CBS Hypes Homeless Report, Focus on Kids as 'Faces of Despair' --3/1/2007
2. ABC's Joy Behar: Bush Administration 'Liars' and 'Murderers'
3. Entertainment Weekly Wonders Why Are TV Conservatives So Liberal?
4. Tickets on Sale for MRC's DisHonors Awards/20th Anniversary Gala
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric highlighted how "according to a new government report out today" the problem of homelessness "is worse than we knew. On any given day, as many as 754,000 people in this country are homeless. As Cynthia Bowers tells us, one-third of the homeless are families with children." As viewers saw a mother with two kids, and with "Faces of Despair" on screen, Bowers framed the story in the most empathetic way, "This may be the most heartbreaking face of today's findings: the homeless children in America. Like six-month-old Mariah, or one-year-old Erin, innocent victims caught up in their parents' problems."
Though the report, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), found that two-thirds of the homeless are men, Bowers focused on the minority, asking the mother: "What would you say to Americans who think the stereotypical homeless person is a guy on the streets with a bottle in his hands?" The woman ludicrously responded: "Most Americans are just a paycheck away from being on the streets or being in a shelter like this." Bowers proceeded to relay how the report "suggests there are 300,000 more homeless people than beds in shelters and transitional housing, more than three-quarters of a million on any given night," which is, Bowers helpfully illustrated, "nearly the population of South Dakota."
The HUD report: www.huduser.org
The NBC Nightly News did not mention the new report and ABC's World News limited itself to a short item read by anchor Charles Gibson.
Evocative of the old joke about how the Washington Post would report the end of the world -- "World to End Tomorrow: Poor and Minorities Hit Hardest," a WashingtonPost.com story posted Wednesday afternoon, and which appeared in Thursday's paper, began: "An estimated 754,000 people -- most of them minorities -- are homeless on any given night in the United States, according to a government survey presented to Congress today." See: www.washingtonpost.com
World News anchor Charles Gibson read this item: "The federal government today released a sweeping new report on homelessness, a notoriously difficult problem to track. The latest estimate finds there are more than three-quarters of a million homeless people [754,000 on screen] either in temporary shelters or transitional housing or living on the street. On any given night, there are about 300,000 more homeless people than there are beds for the homeless."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided this transcript for the February 28 CBS Evening News story which followed a piece on how investors reacted to Tuesday's stock market fall and Wednesday's rebound:
Katie Couric: "Meanwhile, a lot of Americans have much more basic financial concerns: They can't afford a place to live. And according to a new government report out today, the problem is worse than we knew. On any given day, as many as 754,000 people in this country are homeless. As Cynthia Bowers tells us, one-third of the homeless are families with children."
Cynthia Bowers, as camera showed a mother with kids: "This may be the most heartbreaking face of today's findings: the homeless children in America. Like six-month-old Mariah, or one-year-old Erin, innocent victims caught up in their parents' problems."
Back on January 12, as recounted in the January 16 CyberAlert, the CBS Evening News highlighted an earlier report on homelessness, one with a similar number, but for how many experienced homelessness during a full month:
Two days after the National Alliance to End Homelessness released its survey which estimated that in January of 2005, "744,313 people experienced homelessness," the CBS Evening News on Friday picked an earlier, more dire, guesstimate covering an entire year from the group with a self-interest in making homelessness seem as ominous as possible. Introducing an "Assignment America" piece from Steve Hartman on a homeless shelter in Gloucester, Massachusetts that "could be a museum, or at least a bed and breakfast" since it's "350 years old and beautifully restored," fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell declared, "It's a sad truth: Too many Americans don't have a house to call their own. Over the course of any year, some 600,000 families find themselves homeless, and that includes more than 1.3 million children." On screen, viewers saw matching numbers attributed to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, but in a study released on Wednesday, the group reported that its month-long survey located "98,452 homeless families."
A page on the group's Web site contends: "Most Americans underestimate how the problem of homelessness affects families. About 600,000 families and 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the United States."
But for a report released on January 10, "Homeless Counts," the group used "local point-in-time counts of homeless people to create an estimate of the number of homeless people nationwide. As with all data, the counts included in this report are not perfect and have numerous limitations, but they are the best data available at this time." The organization determined that "in January 2005, an estimated 744,313 people experienced homelessness" as "59 percent of homeless people counted were single adults and 41 percent were persons living in families. In total, 98,452 homeless families were counted."
[This item is adopted from an item by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, which was posted Wednesday, with video, on the MRC's blog. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert. But in the meantime, to listen to the MP3 audio, or to watch the Real or Windows Media video, go to: newsbusters.org ]
On the February 28 show, the ladies had discussed the Bob Woodruff special on ABC, To Iraq and Back, in which Woodruff charged that the number of servicemen suffering from brain injuries is far greater than acknowledged by the Pentagon. That led into Rosie O'Donnell's contention that Woodruff's allegation matches a cover up pattern and she cited the policy of barring video or pictures of the coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base.
