Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's Hannity, 10:40pm ET/PT Wednesday

ABC: North Korea's 'Historic Fear' of U.S. Worsened by Bush --10/10/2006


1. ABC: North Korea's 'Historic Fear' of U.S. Worsened by Bush
ABC's Mark Litke, checking in from Seoul on Monday's World News, seemed to rationalize North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's pursuit of a nuclear weapon as he treated as credible the contention the regime has had, for decades, a reasonable fear of U.S. invasion, a fear exacerbated by President George W. Bush. Litke proposed: "It's difficult to imagine Kim Jong Il as a clever and calculating leader who knows exactly what he wants, but, in fact, he may be much smarter than most people realize." Litke soon outlined, leading into a soundbite from Clinton administration UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, how "Kim has justified his missile tests and nuclear program as a deterrent to what he sees as an eventual U.S. invasion. It's a longstanding fear dating back to the Korean War when Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, feared the U.S. would use nuclear weapons against his country. That historic fear was reinforced 50 years later when the U.S. labeled North Korea part of an 'Axis of Evil' with Iran and Iraq. Kim Jong Il feared he would always be next after Iraq."

2. ABC's Sawyer: Does U.S. Have Right to Stop a Nuclear North Korea?
First, Katie Couric wondered who made America the "boss" of the world, now ABC's Diane Sawyer wants to know if "the U.S. can tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not?" Sawyer asked the question on Monday's Good Morning America during an interview with Donald Gregg, former ambassador to South Korea under the first President Bush, about North Korea's apparent test of a nuclear weapon. Sawyer queried Gregg about whether America has the right to criticize such testing: "I want to ask you a question I've heard being asked this morning, which is, really, how can the U.S. tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not, when the U.S. has them and seven other countries as well? Does this mean that the genie is officially out of the bottle and that the U.S. is no longer in a position to dictate who gets nuclear weapons?"

3. NBC's Today Despairs Team Bush Ruined Clinton Progress in N Korea
As they padded for time waiting in the 9:30am half hour of Monday's Today for a live statement on the North Korean nuclear test from President Bush, NBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded that Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright were building reconciliation between North and South Korea, but Bush came in and ruined it, overruling his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, "cutting him off at the knees." Typically, Today co-host Matt Lauer insisted the North Korean nuclear test was just the latest in a string of bad news for Bush, from Iraq and Iran to the Mark Foley page scandal.

4. E-Mail Read by CNN: World Should 'Congratulate' North Korea
At the conclusion of Monday's Your World Today, CNN's daily noontime EDT simulcast of an hour of its CNN International channel, domestic viewers were treated to the morally relativistic world view those overseas see and hear from CNN all day. Anchors Stephen Frazier and Rosemary Church read a variety of e-mails on North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons and, treating all opinions as equally credible, Church read aloud this submission: "And a completely different view. Soh, from Singapore writes: 'The North Koreans have done the right thing. Since the end of the Korean War, they have been subjected to hostilities from the United States. and other western powers. This bomb is a source of tremendous pride for the Korean people, north and south. The world should congratulate the North Korean people for this achievement.'"

5. CBS Skips How Foley Makes 'No Difference,' Stresses GOP Negatives
A new CBS News/New York Times poll discovered, that despite day after day pounding from the news media, two-thirds said the Foley matter will make "no difference" in how they vote -- with 72 percent of independents saying so as well as a majority of Democrats (51 percent). But, Monday's CBS Evening News ignored that response as Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer found plenty of other bad news for the GOP to highlight. Couric asserted that Mark Foley's "tawdry story continues to unfold just 29 days before the midterm elections," as if she and her media colleagues are not active participants in fueling it, and the "poll tonight indicates the GOP is in big trouble." Schieffer declared: "This poll is about as bad as it can get for Republicans" because it suggests "that more and more Americans just don't believe them anymore, whether they are in the White House or in Congress." Over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos listed a lot of bad news for Republicans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but anchor Charles Gibson began with how the fresh survey found "just 18 percent of voters consider the scandal an important issue."

