Eight items today:
Countdown Calendar: 17 Days to Go (Gumbel returns Tuesday from a week plus
1. Instead of
exploring White House use of bedrooms to thank donors, CBS reporter
Rita Braver claimed Bush and Reagan did the same.
evening shows ignored the White House as Motel 6 story, but found time
to report on bi-sexual fruit flies.
Stephanopoulos landed at ABC, but he'll do more than offer comments
during This Week roundtables, he'll report news stories.
promoted the conclusions of a liberal spending advocacy group which
claimed half of all children are in poverty. But $28,000 is considered
5. A Boston
Globe reporter claimed that mainline churches protect America from
"mean-spirited" conservative Christians.
6. The MRC has
released the Best Notable Quotables of 1996: The Ninth Annual Awards
for the Year's Worst Reporting. Read the Quote of the Year, plus Bryant
Gumbel goes out with a bang -- winning three awards.
7. Looking for
a last-minute Christmas gift: Now available from the MRC's Parents
Television Council: The 1996-97 Family Guide to Prime Time Television.
8. A panelist
has left a weekend talk show, but don't feel sorry for him: He raked
in $2,500 for a half hour of work each week.
1) CBS reporter
Rita Braver doesn't want anyone to think Republicans aren't just as guilty
as Democrats when it come to fundraising. On Sunday's Face the Nation
(December 15), Braver filled in for Bob Schieffer.
Speaking of Sunday's Washington Post story, it didn't exactly generate a
lot of television news. The front page Post story detailed how major
contributors to the Democratic National Committee are thanked with an
overnight stay in the White House: "The White House refuses to
release guest lists, but three weeks of logs turned over to Congress
suggest the guest quarters were in regular use." The Post story
asserted: "So many big-money donors have slept at the White House in
recent years that one Clinton fundraiser likens the executive mansion to a
Braver asked Gloria Borger of U.S. News & World Report: "We
counted this week, there are eleven different congressional committees
looking at Democratic fundraising, that's not to say the Republicans don't
have some problems, but that sounds like it's going to be a pretty
serious, time consuming issue."
Borger responded by noting that "Today, on the front page of The
Washington Post, is a story about how the White House, as one person said,
has essentially become a Motel 6, renting out the Lincoln Bedroom, giving
it to people who are big contributors to the party. This doesn't look
Braver countered: "Is this any different than what happened, because
it seemed to me that I would over the years in Washington run into some
big, when Republicans were President, contributor who'd say 'oh yeah, we
spent the last night in the Lincoln Bedroom.'"
Borger disagreed with Braver's "everybody does it" line: "I
think it's more frequent though, I really do."
Football killed NBC Nightly News in Washington, but neither ABC's World
News Sunday nor the CBS Evening News mentioned a word December 15. Rita
Braver filed a piece on the Chinese finding a downed American plane from
WWII. And CBS found time for a long story from Jacqueline Adams on the
discovery of a gene in the fruit fly that controls sex and when altered
causes male flies to become bi-sexual.
ABC, CBS and CNN fought to land top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos,
but ABC News won the battle. The just-departed Senior Adviser to the
President will have a far greater role at ABC than Bill Kristol, the
former chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle. While the Clintonite
will spar with conservative Kristol in discussions on This Week and Good
Morning America, The New York Times noted he also "is expected to do
some reporting as a correspondent." He'll produce longer pieces for
How far were the other networks willing to go? As with ABC, well beyond
any position offered to former Reagan or Bush administration political
operatives. "A CNN source said yesterday," The Washington Post's
John Carmody reported December 12, "the cable network had been
prepared to offer Stephanopoulos his own weekend half-hour program and
some other 'innovative programming ideas.'" CBS News proposed a slot
on Face the Nation and a role in its upcoming Eye on People cable channel.
Carmody noted that ABC hopes "that if things go well,
Stephanopoulos's role can be expanded to include doing some full-length
programming for ABC-owned cable channels like Arts & Entertainment
and, particularly, the History Channel, where, said Senior News Vice
President Joanna Bistany yesterday, 'he can explore the issues.'" If
that's not enough, he'll "be available in 1998 for political
On ABC's World News Tonight on December 11 anchor Peter Jennings
introduced a story, as transcribed by MRC intern Joe Alfonsi: "Now to
children and poverty. There is a study today by a private research group
called the National Center for Children in Poverty which believes that the
government's official poverty level is too low. And they find a disturbing
trend about how and where children are hurting."
Reporter Rebecca Chase began: "During the last fifteen years this
study found the number of children under the age of six living in poverty
grew from 3.5 million to 6.1 million. That's one in every four children.
And when families living on the edge of poverty are included, using a
cutoff of $28,000 a year for a family of four, nearly half of all young
children are living in or near poverty. This means the United States has
the highest child poverty rate among industrialized nations."
Larry Aber of the National Center for Children in Poverty then charged:
"At the period of time when human beings are in their most formative
stages, we have the highest child poverty rates. We have the highest
poverty rates. And we also make the least public investments at that stage
Of course the higher the income you define as poverty the greater the
number of children you can claim live in poverty. I bet $28,000 -- about
twice the official poverty level income for a family of four -- goes a
long way in many parts of the country. And no word on whether the liberal
group counted non-cash benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps and
In his new book titled "The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal
Christianity," Thomas Reeves argues that mainline churches are
becoming irrelevant as they cave into liberal interest groups. Reviewing
the book for the November 28 Boston Globe, reporter Diego Ribadeneira was
none too pleased with this contention. He concluded: "For all their
faults, mainline denominations still lend an important moral voice to a
nation that seems to have become more mean-spirited toward the poor,
minorities, immigrants and gays. This moral dimension of liberal
Christianity is one Reeves fails to address."
