CyberAlert -- 04/20/2001 -- Day Care Bad?
Day Care Bad? Let's Have More; Bush Has "Worst Record" on the Environment; Clayson's Kyoto Advocacy; ABC's Loaded Poll Question
1) ABC, CBS and NBC focused on a study on how day care leads to more aggressive kids, which CBS and NBC tagged as "controversial." But instead of looking at how to reduce dependence on day care, the networks advocated more of it subsidized by the government. CBS and NBC featured the opinion of the "expert" Marian Wright Edelman and Peter Jennings lamented how "the U.S. is actually the least generous of the industrialized nations."
2) "The White House apparently got the message," ABC's Peter Jennings argued Thursday night after a soundbite in which an unidentified man claimed: "In a hundred days in office, this President has assembled one of the worst records on the environment of any President in history."
3) CBS's Jane Clayson asserted: "Since taking office President Bush has fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental image." Introducing guest Christie Whitman, The Early Show's Clayson referred to "the latest in a series of unexpected environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House." She demanded: "You say he believes there is a problem with global warming, but he has not supported" the Kyoto Treaty "which fights global warming."
4) An ABCNews.com poll found most people, including Republicans, support the Kyoto Treaty, but the poll question left out some key facts as pollsters told respondents that opponents say it "would hurt the U.S. economy and is based on uncertain science," while supporters maintain it "is needed to protect the environment and could create new business opportunities."
>>> MRC on TV. MRC President L. Brent Bozell is scheduled to appear early Friday evening, April 20, on MSNBC's First 100 Days with Mike Barnicle to discuss media coverage of recent events. He should appear during the second half of the one-hour 6pm EDT show, so sometime after 6:30pm EDT, 5:30pm CDT, 4:30pm MDT and 3:30pm PDT. No word yet on what will happen to this MSNBC show once the first hundred days have passed. <<<
Correction: The April 18 CyberAlert recounted how "'meritocracy' rules no where in American society outside of sports, Bryant Gumbel snidely chortled on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night." In fact, this month's Real Sports originally aired on Monday night, April 16. It will be re-run several times over the next few weeks.
ABC, CBS and NBC found a new study on how day care leads to a higher rate of aggressiveness and behavior problems amongst pre-schoolers when they make it to kindergarten credible enough to justify a full story on their evening shows on Thursday night, but instead of looking at how Americans can reduce the use of day care, the networks used their stories to advocate for more day care subsidized by the government.
Peter Jennings followed up ABC's story by lamenting the lack of U.S. government spending on day care and listing how other nations do more: "The U.S. is actually the least generous of the industrialized nations. In Sweden, a new mother gets 18 months of maternity and parental leave, and she gets 80 percent of her salary for the first year..."
Immediately after CBS's piece, Dan Rather turned to an "expert," Marian Wright Edelman of the left wing Children's Defense Fun who got an unimpeded 50 seconds to advocate: "Let's put in to place the kind of quality, comprehensive system and sets of choices that many other industrialized countries have...."
NBC's Robert Hager also highlighted her take, asserting that "many others today praised child care, like Marian Wright Edelman." Hager insisted: "Many say that's the real issue, making day care as good as possible."
Confirming how reporters attach the word "controversial" to anything with which they disagree, both CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Robert Hager applied the term to the study with Rather doing so twice.
None of the stories offered any specifics about which government agency funded the study or what university conducted it.
More detail on broadcast network coverage on Thursday night, April 19:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. After a full
report in the show's "A Closer Look" segment from Michele
Norris on the study which found aggression in 17 percent of the
kindergartners who attended day care compared to just 6 percent of those
cared for at home, anchor Peter Jennings unfavorably compared the U.S.
with European nations:
-- CBS Evening News. "A controversial
call to working parents: A new study claims child day care often leads to
behavior nightmares," teased Dan Rather at the top of the show. He
then made the study his lead item as he opened the program:
Cynthia Bowers concluded her report by emphasizing the benefits of day care: "There is some good news in this report in that aggressive kids don't generally grow up to be violent and quality day care benefits language and cognitive thinking skills. The problem is, Dan, there's not enough quality day care to go around."
Rather then used a liberal as his expert: "Well, you've heard what the study says, so what are parents to make of it? I put he question today to an expert, Marian Wright Edelman, President of the national Children's Defense Fund."
Edelman called it an "opportunity to improve day care." Rather then posed his only question to her: "And to those who will now say, and you know there will be those who say it, 'Look, we've been saying for a long time day care's not a good idea and here we have, if not proof positive, at least substantial evidence that day care just doesn't work'?"
Edelman got 50 seconds of unrebutted network air time to spew her liberal views, including: "Well there's no evidence from the study that day care just doesn't work." And: "Let's put in to place the kind of quality, comprehensive system and sets of choices that many other industrialized countries have."
-- NBC Nightly News made the day care study its "In Depth" segment. Robert Hager noted how 45 percent of pre-schoolers are now in childcare, 25 percent are cared for by relatives and only 24 percent stay home with a parent. He tagged the study "controversial" as he described its findings: "Today a controversial new report claims a downside, says pre-schoolers sent to day care become somewhat more aggressive than others, exhibit more behavioral problems by the time they get to kindergarten."
Like CBS, after outlining the study's
conclusions he stressed the benefits of day care: "On the plus side,
it did find those who got high quality day care were better prepared for
school later and more social. And many others today praised child care,
like Marian Wright Edelman."
"The White House apparently got the message," ABC's Peter Jennings argued Thursday night after a soundbite in which an unidentified man claimed: "In a hundred days in office, this President has assembled one of the worst records on the environment of any President in history."
