Hyde's Letter Is "War"; ABC: Go Left to Replace Newt; No Dems on ABC
>>> "Networks Promote 'Pragmatic Centrist' Republican Governors Who Used to Be Media Targets: 'Cold-Hearted' Governors Now 'Moderates.'" The November 6 MRC Media Reality Check fax report has been posted on the MRC home page by Webmaster Sean Henry. In the fax report the MRC's Tim Graham contrasts media pronouncements since the election about "pragmatic" and "moderate" GOP Governors with how the networks vilified Michigan Governor John Engler, as a hard-right conservative, after he was elected in 1990. Go to the MRC home page at http://www.mrc.org  <<<
Henry Hyde's announcement about impeachment hearings with Ken Starr as the only witness and that he asked President Clinton to admit or deny 81 items in the Starr report, topped the ABC, CBS and FNC evening shows Thursday night. Dan Rather's top of the CBS Evening News tease: "The incredible shrinking impeachment inquiry. Republicans backtrack, now call hearings with only one main witness: Ken Starr."
CNN and NBC went first with the devastation in Central America from Hurricane Mitch. CBS, FNC and CNN also focused on the perilous situation facing Speaking Newt Gingrich. CNN and NBC ran separate stories on how Republicans are talking about dumping him while ABC gave it just a sentence. CBS, CNN and FNC aired pieces on how the lawyers for Paula Jones will soon leave her, but only FNC's Rita Cosby reported that "President Clinton is no longer interested in settling the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit" and has even withdrawn his $700,000 offer.
Here are some highlights from the Thursday, November 5, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings delivered the oddest of openings, tying
together Hyde and Hurricane Mitch:
Jennings then introduced the second story: "The other priority tonight is Central America. It is must clearer to individual Americans today and the Clinton administration what a blow Tropical Storm Mitch has been..."
From the White House Scott Pelley reported that Clinton was non-committal on cooperating as the 81 questions "go to the heart of allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice."
Later in the show
Phil Jones provided a story on how Clinton had rejected a $950,000 offer
from the Jones team. As for why her lawyers are quitting after the current
appeal, Phil Jones relayed:
Tom Brokaw then
turned to how "results of this election have thrown congressional
Republicans into turmoil." Gwen Ifill reported that Gingrich spent
the day on the phone shoring up support, adding: "Also vulnerable in
Capitol Hill's current vengeful mood, sources say, Gingrich deputies
Dick Armey of Texas and John Boehner of Ohio." Ifill named four
possible challengers: Livingston, Largent, McIntosh and Jennifer Dunn
before running a soundbite from U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough on how Gingrich
should go. Ifill concluded:
Geraldo Rivera is not pleased with Henry Hyde's plan to move things along by getting President Clinton to either admit or deny 81 items in Starr's report. To Rivera, it's "war" meant to land Clinton in "a perjury trap."
Rivera opened the
November 5 Upfront Tonight on CNBC:
In other words, he did commit perjury.
If Republicans decide to replace Newt Gingrich the new Speaker should be
"more inclusive, not less inclusive" like a social conservative.
So argued Good Morning America substitute co-host Aaron Brown on Thursday
in another example of how the media culture assign the GOP setback to
being too conservative, not to failing to espouse a clear set of
conservative principles. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down these two
questions posed to Randy Tate, Executive Director of Christian Coalition:
"But, Randy, there are people, I think lots of people today, who are looking, for example, at California, even the Carolinas, and saying that this kind of strident, conservative, social conservative position is not a winning position, and if you're going to replace the Speaker, you need someone who is more inclusive, not less inclusive."
"Strident" conservative positions? North Carolina's Lauch Faircloth ran TV ads about how he got a postage stamp to highlight breast cancer and in California Matt Fong didn't exactly take the Christian Coalition line when he endorsed the Log Cabin Republican's policy goals.
ABC News this week has displayed all the technical smoothness of a local cable access show. Ted Koppel spent more time on Tuesday's Nightline trying to find the right camera and figuring out which guest had both sound and picture, and could hear Koppel without an echo, than conducting interviews.
It's all because NABET, the National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians, staged a walkout on Monday. Angered by the unannounced labor action, since Tuesday ABC has locked out the technicians. This has led Good Morning America to cancel a West Coast trip, move World News Now to London and.....interview no liberals since top Democratic politicians have decided to support the people who refused to do their jobs on Monday.
In the November 5 Washington Post reporter Lisa de Moraes described some of the impact on ABC. Here's an excerpt:
....ABC crews were asked to leave the headquarters of California Democratic gubernatorial winner Gray Davis Tuesday afternoon and police removed ABC crews from the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco where Sen. Barbara Boxer was celebrating her reelection Tuesday night. Both Davis and Boxer won with strong backing from organized labor.
In both cases, ABC got injunctions that permitted their news crews to return to the Democratic gatherings. The network argued that the Democrats were violating ABC's First Amendment rights....
In addition to technical glitches that resulted from the use of fill-in staff, ABC's election reports were noticeably missing interviews with Democratic politicians, who heeded NABET's boycott. That included Davis and Boxer in California.
But they weren't the only Democrats to cold-shoulder ABC News. The day before the elections, Gore canceled an interview for Good Morning America. Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, head of the Democratic National Committee, also backed out of an appearance on the morning news show....
But politicians weren't the only people giving ABC the brushoff. Sandler, whose movie "The Waterboy" opens tomorrow, canceled a Good Morning America appearance yesterday.
The NABET battle also drove the network's World News Now 2-5 a.m. program out of the country and over to London. "Given the circumstances, it makes sense to use all available facilities, and
London is certainly an equipped and available facility," ABC News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said....
With so much bad karma coming out of California, ABC yesterday decided to scrap its plans to take "Good Morning America" on the road to California next week. Anchors Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman were to have hosted the show from San Francisco, Carmel, Los Angeles and San Diego. Instead, they're staying in New York. That's a big blow to the ratings-starved morning show....
Liberals can afford to boycott ABC News since they know their views will be well represented by the sympathetic news staff. (One Democrat didn't follow the marching orders: North Carolina Senator-elect John Edwards appeared on Wednesday's GMA, but otherwise no Democratic officials appeared Wednesday or Thursday morning, MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson observed.)
The evils of corporate welfare is the November 9 Time magazine cover story. I haven't had a chance to read the 13-page piece, the first of a weekly series, but the byline jolted me by reminding me of some of the most tendentious left-wing bias ever documented by the MRC. The byline: Donald Barlett and James Steele, most infamous for a 1991 series in the Philadelphia Inquirer and other Knight-Ridder newspapers called "America: What Went Wrong." The series became a book with the same name.
Of course what
went wrong for Barlett and Steele was Ronald Reagan and Democrats giving
in to business interests. To give you a flavor of their liberal crusading
spiced up with exaggerated hype about the dire conditions of the country,
here's a quote from a 1991 installment on deregulation:
For an idea of how loose they are with basic facts, here's an excerpt from the December 1991 MediaWatch article on the series:
Assertion: A dramatic front page chart showed a 13-inch high stack of dollar bills labeled "Increase in the salaries of people earning more than $1 million: 2,184 percent." In contrast, a quarter-inch high stack reflected the 44 percent growth in salaries of those making $20,000 to $40,000.
Reality: Barlett and Steele's numbers reflected the total, non- inflation adjusted, dollars earned by everyone reporting an income over $1 million, not the "increase of salaries of people earning more than $1 million." Translated: In 1983, 10,800 households reported an income of over $1 million, for a total of $24 billion. By 1988, millionaires reported $172 billion in income. But that's because the number of households reporting a $1 million-plus income soared six-fold to 65,300. As Joint Economic Committee economist Chris Frenze explained to MediaWatch, the 1986 tax reform cut the marginal rate from 50 to 31 percent, leading the wealthiest to take money out of shelters and report it as income.
To read the MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award on the series, go to: http://www.mrc.org/mediawatch/1991/watch19911201.asp#Award 
A few months later, far from being embarrassed by its shameless manipulation of emotions through misleading generalities in the "America: What Went Wrong" series, Barlett and Steele wrote a front page story on the unfairness of a capital gains tax cut. They charged that a cut would "encourage another round of corporate takeovers, such as the ones in the 1980s that led to the closing of plants and the elimination of jobs." They also preposterously asserted: "An Inquirer analysis of the 70-year history of the capital gains preference shows no evidence linking the tax to the creation of jobs."
To read a MediaWatch article about this story, go to: http://www.mrc.org/mediawatch/1992/watch19920201.asp#FiveB 
After their book was published in the spring of 1992, MediaWatch asked: "So who in the media have cared enough to check Barlett and Steele's wild assertions? Just Philadelphia magazine Senior Editor Paul Keegan. In April he found: 'Their series is so fundamentally flawed, its intellectual underpinnings so weak, that it actually says little about what went wrong with America, and everything about what went wrong with Barlett and Steele.'"
Nonetheless, Time considered them a great addition to the staff. In a "To Our Readers" letter in the November 9 edition, Time Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine, crowed: "Barlett and Steele came to Time, Inc. 18 months ago from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where, over 26 years, they earned their reputations as America's finest investigative reporters."
More like America's finest transformers of liberal polemics into a news story format. Liberals and conservatives oppose corporate welfare, but I bet the series approaches the subject from the left. Next week Time promises "Life with America's Biggest Sugar Daddy."
From the November 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Famous Politician Wrestling Nicknames." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Sneak Attacki" Pataki.
And from the Late Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- Margaret "The Iron Girdle"
One more Ratherism on top of the "this race was as hot and squalid as a New York elevator in August" cited in the November 4 CyberAlert and the "nasty enough to gag a buzzard" quip quoted in the November 5 CyberAlert.
On Thursday's FNC Fox Report, in an item on how Dan Rather will be part of the upcoming 60 Minutes II, co-anchor Jon Scott highlighted another election night Ratherism: "He said when folks heard a former wrestler won the Minnesota Governorship they couldn't have been more surprised than quote, 'if Fidel Castro came looping through on a hippopotamus.'"
Experience CBS News. What drugs has Rather been experiencing? -- Brent Baker 
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