6. Newsmags Push Democratic Wave in 2006, But Fought GOP Tide in '94
Both Time and Newsweek are out with another set of "bad news for Republicans" covers this week. In her magazine's cover story, Time's Karen Tumulty suggested that Republican are about to lose control of Congress: "It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there." Time's cover showcased a huge shot of an elephant's rump, symbolizing the end of the GOP's control of Congress while Newsweek has a huge close-up of the disgraced Mark Foley's face, an image that dwarfs a picture of President Bush. As the media elite tell it, 2006 will be for Democrats what 1994 was for Republicans, with angry voters tossing out a tired, scandal-plagued majority party and handing the keys to the Congress over to opposition. If that scenario does come to pass, one key difference will be that while the media have so far largely helped the insurgents of 2006, liberal journalists looked askance at the "angry" voters of 1994.

7. Public Saw More Liberal Bias Than 'Anyone' in Media 'Estimated'
On FNC's two-hour Sunday special (8-10pm EDT) to mark the channel's tenth anniversary, former CBS News and MSNBC executive Erik Sorenson articulated what the AP's David Bauder last week paraphrased him as acknowledging: How New York-based news media executives were so out of touch that they did not recognize the depth of belief in liberal media bias into which FNC tapped. "There was a full-on commitment" to the "fair and balanced" premise, Sorenson proposed during FNC's special, Fox News at 10: Thank You America, in explaining FNC's success: "There were far more people in America who seemed to hold that opinion of the liberal media bias than anyone in New York City -- the media capital of the world -- had estimated."

8. Asked About CNN's Future, Ted Turner Utters a Loud Sputter
Asked at the National Press Club's luncheon on Monday "what do you see as the future vision for CNN now that Fox is gaining in market share and popularity?", CNN founder Ted Turner leaned into the microphone and, prompting laughter and applause, produced a loud sputtering sound as he blew air through his lips with his tongue sticking out slightly -- aka "blowing a raspberry" or issuing a "Bronx cheer." Then, seemingly retreating from his apparent disparagement of CNN, Turner confusingly tried to clarify: "It's not the same. Fox is a different animal [pause]. Listen, you know, the right-wingers have every right to have a network of their own and they've got one." AUDIO&VIDEO


ABC: North Korea's 'Historic Fear' of
U.S. Worsened by Bush

ABC's Mark Litke, checking in from Seoul on Monday's World News, seemed to rationalize North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's pursuit of a nuclear weapon as he treated as credible the contention the regime has had, for decades, a reasonable fear of U.S. invasion, a fear exacerbated by President George W. Bush. Litke proposed: "It's difficult to imagine Kim Jong Il as a clever and calculating leader who knows exactly what he wants, but, in fact, he may be much smarter than most people realize." Litke soon outlined, leading into a soundbite from Clinton administration UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, how "Kim has justified his missile tests and nuclear program as a deterrent to what he sees as an eventual U.S. invasion. It's a longstanding fear dating back to the Korean War when Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, feared the U.S. would use nuclear weapons against his country. That historic fear was reinforced 50 years later when the U.S. labeled North Korea part of an 'Axis of Evil' with Iran and Iraq. Kim Jong Il feared he would always be next after Iraq."

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The Monday night coverage on CBS and NBC of North Korea's atomic test avoided giving credence to such blame-America reasoning.

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the October 9 World News with Charles Gibson on ABC.

Gibson set up the piece, the last of a series of reports on North Korea: "And that is where we go next, to the Korean Peninsula. This is an international crisis borne out of one person's actions. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, inherited the reins of power after his father, the former leader, died. His country is crippled by sanctions already in place, and his government is the most isolated in the world. But, as ABC's Mark Litke reports from Seoul, South Korea, Kim Jong Il may be getting what he wants."

