Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on Fox News' 'The Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

CBS & ABC Describe as "Controversial" Bush's EPA and New Nominee --8/12/2003


1. CBS & ABC Describe as "Controversial" Bush's EPA and New Nominee
When reporters describe a policy or person as "controversial" you know they must be referring to a policy or person which upsets liberals. CBS's Dan Rather employed the term once and ABC's Charles Gibson used the term three times on Monday night in reporting on President Bush's decision to nominate Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to succeed former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman as EPA Administrator.

2. Network Vet: "Dukakis Was No Liberal and Neither Was Mondale"
Former NBC and CNN political reporter Ken Bode, on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, seriously maintained that neither Walter Mondale nor Michael Dukakis were liberals. Bode generously conceded that George McGovern "was a liberal," but then insisted: "Dukakis was no liberal and neither was Mondale. Both of them had several people to the left in those primaries. It was what the Republicans did to them once they got the nomination that made them seem to be liberals in both cases."

3. "Conservative" Rohrabacher Endorsing Schwarzenegger Worries Time
In their Arnold Schwarzenegger cover stories this week, Time and Newsweek each painted the movie star candidate as a political mystery, but described his social stands as either "liberal" in quote marks or "libertarian." Newsweek also suggested his potential marital infidelity was not a mark of an inferior moral record, at least when compared to Ronald Reagan. Time's Richard Lacayo found Schwarzenegger liberal on several issues but brooded about the import of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, "one of the most conservative members of the California congressional delegation," endorsing the actor. Lacayo worried: "Is that just further evidence of Arnold's gift for befriending people of all kinds, or does Rohrabacher know something the rest of us don't?"

4. GMA Frets About Bush's Vacation, "Shouldn't He Be Hard at Work?"
A few hours before President Bush traveled to Arizona and to Denver, where he announced his pick to run the EPA, Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, on his first day back from vacation, demanded at the top of Monday's ABC broadcast: "President Bush enjoys another month-long vacation. Shouldn't he be hard at work in the White House?" But maybe ABC's reporters need a vacation since they messed up basic facts. Diane Sawyer proclaimed: "President Bush has now spent a full 30 straight days away from Washington." And Kate Snow suggested Bush has only been in office for a year.

5. Job Opening at MRC: Assistant Archivist for Media Conversion
Job opening at the MRC for the position of Assistant Archivist for Media Conversion.


CBS & ABC Describe as "Controversial"
Bush's EPA and New Nominee

CBS's Dan Rather When reporters describe a policy or person as "controversial" you know they must be referring to a policy or person which upsets liberals. CBS's Dan Rather employed the term once and ABC's Charles Gibson used the term three times on Monday night in reporting on President Bush's decision to nominate Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to succeed former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman as EPA Administrator.

Rather, on the August 11 CBS Evening News, claimed the entire agency had become "controversial" under Bush: "President Bush today nominated Utah Governor Mike Leavitt to head his controversial Environmental Protection Agency. Leavitt has already been criticized by environmentalists for his land-use policies. If confirmed, Leavitt will succeed Christie Whitman who resigned in May."

Over on ABC's World News Tonight, anchor Charles Gibson asserted: "President Bush has announced his new nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency and it may be controversial. The President's choice is Utah Governor Mike Leavitt."

After a soundbite from President Bush, Gibson turned to Kate Snow with Bush in Denver to explain why Bush picked Leavitt. Gibson wanted to know: "He is picked to succeed former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman. Hers was a controversial stewardship at the EPA. Will this be any less controversial?"

Snow reported mixed reaction from environmentalists with the Sierra Club "disappointed" but the Wilderness Society willing to work with him.

Network Vet: "Dukakis Was No Liberal
and Neither Was Mondale"

Wonder how reporters, as cited in recent CyberAlerts, can describe Howard Dean as a "fiscal conservative," a "centrist" and even claim "there's a lot in his record that looks...not only moderate, but even conservative"? Well, they probably see the world through the same very liberal prism as former NBC and CNN political reporter Ken Bode who, on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, seriously maintained that neither Walter Mondale nor Michael Dukakis were liberals.