From there, we pick up the transcript:
Hasselbeck: "Rosie, I hear you. I agree with you. I'm saying I think the recall on those photos was just a reaction to the fact that people were using them as false propaganda."
Why is it that conservative characters on prime time television, what few of them there are, almost always end up "evolving" into fuzzy liberals? Entertainment Weekly magazine columnist Mark Harris asked that very question in the current issue of the media magazine. The subhead over his piece asked, "Why TV's quasi-conservatives do liberals a disservice: How can we understand -- and debate -- opposing views when primetime's right-wing characters keep going soft?" Harris asserted: "Last fall, TV promised us two conservatives: Kitty Walker on ABC's Brothers & Sisters, and Harriet Hayes on NBC's now-shelved Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Kitty was supposed to be a brash, Ann Coulter-like firebrand in a family of whole-grain blue-staters, and deeply religious Harriet was going to redress the injustices done to people of faith by godless showbiz types. As each series has unfolded, both women have been portrayed as multidimensional, sensitive human beings. Not incidentally, they seem to be turning into liberals."
[This item is adopted from a Wednesday posting, by Scott Whitlock, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
An excerpt from Harris' column which ran on the back page of the March 2 issue:
Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: I would like to see more conservative Republicans on TV. Fictional ones, that is. As a member of the self-deluding Eastern liberal politically correct media elite (so my reader mail tells me), I would like to learn more about the opposition. The problem is, they keep going soft on me. Last fall, TV promised us two conservatives: Kitty Walker on ABC's Brothers & Sisters, and Harriet Hayes on NBC's now-shelved Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Kitty was supposed to be a brash, Ann Coulter-like firebrand in a family of whole-grain blue-staters, and deeply religious Harriet was going to redress the injustices done to people of faith by godless showbiz types. As each series has unfolded, both women have been portrayed as multidimensional, sensitive human beings. Not incidentally, they seem to be turning into liberals."
In the case of Studio 60, it's not surprising. Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator, is a liberal. As a West Wing fan, I already knew that, but I didn't realize he was so liberal that he would harvest ex-girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth's stem cells and clone a fictional version of her to make a point. Harriet (played by Sarah Paulson) is the comic center of Studio 60's show within a show. She is also a devout Christian in an industry that, we are constantly told, mocks belief in God. It must be true, because poor Harriet is forever saying things like "My faith is important to me and I don't apologize for that!" before going on to defend free speech, gay rights, and a sketch making fun of fundamentalists.
The problem with Harriet is that she exists only to disprove an argument that nobody made in the first place. Sorkin has set up a straw man -- the idea that "liberals" hate "Christians" -- and then given us a spanking by creating a Christian character so open-minded that only a fool would oppose her. When the writers on Studio 60's version of SNL are working on a Christmas sketch, one complains "Christmas is a sham!" and we're supposed to realize, "We liberals just don't get it." But what if Harriet actually said aloud that gay people are immoral, that abortion is murder, that illegal immigrants should be deported, or even that she's for school prayer? What if she espoused positions that some viewers find intolerant? We'll never know, since Harriet isn't permitted to say anything potentially offensive. She's just there to remind us all to play nice.
Hungry for nastiness, I turned to Brothers & Sisters and Calista Flockhart. Now, I understand why the show's writers couldn't make Kitty too Coulteresque; digital bat-wings and gargoyle horns are way too expensive to use in a series every week. Early on, Kitty did sound conservative. She said things like "I am tough on crime, America first, old-fashioned, and in-your-face" (as opposed to, I guess, weak on crime, America last, newfangled, and shy). Since then, her politics have, shall we say, evolved. When Kitty learned her baby brother was about to be sent to Iraq, she tried to pull strings to keep him from going, then apologized on TV for supporting the war in the first place. Recently, another brother -- the gay one -- has fought Kitty's decision to work for a Republican Senator (Rob Lowe). The Senator voted for the anti-gay marriage amendment. Of course, he's sorry he did: He supports gay civil unions and voted the party line only so he'd save his education bill....
END of Excerpt
For the Harris column in full: www.ew.com
Despite Harris' own liberalism and his inability to refrain from taking a swipe at Ann Coulter, he does make a good point about TV conservatives. Why do these fictional right-wingers end up spouting liberal talking points? Could it be that "tolerant" Hollywood finds it difficult to write sympathetic characters who hold a non-leftist position?