From South Korea, Mark Litke began: "He is often portrayed as an odd reclusive, rarely seen or heard in public -- a vain, eccentric playboy who loves expensive wines and Hollywood movies -- it's difficult to imagine Kim Jong Il as a clever and calculating leader who knows exactly what he wants, but, in fact, he may be much smarter than most people realize."
Donald Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: "Kim Jong Il, in my view, is interested in the survival and the evolution of his state into a less abnormal state. He's not interested in suicide."
Litke: "So why set off a nuclear bomb when nearly the entire world has been threatening the North with even greater isolation? Many analysts believe Kim sees nuclear weapons as North Korea's best bargaining chip in trying to gain international respect as a world power, and not a crumbling regime."
Professor Lho Kyong Soo, Seoul National University: "What I think they're trying to do is to show the world that they're going to do it their way, that nobody is going to stop them."
Litke: "Another reason, Kim has justified his missile tests and nuclear program as a deterrent to what he sees as an eventual U.S. invasion. It's a longstanding fear dating back to the Korean War when Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, feared the U.S. would use nuclear weapons against his country. That historic fear was reinforced 50 years later when the U.S. labeled North Korea part of an 'Axis of Evil' with Iran and Iraq. Kim Jong Il feared he would always be next after Iraq."
Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM): "Could be that they want to enter a new negotiation, and they're just using this for negotiating leverage. And having a nuclear weapon is substantial leverage."
Litke: "Kim has suggested he'll back way from his own nuclear program only if the United States offers direct talks, agrees to a non-aggression pact, and ends its crippling sanctions against North Korea's international finances. But none of those demands are likely to be accepted anytime soon. Mark Litke, ABC News, Seoul."

ABC's Sawyer: Does U.S. Have Right to
Stop a Nuclear North Korea?

First, Katie Couric wondered who made America the "boss" of the world, now ABC's Diane Sawyer wants to know if "the U.S. can tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not?" Sawyer asked the question on Monday's Good Morning America during an interview with Donald Gregg, former ambassador to South Korea under the first President Bush, about North Korea's apparent test of a nuclear weapon. Sawyer queried Gregg about whether America has the right to criticize such testing: "I want to ask you a question I've heard being asked this morning, which is, really, how can the U.S. tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not, when the U.S. has them and seven other countries as well? Does this mean that the genie is officially out of the bottle and that the U.S. is no longer in a position to dictate who gets nuclear weapons?"

(The September 25 CyberAlert reported: In a profile of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which led Sunday's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric explained how Rice "rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world." CBS then ran a soundbite from Rice as she sat a few feet in front of Couric: "What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?" To which, Couric retorted by inserting one of her kids into the story: "To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'" See: www.mrc.org )

[This item is adopted from a Monday posting by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog: newsbusters.org ]

Gregg, who is now an ABC news consultant, seemed to place most of the blame on the U.S. and "hardline" officials in the Bush administration. Earlier in the 7am half hour interview, Sawyer wondered if North Korea would sell nuclear material:
"And we are also told that he has an underground missile sale already that is bringing in a lot of money to the country. Is there a possibility now that he's going to be selling nuclear material to rogue states?"
Gregg: "I certainly hope not. I think that this test on the part of the North Koreans was a mistake on their part for the ripple effect that it is causing. I think in a way, he is playing into the hands of the hardline elements in the Bush administration who would like nothing better than to make North Korea part of the war on terror. There was immediate talk by one o'clock last night by senior White House officials about the danger of North Korea as a proliferator to terrorist groups. And, I think this is a self-fulfilling prophecy I don't think North Korea wants to go that way. I think that what North Korea is looking for is direct talks with us. They have been nuclearly fearful of us for years. They are now convinced that the Bush administration has a policy of regime change, Kim Gye Gwan, a man I meet every time I go there, said last month, 'You're going to have to learn to live with a nuclear North Korea until you are willing to sit down and talk seriously with us.'"

The above statement appeared to be too much even for Sawyer, as she pointed out that such talks would be construed as capitulation to blackmail:
"But the U.S. has said they will not talk one-on-one, and especially now, not being blackmailed into it by a nuclear threat."
Gregg: "Right. This was a miscalculation on the part of North Koreans if they thought this test would cause us to talk. So, I think, we've widened the gap of mistrust and suspicion, and my guess is that not much are going to happen until there are elections in both countries."

The ABC anchor closed out the interview by wondering where the United States obtains the moral authority to oppose a nuclear North Korea:
"I want to ask you a question I've heard being asked this morning, which is, really, how can the U.S. tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not, when the U.S. has them and seven other countries as well? Does this mean that the genie is officially out of the bottle and that the U.S. is no longer in a position to dictate who gets nuclear weapons?"
Gregg: "Well, we have been saying this for a long time to a number of countries and it hasn't stopped any of them. It hasn't stopped India; it hasn't stopped Pakistan; it hasn't stopped North Korea. And, I think that the one case where we have been recently successful was with Gaddafi of Libya. And his decision to give up a nuclear capacity came as a result of long dialogue. I've talked with the British intelligence officer who started talking with him. He said he felt he was dealing with something of a nut case when he sat down with Gaddafi. But in the end, he developed some respect for him. And the end result was an end to the nuclear threat from that country."

