CBS Showcases Diversity & Strength of "Peace" Marchers -- 01/21/2003 CyberAlert
2. Williams Worries About "Hot Breath of Patriotism Police"
3. Malpractice Victim Uses Morning Shows to Blast Bush
4. CBS Uses Victim's Emotional Tale to Counter Bush
5. Cal Thomas Stumps Stahl Who Can't Name a Conservative at CBS
Liberal Bias Not a Concern to New CNN Chief
LA Times Reporter Admits Every Media Bias But a Liberal One
>>> Now online, the January 20 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the topic headings: "Instead, He Left Her to Drown"; "No Nonpartisan Accountants?"; "ABC's Around-the-Clock Bias"; "Bush's Vision: More Pollution"; "Edwards: Moderate Like Hillary...And 'Fiscally Disciplined' Like Bill; "All Onus on Bush, Not Saddam" and "Helen Parodies Herself." For all of the quotes:
Add CBS News to the list of networks whitewashing Saturday's anti-war "peace" marches by ignoring the far-left anti-American agenda of those behind the protests and focusing on how marchers represented a cross-section of America. "Young, old, veterans and veteran activists united in the effort to stop the war before it starts," trumpeted CBS's Joie Chen in story run on both Saturday's CBS Evening News and Sunday Morning.
From San Francisco, John Blackstone highlighted a young boy who came with his father as Blackstone admired how "the crowd seemed to span the generations, a multitude that reminded" one protester "of the anti-war movement's glory days." Blackstone, however, unlike the other networks, did allow one woman caught up in the crowd to deliver a blast at the "naivete" of the protesters.
More on CBS below, but first a reminder of what was reported in the January 20 CyberAlert:
-- "Peace march" whitewash. Ignoring the radical agenda of organizers, the networks painted attendees as sympathetically as possible, stressing how they were made up of "grandparents," "honor students," "soccer moms" and "Republicans." CNN highlighted an elderly Nazi survivor who wants to "stop more suffering." ABC's description: "Black and white, Democrat and Republican, young and old." MSNBC: "A growing number of people are speaking out against a war with Iraq: Students, grandparents, businessmen..." See:
-- What the media whitewashed. The Web site for the rally organizer, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) clearly proclaimed the group's very radical agenda. It railed against "Bush's criminal war" for "oil," denounced "the nuclear threat posed by the United States" and demanded "the immediate elimination of U.S. weapons of mass destruction" as "a people's inspection team will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems" since the "trigger-happy George W. Bush," not Hussein, is the real threat.
-- Too embarrassed to report what was said from the stage? A 1,500-word article in Sunday's Washington Post contained a single nine word quote from an official speaker while a 1,000-word New York Times article failed quote a syllable from the DC stage. A Post reporter admired how the marchers "represented a cross- section of the nation, from World War II to Gulf War veterans... The Green Party brought a contingent, as did the American Indian Movement." See:
CBS was not included in the January 20 review of coverage because Washington, DC's CBS affiliate did not carry most of Saturday's CBS Evening News. But, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed, that Sunday Morning ran two stories on the marches -- stories which a Nexis check determined had run in nearly identical form on Saturday's Evening News. The stories below are from Sunday Morning since we could check those against the videotape.
Sunday Morning anchor Charles Osgood set up the January 19 stories: "A Newsweek magazine poll shows most Americans are in no hurry for military action against Iraq. Sixty percent of those polled said they prefer the administration take its time to seek a peaceful solution."
Then, over a world map marking where protests took place, Osgood added: "Demonstrations against a possible American military action took place the world-over yesterday, along with two big protests in Washington and San Francisco."
Joie Chen began the first of two pieces: "Telluride, Colorado sent its peace offering: 1200 of the town's 2000 residents signed it."
Next, John Blackstone began from the Left Coast: "In San Francisco, many treated the peace march as a family affair, six year old Malcolm Gurba (sp a guess) had both a sign and a point of view."
Late last week CNBC anchor Brian Williams chafed at how the anti-war protesters "will feel the hot breath of the patriotism police."
Wrapping up The News with Brian Williams on Thursday night last week, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed that Williams raised the concern as he previewed next day newspaper headlines:
The National Council of Churches as proof of what exactly? They are about as far to the left as you can get without coming full circle.
Linda McDougal, the Minnesota woman who had a double mastectomy after her biopsy was mistakenly confused with another woman's, used appearances on all three broadcast network morning shows on Monday to denounce President Bush's proposal to impose a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering awards in malpractice cases.