The MRC has covered this topic before. The ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, which Harris cited, featured a conservative character who, only a month after the show aired, began sounding like a liberal. From the November 20 CyberAlert:
It took ABC until just the ninth episode of its new Sunday night drama, Brothers & Sisters, to have its sole conservative character "grow" -- as they say of conservatives who move to the left -- from a pro-war right-winger to a critic of the Iraq war who declared it "a mistake." The show evolves around the "Walkers," a southern California family of two adult sisters and three adult brothers with Sally Field playing "Nora," the liberal widowed matriarch who regularly clashes with daughter "Kitty," the conservative half of a left/right daily TV show, played by Calista Flockhart.
On Sunday's episode, Nora was very upset by the Army's decision to recall her son, "Justin," who had served in Afghanistan, to go to Iraq. Feeling guilty about her pro-war sentiments which may have influenced Justin to enlist in the first place, before an interview with "Senator Robert McCallister," a California Republican played by Rob Lowe, Kitty plead with him to get the order rescinded. He refused, but she did him the favor during the interview of not asking about his divorce and rumors he had sex his family's nanny. Before the taped interview aired, she introduced it with an apology as she asserted: "I made a mistake in compromising the interview that you're about to see, and I made a mistake in continuing to defend a war that is in a desperate need of re-examination, re-examination which cannot come until we acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake."
For more: www.mediaresearch.org
Hollywood' ideal Republican President, as brought to life two weeks ago by NBC's The West Wing, which has its season finale tonight (Wednesday), is "pro-choice," "pro-environment," will save the party from the "right wing," engineers a deal to raise the minimum wage and lectures about keeping religion out of politics. On the March 23 episode, a Democratic consultant told Republican presidential candidate, "Senator Arnold Vinick," played by Alan Alda, that he can win in a landslide because he's "moving the Republicans away from the right wing. You're not saying Democrats are not patriotic." After a pro-life Republican, who is so intolerant that he rejects Vinick's offer of the vice presidency, invites Vinick to join him in church, Vinick lectures a gaggle of reporters: "I don't see how we can have a separation of church and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test to get in this government."
For more: www.mediaresearch.org
Just four weeks until the MRC's annual "DisHonors Awards," this year part of what will be the biggest event in the MRC's history -- our 20th Anniversary Gala: www.mediaresearch.org
Date: Thursday, March 29 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Reception at 6pm, dinner and gala at 7pm. (Black-tie optional.)
Seats are $250.00 each, limited to two per individual unless you are an Associate or Trustee of the MRC. (Contribute $1,000 annually to earn Associate status; $5,000 annually to earn Trustee privileges.)
Every year we end up oversold, so if you want to ensure a seat, order ASAP.
Seats can only be purchased via phone. If you would like to reserve your seat, want more information on how to become an MRC Associate or Trustee, or information on purchasing a table for the evening, please contact Sara Bell at (800) 672-1423 between 9am and 6pm EST Monday through Friday. Or, e-mail her at: email@example.com
The MRC accepts all major credit cards.
At each annual gala, we mockingly award the worst reporting of the year and then have a conservative leader accept the award in jest.
But the best reason to attend is to watch the videos of the nominated quotes and enjoy making fun of the media's misdirected left-wing reporting.
This year's award categories:
# Puppy Love Award
# Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis
# God, I Hate America Award
# Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories
# The I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award
If you didn't attend last year, this is what you missed:
Cal Thomas, Larry Kudlow, Tony Blankley Mark Levin, Jack Singlaub, Stan Evans, Linda Chavez, Ken Cribb and Ron Robinson highlighted the presentations and acceptances of MRC's "2006 DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2005," which were presented on Thursday night, March 30, before an audience of more than 900 packed into the Independence Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C.
Following the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in five categories, a look at several unintentionally humorous clips from network newscasts and the audience picking the Quote of the Year, those in attendance watched a "Tribute to the American Military" video. It was preceded by a "Toast to the Fallen Comrade" and followed by remarks from Herman Cain, the former President of Godfather's Pizza and National Chairman of the MRC's Free Market Project.
DisHonors Awards winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 17 leading media observers, including Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Robert Novak and Mary Matalin, who served as judges.
Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and panelist on FNC's Fox Newswatch, served as Master of Ceremonies. Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company and National Review Online's economics editor, was the first presenter of nominated video clips, followed by Washington Times Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin.
In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest. Those standing in for the winners: Major General Jack Singlaub (Retired), radio talk show host and conservative commentator Linda Chavez, Ron Robinson, President of the Young America's Foundation, Ken Cribb, President of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and a former Reagan administration official, and author Stan Evans, the founder of the National Journalism Center, who delivered an especially hilarious routine.
The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Colonel Robert Rust (Retired).
END Reprint of Summary of last year's event
To watch video of all of last year's nominated quotes and of the award presentations, check: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker