CyberAlert -- 07/18/2001 -- CBS's Non-Levy Salaciousness
CBS's Non-Levy Salaciousness; Crack Down on "Gas-Guzzling SUVs"; Condit and His Enemies Both "Conservative" to ABC; No ID in Time
1) CBS and NBC pushed President Bush to hike fuel standards for "gas-guzzling SUVs." Dan Rather rued how "it's been years since the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards" but, he hoped, "that could soon change." NBC's Brian Williams steered Bush: "With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion pollsters the President needs to get tougher on environmental protection, tonight the White House may have its chance."
3) ABC's Ann Compton hoped that Vice President Cheney's defibrillator implant would have led "to a change of heart" in his energy policy, but she regretted how he still favors a "hard line on finding more oil" over "conservation."
4) CBS's Bob Schieffer admitted to Don Imus: "I think anti-ballistic missile defense systems are a bad idea." Schieffer also repeated his refrain about how the defeat of "campaign finance reform" gives John McCain a presidential platform to "talk about corruption in both parties."
5) The weekday CBS Evening News with Dan Rather once again ignored the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit story on Tuesday night, but CBS can't claim their news judgment is based upon avoiding salacious material since a soundbite in a story on another topic included the slang term "tit."
6) From ABC's viewpoint, Gary Condit, his district and his enemies are all "conservative." Tuesday's World News Tonight failed to identify Condit as a Democrat, but made sure viewers realized he's being attacked by "conservatives" as people in his "conservative" district "still relate to Condit's conservative politics."
7) In over 1600 words the latest Time magazine couldn't find room to inform its readers of Gary Condit's party affiliation. U.S. News waited until the 16th paragraph of an 18 paragraph story and then labeled him a "conservative Democrat."
8) The New York Times painted Gary Condit as a victim "caught in the middle," of the controversy over a missing intern, who "has few financial resources with which to deal with the personal and political crisis building around him."
10) Not everyone is Hollywood is a left-winger. Patricia Heaton, co-star of CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com, admitted to Craig Kilborn that she voted for Bush, boasts to her friends about the coming tax cut and is "pro-life." (And: FNC spinning?)
Dan Rather lamented how "it's been years since the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards for American automobiles" but, he hoped, "that could soon change." CBS reporter John Roberts dismissed as inadequate a one mile per gallon increase proposed by House Republicans: "A drop in the bucket say Democrats compared to the trillions of gallons those vehicles will burn in the same time." NBC anchor Brian Williams directed Bush to his preferred policy of new regulation: "With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion pollsters the President needs to get tougher on environmental protection, tonight the White House may have its chance."
Rather announced on the July 17 CBS Evening News: "It's been years since the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards for American automobiles, but that could soon change. With America's highways bumper to bumper in gas-guzzling SUVs, President Bush is about to get a recommendation from a federal advisory panel that cars and light trucks get more miles per gallon of gasoline."
Roberts then outlined how a draft report from
the National Academies of Science, which called for increasing the
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFé) standards by several miles per
gallon (now 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 20.7 for light trucks),
"gave proponents hope." After soundbites from the Sierra Club
and an auto industry spokeswoman, Roberts brushed aside the effectiveness
of a Republican congressional proposal:
How fortunate that someone gave CBS News the draft report so they could campaign for its more extreme recommendations.
Over on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams offered some cheerleading for the more liberal policy direction: "With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion pollsters the President needs to get tougher on environmental protection, tonight the White House may have its chance. The President soon has to decide whether or not to toughen fuel mileage standards for those popular and thirsty SUVs on the road, but it may not be that easy."
Reporter Campbell Brown began her subsequent piece: "America's gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles are the target. President Bush first pitches his energy plan as a way to drum up the country's oil supply to feed the SUV frenzy, but now he's changing course. To fight an anti-environment image, he's putting a new emphasis on conservation..."
Of course, he wouldn't have "an anti-environment image" if it were not for this kind of distorted reporting which paints adherence to further regulation proposed by liberals as the yardstick by which to measure concern for the environment.
air time for liberal Democrat Henry Waxman's crusade against White House
adviser Karl Rove. On Tuesday night ABC picked up on a topic covered with
a couple of full stories on the CBS Evening News last week. Peter Jennings
relayed on the July 17 World News Tonight:
On the July 17 Good Morning America Compton played a clip of Lynne Cheney delivering a speech for her husband because he had laryngitis: "New technologies are proving that we can save energy without sacrificing our standard of living, and we're going to encourage these technologies in every way possible. Conservation is a must."
Compton followed up, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed: "But the original Cheney mandate on energy had little tolerance for conservation. A change of heart, two weeks after Cheney had another coronary scare and a defibrillator implant? Apparently not. By evening, Cheney's voice was back and so was his hard-line on finding more oil....The Vice President insisted the U.S. will never be completely free from its dependence on oil."
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd also noticed that Schieffer repeated his refrain from Sunday's Face the Nation, as quoted in the July 16 CyberAlert, about how the defeat of "campaign finance reform" gives John McCain a presidential platform to "talk about corruption in both parties."
Schieffer told Imus: "I think a lot of the Bush administration's problems these days is sort of in the presentation. For example, on a missile defense system, which I'll tell you, I'll lay my cards on the table. I think anti-ballistic missile defense systems are a bad idea and this is something I've thought for 20 years, because they were debating this when I came to Washington 30 years ago. But what I find somewhat surprising is that, all of the testing -- and I think we should continue testing and I think we should continue to develop the technology on this system -- all of this could be done for the next year without violating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in any way. They just don't need to do that. They can do this testing and not violate the treaty. And yet you see members of the administration saying, 'we're going to bump right up against this treaty. We've got to get rid of this treaty.' Well, you know, it's just kind of provocative. It's being provocative when you don't need to and I don't think that's good politics."
It's clear Schieffer is more upset with the policy than its "presentation."
On McCain, he opined: "I think the House did John McCain, if John McCain has in the back of his mind the idea of running for president, I think the House did him an enormous favor by killing this, in this sense that, if John McCain decides to run for President, I'm gonna kind of revise my previous statements on that. In the beginning, I thought that if he ran, he would have the best chance to run as a Democrat. I'm beginning to think that his best chance to run for President would be as an independent. And if he does that, he's got to have an issue. And I know that campaign finance reform is not a good enough issue to run on. But you can take that and talk about corruption in both parties, and both parties not having the gumption; that both parties have now sold out to the big party interests and they can't clean up their own mess and it's going to take somebody that comes from someplace else to do that. I think that's the way that John McCain could run for President. And my guess is that in the back of his mind, John McCain has decided that if he runs for President, it would be to get 34 percent of the vote..."
McCain starts with journalists and editorial writers as his base.
The weekday CBS Evening News with Dan Rather once again ignored the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit story on Tuesday night (ABC and NBC each ran pieces), but CBS can't claim their news judgment is based upon avoiding salacious material since they aired a soundbite in a story on another topic which included the slang term "tit."
The July 17 CBS Evening News also found more newsworthy than Levy questions about "gun safety," specifically a Remington rifle which supposedly fires prematurely. That got over three minutes. And Dan Rather ended his program with this 15 second item: "A well-fed spirit may be another secret to longevity. Augusta Watts loved listening to spiritual music. It turns out when she died this month in Pensacola Florida, her family says she was 124. Swing low, sweet chariot."
Earlier, in a story by Bob Schieffer on the passing away of long-time Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, he included this 1992 soundbite from her on 60 Minutes reciting the threat then-Attorney General John Mitchell uttered to reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward during Watergate: "He said, 'well are you going to run this? And if you are Katie Graham's tit is going to get caught in a wringer.'"
Gary Condit, his district and his enemies are all "conservative" according to ABC News. Tuesday's World News Tonight failed to identify Condit as a Democrat, but made sure viewers realized he's being attacked by "conservatives" as "many constituents" in his "conservative" district "still relate to Condit's conservative politics."
Peter Jennings set up the July 17 story: "In Washington today Congressman Gary Condit's Chief-of-Staff issued a statement to say that Mr. Condit will be forthcoming with his constituents about the case of Chandra Levy in good time. But in the meantime, the statement went on, conservative political groups should not exploit Miss Levy's disappearance for their own purposes. Mr. Condit may have been referring to groups in his California district who are calling for his resignation. He has always been enormously popular there. But the scrutiny is taking a toll."
David Wright began from Modesto: "Deep in California's heartland the 18th congressional district is farm country -- conservative, mostly white, small town America. This region has the highest proportion of families in all of California..."
If it's so "conservative" why did it elect liberal Democrat Tony Coelho followed by the more moderate but not conservative Condit?
Wright outlined Condit's career without mentioning his party: "In his 30 year career representing this community Gary Condit has never lost an election. His most recent race, back in November, he won by 67 percent, that's better than two out of every three votes. His seat was thought to be one of the safest in California. No longer. Outside his office today a protest rally. Local Republicans see an opportunity."
That note about Republican opposition was the only hint that Condit might be a Democrat.
After a soundbite from a local GOP leader and clips of some constituents defending Condit from media attacks, Wright played a soundbite from a woman not so sure she would vote again for Condit. Wright then concluded: "Many constituents still relate to Condit's conservative politics, just not to his family values."
His "conservative policies"? He's earned a lifetime 48 percent rating from the American Conservative Union, which hardly makes him conservative. The liberal Americans for democratic Action has approved of just over half, 52 percent, of his votes since he took his House seat in 1989. Those ratings put him in the middle of the spectrum, voting liberal half the time and voting conservative half the time -- the very definition of a moderate.
