CyberAlert -- 08/22/2001 -- "Race-Baiting" Helms
"Race-Baiting" Helms; And He Fought "Help for AIDS Patients"; Gumbel: Helms Quitting Good News for All But "Hard Right"
1) Bryant Gumbel on the expected announcement from Senator Jesse Helms that he will not run for re-election: "Helms is, let me pick my words here, an unapologetic right-wing conservative....Is his departure good news for all but hard-right Republicans?"
2) Broadcast network viewers heard negative caricatures on Tuesday night of Jesse Helms. CBS's Bob Orr stressed how he "has opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the Martin Luther King holiday" and "opponents have accused him of using race to win elections." NBC's Lisa Myers highlighted his "race-baiting" and insisted his willingness to "fight...help for AIDS patients" made "him a hero to many conservatives." ABC's Claire Shipman called him "unrepentant about his support for American segregation."
3) CBS's Bill Plante noted that the 2001 budget surplus will be $158 billion, but before highlighting a Democratic ad campaign, he declared that since most of it comes from Social Security, "only $2 billion is available for other spending."
During an interview with the Hotline's Craig Crawford at the top of the 8am hour on this morning's Early Show on CBS, Gumbel wondered if this is Elizabeth's Dole's "green light to run?" and "how prepared are Democrats to oppose him?" When Crawford replied "not well prepared," a disappointed Gumbel demanded: "Why not?" Crawford explained that strong candidates like ex-Clintonista Erskine Bowles and former Governor Jim Hunt had taken themselves out of the race.
Gumbel then let loose on the August 22 CBS show with his disgust for Helms: "Helms is, let me pick my words here, an unapologetic right-wing conservative, I guess we could say. Is his departure good news for all but hard-right Republicans?" (Between saying "right-wing" and "conservative" Gumbel hesitated for a second as he frowned.)
Crawford dampened Gumbel's enthusiasm as he argued it's bad news for Democrats since Helms was a "poster boy" for their direct mail fundraising.
The nearly 30-year Senate career of Jesse Helms as summarized by Bob Orr on Tuesday's CBS Evening: "He fought the Panama Canal treaties and has opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the Martin Luther King holiday. His opponents have accused him of using race to win elections."
In reviewing the political career of Senator Helms of North Carolina, the broadcast networks saw him through a liberal prism, raising charges of "race-baiting" or support for "segregation" and emphasizing the issues which upset liberal the most instead of highlighting any good that he's done which made him a hero to conservatives.
Just check out how NBC's Lisa Myers encapsulated his work: "He's been known as 'Senator No' because of his willingness to fight everything -- from civil rights bills to help for AIDS patients. That makes him a hero to many conservatives and a favorite boogeyman of liberals with whom he so loves to do battle." Yup, that's right, conservatives like him because he fought any "help" for AIDS sufferers. That issue could just as easily have been summarized as how he fought to "help" those suffering from heart disease or cancer by making sure their disease received a proportionate slice of federal medical research dollars.
ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas tagged Helms as "a magnet for controversy" before Claire Shipman argued: "On racial issues, he was a lightning rod, unrepentant about his support for American segregation, firmly opposed a Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday." But, he showed signs of good sense, she contended, when after holding up UN dues "he softened...allowing himself to be wooed and charmed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright."
Not one word on ABC, CBS or NBC about his championing of a balanced budget, his efforts to improve lives by letting people keep more of their own money or his battles to support policies to free people from the tyranny of communism, to name just a few of the things which made conservatives proud of him.
(On Tuesday some colleagues an I traveled to
Paramount's Kings Dominion in Hanover, Virginia to investigate the
accuracy of ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas's insistence that federal
regulation is needed of amusement parks to prevent roller coaster
accidents. See the August 1 CyberAlert for a rundown of her liberal
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Speaking of Vargas, as anchor she announced: "Also in Washington today, news that will change the face of American politics. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina is expected to announce tomorrow that he is retiring. During his five terms in the Senate, Senator Helms has been a magnet for controversy. He is one of the country's foremost conservative leaders, a towering figure. Rumors of his retirement have been swirling for months, even years. ABC's Claire Shipman is in Washington. Claire, why retire now?"
