Slumlord Slant Slammed; GOP "Fairy Tales" About Death Tax; Celebrating Partners
1) Tony Blankley, Michael Barone and Brit Hume all commented on the lack of network interest in the Gore as "slumlord" story. Hume: "Can you imagine the same kind of media treatment if this were happening on the ranch that George W. Bush owns in Texas?"
3) CBS's Diana Olick discredited those favoring elimination of he inheritance tax, claiming their worry about small businesses having to be sold to pay the tax "is more like a fairy tale." And she showcased a liberal who claimed that those who want the tax phased out "have to lie" when making their case.
4) ABC and CBS celebrated the decision by automakers to offer benefits to gay and lesbian partners as both led with it Thursday night. Peter Jennings trumpeted "an important event in the history of American industry." CBS's Jim Axelrod credited capitalism for "the progressive direction."
Over the weekend, Tony Blankley, Michael Barone and Brit Hume all commented on the lack of interest by the networks in what Hume described as "a pretty darn good and compelling story" about Gore as an absent "slumlord."
Since NBC News, the usual supplier of video for the McLaughlin Group, never did a story and therefore had no video, McLaughlin set up a segment on the tenant problem by showing FNC's video with credit to Special Report with Brit Hume. This marked the first non-FNC showing on a national show of video of the Carthage, Tennessee home with backed-up sinks and toilets.
During the segment, columnist Tony Blankley suggested the incident "would be more damaging [to Gore] though if the networks had covered it." Michael Barone of U.S. News pointed out: "The networks, which are 90 percent run by Democrats, don't want to run this stuff."
On Fox News Sunday, after moderator Tony Snow raised the subject, Brit Hume cryptically explained: "This is the now famous -- at least to viewers and readers of some news organizations' product -- house on Gore's family property in Tennessee which is a hundred fifty yards or so from the big house where he stays when he's there...."
Of course, as CyberAlert readers know, the only network to cover the topic, other than a 17-second video-less item on NBC's Today, has been the Fox News Channel.
Hume tried to educate
his colleagues as to why FNC considered the story newsworthy:
Hume soon wondered:
"Can you imagine the same kind of media treatment if this were
happening on the ranch that George W. Bush owns in Texas?"
Now online, the MRC's Media Reality Check by Tim Graham about lack of media interest in this topic, "Al Gore's Tennessee Tempest In a Toilet'? Veep's Renters Go To TV Station to Force Plumbing Repairs, But Big Media Flush Another Gore Gaffe." The report recalls how the networks weren't so reticent about reporting, or making up, Bush mistakes in the 1992 campaign.
To read the report via
HTML or see it as an Adobe Acrobat PDF:
To watch, via RealPlayer,
FNC's June 5 story with video from inside the rental home, go to:
Some Sunday focus. Last Tuesday when Dan Burton's House Government Reform Committee released many documents related to former campaign finance task force chief Charles Labella's memos, ABC, CBS and CNN all ignored it while NBC Nightly News gave the development 35 seconds. FNC ran a full story on a committee hearing that day with former Justice official Robert Esposito, who recounted how he heard Reno deputy Lee Radek say she was under pressure to avoid appointing an independent counsel, and Radek denying such an observation.
The June 11 Sunday morning interview shows took a bit more interest. Burton appeared on Fox News Sunday as well as on NBC's Meet the Press on which Tim Russert gave him and Lee Radek an equal grilling in the rare media appearance for Radek. ABC's This Week brought aboard LaBella as well as former Justice official Robert Litt.
Friday night Dan Rather promised "the facts and figures on death and taxes," but instead of relaying any basic facts about the overwhelming 279 to 136 House vote to phase out the inheritance tax, CBS's Diana Olick discredited its conservative advocates by claiming their worries about small businesses having to be sold to pay the tax "is more like a fairy tale." She showcased an unlabeled liberal's claim that those in favor of eliminating it "have to lie" to make it appear to hurt average people. Olick helpfully explained: "The fact is, because of large tax exemptions, the farms and businesses Republicans are talking about make up just three percent of all taxable estates. The rest are the really rich."
NBC's Anne Thompson also focused how few actually have to pay the tax, but at least informed viewers of its exorbitant 60 percent top rate and how it's a tax "more and more Americans could face as the economy booms and assets and dreams are passed from one generation to the next."