Gregg made no mention of the fact that the United States, at that point, was negotiating from a position of strength. Gaddafi saw what happened in Iraq and didn't want the same situation to befall his country.

Sawyer's comments aren't the first such quizzical statements she's made about North Korea. The September 30, 1997 CyberAlert recounted a September 29, 1997 report she filed on the problems facing the country:
"For her September 29 'World News Tonight' story, Diane Sawyer traveled to North Korea with Feed the Children. She showcased video of malnourished children before laying some blame on the regime, blame she quickly let a supposedly randomly selected peasant absolve: 'Aid organizations told us the country's failed economic policies have made a bad situation worse. But outside Mundock [just spelling as Sawyer pronounced the town name] 57-year-old Ahnac Chung [again, a guess] blames only the unrelenting natural disasters -- floods, drought, even a tidal wave last August which destroyed crop land and her home.'" See: www.mediaresearch.org

Yes, that's correct. The weather is the real culprit. And did it occur to Sawyer that a peasant living in a dictatorial country might not be able to speak freely? Perhaps the real villain in the North Korea saga is global warming. Now, there's something that the media could get behind.

NBC's Today Despairs Team Bush Ruined
Clinton Progress in N Korea

As they padded for time waiting in the 9:30am half hour of Monday's Today for a live statement on the North Korean nuclear test from President Bush, NBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded that Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright were building reconciliation between North and South Korea, but Bush came in and ruined it, overruling his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, "cutting him off at the knees." Typically, Today co-host Matt Lauer insisted the North Korean nuclear test was just the latest in a string of bad news for Bush, from Iraq and Iran to the Mark Foley page scandal.

[This item, by Tim Graham based on a transcript provided by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Matt Lauer led into the Clinton-praising section: "Andrea, I have to say as David [Gregory] mentioned a second ago, when I was there a few years ago it was surprising to me that there is starting to be this communication and actual physical contact between South and North Korea. This, there's a super highway being built that really connects the two."
Andrea Mitchell: "Exactly. Well that and the rail connections. All of this as the new Sunshine policy that David alluded to but that came right up against the Bush administration's decision to cut off the connections. You know Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright were progressing in October and November of 2000 towards the restoration of diplomatic relations and if the Democrats had won that election that probably would've happened. Colin Powell recommended very strongly as the new Secretary of State in 2001 that, that policy be pursued. But it was cut short in March of 2001 by President Bush, overruling his new Secretary of State, some people said, cutting him off at the knees. That was the first real setback for Powell and then telling South Korea, the South Korean ally on the first visit in March 2001 that they would not support, the Bush administration would not support, re-engagement with North Korea. So there've been a lot of starts and stops but as David was, was pointing out and as you point out the South does want to re-engage. They have every reason, politically, to want to do that but this is not something this administration has really been comfortable with."
Lauer: "Alright Andrea thank you very much. Tim Russert is NBC's Washington bureau chief, of course, moderator of Meet the Press and let's talk about the timing of this, Tim. It's been a bad few weeks for the administration. We've got problems in Iraq that seem to be getting worse. We've had the situation with Iran and the whole UN situation a couple of weeks ago, then the, the page scandal and the email scandal in Congress and now the administration wakes up to this nuclear test from North Korea."
Russert: "Well Matt it is very important issue. Obviously back in May of 2003 President Bush said, quote, 'We will not tolerate North Korea having nuclear weapons.' And so he has drawn the line and now three years later North Korea is very much testing George Bush. It is ironic when they tested their long range rockets it was on the Fourth of July and now they've chosen Columbus Day to undertake this nuclear test. So it's very much a symbolic poke in the eye at the U.S. basically saying, 'we're gonna do what we want to do and you said we couldn't, what are you gonna do about it?' And this puts the President in a very difficult position."
Lauer: "Well what does he do about it? I mean what can he say today, what tone should he strike to send a proper message?"
Russert: "Well if you talk to military people Matt, they believe that the war in Iraq is one that is very much a strain on our assets. I don't find any one who believes that, at this time, a military action against North Korea is something that is being considered in a serious way. I think the President's first attempt will be at sanctions and the difficulty there, of course, is getting China and other countries to go along with them and so I expect some very strong words, some strong rhetoric, if you will, as the administration tries to buy time and figure out exactly what to do."