With the assistance of 57 judges across the country who completed ballots
in which they chose the first, second and third best quotes in 18
categories, the MRC has just published THE BEST NOTABLE QUOTABLES OF 1996:
The Ninth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting. Thanks to the work
of the MRC's Sara "Hyper-Text" Harris, the entire eight-page
issue, showcasing over 50 quotes that were award winners or runners-up,
can now be read on our Web site: www.mediaresearch.org.
To get a printed
copy, you can either:
- Send $3.00 to
the Media Research Center, 113 South West St., Alexandria, Va. 22314.
Begin a one year subscription for $19 and you'll get this year-end
awards issue for free.
- Or, call
800-MRC-1423 between 9 and 5:30pm ET and use your Visa or MasterCard
to begin a one year subscription to Notable Quotables for $19 and
you'll receive a complimentary copy of this special awards edition.
Here are a few of
Morning Morons Award
"You write that you prayed more during your four years in office
than basically at any time in your life and yet I think it's fair to
say, and I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, I think it's fair to
say, you are consistently viewed as one of the more ineffective
Presidents of modern times....What do you think, if anything, that
says about the power of prayer?" -- Bryant Gumbel interviewing
Jimmy Carter about his new book, Living Faith, November 18 Today. [85
- Fear of the
Competition Award (for Impugning Talk Radio)
NBC's Bryant Gumbel: "You mention talk radio. They
[relatives of Oklahoma bombing victims] have some very hard feelings
about talk radio and the hate being spewed by some of those on the far
end of the spectrum."
Moyers: "If anything, talk radio in that part of the
world is more anti-government today than ever. The airwaves are
saturated with hostility, it's just an unremitting vilification of
government. Sometimes it's, sometimes it's, you know, the
government makes mistakes and there are justifiable grievances
against government. But this is, this goes beyond that, it's
excessive. And these people take it like salt in the wound. They
drive around, they turn on their radio, they hear some vicious
attack on government, and they think, `You know, if you strike the
government, you kill my daughter.'" -- Bill Moyers on the
April 12 Today promoting that night's Dateline on the families of
and victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. [105 points]
- Damn Those
"By being so nice to Pat Buchanan and treating him as a good guy
with bad policies, are we not all guilty of legitimizing his views and
putting a smiling face on a hateful voice?" -- Today's Bryant
Gumbel on what he asked the show's political roundtable off-air,
quoted by Peter Johnson, Feb. 22 USA Today. 
- If the Bias
Fits, We Won't Admit Award (for Bias Denial)
"When you're talking about pure journalists, I mean reporters,
when you're talking about reporters, not columnists, I don't think
there's any liberal bias. I don't think there really ever has
been." -- Los Angeles Times Senior Washington correspondent
Jack Nelson on CNBC's Politics '96, March 9. [71 points]
- Quote of
"In her Wednesday Commentary page column, Linda Bowles stated
that President Clinton and his former campaign adviser Dick Morris
both were `guilty of callous unfaithfulness to their wives and
children.' Neither man has admitted to being or been proven to have
been unfaithful. The Tribune regrets the error." -- Chicago
Tribune correction, September 5. [88 points]
7) The 1996-97
Family Guide to Prime Time Television is now available from the Parents
Television Council (PTC), a special project of the Media Research Center.
The 40-page booklet provides a comprehensive study of this year's network
prime time fare -- from a family values perspective. The booklet evaluates
over 90 network shows, giving a green, yellow or red light to each show
based upon the appropriateness for children. If you watched Face the
Nation on Sunday you saw Dick Wolf, the Executive Producer of NBC's Law
& Order, attack the PTC's effort to alert parents to TV content.
Last weekend liberal columnist Carl Rowan, who in his new book tagged as
"haters" everyone from Howard Stern to Rush Limbaugh to Newt
Gingrich to liberal columnist Richard Cohen, made his last appearance on
Inside Washington. Seen on PBS stations around the country, the show is
produced at Gannett-owned WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C. While panelists on
shows like the McLaughlin Group are paid a few hundred dollars per
appearance, Rowan had a bit of a better deal.
To order a copy for $5.95 (plus $2.00 for shipping), please call
1-800-MRC-1423 between 9 and 5:30pm ET. We've had some problems getting
our merchandise ordering area set up on our Web site, so this is the best
way to order. You can pay with a Visa or MasterCard. If you call Tuesday
we should be able to get your order fulfilled in time for Christmas. If
you aren't in a rush, send a check for $7.95 (Virginia residents should
add 4.5 percent sales tax) to:
Media Research Center
113 South West St.
Alexandria, Va. 22314
Rowan is leaving because negotiations broke down over a new contract. The
December 13 Washington Post reported that Gannett "insisted he take a
65 percent pay cut in his annual salary of $123,00 and that he work
without a contract."
$2,500 a week for a half hour show. Not a bad gig while it lasted.