I'm not kidding.

Bode generously conceded that George McGovern "was a liberal," but then insisted: "Dukakis was no liberal and neither was Mondale. Both of them had several people to the left in those primaries. It was what the Republicans did to them once they got the nomination that made them seem to be liberals in both cases."

By that reasoning, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and George W. Bush cannot be considered conservative since they had people to their right in their primaries. But you'll never hear Bode or any other journalist suggest any such thing though, compared to Alan Keyes, George W. Bush is not conservative.

Bode is very experienced political reporting veteran whose way of seeing the world probably matches much of the Washington press corps. Before joining NBC News in the 1980s, Bode worked for the 1976 presidential campaign of the liberal Morris Udall, though he'd probably claim Udall was a just a misunderstood moderate. By the early 1990s he'd jumped to CNN and then he put in a stint as moderator of PBS's Washington Week in Review. Until fairly recently, he served as Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is now a Distinguished Professor of Journalism at DePauw University in Indiana.

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Bode's ideological assessment as expressed on the August 10 Chris Matthews Show, a weekend program carried by NBC-owned stations and otherwise syndicated in cities without an NBC O&O.

Matthews set up Bode in a discussion of the Dean campaign: "Let me go to Ken. You say, Ken, you know the McGovern campaign, an upstart from out West, but a man of the left. Certainly Jimmy Carter, a man of the, a bit of the right or center. He beat the pack and then Gary Hart, another outsider. What's this guy look like? He's an outsider, is he gonna win?"
Bode argued: "Well the, the rap, the rap on Dean is that he's like Dukakis and Mondale and McGovern. Well McGovern was a liberal but we had an issue and that was the war. Dukakis was no liberal and neither was Mondale. Both of them had several people to the left in those primaries. It was what the Republicans did to them once they got the nomination that made them seem to be liberals in both cases. Now Dean, when you examine his record, is gonna come off to be a far more moderate person than he is, appears now because right now his issue is the war, it's Bush, it's manipulation of intelligence and, and he's very strong and that's moving him."

DePauw's announcement, about Bode joining their faculty, includes a photo of him: www.depauw.edu

The MRC's 1996 booklet, "Team Clinton: The Starting Line-Up of the Pro-Clinton Press Corps," featured a page on Bode. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Bode's personal liberalness regularly came through in his coverage. In a February 13, 1992 story for CNN this is what Bode recalled about the 1988 presidential race:
"David Duke's exploitation of white working-class fears about blacks echoes a theme from the 1988 election. Then the issue was crime. This is the Maryland State Penitentiary. Inside resides the most politically notorious convict in America...William Horton, Jr., the focal point of a national campaign designed to exploit white fear of black crime." .

Back in 1988, during NBC's prime time coverage of the Republican Convention, this was what most concerned Bode about then-Vice President Bush's pick of Dan Quayle for a running mate:
"But last night, the first decision that he made...He put a Senator on the ticket who doesn't have a great civil rights record, who voted against the civil rights bill and voted to sustain a veto on the civil rights bill."

"Conservative" Rohrabacher Endorsing
Schwarzenegger Worries Time

In their Arnold Schwarzenegger cover stories this week, Time and Newsweek each painted the movie star candidate as a political mystery, but described his social stands as either "liberal" in quote marks or "libertarian." Newsweek also suggested his potential marital infidelity was not a mark of an inferior moral record, at least when compared to Ronald Reagan: "It won't change the fact that he's stayed married to his first wife -- a record of marital success the last Hollywood actor to be elected governor of California could not have claimed to match."

Time's Richard Lacayo found Schwarzenegger liberal on several issues but brooded about the import of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, "one of the most conservative members of the California congressional delegation," endorsing the actor. Lacayo worried: "Is that just further evidence of Arnold's gift for befriending people of all kinds, or does Rohrabacher know something the rest of us don't?"

