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CNN: Bush Uses 'Smoke & Mirrors' to Get 'Pavlovian' Iraq Support --7/18/2007


1. CNN: Bush Uses 'Smoke & Mirrors' to Get 'Pavlovian' Iraq Support
Appearing from Baghdad on Tuesday's Situation Room to discuss the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), CNN correspondent Michael Ware strayed from reporting into opinion-making as he rued "the smoke and mirrors from the administration" trying to make Iraq about al Qaeda to invoke a "Pavlovian response from the American public." He also mocked General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the segment aired near the top of the 5pm EDT hour, and re-run during the 7pm EDT hour of The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer relayed how the NIE "suggests that al Qaeda is seeking to leverage al Qaeda in Iraq for attacks against U.S. targets outside of the Iraq." In a lengthy response, Ware cautioned: "We must be aware of the spin -- the smoke and mirrors from the administration, trying to reshape the message on Iraq being specifically about al Qaeda, America's lingering, most familiar fear, trying to invoke some Pavlovian response from the American public, to fear them into again supporting the war." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

2. Today Buttresses Reid's All-Nighter with Families Angry Over War
As NBC's Matt Lauer advertised Harry Reid's "all-nighter" to debate Iraq's funding, his colleague, Jim Miklaszewski, buttressed Reid's theatrics by showcasing military families whose "anger over the war is growing," and even highlighted a group calling for the war's de-funding. On Tuesday's Today show, Miklaszewki aired soundbites from three war opponents but he didn't give any air-time to supporters of the war effort.

3. CNN/YouTube Debate Questions Feature Many More Liberal Videos
On Monday night at 8pm EDT, CNN aired the first of a week-long series, CNN/You Tube Debate Countdown, an hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates -- Democrats next week, Republicans in September. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. Hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), ten were politically neutral, eight were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only one was clearly conservative. AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

4. CBS Uses Democrat Helpers to Show Democrats Now 'Get Religion'
Monday's Early Show on CBS picked up on Time magazine's promotional cover story, "How The Democrats Got Religion." CBS reporter Jeff Glor used two guides to explore how the Democrats would "level the praying field," but didn't exactly tell viewers that these guides were involved in the drive to help the Democrats. The first expert was Time magazine's Amy Sullivan, who wrote a "God Gap" essay for the magazine. Time and CBS didn't explain she was an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and during her stint with the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, she advised the Democrats on how to "get religion" in the last presidential election cycle, to no avail. The other expert was so-called "conservative evangelical" Rev. Joel Hunter, a man eager enough to help the Democrats that he was selected by the people at the left-wing magazine Sojourners to ask Hillary Clinton a question at the CNN/Sojourners Democrat debate. He asked Hillary Clinton a seemingly pro-life question that enabled her to proclaim that she's always been for abortion being very rare. Rev. Hunter's also written a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why The Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Work with Most Conservative Christians.

5. MSM Rarity: Today Show Notes Rich Pay Disproportionate Tax Share
At the very end of a Tuesday Today show story on who benefits from the soaring stock market, CNBC reporter Erin Burnett conveyed a fact rarely, if ever before, heard on a broadcast network newscast: "The top one percent of Americans, Matt, pay 30 percent of taxes in this country, the bottom 20 percent of American wage earners pay only five percent." A similar version of Burnett's story ran about 12 hours later on the NBC Nightly News, but without that line about how the wealthy pick up a disproportionate share of the nation's tax burden while those with lower incomes pay far less than their fair share. Burnett began her Today story by explaining that "while the rich are getting richer you may be too. Here's why. More than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401k plan for buying stocks or mutual funds. And many of those investments are surging." Contradicting a Democratic talking point, Burnett noted that "while politicians talk about 'two Americas,' [footage of John Edwards and Hillary Clinton] virtually all Americans are seeing wages rise and unemployment is at an historic low."


CNN: Bush Uses 'Smoke & Mirrors' to Get
'Pavlovian' Iraq Support

Appearing from Baghdad on Tuesday's Situation Room to discuss the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), CNN correspondent Michael Ware strayed from reporting into opinion-making as he rued "the smoke and mirrors from the administration" trying to make Iraq about al Qaeda to invoke a "Pavlovian response from the American public." He also mocked General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for lacking the knowledge to support Pace's claim of a "sea change" in better security.