Of the broadcast networks on Thursday night, only ABC reported on President Bush's Rose Garden event, with Secretary of State Colin Powell and EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, in which he announced that he would maintain President Clinton's support for a treaty banning certain toxic pollutants.
Jennings set up the April 19 ABC World News
Tonight story by reminding viewers of Bush's supposed anti-environmental
Moran agreed, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "They really have, Peter, and in private, White House officials admit they are scrambling to repair the President's image on the environment, which was why it was 'green day' in the Rose Garden. The President, joined by Secretary of State Powell and EPA head Christie Whitman, announced his support for a treaty banning toxic pollutants, a treaty championed by President Bill Clinton."
After a comment from Bush, Moran continued: "The treaty establishes goals for the elimination of the so-called 'dirty dozen,' highly toxic chemicals, such as DDT, PCBs and dioxins, which persist for years in the environment. And on queue this morning, the President's loyal lieutenants sang his praises on the environment."
Following brief clips from Powell and Whitman,
Moran asserted: "The elaborately staged event was the clearest sign
yet that the White House knows the President has a problem. Outside the
EPA this afternoon, another protest."
The on screen graphic credited a March 25 poll which found fewer disapprove of his handling the environment, 41 percent.
Moran then showed Glenn Bolger, a Republican
pollster: "The White House needs to take some aggressive steps on the
environment, I think, over the next year, to give Republicans something
good to run on, on the environment."
As CyberAlert readers know, the problem is as much how the media have mis-communicated them. See the next item for further evidence.
CBS's Jane Clayson assumed Thursday morning on The Early Show that "since taking office President Bush has fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental image." But, "in a surprising about face the Bush administration now says it wants to set new standards within nine months," Clayson asserted in introducing an interview segment with EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "It's the latest in a series of unexpected environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House."
When Whitman maintained Bush will address global warming, Clayson scolded: "You say he believes there is a problem with global warming, but he has not supported the Kyoto Treatment, Treaty, which fights global warming."
The Early Show interview took place the night after Dan Rather told CBS Evening News viewers: "President Bush is making a new move tonight on one of the environmental policy rollbacks that brought a backlash of criticism. Under fire for scrapping Clinton proposals to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water, President Bush now says he will issue new standards within nine months. This, he says, will follow a review by experts at the National Academy of Sciences."
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down Clayson's introduction and questions on the April 19 Early Show which revealed how uninformed she is about basic facts:
"Since taking office President Bush has fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental image. Just last month he came under fire for abandoning existing drinking water safety standards, but in a surprising about face the Bush administration now says it wants to set new standards within nine months. It's the latest in a series of unexpected environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House. In Washington, Christie Todd Whitman is the President's head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Governor Whitman, good morning. Why the about face on drinking water standards?"
Whitman explained how there was no "about face" since te administration is just looking at what sound science would recommend.
Clayson pressed: "So nothing has changed in the last month, because critics say this is just a big PR ploy given all the criticism you've received?"
Whitman maintained the administration is just doing what it said would do by having the National Academy of Sciences study the issue.
Clayson asserted: "Your relationship, Ms. Whitman, has been somewhat strained with the administration over the last few weeks. Specifically over the difference of opinion on carbon dioxide emissions. Is it somewhat difficult for you to deal with an administration with whom you disagree?"
Whitman insisted it was never strained.
Clayson followed up: "But it was very public. You very publicly, you know, supported plans to reduce emissions."
Clayson soon moved on: "Let's talk about global warming for a moment. Does the President believe there is a problem?"
Whitman replied: "Absolutely," and said there is a cabinet level review of options now underway.
Clayson argued: "You say he believes there is a problem with global warming, but he has not supported the Kyoto Treatment, Treaty, which fights global warming."
Whitman pointed out how the treaty was signed by 54 nation but that only one, Romania, has ratified it and that the U.S. Senate voted 95 to zero in a resolution to recommend against following its provisions.
"Six in 10 Say U.S. Should Join Kyoto Treaty," announced an ABCNews.com headline over an April 17 story about a poll by the Web site which left out key facts when it posed its question.
Here's an excerpt of what Dalia Sussman reported:
Six in 10 Americans say the United States should join the Kyoto treaty on global warming, rejecting President Bush's economic arguments against the accord.
Bush, saying it "makes no economic sense," has declared that the United States will not participate in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which calls on the United States and other industrialized nations to reduce emissions associated with global warming by 2012.
However, in an ABCNEWS.com poll conducted a week ahead of Earth Day, 61 percent said the United States should join the treaty, while just 26 percent opposed it.
The poll gauged opinion by summarizing the debate, noting that one side says the accord "would hurt the U.S. economy and is based on uncertain science," while the other says it "is needed to protect the environment and could create new business opportunities." Bush wasn't mentioned, in order to make the result a measure of the Kyoto debate, not of his personal popularity....
Bush doesn't have the support of most members of his party on Kyoto: A slight majority of Republicans supports the international treaty, joined by two-thirds of Democrats and independents.
In other groups, support for joining the treaty is higher among younger, higher-income and better-educated Americans."
Specifically, by 52 to 37 percent, Republicans thought the U.S. should join the treaty.
For the ABCNews.com rundown of its poll, go
Could the results have been influenced by how
the question was posed. Indeed, the summary of the question above hinted
at the problem. Here is the question in full as reported in Hotline and
relayed to CyberAlert by Keith Appell of Creative Response Concepts:
No mention there of how only Romania has ratified the treaty, of how the treaty will not be enforced on nations like China or how the Senate voted 95-0 on a bi-partisan basis to urge that the U.S. not adopt the treaty's provisions. -- Brent Baker
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