Special Reports

Executive Summary While it only lasted about three weeks, the second Gulf War was an unqualified success. But what about TV coverage of the war? While the media covered many aspects of the war fairly well — reports from embedded journalists were refreshingly factual and were mostly devoid of commentary — television’s war news was plagued by the same problems detected during previous conflicts: too little skepticism of enemy propaganda, too much mindless negativism about America’s military prospects, and a reluctance on the part of most networks to challenge the premises of the anti-war movement or expose its radical agenda... continue reading
Executive Summary In times of war, the media grow skeptical of the American government’s role in controlling the flow of information. But the American people are also concerned about the media’s control of the flow of information. Will they act as a neutral observers, devoted to balance and accuracy? Or will they play an activist’s role in undermining our government’s effectiveness in waging war? During a January 17 Nightline/Viewpoint special, ABC News President David Westin explained why he banned the wearing of flag pins by his reporters: “I think our patriotic duty as journalists in the United States is to... continue reading
Executive Summary Liberal politicians have made no secret of the fact that they hope this fall’s congressional elections revolve around economic issues, including the federal budget deficit, lack of a prescription drug entitlement for senior citizens and this year’s corporate accounting scandals. Perhaps one reason for this desire is that liberals watch Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings every night, and they recognize that TV news has framed the discussion of all of these important economic issues in a way that benefits liberals and gives short shrift to conservative arguments. This summer, the Media Research Center reviewed ABC, CBS,... 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 For years, liberal environmentalists have insisted that only tough regulations on economic activity can prevent the climate catastrophe of human-induced global warming. So far, these activists’ biggest policy success has been the 1997 Kyoto Protocols, which would have forced the United States to cut industrial emissions to seven percent below 1990 levels, or 30 percent lower than current levels. But if the gloom-and-doom predictions of environmental activists’ are exaggerated or wrong, such severe cutbacks — which would have increased energy prices and drastically reduced economic growth — are not necessary. This debate has been going on for years,... 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
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 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 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 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