It's not exactly like the Clinton "engagement" strategy made them peaceful. Why can't NBC acknowledge that the North Koreans made a deal with the Clinton team, and then cheated on it? Oh, they did. David Gregory noted the cheating, and then moved on. A tyranny like North Korea's doesn't find it difficult to cheat, and yet still stay in the good graces of global public opinion, as Western reporters see only diplomatic and military paralysis as the options:
"He wants his regime to stick around and he has sought, before, security guarantees from the West. And you go way back to 1994 and the Clinton administration they negotiated an agreement with North Korea that said basically, 'Stop your weapons program, cold.' And the North Koreans started cheating on that toward the end of a 10 year period. So then President Bush comes to power, doesn't like the idea of negotiating with the North Koreans because he doesn't think that they negotiate in good faith and they cheat. And so you had a kind of freeze on diplomatic activity and then all of a sudden you have the so-called Six Party talks where you had regional players including the U.S. and Russia putting that pressure on to say, 'You can't continue a nuclear program.' And then finally North Korea has just pulled out of that process as well. So there's been all of this dancing going on."

E-Mail Read by CNN: World Should 'Congratulate'
North Korea

At the conclusion of Monday's Your World Today, CNN's daily noontime EDT simulcast of an hour of its CNN International channel, domestic viewers were treated to the morally relativistic world view those overseas see and hear from CNN all day. Anchors Stephen Frazier and Rosemary Church read a variety of e-mails on North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons and, treating all opinions as equally credible, Church read aloud this submission:
"And a completely different view. Soh, from Singapore writes: 'The North Koreans have done the right thing. Since the end of the Korean War, they have been subjected to hostilities from the United States. and other western powers. This bomb is a source of tremendous pride for the Korean people, north and south. The world should congratulate the North Korean people for this achievement.'"

[This item is adopted from a Monday posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

CNN's bio of Church: www.cnn.com

One can imagine a 1930s CNN reading German e-mails congratulating Hitler on his triumphant liberation of Poland.

A transcript of the segment, which aired October 9 at 12:57pm EDT:

Stephen Frazier: "Well, for quite a while now, you've been e-mailing us your thoughts on North Korea's nuclear test and what the next step should be."
Rosemary Church: "You have. And this is what some of you are saying all around the world. Jacques, from Frances writes, 'This is the biggest defiance the world has faced since the missile crisis in 1961. A golden opportunity for Iran to push their program forward and for Islamist radicals to buy their way into nuclear games. The people of North Korea might have to suffer the consequences of a long lasting blockade.'"
Frazier: "Michael in the United States says, 'Was anyone else thinking 'weak' when they heard President Bush's speech this morning? There was no call to China that they'd be held responsible for North Korea's actions. There was no strong support for Japan and there was no call to South Korea to stop blaming the U.S. for increased tensions and realize that their true enemy lies to the north.'"
Church: "And a completely different view. Soh, from Singapore writes: 'The North Koreans have done the right thing. Since the end of the Korean War, they have been subjected to hostilities from the United States. and other western powers. This bomb is a source of tremendous pride for the Korean people, north and south. The world should congratulate the North Korean people for this achievement.'"
Frazier: "And finally, Nicole from the Untied States writes: 'I think it is in the interest of the U.S. to leave well enough alone. We are already in the middle of one war. The United Nations needs to step in. I wish it wasn't always up to the U.S. to protect the world.'"
Church: "Quite a mix of views there. I think we covered it."

CBS Skips How Foley Makes 'No Difference,'
Stresses GOP Negatives

A new CBS News/New York Times poll discovered, that despite day after day pounding from the news media, two-thirds said the Foley matter will make "no difference" in how they vote -- with 72 percent of independents saying so as well as a majority of Democrats (51 percent). But, Monday's CBS Evening News ignored that response as Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer found plenty of other bad news for the GOP to highlight. Couric asserted that Mark Foley's "tawdry story continues to unfold just 29 days before the midterm elections," as if she and her media colleagues are not active participants in fueling it, and the "poll tonight indicates the GOP is in big trouble." Schieffer declared: "This poll is about as bad as it can get for Republicans" because it suggests "that more and more Americans just don't believe them anymore, whether they are in the White House or in Congress." Specifically, "a sizable majority, 57 percent, believes the President had warnings before 9/11 of a terrorist attack," "nearly half, 47 percent, believe Democrats are more likely to share American moral values compared to 38 percent for Republicans" and "by two to one, Americans now believe Republicans are more corrupt than Democrats."