On CBS's The Early Show, for instances, she claimed that Bush wishes to "harm" her as she falsely stated that the Bush plan would "impose a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice." In fact, victims could still get full restitution for economic losses. She used nearly identical language on NBC's Today as she charged that "Bush intends to harm me more" and her lawyer made the political point for her on ABC's Good Morning America.
On the January 20 Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Ann Curry wondered: "Why did you come forward?" McDougal replied: "I have a couple messages. First all, first of all I think it's very important for women to hear my story and to take control of their own medical care. If you're, if you're ever faced with a diagnosis such as cancer you have to-"
Stopping malpractice ahead of time sounds like a reasonable point, but claiming Bush would harm her more was not since any bill that would pass would not go back in time to re-write the lawsuit rules that now exist.
Over on CBS's The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed, quad-host Harry Smith inquired: "Why do you want people to know your story?"
On ABC's Good Morning America McDougal's lawyer, Chris Messerley, made the point for her. Diane Sawyer asked: "What about this, Mr. Messerley? No previous errors by this doctor."
Last Thursday the CBS Evening News found a victim of medical malpractice to denounce President Bush's proposal to set a $250,000 pain and suffering limit in malpractice cases. Though Elizabeth Kaledin allowed an advocate of Bush's position to make dry arguments, she offered a more powerful case for opponents by calling up emotion as she focused on a victim in a wheelchair and the views of "consumer groups." She didn't mention how liberal Democrats are compromised on the issue because of their dependence on trial lawyer money.
NBC's David Gregory did raise the trial lawyer role, though as to how it benefits Bush. On the January 16 NBC Nightly News, he noted: "This issue has particular political appeal to Mr. Bush's conservative base, which is eager to confront trial lawyers, among the Democrats' biggest supporters."
Dan Rather introduced the tilted CBS Evening News story taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "President Bush returned today to a major issue on his domestic agenda. It's a proposal to cap medical malpractice awards. He says they are driving up health insurance costs and driving doctors out of business. Opponents say that's a mis-diagnosis of the problem. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin has our report."
Kaledin began: "President Bush made his speech in Pennsylvania, a state whose doctors threaten to go on strike this month in the face of soaring malpractice insurance costs."
Liberal Media Bias Denial, example one. Lesley Stahl stumped by Cal Thomas. On FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas on Saturday night, CBS News veteran Lesley Stahl, now with 60 Minutes, claimed that "today you have broadcast journalists who are avowedly conservative" and that the voices being heard on the networks "are far more likely to be on the right and avowedly so." But when Thomas wondered if she could "name a conservative journalist at CBS News?", Stahl could not.
Stahl insisted that CBS reporters steadfastly "cleanse our stories" of any opinion.
During the taped interview featured on the January 18 edition of Thomas's 11pm EST Saturday FNC show, Thomas tried to get beyond the argument over whether there is liberal bias and get Stahl to address why the networks don't accommodate the views of the many they dissuade from watching because they do see a bias. MRC analyst Patrick Gregory transcribed the exchange.
Thomas: "I want to ask you a question, and I don't want to debate the issue; I want to get to a central point here. Many conservatives and religious people in this country feel that much of the media, especially the broadcast media, is biased or at least insensitive to their points of view. Now whenever this issue comes up with a major subject of some kind, you see journalists appear and say 'What me biased? We're not biased.' But the point I want to make is that there is an economic issue here. If millions of people feel this way, and give their allegiance to certain networks and newspapers that at least respect their viewpoints, isn't it incumbent upon the broadcast journalists to at least take those concerns seriously and to address them in a way that will bring in a larger audience?"
I think they need a new brand of soap.
And where is Stahl speaking that she's asked "how come all the other broadcast 'media' are so 'right-wing?'" The CBS News cafeteria? Then again, if the questioner referred to "all the other broadcast media," then even the questioner realized what Stahl is in denial about -- that CBS News is biased in a non-right wing direction.
In a January 16 story on the ascension of Walton to replace Walter Isaacson as Chairman of the CNN News Group division of AOL Time Warner, Jurkowitz related:
CLICK HERE for the story.
Liberal Media Bias Denial, example three. In a Sunday piece, Los Angeles Times media reporter David Shaw argued the media are biased in many ways, but just not in a liberal way.
But, he insisted, "we don't, consciously or subconsciously, slant our stories to fit our ideology." If it occurs subconsciously how would they know? He argued that his list of biases are "far more damaging than any kind of intermittent, inadvertent ideological bias."
Though he maintained it has no impact on coverage, Shaw conceded that on "issue after issue -- race relations, gun control, the environment, government spending, gay rights, capital punishment -- I think most journalists are more liberal than are most other Americans."
