How to "pay" for Bush Tax Cut for the Wealthy; Tipper Not Pressed on Homeless
1) ABC and NBC worried how to "pay" for Bush's tax cut as NBC stressed how it's "even more expensive" than the House plan. CNN's Brooks Jackson fretted over how it doesn't aid those who don't pay income taxes with "no relief at all for millions at the bottom."
2) Clinton delivered the usual partisan rant about "risky tax cuts" that would have destroyed the Social Security surplus. The Washington Post cited the quote as evidence that Clinton avoided "sharp partisan rhetoric" and was "rather dispassionate."
4) Today and The Early Show featured looks at Tipper Gore's photos of the homeless, but neither show asked her about the Clinton-Gore record on reducing it. CBS's Jane Clayson asked: "What do you think that your legacy will be as the wife of the Vice President?"
5) The media are biased against Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Alter argued in Newsweek, citing "right-winger" Rupert Murdoch for the New York Post's bias against her and complaining there's no "countervailing tabloid" in New York for balance. Really?
How to "pay" for George W. Bush's tax cut idea and does it help everyone, or as CNN argued, did Bush ignore "millions of Americans at the bottom"?
Violence in the streets of Seattle and the WTO meeting led all the network evening shows Wednesday night, but all also ran pieces assessing George W. Bush's tax cut plan. ABC and NBC assumed all the money in America belongs to the government and so a way will have to be found to "pay" for any tax cut. ABC anchor Jack Ford referred to "paying for the cut," while NBC's David Bloom warned "Bush's plan is even more expensive than the Republican tax cut President Clinton vetoed last summer" and suggested Bush not only has raised a lot of money, he's trying to show he has the "best ideas about how to spend it."
CBS's Bob Schieffer described Bush's plan as more reasonable than what his opponents are pushing, asserting: "Bush's plan follows fairly mainstream Republican thinking and avoids the more exotic flat tax plans." CNN The World Today anchor Wolf Blitzer offered the oddest introduction of the night: "The Republican race for the White House turned nasty in Iowa today."
While NBC's David Bloom declared the Bush cuts are "targeted especially at middle and lower income families," CNN's Brooks Jackson pushed class warfare by implying the tax cut is unfair since it doesn't cut income taxes for those who don't pay income taxes: "What Governor Bush doesn't mention is that his cut would give no relief at all for millions at the bottom."
(Bush's plan would reduce the rate paid by those now in the 39.6 and 36 percent brackets to 33 percent, move those now paying 31 or 28 percent to 25 percent and have those now at 15 percent only pay at a 10 percent rate. Plus, he'd phase out the inheritance tax and double the child credit to $1,000.)
Here's a rundown of how the three broadcast networks, CNN and MSNBC handled the Bush tax cut proposal on Wednesday night, December 1:
-- ABC's World News
Tonight. Anchor Jack Ford announced:
Dean Reynolds noted that
Bush "unveiled a plan that gives a tax break to virtually
everybody." Reynolds ran through the basics of Bush's plan,
including reducing the income tax rates to three at 10, 25 and 33 percent,
as well as phasing out the inheritance tax and doubling the child credit.
Reynolds then offered reaction from Steve Forbes. Over video of Bush and
Forbes meeting each other at a gathering in Iowa, Reynolds reported:
Jack Ford then added:
"Speaking in Iowa today, Vice President Gore responded to Governor
Bush's tax plan. He said it's astonishing that Governor Bush can't
keep himself from using up the budget surplus."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan
Rather stressed divisiveness in the ranks instead of what Bush proposed:
Bob Schieffer began by
claiming "It's starting to get tense among the Republicans."
After explaining how Forbes has produced an ad attacking Bush for thinking
about raising the Social Security retirement age and that Bush's tax cut
would be bigger than the one vetoed by Clinton this year, Schieffer went
through the basics of the proposal.
-- CNN's The World
Today. Anchor Wolf Blitzer intoned:
CNN then ran two
stories: Bruce Morton summarized the plan and the usually better than this
Brooks Jackson offered a slanted story assessing its impact on income
groups. Jackson began from the left:
If you don't pay income taxes why would you get an income tax cut? And if all "people at the bottom" are paying is the FICA tax then in a sense they've already gotten a 100 percent income tax cut.
Jackson moved on to note that Bush contended his plan would cut to zero the income tax for 6 million families: "A family of four now starts paying income taxes on income above $24,900 a year. Bush says under his plan, taxes would start at $36,500."
Jackson correctly noted
that "the rich would get a smaller percentage cut in tax rates,"
but then returned to liberal class warfare to make the insipid point that
those who pay more in taxes would get a bigger tax cut. Without labeling
Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) as liberal, he relayed their rhetoric about
Jackson concluded by
assuming someone must "pay" for tax cuts: "Would there be
money to pay for such huge cuts? Bush's plan assumes the economy will grow
2.7 percent per year, which is not unreasonable. The Congressional Budget
Office predicts 2.5 percent growth and the economy actually grew at a rate
of 5.5 percent growth in the last quarter. So the Bush tax plan is based
on mainstream economics, but such a massive cut would delay paying down
the national debt, and, by design, leave little or no room for other new
-- NBC Nightly News. Plugging the upcoming story, anchor Tom Brokaw uniquely reminded viewers of how George H.W. Bush broke his tax pledge: "And when we come back here, NBC News In Depth tonight: Read his lips. George W. Bush outlines his economic plan, including a huge package of tax cuts."
David Bloom opened the subsequent story: "Saying the times demand a substantial tax cut, and preaching what he calls the economics of inclusion, Governor Bush today offered as the centerpiece of his economic plan a more than one trillion dollar tax cut, targeted especially at middle and lower income families."
Bloom never explained how he got to a "more than one trillion dollar tax cut" when other stories referred to it as $483 billion one over five years, so Bloom was probably making it sound bigger by going out ten years.
After mentioning the tax
rate reductions, Bloom got to its "expense," explaining:
"Bush would double the child tax credit to $1,000, meaning a typical
family of four, making $50,000 a year, would see their federal taxes cut
in half. But Bush's plan is even more expensive than the Republican tax
cut President Clinton vetoed last summer. And Vice President Gore calls it
risky, quote 'reckless tax scheme that would immediately put our country
back into deficits.' Bush counters that the budget surplus should be
returned to taxpayers, not spent by the government."
MSNBC's The News with
Brian Williams also carried Bloom's piece, followed by some standard
liberal analysis from Chris Matthews. While Matthews may have been tough
on Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, Wednesday night he showed he
hasn't yet grown out of the redistributionist beliefs espoused by his
former boss, the late Tip O'Neill. Matthews told Brian Williams:
Three comments: First, going from 15 to 10 percent is a far greater percentage reduction in tax rate than going from 39.6 to 33 percent. Second, since when did the government create the wealth to give to the rich at the end of the year? Third, dead people don't pay any inheritance tax now because it's hard to pay taxes when you're dead.
partisan liberal rhetoric seen as "dispassionate" by one
reporter. Signing the $390 billion spending bill Monday, the last of the
$1.8 trillion budget for 2000, President Clinton delivered the usual
partisan rant about how the budget "avoids risky tax cuts" that
would have destroyed the Social Security surplus and "drained our
ability to advance education."
Check out this two
paragraph sequence in the middle of reporter Charles Babington's
November 30 story. (At the end of the first paragraph he advanced another
canard about how the House-proposed tax cut would have forced
"steep" spending cuts when it actually only would have cut taxes
by 0.4 percent in 2000 and 0.9 percent in 2001.):
I guess when you agree with the rhetoric it seems "dispassionate."
Jesse Ventura, meet Andy Rooney. A USA Today item last week revealed that the 60 Minutes commentator has as little respect for religion as does Jesse Ventura.
In his Inside TV column
on November 23 USA Today's Peter Johnson looked at Rooney's new book
of letters he's written, Sincerely, Andy Rooney:
Photos of the homeless taken by Tipper Gore are now on display at a Washington art gallery, prompting appearances by Mrs. Gore on NBC's Today and CBS's The Early Show this week, but on neither program was she asked about the Clinton-Gore record over seven years in addressing homelessness even though NBC's Matt Lauer called it "a very serious problem."
Instead, NBC's Bob Faw focused on how her photos give the homeless "hope and dignity" and allowed her to claim she's "acknowledging their humanity." The Early Show's Jane Clayson told Gore "You have always said that your priority is your children and your family." Clayson asked such tough questions as: "You're a new grandma, how's it going?" And: "What do you think that your legacy will be as the wife of the Vice President, what do you hope it will be?"
NBC's Today on
November 30 played a taped piece about Tipper Gore by Bob Faw. As
transcribed by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, Matt Lauer introduced the
Bob Faw began: "We have never been richer and still they are everywhere. Huddled over steaming grates or curled up in their cardboard sanctuaries. This new exhibition at Washington's Corcoran Gallery intends to recast that image. That, at least, is why the Vice President's wife displayed ten photographs she has taken over the last 25 years."
After showing some of the photos and getting comments from Gore about the people in them, Faw oozed: "Meeting them, capturing their struggles and their strength on film taught Tipper Gore a lesson then and now....Mrs. Gore says she's changed over the years but that her technique has not. That first she forges a bond with her subject and always asks permission to photograph."
