Brown Blackout; If Only McGovern Won; Russert Sticks Left
As you may have seen, the study on how businessmen are poorly portrayed on prime time TV, often as murderers, was featured in a Wall Street Journal editorial on Friday. The study can be read at: http://www.freemarketproject.org/ 
1) The Ron Brown vacuum. A Sunday Washington Times editorial reminded me that before the Wednesday Prime Time Live story on Ron Brown the New Yorker carried a piece by Peter Boyer on Nolanda Hill's charges. But neither has prompted a peep from the other networks or even any other ABC show. Thursday night and Friday morning the networks were silent again, MRC news analysts Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters and Gene Eliasen informed me. (See the June 20 CyberAlert for details on what Hill charges about Ron Brown.)Friday morning Good Morning America brought on Bill Kristol, Cokie Roberts and George Stephanopoulos to discuss the latest political events. But host Charlie Gibson didn't raise the Brown issue. Instead, the four talked about how Gingrich is in trouble, the status of China and MFN, and the tobacco talks. Friday evening I did a Nexis search and learned that no major newspaper had run a word on the Brown matter. In fact, the only print story I have come across is a Reuter piece I found on Yahoo that I think was featured by the Drudge Report. Reuter fed the story at 1:58am on Thursday morning, too late for Thursday's papers but in plenty of time for Friday's editions (and Thursday's morning TV shows). My Nexis search turned up just one hit -- a Washington Post item on how well Prime Time Live did in the ratings. In Friday's Post John Carmody noted: "The highest-rated program on any network Wednesday night was ABC's Prime Time Live, which featured an interview with Nolanda Hill, the former owner of Channel 50 here and onetime business partner and friend of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. The hour averaged a 10.6 national rating and a 19 percent audience share." If it weren't for Law & Order being in repeats and lack of interest in Simon & Simon rescuing their kidnapped mother in a 1994 movie re-run on CBS, even fewer people would have learned about Ron Brown.
2) The thin air in the Mile High City is making CBS reporter Bill Plante a little goofy. MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski caught this assertion in Plante's June 20 CBS This Morning story from the economic summit in Denver:"Not all of the leaders here are going to be anxious to follow the American economic model. The Europeans in particular say that their publics expect much more in the way of social service spending and the American economy had to make deep government spending cuts." Reality Check: "Deep government spending cuts"? They must believe such blatantly false "reporting" as forwarded by CBS. In the June 2 National Review Ed Rubenstein countered the claim of cuts in the balanced budget deal.
"Claim: Spending will be cut $250 billion over five years."
Right Data: Cut from what? In budget-speak, 'cuts' are measured from a rapidly growing baseline showing what the government would spend of it were left on automatic pilot. So while the agreement holds spending below the baseline, we estimate total outlays in 2002 will be at least $248 billion, or 15.2 percent, above this year's level."
3) The Soviets exported misery and totalitarian rule around the world. They had a wall built in Germany and shot anyone trying to escape the paradise. They had nuclear weapons aimed at the U.S. and put missiles in Cuba. They and China were the forces behind the wars America fought in Korea and Vietnam. Or so I always thought. USA Today founder Al Neuharth straightened me out. If only the West hadn't forced the Cold War all would have been fine."What if Watergate had elected McGovern?" Neuharth asked on his June 20 USA Today column. One difference: "The Cold War would have ended in the '70s rather than in the '90s. McGovern, in his campaign, debunked the threat and invincibility of the so-called evil Sovier empire. Republican and Democratic Presidents preached that myth for four decades, until the USSR self-destructed." Reagan had nothing to do with it. McGovern, who would have thrown in the towel, was just as tough. Neuharth concluded: "George McGovern. A man before his time. Prescient. Decisive, but decent. The USA and the world would have been far better off if we'd been heedful of his early Watergate warnings and had put McGovern in the White House in 1972." And how many millions more would be calling each other "comrade"?
4) Conservatives contend their tax bill cuts taxes for everyone who pays income taxes, from top to bottom. Liberals counter that the tax bill is unfair since it doesn't give money to those who work but don't earn enough to pay income taxes. Guess which side ABC's story favored.On Thursday's (June 19) World News Tonight, Peter Jennings intoned: "On Capitol Hill tonight, a Senate panel is putting the finishing touches on an $85 billion bill. It includes tax cuts for families, for investors, and for education. But it also leaves out millions of Americans, and passage of the bill very much depends on winning over the public. Here's ABC's John Cochran." Cochran showed clips of competing Republican and Democratic press conferences featuring mothers to argue their cases. Cochran asserted that "Republicans admit their capital gains tax cuts help the wealthy, who have more money to invest, but they argue that most of the cuts will go to the middle class, which has also jumped into the booming stock market. And in the end, says Newt Gingrich, the President will break with Democratic liberals and sign a bill which is popular with middle class taxpayers." After a soundbite from Gingrich, though, Cochran concluded his story the same way Jennings had introduced it -- with the liberal spin: "And Old Democrats, the liberals, fear Gingrich is right, that the President ultimately will sign a tax bill that provides relief for the wealthy and the middle class, but does nothing for the rest. Peter."
5) The June 17 CyberAlert detailed the softball questions from the left posed by Charles Osgood to President Clinton on the June 15 Sunday Morning. The week before Tim Russert, who normally does play devil's advocate to both sides, showed how on the race issue the media often come at the subject only from the left. The guest: Jack Kemp, who opposed California's anti-preference referendum and is seen as too liberal on racial issues by many conservatives. But Russert didn't challenge Kemp with any conservative arguments, such as how by making race the single most important criteria in college admission, California furthered racial anger and only undercut minority achievement since everyone assumed he or she got there because of a quota. Instead, Russert pounced only from the left. Here are his June 8 Meet the Press questions, as transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:-- "The state of California and the state of Texas ended affirmative action for college and law school application. This year, at California Berkeley, California UCLA law schools, the number of black students in the fall class is down 80 percent, number of Hispanics, 50 percent. The University of Texas which usually had forty blacks in every class at law school, more black lawyers have come out of The University of Texas than in any school in the country. This fall, zero blacks enrolled. That is the result of the affirmative action policies in California and Texas." -- "You say it's a tragedy, but isn't it a direct result of the kind of policies espoused by Governor Wilson, Proposition 209, which you supported during the campaign, which says, 'race cannot be a consideration, period.'" -- "There was an interesting study done in 1991, there were 3,485 blacks accepted into law school. If it had been strictly based on test scores and grade average, and race was not a factor, there only would have been 687. And yet, of those thirty-four hundred who got in, they had the same pass/fail rate in school and in the Bar exam as the white students. The fact that race, as a factor, seemed to have worked in 1991 in terms of the quality of people who graduated from law school." -- "But, there is legislation in, in the Congress, the famous Dole/Canady Bill, which would say, 'race cannot be a factor, period.'" -- "But as long as your party says that race cannot be a factor at all." -- "You know, for this presidential election past, Hispanic voters went two to one for Clinton/Gore, the first time the Democrats have carried Hispanic votes in a presidential race. And yet there are some in your party -- Pat Buchanan has said 'there should be a moratorium freeze on all legal immigration for the next five years.'" -- "And for a Republican to be elected the President of the United States, must you reach out to blacks and Hispanics?" So much for balanced questioning or challenging liberal assumptions.
-- Brent Baker