The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert:

In their lead article in the August 18 edition, Newsweek writers Jonathan Alter and Karen Breslau touted Arnold's moderation: "Beyond his peculiar charm, Schwarzenegger's biggest asset is that he's not 'Conan the Barbarian' politically but a moderate Republican whose views are in sync with those of most Californians. He's pro abortion rights, pro gay adoption, pro environment (despite the Hummer) and a confessed 'liberal' on other social issues."

For that article in full: Alter and Breslau: www.msnbc.com

In a more personal profile by Breslau, Jerry Adler, and Jennifer Ordonez, Newsweek raised the infidelity issue, but suggested his moral record was better than Ronald Reagan's: "A magazine story in 2001 -- denounced by Schwarzenegger as a tissue of lies -- depicted him as a serial groper of attractive women who cross his path, and he does possess, as one friend delicately puts it, "a ribald sense of humor 20 years out of date." If there are any more serious transgressions out there, presumably they will emerge in the next two months, but it won't change the fact that he's stayed married to his first wife -- a record of marital success the last Hollywood actor to be elected governor of California could not have claimed to match."

For the Breslau, Adler and Ordonez piece in its entirety: www.msnbc.com

In Time's lead story, reporters Karen Tumulty and Terry McCarthy suggested Schwarzenegger was a political mystery, which would hurt the Gray Davis game plan: "Davis was sharpening his knives again for conservative Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who had spent $2.96 million to get the recall (and himself) on the ballot. But soon after Schwarzenegger got in the race, Issa bowed out, leaving Davis with an opponent who not only has star power but also will be far more difficult to paint as a tool of the right wing. In fact, it could be difficult to attach any labels at all to Schwarzenegger. What do you call an advocate of fiscal discipline who sponsored a successful 2002 ballot measure that requires spending more than $400 million on after-school programs?"

Davis was never described as a liberal or a "tool of the left wing."

For the August 18 Time cover story: www.time.com

In the second, more personal profile, Time's Richard Lacayo tried to explain Schwarzenegger's social liberalism: "Friends describe him as a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative but libertarian on most social issues. They also say he's a true conservative, a man who keeps a bust of Ronald Reagan in his office. What that means exactly is still something of a mystery. Whatever kind of Republican Schwarzenegger may be, it's probably not the kind to give much comfort to a cultural conservative like Pat Robertson. The actor has said he's pro-choice, though how he feels about things like parental notification and partial-birth abortion is unknown. He's loud and clear about his support for gay rights, including adoption rights. He once told Cosmopolitan magazine, 'I have no sexual standards in my head that say this is good or this is bad. Homosexual -- that only means to me that he enjoys sex with a man and I enjoy sex with a woman. It's all legitimate to me.'"

Lacayo reported Arnold also favors gun control and describes himself as an environmentalist, despite his affinity for Hummer SUVs. But some supporters gave Lacayo heartburn: "One of the first members of Congress to endorse Schwarzenegger's candidacy was Dana Rohrabacher, a longtime friend who is one of the most conservative members of the California congressional delegation. Is that just further evidence of Arnold's gift for befriending people of all kinds, or does Rohrabacher know something the rest of us don't?" But he concluded: "Friends say the Kennedy-Shriver clan has softened the edges of Schwarzenegger's politics from the time he came into their orbit in the late 1970s. 'Arnold was quite right wing when I first met him in 1972,' says [movie producer George] Butler. 'Maria has moderated that quite a lot.'"