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In the segment aired near the top of the 5pm EDT hour, and re-run during the 7pm EDT hour of The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer relayed how the NIE "suggests that al Qaeda is seeking to leverage al Qaeda in Iraq for attacks against U.S. targets outside of the Iraq." In a lengthy response, Ware cautioned: "We must be aware of the spin -- the smoke and mirrors from the administration, trying to reshape the message on Iraq being specifically about al Qaeda, America's lingering, most familiar fear, trying to invoke some Pavlovian response from the American public, to fear them into again supporting the war." As for Pace, Ware was dismissive: "I think the General, unfortunately, is suffering from the luxury of distance. And I think he's expecting far too much to be able to peer through the U.S. bubble of protection in which he operates in his brief fleeting visit to Iraq."

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

(Of the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday night, only ABC's World News mentioned Pace's assessment. With Pace's words, "...what I'm hearing now is a sea change that is taking place in many places here" on screen, fill-in anchor David Muir relayed: "The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is in Iraq at the moment, gave an upbeat assessment today of the situation on the ground there. General Peter Pace said parts of Iraq have undergone what he called a sea change in security. And he said this will influence his recommendations to President Bush on how long to maintain the surge.")

Back in April, Ware had undermined a liberal talking point as he painted al Qaeda in Iraq as a real threat. An April 27 CyberAlert item, "CNN's Ware: Pullout Debate 'Delusional,' Would Hand Iraq to Qaeda," recounted:

Left-wing blogs loved it when CNN's Michael Ware rebuked Senator John McCain a few weeks ago, after McCain suggested he could safely walk through areas of Baghdad. But on Thursday's American Morning on CNN, Ware took dead aim at Democratic schemes for pulling out of Iraq, saying that debating a U.S. troop withdrawal was "delusional" and such a step would amount to "giving Iraq to Iran...and al Qaeda. That's who would own it."

Ware also provided an interesting insight into how the battle in Iraq has shifted from Anbar province and Baghdad, areas where the U.S. has built up troop levels, to Diyala province, which he described as "the new frontline against al Qaeda." Apparently Ware has no doubt that al Qaeda has made Iraq a central front in their battle against the U.S., and that the U.S. pulling out would hand al Qaeda a huge victory.....

Ware: "If U.S. troops leave now, you're giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush's 'Axis of Evil,' and al Qaeda. That's who will own it. And so, coming back now, I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you're for this war, or against it; whether you've supported the way it's been executed, or not; it doesn't matter. You've broke it, you've got to fix it now. You can't leave, or it's going to come and blow back on America."

For the April 27 CyberAlert item, written by Rich Noyes, with a video clip: www.mediaresearch.org

A transcript from about 5:04 EDT during the July 17 edition of The Situation Room on CNN, corrected against the video of what aired, a segment re-run during the 7pm EDT hour:

