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Friedman: 'Dark' Natured Bush, Cheney and Rice Exporting 'Fear' --8/1/2006


1. Friedman: 'Dark' Natured Bush, Cheney and Rice Exporting 'Fear'
Fresh from his most recent trip to the Middle East, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman returned to offer his latest rationale for Bush hatred -- and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams recommended his readers and viewers watch the interview. Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, Friedman theorized: "What this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it's an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it's that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the, the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them."

2. Gibson Uniquely Notes Declining Number of Troops Dying in Iraq
One week after ABC anchor Charles Gibson made a special point about how bad the situation in Iraq remained while media attention focused on the Israel-Hezbollah war, specifically noting how "more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict," Gibson on Monday night -- uniquely on the broadcast network evening newscasts -- highlighted some good news: How U.S. military deaths are falling in Iraq. Gibson read this short item on the July 31 World News: "One item to mention from Iraq tonight. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month, despite the rising sectarian violence. As of yesterday, 44 U.S. forces had been killed in July. And that's the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years." An accompanying on-screen chart showed the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq declining from 76 in April to 69 in May to 61 in June and 44 in July.

3. Pew: More Dems Than Repubs Prefer ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC...
Liberal media critics dismiss FNC as biased to the right, pointing to how Republicans prefer to watch it, but a new poll completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that by the same margin that Republicans choose to get their news from FNC, Democrats prefer to learn their news from the broadcast networks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, CNN and NPR. In the survey released Sunday, 34 percent of Republicans reported they watch FNC regularly, compared to 20 percent of Democrats -- a 14 point spread. As for the broadcast networks, Pew reported: "The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38 percent of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24 percent of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22 percent of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13 percent of Republicans." A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans watch CNN, MSNBC, network morning shows, Sunday morning interview programs and TV news magazine shows. Other than FNC, Rush Limbaugh is the only measured news source to which more Republicans than Democrats turn.

4. New Study: TV Networks Have Pounded Bush for Five Years
For nearly all of his presidency, George W. Bush has been on the receiving end of mainly negative -- sometimes highly negative -- coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, according to a new report from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a nonpartisan research group. The only time the TV networks gave Bush mostly (63%) positive coverage was during the three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and even then nearly four-in-ten on-air evaluations (37%) of the President were critical.


Friedman: 'Dark' Natured Bush, Cheney
and Rice Exporting 'Fear'

Fresh from his most recent trip to the Middle East, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman returned to offer his latest rationale for Bush hatred -- and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams recommended his readers and viewers watch the interview. Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, Friedman theorized: "What this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it's an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it's that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the, the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them."

Williams was so impressed with Friedman's assessments that on the 7pm EDT edition of Monday's Hardball on MSNBC, as well as earlier in his newscast's Daily Nightly blog, Williams urged his viewers and readers to watch the interview. Williams recommended in a 3:44pm EDT blog entry:
"While this is not an endorsement of any position on the issue, I commend to everyone's attention Tim Russert's superb interview with Tom Friedman on Meet the Press yesterday [video link]. While Friedman (a veteran of the region and of the New York Times) represents a certain view, his appearance and message both speak to the enormous investment all Americans have in this conflict. To the extent that we can use this broadcast to drive home that point -- the far-reaching consequences of what we see going on right now -- we intend to."

That's online at: dailynightly.msnbc.com

[This item is adopted from a Monday afternoon posting, by Geoff Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Just a week ago Friedman, right before his departure to the Mideast, sat down with NBC's Russert to espouse the miraculous benefits of a gas tax. See: www.mrc.org

Friedman returned just in time, to the still warm seat across from Russert, to the following welcome from the Meet the Press host:

