocacy:
"Today at the White House it was damage control 101." NBC's
Claire Shipman looked at the "uproar over Mrs. Clinton's
comments" as did CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
But Dan Rather managed to turn Hillary
Clinton's faux pas into an opportunity to paint her as a victim of
Republican attacks, offering spin that should awe Paul Begala:
"President Clinton is sending his top
Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, back to Israel tonight at a crucial
point in the peace process. This amid new Republican attacks aimed at
First Lady Hillary Clinton for remarks she made yesterday telling
international students that she favors the idea of a Palestinian state.
The White House says that's just her opinion."
-- Only the CBS Evening News raised
the possibility that Currie's name may have been used as a cover when
Monica Lewinsky visited the White House, though Dan Rather did not spell
out that implication in a 29-second item he read. Rather announced that
Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, "returned to the White
House today after the Ken Starr grand jury reportedly again asked about
the dozens of times her name was used to clear Monica Lewinsky through
White House security. Sources who declined to be identified, but whom we
consider to be reliable, tell CBS News White House correspondent Scott
Pelley that investigators for Starr are now questioning whether someone
else possibly signed Currie's name on days she wasn't there."
up with the Fox News Channel, Thursday morning on Today David Bloom
acknowledged that Ken Starr's office denies leaking the judge's decision
on executive privilege. As transcribed by MRC news analyst Geoffrey
Dickens, Bloom told May 7 Today viewers:
"First the President's lawyers, then
Ken Starr's prosecutors battled into the night in a blitz of faxes over
who's to blame for leaking to the press a judge's confidential ruling that
the President cannot assert executive privilege in the Monica Lewinsky
case. The President's lawyer, David Kendall, filed court papers Wednesday
asking that Starr's office be held in contempt of court. Pointing to a Fox
news report that cited prosecutors as the source of the leak, said the
President's lawyer, 'It's clear your office does not take seriously its
obligation to safeguard grand jury material." But last night Starr's
prosecutors fired back, calling the allegation they leaked the judge's
decision, 'not only wrong but reckless,' telling Kendall, 'although we
understand your keen desire once again to change the subject when you
receive bad news we demand that you withdraw the motion forthwith.
Otherwise we will take appropriate action.'"
Wednesday night Bloom and ABC's Sam
Donaldson had reported only how Kendall filed the complaint blaming the
Office of the Independent Counsel. Thursday's Good Morning America did not
offer an amplification, MRC news analyst Clay Waters informed me, and
while Bloom clarified his story Thursday morning NBC Nightly News viewers
never heard anything about Starr's response as NBC skipped the subject
Thursday night. (See the May 7 CyberAlert for the contrast Wednesday night
between the two broadcast networks and FNC.)
Larry King questioned the morality of the GOP House leadership, but not
for going too soft as James Dobson believes but for failing to push
through liberal policies. MRC news analyst Eric Darbe caught the jab at
conservative stands from CNN's Larry King. During a May 6 interview with
Dobson, the leader of Focus on the Family who traveled to Washington to
make known to GOP leaders his displeasure with their failure to counter
what he sees as the moral decline of the country, King argued:
"You're also talking to people who are
not popular because they closed the government; they're not popular
because they never came up with campaign finance reform, which they
promised -- that could be a moral issue, too, taking money from people to
vote. So morality covers a lot of areas and some of the people you're
talking to have the questionable morals themselves."
media are able to easily identify and label "Clinton haters,"
but are somehow unable to recognize "Starr haters" and never
really came across any "Reagan haters." That's the discovery of
the latest MediaWatch study conducted by Tim Graham, Director of Media
Analysis at the MRC. It's an amazing demonstration of how the collective
perceptions of journalists about who are the good guys and the bad guys
impact how they characterize players in the political process.
The study with a table as well as the rest
of the May 4 edition of MediaWatch are up on the MRC home page, thanks to
the MRC's Kenny Lemay. To read the study and the rest of the issue, go to:
The MediaWatch study follows below. --
May 4, 1998
Study: Print Media Never Discovered Any "Reagan Haters"
Only Conservatives Qualify as "Haters"
Students of history make distinctions of quality: there's history, which
builds a story based on documented fact, research, and interviews; and
there's psycho-history, which instead of dwelling on evidence, simply puts
historical actors on the couch and attempts to read their mind as events
unfold. Likewise, there's journalism, based on facts, and
psycho-journalism, which simply seeks to guess the motivations of public
In the last few years, reporters have introduced a new term into the media
lexicon to describe Bill Clinton's adversaries: "Clinton
haters." The April 11, 1994 Time published a story titled
"Clintonophobia! Just who are these Clinton haters, and why do they
loathe Bill and Hillary Clinton with such passion?" Reporter Nina
Burleigh didn't seem to care if her mind-reading was accurate: after
tagging conservatives like Rush Limbaugh as "haters," Burleigh
casually added: "Both profess not to hate Clinton." She then
referred to "Clinton haters" twice more.