WOLF BLITZER: So is the terror report telling Iraqis anything they don't know already? Who better to ask that than our man on the ground in Baghdad. And joining us now our correspondent in Baghdad, Michael Ware. Michael, among other things, this National Intelligence Estimate report suggests that al Qaeda is seeking to leverage al Qaeda in Iraq for attacks against U.S. targets outside of the Iraq. Now, you've actually reported on this extensively. You've met with al Qaeda operatives inside of Iraq. Is that your assessment as well?
MICHAEL WARE, IN IRAQ: Well, let me say this first, Wolf. I mean that statement in the NIE is about three years too late. The fact that al Qaeda has reorganized itself through the war in Iraq that America handed it on a silver platter in its own backyard, that the war here through al Qaeda in Iraq has energized the Jihadi community across the globe, that it has produced a whole new generation of Jihadis -- bolder, more brazen and more brutal and more committed, if that's at all possible, than the generation before it, is old news. We saw that happen back in 2004. Since then, we've seen it nothing but flourish.
The question now is will an attack directly launched from al Qaeda in Iraq against U.S. homeland? Now many of us were saying back in 2004/2005 if, heaven forbid, there's another 9/11 in America, then of the next 19 hijackers, I'll almost guarantee one of them will be Iraqi. And at least part of the plot will have been hatched here in Iraq.
That being said, while we're seeing the Iraq veterans -- these guy who come into a six month tour or a 12 month tour in Iraq, blood themselves against American forces and go home, they're creating a whole new momentum back in their homelands, be it here in the Middle East, be it in the Gulf, North Africa or be it back in Europe. That being said, also, the true danger of the al Qaeda in Iraq is the template or the model it offers. We've seen these bombings in the U.K. Now, these guys never came to Iraq. But as they said themselves, they were inspired by the war here.
Now in the midst of all of this, despite this material, this evidence, we must be aware of the spin -- the smoke and mirrors from the administration, trying to reshape the message on Iraq being specifically about al Qaeda, America's lingering, most familiar fear, trying to invoke some Pavlovian response from the American public, to fear them into again supporting the war. That doesn't quite hold water. Wolf.
BLITZER: The outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, is there right now. He says in the past 24 hours or so he's been there, he's seen -- in his words -- a sea change, a sea change in the security situation. A very optimistic assessment. Is that possible? You've been there for four years. You haven't just been there for 24 hours. Do you agree with him that there's been this dramatic sea change of improvement?
WARE: Well, with the greatest of respect to General Peter Pace, I mean, I think the General, unfortunately, is suffering from the luxury of distance. And I think he's expecting far too much to be able to peer through the U.S. bubble of protection in which he operates in his brief fleeting visit to Iraq. I mean his briefings would be in the Green Zone. They would be in formidable American forward operating bases. I know he had a few hours' trip out to Ramadi. Again, he would have been in the embrace of the U.S. military's daunting protection. You're really not getting a feel for the true situation on the ground.
Is he right about a sea change? Yes and no. In al-Anbar Province, where he visited, yes, there's been a sea change. Attacks against U.S. forces by al Qaeda directed or led organizations have dropped from as much as 80 attacks a day to just 77 attacks two days ago.
But why is that? It's because the military put pressure on al Qaeda, sure. The real answer is that America subcontracted out the fight against al Qaeda to the Baathist insurgents and the tribes. So he doesn't really tell us why that sea change occurred. Is there a sea change in Baghdad? Well, if he's seeing one, I'm afraid I'm not. And maybe you can see it from the Green Zone, but you can't see it out here in the red zone where Iraqis live. Wolf.

Today Buttresses Reid's All-Nighter with
Families Angry Over War

As NBC's Matt Lauer advertised Harry Reid's "all-nighter" to debate Iraq's funding, his colleague, Jim Miklaszewski, buttressed Reid's theatrics by showcasing military families whose "anger over the war is growing," and even highlighted a group calling for the war's de-funding. On Tuesday's Today show, Miklaszewki aired soundbites from three war opponents but he didn't give any air-time to supporters of the war effort.

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is the full, unbalanced, segment as it occurred the July 17th Today show:

Matt Lauer: "As Al mentioned, or as Ann mentioned earlier, the Senate is ready to pull an all-nighter tonight debating the war in Iraq and when it comes, this is happening as more military families are debating whether the sacrifices they're making are worth it. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski is at the Pentagon with more on this. Mik, good morning to you."

[On screen headline: "Military Morale, War Fatigue For Soldiers' Families"]

Jim Miklaszewski: "Good morning, Matt. As a group, these military families openly voicing their opposition to the war is still relatively small but their numbers and their opposition to the war and their anger over the war is growing. With five children at home and her husband in Iraq, Beth Pirits [sp] is a woman on a mission."
Beth Pirits: "I'm supporting my husband in a better way by trying to push a movement to bring them home."
Miklaszewski: "She had fully supported President Bush and the war until her husband was sent back to Iraq for his third tour."
Pirits: "When we went into this I was all gung-ho about it, you know? Let's go, let's do this. And now, you know, I just, I did not want my husband to go this time because I felt he wasn't going for the right reasons."
Miklaszewski: "Beth joins a growing number of military families voicing public opposition to the war, like Nancy Lessin, who founded Military Families Speak Out. As the war drags on membership has grown to 3,500 families, 500 more since January, when President Bush ordered additional troops into Iraq for the surge."
Nancy Lessin: "I think it speaks to the horrific and continuing devastation that this war is bringing to our troops and their families."
Miklaszewski: "Longer deployments, multiple tours and the rising number of American dead have taken a heavy toll. Army brass warns morale, among the troops is sinking. In an email to NBC News, one Army official writes, 'Soldiers are really starting to feel the weight of a war with no end in sight. Lots of building frustration with the Iraqi military, government and people. Levels of patience and attitude are much different on second or third deployments.' Baldwin Yen, is an Army veteran of Iraq."
Baldwin Yen: "People don't want to sign up when they know they're going straight to war and people don't want to re-up when they know every other year you're gonna be there for 15 months. While back home Beth Pirits fears the worst."
Pirits: "If my husband were to come home, pray to God he doesn't, but I mean if he were to come home in that flag-draped coffin, I don't feel like I can tell my children he fought defending our country, because I feel, as though, he fought fighting for Iraq's and that's just not his job."
Miklaszewski: "Beth and others like her face a delicate balancing act and, and they emphasize that while they oppose the war, they're still strongly behind the troops but they want them home, Matt."