For Lacayo's piece: www.time.com

Earlier CyberAlert items on coverage of the California recall:

-- Katie Couric certainly has chutzpah. On Thursday's Today, beating Democratic operatives to the punch, Couric reminded viewers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "baggage," from "smoking marijuana" to being "the son of a Nazi Party member" to "allegations" that he's "sexually harassed women and committed infidelity." But on Monday morning, she dared to scold Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon as she cited a newspaper report about how a Simon strategist promised to spotlight "the actor's raunchy past and liberal social views." Couric then demanded: "How dirty will you get?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Matt Lauer on Friday morning tried to undermine the recall effort by worrying about whether there's "collusion in the Republican Party that goes all the way to the White House?" As if something would be wrong with that. Over on ABC's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer reminded Arnold Schwarzenegger about how he blames California Governor Gray Davis for the state's $38 billion deficit and then demanded: "Do you blame President Bush for the more than $450 billion deficit in the United States as a whole?" www.mediaresearch.org

-- "A lot of California Democrats were salivating at the thought that Mr. Panetta himself might jump into the Governor's race," Ted Koppel gushed on Thursday's Nightline about his only guest. Describing Leon Panetta as a "good, strong, sensible politician," Koppel pleaded with him: "Not to press the issue too much, but since it's gonna happen anyway, why not have a, you know, a good, strong, sensible politician like yourself to say, well, let's make the best of a bad deal and here I am and I'll try and help make it work?" See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Come to America, meet and marry a U.S. journalist and become more liberal. A profile of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Friday's Washington Post related how a film producer claimed Schwarzenegger's "politics were to the right of Genghis Khan," but "his thinking has definitely evolved over the years" since he married NBC News reporter Maria Shriver, to the point where "I would call him a kind of Shriver Republican. His views on many issues have been tempered by Maria and her family." Appearing on FNC's Fox and Friends, Schwarzenegger admitted that his father-in-law, liberal Democrat Sargent Shriver, "has influenced me a lot." www.mediaresearch.org

-- NBC found a similarity between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, but not an admirable one in the view of reporter George Lewis. On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Lewis suggested that on that morning's Today Schwarzenegger had just pretended to not hear a question about releasing his tax returns, an event which "evoked memories of another movie star turned politician pretending not to hear questions." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Sounding eerily like Hillary Clinton's claim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas blamed "a determined group of well-financed conservatives ready to exploit" the "weaknesses" of a recall law and unpopular Governor for the circus of California's gubernatorial race featuring "former child actor Gary Coleman" and "Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt," though modern conservatives had nothing to do with the century-old law which made it so easy to get on the ballot. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Former presidential adviser and current U.S. News Editor-at-Large David Gergen argued on CNBC Thursday night that Leon Panetta would make a good candidate in California, crediting him with balancing the federal budget: "He did run the budget office, after all, for Bill Clinton, turned a deficit into a surplus, and...that's exactly what California needs right now." Gergen also gave credence to a Democratic attack line against Arnold Schwarzenegger over his inexperience, but then he touted a more liberal candidate who has zilch government experience: "There are some good people in this race -- Arianna Huffington is a terrific columnist and a good voice." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Good morning, America, here's the Democratic spin of the day. On today's Good Morning America, instead of conveying the reaction of both Republicans and Democrats to Arnold Schwarzenegger entering the gubernatorial contest, George Stephanopoulos devoted nearly all of his analysis to how Democrats will undermine Schwarzenegger. Stephanopoulos reported that those he talked to "point to a couple of hopeful signs in this election." First, that since Schwarzenegger announced "on the same day that Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes got into the race as well, just points up the whole freak show nature" of the race. And second, Democrats "did some focus groups over the last few weeks and they found out when they presented the idea of Arnold to voters, they laughed." And he cited a supposed Schwarzenegger gaffe that Democrats had attacked. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Journalists normally fret about negative campaigning and condemn attacks that dig out personal baggage in a candidate's background. Just as long as the candidate doesn't threaten a Democrat, apparently, since on this morning's Today Katie Couric didn't hesitate to beat Democratic operatives to the punch and remind viewers that Schwarzenegger's father was a Nazi. She began a question: "Let me ask you about his, his baggage, if you will. He's admitted smoking marijuana, using steroids during his body- building career. He's the son of a Nazi Party member..." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- From the MRC's TimesWatch.org: The Times story on California's recall vote noted Senator Dianne Feinstein is out, while action-hero Arnold and "populist" Arianna are in, and offered its readers snob appeal: "Instead of talking about issues like nuclear proliferation and appropriations, as Ms. Feinstein did, Mr. Schwarzenegger made light of his decision to run..." And is Arianna Huffington really a populist independent or just another left-winger? See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- A Republican Hollywood liberals can accept. On Thursday's Good Morning America, actress Jamie Lee Curtis declared of Arnold Schwarzenegger the morning after he announced he's running in the recall election for Governor of California: "I think he will make a fantastic Governor." She soon revealed her rationale: "I actually believe he's really, at his heart, even though he pretends to be a Republican, I think he's a social Democrat at heart." See: www.mediaresearch.org