Over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos listed a lot of bad news for Republicans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but anchor Charles Gibson began with how the fresh survey found "just 18 percent of voters consider the scandal an important issue."

NBC's Martin Savidge undermined the premise of how GOP voters are disillusioned. For the NBC Nightly News, he traveled to Tennessee where he learned that "Christian conservatives blame former Congressman Foley, not the party. Everyone we talked to said they'll be there come election day."

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Of course, both network/newspaper polls of registered voters were taken after an onslaught of media-driven news which placed Republicans and Bush in a bad light -- from Bob Woodward's much-hyped book to the obsession with the Foley matter -- so a dip down is hardly a surprise.

The CBSNews.com posting of a summary of the poll: www.cbsnews.com

The PDF of all the questions and answers: www.cbsnews.com

The ABCNews.com article on their poll: abcnews.go.com

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the October 9 CBS and ABC evening newscast stories on their polls.

# CBS Evening News. Katie Couric set up Schieffer with more on the page scandal:
"The House Ethics Committee asked all House members today to turn over any relevant information they might have for the investigation into that page scandal. It also requested that members get in touch with current and former pages and ask whether they had any inappropriate contact with Mark Foley or any other Congressman. This tawdry story continues to unfold just 29 days before the midterm elections, and a CBS News/New York Times poll tonight indicates the GOP is in big trouble. Our chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer has been analyzing the numbers. Hi, Bob."

Bob Schieffer reported, from DC:
"How are you, Katie? Well, I tell you, this poll is about as bad as it can get for Republicans because what it suggests, Katie, is that more and more Americans just don't believe them anymore, whether they are in the White House or in Congress. Remember that Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he didn't know about those suggestive e-mails that Congressman Foley sent to that 16-year-old House page? Well, our CBS News/New York Times survey shows more than 60 percent of those polled believe Republican leaders did know. Even 40 percent of Republicans believe the leaders knew.
"And if they don't trust the Speaker on that, look at whether they believe what the President has been saying about fighting terrorism, which used to be the Republicans' strong suit. For the first time, a sizable majority, 57 percent, believes the President had warnings before 9/11 of a terrorist attack in this country. That suggests a loss of confidence that could be devastating to any political party, and the rest of this poll is no better for the Republicans. With the Foley scandal continuing to unfold, Democrats now seem to be capturing the moral high ground. Nearly half, 47 percent, believe Democrats are more likely to share American moral values compared to 38 percent for Republicans. A year ago, they were about equal. And by two to one, Americans now believe Republicans are more corrupt than Democrats. Katie, Republicans knew they had some hard days ahead, but if this poll is right, it's going to be even harder than they thought."


# ABC's World News. Charles Gibson led into Stephanopoulos:
"Republicans fear the Foley scandal could cost them congressional seats in November, but according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out tonight, just 18 percent of voters consider the scandal an important issue. In contrast, 83 percent see Iraq as a major issue. Terrorism and the economy also rank much higher as concerns for voters. So we turn to our chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos. And, George, I'm going to put these numbers up right next to you because it does show that the Foley scandal is dwarfed by other concerns. And that would seem to be good news for Republicans, but other numbers in the poll might not be such good news for the Republicans."

From DC, George Stephanopoulos outlined:
"That's right, Charlie. A lot of flashing red lights for Republicans in this new poll. We find that only 32 percent of the country approves the job Congress is doing; only 39 percent approve of the job the President's doing; 66 percent of the country thinks we're going in the wrong direction; and by a 13-point margin they prefer Democrats over Republicans come November. So what this basically shows is that the bump that the President and his party got in September by focusing on terrorism and by falling gas prices has gone away. They're back to the same low numbers they've been fighting all year."
Gibson: "All right, you just mentioned that the approval numbers for Congress are very, very low, and that would obviously seem to be problems for incumbents. But there's always that old conventional wisdom, George, that people don't like the Congress as a whole, but then they turn around and vote for their member who's already there."
Stephanopoulos: "And that is still holding up, Charlie. You look at this poll, and 60 percent still approve of their individual member of Congress. And I think that's a testament and it validates the Republican strategy this year, which is all politics is local. They stole it from Tip O'Neill. They basically built a levee around their members, and the question is: Can it fight back this national wave?"