Tim Russert promoting Friedman's latest Times column: "Let's talk about the Bush administration and quote from your column on Friday. And here's what Tom Friedman wrote: 'America should be galvanizing the forces of order -- Europe, Russia, China and India -- into a coalition against these trends. But we can't. Why? In part, it's because our president and our secretary of state, although they speak with great moral clarity, have no moral authority. That's been shattered by their performance in Iraq. The world hates George Bush more than any U.S. president in my lifetime. He is radioactive -- and so caught up in his own ideological bubble that he is incapable of imagining or forging alternative strategies.' Pretty strong."
Thomas Friedman: "It was strong. It's meant to be strong. Look at the situation we're now in. You can't go anywhere in the world right now -- and I travel a lot -- without getting that feeling from people thrown in your face. Why is that? You know, I've been asking myself that a lot. Some of it's excessive, this dislike, this distaste, this hatred of George Bush. But what's it about? Whenever you see something that excessive, you know? And the way I explain it is this way. Foreigners love to make fun of Americans. Our naivete, our crazy thought that every problem has a solution, that silly American notion, that silly American optimism. But you know what, Tim? Deep down, the world really envies that American optimism and naivete. And the world needs that American optimism and naivete. And so when we go from a country that, historically, has always exported hope to a country that always exports fear, what we do, and what this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it's an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it's that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the, the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them. I would argue that, that is the animating force behind so much of the animus directed at George Bush."

Gibson Uniquely Notes Declining Number
of Troops Dying in Iraq

One week after ABC anchor Charles Gibson made a special point about how bad the situation in Iraq remained while media attention focused on the Israel-Hezbollah war, specifically noting how "more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict," Gibson on Monday night -- uniquely on the broadcast network evening newscasts -- highlighted some good news: How U.S. military deaths are falling in Iraq. Gibson read this short item on the July 31 World News: "One item to mention from Iraq tonight. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month, despite the rising sectarian violence. As of yesterday, 44 U.S. forces had been killed in July. And that's the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years." An accompanying on-screen chart showed the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq declining from 76 in April to 69 in May to 61 in June and 44 in July.

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

I'm not sure how ABC got the July number so soon since on Monday night I didn't see anything about it on Yahoo News from AP or Reuters, neither anything on DOD's Defenselink site: www.defenselink.mil

A week ago, a July 25 CyberAlert item recounted:
On Monday's [July 24] World News, ABC anchor Charles Gibson segued from coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah battle to remind viewers of how badly things are going in Iraq. Over an on-screen graphic of the numbers of civilians and military members killed in Iraq compared to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Gibson announced: "Well the focus of the world, in recent days, has been on Israel and Lebanon. And attention has been diverted from Iraq. But it should be noted that in the thirteen days since the Israeli/Lebanese crisis began, more Iraqi civilians have died [540] than Lebanese [392]. And more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks [24] than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict [22]. Also somewhat overlooked is the fact that Saddam Hussein has been on a two-week hunger strike. ABC's Terry McCarthy is in Baghdad tonight...."

Pew: More Dems Than Repubs Prefer ABC,
CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC...

Liberal media critics dismiss FNC as biased to the right, pointing to how Republicans prefer to watch it, but a new poll completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that by the same margin that Republicans choose to get their news from FNC, Democrats prefer to learn their news from the broadcast networks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, CNN and NPR. In the survey released Sunday, 34 percent of Republicans reported they watch FNC regularly, compared to 20 percent of Democrats -- a 14 point spread. As for the broadcast networks, Pew reported: "The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38 percent of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24 percent of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22 percent of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13 percent of Republicans." A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans watch CNN, MSNBC, network morning shows, Sunday morning interview programs and TV news magazine shows.

Other than FNC, Rush Limbaugh is the only measured news source to which more Republicans than Democrats turn.

Pew also documented how "regular consumers" of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and MSNBC "are significantly more liberal than conservative" with the Daily Show audience twice as liberal as conservative, 41 to 19 percent.

Pew confirmed that the Comedy Central show, best-known for the host's ridicule of President Bush and crusade against the war in Iraq, has become an important news source for Democrats. Pew noted: "Democrats also outnumber Republicans among regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (by 10 percent to 3 percent.)"

Interestingly, the partisan splits do not mean a matching ideological imbalance. For instance, of those who regularly watch the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, 35 percent identified themselves as conservative, 38 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal -- pretty much identical the 36 percent conservative/35 percent moderate/21 percent liberal make up of the general public.

The Pew report explained: "The regular audiences for local television news, local newspapers, the network nightly news, and network magazine and morning news programs each have about the same number of conservatives, moderates, and liberals as in the public at large. So too do business magazines and the Larry King Live show on CNN."

However: "Although conservatives outnumber liberals by 36% to 21% in the public, the regular consumers of the Daily Show, literary and political magazines such as The Atlantic and The New Yorker, and the MSNBC cable channel are significantly more liberal than conservative. Liberals and conservatives are equally numerous in NPR's audience, and among regular viewers of the NewsHour and CNN."