Lauer: "Hey Mik, there's an interesting interview with General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, with the Associated Press, talking about the future of Iraq after September and the report from General Patraeus, how the military is reviewing many different options, including, Mik, perhaps an additional surge of troops. Now is this something you're hearing being spoken of seriously at the Pentagon or is this simply covering all bases?"
Miklaszewski: "General Pace, himself, called this 'prudent planning,' and in fact senior military officials say that possibility would be very difficult to do and highly unlikely. And at the same time, Matt, they also have a plan at the Joint Chiefs for a total withdrawal. And General Pace says that if the withdrawal were to start today it would take more than two years to bring home all the American troops and the 100 million tons of gear that they have in that country."
Lauer: "So, so you're saying they're reviewing the full spectrum of options for Iraq."
Miklaszewski: "Absolutely. They never rule out any options here."
Lauer: "Alright, Mik, thanks very much. Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon this morning."

CNN/YouTube Debate Questions Feature
Many More Liberal Videos

On Monday night at 8pm EDT, CNN aired the first of a week-long series, CNN/You Tube Debate Countdown, an hour promoting the upcoming "CNN/YouTube" presidential debates -- Democrats next week, Republicans in September. CNN is encouraging viewers to record their questions for the presidential candidates and post them on YouTube.com. Hosts John Roberts and Kiran Chetry shared just a few of the thousands of video


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More See & Hear the Bias

submissions CNN has already received. Of the videos aired on Monday, a disproportionate number were distinctly liberal. Of the 19 individual videos shown (excluding some brief, zany clips), ten were politically neutral, eight were liberal or critical of conservative and/or Republican policies, and only one was clearly conservative.

[This item is adapted from a posting, by MRC intern Michael Lanza, Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

If Monday's ratio is reflective of the agenda of the questions Democrats will hear next week -- overwhelmingly from the left -- will CNN remain consistent and in September pose questions to Republicans overwhelmingly from the right, and not follow the usual media pattern of pressing Republicans with liberal points?

Over the course of the special, CNN chose to air two video questions regarding the threat of global warming. Interestingly, both submissions featured adults holding small children. Nathan Roberts, surrounded by his four children, posed this question to the presidential candidates: "And with the ill effects of Global Warming being felt throughout the Earth, my question is, how are you going to save the Earth..." His four children followed suit saying, "For me..and me...and me...and me."

Less than ten minutes later, Chetry introduced another video from an environmentally concerned viewer. The woman, identified as Barbara Gonzales, coddled her infant son, Asa. Gonzales dramatically explained: "Nothing will have a greater impact on Asa's future and the future of all kids than the world's ability to deal with global warming...What are you proposing to do that is bold and why should I put Asa's future in your hands?"

Other videos aired by CNN expressed the importance of raising the minimum wage and the need for "low cost or free preventative medicine." One video, addressed to Hillary Clinton, asked if Bill had remained faithful since leaving the White House. Surprisingly, the questioner was not so concerned with the Senator's personal life, but rather how Clinton might respond to challengers raising the issue:
"Senator Clinton, I think you would make a great president, but there's a question that deserves to be answered before the end of the primaries, because it could effect your ability to run against a strong Republican. Has your husband, Bill Clinton, engaged in adulterous behavior since he's left office? How do you plan to address the issue, whether real or trumped up, by people that would demean your character by trying to imply that your marriage is politically convenient?"

Of the 19 individual videos aired during the hour-long special, only one of them could be called unmistakably conservative: a humorous country music video poking fun at high taxes.

