Obstructionism; No Facts on NBC
Two items today:
1) The Weekly
Standard magazine documents a case of a media double standard. In 1993-94
Republicans were blamed for "obstructing" progress by blocking
Senate votes. Now that Democrats are obstructing Republican bills where's
the media indignation?
2) Former NBC News
President Michael Gartner praises the late John Chancellor, but in so
doing he says that during his tenure NBC Nightly News didn't include many
The Weekly Standard found a good contrast in coverage that reflects the
media's biased mind set. In the June 22 editorial, David Tell noted that
in 1993-94 Republicans in the Senate were "jeered as goats" for
blocking Democratic initiatives, such as the Clinton health plan. "
Republican obstructionism' enter the lexicon."
Tell then explained the different spin taken when
the Democrats became the obstructors: "Two years later, when a
Republican majority's legislation is shot down or stalled by Democratic
filibuster and veto threats, is there comparable anguish about the
minority party's power to spoil American progress? Don't be silly. There
are literally millions of stories from 1996 in the giant Nexis computer
database of print and broadcast news sources. A search of those stories
turns up the phrase Democratic obstructionism' exactly...never. [ellipses
"President Clinton's claim that Senate
Democrats have not abused the filibuster in their minority position the
way the Republicans did for two solid years in 1993 and 1994' raises not a
singe reporter's eyebrow in the White House briefing room."
In fact, Tell relayed, "The Republican 104th
Congress of 1995-96 is by far the most filibuster-clotted in American
history. During the entire, famously gridlocked' 103rd, then-Senate
Majority Leader George Mitchell's Democrats sought to end debate against
real or threatened Republican filibusters a total of 51 times. The current
Republican Senate majority has already been forced into 71 similar cloture
petition' maneuvers -- on 32 separate pieces of legislation."
In his weekly USA Today column on Tuesday (July 16), former NBC News
President Michael Gartner remembered his years with John Chancellor.
"He dealt in facts. He painted in words.
"For his last 10 years at NBC, he delivered
90-second commentaries three nights a week. For five of those years, I
worked with him. I watched him phone to get the facts, labor to get the
words, fret to get the tone for his commentaries -- which were to
stimulate, not to provoke. The facts, the words and their tone were always
Then Gartner recalled: "At dinner one night,
I remarked that he got more facts into 90 seconds than we could get into
the rest of Nightly News in 21 minutes."
couldn't agree more.