Some numbers: While CNN's audience is about evenly spilt liberal/conservative, at 28 percent liberal to 31 percent conservative, MSNBC's viewers are much more to the left with 34 percent identifying themselves as liberal compared to 24 percent as conservative. The Daily Show audience is twice as liberal as conservative, 41 to 19 percent.

An excerpt from the "Attitudes Toward the News" section (which includes both the partisan and ideological numbers) of the July 30 report, "Online Papers Modestly Boost Newspaper Readership: Maturing Internet News Audience Broader Than Deep."

News audiences for cable television news became more polarized along partisan and ideological lines between 2002 and 2004. That polarization remains but has not increased since 2004. Republicans are still much more likely than Democrats to say they regularly watch the Fox News Channel (34% for Republicans, 20% for Democrats), while Democrats are more apt to turn to CNN (28% vs. 19% for Republicans).

But there has been a modest increase in partisan polarization for other news sources. The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38% of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24% of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22% of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13% of Republicans.

The general pattern for network news, CNN, and NPR is also seen with many other news sources. More Democrats than Republicans say they regularly watch a wide range of different news programs. There is a five-point partisan gap in regular viewing of local television news (59% for Democrats, 54% for Republicans), and five and nine-point gaps, respectively, in the audiences for the networks' news magazine shows and morning news shows. More Democrats than Republicans also regularly watch Sunday morning talk shows (15% vs. 10%). Nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans (7% vs. 4%) are regular viewers of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. And Democrats also outnumber Republicans among regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (by 10% to 3%).

Republicans are more numerous among the regular audiences of The O'Reilly Factor; 16% of Republicans say they watch the show regularly, compared with 5% of Democrats. And there is an even more lopsided disparity among the audience for Rush Limbaugh: 10% of Republicans say they listen regularly, compared with just 1% of Democrats.

END of Excerpt


Some specific numbers:

For MSNBC, 15 percent of Democrats said they watch regularly, compared to 8 percent of Republicans.

Katie Couric will be taking over the broadcast network evening newscast with the audience the least imbalanced by party affiliation: 17 percent of Democrats reported they watch the CBS Evening News regularly, just for points more than the 13 percent of Republicans. ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News had a greater disparity. For ABC, 18 to 12 percent and for NBC, 19 to 14 percent.

For the "Attitudes Toward the News" section of the Pew poll (which includes both the partisan and ideological numbers), go to: people-press.org

For the entire July 30 report, "Online Papers Modestly Boost Newspaper Readership: Maturing Internet News Audience Broader Than Deep," go to: people-press.org

For a PDF of the entire 127-page report: people-press.org

New Study: TV Networks Have Pounded Bush
for Five Years

For nearly all of his presidency, George W. Bush has been on the receiving end of mainly negative -- sometimes highly negative -- coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, according to a new report from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a nonpartisan research group. The only time the TV networks gave Bush mostly (63%) positive coverage was during the three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and even then nearly four-in-ten on-air evaluations (37%) of the President were critical.

[This item was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The findings are included in the Spring issue of CMPA's Media Monitor newsletter, which reached my (snail) mailbox on Friday. So far, it has yet to be posted on CMPA's Web site, which appears to make this NewsBusters posting a World Wide Web exclusive. CMPA's home page: www.cmpa.com

The CMPA researchers examined network coverage of President Bush during various periods in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006. With the exception of the post 9/11 period in 2001, they found that the networks invariably saddled Bush with mainly negative coverage. (A separate CMPA report from 2004 looked at Bush's coverage during that year's election, and also found mainly negative network news coverage.)

In fact, according to the report, Bush's coverage in early 2001 was so negative that even with the burst of positive coverage after 9/11, the networks that year still wound up presenting more condemnations of the President than praise. A summary of CMPA's findings of how ABC, CBS and NBC have depicted President Bush during his first five years in office:

2001 (all): 61% negative
2002 N/A
2003: 69% negative
2004: 63% negative
2005: 79% negative
2006: 76% negative

Among the top topics of the networks' presidential news stories this year: the war in Iraq, the aftermath Hurricane Katrina, terrorism, illegal immigration and the Dubai ports deal, with the war in Iraq receiving by far the most coverage.

-- Brent Baker