CBS Uses Democrat Helpers to Show Democrats
Now 'Get Religion'

Monday's Early Show on CBS picked up on Time magazine's promotional cover story, "How The Democrats Got Religion." CBS reporter Jeff Glor used two guides to explore how the Democrats would "level the praying field," but didn't exactly tell viewers that these guides were involved in the drive to help the Democrats. The first expert was Time magazine's Amy Sullivan, who wrote a "God Gap" essay for the magazine. Time and CBS didn't explain she was an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and during her stint with the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, she advised the Democrats on how to "get religion" in the last presidential election cycle, to no avail: www.washingtonmonthly.com

Sullivan's piece in the July 23 Time: www.time.com

The other expert was so-called "conservative evangelical" Rev. Joel Hunter, a man eager enough to help the Democrats that he was selected by the people at the left-wing magazine Sojourners to ask Hillary Clinton a question at the CNN/Sojourners Democrat debate (clips of that event were sprinkled throughout the CBS story.) He asked Hillary Clinton a seemingly pro-life question that enabled her to proclaim that she's always been for abortion being very rare. Rev. Hunter's also written a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why The Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Work with Most Conservative Christians. (Since that doesn't sound like he can claim the label "conservative," it will be republished next year with the title A New Kind of Conservative. As in the Hillary-helping kind?)

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

CBS isn't telling viewers that when it spots a favorable political trend for liberals, it's using people with a rooting interest in that trend -- and whose certainty that this trend will pan out is perhaps a little colored by their involvement. Here's Justin McCarthy's transcript of the July 16 CBS story:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: In the race for the White House candidates are discussing faith more often and more frankly than in previous campaigns but there's a twist and Early Show national correspondent Jeff Glor is here to tell us about. Good morning Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Good morning Maggie. Good to see you. In 2004 62 percent of weekly church goers voted for President Bush. And a recent CBS News poll shows a large majority of voters want their candidates to have strong religious beliefs. Typically this would benefit Republicans but this year we could be in for a change.
RUDY GIULIANI: Religion is very important to me. It's an important part of my life.
JOHN EDWARDS: My belief in, in Christ plays an enormous role in the way I view the world.
MIKE HUCKABEE: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
GLOR: Across the political spectrum, the presidential hopefuls are paying homage to the almighty.
BARACK OBAMA: I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper.
MITT ROMNEY: And I'm a happy, proud member of my faith.
HILLARY CLINTON: I take my faith very seriously and very personally.
GLOR: From faith forums to stump speeches, talking about religion has become a political necessity.
AMY SULLIVAN, TIME: 70 percent of Americans say that they want their president to be a person of faith and that's a pretty astoundingly high number.
GLOR: "Time" magazine's Amy Sullivan is writing a book about the role of religion within politics.
SULLIVAN: It's very difficult to run given that belief and desire among the American voters if you don't have an open faith that you're willing to talk about.
GLOR: Sullivan believes the emergence of faith in politics stems from Watergate when the nation felt deceived and betrayed by President Richard Nixon.
SULLIVAN: Americans care more about than just policy positions of the candidate. They care about what their character is, what their kind of moral grounding is, and religion is one kind of proxy for that.
DR. JOEL HUNTER: Preserve justice and do righteousness.
GLOR: Dr. Joel Hunter is one of the nation's leading evangelical voices. Is it possible that an atheist could be elected president?
HUNTER: Very, very unlikely. Many of us want at least somebody who has some sense of a higher accountability. You want to elect somebody who you can have some confidence in personally.
GLOR: As mega churches continue going up across the country, including the $42 million building being put up by Dr. Hunter near Orlando, the debate over religion and politics is shifting.
HUNTER: There is a shift. There's a broadening. I think Christians are saying, you know, these other things are important, too, because they were important to Jesus. But to build for ourselves-
GLOR: Hunter is among a group of conservative evangelicals trying to broaden the political discussion beyond personal moral issues like abortion and gay marriage. He wants religious voters to consider issue he puts in the category of social morality.
HUNTER: Social morality is where you address the needs of your neighbor. You love your neighbor as you love yourself. And so you're concerned about poverty. You're concerned about disease. You're concerned about the environment. [As if conservatives aren't?]
GLOR: You talk about the environment a great deal.
HUNTER: Yes.
GLOR: That's an Al Gore issue it seems like.
HUNTER: Well, no, it's not. It's a Biblical issue. We, we, our first order in the Bible is to take care of the garden. And to protect it.
GLOR: Democrats had a disadvantage among religious voters for some 20 years see a chance.
OBAMA: Faith got hijacked partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian right who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us.
GLOR: When you hear him say that, what's your reaction?
HUNTER: Well, I think objectively he's correct.
GLOR: While 78 percent of evangelicals voted for President Bush in 2004, Hunter says there's no reason a Democrat can't win over the faithful.
HUNTER: It's really bad for Christianity to be in the pocket of any one political party. It's just totally inappropriate.
GLOR: Then there are the candidates themselves.
SULLIVAN: We have never seen this many Democratic politicians who are both so sincerely religious and also very comfortable with the language of faith.
GLOR: From Clinton-
CLINTON: This is the day the Lord has made.
GLOR: To Obama.
OBAMA: We traveled because God was with us.
GLOR: To Edwards.
EDWARDS: I pray daily.
GLOR: So far in this campaign, the Democratic frontrunners are being more vocal about faith than their Republican counterparts.
SULLIVAN: I don't think Republicans can get back their monopoly on religion if only because the only reason they had it in the first place was that Democrats ceded that ground to them. Now that Democrats have kind of turned a corner this is a completely different game.
GLOR: What remains to be seen is how this will translate into votes. The Republican ground operation reaching out to religious voters still far surpasses Democratic operations, Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: Jeff, did this poll gauge whether voters cared if the candidates shared their particular religious beliefs?
GLOR: It did. It talked about that. A majority of Americans don't care what the particular beliefs are if they share their beliefs they're just concerned that these candidates hold some sort of a religious foundation.
RODRIGUEZ: And they all seem to be doing that.
GLOR: Indeed.