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/) highlighted the January 19 "Media Matters" piece by Shaw. An excerpt, picking up after Shaw acknowledged the biases listed above:
....Yes, I've read and heard all the complaints about most journalists voting for Al Gore over George W. Bush -- and for Bill Clinton over Bob Dole and for every other Democrat over every other Republican dating back at least to John Kennedy over Richard Nixon. This pattern supposedly proves that all reporters are liberals and their coverage is slanted to the Left.
I've also read and heard all the complaints about most major news organizations being owned by Republicans -- and, more recently, about all the major radio talk shows, plus Fox TV News, being dominated by conservatives, thus proving that the media are, in fact, slanted to the Right.
Sure, most reporters, like most other sentient beings, do have an ideology of sorts -- that is, we have personal opinions, often strong and, in our case, generally liberal. Only the uninformed or the inert have no opinions, and on issue after issue -- race relations, gun control, the environment, government spending, gay rights, capital punishment -- I think most journalists are more liberal than are most other Americans.
Yes, the people who own the conglomerates that own the television networks and many other major news organizations tend, like most other big businessmen, to be Republicans, as do the most successful talk-show hosts. And if Fox News is "fair and balanced," as its slogan boasts, it's certainly not intentional.
But to suggest that all this means, ipso facto, the media are politically biased in their news coverage is syllogistic reasoning at its worst. Talk radio hosts don't pretend to be impartial journalists. Fox is but one of many news outlets. In my experience, neither the conservative media moguls nor the liberal reporters try to impose their views on news stories.
Equally important, I honestly believe that most good reporters are able to set aside their personal political views when they cover a story.
Nevertheless, judging from what I read in my e-mail and hear on talk radio -- and looking at the success of Bernard Goldberg's book "Bias," which spent seven weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list early last year -- it's clear that allegations of ideological bias ring true with many Americans.
After all, they reason, if you feel strongly about a particular cause or a particular candidate, why wouldn't you use your journalistic platform to advance that cause or candidate? More to the point, how could you avoid doing so, at least subconsciously, no matter how committed you are to being fair? Wouldn't your personal feelings seep into the decisions, large and small, that you make as a journalist -- what stories to do, whom to interview, whom to quote, whom not to quote, what facts to emphasize, what language to use?
Sometimes -- rarely -- that does happen....
But I think the very real biases mentioned earlier -- the individual and institutional preference for change, conflict, bad news and sensationalism -- are far more common, and far more damaging, than any kind of intermittent, inadvertent ideological bias....
The news media's knee-jerk adversarial position toward those in power -- and our sneering assumption that virtually every politician is a liar or a hypocrite, invariably acting out of self-interest and self-aggrandizement, rather than out of a commitment to the public good -- has contributed to steadily declining voter turnout, discouraged many good men and women from seeking office, and makes us seem like cynical, self-righteous scandal-mongers....
Worst of all, the growing sensationalism-cum-trivialization of the news embodied in the media's sequential obsessions with O.J., Princess Di, Monica Lewinsky, Gary Condit, Martha Stewart, Elian Gonzales, shark attacks, the Indiana mother caught on tape apparently beating her 4-year-old daughter, and the frantic search for allegedly missing children (at a time when FBI statistics show that the kidnapping of children has actually declined) leaves us little time or space to cover the truly important issues of the day....
"Celebrity profiles, lifestyle scenes, hard-luck tales, good-luck tales and other human-interest stories rose from 11% to more than 20% of news coverage from 1980 to 1999," according to a Shorenstein Center study quoted in Patterson's new book, "The Vanishing Voter." "Stories about dramatic incidents -- crimes and disasters -- also doubled during this period. The number of news stories that contained elements of sensationalism jumped by 75%."...
So the way I see it, the problem with the media's political coverage isn't bias. It's shrinkage. And superficiality. I worry far more about the tarting up and dumbing down of our news media than I do about any ideological infiltration.
END of Excerpt
For Shaw's treatise in full:
I'll give Shaw all the biases he acknowledges, but to deny liberal bias is simply exhibiting a bias against seeing the obvious.
10. Rake the sand
9. Speak to kids in the "Young Dictators" club
8. Put on Darth Vader mask, fly to Oakland and watch his beloved Raiders
7. Just to be safe, swap mustaches with Tariq Aziz
6. See Meryl Streep in "The Hours" and enjoy a good cry
5. Just kick it old school
4. A whole lot of posing for murals
3. Watch favorite Iraqi television show, "Ahmed Millionaire"
2. Turn on CNN to see if he's dead yet
1. "Hide the plutonium," if you know what I mean
-- Brent Baker