Faw continued: "At this exhibition, just a stone's throw from the White House, there is something ironic, even faintly absurd about people who have absolutely nothing being celebrated by a woman who has virtually everything. She lives in a splendid government mansion, fully staffed, always protected. She insists though that none of that changes the way the homeless relate to her."
Faw's concluding sequence: "And the candidate's wife has an answer for cynics who grumble that she is exploiting the homeless. 'Unlike most people,' she says, 'I'm acknowledging their humanity.'"
Gore, over video of
pedestrians bypassing a beggar: "People don't look them in the eye.
They tell me this. They say people act as if I'm not alive, as if I'm a
CBS's The Early Show on December 1 demonstrated that Bryant Gumbel is not the show's only liberal co-host who will go soft on liberal guests. As taken down by the MRC's Brian Boyd, here's every "question" Clayson posed to Tipper Gore:
-- "It's a
wonderful project with wonderful photographs. How did you come up with the
Not quite the approach the media took during the Reagan and Bush years when they were quick to blame them for homelessness. As a 1996 MediaWatch study by the MRC's Tim Graham found, media interest in the homeless fell upon Clinton's inauguration. The February 1996 study of 1989 through 1995 coverage on the ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC evening shows, "The Incredible Shrinking Homeless," revealed:
In the Bush years (1989-1992), the number of homeless stories per year averaged 52.5, but in the first three years of the Clinton administration, the average dropped to 25.3 stories a year.
During the Bush administration, the story count grew from 44 in 1989 to a peak of 71 in 1990, followed by 54 stories in 1991 and 43 in 1992. By contrast, stories on America's homeless dipped slightly to 35 stories in 1993, and 32 in 1994. In 1995, the number fell dramatically to just nine....
While the stories in the Bush era regularly blamed Republican administrations, not one of the 75 homeless stories in the last three years has placed any blame on the Clinton administration.
To read the full study,
+++ Thursday morning the MRC's Eric Pairel and Andy Szul will post on the MRC's Web site, in RealPlayer format, a portion of the Clayson interview of Gore so you can see some of the photos.
In this week's Newsweek Jonathan Alter inveighed against "right-winger" Rupert Murdoch for his newspaper's bias against the First Lady without a "countervailing tabloid" for balance.
Here's part of the lead item from this week's MagazineWatch, about the December 6 issues, compiled by Mark Drake and edited by Tim Graham:
In Newsweek, Jonathan Alter's "Why It's Time to Let Loose" warned readers not to count Hillary out and complained about media bias against the first lady: "The last four months have been miserable for Hillary, and she has mostly herself to blame. But it's not too late. To overcome bias against her in the press -- and to take the edge off the monumental chutzpah it took to run in the first place -- she needs to look beyond merely correcting her political tone-deafness."....
Alter rebuked the New York Post and its publisher Rupert Murdoch for their coverage of Hillary: "To turn every miscue into a fiasco, Hillary can always depend on the New York Post. The Post is now a Gotham City symbol -- as New York as a bagel with a shmeer. While the tabloid, owned by right-winger Rupert Murdoch, has a circulation of only 437,000, it sets the tone for the rest of the media. News magazines (including Newsweek) and cable networks use the clever screaming headlines to represent the pulse of the city; local TV swims in currents created by the paper's coverage. Almost everyone usually fails to mention that the paper is biased against the Clintons. And there's no countervailing tabloid. When the Post ran its SHAME ON HILLARY headline, the New York Daily News, a more objective paper, did not cover a crackdown on street people with GIULIANI TO HOMELESS: DROP DEAD."
No countervailing newspaper? Millions of New Yorkers read the liberal dailies: The New York Times, the Daily News, and Newsday. But Alter complained they're "more objective." Here's two actual headlines from last week's Daily News on Giuliani and the homeless. On Tuesday: "RUDY PLOWING AHEAD WITH PLAN TO ROUST HOMELESS." On Friday: "THE MAYOR TARGETS US LIKE PREY SAY NEEDY."
This is more objective?
Other items in this week's edition:
remarkably stressed Hillary's "disastrous" kiss of Mrs. Arafat
and the political ties between Hillary and racial demagogue Al Sharpton.
To read these
items, go to:
Thursday night's debate in New Hampshire, the first in which Bush will show up, will be shown nationally live from 8 to 9:30pm ET on the Fox News Channel, which is co-sponsoring it with WMUR-TV. C-SPAN will show it on tape at 5:30am ET Friday morning. -- Brent Baker 
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