Amongst his liberal votes, in Clinton's first term he opposed welfare reform. In 2000 he favored hiking the minimum wage, voted against spending caps, opposed an amendment to require congressional approval for presidential designations of national monuments and favored overturning the denial of federal funds for abortions funded by international groups. In 1999 he voted against requiring background checks at gun shows be completed within 24 hours, voted nay on a "sense of the House" resolution against clemency for the Puerto Rican terrorists given by President Clinton and opposed expanding access to Medical Savings Accounts. For more on his votes, check this ACU page which has a link to details on the votes they assessed: http://www.conservative.org/rating2000/ca.htm
Tuesday morning on Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Newsweek's Howard Fineman claimed Condit is a "strong conservative both on economic policy and on cultural policy."
In over 1600 words the latest Time magazine couldn't find room to inform its readers of Gary Condit's party affiliation, not even in any one of several photo captions. (Last week, a short item up front in the magazine also failed to identify him as a Democrat.)
In fact, a form the word Democrat only
appeared once in the July 23 edition piece by Karen Tumulty headlined,
"Sex, Lies, And Polygraphs: As the Chandra Levy frenzy intensifies,
GARY CONDIT fights back and submits to a lie-detector test. But does it
come too late to save his career?" The term popped up in the fourth
To see for yourself how Time refused to list Condit's party, check out the article, Time's only piece this week on the case: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101010723-167563,00.html
This week's U.S. News & World Report
waited until the 16th paragraph of a 18 paragraph story to identify
Condit's party, but then with the caveat that he's a
"conservative Democrat," the MRC's Rich Noyes observed. In
that paragraph of the story headlined, "Chasing Chandra: A summer sex
scandal has a woman missing and a congressman on the run," Michael
Schaffer of U.S. News wrote:
Condit a victim "caught in the middle" of the controversy over a missing intern? That's how Tuesday's New York Times portrayed him in a story about his financial situation brought to my attention by an alert CyberAlert reader.
"Condit Facing Bills in Inquiry With Few
Financial Resources," bemoaned the July 17 story by James Risen and
Raymond Bonner. They began: "Representative Gary A. Condit, the
California Democrat caught in the middle of the controversy surrounding
the disappearance of the government intern Chandra Ann Levy, has few
financial resources with which to deal with the personal and political
crisis building around him, his congressional financial disclosure records
No one made him choose a high-priced lawyer or bring aboard pricey PR advisers.
To read the entire New York Times story, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/17/politics/17INTE.html
Prodding a Hollywood celebrity to bash Republicans. In a Sunday "Arts" section profile of actor John Cusack, star of the upcoming movie American Sweethearts, Washington Post film reviewer Rita Kemply suggested he offer some "slamming of a Republican." He complied, National Review's Washington Bulletin e-mail noted on Monday, denigrating Bush's global warming policy and tax cut.
For the July 15 piece Kempley took on the role of a person in a New York City hotel room with Cusack prompting his reactions. Here's an excerpt:
This interview isn't really working out.
"You bear some responsibility, don't you think?" he says.
You could say something of substance.
"Hmm. What can I say that's worthy of The Washington Post?"
How about slamming a Republican?
"I've done that already. I have an honest difference of opinion with them. I think they're dishonest," says Cusack, whose parents' liberal politics remain an obvious influence on his life.
"'There's no conclusive science on the Kyoto accord.' That means they paid some scientist to say there's no global warming," he rants. "But there is no science that says the missile defense shield can work. We can spend billions on that, but scrimp on education and the environment."
How do you feel about the tax cut?
"My parents did get that $300. They're going to pay off the mortgage, and all the grandchildren will be well looked after."
To read the entire profile and to see a
picture of Cusack to see if he looks familiar to you, go to:
Not everyone in Hollywood is a left-winger. On Monday's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on CBS, Patricia Heaton, co-star of Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com, admitted she voted for Bush, boasts to her friends about the coming tax cut and is "pro-life."
Heaton plays "Debra Barone," wife of Ray Romano's lead character "Ray Barone" on the 9pm EDT/PDT, 8pm CDT/MDT CBS sit-com produced by Worldwide Pants, David Letterman's production company which also owns Kilborn's show.
During her appearance on Kilborn's July 16
late night/early morning show this exchange occurred, as taken down by MRC
analyst Brian Boyd:
Okay, a less than enthusiastic endorsement of conservative policies, but not bad for Hollywood.
For a mini-bio and a photo of Heaton, go to:
Wednesday afternoon the MRC Web team will post a RealPlayer clip of the above-recited exchange. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
My final riddle for the day. Am I subconsciously walking in circles around my TV, or is the "Fox News Channel" logo now spinning in slow motion in the corner? -- Brent Baker
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