GMA Frets About Bush's Vacation, "Shouldn't
He Be Hard at Work?"

A few hours before President Bush traveled to Arizona and to Denver, where he announced his pick to run the EPA, Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, on his first day back from vacation, demanded at the top of Monday's ABC broadcast: "President Bush enjoys another month-long vacation. Shouldn't he be hard at work in the White House?"

For the past two summers, NBC's Katie Couric on Today has been the biggest complainer about Bush's vacations, but this year GMA beat her to it just days after ABC's Ted Koppel returned last week following more than a month off.

Yet maybe ABC's reporters need a vacation since they messed up basic facts in their presentation, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed. Diane Sawyer proclaimed: "President Bush has now spent a full 30 straight days away from Washington." I assume she meant to say that he WILL spend 30 straight days away from Washington.

And in trying to show how Bush gets a better deal than others after the same time in a new job, reporter Kate Snow lost a year of the Bush presidency: "After one year on the job, regular Americans average a measly eight days of vacation. The President's four-week vacation comes closer to what Australians and Europeans are used to."

In fact, President Bush has been in office for more than two-and-a-half years.

Now the full rundown of the story in the 7am half hour of the August 11 GMA, starting with Gibson's up top tease: "President Bush enjoys another month-long vacation. Shouldn't he be hard at work in the White House?" Then, immediately after the camera went to Gibson at the anchor desk, he added: "I don't see anything wrong with vacations -- I just took one. Good morning, America, I'm Charles Gibson."

Diane Sawyer set up the subsequent piece which was based on the premise that President Bush's vacation is too long, but Kate Snow did include comments knocking down that notion:
"White House watchers have been keeping a tally, and they calculate that President Bush has now spent a full 30 straight days away from Washington. His aides are calling it a working vacation, but needless to say, the late-night comedians have him in their cross-hairs, and ABC's Kate Snow joins us live and early this morning from Crawford. Good morning, Kate."
Snow checked in: "Good morning, Diane. This morning Mr. Bush will head out of here to Arizona to visit an area that was ravaged by wildfire near Tucson earlier this summer. This is the first field trip, the first day trip out of his base here in Crawford, Texas, this go around. They call this the Western White House; he is spending the entire month of August here.
"One month outside the Beltway Bubble, a place so hot the jokes come easy."
David Letterman on the Late Show: "Nice time to be down there -- it's about 140. You folks get 35 days off a year? [Audience answers 'no'] No, you don't get 35 days off a year, and you know why you don't get 35 days off a year? Because at your job they need you."
Snow: "The White House would call that a low blow. For one thing it's 30 days and they insist it's a working vacation: lunch with Secretary Powell; updates on the troops in Iraq; and, oh yeah, don't forget all those fundraisers."
Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary: "I don't think the President of the United States ever gets a break."
Snow: "But tell that to Democratic Senator Robert Byrd."
Senator Byrd: "The question needs to be asked, who's minding the White House?"
Snow: "Richard Nixon was the last President to take such long breaks. Some say four weeks is too long."
Anonymous man on the street, who thinks a lot of himself: "I've heard people say to me, well, you know, they really have a tough job, they deserve it. Well, it's no harder than my job."
Snow claimed: "After one year on the job, regular Americans average a measly eight days of vacation. The President's four-week vacation comes closer to what Australians and Europeans are used to. Mr. Bush will spend a fair amount of his time doing what he considers relaxing [clip of him chopping up a tree with a chainsaw]."
President Bush: "It turns out the fish like cooler weather than hot weather. Probably the press corps feels the same way."
Snow: "True, the press corps would rather be in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Martha's Vineyard or Hyannisport, but maybe the President's Crawford tradition isn't so bad."
Professor Mark Rozell, Catholic University of America: "It sends a sense of calm to the rest of the country that the President feels that things are okay in the country right now, that it's not a crisis atmosphere. Things are under control enough that the President can actually get away and take a real vacation like the rest of the country."
Snow finally got to the reality of Bush's "vacation" that isn't always one: "You could argue this still isn't a real vacation. President Bush today alone will put in 13 hours on the road and, Diane, he doesn't hold the record for the longest presidential vacation or for the least touristy spot to get away to. That record held by Calvin Coolidge, who spent an entire summer once in North Dakota. Diane."
Sawyer: "And he didn't have to worry about David Letterman, old Coolidge didn't. Thanks, Kate."