Shipman answered: "Well, Elizabeth, he is
79, and in recent years, he's had a number of health problems, including
prostate cancer, but political experts are also noting that his
re-election might not have been easy. North Carolina is a politically
divided state, and remember, while Helms is a conservative icon, he's
long been a nemesis to liberals. One of the most powerful conservative
voices in the nation, Jesse Helms' politics were his convictions, and
they were always plain."
Shipman concluded by noting how "the Democrats have a number of strong contenders" to replace Helms and "Republicans are hoping to counter with a big name, Elizabeth Dole."
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Orr started his piece
with seeming balance: "He is one of the most polarizing forces in
American politics -- reviled by the left-"
Orr explained how Helms decided to retire at age 79, a decision he hinted at it in an April interview on CBS's Sunday Morning in which he said leaving Senate would not be easy.
But then Orr looked at Helms only from the
left: "Over three decades, Helms has championed his own unbending
agenda, earning the nickname 'Senator No.' He fought the Panama Canal
treaties and has opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the
Martin Luther King holiday. His opponents have accused him of using race
to win elections."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams noted: "From Capitol Hill tonight, Senator Jesse Helms, one of the country's most powerful and best known conservatives has decided to bring down the curtain on his legendary career."
Lisa Myers began the subsequent report:
"Now 79 and slowed by a nerve disease that forces him to use a
scooter, news that Helms won't run again marks the end of an era. For
almost 30 years, he's been known as 'Senator No' because of his
willingness to fight everything -- from civil rights bills to help for
AIDS patients. That makes him a hero to many conservatives and a favorite
boogeyman of liberals with whom he so loves to do battle."
As if that's a good thing.
For decades, as the federal government ran an overall deficit, any money collected for Social Security in excess of the amount paid out that year was spent on other programs. But now, with the federal government running an overall surplus, the media are matching the bizarre bi-partisan mantra that the money received from the FICA tax cannot be spent on anything but Social Security, even though if it is not spent on other things it will not be spent on Social Security.
The latest example: Bill Plante on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, the only one of the broadcast network evening shows to run a story on President Bush's Tuesday speech in which he warned Congress to avoid excessive spending.
After a soundbite from Bush, Plante noted that
on Wednesday the White House will predict the 2001 budget surplus will be
about $158 billion, the second highest ever. But, Plante cautioned as he
launched into a look at the liberal spin: "Most of that surplus,
however, covers Social Security. Only $2 billion is available for other
spending. Democrats dispute that forecast and say the surplus has all but
evaporated. Today they attacked on the airwaves with a political
commercial accusing Mr. Bush of tapping Social Security and Medicare
The text of the August 20 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.
All of the quotes have appeared in previous CyberAlerts, but Notable Quotables provides a compact collection of the most egregious bias from the previous two weeks.
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF version, which because of a printing error is actually better than the hard copy version snail mail recipients saw, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2001/pdf/aug202001nq.pdf
Now, to the text of the August 20 NQ (Vol. Fourteen; No. 17), put together by Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis:
Sick and Dying vs. Abortion Foes
"In just a few hours, the nation will hear President Bush's
decision on an issue that's pitted Republicans against Republicans and
the sick and dying against abortion opponents."
"Some thoughts as the President decides whether or not the
government should back stem cell research. History's longest argument
has been over what to do about the mountain. One group has always wanted
to cross the mountain, to explore and see what is on the other side. The
other group, no less sincere, has always been willing to let well enough
alone. That group worries there might be things on the other side of the
mountain we didn't want to know. They were the ones who refused to look
through Galileo's telescope. They already knew all they needed to know
about the moon and the sun and the stars....The President says it is the
hardest decision he will ever make, but if he reads history, he will know
that history remembers those who climbed the mountain, not those who
stayed home in fear of the unknown."
"Any decision that leaves Jerry Falwell feeling pleased and happy
is a decision that you need to be skeptical about, and he was very happy
with this decision."
"We keep forgetting this guy is a conservative. I thought he was
going to go further than this."