MSM Rarity: Today Show Notes Rich Pay
Disproportionate Tax Share

At the very end of a Tuesday Today show story on who benefits from the soaring stock market, CNBC reporter Erin Burnett conveyed a fact rarely, if ever before, heard on a broadcast network newscast: "The top one percent of Americans, Matt, pay 30 percent of taxes in this country, the bottom 20 percent of American wage earners pay only five percent." A similar version of Burnett's story ran about 12 hours later on the NBC Nightly News, but without that line about how the wealthy pick up a disproportionate share of the nation's tax burden while those with lower incomes pay far less than their fair share.

Burnett began her Today story by explaining that "while the rich are getting richer you may be too. Here's why. More than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401k plan for buying stocks or mutual funds. And many of those investments are surging." Contradicting a Democratic talking point, Burnett noted that "while politicians talk about 'two Americas,' [footage of John Edwards and Hillary Clinton] virtually all Americans are seeing wages rise and unemployment is at an historic low."

The MRC's Geoff Dickens provided this transcript of Burnett's July 17 Today show report:

Matt Lauer: "And here in New York the Dow is flying high, flirting with the 14,000 mark but is the rising tide lifting all boats, including yours? CNBC's Erin Burnett is at the New York Stock Exchange with more on this. Hi, Erin, good morning."

Erin Burnett: "Well good morning to you Matt. You know it's an amazing thing here. We are looking at the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 30 percent over the past six months. 30 days this year, alone, we have had record closings for that index so it's really another day, another record on Wall Street. And as you say, as stocks rise it is time to finally ask who is making all the money? Who are the winners of the global economic boom? That big question a hot topic on the campaign trail where candidates are taking aim at corporate America."
Hillary Clinton: "Because while productivity and corporate profits are up the fruits of that success just hasn't reached many of our families. It's like trickle-down economics but without the trickle."
Burnett: "But while the rich are getting richer you may be too. Here's why. More than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401k plan for buying stocks or mutual funds. And many of those investments are surging. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 12 percent so far this year. And if your retirement plan invested in oil, that alone, is up 21 percent. It's also worth noting that while politicians talk about 'two Americas,' [footage of John Edwards and Hillary Clinton] virtually all Americans are seeing wages rise and unemployment is at an historic low. And that's an interesting point, indeed, about wages. You know for a while, Matt, wage growth had lagged inflation for most Americans. Right now that's not the case. Wages are growing more quickly than they have over the past few years and, you know, you've been talking so much about whether the tide lifts all boats, the issue of taxes is important here. The top one percent of Americans, Matt, pay 30 percent of taxes in this country, the bottom 20 percent of American wage earners pay only five percent. So, while we do have a lot of income inequality it is fair to say we still have one of the most progressive systems in the world."
Lauer: "Alright Erin, thank you very much. Erin Burnett at the New York Stock Exchange for us this morning."

-- Brent Baker