Newsmags Push Democratic Wave in 2006,
But Fought GOP Tide in '94

Both Time and Newsweek are out with another set of "bad news for Republicans" covers this week. In her magazine's cover story, Time's Karen Tumulty suggested that Republican are about to lose control of Congress. "It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there."

For millions who will only notice Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report as they're waiting to check out at the grocery store, the picture and headline on the cover will convey the news magazine's editorial summary of the week's important news. This week, Time showcased a huge shot of an elephant's rump, symbolizing the end of the GOP's control of Congress: www.time.com

Newsweek has a huge close-up of the disgraced Mark Foley's face, an image that dwarfs a picture of President Bush: www.msnbc.msn.com

Newsweek's caption: "Foley's Secret Life: How a Predator's E-mail Sex Scandal Could Cost Bush Congress." (U.S. News has one of its evergreen covers, this one on new trends in education: "E-Learning Explodes," but three weeks ago featured an investigative report on the old Duke Cunningham scandal: "Capitol Crime: How a New Washington Scandal Could Bring Congress to Its Knees.")

As the media elite tell it, 2006 will be for Democrats what 1994 was for Republicans, with angry voters tossing out a tired, scandal-plagued majority party and handing the keys to the Congress over to opposition. If that scenario does come to pass, one key difference will be that while the media have so far largely helped the insurgents of 2006, liberal journalists looked askance at the "angry" voters of 1994.

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Wading into the MRC's archive of 1994 news magazine covers (Time posts its collection online, if you want to look for yourself: www.time.com ), the last pre-election political cover that depicted Democrats on the ropes was seven months before the election: Time's April 4, 1994 "Deep Water: How the President's Men Tried to Hinder the Whitewater Investigation," with a black and white photo of beleaguered-looking Bill Clinton and George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office: www.time.com

For their part, Newsweek and U.S. News never once gave Whitewater a full cover in 1994, although U.S. News began the year with a January 31 cover showing a smiling First Couple: "Year One: Bill and Hillary's Excellent Adventure (Or is it?)"

Other major Democratic debacles of 1994 also never popped up on a magazine cover: the collapse of Hillary's socialistic health care plan; Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton; Hillary Clinton's suspicious $100,000 profit in cattle futures trading; or the indictment of the powerful Democratic Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski, for corruption.

The worst the Democrats faced in the fall was an October 3 Newsweek cover that featured a caricature of a giant Jimmy Carter eclipsing a midget Bill Clinton at the presidential podium, with the headline "Crisis in Haiti: Who's in Charge Here?" Carter, Colin Powell and Georgia Senator Sam Nunn had flown to Haiti in a last-minute venture to pre-empt a threatened U.S. invasion to restore leftist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power; U.S. troops ultimately gained a "permissive entry" into Haiti to guarantee Aristide's return.

The other mags featured the Haiti deployment as well, but with politically neutral headlines -- Time's "Taking Over Haiti" and U.S. News's "Uncle Sam, Supercop."

The magazines' 1994 election covers put all of the onus on Republican challengers. Time's November 7 cover featured a red-faced Newt Gingrich with the headline "Mad as Hell: The G.O.P.'s Newt Gingrich Has Perfected the Politics of Anger." See: www.time.com

Time's Richard Lacayo argued that the GOP's Contract with America was a blunder: "Democrats say the Contract was the first major misstep the Republicans have made in this year's campaign. Even many Republicans have been shying away from it. For one thing, by promising tax cuts without explaining how they fit into deficit reduction, they seemed like practitioners of the feel-good foolery that made voters cynical in the first place."

That week's Newsweek previewed the election as "Down & Dirty," with a photo of Virginia Republican Senate candidate Oliver North on the cover. Going to press a bit more than a week before the election, correspondent Howard Fineman suggested the GOP tide had ebbed: "Republicans, once sure of winning the Senate and hoping for a dramatic sweep elsewhere, were lowering their expectations a bit. They may undermine their cause with bickering....The intramural feuds left the GOP's chief spokesman '€" Rush Limbaugh '€" nearly speechless on his talk show last week." (Emphasis in the original.)

