Special Reports

Executive Summary May 14, 1999, updated from April 26 edition: If TV anchors regularly suggest viewers should worry about everyday threats like spoiled hamburgers or "monster" sport utility vehicles, why can’t they report on the threat posed by the Chinese theft of secrets that may make their nuclear missiles arrive with better aim and increased deadliness? The nation’s most prestigious newspapers have published scoop after scoop detailing the connections between Chinese contributions and espionage efforts, and ABC, CBS and NBC have aired next to nothing about them on their morning and evening shows. The Media Research Center found the networks’... continue reading
Executive Summary In a study of nearly three months of network and news magazine coverage, the Media Research Center found that despite the suggestion that the national media's only bias is in favor of "a good story," the Whitewater story ­­ indictments, convictions, Senate hearings, and all ­­ is still the story reporters love to hate. The lack of coverage is matched by the disparaging tone members of the media have displayed toward Whitewater over the past few months. A representative sampling of these follows on page two. First, among the study findings: From February 29 to May 20, the... continue reading
Executive Summary On May 25, after months of White House delays over declassification, a special House task force led by Reps. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) and Rep. Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) released its final report on the Chinese government’s theft of nuclear warhead and missile secrets. But it made almost no difference in the calculated indifference to the Chinese espionage story at ABC, CBS, and NBC. NBC Nightly News ultimately aired only two stories on the Cox committee findings, while ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News aired three. The Media Research Center has identified the following network methods in deflating... continue reading
Executive Summary Over the last two years, network TV news viewers have been inundated with tragic images of students running away from gunfire. With every new incident, the networks have blamed guns, and wonder if more gun control laws aren’t an obvious solution. In a study of 653 morning and evening news stories on ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC from July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1999, MRC Senior Media Analyst Geoffrey Dickens documents how: 1. TV News Has Chosen Sides. Stories advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 357 to 36, or a ratio of almost... continue reading
Executive Summary Five years ago, CNN became the first U.S.-based news organization with a full-time news bureau in communist Cuba in nearly 30 years. As an independent and highly-regarded news organization, CNN’s mission was to transmit the reality of Castro’s dictatorship to American audiences. In 1997, then-White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry told reporters that “reporting of truth about the conditions in Cuba would further...peaceful, democratic change in Cuba.” CNN officials also had high hopes. Incoming Havana bureau chief Lucia Newman assured viewers “we will be given total freedom to do what we want and to work without prior censorship.”... continue reading
Executive Summary It's puzzled pundits and confounded commentators: Why have many Republicans been eager to embrace the candidacy of Sen. John McCain, who makes a great show of the fact that he's proposed the smallest tax cut of any major Republican presidential candidate in a generation? Could it be because the national media have portrayed tax cuts as all risk and no reward? To shed some light on the issue, the Media Research Center's Free Market Project reviewed every story on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening news that either featured or referenced the GOP tax-cut debate during the six... continue reading
Executive Summary According to a growing number of journalists, the media’s liberal bias — a trait that most reporters refuse to acknowledge — is no longer a problem. Pointing to the commercial success of conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, plus the Fox News Channel’s dominance of cable TV, many media liberals insist the news industry has all of the fairness and balance it needs. “It took conservatives a lot of hard and steady work to push the media rightward. It dishonors that work to continue to presume that — except for a few liberal... continue reading
Executive Summary We would like to think that the Cold War is over. But for the people of communist Cuba and the people who’ve fled it, the Cold War remains. In all of the coverage and controversy over the arrival and seizure of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, the media have taken the stark contrast between American liberty and Cuban tyranny and muddled it to the point that much of the American public thinks Cuba is no different than America, or worse, that Cuba is better than America. The Media Research Center has compiled a record showing how the national media built... continue reading
Executive Summary In 1984, Professor Bill Adams found that the networks provided unequal treatment of the two conventions during their prime time coverage. Correspondents frequently labeled Republican politicians as ideologues, using labels such as "right wing" and "far right" much more than they called Democrats "left wing" and "far left." In on-air interviews, reporters frequently challenged Republicans with questions drawn from the liberal agenda, but rarely challenged Democrats with conservative questions. Since 1988, the MRC has applied Adams’s methodology to the networks’ prime time convention coverage. Adams only had enough resources to examine CBS and NBC’s coverage. Fortunately, the MRC... continue reading
Executive Summary Liberals have unloaded on President Bush’s proposed tax reduction package, condemning it as a risky scheme and a massive, budget-busting giveaway to the rich. Tax cut proponents have countered that by various historical measures Bush’s tax cut is hardly excessive, and argued it provides a greater percentage tax reduction to lower- and middle-income households than it does to wealthier families. So which set of opinions has held sway on the three evening newscasts since the inauguration? To find out, the Media Research Center’s Free Market Project (FMP) analyzed all 93 tax stories that appeared on ABC’s World News... continue reading