GMA's concern about Bush's vacation reminded me of how NBC's Katie Couric fretted about it in 2001 and 2002. An excerpt from an item in the July 26, 2002 CyberAlert:

Katie Couric's obsession with President Bush's vacation schedule. Last year, before 9/11, she focused on his "excessive" time off and how he's "getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House." On Thursday morning this week, she asked if by taking a vacation in August, while the nation "is still at war," he is "risking a lot of criticism."

Couric wrapped up a July 24 Today show interview with Tim Russert, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, by inquiring: "And real quickly Tim I know that he's gonna be taking a month off in August. Given the fact that the country is still at war, the economic situation is, is pretty dicey right now is he risking a lot of criticism doing this?"

Russert: "They're very sensitive to that criticism. They're gonna have enormous amount of travel out of Crawford, Texas and also hold an economic summit at the ranch in Crawford, Texas."

But Bush's vacation schedule bothered Couric before the war. The August 8, 2001 Today dedicated a whole interview with Newsweek's Howard Fineman to the subject. Couric set up the segment: "President Bush is on Day Four of his month long working vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. But along with the 100 degree weather he's also getting political heat from those who feel he's spending too much time away from the White House."

Couric soon proposed: "Howard, I know by the time President Bush returns to the White House he'll have spent 54 days at his ranch. This is since his inauguration. Four days in Kennebunkport, 38 full or partial days at Camp David. According to the Washington Post that's 42 percent of his presidency. Either at vacation spots or en route. Does that sound excessive compared to other Presidents in the past or not?"

For more about the interview, see the August 9, 2001 CyberAlert, which noted that at the time Tom Brokaw was beginning the seventh week of his vacation: www.mediaresearch.org

END of CyberAlert Excerpt

Job Opening at MRC: Assistant Archivist
for Media Conversion

Job opening at the MRC for the position of Assistant Archivist for Media Conversion. The job notice:

The Media Research Center (MRC), a non-profit foundation in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia, and the nation's leading conservative media watchdog, has an opening for an Assistant Archivist. As a part of the MRC's News Analysis Division, the Assistant Archivist will help facilitate the conversion of the foundation's extensive video archive to DVDs. This involves reviewing the tape library, database entry, and burning, reviewing, and labeling the DVDs.

The media archive is the basis for all the Media Research Center's research and publications. Therefore, candidates must have an exacting eye for detail, be organized, able to maintain meticulous logs, and keep dependable hours. Familiarity with the news media a plus. This project is cutting-edge, so experience with computers is a must and an interest in technology is preferred.

Candidates must work at the MRC's Alexandria, Virginia, offices eight blocks from the King Street Metro stop on the Yellow and Blue lines. This is an entry-level position. Approved flex hours are possible with a weekend day included. Salary: Low to mid $20s.

To apply, fax resume to the attention of Kristina Sewell, the MRC's Research Associate: (703) 683-9736. Or, e-mail your resume to ksewell@mediaresearch.org

END Reprint of Job Description

If you missed a lot of the 1990s, the position offers a good way to catch up.

-- Brent Baker