Is "hater" the standard way the media describes a President's
opponents, whether they're Republicans or Democrats? To determine the
journalistic usage of "hate" terms, MediaWatch analysts
used the Nexis news data retrieval system to find all mentions of the
terms "Clinton-hater," "Clinton-basher," and
"anti-Clinton," (compared to "Reagan hater,"
"Reagan basher," and "anti-Reagan") in Newsweek,
Time, and U.S. News & World Report, as well as The
New York Times and The Washington Post. For Reagan, analysts
reviewed stories from 1981 through 1988; for Clinton, from 1992 through
mid-April 1998. These publications contained:
-- 63 uses of "Clinton hater," compared to one use of
-- 106 references to "Clinton-bashers" or
"Clinton-bashing," compared to 17 references to "Reagan-bashers"or
-- 55 mentions of "anti-Clinton" groups or efforts compared to
two mentions of an "anti-Reagan" force.
-- Analysts also checked these variants for independent counsel Ken Starr
since 1994 ("Starr-hater," "Starr-basher," or
"anti-Starr." Time, U.S. News & World Report, and The
New York Times have never carried these terms. Newsweek made
one mention of Hillary Clinton as a "veteran Starr-basher." The
Washington Post carried two mentions of "Starr-bashing." No
one was a "Starr hater."
+++Magazines: Leading the Hate Hunters. Time led
the hate-labeling pack, with 28 designations of "Clinton hater,"
with almost half of them (13) in the last four months. Time
carried 11 mentions of "Clinton-bashing," and 14 mentions of
"anti-Clinton" activists or activities.
By itself, "anti-Clinton" seems an inoffensive term, but Time
regularly applied modifiers like "fiercely" or
"virulent" or "obsessive" or "right-wing" to
the term. The April 13, 1998 Time referred to "Richard
Mellon Scaife, the rabidly anti-Clinton billionaire, and The American
Spectator, the gleefully anti-Clinton magazine that Scaife has
supported." A February 9, 1998 article called Scaife a
In the June 9, 1997 edition, Time reporter George Church
described Paula Jones' first press conference, "where she shared a
stage with Clinton haters. That helped to convince many that Jones was a
tool, witting or unwitting, of the rabid right." In the Reagan years,
Time ran only three uses of "Reagan bashing."
Newsweek carried 17 references to "Clinton haters," 14
uses of "Clinton bashing," and 19 "anti-Clinton"
designations. In a May 16, 1994 article, Mark Hosenball argued "It is
true that Paula Jones has been egged on by an odd collection of
right-wingers and Clinton haters." In the April 27, 1998 issue,
Hosenball wrote: "The evidence linking Starr to conservative
Clinton-haters traces back to a single figure: Richard Mellon ScaifeScaife
is also a fervent Clinton-hater who has spent millions trying to undermine
Newsweek carried four mentions of "Reagan-bashing" and
one use of "Reagan hater." In 1987, Jonathan Alter explained Sam
Donaldson's jobs as both an ABC reporter and commentator "exposes him
to critics who label him a Reagan-hater...In truth, his politics don't
interfere with his reportage."
U.S. News & World Report carried 16 designations of
"Clinton haters," nine of "Clinton bashing," and 21
"anti-Clinton" mentions. In a November 7, 1994 election preview,
the magazine charged: "The most virulent Clinton haters charge that
Hillary Rodham Clinton holds the real power and blackmails her
husband." In a May 17, 1993 column, Mortimer Zuckerman began:
"The media may be in a frenzy trying to bash Bill Clinton, but the
public is focused on something else: the sagging U.S. economy." Only
one U.S. News story cited "Reagan bashing."
+++Newspapers: "Bash" Is The Preferred Term. In
eight years, The New York Times never labeled anyone a
"Reagan hater," although three stories carried the term in
quotations from political analysts. Only one story carried the word
"anti-Reagan," and only two mentioned "Reagan
bashing." In a 1987 review of the PBS show The Kwitny Report,
TV critic John Corry dismissed the episode alleging Reagan's connections
to the Mafia as "dreary Reagan bashing." By comparison, the Times
applied the term "Clinton hater" once, and variants of
"Clinton-bashing" 17 times.
The Post discovered conservative hate in a May 27, 1994
front-page Sunday story by Ann Devroy: "Bill Clinton's enemies are
making their hatred clear, with a burning intensity and in some cases with
an organized passion." Variants of "Clinton-bashing" were
employed 52 times by Post reporters.
The Sunday before the 1992 convention, Post reporter Dan Balz
began an article "Get ready for the bashing of Bill Clinton."
Four days later, Ruth Marcus started her piece: "The Republican
gathering here was expected to be a festival of Clinton-bashing. As it
turned out , the target has been not only the candidate, but his wife
Hillary." (Two additional articles mentioned
In January 1997, the Post's Kevin Merida described the Paula
Jones complaint as announced at "a convention of
Clinton-bashing conservatives." Five months later, Merida repeated
the phrase verbatim.
In the Reagan years, Washington Post reporters never used
"Reagan hater," although two articles carried the term in
quotations. Seven Post news stories mentioned "Reagan
bashing." In one 1985 piece, business reporter Peter Behr decried
both sides of the trade debate, writing "Reagan is inviting the
bashing by continuing to avoid the trade dilemma."
Politics creates passions that inflame the whole range of emotions -- joy
and sadness, inspiration and disillusionment, love and hate. Bill Clinton,
like Ronald Reagan, fuels all of these. But reporters proved their
liberalism when they suggested in their stories, subtly or unsubtly, that
only one President was subject to unrelenting attack by a group of
END of Study
-- Brent Baker
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