"To understand the potential for stem cells, you can visit the lab
of Dr. Evan Snyder at Children's Hospital in Boston. The cures so far
with mice only, but amazing nonetheless....These results indicate stem
cells might cure many nerve diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
What effect will President Bush's new regulations have on the effort to
translate these and similar animal results to humans? Dr. John Gearhart, a
pioneer in the field, fears they will be severe."
"When I heard he was giving his first national prime time address
on this, that perhaps this was going to be the bold, defining moment of
his presidency -- Nixon goes to China -- I have to say I came away from
it, and after also re-reading the transcript, feeling more Clintonian in
its nature. There was so much compromise and 'on one hand' and 'the
Charles Gibson: "Good evening. He's been out of office six
months now, but Bill Clinton is just as fascinating as ever. At least
that's what the book industry is betting. The former President has
struck what is said to be the largest non-fiction book deal in the history
of publishing to write his memoirs...."
"I remember the great thing on Saturday Night Live where
the fellow who does President Clinton said, 'You're going to miss
me.' And indeed people miss him, he's still a fascinating man even six
months out of the White House."
Keith Miller: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French
are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is
changing the French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create
more jobs, the government imposed a shorter work week on large companies,
forcing them to hire more workers....Sixty percent of those on the job say
their lives have improved. These American women, all working in France,
have time for lunch and a life."
"Well, certainly the weather has been the headline, but what's
troubled me is that the press hasn't gone beyond the headline very much.
This was such a great opportunity to talk about global warming and climate
change. I mean, it couldn't have been on our minds more as we were
perspiring through the heat....That would have been the starting point to
talk about why we are in this place, why do we have 100 degree
temperatures and what can we do about it?"
"It's not just a media love fest, though. Important party
operatives and contributors are getting aboard Edwards
'04....[Democratic Senator John] Edwards's slight drawl, his centrism,
his humble origins as the son of textile workers, his populist ideals
(slogan: 'The People's Senator'), his skill at simplifying things
without seeming patronizing -- all this stirs memories of Clinton without
the seamy side."
Katie Couric: "Howard, I know by the time President Bush returns
to the White House he'll have spent 54 days at his ranch. This is since
his inauguration. Four days in Kennebunkport, 38 full or partial days at
Camp David. According to The Washington Post, that's 42 percent
of his presidency either at vacation spots or en route. Does that sound
excessive compared to other Presidents in the past or not?"
"President Bush may have made a major political mistake by
deciding to spend August on his ranch in broiling, parched Crawford,
Texas. The press corps likes a cool ocean breeze and maybe even a cold
beer. Presidents Reagan, Kennedy, and Clinton all vacationed near the sea,
and thus spared themselves a churlish press corps. But Jimmy Carter and
LBJ punished the press with Dixie summers and were denied second terms. A
full month of Texas dust, heat, and alcohol-free meals could spell big
trouble for George W."
"[President Bush's vacation is] four weeks to forget the mess
he's left behind right 'round the world: his abandonment of the Kyoto
agreement that's bequeathed our children another decade of dangerous
greenhouse gases; his unilateral rejection of the chemical weapons treaty
which the rest of the world was ready to sign up to; his obsession with
the so-called Son of Star Wars, despite the fact that his untested
proposals break a raft of international agreements and threaten to launch
a new arms race in space....He's down on the ranch, thousands of miles
from the devastating effects of his disastrous presidency, talking to his
"I was wrong when I said last week he was going to cave on this
issue, but I didn't know he was going to take, to turn Charlie Norwood
into the Patty Hearst of the House of Representatives -- take him up to
the White House, hold him hostage long enough for him to start getting a
case of political Stockholm Syndrome and go with the other side."
Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect: "I do
think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think,
and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr
for a little bit of guilt."
"Obviously, this is a very complicated subject. It's the kind of
subject that, frankly, radio and television have some difficulty with
because it requires such depth into the complexities of it. So we can
with, I think, impunity recommend that if you're really interested in
this you'll want to read in detail one of the better newspapers
tomorrow. This has been a CBS News Special Report."
END Reprint of Notable Quotables
-- Brent Baker