Neither story picked up on one the strongest arguments to eliminate it, that it rewards those who spend all their money before death and punishes those who provide the economy with saving and investment.
Dan Rather set up the June 9 CBS Evening News story: "The House did vote today to phase out inheritance taxes by the year 2010. President Clinton calls it an expensive tax giveaway to the rich and says he'll veto it. So the question becomes, will Congress override his veto. We asked CBS's Diana Olick to dig deeper into this story for the facts and figures on death and taxes."
Diana Olick began with
an anecdote supporting the anti-tax position: "Jeanine Mizell knew
inheriting the family business would be hard work, but she had no idea how
truly taxing it would be."
Having dispensed with
the Republican view, Olick decided to discredit it: "So why has such
a tax, that punishes the little guy, lasted 84 years? Because, some say,
the Republican story is more like a fairy tale."
Of course, not taxing away someone's money is not a way to "give" them anything.
Olick further elaborated
on the liberal view, giving it much more time than she had to the other
side: "The fact is, because of large tax exemptions, the farms and
businesses Republicans are talking about make up just three percent of all
taxable estates. The rest are the really rich."
Over on the NBC Nightly
News Tom Brokaw delivered a more sympathetic look at why many might
reasonably oppose the tax:
Anne Thompson began by looking at a Chicago-area grocery store owner who is unsure he can pass it along to his kids as they may have to sell it off in order to pay the inheritance tax. Thompson added: "The measure getting broad bipartisan support in this election year. The president promising to veto it. The White House saying he's willing to take care of family farmers and small businesses, but this bill is just too sweeping."
After a soundbite from White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, Thompson offered some basic facts skipped by CBS: "Though the polls show nearly three quarters of Americans support the repeal, the current tax only affects two percent of the population, those with estates over $675,000 who are taxed at rates from 18 to 60 percent, projected to bring in $390 billion by 2010. The bill would eliminate the tax over ten years, using $105 billion from the projected budget surplus."
Following a clip of
Robert Greenstein from the unlabeled liberal Center for Budget &
Policy Priorities, Thompson gave the liberal view followed by some
arguments forwarded by repeal advocates:
ABC and CBS celebrated the decision by Ford, Chrysler and GM to offer benefits to gay and lesbian partners as both led Thursday night with the announcement, which Peter Jennings trumpeted as "an important event in the history of American industry." CBS's Jim Axelrod noted how "old-fashioned capitalism may have dictated the progressive direction American industry may be headed."
Both stories featured comments from car company executives and gay rights advocates, but not a word from anyone displeased with the move.
ABC's Peter Jennings
opened the June 8 World News Tonight:
CBS Evening News anchor
Dan Rather declared:
"Al Gore gets in touch with his feminine side. Tonight at 9," promised a June 12 Washington Post newspaper ad touting Gore on the Oxygen cable television channel. Oxygen, which promotes itself as delivering "a woman's view of the world," is a just-started cable service created by TV producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner with an investment from Oprah Winfrey.
Monday night, June 12, from 9 to 10:30pm ET Gore will participate in an "Oxygen Women's Forum" from Trenton, New Jersey co-hosted by Farai Chideya and May Lee. Oxygen's press release claimed it has also invited George Bush to take part in a similar forum.
The 90-minute event will air on the Oxygen cable channel, on Oxygen.com and, since so few cable systems carry Oxygen, will be simulcast on C-SPAN at 9pm ET. In the Washington area, the only cable system to carry Oxygen system-wide is Cox Communications in Fairfax County which runs it on channel 102.
From the June 7 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things That Will Get You Kicked Off the Survivor Island." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc. Okay, so not exactly a political list but a pretty funny list about a TV show which actually last week beat ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire head-to-head. Survivor, a chronicle of two groups of eight people left on an island who must vote off one participant each week with the last of the 16 earning $1 million, airs each Wednesday at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT/MT on CBS.
10. Shrieking, "This was a mistake,
we're all gonna die here!" an hour into day one.
And, from the Late Show Web site, some of the "also-rans" from the "over-achieving writers" who "keep producing more brilliant jokes than can fit in a Top Ten List."
-- Inappropriate relations with conch
How tasty. -- Brent Baker 
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