Flip the same magazine a few pages, and you'll find a headline asking "How 'Normal' Is Newt?" Reporter Mark Hosenball dumped the Democrats' anti-Gingrich opposition research: "The answer is just as normal as many Americans -- at least the ones who see their marriages fail, change their views and don't always practice their professed beliefs."

Over at U.S. News, the cover asked voters: "Why Are You So Angry?" Reporter Steve Roberts blamed Democrats for failing to deliver on their 1992 promises, but also repudiated the Reagan-Bush years: "Democrats also inherited an underlying set of problems that were plaguing the economy long before Clinton's election: sluggish incomes, global competition, corporate downsizing, defense cutbacks. These trends helped defeat George Bush two years ago, and they are undermining the Democrats today."

Of course, twelve years ago the revolt of "angry" voters was as much against an out-of-touch media elite that was already seen as biased against the concerns of ordinary conservatives. After the GOP landslide, journalists weren't just surprised by the election results; they were stunned at talk radio's clout at mobilizing voters.

Twelve years later, the media elite say a Democratic wave is building across the country. Is that because journalists have figured out how to connect with the American mainstream, or are they still parroting the wishful thinking of liberal strategists?

Public Saw More Liberal Bias Than 'Anyone'
in Media 'Estimated'

On FNC's two-hour Sunday special (8-10pm EDT) to mark the channel's tenth anniversary, former CBS News and MSNBC executive Erik Sorenson articulated what the AP's David Bauder last week paraphrased him as acknowledging: How New York-based news media executives were so out of touch that they did not recognize the depth of belief in liberal media bias into which FNC tapped. "There was a full-on commitment" to the "fair and balanced" premise, Sorenson proposed during FNC's special, Fox News at 10: Thank You America, in explaining FNC's success: "There were far more people in America who seemed to hold that opinion of the liberal media bias than anyone in New York City -- the media capital of the world -- had estimated."

As detailed in an October 3 CyberAlert article, Bauder had reported: "Before Fox, many in the media scoffed at the notion of a liberal bias and figured only a handful of people really believed that, said Erik Sorenson, former MSNBC President. 'Fox proved it's a much larger group than anybody realized,' he said." See: www.mrc.org

[This item was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sorenson served as Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News from 1991 to 1995 and was President of MSNBC from 1999 through early 2004, where he re-hired Keith Olbermann in 2003 to replace Phil Donahue's show which he had created.

Sorenson's soundbite in full from the October 8 FNC special:

Erik Sorenson: "The difference-maker was the attitude of the channel that was not just a marketing slogan, but actually got lived within the programs virtually every minute of the day. Cue the slogan."
FNC announcer: "Fair and balanced."
Sorenson: "There was a full-on commitment to that premise and there were far more people in America who seemed to hold that opinion of the liberal media bias than anyone in New York City -- the media capital of the world -- had estimated."

Asked About CNN's Future, Ted Turner
Utters a Loud Sputter

Asked at the National Press Club's luncheon on Monday "what do you see as the future vision for CNN now that Fox is gaining in market share and popularity?", CNN founder Ted Turner leaned into the microphone and, prompting laughter and applause, produced a loud sputtering sound as he blew air through his lips with his tongue sticking out slightly -- aka "blowing a raspberry" or issuing a "Bronx cheer." Then, seemingly retreating from his


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

apparent disparagement of CNN, Turner confusingly tried to clarify: "It's not the same. Fox is a different animal [pause]. Listen, you know, the right-wingers have every right to have a network of their own and they've got one."

[This item was posted late Monday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the video clip in Real or Windows Media format, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth, pointing to a Wikipedia page, suggested Turner's verbal efforts match the definition of "blowing a raspberry" or a "Bronx cheer," ie: "Blowing a raspberry or making a Bronx cheer is to make a noise made to signify derision, made by sticking out the tongue between the lips and blowing to make a sound reminiscent of flatulence." See: en.wikipedia.org

National Press Club President Jonathan Salant, of Bloomberg News, posed the question from a member of the audience at the hour-long October 9 session, carried by C-SPAN2, at which Turner appeared in order to promote the United Nations Foundation.

-- Brent Baker